from The Boston Globe, 8 Jan 1891 (p. 10)
| LIFE's RACE RUN: Judge Devens' Career is Ended
Footprints on the Sands of Time Lead to National Honors.
Judge Charles Devens, the distinguished soldier, stateman and jurist is dead.
He passed away quietly at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon at his home, 12 Ashburton Pl. from heart failure.
He was taken slightly ill on Saturday last with ?? and was forced to take to his bed Monday, his physician having pronounced his trouble to be pneumonia.
He had been gradually sinking during the afternoon and at 5 o'clock he died.
The funeral arrangements will be announced this morning, and the interment will be made at Mt. Hope.
Charles Devens, son of Charles and Mary (Lithgow) Devens, a revolutionary patiot, was born in Charlestown, April 4, 1820. He was graduated at Harvard College at the age of 18 years, then entered the Harvard Law School. He continued his law studies in the office of Hubbard & Watts, and was admitted to the bar in 1841. He resided in Northfield, and later in Greenfield. He was elected to the State Senate in 1848 and 1849. He was United States marshal to the district of Massachusetts from 1849 to 1853, and in 1854, returning to the practice of law, settled in Worcester, where he resided the rest of his life.
During his term as marshal he executed the process for remanding Thomas Sims, a fugitive slave, to the control of those who claimed ownership in him. Although this was in discharge of what Mr. Devens considered to be his imperative duty, he strove afterwards to make amends for the act by buying the freedom of Sims. He wrote to Mrs. Lydia Maria Childs, who was collecting funds for the purpose, offering to defray the whole expense himself. The coming of the war put an end to the project. Sims was afterwards aided by Mr. Devens, and finally appointed to a department position, while Gen. Devens was attorney-general under President Hayes.
In Apr8il, 1861, Mr. Devens was unanimously elected major of the 3rd Batallion of Rifles, and proceeded at once with this independent command to Annapolis and thence to Foprt McHenry. July 26 he was qualified as colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers. He went to weashington and remaine3d there until the 25th when he went to Poolesville, Md., under command of C. P. Stone.
Col. Devens distinguished himself at the battle of Ball's bluff, and was commissioned brigadier-general during the siege of Yorktown. He then took command of a brigade of Couch's division of the 4th Army Corps. He was severely wounded in the battle of Fair Oaks, but would not quit the field till night. He remained away from his command only a few weeks, addressing a war meeting at Faneuil Hall while on his furlough.
At the battle of Antietam his horse was shot under him. He was highly complimented by his division commander for gallantry at Fredericksburg, and was seriously wounded while in command of a division at Chancellorsville.
In 1864 he was assigned to Gen. Smith's 11th Army Corps at Gen. Smith's request, and commanded a division at Cold Harbor. In April, 1865, he was commissioned major-general by brevet for gallantry and good conduct at the capture of Richmond. Mustered out at his own request in June, 1866.
The entire congressional delegation from Massachusetts signed a recommendation that he be retained in the reorganization of the regular army, but Gen. Devens insisted on returning to the practice of his profession.
He was chosen national commander of the G. A. R. to succeed Gen. Burnside. He has served as commander of the Loyal Legion of Massachusetts and the societies of the armies of the Potomac, of the James, and of the 6th Army Corps. In 1867 he was appointed by Gov. Bullock one of the judges of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, and in 1873, by Gov. Washburn, one of the judges of the Supreme Court. In 1877 he was appointed attorney general of the United States by President Hayes, and on his return to Massachusetts in 1881 was reappointed on the supreme bench of Massachusetts.
His only publications are his legal opinions and public addresses. The most inportant of these latter are those at the centennial celebration of the battle of Bunker Hill, at the dedication of the soldiers' monument on Boston Common and of that in Worcester, also, on the death of Gen. Meade, on the death of Gen. Grant and as presiding officer at the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Harvard College.