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Fanny & Joshua

The Enigmatic Lives of Frances Caroline Adams and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Diane Monroe Smith

Publication Year: 2013

Joshua Chamberlain has fascinated historians and readers ever since his service in the Civil War caused his commanding officers to sit up and take notice when the young professor was on the field. What makes a man a gifted soldier and natural leader? In this compelling book, Diane Monroe Smith argues that finding the answer requires a consideration of Chamberlain's entire life, not just his few years on the battlefield. Truly understanding Chamberlain is impossible, Smith maintains, without exploring the life of Joshua's soul mate and wife of almost fifty years, Fanny. In this dual biography, Fanny emerges as a bright, talented woman who kept Professor, General, and then Governor Chamberlain on his toes. But you don't have to take Smith's word for it. Liberally quoting from years of correspondence, the author invites you to judge for yourself.

Published by: University Press of New England


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4


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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xvi

It is hard to believe that nearly twenty years have passed since I began to do research and writing on Fanny and Joshua Chamberlain, determined to someday share and publish my findings. The release of Fanny and Joshua in 1999 was a gratifying experience, and while I didn’t get the Pulitzer, I did get a lot of positive feedback from readers and reviewers. ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

It is the most pleasant of duties to thank those whose knowledge and generous goodwill made this work possible: Julia Oemig, for her guidance and friendship; Erik Jorgensen, and the staff and volunteers at Pejepscot Historical Society for their encouragement and invaluable assistance; Tom Desjardin, for his kind support and unerring common sense; ...

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1. The Minister's Daughter

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pp. 1-9

In the summer of 1850, twenty-four year old Frances Adams pursued her passion for all that is beautiful. "Fanny," as she was called by friends and family, was living in Portland, Maine's largest city, once lovingly described by one of its sons, the poet Longfellow, for its shady, tree-lined avenues and its busy harbor, ...

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2. The Raising of an Idealist

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pp. 10-19

The young man determined to win Fanny Adams' hand had been named Lawrence Joshua Chamberlain at his birth in 1828. It is written in the family bible that he was named in honor of Commodore Lawrence, whose words of defiance in the face of defeat, "Don't give up the ship," won him fame in 1813. ...

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3. "If You Could Love Me So"

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pp. 20-27

Fanny Adams and Lawrence Chamberlain met for the first time as toddlers on their mothers' knees, when Sarah Ann Folsom Adams was visiting Rev. Adams' relatives in Bangor. Mother Chamberlain recalled that, although Fanny was several years older than her son, Lawrence was the same size as the Adams' petite adopted daughter. ...

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4. To a "Land of Strangers"

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pp. 28-38

When Fanny promised to join her life with his, what a change occurred in Lawrence. Once assured of her love, he relinquished the role of tormented supplicant for that of protector and lover—all he envisioned as his responsibility and right as beloved husband to cherished wife. His affectionate support may have been exactly what Fanny needed most in the year 1852, ...

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5. "Be Sure & Burn This"

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pp. 39-51

When Fanny and Lawrence parted in September 1852, earnest discussion regarding his entering the ministry was already well underway. Lawrence was aware, from the earliest days of their relationship, of Fanny's repudiation of Congregationalism, but he would also come to know that she held little enthusiasm for a clergyman's way of life. ...

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6. "Unless Somebody Cares & Loves Me All the Time"

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pp. 52-66

In 1854, as Fanny began her second year in Georgia, it seems that both she and Lawrence were fast coming to the realization that being away from one another for another two years would be intolerable. Fanny was leading a rather spartan existence, her days and evenings filled with responsibilities, and her earnings swallowed up by her living expenses ...

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7. "Ready to be Married"

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pp. 67-78

Fewer letters survive from 1855 than from the other years of Fanny and I Lawrence's separation, and one must wonder, as frustration and anxiety mounted, whether some of their letters were consigned to the nearest fire. But those that have been found are salient and illuminating. ...

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8. "Light & Life"

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pp. 79-92

Fanny and Lawrence spent their first night as man and wife in the little | room that had been Fanny's chamber at Rev. Adams' home. Lawrence later reminisced about that night, "...my fairy honeysuckle girl came to the arms that once lifted her up among the leaves & roses, so sadly so tremblingly & yet so calmly came ...

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9. "As Tho' in a Bad Dream"

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pp. 93-106

After two years of marriage, a time that held much happiness, yet was not without sorrow, and sad loss, Lawrence and Fanny had settled into their roles of husband and wife, father and mother. Life was far different than either of them had imagined in early days, when they had dreamed of two little rooms, hours of conversation, ...

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10. "Mightier Things Than Personal Griefs"

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pp. 107-121

The sorrowful events in Fanny and Lawrence Chamberlain's lives in 1860 could only have left them with melancholy memories. But no personal tragedies, nor even family happiness could insulate them from the menacing omens of the tempest about to break upon the country. ...

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11. "Where Duty Called Me"

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pp. 122-143

On September 2, 1862, less than one month after Lawrence accepted his commission as Lt. Colonel, he and the 20th Maine left the state for Washington, D.C. The bustle in the Chamberlain home during those weeks when Lawrence made the transition from professor to warrior was considerable, as his family prepared for his needs. ...

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12. "There Can Be No Home without CountryNo Life without Honor"

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pp. 144-160

There was little opportunity for the 20th Maine to rest or refit. The remaining days of July were spent with the Army of the Potomac pushing down the east side of the Blue Ridge, in hopes of intercepting and striking at Lee's army. Lawrence, in temporary command of the 3rd Brigade since mid-July, wrote to Fanny on the 24th from Manassas Gap near Front Royal: ...

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13. "Providence Will Both Open & Guide My Way"

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pp. 161-173

Late on the night of April 9, Chamberlain was called to headquarters and informed that he would command the troops to receive the formal surrender of the arms and colors of Lee's army. Though Grant's terms of surrender were thought to be generous, on one point he had stood firm. ...

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14. "We Have Looked Our Sorrows Fairly in the Face"

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pp. 174-188

Chamberlain continued to receive offers in early 1866 to lecture and deliver addresses about the war and on behalf of the soldiers and their families. He also continued to reflect, not only on his personal experiences and trials, but on those of all who participated in the war, North and South. ...

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15. "In the Midst of All the Uproar"

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pp. 189-201

In the last year of the war, before Lawrence returned to the army for the last campaign of 1865, he addressed a letter of condolence to the family of Rev. John S. C. Abbott of New Haven, Connecticut. Formerly from Brunswick, the Abbotts were long-time friends of Rev. Adams' family with whom Lawrence became well acquainted. ...

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16. "Where Worries Cannot Reach You"

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pp. 202-214

The spring of 1869 found Lawrence pressed with state business, while Fanny visited New York. Tom Chamberlain had stayed in the city, though the tobacco business dropped off that winter. In April, he wrote to Sae in Brewer, asking about her five month old son. ...

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17. "Old Bowdoin"

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pp. 215-227

By early 1871, Chamberlain knew that Bowdoin wanted him as their next president. Dr. Samuel Harris, the college's president since 1866, came to Bowdoin as a respected professor. But he soon discovered that he had no liking for the president's role as disciplinarian, and admitted that the upperclassmen's practice of hazing "gave him the 'jim-jams.'" ...

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18. "All Doing Good Work in Our Way"

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pp. 228-240

In 1875, while the boards of Bowdoin committed themselves to raising a $100,000 endowment, Chamberlain labored on with his own fund-raising efforts. He traveled across the country meeting with college alumni, and even sent a letter of solicitation to the former commander of the 20th Maine, Adelbert Ames. ...

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19 "Counted Out"

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pp. 241-254

The Greenbackism that threw Maine politics into three party turmoil had reached the state as the movement was waning in other parts of the country. But events on the national political scene were far from peaceful. The 1878 fall elections in the South were dominated by rampant violence and intimidation. ...

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20. "To Transform the Wilderness into a Garden"

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pp. 255-268

In the 1880s, as American entrepreneurs sought new fields to conquer, Florida was a state whose time had come. Many were willing to overlook the hazard of tropical disease in order to take advantage of the abundance of land, so plentiful that it inspired plans for developing, not just new communities, but new cities. ...

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21. "A Blessing Somewhere Yet to be Given & Received"

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pp. 269-282

In early 1887, the Chamberlains were still weary and unwell, but Fanny managed to make a visit to Grace, who was still ailing in Boston. Her husband Horace sent a cheerful, mischievous report to Lawrence in New York. "Mrs C has improved wonderfully since she arrived. ...

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22. "An Inextinguishable Instinct to Go Forward"

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pp. 283-296

In late December 1892, Chamberlain suffered another serious infection of his old wound. He made a difficult journey to New York City for treatment, and was bedridden there during the first weeks of 1893. His doctor's report to the bureau of Pensions described a severe infection, resulting in an abscess that left him debilitated and disabled. ...

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23. "No Responsibilities, No Duties"

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pp. 297-312

The family gathered at the Chamberlain home in Brunswick on Thanksgiving Day, 1899, with Grace, Horace, the three grandchildren, and Wyllys joining Lawrence and Fanny, to fill "the circle, long broken," as Lawrence later commented to Sae. Dining with them was Lillian Edmunds, who Lawrence said did not have as much time to tend to his matters, ...

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24. "We Have Been So Long Spared to Each Other"

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pp. 313-328

In the summer of 1903, Chamberlain experienced a period of such acute illness, that many, including Chamberlain himself, had doubts that he would recover. General John B. Gordon, though his own health was precarious, came to Maine to see his old friend. Gordon was reported to have leaned over Chamberlain, saying, "Dear old fellow, can't bear to lose you." ...

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25. "We Pass Now Quickly From Each Other's Sight"

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pp. 329-341

In the months after Fanny's death, Lawrence gathered together those things most dear to her and most exemplary of her life. He wished to create a memorial to her in the family home. She had cherished the bracelet that he had designed and given to her on their 10th anniversary, and Lawrence kept it in a small jeweled casket. ...

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26. "Looking On & Looking Back"

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pp. 342-352

On Easter Sunday, 1911, though Chamberlain went out with Wyllys late in the afternoon to visit friends, he had chosen a quiet morning at home and a ramble in the fields surrounding his Portland home in favor of morning services. He wrote to Grace: "We were at home enjoying the Sunshine breaking through the mist that wrapped earth and sky at first. ...


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pp. 353-384


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pp. 385-395


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pp. 396-403

E-ISBN-13: 9781611684407
E-ISBN-10: 1611684404
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611684391

Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 2013