« AnteriorContinuar »
“During our work, many from Massachusetts and New Hampshire regiments gathered round, to gaze upon the face of a widely known preacher, an esteemed pastor, a revered and loved friend. Many of them manifested the deepest interest in what we were doing, and lingered about the place till our undertaking was accomplished. Some spoke of the Chaplain as their most edifying preacher,' others as most valued adviser,' and others as a most faithful friend.' They offered to raise from their ranks the means of transportation."
The same writer, in describing the position where the Chaplain fell, says:
“ There were a hundred hiding-places — in cellars, near windows, and behind the corners of houses, and under the cover of board-fences and trees and outbuildings - from which the deadly rifle might be expected to send its unerring bullet, striking its victim before the sound of the discharge can reach his ears; and no valor of his can save him.”
In explanation of the Chaplain's self-sacrifice, he refers to “the need of an example, even to brave men, at such critical moments."
Miss Helen L. Gilson, a niece of Major Fay, was the lady referred to, in the foregoing letter, as accompanying him at Fredericksburg, where both were busied in ministering to the sick and wounded, under the auspices of the Sanitary Commission. She has sketched, in the following terms, some of the last days of Chaplain Fuller:
“ For a long time had I heard of Arthur B. Fuller as a devoted chaplain ; and my interest had been awakened to see him; but it was not till a few days before his death that I
had the pleasure of an introduction. I then drew from my pocket a well-worn copy of the Army Melodies, of which he was one of the editors, and told him that I had carried it during the Peninsular Campaign, often administering the medicine of music to the sick and wounded; and we were at once well acquainted.
“ The next Sabbath, I was one of a party from the Sanitary Commission, who accompanied him to Camp Convalescent. We spent the forenoon in the tents, distributing papers and books. Wherever he went, a crowd of Massachusetts boys gathered ; for they all knew and loved him. At two o'clock, the drum sounded, and some five hundred convalescents assembled for religious services. After singing, in which all joined, he addressed them in that simple and earnest way which so wins the attention of the soldiers. Every eye was fastened on him, and each upturned face caught his glow of enthusiasm.
“I wish I could remember all that fell from his lips. I can only quote the following: Why, boys,' said he, you know what a thrill the cry of “Mail !” sends through the camp; and how eagerly we peruse the dear letters from home. Now the Bible is full of letters from home, breathing a love dearer than that of father, wife, or sister. I have come to read to you a letter from our heavenly home. It speaks the language of more than human affection. Its words are those of encouragement and cheer.'
“ The face of the speaker was lighted up with that interest which is more eloquent than speech; and, in spite of the rain and chill atmosphere, not a man moved from his place until the service ended.
“I saw no more of Chaplain Fuller, until we were called to identify his body in Fredericksburg. He lay, surrounded by rebel sharpshooters, who had fallen on the same day with him. Mayor Fay immediately made arrangements to send
the body across the river to a place of safety, preparatory to sending it home.
“Chaplain Fuller will long be mourned as one gifted with peculiar power, and singularly adapted to the position which he held in the army. He will ever be remembered as a faithful Chaplain, genial in intercourse, and an earnest man. God alone knows what precious seeds must be sown, that the full harvest may come.
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. More than most of us he believed in sacrifice, - in that consecrated giving, which includes what we are as well as what we have."
Mayor Fay caused the body to be embalmed in Washington; and it was sent home to the Chaplain's friends. On Thursday morning, just a week after his decease, his lifeless remains were borne back into that home mansion which had been often animated by his living and loving presence.
“But O the heavy change, now thou art gone,
UBSEQUENT to the private ceremony at
the residence of his brother, the public funeral of Chaplain Fuller took place at the
First Church on Chauncey Street in Boston on the 24th day of December, 1862.*
“ The church was crowded with the friends of the deceased, who wished some opportunity to express their sense of loss, their respect for his memory, and their estimation of his character and services. Governor Andrew and staff, General Andrews and staff, Chief Justice Bigelow, and other prominent public men were present. The escort was performed by the Cadets.
“ The coffin was placed in front of the pulpit, and was profusely covered with the most exquisite flowers. One by one the wreaths were placed upon the lid by loving hands, as the
* The funeral was under the general direction of Messrs. William A. Krueger and Thomas S. Williams. The pall-bearers were Messrs. Samuel Smith, C. J. F. Sherman, George P. Richardson, Jr., Henry S. Dalton, Samuel B. Krogman, and 0. T. Taylor.
best expression of the cherished memories of the past. The following inscription was upon the plate:
Rev. Arthur BUCKMINSTER FULLER,
Massachusetts Volunteers ;
11th December, 1862,
Aged 40 years. • I must do something for my Country.'”* The following verses were sung from the Army Melodies :
Sleeping soft, the soldier lies
Calmly, in his bed of blood;
He his body gave to God.
In the army of the Lord,
Soft and glorious afford!
Clash and roar of conflict grim,
In the storm, is calm to him.
The first address was from Rev. Rollin H. Neale, who said:
“ My principal difficulty in speaking on this occasion is in controlling my feelings within just bounds. I have seldom heard of a death which so deeply affected me. My first impression was a sense of personal bereavement. I could truly say, 'I am distressed for thee, my brother! Very pleasant hast thou been unto me. I would not be unmindful of other bereavements which have occurred in our midst.
* Christian Register.