Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence

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CHAMBERLAIN, Joshua Lawrence, soldier, b. in Brewer, Me., 8 Sept., 1828. His grandfather, Joshua Chamberlain, was a colonel in the war of 1812, and his father, of the same name, was second in command of the troops on the Maine frontier in the “Aroostook war.” He attended, in his boyhood, the military academy of Maj. Whiting at Ellsworth, was graduated at Bowdoin in 1852, and at Bangor theological seminary in 1855. He was licensed to preach, but never assumed the ministerial office, as he was called in that year to a tutorship at Bowdoin. He was professor of rhetoric there from 1856 till 1862, became also instructor in modern languages in 1857, and in 1861 was made professor in this department, holding the chair till 1865. In 1862 he obtained leave of absence from the trustees, intending to go abroad for study, but with their permission entered the National army as lieutenant-colonel of the 20th Maine infantry. He became colonel in 1863, and was promoted brigadier-general on the field by Gen. Grant, 18 June, 1864, for his gallantry on that occasion. Gen. Grant, in his “Memoirs,” describing the movement against Petersburg, says: “Col. J. L. Chamberlain, of the 20th Maine, was wounded on the 18th. He was gallantly leading his brigade at the time, as he had been in the habit of doing. He had several times been recommended for a brigadier-generalcy for gallant and meritorious conduct. On this occasion, however, I promoted him on the spot, and forwarded a copy of my order to the war department, asking that my act might be confirmed and Chamberlain's name sent to the senate for confirmation without any delay. This was done, and at last a gallant and meritorious officer received partial justice at the hands of his government, which he had served so faithfully and so well.” Gen. Chamberlain was again wounded at Quaker Road, on 29 March, 1865, and on the same day was brevetted major-general of volunteers for his conduct in the first successful assault on Lee's right flank. He commanded two brigades of the 1st division of the 5th corps, leading the advance, in the operations that ended in Lee's surrender, 9 April, 1865, and was designated by the commissioners in charge of the ceremonial to receive the formal surrender of the arms and colors of the Confederate army. He was engaged in twenty-four pitched battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Five Forks, and was six times wounded, thrice severely. After resuming his professorship for a few months, he was elected governor of Maine in 1866, and thrice re-elected, serving till 1871. He was chosen president of Bowdoin college in 1871, and also held the professorship of mental and moral philosophy from 1874 till 1879. He was made major-general of the state militia in 1876, and by his wise and vigorous action in January, 1880, did much toward averting civil war, which had become imminent on account of the contest between the republicans and “fusionists,” and the total absence of a state government. In 1878 he visited Europe as a member of the U. S. commission to the Paris exposition of that year. He resigned the presidency of Bowdoin in 1883, but continued to lecture there on public law and political economy until 1885. He has delivered numerous public addresses, several of which have been published, including that at the centennial exhibition, entitled “Maine; Her Place in History” (Augusta, Me., 1877). A special edition of his Paris report on “Education in Europe” was published by the government (Washington, 1879).