Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg
Chamberlain wrote this account for Hearst Magazine in 1913 while he was declining in health.
He was apparently unhappy with the way it was edited down telling one friend “The Hearst Editors mutilated and ‘corrected’ my ‘Gettysburg’ so that
I have not tried to get copies of their magazine in which it appeared.”
He had plans to write a book and told his daughter, " don't care. I will make the book better" but sadly due to his death this never happened.1
If there is an original unedited transcript of this work it has not been brought foreword.
This has been reprinted in other books, it is however interesting to see this with the original illustrations,
though it is a shame the illustrator included a photo of the wrong Vincent.
The letter from a 15th Alabama soldier that appears on page 905 has not been as of yet located in any archive. Considering the
Hearst editors inclination towards yellow journalism one might rightly wonder if it is real at all.
Tom Desjardin has dug up a letter in the Maine Historical Society that appears similar in some regards, and may be
what Chamberlain had originally suppled Hearst with. It reads in part,
I have met a gentleman here who was in the Battle of Gettysburg at “Round Top.” He is a Confederate ex-soldier who served through the whole war. He met and exchanged shots with Colonel Chamberlain, afterward Governor Chamberlain and he tells me that ex Gov- Chamberlain’s life was only saved by the act of a private who sprang in front of the Colonel and received the shot himself; killing him.
The Gentleman is now a very well to do man and would be pleased to hear from some of ex-Gov. Chamberlain’s family. He will write them some very interesting things. He has the highest regard for the Col. And wishes he would write to him.
Now will you please send this letter to the one of his family who would be most likely to become interested.
This gentleman is a man of education and means and only spoke of it in a casual way. I am sure that what he will write will be very astonishing.
Address W. R. Painter.2