The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, #19

The following excerpt is from the diary of Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch.

Saturday, Jan 11th, 1863

The close of the year ’62 brought to mind its course, as one of great public trials, and of some—though tempered with great mercies—in my private relation. The entrance of ’63 was marked by an event which is sublime in the hopes it yields, though not without its great perils, - the definite Proclamation of freedom to the slaves. Who dared to hope for such rapid progress in public sentiment as now to authorize this step, two years ago?

Military events of late, of chief interest, have been the gallant but unfortunate battle of Fredericksburg, the victory at Manfreesboro, and a partial repulse at Vicksburg, - with the landing of Banks’ expedition at New Orleans. At Fredericksburg fell in battle my former neighbor & friend, Rev. Arthur B. Fuller. He was among the volunteers to force a landing. I question the propriety of a clergyman taking the place of the common soldier; but I believe he acted not only by the impulse of his brave heart, but with the feeling that he ought to set an example to others in all things which he encouraged them to do. In the same battle died my young parishioner, John. H. Blackswain, - a good and affectionate boy. W. Edward Blake, another young volunteer from my parish, died in a hospital near the same place, shortly after. His remains were brought on, & his funeral numerously attended, at my church.


permalink | Published: Friday, 11 January, 2013, 1:00 AM


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