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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 31, 1863

This WEB site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers serve as a resource to allow the serious student to gain new perspective and insights on the War.

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JANUARY 31, 1863.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

77

THE LATE REV. LYMAN BEECHER, D.D.

THE LATE REVEREND LYMAN
BEECHER.

WE publish herewith a portrait of the REV. LYMAN BEECHER, who died on 10th January in the city of Brooklyn, at the age of eighty-seven; and we condense the following sketch of his life and services from a longer biographical memoir:

Lyman Beecher was born at New Haven, Connecticut, October 12, 1775; graduated at Yale College in 1797; and studied theology under the direction of President Dwight. In December, 1798, he was ordained pastor of a church at East Hampton, Long Island, upon a salary of $300 per annum. In 1810 he removed to the care of the first church, at Litchfield, Connecticut. Here he remained about sixteen years, during which time his remarkable qualities as a preacher and as a zealous and active minister brought him a great reputation and a remarkable influence throughout New England. In 1826 he was installed over the newly-established Hanover Street Church, Boston, and, during his residence there, devoted himself with both zeal and ability to the urgent work committed to his guidance. His ministry necessarily partook largely of a controversial character. He flung himself into the thickest of the battle, and was sustained by the confidence and fervent admiration of the religious body to which he belonged. The sincerity and spirituality of his preaching was generally acknowledged, and it was attended by decisive results, in a revival of the spirit and increase in the numbers of evangelical Christians. In 1832 the Lane Theological Seminary was established at Cincinnati, and Dr. Beecher was invited to take the direction. He carried the same strength and ardor into his new connections, and electrified a considerable part of the country by the publication, soon after his arrival, of is tract sounding the alarm of Roman Catholic supremacy at the West. He remained in Cincinnati about ten years, having, in addition to the care of the Seminary, the pastoral charge of the Second Presbyterian Church. After leaving there he resided for many years in Boston, without fixed employment, but with undiminished intelligence and vigor, even at a very advanced age. During the more active portion of his life few or none of his profession were better known to the people of the United States, and it is probable that the labors of no other have produced a more immediate and apparent effect. His fame as an orator was widely spread.

Of Dr. Beecher's thirteen children not a few have attained to eminence as writers and ministers. Miss Catherine Beecher, Dr. Edward Beecher, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Revs. George, Charles, Thomas, William, and James Beecher are all known in certain spheres of public usefulness, and each in his specialty has done service in his day and generation.

Of his son Henry, Dr. Beecher was peculiarly fond and proud, and during the last ten years of his life has been more or less with him. About five years since he became a permanent resident of Brooklyn, living within a stone's-throw of his son's house and church. At the latter place he was for some time an honored landmark of a former generation, and an object of universal esteem and affection. Latterly, however, during the past three years, his body, originally so erect and sinewy, had rapidly failed.

At the close of the morning sermon on January 11, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher paused a moment, and then, in a voice tremulous with deep emotion, which sent a thrill throughout the vast congregation, he proceeded to say, in substance:

Last night, at five o'clock, at the ripe age of eighty-seven, my venerated father went to his eternal rest. His life was singularly blameless—simple, constant, full of the noblest Christian heroism, faithfulness, and devotion to the cause to which he early consecrated his powers. For about a year and a half his mental condition has been exceedingly feeble and child-like. He has been like a traveler who had packed his trunk in anticipation of a journey,

and, expecting every moment to start, could not unpack it. But now the long-expected journey has been made. He has reached the place where, all his mental powers unlocked, not as here on earth, but with every faculty brightened, and every sense glorified, he can employ them as never before in the service of his divine Master. He had long been ready to depart. Almost the last sentient act of his life occurred about two years ago, when, on his recovery from a severe sickness, he called for "that passage." After reading a multitude of passages, for he was unable to designate the particular one he desired, the reader opened, by the good providence of God, to these verses: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only—"

They were proceeding to read further, but my father cried "Stop! that is not for me! This is my testimony; write it down as mine." And I think he could use those

words as fully and as justly as the man that wrote them. One of the most touching characteristics of his later years was his affectionate remembrance of his early associates in the Christian warfare. His heart clung with peculiar tenderness to the memory of Taylor, Evarts, Cornelius, and Wisner. He loved them all, but especially Taylor. And in his last years, and in his dying hours, his heart turned not to Boston, the scene of his brightest triumphs; not to Brooklyn, where for so many years he has lived so near our beautiful Greenwood, from where shall rise so many on the Last Day, when the trumpet shall sound which only they who are called shall hear; not even to Litchfield, where lies buried the wife of his youth, for whom he cherished all the tender affection which his loving nature could lavish upon an object; but his last request was, "Lay me by the side of brother Taylor." And there, in the old graveyard at Hew Haven, shall repose side by side the bodies of these two Christian soldiers and heroes, until the day when they shall rise glorified and incorruptible, to dwell forever before the face of God in heaven.

THE ATTACK OF VICKSBURG.

THE picture given below illustrates one of the most daring feats of arms ever attempted in the progress of this war, and not surpassed by anything in the annals of warfare. When General Morgan L. Smith's division of General Sherman's command undertook to storm the enemy's works on the banks of the bayou in the rear of Vicksburg, the Sixth Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Blood, was detailed for the advance. The enemy's works were very strong, there being is steep bank of thirty feet high to ascend, fortified with breast-works and rifle-pits, with a heavy force drawn up in line of battle behind them. The only approach was by a road across a sand-bar in the bayou, exposed to a double cross-fire from the enemy, and the only way of ascending the bank was by cutting a road. An order was received for two companies to be sent over in advance for the purpose of cutting the road —one with picks and shovels, and the other with muskets to protect the workers front the enemy's sharp-shooters in the rifle-pits over their heads. Company F, Captain Boutell, and Company K, Captain Buck, were the first to volunteer, the peril being so great that Colonel Blood was reluctant to order a detail. Their services were accepted, and the two companies of heroes went across under a most terrific fire, which left more than a tenth of their number stretched upon the sand. On getting across they immediately commenced operations on the bank, and very soon made a large excavation, almost sufficient for the purpose, when the position of the enemy's forces and batteries were found to be such that the further prosecution of the attempt would be certain destruction to all concerned in it, and without accomplishing any thing. In the mean time Lieutenant-Colonel Blood, with the balance of the regiment, had crossed over to their support, but with still greater loss, one-sixth of his force being killed or wounded.

Shortly afterward, the attempt being found impracticable, the regiment was recalled; and under cover of our guns, and favored by approaching darkness and a heavy shower of rain, succeeded in returning without further loss. During the whole time the regiment was crossing, and while it was under the bank, it was exposed to a heavy crossfire which threatened it with annihilation; but it never faltered or hesitated, but marched steadily on, apparently heedless of the storm of bullets which assailed it. Private M'Gee was shot four times, and thirteen bullets penetrated his clothing. As he lay upon the bar, unable to proceed, the enemy's balls still came whistling around him, and to protect himself he scooped a hole with his hands in the sand and crawled into it. The Sixth Regiment Missouri Volunteers has certainly won a right to a niche in the temple of fame. Notwithstanding the ill success of the attack on Vicksburg, such exploits as this will redeem the history of the affair in the memory of our soldiers.

THE BATTLE AT VICKSBURG—GALLANT CHARGE OF THE SIXTH MISSOURI REGIMENT.

Lyman Beecher
Battle of Vicksburg

 

 

 

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