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T. B. Balch (Thomas Bloomer), 1793-1878
My Manse During the War: A Decade of Letters to the Rev. J. Thomas Murray, Editor of the Methodist Protestant
Baltimore: Printed by Sherwood & Co., 1866.


Thomas Bloomer Balch was born in Georgetown, the District of Columbia in 1793. He served as a volunteer in the War of 1812. Balch attended Princeton Seminary between 1814 and 1817 and received his Master's degree in 1816. He then served as an assistant to his father in the Presbyterian Church of Georgetown from 1817 until 1819. For the next ten years, Balch was a pastor in various churches throughout the state of Maryland. In 1829, he moved to Fairfax County, Virginia and ministered to churches in Greenwich, Warrenton, Fredricksburg, and Nokesville. He received his doctor of divinity from Hampden Sidney in 1860. My Manse, During the War: A Decade of Letters to the Reverend J. Thomas Murray, Editor of the Methodist Protestant (1866) is a collection of some letters Balch wrote before, during, and after the Civil War. Balch died in Greenwich, Virginia in 1878.

In My Manse, Balch shares his recollections of living as a minister in the middle of a battle zone. Balch was often visited by soldiers from both the South and the North, and by virtue of his profession was able to maintain amicable relationships with both sides. His recollections and anecdotes present an everyday account of life during the conflict. To embellish his accounts he uses literary, classical and Biblical references throughout this work. The final letter closes with a poem reflecting on the author's life experiences.

Works Consulted: General Catalogue of Princeton University 1746-1906; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1908.

Harris Henderson

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