Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Harvard memorial biographies .. online

. (page 25 of 44)
Online LibraryThomas Wentworth HigginsonHarvard memorial biographies .. → online text (page 25 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

on terms of intimate friendship with him, and during the last three
years have learned to love and respect him more than almost any
man I ever knew. In everything he said and did he was always
manly, honorable, and noble ; he attracted respect and attention
■wherever he served, both from superiors and inferiors. We had a
review at Fayetteville a few days before the battle. As the regi-
ment passed the reviewing officer, General E. Slocum pointed out
Captain Grafton to General Sherman, mentioning, I think, that he
' was your brother, and telling him what a fine officer he was. On
the night of the battle some one told Sherman that he had been
killed that morning. The General said, ' What, that splendid fel-
low that Slocum pointed out?' and seemed to feel his death as a
personal loss.

" I have seen and noticed the faces of a great many men as they
stood up. to face their death, but I have never seen on any of them
such an expression of fearless gallantry as was on Captain Grafton's
when I gave him his last order. I was quite near him when I gave
it; he looked me full in the face to catch every word, then, fully un-
derstanding what I wanted, he turned and gave the necessary or-
ders. I shall never forget that face, so cheerful, so handsome, and

VOL. II. 12" R

274 Harvard Memorial Biographies.

yet so full of stern determination to do or die. The records of our
regiment can show the name of no braver man or better officer.
" I am very truly yours,

"C. F. Morse."

Captain Grafton's character was thus described by one who
knew him well : —

" Endowed by nature with a powerful frame and vigorous consti-
tution, and of a cheerful and sanguine temperament, Captain Graf-
ton was well suited for a soldier's life. He was eminently a cou-
rageous man, not only physically, but morally and mentally coura-
geous. He never fell into that attitude of discouragement and dissat-
isfaction into which so many brave and good officers have at times
fallen during the long course of this varied and at times disheart-
ening struggle. To see his strong, handsome face, his firm step,
his resolute carriage, and to hear his cheery voice, was at such times
a cordial and an encouragement. He never wavered in his firm be-
lief in the success of the cause. He never indulged in that unfa-
vorable criticism of the administration, or of the generals employed
by it, which has been at times so rife in our army. He never
attended much to political matters, but his sound judgment ,early
saw the necessity or propriety of many of the measures which for a
time threatened so greatly to weaken the confidence of the army in
the government. He was a strong, clear-headed man, hopeful and
courageous. He enjoyed the comforts and luxuries of life as much
as any man ; but the cheerfulness and zeal with which he would go
through fatigue and exposure, and brave danger, were never sur-
passed. In the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas he suf-
fered greatly from rheumatism, and his pluck in persistently march-
ing with his company, and refusing the offers of a horse or an am-
bulance which were made him, was perfectly characteristic of

The announcement of his death, with that of Lieutenant
Storrow, who fell on the same field, was received with peculiar
emotion among a large circle of those who had known these
two young men in their native city, — from the very_ fact that
the war seemed so nearly ended and their perils almost over.
They were almost the last of the Harvard men to fall on the
field ; and the historian of the Great March wrote truly of Cap-
tain Grafton, " He could not have found a nobler death, nor
could we have lost a nobler soul.'

Samuel Cushman Haven. 275


Second Lieutenant l62d New York Vols. (Infantry), September 20, 1862;
First Lieutenant, Februaiy, 1863 ; died at Baton Rouge Hospital, La., June
23, 1863, of disease contracted in the service.

SAMUEL CUSHMAN HAVEN was bom at Nauvoo,
Illinois, February 19, 1843. His parents' were James Hen-
derson Haven and Elizabeth, daughter of the late Hon. Samuel
Cushman, both natives of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Through his father he was descended from the venerable Sam-
uel Haven, D. D., for more than half a century pastor of a
church in Portsmouth, and from the Sheafe family, which for
several generations, held there a prominent position in social
and public life ; while through his mother he traced a direct
■ line of ancestry to the Elder Cushman, so celebrated in the
early history of the Plymouth Colony. Mr. Haven's residence
in Ihe Mormon city was very brief. He soon removed to
Quincy, Illinois, and thence to St. Louis, which was the earli-
est residence of which the subject of this memoir retained a

Cushman, — as he was always called by his family, — though
not morbidly precocious, exhibited, from the first, plain tokens
of mental quickness, activity, and vigor. His father was by
education and profession a chemist, and the son early took a
vivid interest in the father's pursuits. He recalled with entire
distinctness in after years the details of experiments and chemi-
cal processes which had been exhibited and explained to him in
his early childhood. His curiosity was thus early awakened
with reference to machinery, the applications of steam-power,
and the various industrial operations that lay within the range
of the long walks on which his father was accustomed to take
him. His friends at that period cherished high expectations
of his future, and discerned in his observing, reasoning,
thoughtful boyhood the promise, if not of surpassing eminence,
at least o^ substantial ability and usefulness.

276 Harvard Memorial Biographies.

In the summer of 1848 his mother brought him to Ports-
mouth, with the design of spending the winter with her father.
On the 26th of January, 1849, Mr. Haven died suddenly of
cholera, and his widow and her children for the ensuing six
years lived together in Portsmouth. During this period Cush-
man was under the charge of several different teachers, and
was with all of them a favorite pupil. At the same time he
gained possession of Silliman's Chemistry, and, it is believed,
studied it understandingly, without the aid of an instructor;
while, with such simple apparatus as he could command or
construct, at little or no cost, he repeated many of the chemi-
cal experiments which he had witnessed at St. Louis, and tried
many others indicated or suggested by his text-book. He also
attempted by himself the study of the German language, which
proved a profitable mental exercise, though he then attained no
great proficiency in it.

With a rare amount of scientific and general knowledge for
one of his age, and with singularly studious and reflective
habits, yet with a rather desultory school education, he was
placed, in the autumn of 1855, at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Here, without confining himself to the prescribed course, he
soon formed the habit of regular and systematic study. He
assumed and steadily maintained a high place in his class,
while his conduct evinced that he was under the control of the
purest principles. He had at once the confidence of his in-
structors and the love of his fellow-students. Mirthful, fond
of play, with an already outcropping vein of wit and humor, he
was far enough from being a bookworm, though the extent and
variety of his converse with books might have made him appear
so. He took a very active interest in " The Golden Branch,"
— the old academy debating-society, — whose exercises gave
at once strength, direction, and culture to a habit of argumen-
tative conversation which characterized' him from early years.
Here, too, it may be supposed that he first practised the art
of English composition, though his Exeter themes, still pre-
served, manifest a correctness of diction and a maturity of
thought which would have done credit to one several years his
senior. *

Samuel Cushman Haven. 277

At Exeter he remained four years, completing the sub-
collegiate course of study, and then pursuing with an ad-
vanced class the course of the Freshman year in college.
In 1859 he entered Harvard University as Sophomore. His
three years at Cambridge were eminently happy. Domesti-
cated with near kindred, who fully appreciated him and
strongly sympathized with his tastes and pursuits, he was
relieved of the loneliness and exempted from the temptations
(if temptations they would have been to him) of the barrack-
life which to most young men is a sad but inevitable ne-
cessity of our college system. He was rather a diligent
learner than a hard student. He did not aim especially
at college rank, though, as he was conscientiously faithful
in all his college work, it was impossible that he should not
attain a high rank, even if he fell short of the leading
place which his partial friends believe might have been his.
He read many of the best books both on the subjects con-
nected with the academic course and in general literature ;
and always seemed solicitous to look beyond his text-books
and to follow out the subjects of inquiry suggested by the

As may be supposed, his early fondness for chemistry was
now renewed ; and under Professor Cooke's tuition he pur-
sued his favorite study with avidity and with signal success,
acquiring with his theoretical knowledge skill in the manip-
ulations of the laboratory. He distinguished himself also as
a mathematical scholar, taking the advanced mathematical
course with Professor Peirce during his Junior and Senior
years. At the close of his Senior year he received the Gray
prize for proficiency in mathematics, — a prize the awarding
of which depended on a prolonged and thorough examina-
tion. In addition to this he received, by vote of the Faculty,
high college appointments at the Junior and Senior Exhibi-
tions, and at Commencement. His performances on these
occasions, and his themes and forensic^, indicate the habit
of independent and continuous thought, and a command of
words which would with competent practice have made him

2/8 Harvard Memorial Biographies.

an able and efficient writer. This is especially the case
with his Dissertation at the Senior Exhibition of his Class,
on "The Judicial Corruption of Lord Bacon," — a very happy
discussion and refutation (in brief) of Hep worth Dixon's
defence of his noble client.

It is believed that Haven passed through college with the
cordial esteem of all who knew him, and the affectionate
regard of all who knew him well. His character had devel-
oped itself with no unlovely attribute, and with no habit or
tendency that could give the most watchful friend uneasiness
as to his future career. Of the sentiments of his fellow-
students towards him there can be no better proof than his
having been chosen a member of at least four college socie-
ties, of which one only ■ — the Phi Beta Kappa — professes to
follow any rule in its elections except the elective affinities
of its . members. At the same time he had every college
honor to which he was eligible, together with numerous tokens
of the sincerest esteem and of strong personal friendship
from those of his teachers with whom he was brought into
intimate relations. Though one of the youngest of his Class,
he had a thorough manliness of spirit and character, and
had learned to look on life, not as a mere play-ground, but
as an arena for earnest and faithful endeavor. Yet with a
manifest tendency to topics of graver discourse, he retained
a boy's love of fun and frolic ; and in the commerce of joke
and repartee, in young and gay society, he left no one his
debtor. No doubt a somewhat premature manliness may
have grown out of his position as his mother's eldest son,
her natural protector and helper, and capable by example
and influence of moulding the character of a younger brother.
Then, too, he shared with many others that rapid maturity
of thought and action which come through the influence of
patriotic feeling.

On graduating he was for a little time in serious doubt as to
the course which it was right and fitting for him to pursue.
His strong sense of his country's rightful claims upon her
youth led him from the first to look to the military service as a

Samuel Cushman Haven. 279

part of duty. On the other hand, there was not an element in
his nature or a habit of his life which did not seem averse from
the military profession. There were, moreover, circumstances
which at that time rendered his sympathy and services pecu-
liarly needful to his mother, and for her sake rather than his own
he delayed a decision in which she had so precious a stake.
Meanwhile his friends sought to obtain employment for him as
a teacher, but were repeatedly disappointed when they supposed
that they had made success certain.

In August, 1862, about a month after his graduation, he re-
solved to enter the army, and went immediately to New York
to put himself under the tuition and drill of Colonel Tompkins,
being determined to qualify himself thoroughly for his duty
before seeking or accepting a commission. In connection with
the regular exercises of his novitiate, he did all in his power to
prepare his system for exposure and fatigue, taking long walks,
and simplifying his mode of living in every possible way.' He
was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in Company B, One
Hundred and Sixty-second Regiment New York State Vol-
unteers, the commission dating from September 20, 1862. In
October he joined his regiment, then waiting orders at Ricker's
Island, in New York Harbor. Thence the regiment was first
ordered to Washington, next to Annapolis, and then to Hamp-
ton Roads. While lying near Fortress Monroe, the superior
officers of his company left him for a little while in command,
and during that period his courage and presence of mind were
severely tested by the mutinous behavior of a portion of his
men; but by his resolute bearing and prompt and decisive
measures, order was soon restored, and the recusants returned
to duty. After a few days' detention the body of troops to
which he was attached sailed for the Mississippi. They en-
countered a heavy storm off Cape Hatteras, stopped for coal at
Key West, and arrived at New Orleans on the i6th of Decem-
ber. They immediately proceeded up the river to Carrollton,
where they went into camp and remained till March.

During this interval, on a brief expedition to Plaquemines
with two companies besides his own. Lieutenant Haven found

28o' Harvard Memorial Biographies.

himself under fire, and the troops remained by night for
several hours exposed to the artillery of a United States gun-
boat, whose officers took them for Rebels. In February, while
as officer of the guard he was engaged in quelling a distur-
bance in the camp by night, a stand of arms was thrown down,
and a ball, thus accidentally discharged from a loaded musket,,
was lodged in his leg, inflicting a flesh-wound which rendered
it necessary for him to go into a hospital in New Orleans.
The day after this accident he was appointed to a First Lieu-
tenancy. His early promotion, when we consider his extreme
youth and his lack of influential friends, affords no slight cor-
roboration of the statement made at that time by his captain,
that he was the best-drilled officer in his regiment. Indeed,
until this accident, he had had for the most part the command
of his company ; the captain and his senior lieutenant being
on detached service. The major of his regiment writes that
the field officers were unanimously in favor of recommending
him to the Governor of New York for immediate promotion to
a captaincy, — a measure prevented from being carried into
effect only by his death.

While Lieutenant Haven was confined by his wound, his
regiment went to Baton Rouge to take part in an attempt on
Port Hudson. Finding the place then impracticable, the loyal
army took Fort Bisland, and then followed the enemy up
Western Louisiana as far as Opelousas, where they halted a
few days for supplies. During this halt Lieutenant Haven,
though by no means fully restored, rejoined his company, fore-
seeing active and perilous service, and unwilling to remain
absent from his post at so critical a period.

It was probably during his stay in the hospital that his
resolution and patriotism had their severest trial. An aca-
demic life had held a foremost place among the day-dreams
of his youth. His attachment to his Alma Mater was in-
tensely strong, and his fondness for literary and scientific
pursuits could not easily have been greater. liis letters
show that he felt nothing connected with the military service so
painfully as his separation from books and the means and

Samuel Cushman Haven. 281

opportunities of a higher culture. He had been a favorite
pupil of Professors Peirce and Cooke, and they both now
sought his services in their respective departments ; the for-
mer nominating him to a vacant tutorship in mathematics,
the latter requesting his appointment as assistant instructor
in chemistry. A letter was written to him, informing him
that either of these situations was at his command, if he
saw fit to resign his cornmission. It was thought and sug-
gested by his friends that the lameness occasioned by his
recent wound, and a slenderness of frame and constitution
that seemed ill adapted for. prolonged exposure and hard-
ship, might justify his leaving the army. He replied promptly
and decisively that, though life at Cambridge was what he
desired more than anything else, yet every principle of honor
and duty made it his imperative obligation to remain in the
service of the country so long as he was needed. No one
who knew him can doubt that this answer involved for him
' the sacrifice of all that for his own sake seemed most pre-
cious, and demanded the highest effort of courage and self-

From Opelousas the division of the army to which Lieu-
tenant Haven belonged proceeded to Port Hudson by the
way of Red River, crossing the Mississippi at Bayou Sara,
sixteen miles above Port Hudson, then marching rapidly
down, and effecting a junction with the division that had
moved up from Baton Rouge, — a series of operations which
was attended with an unusual amount of fatigue and anxiety,
especially for the officers, and which must have seriously
'impaired the general health and strength of one still suffer-
ing from a local injury.

On the 27th of May a general assault was made upon the
enemy's works and in this Lieutenant Haven behaved with
such distinguished gallantry as to receive the special enco-
miums of his commanding officer. A few days later he
wrote to his mother : — •

" No mail is allowed to leave here, for obvious reasons ; and in
fact I was in doubt whether it would relieve your mind to hear

282 Harvard Memorial Biographies.

from me before the fight was over, but finally concluded to take the
opportunity of a special messenger to say that I am safe and in
perfect health. The 27th was quite destructive, and it is possible
that the capture of the place will be left to the artillery, in which
case I shall be in no danger. But if anything else should befall,
you know, my dear mother, where to look for comfort. Don't take
thought for the morrow, at any rate. As soon as the siege is over,
I will write you again."

There was not another general assault till June 14th j but
meanwhile there was a great deal of hard and dangerous
duty to be performed in the digging of rifle-pits and estab-
lishing an advanced line of pickets. In all this work and
peril Lieutenant Haven sustained his part with unabated
energy. On the 13th of June a demonstration preparatory
to the attack on the morrow was made under the direction
of General Dwight. While this was in progress Lieutenant
Haven applied to the surgeon of the regiment on account
of painful and annoying symptoms of throat disease. The
surgeon forbade his participation in the contemplated assault,
and advised him immediately to go into the hospital. An
ambulance was in readiness for Baton Rouge, and he was
carried at once to the hospital at that place. His ailment
proved to be diphtheria. The symptoms do not appear to
have been alarming at the outset, — certainly they did not
appear so to him. He wrote to his mother, " I have a bad
sore throat which may keep me here a week or ten days.
As soon as my throat grows a little less painful I shall
write again." This was his last letter. There was no mo-
ment of convalescence. The attack was not violent, but it
probably came upon a system that had borne to its utmost
capacity, and had no reserved strength to resist disease.
Everything that skill and kindness could do for him was
done, and his few remaining days were made tranquil and
happy. Not without the hope of recovery, he yet became
gradually aware that the issue of his case was very doubtful ;
but his cheerful self-possession, sustained, to all appearance,
by firm religious faith, forsook him not for a single moment.
He sank day by day, and died on the 23d of June, 1863.

Samuel Cushman Haven. 283

His body was interred in grounds near the hospital. His
grave was at first a rude mound, with a board to mark the
spot Friends who became strongly attached to him while
he was in the hospital at New Orleans, — sisters of charity
whose chosen work it was to minister to the sick and wounded
of the loyal army, — have attested their kind remembrance
of him by enclosing and sodding the grave, and placing over
it a slab, on which are inscribed his name and age, with
the text of holy writ, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God " ; and beneath it the stanza from Long-
fellow, —

" He, the young and strong, who cherished
Noble longings for the strife,
By the roadside fell and perished,
Weary with the march of life."

Lieutenant Haven gave presage of an unusually accom-
plished man ; and all who were conversant with his intel-
lectual capacity and development anticipated for him dis-
tinguished success in whatever might be his chosen sphere.
He had no glitter, show, or pretension; but he had a mind
remarkable for its working power. He acquired rapidly ; he
systematized what he learned; he made his knowledge a
part of himself by the digestive and assimilating processes
of his own intellect ; and he imparted what he knew, thought,
or believed, with clearness, precision, and directness. He
would probably have chosen chemistry as his specialty^ and
had he been permitted to enter on a scientific career, he
must have made himself early and favorably known as a
teacher, lecturer, and writer, and, we can hardly doubt, as a
pioneer mind in the advancement of his cherished science.
But here we have only the broken column, and can barely
conjecture what would have been its finished proportions and

Not so, however, as to his domestic and social character.
Here his kindred and friends know all that they have lost,
and feel that he could not be more to them than he was
firom early boyhood till the day he left them. As a son and

284 Harvard Memorial Biographies.

brother he was not only affectionate, but thoughtful, self-
forgettingly kind, watching for opportunities of filial and fra-
ternal service. For similar traits of character he was dearly
cherished in the entire family circle and among his classmates
and associates. Unassuming, generous, genial in speech and
manners, loving society, and always glad to contribute his
full portion to its entertainment, he made many warm friends,
and can have been well known to none who were not his

As regards his moral character his life was blameless and

ire. As we look back upon it we can see no portion of
it to be recalled with other than grateful emotions. His tastes
and his principles were equally averse from the indulgences
through which so many young men are led into ruinous and
degrading vices. Religiously educated, and reverent in spirit,
he had that profound sense of obligation and accountability
to the Supreme Being which is the one sure safeguard of
character. His life was such that we can only think of his
death as a summons to " go up higher."

yohn Hodges. 285


PrivaM 8th Mass. Vols. (Infantry), April 17- August i, l86l ; First Lieu-
tenant 19th Mass. Vols. , August 27, i86i-Junei9, 1862; Major Soth Mass.
Vols., November 8, 1862 ; Lieutenant-Colonel 59th Mass. Vols., February
7, 1864; killed at Petersburg, Va., July 30, 1864.

JOHN HODGES, Jr. was born in Salem, Massachusetts,
Decenber 8, 1841, the son of John and Mary Osgood (De-

Online LibraryThomas Wentworth HigginsonHarvard memorial biographies .. → online text (page 25 of 44)