A Cannon for the Confederacy: The Legacy of Frazar Stearns
Submitted on Thursday, 3/15/2012, at 3:28 PM
By William Sweet
A century and a half ago, a member of the Amherst College Class of 1863 followed his chemistry professor into this country’s bloodiest conflict and returned in a coffin. After the body of Frazar Stearns—the son of the college’s fourth president, William Augustus Stearns—came back to Amherst, so did a cannon that he had helped reclaim from Confederate forces. It was a pale substitute for a 21-year-old with a promising future, but the “Amherst Cannon” would become a boon for historians.
Susan Snively, poet and director emeritus of the Writing Center at Amherst College and currently a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum, gave a presentation at the Salem Athenaeum on the poet’s private life, as glimpsed in fragments of letters between the “Belle of Amherst” and Otis Phillips Lord, a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from Salem.