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Edward Woolsey Bacon (May 5, 1843 – June 7, 1887[1]) was an American Congregational clergyman, as well as a sailor and a soldier.


Bacon was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He came from a family of preachers: he was the son of Leonard Bacon[2] and the brother of Leonard Woolsey Bacon,[3] Thomas Rutherford Bacon of New Haven,[4][5] and George B. Bacon,[6][7] all Congregational preachers.

In 1861, eighteen-year-old Bacon left home and served in the United States Navy in the Caribbean and on the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. He contracted dengue fever and suffered from defective vision; still, after his stint in the Navy he signed up as an infantry officer and led the 29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry (Colored)—possibly influenced by his father, a staunch abolitionist. His attitudes toward African-Americans was described as "patronizing ... at best," a common view among white officers in charge of colored regiments.[8] He saw severe action in Petersburg, Virginia, and led his troops into Richmond on April 3, 1865. He was part of the occupying force of Texas, and in June 1865 was promoted to major of the 117th Cavalry Troop, after which he resigned.[9]

On his return to civil life, Bacon studied theology at Yale Divinity School and preached in a few different places before settling in 1877 at the Second Congregational Church in New London, Connecticut.[9] In 1880, he was a pastor at First Church in New London.[7][10] He was active in the American Missionary Association, serving on the education committee in 1883;[11] he also served on the board of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and was appointed Assisted Recording Secretary.[12]

In 1885, while on a vacation for his health in California, he abruptly resigned his ministry in Connecticut, to the surprise of his congregation in New London; The New York Times reported his sudden appearance in Santa Barbara, where a sermon of his in the Congregational church was received with approbation and judged to inspire "new ideas, fresh thoughts, and high resolve."[13]

Health problems caused by tuberculosis continued to plague him. After his return from Santa Barbara he again resumed the ministry but was forced to resign; he took up a position in Berkeley, California and died in Santa Clara County, California.[9] A service was held in New Haven.[14]


  1. "Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934". Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  2. "American Congregational Union". July 1868. pp. 299–309. Retrieved 2009-12-05. 
  3. General Council of the Congregational and Christian Churches of the United States, Executive Committee (1908). The Year book of the Congregational Christian churches of the United States of America. pp. 12. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  4. "Bacon's Unexpected Resignation.a New-haven Congregational Church Losing its Pastor on Account of the Dissatisfaction of a Few Members". The New York Times. 24 March 1884. pp. 1. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  5. "Some Hit and Miss Chat; Stray Bits of Gossip from an Observer's Note Book. A Dream's Strange Sequel—one of Leonard Bacon's Sons—Clevelands of the Last Century". The New York Times. 7 September 1885. pp. 2. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  6. "Rev. of Leonard Woolsey Bacon, Church Papers". January 1878. pp. 133–35.;cc=nwng;rgn=full%20text;idno=nwng0037-1;didno=nwng0037-1;view=image;seq=149;node=nwng0037-1%3A1;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset;. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Memorial biographies of New England historic genealogical society, 1853–1855, Volume 8. New England Historic Genealogical Society. 1907. p. 83. 
  8. Bacon, Edward Woolsey; George S. Burkhardt (2009). Double duty in the Civil War: the letters of sailor and soldier Edward W. Bacon. SIU Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2910-6. Retrieved 2 March 2010.  pp. 1–4.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Death of Edward Woolsey Bacon" (PDF). The New York Times. 12 June 1887. pp. 4. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  10. National Council of the Congregational Churches of the United States. Publishing Committee (1880). The Congregational year-book. 2. Congregational Pub. Society. pp. 62. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  11. "Abstract of Proceedings". 1883. pp. 354–56.;cc=amis;rgn=full%20text;idno=amis0037-12;didno=amis0037-12;view=image;seq=00380;node=amis0037-12%3A1. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  12. "Annual Meeting of the Board". American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. November 1877. pp. 341, 344. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  13. "A Pastor's Peculiar Resignation" (PDF). The New York Times. 13 February 1885. pp. 3. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  14. "The Rev. Edward W. Bacon: Memorial Service at New London". The Hartford Courant. 2 August 1887. pp. 6. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 

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