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A Broken Bond? The Little Round Top Feud Between Joshua Chamberlain and Ellis Spear

The 20th Maine’s epic stand and bayonet charge at Little Round Top on July 2, 1863, secured that regiment’s place in military history. During the second day of fighting at Gettysburg, commanders Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and Major Ellis Spear—already good friends from before the war—further forged a seemingly unbreakable bond in helping the Pine Tree State boys turn back Colonel William Oates’ relentless 15th Alabama and prevent a Confederate breakthrough on the Army of the Potomac’s left flank. Had the 20th Maine broken before the onslaught, it might have had a domino effect on other hard-pressed Federal units along Cemetery Ridge. The 20th’s stand was a critical moment in what became a Yankee triumph the following day.