By Rich MacAlpine
As Gleaned from the Yates County Chronicle, January 30, 1862
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)