|Rev. R. W. Clark:
Dear Sir—It gives me pleasure to send to you the following tribute to the memory of Lieutenant Matthew Bell, who was a member of our church (The First Congregationalist.) I have been intimately acquainted with him for the past twenty years. He was of Scotch parents; was born in Scotland, and came to this country alone when a small boy. Through the force of unyielding determination, coupled with honesty and integrity of purpose, he won his way into the confidence and esteem of many friends. He was converted and united with our church in 1857. Ever after he was a cordial co-worker with us in everything that partained [sic] to the advancement of the interests of Zion. He was with us from about the first of our organization, and in our Sabbath school, and also in the mission school, he was most efficient. He was one that could be relied upon. A superintendent knows how to value such men.
Through the early part of the war he felt it to be his duty to enter the army, and it was only the wants of his family and their entire dependence upon him, that prevented him from doing so. But when the dark trying days came, he could no longer remain at home and he volunteered (when bounties were comparatively unknown) as a private in the One Hundred and Thirteenth New York Regiment. He had received a military education and was very efficient while the regiment was in the course of formation, in drilling and preparing it for active service in the field. Before the regiment reached Washington he was promoted to the position of Second Lieutenant, and shortly after was made First Lieut. It was my good fortune to visit the regiment while stationed at Fort Reno, one of the defences of Washington, and while there I learned what I might have expected, that he was considered by his superior officers and also by the men of his company, as one of the best officers in the regiment. He maintained his integrity and was faithful in the discharge of every duty.
Very shortly after his arrival at the fort, he contracted a cold from which he never recovered.
He died as he had lived, a true patriot and a sincere Christian. His remains lie in the Albany Rural Cemetery.
|Yours very truly,
A. S. KIBBEE.
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