Not a Sound of Trumpet
Given at a meeting of the Bowdoin Club Boston, May 3, 1901
In his previous speeches Chamberlain mentioned two riders approaching him with a white flag, one who he described as "a member of Confederate General Gordon's staff," here he reveals
that man was Major Brown.1
In this speech Chamberlain also states that he "recognized Colonel Whitaker, chief of Custer's staff, who had joined
this flag of truce." Whether he had forgotten or simply neglected to mention who it was in his previous speeches is unclear. In 1896 Whitaker had given a speech about the white flag and mentioned
bringing it first into Chamberlain's line.2
In a letter to Chamberlain in April 1901, only a few days before this speech, Whitaker admits that it was Chamberlain's earlier
speeches that confirmed for him Chamberlain's identity as the officer who he had first approached with the flag.
I gallopped over to the infantry line and steared for what appeared to
be the Commander's flag and announced the surrender of Lee's Army. I
understood the officer to be yourself commanding that portion of General
Ord's line. I learned later that is was you as your lectures and describes
the appearance of the towel in my hand. The moment the surrender was
announced the greatest, loudest cheers I ever heard went up right to left
along your line.3
Earlier that year in February John B. Gordon had delivered a speech, Last Days of the Confederacy.
Gordon had remembered General Custer coming to him and not Whitaker,
Whitaker objected to this and in his letter to Chamberlain cautioned, "Do not be disturbed by any of the statements of General Gordon early, or late. He dare not confront me with a denial of any of my statements."4
The parentheses on page 12 appear to have been added later for explanation, they are however inaccurate.
The first time Chamberlain was sent to Washington was on account of a fever, most likely Malaria.
The second time was to Annapolis Maryland on account of a wound received at Petersburg.
Many many thanks to Thomas Desjardin for providing this document.
The next speech Chamberlain would give on this topic would be October 7, 1903 called Appomattox