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The Noble Army Of Martyrs
by [?]

Among the rich treasures which this bitter struggle has brought to our country, not the least is the moral wealth which has come to us in the memory of our martyrs. Thousands of men, women, and children too, in this great conflict, have “endured tortures, not accepting deliverance,” counting not their lives dear unto them in the holy cause; and they have done this as understandingly and thoughtfully as the first Christians who sealed their witness with their blood.

Let us in our hour of deliverance and victory record the solemn vow, that our right hand shall forget her cunning before we forget them and their sufferings,–that our tongue shall cleave to the roof of our mouth if we remember them not above our chief joy.

Least suffering among that noble band were those who laid down their lives on the battlefield, to whom was given a brief and speedy passage to the victor’s meed. The mourners who mourn for such as these must give place to another and more august band, who have sounded lower deeps of anguish, and drained bitterer drops out of our great cup of trembling.

The narrative of the lingering tortures, indignities, and sufferings of our soldiers in Rebel prisons has been something so harrowing that we have not dared to dwell upon it. We have been helplessly dumb before it, and have turned away our eyes from what we could not relieve, and therefore could not endure to look upon. But now, when the nation is called to strike the great and solemn balance of justice, and to decide measures of final retribution, it behooves us all that we should at least watch with our brethren for one hour, and take into our account what they have been made to suffer for us.

Sterne said he could realize the miseries of captivity only by setting before him the image of a miserable captive with hollow cheek and wasted eye, notching upon a stick, day after day, the weary record of the flight of time. So we can form a more vivid picture of the sufferings of our martyrs from one simple story than from any general description; and therefore we will speak right on, and tell one story which might stand as a specimen of what has been done and suffered by thousands.

In the town of Andover, Massachusetts, a boy of sixteen, named Walter Raymond, enlisted among our volunteers. He was under the prescribed age, but his eager zeal led him to follow the footsteps of an elder brother who had already enlisted; and the father of the boy, though these two were all the sons he had, instead of availing himself of his legal right to withdraw him, indorsed the act in the following letter addressed to his captain:–

ANDOVER, MASS., August 15, 1862.

CAPTAIN HUNT,–My eldest son has enlisted in your company. I send you his younger brother. He is, and always has been, in perfect health, of more than the ordinary power of endurance, honest, truthful, and courageous. I doubt not you will find him on trial all you can ask, except his age, and that I am sorry to say is only sixteen; yet if our country needs his service, take him.

Your obedient servant,


The boy went forth to real service, and to successive battles at Kingston, at Whitehall, and at Goldsborough; and in all this did his duty bravely and faithfully. He met the temptations and dangers of a soldier’s life with the pure-hearted firmness of a Christian child, neither afraid nor ashamed to remember his baptismal vows, his Sunday-school teachings, and his mother’s wishes.

He had passed his promise to his mother against drinking and smoking, and held it with a simple, childlike steadiness. When in the midst of malarious swamps, physicians and officers advised the use of tobacco. The boy writes to his mother: “A great many have begun to smoke, but I shall not do it without your permission, though I think it does a great deal of good.”