But let us go back two or three decades, and follow the careers of a number of Dickinsonians, for they continued to be much in the public eye. John A. Inglis of '29 was Chancellor of South Carolina when the sectional war began to loom above the horizon, and drafted the ordinance of secession. Later Willard Saulsbury of '42 was the doughty and unterrified champion of the minority in the senate of the United States, while Thomas Williams of '25 was chosen to present the articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson. Just before the battle of Gettysburg a Confederate regiment was quartered in the college buildings and on the grounds, But the property was carefully guarded against injury, by order of the colonel, because the college was the alma mater of his friend, Dr. Charles F. Deems of the class of '39, the famous preacher and prolific writer and later the pastor of the Church of the Strangers in New York city. It was he who interested the elder Vanderbilt in the university that now bears his name and secured from him not only large benefactions, but also the continued interest of his descendants. It should, however, be said to the further credit of the "rebels" that they did comparatively little damage in Pennsylvania. Charles Francis Adams expressed his doubts "if a hostile army ever advanced in an enemy's country or fell back from it in retreat leaving behind it less cause for hate and bitterness than did the army of Northern Virginia." The college buildings at Gettysburg, notwithstanding the great battle fought in and around the village, sustained but little damage except such as would naturally result from their being used as hospitals. Considerable damage was inflicted on the tower of the Theological Seminary. This was, however, done by Union troops who suspected that the Confederates were using this elevated position as a lookout station, and directed upon it a long continued fire of artillery. There was no deliberate destruction of property by either army.
To reckon the burning of the college buildings at Lexington, Virginia, as just reprisal for the burning of Chambersburg is to compare two things between which there is a good deal of difference. Both would be considered dastardly deeds if the destruction of property in war were ever so considered. In this case, however, there was considerable dissimilarity. The citizens of Chambersburg were given the alternative of paying a ransom or of losing their property; the citizens of Lexington were given no such alternative. Besides, it is not probable that many objects of intrinsic value were burned in the northern city, while in the southern city a number of things were burned that can never be replaced. Southern writers also lay stress upon the fact that Chambersburg was not burned by order of the commander-in-chief but by a subordinate upon his own initiative, while the destruction wrought in the Shenandoah valley had the full approval of General Grant. The saying attributed to Bismarck that the people of a conquered territory must be left with nothing but their eyes to weep, really originated with General Sheridan, and was not made by the German chancellor but to him. The author of the saying, by his own testimony, at least endeavored to put it into practice in the Shenandoah valley. How terrible a scourge war can be made has been demonstrated only too often. Worthy ends may be achieved in an unworthy way. The college of William and Mary was damaged by Federal troops, and only after long delay was partial restoration made. The buildings of the University of Alabama were burned by the same forces as late as 1865. The justification was often expressed, and by the Allies fiercely condemned in the recent world conflict: "C'est la guerre."
It seems to be a somewhat difficult matter to obtain a full account of the doings in the upper Shenandoah valley during the sectional war. After considerable correspondence, the writer was able to purchase a copy of General Early's memoir of the last year of the "War for Independence," prepared in Toronto in February, 1867. This is what he has to say about the case under consideration:
"At Lexington he (Hunter) burned the Military Institute with all of its contents, including its library and scientific apparatus; and Washington College had been plundered and the statue of Washington stolen. The residence of ex-Gov. Letcher, of this place, had been burned by orders, and but a few minutes given Mrs. Letcher and her family to leave the house. In the same county, a most excellent Christian gentleman, a Mr. Creigh had been hung because, on a former occasion, he had killed a straggling and marauding soldier for outraging the ladies of his family."
Another Confederate account states that General Crook, one of Hunter's subordinate officers, had protested against the barbarities of his chief. Was it necessary to defend a righteous cause by such unrighteous methods? Every school history of the sectional war that the writer has examined, makes mention of the burning of Chambersburg; not one has a word to say about the incendiarism at Lexington, Virginia, and Alexandria, Louisiana. If it is right and wise to learn, even from an enemy, is it not equally right to tell the truth about him, so far as it can be ascertained? What is history worth, when it suppresses important facts for any reason whatever?
Of the writer's college mates who became more or less prominent in later years, only a number corresponding to that of the Muses can receive brief mention here. Austin Bierbower was a professor of Greek and Latin, correspondent and editorial writer for several metropolitan newspapers. A younger brother, Vincent, was an editor, a superintendent of schools in Missouri, a judge, a States attorney, United States attorney, State senator in two different States, president of the Senate of Idaho, and later Lieutenant-Governor of the same state. W. S. Smith was a teacher, a merchant, a bank cashier, real estate agent, chief clerk in the United State land-office, and superintendent of irrigation. Louis E. McComas was a member of Congress from Maryland four terms, and later Senator for one term, professor of international law and diplomacy, a justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and for many years a leading spirit among the Republicans of his native state. William H. Wahl, after receiving his degree from the University of Heidelberg, was, for most of the remainder of his life, secretary of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, his native city. He was also the author of a number of books and papers. He was moreover a skillful performer on the violin. C. H. Curtis was a prominent official of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, general manager of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and a successful mine operator in Colorado. A. C. Chenoweth was long identified with engineering projects in New York City. His wife was a daughter of Fernando Wood, four times mayor of that city, and perhaps the most prominent, if not the most favorably known, occupant of that office in the nineteenth century. His brother George was also engaged in large engineering projects, among others on the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad. John P. Goucher was the founder of the college that bears his name, and its most liberal benefactor. It is generally admitted to have a higher scholastic standard than any other college for women under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal church. For almost his entire life, after graduating from college, Dr. Goucber was "on the road," in the service of his denomination, repeatedly visiting all parts of the world; yet he always paid his own expenses. The number of Dickinsonians elected to the episcopal office was about a dozen. Of these more than half were Methodists. These bishops are not diocesan, although they have the supervision of well defined areas. These areas embrace almost the entire world, excepting those parts that are under the spiritual oversight of the Wesleyans, such as Great Britain and Canada., which are not episcopally governed. The number of these bishops is less than half that of the Protestant Episcopal church, but the membership is several times greater; hence their authority is correspondingly greater. As these bishops are chosen in an open General Conference, consisting of about a thousand delegates, there is little opportunity, even if there were a desire, for "logrolling and trading." It is therefore, a reasonable assumption that the most competent men are chosen, although, of course, not all who are competent. Dickinson is probably the only American college that counts among its graduates and non-graduates several men who bore the name of "Shakespeare." Three of them were among the writer's college mates, and two of them attained some distinction in their respective professions.
Two innovations were made by the students in the sixties, one of which has perdured to date; the other came to naught, or rather, it was naught before it came. The project was, however, successfully revived some years later. The first class day, so far as was known at the time, was staged by the boys of '66, in connection with commencement, but in Emory chapel, McComas furnishing the oratory, Super and Buoy the poetry, or at least the "poets." The performance was listened to by a fair-sized audience. The endeavor, somewhat earlier, to start a college paper came to an inglorious end. One reason was the high cost of everything that entered into it except the "talent." The other was the jealousy among the students. Some of them claimed that one of the fraternities was trying to "hog" all the best places on the programme. This would not have been an insurmountable obstacle. Lack of .money was the reef on which our frail craft was wrecked before it was fairly launched. Although the editor survived for many years, the salutatory to his prospective readers that he had written, long ago dropped into the bottomless pit of oblivion.
In the course of college events about half a dozen of us had succeeded in assembling an orchestra. After some practice indoors and doing some serenading, we decided to furnish mental entertainment to a few of the villagers around Carlisle. The instrumental music was fairly good, as some of the fellows played very well. The declamations were also good, as they were not original. The histrionics were no doubt execrable. The audiences were small, with a regularity that was positively annoying and a monotony that was embarrassing. At one place, probably Newville, where the "show" was given under the auspices of the superintendent of schools and the audience was slow as usual in assembling, he insisted that we wait until more people had collected before beginning our "stunts." If we had taken his advice we would probably be "waiting, still waiting." As we traveled in private conveyances to fill our engagement, one youth and one maiden to a conveyance, the party of the first part, at least, found the journey worth while. When, at the end of the season, we counted up our gains and losses, there were none of the former and probably none of the latter. One evening, when our small orchestra was rehearsing at a private house, a "little Dutchman" appeared on the scene and asked permission to join us. He proved to be a member of the barracks orchestra and played the violin magnificently. Not very long after, when he did not appear at rehearsal, we were informed that he had disappeared between twilight and dawn and that he had not fallen into a well either. And so once more things, including human beings, were not what they seemed.
NOTE. After the manuscript of this volume was completed, but before it was sent to the printer, the writer was informed of the death of S. A. Graham, the last survivor but one of the Class of '66, of those who completed the full course. Mr. Graham seems to have been the youngest member of the class. The lives of these two alumni were passed in widely different lines. Mr. Graham spent most of his mature life on or near the sea, in the service of his country, ending his days on the Pacific coast. The sole survivor, excepting several voyages to Europe, spent his life on the land. He is prompted to quote here a stanza from the well-known threnody of Moore, although it is not quite appropriate: