Skip Navigation

Beloit College in the War

By Aaron L. Chapin


     As the war just closed was one which appealed to the scholar and the Christian as well as the patriot, it could not but be felt in an American Christian College, such as Beloit College was intended to be. Accordingly, the first and the last call found a ready response here.

     Beloit College was represented in thirty-five Wisconsin regiments or batteries, commencing with the 1st Infantry, the 1st Cavalry and 1st battery, and ending with the 53d Infantry; and in thirty Illinois organization, commencing with the 8th Infantry and the 1st Cavalry, and ending with the 146th. Also, in regiments from other States, as follows:

Minnesota . . . . . . 2 regiments,
Iowa . . . . . . . . . . 5 regiments,
Kentucky . . . . . . . 1 regiment,
Missouri . . . . . . . 2 regiments,
Kansas . . . . . . . . 2 regiments,
Ohio . . . . . . . . . 2 regiments,
Pennsylvania . . . 3 regiments,
New York . . . . . . 4 regiments,
Connecticut . . . . . 1 regiment,
Massachusetts . . 2 regiments.

Also, in the regular Marine, the gunboat and the mortar-boat service; and in nine colored regiments; and in ten positions in connection with larger divisions of the service; in all, more than one hundred different organizations.

     Thus the College appears through the whole length of the war and along the whole loyal front. Our dead fell in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

     We have the names of two hundred and seventy (270) present or former teachers or students of the College, who have been in the loyal service, and we have not heard of one in the rebel service, or of one who has dishonored himself by misconduct.

     Thirty have died, eighteen from wounds.

     Of the whole number, one hundred and forty-five, (145) or more than half, are known to have held positions of honor or trust, of whom eighty (80) were commissioned officers, as follows: Chaplains 2, Surgeons 7, Brig. Generals 1, Colonels 7, Lieut. Colonels 5, Adjutants 5, Captains 26, 1st Lieutenants, 12, 2d Lieutenants 11, Commissaries 3.

     Of the rest, a large portion were in service for only a short time. Some fell before their merits were known, many must have won honors of which we have not heard, and if any have served through a long term as privates, we are still confident that they have been true men, and that is greater than to be a Major General.

     The record would be incomplete, if we should not add, that more than sixty have returned from the army to the College, and proved by the scholarly, manly and Christian deportment, that good soldiership in a righteous cause may be not demoralizing but ennobling. During the later years of the war, the College, with all its continual sympathy with the army, was continually gaining in numbers and in morals. And this year, after the return of our soldiers, has been perhaps, the most orderly, the most studious, the most Christian, the best year in the history of the College.

     THE foregoing facts, presented by Prof. EMERSON, at the recent commencement, awakened such interest that a plan was proposed to secure the erection of a building, which shall stand in the service of the College, as a perpetual memorial of the part borne by her students in the war. The aim is to raise for this purpose, an amount of money which shall be as nearly as possible, equivalent to $100 for each of the 270 representatives of the College in the army. The contributions thus gathered will be kept distinct from other funds of the College and sacredly appropriated to the object as soon as a sufficient amount shall be raised to warrant the proceeding. Our Alumni the soldiers and their friends and the friends of the College, are earnestly solicited to take shares in this memorial building.

  A. L. CHAPIN,          
Beloit, JULY 20, 1866. President.