Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Army 1
Colonel 1
08 Mar 1841 1
Boston, Massachusetts 1
06 Mar 1935 1
Washington, DC 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Oliver Wendell Jr. Holmes 1
08 Mar 1841 1
Boston, Massachusetts 1
06 Mar 1935 1
Washington, DC 1
Mother: Amelia Lee Jackson Holmes 1
Father: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 1

Civil War (Union) 1

Army 1
Colonel 1
Rank: Brevet 1

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20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

The 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment lost 17 officers and 243 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 148 enlisted men to disease in the Civil War. It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.


August 29 - September 4

Organized at Readville under Colonel William R. Lee.

September 4

Left State for Washington, D.C.; attached to Lander's Brigade, Division of the Potomac

September 12-15

Moved to Poolesville, Md. and guard duty along Upper Potomac


Assigned to Lander's Brigade, Stone's (Sedgwick's) Division, Army of the Potomac

October 21-24

Operations on the Potomac

October 21

Action at Ball's Bluff

The regiment lost 2 officers and 13 men killed, 6 officers and 38 men wounded, and 6 officers and 129 men missing, including Colonel Lee, who was captured.

October 22

Near Edwards' Ferry

December 4

Moved to Muddy Branch and duty there



Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

March 12-15

Moved to Harper's Ferry, thence to Charlestown and Berryville

March 24

Ordered to Washington, D.C.

March 27

To the Peninsula

April 5-May 4

Siege of Yorktown. Colonel Lee is exchanged and rejoins the regiment.

May 7-8

West Point

May 31-June 1

Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines

June 25-July 1

Seven days before Richmond

June 25

Oak Grove, near Fair Oaks

July 29

Peach Orchard and Savage Station

June 30

White Oak Swamp and Glendale

Colonel Lee is badly injured when his horse fell on him.

July 1 and 
August 5

Malvern Hill

August 6 - 15

At Harrison's Landing

August 15-28

Movement to Alexandria

August 28-31

March to Fairfax C. H.

August 31-
September 1

Cover retreat of Pope's army from Bull Run


Maryland Campaign

September 14

South Mountain, Md. (Reserve)

September 16-17

Battle of Antietam

September 22

Moved to Harper's Ferry and duty there

October 16-17

Reconnaissance to Charlestown

October 30-
November 17

Advance up Loudon Valley and movement to Falmouth, Va.

December 11-15

Battles of Fredericksburg

Forlorn hope to cross Rappahannock December 11

December 15

Colonel Lee is offered command of a brigade but offered his resignation, which was accepted.

December - April

Duty at Falmouth


April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

May 3

Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg

May 3-4

Salem Heights

June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

July 2-4

Battle of Gettysburg

The 20th was commanded by Colonel Paul Joseph Revere, grandson of Paul Revere of Revolutionary War fame. He was mortally wounded on July 2nd, dying on the 4th. Lieutenant Colonel George N. Macy then took over until he was wounded on July 3, losing his left hand. Captain Henry L. Abbott then took over the regiment.


The 20th brought 301 men to the field, losing 30 killed, 94 wounded and 3 missing.


From the monument: "This tablet is placed by their comrades in honor of Colonel Paul Joseph Revere, First Lieutenant Henry Ropes, Second Lieutenant Sumner Paine, and forty-one enlisted men who were killed or mortally wounded."


From a bronze marker near the Copse of Trees: "When Pickett's Division pierced the Union line this regiment retired by its right flank, faced left, and rushed up to this copse of trees and attacked Pickett's troops then coming over the wall."

September 13-17

Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan

October 9-22

Bristoe Campaign

October 14

Bristoe Station

November 7-8

Advance to line of the Rappahannock

November 26-
December 2

Mine Run Campaign


February 6-7

Demonstration on the Rapidan


Assigned to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps

February - May

At Stevensburg


Campaign from the Rapidan to the James

May 5-7

Battles of the Wilderness

May 8

Laurel Hill

May 8-12


May 10

Po River

May 12-21

Spottsylvania C. H.

May 12

Assault on the Salient

May 23-26

North Anna River

May 26-28

Line of the Pamunkey

May 28-31


June 1-12

Cold Harbor

June 16-18

Before Petersburg

June 16

Siege of Petersburg begins

June 22-23

Jerusalem Plank Road

July 27-29

Demonstration north of the James

July 27-28

Deep Bottom

August 14-18

Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom

August 25

Ream's Station

October 27-28

Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run


February 5-7

Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run

March 25

Watkins' House

March 28-April 9

Appomattox Campaign

March 31

Crow's House

April 2

Fall of Petersburg

April 6

Sailor's Creek

April 7

High Bridge and Farmville

April 9

Appomattox C. H. Surrender of Lee and his army.

April 10 - May 2

At Burkesville

May 2-15

March to Washington, D.C.

May 23

Grand Review

July 15

Duty at Washington

July 16

Mustered out

July 28


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