NC Civil War & Reconstruction History Center’s Leadership Presentation on Gettysburg Officer to be Held at Methodist University

Lt. Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain, a Union officer who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg

The North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is sponsoring a presentation by retired Army Brigadier General Stephen R. Smith, who will speak on the topic “The Man Who Won a Battle, but Didn’t Lose the War: A Story of Leadership,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 in the Medical Lecture Hall on the campus of Methodist University.

The History Department at Methodist University is hosting the event, which is free and open to the public. Dr. Patrick O’Neil, chair of the History Department, said that Smith’s presentation will tie into two courses the Department is offering this semester: North Carolina History, taught by O’Neil, and American Civil War and Reconstruction, taught by Dr. Peter C. Murray.

Smith’s presentation will focus on U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain, a Union officer who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Though Chamberlain was more of an academic than a soldier, graduating from Bowdoin College in 1852 and serving on its faculty as Professor of Modern Languages from 1855-62, his actions commanding the 20th Maine Regimental Infantry at Gettysburg revealed that he possessed many of the leadership skills valued both in military command and in civilian leadership positions.

Gen. Smith, a Denver native, entered the Army in 1971 as an ROTC graduate of the University of Nebraska. He is a graduate of the National War College and holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology and a Master of Educational Administration from Colorado State University.

Smith served 27 years in the Army, attaining the rank of Brigadier General. His last active duty assignments included Commander of the 18th Personnel Group (Airborne), XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg; Director of Personnel for Joint Task Force Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti; the 58th Adjutant General of the Army; Director of Enlisted Management; and Deputy Commanding General of the United States Army Recruiting Command.

Since his retirement from the Army in 1998, Smith worked for Duke University and the Duke University Health System, where he rose through the ranks until his 2017 retirement as Chief Human Resources Officer for Duke Medicine.

About the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center

North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center logoThe North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is affiliated with the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, a branch of the North Carolina Division of History Museums, and will be located at the site of the remains of the Fayetteville Arsenal, which was held by both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. Designed to be a “teaching” museum rather than a “collecting” museum, the Center will focus not on artifacts but on telling the stories of North Carolinians from all walks of life, be they men or women, slave or free, military or civilian, on both sides of the conflict. For more information, please visit or call (336) 491-0602.