Quick: if you could bring back any Civil War hero as your boyfriend, who would it be?!
(You’ve got to answer quickly if you want to answer honestly!)
My Civil War boyfriend would be Joshua Chamberlain. Obviously.
I know what you’re thinking. But you’re wrong. I love him for way more than just his sweet ‘stache. That’s only part of it.
Joshua Chamberlain commanded the Union’s Twentieth Maine Regiment and defended his position at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. But rewind a little bit and you’ll find that this brilliant, brave, and selfless military man started off as a humble professor from the state of Maine who volunteered for the Union Army and then worked his way up to command his regiment, despite being offered command from the get-go– you see, it was more important to him that he learn the ropes and do things properly than it was to feed his ego and be in command. Swoon, right?
Grad school was full of ups and downs (and valleys and trenches…), but for certain, one of the best parts of the whole 6 years was the weekend I had the opportunity to go to Gettysburg and stay a weekend at a local bed and breakfast with Seth and my parents. It was… heaven.
Ok… it was heaven for me. I may have overdone it on the history cray cray by forcing mi familia to listen to the entire guided CD as we drove our way through the historic battle grounds. I also made them stop at ev-er-y-thing. I couldn’t help it!
They humored me for most of the day, and really let me take my time when we finally made it to Little Round Top… and to the monument to the Twentieth Maine.
The names of all of the brave men who defended that hill “at all hazard” were listed on the other side.
It was unreal to be there. To see the hill the men charged down with bayonets fixed after running out of ammunition. (They freaking ran out of ammunition and charged at the other guys with knives on a stick!) To imagine the chaos, the bravery, the courage, the fear, the utter insanity of that day.
Then, no joke, just to really hammer the point home, I felt a sharp pain in my foot and when I looked down there was a FREAKING BEE stuck in my toe by its stinger and I literally had to pull it out of my foot.
Ok, that was actually on Big Round Top overlooking Devil’s Den, but my mind was still on Chamberlain and Little Round Top all the while.
After my Chamberlain experience, my parents and Seth humored me once more through Devil’s Den, the orchard, and the wheat field before they’d really just had enough. We kind of skipped through to the fish hook at the end of the line and then headed back to the Keystone. I got to see Little Round Top– that was enough for me.
Joshua Chamberlain survived the war and went on to achieve great things, including serving as the governor of Maine for several years. And he had a wife named Fanny, but that was all whatevs.
(Kidding, I’m sure she was absolutely lovely.)
While I was reading the Shaara Civil War trilogy that I’ve told you all so much about, I pretty much talked about it non-stop (yes, even more than I’m talking about it here). It was actually my friend Tammy, who knows a lot about everything (literally everything, PhD-educated neuroscientist who has devoted her current life to the care of soldiers returning from war with traumatic brain injury, oh and she also installed the putting green at the White House and developed the science curriculum for her son’s middle school… everything) who actually pointed out that Joshua Chamberlain was totally my Civil War boyfriend. I had to acknowledge the truth in it. A crush on a historical figure? Weird. But I can get on board with that.
Despite all of that, my real live, present day boyfriend… the one who humored me not just through Gettysburg tour, but through all of grad school and beyond… was the real deal and still is to this day.
That’s us together in Gettysburg– do you see him humoring me? So ridiculously much? He doesn’t necessarily get my passions (as usual, read: obsessions) and I don’t necessarily get his (but I’m cool with a 70″ xbox-devoted TV in my basement), but we certainly appreciate those things about each other. What’s life without some passion, after all?
In my life, I’ve had lots of celebrity crushes… no doubt, so have you. And I’m sure we can all agree on Colin Firth, amIright? But Joshua Chamberlain. He’s my weird one. And now you know.
So I bring it back to the original question:
Who’s your Civil War boyfriend???