On Friday morning, while the Twentieth, partially sheltered by a slight and hastily constructed breastwork, was awaiting the attack of the enemy, a New York battery, hardly fifteen feet in the rear of our line, was shelling the works of the Rebels, firing over the regiment. Henry was sitting with his back to this battery, reading a book. A fragment of a shell which exploded at the moment of leaving the gun struck him as he sat there, and, uttering only the words, ‘I am killed,’ he fell back and expired instantly.
‘Corporal Jones, of his company,’ writes a brother officer, ‘suddenly cried out to me that Lieutenant Ropes was killed. I ran over to him, and grasping his hand, spoke to him. Though his fingers closed on mine and seemed to return the pressure, he never spoke again. His eyes were just fixing, with the most placid expression on his face I ever saw. It was purified of everything earthly.’ ‘Few tears,’ writes another, ‘are shed by soldiers over their comrades killed in action; but even while the battle of Gettysburg was still raging, officers and men alike wept over Lieutenant Ropes.’His remains were sent to Boston, and on the 8th of July, 1863, all that was earthly of Henry Ropes found a resting place in Forest Hill Cemetery. A family monument has since been erected, on which is a simple inscription commemorative of his life and death. His character was one able to bear the closest scrutiny. There were no qualities which a biographer would fear to approach, no weaknesses he would wish to conceal. One who saw him constantly in the field in times of distress and anxiety, of suffering and death (Rev. J. W. Alford), writes as follows:—
Your son not only bore himself nobly as a soldier, but as a man and a Christian. I remember interviews with him repeatedly on the Peninsula last summer, amidst misfortune and disease, and yet himself always cheerful. . . . . This tone of constant cheerfulness—Christian, I will call it—seemed to me to give to his influence in the regiment a morale and value even beyond that of his high military example. Its religious effect was invaluable. Be