THE STORY OF THE
Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2012
When the cornerstone of this Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion was laid (October 27, 1905) a year ago, I promised to give, at the time of the consecration, a history of the edifice, with an account of the connection of Trinity Parish with this military post. The work of preparation began, but it grew to such dimensions as to convince me that the story, if fully told, could not be read at the expected time without taxing the patience of the auditors and unduly prolonging the ceremonial of the day. Unwilling, however, to curtail what appears to be an interesting little history, I proceeded with my work, deciding to print the narrative in pamphlet form and distribute it to the congregation, instead of reading it in their presence.
With this explanation, which surely will meet with their approval, I now offer this story to those present, to our friends elsewhere, and particularly to the officers of the post, beginning with a few notes concerning the beautiful island on which we are gathered together today, to dedicate a house of worship to the glory of Almighty God.
Governor's Island was known to the Indians by the name of Pagganck, and was called by the Dutch Nutten or Nut Island. The emigrants destined for the settlement of Manhattan first landed on this spot, but as it furnished no water for the cattle, they were soon taken across to Manhattan Island.
It appears that Governor Wouter Van Twiller bought [3/4] this island in his own name from the Indians who were its owners. It does not seem to have been sold thereafter to any other individual, but became the property of the colony. Its contiguity to the southern extremity of Manhattan Island made it obviously an important reservation for the defence of the harbor, although no fortification was erected on it during the colonial era. Smith, in his history published in 1756, says: "About six furlongs southeast of the Fort (on Manhattan) lies Nutten Island, containing about one hundred or one hundred and twenty acres, reserved by an act of assembly as a sort of demesne for the governors, upon which it is proposed to erect a strong castle; because an enemy might from thence easily bombard the city, without being annoyed either by our battery or the fort."
The island was fortified for the first time in 1776, soon after it was captured by the English. However, no effort was made to fortify the place properly until 1794, when there were rumors of a French invasion and work was commenced on Fort Jay. Such was the fervor of the day that the professors and students of Columbia College came to the island in a body and worked on the fortifications with wheelbarrows and shovels.
This island, together with other islands in the vicinity, was ceded to the United States Government by an act of the Legislature passed February 15, 1800. The following is a copy of the said act:
CHAPTER 6, LAWS OF 1800.
AN ACT to cede to the United States the jurisdiction of certain islands situate in and about the harbour of New York.
Be it enacted by the people of the State of New York represented in Senate and Assembly. That the following islands, [4/5] in and about the harbour of New York, and in and about the fortifying of which, this State hath heretofore expended or, caused to be expended large sums of money, to wit, all that certain island called Bedlow's island, bounded on all sides by the waters of the Hudson River; all that certain island, called Oyster island, bounded on all sides by the waters of the Hudson River; and all that certain island called Governors island, on which Fort Jay is situate, bounded on all sides by the waters of the East River and Hudson River, shall hereafter be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States: Provided, that this cession shall not extend to prevent the execution of any process, civil or criminal, issuing under the authority of this State, but that such process may be served and executed on the said islands respectively, any thing therein contained notwithstanding.
The island referred to as Oyster Island, in the foregoing act, was subsequently named and is now known as Ellis Island.
The old fort known as Castle Williams was built between the years 1807 and 1811. I am permitted to make use of a communication received from Washington which throws light on its history.
THE MILITARY SECRETARY'S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, March 20, 1906.
Respectfully returned to 2d Lieutenant Arthur D. Budd, 1st Infantry, Governor's Island, New York.
In a letter dated New York, November 27, 1810, addressed to the Secretary of War, Colonel Jonathan Williams of the Corps of Engineers says: "I take the earliest opportunity of expressing my gratitude for the high honour conferred upon me by adding my name to the Castle I erected on the west point of Governor's Island in this harbor."
 Accompanying the letter referred to above is a copy of an order dated Fort Columbus, 24 November, 1810, issued by Colonel Henry Burbeck, commanding Harbor New York, which directs that "In future the stone tower on this Island (by the approbation of the Secretary of War) will bear the name of Castle Williams, in honor of the commandant of the United States Corps of Engineers who designed and erected it." E. F. LADD. Military Secretary.
About the same time extensive improvements were made in Fort Jay; the name was changed to Fort Columbus, which name it retained until 1904, when it was re-named Fort Jay, by orders from the War Department.
Governor's Island is now, and has been for many years, occupied solely as a military station of the United States Army. It has been strongly fortified, and used for recruiting purposes, for occupation by regiments, as the residence of commanders of departments, and as an arsenal. It has become a post of greater and greater importance as years have passed by; and work is now in progress by which it will be enlarged to double its present size, an enlargement deemed expedient for the service of the Government. For a long time it was a chaplaincy post, having an army chaplain commissioned for duty there, in conformity with the rules regulating the duties of such ministers of religion. With the statement of this fact, I am brought to the point at which the history of the Chapel of St. Cornelius properly begins. Passing others matters by, we come to the year 1844, in which the Rev. John McVickar, S.T.D., received and accepted an appointment to the chaplaincy of Fort Columbus.
 Dr. McVickar was a resident of the City of New York, a man of culture and distinction in literary and church circles, and at that time professor of moral and intellectual philosophy, belles-lettres, political economy, and the evidences of natural and revealed religion in Columbia College, a position which he filled with dignity and success. As he had already reached the age of fifty-five, his friends were fearful of the consequences of adding to his other duties those of an army chaplain; nay, strenuous efforts were made to persuade him to decline the offer. But remonstrance was in vain; Dr. McVickar was a devoted churchman and deeply interested in mission work, and had felt for a long time a warm and special interest in soldiers and all their concerns. He therefore promptly accepted the proffer of the Government, and, as the call came during vacation at the college, he entered on his duties without the loss of a day. For eighteen years (1844-62) he held that position, serving not merely with efficiency, but with what might be called an enthusiastic devotion to the work. It is recorded of him by his biographer that he declared that he would resign his professorship in Columbia, rather than the chaplaincy with its hard work among the soldiers and its salary of $700 a year. [* For a full account of the work of this eminent man, see "The Life of the Reverend John McVickar, S.T.D., by his Son, William A. McVickar, D.D. Published by Hurd & Houghton, New York, 1872."]
Fort Columbus was at that time the great recruiting depot of the United States army. The chaplain came in contact with large numbers of men on their entrance into the regular service, and helped them in many ways, supplying them with books of value, including the Bible [7/8] and prayer book, and showing himself their faithful and devoted friend. Of the interesting episode of what was called the California Regiment of Colonel Stevenson, still remembered on the island, an account is given in the biography to which I have referred. It was a semi-military colony, under Government patronage, which went out to take practical possession of the newly acquired territory of California. With this movement Dr. McVickar was closely and efficiently concerned.
On entering upon his duties, the chaplain found no place set apart for public worship; divine service was held in a large room used on week-days as the business office of the post, and sometimes on Sundays business requirements compelled him to occupy some other inconvenient place. To remedy this defect, Dr. McVickar determined to make an effort to erect a suitable chapel—a scheme surrounded by great difficulties. The Government was not accustomed to build chapels, nor was it willing either to make an appropriation for the purpose, or to allow others, even if prepared, to build on Government ground. To the aid and influence of that distinguished officer, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, then commander-in-chief of the army, Dr. McVickar was chiefly indebted for the permission to proceed with his design, and within the year a church edifice was built, after his own plans, and from funds collected from churchmen in New York or contributed by himself. The chapel, a frame structure, but in correct ecclesiastical style and of attractive aspect, was completed early in 1847. It was appropriately named after St. Cornelius the Centurion, the Roman officer mentioned in the tenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles as the host of [8/9] St. Peter, and one of the earliest converts to Christianity. The cost of the building was about $2,500. It was consecrated by the Right Rev. Wm. H. DeLancey, Bishop of Western New York, April 19, 1847.
In 1850, the removal of the recruiting depot from Governor's to Bedloe's Island added greatly to the chaplain's duties and proved embarrassing to him, as he was obliged to visit and minister at both those posts. There was no communication by steam with the city; transit was effected by open barges. In all seasons of the year, in stormy or fair weather, on Sundays and when required on week-days, the venerable chaplain might be seen making his journeys from the Battery to the two islands, visiting the permanent garrison at Governor's Island and the recruits at Bedloe's; and in the most bitter winter's cold, sitting in the stern sheets, wrapped in his military cloak, as the oarsmen pushed their way through drift-ice in the bay and against the strong tides off the Battery. His heart was always with the little chapel which he had built and with the interests that had gathered around it on Governor's Island.
During the war with Mexico his work was largely increased; and in 1849, when the cholera was raging on the Island, he went in and out among the sick, ministering the consolations and helps of religion.
Thus did our good servant of Jesus Christ fulfil his mission until the year 1862. On the 10th of September of that year, a communication was received from the commanding officer of the post informing him of the new regulations of the War Department, requiring of the chaplain residence on the Island. "It was," says his son in the biography, "one of the necessary changes [9/10] in point of strictness required by war times, but to my father it came as a sort of deathblow." He could not live out of the city, considering his numerous duties there in the diocese, the college, and the home circle, nor could it be expected that a man in his seventy-fourth year should make such a change. After strong resistance and unavailing efforts to obtain in his case an exception to the rule, he resigned, and thus the last settled ministerial work of his life was brought to a close.
Of the three sedilia in the sanctuary of the beautiful chapel which is consecrated to-day, the central one is a memorial of the founder of St. Cornelius'. It bears this inscription:
Priest and Doctor
Born 1787, Died 1868
Chaplain of this Post
By whose wisdom and
liberality the first
Chapel of St. Cornelius
the Centurion was
erected in 1846
The law of truth
was in his mouth,
was not found in
Dr. McVickar was succeeded in the chaplaincy by the Rev. Mr. Scudder, of the Dutch Reformed Church who held that office from 1862 until 1865.
 Upon his retirement the Rev. James Armour Moore La Tourette was appointed in his place. He was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, and the last of the army chaplains, as will presently appear. He served acceptably from 1865 until 1868, in which year Governor's Island ceased to be a chaplaincy post. One of the sedilia previously alluded to has been designated as a memorial of him, and is thus inscribed:
James Armour Moore
Born 1826. Died 1891.
Chaplain of this
Faithful in the dis-
charge of duty, notably
in the siege of Asiatic
cholera of 1866.
Instant in season
Out of season.
We have reached the point in our narrative at which a great change occurred, and in the Providence of Almighty God, the Chapel of St. Cornelius was drawn into the system of Trinity Parish. In the year 1868, by order from the War Department, Governor's Island was dropped from the list of army posts for which chaplains were commissioned. It was announced as the reason for that action that as the Island is within [11/12] the limits of the City of New York, the religious denominations of that city ought to feel interest enough in the spiritual welfare of the men on the Island to supply them with the ministrations of religion. Trinity Church being in the First Ward, in full view from the Island and close at hand, the rector and vestry responded without delay to the suggestion of the Government, and immediately made a proposal to the War Department to maintain a clergyman at the post at their own expense, who should perform the accustomed duties of a commissioned chaplain on the sole condition that the Chapel of St. Cornelius should be placed at their disposal for their exclusive use. The proposal was accepted, August, 1868, as appears from the following extracts from the collection of documents relating to this subject:
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, August 11th, 1868.
BREVET MAJOR GENERAL D. BUTTERFIELD,
Superintendent Gen'l Rec'g Service,
New York City.
Referring to the recommendation contained in your indorsement of the 31st ultimo forwarding a proposition made by the Vestry of Trinity Church, New York, to furnish and pay a clergyman to conduct religious and school exercises at Governor's Island, New York Harbor, said clergyman to be allowed quarters and fuel by the Government and have the facilities usually furnished to chaplains, you are respectfully informed that same has been approved by the Secretary of War. Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant General.
HEADQUARTERS GEN'L REC'G SERVICE,
NEW YORK CITY, August 14, 1868.
Official copy respectfully furnished Brevet Brig. General H. D. Wallen, Commanding Fort Columbus, N. Y. H., for his information and guidance and with reference to copy of the letter of Rev. Dr. Dix furnished him from this office, July 31st ultimo.
By order of Bvt. Major Gen'l Butterfield.
(Signed) ASA BIRD GARDINER, 1st Lieut. of 9th Infantry, A .A .A .G.
On the completion of these negotiations, the Corporation of Trinity Church appointed the Rev. J. B. C. Beaubien to the chaplaincy at Fort Columbus, as the following extract from the Vestry minutes shows:
Oct. 12, 1868. The Special Committee composed of the Rector and the members of the Standing Committee reported that, on application made by the Rector on behalf of the Vestry with the concurrence of the Committee, the Government had agreed that this Corporation might provide and pay a clergyman to officiate regularly on Governor's Island, to teach the Schools and perform all the duties imposed on Chaplains by the Army regulations, the use of the Chapel on the Island being allowed for that purpose, and the Government giving to such clergymen quarters, fuel, and the facilities usually furnished to officers, and that under the power given by the Vestry the Committee had appointed the Rev. J. B. C. Beaubien as Missionary at Governor's Island under the foregoing arrangement during the pleasure of the Vestry at a salary at the rate of $2,000 per annum, to be paid to him monthly from the time he should enter upon his duties, subject to future reduction or modification by the Vestry if thought expedient.
Later documents show the kind and cordial manner in which the first Trinity chaplain was received on the Island.
The Rector made a verbal report on the subject of the Mission work on Governor's Island and stated that he had [13/14] visited the Island and had made an inspection of the Chapel of St. Cornelius, and had also conversed with General Wallen and the Rev. Mr. Beaubien; that Mr. Beaubien has entered upon his work as Chaplain with great zeal, and is discharging his duties with discretion and success; that he has already commenced a Sunday School and formed a Bible Class for soldiers, and is preparing some of the men for confirmation, that a Sunday night service has been begun in the chapel with a very large attendance, and that the ladies at the Post are making preparations for a Christmas Tree celebration. The Rector further stated that the commanding officer had expressed the highest satisfaction at the progress of the work under the Rev. Mr. Beaubien, commending him for his wise conduct and acceptable fulfilment of his duties, and that he had issued a general order to the command, a copy of which the Rector laid before the Vestry, and which was as follows:
GENERAL ORDERS No. 104.
H'DQ'RS PRINCIPAL DEPOT, G. R. S.
FT. COLUMBUS, N. Y. HARBOR,
DEC. 3, 1868.
The Commanding Officer has the pleasure of announcing to the Command that through the generosity and Christian sympathy extended by Trinity Church, New York City, the services of the Rev. J. B. C. Beaubien have been secured as resident chaplain of the Depot; and that certain necessary improvements are about to be made in the Chapel of St. Cornelius for the comfort and convenience of the officers and soldiers here stationed.
Under this beneficent arrangement Protestant worship is permanently resumed at the Depot: with Sunday morning and evening services: a Sabbath School and Bible Class.
Although "it is earnestly recommended to all Officers and soldiers diligently to attend divine service," and notwithstanding all are cordially invited to attend, yet this invitation is in no sense compulsory and must not be so considered or construed by the officers or non-commissioned officers of the Depot. All must be left free to worship God after their [14/15] own forms and in accordance with the dictates of their own consciences.
By order of Bvt. Brig. Gen. H. D. Wallen.
I. E. PUTNAM,
1st Lieut. 12th Inf'y & Bvt. Capt. U. S. A. Post Adjutant.
At the same time order was taken for certain work for the improvement of the chapel and supplies for the schools in charge of the chaplain.
The Rector further stated that the Chapel would be much improved by a new carpet, the present one being very old and worn out, and that by the introduction of suitable lamps and by repairs to the organ. Divine service would be made much more edifying and interesting; that these improvements could be secured at a small outlay, and that they would be very gratefully appreciated, the Vestry by a unanimous vote gave the Rector power to carry them out, and also to provide for the Sunday School and Bible Class books of instruction similar to those in use in the Schools in this Parish.
Toward the end of the year 1869, the Rev. Mr. Beaubien was transferred to mission work recently undertaken in the Bowery.
(November 8, 1869.)
The Rector reported Rev. J. B. C. Beaubien as a fit person to be put in charge of the Mission on the East side of the City. He was thereupon appointed to such charge at the salary of Two Thousand Dollars per annum, to hold his office during the pleasure of the Vestry.
The Rector was authorized to provide for the continuance of the Church services on Governor's Island.
A new appointment was made early in the year 1870, as the minutes of the vestry show:
(January 10, 1870.)
The Rector nominated the Reverend Alexander Davidson as Chaplain on Governor's Island. Thereupon Mr. Davidson [15/16] was appointed such Chaplain to hold his office during the pleasure of the Vestry and the appointment to take effect from the first day of January instant.
The name of this devoted young priest shines brightly in the annals of our venerable parish; he attained an honor which many have coveted but few secured—the death of those who give their lives for their fellow-men. His career was brief, but glorious. Cordially welcomed to the Island by Bvt. Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Neill, commanding the depot, and furnished by that officer with instructions for his information and guidance, he began his work with the opening of the year, and speedily gave proof of ability and devotion. But, unfortunately, his health was not strong, and after a few months it was deemed advisable that he should take such time as might be necessary for a complete recovery. While he was away on leave of absence, the yellow fever broke out on the Island, late in the summer, attacking officers and men. On receiving the news Davidson returned at once to his post of duty, in spite of the remonstrances of his friends, and after laboring strenuously among the sick contracted the fatal disease and died. His name has been borne upon our rolls thenceforth as one who fell in the service of Christ and of the brethren. In appreciation of his character and acts the vestry adopted these resolutions:
(October 10, 1870.)
The Comptroller was authorized to pay the expense of printing connected with the memorial of the late Reverend Alexander Davidson, Post Chaplain at Governor's Island, who died recently from yellow fever contracted in his attendance on the sick soldiers under his charge.
Resolved that a tablet be erected in Trinity Church in [16/17] memory of the Reverend Alexander Davidson, late in the service of this Parish as Chaplain on Governor's Island, who died at that post during the epidemic lately prevailing there, in the discharge of his duties to the men under his spiritual care.
And that it be referred to a Committee of three, of which the Rector shall be chairman, to procure a design for such tablet and to select a suitable position for it, and to report the same to the Vestry with an estimate of its cost.
Mr. Strong and Mr. Sackett were appointed on the Committee.
At the same meeting a substantial gift was made to the mother of the deceased Chaplain, and an appropriation was voted to enable the Rector to provide for the services at St. Cornelius' Chapel in the interval between the death of Mr. Davidson and the appointment of his successor.
The tablet to his memory was placed in Trinity Church, and may now be seen in the southwest sacristy. It bears this inscription:
In memory of the Rev.
Chaplain at Ft. Columbus
New York Harbor
Who died of Yellow Fever
Sept. A.D. 1870
Though absent on sick leave when the Disease
broke out he came back, and while ministering
to the Sick and Dying was himself struck
down and thus gave his life for his Brethren.
This Tablet is erected by the
Vestry of Trinity Church
In affectionate remembrance of a brave man
and a faithful Servant of Christ.
 The third of the three sedilia already mentioned is a memorial to this devoted young man. The inscription is the same as that on the tablet in Trinity Church, ending with the words, "Gave his life for his Brethren." Thus the sedilia appropriately and beautifully commemorate three faithful servants of our Lord and lovers of the soldiers:
Dr. McVickar, founder of the Chapel.
La Tourette, the last of the commissioned chaplains.
Davidson, the second of the Trinity chaplains, and the victim of the yellow fever of 1870.
Upon the death of Mr. Davidson, the Rev. Edward Hackley Carmichael Goodwin was appointed his successor. The following extract is from the minutes of the vestry:
(November 14, 1870.)
The Rector nominated as Post Chaplain on Governor's Island the Rev. E. H. C. Goodwin. Such nomination was thereupon confirmed, and Mr. Goodwin was appointed such Chaplain, to hold his office during the pleasure of the Vestry and to receive the same compensation as that heretofore allowed.
Upon Mr. Goodwin's arrival at the Island, the following order was made by the officer then in command:
HEADQUARTERS PRINCIPAL DEPOT RECRUITING SERVICE,
SPECIAL ORDERS No. 15,
FORT COLUMBUS, NEW YORK HARBOR, Janu'y 17, 1871.
II. Rev. Mr. E. H. C. Goodwin having reported at these Headquarters is hereby announced as Chaplain of the Post. He will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
By command of Lieut. Col. T. H. Neill, 6th Cavalry.
1st Lt. 9th Infantry, Post Adjutant.
 Mr. Goodwin was appointed chaplain January 17, 1871, and held that office for thirty-three years, until September 30, 1904. I wish that I could persuade him to write the story of his long chaplaincy, for it would be substantially a record of the annals of the post, from a clergyman's point of view. When he went to Governor's Island there were two separate commands, Fort Columbus, and the New York Arsenal. Fort Columbus was a "two-company post," commanded at that time, as appears from the special order just quoted, by Lieut.-Col. Thos. H. Neill, 6th Cavalry, and Brevet Brigadier General; while Lieut.-Col. Theodore T. S. Laidley was in command of the Arsenal, these two commands being entirely distinct. To these two officers Mr. Goodwin was indebted for a very cordial reception, and for whatever assistance could be reasonably expected by one entering on duties so novel. Mr. Goodwin speaks of the feeling toward him throughout his long term of office, both personally and in his work, as so kindly that it is difficult to single out names for mention. General Neill's successors, as a rule, were as warmly his friends as was that distinguished officer. Of Colonel Laidly he has spoken to me with peculiar affection, remarking that he was never absent from the chapel when it was open for service, and that, if on the Island, the Colonel was always in his place, with kindly greeting, wise counsel, helpful suggestion, and hearty sympathy. Among the officers subsequently in command at the Arsenal may be specially mentioned Col. Alfred Mordecai, Col. Julian McAlister, and Col. J. W. Reilly. At Fort Columbus there were three or four changes of detail before the recruiting depot was [19/20] removed to David's Island, in July, 1878, and Governor's Island was made the Headquarters of the Department of the East. The list of general officers commanding on the Island since that year and down to the present day includes:
Maj.-Gen. W. S. Hancock.
Maj.-Gen. John McA. Schofield.
Maj.-Gen. Oliver O. Howard.
Maj.-Gen. Nelson A. Miles.
Maj.-Gen. Thomas H. Ruger.
Maj.-Gen. Wesley M. Merritt.
Maj.-Gen. John R. Brooke.
Maj.-Gen. Arthur MacArthur.
Maj.-Gen. Adna R. Chaffee.
Maj.-Gen. H. C. Corbin.
Maj.-Gen. James F. Wade.
Maj.-Gen. Frederick D. Grant.
Of the ladies resident from time to time on Governor's Island, it gives me great pleasure to write in grateful acknowledgment of their practical interest in our work. Mrs. Hancock organized an efficient choir and played the organ at the chapel services, besides being at the head of several entertainments on the Island given by the officers and ladies at the post for the benefit of the chapel. Mrs. Schofield may also be mentioned as greatly interested, and as having made altar cloths and other vestments for our use. The subject of the music was a difficult one, as it was entirely voluntary; an arrangement rendered uncertain and unsatisfactory by the changes in command and the coming and going of regiments. During the whole of her residence Mrs. Hancock took charge of the musical [20/21] part of the service; Miss Julia Gilliss was also noted for prolonged attention to the work; Mrs. David Robertson, wife of Hospital Steward Robertson, who has been stationed here in some capacity for fifty-two years, was for a long time the acceptable leader of the choir. Mrs. Schofield, Mrs. Ruggles, Mrs. Arnold, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Roger Jones, Mrs. Morrison, and many others, were active helpers of Chaplain Goodwin, and aided in many ways in the adornment of the chapel with contributions of sacramental vessels, altar cross, eucharistic and other lights, altar desk, vases, etc., and hangings which were the work of their own hands or purchased by them and presented as offerings of love and devotion. The sympathy of the ladies has been always a strong encouragement to the chaplain and an incentive to, as well as a reward of, his work; and so it continues to the present day.
I may also add to this record the names of General Gillespie, who was especially interested in the work; of Col. J. W. Reilly, who supplemented the offices of the quarter-master by having the pews repaired by the workmen in his employ, and raised money to recarpet the entire chapel; and of Col. Samuel Brook, adjutant-general, who, though not a churchman, provided cushions for the pews. Of these I have heard through the Rev. Mr. Goodwin, and doubtless the list might be extended were there time.
Meanwhile, under the watchful care of its guardians, the chapel grew more and more attractive. Few structural changes were made. In 1878 a small and inconvenient vestry on the north side was removed, and the south aisle was used thereafter for a robing [21/22] room. The shingles of the roof were replaced by slate; alterations were made in the entrance doorways, and the organ was taken from the south aisle and placed in the north. The interior was gradually decorated by votive shields commemorative of the coming and going of troops and events of the time. These have been carefully restored whenever repair was needed, and may be seen on the walls of the north transept in the new church where they will be reverently preserved. From my "History of the Parish of Trinity Church," Vol. IV, p. 529, I take the inscription on these historic memorials.
Two shields placed in memory of the soldiers who fell during the Mexican War are inscribed:
"Thou, O Lord, hast covered my head in the day of battle."
"Thy truth, O Lord, shall be my shield and buckler."
A smaller shield above these two is inscribed:
"These Shields are set up at the cost of Soldiers returned from Mexico, 1848."
A shield commemorating the wreck of the San Francisco has on it:
"Wreck of the San Francisco, Christmas, 1853. The survivors of the 3d Arty. in Sorrow and in Thankfulness hang up this Shield."
Four smaller shields bear the following inscriptions:
"Recruiting Depot. Came, 17th March, 1842.
Inscribed these to the Glory of God. Trinity S., 1849."
"1st Regt Art' Cos. A, B & E. Came Oct., 1848.
These as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,
"3d Regt Art'y, Octr, Nov, Dec, 1853.
4th Regt Inf'y June, July, 1852"
 Regimental flags and other standards which formed a part of the decoration of the old chapel will be displayed in the new building; to these it is hoped that many others may hereafter be added by gift or loan of the National or City Government or of individuals, so as to present to the eye a constant reminder of the value and dignity of the military service of the United States and the acts of its gallant officers and men.
Of the work of the Rev. Mr. Goodwin during his thirty-three years of service as chaplain at Governor's Island, I should like to say much more than I can, with due regard to him; for he is still living, and would shrink with the modesty and sensitiveness characteristic of him from the voice of eulogy uttered in his hearing. It is no wonder that he was held in such warm and affectionate regard by his friends and those with whom he came in contact. Born at Fredericksburg, Va., a true type of the Southern gentleman; a student and scholar well read in theology and the literature of past years and the current day; a hard worker, who interested himself deeply in the subjects of his care, he was deservedly held in esteem by the officers and their families, and the soldiers who from time to time came within the scope of his ministrations. I may add that so far as opportunity permitted, he also did valuable work elsewhere in the parish, and was particularly useful in Trinity Hospital, 50 Varick Street, to which institution he made stated visits for many years. But out of deference for him I refrain from the further display of his merits and zeal in his sacred function, leaving it to some other hand to complete the portrait when his ears shall be closed to the voices of this world, and the hand [23/24] which pens these lines shall have ceased to fulfil its office.
In the year 1904 the Rev. Mr. Goodwin, at his own request, was retired from active service, under the ordinance of the Corporation of Trinity Church, which provides that after having served in the parish for thirty-five years continuously, or having attained the age of seventy years after fifteen years of such continuous service, our clergy shall be entitled to retire, with an annual stipend for life, with the title of "Emeritus," and with the right to the same precedence, in all services in the parish at which they may be present, which they had at the time of such retirement. Mr. Goodwin, having fulfilled, and more than fulfilled, the conditions, was honorably retired, September 1, 1904. He is now residing at Glyndon, Baltimore Co., Md. Many good wishes have followed him, and he will always be held, as he now is, in grateful remembrance in the place which was the field of his labors for nearly a third of a century.
For several years past, Governor's Island has been steadily growing in importance. It is now a military reservation, on which are the Headquarters of the Division of the Atlantic, and the Headquarters of the Department of the East; Fort Jay has its separate garrison, and the Arsenal still occupies its old position, with the prerogatives attached thereto. At the time at which I am writing , Maj.-Gen. James F. Wade, U. S. A., is in command of the Division of the Atlantic, and Maj.-Gen. Frederick D. Grant, U. S. A., commands the Department of the East; Col. Leven C. Allen, U. S. A., is in command of Fort Jay, and [24/25] Col. John E. Greer, U. S. A., of the New York Arsenal. Under these circumstances the Island has become an object of very great interest to the whole country, and its importance is certain to increase as years pass on. For other reasons the Corporation of Trinity Church deem it a great privilege to be enabled to carry on the religious work begun long ago in this place, and, so far as possible, to meet with fidelity the obligation which that privilege imposes on them.
Upon the retirement of the Rev. Mr. Goodwin, the vestry of Trinity, at a meeting held May 9, 1904, elected the Rev. Edmund Banks Smith, B.D., to fill his place as chaplain, the appointment to take effect September 30th, upon the withdrawal of his venerable predecessor. The following special order announces that the new chaplain had reported for duty and promptly commenced his work.
HEADQUARTERS ATLANTIC DIVISION,
SPECIAL ORDERS, GOVERNOR'S ISLAND, NEW YORK CITY,
No. 72. October 28, 1904
1.The Reverend Edmund Banks Smith having reported at these headquarters on the 1st instant, is hereby announced as Chaplain of this station pursuant to authority of the War Department contained in letter dated Adjutant General's Office, Washington, August 11, 1868.
He will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
BY COMMAND OF BRIGADIER GENERAL GRANT:
H. O. S. HEISTAND,
Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General,
 After nearly sixty years of constant use, the old chapel was found to be in a state of partial decay and no longer safe or convenient for occupancy. There were leaks in the roof and sides; one of the window frames fell out in a high wind; it was very cold in winter; it was battered by the storms of years. The Corporation, after due consideration, abandoned the idea of repairing or endeavoring to restore the old edifice, notwithstanding the associations connected with it, and decided to ask permission of the General Government to replace it with a new building. Negotiations with the War Department were carried on for several months, during the years 1904 and 1905, during which time we were greatly indebted to Maj.-Gen. James F. Wade, Maj.-Gen. Frederick D. Grant, Brig.-Gen. John W. Clous (retired), Col. H. O. S. Heistand, Majors E. M. Weaver, H. Rowan, G. H. G. Gale, and Albert Todd, for valuable advice and assistance, both here and in Washington. To these officers I now have the honor to present our thanks for their cooperation in our cherished plan, and their assistance in enabling us to carry it into effect. After due time consent was given by the War Department; designs for the new building having been submitted, examined, and approved, and a site was designated not far from that of the old chapel and to the north and east of it. The ceremony of laying the cornerstone, by the Right Rev. David H. Greer, D.D., Bishop Coadjutor of New York, on Friday, October 27, 1905, will long be remembered. A full account of the services, with appropriate illustrations, may be found in the "Year Book and Register of the Parish of Trinity Church in the City of New York, A.D., 1906."
 The architect selected to build the new chapel was Mr. Charles C. Haight, a gentleman well known and esteemed in his profession. He has a military record which merits attention in this connection. During the war for the Union, Mr. Haight served as captain of the 39th Regiment, New York Volunteers. On the second day of the Battle of the Wilderness he commanded that regiment and was severely wounded. He also served as adjutant of the 31st Regiment, United States Volunteers, and in other capacities during the war. His wife was a grand-daughter of the Rev. Dr. John McVickar, chaplain in the army, by whom the first chapel was built, and his eldest son is Capt. Charles Sidney Haight, 5th U. S. Cavalry. To Mr. Haight I am indebted for this description of our new chapel.
The new Garrison Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion is in the style of English Gothic of the fourteenth century. It is a cruciform structure with a massive tower, nave, transepts, chancel, and side chapel. The total length is 106 feet and the greatest width 70 feet. The transepts are separated from the nave, and the chapel from chancel, by stone columns and arcades. The clergy and choir sacristies and the organ are on the south side of the chancel.
In the sanctuary are placed panelled and canopied sedilia of stone with memorial inscriptions of three former chaplains.
The credence, also of stone, is a memorial gift of Prof. and Mrs. H. Fairfield Osborn. The chancel window in memory of Maj.-Gen. W. S. Hancock, erected by his descendants, is a notable example of [27/28] English glass staining. The altar window in St. Albans Chapel, also a gift, when in place, will be in memory of Gen. Daniel Butterfield. The stone altar below is also a gift.
The clergy and choir seats are of oak, beautifully carved.
The nave and St. Albans Chapel are seated with chairs.
The floors are paved with red and gray and buff encaustic tile.
Under the chancel is a mortuary chapel; the roof of this and the entire crypt is vaulted with flat Italian tile.
The entire church is of fireproof construction, the exterior walls, the interior columns, arches, steps, and the window tracery being of buff Indiana limestone.
The church is planned to seat about two hundred and fifty, but by the use of the transepts, chapel, etc., nearly five hundred persons can be accommodated.
Steam has been utilized for the heating and ventilation of the building.
A complete scheme has been prepared for replacing the present temporary glass with memorial windows of a more artistic character.
To this description may be appropriately added a list of gifts already made for the new chapel:
1. The East Window.—A memorial to Winfield Scott Hancock, Major General, U. S. A., and Almira Russell, his wife—by their relatives
2. Altar Window in St. Albans Chapel.—A memorial to Daniel Butterfield, Major General, U. S. V., Colonel and Brevet Major General, U. S. A., by his wife.
 These windows were made by John Hardman, London.
3. A Processional Cross.—A memorial to the Rev. John McVickar, Chaplain, U. S. A., Chaplain Governor's Island, 1862. By Mrs. Effie McVickar Haight, his granddaughter.
4. A Brass Altar Desk.—A memorial to E. K. S. and E. B. S. By Mrs. George Herbert Dennison.
5. Memorial Tablets.—The Rev. John McVickar, Chaplain, 1844-62. The Rev. John Armour Moore La Tourrette, Chaplain, 1865-68. The Rev. Alexander Davidson, Chaplain, 1870.
6. For the High Altar.—Its Ornaments, viz.: cross, eight candlesticks, and set of flower vases in brass. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. By the Rev. Edmund Banks Smith, Vicar and Chaplain.
7. St. Albans Chapel.—Gold Tabernacle door. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. By Mrs. Edmund Banks Smith.
8. A Stone Credence Table.—By Mr. and Mrs. H. Fairfield Osborn.
9. Stone Altar in the Chapel of St. Albans.—Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. By contributions from various sources.
10. Ornaments for the Altar in the Crypt Chapel.—By Mrs. Edmund Banks Smith.
11. Brass Baptismal Ewer—By Lieutenant A. D. Budd, First Infantry.
A lectern, pulpit, and font are needed, the ones now in use being those transferred from the old chapel.
Here let this story of the past be brought to an end.
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new." The [29/30] first house, hallowed by many associations, and attractive even in its decay, disappears; a second house, more beautiful, and better fitted for the uses of a sanctuary of religion, takes its place. A new chaplain is here, called to serve in this consecrated temple; young, zealous, and already justifying the wisdom of his appointment by the enthusiasm with which he has begun his work, and his evident desire to make full proof of his ministry. At no time have the relations between the authorities of our venerable parish and the officers at this post been more cordial than they are to-day. All promises well for the years in front. May the blessing of Almighty God rest upon this place, strengthening good Christians in their faith and leading those to Christ who as yet do not know Him! May the prayers here offered avail to help the men of the army during their sojourn here, and when they go hence to other fields of duty, far or near, within our own dominions or across the seas, wherever our beloved flag streams to the breeze; that flag which teaches the lessons of law, order, and liberty, which is the harbinger of the peace to come, when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and men shall live and love as brethren, and wars shall cease throughout the world.