Chamberlain Joshua Chamberlain, Little Round Top, and the Memorial That Never Was

suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
History 36
" A regiment (North or South) that marches over 20 miles on very little sleep in 90 degree heat, no water, takes the 'Gibraltar' of Big Round Top, then very nearly takes Little Round Top against Federal troops who rested all day certainly deserves recognition."
Yes they certainly do, however the 5th corps. arrived on the field at 8a.m on the 2nd after Marching all the previous day to get to Gettysburg, after being shifted around the field several times they were ordered to the left of the Union position, where Vincent brought his brigade to the LRT position I would hardly call them "rested".
And there is the whole one of them was fighting for slavery thing. Chamberlain is taking enough **** people accusing him of being Reconciliationist. Not that I think he was. But I guess being for the Alabama Monument is sort of along those lines.

"The other was a “reconciliationist” memory that emphasized what the two sides shared in common, particularly the valor of individual soldiers, and suppressed thoughts of the war's causes and the unfinished legacy of emancipation."http://www.ericfoner.com/reviews/030401nytimes.html
 

History36

Private
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
I'll have to double-check Dr. Rasbach's source. But, off the top of my head since I am away from the office, I believe sources indicated that Chamberlain sent his Petersburg request to Grant directly, which would be extremely unlikely. A colonel bypassing his superior officers and somehow pulling a telegraph out of his pouch and sending it directly to Gen. Grant at City Point 5 miles away is almost ridiculous, which was what Dr. Rasbach highlighted. Yes, when it comes to "possibly hypothetically' placing a monument to the 15th & 47th Alabama on LRT, then I would be for it more so than yet another Chamberlain statue. And, if a monument was placed in a historically accurate location (per Chamberlain and in agreement to just about every historian) then it would be 1.) To honor those Confederates for their remarkable bravery as it serves as a testament to the human will and American character / spirit. It may serve as an example to inspire what the human spit is capable of nonetheless, in other words. 2.) Oats' wanted it and fought hard for it based on the very reasons already explained in previous posts. So, be careful not to paint me as 'going behind someone's back,' per se. What if Chamberlain himself wanted a monument or statue placed of himself there? Oh my Lord, folks such as yourself would form a march comparable to the Civil War Rights' petitions of the 1960s, lol. While we're at it, let's place a statue to Chamberlain at every battlefield he ever passed by and pave over LRT to the point that it looks nothing like how it did in 1863. Maybe with flashing neon lights we can see it being advertised from Ski Round Top, lol. Getting back to topic, the victor goes the spoils - much to the dismay of Oats.

In my opinion, if a Union / Federal monument is to be placed on LRT for folks to sleep at night. That's fine - wonderful. However, perhaps have it made in the likeness of the common soldier. Believe it or not, it took more than the wave of Chamberlain mighty sword to defend LRT - it took the common soldier. If the victor goes the spoils, and a Federal monument absolutely must be placed for us to feel complete, humble ourselves to have the statue look like nobody in particular but the common man and simply list the names of the regiments and their commanders on the back pedestal. If that were the case, how many folks here would still donate funds now...?
 

History36

Private
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
"Yes they certainly do, however the 5th corps. arrived on the field at 8a.m on the 2nd after Marching all the previous day to get to Gettysburg, after being shifted around the field several times they were ordered to the left of the Union position, where Vincent brought his brigade to the LRT position I would hardly call them "rested"."

Compared to what the Confederate troops endured just to get to Gettysburg then forced into action - then what Vincent's brigade did in physical exertion wasn't as severe if that helps..."political correctness' to sooth certain folks, my bad.
 

Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Location
Chicagoland
"Yes they certainly do, however the 5th corps. arrived on the field at 8a.m on the 2nd after Marching all the previous day to get to Gettysburg, after being shifted around the field several times they were ordered to the left of the Union position, where Vincent brought his brigade to the LRT position I would hardly call them "rested"."

Compared to what the Confederate troops endured just to get to Gettysburg then forced into action - then what Vincent's brigade did in physical exertion wasn't as severe if that helps..."political correctness' to sooth certain folks, my bad.
PC should not be necessary. I submit that a thick skin is a basic prerequisite for CWT membership.
 

Dom71

Sergeant
Joined
May 12, 2017
Location
Long Island, NY
"Yes they certainly do, however the 5th corps. arrived on the field at 8a.m on the 2nd after Marching all the previous day to get to Gettysburg, after being shifted around the field several times they were ordered to the left of the Union position, where Vincent brought his brigade to the LRT position I would hardly call them "rested"."

Compared to what the Confederate troops endured just to get to Gettysburg then forced into action - then what Vincent's brigade did in physical exertion wasn't as severe if that helps..."political correctness' to sooth certain folks, my bad.
I wasn't looking for a PC answer as in my previous post I agreed with you about the 15th Alabama. But nobody was chewing on tall grass and playing cards waiting for them up there either. It isn't fair to minimize the other sides hardships, in fact I will submit there were no rested units on that battlefield, as both armies converged quickly.
 

suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
I'll have to double-check Dr. Rasbach's source. But, off the top of my head since I am away from the office, I believe sources indicated that Chamberlain sent his Petersburg request to Grant directly, which would be extremely unlikely. A colonel bypassing his superior officers and somehow pulling a telegraph out of his pouch and sending it directly to Gen. Grant at City Point 5 miles away is almost ridiculous, which was what Dr. Rasbach highlighted.

If he did highlight that it is by no means new nor are any of the sources. Many Historians discuss the Grant or Meade question.
Chamberlain himself says, "In the midst of this, a staff officer came out, much excited with his difficult journey, and gave me the order; The General commanding, (he did not say which general, but it was either Meade or Grant; it was not an officer I had seen before), desired you to attack and carry the works in your front."

Here is from Diane Smith's book Chamberlain at Petersburg page 56 also the page you will find the above quote.
IMG_1852.JPG
 

suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
I would say Meade and Lyman were trying to get an attack to happen, and Lyman reports the time Chamberlain set as the time they planned to attack. I feel like if it was Lyman delivering the messages Warren was proably overseeing all the messages back and forth. On the order to carry Chamberlain to the hospital both Meade and Warren's names are overtop one another, perhaps Lyman was so used to writting Meade that he did so even when Warren instructed him.
IMG_1853.PNG
 

History36

Private
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
Dom71 Wrote, "But nobody was chewing on tall grass and playing cards waiting for them up there either. It isn't fair to minimize the other sides hardships." I wasn't minimizing the role of Vincent's Brigade. It was to demonstrating a simple compare / contrast to a degree. That was my point earlier in trying to be 'accurate,' in other words in an effort to better clarify.

For instance, take a peek at Dr. DesJardin's book when he stated, "Near sunrise of July 2 the men woke and managed a hasty breakfast before falling in. Officer's inspected the soldiers weapons...later, the entire division crossed over Rock Creek...and took a reserve position in a peach orchard. The men stacked arms and *rested* as more complete news of the battle began to reach them. Some cooked coffee and others spoke. Most of the afternoon on July 2 the 20th remained safely nested between the other regiments of the 5th Corps. along the Granite Schoolhouse Rd."

You were saying...? Now, keep this in mind and contrast it to the Alabamians' experience on that day below:

Cash/Jimklag wrote, "Let's not get carried away. Nobody was defending Big Round Top, so it was hardly a feat to go to the top." In fairness, both authors Dr. DesJardin and Glenn Tucker agree that, "Praising Chamberlain for his work in the battle should not, however, diminish the endurance, tenacity, and courage of the rest of the men - Alabamians alike, who did what they believed was their duty, to home, God, country, or comrades." And, "Oates emerged from the woods, crossed Plum Run without stopping for water in front of Round Top, confronted by the 2nd United States Sharpshooters under Major Homer S. Stoughton behind a stone wall. Oates continued despite the fire. Here the mountain is steep and treacherous...clambered over giant boulders in the face of enemy bullets, while the sharpshooters took cover and fired from the rocks...who squads might hide and fire. During this tortuous struggle the 15th had ceased to think of bluecoated enemies, rocks, bushes, or anything except one vital element - their missing canteens. Many fainted succumbing to heat and thirst. Law's brigade had marched 24 miles and Oats ascended without water the steep sides of a rugged mountain, carrying their muskets, ammunition, and haversacks. Greater heroes never shouldered muskets than these Alabamians. It was indeed a superb accomplishment. Now they required rest." Keep in mind...this was BEFORE the battle of Little Round Top even took place, which included several more hours. Remarkable feat of human strength and adrenaline, lol.

To both Dom71 and Cash/Jimklag, I would say - please do not be too hasty yourselves in making your own assertions as these two quotes refute your claim. And, it's because of this information why it's not foolhardy of folks, such as myself, who feel that greater recognition to these Alabamians is long overdue instead of yet another statue to Chamberlain (with respect on both sides; as both did their duty). Again, it's giving credit to a remarkable feat in 'American history; North or South. In this case, the South & I feel that more recognition to them (in place of Chamberlain) is a good balance and serves as a testament of what we today can still accomplish. When I read about the Alabamians, I often imagine anywhere from school students to the U.S. military today being captivated, mesmerized, inspired, and motivated by these very Alabamians. What amazing lessons could be taught to this current generation indeed! I do Federal reenacting and deplore the very foundations on which the Confederacy was built upon. But, these Alabamians captured the true American spirit whole-heartedly and they were just that - Americans true to the core. Yes, their monument (or a generalized monument to the Civil War soldier at that location) is long overdue vs. another statue of a single one man.

As far as 'Fort Hell' is concerned, Dr. Rasbach made an excellent claim & defense that Chamberlain more than likely attacked & received this wounding near Pegram’s Salient instead. Agreed, telegraphs were no doubt being used. But, the point is that various authors were indicating that Chamberlain himself was sending that form of communication directly while out in the field during the chaos of battle, which calls that component into question / doubt. It's important to keep in mind too that many of those authors writing about Chamberlain (in admiration of him) were using Chamberlain's exact quotes and taking them as 'gospel' because they were primary sources. Naturally, historians use primary sources as their #1 go-to source. But, if Chamberlain was in error to begin with that doesn't necessarily make those primary sources accurate and true. Plus, how many years did Chamberlain finally write about his Petersburg experiences? Wasn't it something round' the 33 year later mark?
 
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suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
Agreed, telegraphs were no doubt being used. But, the point is that various authors were indicating that Chamberlain himself was sending that form of communication directly while out in the field during the chaos of battle, which calls that component into question / doubt. It's important to keep in mind too that many of those authors writing about Chamberlain (in admiration of him) were using Chamberlain's exact quotes and taking them as 'gospel' because they were primary sources. Naturally, historians use primary sources as their #1 go-to source. But, if Chamberlain was in error to begin with that doesn't necessarily make those primary sources accurate and true. Plus, how many years did Chamberlain finally write about his Petersburg experiences? Wasn't it something round' the 33 year later mark?

What authors said that and where in his book did Rasbach accuse them of saying such?
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2016
I don't see in the above discussion any sign that Chamberlain discouraged (or encouraged) the building of a monument to him, just that he wasn'tvery invested in the process of placing the monument/determining location. I see others as interpreting that lack of interest in placement as a sign that he was discouraging something, but that appears to me to be projecting one's prejudices based upon a particular interpretation of a less-than-idea but suggestive piece of evidence.
 

Dom71

Sergeant
Joined
May 12, 2017
Location
Long Island, NY
Dom71 Wrote, "But nobody was chewing on tall grass and playing cards waiting for them up there either. It isn't fair to minimize the other sides hardships." I wasn't minimizing the role of Vincent's Brigade. It was to demonstrating a simple compare / contrast to a degree. That was my point earlier in trying to be 'accurate,' in other words in an effort to better clarify.
Well b6 that account it would seem that's exactly what they were doing lol. I have not read Dejardins
For instance, take a peek at Dr. DesJardin's book when he stated, "Near sunrise of July 2 the men woke and managed a hasty breakfast before falling in. Officer's inspected the soldiers weapons...later, the entire division crossed over Rock Creek...and took a reserve position in a peach orchard. The men stacked arms and *rested* as more complete news of the battle began to reach them. Some cooked coffee and others spoke. Most of the afternoon on July 2 the 20th remained safely nested between the other regiments of the 5th Corps. along the Granite Schoolhouse Rd."

You were saying...? Now, keep this in mind and contrast it to the Alabamians' experience on that day below:

Cash/Jimklag wrote, "Let's not get carried away. Nobody was defending Big Round Top, so it was hardly a feat to go to the top." In fairness, both authors Dr. DesJardin and Glenn Tucker agree that, "Praising Chamberlain for his work in the battle should not, however, diminish the endurance, tenacity, and courage of the rest of the men - Alabamians alike, who did what they believed was their duty, to home, God, country, or comrades." And, "Oates emerged from the woods, crossed Plum Run without stopping for water in front of Round Top, confronted by the 2nd United States Sharpshooters under Major Homer S. Stoughton behind a stone wall. Oates continued despite the fire. Here the mountain is steep and treacherous...clambered over giant boulders in the face of enemy bullets, while the sharpshooters took cover and fired from the rocks...who squads might hide and fire. During this tortuous struggle the 15th had ceased to think of bluecoated enemies, rocks, bushes, or anything except one vital element - their missing canteens. Many fainted succumbing to heat and thirst. Law's brigade had marched 24 miles and Oats ascended without water the steep sides of a rugged mountain, carrying their muskets, ammunition, and haversacks. Greater heroes never shouldered muskets than these Alabamians. It was indeed a superb accomplishment. Now they required rest." Keep in mind...this was BEFORE the battle of Little Round Top even took place, which included several more hours. Remarkable feat of human strength and adrenaline, lol.

To both Dom71 and Cash/Jimklag, I would say - please do not be too hasty yourselves in making your own assertions as these two quotes refute your claim. And, it's because of this information why it's not foolhardy of folks, such as myself, who feel that greater recognition to these Alabamians is long overdue instead of yet another statue to Chamberlain (with respect on both sides; as both did their duty). Again, it's giving credit to a remarkable feat in 'American history; North or South. In this case, the South & I feel that more recognition to them (in place of Chamberlain) is a good balance and serves as a testament of what we today can still accomplish. When I read about the Alabamians, I often imagine anywhere from school students to the U.S. military today being captivated, mesmerized, inspired, and motivated by these very Alabamians. What amazing lessons could be taught to this current generation indeed! I do Federal reenacting and deplore the very foundations on which the Confederacy was built upon. But, these Alabamians captured the true American spirit whole-heartedly and they were just that - Americans true to the core. Yes, their monument (or a generalized monument to the Civil War soldier at that location) is long overdue vs. another statue of a single one man.

As far as 'Fort Hell' is concerned, Dr. Rasbach made an excellent claim & defense that Chamberlain more than likely attacked & received this wounding near Pegram’s Salient instead. Agreed, telegraphs were no doubt being used. But, the point is that various authors were indicating that Chamberlain himself was sending that form of communication directly while out in the field during the chaos of battle, which calls that component into question / doubt. It's important to keep in mind too that many of those authors writing about Chamberlain (in admiration of him) were using Chamberlain's exact quotes and taking them as 'gospel' because they were primary sources. Naturally, historians use primary sources as their #1 go-to source. But, if Chamberlain was in error to begin with that doesn't necessarily make those primary sources accurate and true. Plus, how many years did Chamberlain finally write about his Petersburg experiences? Wasn't it something round' the 33 year later mark?
Well by that account it would seem that is exactly what they were doing lol. I have not read Desjardin's book and was unaware of it quite frankly. It is now on the to read list, point fairly made sir, and you have my apology.
 

suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
I don't see in the above discussion any sign that Chamberlain discouraged (or encouraged) the building of a monument to him, just that he wasn'tvery invested in the process of placing the monument/determining location. I see others as interpreting that lack of interest in placement as a sign that he was discouraging something, but that appears to me to be projecting one's prejudices based upon a particular interpretation of a less-than-idea but suggestive piece of evidence.
Yeah its hard to imagine that Chamberlain being humble is what completely stopped the progress on the statue. I should like to see the records in the NA, I suppose I could write to them, they tend to like to charge huge amounts of money, unlike the LOC.
 

History36

Private
Joined
Jul 5, 2016
Dom71 Wrote, "I have not read Desjardin's book and was unaware of it quite frankly. It is now on the to read list, point fairly made sir, and you have my apology."

I've been putting extra hours in at work, hence my delayed response. But all is well, my friend.

Yet, not to get back into this discussion again in general, I highly encourage folks to read Tom Desjardin's book, Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine as it will enlighten a much clearer picture of what really happened in stark contrast to the film, Gettysburg. While the film Gettysburg is certain enjoyable, yes, we have to keep in mind that it was based on the written piece, The Killer Angels, which in turn is based on historical fiction - not historical fact. For instance, there was no Buster Kilrain. Private Kilrain represented the common Civil War soldier. However, many folks still to this day take the film as 'gospel' despite the facts.

Again, not to get back into this, but want to know who really initiated the left wing being bent back? Yes, Chamberlain gave the official order because he was the colonel. But, we should be giving just as much credit to gentlemen Lieutenant James Nichols and Captain Ellis Spear (Nichols was the first to offer this suggestion to Chamberlain followed by Spear). Next, want to know who initiated the charge? Read up on Lieutenant Holman Melcher and Captain Ellis Spear and their contributions. Again, the best books to begin are: Tom Desjardin's Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine and Alice Rains Trulock's piece, In the Hands of Providence. In Trulock's book, in one of many locations / sources, it goes into greater detail on pages 438 and 443 how these gentlemen not only were the ones who bent the line back, but also initiated the charge - not the "textbook maneuver" based on the film. One such quote states, "there was a story among the men that Chamberlain never gave the order (to charge), but they (the men) spontaneously charged when men in Company K shouted to advance and recover some downed men (prompted by Lt. Melcher); the left wing followed when ordered by Spear after he heard the 'shout' and the whole line started to move...contrary to Chamberlain's official report (pg. 443)."

Sounding more and more similar to Dr. Rasbach's post-revisionist book drawing light on Chamberlain's supposed charge at Petersburg, Va, perhaps?

When one thinks about it, Spear not only bent the line back, kept it together from being flanked, but is entitled to full glory and with as much ownership of the charge itself as Chamberlain - which explains the ongoing feud / debate between Chamberlain and Spear for most of the latter half of the 19th century / early 20th century. The reason why Spear was overlooked was because while Chamberlain was a 'romantic,' Spear was a realist and didn't choose to bathe himself in glory and only entered the debates later in life because of the frustration of watching folks bathing themselves in that glory vs. keeping the facts straight, which is what I am trying to do now. And, we have to keep in mind too that 19th century common thought was: whoever won the battle, went the spoils based on who was in charge (in this case, Chamberlain and less so of the common soldier). Plus, seeing how most of the leading Union commanding officers were killed, Chamberlain was an exception to tell his experience however he wished to do because there was no other higher ranking commanding officer to dispute him who survived. And, if you look at pre-1993 film Gettysburg written pieces, most give credit to Col. Strong Vincent.

In closing, I am much an admirer of Chamberlain as everyone here on this board. But, more people today, in my opinion, need to understand just how different the film Gettysburg was to the reality and that it was a group effort - hardly the work of only one man, i.e. Chamberlain. It often strikes me as humorous - with the rage of battle going on, cannons thundering shot and shell atop Little Round Top, the bursts, screams, dashes, etc., how did the whole hillside hear just one man supposedly yelling ' charge?' Interesting. And, another tidbit of Chamberlain trivia - Chamberlain was suffering from severe malaria, fever, and diarrhea during the battle. Clearly, he needed all the help that he could muster. Want to build a monument on Little Round Top? You have my blessing. But, not to only one man (neither Chamberlain nor Spear, especially not Chamberlain). But rather, it should be dedicated to the image of the common Civil War soldier (North & South) for their gallantry that day with the names of all the commanders listed on the back, especially Spear as he is still an unsung and underappreciated hero who quite possibly made the charge to be what many today 'believe' it was. In short, there were many heroes that day...
 
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