« AnteriorContinuar »
especial importance of religion in the terrible experiences of war. He writes :
“Our encampment is hardly settled enough yet for definite arrangements to have been fully carried out. After this week, however, the arrangements are as follows: Sunday school at nine, A. M.; attendance to be wholly voluntary. Preaching every Sabbath at five o'clock, P. M., the old hour at Camp Cameron, and the best hour of the day for the purpose. Prayer and conference meeting (when practicable) every day at about six and seven, P. M.; attendance of course voluntary. These services will be fully attended. Even now, every night there are quiet circles for prayer and praise.
“ Besides these services, there are Bibles and religious volumes to be distributed to the men, and books for singing God's praise. We find the “Army Melodies' useful among us, and were not the writer one of the editors of the volume, he would say much of the necessity and usefulness of supplying religious and patriotic music and words to every regiment and every naval vessel, in place of the ribald songs so sadly common in the army and on shipboard. No more refining or religious instrumentality than music can be used.”
That threadbare subject, the weather, acquires an original interest from new circumstances.
“This topic, so common when people meet who have not much to say, assumes real importance when the children of Israel dwell in tents,' and when the weather exercises so much influence over the health and spirits of the men. We have been generally favored with genial skies, but the rainy weather has now set in, and the last three days have been uncomfortable in the extreme. Particularly inconvenient is it with reference to religious exercises. These are necessarily suspended every rainy day, and yet on no day do the
men so much need the cheering and reviving influences of social conference and prayer, and particularly of singing God's praise. We have a choir organized, who sing from the Army Melodies, and most of the tents are vocal every evening with its patriotic and religious songs.”
·As there was no new outbreak in Baltimore, and its agitated elements gradually subsided, thé Chaplain found occasion to contemplate some of the interesting features of that locality. Among these was his favorite resort, the last resting-place.
“ Close by us is the famous Greenmount Cemetery, the Mount Auburn of Baltimore. This ground, too, was recently desecrated by the traitors of Baltimore. Immediately after the 19th of April last, the chapel of the cemetery was seized by order of General Trimble, and used as a storehouse for rebel guns and powder. Now Massachusetts soldiers walk quietly through its shady paths, and think, not of death, but of the immortality of blessedness which awaits every loyal soldier who dies a martyr for liberty, and for the Christian principles involved in this struggle.
“ And well may a Massachusetts soldier love to walk solemnly in these paths; for in yonder enclosure lie the remains of the gallant Major Ringgold, who died at Palo Alto. only monument is a stockade of Mexican guns and bayonets captured in that conflict. Colonel Watson, who died at Monterey, sleeps, as to the mortal part, peacefully near. But not before these soldierly memorials do we linger longest. In yonder mausoleum laid for days our Massachusetts dead of the 19th of April, 1861. The soldier whose last words were,
God bless the Stars and Stripes !' slept here until Governor Andrew's noble missive was carried into effect, and their bodies, cared for “tenderly,' were restored to the Old Bay State, which will ever cherish their memories.”
He thus writes of Druid Hill Park:
“ These beautiful grounds are frequently occupied by the Federal forces, though at present no regiment is within their limits. The citizens of Baltimore have recently purchased this site, and have made a liberal expenditure to beautify its precincts. No finer drive exists than its roads afford, and no better ground can be found for an encampment, though the government is chary about using it, in courteous deference to the wishes of the citizens. On our way thither we passed by many beautiful residences, mostly occupied by secessionists, for they comprise the wealthy men here. On one residence, however, the “Star-Spangled Banner' still proudly waved, and there it has waved in the breeze every day since the 19th of April of this year. All through the reign of terror, as the Union men designate the ten days succeeding that infamous massacre of our soldiers, that flag floated in the air, surrounded by secession emblems.”
He thus speaks of Fort McHenry:
“ It occupies a splendid location to command the city and suppress rebellion within its limits. The large shell mortars and heavy columbiads and other weapons of destruction are kept constantly ready for service in case of an insurrection against the government, and the destruction of Baltimore would in such a case be inevitable. Monumental Square, where secessionists mostly reside, the club-house,' where treason is said to be hatched, Pratt Street and its bridge and market, - these would in such an emergency soon be scenes of terrible carnage and vengeance on the enemies of our government. And the star-spangled banner would wave over smoke and flame from that very fort where its appearance in the gray, misty morning called forth from the author, imprisoned in a British ship, an immortal song of patriotic fervor,
the tribute and prophecy of the permanence of the old flag of our country.”
Death, too, whose painful volume, crowded with repeated lessons, was now to be the Chaplain's daily textbook, thus opens the first chapter and teaches him to moralize :
“In the afternoon I attended the funeral of an excellent man, J. D. Prentiss, formerly of Medfield, Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard, and for many years President of Baltimore College. He was a firm Union man, and I had enjoyed the hospitalities of his home for several days of the past week. He attended our religious services only the Sabbath before, and in all ways had testified his love for old Massachusetts and her soldiers and their holy cause. He had spoken to me of the peril to life in the army, and now he lay in that beautiful home a mangled corpse, killed by a railroad accident. He had so many friends in Massachusetts, and has been so devoted a friend to our soldiers, that his memory claims this mention. His fate is an illustration of the truth that death is everywhere, not only on the battlefield, but in our very streets; and many of those who pity us and fear for our fate may themselves earliest be called home, and by a bloody death. It matters not, if we are prepared. He always dies well who has lived well, die when, or where, or how he may.”
On the 1st of September orders came for the regiment “ to report at Fortress Monroe, and without an instant's hesitation rations were dealt out, tents struck, baggage hurried into wagons, and we were soon on board the Louisiana. Our march through Baltimore to the boat was very different from our entrance into that city. Secessiondom was discour
aged by the Hatteras Inlet news, and stayed at home; but the Union men and women and children of Baltimore were out in full force and in high spirits. It made one fancy himself at home in good old Boston to hear such loud cheers for the Union. Ladies presented choice bouquets to the officers and soldiers as they passed, and a patriotic enthusiasm was manifested, which, if followed by patriotic deeds, will yet redeem the fair fame of Baltimore.”
On his brief
he writes :
“I am surrounded by naval and military men who were in that glorious conflict. Trophies of the splendid triumph are freely exhibited, consisting of swords, flags, surgical instruments, &c. Our boys of the Sixteenth' are cheering pretty loudly on deck, and in one part of the steamer the brass band are discoursing their liveliest strains. You would think our soldiers on board had all turned Methodists to judge by the shoutings; the companies from Lowell, especially the 6 Butler Rifles,' largely Catholics, were heartily joining in the chorus of Glory Hallelujah, we are marching on.'”*
The regiment were destined to stay several months in the fortress, and here the Chaplain was enabled to prosecute his labors with vigor. The following is a sketch of the religious work.
“I have among my auditors, every Sabbath, a large number of Roman Catholics, and also members of every Protestant sect. It requires no forbearance on my part to preach on those great themes only, and in that spirit only in which all the disciples of our common Master can take an interest, and feel that their conscientious opinions are respected.
* Nothing could be more expressive of the enthusiastic determination of the North to maintain its inherited free institutions, than the sudden and universal popularity of this anonymous song.