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The Passing of the Armies

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  710 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
"Chamberlain had a most successful military career capped by being chosen to command the Union troops who were present when the Army of Northern Virginia lay down their arms. His account of the final Virginia campaign is superb. He was as great a writer as he was a fighter."-Albert Castel, Civil War Times Illustrated. "This is one of the finest accounts of a campaign penne ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Barnes Noble (first published January 2nd 1914)
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Matt
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book must be read if only for the chapters concerning the surrender at Appomattox and the final review of the Army of the Potomac through Washington DC.
Robert Gobel
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the battles were difficult to picture without maps but overall this was a fascinating book. I would highly recommend this to anybody
Laura
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic account of the final two weeks (!) of the Civil War, written by an improbable scholar-turned-war-hero, a Bowdoin College professor who just might have single-handedly saved the Union. Well, there is plenty of credit to go around, but his bravery – and modesty – were unquestioned. I am fascinated by the 'end game' of the Civil War, and General Chamberlain writes well and does not hide his (many, conflicting) emotions. Of interest only to real Civil War buffs, obviously, but highly recom ...more
Andrew
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review concerns the Kindle edition of Chamberlain's memoirs:
-- it is a fine example of the weakness of the Kindle to display maps, diagrams, images. A reader would be better served finding a print edition of this book.
-- there are only two images in the Kindle edition, one of Chamberlain as a young colonel and one in old age (he would live until 1914). There are no maps.
-- Chamberlain's description of two key battles preceding Appomattox, the battles of White Oak Road and Five Forks, are en
...more
Walter
General Joshua Chamberlain was a professor of literature at Bowdoin University in Maine in 1861 when the Civil War broke out. In 1862 he requested leave to travel to Europe for study, and when he was granted his leave, he promptly went to Augusta to volunteer with the Maine contingent of the Union army. He would serve for 3 1/2 years with 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac and saw action at Gettysburg, where he won the Medal of Honor, and in several battles at the end of the war.

This book is an acco
...more
Nyri Bakkalian
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Plenty of people have written plenty of words about Joshua Chamberlain, so much so that one of his foremost biographers, Thomas Desjardins, refers to the popular image of him as the "Maine Man of Steel." It isn't my intention to add to that, but rather to say a few words about what this book says about the man.

That Chamberlain should have secured an officer's commission despite zero prior military experience hardly makes him exceptional. That he made himself an above average leader in the field
...more
John Sullivan
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of book about the civil war. This book was written by one of my favorite, not very well know generals in the Union army. You might want to read one of the fictional books about the battle of Gettysburg like "The Killer Angels" to get a sense of his contributions to the winning of the battle and the war, as well as his personality.
Jared
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A longer review will be forthcoming on my blog.

Chamberlain is a good writer, but not a succinct one. He will wax poetic and take far too long to make a point or tell a story. That aside, the book was excellent, and I throughly enjoyed the insight it provided into a number of personalities, including Governour Warren and George Meade.

Would recommend to every student of the Civil War.
Lady Jane
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Putting to the side for a while. This first person account tracks troop movements and other micro details on a level that would be most satisfying for someone who is already a Civil War expert.
Grant
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting record of the final days of the Civil War, and beyond, from a man who saw a lot of the war and was responsible for possibly the most vital event of the war (Little Round Top). Captures well the swirl and disorder of battle and has some interesting takes on certain events (eg Warrens dismissal). The post-war stuff, especially the parades through Washington, is quite unique - not the sorts of events that tend to end up in memoirs or history books, not to that level of detail, at least. ...more
Grant
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting record of the final days of the Civil War, and beyond, from a man who saw a lot of the war and was responsible for possibly the most vital event of the war (Little Round Top). Captures well the swirl and disorder of battle and has some interesting takes on certain events (eg Warren's dismissal). The post-war stuff, especially the parades through Washington, is quite unique - not the sorts of events that tend to end up in memoirs or history books, not to that level of detail, at least ...more
Rebecca
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
First let me say that I am not a Union girl; my shelves are lined with biographies of Lee, Jackson and Stuart, not Grant, Sheridan and Sherman. But Chamberlain is one of the few Yankees that I respect and enjoy reading about, and his account of the last battles of the war, the surrender and the great review is fascinating. He recounts his experiences as both "an officer and a gentleman," understanding both the tactics and the history. He mixes descriptions of brute force with inscriptions in Lat ...more
Les
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the characterof Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, as portrayed by by the actor, Jeff Daniels, in the film Gettysburg. Having read this book, I think Daniels got his portrayal pretty spot on. For somebody who experienced the horrors of the American Civil War close-up, Chamberlain emerges as a very human, and humanitarian, figure. The book isn't flawless, Chamberlain was an academic and his writing is of the period and includes classical allusion which doesn't always add to the clar ...more
Head Mmoid
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the must-read books for anyone interesting in the American Civil War. It recounts Joshua Chamberlain’s personal experiences during the final roughly two weeks of the campaign against Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

As a division commander in the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac and the officer-in-charge of the final surrender of Lee’s army, Joshua Chamberlain was well aware of high level plans and orders. He offers personal opinions which often differ significantly fro
...more
Ben
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me forever to read this because I kept misplacing it or starting other books but this was an amazing book. It is written by Joshua Chamberalin, the colonel who one the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg. This book recounts his experience in the final months of the war from March to June 1865. Chamberlain describes the important actions undertaken by him and men under his command. Among the books highlights is his emotional description of surrender of the Confederate army and hi ...more
jeffrey
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
It took me an unusually long time to finish this book, as I got bogged down in the details of the account of the movement of the various divisions, etc. I should have prepared myself by reading up beforehand on the battles described. However, the last third or so it really picked up. Chamberlain gives a brilliant description of the surrender, the laying down of arms, the march back to Washington and the grand review. Couldn't put it down then. The account is so vivid in these last parts that it ...more
Ed Hillenbrand
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any true Civil War historian. Chamberlain's writing style is elegant and compelling. The book covers the period from Lee's lines collapsing to the Grand Review. It sheds first hand accounts on the Sheridan/Warren dispute at Five Forks and ends with a requiem for the Fifth Corps that is a must read to remind us of the sacrifice to end "that Southern institution". Hint, to paraphrase Ayres: don't bother asking for reperations, 'they were buried at Gettysburg, Cold Harbor', Appomatt ...more
Rob Roy
It is interesting reading about the end of the Civil War in the words of one of that war’s greatest heroes, and the man that called the Union army to salute the Army of Northern Virginia as they surrendered. As you read his words, you quickly realize that he did not become a Major General in three years as a lowly volunteer, simply because of bravery and resourcefulness. He studied war and its execution with a vehemence. Though a volunteer, he ranked among the West Point alumni who generaled the ...more
Allen
Dec 28, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
this book is terrific. Chamberlain was a remarkable person. he was a hero at Gettysburg, if you do not know, tho this book covers a later time in the war. he's a percipient observer of the army and the people in it. I am reminded of William Sherman's memoirs, which are equally clear-eyed, albeit a touch drier than Chamberlain. the edition I got was Barnes & Noble's, actually, 10 bucks. highly recommended.
Du
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-govt
I can see why this is classic text. Not only was Chamberlain a strong leader and intelligent mind, but he was a keen writer who did a great job of conveying his observations of the Civil War, both the portions he was directly and indirectly interactive in. His calm demeanor and clear words move this book in a way that I found both scholarly and autobiographic. It added a strong recollection of the war, at the same time it was not obnoxious.
Dan Cowden
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biographical
An excellent memoir of an important time in American history. While occasionally defensive, the pride in his men and humility he felt as a leader come through very strongly in Chamberlain's work. With so much of modern historiography consisting of modern interpretations of history, it is worthwhile now and then to return to the primary sources.
Greg
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Though it felt like an account of how many soldiers fought and what occurred during certain battles, the prose was amazing. I loved the depictions of every scene and sight and battle from the eyes of Chamberlain, and the confrontations with Grant and Lee and all the other renown names of the Civil War are amazingly wonderful in detail. A nice addition to my American history collection.
Jim Bouchard
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing better than reading the actual words of the people involved in history. Our home town hero Joshua Chamberlain was virtually lost to all but the most obsessive Civil War buffs until the popular movie "Gettysburg" immortalized his actions at Little Round Top.

This book sheds light on his more historic role of accepting the surrender of the Army of Virginia.

Great read!
Michelle
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It was interesting to read about the end of the American Civil War; the surrender of Lee's army, the final review, the disbanding of the army. Chamberlain was certainly an idealist, and his style might be hard for some modern readers to deal with, but I enjoyed the book.
Dennis Smith
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read for military and Civil War enthusiasts detailing the final battles against Lee's army from a commander's first hand view. His analysis and criticism of his superior's orders are a great insight.
Andy Kline
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gen Chamberlain is a remarkable man, and this is a remarkable book. If you only read one civil war memoir, this is the one. Statesman, poet, warrior, Gen Chamberlain brings a mystical, reflective quality to his most excellent history.
Ross Cohen
Chamberlain, a professor of rhetoric, was a hero of the Union Army. His work reflects both the depth of this learning and the daring of his deeds. Excellent throughout, especially toward the end wherein he takes the measure of Grant and Lee.
Jake
Dec 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
it was interesting to read a perspective of the final days of the civil war from someone so involved and educated as the likes of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. However, the read was tedious, and without prior knowledge of the War's history, rather difficult to follow.
Carlyn Cole
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow at times, but compelling at others. I really loved the first hand account from a guy who wasn't one of the big names. Chamberlain was intelligent and gives a great account which makes it worth reading.
Caycee
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the Civil War
This book is an eyewitness account by Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. It is an account of the final campaign of the Army of the Potomac. It was very informative and a good read if you are a Civil War buff.
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Chamberlain was a college professor at Bowdoin College before the U.S. Civil War. When the faculty refused him permission for a leave of absense so that he could enlist he took a sabbatical and enlisted anyway.

He played a Key role in the Battle of Gettysburg as depicted in Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novel about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, and the movie based on that nov
...more
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