In the shadow of Joshua Chamberlain

What are you mad at? What is it about these marble monuments that have you so worked up.

I live in Maine so I am a Northern Yankee. That is about as “Northern” as you can get, and trust me, it’s as Yankee as you can get. In fact, I live just a few miles from where the great Brigadier General, Joshua Chamberlain was born. Now, you do know who he was, don’t you? NO? Well, I’ll tell you….

Joshua Chamberlain was born in 1828 in Brewer, Maine, just across the river from where I live. He served four terms as the Governor of Maine and he was the President of the Prestigious Bowdon College in Brunswick, Maine. Before all that, however, he commanded a Regiment of Union soldiers at the battle of Gettysburg known as the 20th Maine. Chamberlain and the boys of the 20th Maine were positioned at a place called, “Little Round Top.” That position was the back side of the Union line. Should the Confederate soldiers break through Chamberlain’s line, they would be able to attack from the rear, winning the battle and then advancing to Washington with ease and winning the war.

Confederate Infantry repeatedly marched up the hill and advanced on the 20th Maine, killing many of those good Maine boys, and wounding much more. Those Confederate soldiers advanced so many times that Chamberlain’s forces began to run low on ammunition. It was at this point that Chamberlain ordered the left side of his line to join the right and his men to fix bayonets. He then ordered a “Right Wheel Forward” which was to swing down like a wheel, screaming bloody murder, charging at the enemy. His maneuver was a successful one, the Confederate soldiers were pushed back, and many killed. Many historians have credited Chamberlain for saving the Union with his stand at Little Round Top, but that’s for historians to debate.

So what does all this have to do with you? Let’s look at that now.

Just shy of two years later, on April 9, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant met with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia to accept the unconditional surrender of the Southern Army. The war was over. The North had won. A new era was about to begin. With tensions still high, General Grant placed Joshua Chamberlain in charge of the Union Troops at Appomattox.

Now here’s the thing…..In spite of the terrible battle waged at Little Round Top and the Maine boys who lost their lives there, Brigadier Joshua Chamberlain ordered the Union Troops to form a column on both sides of the stairs of the Courthouse where Lee was surrendering and when Lee emerged, every Union soldier was at attention and saluting the General and affording him the respect and courtesy that his rank and position demanded. After Lee’s surrender, they also stood at attention as Lee’s conquered army passed by.

The average age of the Civil War soldier was 25 years old. More than 625,000 of them were laid in their graves before their lives ever began and still, a Brigadier General from Maine along with hundreds of of other young boys in blue who marched until their feet bled, froze in the cold winter night, and went hungry for days when rations were scarce, stood at attention and in solemn respect to their Confederate counterparts at wars end. So I ask you; What gives you the right of righteous indignation. What dues have you paid that usurped those who showed respect to these boys in grey.

What is this self aggrandizement that you would place yourselves above the likes of Joshua Chamberlain and his charitable gesture of respect to Robert E. Lee.

Finally, will it be your greatest moment in life when you someday sit with your grandchildren on your knee and point to a faded photo of a coward, their face covered with a handkerchief, and proudly exclaim, “That was me!” Which one of you will defiantly tear the mask from your face as you pull the statue of Robert E. Lee to the ground and proudly proclaim, “Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain, you now stand in my great shadow.”

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Union soldiers drawing up their weapons in salute as the surrendered Confederates march past. Image courtesy Don Troiani, Historical Art Prints.

1 reply
  1. Frank Thiboutot
    Frank Thiboutot says:

    A 60’s radical once said, “The issue is never the issue; the issue is always the revolution. Pick an agenda, gay rights, civil rights, the environment, immigration. Name it. For the Left issue is only relevant if it advances their agenda of power and wealth to the exclusion of all else.”

    What has been the conventional explanation for their behavior? Idiots, delusional anti-American globalists, disgruntled blacks in the BLM movement? All true, but more specifically, they’re Marxist revolutionaries. The sooner we expose the roots of their ideology (as with Islam) the sooner we can defeat them. But, never expect help from the sympathetic MSM or the Democrat Party.


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