|Notes from Fortress Monroe
Sept 3, 1861 through February, 1862
American Missionary Association
Fortress Monroe, Sept 3, 1861
Messrs. Whipple, Jocelyn and Tappan
Dear Brethern – Yours sent to Washington was duly received. I arrived at the Fortress this morning and called on
Gen’l Wool, and was cordially received. He expressed his appreciation of the enterprise, as might be expected of him,
as a Christian man, and he gave me authority to enter upon the work immediately. As he is very busy today, he has
appointed tomorrow morning to arrange details. I shall therefore write you further particulars by tomorrow’s mail.
Rev. C. W. Dension, Chaplain of the Hospital, has given some attention to the contrabands and he requests me to
say to you that he can scarcely express his joy at my coming. I shall have his full concurrence in whatever is to be
done for them. They have assembled in the Hospital Chapel with the sick citizens, &c, the colored people in the rear.
But you will readily see that they need a cheap barrack church constructed for them expressly. They can enjoy full
religious freedom only by themselves. But more anon, when more is known. Continue to pray for the blessing of God
upon me and an enterprise for which I feel insufficient and greatly in need of the sufficiency of God.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
L. C. Lockwood
Chesapeake Female Seminary
near Fortress Monroe,
September 4th, 1861
Messrs. Whipple, Jocelyn and Tappan:
Last evening, while conversing on the piazza of the hotel, I overheard music, and directed my footsteps thither, and in
a long, low building, just outside the entrance of the Fortress, I found a number of colored people assembled for a
prayer-meeting. I arrived just before the close of the meeting, but a taste was a feast.
The colored brother who led the meetings in the concluding prayer, had a sing-song manner, but his sentiments and
expression, were very scriptural and impressive. He prayed that He who brought Israel out of Egypt, Jonah out of the
mouth of the whale, and Daniel out of the Lions’ den, might bring them out into full deliverance, spiritually and
temporally. After the prayer, I told my mission in few words, and my remarks were received with deep, half-uttered
emotions of gladness. I gave them your message of sympathy, etc., and they could hardly restrain their expressions
of gratitude. They assured me that this was what they had been praying for, and now when “the good Lord” had
answered their prayers, they felt assured that some great thing was in store for them, and their people.
There are some peculiarities in their prayer-meetings. Their responses are
not boisterous, but in the gentle chanted style. To compare heart-worship with formalism they are like, and yet unlike,
the chanting of the Litany responses by the boys of Trinity Church, New York. The singing of these “contrabands” is
to me enchanting, and yet I have not heard them in their best strains. Their singing is generally devotional, but they
have a prime deliverance melody….
This morning I consulted General Wool and Colonel Butler, brother of General Butler. The plan met their cordial
approval. I asked them if there was any objection to teaching the people to read; they said “no; bring on as many
teachers as you please.” General Wool gave me a pass, and a line to Captain Burliegh who has charge of the
seminary building to furnish me with quarters here.
…..This morning I walked out with brother Carey, one of the “contrabands,” to see others of the leaders. I find them a
religious people, and remarkably intelligent, considering their circumstances. They gave me hearty Christian
welcome. Arrangements had been made for three services on the Sabbath, one in the house of ex-President Tyler,
which is in sight of the seminary, as it is called and which is now occupied by the “contrabands;” one in a large open
building near the seminary; and one in the hospital chapel at the Fortress. ….
Sept 16, 1861 (excerpts)
Thank and praise the Lord! Yesterday was a high day in Zion. At 9 ½ a.m. opened Sabbath-school in ex-President
Tyler’s house, near Hampton. A new thing under the sun! A Sabbath-school among Virginia freedmen! Little did the
ex-President think that his house would ever be used for such a purpose. A Tyler compromise with a witness!...
As Mr. Lockwood’s incessant labors has brought on a renewal of a bronchial complaint, to which he has been subject
in times past, he has been relieved for the present by Rev. S. S. Jocelyn, our Secretary for the Home Department,
who after visiting Washington, proceeded to the fortress, where he arrived on the 9th of November. He writes as
“I arrived on Saturday morning. The deputy of the Provost Marshal came on board, and I accompanied him to the
Provost Marshal’s office where, with others I took the oath to be loyal to the Government, the Constitution, etc. With
the pass given me, I went to Gen. Wool’s quarters He received me courteously, read your letter, and its full
endorsement by Secretary Chase, giving every needful assurance as to us individually, and in a manner to secure
attention to our objects.
Mr Lockwood expresses a hope that a missionary will be sent immediately to Port Royal. He says: “I trust the way will
be opened for brother Blake to go to Port Royal at once. *Since this was written, Mr. Blake has decided to go to Port
Royal as a chaplain to the troops; the Committee have sent two teachers to Port Royal, and another to Fortress