20th Maine Quotes



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"[I am] not of Virginia's blood; she is of mine"

               - Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain




July 4/63 Battleground

Gettesburg, P.A.


Dear Mother,


We have had a severe fight, our Regt suffered severely.  Loss about 20 killed and 100 wounded, G Company 2 killed 8 wounded.  The Regt captured about 200 prisoners.


                                                      I am well

                                                      J.C. Rundlett


I have but 5 minutes to write this and get it to head Qrs.




On speaking about the reasons for the way in which he (Gen. Chamberlain) handled the surrender of the confederates at Appomattox, Chamberlain wrote that his chief reason was:


"…one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, not the fact of death, not disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?"




And speaking at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia in 1909 at he occasion of celebrating Lincoln’s birthday, he spoke thus:


"Great crises in human affairs call out the great in men. But true greatness is not in nor of the single self; it is of that larger personality, that shared and sharing life with others, in which, each giving of his best for their betterment, we are greater that ourselves; and self-surrender for the sake of that great belonging , is the true nobility."




Chamberlain on the common soldier...


"However humble or unknown, they have renounced what are accounted pleasures and cheerfully undertaken all self-denials, privations, toils, dangers, sufferings, sickness, mutilations, life-long hurts and losses, death itself - for some great good, dimly seen but dearly held."