Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Lion of Little Round Top
Joshua Chamberlain was born September 8, 1828, in Brewer, Maine. The oldest of five children born to Joshua and Sarah (Dupee) Chamberlain. He attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he met his future wife Fannie Adams. After graduating in 1852 he studied at the Bangor Theological Seminary. Three years latter Chamberlain excepted a job at his old college, married and settled into a normal life.
In 1861 when the southern states began to succeed Chamberlain; who felt strongly about the Union cause, volunteered his services to the state. Although he had no military experience he was given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry. The 20th was part of the “Light Brigade” of the 5th Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Although perhaps best known for the Bayonet charge on Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Chamberlain and the 20th saw action at many crucial battles, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, Cold Harbor, etc. He was seriously wounded during an assault outside of Petersburg, Virginia. The surgeon at the field hospital pronounced Chamberlain’s wound to be mortal. General Ulysses S Grant had him promoted to Brigadier General two days latter. Joshua recovered and rejoined the army in April of 65, where he led his troop during the Battle of Five Forks which ended the hold of the Confederates on Petersburg. General Joshua Chamberlain accepted the formal surrender of arms of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 12, 1865 at Appomattox Court House.
After the war Chamberlain returned to his home in Maine. He was elected to Governor of the State of Maine in 1866. In 1871 he became the President of Bowdoin College, however in 1883 he resigned do to health reasons related to old war wounds. He spent a great deal of time in writing and helping other veterans. Chamberlain was honored by Congress in 1893 with the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his service at Gettysburg. From 1900 until his death on February 24, 1914 he was the Surveyor of the Port of Maine in Portland, Maine. He is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, Maine.