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20th Maine Regiment, 1861-04-01 - 1867-08-09

 Box — Box: 023
Identifier: US-MeSA-15-1500-1979-1841-23

Scope and Contents

From the Schedule/Series:

This material primarily consists of incoming correspondence from officers of the various Maine units, addressed to either the Adjutant General of Maine or the three Governors who held office during the Civil War. While much of it deals with the mechanical routines of running a regiment, the material can give researchers a unique insight into how the volunteer regiments worked – or, in some cases, failed to work. Often beset by regimental politics as well as civilian political interest, most of these units nevertheless matured into formidable fighting forces in the end.

Throughout the war, the Adjutant General and the Governors employed special agents to investigate and report on specific problems or conditions. For instance, after Antietam, General McClellan granted wholesale furloughs to weary participants who took themselves home immediately. The Army had a dreadful time getting them back. Eventually, in Maine, agents were sent through each county to find these men, determine whether they were able to go back, and send them on their way. At other times agents were sent as far afield as Florida to check on conditions among Maine troops.

Also within this category is correspondence from the numerous branches of the U.S. War Department and from the Executive Department, and various commands of the U.S. Army. The material is arranged chronologically within each series or subheading. A very large series of letters comes from the numerous suppliers of every conceivable type of material from tin cups to silk flags. This material provides extremely useful economic information, containing evidence of who was manufacturing what and where. It is filed chronologically by State and then individually by city within the State.

Includes cartes de visite (CdV) photographs of Maine’s regimental officers as requested by Adjutant General John Hodsdon.


  • Creation: 1861-04-01 - 1867-08-09


Biographical / Historical

The 20th Maine Regiment was mustered in at Augusta, Maine, for three years' service on August 29, 1862, and were mustered out on July 16, 1865. Of the 1,621 men enrolled in the regiment, 147 were killed or died of wounds, 146 died of disease, and 15 were in Confederate prisons.

They served in the following engagements:

Antietam, MD - September 17, 1862 Shepherdstown Ford, VA - September 19 - 20, 1862 Fredericksburg, VA - December 13, 1862 Chancellorsville, VA - May 1 - 4, 1863 Middleburg, VA - June 17, 1863 Gettysburg, PA - July 1 - 3, 1863 Sharpsburg Pike, MD - July 1863 Rappahannock Station, VA - November 7, 1863 Mine Run, VA - November 26 - December 1, 1863 Wilderness, VA - May 5 - 7, 1864 Spotsylvania, VA - May 7 - 20, 1864 North Anna, VA - May 23 - 27, 1864 Totopotomy, VA - May 26, - 30, 1864 Bethesda Church, VA - May 30 - June 1, 1864 Cold Harbor, VA - May 31 - June 12, 1864 Petersburg, VA - June 1864 Jerusalem Plank Road, VA - June 22 - 23, 1864 Weldon Railroad, VA - August 18 - 21, 1864 Peebles Farm, VA - September 30 - October 2, 1864 Hatchers Run, VA - December 8 - 9, 1864 Quaker Road, VA - March 29, 1865 Gravelly Run, VA - March 29, 1865 Five Forks, VA - March 30 - April 1, 1865 Appomattox, VA - March 29 - April 9, 1865

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914), is best known for his heroic participation in the Battle of Gettysburg. Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain led his 20th Maine Infantry in a desperate bayonet charge down Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. Fearing Chamberlain to be near death from wounds at Petersburg in 1864, General Ulysses Grant gave him a field promotion to Brigadier General. Surviving against all odds, Chamberlain received the Confederate surrender at Appomatox Court House, Virginia, in April 1865. Chamberlain served four terms as Maine's governor and later as president of Bowdoin College.


From the Schedule/Series: 33.1 Linear Feet (72 Containers)

Language of Materials

From the Record Group: English