Holman S. Melcher

Holman S. Melcher

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Holman S. Melcher

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Holman Staples Melcher (1841–1905) was an American Civil War officer and postbellum mayor of Portland, Maine. Melcher was a company commander in the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment that charged down Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg.


Melcher was born in Topsham, Maine. He attended Bates College (Maine State Seminary) in Lewiston, Maine from 1858 to 1862, until enlisting as a Corporal in the Union Army on August 29, 1862. During the Civil War, he served with the 20th Maine Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg and many other engagements. At Gettysburg, Melcher was a company commander and claimed he initiated the bayonet charge at Little Round Top. Melcher was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in 1863 and served as acting adjutant to Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a former Bowdoin College professor. Melcher was later promoted to captain in 1864 (serving in Companies B, F, and H over the course of the war). Eventually, Melcher was brevetted to the rank of major by the end of the war. He was badly wounded in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia, but survived the war, being mustered out on July 16, 1865.

Holman Melcher later served as president of the 20th Maine Regiment Association (1876 – 1905). He published an article titled An Experience in the Battle of the Wilderness in the Maine MOLLUS's War Papers Vol. 1 (1898), based on his own experiences in that battle. Melcher went on to become a successful wholesale...
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