Remembering Joshua Chamberlain

Joshua Chamberlain was of course one of the men who were instrumental in saving the Union at Gettysburg. As the leader of the 20th Maine, he held Little Round Top against a ferocious attack on July 3, 1863 (I’m writing from memory; Rocket Man will correct me if I err). After the Civil War, he had a distinguished career including service as governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin College. On May 31, the townspeople of Brunswick, Maine are dedicating a magnificient statue of Chamberlain: “Joshua Chamberlain returns to Brunswick.” (Courtesy of Ad Orientem.)
HINDROCKET ADDS: That’s right, Trunk, except it was the second day of the battle, July 2. Chamberlain (who usually went by his middle name, Lawrence) was one of those astonishing personalities in which, for some reason, the 19th century abounded. An excellent scholar, Chamberlain was a professor at Bowdoin when the war broke out. Considered a little old for military service, he took a “sabbatical” from Bowdoin and enlisted. His most famous moment came, of course, at Gettysburg, where he and his Maine volunteers held Little Round Top against heavy odds. At the height of the battle, with Chamberlain wounded and his men running out of ammunition, Chamberlain–who had been ordered to hold the position, which anchored the Union line, at all costs–responded not by withdrawing but by ordering a bayonet charge that broke the Confederate attack. By the end of the war he was a Major General (brevet). Chamberlain was widely regarded as the toughest man in the Union Army. He was wounded six times, and left for dead on the battlefield at least once. Grant chose him to lead the Army of the Potomac in the Grand Review of the Union Armies in Washington at the close of the war. After the war, Chamberlain was elected Governor of Maine four times. His Civil War wounds finally killed him, but not until 1914.

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