Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, born September 8, 1828, in Brewer, Maine, was descended on his father's side from a long line of volunteer soldiers dating back to colonial days. He was educated at a military academy in Ellsworth, Maine, and was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1852 and from the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1855. Chamberlain returned to Bowdoin the same year as a professor. On August 8, 1962, Chamberlain was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 20th Maine. He participated in twenty-four engagements, ranging from skirmishes to pitched battles, including Sharps-burg, Fredericksburg, Chancellors-ville, Gettysburg (for gallantry here he was later awarded the Medal of Honor), Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Five Forks. He was wounded six times and was given a field promotion to brigadier general by General U. S. Grant after one of the initial assaults against Petersburg in which he was thought to have been mortally wounded. At Appomattox, Chamberlain was detailed to receive the formal surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Brevetted major general for his conduct at Five Forks, he declined a commission in the regular service and was mustered out in January, 1866. The same autumn he was elected governor of Maine and was reelected three times, serving until 1870. For the next thirteen years he occupied the presidency of Bowdoin and until 1885 continued there as a lecturer in political science and public law. Meantime, as major general of the state militia, he ameliorated a tense situation which threatened anarchy in the state legislature as the result of an alliance between the Democratic and Greenback parties against the Republicans. Subsequently, General Chamberlain occupied himself with various business enterprises in Florida; served as surveyor of the port of Portland, Maine; and wrote a number of historically valuable treatises on his native state and on the various Civil War campaigns in which he had served. He died in Portland on February 24, 1914, and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Brunswick, Maine.

Medal of Honor:

Rank and organization: Colonel, 20th Maine Infantry.
Place and date: At Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863.
Entered service at: Brunswick, Maine.
Born: September 8, 1828, Brewer, Maine.
Date of issue: August 11, 1893.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 2 July 1863, while serving with 20th Maine Infantry, in action at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for daring heroism and great tenacity in holding his position on the Little Round Top against repeated assaults, and carrying the advance position on Big Round Top.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.