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“I confess to having enough of the war spirit to feel a pride in Bunker Hill and other scenes of our Revolutionary struggle. War is a terrible evil ; but tyranny is a greater ; and, to expel the latter poison from the body politic, war is needful. After all, what is life but one great battle-field, on which a most momentous war against temptation and the tyranny of our passions and appetites is waged by each human soul? And what spirit has made its way to any true nobility of character, any real self-government, without passing through a field of moral battle, which has been to it a Bunker Hill, a Marathon, or a Platæa ? And the debased soul, alas ! has known its Waterloo, from whose deadly conflict it came not off victorious !” — Family letter of Rev. A. B. FULLER, written June 17, 1852.
“Though lodged within no vigorous frame,
His soul her daily tasks renewed,
N the 17th of August, 1861, Chaplain Fuller
left Boston with the Sixteenth Massachusetts Regiment for their Southern destina
tion. He writes * that on their departure “there was less elation, less display, than usual, perhaps, but more of stern determination and clear realization of the object to be achieved and the hardships to be endured than has been felt before."
Respecting his regiment he says :* We shall cite in the following pages, without particular reference, the Chaplain's private letters, and his correspondence published in the Boston Journal, Boston Traveller, New York Tribune, Christian Inquirer, and other papers.
« The character of the men composing it is generally such as promises fresh honors to a county which contains Lexington and Bunker Hill, Concord and Cambridge, Watertown and other places historic in our earliest struggle for freedom. The officers are skilled military men, selected for capacity, and not because of political influence.
“ You have doubtless learned by telegraph of the safe arrival of our regiment in this city, but a few particulars of our journey and position here may not be unacceptable. Our route witnessed one continued ovation, city and country vying in patriotic demonstrations and exhibitions of good-will toward those who were on their way to the scene of peril, but we believe also of honor and of ultimate national triumph. On many a hillside, in the evening, bonfires blazed, and at every way-station enthusiastic cheers rent the air, and many little gifts and leave-takings of those who to us were entire strangers evidenced that in this great cause the people are one in heart and opinion.
“ At Fall River an escort of a juvenile company of Zouaves and of many citizens awaited us, but Colonel Wyman wisely avoided fatiguing the men by marching through the streets of that city. Indeed, throughout our journey the same judicious plan has been pursued by our officers. We only touched at New York; we did not land from the steamers, and no unnecessary steps have yet been taken, and no unnecessary display made. We were compelled to journey on the Sabbath, owing to the present exigency, which imperatively demands all our available force near the capital. This fact caused us to find in nearly every town in New Jersey, as we passed through, the people in their best attire, and ready to welcome us. It would have pleased our friends at home to have seen the general good order of the men, and to find that they were not unmindful of the fact that, though we were marching on, yet it was the Sabbath day, and “hymns
of lofty cheer' and true religious patriotism were alone in order.
“Our greeting in Philadelphia, although at midnight, exceeded our leave-taking in Boston. A fine collation is always given by the most substantial citizens of this place to each regiment as it passes through the city of brotherly love, no matter what the hour, or from which of our loyal States. Our fine brass band — and there is none better connected with any regiment - discoursed most eloquent music,' fitted to the day and the occasion.
“We marched through Baltimore yesterday, the nineteenth of August, thinking of another nineteenth, that of April, when another Massachusetts regiment marched through also. We were not enthusiastically received as a general rule, for Baltimore is as to its leading influence disloyal to the Union, and hates to-day that "Star-Spangled Banner,' which still floats from Fort McHenry, and loves not that whole country for which Washington fought. Why not, then, be consistent, and take down their proud monument to the “Father of his Country'? Here, of all places, might patriotism be expected, and sad enough is it to find it otherwise. A large part of the population yet remains true to the old flag, and manifests itself loyal in a noble manner.”
For a few weeks the regiment was stationed at Baltimore, which at that time had not been wholly relieved from the poison of the oligarchs. The government were still vainly endeavoring to temper the needful austerity of war with the ill-assorted moderation of peace, mistaken by the foe for timidity, weakness, and indecision. The Chaplain thus expresses the results of his observation :
“ You can hardly imagine how much the evidences of a
more stern dealing with traitors and a more vigorous prosecution of the war inspire the soldiers with fresh hope and confidence. Fremont's proclamation meets with almost unqualified approval, especially from Union slaveholders. It is a move in the right direction, and would be imitated to advantage in this State, and in all our semi-loyal States.
“ The presentment of treasonable newspapers by grand juries, and the suppression of others by the government, is especially to be commended. It is these which hound the rebels on to their treasonable deeds, and they should be forced to be “dumb dogs, which dare not longer bark. But why are such tolerated in Baltimore? No less than three such, the South, the Republican, and the Exchange, are published there, and are most defiant of the government. They daily incite to insurrection, and the consequence is that our officers and soldiers are daily insulted there, and it
done with perfect impunity. One of the soldiers of our regiment was fired upon in broad daylight by a woman, before we left that city, while he was pursuing a deserter, and in the discharge of his duty. I have seen secession flags flying, and had them flaunted before my face while walking quietly, unarmed, in the streets. I have heard cheers, long and loud, for Jeff Davis, and groans for the Union. This is always done by women and children, it is true, for that is the cowardly, sneaking nature of rebellion, avoiding risk of summary vengeance from our manly soldiers. But ought these things to be allowed ? and may not another massacre like that of the 19th of April ensue if these things are not nipped in the bud, and if a traitorous press remain unsilenced ?
“Our officers and soldiers did not always bear contumely in silence, though they could not strike down their tormentors when such were women and children. Sometimes they answered such scoffs with fitting words. Are you a Massachusetts soldier ?' said a woman, elegantly dressed, and doubt
less deemed a lady in Baltimore. “I am, madam,' was the courteous answer of the officer thus addressed.* · Well, thank God, my husband is in the Southern army, ready to kill such hirelings as you.' 'Do you not miss him, madam?' said the officer. O yes, I miss him a good deal.' Very well, madam, we are going South in a few days, and will try to find him and bring him back here with his companions. You ought to have seen how angry she was ! “You are from that miserable Boston, I suppose,' she said, 'where there is nothing but mob law, and they burned down the Ursuline Convent,the Puritan bigots !' 'Some such thing did happen in Charlestown many years ago, when I was a boy,' said the officer, ‘at least I have heard so, and am very sorry for it. But can you tell me what street that is ?' •Pratt Street,' was the unsuspecting reply. What happened there, madam, on the 19th of April, this very year ?' He got no answer from the angry secessionist, but the loud shout which went up from the Union bystanders, who generally are of the humbler orders, atoned for her silence. People that live in glass houses had better not throw stones. The same officer, riding in a chaise with a gentleman who showed secession proclivities, but was courteous in their demonstration, was told by the gentleman that the horse which was drawing them was called “Jeff Davis,' in honor of that distinguished rebel, and asked if he did not object to driving such a horse.' "O no, sir, was the instant reply; 'to drive Jeff Davis is the very purpose of our coming South.' Our secession gentleman imitated his sister traitor in preserving a discreet silence.”
The religious object of the Chaplain's commission no martial preparations could make him forget. He had come as a religious teacher, ready to practise what he preached, and he was impelled by his sense of the
* The officer was Chaplain Fuller.