Dead on the Field of Honor
Dedication of the Soldiers' Monument Gorham, Maine
October 18, 1866
Chamberlain often uses his own experiences in his speeches. This can be seen in the lines, "Tell me, for you have walked through the wards of a hospital, did you not see the soul swaying up the body; brave spirits battling with despair, eager to gain strength enough to go back and meet new wounds and sickness; the impatient patient dying to fight, though that were but fighting to die? Remember Libby and Belle isle, with all their unnamed horrors."
After being severely wounded during the opening days of the Battle of Petersburg Chamberlain yearned to return to the field, though his doctors were not even sure he would live.
While at Annapolis Naval Hospital Chamberlain likely saw the starved soldiers who were brought there after being released from the prison camp at Belle Isle. The Harpers Weekly edition for the day he was wounded showed horrific images of them.*
- Page 15, the venerated citizen was Toppan Robie who erected the monument at his own expense. See The Soldiers' Monument
- Page 18 mentions Horatio Smith, according to the inscription on the monument,
"Sergeant Horatio F. Smith, 31st Maine Regiment, died at Gorham, Aug. 28, 1864, aged 19.
- Page 21 Chamberlain references a speech read before the Loyal Legion on February 22, 1866. See Loyalty