[MANUSCRIPT EULOGY FOR LT. COLONEL STEPHEN BOOTHBY OF MAINE, WHO DIED OF HIS WOUNDS WHILE FIGHTING IN THE BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS IN VIRGINIA IN 1864, ENTITLED "VIOLENCE & MOURNING" AND CONTAINING MUCH CONTENT ON THE CIVIL WAR AND ITS CAUSES]

Lewiston, Me. June 17, 1864. 32pp. manuscript, approximately 5500 words. In ink with some underlining in red and blue pencil, as well as occasional cross-outs and emendations. Quarto. Folded sheets, neatly stitched. Minor edge wear and foxing, a few ink smudges. Very good plus. Item #WRCAM57396



A fiery eulogy-cum-sermon from Rev. Nathaniel Milton Wood delivered in memory of 1st Maine Cavalry Colonel Stephen Boothby, who died from wounds incurred at the Battle of the Wilderness. Putatively a eulogy for Boothby, Wood's speech (entitled "Violence & Mourning") spends many more pages on the South and the abhorrent institution of slavery, laying the blame for the conflict squarely at the Confederacy's feet and decrying the North's history of appeasement. Wood staunchly recuses abolitionists of any fault for the war:

"The furious strife has raged + still rages in the land. Contending armies like the tides of the ocean have surged back + forth in nightly waves showing fields they have traveled with the wounded + the dead....On whom shall we lay the responsibility of this cruel war, this fraternal + fatal strife? Must we in part assume it ourselves?...Must this father, must I, who feel today to mourn this slain as a younger brother, in common with other friends + advocates of human liberty rights, assume in part, the responsibility of this war in which this life was sacrificed? Before God I protest against the charge, + hurl back the allegation upon those who offer it....We are not responsible for this strife with the men of the South. On the contrary, if we have sinned in reference to them, it had been by yielding to their evil clamors + compromising with their sin too long."

Wood further refutes the claims of the Confederacy that slavery was no concern of the North:

"This is not true. It was an affair of ours. We were not allowed to separate ourselves from it. Its supporters forced us to take ground either for or against it. They vehemently demanded its rights + among them its right to be recognized as a national institution, its right to be allowed free entrance into all the territories of the union, its right to be protected, to be legislated for, to be sustained by judicial decisions in all parts of the country, to be upheld by all the power of this federal government. What ought we to have done? Acquiesced quietly in all these demands + allowed the accursed system to spread + prevail?"

After twenty-six pages of similar excoriations Wood finally turns to a heartfelt eulogy of Boothby, who is described as a calm and rational man who left his successful law practice to join the army not in a fit of passion or patriotic fervor, but through a considered decision that it was the right thing to do. Boothby was a minister's son who was raised in Lewiston, where he became a close personal friend of Wood, who describes the colonel as a younger brother. Wood himself was a leading Baptist originally from Camden, Maine, who studied at Colby and preached for many years in Lewiston. On a brief trip to Mississippi shortly after graduating college, Wood stayed on a plantation and was stricken by the horrors he witnessed there, which he cited as the final straw in his decision to become a preacher.

An eloquent and impassioned speech in remembrance of a Union officer, discussing the causes of the war at great length and in no uncertain terms. While a small collection of Wood's sermons was published shortly after his death in 1877, this eulogy does not appear anywhere in published form.

Price: $1,750.00