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Upon the organization of a loyal congregation in Christ's Church, Dr. Dostie was chosen one of the wardens. Christ's Church I What a throng of associations gious home of the army and navy of the Gulf Department. cluster around that name ! Christ's Church was the reliThere might be seen upon a Sabbath morning, the commanding General and his Staff; the officers of every grade of both the army and the navy; soldiers and sailor boys. Union citizens and loyal visitors from all parts of the country assembled in that sacred spot. What prayers have been offered by clergy and laymen for the preservation of the Union, and what heartfelt petitions have ascended to the God of Nations in behalf of President Lincoln and the Congress of the United States 1 That emblem of religious liberty—the United States flag—enveloped the altar dedicated to Freedom. That flag draped in mourning symbols, was wrapped around the biers of the patriots who fell by the hands of the enemies of their Government. It enclosed in its folds the pulseless form of the youthful De Kay, the gallant Cummings, the brave Dwight, and numbers of honored dead, who died for the Union and Liberty. How many weeping parents, wives, brothers and sisters, would have been comforted, could they have witnessed the tribute of respect, paid to their departed ones at Christ's Church, and beheld with what tenderness and sympathy, that friend of the loyal soldier, Dostie, and his brother officers in the Church looked upon the remains of those who fell in the cause of republican Liberty.
Dr. Dostie was a man of iron nerve and unceasing activity. Possessed of a strong constitution, a powerful will and an active brain, he could endure more physically and mentally than most men. It was not an uncommon thing for him to look after the interests of a dozen schools per day; work a few hours at his profession, receive not less than fifty calls; attend two or three Union meetings, and then spend half the night in reading and writing. Not a Union Church or Sabbath School (white or colored), existed in the city in which he did not take a deep interest. Not an association or loyal gathering assembled that bore not witness to his exertions in the cause for which loyal men were battling. In many of these reforms, Dr. Dostie was the prime mover. Sensitive to the opinion of his associates; delighting in the approbation of his friends, and desiring the respect even of his enemies, no earthly power could induce him to swerve from what he considered duty. Where he could resist treason he never wavered. Said he, “It is the duty of loyal men who love their flag and their Government, to use every exertion to put down the signs of disloyalty.” Wherever he observed an act or symbol of treason, it called down upon the offender his rebuke and bitter indignation. Among the “fanatical acts” of Dr. Dostie that evoked the thundering anathemas of the rebel multitude was his noted performance at the Varieties Theater. A few determined Unionists, among whom were Judge Durell, E. Heath, and L. B. Lynch, headed by Dostie, resolved that the flag of the Union should float where it had been torn down by its enemies. The Varieties Theater had become somewhat notorious for displaying rebel emblems. It was decided by Dostie and his associates to make a demonstration of loyalty in that place to test the Union sentiment. With a chosen band, Dr. Dostie entered the Theater and displayed the “Star-Spangled Banner,” requesting the orchestra to play a national air. Instantly the United States flag was displayed from all parts of the house, and the air of the “Star-Spangled Banner” demanded. This created a great excitement. The manager of the Theater appeared upon the stage and demanded an explanation of the demonstration. Dr. Dostie, standing by the flag he had unfurled, replied, “New Orleans is now a Union city. The audience have deter'mined to hear the national airs; none but secession airs have been heard here during the season, and the present company intend to hear “Hail Columbia" before the performance proceeds.” To this the manager replied, “That he had permission from the military authorities, and license from the city to conduct the Theater, and had received strict orders from those authorities to allow nothing of a political character.” “Tis false,” arose from all parts of the house. The audience continued to demand the playing of the national airs, some, however, declaring that the airs would be in opposition to the orders of Mayor Miller. At this juncture, Major Foster of the 128th New York Volunteers, stepped upon the stage, and commanded silence, saying, “he would take the responsibility of ordering the orchestra to strike up “Hail Columbia.” The order was reluctantly obeyed, and the old-time air was greeted with many cheers. General Bowen immediately issued an order of which the annexed is a copy: “OFFICE of PRovost MARTIAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, NEw ORLEANs, April 22, 1863.
“Mr. Baker, Manager of Varieties Theater:
“It is reported to me that you have declined to cause the national airs to be played at your Theater at the request of the audience, for the reason that you have been forbidden by the Mayor of the city. No such order can be recognized or held valid in the presence of the United States army. You will, therefore, cause the national airs, “Hail Columbia,” “Star-Spangled Banner” and “Yankee Doodle,” to be played before the audience leaves your Theater this evening.
JAMEs BowFN, Brig. Gen., P. M. G.”
It was from a few similar episodes in the life of Dostie that he acquired the name of “fanatic,” “agitator,” and “inovator.” Yet he reverenced just law, order, and peace. “My principles were never law-defying, but I must oppose treason in all its forms,” he replied when questioned as to his course in opposing the emblems of SecCSS10n.
Those acts will bear scrutiny, for they did not often spring from sudden impulse, but from a settled purpose to attack injustice and disloyalty wherever found, and success generally attended his movements.
Dostie thus defines his political status: “I have always been a Jacksonian Democrat. When the great question came before the American people whether Slavery or Freedom should triumph in our nation, the Democratic party favored Slavery, and I trusted to the Republican party to save the country. Abraham Lincoln was the choice of that party for President of the United States. It had analyzed his character; had found him a friend of the working classes; an enemy to every form of Slavery—an honest man with qualifications worthy the ruler of a Republican people.” In a political speech, he said, “From the moment I decided to support the noble Lincoln, I have watched with deep interterest his onward movements in the cause of Union, liberty and humanity. If he continues faithful to the principles by which he guides the nation, our hopes will be more than realized.” Dostie was never known to vote for any man who opposed the cause of President Lincoln. So strong was his faith in the great Emancipator, no argument could convince him that any other was so capable of securing the liberties of an oppressed race as Abraham Lincoln. In an address, he says, “I believe Lincoln was chosen by