MEDHURST & CO.
Fine Images and Documents
20334 Tom Chamberlain Civil War Eagle Discharge DS Discharge for Jacob
Hacker 198th Pennseylvania Private. Boldly signed by Chamberlain at the bottom as
Bvt Maj. Also signed by Capt John Barclay of the 198th. I believe hacker is
incorrectly listed at Jacob High on HDS. $400
Thomas Chamberlain was involved in most of the battles in which the 20th Maine
fought, most notably the Battle of Gettysburg. During the defense of Little Round
Top, the 20th Maine came under heavy attack from the Confederate 15th Alabama
regiment, part of the division led by Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood, and after about 3–4
hours of fighting the 20th Maine completely ran out of ammunition. Chamberlain's
brother Joshua recognized the dire circumstances and ordered his left wing to
respond to the rebels by charging downhill with fixed bayonets, thus ending the
Confederate attack on the hill. The 20th Maine and the 83rd Pennsylvania together
captured over 400 soldiers from the attacking Confederate forces. Joshua was
slightly wounded in the foot by a spent bullet. Thomas was unhurt, except for
"several scratches". As a result of their valiant defense of the hill, the Chamberlain
brothers, Joshua Chamberlain especially, and the 20th Maine gained a great
reputation and they were the subject of many publications and stories.
After Gettysburg, the major battles in which Thomas Chamberlain and the 20th
Maine were involved were the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House and the Siege of
Petersburg. At the Siege of Petersburg, the 20th Maine was in reserve, while Joshua
(against his better judgment) led his Pennsylvania Bucktail brigade in a charge on a
section of the Confederate defenses known as Rives's Salient. Turning to direct his
troops, Joshua was struck by a minié ball, which entered just below his right hip,
nicked his bladder and urethra, and stopped at his left hip. Such a devastating
wound should have been fatal, and when he arrived at the field hospital, three miles
behind the lines, his life was feared over. Thomas Chamberlain, back with his
regiment, eventually heard the news. He and the surgeon of the 20th Maine, Dr.
Abner O. Shaw, went to the hospital where Joshua was dying. As Thomas waited,
Dr. Shaw, with Dr. Morris W. Townsend of the 44th New York, worked all night to
try to save Joshua Chamberlain's life. Thirty-five years later, Joshua Chamberlain
wrote that, after the surgeons had finished: "Tom stood over me like a brother, and
such a one as he was." Remarkably, Col. Chamberlain survived to enjoy his "on the
spot" promotion to brigadier general, although he never returned to full fitness. A
number of biographers of Joshua Chamberlain say that his life was saved through
the activity of his brother, Thomas.
After Petersburg, Thomas Chamberlain and the 20th Maine were involved in the
Battle of Five Forks (for which he was awarded Brevet Lieutenant Colonel for his
bravery) and the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. At the end of the war, the 20th
Maine marched from Appomattox, Virginia, on May 2, reaching Washington, D.C.,
on May 12, where it was then finally mustered out of service on July 16, 1865. He
ended the war with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
John M. Barclay
Residence was not listed; 32 years old.
Enlisted on 6/30/1863 at Reading, PA as a 1st Sergeant.
On 7/1/1863 he mustered into "F" Co. PA 42nd Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 8/12/1863
On 10/12/1864 he was commissioned into "M" Co. PA 198th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 6/4/1865 at Arlington Heights, VA
* Capt 7/6/1863
* 1st Lieut 10/12/1864 (As of Co. M 198th PA Infantry)
* Capt 4/29/1865
Member of GAR Post # 45 (Lieut Josiah White) in Phoenixville, PA
Buried: Zion Lutheran Cemty, Spring City, Chester Co., PA
Gravesite: Row 20-6
After the War he lived in Chester County, PA