The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence
Edition of 1920. See also Joshua Chamberlain on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CHAMBERLAIN, Joshua Lawrence, American soldier and educator: b. Brewer, Me., 8 Sept 1828; d. 24 Feb. 1914; graduated Bowdoin College 1852 and Bangor Theological Seminary 1855; received the honorary degree of LL.D., Pennsylvania College, 1866, and from Bowdoin College 1869; professor of rhetoric and oratory, Bowdoin, 1856, and in 1861 professor of modern languages of Europe. On 8 Aug. 1862 he entered the army as lieutenant-colonel of volunteers and served through the Civil War in the Army of the Potomac in every campaign and nearly every great battle from Antietam to Appomattox, and was several times wounded, twice severely. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his remarkable conduct in the defense of Round Top, Gettysburg, 2 July 1863, and was advanced to the command of a brigade. On 18 June 1864 he was promoted brigadier-general on the field by General Grant for distinguished gallantry in leading a desperate charge, and early the following spring he received a special promotion as brevet major-general, “for conspicuous gallantry in action.” In the campaign of 1865 he commanded two brigades of the first division, fifth corps. In the order disbanding that army he was retained in the service and was offered a colonelcy in the regular army, but the condition of his wounds induced him to decline the service, and in January 1866 he returned to Maine.

In the autumn of that year he was elected governor of Maine, and served in that office for four terms. In 1871 he was chosen president of Bowdoin College, and continued in that position for 12 years, his administration being marked by a broadening of the course and a large increase in the resources of the college. During this time he was elected major-general of Maine, to command the militia of the State. In 1880 when for a time there was no active or legal State government, he was called to the capital “to preserve the peace and institutions of the State.” This he accomplished without the use or show of military force. In 1883 he retired from the presidency of Bowdoin and settled in New York to practise law. In 1885 he went to Florida and engaged in the work of railroad building and public improvements on the West Coast. He was much sought for as writer and orator. He published ‘Maine, Her Place in History’ (1877); ‘Ethics and Politics of the Spanish War’ (1898); ‘Property: Its Office and Sanction’ (1900); ‘De Monts and Acadia’ (1904); ‘Ruling Powers in History’ (1905). He also edited ‘Universities and Their Sons’ (1898).