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

Capt. William James Temple

Our city has not given to the war a more brilliant intellect, or more splendid mental attainments than were possessed by this young hero. Though he died just as he was entering upon his twenty-lirst year, still he lived long enough to prove his power of thought, his capability of rapid acquisition in knowledge, and his ability to attain the highest rank in any profession or department of literature or science, to which he might devote his energies. His genius, too, seemed to shed its lustre and its refining influence upon his whole nature. Capt. Temple was a gentleman of elegant and polished manners, winning address, and noble and generous impulses. He partook of the traits of his distinguished father. Col. Temple, who was governed by a high sense of honor, as well as a pure patriotism.

He was born in Albany, March 29th, 1842, and was the son of Col. Robert Emmet Temple and Catharine James, daughter of the late Wm. James, of Albany. At an early age he was sent to a boarding school, and was successively under the care of Mr. Watson, at Kinderhook, N. Y.; Dr. Thomas Read, of Geneva; and Mr. A. N. Skinner, of New Haven.

He entered Yale College, and left there in November, 1858. At the commencement of the war, Mr. Temple was a student at Harvard College, and at the call of his Nation, he left all to serve her interests. He enlisted in the regular army in 1861, and he gave the fire of his genius, and ardor of his patriotic heart, to the work of subduing the rebellion. Though but nineteen years of age, he had the maturity of manhood, the skill of an experienced oflicer, and the bravery of a veteran in the service. Oflicers, who were associated with him, have said that they never saw such coolness displayed upon the battle field as he manifested. He moved among cannons and exploding shells with as much ease and calmness as he would among a circle of friends in a drawing room. Had his life been spared, he would doubtless have dealt some heavy blows upon the monster that was seeking to tear out the vitals of our Republic, and the soul of liberty. But in the bloom of youth; in the dawn of his splendid genius and unconquerable bravery; at the moment the inspiration of a lofty patriotism filled his soul, he fell a martyr to the cause that represents to the world liberty, education, religion and all the elements that confer righteousness, peace and happiness upon a Nation.

He was killed at Chancellorsville May 1, 1863, by a shot through the heart, and was buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery on the 25th of May, 1863. His funeral took place from St. Peter's Church, and was attended by the Governor and his staff, several army oflicers, and a large number of relatives and friends.

We regret that we have not been able to obtain the materials for an extended sketch of this gifted, interesting and patriotic young ofiicer, and one that would form a just tribute to his worth and valor; but after repeated and earnest efforts, we have been able to obtain only the limited information that we present in this brief article. We can only add the following extract of a letter from Capt. Augustus Barker, relative to the death of our departed hero, and an article and a letter taken from our daily newspaper:

Capt. Barker says:

"It was only on my arrival from a Richmond prison, at Annapolis, where I met my father, that I first learned of the painful tidings of Willie Temple's sad fate. A brother's death could not have had a more melancholy effect upon me, as I had known him so intimately, both at home and at school, and lastly at college. I knew him, not as a soldier, yet I have seen comrades of his, whose praise and admiration of him testify to his earnestness in his profession, his gallantry in action, his charms of mind and person, which so endeared him to all around him, even to his commander, Gen. Doubleday. I will mention the circumstances connected with his last moments, that can not fail to be interesting to his friends, as showing the true, brave-hearted Will Temple. The battle was growing warm, and he was leading a detachment of his regiment as skirmishers, to ascertain the position of the enemy. On they went amidst the fire; coming to a fence, they hesitated; and he, leaping on top, sword in hand, encouraged and cheered his men onward, when the fatal bullet closed his life forever.

"A more shocking blow could not have befallen the family."

The following appeared under date of May 6, 1863:

"Capt. Temple was a young man of remarkably fine qualities, and with an intellect matured beyond his years. He possessed a brave heart and the truest personal courage, combined with gentle and polished manners, and, wherever he was known, was universally a favorite. In appearance he was strikingly handsome, with an expression of sternness or severity upon his brow which seemed like the stamp of matured experience upon the fresh front of youth. His loss will be most sadly felt by near and dear friends, whose hopes and affections were thickly clustered around him."

A correspondent, under the signature of T. W., wrote as follows:

"Captain William James Temple, son of the late Colonel Robert E. Temple, died of wounds received at the battle at Chancellorsville, aged twenty-two. Soon after the rebellion broke out, a modest, attractive youth introduced himself to me at Washington, as the son of the late Colonel Temple, saying that he desired to adopt the profession of his father. I obtained for him a first Lieutenancy in the regular army, and he entered the service animated by the aspirations which make heroes and martyrs. When, a year afterward, I returned from Europe, I inquired of Adjutant General Thomas, who had interested himself in securing commissions for several young men whom I recommended, if he knew anything of Lieutenant Temple. He replied: "I have kept an eye upon your boys, being partly responsible for them. They are all doing well. Lieutenant Temple is an excellent officer." Some three weeks since I met young Temple again. He had been on a brief visit to Albany, and was returning to his regiment. He had been promoted to a Captaincy, and was then just twenty-one years of age. He was the same quiet, modest, gentlemanly person I first met two years ago, reminding me, in his manner and expression, of an estimable lady (his aunt, Mrs. Tweedy) with whom his boy-days were happily associated, and whose good precepts and bright examples imparted to children all that is virtuous and graceful. Yesterday, upon entering the Hudson river baggage car, at New York, my eyes rested upon a square, ominously proportioned box, with 'Capt. William J. Temple, 17th U. S. Infantry, All)any,' inscribed upon its lid. And there, cold, inanimate and disfigured, lay all that remains of the gallant young oflicer who, with beaming eye, elastic step and buoyant spirit, I had so recently conversed with. It was a sad and startling transition, illustrating with appalling emphasis the uncertainty of life—the inevitable reality of death. He departed, in the glory of health, with an apparently bright and happy future, but a few days since; and now his lifeless remains, 'smear'd in dirt and blood,' are sent home in a rude box, for interment, where all inherit alike their 'body's length' of earth."

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