The wind rolls in your face. The yell of the rebel penetrates your head. A screaming gray mass charges at you. In your had remains 6 rounds of ammo. To your left and to your right lie the dead and dying. Your friends and brothers lie with the slain. With the enemy nearing your position your commander orders a suicide charge at the screaming gray wall. You fix your bayannet and charge into the fray.
Your hands grip the barrel as you fire your last shot. the wall hit's your charging line like a wave. Steel on steel, blade on blade. The man running next to you falls. his fighting partner turns to you. He raises his musket. your bayannet stabs into his chest. His eyes widen with pain and hatred. as you turn back to the enemy your leg feel's like it was hit with a hammer. you collapse and blackout. you awaken in a primitive hospital. The doctor sets you on a table. he takes a grimy hack saw and wipes it off on his shirt. He hands you a bullet and a shot glass. You force the whisky down your mouth and bite on the bullet. the doctor takes the grimy hack saw and begins to slowly grind at your bone. the saw cut's through your bone and flesh. the doctor dresses the bandage as you pass out from the
pain and loss of blood.
This would be the life of a semi lucky soldier in the 20 Maine Volunteer regiment, third brigade, first division, 5 corps, army of the Potomac on July the second 1863. Those who survived the desperate counterattack would be moved to the center of the union lines only to be assaulted the next day by 15,000 men.
That fateful second of July the 20th Maine suffered 33% casualties and "held the confederates back by sheer force of their determination." (Catton) For his heroic actions during the day The twentieth Maine's Commander Connel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was awarded the congressional medal of honor. The Twentieth Maine held onto the extreme left flank of the Army of the Potomac on the small crest known as little round top. Three regiments dug in on little round top. The twentienth Maine on the left, the 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, The 44th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, The 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and on the right flank of the position The 140 New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. (Gettysburg 'Chat') The 140th New York was nearly out flanked and made a similar desperate Charge suffering 50% casualties. ((The Civil War) and (The Battle))
All in all the 2nd of July was an eventful day for the Twentieth Maine. Their brigade was fast marched to the front after General Mead found out that Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles' III Corps had been destroyed and there was no defense on the entire left flank. Colonel Chamberlain's regiment was placed on the left flank of not only the brigade and the hill, but the entire Army Of the Potomac with orders to hold the position at all costs.. The 386 man twentieth Maine emerged from the trees and set about organizing a defensive position. Approximately ten minuets later they were attacked by the 380 man 47th Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The semi dug-in Mainers repelled the first attack and hunkered down. At this point The 47 Alabama was reinforced by the 500 man 17th Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The twentieth Maine was now facing an assault of a confederate brigade. Driving off assault after assault and running low on ammo Colonel Joshua Chamberlain was out of options. Just as the Confederates began to reach a freeze stage for the assault Chamberlain gave the order to fix bayonets. He ordered the regiment to form a swinging wheel to sweep the charging Confederate troops into the 83 pennsilenia. The Mainers Charged headlong into the onrushing Alabamians forcing them to the right. The Last ditch desperation maneuver worked with stunning success. The Twentieth Maine took 400 prisoners and literally threw the Confederates of the left side of the hill. The Price for the victory and capture was paid in Maine Blood. All Ready depleted from Fredricksburg and an outbreak of small pox The 20th Maine