United States History I
April 18, 2013
A Brief Biography on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was born on September 8, 1828 and died on February 24, 1914. He was originally named Lawrence Joshua Chamberlain and was an American college professor from the State of Maine, who volunteered during the American Civil War to join the Union Army. Although having no earlier education in military strategies, he became a highly respected and decorated Union officer, reaching the rank of Brigadier General and Brevet Major General.
Chamberlain was born in Brewer, Maine and was the oldest of five children. Chamberlain was an extremely intelligent individual and even taught himself to read Ancient Greek in order to pass the entrance exam for Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Main where he was accepted into in 1848. While studying at Bowdoin Chamberlain met many people that would influence him during his life, but one person in particular had an extraordinary influence due to her very popular novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe enlightened Chamberlain with personal reading of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and may have even influenced him in his joining of a Federalist group of students on campus to further his political knowledge.
Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin in 1852 Chamberlain married the daughter of a clergyman, Fanny Adams. They had five children together but only two survived beyond infancy. Chamberlain studied for three more years and Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine and returned to Bowdoin to begin a career in education as a professor of rhetoric. Chamberlain was so intelligent that he eventually went on to teach every subject in the curriculum with the exception of science and mathematics. Because Chamberlain spoke fluently in nine languages other than English, he was appointed Professor of Modern Languages in 1861.
Chamberlain himself was not trained in military science, but felt a strong...