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

Lieut. Henry D. Brower

No feature of the late war is more remarkable and providential than the uprising of the young men of the nation, in response to the call of the President of the United States for soldiers to fill the ranks of the Union army. Especially are we impressed with the readiness of Christian young men to leave home and friends, church and Sabbath school, and the finest prospects for usefulness and prosperity, and devote their all to their country. Their religious consistency and zeal, too, after they entered the camp; the heroic manner in which they battled with temptation, as well as with the foes of civilization and liberty; their labors and success in bringing their impenitent comrades to Jesus, are such as call forth our warmest gratitude and highest admiration.

Among the Christian heroes, no one stands higher or presents a purer record than the lamented martyr whose history we propose now to trace.

Henry Douglass Brower, son of S. Douglass Brower, was born in Albany, on the 12th day of November, 1839. His mother's maiden name was Harriet Putnam. The happy home circle, of which he was the youngest member, was not destined to remain long unbroken, for he was called to witness in one short week the decease of his mother, and a brother next older than himself. His mother died on the 28th of October, 1843, and his brother on the 22d of October, 1843.

At the age of sixteen years, Henry was in his father's employ as a manufacturer of silver ware, where he remained until he was of age, and became master of his profession. He became hopefully converted to God, and joined the First Congregational Church, when about nineteen years of age. He was engaged in the Sabbath school of that church as treasurer, and, at the time of his enlistment, as assistant librarian.

At the breaking out of the rebellion, he, being a young man, felt that he ought to respond to the call of the President for soldiers to defend the Republic; and the more he thought upon the subject the more deeply he became convinced that it was his duty to enlist. His father cordially approved of his course, and the feelings which animated the father in his approval were illustrated by an incident which occurred at a subsequent period.

A man came into his office one day, after Henry had gone to the front, and after inquiring about "the boy," and making some remarks as to the way the war was being conducted, said, "If Henry was killed, his life would be wasted, for he believed the Government could not sustain itself, but must soon go to pieces." Said his father, "I have four sons, one is now in the army, but sooner than see this Government go to pieces, I would not only see that one killed, but would send the other three too, and then, if necessary, go myself."

That was the true spirit of loyalty, that made him approve his son's choice, and that spirit Henry carried with him as he left home to do battle for his country. After having decided to become a soldier himself, his next thought was to try and call together young men enough of good moral character, to form a company. After spending considerable time and money, he at length had the satisfaction of marching to the Barracks at the head of the first installment of men, who after having been recruited to the requisite number, were known as the Eleventh New York Battery, or the Havelocks; taking the name from General Havelock, and desiring, that like him, they might be good as well as brave men. On the first of October, 1861, he was mustered into the service as a private. Afterwards he made application to Brigadier General Rathbone to be transferred to some other company, and being successful, he left Albany for Washington on the 17th January, 1862, as Corporal in the Twelfth New York Battery, under command of Captain William H. Ellis. The company left here in a severe snow storm, and after many detentions, reached Washington January28th, at about 7 o'clock in the evening. They received orders the next morning to be prepared to leave for Fort Ellsworth.

In his diary he says: --January 30.—This morning we started for the fort, at eight o'clock. It rained very hard, and the mud was ankle deep. I never saw such mud. The Albany Barracks are nothing to it. I was, I confess, a little disappointed to find nothing but tents for our accommodation. However, I shall soon be all right, as I have expected hardships."

From the outset of his military career, Henry manifested an earnest religious zeal, as well as a pure and lofty patriotism. In his diary and in his letters this is very apparent.

To a younger brother, whose name was Charles Moore Brower, he wrote as follows, after learning that he had a hope in Christ:

"There is one thing, Charlie, I wish to speak to you about particularly. You have hoped that you are a Christian. Oh! my brother, stand fast in the faith. You have had experience enough, even in so short a time, to know that it will be a hard battle. Temptations will beset you; that you must overcome. Don't think to gain friends by yielding to temptations; for the very friends that you might thus gain would despise you for it. Such friends are not worth having.

"But do not be discouraged by the difficulties that attend the Christian course. Have the most implicit faith in God. He will bring you safely through them all. Our first duty is to love Him with all our heart, and "perfect love casteth out fear." This you know, and the rest will be easy.

"I have been some time in camp, and know what a young man's peculiar temptations are here, and the only way to steer clear of them, is to have the Bible for one's chart."

In a letter to his father, dated June 11th, he says:

"As you see by my letter, I have changed my quarters, but for how long, I am unable to say. We are detailed from the various companies and regiments, under Gen. Whipple's command, for a brigade guard at his head-quarters, which are at Arlington Heights. It is a beautiful phice: on a hill, covered by a very fine grove, commanding a splendid view of Washington and the Potomac, while around the house is a beautiful lawn. At the time the war broke out, it was occupied by Gen. Lee. Many of the negroes are still here. These Heights formerly belonged to the Custis family, and their graves are to be seen in the grove not far from the house."

Very early in his connection with the army, Henry manifested his courage and daring, as will appear from the following incident, described to Charlie, under date of July 20th:

"You say you like anything that savors of adventure; so I'll tell you of a little one which I had the other night. The officers of the Sixty-ninth Regiment have been in the habit of coming up to our camp, when on guard at night, under pretense of making the 'grand rounds,' which you know are made by the officer of the day, officer of the guard—a Captain and Lieutenant, with a file of guards. They, not being attached to us, or in any way connected with us, have no right to enter our camp at night, under any pretext whatever, not even with the countersign, without calling our officer of the day to pass them in. Several times they had imposed upon the guard and got in, and then boasted of their success, and ridiculed the order we had in camp. The other night, when I was on guard, about three o'clock, just after posting the guard, I heard the call, 'Corporal of the guard. No. 7.' I ran down to post seven, to see what was up, and found the 'grand rounds' from the Sixty-ninth, and asked them their business. They replied they wished to go through the camp. I told them they could not go. They then wished to see the officer of the day. I went to his tent to call him, bidding them stand there till I came back. When I got back, they had passed the guard, and were coming towards me, the guard calling out to them to halt, but not daring to stop them. I ran down and ordered them to halt. Said the Captain, 'Do you know who I am? I am the officer of the day.' I told him I couldn't see it. I recognized no officer of the day but our own. He turned to the guard, and ordered them forward. I drew out my navy revolver, cocked it, and again ordered them to halt. The Captain, now, in a great rage, ordered his men to arrest me, and take me to the guard house of the Sixty-ninth. The guard brought down their muskets to a 'charge,' and came two or three steps, when I leveled my revolver full at the Lieutenant's breast, telling him if he came another step, I would blow him through. Now you may believe he stopped suddenly, for my pistol was cocked, and my finger trembling on the trigger. I say trembling, for I do not believe a man can be perfectly cool when just on the point of shooting a man through the heart, and a superior officer at that. I confess my hand did tremble some from the excitement, but not from fear. I call that a pretty close call for his life, for in another moment he would have been a dead man. I kept him there, till the officer of the day came up, and left them to him."

Being in a "camp of instruction," and not in the field, affairs moved on with Henry in pretty much the same routine, from month to month. We find in his diary, under date of 20th November, 1862, this record:

"About roll call this evening, the Captain called me to his tent, and informed me that Orderly ----- had resigned, and at the same time offering me the place, which I accepted; though I was much surprised that he should have offered it to me. I shall try and do my duty faithfully, whatever may be the consequences."

He learned, soon after, that Col. Monroe, who was present at the drill that day and who inspected the battery, had told the Captain that Henry was the best disciplinarian, and the most thoroughly acquainted with the artillery tactics, of any man in the battery and that he must put him ahead.

What he writes about doing his duty faithfully, accords well with what he considers to be his duty, as appears from a letter written home soon after: "What, indeed, is the country coming to? There is nothing being done, and letters received from the front say that men are deserting by scores. There is no use in denying the fact. We are in a bad fix, but I am not discouraged; the weaker the country gets, the more I am willing to sacrifice for her. * * * * I am very sorry that such large bounties were ever paid for recruits. They might better have drafted the men at once, then we should have had some men. Now, two thirds are disabled, and after staying around the companies three or four months, at the government expense, have to be discharged."

In consequence of his ability, faithfulness and bravery, Henry was made Lieutenant March 30th, 1863.

During the forced march of the Army of the Potomac, after the battle of Gettysburg, he was taken sick. ln fact, he was quite unwell when the order came to advance, being threatened with a fever; but after lying still so long, he could not entertain the thought of being on the sick list just as the moment for action came, and his account of that march shows his determination not to give up:

"That was a great march we had after the battle of Gettysburg. They did not give us a chance to rest day nor night. I was sick most of the time, although I managed to keep on duty until the army halted at Warrenton. It came hard, though. Sometimes when I would be lying down under a tree, burning up with fever, trying to get a little rest, the order would come to march, and I would have to get up, throw myself on my horse, and take command of my section. The night we crossed the Potomac, we started in the afternoon about five o'clock, and traveled all that night until three o'clock next morning (over one of the worst roads I ever saw), when we commenced the passage of the river on a pontoon bridge. About seven o'clock we halted for breakfast (salt pork, hard tack and coffee, for a sick man), and then continued our march, halting about four o'clock in the afternoon. I was in the saddle all this time, about twenty-three hours, and very glad was I to throw myself upon the ground when we did halt."

This great strain upon him in his feeble condition, so increased the fever that he was totally unfit for duty, and was sent to the hospital at Georgetown, known as the Seminary hospital. He entered the hospital on the 30th July, and was very low with typhoid fever. He was there until the 23d August, when, having so far recovered, he procured leave of absence for thirty days, and came home for the first time.

On reaching home, he was extremely weak and emaciated, but with good nursing and rest, he was able to report himself at the hospital for duty when his leave of absence had expired, and from thence to the battery, which was encamped near Culpepper.

The battery left there, however, on the the 11th October, and after several marches, came to camp at Catlett's Station October 22d. Writing home, under date of December 4th, 1863, he says:

"We left our camp near Brandy Station one week ago, and returned to it yesterday. It was the roughest week I have passed while in the service. The order came on Monday evening to march at daylight next morning. Long before daylight I was up, seeing to getting the teams harnessed, &c. Just before daylight it commenced raining very hard, and was almost freezing cold. We moved out, and came into park near the railroad, while Lieut. Dauchy went to report to Gen. Prince, of the Second Division. After waiting in the rain about an hour, the Lieutenant came and told us the great move had been indefinitely postponed, so we moved up to the Second Division, and went into camp. About noon it cleared up, and that afternoon I heard we should move on Thursday. We had our turkey, and kept our Thanksgiving on Wednesday. At daylight Thursday morning, I drew out on the road with one section of the battery, and when the first regiment of the Second Division had passed, I fell into the column—the rest of the battery was to march in rear of the division. The roads were pretty bad, and if it had rained much longer, it would have been impossible to have got along. As it was, we were nearly fast in the mud. The guns were very heavily loaded with grain and rations for the men. Five days' rations we carried with us. About noon the column halted, and very soon an Orderly came back and said the General wished to see me. I went forward, when he sent me ahead to pick out a good place for the two guns, where they would command the ford and the hill beyond. This was at Jacob's ford, on the Rapidan. I took the pieces and placed them in position, fully expecting to use them shortly, as the rebels were in plain sight on the opposite bank. Our skirmishers were sent forward and forded the stream, and moved up the hill.

"The rebels waited until our men were most on to them, and then skedaddled. We waited there until dark, when I joined the battery, and we started for Germania ford, about two miles below. Now commenced our troubles. There was a bad hill to go up for the first thing. Here our horses got stuck, and we had to double our teams, take one carriage up at a time, and send the teams back after the next. In going through a piece of woods, a caisson ran against a stump, was overturned, and broke the stock. In trying to go round a wagon that was stuck in the road, we got stuck again. The horses were fagged out, and refused to draw. Here we had to double, which delayed us so long, that before we could get on the main road it was occupied by the Sixth Corps wagons, and we were cut off. It was enough to try the patience of a saint. The drivers were swearing at and lashing their horses; the cannoneers, prying at the wheels and swearing at the drivers. There was a train, of miles in length, behind us, which could not he moved till we were out of the way. The officers in charge of the train would come up, look on awhile, curse the whole battery, and go back again.

"Finally, about midnight, we got out on the road, and after cutting off' two or three trains, and receiving upon our devoted heads the curses of a score of mule drivers, we arrived at the ford. It took us from that time till ten o'clock next morning to go a distance of one mile and a half, with the road all clear ahead of us. If it had been dark, I do not know what we should have done, but fortune favored us by giving us a beautiful full moon. Well, we got breakfast, fed the horses, and at noon started again. That night we camped in what is called the "Wilderness," it being a complete forest from this place, near the Rapidan, to Fredericksburg. For several hours before dark, there was quite lively firing with musketry but a short distance ahead of us.

"The next morning about eight o'clock, we moved again, it raining very hard; went about one mile and laid out in the rain till noon, when we again moved.

"After various stoppages and going over the same old 'stick in the mud' arrangement, we brought up on a hill in sight of the rebel lires. Cold, tired and out of sorts, I laid down in my blankets and went to sleep, fully expecting to see a battle on the following morning.

"Morning came; our guns were placed in position and the range calculated. They were about eighteen hundred yards distant. There were four batteries in line, while the First Division of the Third Corps supported us. All day long we laid there watching the enemy who were working like beavers—throwing up rifle pits.

"In the afternoon we heard that Warren with the Second Corps, was on the left, trying to turn their right flank, and as soon as he opened with his guns we were to commence. That afternoon we advanced with our battery two hundred yards, while some of the infantry threw up redoubts for our pieces. At dark we drew back behind the hills, and made ourselves comfortable for the night. At daylight next morning we returned to the redoubts. Soon the Chief of Artillery came riding along, and told us as soon as he opened with one piece on the right, to commence firing. About eight o'clock the gun was flred, and then such a hubbub I never heard. You see, when we advanced the two hundred yards it left the other batteries in our rear, and they had to fire over our heads. As the shells whistled over, I at first instinctively looked up, but of course could see nothing. The rifle shells as they go through the air seem to say, which one! which one!

"We did some very good shooting; our first shot was not far out of the way. We fired from our battery one hundred and seventy rounds. Just as we were going to bed, the band commenced to play at headquarters. "There," said the boys who were old soldiers. "we will retreat to-night, or else the band would not be playing." I could not believe this possible, as everything seemed in our favor, except that we were short of forage and rations. But about four o'clock next morning the order came, to "get out of that as fast as possible." I never was more disappointed in my life, for I did want to fight them then. Well, we started on the retreat, marching until three o'clock, when we put up for the night. I went into an old school house which had just been vacated by some soldiers, and found a lusty fire burning in a stove made by Treadwells & Perry of Albany. It was like seeing an old friend.

"After various tribulations we have at last got back to camp, and indeed it is quite time, for our horses have not had a particle of hay or grain since day before yesterday, and had been for the week previous on only ten pounds per day. But the worst of all was last night. We had just got fixed all comfortably, with no idea of being disturbed again very soon. I was sitting by the fire and reading my letters from home, which I had just received, when the order came to ''get up and get.''''

"There was no help for it, and in an hour's time we were on the road, shivering and shaking in the saddle, and anathematizing the rebs, that couldn't "let us alone." We went about a mile and were ordered back to camp. A false alarm; the enemy had been driven back."

Henry was at home on leave of absence for ten days, at the time the Sanitary Bazaar was held in Albany, and returned to his battery the 1st of March, 1864. As he never came home again it is a satisfaction to his friends that he kept them so well informed by letter of what was transpiring, and of the part he took in the last campaign in which the Army of the Potomac moved under Lieut. Gen. Grant.

Camp in the Field, May 12, 1864.
It is now eleven o'clock in the morning, and a fierce battle has been raging since daylight, the artillery keeping up a continual roll and roar.

After giving an account of various battles and skirmishes, Lieut. Brower writes, under date of June 19th, camp two miles from Petersburg:

"It must be remembered that this is one of the hardest campaigns in the history of the war. We have marched and fought night and day. I have often mounted my horse at noon of one day and hardly dismounted again till midnight of the next— through the sun, and dust and rain. It requires a good constitution to stand it. A battery Captain was in our quarters yesterday, and speaking of Grant's perseverance, he said, 'we fight for a week or ten days, and then we say, well, this cannot last much longer; we must rest soon; we have lost thirty or forty thousand men; the army can't stand it;' and then Grant comes along and says, 'You are doing first rate, boys; we'll now have a little fighting,' and at it we go again, to 'fight it out on this line.'"

"Instead of heading my letter as I did, I should have said 'In position,' for we are not in camp. Our pieces are in position, where they have done some tall shooting."

"We left Coal Harbor on the 12th, and pushed for the James River, which we crossed on the 15th, arriving at our present position that night, about 12 o'clock. A division of Butler's colored troops had that day taken three forts and a line of works, forming the eastern defences of Petersburg. The negroes fought well and have shown themselves to be brave and hardy soldiers. Our white soldiers who looked with such contempt upon the blacks but a few months since, have now extended to them the right hand of fellowship, and recognize them as fellow soldiers."

The next letter of note, bears date of Camp near Petersburg, July 31st.

"You have probably heard, ere this, of the movement of the Second Corps to the James River. * * * This movement of the Second Corps was undoubtedly intended to draw all the forces they could from Petersburg, preparatory to making an attack on the city; and it was successful in drawing away a goodly number. That same night, about nine o'clock, our Battery reported to General Mott, commanding the Second Division, and took the back track for Petersburg. Our Captain took me to Gen. Mott and told him I would conduct the division by a shorter route to Petersburg. He appeared much pleased and availed himself of it. As soon as he crossed the Appomattox, I reported to him, when he told me that General Ord had sent an aid to conduct him to the Eighteenth Corps, so my services were not needed.

"It was understood that the mines were to have been sprung that morning, and we were sent to support the charge. For some reason the attack was not made, and we stood in harness all day, in a terribly hot sun. We received orders in the evening to harness at three o'clock next morning, as the mines were to be sprung and we must be ready. About four o'clock in the morning the battle opened, and continued till about seven o'clock. The cannonading was terrible. I rode out on the line of the Eighteenth Corps to see what was going on, and before I was aware of it, was under fire. Several case shot exploded over my head, and one struck into the parapet in front of me while I was looking over.

"We all expected that Petersburg would be ours before night. We were confident of it. I saw a thirteen inch mortar at work which did finely. When that went off it was like a young earthquake.

"When the attack was made on Petersburg, the fort was blown up, and everything was working beautifully, and all it needed was for the charging party to do ordinarily well, and the city would have been ours. But the charging column, after it had carried the breach, laid down and refused to go another inch. This gave the enemy time to rally; the auspicious moment was lost, and the day was lost. It does require some firmness to see all these things, and still at all times look at the bright side."

Camp near Petersburg, August 11th.
On looking over, I find that since leaving Washington last summer, we have lost, from our battery, over one hundred horses. It costs our Uncle Samuel something for horses.

I think you take it easier than I do, about that mine explosion the other day. I cannot but think of the hundreds of lives that were lost for nothing; thrown away on account of somebody's carelessness, cowardice or fault in some way. * * *

I am determined to see this thing out, and hope and pray that we of the north will never yield one iota to the rebels, that, whatever the consequences, we will fight it out to the bitter end.

This was the last letter Lieutenant Brower wrote, of any importance. The first intimation the friends had that he had been killed, was by a letter in the New York Herald, by its correspondent, giving an account of the battle at Ream's Station, under date of August 26th. In speaking of our artillery, among other things, he says, "The Twelfth New York Battery was near the right of the First Division. Captain McKnight and Lieutenant Bull, both of whom had distinguished themselves on previous occasions, were not with the battery; McKnight being sick at City Point and Bull being on staff duty. The battery was commanded by Lieutenant Dauchy, who directed the fire of the three guns while Lieutenant Brower fought the other. This promising young officer, Lieutenant Brower, was shot in the head, when the enemy broke through our line. He was giving orders for pouring into the advancing enemy double shotted canister, when he was killed at his gun."

The mails, for several days before and after the battle, had been kept back, and the friends did not receive intelligence direct from the battery until August 31st, when they received a letter from Lieutenant Dauchy, of August 27th, as follows:

S. D. Browser, Esq.:
Sir—It is my duty to report to you the death, on the field of battle of your son, Henry D. Brower, Second Lieutenant of this battery. On Tuesday night last, the First and Second Divisions of the Second Corps marched to Ream's Station, on the Weldon railroad, for the purpose of tearing up the track. Our battery was put in position to the right of the station. We remained quiet on Wednesday, and Thursday morning skirmishing commenced, with the enemy nearly all round us. In the afternoon they made two charges, to the left of where we were, but were repulsed. About five o'clock firing again commenced and we opened with artillery. Shortly afterwards, General Miles ordered me to send one gun about three hundred yards to the left, where the railroad crossed our works. I sent the right piece, and the Lieutenant with it, when, soon, the rebels charged in column upon the works, just to the left of where he was with the piece. He opened with cannister, serving the gun with his usual unsurpassed bravery and gallantry, and doing great execution in the enemy's ranks. But our infantry did not stand, and the enemy broke through the lines. At this instant Henry was struck in the head with a musket ball and fell, instantly, dead across the trail handspike.

General Miles spoke very highly of Henry's efficiency and bravery. He could not do otherwise. His conduct on all occasions was above all praise.

On the same day the family received a letter which had been sent by a member of the Eleventh Battery to Col. E. Jewett, then Curator of the State Geological Cabinet, and who handed it to the family for perusal, accompanying it with the following note:

August 31, 1864.
S. D. Brower:
My dear Sir—I have this moment received the enclosed letter, with the sad news of the death of your noble son. Most sincerely do I condole with you and your family for the great bereavement.

I knew him well, and highly prized his friendship, and I do not know a young man of more superior worth and virtue. He has sacrificed his life to his country, and if anything can allay the grief of his friends, it is the knowledge that he died a true Christian, in the full discharge of his duty to God and his country. In the true spirit of condolence and grief for the loss of my esteemed young friend,

I am, truly yours,

The letter to which he refers, which was to himself, is as foliows:

Camp near Weldon Railroad, South of
Petersburg, August 26, 1864.
Dear Friend—Our mutual friend, Lieut. Henry D. Brower, is dead. Yes, our noble friend fell fighting at the late engagement at Ream's Station, pierced through the brain by a rebel bullet, as the enemy charged. It was impossible to recover his body.

You will please inform his parents. I would write them, but do not know his father's address. Inform them that Henry was a brave fellow, and died in a good cause. Ah! in him I have lost a good friend and comrade. He was a young man possessed of many social and rare qualities, and beloved by his comrades. He was a brave and accomplished officer, and enlisted in the defence of his country with mingled feelings of pure patriotism and justice.

His death will cast a gloom over a large circle of relatives and friends in the city and in the army, where he was greatly loved.

Your friend,
G. N. P. GALE,
Eleventh New York Battery.

The sad story is told; his career is ended. He who left his home in the buoyancy of opening manhood, was destined never to return. He sleeps in a nameless grave, and Virginia soil is sacred now to his friends and admirers, by the presence of his dust.

His heroic deeds, his sacrifices for the peace and happiness of others, his lofty principles and his pure Christian example, will never be forgotten by the American people. The city of Albany gave him birth, but his glorious life belongs to the great Republic, and has entered into the forces that, with God's blessing, will make this Republic, for all future time, the home of just laws, universal liberty, and a pure Christianity.

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