The collection of letters of John B. Noyes at the Houghton Library of Harvard University contains one written on 2/22/1862 that speaks of a concert held in Williamsport – presented on the back-to-back evenings of February 14th and 15th.
As written previously, the 13th Massachusetts Regiment spent the winter of 1861-1862 in Williamsport, MD. The picket duty was rather boring and mundane, the conditions cold, and the overall experience a rather tedious one. The mostly well-educated and more sophisticated New Englanders from the environs of Boston oft found Williamsport residents to be quite simple folks, though remarks also of pleasant interchange were not rare in these writings.
The 13th Massachusetts had put together a glee club that sang at some events in the Hagerstown area with good success, and so it was determined to arrange and host a concert, along with the regimental band, of varied musical entertainments, and invite the townsfolk. The concert was called “The Williamsport Ladies Grand Concert” – though apparently the participation of ladies was a bit scant. It was held in the Presbyterian Church, and caused great excitement in the camp and town.
Noyes wrote a paragraph about another denominational local clergyman that, as a pastor myself, caught my attention. Here is what he thought of the Lutheran churchman:
The Rev. Mr. Lepley discourses to the Lutherans. Of late the most spirited, if not the most telling portion of his discourses has been devoted to drumming his congregation. Now it so happens that Lepley, rather a dull preacher, not young, somewhat straitened in means, was a Unionist from the start. This alienated from him the richest portion of his congregation who were secession sympathizers.
Maybe I don’t really have many church problems compared to this one!