The Fifth Army Corps
by William H. Powell 1896

An article appeared in the Janesville Gazette on November 9th, 1865, " An official history of the gallant old 5th Army Corps is in preparation under discretion of a committee of its former officers. Any member of the corps who have interesting material, valuable for such work, are invited to send it to Brevet Major J. L. Chamberlain, Brunswick, Maine, who has the matter in charge."
    The good feelings and camaraderie of the officers of the Fifth Corps was at a high after the war, General Griffin had recently visited Chamberlain and possibly encouraged him in the idea of the book. Though he gathered notes and reports and began to write, the death of Griffin, his own wounds and probably the realization that the facts of the history were going to be disputed caused Chamberlain to pass on the torch.
    At the 21st Reunion of the Society of the Army of the Potomac the meeting notes state " The frequently discussed question of the preparation of the History of the Fifth Army Corps was presented by the President, Gen. F.J. Porter, who stated that with universal regret Maj Gen J.L. Chamberlain had been obliged to abandon his purpose to write the history, on account of his health and professional engagements. Col Carswell McClellan, of St. Paul, Minn., will go on with the work. Gen. Chamberlain stated that Col. McClellan was eminently fitted for the task, and he would assist him in every manner possible for him to do."1
    Unfortunately, as it states in the prefaces on page iii, McClellan died two years later. The new author did not mention Chamberlain's work at all, nor did he cite his sources.
   The book goes into detail on Little Round Top on page 525, indicating possibly some influence by Chamberlain's notes, however it appears to be taken from Chamberlain's field report almost word for word.2 The latter battles also appear to be lacking any new information supplied by Chamberlain. Perhaps some regret at not having a hand in this work led Chamberlain to finally publish a book from the notes he had written in 1865, The Passing of the Armies.

1Report of the Annual Re-union
2Field Reports

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