I took this pic during my lunch hour today. This is in downtown Brooklyn.
One of the best things about living in the Big Apple is that the Civil War is a constant presence in the lives of those New Yorkers willing to look for it. It seems that every few blocks there is a statue for this regimental colonel or that Union general. Down the street from our house is Green-Wood Cemetery, the final resting place of over 3,000 Civil War soldiers, including Union General-in-Chief Henry Halleck and one Confederate general. (I’d love to know that story.)
This particular statue was designed by John Quincy Adams Ward and dedicated in 1891, 120 years ago.
As I’m sure many of you know, the Reverend Beecher was leader of Plymouth Congregational Church here in Brooklyn, which was then its own city and not part of New York. Soon-to-be presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln attended services at Plymouth Church in February 1860. The following day his speech at Cooper Union launched him to national prominence. The rest, as they say, is history.
Five years later Reverend Beecher gave an emotional sermon for the assassinated sixteenth president.
(Cooper Union has an extra special place for me; it was in the coffee shop across the street where I met the woman who would later become my wife.)
I often wonder when passing Beecher every day how many people know who he was and the role his church played in the Civil War and the abolition movement. History is all around us, if we just slow down enough to look.
Thanks for checking in.