Robert Darling graduated from the Normal School in 1862. He joined
the Normal School Company in August 1862, in response to recruitment
efforts by Normal School professors Kimball and Husted. He was killed
in battle on June 19, 1864. The following biographical sketch was
published in The Heroes of Albany. A Memorial of the Patriot-Martyrs
of the City and County of Albany Who Sacrificed Their Lives During
the Late War in Defence of Our Nation, 1861-1865, by Rufus W.
"Among the noble band of young men who left their home, in
Albany county, for the battle field, there are few more deserving
of commemorative eulogy than ROBERT BURNETT DARLING.
"Combining energy and perseverance in whatever he undertook,
with high moral qualities, he endeared himself to a large circle
of friends. His promptness and zeal in the discharge of his religious
duties have rendered his memory precious in the church of God.
"From his childhood ROBERT evinced a keenness of moral sensibility.
Especially was this apparent in his solemn regard for the truth.
His abhorrence of falsehood, in every form, was a marked feature
in his character. His brief history furnishes but few materials
for a biographical sketch. He was born January 24, 1836, in Westford,
Otsego county, New York. His father, Mr. JOHN DARLING, is the proprietor
and cultivator of a farm located at Newtonville, town of Watervliet,
Albany county.. His mother's name is Mrs. ELIZA MYERS DARLING. To
this estimable lady ROBERT was indebted, for many of those excellencies
of character, which were so happily developed in subsequent manhood.
"It was intended by his parents, as he advanced toward maturity,
that he should aid his father in the cultivation of his farm. But
his frequently expressed desire for an education, and the indications
of more than usual powers of mind, induced them to place his at
an academy, located at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, under the direction
of Professor RAYMOND.
"While prosecuting his studies there, he became the subject
of renewing grace. There was, at this time, a revival of religion
in the village, and many of the pupils were brought to a saving
knowledge of the truth. Into this work of mercy, young DARLING entered
with all the force of his earnest nature. His convictions were pungent,
and his joy and faith correspondingly elevated.
"He was baptized, at Newtonville, on the first Sabbath of
July, 1854. He entered at once and devotedly into the works of faith
and labors of love, to which, by his profession, he had been sacredly
consecrated. Upon the prayer meetings of the church, he was a constant
attendant, and never did he hesitate to take a part in prayer with
his brethren. His labors as a Sunday school teacher were earnest
"Having completed his academic studies at Wilbraham, he returned
to the farm, and again engaged in aiding his father in the labors
of the field. But his earnest desire for knowledge induced him,
with the consent of his parents, to enter the Normal school, in
the city of Albany, then under the charge of Professor COCHRAN,
In that institution he prosecuted his studies during three terms,
and graduated with the confidence and esteem of both his teachers
and fellow students.
"It is somewhat remarkable that a disposition so amiable and
so full of kind and generous feeling should ever have cherished
the least inclination for the clash of arms, and the perils and
hardships of war. But ROBERT dearly loved his country and felt deeply
indignant at the wrongs inflicted upon her, and the contemptuous
insults poured upon her flag. When Professor KIMBALL, who had been
his teacher at the Normal School, proposed to organize a company
for the United States service, a number of his pupils engaged to
follow him to the field. Young DARLING united with them, and enlisted
in the service of the United States on the 14th of August, 1862,
in Company E, Forty-fourth Regiment. Thus the beloved preceptor,
who had led them in the paths of knowledge, was now to lead them
into scenes of peril and sanguinary conflict.
"ROBERT took an active part in all the battles in which his
regiment was engaged, with the exception of Gettysburg. While that
sanguinary struggle was in progress, he was upon the sick list,
and confined to the hospital. In every battle, he manifested a courage,
steadiness and soldierly bearing, that won for him the confidence
of the officers and men.
"But he was also a soldier of the cross. Amid the stirring
events of the war, the deprivations of the camp, and perils by which
he was surrounded, he ever bore with him the love of Jesus in his
heart, and found in Him a blessed source of strength and consolation.
He originated and attended the prayer meetings of his company, encouraging
the hearts of his comrades to the exercise of a holy faith. As opportunity
was offered him he stood, a servant of Christ, by the bedside of
the sick, and into the ears of the dying whispered the words of
consolation and hope. His presence was ever hailed with pleasure,
because he everywhere diffused around him the sweet spirit of a
sincere Christian. He was repeatedly urged to accept of a chaplaincy.
His pastor was especially desirous that he should occupy this position,
for the duties of which he appears to have been eminently qualified.
But this office he steadfastly declined. His modest estimation of
himself made him shrink from the responsibilities it involved. Indeed,
he refused promotion to any rank and to the solicitations of his
pastor he replied: 'No, I have enlisted in the ranks, and in that
position intend to fight through the war.' At the earnest and repeated
solicitation, however, of his company, he accepted the post of Corporal,
but no consideration could induce him to take any higher office.
"His death occurred on the 19th of June, 1864. On the morning
of that day he was in the trenches directly opposite Petersburg,
and in near proximity to the enemy. Having raised his head above
the bank, a bullet from the rifle of a rebel sharpshooter, sent
with unerring aim, struck him immediately above the left eye, penetrating
the brain. The blow was mortal. He fell and instantly expired without
uttering a word, nor did a sigh or groan pass his lips.
"His remains were interred by his comrades near the Norfolk
and Petersburg railroad, and although his grave had been carefully
marked with his name, company and regiment placed at the head, his
bereaved friends have sought for him in vain.
"Thus passed away a useful and very lovely life. A painful
bereavement, indeed, to those who are more immediately connected
with him. But there is light amid the gloom, and a sweet solace
to their sorrows. They have the precious consolation, which the
gospel affords, that ROBERT now rests not only from the alarms of
war, but from all the trials and sorrows of earth, in the bosom
of his covenant God.
'Champion of Jesus, man of God,
Servant of Christ, well done.
Thy path of thorns hath now been trod,
Thy red cross crown it won.
Champion of Jesus, on that breast,
From whence thy fervor flowed,
Thou hast obtained eternal rest,
The bosom of thy God.'"
Rufus W. Clark, The Heroes of Albany. A Memorial of the Patriot-Martyrs
of the City and County of Albany Who Sacrificed Their Lives During
the Late War in Defence of Our Nation, 1861-1865. Albany: S.R.
Documentation reproduced with permission of Chris Hunter and the