Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Holman Melcher Papers

Holman Melcher Papers 1860-1865

0.25 linear feet.

Catalog Number:M127


Agency History / Biographical Note:
Holman Melcher (1841-1905), a native of Topsham, Maine, was the brother of Nathaniel Melcher (Bowdoin 1864). During the Civil War, he served with the 20th Maine Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg. His journals, published with his letters as With a Flash of His Sword, suggest that it was he, and not Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who led the impulsive charge that helped to rescue the Union forces. Melcher served to brevet major and was wounded in the Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia, but survived the war.

He served as president of the 20th Maine Regiment Association (1876-1905). He was a successful wholesale grocer in Portland, Maine, and was twice elected mayor of the city (1889-1890). He married Alice Hart and had one daughter.

Scope and Content:
The collection contains correspondence (1860-1865), Civil War records, clippings, and other material (1863-1865). Correspondence includes letters to his brother Nathaniel, then a student at Bowdoin, and to his parents, written from the front lines at Fredericksburg, Antietam and other battle sites. Also included are general orders of the Army of the Potomac, and a consolidated morning report of the 20th Maine Regiment for March 21, 1863.

Cite as: Holman Melcher Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288