Robert H. Shannon Declares His Devotion to the Union
May 21, 1861

In this tribute to a fallen comrade, Robert H. Shannon and other New York officers rhapsodized the Civil War as the "holiest war in which patriots ever engaged or heroes fell."


A meeting of the Board of Officers of the First regiment, Constitution Guard, was held last evening at their headquarters, 632 Broadway, to pass a series of resolutions expressive of the brotherly feeling and sympathy for the family of the late Colonel Abram S. Vosburgh.

The following preamble and resolutions were presented by a committee of said officers, consisting of Colonel J. S. Cocks, Captain R. H. Shannon and Lieutenant Colonel W. B. Olmstead, and unanimously adopted.

Whereas, it has pleased the Almighty Disposer of human events to take from our midst Colonel Vosburgh, one of our distinguished commanders who obeyed his country’s call at the first intimation of her institutions being in peril, and heedless of personal danger and regardless of the sacrifice of home comforts and endearments, rushed to the post of duty, placing himself in the van of that glorious uprising of a free people to sustain the government of their own creation and choice which has cheered and gladdened the hearts of patriots and freemen throughout the world—And whereas, while in the discharge of the severe and arduous duties connected with the position occupied by him as commander of the Seventy-first Regiment of the New York state Militia detailed for duty in guarding the city of Washington, his unremitting exertions and constant exposure, while in a state of enfeebled health, accelerated the progress and hastened to a fatal termination the insidious disease under which he was laboring when called to the field of duty, he thus falls one of the first martyrs to the great and noble cause in which we are engaged; therefore be it

Resolved, That while we, as citizens and soldiers, deeply deplore the loss of this, the very outset of the holiest war in which patriots ever engaged or heroes fell, of one of those who sacrificed his dearest interests on his country’s altar at her earliest call, we cannot but feel that while he has thus early finished his warfare here a greater captain than any that commands on earth has taken him hence to join the hosts which serve Him in another and a better world.

Resolved, That, though thus snatched away before he could meet his country’s enemies in the field of battle, his death being not the less caused by his efforts on her behalf is not less glorious than if he had died amid the din of battle, and under the shadow of that flag which he so dearly loved, and which must now droop sadly over his early grave.

Resolved, That to the companion of his heart, to his now orphaned children, to those gallant men whom he led to the field, who, by this dispensation of Providence, are now deprived of a husband, a father and a commander, at once beloved, respected and esteemed, we offer our deepest and sincerest sympathies and condolence in their sad bereavement.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions duly attested be forwarded to the family of the lamented deceased and to the officers of the Seventy-first regiment.

N. A. Gessner, Secretary

J.S. Cocks, Colonel



New York Daily Herald, May 21, 1861