money contributed by Massachusetts
to the Commission, during the war, $378,751.03; besides which, the value of sanitary and other stores contributed by the people of the State
to the Commission amounted to $500,240.00,—making a total of eight hundred and seventy-eight thousand nine hundred and ninety-one dollars and three cents ($878,991.03). These large sums were not received from fairs and other similar appliances, but were free — will offerings made by the people of the Commonwealth
in response to appeals through the newspapers and by public addresses from members and friends of the cause.
On three several occasions,—after the battle of Gettysburg
in July, 1863, after the battle of the Wilderness
in May, 1864, and after the fall of Richmond
in April, 1865,—Mr. Demond
, Mr. Edward S. Tobey
, and some other members of the Army Committee of the Christian Commission, sat in the Merchants' Exchange, in Boston
, and received the voluntary offerings of the people.
No one was asked to give; every cent received was a free gift.
And the result was as follows: on the first occasion, thirty-five thousand dollars; on the second, sixty thousand dollars; and on the third, thirty thousand dollars,— making an aggregate of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. This large amount was made up of comparatively small sums.
Only one was as large as a thousand dollars; the others varied from that down to ten cents.
One day, while receiving contributions, immediately after the battle of Gettysburg
, information was received of the fall of Vicksburg
The despatch containing the information was written on the blackboard, and was in these words:—
Instantly shouts of joy went up from the assembled merchants.
When the immediate excitement had subsided, they joined with uncovered heads in singing,—
‘Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.’
At the conclusion of the hymn, some one remarked, ‘Let us show our gratitude by our gifts.’
The persons present immediately