Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn The Art of Memory: Monuments Through Time - Page 7

the Art of Memory civil war memory During the Civil War, young soldiers and individuals fighting for the abolitionist cause were buried at Mount Auburn. The tragic losses of the war brought a new realism to commemoration — in contrast to the previous period of Victorian sentimentalism. Personal military effects, such as a hat, belt, and sword replaced earlier romantic motifs. Many of these memorials include words and images that together present a moving pictorial narrative. Photo, Meg L. Winslow, 2013 Nathaniel Bowditch, (1839 – 1863), Lot 1206 Tulip Path Photo, Mount Auburn Staff, 2010 Henry Bowditch was stricken with grief at the loss of his son, Nathaniel Bowditch, who was killed in Virginia in 1863. Henry had Nathaniel’s body embalmed and brought home to Massachusetts. He wanted to keep Nathaniel’s memory alive through a tangible means that would perpetuate his son’s presence. Drew Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering, writes, “For Nat’s grave at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Bowditch designed another embodiment of his life, exactly copying his sword in stone to serve as a monument.” 8 Nathaniel’s body lies beneath the carved brownstone likeness of his saber. Charles T. Torrey, (1813 – 1846), Lot 1282 Fir and Spruce Avenues A Unitarian minister who devoted himself to the abolitionist cause, Charles T. Torrey was arrested for his actions and died in a Baltimore prison. In 1846, the Friends of the American Slave commissioned local stone carvers Joseph and Thomas A. Carew to design a capped marble obelisk to mark his grave at Mount Auburn. Inscriptions on the memorial reveal that Torrey died a martyr, a “victim of his suffering.” A bas-relief depicts portrait of Torrey. A laurel wreath, ancient symbol of victory over death, adorns the shaft of the monument accompanied by the words from a letter Torrey wrote in prison: “It is better to die in prison with the peace of God in our breasts, than to live in freedom with polluted conscience.” Photo, Janet Heywood, 2005 Fall 2013 | 5