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Chamberlain Entering Bowdoin College Chamberlain studied the traditional classical curriculum and showed particular skill at languages But first Chamberlain took his Bowdoin A B degree in the Class of 1852 and returned north for three more years of study Turning down the opportunity to become a minister or missionary he accepted a position at Bowdoin teaching rhetoric A good scholar he was also an orthodox Congregationalist an important factor to his Bowdoin colleagues for the College was embroiled in the denominational quarrels of the day Chamberlain knew little of soldiering despite a short time as a boy at a military school at Ellsworth When the sectional crisis led to civil war in 1861 Chamberlain felt a strong urge to fight to save the union Although sympathetic to the plight of the slaves he is not known to have been an abolitionist and showed little interest after the war in the cause of the freedmen But the college was reluctant to lose his services Offered a years travel with pay in Europe in 1862 to study languages Chamberlain instead volunteered his military services to Maines governor He was soon made lieutenant colonel of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment He is best remembered for two great events the action at Little Round Top on the second day of Gettysburg 2 July 1863 when then-Colonel Chamberlain and the 20th Maine held the extreme left flank of the Union line against a fierce rebel attack and the surrender of Lees Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox when Grant chose Chamberlain to receive the formal surrender of weapons and colors 12 April 1865 Always a chivalrous man Chamberlain had his men salute the defeated Confederates as they marched by evidence of his admiration of their valor and of Grants wish to encourage the rebel armies still in the field to accept the peace Although never forgotten in Maine Chamberlain largely faded from national view for
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