Slavery the Cause! Ogden and Jerusalem Agree

By Rich MacAlpine

As Gleaned from the Yates County Chronicle, January 30, 1862

Darius Ogden, Democrat of Penn Yan

Penn Yan’s own Darius Ogden made his first major address to the New York State Assembly following his election the previous November. The Chronicle ran a copy of the speech, in which  Ogden condemned a speech made by Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy.  Stephens emphasized that slavery was “the cornerstone” of the Confederacy.

Ogden said “In the history of the disturbances of nations, there is no record of an evil like that which now looms up in this land. We have a different and strange spectacle, a revolution based upon human bondage as a foundation principle, a revolution that has for its express object the perpetuation of slavery. I assert that in the history of the world there is no such atrocity, no record so black as this….. I would say to Mr. Stephens, and to all others, that if they crucify Liberty in this way, they will in the end be ground to powder.”

An article praising Ogden in the Albany Knickerbocker was also reprinted. “We thank Mr. Ogden for the admission made before the House the other evening, that slavery is the cause of this atrocious rebellion. It is rare to find a Democrat who has the courage to make this acknowledgement and for this reason we desire to express our thanks to the gentleman from Yates.”   NOTE: Even at the time of the war, there was a debate over the role of slavery as a cause.

A public meeting was held at the Dorman School House in Jerusalem. After speeches and discussion, resolutions were unanimously adopted. The first one read “Resolved, that the perilous war that now threatens the life of the Country was begun by Slavery, inspired by Slavery, and on the part of the ‘South’ is sustained by Slavery.” The others called for the annihilation of the Confederacy and the  ending of the institution of Slavery.

Orderly Sergeant E.O. Rice of the Keuka Rifles was in town recruiting for the Company as was Sergeant Nichols of Captain Deyo’s Company of Van Buren’s Light Infantry. There was also a large advertisement “20 Recruits Wanted! for Company G, 85th Regiment None but able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 will be accepted and minors must exhibit the consent of their parents or guardians.”

Editor’s Note.  Wayne Mahood, staunch member of the YCGHS Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, is an authority on the 85th.  See his Plymouth Pilgrims: A History of the Eighty Fifth New York Infantry in the Civil War (Hightstown, N.J.; Longstreet House, 1989); and Charlie Mosher’s Civil War: From Fair Oaks to Andersonville with the Plymouth Pilgrims (85th N.Y. Infantry) (Hightstown, N.J.; Longstreet House, 1994)

About Ray

Ray Copson worked for many years at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress before coming to Yates County in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York State. He chairs the Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee of the Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society.
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4 Responses to Slavery the Cause! Ogden and Jerusalem Agree

  1. Wayne Mahood says:

    Belated thanks, Rich, for the plug, but I hesitate to call myself an expert on anything, let alone the 85th NY. However, I’d like to believe “The Plymouth Pilgrims” and “Charlie Mosher’s Civil War” offer some useful information to interested readers. It’s clear Penn Yan’s denizens played a significant role in the Civil War.

  2. Brenda Yeoman says:

    I just found that my husband’s great great grandfather served with the 85th, although in G Company. He had been discharged from there and re-enlisted in the 1st Veteran’s Cavalry. He ended up in Andersonville and then Camp Florence, being captured in July of 1864. I just finished reading Charlie Mosher’s Civil War and I wonder why more newspaper coverage wasn’t given to these returning heroes. I cannot begin to imagine what these men endured and it almost seems like they came home and picked up where they left off without missing a beat. Incredible that anyone lived through it. I also cannot imagine the horror of joining up with friends and neighbors and then watching them die one by one. Towns as a whole must have been terribly affected. Wonderful book, by the way. I’m director of our local library and we will own it before the week is out.

  3. Chelsea says:

    Neat! My grandfather is Darius Ogden III. My grandmother is always telling me stories about the Ogden family… Glad I found this! Thanks! :)

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