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"Resolved, That we do not and will not forget that the dearest and tenderest of ties bound Col. Bross to family, home and earth, and increased the sacrifioe thus cheerfully made at the shrine of principle, patriotism and humanity, and that we tender to those he held most dear our cordial sympathy in this bereavement.
"Resolved, That a suitable committee be appointed to communicate the above resolutions to the United States Courts and the several courts of record, with the request that they be recorded therein.
11 Resolved, That copies of the foregoing resolutions, signed by the Chairman and Secretary, be presented to the family and brothers of the deceased, as a testimonial of sympathy and regard."
We would be glad to insert all the addresses which were delivered. He who reads them sees that Col. Bross was no needy adventurer, taking command of colored troops to attain distinction not to be won elsewhere. Said Mr. Herbert:
"Col. Bross entered the army in the 88th Illinois, for which he enlisted a company, leaving this city in August, 1862. The campaigns of Kentucky and Tennessee brought him practically into direct contact with an element in the great contest, which before, he had studied theoretically only at a distance. His conviction of the great fact that " God had made of one blood all the nations to dwell upon all the face of the earth" had early been with him a settled principle of faith; and when the Government decided to call forth that great element of power representing four millions of our population, and give them their position as men in this conflict, no one was surprised that Capt. Bross applied for power to enlist a regiment in Illinois. In this he was measurably successful. He needed but the maximum of a regiment to have received a commission as Colonel.
"A man of less principle would have hesitated. He had as much to lose as any other man; as much to bind him to family, friends and home; as much to induce him to temporize and delay; but foremost in this State at the hazard of life—nay, though counting it almost certain death—he engaged in the effort which he believed would demonstrate the truth of the divine statement to the most unbelieving, and would elevate the chattel to the full rank of manhood, and disabuse a public sentiment which he looked upon not only as a reproach upon our State and nation, but upon our common Creator.
"Col. Bross entered on this work with an enthusiasm lighted up by patriotism, philanthropy and religion. With him the great brotherhood of man had its foundation in a common Creator, a common ancestry, and a common destiny, and anything that practically denied that, was to him infidelity.
"I shall ever remember the magnetic grasp of his hand, and the earnest fervor of his mild and determined eye, when he bade me his last farewell. His manner, indeed the whole man impressed me with the feelings from that moment, that John A. Bross would return, if ever, a dead man or a hero. You all know the result. On the 30th of Julyf before Petersburg, on the parapet of the enemy, planting the flag LIEUT.-COL. JOHN A. BROSS. 597
of the country—the flag he so much loved—he fell, covered with the folds of that flag and with glory, and attested the sincerity of his faith and his philanthropy, by mingling his blood with that of the despised and oppressed race whose welfare and whose elevation he sought with so much earnestness and zeal.
"If the ancients wished to stimulate the Greek, they spoke of his household gods. If they wished to inspire the valor of the Roman, they promised him immortal honors with the heroes of antiquity. If they would urge on the stubborn Jew, they spoke of the altar and the temple—the graves of the prophets and the great Jehovah.
"It was this feeling of religious enthusiasm which moved the sword of the Lord and of Gideon; which nerved the arm of the youthful David to hurl the smooth stone from the brook; that stimulated the infant Hannibal; that beamed in the fervid eye of the maid of Orleans; that sustained the patient courage of Washington. This it was which in our own day gave England her Havelock, and has among ourselves raised up the idols of our army and our navy—our Foote and our Howard—and is now developing a host of minor worthies, each of whom, if not enrolled high in the annals of fame, will be found registered in the hearts of his comrades, and in that great catalogue of Christian martyrs and heroes in the Lamb's book of life.
"This great principle is most happily illustrated in the life and death of Col. Bross. His death, like his life, was the development of a calm and patient pursuit of what he thought a rigorous duty. * He loved his fellow-men,' and thus attested by the divine law, his love for his country and to his God.
"If, when surrounded by home and by friends—
* The chamber where the good man meets his fate
how near to the great white throne above must be that favored spot of earth where, heralded by the thunders of battle and canopied by the smoke and flame of contending armies, with one hand on the flag, the same Christian hero and martyr, with heart full of love for his country, his brother, and his God, yields up his life, and whence his released spirit takes its flight to the bosom of that God who * is no respecter of persons,' but of whom it is said that * in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."
The gallant Major Alex. F. Stevenson who was present, said:
"In battle there was none braver than he. At Stone River and Chickamauga, battles historic for the bravery of our troops against heavy numerical superiority of the enemy, he displayed that coolness and determination which fitted him so much for a higher command.
"But it seems to me Col. Bross had still greater moral courage than we gave him credit for. He has shown it in taking the command of colored troops. To take this step required a man of nerve and fortitude, for he knew that to the officers of colored troops there was no imprisonment like unto others, but certain death awaited them should the chances of war cast them into the hands of the "enemy. But with the full knowledge of all this, he went bravely into the contest, because he believed it to be his duty to his country and his God.
"No doubting, no fearing, the soldier shall know,
We can only give one more quotation, and that is from the address of Hon. I. N. Arnold:
"I remember very vividly my last interview with him. It was the Saturday before he marched from his camp, near Alexandria, to join the forces of Grant, confronting Lee. I drove over with my family from Washington to his quarters. It was a most beautiful sunny afternoon, and I saw him with great pride review his regiment on dress parade. He had received his marching orders, and was full of enthusiasm and very proud of his regiment. He assured me that in capacity for service, endurance, courage, and all the qualities of a soldier, his regiment of negroes would not be outdone by any regiment, white or black, in the service. He took a seat in my carriage and rode with me a short distance towards Washington. I parted with him as the sun sank behind the blue hills of Virginia, and as we shook hands in farewell, I never was more impressed by any man. He was sunburnt and manly—his large, fine manly form full of health and vigor, filled with the martial ardor of the soldier and the hero. He struck his tents that night—led his gallant regiment to Petersburg, and found there the death of a hero and martyr. I can truly say that in all the rich sacrifices of this war there has fallen not one more manly, brave and true: none more patriotic and disinterested: no more worthy Christian soldier that John A. Bross."
If more space is given this officer than to most of his rank whose fall has been chronicled, the author's single apology is, that something of historic mention is due to the commanding officer of the first regiment of colored troops raised in Illinois—to the brave, honorable Christian man and chivalrous officer, who identified his fortune with that of the people of affliction. His death was appro priately acknowledged by various Sunday school and other organiza tions. His wife and boy cherish his memory as a priceless legacy for he was a good man and died in a good cause.
LIEUTENANTS D'wolf AND SKINNER. 599
Lieut. William D'wolf, who fell in the battle of Williamsburg, Va., May 4, 1862, and died on the 2d of June following, was onevof the noble young men the State has given to the Republic. His father, William F. D'Wolf, is a well known citizen of Chicago. William enlisted May, 1861, in Co. B, 1st Regiment Illinois Light Artillery, better known both North and South as "Taylor's Battery." Early in the field, he shared the fortunes and perils of his battery in the hot fights of Frederickton, Belmont and Donelson. In the last he was wounded. He served with his battery nearly a year, wheii, for gallant and meritorious conduct, he was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the regular army, in the 3d Regiment of Artillery. General McClellan addressed a letter to the Secretary of War requesting his promotion. On the 4th of April, 1862, he joined his regiment. In the battle of Williamsburg he manifested the utmost bravery. A shell exploded under his horse, killing it and wounding the Lieutenant in the thigh. He caught a loose horse and went forward with his battery. He meant to stand by his guns. He was again wounded, this time in the knee of the other leg, but remained with the battery until it was withdrawn. He was conveyed to Fortress Monroe, and thence to Washington City, where, in the home of the patriotic representative from the Chicago district, Hon. I. N". Arnold, he received every possible attention, but sunk under his wounds, and, with his mother beside him, expired on the 2d of June.
Col. Tristam Burges, General Stoneman's aid, reported that he saw the young officer through the whole fight, and that he acted like a veteran. Says Captain Gibson, who commanded the battery:
"One of my subalterns, a handsome, gallant boy from Chicago, named D'Wolf, was wounded, and, I regret to say, has since died. I was much attached to him, and if your friends know his family, please assure them of my sincere sympathy with them in the bereavement and my high appreciation of his coolness and gallantry in the midst of no ordinary danger. Poor fellow! He joined my battery on the 4th of April, was wounded on the 4th of May, and on the 4th of June was dead."
His remains were brought to Chicago, and an eloquent oration delivered in St. James' Church (Protestant Episcopal) by the Rector, Dr. Clarkson, whence his remains were followed to the grave by a vast concourse.
Lieut. Richard Skinner, of the 10th infantry, regular army, was
another costly sacrifice. His great-grandsire, General Timothy Skinner, was a subaltern officer in the war of the Revolution. His^grandfather, Judge Richard Skinner, was member of Congress from Vermont during the last war with England, then Chief Justice, then Governor, then declining a re-election, was again placed upon the bench as Supreme Justice, where he remained until within a short time of his death, when he resigned the place.
His father, Hon. Mark Skinner, of Chicago, is an eminent and patriotic citizen, formerly Judge of the Court. He was the first President of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission, giving it his time and labor until compelled, by shattered health, to resign. Much of its efficiency was due to his wise supervision.
His only son, after an academic training, entered Yale College and graduated. He had a fine literary taste and wrote in an accomplished style. With unblemished reputation, native endowments of high order, thorough culture, and a fine physique, he had a brilliant future before him. All was laid upon his country's altar.
He received the appointment of 2d Lieutenant in the 10th U. S. A., and was ordered to report to Major-General Hunter, and became a member of his staff, discharging the duty of commissary of musketeers, and regaining with him during his command in South Carolina.
Subsequently he was ordered to report to Brigadier-General B. S. Roberts, then in command at Davenport, Iowa, whom he accompanied to New Orleans and thence to Pass Caballa and Matagorda Island, where the General was post commandant. He was duly promoted 1st Lieutenant, and was about attaining a captaincy, when he was ordered to join his regiment in front of Petersburg. He went to it gladly, but found it reduced to a hundred men, under the senior Lieutenant, and at that time on picket duty. He arrived on Sunday, June 19, 1864. On Monday he was in the trenches. On Tuesday morning, while conversing with a group of officers, he was struck by a ball, mortally wounded, and died on Wednesday. He had won the confidence and high esteem of the general officers whom he had served. An only son—such is one of the many costly offerings made for the government! His honored father said, sadly, "We had only him, and we gave him: he had only his life and he freely gave it!"