Chamberlain’s original MoH found after all these years

A bit of news for the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain fans, from the Bangor Daily News:

Joshua Chamberlain’s original 1893 Medal of Honor found at church sale, donated to Brunswick history group

Brunswick, Maine — One of the most prestigious medals earned by one of Maine’s most decorated sons was discovered at a church sale and turned over to a Brunswick-based organization for safe keeping, the group announced Monday.

The U.S. Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain — who would go on to become president of Bowdoin College and governor of Maine — in 1893 for “distinguished gallantry” in the Battle of Gettysburg 30 years earlier.

The artifact was given to the Pejepscot Historical Society, which owns the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum in Brunswick, by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, the organization announced Monday afternoon. The individual who came to own the medal found it in the back of a book he had purchased “several years ago” at a sale held by First Parish Church in Duxbury, Mass., according to the society.

Chamberlain’s last surviving descendant, granddaughter Rosamond Allen, left her estate to that church upon her death 13 years ago.

“Though it seems almost too good to be true, we are confident that we are now in possession of Joshua Chamberlain’s original Medal of Honor,” said Pejepscot Historical Society Director Jennifer Blanchard in a Monday statement. “All of the experts we’ve consulted believe it to be authentic, and we are tremendously honored to return the medal to Chamberlain’s home in Brunswick. The timing couldn’t be better, since the medal was awarded for Chamberlain’s distinguished service in the Battle of Gettysburg, whose 150th anniversary we mark in 2013. Our gratitude to the donor who discovered this treasure, and knew its importance to us and to the state of Maine, knows no bounds.”  (Full article)

I know what you are thinking.  Isn’t Chamberlain’s Medal of Honor over at the Bowdoin College Library?  Well as the article goes on to explain, that is a re-issue from 1904, and not the original:

Bowdoin College has in its possession a 1904 Army Medal of Honor that belonged to Chamberlain, representing an updated design of the award authorized by Congress at the time, according to the Pejepscot Historical Society.

The Legislature allowed recipients to keep their previous versions of the medal as long as they did not display both at the same time, and the 1893 artifact now in the society’s collection represents the earlier award.

H/T to XBradTC, who is Chamberlain fan to the core.

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4 responses to “Chamberlain’s original MoH found after all these years

  1. Wow – what a find! Great post and great bit of background on the original medal and its replacement.

  2. Pingback: Gettysburg hero’s Medal of Honor discovered | The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

  3. Pingback: Kindly Uncle | Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid

  4. Think about what other Chamberlain treasures the grand-daughter either threw out or gave away…

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