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Ellis Spear
[[Image:240px|center|200px|border]]Bvt. Brig. Gen. Ellis Spear
Personal Information
Born: October 15, 1834(1834-10-15)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: April 3, 1917 (aged 82)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Brevet Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Commands: 20th Maine Infantry
Battles: American Civil War
*Battle of Fredericksburg
*Battle of Gettysburg
*Battle of Petersburg
*Appomattox Campaign
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Ellis Spear (October 15, 1834 – April 3, 1917) was an officer in the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment who rose to the rank of general during the American Civil War.


Spear was born in Warren, Maine, in 1834 and was educated at Bowdoin College, graduating in 1858. Eventually Spear studied law, but when the Civil War erupted he became a recruiter and formed Company G of the 20th Maine. Spear was commissioned as a captain, but was quickly promoted to the rank of major, then lieutenant colonel, and later brevetted colonel and brigadier general at the end of the war. At Appomattox Court House in 1865, Spear witnessed the meeting of Grant and Lee during the surrender the Army of Northern Virginia.[1]

After the war, Spear became a patent attorney and eventually became the U.S. Commissioner of Patents and wrote about the war. One author claims that Spear believed that many members of the 20th Maine, particularly Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, exaggerated their roles at the Battle of Gettysburg actions at Little Round Top. His writings provide corroboration to Lieutenant Holman S. Melcher's claims about initiating the charge.[2]

Spear died in Washington, D.C., and was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His papers were later published by his grandson.

Spear was played by Donal Logue in the 1993 film Gettysburg.

See also[]

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  1. Spear, Ellis, The Civil War Recollections of General Ellis Spear.
  2. Styple, William B. (Ed.), With a Flash of his Sword: The Writings of. Maj. Holman S. Melcher, 20th Maine Infantry, Belle Grove Publishing, 1994.