20th Maine Reunion and Chamberlain's Compromise

Gettysburg Greg

Jun 6, 2010
Decatur, Illinois
In this iconic photograph, veterans of the 20th Maine including General Chamberlain seated at right center, pose on Vincent's Spur with their monument sitting on a large boulder on the left. Next to Chamberlain are the furled colors that flew here on July 2nd, 1863. In his speech given that day, Chamberlain clarified the location of the monument was where the colors flew after it became the apex for his line after being refused to the left. In other words, that is where his line bent back to the left from this point. The rock wall seen in the photo and fronting their position today was a source of frustration for the General. He insisted the rock walls were not there during the time the 20th fought here and demanded they be removed. He later compromised his position by agreeing to leave the wall as as long as there was a sign present that clearly states they were not there during the fighting on July 2nd, 1863. Shown below is my then and now using the reunion photograph and a photo of Chamberlain's sign that can be seen today on Sykes Avenue at the 20th Maine's position.
maine reunion.jpg


Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
It's important to keep in mind that many of the walls we see today near the Round Tops were built on July 3, or during the night of July 2. For instance, the wall marking the positions of the 9th and 10th Pennsylvania Reserves in the low ground between the Round Tops. According to a participant, both regiments were posted 100 yards or more to the east on the night of July 2 and moved forward about daybreak to the positions their monuments now mark. When Tilton's brigade and the 9th Massachusetts of Sweitzer's brigade came up on the morning of July 3, they extended the wall on either side of the 9th and 10th Pennsylvania Reserves. The same with the wonderfully intact and relatively undisturbed wall running along the western foot of Round Top, which the Confederates constructed on the night of July 2, and which incorporates the many natural boulders in the vicinity.


May 15, 2012
Chamberlain had some 30+ members of his unit present at this reunion. Surely they could reach a consensus as to the exact location.
I'm sure Chamberlain in his narcissistic manner would have disagreed with the 30+ members of the 20th Maine and insisted that the fight took place 50 yards away from the consensus spot. Hell, he probably would have said his bayonet charge started at Taneytown Rd. and moved to Little Round Top...….LOL

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