Thursday, October 29, 2015

Isaac R, Bronson.

Captain ISAAC R. BRONSON was born at Middlebury, Conn., Mav 22, 1826. His father was Hon. Leonard Bronson, a prominent citizen of that town. Isaac early left his home and was engaged as a clerk, 6rs1 in Watertown, then Guilford, and later in Rochester, N. Y. In 1849, he removed to Waterbury, where he was engaged in the book Belling and book binding business. In 1856, he removed to New Haven, where he was extensively engaged in the manufacture of daguerreotype case At the outbreak of the war, he was anxious to enlist at once, but his duty to his wife and young family of children caused him to defer the duty until the disasters of the Peninsular campaign satisfied him that to go was his highest duty.

He threw his whole soul into the organization of Co. I of the 14th, and succeeded after much difficulty. He was commissioned captain August 19, 1862. At Antietam and Fredericksburg his company suffered severely, but their captain won a reputation for devotion to his duty that earned him the respect of the regiment. In the retreat after the fruitless bloody charges up Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, Capt. Bronson stopped to give water to the wounded and to help remove them to less exposed positions under the terrific fire that was raging.

Tims engaged, he came upon Capt. Gibbons, who, lying on the  field with a broken thigh, asked his assistance. In company with Lieut. Canfield, the captain undertook to carry him off, when Canfield was hot through the head and fell dead. Capt. Bronson called two men to help him, and they had just resumed their burden when one was shot and the other ran. Seeking for others, Capt. Bronson himself received a slight wound across the lower part of the bowels. In this fight he had fifteen bullet holes in his clothes.

In April, 1863, Capt. Bronson had a ten days' leave and visited his family returning in time for the battle at Chancellorville, May 1st, 2d, and 3d. In this battle a bullet struck his right shoulder, shatter-
ing the bone into fragments. Our devoted Surgeons (and as a regiment we were very fortunate in the Surgeons of our staff) did all in their power for him. He was conveyed on a litter to the hospital at Potomac Creek, where he lingered till June 2d, 1863, when he breathed his last with wife and brother by his side, and in a triumphant hope  for thi' hereafter. His last connected words were: "Death is nothing to the glory beyond His body was embalmed, and in accordance with Ins last request conveyed to Middlebury, his native place, where it was interred.

His funeral was held with military honors, a very large concourse being in attendance. Rev. S. W. Magill of Waterbury preached the memorial sermon, a remarkably able and appropriate one. The notices in the Waterbury American and the resolutions passed by the officers of the 14th were deeply sympathetic, but perhaps the best tribute to his memory was that of his old Lieutenant, Capt. Samuel Fiskc, who in one of his letters to the Springfield Republican, now published on page 16 of the book entitled "Dunn Browne in the Army," sums up the career of Capt. Bronson in words that honor both the dead soldier and the writer so soon to follow his friend. Capt. Bronson was very nervous and impulsive, and not a man that would be always popular. Yet I doubt if any man in the 14th was more truly a Christian than he. The very day of the Chancellorville battle, when he had been repeating numerous tales of disaster with flushed cheeks, I said : " Captain, I wonder you, with such a keen sense of peril, are not a coward ; but the past has shown me that you are not. What is it that sustains you ?" His reply was slowly and solemnly uttered : " It is nothing on earth but my faith in Jesus Christ."

Next morning I saw him leading his men gallantly in the struggle in that vast wilderness. The same afternoon I spoke to him as he lay wounded in the hospital when he exclaimed: "I would give this shattered arm to be leading my men once more."

Looking back at his life at this distance of time, when nine sum-mers have gone by, I am impressed by the memory of his dying words to think that our whole army experience should solemnly reecho in our hearts those words : " Death is nothing to the glory beyond."

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