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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Henry Sayre

Henry Sayre was born in Lafayette, Sussex County, New Jersey, April 6, 1841. He was the son of Daniel and Rebecca A. Sayre, and from childhood was an affectionate and dutiful boy. He was regular in his attendance at church and the Sabbath school, and was a consistent member of the Washington Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church in Albany. It is worthy of remark, that probably no Christian denomination sent so many religious men to the war, as the Methodist Church. It is stated that thirty thousand of her members offered their lives upon the altars of their country during our late struggle. As a body, these heroes were inspired not only with strong Christian principles and a pure patriotism, but also with a heartfelt opposition to slavery, that had caused the war. They believed in human rights, and in the freedom of all men, and they were ever found in the front rank of the armies that were battling for God and humanity.

Mr. Sayre, like his other Methodist brethren, was full of piety, patriotism and zeal in the cause that he had espoused. For eight months he served his country in the State of Louisiana. The climate and the hardships to which he was exposed brought on the typhoid fever, of which he died May 19, 1863. He was a member of Co. B, One Hundred and Seventy-seventh New York State Regiment, and was aged twenty-two years, one month, and thirteen days.

His young and afflicted widow received the following letter, giving an account of the closing days of his life:

Camp Bonnet Carre, La., May 21, 1863.
Mrs. Henry Sayre, 208 Jay Street, Albany, N. Y.
Dear Madam—In sorrow I make the announcement of the death of your dear husband, Henry Sayre, of Co. B, One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Regiment New York State Volunteers. He died near one o'clock, 19th inst., after a lingering illness with typhoid fever. He had the best of medical care and attention. In fact, during all my acquaintance with the sick, I never have seen such care and attention as was given to him. Tent mates John B. Slingerland, Samuel Jackson and John E. Bailey, are entitled to much praise for their determination to see he had the best of care. Night and day they watched his bedside continually, ready to administer to his every want. Their untiring exertions and the best medical skill, however, failed to restore him, and he has gone forever from us.

I visited him often during his illness, and felt the greatest anxiety about his welfare. For from my first introduction to him by his old friend Lieut. Bennet, of my command, who spoke in kind terms of his many excellencies of character, he became greatly endeared to me, as he did to many other officers and members of the regiment, who with me, mourn his loss.

I asked him a short time before he died, if he had any word to leave for his wife. He said, "write her for me, and tell her that my trust is in God," His request that I should write you is my apology for doing so. Undoubtedly the tidings that your bosom companion is no more; that he died in a land of strangers far away from his home and kindred, will fall with crushing weight upon your heart, already made anxious by his long absence from you. His aged, careworn mother, whom he so tenderly loved, must also be stricken down by this sad bereavement. But you both have the consolation of knowing that the departed was a true patriot and an earnest Christian, and that he died in a glorious cause and with the warm sympathies of all his comrades.

I trust, dear madam, that you may receive this sad intelligence with Christian fortitude, and with a confiding trust in the wisdom of God, who "doeth all things well."

Mr. Sayre was buried on the 20th inst. in the Brigade Cemetery. He had what is termed a Christian soldier's burial.

With assurance of my warmest sympathy in your great affliction,

I am truly yours,
Captain Co. G, 177th Regt.

The remains were, in May, 1864, brought home, and now rest in the sacred city of departed heroes, the Albany Rural Cemetery.

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Debby Masterson

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