Even after Chamberlain had served
as Governor of the State of Maine and as President of Bowdoin College, he insisted
for the rest of his life that he be referred to as "General Chamberlain."
Chamberlain always took great pride in his military service. He never turned
down an opportunity to speak at a town dedication of a Civil War monument, and
proudly served as President of the Maine chapter of the Grand Army of the
Republic -- the Veterans group for Union soldiers from the Civil War. In
this interesting piece of correspondence during his time as Governor of Maine,
Chamberlain offered his services to the King of Prussia in the Franco-Prussian
War of 1870-1871.
Augusta July 20 1870
To His Majesty,
William, King of Prussia
The undersigned respectfully presents to your Majesty the tender of his services in the war now opening in Europe. He has the honor to refer to the fact that he has served through all grades from field officer to that of General of Division. His last two promotions were made on the field of battle under circumstances which warrant him in referring to them as testimony of his capacity.
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The office he now holds of Governor of the State of Maine he proposes to resign in case your Majesty shall be pleased to accept his service.
While no great principle of international right is involved in the present impending war, the honor of manhood is a point on which a soldier may well be sensitive. In this feeling + sympathizing with your Majesty's political + personal attitude, well acquainted with your language + admiring your people I tender the best service of my sword.
Your Majesty's most obedient servant
Joshua L. Chamberlain
Late Major Genl. Bt. U.S. Army
Gov. + Comdr in chief of State of Maine
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Citation: Pejepscot Historical Society, Joshua L. Chamberlain Collection, Joshua L. Chamberlain Letterbook, Brunswick, Maine.
Index Terms: King William; Prussia; Franco-Prussian War; Governor; Maine; Majesty