Soldiers So Brave, Citizens So Beloved
Memorial Day, 1881
The story "Tell my mother how I died," that Chamberlain recounts in this speech on page 8 was that of George Washington Buck, this story is also
told on page 905 of Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg
This speech is perhaps most remembered for the following quote,
Some of you have asked me for some little pictures snatched from the great fields.
I remember the boy on the South Mountain, in '62, clambering the heights amidst the dead and dying.
I saw him sitting there gently reclined against a tree a century old - this boy of scarcely sixteen
summers - his cap fallen to the ground on one side, his hand on the other resting on his knee.
It clasped a little testament, opened at some familiar place. He wore the gray. He was my enemy -
this boy! Oh, God forgive those who made us so! I thought he was tired out, and reading the page
dear to him, had so fallen asleep. He looked so graceful, so living, so fair. But
I saw now the eyes, soft and dim - the sweet mother-look in them still - but they started not at my coming.
There was a bright, trickling stream on his fair bosom. He was dead - the boy, my enemy; but I shall see him forever.
A moment almost equal to the memories he expressed in his speech occurred after,
A touching and tender scene occurred in the church as the audience was
dispersing. Comrade George H. Clapp, a member of Post 139, mounted the platform, and grasping the
hand of Gen. Chamberlain, told the latter that he was the man who helped take the general from the
field on a stretcher, after being wounded at Petersburg. The general expressed gratitude and pleasure at seeing
Mr. Clapp, the two never having met since the memorable day.