good rebellion, bad rebellion

Civil War Memorial, Monument Square, Concord MA (,_Monument_Square,_Concord_MA.jpg)

Faithful Unto Death

Ninety-two years after militia in Lexington and Concord started the shooting rebellion against Great Britain a monument was dedicated in Concord. The monument honored those who gave their lives putting down the South’s more recent rebellion.

From The New-York Times April 21, 1867:

Dedication of a Soldiers’ Monument at Concord.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON delivered the address at the dedication of a Soldiers’ Monument at Concord, Mass, the 19th inst. It was mainly devoted to items of personal history of the men of the town who fell in the war, attesting their heroism and touchingly detailing their sufferings, privation and dangers in the war, introduced in the orator’s most pleasing and eloquent manner, together with a running commentary upon the education which the suffering of the war gave the people of the country; alleging that it conclusively proved that that State only could live in which injury to the least member is a damage to the whole. In conclusion Mr. EMERSON said: “The obelisk records only the names of the dead. There is something partial in this distribution of honor. Those who went through those dreadful fields and returned not deserve much more than all the honor we can pay. But those also who went through the same fields, and returned alive, put just as much at hazard as those who died, and, in other countries, would wear distinctive badges of honor as long as they lived. I hope the disuse of such medals or badges in this country only signifies that everybody knows these men, and carries their deeds in such lively remembrance that they require no badge or reminder. I am sure I need not bespeak your gratitude to these fellow citizens and neighbors of ours. I hope they will be content with the laurels of one war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right (

“the cannon volleys have a sound of funeral echoes”

But let me, in behalf of this assembly, speak directly to you, our defenders, and say, that it is easy to see that if danger should ever threaten the homes which you guard, the knowledge of your presence will be a wall of fire for their protection. Brave men! you will hardly be called to see again fields as terrible as those you have already trampled with your victories.
There are people who can hardly read the names on yonder bronze tablet, the mist so gathers in their eyes. Three of the names are of sons of one family. A gloom gathers on this assembly, composed as it is of kindred men and women, for, in many houses, the dearest and noblest is gone from their hearth-stone. Yet it is tinged with light from heaven. A duty so severe has been discharged, and with such immense results of good, lifting private sacrifice to the sublime, that, though the cannon volleys have a sound of funeral echoes, they can yet hear through them the benedictions of their country and mankind.”

I took the final quotation directly from, where you can read the entire address with tons of notes and addenda. You can read more about Concord’s Monument at CT In addition to being the date of the Pratt Street riot, April 19, 1861 was also the day volunteers from Concord first departed for the Civil War.

John Phelan’s 2010 photo of the Concord Civil War monument is licensed by Creative Commons
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