Fort Sumter fell before the guns of the rebels on the 14th day of April, 1861. The news of the event startled the men of the North and aroused them into action. Among the first to concert measures to "protect, preserve and defend" the Union, were the people of Dorchester.
The first meeting of its citizens was held, in pursuance to a call posted throughout the town, on the evening of April 20, '61. It was a large and enthusiastic gathering and it unanimously adopted a series of stirring resolutions, one of which was the following:
"Resolved, That the drum-beat which now calls the soldier to the post of duty, reminds us of our imperious public and private obligation to aid, encourage and protect those who go forth from among us, in defence of our rights and liberties; and that a committee be forthwith chosen to arrange for the organization, equipment and discipline of our citizen soldiers, and to provide the requisite means in aid of the volunteers and their families, to the end that in every vicissitude the men of Dorchester may prove themselves inflexible in their efforts to uphold the arm of the government and worthy defenders of the old flag."
The Boston Evening Transcript of April 22d, '61, in a report of that meeting, says: "The citizens of Dorchester met on Saturday evening at the Town Hall, which was crowded. Capt. Ebenezer Eaton presided, with Messrs. E.H.R. Ruggles and Lewis F. Peirce, vice-presidents, and Messrs. Eben Tolman and E.P. McElroy, secretaries. Eloquent speeches were made by the Hon. Asaph Churchill, Hon. Alpheus Hardy, Nathan R. Childs, William D. Swan, Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, S.S. Drew, C.F. Townsend, Capt. Benjamin Stone, Jr., Henry L. Pierce, Dr. Daniel Harwood and others. About seven thousand dollars was raised to equip two companies of volunteers."
Among those who were prominent in the patriotic movements, in addition to the above-mentioned, are: Franklin King, William T. Adams (Oliver Optic), Thomas F. Temple, James H. Upham, William Pope, Oliver Hall, John P. Clapp, Hon. Nathl. F. Safford, Edmund P. Tileston, John Amory Davis, Henry S. Adams, Laban Pratt, Wm. H. West, John J. May, Harvey Scudder, and others. The ladies also took an active part in looking after the welfare of the soldiers and their families.
The result of these patriotic efforts was that the town furnished 1342 men and expended $158,339. They sent several fine companies into the field. Among them was the First Dorchester Company, commanded by Capt. Benjamin Stone, Jr., and forming part of the 11th Regt. Mass. Vol. Infantry.
Source: Historical Souvenir of Benjamin Stone Jr., Post No. 68, Department of Mass., G.A.R. Twenty-sixth National Encampment, held in Washington, D.C. September, 1892. Dorchester: Post No. 68, 1892.
Capt. Benjamin Stone, Jr.
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Created: January 8, 2005 Modified: February 19, 2007