A very uncommon letter of his directly referencing Union soldiers, their service and their memory .
A veritable icon of the Civil War, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is best known for his heroic exploits at the Battle of Gettysburg. He and his 20th Maine Infantry became legend for their desperate defense of Little Round Top, a feat that figures prominently in Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels and its...
A veritable icon of the Civil War, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is best known for his heroic exploits at the Battle of Gettysburg. He and his 20th Maine Infantry became legend for their desperate defense of Little Round Top, a feat that figures prominently in Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels and its movie adaptation, Gettysburg. On July 2, 1863, the second day of the battle, Chamberlain and his men were posted on the extreme left flank of the Federal line at Little Round Top – just in time to face Confederate attacks on that flank. Exhausted after repulsing repeated assaults and out of ammunition, in a daring and even shocking move, Chamberlain ordered the 20th Maine to execute a bayonet charge. The success of this maneuver caused the Confederates to retire in disarray and secured the embattled Union left. Congress awarded Chamberlain the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry” in this action, which many believe was the crux of the Battle of Gettysburg and determined its victor.
Throughout the war, Chamberlain was wounded six times, and finished the conflict as a brigadier general. After the war, he returned to Maine, where he served four terms as the state’s governor. In September 1871, he assumed the presidency of Bowdoin College, a post he held for 12 years.
In 1868 Capt. John P. Reynolds, a Civil War veteran, patented a system of displaying a veteran’s service record as a coat of arms. The general design of these coats of arms was a shield with portions designated to the veteran's ranks, positions, units, and the battles in which he had participated. These lithographs and paintings ranged in price from $5 to as much as $125 or more. In an effort to attract new business, Reynolds's company prepared and displayed the coats of arms of several well-known military leaders including Generals U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Philip Sheridan. It also solicited written testimonials from other prominent veterans such as Ambrose Burnside, Rutherford B. Hayes, Joshua Chamberlain, and John F. Hartranft.
This is the testimonial for Reynolds written by Chamberlain, just weeks before he assumed the Bowdoin College presidency. Autograph statement signed, Brunswick, Maine, August 10, 1871, approving of the coat of arms, but more importantly turning the statement into a tribute to the men with whom he served. "I have examined the military coat of arms designed by Capt. J.P. Reynolds, and highly approve of it, as a fitting & beautiful method of recording the services, and perpetuating the memories of the defenders of the Union." Letters of Chamberlain are uncommon, and those that one does see have very little content. This is the first we have had in which he specifically references Union soldiers, their service and their memory.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services