Joshua Chamberlain’s original Medal of Honor (Courtesy Pejepscot Historical Society)
A Medal of Honor awarded to a Civil War general has been returned to a Maine town after it was found inside a book at a church fundraising sale.
The Times Record of Brunswick, Maine reports Civil War Gen. Joshua Chamberlain’s original Congressional Medal of Honor has been verified as authentic after it was sent anonymously in July to the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick.
The society at first was skeptical, as they believed Chamberlain’s Medal of Honor was already on display at Bowdoin College.
However, that medal was one re-issued to Chamberlain by Congress when the medal was redesigned in 1904, and recipients could either exchange the old medal for the new or keep both. Chamberlain apparently chose to keep both, though he could not wear them at the same time.
Chamberlain received the original medal in 1893 for his heroism at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg.
It had been given to his granddaughter, whose estate was donated to the First Parish Church of Duxbury, Mass., following her death in 2000.
Someone found the medal in the pages of a book bought from the church at a fundraising sale, and sent it anonymously to the historical society.
“There is photographic evidence that Chamberlain was very proud of the medal, that he wore it quite often,” Pejepscot Historical Society Director Jennifer Blanchard tells the Times Record.
The Brunswick home where Chamberlain lived more than 50 years is now a museum.
The Associated Press contributed to this report