Published on

Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine


Chamberlain's Account of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg

This document provides a detailed report from the headquarters of the 20th Maine Volunteers, penned on July 6th, 1863, following the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. The narrative offers a firsthand account of the regiment's critical role on July 2nd and 3rd, emphasizing its strategic positioning and actions on the battlefield.


  • Date and Location: Field near Gettysburg, PA, July 6th, 1863.
  • Unit: 20th Regiment Maine Volunteers.
  • Key Events:
    • The regiment arrived on the battlefield at approximately 4 p.m. on July 2nd, under the command of Colonel Vincent.
    • Positioned on the extreme left of the brigade and the battle line, they were tasked with holding their ground against an anticipated significant assault by Confederate forces aimed at turning the Union's left flank.
    • Immediate measures included establishing a defensive line on a rocky hill's crest and deploying skirmishers on the left to prevent surprise attacks.
    • Engagement with the enemy commenced shortly thereafter, with the regiment's right flank entering into intense combat.

Strategic Importance

The account highlights the regiment's crucial defensive role in preventing the Confederates from flanking the Union forces, a task underscored by the dire instruction that their position was to be held "at every hazard." The detailed description of the terrain, the deployment of forces, and the onset of battle paints a vivid picture of the challenges faced and the valor displayed by the 20th Maine Volunteers in one of the Civil War's most decisive confrontations.


This historical account not only sheds light on the tactical decisions and bravery of the 20th Maine Volunteers but also underscores the significance of their contribution to the Union's victory at Gettysburg. It stands as a testament to the strategic importance of their position and the crucial role they played on the battlefield.