Wyoming County Mirror June 4, 1862
Friend Dudley: The general news of the day is gathered up by the faithful editors of the local press, and thus the reading multitudes become familiar with the stirring events of the times, but there are many incidents connected with this wonderful drama in the world's history which may not be chronicled, and yet indicate the inevitable issue before the American people.
How unwilling we are to accept it in its fullest extent! How eagerly have our statesmen sought to avoid it! Proffers of kindness, acts of conciliation have been found ineffectual to stay the tide of events. It shows the puny powers of mortals to avert or control the Providences that are to mark the progress of truth and justice among the nations of the earth. - Neither are we able to choose the way and manner or the means by which it shall be accomplished. Were it otherwise, how unlike the present roar of artillery, the dreadful carnage of the battle field.
Our thoughts and affections have all been in another direction for the achievement of the elevation of Man to the true standard of a pure Christianity. While our education of the present generation has been to develop the moral qualities of our nature until we had almost lost sight of the fact that there was another force educating and developing the selfish qualities of man; until there was strong alliance between the rich and powerful of the Metropolis city of this nation and the barbarous King Bomba.
How can we delude ourselves with the idea that while these things exist, the day of tribulations were past! Why! I would as readily believe that the Almighty were dethroned, or had changed his character as a Just and Holy God, as to have believed we could escape a just punishment of our heaven provoking sins. Therefore we may as well accept the issue as appointed of God. Truth against error - light against darkness - Justice and humanity against wickedness and oppression. However loathe we may be to comprehend it in this light, yet we are being fast educated to many phases of this awful crisis, which is rapidly bringing thousands to this stand point of observation.
A little incident occurred in our streets the other day which shows the deep sympathy of our soldiers with the fugitive slaves. There had been some escaped slaves from Maryland who had taken refuge among the N.Y. 76th regiment from Cortland Co., who were in camp on the outskirts of the city. The slave-hunters had endeavored to search the camp for their recovery, but in this were not permitted; but a short time after they were ordered to Fredericksburg and while they were on the move through Seventh Street and near the Avenue House, the slave hounds espied their men in military uniform and they made a pounce for them and one Company turned and defended the colored men and saved some and doubtless would have recaptured the other two but for the order of officers in command.
If the principle of military necessity were accepted at once, as I doubt not it will be before the Rebellion is squelched, it wo'd be the most effectual means of destroying the right arm of the Rebellion, which is Slavery. But who has any regrets. Freedom is making rapid strides. More has already been accomplished to give permanency to free Institutions during the past year, than usually occurs in a century.- The Tree of Liberty is taking deep root; and the downfall of slavery needs no spirit of prophecy to announce. For it is now heralded from many a press that but a few short years ago would have shuddered at the thought. Who will have the audacity to claim that he inaugurated the plan to produce these results? Rather let it be confessed that the way and the manner is of Him who rules in Heaven, and death his pleasure among the children of men.
R. B. Crippen
- transcribed by B. Conrad Bush.
For another account of the 76th NY and the slaves, see "more letters from Major Grover."
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- Last Updated January 19, 1999