SERVING UNTO DEATH
I Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Psalm 101:6, “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.”
Matthew 25:21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
Chaplain Thomas L. Ambrose of the 12th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, was born in Ossipee, New Hampshire, on June 16, 1829.
Even as a child he exhibited a tender kindness and concern for his fellow man that clearly indicated to those who knew him that he was destined to become a minister. And so, seemingly to prove his family and friends correct, at the age of 23, he entered Bowdoin College in Maine to become a minister. He graduated with the class of 1856 and continued his studies at New York City and Andover, Massachusetts. He was ordained as a minister on July 21, 1858.
In August, 1859, he traveled to the Near East as a missionary. While there, on one of his mission journeys through the mountains of Persia, he barely escaped being ambushed by a band of Kurdish thieves.
In 1861, his health began to decline from the effects of an illness he contracted during his travels and he returned home to recuperate. At home and under the care of his family and friends, he soon recovered.
Instead of returning to missionary work, he felt that the Union needed his services more. New Hampshire's governor offered him the chaplaincy of the 12th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry soon after the regiment was organized. Ambrose was commissioned chaplain on September 17, 1862, and joined the regiment in camp at Concord, New Hampshire.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville he was taken prisoner with the colonel of the 12th and for many days after the battle he cared for the wounded and dying who had been abandoned upon the field.
Members of his regiment frequently observed Chaplain Ambrose ministering to the wounded in the midst of the most severe battles at great risk to himself. At Gettysburg and Cold Harbor his actions were noted by the men of his regiment to be totally without regard for his own life.
At the Battle of Petersburg, Virginia on July 24, 1864, he was severely wounded by a sharpshooter while he was heading to a field hospital to care for the wounded.
He was sent to Chesapeake General Hospital, Fortress Monroe, where it was determined that although his wound was serious his prognosis was good. Just when it appeared as if he was out of danger, a secondary hemorrhage necessitated an operation to suture a severed artery in his groin. His condition from the effects of the wound and loss of blood sent him into shock and on August 19, 1864 he died.