Title: Under the Maltese Cross
Publisher: 155th Regimental Association, Pittsburgh
Date Published: 1910
Keywords: Joshua Chamberlain, Lawrence Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,
Permissions: public domain
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Under the Maltese Cross

The 155th Pennsylvania, a Zouave regiment, was first part of the Third, Second and finally by March 1864, the First Division. First in the First Brigade, then the Second and Finally the Third. Not always being part of the First Division, their description of its actions in the earlier battles suffers from inaccuracies. This book was written in 1910, this late date may also account for the numerous errors. In spite of the errors there are many incidents portrayed here that were overlooked in other histories.

Pages 292 - 301 describe the early assaults on Petersburg, page 295 describing Chamberlain's wounding. Chamberlain's charge had occurred at noon and 3:00, the 155th charged at noon and 6:00.

Pages 347 - 356 the Battle of Five Forks.

Pages 360, 367, 371, 374- 375 & 690, describe the Formal Surrender.

Pages 378 - 379 one of the best descriptions of the 5th Corps salute to General Warren.

Page 382 a touching little incident is recounted of an impromptu candle light celebration. The Fifth Corps being given a ration of candles after the Grand Review spontaneously formed ranks and marching to the Corps headquarters. In this account the author remembers Griffin being present,
"the processionists immediately demanded that the General give them a 'speech,' and the cries of 'Speech! Speech! Speech!' were heard. General Griffin resembled General Grant and many other West-Pointers in being wholly disqualified to make a speech; and the cries for a speech embarrassed the General. A compromise was reached, however, and General Joshua L. Chamberlain, commanding a division of the Fifth Corps, was offered as a substitute, General Griffin occupying the background."
However in My Life in the Army Tilney relates that Griffin was in Washington on that night. Perhaps from the back of the crowd the 155th never realized Griffin was not there that night.1 What both authors do agree on was that it was Chamberlain who stood up and gave the speech. The author remembered, "General Chamberlain delivered an eloquent address which he, as well as Generals Griffin, Ayres, Gregory, Bartlett, Coulter, Pearson and the other Generals and Colonels, felt for the rank and file of the Corps."

Pages 669- 670 contain a brief bio of Chamberlain.

Pages 682 - 690 Gordon's staff officer remembers bringing the flag of truce to Chamberlain.

Page 693 a letter from Chamberlain about the flag of truce.
For more analysis on Chamberlain and the flag of truce see the notes on Appomattox

Some of the many errors:
pg 203 & 672 Rice would take brigade command after Vincent.
pg 251 according to Maine in the War for the Union Chamberlain did not return from sick leave untill the 18th.
pg 295 Chamberlain did not lose a leg at at Petersburg
pg 427 Chamberlain commanded the 1st and 2nd Brigades not the whole division at this point.
pg 669, not president of Bowdoin College until 1871.


See also: 155th in "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers"
1 Holman Melcher also recalls Griffin being absent that night. William B. Styple. With a Flash of His Sword pg235