The Heroes of the War
Exercises of Memorial Day in Lewiston 1879
A year after visiting Europe
Chamberlain uses references of his trip in this speech.
Though it was apparently received well by all who heard it, the Whig and Courier, a newspaper
that at one time supported Chamberlain, now picked apart his speech as a way of attempting to
disqualify him from any further attempts of running for senate.
James G. Blane, who had successfully kept Chamberlain from the senate before still feared the power Chamberlain had over
the veterans. See Senate Campaign
In spite of these harsh criticisms it took the Whig and Courier only a few months to change their tune as is seen in
Chamberlain's mention of politics on page 5 sparks a letter to the newspaper from a one time member of the 20th Maine.
Chamberlain had also discussed politics several years before in his loyalty
speech starting on page 37. He covers some of the same themes as this speech
as to why Northerners were drawn to defend the Union,
but on page 47 he goes into more depth on slavery as the political question that drew Southerners to want to break apart the Union.
On page seven Chamberlain tells a story that he had heard of a father and his two sons,
one who fought for the North and one for the South, after their death a morning father erected a monument which read,
"God knows who was right."
John Gordon tells a similar story in his memoirs on page 30,
Gordon remembering it as a Kentucky father while
Chamberlain recalls it was a Virginian.
While the story of the Terrill brothers fighting on opposite sides is true, no monument with this inscription was ever discovered.
Historians believe that the story was invented by Harper's Weekly editor Richard Dana and was quickly picked up by other papers.1