Warren Court of Inquiry part 1
Image from OR atlas. Original can be viewed at: baylor.edu
In the last campaign of the Civil War while General Gouverneur K. Warren commanded the 5th Army Corps, a series of unfortunate events transpired that would strip Warren
of his command and seemingly forever be a blemish to the record of the 5th Corps.
In attempts to clear his record Warren requested an inquiry soon after the events
transpired; this would not be granted until the end of 1879. In the meantime histories were already being written. Chamberlain’s heroic part in the last battles as
part of the 5th Corps seemed to be doomed to obscurity and the credit given to others. His own reputation was becoming somewhat tarnished in the election crisis in Maine by
angry political parties of both sides when he refused to take up arms and throw the other one out of the capital.*
But in a twist of fate almost in the hands of
providence, the list of famous witnesses brought before the Warren court for month after month of questioning and cross-examinations seemed almost to do more to save Chamberlain’s
reputation than Warren’s. The testimonies were published first in newspapers of the day, such as the New York Daily Tribune, and then in the form of a volumous
book of some 1650 pages. Army veterans, historians and the general public read it and took notice. Now there seemed to be less of a call for Chamberlain to write
or speak on the battle of Gettysburg, everyone wanted to hear or read his story of such battles as Quaker Road, White Oak Road and Five Forks.
The court of inquiry met in New York Harbor on the Army base on Governor’s Island. One can wonder how it felt for Chamberlain to be again surrounded by the active army,
and such officers as Winfield Scott Hancock, some fifteen years after the Civil War ended.
For Chamberlain's testimony see pages 228 - 273 and 271 - 290
Continue to Warren Court of Inquiry part 2