Ellis Spear

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Ellis Spear
Ellis Spear - Brady-Handy.jpg
Bvt. Brig. Gen. Ellis Spear
Born (1834-10-15)October 15, 1834
Warren, Maine
Died April 3, 1917(1917-04-03) (aged 82)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Union Army LTC rank insignia.png Lieutenant Colonel
Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brevet Brigadier General
Unit 20th Maine Infantry Regiment

American Civil War

Other work Patent attorney

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


Spear was born in 1834 in Warren, Maine where he grew up on his family's farm and attended a Presbyterian church Sunday School. Spear received his higher education at Bowdoin College, graduating in 1858. Spear taught in local schools for four years while also studying law. During the second year of the Civil War he became a recruiter and formed Company G of the 20th Maine. Spear was commissioned as a captain, but was eventually promoted to the rank of major, then lieutenant colonel, and later brevetted colonel and brigadier general at the end of the war.

After the war, Spear became a patent attorney and eventually became the United States Commissioner of Patents and wrote about the war. One authorWho? 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.[1]

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

Spear was played by Donal Logue in the 1993 film Gettysburg and by Jonathan Maxwell in Gods and Generals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Styple, William B. (Ed.), With a Flash of his Sword: The Writings of. Maj. Holman S. Melcher, 20th Maine Infantry

External links[edit]