Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/38

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30 Southern Histori<-l Society Papers.

Lieut. -Col. C. S. A.; or like Melvin E. Carter, Capt. C. S A., matriculated 1867.

The commencement of 1865 was the climax of sorrows. The Senior class on the first of June, consisted of fifteen members, but because of the exigencies of the country only William Curtis Prout was permitted to complete the course. Yet, because they accepted the invitation of the president to perform the usual exercises on com- mencement day, Edward G. Prout, Henry A. London and John R. D. Shepard were awarded A. B. ; Junior class, o; Sophomore, 5; Freshman class, 2. There was not a single visitor from a distance to attend the commencement of 1865, save some thirty Federal sol- diers, who had been detailed to remain and keep order. What a sad contrast was this to the brilliant commencement of 1859, which was graced by the presence of the President of the United States and of his Secretary of the Interior (Jacob Thompson), who was an alumnus of the University, with its graduating class of ninety-two members, the second largest in the history of the institution!

The last year of the war was not only a period of trial for the University, but for the village as well; for, being a University town, its main support then as now, was drawn directly or indirectly, from the University. When it declined, the village suffered in direct pro- portion. This difficulty was relieved to some extent by the arrival of refugees from other parts. Their coming created a demand for houses and gave some impetus to trade. Many of the young men had gone to the army, as we have seen. At first, whenever a few boys returned on furlough, parties, tableaux, dances, &c., were got- ten up in their honor. But this stopped after Gettysburg. The cords of sorrow were being tightened around her. But its com- munity brought all men closer together; charity was more freely dis- tributed, and the pride of station was forgotten. The bands of common sympathy became stronger as the pangs of common suf- ferings became more intense. The hardness of life was little thought of then ; rich and poor fared alike ; for all comforts and most necessities went to the soldiers in the field. ' ' When a whole village poured in and around one church building to hear the ministers of every de- nomination pray the parting prayers and invoke the farewell bless- ings in unison on the village boys, there was little room for sectarian feeling, Christians of every name drew nearer to each other. People who wept and prayed and rejoiced together as we did for four years, learned to love each other more. The higher and nobler and more