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

James E. Goold
From Charles H. Anthony, Esq.

James Edmund, son of John S. and Abby S. Goold, was born in Albany, June 29, 1842. It was his happy lot to be a member of a Christian household, and to enjoy from childhood all the benefits incident to such a connection, as well as those scarcely less valuable ones derived from the instructions of the Sabbath school.

When James was about twelve years old, his parents removed to the western part of the State, for the purpose of engaging in agricultural pursuits. This kind of employment was quite congenial to his taste, which soon began to manifest itself in the ardor with which he engaged in the most laborious duties of the farm, and the persevering zeal with which he carried to completion everything that he had once commenced to do.

He was characterized by a retiring disposition, great firmness of purpose, and a more than ordinary degree of conscientiousness; and these qualities, which were developed in early life, seemed to gain strength as he advanced in years, until just as youth was ripening into manhood, the spirit of God impressed upon his character the seal which marked him as a follower of the Saviour.

The circumstances attending his conversion are presented in the following letter, from Rev. Geo. Pegler, addressed to the author of this brief sketch:

My dear SiróI am much pleased to learn that you propose to write a memoir of my very dear young friend, James E. Goold, who fell in the late war in defence of Union and Liberty, and of his and our civil and religious rights.

My first acquaintance with him was in the latter part of 1858, when his father, John S. Goold, Esq., resided in Macedon, N. Y. I was then pastor of a church in his vicinity, and Mr. Goold and family were among my most constant hearers and liberal supporters; and many of the children were members of my Sabbath school. My interviews wiih the family were frequent, and always attended with much profit and pleasure, and I was more and more impressed with the sedate deportment and high moral sentiments that were constantly developing themselves in the character of James, as my intercourse with him became more frequent and interesting. I considered him, in every respect, the best scholar in the school, and for aptness to learn, and for promptitude in attendance, as well as for his deep seriousness and moral tone, he was a worthy example to the whole school, and to all his companions.

At our annual examination there were none like him for promptness in answering questions, either from the Bible or the maps. But that which most deeply interested me, was the manner of his conversion to God. He was not carried away by excitement, but most calmly and deliberately entered into the service of the dear Redeemer, and seemed to have given his heart to Christ after much thought and prayerful examination. On the Lord's day, April 24th, 1859, the weather being very stormy, we expected only a small congregation, but among that little flock was James E. Goold. My text on that occasion was Ps. xlix, 8: "For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever."

After the public service, we held a "Class Meeting," and James remained with us, occupying a slip in the church, in company with three other young men. My custom was, not to urge non-professors to speak, unless they were quite willing. The others, who sat with James, had no remarks to make; but when I addressed myself to him, he promptly stood up, and remarked that, when he arose in the morning, he saw the day was stormy, and concluded not to go to church. But he happened to remember hearing me say that when we were tempted to absent ourselves from the house of God, it would be the better course to press through every difficulty, as something might be educed from God's word on that occasion that would do us good, and perhaps lead to a lasting blessing. "And," said he, "I bless God I have come to-day; for God has blessed my soul, and I hope that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven my sins." Such was the commencement of his Christian hope.

Soon after, I was removed to another field of labor, and I knew but little of his Christian progress until after he entered the army. Then he wrote me several letters, in answer to mine, urging him to maintain his Christian character, and remain a constant example to his comrades in faithfulness to his dear Redeemer, and fidelity to the cause of his country. His letters to me I will forward to his father, and you may make such use of them as your wisdom may dictate.

With much respect, your humble servant,


Lemonweir, Juneau Co., Wis., May 1, 1866.
To C. H. Anthony, late Principal Albany Classical Institute.
Near the close of the year 1859, arrangements were made by which James was permitted to return to his birth place, and spend a few months there in attending school. He entered the Albany Classical Institute, where he soon gained the respect both of his teachers and school-mates; and when, in the spring of the following year, he returned to the abode of his parents, he carried with him a certificate showing that he had maintained through his whole course of study, a position in the highest "Grade of Honor."

From the very commencement of the recent struggle for the preservation of our National life, his warmest sympathies were enlisted in behalf of his country; but when our late President issued his second call for volunteers, James was fully convinced in regard to his own duty. He felt that he must respond personally to that call. The strength as well as the sincerity of his convictions were soon subjected to a practical test. A young man, a neighbor's son, and one who had worked by his side in former clays, was killed in one of the battles before Richmond, while our armies under McClellan were endeavoring to effect that ever memorable retreat from before the rebel capital. The news of this event seemed to add new fuel to the flame already burning in the breast of our young hero, who said to his parents: "My country needs my services, and I feel that I must go." Still, at their solicitation, and from a sense of filial obligation, he remained awhile at home.

A younger brother had already enlisted in the Twenty-fifth Regiment New York Infantry; and on the 29tli of August, 1862, James, having obtained the consent of his parents, joined the same regiment, which was at that time recruiting in the city of Rochester. After a furlough of one week, spent at home, he JAMES E. GOOLD. 723 reported himself at Albany, and there awaited orders. Having remained here some time, in daily expectation of being ordered to his field of duty, and becoming impatient of delay, he, in compan}^ with his brother, solicited and obtained permission to accompany an olficer who was going to Washington in charge of some recruits. On arriving there, the two brothers reported themselves at the office of the Provost Marshal, and received orders to join their regiment, then in Maryland, and marching in a northerly direction. Strangers and alone, wandering in strange places, sul>sisting as best the}^ could, and sleeping under hay stacks, after two days of Avearisome travel they came up to the regiment at Antietam, just after the battle of South Mountain had l)een fought, having crossed, on their way, the battle field where the dead were still Ivins: unburied. This was their first realization of the horrors of war; and the impressions made upon their minds Avere painful in the extreme. J.viiES, always true to his convictions, and earnest in their expression, had now determined to define, if possible, his position in reference to religious matters. Accordingly, he sought to be identified with the followers of his Divine JMaster; was baptized in camp l)y the Chaplain of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, and on application, by letter, was admitted to the privileges of membership in the First Congregational Church, in the city of Albany, then under the pastorship of Rev. Ray Palmer, D. D. Shortly after this, he was placed upon the provost guard at Division Head-c|uarters, and continued to serve in that capacity until after the battle of Gettysburg. On the 25th of May, 1863, his term of service in the Twenty-fifth Regiment having expired, he was transferred to the Forty-fourth. He participated in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House. In the battle at the last named place, on the 8th of May, 1864, he fell during a charge made by his brigade upon a rebel position, at Laurel Hill. Another hero had now achieved his final victory in becominga martyr to the cause of lil)crt3^; another wear}- spirit had entered into his eternal rest; another soldier of the cross had won an immortal crown ! The body in which he was once clothed, now liesówe know not wdiere,óbut the soul of him we loved, and whose memory will ever be dear to all who know him ; could finil a congenial ahode only in the regions of spotless purity, in the " house of many mansions," whither the great " captain of his salvation" has gone before to " prepare a place" for him. It only remains, in closing this imperfect memorial, that there be appended a few extracts from the letters received ])y his parents and relatives while the writer was doing duty in the camp, and in the held. Thus will his inner life be illustrated, in some of its aspects, more forcibly than could be done in any other manner : His belief in the justness of the war, and that God was directing it, never wavered. Writing at a time when the future looked dark, he says, "if I trusted alone in the help of man I should be ready to give up; but I believe it will come out right, for I believe God has a purpose to accomplish by this war, and we shall not fail." He was uniformly cheerful and thankful. Speaking of Thanksgiving day, he says: "How diflerent from the thanksgiving at home; 3"et how many things I have to be thankful for; continued life and health, and food sufficient; for though sometimes I have been puzzled to knoAv where I would get the next meal, I did get it before I Avas very hungiy; and am thankful for so many kind friends, and above all for my hope in Christ." Under date of Febuary, 1862, speaking of the general character of the soldiers in the tent with him, he says, " of course it is very disagreeable, indeed, for me to have to associate with such men; but there is no possible help for it, and my only way is to pray for strength to enable me to resist every temptation." In March, 18G3, he writes: " With reference to my getting a Lieutenant's commission, I hardly think it could be done at present, at least; it would hardly be fair to promote me over so many men who have been out here nearly two years, while I have l)een out only six months." In another letter, speaking of ORANGE DUDLEY. 725 the U. S. Chiistian Commission, he says: "It is doing a grcnt deal of good in the army. They hold meetings in a large tent near us, every evening, whieh are well attended, and many of the soldiers have been converted. I have been there a couple of times, and found it very interesting." Speaking in another letter of a desire to be prepared for death at any time, he writes, "As I was conscious that I was trying to live a Christian life, and wished to be prepared to die at any moment, I went to the (Jhaplain of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, and told him my experiences and hopes, and that I Avished to be baptized and partake of the Lord's Supper, which he said he would administer that afternoon at three o'clock. At two o'clock I was l)aptized l)y him, and partook of the sacrament along with two others; circumstances having prevented any more from attending. I hope I have not been hasty, or done anything to merit your displeasure. I acted from a strong sense of duty, and I pray to God that He will give me streno-th to act at all times up to my profession.''

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