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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Joshua Chamberlain Volunteers Transcript

Joshua Chamberlain Volunteers Transcript

Brunswick July 14 1862

To His Excellency Governor Washburn:

In pursuance of the offer of reinforcements for the war, I ask if your Excellency desires and will accept my service.

Perhaps it is not quite necessary to inform your Excellency who I am.  I believe you will be satisfied with my antecedents.  I am a son of Joshua Chamberlain of Brewer.  For seven years past I have been Professor in Bowdoin College.  I have always been interested in Military matters, and what I do not know in that line, I know how to learn.

Having been lately elected to a new department here, I am expecting to have leave, at the approaching commencement, to spend a year or more in Europe, in the service of the College.  I am entirely unwilling, however, to accept this offer, in my Country needs my service or example.

Your Excellency presides over the Educational, as well as the Military affairs of our State, and, I am well aware, appreciates the importance of sustaining our Institutions of Learning.  You will therefore be able to decide where my influence is most needed.

But, I fear, this war, so costly of blood and treasure, will not cease until the mean of the North are willing to leave good positions, and sacrifice the dearest personal interests, to rescue our Country from Desolation, and defend the National Existence against treachery at home and jealousy abroad.  This war must be ended, with a swift and strong hand; and every man ought to come forward and ask to be placed at his proper post.

Nearly a hundred of those who have been my pupils, are now officers in our army: but there are many more all over our State, who, I believe, would respond with enthusiasm, if summoned by me, and who would bring forward men enough to fill up a Regiment at once.  I can not free myself from my obligations here until the first week in August, but I do not want to be the last in the field, I f it can possibly be helped.

I am sensible that I am proposing personal sacrifices, which would not probably be demanded of me: but I believe this to be my duty, and I know I can be of service to my Country in this hour of her peril.

I shall acquiesce in your decision Governor, whether I can best serve you here or in the field.  I believe you will find me qualified for the latter as for the former, and I trust I may have the honor to hear a word from you, and I remain,

Yours to Command,
J. L. Chamberlain.
To His Excellency
The Governor