Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/214

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208 Southern Historical Society Papers.

D. D., in memory of the Confederate dead of his congregation. With the purest motives at heart, and never dreaming that any one, North or South, could possibly take offence at so laudable an object, this venerable divine, at his own expense, donated this sacred memorial as an Easter present to his congregation. It was executed in New York city, where it was greatly admired when on exhibition, not a word of disapproval being expressed by any one who saw it. The design represents Rachel weeping at the tomb, on which are inscribed the names of those belonging to the congregation who were killed or died during the war, and under it is a simple explanatory inscrip- tion, the substance of which is that it was placed there " in memory of the nine young men of the congregation who lost their lives during the Civil War, between the years i86i-'65, in defending their native State, Virginia, from the invasion of the United States forces. ' '

It was on the morning of Easter Day, April 12, 1868, that the con- gregation first saw it, everybody appearing to admire it, and not one of the numerous throng on that day left the church or refused to approach the Holy Communion because of its presence. The next day and throughout the following week the window was the subject of much excited talk among the people, in and out of the congregation. To the astonishment of all, the families attached to the United States navy-yard who attended the church took offence at the window, and an indignation meeting was held in the navy- yard, resulting in the vacation of five pews and withdrawal of their occupants from attendance on the services. They reported to Wash- ington that this Southern congregation had, by a tribute of respect to its dead, outraged their honor and insulted their manly pride, and announced their grievance to the military authorities in immediate command. Accordingly, the major in command wrote a letter to the Vestry of Trinity Church as follows :


NORFOLK, VA., April 1 8th, 1868.


Portsmouth, Va. :

Gentlemen : Information having reached these headquarters that a memorial window has been placed in your Church, commemora- tive of the dead of your Church "who fell during the late rebellion," in language which has given offence to the Union sentiment, causing