Joseph Palmer.

Necrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 online

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under the instruction of Mr. Augustus Howe Buck. During
his collegiate course, he met with a severe accident in the streets
of Boston ; having been knocked down by a runaway horse,
whereby his spine was injured, and from which he never fully
recovered. In consequence of this, he was interrupted in his
studies in college for a considerable time, and was thus pre
vented from gaining such a standing of scholarship as his talents
would have enabled him to take. Immediately after graduat
ing, he entered the Law School at Cambridge, where he re
mained until his impaired health obliged him to leave ; and his
bright prospects of entering upo the active duties of life were
thus early extinguished to enter into the brighter scenes of an
other existence. The great charm of his genial nature was his
kindness of heart and perfect disinterestedness. The sunny
cheerfulness of his character sustained him through the weary
days and sleepless nights of his long illness, and seemed to
triumph over the insidious malady to which he finally succumbed.
His tastes were simple and pure ; and they reflected the charac
ter of his mind, which was allied to every thing noble, gener
ous, and true, and were strikingly exemplified in his fondness
for whatever was most refined and elevated in literature and

1859. FRANCIS CURTIS HOPKINSON died in Stanley Hos
pital, in Newbern, N.C., 13 February, 1863, aged .24 years.
He was the eldest son of Hon. Thomas (H.C. 1830) and
Corinna Aldrich (Prentiss) Hopkinson, and was born in Keene,
N.H., 11 June, 1838. He was fitted for college in the Boston
Latin School, where he was distinguished for his acquirements
in the classics. During his college-course, he was distinguished
for his facility in English composition and Latin versification,

1862-63.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 513

for which he took a Bowdoin prize. He also contributed several
humorous articles for the " Harvard Magazine." After graduat
ing, he was employed for some time in writing critical notices
for the "Boston Daily Advertiser," and was soon afterwards
engaged for a similar service for the "Atlantic Monthly." He
was at this time a student-at-law in the office of Horace Gray,
jun. (H.C. 1845), and the late Wilder D wight (H.C. 1853) ;
and was completing his studies at the Law School in Cambridge,
when the call. came for the nine-months men. He then felt that
the war was a matter of self-defence and of honor to the North.
He enlisted, in August, 1862, from Cambridge, in Company F,
Massachusetts Forty-fourth, as a private. He was in both of
Gen. Foster s expeditions, and was warmly engaged at the battle
of Whitehall, near Goldsborough, N.C. In that battle he fought
with Company A, his own company not being engaged ; and he
was highly praised by his officers. He caught a fever while on
picket on the 18th of January ; and, during his entire illness,
he was delirious, with very brief intervals. From the time he
enlisted, he seemed to have a strong presentiment that he should
not return ; and he remarked to a friend, that he hoped he should
not die in a hospital. It seemed, however, to Infinite Wisdom,
that his wish in this respect should not be granted. Esteemed by
his officers, his wit, vivacity, cheerfulness, and good nature were
the traits which endeared him to his companions of the barrack.
By them he was elected to preside at the dinner given by the
company upon Thanksgiving day, when his few touching re
marks showed how dearly he loved the home which he had sacri
ficed so readily to what he deemed his duty.

the battle of Cedar Mountain, near Culpepper, in Virginia,
9 August, 1862, at the age of twenty-four years. He was born
in Boston, 16 March, 1838, and was the first-born child of his
parents, Nathaniel Bradstreet (H.C. 1831) and Sarah Eliza
(Smith) Shurtleff, both of whom are now living in Boston, their
native city. His grandparents, on his father s side, were Dr.
Benjamin (B.U. 1796) and Sally (Shaw) ShurtlefF, who took



up their abode in Boston on marriage, about the commencement
of the century, leaving the county of Plymouth, where their
ancestors had dwelt since the first settlement of the Old Colony,
nearly all of the most remote of them having come to New Eng
land in either the "May Flower," "Fortune," or "Ann," the three
earliest vessels that conveyed the Pilgrim forefathers to these
shores. On his maternal side, his grandparents were Hiram and
Sarah Eemington (Beal) Smith, also of Boston.

The subject of this notice received his early school-training in
the Boston public schools, and took a Franklin medal in 1850
at the Adams School, then kept in Mason Street ; and another
in 1855 at the public Latin School, where he was fitted for col
lege under the pupilage of that eminent scholar and teacher,
Francis Gardner (H.C. 1831), and from which he immediately
entered the university, chumming the first year with his school
mate and classmate, Clinton A. Cilley, and rooming alone the
remainder of the college course. On leaving college, he entered
active life with all those high hopes which naturally belong to
youth, ambition, cultivation, and brilliant talents. Even in his
college and in his schoolboy days, the determined character and
firm-set principles which marked him as a man shone forth. The
eldest son of a family possessing an unusually large share of the
Puritan blood of the first settlers of New England, and long
identified with Protestantism, he became a Roman Catholic while
at school, and for the remainder of his life was a devoted adhe
rent of that communion, humbling himself to his new faith, and
gathering around him large numbers of the young and neglected,
to whom he gave instruction, and over whom he watched with
the strictest vigilance and almost parental care. Immediately
after leaving college, he entered the novitiate of the order of
Jesuits, at Frederick City, in Maryland, and there continued until
the following February, when, failing in health, in consequence
of the strict personal discipline, hard study, enfeebling depriva
tions, and self-sacrificing labors, he was obliged to undergo, he
set aside, for a while, his great purpose of life ; and thereupon
entered the law office of William Brigham (H.C. 1829) in

1862-63.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 515

Boston, where he was making good progress in his studies when
the present unnatural rebellion broke out.

Having an ardent temperament, and being an enthusiast for
the unsullied preservation of the constitution, and for the union
of the states, which he warmly advocated by his public acts and
speeches, he, on the 20th of April, 1861 (the day after the brutal
assault upon the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers by
a mob in Baltimore) , determined to devote himself to the cause of
his country, and tendered his services to Fletcher Webster (H.C.
1833), to assist in enlisting the Twelfth Eegiment for the three-
years service ; and, on the following Monday morning, opened
papers in the Merchants Exchange, in Boston, for that purpose.
So great was the success of this effort, that, in less than three
days from the opening of these papers on the 22d of April, the
regiment was filled and the lists closed, men enough for sixteen
full companies having offered for the service ; and the organiza
tion of the regiment was completed in the short space of sixteen
days ; for, on the 7th of May following, the Webster Regiment (for
by this name it will ever be remembered) was uniformed, armed,
officered, and in camp at Fort Warren, in Boston harbor.
Mr. Shurtleff, who had served as a private in the Independent
Company of Cadets of Boston, was elected by Company D, which
he joined, as captain ; and the company, in consequence of being
adopted by the Latin School, took for name " The Latin-School
Guard." Nearly three long and dull months to the soldiers, who
were anxious for service, were spent by this regiment at Fort
Warren ; and, although it was sooner mustered into the United-
States service, it was not until the 23d of July, 1861, that this
magnificent regiment, whose excellence for drill and discipline
had become famous, left Fort Warren for the seat of war. A
short time before leaving the fort, the Latin-School boys pre
sented their adopted company with a classic standard, constructed
after the ancient form of that borne by the Roman maniple. The
following extract from Capt. Shurtleff s almost prophetic speech
of acceptance will clearly exhibit his feelings, and the truly
heroic and noble sentiments which governed every action of his
life. He spoke in behalf of his company, as follows :


" I hardly know in what way best to return to you, my fellow-
schoolmates, on behalf of the Latin-School Guard, our sincere and
heartfelt thanks. I thank you for your sympathy for me, and more
especially my command. Our thanks for the standard which you have
presented us, much as we shall prize it as an emblem of the esteem
in which we are held by the members of the Latin School, are as
nothing in comparison with the gratitude we feel toward you for the
innumerable favors you have shown us in a way in which we are much
more likely to be neglected. Presentations of banners and swords,
where a grand display is to be made and speeches exchanged, are very
pleasant things ; while the more substantial favors, such as we have
received from you, are too apt to be overlooked and neglected."
After referring to the causes of the delays which the regiment had
suffered in getting into the field for active service, he continued,
referring to the standard : " But, sir, our eagle, upon which the sun
smiles now so auspiciously, differs in one marked respect from the old
Roman eagle. That was the signal for carnage. Wherever that
eagle was seen to float, chains and slavery were sure to follow. Ours
is our own noble American eagle, which raises its talons to strike
those only who destroy the holy Temple of Freedom. Yes, we will
i strike till the last armed foe expires. Our eagle will strike his beak
into the brain of every man wljo shall be found with arms in his hands,
lifted against the Constitution of the country ; but, unlike the Roman
eagle, when victory has crowned our banners, when our flag waves
proudly once more, then his thirst for blood will be satiated, his talons
will sink into their place, and he will return to you, no longer the fierce
bird of war, but the emblem of the victory of truth and freedom over
error and oppression. Although I can never hope to meet my school
mates again with my ranks as full as they are to-day (for we are liable
to the chances of war ; and it may be that I, who now address you,
will lay my bones beneath some Southern soil), it may be that these,
my children, for whom I would lay down my life, not one of them
will ever return ; but, should that be our fate, it will be, at least, a
glorious one. We ask only, that, if it be our lot to fall in the cause
of liberty and justice, it may be remembered by you all, that for
liberty we fought, and for liberty we fell ; and that our eagle shall be
returned to you ; and that upon the walls of your beautiful hall, where
many an ancient Roman relic hangs, you may place this eagle ; and
when some visitor shall look upon it, all grimed with smoke and
blood, not blood of Gaul or Allobrogian, but of our own citizens

1862-63.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 517

\vlio fought and bled for freedom, and ask its history, some future
master of the school may say, In the year 1861, a son of the great
expounder of the Constitution went forth to fight the battles of his
country, and under his command went a company representing the
Latin School. They fought, triumphed, and died ; and that eagle was
their standard. "

From the time Capt. Shurtleff left Massachusetts, until his
decease, he was constantly engaged in the service, except a few
weeks in the subsequent September, when he was brought home,
reduced nearly to death by the malarious fever so prevalent in
western Maryland. From 26 January to 24 February, 1862,
the last month that the Webster Regiment formed part of the
division under Major-Gen. Banks, Capt. Shurtleff was detailed
from his command to act as divisionary judge-advocate, a duty
which he performed to the highest satisfaction of his command
ing general and those under him. The regiment was not put
under fire until August, 1862 ; and it was then, on the 9th of
that month, at the battle of Cedar Mountain, that Capt. Shurt
leff his company having been placed in an advanced position
was slain, the first to fall, as he was the first to enlist in its
number. The regiment, having fallen into an ambush, had
been ordered to lie down to avoid the fire of the enemy ; and his
solicitude for the safety of his men cost him his life. He raised
himself upon his elbow to see if they were protected, received a
ball in his breast, had only time to utter, " I am shot ! Mary !
pardon ! " and was dead before he could be carried from the
field. His dying expressions were those of a true man, who, in
the solemn moment when he felt that he had given his earthly
all for the cause he served, humbly and touchingly reposed in
spirit with the God he worshipped. His body was conveyed by a
trusty servant to Washington, where it was embalmed, and
afterwards transported to Boston ; where, on the 16th of August,
in accordance with his own request, the funeral services were
performed in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in the
imposing manner of the Jesuits, by a high-mass requiem. The
remains were attended to Mount Auburn by the Cadets and a
large concourse of citizens and official persons. And there they


repose, his last resting-place being marked by the emblem of the
cross to which in early life he had consecrated himself.

This notice cannot be better closed than with the following
appropriate tribute to his pure and noble life, from the pen of a
young friend who knew him well :

" And so was laid to rest all that remained here of Nathaniel B.
Shurtleff, jun., in the first morn of life, well educated, brilliant, enthu
siastic, and courageous. Early in college-life, he took a religious stand
that marked him there of all places as singular indeed ; but he
never swerved from his position and belief to the day of his death.
He was fixed in his opinions, and never hesitated to avow them.

" Brought up a Protestant, at an early age he became a Catholic,
and unhesitatingly placed himself at the service of the church. For
whatever labor he was needed, he was ready. He worked energeti
cally and faithfully among the poor of his city ; he, with the reputa
tion of being the best writer and most eloquent speaker of his class
at Harvard, devotedly toiled in the Sunday school, teaching the poor
and ignorant ; he rallied men around him as he drew his sword ; he
offered his life to his country, and his country has accepted and
received the sacrifice. His last words were, not of home or earthly
endearments, but of spiritual yearnings.

" He Avho, being a Protestant, condemns, in voice or heart, Nathan
iel B. Shurtleff, let him lead a more devoted life, possess a more obedi
ent spirit, live more earnestly, die more heroically ; let his last words
show that his daily thoughts have been on heaven and with heavenly
persons, and then let him leave the judgment with his Maker. For
my own part, if I do not believe his creed as he did, yet do I consider
his example as truly noble, manly, and pious. We may be happy to
leave behind us as pleasant memories, memories that will only
brighten when the radiance of eternal sunlight shall be poured upon
the acts of each man s life."

1860. Capt. EDWARD GARDINER ABBOTT was killed in
the battle at Cedar Mountain, Ya., 9 August, 1862, at the age
of 21 years. He was the oldest son of Hon. Josiah Gardiner
(H.C. 1832) and Caroline (Livermore) Abbott, and was born
in Lowell, Mass., 29 September, 1840. He was fitted for
college at the Lowell High School. After leaving college, he
began the study of law in the office of Samuel A. Brown, Esq.,

1862-03.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 519

of Lowell. As soon as the rebellion broke out, he was one of
the first to offer himself for the defence of his country. He
raised the first company in the Second Regiment, under Col.
George H. Gordon, of which he was appointed captain ; was
the first captain who was sworn into the service in this state,
and devoted himself with characteristic energy to the duties of
his new profession. At the time of Gen. Banks s retreat, in the
spring of 1862, he commanded two companies with a gallantry
and coolness which elicited warm commendation from the officers
on the field. His nature was manly and brave, and his affec
tions were strong. In a postscript to a letter to his father,
dated 2 August, perhaps the last letter he ever wrote, he
says, "I wish to tell you how deeply affected I feel by your
kindness in this and all other matters ; and I promise you, that,
with God s help, I wilj never do any thing to cause you to be
sorry for it, or ashamed of me." His father, in a letter to the
mayor of Lowell, tendering his thanks to the people of that city
for their deep sympathy with him and his family in tneir be
reavement, and in which he speaks of his son, who fell so gal
lantly doing his duty, says, "I have no certain information of
the facts immediately connected with my son s death, except,
generally, from the fact of his position as senior captain, his
company was much exposed. His general writes me that he
saw my son fall ; that his countenance in death was as r proud
and defiant, though placid, as when he marched to the fight.
His colonel, among other things, said his voice, in giving his
command to his men, in the thickest of the fight, was as cheer
ful and calm as if on parade. In a pencilled note from my
other son, in the same regiment, he says, Ned fell while cheer
ing on his men. I think I can add that he has repaid the many
kindnesses he and his command have received from Lowell, by so
acting that his native city can point to nothing in his life to be
ashamed of."

1860. Lieut. EDGAR MARSHALL NEWCOMB died at Fal-
mouth, Ya., 20 December, 1862, from wounds received in the
battle of Fredericksburg on the 13th of the same month, aged
22 years. He \vas son of John J. and Mary S. Newcomb, and


was born in Troy, N.Y., 2 October, 1840 ; but his parents re
moved to Boston when he was a few months old, where his life
was passed. He was fitted for college, partly at Chauncy-
Hall School, and partly at the Latin School, in Boston. He
held a respectable rank of scholarship in his class ; but, before
his collegiate course was completed, his health became so much
impaired, that he left in his senior year, before commencement,
and went to Europe in the summer of 1860. He spent the
autumn in travelling on foot through England and France, with
the hope of improving his physical condition. It had long been
his purpose to become a minister of the gospel ; but on his
return from Europe, his health being still delicate, he entered
his father s counting-room, and engaged in active business for
a while. When the war broke out, with a generous disre
gard of his pecuniary interests, and of a home surrounded
by all the attractions that make life pleasing, he came for
ward to volunteer as a soldier in the ranks, to defend the
government of his fathers, and assert its rightful supremacy.
He enlisted as a private in the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regi
ment when it was first formed, shared its. fortunes, and con
tributed to its glory. Earning his promotion, step by step, he
became sergeant-major, second- and finally first- lieutenant.
That he did his duty as a faithful and brave officer, was fully
shown by those who were with him in the hour of peril. Capt.
Chadwick, in whose company he served, in alluding to his
death, wrote as follows : "He was wounded in the legs in the
fight of 13 December, before the batteries and rifle-pits on the
enemy s left. The ball struck the brass band of his sword,
passed through the left leg, and grazed the right. He was
wounded while holding the American flag high above his head,
having just given up the state-colors. Both color-sergeants
had been shot down," seven in succession. Other accounts
say, "And Edgar sprang forward, and picked up both flags, hold
ing one in each hand, and called upon the men to stand by their
colors. No braver officer or man ever stood upon the battle
field than Lieut. Edgar M. Newcomb ; and I am the more
proud to say so, from the fact of the association existing be-

1862-63.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 521

tween us. He was loved and respected before ; but that love
and respect was more than doubled by his daring bravery and
unflinching courage." His letters to his friends at home illus
trated his enthusiastic devotion to the cause of his country. He
had passed with his regiment through fourteen battles and skir
mishes, unscathed. He frequently officiated as chaplain of his
regiment ; preaching to the men, and holding prayer-meetings.
Yet his modesty and reserve were such that he never mentioned
the fact in his letters, and it was only learned by his friends
after his decease. To his brother, who was with him in his
dying hours, he remarked, "You have a work to perform in this
life, and I will be with you. I feel that I shall be nearer to my
friends after death than ever." Retaining his senses perfectly
until his death, he called the men and his fellow-soldiers to his
side, and gave to each a dying message, to meet him in heaven.
Dying there, in the sound of battle, he devised his property
equally to the societies for home and foreign missions.

1860. Lieut. -Col. CHAKLES REDINGTON MUDGE was
killed in the battle of Gettysburg, 2 July, 1863, aged 23 years.
He was son of Edward Eedington and Caroline A. (Patten)
Mudge, and was born in New- York city, 22 October, 1839.
He was fitted for college at the private school of Thomas Gama
liel Bradford (H.C. 1822) in Boston. With the exception
of a few months passed in preparing to enter business with his
father, he was in the service of his country, having joined the
Second Massachusetts Infantry, the first three-years regi
ment raised for the war. He went into the service with his
whole soul. He was commissioned as first-lieutenant ; was pro
moted to be captain, 8 July, 1862 ; and was subsequently
made lieutenant-colonel. While encamped at Brook Farm,
he slept on the bare ground to prepare himself for the life
which he was to lead. His regiment was spoken of as a
model for its admirable drill. When they covered the rear
of Gen. Banks s retreat, Col. Mudge was with them in their
dangerous path ; and in the battle of South Mountain he re
ceived his first wound. The officers of his regiment never
failed to express their opinion of his military qualities and


abilities in the highest terms. But there are other traits in his
character which will be remembered with the warmest affection
by his young contemporaries. In his college-course, his popu
larity was universal ; and he was a favorite in every clique, and
in the most dissimilar sets. Every one was his friend in need ;
and no one would have hesitated a moment to have asked his
services, with the certainty of a kind reception.

1861. Lieut. PARDON ALMY was killed in the battle at
Bull Kun, Va., 30 August, 1862, at the age of 26 years. He
was son of Pardon and Mary (Cook) Almy, and was born
in Little Compton, R.I., 4 July, 1836. His father was son of
Sanford and Lydia (Gray) Almy, and his mother was daughter
of Samuel and Hannah (Little) Cook. All his ancestors have
been residents of Rhode Island for some generations back.

The subject of this notice was fitted for college at Pierce
Academy in Middleborough, Mass. He held a very respectable
rank of scholarship in his class. Immediately after graduating,
President Felton gave him a letter to Gov. Andrew ; and the
governor authorized him to recruit a company in New Bedford,
for three years or the war : but as the military enthusiasm
had not been kindled there, the accomplishment of his purpose
appearing too uncertain, and feeling that his duties were in the
service of his country in the army, he accepted a lieutenant s
commission in the Eighteenth Regiment of Massachusetts Vol
unteers, Col. James Barnes, where he served until his death.
Some idea of his reputation and standing in the service may be

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 47 of 49)