The Resting Place of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

A couple of years ago, long time friend Ken generously agreed to post an photo essay about scenes from the Civil War, then and now. This has deservedly become one of the most popular posts on You’re History, and if you missed it, you can find it here. This past summer, Ken and Eileen made another CW pilgrimage of sorts, to the grave of Union hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who is also a favorite of mine. I’m so pleased that Ken has agreed to do a guest post on his thoughts about our mutual hero from Maine.

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What to Do in Maine,

When All You See is Rain


Several years back, my wife, Eileen, and I, traveled up to Maine for a short three day vacation, our destination being Orr’s Island, located on a finger of land roughly 
eleven miles east of the town of Brunswick. As luck would have it, the clouds gathered shortly after leaving CT, and we never saw sunshine again until sometime on our return drive back to our home state. To make matters worse, a good portion of the time, it poured like the dickens. Naturally this put a “damper” on a lot of the activities we were planning, so we started thinking of alternative things to do. As I am an absolute Civil War nut, and knowing that the town of Brunswick was the home to one of the true heroes of that war, Joshua Chamberlain, I had made a comment to Eileen as we passed through there on our first day, about him being from that town. Luckily we had internet capabilities at our lodging. So during a rain 

storm on our second day, Eileen, being an internet surfing queen, in no time at all, came up with the burial site of Chamberlain, a cemetery named Pine Grove. And to boot, she recalled seeing said cemetery when we had driven through Brunswick the day before. It was, she said, located adjacent to Bowdoin College. So off we went back to Brunswick during an infrequent rain break, located the cemetery, and after getting our sneakers and socks thoroughly drenched from the wet grass, we finally found the grave site of Joshua Chamberlain, and took a few photos. He is surrounded by family members, wife, children, etc. So, being a Civil War fanatic, this was a real high point to an otherwise wet and dreary trip, an unexpected little pleasure for me. And, as usual, Eileen was a real trooper, dealing with my interest in the Civil War.

As I mentioned, Joshua Chamberlain is one of the real heroes of that war, in my opinion, very much overlooked. Here is short list of his accomplishments and activities, both during the war and the years following. After attending Bowdoin College, he eventually became a faculty member, teaching various subjects over a number of years. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered his services, and was offered a rank of Lt. Col. of the 20th Maine regiment. After a few minor skirmishes, this regiment saw it’s first major engagement at the battle of Fredericksburg, participating in the famous assault on Marye’s Heights. After missing the next big engagement, the battle of Chancellorsville, due to the regiment being decimated with disease, the unit was next involved in the march to Gettysburg, where the Confederate armies of R.E.Lee were in the process of invading the northern states. Upon arriving at Gettysburg, the regiment was assigned to a position on a hill named Little Round Top, which ended up being the extreme left flank of the Union Army. On the second day of the battle, his regiment repulsed numerous assaults by the 15th Alabama, until such time when his men were running out of ammunition, he ordered a bayonet charge, which completely routed the Confederate forces, securing the vulnerable left flank of the army. He suffered two minor wounds at this engagement. During the next two years of the war, he was involved in the fighting under U.S. Grant and his march south, which eventually ended at the surrender at Appomattox, VA. He was given the honor of receiving the official surrender of the Confederate forces there.

After the war, Chamberlain returned to Maine, eventually entering into politics. He served four one year terms as Governor of Maine, and after leaving politics, served as president of Bowdoin College. Chamberlain died in 1914, at the age of 85, from the lingering effects of wounds suffered in the war. He is the last known veteran to have died from wounds received during the war.

War record:

He was involved in 20 battles and numerous minor skirmishes.

He was cited for bravery four times, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Had six horses shot out from underneath him.

Wounded six times, one of which was thought to be mortal.

Rose to Brig. General (Brevet Maj. General).

Received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Little Round Top.to do in Maine,
When all you see is rain
Last month, my wife, Eileen, and I, traveled up to Maine for a short three day vacation, our
destination being Orr’s Island, located on a finger of land roughly eleven miles east of the
town of Brunswick. As luck would have it, the clouds gathered shortly after leaving CT.,
and we never saw sunshine again until sometime on our return drive back to our home state.
To make matters worse, a good portion of the time, it poured like the dickens. Naturally this
put a “damper” on a lot of the activities we were planning, so we started thinking of alternative
things to do. As I am an absolute Civil War nut, and knowing that the town of Brunswick was
the home to one of the true heroes of that war, Joshua Chamberlain, I had made a comment to
Eileen as we passed through there on our first day, about him being from that town. Luckily
we had internet capabilities at our lodging. So during a rain storm on our second day, Eileen,
being an internet surfing queen, in no time at all, came up with the burial site of Chamberlain,
a cemetery named Pine Grove. And to boot, she recalled seeing said cemetery when we had
driven through Brunswick the day before. It was, she said, located adjacent to Bowdoin
College. So off we went back to Brunswick during an infrequent rain break, located the
cemetery, and after getting our sneakers and socks thoroughly drenched from the wet grass,
we finally found the grave site of Joshua Chamberlain, and took a few photos. He is surrounded
by family members, wife, children, etc. So, being a Civil War fanatic, this was a real high point
to an otherwise, wet and dreary trip, an unexpected little pleasure for me. And, as usual, Eileen
was a real trooper, dealing with my interest in the Civil War.
As I mentioned, Joshua Chamberlain is one of the real heroes of that war, in my opinion, very
much overlooked. Here is short list of his accomplishments and activities, both during the war
and the years following.
After attending Bowdoin College, he eventually became a faculty member, teaching various
subjects over a number of years. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered his services,
and was offered a rank of Lt. Col. of the 20th Maine regiment. After a few minor skirmishes,
this regiment saw it’s first major engagement at the battle of Fredericksburg,  participating
in the famous assault on Marye’s Heights. After missing the next big engagement, the battle
of Chancellorsville, due to the regiment being decimated with disease, the unit was next
involved in the march to Gettysburg, where the Confederate armies of R.E.Lee were in the
process of invading the northern states. Upon arriving at Gettysburg, the regiment was assigned
to a  position on a hill named Little Round Top, which ended up being the extreme left flank of
the Union Army. On the second day of the battle, his regiment repulsed numerous assaults by
the 15th Alabama, until such time when his men were running out of ammunition, he ordered a
bayonet charge, which completely routed the Confederate forces, securing the vulnerable left
flank of the army.  He suffered two minor wounds at this engagement. During the next two
years of the war, he was involved in the fighting under U.S. Grant and his march south, which
eventually ended at the surrender at Appomattox, VA. He was given the honor of receiving the
official surrender of the Confederate forces there.
After the war, he returned to Maine, eventually entering into politics. He served four one year
terms as Governor of Maine, and after leaving politics, served as president of Bowdoin College.
Chamberlain died in 1914, at the age of 85, from the lingering effects of wounds suffered in
the war. He is the last known veteran to have died from wounds received during the war.
War record:
He was involved in 20 battles and numerous minor skirmishes.
He was cited for bravery four times.
Had six horses shot out from underneath him.
Wounded six times, one of which was thought to be mortal.
Rose to Brig. General (Brevet Maj. General).
Received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Little Round Top.
to do in Maine,
When all you see is rain
Last month, my wife, Eileen, and I, traveled up to Maine for a short three day vacation, our
destination being Orr’s Island, located on a finger of land roughly eleven miles east of the
town of Brunswick. As luck would have it, the clouds gathered shortly after leaving CT.,
and we never saw sunshine again until sometime on our return drive back to our home state.
To make matters worse, a good portion of the time, it poured like the dickens. Naturally this
put a “damper” on a lot of the activities we were planning, so we started thinking of alternative
things to do. As I am an absolute Civil War nut, and knowing that the town of Brunswick was
the home to one of the true heroes of that war, Joshua Chamberlain, I had made a comment to
Eileen as we passed through there on our first day, about him being from that town. Luckily
we had internet capabilities at our lodging. So during a rain storm on our second day, Eileen,
being an internet surfing queen, in no time at all, came up with the burial site of Chamberlain,
a cemetery named Pine Grove. And to boot, she recalled seeing said cemetery when we had
driven through Brunswick the day before. It was, she said, located adjacent to Bowdoin
College. So off we went back to Brunswick during an infrequent rain break, located the
cemetery, and after getting our sneakers and socks thoroughly drenched from the wet grass,
we finally found the grave site of Joshua Chamberlain, and took a few photos. He is surrounded
by family members, wife, children, etc. So, being a Civil War fanatic, this was a real high point
to an otherwise, wet and dreary trip, an unexpected little pleasure for me. And, as usual, Eileen
was a real trooper, dealing with my interest in the Civil War.
As I mentioned, Joshua Chamberlain is one of the real heroes of that war, in my opinion, very
much overlooked. Here is short list of his accomplishments and activities, both during the war
and the years following.
After attending Bowdoin College, he eventually became a faculty member, teaching various
subjects over a number of years. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered his services,
and was offered a rank of Lt. Col. of the 20th Maine regiment. After a few minor skirmishes,
this regiment saw it’s first major engagement at the battle of Fredericksburg,  participating
in the famous assault on Marye’s Heights. After missing the next big engagement, the battle
of Chancellorsville, due to the regiment being decimated with disease, the unit was next
involved in the march to Gettysburg, where the Confederate armies of R.E.Lee were in the
process of invading the northern states. Upon arriving at Gettysburg, the regiment was assigned
to a  position on a hill named Little Round Top, which ended up being the extreme left flank of
the Union Army. On the second day of the battle, his regiment repulsed numerous assaults by
the 15th Alabama, until such time when his men were running out of ammunition, he ordered a
bayonet charge, which completely routed the Confederate forces, securing the vulnerable left
flank of the army.  He suffered two minor wounds at this engagement. During the next two
years of the war, he was involved in the fighting under U.S. Grant and his march south, which
eventually ended at the surrender at Appomattox, VA. He was given the honor of receiving the
official surrender of the Confederate forces there.
After the war, he returned to Maine, eventually entering into politics. He served four one year
terms as Governor of Maine, and after leaving politics, served as president of Bowdoin College.
Chamberlain died in 1914, at the age of 85, from the lingering effects of wounds suffered in
the war. He is the last known veteran to have died from wounds received during the war.
War record:
He was involved in 20 battles and numerous minor skirmishes.
He was cited for bravery four times.
Had six horses shot out from underneath him.
Wounded six times, one of which was thought to be mortal.
Rose to Brig. General (Brevet Maj. General).
Received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Little Round Top.
to do in Maine,
When all you see is rain
Last month, my wife, Eileen, and I, traveled up to Maine for a short three day vacation, our
destination being Orr’s Island, located on a finger of land roughly eleven miles east of the
town of Brunswick. As luck would have it, the clouds gathered shortly after leaving CT.,
and we never saw sunshine again until sometime on our return drive back to our home state.
To make matters worse, a good portion of the time, it poured like the dickens. Naturally this
put a “damper” on a lot of the activities we were planning, so we started thinking of alternative
things to do. As I am an absolute Civil War nut, and knowing that the town of Brunswick was
the home to one of the true heroes of that war, Joshua Chamberlain, I had made a comment to
Eileen as we passed through there on our first day, about him being from that town. Luckily
we had internet capabilities at our lodging. So during a rain storm on our second day, Eileen,
being an internet surfing queen, in no time at all, came up with the burial site of Chamberlain,
a cemetery named Pine Grove. And to boot, she recalled seeing said cemetery when we had
driven through Brunswick the day before. It was, she said, located adjacent to Bowdoin
College. So off we went back to Brunswick during an infrequent rain break, located the
cemetery, and after getting our sneakers and socks thoroughly drenched from the wet grass,
we finally found the grave site of Joshua Chamberlain, and took a few photos. He is surrounded
by family members, wife, children, etc. So, being a Civil War fanatic, this was a real high point
to an otherwise, wet and dreary trip, an unexpected little pleasure for me. And, as usual, Eileen
was a real trooper, dealing with my interest in the Civil War.
As I mentioned, Joshua Chamberlain is one of the real heroes of that war, in my opinion, very
much overlooked. Here is short list of his accomplishments and activities, both during the war
and the years following.
After attending Bowdoin College, he eventually became a faculty member, teaching various
subjects over a number of years. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered his services,
and was offered a rank of Lt. Col. of the 20th Maine regiment. After a few minor skirmishes,
this regiment saw it’s first major engagement at the battle of Fredericksburg,  participating
in the famous assault on Marye’s Heights. After missing the next big engagement, the battle
of Chancellorsville, due to the regiment being decimated with disease, the unit was next
involved in the march to Gettysburg, where the Confederate armies of R.E.Lee were in the
process of invading the northern states. Upon arriving at Gettysburg, the regiment was assigned
to a  position on a hill named Little Round Top, which ended up being the extreme left flank of
the Union Army. On the second day of the battle, his regiment repulsed numerous assaults by
the 15th Alabama, until such time when his men were running out of ammunition, he ordered a
bayonet charge, which completely routed the Confederate forces, securing the vulnerable left
flank of the army.  He suffered two minor wounds at this engagement. During the next two
years of the war, he was involved in the fighting under U.S. Grant and his march south, which
eventually ended at the surrender at Appomattox, VA. He was given the honor of receiving the
official surrender of the Confederate forces there.
After the war, he returned to Maine, eventually entering into politics. He served four one year
terms as Governor of Maine, and after leaving politics, served as president of Bowdoin College.
Chamberlain died in 1914, at the age of 85, from the lingering effects of wounds suffered in
the war. He is the last known veteran to have died from wounds received during the war.
War record:
He was involved in 20 battles and numerous minor skirmishes.
He was cited for bravery four times.
Had six horses shot out from underneath him.
Wounded six times, one of which was thought to be mortal.
Rose to Brig. General (Brevet Maj. General).
Received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Little Round TopWhat to do in Maine,
When all you see is rain
Last month, my wife, Eileen, and I, traveled up to Maine for a short three day vacation, our
destination being Orr’s Island, located on a finger of land roughly eleven miles east of the
town of Brunswick. As luck would have it, the clouds gathered shortly after leaving CT.,
and we never saw sunshine again until sometime on our return drive back to our home state.
To make matters worse, a good portion of the time, it poured like the dickens. Naturally this
put a “damper” on a lot of the activities we were planning, so we started thinking of alternative
things to do. As I am an absolute Civil War nut, and knowing that the town of Brunswick was
the home to one of the true heroes of that war, Joshua Chamberlain, I had made a comment to
Eileen as we passed through there on our first day, about him being from that town. Luckily
we had internet capabilities at our lodging. So during a rain storm on our second day, Eileen,
being an internet surfing queen, in no time at all, came up with the burial site of Chamberlain,
a cemetery named Pine Grove. And to boot, she recalled seeing said cemetery when we had
driven through Brunswick the day before. It was, she said, located adjacent to Bowdoin
College. So off we went back to Brunswick during an infrequent rain break, located the
cemetery, and after getting our sneakers and socks thoroughly drenched from the wet grass,
we finally found the grave site of Joshua Chamberlain, and took a few photos. He is surrounded
by family members, wife, children, etc. So, being a Civil War fanatic, this was a real high point
to an otherwise, wet and dreary trip, an unexpected little pleasure for me. And, as usual, Eileen
was a real trooper, dealing with my interest in the Civil War.
As I mentioned, Joshua Chamberlain is one of the real heroes of that war, in my opinion, very
much overlooked. Here is short list of his accomplishments and activities, both during the war
and the years following.
After attending Bowdoin College, he eventually became a faculty member, teaching various
subjects over a number of years. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered his services,
and was offered a rank of Lt. Col. of the 20th Maine regiment. After a few minor skirmishes,
this regiment saw it’s first major engagement at the battle of Fredericksburg,  participating
in the famous assault on Marye’s Heights. After missing the next big engagement, the battle
of Chancellorsville, due to the regiment being decimated with disease, the unit was next
involved in the march to Gettysburg, where the Confederate armies of R.E.Lee were in the
process of invading the northern states. Upon arriving at Gettysburg, the regiment was assigned
to a  position on a hill named Little Round Top, which ended up being the extreme left flank of
the Union Army. On the second day of the battle, his regiment repulsed numerous assaults by
the 15th Alabama, until such time when his men were running out of ammunition, he ordered a
bayonet charge, which completely routed the Confederate forces, securing the vulnerable left
flank of the army.  He suffered two minor wounds at this engagement. During the next two
years of the war, he was involved in the fighting under U.S. Grant and his march south, which
eventually ended at the surrender at Appomattox, VA. He was given the honor of receiving the
official surrender of the Confederate forces there.
After the war, he returned to Maine, eventually entering into politics. He served four one year
terms as Governor of Maine, and after leaving politics, served as president of Bowdoin College.
Chamberlain died in 1914, at the age of 85, from the lingering effects of wounds suffered in
the war. He is the last known veteran to have died from wounds received during the war.
War record:
He was involved in 20 battles and numerous minor skirmishes.
He was cited for bravery four times.
Had six horses shot out from underneath him.
Wounded six times, one of which was thought to be mortal.
Rose to Brig. General (Brevet Maj. General).
Received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Little Round Top.
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6 thoughts on “The Resting Place of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

  1. Paula says:

    Great article! I can’t wait to visit Brunswick, Chambrlerlain’s museum, and his grave site. I am a native “Mainer” with a passion for civil war history and a deep and abiding love of Gettysburg (both the actual town, and the civil war battle, therein) . It’s hard to believe I’ve lived all of my 49 years in this beautiful state of Maine, and as of yet have never visited this museum. I assure you, I plan to rectify that oversight with as much haste as possible! Again, thanks for a well- written article!

  2. Dan Parent says:

    Nice article. I hope to visit there soon. I did want to point out that Chamberlain was awarded the Medal of Honor for his deeds at Gettysburg. You mentioned he was cited for bravery, but I thought it important to point out that he was awarded the highest honor given for valor in the field of battle.

  3. Beautiful post about a great hero. Prior to the revival of interest in him through Shiaara’s book, The Killer Angels, and Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of him in Gettysburg, there was no monument, and his house had fallen into disrepair, with rooms being rented to students at Brunswick University. By 1992 Sarah Knapp remembers that at the time of her first visit to the house, interested parties were fundraising to do repairs and trying to get the paint analyzed to re-paint.

    Sarah Knapp and I had the good fortune to be commissioned by Maine State Music Theatre (whose theatre is on the campus of Brunswick University) to write a musical based on the life of Chamberlain, which resulted in Chamberlain: A Civil War Romance. Its 1996 premiere was an overwhelming success, and it was revived in 2014 for the 100th anniversary of Chamberlain’s death. (You can read more about it at http://chamberlainmusical.com.)

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