Author: Henry Ward Beecher

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, Henry Ward Beecher (1813–87) was one of nine children. Beecher attended Boston Latin School and Amherst College where, in 1837, he received a bachelor’s degree after only three years of study. Following in his father’s footsteps, Beecher entered the seminary, moving to Cincinnati to enroll in the Lane Theological Seminary. He began his career as a minister in Indiana before coming back to New England to marry his wife, Eunice White Bullard. Soon after, Beecher travelled west again, serving as a Presbyterian minister in Indianapolis from 1839–47. In these years Beecher became increasingly more vocal about his abolitionist views, working to support the end of slavery in the western territories. He also began to contribute more to the Independent, helping his views reach a wider audience. Later in his career, Beecher wrote “The Cleveland Letter” (1866) which argued for the complete reintegration of the rebellious states after the Civil War. In addition, he wrote several books, including a 1871 biography of Jesus Christ. When Beecher died in 1887, his funeral procession was a symbol of the nation’s willingness to heal; it was led by commanders from the Union and the former Confederacy.

Address to the Brooklyn 14th Regiment

Henry Ward Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher (1813–87), a prominent 19th-century American clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, made these (excerpted) remarks to the Brooklyn 14th Regiment, bound for the battlefield in 1861.