Tag Archives: Joshua L. Chamberlain

20th Maine: A warrior goes to glory, a bastard to prison, part 3

As the 20th Maine fought at Little Round Top, Pvt. George Washington Buck stood in the Co. H firing line. Buck had been a sergeant until the regiment’s bastard quartermaster, 1st Lt. Alden Litchfield, had physically assaulted the sick Buck in camp and then reported him for insubordination. The 20th Maine’s colonel, Adelbert Ames, had […]

Hell dumps a bastard on the 20th Maine, part 2

Among the privates assigned to Co. H, 20th Maine Infantry, was Theodore Gerrish, a 5-11, teen-aged farmer from Falmouth. Born in New Brunswick, he would become the 20th Maine’s first official historian, publishing his memoirs 17 years after the war. Gerrish remembered Sgt. George Washington Buck of Linneus as “a young man … a brave, […]

The 20th Maine’s Dirty Rotten Skulker, part 2

Of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment’s three original field officers, Lt. Col. Charles D. Gilmore developed the habit of turning sick when battle loomed on the horizon — or so Capt. (and later major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel) Ellis Spear believed. Looking back to the Chancellorsville campaign, when Col. Adelbert Ames got his coveted staff […]

The 20th Maine’s Dirty Rotten Skulker, part 1

Historians will tell you that a bad apple served too long as the 20th Maine Infantry’s quartermaster, but looking back after the war, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Ellis Spear — the left-flank commander on Little Round Top — remembered a particular officer as, to play with a 1988 movie title, a “Dirty Rotten Skulker.” A Warren […]

Death knocked often at the chaplain’s door

When stretcher bearers carried the badly wounded Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain ashore at Annapolis, Maryland on June 20, 1864, the news soon reached Reverend Henry C. Henries, the chief Army chaplain at the United States General Hospital in Annapolis. The War Department had opened the hospital on “the neat, comfortable buildings and beautiful grounds […]

Wherefore art thou, Joshua Chamberlain?

After three years spent searching, I finally “found” Joshua L. Chamberlain, just not where you’d expect him to be. Recently I wrote about using primary sources when doing Civil War research. Among such sources unique to Maine are the Soldiers Files found on microfilm at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. Sometime after the war, […]

Joshua Chamberlain goes on a strange tramp

Note: This post is adapted from the wartime biography of Joshua L. Chamberlain that I am writing for Emerging Civil War. Not content to let his battered soldiers rest after Fredericksburg, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside sent an entire division, including Lt. Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine Infantry, on a weird cross-country tramp […]

Did God ward off a third strike against Joshua Chamberlain?

Note: This post is adapted from the wartime biography of Joshua L. Chamberlain that I am writing for Emerging Civil War. Shot down during his brigade’s Saturday June 18, 1864 charge at Petersburg, Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain should have bled out on the battlefield. He did not. Recivered by stretcher bearers sent into the lead-filled […]

Researchers rely on primary sources for invaluable material

What are the best information sources for researchers focused on Maine and the Civil War? I would argue for what historians often call “primary sources,” material that is chronologically closest to the war years. Let me recommend these primary sources for serious wartime researching. Letters and diaries: Harder to find as 21st-century descendants trash the […]

Phil Sheridan conquers Maine, part 2

After capturing Maine in late October 1867, Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan took a whirlwind tour of Augusta, the capital of his latest conquest. He had come north from Boston to tour Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and Mainers had welcomed him as the national hero he was. Now, seated in a stylish barouche with Maine […]