Sarah Hoover, Undeclared Major 2016
As I sat reading our temporary Bible, The Rebel Yell & the Yankee Hurrah, there was one particular quote that caught my eye and caused my mind to tumble into uncharted territory. On August 19th, 1862, John Haley wrote:
“In the afternoon Reverend Lovering of Park Street Unitarian Church came out and gave us a flowery discourse in which he was pleased to inform us that ‘all who died in defense of the flag had a sure passport to heaven’. This is all very well for talk, but the Reverend evidently doesn’t care to try it on. I feel that death is one of those things to which distance lends enchantment, not withstanding Mr. Lovering’s bland audacity’s of speech and fine-spun theories, I don’t care to cultivate a closer acquaintance with the hollow-eyed monster. It never does furnish much satisfaction to listen to these cowards who talk of pluck but are so destitute of the quality themselves.”
When I first started reading The Rebel Yell, I was amazed at how much detail and thought was put into each of Haley’s passages. If you haven’t yet read this book and want to obtain a stronger understanding of the Civil War, I strongly suggest giving it a look. How anyone can fight a war and document almost all of it to the smallest detail is beyond me. I often catch myself wondering how John Haley did it! I like this text because Haley questions the higher power of the church and government. I am a strong believer in freedom of speech, and here Haley exposes the hypocrisy that was taking place inAmericaduring this time.
In my opinion, incorporating this piece into our exhibit is very important. John Haley sheds light on his opinions of the draft as well as his outlook on the Civil War. Just in this small paragraph, readers achieve a greater perception of what soldiers experienced, as well as showing that not all soldiers shared the same views on war, government, or the church.