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About Company B, 20th Maine 


     COMPANY B, 20th MAINE, is a living history group dedicated to preserving the memory of Maine Civil War volunteers.  The original Company B was mustered into the 20th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry, in August 1862, in time to march to Antietam with the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Company B, commanded by Walter G. Morrill, had been recruited in Piscataquis County, among the farmers of Dover, Milo, and Sebec.  At Gettysburg, Company B was sent out as skirmishers by Colonel Chamberlain to protect the regiment's exposed left flank.  Posted behind a stone wall, the Company was too far away to participate in the initial fight, but was instrumental in routing the fleeing Confederates, its sudden appearance adding to the Rebel confusion.  Company B was with the 20th in all its battles, from the Wilderness to Petersburg to Appomattox.  Its Captain, Captain Walter Morrill, became the Regiment's last commander in March, 1865. 

    OUR PRESENT-DAY REENACTMENT GROUP is made up of men and women from eastern, central and southern Maine, even Canada, and as far north as Aroostook county.  We are people from various walks of life.  We have school teachers, an aircraft pilot, a lawyer, and self-employed contractors.  We all share a fascination in the Civil War, and a great interest in "learning by doing".  While we strive to be as "authentic" as possible in our Civil War impressions, our main goal is to provide our members and the public with activities that are enjoyable, educational and above all, safe. 

      AS A FAMILY-ORIENTED ORGANIZATION, there are roles for women and children.  While a soldier must be sixteen to fire a musket in drill and skirmishes, we have several young people serving as musicians (fife and drum) in our group.  The only stipulation we have is that parents or guardians attend all events with their child.  Women (or men) may portray civilians of the period, such as nurses, or members of the U.S. Sanitary Commission .
    (We are also starting up a "Military Signal Corps" where young, as well as older, men may learn the art of signaling (with flags) across an expanse to transmit important messages, as they did over 135 yrs. ago.) 

     MOST NEW MEMBERS wish to join as private soldiers.  (Go to the "recruiting page" for more information on how to become a member, and what you'll need to get.) 

     EVENTS WE HAVE PARTICIPATED IN range from national-level reenactments to local historical society meetings.  The first major national event attended by a contingent from the 20th was the 125th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1988.  Since then, we have participated in the 130th Gettysburg, the 135th Antietam, and the 135th Gettysburg reenactments.  We try to attend a major out-of-state event each summer. 
     For the past four years, we have participated in the National Park Service's "Adopt-a-Position" program.  Once or twice a year, we rent a van and travel to Gettysburg, our "Mecca".  While there, we divide our time between touring the battlefield and clearing and cleaning Maine sites.  Sites we've worked on recently include: the 6th Maine Battery, the 4th Maine, and Company B, 20th Maine. 
     In 1992, some of our members took part in the filming of the movie "Gettysburg".  Members spent a week on location in Pennsylvania as "background artists" for Pickett's Charge.  Many returned in the fall for the filming of the Little Round Top sequence.  In addition, several members traveled to Georgia to film scenes for "Andersonville". 

     In-state, we spend the summer with weekend encampments.  Some of these are held for fund-raising purposes, but most are connected with historical activities.  We pick our events based on the historical significance of the event and on the opportunities for public education.  In addition, we want to have a chance to have a good time, as well.  Our group values the camaraderie around the campfire in the evening after the public has left as much as it does our ability to perform for the public during the day.  Our base of operations is Fort Knox, a Civil War-era fort in Prospect.  We hold annual encampments there the last weekends of July and August.  We have monthly drills and meetings the last Sunday of each month.  During the winter, they are at an announced location in the Bangor area.  During the milder months, we meet and drill at the Fort.