20th Maine Markers

Gettysburg Guide #154

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As has been noted in others threads, the fall is a great time to visit battlefields because it is easier to see thangs that get hidden in the heavier foliage of the summer. Yesterday, I visited the principal monument for the 20th Maine, as well as the flank makers. The left flank marker shows the refused line looking back toward the principal monument. In the right flank marker photo, you can see the statue of brigade commander Strong Vincent atop the 83rd Pennsylvania Monument. With leaves out of the way, I was even able to get a photo with both markers in the same frame.
20th ME mon.jpeg
20th ME L flank.jpeg
20th ME R flank.jpeg
20th ME both flanks.jpeg


The fall season also makes it easier to walk down the path to the marker and stone wall where the 20th ME's Company B set up. The marker fails to give credit to the US Sharpshooters who joined them there.
20th ME Co B mkr.jpeg


20th ME Co B Wall.jpeg
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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I wonder how much fan fare the 20th Maine monument received prior to the movie Gettysburg?
It's a good question. I am told that in the the decades immediately after the war, the heaviest visitation on the Gettysburg Battlefield was on Culp's Hill, where visitors could see tree trunks containing a unimaginable number bullets. Perhaps at that time, Col. David Ireland and the 137th NY, who were holding the extreme right flank of the Union position, got a bit more attention.
 

Bigjeep

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Don't remember anything about the 20th Maine prior to the movie. Now I always stop there! One interesting tidbit, we were sitting waiting for our guide and when he came he asks us what we would like to do. I said we would like to do Culps hill and cemetery hill! His response was, thank God I don't have to do the movie and the 20th Maine again! That's what everyone wants. The real turning point was Culps Hill!
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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There is no doubt that Michael Shaara's novel "The Killer Angels" has stirred great interest in the Battle of Gettysburg generally, and in the 20th Maine in particular. Unfortunately, many who read the novel believe that they are reading a history of the battle rather than a fictional novel. For instance, one of my fellow guides tells the story of a visitor who wanted to see Sgt. Kilrain's grave. However, Kilrain, the Irish sergeant in the 20th Maine, is a fictional character. For those who are interested, D. Scott Hartwig, former Chief Historian at the Gettysburg National Military Park, wrote "A Killer Angels Companion" published in 1996 by Thomas Publications of Gettysburg, PA. It does an excellent job of bringing the real history of the battle back into focus for anyone who has read "The Killer Angels" or seen the Ted Turner production "Gettysburg".
 

Kurt G

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Ken Burn's Civil War in 1990 also mentions that Chamberlain and the 20th Maine "saved the Union." I hope he wasn't relying on the Killer Angels for his source.
 

Bigjeep

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Like any historical Hollywood movie, they can only cover parts of the total story. I would Imagine a movie about Gettysburg that tried to cover every important aspect of the battle would run maybe 8 hours+ and still not cover the whole story.
 

James N.

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What I hate about the notoriety given this area by the novel and movie has been the continued PAVING OVER of Little Round Top! As if the NPS road leading up it wasn't bad enough, the park has successively:

Enlarged parking there to accommodate the increased traffic, including busses;
Added and enlarged paved trails across the entire western face of the summit;
Paved the once-inoffensive trail leading to the 20th's monument;
Later widened same, probably for wheelchair traffic;
Added a short spur road and yet another parking lot and paved trail leading from same to accommodate handicapped visitors.

When I last visited in April 2018 it was possible to actually see the monument without even having to go to the trouble of getting out of our vehicle, a boon for my invalid friend Doug, but anathema to me. The NEW park spur road is visible in the background of my photo below:

DSC05703.JPG
 
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James N.

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20180410_133613.jpg


Another example of overdone paving is evident in another April, 2018 photo; much of the entire top has been paved like this, particularly around the G. K. Warren statue. I remember this area from previous visits being left as rocky trails - the NPS certainly couldn't expect anyone visiting in the twenty-first century to actually get their feet wet or walk on uneven ground!
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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LRT is certainly a popular spot. Finding a place to park with a visitor on a tour is frequently a challenge. However, when one looks at the hill from its western base, the only man-made items visible are the monuments. The parking and the road are all east of the summit. As hard as it s to imagine, bear in mind that once upon a time the road ran in front of the 140th NY Monument!

One thing to consider concerning the amount of paved surface is that it is the non-paved surfaces have a greater tendency to become eroded when subjected to too much foot traffic. And as pointed out, the paved ramps have helped those with mobility challenge to see the top of the hill and the area where the 20th Maine fought. It's a tough balancing act.

Get ready for some changes. We have been told by the NPS that there is an expectation that in the fall of 2021 Little Round Top will be closed entirely for extensive repairs for between 12 to 18 months. I do not have any idea of the details. My plan will be to bring visitors to either Ayes Ave. (near where the US Regulars Regimental Monuments are located) or to stop near the section of Smith's Battery along Crawford Ave. in order to tell the story of the defense of LRT. At the same time, they say that there will be some work done to encourage more visitation to Culp's Hill when LRT is closed. Having said all that, this has been discussed for the past two years, only to find that more and more "studies" are needed.
 

infomanpa

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Like any historical Hollywood movie, they can only cover parts of the total story. I would Imagine a movie about Gettysburg that tried to cover every important aspect of the battle would run maybe 8 hours+ and still not cover the whole story.
The "Hollywood movie" was never meant to cover the "total story." The movie was based on the book. People don't understand that the movie or the book was never meant to be a total coverage of the battle. The author of Killer Angels specifically chose certain characters whose eyes we are meant to see the battle through.
 

TomWI

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Sep 22, 2019
What I hate about the notoriety given this area by the novel and movie has been the continued PAVING OVER of Little Round Top! As if the NPS road leading up it wasn't bad enough, the park has successively:

Enlarged parking there to accommodate the increased traffic, including busses;
Added and enlarged paved trails across the entire western face of the summit;
Paved the once-inoffensive trail leading to the 20th's monument;
Later widened same;
Added a short spur road and yet another parking lot and paved trail leading from same to accommodate handicapped visitors.

When I last visited in April 2018 it was possible to actually see the monument without even having to go to the trouble of getting out of our vehicle, a boon for my invalid friend Doug, but anathema to me. The NEW park spur road is visible in the background of my photo below:

View attachment 382420
I’ve heard that the road between the Round Tops substantially decreased the depth of the ’trench’ or small valley that ran between them. The Confederate attacks up LRT become a much bigger feat when the original terrain is considered.
 

DanFell

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Nov 13, 2020
As has been noted in others threads, the fall is a great time to visit battlefields because it is easier to see thangs that get hidden in the heavier foliage of the summer. Yesterday, I visited the principal monument for the 20th Maine, as well as the flank makers. The left flank marker shows the refused line looking back toward the principal monument. In the right flank marker photo, you can see the statue of brigade commander Strong Vincent atop the 83rd Pennsylvania Monument. With leaves out of the way, I was even able to get a photo with both markers in the same frame.
View attachment 382254View attachment 382255View attachment 382256View attachment 382257

The fall season also makes it easier to walk down the path to the marker and stone wall where the 20th ME's Company B set up. The marker fails to give credit to the US Sharpshooters who joined them there.
View attachment 382259

View attachment 382260
Or someone who looks a heckuva alot like Strong Vincent since they would not allow any one person to adorn their statue... :wink: Wink, wink.
 
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