|Ledyard Bridge over the Connecticut River at Dartmouth College|
|Dartmouth student, later Captain, Oliver Cushman, before and after his facial wound in the Civil War.|
Every week for the last 25 years I have driven my car over the Ledyard Bridge as I enter Hanover, New Hampshire and the Dartmouth College campus from Vermont.
Invariably I think of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, as I cross the bridge, because her 18-year-old son drowned in the Connecticut River below while a student at Dartmouth.
|Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Simon Legree whips Uncle Tom from Uncle Tom's Cabin with Harriet Beecher Stowe pondering below.|
Now, after reading The First Vermont Cavalry in the Civil War: A History by Joseph D. Collea, I not only think of Mrs. Stowe's son, but of a Dartmouth student named Oliver Cushman, who continued fighting in the Civil war as a captain after taking a bullet to the face. See triptych above. You can read my review of the book at http://vtcav.blogspot.com .
I suppose it is rather melancholy of my mind to taint a beautiful view like the Connecitcut River and Dartmouth Boat House with such lugubrious images as a drowning and a war wound.
But life has a melancholy tinge to it and it is appropriate to honor that feeling --- not deny it.