Four Brothers in Blue.
Robert G. Carter
Gibson Brothers, Washington
Joshua Chamberlain, Lawrence Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Petersburg, charge, wounded, wound, shot, twenty second massachusetts infantry regiment
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Four Brothers in Blue
Two of the four brothers who contributed to this book were from the 22nd Massachusetts.
The 22nd Mass. was originally part of the First Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Corps. They
fought along side the Second Maine at Fredericksburg and watched the new soldiers of the 20th Maine have their first real
taste of battle. See page 236, 315. For Gettysburg see page 320; and
Petersburg page 428 and 440.
(The page numbering in this book is hopeless as they used old plates from the Maine Bugle to print the first half of the book.)
When mentioning Chamberlain being given the First Brigade before Petersburg the author says,
"This appointment cuts out Tilton, the ranking colonel in the division. Generals Griffin and
Sweitzer are much provoked at Warren's doings in the matter."
Tilton was the 22nd Massachusetts' Colonel so of course the brothers would feel some loyalty to him.
He would take over the command of the Brigade briefly after Chamberlain was wounded.
Chamberlain was indeed promoted over Tilton's head, but it is hard to imagine that Griffin would have been one of the ones angry at this
arrangement because after Petersburg he would continue to place Chamberlain in commands over higher ranking officers.
The author goes on to complain on page 440 that Chamberlain's First Brigade did not support them in their 6 o'clock attack.
He apparently did not realize that Chamberlain had already charged at 3 o'clock and half of his brigade was pinned down on the field,
Chamberlain himself laying severely wounded on it.1 Some of the Brigade had made it off the field by 5 pm and
joined in this attack contrary to what the brothers state. The 150th
Pennsylvania describes a 6 pm charge that went right up to the enemy's lines.
"Some are within fifty yards of it, but with thinned ranks, too weak for a final rush."2
While Chamberlain cannot be held responsible for anything that occurred after his wounding around 3:30
he would be the first to agree with the author that the charge should have been simultaneous. Around 2:00 Chamberlain had risked being put under arrest when he declined to obey an
order that would have had his brigade charge alone, insisting that the charge be made with the whole army.4 The official reports show that in response to this orders were sent out for a charge at 3.
However, many commands, apparently even the author's, failed to support Chamberlain.
The author admits to being "intimately associated with James G. Blaine" Chamberlain's political rival,
so the attacks on Chamberlain are not entirely surprising.
Page 439 offers some clue as to where the 22nd was located durring the June 18th charge, describing a ravine in front of the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroad and another ravine beyond.
This would place them between the Baxter road and Rives Salent the site that Chamberlain would charge on their left.