In recognition of Joshua Chamberlain's 191st birthday --
The battle of the Quaker Road (also known as Lewis's Farm or Gravelly Run) took place on March 29, 1865 -- just before Lee's defenses were broken forever at Five Forks. Chamberlain commanded a brigade in Warren's 5th Corps, which took on an attack by three Confederate brigades. The battle is also considered the opening battle of the Appomattox Campaign.
Years later, Chamberlain wrote The Passing of the Armies. Reflecting on the battle, Chamberlain wrote: "But we had with us, to keep and to 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 it? - fraught with such ruin. Was it God's command we heard or His forgiveness we must forever implore?"
In this quote, Chamberlain contemplates the losses, not just at this particular battle, but over the course of four years of bloody war. I believe it also speaks to the "burden of command" as Chamberlain perhaps feels a sense of responsibility for those under his command who have been killed or maimed.
Happy Birthday General!