The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps

The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps

The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps

The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps

Synopsis

An unlikely hero to the Army of the Potomac, college professor Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led the 20th Maine Division in all the fiercest battles of the Eastern theatre, winning the Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership at Gettysburg. A brilliant, insightful, must-read for all Civil War buffs. Introduction by James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom. Period artwork, photos, and engravings. Reprint.

Excerpt

Brooks D. Simpson

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain would be pleased to see the esteem in which most Americans today hold him. Although Civil War military historians were familiar with his record of military service, it was left to a novelist, a filmmaker, and a number of devoted amateur historians to craft the current heroic image of this Union officer--now the subject of much Civil War art, sculpture, and even an action figure. That's a heady fate for a college professor, which is what Chamberlain was when he left Bowdoin College in 1862 to accept a commission as lieutenant colonel for the Twentieth Maine. and yet it is exactly what Chamberlain sought for himself and his men--to establish their claim to a place in the historical record.

Chamberlain's service to the Union cause did not end on July 2, 1863, on the southern slopes of Little Round Top at the extreme left of the Army of the Potomac. Unlike Strong Vincent, his brigade commander; Stephen Weed, the commander of the other brigade of the Fifth Corps sent to save the left; or Patrick O'Rorke, whose 140th New York saved Vincent's right as Chamberlain was protecting the left, Chamberlain survived the battle. That fall he became seriously ill and was sent to Washington to recuperate. Rejoining his regiment in May 1864 during the battle of Spotsylvania, he soon took command of his brigade; the next month, as part of a reorganization of the Fifth Corps, he was reassigned to another brigade, a transfer that separated him from his old regiment. On June 18, 1864, at the tail end of the initial effort to take Petersburg, he received orders to assault a Confederate fortified position. Sure that such an attack would be suicidal, Chamberlain sent back a description of the situation--and learned . . .

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