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We fought no better, perhaps, than they. We exhibited, perhaps, no higher individual qualities… Joshua Chamberlain

Joshua Chamberlain was a good man, a good soldier and a good officer and may have been typical of the best that the north had to offer. These factors are what make his life the ultimate tragedy. Forsaking the virtue of the founders for the expediency of an immediate argument he helped destroy the Republic and deliver it to the lesser men who had long since forsaken its principles for profit.

Portrait of Maj. Gen. (as of Mar. 29, 1865) Joshua L. Chamberlain, officer of the Federal Army

Portrait of Maj. Gen. (as of Mar. 29, 1865) Joshua L. Chamberlain, officer of the Federal Army

Through blood & fire. : selected Civil War papers of Major General Joshua Chamberlain  Joshua Chamberlain / Mark Nesbitt  Mechanicsburg, Pa. : Stackpole Books, 1996  Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xiii, 226 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 224-226) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac. Confederate (on right) coming forward to surrender arms to the Union troops (on left).  Inscribed next to title: as described to me by Genl. Chamberlain, who recd the surrende[r]. My first lay out for a large picture which I propose to paint. John R. Chapin

Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac. Confederate (on right) coming forward to surrender arms to the Union troops (on left). Inscribed next to title: as described to me by Genl. Chamberlain, who recd the surrende[r]. My first lay out for a large picture which I propose to paint. John R. Chapin

In July 1862 Joshua Chamberlain, a family man and professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, joined the the Union army. His wartime service  is perhaps best remembered for his participation at Gettysburg. At all times, however, he fought bravely and well, even at Petersburg in 1864 where he received the wound that was to torment him until his death in 1914.

Washington, D.C. Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, staff and units of 9th Army Corps passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury. Photo may show Gen. Joshua Chamberlain holding a bouquet of flowers.

Washington, D.C. Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, staff and units of 9th Army Corps passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury. Photo may show Gen. Joshua Chamberlain holding a bouquet of flowers.

Throughout his time in the field, Chamberlain wrote letters of recommendation to his superiors, letters of condolence to the families of soldiers killed while under his command, and letters to his family at home. All are well written, revealing the professor’s educated background and elegant prose. Nesbitt’s notes set the scene, place Chamberlain’s writings within the larger context of the war, and make illuminate the General’s character and his sacrifices for the cause he loved.

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