Here's another one of artist Ken Hendricksen's beautiful portraits of Chamberlain. Please do not use without his express written permission.
This is another page for my visitors. Here are some examples of why various people admire Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. And they are as different, as the people who write them.
I invite you to share your thoughts, too. Email them to me, and I will post them.
"Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain appears bigger than life in Michael Shaara's novel "Killer Angels" and director Ron Maxwell's movie "Gettysburg". His outstanding accomplishments are written about in many books, archival reports and manuscripts readily available to the inquisitive individual.
"To those of us who have studied his life and actions in depth, Joshua ("Tom, don?t call me Lawrence in front of the men") Chamberlain has become a dear friend and teacher. We hold him in deepest respect.
"Quickly recognized is Chamberlain's determination to excel, to overcome difficulties placed in his way, to accomplish, to learn, to guide people to good behavior. One discovers soon that Joshua had a profound respect for the individual, whether close acquaintance or foe on the battlefield. His leadership was one of example fused with that constant respect.
"Possessing a paternal background of military ancestors, he responded to the maternal prompting to master a religious and ministerial scholarship. Language mastery as well as vocal and instrumental achievement provided him with a Renaissance attitude, a man fully developed in the lessons of the ages.
"Chamberlain discovered he had deep within a calling to combat personally the forces which threaten to cleave asunder our nation. To him, the Civil War was a challenge to meet and defeat the attempts on the part of the seceding States to return to pre-Constitutional status.
"He maintained this commitment while attending sessions where Harriet Beecher Stowe, a neighbor, read aloud her recently completed chapters of the astounding "Uncle Tom?s Cabin". Joshua held dear the right of each person to possess independence. He felt that this privilege was attainable only through fighting for retention of a unified nation. Once that was achieved, then turn our attention to individual rights.
"Against the prompting of collegial leaders as well as the pleas of his dear wife, Chamberlain offered his talents to the military needs of our country in a time of trial. The internal call to serve was most strong and demanding.
"Participating as a military leader in some twenty plus engagements, being wounded six times, suffering a serious abdominal wound which would eventually lead to his death in later years, Joshua?s constant concern was for the survival of the men whom he led. Only a true and gallant officer and leader of troops abides by such standards.
"His performance under fire at Little Round Top was only one of many challenging and stress-filled military events. Yes, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership; however, his deeds prior and following this engagement together forged his heroism.
"In recognition of his pivotal role in conquering the threats to divide the Union, General Chamberlain was awarded the honor of accepting the surrender of the Confederate troops at Appomattox. His deportment and actions during this trying occasion recognized the commitment and heroism of the defeated individuals passing in review. He was rewarded with a response of honor from his former foes.
"Four terms as Governor of Maine followed by thirteen years as President of Bowdoin College, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain pledged his retirement years to his fellow citizens.
"This true American hero lived a full life of commitment until his death on February 24, 1914, at the age of 85.
"Each of us who have become his fond acquaintances through our studies and readings cherish this wonderful hero who was a true, warm and loving individual. We value him as a friend. It is our hope that our readers find that same reward as you become better versed in the life and accomplishments of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain." Joe Fabel
"Why Chamberlain? Growing up in Nova Scotia, an interest in the American Civil War was not common. Yet, we were impacted by this struggle south of our border. Men volunteered to fight in the Federal Army. And then there was the famous incident of the Confederate raider "Tallahassee", here in Halifax harbour. In the 1990s, that interest was rekindled with such releases as Ken Burns' 'The Civil War', Shelby Foote's 'The Civil War', James McPherson's 'Battle Cry of Freedom', and works of fiction such as Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels". The more I read, the more I began to learn about the contributions of our neighbors in the State of Maine.
"It was in this research that one name came to the forefront: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. I read Alice Trulock's book, "In the Hands of Providence", and was fascinated. I wantedto learn more of this man--who, by all rights, one would not expect to be involved in a military campaign so many miles from his home state. What would possess a man, who began his formal education studying for the ministry, and then continuing in formal education, teaching at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, to give that up and pursue a career in the Union army? Was it his sense of honour? Was it idealism? It was, I think, his belief in a cause that superseded the risk of personal injury or even death.
"A strong personal conviction of what is right is the most noble of human characteristics. Joshua Chamberlain had such a conviction. His salute of the Confederate troops at Appomattox would give ample proof of his belief to do the right thing, even if it was unpopular at the time:
*"Joshua L. Chamberlain", by Thomas A. Desjardin (Greystone Communications, 1999), p. 84.
"Whether it be on battlefields far from home, in the state Legislature in Augusta, or the halls of Bowdoin College -- Joshua Chamberlain arrived to do what he saw as the right thing for the time.
"How could one not want to learn more of this man, who was unlike many of his peers, who were graduates of West Point? With no formal military training, he would assume roles of great leadership and heroism, at battles such as: Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Quaker Road, Five Forks -- and, finally, Appomattox. Wounded six times, he continued on, when many would have honourably retired. There had to be substantial reasons why he was chosen, over numerous other higher ranking generals, by Ulysses S. Grant to receive the official surrender at Appomattox. Grant must have seen the same characteristics in him, that draw us today.
"So, what draws me to Chamberlain? There is more to it than military glory. A person can even question if there IS glory in these events, amidst the horror and carnage of war. Joshua Chamberlain was a man of convictions. In some occasions, he made mistakes, as all humans do; but more often than not, he was correct. In education, for example, many of his reforms at Bowdoin were years ahead of their time. There are those who question the popular account of the encounter at Little Round Top. I believe the point we should be looking at, is that we have a man in a role of leadership, with chaos all around him, following orders and demonstrating unfaltering courage in the face of adversity. Even those who question this popular account cannot disagree with the leadership he demonstrated in the two years following Gettysburg. His reputation as a skilled leader, in time of crisis, was demonstrated time and time again on the fields of battle in the Civil War.
"There is more to the man, than simply as a military leader. His post-war writings show us another side of this unique character. Joshua Chamberlain was a deeply spiritual man. You need only read his speech during the dedication of the 20th Maine monument at Gettysburg, to realize this:
*"Bayonet! Forward: My Civil War Reminiscences", by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. (Pennsylvania, Stan Clark Military Books, 1994), p. 202.
"Numerous people have remarked about the feeling of a spiritual presence, while visiting Little Round Top. You cannot sit there in the peace and tranquility,which envelops this spot today, and not feel something. That feeling was present in September 2005, while my wife and I sat on a large rock on Little Round Top, totally alone, for over 20 minutes. How prophetic was this man.
"Joshua Chamberlain would suffer the consequences of his convictions for the rest of his life -- with his death ultimately being a result of complications from wounds suffered at Petersburg. We can only imagine the other tolls this war took on him, judging by what we see today in veterans of recent military encounters. Reading accounts of his post-Civil War life, we see these clearly. From his personal life, to his physical well-being, the Civil War would not let him go. Would he have changed anything in his life, to be spared from this? I think not.
"In his Memorial Day Speech, 1884, Chamberlain said:
*"1884 Memorial Day Address, from "Life Stories of the American Civil War"
"Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is a true hero in history".
David Williamson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
"Why I admire Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain? Ernest Becker, the author of the Pulitzer Prize Winning Book, "The Denial of Death". had this to say about heroism:
"Sibling rivalry is a critical problem that reflects the basic human condition: it is not that children are vicious, selfish, or domineering. It is that they so openly express man's tragedies tiny: he must desperately justify himself as an object of primary value int he universe: he must stand out, be a hero, make the biggest possible contribution to world life, show that he counts more than anything or anyone else."
"And Becker goes on to say:
"When we appreciate how natural it is for man to strive to be a hero, how deeply it goes in his evolutionary and organismic constitution, how openly he shows it as a child, then it is all the more curious how ignorant most of us are, consciously, of what we really want and need. In our culture anyway, especially in modern times, the heroic seems too big for us, or we too small for it. Tell a young man that he is entitled to be a hero and he will blush. We disguise our struggle by piling up figures in a bank book to reflect privately our sense of heroic worth. Or by having only a little better home in the neighborhood, a bigger car, brighter children. But underneath throbs the ache of cosmic specialness, no matter how we mask it in concerns of smaller scope. Occasionally someone admits that he takes his heroism seriously, which gives most of us a chill, as did U.S. Congressman Mendel Rivers, who fed appropriations to the military machine and said he was the most powerful man since Julius Caesar. We may shudder at the crassness of earthly heroism, of both Caesar and his imitators, but the fault is not theirs, it is in the way society sets up its hero system and in the people it allows to fill its roles. The urge to heroism is natural, and to admit it honest. For everyone to admit it would probably release such pent-up force as to be devastating to societies as they now are."
"Becker later continues:
"Man will lay down his life for his country, his society, his family. He will choose to throw himself on a grenade to save his comrades; he is capable of the highest generosity and self-sacrifice. But he has to feel and believe that what he is doing is truly heroic, timeless, and supremely meaningful. The crisis of modern society is precisely that the youth no longer feel heroic in the plan for action that their culture has set up. They don't believe it is empirically true to the problems of their lives and times. We are living a crisis of heroism that reaches to every aspect of our social life: the dropouts of university heroism, of business and career heroism, of political-action heroism; the rise of anti-heroes, those who would be heroic each in his own way or like Charles Manson with his special "family", those whose tormented heroics lash out at the system that itself has ceased to represent agreed heroism. The great perplexity of our time, the churning of our age, is that the youth have sensed--for better or for worse--a great social-historical truth: that just as there are useless self-sacrifices in unjust wars, so too is there an ignoble heroics of whole societies: it can be the viciously destructive heroics of Hitler's Germany or the plain debasing and silly heroics of the acquisition and display of consumer goods, the piling up of money and privileges that now characterizes whole ways of life, capitalist and Soviet."
"Many have noted that Chamberlain, along with other Civil War "heroes" tended to embellish their truth as time went on. Some have accused Chamberlain of being too egotistical. But in those times, for those men, people had not forgotten how to be heroes. Whatever their cause, they knowingly walked into the hell-fire of the minie-ball, the grape shot, and the canister. This is hard for people of our generation to understand. To add to this, Chamberlain really believed he was fighting so that all men and women, no matter their race or background, could become their best in this democratic experiment we call the United States."
"We have always needed heroes. We still do. Lawrence, where are you when we need you?"
- Ron Pelt
"My fascination with Joshua L. Chamberlain is linked I think to my general interest in the American Civil War. I can never remember a time I wasn't interested in the American Civil War, which is slightly odd on one level given I'm British; but not so odd on another, when you find out just how many of us Brits are interested.
"From my earliest days, my loyalties were divided (pretty appropriate really). The enduring image of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ragged & barefoot--yet fighting with such skill and gallantry--aroused my instinctive British support for the underdog, and won my heart. Yet on the other hand, the ultimate rightness of the Union cause (and not just because they won), so powerfully articulated and embodied by another of my heroes, Abraham Lincoln (surely your greatest President), ruled my head.
"Chamberlain, when I first encountered him more than thirty years ago in Glenn Tucker's book on Gettysburg, immediately captured both my head and heart. A capture renewed and reinforced through the Burns TV series and book, "Killer Angels", the two standard biographies, "The Passing of the Armies" and lastly, my pilgrimage this summer to Little Round Top. For me, Chamberlain was a man of intellect, action and integrity: the true model of the citizen soldier - one of democracy's profoundest contributions to the human condition. The person who takes up arms because, in the words of the song:
He must know what is right and what is wrong
"His noble gesture of salute to the surrendering remnants of Lee's Army (and how fitting they should be commanded by John B. Gordon--another great citizen soldier) remains not only one of the most decent acts of the Civil War, but also of the whole of history." Nick Beeching
"I knew about Joshua Lawrence at least two years before the movie "Gettysburg" came out. I was introduced to him, as most of America was, in the Ken Burns special "The Civil War" in 1992.
"The very first picture of Chamberlain I saw on the special was his professor's photo with the beard, the muttonchops and the glasses. The thought that came to me when I saw that was "Is that Chamberlain? The guy's a wimp! I don?t like him!"
"The second photo I saw of him while watching the special was the profile shot of him as Colonel Chamberlain, just as he took command of the 20th Maine. I thought, "Is that Chamberlain? The guy's a stuffed shirt! I don?t like him!"
"A little bit later on in the special, they showed a photo of Chamberlain in his late seventies and I thought, "This guy's STILL a stuffed shirt! I still don't like him!" It was not looking good as far as any admiration for Chamberlain on my part.
"Then one day in the summer of 1993, I happened to wander into the living room where my father was watching some movie dealing with the Civil War. We were right at the scene where this one commander of this one regiment was going over to this group of Union prisoners. I thought at first they were captured Confederates. He started out by saying "The army was formed last summer--in Maine. There were over a thousand of us then. There are less than 300 of us now." I'm thinking: "What do Confederate POWs need to hear that for?" I continued listening to this speech, and soon found myself swept away by it. The ending phrase was what set the whole devotion thing to spinning:
"But it's not the land! There?s always more land! What we?re fighting for, in the end. We?re fighting for each other. " I thought, "THAT'S CHAMBERLAIN?!?!?! WOW!!!!!!!!!"
"The very last line of that whole scene had Chamberlain turning to the group and saying, "Gentlemen, I think f we lose this fight, we lose the war....so if you do care to join us, I'd be personally very grateful." And then I thought, "I'd follow that man to the gates of hell and back!"
"This burgeoning devotion was further increased when I got the scene of the Battle of Little Round Top. It got to the part where Chamberlain was evaluating the situation. The 20th Maine was out of ammo, the rebs were still coming, they had been ordered to hold that position at all costs. I heard Jeff Daniels say "OK, we can?t run away and if we stay, we can't fight. . ." and I'm thinking : "Man! These poor guys have really got themselves backed into a corner! How in the world are they ever going to get out of this one??" Then I watched as the whole charge scene took place and I'm thinking: "GENIUS!!! GENIUS!!! THE MAN'S A GENIUS!!!" I watched the rest of the scene, waiting for someone to echo my opinion of the whole matter.
I watched the scene between Chamberlain and Kilrain.
Kilrain: Colonel? Colonel?
Chamberlain: I?m right here, Buster, I'm right here, I'm right here.
Kilrain: Colonel, I just wanted to tell ya, just in case, that. . .
Mary Ellen's thoughts: . . .He's a genius! Tell him he's a genius
A little later on the scene where Tom introduces Joshua to his prisoner:
Tom: Lawrence! I want you to meet this fella from Alabama. Capt. Hawkins, my brother--Colonel Chamberlain!
Mary Ellen's thoughts: Who's a genius! Say it! He's a genius!
Then the scene with Colonel Rice:
Col. Rice: Colonel, we watched from our position above. It?s the damnedest thing I ever saw. May I. . .May I shake your hand sir?
Mary Ellen's thoughts: Genius!! The man is a military genius! C'mon! Somebody say it!
Nobody said it--so I am obviously going to have to go back and re-shoot that whole movie myself to include the comment that Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is a genius. (*A-hem* at every other line, of course!) ---Mary Ellen Byrne
"My introduction to Chamberlain was a bit on the metaphysical side, I guess. I was never into the Civil War, although my daughter was, and I knew very little about the details of any of the personalities or the battles. In September, 2000, however, I was at a point in my life where my attitudes about war (from being an adolescent during the 1960s), my studies in spirituality, and my studies in ethics converged and I was struggling with the concept of war and right action. One Saturday morning I called my daughter and son-in-law and suggested we leave immediately on a weekend road trip to Gettysburg. I felt a strong connection to that place and didn't know why at the time.
"On the second day of our visit, we took a tour of the battlefield. As we were driving up Little Round Top and I was casually looking around, I suddenly saw figures of men poorly clothed swirled with gray color running down the hill. My jaw dropped as I was able to see through them as well as see them, and told my daughter what I had witnessed. I apparently was the only one who had witnessed this. The tour went on and, at another point on the battlefield, I was totally overcome by emotion and began to cry deeply. This was confusing to me as I did not know the significance of the spot and did not personally understand my reaction and tears.
"Upon my return home I began to research the two spots where I had my unusual experiences. The first was the stand of Chamberlain and his Maine troops on Little Round Top, and the second was the spot where the Maine troops were transferred and where they experienced Pickett's Charge. I began reading about Chamberlain as he seemed to be the link between the two experiences I had. I am continuing with this research about Chamberlain, and the Civil War as an extension, even now.
"What I have discovered in Chamberlain is a mentor on war and right action. I believe I am correct in remembering that Chamberlain returned to Gettysburg many times in his life and also in remembering that another writer suggested that this was evidence that Chamberlain could not spiritually relinquish his charge to "hold the flank." Perhaps this is true. I felt Chamberlain's spirit strongly in my visit to Gettysburg. But Chamberlain was also a teacher. Perhaps his charge now involves educating those of us, like myself, who are seeking the answers that he can provide based on his experience and his wisdom. For me, based on my personal experience, there seems to be no limit to the ideals of Chamberlain's soul."
"When I first read of JLC saying: "The inspiration of a noble cause involving human interest wide and far, enables men to do things they did not dream themselves capable of before, and which they were not capable of alone. The consciousness of belonging, vitally, to something beyond individuality, of being part of a personality that reaches we know not where, in space and time, greatens the heart to the limits of the soul's ideal." I was struck by how personal the words felt to me. It felt as if he could reach through the decades and still have something relevant to say, in a time when American politicians are sad creatures, indeed.
"I greatly admire JLC's determination to reach the limits of his soul's ideal, especially when personal, military and political conflicts tried desperately to bring him down. Sheer determination brought him back from his "mortal wounds" at Petersburg, and as a physically disabled American, he gives me hope that I too can do great things with my life. This country needs more men like JLC to survive today's agonies.' Jessica Jones
"The more I learn about JLC the more I'm amazed at how much this man accomplished and how gifted he was. I want to tell everyone I know about him and all the new things I'm learning about him and they just don't seem very interested. I can't imagine why. I wonder why some of us are so drawn in admiration for someone and others aren't. I can't imagine why they aren't as taken with him as I am. Why they don't want to know more. He was extreme in everything he did. He was extremely intelligent, spiritual, talented, compassionate, unselfish. I could go on and on, as you know. I admire him so much for all he was but I admire him the most for his spirituality. I believe that's what made him all that he was. He truly lived his life for the Lord and according to the golden rule and he put his faith and beliefs above all else. I know when he arrived in heaven the Lord said, "Well done my good and faithful servant". I look forward to meeting him someday in paradise." -Tamara Anderson
"This Monday last, February 24, marked the 89th anniversary of the death of a brilliant, humane and remarkable individual. Nearly fifty years after a minie ball tore through both hips, a wound universally considered mortal at the time, the culminated effects of it finally killed Joshua Chamberlain.
"College-schooled and seminary trained, Chamberlain's leadership during the Civil War was spiritually principled. He affirmed and promoted the inherent worth and dignity of every person regardless of the color of skin or uniform. A deeply reflective and literate individual (he read seven languages), his was the most eloquent voice to emerge from that great conflict. After the Battle for Quaker Road during the final days of the war had been won, but at great cost, he asked:
"But we had with us, to keep and care for, more than five hundred bruised bodies of men--men made in the image of God, marred by the hand of man, and must we say in the name of God? And where is the reckoning for such things? And who is answerable? One might almost shrink from the sound of his own voice, which had launched into the palpitating air words of order--do we call t?--fraught with such ruin. Was it God's command that we heard, or His forgiveness that we must forever implore?"
"Chamberlain entered the conflict as a college professor who taught logic, natural theology and modern languages. Except for a brief stint at a military school when he was 14, he had no military training or experience whatsoever. Commissioned a Lt. Colonel by the Governor of Maine, he had to go out and recruit his own regiment. His was on the job training. An adept learner, his 20th Maine Volunteers saved the Union cause on Little Round Top at Gettysburg. This action, immortalized in Ted Turner's film "Gettysburg" won Chamberlain the Congressional Medal of Honor.
"As great as that honor was, perhaps his greatest honor was being personally chosen by Gen. U.S. Grant to command the surrender ceremonies at Appomattox. Grant, not wanting to "humiliate the manhood" of the officers and men of the vanquished army, knew Chamberlain was the right choice. The Confederates, not knowing what to expect, thought they might be jeered, made fun of or humiliated. Chamberlain's handling of the ceremony, which came under criticism in the North, made the surrender a moving and memorable spectacle, one that honored the enemy and helped heal the wounds and advance the cause of a reunited nation.
"This Sunday we will consider what lessons we may learn from Chamberlain's spiritually principled leadership. - Rev. Dick Benner
"My admiration for Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain began almost immediately after knowing of his existence. That was back in September of 1999--and yes, it was at Little Round Top. I was a 41-year-old, who was doing something I haven't done since I was a youngster .... I was taking a vacation with Ma and Pa.
"On a wonderfully guided bus tour, we had the opportunity to walk Little Round Top. This was my first time as I can recall, that I actually walked where history was made--and could clearly feel the spirits of those who were here ... you have all felt it, too, by now! I now know why my dad is so fascinated with the Civil War and the people of this time period in American history. The feeling there was so real in my body.
"I mentioned to my dad how courageous this man and this group of soldiers who defended this rocky hill were. But it didn't take much longer to learn that this man was much more than a man in a blue uniform, with eagles on his shoulders and a sword at his side.
"In the time since visiting Little Round Top, I feel as if I have gotten to know the Colonel personally-and that we are the best of friends. I believe all of us who admire Chamberlain feel the same way. He has been gone from us physically, long before we were all born--but he continues to live in our hearts and minds. I actually miss him, if that makes sense.
"What I believe made Chamberlain special is how he lived successfully, by positive emotion. His strength and courage came from his sensitivity, and his strong faith in God. He had a conscience -- and compassion for those who didn't. He showed up each day for work -- for life, ready to give humanity the benefit of the doubt, that what God has created still had a chance to live together in peace; not fearing that another would interfere with our personal dreams. That there was enough space to fulfill our dreams, and yet still be close enough to help each other.
"I am a person who lives from the heart also, and I feel a natural closeness with the Colonel. I would have loved to to sit down with him, and just listened to him speak." -Bobby Grenier
"After studying and reading about the American Civil War, I naturally chose certain individuals as my "favorites". Many names pass through my mind as I write this. Names that are familiar to thousands of readers. Why then, did I put Joshua Chamberlain on the top of that list? Ten years ago I read "In the Hands of Providence" by Trulock, and was completely fascinated. After that, I read everything I could find on JLC. I see him as a decent man who did not have to go to war. I see him as a patriot, a loving husband and father, and a man with pure convictions. That was not the norm, even in those days. He was no saint, and wouldn't have appreciated the title. He was a normal man who rose above normal. He passed up the chance to lead the 20th Maine when it was formed, until he could learn to lead men into battle. It might have been a shorter war had more men acted in that way. When I visited Maine a few years ago, my first stop was Pine Grove Cemetery. I tried to share my thoughts with my wife but could not speak. I could see Joshua in my mind's eye, passing that gate so many years ago on his way to a new and different life. Like many others, I would have liked to have known him in life. He was a good man, and a great soldier. My thanks to Pat for letting me share my thoughts with others." - "The Starkeeper"
"This is not a request I take lightly, and would love to share my thoughts about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
"When asked the question, "Why do I admire Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain?", I have to ask myself how does the word admiration relate to how I feel about the man. When you think of admiring someone, it is usually someone living but when it comes to the General, that is not the case as he is physically not here! I have never looked back in history and said I admired anyone, maybe respected their achievements or beliefs, emulated their behavior because it was worthy, gave honor to what they represented in history but admire...that word is saved for someone like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
"I don't believe history has seen many men like him, or women for that matter and as hard as it may try, it can't come close. Admiration is regarded as a feeling of pleasure, approval and often worth. When I think of the words "feeling of pleasure" it relates to an interpersonal relationship with a living person and how that person relates back to you. None of us obviously can have that kind of relationship, but when I read about the life of Joshua, it does bring about a sense of pleasure in his accomplishments in life, his belief system, his family bringing him great joy and energy that radiated in all he did in his personal life, his elected life in the government, his life in the military as a commander and how his decisions affected the destiny of our nation.
"When you read about all, I find immense satisfaction, gratitude and pleasure in knowing about this man's life. He was faced with so many situations that he took on with precision, determination, conviction,commitment and great wisdom and compassion and with it all, he had the humility of a servant in all he did. Oh, that we had men of his caliber in these days of our nation's history. Men who would rise up with the courage, forthrightness and nobility (may I say that) to hold the banner of the freedoms that our nation were founded on and hold true to them.
"Approval ... that is a broad word for accepting his life as it was with all its excellent and good things and the things we might say were not as good, but those things are so few ... and he would be the first to say that he was a sinner saved by grace, and that is all there is about that. He held so close to his convictions in his relationship with God and in his everyday life he lived that principle. I find great approval in the man who to quote General Sickel had the "Soul of a Lion and the heart of a woman." I am sure he would take such praise with modesty and not draw the attention to himself. Approval of a committed, loving long relationship with his wife and his children and his faithfulness to that relationship. There are things we will never know but these are some of the characteristics that made him the man he was in his home and for his nation.
"How could any of us begin to know the value and worth of this man? In God's eyes, there was a purpose and a reason for the life of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and from his birth, I believe God knew all along the places in history that his strengths would be available for the most courageous situations in our nation's struggles. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain knew (I believe) he had a destiny in life and that was one for greatness without being great and he is worthy of the praise he has been given for all he has done in his life. But he would only take that praise with modesty and humility.
"I admire Joshua Chamberlain for those reasons and probably more. I wish I could have been there to see him move that rock in the field when his father told him to "Just do it". I would loved to have seen him present his speech at his graduation from Bowdoin and listened to the words that were preparing him for his future, or watched the young man studying and teaching himself Greek for long hours into the night in that small room upstairs in Brewer, or see the sheer joy when his Fannie presented him with a daughter or his son, the decision to fight with the Union, see the night on the hill below Marye's Heights with the freezing wind chilling every bone in him, his charges, his late night reading military books to just learn as much as he could, the bow of the horse and the sword at Appomattox to him as he watched those brave young men hand over their very life they fought for, the rows of horses and soldiers as they passed the ranks of Washington officials...
"Gee I am starting to write Chamberlain sentences here...wouldn't we all have loved to been there to experience these places in his life? There are hundreds more that we can all recall but we can only share them through his words that he left for us.
"Thank you, General, for leaving them for us to learn from and know you better. I suppose I am one of those heart drawn people from afar who comes to see where and by whom great things were suffered for me and I ponder and dream and the power of this great vision passes into my soul. I took a few liberties with the quote from the 20th Maine Monument Dedication words that General Chamberlain shared on that rocky hill top years ago but I believe those words were written for us who have felt that and have come to experience this understanding about the sacrifices made for us by such a gallant man as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. I am touched by the testimony of this man's life and our nation owes this man the honor, admiration and respect he so richly deserves. - Mindy Eckler
"Why I admire Joshua L. Chamberlain....
"There are so many things that I admire about this great man. I admire his devotion to duty and for his incredible display of courage and leadership at Little Round Top and through out the war.
"The words that he wrote and the speeches he gave were sincere and heartfelt. They showed how much compassion he had for his fellow man. Brave, honest and noble are just a few words that have been used to describe him.
"He is a true American hero who has served as an inspiration to many. Always a true gentleman, always thinking of others. Those heroic efforts will never be forgotten.
"Thank you dear Sir, you will live on in all of our hearts, forever loved and admired."
"Why do I admire Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain? One answer I could give is that admiring him just comes naturally. It started when I first read about him--his charisma just jumped off the page! That's an answer based on what I feel; then there are answers based on what I think.
"I admire him for his determination and tenacity; he never let anything get him down for long, be it his grievous wound and ongoing health problems or setbacks in his political, academic, and business careers. I admire him for the sensitivity he displayed in many relationships and for the romantic and devoted nature he displayed toward his wife. I admire him for not only having been an uncommonly brave man in a war with many brave men on both sides, but for being brave and outspoken in civilian life as well.
"I admire him, I guess most of all, for his brilliant mind, evident in his eloquent writings, both on his Civil War experiences and a host of other subjects, and in his progressive thinking on many issues--higher education for women (radical back in the nineteenth century!), compassionate treatment for the mentally ill (which he championed as governor), and the responsibility we have for others. He wrote in "The Passing of the Armies" that the Union soldiers were fighting for "the inborn right of every human being to make the best of himself, and the duty of all to help him to this." I can't think of a much better philosophy than that!" -Trudy Ring
"What I admire about JLC is that he was willing to go to bat for others, no matter who they were. When he was wounded at Petersburg, he was nursed by another soldier's wife before his own wife arrived to help with the nursing. Years later he met the woman, now a widow, while on a lecture tour. Although he was a very busy man, he took the time to write letters requesting that she receive a widow's pension. And she did.
"He also lent his support to Gouvernour Warren after Warren was unjustly dismissed from command, thanks to "Little Phil" Sheridan. Although there was little JLC could do, since Sheridan was Grant's crony & Grant was in the White House, I would think that it would have been a comfort to Warren knowing that someone was in his corner and was not just a "fair weather" friend." - Judi Dickson
"In an army whose Brigades, Regiments and even entire Corps were known to turn and run during certain battles the thought never entered his mind at Gettysburg. He held off charge after charge of Confederates on Little Round Top. When his men were finally nearly out of ammo he was faced with the impossible. He didn't consider retreat as an option. If he decided to remain in line facing another attack the chances of being completely overrun was close to 100%. Death or capture of his entire Regiment was unacceptable. How can anyone order a charge? Especially when most of his men were out or nearly out of ammo? Of course he did order a charge and the result is history. The next time you're on Little Round Top and wonder why there's no statue of Chamberlain you have JLC himself to thank for that. A boulder was chosen and a monument was even paid for but he didn't think it was proper. How can you not admire such a modest man?
"Another reason I admire him is for giving the order to salute the surrendered Confederates at Appomattox. The act was one of extreme respect. How can you not admire such a man?
"If time travel was possible one of those I'd most like to be able to see and talk with would be JLC."-Thomas De Hart
"I admire Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain because he is a man of honorable character. The ancient Greeks thought of character as a pattern of habits etched upon a man's soul by environmental influence and personal choice. Chamberlain himself described character as a "firm seasoned substance of soul". He listed the following ingredients: intelligence, thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, right-mindedness, patience, fortitude, long-suffering, and unconquerable resolve. Each of these qualities finds a place in Chamberlain's profile, from the hayfields of Brewer, to battlefields in Pennsylvania and Virginia, to the steps of the statehouse in Augusta, ME. In those places and others, these virtues served him well, and revealed the real man.
"On a second level, I admire him, or rather, the quality of his thought and writing. Examples are many."-Norman Langenbrunner
"What I admire most about one of the finest heroes of the Civil War, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, is the unique combination of his personality, strength of character, quick thinking, and many talents. Although not trained as a soldier, but as a theologian and professor, his heroism, selfless devotion to God and country, kindness to others (on both sides of the conflict) in the face of extreme danger, combined with a great and gentle nature. All of these traits in one individual at any time in history is remarkable."
Linda Texter Hall
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