from The Worcester Spy, 1 June 1864(Volume 93 #22),
| The Late Capt. W. B. Bacon
Mr. Editor---It is a melancholy pleasure as well as a duty to add our humble tribute of respect to the memory of this gallant officer, whose loss we have so lately been called upon to mourn. to those who have known him from his earlier years , and who have watched his honorable career throughout his short but eventful life, no words are needed to deepen the feeling of sorrow at his sudden and melancholy decease. We tender our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family of our departed friend.
William Batcheller Bacon, a son of Hon. Peter C. Bacon of this city, first entered service a lieutenant in the 13th Massachusetts infantry, under Col. Leonard. Although then but seventeen years of age, his strict attention to the duties of his position and the many kindly qualities of his heart soon won the respect and affection of all his associates. Without entering into details, it will suffice to say that he shared the various fortunes of the famous “marching regiment” from the time it left Boston in 1861 until he was called to another sphere of service.
Having received a commission as a capt. in the 34th Mass infantry, under Col. Welie, he joined this regiment in the summer of 1862. During his connection with the 34th his character and conduct was such as to gain the esteem and confidence of his comrades. It would hardly be expected in these brief words of eulogy that we should enter into particulars of his honorable service or even to name the engagement and duties of which he bore a conspicuous part. Whenever he was wanted or whatever he was called upon to do, his superior officers knew he could be relied upon; that his courage was as true as steel.
A brief reference to his last campaign in the department of the Shenandoah., and the circumstances of his death in the battle of the 15th inst are all we propose to give. from a letter written by his brother Capt. Henry Bacon now on the staff of Col. Thorburn, we learn that there was a severe engagement with the enemy at Newmarket Va. on or about the 12th inst. During the engagement our troops were outnumbered and finally repulsed, falling back to Woodstock.
On the 13th inst. some of our forces were ordered back to Newmarket, and on Sunday the 15th inst. other troops were sent to the same place. It was during the engagement on that day that Capt. Bacon received his fatal wound. We cannot forebear to add the testimony of Col. Wells regarding to some of the events attending that fearful struggle: “He was especially conspicuous, standing directly behind the colors, and keeping his company perfectly in line. I called to him two or three times to bring the colors back, but he either could not or would not hear. I think he could not possibly have heard me, as he was constantly shouting to his men. I could hear him say “Stand up to them boys ,we will never go back.” I went to him and touched him on the shoulder, “ Tis no use captain, we must go; they have all gone.” He turned toward me, and almost while my hand was on his shoulder, he fell struck through the side by a bullet.”
He was at once removed from the field by his orderly and servant. While being carried to the rear, his sword dropped, the scabbard having been broken, and as soon as it was missed, he exclaimed,” Don’t for god’s sake let the rebels get my sword.” it was saved and brought with him from the field. The last words he was heard to utter were,”Tell them I died fighting for my country.”
In this connection we cannot forbear allusion to an older brother, Frank Bacon, who lost his life at the battle of Chancellorsville, in May, 1863. He served in the 3d battalion Massachusetts infantry in 1861. Upon his return home not being content to remain inactive, he enlisted in the 15th Mass. regiment. Subsequently he was appointed lieutenant in the 103d New York regiment., returning to the field only to meet an early and honorable death in the service of his country.
He was a brave, noble, generous hearted companion and friend. Two brothers have fallen in battle. “Par nobile fratrum.” Their memory shall be kept green forever.
“Ore the wintry hills of life,