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Title: Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality
Author: Morris, Charles, 1833-1922
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality" ***

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[Illustration: BATTLE OF ANTIETAM.]

  Édition d'Élite

  Historical Tales
  The Romance of Reality


  _Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales from the
  Dramatists," etc._

  Volume II



Copyright, 1904, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.




  DE SOTO AND THE FATHER OF WATERS                         13

  THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE                               23


  THE INDIAN MASSACRE IN VIRGINIA                          40




  THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE                      88





  LORD DUNMORE AND THE GUNPOWDER                          135


  HOW COLONEL CLARK WON THE NORTHWEST                     153


  GENERAL GREENE'S FAMOUS RETREAT                         171


  HOW OLD HICKORY FOUGHT THE CREEKS                       193

  THE PIRATES OF BARATARIA BAY                            206

  THE HEROES OF THE ALAMO                                 217

  HOW HOUSTON WON FREEDOM FOR TEXAS                       225


  A CHRISTMAS DAY ON THE PLANTATION                       241


  STUART'S FAMOUS CHAMBERSBURG RAID                       261

  FORREST'S CHASE OF THE RAIDERS                          277

  EXPLOITS OF A BLOCKADE-RUNNER                           291




  JOHN MORGAN'S FAMOUS RAID                               331





  BATTLE OF ANTIETAM                       _Frontispiece._

  ALONG THE COAST OF FLORIDA                           9


  POCAHONTAS                                          32

  JAMESTOWN RUIN                                      54


  OLD SPANISH FORT, ST. AUGUSTINE                     98


    TERMS AS GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA                    114

  ST. JOHN'S CHURCH                                  122

  OLD MAGAZINE AT WILLIAMSBURG                       138


  COTTON-GIN                                         186

  JACKSON'S BIRTHPLACE                               198

  THE ALAMO                                          218


  COLONIAL MANSION                                   262

  GORDON HOUSE                                       316

  TRIUMPH OF STONEWALL JACKSON                       323

  LEE'S HOUSE AT RICHMOND                            348


A golden Easter day was that of the far-away year 1513, when a small
fleet of Spanish ships, sailing westward from the green Bahamas, first
came in sight of a flower-lined shore, rising above the blue Atlantic
waves, and seeming to smile a welcome as the mariners gazed with eyes of
joy and hope on the inviting arcades of its verdant forest depths. Never
had the eyes of white men beheld this land of beauty before. English
ships had sailed along the coast to the north, finding much of it bleak
and uninviting. The caravels of Columbus had threaded the glowing line
of tropic isles, and later ships had borne settlers to these lands of
promise. But the rich southlands of the continent had never before been
seen, and well was this unknown realm of beauty named Florida by the
Spanish chief, whether by this name he meant to call it the "land of
flowers" or referred to the Spanish name for Easter, Pascua Florida.
However that be, he was the first of the discoverers to set foot on the
soil of the great coming republic of the United States, and it is of
interest that this was done within the domain of the sunny South.

The weight of half a century of years lay upon the shoulders of Juan
Ponce de Leon, the discoverer, but warm hope burned in his heart, that
of winning renewed boyhood and youthful strength, for it was a magic
vision that drew him to these new shores, in whose depths he felt sure
the realm of enchantment lay. Somewhere amid those green copses or along
those liquid streams, he had been told, a living fountain sprang up
clear and sparkling from the earth, its waters of such a marvellous
quality that whoever should bathe in them would feel new life coursing
through his veins and the vigor of youth bounding along his limbs. It
was the Fountain of Youth he sought, that fabled fountain of which men
had dreamed for centuries, and which was thought to lie somewhere in
eastern Asia. Might not its waters upspring in this new land, whose
discovery was the great marvel of the age, and which men looked upon as
the unknown east of Asia? Such was the new-comer's dream.

Ponce de Leon was a soldier and cavalier of Spain in those days when
Spain stood first among the nations of Europe, first in strength and
enterprise and daring. Brave as the bravest, he had fought with
distinguished courage against the Moors of Granada at the time when
Columbus was setting out on his famous voyage over the unknown seas of
the West. Drawn by the fame of the discovery of the New World, De Leon
sailed with Columbus in his second voyage, and proved himself a gallant
soldier in the wars for the conquest of Hispaniola, of whose eastern
half he was made governor.

To the eastward lay another island, the fair tropic land ever since
known as Porto Rico. De Leon could see from the high hills of Hispaniola
the far green shores of this island, which he invaded and finally
subdued in 1509, making himself its governor. A stern oppressor of the
natives, he won great wealth from his possessions here and in
Hispaniola. But, like many men in his position, his heart was sore from
the loss of the youthful vigor which would have enabled him to enjoy to
the full his new-found wealth.


Could he but discover the wondrous fountain of youth and plunge in its
life-giving waters! Was not this the region in which it was said to lie?
He eagerly questioned the Indians about it, and was told by them that
they had often heard of such a fountain somewhere not far to the north.
It is probable enough that the Indians were ready to tell anything,
false or true, that would rid them of the unwelcome Spaniards; but it
may be that among their many fables they believed that such a fountain
existed. However that may be, De Leon gladly heard their story, and lost
no time in going forth like a knight errant in quest of the magic fount.
On March 3, 1513, he sailed with three ships from Porto Rico, and, after
threading the fair Bahama Islands, landing on those of rarest tropic
charm, he came on Easter Sunday, March 27, in sight of the beautiful
land to which he gave the name of Florida.

Bad weather kept him for a time from the shore, and it was not until
April 9 that he was able to land. It was near the mouth of the St. John
River, not far from where St. Augustine now stands, that he set foot on
shore, the first white man's foot to tread the soil of the coming United
States since the days of the Northmen, five centuries before. He called
his place of landing the Bay of the Cross, and took possession of the
land for the king of Spain, setting up a stone cross as a sign of
Spain's jurisdiction.

And now the eager cavalier began the search for that famous fount which
was to give him perpetual youth. It is not likely he was alone in this,
probably most of his followers being as eager as he, for in those days
magic was firmly believed in by half of mankind, and many wild fancies
were current which no one now accepts. Deep into the dense woodland they
plunged, wandering through verdant miles, bathing in every spring and
stream they met, led on and on by the hope that some one of these might
hold the waters of youth. Doubtless they fancied that the fountain
sought would have some special marks, something to distinguish it from
the host of common springs. But this might not be the case. The most
precious things may lie concealed under the plainest aspect, like the
fabled jewel in the toad's forehead, and it was certainly wisest to let
no waters pass untried.

Months passed on. Southward along the coast they sailed, landing here
and there and penetrating inland, still hopeful of finding the enchanted
spring. But wherever it might lie hidden, they found it not, for the
marks of age which nature had brought clung to them still, and a
bitterly disappointed man was Juan Ponce de Leon when he turned the
prows of his ships away from the new-found shores and sailed back to
Porto Rico.

The Will-o'-the-wisp he sought had baffled him, yet something of worth
remained, for he had made a discovery of importance, the "Island of
Florida," as he called it and thought it to be. To Spain he went with
the news of his voyage, and told the story of his discovery to King
Ferdinand, to whom Columbus had told his wonderful tale some twenty
years before. The king at once appointed him governor of Florida, and
gave him full permission to plant a colony in the new land--continent or
island as it might prove to be.

De Leon may still have nourished hopes in his heart of finding the
fabled fountain when, in 1521, he returned to plant the colony granted
by the king. But the natives of Florida had seen enough of the Spaniards
in their former visit, and now met them with arrows instead of flowers
and smiles. Fierce fights ensued, and their efforts to establish
themselves on the new shores proved in vain. In the end their leader
received so severe an arrow wound that he withdrew and left to the
victorious Indians the ownership of their land. The arrow was poisoned,
and his wound proved mortal. In a short time after reaching Cuba he
died, having found death instead of youth in the land of flowers.

We may quote the words of the historian Robertson in support of the
fancy which led De Leon in the path of discovery: "The Spaniards, at
that period, were engaged in a career of activity which gave a romantic
turn to their imagination and daily presented to them strange and
marvellous objects. A new world was opened to their view. They visited
islands and continents of whose existence mankind in former ages had no
conception. In those delightful countries nature seemed to assume
another form; every tree and plant and animal was different from those
of the ancient hemisphere. They seemed to be transported into enchanted
ground; and, after the wonders which they had seen, nothing, in the
warmth and novelty of their imagination, appeared to them so
extraordinary as to be beyond belief. If the rapid succession of new and
striking scenes made such impression on the sound understanding of
Columbus that he boasted of having found the seat of Paradise, it will
not appear strange that Ponce de Leon should dream of discovering the
fountain of youth."

All we need say farther is that the first attempt to colonize the shores
of the great republic of the future years ended in disaster and death.
Yet De Leon's hope was not fully amiss, for in our own day many seek
that flowery land in quest of youthful strength. They do not now hope to
find it by bathing in any magic fountain, but it comes to them by
breathing its health-giving atmosphere and basking in its magic clime.


America was to the Spaniards the land of gold. Everywhere they looked
for the yellow metal, more precious in their eyes than anything else the
earth yields. The wonderful adventures of Cortez in Mexico and of
Pizarro in Peru, and the vast wealth in gold found by those sons of
fame, filled their people with hope and avarice, and men of enterprise
began to look elsewhere for great and rich Indian nations to subdue and

North of the Gulf of Mexico lay a vast, mysterious region, which in time
to come was to be the seat of a great and mighty nation. To the
Spaniards it was a land of enchantment, the mystic realm of the unknown,
perhaps rich in marvels and wealthy beyond their dreams. It was fabled
to contain the magic fountain of youth, the hope to bathe in whose
pellucid waters lured Ponce de Leon to his death. Another explorer, De
Ayllon, sailed north of Florida, seeking a sacred stream which was said
to possess the same enchanted powers. A third, De Narvaez, went far into
the country, with more men than Cortez led to the conquest of Mexico,
but after months of wandering only a handful of his men returned, and
not a grain of gold was found to pay for their suffering.

But these failures only stirred the cavaliers of Spain to new thirst
for adventure and gain. They had been told of fertile plains, of
splendid tropical forests, of the beauty of the Indian maidens, of
romantic incidents and hair-breadth escapes, of the wonderful influence
exercised by a white man on tribes of dusky warriors, and who knew what
fairy marvels or unimagined wealth might be found in the deep interior
of this land of hope and mystery. Thus when Hernando de Soto, who had
been with Pizarro in Peru and seen its gold-plated temples, called for
volunteers to explore and conquer the unknown northland, hundreds of
aspiring warriors flocked to his standard, burning with love of
adventure and filled with thirst for gold.

On the 30th of May, 1539, De Soto, with nine vessels and six or seven
hundred well-armed followers, sailed into Tampa Bay, on the Gulf coast
of Florida. Here they at once landed and marched inland, greedy to reach
and grasp the spectral image of gold which floated before their eyes. A
daring but a cruel man was this new adventurer. He brought with him
blood-hounds to hunt the Indians and chains to fetter them. A drove of
hogs was brought to supply the soldiers with fresh meat. They were
provided with horses, with fire-arms, with cannon, with steel armor,
with everything to overawe and overcome the woodland savages. Yet two
things they needed; these were judgment and discretion. It would have
been wise to make friends of the Indians. Instead, by their cruelty,
they turned them into bitter and relentless enemies. So wherever they
went they had bold and fierce foes to fight, and wounds and death marked
their pathway across the land.

Let us follow De Soto and his men into the realm of the unknown. They
had not gone far before a strange thing happened. Out of a crowd of
dusky Indians a white man rode on horseback to join them, making
gestures of delight. He was a Spaniard, Juan Ortiz by name, one of the
Narvaez band, who had been held in captivity among the Indians for ten
years. He knew the Indian language well and offered himself as an
interpreter and guide. Heaven seemed to have sent him, for he was worth
a regiment to the Spaniards.

Juan Ortiz had a strange story to tell. Once his captors had sought to
burn him alive by a slow fire as a sacrifice to the evil spirit. Bound
hand and foot, he was laid on a wooden stage and a fire kindled under
him. But at this moment of frightful peril the daughter of the chieftain
begged for his life, and her father listened to her prayer. Three years
later the savage captors again decided to burn him, and again the dusky
maiden saved his life. She warned him of his danger and led him to the
camp of another chief. Here he stayed till the Spaniards came. What
became of the warm-hearted maiden we are not told. She did not win the
fame of the Pocahontas of a later day.

Many and strange were the adventures of the Spaniards as they went
deeper and deeper into the new land of promise. Misfortune tracked
their footsteps and there was no glitter of gold to cheer their hearts.
A year passed over their heads and still the land of gold lay far away.
An Indian offered to lead them to a distant country, governed by a
woman, telling them that there they would find abundance of a yellow
metal. Inspired by hope, they now pushed eagerly forward, but the yellow
metal proved to be copper instead of gold, and their high hopes were
followed by the gloom of disappointment and despair. But wherever they
went their trail was marked by blood and pillage, and the story of their
ruthless deeds stirred up the Indians in advance to bitter hostility.

Fear alone made any of the natives meet them with a show of peace, and
this they repaid by brutal deeds. One of their visitors was an Indian
queen--as they called her--the woman chief of a tribe of the South. When
the Spaniards came near her domain she hastened to welcome them, hoping
by this means to make friends of her dreaded visitors. Borne in a litter
by four of her subjects, the dusky princess alighted before De Soto and
came forward with gestures of pleasure, as if delighted to welcome her
guests. Taking from her neck a heavy double string of pearls, she hung
it on that of the Spanish leader. De Soto accepted it with the courtly
grace of a cavalier, and pretended friendship while he questioned his

But he no sooner obtained the information he wanted than he made her a
prisoner, and at once began to rob her and her people of all the
valuables they possessed. Chief among these were large numbers of
pearls, most of them found in the graves of the distinguished men of the
tribe. But the plunderers did not gain all they hoped for by their act
of vandalism, for the poor queen managed to escape from her guards, and
in her flight took with her a box of the most valuable of the pearls.
They were those which De Soto had most prized and he was bitterly stung
by their loss.

The adventurers were now near the Atlantic, on ground which had been
trodden by whites before, and they decided to turn inland and explore
the country to the west. After months more of wandering, and the loss of
many men through their battles with the Indians, they found themselves
in the autumn of 1540 at a large village called Mavilla. It stood where
stands to-day the city of Mobile. Here a large force of Indians was

The Indian chief or cacique met De Soto with a show of friendship, and
induced him and a few of his men to follow him within the palisades
which surrounded the village. No sooner had they got there than the
chief shouted some words of insult in his own tongue and darted into one
of the houses. A minor chief got into a dispute with a Spanish soldier,
who, in the usual Spanish fashion, carried forward the argument with a
blow from his sword. This served as a signal for hostilities. In an
instant clouds of arrows poured from the houses, and before the
Spaniards could escape nearly the whole of them were slain. Only De
Soto and a few others got out with their lives from the trap into which
they had been beguiled.

Filled with revengeful rage, the Spanish forces now invested and
assailed the town, and a furious conflict began, lasting for nine hours.
In the end the whites, from their superior weapons and organization, won
the victory. But theirs was a costly triumph, for many of them had
fallen and nearly all their property had been destroyed. Mavilla was
burned and hosts of the Indians were killed, but the Spaniards were in a
terrible situation, far from their ships, without medicine or food, and
surrounded by brave and furious enemies.

The soldiers felt that they had had enough adventure of this kind, and
clamored to be led back to their ships. De Soto had been advised that
the ships were then in the Bay of Pensacola, only six days' journey from
Mavilla, but he kept this a secret from his men, for hopes of fame and
wealth still filled his soul. In the end, despite their entreaties, he
led the men to the north, spending the winter in a small village of the
Chickasaw Indians.

When spring opened the adventurers resumed their journey into the
unknown. In his usual forcible fashion De Soto seized on Indians to
carry his baggage, and in this way he brought on a violent battle, in
which the whites met with a serious defeat and were in imminent danger
of annihilation. Not a man of them would have lived to tell the tale if
the savages had not been so scared at their own success that they drew
back just when they had the hated Spaniards in their power.


A strange-looking army was that which the indomitable De Soto led
forward from this place. Many of the uniforms of the men had been
carried off by the enemy, and these were replaced with skins and mats
made of ivy-leaves, so that the adventurers looked more like forest
braves than Christian warriors. But onward still they trudged, sick at
heart many of them, but obeying the orders of their resolute chief, and
in the blossoming month of May they made that famous discovery by which
the name of Hernando de Soto has ever since been known. For they stood
on the banks of one of the mightiest rivers of the earth, the great
Father of Waters, the grand Mississippi. From thousands of miles to the
north had come the waters which now rolled onward in a mighty volume
before their eyes, hastening downward to bury themselves in the still
distant Gulf.

A discovery such as this might have been enough to satisfy the cravings
of any ordinary man, but De Soto, in his insatiable greed for gold, saw
in the glorious stream only an obstacle to his course, "half a league
over." To build boats and cross the stream was the one purpose that
filled his mind, and with much labor they succeeded in getting across
the great stream themselves and the few of their horses that remained.

At once the old story began again. The Indians beyond the Mississippi
had heard of the Spaniards and their methods, and met them with
relentless hostility. They had hardly landed on the opposite shore
before new battles began. As for the Indian empire, with great cities,
civilized inhabitants, and heaps of gold, which Be Soto so ardently
sought, it seemed as far off as ever, and he was a sadly disappointed
man as he led the miserable remnant of his once well-equipped and
hopeful followers up the left bank of the great stream, dreams of wealth
and renown not yet quite driven from his mind.

At length they reached the region of the present State of Missouri. Here
the simple-minded people took the white strangers to be children of the
Sun, the god of their worship, and they brought out their blind, hoping
to have them restored to sight by a touch from the healing hands of
these divine visitors. Leaving after a time these superstitious tribes,
De Soto led his men to the west, lured on still by the phantom of a
wealthy Indian realm, and the next winter was passed near where Little
Rock, Arkansas, is now built.

Spring returned at length, and the weary wanderings of the devoted band
were resumed. Depressed, worn-out, hopeless, they trudged onward, hardly
a man among them looking for aught but death in those forest wilds. Juan
Ortiz, the most useful man in the band, died, and left the enterprise
still more hopeless. But De Soto, worn, sick, emaciated, was indomitable
still and the dream of a brilliant success lingered as ever in his
brain. He tried now to win over the Indians by pretending to be
immortal and to be gifted with supernatural powers, but it was too late
to make them credit any such fantastic notion.

The band encamped in an unhealthy spot near the great river. Here
disease attacked the men; scouts were sent out to seek a better place,
but they found only trackless woods and rumors of Indian bands creeping
stealthily up on all sides to destroy what remained of the little army
of whites.

Almost for the first time De Soto's resolute mind now gave way. Broken
down by his many labors and cares, perhaps assailed by the disease that
was attacking his men, he felt that death was near at hand. Calling
around him the sparse remnant of his once gallant company, he humbly
begged their pardon for the sufferings and evils he had brought upon
them, and named Luis de Alvaredo to succeed him in command. The next
day, May 21, 1542, the unfortunate hero died. Thus passed away one of
the three greatest Spanish explorers of the New World, a man as great in
his way and as indomitable in his efforts as his rivals, Cortez and
Pizarro, though not so fortunate in his results. For three years he had
led his little band through a primitive wilderness, fighting his way
steadily through hosts of savage foes, and never yielding until the hand
of death was laid upon his limbs.

Fearing a fierce attack from the savages if they should learn that the
"immortal" chief of the whites was dead, Alvaredo had him buried
secretly outside the walls of the camp. But the new-made grave was
suspicious. The prowling Indians might dig it up and discover the noted
form it held. To prevent this, Alvaredo had the body of De Soto dug up
in the night, wrapped it in cloths filled with sand, and dropped it into
the Mississippi, to whose bottom it immediately sank. Thus was the great
river he had discovered made the famous explorer's final resting-place.

With the death of De Soto the work of the explorers was practically at
an end. To the Indians who asked what had become of the Child of the
Sun, Alvaredo answered that he had gone to heaven for a visit, but would
soon return. Then, while the Indians waited this return of the chief,
the camp was broken up and the band set out again on a westward course,
hoping to reach the Pacific coast, whose distance they did not dream.
Months more passed by in hopeless wandering, then back to the great
river they came and spent six months more in building boats, as their
last hope of escape.

On the 2d of July, 1543, the scanty remnant of the once powerful band
embarked on the waters of the great river, and for seventeen days
floated downward, while the Indians on the bank poured arrows on them
incessantly as they passed. Fifty days later a few haggard, half-naked
survivors of De Soto's great expedition landed at the Spanish settlement
of Panuco in Mexico. They had long been given up as lost, and were
received as men risen from the grave.


In the year 1584 two wandering vessels, like the caravels of Columbus a
century earlier, found themselves in the vicinity of a new land; not, as
in the case of Columbus, by seeing twigs and fruit floating on the
water, but in the more poetical way of being visited, while far at sea,
by a sweet fragrance, as of a delicious garden full of perfumed flowers.
A garden it was, planted not by the hand of man, but by that of nature,
on the North Carolinian shores. For this was the first expedition sent
out by Sir Walter Raleigh, the earliest of Englishmen to attempt to
settle the new-discovered continent, and it was at that season as truly
a land of flowers as the more southern Florida.

The ships soon reached shore at a beautiful island called by the Indians
Wocokon, where the mariners gazed with wonder and delight on the scene
that lay before them. Wild flowers, whose perfume had reached their
senses while still two days' sail from land, thickly carpeted the soil,
and grapes grew so plentifully that the ocean waves, as they broke upon
the strand, dashed their spray upon the thick-growing clusters. "The
forests formed themselves into wonderfully beautiful bowers, frequented
by multitudes of birds. It was like a Garden of Eden, and the gentle,
friendly inhabitants appeared in unison with the scene. On the island
of Roanoke they were received by the wife of the king, and entertained
with Arcadian hospitality."

When these vessels returned to England and the mariners told of what
they had seen, the people were filled with enthusiasm. Queen Elizabeth
was so delighted with what was said of the beauty of the country that
she gave it the name of Virginia, in honor of herself as a virgin queen.
The next year a larger expedition was sent out, carrying one hundred and
fifty colonists, who were to form the vanguard of the British dominion
in the New World.

They found the land all they had been told. Ralph Lane, the governor,
wrote home: "It is the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven; the most
pleasing territory in the world; the continent is of a huge and unknown
greatness, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely. The
climate is so wholesome that we have none sick. If Virginia had but
horses and kine, and were inhabited by Englishmen, no realm in
Christendom were comparable with it."

But they did not find the natives so kindly disposed as in the year
before, and no wonder; for the first thing the English did after landing
on Roanoke Island was to accuse the Indians of stealing a silver cup,
for which they took revenge by burning a village and destroying the
standing corn. Whether this method was copied from the Spaniards or not,
it proved a most unwise one, for at once the colonists found themselves
surrounded by warlike foes, instead of in intercourse with confiding

The English colonists had the same fault as those of Spain. The stories
of the wonderful wealth of Mexico and Peru had spread far and wide over
Europe, and the thirst for gold was in all hearts. Instead of planting
grain and building homes, the new-comers sought the yellow evil far and
wide, almost as if they expected the soil to be paved with it. The
Indians were eagerly questioned and their wildest stories believed. As
the natives of Porto Rico had invented a magic fountain to rid
themselves of Ponce de Leon and his countrymen, so those of Roanoke told
marvellous fables to lure away the unwelcome English. The Roanoke River,
they said, gushed forth from a rock so near the western ocean that in
storms the salt sea-water was hurled into the fresh-water stream. Far
away on its banks there dwelt a nation rich in gold, and inhabiting a
city the walls of which glittered with precious pearls.

Lane himself, whom we may trust to have been an educated man, accepted
these tales of marvel as readily as the most ignorant of his people. In
truth, he had much warrant for it in the experience of the Spaniards.
Taking a party of the colonists, he ascended the river in search of the
golden region. On and on they went, finding nothing but the unending
forest, hearing nothing but the cries of wild beasts and the Indian
war-cries, but drawn onward still by hope until their food ran out and
bitter famine assailed them. Then, after being forced to kill their
dogs for food, they came back again, much to the disappointment of the
Indians, who fancied they were well rid of their troublesome guests.

As the settlers were not to be disposed of by fairy-stories of cities of
gold, the natives now tried another plan. They resolved to plant no more
corn, so that the English must either go away or starve. Lane made
matters worse by a piece of foolish and useless cruelty. Wisdom should
have taught him to plant corn himself. But what he did was to invite the
Indians to a conference, and then to attack them, sword in hand, and
kill the chief, with many braves of the tribe. He might have expected
what followed. The furious natives at once cut off all supplies from the
colonists, and they would have died of hunger if Sir Francis Drake, in
one of his expeditions, had not just then appeared with a large fleet.

Here ended the first attempt to plant an English colony in America.
Drake, finding the people in a desperate state, took them in his ships
and sailed with them for England. Hardly had they gone before other
ships came and the missing colonists were sought for in vain. Then
fifteen men were left on the island to hold it for England, and the
ships returned.

In 1587 Raleigh's last colony reached Roanoke Island. This time he took
care to send farmers instead of gold-seekers, and sent with them a
supply of farming tools. But it was not encouraging when they looked
for the fifteen men left the year before to find only some of their
bones, while their fort was a ruin and their deserted dwellings
overgrown with vines. The Indians had taken revenge on their oppressors.
One event of interest took place before the ship returned, the birth of
the first English child born in America. In honor of the name which the
queen had given the land, this little waif was called Virginia Dare.

Now we come to the story of the mysterious fate of this second English
colony. When the ships which had borne it to Roanoke went back to
England they found that island in an excited state. The great Spanish
Armada was being prepared to invade and conquer Elizabeth's realm, and
hasty preparations were making to defend the British soil. The fate of
the Armada is well known. England triumphed. But several years passed
before Raleigh, who was now deep laden with debt, was able to send out a
vessel to the relief of his abandoned colonists.

When the people sent by him landed on the island, they looked around
them in dismay. Here were no happy homes, no smiling fields, no bustling
colonists. The island was deserted. What had become of the inhabitants
was not easy to guess. Not even their bones had been left, as in the
case of the hapless fifteen, though many relics of their dwelling-places
were found. The only indication of their fate was the single word
"Croatan" cut into the bark of a tree.

Croatan was the name of an island not far from that on which they were,
but it was the stormy season of the year, and John White, the captain,
made this an excuse for not venturing there. So he sailed again for home
with only the story of a vanished colony.

From that time to this the fate of the colony has been a mystery. No
trace of any of its members was ever found. If they had made their way
to Croatan, they were never seen there. Five times the noble-hearted
Raleigh sent out ships to search for them, but all in vain; they had
gone past finding; the forest land had swallowed them up.

It has been conjectured that they had mingled with a friendly tribe of
Indians and become children of the forest like their hosts. Some
tradition of this kind remained among the Indians, and it has been
fancied that the Hatteras Indians showed traces of English blood. But
all this is conjecture, and the fate of the lost colonists of Roanoke
must remain forever unknown.


For those who love stories of the Indians, and the strange and perilous
adventures of white men in dealing with the forest tribes, we cannot do
better than give a remarkable anecdote of life in the Virginia woodlands
three centuries ago.

On a day near the opening of the winter of 1608 a small boat, in which
were several men, might have been seen going up the James River under
the shadow of the high trees that bordered its banks.

They came at length to a point where a smaller stream flowed into the
James, wide at its mouth but soon growing narrow. Into this the boat was
turned and rowed briskly onward, under the direction of the leader of
the expedition. They were soon in the heart of the wildwood, whose dense
forest growth clustered thickly on either bank of the stream, which ran
in a narrow silver thread through the green wilderness. The stream they
pursued is that now known as the Chickahominy River, so called from an
Indian tribe of that name, the most daring and warlike of all the
savages of the region.

As they went on the stream grew narrower still, and in time became so
shallow that the boat could go no farther. As they sat there in doubt,
debating what had better be done, the bushes by the waterside were
thrust aside and dusky faces looked out upon them through the leaves.
The leader of the whites beckoned to them and two men stepped out of the
bushy thicket, making signs of great friendliness. They pointed to the
large boat, and indicated by gestures that they had smaller craft near
at hand and would lend one to the whites if they wished to go farther
up. They would go along with them and show them the way.

The leader of the party of whites was named John Smith. This is a very
common name, but he was the one John Smith who has made the name famous
in history. He had met many Indians before and found most of them
friendly, but he had never seen any of the Chickahominies and did not
know that they were enemies to the whites. So he accepted the offer of
the Indians. The boat was taken back down the stream to a sort of wide
bay where he thought it would be safe. Here the Indians brought him one
of their light but strong canoes. Smith wanted to explore the stream
higher up, and, thinking that he could trust these very friendly looking
red men, he got into the canoe, bidding two of his men to come with him.
To the others he said,--

"Do not leave your boat on any account. These fellows seem all right,
but they are never to be trusted too far. There may be more of them in
the woods, so be wide awake and keep your wits about you."

The two Indians now got into the canoe with Smith and his men and began
to paddle it up the stream, keeping on until they were miles from the
starting-point. Undergrowth rose thickly on the banks and vines hung
down in green masses from the trees, so that the boat they had left was
quickly lost to sight. Soon after that the men in the large boat did a
very foolish thing. Heedless of the orders of their leader, they left
the boat and strolled into the woods. They had not gone far before a
party of savages came rushing at them with wild cries, and followed them
fiercely as they turned and ran back to their boat. One of them was
caught by the savages, and as the fugitives sprang into their boat they
were horrified to see the hapless fellow killed by his captors. This
lesson taught them not to leave the boat again.

Ignorant of all this, Smith went on, the boat being paddled here under a
low canopy of vines, there through open spaces, until far up the stream.
At length, as passage grew more difficult, he bade his guides to stop,
and stepped ashore. Taking one of the Indians with him, he set out,
carbine on shoulder, saying that he would provide food for the party. He
cautioned his two followers, as he had done those in the large boat, to
keep a sharp look-out and not let themselves be surprised.

But these men proved to be as foolish and reckless as the others. The
air was cool and they built a fire on the bank. Then, utterly heedless
of danger, they lay down beside it and soon were fast asleep. As they
lay slumbering the Indians, who had started up the stream after killing
their prisoner at the boat, came upon them in this helpless state. They
at once killed the foolish pair, and then started into the woods on the
trail of Smith.

[Illustration: POCAHONTAS.]

Daring and full of resources as Captain John Smith was, he had taken a
dangerous risk in thus venturing alone into those forest depths, peopled
only by prowling and hostile savages. It proved to be the most desperate
crisis of his life, full of adventure as this life had been. As a
youthful soldier he had gone through great perils in the wars with the
Turks, and once had killed three Turkish warriors in single combat
between two armies, but never before had he been in such danger of death
as he was now, alone with a treacherous Indian while a dozen or more of
others, bent on his death, were trailing him through the woods.

He was first made aware of his danger when a flight of arrows came from
the low bushes near by. Then, with fierce war-whoops, the Indian braves
rushed upon him with brandished knives and tomahawks. But desperate as
was his situation, in the heart of the forest, far from help, surrounded
by foes who thirsted for his blood, Smith did not lose his courage or
his coolness. He fired his pistol at the Indians, two of them falling
wounded or dead. As they drew back in dismay, he seized his guide and
tied him to his left arm with his garter as a protection from their
arrows, and then started through the woods in the direction of the
canoe. Walking backward, with his face to his pursuers, and keeping
them off with his weapons, he had not taken many steps before he found
his feet sinking in the soft soil. He was in the edge of the great swamp
still known in that region, and before he was aware of the danger he
sank into it to his waist and his guide with him. The other Indians held
back in fear until he had thrown away his weapons, when they rushed upon
him, drew him out of the mud, and led him captive to the fire where his
two companions lay dead.

Smith's case now seemed truly desperate. He knew enough of the savages
to have very little hope of life. Yet he was not inclined to give up
while a shadowy chance remained. Taking from his pocket a small compass,
which he carried to aid him in his forest journeys, he gave it to the
Indian chief, showing him how the needle always pointed to the north.
But while the chief was looking curiously at this magic toy, as it
seemed to him, the other Indians bound their captive to a tree, and bent
their bows to shoot him. Their deadly purpose was prevented by the
chief, who waved the compass in the air and bade them stop. For the time
the mystery of the compass seemed to have saved the captive's life.

Smith was now taken through the woods, the journey ending at an Indian
village called Orapakes. Here the dusky women and children took the
captive in hand, dancing wildly around him, with fierce cries and
threatening gestures, while the warriors looked grimly on. Yet Smith
bore their insults and threats with impassive face and unflinching
attitude. At length Opechancanough, the chief, pleased to find that he
had a brave man for captive, bade them cease, and food was brought forth
for Smith and his captors.

While they were in this village two interesting examples of the
simplicity of Indian thought took place. Smith wrote a message to
Jamestown, the settlement of the whites, sending it by one of the
Indians, and receiving an answer. On his reading this and speaking of
what he had learned from it, the Indians looked on it as the work of
enchantment. They could not comprehend how "paper could talk." Another
thing was the following: They showed him a bag of gunpowder which they
had somehow obtained, saying that they were going to sow it in the
ground the next spring and gather a crop of this useful substance. After
spending some days in this and other villages, the captive was taken
into the woods, his captors making him understand that they were going
on a long journey.

Whither he was being taken or what was to be his fate Smith was not
aware. The language of gestures, which was his only way of conversing
with the savages, soon reached its limit, and he was quite ignorant of
what they proposed to do with him, though his heart must have sunk as
they went on day after day, northward through the forest. On they walked
in single file, Smith unbound and seemingly free in their midst, but
with a watchful Indian guard close beside him, ready to shoot him if he
made any effort to escape. Village after village was passed, in each of
which the women and children danced and shrieked around him as at
Orapakes. It was evident they knew the value of their prisoner, and
recognized that they had in their hands the great chief of the Pale

In fact, the Chickahominy chief felt that his captive was of too much
importance to be dealt with hastily, and was taking him to the village
of the great chief Powhatan, who ruled like an emperor over a powerful
confederation of tribes. In summer his residence was near the Falls of
the James River, but he was in the habit of spending the winter on the
banks of York River, his purpose being to enjoy the fish and oysters of
the neighboring Chesapeake. Wesowocomoca was the name of this winter
residence, and here the captive was at length brought, after the long
woodland journey.

Captain Smith had met the old Indian emperor before, at his summer home
on the James River, near where the city of Richmond now stands. But that
was as a freeman, with his guard around him and his hands unbound. Now
he was brought before him as a captive, subject to his royal will or

He found the famous lord of the tribes in his large wigwam, with his
wives around him, and his vigilant guard of warriors grouped on the
greensward outside, where the Indian lodges stretched in a considerable
village along the stream. Powhatan wore a large robe made of raccoon
skins. A rich plume of feathers ornamented his head and a string of
beads depended from his neck. At his head and feet sat two young Indian
girls, his favorite wives, wearing richly adorned dresses of fur, with
plumes in their hair and necklaces of pearls. Other women were in the
room, and a number of the leading warriors who sat around gave the
fierce war-cry of the tribe as the captive was brought in.

The old chieftain looked with keen eyes on his famous prisoner, of whose
capture he had been advised by runners sent before. There was a look of
triumph and malignity in his eyes, but Captain Smith stood before him
unmoved. He had been through too many dangers to be easily dismayed, and
near death's door too often to yield to despair. Powhatan gave an order
to a young Indian woman, who brought him a wooden basin of water that he
might wash his hands. Then she presented him a bunch of feathers to
serve as a towel. This done, meat and corn-bread were placed before him.
As he ate Powhatan talked with his warriors, consulting with them, the
captive feared, upon his fate. But he finished his meal with little loss
of appetite, trusting to the Providence which had saved him more than
once before to come to his aid again.

As he ate, his vigilant eyes looked heedfully around the room. Many who
were there gazed on him with interest, and one of them, a young Indian
girl of twelve or thirteen years of age, with pity and concern. It was
evident that she was of high rank in the tribe, for she was richly
dressed and wore in her hair a plume of feathers like that of Powhatan,
and on her feet moccasins embroidered like his. There was a troubled and
compassionate look in her eyes, as she gazed on the captive white man, a
look which he may perhaps have seen and taken comfort from in his hour
of dread.

No such feeling as this seemed to rest in the heart of the old chief and
his warriors. Their conference quickly ended, and, though its words were
strange to him, the captive could read his fate in their dark and
frowning faces. They had grown to hate the whites, and now that their
leader was a captive before them, they decided to put him to death.

There was no loss of time in preparation for the execution of the fatal
decree. At an order from Powhatan the captive was seized and securely
bound, then he was laid on the floor of the hut, with his head on a
large stone brought in from outside. Beside him stood a stalwart savage
grasping a huge war-club. A word, a signal from Powhatan, was alone
needed and the victim's brains would have been dashed out.

At this critical moment Smith's good angel watched over him. A low cry
of pity was heard, and the young girl who had watched him with such
concern sprang forward and clasped her arms around the poor prisoner,
looking up at the Indian emperor with beseeching eyes. It was
Pocahontas, his favorite daughter. Her looks touched the old man's
heart, and he bade the executioner to stand back, and gave orders that
the captive should be released. Powhatan soon showed that he was in
earnest in his act of mercy. He treated the prisoner in a friendly
fashion, and two days later set him free to return to Jamestown.

All that he asked in return was that the whites should send him two of
their great guns and a grindstone. Smith readily consented, no doubt
with a secret sense of amusement, and set out for the settlement, led by
Indian guides. Rawhunt, a favorite servant of Powhatan, was one of the
guides, and on reaching Jamestown Smith showed him two cannon and a
grindstone, and bade him carry them home to his master. Rawhunt tried,
but when he found that he could not stir one of the weighty presents
from the ground, he was quite content to take back less bulky presents
in their place.

So runs the story of Captain Smith's remarkable adventure. No doubt it
is well to say here that there are writers who doubt the whole story of
Pocahontas and her deed of mercy, simply because Captain Smith did not
speak of it in his first book. But there is no very good reason to doubt
it, and we know that things like this happened in other cases. Thus, in
the story of De Soto we have told how Juan Ortiz, the Spanish captive,
was saved from being burned alive by an Indian maiden in much the same

Pocahontas after that was always a friend of the English, and often
visited them in Jamestown. Once she stole away through the woods and
told her English friends that Powhatan and his warriors were going to
attack them. Then she stole back again. When the Indians came they found
the English ready, and concluded to defer their attack. Later, after she
had grown up, she was taken prisoner and held in Jamestown as a hostage
to make her father quit threatening the English. While there a young
planter named John Rolfe fell deeply in love with her, and she loved him
warmly in return.

In the end Pocahontas became a Christian and was baptized at Jamestown
under the name of Rebecca. Then she and John Rolfe were married and went
to live in England, where she was known as the "Lady Rebecca" and
treated as if she were indeed a princess. She met John Smith once more,
and was full of joy at sight of her "father," as she called him. But
when he told her that she must not call him that, and spoke to her very
respectfully as Lady Rebecca, she covered her face with her hands and
began to weep. She had always called him father, she said, and he had
called her child, and she meant to do so still. They had told her he was
dead, and she was very glad to learn that this was false, for she loved
him as a father and would always do so.

That was her last meeting with Captain Smith. In less than a year
afterward she was taken sick and died, just as she was about to return
to her beloved Virginia.


Friday, the 22d of March, of the year 1622, dawned brightly over a
peaceful domain in Virginia. In the fifteen years that had passed since
the first settlers landed and built themselves homes at Jamestown the
dominion of the whites had spread, until there were nearly eighty
settlements, while scattered plantations rose over a space of several
hundred square miles. Powhatan, the Indian emperor, as he was called,
had long shown himself the friend of the whites, and friendly relations
grew up between the new-comers and the old owners of the soil that
continued unbroken for years.

Everywhere peace and tranquillity now prevailed. The English had settled
on the fertile lands along the bay and up the many rivers, the musket
had largely given place to the plough and the sword to the sickle and
the hoe, and trustful industry had succeeded the old martial vigilance.
The friendliest intercourse existed between the settlers and the
natives. These were admitted freely to their houses, often supplied with
fire-arms, employed in hunting and fishing, and looked upon as faithful
allies, many of whom had accepted the Christian faith.

But in 1618 the mild-tempered Powhatan had died, and Opechancanough, a
warrior of very different character, had taken his place as chief of the
confederacy of tribes. We have met with this savage before, in the
adventurous career of Captain John Smith. He was a true Indian leader,
shrewd, cunning, cruel in disposition, patient in suffering, skilled in
deceit, and possessed of that ready eloquence which always had so strong
an influence over the savage mind. Jealous of the progress of the
whites, he nourished treacherous designs against them, but these were
hidden deep in his savage soul, and he vowed that the heavens should
fall before he would lift a hand in war against his white friends. Such
was the tranquil and peaceful state of affairs which existed in Virginia
in the morning of March 22, 1622. There was not a cloud in the social
sky, nothing to show that the Indians were other than the devoted allies
and servants of the whites.

On that morning, as often before, many of the savages came to take their
breakfast with their white friends, some of them bringing deer, turkeys,
fish, or fruit, which, as usual, they offered for sale. Others of them
borrowed the boats of the settlers to cross the rivers and visit the
outlying plantations. By many a hearth the pipe of peace was smoked, the
hand of friendship extended, the voice of harmony raised.

Such was the aspect of affairs when the hour of noontide struck on that
fatal day. In an instant, as if this were the signal of death, the scene
changed from peace to terror. Knives and tomahawks were drawn and many
of those with whom the savages had been quietly conversing a moment
before were stretched in death at their feet. Neither sex nor age was
spared. Wives were felled, weltering in blood, before the eyes of their
horrified husbands. The tender infant was snatched from its mother's
arms to be ruthlessly slain. The old, the sick, the helpless were struck
down as mercilessly as the young and strong. As if by magic, the savages
appeared at every point, yelling like demons of death, and slaughtering
all they met. The men in the fields were killed with their own hoes and
hatchets. Those in the houses were murdered on their own hearth-stones.
So unlooked-for and terrible was the assault that in that day of blood
three hundred and forty-seven men, women, and children fell victims to
their merciless foes. Not content with their work of death, the savage
murderers mutilated the bodies of their victims in the most revolting
manner and revelled shamelessly in their crimes.

Yet with all their treacherous rage, they showed themselves cowardly.
Wherever they were opposed they fled. One old soldier, who had served
under Captain John Smith, was severely wounded by his savage assailants.
He clove the skull of one of them with an axe, and the others at once
took to flight. In the same way a Mr. Baldwin, whose wife lay bleeding
from many wounds before his eyes, drove away a throng of murderers by
one well-aimed discharge from his musket. A number of fugitive settlers
obtained a few muskets from a ship that was lying in a stream near
their homes, and with these they routed and dispersed the Indians for a
long distance around.

The principal settlement, that of Jamestown, was a main point for the
proposed Indian assault. Here the confidence and sense of security was
as great as in any of the plantations, and only a fortunate warning
saved the settlers from a far more terrible loss. One of the young
converts among the Indians, moved by the true spirit of his new faith,
warned a white friend of the deadly conspiracy, and the latter hastened
to Jamestown with the ominous news. As a result, the Indian murderers on
reaching there found the gates closed and the inhabitants on the alert.
They made a demonstration, but did not venture on an assault, and
quickly withdrew.

Such was the first great Indian massacre in America, and one of the most
unexpected and malignant of them all.

It was the work of Opechancanough, who had laid his plot and organized
the work of death in the most secret and skilful manner. Passing from
tribe to tribe, he eloquently depicted their wrongs, roused them to
revenge, pointed out the defenceless state of the whites, and worked on
their passions by promises of blood and rapine. A complete organization
was formed, the day and hour were fixed, and the savages of Virginia
waited in silence and impatience for the time in which they hoped to rid
the land of every white settler on its soil and win back their old

While they did not succeed in this, they filled the whole colony with
terror and dismay. The planters who had survived the attack were hastily
called in to Jamestown, and their homes and fields abandoned, so that of
the eighty recent settlements only six remained. Some of the people were
bold enough to refuse to obey the order, arming their servants, mounting
cannon, and preparing to defend their own homes. One of these bold
spirits was a woman. But the authorities at Jamestown would not permit
this, and they were all compelled to abandon their strongholds and unite
for the general defence.

The reign of peace was at an end. A reign of war had begun. The savages
were everywhere in arms, with Opechancanough at their head. The
settlers, as soon as the first period of dread had passed, marched
against them, burning for revenge, and relentless slaughter became the
rule. It was the first Indian war in the British settlements, but was of
the type of them all. Wherever any Indian showed himself he was
instantly shot down. Wherever a white man ventured within reach of the
red foe he was slain on the spot or dragged off for the more dreadful
death by torture. There was no truce, no relaxation; it was war to the

Only when seed-time was at hand did necessity demand a temporary pause
in hostilities. The English now showed that they could be as treacherous
and lacking in honor as their savage enemy. They offered peace to the
savages, and in this way induced them to leave their hiding-places and
plant their fields. While thus engaged the English rushed suddenly upon
them and cut down a large number, including some of the most valiant
warriors and leading chiefs.

From that time on there was no talk or thought of peace. Alike the
plantation buildings of the whites and the villages of the Indians were
burned. The swords and muskets of the whites, the knives and tomahawks
of the red men, were ever ready for the work of death. For ten years the
bloody work continued, and by the end of that time great numbers of the
Indians had been killed, while of the four thousand whites in Virginia
only two thousand five hundred remained.

Exhaustion at length brought peace, and for ten years more the reign of
blood ceased. Yet the irritation of the Indians continued. They saw the
whites spreading ever more widely through the land and taking possession
of the hunting-grounds without regard for the rights of the native
owners, and their hatred for the whites grew steadily more virulent.
Opechancanough was now a very aged man. In the year 1643 he reached the
hundreth year of his age. A gaunt and withered veteran, with shrunken
limbs and a tottering and wasted form, his spirit of hostility to the
whites burned still unquenched. Age had not robbed him of his influence
over the tribes. His wise counsel, the veneration they felt for him, the
tradition of his valorous deeds in the past, gave him unquestioned
control, and in 1643 he repeated his work of twenty-one years before,
organizing another secret conspiracy against the whites.

It was a reproduction of the former plot. The Indians were charged to
the utmost secrecy. They were bidden to ambush the whites in their
plantations and settlements and at a fixed time to fall upon them and to
spare none that they could kill. The conspiracy was managed as skilfully
as the former one. No warning of it was received, and at the appointed
hour the work of death began. Before it ended five hundred of the
settlers were ruthlessly slain. They were principally those of the
outlying plantations. Wherever the settlers were in a position for
effective resistance, the savages were routed and driven back to their
forest lurking-places.

Their work of death done, the red-skinned murderers at once dispersed,
knowing well that they could not withstand their foes in open fight. Sir
William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia, hastily called out a strong
force of armed men and marched to the main seat of the slaughter. No
foes were to be found. The Indians had vanished in the woodland
wilderness. It was useless to pursue them farther on foot, and the
governor continued the pursuit with a troop of cavalry, sweeping onward
through the tribal confines.

The chief result of the expedition was the capture of the organizer of
the conspiracy, the hoary leader of the tribal confederacy, who was
found near his place of residence on the Pamunky. Too feeble for hasty
flight, his aged limbs refusing to bear him and his weakened sight to
aid him, he was easily overtaken by the pursuers, and was carried back
in triumph to Jamestown, as the very central figure of Indian hostility.

It was the clement purpose of the governor to send the old chief to
England as a royal captive, there to be held in honorable custody until
death should close his career. But this purpose was not to be achieved.
A death of violence awaited the old Indian chieftain. A wretched fellow
of the neighborhood, one of the kind who would not have dared to face an
Indian in arms, slipped secretly behind the famous veteran and shot him
with his musket through the back, inflicting a deadly wound.

Aged and infirm as Opechancanough was, the wound was not instantly
mortal. He lingered for a few days in agonizing pain. Yet to the last
moment of his life his dignity of demeanor was preserved. It was
especially shown when a crowd of idlers gathered in the room to sate
their unfeeling curiosity on the actions of the dying chief.

His muscles had grown so weak that he could not raise his eyelids
without aid, and, on hearing the noise around him, he motioned to his
attendants to lift his lids that he might see what it meant. When he saw
the idle and curious crowd, a flash of wounded pride and just resentment
stirred his vanished powers. Sending for the governor, he said, with a
keen reproach that has grown historic, "Had I taken Sir William Berkeley
prisoner, I would not have exposed him as a show to my people." Closing
his eyes again, in a short time afterward the Indian hero was dead.

With the death of Opechancanough, the confederacy over which Powhatan
and he had ruled so long came to an end. It was now without a head, and
the associated tribes fell apart. How long it had been in existence
before the whites came to Virginia we cannot say, but the tread of the
white man's foot was fatal to the Indian power, and as that foot
advanced in triumph over the land the strength of the red men everywhere
waned and disappeared.


The years ending in "'76" are remarkable in America as years of struggle
against tyranny and strife for the right. We shall not soon forget the
year 1776, when the famous rebellion of the colonies against Great
Britain reached its climax in the Declaration of Independence. In 1676,
a century before, there broke out in Virginia what was called the "Great
Rebellion," a famous movement for right and justice. It was brought
about by the tyranny of Sir William Berkeley, the governor of the colony
of Virginia, as that of 1776 was by the tyranny of George III., the King
of England. It is the story of the first American rebellion that we are
about to tell.

Sir William had ruled over Virginia at intervals for many years. It was
he who took old Opechancanough prisoner after the massacre of 1643. In
1676 he was again governor of the colony. He was a man of high temper
and revengeful disposition, but for a long time he and the Virginians
got along very well together, for the planters greatly liked the grand
style in which he lived on his broad estate of "Green Springs," with his
many servants, and rich silver plate, and costly entertainments, and
stately dignity. They lived much that way themselves, so far as their
means let them, and were proud of their governor's grand display.

But what they did not like was his arbitrary way of deciding every
question in favor of England and against Virginia, and the tyranny with
which he enforced every order of the king. Still less were they pleased
with the fact that, when the Indians in the mountain district began to
attack the settlers, and put men, women, and children to death, the
governor took no steps to punish the savage foe, and left the people to
defend themselves in the best way they could. A feeling of panic like
that of the older times of massacre ensued. The exposed families were
forced to abandon their homes and seek places of refuge. Neighbors
banded together for work in the field, and kept their arms close at
hand. No man left his door without taking his musket. Even Jamestown was
in danger, for the woodland stretched nearly to its dwellings, and the
lurking red men, stealing with noiseless tread through the forest
shades, prowled from the mountains almost to the sea, like panthers in
search of prey.

At that time there was a man of great influence in Virginia, named
Nathaniel Bacon. He was a new-comer, who had been in America less than
three years, but he had bought a large estate and had been made a member
of the governor's council. He was a handsome man and a fine speaker,
and these and other qualities made him very popular with the planters
and the people.

Bacon's plantation was near the Falls of the James River, where the city
of Richmond now stands. Here his overseer, to whom he was much attached,
and one of his servants were killed by the Indians. Highly indignant at
the outrage, Bacon made up his mind that something must be done. He
called a meeting of the neighboring planters, and addressed them hotly
on the delay of the governor in coming to their defence. He advised them
to act for themselves, and asked if any of them were ready to march
against the savages, and whom they would choose as their leader. With a
shout they declared that they were ready, and that he should lead.

This was very much like taking the law into their own hands. If the
governor would not act, they would. As a proper measure, however, Bacon
sent to the governor and asked for a commission as captain of the force
of planters. The governor received the demand in an angry way. It hurt
his sense of dignity to find these men acting on their own account, and
he refused to grant a commission or to countenance their action. He went
so far as to issue a proclamation, in which he declared that all who did
not return to their homes within a certain time would be held as rebels.
This so scared the planters that the most of them went home, only
fifty-seven of them remaining with their chosen leader.

With this small force Bacon marched into the wilderness, where he met
and defeated a party of Indians, killing many of them, and dispersing
the remainder. Then he and his men returned home in triumph.

By this time the autocratic old governor was in a high state of rage. He
denounced Bacon and his men as rebels and traitors, and gathered a force
to punish them. But when he found that the whole colony was on Bacon's
side he changed his tone. He had Bacon arrested, it is true, when he
came to Jamestown as a member of the House of Burgesses, but this was
only a matter of form, to save his dignity, and when the culprit went
down on one knee and asked pardon of God, the king, and the governor,
Berkeley was glad enough to get out of his difficulty by forgiving him.
But for all this fine show of forgiveness Bacon did not trust the old
tyrant, and soon slipped quietly out of Jamestown and made his way home.

He was right; the governor was making plans to seize him and hold him
prisoner; he had issued secret orders, and Bacon had got away in good
time. Very soon he was back again, this time at the head of four hundred
planters. As they marched on, others joined them, and when they came
into the old town, and drew up on the State-house green, there were six
hundred of them, horse and foot.

The sight of this rebel band threw old Berkeley into a towering rage. He
rushed out from the State-house at the head of his council, and,
tearing open his ruffled shirt, cried out, in a furious tone:

"Here, shoot me! 'fore God, fair mark; shoot!"

"No," said Bacon, "may it please your honor, we will not hurt a hair of
your head, nor of any other man's. We are come for a commission to save
our lives from the Indians, which you have so often promised; and now we
will have it before we go."

Both men were in a violent rage, walking up and down and gesticulating
like men distracted. Soon Sir William withdrew with his council to his
office in the State-house. Bacon followed, his hand now touching his hat
in deference, now his sword-hilt as anger rose in his heart. Some of his
men appeared at a window of the room with their guns cocked and ready,
crying out, "We will have it; we will have it."

This continued till one of the burgesses came to the window and waved
his handkerchief, calling out, "You shall have it; you shall have it."

Hearing this, the men drew back and rested their guns on the ground and
Bacon left the chamber and joined them. The matter ended in Bacon's
getting his commission as general and commander-in-chief, while an act
was passed by the legislature justifying him in all he had done, and a
letter to the same effect was written to the king and signed by the
governor, council, and assembly. Bacon had won in all he demanded.

His triumph was only temporary. While he was invading the country of
the Pamunky Indians, killing many of them and destroying their towns,
Berkeley repudiated all he had done. He proclaimed Bacon a rebel and
traitor and issued a summons for the train-bands to the number of twelve
hundred men, bidding them pursue and put down Bacon the rebel. The men
assembled, but when they heard for what they were wanted they broke out
into a shout of "Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!" and dispersed again, leaving the
old tyrant and his attendants alone. News of these events quickly
reached Bacon and his men in the field. He at once turned and marched

"While I am hunting wolves which are destroying innocent lambs," he
exclaimed, indignantly, "here are the governor and his men after me like
hounds in full cry. I am like one between two millstones, which will
grind me to powder if I do not look to it."

As he came near Jamestown the governor fled, crossing Chesapeake Bay to
Accomac, and leaving Bacon in full possession. A new House of Burgesses
was called into session and Bacon's men pledged themselves not to lay
down their arms. Sir William had sent to England for soldiers, they
said, and they would stand ready to fight these soldiers, as they had
fought the governor. A paper to this effect was drawn up and signed,
dated August, 1676. It was the first American declaration of

[Illustration: JAMESTOWN RUIN.]

The tide of rebellion was now in full flow. The movement against the
Indians had, by the unwarranted behavior of the governor, been converted
into civil war, nearly the whole colony supporting Bacon and demanding
that the tyrant governor should be deposed.

But, while this was going on, the Indians took to the war-path again,
and Bacon at once marched against them, leaving Sir William to his own
devices. His first movement was against the Appomattox tribe, which
dwelt on the river of the same name, where Petersburg now stands. Taking
them by surprise, he burned their town, killed many of them, and
dispersed the remainder. Then he marched south and attacked other
tribes, driving them before him and punishing them so severely as quite
to cure them of all desire to meddle with the whites.

From that time forward Eastern Virginia was free from Indian troubles,
and Bacon was looked upon as the deliverer of the colony. But lack of
provisions forced him to return and disband his forces, only a few men
remaining with him. He soon learned that he had a worse enemy than the
Indians to fight at home. Some of his leading supporters in Jamestown,
Lawrence, Drummond, Hansford, and others, came hastily to his camp,
saying that they had been obliged to flee for safety, as Sir William was
back again, with eighteen ships in the river and eight hundred men he
had gathered in the eastern counties.

The affair had now come to a focus. It was fight, or yield and be
treated as a traitor. Bacon resolved to fight, and he found many to back
him in it, for he soon had a force collected. How many there were we do
not know. Some say only one hundred and fifty, some say eight hundred;
but however that be, he marched with them on Jamestown, bringing his
Indian captives with him. Rebels and Royalists the two parties were now
called; people and tyrant would have been better titles, for Bacon was
in arms for the public right and had the people at his back.

The old governor was ready. While in Accomac he had taken and hung two
friends of Bacon, who had gone there to try and capture him. He asked
for nothing better than the chance to serve Bacon in the same way. His
ships, armed with cannon, now lay in the river near the town. A
palisade, ten paces wide, had been built across the neck of the
peninsula in which Jamestown stood. Behind it lay a strong body of armed
men. Berkeley felt that he had the best of the situation, and was
defiant of his foes.

It was at the end of a September day when Bacon and his small army of
"rebels" arrived. Springing from his horse, he led the tired men up to
the palisades and surveyed the governor's works of defence. Then he
ordered his trumpeter to sound defiance and his men to fire on the
garrison. There was no return fire. Sir William knew that the assailants
were short of provisions, and trusted to hunger to make them retire. But
Bacon was versed in the art of foraging. At Green Spring, three miles
away, was Governor Berkeley's fine mansion, and from this the invading
army quickly supplied itself. The governor afterwards bitterly
complained that his mansion "was almost ruined; his household goods, and
others of great value, totally plundered; that he had not a bed to lie
on; two great beasts, three hundred sheep, seventy horses and mares, all
his corn and provisions, taken away." Evidently the "rebels" knew
something about the art of war.

This was not all, for their leader adopted another stratagem not well in
accordance with the rules of chivalry. A number of the loyalists of the
vicinity had joined Berkeley, and Bacon sent out small parties of horse,
which captured the wives of these men and brought them into camp. Among
them were the lady of Colonel Bacon, Madame Bray, Madame Page, and
Madame Ballard. He sent one of these ladies to the town, with a warning
to the husbands not to attack him in his camp, or they would find their
wives in front of his line.

What Bacon actually wanted these ladies for was to make use of them in
building his works. He raised by moonlight a defensive work of trees,
brushwood and earth around the governor's outwork of palisades, placing
the ladies in front of the workmen to keep the garrison from firing on
them. But he had the chivalry to take them out of harm's way when the
governor's men made a sortie on his camp.

The fight that took place may have been a hard one or a light one. We
have no very full account of it. The most we know is that Bacon and his
men won the victory, and that the governor's men were driven back,
leaving their drum and their dead behind them. Whether hard or light,
his repulse was enough for Sir William's valor. Well intrenched as he
was and superior in numbers, his courage suddenly gave out, and he fled
in haste to his ships, which set sail in equal haste down the river,
their speed accelerated by the cannon-balls which the "rebels" sent
after them.

Once more the doughty governor was a fugitive, and Bacon was master of
the situation. Jamestown, the original Virginia settlement, was in his
hands. What should he do with it? He could not stay there, for he knew
that Colonel Brent, with some twelve hundred men, was marching down on
him from the Potomac. He did not care to leave it for Berkeley to return
to. In this dilemma he concluded to burn it. To this none of his men
made any objection. Two of them, indeed, Lawrence and Drummond, who had
houses in the place, set fire to them with their own hands. And thus the
famous old town of John Smith and the early settlers was burned to the
ground. Old as it was, we are told that it contained only a church and
sixteen or eighteen houses, and in some of these there were no families.
To-day nothing but the ruined church tower remains.

Bacon now marched north to York River to meet Colonel Brent and his men.
But by the time he got there the men had dispersed. The news of the
affair at Jamestown had reached them, and they concluded they did not
want to fight. Bacon was now master of Virginia, with the power though
not the name of governor.

What would have come of his movement had he lived it is impossible to
say, for in the hour of his triumph a more perilous foe than Sir William
Berkeley was near at hand. While directing his men in their work at the
Jamestown trenches a fever had attacked him, and this led to a dangerous
dysentery which carried him off after a few weeks' illness. His death
was a terrible blow to his followers, for the whole movement rested on
the courage and ability as a leader of this one man. They even feared
the vindictive Berkeley would attempt some outrage upon the remains of
the "rebel" leader, and they buried his body at night in a secret place.
Some traditions assert that he was dealt with as De Soto had been before
him, his body being sunk in the bosom of the majestic York River, where
it was left with the winds and the waves to chant its requiem.

Thus ended what Sir William Berkeley called the "Great Rebellion." Its
leader dead, there was none to take his place. In despair the men
returned to their homes. Many of them made their way to North Carolina,
in which new colony they were warmly welcomed. A few kept up a show of
resistance, but they were soon dispersed, and Berkeley came back in
triumph, his heart full of revengeful passion. He had sent to England
for troops, and the arrival of these gave him support in his cruel

All the leading friends of Bacon whom he could seize were mercilessly
put to death, some of them with coarse and aggravating insults. The wife
of Major Cheeseman, one of the prisoners, knelt at the governor's feet
and pitifully pleaded for her husband's life, but all she got in return
from the old brute was a vulgar insult. The major escaped the gallows
only by dying in prison.

One of the most important of the prisoners was William Drummond, a close
friend of Bacon. Berkeley hated him and greeted him with the most
stinging insult he could think of.

"Mr. Drummond," said he, with a bitter sneer, "you are very welcome; I
am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you
shall be hanged in half an hour."

And he was. His property was also seized, but when the king heard of
this he ordered it to be restored to his widow.

"God has been inexpressibly merciful to this poor province," wrote
Berkeley, with sickening hypocrisy, after one of his hangings. Charles
II., the king, took a different view of the matter, saying: "That old
fool has hung more men in that naked province than I did for the murder
of my father." More than twenty of Bacon's chief supporters were hung,
and the governor's revenge came to an end only when the assembly met and
insisted that these executions should cease.

We have told how Bacon came to his end. We must do the same for
Berkeley, his foe. Finding that he was hated and despised in Virginia,
he sailed for England, many of the people celebrating his departure by
firing cannon and illuminating their houses. He never returned. The king
was so angry with him that he refused to see him; a slight which
affected the old man so severely that he soon died, of a broken heart,
it is said. Thus ended the first rebellion of the people of the American


There are two great explorers whose names have been made famous by their
association with the mighty river of the West, the Mississippi, or
Father of Waters,--De Soto, the discoverer, and La Salle, the explorer,
of that stupendous stream. Among all the rivers of the earth the
Mississippi ranks first. It has its rivals in length and volume, but
stands without a rival as a noble channel of commerce, the pride of the
West and the glory of the South. We have told the story of its discovery
by De Soto, the Spanish adventurer; we have now to tell that of its
exploration by La Salle, the French chevalier.

Let us say here that though the honor of exploring the Mississippi has
been given to La Salle, he was not the first to traverse its waters. The
followers of De Soto descended the stream from the Arkansas to its mouth
in 1542. Father Marquette and Joliet, the explorer, descended from the
Wisconsin to the Arkansas in 1673. In 1680 Father Hennepin, a Jesuit
missionary sent by La Salle, ascended the stream from the Illinois to
the Falls of St. Anthony. Thus white men had followed the great river
for nearly its whole length. But the greatest of all these explorers and
the first to traverse the river for the greater part of its course, was
the Chevalier Robert de la Salle, and to his name is given the glory of
revealing this grand stream to mankind.

Never was there a more daring and indefatigable explorer than Robert de
la Salle. He seemed born to make new lands and new people known to the
world. Coming to Canada in 1667, he began his career by engaging in the
fur trade on Lake Ontario. But he could not rest while the great
interior remained unknown. In 1669 he made an expedition to the west and
south, and was the first white man to gaze on the waters of the swift
Ohio. In 1679 he launched on the Great Lakes the first vessel that ever
spread its sails on those mighty inland seas, and in this vessel, the
Griffin, he sailed through Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan.

La Salle next descended the Illinois River, and built a fort where the
city of Peoria now stands. But his vessel was wrecked, and he was forced
to make his way on foot through a thousand miles of wilderness to obtain
supplies at Montreal. Such was the early record of this remarkable man,
and for two years afterward his life was full of adventure and
misfortune. At length, in 1682, he entered upon the great performance of
his life, his famous journey upon the bosom of the Father of Waters.

It was midwinter when La Salle and his men set out from the lakes with
their canoes. On the 4th of January, 1682, they reached the mouth of the
Chicago River, where its waters enter Lake Michigan. The river was
frozen hard, and they had to build sledges to drag their large and heavy
canoes down the ice-closed stream. Reaching the portage to the Illinois,
they continued their journey across the bleak and snowy waste,
toilsomely dragging canoes, baggage, and provisions to the other stream.
Here, too, they found a sheet of ice, and for some days longer trudged
down the channel of the silent and dreary stream. Its banks had been
desolated by Indian wars, and where once many flourishing villages rose
there were to be seen only ashes and smoke-blackened ruins.

About the 1st of February they reached Crevecoeur, the fort La Salle
had built some years earlier. Below this point the stream was free from
ice, and after a week's rest the canoes were launched on the liquid
surface. They were not long in reaching the point where the Illinois
buries its waters in the mighty main river, the grave of so many broad
and splendid streams.

Past the point they had now reached the Mississippi poured swiftly
downward, its waters swollen, and bearing upon them great sheets of ice,
the contribution of the distant north. It was no safe channel for their
frail birch-bark canoes, and they were obliged to wait a week till the
vast freightage of ice had run past. Then, on the 13th of February,
1682, they launched their canoes on the great stream, and began their
famous voyage down its mighty course.

A day's journey brought them to the place where the turbulent Missouri
pours its contribution, gathered from thousands of miles of mountain and
prairie, into the parent stream, rushing with the force and roar of a
rapid through a channel half a mile broad, and quickly converting the
clear Mississippi waters into a turbid yellow torrent, thick with mud.

La Salle, like so many of the early explorers, was full of the idea of
finding a short route across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, and he
found the Indians at the mouth of the Missouri ready to tell him
anything he wanted to know. They said that by sailing ten or twelve days
up the stream, through populous villages of their people, he would come
to a range of mountains in which the river rose; and by climbing to the
summit of these lofty hills he could gaze upon a vast and boundless sea,
whose waves broke on their farther side. It was one of those imaginative
stories which the Indians were always ready to tell, and the whites as
ready to believe, and it was well for La Salle that he did not attempt
the fanciful adventure.

Savage settlements were numerous along the Mississippi, as De Soto had
found a century and more earlier. About thirty miles below the Missouri
they came to another village of peaceful natives, whose souls they made
happy by a few trifling gifts which were of priceless worth to their
untutored minds. Then downward still they went for a hundred miles or
more farther, to the mouth of another great stream, this one flowing
from the east, and as noble in its milder way as the Missouri had been
in its turbulent flow. Unlike the latter, this stream was gentle in its
current, and its waters were of crystal clearness. It was the splendid
river which the Indians called the Wabash, or Beautiful River, and the
French by the similar name of La Belle Rivière. It is now known as the
Ohio, the Indian name being transferred to one of its tributaries. This
was the stream on whose waters La Salle had gazed with admiration
thirteen years before.

The voyagers were obliged to proceed slowly. Unable to carry many
provisions in their crowded canoes, they were often forced to stop and
fish or hunt for game. As the Indians told them they would find no good
camping-grounds for many miles below the Ohio, they stopped for ten days
at its mouth, hunting and gathering supplies. Parties were sent out to
explore in various directions, and one of the men, Peter Prudhomme,
failed to return. It was feared that he had been taken captive by the
Indians, traces of whom had been seen near by, and a party of Frenchmen,
with Indian guides, was sent out on the trails of the natives. They
returned without the lost man, and La Salle, at length, reluctantly
giving him up, prepared to continue the journey. Just as they were
entering the canoes the missing man reappeared. For nine days he had
been lost in the forest, vainly seeking his friends, and wandering
hopelessly. His gun, however, had provided him with food, and he reached
the stream just in time.

Once more the expedition was launched on the swift-flowing current,
eight or ten large birch canoes filled with Indians and Frenchmen in
Indian garb, and laden with supplies. The waters bore them swiftly
onward, there was little labor with the paddles, the wintry weather was
passing and the air growing mild, the sky sunny, and the light-hearted
sons of France enjoyed their daily journey through new and strange
scenes with the warmest zest.

About one hundred and twenty miles below the Ohio they reached the
vicinity of the Arkansas River, the point near which the voyage of
Marquette had ended and that of the followers of De Soto began. Here,
for the first time in their journey, they met with hostile Indians. As
the flotilla glided on past the Arkansas bluffs, on the 3d of March, its
people were startled by hearing the yells of a large body of savages and
the loud sound of a drum, coming from behind the bluff. The natives had
taken the alarm, supposing that a war party of their enemies was coming
to attack them.

La Salle ordered his canoes at once to be paddled to the other side of
the stream, here a mile wide. The party landing, some intrenchments were
hastily thrown up, for across the river they could now see a large
village, filled with excited and armed warriors. Preparations for
defence made, La Salle advanced to the water's edge and made signs of
friendship and amity. Pacified by these signals of peace, some of the
Indian chiefs rowed across until near the bank, when they stopped and
beckoned to the strangers to come to them.

Father Membré, the priest who accompanied the expedition, entered a
canoe and was rowed out to the native boat by two Indians. He held out
to them the calumet, or pipe of peace, the Indian signal of friendship,
and easily induced the chiefs to go with him to the camp of the whites.
There were six of them, frank and cordial in manner, and seemingly
disposed to friendship. La Salle made them very happy with a few small
presents, and at their request the whole party embarked and accompanied
them across the river to their village.

All the men of the place crowded to the bank to receive their strange
visitors, women and children remaining timidly back. They were escorted
to the wigwams, treated with every show of friendship, and regaled with
the utmost hospitality. These Arkansas Indians were found to be a
handsome race, and very different in disposition from the northern
tribes, for they replaced the taciturn and often sullen demeanor of the
latter with a gay and frank manner better suited to their warmer clime.
They were also much more civilized, being skilled agriculturists, and
working their fields by the aid of slaves captured in war. Corn, beans,
melons, and a variety of fruits were grown in their fields, and large
flocks of turkeys and other fowls were seen round their dwellings.

La Salle and his party stayed in the village for some two weeks, and
before leaving went through the form of taking possession of the
country in the name of the king of France. This proceeding was conducted
with all the ceremony possible under the circumstances, a large cross
being planted in the centre of the village, anthems sung, and religious
rites performed. The Indians looked on in delight at the spectacle,
blankly ignorant of what it all meant, and probably thinking it was got
up for their entertainment. Had they known its full significance they
might not have been so well pleased.

Embarking again on the 17th of March, the explorers continued their
journey down the stream, coming after several days to a place where the
river widened into a lake-like expanse. This broad sheet of water was
surrounded with villages, forty being counted on the east side and
thirty-four on the west. On landing in this populous community, they
found the villages to be well built, the houses being constructed of
clay mixed with straw, and covered with dome-like roofs of canes. Many
convenient articles of furniture were found within.

These Southern Indians proved to be organized under a very different
system from that prevailing in the North. There each tribe was a small
republic, electing its chiefs, and preserving the liberty of its people.
Here the tribes were absolute monarchies. The head-chief, or king, had
the lives and property of all his subjects at his disposal, and kept his
court with the ceremonious dignity of a European monarch. When he called
on La Salle, who was too sick at that time to go and see him, the
ceremony was regal. Every obstruction was removed from his path by a
party of pioneers, and the way made level for his feet. The spot where
he gave audience was carefully smoothed and covered with showy mats.

The dusky autocrat made his appearance richly attired in white robes,
and preceded by two officers who bore plumes of gorgeously colored
feathers. An official followed with two large plates of polished copper.
The monarch had the courteous dignity and gravity of one born to the
throne, though his interview with La Salle was conducted largely with
smiles and gestures, as no word spoken could be understood. The
travellers remained among this friendly people for several days,
rambling through the villages and being entertained in the dwellings,
and found them far advanced in civilization beyond the tribes of the

Father Membré has given the following account of their productions: "The
whole country is covered with palm-trees, laurels of two kinds, plums,
peaches, mulberry, apple, and pear-trees of every variety. There are
also five or six kinds of nut-trees, some of which bear nuts of
extraordinary size. They also gave us several kinds of dried fruit to
taste. We found them large and good. They have also many varieties of
fruit-trees which I never saw in Europe. The season was, however, too
early to allow us to see the fruit. We observed vines already out of

Continuing their journey down the stream, the adventurers next came to
the country of the Natchez Indians, whom they found as friendly as those
they had recently left. La Salle, indeed, was a man of such genial and
kind disposition and engaging manners that he made friends of all he
met. As Father Membré says, "He so impressed the hearts of these Indians
that they did not know how to treat us well enough." This was a very
different reception to that accorded De Soto and his followers, whose
persistent ill-treatment of the Indians made bitter enemies of all they

The voyagers, however, were soon to meet savages of different character.
On the 2d of April, as they floated downward through a narrow channel
where a long island divided the stream, their ears were suddenly greeted
with fierce war-whoops and the hostile beating of drums. Soon a cloud of
warriors was seen in the dense border of forest, gliding from tree to
tree and armed with strong bows and long arrows. La Salle at once
stopped the flotilla and sent one canoe ahead, the Frenchmen in it
presenting the calumet of peace. But this emblem here lost its effect,
for the boat was greeted with a volley of arrows. Another canoe was
sent, with four Indians, who bore the calumet; but they met with the
same hostile reception.

Seeing that the savages were inveterately hostile, La Salle ordered his
men to their paddles, bidding them to hug the opposite bank and to row
with all their strength. No one was to fire, as no good could come from
that. The rapidity of the current and the swift play of the paddles
soon sent the canoes speeding down the stream, and though the natives
drove their keen arrows with all their strength, and ran down the banks
to keep up their fire, the party passed without a wound.

A few days more took the explorers past the site of the future city of
New Orleans and to the head of the delta of the Mississippi, where it
separates into a number of branches. Here the fleet was divided into
three sections, each taking a branch of the stream, and very soon they
found the water salty and the current becoming slow. The weather was
mild and delightful, and the sun shone clear and warm, when at length
they came into the open waters of the Gulf and their famous voyage was
at an end.

Ascending the western branch again until they came to solid ground, a
massive column bearing the arms of France was erected, and by its side
was planted a great cross. At the foot of the column was buried a leaden
plate, on which, in Latin, the following words were inscribed:

"Louis the Great reigns. Robert, Cavalier, with Lord Tonti, Ambassador,
Zenobia Membré, Ecclesiastic, and twenty Frenchmen, first navigated this
river from the country of the Illinois, and passed through this mouth on
the ninth of April, sixteen hundred and eighty-two."

La Salle then made an address, in which he took possession for France of
the country of Louisiana; of all its peoples and productions, from the
mouth of the Ohio; of all the rivers flowing into the Mississippi from
their sources, and of the main stream to its mouth in the sea. Thus,
according to the law of nations, as then existing, the whole valley of
the Mississippi was annexed to France; a magnificent acquisition, of
which that country was destined to enjoy a very small section, and
finally to lose it all.

[Illustration: Copyright, 1906, by Detroit Publishing Company.


We might tell the story of the return voyage and of the fierce conflict
which the voyagers had with the hostile Quinnipissa Indians, who had
attacked them so savagely in their descent, but it will be of more
interest to give the account written by Father Membré of the country
through which they had passed.

"The banks of the Mississippi," he writes, "for twenty or thirty leagues
from its mouth are covered with a dense growth of canes, except in
fifteen or twenty places where there are very pretty hills and spacious,
convenient landing-places. Behind this fringe of marshy land you see the
finest country in the world. Our hunters, both French and Indian, were
delighted with it. For an extent of six hundred miles in length and as
much in breadth, we were told there are vast fields of excellent land,
diversified with pleasing hills, lofty woods, groves through which you
might ride on horseback, so clear and unobstructed are the paths.

"The fields are full of all kinds of game,--wild cattle, does, deer,
stags, bears, turkeys, partridges, parrots, quails, woodcock, wild
pigeons, and ring-doves. There are also beaver, otters, and martens.
The cattle of this country surpass ours in size. Their head is monstrous
and their look is frightful, on account of the long, black hair with
which it is surrounded and which hangs below the chin. The hair is fine,
and scarce inferior to wool.

"We observed wood fit for every use. There were the most beautiful
cedars in the world. There was one kind of tree which shed an abundance
of gum, as pleasant to burn as the best French pastilles. We also saw
fine hemlocks and other large trees with white bark. The
cottonwood-trees were very large. Of these the Indians dug out canoes,
forty or fifty feet long. Sometimes there were fleets of a hundred and
fifty at their villages. We saw every kind of tree fit for
ship-building. There is also plenty of hemp for cordage, and tar could
be made in abundance.

"Prairies are seen everywhere. Sometimes they are fifty or sixty miles
in length on the river front and many leagues in depth. They are very
rich and fertile, without a stone or a tree to obstruct the plough.
These prairies are capable of sustaining an immense population. Beans
grow wild, and the stalks last several years, bearing fruit. The
bean-vines are thicker than a man's arm, and run to the top of the
highest trees. Peach-trees are abundant and bear fruit equal to the best
that can be found in France. They are often so loaded in the gardens of
the Indians that they have to prop up the branches. There are whole
forests of mulberries, whose ripened fruit we begin to eat in the month
of May. Plums are found in great variety, many of which are not known in
Europe. Grape-vines and pomegranates are common. Three or four crops of
corn can be raised in a year."

From all this it appears that the good Father was very observant, though
his observation, or the information he obtained from the Indians, was
not always to be trusted. He goes on to speak of the tribes, whose
people and customs he found very different from the Indians of Canada.
"They have large public squares, games, and assemblies. They seem
mirthful and full of vivacity. Their chiefs have absolute authority. No
one would dare to pass between the chief and the cane torch which burns
in his cabin and is carried before him when he goes out. All make a
circuit around it with some ceremony."


The story of the American Indian is one of the darkest blots on the page
of the history of civilization. Of the three principal peoples of Europe
who settled the New World,--the Spanish, the British, and the
French,--the Spanish made slaves of them and dealt with them with
shocking cruelty, and the British were, in a different way, as unjust,
and at times little less cruel. As for the French, while they showed
more sympathy with the natives, and treated them in a more friendly and
considerate spirit, their dealings with them were by no means free from
the charge of injustice and cruelty. This we shall seek to show in the
following story.

When we talk of the Indians of the United States we are very apt to get
wrong ideas about them. The word Indian means to us a member of the
savage hunting tribes of the North; a fierce, treacherous, implacable
foe, though he could be loyal and generous as a friend; a being who made
war a trade and cruelty a pastime, and was incapable of civilization.
But this is only one type of the native inhabitants of the land. Those
of the South were very different. Instead of being rude savages, like
their Northern brethren, they had made some approach to civilization;
instead of being roving hunters, they were settled agriculturists;
instead of being morose and taciturn, they were genial and
light-hearted; and instead of possessing only crude forms of government
and religion, they were equal in both these respects to some peoples who
are classed as civilized.

If any feel a doubt of this, let them read what La Salle and the
intelligent priest who went with him had to say about the Indians of the
lower Mississippi, their government, agriculture, and friendliness of
disposition, and their genial and sociable manner. It is one of the
tribes of Southern Indians with which we are here concerned, the Natchez
tribe or nation, with whom La Salle had such pleasing relations.

It may be of interest to our readers to be told something more about the
customs of the Southern Indians, since they differed very greatly from
those of the North, and are little known to most readers. Let us take
the Creeks, for instance,--a powerful association made up of many tribes
of the Gulf region. They had their chiefs and their governing council,
like the Northern Indians, but the Mico, who took the place of the
Sachem of the North, had almost absolute power, and the office was
hereditary in his family. Agriculture was their principal industry, the
fields being carefully cultivated, though they were active hunters also.
The land was the property of the tribe, not of individuals, and each
family who cultivated it had to deposit a part of their products in the
public store-house. This was under the full control of the Mico, though
food was distributed to all in times of need.

Their religion was much more advanced than that of the Northern tribes.
They had the medicine man and the notions about spirits of the North,
but they also worshipped the sun as the great deity of the universe, and
had their temples, and priests, and religious ceremonies. One of their
great objects of care was the sacred fire, which was carefully
extinguished at the close of the year, and rekindled with "new fire" for
the coming year. While it was out serious calamities were feared and the
people were in a state of terror. There was nothing like this in the

The most remarkable of the United States Indians were the Natchez, of
whom we have above spoken. Not only La Salle, but later French writers
have told us about them. They had a different language and were
different in other ways from the neighboring Indians. They worshipped
the sun as their great deity, and had a complete system of temples,
priests, idols, religious festivals, sacred objects and the like, the
people being deeply superstitious. Their temples were built on great
mounds, and in them the sacred fire was very carefully guarded by the
priests. If it should go out fearful misfortunes were expected to ensue.

Their ruler was high priest as well as monarch. He was called the Sun
and was believed to be a direct descendant of the great deity. He was a
complete autocrat, with the power of life and death over the people, and
his nearest female relative, who was known as the woman chief, had the
same power. On his death there were many human sacrifices, though it was
not his son, but that of the woman chief, who succeeded to the throne.
Not only the ruler, but all the members of the royal caste, were called
Suns, and had special privileges. Under them there was a nobility, also
with its powers and privileges, but the common people had very few
rights. On the temple of the sun were the figures of three eagles, with
their heads turned to the east. It may be seen that this people was a
very interesting one, far advanced in culture beyond the rude tribes of
the North, and it is a great pity that they were utterly destroyed and
their institutions swept away before they were studied by the scientists
of the land. Their destruction was due to French injustice, and this is
how it came about.

Louisiana was not settled by the French until about twenty years after
La Salle's great journey, and New Orleans was not founded till 1718.
The French gradually spread their authority over the country, bringing
the Mississippi tribes under their influence. Among these were the
Natchez, situated up the river in a locality indicated by the present
city of Natchez. The trouble with them came about in 1729, through the
unjust behavior of a French officer named Chopart. He had been once
removed for injustice, but a new governor, M. Perier, had replaced him,
not knowing his character.

Chopart, on his return to the Natchez country, was full of great views,
in which the rights of the old owners of the land did not count. He was
going to make his province a grand and important one, and in the
presence of his ambition the old inhabitants must bend the knee. He
wanted a large space for his projected settlement, and on looking about
could find no spot that suited him but that which was occupied by the
Indian village of the White Apple. That the natives might object to this
appropriation of their land did not seem to trouble his lordly soul.

He sent to the Sun of the village, bidding him to come to the fort,
which was about six miles away. When the chief arrived there, Chopart
told him, bluntly enough, that he had decided to build a settlement on
the site of the White Apple village, and that he must clear away the
huts and build somewhere else. His only excuse was that it was necessary
for the French to settle on the banks of the rivulet on whose waters
stood the Grand Tillage and the abode of the Grand Sun.

The Sun of the Apple was taken aback by this arbitrary demand. He
replied with dignity that his ancestors had dwelt in that village for as
many years as there were hairs in his head, and that it was good that he
and his people should continue there. This reasonable answer threw
Chopart into a passion, and he violently told the Sun that he must quit
his village in a few days or he should repent it.

"When your people came to ask us for lands to settle on," said the
Indian in reply, "you told us that there was plenty of unoccupied land
which you would be willing to take. The same sun, you said, would shine
on us all and we would all walk in the same path."

Before he could proceed, Chopart violently interrupted him, saying that
he wanted to hear no more, he only wanted to be obeyed. At this the
insulted chief withdrew, saying, with the same quiet dignity as before,
that he would call together the old men of the village and hold a
council on the affair.

The Indians, finding the French official so violent and arbitrary, at
first sought to obtain delay, saying that the corn was just above the
ground and the chickens were laying their eggs. The commandant replied
that this did not matter to him, they must obey his order or they should
suffer for their obstinacy. They next tried the effect of a bribe,
offering to pay him a basket of corn and a fowl for each hut in the
village if he would wait till the harvest was gathered. Chopart proved
to be as avaricious as he was arbitrary, and agreed to accept this

He did not know the people he was dealing with. Stung with the injustice
of the demand, and deeply incensed by the insolence of the commandant,
the village council secretly resolved that they would not be slaves to
these base intruders, but would cut them off to a man. The oldest chief
suggested the following plan. On the day fixed they should go to the
fort with some corn, and carrying their arms as if going out to hunt.
There should be two or three Natchez for every Frenchman, and they
should borrow arms and ammunition for a hunting match to be made on
account of a grand feast, promising to bring back meat in payment. The
arms once obtained, the discharge of a gun would be the signal for them
to fall on the unsuspecting French and kill them all.

He further suggested that all the other villages should be apprised of
the project and asked to assist. A bundle of rods was to be sent to each
village, the rods indicating the number of days preceding that fixed for
the assault. That no mistake might be made, a prudent person in each
village should be appointed to draw out a rod on each day and throw it
away. This was their way of counting time.

The scheme was accepted by the council, the Sun warmly approving of it.
When it was made known to the chiefs of the nation, they all joined in
approval, including the Grand Sun, their chief ruler, and his uncle, the
Stung Serpent. It was kept secret, however, from the people at large,
and from all the women of the noble and royal castes, not excepting the
woman chief.

This it was not easy to do. Secret meetings were being held, and the
object of these the female Suns had a right to demand. The woman chief
at that time was a young princess, scarce eighteen, and little inclined
to trouble herself with political affairs; but the Strong Arm, the
mother of the Grand Sun, was an able and experienced woman, and one
friendly to the French. Her son, strongly importuned by her, told her of
the scheme, and also of the purpose of the bundle of rods that lay in
the temple.

Strong Arm was politic enough to appear to approve the project, but
secretly she was anxious to save the French. The time was growing short,
and she sought to have the commandant warned by hints of danger. These
were brought him by soldiers, but in his supercilious self-conceit he
paid no heed to them, but went on blindly towards destruction. He went
so far as to put in irons seven of those who warned him of the peril,
accusing them of cowardice. Finding this effort unavailing, the Strong
Arm secretly pulled some rods out of the fatal bundle, hoping in this
way to disarrange the project of the conspirators.

Heedless of all that had been told him, Chopart and some other Frenchmen
went on the night before the fatal day to the great village of the
Natchez, on a party of pleasure, not returning till break of day, and
then the worse for his potations. In the mean time the secret had grown
more open, and on his entering the fort he was strongly advised to be on
his guard.

The drink he had taken made a complete fool of him, however, and he at
once sent to the village from which he had just returned, bidding his
interpreter to ask the Grand Sun whether he intended to come with his
warriors and kill the French. The Grand Sun, as might have been
expected, sent word back that he did not dream of such a thing, and he
would be very sorry, indeed, to do any harm to his good friends, the
French. This answer fully satisfied the commandant, and he went to his
house, near the fort, disdaining the advice of the informers.

It was on the eve of St. Andrew's Day, in 1729, that a party of the
Natchez approached the French settlement. It was some days in advance of
that fixed, on account of the meddling with the rods. They brought with
them one of the common people, armed with a wooden hatchet, to kill the
commandant, the warriors having too much contempt for him to be willing
to lay hands on him. The natives strayed in friendly fashion into the
houses, and many made their way through the open gates into the fort,
where they found the soldiers unsuspicious of danger and without an
officer, or even a sergeant, at their head.

Soon the Grand Sun appeared, with a number of warriors laden with corn,
as if to pay the first installment of the contribution. Their entrance
was quickly followed by several shots. This being the signal agreed
upon, in an instant the natives made a murderous assault on the unarmed
French, cutting them down in their houses and shooting them on every
side. The commandant, for the first time aware of his blind folly, ran
in terror into the garden of his house, but he was sharply pursued and
cut down. The massacre was so well devised and went on so
simultaneously in all directions that very few of the seven hundred
Frenchmen in the settlement escaped, a handful of the fugitives alone
bringing the news of the bloody affair to New Orleans. The Natchez
completed their vengeance by setting on fire and burning all the
buildings, so that of the late flourishing settlement only a few ruined
walls remained.

As may be seen, this massacre was due to the injustice, and to the
subsequent incompetence, of one man, Chopart, the commandant. It led to
lamentable consequences, in the utter destruction of the Natchez nation
and the loss of one of the most interesting native communities in

No sooner, in fact, had the news of the massacre reached New Orleans
than active steps were taken for revenge. A force, largely made up of
Choctaw allies, assailed the fort of the Natchez. The latter asked for
peace, promising to release the French women and children they held as
prisoners. This was agreed to, and the Indians took advantage of it to
vacate the fort by stealth, under cover of night, taking with them all
their baggage and plunder. They took refuge in a secret place to the
west of the Mississippi, which the French had much difficulty to

The place found, a strong force was sent against the Indians, its route
being up the Red River, then up the Black River, and finally up Silver
Creek, which flows from a small lake, near which the Natchez had built a
fort for defence against the French. This place they maintained with
some resolution, but when the French batteries were placed and bombs
began to fall in the fort, dealing death to women and children as well
as men, the warriors, horrified at these frightful instruments of death,
made signals of their readiness to capitulate.

Night fell before terms were decided upon, and the Indians asked that
the settlement should be left till the next day. Their purpose was to
attempt to escape, as they had done before during the night, but they
were too closely watched to make this effective. Some of them succeeded
in getting away, but the great body were driven back into the fort, and
the next day were obliged to surrender at discretion. Among them were
the Grand Sun and the women Suns, with many warriors, women, and

The end of the story of the Natchez is the only instance on record of
the deliberate annihilation of an Indian tribe. Some have perished
through the event of war, no other through fixed intention. All the
captives were carried to New Orleans, where they were used as slaves,
not excepting the Strong Arm, who had made such efforts to save the
French. These slaves were afterward sent to St. Domingo to prevent their
escape, and in order that the Natchez nation might be utterly rooted

Those of the warriors who had escaped from the fort, and others who were
out hunting, were still at large, but there were few women among them,
and the nation was lost past renewal. These fugitives made their way to
the villages of the Chickasaws, and were finally absorbed in that
nation, "and thus," says Du Pratz, the historian of this affair, "that
nation, the most conspicuous in the colony, and most useful to the
French, was destroyed."

Du Pratz was a resident of New Orleans at the time, and got his
information from the parties directly concerned. He tells us that among
the women slaves "was the female Sun called the Strong Arm, who then
told me all she had done in order to save the French." It appears that
all she had done was not enough to save herself.


On a fine day in the pleasant month of August of the year 1714 a large
party of horsemen rode along Duke of Gloucester Street, in the city of
Williamsburg, Virginia, while the men, women, and children of the place
flocked to the doors of the houses cheering and waving their
handkerchiefs as the gallant cavaliers passed by. They were gayly
dressed, in the showy costumes worn by the gentlemen of that time, and
at their head was a handsome and vigorous man, with the erect bearing
and manly attitude of one who had served in the wars. They were all
mounted on spirited horses and carried their guns on their saddles,
prepared to hunt or perhaps to defend themselves if attacked. Behind
them followed a string of mules, carrying the packs of the horsemen and
in charge of mounted servants.

Thus equipped, the showy cavalcade passed through the main streets of
the small town, which had succeeded Jamestown as the Virginian capital,
and rode away over the westward-leading road. On they went, mile after
mile, others joining them, as they passed onward, the party steadily
increasing in numbers until it reached a place called Germanna, on the
Rapid Ann--now the Rapidan--River, on the edge of the Spotsylvania

No doubt you will wish to know who these men were and what was the
object of their journey. It was a romantic one, as you will learn,--a
journey of adventure into the unknown wilderness. At that time Virginia
had been settled more than a hundred years, yet its people knew very
little about it beyond the seaboard plain. West of this rose the Blue
Ridge Mountains, behind which lay a great mysterious land, almost as
unknown as the mountains of the moon. There were people as late as that
who thought that the Mississippi River rose in these mountains.

The Virginians had given this land of mystery a name. They called it
Orange County. There were rumors that it was filled with great forests
and lofty mountains, that it held fertile valleys watered by beautiful
rivers, that it was a realm of strange and wonderful scenes. The
Indians, who had been driven from the east, were still numerous there,
and wild animals peopled the forests plentifully, but few of the whites
had ventured within its confines. Now and then a daring hunter had
crossed the Blue Ridge into this country and brought back surprising
tales of what was to be seen there, but nothing that could be trusted
was known about the land beyond the hills.

All this was of great interest to Alexander Spotswood, who was then
governor of Virginia. He was a man whose life had been one of adventure
and who had distinguished himself as a soldier at the famous battle of
Blenheim, and he was still young and fond of adventure when the king
chose him to be governor of the oldest American colony.

We do not propose to tell the whole story of Governor Spotswood; but as
he was a very active and enterprising man, some of the things he did may
be of interest. He had an oddly shaped powder-magazine built at
Williamsburg, which still stands in that old town, and he opened the
college of William and Mary free to the sons of the few Indians who
remained in the settled part of Virginia. Then he built iron-furnaces
and began to smelt iron for the use of the people. Those were the first
iron-furnaces in the colonies, and the people called him the "Tubal Cain
of Virginia," after a famous worker in iron mentioned in the Bible. His
furnaces were at the settlement of Germanna, where the expedition made
its first stop. This name came from a colony of Germans whom he had
brought there to work his iron-mines and forges.

After what has been told it may not be difficult to guess the purpose of
the expedition. Governor Spotswood was practical enough to wish to
explore the mysterious land beyond the blue-peaked hills, and romantic
enough to desire to do this himself, instead of sending out a party of
pioneers. So he sent word to the planters that he proposed to make a
holiday excursion over the mountains, and would gladly welcome any of
them who wished to join.

We may be sure that there were plenty, especially among the younger
men, who were glad to accept his invitation, and on the appointed day
many of them came riding in, with their servants and pack-mules, well
laden with provisions and stores, for they looked on the excursion as a
picnic on a large scale.

One thing they had forgotten--a very necessary one. At that time iron
was scarce and costly in Virginia, and as the roads were soft and sandy,
as they still are in the seaboard country, it was the custom to ride
horses _barefooted_, there being no need for iron shoes. But now they
were about to ride up rocky mountain-paths and over the stony summits,
and it was suddenly discovered that their horses must be shod. So all
the smiths available were put actively at work making horseshoes and
nailing them on the horses' feet. It was this incident that gave rise to
the name of the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," as will appear
farther on.

At Germanna Governor Spotswood had a summer residence, to which he
retired when the weather grew sultry in the lower country. Colonel
William Byrd, a planter on the James River, has told us all about this
summer house of the governor. One of his stories is, that when he
visited there a tame deer, frightened at seeing him, leaped against a
large mirror in the drawing-room, thinking that it was a window, and
smashed it into splinters. It is not likely the governor thanked his
visitor for that.

After leaving Germanna the explorers soon entered a region quite unknown
to them. They were in high spirits, for everything about them was new
and delightful. The woods were in their full August foliage, the streams
gurgling, the birds warbling, beautiful views on every hand, and the
charm of nature's domain on all sides. At mid-day they would stop in
some green forest glade to rest and pasture their horses, and enjoy the
contents of their packs with a keen appetite given by the fresh forest

To these repasts the hunters of the party added their share,
disappearing at intervals in the woods and returning with pheasant, wild
turkey, or mayhap a fat deer, to add to the woodland feast. At night
they would hobble their horses and leave them to graze, would eat
heartily of their own food with the grass for table-cloth and a fresh
appetite for sauce, then, wrapping their cloaks around them, would sleep
as soundly as if in their own beds at home. The story of the ride has
been written by one of the party, and it goes in much the way here

The mountains were reached at length, and up their rugged sides the
party rode, seeking the easiest paths they could find. No one knows just
where this was, but it is thought that it was near Rockfish Gap, through
which the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad now passes. There are some who
say that they crossed the valley beyond the Blue Ridge and rode over the
Alleghany Mountains also, but this is not at all likely.

When they reached the summit of the range and looked out to the west,
they saw before them a wild but lovely landscape, a broad valley through
whose midst ran a beautiful river, the Shenandoah, an Indian name that
means "daughter of the stars." To the right and left the mountain-range
extended as far as the eye could reach, the hill summits and sides
covered everywhere with verdant forest-trees. In front, far off across
the valley, rose the long blue line of the Alleghanies, concealing new
mysteries beyond.

The party gazed around in delight, and carved their names on the rocks
to mark the spot. A peak near at hand they named Mount George, in honor
of George I., who had just been made king, and a second one Mount
Alexander, in honor of the governor, and they drank the health of both.
Then they rode down the western slope into the lovely valley they had
gazed upon. Here they had no warlike or romantic adventures, fights with
Indians or wild beasts, but they had a very enjoyable time. After a
delightful ride through the valley they recrossed the mountains, and
rode joyously homeward to tell the people of the plain the story of what
they had seen.

We have said nothing yet of the Golden Horseshoe. That was a fanciful
idea of Governor Spotswood. He thought the excursion and the fine valley
it had explored were worthy to be remembered by making them the basis of
an order of knighthood. He was somewhat puzzled to think of a good name
for it, but at length he remembered the shoeing of the horses at
Williamsburg, so he decided to call it the Order of the Golden
Horseshoe, and sent to England for a number of small golden horseshoes,
one of which he gave to each of his late companions. There was a Latin
inscription on them signifying, "Thus we swear to cross the mountains."
When the king heard of the expedition, he made the governor a knight,
under the title of Sir Alexander Spotswood, but we think a better title
for him was that he won for himself,--Sir Knight of the Golden


On the 5th day of July, in the year 1742, unwonted signs of activity
might have been seen in the usually deserted St. Simon's harbor, on the
coast of Georgia. Into that sequestered bay there sailed a powerful
squadron of fifty-six well-armed war-vessels, one of them carrying
twenty-four guns and two of them twenty guns each, while there was a
large following of smaller vessels. A host of men in uniform crowded the
decks of these vessels, and the gleam of arms gave lustre to the scene.
It was a strong Spanish fleet, sent to wrest the province of Georgia
from English hands, and mayhap to punish these intruders in the
murderous way that the Spaniards had punished the French Huguenots two
centuries before.

In all the time that had elapsed since the discovery of America, Spain
had made only one settlement on the Atlantic coast of the United States,
that of St. Augustine in Florida. But slow as they were in taking
possession, they were not slow in making claims, for they looked on
Florida as extending to the Arctic zone. More than once had they tried
to drive the English out of Charleston, and now they were about to make
a similar effort in Georgia. That colony had been settled, only ten
years before, on land which Spain claimed as her own, and the English
were not there long before hostilities began. In 1739 General
Oglethorpe, the proprietor of Georgia, invaded Florida and laid siege to
St. Augustine. He failed in this undertaking, and in 1742 the Spaniards
prepared to take revenge, sending the strong fleet mentioned against
their foes. It looked as if Georgia would be lost to England, for on
these vessels were five thousand men, a force greater than all Georgia
could raise.

Oglethorpe knew that the Spaniards were coming, and made hasty
preparations to meet them. Troops of rangers were raised, the planters
were armed, fortifications built, and a ship of twenty-two guns
equipped. But with all his efforts his force was pitifully small as
compared with the great Spanish equipment. Besides the ship named, there
were some small armed vessels and a shore battery, with which the
English for four hours kept up a weak contest with their foes. Then the
fleet sailed past the defences and up the river before a strong breeze,
and Oglethorpe was obliged to spike the guns and destroy the
war-material at Fort St. Simon's and withdraw to the stronger post of
Frederica, where he proposed to make his stand. Not long afterward the
Spaniards landed their five thousand men four miles below Frederica.
These marched down the island and occupied the deserted fort.

There may not seem to our readers much of interest in all this, but when
it is learned that against the fifty-six ships and more than five
thousand men of the Spaniards the utmost force that General Oglethorpe
could muster consisted of two ships and six hundred and fifty-two men,
including militia and Indians, and that with this handful of men he
completely baffled his assailants, the case grows more interesting. It
was largely an example of tactics against numbers, as will be seen on
reading the story of how the Spaniards were put to the right about and
forced to flee in utter dismay.

On the 7th of July some of the Georgia rangers discovered a small body
of Spanish troops within a mile of Frederica. On learning of their
approach, Oglethorpe did not wait for them to attack him in his not very
powerful stronghold, but at once advanced with a party of Indians and
rangers, and a company of Highlanders who were on parade. Ordering the
regiment to follow, he hurried forward with this small detachment,
proposing to attack the invaders while in the forest defiles and before
they could deploy in the open plain near the fort.

So furious was his charge and so utter the surprise of the Spaniards
that nearly their entire party, consisting of one hundred and
twenty-five of their best woodsmen and forty-five Indians, were either
killed, wounded, or made prisoners. The few fugitives were pursued for
several miles through the forest to an open meadow or savannah. Here the
general posted three platoons of the regiment and a company of Highland
foot under cover of the wood, so that any Spaniards advancing through
the meadow would have to pass under their fire. Then he hastened back
to Frederica and mustered the remainder of his force.


Just as they were ready to march, severe firing was heard in the
direction of the ambushed troops. Oglethorpe made all haste towards them
and met two of the platoons in full retreat. They had been driven from
their post by Don Antonia Barba at the head of three hundred grenadiers
and infantry, who had pushed through the meadow under a drifting rain
and charged into the wood with wild huzzas and rolling drums.

The affair looked very bad for the English. Forced back by a small
advance-guard of the invaders, what would be their fate when the total
Spanish army came upon them? Oglethorpe was told that the whole force
had been routed, but on looking over the men before him he saw that one
platoon and a company of rangers were missing. At the same time the
sound of firing came from the woods at a distance, and he ordered the
officers to rally their men and follow him.

Let us trace the doings of the missing men. Instead of following their
retreating comrades, they had, under their officers, Lieutenants
Sutherland and MacKay, made a skilful détour in the woods to the rear of
the enemy, reaching a point where the road passed from the forest to the
open marsh across a small semicircular cove. Here they formed an
ambuscade in a thick grove of palmettos which nearly surrounded the
narrow pass.

They had not been there long when the Spaniards returned in high glee
from their pursuit. Reaching this open spot, well protected from assault
as it appeared by the open morass on one side and the crescent-shaped
hedge of palmettos and underwood on the other, they deemed themselves
perfectly secure, stacking their arms and throwing themselves on the
ground to rest after their late exertions.

The ambushed force had keenly watched their movements from their
hiding-place, preserving utter silence as the foe entered the trap. At
length Sutherland and MacKay raised the signal of attack, a Highland cap
upon a sword, and in an instant a deadly fire was poured upon the
unsuspecting enemy. Volley after volley succeeded, strewing the ground
with the dead and dying. The Spaniards sprang to their feet in confusion
and panic. Some of their officers attempted to reform their broken
ranks, but in vain; all discipline was gone, orders were unheard, safety
alone was sought. In a minute more, with a Highland shout, the platoon
burst upon them with levelled bayonet and gleaming claymore, and they
fled like panic-stricken deer; some to the marsh, where they mired and
were captured; some along the defile, where they were cut down; some to
the thicket, where they became entangled and lost. Their defeat was
complete, only a few of them escaping to their camp. Barba, their
leader, was mortally wounded; other officers and one hundred and sixty
privates were killed; the prisoners numbered twenty. The feat of arms
was as brilliant as it was successful, and Oglethorpe, who did not
reach the scene of action till the victory was gained, promoted the two
young officers on the spot as a reward for their valor and military
skill. The scene of the action has ever since been known as the "Bloody

The enterprise of the Spaniards had so far been attended by misfortune,
a fact which caused dissention among their leaders. Learning of this,
Oglethorpe resolved to surprise them by a night attack. On the 12th he
marched with five hundred men until within a mile of the Spanish
quarters, and after nightfall went forward with a small party to
reconnoitre. His purpose was to attack them, if all appeared favorable,
but he was foiled by the treachery of a Frenchman in his ranks, who
fired his musket and deserted to the enemy under cover of the darkness.
Disconcerted by this unlucky circumstance, the general withdrew his
reconnoitering party; reaching his men, he distributed the drummers
about the wood to represent a large force, and ordered them to beat the
grenadier's march. This they did for half an hour; then, all being
still, they retreated to Frederica.

The defection of the Frenchman threw the general into a state of alarm.
The fellow would undoubtedly tell the Spaniards how small a force
opposed them, and advise them that, with their superior land and naval
forces, they could easily surround and destroy the English. In this
dilemma it occurred to him to try the effect of stratagem, and seek to
discredit the traitor's story.

He wrote a letter in French, as if from a friend of the deserter,
telling him that he had received the money, and advising him to make
every effort to convince the Spanish commander that the English were
very weak. He suggested to him to offer to pilot up their boats and
galleys, and to bring them under the woods where he knew the hidden
batteries were. If he succeeded in this, his pay would be doubled. If he
could not do this, he was to use all his influence to keep them three
days more at Fort St. Simon's. By that time the English would be
reinforced by two thousand infantry and six men-of-war which had already
sailed from Charleston. In a postscript he was cautioned on no account
to mention that Admiral Vernon was about to make an attack on St.

This letter was given to a Spanish prisoner, who was paid a sum of money
on his promise that he would carry the letter privately and deliver it
to the French deserter. The prisoner was then secretly set free, and
made his way back to the Spanish camp. After being detained and
questioned at the outposts he was taken before the general, Don Manuel
de Mantiano. So far all had gone as Oglethorpe hoped. The fugitive was
asked how he escaped and if he had any letters. When he denied having
any he was searched and the decoy letter found on his person. It was not
addressed to any one, but on promise of pardon he confessed that he had
received money to deliver it to the Frenchman.

As it proved, the deserter had joined the English as a spy for the
Spaniards. He earnestly protested that he was not false to his
agreement; that he knew nothing of any hidden battery or of the other
contents of the letter, and that he had received no money or had any
correspondence with Oglethorpe. Some of the general's council believed
him, and looked on the letter as an English trick. But the most of them
believed him to be a double spy, and advised an immediate retreat. While
the council was warmly debating on this subject word was brought them
that three vessels had been seen off the bar. This settled the question
in their minds. The fleet from Charleston was at hand; if they stayed
longer they might be hemmed in by sea and land; they resolved to fly
while the path to safety was still open. Their resolution was hastened
by an advance of Oglethorpe's small naval force down the stream, and a
successful attack on their fleet. Setting fire to the fort, they
embarked so hastily that a part of their military stores were abandoned,
and fled as if from an overwhelming force, Oglethorpe hastening their
flight by pursuit with his few vessels.

Thus ended this affair, one of the most remarkable in its outcome of any
in the military history of the United States. For fifteen days General
Oglethorpe, with little over six hundred men and two armed vessels, had
baffled the Spanish general with fifty-six ships and five thousand men,
defeating him in every encounter in the field, and at length, by an
ingenious stratagem, compelling him to retreat with the loss of several
ships and much of his provisions, munitions, and artillery. In all our
colonial history there is nothing to match this repulse of such a
formidable force by a mere handful of men. It had the effect of saving
Georgia, and perhaps Carolina, from falling into the hands of the
Spanish. From that time forward Spain made no effort to invade the
English colonies. The sole hostile action of the Spaniards of Florida
was to inspire the Indians of that peninsula to make raids in Georgia,
and this annoyance led in the end to the loss of Florida by Spain.


We wish to say something here about a curious old man who lived in
Virginia when George Washington was a boy, and who was wise enough to
see that young Washington was anything but a common boy. This man was an
English nobleman named Lord Fairfax. As the nobles of England were not
in the habit of coming to the colonies, except as governors, we must
tell what brought this one across the sea.

It happened in this way. His grandfather, Lord Culpeper, had at one time
been governor of Virginia, and, like some other governors, had taken
care to feather his nest. Seeing how rich the land was between the
Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, when he went home he asked the king to
give him all this land, and the king, Charles II., in his good easy way
of giving away what did not belong to him, readily consented, without
troubling himself about the rights of the people who lived on the land.
A great and valuable estate it was. Not many dwelt on it, and Lord
Culpeper promised to have it settled and cultivated, but we cannot say
that he troubled himself much about doing so.

When old Culpeper died the Virginia land went to his daughter, and from
her it descended to her son, Lord Fairfax, who sent out his cousin,
William Fairfax, to look after his great estate, which covered a whole
broad county in the wilderness, and counties in those days were often
very large. Lord Fairfax was not much concerned about the American
wildwood. He was one of the fashionable young men in London society, and
something of an author, too, for he helped the famous Addison by writing
some papers for the "Spectator."

But noblemen, like common men, are liable to fall in love, and this Lord
Fairfax did. He became engaged to be married to a handsome young lady;
but she proved to be less faithful than pretty, and when a nobleman of
higher rank asked her to marry him, she threw her first lover aside and
gave herself to the richer one.

This was a bitter blow to Lord Fairfax. He went to his country home and
dwelt there in deep distress, vowing that all women were false-hearted
and that he would never marry any of them. And he never did. Even his
country home was not solitary enough for the broken-hearted lover, so he
resolved to cross the ocean and seek a new home in his wilderness land
in America. It was this that brought him to Virginia, where he went to
live at his cousin's fine mansion called Belvoir, a place not far away
from the Washington estate of Mount Vernon.

Lord Fairfax was a middle-aged man at that time, a tall, gaunt,
near-sighted personage, who spent much of his time in hunting, of which
he was very fond. And his favorite companion in these hunting
excursions was young George Washington, then a fine, fresh, active boy
of fourteen, who dearly loved outdoor life. There was a strong contrast
between the old lord and the youthful Virginian, but they soon became
close friends, riding out fox-hunting together and growing intimate in
other ways.

Laurence Washington, George's elder brother, who lived at Mount Vernon,
had married a daughter of William Fairfax, and that brought the Mount
Vernon and Belvoir families much together, so that when young George was
visiting his brother he was often at Belvoir. Lord Fairfax grew to like
him so much that he resolved to give him some important work to do. He
saw that the boy was strong, manly, and quick-witted, and anxious to be
doing something for himself, and as George had made some study of
surveying, he decided to employ him at this.

Lord Fairfax's Virginia estate, as we have said, was very large. The
best-known part of it lay east, but it also crossed the Blue Ridge
Mountains, and ran over into the beautiful valley beyond, which the
Knights of the Golden Horseshoe had visited more than thirty years
before. This splendid valley was still largely in a wild state, with few
inhabitants besides the savage Indians and wild beasts. Before it could
be fairly opened to settlers it must be measured by the surveyor's chain
and mapped out so that it would be easy to tell where any tract was
located. It was this that Lord Fairfax asked young Washington to do, and
which the active boy gladly consented to undertake, for he liked
nothing better than wild life and adventure in the wilderness, and here
was the chance to have a delightful time in a new and beautiful country,
an opportunity that would warm the heart of any live and healthy boy.

This is a long introduction to the story of Washington's wildwood
outing, but no doubt you will like to know what brought it about. It was
in the early spring of 1748 that the youthful surveyor set out on his
ride, the blood bounding warmly in his veins as he thought of the new
sensations and stirring adventures which lay before him. He was not
alone. George William Fairfax, a son of the master of Belvoir, went with
him, a young man of twenty-two. Washington was then just sixteen, young
enough to be in high spirits at the prospect before him. He brought his
surveyors' instruments, and they both bore guns as well, for they looked
for some fine sport in the woods.

The valley beyond the mountains was not the land of mystery which it had
been thirty-four years before, when Governor Spotswood and his gay troop
looked down on it from the green mountain summit. There were now some
scattered settlers in it, and Lord Fairfax had built himself a lodge in
the wilderness, which he named "Greenway Court," and where now and then
he went for a hunting excursion.

Crossing the Blue Ridge at Ashby's Gap and fording the bright
Shenandoah, the young surveyors made their way towards this wildwood
lodge. It was a house with broad stone gables, its sloping roof coming
down over a long porch in front. The locality was not altogether a safe
one. There were still some Indians in that country, and something might
stir them up against the whites. In two belfries on the roof hung
alarm-bells, to be rung to collect the neighboring settlers if report of
an Indian rising should be brought.


Purchased by George Washington for his mother.]

On the forest road leading to Greenway Court a white post was planted,
with an arm pointing towards the house, as a direction to visitors. As
the post decayed or was thrown down by any cause another was erected,
and on this spot to-day such a post stands, with the village of White
Post built around it. But when young Washington and Fairfax passed the
spot only forest trees stood round the post, and they rode on to the
Court, where they rested awhile under the hospitable care of Lord
Fairfax's manager.

It was a charming region in which the young surveyors found themselves
after their brief term of rest, a land of lofty forests and broad grassy
openings, with the silvery river sparkling through their midst. The buds
were just bursting on the trees, the earliest spring flowers were
opening, and to right and left extended long blue mountain-ranges, the
giant guardians of the charming valley of the Shenandoah. In those days
there were none of the yellow grain-fields, the old mansions surrounded
by groves, the bustling villages and towns which now mark the scene,
but nature had done her best to make it picturesque and beautiful, and
the youthful visitors enjoyed it as only those of young blood can.

Up the banks of the Shenandoah went the surveyors, measuring and marking
the land and mapping down its leading features. It was no easy work, but
they enjoyed it to the full. At night they would stop at the rude house
of some settler, if one was to be found; if not, they would build a fire
in the woods, cook the game their guns had brought down, wrap their
cloaks around them, and sleep heartily under the broad blanket of the
open air.

Thus they journeyed on up the Shenandoah until they reached the point
where its waters flow into the Potomac. Then up this stream they made
their way, crossing the mountains and finally reaching the place which
is now called Berkeley Springs. It was then in the depth of the
wilderness, but in time a town grew up around it, and many years
afterward Washington and his family often went there in the summer to
drink and bathe in its wholesome mineral waters.

The surveyors had their adventures, and no doubt often made the woodland
echoes ring with the report of their guns as they brought down partridge
or pheasant, or tracked a deer through the brushwood. Nothing of special
note happened to them, the thing which interested them most being the
sight of a band of Indians, the first they had ever seen. The red men
had long since disappeared from the part of Virginia in which they

These tenants of the forest came along one day when the youths had
stopped at the house of a settler. There were about thirty of them in
their war-paint, and one of them had a fresh scalp hanging at his belt.
This indicated that they had recently been at war with their enemies, of
whom at least one had been killed. The Indians were given some liquor,
in return for which they danced their war-dance before the boys. For
music one of them drummed on a deer-skin which he stretched over an iron
pot, and another rattled a gourd containing some shot and ornamented
with a horse's tail. The others danced with wild whoops and yells around
a large fire they had built. Altogether the spectacle was a singular and
exciting one on which the boys looked with much interest.

While they had no serious adventures, their life in the forest was not a
very luxurious one. In many ways they had to rough it. At times they
were drenched by downpours of rain. They slept anywhere, now and then in
houses, but most often in the open air. On one occasion some straw on
which they lay asleep caught fire and they woke just in time to escape
being scorched by the flames.

"I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed," wrote George to
a friend, "but after walking a good deal all the day I have lain down
before the fire on a little straw or fodder, or a bear-skin, whatever
was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats; and
happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire."

Their cooking was often done by impaling the meat on sharp sticks and
holding it over the fire, while chips cut with their hatchet took the
place of dishes. But to them all this was enjoyment, their appetites
were hearty, and anything having the spice of adventure was gladly
welcomed. It was the event of their young lives.

It was still April when they returned from their long river ride to
Greenway Court, and here enjoyed for some time the comforts of
civilization, so far as they had penetrated that frontier scene. Spring
was still upon the land, though summer was near by, when George and his
friend rode back across the Blue Ridge and returned to Belvoir with the
report of what they had done. Lord Fairfax was highly pleased with the
report, and liked George more than ever for the faithful and intelligent
manner in which he had carried out his task. He paid the young surveyor
at the rate of seven dollars a day for the time he was actually at work,
and half this amount for the remaining time. This was worth a good deal
more then than the same sum of money would be now, and was very good pay
for a boy of sixteen. No doubt the lad felt rich with the first money he
had ever earned in his pocket.

As for Lord Fairfax, he was in high glee to learn what a valuable
property he had across the hills, and especially how fine a country it
was for hunting. He soon left Belvoir and made his home at Greenway
Court, where he spent the remainder of his life. It was a very different
life from that of his early days in the bustle of fashionable life in
London, but it seemed to suit him as well or better.

One thing more we have to say about him. He was still living at Greenway
Court when the Revolutionary War came on. A loyalist in grain, he
bitterly opposed the rebellion of the colonists. By the year 1781 he had
grown very old and feeble. One day he was in Winchester, a town which
had grown up not far from Greenway, when he heard loud shouts and cheers
in the street.

"What is all that noise about?" he asked his old servant.

"Dey say dat Gin'ral Washington has took Lord Cornwallis an' all his
army prisoners. Yorktown is surrendered, an' de wa' is ovah."

"Take me to bed, Joe," groaned the old lord; "it is time for me to die."

Five years after his surveying excursion George Washington had a far
more famous adventure in the wilderness, when the governor of Virginia
sent him through the great forest to visit the French forts near Lake
Erie. The story of this journey is one of the most exciting and romantic
events in American history, yet it is one with which most readers of
history are familiar, so we have told the tale of his earlier adventures
instead. His forest experience on the Shenandoah had much to do with
making Governor Dinwiddie choose him as his envoy to the French forts,
so that it was, in a way, the beginning of his wonderful career.


There was a day in the history of the Old Dominion when a great lawsuit
was to be tried,--a great one, that is, to the people of Hanover County,
where it was heard, and to the colony of Virginia, though not to the
country at large. The Church of England was the legal church in
Virginia, whose people were expected to support it. This the members of
other churches did not like to do, and the people of Hanover County
would not pay the clergymen for their preaching. This question of paying
the preachers spread far and wide. It came to the House of Burgesses,
which body decided that the people need not pay them. It crossed the
ocean and reached the king of England, who decided that the people must
pay them. As the king's voice was stronger than that of the burgesses,
the clergy felt that they had an excellent case, and they brought a
lawsuit to recover their claims. By the old law each clergyman was to be
paid his salary in tobacco, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds weight
a year.

There seemed to be nothing to do but pay them, either in cash or
tobacco. All the old lawyers who looked into the question gave it up at
once, saying that the people had no standing against the king and the
clergy. But while men were saying that the case for the county would be
passed without a trial and a verdict rendered for the clergy, an amusing
rumor began to spread around. It was said that young Patrick Henry was
going to conduct the case for the people.

[Illustration: Copyright, 1906, by R. A. Lancaster, Jr.


We call this amusing, and so it was to those who knew Patrick Henry. He
was a lawyer, to be sure, but one who knew almost nothing about the law
and had never made a public speech in his life. He was only twenty-seven
years of age, and those years had gone over him mainly in idleness. In
his boyhood days he had spent his time in fishing, hunting, dancing, and
playing the fiddle, instead of working on his father's farm. As he grew
older he liked sport too much and work too little to make a living. He
tried store-keeping and failed through neglect of his business. He
married a wife whose father gave him a farm, but he failed with this,
too, fishing and fiddling when he should have been working, and in two
years the farm was sold. Then he went back to store-keeping, and with
the same result. The trouble was his love for the fiddle and the
fishing-line, which stood very much in the way of business. He was too
lazy and fond of good company and a good time to make a living for
himself and his wife.

The easy-going fellow was now in a critical situation. He had to do
something if he did not want to starve, so he borrowed some old
law-books and began to read law. Six weeks later he applied to an old
judge for a license to practise in the courts. The judge questioned him
and found that he knew nothing about the law; but young Henry pleaded
with him so ardently, and promised so faithfully to keep on studying,
that the judge gave him the license and he hung out his shingle as a

Whatever else Patrick Henry might be good for, people thought that to
call himself a lawyer was a mere laughing matter. An awkward, stooping,
ungainly fellow, dressed roughly in leather breeches and yarn stockings,
and not knowing even how to pronounce the king's English correctly, how
could he ever succeed in a learned profession? As a specimen of his
manner of speech at that time we are told that once, when denying the
advantages of education, he clinched the argument by exclaiming,
"Nait'ral parts are better than all the larnin' on airth."

As for the law, he did not know enough about it to draw up the simplest
law-paper. As a result, he got no business, and was forced, as a last
resort, to help keep a tavern which his father-in-law possessed at
Hanover Court-House. And so he went on for two or three years, till
1763, when the celebrated case came up. Those who knew him might well
look on it as a joke when the word went round that Patrick Henry was
going to "plead against the parsons." That so ignorant a lawyer should
undertake to handle a case which all the old lawyers had refused might
well be held as worthy only of ridicule. They did not know Patrick
Henry. It is not quite sure that he knew himself. His father sat on the
bench as judge, but what he thought of his son's audacity history does
not say.

When the day for the trial came there was a great crowd at Hanover
Court-House, for the people were much interested in the case. On the
opening of the court the young lawyer crossed the street from the tavern
and took his seat behind the bar. What he saw was enough to dismay and
confuse a much older man. The court-room was crowded, and every man in
it seemed to have his eyes fixed on the daring young counsel, many of
them with covert smiles on their faces. The twelve men of the jury were
chosen. There were present a large number of the clergy waiting
triumphantly for the verdict, which they were sure would be in their
favor, and looking in disdain at the young lawyer. On the bench as judge
sat John Henry, doubtless feeling that he had a double duty to perform,
to judge at once the case and his son.

The aspiring advocate, so little learned in the law and so poorly
dressed and ungainly in appearance, looked as if he would have given
much just then to be out of the court and clear of the case. But the die
was cast; he was in for it now.

The counsel for the clergymen opened the case. He dwelt much on the law
of the matter, whose exact meaning he declared was beyond question. The
courts had already decided on that subject, and so had his sacred
majesty, the king of England. There was nothing for the jury to do, he
asserted, but to decide how much money his clients were entitled to
under the law. The matter seemed so clear that he made but a brief
address and sat down with a look of complete satisfaction. As he did so
Patrick Henry rose.

This, as may well be imagined, was a critical moment in the young
lawyer's life. He rose very awkwardly and seemed thoroughly frightened.
Every eye was fixed on him and not a sound was heard. Henry was in a
state of painful embarrassment. When he began to speak, his voice was so
low that he could hardly be heard, and he faltered so sadly that his
friends felt that all was at an end.

But, as he himself had once said, "Nait'ral parts are better than all
the larnin' on airth;" and he had these "nait'ral parts," as he was
about to prove. As he went on a change in his aspect took place. His
form became erect, his head uplifted, his voice clearer and firmer. He
soon began to make it appear that he had thought deeply on the people's
cause and was prepared to handle it strongly. His eyes began to flash,
his voice to grow resonant and fill the room; in the words of William
Wirt, his biographer, "As his mind rolled along and began to glow from
its own action, all the exuviæ of the clown seemed to shed themselves

The audience listened in surprise, the clergy in consternation. Was this
the Patrick Henry they had known? It was very evident that the young
advocate knew just what he was talking about, and he went on with a
forcible and burning eloquence that fairly carried away every listener.
There was no thought now of his clothes and his uncouthness. The _man_
stood revealed before them, a man with a gift of eloquence such as
Virginia had never before known. He said very little on the law of the
case, knowing that to be against him, but he addressed himself to the
jury on the rights of the people and of the colony, and told them it was
their duty to decide between the House of Burgesses and the king of
England. The Burgesses, he said, were their own people, men of their own
choice, who had decided in their favor; the king was a stranger to them,
and had no right to order them what to do.

Here he was interrupted by the old counsel for the clergy, who rose in
great indignation and exclaimed, "The gentleman has spoken treason."

We do not know just what words Henry used in reply. We have no record of
that famous speech. But he was not the man to be frightened by the word
"treason," and did not hesitate to repeat his words more vigorously than
before. As for the parsons, he declared, their case was worthless. Men
who led such lives as they were known to have done had no right to
demand money from the people. So bitterly did he denounce them that all
those in the room rose and left the court in a body.

By the time the young advocate had reached the end of his speech the
whole audience was in a state of intense excitement. They had been
treated to the sensation of their lives, and looked with utter
astonishment at the marvellous orator, who had risen from obscurity to
fame in that brief hour. Breathless was the interest with which the
jury's verdict was awaited. The judge charged that the law was in favor
of the parsons and that the king's order must be obeyed, but they had
the right to decide on the amount of damages. They were not long in
deciding, and their verdict was the astounding one of _one penny

The crowd was now beyond control. A shout of delight and approbation
broke out. Uproar and confusion followed the late decorous quiet. The
parsons' lawyer cried out that the verdict was illegal and asked the
judge to send the jury back. But his voice was lost in the acclamations
of the multitude. Gathering round Patrick Henry, they picked him up
bodily, lifted him to their shoulders, and bore him out, carrying him in
triumph through the town, which rang loudly with their cries and cheers.
Thus it was that the young lawyer of Hanover rose to fame.

Two years after that memorable day Patrick Henry found himself in a
different situation. He was now a member of the dignified House of
Burgesses, the oldest legislative body in America. An aristocratic body
it was, made up mostly of wealthy landholders, dressed in courtly attire
and sitting in proud array. There were few poor men among them, and
perhaps no other plain countryman to compare with the new member from
Hanover County, who had changed but little in dress and appearance from
his former aspect.

A great question was before the House. The Stamp Act had been passed in
England and the people of the colonies were in a high state of
indignation. They rose in riotous mobs and vowed they would never pay a
penny of the tax. As for the Burgesses, they proposed to act with more
loyalty and moderation. They would petition the king to do them justice.
It was as good as rebellion to refuse to obey him.

The member from Hanover listened to their debate, and said to himself
that it was weak and its purpose futile. He felt sure that the action
they proposed would do no good, and when they had fairly exhausted
themselves he rose to offer his views on the question at issue.

Very likely some of the fine gentlemen there looked at him with surprise
and indignation. Who was this presumptuous new member who proposed to
tell the older members what to do? Some of them may have known him and
been familiar with that scene in Hanover Court-House. Others perhaps
mentally deplored the indignity of sending common fellows like this to
sit in their midst.

But Patrick Henry now knew his powers, and cared not a whit for their
_respectable_ sentiments. He had something to say and proposed to say
it. Beginning in a quiet voice, he told them that the Stamp Act was
illegal, as ignoring the right of the House to make the laws for the
colony. It was not only illegal, but it was oppressive, and he moved
that the House of Burgesses should pass a series of resolutions which he
would read.

These resolutions were respectful in tone, but very decided in meaning.
The last of them declared that nobody but the Burgesses had the right to
tax Virginians. This statement roused the house. It sounded like
rebellion against the king. Several speakers rose together and all of
them denounced the resolutions as injudicious and impertinent. The
excitement of the loyalists grew as they proceeded, but they subsided
into silence when the man who had offered the resolutions rose to defend

Patrick Henry was aroused. As he spoke his figure grew straight and
erect, his voice loud and resonant, his eye flashed, the very sweep of
his hand was full of force and power. He for one was not prepared to
become a slave to England and her king. He denounced the islanders who
proposed to rob Americans of their vested rights. In what way was an
Englishman better than a Virginian? he asked. Were they not of one blood
and born with the same right to liberty and justice? What right had the
Parliament to act the tyrant to the colonies? Then, referring to the
king, he bade him in thundering tones to beware of the consequences of
his acts.

"Cæsar had his Brutus," he exclaimed, in tones of thrilling force,
"Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third----"

"Treason! Treason!" came from a dozen excited voices, but Henry did not

"May profit by their example." Then, in a quieter tone, he added: "If
this be treason, make the most of it!"

[Illustration: ST. JOHN'S CHURCH.]

He took his seat. He had said his words. These words still roll down the
tide of American history as resonantly as when they were spoken. As for
the House of Burgesses, it was carried away by the strength of this
wonderful speech. When the resolutions came to a vote it was seen that
Henry had won. They were carried, even the last and most daring of them,
by one vote majority. As the Burgesses tumultuously adjourned, one
member rushed out in great excitement, declaring that he would have
given five hundred guineas for one vote to defeat the treasonable
resolutions. But the people with delight heard of what had passed, and
as Henry passed through the crowd a plain countryman clapped him on the
shoulder, exclaiming,--

"Stick to us, old fellow, or we are gone."

Ten years later, in the old church of St. John's, at Richmond, Virginia,
standing not far from the spot where the old Indian emperor, Powhatan,
once resided, a convention was assembled to decide on the state of the
country. Rebellion was in the air. In a month more the first shots of
the Revolution were to be fired at Lexington. Patrick Henry, still the
same daring patriot as of old, rose and moved that Virginia "be
immediately put in a state of defence."

This raised almost as much opposition as his former resolutions in the
House of Burgesses, and his blood was boiling as he rose to speak. It
was the first speech of his that has been preserved, and it was one that
still remains unsurpassed in the annals of American eloquence. We give
its concluding words. He exclaimed, in tones of thunder,--

"There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are
forged, their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is
inevitable; and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! It is in
vain to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, 'Peace, peace,' but
there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps
from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our
brethren are already in the field. What is it that gentlemen wish? What
would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased
at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not
what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me

His motion was passed, and Virginia told the world that she was ready to
fight. A month later there came from the north "the clash of resounding
arms;" the American Revolution was launched.

"It is not easy to say what we would have done without Patrick Henry,"
says Thomas Jefferson. "His eloquence was peculiar; if, indeed, it
should be called eloquence, for it was impressive and sublime beyond
what can be imagined. After all, it must be allowed that he was our
leader. He left us all far behind."


The first blood shed by "rebels" in America, in those critical years
when the tide of events was setting strong towards war and revolution,
was by the settlers on the upper waters of the Cape Fear River in North
Carolina. A hardy people these were, of that Highland Scotch stock whose
fathers had fought against oppression for many generations. Coming to
America for peace and liberty, they found bitter oppression still, and
fought against it as their ancestors had done at home. It is the story
of these sturdy "Regulators" that we have here to tell.

It was not the tyranny of king or parliament with which these
liberty-lovers had to deal, but that of Governor Tryon, the king's
representative in this colony, and one of the worst of all the royal
governors. Bancroft has well described his character. "The Cherokee
chiefs, who knew well the cruelty and craft of the most pernicious beast
of prey in the mountains, ceremoniously distinguished the governor by
the name of the Great Wolf." It was this Great Wolf who was placed in
command over the settlers of North Carolina, and whose lawless acts
drove them to rebellion.

Under Governor Tryon the condition of the colony of North Carolina was
worse than that of a great city under the rule of a political "Boss."
The people were frightfully overtaxed, illegal fees were charged for
every service, juries were packed, and costs of suits at law made
exorbitant. The officers of the law were insolent and arbitrary, and by
trickery and extortion managed to rob many settlers of their property.
And this was the more hateful to the people from the fact that much of
the money raised was known to go into the pockets of officials and much
of it was used by Governor Tryon in building himself a costly and showy
"palace." Such was the state of affairs which led to the "rebellion" in
North Carolina.

Many of the people of the mountain districts organized under the name of
"Regulators," binding themselves to fight against illegal taxes and
fees, and not to pay them unless forced to do so. The first outbreak
took place in 1768 when a Regulator rode into Hillsborough, and Colonel
Fanning wantonly seized his horse for his tax. It was quickly rescued by
a mob armed with clubs and muskets, some of which were fired at
Fanning's house.

This brought matters to a head. Supported by the governor, Fanning
denounced the Regulators as rebels, threatened to call out the militia,
and sent out a secret party who arrested two of the settlers. One of
these, Herman Husbands, had never joined the Regulators or been
concerned in any tumult, and was seized while quietly at home on his
own land. But he was bound, insulted, hurried to prison, and threatened
with the gallows. He escaped only by the payment of money and the threat
of the Regulators to take him by force from the jail.

The next step was taken after Governor Tryon had promised to hear the
complaints of the people and punish the men guilty of extortion. Under
this promise Husbands brought suit against Fanning for unjust
imprisonment. At once the governor showed his real sentiment. He
demanded the complete submission of the Regulators, called out fifteen
hundred armed men, and was said to intend to rouse the Indians to cut
off the men of Orange County as rebels.

In spite of this threatening attitude of the governor, Husbands was
acquitted on every charge, and Fanning was found guilty on six separate
indictments. There was also a verdict given against three Regulators.
This was the decision of the jury alone. That of the judges showed a
different spirit. They punished Fanning by fining him one penny on each
charge, while the Regulators were each sentenced to fifty pounds fine
and six months' imprisonment. To support this one-sided justice Tryon
threatened the Regulators with fire and sword, and they remained quietly
at home, brooding moodily over their failure but hesitating to act.

We must now go on to the year 1770. The old troubles had
continued,--illegal fees and taxes, peculation and robbery. The
sheriffs and tax-collectors were known to have embezzled over fifty
thousand pounds. The costs of suits at law had so increased that justice
lay beyond the reach of the poor. And back of all this reigned Governor
Tryon in his palace, supporting the spoilers of the people. So incensed
did they become that at the September court, finding that their cases
were to be ignored, they seized Fanning and another lawyer and beat them
soundly with cowhide whips, ending by a destructive raid on Fanning's

The Assembly met in December. It had been chosen under a state of
general alarm. The Regulators elected many representatives, among them
the persecuted Herman Husbands, who was chosen to represent Orange
County. This defiant action of the people roused the "Great Wolf" again.
Husbands had been acquitted of everything charged against him, yet Tryon
had him voted a disturber of the peace and expelled from the House, and
immediately afterward had him arrested and put in prison without bail,
though there was not a grain of evidence against him.

The governor followed this act of violence with a "Riot Act" of the most
oppressive and illegal character. Under it if any ten men assembled and
did not disperse when ordered to do so, they were to be held guilty of
felony. For a riot committed either before or after this act was
published any persons accused might be tried before the Superior Court,
no matter how far it was from their homes, and if they did not appear
within sixty days, with or without notice, they were to be proclaimed
outlaws and to forfeit their lives and property. The governor also sent
out a request for volunteers to march against the "rebels," but the
Assembly refused to grant money for this warlike purpose.

Governor Tryon had shown himself as unjust and tyrannous as Governor
Berkeley of Virginia had done in his contest with Bacon. It did not take
him long to foment the rebellion which he seemed determined to provoke.
When the Regulators heard that their representative had been thrown into
prison, and that they were threatened with exile or death as outlaws,
they prepared to march on Newbern for the rescue of Husbands, filling
the governor with such alarm for the safety of his fine new palace that
he felt it wise to release his captive. He tried to indict the sturdy
Highlander for a pretended libel, but the Grand Jury refused to support
him in this, and Husbands was set free. The Regulators thereupon
dispersed, after a party of them had visited the Superior Court at
Salisbury and expressed their opinion very freely about the lawyers, the
officials, and the Riot Act, which they declared had no warrant in the
laws of England.

As yet the Regulators had done little more than to protest against
tyranny and oppression and to show an intention to defend their
representative against unjust imprisonment, yet they had done enough to
arouse their lordly governor to revenge. Rebels they were, for they had
dared to question his acts, and rebels he would hold them. As the Grand
Jury would not support him in his purpose, he took steps to obtain
juries and witnesses on whom he could rely, and then brought charges
against many of the leading Regulators of Orange County, several of whom
had been quietly at home during the riots of which they were accused.

The governor's next step was to call the Grand Jury to his palace and
volunteer to them to lead troops into the western counties, the haunt of
the Regulators. The jurymen, who were his own creatures, hastened to
applaud his purpose, and the Council agreed. The Assembly refused to
provide funds for such a purpose, but Tryon got over this difficulty by
issuing a paper currency.

A force of militia was now raised in the lower part of the colony and
the country of the Regulators was invaded. Tryon marched at the head of
a strong force into Orange County, and proceeded to deal with it as if
it were a country conquered in war. As he advanced, the wheat-fields
were destroyed and the orchards felled. Every house found empty was
burned to the ground. Cattle, poultry, and all the produce of the
plantations were seized. The terrified people ran together like sheep
pursued by a wolf. The men who had been indicted for felony at Newbern,
and who had failed to submit themselves to the mercy of his packed
juries and false witnesses, were proclaimed outlaws, whose lives and
property were forfeit. Never had the colonies been so spoiled on such
slight pretence.

Thus marching onward like a conquering general of the Middle Ages,
leaving havoc and ruin in his rear, on the evening of May 14, 1771,
Tryon reached the great Alamance River, at the head of a force of a
little over one thousand men. About five miles beyond this stream were
gathered the Regulators who had fled before his threatening march. They
were probably superior in numbers to Tryon's men, but many of them had
no weapons, and they were principally concerned lest the governor "would
not lend an ear to the just complaints of the people." These "rebels"
were certainly not in the frame of mind to make rebellion successful.

The Regulators were not without a leader. One of their number, James
Hunter, they looked upon as their "general," a title of which his
excellent capacity and high courage made him worthy. On the approach of
Tryon at the head of his men James Hunter and Benjamin Merrill advanced
to meet him. They received from him this ultimatum:

"I require you to lay down your arms, surrender up the outlawed
ringleaders, submit yourselves to the laws, and rest on the lenity of
the government. By accepting these terms in one hour you will prevent an
effusion of blood, as you are at this time in a state of war and

Hopeless as the Regulators felt their cause, they were not ready to
submit to such a demand as this. There was not an outlaw among them, for
not one of them had been legally indicted. As to the lenity of the
government, they had an example before their eyes in the wanton ruin of
their houses and crops. With such a demand, nothing was left them but to

Tryon began the action by firing a field-piece into the group of
Regulators. At this the more timid of them--perhaps only the unarmed
ones--withdrew, but the bold remainder returned the fire, and a hot
conflict began, which was kept up steadily for two hours. The battle, at
first in the open field, soon shifted to the woodland, where the
opponents sheltered themselves behind trees and kept up the fight. Not
until their ammunition was nearly gone, and further resistance was
impossible, did Hunter and his men retreat, leaving Tryon master of the
field. They had lost twenty of their number besides the wounded and some
prisoners taken in the pursuit. Of Tryon's men nine were killed and
sixty-one wounded. Thus ended the affray known as the battle of the
Alamance, in which were fired the first shots for freedom from tyranny
by the people of the American colonies.

The victorious governor hastened to make revengeful use of his triumph.
He began the next day by hanging James Few, one of the prisoners, as an
outlaw, and confiscating his estate. A series of severe proclamations
followed, and his troops lived at free quarters on the Regulators,
forcing them to contribute provisions, and burning the houses and laying
waste the plantations of all those who had been denounced as outlaws.

On his return to Hillsborough the governor issued a proclamation
denouncing Herman Husbands, James Hunter, and some others, asking "every
person" to shoot them at sight, and offering a large reward for their
bodies alive or dead. Of the prisoners still in his hands, he had six of
them hung in his own presence for the crime of treason. Then, some ten
days later, having played the tyrant to the full in North Carolina, he
left that colony forever, having been appointed governor of New York.
The colony was saddled by him with an illegal debt of forty thousand
pounds, which he left for its people to pay.

As for the fugitive Regulators, there was no safety for them in North
Carolina, and the governors of South Carolina and Virginia were
requested not to give them refuge. But they knew of a harbor of refuge
to which no royal governors had come, over which the flag of England had
never waved, and where no lawyer or tax-collector had yet set foot, in
that sylvan land west of the Alleghenies on which few besides Daniel
Boone, the famous hunter, had yet set foot.

Here was a realm for a nation, and one on which nature had lavished her
richest treasures. Here in spring the wild crab-apple filled the air
with the sweetest of perfumes, here the clear mountain-streams flowed
abundantly, the fertile soil was full of promise of rich harvests, the
climate was freshly invigorating, and the west winds ripe with the seeds
of health. Here were broad groves of hickory and oak, of maple, elm,
and ash, in which the elk and the red deer made their haunts, and the
black bear, whose flesh the hunter held to be delicious beyond rivalry,
fattened on the abundant crop of acorns and chestnuts. In the trees and
on the grasses were quail, turkeys, and pigeons numberless, while the
golden eagle built its nest on the mountain-peaks and swooped in circles
over the forest land. Where the thickets of spruce and rhododendron
threw their cooling shade upon the swift streams, the brook trout was
abundant, plenty and promise were everywhere, and, aside from the peril
of the prowling savage, the land was a paradise.

It was not in Kentucky, where Boone then dwelt alone, but in Tennessee
that the fugitive Regulators sought a realm of safety. James Robertson,
one of their number, had already sought the land beyond the hills and
was cultivating his fields of maize on the Watauga's fertile banks. He
was to become one of the leading men in later Tennessee. Hither the
Regulators, fleeing from their persecutors, followed him, and in 1772
founded a republic in the wilderness by a written compact, Robertson
being chosen one of their earliest magistrates. Thus, still defiant of
persecution, they "set to the people of America the dangerous example of
erecting themselves into a separate state, distinct from and independent
of the authority of the British king."

Thus we owe to the Regulators of North Carolina the first decided step
in the great struggle for independence so soon to come. And to North
Carolina we must give the credit of making the earliest declaration of
independence. More than a year before Jefferson's famous Declaration the
people of Mecklenburg County passed a series of resolutions in which
they declared themselves free from allegiance to the British crown. This
was in May, 1775. On April 12, 1776, North Carolina authorized her
delegates in the Continental Congress to declare for independence. Thus
again the Old North State was the first to set her seal for liberty. The
old Regulators had not all left her soil, and we seem to hear in these
resolutions an echo of the guns which were fired on the Alamance in the
first stroke of the colonists of America for freedom from tyranny.


In the city of Williamsburg, the old capital of Virginia, there still
stands a curious old powder magazine, built nearly two centuries ago by
Governor Spotswood, the hero of the "Golden Horseshoe" adventure. It is
a strong stone building, with eight-sided walls and roof, which looks as
if it might stand for centuries to come. On this old magazine hinges a
Revolutionary tale, which seems to us well worth the telling. The story
begins on April 19, 1775, the day that the shots at Lexington brought on
the war for independence.

The British government did not like the look of things in America. The
clouds in the air, and the occasional lightning flash and thunder roar,
were full of threat of a coming storm. To prevent this, orders were sent
from England to the royal governors to seize all the powder and arms in
the colonies on a fixed day, This is what Governor Gage, of
Massachusetts, tried to do at Concord on April 19th. In the night of the
same day, Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, attempted the same thing
at Williamsburg.

Had this been done openly in Virginia, as in Massachusetts, the story of
Lexington would have been repeated there. Lord Dunmore took the
patriots by surprise. A British ship-of-war, the "Magdalen," some time
before, came sailing up York River, and dropped its anchor in the stream
not far from Williamsburg. On the 19th of April Lord Dunmore sent word
to Captain Collins, of the "Magdalen," that all was ready, and after
dark on that day a party of soldiers, led by the captain, landed from
the ship. About midnight they marched silently into the town. All was
quiet, the people in their beds, sleeping the sleep of the just, and not
dreaming that treachery was at their doors. The captain had the key to
the magazine and opened its door, setting his soldiers to carry out as
quietly as possible the half-barrels of gunpowder with which it was
stored. They came like ghosts, and so departed. All was done so
stealthily, that the morning of the 20th dawned before the citizens knew
that anything had been going on in their streets under the midnight

When the news spread abroad the town was in an uproar. What right had
the governor to meddle with anything bought with the hard cash of
Virginia and belonging to the colony? In their anger they resolved to
seize the governor and make him answer to the people for his act. They
did not like Lord Dunmore, whom they knew to be a false-hearted man, and
would have liked to make him pay for some former deeds of treachery. But
the cooler heads advised them not to act in haste, saying that it was
wiser to take peaceful measures, and to send and tell Dunmore that
their powder must be returned.

This was done. The governor answered with a falsehood. He said that he
had heard of some danger of an insurrection among the slaves in a
neighboring county, and had taken the powder to use against them. If
nothing happened, he would soon return it; they need not worry, all
would be right.

This false story quieted the people of Williamsburg for a time. But it
did not satisfy the people of Virginia. As the news spread through the
colony the excitement grew intense. What right had Lord Dunmore to carry
off the people's powder, bought for their defence? Many of them seized
their arms, and at Fredericksburg seven hundred men assembled and sent
word that they were ready to march on Williamsburg. Among them were the
"minute men" of Culpeper, a famous band of frontiersmen, wearing green
hunting-shirts and carrying knives and tomahawks. "Liberty or Death,"
Patrick Henry's stirring words, were on their breasts, and over their
heads floated a significant banner. On it was a coiled rattlesnake, with
the warning motto, "Don't tread on me!"

Prompt as these men were, there was one man in Virginia still more
prompt, a man not to be trifled with by any lordly governor. This was
Patrick Henry, the patriotic orator. The instant he heard of the
stealing of the powder he sent word to the people in his vicinity to
meet him at Newcastle, ready to fight for Virginia's rights. They came,
one hundred and fifty of them, all well armed, and without hesitation he
led them against the treacherous governor. It looked as if there was to
be a battle in Virginia, as there had been in Massachusetts. Lord
Dunmore was scared when he heard that the patriots were marching on him,
as they had marched on Lord Berkeley a century before. He sent word
hastily to Patrick Henry to stop his march and that he would pay for the


Very likely this disappointed the indignant orator. Just then he would
rather have fought Dunmore than take his money. But he had no good
excuse for refusing it, so the cash was paid over, three hundred and
thirty pounds sterling,--equal to about sixteen hundred dollars,--and
Henry and his men marched home.

Lord Dunmore was in a towering rage at his defeat. He did what Berkeley
had done against Bacon long before, issuing a proclamation in which he
said that Patrick Henry and all those with him were traitors to the
king. Then he sent to the "Magdalen" for soldiers, and had arms laid on
the floors of his lordly mansion ready for use when the troops should

All was ripe for an outbreak. The people of Virginia had not been used
to see British troops on their soil. If Lord Dunmore wanted war they
were quite ready to let him have it. Arms were lacking, and some young
men broke open the door of the magazine to see if any were there. As
they did so there was a loud report and one of the party fell back
bleeding. A spring-gun had been placed behind the door, doubtless by
Lord Dunmore's orders.

The startling sound brought out the people. When they learned what had
been done, they ran angrily to the magazine and seized all the arms they
could find there. In doing so they made a discovery that doubled their
indignation. Beneath the floor several barrels of gunpowder were hidden,
as if to blow up any one who entered. While they were saying that this
was another treacherous trick of the governor's, word was brought them
that the troops from the "Magdalen" were marching on the town. With
shouts of fury they ran for their arms. If Lord Dunmore was so eager for
a fight, they were quite ready to accommodate him and to stand up before
his British soldiers and strike for American rights. A few words will
end this part of our story. When the governor saw the spirit of the
people he did as Berkeley before him had done, fled to his ships and
relieved Williamsburg of his presence. The Virginians had got rid of
their governor and his British troops without a fight.

This ends the story of the gunpowder, but there were things that
followed worth the telling. Virginia was not done with Lord Dunmore.
Sailing in the "Magdalen" to Chesapeake Bay, he found there some other
war-vessels, and proceeded with this squadron to Norfolk, of which he
took possession. Most of the people of that town were true patriots,
though by promises of plunder he induced some of the lower class of
whites to join him, and also brought in many negro slaves from the
country around. With this motley crew he committed many acts of
violence, rousing all Virginia to resistance. A "Committee of Safety"
was appointed and hundreds of men eagerly enlisted and were sent to
invest Norfolk. But their enemy was not easy to find, as they kept out
of reach most of the time on his ships.

On December 9, 1775, the first battle of the Revolution in the South
took place. The patriot forces at that time were at a place called Great
Bridge, near the Dismal Swamp, and not far from Norfolk. Against them
Dunmore sent a body of his troops. These reached Great Bridge to find it
a small wooden bridge over a stream, and to see the Americans awaiting
them behind a breastwork which they had thrown up across the road at the
opposite end of the bridge. Among them were the Culpeper "minute men,"
of whom we have spoken, with their rattlesnake standard, and one of the
lieutenants in their company was a man who was to become famous in after
years,--John Marshall, the celebrated Chief Justice of the United

The British posted their cannon and opened fire on the Virginians; then,
when they fancied they had taken the spirit out of the backwoods
militia, a force of grenadiers charged across the bridge, led by Captain
Fordyce. He proved himself a good soldier, but he found the colonials
good soldiers too. They held back their fire till the grenadiers were
across the bridge and less than fifty yards away. Then the crack of
rifles was heard and a line of fire flashed out all along the low
breastwork. And it came from huntsmen who knew how to bring down their

Many of the grenadiers fell before this scorching fire. Their line was
broken and thrown into confusion. Captain Fordyce at their head waved
his hat, shouting, "The day is ours!" The words were barely spoken when
he fell. In an instant he was on his feet again, brushing his knee as if
he had only stumbled. Yet the brave fellow was mortally wounded, no less
than fourteen bullets having passed through his body, and after a
staggering step or two he fell dead.

This took the courage out of the grenadiers. They fell back in disorder
upon the bridge, hastened by the bullets of the patriots. At every step
some of them fell. The Virginians, their standard-bearer at their head,
leaped with cheers of triumph over the breastwork and pursued them,
driving them back in panic flight, and keeping up the pursuit till the
fugitives were safe in Norfolk. Thus ended in victory the first battle
for American liberty on the soil of the South.

Lord Dunmore had confidently expected his bold grenadiers to return with
trophies of their victory over the untrained colonials. The news of
their complete defeat filled him with fear and fury. At first he
refused to believe it, and threatened to hang the boy who brought him
the news. But the sight of the blood-stained fugitives soon convinced
him, and in a sudden panic he took refuge with all his forces in his
ships. The triumphant Virginians at once took possession of the town.

Dunmore lingered in the harbor with his fleet, and the victors opened
fire with their cannon on the ships. "Stop your fire or I will burn your
town with hot shot," he sent word. "Do your worst," retorted the bold
Virginia commander, and bade his men to keep their cannons going. The
ruthless governor kept his word, bombarding the town with red-hot shot,
and soon it was in flames.

The fire could not be extinguished. For three days it raged, spreading
in all directions, till the whole town was a sheet of flames. Not until
there was nothing left to burn did the flames subside. Norfolk was a
complete ruin. Its six thousand inhabitants, men, women, and children,
were forced to flee from their burning homes and seek what scant refuge
they could find in that chill winter season. Dunmore even landed his
troops to fire on the place. Then, having visited the peaceful
inhabitants with the direst horrors of war, he sailed in triumph away,
glorying in his revenge.

The lordly governor now acted the pirate in earnest. He sailed up and
down the shores of Chesapeake Bay, landing and plundering the
plantations on every side. At a place called Gwyn's Island, on the
western shore, he had a fort built, which he garrisoned mainly with the
negroes and low whites he had brought from Norfolk. Just what was his
purpose in this is not known, for the Virginians gave him no chance to
carry it out. General Andrew Lewis, a famous Indian fighter, led a force
of patriot volunteers against him, planting his cannon on the shore
opposite the island, and opened a hot fire on the fort and the ships.

The first ball fired struck the "Dunmore," the ship which held the
governor. A second struck the same ship, and killed one of its crew. A
third smashed the governor's crockery, and a splinter wounded him in the
leg. This was more than the courage of a Dunmore could stand, and sail
was set in all haste, the fleet scattering like a flock of frightened
birds. The firing continued all day long. Night came, and no signs of
surrender were seen, though the fire was not returned. At daylight the
next morning two hundred men were sent in boats to reconnoitre and
attack the fort. They quickly learned that there was nothing to attack.
Lord Dunmore had been preparing all night for flight. The fort had been
dismantled of everything of value, and as the assailants sprang from
their boats on the island the ships sailed hurriedly away.

The island itself was a sickening spectacle. The cannonade had made
terrible havoc, and men lay dead or wounded all around, while many of
the dead had been buried so hastily as to be barely covered. While they
were looking at the frightful scene, a strong light appeared in the
direction of the governor's flight. Its meaning was evident at a
glance. Some of the vessels had grounded in the sands, and, as they
could not be got off, he had set them afire to save them from the enemy.

That was almost the last exploit of Lord Dunmore. He kept up his
plundering raids a little longer, and once sailed up the Potomac to
Mount Vernon, with the fancy that he might find and capture Washington.
But soon after that he sailed away with his plunder and about one
thousand slaves whom he had taken from the plantations, and Virginia was
well rid of her last royal governor. A patriot governor soon followed,
Patrick Henry being chosen, and occupying the very mansion at
Williamsburg from which Dunmore had proclaimed him a traitor.


One of the great needs of the Americans in the war of the Revolution was
ammunition. Gunpowder and cannon-balls were hard to get and easy to get
rid of, being fired away with the utmost generosity whenever the armies
came together, and sought for with the utmost solicitude when the armies
were apart. The patriots made what they could and bought what they
could, and on one occasion sent as far as New Orleans, on the lower
Mississippi, to buy some ammunition which the Spaniards were willing to

But it was one thing to buy this much needed material and another thing
to get it where it was needed. In those days it was a long journey to
New Orleans and back. Yet the only way to obtain the ammunition was to
send for it, and a valiant man, named Colonel David Rogers, a native of
Virginia or Maryland, was chosen to go and bring it. His expedition was
so full of adventure, and ended in such a tragic way, that it seems well
worth telling about.

It was from the Old Red Stone Fort on the Monongahela River, one of the
two streams that make up the Ohio, that the expedition was to start, and
here Colonel Rogers found the boats and men waiting for him at the end
of his ride across the hill country. There were forty men in the party,
and embarking with these, Rogers soon floated down past Fort Pitt and
entered the Ohio, prepared for a journey of some thousands of miles in

It was in the summer of the year 1778 that these bold men set out on a
perilous journey from which few of them were to return. But what might
come troubled them little. The weather was pleasant, the trees along the
stream were charming in their summer foliage, and their hearts were full
of hope and joy as they floated and rowed down the "Beautiful River," as
it had been named by the Indians and the French.

They needed, indeed, to be alert and watchful, for they knew well that
hundreds of hostile savages dwelt in the forest depths on both sides of
the stream, eager for blood and scalps. But the rough frontiersmen had
little fear of the Indians, with the water beneath them and their good
rifles beside them, and they sang their border songs and chatted in
jovial tones as they went steadily onward, eating and sleeping in the
boats, for it was nowhere safe to land. In this way they reached the
mouth of the Ohio in safety and turned their prows into the broader
current of the Mississippi.

The first important stopping-point of the expedition was at the spot
made historic by De Soto and Marquette, at the mouth of the Arkansas
River, or the Ozark, as it was then called. Here stood a Spanish fort,
near the locality where La Salle, a century earlier, had spent a
pleasant week with the friendly Arkansas Indians. Colonel Rogers had
been told about this fort, and advised to stop there and confer with its
commander. As he came near them, he notified the Spaniards of his
approach by a salvo of rifle shots, firing thirteen guns in honor of the
fighting colonies and as a salute to the lords of the stream. The
Spanish officer in command replied with three cannon shots, the woods
echoing back their report.

Colonel Rogers now landed and marched at the head of his men to the
fort, over them floating the Stars and Stripes, a new-born standard yet
to become glorious, and to wave in honor all along that stream on whose
banks it was then for the first time displayed. As they came near the
fort they were met by the Spanish commandant, Captain Devilie, with his
troops drawn up behind him, and the flag of Spain waving as if in salute
to the new banner of the United States. The Spaniard met Rogers with
dignified courtesy, both of them making low bows and exchanging words of
friendly greeting. Devilie invited his guest into the fort, and, by way
of entertaining the Americans, put his men through a series of parade
movements near the fort. The two officers looked on from the walls,
Devilie in his showy Spanish uniform and Rogers gay with his gold-laced
hat and silver-hilted sword.

These performances at an end, Colonel Rogers told his host the purpose
of his expedition, and was informed by him that the war-material which
he was seeking was no longer at New Orleans, but had been removed to a
fort farther up the river, near the locality where the city of St. Louis
now stands. If the colonel had been advised of this sooner he might have
saved himself a long journey. But there was the possibility that the
officer at the St. Louis fort would refuse to surrender the ammunition
without orders from his superiors. Besides this, he had been directed to
go to New Orleans. So, on the whole, he thought it best to obey orders
strictly, and to obtain from the Spanish governor an order to the
commandant of the fort to deliver the goods. There was one difficulty in
the way. The English had a hold on the river at a place called Natchez,
where, as Captain Devilie told the colonel, they had built a fort. They
might fire on him in passing and sink his boats, or force him to land
and hold him prisoner. To escape this peril Colonel Rogers left the bulk
of his men at the Spanish fort, taking only a single canoe and a
half-dozen men with him. It was his purpose to try and slip past the
Natchez fort in the night, and this was successfully done, the canoe
gliding past unseen and conveying the small party safely to New Orleans.

Our readers no doubt remember how, a century before this time, the
Chevalier La Salle floated down the great river and claimed all the
country surrounding it for the king of France. Later on French settlers
came there, and in 1718 they laid out the town of New Orleans, which
soon became the capital of the province. The settlements here did not
grow very fast, and it does not seem that France valued them highly, for
in 1763, after the British had taken Canada from the French, all the
land west of the Mississippi River was given up by France to Spain. This
was to pay that country for the loss of Florida, which was given over to
England. That is how the Spaniards came to own New Orleans, and to have
forts along the river where French forts had once been.

Colonel Rogers found the Spanish governor at New Orleans as obliging as
Captain Devilie had been. He got an order for the ammunition without
trouble, and had nothing before him but to go back up-stream again. But
that was not so easy to do. The river ran so swiftly that he soon found
it would be no light matter to row his canoe up against the strong
current. There was also the English fort at Natchez to pass, which might
be very dangerous when going slowly up-stream. So he concluded to let
the boat go and travel by land through the forest. This also was a hard
task in a land of dense cane-brakes and matted woodland, and the small
party had a toilsome time of it in pushing through the woods. At length,
however, the Spanish fort on the Ozark was reached, and the men of the
expedition were reunited. Bidding farewell to Captain Devilie, they took
to their boats again and rowed up-stream past the mouth of the Ohio
until Fort St. Louis was reached. The colonel was received here with the
same courtesy as below, and on presenting his order was given the
ammunition without question. It was carefully stowed in the boats,
good-by was said to the officer who had hospitably entertained them, the
oars were brought into play again, and the expedition started homeward.

So far all had gone well. The journey had been slow and weeks had
lengthened into months, but no misadventure had happened, and their
hearts were full of hope as the deeply laden craft were rowed into the
Ohio and began the toilsome ascent of that stream. It was now the month
of October. There was an autumn snap in the air, but this only fitted
them the better for their work, and all around them was beautiful as
they moved onward with song and jest, joyful in the hope of soon
reaching their homes again. They did not know the fate that awaited them
in those dark Ohio woodlands.

The boats made their way upward to a point in the river near where the
city of Cincinnati was to be founded a few years later. As they passed
this locality they saw a small party of Indians in a canoe crossing the
river not far ahead of them. These were the first of the Ohio Indians
they had seen, and the sight of them roused the frontier blood of the
hardy boatmen. Too many cabins on the border had been burned and their
inmates mercilessly slain for a frontiersman to see an Indian without a
burning inclination to kill him. The colonel was in the same spirit with
his men, and the boats were at once turned towards shore in pursuit of
the savages. At the point they had reached the Licking River empties
into the Ohio. Rowing into its mouth the men landed and, led by the
colonel, climbed up the bank to look for the foe.

They found far more than they had counted on. The canoe-load of savages
was but a decoy to lure them ashore, and as they ascended the river-bank
a hot fire was opened on them by a large body of Indians hidden in the
undergrowth. A trap had been laid for them and they had fallen into it.

The sudden and deadly volley threw the party into confusion, though
after a minute they returned the fire and rushed upon the ambushed foe,
Colonel Rogers at their head. Following him with cheers and yells, the
men were soon engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand conflict, the sound of
blows, shots, and war-cries filling the air, as the whites and red men
fought obstinately for victory. But the Indians far outnumbered their
opponents, and when at length the brave Rogers was seen to stagger and
fall all hope left his followers. It was impossible to regain the boats
which they had imprudently left, and they broke and fled into the
forest, pursued by their savage foes.

Many days later the survivors of the bloody contest, thirteen in all,
came straggling wearily into a white settlement on the Kanawha River in
Virginia. Of the remainder of their party and their gallant leader
nothing was ever heard again. One of the men reported that he had stayed
with the wounded colonel during the night after the battle, where he
"remained in the woods, in extreme pain and utterly past recovery." In
the morning he was obliged to leave him to save his own life, and that
was the last known on earth of Colonel Rogers.

As for the ammunition for which he had been sent, and which he had been
decoyed by an Indian trick into abandoning, it fell into the hands of
the savages, and was probably used in the later war in the service of
those against whom it was intended to be employed. Such is the fortune
of war.


On the evening of the 4th of July, 1778, a merry dance was taking place
at the small settlement of Kaskaskia, in that far western region
afterward known as Illinois. It must not be imagined that this was a
celebration of the American Independence day, for the people of
Kaskaskia knew little and cared less about American independence. It was
only by chance that this day was chosen for the dance, but it had its
significance for all that, for the first step was to be taken there that
day in adding the great Northwest to the United States. The man by whom
this was to be done was a brave Kentuckian named George Rogers Clark. He
came of a daring family, for he was a brother of Captain William Clark,
who, years afterward, was engaged with Captain Lewis in the famous Lewis
and Clark expedition across the vast unknown wilderness between the
Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.

Kaskaskia was one of the settlements made by the French between the
Great Lakes and the Mississippi. After the loss of Canada this country
passed to England, and there were English garrisons placed in some of
the forts. But Kaskaskia was thought so far away and so safe that it was
left in charge of a French officer and French soldiers. A gay and
light-hearted people they were, as the French are apt to be; and, as
they found time hang heavy on their hands at that frontier stronghold,
they had invited the people of the place, on the evening in question, to
a ball at the fort.

All this is by way of introduction; now let us see what took place at
the fort on that pleasant summer night. All the girls of the village
were there and many of the men, and most of the soldiers were on the
floor as well. They were dancing away at a jovial rate to the lively
music of a fiddle, played by a man who sat on a chair at the side. Near
him on the floor lay an Indian, looking on with lazy eyes at the
dancers. The room was lighted by torches thrust into the cracks of the
wall, and the whole party were in the best of spirits.

The Indian was not the only looker-on. In the midst of the fun a tall
young man stepped into the room and stood leaning against the side of
the door, with his eyes fixed on the dancers. He was dressed in the garb
of the backwoods, but it was easy to be seen that he was not a
Frenchman,--if any of the gay throng had taken the trouble to look at

All at once there was a startling interruption. The Indian sprang to his
feet and his shrill war-whoop rang loudly through the room. His keen
eyes had rested on the stranger and seen at a glance that there was
something wrong. The new-comer was evidently an American, and that
meant something there.

His yell of alarm broke up the dance in an instant. The women, who had
just been laughing and talking, screamed with fright. All, men and women
alike, huddled together in alarm. Some of the men ran for their guns,
but the stranger did not move. From his place by the door he simply
said, in a quiet way, "Don't be scared. Go on with your dance. But
remember that you are dancing under Virginia and not under England."


As he was speaking, a crowd of men dressed like himself slipped into the
room. They were all armed, and in a minute they spread through the fort,
laying hands on the guns of the soldiers. The fort had been taken
without a blow or a shot.

Rocheblave, the French commandant, was in bed while these events were
taking place, not dreaming that an American was within five hundred
miles. He learned better when the new-comers took him prisoner and began
to search for his papers. The reason they did not find many of these was
on account of their American respect for ladies. The papers were in
Madame Rocheblave's room, which the Americans were too polite to enter,
not knowing that she was shoving them as fast as she could into the
fire, so that there was soon only a heap of ashes. A few were found
outside, enough to show what the Americans wanted to make sure of,--that
the English were doing their best to stir up the Indians against the
settlers. To end this part of our story, we may say that the Americans
got possession of Kaskaskia and its fort, and Rocheblave was sent off,
with his papers, to Virginia. Probably his wide-awake wife went with

Now let us go back a bit and see how all this came to pass. Colonel
Clark was a native of Virginia, but he had gone to Kentucky in his early
manhood, being very fond of life in the woods. Here he became a friend
of Daniel Boone, and no doubt often joined him in hunting excursions;
but his business was that of a surveyor, at which he found plenty to do
in this new country.

Meanwhile, the war for independence came on, and as it proceeded Clark
saw plainly that the English at the forts in the West were stirring up
the Indians to attack the American settlements and kill the settlers. It
is believed that they paid them for this dreadful work and supplied them
with arms and ammunition. All this Clark was sure of and he determined
to try and stop it. So he made his way back to the East and had a talk
with Patrick Henry, who was then governor of Virginia. He asked the
governor to let him have a force to attack the English forts in the
West. He thought he could capture them, and in this way put an end to
the Indian raids.

Patrick Henry was highly pleased with Clark's plan. He gave him orders
to "proceed to the defence of Kentucky," which was done to keep his real
purpose a secret. He was also supplied with a large sum of money and
told to enlist four companies of men, of whom he was to be the colonel.
These he recruited among the hunters and pioneers of the frontier, who
were the kind of men he wanted, and in the spring of 1778 he set out on
his daring expedition.

With a force of about one hundred and fifty men Colonel Clark floated
down the Ohio River in boats, landing at length about fifty miles above
the river's mouth and setting off through the woods towards Kaskaskia.
It was a difficult journey, and they had many hardships. Their food ran
out on the way and they had to live on roots to keep from starvation.
But at length one night they came near enough to hear the fiddle and the
dancing. How they stopped the dance you have read.

Thus ends the first part of our story. It was easy enough to end, as has
been seen. But there was a second part which was not so easy. You must
know that the British had other strongholds in that country. One of them
was Detroit, on the Detroit River, near Lake Erie. This was their
starting-point. Far to the south, on the Wabash River, in what is now
the State of Indiana, was another fort called Vincennes, which lay about
one hundred and fifty miles to the east of Fort Kaskaskia. This was an
old French fort also, and it was held by the French for the British as
Kaskaskia had been. Colonel Clark wanted this fort too, and got it
without much trouble. He had not men enough to take it by force, so he
sent a French priest there, who told the people that their best friends
were the Americans, not the British. It was not hard to make them
believe this, for the French people had never liked the British. So they
hauled down the British ensign and hauled up the Stars and Stripes, and
Vincennes became an American fort.

After that Colonel Clark went back to Kentucky, proud to think that he
had won the great Northwest Territory for the United States with so
little trouble. But he might have known that the British would not let
themselves be driven out of the country in this easy manner, and before
the winter was over he heard news that was not much to his liking.
Colonel Hamilton, the English commander at Detroit, had marched down to
Vincennes and taken the fort back again. It was also said that he
intended to capture Kaskaskia, and then march south and try and win
Kentucky for the English. This Hamilton was the man who was said to have
hired the Indians to murder the American settlers, and Clark was much
disturbed by the news. He must be quick to act, or all that he had won
would be lost.

He had a terrible task before him. The winter was near its end and the
Wabash had risen and overflowed its banks on all sides. For hundreds of
square miles the country was under water, and Vincennes was in the
centre of a great shallow lake. It was freezing water, too, for this was
no longer the warm spring time, as it had been in the march to
Kaskaskia, but dull and drear February. Yet the brave colonel knew that
he must act quickly if he was to act at all. Hamilton had only eighty
men; he could raise twice that many. He had no money to pay them, but a
merchant in St. Louis offered to lend him all he needed. There was the
water to cross, but the hardy Kentucky hunters were used to wet and
cold. So Colonel Clark hastily collected his men and set out for

A sturdy set of men they were who followed him, dressed in
hunting-shirts and carrying their long and tried rifles. On their heads
were fur caps, ornamented with deer or raccoon tails. They believed in
Colonel Clark, and that is a great deal in warlike affairs. As they
trudged onward there came days of cold, hard rain, so that every night
they had to build great fires to warm themselves and dry their clothes.
Thus they went on, day after day, through the woods and prairies,
carrying their packs of provisions and supplies on their backs, and
shooting game to add to their food supply.

This was holiday work to what lay before them. After a week of this kind
of travel they came to a new kind. The "drowned lands" of the Wabash lay
before them. Everywhere nothing but water was to be seen. The winter
rains had so flooded the streams that a great part of the country was
overflowed. And there was no way to reach the fort except by crossing
those waters, for they spread round it on all sides. They must plunge in
and wade through or give up and go back.

We may be sure that there were faint hearts among them when they felt
the cold water and knew that there were miles of it to cross, here
ankle- or knee-deep, there waist-deep. But they had known this when they
started, and they were not the men to turn back. At Colonel Clark's
cheery word of command they plunged in and began their long and
shivering journey.

For nearly a week this terrible journey went on. It was a frightful
experience. Now and then one of them would stumble and fall, and come up
dripping. All day long they tramped dismally on through that endless
waste of icy water. Here and there were islands of dry land over which
they were glad enough to trudge, but at night they often had trouble to
find a dry spot to build their fires and cook their food, and to sleep
on beside the welcome blaze. It was hard enough to find game in that
dreary waste, and their food ran out, so that for two whole days they
had to go hungry. Thus they went on till they came to the point where
White River runs into the Wabash.

Here they found some friends who had come by a much easier way. On
setting out Colonel Clark had sent Captain Rogers and forty men, with
two small cannon, in a boat up Wabash River, telling them to stop at the
White River fork, about fifteen or twenty miles below Vincennes. Here
their trudging friends found them, and from this point they resumed
their march in company. It was easy enough now to transport the cannon
by dragging or rowing the boat through the deep water which they had to

The worst of their difficult journey lay before them, for surrounding
the fort was a sheet of water four miles wide which was deeper than any
they had yet gone through. They had waded to their knees, and at times
to their waists, but now they might have to wade to their necks. Some of
them thrust their hands into the water and shivered at the touch, saying
that it was freezing cold. There were men among them who held back,
exclaiming that it was folly to think of crossing that icy lake.

"We have not come so far to turn back now," said Colonel Clark, sternly.
"Yonder lies the fort, and a few hours will take us there. Follow me,"
and he walked boldly into the flood. As he did so he told one of his
officers to shoot the first man who refused to follow. That settled the
matter; they all plunged in.

It was the most frightful part of their journey. The water at places, as
we have said, came at times almost to their necks. Much of it reached
their waists. They struggled resolutely on, almost benumbed with the
cold, now stumbling and catching themselves again, holding their guns
and powder above their heads to keep them from becoming wet, and glad
enough when they found the water growing shallower. At length dry land
was reached once more, and none too soon, for some of the men were so
faint and weak that they fell flat on the ground. Colonel Clark set two
of his men to pick up these worn-out ones and run them up and down till
they were warm again. In this way they were soon made all right.

It was now the evening of the 18th of February, 1779. They were near
enough to the fort to hear the boom of the evening gun. This satisfied
the colonel that they were at the end of their journey, and he bade his
men to lie down and sleep and get ready for the work before them. There
was no more wading to do, but there was likely to be some fighting.

Bright and early the next morning they were up and had got their arms
and equipments in order. They were on the wrong side of the river, but a
large boat was found, in which they crossed. Vincennes was now near at
hand, and one of its people soon appeared, a Frenchman, who looked at
them with as much astonishment as if they had dropped down from the sky.
Colonel Clark questioned him about matters in the fort, and then gave
him a letter to Colonel Hamilton, telling the colonel that they had come
across the water to take back the fort, and that he had better surrender
and save trouble.

We may be sure that the English colonel was astounded on receiving such
a letter at such a time. That any men on earth could have crossed those
wintry waters he could hardly believe, and it seemed to him that they
must have come on wings. But there they were, asking him to give up the
fort, a thing he had no notion of doing without a fight. If Colonel
Clark wanted the fort he must come and take it.

Colonel Clark did want it. He wanted it badly. And it was not long
before the two cannon which he had brought with him were loaded and
pouring their shot into the fort, while the riflemen kept them company
with their guns. Colonel Hamilton fired back with grape-shot and
cannon-balls, and for hour after hour the siege went on, the roar of
cannon echoing back from woodland and water. For fourteen hours the
cannonade was kept up, all day long and far into the night, the red
flashes from cannon and rifle lighting up all around. At length both
sides were worn out, and they lay down to sleep, expecting to begin
again with the morning light.

But that day's work, and the sure shooting of the Kentucky riflemen, had
made such havoc in the fort as to teach Colonel Hamilton that the bold
Kentuckians were too much for him. So when, at day dawn, another
messenger came with a summons to surrender, he accepted as gracefully as
he could. He asked to be given the honors of war, and to be allowed to
march back to Detroit, but Colonel Clark wrathfully answered, "To that I
can by no means agree. I will not again leave it in your power to spirit
up the Indian nations to scalp men, women, and children."

Soon into the fort marched the victors, with shouts of triumph, their
long rifles slanting over their shoulders. And soon the red cross flag
of England came down and the star-spangled banner of America waved in
its place. Hamilton and his men were prisoners in American hands.

There was proof enough that this English colonel had been busy in
stirring the Indians up to their dreadful work. His papers showed that.
And even while the fight was going on some of the red demons came up
with the scalps of white men and women to receive their pay. The pay
they got was in bullets when they fell into the hands of the incensed
Kentuckians. Colonel Hamilton and his officers were sent as prisoners to
Williamsburg, Virginia, and were there put in fetters for their
murderous conduct. It would have served them right to hang them, but the
laws of war forbade, and they were soon set free.

We have told this story that you may see what brave men Virginia and
Kentucky bred in the old times. In all American history there is no
exploit to surpass that of Colonel Clark and his men. And it led to
something of the greatest importance to the republic of the United
States, as you shall hear.

It was not long after that time that the war ended and the freedom of
the colonies was gained. When the treaty of peace was made the question
arose, "What territory should belong to the new republic and what should
still be held by England?" It was finally decided that the land which
each country held at the end of the war should be held still. In that
way England held Canada. And it would have held the great country north
of the Ohio, too, if it had not been for George Rogers Clark. His
capture of Kaskaskia and his splendid two weeks' march through the
"drowned lands" of the Wabash had won that country for the United
States, and when the treaty was signed all this fine country became part
of the territory of the United States. So it is to George Rogers Clark,
the Virginian and Kentuckian, that this country owes the region which in
time was divided up into the great States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
and Michigan, and perhaps Kentucky also, since only for him the British
might have taken the new-settled land of Daniel Boone.


Never was the South in so desperate a plight as in the autumn months of
that year of peril, 1780. The British had made themselves masters of
Georgia, and South Carolina and North Carolina were strongly threatened.
The boastful Gates had been defeated at Camden so utterly that he ran
away from his army faster than it did from the British, and in three
days and a half afterward he rode alone into Hillsborough, North
Carolina, two hundred miles away. Sumter was defeated as badly and rode
as fast to Charlotte, without hat or saddle. Marion's small band was
nearly the only American force left in South Carolina.

Cornwallis, the British commander, was in an ecstasy of delight at his
success. He felt sure that all the South was won. The harvest was ready
and needed only to be reaped. He laid his plans to march north, winning
victory after victory, till all America south of Delaware should be
conquered for the British crown. Then, if the North became free, the
South would still be under the rule of George the Third. There was only
one serious mistake in his calculations: he did not build upon the
spirit of the South.

Cornwallis began by trying to crush out that spirit, and soon brought
about a reign of terror in South Carolina. He ordered that all who would
not take up arms for the king should be seized and their property
destroyed. Every man who had borne arms for the British and afterward
joined the Americans was to be hanged as soon as taken. Houses were
burned, estates ravaged, men put to death, women and children driven
from their homes with no fit clothing, thousands confined in prisons and
prison-ships in which malignant fevers raged, the whole State rent and
torn by a most cruel and merciless persecution. Such was the Lord
Cornwallis ideal of war.

Near the middle of September Cornwallis began his march northward, which
was not to end till the whole South lay prostrate under his hand. It was
his aim to fill his ranks with the loyalists of North Carolina and sweep
all before him. Major Patrick Ferguson, his ablest partisan leader, was
sent with two hundred of the best British troops to the South Carolina
uplands, and here he gathered in such Tories as he could find, and with
them a horde of wretches who cared only for the side that gave them the
best chance to plunder and ravage. The Cherokee Indians were also bribed
to attack the American settlers west of the mountains.

But while Cornwallis was thus making his march of triumph, the American
patriots were not at rest. Marion was flying about, like a wasp with a
very sharp sting. Sumter was back again, cutting off strays and
foragers. Other parties of patriots were afoot and active. And in the
new settlements west of the Alleghanies the hardy backwoodsmen, who had
been far out of the reach of war and its terrors, were growing eager to
strike a blow for the country which they loved.

Such was the state of affairs in the middle South in the month of
September, 1780. And it leads us to a tale of triumph in which the
Western woodsmen struck their blow for freedom, teaching the
over-confident Cornwallis a lesson he sadly needed. It is the tale of
how Ferguson, the Tory leader, met his fate at the hands of the
mountaineers and hunters of Tennessee and the neighboring regions.

After leaving Cornwallis, Ferguson met with a small party of North
Carolina militia under Colonel Macdowell, whom he defeated and pursued
so sharply as to drive them into the mountain wilds. Here their only
hope of safety lay in crossing the crags and ridges to the great forest
land beyond. They found a refuge at last among the bold frontiersmen of
the Watauga in Tennessee, many of whom were the Regulators of North
Carolina, the refugees from Governor Tryon's tyranny.

The arrival of these fugitives stirred up the woodsmen as they had never
been stirred before. It brought the evils of the war for the first time
to their doors. These poor fugitives had been driven from their homes
and robbed of their all, as the Regulators had been in former years. Was
it not the duty of the freemen of Tennessee to restore them and strike
one blow for the liberty of their native land?

The bold Westerners thought so, and lost no time in putting their
thoughts into effect. Men were quickly enlisted and regiments formed
under Isaac Shelby and John Sevier, two of their leaders. An express was
sent to William Campbell, who had under him four hundred of the
backwoodsmen of Southwest Virginia, asking him to join their ranks. On
the 25th of September these three regiments of riflemen, with Macdowell
and his fugitives, met on the Watauga, each man on his own horse, armed
with his own rifle, and carrying his own provisions, and each bent on
dealing a telling blow for the relief of their brethren in the East.

True patriots were they, risking their all for their duty to their
native land. Their families were left in secluded valleys, often at long
distances apart, exposed to danger alike from the Tories and the
Indians. Before them lay the highest peaks of the Alleghanies, to be
traversed only by way of lofty and difficult passes. No highway existed;
there was not even a bridle-path through the dense forest; and for forty
miles between the Watauga and the Catawba there was not a single house
or a cultivated acre. On the evening of the 30th the Westerners were
reinforced by Colonel Cleveland, with three hundred and fifty men from
North Carolina who had been notified by them of their approach.

Their foe was before them. After Ferguson had pursued Macdowell to the
foot of the mountains he shaped his course for King's Mountain, a
natural stronghold, where he established his camp in what seemed a
secure position and sent to Cornwallis for a few hundred more men,
saying that these "would finish the business. This is their last push in
this quarter." Cornwallis at once despatched Tarleton with a
considerable reinforcement. He was destined to be too late.

Ferguson did not know all the peril that threatened him. On the east
Colonel James Williams was pursuing him up the Catawba with over four
hundred horsemen. A vigilant leader, he kept his scouts out on every
side, and on October 2 one of these brought him the most welcome of
news. The backwoodsmen were up, said the scout; half of the people
beyond the mountains were under arms and on the march. A few days later
they met him, thirteen hundred strong.

Not a day, not an hour, was lost. Williams told them where their foes
were encamped, and they resolved to march against them that very night
and seek to take them by surprise. It was the evening of October 6 when
the two forces joined. So prompt were they to act that at eight o' clock
that same evening nine hundred of their best horsemen had been selected
and were on the march. All night they rode, with the moon to light them
on their way. The next day they rode still onward, and in the afternoon
reached the foot of King's Mountain, on whose summit Ferguson lay

This mountain lies just south of the North Carolina border, at the end
of a branching ridge from, the main line of the Alleghanies. The British
were posted on its summit, over eleven hundred in number, a thousand of
them being Tories, the others British regulars. They felt thoroughly
secure in their elevated fortress, the approach up the mountain-side
being almost a precipice, the slaty rock cropping out into natural
breastworks along its sides and on its heights. And, so far as they
knew, no foe was within many miles.

The Americans dismounted; that craggy hill was impassable to horsemen.
Though less in number than their foes, and with a steep mountain to
climb, they did not hesitate. The gallant nine hundred were formed into
four columns, Campbell's regiment on the right centre and Shelby's on
the left, taking the post of greatest peril. Sevier, with a part of
Cleveland's men, led the right wing, and Williams, with the remainder of
Cleveland's men, the left, their orders being to pass the position of
Ferguson to right and left and climb the ridge in his rear, while the
centre columns attacked him in front.

So well was the surprise managed that the Westerners were within a
quarter of a mile of the enemy before they were discovered. Climbing
steadily upon their front, the two centre columns quickly began the
attack. Shelby, a hardy, resolute man, "stiff as iron," brave among the
bravest, led the way straight onward and upward, with but one thought in
his mind,--to do that for which he had come. Facing Campbell were the
British regulars, who sprang to their arms and charged his men with
fixed bayonets, forcing the riflemen, who had no bayonets, to recoil.
But they were soon rallied by their gallant leader, and returned eagerly
to the attack.

For ten or fifteen minutes a fierce and bloody battle was kept up at
this point, the sharp-shooting woodsmen making havoc in the ranks of the
foe. Then the right and left wings of the Americans closed in on the
flank and rear of the British and encircled them with a hot fire. For
nearly an hour the battle continued, with a heavy fire on both sides. At
length the right wing gained the summit of the cliff and poured such a
deadly fire on the foe from their point of vantage that it was
impossible to bear it.

Ferguson had been killed, and his men began to retreat along the top of
the ridge, but here they found themselves in the face of the American
left wing, and their leader, seeing that escape was impossible and
resistance hopeless, displayed a white flag. At once the firing ceased,
the enemy throwing down their arms and surrendering themselves prisoners
of war. More than a third of the British force lay dead, or badly
wounded; the remainder were prisoners; not more than twenty of the whole
were missing. The total loss of the Americans was twenty-eight killed
and sixty wounded, Colonel Williams, a man of great valor and
discretion, being among the killed.

The battle ended, a thirst for vengeance arose. Among the Tory
prisoners were known house--burners and murderers. Among the victors
were men who had seen their cruel work, had beheld women and children,
homeless and hopeless, robbed and wronged, nestling about fires kindled
in the ground, where they mourned their slain fathers and husbands.
Under such circumstances it is not strange that they seized and hanged
nine or ten of the captives, desisting only when Campbell gave orders
that this work should cease, and threatened with severe punishment all
who engaged in it.

The victory of the men of the backwoods at King's Mountain was like the
former one of Washington at Trenton. It inspired with hope the
despairing people and changed the whole aspect of the war. It filled the
Tories of North Carolina with such wholesome dread that they no longer
dared to join the foe or molest their patriot neighbors. The patriots of
both the Carolinas were stirred to new zeal. The broken and dispirited
fragments of Gates's army took courage again and once more came together
and organized, soon afterward coming under the skilled command of
General Greene.

Tarleton had reached the forks of the Catawba when news of Ferguson's
signal defeat reached him and caused him to return in all haste to join
Cornwallis. The latter, utterly surprised to find an enemy falling on
his flank from the far wilderness beyond the mountains, whence he had
not dreamed of a foe, halted in alarm. He dared not leave an enemy like
this in his rear, and found himself obliged to retreat, giving up his
grand plan of sweeping the two Carolinas and Virginia into his
victorious net. Such was the work done by the valiant men of the
Watauga. They saved the South from loss until Morgan and Greene could
come to finish the work they had so well begun.


The rain was pouring pitilessly from the skies. The wind blew chill from
the north. The country was soaked with the falling flood, dark
rain-clouds swept across the heavens, and a dreary mist shut out all the
distant view. In the midst of this cheerless scene a solitary horseman
stood on a lonely roadside, with his military cape drawn closely up, and
his horse's head drooping as if the poor beast was utterly weary of the
situation. In truth, they had kept watch and ward there for hours, and
night was near at hand, the weary watcher still looking southward with
an anxiety that seemed fast growing into hopeless despondency.

At times, as he waited, a faint, far-off, booming sound was heard, which
caused the lonely cavalier to lift his head and listen intently. It
might have been the sound of cannon, it might have been distant thunder,
but whatever it was, his anxiety seemed steadily to increase.

The day darkened into night, and hour by hour night crept on until
midnight came and passed, yet the lone watcher waited still, his horse
beside him, the gloom around him, the rain still plashing on the sodden
road. It was a wearing vigil, and only a critical need could have kept
him there through those slow and dreary hours of gloom.

At length he sharply lifted his head and listened more intently than
before. It was not the dull and distant boom this time, but a nearer
sound that grew momentarily more distinct, the thud, it seemed, of a
horse's hoofs. In a few minutes more a horseman rode into the narrow
circle of view.

"Is that you, sergeant?" asked the watcher.

"Yes, sir," answered the other, with an instinctive military salute.

"What news? I have been waiting here for hours for the militia, and not
a man has come. I trust there is nothing wrong."

"Everything is wrong," answered the new-comer. "Davidson is dead and the
militia are scattered to the winds. Cornwallis is over the Catawba and
is in camp five miles this side of the river."

"You bring bad news," said the listener, with a look of agitation.
"Davidson dead and his men dispersed! That is bad enough. And Morgan?"

"I know nothing about him."

Sad of heart, the questioner mounted his impatient steed and rode
disconsolately away along the muddy road. He was no less a person than
General Greene, the newly-appointed commander of the American forces in
the South, and the tidings he had just heard had disarranged all his
plans. With the militia on whose aid he had depended scattered in
flight, and no sign of others coming, his hope of facing Cornwallis in
the field was gone, and he was a heavy-hearted man when he rode at
length into the North Carolina town of Salisbury and dismounted at the
door of Steele's tavern, the house of entertainment in that place. As he
entered the reception-room of the hotel, stiff and weary from his long
vigil, he was met by Dr. Read, a friend.

"What! alone, General?" exclaimed Read.

"Yes; tired, hungry, alone, and penniless."

The fate of the patriot cause in the South seemed to lie in those
hopeless words. Mrs. Steele, the landlady, heard them, and made all
haste to prepare a bountiful supper for her late guest, who sat seeking
to dry himself before the blazing fire. As quickly as possible a smoking
hot supper was on the table before him, and as he sat enjoying it with a
craving appetite, Mrs. Steele again entered the room.

Closing the door carefully behind her, she advanced with a look of
sympathy on her face, and drew her hands from under her apron, each of
them holding a small bag of silver coin.

"Take these, general," she said. "You need them, and I can do without

A look of hope beamed on Greene's face as he heard these words. With a
spirit like this in the women of the country, he felt that no man should
despair. Rising with a sudden impulse, he walked to where a portrait of
George III. hung over the fireplace, remaining from the old ante-war
time. He turned the face of this to the wall and wrote these words on
the back: "Hide thy face, George, and blush."

It is said that this portrait was still hanging in the same place not
many years ago, with Greene's writing yet legible upon it, and possibly
it may be there still. As for Mrs. Steele, she had proved herself a
patriot woman, of the type of Mrs. Motte, who furnished Marion with
arrows for the burning of her own house when it was occupied by a party
of British soldiers whom he could not dislodge. And they two were far
from alone in the list of patriot women in the South.

The incident in General Greene's career above given has become famous.
And connected with it is the skilful military movement by which he
restored the American cause in the South, which had been nearly lost by
the disastrous defeat of General Gates. This celebrated example of
strategy has often been described, but is worth telling again.

Lord Cornwallis, the most active of the British commanders in the war of
American Independence, had brought South Carolina and Georgia under his
control, and was marching north with the expectation of soon bringing
North Carolina into subjection, and following up his success with the
conquest of Virginia. This accomplished, he would have the whole South
subdued. But in some respects he reckoned without his host. He had now
such men as Greene and Morgan in his front, Marion and Sumter in his
rear, and his task was not likely to prove an easy one.

As for Morgan, he sent the rough-rider Tarleton to deal with him,
fancying that the noted rifleman, who had won undying fame in the
North, would now meet fate in the face, and perhaps be captured, with
all his men. But Morgan had a word to say about that, as was proved on
the 17th of January, 1781, when he met Tarleton at the Cowpens, a place
about five miles south of the North Carolina line.

Tarleton had the strongest and best appointed force, and Morgan, many of
whose men were untried militia, seemed in imminent danger, especially
when the men of the Maryland line began to retreat, and the British,
thinking the day their own, pressed upon them with exultant shouts. But
to their surprise the bold Marylanders suddenly halted, turned, and
greeted their pursuers with a destructive volley. At the same time the
Virginia riflemen, who had been posted on the wings, closed in on both
flanks of the British and poured a shower of bullets into their ranks.
The British were stunned by this abrupt change in the situation, and
when the Maryland line charged upon them with levelled bayonets they
broke and fled in dismay.

Colonel Washington commanded the small cavalry force, so far held in
reserve and unseen. This compact body of troopers now charged on the
British cavalry, more than three times their numbers, and quickly put
them to flight. Tarleton himself made a narrow escape, for he received a
wound from Washington's sword in the hot pursuit. So utter was the rout
of the British that they were pursued for twenty miles, and lost more
than three hundred of their number in killed and wounded and six
hundred in prisoners, with many horses, wagons, muskets, and cannon.
Tarleton's abundant baggage was burned by his own order to save it from
capture. In this signal victory Morgan lost only ten men killed and
sixty wounded.

And now began that famous retreat, which was of more advantage to the
Americans than a victory. Morgan, knowing well that Cornwallis would
soon be after him to retrieve the disaster at the Cowpens, hastened with
his prisoners and spoils across the Catawba. Cornwallis, furious at his
defeat and eager to move rapidly in pursuit, set fire to all his baggage
and wagons except those absolutely needed, thus turning his army into
light troops at the expense of the greater part of its food-supply and

But when he reached the Catawba, he found it so swollen with the rains
that he was forced to halt on its banks while Morgan continued his
march. Meanwhile, General Greene was making earnest efforts to collect a
force of militia, directing all those who came in to meet at a certain
point. Such was the situation on the 1st of February when Greene waited
for weary hours at the place fixed upon for the militia to assemble,
only to learn that Cornwallis had forced the passage of the river,
dispersing the North Carolina militia left to guard the ford, and
killing General Davidson, their commander. He had certainly abundant
reason for depression on that wet and dreary night when he rode alone
into Salisbury.

The Catawba crossed, the next stream of importance was the Yadkin.
Hither Morgan marched in all haste, crossing the stream on the 2d and 3d
of February, and at once securing all boats. The rains began to fall
again before his men were fairly over, and soon the stream was swelling
with the mountain floods. When Cornwallis reached its banks it was
swollen high and running madly, and it was the 7th of February before he
was able to cross. It seemed, indeed, as if Providence had come to the
aid of the Americans, lowering the rains for them and raising them for
their foes.

Meanwhile, the two divisions of the American army were marching on
converging lines, and on the 9th the forces under Greene and Morgan made
a junction at Guilford Court-House, Cornwallis being then at Salem,
twenty-five miles distant. A battle was fought at this place a month
later, but just then the force under Greene's command was too small to
risk a fight. A defeat at that time might have proved fatal to the cause
of the South. Nothing remained but to continue the retreat across the
State to the border of Virginia, and there put the Dan River between him
and his foe.

To cover the route of his retreat from the enemy, Greene detached
General Williams with the flower of his troops to act as a light corps,
watch and impede Cornwallis and strive to lead him towards Dix's ferry
on the Dan, while the crossing would be made twenty miles lower down.

It was a terrible march which the poor patriots made during the next
four days. Without tents, with thin and ragged clothes, most of them
without shoes, "many hundreds of the soldiers tracking the ground with
their bloody feet," they retreated at the rate of seventeen miles a day
along barely passable roads, the wagon-wheels sinking deep in the mud,
and every creek swollen with the rains. In these four days of anxiety
Greene slept barely four hours, watching every detail with a vigilant
eye, which nothing escaped. On the 14th they reached the ford, hurrying
the wagons across and then the troops, and before nightfall Greene was
able to write that "all his troops were over and the stage was clear."

General Williams had aided him ably in this critical march, keeping just
beyond reach of Cornwallis, and deceiving him for a day or two as to the
intention of the Americans. When the British general discovered how he
had been deceived, he got rid of more of his baggage by the easy method
of fire, and chased Williams across the State at the speed of thirty
miles a day. But the alert Americans marched forty miles a day and
reached the fords of the Dan just as the last of Greene's men had
crossed. That night the rear guard crossed the stream, and when
Cornwallis reached its banks, on the morning of the 15th, to his deep
chagrin he found all the Americans safe on the Virginia side and ready
to contest the crossing if he should seek to continue the pursuit.

That famous march of two hundred miles, from the south side of the
Catawba to the north side of the Dan, in which the whole State of North
Carolina was crossed by the ragged and largely shoeless army, was the
salvation of the Southern States. In Greene's camp there was only joy
and congratulation. Little did the soldiers heed their tattered
garments, their shoeless feet, their lack of blankets and of regular
food, in their pride at having outwitted the British army and fulfilled
their duty to their country. With renewed courage they were ready to
cross the Dan again and attack Cornwallis and his men. Washington wrote
to General Greene, applauding him highly for his skilful feat, and even
a British historian gave him great praise and credit for his skill in

Shall we tell in a few words the outcome of this fine feat? Cornwallis
had been drawn so far from his base of supplies, and had burned so much
of his war-material, that he found himself in an ugly quandary. On his
return march Greene became the pursuer, harassing him at every step.
When Guilford Court-House was reached again Greene felt strong enough to
fight, and though Cornwallis held the field at the end of the battle he
was left in such a sorry plight that he was forced to retreat to
Wilmington and leave South Carolina uncovered. Here it did not take
Greene long, with the aid of such valiant partisans as Marion, Sumter,
and Lee, to shut the British up in Charleston and win back the State.

Cornwallis, on the other hand, concluded to try his fortune in
Virginia, where there seemed to be a fine chance for fighting and
conquest. But he was not long there before he found himself shut up in
Yorktown like a rat in a trap, with Washington and his forces in front
and the French fleet in the rear. His surrender, soon after, not only
freed the South from its foes, but cured George III. of any further
desire to put down the rebels in America.


In the harvest season of the cotton States of the South a vast, fleecy
snow-fall seems to have come down in the silence of the night and
covered acres innumerable with its virgin emblem of plenty and
prosperity. It is the regal fibre which is to set millions of looms in
busy whirl and to clothe, when duly spun and woven, half the population
of the earth. That "cotton is king" has long been held as a potent
political axiom in the United States, yet there was a time when cotton
was not king, but was an insignificant member of the agricultural
community. How cotton came to the throne is the subject of our present

In those far-off days when King George of England was trying to force
the rebellious Americans to buy and drink his tea and pay for his
stamps, the people of Georgia and South Carolina were first beginning to
try if they could do something in the way of raising cotton. After the
war of independence was over, an American merchant in Liverpool received
from the South a small consignment of eight bags of cotton, holding
about twelve hundred pounds, the feeble pioneer of the great cotton
commerce. When it was landed on the wharves in Liverpool, in 1784, the
custom-house officials of that place looked at it with alarm and
suspicion. What was this white-faced stranger doing here, claiming to
come from a land that had never seen a cotton-plant? It must have come
from somewhere else, and this was only a deep-laid plot to get itself
landed on English soil without paying an entrance fee.

So the stranger was seized and locked up, and Mr. Rathbone, the
merchant, had no easy time in proving to the officials that it was
really a scion of the American soil, and that the ships that brought it
had the right to do so. But after it was released from confinement there
was still a difficulty. Nobody would buy it. The manufacturers were
afraid to handle this new and unknown kind of cotton for fear it would
not pay to work it up, and at last it had to be sold for a song to get a
trial. Such was the state of the American industry at the period when
the great republic was just born. It may be said that the nation and its
greatest product were born together, like twin children.

[Illustration: COTTON-GIN.]

The new industry grew very slowly, and the planters who were trying to
raise cotton in their fields felt much like giving it up as something
that would never pay. In fact, there was a great difficulty in the way
that gave them no end of trouble, and made the cost of cotton so great
that there was very little room for profit. For a time it looked as if
they would have to go back to corn and rice and let cotton go by the

The trouble lay in the fact that in the midst of each little head of
cotton fibres, like a young bird in its nest, lay a number of seeds, to
which the fibres were closely attached. These seeds had to be got out,
and this was very slow work. It had to be done by hand, and in each
plantation store-house a group of old negroes might be seen, diligently
at work in pulling the seeds out from the fibres. Work as hard as they
could it was not easy to clean more than a pound a day, so that by the
time the crop was ready for market it had cost so much that the planter
had to be content with a very small rate of profit. Such was the state
of the cotton industry as late as 1792, when the total product was one
hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds. In 1795 it had jumped to six
million pounds, and in 1801 to twenty million pounds. This was a
wonderful change, and it may well be asked how it was brought about.
This question brings us to our story, which we have next to tell.

In the year 1792 a bright young Yankee came down to Georgia to begin his
career by teaching in a private family. He was one of the kind who are
born with a great turn for tinkering. When he was a boy he mended the
fiddles of all the people round about, and after that took to making
nails, canes, and hat-pins. He was so handy that the people said there
was nothing Eli Whitney could not do.

But he seems to have become tired of tinkering, for he went to college
after he had grown to manhood, and from college he went to Georgia to
teach. But there he found himself too late, for another teacher had the
place which he expected to get, so there he was, stranded far from home,
with nothing to do and with little money in his purse. By good fortune
he found an excellent friend. Mrs. Greene, the widow of the famous
General Greene of the Revolution, lived near Savannah, and took quite a
fancy to the poor young man. She urged him to stay in Georgia and to
keep up his studies, saying that he could have a home in her house as
long as he pleased.

This example of Southern hospitality was very grateful to the friendless
young man, and he accepted the kindly invitation, trying to pay his way
by teaching Mrs. Greene's children, and at the same time studying law.
But he was born for an inventor, not a lawyer, and could not keep his
fingers off of things. Nothing broke down about Mrs. Greene's house that
he did not soon set working all right again. He fitted up embroidery
frames for her, and made other things, showing himself so very handy
that she fancied he could do anything.

One day Mrs. Greene heard some of the neighboring planters complaining
of the trouble they had in clearing the cotton of its seeds. They could
manage what was called the long-staple cotton by the use of a rough
roller machine brought from England, which crushed the seeds, and then
"bowed" or whipped the dirt out of the lint. But this would not work
with short-staple cotton, the kind usually grown, and there was nothing
to do but to pick the hard seeds out by hand, at the rate of a pound a
day by the fastest workers. The planters said it would be a splendid
thing if they only had a machine that would do this work. Mrs. Greene
told them that this might not be so hard to do. "There is a young man at
my house," she said, "who can make anything;" and to prove it, she
showed them some of the things he had made. Then she introduced them to
Eli Whitney, and they asked him if he thought he could make a machine to
do the work they so badly wanted.

"I don't know about that," he replied. "I know no more about cotton than
a child knows about the moon."

"You can easily learn all there is to know about it," they urged. "We
would be glad to show you our fields and our picker-houses and give you
all the chance you need to study the subject."

Mr. Whitney made other objections. He was interested in his law studies,
and did not wish to break them off. But a chance to work at machinery
was too great an attraction for him to withstand, and at length he
consented to look over the matter and see if he could do anything with

The young inventor lost no time. This was something much more to his
liking than poring over the dry books of the law, and he went to work
with enthusiasm. He went into the fields and studied the growing cotton.
Then he watched the seed-pickers at their work. Taking specimens of the
ripe cotton-boll to his room, he studied the seeds as they lay cradled
in the fibre, and saw how they were fastened to it. To get them out
there must be some way of dragging them apart, pulling the fibres from
the seed and keeping them separate.

The inventor studied and thought and dreamed, and in a very short time
his quick genius saw how the work could be done. And he no sooner saw it
than he set to work to do it. The idea of the cotton-gin was fully
formed in his mind before he had lifted his hand towards making one.

It was not easy, in fact. It is often a long road between an inventor's
first idea and a machine that will do all he wants it to. And he had
nothing to work with, but had to make his own tools and manufacture his
own wire, and work upward from the very bottom of things.

In a few months, however, he had a model ready. Mrs. Greene was so
interested in his work and so proud of his success that she induced him
to show the model and explain its working to some of her planter
friends, especially those who had induced him to engage in the work.
When they saw what he had done, and were convinced of the truth of what
he told them,--that they could clean more cotton in a day by his machine
than in many months by the old hand-picking way,--their excitement was
great, and the report of the wonderful invention spread far and wide.

Shall we say here what this machine was like? The principle was simple
enough, and from that day to this, though the machine has been greatly
improved, Whitney's first idea still holds good. It was a saw-gin then,
and it is a saw-gin still. "Gin," we may say here, is short for

This is the plan. There is a grid, or row of wires, set upright and so
close together that the seeds will not go through the openings. Behind
these is a set of circular saws, so placed that their teeth pass through
the openings between the wires. When the machine is set in motion the
cotton is put into a hopper, which feeds it to the grid, and the
revolving saws catch the fibre or lint with their teeth and drag it
through the wires. The seeds are too large to follow, so the cotton is
torn loose from them and they slide down and out of the way. As the
wheel turns round with its teeth full of cotton lint, a revolving brush
sweeps it away so that the teeth are cleaned and ready to take up more
lint. A simple principle, you may say, but it took a good head to think
it out, and to it we owe the famous cotton industry of the South.

But poor Whitney did not get the good from his invention that he
deserved, for a terrible misfortune happened to him. Many people came to
see the invention, but he kept the workshop locked, for he did not want
strangers to see it till he had it finished and his patent granted. The
end was, that one night some thieves broke into the shop and stole the
model, and there were some machines made and in operation before the
poor inventor could make another model and secure his patent.

This is only one of the instances in which an inventor has been robbed
of the work of his brain, and others have grown rich by it, while he
has had trouble to make a living. A Mr. Miller, who afterward married
Mrs. Greene, went into partnership with Whitney, and supplied him with
funds, and he got out a patent in 1794. But the demand for the machines
was so great that he could not begin to supply them, and the pirated
machines, though they were much inferior to his perfected ones, were
eagerly bought. Then his shop burned with all its contents, and that
made him a bankrupt.

For years after that Whitney sought to obtain justice. In some of the
States he was fairly treated and in others he was not, and in 1812
Congress refused to renew the patent, and the field was thrown open for
everybody to make the machines. Nearly all he ever got for his invention
was fifty thousand dollars paid him by the Legislature of South

In later years Whitney began to make fire-arms for the government, and
he was so successful in this that he grew rich, while he greatly
improved the machinery and methods. It was he who first began to make
each part separately, so it would fit in any gun, a system now used in
all branches of manufacture. As for the cotton industry, to which Eli
Whitney gave the first great start, it will suffice to say that its
product has grown from less than one thousand bales, when he began his
work, to over ten million bales a year.


Shall we seek to picture to our readers a scene in the streets of
Nashville, Tennessee, less than a century ago, though it seems to belong
to the days of barbarism? Two groups of men, made up of the most
respectable citizens of the place, stood furiously shooting at each
other with pistols and guns, as if this was their idea of after-dinner
recreation. Their leaders were Colonel Thomas H. Benton, afterward
famous in the United States Senate, and General Andrew Jackson, famous
in a dozen ways. The men of the frontier in those days were hot in
temper and quick in action, and family feuds led quickly to wounds and
death, as they still do in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Some trifling quarrel, that might perhaps have been settled by five
minutes of common-sense arbitration, led to this fierce fray, in the
midst of which Jesse Benton, brother of the colonel, fired at Jackson
with a huge pistol, loaded to the muzzle with bullets and slugs. It was
like a charge of grape-shot. A slug from it shattered Jackson's left
shoulder, a ball sank to the bone in his left arm, and another ball
splintered a board by his side.

When the fight ended Jackson was found insensible in the entry of a
tavern, with the blood pouring profusely from his wounds. He was carried
in and all the doctors of the town were summoned, but before the
bleeding could be stopped two mattresses were soaked through with blood.
The doctors said the arm was so badly injured that it must be taken off
at once. But when Old Hickory set his lips in his grim way, and said,
"I'll keep my arm," the question was settled; no one dare touch that

For weeks afterward Jackson lay, a helpless invalid, while his terrible
wounds slowly healed. And while he lay there a dreadful event took place
in the territory to the south, which called for the presence of men like
Old Hickory, sound of limb and in full strength. This was the frightful
Indian massacre at Fort Mimms, one of the worst in all our history.

It was now the autumn of the year 1813, the second year of the war with
England. Tecumseh, the famous Indian warrior and orator, had stirred up
the savages of the South to take the British side in the war, and for
fear of an Indian rising the settlers around Fort Mimms, in southern
Alabama, had crowded into the fort, which was only a rude log stockade.
On the morning of August 30 more than five hundred and fifty souls, one
hundred of them being women and children, were crowded within that
contracted space. On the evening of that day four hundred of them,
including all the women and children, lay bleeding on the ground,
scalped and shockingly mangled. A thousand Creek Indians had broken into
the carelessly guarded fort, and perpetrated one of the most horrid
massacres in the history of Indian wars. Weathersford, the leader of the
Indians, tried to stop the ferocious warriors in their dreadful work,
but they surrounded him and threatened him with their tomahawks while
they glutted to the full their thirst for blood.

Many days passed before the news of this frightful affair in the
southern wilderness reached Nashville. The excitement it created was
intense. The savages were in arms and had tasted blood. The settlements
everywhere were in peril. The country might be ravaged from the Ohio to
the Gulf. It was agreed by all that there was only one thing to do, the
Indians must be put down. But the man best fitted to do it, the man who
was depended upon in every emergency, lay half dead in his room, slowly
recovering from his dreadful wound.

A year before Jackson had led two thousand men to Natchez to defend New
Orleans in case the British should come, and had been made by the
government a major-general of volunteers. He was the man every one
wanted now, but to get him seemed impossible, and the best that could be
done was to get his advice. So a committee was appointed to visit and
confer with the wounded hero.

When the members of the committee called on the war-horse of the West
they found him still within the shadow of death, his wounds sore and
festering, his frame so weak that he could barely raise his head from
the pillow. But when they told him of the massacre and the revengeful
feeling of the people, the news almost lifted him from his bed. It
seemed to send new life coursing through his veins. His voice, weakened
by illness, yet with its old ring of decision, was raised for quick and
stern action against the savage foes who had so long menaced Tennessee.
And if they wanted a leader he was the man.

When the committee reported the next day, they said there was no doubt
that "our brave and patriotic General Jackson" would be ready to lead
the men of war by the time they were ready to march. Where Jackson led
there would be plenty to follow. Four thousand men were called out with
orders to assemble at Fayetteville, eighty miles south of Nashville, on
October 4, just one month from the day when Jackson had received his
wounds. From his bed he took command. By his orders Colonel Coffee rode
to Huntsville, Alabama, with five hundred men. As he advanced volunteers
came riding in armed and equipped, till he was at the head of thirteen
hundred men.

On the 7th of October Jackson himself reached the rendezvous. He was
still a mere wreck, thin as a shadow, tottering with weakness, and
needing to be lifted bodily to his horse. His arm was closely bound and
in a sling. His wounds were so sensitive that the least jar or wrench
gave him agony. His stomach was in such a state that he was in danger
of dying from starvation. Several times during his first two days' ride
he had to be sponged from head to foot with whiskey. Yet his dauntless
spirit kept him up, and he bore the dreadful ride of eighty miles with a
fortitude rarely equalled. So resolute was he that he reached
Fayetteville before half the men had gathered. He was glad there to
receive news that the Creeks were advancing northward towards Tennessee.

"Give them my thanks for saving me the pain of travelling," he said. "I
must not be outdone in politeness, and will try to meet them half-way."

On the 11th a new advance was made to Huntsville, the troops riding six
miles an hour for five hours, a remarkable feat for a man in Jackson's
condition. Many a twinge of bitter pain he had on that march, but his
spirit was past yielding. At this point Colonel Coffee was joined, and
the troops encamped on a bend of the Tennessee River. A false alarm of
the advance of the Indians had caused this hasty march.

Jackson and his men--twenty-five hundred in number with thirteen hundred
horses--now found themselves threatened by a foe more terrible than the
Indians they had come to meet. They were in the heart of the wilderness
of Alabama, far away from any full supply of food. Jackson thus
describes this foe, in a letter written by his secretary:

"There is an enemy whom I dread much more than I do the hostile
Creeks--I mean the meagre monster _Famine_. I shall leave this
encampment in the morning direct for the Ten Islands, and yet I have
not on hand two days' supply of bread-stuffs."


A thousand barrels of flour and a proportionate supply of meat had been
purchased for him a week before. But the Tennessee River was low, the
flatboats would not float, and the much-needed food lay in the shallows
three hundred miles up-stream. There was nothing to do but to live on
the country, and this Colonel Coffee had swept almost clear of
provisions on his advance movement.

Under such circumstances Jackson ran a great risk in marching farther
into the Indian country. Yet the exigency was one in which boldness
seemed necessary. A reverse movement might have brought the Indians in
force on the settlers of Tennessee, with sanguinary results. Keeping his
foragers busy in search of food, he moved steadily southward till the
Coosa River was reached. Here came the first encounter with the savages.
There was a large body of them at Tallushatches, thirteen miles away. At
daybreak on the morning after the Coosa was reached the Indian camp was
encircled by Colonel Coffee with a thousand men. The savages, taken by
surprise, fought fiercely and desperately, and fell where they stood,
fighting while a warrior remained alive. All the prisoners were women
and children, who were taken to the settlements and kindly treated.
Jackson himself brought up one of the boys in his own family.

Four days afterward news came that a body of friendly Creeks, one
hundred and fifty in number, were at Talladega, thirty miles away,
surrounded by a thousand hostile Indians, cut off from their
water-supply and in imminent danger of annihilation. A wily chief had
dressed himself in the skin of a large hog, and in this disguise passed
unsuspected through the hostile lines, bringing his story to Jackson
twenty-four hours later.

At that moment the little army had only one day's supply of food, but
its general did not hesitate. Advancing with all the men fit to move,
they came within hearing of the yelling enemy, and quickly closed in
upon them. When that brief battle ended two hundred of the Indian braves
lay dead on the field and Colonel Coffee with his horsemen was in hot
pursuit of the remainder. As for the rescued Indians, their joy was
beyond measure, for they had looked only for death. They gathered around
their preserver, expressing their gratitude by joyful cries and
gestures, and gladly gave what little corn they had left to feed the
hungry soldiers.

The loss of the whites in this raid was fifteen men killed and
eighty-six wounded. The badly wounded were carried in litters back to
Fort Strother, where the sick had been left, and where Jackson now fully
expected to find a full supply of food. To his acute disappointment not
an ounce had arrived, little in the shape of food being left but a few
half-starved cattle. For several days Jackson and his staff ate nothing
but tripe without seasoning.

And now, for ten long weeks, came that dread contest he had feared,--the
battle with famine. With a good supply of provisions he could have
ended the war in a fortnight. As it was, the men had simply to wait and
forage, being at times almost in a starving state. The brave borderers
found it far harder to sit and starve than it would have been to fight,
and discontent in the camp rose to the height of mutiny, which it took
all the general's tact and firmness to overcome.

Part of his men were militia, part of them volunteers, and between these
there was a degree of jealousy. On one occasion the militia resolved to
start for home, but when they set out in the early morning they found
the volunteers drawn up across the road, with their grim general at
their head. When they saw Jackson they turned and marched back to their
quarters again. Soon afterward the volunteers were infected with the
same fancy. But again Jackson was aware of their purpose, and when they
marched from their quarters they found their way blocked by the militia,
with Jackson at their head. The tables had been turned on them.

As time went on and hunger grew more relentless, the spirit of
discontent infected the entire force, and it took all the general's
power to keep them in camp. On one occasion, a large body of the men
seized their arms, and, swearing that they would not stay there to be
starved, got ready to march home. General Jackson, hot with wrath,
seized a musket, and planting himself before them, swore "by the
Eternal" that he would shoot the first man that set a foot forward. His
countenance was appalling in its concentrated rage, his eyes blazed
with a terrible fire, and the mutineers, confronted by this apparition
of fury, hesitated, drew back, and retired to their tents.

But the time came at length in which nothing would hold them back.
Persuasion and threats were alike useless. The general used entreaties
and promises, saying,--

"I have advices that supply-wagons are on the way, and that there is a
large drove of cattle near at hand. Wait two days more, and if then they
do not come, we will all march home together."

The two days passed and the food did not arrive. Much against his will,
he was obliged to keep his word. "If only two men will stay with me," he
cried, "I will never give up the post."

One hundred and nine men agreed to remain, and, leaving these in charge
of the fort, Jackson set out at the head of the others, with their
promise that, when they procured supplies and satisfied their hunger,
they would return to the fort and march upon the foe. The next day the
expected provision-train was met, and the hungry men were well fed. But
home was in their minds, and it took all the general's indomitable will
and fierce energy to induce them to turn back, and they did so then in
sullen discontent. In the end it was necessary to exchange these men for
fresh volunteers.

When the dissatisfied men got home they told such doleful tales of their
hardships and sufferings that the people were filled with dismay,
volunteering came to an end, and even the governor wrote to Jackson,
advising him to give up the expedition as hopeless and return home.

Had not Andrew Jackson been one man in a million he would not have
hesitated to obey. A well man might justly have despaired. But to a
physical wreck, his shoulder still painful, his left arm useless,
suffering from insufficient food, from acute dyspepsia, from chronic
diarrhoea, from cramps of terrible severity--to a man in this
condition, who should have been in bed under a physician's care, to
remain seemed utter madness, and yet he remained. His indomitable spirit
triumphed over his enfeebled body. He had set out to subdue the hostile
Indians and save the settlements from their murderous raids, and, "by
the Eternal," he would.

He wrote a letter to Governor Blount, eloquent, logical, appealing,
resolute, and so convincing in its arguments that the governor changed
his sentiment, the people became enthusiastic, volunteers came forward
freely, and the most earnest exertions were made to collect and forward
supplies. But this was not till the spring of 1814, and the lack of
supplies continued the winter through. Only nine hundred discontented
troops remained, but with these he won two victories over the Indians,
in one of which an utter panic was averted only by his courage and
decision in the hour of peril.

At length fresh troops began to arrive. A regiment of United States
soldiers, six hundred strong, reached him on February 6. By the 1st of
March there were six thousand troops near Fort Strother, and only the
arrival of a good food supply was awaited to make a finishing move. Food
came slowly, despite all exertions. Over the miry roads the wagon-teams
could hardly be moved with light loads. Only absolutely necessary food
was brought,--even whiskey, considered indispensable in those days,
being barred out. All sick and disabled men were sent home, and the
non-combatants weeded out so thoroughly that only one man was left in
camp who could beat the ordinary calls on the drum. At length, about the
middle of March, a sufficient supply of food was at hand and the final
advance began.

Meanwhile, the hostile Creeks had made themselves a stronghold at a
place fifty-five miles to the south. Here was a bend of Tallapoosa
River, called, from its shape, Tohopeka, or the "Horseshoe." It was a
well-wooded area, about one hundred acres in extent, across whose neck
the Indians had built a strong breastwork of logs, with two rows of
port-holes, the whole so well constructed that it was evident they had
been aided by British soldiers in its erection. At the bottom of the
bend was a village of wigwams, and there were many canoes in the stream.

Within this stronghold was gathered the fighting force of the tribe,
nearly a thousand warriors, and in the wigwams were about three hundred
women and children. It was evident that they intended to make here their
final, desperate stand.

The force led against them was two thousand strong. Their route of
travel lay through the unbroken forest wilds, and it took eleven days to
reach the Indian fort. A glance at it showed Jackson the weakness of the
savage engineering. As he said, they had "penned themselves in for

The work began by sending Colonel Coffee across the river, with orders
to post his men opposite the line of canoes and prevent the Indians from
escaping. Coffee did more than this; he sent swimmers over who cut loose
the canoes and brought them across the stream. With their aid he sent
troops over the bend to attack the savages in the rear while Jackson
assailed them in front.

The battle began with a fierce assault, but soon settled down to a slow
slaughter, which lasted for five or six hours,--the fierce warriors, as
in the former battles, refusing to ask for quarter or to accept their
lives. Their prophets had told them that if they did they would be put
to death by torture. When the battle ended few of them were left alive.
On the side of the whites only fifty-five were killed and about three
times as many wounded.

This signal defeat ended forever the power of the Cree nation, once the
leading Indian power of the Gulf region. Such of the chiefs as survived
surrendered. Among them was Weathersford, their valiant half-breed
leader. Mounted on his well-known gray horse, famed for its speed and
endurance, he rode to the door of Jackson's tent. The old soldier looked
up to see before him this famous warrior, tall, erect, majestic, and

"I am Weathersford," he said; "late your enemy, now your captive."

From without the tent came fierce cries of "Kill him! kill him!"

"You may kill me if you wish," said the proud chief; "but I came to tell
you that our women and children are starving in the woods. They never
did you any harm and I came to beg you to send them food."

Jackson looked sternly at the angry throng outside, and said, in his
vigorous way, "Any man who would kill as brave a man as this would rob
the dead."

He then invited the chief into his tent, where he promised him the aid
he asked for and freedom for himself. "I do not war with women and
children," he said.

So corn was sent to the suffering women, and Weathersford was allowed to
mount his good gray steed and ride away as he had come. He induced the
remaining Creeks to accept the terms offered by the victorious general,
these being peace and protection, with the provision that half their
lands should be ceded to the United States.

As may well be imagined, a triumphant reception was given Jackson and
his men on their return to Nashville. Shortly afterward came the news
that he had been appointed Major-General in the army of the United
States, to succeed William Henry Harrison, resigned. He had made his
mark well against the Indians; he was soon to make it as well against
the British at New Orleans.


On the coast of Louisiana, westward from the delta of the Mississippi,
there lies a strange country, in which sea and land seem struggling for
dominion, neither being victor in the endless contest. It is a low,
flat, moist land, where countless water-courses intertwine into a
complex net-work; while nearer the sea are a multitude of bays,
stretching far inland, and largely shut off from the salt sea waves by
barriers of long, narrow islands. Some of these islands are low
stretches of white sand, flung up by the restless waters which ever wash
to and fro. Others are of rich earth, brought down by lazy water-ways
from the fertile north and deposited at the river outlets. Tall marsh
grasses grow profusely here, and hide alike water and land. Everywhere
are slow-moving, half-sleeping bayous, winding and twisting
interminably, and encircling multitudes of islands, which lie hidden
behind a dense growth of rushes and reeds, twelve feet high.

It was through this region, neither water nor land, that the hapless
Evangeline, the heroine of Longfellow's famous poem, was rowed, seeking
her lover in these flooded wilds, and not dreaming that he lay behind
one of those reedy barrens, almost within touch, yet as unseen as if
leagues of land separated them.

One of the bays of this liquid coast, some sixty miles south of New
Orleans, is a large sheet of water, with a narrow island partly shutting
it off from the Gulf. This is known as Grande Terre, and west of it is
another island known as Grande Isle. Between these two long land gates
is a broad, deep channel which serves as entrance to the bay. On the
western side lies a host of smaller islands, the passes between them
made by the bayous which straggle down through the land. Northward the
bay stretches sixteen miles inland, and then breaks up into a medley of
bayous and small lakes, cutting far into the land, and yielding an easy
passage to the level of the Mississippi, opposite New Orleans.

Such is Barataria Bay, once the famous haunt of the buccaneers. It seems
made by nature as a lurking-place for smugglers and pirates, and that is
the purpose to which it was long devoted. The passages inland served
admirably for the disposal of ill-gotten goods. For years the pirates of
Barataria Bay defied the authorities, making the Gulf the scene of their
exploits and finding a secret and ready market for their wares in New

The pirate leaders were two daring Frenchmen, Pierre and Jean Lafitte,
who came from Bordeaux some time after 1800 and settled in New Orleans.
They were educated men, who had seen much of the world and spoke several
languages fluently. Pierre, having served in the French army, became a
skilled fencing-master. Jean set up a blacksmith shop, his slaves doing
the work. Such was the creditable way in which these worthies began
their new-world career.

Their occupation changed in 1808, in which year the slave-trade was
brought to an end by act of Congress. There was also passed an Embargo
Act, which forbade trade with foreign countries. Here was a double
opportunity for men who placed gain above law. The Lafittes at once took
advantage of it, smuggling negroes and British goods, bringing their
illicit wares inland by way of the bayous of the coastal plain and
readily disposing of them as honest goods.

Not long after this time the British cruisers broke up the pirate hordes
which had long infested the West Indies. Their haunts were taken and
they had to flee. Some of them became smugglers, landing their goods on
Amelia Island, on the coast of Florida. Others sought the bays of
Louisiana, where they kept up their old trade.

The Lafittes now found it to their advantage to handle the goods of
these buccaneers, in which they posed as honest merchants. Later on they
made piracy their trade, the whole fleet of the rovers coming under
their control. Throwing off the cloak of honesty, they openly defied the
laws. Prize goods and negroes were introduced into New Orleans with
little effort at secrecy, and were sold in disregard of the law and the
customs. It was well known that the Baratarian rovers were pirates, but
the weak efforts to dislodge them failed and the government was openly

Making Barataria Bay their head-quarters and harbor of refuge, the
pirates fortified Grande Terre, and built on it their dwellings and
store-houses. On Grande Isle farms were cultivated and orange-groves
planted. On another island, named the Temple, they held auctions for the
sale of their plunder, the purchasers smuggling it up the bayous and
introducing it under cover of night into New Orleans, where there was
nothing to show its source, though suspicion was rife. Such was
Barataria until the war with England began, and such it continued
through this war till 1814, the Lafittes and their pirate followers
flourishing in their desperate trade.

We might go on to tell a gruesome story of fearful deeds by these
bandits of the sea; of vessels plundered and scuttled, and sailors made
to walk the plank of death; of rich spoil won by ruthless murder, and
wild orgies on the shores of Grande Terre. But of all this there is
little record, and the lives of these pirates yield us none of the
scenes of picturesque wickedness and wholesale murder which embellish
the stories of Blackbeard, Morgan, and other sea-rovers of old. Yet the
career of the Lafittes has an historical interest which makes it worth
the telling.

It was not until 1814, during the height of the war with England, that
the easy-going Creoles of New Orleans grew indignant enough at the bold
defiance of law by the Lafittes to make a vigorous effort to stop it. It
was high time, for the buccaneers had grown so bold as to fire on the
revenue officers of the government. Determined to bear this disgrace no
longer, Pierre Lafitte was seized in the streets of New Orleans, and
with one of his captains, named Dominique Yon, was locked up in the

This step was followed by a proclamation from Governor Claiborne,
offering five hundred dollars for the arrest of Jean Lafitte, the acting
pirate chief. Lafitte insolently retorted by offering five thousand
dollars for the head of the governor. This impudent defiance aroused
Claiborne to more decisive action. A force of militia was called out and
sent overland to Barataria, with orders to capture and destroy the
settlement of the buccaneers and seize all the pirates they could lay
hands on.

The governor did not know the men with whom he had to deal. Their spies
kept them fully informed of all his movements. Southward trudged the
citizen soldiers, tracking their oozy way through the water-soaked land.
All was silent and seemingly deserted. They were near their goal, and
not a man had been seen. But suddenly a boatswain's whistle sounded, and
from a dozen secret passages armed men swarmed out upon them, and in a
few minutes had them surrounded and under their guns. Resistance was
hopeless, and they were obliged to surrender at discretion. The grim
pirates stood ready to slaughter them all if a hand were raised in
self-defence, and Lafitte, stepping forward, invited them to join his
men, promising them an easy life and excellent pay. Their captain
sturdily refused.

"Very well," said Lafitte, with disdainful generosity. "You can go or
stay as you please. Yonder is the road you came by. You are free to
follow it back. But if you are wise you will in future keep out of reach
of the Jolly Rovers of the Gulf."

We are not sure if these were Lafitte's exact words, but at any rate the
captain and his men were set free and trudged back again, glad enough to
get off with whole skins. Soon after that the war, which had lingered so
long in the North, showed signs of making its way to the South. A
British fleet appeared in the Gulf in the early autumn of 1814, and made
an attack on Mobile. In September a war-vessel from this fleet appeared
off Barataria Bay, fired on one of the pirate craft, and dropped anchor
some six miles out. Soon a pinnace, bearing a white flag, put off from
its side and was rowed shoreward. It was met by a vessel which had put
off from Grande Terre.

"I am Captain Lockyer, of the 'Sophia,'" said the British officer. "I
wish to see Captain Lafitte."

"I am he," came a voice from the pirate bark.

"Then this is for you," and Captain Lockyer handed Lafitte a bulky

"Will you come ashore while I examine this?" asked Lafitte, courteously.
"I offer you such humble entertainment as we poor mariners can afford."

"I shall be glad to be your guest," answered the officer.

Lafitte now led the way ashore, welcomed the visitors to his island
domain, and proceeded to open and examine the package brought him. It
contained four documents, their general purport being to threaten the
pirates with utter destruction if they continued to prey on the commerce
of England and Spain, and to offer Lafitte, if he would aid the British
cause, the rank of captain in the service of Great Britain, with a large
sum of money and full protection for person and property.

The letters read, Lafitte left the room, saying that he wished time to
consider before he could answer. But hardly had he gone when some of his
men rushed in, seized Captain Lockyer and his men, and locked them up as
prisoners. They were held captive all night, doubtless in deep anxiety,
for pirates are scarcely safe hosts, but in the morning Lafitte appeared
with profuse apologies, declaring loudly that his men had acted without
his knowledge or consent, and leading the way to their boat. Lockyer was
likely glad enough to find himself on the Gulf waters again, despite the
pirate's excuses. Two hours later Lafitte sent him word that he would
accept his offer, but that he must have two weeks to get his affairs in
order. With this answer, the "Sophia" lifted anchor, spread sails, and
glided away.

All this was a bit of diplomatic by-play on the part of Jean Lafitte. He
had no notion of joining the British cause. The "Sophia" had not long
disappeared when he sent the papers to New Orleans, asking only one
favor in return, the release of his brother Pierre. This the authorities
seem to have granted in their own way, for in the next morning's papers
was an offer of one thousand dollars reward for the capture of Pierre
Lafitte, who had, probably with their connivance, broken jail during the

Jean Lafitte now offered Governor Claiborne his services in the war with
the British. He was no pirate, he said. That was a base libel. His ships
were legitimate privateers, bearing letters of marque from Venezuela in
the war of that country with Spain. He was ready and anxious to transfer
his allegiance to the United States.

His sudden change of tone had its sufficient reason. It is probable that
Lafitte was well aware of a serious danger just then impending, far more
threatening than the militia raid which had been so easily defeated. A
naval expedition was ready to set out against him. It consisted of three
barges of troops under Commander Patterson of the American navy. These
were joined at the Balize by six gunboats and a schooner, and proceeded
against the piratical stronghold.

On the 16th of September the small fleet came within sight of Grande
Terre, drew up in line of battle, and started for the entrance to
Barataria Bay. Within this the pirate fleet, ten vessels in all, was in
line to receive them. Soon there was trouble for the assailants. Shoal
water stopped the schooner, and the two larger gunboats ran aground. But
their men swarmed into boats and rowed on in the wake of the other
vessels, which quickly made their way through the pass and began a
vigorous attack on its defenders.

Now the war was all afoot, and we should be glad to tell of a gallant
and nobly contested battle, in which the sea-rovers showed desperate
courage and reddened the sea with their blood. There might be inserted
here a battle-piece worthy of the Drakes and Morgans of old, if the
facts only bore us out. Instead of that, however, we are forced to say
that the pirates proved sheer caitiffs when matched against honest men,
and the battle was a barren farce.

Commander Patterson and his men dashed bravely on, and in a very short
time two of the pirate vessels were briskly burning, a third had run
aground, and the others were captured. Many of the pirates had fled; the
others were taken. The battle over, the buildings on Grande Terre and
Grande Isle were destroyed and the piratical lurking-place utterly
broken up. This done, the fleet sailed in triumph for New Orleans,
bringing with them the captured craft and the prisoners who had been
taken. But among the captives was neither of the Lafittes. They had not
stood to their guns, but had escaped with the other fugitives into the
secret places of the bay.

Thus ends the history of Barataria Bay as a haunt of pirates. Since
that day only honest craft have entered its sheltered waters. But the
Lafittes were not yet at the end of their career, or at least one of
them, for of Pierre Lafitte we hear very little after this time. Two
months after their flight the famous British assault was made on New
Orleans. General Jackson hurried to its defence and called armed men to
his aid from all quarters, caring little who they were so they were
ready to fight.

Among those who answered the summons was Jean Lafitte. He called on Old
Hickory and told him that he had a body of trained artillerymen under
his command, tried and capable men, and would like to take a hand in
defence of the city. Jackson, who had not long before spoken of the
Lafittes as "hellish banditti," was very glad now to accept their aid.
We read of his politely alluding to them as "these gentlemen," and he
gave into their charge the siege-guns in several of the forts.

These guns were skilfully handled and vigorously served, the Baratarians
fighting far more bravely in defence of the city than they had done in
defence of their ships. They lent important aid in the defeat of
Packenham and his army, and after the battle Jackson commended them
warmly for their gallant conduct, praising the Lafittes also for "the
same courage and fidelity."

A few words more and we have done. Of the pirates, two only made any
future mark. Dominique Yon, the captain who had shared imprisonment
with Pierre Lafitte, now settled down to quiet city life, became a
leader in ward politics, and grew into something of a local hero,
fighting in the precincts instead of on the deck.

Jean Lafitte, however, went back to his old trade. From New Orleans he
made his way to Texas, then a province of Mexico, and soon we hear of
him at his buccaneering work. For a time he figured as governor of
Galveston. Then, for some years, he commanded a fleet that wore the thin
guise of Columbian privateers. After that he threw off all disguise and
became an open pirate, and as late as 1822 his name was the terror of
the Gulf. Soon afterward a fleet of the United States swept those waters
and cleared it of all piratical craft. Jean Lafitte then vanished from
view, and no one knows whether he died fighting for the black flag or
ended his life quietly on land.


On a day in the year 1835 the people of Nacogdoches, Texas, were engaged
in the pleasant function of giving a public dinner to one of their
leading citizens. In the midst of the festivities a person entered the
room whose appearance was greeted with a salvo of hearty cheers. There
seemed nothing in this person's appearance to call forth such a welcome.
He was dressed in a half-Indian, half-hunter's garb, a long-barrelled
rifle was slanted over his shoulder, and he seemed a favorable specimen
of the "half-horse, half-alligator" type of the early West. But there
was a shrewd look on his weather-beaten face and a humorous twinkle in
his eyes that betokened a man above the ordinary frontier level, while
it was very evident that the guests present looked upon him as no
every-day individual.

The visitor was, indeed, a man of fame, for he was no less a personage
than the celebrated Davy Crockett, the hunter hero of West Tennessee.
His fame was due less to his wonderful skill with the rifle than to his
genial humor, his endless stories of adventure, his marvellous power of
"drawing the long bow." Davy had once been sent to Congress, but there
he found himself in waters too deep for his footing. The frontier was
the place made for him, and when he heard that Texas was in revolt
against Mexican rule, he shouldered his famous rifle and set out to take
a hand in the game of revolution. It was a question in those days with
the reckless borderers whether shooting a Mexican or a coon was the
better sport.

[Illustration: THE ALAMO.]

The festive citizens of Nacogdoches heard that Davy Crockett had arrived
in their town on his way to join the Texan army, and at once sent a
committee to invite him to join in their feast. Hearty cheers, as we
have said, hailed his entrance, and it was not long before he had his
worthy hosts in roars of laughter with his quaint frontier stories. He
had come to stay with them as a citizen of Texas, he said, and to help
them drive out the yellow-legged greasers, and he wanted, then and
there, to take the oath of allegiance to their new republic. If they
wanted to know what claim he had to the honor, he would let Old
Betsy--his rifle--speak for him. Like George Washington, Betsy never
told a lie. The Nacogdochians were not long in making him a citizen, and
he soon after set out for the Alamo, the scene of his final exploit and
his heroic death.

The Alamo was a stronghold in the town of San Antonio de Bexar, in
Western Texas. It had been built for a mission house of the early
Spaniards, and though its walls were thick and strong, they were only
eight feet high and were destitute of bastion or redoubt. The place had
nothing to make it suitable for warlike use, yet it was to win a great
name in the history of Texan independence, a name that spread far
beyond the borders of the "Lone Star State" and made its story a
tradition of American heroism.

Soon after the insurrection began a force of Texans had taken San
Antonio, driving out its Mexican garrison. Santa Anna, the president of
Mexico, quickly marched north with an army, breathing vengeance against
the rebels. This town, which lay well towards the western border, was
the first he proposed to take. Under the circumstances the Texans would
have been wise to retreat, for they were few in number, they had little
ammunition and provisions, and the town was in no condition for defence.
But retreat was far from their thoughts, and when, on an afternoon in
February, 1836, Santa Anna and his army appeared in the vicinity of San
Antonio, the Texans withdrew to the Alamo, the strongest building near
the town, prepared to fight to the death.

There were less than two hundred of them in all, against the thousands
of the enemy, but they were men of heroic mould. Colonel Travis, the
commander, mounted the walls with eight pieces of artillery, and did all
he could besides to put the place in a state of defence. To show the
kind of man Travis was, we cannot do better than to quote his letter
asking for aid.

     "FELLOW-CITIZENS AND COMPATRIOTS,--I am besieged by a thousand or
     more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. The enemy have commanded a
     surrender at discretion; otherwise the garrison is to be put to the
     sword if the place is taken. I have answered the summons with a
     cannon-shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I
     shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of
     liberty, of patriotism, and of everything dear to the American
     character, to come to our aid with all despatch. The enemy are
     receiving reinforcements daily, and will no doubt increase to three
     or four thousand in four or five days. Though this call may be
     neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible,
     and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own
     honor or that of his country. Victory or death!"

          "W. BARRETT TRAVIS,
          Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding."

     "P.S.--The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we
     had not three bushels of corn. We have since found, in deserted
     houses, eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls twenty or
     thirty head of beeves."


The only reinforcements received in response to this appeal were
thirty-two gallant men from Gonzales, who made the whole number one
hundred and eighty-eight. Colonel Fannin, at Goliad, set out with three
hundred men, but the breaking down of one of his wagons and a scarcity
of supplies obliged him to return. Among the patriot garrison were Davy
Crockett and Colonel James Bowie, the latter as famous a man in his way
as the great hunter. He was a duelist of national fame, in those days
when the border duels were fought with knife instead of pistol. He
invented the Bowie knife, a terrible weapon in the hands of a resolute
man. To be famed as a duelist is no worthy claim to admiration, but to
fight hand to hand with knife for weapon is significant of high courage.

Small as were their numbers, and slight as were their means of defence,
the heroes of the Alamo fought on without flinching. Santa Anna planted
his batteries around the stronghold and kept up a steady bombardment.
The Texans made little reply; their store of ammunition was so small
that it had to be kept for more critical work. In the town a blood-red
banner was displayed in lurid token of the sanguinary purpose of the
Mexican leader, but the garrison showed no signs of dismay. They were
the descendants of men who had fought against the Indians of the South
under like conditions, and they were not likely to forget the traditions
of their race.

On the 3d of March a battery was erected within musket-shot of the north
wall of the fort, on which it poured a destructive fire. Travis now sent
out a final appeal for aid, and with it an affecting note to a friend,
in which he said,--

"Take care of my boy. If the country should be saved I may make him a
splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost and I should
perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the
son of a man who died for his country."

The invading force increased in numbers until, by the 5th of March,
there were more than four thousand of them around the fort, most of them
fresh, while the garrison was worn out with incessant toil and watching.
The end was near at hand. Soon after midnight on the 6th the Mexican
army gathered close around the fort, prepared for an assault. The
infantry carried scaling-ladders. Behind them were drawn up the cavalry
with orders to kill any man who might fly from the ranks. This indicated
Santa Anna's character and his opinion of his men.

The men within the walls had no need to be driven to their work. Every
one was alert and at his post, and they met with a hot fire from cannon
and rifles the Mexican advance. Just as the new day dawned, the ladders
were placed against the walls and the Mexicans scrambled up their
rounds. They were driven back with heavy loss. Again the charge for
assault was sounded and a second rush was made for the walls, and once
more the bullets of the defenders swept the field and the assailants
fell back in dismay.

Santa Anna now went through the beaten ranks with threats and promises,
seeking to inspire his men with new courage, and again they rushed
forward on all sides of the fort. Many of the Texans had fallen and all
of them were exhausted. It was impossible to defend the whole circle of
the walls. The assailants who first reached the tops of the ladders
were hurled to the ground, but hundreds rushed in to take their places,
and at a dozen points they clambered over the walls. It was no longer
possible for the handful of survivors to keep them back.

In a few minutes the fort seemed full of assailants. The Texans
continued to fight with unflinching courage. When their rifles were
emptied they used them as clubs and struggled on till overwhelmed by
numbers. Near the western wall of the fort stood Travis, in the corner
near the church stood Crockett, both fighting like Homeric heroes. Old
Betsy had done an ample share of work that fatal night. Now, used as a
club, it added nobly to its record. The two heroes at length fell, but
around each was a heap of slain.

Colonel Bowie had taken no part in the fight, having been for some days
sick in bed. He was there butchered and mutilated. All others who were
unable to fight met the same fate. It had been proposed to blow up the
magazine, but Major Evans, the man selected for this duty, was shot as
he attempted to perform it. The struggle did not end while a man of the
garrison was alive, the only survivors being two Mexican women, Mrs.
Dickenson (wife of one of the defenders) and her child, and the negro
servant of Colonel Travis. As for the dead Texans, their bodies were
brutally mutilated and then thrown into heaps and burned.

Thus fell the Alamo. Thus did the gallant Travis and his men keep their
pledge of "victory or death." Like the Spartans at Thermopylæ, the
heroes of the Alamo did not retreat or ask for quarter, but lay where
they had stood in obedience to their country's commands. And before and
around them lay the bodies of more than five hundred of their enemies,
with as many wounded. The Texans had not perished unavenged. The sun
rose in the skies until it was an hour high. In the fort all was still;
but the waters of the aqueduct surrounding resembled in their crimson
hue the red flag of death flying in the town. The Alamo was the American


We have told the story of the Alamo. It needs to complete it the story
of how Travis and his band of heroes were avenged. And this is also the
story of how Texas won its independence, and took its place in the
colony of nations as the "Lone Star Republic."

The patriots of Texas had more to avenge than the slaughter at the
Alamo. The defenders of Goliad, over four hundred in number, under
Colonel Fannin, surrendered, with a solemn promise of protection from
Santa Anna. After the surrender they were divided into several
companies, marched in different directions out of the town, and there
shot down in cold blood by the Mexican soldiers, not a man of them being
left alive.

Santa Anna now fancied himself the victor. He had killed two hundred men
with arms in their hands, and made himself infamous by the massacre of
four hundred more, and he sent despatches to Mexico to the effect that
he had put down the rebellion and conquered a peace. What he had really
done was to fill the Texans with thirst for revenge as well as love of
independence. He had dealt with Travis and Fannin; he had Sam Houston
still to deal with.

General Houston was the leader of the Texan revolt. While these
murderous events were taking place he had only four hundred men under
his command, and was quite unable to prevent them. Defence now seemed
hopeless; the country was in a state of panic; the settlers were
abandoning their homes and fleeing as the Mexicans advanced; but Sam
Houston kept the field with a spirit like that which had animated the
gallant Travis.

As the Mexicans advanced Houston slowly retreated. He was manoeuvring
for time and place, and seeking to increase his force. Finally, after
having brought up his small army to something over seven hundred men, he
took a stand on Buffalo Bayou, a deep, narrow stream flowing into the
San Jacinto River, resolved there to strike a blow for Texan
independence. It was a forlorn hope, for against him was marshalled the
far greater force of the Mexican army. But Houston gave his men a
watchword that added to their courage the hot fire of revenge. After
making them an eloquent and impassioned address, he fired their souls
with the war-cry of "Remember the Alamo!"

Soon afterward the Mexican bugles rang out over the prairie, announcing
the approach of the vanguard of their army, eighteen hundred strong.
They were well appointed, and made a showy display as they marched
across the plain. Houston grimly watched their approach. Turning to his
own sparse ranks, he said, "Men, there is the enemy; do you wish to
fight?" "We do," came in a fierce shout. "Well, then, remember it is
for liberty or death! _Remember the Alamo!_"

As they stood behind their light breastworks, ready for an attack, if it
should be made, a lieutenant came galloping up, his horse covered with
foam. As he drew near he shouted along the lines, "I've cut down Vince's
bridge." This was a bridge which both armies had used in coming to the
battle-field. General Houston had ordered its destruction. Its fall left
the vanquished in that day's fight without hope of escape.

Santa Anna evidently was not ready for an immediate assault. His men
halted and intrenched themselves. But Houston did not propose to delay.
At three in the afternoon, while many of the Mexican officers were
enjoying their siesta in perfect confidence, Santa Anna himself being
asleep, the word to charge passed from rank to rank along the Texan
front, and in a moment the whole line advanced at double-quick time,
filling the air with vengeful cries of "Remember the Alamo! Remember

The Mexican troops sprang to their arms and awaited the attack,
reserving their fire until the patriots were within sixty paces. Then
they poured forth a volley which, fortunately for the Texans, went over
their heads, though a ball struck General Houston's ankle, inflicting a
very painful wound. Yet, though bleeding and suffering, the old hero
kept to his saddle till the action was at an end.

The Texans made no reply to the fire of the foe until within
pistol-shot, and then poured their leaden hail into the very bosoms of
the Mexicans. Hundreds of them fell. There was no time to reload. Having
no bayonets, the Texans clubbed their rifles and rushed in fury upon the
foe, still rending the air with their wild war-cry of "Remember the
Alamo!" The Mexicans were utterly unprepared for this furious
hand-to-hand assault, and quickly broke before the violent onset.

On all sides they gave way. On the left the Texans penetrated the
woodland; the Mexicans fled. On the right their cavalry charged that of
Santa Anna, which quickly broke and sought safety in flight. In the
centre they stormed the breastworks, took the enemy's artillery and
drove them back in dismay. In fifteen minutes after the charge the
Mexicans were in panic flight, the Texans in mad pursuit. Scarce an hour
had passed since the patriots left their works, and the battle was won.

Such was the consternation of the Mexicans, so sudden and utter their
rout, that their cannon were left loaded and their movables untouched.
Those who were asleep awoke only in time to flee; those who were cooking
their dinner left it uneaten; those who were playing their favorite game
of monte left it unfinished. The pursuit was kept up till nightfall, by
which time the bulk of the Mexican army were prisoners of war. The
victory had been won almost without loss. Only seven of the Texans were
killed and twenty-three wounded. The Mexican loss was six hundred and
thirty, while seven hundred and thirty were made prisoners.

But the man they most wanted was still at large. Santa Anna was not
among the captives. On the morning of the following day, April 22, the
Texan cavalry, scouring the country for prisoners, with a sharp eye open
for the hated leader of the foe, saw a Mexican whom they loudly bade to
surrender. At their demand he fell on the grass and threw a blanket over
his head. They had to call on him several times to rise before he slowly
dragged himself to his feet. Then he went up to Sylvester, the leader of
the party, and kissed his hand, asking if he was General Houston.

The man was evidently half beside himself with fright. He was only a
private soldier, he declared; but when his captors pointed to the fine
studs in the bosom of his shirt he burst into tears and declared that he
was an aide to Santa Anna. The truth came out as the captors brought him
back to camp, passing the prisoners, many of whom cried out, "El
Presidente." It was evidently Santa Anna himself. The President of
Mexico was a prisoner and Texas was free! When the trembling captive was
brought before Houston, he said, "General, you can afford to be
generous,--you have conquered the Napoleon of the West." Had Houston
done full justice to this Napoleon of the West he would have hung him on
the spot. As it was, his captors proved generous and his life was

The victory of San Jacinto struck the fetters from the hands of Texas.
No further attempt was made to conquer it, and General Houston became
the hero and the first president of the new republic. When Texas was
made a part of the United States, Houston was one of its first senators,
and in later years he served as governor of the State. His splendid
victory had made him its favorite son.


The Mexican War, brief as was its period of operations in the field, was
marked by many deeds of daring, and also was the scene of the first
service in the field of various officers who afterward became prominent
in the Civil War. Chief among these were the two great leaders on the
opposite sides, General Lee and General Grant. Lee's services in the
campaign which Scott conducted against the city of Mexico were
especially brilliant, and are likely to be less familiar to the reader
than any incident drawn from his well-known record in the Civil War. The
most striking among them was his midnight crossing of the lava-fields
before Contreras.

On the 19th of August, 1847, Scott's army lay in and around San
Augustin, a place situated on a branch of the main road running south
from the city of Mexico. This road divided into two at Churubusco, the
other branch running near Contreras. Between these two roads and a ridge
of hills south of San Augustin extended a triangular region known as the
Pedregal, and about as ugly a place to cross as any ground could well

It was made up of a vast spread of volcanic rock and scoriæ, rent and
broken into a thousand forms, and with sharp ridges and deep fissures,
making it very difficult for foot-soldiers to get over, and quite
impassable for cavalry or artillery. It was like a sea of hardened lava,
with no signs of vegetation except a few clumps of bushes and dwarf
trees that found footing in the rocks. The only road across it was a
difficult, crooked, and barely passable pathway, little better than a
mule track, leading from San Augustin to the main road from the city of

On the plateau beyond this sterile region the Mexicans had gathered in
force. Just beyond it General Valencia lay intrenched, with his fine
division of about six thousand men and twenty-four guns, commanding the
approach from San Augustin. A mile or more north of Contreras lay
General Santa Anna, his force holding the main city road.

Such was the situation of the respective armies at the date given, with
the Pedregal separating them. Captain Lee, who had already done
excellent engineering service at Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo, assisted by
Lieutenants Beauregard and Tower of the engineers, had carefully
reconnoitred the position of the enemy, and on the morning of the 19th
the advance from San Augustin began, Captain Lee accompanying the troops
in their arduous passage across the Pedregal. One of those present thus
describes the exploit:

"Late in the morning of the 19th the brigade of which my regiment was a
part (Riley's) was sent out from San Augustin in the direction of
Contreras. We soon struck a region over which it was said no horses
could go, and men only with difficulty. No road was available; my
regiment was in advance, my company leading, and its point of direction
was a church-spire at or near Contreras. Taking the lead, we soon struck
the Pedregal, a field of volcanic rock like boiling scoria suddenly
solidified, pathless, precipitous, and generally compelling rapid gait
in order to spring from point to point of rock, on which two feet could
not rest and which cut through our shoes. A fall on this sharp material
would have seriously cut and injured one, whilst the effort to climb
some of it cut the hands.

"Just before reaching the main road from Contreras to the city of Mexico
we reached a watery ravine, the sides of which were nearly
perpendicular, up which I had to be pushed and then to pull others. On
looking back over this bed of lava or scoria, I saw the troops, much
scattered, picking their way very slowly; while of my own company, some
eighty or ninety strong, only five men crossed with me or during some
twenty minutes after.

"With these five I examined the country beyond, and struck upon the
small guard of a paymaster's park, which, from the character of the
country over which we had passed, was deemed perfectly safe from
capture. My men gained a paymaster's chest well filled with bags of
silver dollars, and the firing and fuss we made both frightened the
guard with the belief that the infernals were upon them and made our
men hasten to our support.

"Before sundown all of Riley's, and I believe of Cadwallader's, Smith's,
and Pierce's brigades, were over, and by nine o' clock a council of war,
presided over by Persifer Smith and counselled by Captain R. E. Lee, was
held at the church. I have always understood that what was devised and
finally determined upon was suggested by Captain Lee; at all events, the
council was closed by his saying that he desired to return to General
Scott with the decision of General Smith, and that, as it was late, the
decision must be given as soon as possible, since General Scott wished
him to return in time to give directions for co-operation.

"During the council, and for hours after, the rain fell in torrents,
whilst the darkness was so intense that one could move only by groping.
To illustrate: my company again led the way to gain the Mexican rear,
and when, after two hours of motion, light broke sufficiently to enable
us to see a companion a few feet off, we had not moved four hundred
yards, and the only persons present were half a dozen officers and one

Much is said of the perils of war and of the courage necessary to face
them. But who would not rather face a firing-line of infantry in full
daylight than to venture alone in such a dark and stormy night as was
this upon such a perilous and threatening region as the Pedregal, in
which a misstep in the darkness would surely lead to wounds and perhaps
to death. Its crossing, under such conditions, might well be deemed
impossible, had not Captain Lee succeeded, borne up by his strong sense
of duty, in this daring enterprise.

General Scott, who was very anxious to know the position of the advance
forces, had sent out seven officers about sundown with instructions to
the troops at Contreras, but they had all returned, completely baffled
by the insuperable difficulties of the way. Not a man except Robert E.
Lee had the daring, skill, and persistence to cross this region of
volcanic knife-blades on that night of rain and gloom.

The writer above quoted from says, "History gives him the credit of
having succeeded, but it has always seemed incredible to me when I
recollect the distance amid darkness and storm, and the dangers of the
Pedregal which he must have traversed. Scarcely a step could be taken
without danger of death; but that to him, a true soldier, was the
willing risk of duty in a good cause."

General Scott adds his testimony to this by saying, after mentioning the
failure of the officers sent out by him, "But the gallant and
indefatigable Captain Lee, of the engineers, who has been constantly
with the operating forces, is just in from Shields, Smith, Cadwallader,
etc., to report, and to request that a powerful diversion be made
against the centre of the intrenched camp to-morrow morning."

Scott subsequently gave the following testimony to the same effect:
"Captain Lee, engineers, came to me from the hamlet (Contreras) with a
message from Brigadier-General Smith, about midnight. He, having passed
over the difficult ground by daylight, found it just possible to return
to San Augustin in the dark,--_the greatest feat of physical and moral
courage performed by any individual, in my knowledge, pending the

This praise is certainly not misapplied, when we remember that Lee
passed over miles of the kind of ground above described in a pitch-dark
night, without light or companion, with no guide but the wind as it
drove the pelting rain against his face, or an occasional flash of
lightning, and with the danger of falling into the hands of Valencia or
Santa Anna if he should happen to stray to the right or the left. It is
doubtful if another man in the army would have succeeded in such an
enterprise, if any one had had the courage to attempt it. It took a man
of the caliber which Robert E. Lee afterward proved himself to possess
to perform such a deed of daring.

We may briefly describe Lee's connection with the subsequent events. He
bore an important part in the operations against the Mexicans, guiding
the troops when they set out about three o'clock in the morning on a
tedious march through darkness, rain, and mud; an elevation in the rear
of the enemy's forces being gained about sunrise. An assault was at once
made on the surprised Mexicans, their intrenchments were stormed, and in
seventeen minutes after the charge began they were in full flight and
the American flag was floating proudly above their works.

Thus ended the battle of Contreras. Captain Lee was next sent to
reconnoitre the well fortified stronghold of Coyacan, while another
reconnaissance was made towards Churubusco, one mile distant. After Lee
had completed his task, he was ordered to conduct Pierce's brigade by a
third road, to a point from which an attack could be made on the enemy's
right and rear. Shields was ordered to follow Pierce closely and take
command of the left wing.

The battle soon raged violently along the whole line. Shields, in his
exposed position, was hard pressed and in danger of being crushed by
overwhelming forces. In this alarming situation Captain Lee made his way
to General Scott to report the impending disaster, and led back two
troops of the Second Dragoons and the Rifles to the support of the left
wing. The affair ended in the repulse of the enemy and victory for the
Americans. Soon after a third victory was won at the Molino del Rey.

Scott's army was now rapidly approaching the city of Mexico, the central
point of all these operations, and the engineer officers, Captain Lee,
Lieutenant Beauregard, and others, were kept busy in reconnaissances,
which they performed with daring and success. Then quickly followed the
boldest and most spectacular exploit of the war, the brilliant charge up
the steep heights of Chapultepec, a hill that bristled with walls,
mines, and batteries, and whose summit was crowned with a powerful
fortress, swarming with confident defenders.

Up this hill went the American infantry like so many panthers, bounding
impetuously onward in face of the hot fire from the Mexican works,
scaling crags, clambering up declivities, all with a fiery valor and
intrepidity which nothing could check, until the heights were carried,
the works scaled, and the enemy put to flight. In this charge, one of
the most brilliant in American history, Captain Lee took an active part,
till he was disabled by a severe wound and loss of blood. General Scott
again speaks of his service here in complimentary words, saying that he
was "as distinguished for felicitous execution as for science and
daring," and also stating that "Captain Lee, so constantly
distinguished, also bore important orders from me, until he fainted from
a wound and the loss of two nights' sleep at the batteries."

Scott, indeed, had an exalted opinion of Lee's remarkable military
abilities, and Hon. Reverdy Johnson has stated that he "had heard
General Scott more than once say that his success in Mexico was largely
due to the skill, valor, and undaunted energy of Robert E. Lee." In
later years Scott said, "Lee is the greatest military genius in

Lee's services were not left without reward. He received successively
the brevet rank of major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, the latter
for his service at Chapultepec. The victory at this point was the
culminating event of the war. Shortly afterward the Mexican capital was
occupied, and the Mexicans soon gave up the contest as hopeless. A new
Cortez was in their streets, who was not to be got rid of except at a
heavy sacrifice.

As to how Lee occupied himself during this period, we may quote an
anecdote coming from General Magruder.

"After the fall of Mexico, when the American army was enjoying the ease
and relaxation which it had bought by toil and blood, a brilliant
assembly of officers sat over their wine discussing the operations of
the capture and indulging hopes of a speedy return to the United States.

"One among them rose to propose the health of the Captain of Engineers
who had found a way for the army into the city, and then it was remarked
that Captain Lee was absent. Magruder was despatched to bring him to the
hall, and, departing on his mission, at last found the object of his
search in a remote room of the palace, busy on a map. Magruder accosted
him and reproached him for his absence. The earnest worker looked up
from his labors with the calm, mild gaze which was so characteristic of
the man, and, pointing to his instruments, shook his head.

"'But,' said Magruder, in his impetuous way, 'this is mere drudgery.
Make somebody else do it, and come with me.'

"'No,' was the reply; 'no, I am but doing my duty.'"

This is very significant of Lee's subsequent character, in which the
demands of duty always outweighed any thought of pleasure or relaxation,
and in which his remarkable ability as an engineer was of inestimable
advantage to the cause he served.


Shall we not break for a time from our record of special tales and let
fall on our pages a bit of winter sunshine from the South, the story of
a Christmas festival in the land of the rose and magnolia? It is a story
which has been repeated so many successive seasons in the life of the
South that it has grown to be a part of its being, the joyous festal
period in the workday world of the year. The writer once spent Christmas
as a guest in the manor house of old Major Delmar, "away down South,"
and feels like halting to tell the tale of genial merrymaking and
free-hearted enjoyment on that gladsome occasion.

On the plantation, Christmas is the beginning and end of the calendar.
Time is measured by the days "before Christmas" or the days "since
Christmas." There are other seasons of holiday and enjoyment, alike for
black and white, but "The Holidays" has one meaning only: it is the
merry Christmas time, when the work of the year past is ended and that
of the year to come not begun, and when pleasure and jollity rule

A hearty, whole-souled, genial host and kindly, considerate master was
the old major, in the days of his reign, "before the war," and
fortunate was he who received an invitation to spend the midwinter
festival season under his hospitable roof. It was always crowded with
well-chosen guests. The members of the family came in from near and far;
friends were invited in wholesome numbers; an atmosphere of good-will
spread all around, from master and mistress downward through the young
fry and to the dusky-faced house-servants and plantation hands;
everybody, great and small, old and young, black and white, was glad at
heart when the merry Christmas time came round.


As the Yule-tide season approached the work of the plantation was
rounded up and everything got ready for the festival. The corn was all
in the cribs; the hog-killing was at an end, the meat salted or cured,
the lard tried out, the sausage-meat made. The mince-meat was ready for
the Christmas pies, the turkeys were fattened, especially the majestic
"old gobbler," whose generous weight was to grace the great dish on the
manor-house table. The presents were all ready,--new shoes, winter
clothes, and other useful gifts for the slaves; less useful but more
artistic and ornamental remembrances for the household and guests. All
this took no small thought and labor, but it was a labor of love, for
was it not all meant to make the coming holiday a merry, happy time?

I well remember the jolly stir of it all, for my visit spread over the
days of busy preparation. In the woods the axe was busy at work,
cutting through the tough hickory trunks. Other wood might serve for
other seasons, but nothing but good old hickory would do to kindle the
Christmas fires. All day long the laden wagons creaked and rumbled along
the roads, bringing in the solid logs, and in the wood-yards the shining
axes rang, making the white chips fly, as the great logs were chopped
down to the requisite length.

From the distant station came the groaning ox-cart, laden with boxes
from the far-off city, boxes full of mysterious wares, the black driver
seeking to look as if curiosity did not rend his soul while he stolidly
drove with his precious goods to the store-room. Here they were unloaded
with mirthful haste, jokes passing among the laughing workers as to what
"massa" or "mistis" was going to give them out of those heavy crates.
The opening of these boxes added fuel to the growing excitement, as the
well-wrapped-up parcels were taken out, in some cases openly, in others
with a mysterious secrecy that doubled the curiosity and added to the
season's charm.

There was another feature of the work of preparation in which all were
glad to take part, the gathering of the evergreens--red-berried holly,
mistletoe with its glistening pearls, ground-pine, moss, and other wood
treasures--for the decoration of parlor, hall, and dining-room, and,
above all, of the old village church, a gleeful labor in which the whole
neighborhood took part, and helpers came from miles away. Young men and
blooming maidens alike joined in, some as artists in decoration, others
as busy workers, and all as merry aids.

Days rolled on while all this was being done,--the wood chopped and
heaped away in the wood-sheds and under the back portico; the church and
house made as green as spring-tide with their abundant decorations,
tastefully arranged in wreaths and folds and circles, with the great
green "Merrie Christmas" welcoming all comers from over the high parlor
mantel. All was finished in ample time before the day of Christmas Eve
arrived, though there were dozens of final touches still to be made,
last happy thoughts that had to be worked out in green, red, or white.

On that same day came the finish which all had wished but scarcely dared
hoped for, a fleecy fall of snow that drifted in feathery particles down
through the still atmosphere, and covered the ground with an inch-deep
carpet of white. I well remember old Delmar, with his wrinkled, kindly
face and abundant white hair, and his "By Jove, isn't that just the
thing!" as he stood on the porch and looked with boyish glee at the
fast-falling flakes. And I remember as well his sweet-faced wife, small,
delicate, yet still pretty in her old age, and placidly sharing his
enjoyment of the spectacle, rare enough in that climate, in spite of the
tradition that a freeze and a snow-fall always came with the Christmas

Christmas Eve! That was a time indeed! Parlor and hall, porch and
wood-shed, all were well enough in their way, but out in the kitchen
busy things were going on without which the whole festival would have
been sadly incomplete. The stoves were heaped with hickory and glowing
with ardent heat, their ovens crammed full of toothsome preparations,
while about the tables and shelves clustered the mistress of the place
and her regiment of special assistants, many of them famous for their
skill in some branch of culinary art, their glistening faces and shining
teeth testifying to their pride in their one special talent.

Pies and puddings, cakes and tarts, everything that could be got ready
in advance, were being drawn from the ovens and heaped on awaiting
shelves, while a dozen hands busied themselves in getting ready the
turkey and game and the other essentials of the coming feast that had to
wait till the next day for their turn at the heated ovens.

As the day moved on the excitement grew. Visitors were expected: the
boys from college with their invited chums; sons and grandsons, aunts
and cousins, and invited guests, from near and far. And not only these,
but "hired out" servants from neighboring towns, whose terms were fixed
from New Year to Christmas, so that they could spend the holiday week at
home, made their appearance and were greeted with as much hilarious
welcome in the cabins as were the white guests in the mansion. In the
manor house itself they were welcomed like home-coming members of the
family, as, already wearing their presents of new winter clothes, they
came to pay their "respecs to massa and mistis."

As the day went on the carriages were sent to the railroad station for
the expected visitors, old and young, and a growing impatience testified
to the warmth of welcome with which their arrival would be greeted. They
are late--to be late seems a fixed feature of the situation, especially
when the roads are heavy with unwonted snow. Night has fallen, the stars
are out in the skies, before the listening ears on the porch first catch
the distant creak of wheels and axles. The glow of the wood-fires on the
hearths and of candles on table and mantel is shining out far over the
snow when at length the carriages come in sight, laden outside and in
with trunks and passengers, whose cheery voices and gay calls have
already heralded their approach.

What a time there is when they arrive, the boys and girls tumbling and
leaping out and flying up the steps, to be met with warm embraces or
genial welcomes; the elders coming more sedately, to be received with
earnest handclasps and cordial greetings, Never was there a happier man
than the old major when he saw his house filled with guests, and bade
the strangers welcome with a dignified, but earnest, courtesy. But when
the younger comers stormed him, with their glad shouts of "uncle" or
"grandpa" or other titles of relationship, and their jovial echo of
"Merry Christmas," the warm-hearted old fellow seemed fairly transformed
into a boy again. Guest as I was, I felt quite taken off my feet by the
flood of greetings, and was swept into the general overflow of high
spirits and joyful welcomes.

The frosty poll of the major and the silvery hair of his good wife were
significant of venerable age, but there were younger people in the
family, and with them a fair sprinkling of children. Of these the
diminutive stockings were duly hung in a row over the big fireplace,
waiting for the expected coming of Santa Claus, while their late wearers
were soon huddled in bed, though with little hope of sleep in the
excitement and sense of enchantment that surrounded them. Their
disappearance made little void in the crowd that filled the parlor, a
gay and merry throng, full of the spirit of fun and hearty enjoyment,
and thoroughly genuine in their mirth, not a grain of airiness or
ostentation marring their pleasure, though in its way it was as refined
as in more showy circles.

Morning dawned,--Christmas morning. Little chance was there for
sleepy-heads to indulge themselves that sunny Yule-tide morn. The stir
began long before the late sun had risen, that of the children first of
all; stealing about like tiny, white-clad spectres, with bulging
stockings clasped tightly in their arms; craftily opening bedroom doors
and shouting "Christmas gift!" at drowsy slumberers, then scurrying away
and seeking the hearth-side, whose embers yielded light enough for a
first glance at their treasures.

Soon the opening and closing of doors was heard, and one by one the
older inmates of the mansion appeared, with warm "Merry Christmas"
greetings, and all so merry-hearted that the breakfast-table was a
constant round of quips and jokes, and of stories of pranks played in
the night by representatives of Santa Claus. Where all are bent on
having a good time, it is wonderful how little will serve to kindle
laughter and set joy afloat.

Aside from the church-going,--with the hymns and anthems sung in concert
and the reading of the service,--the special event of the day was the
distribution of the mysterious contents of the great boxes which had
come days before. There were presents for every one; nobody, guest or
member of the family, was forgotten, and whether costly, or homely but
useful, the gifts seemed to give equal joy. It was the season of
good-will, in which the kindly thought, not the costliness of the gift,
was alone considered, and when all tokens of kindliness were accepted in
the same spirit of gratefulness and enjoyment.

A special feature of a Christmas on the plantation, especially "before
the war," was the row of shining, happy black faces that swarmed up to
the great house in the morning light, with their mellow outcry of "Merry
Christmas, massa!" "Merry Christmas, missis!" and their hopeful looks
and eyes bulging with expectation. Joyful was the time when their gifts
were handed out,--useful articles of clothing, household goods, and the
like, all gladly and hilariously received, with a joy as childlike as
that of the little ones with their stockings. Off they tripped merrily
through the snow with their burdens, laughing and joking, to their
cabins, where dinners awaited them which were humble copies of that
preparing for the guests at the master's table. Turkey was not wanting,
varied here and there by that rare dish of raccoon or "'possum" which
the Southern darky so highly enjoys.

The great event of the mansion house was the dinner. All day till the
dinner-hour the kitchen was full of busy preparation for this crowning
culmination of the festival. Cooks there were in plenty, and the din of
their busy labor and the perfume of their culinary triumphs seemed to
pervade the whole house.

When the dinner was served, it was a sight to behold. The solid old
mahogany table groaned with the weight laid upon it. In the place of
honor was the big gobbler, brown as a berry and done to a turn. For
those who preferred other meat there was a huge round of venison and an
artistically ornamented ham. These formed the backbone of the feast, but
with and around them were every vegetable and delicacy that a Southern
garden could provide, and tasteful dishes which it took all the
ingenuity of a trained mistress of the kitchen to prepare. This was the
season to test the genius of the dusky Southern cooks, and they had
exhausted their art and skill for that day's feast. On the ample
sideboard, shining with glass, was the abundant dessert, the cakes,
pies, puddings, and other aids to a failing appetite that had been
devised the day before.

That this dinner was done honor to need scarcely be said. The journey
the day before and the outdoor exercise in that day's frosty air had
given every one an excellent appetite, and the appearance of the table
at the end of the feast showed that the skill of Aunt Dinah and her
assistants had been amply appreciated. After dinner came apple-toddy and
eggnog, and the great ovation to the Christmas good cheer was at an end.

But the festival was not over. Games and dances followed the feast. The
piano-top was lifted, and light fingers rattled out lively music to
which a hundred flying feet quickly responded. Country-dances they were,
the lancers and quadrilles. Round dances were still looked upon in that
rural locality as an improper innovation. The good old major, in his
frock coat and high collar, started the ball, seizing the prettiest girl
by the hand and leading her to the head of the room, while the others
quickly followed in pairs. Thus, with the touch of nimble fingers on the
ivory keys and the tap of feet and the whirl of skirts over the unwaxed
floor, mingled with jest and mirth, the evening passed gayly on, the
old-fashioned Virginia reel closing the ball and bringing the day's busy
reign of festivity to an end.

But the whites did not have all the fun to themselves. The colored
folks had their parties and festivities as well, their mistresses
superintending the suppers and decorating the tables with their own
hands, while ladies and gentlemen from the mansion came to look on, an
attention which was considered a compliment by the ebon guests. And the
Christmas season rarely passed without a colored wedding, the holidays
being specially chosen for this interesting ceremony.

The dining-room or the hall of the mansion often served for this
occasion, the master joining in matrimony the happy couple; or a colored
preacher might perform the ceremony in the quarters. But in either case
the event went gayly off, the family attending to get what amusement
they could out of the occasion, while the mistress arranged the
trousseau for the dusky bride.

But it is with the one Christmas only that we are here concerned, and
that ended as happily and merrily as it had begun, midnight passing
before the festivities came to an end. How many happy dreams followed
the day of joy and how many nightmares the heavy feast is more than we
are prepared to put on record.


The outbreak of the Civil War, the most momentous conflict of recent
times, was marked by a wave of fervent enthusiasm in the States of the
South which swept with the swiftness of a prairie fire over the land.
Pouring in multitudes into the centres of enlistment, thousands and tens
of thousands of stalwart men offered their services in defence of their
cause, gathering into companies and regiments far more rapidly than they
could be absorbed. This state of affairs, indeed, existed in the North
as well as in the South, but it is with the extraordinary fervor of
patriotism in the latter that we are here concerned, and especially with
the very interesting experience of General John B. Gordon, as related by
him in his "Reminiscences of the Civil War."

When the war began Gordon, as he tells us, was practically living in
three States. His house was in Alabama, his post-office in Tennessee,
and he was engaged in coal-mining enterprises in the mountains of
Georgia, the locality being where these three States meet in a point. No
sooner was the coming conflict in the air than the stalwart mountaineers
of the mining district became wild with eagerness to fight for the
Confederacy, and Gordon, in whom the war spirit burned as hotly as in
any of them, needed but a word to gather about him a company of
volunteers. They unanimously elected him their captain, and organized
themselves at once into a cavalry company, most of them, like so many of
the sons of the South, much preferring to travel on horseback than on

As yet the war was only a probability, and no volunteers had been called
for. But with the ardor that had brought them together, Gordon's company
hastened to offer their services, only to be met with the laconic and
disappointing reply, "No cavalry now needed."

What was to be done? They did not relish the idea of giving up their
horses, yet they wanted to fight still more than to ride, and the fear
came upon them that if they waited till cavalry was needed they might be
quite lost sight of in that mountain corner and the war end before they
could take a hand in it. This notion of a quick end to the war was
common enough at that early day, very few foreseeing the vastness of the
coming conflict; and, dreading that they might be left out in the cold,
the ardent mountaineers took a vote on the question, "Shall we dismount
and go as infantry?" This motion was carried with a shout of approval,
and away went the stalwart recruits without arms, without uniform,
without military training, with little beyond the thirst to fight, the
captain knowing hardly more of military tactics than his men. They had
courage and enthusiasm, and felt that all things besides would come to

As for arms suitable for modern warfare, the South at that time was
sadly lacking in them. Men looked up their old double-barrelled
shot-guns and squirrel rifles, and Governor Brown, of Georgia, set men
at work making what were called "Joe Brown's pikes," being a sort of
steel-pointed lances or bayonets on poles, like those used by pikemen in
mediæval warfare. In modern war they were about as useful as
knitting-needles would have been. Governor Brown knew this well enough,
but the volunteers were coming in such numbers and were so eager to
fight that the pikes were made more to satisfy them than with hope of
their being of any service in actual war.

Gordon's company was among the earliest of these volunteers. Reluctantly
leaving their horses, and not waiting for orders, they bade a quick
adieu to all they had held dear and set off cheerily for Milledgeville,
then the capital of Georgia. They were destined to a sad disappointment.
On reaching Atlanta they were met by a telegram from the governor, who
had been advised of their coming, telling them to go back home and wait
until advised that they were wanted.

This was like a shower of cold water poured on the ardor of the
volunteers. Go home? After they had cut loose from their homes and
started for the war? They would do nothing of the kind; they were on
foot to fight and would not consent to be turned back by Governor Brown
or any one else. The captain felt very much like his men. He too was an
eager Confederate patriot, but his position was one demanding obedience
to the constituted authorities, and by dint of much persuasion and a
cautious exercise of his new authority he induced his men to board the
train heading back for their homes.

But the repressed anger of the rebellious mountaineers broke forth again
when the engine-bell rang and the whistle gave its shrill starting
signal. Some of the men rushed forward and tore out the coupling of the
foremost car, and the engine was left in condition to make its journey
alone. While the trainmen looked on in astonishment the mountaineers
sprang from the train, gathered round their captain, and told him that
they had made up their minds on the matter and were not going back. They
had enlisted for the war and intended to go to it; if Governor Brown
would not take them, some other governor would.

There was nothing left for the young captain but to lead his
undisciplined and rebellious company through Atlanta in search of a
suitable camping-place. Their disregard of discipline did not trouble
him greatly, for in his heart he sympathized with them, and he knew well
that in their rude earnestness was the stuff of which good soldiers are

Gordon gives an interesting and amusing description of the appearance
his men made and the interest they excited in Atlanta's streets. These
were filled with citizens, who looked upon the motley crew with a
feeling in which approval was tempered by mirth. The spectacle of the
march--or rather the straggle--of the mountaineers was one not soon to
be forgotten. Utterly untrained in marching, they walked at will, no two
keeping step, while no two were dressed alike. There were almost as many
different hues and cuts in their raiment as there were men in their
ranks. The nearest approach to a uniform was in their rough fur caps
made of raccoon skins, and with the streaked and bushy tail of the
raccoon hanging down behind.

The amusement of the people was mingled with curiosity. "Are you the
captain of this company?" some of them asked Gordon, who was rather
proud of his men and saw nothing of the grotesque in their appearance.

"I am, sir," he replied, in a satisfied tone.

"What company is it, captain?"

As yet the company had no name other than one which he had chosen as
fine sounding and suitable, but had not yet mentioned to the men.

"This company is the Mountain Rifles," said the captain, proudly.

His pride was destined to a fall. From a tall mountaineer in the ranks
came, in words not intended for his ears, but plainly audible, the
disconcerting words,--

"Mountain hell! We are no Mountain Rifles. We are the Raccoon Roughs."

And Raccoon Roughs they continued through all the war, Gordon's
fine-spun name being never heard of again. The feeble remnant of the
war-scarred company which was mustered out at Appomattox was still
known as Raccoon Roughs.

Who would have them, since Governor Brown would not, was now the
question. Telegrams sped out right and left to governors of other
States, begging a chance for the upland patriots. An answer came at
length from Governor Moore, of Alabama, who consented to incorporate the
Raccoon Roughs and their captain in one of the new regiments he was
organizing. Gordon gladly read the telegram to his eager company, and
from their hundred throats came the first example of the "rebel yell" he
had ever heard,--a wild and thrilling roar that was to form the
inspiration to many a mad charge in later years.

No time was lost by the gallant fellows in setting out on their journey
to Montgomery. As they went on they found the whole country in a blaze
of enthusiasm. No one who saw the scene would have doubted for a moment
that the South was an ardent unit in support of its cause. By day the
troop trains were wildly cheered as they passed; at night bonfires
blazed on the hills and torchlight processions paraded the streets of
the towns. As no cannon were at hand to salute the incoming volunteers,
blacksmith anvils took their place, ringing with the blows of hammers
swung by muscular arms. Every station was a throng of welcoming people,
filling the air with shouts and the lively sound of fife and drum, and
bearing banners of all sizes and shapes, on which Southern independence
was proclaimed and the last dollar and man pledged to the cause. The
women were out as enthusiastically as the men; staid matrons and ardent
maids springing upon the cars, pinning blue cockades on the lapels of
the new soldiers' coats, and singing the war-songs already in vogue, the
favorite "Dixie" and the "Bonnie Blue Flag," in whose chorus the harsh
voices of the Raccoon Boughs mingled with the musical tones of their
fair admirers.

Montgomery was at length reached to find it thronged with shouting
volunteers, every man of them burning with enthusiasm. Mingled with them
were visiting statesmen and patriotic citizens, for that city was the
cradle of the new-born Confederacy and the centre of Southern
enthusiasm. Every heart was full of hope, every face marked with energy,
a prayer for the success of the cause on every lip. Never had more
fervent and universal enthusiasm been seen. On the hills and around the
capital cannon boomed welcome to the inflowing volunteers, wagons
rumbled by carrying arms and ammunition to the camps, on every street
marched untrained but courageous recruits. As for the Raccoon Roughs,
Governor Moore kept his word, assigning them to a place in the Sixth
Alabama Regiment, of which Captain Gordon, unexpectedly and against his
wishes, was unanimously elected major.

Such were the scenes which the coming war excited in the far South, such
the fervid enthusiasm with which the coming conflict for Southern
independence was hailed. So vast was the number of volunteers, in
companies and in regiments, each eager to be accepted, that the Hon.
Leroy P. Walker, the first Secretary of War of the Confederacy, was
fairly overwhelmed by the flood of applicants that poured in on him day
and night. Their captains and colonels waylaid him on the streets to
urge the immediate acceptance of their services, and he was obliged to
seek his office by roundabout ways to avoid the flood of importunities.
It is said that before the Confederate government left Montgomery for
Richmond, about three hundred and sixty thousand volunteers, very many
of them from the best element of the Southern population, had offered to
devote their lives and fortunes to their country's cause.

Many striking examples of this outburst of enthusiasm and patriotic
devotion might be adduced, but we must content ourselves with one, cited
as an instance in point by General Gordon. This was the case of Mr. W.
C. Heyward, of South Carolina, a West Point graduate and a man of
fortune and position. The Confederate government was no sooner organized
than Mr. Heyward sought Montgomery, tendering his services and those of
a full regiment enlisted by him for the war. Such was the pressure upon
the authorities, and so far beyond the power of absorption at that time
the offers of volunteers, that Mr. Heyward sought long in vain for an
interview with the Secretary of War. When this was at last obtained he
found the ranks so filled that it was impossible to accept his
regiment. Returning home in deep disappointment, but with his patriotism
unquenched, this wealthy and trained soldier joined the Home Guards and
died in the war as a private in the ranks.

Such was the unanimity with which the sons of the South, hosts of them
armed with no better weapons than old-fashioned flint and steel muskets,
double-barrelled shot-guns, and long-barrelled squirrel rifles, rushed
to the defence of their States, with a spontaneous and burning
enthusiasm that has never been surpassed. The impulse of self-defence
was uppermost in their hearts. It was not the question of the
preservation of slavery that sustained them in the terrible conflict for
four years of desolating war. It was far more that of the sovereignty of
the States. The South maintained that the Union formed under the
Constitution was one of consent and not of force; that each State
retained the right to resume its independence on sufficient cause, and
that the Constitution gave no warrant for the attempt to invade and
coerce a sovereign State. It was for this, not to preserve slavery, that
the people sprang as one man to arms and fought as men had rarely fought


Of all the minor operations of the Civil War, the one most marked at
once by daring and success was the pioneer invasion of the Northern
States, the notable Chambersburg raid of the most famous cavalry leader
of the Confederacy, General J. E. B. Stuart. This story of bold venture
and phenomenal good fortune, though often told, is worth giving again in
its interesting details.

The interim after the battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam was one of rest
and recuperation in both the armies engaged. During this period the
cavalry of Lee's army was encamped in the vicinity of Charlestown, some
ten miles to the southward of Harper's Ferry. Stuart's head-quarters
were located under the splendid oaks which graced the lawn of "The
Bower," whose proprietor, Mr. A. S. Dandridge, entertained the officers
with an open-hearted and genial hospitality which made their stay one of
great pleasure and enjoyment.

There were warriors in plenty who would not have been hasty to break up
that agreeable period of rest and social intercourse, but Stuart was not
of that class. He felt that he must be up and doing, demonstrating that
the Army of Northern Virginia had not gone to sleep; and the early days
of October, 1862, saw a stir about head-quarters which indicated that
something out of the ordinary was afoot. During the evening of the 8th
the officers were engaged in a lively social intercourse with the ladies
of "The Bower," the entertainment ending in a serenade in which the
banjo and fiddle took chief part. Warlike affairs seemed absent from the
thoughts of all, with the exception that the general devoted more time
than usual to his papers.

[Illustration: COLONIAL MANSION.]

With the morning of the 9th a new state of affairs came on. The roads
suddenly appeared full of well-mounted and well-appointed troopers,
riding northward with jingling reins and genial calls, while the cheery
sound of the bugle rang through the fresh morning air. There were
eighteen hundred of these horsemen, selected from the best mounted and
most trustworthy men in the corps, for they were chosen for an
expedition that would need all their resources of alertness, activity,
and self-control, no less a one than an invasion of Pennsylvania, a
perilous enterprise in which the least error might expose them all to
capture or death.

On reaching the appointed place of rendezvous, at Darksville, Stuart
issued an address in which he advised his followers that the enterprise
in which they were to engage demanded the greatest coolness, decision,
and courage, implicit obedience to orders, and the strictest order and
sobriety. While the full purpose of the expedition must still be kept
secret, he said, it was one in which success would reflect the highest
credit on their arms. The seizure of private property in the State of
Maryland was strictly prohibited, and it was to be done in Pennsylvania
only under orders from the brigade commanders, individual plundering
being strongly forbidden.

These preliminaries adjusted, the march northward began, the command
being divided into three detachments of six hundred men each, under the
direction of General Wade Hampton, Colonel W. H. F. Lee, and Colonel W.
E. Jones. A battery of four guns accompanied the expedition. It was with
high expectations that the men rode forward, the secrecy of the
enterprise giving it an added zest. Most of them had followed Stuart in
daring rides in the earlier months of that year, and all were ready to
follow wherever he chose to lead.

Darkness had fallen when they reached Hedgesville, the point on the
Potomac where it was designed to cross. Here they bivouacked for the
night, a select party of some thirty men being sent across the river,
their purpose being to capture the Federal picket on the Maryland side.
In this they failed, but the picket was cut off from its reserve, so
that the fugitives were not able to report the attack. Day had not
dawned when all the men were in their saddles, and as soon as word of
the result of the night's enterprise was received, the foremost troops
plunged into the river and the crossing began. It was completed without
difficulty, and Colonel Butler, leading the advance, rode briskly
forward to the National turnpike which joins Hancock and Hagerstown.

Along this road, a few hours before, General Cox's division of Federal
infantry had passed, Butler coming so close to his rear that the
stragglers were captured. But a heavy fog covered the valley and hid all
things from sight, so that Cox continued his march in ignorance that a
strong body of Confederate cavalry was so close upon his track. On
Fairview Heights, near the road, was a Federal signal-station, which a
squad was sent to capture. The two officers in charge of it escaped, but
two privates and all its equipments were taken.

Yet, despite all efforts at secrecy, the march had not gone on unseen. A
citizen had observed the crossing and reported it to Captain Logan of
the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, and the news spread with much rapidity.
But there was no strong force of cavalry available to check the
movement, and Stuart's braves passed steadily forward unopposed. Their
line of march was remote from telegraph or railroad, and the
Pennsylvania farmers, who did not dream of the war invading their
fields, were stricken with consternation when Stuart's bold riders
crossed Mason and Dixon's line and appeared on their soil.

It was hard for them to believe it. One old gentleman, whose sorrel mare
was taken from his cart, protested bitterly, saying that orders from
Washington had forbidden the impressment of horses, and threatening the
vengeance of the government on the supposed Federal raiders. A shoe
merchant at Mercersburg completely equipped Butler's advance guard with
foot-wear, and was sadly surprised when paid with a receipt calling on
the Federal government to pay for damages. While nothing was disturbed
in Maryland, horses were diligently seized in Pennsylvania, the country
on both sides of the line of march being swept clean of its farm
animals. Ladies on the road, however, were not molested, and the men
were strictly prohibited from seizing private property--even from taking
provisions for themselves.

Chambersburg, the goal of the expedition, was reached on the evening of
the 10th, after a day's hard ride. So rapid and well conducted had been
the journey that as yet scarce one enemy had been seen; and when the
town was called on to surrender within thirty minutes, under penalty of
a bombardment, resistance was out of the question; there was no one
capable of resisting, and the troops were immediately marched into the
town, where they were drawn up in the public square.

The bank was the first place visited. Colonel Butler, under orders from
his chief, entered the building and demanded its funds. But the cashier
assured him that it was empty of money, all its cash having been sent
away that morning, and convinced him of this by opening the safe and
drawers for his inspection. Telegraphic warning had evidently reached
the town. Butler had acted with such courtesy that the cashier now
called the ladies of his family, and bade them to prepare food for the
men who had made the search. That the captors of the town behaved with
like courtesy throughout we have the evidence of Colonel A. K. McClure,
subsequently editor of the Philadelphia _Times_, who then dwelt in the
near vicinity of Chambersburg. Though a United States officer and
subject to arrest or parole, and though he had good opportunity to
escape, he resolved to stay and share the fate of his fellow-townsmen.
We quote from his description of the incidents of that night. After
speaking of an interview he had--as one of the committee of three
citizens to surrender the town--with General Hampton, and the courteous
manner of the latter, he proceeds:

"With sixty acres of corn in shock, and three barns full of grain,
excellent farm and saddle horses, and a number of best blooded cattle,
the question of property was worthy of a thought. I resolved to stay, as
I felt so bound by the terms of surrender, and take my chances of
discovery and parole....

"I started in advance of them for my house, but not in time to save the
horses. I confidently expected to be overrun by them, and to find the
place one scene of desolation in the morning. I resolved, however, that
things should be done soberly, if possible, and I had just time to
destroy all the liquors about the house. As their pickets were all
around me I could not get it off. I finished just in time, for they were
soon upon me in force, and every horse in the barn, ten in all, was
promptly equipped and mounted by a rebel cavalryman. They passed on
towards Shippensburg, leaving a picket force on the road.

"In an hour they returned with all the horses they could find, and
dismounted to spend the night on the turnpike in front of my door. It
was now midnight, and I sat on the porch observing their movements. They
had my best corn-field beside them and their horses fared well. In a
little while one entered the yard, came up to me, and after a profound
bow, politely asked for a few coals to start a fire. I supplied him, and
informed him as blandly as possible where he would find wood
conveniently, as I had dim visions of camp-fires made of my palings. I
was thanked in return, and the mild-mannered villain proceeded at once
to strip the fence and kindle fires. Soon after a squad came and asked
permission to get some water. I piloted them to the pump, and again
received a profusion of thanks....

"About one o'clock, half a dozen officers came to the door and asked to
have some coffee made for them, offering to pay liberally for it in
Confederate scrip. After concluding a treaty with them on behalf of the
colored servants, coffee was promised them, and they then asked for a
little bread with it. They were wet and shivering, and, seeing a bright,
open wood-fire in the library, they asked permission to enter and warm
themselves until their coffee should be ready, assuring me that under
no circumstances should anything in the house be disturbed by their men.
I had no alternative but to accept them as my guests until it might
please them to depart, and I did so with as good grace as possible.

"Once seated round the fire all reserve seemed to be forgotten on their
part, and they opened a general conversation on politics, the war, the
different battles, the merits of generals of both armies. They spoke
with entire freedom upon every subject but their movement into
Chambersburg. Most of them were men of more than ordinary intelligence
and culture, and their demeanor was in all respects eminently courteous.
I took a cup of coffee with them, and have never seen anything more
keenly relished. They said that they had not tasted coffee for weeks
before, and that then they had paid from six to ten dollars per pound
for it. When they were through they asked whether there was any coffee
left, and finding that there was some, they proposed to bring some more
officers and a few privates, who were prostrated by exposure, to get
what was left. They were, of course, as welcome as those present, and on
they came in squads of five or more until every grain of brown coffee
was exhausted. Then they asked for tea, and that was served to some
twenty more.

"In the mean time a subordinate officer had begged of me a little bread
for himself and a few men, and he was supplied in the kitchen. He was
followed by others in turn, until nearly a hundred had been supplied
with something to eat or drink. All, however, politely asked permission
to enter the house, and behaved with entire propriety. They did not make
a single rude or profane remark, even to the servants. In the mean time
the officers who had first entered the house had filled their pipes from
the box of Killikinick on the mantel--after being assured that smoking
was not offensive--and we had another hour of free talk on matters

"At four o'clock in the morning the welcome blast of the bugle was
heard, and they rose hurriedly to depart. Thanking me for the
hospitality they had received, we parted, mutually expressing the hope
that should we ever meet again, it would be under more pleasant
circumstances. In a few minutes they were mounted and moved into
Chambersburg. About seven o'clock I went into town....

"General Stuart sat on his horse in the centre of the town, surrounded
by his staff, and his command was coming in from the country in large
squads, leading their old horses and riding the new ones they had found
in the stables hereabouts. General Stuart is of medium size, has a keen
eye, and wears immense sandy whiskers and moustache. His demeanor to our
people was that of a humane soldier. In several instances his men
commenced to take private property from stores, but they were arrested
by General Stuart's provost-guard. In a single instance only, that I
heard of, did they enter a store by intimidating the proprietor. All of
our stores and shops were closed, and with a very few exceptions were
not disturbed."

This was certainly not like the usual behavior of soldiers on foreign
soil, and the incident at once illustrates the strict control which
General Stuart held over his men and the character of the men
themselves, largely recruited, as they were, from the higher class of
Southern society. Though Colonel McClure evidently felt that the lion's
claws lay concealed under the silken glove, he certainly saw no evidence
of it in the manners of his unbidden guests.

Return was now the vital question before General Stuart and his band.
Every hour of delay added to the dangers surrounding them. Troops were
hastily marching to cut off their retreat; cavalry was gathering to
intercept them; scouts were watching every road and every movement.
Worst of all was the rain, which had grown heavy in the night and was
now falling steadily, with a threat of swelling the Potomac and making
its fords impassable. The ride northward had been like a holiday
excursion; what would the ride southward prove?

With the dawn of day the head of the column set out on the road towards
Gettysburg, no damage being done in the town except to railroad property
and the ordnance store-house, which contained a large quantity of
ammunition and other army supplies. This was set on fire, and the sound
of the explosion, after the flames reached the powder, came to the ears
of the vanguard when already at a considerable distance on the return

At Cashtown the line turned from the road to Gettysburg and moved
southward, horses being still diligently collected till the Maryland
line was crossed, when all gathering of spoil ceased. Emmittsburg was
reached about sunset, the hungry cavaliers there receiving a warm
welcome and being supplied with food as bountifully as the means of the
inhabitants permitted.

Meanwhile, the Federal military authorities were busy with efforts to
cut off the ventursome band. The difficulty was to know at what point on
the Potomac a crossing would be sought, and the troops were held in
suspense until Stuart's movements should unmask his purpose. General
Pleasanton and his cavalry force were kept in uncertain movement, now
riding to Hagerstown, then, on false information, going four miles
westward, then, halted by fresh orders, turning east and riding to
Mechanicstown, twenty miles from Hagerstown. They had marched fifty
miles that day, eight of which were wasted, and when they halted, Stuart
was passing within four miles of them without their knowledge. Midnight
brought Pleasanton word of Stuart's movements, and the weary men and
horses were put on the road again, reaching the mouth of the Monocacy
about eight o'clock the next morning. But most of his command had
dropped behind in that exhausting ride of seventy-eight miles within
twenty-eight hours, only some four hundred of them being still with him.

While the Federals were thus making every effort to cut off the bold
raiders and to garrison the fords through a long stretch of the Potomac,
Stuart was riding south from Emmittsburg, after a brief stop at that
place, seeking to convey the impression by his movements that he
proposed to try some of the upper and nearer fords. His real purpose was
to seek a crossing lower down, so near to the main body of the Federals
that they would not look for him there. Yet the dangers were growing
with every moment, three brigades of infantry guarded the lower fords,
Pleasanton was approaching the Monocacy, and it looked as if the bold
raider was in a net from which there could be no escape.

Stuart reached Hyattstown at daylight on the 12th, having marched
sixty-five miles in twenty hours. The abundance of captured horses
enabled him to make rapid changes for the guns and caissons and to
continue the march without delay. Two miles from Hyattstown the road
entered a large piece of woodland, which served to conceal his movements
from observation from any signal-tower. Here a disused road was found,
and, turning abruptly to the west, a rapid ride was made under cover.

Soon after the open country was reached again a Federal squadron was
encountered; but it was dispersed by a charge, and from this point a
rapid ride was made for White's Ford, the nearest available crossing.
All now seemed to depend upon whether this ford was occupied in force
by the enemy. As Colonel Lee approached it this question was settled;
what appeared a large body of Federal infantry was in possession, posted
on a steep bluff quite close to the ford. It seemed impossible to
dislodge it, but foes were closing up rapidly from behind, and if all
was not to be lost something must be done, and done at once.

To attack the men on the bluff seemed hopeless, and before doing so Lee
tried the effect of putting a bold face on the matter. He sent a
messenger under a flag of truce, telling the Federal commander that
Stuart's whole force was before him, that resistance was useless, and
calling on him to surrender. If this was not done in fifteen minutes a
charge in force would be made. The fifteen minutes passed. No sign of
yielding appeared. Lee, with less than a forlorn hope of success, opened
fire with his guns and ordered his men to advance. He listened for the
roar of the Federal guns in reply, when a wild shout rang along the

"They are retreating! Hurrah! they are retreating!"

Such was indeed the case. The infantry on the bluff were marching away
with flying flags and beating drums, abandoning their strong position
without a shot. A loud Confederate cheer followed them as they marched.
No shot was fired to hinder them. Their movement was the salvation of
Stuart's corps, for it left an open passage to the ford, and safety was
now assured.

But there was no time to lose. Pleasanton and his men might be on them
at any minute. Other forces of the enemy were rapidly closing in. Haste
was the key to success. One piece of artillery was hurried over the dry
bed of the canal, across the river ford, and up the Virginia bluff,
where it was posted to command the passage. Another gun was placed so as
to sweep the approaches on the Maryland side, and soon a stream of
horsemen were rapidly riding through the shallow water to Virginia and
safety. With them went a long train of horses captured from Pennsylvania

Up came the others and took rapidly to the water, Pelham meanwhile
facing Pleasanton with a single gun, which was served with all possible
rapidity. But there was one serious complication. Butler with the
rear-guard had not yet arrived, and no one knew just where he was.
Stuart, in deep concern for his safety, sent courier after courier to
hasten his steps, but no tidings came back.

"I fear it is all up with Butler," he said, despondently. "I cannot get
word of him, and the enemy is fast closing in on his path."

"Let me try to reach him," said Captain Blackford, to whom the general
had spoken.

After a moment's hesitation Stuart replied,--

"All right! If we don't meet again, good-by, old fellow! You run a
desperate chance of being raked in."

Away went Blackford at full speed, passing the lagging couriers one by
one, and at length reaching Butler, whom he found halted and facing the
enemy, in complete ignorance of what was going on at the front. He had
his own and a North Carolina regiment and one gun.

"We are crossing the ford, and Stuart orders you up at once," shouted
Blackford. "Withdraw at a gallop or you will be cut off."

"Very good," said Butler, coolly. "But how about that gun? I fear the
horses can't get it off in time."

"Let the gun go. Save yourself and your men."

Butler did not see it in that light. Whip and spur were applied to the
weary artillery horses, and away they went down the road, whirling the
gun behind them, and followed at a gallop by Butler and his men. As they
turned towards the ford they were saluted by the fire of a Federal
battery. Further on the distant fire of infantry from down the river
reached them with spent balls. Ten minutes later and the rear-guard
would have been lost. As it was, a wild dash was made across the stream
and soon the last man stood on Virginia soil. The expedition was at an
end, and the gallant band was on its native heath once more.

Thus ended Stuart's famous two days' ride. The first crossing of the
Potomac had been on the morning of the 10th. The final crossing was on
the morning of the 12th. Within twenty-seven hours he had ridden eighty
miles, from Chambersburg to White's Ford, with his artillery and
captured horses, and had crossed the Potomac under the eyes of much
superior numbers, his only losses being the wounding of one man and the
capture of two who had dropped out of the line of march--a remarkable
record of success, considering the great peril of the expedition.

The gains of the enterprise were about twelve hundred horses, but the
great strain of the ride forced the men to abandon many of their own.
Stuart lost two of his most valued animals--Suffolk and Lady
Margrave--through the carelessness of his servant Bob, who, overcome by
too free indulgence in ardent spirits, fell out of the line to take a
nap, and ended by finding himself and his horses in hostile hands.

The value of the property destroyed at Chambersburg, public and
railroad, was estimated at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; a few
hundred sick and wounded soldiers were paroled, and about thirty
officials and prominent citizens were brought off as prisoners, to be
held as hostages for imprisoned citizens of the Confederacy.

On the whole, it was eminently a dare-devil enterprise of the type of
the knightly forays of old, its results far less in importance than the
risk of loss to the Confederacy had that fine body of cavalry been
captured. Yet it was of the kind of ventures calculated to improve the
morale of an army, and inspire its men to similar deeds of daring and
success. Doubtless it gave the cue to Morgan's later and much less
fortunate invasion of the North.


Foremost in dash and daring among the cavalry leaders of the Confederacy
was Lieutenant-General Nathan B. Forrest, a hero in the saddle, some of
whose exploits were like the marvels of romance. There is one of his
doings in particular which General Lord Wolseley says "reads like a
romance." This was his relentless pursuit and final capture of the
expedition under Colonel Abel D. Streight, one of the most brilliant
deeds in the cavalry history of the war. Accepting Wolseley's opinion,
we give the story of this exploit.

In General Rosecrans's campaign against General Bragg, it was a matter
of importance to him to cut the railroad lines and destroy bridges,
arsenals, etc., in Bragg's rear. He wished particularly to cut the
railroads leading from Chattanooga to Atlanta and Nashville, and thus
prevent the free movement of troops. The celebrated Andrews expedition
of scouts, described in a previous volume of this series, failed in an
effort to do this work. Colonel Streight, a stalwart, daring cavalry
leader, made a second effort to accomplish it, and would doubtless have
succeeded but for the bulldog-like persistence with which "that devil,
Forrest" clung to his heels.

Colonel Streight's expedition was made up of four regiments of mounted
infantry and two companies of cavalry, about two thousand men in all.
Rome, Georgia, an important point on the railroad from Chattanooga to
Atlanta, was its objective point. The route to be traversed included a
barren, mountainous track of country, chosen from the fact that its
sparse population was largely composed of Union sympathizers. But the
road was likely to be so steep and rocky, and forage so scarce, that
mules were chosen instead of horses for the mounts, on account of their
being more surefooted and needing less food.

The expedition was sent by steamboat from Nashville, Tennessee, to
Eastport, Alabama, which place was reached on the 19th of April, 1863.
This movement was conducted with all possible secrecy, and was masked by
an expedition under General Dodge, at the head of a force of some ten
thousand men. The unfortunate feature about the affair was the mules. On
their arrival at Eastport these animals, glad to get on solid land
again, set up a bray that trumpeted the story of their arrival for miles
around, and warned the cavalry of General Rodney, who had been
skirmishing with General Dodge, that new foes were in the field.

When night fell some of Rodney's cavalry lads crept into the corral, and
there, with yells and hoots and firing of guns and pistols, they
stampeded nearly four hundred of the mules. This caused a serious delay,
only two hundred of the mules being found after two day's search, while
more time was lost in getting others. From Eastport the expedition
proceeded to Tuscumbia, General Rodney stubbornly resisting the advance.
Here a careful inspection was made, and all unfit men left out, so that
about fifteen hundred picked men, splendidly armed and equipped,
constituted the final raiding force.

But the delay gave time for the news that some mysterious movement was
afoot to spread far and wide, and Forrest led his corps of hard riders
at top-speed from Tennessee to the aid of Rodney in checking it. On the
27th he was in Dodge's front, helping Rodney to give him what trouble he
could, though obliged to fall back before his much greater force.

Streight was already on his way. He had set out at midnight of the 26th,
in pouring rain and over muddy roads. At sunset of the next day he was
thirty-eight miles from the starting-point. On the afternoon of the 28th
the village of Moulton was reached without trace of an enemy in front or
rear. The affair began to look promising. Next morning the mule brigade
resumed its march, heading east towards Blountsville.

Not until the evening of the 28th did Forrest hear of this movement.
Then word was brought him that a large body of Union troops had passed
Mount Hope, riding eastward towards Moulton. The quick-witted leader
guessed in a moment what all this meant, and with his native energy
prepared for a sharp pursuit. In all haste he picked out a suitable
force, had several days' rations cooked for the men and corn gathered
for the horses, and shortly after midnight was on the road, leaving what
men he could spare to keep Dodge busy and prevent pursuit. His command
was twelve hundred strong, the most of them veterans whose metal had
been tried on many a hard-fought field, and who were ready to follow
their daring leader to the death, reckless and hardy "irregulars,"
brought up from childhood to the use of horses and arms, the sturdy sons
of the back country.

Streight was now in the ugly mountain country through which his route
lay, and was advancing up Sand Mountain by a narrow, stony, winding
road. He had two days the start of his pursuer, but with such headlong
speed did Forrest ride, that at dawn on the 30th, when the Federals were
well up the mountain, the boom of a cannon gave them the startling
notice that an enemy was in pursuit. Forrest had pushed onward at his
usual killing pace, barely drawing rein until Streight's camp-fires came
in sight, when his men lay down by their horses for a night's rest.

Captain William Forrest, a brother of the general, had been sent ahead
to reconnoitre, and in the early morning was advised of the near
presence of the enemy by as awful a noise as human ears could well bear,
the concentrated breakfast bray of fifteen hundred hungry mules.

The cannon-shot which had warned Colonel Streight that an enemy was
near, was followed by the yell of Captain Forrest's wild troopers, as
they charged hotly up the road. Their recklessness was to be severely
punished, for as they came headlong onward a volley was poured into them
from a ridge beside the road. Their shrewd opponent had formed an
ambuscade, into which they blindly rode, with the result that Captain
Forrest fell from his horse with a crushed thigh-bone, and many of his
men and horses were killed and wounded before they could get out of the
trap into which they had ridden.

The attack was followed up by Forrest's whole force. Edmonson's men,
dismounted, advanced within a hundred yards of the Federal line, Roddy
and Julian rode recklessly forward in advance, and Forrest's escort and
scouts occupied the left. It was a precipitous movement, which
encountered a sudden and sharp reverse, nearly the whole line being met
with a murderous fire and driven back. Then the Federals sprang forward
in a fierce charge, driving the Confederates back in confusion over
their own guns, two of which were captured with their caissons and

The loss of his guns threw Forrest into a violent rage, in which he made
the air blue with his forcible opinions. Those guns must be taken back,
he swore, at the risk of all their lives. He bade every man to dismount
and tie their horses to saplings--there were to be no horse-holders in
this emergency. Onward swept the avengers, but to their surprise and
chagrin only a small rear-guard was found, who fled on their mules after
a few shots. Streight, with the captured guns, was well on the road
again, and Forrest's men were obliged to go back, untie their horses,
and get in marching order, losing nearly an hour of precious time.

From this period onward the chase was largely a running fight. Forrest's
orders to his men were to "shoot at everything blue and keep up the
scare." Streight's purpose was to make all haste forward to Rome,
outriding his pursuers, and do what damage he could. But he had to deal
with the "Rough Riders" of the Confederate army, men sure to keep on his
track day and night, and give him no rest while a man on mule-back

Forrest's persistence was soon shown. His advance troopers came up with
the enemy again at Hog's-back ridge an hour before dark and at once
charged right and left. They had their own guns to face, Streight
keeping up a hot fire with the captured pieces till the ammunition was
exhausted, when, being short of horses, he spiked and abandoned the

The fight thus begun was kept up vigorously till ten o'clock at night,
and was as gallant and stubbornly contested as any of the minor
engagements of the war, the echoes of that mountain desert repeating
most unwonted sounds. General Forrest seemed everywhere, and so
fearlessly exposed himself that one horse was killed and two were
wounded under him, though he escaped unhurt. In the end Colonel Streight
was taught that he could not drive off his persistent foe, and took to
the road again, but twice more during the night he was attacked, each
time repelling his foes by an ambuscade.

About ten o'clock the next morning Blountsville was reached. The
Federals were now clear of the mountains and in an open and fertile
country where food and horses were to be had. Both were needed; many of
the mules had given out, leaving their riders on foot, while mules and
men alike were short of food. It was the first of May, and the village
was well filled with country people, who saw with dismay the Yankee
troopers riding in and confiscating all the horses on which they could
lay hands.

Streight now decided to get on with pack-mules, and the wagons were
bunched and set on fire, the command leaving them burning as it moved
on. They did not burn long. Forrest's advance came on with a yell, swept
the Federal rear-guard from the village, and made all haste to
extinguish the flames, the wagons furnishing them a rich and much-needed
supply. Few horses or mules, however, were to be had, as Streight's men
had swept the country as far as they could reach on both sides of the

On went the raiders and on came their pursuers, heading east, keeping in
close touch, and skirmishing briskly as they went, for ten miles more.
This brought them to a branch of the Black Warrior River. The ford
reached by the Federals was rocky, and they had their foe close in the
rear, but by an active use of skirmishers and of his two howitzers
Straight managed to get his command across and to hold the ford until a
brief rest was taken.

The Yankee troopers were not long on the road again before Forrest was
over the stream, and the hot chase was on once more. The night that
followed was the fourth night of the chase, which had been kept up with
only brief snatches of rest and with an almost incessant contest. On the
morning of the 2d the skirmishing briskly began again, Forrest with an
advance troop attacking the Federal rear-guard, and fighting almost
without intermission during the fifteen miles ride to Black Creek.

Here was a deep and sluggish stream walled in with very high banks. It
was spanned at the road by a wooden bridge, over which Colonel Streight
rushed his force at top speed, and at once set the bridge on fire,
facing about with his howitzers to check pursuit. One man was left on
the wrong side of the stream, and was captured by Forrest himself as he
dashed up to the blazing bridge at the head of his men.

Colonel Streight might now reasonably believe that he had baffled his
foe for a time, and might safely take the repose so greatly needed. The
stream was said to be too deep to ford, and the nearest bridge, two
miles away, was a mere wreck, impassable for horses. Forrest was in a
quandary as to how he should get over that sluggish but deep ditch, and
stood looking at it in dismay. He was obliged to wait in any event, for
his artillery and the bulk of his command had been far outridden. In
this dilemma the problem was solved for him by a country girl who lived
near by, Emma Sanson by name. Near the burning bridge was a little
one-storied, four-roomed house, in which dwelt the widow Sanson and her
two daughters. She had two sons in the service, and the three women,
like many in similar circumstances in the Confederacy, were living as
best they could.

The girl Emma watched with deep interest the rapid flight, the burning
of the bridge, and the headlong pursuit of the Confederate troop. Seeing
Forrest looking with a dubious countenance at the dark stream, she came
up and accosted him.

"You are after those Yankees?" she asked.

"I should think so," said Forrest, "and would give my best hat to get
across this ugly ditch."

"I think you can do it," she replied.

"Aha! my good girl. That is news worth more than my old hat. How is it
to be done? Let me know at once."

"I know a place near our farm where I have often seen cows wade across
when the water was low. If you will lend me a horse to put my saddle on,
I will show you the place."

"There's no time for that; get up behind me," cried Forrest.

In a second's time the alert girl was on the horse behind him. As they
were about to ride off her mother came out and asked, in a frightened
tone, where she was going. Forrest explained and promised to bring her
back safe, and in a moment more was off. The ride was not a long one,
the place sought being soon reached. Here the general and his guide
quickly dismounted, the girl leading down a ravine to the water's edge,
where Forrest examined the depth and satisfied himself that the place
might prove fordable.

Mounting again, they rode back, now under fire, for a sharp engagement
was going on across the creek between the Confederates and the Federal
rear-guard. Forrest was profuse in his thanks as he left the
quick-witted girl at her home. He gave her as reward a horse and also
wrote her a note of thanks, and asked her to send him a lock of her
hair, which he would be glad to have and cherish in memory of her
service to the cause.

The Lost Ford, as the place has since been called, proved available, the
horses finding foothold, while the ammunition was taken from the
caissons and carried across by the horsemen. This done, the guns and
empty caissons were pulled across by ropes, and soon all was in
readiness to take up the chase again.

Colonel Streight had reached Gadsden, four miles away, when to his
surprise and dismay he heard once more the shouts of his indefatigable
foemen as they rode up at full speed. It seemed as if nothing could stop
the sleuth-hounds on his track. For the succeeding fifteen miles there
was a continual skirmish, and, when Streight halted to rest, the fight
became so sharp that his weary men were forced to take to the road
again. Rest was not for them, with Forrest in their rear. Streight here
tried for the last time his plan of ambuscading his enemy, but the
wide-awake Forrest was not to be taken in as before, and by a flank
movement compelled the weary Federals to resume their march.

All that night they rode despondently on, crossing the Chattanooga River
on a bridge which they burned behind them, and by sunrise reaching Cedar
Bluff, twenty-eight miles from Gadsden. At nine o'clock they stopped to
feed, and the worn-out men had no sooner touched the ground than they
were dead asleep. Forrest had taken the opportunity to give his men a
night's rest, detaching two hundred of them to follow the Federals and
"devil them all night." Streight had also detached two hundred of his
best-mounted men, bidding them to march to Rome and hold the bridge at
that place. But Forrest had shrewdly sent a fast rider to the same
place, and when Russell got up he found the bridge strongly held and his
enterprise hopeless.

When May 3 dawned the hot chase was near its end. Forrest had given his
men ten hours' sleep while Streight's worn-out men were plodding
desperately on. This all-night's ride was a fatal error for the
Federals, and was a main cause of their final defeat. The short distance
they had made was covered by Forrest's men, fresh from their night's
sleep, in a few hours, and at half-past nine, while the Federals were at
breakfast, the old teasing rattle of small-arms called them into line
again. About the same time word came from Russell that he could not
take the bridge at Rome, and news was received that a flanking movement
of Confederates had cut in between Rome and the Yankee troopers.

The affair now looked utterly desperate, but the brave Streight rallied
his men on a ridge in a field and skirmishing began. So utterly
exhausted, however, were the Federals that many of them went to sleep as
they lay in line of battle behind the ridge while looking along their
gun barrels with finger on trigger.

The game was fairly up. Forrest sent in a flag of truce, with a demand
for surrender. Streight asked for an interview, which was readily

"What terms do you offer?" asked Streight.

"Immediate surrender. Your men to be treated as prisoners of war,
officers to retain their side-arms and personal property."

During the conversation Streight asked, "How many men have you?"

"Enough here to run over you, and a column of fresh troops between you
and Rome."

In reality Forrest had only five hundred men left him, the remainder
having been dropped from point to point as their horses gave out and no
new mounts were to be had. But the five hundred made noise enough for a
brigade, it being Forrest's purpose to conceal the weakness of his

As they talked a section of the artillery of the pursuers came in sight
within a short range. Colonel Streight objected to this, and Forrest
gave orders that the guns must come no nearer. But the artillerymen
moved around a neighboring hill as if putting several small batteries
into position.

"Have you many guns, general?" asked Streight.

"Enough to blow you all to pieces before an hour," was the grandiloquent

Colonel Streight looked doubtfully at the situation, not knowing how
much to believe of what he saw and heard. After some more words he

"I cannot decide without consulting my officers."

"As you please," said Forrest, with a sublime air of indifference. "It
will soon be over, one way or the other."

Streight had not all the fight taken out of him yet, but he found all
his officers in favor of a surrender and felt obliged to consent. The
men accordingly were bidden to stack their arms and were marched back
into a field, Forrest managing as soon as he conveniently could to get
his men between them and their guns. The officers were started without
delay and under a strong escort for Rome, twenty miles away. On their
route thither they met Captain Russell returning and told him of what
had taken place. With tears in his eyes he surrendered his two hundred

Thus ended one of the most striking achievements of the Civil War.
Forrest's relentless and indefatigable pursuit, his prompt overcoming of
the difficulties of the way, and his final capture of Streight's men
with less than half their force, have been commended by military critics
as his most brilliant achievement and one of the most remarkable
exploits in the annals of warfare.

The outcome of Colonel Streight's raid to the South was singularly like
that of General Morgan's famous raid to the North. Morgan's capture,
imprisonment, and escape were paralleled in Streight's career. Sent to
Richmond, and immured in Libby Prison, he and four of his officers took
part in the memorable escape by a tunnel route in February, 1864. In his
report, published after his escape, he blames his defeat largely on the
poor mules, and claims that Forrest's force outnumbered him three to
one. It is not unlikely that he believed this, judging from the
incessant trouble they had given him, but the truth seems established
that at the surrender Forrest had less than half the available force of
his foe.


There were no more daring adventures and hair-breadth escapes during the
Civil War than those encountered in running the blockade, carrying
sadly-needed supplies into the ports of the Confederacy, and returning
with cargoes of cotton and other valuable products of the South. There
was money in it for the successful, much money; but, on the other hand,
there was danger of loss of vessel and cargo, long imprisonment, perhaps
death, and only men of unusual boldness and dare-devil recklessness were
ready to engage in it. The stories told by blockade-runners are full of
instances of desperate risk and thrilling adventure. As an example of
their more ordinary experience, we shall give, from Thomas E. Taylor's
"Running the Blockade," the interesting account of his first run to
Wilmington harbor.

This town, it must be premised, lies some sixteen miles up Cape Fear
River, at whose principal entrance the formidable Fort Fisher obliged
the blockading fleet to lie out of the range of its guns, and thus gave
some opportunity for alert blockade-runners to slip in. Yet this was far
from safe and easy. Each entrance to the river was surrounded by an
in-shore squadron of Federal vessels, anchored in close order during
the day, and at night weighing anchor and patrolling from shore to
shore. Farther out was a second cordon of cruisers, similarly alert, and
beyond these again gunboats were stationed at intervals, far enough out
to sight by daybreak any vessels that crossed Wilmington bar at high
tide in the night. Then, again, there were free cruisers patrolling the
Gulf Stream, so that to enter the river unseen was about as difficult as
any naval operation could well be. With this preliminary statement of
the situation, let us permit Mr. Taylor to tell his story.

"The 'Banshee's' engines proved so unsatisfactory that, under ordinary
conditions, nine or ten knots was all we could get out of her; she was
therefore not permitted to run any avoidable risks, and to this I
attribute her extraordinary success where better boats failed. As long
as daylight lasted a man was never out of the cross-trees, and the
moment a sail was seen the 'Banshee's' stern was turned to it till it
was dropped below the horizon. The look-out man, to quicken his eyes,
had a dollar for every sail he sighted, and if it were seen from the
deck first he was fined five. This may appear excessive, but the
importance in blockade-running of seeing before you are seen is too
great for any chance to be neglected; and it must be remembered that the
pay of ordinary seamen for each round trip in and out was from £50 to

"Following these tactics, we crept noiselessly along the shores of the
Bahamas, invisible in the darkness, and ran on unmolested for the first
two days out [from the port of Nassau], though our course was often
interfered with by the necessity of avoiding hostile vessels; then came
the anxious moment on the third, when, her position having been taken at
noon to see if she was near enough to run under the guns of Fort Fisher
before the following daybreak, it was found there was just time, but
none to spare for accidents or delay. Still, the danger of lying out
another day so close to the blockaded port was very great, and rather
than risk it we resolved to keep straight on our course and chance being
overtaken by daylight before we were under the fort.

"Now the real excitement began, and nothing I have ever experienced can
compare with it. Hunting, pig-sticking, steeple-chasing, big-game
shooting, polo--I have done a little of each--all have their thrilling
moments, but none can approach 'running a blockade;' and perhaps my
readers may sympathize with my enthusiasm when they consider the dangers
to be encountered, after three days of constant anxiety and little
sleep, in threading our way through a swarm of blockaders, and the
accuracy required to hit in the nick of time the mouth of a river only
half a mile wide, without lights and with a coast-line so low and
featureless that, as a rule, the first intimation we had of its nearness
was the dim white line of the surf.

"There were, of course, many different plans of getting in, but at this
time the favorite dodge was to run up some fifteen or twenty miles to
the north of Cape Fear, so as to round the northernmost of the
blockaders, instead of dashing right through the inner squadron; then to
creep down close to the surf till the river was reached; and this was
the course the 'Banshee' intended to adopt.

"We steamed cautiously on until nightfall; the night proved dark, but
dangerously clear and calm. No lights were allowed--not even a cigar;
the engine-room hatch-ways were covered with tarpaulins, at the risk of
suffocating the unfortunate engineers and stokers in the almost
insufferable atmosphere below. But it was absolutely imperative that not
a glimmer of light should appear. Even the binnacle was covered, and the
steersman had to see as much of the compass as he could through a
conical aperture carried almost up to his eyes.

"With everything thus in readiness, we steamed on in silence, except for
the stroke of the engines and the beat of the paddle-floats, which in
the calm of the night seemed distressingly loud; all hands were on deck,
crouching behind the bulwarks, and we on the bridge, namely, the
captain, the pilot, and I, were straining our eyes into the darkness.
Presently Burroughs made an uneasy movement.

"'Better get a cast of the lead, captain,' I heard him whisper.

"A muttered order down the engine-room tube was Steele's reply, and the
'Banshee' slowed, and then stopped. It was an anxious moment while a dim
figure stole into the fore-chains,--for there is always a danger of
steam blowing off when engines are unexpectedly stopped, and that would
have been enough to betray our presence for miles around. In a minute or
two came back the report, 'Sixteen fathoms--sandy bottom with black

"'We are not in as far as I thought, captain,' said Burroughs, 'and we
are too far to the southward. Port two points and go a little faster.'

"As he explained, we must be well to the north of the speckled bottom
before it was safe to head for the shore, and away we went again. In
about an hour Burroughs quietly asked for another sounding. Again she
was gently stopped, and this time he was satisfied.

"'Starboard, and go ahead easy,' was the order now, and as we crept in
not a sound was heard but that of the regular beat of the paddle-floats,
still dangerously loud in spite of our snail's pace. Suddenly Burroughs
gripped my arm,--

"'There's one of them, Mr. Taylor,' he whispered, 'on the starboard

"In vain I strained my eyes to where he pointed, not a thing could I
see; but presently I heard Steele say, beneath his breath, 'All right,
Burroughs, I see her. Starboard a little, steady!' was the order passed

"A moment afterward I could make out a long, low black object on our
starboard side, lying perfectly still. Would she see us? that was the
question; but no, though we passed within a hundred yards of her we were
not discovered, and I breathed again. Not very long after we had
dropped her, Burroughs whispered,--

"'Steamer on the port bow.'

"And another cruiser was made out close to us.

"'Hard-a-port,' said Steele, and round she swung, bringing our friend
upon our beam. Still unobserved, we crept quietly on, when all at once a
third cruiser shaped itself out of the gloom right ahead, and steaming
slowly across our bows.

"'Stop her,' said Steele, in a moment; and as we lay like dead our enemy
went on and disappeared in the darkness. It was clear there was a false
reckoning somewhere, and that instead of rounding the head of the
blockading line we were passing through the very centre of it. However,
Burroughs was now of opinion that we must be inside the squadron, and
advocated making the land. So 'slow ahead' we went again, until the
low-lying coast and the surf-line became dimly visible. Still we could
not tell where we were, and, as time was getting on alarmingly near
dawn, the only thing to do was to creep down along the surf as close in
and as fast as we dared. It was a great relief when we suddenly heard
Burroughs say, 'It's all right. I see the Big Hill.'

"The 'Big Hill' was a hillock about as high as a full-grown oak, but it
was the most prominent feature for miles on that dreary coast, and
served to tell us exactly how far we were from Fort Fisher. And
fortunate it was for us we were so near. Daylight was already breaking,
and before we were opposite the fort we could make out six or seven
gunboats, which steamed rapidly towards us and angrily opened fire.
Their shots were soon dropping close around us, an unpleasant sensation
when you know you have several tons of gunpowder under your feet.

"To make matters worse, the North Breaker Shoal now compelled us to haul
off the shore and steam farther out. It began to look ugly for us, when
all at once there was a flash from the shore followed by a sound that
came like music to our ears,--that of a shell whirring over our heads.
It was Fort Fisher, wide awake and warning the gunboats to keep their
distance. With a parting broadside they steamed sulkily out of range,
and in half an hour we were safely over the bar.

"A boat put off from the fort, and then--well, it was the days of
champagne cocktails, not whiskeys and sodas, and one did not run a
blockade every day. For my part I was mightily proud of my first attempt
and my baptism of fire. Blockade-running seemed the pleasantest and most
exhilarating of pastimes. I did not know then what a very serious
business it could be."

On the return trip the "Banshee" was ballasted with tobacco and laden
with cotton, three tiers of it even on deck. She ran impudently straight
through the centre of the cordon, close by the flag-ship, and got
through the second cordon in safety, though chased by a gunboat. When
Nassau was reached and profits summed up, they proved to amount to £50
a ton on the war material carried in, while the tobacco carried out
netted £70 a ton for a hundred tons and the cotton £50 a bale for five
hundred bales. It may be seen that successful blockade-running paid.

It may be of interest to our readers to give some other adventures in
which the "Banshee" figured. On one of her trips, when she was creeping
down the land about twelve miles above Fort Fisher, a cruiser appeared
moving along about two hundred yards from shore. An effort was made to
pass her inside, hoping to be hidden by the dark background of the land.
But there were eyes open on the cruiser, and there came the ominous
hail, "Stop that steamer or I will sink you!"

"We haven't time to stop," growled Steele, and shouted down the
engine-room tube to "pile on the coals." There was nothing now but to
run and hope for luck. The cruiser at once opened fire, and as the
"Banshee" began to draw ahead a shot carried away her foremast and a
shell exploded in her bunkers. Grape and canister followed, the crew
escaping death by flinging themselves flat on the deck. Even the
steersman, stricken by panic, did the same, and the boat swerved round
and headed straight for the surf. A close shave it was as Taylor rushed
aft, clutched the wheel, and just in time got her head off the land.
Before they got in two other cruisers brought them under fire, but they
ran under Fort Fisher in safety.

One more adventure of the "Banshee" and we shall close. It was on her
sixth trip out. She had got safely through the fleet and day had dawned.
All was joy and relaxation when Erskine, the engineer, suddenly
exclaimed: "Mr. Taylor, look astern!" and there, not four miles away,
and coming down under sail and steam, was a large side-wheel steamer,
left unseen by gross carelessness on the part of the look-out.

Erskine rushed below, and soon volumes of smoke were pouring from the
funnels, but it was almost too late, for the chaser was coming up so
fast that the uniformed officers on her bridge could be distinctly seen.

"This will never do," said Steele, and ordered the helm to be altered so
as to bring the ship up to the wind. It took them off the course to
Nassau, but it forced their pursuer to take in her sails, and an
exciting chase under steam right into the wind's eye began. Matters at
length became so critical that no hope remained but to lighten the boat
by throwing overboard her deck-load of cotton--a sore necessity in view
of the fact that the bales which went bobbing about on the waves were
worth to them £50 or £60 apiece.

In clearing out the bales they cleared out something more, a runaway
slave, who had been standing wedged between two bales for at least
forty-eight hours. He received an ovation on landing at Nassau, but they
were obliged to pay four thousand dollars to his owner on their return
to Wilmington.

The loss of the cotton lightened the boat and it began to gain in the
race, both craft plunging into the great seas that had arisen, yet
neither slackening speed. A fresh danger arose when the bearings of the
engine became overheated from the enormous strain put upon them. It was
necessary to stop, despite the imminence of the chase, and to loosen the
bearings and feed them liberally with salad oil mixed with gunpowder
before they were in working order again. Thus, fifteen weary hours
passed away, and nightfall was at hand when the chaser, then only five
miles astern, turned and gave up the pursuit. It was learned afterward
that her stokers were dead beat.

But port was still far away, they having been chased one hundred and
fifty miles out of their course, and fuel was getting perilously low. At
the end of the third day the last coal was used, and then everything
that would burn was shoved into the furnaces,--main-mast, bulwarks, deck
cabin, with cotton and turpentine to aid,--and these only sufficed to
carry them into a Bahama Island, still sixty miles from Nassau. They
were not there two hours before they saw a Federal steamer glide slowly
past, eying them as the fox eyed the grapes.

The adventure was still not at its end. Mr. Taylor hired a schooner in
the harbor to go to Nassau and bring back a cargo of coal, he and Murray
Aynsely, a passenger, going in it. But the night proved a terrible one,
a hurricane rising, and the crew growing so terrified by the fury of the
gale and the vividness of the lightning that they nearly wrecked the
schooner on the rocks. When the weather moderated the men refused to
proceed, and it was only by dint of a show of revolvers and promise of
reward that Taylor and his passenger induced them to go on. On reaching
Nassau they were utterly worn out, having been almost without sleep for
a week, while Taylor's feet were so swollen that his boots had to be cut

Thus ended one of the most notable chases in the history of
blockade-running, it having lasted fifteen hours and covered nearly two
hundred miles. Fortunate was it for the "Banshee" that the "James
Adger," her pursuer, had no bow-chasers, and that the weather was too
ugly for her to venture to yaw and use her broadside guns, or the
"Banshee" might have there and then ended her career.


The Civil War was not lacking in its daring and interesting adventures
of scouts, spies, despatch-bearers, and others of that interesting tribe
whose field of operations lies between the armies in the field, and
whose game is played with life as the stake, this being fair prey for
the bullet if pursued, and often for the rope if captured. We have the
story of one these heroes of hazard to tell, a story the more
interesting from the fact that he was a cripple who seemed fit only to
hobble about his home. It is the remarkable feat of Lamar Fontain, a
Confederate despatch-bearer, which the record of the war has nothing to

Fontain's disability came from a broken leg, which had left him so
disabled that he could not take a step without a crutch, and in mounting
a horse was obliged to lift the useless leg over the saddle with his
right hand. But once in the saddle he was as good a man as his fellow,
and his dexterity with the pistol rendered him a dangerous fellow to
face when it became a question of life or death.

We must seek him at that period in 1863 when the stronghold of
Vicksburg, on which depended the Confederacy's control of the
Mississippi, was closely invested by the army of General Grant, the
siege lines so continuous, alike in the rear of the town and on the
Mississippi and its opposite shore, that it seemed as if hardly a bird
could enter or leave its streets. General Johnston kept the field in the
rear, but Grant was much too strong for him, and he was obliged to trust
to the chapter of chances for the hope of setting Pemberton free from
the net by which he was surrounded.

Knowing the daring and usual success of Lamar Fontain in very hazardous
enterprises, Johnston engaged him to endeavor to carry a verbal message
to General Pemberton, sending him out on the perilous and seemingly
impossible venture of making his way into the closely beleaguered city.
In addition to his message, he took with him a supply of some forty
pounds of percussion caps for the use of the besieged garrison.

On the 24th of May, 1863, Fontain set out from his father's home, at a
considerable distance in the rear of the Federal lines. He was well
mounted, and armed with an excellent revolver and a good sabre, which he
carried in a wooden scabbard to prevent its rattling. His other burdens
were his packet of percussion caps, his blanket, and his crutches.

That night he crossed Big Black River, and before dawn of the next day
was well within the lines of the enemy. Travel by day was now out of the
question, so he hid his horse in a ravine, and found a place of shelter
for himself in a fallen tree that overlooked the road. From his
hiding-place he saw a confused and hasty movement of the enemy,
seemingly in retreat from too hot a brush with the garrison. Waiting
till their columns had passed and the nightfall made it safe for him to
move, he mounted again and continued his journey in the direction of
Snyder's Bluff on the Yazoo.

Entering the telegraphic road from Yazoo City to Vicksburg, he had not
gone far before he was confronted and hailed by a picket of the enemy.
Spurring his spirited steed, he dashed past at full speed. A volley
followed him, one of the balls striking his horse, though none of them
touched him. The good steed had received a mortal wound, but by a final
and desperate effort it carried its rider to the banks of the Yazoo
River. Here it fell dead, leaving its late rider afoot, and lacking one
of his crutches, which had been caught and jerked away by the limb of a
tree as he dashed headlong past.

With the aid of his remaining crutch, and carrying his baggage, Fontain
groped his way along the river side, keenly looking for some means of
conveyance on its waters. He soon found what he wanted in the shape of a
small log canoe, tied to a tree on the river bank. Pressing this into
his service, and disposing himself and his burden safely within, he
paddled down the stream, hoping to reach the Mississippi and drift down
to the city front before break of day.

Success was not to come so easily. A sound of puffing steam came from
down the river, and soon a trio of gunboats loomed through the gloom,
heading towards Yazoo City. These were avoided by taking shelter among
a bunch of willows that overhung the bank and served to hide the boat
from view. The gunboats well past, Fontain took to the current again,
soon reaching Snyder's Bluff, which was lighted up and a scene of
animation. Whites and blacks mingled on the bank, and it looked like a
midnight ball between the Yankee soldiers and belles of sable hue.
Gunboats and barges lined the shore and the light was thrown far out
over the stream. But those present were too hilarious to be watchful,
and, lying flat in his canoe, the scout glided safely past, the dug-out
not distinguishable from a piece of driftwood. Before the new day dawned
he reached the backwater of the Mississippi, but in the darkness he
missed the outlet of the Yazoo and paddled into what is called "Old

The new day reddened in the east while he was still vainly searching for
an opening into the broad parent stream. Then his familiarity with the
locality showed him his mistake, and he was forced to seek a
hiding-place for himself and his boat. He had now been out two days and
nights. The little food he brought had long been devoured, and hunger
was assailing him. Sleep had also scarcely visited his eyes, and the
strain was growing severe.

Getting some slumber that day in his covert, he set out again as soon as
night fell, paddling back into the Yazoo, from which he soon reached the
Mississippi. He was here on a well-peopled stream, boats and lights
being abundant. As he glided on through the gloom he passed forty or
fifty transports, but had the good fortune to be seen by only one man,
who hailed him from the stern of a steamer and asked him where he was

"To look after my fishing-lines," he replied.

"All right; hope you'll have a good catch." And he floated on.

Farther down in the bend of the stream above Vicksburg he came upon a
more animated scene. Here were the mortar-boats in full blast,
bombarding the city, every shot lighting up the stream for a wide space
around. But the gun crews were too busy to pay any attention to the
seeming drift-log that glided silently by the fleet or to notice the man
that lay at full length within it. On he went, trusting to the current
and keeping his recumbent position. The next day's dawn found him in the
midst of the Confederate picket-boats in front of the city. Here, tying
a white handkerchief to his paddle, he lifted it as a flag of truce, and
sat upright with a loud hurrah for Jeff Davis and the Southern
Confederacy. As may well be imagined, his cheers were echoed by the
boatmen when they learned his mission, and he was borne in triumph
ashore and taken to General Pemberton's head-quarters. He received a
warm welcome from the general, alike for the message he brought and the
very desirable supply of percussion caps. It was with no little
admiration that Pemberton heard the story of a daring feat that seemed
utterly impossible for a cripple on crutches.

During the next day the scout wandered about the beleaguered city,
viewing the animated and in many respects terrible scene of warfare
which it presented,--the fierce bombardment from the Federal works,
extending in a long curve from the river above to the river below the
city; the hot return fire of the defendants; the equally fierce exchange
of fire between the gunboats and mortars and the intrenchments on the
bluffs; the bursting of shells in the city streets; the ruined
habitations, and the cave-like refuges in which the citizens sought
safety from the death-dealing missiles. It was a scene never to be
forgotten, a spectacle of ruin, suffering, and death. And the suffering
was not alone from the terrible enginery of war, but from lack of food
as well, for that dread spectre of famine, that in a few weeks more was
to force the surrender of the valiantly defended city, was already
showing its gaunt form in the desolated streets and the foodless homes.

Fontain was glad enough after his day and night among the besieged to
seek again the more open field of operations outside. Receiving a
despatch from General Pemberton to his colleague in the field, and a
suitable reward for his service, he betook himself again to the canoe
which had stood him in such good stead and resumed his task of danger.
He was on a well-guarded river and had to pass through a country full of
foes, and the peril of his enterprise was by no means at an end.

The gloom of evening lay on the stream when he once more trusted
himself to its swift current, which quickly brought him among the craft
of the enemy below the city. Avoiding their picket-boats on both sides
of the river, he floated near the gunboats as safer, passing so near one
of them that through an open port-hole he could see a group of men
playing cards and hear their conversation. He made a landing at length
at Diamond Place, bidding adieu to his faithful dug-out and gladly
setting foot on land again.

Hobbling with the aid of his crutch through the bottom-lands, the scout
soon reached higher ground, and here made his way to the house of an
acquaintance, hoping to find a mount. But all the useful horses and
mules on the place had been confiscated by the foe, there remaining only
a worthless old gelding and a half-broken colt, of which he was offered
the choice. He took the colt, but found it to travel so badly that he
wished he had chosen the gelding.

In this dilemma fortune favored him, for in the bottom he came upon a
fine horse, tied by a blind bridle and without a saddle. A basket and an
old bag were lying close by, and he inferred from this that a negro had
left the horse and that a camp of the enemy was near at hand. Here was
an opportunity for confiscation of which he did not hesitate to avail
himself, and in all haste he exchanged bridles, saddled the horse,
turned loose the colt, mounted, and was off.

He took a course so as to avoid the supposed camp, but had not gone far
before he came face to face with a Federal soldier who was evidently
returning from a successful foray for plunder, for he was well laden
with chickens and carried a bucket of honey. He began questioning
Fontain with a curiosity that threatened unpleasant consequences, and
the alert scout ended the colloquy with a pistol bullet which struck the
plunderer squarely in the forehead. Leaving him stretched on the path,
with his poultry and honey beside him, Fontain made all haste from that
dangerous locality.

Reaching a settlement at a distance from the stream, he hired a guide to
lead him to Hankerson's Ferry, on the Big Black River, promising him
fifty dollars if he would take him there without following any road.
They proceeded till near the ferry, when Fontain sent his guide ahead to
learn if any of the enemy were in that vicinity. But there was something
about the manner and talk of the man that excited his suspicion, and as
soon as the fellow was gone he sought a hiding-place from which he could
watch his return. The man was gone much longer than appeared necessary.
At length he came back alone and reported that the track was clear,
there being no Yankees near the ferry.

Paying and dismissing the guide, without showing his suspicions, Fontain
took good care not to obey his directions, but selected his course so as
to approach the river at a point above the ferry. By doing so he escaped
a squad of soldiers that seemed posted to intercept him, for as he
entered the road near the river bank a sentinel rose not more than ten
feet away and bade him to halt. He seemed to form the right flank of a
line of sentinels posted to command the ferry.

It was a time for quick and decisive action. Fontain had approached,
pistol in hand, and as the man hailed he felled him with a bullet, then
wheeled his horse and set out at full gallop up the stream. A shower of
balls followed him, one of them striking his right hand and wounding all
four of its fingers. Another grazed his right leg and a third cut a hole
through his sword scabbard. The horse fared worse, for no fewer than
seven bullets struck it. Keeling from its wounds it still had strength
to bear up for a mile, when it fell and died.

He had outridden his foes, who were all on foot, and, dividing his arms
and clothes into two packages, he trusted himself to the waters of the
Big Black, which he swam in safety. On the other side he was in friendly
territory, and did not walk far before he came to the house of a
patriotic Southern woman, who loaned him the only horse she had. It was
a stray one which had come to her place after the Yankee foragers had
carried off all the horses she owned.

Fontain was now in a safe region. His borrowed horse carried him to
Raymond by two o'clock the next morning, and was here changed for a
fresh one, which enabled him to reach Jackson during the forenoon. Here
he delivered his despatch to General Johnston, having successfully
performed a feat which, in view of its difficulties and his physical
disability, may well be classed as phenomenal.


In the opening chapter of General John B. Gordon's interesting
"Reminiscences of the Civil War" he tells us that the bayonet, so far as
he knew, was very rarely used in that war, and never effectively. The
bayonet, the lineal descendant of the lance and spear of far-past
warfare, had done remarkable service in its day, but with the advent of
the modern rifle its day ended, except as a weapon useful in repelling
cavalry charges or defending hollow squares. Fearful as their glittering
and bristling points appeared when levelled in front of a charging line,
bayonets were rarely reddened with the blood of an enemy in the Civil
War, and the soldiers of that desperate conflict found them more useful
as tools in the rapid throwing up of light earthworks than as weapons
for use against their foes.

Later in his work Gordon gives a case in point, in his vivid description
of a bayonet charge upon the line under his command on the bloody field
of Antietam. This is well worth repeating as an illustration of the
modern ineffectiveness of the bayonet, and also as a story of thrilling
interest in itself. As related by Gordon, there are few incidents in
the war which surpass it in picturesqueness and vitality.

The battle of Antietam was a struggle unsurpassed for its desperate and
deadly fierceness in the whole war, the losses, in comparison with the
numbers engaged, being the greatest of any battle-field of the conflict.
The plain in which it was fought was literally bathed in blood.

It is not our purpose to describe this battle, but simply that portion
of it in which General Gordon's troops were engaged. For hour after hour
a desperate struggle continued on the left of Lee's lines, in which
charge and counter-charge succeeded each other, until the green corn
which had waved there looked as if had been showered upon by a rain of
blood. But during those hours of death not a shot had been fired upon
the centre. Here General Gordon's men held the most advanced position,
and were without a supporting line, their post being one of imminent
danger in case of an assault in force.

As the day passed onward the battle on the left at length lulled, both
sides glad of an interval of rest. That McClellan's next attempt would
be made upon the centre General Lee felt confident, and he rode thither
to caution the leaders and bid them to hold their ground at any
sacrifice. A break at that point, he told them, might prove ruinous to
the army. He especially charged Gordon to stand stiffly with his men, as
his small force would feel the first brunt of the expected assault.
Gordon, alike to give hope to Lee and to inspire his own men, said in

"These men are going to stay here, general, till the sun goes down or
victory is won."

Lee's military judgment, as usual, was correct. He had hardly got back
to the left of his line when the assault predicted by him came. It was a
beautiful and brilliant day, scarcely a cloud mantling the sky. Down the
slope opposite marched through the clear sunlight a powerful column of
Federal troops. Crossing the little Antietam Creek they formed in column
of assault, four lines deep. Their commander, nobly mounted, placed
himself at their right, while the front line came to a "charge bayonets"
and the other lines to a "right shoulder shift." In the rear front the
band blared out martial music to give inspiration to the men. To the
Confederates, looking silently and expectantly on the coming corps, the
scene was one of thrilling interest. It might have been one of terror
but for their long training in such sights.

Who were these men so spick and span in their fresh blue uniforms, in
strange contrast to the ragged and soiled Confederate gray? Every man of
them wore white gaiters and neat attire, while the dust and smoke of
battle had surely never touched the banners that floated above their
heads. Were they new recruits from some military camp, now first to test
their training in actual war? In the sunlight the long line of bayonets
gleamed like burnished silver. As if fresh from the parade-ground they
advanced with perfect alignment, their steps keeping martial time to the
steady beat of the drum. It was a magnificent spectacle as the line
advanced, a show of martial beauty which it seemed a shame to destroy by
the rude hand of war.

One thing was evident to General Gordon. His opponent proposed to trust
to the bayonet and attempt to break through Lee's centre by the sheer
weight of his deep charging column. It might be done. Here were four
lines of blue marching on the one in gray. How should the charge be met?
By immediate and steady fire, or by withholding his fire till the lines
were face to face, and then pouring upon the Federals a blighting storm
of lead? Gordon decided on the latter, believing that a sudden and
withering burst of deadly hail in the faces of men with empty guns would
be more than any troops could stand.

All the horses were sent to the rear and the men were ordered to lie
down in the grass, they being told by their officers that the Federals
were coming with unloaded guns, trusting to the bayonet, and that not a
shot must be heard until the word "Fire!" was given. This would not be
until the Federals were close at hand. In the old Revolutionary phrase,
they must wait "till they saw the whites of their eyes."

On came the long lines, still as steady and precise in movement as if
upon holiday drill. Not a rifle-shot was heard. Neither side had
artillery at this point, and no roar of cannon broke the strange
silence. The awaiting boys in gray grew eager and impatient and had to
be kept in restraint by their officers. "Wait! wait for the word!" was
the admonition. Yet it was hard to lie there while that line of bayonets
came closer and closer, until the eagles on the buttons of the blue
coats could be seen, and at length the front rank was not twenty yards

The time had come. With all the power of his lungs Gordon shouted out
the word "Fire!" In an instant there burst from the prostrate line a
blinding blaze of light, and a frightful hail of bullets rent through
the Federal ranks. Terrible was the effect of that consuming volley.
Almost the whole front rank of the foe seemed to go down in a mass. The
brave commander and his horse fell in a heap together. In a moment he
was on his feet; it was the horse, not the man, that the deadly bullet
had found.

In an instant more the recumbent Confederates were on their feet, an
appalling yell bursting from their throats as they poured new volleys
upon the Federal lines. No troops on earth could have faced that fire
without a chance to reply. Their foes bore unloaded guns. Not a bayonet
had reached the breast for which it was aimed. The lines recoiled,
though in good order for men swept by such a blast of death. Large
numbers of them had fallen, yet not a drop of blood had been lost by one
of Gordon's men.

The gallant man who led the Federals was not yet satisfied that the
bayonet could not break the ranks of his foes. Reforming his men, now in
three lines, he led them again with empty guns to the charge. Again they
were driven back with heavy loss. With extraordinary persistence he
clung to his plan of winning with the bayonet, coming on again and again
until four fruitless charges had been made on Gordon's lines, not a man
in which had fallen, while the Federal loss had been very heavy. Not
until convinced by this sanguinary evidence that the day of the bayonet
was past did he order his men to load and open fire on the hostile
lines. It was an experiment in an obsolete method of warfare which had
proved disastrous to those engaged in it.

[Illustration: GORDON HOUSE.]

In the remaining hours of that desperate conflict Gordon and his men had
another experience to face. The fire from both sides grew furious and
deadly, and at nightfall, when the carnage ceased, so many of the
soldiers in gray had fallen that, as one of the officers afterward said,
he could have walked on the dead bodies of the men from end to end of
the line. How true this was Gordon was unable to say, for by this time
he was himself a wreck, fairly riddled with bullets.

As he tells us, his previous record was remarkably reversed in this
fight, and we cannot better close our story than with a description of
his new experience. He had hitherto seemed almost to bear a charmed
life. While numbers had fallen by his side in battle, and his own
clothing had been often pierced and torn by balls and fragments of
shells, he had not lost a drop of blood, and his men looked upon him as
one destined by fate not to be killed in battle. "They can't hit him;"
"He's as safe in one place as another," form a type of the expressions
used by them, and Gordon grew to have much the same faith in his
destiny, as he passed through battle after battle unharmed.

At Antietam the record was decidedly broken. The first volley from the
Federal troops sent a bullet whirling through the calf of his right leg.
Soon after another ball went through the same leg, at a higher point. As
no bone was broken, he was still able to walk along the line and
encourage his men to bear the deadly fire which was sweeping their
lines. Later in the day a third ball came, this passing through his arm,
rending flesh and tendons, but still breaking no bone. Through his
shoulder soon came a fourth ball, carrying a wad of clothing into the
wound. The men begged their bleeding commander to leave the field, but
he would not flinch, though fast growing faint from loss of blood.

Finally came the fifth ball, this time striking him in the face, and
passing out, just missing the jugular vein. Falling, he lay unconscious
with his face in his cap, into which poured the blood from his wound
until it threatened to smother him. It might have done so but for still
another ball, which pierced the cap and let out the blood.

When Gordon was borne to the rear he had been so seriously wounded and
lost so much blood that his case seemed hopeless. Fortunately for him,
his faithful wife had followed him to the war and now became his nurse.
As she entered the room, with a look of dismay on seeing him, Gordon,
who could scarcely speak from the condition of his face, sought to
reassure her with, the faintly articulated words, "Here's your handsome
husband; been to an Irish wedding."

It was providential for him that he had this faithful and devoted nurse
by his side. Only her earnest and incessant care saved him to join the
war again. Day and night she was beside him, and when erysipelas
attacked his wounded arm and the doctors told her to paint the arm above
the wound three or four times a day with iodine, she obeyed by painting
it, as he thought, three or four hundred times a day. "Under God's
providence," he says, "I owe my life to her incessant watchfulness night
and day, and to her tender nursing through weary weeks and anxious


The story of the battle of Chancellorsville and of Jackson's famous
flank movement, with its disastrous result to Hooker's army, and to the
Confederates in the loss of their beloved leader, has been often told.
But these narratives are from the outside; we propose to give one here
from the inside, in the graphic description of Heros Von Borcke, General
J. E. B. Stuart's chief of staff, who took an active part in the
stirring events of that critical 2d of May, 1863.

It is a matter of general history how General Hooker led his army across
the Rappahannock into that ugly region at Chancellorsville, with its
morasses, hills, and ravines, its dense forest of scrub-oaks and pines,
and its square miles of tangled undergrowth, which was justly known as
The Wilderness; and how he strongly intrenched himself against an attack
in front, with breastworks of logs and an abattis of felled trees. It is
equally familiar how Lee, well aware of the peril of attacking these
formidable works, accepted the bold plan of Stonewall Jackson, who
proposed to make a secret flank movement and fall with his entire corps
on Hooker's undefended rear. This was a division of Lee's army which
might have led to disaster and destruction; but he had learned to trust
in Jackson's star. He accordingly made vigorous demonstrations in
Hooker's front, in order to attract his attention and keep him employed,
while Jackson was marching swiftly and stealthily through the thick
woods, with Stuart's cavalry between him and the foe, to the Orange
plank-road, four miles westward from Chancellorsville. With this
introductory sketch of the situation we leave the details of the march
to Von Borcke.

"All was bustle and confusion as I galloped along the lines on the
morning of the 2d, to obtain, according to Stuart's orders, the latest
instructions for our cavalry from General Lee, who was located at a
distance of some miles to our right. Anderson's and McLaws's
sharp-shooters were advancing and already exchanging shots with the
enemy's skirmishers--the line of battle of these two divisions having
been partially extended over the space previously occupied by Jackson's
corps, that they might cover its movements.

"This splendid corps meanwhile was marching in close columns in a
direction which set us all wondering what could be the intentions of old
Stonewall; but as we beheld him riding along, heading the troops
himself, we should as soon have thought of questioning the sagacity of
our admired chief as of hesitating to follow him blindly wherever he
should lead. The orders of the cavalry were to report to Jackson and to
form his advanced-guard; and in that capacity we marched silently along
through the forest, taking a small by-road, which brought us several
times so near the enemy's lines that the stroke of axes, mingled with
the hum of voices from their camp, was distinctly audible.

"Thus commenced the famous flank march which, more than any other
operation of the war, proved the brilliant strategical talents of
General Lee and the consummate ability of his lieutenant. About two
o'clock a body of Federal cavalry came in sight, making, however, but
slight show of resistance, and falling back slowly before us. By about
four o'clock we had completed our movement without encountering any
material obstacle, and reached a patch of woods in rear of the enemy's
right wing, formed by the Eleventh Corps, Howard's, which was encamped
in a large open field not more than half a mile distant.

"Halting here, the cavalry threw forward a body of skirmishers to occupy
the enemy's attention, while the divisions of Jackson's corps--A. P.
Hill's, Colston's, and Rode's, numbering in all about twenty-eight
thousand men--moved into line of battle as fast as they arrived. Ordered
to reconnoitre the position of the Federals, I rode cautiously forward
through the forest, and reached a point whence I obtained a capital view
of the greater part of the troops, whose attitude betokened how totally
remote was any suspicion that a numerous host was so near at hand.

"It was evident that the whole movement we had thus so successfully
executed was regarded as merely an unimportant cavalry raid, for only a
few squadrons were drawn up in line to oppose us, and a battery of four
guns were placed in a position to command the plank-road from Germana,
over which we had been marching for the last two hours. The main body of
the troops were listlessly reposing, while some regiments were looking
on, drawn up on dress parade; artillery horses were quietly grazing at
some distance from their guns, and the whole scene presented a picture
of the most perfect heedlessness and nonchalance, compatible only with
utter unconsciousness of impending danger.

"While complacently gazing on this extraordinary spectacle, somewhat
touched myself apparently with the spell of listless incaution in which
our antagonists were locked, I was startled with the sound of closely
approaching footsteps, and, turning in their direction, beheld a patrol
of six or eight of the enemy's infantry just breaking through the bushes
and gazing at me with most unmistakable astonishment. I had no time to
lose here, that was certain; so quickly tugging my horse's head round in
the direction of my line of retreat, and digging my spurs into his
sides, I dashed off from before the bewildered Yankees, and was out of
sight ere they had time to take steady aim, the bullets that came
whizzing after me flying far wide of the mark.

"On my return to the spot where I had left Stuart, I found him, with
Jackson and the officers of their respective staffs, stretched out along
the grass beneath a gigantic oak, and tranquilly discussing their plans
for the impending battle which both seemed confidently to regard as
likely to end in a great and important victory for our arms. Towards
five o'clock Jackson's adjutant, Major Pendleton, galloped up to us and
reported that the line of battle was formed and all was in readiness for
immediate attack. Accordingly the order was at once given for the whole
corps to advance. All hastened forthwith to their appointed posts,
General Stuart and his staff joining the cavalry, which was to operate
on the left of our infantry.

"Scarcely had we got up to our men when the Confederate yell, which
always preceded a charge, burst forth along our lines, and Jackson's
veterans, who had been with difficulty held back till that moment,
bounded forward towards the astounded and perfectly paralyzed enemy,
while the thunder of our horse-artillery, on whom devolved the honor of
opening the ball, reached us from the other extremity of the line. The
more hotly we sought to hasten to the front, the more obstinately did we
get entangled in the undergrowth, while our infantry moved on so rapidly
that the Federals were already completely routed by the time we had got
thoroughly quit of the forest.


"It was a strange spectacle that now greeted us. The whole of the
Eleventh Corps had broken at the first shock of the attack; entire
regiments had thrown down their arms, which were lying in regular lines
on the ground, as if for inspection; suppers just prepared had been
abandoned; tents, baggage, wagons, cannons, half-slaughtered oxen,
covered the foreground in chaotic confusion, while in the background a
host of many thousand Yankees were discerned scampering for their lives
as fast as their limbs could carry them, closely followed by our men,
who were taking prisoners by the hundreds, and scarcely firing a shot."

That the story of panic here told is not too much colored by the
writer's sympathy for his cause, may be seen by the following extract
from Lossing's "Civil War in America," a work whose sympathies are
distinctly on the other side. After saying that Jackson's march had not
passed unobserved by the Federals, who looked on it as a retreat towards
Richmond, and were preparing for a vigorous pursuit of the supposed
fugitives, Lossing thus describes the Confederate onset and the Federal

"He (Jackson) had crossed the Orange plank-road, and, under cover of the
dense jungle of the wilderness, had pushed swiftly northward to the old
turnpike and beyond, feeling his enemy at every step. Then he turned his
face towards Chancellorsville, and, just before six o'clock in the
evening, he burst from the thickets with twenty-five thousand men, and,
like a sudden, unexpected, and terrible tornado, swept on towards the
flank and rear of Howard's corps, which occupied the National right; the
game of the forest--deers, wild turkeys, and hares--flying wildly before
him, and becoming to the startled Unionists the heralds of the
approaching tempest of war. These mute messengers were followed by the
sound of bugles; then by a few shots from approaching skirmishers; then
by a tremendous yell from a thousand throats and a murderous fire from a
strong battle line. Jackson, in heavy force, was upon the Eleventh Corps
at the moment when the men were preparing for supper and repose, without
a suspicion of danger near. Deven's division, on the extreme right,
received the first blow, and almost instantly the surprised troops,
panic-stricken, fled towards the rear, along the line of the corps,
communicating their emotions of alarm to the other divisions.... In the
wildest confusion the fugitives rushed along the road towards
Chancellorsville, upon the position of General Carl Schurz, whose
division had already retreated, in anticipation of the onset, and the
turbulent tide of frightened men rolled back upon General A. Von
Steinwehr, utterly regardless of the exertions of the commander of the
corps and his subordinate officers to check their flight. Only a few
regiments, less demoralized than the others, made resistance, and these
were instantly scattered like chaff, leaving half their number dead or
dying on the field."

With this vivid picture of an army in a panic, we shall again take up
Von Borcke's personal narrative at the point where we left it:

"The broken nature of the ground was against all cavalry operations, and
though we pushed forward with all our will, it was with difficulty we
could keep up with Jackson's 'Foot-cavalry,' as this famous infantry was
often called. Meanwhile, a large part of the Federal army, roused by the
firing and the alarming reports from the rear, hastened to the field of
action, and exerted themselves in vain to arrest the disgraceful rout of
their comrades of the Eleventh Corps. Numerous batteries having now
joined the conflict, a terrific cannonade roared along the lines, and
the fury of the battle was soon at its full height. Towards dark a
sudden pause ensued in the conflict, occasioned by Jackson giving orders
for his lines to reform for the continuation of the combat, the rapid
and prolonged pursuit of the enemy having thrown them into considerable
confusion. Old Stonewall being thoroughly impressed with the conviction
that in a few hours the enemy's whole forces would be defeated, and that
their principal line of retreat would be in the direction of Ely's Ford,
Stuart was ordered to proceed at once towards that point with a portion
of his cavalry, in order to barricade the road and as much as possible
impede the retrograde movement of the enemy.

"In this operation we were joined by a North Carolina infantry regiment,
which was already on its way towards the river. Leaving the greater part
of the brigade behind us under Fitz Lee's command, we took only the
First Virginia Cavalry with us, and, trotting rapidly along a small
bypath, overtook the infantry about two miles from the ford. Riding with
Stuart a little ahead of our men, I suddenly discovered, on reaching
the summit of a slight rise in the road, a large encampment in the
valley to our right, not more than a quarter of a mile from where we
stood; and, farther still, on the opposite side of the river, more
camp-fires were visible, indicating the presence of a large body of

"Calling a halt, the general and I rode cautiously forward to
reconnoitre the enemy a little more closely, and we managed to approach
near enough to hear distinctly the voices and distinguish the figures of
the men sitting around their fires or strolling through the camp. The
unexpected presence of so large a body of the enemy immediately in our
path entirely disconcerted our previous arrangements. Nevertheless
Stuart determined on giving them a slight surprise and disturbing their
comfort by a few volleys from our infantry. Just as the regiment,
mustering about a thousand, had formed into line according to orders,
and was prepared to advance on the enemy, two officers of General A. P.
Hill's staff rode up in great haste and excitement, and communicated
something in a low tone to General Stuart, by which he seemed greatly
startled and affected.

"'Take the command of that regiment, and act on your own
responsibility,' were his whispered injunctions to me, as he immediately
rode off, followed by the other officers and the cavalry at their
topmost speed.

"The thunder of the cannon, which for the last hour had increased in
loudness, announced that Jackson had recommenced the battle, but as to
the course or actual position of affairs I had not an iota of
information, and my anxiety being moreover increased by the suddenness
of Stuart's departure on some unknown emergency, I felt rather awkwardly
situated. Here was I in the darkness of the night, in an unknown and
thickly wooded country, some six miles from our main army, and opposite
to a far superior force, whom I was expected to attack with troops whom
I had never before commanded, and to whom I was scarcely known. I felt,
however, that there was no alternative but blind obedience, so I
advanced with the regiment to within about fifty yards of the enemy's
encampment and gave the command to fire.

"A hail of bullets rattled through the forest, and as volley after
volley was fired, the confusion and dismay occasioned in the camp were
indescribable. Soldiers and officers could be plainly seen by the light
of the fires walking helplessly about, horses were galloping wildly in
all directions, and the sound of bugles and drums mingled with the cries
of the wounded and flying, who sought in the distant woods a shelter
against the murderous fire of their unseen enemy. The troops whom we
thus dispersed and put to flight consisted, as I was afterward informed,
of the greater part of Averil's cavalry division, and a great number of
the men of this command were so panic-stricken that they did mot
consider themselves safe until they had reached the opposite side of
the Rapidan, when they straggled off for miles all through Culpeper

"Our firing had been kept up for about half an hour, and had by this
time stirred up alarm in the camps on the other side of the river, the
troops of which were marching on us from various directions.
Accordingly, I gave orders to my North Carolinians to retire, leaving
the task of bringing his command back to the colonel; while, anxious to
rejoin Stuart as soon as I could, I galloped on ahead through the dark
forest, whose solemn silence was only broken by the melancholy cry of
hosts of whippoorwills. The firing had now ceased altogether, and all
fighting seemed to have been entirely given up, which greatly increased
my misgivings. After a tedious ride of nearly an hour over the field of
battle, still covered with hundreds of wounded groaning in their agony,
I at last discovered Stuart seated under a solitary plum-tree, busily
writing despatches by the dim light of a lantern.

"From General Stuart I now received the first intimation of the heavy
calamity which had befallen us by the wounding of Jackson. After having
instructed his men to fire at everything approaching from the direction
of the enemy, in his eagerness to reconnoitre the position of the
Federals, and entirely forgetting his own orders, he had been riding
with his staff-officers outside our pickets, when, on their return,
being mistaken for the enemy, the little party were received by a South
Carolina regiment with a volley that killed or wounded nearly every man
of them and laid low our beloved Stonewall himself. The Federals
advancing at the same time, a severe skirmish ensued, in the course of
which one of the bearers of the litter on which the general was being
carried was killed, and Jackson fell heavily to the ground, receiving
soon afterward a second wound. For a few minutes, in fact, the general
was in the hands of the enemy, but his men, becoming aware of his
perilous position, rushed forward, and, speedily driving back the
advancing foe, carried their wounded commander to the rear."

Jackson received three balls, one in the right hand and two in the left
arm, one of these shattering the bone just below the shoulder and
severing an artery. He was borne to the Wilderness tavern, where a
Confederate hospital had been established, and there his arm was
amputated. Eight days after receiving his wounds, on the 10th of May, he
died, an attack of pneumonia being the chief cause of his death. His
last words were, as a smile of ineffable sweetness passed over his pale
face, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the

Thus died the man who was justly named the "right hand" of General Lee,
and whose death converted his last great victory into a serious disaster
for the Confederate cause, the loss of a leader like Stonewall Jackson
being equivalent to the destruction of an army.


The romance of war dwells largely upon the exploits of partisan leaders,
men with a roving commission to do business on their own account, and in
whose ranks are likely to gather the dare-devils of the army, those who
love to come and go as they please, and leave a track of adventure and
dismay behind them. There were such leaders in both armies during the
Civil War, and especially in that of the South; and among the most
daring and successful of them was General John H. Morgan, whose famous
raid through Indiana and Ohio it is our purpose here to describe.

Morgan was a son of the people, not of the aristocratic cavalier class,
but was just the man to make his mark in a conflict of this character,
being richly supplied by nature with courage, daring, and
self-possession in times of peril. He became a cavalry leader in the
regular service, but was given a free foot to control his own movements,
and had gathered about him a body of men of his own type, with whom he
roamed about with a daring and audacity that made him a terror to the

Morgan's most famous early exploit was his invasion of Kentucky in 1862,
in which he kept the State in a fever of apprehension during most of
the summer, defeating all who faced him and venturing so near to
Cincinnati that the people of that city grew wild with apprehension.
Only the sharp pursuit of General G. C. Smith, with a superior cavalry
force, saved that rich city from being made an easy prey to Morgan and
his men.

As preliminary to our main story, we may give in brief one of Morgan's
characteristic exploits. The town of Gallatin, twenty miles north of
Nashville, was occupied by a small Federal force and seemed to Morgan to
offer a fair field for one of his characteristic raids. His men were
ready,--they always were for an enterprise promising danger and
loot,--and they fell on the town with a swoop that quickly made them its
masters and its garrison their captives.

While the victors were paying themselves for their risk by spoiling the
enemy, Morgan proceeded to the telegraph office, with the hope that he
might find important despatches. So sudden had been the assault that the
operator did not know that anything out of the usual had taken place,
and took Morgan for a Northern officer. When asked what was going on, he

"Nothing particular, except that we hear a good deal about the doings of
that rebel bandit, Morgan. If he should happen to come across my path, I
have pills enough here to satisfy him." He drew his revolver and
flourished it bravely in the air.

Morgan turned on the braggart with a look and tone that quite robbed him
of his courage, saying, "I am Morgan! You are speaking to Morgan, you
miserable wretch. Do you think you have any pills to spare for me?"

The operator almost sank on his knees with terror, while the weapon fell
from his nerveless hand.

"Don't be scared," said the general. "I will not hurt you. But I want
you to send off this despatch at once to Prentiss."

The much-scared operator quickly ticked off the following message,--

     "MR. PRENTISS,--As I learn at this telegraph office that you intend
     to proceed to Nashville, perhaps you will allow me to escort you
     there at the head of my troop."

          "JOHN MORGAN."

What effect this despatch had on Prentiss history sayeth not.

With this preliminary account of Morgan and the character of his
exploits, we proceed to the most famous incident of his career, his
daring invasion of the North, one of the most stirring and exciting
incidents of the war.

The main purpose of this invasion is said to have been to contrive a
diversion in favor of General Buckner, who proposed to make a dash
across Kentucky and seize Louisville, and afterward, with Morgan's aid,
to capture Cincinnati. It was also intended to form a nucleus for an
armed counter-revolution in the Northwest, where the "Knights of the
Golden Circle" and the "Sons of Liberty," associations in sympathy with
the South, were strong. But with these ulterior purposes we have
nothing here to do, our text being the incidents of the raid itself.

General Morgan started on this bold adventure on June 27, 1863, with a
force of several thousand mounted men, and with four pieces of
artillery. The start was made from Sparta, Tennessee, where the swollen
Cumberland was crossed in boats and canoes on the 1st and 2d of July,
the horses, with some difficulty, being made to swim.

After successful encounters with Jacob's cavalry and a troop of
Wolford's cavalry, the adventurers pushed on, reaching the stockade at
Green River Bridge on July 4. Here Colonel Moore was strongly intrenched
with a small body of Michigan troops, and sent the following reply to
Morgan's demand for a surrender: "If it was any other day I might
consider the demand, but the 4th of July is a bad day to talk about
surrender, and I must therefore decline."

Moore proved quite capable, with the aid of his intrenchments, of making
good his refusal, Morgan being repulsed, after a brisk engagement, with
a loss of about sixty men, as estimated by Captain Cunningham, an
officer of his staff. Lebanon was taken, after a severe engagement, on
the 5th, yielding the Confederates a good supply of guns and ammunition,
and the Ohio was reached, at Brandenburg, in a drenching rain, on the
evening of the 7th. Here two steamers were seized and the whole force
crossed on the next day to the Indiana shore.

General Morgan's force had been swelled, by recruits gained in
Kentucky, until it now numbered four thousand six hundred men, and its
four guns had become ten. But he was being hotly pursued by General
Hobson, who had hastily got on his track with a cavalry force stronger
than his own. This reached the river to see the last of Morgan's men
safe on the Indiana shore, and one of the steamers they had used
floating, a mass of flames, down the stream.

Hobson's loss of time in crossing the stream gave Morgan twenty-four
hours' advance, which he diligently improved. The advance of Rosecrans
against Bragg had prevented the proposed movement of Buckner to the
north, and there remained for Morgan only an indefinite movement through
the Northern States with the secondary hope of finding aid and sympathy
there. It was likely to be an enterprise of the utmost peril, with
Hobson hotly on his track, and the home-guards rising in his front, but
the dauntless Morgan did not hesitate in his desperate adventure.

The first check was at Corydon, where a force of militia had gathered.
But these were quickly overpowered, the town was forced to yield its
quota of spoil, three hundred fresh horses were seized, and Morgan
adopted a shrewd system of collecting cash contributions from the
well-to-do, demanding one thousand dollars from the owner of each mill
and factory as a condition of saving their property from the flames. It
may be said here that Corydon was the principal place in which any
strong opposition was made by the people, the militia being concentrated
at the large towns, which Morgan took care to avoid, pursuing his way
through the panic-stricken villages and rural districts. There were
other brushes with the home-guards, but none of much importance.

The failure of the original purpose of the movement, and the brisk
pursuit of the Federal cavalry, left Morgan little to hope for but to
get in safety across the Ohio again. In addition to Hobson's cavalry
force, General Judah's division was in active motion to intercept him,
and the whole line of the Ohio swarmed with foes. The position of the
raiders grew daily more desperate, but they rode gallantly on, trusting
the result to destiny and the edge of their good swords.

On swept Morgan and his men; on rushed Hobson and his troopers. But the
former rode on fresh horses; the latter followed on jaded steeds. For
five miles on each side of his line of march Morgan swept the country
clear of horses, leaving his own weary beasts in their stead, while
Hobson's force, finding no remounts, grew steadily less in number from
the exhaustion of his horses. The people, through fear, even fed and
watered the horses of Morgan's men with the greatest promptness, thus
adding to the celerity of his movements.

Some anecdotes of the famous ride may here be fitly given. At one point
on his ride through Indiana Morgan left the line of march with three
hundred and fifty of his men to visit a small town, the main body
marching on. Dashing into the place, he found a body of some three
hundred home-guards, each with a good horse. They were dismounted and
their horses tied to the fences. Their captain, a confiding individual,
on the wrong side of sixty, looked with surprise at this irruption, and

"Whose company is this?"

"Wolford's cavalry," was the reply.

"What? Kentucky boys? Glad to see you. Where's Wolford?"

"There he sits," answered the man, pointing to Morgan, who was
carelessly seated sideways on his horse. Walking up to Wolford,--as he
thought him,--the Indiana captain saluted him,--

"Captain, how are you?"

"Bully; how are you? What are you going to do with all these men and

"Why, you see that horse-thieving John Morgan is in this part of the
country, cutting up the deuce. Between you and me, captain, if he comes
this way, we'll try and give him the best we've got in the shop."

"You'll find him hard to catch. We've been after him for fourteen days
and can't see him at all," said Morgan.

"If our hosses would only stand fire we'd be all right."

"They won't stand, eh?"

"Not for shucks. I say, captain, I'd think it a favor if you and your
men would put your saddles on our hosses, and give our lads a little
idea of a cavalry drill. They say you're prime at that."

"Why, certainly; anything to accommodate. I think we can show you some
useful evolutions."

Little time was lost in changing the saddles from the tired to the fresh
horses, the hoosier boys aiding in the work, and soon the Confederates,
delighted with the exchange, were in their saddles and ready for the
word. Morgan rode up and down the column, then moved to the front, took
off his hat, and said,--

"All right now, captain. If you and your men will form a double line
along the road and watch us, we will try to show you a movement you have
never seen."

The captain gave the necessary order to his men, who drew up in line.

"Are you ready?" asked Morgan.

"All right, Wolford."

"Forward!" shouted Morgan, and the column shot ahead at a rattling pace,
soon leaving nothing in sight but a cloud of dust. When the news became
whispered among the astonished hoosiers that the polite visitor was
Morgan instead of Wolford, there was gnashing of teeth in that town,
despite the fact that each man had been left a horse in exchange for his

As Morgan rode on he continued his polite method of levying a tax from
the mill-owners instead of burning their property. At Salem, the next
place after leaving Corydon, he collected three thousand dollars from
three mill-owners. Capturing, at another time, Washington De Pauw, a man
of large wealth, he said to him,--

"Sir, do you consider your flour-mill worth two thousand dollars?"

De Pauw thought it was worth that.

"Very well; you can save it for that much money."

De Pauw promptly paid the cash.

"Now," said Morgan, "do you think your woollen-mill worth three thousand

"Yes," said De Pauw, with more hesitation.

"You can buy it from us for that sum."

The three thousand dollars was paid over less willingly, and the
mill-owner was heartily glad that he had no other mills to redeem.

Another threat to burn did not meet with as much success. Colonel
Craven, of Ripley, who was taken prisoner, talked in so caustic a tone
that Morgan asked where the colonel lived.

"At Osgood," was the answer.

"That little town on the railroad?"

"Yes," said the colonel.

"All right; I shall send a detachment there to burn the town."

"Burn and be hanged!" said the colonel; "it isn't much of a town,

Morgan laughed heartily at the answer.

"I like the way you talk, old fellow," he said, "and I guess your town
can stand."

As the ride went on Morgan had more and more cause for alarm. Hobson
was hanging like a burr on his rear, rarely more than half a day's march
behind--the lack of fresh horses kept him from getting nearer. Judah was
on his flank, and had many of his men patrolling the Ohio. The governors
had called for troops, and the country was rising on all sides. The Ohio
was now the barrier between him and safety, and Morgan rode thither at
top speed, striking the river on the 19th at Buffington Ford, above
Pomeroy, in Ohio. For the past week, as Cunningham says, "every
hill-side contained an enemy and every ravine a blockade, and we reached
the river dispirited and worn down."

At the river, instead of safety, imminent peril was found. Hundreds of
Judah's men were on the stream in gunboats to head him off. Hobson,
Wolford, and other cavalry leaders were closing in from behind. The
raiders seemed environed by enemies, and sharp encounters began. Judah
struck them heavily in flank. Hobson assailed them in the rear, and,
hemmed in on three sides and unable to break through the environing
lines, five hundred of the raiders, under Dick Morgan and Ward, were
forced to surrender.

"Seeing that the enemy had every advantage of position," says
Cunningham, "an overwhelming force of infantry and cavalry, and that we
were becoming completely environed in the meshes of the net set for us,
the command was ordered to move up the river at double-quick, ... and
we moved rapidly off the field, leaving three companies of dismounted
men, and perhaps two hundred sick and wounded, in the enemy's
possession. Our cannon were undoubtedly captured at the river."

Morgan now followed the line of the stream, keeping behind the hills out
of reach of the gunboat fire, till Bealville, fourteen miles above, was
reached. Here he rode to the stream, having distanced the gunboats, and
with threats demanded aid from the people in crossing. Flats and scows
were furnished for only about three hundred of the men, who managed to
cross before the gunboats appeared in sight. Others sought to cross by
swimming. In this effort Cunningham had the following experience:

"My poor mare being too weak to carry me, turned over and commenced
going down; encumbered by clothes, sabre, and pistols, I made but poor
progress in the turbid stream. But the recollections of home, of a
bright-eyed maiden in the sunny South, and an inherent love of life,
actuated me to continue swimming.... But I hear something behind me
snorting! I feel it passing! Thank God, I am saved! A riderless horse
dashes by; I grasp his tail; onward he bears me, and the shore is
reached!" And thus Cunningham passes out of the story.

The remainder of the force fled inland, hotly pursued, fighting a
little, burning bridges, and being at length brought to bay, surrounded
by foes, and forced to surrender, except a small party with Morgan
still at their head. Escape for these seemed hopeless. For six days more
they rode onward, in a desperate effort to reach the Ohio at some
unguarded point. They were sharply pursued, and, at length, on Sunday,
July 26, found themselves very hotly pressed. Along one road dashed
Morgan, at the full speed of his mounts. Over a road at right angles
rushed Major Rue, thundering along. It was a sharp burst for the
intersection. Morgan reached it first, and Rue thought he had escaped.
But the major knew the country like a book. His horses were fresh and
Morgan's were jaded. Another tremendous dash was made for the Beaver
Creek road, and this the major reached a little ahead.

It was all up now with the famous raid. Morgan's men were too few to
break through the intercepting force. He made the bluff of sending a
flag with a demand to surrender; but Rue couldn't see it in that light,
and a few minutes afterward Morgan rode up to him, saying, "You have
beat me this time," and expressing himself as gratified that a
Kentuckian was his captor.

A mere fragment of the command remained, the others having been
scattered and picked up at various points, and thus ended the career, in
capture or death, of nearly all the more than four thousand bold raiders
who had crossed the Ohio three weeks before. They had gained fame, but
with captivity as its goal.

Morgan and several of his officers were taken to Columbus, the capital
of Ohio, and were there confined in felon cells in the penitentiary.
Four months afterward the leader and six of his captains escaped and
made their way in safety to the Confederate lines. Here is the story in
outline of how they got free from durance vile.

Two small knives served them for tools, with which they dug through the
floors of their cells, composed of cement and nine inches of brickwork,
and in this way reached an air-chamber below. They had now only to dig
through the soft earth under the foundation walls of the penitentiary
and open a passage into the yard. They had furnished themselves with a
strong rope, made of their bed-clothes, and with this they scaled the
walls. In some way they had procured citizen's clothes, so that those
who afterward saw them had no suspicion.

In the cell Morgan left the following note: "Cell No. 20. November 20,
1863. Commencement, November 4, 1863. Conclusion, November 20, 1863.
Number of hours of labor per day, three. Tools, two small knives. _La
patience est amère, mais son fruit est doux_ [Patience is bitter, but
its fruit is sweet]. By order of my six honorable confederates."

Morgan and Captain Hines went immediately to the railroad station (at
one o'clock in the morning) and boarded a train going towards
Cincinnati. When near this city, they went to the rear car, slackened
the speed by putting on the brake, and jumped off, making their way to
the Ohio. Here they induced a boy to row them across, and soon found
shelter with friends in Kentucky.

A reward of one thousand dollars was offered for Morgan, "alive or
dead," but the news of the ovation with which he was soon after received
in Richmond proved to his careless jailers that he was safely beyond
their reach.

A few words will finish the story of Morgan's career. He was soon at the
head of a troop again, annoying the enemy immensely in Kentucky. One of
his raiding parties, three hundred strong, actually pushed General
Hobson, his former pursuer, into a bend of the Licking River, and
captured him with twelve hundred well-armed men. This was Morgan's last
exploit. Soon afterward he, with a portion of his staff, were surrounded
when in a house at Greenville by Union troops, and the famous
Confederate leader was shot dead while seeking to escape.


Sad is defeat, and more than sad was the last march of General Lee's
gallant army after its four years of heroic struggle, as it despondently
made its way along the Virginian roads westward from the capital city
which it had defended so long and valiantly. It was the verdant
spring-tide, but the fresh green foliage had no charms for the
heart-broken and starving men, whose food supplies had grown so low that
they were forced to gnaw the young shoots of the trees for sustenance.
It is not our purpose here to tell what followed the surrounding of the
fragment of an army by an overwhelming force of foes, the surrender and
parole, and the dispersion of the veteran troops to the four winds, but
to confine ourselves to the homeward journey of General Lee and a few of
his veterans.

Shortly after the surrender, General Lee returned to Richmond, riding
slowly from the scene on his iron-gray war-horse, "Traveller," which had
borne him so nobly through years of battle and siege. His parting with
his soldiers was pathetic, and everywhere on his road to Richmond he
received tokens of admiration and respect from friend and foe. Reaching
Richmond, he and his companions passed sadly through a portion of the
city which exhibited a distressing scene of blackened ruins from the
recent conflagration. As he passed onward he was recognized, and the
people flocked to meet him, cheering and waving hats and handkerchiefs.
The general, to whom this ovation could not have been agreeable, simply
raised his hat in response to the greetings of the citizens, and rode on
to his residence in Franklin Street. The closing of its doors upon his
retiring form was the final scene in that long drama of war of which for
years he had been the central figure. He had returned to that private
family life for which his soul had yearned even in the most active
scenes of the war.

It is our purpose here to reproduce a vivid personal account of the
adventures of some of the retiring soldiers, especially as General Lee
bore a part in their experiences. The narrative given is the final one
of a series of incidents in the life of the private soldier, related by
Private Carlton McCarthy. These papers, in their day, were widely read
and much admired, and an extract from them cannot fail still to be of
interest. We take up the story of the "Brave Survivors, homeward bound:"

"Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 12th of April, without the
stirring drum or the bugle call of old, the camp awoke to the new life.
Whether or not they had a country, these soldiers did not know. Home to
many, when they reached it, was graves and ashes. At any rate, there
must be, somewhere on earth, a better place than a muddy, smoky camp in
a piece of scrubby pines; better company than gloomy, hungry comrades
and inquisitive enemies, and something in the future more exciting, if
not more hopeful, than nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, nothing to do,
and nowhere to go. The disposition to start was apparent, and the
preparations were promptly begun.

"To roll up the old blanket and oil-cloth, gather up the haversack,
canteen, axe, perhaps, and a few trifles,--in time of peace of no
value,--eat the fragments that remained, and light a pipe, was the work
of a few moments. This slight employment, coupled with pleasant
anticipations of the unknown, and therefore possibly enjoyable future,
served to restore somewhat the usual light-hearted manner of soldiers
and relieve the final farewells of much of their sadness. There was even
a smack of hope and cheerfulness as the little groups sallied out into
the world to combat they scarcely knew what. As we cannot follow all
these groups, we will join ourselves to one and see them home.

"Two 'brothers-in-arms,' whose objective-point is Richmond, take the
road on foot. They have nothing to eat and no money. They are bound for
their home in a city which, when they last heard from it, was in flames.
What they will see when they arrive there they cannot imagine, but the
instinctive love of home urges them. They walk on steadily and rapidly,
and are not diverted by surroundings. It does not even occur to them
that their situation, surrounded on all sides by armed enemies and
walking a road crowded by them, is at all novel. They are suddenly
aroused to a sense of their situation by a sharp 'Halt! Show your
parole.' They had struck the cordon of picket-posts which surrounded the
surrendered army. It was the first exercise of authority by the Federal
army. A sergeant, accompanied by a couple of muskets, stepped into the
road, with a modest air examined the paroles, and said, quietly, 'Pass

[Illustration: LEE'S HOUSE AT RICHMOND.]

"This strictly military part of the operation being over, the social
commenced. As the two 'survivors' passed on they were followed by
numerous remarks, such as, 'Hello, Johnny! I say--going home?' 'Ain't
you glad?' They made no reply, these wayfarers, but they _thought_ some
very emphatic remarks.

"From this point 'on to Richmond' was the grand thought. Steady work it
was. The road, strangely enough, considering the proximity of two
armies, was quite lonesome, and not an incident of interest occurred
during the day. Darkness found the two comrades still pushing on.

"Some time after dark a light was seen a short distance ahead, and there
was a 'sound of revelry.' On approaching, the light was seen to proceed
from a large fire, built on the floor of an old and dilapidated
outhouse, and surrounded by a ragged, hungry, singing, and jolly crowd
of paroled prisoners of the Army of Northern Virginia, who had gotten
possession of a quantity of cornmeal and were waiting for the ash-cakes
then in the ashes. Being liberal, they offered the new-comers some of
their bread. Being hungry, they accepted and ate their first meal that
day. Finding the party noisy and riotous, the comrades pushed on in the
darkness after a short rest and spent the night on the road.

"Thursday morning they entered the village of Buckingham Court-House,
and traded a small pocket-mirror for a substantial breakfast. There was
quite a crowd of soldiers gathered around a cellar-door, trying to
persuade an ex-Confederate A. A. A. Commissary of Subsistence that he
might as well, in view of the fact that the army had surrendered, let
them have some of the stores; and, after considerable persuasion and
some threats, he decided to forego the hope of keeping them for himself
and told the men to help themselves. They did so.

"As the two tramps were about to leave the village and were hurrying
along the high-road which led through it, they saw a solitary horseman
approaching from the rear. It was easy to recognize at once General Lee.
He rode slowly, calmly along. As he passed an old tavern on the roadside
some ladies and children waved their handkerchiefs, smiled, and wept.
The general raised his eyes to the porch on which they stood, and,
slowly raising his hand to his hat, lifted it slightly and as slowly
again dropped his hand to his side. The 'survivors' did not weep, but
they had strange sensations. They passed on, steering, so to speak, for
Cartersville and the ferry.

"Before leaving the village it was the sad duty of the 'survivors' to
stop at the humble abode of Mrs. P. and tell her of the death of her
husband, who fell mortally wounded, pierced by a musket-ball, near
Sailor's Creek. She was also told that a companion who was by his side
when he fell, but who was not able to stay with him, would come along
soon and give her the particulars. That comrade came and repeated the
story. In a few days the dead man reached home alive and scarcely hurt.
He was originally an infantryman, recently transferred to artillery, and
therefore wore a small knapsack, as infantry did. The ball struck the
knapsack with a 'whack!' and knocked the man down. That was all."

The night was spent in an old building near the ferry, and in the
morning the ferryman cheerfully put them across the river without

"Soon after crossing, a good, silver-plated tablespoon, bearing the
monogram of one of the travellers, purchased from an aged colored woman
a large chunk of ash-cake and about half a gallon of buttermilk. This
old darky had lived in Richmond in her younger days. She spoke of grown
men and women there as 'chillun what I raised.' 'Lord! boss--does you
know Miss Sadie? Well, I nussed her and I nussed all uv their chillun;
that I did, sah. You chillun does look hawngry, that you does. Well,
you's welcome to these vittles, and I'm pow'ful glad to git dis spoon.
God bless you, honey!' A big log on the roadside furnished a comfortable
seat for the consumption of the before-mentioned ash-cake and milk.

"The feast was hardly begun when the tramp of a horse's hoofs were
heard. Looking up, the 'survivors' saw with surprise General Lee
approaching. He was entirely alone and rode slowly along. Unconscious
that any one saw him, he was yet erect, dignified, and apparently as
calm and peaceful as the fields and woods around him. Having caught
sight of the occupants of the log, he kept his eyes fixed on them, and
as he passed turned slightly, saluted, and said, in the most gentle
manner, 'Good-morning, gentlemen; taking your breakfast?' The soldiers
had only time to rise, salute, and say, 'Yes, sir,' and he was gone.

"It seems that General Lee pursued the road which the 'survivors' chose,
and, starting later than they, overtook them, he being mounted and they
on foot. At any rate, it was their good fortune to see him three times
on the road from Appomattox to Richmond. The incidents introducing
General Lee are peculiarly interesting, and the reader may rest assured
of the truthfulness of the narration as to what occurred and what was
said and done.

"After the feast of bread and milk, the no longer hungry men passed on.
About the time when men who have eaten a hearty breakfast become again
hungry,--as good fortune would have it happen,--they reached a house
pleasantly situated, and a comfortable place withal. Approaching the
house, they were met by an exceedingly kind, energetic, and hospitable
woman. She promptly asked, 'You are not deserters?' 'No,' said the
soldiers; 'we have our paroles; we are from Richmond; we are homeward
bound, and called to ask if you could spare us a dinner.' 'Spare you a
dinner? Certainly I can. My husband is a miller; his mill is right
across the road there, down the hill, and I have been cooking all day
for the poor, starving men. Take a seat on the porch there, and I will
get you something to eat.'

"By the time the travellers were seated, this admirable woman was in the
kitchen at work. The 'pat-a-pat, pat, pat, pat, pat-a-pat, pat' of the
sifter, and the cracking and 'fizzing' of the fat bacon as it fried,
saluted their hungry ears, and the delicious smell tickled their
olfactory nerves most delightfully. Sitting thus, entertained by
delightful sounds, breathing the air and wrapped in meditation, or
anticipation, rather, the soldiers saw the dust rise in the air and
heard the sound of an approaching party.

"Several horsemen rode up to the road-gate, threw their bridles over the
posts or tied them to the overhanging boughs, and dismounted. They were
evidently officers, well-dressed, fine-looking men, and about to enter
the gate. Almost at once the men on the porch recognized General Lee and
his son. They were accompanied by other officers. An ambulance had
arrived at the gate also. Without delay they entered and approached the
house, General Lee preceding the others. Satisfied that it was the
general's intention to enter the house, the two 'brave survivors,'
instinctively and respectfully venerating the approaching man,
determined to give him and his companions the porch. As they were
executing a rather rapid and undignified flank movement to gain the
right and rear of the house, the voice of General Lee overhauled them
thus, 'Where are you men going?' 'This lady has offered to give us a
dinner, and we are waiting for it,' replied the soldiers. 'Well, you had
better move on now--this gentleman will have quite a large party on him
to-day,' said the general. The soldiers touched their caps, said, 'Yes,
sir,' and retired, somewhat hurt, to a strong position on a hen-coop in
the rear of the house. The party then settled on the porch.

"The general had, of course, no authority, and the surrender of the
porch was purely respectful. Knowing this, the soldiers were at first
hurt, but a moment's reflection satisfied them that the general was
right. He, no doubt, had suspicions of plunder, and these were increased
by the movement of the men to the rear as he approached. He
misinterpreted their conduct.

"The lady of the house--_a reward for her name_--hearing the dialogue in
the yard, pushed her head through the crack of the kitchen door and, as
she tossed a lump of dough from hand to hand and gazed eagerly out,
addressed the soldiers: 'Ain't that old General Lee?' 'Yes, General Lee
and his son and other officers come to dine with you,' they replied.
'Well,' she said, 'he ain't no better than the men that fought for him,
and I don't reckon he is as hungry; so you just come in here. I am going
to give you yours first, and then I'll get something for him.'

"What a meal it was! Seated at the kitchen table, the large-hearted
woman bustling about and talking away, the ravenous tramps attacked a
pile of old Virginia hoecake and corn-dodger, a frying-pan with an inch
of gravy and slices of bacon, streak of lean and streak of fat, very
numerous. To finish--as much rich buttermilk as the drinkers could
contain. With many heartfelt thanks the 'survivors' bade farewell to
this immortal woman, and leaving the general and his party in the quiet
possession of the front porch, pursued their way.

"Night found the 'survivors' at the gate of a quiet, handsome, framed
country residence. The weather was threatening, and it was desirable to
have shelter as well as rest. Entering and knocking at the door, they
were met by a servant girl. She was sent to her mistress with a request
for permission to sleep on her premises. The servant returned, saying,
'Mistis says she is a widder, and there ain't no gentleman in the house,
and she can't let you come in.' She was sent with a second message,
which informed the lady that the visitors were from Richmond, members of
a certain company from there, and would be content with permission to
sleep on the porch, in the stable, or in the barn. They would protect
her property, etc., etc., etc.

"This message brought the lady of the house to the door. She said, 'If
you are members of the ---- ----, you must know my nephew, he was in that
company. Of course they knew him, 'old chum,' 'comrade,' 'particular
friend,' 'splendid fellow,' 'hope he was well when you heard from him;
glad to meet you, madam.' These and similar hearty expressions brought
the longed-for 'Come in, gentlemen. You are welcome. I will see that
supper is prepared for you at once.' (Invitation accepted.)

"The old haversacks were deposited in a corner under the steps and their
owners conducted downstairs to a spacious dining-room, quite prettily
furnished. A large table occupied the centre of the room, and at one
side there was a handsome display of silver in a glass-front case. A
good big fire lighted the room. The lady sat quietly working at some
woman's work, and from time to time questioning, in a rather suspicious
manner, her guests. Their direct answers satisfied her, and their
respectful manner reassured her, so that by the time supper was brought
in she was chatting and laughing with her 'defenders.'

"The supper came in steaming hot. It was abundant, well prepared, and
served elegantly. Splendid coffee, hot biscuit, luscious butter, fried
ham, eggs, fresh milk! The writer could not expect to be believed if he
should tell the quantity eaten at that meal. The good lady of the house
enjoyed the sight. She relished every mouthful, and no doubt realized
then and there the blessing which is conferred on hospitality, and the
truth of that saying of old, 'It is more blessed to give than to

"The wayfarers were finally shown to a neat little chamber. The bed was
soft and glistening white; too white and clean to be soiled by the
occupancy of two Confederate soldiers who had not had a change of
underclothing for many weeks. They looked at it, felt of it, and then
spread their old blankets on the neat carpet and slept there till near
the break of day.

"While it was yet dark the travellers, unwilling to lose time waiting
for breakfast, crept out of the house, leaving their thanks for their
kind hostess, and passed rapidly on to Manikin Town, on the James River
and Kanawha Canal, half a day's march from Richmond, where they arrived
while it was yet early morning. The greensward between the canal and
river was inviting, and the 'survivors' laid there awhile to rest and
determine whether or not they would push on to the city. They desired to
do so as soon as they could find a breakfast to fit them for the day's

In this venture they met with a new experience, the party applied to, a
well-fed, hearty man, gruffly repulsing them, and complaining that some
scoundrels had stolen his best horse the night before. He finally
invited them in and set before them the bony remnants of some fish he
had had for breakfast. Rising indignantly from the table, the veterans
told their inhospitable host that they were not dogs, and would
consider it an insult to the canine race to call him one. Apparently
fearing that the story of his behavior to old soldiers would be spread
to his discredit, he now apologized for the "mistake," and offered to
have a breakfast cooked for them, but they were past being mollified,
and left him with the most uncomplimentary epithets at the command of
two old soldiers of four years' service.

"At eleven A.M. of the same day two footsore, despondent, and penniless
men stood facing the ruins of the home of a comrade who had sent a
message to his mother. 'Tell mother I am coming.' The ruins yet smoked.
A relative of the lady whose home was in ashes, and whose son said, 'I
am coming,' stood by the 'survivors.' 'Well, then,' he said, 'it must
be true that General Lee has surrendered.' The solemnity of the remark,
coupled with the certainty in the minds of the 'survivors,' was almost
amusing. The relative pointed out the temporary residence of the mother,
and thither the 'survivors' wended their way.

"A knock at the door startled the mother, and with agony in her eyes she
appeared at the opened door, exclaiming, 'My poor boys!' 'Are safe and
coming home,' said the 'survivors.' 'Thank God!' said the mother, and
the tears flowed down her cheeks.

"A rapid walk through ruined and smoking streets, some narrow escapes
from negro soldiers on police duty, the satisfaction of seeing two of
the 'boys in blue' hung up by their thumbs for pillaging, a few
handshakings, and the 'survivors' found their way to the house of a
relative, where they did eat bread with thanks.

"A friend informed the 'survivors' that day that farm hands were needed
all around the city. They made a note of that and the name of one
farmer. Saturday night the old blankets were spread on the parlor floor.
Sunday morning, the 16th of April, they bade farewell to the household
and started for the farmer's house.

"As they were about to start away, the head of the family took from his
pocket a handful of odd silver pieces, and extending them to the guests,
told them it was all he had, _but they were welcome to half of it_.
Remembering that he had a wife and three or four children to feed, the
soldiers smiled through _their_ tears at _his_, bade him keep it all,
and 'weep for himself rather than for them.' So saying, they departed,
and at sundown were at the farmer's house, fourteen miles away.

"Monday morning, the 17th, they 'beat their swords (muskets in this
case) into ploughshares' and did the first day's work of the sixty which
the _simple_ farmer secured at a cost to himself of about half rations
for two men. Behold the gratitude of a people! Where grow now the shrubs
which of old bore leaves and twigs for garlands? The brave live! are the
fair dead? Shall time of calamity, downfall or ruin, annihilate
sacrifice or hatch an ingrate brood?"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Tales, Vol. 2 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality" ***

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