Joshua Lawrence Chamberlan: The Bowdoin College Site


Joshua L. Chamberlain to King William of Prussia,
Augusta, Maine, July 20, 1870.

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

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