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Title: The Boys of '61 - or, Four Years of Fighting, Personal Observations with the Army and Navy
Author: Coffin, Charles Carleton, 1823-1896
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.

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  Copyright, 1881 by

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
  in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of

[Illustration: Charge through an abattis.]


This volume, though historic, is not a history of the Rebellion, but a
record of personal observations and experiences during the war, with
an occasional look at affairs in general to give clearness to the
narrative. The time has not arrived for the writing of an impartial
history of the conflict between Slavery and Freedom in the United
States. Reports of military operations are incomplete; documents in
the archives at Washington are inaccessible; much material remains to
be gathered before the patient historian can sift the wheat from the
chaff. More than this, the war of ideas is not yet ended. Defeated
Rebels in some parts of the South are bent on exterminating the
African race. Few of those lately in rebellion plead guilty of having
committed a crime; taking up arms against the government they consider
to have been a blunder only. We are, therefore, too near the great
events to render proper judgment upon questions in which our
principles and sympathies have been enlisted.

The chapter concerning the Confederate Cotton Loan may seem to be out
of place in a volume of which so large a portion is given to
narrative, but I trust that it will be acceptable to the general
reader, inasmuch as it reveals the efforts of the Rebels to array all
Europe against the United States in the late struggle. The
correspondence in my possession was picked up in the streets of
Richmond, and will be of value to the future historian. The chapter in
question is but an outline of the operations of the Confederates

In looking over the sheets as they came from the press, several errors
relative to the organization and formation of troops in battle have
been detected, which, however, will appear in but a few copies.
Undoubtedly there are others, and the writer will esteem it a favor to
be put right wherever he is in the wrong. Few official reports of
regimental and brigade officers have been published, while the reports
of division and corps commanders are only general in their statements.
The true history of battles cannot be given till the history of
regiments is written.

My stand-point as an observer is that of one whose instincts from
early childhood have been on the side of Freedom. I have ever believed
that Civil Liberty is the birthright of all men, and from the firing
upon Sumter to the close of the contest had full faith that the
people, under God, would subdue the Rebellion, and give freedom to the

The four years have been worth a century of ordinary life; for in the
mighty contest Right has triumphed over Wrong, and the human race,
with a clearer perception of Truth and Justice as the sure foundation
of government, is moving on to a higher civilization.

                                                  C. C. C.



  Ideas and Principles. -- Battles witnessed. -- The Leaders. --
  State of Affairs. -- Baltimore. -- Dulness in the Streets. --
  Baltimore Women. -- Raw Troops. -- Visit to Fort McHenry. --
  Washington. -- Material of the Army. -- Generals in Command. --
  General Scott. -- His Position. -- Newspaper Reports. -- Troops
  organized. -- The Gathering of the Rebels.                         1



  Alexandria. -- The Massachusetts Fifth. -- A Song for Bunker
  Hill -- The Review. -- The Distant Gun. -- The Affair at
  Vienna. -- A Dinner in the Field. -- Vallandigham and the Ohio
  Boys. -- Patriotism of the Soldiers. -- The Rogues' March. --
  Mutiny of the Garibaldi Guard. -- An Adventure. -- Broken
  English. -- Unpleasant Position. -- General Mansfield's Wrath.
  -- The Lager-Beer Business. -- A Faded Aristocracy. -- Living
  on a Name. -- The Sirens of Virginia. -- A South Carolina
  Chattel. -- His Search for Chickens. -- How he found Freedom       8



  The March. -- The Second Maine. -- The Pageant. -- The Bivouac.
  -- The Beehives. -- Beauregard's Proclamation. -- McDowell's
  Order. -- The Contrast. -- Virginia Unionism. -- The First
  Shot. -- The Artillery. -- Retreat of the Rebels. -- The
  Negro's Story -- Centreville. -- Snuff Dippers. -- Affairs at
  Blackburn's Ford. -- The Morning -- Progress of the Battle. --
  The Rebel Prisoner. -- The Turning of the Tide -- At the Spring
  -- The Panic -- The Teamsters. -- The Rebels on the Point of
  Retreating. -- Richmond Dispatch. -- Wonderful Stories of the
  Rebels. -- Change of Sentiment. -- General Butler. -- Union Men
  of Virginia. -- Bitterness of the Rebels. -- Seductive
  Influences of Slavery.                                            17



  Position of Affairs. -- Disaster at Ball's Bluff. -- The News
  in Washington. -- How President Lincoln received it. -- His
  tenderness of Heart. -- Mr. Lincoln in his Springfield Home. --
  His Temperance Principles. -- Poolsville. -- Colonel Baker's
  Body. -- Slavery in Western Maryland. -- Visit to Eastern
  Maryland. -- The "White Horse." -- Character of the Country. --
  Our Host at Pamunkey. -- His Family. -- Visit to Annapolis. --
  Aristocratic Pride. -- Secession in Washington. -- The Spirit
  of Slavery in the Army. -- The Hutchinson Family and General
  McClellan. -- Whittier's "Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott." --
  Major Gould and his Scout. -- A Rebel Minister. -- Washington
  Jail and its Inmates. -- Close of the Year.                       30



  Louisville. -- Position of Kentucky. -- The Opinions of a Loyal
  Tennesseean. -- General Buell and His Policy. -- Events in
  Missouri. -- General Halleck. -- Order No. 3. -- General
  Schofield and the Guerillas. -- Negro Testimony. -- Fremont's
  Army. -- Visit to Rolla. -- General Sigel. -- Radical
  Sentiments of the Army. -- Cairo. -- Union Generals. --
  Introduction to General Grant. -- Commodore Foote. -- The
  Mississippi Flotilla. -- Captain Porter and the Essex. -- His
  Challenge to Captain Montgomery. -- Major-General Bishop Polk.
  -- Reconnoissance towards Columbus. -- A Kentucky Farm-house.
  -- Return to Cairo.                                               47



  Battle of Mill Springs. -- A genuine Kentuckian. -- Discussion
  of the Negro Question. -- Kentucky Farmers. -- Lexington. --
  Scenes at the Phenix Hotel. -- Secession Ladies. -- Anthony
  Trollope. -- Tomb of Henry Clay. -- Clay's Opinion of
  Abolitionists. -- How a Presbyterian Minister would conduct the
  War. -- Buell's Right Wing. -- Trip down the Ohio. --
  Passengers on Board the Grey Eagle. -- The People of
  Owensborough. -- Up Green River. -- Kentucky Unionists. --
  Visit to Calhoun. -- A "first-class" Hotel. -- Scenes on the
  Steamer.                                                          59



  Capture of Fort Henry. -- Commodore Foote's Account of the
  Fight. -- His Care for the Wounded. -- His Preaching on Sunday.
  -- Affairs in Mississippi. -- Capture of Fort Donelson. --
  Movement of the Troops. -- The Surrender. -- The Appearance of
  the Rebels. -- The Town of Dover. -- Scenes in the Rebel Lines.
  -- The formal Surrender of the Fort. -- Appearance of Buckner
  and Grant. -- Rebel Officers on the Rampage. -- Commodore
  Foote's Intentions. -- His Plans frustrated by Halleck. --
  Nullification of Order No. 3. -- Occupation of Columbus. -- The
  Southern Muse. -- Bombardment of Island No. 10. -- Colonel
  Bissell's Canal. -- Passage of Transports to New Madrid. --
  Running past the Batteries. -- General Pope's Operations. --
  Capture of Rebels. -- Surrender of Island No. 10.                 76



  The Opposing Forces. -- The Battle-Field. -- The Poor Whites of
  the South. -- General Sherman. -- Beauregard's Despatch. --
  Retreat of the Rebels. -- Halleck's Advance upon Corinth. --
  The Mississippi Fleet. -- Admiral Davis. -- Captain Maynadier.
  -- A Trap for the Rebels. -- Movement of the Rams. -- Fire of
  the Rebel Batteries. -- Evacuation of Fort Pillow. -- Gunboat
  Fight at Memphis. -- Surrender of the City. -- Commodore Ellet.   93



  Battle of Manassas. -- Colonel Broadhead. -- Confidence of the
  Rebels. -- Uprising in Pennsylvania. -- Surrender of Harper's
  Ferry. -- Escape of the Union Cavalry. -- Negro Teamsters. --
  Excitement of the Citizens. -- Hagerstown. -- Antietam. --
  Visit to the Right Wing. -- Poffenberg's House. -- Sumner's
  Movement. -- The Corn-Field. -- Burnside's Attack. -- The Fight
  at the Bridge.                                                   110



  The Opposing Forces. -- Bragg's Advance. -- Capture of
  Frankfort. -- The Rebels in Lexington. -- Inauguration of
  Governor Harris. -- Bragg's Retreat from Frankfort. -- Battle
  of Perryville. -- President's Proclamation. -- The Kentucky
  Policy. -- General Gillmore's Order No. 5. -- Twenty-Second
  Wisconsin and Colonel Utley. -- Judge Robertson and his Boy Jo.
  -- The Kentucky Policy reversed. -- An Evening in Louisville.    122



  Soldiers' Pets. -- Removal of McClellan. -- Burnside's Plans.
  -- Army Correspondence. -- Gold Speculators. -- Expectations of
  the People.                                                      137



  The Signal Guns. -- Laying the Pontoons. -- Bombardment of the
  City. -- Hall's Brigade. -- Rebel Sharpshooters. -- Crossing
  the River. -- Seventh Michigan. -- Yankees in Fredericksburg.
  -- Night Scene. -- The Drummer-Boy. -- Rev. Arthur B. Fuller.
  -- His Funeral Obsequies. -- Lee's Army. -- Positions of the
  Troops. -- Burnside's Orders to Franklin. -- The Morning. --
  Movement of the Army. -- Attack on the Left. -- Franklin's
  Despatches. -- Meade's Attack. -- Jackson's Line broken. --
  Franklin's Account. -- Wounded Soldiers. -- Attack on the
  Right. -- Eleventh New Hampshire. -- Sturgis's Division. -- The
  Last Attack. -- Recrossing the River.                            142



  Employment of the Men. -- American Tract Society. -- General
  Howard and the Secessionists. -- Sanitary and Christian
  Commissions. -- Religion in the Army. -- Chapels.                174



  General Hooker in Command. -- Reorganization of the Army. --
  Hooker's Plan. -- Movement of the Troops. -- First and Sixth
  Corps. -- Lee puzzled. -- Hooker in Position. -- Lee's
  Movement. -- Jackson's March. -- Howard's Position. --
  Sickles's Advance. -- Jackson's Attack. -- The Eleventh Corps.
  -- Sickles's Return. -- Death of Jackson. -- The Battle of
  Sunday. -- Best's Artillery. -- Stewart's Attack. -- The Second
  Corps. -- Hooker's last Position. -- Second Battle of
  Fredericksburg. -- Sedgwick's Attack. -- Maryee's Hill. --
  Barksdale's Retreat. -- Battle of Salem Church. -- Lost
  Opportunity.                                                     179



  Stoneman's Preparations. -- Crossing the Rapidan. -- Raid
  through Virginia. -- Kilpatrick's Audacity. -- Shelling
  Richmond. -- His Escape. -- Stoneman's Return.                   212



  Port Royal. -- Sunday Services. -- Rev. Mr. Murchison. -- Visit
  to the Plantations. -- Sancho's Address. -- Negro Music. --
  Mitchelville. -- Sojourner Truth. -- Enlistment of Negro
  Troops. -- Colonel Higginson. -- Antipathy of White Soldiers.
  -- First South Carolina Regiment. -- Smith's Plantation.         224



  Destruction of the Nashville. -- Captain Worden. -- Attack on
  Fort McAllister. -- First Bombardment of Sumter. -- Visit to
  the Fleet. -- Captain Rodgers. -- Damage to the Fort.            248



  General Lee's Movements. -- Hooker on the Watch. -- Bedlam in
  Pennsylvania. -- Harrisburg. -- Baltimore. -- Colored
  Population. -- Resignation of General Hooker. -- General Meade.
  -- Feelings of the Soldiers. -- Advance to Gettysburg. --
  Organization of the Army. -- Patriotism of the People. -- Bread
  for the Soldiers. -- Ride to Gettysburg. -- Geographical
  Features of the Place.                                           258



  General Reynolds's Position. -- Beginning of the Fight. --
  General Howard's Account. -- Weiderick's Battery. -- General
  Slocum at Two Taverns. -- Howard's Messages. -- General
  Hancock's Arrival. -- Color-Bearers of the Nineteenth Indiana.
  -- Arrival of the Third Corps. -- SECOND DAY. -- General Meade
  on the Field. -- The Cemetery. -- Major Howard. -- Ride along
  the Lines. -- Stannard's Brigade. -- Meade's Head-Quarters. --
  Position of the Second Corps. -- The Third Corps. -- Sickles's
  Position at Noon. -- Lee's Intentions. -- Confidence of the
  Rebels. -- Longstreet's Command. -- His Plan. -- Half past
  Three. -- The Attack. -- Resistance of the Third Corps. --
  McGilvery's Batteries. -- The Ninth Massachusetts Battery. --
  Barnes's Division. -- The Regulars. -- Resistance of the
  Pennsylvania Reserves. -- Hood's Advance. -- Colonel
  Chamberlain's Position. -- Slocum's Movement. -- Doubleday and
  Williams. -- Men of Vermont. -- Fourteenth Maine. -- Louisiana
  Tigers. -- THIRD DAY. -- The Morning Cannonade. -- Rebel
  Prisoners. -- Fight on Culp's Hill. -- Cavalry Operations. --
  Lee's Preparations for the last Attack. -- Position of the
  Troops. -- Scene at Meade's Head-Quarters. -- The Cannonade. --
  Howard's Batteries. -- Hancock wounded. -- The Vermont
  Regiments. -- Repulse of the Rebels. -- Scenes along the Lines.
  -- In the Rebel Lines. -- Midnight. -- After the Battle. --
  Lee's Retreat. -- Meade's Movements. -- Lee at Williamsport. --
  Crossing the Potomac. -- Battle at Falling Waters.               269



  Opening of the Campaign. -- Organization of the Army. --
  Grant's Plan. -- The Ninth Corps. -- President Lincoln
  reviewing the Colored Troops. -- The Army in Motion. -- Across
  the Rapidan. -- Grant and Meade in Council. -- The Wilderness.
  -- Position of the Army. -- First Day's Fight. -- Arrival of
  the Ninth Corps. -- Second Day. -- Movement to Spottsylvania.
  -- Sheridan's Fight. -- Todd's Tavern. -- Warren engaged. --
  Battle of Spottsylvania. -- Song of the Wounded. -- The Vermont
  Brigade. -- Death of General Rice. -- Attack of the Second
  Corps. -- A Day in Fredericksburg. -- Sanitary and Christian
  Commissions. -- Getting Straw for the Hospitals. -- Movement to
  the North Anna. -- Battle of Jericho Bridge. -- A Night in a
  Cabin. -- Movement to Hanover. -- Battle of Bethesda Church. --
  General Smith's Advance to Cold Harbor. -- Sheridan's Movement.
  -- Position of the two Armies. -- First Battle of Cold Harbor.
  -- Hospital Scene. -- Second Battle. -- McClellan at Cold
  Harbor and the Campaign of '62. -- Grant's Operations. --
  Caroline County. -- The Planters and their Property. -- The Day
  of Jubilee. -- Breaking up of Society.                           306



  Comments of the Rebel Newspapers. -- Opinions of the Soldiers.
  -- Discussion of Plans. -- General Hunter's Advance to
  Lynchburg. -- Sheridan's Raid. -- Butler and Gillmore. --
  Movement to James River. -- Gillmore's Failure. -- Grant's
  Instructions to Smith. -- Lee surprised. -- General Hinks's
  Division of Colored Troops. -- Their First Engagement. --
  Smith's Advance. -- First Battle in Front of Petersburg. --
  Capture of Rebel Intrenchments. -- General Terry's Movement. --
  Lost Opportunities. -- Sentiments of the People. -- President
  Lincoln. -- Heroism of the Colored Soldiers. -- Arrival of the
  Ninth Corps. -- Second Battle in Front of Petersburg. --
  General Potter's Division. -- Fifty-Seventh Massachusetts. --
  Edward M. Schneider. -- Third Battle in Front of Petersburg. --
  Barbarism of Slavery. -- Prejudice against Colored Troops. --
  The Christian Commission. -- Hardships of the Campaign. --
  Religion in the Army.                                            351



  Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants. -- His Plan for a Mine to destroy
  the Works before Petersburg. -- Difficulties he encountered in
  constructing it. -- Battle at Deep Bottom. -- Completion of the
  Mine. -- Preparations for springing it. -- Fuse goes out. --
  Delay. -- Relighted. -- The Explosion. -- Consternation of the
  Rebels. -- Confusion of Union Troops. -- Rebels return to their
  Guns. -- Terrible Slaughter in the Crater. -- Reasons for the
  Failure. -- The Rebel Press. -- The Fortunes of the Confederacy. 376



  General Situation of Affairs. -- Early's Movement down the
  Valley. -- Breckenridge sent to reinforce him. -- The Sixth
  Corps. -- Excitement in Washington. -- Early's Force. --
  Massachusetts Sixteenth Regiment. -- Arrival of Nineteenth
  Corps. -- Enthusiastic Reception. -- Confidence restored. --
  Battle of Monocacy. -- Alarming Reports. -- Advance of Rebels
  upon Washington. -- Their hasty Retreat.                         384



  Review of Sherman's Campaign. -- Jeff Davis's dislike of
  Johnston. -- Appointment of Hood. -- Davis's Speech to Hood's
  Army. -- Sherman contemplates a Movement to Savannah. -- Grant
  authorizes it. -- Organization of Sherman's Army. -- Comments
  of Rebel Press on his March to the Sea. -- Complaints of
  Sherman's Inhumanity. -- He is compared to Attila. -- His
  Vindication of Himself. -- The Bummers. -- Their Humanity to
  Union Refugees.                                                  391



  Sherman in Savannah. -- Destitution of the People. -- Humanity
  of the People of the North. -- Steamer Greyhound. -- Belle
  Boyd. -- Voyage of the Greyhound. -- Thunderbolt Battery. --
  Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts. -- Distribution of Supplies. --
  Rebel Prisons. -- Responsibility of Rebel Officials. --
  Amiability of General Lee. -- Andersonville.                     402



  Aunt Nellie and her Sister. -- Inhumanity of Slavery. --
  Whittier's Lines. -- Burning of the Arsenal. -- General
  Sherman's Order No. 15. -- Abandoned Lands. -- General Saxton.
  -- Meeting of Freedmen. -- Address of Rev. Mr. French. --
  Appearance of the Congregation. -- Rev. Mr. Houston. -- The
  Slave Market. -- Commencing a Colony. -- Plans of the Freedmen.
  -- The Sexton. -- The Dead from Manassas. -- The Gospel of
  Slavery. -- Breaking up of Society. -- Ladies of Savannah. --
  Poor Whites of Georgia. -- Negro Dialect. -- Freedmen in
  Council in the Slave Market. -- Their Battle-Hymn. --
  Civilization. -- Christianity at Work.                           414



  Instructions of General Grant. -- Sherman's Plan. --
  Expectation of the Rebels. -- Grover's Division. -- His Army in
  Motion. -- Howard's Advance to the Salkehatchie. -- Crossing
  the River. -- Hardee retires to Branchville. -- Kilpatrick's
  Movement towards Augusta. -- Consternation of the Rebels. --
  Sherman moves to Orangeburg. -- General Potter's Division. --
  Hampton's and Wheeler's Cavalry. -- Hampton's Home. --
  Columbia. -- Burning of the City. -- Sherman charges Hampton
  with kindling the Fire. -- Bitterness of South-Carolinians
  against General Sherman. -- Responsibility of the Rebel
  Government for Outrages.                                         436



  The Part taken by the State in the Political Affairs of the
  Nation. -- Basis of Representation. -- Classes of People. --
  Lowlanders and Uplanders. -- Climate. -- Cotton. -- Parish
  System. -- Assembling of the Legislature in 1860. -- Remarks
  of W. D. Porter. -- Secession Principles. -- Adjournment to
  Charleston. -- Hibernia Hall. -- Rev. Dr. Thornwell's
  Preaching. -- The Teachings of the Bible. -- The Province of
  History. -- Negroes for Sale. -- Women of South Carolina in
  Favor of Secession. -- The Charleston _Mercury_. -- The
  "Patriarchal Institution".                                       444



  Governor Pickens's Letter to President Buchanan. -- Major
  Anderson In Sumter. -- Construction of Rebel Batteries. --
  Negotiations for the Surrender of the Fort. -- The Bombardment.
  -- Scenes in Charleston after the Surrender. -- Visit to the
  Fort. -- Captured Blockade-Runners. -- Condition of the Fort.
  -- Scenes of the Morning.                                        454



  A City of Ruins. -- Our Welcome. -- Charleston before the War.
  -- The Seducer of States. -- Siege of the City. -- Removal of
  the People. -- Assertion of the Charleston _Courier_. -- The
  Evacuation. -- Blowing up of the Ironclads. -- Firing the City.
  -- Bursting the Guns. -- Twenty-First Colored Regiment. --
  Colonel Bennett occupies the City. -- Fifty-Fourth
  Massachusetts extinguishing the Flames. -- "Gillmore's Town."
  -- The "Swamp Angel." -- The _Courier_ Office. -- The Banks. --
  South Carolina Troops in Confederate Service. -- The Mills
  House. -- The Churches. -- The great Fire of 1861. --
  Devastation. -- Slave Merchants. -- The Bell of St. Michael's.
  -- The Guard-House. -- The Slave-Mart. -- Letters of the
  Slave-Traders. -- Colonel Woodford in the Office of the
  _Courier_. -- Sermon of Rev. Dr. Porter. -- A Yankee in his
  Bed. -- Joy of the Colored People. -- "Rosa's" Mother. --
  Washington's Birthday. -- John Brown in Charleston. --
  Humiliation of the Rebels. -- Union Men. -- The Old Flag. --
  How the People were cheated.                                     462



  Position of Affairs. -- Grant's Letter to Sheridan. -- Cavalry
  Raids. -- Sheridan's Movement to Waynesboro'. -- Attack upon
  Early. -- Advance to James River. -- Moves to White House. --
  Joins Grant. -- Alarm in Richmond. -- Lee's last Offensive
  Movement. -- Attack on Fort Steadman. -- Repulse of Gordon. --
  Grant's Order to "finish up" the Rebellion. -- Sherman's Visit
  to Grant. -- Great Men in Council. -- Grant's Line. -- Sheridan
  on the Move. -- Lee's Diversion against the Ninth Corps. --
  Night Attack. -- A Rebel Prisoner. -- A Look at the Opposing
  Forces. -- Hatcher's Run. -- Lee's Line of Fortifications. --
  Grant feels like ending the Matter. -- Battle of Dinwiddie
  Court-House. -- Advance of the Fifth Corps. -- Battle of Five
  Forks. -- Charge of the Fifth Corps. -- Merritt's Attack. --
  Rout of the Rebels.                                              485



  Jeff Davis a Fugitive. -- Blowing up of the Rebel Ironclads. --
  Grant in Petersburg. -- President Lincoln and the Soldiers. --
  Ride to Richmond. -- Lee's Message to Davis. -- Consternation
  in Richmond. -- Rev. Messrs. Hoge and Duncan. -- The last Slave
  Coffle. -- Confederate Promises to Pay. -- Scenes of Sunday
  Night. -- Pillaging the City. -- Flight of the Legislature. --
  General Ewell and the Mayor in regard to burning the City. --
  The Massacre at the Almshouse. -- Firing the City. -- Departure
  of the Rebel Troops. -- Breckenridge taking a last Look of the
  City. -- Sunrise. -- Major Stevens and the Fourth Massachusetts
  Cavalry. -- Surrender of the City. -- Raising Flags on the
  Capitol. -- The Yankees putting out the Flames. -- Entrance of
  General Weitzel. -- Taking a room at the Spottswood Hotel. --
  Scenes in the City on Monday. -- General Devens's Orders. --
  Visit to the Capitol. -- Admiral Farragut. -- President
  Lincoln's Arrival. -- Joy of the Colored People. -- Walk to
  Jeff Davis's Mansion. -- Judge Campbell. -- Admiral Porter. --
  The President's Visit to Libby Prison. -- Opinions of the
  People. -- Colored Soldiers in the Service of the Rebels. --
  Lee's Opinions. -- An Abolitionist in Richmond. -- A Newspaper
  Correspondent and a Rebel Officer. -- At the Capitol. -- Scenes
  of the Past. -- Christian Charity.                               499



  Attitude of Great Britain. -- Sympathies of Palmerston and
  Russell. -- The English Press. -- Operatives of Lancashire. --
  The London _Times_. -- Opinions of Mr. Spence. -- His
  Appointment as Financial Agent. -- Address of the London
  Confederate Aid Association. -- Whittier's Lines to Englishmen.
  -- Mr. Mason at St. James. -- His Griefs. -- Benjamin's Letter
  to Mason. -- Mr. De Leon appointed Agent to subsidize the Press
  of Europe. -- Englishmen engaged in Blockade-Running. --
  English Ship-builders at work for the Slaveholders. -- Funds
  needed. -- Benjamin's Letter to Spence. -- Rebel Coin shipped
  in British Vessels of War. -- Slidell's Proposition for a Loan
  based on Cotton. -- French intrigue to sever Texas from the
  Confederacy. -- Mr. Slidell recommends D'Erlanger as a suitable
  Agent to negotiate the Loan. -- D'Erlanger offers it to the
  Bankers of London. -- Mr. De Leon secures the Support of the
  Press. -- Opening of the Correspondence. -- D'Erlanger's
  Opinion of Mr. Spence. -- Mr. Spence's Proposal. -- Rush for
  Subscriptions. -- Mr. Spence's Letter to D'Erlanger. --
  Compliments of the Emperor to D'Erlanger on the Success of the
  Loan. -- Jeff Davis a Repudiator. -- Rancor of the London
  _Times_ in 1849. -- Eats its Words in 1863. -- Whitewashes
  Davis. -- Opinions of Mr. Sampson. -- Opinions of Mr. Delaine.
  -- The _Times_ in the Pay of Jeff Davis. -- How the Support of
  the Newspapers was secured. -- Mr. Spence receives £6,500 as
  Correspondent of the _Times_. -- Meeting of Rebels in Paris. --
  How the Loan was sustained. -- D'Erlanger's good Game. --
  Wishes for a Second Loan. -- D'Erlanger takes the Part of
  Shylock. -- Trouble with McRae. -- D'Erlanger helping Himself
  to Principal and Interest. -- Schroeder & Co. in the "Ring." --
  Payments of Money. -- Who was benefited. -- The present
  Bondholders.                                                     523



  The Retreat of Lee from Petersburg. -- Dejection of Rebel
  Soldiers. -- Grant's Intentions. -- Lee's Line of Retreat. --
  Grant ahead of him. -- Panic among the Rebel Troops. -- Meade's
  Movements. -- Battle at Sailor's Creek. -- Custar's Charge. --
  Skirmish at Farmville. -- The Race toward Lynchburg. --
  Sheridan's Movement. -- Lee's last Council of War. --
  Correspondence between Lee and Grant. -- The Meeting. -- The
  Surrender. -- Announcement to the Armies. -- Pickett's Treason.
  -- Rest and Peace.                                               543



  General Grant at City Point. -- The End of the Rebellion.        556


  Charge Through an Abatis                              _frontispiece_

  The First Subscription                                             1
  Capitol at Washington                                              4
  Pro Patria                                                         7
  Sixth Massachusetts Regiment in Baltimore                          8
  Guarding Long Bridge                                              12
  Aid Society's Store-Room                                          16
  The Ideal Freedman                                                16
  Ladies Working for the Army                                       22
  Forwarded Free                                                    29
  Ellsworth Zouave Drill                                            46
  General Grant--General Sherman                                    54
  Hauling Cotton                                                    62
  Baltimore in 1861                                                 75
  East Tennessee Refugees                                           92
  A Mississippi School-House                                        96
  Gunboats in Line                                                 102
  With Dispatch                                                    109
  General Mcclellan at Williamsburg                                110
  General Mcclellan at the Battle of Antietam                      114
  The Sunken Road                                                  118
  Battle of Antietam                                               120
  For the Boys in Blue                                             121
  Slaves Fleeing to the Army for Protection                        128
  A Silent Spectator                                               136
  Fredericksburg                                                   140
  Franklin's Attack                                                155
  Tattoo                                                           173
  The Magic Lantern in the Hospital                                174
  The Christian Commission in the Field                            176
  Busy Fingers                                                     178
  Chancellorsville                                                 188
  Battery at Chancellorsville                                      194
  Sedgwick's Attack                                                201
  Leading a Charge                                                 204
  Salem Church                                                     208
  "Keep Out of the Draft"                                          211
  Night March of Cavalry                                           214
  Kearny Cross                                                     223
  The Nation's Ward                                                234
  A Bird's-Nest Bank                                               247
  Cavalry Charge                                                   258
  Advance to Gettysburg                                            263
  The Color-Bearer                                                 272
  Gettysburg Battle-field                                          280
  With a "Hurrah" They Rush On                                     296
  A Regiment at Dinner                                             305
  Wilderness                                                       317
  Spottsylvania                                                    323
  The Sanitary Commission in the Hospital                          326
  North Anna                                                       331
  Bayonet Charge                                                   332
  Cold Harbor                                                      334
  Negroes Coming into the Lines                                    344
  Foraging                                                         348
  One Day's Labor, One Day's Income                                362
  Petersburg, July 17, 1864                                        365
  Petersburg, July 30, 1864                                        368
  Army Corps Chapel Near Petersburg                                368
  Ruins of Chambersburg                                            388
  A Lay Delegate in the Hospital                                   390
  Edward Everett--Mt Vernon--Savannah--The Capitol                 401
  Sherman's Bummers                                                420
  Fort Sumter                                                      435
  Mississippi River Hospital Steamer                               443
  Battle Of Fort Sumter                                            444
  Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon                         453
  Defence of Fort Sumter                                           456
  For Our Flag                                                     461
  "John Brown" in Charleston                                       480
  Citizens' Volunteer Hospital                                     484
  Troops Destroying A Railroad                                     486
  Fire Ambulance                                                   498
  Humiliation Of Richmond                                          506
  Farragut at Mobile                                               510
  President Lincoln in Richmond                                    512
  Abraham Lincoln                                                  514
  U. S. Christian Commission                                       522
  Captain Winslow and the Kearsarge--Admiral Farragut              528
  Patriot Orphan Home, Flushing, L. I.                             542
  Surrender of General Lee                                         544
  General Lee's Farewell                                           554
  Study for a Statue of Lincoln                                    555
  Assassination of Lincoln                                         556
  With a Lavish Hand                                               558

[Illustration: The first subscription.]

[Illustration: Capitol at Washington.]




[Sidenote: June, 1861.]

After four years of war our country rests in peace. The Great
Rebellion has been subdued, and the power and authority of the United
States government are recognized in all the States. It has been a
conflict of ideas and principles. Millions of men have been in arms.
Great battles have been fought. There have been deeds of sublimest
heroism and exhibitions of Christian patriotism which shall stir the
hearts of those who are to live in the coming ages. Men who at the
beginning of the struggle were scarcely known beyond their village
homes are numbered now among

               "the immortal names
  That were not born to die";

while the names of others who once occupied places of honor and trust,
who forswore their allegiance to their country and gave themselves to
do wickedly, shall be held forever in abhorrence.

It has been my privilege to accompany the armies of the Union through
this mighty struggle. I was an eye-witness of the first battle at Bull
Run, of Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Corinth, Island No. 10, Fort
Pillow, Memphis, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Fort Sumter,
Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Hanover Court-House, Cold
Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, and Five Forks. I was in Savannah
soon after its occupation by Sherman on his great march to the sea,
and watched his movement "northward with the sun." I walked the
streets of Charleston in the hour of her deepest humiliation, and
rode into Richmond on the day that the stars of the Union were thrown
in triumph to the breeze above the Confederate Capitol.

It seems a dream, and yet when I turn to the numerous note-books lying
before me, and read the pencilings made on the march, the
battle-field, in the hospital, and by the flickering camp-fires, it is
no longer a fancy or a picture of the imagination, but a reality. The
scenes return. I behold once more the moving columns,--their waving
banners,--the sunlight gleaming from gun-barrel and bayonet,--the
musket's flash and cannon's flame. I hear the drum-beat and the wild
hurrah! Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Meade, Burnside, Howard, Hancock,
and Logan are leading them; while Sedgwick, Wadsworth, McPherson,
Mansfield, Richardson, Rice, Baker, Wallace, Shaw, Lowell, Winthrop,
Putnam, and thousands of patriots, are laying down their lives for
their country. Abraham Lincoln walks the streets of Richmond, and is
hailed as the Great Deliverer,--the ally of the Messiah!

It will be my aim in this volume to reproduce some of those
scenes,--to give truthful narratives of events, descriptions of
battles, incidents of life in camp, in the hospital, on the march, in
the hour of battle on land and sea,--writing nothing in malice, not
even towards those who have fought against the Union. I shall endeavor
to give the truth of history rather than the romance; facts instead of
philosophy; to make real the scenes of the mighty struggle through
which we have passed.

On the 11th of June, 1861, I left Boston to become an Army
Correspondent. The patriotism of the North was at flood-tide. Her
drum-beat was heard in every village. Men were leaving their own
affairs to serve their country. The stars and stripes waved from
house-top and steeple. New York was a sea of banners. Ladies wore
Union rosettes in their hair, while gentlemen's neck-ties were of
"red, white, and blue." That family was poor indeed who could neither
by cloth or colored tissue-paper manifest its love for the Union. The
music of the streets--vocal and instrumental--was "Hail Columbia" and
"Yankee Doodle." Everywhere,--in city and town and village, in Boston,
New York, and Philadelphia,--there was the same spirit manifested by
old and young, of both sexes, to put down the Rebellion, cost what it
might of blood and treasure.

Baltimore presented a striking contrast to the other great cities. It
was dull and gloomy. The stars and stripes waved over the Eutaw House,
from the American newspaper office, where the brothers Fulton
maintained unswerving loyalty. A few other residents had thrown the
flag to the breeze, but Secession was powerful, and darkly plotted
treason. There was frequent communication with the Rebels, who were
mustering at Manassas. Business was at a stand still. The pulses of
trade had stopped. Merchants waited in vain for customers through the
long summer day. Females, calling themselves ladies, daintily gathered
up their skirts whenever they passed an officer or soldier wearing the
army blue in the streets, and manifested in other ways their utmost
contempt for all who supported the Union.

General Butler, who had subdued the rampant Secessionists by his
vigorous measures, had been ordered to Fortress Monroe, and General
Banks had just assumed command. His head-quarters were in Fort
McHenry. A regiment of raw Pennsylvanians was encamped on the hill, by
the roadside leading to the fort. Officers and soldiers alike were
ignorant of military tactics. Three weeks previous they were following
the plough, or digging in the coal-mines, or smelting iron. It was
amusing to watch their attempts at evolution. They were drilling by
squads and companies. "Right face," shouted an officer to his squad. A
few executed the order correctly, some faced to the left, while others
faced first right, then left, and general confusion ensued.

So, too, were the officers ignorant of proper military phrases. At one
time a captain, whose last command had been a pair of draft-horses on
his Pennsylvania farm, on coming to a pit in the road, electrified his
company by the stentorian order to "Gee round that hole."

It was a beautiful evening, and the moon was shining brightly, when I
called upon General Banks. Outside the fort were the field batteries
belonging to the Baltimore Artillery which had been delivered up to
Governor Hicks in April. The Secessionists raved over the transaction
at the time, and in their rage cursed the Governor who turned them
over to the United States authorities. Soldiers were building abattis,
and training guns--sixty-four pounders--to bear upon the city, for
even then there were signs of an upheaval of the Secession elements,
and General Banks deemed it best to be prepared for whatever might
happen. But the Rebels on that day were moving from Harper's Ferry,
having destroyed all the property of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Company in the vicinity.

Passing on to Washington I found it in a hubbub. Troops were pouring
in, raw, undisciplined, yet of material to make the best soldiers in
the world,--poets, painters, artists, artisans, mechanics, printers,
men of letters, bankers, merchants, and ministers were in the ranks.
There was a constant rumble of artillery in the streets,--the jarring
of baggage-wagons, and the tramping of men. Soldiers were quartered in
the Capitol. They spread their blankets in the corridors, and made
themselves at home in the halls. Hostilities had commenced. Ellsworth
had just been carried to his last resting-place. The bodies of
Winthrop and Greble were then being borne to burial, wrapped in the
flag of their country.

Colonel Stone, with a number of regiments, was marching out from
Washington to picket the Potomac from Washington to Point of Rocks.
General Patterson was on the upper Potomac, General McClellan and
General Rosecrans, with Virginia and Ohio troops, were driving the
Rebels from Rich Mountain, while General McDowell was preparing to
move upon Manassas.

These were all new names to the public. Patterson had served in the
Mexican war, but the people had forgotten it. McClellan was known only
as an engineer, who had made a report concerning the proposed railroad
to the Pacific, and had visited Russia during the Crimean war. General
Wool was in New York, old and feeble, too far advanced in life to take
the field. The people were looking up to General Scott as the Hercules
of the hour. Some one had called him the "Great Captain of the Age."
He was of gigantic stature, and had fought gallantly on the Canadian
frontier in 1812, and with his well-appointed army had marched in
triumph into the City of Mexico. The events of the last war with
England, and that with Mexico, in which General Scott was always the
central figure, had been rehearsed by the stump-orators of a great
political party during an exciting campaign. His likeness was familiar
to every American. It was to be found in parlors, saloons, beer-shops,
and in all public places,--representing him as a hero in
gold-embroidered coat, epaulets, chapeau, and nodding plume. His was
the genius to direct the gathering hosts. So the people believed. He
was a Virginian, but loyal. The newspapers lauded him.

"General Scott is watching the Rebels with sleepless vigilance," was
the not unfrequent telegraphic despatch sent from Washington.

But he was seventy-five years of age. His powers were failing. His old
wound troubled him at times. He could walk only with difficulty, and
it tired him to ride the few rods between his house and the War
Department. He was slow and sluggish in all his thoughts and actions.
Yet the people had confidence in him, and he in himself.

The newspapers were filled with absurd rumors and statements
concerning the movements and intentions of the Rebels. It was said
that Beauregard had sixty thousand men at Manassas. A New York paper,
having a large circulation, pictured Manassas as an impregnable
position; a plain commanded by heavy guns upon the surrounding hills!
It is indeed a plain, but the "commanding" hills are wanting. Rumor
reported that General Joseph E. Johnston, who was in the Shenandoah
valley, destroying the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and burning the
bridges across the Potomac, had thirty thousand men; but we now know
that his whole force consisted of nine regiments, two battalions of
infantry, three hundred cavalry, and sixteen pieces of artillery.

It was for the interest of the Rebels to magnify their numbers and
resources. These exaggerations had their effect at the War Department
in Washington. General Butler proposed the early occupation of
Manassas, to cut off communication by rail between Richmond and upper
Virginia, but his proposition was rejected by General Scott. The
troops in and around Washington were only partially organized into
brigades. There was not much system. Everybody was full of zeal and
energy, and there was manifest impatience among the soldiers at the
inactivity of the commander-in-chief.

The same was true of the Rebels. They were mustering at Manassas.
Regiments and battalions were pouring through Richmond. Southern women
welcomed them with sweetest smiles, presented them with fairest
flowers, and urged them on to drive the "usurper" from Washington.
Southern newspapers, from the commencement, had been urging the
capture of the Federal capital. Said the Richmond _Examiner_, of April

     "The capture of Washington is perfectly within the power of
     Virginia and Maryland, if Virginia will only make the effort by
     her constituted authorities. Nor is there a single moment to
     lose. The entire population pant for the onset....

     "From the mountain-tops and valleys to the shores of the sea,
     there is one wild shout of fierce resolve to capture Washington
     City, at all and every human hazard. That filthy cage of unclean
     birds must and will assuredly be purified by fire.... It is not
     to be endured that this flight of abolition harpies shall come
     down from the black North for their roosts in the heart of the
     South, to defile and brutalize the land.... Our people can take
     it,--they _will_ take it,--and Scott the arch-traitor, and
     Lincoln the beast, combined, cannot prevent it. The just
     indignation of an outraged and deeply injured people will teach
     the Illinois Ape to repeat his race and retrace his journey
     across the borders of the free negro States still more rapidly
     than he came; and Scott the traitor will be given the opportunity
     at the same time to try the difference between Scott's tactics
     and the Shanghae drill for quick movements.

     "Great cleansing and purification are needed and will be given to
     that festering sink of iniquity,--that wallow of Lincoln and
     Scott,--the desecrated city of Washington; and many indeed will
     be the carcasses of dogs and caitiffs that will blacken the air
     upon the gallows before the work is accomplished. So let it be."

General Beauregard was the most prominent of the Rebel commanders,
having been brought before the public by the surrender of Fort Sumter.
Next in prominence were the two Johnstons, Joseph E. and Albert
Sydney, and General Bragg. Stonewall Jackson had not been heard from.
Leo had just gone over to the Rebels. He had remained with General
Scott,--his confidant and chief adviser,--till the 19th of April, and
was made commander of the Rebel forces in Virginia on the 22d. The
Convention of Virginia, then in session at Richmond, passed the
ordinance of secession on the 17th,--to be submitted to the people for
ratification or rejection five weeks later. Lee had therefore
committed an act of treason without the paltry justification of the
plea that he was following the lead of his State.

Such was the general aspect of affairs when, in June, I received
permission from the War Department to become an army correspondent.

[Illustration: Pro Patria.]



[Sidenote: June, 1861.]

In March, 1861, there was no town in Virginia more thriving than
Alexandria; in June there was no place so desolate and gloomy. I
visited it on the 17th. Grass was growing in the streets. Grains of
corn had sprouted on the wharves, and were throwing up luxuriant
stalks. The wholesale stores were all closed; the dwelling-houses were
shut. Few of the inhabitants were to be seen. The stars and stripes
waved over the Marshall House, the place where Ellsworth fell. A mile
out from the city, on a beautiful plain, was the camp of the
Massachusetts Fifth, in which were two companies from Charlestown.
When at home they were accustomed to celebrate the anniversary of the
battle of Bunker Hill. Although now in the enemy's country, they could
not forget the day. They sat down to an ample collation. Eloquent
speeches were made, and an ode was sung, written by one of their

  "Though many miles away
   From home and friends to-day,
       We're cheerful still;
   For, brothers, side by side
   We stand in manly pride,
   Beneath the shadow wide
       Of Bunker Hill."

Boom--boom--boom was the quick report of far-distant cannon. What
could it be? A reconnoitring party of Ohio troops had gone up the
Loudon railroad. Had anything happened to them? There were eager
inquiries. The men fall into line, prepared for any emergency. A few
hours later the train returned, bringing back the mangled bodies of
those who fell in the ambuscade at Vienna.

[Illustration: Sixth Massachusetts regiment in Baltimore.]

I talked with the wounded. They were moving slowly up the road,--a
regiment on platform cars, pushed by the engine. Before reaching
Vienna an old man stepped out from the bushes making signs and
gestures for them to stop.

"Don't go. The Rebels are at Vienna."

"Only guerillas, I reckon," said one of the officers.

General Schenck, who was in command, waved his hand to the engineer,
and the train moved on. Suddenly there were quick discharges of
artillery, a rattling fire of small arms, and unearthly yells from
front and flank, within an hundred yards. The unsuspecting soldiers
were riddled with solid shot, canister, and rifle-balls. Some tumbled
headlong, never to rise again. Those who were uninjured leaped from
the cars. There was great confusion.

"Lie down!" cried some of the officers.

"Fall in!" shouted others.

Each did, for the moment, what seemed best. Some of the soldiers fired
at random, in the direction of the unseen enemy. Some crouched behind
the cars; others gained the shelter of the woods, where a line was

"Why don't you fall into line?" was the sharp command of an officer to
a soldier standing beside a tree.

"I would, sir, if I could," was the reply, and the soldier exhibited
his arm, torn by a cannon shot.

They gathered up the wounded, carried them to the rear in blankets,
began their homeward march, while the Rebels, eleven hundred strong,
up to this moment sheltered behind a woodpile, rushed out, destroyed
the cars, and retreated to Fairfax.

When the news reached Alexandria, a portion of the troops there were
hastily sent forward; they had a weary march. Morning brought no
breakfast, noon no dinner. A Secessionist had fled from his home,
leaving his flocks and herds behind. The Connecticut boys appropriated
one of the cows. They had no camp utensils, and were forced to broil
their steaks upon the coals. It was my first dinner in the field. Salt
was lacking, but hunger gave the meat an excellent seasoning. For
table and furniture we had the head of a barrel, a jack-knife, and a
chop-stick cut from a hazel-bush.

Congress assembled on the 4th of July, and the members availed
themselves of the opportunity to visit the troops. Vallandigham of
Ohio, who by word and act had manifested his sympathy for the Rebels,
visited the Second Ohio, commanded by Colonel McCook, afterwards
Major-General. I witnessed the reception given him by the boys of the
Buckeye State. The officers treated him courteously, but not
cordially. Not so the men.

"There is that d--d traitor in camp," said one, with flashing eyes.

"He is no better than a Rebel," said another.

"He helped slaughter our boys at Vienna the other day," said a third.

"Let us hustle him out of camp," remarked a fourth.

"Don't do anything rash. Let us inform him that his presence is not
desired," said one.

A committee was chosen to wait upon Vallandigham. They performed their
duty respectfully. He heard them, and became red in the face.

"Do you think that I am to be intimidated by a pack of blackguards
from northern Ohio?" he said. "I shall come to this camp as often as I
please,--every day if I choose,--and I give you notice that I will
have you taken care of. I shall report your insolence. I will see if a
pass from General Scott is not to be respected."

Turning to the officers, he began to inquire the names of the
soldiers. The news that Vallandigham was there had spread throughout
the camp, and a crowd was gathering. The soldiers were sore over the
slaughter at Vienna, and began to manifest their hatred and contempt
by groans and hisses.

"If you expect to frighten me, you have mistaken your man. I am
ashamed of you. I am sorry for the honor of the State that you have
seen fit to insult me," he said.

"Who has the most reason to be ashamed, you of us, or we of you?" said
one of the soldiers. "We are here fighting for our country, which you
are trying to destroy. What is your shame worth? You fired at us the
other day. You helped kill our comrades. There isn't a loyal man in
the country whose cheek does not redden with shame whenever your name
is mentioned," was the indignant reply.

Vallandigham walked into the officers' quarters. The soldiers soon
had an effigy, labelled "Vallandigham the traitor," hanging by the
neck from a tree. They riddled it with bullets, then took it down and
rode it on a rail, the fifers playing the "Rogues' March." When
Vallandigham left the camp, they gave him a farewell salute of groans
and hisses. A few of the soldiers threw onions and old boots at him,
but his person was uninjured. He did not repeat his visit. He was so
cross-grained by nature, so thorough a traitor, that through the
session of Congress and through the war he lost no opportunity to
manifest his hatred of the soldiers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: July, 1861.]

It was past sunset on the 9th of July, when, accompanied by a friend,
I left Alexandria for Washington in an open carriage. Nearing the Long
Bridge, an officer on horseback, in a red-flannel blouse, dashed down
upon us, saying: "I am an officer of the Garibaldi Guard; my regiment
has mutinied, and the men are on their way to Washington! I want you
to hurry past them, give notice to the guard at the Long Bridge, and
have the draw taken up." We promised to do so if possible, and soon
came upon the mutineers, who were hastening towards the bridge. They
were greatly excited. They were talking loud and boisterously in
German. Their guns were loaded. There were seven nations represented
in the regiment. Few of them could understand English. We knew that if
we could get in advance of them, the two six-pounders looking down the
Long Bridge, with grape and canister rammed home, would quell the
mutiny. We passed those in the rear, had almost reached the head of
the column, when out sprang a dozen in front of us and levelled their
guns. Click--click--click went the locks.

"You no goes to Vashington in ze advance!" said one.

"You falls in ze rear!" said another.

"What does this mean?" said my friend, who was an officer. "Where is
your captain?" he asked.

The captain came up.

"What right have your men to stop us, sir? Who gave them authority? We
have passes, sir; explain this matter."

The captain, a stout, thick-set German, was evidently completely
taken aback by these questions, but, after a moment's hesitation,

"No, zur, they no stops you; it was von mistake, zur. They will do zo
no more." Then approaching close to the carriage, he lowered his
voice, and in a confidential tone, as if we were his best friends,
asked, "Please, zur, vill you be zo kind as to tell me vat is the

"It's not nine o'clock yet. The sentinels are not posted. You need

A tall, big-whiskered soldier had been listening. He could speak
English quite well, and, evidently desiring to apologize for the
rudeness of his comrades, approached and said, "You see we
Garibaldians are having a time of it, and--"

Here the captain gave him a vigorous push, with a "Hush!" long drawn,
which had a great deal of meaning in it.

"I begs your pardons for ze interruption," said the captain, extending
his hand and bowing politely.

Once more we moved on, but again the excited leaders, more furious
than before, thrust their bayonets in our faces, again saying, "You no
goes to Vashington in ze advance." One of them took deliberate aim at
my breast, his eyes glaring fiercely.

It would have been the height of madness to disregard their
demonstration. They had reached the guard at the Virginia end of the
bridge, who, at a loss to know what it meant, allowed them to pass

[Illustration: Guarding long bridge.]

Now that we were compelled to follow, there was time to think of
contingencies. What if our horses had started? or what if in the
darkness a soldier, grieving over his imaginary wrong, and reckless of
life, had misunderstood us? or what if the loyal officers of the
regiment remaining at Alexandria had given notice by telegraph of what
had happened, and those two cannon at the Washington end of the bridge
had poured their iron hail and leaden rain along the causeway? It was
not pleasant to think of these possibilities, but we were in for
whatever might happen; and, remembering that God's providence is
always good and never evil, we followed our escort over the bridge.
They halted on the avenue, while we rode with all speed to General
Mansfield's quarters.

"I'll have every one of the rascals shot!" said the gray-haired
veteran commanding the forces in Washington. An hour later the
Garibaldians found themselves surrounded by five thousand infantry.
They laid down their arms when they saw it was no use to resist, were
marched back to Alexandria, and put to the hard drudgery of camp life.

       *       *       *       *       *

The soldiers had an amusing story to tell of one of their number who
went into the lager-beer business, the sale of beer being then
allowed. A sutler put a barrel on tap, and soon had a crowd of thirsty
customers. But the head of the barrel was exposed in the rear. A
soldier spying it, soon had that end on tap, and was doing a thriving
business, selling at five cents a glass from his end of the barrel. He
had a constant run of custom. When the crowd had satisfied their
thirst, one of the soldiers approached the sutler.

"What do you charge for a glass?" he asked.

"Ten cents."

"Ten cents! Why, I can get just as much as I want for five."

"Not in this camp."

"Yes, sir, in this camp."

"Where, I should like to know?"

"Right round here."

The sutler crawled out from his tent to see about it, and stood
transfixed with astonishment when he beheld the operation at the other
end of his barrel. He was received with a hearty laugh, while the
ingenious Yankee who was drawing the lager had the impudence to ask
him if he wouldn't take a drink!

Virginia was pre-eminently the land of a feudal aristocracy, which
prided itself on name and blood,--an aristocracy delighting to trace
its lineage back to the cavaliers of Old England, and which looked
down with haughty contempt upon the man who earned his bread by the
sweat of his brow. The original "gentleman" of Virginia possessed
great estates, which were not acquired by thrift and industry, but
received as grants through kingly favor. But a thriftless system of
agriculture, pursued unvaryingly through two centuries, had greatly
reduced the patrimony of many sons and daughters of the cavaliers, who
looked out of broken windows and rickety dwellings upon exhausted
lands, overgrown with small oaks and diminutive pines. Yet they clung
with tenacity to their pride.

"The Yankees are nothing but old scrubs," said a little Virginia girl
of only ten years to me.

A young lady was brought to General Tyler's head-quarters at Falls
Church to answer a charge of having given information to the enemy.
Her dress was worn and faded, her shoes were down at the heel and out
at the toes. There was nothing left of the estate of her fathers
except a mean old house and one aged negro slave. She was reduced to
absolute poverty, yet was too proud to work, and was waited upon by
the superannuated negro.

"You are accused, madam, of having given information to the enemy,"
said General Tyler.

The lady bowed haughtily.

"You live in this old house down here?"

"I would have you understand, sir, that my name is Delaney. I did not
expect to be insulted!" she exclaimed, indignantly. Words cannot
describe her proud bearing. It was a manifestation of her regard for
blood, gentility, name, and her hatred of labor. The history of the
Rebellion was in that reply.

Virginia was also the land of sirens. A captain in a Connecticut
regiment, lured by the sweet voice of a young lady, went outside of
the pickets to spend a pleasant hour; but suddenly the Philistines
were upon him, and he was a captive. Delilah mocked him as he was led
away. Walking along the picket line on the 12th of July, I found a
half-dozen Connecticut boys under a fence, keeping close watch of
Delilah's mansion.

"There is a girl over there," said one of them, "who enticed our
captain up to the house yesterday, when he was captured. Last night
she came out and sung a song, and asked a lieutenant to go in and see
her piano and take tea; but he smelt a rat, and was shy. To-night
there are four of us going to creep up close to the house, and he is
going in to see the piano."

The trap was set, but the Rebels did not fall into it.

The pickets brought in a negro, one of the first contrabands who came
into the lines of the army of the Potomac. He was middle-aged, tall,
black, and wore a checked cotton shirt and slouched hat. His boots
were as sorry specimens of old leather as ever were worn by human
beings. He came up timidly to head-quarters, guarded by two soldiers.
He made a low bow to the General, not only with his head, but with his
whole body and legs, ending the _salaam_ with a scrape of his left
foot, rolling his eyes and grinning from ear to ear.

"What is your name?" asked the General.

"Sam Allston, sah."

"Who do you belong to?"

"I belongs to Massa Allston, sah, from Souf Carolina."

"Where is your master?"

"He be at Fairfax; he belong to Souf Carolina regiment, sah."

"How came you here?"

"Why, ye see, General, massa told me to go out and buy some chickens,
and I come right straight down here, sah."

"You didn't expect to buy them here, did you?"

"No, sah; but I thought I would like to see de Yankees."

"I reckon I shall have to send you back, Sam."

This was said not seriously, but to test Sam's sincerity.

"I don't want to go back, sah. Wouldn't go back no how if I could help
it; rather go a thousand miles away up Norf than go down Souf, sah.
They knock me about down there. Massa whipped me last week, for
talking with de other niggers about de war. O massa, don't send me
back again! I'll do anything for you, massa."

He was the picture of anguish, and stood wringing his hands while the
tears rolled down his cheeks. Freedom, with all its imagined
blessings, was before him; slavery, with all its certain horrors,
behind him.

The General questioned him about the Rebels.

"They say they will whip you Yankees. Dere's right smart chance of 'em
at Fairfax, General Bonham in command. Souf Carolina is kinder mad at
you Yankees. But now dey is kinder waiting for you to come, though
they be packing up their trunks, as if getting ready to move."

All of his stories corroborated previous intelligence, and his
information was of value.

"Well, Sam, I won't send you back," said the General. "You may go
where you please about the camp."

"De Lord God Almighty bless you, sah!" was the joyful exclamation.
There was no happier man in the world than Sam Allston that night. He
had found that which his soul most longed for,--Freedom!

[Illustration: Aid Society's store-room.]

[Illustration: The ideal freedman.]



[Sidenote: July, 1861.]

At noon, on the 17th of July, the troops under General McDowell took
up their line of march toward Fairfax, without baggage, carrying three
days' rations in their haversacks. One division, under General Tyler,
which had been encamped at Falls Church, marched to Vienna, while the
other divisions, moving from Alexandria, advanced upon Fairfax

It was a grand pageant, the long column of bayonets and high-waving
flags. Union men whose homes were at Fairfax accompanied the march.
"It does my eyes good to see the troops in motion at last," said one.
"I have been exiled seven weeks. I know nothing about my family,
although I have been within a dozen miles of them all the time. I came
from the North three years ago. The Secessionists hated me, they
threatened to hang me, and I had to leave mighty sudden."

The head of General Tyler's column reached Vienna at sunset. The
infantry turned into the fields, while the artillery took positions on
the hills. Near the railroad was a large woodpile, behind which the
South Carolinians took shelter, when they fired upon the Ohio boys on
the cars. It was convenient for bivouac fires, and the men helped
themselves willingly. There I received instructions from Captain
Alexander, of the engineers, an old campaigner in Mexico, which,
during the four years of the war, I have never forgotten.

"Always sleep on the lee side of your bivouac fire," he said. "The
fire dries the ground, the heat envelopes you like a blanket; it will
keep off fever and ague. Better endure the discomfort of the smoke,
better look like a Cincinnati ham, than to feel an ache in every bone
in the morning, which you will be likely to feel if you spread your
blankets on the windward side, for then you have little benefit of the
heat, but receive the full rush of the air, which chills you on one
side, while you are roasting on the other." It was wise counsel, and
by heeding it I have saved my bones from many an ache.

It was at this place that a very laughable incident occurred. One of
the citizens of Vienna had a bee-house well stocked with hives. A
soldier espied them. He seized a hive and ran. Out came the bees,
buzzing about his ears. Another soldier, thinking to do better, upset
his hive, and seized the comb, dripping with honey. Being also hotly
besieged, he dropped it, ran his hands through his hair, slapped his
face, swung his arms, and fought manfully. Other soldiers seeing what
was going on, and anxious to secure a portion of the coveted sweets,
came up, and over went the half-dozen hives. The air was full of
enraged insects, which stung men and horses indiscriminately, and
which finally put a whole regiment to flight.

The Southern newspapers at this time were "firing the Southern heart,"
as they phrased it, by picturing the vandalism of the North.
Beauregard, on the 5th of June, at Manassas, issued a manifesto
addressed "to the people of the counties of Loudon, Fairfax, and
Prince William." Thus it read:--

     "A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil.
     Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all moral, legal, and
     constitutional restraints, has thrown his abolition hosts among
     you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens,
     confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other
     acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to
     humanity to be enumerated.

     "All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned, and they proclaim
     by their acts, if not on their banners, that their war cry is
     'Beauty and Booty.' All that is dear to man,--your honor, and
     that of your wives and daughters,--your fortunes and your lives,
     are involved in this momentous conflict."

In contrast to this fulmination of falsehoods, General McDowell had
issued an order on the 2d of June, three days previous, directing
officers to transmit statements on the following points:--

     "_First._ The quantity of land taken possession of for the
     several field-works, and the kind and value of the crops growing
     thereon, if any. _Second._ The quantity of land used for the
     several encampments, and the kind and value of the growing
     crops, if any. _Third._ The number, size, and character of the
     buildings appropriated to public purposes. _Fourth._ The quantity
     and value of trees cut down. _Fifth._ The kind and extent of
     fencing destroyed. These statements will, as far as possible,
     give the value of the property taken, or of the damage sustained,
     and the name or names of the owners."[1]

         [Footnote 1: McDowell's Order.]

A portion of the troops bivouacked in an oat-field, where the grain
was standing in shocks, and some of the artillerymen appropriated the
convenient forage.

The owner was complaining bitterly of the devastations. "They have
taken my grain, and I want my pay for it," he said to me.

"Are you a Union man?" I asked.

"I was for the Union till Virginia seceded, and of course had to go
with her; but whether I am a Union man or not, the government is bound
to respect private property," he replied.

At that moment General Tyler rode past.

"Say, General, ain't you going to pay me for my property which your
soldiers destroyed?"

"There is my quartermaster; he will settle it with you."

The man received a voucher for whatever had been taken. The column
took up its line of march, passed through a narrow belt of woods, and
reached a hill from which Fairfax Court-House was in full view. A
Rebel flag was waving over the town. There were two pieces of Rebel
artillery in a field, a dozen wagons in park, squads of soldiers in
sight, horsemen galloping in all directions. Nearer, in a meadow was a
squadron of cavalry on picket. I stood beside Captain (since General)
Hawley of Connecticut, commanding the skirmishers.

"Let me take your Sharpe's rifle," said he to a soldier. He rested it
on the fence, ran his eye along the barrel, and fired. The nearest
Rebel horseman, half a mile distant, slipped from his horse in an
instant, and fell upon the ground. It was the first shot fired by the
grand army on the march towards Manassas. The other troopers put spurs
to their horses and fled towards Fairfax, where a sudden commotion was

"The Rebels are in force just ahead!" said an officer who had
advanced a short distance into the woods.

"First and second pieces into position," said Captain Varian,
commanding a New York battery. The horses leaped ahead, and in a
moment the two pieces were pointing toward Fairfax. The future
historian, or the traveller wandering over the battle-fields of the
Rebellion, who may be curious to know where the first cannon-shots
were fired, will find the locality at Flint Hill, at that time the
site of a small school-house. The cannon were on either side of the

"Load with shell," was the order, and the cartridges went home in an

Standing behind the pieces and looking directly along the road under
the shadow of the overhanging trees, I could see the Rebels in a
hollow beyond a farm-house. The shells went screaming towards them,
and in an instant they disappeared, running into the woods, casting
away blankets, haversacks, and other equipments.

The column moved on. The occupants of the house met us with joyful
countenances. The good woman, formerly from New Jersey, brought out a
pan of milk, at which we took a long pull.

"I can't take pay; it is pay enough to see your countenances," she

Turning from Fairfax road the troops moved toward Germantown, north of
Fairfax,--a place of six miserable huts, over one of which the
Confederate flag was flying. Bonham's brigade of South Carolinians was
there. Ayer's battery galloped into position. A shell was sent among
them. They were about leaving, having been ordered to retreat by
Beauregard. The shell accelerated their movements. Camp equipage,
barrels of flour, clothing, entrenching tools, were left behind, and
we made ourselves merry over their running.

Those were the days of romance. War was a pastime, a picnic, an
agreeable diversion.

A gray-haired old negro came out from his cabin, rolling his eyes and
gazing at the Yankees.

"Have you seen any Rebels this morning?" we asked.

"Gosh a'mighty, massa! Dey was here as thick as bees, ges 'fore you
cum; but when dat ar bumshell cum screaming among 'em, dey ran as if
de Ole Harry was after 'em."

All of this, the flight of the Rebels, the negro's story, was
exhilarating to the troops, who more than ever felt that the march to
Richmond was going to be a nice affair.

On the morning of the 18th the head of the column entered Centreville,
once a thrifty place, where travellers from the western counties found
convenient rest on their journeys to Washington and Alexandria. Its
vitality was gone. The houses were old and poor. Although occupying
one of the most picturesque situations in the world, it was in the
last stages of decay.

A German met us with a welcome. Negro women peeped at us through the
chinks of the walls where the clay had fallen out. At a large
two-story house, which in former days reflected the glory of the Old
Dominion, sat a man far gone with consumption. He had a pitiful story
to tell of his losses by the Rebels.

Here we saw the women of Centreville, so accomplished in the practice
of snuff-dipping, filling their teeth and gums with snuff, and passing
round the cup with one swab for the company!

Richardson's brigade turned towards Blackburn's ford. Suddenly there
was a booming of artillery, followed by a sharp skirmish, which
Beauregard in his Report calls the first battle of Manassas. This was
in distinction from that fought on the 21st, which is generally known
as the battle of Bull Run.

It was a reconnoissance on the part of General Tyler to feel the
position of the enemy. It might have been conducted more adroitly,
without sacrifice. Under cover of skirmishers and artillery, their
positions would have been ascertained; no doubt their batteries could
have been carried if suitable arrangements had been made. But the long
cannonading brought down hosts of reinforcements from Manassas. And
when too late, three or four regiments were ordered down to the
support of the Union troops.

The First Massachusetts received the hottest of the fire. One soldier
in the thickest of the fight was shot; he passed his musket to his
comrade, saying, "It is all right, Bill," and immediately expired. The
soldier standing next to Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, received two shots
in his arm. He handed his gun to the Colonel, saying, "Here, I can't
use it; take it and use it." A great many of the soldiers had their
clothes shot through. One had three balls in his coat, but came out

As it is not intended that this volume shall be a history of the war,
but rather a panorama of it, we must pass briefly in review the first
great battle of the war at Bull Run, and the flight to Washington.

The day was calm and peaceful. Everywhere save upon the heights of
Centreville and the plains of Manassas it was a day of rest.

  "I'll tell you what I heard that day,--
   I heard the great guns far away,
   Boom after boom!"

Long before sunrise the troops of the attacking column rose from their
bivouac and moved away towards the west. The sun had but just risen
when Benjamin's batteries were thundering at Blackburn's ford, and
Tyler was pressing upon the Stone Bridge. It was past eight o'clock
before the first light ripple of musketry was heard at Sudley Springs,
where Burnside was turning the left flank of the Rebels. Then came the
opening of the cannonade and the increasing roar as regiment after
regiment fell into line, and moved southward, through the thickets of
pine. Sharp and clear above the musketry rose the cheers of the

"If you whip us, you will lick ninety thousand men. We have Johnston's
army with us. Johnston came yesterday, and a lot more from Richmond,"
said a prisoner, boastfully.

Onward pressed the Union troops, success attending their arms. The
battle was going in our favor. It was a little past three o'clock,
when, standing by the broken-down stone bridge which the Rebels had
destroyed, I had a full view of the action going on near Mrs. Henry's
house. The field beyond the Rebel line was full of stragglers.

[Illustration: Ladies working for the Army.]

A correspondent of the Charleston _Mercury_ thus writes of the aspect
of affairs in the Rebel lines at that moment:--

     "When I entered the field at two o'clock the fortunes of the day
     were dark. The regiments so badly injured, or wounded and worn,
     as they staggered out gave gloomy pictures of the scene. We could
     not be routed, perhaps, but it is doubtful whether we were
     destined to a victory."

"All seemed about to be lost," wrote the correspondent of the Richmond
_Dispatch_. There was a dust-cloud in the west. I saw it rising over
the distant woods, approaching nearer each moment. A few moments later
the fatal mistake of Major Barry was made.[2] Griffin and Ricketts
could have overwhelmed the newly arrived troops, less than three
regiments, with canister. But it was not so to be. One volley from the
Rebels, and the tide of affairs was reversed; and the Union army,
instead of being victor, was vanquished.

         [Footnote 2: See "Days and Nights on the Battle-Field," p.

A few moments before the disaster by Mrs. Henry's house, I walked past
General Schenck's brigade, which was standing in the road a few rods
east of the bridge. A Rebel battery beyond the run was throwing
shells, one of which ploughed through the Second Ohio, mangling two
soldiers, sprinkling their warm blood upon the greensward.

While drinking at a spring, there was a sudden uproar, a rattling of
musketry, and one or two discharges of artillery. Soldiers streamed
past, throwing away their guns and equipments. Ayer's battery dashed
down the turnpike. A baggage wagon was hurled into the ditch in a
twinkling. A hack from Washington, which had brought out a party of
Congressmen, was splintered to kindlings. Drivers cut their horses
loose and fled in precipitate haste. Instinct is quick to act. There
was no time to deliberate, or to obtain information. A swift pace for
a half-mile placed me beyond Cub Run, where, standing on a knoll, I
had a good opportunity to survey the sight, painful, yet ludicrous to
behold. The soldiers, as they crossed the stream, regained their
composure and fell into a walk. But the panic like a wave rolled over
Centreville to Fairfax. The teamsters of the immense wagon train threw
bags of coffee and corn, barrels of beef and pork, and boxes of bread,
upon the ground, and fled in terror towards Alexandria. The fright was
soon over. The lines at Centreville were in tolerable order when I
left that place at five o'clock.

Experience is an excellent teacher, though the tuition is sometimes
expensive. There has been no repetition of the scenes of that
afternoon during the war. The lesson was salutary. The Rebels on
several occasions had the same difficulty. At Fair Oaks, Glendale, and
Malvern we now know how greatly demoralized they became. No troops are
exempt from the liability of a panic. Old players are not secure from
stage fright. The coolest surgeon cannot always control his nerves.
The soldiers of the Union in the battle of Bull Run were not cowards.
They fought resolutely. The contest was sustained from early in the
morning till three in the afternoon. The troops had marched from
Centreville. The heat had been intense. Their breakfast was eaten at
one o'clock in the morning. They were hungry and parched with thirst,
yet they pushed the Rebels back from Sudley Springs, past the turnpike
to the hill by Mrs. Henry's.

There is abundant evidence that the Rebels considered the day as lost,
when Kirby Smith arrived.

Says the writer in the Richmond _Dispatch_, alluded to above:--

     "They pressed our left flank for several hours with terrible
     effect, but our men flinched not till their numbers had been so
     diminished by the well-aimed and steady volleys that they were
     compelled to give way for new regiments. The Seventh and Eighth
     Georgia Regiments are said to have suffered heavily.

     "Between two and three o'clock large numbers of men were leaving
     the field, some of them wounded, others exhausted by the long
     struggle, who gave us gloomy reports; but as the fire on both
     sides continued steadily, we felt sure that our brave Southerners
     had not been conquered by the overwhelming hordes of the North.
     It is, however, due to truth to say that the result of this hour
     hung trembling in the balance. We had lost numbers of our most
     distinguished officers. Generals Bartow and Bee had been stricken
     down; Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson of the Hampton Legion had been
     killed; Colonel Hampton had been wounded.

     "Your correspondent heard General Johnson exclaim to General
     Cocke just at the critical moment, 'O for four regiments!' His
     wish was answered, for in the distance our reinforcements
     appeared. The tide of battle was turned in our favor by the
     arrival of General Kirby Smith from Winchester, with four
     thousand men of General Johnson's division. General Smith heard
     while on the Manassas Railroad cars the roar of battle. He
     stopped the train, and hurried his troops across the field to
     the point just where he was most needed. They were at first
     supposed to be the enemy, their arrival at that point of the
     field being entirely unexpected. The enemy fell back and a panic
     seized them."

Smith had about seventeen hundred men instead of four thousand, but he
came upon the field in such a manner, that some of the Union officers
supposed it was a portion of McDowell's troops. Smith was therefore
permitted to take a flanking position within close musket-shot of
Rickett's and Griffin's batteries unmolested. One volley, and the
victory was changed to defeat. Through chance alone it seemed, but
really through Providence, the Rebels won the field. The cavalry
charge, of which so much was said at the time, was a feeble affair.
The panic began the moment that Smith opened upon Ricketts and
Griffin. The cavalry did not advance till the army was in full

It is laughable to read the accounts of the battle published in the
Southern papers. The Richmond _Dispatch_ has a letter written from
Manassas 23d July, which has throughout evidences of candor, and yet
this writer says, "We have captured sixty-seven pieces of artillery,"
while we had only thirty-eight guns on the field. Most necromancers
have the ability to produce hens' eggs without number from a
mysterious bag, but how they could capture sixty-seven pieces of
cannon, when McDowell had but thirty-eight, is indeed remarkable. The
same writer asserts that we carried into action the Palmetto State and
the Confederate flags.

Here is the story of a wonderful cannon-ball. Says the writer: "A
whole regiment of the enemy appeared in sight, going at double-quick
down the Centreville road. Major Walton immediately ordered another
shot. With the aid of our glass we could see them about two miles off.
There was no obstruction, and the whole front of the regiment was
exposed. _One half were seen to fall_, and if General Johnston had not
at that moment sent an order to cease firing, nearly the whole
regiment would have been killed!" The half that did not fall ought to
be grateful to Major Walton for not firing a second shot. The writer
says in conclusion: "Thus did fifteen thousand men, with eighteen
pieces of artillery, drive back ingloriously a force exceeding
thirty-five thousand, supported by nearly one hundred pieces of
cannon. We have captured nine hundred prisoners, sixty-seven pieces of
cannon, Armstrong guns and rifled cannon, hundreds of wagons, loads of
provisions and ammunition."

One writer asserted that thirty-two thousand pairs of handcuffs were
taken, designed for Rebel prisoners! This absurd statement was
believed throughout the South. In January, 1862, while in Kentucky, I
met a Southern lady who declared that it must be true, for she had
seen a pair of the handcuffs!

The war on the part of the North was undertaken to uphold the
Constitution and the Union, but the battle of Bull Run set men to
thinking. Four days after the battle, in Washington I met one who all
his lifetime had been a Democrat, standing stanchly by the South till
the attack on Sumter. Said he: "I go for liberating the niggers. We
are fighting on a false issue. The negro is at the bottom of the
trouble. The South is fighting for the negro, and nothing else. They
use him to defeat us, and we shall be compelled to use him to defeat

These sentiments were gaining ground. General Butler had retained the
negroes who came into his camp, calling them "contraband of war." Men
were beginning to discuss the propriety of not only retaining, but of
seizing, the slaves of those who were in arms against the government.
The Rebels were using them in the construction of fortifications. Why
not place them in the category with gunpowder, horses, and cattle? The
reply was, "We must respect the Union people of the South." But where
were the Union people?

There were some in Western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Missouri; but very few in Eastern Virginia. At Centreville there was
one man in the seedy village who said he was for the Union: he was a
German. At a farm-house just out of the village, I found an old
New-Yorker, who was for the Union; but the mass of the people, men,
women, and children, had fled,--their minds poisoned with tales of the
brutality of Northern soldiers. The mass of the people bore toward
their few neighbors, who still stood for the Union, a most implacable
hatred. I recall the woebegone look which overspread the countenance
of a good woman at Vienna on Sunday night, when, as she gave me a
draught of milk, I made a plain, candid statement of the disaster
which had befallen our army. Her husband had been a friend to the
Federal army, had given up his house for officers' quarters; had
suffered at the hands of the Rebels; had once been obliged to flee,
leaving his wife and family of six children, all of tender age, and
the prospect was gloomy. He had gone to bed, to forget in sleep, if
possible, the crushing blow. It was near midnight, but the wife and
mother could not sleep. She was awake to every approaching footstep,
heard every sound, knowing that within a stone's throw of the dwelling
there were those, in former times fast friends, who now would be among
the first to hound her and her little ones from the place; and why?
because they loved the Union!

What had produced this bitterness? There could be but one
answer,--Slavery. It was clear that, sooner or later, the war would
become one of emancipation,--freedom to the slave of every man found
in arms against the government, or in any way aiding or abetting
treason. How seductive, how tyrannical this same monster Slavery!

Three years before the war, a young man, born and educated among the
mountains of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, graduating at Williams
College, visited Washington, and called upon Mr. Dawes, member of
Congress from Massachusetts, to obtain his influence in securing a
position at the South as a teacher. Mr. Dawes knew the young man, son
of a citizen of high standing, respected not only as a citizen, but in
the highest branch of the Legislature of the State in former times,
and gladly gave his influence to obtain the situation. A few days
after the battle Mr. Dawes visited the Old Capitol prison to see the
prisoners which had been brought in. To his surprise he found among
them the young man from Berkshire, wearing the uniform of a Rebel.

"How could you find it in your heart to fight against the flag of your
country, to turn your back upon your native State, and the
institutions under which you have been trained?" he asked.

"I didn't want to fight against the flag, but I was compelled to."

"How compelled?"

"Why, you see, they knew I was from the North; and if I hadn't
enlisted, the ladies would have presented me with a petticoat."

He expressed himself averse to taking the oath of allegiance. It was
only when allusion was made to his parents--the poignant grief which
would all but break his mother's heart, were she to hear of him as a
soldier in the traitors' lines,--that he gave way, and his eyes filled
with tears. He could turn against his country, his State, the
institutions of freedom, because his heart was in the South, because
he had dreaded the finger of scorn which would have cowed him with a
petticoat, but he could not blot out the influence of a mother's love,
a mother's patriotism. He had not lived long enough under the hot
breath of the simoom to have all the early associations withered and
crisped. The mention of "mother" made him a child again.

With him was another Massachusetts man, who had been South many years,
and who was more intensely Southern than himself. Another young man, a
South Carolinian, was a law student in Harvard College when his State
seceded. He went home to enlist. "If it had not been for the war I
should now be taking my degree," said he. He was rejoicing over the
result of the battle.

Slavery is not only tyrannical, but it is corrupting to morals. The
Secessionists of St. Joseph, Missouri, in their eagerness to
precipitate a Kansas regiment to destruction, burned a bridge on the
Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, a few miles east of St. Joseph. The
train left the city at three o'clock in the morning, and reached the
bridge before daybreak. The regiment was not on board, and instead of
destroying a thousand Union soldiers, a large number of the citizens
of St. Joseph,--with women and children, friends and neighbors of the
Secessionists,--were plunged into the abyss!

The action of these Missouri barbarians was applauded by the
Secessionists of Washington. A friend came into my room late one
evening in great excitement.

"What is the matter?"

"I am sick at heart," said he, "at what I have heard. I called upon
some of my female acquaintances to-night. I knew that they were
Secessionists, but did not think that they were so utterly corrupt as
I find them to be. They are refined, intelligent, and have moved in
the first society of Washington. They boldly declared that it was
justifiable to destroy that railroad train in Missouri; that it is
right to poison wells, or violate oaths of allegiance, to help on the
cause of the South!"

The bitterness of the women of the South during the Rebellion is a
strange phenomenon, without a parallel in history. For the women of
Ireland, who in the rebellion of '98 cut off the heads of English
residents, and chopped up their victims by piecemeal, were from the
bogs and fens,--one remove only from the beasts; but these women of
the South lay claims to a superior culture. It is one thing to be
devoted heart and soul to a cause, but it is quite another to advance
it at the cost of civilization, Christianity, and the womanly virtues.

The assertion that all women of the South thus gave themselves over to
do wickedly, would be altogether too sweeping; a large portion may be
included. Mrs. Greenhow and Belle Boyd have written out some of their
exploits and machinations for the overthrow of the Union. With them, a
false oath or any measure of deceit, was praiseworthy, if it would but
aid the Secession cause. They are fair representatives of the females
of the South.

[Illustration: Forwarded free.]



[Sidenote: Oct., 1861.]

The months of August and September passed away without any action on
the part of General McClellan, who had been appointed commander of the
Army of the Potomac.

The disaster at Ball's Bluff occurred on the 21st of October, just
three months after the battle of Bull Run. On the afternoon of the 22d
the news was whispered in Washington. Riding at once with a
fellow-correspondent, Mr. H. M. Smith of the Chicago _Tribune_, to
General McClellan's head-quarters, and entering the anteroom, we found
President Lincoln there. I had met him on several occasions, and he
was well acquainted with my friend. He greeted us cordially, but sat
down quickly, rested his head upon his hand, and seemed to be
unusually agitated. His eyes were sunken, his countenance haggard, his
whole demeanor that of one who was in trouble.

"Will you please step in here, Mr. President," said an orderly from an
adjoining room, from whence came the click of the telegraph. He soon
came out, with his hands clasped upon his breast, his head bowed, his
body bent as if he were carrying a great burden. He took no notice of
any one, but with downcast eyes and faltering steps passed into the
street and towards the Executive mansion.

"We have met with a sad disaster. Fifteen hundred men lost, and
Colonel Baker killed," said General Marcy.

It was that which had overwhelmed the President. Colonel Baker was his
personal friend. They had long been intimately acquainted. In speaking
of that event afterwards, Mr. Lincoln said that it smote him like a
whirlwind in a desert. Few men have been appointed of God to bear such
burdens as were laid upon President Lincoln. A distracted country, a
people at war, all the foundations of society broken up; the cares,
trials, and perplexities which came every day without cessation,
disaster upon disaster, the loss of those he loved,--Ellsworth, Baker,
and his own darling Willie. A visitor at the White House the day of
Ellsworth's death found him in tears.

"I will make no apology, gentlemen," said he, "for my weakness; but I
knew poor Ellsworth well, and held him in great regard. Just as you
entered the room, Captain Fox left me, after giving me the painful
details of Ellsworth's unfortunate death. The event was so unexpected,
and the recital so touching, that it quite unmanned me. Poor fellow,"
he added, "it was undoubtedly a rash act, but it only shows the heroic
spirit that animates our soldiers, from high to low, in this righteous
cause of ours. Yet who can restrain grief to see them fall in such a
way as this,--not by the fortunes of war, but by the hand of an

The first time I ever saw Mr. Lincoln was the day after his nomination
by the Chicago Convention. I accompanied the committee appointed to
inform him of the action of the Convention to Springfield. It was
sunset when we reached the plain, unpretentious two-story
dwelling,--his Springfield home. Turning to the left as we entered the
hall, and passing into the library, we stood in the presence of a tall
man, with large features, great, earnest eyes, a countenance which,
once looked upon, forever remembered. He received the committee with
dignity and yet with evident constraint of manner. The address of Mr.
Ashmun, chairman of the committee, was brief, and so was Mr. Lincoln's
reply. Then followed a general introduction of the party.

There was a pitcher of ice-water and goblets on a stand, but there
were no liquors. The next morning a citizen narrated the following

When the telegraph informed Mr. Lincoln's neighbors that the committee
were on their way, a few of his friends called upon him to make
arrangements for their reception.

"You must have some refreshments prepared," said they.

"O certainly, certainly. What shall I get?"

"You will want some brandy, whiskey, wines, &c."

"I can't do that, gentlemen. I never have kept liquors, and I can't
get them now."

"Well, we will supply them."

"No, gentlemen, I can't permit you to do what I would not do myself. I
will furnish good water and enough of it, but no liquors."

He adhered to his decision; and thus at the beginning of the contest
gave an exhibition of that resoluteness of character, that
determination of will to adhere to what he felt was right, which was
of such inestimable value to the nation, in carrying the cause of the
Union triumphantly through all the dark days of the Rebellion.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was sunset when Mr. Smith and myself reached Poolsville, after a
rapid horseback ride from Washington. The quartermasters were issuing
clothing to those who had cast away their garments while swimming the
river. The night was cold. There had been a heavy fall of rain, and
the ground was miry. It was a sad spectacle, those half-naked,
shivering soldiers, who had lost everything,--clothes, equipments, and
arms. They were almost heart-broken at the disaster.

"I enlisted to fight," said one, "but I don't want to be slaughtered.
O my God! shall I ever forget that sight, when the boat went down?" He
covered his face with his hands, as if to shut out the horrid

Colonel Baker was sent across the river with the Fifteenth and
Twentieth Massachusetts, a portion of the Tammany Regiment of New
York, and the California regiment, Colonel Baker's own, in all about
fifteen hundred men. His means of communication were only an old scow
and two small boats. He was left to fight unassisted four thousand
Rebels. Soon after he fell, there was a sudden rush to the boats,
which, being overloaded, were instantly swamped. The Rebels had it all
their own way, standing upon the bank and shooting the drowning men.
Colonel Baker's body had been brought off, and was lying at
Poolsville. The soldiers of his own regiment were inconsolable.

Poolsville is an insignificant village, situated in one of the richest
agricultural districts of Maryland, surrounded by gentle swells of
land, wooded vales, verdant slopes, broad fields, with the far-off
mountain ranges and sweeping Potomac,--that combination which would be
the delight of a painter who loves quiet rural scenery. The soil is
fertile, and needs only good culture to yield an hundred-fold. Amid
such native richness stands the village,--a small collection of
nondescript houses, with overhanging roofs, wide porticos, or sheds
which answer for piazzas, mammoth chimneys, built outside the edifice,
as if they were afterthoughts when the houses were constructed. The
streets are narrow, and the dwellings are huddled together as if there
were but one corner lot, and all were trying to get as close to it as
possible, reminding one of a crowd of boys round the old-fashioned
fireplace of a country school-house on a winter's morning. There is
not a new house in the place. The newest one was built many years ago.
You look in vain for neat white cottages, with well-kept grounds. You
are astonished at the immense number of old wagons and carriages, with
rickety tops, torn canvas, broken wheels, shafts, and battered
bodies,--of old lumber-carts and other weather-beaten vehicles under
skeleton sheds. Look where you will, you come to the conclusion that
time has sucked out the juice of everything. There is no freshness, no
sign of a renewal of life or of present vitality. There are a small
church, and two seedy, needy taverns,--mean-looking, uninviting
places, each with its crowd of idle men, canvassing the state of
public affairs.

Such was the village in 1861. The streets were alive with "little
images of God cut in ebony," as Mrs. Stowe calls a negro child. Many
of the "images," however, by contact with the Anglo-Saxon race,
through Slavery, had become almost white. There were three or four
hundred inhabitants, a few wealthy, with many poor.

We found accommodations at the best private residence in the place.
The owner had a number of outlying farms, and was reported to be very
wealthy. He was courteous, and professed to be a Union man. He was
disposing of his hay and grain to the United States government,
receiving the highest prices at his own door. Yet when conversing with
him, he said, "your army," "your troops," as if he were a foreigner. A
funeral procession passed the house,--a company of the Massachusetts
Fifteenth, bearing to the village graveyard a comrade, who had laid
down his life for his country at Ball's Bluff. Said the wife of my
host to a friend as they passed: "_Their_ government has got money
enough, and ought to take the bodies away; we don't want them buried
here; it will make the place unhealthy." These expressions revealed
one thing: that between them and the Federal Union and the
Constitution there was no bond of unity. There was no nationality
binding us together. Once they would not have spoken of the army of
the United States as "your army." What had caused this alienation?
Slavery. An ebony-hued chattel kindled my fire in the morning and
blacked my boots. A yellow chattel stood behind my chair at breakfast.
A stout chattel, worth twelve hundred dollars, groomed my horse. There
were a dozen young chattels at play upon the piazza. My host was an
owner of human flesh and blood. That made him at heart a Secessionist.
The army had not interfered with Slavery. Slaves found their way into
the camp daily, and were promptly returned to their professedly loyal
masters. Yet the presence of the troops was odious to the

In the quiet of affairs around Washington I visited Eastern Maryland,
accompanied by two members of the press. The Rebels had closed the
navigation of the Potomac by erecting batteries at Cockpit Point.
General Hooker's division was at Budd's Ferry, Port Tobacco, and other
places down the river. It was the last day of October,--one of the
loveliest of the year,--when we started upon our excursion.

No description can convey an idea of the incomparable loveliness of
the scenery,--the broad river, with the slow-moving sail-boats, the
glassy, unruffled surface, reflecting canvas, masts, and cordage, the
many-colored hills, rich with autumnal tints, the marble piles of the
city, the broad streets, the more distant Georgetown, the thousands of
white tents near and far away, with all the nice shading and blending
of varied hue in the mellow light. On every hilltop we lingered to
enjoy the richness of nature, and to fix in memory the picture which,
under the relentless hand of war, would soon be robbed of its peculiar

Ten miles out and all was changed. The neat, tasteful, comfortable
residences were succeeded by the most dilapidated dwellings. The
fields, green with verdure, gave place to sandy barrens. To say that
everybody and everything were out at the elbows and down at the heels
is not sufficient. One must see the old buildings,--the crazy roofs,
the unglazed windows, the hingeless doors, the rotting stoops, the
reeling barns and sheds, leaning in every direction, as if all were in
drunken carousal,--the broken fences, the surrounding lumber,--of
carts, wagons, and used-up carriages, to obtain a correct idea of this
picture, so strongly and painfully in contrast to that from the
hill-tops overlooking the capital of the country.

The first stopping-place for travellers is the "White Horse." We had
heard much of the White Horse, and somehow had great expectations, or
rather an undefined notion that Clark Mills or some other artist had
sculptured from white marble a steed balanced on his hind legs and
leaping toward the moon, like that in front of the Presidential
mansion; but our great expectations dwindled like Pip's, when we
descended a hill and came upon a whitewashed, one-story building,--a
log-house, uninviting to man or beast. A poplar in front of the
domicile supported a swinging sign, on which the country artist had
displayed his marvellous skill in painting a white horse standing on
two legs. It was time for dinner, and the landlady spread the table
for her guests. There was no gold-tinted bill of fare, with
unpronounceable French phrases, no long line of sable waiters in white
aprons. My memory serves me as to the fare.

  Pork,      Pone,       Potatoes.

The pork was cold, pone ditto, potatoes also. Pone is unraised
corn-cake baked in the ashes, and said to be good for indigestion. It
is a favorite cake in the South.

A saffron-hued young man, tall and lean, with a sharp nose and thin
face, sat on the steps of the White Horse.

"The _ager_ got hold of me yesterday and shook me right smart," he
said. "It is a bad place for the ager. The people that used to live
here have all moved away. The land is run out. They have _terbakkered_
it to death. We can't raise nothing, and it ain't no use to try." He
pointed to a deserted farm-house standing on a hill, and said,
"There's a place the owner has left to grow up to weeds. He can't get
nobody to carry it on."

A stately brick mansion, standing back from the highway once the
residence of a man of wealth and taste, with blinds, portico, and
carriage-house, elaborate in design and finish, was in the last stages
of ruin. The portico had settled away from the house. The roof was
hollowed like a weak-backed horse, the chimneys were tumbling, blinds
swinging by a hinge, windows smashed, outhouses tottering with age and
neglect, all presenting a most repulsive appearance. How changed from
former years, when the courteous, hospitable proprietor of the estate
received his guests at the magnificent portico, ushered them to his
spacious halls, opened the sideboard and drank to their health, while
attendant slaves took the horses to the stables! It is easy to fill up
the picture,--the grand dinner, the walk over the estate, the stroll
by the river, the duck-shooting on the marshes, the gang of slaves in
the tobacco-patch, the army of black and yellow servants in the
kitchens, chambers, and parlors. When this old house was in its glory,
this section of Maryland was in its prime; but how great the change!

It was sad to think of the departed days. Our reflections were of what
the place had been, what it was, and what it might have been, had
Maryland in the beginning of her history accepted Freedom instead of

Taverns are not frequent in the vicinity of Pomunkey, and it was
necessary that we should seek private hospitality for the night. A
first attempt for accommodations brought us to a house, but the owner
had no oats, hay, or corn; a second ride in from the highway, brought
us to a whitewashed farm-house, with immense outside chimneys, piazza,
adjoining mud-chinked negro-quarters, with chimneys of sticks and
clay, and a dozen surrounding buildings,--as usual, all tumbling to
pieces. Explanations as to who we were secured kind hospitality from
the host, a gray-headed man, with a family consisting of his wife,
three grown-up sons, and nine adult daughters.

"Such as I have is at your service, gentlemen," said our host. But he
had no hay, no oats, no corn, nothing but _shucks_ for our horses. Our
supper consisted of fried pork, fried salt shad, pone, wheat-cakes,
pea-coffee, strawberry-leaf tea, sweetened with damp brown sugar!

"We don't _raise_ butter in this section of the State," said our host,
in apology.

The supper was relished after an afternoon ride of thirty miles. The
evening being chilly, a roaring fire was kept up in the old-fashioned
fireplace. The daughters put on their most attractive attire, and left
nothing untried to entertain their three visitors. Could we dance?
Unfortunately we could not. It was a serious disappointment. They
evidently had anticipated having "a good time." One of the ladies
could play a violin, and treated us to jigs, reels, and hornpipes.

"You must sing the gentlemen a song, Jane," said one.

Jane turned scarlet at the suggestion, but finally, after polite
requests and a little urging, turned her back to the company, faced
the corner of the room, and sang a love-song. She could sing "Dixie,"
but knew nothing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" or "Hail Columbia." The
young ladies were in sympathy with the Rebellion.

"It must be expected that Southern people should sympathize with the
South," said our host.

"You own some slaves?" I said.

"I have three _servants_, sir. I think," he added, "that the people of
Eastern Maryland would be more favorable towards the Union if they
could be assured that the war would not finally become one of
emancipation. My neighbor over there had a servant who ran away into
the camp of one of the New York regiments. He went after him. The
Colonel told the master to take him, but the servant wouldn't leave
till the Colonel drew his pistol and threatened to shoot him. But
notwithstanding that, I reckon that the war will make them restless."
It was spoken frankly and unreservedly.

It was pitiable to walk round his farm in the morning, to see
everywhere the last stages of decay,--poor, worn-out lands,
broken-down fences, weedy fields, pastures without a blade of grass,
leafless orchards, old buildings,--everything a wreck; and yet to know
that he was wedded to the very institution which was reducing the
country to a wilderness. He was not an owner of the estate, but a
rentee. He paid one hundred and fifty dollars rental for three hundred
acres of land, and yet confessed that he was growing poorer year by
year. Tobacco, corn, and oats were the only crops. He could get no
manure. He could make no hay. He kept two cows, but made no butter.
The land was being exhausted, and he did not know what he should come
to. All energy and life were gone; we saw only a family struggling
against fate, and yet clinging with a death-grapple to the system that
was precipitating their ruin.

"Why do you not go to Illinois?"

"O, sir, I am too old to move. Besides, this is home."

We pictured the boundless resources of the West, the fertile lands,
the opportunities for bettering his condition, but our words fell upon
an inert mind. As a last argument, we said: "You have a large family
of daughters. In Illinois there are thousands of young men wanting
wives, who will make good husbands. There are few young men here, but
good homes await your daughters there."

There were blushes, smiles, and sparkling eyes from the "sacred nine."
My fellow-correspondent of the Chicago _Tribune_ then drew a florid
picture of the West,--of the need of the State for such good-looking,
virtuous ladies. His eloquence was persuasive. One of the daughters
wanted to know how far it was to Illinois; but when informed that it
was a thousand miles, her countenance fell. Bliss so far away was

We passed a second night with our host, who, during our absence, sent
one of the servants a dozen miles to obtain some butter, so courteous
an entertainer was he. Yet he was struggling with poverty. He kept
three slaves to wait upon his nine grown-up unmarried daughters, who
were looking out upon a dark future. There was not a single gleam of
light before them. They could not work, or, at the best, their work
was of trifling account. What would become of them? That was the one
question ever haunting the father.

"Why do you keep your slaves? they are a bill of cost to you every
year," we said.

"I know it. They are lazy, shiftless, and they will steal,
notwithstanding they have enough to eat and wear; but then I reckon I
couldn't get along without them very well. Sam is an excellent groom,
and Joe is a good ploughman. He can do anything if he has a mind to;
but he is lazy, like all the rest. I reckon that I couldn't get along
without him, though."

"Your sons can groom your horses and do your ploughing."

"Yes; but then they like to fish and hunt, you know; and you can't
expect them to do the work of the servants."

The secret was out. Slavery made labor dishonorable.

Conversing with another farmer about the negroes, he said: "They steal
all they can lay their hands on; and since the Yankee troops have been
in camp round here, they are ten times as bad as they used to be. My
chickens are fast disappearing. The officers buy them, I reckon."

We thought it quite likely; for having passed several days in General
Hooker's division, we could bear testimony to the excellent fare of
the officers' mess,--chickens served in all the various forms known to
culinary art. It was convenient for officers thus to supply themselves
with poultry. Of course the slave would say that he was the lawful
owner of the poultry. Why should he have any compunctions of
conscience about disposing of the chickens roosting on his master's
apple-trees, when his labor, his life, his happiness, his
children,--all his rights were stolen from him by his master? If the
sword cut in one direction, why not in another?

A few days later, in November, we visited Annapolis, a quaint old
city. The streets all centre at the State-House and St. John's Church.
There are antiquated houses with mossy roofs, brass knockers on the
doors, which were built two hundred years ago. We were carried back to
the time of the Revolution, when Annapolis was in its glory.

One would suppose, in walking past the substantial stone mansions,
that the owners were living at ease, in quiet and seclusion; that they
had notes, mortgages, and bonds laid by for a rainy day: but a fair
outside does not always indicate health within. In many of those old
mansions, grand in proportion, elaborate with cornice, there was
nothing but famine. How strong is aristocratic pride! Poverty cannot
subdue it. Men and women lived there sorely pressed to keep up even a
threadbare appearance, who, before the war, held soul and body
together by raising negroes for the Southern market, and by waiting
upon the Assembly when in session. They would have deemed it degrading
to hold social intercourse with a mason or a blacksmith, or with any
one compelled to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. In poverty
they nursed their pride. The castes of Hindostan were hardly more
distinct. It is easy to see how a community can become lifeless under
such a state of society. The laboring men had gone away,--to the West,
to Baltimore, or to localities where it is not a crime to work for a
livelihood. In consequence, enterprise had died, property had
depreciated, and the entire place had become poverty-stricken.

[Sidenote: Nov., 1861.]

On the succeeding Sunday I was in Washington, where a superintendent
of one of the Sabbath schools was spending a portion of the hour in
singing. Among other songs was Rev. S. F. Smith's national hymn,--

  "My country, 'tis of thee,
   Sweet land of liberty."

Among the persons present were three ladies, members of a family
sympathizing with secession. With unmistakable signs of disgust, they
at once left the house!

Not only at church, but in the army, the spirit of slavery was
rampant. The Hutchinson family visited Washington. They solicited
permission from the Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron, to visit the camps
in Virginia and sing songs to the soldiers, to relieve the tedious
monotony of camp life. Their request was granted, and their intentions
cordially commended by the Secretary; and, being thus indorsed,
received General McClellan's pass. Their songs have ever been of
freedom. They were welcomed by the soldiers. But there were officers
in the service who believed in slavery, who had been taught in
Northern pulpits that it was a divinely appointed, beneficent
institution of Almighty God. Information was given to General
McClellan that the Hutchinsons were poisoning the minds of the troops
by singing Abolition songs; and their career as free concert givers to
the patriotic soldiers was suddenly ended by the following order from

     "By direction of Major-General McClellan, the permit given to the
     Hutchinson family to sing in the camps, and their pass to cross
     the Potomac, are revoked, and they will not be allowed to sing to
     the troops."

Far from the noise and strife of war, on the banks of the Merrimack,
lived the poet of Peace and of Freedom, whose songs against oppression
and wrong have sunk deep into the hearts of the people. Whittier heard
of the expulsion of the Hutchinsons, and as if inspired by a spirit
divine, wrote the


    "We wait beneath the furnace-blast
       The pangs of transformation;
     Not painlessly doth God recast
       And mould anew the nation.
         Hot burns the fire
         Where wrongs expire;
         Nor spares the hand
         That from the land
       Uproots the ancient evil.

    "The hand-breadth cloud the sages feared
       Its bloody rain is dropping;
     The poison plant the fathers spared
       All else is overtopping.
         East, West, South, North.
         It curses the earth;
         All justice dies,
         And fraud and lies
       Live only in its shadow.

    "What gives the wheat-field blades of steel?
       What points the rebel cannon?
     What sets the roaring rabble's heel
       On the old star-spangled pennon?
         What breaks the oath
         Of the men o' the South?
         What whets the knife
         For the Union's life?--
       Hark to the answer: Slavery!

    "Then waste no blows on lesser foes
       In strife unworthy freemen.
     God lifts to-day the veil, and shows
       The features of the demon!
         O North and South,
         Its victims both,
         Can ye not cry,
         'Let slavery die!'
       And union find in freedom?

    "What though the cast-out spirit tear
       The nation in his going?
     We who have shared the guilt must share
       The pang of his o'erthrowing!
         Whate'er the loss,
         Whate'er the cross,
         Shall they complain
         Of present pain
       Who trust in God's hereafter?

    "For who that leans on His right arm
       Was ever yet forsaken?
     What righteous cause can suffer harm
       If He its part has taken?
         Though wild and loud
         And dark the cloud,
         Behind its folds
         His hand upholds
       The calm sky of to-morrow!

    "Above the maddening cry for blood,
       Above the wild war-drumming,
     Let Freedom's voice be heard, with good
       The evil overcoming.
         Give prayer and purse
         To stay the Curse
         Whose wrong we share,
         Whose shame we bear,
       Whose end shall gladden Heaven!

    "In vain the bells of war shall ring
       Of triumphs and revenges,
     While still is spared the evil thing
       That severs and estranges.
         But blest the ear
         That yet shall hear
         The jubilant bell
         That rings the knell
       Of Slavery forever!

    "Then let the selfish lip be dumb,
       And hushed the breath of sighing;
     Before the joy of peace must come
       The pains of purifying.
         God give us grace
         Each in his place
         To bear his lot,
         And, murmuring not,
       Endure and wait and labor!

         [Footnote 3: Our God is a strong fortress.]

The expulsion of the Hutchinsons, with Whittier's ringing words,
stirred people's thoughts. A change was gradually taking place in
men's opinions. The negroes were beginning to show themselves useful.
A detachment of the Thirteenth Massachusetts, commanded by Major
Gould, was stationed on the upper Potomac. A negro slave, belonging in
Winchester, came into the lines. He was intelligent, cautious, shrewd,
and loyal. Major Gould did not return him to his master, but asked him
if he would go back and ascertain the whereabouts of Stonewall
Jackson. The negro readily assented. He was supplied with packages of
medicine, needles, thread, and other light articles greatly needed in
the South. With these he easily passed the Rebel pickets: "Been out to
get 'em for massa," was his answer when questioned by the Rebels. Thus
he passed repeatedly into the Rebel lines, obtaining information which
was transmitted to Washington.

He had great influence with the slaves.

"They are becoming restless," said he, "but I tells 'em that they must
be quiet. I says to 'em, keep yer eyes wide open and pray for de good
time comin'. I tells 'em if de Souf whip, it is all night wid yer; but
if de Norf whip, it is all day wid yer."

"Do they believe it?" Major Gould asked.

"Yes, massa, all believe it. The black men am all wid yer, only some
of 'em isn't berry well informed; but dey is all wid yer. Massa tinks
dey isn't wid yer, but dey is."

How sublime the picture!--a slave counselling his fellow bondmen to
keep quiet and wait till God should give them deliverance!

Among the many Rebel ministers who had done what they could to
precipitate the rebellion was a Presbyterian minister in the vicinity
of Charlestown, Virginia. It was his custom, after closing his sermon,
to invite the young men to enlist in the regiments then forming. On
one of these occasions he made an address in which he gave utterance
to the following sentiment: "If it is necessary to defend Southern
institutions and Southern rights, I will wade up to my shoulders in
blood!" This was brave; but the time came when the chivalry of the
parson was put to the test. When the Rebels were routed at Bolivar,
he, not being mounted on so fleet a horse as those of his flock who
had given heed to his counsels and joined the cavalry, found himself
left behind. A bullet lodged in the body of his horse prevented
escape. He then tried his own legs, but soon found himself in the
hands of the soldiers, who brought him to head-quarters. He at once
claimed protection of Major Gould on the most extraordinary grounds.
He had read the poems of Hannah Gould, and presumed that Major Gould,
hailing from Massachusetts, must be her kinsman. When confronted with
the Major he promptly exclaimed, "Major, I have read the poems of Miss
Hannah Gould, and admire them; presuming that she is a relative of
yours, I claim your protection and consideration."

The Major replied that he had not the honor to be a relative of that
gifted lady, but that he should accord him all the consideration due
to those who had rebelled against the peace and dignity of the United
States, and had been taken with arms in their hands. He was marched
off with the others and placed under guard.

Slavery was strongly intrenched in the capital of the nation. Congress
had abolished it in the District of Columbia, but it still remained.

Said a friend to me one morning, "Are you aware that the Washington
jail is full of slaves?" I could not believe that slaves were then
confined there for no crime; but at once procured a pass from a
senator to visit the jail, and was admitted through the iron gateway
of one of the vilest prisons in the world. The air was stifled, fetid,
and malarious.

Ascending the stone stairway to the third story of the building,
entering a dark corridor and passing along a few steps, I came to a
room twelve or fifteen feet square, occupied by about twenty colored
men. They were at their dinner of boiled beef and corn-cake. There was
one old man sitting on the stone floor, silent and sorrowful. He had
committed no crime. Around, standing, sitting, or lying, were the
others, of all shades of color, from jet black to the Caucasian hue,
the Anglo-Saxon hair and contour of features. They were from ten to
fifty years of age; some were dressed decently, and others were in
rags. One bright fellow of twenty had on a pair of trousers only, and
tried to keep himself warm by drawing around him a tattered blanket. A
little fellow ten years old was all in rags. There was no chair or bed
in the room. They must stand, or sit, or lie upon the brick and
granite floor. There was no mattress or bedding; each had his little
bundle of rags, and that was all. They looked up inquiringly as I
entered, as if to make out the object of my visit.

One bright, intelligent boy belonged to Captain Dunnington, captain of
the Capitol police during Buchanan's administration, and then
commanding a Rebel battery. When Dunnington went from Washington to
join the Rebels he left the boy behind, and the police had arrested
him under an old Maryland law, because he had no master, and kept him
in jail five months.

There was an old man from Fairfax Court-House. When the army advanced
to Falls Church, his master sold his wife and child, for fear they
might escape. "You see, sir, that broke me all up. O, sir, it was hard
to part with them, to see 'em chained up and taken off away down South
to Carolina. My mind is almost gone. I don't want to die here; I
sha'n't live long. When your army fell back to Washington after the
battle of Bull Run, I came to Washington, and the police took me up
because I was a runaway."

There was another, a free negro, imprisoned on the supposition that he
was a fugitive, and kept because there was no one to pay his jail
fees. Another had been a hand on a Massachusetts schooner plying on
the Potomac, and had been arrested in the streets on the suspicion
that he was a slave.

Another had been employed on the fortifications, and government was
his debtor. There was a little boy, ten years old, clothed in rags,
arrested as a runaway. Women were there, sent in by their owners for
safe keeping. There were about sixty chargeable with no crime
whatever, incarcerated with felons, without hope of deliverance. They
were imprisoned because negroes about town, without a master, always
had been dealt with in that manner. The police, when the slaves had
been reclaimed, had been sure of their pay, or if they were sold,
their pay came from the auctioneer. When they saw me making notes,
they imagined that I was doing something for their liberation, and
with eagerness they crowded round, saying, "Please put down my name,
sir," "I do want to get out, sir," and similar expressions. They
followed me into the passage, gazed through the grated door, and when
I said "Good by, boys," there came a chorus of "Good byes" and "God
bless yous."

[Sidenote: Dec., 1861.]

Seeking Senator Wilson's room, I informed him of what I had witnessed,
and read the memoranda taken in the jail. The eyes of that
true-hearted man flashed with righteous indignation. "We will see
about this," said he, springing to his feet.

He visited the jail, saw the loathsome spectacle, heard the stories of
the poor creatures, and the next day introduced a resolution into the
Senate, which upset forever this system of tyranny, which had been
protected by the national authority.

The year closed gloomily. There were more than six hundred thousand
troops under arms ready to subdue the Rebellion, but General McClellan
hesitated to move. But there were indications of an early advance in
the West; therefore on the last days of December I left Washington to
be an observer of whatever might happen in Kentucky.

[Illustration: Ellsworth Zouave drill.]



[Sidenote: Jan., 1862.]

The church-bells of Louisville were ringing the new year in as with
the early morning we entered that city. There was little activity in
the streets. The breaking out of the war had stopped business. The
city, with a better location than Cincinnati, has had a slow growth.
Cassius M. Clay gave the reason, years ago.

"Why," he asked, "does Louisville write on an hundred of her stores
'To let,' while Cincinnati advertises 'Wanted'? There is but one
answer,--Slavery." Many of the houses were tenantless. The people
lounged in the streets. Few had anything to do. Thousands of former
residents were away, many with the Southern army, more with the Union.
There was division of feeling. Lines were sharply drawn. A dozen loyal
Kentuckians had been killed in a skirmish on Green River; among them
Captain Bacon, a prominent citizen of Frankfort. His body was at the
Galt House. Loyal Kentuckians were feeling these blows. Their temper
was rising; they were being educated by such adversity to make a true
estimate of Secession. Everything serves a purpose in this world. Our
vision is too limited to understand much of the governmental
providence of Him who notices the fall of a sparrow, and alike
controls the destiny of nations; but I could see in the emphatic
utterances of men upon the street, that revenge might make men
patriotic who otherwise might remain lukewarm in their loyalty.

A friend introduced a loyal Tennesseean, who was forced to flee from
Nashville when the State seceded. The vigilance committee informed him
that he must leave or take the consequences; which meant, a suspension
by the neck from the nearest tree. He was offensive because of his
outspoken loyalty. He was severe in his denunciations of the
government, on account of its slowness to put down the Rebellion.

"Sir," said he, "this government is not going to put down the
Rebellion, because it isn't in earnest. You of the North are
white-livered. Excuse me for saying it. No; I won't ask to be excused
for speaking the truth. You are afraid to touch the negro. You are
afraid of Kentucky. The little province of the United States gets down
on its knees to the nation of Kentucky. You are afraid that the State
will go over to the Rebels, if anything is done about the negro. Now,
sir, I know what slavery is; I have lived among it all my days. I know
what Secession is,--it means slavery. I know what Kentucky is,--a
proud old State, which has a great deal that is good about her and a
great deal of sham. Kentucky politicians are no better or wiser than
any other politicians. The State is living on the capital of Henry
Clay. You think that the State is great because he was great. O, you
Northern men are a brave set! (It was spoken with bitter sarcasm.) You
handle this Rebellion as gingerly as if it were a glass doll. Go on,
go on; you will get whipped. Buell will get whipped at Bowling Green,
Butler will get whipped at New Orleans. You got whipped at Big Bethel,
Ball's Bluff, and Manassas. Why? Because the Rebels are in earnest,
and you are not. Everything is at stake with them. They employ
niggers, you don't. They seize, rob, burn, destroy; they do everything
to strengthen their cause and weaken you, while you pick your way as
daintily as a dandy crossing a mud-puddle, afraid of offending
somebody. No, sir, you are not going to put down this Rebellion till
you hit it in the tenderest spot,--the negro. You must take away its
main support before it will fall."

General Buell was in command of the department, with his head-quarters
at the Galt House. He had a large army at Mumfordville and other
points. He issued his orders by telegraph, but he had no plan of
operations. There were no indications of a movement. The Rebel
sympathizers kept General Johnston, in command at Bowling Green, well
informed as to Buell's inaction. There was daily communication between
Louisville and the Rebel camp. There was constant illicit trade in
contraband goods. The policy of General McClellan was also the policy
of General Buell,--to sit still.

Events were more stirring in Missouri, and I proceeded to St. Louis,
where General Halleck was in command,--a thick-set, dark-featured,
black-haired man, sluggish, opinionated, and self-willed, arbitrary
and cautious.

Soon after his appointment to this department he issued, on the 20th
of November, his Order No. 3, which roused the indignation of earnest
loyal men throughout the country. Thus read the document:--

     "It has been represented that information respecting the numbers
     and condition of our forces is conveyed to the enemy by means of
     fugitive slaves who are admitted within our lines. In order to
     remedy this evil, it is directed that no such persons be
     hereafter permitted to enter the lines of any camp, or of any
     forces on the march, and that any within our lines be immediately
     excluded therefrom."

General Schofield was in command of Northern Missouri, under General
Halleck. The guerillas had burned nearly all the railroad bridges, and
it was necessary to bring them to justice. The negroes along the line
gave him the desired intelligence, and six of the leaders were in this
way caught, tried by court-martial, and summarily shot. Yet General
Halleck adhered to his infamous order. Diligent inquiries were made of
officers in regard to the loyalty of the negroes, and no instance was
found of their having given information to the enemy. In all of the
slaveholding States a negro's testimony was of no account against a
white man under civil law; but General Schofield had, under military
law, inaugurated a new order of things,--a drum-head court, a speedy
sentence, a quick execution, on negro testimony. The Secessionists and
Rebel sympathizers were indignant, and called loudly for his removal.

The fine army which Fremont had commanded, and from which he had been
summarily dismissed because of his anti-slavery order, was at Rolla,
at the terminus of the southwest branch of the Pacific Railroad. This
road, sixteen miles out from St. Louis, strikes the valley of the
Maramec,--not the Merrimack, born of the White Hills, but a sluggish
stream, tinged with blue and green, widening in graceful curves, with
tall-trunked elms upon its banks, and acres of low lands, which are
flooded in freshets. It is a pretty river, but not to be compared in
beauty to the stream which the muse of Whittier has made classic.
Nearly all the residences in this section are Missourian in
architectural proportions and features,--logs and clay, with the
mammoth outside chimneys, cow-yard and piggery, an oven out of doors
on stilts, an old wagon, half a dozen horses, hens, dogs, pigs, in
front, and lean, cadaverous men and women peeping from the doorways,
with arms akimbo, and pipes between the teeth. This is the prevailing
feature,--this in a beautiful, fertile country, needing but the hand
of industry, the energy of a free people, vitalized by the highest
civilization, to make it one of the loveliest portions of the world.

At Franklin the southwestern branch of the Pacific Railroad diverges
from the main stem. It is a new place, brought into existence by the
railroad, and consists of a lime-kiln, a steam saw-mill, and a dozen
houses. Behind the town is a picturesque bluff, with the lime-kiln at
its base, which might be taken for a ruined temple of some old Aztec
city. Near at hand two Iowa regiments were encamped. A squad of
soldiers was on the plain, and a crowd stood upon the depot platform,
anxiously inquiring for the morning papers. It was a supply station,
provisions being sent up both lines. Two heavy freight trains,
destined for Rolla, were upon the southwestern branch. To one of them
passenger cars were attached, to which we were transferred.

When the branch was opened for travel in 1859, the directors run one
train a day,--a mixed train of passenger and freight cars,--and during
the first week their patronage in freight was immense,--it consisted
of a bear and a pot of honey! On the passage the bear ate the honey,
and the owner of the honey brought a bill against the company for

Beyond Franklin the road crosses the Maramec, enters a forest, winds
among the hills, and finally by easy grades reaches a crest of land,
from which, looking to the right or the left, you can see miles away
over an unbroken forest of oak. Far to the east is the elevated ridge
of land which ends in the Pilot Knob, toward the Mississippi, and
becomes the Ozark Mountain range toward the Arkansas line. We looked
over the broad panorama to see villages, church-spires, white
cottages, or the blue curling smoke indicative of a town or human
residence, but the expanse was primitive and unbroken. Not a sign of
life could be discovered for many miles as we slowly crept along the
line. The country is undulating, with the limestone strata cropping
out on the hillsides. In the railroad cuttings the rock, which at the
surface is gray, takes a yellow and reddish tinge, from the admixture
of ochre in the soil. In one cutting we recognized the lead-bearing
rocks, which abound through the southwestern section of the State.

We looked in vain to discover a school-house. A gentleman who was well
acquainted with this portion of the State, said that he knew of only
two school-houses,--one in Warsaw and the other in Springfield. In a
ride of one hundred and thirteen miles we saw but two churches. As
Aunt Ophelia found "Topsy" virgin soil, so will those who undertake to
reconstruct the South find these wilds of Southwestern Missouri. And
they are a fair specimen of the South.

It was evening when we reached Rolla. When we stepped from the car in
the darkness, there was a feeling that the place was a mortar-bed and
the inhabitants were preparing to make bricks. Our boots became heavy,
and, like a man who takes responsibility, when we once planted our
feet the tendency was for them to stay there. Guided by an
acquaintance who knew the way, the hotel was reached. In the distance
the weird camp-fires illumined the low-hanging clouds. From right and
left there came the roll of drums and the bugle-call. A group of men
sat around the stove in the bar. The landlord escorted us to the
wash-room,--a spacious, high-arched apartment, as wide as the east is
from the west, as long as the north is from the south, as high-posted
as the zenith, where we found a pail of water, a tin basin, and a
towel, for all hands; and which all hands had used. After ablution
came supper in the dining-hall, with bare beams overhead. Dinah waited
upon us,--coal-black, tall, stately, worth a thousand dollars before
the war broke out, but somewhat less just then, and Phillis, with a
mob-cap on her head, bleached a little in complexion by Anglo-Saxon or
Missourian blood.

We soon discovered that nothing was to be done by the army in this
direction. The same story was current here as on the Potomac and in
Kentucky,--"Not ready." General Sigel had sent in his resignation,
disgusted with General Halleck. General Curtis had just arrived to
take command. The troops were sore over the removal of Fremont: they
idolized him. Among the forty thousand men in the vicinity were those
who had fought at Wilson's Creek. The lines between Rebellion and
Loyalty were more sharply drawn here than in any other section of the
country. Men acted openly. The army was radical in its sentiments,
believing in Fremont's order for the liberation of the slaves, which
the President had set aside.

There was one other point which gave better promise of active
operations,--Cairo. Therefore bidding adieu to Rolla, we returned to
St. Louis and took the cars for Cairo.

It was an all-night ride, with a mixed company of soldiers and
civilians. There were many ladies on their way to visit their husbands
and brothers before the opening of the campaign. One woman had three
children. "Their father wants to see them once more before he goes
into battle," said the mother, sadly.

At last we found a place where men seemed to be in earnest. Cairo was
alive. At the levee were numerous steamboats. Soldiers were arriving.
There was a constant hammering and pounding on the gunboats, which
were moored along the shore.

The mud cannot be put into the picture. There was thick mud, thin mud,
sticky mud, slushy mud, slimy mud, deceptive mud, impassable mud,
which appeared to the sight, to say nothing of the peculiarities that
are understood by the nose; for within forty feet of our window were a
horse-stable and pig-yard, where slops from the houses and washes from
the sinks were trodden with the manure from the stables. Bunyan's
Slough of Despond, into which all the filth and slime of this world
settled, was nothing beside the slough of Cairo. There were sheds,
shanties, stables, pig-stys, wood-piles, carts, barrels, boxes,--the
_débris_ of everything thrown over the area. Of animate things,
water-carts,--two-horse teams, which were supplying the inhabitants
with drinking water from the river. There were truckmen stuck in the
mud. There were two pigs in irrepressible conflict; also two dogs.
Twenty feet distant, soldiers in their blue coats, officers with
swords, sash and belt, ladies, and citizens, were picking their way
along the sticky sidewalks. This was Cairo. Delectable Cairo!

The prominent names before the country at that period, as commanders
who were to lead our armies to victory, were McClellan, Buell, T. W.
Sherman, then at Port Royal, Fremont, Rosecrans, Burnside, Butler, and
Banks. William Tecumseh Sherman was reputed to be flighty in the head.
He had commanded the Department of the Ohio, but Buell had succeeded
him. He was now a brigade commander at Paducah, under General C. F.
Smith. There were several brigadiers at Cairo. General McClernand, who
had been a member of Congress, a strong partisan of Senator Douglas,
was most conspicuous. General Prentiss, who was ready to make a speech
on any and every occasion, was also well known. The commander of the
post was an obscure man. His name was Grant. At the beginning of the
war he was in the leather business at Galena. He had been educated at
West Point, where he stood well as a mathematician, but had left the
service, and had become a hard-working citizen. He was Colonel of the
Twenty-first Illinois, and had been made a brigadier by the President.
He was in charge of the expedition to Belmont, which, though
successful in the beginning, had ended almost in disaster. Having
credentials from the Secretary of War, I entered the head-quarters of
the commanding officer, and found a man of medium stature, thick set,
with blue eyes, and brown beard closely cropped, sitting at a desk. He
was smoking a meerschaum. He wore a plain blue blouse, without any
insignia of rank. His appearance was clerkly. General McClellan, in
Washington, commanded in state, surrounded by brilliant staffs, men in
fine broadcloth, gold braid, plumed hats, and wearing clanking sabres.
Orderlies and couriers were usually numerous at head-quarters.

"Is General Grant in?" was the question directed to the clerk in the

"Yes, sir," said the man, removing his meerschaum from his mouth, and
spitting with unerring accuracy into a spittoon by his side.

"Will you be kind enough to give this letter to him."

But the clerk, instead of carrying it into an adjoining room, to
present it to the commander-in-chief, opened it, ran his eye rapidly
over the contents, and said, "I am happy to make your acquaintance,
sir. Colonel Webster will give you a pass."

Such was my first interview with General Grant. I have seen him many
times since,--in the hour of victory, at Donelson; in the shadow of
the cloud, after Pittsburg Landing; during the fearful days of the
Wilderness; in the last great hours of triumph, with Lee and his army
paroled prisoners of war; and there has ever been the same quiet,
gentlemanly deportment.

The large hall of the St. Charles Hotel was the general resort of
officers, soldiers, guests, and citizens. I was conversing with a
friend the same afternoon when a short, muscular, quick-walking man,
in the prime of life, wearing a navy uniform, entered. His countenance
would attract attention even in a crowd, it was so mild, peaceful, and
pleasant. My friend introduced him as Commander Foote.

"I shall be pleased to see you at my office, which is on the
wharf-boat. I usually take a little recreation after dinner," said he.

Calling upon him the next day, I found him at leisure, having
despatched the business of the forenoon. There was a Bible on his
table and a hymn-book, and in one corner of the office a large package
of books, just received from the Sunday-School Union, directed to
"Captain A. H. Foote, U. S. N."

Noticing my eyes turned in that direction, he said: "They are for the
sailors; I want to do what I can for the poor fellows. They haven't
any chaplain; I read the service on Sunday and visit the crews, and
talk to them; but it is very little religious instruction which they
receive. I don't allow any work, except what is absolutely necessary,
on Sunday. I believe man and beast need rest one day in seven. I am
trying to persuade the men to leave off their grog rations, with a
fair chance of success."

[Illustration: General Grant.]

He was at leisure, and talked freely of matters relating to the
organization of the fleet. He had to contend with great difficulties.
The department had rendered him but little service. He had done his
best to obtain mortars; had despatched officers to Pittsburg, where
they were cast, but they were all sent East for the New Orleans
fleet. He regretted it exceedingly, for with good ordnance he thought
it would not be a difficult matter to reach New Orleans, though, as he
modestly remarked, quoting the Scriptural proverb, "It becomes not him
who putteth on the harness to boast." He was lacking men. Recruiting
officers had been sent to Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, and other lake
ports, but they had signally failed, because the department did not
pay any advance to those in the river service, while on the seaboard
advances were made. He had not men enough to man his gunboats.

[Illustration: General Sherman.]

The department had furnished him with but few new guns. He had been
obliged to take those which were at Sackett's Harbor,--old guns far
inferior to those with which Commodore Du Pont knocked Tybee and
Hilton Head to pieces. He had to get gun-carriages manufactured in
Cincinnati, other things at St. Louis, others at Pittsburg; but
notwithstanding this, had organized a fleet which would throw a
tremendous weight of metal. He was not ready to move, yet would move,
whether ready or not, whenever the word was given. He believed in
fighting at close quarters.

He spoke freely of the faults of the gunboats. They were too low in
the water and the engines of too limited capacity. They would not be
able to make much headway against the stream. He considered them an
experiment, and, like all experiments, they were of course defective.

He was a close student, devoted to his profession, and bore the marks
of severe thought in the wrinkles which were deepening on his brow.
Time had begun to silver his hair and whiskers, but he walked with a
firm step. He had rare conversational powers, and imparted information
as if it were a pleasure. He was thoroughly conscientious, and had a
deep sense of his responsibility. He was aware that his own reputation
and standing as well as the interests of the public were at stake. He
was greatly beloved by his men.

Two of the gunboats--the Essex and Louisville--were lying six or eight
miles below Cairo, guarding the river. The Essex! How often in boyhood
had I thrilled at the story of her brave fight with the Cherub and
Phebe in the harbor of Valparaiso! How often I wished that Captain
Porter could have had a fair chance in that terrible fight,--one of
the fiercest ones fought on the sea. But there was another Essex
commanded by another Captain Porter, son of him who refused to
surrender his ship till he had lost all power to defend her.

The new craft was wholly unlike the old. That was a fast sailer, trim,
and taut, and graceful as a swan upon the waters; this a black box,
once a St. Louis ferry-boat. The sailors who had breathed the salt air
of the sea, who had swung in mid-heaven upon the swaying masts, who
had rode in glee upon the storm-tost billows,

  "Whose home was on the deep."

regarded the new Essex in disgust, and rechristened her the _Mud
Turtle_. But her name, and the glorious record of her deeds, will not
fade from remembrance. Coming generations shall read of her exploits
with pride and pleasure. We were courteously received by her
commander, Captain Wm. D. Porter, a solid man, but little more than
five feet high, yet broad-chested, quick and energetic in his
movements. He had a long, thick, black beard, and twinkling eyes full
of fire. He had the rolling gait of a sailor, and was constantly
pacing the deck. He was a rapid talker, and had a great store of
adventure and anecdote. We alluded to the part taken by his father in
the war of 1812, and the gallant fight against great odds in
Valparaiso harbor. The eyes of the son kindled instantly.

"Yes, sir; that was a plucky fight. The old gentleman never would have
given in if there had been the least ray of hope; but there was none.
And he was too tender-hearted to needlessly slaughter his men."

Three days previous to our visit to the Essex, two Rebel boats came up
from Columbus to see what the Yankees were doing. In five minutes
Porter had his anchor up and steam on, pushing down to meet them
half-way; but they declined the courtesy, and steamed back to

"I followed them as fast as I could," said he, as we paced the deck.
"I let them have my ten-inch Dahlgren and my two rifled forty-two
pounders one after another, and drove them till their batteries on the
bluff above the town opened on me. Then I wrote an invitation to
Montgomery, who commands their fleet, to meet me any day and I would
lick him like thunder. I fastened it to a cork and set it adrift, and
saw a boat go out and pick it up. Then I elevated my ten-inch and let
them have a shell right into the town. I reckon it waked them up

He laughed and chuckled, rubbed his hands, took a fresh quid of
tobacco, and began to talk again of his father's exploits on the

The Rebels under Major-General Bishop Polk were in force at Columbus.
There was also a detachment at Mayfield, east of Columbus. A sudden
movement was made by General Grant in the direction of Mayfield, not
with any design of an attack, but to deceive the Rebels in regard to
the real intentions. The troops landed at old Fort Jefferson, six
miles below Cairo, on the Kentucky side. It was a mild day in
midwinter. The soldiers marched without baggage. Not one in ten had
gloves or mittens; and on the second night of the reconnoissance the
cold became intense, and there was great suffering.

The soldiers kindled huge fires, and by running and walking, and
constant thrashing of the hands, passed the long, weary night. There
were numerous herds of swine in the woods, and fresh pork was
abundant. There was roasting, frying, and broiling by every bivouac
fire, and a savory fragrance of sparerib and steak.

The dwellings of the farmers in this section of Kentucky are of the
Southern style of architecture,--log-houses containing two rooms, with
chimneys built against the ends. Entering one to obtain a drink of
water we found two tall, cadaverous young men, both of them shaking
with ague. There was a large old-fashioned fireplace, with a great
roaring fire, before which they were sitting with the door wide open
at their backs, and the cold air rushing upon them in torrents.
Probably it did not occur to either of them that it would be better to
shut the door.

A Connecticut wooden clock ticked on a rude shelf, a bed stood in one
corner. The walls were hung with old clothes and dried herbs,--catnip
and tansy and thoroughwort. The clay had dropped out in many places,
and we could look through the chinks and see the landscape without.
The foundations of the chimney had settled, and the structure was
leaning away from the house. There were great cracks between the
brickwork and the wood.

They claimed to be good Union men, but said that all the rest of the
people round them were disloyal.

"We are having a hard time," said one. "The Secessionists were going
to jump us,--to take our property because we were for the Union, and
now your army has come and killed nigh about seventy-five hogs for us,
I reckon. It is kinder hard, stranger, to be used so."

"But, my friend, if it had not been for the Union troops wouldn't you
have lost everything, if you are a Union man?"

"Yes,--perhaps so," was the long-drawn answer, given with hesitation.

"There is a right smart heap of Southerners at Columbus, I reckon,"
said he. "There is Sam Wickliff and Josh Turner, and almost all the
boys from this yere place, and they'll fight, I reckon, stranger."

We then learned that the officers of McClernand's division, having
been deprived of the enjoyments of home-life, and finding themselves
among the belles of Western Kentucky, had made the most of the
opportunity by dancing all night.

"The gals danced themselves clean out, that is the reason they ain't
about," said one of the young men, apologizing for the absence of his
sisters, and added, "They is rather afraid of the Lincolnites." The
utterance of the last sentence contradicted all previous assertions of
loyalty and hearty love for the Union.

The troops made sad havoc among the stock, shooting pigs and sheep for
fun. After scouring the country well towards Columbus, having
accomplished the object of the expedition,--that of deceiving the
Rebels in regard to the movement contemplated up the Tennessee,--the
force returned to Cairo.



[Sidenote: Feb., 1862.]

The tide of success during the year 1861 was almost wholly in favor of
the Rebels; but at length there came a change, in the defeat of
Zollicoffer by General Thomas at Mill Springs, on the 19th of January.
I hastened to the centre of the State to watch operations which had
suddenly become active in that quarter.

It was on the last day of January that the zealous porter of the
Spencer House, in Cincinnati, awoke me with a thundering rap at five
o'clock, shouting, "Cars for Lexington." It was still dark when the
omnibus whirled away from the house. There were six or eight
passengers, all strangers, but conversation was at once started by a
tall, stout, red-faced, broad-shouldered man, wearing a gray overcoat
and a broad brimmed, slouched hat, speaking the Kentucky vernacular.

It is very easy to become acquainted with a genuine Kentuckian. He
launches at once into conversation. He loves to talk, and takes it for
granted that you like to listen. The gentleman who now took the lead
sat in the corner of the omnibus, talking not only to his next
neighbor, but to everybody present. The words poured from his lips
like water from a wide-mouthed gutter during a June shower. In five
minutes we had his history,--born in "Old Kentuck," knew all the folks
in Old Bourbon, had been a mule-driver, supplied Old Virginia with
more mules than she could shake a stick at, had got tired of "Old
Kentuck," moved up into Indiana, was going down to see the folks,--all
of this before we had reached the ferry; and before arriving at the
Covington shore we had his opinion of the war, of political economy,
the Constitution, and the negroes.

It was remarkable that, let any subject be introduced, even though it
might be most remotely related to the war, the talkers would quickly
reach the negro question. Just as in theological discussions the
tendency is toward original sin, so upon the war,--the discussion
invariably went beyond the marshalling of armies to the negro as the
cause of the war.

The gentleman in gray had not learned the sounds of the letters as
given by the lexicographers of the English language, but adhered to
the Kentucky dialect, giving "har" for hair, "thar" for there, with
peculiar terminations.

"Yer see, I us-_ed_ to live in Old Kaintuck, down thar beyond Paris.
Wal, I mov_ed_ up beyond India_nop_olis, bought a mighty nice farm. I
know'd all the folks down round Paris. Thar's old Speers, who got shot
down to Mill Springs,--he was a game un; a white-haired old cuss who
jined the Confederates. I know'd him. I 'tended his nigger sale
sev'ral years ago, when he busted. He war a good old man, blame me if
he want. He war crazy that ar day of the sale, and war down on the
nigger-traders. He lost thousands of dollars that ar day, cause he
hated 'em and run down his niggers,--said they wan't good when they
war, just ter keep 'em out of the hands of the cussed traders.

"Wal, thar's Jim,--I remember him. He's in Confed'rate army, too. I
lost a bet of tew hundred dollars with him on Letcher's
'lection,--that old drunken cuss who's disgracing Old Virginia; blow
me if I didn't. That was hard on me, cause on 'lection day arter I'd
voted, I started with a drove of mu_els_, four hundred on 'em nigh
about, for Virginia. I felt mighty sick, I tell you, 'cause I had
employed a drunken cuss to buy 'em for me, and he paid more than they
war wuth. Wal, I know'd I would lose, and I did,--ten hundred dollars.
Cusses, yer know, allers comes in flocks. Wal, only ges think of it,
that ar drunken cuss is a kurnel in the Federal army. Blow me ef I
think it's right. Men that drink too much ar'n't fit to have control
of soldiers.

"Wal, I am a Kentuckian. I've got lots of good friends in the Southern
army, and lots in the Union army. My idee is that government ought to
confiscate the property of the Rebels, and when the war is over give
it back to their wives and children. It's mighty hard to take away
everything from 'em,--blow me if it a'n't. The Abolitionists want to
confiscate the niggers. Wal, I know all about the niggers. They are a
lazy, stealing set of cusses, the hull lot of 'em. What can we do with
'em? That's what I want to know. Now my wife, she wants niggers, but I
don't. If Kentucky wants 'em, let her have 'em. It's my opinion that
Kentucky is better off with 'em, 'cause she has got used to 'em.

"The people are talking about starving the Confederates, but I've been
through the South, and it can't be done. They can raise everything
that we can, and it's my candid opinion that government is gwine to
get licked."

The arrival of the omnibus at the depot put an end to the talk.

The Licking Valley, through which the railroad to Lexington runs, is
very beautiful. There are broad intervales fringed with hickory and
elm, wood-crowned hills, warm, sunny vales and charming landscapes.
Nature has done much to make it a paradise; art very little. The
farm-houses are in the Kentucky style,--piazzas, great chimneys
outside, negro cabins,--presenting at one view and in close contrast
the extremes of wealth and poverty, power and weakness, civilization
and barbarism, freedom and slavery.

The city of Lexington is a place of the past. Before railroads were
projected, when Henry Clay was in the prime of manhood there, it was a
place of enterprise and activity. The streets were alive with men. It
was the great political and social centre of Central Kentucky. The
city flourished in those days, but its glory has passed away. The
great commoner on whose lips thousands hung in breathless admiration,
the circumstances of his time, the men of his generation, have
departed never to return. Life has swept on to other centres. In the
suburbs were beautiful residences. Riches were displayed in lavish
expenditure, but the town itself was wearing a seedy look. There was
old rubbish everywhere about the city; there were buildings with crazy
blinds, cracked walls, and leaning earthward; while even a beautiful
church edifice had broken panes in its windows. The troubles of the
year, like care and anxiety to a strong man, ploughing deep furrows
on his face, had closed many stores, and written "To Rent" on many
dwellings. A sudden paralysis had fallen, business had drooped, and
society had lost its life.

The Phenix was the ancient aristocratic hotel of the place. It was in
appearance all of the old time,--a three-story, stone, brick, and
plaster building, with small windows, and a great bar-room or office,
which in former days was the resort of politicians, men of the turf,
and attendants at court. A crowd of unwashed men were in the hall,
spattered with mud, wearing slouched hats, unshaven and unshorn,--a
motley crew; some tilted against the walls in chairs, fast asleep,
some talking in low tones and filling the room with fumes of tobacco.
A half-dozen were greasing their boots. The proprietor apologized for
their presence, remarking that they were teamsters who had just
arrived from Somerset, and were soon to go back with supplies for
General Thomas's army. There were three hundred of them, rough,
uncouth, dirty, but well behaved. There was no loud talking, no
profanity, indecency, or rudeness, but a deportment through the day
and night worthy of all commendation.

While enjoying the fire in the reception-room two ladies entered,--one
middle-aged, medium stature, having an oval face, dark hair, dark
hazel eyes; the other a young lady of nineteen or twenty years, sharp
features, black hair, and flashing black eyes. They were boarders at
the hotel, were well dressed, though not with remarkable taste, but
evidently were accustomed to move in the best circle of Lexington
society. A regiment was passing the hotel.

"There are some more Yankees going down to Mill Springs, I reckon,"
said the elder.

"O, isn't it too bad that Zollicoffer is killed? I could have cried my
eyes out when I heard of it," said the youngest. "O he was so brave,
and noble, and chivalrous!"

"He was a noble man," the other replied.

"O, I should so like to see a battle!" said the youngest.

"It might not be a pleasant sight, although we are often willing to
forego pleasure for the sake of gratifying curiosity," we replied.

"I should want my side to whip," said the girl.

[Illustration: Hauling cotton.]

"Yes. We all expect our side to be victorious, though we are sometimes
disappointed, as was the case at Bull Run."

"Then you were at Bull Run? I take it that you belong to the army?"

"I was there and saw the fight, although I was not connected with the

"I am glad you were defeated. It was a good lesson to you. The
Northerners have had some respect for the Southerners since then. The
Southerners fought against great odds."

"Indeed, I think it was the reverse."

"No indeed, sir. The Federals numbered over sixty thousand, while
Beauregard had less than thirty thousand. He did not have more than
twelve thousand in the fight."

"I can assure you it is a grave mistake. General McDowell had less
than thirty thousand men, and not more than half were engaged."

"Well, I wonder what he was thinking of when he carried out those
forty thousand handcuffs?"

"I did not suppose any one gave credence to that absurd story."

"Absurd? Indeed, sir, it is not. I have seen some of the handcuffs.
There are several pairs of them in this city. They were brought
directly from the field by some of our citizens who went on as soon as
they heard of the fight. I have several trophies of the fight which
our men picked up."

No doubt the young lady was sincere. It was universally believed
throughout the South that McDowell had thousands of pairs of handcuffs
in his train, which were to be clapped upon the wrists of the Southern

"We have some terrible uncompromising Union men in this State," said
the eldest, "who would rather see every negro swept into the Gulf of
Mexico, and the whole country sunk, than give up the Union. We have
more Abolitionists here in this city than they have in Boston."

It was spoken bitterly. She did not mean that the Union men of the
State were committed to immediate emancipation, but that they would
accept emancipation rather than have the Secessionists succeed.

A gentleman came in, sat down by the fire, warmed his hands, and
joined in the conversation. Said he: "I am a Southerner. I have lived
all my life among slaves. I own one slave, but I hate the system.
There are counties in this State where there are but few slaves, and
in all such counties you will find a great many Abolitionists. It is
the brutalizing influence of slavery that makes me hate
it,--brutalizing to whites and blacks alike. I hate this keeping
niggers to raise human stock,--to sell, just as you do horses and

In all places the theme of conversation was the war and the negroes.
The ultra pro-slavery element was thoroughly secession, and the
Unionists were beginning to understand that slavery was at the bottom
of the rebellion. As in the dim light of the morning we already behold
the approach of the full day, so they saw that these which seemed the
events of an hour might broaden into that which would overthrow the
entire slave system.

Anthony Trollope, an English traveller and novelist, was stopping at
the hotel at the time,--a pleasant gentleman, thoroughly English in
his personal appearance, with a plump face, indicative of good living
and good cheer. In his work entitled "North America" he mentions the
teamsters in the hall, and draws a contrast between English and
American society. He says:--

     "While I was at supper the seventy-five teamsters were summoned
     into the common eating-room by a loud gong, and sat down to their
     meal at the public table. They were very dirty; I doubt whether I
     ever saw dirtier men; but they were orderly and well-behaved, and
     but for their extreme dirt might have passed as the ordinary
     occupants of a well-filled hotel in the West. Such men in the
     States are less clumsy with their knives and forks, less astray
     in an unused position, more intelligent in adapting themselves to
     a new life, than are Englishmen of the same rank. It is always
     the same story. With us there is no level of society. Men stand
     on a long staircase, but the crowd congregates near the bottom,
     and the lower steps are very broad. In America, men stand on a
     common platform, but the platform is raised above the ground,
     though it does not approach in height the top of our staircase.
     If we take the average altitude in the two countries, we shall
     find that the American heads are the more elevated of the two. I
     conceived rather an affection for those dirty teamsters; they
     answered me civilly when I spoke to them, and sat in quietness
     smoking their pipes, with a dull and dirty but orderly

         [Footnote 4: "North America," by Anthony Trollope, Vol. II.
         p. 86.]

If Mr. Trollope, who has a very just appreciation of the character of
those quiet and orderly teamsters, will but wait a century or two,
perhaps he will find that democracy can build a staircase as high and
complete as that reared by the aristocracy of England. We have had but
two centuries for the construction of our elevated common platform,
while England has had a thousand years. There the base of the
staircase, where the multitude stand, is either stationary or sinking;
but here the platform is always rising, and bearing the multitude to a
higher plane.

A short distance north of the city of the living is the city of the
dead. It is a pleasant suburb,--one which is adding week by week to
its population. It is laid out in beautiful avenues, grass bordered,
and shaded by grand old forest-trees. It is the resting-place of the
dust of Henry Clay. The monument to his memory is not yet finished. It
is a tall, round column upon a broad base, with a capital, such as the
Greeks never saw or dreamed of, surmounted by a figure intended to
represent the great statesman as he stood when enchaining vast
audiences by his matchless oratory. Within the chamber, exposed to
view through the iron-latticed door, star-embellished and bronzed,
lies the sarcophagus of purest marble. It is chaste in design,
ornamented with gathered rods and bonds emblematic of union, and
wreathed with cypress around its sides. The pure white marble drapery
is thrown partly back, exposing above the breast of the sleeper a
wreath, and

          HENRY CLAY.

Upon the slab beneath the sarcophagus is this simple inscription:--

     "I can, with unbroken confidence, appeal to the Divine Arbiter
     for the truth of the declaration, that I have been influenced by
     no impure purpose, no personal motive,--have sought no personal
     aggrandizement, but that in all my public acts I have had a sole
     and single eye, and a warm devoted heart, directed and dedicated
     to what in my best judgment I believed to be the true interests
     of my country."

It is not a declaration which goes home to the heart as that simple
recognition of the Christian religion which his compeer, Daniel
Webster, directed should be placed above his grave in the secluded
churchyard at Marshfield, but Mr. Clay was a remarkable man. Of all
Americans who have lived, he could hold completest sway of popular
assemblies. Hating slavery in his early life, he at last became
tolerant of its existence. He cast the whole trouble of the nation
upon the Abolitionists. In some things he was far-sighted; in others,
obtuse. In 1843 he addressed a letter to a friend who was about to
write a pamphlet against the Abolitionists, giving him an outline of
the argument to be used. Thus he wrote:--

     "The great aim and object of your tract should be to arouse the
     laboring classes in the Free States against abolition. Depict the
     consequences to them of immediate abolition. The slaves being
     free, would be dispersed throughout the Union; they would enter
     into competition with the free laborer, with the American, the
     Irish, the German; reduce his wages; be confounded with him, and
     affect his moral and social standing. And as the ultras go for
     both abolition and amalgamation, show that their object is to
     unite in marriage the laboring white man and the laboring black
     man, and to reduce the white laboring man to the despised and
     degraded condition of the black man.

     "I would show their opposition to colonization. Show its humane,
     religious, and patriotic aims, that they are to separate those
     whom God has separated. Why do the Abolitionists oppose
     colonization? To keep and amalgamate together the two races in
     violation of God's will, and to keep the blacks here, that they
     may interfere with, degrade, and debase the laboring whites. Show
     that the British nation is co-operating with the Abolitionists,
     for the purpose of dissolving the Union."[5]

         [Footnote 5: North American Review, January, 1866, p. 189.]

This was written by a reputed statesman, who was supposed to
understand the principles of political economy. The slaves being made
free would enter in competition with the _free laborer_. But has not
the free American laborer been forced to compete through all the years
of the past with unrequited slave labor? Without inquiring into the
aims and purposes of the Abolitionists,--what they intended to do,
and how they were to do it,--Mr. Clay accepted the current talk of the
day, and shaped his course accordingly. That letter will read
strangely fifty years hence. It reads strangely now, and goes far to
lower our estimate of the real greatness of one who for half a century
was the idol of a great political party,--whose words were taken as
the utterances of an oracle. But ideas and principles have advanced
since 1843. We stand upon a higher plane, and are moving on to one
still higher.

Returning to the hotel, I fell into conversation with a Presbyterian
minister, who began to deplore the war.

"We should conduct it," said he, "not as savages or barbarians, but as
Christians, as civilized beings, on human principles."

"In what way would you have our generals act to carry out what you
conceive to be such principles?"

"Well, sir, the blockade is terribly severe on our friends in the
South, who are our brothers. The innocent are suffering with the
guilty. We should let them have food, and raiment, and medicines, but
we should not let them have cannon, guns, and powder."

"When do you think the war would end if such a plan was adopted?"

He took a new tack, not replying to the question, but said,--

"The North began the trouble in an unchristian spirit."

"Was not the first gun fired by the Rebels upon Fort Sumter?"

"That was not the beginning of the war. It was the election of

"Then you would not have a majority of the people elect their officers
in the constituted way?"

"Well, if Lincoln had been a wise man he would have resigned, and
saved this terrible conflict."

There is a point beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and I
expressed the hope that the war would be waged with shot and shell,
fire and sword, naval expeditions and blockades, and every possible
means, upon the men who had conspired to subvert the government. There
was no reply, and he soon left the room.

Buell's right wing under General Crittenden, was at Calhoun, on Green
River. Intelligence arrived that it was to be put in motion.

Leaving Lexington in the morning, and passing by cars through
Frankfort,--an old town, the capital of the State, like Lexington,
seedy and dilapidated,--we reached Louisville in season to take our
choice of the two steamers, Gray Eagle and Eugene, to Henderson. They
were both excellent boats, running in opposition, carrying passengers
one hundred and eighty miles, providing for them two excellent meals
and a night's lodging, all for fifty cents! People were patronizing
both boats, because it was much cheaper than staying at home.

Taking the Gray Eagle,--a large side-wheel steamer,--we swept along
with the speed of a railroad train. The water was very high and
rising. The passengers were almost all from Kentucky. Some of the
ladies thronging the saloon were accustomed to move in the "best
society," which had not literary culture and moral worth for its
standards, but broad acres, wealth in lands and distilleries. They
were "raised" in Lexington or Louisville or Frankfort. They spoke of
the "right smart" crowd on board, nearly "_tew_" hundred, according to
their _i_dea.

But there is another class of Kentuckians as distinct from these
excellent ladies as chalk from cheese. They are of that class to which
David Crocket belonged in his early years,--born in a cane-brake and
cradled in a trough. There were two in the saloon, seated upon an
ottoman,--a brother and sister. The brother was more than six feet
tall, had a sharp, thin, lank countenance, with a tuft of hair on his
chin and on his upper lip. His face was of the color of milk and
molasses. He wore a Kentucky homespun suit,--coat, vest and pants of
the same material, and colored with butternut bark. He had on,
although in the saloon, a broad-brimmed, slouched hat, with an
ornament of blotched mud. He was evidently more at home with his hat
on than to sit bareheaded,--and so consulted his own pleasure, without
mistrusting that there was such a thing as politeness in the world. He
had been plashing through the streets of Louisville. He had scraped
off the thickest of the mud. There he sat, the right foot thrown
across the left knee, with as much complacency as it is possible for a
mortal to manifest. In his own estimation he was all right, although
there was a gap between his pants and vest of about six inches,--a
yellowish tawny streak of shirt. He sat in unconcerned silence, or
stalked through the saloon with his hands in his pockets, or stretched
himself at full length upon the sofa and took a comfortable snooze.

His sister,--a girl of eighteen,--had an oval face, arched eyebrows,
and full cheeks, flowing, flaxen hair, and gray eyes. She wore a plain
dress of gray homespun without hoops, and when standing, appeared as
if she had encased herself in a meal-bag. There was no neat white
collar or bit of ribbon, or cord, or tassel,--no attempt at feminine
adornment. She was a "nut-brown maid,"--bronzed by exposure, with a
countenance as inexpressive as a piece of putty. A dozen ladies and
gentlemen who came on board at a little town twenty miles below
Louisville were enjoying themselves, in a circle of their own, with
the play of "Consequences." The cabin rang with their merry laughter,
and we who looked on enjoyed their happiness; but there was no sign of
animation in her countenance,--a block of wood could not have been
more unsympathetic.

Among the ladies on board was one a resident of Owensboro', who, upon
her marriage eight years before, had moved from the town of Auburn,
New York, the home of Mr. Seward.

"I was an Abolitionist," she said, "before I left home, but now that I
know what slavery is, I like it. The slaveholders are so independent
and live so easy! They can get rich in a few years; and there is no
class in the world who can enjoy so much of life as they."

It was evidently a sincere expression of her sentiments.

She was for the Union, but wanted slavery let alone. The strife in
Owensboro' had been exceedingly bitter. Nearly all her old friends and
neighbors were rampant Secessionists. Secession, like a sharp sword,
had cut through society and left it in two parts, as irreconcilable as
vice and virtue. There was uncompromising hostility ready to flame out
into war at any moment in all the Kentucky towns. There was also on
board a loud-talking man who walked the saloon with his hands in his
pockets, looking everybody square in the face; he was intensely loyal
to the Union.

"Why don't Buell move? Why don't Halleck move? It is my opinion that
they are both of 'em old grannies. I want to see the Rebels licked. I
have lived in Tophet for the last six months. I live in Henderson, and
it has been a perfect hell ever since the Rebels fired on Fort Sumter.
I have lost my property through the d--d scoundrels. I want a regiment
of Union troops to go down there and clean out the devils."

It was early morning when the scream of the Gray Eagle roused the
usual crowd of loafers from their sleep and inanition at Owensboro'. A
motley mob came down to the wharf eager to hear the news. I had been
informed that the place was one where whiskey distilleries abound, and
the information proved to be correct. The distillery buildings were
distinctly recognized by their smoking chimneys, creaking pumps, and
steaming vats. The crowd on the shore had whiskey in their looks and
behavior. Among them was one enthusiastic admirer of Abraham Lincoln.
He was bloated, blear-eyed, a tatterdemalion, with just enough whiskey
in him to make him thick-spoken, reckless, and irresponsible in the
eyes of his liquor-loving companions. While we were at a distance he
swung his hat and gave a cheer for Old Abe; as we came nearer he
repeated it; and as the plank was being thrown ashore he fairly danced
with ecstasy, shouting, "Hurrah for Old Abe! He'll fix 'em. Hurrah for
Old Abe! Hurrah for Old Abe!"

"Shet up, you drunken cuss. Hurrah for Jeff Davis!" was the response
of another blear-eyed, tipsy loafer.

The steamer Storm was tolling its bell as the Gray Eagle came to the
landing at Evansville, bound for Green River. Her decks were piled
with bags of corn and coffee. A barge was tethered to her side, loaded
with bundle hay and a half-dozen ambulances. We were just in time to
reach the deck before the plank was drawn in. Then with hoarse puffs
the heavily laden old craft swung into the stream and surged slowly
against the swollen tide of the Ohio. Green River joins the Ohio ten
miles above Evansville. It is a beautiful stream, with forest-bordered
banks. At that season of the year there was nothing particularly
inspiring to the muse along this stream, unless one can kindle a
poetic flame in swamps, lagoons, creeks, and log-cabins standing on
stilts, with water beneath, around, and often within them. On the spit
of land between the Ohio and Green rivers, on posts several feet under
water, was a log-cabin; a row-boat was tied to the steps, a woman and
a half-dozen children stared at us from the open door. All around was
forest. A gentleman on board said it was a fishing family. If so, the
family, little ones and all, might ply the piscatory art from doors
and windows. A more dreary, watery place cannot be imagined.

The Storm was not a floating palace with gilded saloons, velvet
tapestry carpets, French mirrors, and a grand piano, but an old wheezy
tow-boat, with great capacity below and little above. There was a room
for the gentlemen, and a little box of a place for any ladies who
might be under the necessity of patronizing the craft.

There were no soldiers on board, but thirty or forty passengers. We
were a hard-looking set. Our clothes were muddy, our beards shaggy,
our countenances far from being Caucasian in color, with sundry other
peculiarities of dress, feature, and demeanor.

There was one stout man with an enormous quantity of brown hair, and a
thick yellow beard, belonging to Hopkinsville, near the Tennessee
line, who had been compelled to flee for his life.

"We got up a cannon company, and I was captain. We had as neat a
little six-pounder as you ever saw; but I was obliged to cut and run
when the Rebels came in December; but I buried the pup and the
Secessionists don't know where she is! If I ever get back there I'll
make some of them cusses--my old neighbors--bite the dust. I have just
heard that they have tied my brother up and almost whipped him to
death. They gouged out his eyes, stamped in his face, and have taken
all his property."

Here he was obliged to stop his narrative and give vent to a long
string of oaths, consigning the Rebels to all the tortures and pains
of the bottomless pit forever. Having disgorged his wrath, he said,--

"Now, sir, there is a grave judicial question on my mind, and I would
like your opinion upon it. If you owned a darkey who should get over
into Indiana, a bright, intelligent darkey, and he should take with
him ten niggers from your secession neighbors, and you should happen
to know it, would you send them back?"

"No, sir; I should not."

"That is my mind 'zactly. I knew you was a good Union man the moment I
sot my eyes on ye." Then came an interesting explanation. He had one
slave, a devoted fellow, who had become an active conductor on the
underground railroad. The slave had been often to Evansville and knew
the country, and had enticed away ten negroes belonging to the
Secessionists in the vicinity of Hopkinsville. He had seen them all
that morning, and more, had given each of them a hearty breakfast!
"You see," said he, "if they belonged to Union men I would have sent
'em back; but they belonged to the ----Secessionists who have driven
me out, taken all my property, and do you think I'd be mean enough to
send the niggers back?"

On board the Storm were several other men who had been driven from
their homes by the Secessionists. There was one gentleman, a
slaveholder from the little town of Volney, between Hopkinsville and
the Cumberland River. All of his property had been taken, his negroes,
if they were not sold or seized, were roaming at will. He had two
brothers in the Rebel army. He was a plain, sensible, well-informed
farmer. He lived close upon the Tennessee line, and was acquainted
with the Southern country.

"Slavery is a doomed institution," said he; "from Kentucky, from
Missouri, from Maryland and Virginia the slaves have been pouring
southward. There has been a great condensation of slaves at the South
where they are not wanted, and where they cannot be supported if the
blockade continues. The South never has raised its own provisions. She
could do it if she put forth her energies; but she never has and she
will not now. The time will come, if the blockade continues, when the
master will be compelled to say to the slaves, 'Get your living where
you can,' and then the system, being rolled back upon itself, will be
broken up. As for myself, I would like to have kept my slaves, because
I am getting along in years and I wanted them to take care of me; but
as the Secessionists have taken them and driven me out, it won't make
any difference to me whether the system is continued or not."

It is utterly impossible to convey to a New-Englander who has never
crossed the Hudson a correct idea of a Kentucky country village, like
that of Calhoun, as seen from the deck of the steamer Storm, in the
light of a beautiful morning, so mild and spring-like that the robins,
bluebirds, jays, pewits, and sparrows were filling the air with their
songs, having returned from their sojourn in a Southern clime. A
sentinel was plashing through the mud along the bank, guarding the
ferry to the town of Rumsey, on the opposite side of the river. The
bank rises abruptly into the main street of the town. First we have
the McLean House, the first-class hotel of the place,--a wooden
building two stories high, containing six or eight rooms. There is
beyond it one brick building, then a number of smaller buildings
containing a couple of rooms each, and forty rods distant a church,
respectable in style and proportions. The land is undulating, and on
the hillsides there are dwellings, a half-dozen of which you might
call comfortable. The original forest oaks are still standing. A creek
or bayou runs through the town, the receptacle of all the filth
generated by ten thousand men, and thousands of mules, horses, and

Rumsey, on the opposite side of the river, is of smaller dimensions.
Years ago it was a "right smart" town, but business has disappeared.
The people have also gone, and now one sees a row of windowless,
doorless, deserted houses, soaked in every flood of waters.

Visiting the "first class" hotel of the place, we sat down in the
parlor or reception-room, or whatever room it was, while the cook
prepared breakfast. It was also the landlord's bed-room, occupied by
himself and wife.

Calling upon the landlord for a place for toilet operations, we were
invited into the kitchen which was also the dining-room and pantry and
Jim's bed-room,--Jim being a tall negro, who just now is washing
dishes, with a tin pan of hot water, and without any soap. Dinah is
rolling biscuit, and tending the hoe-cake, which is cooking nicely on
the stove. There is the flour-barrel close at hand. There is one
dinner-pot, with two kettles, a pail of water, a lantern, the
pepper-box, a dish of fat, a plate of butter, and a great heap of tin
dishes on the table, where Dinah is moulding the biscuit, while Jim
occupies the other end. The dining-table stands in the centre of the
room. The plates are laid, and the whole is covered with a blue cloth,
which at first sight seems to be a soldier's blanket, and which upon
close inspection leaves us still in doubt whether it is a table-cloth
or a bed-coverlet. There are some chairs, and an old desk which has
lost its lid, in which are nails, a hammer, some old papers, and a
deal of dust. It evidently "came down from a former generation."

We have time to notice these things while the landlord is preparing
for our washing exploit, which is to be performed near Jim, with a
basin on a chair.

Then we have breakfast,--beefsteak and porksteak, and buckwheat cakes,
all fried in lard, sausages, potatoes, Dinah's hoe-cakes, hot flour
biscuit, and a dish of hash, which will not go down at all, and coffee
without milk, preferred to the water of Green River, which in its
natural state is somewhat the color of yellow snuff, and which is
drank by the inhabitants of Calhoun, notwithstanding thousands of
horses are stabled on its banks.

There was no movement of the troops, therefore nothing to detain us at
Calhoun, and knowing that there was something of interest up the
Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, we went on board the Mattie Cook, the
downward-bound steamer. While waiting for her departure we gazed at
the sights upon the shore. There was a great deal of life,--wagons,
soldiers, citizens floundering through the mud to the landing,
transporting goods. There were ludicrous scenes of men and teams stuck
in the mortar-bed; but in the midst of life there was death. A squad
of soldiers came down from camp to the hospital with a bier, and with
the slow funeral dirge brought two of their comrades to the boat,--two
who had just passed from the scenes of strife on earth to the eternal
peace beyond. Those who bore them were by no means unaffected by the
part they were called upon to perform. There were sad countenances,
too, on board the boat,--two ladies, both strangers to the dead, but
not indifferent to the scene. They had woman's tender sensibilities,
and could not keep back the tears from their eyes, for they thought of
their own sons whom they had just left, and who now stood upon the
bank to say perhaps a last good-by.

But how transitory are all the most solemn impressions of death! Ten
minutes later a company of soldiers appeared for a trip down the river
to Stevensport to bag, if possible, the squad of Rebels which had been
prowling about the town of Stevensport. They came on board with a
hurrah, and made the welkin ring with the "Red, White, and Blue." It
was a pleasure to them to leave the hateful place even for a night,
and be in active service.

[Illustration: Baltimore in 1861.]



[Sidenote: Feb., 1862.]

At last the Rebel lines were broken. Commodore Foote had opened a
gateway to the heart of the Confederacy by the capture of Fort Henry
on the 6th of February. While up Green River I learned of the intended
movement, and hastened to be present, but was delayed between
Evansville and Paducah, and was not in season to see the engagement.

Late on the Friday evening after I saw Commodore Foote in Cairo. He
had just returned from Fort Henry.

"Can you favor me with an account of the affair?" I asked.

"It will give me great pleasure to do so after I have prepared my
despatches for Washington," he replied.

It was past midnight when he came to my room. He sat down, and leaned
back wearily in his chair. But soon recovering his usual energy, gave
the full details of the action. He had prepared his instructions to
his crews several days before the battle, and upon mature thought, saw
nothing to change.

To the commanders and crews he said, that it was very necessary to
success that they should keep cool. He desired them to fire with
deliberate aim, and not to attempt rapid firing, for four reasons,
viz. that with rapid firing there was always a waste of ammunition;
that their range would be wild; that the enemy would be encouraged
unless the fire was effectual; that it was desirable not to heat the

With these instructions he led his fleet up the narrow channel under
cover of Pine Island, thus avoiding long-range shot from the rifled
guns which it was known the enemy had in position to sweep the main
channel. He steamed slow, to allow the troops time to gain their

He visited each vessel and gave personal directions. He took his own
position in the pilot-house of the Cincinnati. The St. Louis was on
his right hand and the Carondelet and Essex were on his left, with the
Tyler, Connestoga, and Lexington in rear. There is an island a mile
and a quarter below the fort. When the head of the island was reached
the boats came into line and were within easy range.

"Do just as I do," was his last order to the commanders.

The Cincinnati opened, and the other vessels were quick to follow the
Commodore's example.

"I had a definite purpose in view," said he, "to take the fort at all
hazards. It was necessary for the success of the cause. We have had
disaster upon disaster, and I intended, God helping me, to win a
victory. It made me feel bad when I saw the Essex drop out of the
line, but I knew that the fort couldn't stand it much longer. I should
have opened my broadsides in a minute or two, if Tilghman had not
surrendered, and that I knew would settle the question. We were not
more than four hundred yards distant."

He said that when the Essex dropped behind the Rebels set up a
tremendous cheer, and redoubled their fire; but being excited their
aim was bad.

"There is nothing like keeping perfectly cool in battle," said he.

"When Tilghman came into my cabin," said the Commodore, "he asked for
terms, but I informed him that his surrender must be final."

"Well, sir, if I must surrender, it gives me pleasure to surrender to
so brave an officer as you," said Tilghman.

"You do perfectly right to surrender, sir; but I should not have
surrendered on any condition."

"Why so? I do not understand you."

"Because I was fully determined to capture the fort or go to the

The Rebel general opened his eyes at this remark, but replied, "I
thought I had you, Commodore, but you were too much for me."

"But how could you fight against the old flag?"

"Well, it did come hard at first; but if the North had only let us
alone there would have been no trouble. But they would not abide by
the Constitution."

"You are mistaken, sir. The North has maintained all of her
Constitutional obligations. You of the South have perjured yourselves.
I talked to him faithfully," said the zealous officer.

The Commodore was now nervously restless, but said: "I never slept
better in my life than I did the night before going into the battle,
and I never prayed more fervently than I did yesterday morning, that
God would bless the undertaking, and he has signally answered my
prayer. I don't deserve it, but I trust that I shall be grateful for
it. But I couldn't sleep last night for thinking of those poor fellows
on board the Essex, who were wounded and scalded. I told the surgeons
to do everything possible for them. Poor fellows! I must go and see
that they are well cared for."

It was one o'clock in the morning, yet exhausted as he was, he went to
see that the sufferers were having every possible attention.

This was on Saturday morning; the next day he went to church as usual.
The minister was not there, and after waiting awhile the audience one
by one began to drop off, whereupon Commodore Foote entered the
pulpit, and conducted the exercises, reading the fourteenth chapter of
John's Gospel, and addressed the congregation, urging sinners to
repentance, picturing the unspeakable love of Christ, and the rewards
which await the righteous, and closing the services by a fervent
prayer. It was as unostentatious as all his other acts, undertaken
with a dutiful desire to benefit those about him, and to glorify God.
That was his aim in life.

The Rebel troops which were in and around Fort Henry fled in dismay
soon after the opening of the bombardment, leaving all their camp
equipage. In the barracks the camp-fires were still blazing, and
dinners cooking, when our troops entered. Books, letters half written,
trunks, carpet-bags, knives, pistols, were left behind, and were
eagerly seized by the soldiers, who rent the air with shouts of
laughter, mingled with the cheers of victory.

Although not present, a letter fell into my hands written by a father
in Mississippi to his sons, which gives an insight into the condition
of affairs in the Confederacy at that time:--

                                    "BEAR CREEK, Miss., Dec. 16, 1861.


     "After a long silence I will tell you some little news. I told C.
     D. Moore to tell you that paper was very scarce in this wooden
     world. I went to Vaidere to get this, and was glad to get it at
     50 cents per quire.

     "The health of our country is pretty good. Crops are very short;
     corn and cotton--especially cotton--not quite half a crop, though
     it doesn't matter, as we can't get any money for it. For my part
     I know not what we are to do. I haven't a red cent. My intention
     now is to plant only about eight acres in cotton; that will make
     enough to buy or barter my groceries. I fear, my children, we
     will not live to see as prosperous a time after this revolution
     as there was before it. I often think of the language of our
     Saviour: 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani,'--My God, my God, why hast
     thou forsaken me? I verily believe all this calamity has come
     upon us for our wickedness. Religion is down like cotton,--not
     worth much; and by the actions of good brethren it might be
     bought for a mere trifle, though if we were to judge from its
     sparseness, like salt, it would be worth $40 per sack.

     "O my God, what will become of us? Go, if you please, to the
     churchyard, and you will hear nothing but secular affairs and
     _war, war_! Dull times everywhere. Money scarce; pork high,--10
     to 12-1/2 cents per pound; salt the same; coffee $1.50 per pound,
     and none to be had at that; calico 30 to 50 cents per yard;
     domestics 20 to 25 cents per yard; sugar 6 to 12-1/2 cents;
     molasses 30 to 40 cents, and everything in the same ratio."

The capture of Fort Donelson and the troops defending it, was the
first _great_ achievement of the Union armies. The affair at Mill
Spring, and the taking of Roanoke Island by Burnside, were important,
but minor engagements when compared with the breaking in of the Rebel
line of defence on the Cumberland and Tennessee. The fighting on
Saturday, the last day of the series of battles, was desperate and
bloody. The ground on the right in the morning, when the Rebels moved
out and overwhelmed McClernand, was hotly contested. Grant's lines
were so extended and necessarily thin that the Rebels were enabled to
push McClernand back nearly two miles. This was done by Pillow and
Bushrod Johnson, who gained McClernand's flank. Buckner, however, who
was to strike McClernand's left, was slow in advancing. Had he moved
as rapidly as the other divisions, McClernand would have been utterly
routed. It was then that W. H. L. Wallace, of Illinois, showed his
great military ability. He had been in the Mexican war, was
courageous, and had that power of _presence_ which made every man feel
that he was under the eye of his commander. Then, too, General Logan
animated his men, and held them in close contact with the Rebels till

The charge of General C. P. Smith's division on the left, in the
afternoon of Saturday, was sublime. General Smith was an old soldier,
who had served in Mexico. His hair was long and white, and as he rode
along his lines, making arrangements for the advance, he was the most
conspicuous of all men on the field. He paid no heed to the rifle and
musket balls which were singing about his ears; he sat firmly on his
horse. When his lines were ready, he led them, with his cap on the
point of his sword.

It was sunset or nearly that hour, when his division moved to the
attack of the outer works, at the southwest angle of the fort. There
was a steady advance through an open field,--a rush up the hill,--a
cheer,--the rout of Hanson's brigade of Rebels, the Second Kentucky,
Twentieth Mississippi, and Thirtieth Tennessee,--a long, loud shout of
triumph, mingled with the roar of cannon, and the rolls of musketry
from the fort, pouring upon them a concentrated fire!

The scene at Donelson on Sunday morning, the day of surrender, was
exceedingly exhilarating,--the marching in of the victorious
divisions,--the bands playing, their flags waving, the cheers of the
troops,--the gunboats firing a salute,--the immense flotilla of river
steamboats gayly decorated! The New Uncle Sam was the boat on which
General Grant had established his head-quarters. The Uncle Sam, at a
signal from Commodore Foote, ranged ahead, came alongside one of the
gunboats, and, followed by all the fleet, steamed up river past Fort
Donelson, thick with Confederate soldiers,--past the intrenched camp
of log-huts, past a school-house on a hill, above which waved the
hospital flag,--and on to Dover, the gunboats thundering a national
salute the while.

A warp was thrown ashore, the plank run out. I sprang up the bank,
and mingled among the disconsolate creatures,--a care-worn, haggard,
melancholy crowd which stood upon the heights above. They all told one
story, claiming that they had fought well; that we outnumbered them;
that there was a disagreement among their officers; that we had got
General Buckner; that Floyd and Pillow had escaped; that Floyd had
taken four regiments of his brigade; that there were four steamers;
that they went off crowded with soldiers, the guards sunk to the
water's edge.

The town of Dover is the county seat of Stewart, and a point where the
farmers ship their produce. It is a straggling village on uneven
ground, and contains perhaps five hundred inhabitants. There are a few
buildings formerly used for stores, a doctor's office, a dilapidated
church, a two-story square brick court-house, and a half-dozen decent
dwellings. But the place had suffered greatly while occupied by the
Secession forces. Nearly every building was a hospital. Trees had been
cut down, fences burned, windows broken, and old buildings demolished
for fuel.

We came upon a squad of soldiers hovering around a fire. Some were
wrapped in old patched bedquilts which had covered them at home. Some
had white blankets, made mostly of cotton. Others wore bright bocking,
which had evidently been furnished from a merchant's stock. One had a
faded piece of threadbare carpet. Their guns were stacked, their
equipments thrown aside, cartridge-boxes, belts, and ammunition
trampled in the mud. There were shot-guns, single and double-barreled,
old heavy rifles, flint-lock muskets of 1828, some of them altered
into percussion locks, with here and there an Enfield rifle.

A few steps brought me to the main landing, where the Confederate
stores were piled, and from which Floyd made his escape. The gunboats
were lying off the landing, and a portion of McClernand's division was
on the hills beyond, the stars and stripes and the regimental banners
waving, and the bands playing. Away up on the hill Taylor's battery
was firing a national salute.

There were sacks of corn, tierces of rice, sides of bacon, barrels of
flour, hogsheads of sugar, sufficient for several days' rations. Then
there was a dense crowd of Secessionists, evidently the rabble, or the
_débris_ of the army, belonging to all regiments. Some were sullen,
some indifferent, some evidently felt a sense of relief, mingled with
their apprehensions for the future. Among them were squads of our own
soldiers, with smiling faces, feeling very much at home, but
manifesting no disposition to add to the unhappiness of the captured.

General McClernand's division had marched down to the outskirts of the
village, and was keeping guard. A private ran into the court-house and
threw the flag of the Union to the breeze from the belfry. Soldiers of
our army were inspecting the shops of the place. In the basement of a
store was the Confederate arsenal. There were piles of rifles, old
shot-guns, many of them ticketed with the owner's name. There were
many hunter's rifles, which had done good service in other days among
the mountains and forests of Tennessee, but, for use in battle, of but
little account.

In another building was the Commissary department. There were
hogsheads of sugar, barrels of rice, boxes of abominable soap, and a
few barrels of flour. Later in the day we saw soldiers luxuriating
like children in the hogsheads of sugar. Many a one filled his canteen
with New Orleans molasses and his pockets with damp brown sugar.
Looking into a store we found a squad of soldiers taking things of no
earthly use. One had a looking-glass under his arm, one a paper of
files, another several brass candlesticks, one a package of bonnets.

The Mississippians and Texans were boiling over with rage against
Floyd and Pillow for having deserted them.

"Floyd always was a d--d thief and sneak," said one.

Just before sunset we took a ramble through the grounds and
encampments of the Rebels, who were falling into line preparatory to
embarking upon the steamers. Standing on a hill beyond the village, we
had at one view almost all their force. Hogarth never saw such a
sight; Shakespeare, in his conceptions of Falstaff's tatterdemalions,
could not have imagined the like,--not that they were deficient in
intellect, or wanting in courage, for among them were noble men, brave
fellows, who shed tears when they found they were prisoners of war,
and who swore with round oaths that they would shoot Floyd as they
would a dog, if they could get a chance, but that for grotesque
appearance they were never equalled, except by the London bagmen and
chiffoniers of Paris.

There were all sorts of uniforms, brown-colored predominating, as if
they were in the snuff business and had been rolled in tobacco-dust.
There was sheep gray, iron gray, blue gray, dirty gray, with bed
blankets, quilts, buffalo-robes, pieces of carpeting of all colors and
figures, for blankets. Each had his pack on his shoulder. Judging by
their garments, one would have thought that the last scrapings, the
odds and ends of humanity and of dry goods, had been brought together.

The formal surrender of the fort took place in the cabin of the New
Uncle Sam in the evening. Buckner sat on one side of the table and
General Grant on the other. Buckner was attended by two of his staff.
The Rebel commander was in the prime of life, although his hair had
turned iron gray. He was of medium stature, having a low forehead and
thin cheeks, wore a moustache and meagre whiskers. He had on a
light-blue kersey overcoat and a checked neckcloth. He was smoking a
cigar, and talking in a low, quiet tone. He evidently felt that he was
in a humiliating position, but his deportment was such as to command
respect when contrasted with the course of Floyd and Pillow. His chief
of staff sat by his side.

Buckner freely gave information relative to his positions, his forces,
their disposition, and his intentions. He expected to escape, and
claimed that the engagements on Saturday were all in favor of the
Confederates. No opprobrious words were used by any one. No
discussions entered into. He asked for subsistence for his men, and
said that he had only two days' provisions on hand. He had favors to
ask for some of his wounded officers, all of which were readily
acceded to by General Grant, who was very much at ease, smoking a
cigar, and conducting the business with dignity, yet with despatch.

The prisoners were taken on board of the transports, the men on the
lower deck, and the officers having the freedom of the boat. The
saloons and cabins, berths and state-rooms were filled with the
wounded of both armies.

"The conditions of the surrender have been most shamefully violated,"
said a tall, dark-haired, black-eyed Mississippi colonel, on board
the Belle of Memphis.

"How so?" I asked.

"It was agreed that we should be treated like gentlemen, but the
steward of the boat won't let us have seats at the table. He charges
us a half-dollar a meal, and refuses Confederate money."

"Well, sir, you fare no worse than the rest of us. I paid for a
state-room, but the surgeon turned me out and put in a wounded man,
which was all right and proper, and at which I have no complaint to
make, and I shall think myself well off if I can get hard-tack."

While conversing with him, a Mississippi captain came up,--a tall,
red-whiskered, tobacco-chewing, ungainly fellow, with a swaggering
air. "This is d--d pretty business. They talk of reconstructing the
Union, and begin by rejecting our money. I don't get anything to eat,"
he said.

I directed his attention to a barrel of bacon and several boxes of
bread which had been opened for the prisoners, and from which they
were helping themselves. He turned away in disgust, saying,--

"Officers are to be treated according to their rank,--like
gentlemen,--and I'll be d--d if I don't pitch in and give somebody a

Some of the officers on board conducted themselves with perfect
decorum. One young physician gave his services to our wounded.

Although Commodore Foote had been wounded in the gunboat attack upon
the fort, he intended to push up the river to Nashville, and intercept
General Albert Sidney Johnston, who he knew must be falling back from
Bowling Green, but he was stopped by a despatch from General Halleck
to General Grant. "Don't let Foote go up the river."

The gunboats could have reached Nashville in eight hours. Floyd and
Pillow, who made their escape from Donelson at sunrise, reached the
city before noon, while the congregations were in the churches. Had
Commodore Foote followed he would have been in the city by three
o'clock, holding the bridges, patrolling the rivers, and cutting off
Johnston's retreat. Buell had between thirty and forty thousand men,
Johnston less than twenty. On the heel of the demoralization incident
to the rout at Mill Springs, Fort Henry, and the loss at Donelson, the
entire Rebel army in the West could have been destroyed, but for the
dictation of General Halleck, sitting in the planter's house five
hundred miles distant.

"Had I been permitted to carry out my intention we should have put an
end to the rebellion in the West," said Commodore Foote.

General Halleck had endeavored to enforce his order No. 3, excluding
negroes from his lines, but before daybreak on Sunday morning at
Donelson a negro entered the lines, having made his way out from
Dover, past the Rebel pickets. He reported that the Rebels were
fleeing. Some of the officers suggested that he was sent out to lure
Grant into a trap, and proposed to tie him up and give him a whipping.

"You may hang me, shoot me, do anything to me, if it a'n't as I tell
you," was his earnest reply.

One hour later came the Rebel flag of truce from Buckner, asking for
the appointment of Commissioners; but the information already obtained
enabled Grant to reply: "I propose to move immediately upon your

The negro was a slave, who entered the Union lines in search of
freedom,--that which his soul most longed for. General Grant did not
exclude him. Like a sensible man, he took no action in the matter,
gave no directions as to what should be done with him. The slave being
at liberty to decide for himself, took passage on a transport for
Cairo. The steamer stopped at a landing for wood, when the slave was
recognized by some of the citizens, who said that he belonged to a
Union man, and demanded that he should be put off the boat. The
captain of the steamer was inclined to accede to their demands; but
the officers on board, knowing what service he had rendered, informed
the captain that he need not be under any apprehensions of arrest by
civil process, as martial law was in force. They kept the negro under
their protection, and gave him his liberty, thus setting at defiance
General Halleck and his pro-slavery order.

[Sidenote: March, 1862.]

A great many negroes came into the lines, and were welcomed by the
soldiers. Among them was a boy, black as anthracite, with large,
lustrous eyes, and teeth as white as purest ivory. He was thirteen
years old, born in Kentucky, but for several years had lived near
Dover. His master, he said, was a gentleman, owned twenty-four slaves.
He had on a greasy shirt of snuff-colored jean, the genuine negro
cloth, such as one half the Southern army was compelled to wear. His
slouched hat was tipped back upon his head, showing a countenance
indicative of intelligence.

"Well, my boy, what is your name?" I asked.

"Dick, massa."

"Where do you live?"

"About fourteen miles from Dover, massa, up near de rollin' mill."

"Is your master a Secessionist?"

"He was Secesh, massa, but he be Union now."

This was correct testimony, the master appearing with great boldness
at General Grant's head-quarters to let it be known he was for the

"Are you a slave, Dick?"

"I was a slave, but I's free now; I's 'fiscated."

"Where were you when the fight was going on at Fort Donelson?"

"At home; but when massa found de fort was took he started us all off
for de Souf, but we got away and come down to Dover, and was

The master was a Secessionist till his twenty-four chattels, which he
was trying to run South, became perverse and veered to the North with
much fleetness. Not only were these twenty-four started South, but ten
times twenty-four, from the vicinity of Dover, and an hundred times
twenty-four from Clarkesville, Nashville, and all along the
Cumberland. When Donelson fell, the edifice of the Secessionists
became very shaky in one corner.

Columbus was occupied on the 5th of March, the Rebels retiring to
Island No. 10. Visiting the post-office, I secured several bushels of
Southern newspapers, which revealed a state of general gloom and
despondency throughout the Confederacy. Inspired by the events of
1861,--the battles of Bull Run, Belmont, and other engagements,--the
Southern muse had struck its lyre.

The battle of Belmont had kindled a poetic flame in the breast of Jo.
Augustine Signaigo, in the Memphis _Appeal_. The opening stanza is as

  "Now glory to our Southern cause, and praises be to God,
   That He hath met the Southron's foe, and scourged him with his rod;
   On the tented plains of Belmont, there in their might the Vandals came.
   And gave unto Destruction all they found, with sword and flame;
   But they met a stout resistance from a little band that day,
   Who swore that they would conquer, or return to mother clay."

After a description of the fight, we have the following warning in the
tenth stanza:--

  "Let the horrors of this day to the foe a warning be,
   That the Lord is with the South, that His arm is with the free;
   That her soil is pure and spotless as her clear and sunny sky,
   And he who dare pollute it on her soil shall basely die;
   For His fiat hath gone forth, e'en among the Hessian horde,
   That the South has got His blessing, for the South is of the Lord."

The New Orleans _Picayune_ had an "Ode on the Meeting of the Southern
Congress, by Henry Timrod," which opened in the following lofty

  "Hath not the morning dawned with added light!
   And will not evening call another star
   Out of the infinite regions of the night
   To mark this day in Heaven? At last, we are
   A nation among nations; and the world
   Shall soon behold, in many a distant port,
           Another flag unfurled!"

This poet gave the following contrast between the North and South:--

  "Look where we will, we cannot find a ground
         For any mournful song!
   Call up the clashing elements around,
         And test the right and wrong!
   On one side,--pledges broken, creeds that lie,
   Religion sunk in vague philosophy;
   Empty professions; Pharisaic leaven;
   Souls that would sell their birth-right in the sky;
   Philanthropists who pass the beggar by,
   And laws which controvert the laws of Heaven!
   And, on the other, first, a righteous cause!
         Then, honor without flaws,
   Truth, Bible reverence, charitable wealth,
   And for the poor and humble, laws which give
   Not the mean right to buy the right to live,
         But life, home and health.
   To doubt the issue were distrust in God!
   If in his providence He had decreed
   That, to the peace for which we pray,
   Through the Red Sea of War must lie our way,
   Doubt not, O-brothers, we shall find at need
         A Moses with his rod!"

The Vicksburg _Citizen_ had thirty stanzas rehearsing the events of
the year 1861. Two or three selections will be sufficient to show that
the muse halted a little now and then:--

  "Last year's holidays had scarcely passed,
   Before momentous events came thick and fast;
   Mississippi on the 9th of January went out,
   Determined to stand strong, firm and stout.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Major Anderson would not evacuate Sumter,
   When Gen. Beauregard made him surrender,--
   And sent him home to his abolition master,
   Upon a trot, if not a little faster.

  "Then Old Abe Lincoln got awful mad,
   Because his luck had turned out so bad;
   And he grasped his old-fashioned steel pen,
   And ordered out seventy-five thousand men.

  "May the Almighty smile on our Southern race,
   May Liberty and Independence grow apace,
   May our Liberties this year be achieved,
   And our distress and sorrow graciously relieved."

The bombardment of Island No. 10 commenced on the 9th of March, and
continued nearly a month. General Pope moving overland, captured New
Madrid, planted his guns, and had the Rebel steamboats in a trap. The
naval action of March 17th was grand beyond description. The mortars
were in full play. The Cincinnati, Benton, and St. Louis were lashed
together, and anchored with their bows down stream. The Carondelet and
Mound City were placed in position to give a cross-fire with the other
three, while the Pittsburg was held in reserve.

It was past one o'clock in the afternoon of as beautiful a day as
ever dawned upon the earth, when a ball of bunting went up to the top
of the Benton's flagstaff, and fluttered out into the battle signal.
Then came a flash, a belching of smoke from her bows, a roar and
reverberation rolling far away,--a screaming in the air, a tossing up
of earth and an explosion in the Rebel works.

The highest artistic skill cannot portray the scene of that
afternoon,--the flashes and flames,--the great white clouds, mounting
above the boats, and floating majestically away over the dark gray
forests,--the mortars throwing up vast columns of sulphurous cloud,
which widen, expand, and roll forward in fantastic folds,--the shells
one after another in swift succession rising, rotating, rushing upward
and onward, sailing a thousand feet high, their course tracking a
light gossamer trail, which becomes a beautiful parabola, and then the
terrific explosion,--a flash, a handful of cloud, a strange whirring
of the ragged fragments of iron hurled upwards, outwards, and
downwards, crashing through the forests!

I was favored with a position on the Silver Wave steamer, lying just
above the Benton, her wheels slowly turning to keep her in position to
run down and help the gunboats if by chance they were disabled. The
Rebel batteries on the mainland and on the Island, the Rebel steamers
wandering up and down like rats in a cage, were in full view. With my
glass I could see all that took place in and around the nearest
battery. Columns of water were thrown up by the shot from the
gunboats, like the first gush from the hose of a steam fire-engine,
which falls in rainbow-colored spray. There were little splashes in
the stream when the fragments of shell dropped from the sky. Round
shot skipped along the surface of the river, tearing through the Rebel
works, filling the air with sticks, timbers, earth, and branches of
trees, as if a thunderbolt had fallen. There were explosions followed
by volumes of smoke rising from the ground like the mists of a summer
morning. There was a hissing, crackling, and thundering explosion in
front and rear and overhead. But there were plucky men in the fort,
who at intervals came out from their bomb-proof, and sent back a
defiant answer. There was a flash, a volume of smoke, a hissing as if
a flying fiery serpent were sailing through the air, growing louder,
clearer, nearer, more fearful and terrific, crashing into the Benton,
tearing up the iron plating, cutting off beams, splintering planks,
smashing the crockery in the pantry, and breaking up the Admiral's

  "Howling and screeching and whizzing,
     The bomb-shells arched on high,
   And then, like fiery meteors,
     Dropped swiftly from the sky."

All through the sunny hours, till evening, the gunboats maintained
their position. While around the bright flashes, clouds of smoke, and
heavy thunderings brought to mind the gorgeous imagery of Revelation,
descriptive of the last judgment.

While the bombardment was at its height, I received a package of
letters, intrusted to my care. There was one postmarked from a town in
Maine, directed to a sailor on the St. Louis. Jumping on board a tug,
which was conveying ammunition to the gunboats, I visited the vessel
to distribute the letters. A gun had burst during the action, killing
and wounding several of the crew. It was a sad scene. There were the
dead,--two of them killed instantly, and one of them the brave fellow
from Maine. Captain Paulding opened the letter, and found it to be
from one who had confided to the noble sailor her heart's
affections,--who was looking forward to the time when the war would be
over, and they would be happy together as husband and wife.

"Poor girl! I shall have to write her sad news," said the captain.

Day after day and night after night the siege was kept up, till it
grew exceedingly monotonous. I became so accustomed to the pounding
that, though the thirteen-inch mortars were not thirty rods distant
from my quarters, I was not wakened by the tremendous explosions.
Commodore Foote found it very difficult to fight down stream, as the
water was very high, flooding all the country. Colonel Bissell, of
General Pope's army, proposed the cutting of a canal through the
woods, to enable the gunboats to reach New Madrid. It was an Herculean
undertaking. A light-draft transport was rigged for the enterprise.
Machinery was attached to the donkey-engine of the steamer by which
immense cotton-wood trees were sawed off four feet under water.

There was something very enchanting in the operation,--to steam out
from the main river, over corn-fields and pasture lands, into the dark
forests, threading a narrow and intricate channel, across the
country,--past the Rebel batteries. A transport was taken through, and
a tugboat, but the channel was not deep enough for the gunboats.

Captain Stembel, commanding the Benton,--a brave and competent
officer, Commodore Foote's right-hand man,--proposed to run the
batteries by night to New Madrid, capture the Rebel steamer which Pope
had caught in a trap, then turning head up stream take the Rebel
batteries in reverse. The Commodore hesitated. He was cautious as well
as brave. At length he accepted the plan, and sent the Pittsburg and
Carondelet past the batteries at night. It was a bold undertaking, but
accomplished without damage to the gunboats. The current was swift and
strong, and they went with the speed of a race-horse.

Their presence at New Madrid was hailed with joy by the troops. Four
steamboats had worked their way through the canal. A regiment was
taken on board each boat. The Rebels had a battery on the other side
of the river at Watson's Landing, which was speedily silenced by the
two gunboats. The troops landed, and under General Paine drove the
Rebels from their camp, who fled in confusion, throwing away their
guns, knapsacks, and clothing.

General Pope sent over the balance of his troops, and with his whole
force moved upon General Mackall, the Rebel commander, who surrendered
his entire command, consisting of nearly seven thousand prisoners, one
hundred and twenty three guns, and an immense amount of supplies.

The troops of General Paine's brigade came across a farm yard which
was well stocked with poultry, and helped themselves. The farmer's
wife visited the General's head-quarters to enter a complaint.

"They are stealing all my chickens, General! I sha'n't have one
left," she exclaimed, excitedly.

"I am exceedingly sorry, ma'am," said the General, with great
courtesy; "but we are going to put down the rebellion if it takes
every chicken in the State of Tennessee!"

The woman retired, evidently regarding the Yankees as a race of

[Illustration: East Tennessee refugees.]



[Sidenote: April, 1862.]

The battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh as it is sometimes called,
was fought on the 6th and 7th of April. It was a contest which has
scarcely been surpassed for manhood, pluck, endurance, and heroism. In
proportion to the numbers engaged the loss in killed and wounded was
as great as that of any battle of the war. The disasters to the Rebel
cause in Tennessee moved Davis to hurry reinforcements to Corinth,
which was the new base of Johnston's operations. Beauregard was sent
into the department. He had the reputation of being a great commander,
because he commanded the Rebel batteries in the attack on Sumter, and
had received the glory of winning the victory at Bull Run. Time is the
test of honor. Men, like the stars, have their hours of rising and
setting. He was in the zenith of his fame.

Albert Sydney Johnston was still in command, but he was induced to
move from Corinth to Pittsburg Landing and attack Grant before Buell,
who was slowly moving across the country from Nashville, could join

Buell marched with great deliberation. He even gave express orders
that there should be six miles' space between the divisions of his
army. The position at Pittsburg Landing was chosen by General Smith,
as being a convenient base for a movement upon Corinth. It had some
natural advantages for defence,--Lick Creek and a ravine above the
Landing,--but nothing was done towards erecting barricades or
breastworks. There are writers who maintain that the attack of the
Rebels was expected; but if expected, would not prudence have dictated
the slashing of trees, the erection of breastworks, and a regular
disposition of the forces? On Friday and Saturday the Rebel cavalry
appeared in our front, but were easily driven back towards Corinth.

Nothing was done towards strengthening the line; no orders were issued
in anticipation of a battle till the pickets were attacked on Sunday
morning, while the troops were cooking their coffee, and while many of
the officers were in bed.

Pittsburg is the nearest point to Corinth on the river. The road winds
up the bank, passes along the edge of a deep ravine, leading
southwest. It forks a half-mile from the Landing, the left-hand path
leading to Hamburg up the river, and the main road leading to Shiloh
Church, four miles from the Landing. The accompanying sketch of the
church was taken the week after the battle, with the head-quarter
tents of General Sherman around it. Its architecture is exceedingly
primitive. It is a fair type of the inertness of the people of that
region at the time. It is about twenty-five or thirty feet square,
built of logs, without pulpit or pews, with rude benches for seats.
Once it was chinked with clay, but the rains have washed out the
mortar, and the wind comes in through all the crevices. It is
thoroughly ventilated. It would make a good corn-crib for an Illinois

A brook meanders through the forest, furnishing water for the
worshipping assemblies. South of the church, and across the brook, is
a clearing,--an old farm-house where Beauregard wrote his despatch to
Jeff Davis on Sunday night, announcing a great victory. There are
other little clearings, which have been long under cultivation. The
people were too indolent to make new openings in the forest, where
centuries of mould had accumulated. The country was but little further
advanced than when Daniel Boone passed through the Cumberland Gap.
Civilization came and made a beginning; but the blight of slavery was
there. How the tillage and culture of New England or Ohio would crown
those swells of land with sheaves of grain! What corn and clover
fields, pastures of honeysuckle, gardens of roses! Within four miles
of one of the most beautiful rivers in the world,--in a country
needing only industry to make it a paradise,--the mourning dove filled
the air with its plaintive notes in the depths of an almost unbroken
forest, while the few people, shiftless and destitute of the comforts
of civilization, knew no better than to fight against their own best

The majority of the poor whites of the South are very ignorant. Few of
them have ever attended school. In Tennessee, by the census of 1850,
there were more than seventy thousand native-born American adults who
could not read. Not one half of the prisoners captured at Donelson
could read or write. While the army was lying before Corinth, I
visited a Mississippi school-house,--a log building chinked with mud,
covered with long split oak shingles. It had a huge fireplace, built
of stones, and a chimney laid up with sticks and mud. There were
openings for two windows, but frames, sash, and glass all were
wanting. There was no floor but the beaten earth,--no desks. Stakes
were driven into the ground, upon which slabs of oak were laid for
seats. The teacher's desk was a large dry-goods box.

The State of North Carolina, with a white population of five hundred
and fifty-three thousand, had eighty thousand native whites, over
twenty years of age, who had never attended school. In the State of
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, five
States having a population of two million six hundred and seventy
thousand, there were two hundred and sixty-two thousand native-born
Americans, over twenty years of age, unable to read or write!

It will be no easy matter to awaken aspirations in the minds of this
class. They have been so long inert, so long taught to believe that
labor is degrading, that rapid progress of Southern society cannot be
expected immediately, unless emigration infuses a new vitality into
the community.

Ignorance was on the increase throughout the South. Public schools
were of little value where they existed, and the county was so
sparsely settled in many places there were not scholars enough to form
one. The school fund arising from the sale of public lands was often
appropriated to other uses. In Arkansas it had been squandered by
worthless officials. The planters and wealthy farmers employed
teachers in their families. Before the war, thousands of young ladies
from the North were thus engaged. They sat at the planter's table and
associated with his daughters; but, however intelligent, refined, or
agreeable they might be, they were not admitted as their equals in
society. Such teaching as they received, although the teacher might
be faithful, was of little account. The children, proud and haughty,
daily hearing of the inferiority of the people of the North, were not
always disposed to receive instruction, much less to submit to
correction, at the hands of a "Yankee schoolma'am." To be chivalrous,
courteous, high-minded, and generous toward woman has ever been the
boast of the men of the South; but, during the months immediately
preceding the outbreak of the Rebellion, insulting and abusive
language was freely uttered in the presence of Northern ladies. There
was rudeness not only of language, but in some instances of action.
The young bloods of the aristocracy, learning to crow as they heard
the old cocks, not unfrequently rose in rebellion against the
authority of the teacher. Especially was this the case with teachers
employed in the public schools. A Yankee schoolmaster or
schoolmistress was one who could be insulted with impunity; and so
bitter was the hatred, that, weeks before the first gun was fired at
Sumter, Northern teachers were forced to leave their schools and
retire from the Confederacy.

[Illustration: A Mississippi school-house.]

To General Sherman more than to any division commander is credit due
for the victory at Pittsburg Landing. When the first volley of
musketry reverberated through the forest on Sunday morning he leaped
into his saddle. He was conspicuous everywhere, riding along the lines
regardless of the bullets which riddled his clothes. Early in the
battle he was wounded in the wrist, but wrapping a bandage round his
arm, continued in the field. Three horses were shot under him. He was
a conspicuous mark for the Rebel riflemen. His fearless example was
inspiring to the men. And so through the long hours of the day he was
able to hold his position by the church, till the giving way of
Prentiss and Hurlburt, nearer the river, made it necessary to fall
back. Here Grant first exhibited those qualities of character which
have made him the great military commander of the age. "We will beat
them yet. They can't pass this ravine," were his words of
encouragement as he selected the final line, leading to the landing.
The contest was virtually decided at five o'clock on Sunday afternoon,
when Breckenridge attempted to cross the gorge near the river and was
hurled back with great loss. Johnston and Beauregard made a great
mistake in attacking at a point within reach of the gunboats. Had they
come in on the Purdy road, between Shiloh Church and Crump's Landing,
in all human probability there would have been a far different record
for the historians of the future. Had they attacked northwest of the
church instead of south of it, they would have taken Grant in reverse,
and forced him to change the whole front of his army; they would have
had no ravine to cross, would have been beyond reach of the gunboats,
and would have stood a fair chance of cutting off Lewis Wallace, who
was at Crump's Landing, from all connection with the main army.

The defeat of the Rebels was decisive, and yet Beauregard sent the
following despatch to Richmond:--

                                            "CORINTH, April 8th, 1862.


     "We have gained a great and glorious victory. Eight to ten
     thousand prisoners, and thirty-six pieces of cannon. Buell
     reinforced Grant, and we retired to our entrenchments at Corinth,
     which we can hold. Loss heavy on both sides.


On the same day he sent a flag of truce to General Grant with the
following message, also asking leave to bury the Confederate dead:--

     "Sir, at the close of the conflict yesterday, my forces being
     exhausted by the extraordinary length of the time during which
     they were engaged with yours on that and the preceding day, and
     it being apparent that you had received and were still receiving
     reinforcement, I felt it my duty to withdraw my troops from the
     immediate scene of the conflict."

From Shiloh to the close of the war, Beauregard's popularity was on
the wane, and the Southern people lost confidence in him. I was at
Island No. 10 when the battle was fought, but joined the army the week

As the army moved towards Corinth, there was abundant evidence that
the defeat of the Rebels was most disastrous,--that their retreat was
hasty. Blankets, knapsacks, haversacks, here and there muskets,
wagons, one overturned in a slough, one with its tongue broken, tents,
harnesses, oats, corn, flour, tent-poles, were confusedly scattered
along the way. The carcasses of dead horses tainted the air. There
were piles of earth newly heaped above those who died from their
wounds. They fled in a fright on Monday night. I came unexpectedly
upon a little log-hut, on a by-path leading toward Monterey. Two of
McCook's cavalry rode up in advance of me. A widow woman, middle aged,
with a little girl and two little boys occupied it. She kindly gave me
a drink of water, and informed me that there were three Confederate
wounded in the other room. I looked in upon them for a moment.
Suffering had wasted them, and they had no disposition to talk of the
past or the future. The good woman had been kind to them, but she had
seen a great deal of sorrow. On Monday night one hundred wounded were
brought to her house. Her two horses had been seized by the Rebels,
her corn eaten, and no equivalent returned. She conversed
unreservedly; deplored the war, and wished it over. There were seven
new-made graves in her garden, and in her door-yard a heap of cinders
and ashes, and charred brands,--fragments of wagons and tent-poles. On
the upper Corinth road fifty wounded were lying, cared for by our

I recall some of the scenes of the movement upon Corinth. Here is an
open forest, undulating land with little or no underbrush; thousands
of wagons, all plodding on, not in slow, easy motion, but by fits and
starts, with cutting, slashing, shouting, swearing, a chorus of
profanity resounding through the forests. A mule sticks fast; he
tumbles; his mate falls upon him. The drivers become enraged; then
follows a general _melée_, a long halt, frantic attempts to start
again, an unloading and reloading. Other trains in the rear, tired of
waiting, turn to the right or left, perhaps to pass the little slough
safely, only to meet with a similar mishap ten rods farther along. A
battery struggles along, with twelve horses attached to a single piece
of artillery. The entire forest is cut up by passing teams. Mingled
with the thousands of wagons are regiments. They, too, are in
confusion. Buell's and Grant's forces have become mixed. The divisions
have been ordered to move, but evidently with no prearranged system.
As far as the eye can see it is one grand hurly-burly,--one frantic
struggle to make headway,--and this for a half-dozen miles. What a
waste of horse-flesh! Here are six mules attempting to draw six boxes
of bread,--weight perhaps six hundred pounds. The cavalry bring out
their supplies on horses, each cavalryman bringing a bag of oats.
There is cursing, swearing, pounding. The army in Flanders could not
have been more profane. The brutality of the drivers is terrible. A
miserable fellow, destitute of sense and humanity, strikes a mule over
the head, felling the animal to the ground. Noble horses are
remorselessly cut up by these fiendish beings in human form. There is
no check upon their cruelty. You see dead horses everywhere. All the
finer sensibilities become callous. One must see, but not feel. There
would be pleasure in snatching a whip from the hands of these savages
and giving them a dose of their own medicine.

General Halleck advanced with extreme caution. He built four lines of
breastworks, each line nearly ten miles long, so that if driven from
one he could fall back to another. He sunk deep wells for water, he
was preparing to be besieged instead of opening a siege.

He doubted all the reports of his scouts,--disbelieved the stories of
negroes who came to him,--issued Order No. 57, that all "unauthorized
persons" in his lines should be sent out, especially fugitive
slaves,--threw up redoubts, dragged his heavy siege-guns through the
mud from the Landing,--planted them behind sodded earthworks, erected
bomb-proof magazines,--issued his final orders to his army of an
hundred thousand men,--opened fire from his heavy guns,--threw forward
his skirmishers, and found--a deserted town!

Joining the fleet upon the Mississippi once more on the 3d of June, I
found Commodore (now Admiral) Davis in command, Admiral Foote having
been relieved at his own request. His wound was painful, and he was so
debilitated that he was unable to discharge his duties. The idea was
generally entertained that the Rebels had evacuated Fort Pillow. The
evacuation of Corinth was the basis for expectation of such an event.
Fires were seen over the point on the bluffs and beyond, toward
Randolph. Of course no one could say what was burning, but from the
past conduct of Rebels, it was reasonable to suppose that the
evacuation had taken place, inasmuch as there was an ominous silence
of Rebel batteries. But they suddenly waked up. Ascending to the
pilot-house of the steamer, I could see handfuls of white cloud above
and beyond the dense foliage of the forest. Then there came a dull,
heavy roar,--boom--boom--boom,--and the nearer explosion of the shells
which burst in the air above our gunboats. Not evacuated! They were
there lively as ever.

This sudden and unexpected demonstration aroused Captain Maynadier,
and right merrily answered the mortars till noon. Then there was a
respite, while the mortar crews sat down beneath the dark green
foliage of the forest, sheltered from the burning sun, and ate their
rations, and rested the while.

Seven or eight miles below Craighead Point is Lanier's plantation. The
proprietor being a Secessionist, burned his cotton, but for some cause
he had lost faith, or pretended to lose faith, in the Confederacy, and
desired to be permitted to return to his comfortable home, there to
remain unmolested. He sent a note to Colonel Fitch, commanding the
land forces, soliciting an interview. His request was granted, and he
so ingratiated himself into Colonel Fitch's good feeling that he
became again an occupant of his homestead.

Subsequently it was ascertained that he was supplying the Rebel fleet
with ice, spring chickens, garden vegetables, &c. It was decided to
spring a trap upon the gentlemen of the Southern navy. A small party
was sent out by Colonel Fitch, which reached the locality
undiscovered. After a few minutes' reconnoissance, eight men were
discovered helping themselves to ice in Mr. Lanier's ice-cellar. They
were surprised. One resisted, but was shot, and the rest, after a
short parleying, surrendered. They were brought to the Benton, but
were very uncommunicative and sour.

The loss of a lieutenant and seven men was not well relished at Fort
Pillow. Soon after noon the guns on the bluff commenced a vigorous but
random fire, as if ammunition cost nothing, and it were mere pastime
to burn powder and hurl shell over the point at our fleet. It was very
pleasant to see the round shot plump into the water all around our
gunboats, with an occasional shell puffing into cloud overhead, and
raining fragments of iron into the river,--for with such random
firing, there was but little danger of being hit.

The day had been hot and sultry, but just before nightfall a huge bank
of clouds rolled up in the western horizon, and burst with the fury of
a tornado upon the fleet. Some of the transports dragged their anchors
before the gale, but all kept up steam; they were not long in making
head against the breeze. There was but little rain, but a dense cloud
of dust was whirled up from the sandbars.

I was surprised to see, when the storm was at its height, two of our
rams steam rapidly down to the point and turn their prows towards the
Rebel batteries. They disappeared in the whirling dust-cloud,
vanishing from sight like ships at sea when night comes on. They
steamed swiftly down the stream and turned Craighead Point.

Their mission, at such a moment, was to take advantage of the
storm,--of the enveloping dust-cloud,--to ascertain what the Rebels
were doing. We could hear the sudden waking up of heavy guns,--those
that had spoken to us in the past,--just as, in high party times,
great orators hold forth the night before election. The rams were
discovered, and at once the batteries were in a blaze. Then they
quietly steamed across the bend, in face of the batteries, turned
their prows up stream, and appeared in sight once more. Onward rolled
the cloud, and the Rebel cannon belched and thundered, firing shot at
random into the river. Bang--bang--bang,--two or three at a
time,--roared the guns. It was amusing, laughable, to see the rams
returning, and hear the uproar below.

The dust-cloud, with its fine, misty rain, rolled away. The sun shone
once more, and bridged the Mississippi with a gorgeous rainbow. While
admiring it, a Rebel gunboat poked her nose around the point. Then,
after a little hesitancy, her entire body, to see what we were up to.
She was a black craft, bearing the flag of the Confederacy. Seeing how
far off we were, she steamed boldly past the point, up stream far
enough to get a sight of the entire Federal fleet; turned slowly,
placed her head downward, to be ready for a quick run home, if need
be; then turned her paddles against the current, and surveyed us
leisurely. The Mound City and Cairo being nearest, opened fire upon
the craft. A signal was run up from the Benton, and immediately from
the chimneys of the entire fleet rose heavy columns of blackest smoke,
which mingled with the white puffs of steam, and rolled away into the
blackness of the receding storm. The sun had gone down.

Unheeding the shot falling close at her bows, or whistling over her
decks, the steamer took her own time and slowly descended the stream
and disappeared beyond the jutting headland.

At sunset on the 4th of June, the Rebel batteries opened a fierce and
sudden fire upon the gunboats. Then there came heavy explosions,
rising columns of smoke, faint and white at first, but increasing in
volume and blackness. Another,--a third, a fourth,--expanding into one
broad column, all along the height occupied by the Rebel batteries.
Daylight was fading away, the lurid flames filled the southern sky,
and a heaving, surging bank of smoke and flame laid along the
tree-tops of the intervening forest. Occasionally there were flashes
and faint explosions, and sudden puffs of smoke, spreading out like
flakes of cotton or fleeces of whitest wool. This was all we could
see. We were ignorant of what was feeding the flames, whether steamers
or bales of cotton, or barracks or tents or houses, but were sure that
it was a burning of that which had cost a pile of Confederate notes.
After taking possession of the works in the morning, the fleet pursued
the retreating Rebels down the river.

It was dark when we came to anchor four miles above the city of
Memphis on the 5th of June.

[Illustration: Gunboats in line.]

"I think that we shall have a lively time in the morning," said the
Admiral. My own quarters were on board of the J. H. Dickey, which lay
a mile up stream. I was astir before daylight on the 6th. The air was
clear,--the sky without a cloud. The stars were fading in the west,
and the columns of light were rising in the east. The gunboats--five
of them--were in a line across the stream, with the steam escaping
from their pipes. The city was in full view. People were gathering
upon the banks gazing upon the fleet. A dark column of smoke rose
from above the green foliage of the forest opposite the city, but
whether produced by burning buildings or by the Rebel fleet, was
wholly a matter of conjecture.

The tugboat Jessie Benton, tender to the Admiral, came up to the
advance boat, which was lying by our side.

"The Admiral thinks that the Rebel fleet is below the city, and that
we are to have a fight. You can go down if you want to," said the

I was on board in an instant, leaving the other gentlemen of the press
asleep in their state-room. The soldiers were heaving the anchors as
we approached the fleet, shouting in chorus, "Yeave ho! yeave ho!" The
drummer-boys were beating to quarters, the marines were mustering,
officers and sailors all were busy.

The Admiral was standing on the upper deck with Captain Phelps,
commanding the Benton, by his side. The Admiral is a tall,
well-proportioned man, about fifty years old, with gray hair and blue
eyes. He is a perfect gentleman,--kind, courteous, and affable, not
only to his officers, but to the crews. Captain Phelps is shorter, and
smaller in stature. His features are sharply cut. He stands erect,
looks upon the preparations with keen eyes, giving orders with
precision and promptness. The Benton in a few moments is ready for
action, so quickly are his orders executed.

"Drop down toward the city, sir, and see if you can discover the Rebel
fleet," is the word of the Admiral to our captain.

We pass through the fleet, and move slowly down stream, followed by
the Benton and Carondelet, which drift with the current.

[Sidenote: June, 1862.]

The sun was beginning to gild the spires of the city, and its slant
rays came streaming over the waters into our faces. Men, women, and
children were gathering upon the levee, on foot, on horseback, and in
carriages. The crowd became more dense. Were they assembling to
welcome us? Should we steam down to them, and ask them what they
thought of the Rebellion? The Rebel flag was flying from the cupola of
the court-house, and from a tall flagstaff on the levee. I remembered
that on the 6th of May, thirteen months before, on the evening after
the secession of the State, the people had torn down the stars and
stripes, borne them out to the suburbs of the city, dug a grave, and
buried the flag, trampling it in the mire!

Suddenly a Rebel gunboat steamed out into the stream, from the shelter
of the Arkansas woods;--another,--another,--till eight had ranged
themselves in two lines of battle. "Helm aport!" shouted our captain
to the pilot, and we were rushing up stream again. The Admiral was not
quite ready for action, and the Benton and Carondelet returned to
their original position.

The appearance of the Rebel fleet,--the orderly formation of the
battle line,--looked like work. The affair of the 10th of May, when
the Rebel gunboats stole round Craighead Point above Fort Pillow, and
sunk the Cincinnati, was sufficiently spirited to warrant the
supposition that an engagement would be desperate. Several of the
Rebel boats were fitted out at Memphis, and were manned by the old
rivermen of that city, who would fight with great bravery under the
eyes of their fellow-citizens, their wives and sweethearts.

"Let the sailors have breakfast," said the Admiral, who believed in
fighting on a full stomach. I took mine on deck,--a cup of coffee,
hard-tack, and a slice of salt junk,--for the movements in front of
the city were too interesting to be lost sight of. The Little Rebel,
the flag-ship of Commodore Montgomery, was passing from boat to boat.
With my glass I could see the officers of the vessels. Montgomery was
issuing his final orders.

Suddenly the Rebel fleet began to move up stream. A flag went up to
the head of the Benton's flagstaff. It was the signal to be ready for
action. Sailors dropped their plates, knives and forks, and sprang to
their guns. The Benton was nearest the Tennessee shore, then the
Carondelet, the St. Louis, Louisville, and Cairo. Our own little tug
was close by the flag-ship, keeping its place in the stream by the
slow working of its engine.

The Rebel fleet was composed of the Van Dorn, General Price, General
Bragg, Jeff Thompson, General Lovell, General Beauregard, Sumter, and
Little Rebel,--all gunboats and all rams, built expressly with a view
of butting our fleet out of existence. The Beauregard was nearest the
shore, next the Little Rebel, then the General Price, next the General
Bragg and the General Beauregard, which composed the front line.
Immediately in rear was the General Lovell, near the Memphis shore,
her position being directly in front of the city wharf boat; next the
Van Dorn, then the Jeff Thompson, and lastly the Sumter.

How strange, peculiar, and indescribable are one's feelings when going
into battle! There is a light-heartedness,--a quickening of all the
springs of life. There is thrill in every nerve,--an exhilaration of
spirit,--a tension of every fibre. You see every movement, hear every
sound, and think not only of what is before you, but of home, of the
loved ones there,--of the possibility that you may never behold them
again. Some men review their lives, and ask themselves if they have
left anything undone which ought to have been done,--if their lives
have been complete.

The Little Rebel was opposite the Benton. There was a flash,--a puff
of smoke from her side,--a screaming of something unseen in the air
over my head,--a frightful sound. The shot fell far in our rear.
Another puff from the Beauregard, and the shot fell near the Benton. A
third came from the General Price, aimed at the Carondelet, passed
very near her larboard ports, and almost took our own boat in the bow.
My fear was all gone. I was in the fight. There was no possibility of
escaping from it. Wherever the boat went I must go. I should be just
as safe to keep cool as to be excited. Besides, it was a new
experience,--a new sight,--a grand exhibition. Interest, curiosity,
and reason mastered fear. I sat down in an arm-chair on the deck
beside the pilot-house, and made rapid notes of all that I saw. I
transcribe them:--

5.40 A. M. Cairo opens with a stern gun,--shot strikes close under
hull of Little Rebel. Our boats' bows up stream. Rebels advancing
slowly. Bang--bang--bang--bang from each of the vessels. A whole
broadside from Cairo. Another from Louisville. Air full of strange
noises. Shells burst overhead. Pieces raining all round us. Columns of
water tossed up. Both fleets enveloped in smoke. Very little wind.
Splinters thrown out from General Price. Can see a shot-hole with my
glass. Rebel fleet half-mile distant. Comes to a stand still. 6.00.
Queen of the West cutting loose from shore. Monarch also. Great black
clouds of smoke rolling up from their stacks. Steam hissing from their
pipes. Commodore Ellet on the Queen. Stands beside the pilot-house.
Sharpshooters looking from loop-holes. Queen wheels out into stream.
Passes between Benton and Carondelet. Are near enough to say good
morning to Commodore Ellet and wish him success. Monarch following
Queen, passing between Cairo and St. Louis. 6.25. Rebels moving down
stream. 6.35. Signal from Benton to round to and come to close
quarters. Queen surging ahead under full speed. Ploughs a wide furrow.
Aiming for Beauregard. Rebel fleet all opening on her. Shot crash
through her. Exciting scene. Sharpshooters at work. Beauregard puts
her helm down. Sheers off. Queen rushes by. Has missed her aim. Coming
round in a curve. Strikes the General Price. Tremendous crash. Men
jumping into water. Beauregard falling upon Queen of the West. Another
crash. Monarch close at hand. Smashes into Beauregard. Cracking of
rifles and muskets. Queen of the West sinking. Monarch throwing out a
warp. Towing her ashore. Benton close upon the General Lovell. Shot
strikes Lovell in bow. Rips from stem to stern. Water full of timber
and fragments. Lovell sinking. Man on deck. Left arm shattered, crying
help! help! help! Commotion on shore. Lovell goes down with a lurch.
River full of poor wretches struggling for life. Throwing up their
arms. Stream sweeps them away. Little Rebel fleeing to Arkansas shore.
The Jeff Thompson on fire. 7.05. Rebel fleet broken. Their guns all
silent. Beauregard sinking. We run alongside. Rebel officers lay
shattered. Sides of vessel spotted with blood. Pool of blood on deck.
Crew fled. Taken off by Little Rebel. Help lift wounded Rebel officer
on our boat. Thanked us, and said, "You are kinder than my own
comrades, for one of them was mean enough to steal my watch and pick
my pocket." Little Rebel run ashore. Crew fleeing into woods. Cairo
gives them parting broadside. Rebels crawling up the bank dripping
with water. 7.10. Boats of Benton and Carondelet picking up the
wretches. Van Dorn escaping down stream. 7.25. Fight over. Van Dorn
out of sight. Last gun fired. Jeff Thompson on fire in every part.
Grand explosion. Whole interior of boat lifted five hundred feet high.
Flames. Volumes of smoke. Bursting shells. Timbers, planks, fragments,
raining all around us.

It was a complete annihilation of the Rebel fleet. Not a man was lost
on our gunboats, and Commodore Ellet was the only one wounded.

The Rebel fleet began the action in good style, but maintained the
line of battle a few minutes only. The appearance of the rams threw
them into disorder. On the other hand, the line of battle taken by
Commodore Davis was preserved to the end. Everything was as systematic
and orderly as in a well-regulated household. The thought occurred, as
I saw the steady onward movement of the fleet, which, after once
starting to close in with the Rebels, did not for an instant slacken
speed, that he was clearing the river of all Rebel obstructions with
the same ease that a housewife sweeps dirt through a doorway. His
orders were few. The main thing was to get to close quarters.

Embracing an early opportunity to reach the shore, I mingled freely
with the crowd, to see how the thing was relished and to study the
feelings of the people. Some looked exceedingly sour; some
disconsolate; a few were defiant; many of the people were evidently
good-natured, but deeply humiliated. A gentleman, resident of the
city, informed me that he did not think the people cared anything
about the Union, or had any desire to return to it, but they had an
intense hatred of the tyranny to which they had been subjected, and
were ready to welcome anything which would relieve them.

The _Avalanche_ of that morning, hardly issued when the conflict
began, said:--

     "There was not a little excitement about the levee last night,
     occasioned by an officer coming down in a skiff announcing that
     three of the Federal gunboats were in the 'shute' above the
     Island. The signals and movements of the boats seemed to confirm
     the report, but we have no idea that it was true.

     "Yesterday was quite lively. All reports about Fort Pillow were
     listened to with interest, and they were not a few. By noon it
     was known that the fort was evacuated, and there was not a little
     excitement in consequence. Nearly all the stores were closed, and
     those that were open, with few exceptions, were rather indisposed
     to sell. Even a spool of cotton could not be had yesterday in
     stores which the day before had plenty and to spare. Besides the
     soldiers from Fort Pillow a fleet made us a visit which attracted
     much attention and formed the subject of general conversation.
     All seemed to regret what had been done and wished it were
     otherwise. So prevailing was the excitement that the common mode
     of salutation on Main Street was, 'When do you think the Federals
     will be here?' Each one made arrangements according to the tenor
     of the reply. Many persons were packing up to leave.

     "In a word, all who could began to consider anxiously the
     question whether to go or stay. There was much running about on
     the streets, and evidently more or less excitement on every
     countenance. Some took matters coolly, and still believe that the
     Federals will never go to Memphis by river. All obstructions to
     their progress have not been removed and probably will not be. In
     fact, the prospect is very good for a grand naval engagement,
     which shall eclipse anything ever seen before. There are many who
     would like the engagement to occur, who do not much relish the
     prospect of its occurring very near the city. They think deeper
     water and scope and verge enough for such an encounter may be
     found farther up the river. All, however, are rejoiced that
     Memphis will not fall till conclusions are first tried on water
     and at the cannon's mouth."

The "conclusions" had been tried and the people had seen their fleet
unceremoniously knocked to pieces.

There were thousands of negroes on the levee, interested spectators of
the scene. I asked one athletic man what he thought of it? "O massa, I
tinks a good deal of it. Uncle Abe's boats mighty powerful. Dey go
through our boats jus like dey was eggshells." Another one standing by
at once became interested in the conversation. Said he, "Captain Jeff
Thompson, he cotch it dis time! He; hi! O how de balls did whiz!"
There was an unmistakable sign of pleasure on the countenances of the
colored population.

In fifteen minutes after the occupation of the city, enterprising
news-boys accompanying the fleet were crying, "Here's the New York
Herald! Times and Tribune! Chicago and St. Louis papers!"

How wonderfully had the upper Mississippi been repossessed! One by one
the Rebel obstructions had been removed. How often had we been told
that they were impregnable! How often that the gunboats would be
destroyed! How often that never would the river be opened till the
Confederacy was a recognized independent power! One short year and
their labors,--the ditch-digging, the cannon-casting, boat-building,
their braggadocio, had come to naught.

The part taken by Commodore Ellet was glorious. He was a brave,
gallant, dashing officer, the son of a noble mother, who lived in
Philadelphia. Mr. Stuart, President of the Christian Commission,
relates that later in the war he called to see her, at her request, to
receive a large donation. He found a lady eighty-four years of age. A
grandson had been killed in battle, the body had been brought home,
and was lying in the house. Said Mrs. Ellet: "I have given my two
sons, Commodore Ellet and General Ellet, and four grandchildren to my
country. I don't regret this gift. If I had twenty sons I would give
them all, for the country must be preserved. And if I was twenty years
younger, I would go and fight myself to the last!"

[Illustration: With dispatch.]



[Sidenote: August, 1862.]

Great events were transpiring in Virginia. The magnificent army which
passed down the Potomac in March, which had thrown up the tremendous
fortifications at Yorktown, which had fought at Williamsburg, Fair
Oaks, Gaines's Mills, Savage Station, Glendale, and Malvern, was once
more at Washington. Manassas was a bloody plain. Pope had been
defeated, sacrificed by Fitz John Porter. Day after day the booming of
cannon had been heard in Washington, borne by the breezes along the
wooded valley of the Potomac; far away at first, then nearer at
Chantilly and Fairfax Court-House. Then came the stream of fugitives,
and broken, disheartened ranks back to Arlington. The streets of
Washington were thick with hungry, war-worn men. Long lines of
ambulances wended into the city, with wounded for the hospitals,
already overcrowded. The soldiers had pitiful tales to tell of the
scenes of the Peninsula, and of the gory field of Manassas,--how near
they came to victory,--how Hooker and Heintzelman rolled back the
lines of Stonewall Jackson,--how Fitz John Porter lingered within an
hour's march of the conflict, tardily coming into line, and moving
away when lightly pressed by the enemy. There were curses loud and
deep breathed against Porter, Pope, and McClellan. The partisans of
Porter and McClellan called Pope a braggadocio, while the soldiers who
had fought with obstinacy, who had doubled up Jackson in the first
day's battle, retorted that McClellan was a coward, who, through all
the engagements on the Peninsula took good care to be out of the reach
of hostile bullets or cannon shot. The cause of the Union was gloomy.
Burnside had been hurried up from North Carolina to aid in repelling
the invader. The sun shone peacefully through the August days,--summer
passed into autumn,

  "And calm and patient Nature kept
     Her ancient promise well,
   Though o'er her bloom and greenness swept
     The battle's breath of hell."

[Illustration: General McClellan at Williamsburg.]

Adversity is a test of faith. In those darkest hours there was no
faltering of hope. The heart of the nation was serene. The people
believed that God would give them the victory. The soldiers believed
it. Those who were passing away from earth, who with quickened sight
beheld the events of the hour in the light of eternity, trusted that
Providence would give the victory to their companions in arms.

Colonel Broadhead, of Michigan, lying upon the battle-field of
Manassas, with the shadow of death stealing over him, wrote a most
touching farewell letter to his wife, in which he expressed his
convictions as to who was responsible for the defeat.

     "MY DEAR WIFE:--

     "I write to you mortally wounded, from the battle-field. We have
     again been defeated, and ere this reaches you your children will
     be fatherless. Before I die let me implore that in some way it
     may be stated that General ---- has been outwitted, and that ----
     is a traitor. Had they done their duty as I did mine, and had led
     as I did, the dear old flag had waved in triumph. I wrote to you
     yesterday morning. To-day is Sunday, and to-day I sink to the
     green couch of our final rest. I have fought well, my darling;
     and I was shot in the endeavor to rally our broken battalions. I
     could have escaped, but would not until all our hope was gone,
     and was shot,--about the only one of our forces left on the
     field. Our cause is just, and our generals,--not the
     enemy's,--have defeated us. In God's good time he will give us
     the victory.

     "And now, good by, wife and children. Bring them up--I know you
     will--in the fear of God and love for the Saviour. But for you
     and the dear ones dependent, I should die happy. I know the blow
     will fall with crushing weight on you. Trust in Him who gave
     manna in the wilderness.

     "Dr. North is with me. It is now after midnight, and I have spent
     most of the night in sending messages to you. Two bullets have
     gone through my chest, and directly through my lungs. I suffer
     little now, but at first the pain was acute. I have won the
     soldier's name, and am ready to meet now, as I must, the
     soldier's fate. I hope that from heaven I may see the glorious
     old flag wave again over the undivided country I have loved so

     "Farewell, wife and friends, we shall meet again."

The military authorities were often indebted to newspaper
correspondents for intelligence concerning the movements of the
Rebels. One of the most indefatigable of the corps was Mr. U. H.
Painter, of the Philadelphia _Inquirer_. He was at Bristow Station
when Stuart made his first appearance in Pope's rear, capturing the
baggage of that officer. Mr. Painter was taken prisoner, but, true to
his profession, kept his eyes and ears open, listening to all that was
said by Stuart and his subordinate officers. Being in citizen's dress,
he managed to slip through the guard, but not till after he had
obtained important information relative to the movements of the enemy.
Reaching Washington, he at once sent an attaché of the paper up the
Potomac to Point of Rocks, also informed the government that the
Rebels were intending to invade Maryland. No credence was given to his
assertion; the government believed that Washington was the point aimed
at. The Rebels made their appearance at Point of Rocks, the messenger
on watch gave Mr. Painter information by telegraph that Stuart was
crossing. That gentleman informed the government of the fact, and
forwarded a despatch to his paper. The Washington papers in the
afternoon contained semi-official denials of the despatch to the
_Inquirer_. But information from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Company that the Rebels had possession of the road at Point of Rocks
could not be disputed. Even then the government was slow to believe
that the Rebels seriously intended a movement upon Maryland.

General Lee was flushed with success. He had reason to think well of
himself and of his troops. He had raised the siege of Richmond,
transferred the war to the vicinity of Washington, had defeated Pope
on the old battle-ground of Manassas, and driven the Union forces into
the defences of the capital. The troops believed that they could
accomplish anything,--overcome all obstacles,--sweep away the Union
army, and march to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York; and yet Lee
had made a miscalculation of the power of endurance on the part of his
troops, and the first invasion of the North failed, not only because
of the courage and tenacity of the Union soldiers at Antietam, but
also because the Rebel army had lost much of its aggressive power
through hard marching, constant fighting, and want of food. Jackson
had so worn down his troops that in the first day's fight at Manassas
he was defeated by Hooker and Heintzelman, and had it not been for the
timely arrival of Longstreet, would have been driven from the field.
In the second day's fight he could only hold his own, while
Longstreet, meeting with little opposition, was able to turn Pope's
left flank, and win the victory.

Lee entered Maryland as a liberator, believing that the people would
rise _en masse_ to welcome him; but he was greatly mistaken.

Taking the train from Philadelphia, I went to Harrisburg, Lancaster,
and York in Pennsylvania, and thence into western Maryland. Everywhere
the people were arming. All the able-bodied men were drilling. All
labor was at a stand-still. The fires of the founderies went out; the
farmers left their uncut grain in the field. Men worth millions of
dollars were in the ranks as privates. Members of Congress, professors
of colleges with their classes, iron-masters with their workmen,
ministers and the able-bodied men of their congregations, were
hastening to the rendezvous. The State Capitol grounds were swarming
with men, receiving arms and ammunition. It was a glorious exhibition
of patriotism; yet I could but think that they would offer a feeble
resistance in the open field to well-drilled troops. At Bunker Hill
raw militia stood the fire of British veterans; but such instances of
pluck are rare in history.

Going up the Cumberland Valley I reached Greencastle on the 14th of
September, ten miles from Hagerstown. I could hear a dull and heavy
booming of cannon to the south, in the direction of South Mountain;
but the Rebels were at Hagerstown, and had made a dash almost up to
Greencastle. The only troops in the place were a few companies
watching the border, and momentarily expecting the Rebels to appear.
Citizens of Maryland, some from Virginia, Union men, were there, ready
to run farther North on the slightest alarm.

[Sidenote: Sept., 1862.]

The little village was suddenly excited by the cry, "They are coming!"
"They are coming!" It was not a body of Rebels, however, but the Union
cavalry, which had cut their way out from Harper's Ferry in the night
before the pusillanimous surrender of Colonel Miles. They crossed the
pontoon bridge, moved up the Potomac, through wood-paths and by-ways,
twice coming in contact with the Rebel pickets, and falling in with
Longstreet's ammunition trains between Hagerstown and Williamsport,
consisting of one hundred wagons, which were captured. Many of the
teamsters were slaves, who were very glad to see the Yankees. They
were contented under their capture.

"Were you not frightened when you saw the Yankees?" I asked of one.

"Not de leastest bit, massa. I was glad to see 'em. Ye see, we all
wanted to get Norf. De captain of de guard, he tell me to whip up my
horses and get away, but I done cut for de woods right towards de

He chuckled merrily over it, and said, "I's in de service of de Union

He was driving the horses with evident satisfaction at the sudden
change in his fortunes.

When John Brown woke the world from its dreaming at Harper's Ferry, he
had an accomplice named Cook, who escaped and concealed himself in the
mountains of Pennsylvania, but who was hunted down by Fitz Hugh Miller
of Chambersburg. Among the Rebel prisoners was this same Fitz Hugh,
dressed in a suit of rusty gray, with a black ostrich plume in his
hat, sun-burned, dusty, having a hang-dog look. He was a captain in
the Rebel service. The Dutch blood of the citizens, usually as calm
and steady in its flow as the rivers of their Fatherland, came up with
a rush.

"Hang him! Down with the traitor! Kill him!" they shouted. They rushed
to seize him, but the guards kept the populace at bay. The excitement
increased. Miller appealed to the guards to protect him. He was
quickly hurried into the jail, which was strongly guarded. A great
change had taken place in the opinions of the people. They had been
indifferent to the questions of the hour, but the Rebel raid, by which
they had lost their horses, had taught them an excellent lesson.
Self-interest is sometimes a stimulant to patriotism. They even began
to look with complacency upon what John Brown had done.

[Illustration: General McClellan at the battle of Antietam.]

The Rebels evacuated Hagerstown on the morning of the 16th of
September, and an hour later I entered it on the first train, which
was greeted by the people with shouts and hurrahs and demonstrations
of joy, as if it brought emancipation from long bondage. Some of the
citizens had manifested sympathy with the Rebels. Still there were
groups of excited men in the streets, shouting, "We'll hang the
cusses. We've spotted them, and if they ever come back we'll be the
death of them, as sure as there is a God."

The battle of South Mountain had been fought, and the hostile armies
were concentrating for a trial of strength along the peaceful banks of
the Antietam.

I was awakened at daylight on the morning of the 17th of September by
the booming of cannon. It was a dull, leaden morning. The clouds hung
low upon the mountains, and swept in drifts along the hillsides. The
citizens of Hagerstown were astir,--some standing on the house-tops,
listening to the increasing thunder of the cannonade, some in the
church-steeples, others making haste to visit the field of battle. I
had no horse, but finding a stable-keeper, was soon the owner of one.
The horse-dealer was quite willing to dispose of his animals.
"Horse-flesh is mighty onsartin these days," said he. "The Rebels took
my best ones, and if they should come here again, I reckon they would
clean me out."

My first impulse was to push directly down the Sharpsburg turnpike and
gain the rear of the Rebels, enter their lines as a citizen, and see
the battle from their side.

"Don't do it, sir," said a citizen.

Upon reflection, it appeared to be good advice, and so turning about
(for I had already gone a mile or more in that direction) I took the
Boonsboro pike and rode rapidly towards the battle-field. Two or three
miles out I came across a Rebel soldier,--barefoot and bareheaded,
pale, sallow, worn out by hard marching, lying under an oak-tree by
the roadside. His gun was by his side. He raised his head and held up
his hand, as if to implore me not to harm him. He belonged to a
Georgia regiment, and had dropped by the way, too feeble to keep his
place in the ranks. He was taken care of by two citizens.

Striking off from the turnpike in a by-path, then across fields,
through oak groves, directed by the roar of battle, descending a steep
hill, and fording the Antietam, I gained the battle-field in rear of
the right wing, where Hooker was in command. Passing beyond the field
hospitals, I reached the hill, on Poffenberg's farm.

The fire was raging fearfully in front of Sumner; but Hooker's and
Mansfield's cannon were silent, cooling their brazen lips after the
morning's fever. In the hollow behind the ridge, east of Poffenberg's
house, the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps--what was left of them--were
lying, sad, yet not disheartened. How changed from what they were a
year before, then fifteen thousand strong!

"We cannot lose many more," said one, as I talked of the morning's
action. Gibbons's brigade, of Hooker's corps, had crossed the
turnpike, and was holding the ground in the woods between it and the

Ascending the ridge, I came upon Battery B, Fourth Artillery, also
Cooper's and Easton's Pennsylvania batteries, the New Hampshire Ninth
and Rhode Island Fifth,--thirty pieces bearing on the cornfield and
the wood-crowned hill, where, alas! a thousand of as brave men as ever
breathed were lying, who just before had moved to meet the enemy.

The firing was hot and heavy a few rods south.

The fight began with the pickets in the night, and was taken up by the
artillery at daylight. The Rebels had concentrated a heavy force on
their left, we on our right, because the lay of the land required it,
the right being our strongest ground, and their left their weakest.
The ridge behind Poffenberg's house was the door-post on which our
fortunes hinged. Not so with them,--theirs was a double door, its
hinge being in the woods bordering the turnpike south of the

Hooker gave Meade, with the Pennsylvania Reserves, the right, Ricketts
the left, and placed Doubleday in support in rear. Mansfield joined
Hooker's left, but was an hour behind time. Sumner was slow to come
into action. Hooker advanced, drove in the Rebel pickets, found a
Rebel battery on his extreme right, which, as soon as he came within
its range began to plough him with a flanking fire. Meade obliqued to
the right, poured in a few volleys, and drove the enemy across the
turnpike. This was the extreme left of the enemy's line. Hooker
crossed the turnpike a few rods north of Poffenberg's, marched through
the fields to the ridge by the cornfield. Having obtained possession
of the ridge east of Poffenberg's, he planted his batteries and opened
a fierce cannonade upon the Rebels.

The ground in front of Hooker was the scene of repeated struggles. In
the afternoon the Rebels made a desperate attempt to regain what they
had lost. They came down through the cornfield, west of the turnpike,
under cover of their batteries. Hooker, Dana, Sedgwick, Hartsuff,
Richardson, and Mansfield, all general officers, had been carried from
the field wounded. General Howard was in command of the right wing. I
was talking with him, when an officer dashed up and said, "General,
the Rebels are coming down on us."

We were in the open field, a few rods southeast of Poffenberg's barn.
General Howard rode forward a few steps, looked through the leafy
branches of the oaks along the turnpike. We could see the dark lines
of the enemy moving through the cornfield. "Tell the batteries to give
them the heaviest fire possible," he said. It was spoken as
deliberately as if he had said to his servant, "Bring me a glass of
water." How those thirty pieces of artillery opened! Crack! crack!
crack! and then a volley by artillery! How those gray lines wavered,
swayed to and fro, and melted away!

In Poffenberg's door-yard, along the turnpike, were two noble horses,
both killed by the same cannon-shot, smashing the head of one and
tearing the neck of the other. The dead of the Pennsylvania Reserves
laid under the palings of the garden fence. The gable of the house was
torn to pieces by a shell. In the field in front dead men in blue and
dead men in gray were thickly strown; and still farther out, along the
narrow lane which runs southwest from the house, they were as thick as
the withered leaves in autumn. How the battle-storm howled through
those woods, fiercer than the blasts of November! It was a tornado
which wrenched off the trunks of oaks large enough for a ship's
keelson,--riving them, splintering them with the force of a

If the blow which Hooker gave had been a little more powerful,--if
Mansfield had been ordered in at the same instant with Hooker,--if
Sumner had fallen upon the Rebel centre at the same time,--there can
be but little doubt as to what would have been the result. But the
battle of Antietam was fought by piecemeal. Hooker exhausted his
strength before Mansfield came up; Mansfield was repulsed before
Sumner came in; while Burnside, who had the most difficult task of
all, was censured by McClellan for not carrying the bridge early in
the morning. Yet Franklin, who arrived at noon, was only partially
engaged, while Porter was ordered to stand a silent spectator through
the day. The several corps of the Union army were like untrained teams
of horses,--each pulled with all its strength, but no two succeeded in
pulling together.

It was not far from twelve o'clock when the arrangements were
completed for Sumner's movement. The artillery prepared the way for
advance, by pouring in a heavy fire from all directions. The
configuration of the ground admitted of this. The cornfield sloped
toward the Antietam, and by careful scrutiny the Rebels could be seen
lying down to avoid the shot and shells. It was a moment of anxious
expectation to us who beheld the movement.

The divisions moved past the cemetery, past Roulet's house, the left
of French's and the right of Richardson's, joining in the ravine. A
few rods beyond the house the Rebel skirmishers opened a galling fire.
Our own advanced rapidly, drove them in through the nearest cornfield.
They fled to the road, and the field beyond.

The road is narrow, and by long usage and heavy rains, has become a
trench, a natural rifle-pit about two and a half feet deep. The Rebels
had thrown off the top rails of the fence in front, and strengthened
the position by making them into _abatti_,--imitating the example set
by General Stark on the northeastern slope of Bunker Hill, in 1775.

The roadway was their first line; their second was in the corn, five
or six rods farther west.

[Illustration: The sunken road.]

The Union troops advanced in front of the road, when up rose the first
Rebel line. The fence became a line of flame and smoke. The cornfield
beyond, on higher ground, was a sheet of fire. With a rush and
cheer, the men in blue moved up to the fence, ploughed through and
through by the batteries above, cut and gashed by the leaden hail,
thrust the muzzles of their guns into the faces of the Rebels and

The first Rebel line was nearly annihilated, and the dead lying
beneath the tasselled corn were almost as many as the golden ears upon
the stalks. Visiting the spot when the contest was over, I judged from
a little counting that a thousand of the enemy's dead were in the road
and the adjoining field. A shell had thrown seven into one heap,--some
on their faces, some on their backs,--fallen as a handful of straws
would fall when dropped upon the ground. But not they alone suffered.
The bloody tide which had surged through all the morning between the
ridges above, along the right, had flowed over the hill at this
noontide hour. The yellow soil became crimson; the russet corn-leaves
turned to red, as if autumn had put on in a moment her richest glory.
How costly! Five thousand men,--I think I do not exaggerate,--wounded
and dead, lay along that pathway and in the adjoining field![6]

         [Footnote 6: The accompanying illustration is an accurate
         representation drawn by Mr. Wand, who witnessed the battle.
         The battery in the foreground is north of the house of Mr.
         Roulet, near the centre of Sumner's line. French's and
         Richardson's divisions are seen in the middle of the picture,
         and the Rebels under D. H. Hill and Longstreet beyond.]

To Burnside was assigned the duty of carrying the stone bridge, two
miles below the turnpike, and taking the batteries which were in
position south of Sharpsburg. It was a difficult task. A high-banked
stream, bordered by willows; a narrow bridge; a steep hill; cleared
lands, with no shelter from the batteries in front and on both his
flanks, after he should have succeeded in crossing the stream.

Burnside planted his cannon on the high hills or ridges east of the
river, and kept them in play a long time before any attempt was made
on the bridge by infantry. The Rebel batteries replied, and there was
an incessant storm of shot and shell.

The road on the eastern side winds down a ravine to the river, which
is an hundred feet below the summit of the hills where his artillery
was posted. It is a narrow path, with a natural embankment on the
right hand, covered with oaks. There is a piece of bottom land eight
or ten rods wide on the eastern side of the river. The bridge is
narrow and about seventy-five feet long. After crossing the stream the
road runs diagonally up the bank toward the north. On the western side
are willows fringing the stream, their graceful branches bending down
to the water, and covering the opposite shore. The bank is very
abrupt. A small force on either side can hold the bridge against a
large body of men.

The bridge was carried in the afternoon by a desperate charge. I was
watching operations in the centre at the time, and saw only the smoke
of the contest on the left, and heard its deafening roar. Riding down
there later in the day, I witnessed the last attack. Both parties had
put on new vigor at the sunset hour. The fire kindled along the line.
Far upon the right was the smoke of thirty cannon, rising in a white
sulphurous cloud. The woods opposite, where the Rebel batteries were,
flamed like a furnace. A little nearer Sumner's artillery was
thundering and hurling its bolts into the Rebels by the Dunker church.
Ayers's battery was pouring a deadly fire into the cornfield, west of
Roulet's, where the Rebel line was lying under cover. Above, on the
highest hillock, a half-mile from Sharpsburg, a heavy Rebel battery
boomed defiance. Richardson's artillery, immediately in front, was
sending shells upon the hill and into Sharpsburg, where hay-stacks,
houses and barns were burning, rolling up tall pillars of cloud and
flame to heaven. At our left Burnside's heavy guns worked mightily,
answered by the opposing batteries. The musketry had ceased, save a
few volleys rolling from beyond the willows in the valley, and a
little dripping, like rain-drops after a shower. It was a continuous
roll of thunder. The sun went down, reddened in the smoky haze.

[Illustration: Battle of Antietam.]

After the retreat of Lee, I rode over the ground occupied by the
Rebels, and surveyed the field from every point. The dead were thickly
strewn. A Rebel battery had occupied the ground around the Dunker
church, a small brick building on the turnpike, a mile south of
Poffenberg's. At its door-step lay a major, a captain, and eleven men,
all dead. A wounded horse, unable to lie down, was standing near a
dismantled caisson. Almost human was the beseeching look of the dumb
beast! Near by was a soldier lying with his eyes fixed on heaven. He
had died calmly. His pocket Bible was open upon his breast. Taking it
up my eye fell upon the words: "Though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff, they comfort me." All the turmoil of life was over. He
had done his duty, and had passed on to his reward.[7]

         [Footnote 7: Want of space compels me to give only a sketch
         of the battle; but a full, circumstantial, and detailed
         account of the positions and movements of the two armies may
         be found in "Following the Flag," published by Messrs.
         Ticknor and Fields of Boston.]

Lee recrossed the Potomac without molestation from McClellan, and the
two armies went into camp, as if mutually agreed upon having a season
of rest after the hardships of the campaign.

[Illustration: For the boys in blue.]



[Sidenote: October, 1862.]

Simultaneous with Lee's advance into Maryland was that of General
Bragg into Kentucky. As there were no indications that McClellan would
follow Lee into Virginia, I hastened to Kentucky to observe the events
transpiring in that department. General Buell was still in command of
the Union forces. He had been lying quiet through the summer,
occupying Chattanooga on the east, Florence on the west, and spreading
his troops over a large territory. There were detachments at
Nashville, McMinnville, Murfreesboro, and Mumfordville. This force in
Tennessee was piled in the form of a pyramid, Florence and Chattanooga
being the base and Nashville the apex. In addition there was a force
under General Morgan holding Cumberland Gap, a passage in the
mountains at the extreme southwestern part of Virginia, where the Old
Dominion rests like the point of a ploughshare against the mountains
which separate it from Kentucky. Since Daniel Boone passed through it,
the Gap has been the great thoroughfare between the West and East. The
distance from the Gap, where Morgan was keeping watch and ward, to
Chattanooga, is about one hundred and forty miles. Through this
gateway the Rebels resolved to enter Kentucky, replenish their stores,
make a demonstration upon Cincinnati, capture Louisville, cut off
Buell's supplies and communications, outflank him, destroy his army,
transfer the war to the Ohio River, and redeem Kentucky. Buell was in
repose, unconscious of General Bragg's intentions.

Bragg formed his army in three columns near Knoxville,--one to move
upon the Gap, approaching it from the west, the second, under Kirby
Smith, to move directly upon Lexington, Danville, and Frankfort, the
third to capture the six thousand at Mumfordville, and then joining
the second division at Lexington, push on in conjunction with it to
Louisville. John Morgan, the commander of the Rebel cavalry, moved in
advance and captured Morgan's supply trains on the 17th of August. It
was the first intimation General Morgan or Buell had of the intentions
of the Rebels. Morgan knew not what was going on in his rear. The
Rebels prudently refrained from attacking him. The pass would fall
into their hands when all their plans were ripe. Morgan held his
position till the 17th of September, when, having exhausted his
provisions, he spiked his guns, destroyed the fortifications, and all
his tent equipage, and marched north to the Ohio River, through the
mountains, reaching it without loss.

The centre column of the Rebels moved upon Frankfort, gathering up
cattle, horses, goods of all kinds, cloth, clothes, boots, shoes,
grain, and everything which could minister to their comfort. They
visited the wealthy farmers of the bluegrass region, selected the best
Kentucky stock, purchased all the new wheat, set the flour-mills a
humming, keeping the millers at it day and night. Never were millers
so busy, each miller tending his grinding with a Rebel bayonet at his
door, the glittering of which reminded him that he had a duty to
perform to the Confederacy.

At Frankfort, the capital of the State, they took possession of the
state-house, inaugurated a governor, had a grand procession, with
speeches, and a banquet, and a general gala-day. They invited the
merchants to open their stores, made princely purchases of goods,
paying liberally in the legal currency of the Confederacy. They sent
off long lines of wagons toward the South laden with supplies. The
Kentucky farmers were relieved of their negroes as well as of their
horses. They _took_ the negroes, saying to their masters, "Swear
allegiance to the Confederacy and you shall be paid, but otherwise
they shall be confiscated."

Thousands of slaves fled across the Ohio, for fear of being captured.
Thus the war was a double reverse acting mill, grinding slavery to
powder in the State. For six weeks the Rebels had it all their own

The third column moved upon Mumfordville, surprised the six thousand
men in that place, and pushed on towards Louisville. The Rebel forces
were far on their way before Buell awoke from his dreaming. He
gathered in his divisions, and keeping west of Bragg, made haste to
reach Louisville. If after taking Mumfordville Bragg had pushed on
rapidly, he doubtless could have taken Louisville, but waiting a day,
the golden opportunity was lost. He was evidently well pleased with
his reception at Lexington and Frankfort. A Rebel writer thus
describes the former:--

     "The entrance of our troops into Lexington was the occasion of
     the most inspiriting and touching scenes. Streets, windows, and
     gardens were filled with ladies and little girls with streamers
     of red and blue ribbons and flags with stars. Beautiful women
     seized the hard brown hands of our rough and ragged soldiers, and
     with tears and smiles thanked them again and again for coming
     into Kentucky and freeing them from the presence and insults of
     the hated and insolent Yankees. For hours the enthusiasm of the
     people was unbounded. At every corner of the streets baskets of
     provisions and buckets of water were placed for the refreshment
     of our weary soldiers, and hundreds of our men were presented
     with shoes and hats and coats and tobacco by the grateful people.
     Private residences were turned for the time into public houses of
     entertainment, free to all who could be persuaded to go and eat.
     But if the reception of the infantry was enthusiastic, the tears,
     the smiles, and shouts and cheers of wild delight which greeted
     General John Morgan's cavalry, as they came dashing through the
     streets amidst clouds of dust, was without a parallel. The
     wildest joy ruled the hours. The bells of the city pealed forth
     their joyous welcome, whilst the waving of thousands of white
     handkerchiefs and tiny confederate flags attested the gladness
     and delight of every heart."[8]

         [Footnote 8: Pollard's Second Year of the War, p. 152.]

There were also gay times in Frankfort. Mr. Harris was inaugurated
Provisional Governor of the State by special order of General Bragg,
which read as follows:--

     "HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF KENTUCKY, Lexington, October 2, 1862.

     "Installation of the Provisional Governor at Frankfort on
     Saturday, October 4th, at 12 M. Major-General Smith is charged
     with the management of the military escort, guard, and salute.

     "The Governor will be escorted from his quarters by a squadron of
     cavalry, and accompanied by the Commander of the Confederate
     State forces, Major-General Buckner, Brigadier-General Preston,
     and their respective staffs. The Commanding General will present
     the Governor to the people, and transfer in behalf of the
     Confederate States the civil orders of the State, and public
     records and property.

     "By order.

                                "BRAXTON BRAGG, _General Commanding_."

A host of generals graced the occasion,--Bragg, Kirby Smith, Buckner,
Stevenson, Claiborne, Heath, Churchill, Preston Smith, and William
Preston. The Capital Hotel, where the politics of the country were
wont to be discussed by Henry Clay, Crittenden, and other great lights
of former days, was crowded by the chivalry of the South. The landlord
found his larder depleting, his liquors disappearing, but he had
baskets full of Confederate notes, in exchange for food, fire, and
lodging, liquors and cigars. The ladies kept open house, and invited
the Rebel officers to tea on the auspicious occasion.

Meanwhile General Dumont's division of Union troops, and General
Sill's division were approaching Frankfort from the north. General
Bragg was dining with the accomplished Mrs. Preston, when a messenger
dashed into town with the intelligence of the advance of the Union
troops. Governor Harris,--six hours a Governor,--packed his carpet-bag
in great haste. The brilliant throng of Rebel officers mounted their
horses, the ladies took down their miniature flags, while the citizens
of the place prepared to change their politics. The Rebel force in the
town consisted of two regiments of infantry and one of cavalry,
guarding the turnpike bridge across the Kentucky river.

The Union cavalry came thundering down the hill. It was in the
evening; and without halting to ascertain who or what they were to
encounter, dashed across the bridge. The Rebels gave one irresolute
volley and fled precipitately from the town, which was once more and
for a finality in the hands of the Union men. Four days later the
battle of Perryville was fought, and then the Rebels retired from the
State with their booty.

Their visit was at once a curse and a blessing,--a curse, because of
the havoc, the desolation, and pillage; a blessing, because it brought
Kentuckians to a sharp corner. The President had just issued his
Proclamation of freedom, and Kentucky slaveholders were grumbling, and
were ready to shake hands with the Rebels. They had welcomed their
Southern friends, who had robbed and plundered them without stint.

There was a marked change visible in the opinions of most men. The
high-handed outrages, the authorized thieving, the forcing of
Confederate notes upon the people, making it treason to refuse them in
exchange for horses, cattle, clothes, and provisions, the confiscation
of negroes, the grotesque appearance of the Rebel soldiers,--

  "Some in rags, some in tags,
   But none in velvet gowns,"--

as reads the old nursery rhyme, dissipated the illusion in which many
men had indulged. Bunyan's two pilgrims, Christian and Faithful, met a
black man clothed in white garments, as they journeyed over the
enchanted ground, who, with many fair speeches, would have turned them
from the glittering gates of the golden city; but when the robe
dropped from his limbs they saw that he was hideous, and that to
follow him was to go back again to the city of Destruction. So
Kentucky had seen the flatterer. The white robe had fallen; he was
repulsive. Ladies who wished to welcome the Rebels as soldiers of the
chivalrous South shrank with horror from the filthy crowd. The
enchantment was ended. Loyalty was taking root.

Yet there were many old planters, partisans of an effete party,--once
Democratic in principle,--who clung to slavery with a tenacity like
that of barnacles to a worm-eaten hulk. The Louisville _Journal_
condemned the Proclamation, giving utterance to the voice of the
slaveholders, declaring that the Proclamation would have no binding
force in that State; but the soldiers hailed it with joy. They felt
that slavery was the cause of the war, and were longing to see it
overthrown. Bragg having left the State, many masters began to look up
their slaves, some of whom had fled to the Union lines for protection.

One wing of the army was resting at Williamstown, about twenty-five
miles south of Cincinnati, in which was a division commanded by
General Q. A. Gillmore; then a brigadier who, in common with many
other officers, believed in what was called the "Kentucky policy."
When the army began a forward movement in pursuit of Bragg, General
Gillmore issued an order, known as General Order No. 5, which reads as

     "All contrabands, except officers' servants, will be left behind
     when the army moves to-morrow morning. Public transportation will
     in no case be furnished to officers' servants.

     "Commanders of regiments and detachments will see this order
     promptly enforced."

Among the regiments of the division was the Twenty-Second Wisconsin,
Colonel Utley, an officer who had no sympathy with slavery. He had a
cool head and a good deal of nerve. He had read the Proclamation of
President Lincoln, and made up his mind to do what was right,
recognizing the President as his Commander-in-Chief, and not the State
of Kentucky. There were negroes accompanying his regiment, and he did
not see fit to turn them out. Three days later he received the
following note:--

                                                    "October 18, 1862.

     "COLONEL: You will at once send to my head-quarters the four
     contrabands, John, Abe, George, and Dick, known to belong to good
     and loyal citizens. They are in your regiment, or were this

     "Your obedient servant,

                                "Q. A. GILLMORE, _Brigadier-General_."

Colonel Utley, instead of sending the men, replied:--

     "Permit me to say, that I recognize your authority to command me
     in all military matters pertaining to the military movements of
     the army. I do not look upon this as belonging to that
     department. I recognize no authority on the subject of delivering
     up contrabands save that of the President of the United States.

     "You are, no doubt, conversant with that Proclamation, dated
     Sept. 22, 1862, and the law of Congress on the subject. In
     conclusion, I will say, that I had nothing to do with their
     coming into camp, and shall have nothing to do with sending them

The note was despatched to division head-quarters. Soon after an
officer called upon Colonel Utley.

"You are wanted, sir, at General Gillmore's quarters."

Colonel Utley made his appearance before General Gillmore.

"I sent you an order this evening."

"Yes, sir, and I refused to obey it."

"I intend to be obeyed, sir. I shall settle this matter at once. I
shall repeat the order in the morning."

"General, to save you the trouble and folly of such a course, let me
say that I shall not obey it."

The Colonel departed. Morning came, but brought no order for the
delivery of the contrabands to their former owner.

As the regiment passed through Georgetown, a large number of slaves
belonging to citizens of that place fled from their masters, and found
shelter in the army. Some of the officers who had less nerve than
Colonel Utley gave them up, or permitted the owners to come and take
them. A Michigan regiment marching through the town had its lines
entered by armed citizens, who forcibly took away their slaves.
Colonel Utley informed the inhabitants that any attempt to take
contrabands from his lines would be resisted.

"Let me say to you, gentlemen," he said to a delegation of the
citizens, "that my men will march with loaded muskets, and if any
attempt is made upon my regiment, I shall sweep your streets with
fire, and close the history of Georgetown. If you seriously intend any
such business, I advise you to remove the women and children."

The regiment marched the next morning with loaded muskets. The
citizens beheld their negroes sheltered and protected by a forest of
gleaming bayonets, and wisely concluded not to attempt the recovery of
the uncertain property.

The day after its arrival in Nicholasville, a large, portly gentleman,
lying back in an elegant carriage, rode up to the camp, and making his
appearance before the Colonel, introduced himself as Judge Robertson,
Chief Justice of the State of Kentucky.

"I am in pursuit of one of my boys, who I understand is in this
regiment," he said.

"You mean one of your slaves, I presume?"

"Yes, sir. Here is an order from the General, which you will see
directs that I may be permitted to enter the lines and get the boy,"
said the Judge, with great dignity.

"I do not permit any civilian to enter my lines for any such
purpose," said the Colonel.

[Illustration: Slaves fleeing to the Army for protection.]

The Judge sat down, not greatly astonished, for the reputation of the
Twenty-Second Wisconsin, as an abolition regiment, was well
established. He began to argue the matter. He talked of the
compromises of the Constitution, and proceeded to say:--

"I was in Congress, sir, when the Missouri Compromise was adopted, and
voted for it; but I am opposed to slavery, and I once wrote an essay
on the subject, favoring emancipation."

"Well, sir, all that may be. If you did it from principle, it was
commendable; but your mission here to-day gives the lie to your
professions. I don't permit negro-hunters to go through my regiment;
but I will see if I can find the boy, and if he is willing to go I
will not hinder him."

The Colonel went out and found the negro Joe, a poor, half-starved,
undersized boy, nineteen years old. He told his story. He belonged to
the Judge, who had let him to a brutal Irish man for $50 a year. He
had been kicked and cuffed, starved and whipped, till he could stand
it no longer. He went to the Judge and complained, but had been sent
back only to receive a worse thrashing for daring to complain. At last
he took to the woods, lived on walnuts, green corn, and apples,
sleeping among the corn-shucks and wheat-stacks till the army came.
There were tears in Joe's eyes as he rehearsed his sufferings.

The Colonel went back to the Judge.

"Have you found him?"

"I have found a little yellow boy, who says that he belongs to a man
in Lexington. Come and see him."

"This man claims you as his property, Joe; he says that you ran away
and left him," said the Colonel.

"Yes, sah, I belongs to him," said Joe, who told his story again in a
plain, straightforward manner, showing a neck scarred and cut by the

"You can talk with Joe, sir, if you wish," said the Colonel.

"Have not I always treated you well?" the Judge asked.

"No, massa, you hasn't," was the square, plump reply.

"How so?"

"When I came to you and told you I couldn't stand it any longer, you
said, 'Go back, you dog!'"

"Did not I tell you that I would take you away?"

"Yes, massa, but you never did it."

The soldiers came round and listened. Joe saw that they were friends.
The Judge stood speechless a moment.

"Joe," said the Colonel, "are you willing to go home with your

"No, sah, I isn't."

"Judge Robertson, I don't think you can get that boy. If you think you
can, there he is, try it. I shall have nothing to do with it," said
the Colonel, casting a significant glance around to the soldiers who
had gathered about them.

The Judge saw that he could not lay hands upon Joe. "I'll see whether
there is any virtue in the laws of Kentucky," he said, with great

"Perhaps, Judge, it will be as well for you to leave the camp. Some of
my men are a little excitable on the subject of slavery."

"You are a set of nigger-stealers," said the Judge, losing his temper.

"Allow me to say, Judge, that it does not become you to call us
nigger-stealers. You talk about nigger-stealing,--you who live on the
sweat and blood of such creatures as Joe! Your dwellings, your
churches, are built from the earnings of slaves, beaten out of them by
brutal overseers. You hire little children out to brutes,--you clothe
them in rags,--you hunt them with hounds,--you chain them down to toil
and suffering! You call us thieves because we have given your Joe food
and protection! Sir, I would rather be in the place of Joe than in
that of his oppressor!" was the indignant outburst of the Colonel.

"Well, sir, if that is the way you men of the North feel, the Union
never can be saved,--never! You must give up our property."

"Judge, allow me to tell you what sort of Unionism I have found in
Kentucky. I have not seen a half-dozen who did not damn the President.
You may put all the pure Unionism in Kentucky in one scale, and a
ten-pound nigger baby in the other, and the Unionism will kick the
beam. Allow me to say, further, that if the perpetuity or restoration
of the Union depends upon my delivering to you with my own hands that
little half-starved dwarf of a slave, the Union may be cast into hell
with all the nations that forget God!"

"The President's Proclamation is unconstitutional. It has no bearing
on Kentucky. I see that it is your deliberate intention to set at
naught the laws," said the Judge, turning away, and walking to General
Gillmore's head-quarters.

"You are wanted at the General's head-quarters," said an aid, soon
after, to Colonel Utley.

The Colonel obeyed the summons, and found there not only Judge
Robertson, but several fine old Kentucky gentlemen; also Colonel
Coburn, the commander of the brigade, who agreed with General Gillmore
in the policy then current. Colonel Coburn said:--

"The policy of the commanding generals, as I understand it, is simply
this: that persons who have lost slaves have a right to hunt for them
anywhere in the State. If a slave gets inside of the lines of a
regiment, the owner has a right to enter those lines, just as if no
regiment was there, and take away the fugitive at his own pleasure."

"Precisely so. The Proclamation has no force in this State," said the

"I regret that I am under the necessity of differing in opinion from
my commanding officers, to whom I am ready at all times to render
strict _military_ obedience, but (the Colonel raised his voice) _I
reverse the Kentucky policy!_ I hold that the regiment stands
precisely as though there were no slavery in Kentucky. We came here as
free men, from a free State, at the call of the President to uphold a
free government. We have nothing to do with slavery. The Twenty-Second
Wisconsin, while I have the honor to command it, will never be a
regiment of nigger-catchers. I will not allow civilians to enter my
lines at pleasure; it is unmilitary. Were I to permit it, I should be
justly amenable to a court-martial. Were I to do it, spies might enter
my lines at all times and depart at pleasure."

There was silence. But Judge Robertson was loath to go away without
his flesh and blood. He made one more effort. "Colonel, I did not come
to your lines as a spy, but with an order from your General. Are you
willing that I should go and get my boy?"

The Colonel reflected a moment.

"Yes, sir, and I will remain here. I told you before that I should
have nothing to do with it."

"Do you think that the men will permit me to take him?"

"I have no orders to issue to them in the matter; they will do just as
they please."

"Will you send the boy into some other regiment?"

This was too much for the Colonel. He could no longer restrain his
indignation. Looking the Judge squarely in the face, he vented his
anger in scathing words.

The Judge departed, and at the next session of the Court Colonel Utley
was indicted for man-stealing; but he has not yet been brought to
trial. The case is postponed till the day of Judgment, when a
righteous verdict will be rendered.

The Judge returned to Lexington, called a public meeting, at which he
made a speech, denouncing the Twenty-Second Wisconsin as an abolition
regiment, and introducing resolutions declaring that the Union never
could be restored if the laws of the State of Kentucky were thus set
at defiance. This from the Judge, while his son was in the Rebel
service, fighting against the Union.

But the matter was not yet over. A few days later, the division
containing the Twenty-Second Wisconsin, commanded by General Baird,
_vice_ Gillmore, was ordered down the river. It went to Louisville,
followed by the slave-hunters, who were determined to have their

Orders were issued to the colonels not to take any contrabands on
board the boats, and most of them obeyed. Colonel Utley issued no

A citizen called upon him and said,--

"Colonel, you will have trouble in going through the city unless you
give up the negroes in your lines."

The regiment was then on its march to the wharf.

"They have taken all the negroes from the ranks of the other
regiments, and they intend to take yours."

The Colonel turned to his men and said, quietly, "Fix bayonets."

The regiment moved on through the streets, and reached the Gault
House, where the slaveholders had congregated. A half-dozen approached
the regiment rather cautiously, but one bolder than the rest sprang
into the ranks and seized a negro by the collar.

A dozen bayonets came down around him, some not very gently. He let go
his hold and sprang back again quite as quickly as he entered the

There was a shaking of fists and muttered curses, but the regiment
passed on to the landing, just as if nothing had happened.

General Granger, who had charge of the transportation, had issued
orders that no negro should be allowed on the boats without free

General Baird saw the negroes on the steamer, and approaching Colonel
Utley, said,--

"Why, Colonel, how is this? Have all of these negroes free papers?"

"Perhaps not all, but those who haven't, _have declared their
intentions!_" said the Colonel.

The Twenty-Second took transportation on the steamer Commercial. The
captain of the boat was a Kentuckian, who came to Colonel Utley in
great trepidation, saying: "Colonel, I can't start till those negroes
are put on shore. I shall be held responsible. My boat will be seized
and libelled under the laws of the State."

"I can't help that, sir; the boat is under the control and in the
employ of the government. I am commander on board, and you have
nothing to do but to steam up and go where you are directed. Otherwise
I shall be under the necessity of arresting you."

The captain departed and began his preparations. But now came the
sheriff of Jefferson County with a writ. He wanted the bodies of
George, Abraham, John, and Dick, who were still with the
Twenty-Second. They were the runaway property of a fellow named Hogan,
who a few days before had figured in a convention held at Frankfort,
in which he introduced a series of Secession resolutions.

"I have a writ for your arrest, but I am willing to waive all action
on condition of your giving up the fugitives which you are harboring
contrary to the peace and dignity of the State," said the sheriff.

"I have other business to attend to just now. I am under orders from
my superiors in command to proceed down the river without any delay,
and must get the boat under way," said the Colonel, bowing, politely.

"But, Colonel, you are aware of the consequences of deliberately
setting at defiance the laws of a sovereign State," said the sheriff.

"Are you all ready there?" said the Colonel, not to the sheriff, but
to the officer of the day who had charge of affairs.

"Yes, sir."

"Then cast off."

The game of bluff had been played between the Twenty-Second Wisconsin
and the State of Kentucky, and Wisconsin had won.

The sheriff jumped ashore. There were hoarse puffs from the
steam-pipes, the great wheels turned in the stream, the Commercial
swung from her moorings, and the soldiers of Wisconsin floated down
the broad Ohio with the stars and stripes waving above them.

By their devotion to principle, by the firmness of their commander,
they had given the cause of Freedom a mighty uplift in the old State
of Kentucky.

I recall an evening in the Louisville Hotel. Officers of the
army,--majors, captains, lieutenants,--were there from camp, chatting
with the ladies. It was a pleasant company,--an hour of comfort and
pleasure. The evening was chilly, and a coal-fire in the grate sent
out its genial warmth. The cut glass of the chandeliers sparkled with
ruby, purple, and amethyst in the changing light. In the anterooms
there were chess-players absorbed in the intellectual game, with a
knot of silent spectators.

At the dinner-table Mr. Brown was my servant. His complexion was a
shade darker than mine. He served me faithfully, wearing a white
cotton jacket and apron. He entered the parlor in the evening, not
wearing his hotel uniform, but faultlessly dressed as a gentleman. He
brought not a lady, but a double-bass viol. He was followed by two
fellow-servants, one with a violin, the other with a banjo. The one
with the violin was a short, thick-set, curly-headed African,--black
as the King of Dahomey. The other was whiter than most of the officers
in the room.

They were the hotel table-waiters and also a quadrille band. The
violinist did not know B flat from F sharp. Musical notation was Greek
to him; but he had rhythm, a quick, tuneful ear, and an appreciation
of the beautiful in music rarely found among the many thousands who
take lessons by the quarter. He did not give us Old Tar River, Uncle
Ned, and O Susannah, but themes from Labitsky and Donizetti,--melodies
which once heard are long remembered. His two comrades accompanied him
in time and tune. For the young ladies and officers it was a
delightful hour. Mr. Brown was the factotum, calling the changes with
as much steadiness and precision, while handling the double-bass, as
Hall or Dodworth at the grand ball to the Prince of Wales. So we were
served by four thousand dollars' worth of body and soul!

The doorway leading into the hall was a portrait-gallery of dusky
faces,--Dinah, Julia, Sam, and James; old aunt Rebecca, with a yellow
turban on her head; young Sarah, three feet high, bare-legged,
bare-armed, in a torn, greasy calico dress,--her only garment; young
Toney, who had so much India-rubber in his heels that he capered
irrepressibly through the hall and executed a double-shuffle. While
the grand stairway, leading to the halls above was piled with dark,
eager faces, reminding one of the crowded auditory looking upon
Belshazzar's feast in the great picture of Allston,--fifteen, twenty,
thirty thousand dollars' worth of bones, blood, and brains!

The violinist was in trouble. The screws would not stick, and in spite
of his spitting in the holes, his twisting and turning, he was obliged
to stop in the middle of the dance. He made strenuous efforts to keep
his instrument in tune. A man in shoulder-straps, leading a
fair-haired, graceful maiden, his partner in the dance, with a
clenched fist and an oath informed the musician that if he didn't fix
that quick he would knock his head off! It was a little glimpse of the
divine, beneficent missionary institution ordained of God for the
elevation of the sons of Ham!

It was not difficult to make a transition in thought to a South
Carolina rice-swamp or Louisiana sugar-plantation or Arkansas
cotton-field, where a master's passion was law, and where knocking off
men's heads was not so rare a performance.

Among the dusky crowd gazing in upon the waltzers was a girl, sixteen
or seventeen years old,--a brunette, with cherry lips, sparkling black
eyes, and cheeks as fresh and fair as apricots. She was a picture of
health. She gazed with evident delight, and yet there was always upon
her countenance a shade of sadness. In form and feature she was almost
wholly Anglo-Saxon, and more than Anglo-Saxon in beauty.

I met her in the hall during the day having charge of a young child,
and had marked her beauty, ease, grace, and intelligence, and supposed
that she was a boarder at the hotel,--the daughter or young wife of
some officer, till seeing her the central figure of the dusky group.
Then the thought came flashing, "She is a slave!"

She could have joined in the cotillon with as much grace as any of the
fair dancers.

Her father, I learned, was a high-born Kentuckian, and her grandfather
was from one of the first families of Virginia; but her
great-great-great-grandmother was born in Africa, and that was the
reason why she stood a silent spectator in the hall, instead of
whirling with the gay colonel in the dance.

[Illustration: A silent spectator.]



[Sidenote: Nov., 1862.]

Returning to Virginia I accompanied the army of the Potomac in the
march from Berlin and Harper's Ferry to the Rappahannock. The roads
were excellent, the days mild, the air clear. Beautiful beyond
description the landscape, viewed from the passes of the Blue Ridge.
Westward in the valley of the Shenandoah was Longstreet's corps,
traced by rising clouds of dust and the smoke of innumerable
camp-fires. Eastward was the great army of the Union, winding along
the numerous roads, towards the south. Many of the soldiers had their
pets,--one had two yellow dogs in leading-strings. A gray-bearded old
soldier carried a young puppy with its eyes not yet open, in his arms
as tenderly as if it were a child. A Connecticut boy had a little
kitten on his shoulders, which kept its place contentedly.
Occasionally the lad caressed it, while kitty laid its face against
that of the beardless boy and purred with pleasure.

The march was tediously slow. General McClellan was averse to making
it at all. He had delayed from day to day, and from week to week, till
ordered by the President to advance. He had no well-considered plan of

The President's patience was exhausted, and at Warrenton he was
deprived of the command of the army.

General Burnside, his successor, took the command reluctantly; but he
was quick in deciding upon a plan. General McClellan's line of march
was towards Gordonsville. Burnside decided to move upon
Fredericksburg. The movement was made with great rapidity, and
Burnside only failed of seizing the place because the pontoons were
not there at the time appointed. Lee came and occupied the town, threw
up his earthworks, and planted his batteries. Burnside planned to
have Franklin cross the Rappahannock below Port Royal, Hooker above
it, while Sumner was to cross opposite the town; but a heavy storm
frustrated the movement.

It was generally supposed that the army would go into winter quarters,
and many of the correspondents accordingly returned to their homes. My
friend and companion in the West, Mr. Richardson, left the army of the
Potomac in disgust, and proceeded West again in search of adventure.
His wishes were more than gratified soon after at Vicksburg, where he
fell into the hands of the Rebels, who boarded him awhile at the Libby
in Richmond, and afterward at the Salisbury prison in North Carolina.
He ungraciously turned his back upon his Rebel friends one night, took
all his baggage, and left without paying his bills.

He gained the Union lines in Tennessee after months of imprisonment,
with his desires for adventure in that direction fully satisfied.

Nearly one half of the correspondents with the various armies either
fell into the hands of the Rebels or were wounded. Several died of
diseases contracted in the malarious swamps. As a class they were
daring, courageous, venturesome, always on the alert, making hard
rides, day and night, on the battle-field often where the fire was
hottest,--writing their accounts seated on a stump, spreading their
blankets where night overtook them, or frequently making all-night
rides after a day of excitement, hardship, and exposure, that the
public might have early information of what had transpired. Their
statements were often contradictory. Those first received by the
public were not unfrequently full of errors, and sometimes were wholly
false, for the reason that many papers had a correspondent a few miles
in rear of the army, at the base of supplies, who caught up every wild
rumor and sent it flying over the land.

Gold speculators improved every occasion to gull the public by false
news. There is reason to believe that men in high official positions
were in collusion with operators in bullion, to the mutual advantage
of all concerned.

The press of the country, reflecting the feelings of the people,
pronounced the campaign at an end. The friends of General McClellan
were clamorous for his return. Congress and political advisers in
Washington demanded that Burnside should move somewhere. They knew
nothing of the obstacles in his path.

In a letter written on the 9th of December, 1862, the following view
of the situation was presented by the correspondent of the Boston

     "It is a clear, cold morning. The sky is without a cloud.
     Standing near General Sumner's quarters, I have a wide sweep of
     vision. The quarters of the veteran general commanding the right
     grand division are in a spacious mansion, newly constructed, the
     property of a wealthy planter, whose estate is somewhat shorn of
     its beauty by the ravages of war. The fences are all gone, the
     forests are fast disappearing, the fine range of cedars which
     lined the Belleplain road are no longer to be seen. All around
     are the white tents of the command, the innumerable camp-fires
     sending up blue columns of smoke. The air is calm. You hear the
     rumbling of distant baggage-trains, the clatter of hundreds of
     axes felling the forests for fuel,--the bugle-call of the
     cavalrymen, and the rat-a-plan of the drummers, and mingling with
     all, the steady, constant flow of the falling waters of the
     winding stream.

     "Looking far off to the southeast, across the intervale of the
     river, you see a white cloud of steam moving beneath the fringe
     of a forest. It is a locomotive from Richmond, dragging its train
     of cars with supplies for the Rebel camps. The forests and hills
     beyond are alive with men. Resting my glass against the side of
     the building to keep it steady, I can count the men grouped
     around the camp-fires, turning at times to keep themselves warm.
     Others are bringing in wood. An officer rides along. A train of
     wagons is winding down the hill toward the town. All along the
     range of hills are earthworks with sandbag embrasures, and
     artillery behind,--not quaker guns, I think, but field artillery,
     so ranged that a movement directly across the river would be
     marching into the jaws of death,--as hazardous and destructive as
     the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava.

     "I know that there is a clamor for an onward movement, a desire
     and expectation for an advance; but I think there are few men in
     the country who, after taking a look at the Rebel positions,
     would like to lead in a movement across the stream.

     "Looking into the town of Fredericksburg we see but few smokes
     ascending from the chimneys, but few people in the streets. It is
     almost wholly deserted. The women and children have gone to
     Richmond, or else are shivering in camp. Close upon the
     river-bank on either side face the pickets, within easy talking
     distance of each other. There has been no shooting of late. There
     is constant badinage. The Rebel picket asks the Yankee when he is
     going to Richmond. The Yankee asks the Rebel if he don't want a
     pair of boots. I am sorry to say that such conversation is mixed
     with profane words. Each party seems to think that hard words hit

     "Last night the southern sky was red with the blaze of Rebel
     camp-fires. Far off to the southeast I see a hazy cloud, and
     columns of smoke, indicating the presence of a large army. I do
     not doubt that if we attempt to cross we shall meet with terrible
     opposition from a force nearly if not quite as large as our own.

     "If the President or General Halleck insist upon Burnside's
     making the movement, it will be made with whatever power, energy,
     determination, and bravery the army can exhibit. I am as anxious
     as any one can be to see a great blow given to the Rebellion; but
     I am not at all anxious to see the attempt made against such
     disadvantages as are apparent to the most casual observer from
     this position."[9]

         [Footnote 9: Letter to Boston _Journal_, December 9, 1862.]

[Sidenote: Dec., 1862.]

It was an unreasonable demand which the public made upon Burnside. He
had been just one month in command of the army. His first plan had
failed through the remissness of others; his second effort to move had
been made abortive by the storm. He could not attempt again the
movement with any hope of success, for Lee had taken precautions
against an attack upon his flank. Neither the public, the politician,
nor the War Department would consent to his going into winter
quarters. He had no alternative other than to devise a new plan. These
considerations are to be kept in remembrance in reviewing the battle
of Fredericksburg.

General Burnside obtained correct information of the position held by
General Lee. Jackson's corps was separated from Longstreet's by a
ravine, but General Lee had constructed a road through the woods and
across a ravine, by which troops could be readily marched to the right
or left, as they might be needed. He was satisfied that Lee did not
expect him to cross at the town, but lower down the river. He decided,
therefore, to cross the Rappahannock, and make a desperate push to
obtain possession of the road, which would divide Lee's army.

[Illustration: Fredericksburg.]

The plan was accepted by a council of officers on the 10th of
December. Preparations wore made that night for the passage of the
river in three places. The artillery was drawn in position along the
bank,--about one hundred and fifty pieces, some of which were
thirty-pounders. Orders were issued to the troops to be ready at a
moment's warning. General Woodbury, with a brigade of engineers, was
ordered down to the river.

Soon after dark on the night of the 10th, the brigade, with its long
train of boats on wheels, came down from the Stafford hills. Boats
sufficient for the construction of two bridges halted near the
railroad; enough for two more went a third of a mile down stream,
opposite the lower end of the town, while the remainder went a mile
and a half farther down, almost to Mr. Bernard's house. Sumner and
Hooker were to use those opposite the town, and Franklin those at
Bernard's. A brigade of troops was ordered to protect the engineers in
their work. The gunners stood beside their guns, ready to open fire if
the Rebels opposed them. The engineers took the boats from the wagons,
pushed them out over the thin ice, anchored them in the stream, and
commenced laying the timbers and planks. A dense fog hung over the
river, which concealed their operations, and before daybreak the
bridges were nearly completed. The Seventeenth and Eighteenth
Mississippi regiments of Barksdale's brigade, and the Eighth Florida,
of Perry's brigade, were on picket along the river, while the
Thirteenth and Twenty-First Mississippi and Third Georgia were in
reserve in the town.

Lee was wary. He expected an advance of the Union army. His scouts
were alert. All the commanders were ordered to be vigilant. So keeping
a sharp lookout, the sentinels walked the bank through the long winter
night, peering into the darkness, and listening to catch the meaning
of the confused hum which floated to them across the stream.



[Sidenote: Dec., 1862.]

At five o'clock on the morning of the 11th of December two signal-guns
were fired on the heights of Fredericksburg. Deep and heavy their
roar, rolling along the valley, echoing from hill to hill, and rousing
the sleepers of both armies. We who listened upon the Falmouth hills
knew that the crossing was not a surprise, but that the Rebels were
ready for battle. And now as the day dawned there came a rattling of
musketry along the river. The Rebel pickets opened the fire. The
gunners at the batteries were quick to respond, and sent grape and
canister across the stream. The Rebel pickets at the lower bridges
soon retired, and the engineers completed their work. But in the town
the Mississippians took shelter in the buildings, and poured a deadly
fire upon the bridge-builders. Almost every soldier who attempted to
carry out a plank fell. For a while the attempt was relinquished.

"The bridge must be completed," said General Burnside.

Once more the brave engineers attempted it. The fog still hung over
the river. Those who stood on the northern bank could only see the
flashes of the rifles on the other shore. The gunners were obliged to
fire at random, but so energetic their fire the engineers were able to
carry the bridge within eighty or ninety feet of the shore, and then
so deadly in turn was the fire of the Rebels that it was murder to
send men out with a plank.

General Burnside stood on the piazza of the Phillips House, a mile
from the pontoons. General Sumner and General Hooker were there. Aids
and couriers came and went with messages and orders.

"My bridge is completed, and I am ready to cross," was Franklin's
message at half past nine.

"You must wait till the upper bridge is completed," was the reply to

Two hours passed. A half-dozen attempts were made to complete the
upper bridge without success. Brave men not belonging to the engineers
came down to the bank, surveyed the scene, and then volunteering their
services, seized planks and boards, ran out upon the bridge, but only
to fall before the sharpshooters concealed in the cellars of the
houses not ten rods distant. Captain Brainard of the Fiftieth New
York, with eleven men, volunteered to finish the nearly completed
work. They went out upon the run. Five fell at one volley, and the
rest returned. Captain Perkins of the same regiment led another party.
He fell with a ghastly wound in his neck. Half of his men are killed
or wounded. These were sacrifices of life with nothing gained. It was
soul-inspiring to witness such heroic devotion, but heart-sickening to
stand on the bank and see them slaughtered,--their blood turning to
crimson the turbid waters of the Rappahannock.

General Burnside had no desire to injure the town, but under the
usages of war he had a right to bombard it; for the Rebels had
concealed themselves in the houses, making use of them to slaughter
his men.

"Bring all your guns to bear upon the city and batter it down," was
the order issued to General Hunt, chief of artillery. Colonel Hays had
eight batteries on the right; Colonel Tompkins had eleven batteries on
the right centre, opposite the upper pontoons,--some of them in the
yard of Mr. Lacey's house, near the river; Colonel Tyler had seven
batteries a little farther down on the left centre; while Captain De
Russey had seven batteries opposite the lower pontoons. There were in
all thirty-five batteries, with a total of one hundred and
seventy-nine guns, all bearing upon the town. The artillerymen
received the orders to prepare for action with a hurrah. They had
chafed all the morning, and longed for an opportunity to avenge the
death of their gallant comrades.

The hour had come. They sprang to their pieces. The fire ran from the
right to the left,--from the heavy twenty-four-pounders on the heights
of Falmouth to the smaller pieces on the hills where Washington passed
his boyhood. The air became thick with the murky clouds. The earth
shook beneath the terrific explosions of the shells, which went
howling over the river, crashing into the houses, battering down
walls, splintering doors, ripping up floors. Sixty solid shot and
shells a minute were thrown, and the bombardment was kept up till nine
thousand were fired. No hot shot were used, but the explosions set
fire to a block of buildings, which added terrible grandeur to the

The Rebel army stood upon the heights beyond the town and watched the
operations. Lee's Rebel artillery was silent, and the Mississippians
concealed in the houses were alone participants in the contest.

The fog lifted at last and revealed the town. The streets were
deserted, but the houses, the church-steeples, the stores were riddled
with shot; yet no impression had been made on the Mississippians.

Burnside's artillerymen could not depress their guns sufficiently to
shell them out. A working party went out upon the bridge, but one
after another was killed or wounded.

The time had come for a bold movement. It was plain that the
Mississippians must be driven out before the bridge could be
completed, and that a party must go over in boats, charge up the hill,
and rout them from their hiding-places. Who would go? Who attempt the
hazardous enterprise? There were brave men standing on the bank by the
Lacey House, who had watched the proceedings during the long hours.
They were accustomed to hard fighting: Hall's brigade, composed of the
Seventh Michigan, Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, and
Forty-Second New York. They had fought at Fair Oaks, Savage Station,
Glendale, Malvern, and Antietam. The Twentieth had been in all these
battles, and also at Ball's Bluff.

"We will go over and clean out the Rebels," was the cry of this

"You shall have the privilege of doing so," said General Burnside.

There were not boats enough for all,--not enough for one regiment
even. A portion of the Seventh Michigan was selected to go first,
while the other regiments stood as a supporting force.

The men run down the winding path to the water's edge, jump into the
boats, and push out into the stream. It is a moment of intense
anxiety. No one knows how large the force opposing them. The Rebel
sharpshooters are watching the movement from their hiding-places. They
have a fair view and can pick their men. The men in the boats know it,
yet they move steadily onward, steering straight across the stream,
without a thought of turning back, though their comrades are
falling,--some headlong into the river, others dropping into the
boats. The oarsmen pull with rapid strokes. When one falls another
takes his place. Two thirds the distance over,--the boats ground in
shoal water. The soldiers wait for no word of command, but with a
common impulse, with an ardor which stops not to count the cost, they
leap into the water, wade to the shore, and charge up the bank. Some
fall to rise no more, but their surviving comrades rush up the
slippery slope. A loud hurrah rings out from the soldiers who watch
them from the Falmouth shore. Up, up they go, facing death, firing
not, intent only to get at the foe and win victory with the bayonet!
They smash the windows, batter down doors, driving or capturing the

Loud and hearty the cheers of the regiments upon the other shore. The
men of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts would give anything
to be there. All the while the cannon are roaring, hurling solid shot
and shell into the doomed city.

    "They leaped in the rocking shallops.
       Ten offered where one could go;
     And the breeze was alive with laughter
       Till the boatmen began to row.

    "Then the shore, where the Rebels harbored,
       Was fringed with a gush of flame,
     And buzzing, like bees, o'er the water
       The swarms of their bullets came.

    "Not a whisper! Each man was conscious
       He stood in the sight of death;
     So he bowed to the awful presence,
       And treasured his living breath.

    "And many a brave, stout fellow,
       Who sprang in the boats with mirth,
     Ere they made that fatal crossing,
       Was a load of lifeless earth.

    "But yet the boats moved onward;
       Through fire and lead they drove,
     With the dark, still mass within them,
       And the floating stars above.

    "Cheer after cheer we sent them,
       As only armies can,--
     Cheers for old Massachusetts,
       Cheers for young Michigan!

    "They formed in line of battle;
       Not a man was out of place.
     Then with levelled steel they hurled them
       Straight in the Rebels' face.

    "'O help me, help me, comrade!
       For tears my eyelids drown,
     As I see their starry banners
       Stream up the smoking town.'"[10]

         [Footnote 10: Boker's "Crossing at Fredericksburg."]

[Illustration: Fredericksburg.


  1. French's Division}              10. Gibbon's Division}
  2. Hancock's "      } 2d Corps.    11. Meade's     "    } 1st Corps.
  3. Howard's  "      }              12. Doubleday's "    }

  4. Sturgis's "      }              13. Sickles's   "    }
  5. Getty's   "      } 9th Corps.   14. Birney's    "    } 3d Corps.
  6. Burns's   "      }
                                     15. Cavalry.
  7. Brooks's  "      }              16. Union Batteries.
  8. Howe's    "      } 6th Corps.   17. Bernard's House.
  9. Newton's  "      }              18. Pontoon Bridge.
                                     19. Hamilton's House.
                                     20. Maryee's House.


  A. Anderson's Division}             F. A. P. Hill's Division}
  B. Ransom's    "      }             G. Ewell's         "    }
  C. McLaw's     "      } Longstreet, H. Taliferro's     "    } Jackson,
  D. Pickett's   "      } 1st Corps.  I. D. H. Hill's    "    } 2d Corps.
  E. Hood's      "      }             J. Stuart's Cavalry     }
                                      K. Lee's Head-Quarters.
                                      L. Longstreet Head-Quarters.
                                      M. Jackson's       "]

When the bridge-builders saw the soldiers charge up the hill, they too
caught the enthusiasm of the moment, and finished their work. The
other regiments of the brigade, before the last planks were laid,
rushed down the bank, ran out upon the bridge, dashed up the bank,
joined their comrades, and drove the Rebels from the streets nearest
the river.

History furnishes but few records of more daring exploits than this
action of the Seventh Michigan. Their work was thorough and complete.
In fifteen minutes they cleared the houses in front of them, and took
more prisoners than their own party numbered.

It was now half past four in the afternoon, one of the shortest days
of winter. The sun was going down. The Rebels had delayed the crossing
through the entire day. General Burnside was severely censured by some
Northern as well as Southern papers for bombarding the town; he had no
desire to do injury to the citizens in person or property, but the
stubborn resistance of the Rebels made it necessary thus to use his
artillery. When General Sumner arrived at Falmouth, three weeks
before, he demanded the surrender of the place; but the citizens and
the women begged the officer in command not to give it up.

"We would rather have the town burned than given up to the
Yankees,"[11] said they.

         [Footnote 11: Richmond Examiner, December 15, 1862.]

But now the Yankees were there, marching through the streets. The
houses were battered, torn, and rent. Some were in flames, and a
battle was raging through the town.

As soon as the bridge was completed, the other brigades of General
Howard's division moved across the river. The Rebel batteries, which
till now had kept silence, opened furiously with solid shot and shell,
but the troops moved steadily over, and took shelter along the river
bank. The Rebels were falling back from street to street, and the men
from Michigan and Massachusetts were pressing on.

I stood upon the bank of the river and watched the scene in the
deepening twilight. Far up the streets there were bright flashes from
the muskets of the Rebels, who fired from cellars, chamber windows,
and from sheltered places. Nearer were dark masses of men in blue, who
gave quick volleys as they moved steadily on, demolishing doors,
crushing in windows, and searching every hiding-place. Cannon were
flaming on all the hills, and the whole country was aglow with the
camp fires of the two great armies. The Stafford hills were alive with
men,--regiments, brigades, and divisions moving in column from their
encampments to cross the river. The sky was without a cloud. The town
was lighted by lurid flames. The air was full of hissings,--the sharp
cutting sounds of the leaden rain. The great twenty-pounder guns on
the heights of Falmouth were roaring the while. There were shouts,
hurrahs, yells, and groans from the streets. So the fight went on till
the Rebels were driven wholly from the town to their intrenchments

The Seventeenth Mississippi was the most actively engaged of the Rebel
regiments. Its commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Fizer, in his report,

     "The Yankees made nine desperate attempts to finish their
     bridges, but were repulsed at every attempt. They used their
     artillery incessantly, with a heavy detachment of sharpshooters,
     for twelve hours, we holding our position firmly the whole time,
     until about half past four, P. M., when they increased their
     artillery and infantry, and their batteries becoming so numerous
     and concentrated, we could not use our rifles. Being deprived of
     all protection, we were compelled to fall back to Caroline
     Street, and from there were ordered from town. The casualties of
     the regiment during the engagement were one hundred and sixteen
     wounded, killed, and missing."[12]

         [Footnote 12: Lieutenant-Colonel Fizer's Report.]

When the soldiers of the Seventh Michigan leaped into the boats, a
drummer-boy joined them,--Robert Henry Hendershot. He was only twelve
years old, but his dark eyes flashed brightly under the excitement of
the moment. His drum was upon his neck.

"Get out, you can't go," said an officer.

"I want to go," said Robert.

"No, you will get shot. Out with you."

Robert jumped into the water, but instead of going ashore, remained to
push off the boat; and then, instead of letting go his hold, clung to
the gunwale, and was taken across.

As the boat grounded upon the other shore, a piece of shell tore
through his drum. He threw it away, seized the gun of a fallen
soldier, rushed up the hill, and came upon a Rebel soldier, slightly
wounded. "Surrender!" said Robert, pointing his gun at him. The Rebel
gave up his gun, and Robert marched him to the rear. When he returned
to the other side of the river, General Burnside saw him, and said,--

"Boy, I glory in your spunk! If you keep on in this way a few more
years, you will be in my place."

His regiment, after the battle, was sent West, and Robert was in the
battles of Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, and McMinnville, where
he fought gallantly.

As the Rebels had used the houses for a defence, the soldiers, now
that they were in possession of the town, appropriated to their own
use whatever suited their fancy. Their great desire was to obtain
tobacco, and the tobacco shops were first broken open. A large
quantity had been thrown into the river by the Rebel authorities to
prevent its falling into the hands of the Yankees; but the soldiers
soon fished it up, dried it by their bivouac fires, and through the
long night, while keeping watch, enjoyed their pipes at the expense of
the enemy. Soldiers who did not care for tobacco helped themselves to
flour, meat, potatoes, sugar, and molasses. They had a merry night
cooking bacon and eggs, frying pork, making hot cakes in the kitchens.
The houses were ransacked; beds, blankets, carpets, sofas,
rocking-chairs, settees, and lounges were carried into the streets.
Some dressed themselves in old-fashioned and antiquated clothes which
they found in the chambers.

It was a carnival night. One fellow appropriated a heavy volume of
Congressional documents, which he carried about several days. Another
found a stuffed monkey in one of the houses, which he shouldered and
bore away. One soldier had a dozen custard-cups on a string around his
neck. Another, finding a nice beaver hat, threw aside his old cap and
took his place again in the ranks, the sport of all his comrades, for
being so nice a gentleman. It was not, however, an indiscriminate
pillage of the whole town. A great many dwellings were not entered at
all, and the owners, after the evacuation of the city, found their
premises but little injured. In the houses nearest the river the
soldiers felt that they were entitled to whatever they could lay their
hands on. But those who had taken mattresses and bedding were obliged
to give them up. The surgeons in charge of the hospitals seized the
articles for the benefit of the wounded.

"Rev. Arthur B. Fuller is killed," said an acquaintance, as I stood
upon the bank of the river. "His body is lying in the street."

He had been chaplain of the Massachusetts Sixteenth through all the
Peninsula campaign, working hard day and night in the hospital, till
his health had given out, and he had been honorably discharged. He had
preached his last sermon on the Sunday before; but although no longer
in the service, knowing that there was to be a great battle, so
intense was his patriotism that he could not go away, but remained to
do what he could. He took a musket, became a volunteer, and went over
with the regiments.

"I must do something for my country. What shall I do?" he asked of
Captain Dunn in the streets of Fredericksburg on that fatal evening.

"Now is a good time for you,--fall in on the left," said the captain,
who saw that he was cool and collected, although the bullets were
falling thick and fast around them. He stood in front of a grocery
store, loaded his musket and fired, and then coolly loaded again. He
was taking aim once more when he was shot by a sharpshooter. The
Rebels advanced, and Captain Dunn was obliged to fall back. He lay
where he fell till the enemy were driven from the town, when his body
was recovered. The Rebels had picked his pockets. They stabbed a
wounded man who was lying by his side. The soldiers of his regiment
who had listened to his teachings in life came in groups to gaze with
silent sorrow upon the marble brow of him who had been a faithful
teacher, and who gave his life freely for his country.

At his funeral obsequies in Boston, Rev. E. O. Haven said of him:--

     "Could he whose mangled body now lies before you, from which the
     deadly bullet has expelled the noble Christian's soul, rise again
     and speak out as he was wont to do in ringing words, they would
     not be apologetic, but words of exultation. Were it possible for
     him to be at once fallen in battle and yet alive with us, I know
     that he would fill our souls with his own holy enthusiasm. I know
     that he would make us understand and feel the magnitude of his
     thought and the love of his heart, when he offered to his
     country, in what he thought her bitterest trial, the sight of his
     eye and the strength of his arm, and above all the moral example
     of his character, won by many years' devotion to the good of his
     fellow-men. He offered all this to his country, and he did right.
     It was an overflowing love. He gave his life for liberty to all
     men, instead of slavery for negroes, vassalage for the great
     majority of the whites, and a despotism,--greatest curse of
     all,--for a few. He offered his life to inspire the army with
     noble purpose, and if need be, to inspire the nation. He knew
     that his life might be taken, and is not now surprised; but there
     comes a voice from his spirit to us saying, Waste not your
     sympathies in inactive sorrow, but connect the strong tide of
     your emotion into vigorous thought and powerful action. Weep not
     for me, but weep for yourselves and your children,--or see to it
     that they are so protected as not to need your tears."

Rev. James Freeman Clarke was his playmate in boyhood, and his friend
through life, and standing by his coffin, looking for the last time
upon his face, said:--

     "Arthur Fuller was like the most of us, a lover of peace; but he
     saw, as we have had to see, that sometimes true peace can only
     come through war. In this last struggle at Fredericksburg he
     took a soldier's weapon, and went on with the little forlorn
     hope, who were leading the advance through the streets. He had
     not been in battle much before, but more among the sick in
     hospitals. Perhaps he thought it right to show the soldiers that
     in an hour of emergency he was ready to stand by their side. So
     he went with a courage and devotion which all must admire, and
     fell, adding his blood also to the precious blood which has been
     shed as an atonement for the sins of the nation. May that blood
     not be shed in vain. May it be accepted by God as a costly
     sacrifice, and may we as a people, when our necessary trials and
     punishments are sufficiently endured, become that righteous and
     happy nation God meant us to be; setting an example to mankind of
     a Christian republic in which there is no master and no slave, no
     tyrant and no victim,--not a mere rabble scrambling for gain, but
     brothers, co-operating in building up a grand commonwealth of
     true liberty, justice, and humanity. Let our friends go or stay,
     let us live or die,--

               'So wake we to higher aims,
       Of a land that has lost for a little her love of gold,
       And love of peace; that was full of wrongs, shames,
       Horrible, hateful, monstrous, not to be told,
       And hail once more the banner of battle unrolled!
       Though many an eye shall darken, and many shall weep,
       Yet many a darkness into light shall leap.'

     " ... To die thus, full of devotion to a noble cause, is not to
     die,--it is to live. It is rising into a higher life. It is
     passing up into the company of the true and noble, of the brave
     and generous,--it is going to join heroes and martyrs of all
     ages, who have not counted life dear when given to a good cause.
     Such devoted offerings by the young and brave surrendering up
     their lives raise us all above the fear of death. What matters it
     when we die, so that we live holy?--

       'They are the dead, the buried,
         They who do still survive,
       In sin and sense interred;--
         The dead!--they are alive!'"

Foothold having been secured on the southern bank of the Rappahannock,
the army began to cross. A third pontoon bridge was constructed at the
lower end of the town. A thick fog hung over the river on the morning
of the 12th. The air was calm, and I could distinctly hear the
confused hum of preparation for the great battle. Burnside's troops
were moving into position, and so were Lee's; but all the movements of
both armies were concealed by the fog.

The Rebel pickets still clung to the outskirts of the town. At noon
the fog disappeared, drifting up the Rappahannock. Suddenly the Rebel
batteries on the hills above the town began to throw shells upon the
Second Corps, which had crossed the upper bridge and was forming in
the streets. Colonel Tyler, who commanded the heavy guns on the
Falmouth hills, was quick to reply. The batteries in the centre
opened, also those on the left. The distance from the most remote
battery on the right to the farthest on the left was five miles. The
Second and Ninth Corps were in the town, the front line was in the
streets and the rear line along the bank of the river. Artillery
trains and wagons loaded with ammunition were going over. Solid shot
from the Rebel batteries tossed up the water in the river. Shells were
bursting in the town.

The First and Sixth Corps, under Franklin, had crossed at the lower
bridge by the house of Mr. Bernard, and were moving over the wide
plain. The Bernard House, where Franklin had established his
head-quarters, was a fine old mansion surrounded by trees. Beyond the
house there was a smooth intervale, with here and there a hollow,
where the troops could find shelter from the artillery-fire of the

General Stoneman was moving down from the Falmouth hills with Birney's
and Sickles's divisions. Opposite Falmouth, on the Rebel left, was
Longstreet's corps, with Anderson's division on Stanisbury Hill,--his
pickets stationed along the canal, which winds around its base. Next
to Anderson was Ransom's division, on Maryee's Hill, directly in rear
of the town. Two roads run up the hill, leading west,--the
Gordonsville plank-road and the Orange turnpike. Mr. Maryee's house
stands between them. It is a fine brick dwelling, with a stately
portico before it, with a beautiful lawn sloping towards the city,
shaded by oaks and adorned with flowering shrubs. From the roof of the
mansion General Longstreet can obtain a fair view of what is going on
in the Union lines. He can see the troops gathering in the streets and
behold the dark masses under Franklin moving out past the Bernard

At the base of the hill he can see some of his own soldiers,
sheltered behind a stone-wall along the Old Telegraph road, which is
dug like a canal into the side of the hill. It is a sheltered
position, and their rifles and muskets will sweep the level field in
front towards the town. His heaviest cannon and his largest howitzers
are in position around Maryee's house, behind earthworks. The
Washington Artillery, which was in the first battle of Manassas, and
which fought through all battles of the Peninsula, at Groveton and
Antietam, is there.

Ransom's division extends to Hazel Run,--a stream which comes down
through a deep ravine from the west, gurgling over a rocky bed, and
turning the great wheel of a grist-mill, just hid from sight as you
look up the river from the town. An unfinished railroad embankment is
thrown up in the run,--the Gordonsville road,--which was in
construction when the war broke out. There is a hollow in the smooth
field in front of the telegraph road,--a place to be kept in
remembrance. There is a higher elevation beyond Maryee's house, which
overlooks the town, and all the plain below, called Lee's Hill, where
Lee has placed his guns of longest range.

Across the ravine is McLaw's division, behind an embankment which
extends up the hill and into the woods along the Telegraph road.
Beyond McLaw's is Pickett's division; then Hood's division, which
forms the right of Longstreet's command, and reaches to Deep Run.
Longstreet's head-quarters are in rear of Hood.

Across Deep Run are the head-quarters of Lee, who can stand by his
tent and look down upon the battle-field. He can see what Couch and
Wilcox are doing in the town. He is directly in front of Bernard's
mansion, and can also behold all the movements of the Union troops on
the plain. A. P. Hill's division of Jackson's corps is in front of
him,--Hill's left resting on Deep Run, and his right reaching to
Captain Hamilton's house, where the railroad crosses the old Richmond
road. Hill's troops are partially concealed in the woods. Behind Hill
are the divisions of Early and Taliferro,--Taliferro being on the
right, near Hamilton's house. Farther in the rear, on the hill, is D.
H. Hill's division, which is held in reserve. There are fourteen
guns--from Pegram's, McIntosh's, Crenshaw's, Latham's, and Johnson's
batteries--on the hill near Hamilton's.

[Illustration: Franklin's attack.

The diagram represents the position of the troops as witness from
Franklin's Head-quarters, looking south.


   1. Doubleday.
   2. Meade's First Position.
   3. Meade's Second Position.
   4. Gibbon.
   5. Sickles.
   6. Birney.
   7. Newton.
   8. Howe.
   9. Brooks.
  10. Burns.
  11. Franklin's Head-quarters.


  A. Hood.
  B. Lane, Pender.
  C. Thomas's Brigade.
  D. Gregg's    "
  E. Archer's   "
  F., G., H. Taliferro's Division.
  I. Batteries.
  J. Ewell's Division.
  K. D. H. Hill's Division.
  L. Stuart.
  M. Batteries.]

Mr. Bernard has been a large slaveholder. His estate is known in the
county round by the name of Mansfield. His negroes live in humble
homes,--in cabins near the railroad, out towards Hamilton's. There,
around the cabins, Jackson has placed twenty-one guns from Davidson's,
Raines's, Caskie's, and Braxton's batteries. To the right of these,
and between Bernard's and the railroad, are twelve guns,--Wooding's
and Carpenter's batteries.

The road from Fredericksburg to Port Royal runs parallel to the river,
about half a mile distant from the stream.

General Stuart, with two brigades of cavalry and his batteries of
light artillery, hold the road. The Louisiana Guards are sent down to
aid him. His line runs nearly at right angles with Jackson's infantry
line, and extends from the railroad to the river. His batteries will
have a cross-fire upon the First and Sixth Corps, whenever they
attempt to move out from Bernard's to gain possession of the railroad
at Hamilton's.

Such is the field,--a smooth plain, a mile wide and two miles long,
around Bernard's, reaching up to the town. Bernard's farm is cut
across by the Port Royal road, the old road to Richmond, and by the
railroad. The Port Royal road is bordered by cedars, thick-set hedges,
and a deep ditch. There are fences dividing the intervale into fields.
Deep Run is fringed with alders. Maryee's Hill is quite steep. The
Rebel cannon sweep all the plain, the field at the base of Maryee's,
and the town itself. The Rebel troops have the protection of the
sunken road, of the rifle-pits along the crests of the hills. They are
sheltered by woods, by ravines, by the hedges and fences, but Burnside
has no cover for his troops. They must march out upon the plain,
charge up the hillsides, and receive the fire of a sheltered foe.

To win a victory, even with a superior force, under such
circumstances, there must be not only great courage and
self-possession, but a well-laid plan and harmonious action of all
subordinate commanders.

Burnside's plan was to make a vigorous movement with a large portion
of his army to gain the railroad at Hamilton's house, and at the same
time rout Longstreet from his position on Maryee's Hill. If he
succeeded at Hamilton's, even if he failed at Maryee's, Lee would be
compelled to evacuate the town, because Burnside would hold the
railroad over which Lee received his supplies.

In the council of officers, held on the night of the 11th, General
Franklin, who had about sixty thousand men, urged such a movement on
the left. There was delay in issuing the orders, which gave Lee ample
time to strengthen his position. The plan adopted was substantially
that which Franklin had urged. These were Burnside's directions to

     "General Hardee will carry this despatch to you, and remain with
     you through the day. The general commanding directs that you keep
     your whole command in 'position' for a rapid movement down the
     old Richmond road; and you will send out at once a division at
     least, to pass below Smithfield, to seize, if possible, the
     heights near Captain Hamilton's, on this side of the Massaponax,
     taking care to keep it well supported and its line of retreat
     open. He has ordered another column of a division or more to be
     moved from General Sumner's command, up the Plank-road to its
     intersection with the Telegraph road, where they will divide,
     with a view of seizing the heights on both those roads. Holding
     these heights, with the heights near Captain Hamilton's, will, he
     hopes, compel the enemy to evacuate the whole ridge between these

In a letter to General Halleck, written on the 10th, a week after the
battle, General Burnside explains his plan more fully.

     "The enemy," he says, "had cut a road in rear of the line of
     heights where we made our attack, by means of which they
     connected the two wings of their army and avoided a long detour
     around through a bad country. I obtained from a colored man
     information in regard to this road, which proved to be correct. I
     wanted to obtain possession of this road, and that was my reason
     for making my attack on the extreme left. I did not intend to
     make an attack on the right till that position was taken, which I
     supposed would stagger the enemy, cutting their line in two; and
     then I proposed to make a direct attack in front and drive them
     out of their works."

The day (the 12th) passed, and night came on before the army was in
position to make the attack. At sunset the batteries along the lines
opened fire, but the shells for the most part burst harmlessly, and
the soldiers, accustomed to danger, cooked their coffee by the
glimmering bivouac fires, spread their blankets on the ground, and lay
down to sleep, giving no heed to the cannon's roar or the constant
firing along the picket lines.


The morning of the 13th dawned. A thick fog hung over the river, so
dense that it was hardly possible to distinguish objects a hundred
yards distant. General Sumner's head-quarters were by the house of Mr.
Phillips, north of the river. General Burnside rode down from his own
head-quarters, and met General Sumner and General Hooker, and other
officers. He wore an anxious look, and justly, for it was the most
responsible hour of his life. Up to that time all of his well-laid
plans had failed. He had hoped to cross the river and surprise the
Rebels, but two days had passed since the beginning of the movement,
giving Lee time to strengthen his defences. Now the fog hung over the
river, and he was afraid of collision between different divisions of
his troops. But a password was whispered along the lines, and orders
were issued to go forward.

While the troops were waiting for the advance the mails arrived. How
eagerly were the letters and papers grasped by the soldiers! It was
affecting to see them, as they read the words of love from home, dash
the tears from their eyes. Home was dear to them just then.

The fog began to drift along the valley. It was like the drawing aside
of a curtain. The entire battle-field was in view. Two signal-guns
were fired in quick succession by the Rebels far down on the left in
front of Franklin. There was a quick mounting of horses at Burnside's
head-quarters. The officers had received their final orders, and
dashed away to carry them into execution.

The main attack was to be led by Franklin. He had his own two corps,
numbering forty thousand; Stoneman was moving to his support with
twenty thousand, and Butterfield, with the Fifth Corps, could be
called to aid him if needed.

Standing where General Tyler had planted his guns, I had a fair view
of the entire battle-field. The position was below the town, near the
lower bridge, on the Washington farm. Rebel officers were riding to
and fro around Maryee's house. The gunners of the Washington Artillery
were leaning upon their pieces, watching the movements in the town.
The Second Corps had moved out from the streets past the old
burying-ground, and was near the gas-works. The right of the line
extended north of the Plank-road to the monument erected to the memory
of Washington's mother.

General French's division of the Second Corps was on the right;
General Hancock's was next in the line, with Howard's division, as
reserve, in the rear. The Second Corps batteries were standing in the
streets of the town, the officers vainly seeking positions where they
could fire upon the Rebel batteries which looked down upon them from
Maryee's Hill.

The Ninth Corps under Wilcox was joined to the Second Corps, and
occupied the lower end of the town. General Sturgis's division was in
front, with Whipple's, forming the second line. Burns's division was
in reserve, near Deep Run. The Rebel ammunition trains were in sight
far up Hazel Run, and on the distant hill there was a group of Rebel
officers around Longstreet's head-quarters. Troops and teams were
passing to and fro between Hood's and Pickett's divisions. Wilcox's
troops were taking position, marching and countermarching, closing in
solid mass under the shelter of the banks of Hazel Run. The right of
the Sixth Corps, under General Smith, rested on Deep Run, Brooks's
division joining Burns's west of the run, almost up to the railroad.
Howe's division was next in line, where the Rebel batteries had full
sweep of the broad intervale. The ground is a dead level east of the
run, extending from the river to the wooded hill, where Lee had
established his head-quarters. Howe's troops were lying along the old
Richmond road, where, beneath the cedars and sodded fences, the
soldiers found shelter from the shells of the enemy. General Newton's
division was on the left of Howe's, also lying under cover.

General Gibbon's division of Reynolds's corps, the First, was next in
line. Meade stood next, directly in front of the railroad-crossing at
Hamilton's,--the vital point, which, if seized and held, would force
Lee out of his intrenchments. Meade had crossed the old Richmond road,
and was facing south; Doubleday's division was on the extreme left,
extending from Meade's left to the river, facing east, and standing
nearly at right angles with Meade's division.

The battle was begun by General Meade, his divisions having been
selected to lead the advance towards the railroad-crossing. The
Bucktails, who had been in nearly all the engagements on the
Peninsula, who first exhibited their valor at Drainsville, who were
under Hooker at Antietam, were first engaged. They moved over the open
field beyond Bernard's, and drove the enemy's skirmishers. The Rebel
batteries--Latham's, Johnson's, McIntosh's, Pegram's, and
Crenshaw's--opened a heavy fire. Jackson knew the importance of
holding the position at Hamilton's, and had massed these batteries,
which gave a concentrated fire upon the advancing force. Reynolds's
batteries galloped into position and replied; and so for an hour the
pounding of the batteries went on along the left.

Meade's division was composed of three brigades. The First was
commanded by Colonel Sinclair, and was composed of the First Rifles
(Bucktails), the First, Second, and Sixth regiments of the
Pennsylvania Reserves. The Second Brigade was commanded by Colonel
Magilton, and consisted of the Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth
regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserves, and the One Hundred and
Forty-Second Pennsylvania Volunteers. The Third Brigade was commanded
by General C. F. Jackson, and was composed of the Fifth, Ninth, Tenth,
Eleventh, and Twelfth regiments of the Reserves. Attached to this
division were four batteries of four guns each, Captain Ransom's Third
United States artillery, Lieutenant Simpson's, Captain Amsden's, and
Captain Cooper's of the First Pennsylvania regiment of artillery.
Captain Ransom and Lieutenant Simpson had twelve-pounders, the others
were three-inch rifled guns.

Sinclair's brigade was in the front line, and Magilton's three hundred
paces in rear of it. Jackson's was in rear of the left of the two
lines, with his men in column of regiments, about one hundred paces in
rear of Magilton's line. These three brigades numbered about six
thousand men.


It was just nine o'clock when Meade moved from his position near the
Bernard House.

A ravine comes down from the hills and forms the dividing line between
the Bernard and Smithfield estates. As soon as Meade crossed the
ravine, he turned the head of his column to the south, and moved to
the Bowling Green or old Richmond road, where he was obliged to stop
while the pioneers could cut away the hedges, level the sod fences,
and bridge the ditches, in order that his artillery could pass. While
he was doing this, Stuart's batteries opened fire. They were on
Meade's left flank and enfiladed his lines, throwing shells directly
up the road. Meade apprehended an immediate attack on his left flank,
and swung his second brigade towards Stuart, facing east, while his
first brigade was still facing south towards Hamilton's crossing. His
line thus made two sides of a square. There was a little knoll on the
left of the first brigade.

"That is the place for you," said Meade to Cooper and Ransom. The
batteries were quickly wheeled into the position indicated. The
gunners had a fair view of the Rebel batteries over the level plain.
Simpson brought his battery up and placed it in front of the Third
Brigade, and replied to Pegram. Such was the opening of the battle.

Meanwhile, Doubleday was pushing down by the river. When the Rebel
batteries opened fire, he brought his own into position and gave a
cross-fire, which was so severe that Stuart's Rockbridge battery was
quickly silenced and the guns withdrawn. While this was going on, a
body of Rebel sharpshooters crept up by the hedges and commenced
firing; but two companies of marksmen were sent out by General
Jackson's brigade, which drove them back.

An hour passed before Meade was ready to move again. Doubleday had
advanced towards Stuart, but Gibbon was not yet upon Meade's right.

Stonewall Jackson, seeing that Doubleday was moving down the river,
thought that it was Franklin's intention to turn his right flank. D.
H. Hill's division, which was close by Hamilton's house, was sent
upon the double-quick to help Stuart hold his line.[13] This weakened
his centre. It was at this auspicious moment that Meade's division
advanced alone to pierce the Rebel line.

         [Footnote 13: Jackson's Report.]

It was twelve o'clock, and Franklin's force was in the following
position: Doubleday on the left, well down towards Stuart, his
batteries in full play; Meade thirty or forty rods beyond the Bowling
Green road, in the open field; Gibbon and Newton just over the road;
Howe up to it; Birney and Sickles filing out from the bridges, a mile
in rear of Meade.

All of Franklin's batteries which were in position, one hundred and
sixteen guns, commenced a rapid fire upon the woods beyond the
railroad, to protect Meade in his advance. De Russey opened with his
sixty pieces from the hills north of the Rappahannock, throwing shells
over the heads of the advancing troops.

Jackson's batteries were equally active. There were twenty-one guns by
the negro cabins in front of Howe, twelve in front of Newton, fourteen
in front of Meade, while other single batteries under Stuart were
playing on the left. More than two hundred and fifty pieces were
roaring as Meade advanced.

It was a magnificent spectacle; but it was a moment of anxiety to
Burnside, who could only judge of the progress of the battle by the
following despatches, received from time to time.

                            "HEAD-QUARTERS, FRANKLIN'S GRAND DIVISION,

                                               December 13, 7.40 A. M.


     "General Meade's division is to make the movement from our left;
     but it is just reported that the enemy's skirmishers are
     advancing, indicating an attack upon our position on the left."

                                                      "9 o'clock A. M.

     "General Meade just moved out. Doubleday supports him. Meade's
     skirmishers engaged, however, at once with enemy's skirmishers.
     Battery opening, on Meade probably, from position on old Richmond

                                                     "11 o'clock A. M.

     "Meade advanced half a mile, and holds on. Infantry of enemy in
     woods in front of extreme left, also in front of Howe. No loss,
     so far of great importance. General Vinton badly, but not
     dangerously wounded.

     "Later.--_Reynolds has been forced to develop his whole line._

     "An attack of some force of enemy's troops on our left seems
     probable, as far as can now be judged. _Stoneman has been
     directed to cross one division to support our left._ Report of
     cavalry pickets from the other side of the river, that enemy's
     troops were moving down the river on this side during the latter
     part of the night. Howe's pickets reported movements in their
     front, same direction. Still they have a strong force well
     posted, with batteries, there."

                                                        "12 o'clock M.

     "Birney's division is now getting into position. That done,
     Reynolds will order Meade to advance. Batteries over the river
     are to shell the enemy's position in the woods in front of
     Reynolds's left. He thinks the effect will be to protect Meade's
     advance. A column of the enemy's infantry is passing along the
     crest of the hills from right to left, as we look at it."

                                                           "12.5 P. M.

     "General Meade's line is advancing in the direction you
     prescribed this morning."

                                                      "1 o'clock P. M.

     "Enemy opened a battery on Reynolds, enfilading Meade. Reynolds
     has opened all his batteries on it; no report yet. Reynolds hotly
     engaged at this moment. Will report in a few moments again."

                                                   "1.15 o'clock P. M.

     "Heavy engagements of infantry. Enemy in force where battery is.
     Meade is assaulting the hill. Will report in a few minutes

                                                   "1.25 o'clock P. M.

     "Meade is in the woods in his front; seems to be able to hold on.
     Reynolds will push Gibbon in, if necessary. The battery and woods
     referred to must be near Hamilton's house. The infantry firing is
     prolonged and quite heavy. Things look well enough. Men in fine

                                                   "1.40 o'clock P. M.

     "Meade having carried a portion of the enemy's position in the
     woods, we have three hundred prisoners. Enemy's battery on
     extreme left retired. Tough work; men fight well. Gibbon has
     advanced to Meade's right; men fight well, driving the enemy.
     Meade has suffered severely. Doubleday to Meade's left,--not

                                                  "2-1/4 o'clock P. M.

     "Gibbon and Meade driven back from the woods. Newton gone
     forward. Jackson's corps of the enemy attacks on the left.
     General Gibbon slightly wounded. General Bayard mortally wounded
     by a shell. Things do not look as well on Reynolds's front;
     still, we'll have new troops in soon."

                                                           "2.25 P. M.

     "Despatch received. Franklin will do his best. New troops gone
     in. Will report soon again."

                                                      "3 o'clock P. M.

     "Reynolds seems to be holding his own. Things look better,

                                                   "3.40 o'clock P. M.

     "Gibbon's and Meade's divisions are badly used up, and I fear
     another advance on the enemy on our left cannot be made this
     afternoon. Doubleday's division will replace Meade's, as soon as
     it can be collected, and, if it be done in time, of course
     another attack will be made.

     "The enemy are in force in the woods on our left, towards
     Hamilton's, and are threatening the safety of that portion of our
     line. They seem to have detached a portion of their force to our
     front, where Howe and Brooks are now engaged. Brooks has some
     prisoners, and is down to the railroad. Just as soon as the left
     is safe, our forces here will be prepared for a front attack, but
     it may be too late this afternoon. Indeed, we are engaged in
     front anyhow. Notwithstanding the unpleasant items I relate, the
     _morale_ generally of the troops is good."

                                                  "4-1/2 o'clock P. M.

     "The enemy is still in force on our left and front. An attack on
     our batteries in front has been repulsed. A new attack has just
     opened on our left, but the left is safe, though it is too late
     to advance either to the left or front."

Such was the intelligence which reached General Burnside of the
operations on the left. It was not very encouraging. He expected that
Franklin, with sixty thousand men at his disposal, would sweep Jackson
from his position by Hamilton's, and thus gain the rear of Lee's left
flank, which would make it easy for Sumner with the right wing to
break through the line in rear of the town. Instead of throwing forty
thousand men upon Jackson, as he could have done, dealing a blow which
might have broken the Rebel lines, Meade's division alone was sent
forward. The fire of the batteries was terrific as he advanced, and so
severe was the cannonade that the Rebel batteries which had been
advanced from the main line were forced to retire, with two caissons
blown up and several guns disabled.[14]

         [Footnote 14: Lee's Report.]

As the troops moved on they came to a hollow before reaching the
railroad. They halted a moment on the edge of the depression and
corrected their lines. It was a clear field to the railroad
embankment, behind which they could see the gleaming of the sunlight
on the bayonets of A. P. Hill's division.

Meade's three brigades were now in line, the first on the right, with
the Sixth regiment of the Reserves thrown out as skirmishers; the
Second in the centre, and the Third on the left.

The direction of Meade's advance brought him against Lane's and
Archer's brigades. Lane's brigade was composed of five North Carolina
regiments,--the Seventh, Eighteenth, Twenty-Eighth, Thirty-Third, and
Thirty-Seventh. Archer's was composed of the First, Seventh, and
Fourteenth Tennessee, and Nineteenth Georgia regiments, and Fifth
Alabama battalion. They were on the railroad and in the woods. There
was a gap between the brigades, and there Meade drove the entering
wedge. It was a fierce and bloody contest along the railroad, in the
woods, upon the hillside, in the ravine, on the open plain, and on the
crest of the ridge. The fourteen guns on the hill poured a murderous
fire into Meade's left flank. The guns by Deep Run, in front of
Pender's brigade, enfiladed the line from the right, while in reserve
were two full brigades,--Thomas's and Gregg's,--to fill the gap. But
notwithstanding this, Meade, unsupported, charged down the slope,
through the hollow, up to the railroad, and over it, routing the
Fourteenth Tennessee and Nineteenth Georgia, of Archer's, and the
whole of Lane's brigade. With a cheer the Pennsylvanians went up the
hill, crawling through the thick underbrush, to the crest, doubling up
Archer and knocking Lane completely out of the line. It was as if a
Herculean destroyer had crumbled, with a sledge-hammer stroke, the
key-stone of an arch, leaving the whole structure in danger of
immediate and irretrievable ruin.

Archer shifted the Fifth Alabama from his right to his left, but was
not able to stop the advancing Yankees. He had already sent to Gregg
for help, and that officer was putting his troops in motion. He had
sent to Ewell, who was by Hamilton's, and Trimble and Lawton were
getting ready to move, Lane was still running, and the gap was
widening between Archer and Pender.

Gibbon ought to have been following Meade, driving up the hill through
the gap, but he halted at the railroad; his men were loath to move,
for Pender's batteries were cutting across his flank. Howe and Newton
and Brooks were by the Bowling Green road, showing no signs of
advancing. Sickles and Birney were almost back to Bernard's mansion.
Doubleday was holding the flank against Stuart, and Meade was
struggling alone.

The latter officer thus speaks of his position at this moment:--

     "The first brigade to the right advanced several hundred yards
     over cleared ground, driving the enemy's skirmishers before them
     till they reached the woods in front of the railroad, which they
     entered, driving the enemy out of them to the railroad, where
     they were found strongly posted in ditches and behind temporary
     defences. The brigade (First) drove them from there and up the
     heights in their front. Owing to a heavy fire being received on
     their right flank, they obliqued over to that side, but continued
     forcing the enemy back till they had crowned the crest of the
     hill, crossed a main road which runs along the crest, and reached
     open ground on the other side, where they were assailed by a very
     severe fire from a larger force in their front, and at the same
     time the enemy opened a battery which completely enfiladed them
     from the right flank. After holding their ground for some time,
     no support arriving, they were compelled to fall back to the

         [Footnote 15: General Meade's Testimony, Conduct of the War,
         Part I. p. 696.]

Gibbon, the nearest support to Meade, was nearly half a mile
distant.[16] That officer was wounded while the fight was hottest, but
of the part which he was performing he says:--

         [Footnote 16: See map accompanying General Franklin's reply
         to Report of Committee on Conduct of the War.]

     "As soon as the enemy's guns slackened fire, I saw General
     Meade's troops moving forward into action, and I at once sent
     orders to my leading brigade to advance and engage the enemy.
     Shortly afterwards I ordered up another brigade to support the
     first. The fire was very heavy from the enemy's infantry, and I
     ordered up the Third Brigade and formed it in column on the right
     of my line, and directed them to take the position with the
     bayonet, having previously given that order to the leading
     brigade. But the general commanding that brigade told me that the
     noise and confusion was such that it was impossible to get the
     men to charge, or to get them to hear any order to charge. The
     Third Brigade--my last brigade--went in and took the position
     with the bayonet, and captured a considerable number of
     prisoners. During the fighting of the infantry I was establishing
     the batteries which belonged to my division in position to assist
     in the assault. I had just received the report of the success of
     this Third Brigade, when shortly after I saw a regiment of Rebel
     infantry come out on the left of my line between myself and
     General Meade. I rode up towards a battery that was on their
     left, and directed them to open fire upon that regiment. I was
     riding back towards the right of my line, when I was wounded, and
     left the field about half past two o'clock in the afternoon, I

         [Footnote 17: Testimony, Conduct of the War, Part I. p. 715.]

It will be seen by Franklin's despatches that Meade had broken the
line before Gibbon was engaged. At 1.15 P. M. he telegraphed to
Burnside, "Meade is assaulting the hill." Ten minutes later, at 1.25
P. M., "_Reynolds will push Gibbon in if necessary._" At 1.40 P. M.,
"Meade has carried a portion of the enemy's position in the woods. We
have three hundred prisoners. Gibbon has advanced to Meade's right."

It was in this advance to the railroad, when Gibbon came in collision
with Pender's and Thomas's brigades, that Gibbon was wounded.

While this was going on in front, the Second and Third Brigades of
Meade were enveloping Gregg's brigade of South Carolinians, which had
been hurried up to retrieve the disaster to the line. There was a
short but bloody contest. Three hundred South Carolinians fell in that
struggle, including their commander, General Gregg, who was mortally

It was a critical moment with Stonewall Jackson. The whole of Ewell's
division, under the command of General Early, was brought up to regain
the ground. Lawton's brigade came first upon the Pennsylvanians,
followed by Hayes's, Trimble's, and Field's brigades, with Early's
own, commanded by Colonel Walker.

Had Newton, Howe, Brooks, Sickles, and Birney been near at hand, or
had Gibbon been pushed promptly and effectively to Meade's support,
the record of that bloody day would have been far different from what
it is. But they were not there. They had not even been ordered to

Unable to withstand the onset of the whole of Jackson's force (with
the exception of a portion of Taliferro's reserves), Meade was obliged
to fall back, and give up the position won by such heroic valor. As
his troops went to the rear, they met Ward's brigade of Birney's
division advancing. The Rebels were in full pursuit. Birney wheeled
his batteries into position, and opened with canister, and the Rebels
fled to the shelter of the woods.

The divisions of Howe and Newton and Sickles were slightly engaged
later in the day, but only in repulsing a second advance of the
Rebels. The attack which Meade had opened so gallantly, and which was
attended with such good success, had failed. Less than ten thousand
men had broken the enemy's line, and opened the way to victory. Of the
sixty thousand men at Franklin's disposal not more than sixteen or
eighteen thousand were engaged during the day,[18] and of those not
more than eight thousand at any one time.

         [Footnote 18: Testimony of Meade and other officers, Conduct
         of the War.]

General Franklin, in vindicating himself from censure for not
attacking with a larger force and more vigorously, falls back on the
clause in Burnside's order, "to attack with one division at least, and
to keep it well supported." It would have been better if Burnside had
given explicit instructions. There must be some latitude allowed to
subordinates, but there are very few men who, without particular
instructions, can enter fully into the plans and intentions of the
commander-in-chief. Franklin was constitutionally sluggish in his
movements. The attack on the left required boldness, energy, and
perseverance. Sumner was the man for the place. Burnside was
peculiarly unfortunate in the selection of commanders to carry out the
particular features of his plan; but Sumner having been first to
arrive at Falmouth, and having taken position, it was not easy to make
the change.

While the battle was raging on the left I rode over the plain. The
cavalry under General Bayard was drawn up in rear of the grove
surrounding the fine old Bernard mansion. General Bayard was sitting
at the foot of a tree, waiting for orders, and watching the advancing
columns of Meade and Gibbon. There was a group of officers around
General Franklin. Howe's and Newton's divisions were lying down to
avoid the Rebel shells, hurled from the heights beyond the railroad.
All of Franklin's guns were in play. The earth shook with the deep
concussion. Suddenly the Rebel batteries opened with redoubled fury. A
shot went over my head, a second fell in front of my horse, and
ploughed a furrow in the ground; a third exploded at my right, a
fourth went singing along the line of a regiment lying prostrate on
the earth. McCartney's, Williston's, Hexamer's, Amsden's, Cooper's,
Ransom's, and a dozen other batteries were replying. Meade was driving
up the hill. Wounded men were creeping, crawling, and hobbling towards
the hospital. Some, slightly wounded, were uttering fearful groans,
while others, made of sterner stuff, though torn and mangled, bore
their pains without a murmur.

A soldier, with his arms around the necks of two of his comrades, was
being brought in. "O dear! O Lord! my foot is torn all to pieces!" he

There was a hole in the toe of his boot where the ball had entered.

"It has gone clear through to the heel, and smashed all the bones. O
dear! O dear! I shall have to have it cut off!" he cried, moaning
piteously as his comrades laid him upon the ground to rest.

"Better cut off your boot before your foot swells."

"Yes,--do so."

I slipped my knife through the leather, and took the boot from his
foot. The ball had passed through his stocking. There was but a drop
or two of blood visible. I cut off the stocking, and the bullet was
lying between his toes, having barely broken the skin.

"I reckon I sha'n't help lug you any farther," said one of the men who
had borne him.

"Wal, if I had known that it wasn't any worse than that I wouldn't
have had my boot cut off," said the soldier.

Returning to the Bernard mansion, I saw a commotion among the cavalry,
and learned that their commander was mortally wounded. He had been
struck by a solid shot while sitting by the tree; and they were
bearing him to the hospital. He was a brave and gallant officer.


But while this was transpiring on the left there was a terrible
sacrifice of life at the foot of Maryee's Hill. Soon after noon
French's and Hancock's divisions of the Second Corps, with Sturgis's
division of the Ninth, advanced over the open field in rear of the
town to attack the heights. Officers walked along the lines giving the
last words. "Advance and drive them out with the bayonet!" were the

The fifteen thousand in a compact body move to the edge of the
plateau. The hills are aflame. All of Longstreet's guns are
thundering. Shells burst in the ranks. The Rebel skirmishers,
concealed in the houses and behind fences, fire a volley and fall back
to the main line.

Onward move the divisions. We who behold them from the rear, although
we know that death stands ready to reap an abundant harvest, feel the
blood rushing with quickened flow through our veins, when we see how
gallantly they move forward, firing no shot in return.

Now a sheet of flame bursts from the sunken road, and another from
half-way up the slope, and yet another from the top of the hill.
Hundreds fall; but still on, nearer to the hill rolls the wave. Still,
still it flows on; but we can see that it is losing its power, and,
though advancing, it will be broken. It begins to break. It is no
longer a wave, but scattered remnants, thrown back like rifts of foam.
A portion of Sturgis's division reaches the hollow in front of the
hill and settles into it.

The Eleventh New Hampshire, commanded by Colonel Harriman, is in the
front line. They are new troops, and this is their first battle; but
they fight so gallantly that they win the admiration of their general.

"See!" said Sturgis to an old regiment which quailed before the fire.
"See the Eleventh New Hampshire! a new regiment, standing like posts
driven into the ground."

Hancock and French, unable to find any shelter, are driven back upon
the town. The attack and repulse have not occupied fifteen minutes.

It is a sad sight, that field thickly strewn with dying and dead men.
But in battle there is no time for the wringing of hands over
disaster. The bloody work must go on.

Sturgis is in the hollow, so near the hill that the Rebel batteries on
the crest cannot be depressed sufficiently to drive him out. He is
within close musket-shot of Cobb's brigade, lying behind the
stone-wall at the base of the hill. Sturgis's men lie down, load and
fire deliberately, watching their opportunity to pick off the gunners
on the hill. In vain are all the efforts of Longstreet to dislodge
them. Solid shot, shells, canister, and shrapnel are thrown towards
the hollow, but without avail. A solitary oak-tree near is torn and
broken by the artillery fire, and pitted with musket-balls, and the
ground is furrowed with the deadly missiles; but the men keep their
position through the weary hours. The division is composed of two
brigades,--Nagles's, containing the Sixth and Ninth New Hampshire,
Seventh Rhode Island, Forty-Eighth Pennsylvania, and Second Maryland;
and Ferrero's, containing the Twenty-First and Thirty-Fifth
Massachusetts, Eleventh New Hampshire. Fifty-First Pennsylvania, and
Fifty-First New York.

A second attempt is made upon the hill. Humphrey's division, composed
of Tyler's and Briggs's brigade of Pennsylvanians, nearly all new
troops, leads the advance, followed closely by Morrell's division of
veterans. The lines move steadily over the field, under cover of the
batteries which have been brought up and planted in the streets.
Sturgis pours a constant stream of fire upon the sunken road. Thus
aided, they reach the base of the hill in front of Maryee's, deliver a
few volleys, and then with thinned ranks retire once more to the
shelter of the ridge.

The day is waning. Franklin has failed. He telegraphs that it is too
late to make another attack on the left. Not so does Sumner think on
the right. He is a brave old man, fearless in battle, counting human
life of little value if victory can be won by its sacrifice. He walks
to and fro by the Lacey House like a chained lion. Burnside will not
let him cross the river. Time has ploughed deep furrows on his face.
His hair is white as the driven snow. He is grim and gruff; his voice
is deep, and he has rough words for those who falter in duty; but he
has a tender heart. He dotes upon his son, and calls him "Sammy"
familiarly. He cannot bear to have him gone long from his side, but
yet is ready to send him into the thickest of the fight. He cannot see
the day lost without another struggle, and orders a third attack.

Humphrey, Morrell, Getty, Sykes, and Howard, or portions of their
divisions, are brought up. The troops have been under arms from early
daylight. They have had no food. All day they have been exposed to the
fire of the Rebel batteries, and have lost heavily. Brooks's division
of the Sixth Corps moves up Deep Run to engage in the last attack. All
the batteries on both sides of the river are once more brought into
action. Getty moves up Hazel Run to take the Rebels in flank, who are
protected by the sunken road at the base of the hill.


It is sunset. The troops move out once more upon the open plain, and
cross the field with a cheer. The ground beneath them is already
crimson with the blood of their fallen comrades. They reach the base
of the hill. Longstreet brings down all his reserves. The hillside,
the plain, the crest of the ridge, the groves and thickets, the second
range of hills beyond Maryee's, the hollow, the sunken road, are
bright flashes. Two hundred cannon strike out fierce defiance,--forty
thousand muskets and rifles flame!

The Rebels are driven from the stone-walls, and the sunken road, and
the rifle-pit midway the hill. The blue wave mounts all but to the top
of the crest. It threatens to overwhelm the Rebel batteries. But we
who watch it behold its power decreasing. Men begin to come down the
hill singly and in squads, and at length in masses. The third and last
attempt has failed. The divisions return, leaving the plain and the
hillside strown with thousands of brave men who have fallen in the
ineffectual struggle.

There was no fighting on Sunday, the 14th, but General Burnside was
preparing to make another attack. He had eighteen of his old regiments
in the Ninth Corps, who would go wherever he sent them. He thought
that they would carry the heights.

"I hope," said General Sumner, "that you will desist from an attack. I
do not know of any general officer who approves it, and I think it
will prove disastrous to the army."

The advice was followed, and it was then decided to withdraw the army.

The wind on Tuesday night blew a gale from the southwest. Hay and
straw were laid upon the bridges to deaden the sound of the artillery
wheels. It began to rain before morning; and the Rebels, little
dreaming of what was taking place, remained in their quarters.

Before daylight the whole army had recrossed the river, and the
bridges were taken up. Great were their amazement and wonder when the
Rebels looked down from the heights and saw the Union army once more
on the northern bank, beyond the reach of their guns.

General Burnside lost about ten thousand men, while the loss of the
Rebels was about five thousand. The defeat was disheartening to the
army. But though repulsed, the soldiers felt that they were not
beaten; they had failed because General Burnside's plans had not been
heartily entered into by some of the officers. But the patriotic flame
burned as brightly as ever, and they had no thought of giving up the

[Illustration: Tattoo.]



[Sidenote: Dec., 1862.]

After the battle of Fredericksburg, both armies prepared for the
winter. Two great cities of log-huts sprang up in the dense forests on
both sides of the Rappahannock, peopled by more than two hundred
thousand men. It was surprising to see how quickly the soldiers made
themselves comfortable in huts chinked with mud and roofed with split
shingles. These rude dwellings had a fireplace at one end, doors hung
on leathern hinges, and bunks one above another, like berths in a

There the men told stories, played checkers and cards, read the
newspapers, wrote letters to their friends far away, and kept close
watch all the while upon the Rebels.

But there were dark days and dreary nights. It tried their endurance
and patriotism to stand all night upon picket, with the north-wind
howling around them and the snow whirling into drifts. There were
rainy days, and weeks of mud, when there was no drilling, and when
there was nothing to do. Then chaplains, with books and papers under
their arms, were welcomed everywhere. General Howard thus bore
testimony to the labors of one who was not a chaplain, but an agent of
the American Tract Society from Boston,--Rev. Mr. Alvord:--

     "There is a great and good man,--great because he is good and
     because he is practical,--who has followed the Army of the
     Potomac from the beginning. He takes his papers, and goes himself
     and circulates them as far as he is able, and, by the agency of
     others, gets them into nearly every regiment in the army. And you
     should see the soldiers cluster around him! When his wagon drives
     up in front of a regiment, the soldiers pour out with life,
     circle round him, and beg for books and tracts,--for anything he
     has. Some of them want papers to read for themselves, and others
     to select pieces out of them to send home. I could hardly believe
     it, that there was such eagerness on the part of soldiers for
     such reading until I saw it with my own eyes. 'Give me a paper,'
     'Give me a paper,' 'Give me a tract,' 'Give me a book,' is the
     impatient cry. Very frequently ladies have sent tracts and books
     to my tent, and on the Sabbath-day I have taken them myself to
     distribute, and I have scarcely ever had to ask a soldier to
     receive one of them. Indeed, if you give to one or two, the
     others will feel jealous if neglected."[19]

         [Footnote 19: General Howard's Address at Washington.]

[Illustration: The magic lantern in the hospital.]

Said a chaplain:--

     "I am besieged by those who want something good to read. In my
     rounds I am followed at my elbow. 'Please, sir, can you spare me
     one?' They hail me from a distance: 'Are you coming down this
     way, chaplain?' It is a pleasant thing to pause in these travels
     through the parish and look back upon the white waves that rise
     in the wake of one's course. Sports are hushed, swearing is
     charmed away, all are reading,--Sabbath has come."

In some regiments, where the officers co-operated with chaplains to
elevate the morals of men, few oaths were heard.

One day General Howard started out with a handful of leaflets on
swearing, with the intention of giving one to every man whom he heard
using profane language. He went from regiment to regiment and from
brigade to brigade of his division, and returned to his tent without
hearing an oath.

"I have been all through my division to-day," he said, "visiting the
hospitals, and I haven't heard a single man swear. Isn't it strange?"

One of the citizens of Falmouth came to General Howard for a guard.

"You favored secession, I suppose," said the General.

"I stuck for the Union till Virginia went out of the Union. I had to
go with her."

"You have a son in the Rebel army."

"Yes, sir; but he enlisted of his own accord."

"The soldiers steal your chickens, you say?"

"Yes, they take everything they can lay their hands upon, and I want a
guard to protect my property."

"If you and all your neighbors had voted against secession, you would
not need a guard. No, sir, you can't have one. When you have given as
much to your country as I have I will give you one, but not till
then," said the General, pointing to his empty sleeve. He lost his
right arm at Fair Oaks.

It was a gloomy winter, but the Sanitary and Christian Commissions
gave their powerful aid towards maintaining the health and morals and
spirits of the army. The Christian Commission opened six stations,
from which they dispensed supplies of books and papers and food for
the sick, not regularly furnished by the medical department. Religious
meetings were held nightly, conducted by the soldiers, marked by deep
solemnity. Veterans who had passed through all the trials and
temptations of a soldier's life gave testimony of the peace and joy
they had in believing in Jesus. Others asked what they should do to
obtain the same comfort. Many who had faced death unflinchingly at
Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Malvern, and Antietam, who had been ever
indifferent to the claim of religion, became like little children as
they listened to their comrades singing,

  "Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
   Let me hide myself in thee."

It was not sentimentalism. A soldier who has been through a half-dozen
battles is the last person in the world to indulge in sentiment. He
above all men understands reality. Thus led by the sweet music and the
fervent prayers of their comrades, they rejoiced in the hope that they
had found forgiveness of sins through the blood of the Son of God.

At Falmouth, an old tobacco-warehouse on the bank of the river, within
hail of the Rebel pickets, was cleared of rubbish, the broken ceiling
and windows covered with canvas, a rude pulpit erected, where on
Sabbath afternoons and every evening meetings were held, a Sabbath
school was organized, also a day school. One of the soldiers
established a school for the instruction of the children of the
village. Often in the calm twilight of the mild winter days the Rebel
picket pacing his beat upon the opposite bank stopped, and leaning
upon his gun, listened to the hymns of devotion wafted on the evening

[Illustration: The Christian commission in the field.]

He could have sent a bullet whistling through the building, but
there was a mutual understanding among the pickets not to fire, and so
the meetings were undisturbed.

In the Forty-Fourth Now York Regiment, known as the Ellsworth
Avengers, were two young soldiers whose hearts were woven together
with Christian zeal. They had no chaplain; but they established a
prayer-meeting, holding it beside a stump, in a retired place. They
obtained permission of the colonel to build a log chapel. They had to
draw the logs a mile, but they had faith and energy, and laid out a
building sixteen by thirty-two feet square. Rev. Mr. Alvord, the agent
of a Tract Society, gives the following account of their labors.

     "The first logs were heavy, and hardly any one to help. Their
     plan at first was not very definite. They would lay down a log
     and then look and plan by the eye. Another log was wearily drawn
     and put on. The crowd came round to quiz and joke. 'Are you to
     have it finished before the world ends?' 'Fixing up to leave?'
     'How does your saloon get on?' The more serious, in pity, tried
     to discourage. There was 'already an order out to move; what's
     the use?' 'Who wants meetings?' But these two Christian boys (S.
     and L.) toiled on like Noah, amidst the scoffs of the multitude.
     The edifice slowly rose; volunteers lent a hand. The Christian
     men of the regiment became interested. (There were forty or fifty
     in all, eighteen or twenty of whom at length aided in the work.)
     A sufficient height was reached, and first a roof of brush, and
     afterwards of patched ponchos, was put on, and meetings
     began,--or rather they _began_ when it was only an open pen. In a
     few days Burnside's advance came, and the regiment left for the
     field. In their absence, plunderers stripped the cabin, and
     carried off a portion of its material; but on the return of our
     troops the same busy hands and hearts of faith were again at
     work. A sutler gave them the old canvas cover of his large tent,
     which he was about to cut up to shelter his horses with, and lo,
     it _precisely filled_ the roof of the meeting-house,--not an inch
     to spare!

     "Well, there it stands, to his glory and the credit of their
     perseverance. (It took about one hundred logs to build it.) You
     should have seen their eyes shine, as, here in my tent for
     tracts, they were one day giving me its history, and you should
     have been with us last evening. The little pulpit made of empty
     box boards, two chandeliers suspended from the ridge-pole of
     cross-sticks, wreathed with ivy, and in the socketed ends four
     adamant candles, each burning brilliantly. Festoons of ivy and
     'dead men's fingers' (a species of woodbine called by this name),
     looped gracefully along the sides of the room, and in the centre
     from chandelier to chandelier,--their deep green, with the fine
     brown bark of the pine logs, and white canvas above, striped with
     its rafters, sweetly contrasting. Below, a perfect pack of
     soldiers, in the 'Avengers'' uniform, squatted low upon the pole
     seats, beneath which was a carpet of evergreen sprays,--all
     silent, uncovered, respectful; as the service opened, you could
     have heard a pin fall. There was nothing here to make a noise.
     Pew-doors, psalm-books, rustling silks, or groined arches
     reverberating the slightest sound of hand or footfall, there were
     none. Only the click of that wooden latch, and a gliding figure,
     like a stealthy vidette, squeezing in among the common mass,
     indicated the late comer. The song went up from the deep voices
     of men,--do you know the effect?--and before our service closed,
     tears rolled down from the _faces of men_. To be short, every
     evening of the week this house is now filled with some service,
     four of which are religious. When they can have no preaching,
     these soldiers meet for prayer.

     "I stole in one evening, lately, when they were at these
     devotions; prayer after prayer successively was offered, in
     earnest, humblest tones, before rising from their knees; the
     impenitent looking on solemnly. Officers were present and took
     part, and seldom have I seen such manifest tokens that God is
     about to appear in power. Opposition there is none. The whole
     regiment looks upon the house now as a matter of
     pride,--encourage all the meetings. It is attractive to visitors,
     and, when not used for religious purposes, is occupied by lyceum
     debates, singing clubs, &c., &c. How those two Christian boys do
     enjoy it! Said one of them to me, 'We have been paid for all our
     labor a thousand times over.'"

Thus, fighting, marching, singing, praying, teaching the ignorant,
trusting in God, never wavering in their faith of the ultimate triumph
of right, they passed the weary winter.

[Illustration: Busy fingers.]



[Sidenote: April, 1863.]

General Burnside having accepted the command of the army with
reluctance, was relieved at his own request, and General Hooker was
appointed his successor. He made a thorough reorganization. The system
of grand divisions was abolished, and the corps organization adopted.
The First Corps was commanded by General Sickles, the Fifth by General
Meade, the Sixth by General Sedgwick, the Eleventh by General Howard,
and the Twelfth by General Slocum. The cavalry was consolidated into a
single corps, under General Stoneman. General Hooker intended to use
the cavalry as it had not been used up to that time.

The vigor manifested by General Hooker in the reorganization, and the
confidence of the soldiers in him as a commander, gave new hope to the
army. He reduced the number of wagons in the trains, and informed the
officers that they would be allowed only a limited amount of baggage.
He issued orders that the troops should have rations of fresh bread,
cabbages, and onions, in abundance. Merit was commended. Officers and
men who had proved themselves efficient were allowed leave of absence,
before the opening of the spring campaign. Regiments which had shown
incapacity and loose discipline were allowed no favors. Only eleven
regiments in the whole army were highly commended. Some were severely
censured as wanting those qualities which make a good regiment. This
administration of affairs soon produced a perceptible change in the
spirits of the men.

There were frequent rains, which prevented any movement during the
winter; but General Hooker was not idle. He was obtaining information,
from scouts and spies, of Lee's position and the number of his troops.
He kept his designs so well to himself that even his most trusted
officers were not aware of them. But his plan embraced three features:
a cavalry movement under Stoneman towards Richmond, from the Upper
Rappahannock, to destroy Lee's communications, burning bridges and
supplies; the deploy of a portion of the army down the river to
attract Lee's attention; and, lastly, a sudden march of the main body
up the river, to gain a position near Chancellorsville, southwest of
Fredericksburg, which would compel Lee to come out and fight, or
evacuate the place. If he gained the position, he could stand on the
defensive and wait Lee's movements. He decided that Lee should be the
attacking party.

Lee had sent two divisions of Longstreet's corps under that officer to
North Carolina, and Hampton's cavalry was recruiting south of the
James River. It was a favorable opportunity to strike a heavy blow.

On the 27th of April the Eleventh Corps, under Howard, and the
Twelfth, under Slocum, at half past five in the morning started for
Kelley's Ford by the Hartwood Church road.

The Third, under Sickles, and the Fifth, under Meade, moved at the
same time, by a road nearer the river, in the same direction. The
Second, under Couch, went towards United States Ford, which is only
three miles from Chancellorsville. A dense fog hung over the river,
concealing the movement. The Eleventh, Twelfth, and Fifth Corps
marched fourteen miles during the day, and bivouacked at four o'clock
in the afternoon a mile west of Hartwood Church. To Lee, who looked
across the river from Fredericksburg, there was no change in the
appearance of things on the Stafford hills. The camps of the Yankees
were still there, dotting the landscape, teams were moving to and fro,
soldiers were at drill, and the smoke of camp-fires was curling
through the air.

During the evening of the 27th the pontoons belonging to the Sixth
Corps were taken from the wagons, carried by the soldiers down to the
river, and put into the water so noiselessly that the Rebel pickets
stationed on the bank near Bernard's house had no suspicion of what
was going on. The boats were manned by Russell's brigade. At a given
signal they were pushed rapidly across the stream, and, before the
Rebel pickets were aware of the movement, they found themselves
prisoners. The First Corps went a mile farther down, to Southfield.
It was daylight before the engineers of this corps could get their
boats into the water. The Rebel sharpshooters who were lying in
rifle-pits along the bank commenced a deadly fire. To silence them,
Colonel Warner placed forty pieces of artillery on the high bank
overlooking the river, under cover of which the boats crossed, and the
soldiers, leaping ashore, charged up the bank and captured one hundred
and fifty Rebels. The engineers in a short time had both bridges
completed. General Wadsworth's division of the First Corps was the
first to cross the lower bridge. General Wadsworth had become
impatient, and, instead of waiting for the completion of the
structure, swam his horse across the stream. General Brooks, of the
Sixth Corps, was the first to cross the bridge at Bernard's.

It was now five o'clock in the morning. There was great commotion in
Fredericksburg. A courier dashed into town on horseback, shouting,
"The Yankees are crossing down the river."[20] The church-bells were
rung. The people who had returned to the town after the battle of the
13th of December sprang from their beds. They went out and stood upon
Maryee's Hill, looked across the river, and saw the country alive with

         [Footnote 20: Letter to Richmond _Examiner_.]

"All through the day," wrote the correspondent of the Richmond
_Examiner_, "the Yankee balloons were in the air at a great height,
and the opposite side of the river, as far as the eye could reach, was
blue with their crowded columns."[21]

         [Footnote 21: Richmond _Examiner_, May 1st 1863.]

The drummers beat the long-roll. "Fall in! Fall in!" was the cry, and
the whole army was quickly under arms. The movement was a surprise to
General Lee.

The crossing of the First and Sixth Corps was slow and deliberate.
"They continued to cross," says the same writer, "until two o'clock P.
M.,--infantry, artillery, and wagons. They swarmed irregularly over
the fields and bluffs, of which they had taken possession, seeming not
to have fallen into ranks. About five P. M. a light rain commenced,
when they pitched their tents, and seemed to make themselves at home."

In order to deceive General Lee, only Wadsworth's and Brooks's
divisions were sent over in the forenoon; but portions of the other
divisions, which had been concealed behind a belt of woods, were put
in motion, and marched along the crest of the ridge, through an open
field, in sight of the Rebels, as though on their way down the river;
but, instead of crossing, were marched up through a gully around the
hill to their starting-point, and were again moved over the same
ground,--a circus-march, calculated to deceive the Rebels into
thinking that the whole army was moving in that direction. A part of
Jackson's corps had been lying at Shinker's Neck, several miles below
Fredericksburg, which Lee ordered to Hamilton's crossing, occupying
the same position that it held in the first battle.

It was night before the remainder of the Sixth Corps crossed the
stream, while the other two divisions of the First Corps still
remained on the northern bank. Lee could not comprehend this new state
of affairs. The night of the 28th passed, and no advance was made by
the Sixth Corps. The morning of the 29th saw them in the same
position, evidently in no haste to make an attack.

Meanwhile the main body of the army was making a rapid march up the
river. The Eleventh Corps reached Kelley's Ford, twenty-eight miles
above Falmouth, at half past four in the afternoon. The pontoons
arrived at six o'clock. Four hundred men went over in the boats, and
seized the Rebel rifle-pits, capturing a few prisoners, who were
stationed there to guard the Ford. As soon as the bridge was
completed, the troops began to cross. The Seventeenth Pennsylvania
cavalry preceded the infantry, pushed out on the road leading to
Culpepper, and encountered a detachment of Stuart's cavalry.

On the morning of the 29th, the Twelfth Corps, followed by the
Eleventh, made a rapid march to Germanna Ford, on the Rapidan, while
the Fifth Corps took the road leading to Ely's Ford. When the Twelfth
Corps arrived at Germanna Ford at three o'clock in the afternoon, the
Rebels were discovered building a bridge. About one hundred of them
were taken prisoners. Instead of waiting for the pontoons to be laid,
the Twelfth forded the stream, which was deep and swift; but the men
held their cartridge-boxes over their heads, and thus kept their
powder dry.

It was not till the afternoon of the 29th that Lee understood Hooker's
movement. At sunset Stuart reported that a heavy column of Yankees was
crossing the Germanna Ford, that there was another at Ely's, and still
another at United States Ford. Lee saw that the routes, after crossing
the Rapidan, converged near Chancellorsville, from whence several
roads led to the rear of his position at Fredericksburg.

On the morning of the 30th, Hooker's army was in the following
position: The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps at Germanna Ford, moving
southeast; the Fifth Corps at Ely's Ford, moving south; the Second
Corps, followed by the Third, at United States Ford, marching
southwest; the First Corps passing up the river from its position
below Fredericksburg, making a rapid march to join the Second Corps at
United States Ford; the Sixth Corps, meanwhile, lying inactive on the
plain by Bernard's house.

The movement was admirably made, each corps coming into position at
the appointed place and time, showing that the plan had been well
matured in the mind of the commander-in-chief.

Early on the morning of the 30th the Eleventh Corps, followed by the
Twelfth, moved from Germanna Ford down the Stevensburg plank-road to
the Old Wilderness Tavern, which is about a mile and a half west of
Chancellorsville. The latter place, at the time of the battle,
consisted of one brick house. The country around Chancellorsville is
called "the Wilderness." Years ago a considerable portion of the land
was cleared, but the system of cultivation carried on by the
Virginians quickly exhausted the soil, and the fields were left to
grow up again to bushes. A short distance beyond the old tavern is
Dowdal's Tavern, near the junction of the Stevensburg plank-road, and
the Orange turnpike, leading to Gordonsville. Hunting Run has its
head-waters near the Stevensburg plank-road, and flows north to the
Rapidan. There is an old saw-mill on the creek, which was used as a
hospital by the Twelfth Corps during the battle. Near Dowdal's tavern
is an old church, and on the right-hand side of the road, as we go
toward Chancellorsville from Dowdal's, there is a cleared field on
elevated land, which was the centre of Hooker's line at the beginning
of the battle. Several roads diverge from Chancellorsville,--the
Orange and Fredericksburg plank-road and the Gordonsville turnpike,
both leading to Fredericksburg; also roads to United States and Ely's
Fords; also one leading south across Scott's Run.

At noon of the 30th the Eleventh Corps reached its assigned position,
between the Germanna road and Dowdal's tavern, forming the right flank
of Hooker's line. The Third Corps, which had crossed at Ely's Ford,
came down through the woods across Hunting Run, and formed on the left
of the Eleventh, by the tavern. The Twelfth Corps filed past the
Eleventh, along the Stevensburg road, and the Third Corps passed
Chancellorsville, and moved almost to Tabernacle Church, on the Orange
and Fredericksburg plank-road. The Second Corps, having crossed at
United States Ford, came into position a mile or more in rear of the
Eleventh and Third, while the Fifth moved up and formed a line facing
southeast, reaching from Chancellorsville to Scott's Dam on the
Rappahannock, a mile and a half north of Chancellorsville.

Stuart, commanding the Rebel cavalry, had skirmished with the Eleventh
Corps on its march, but when the Third, which crossed at Ely's,
reached Chancellorsville, Stuart found that he was cut off from direct
communication with Lee, and was obliged to move to Todd's Tavern and
Spottsylvania Court-House, to put himself in connection with the
infantry of the Rebel army. Lee was still undecided what to do, but
finally determined to leave Early's division of Jackson's corps, and
Barksdale's brigade of McLaw's division, and a part of the reserve
artillery under Pendleton, to hold Fredericksburg, and move with the
rest of the army to Chancellorsville and fight Hooker. He had already
sent Anderson's division to watch the movement. Slocum's skirmishers
met Anderson's at Chancellorsville and drove them back to Tabernacle
Church. Anderson, finding that Slocum was advancing, formed across the
roads, and was in this position at dark on the night of the 30th.

On the morning of the 1st of May the whole Rebel army, except what was
left to watch Sedgwick, was put in motion, with the intention of
making a direct attack. Anderson advanced upon Slocum, who fell back
under instructions to Chancellorsville, and filled the gap between
the Third and Fifth. Lee followed, intending to give battle, but he
found Hooker in a position of such strength that he hesitated. Lee

     "The enemy had assumed a position of great natural strength,
     surrounded on all sides by a dense forest, filled with tangled
     undergrowth, in the midst of which breastworks of logs had been
     constructed, with trees felled in front so as to form an
     impenetrable abatis. His artillery swept the few narrow roads by
     which his position could be approached from the front, and
     commanded the adjacent woods. The left of his line extended from
     Chancellorsville towards the Rappahannock, covering the Bark-Mill
     Ford, where he communicated with the north bank of the river by a
     pontoon bridge. His right stretched westward along the Germanna
     road more than two miles.

     "Darkness was approaching before the extent and strength of his
     lines could be ascertained, and, as the nature of the country
     rendered it hazardous to attack by night, our troops were halted,
     and formed in line of battle in front of Chancellorsville, at
     right angles to the plank-road.... It was evident that a direct
     attack upon the enemy would be attended with great difficulty and
     loss, in view of the strength of his position and his superiority
     in numbers. It was therefore resolved to endeavor to turn his
     right flank, and gain his rear, leaving a force in front to hold
     him in check, and conceal the movement. The execution of this
     plan was intrusted to Lieutenant-General Jackson, with his three

This movement of Lee's was very bold and hazardous. It divided his
army into three parts,--one part watching the Sixth Corps at
Fredericksburg, another between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg,
and the force under Jackson, accompanied by Stuart's cavalry, moving
to get in the rear of Hooker. Jackson was obliged to make a long
circuit by Todd's Tavern and the Furnace Road, moving first southwest
toward Spottsylvania, then west toward Orange Court-House, then north
toward the Rapidan, then east toward the old saw-mill on Hunting Run.
Rodes's division reached the Old Wilderness Tavern about four o'clock
in the afternoon. As the different divisions arrived they were formed
across the Stevensburg plank-road, Rodes in front, Trimble's division
under General Colston in the second, and A. P. Hill in the third line.

[Sidenote: May, 1863.]

General Hooker, having decided to fight a defensive battle, ordered
the construction of rifle-pits, and while Jackson was making this
detour the position was strongly fortified against an attack from the
direction of Fredericksburg. Early in the day it was reported that Lee
was retreating rapidly toward Culpepper Court-House. From the cleared
field occupied by Sickles the Rebel column could be seen moving
southwest,--artillery, baggage-train, and infantry. It was generally
believed in Hooker's army that Lee, finding the position too
impregnable, was retiring. Sickles and Howard thought differently.

"Lee has divided his army, and now is the time to strike," said
General Sickles to Hooker.

General Hooker hesitated. His plan was to stand wholly on the
defensive. Still the column filed by.

"The enemy is on my flank," was the message from Howard. "We can hear
the sound of their axes in the woods."[22]

         [Footnote 22: Howard's Report.]

"Now is the time to double up Lee," said Sickles, again urging an

         [Footnote 23: General Sickles's statement.]

"You may go out and feel the enemy, but don't go too fast, nor too
far," said Hooker, at last yielding.

It is nearly two miles southwest from Chancellorsville to Wellford's
iron furnace, which is situated on the Ny River, the north branch of
the Mattapony. The road which passes the furnace, and along which
Jackson was hastening, is a byroad from the plank-road east of
Chancellorsville, to the Brock Road, which runs from Todd's Tavern
northwest to the Old Wilderness Tavern. Archer's and Thomas's brigades
of A. P. Hill's division were at the furnace when Sickles received
permission to move out. They were the rear brigades of Jackson's
column. Sickles lost no time in putting his divisions in motion.
Berdan's sharpshooters were thrown out in advance as skirmishers, and
the infantry with artillery followed; but the artillery was compelled
to halt till a bridge could be constructed across a small creek. It
was about four o'clock when the head of the column reached the road
over which Jackson had marched. Archer was nearly a mile west of the
furnace when the sharpshooters reached the road, where they suddenly
fell upon the Twenty-Third Georgia. This regiment had been detached
from Colquitt's brigade of D. H. Hill's division, and was posted on
the north side of the road, as a flanking party, to cover the march of
the troops.

There was a sudden commotion in Archer's and Thomas's brigades.
Brown's battery was wheeled into position, and, with the Twenty-Third
Georgia and Fourteenth Tennessee, opened fire upon Sickles. The
teamsters of the Rebel baggage-trains fled into the woods.

A courier dashed up the road to inform Archer what had happened, but
before the news reached him the Twenty-Third Georgia was in the hands
of Sickles. Archer faced about, and formed his lines.

Anderson all the while was skirmishing with Slocum, to attract
Hooker's attention, while Jackson was getting into position, but he
was now obliged to send Wright, Posey, and Mahan to the assistance of
Archer and Thomas. They attacked Sickles's left flank, while Archer
and Thomas attacked his right. The contest waxed warm.

"Don't go too fast," was Hooker's injunction again to Sickles.

"I want a brigade to fill the gap between myself and Howard," was
Sickles's reply, and Barlow's brigade was sent. It was the best of the
Eleventh Corps. Howard had placed it in reserve just where he could
use it to advantage, on either flank, in front, or centre.

The Eleventh Corps was formed in the following order: General Devens's
division on the right, between the Stevensburg road and the old
saw-mill, facing northwest; General Schurz's division south of the
plank-road, facing southwest; General Schimmelfennig's brigade of
Steinwehr's division also south of the road, reaching to Dowdal's
Tavern; Barlow's brigade north of the road, in rear of the centre.

There was no want of precaution on the part of General Howard. General
Hooker rode along the line with Howard on Saturday forenoon. Howard

     "At one point a regiment was not deployed and at another a gap in
     the woods was not filled. The corrections were made and the
     position strengthened. The front was covered by a good line of
     skirmishers. I should have stated that just at evening of the 1st
     the enemy made a reconnoissance on our front with a small force
     of artillery and infantry. General Schimmelfennig moved out with a
     battalion and drove him back. During Saturday, the 2d, the same
     general made frequent reconnoissances. Infantry scouts and
     cavalry patrols were constantly pushed out on every road. The
     unvarying report was, 'The enemy is crossing the plank-road and
     moving towards Culpepper.' At 4 P. M. I was directed to send a
     brigade to the support of General Sickles. I immediately took
     Barlow's brigade by a short route to General Sickles's right,
     some two and a half miles from the plank-road to the front."[24]

         [Footnote 24: Howard's Report.]

[Illustration: Chancellorsville.


  1. Devens's Division.
  2. Schurz's   "
  3. Steinwehr's Division.
  4. Barlow's Brigade before moving
     to reinforce Sickles.
  5. Sickles's (3) Corps.
  6. Slocum's (12)   "
  7. Meade's (5)     "
  8. Couch's (2)     "
  9. Cavalry.


  A. Stonewall Jackson's Corps.
     Front line Rodes's Division.
     Middle line Colston's Division.
     Third line A. P. Hill's   "
  B. Archer's and Wright's Brigades.
  C. Anderson's Division.
  D. McLaw's        "
  T. Tavern.]

It was six o'clock. There was a gap from Dowdal's Tavern almost to
Chancellorsville, from which Sickles had moved. Slocum had advanced
beyond Chancellorsville southeast. The sending out of Sickles and
Barlow, the advance of Slocum, and the position of the Second Corps,
so far away to the rear, left Howard without any supports.

Jackson came through the woods upon Howard's skirmishers, who fired
and fell back. The firing attracted the attention of the men along the
lines, who were cooking their suppers. Occasional shots had been fired
during the afternoon, and there was no alarm till the skirmishers came
out of the woods upon the run, followed by the Rebels. The men seized
their arms; but, before Devens could get his regiments into position,
the Rebels were approaching his right flank, firing quick volleys and
yelling like savages. Some of Devens's command fled, throwing away
their guns and equipments. Others fought bravely. Devens, while
endeavoring to rally his men, was wounded; several of his officers
fell; yet he held his ground till the Rebels gained his rear and began
firing into the backs of the men who stood behind the breastwork. Then
the line gave way, abandoning five guns.

Howard was at his head-quarters, by Dowdal's. Schurz also was there
when the attack commenced. He says:--

     "I sent my chief of staff to the front when firing was heard.
     General Schurz, who was with me, left at once to take command of
     his line. It was not three minutes before I followed. When I
     reached General Schurz's command, I saw that the enemy had
     enveloped my right, and that the first division [Devens's] was
     giving way. I first tried to change front with the deployed
     regiments. I next directed the artillery where to go; then formed
     a line, by deploying some of the reserve regiments, near the
     church. By this time the whole front, on the north of the
     plank-road, had given way. Colonel Burshbeck's brigade was faced
     about, and, lying on the other side of the rifle-pit embankment,
     held on with praiseworthy firmness. A part of General
     Schimmelfennig's and a part of Colonel Krzyzanouski's brigades
     moved gradually back to the north of the plank-road, and kept up
     their fire. At the centre, and near the plank-road, there was a
     blind panic and great confusion. By the assistance of my staff
     and some other officers, one of whom was Colonel Dickinson, of
     General Hooker's staff, the rout was considerably checked, and
     all the artillery except eight pieces withdrawn. Some of the
     artillery was well served, and told effectively on the advancing
     enemy. Captain Dilger kept up a continuous fire, till we reached
     General Birney's position."[25]

         [Footnote 25: Howard's Report.]

The Rebel troops which first made their appearance, and which
enveloped Howard's right, were commanded by General Doles, who says:--

     "At five o'clock P. M. the order was given to advance against the
     enemy. The brigade moved as rapidly as possible through a very
     thick wood, and skirmishers were immediately engaged by those of
     the enemy. Our forces marching rapidly forward assisted in
     driving in the enemy's sharpshooters, when we were subjected to a
     heavy musket fire, and grape, canister, and shell. The command
     was ordered to attack the enemy in his intrenched position, drive
     him from it, and take his batteries. The order was promptly
     obeyed; the Fourth and Forty-Fourth Georgia assaulted his
     position in front; the Twenty-First Georgia was ordered to flank
     him so as to enfilade his intrenchments; the Twelfth Georgia was
     ordered forward, and to the right, to attack a force of the enemy
     on the right. After a resistance of about ten minutes we drove
     him from his position on the left, and carried his battery of two
     guns, caissons, and horses. The movement of the Twelfth Georgia
     on the right was successful. The order to forward was given, when
     the command moved forward at the 'double-quick' to assault the
     enemy who had taken up a strong position on the crest of a hill
     in the open field. He was soon driven from this position, the
     command pursuing him. He made _a stubborn resistance from behind
     a wattling fence_, on a hill thickly covered with pine. The whole
     command moved gallantly against this position, the Fourth and
     Forty-Fourth Georgia in front, and the Twenty-First and Twelfth
     on his left flank and rear. Here we captured one gun,--a rifled
     piece. We pursued his retreating forces about three hundred yards
     over an open field, receiving a severe fire from musketry and a
     battery of four pieces on the crest of the hill that commanded
     the field below; his infantry was in large force, and well
     protected by rifle-pits and intrenchments. The command was
     ordered to take the intrenchments and the battery, _which was
     done after a resistance of about twenty minutes_. The enemy fled
     in utter confusion, leaving his battery of four pieces, his
     wounded, and many prisoners. The Twelfth Georgia and the larger
     portion of the other regiments was formed in good order, and
     pursued him through the pine forest, moving some five hundred
     yards to the front, and holding that position until after dark.
     Fresh troops having been placed in that position after dark, I
     ordered the command to retire for the purpose of replenishing
     ammunitions, the men being entirely out. During this engagement,
     which lasted from about 5-1/2 to 9 P. M., the command captured
     eight pieces of artillery and many prisoners."[26]

         [Footnote 26: General Doles's Report, p. 63.]

It is manifest, that while a portion of the Eleventh Corps became
panic-stricken, a large number of Howard's troops fought with great
bravery. The corps numbered about thirteen thousand five hundred on
the morning of May 1st.

The force under Howard at the time of the attack did not exceed eleven
thousand, mainly raw German troops. Howard's total loss in killed,
wounded, and prisoners was two thousand five hundred and twenty-eight.
Twenty-five officers and one hundred and fifty-three men were killed,
seventy-eight officers and eight hundred and forty-two wounded,--a
total loss of one thousand and ninety-eight killed and wounded, which
shows the severity of this brief conflict.

The Eleventh Corps has been severely censured for pusillanimous
conduct in this battle; but when all of the facts are taken into
consideration,--that Howard had no supports to call upon; that the
Third Corps was two miles and a half from its position in the line;
that Barlow's brigade had been sent away; that the attack was a
surprise; that Jackson's force exceeded thirty thousand; that,
notwithstanding these disadvantages, a "stubborn resistance" was
offered,--praise instead of censure is due to those of the Eleventh
who thus held their ground, till one fourth of their number were
killed, wounded, or taken prisoners.

Almost at the beginning of the attack Devens was wounded. In the
confusion and panic, there was no one to take his place till Howard
arrived. Hooker was at once in his saddle.

"The enemy have attacked Howard and driven him in," was his word to

"That can't be," said Sickles, incredulous.

"Return at once," was the order from Hooker, by a second messenger.

The heavy firing, constantly growing nearer, gave force to the

It was now quite dark. Sickles set out to return with all possible
haste, but soon found that he had got to fight his way back. Jackson's
left wing had swept round, till it rested upon the road, over which he
had marched on his way out to the Furnace. Berry's division came first
upon the enemy. A severe contest ensued, lasting till nine o'clock,
when he succeeded in re-establishing his connection with Howard, who
had thus far fought the battle almost alone. Lee, with Anderson's
command, all the while was making a demonstration against the Twelfth
and Fifth Corps east of Chancellorsville, and the Second was too far
in rear to be of any service to Howard before the return of Sickles
and Barlow.

Jackson gained no advantage after his first attack, but on the other
hand came near experiencing a panic in his own lines. General Colston

     "We continued to drive the enemy until darkness prevented our
     farther advance. The firing now ceased, owing to the difficult
     and tangled nature of the ground over which the troops had
     advanced, and the mingling of my first and second lines of
     battle. The formation of the troops became very much confused,
     and different regiments, brigades, and divisions were mixed up
     together.... The troops were hardly reformed and placed in
     position when the enemy opened, about ten o'clock, a furious fire
     of shot, shell, and canister, sweeping down the plank-road and
     the woods on each side. A number of artillery horses, some of
     them without drivers, and a great many infantry soldiers,
     belonging to other commands, rushed down the road in wild
     disorder; but, although many casualties occurred at this time in
     my division, the troops occupied their position with the utmost
     steadiness. It was at this time that General Nichols, of the
     Louisiana Brigade (Fourth), a gallant and accomplished officer,
     had his leg torn off by a shell, and was carried off the field.
     It was also about the same time that our great, and good and
     ever to be lamented corps commander fell under the fire of some
     of the men of General Lane's brigade."[27]

         [Footnote 27: Colston's Report, p. 43.]

Under cover of the fire of the artillery, Berry's division of the
Third Corps attacked Jackson. The Rebel commander had just placed A.
P. Hill's division in the front line, and was contemplating an attack
upon Sickles, when Berry advanced. His biographer says:--

     "Such was his ardor at this critical moment, and his anxiety to
     penetrate the movements of the enemy, doubly screened as they
     were by the dense forest and gathering darkness, that he rode
     ahead of the skirmishers, and exposed himself to a close and
     dangerous fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, posted in the
     timber. So great was the danger which he ran, that one of his
     staff said, 'General, don't you think this is the wrong place for
     you?' He replied, quickly, 'The danger is all over; the enemy is
     routed. Go back and tell A. P. Hill to press right on!' Soon
     after giving this order, General Jackson turned, and, accompanied
     by his staff and escort, rode back at a trot on his well-known
     'Old Sorrel' toward his own men. Unhappily, in the darkness,--it
     was now nine or ten o'clock at night,--the little body of
     horsemen was mistaken for Federal cavalry charging, and the
     regiments on the right and left of the road fired a sudden volley
     into them with the most lamentable results. Captain Boswell, of
     Jackson's staff, was killed, and borne into our lines by his
     horse. Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery, was wounded, and
     two couriers killed. General Jackson received one ball in his
     left arm, two inches below the shoulder-joint, shattering the
     bone and severing the chief artery; a second passed through the
     same arm, between the elbow and wrist, making its exit through
     the palm of the hand; a third entered the palm of his right hand,
     about the middle, and, passing through, broke two of the bones.

     "He fell from his horse, and was caught by Captain Wormly, to
     whom he said, 'All my wounds are by my own men.'

     "The firing was responded to by the enemy, who made a sudden
     advance, _and, the Confederates falling back, their foes actually
     charged over Jackson's body_. He was not discovered, however, and
     the Federals being driven in turn, he was rescued. Ready hands
     placed him upon a litter, and he was borne to the rear under a
     heavy fire from the enemy. One of the litter-bearers was shot
     down; the General fell from the shoulders of the men, receiving a
     severe contusion, adding to the injury of the arm and injuring
     the side severely. The enemy's fire of artillery at this point
     was terrible. General Jackson was left for five minutes until the
     fire slackened, then placed in an ambulance and carried to the
     field hospital at Wilderness Run."[28]

         [Footnote 28: Life of Stonewall Jackson, by Daniels, of
         Richmond, p. 254.]

Thus fell a commander endowed with qualities calculated to stir the
warmest enthusiasm of the people of the South. He was brave, daring,
energetic, impulsive,--the most competent of all the Rebel generals to
lead a charge,--but not esteemed so able as Lee to conduct a campaign.
He was deeply religious, but espoused Treason with all his heart. He
was educated at the expense of the United States, and had sworn to
bear faithful allegiance to his country; yet he joined the Rebels at
the outset, and did what he could to inaugurate and carry to a
successful issue a civil war for the overthrow of the national
government and the establishing of another with slavery for its
corner-stone! He prayed and fought for a system of servitude which was
the sum of all villanies, and which has received the condemnation of
every civilized nation of modern times.

Not according to the measure of his military prowess, nor by his
sincerity of heart or religious convictions and exercises, will
History judge him, but, connecting the man with the cause which he
espoused, will hold him accountable for blood shed in a war waged to
sustain human slavery, under the specious doctrine of the Rights of

       *       *       *       *       *

When the assault was made on Howard, the first move on the part of
Hooker was to arrange for a new line.

Captain Best, commanding the artillery of the Twelfth Corps, brought
thirty-six guns into position between Chancellorsville and Dowdal's,
sweeping the fields to the south and southwest, the Orangeburg
plank-road, and the breastworks which Buschbeck had abandoned, and
behind which the Rebels were forming for a second attack. Under cover
of this fire, Birney and Whipple came back from Scott's Creek;
Williams's division, which had been pushed out southeast of
Chancellorsville, on the road to Fredericksburg, was drawn in.

[Illustration: Battery at Chancellorsville.]

When the Twelfth Corps got back to its place in the line, most of
Howard's works were in possession of the enemy. Williams now crossed
his own intrenchments, and formed in the field, facing westward.

"Stand steady, old Third Brigade. Stand steady, old Second
Massachusetts," was the address of the Brigadier.

So stood the line, while Best poured in his tremendous artillery fire,
and while Berry pushed the Rebels back into the woods.

Jackson and A. P. Hill having been wounded, the command devolved on
General Stuart, who arrived at midnight and made a reconnoissance of
the lines.

East of Chancellorsville Slocum and Meade were having a severe fight
with the Rebels under Lee, who says in his report:--

     "As soon as the sound of cannon gave notice of Jackson's attack
     on the enemy's right, our troops in front of Chancellorsville
     were ordered to press him strongly on the left, to prevent
     reinforcements being sent to the point assailed. They were
     directed not to attack in force, unless a favorable opportunity
     should present itself, and while continuing to cover the roads
     leading from their respective positions, toward Chancellorsville,
     to incline to the left so as to connect with Jackson's right as
     he closed in upon the centre. These orders were well executed,
     our troops advancing up to the enemy's intrenchments, while
     several batteries played with good effect upon his lines, until
     prevented by increasing darkness."[29]

         [Footnote 29: Lee's Report.]

Anderson's division advanced rapidly up the Fredericksburg road,
charging upon Kane's brigade of Geary's division, composed of new
troops, which, after a short resistance, retreated in confusion. An
aid from Slocum came down to Hooker for reinforcements. "No," said
Hooker, "he must hold his own. Let Geary's division, however, be
thrown to the right of the road, that the artillery may be able to
sweep the enemy on the left." This was done, and the heavy fire that
was given by Knapp's and other batteries checked Anderson's advance. A
constant demonstration was kept up by Anderson to deceive Hooker as to
Lee's intentions. Thus the night passed.


Both armies were busy through the night, preparing for the great
struggle,--Lee to attack and Hooker to defend. The wounded were sent
to the rear, also the baggage trains, and the cavalry, and everything
which could impede operations. Hooker's line was in the form of the
letter V. The Second Corps, which had followed Berry up the night
before, occupied the right of the line, reaching nearly down to the
river, joining the left flank upon Berry's division of the Third
Corps, which extended to the plank-road, west of Chancellorsville.
Whipple's and Birney's divisions of the Third, and Geary's division of
the Twelfth, formed the point of the letter V, which enclosed
Chancellorsville. The other divisions of the Twelfth Corps and the
Fifth Corps forming the other side of the letter, extended from
Chancellorsville to the Rappahannock. The Eleventh Corps was placed in
position to support the Fifth on the extreme left of the line. During
the day the First Corps under Reynolds came up the river, crossed at
United States Ford, and wheeled into position on the right of the
Second Corps, thus forming the extreme right of the line. The troops
had been busy through the night erecting breastworks, while a large
number of guns were placed in position to sweep all the roads. Stuart
renewed the fight at daylight, with Hill in the front line, Colston in
the second, and Rodes in the third. He advanced with the intention of
breaking the line near Chancellorsville. His troops were exasperated
by the loss of their leader, and were animated by revenge. They came
through the woods almost in solid mass. Colston's and Rodes's men,
pressing eagerly forward, and closing up the spaces between the lines.
They received, without flinching, the terrible fire which flamed from
Berry's and Birney's and Whipple's lines. They charged upon Sickles's
outer works, and carried them.

They advanced upon the second line, but were cut up by Best's
artillery. Companies and regiments melted away. Berry and Birney
advance to meet them. The living waves rolled against each other like
the billows of a stormy sea. The Rebels, as if maddened by the
obstinacy of those who held the position, rushed up to the muzzles of
the cannon. Sickles sent for reinforcements. Hooker ordered French and
Hancock of the Second Corps to advance and attack Stuart in flank.

It was seven o'clock in the morning. The battle had been raging since
daylight. The two divisions of the Second Corps swung out from the
main line, faced southwest, and moved upon Stuart.

South of Chancellorsville there is an elevation higher than that
occupied by Best's artillery. When the fog which had hung over the
battle-field all the morning lifted, Stuart sent his artillery to
occupy the position. Thirty pieces were planted there, which enfiladed
both of Hooker's lines. A heavy artillery duel was kept up, but,
notwithstanding the severity of the fire, the Union troops held the
position. Stuart, instead of breaking through Sickles, found the
Second Corps turning his own left flank. He says:--

     "The enemy was pressing our left with infantry, and all the
     reinforcements I could obtain were sent there. Colquitt's brigade
     of Trimble's division, ordered first to the right, was directed
     to the left to support Pender. Iverson's brigade of the second
     line was also engaged there, and the three lines were more or
     less merged into one line of battle, and reported hard pressed.
     Urgent requests were sent for reinforcements, and notices that
     the troops were out of ammunition. I ordered that the ground must
     be held at all hazards, if necessary with the bayonet."[30]

         [Footnote 30: Stuart's Report.]

All of the efforts of Stuart to break the line by a direct infantry
attack failed. But his batteries massed on the hill were doing great
damage. The shells swept down Birney's and Whipple's and Berry's ranks
on the one hand, and Geary's and Williams's on the other. Hooker saw
that the position could not be held without great loss of life.
Preparations were accordingly made to fall back to a stronger
position, where his army would be more concentrated, the lines shorter
and thicker, in the form of a semicircle. Meanwhile Lee swung Anderson
round and joined Stuart, making a simultaneous advance of both wings
of his army, under cover of a heavy fire from all his available
artillery,--pouring a storm of shells upon Chancellorsville, firing
the buildings. Hooker had begun to retire before Lee advanced,
withdrawing his artillery, removing his wounded, losing no prisoners.

Every attack of Anderson upon Slocum had been repulsed with great
loss. A South Carolina regiment came against the Second Massachusetts.
Three times the men from the Palmetto state charged upon the men of
Massachusetts. Three times the flag from the Old Bay State changed
hands. But, before the Rebels could carry it from the field, it was
rescued, and at the close of the fight was still in the hands of the
regiment. When Slocum's troops had exhausted their ammunition they
emptied the cartridge-boxes of the fallen. When that was gone they
held the ground by the bayonet till ordered to retire.[31]

         [Footnote 31: "From the Potomac to the Rapidan," by Quint.]

General Lee says:--

     "By ten A. M. we were in full possession of the field. The
     troops, having become somewhat scattered, by the difficulties of
     the ground, and the ardor of the contest, were immediately
     reformed, preparatory to renewing the attack. The enemy had
     retired to a strong position near the Rappahannock, which he had
     previously fortified. His superiority of numbers, the unfavorable
     nature of the ground, which was densely wooded, and the condition
     of our troops, after the arduous and sanguinary conflict in which
     they had been engaged, rendered great caution necessary. Our
     preparations were just completed, when further operations were
     suspended by intelligence received from Fredericksburg."[32]

         [Footnote 32: Lee's Report.]

The new line taken by Hooker was one of great strength. No assault,
with the intention of carrying it, was made by Lee. News of disaster
from Fredericksburg, where Sedgwick was driving all before him, made
it necessary for him to send reinforcements in that direction.


An important part of General Hooker's plan was Sedgwick's movement on
Fredericksburg, but the battle fought there on Sunday, the 3d of May,
was wholly distinct from Chancellorsville. Early on the morning of the
2d, Professor Lowe went up in his balloon from the Falmouth hills, and
looked down upon the city.

He reported the Rebels moving towards Chancellorsville. Looking
closely into the intrenchments behind Fredericksburg he discovered
that the Rebels intended to hold them. The Washington Artillery was
behind the breastworks by Maryee's house.

"Ten thousand of the enemy, I should judge, still there," was his
report to General Butterfield, Hooker's chief of staff, who remained
with Sedgwick.

During the day Reynolds withdrew and moved up the Falmouth side to
United States Ford. The Rebels saw the movement, and thought that the
Yankees did not dare to make a second attempt to drive them from their

"Now is the time for Sedgwick to attack them," was Hooker's despatch
from Chancellorsville, Saturday afternoon, to General Butterfield.

As soon as night came on, Sedgwick began his preparations. The
engineers were directed to take up the lower pontoons and lay a new
bridge opposite the Lacy House, at the point where the Seventh
Michigan and Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts won for themselves
great honor on the 11th of December.

"Kindle no fires; let there be no loud talking," were Sedgwick's
orders to his troops on the plain by Bernard's house, below Deep Run.
The men ate their suppers of hard-tack and cold meat in silence, threw
themselves upon the ground, and slept soundly in the calm moonlight.
At midnight an aide rode along the lines, saying to each officer, "Get
your men in readiness at once." The men sprang to their feet, folded
their blankets, and were ready.

It was half past twelve Sunday morning before the forward movement
began. The United States Chasseurs were in advance as skirmishers,
deployed on both sides of the Bowling Green road. Shaler's brigade
followed, then Wheaton's and Brown's brigades. They crossed Deep Run,
where the skirmishers had a few shots with the Rebel pickets, and
moved into the town.

The engineers soon had the bridge completed, and Gibbon's division of
the Second Corps, which had been waiting by the Lacy House, crossed
the stream.

Early stationed Barksdale, with seven companies of the Twenty-First
Mississippi, between Maryee's house and the plank-road, with the
Seventeenth and Thirteenth Mississippi on the hills by the Howison
house, and the Eighteenth and the remainder of the Twenty-First behind
the stone-wall at the base of the hill. Hayes's brigade, consisting of
the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Louisianians, was on the
hill near the monument, with Wilcox's brigade in its rear, guarding
Banks's Ford. Early himself was by Hazel Run, with Gordon's, Hoke's,
and Smith's brigades.

Sedgwick's divisions were formed in the following order: Gibbon above
the town in front of the monument, Newton in front of Maryee's Hill,
Howe at the lower end of the town, and Brooks on the plain below.

The morning dawned. The fog prevented the Rebels from seeing the
movements of Sedgwick, though Barksdale's pickets reported the town
full of Yankees. From Chancellorsville came the roar of battle, the
constant thunder of the cannonade. It was half past five when Shaler's
brigade of Newton's division moved over the field where so many
thousands fell on the 13th of December. It was a reconnoissance to
ascertain the position and number of the force holding the place. The
men marched on gallantly, but were forced to retire before the
Mississippians and the artillery on the hill.

Sedgwick brought Hearn's, Martin's, Adams's, and Hazard's batteries,
and Battery D of the Second United States regiment of artillery, into
position in the town and above it, while Hexamer's, the First
Maryland, and McCartney's First Massachusetts occupied the ground
below Hazel Run. McCartney was on the same spot which he occupied in
the first battle.

It was a day of peace everywhere except at Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville. The air was laden with the fragrance of flowers
blooming in the gardens of the town. Thousands of spectators stood
upon the Falmouth hills watching the contest. All the batteries were
at work,--the heavy guns at Falmouth, at the Lacy House, and farther
down, throwing shells and solid shot over the town into the Rebel

Gibbon, instead of advancing directly up the hill towards the
monument, where Hayes was lying behind the intrenchments, moved up the
river road, intending to turn Hayes's right flank. Hayes moved his
men farther up, and sent a courier to Wilcox with the message, "The
Yankees are coming up the river road."[33]

         [Footnote 33: Wilcox's Report, p. 98.]

[Illustration: Sedgwick's attack.


  1. Gibbon's Division.    A. Hayes's Brigade.
  2. Newton's    "         B. Barksdale's Brigade.
  3. Howe's      "         C. Early's Division.
  4. Brooks's    "            Gordon's, Hoke's, and Smith's Brigades.
                           D. Wilcox's Brigade.]

Wilcox left fifty men to guard the ford, and went upon the run towards
the town. It was an anxious moment to the Rebels. Barksdale and Hayes
and Wilcox all met at Stanisberry's house, and consulted as to what
should be done. Early their commander, was down on the Telegraph road,
looking after matters in that direction.

"The Yankees are in full force below the town," said Barksdale.[34]
That was the first information Wilcox had received of the startling
fact. They had been outgeneralled. They supposed that the movement
below the town was a feint. They had seen Reynolds withdraw and march
up stream towards Chancellorsville, but had not seen Gibbon cross the
stream. Yet he was there, moving to the attack.

         [Footnote 34: Wilcox's Report.]

"Put your batteries into position and play upon them," said
Barksdale.[35] Huger's battery galloped up, chose a fine position on
the hill near Dr. Taylor's house, and began to fire upon the
Massachusetts Twentieth, which was in the road, compelling it to seek
shelter under the hill. So effectual was the fire that Gibbon's
advance was checked.

         [Footnote 35: Barksdale's Report.]

Brooks and Howe moved against the Rebels below the town, but found
them strongly posted.

Twice Newton advanced upon Maryee's Hill, and was driven back. The
forenoon was waning. But though baffled, Sedgwick was not disposed to
give up the attempt. He watched the contest closely, reconnoitring all
the positions of the Rebels, and determined to make an attack with his
whole force at once.

But while Sedgwick was making preparations, Early endeavored to drive
Brooks and Howe into the river. He advanced from the position occupied
by Pender and Hood in the first battle, emerged from the woods and
crossed the open field.

It is about ten o'clock. McCartney's battery, the First Massachusetts,
is on a hillock, where it has full sweep of all the plain, right and
left, and in front. There are five batteries of the Rebel reserve
artillery, under Pendleton, in front, which have tried in vain to
drive McCartney from the spot. A solid shot kills two horses and a
man; McCartney is struck by a fragment of shell; yet the battery
maintains its position north of the Bowling Green road, in Bernard's
field. A regiment which never before has been under fire is lying in
front of the battery, sheltered by the hedges along the
road,--soldiers that have enlisted for nine months. They are wanting
in pluck, and as the Rebels advance, run straight up the hill towards
the battery.

"Get out of the way, or I'll fire through you," shouts Lieutenant
Green, who impatiently holds his artillerists in check till the
fugitives are past him.

He cuts at them right and left with his sword, indignant at their
cowardly conduct, anxious to have the coast clear, that he may pour a
torrent of canister into the advancing foe, now close at hand.

The whole battery--six pieces--opens by a volley, sending streams of
canister down the slope! But the Rebels are in earnest. Still they

"Give them double-shotted canister," shouts Green to his gunners, and
they ram home the charges with a will. The guns leap from the ground
with the recoil!

Nearer,--across the road,--up the hill,--they come.

"Give it to them! Give it to them! Quick!" are the energetic shouts of
Green, and the canister tears through the ranks. No troops can face
such a destructive fire. The Rebels flee down the hill, across the
road, over the field, to the shelter of the woods.

"The repulse of the enemy on the extreme left was effected almost
entirely by McCartney's battery," said General Brooks.[36]

         [Footnote 36: Brooks's Report.]

General Sedgwick determined to carry Maryee's Hill at the point of the
bayonet. Some of the officers thought it an impossibility. It had been
tried three times in the first battle and twice during that morning,
and all attempts had failed. But Sedgwick converged his forces upon
one point. He formed his columns in three lines, with the intention of
moving his whole force at once,--thus preventing Early from sending
any reinforcements from other parts of the lines.

The troops selected for the attack upon Maryee's Hill were the
Sixty-First Pennsylvania and Forty-Third New York in the front line,
north of the plank-road, and the First Long Island and Eighty-Second
Pennsylvania in the second line, under General Shaler. South of the
plank-road were the Sixth Maine and Thirty-First New York in the front
line, with the Fifth Wisconsin acting as skirmishers. Next in line
were the Seventh Massachusetts and Thirty-Sixth New York, Second New
York and Twenty-Sixth New Jersey, of Neil's brigade. Still farther
down, by Hazel Run, was the Vermont brigade.

Gibbon moved against Hayes and Wilcox, while Brooks still held the
ground, and made a demonstration against Early.

It is past eleven o'clock before all the dispositions are made.

"Go upon the double-quick. Don't fire a shot. Give them the bayonet.
Carry the rifle-pits, charge up the hill, and capture the guns," are
the instructions.

The men throw aside everything which will hinder them, fix their
bayonets, and prepare for the work. Their blood is up. They know that
it is to be a desperate struggle. But it is not death that they are
thinking of, but victory!

The Sixty-First Pennsylvania and Forty-Third New York move over the
bridge across the canal. Their advance is the signal for all the
lines. The men rise from the ground where they have been lying
sheltered from the Rebel shells. The Rebel batteries above them are in
a blaze. The stone-wall at the base of the hill is aflame. Barksdale
sees the threatening aspect. "I am hard pressed," is his message to
Wilcox. "Send me reinforcements." But Gibbon is moving on Wilcox, and
the latter cannot respond.

Cool and steady the advance. The hills rain canister. The sunken road
is a sheet of flame. But onward into the storm, with a cheer, heard
above the roar of battle upon the distant Falmouth hills, they leap
into the sunken road and capture the Rebels defending it. They climb
the hill. Steep the ascent. They feel the hot breath of the cannon in
their faces. Some roll to the bottom of the hill, the lamp of life
extinguished forever; but their surviving comrades do not falter. They
reach the crest, leap over the breastworks, and seize the guns! Maine,
Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and Wisconsin meet in the
intrenchments and rend the air with victorious cheers!

[Illustration: Leading a charge.]

Barksdale puts spurs to his horse and rides to the rear, leaving half
of his brigade and eight guns in the hands of the victors.

Barksdale says:--

     "The distance from town to the points assailed was so short, the
     attack so suddenly made, and the difficulty of removing troops
     from one part of the line to another was so great, that it was
     utterly impossible for either General Wilcox or General Hayes to
     reach the scene of action in time to afford any assistance

         [Footnote 37: Barksdale's Report.]

There was consternation in the Rebel lines. Early fled down the
Telegraph road. Hayes also ran. Wilcox, who was not aware of the
disaster, remained in position on Taylor's Hill, wondering what had
happened. Had Sedgwick known his position, the whole of Wilcox's
brigade might have been captured; but it required time to reform the
lines, and Wilcox made his escape.

Long and loud and joyous were the shouts of the victors. The
stronghold had been wrested from the Rebels at last.

It was Sunday noon. Hooker had just fallen back from Chancellorsville,
and the Rebels were rejoicing over their success, when a messenger
reached Lee with the tidings of disaster. Fredericksburg was lost,
after all. It must be recovered, or the victory at Chancellorsville
would be only a disastrous defeat.

Sedgwick telegraphed his success to Hooker.

"Move and attack Lee in rear," was Hooker's order.

Lee sent McLaws to hold Sedgwick in check. The time had come when
Hooker should have assumed the offensive. The First Corps had arrived,
but had taken no part in the battle. The Third Corps, Meade's, was in
good condition; so was the Second, Hancock's, although it had fought
during the forenoon. Barlow's brigade of the Eleventh was fresh; the
Twelfth had fought bravely, had lost heavily, but was not demoralized.
The Third Corps had suffered most of all, yet it could be relied upon
for another contest. The withdrawal of McLaws left Lee's line thin
towards Fredericksburg, the place to break through, and open
communication with Sedgwick. The hour had come when he ought not to
stand longer on the defensive, but gathering his forces in mass
overwhelm Lee by a sudden and mighty onset. It was an auspicious
moment,--a golden opportunity, such as does not often come to military
commanders. But having formed his plan of fighting a defensive battle,
he did not depart from it, and lost the victory which lay within his

Sedgwick having carried the heights of Fredericksburg, instead of
following Early down the Telegraph road, made preparations to move
towards Chancellorsville, and join Hooker.

Wilcox, meanwhile, brought two of Huger's rifle-guns into position
near Dr. Taylor's house, and opened fire. He also threw out his
skirmishers, made a display of his force, and looked round to see what
could be done to escape from his perilous position. Sedgwick brought
up a battery, and moved forward his lines. Wilcox fled, and succeeded,
by rapid marching under the shelter of a pine thicket, in gaining the
plank-road, near Salem Church, where he was joined by General McLaws,
and where also Barksdale rallied his troops.

The church is a brick building, without any steeple, standing on the
south side of the road, about four miles out from Fredericksburg, and
about a mile and a half south of the Rappahannock at Banks's Ford.
There was an oak grove near the church, and in front of it an open
field, but west of it there were thick woods, which effectually
concealed the Rebels. It was about five o'clock in the afternoon when
Sedgwick advanced up the plank-road, with Brooks's division in the
road, Newton north of it, and Howe on the south side. Sedgwick's
skirmishers sent back word that the Rebels were in strong force in the
woods. At the same moment the Rebel batteries opened fire. One of
their first shells killed a mounted orderly and his horse, and wounded
Captain Reed, of General Brooks's staff.

Sedgwick brought up his artillery and commenced a fire upon the
church, and the woods beyond it. Wilcox had formed his line across the
plank-road. His sharpshooters were in the church. He had four pieces
of artillery in the road and on each side of it. He also threw a
company of sharpshooters into a school-house near the church.
Kershaw's and Wofford's brigades were on the right of the road;
Semmes's and Mahone's on the other side. Sedgwick's batteries were in
position near the toll-gate, and so accurate and destructive was the
fire of his guns that the Rebel batteries by the church were driven
from their position. Russell's and Bartlett's brigades moved forward
to rout the enemy from the woods, Sedgwick supposing there was but a
small force to oppose him. The advance was over ground slightly
ascending, through an open field, towards the woods, where the Rebel
skirmishers were lying. It is a narrow belt of woods. Behind it were
the church and school-house, and beyond the church the woods where the
main body of the Rebels were lying. They drove the skirmishers from
the belt of woods, halted a moment to reform their lines, gave three
cheers, charged through the grove, routing the Rebels there concealed.
They surrounded the school-house, captured the entire company of the
Ninth Alabama stationed in it, put to flight a regiment lying behind
the house.[38] But the remainder of the Ninth Alabama, with other
regiments, came to the rescue, succeeded in recapturing a portion of
their comrades, and forced Russell and Bartlett to retire.

         [Footnote 38: General Wilcox's Report.]

It was now nearly six o'clock in the afternoon, and till night set in
there was heavy fighting along the whole line. Wilcox and Semmes
several times advanced upon Sedgwick, but were repulsed. So far as
numbers were concerned the contest was about equal. But the Rebels
were on commanding ground, and protected by the woods, while Sedgwick
was in the open field. In this contest Wilcox lost four hundred and
ninety-five men. He had six officers killed and twenty-three wounded.
Semmes lost six hundred and eighty-three killed and wounded, Wafford
five hundred and sixty-two. The whole loss of the Rebels in the fight
at Salem Church was nearly two thousand. Sedgwick, instead of
advancing again, waited for the Rebels to attack him, but they did not
choose to come out from their strong position in the woods, and try it
a second time in the field. Thus the day closed.

[Illustration: Salem church.


  1. Newton's Division.   A. Semmes and Mahone.
  2. Brooks's  "          B. Wilcox.
  3. Howe's    "          C. Kershaw and Wofford.
                          D. Barksdale.
                          E. Reinforcements.
                          F. Dr. Taylor's.
                          G. Route of Wilcox's Retreat.]

Sedgwick's success endangered Lee, and, unless Fredericksburg were
regained, the battle was lost to the Rebels. Lee says:--

     "The enemy had so strengthened his position near Chancellorsville
     that it was deemed inexpedient to assail it with less than our
     whole force, which could not be concentrated until we were
     relieved from the danger that menaced our rear. It was
     accordingly resolved still further to reinforce the troops in
     front of General Sedgwick, in order, if possible, to drive him
     across the Rappahannock. Accordingly, on the 4th, General
     Anderson was directed to proceed with his remaining brigades to
     join General McLaws, the three divisions of Jackson's corps
     holding our position at Chancellorsville. Anderson reached Salem
     Church about noon, and was directed to gain the left flank of the
     enemy and form a junction with Early."[39]

         [Footnote 39: Lee's Report, p. 12.]

Half of the Rebel army was arrayed against Sedgwick, who held his
ground through the 4th till night. Early, during the day, retraced his
steps up the Telegraph road, and, finding that Sedgwick had moved out
to Salem Church, and that the fortifications were unoccupied, took
possession, and thus cut Sedgwick's communications with Falmouth. When
Anderson arrived he had no alternative but to retreat by Banks's Ford,
where he crossed the river without loss during the night. Hooker also
recrossed, took up his bridges, and the army returned again to its

In reviewing this battle, it is apparent that Hooker's movement to
Chancellorsville was a surprise to Lee. It was excellently planned and
efficiently executed,--each corps reaching its assigned position at
the time appointed by the Commander-in-chief. It is plain that
Hooker's departure from his original intention--to await an attack
from Lee--was the cause of the disaster at the beginning of the
engagement. Sickles's corps and Barlow's brigade being absent, the
balance of the Eleventh Corps had no supports; and yet by Bushbeck's
brigade and Dilger's battery, with such assistance as was given by a
few brave men of the other brigades, Jackson's right was not only held
in check, but thrown into confusion. Howard's statement of the case
presents the matter in its true light.

Thus reads his report:--

     "Now, as to the cause of this disaster to my corps.

     "1st. Though constantly threatened, and apprised of the moving of
     the enemy, yet the woods were so dense that he was able to mass a
     large force, whose exact whereabouts neither patrols,
     reconnoissancers, nor scouts ascertained. He succeeded in forming
     a column to and outflanking my right.

     "2d. By the panic produced by the enemy's reverse fire, regiments
     and artillery were thrown suddenly upon those in position.

     "3d. The absence of General Barlow's brigade, which I had
     previously located in reserve and _en echelon_, with Colonel Von
     Gilsa's, so as to cover his right flank.

     "My corps was very soon reorganized, near Chancellorsville, and
     relieved General Meade's corps on the left of the line, where it
     remained till Thursday morning."[40]

         [Footnote 40: Howard's Report, p. 9.]

Had Sickles's corps and Barlow's brigade been in the line, there would
have been not only no disaster, but Jackson would have been defeated
at the outset; for, upon the return of those troops from Scott's Run,
he was driven with great loss.

Jackson was driven by Sickles when the Third Corps returned to the
line; and had Sickles and Barlow been in their proper positions when
the attack was made, they could have repulsed him with greater ease.

Though Jackson's attack was successful, it is not therefore
conclusively evident that Lee's plan was wise. His army was divided
into three parts,--Early at Fredericksburg, Lee east of
Chancellorsville, and Jackson northwest of it. Being thoroughly
acquainted with the country, he was able to take his position

There were several opportunities during the battle when Hooker could
have broken Lee's lines. The battle virtually was lost to Lee on
Sunday noon. Hooker had fallen back from Chancellorsville, but
Sedgwick had taken Fredericksburg. Had Hooker, when he ordered
Sedgwick to attack Lee in the rear, on Sunday afternoon, himself
advanced, Lee would have been forced to abandon the contest; but,
having resolved at the outset to stand on the defensive, the Union
commander adhered to the idea, and thus Lee was able to retrieve the
disaster at Fredericksburg,--far more serious than that which had
happened to the Eleventh Corps.

Could we but comprehend the ways of God, we might perhaps discover
that the failure of the Union army at Chancellorsville was not owing
to the prowess of the Rebels, the valor of Stonewall Jackson, nor the
strategy of Lee, but to another cause. When the army came into
position at Chancellorsville, the commanding general is reported to
have said that the Almighty could not prevent him from winning a
victory. God is not mocked with impunity. There is one anthem
resounding through all the ages,--"_Te Deum Laudamus!_"

[Illustration: "Keep out of the draft."]



[Sidenote: May, 1863.]

"The Yankees can't ride horses; they were made to go on foot and dig
in the dirt; but the men of the South are true-born cavaliers,
accustomed from their childhood to the sports of the field," said a
Richmond newspaper at the beginning of the war; but Zagoni's charge at
Springfield, Pleasanton's at Barber's Cross-Roads, and Dahlgren's at
Fredericksburg showed that the men of the North could ride to some
purpose. Up to this time the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac had
taken little part in the great battles which had been fought. It had
been divided by McClellan into squadrons, and attached to brigades of
infantry; but Burnside, before his resignation, had begun a
reorganization of the cavalry. Hooker completed the work by forming a
cavalry corps, consisting of three divisions, commanded by
Major-General Stoneman. The division commanders were Generals
Pleasanton, Gregg, and Averill. In the month of March, Stoneman,
wishing to ascertain the position of the Rebel cavalry, sent Averill's
division across the Rappahannock, at Kelley's Ford. The Rebels
guarding the crossing were nearly all captured. Averill pushed out
towards Culpepper, but met Stuart, and after a sharp engagement
retired across the river.

March and April were muddy; but Stoneman's squadrons were busy
foraging the country north of the Rappahannock, while his scouts were
finding their way through Stuart's lines, reaching James River,
entering Richmond, ascertaining where supplies for the Rebel army were
accumulated, and what troops guarded the bridges in rear of Lee's
army. They discovered that the main body of the Rebel cavalry was in
the vicinity of Culpepper and Orange Court-House, under Fitz-Hugh and
Custis Lee.

One feature of General Hooker's plan, in the movement to
Chancellorsville, was the destruction of Lee's supplies and his
communications with Richmond. This part was assigned to the cavalry.
Averill was sent to Bealton, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, as
if intending a movement upon Gordonsville. Stuart sent the two Lees up
the river to keep watch, which left a door open at Germanna Ford.

Stoneman sent all his unserviceable horses and men to Falmouth. Men
who could not endure hardship and exposure were detailed to remain and
guard the camp. The cavalrymen only knew that there was to be a
movement somewhere, so well kept were Hooker's intentions.

Pleasanton was ordered to accompany Hooker to Chancellorsville,
Averill was directed to cross the river at Rappahannock Station, and
move towards Gordonsville, while Gregg's division was selected to
strike the blow which would cripple Lee.

On the 29th of April, when the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps reached
Kelley's Ford, on the Rappahannock, Gregg, who was lying there,
crossed in advance, and moved west towards Culpepper. Averill at the
same time forded the river at Rappahannock Station, four miles above,
and moved also towards Culpepper. There was a small force of Rebel
cavalry in that town, but Averill charged through the streets. The
Rebels made a hasty retreat towards Gordonsville, crossing the Rapidan
at the railroad and burning the bridge behind them. Averill followed,
and the Lees thought that Gordonsville was the point aimed at. Gregg,
instead of going to Culpepper, turned south through Stevensburg; and,
while the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were crossing the Rapidan at
Germanna Ford, his troops were fording the same stream eight miles
higher up.

When Gregg arrived at Raccoon Ford, he found it guarded by a strong
force on the opposite side, intrenched around the house of Colonel
Porter, which overlooks the ford. Gregg halted his column in the field
and woods, near the house of Mr. Stringfellow, on the northern bank,
and made demonstrations as if to cross. He opened with his artillery,
which was replied to by the Rebels. While the enemy was thus diverted,
a small force was sent to Morton's Ford, two miles below, which
crossed without opposition, dashed up the road, and came upon the
Rebels in rear of Colonel Porter's house. They fled towards Orange
Court-House. Lieutenant Gaskell, with a portion of the Fifth United
States Cavalry, followed them five miles, capturing an officer and
several men. The division crossed, and bivouacked on the hills around
Colonel Porter's house for the night. This movement of Gregg's
compelled the Lees, who intended to fight Averill at Rapidan Station,
to make a hasty retreat towards Gordonsville, for Gregg was on their
flank. Averill crossed the stream, driving back the Rebels, and by his
movement deceiving the enemy. He followed them nearly to Gordonsville,
remained till Gregg's division was well on its way, then recrossed the
stream, and rejoined Hooker.

The night of the 30th of April was cold and the ground damp, but no
fires were allowed. At two o'clock in the morning the men were roused
from sleep, not by the bugle-call, but by low-spoken words. They were
soon ready to move, but were obliged to wait till daylight for a
guide. Four hours of valuable time were lost by this delay.

The column moved along the road which runs south from Raccoon Ford to
Louisa Court-House, at Greenwood. It crossed Mountain Run soon after
daylight, reached the Fredericksburg plank-road, and moved on the
north fork of the North Anna. A small body dashed into Orange Spring
early in the morning, and captured a lieutenant of Jackson's staff,
and a wagon loaded with intrenching tools. Squadrons were sent out in
all directions,--on the side-roads and by-paths, through the fields
and forests,--telling the people everywhere that Hooker's whole army
was on the march, creating the impression among the people that Hooker
was making a swift descent upon Richmond. The soldiers helped
themselves to chickens, turkeys, lambs, and obtained breakfasts in the
houses of the farmers, who were astonished at their sudden appearance,
and their unceremonious way of sitting down to breakfast without being
asked. They visited stables, seized or exchanged horses without paying
any boot. Great was the excitement among the negroes, who poured out
from the cabins with wild expressions of joy. Hundreds of them joined
the column, without saying good by to their masters. The citizens were
sullen, but the women gave free utterance to their feelings.

[Illustration: A night march of cavalry.]

Gregg reached Louisa Court-House, twenty miles from Raccoon Ford,
at two o'clock in the afternoon. The Virginia Central Railroad, from
Richmond to Gordonsville, passes through the town. A large quantity of
supplies was in store there, guarded by several hundred Rebel cavalry,
who, when they heard that the "Yankees" were coming, sent off what
they could on a train of cars, and then fled to Gordonsville. Gregg
sent out a regiment in pursuit, while the main body of his command
bivouacked in the field west of the Court-House. Small bodies were
detailed east and west along the railroad, tearing up the track,
burning the ties, and destroying all the culverts and bridges in the

It was the first time that the people of Louisa Court-House had been
visited by the Yankees. They had lived in security, never entertaining
the thought that the "Yankees" could penetrate so far into the
interior. They wanted high pay for all they had to sell, but were
ready to make a great discount between Confederate currency and
greenbacks. Gregg was now east of Gordonsville and Averill north of
it. Gregg sent a portion of the First Maine Cavalry towards the place,
as if intending to proceed in that direction. Three or four miles west
of the Court-House the Maine men encountered a large force, which had
been sent by Fitz-Hugh Lee. The officer commanding the party sent word
to Gregg, and fell back slowly; but the Rebels charged upon him,
killed two, and captured twenty-eight. Gregg formed his division for
battle, and the Rebels retreated towards Gordonsville.

At five o'clock in the afternoon, the railroad and depot buildings
having been destroyed, the column turned southeast, crossed the South
Anna, passing through Yancyville, a little village on that stream,
moved down the river, and reached Thompson's Cross-Roads at eleven

Up to this time General Stoneman had not informed his officers of his
intentions. He called them together at midnight and gave them their

"You are to destroy the bridges over the North Anna, and break up
Lee's communications in that direction," were his instructions to

"Colonel Davis will destroy the bridges over the South Anna, south of
the Fredericksburg Railroad."

"Colonel Wyndham, with details of regiments from his brigade, will
reach the James River at Columbia, and destroy the bridge there and
break up the canal."

"Colonel Kilpatrick, with the Harris Light Cavalry, will move to the
Chickahominy, and burn the bridges across that stream."

Stoneman himself, with the main force, was to remain there, and cover
the movement. When the object each commander had in view was
accomplished, they were allowed the widest latitude for other

At half past two o'clock Sunday morning, May 3d, the various columns
are in motion. It is a bright moonlight night. Gregg moves northeast,
Davis east, Kilpatrick southeast, and Wyndham south.

At this moment, Lee at Chancellorsville is arranging for his second
attack on Hooker; Sedgwick preparing to storm the heights of
Fredericksburg; Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded, and lying in a
house at Guinea's Station. Averill is hastening to withdraw from the
vicinity of Orange Court-House, when he should be moving on towards
Gordonsville. Couriers are flying through the country, along the roads
leading to Richmond, with the astounding intelligence that "the
Yankees are coming!"

General Gregg has the First Maine and Tenth New York, with two pieces
of artillery. He moves rapidly up the Central Railroad. There are no
troops to oppose him. He burns the station at Beaver Dam, and
Anderson's bridge across the North Anna, about three miles north of
the station. He sends out detachments along the railroad, burning all
the bridges in the vicinity. Another detachment moves to the South
Anna, along the Richmond and Gordonsville turnpike, and destroys the
bridge called the Ground-Squirrel bridge, over that stream. Having
accomplished the object of the expedition, without any loss, Gregg
returns and rejoins Stoneman at Thompson's Cross-Roads the 5th of May
having made a forced march of seventy miles, and doing great damage.

Kilpatrick and Davis are near together in their movements, going east
and southeast. Kilpatrick makes his first halt thirteen miles from
Richmond. There are bodies of Rebel troops around him,--a large force
at Hanover Junction, other troops in the vicinity of Ashland, and
others moving out from the city to intercept him. His only safety is
in a rapid, audacious movement. At daylight on Monday morning, May
4th, after a short rest for his men and horses, he is again in motion,
directly toward Richmond. He strikes the Fredericksburg railroad at
Hungary Station, five miles from the city, burns the depot, tears up
the track, pushes directly down the Brooke pike, till he can see the
spires of the city, only two miles distant.

There is great excitement in the city,--riding to and fro of officers
and couriers, mustering of militia, turning out of clerks from the
departments, shouldering of muskets and hasty buckling on of
cartridge-boxes, forming lines and hastening out to the intrenchments.
Frightened farmers ride in from all directions with the intelligence
that the country is swarming with Yankees. A company of artillery and
a considerable force of infantry, with cavalry pickets and scouts,
which are moving out on the Brooke pike, are seized with a panic and
rush back to the city. The bells are rung. The confusion and
consternation increase. Men hide their valuables. Women and children
cross the river to Manchester. The Union prisoners, who have been
suffering the horrors of Libby Prison for many months, looking through
their iron-grated windows, behold the commotion. They can hear the
booming of Kilpatrick's guns. Their hearts bound with indescribable
joy. They are thrilled with the thought that deliverance is at hand.

Kilpatrick captures Lieutenant Brown, an aide-de-camp of General
Winder, and an escort accompanying him, within the fortifications. He
paroles him, dating the parole at the city of Richmond.

"You are a mighty daring sort of fellows, but you'll certainly be
captured before sundown," said the aide.

"That may all be, but we intend to do a mighty deal of mischief
first," replied Kilpatrick.[41]

         [Footnote 41: Kilpatrick and Our Cavalry, p. 49.]

He leaves a portion of the troops with his artillery, which engages
the Rebel batteries, while, guided by a negro, with a small
detachment he moves through the fields to the railroad, burns Meadow
bridge, running a train of cars into the stream. With one regiment of
cavalry he reaches the Rebel fortifications, captures Rebels inside
them, plants his batteries, and throws shells almost into the city of
Richmond, in face of their own batteries, destroys communication with
Lee, burning bridges, tearing up railroad tracks, pulling down
telegraph wire, running a train of cars into the river, with rebel
troops all around him.

Having accomplished this he moves northeast, for he can see Rebel
columns moving up the Brooke pike and Mechanicsville road, to cut off
his retreat. He dismisses all hope of returning to Stoneman. It is a
critical moment. He must move in some direction at once. He consults
his map.

"To horse, men! We are all right! We are safe yet."[42]

         [Footnote 42: Kilpatrick and our Cavalry, p. 50.]

With a faithful negro to guide him, he moves through woods and fields,
along by-paths and cross roads, going east and northeast, to Hanover
Town, on the Pamunkey. His horses are jaded, but he makes a hard ride,
reaches the place in safety, crosses the stream, sets fire to the
bridge, halts his men upon the northern bank. The Rebels, in hot
pursuit, come down to the other bank, mortified and chagrined and
enraged at his escape. The Yankees throw up their caps, and greet them
with a hearty cheer. Scouts come in and report a train of thirty
wagons loaded with corn for the Rebel army near by. Kilpatrick
captures them, feeds his horses with what corn he needs, destroys the
rest, moves five miles up the river, bivouacks for the night, remains
till one o'clock in the morning of the 5th, then moving rapidly north
to Aylett's, near Mattapony River, surprises three hundred Rebel
cavalry, capturing two officers, thirty-three men, burning fifty-six
wagons and a building containing twenty thousand barrels of corn and
wheat, quantities of clothing and commissary stores, safely crossing
the Mattapony in season to escape the advance of the Rebel cavalry in
pursuit. Pushing on, later in the evening, he destroys a third wagon
train, burns buildings containing a large amount of corn, near
Tappahannock, then turning southeast, making a forced march of twenty
miles, reaches King and Queen Court-House, where he finds a body of
cavalry drawn up to dispute his passage. He prepares to charge, but
suddenly discovers that it is a portion of the Twelfth Illinois of
Colonel Davis's command. The meeting is a joyful one. The two commands
move on together, marching southeast, reaching Gloucester Point at ten
o'clock on the morning of the 7th, where they find rest and safety
under the guns of the Union fortifications, making a march of nearly
two hundred miles in less than five days, with a loss of only one
officer and thirty-seven men, having captured and paroled upward of
three hundred of the enemy.[43]

         [Footnote 43: Kilpatrick's Report.]

"Who will convey news to Hooker of our success?" was the question put
by Kilpatrick when at Aylett's, after routing the Rebels there.

"I am ready to go," was the quick response of Lieutenant Estes of the
First Maine, who was acting as aide to Kilpatrick. Ten men were
detailed to accompany him. They struck across the country north, and
reached the Rappahannock at Tappahannock Court-House, dashing into
that place, and capturing a lieutenant and fifteen men! whom they
paroled. The river was swollen, and they could not cross. The whole
country was alarmed. The militia were assembling. There were three
hundred on the north side of the river. The officer in command sent
over a flag of truce demanding the Lieutenant to surrender; but
Lieutenant Estes had no intention of giving up just then. Finding that
he could not go north, he turned south. In his flight he came upon a
Rebel major, two captains, and three privates, who were captured and
paroled. But the militia were close upon the brave Lieutenant, who
found himself and party caught in a trap between the river and the
Great Dragon Swamp. Seeing that they could not escape on horseback,
they abandoned their horses and took to the swamp. The militia
surrounded it, and set bloodhounds on the track of the fugitives, who
were finally captured, and sent off towards Richmond, under a strong
guard; but before they reached the Mattapony, Kilpatrick set them at
liberty and took the Rebel guard along with him to Gloucester,
accompanied by thousands of negroes, on foot, in carts, wagons, and
old family carriages, drawn by mules, oxen, and sometimes by
cows,--packed full, and loaded down on top, by the dark-hued but
light-hearted creatures, who had heard of the proclamation of
President Lincoln, and were ready to accept freedom at the hands of
the Yankees. After resting a few days, Kilpatrick crossed the river on
transports, marched up the tongue of land between the Rappahannock and
Potomac, and joined Hooker at Falmouth, having made a complete circuit
of the Rebel army.

When Colonel Wyndham left Thompson's Cross-Roads on the morning of the
3d, he moved rapidly southwest towards the James, striking it at
Columbia. The distance was about twenty miles. There were many small
creeks to cross, but Wyndham reached Columbia at eight o'clock. The
people had just finished breakfast when a man, riding furiously, his
hair wet with foam, came dashing down the street, shouting "The
Yankees are coming! the Yankees are coming!"

The people laughed; some thought him crazy. The Yankees coming?
Impossible! But a column of men in blue, with gleaming sabres, dashed
down the road into the village. There were no Rebel soldiers in the
vicinity to oppose Wyndham. Some of the citizens fled in consternation
across the James, giving the alarm. But the people over the river
would not believe their stories.

"I'll go and see for myself," said an old farmer, who mounted his
horse and took one of his best servants with him. He went on till he
was in sight of the Yankees, then stopped and looked at them in
amazement. Suddenly his servant dashed away straight towards the

"Stop! come back!" he shouted, but the negro galloped boldly into
Wyndham's lines, bringing an excellent horse, while his late master
turned the other way, more amazed than ever.

Some of the soldiers told the inhabitants that they belonged to
Stuart's command; and the word spread that they were not Yankees after
all. A young fellow, the son of a rich farmer, rode boldly into the
lines to see Stuart's cavalry.

"Has Lee licked the Yankees?" he asked.

"I reckon," said a cavalryman.

"Good!" said the boy.

"See here, my friend, my horse has gi'n out. I am on important
business; I should like to exchange horses with you. General Stuart
will make it all right with you when he comes this way," said the
soldier, who, without further ceremony, put his saddle upon the
noble-blooded animal, while the young man looked on in amazement.

Many of the Rebel cavalrymen were dressed in blue clothing, which had
been stripped from prisoners, and that was the reason why the
inhabitants were at a loss to know whether they were Yankees or

Colonel Wyndham burned the bridge across the James, destroyed several
canal-boats loaded with supplies, burned a warehouse filled with corn
and medical stores, dug sluices in the banks of the canal, and
attempted to destroy the locks, but did not succeed. He remained till
four o'clock in the afternoon, then pushed down the river five miles,
moved north, then northwest, and reached Stoneman at ten o'clock in
the evening, accompanied by hundreds of negroes. When the alarm was
given on a plantation that the Yankees were coming, the farmers made
all haste to secrete their horses.

"Here! Jim, Sam, Cuffee, take the horses into the woods. Quick!" There
was a grand commotion in all the stables, the negroes mounting the
horses and riding into the thick bushes; but as soon as they were out
of their masters' sight, they made for the Yankees by the shortest
route! They were ready to do anything for their deliverers. They kept
close watch while the soldiers rested; visited plantations, bringing
in chickens, turkeys, calves, and lambs, and cooked delicious suppers
for the whole command. They kept Stoneman informed of what was going
on. He learned that in two hours after Wyndham left Columbia, a large
body of cavalry entered the place in pursuit, but Wyndham moved so
rapidly they could not overtake him.

A portion of Buford's brigade, the First Regulars, dashed along the
Virginia Central Railroad, and tore up the track. A company went to
the North Anna, drove off a guard of infantry from a bridge, captured
five prisoners, burned the bridge, and returned to Stoneman without
losing a man.

The Fifth Regulars went down the James to Cartersville twelve miles
below Columbia, to destroy a bridge. They met a portion of Lee's
brigade. There was skirmishing; but while one portion of the Regulars
was holding the Rebels in check, another party reached the bridge, set
it on fire, and then the whole force returned to Stoneman.

The Rebels all the while were hovering round Stoneman on the
southwest, but did not dare to attack him. They did not know what to
make of the conflicting stories. "The Yankees are at Frederickshall,
at Ashland, at Columbia, at Thompson's Cross-Roads, at Louisa, at
Richmond," were the reports. The country swarmed with Yankees; every
farmer had his story of woe, of stolen horses and runaway negroes; the
farmers' wives and daughters mourned over lost chickens, of
meat-houses broken open, jars of jelly and preserves carried away. Few
of the Virginia farmers had ever seen a regiment of cavalry, and when
the lines filed down the narrow roads, a squadron was magnified to a
regiment, and a hundred men became a thousand.

On Tuesday afternoon, all of the detachments except Kilpatrick's and a
portion of Davis's having returned, Stoneman commenced his homeward
march, and recrossed the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, in safety, though he
was obliged to swim his horses through the swollen stream. There was
no enemy to molest him, none to hang upon his rear. He recrossed the
Rappahannock at Kelley's Ford, and rejoined Hooker at Falmouth, having
successfully accomplished what he had undertaken.

The Rebels were mortified, chagrined, and exasperated. The success
which they had achieved in compelling Hooker to retire from
Chancellorsville was in a measure counterbalanced by Stoneman's
operations, especially by Kilpatrick's audacious exploits.

This cavalry movement was the first great raid of the war. It was not
only a success, but it toughened the soldiers and prepared them for
the hardships and battles which followed on the Upper Rappahannock, at
Aldie, Middleburg, and Gettysburg. It gave confidence. The men felt
that they were no longer the laughing-stock of the army. They had
other employment now than guarding teams or keeping watch on the
picket line. There was pleasurable excitement in riding through the
enemy's country, making dashes into villages, charging upon the enemy,
riding through the dense forests, and finding good living at every
farm-house. There were plenty of volunteers for any enterprise.

A few days later Stuart attempted a counter raid in rear of the army,
but was driven across the Rappahannock with ease. Then came the severe
struggle at Brandy Station. Lee had started on his Gettysburg
campaign, and Stuart was kept on the flank to conceal the movement,
but Kilpatrick and Gregg unmasked it. Then as Stuart swung along the
base of the Blue Ridge, while Lee went down the Shenandoah with the
infantry, the contest was renewed in a running fight from Aldie to
Snicker's Gap. In all of these engagements the superiority of the
Union cavalry was fully established. The Union soldiers had learned to
ride horses; and from Stoneman's raid to the capture of Jeff Davis
they rode to some purpose.

[Illustration: Kearny Cross.]



[Sidenote: March, 1863.]

The encounter between the Merrimack and the Monitor had set the world
agog on the matter of armored vessels. A fleet of ironclads had been
prepared, with the special object in view of recapturing Fort Sumter.
It was an event looked forward to with intense interest, not only in
the North, but throughout the civilized world. Having a desire to
witness that attack, I proceeded South, leaving New York on the 7th of
February, 1863, on board the steamer Augusta Dinsmore, belonging to
Adams's Express. Captain Crowell, her commander, was a sharp-eyed
Connecticut Yankee, who kept the lead constantly going as we ran down
the coast, and who was as well acquainted with all the soundings as
the skipper of Nantucket immortalized by Mr. Fields, who detected the
soil of Marm Hackett's garden by smell and taste, although Nantucket
had sunk.

The harbor of Port Royal was crowded with shipping. General Foster's
force from North Carolina had just arrived, to participate in a land
movement. General Hunter was in command of the department, and there
arose at once a question of jurisdiction, which paralyzed the
operations of the army. The officers and soldiers at Port Royal, weary
with doing nothing, had fitted up a theatre. The building was used for
church services on Sunday. Attending the morning service the day after
our arrival, I found an audience of about one hundred persons, among
them General Hunter and staff. The clergyman, an Episcopalian, in a
rusty black gown, stood upon the stage. A soldier played a melodeon
and conducted the singing. In the afternoon there was a business
meeting in the African Baptist church, which I also attended. Rev.
Abraham Murchison, a tall copper-hued negro, was pastor, and presided
over the deliberations. He had been a slave in Savannah, but made his
way to our lines, was a storekeeper or huckster on week-days, and
preached on Sunday. The church was a plain wooden building, erected by
order of General Mitchell for an African church. There were two rows
of benches, a plain pine pulpit, a ventilated ceiling, from which
three or four glass lamps were suspended,--all being very much like
the rude churches to be found in the thinly-settled prairies of
Illinois. The congregation were singing when we entered,--

  "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
     Stand dressed in living green,
   So to the Jews fair Canaan stood,
     While Jordan rolled between."

The leader was a round-headed, compact, energetic negro, twenty-five
years of age, whose zeal was bounded only by the capacity of his
lungs. It was the well-known tune "Jordan," sung by millions in times
past and present. The women occupied one side of the house, the men
sitting opposite. It was a dusky view, looking down the aisle from my
seat at the right of the pulpit. They were countenances not types of
beauty, not attractive intellectually. But there was perfect decorum
and solemnity. All heads were bowed when the preacher addressed the
Throne of Grace. It was a prayer full of supplications and
thanksgiving, expressed in fitting words.

The church had a case of discipline. Their sexton had been remiss in
lighting the lamps, and was arraigned for trial. The pastor called the
sexton to the front, and thus indicted him:--

"John, my son, you are arraigned for not doing as you have agreed, and
covenanted to do. We pay you one hundred and twenty dollars a year for
lighting these yere beautiful lamps which the church have so
generously provided, and, sir, you have been remiss in your duty. On
Thursday night, when we were assembled for holy prayer, we were in
darkness. You did wrong. You broke your obligations. You must be
punished. What say you? Brethren, we will hear what he has to say."

"I lighted the lamps, sah, but they went out; de oil was bad, I
reckon," said the sexton.

The pastor called upon one of the deacons to take the chair. He was
of middle age, black as anthracite coal, bald-headed, and was dressed
in pants and coat made of old sailcloth. By his side sat his
colleague, wearing a United States soldiers' blue overcoat. The
preacher, taking his stand in the aisle, laid aside his clerical
authority, and became one of the brethren. "Brother cheerman, our
brother am presump_tus_. He say he light de lamps and dey go out. How
does he know dey go out? He ought to stay and see dey don't go out. He
am presumptus and should be punished. I move, sir, dat our brother be
set aside from commin to de Lord's table till he make satisfaction."

A brother seconded the motion, and the question was put by the deacon.
Two or three voted affirmatively, but nearly all negatively. The
question was not understood. The preacher explained: "You is
discomposed in your minds. You do not understand de question. Can any
of you tell me how you voted?"

The question was put a second time, and the offending member was
unanimously debarred the privileges of the church.

After the discipline a candidate for admission was presented, a stout
young man, named Jonas.

"Well, my son, where are you from?" said the pastor.

"From Charleston, sir."

"Was you a member of the church there, my son?"

"Yes, sir, I was a member of the church."

"Does any one here know anything about Jonas?"

A half-dozen responded "Yes," all agreeing that his deportment was

"Did you bring your 'stificate with you?"

"No, sir; I came away in a hurry, and hadn't any time to get one."

"Yes, my son; we understand that you were obliged to leave in a hurry
or not at all. But what made you become a Christian?"

"Because I felt I was a sinner."

"Did you pray, my son?"

"Yes, sir; and I feel that through the mercy of Jesus Christ my sins
are pardoned."

It was a simple narrative, and expressed with evident consciousness
of the solemnity of the declaration. It was plain that in spiritual
things these people were further advanced than in business matters.
The evidence was satisfactory, and the member received by an extension
of right hand of fellowship on the part of the pastor. In the evening
Rev. Mr. Murchison preached from the text, "And they shall call upon
the rocks and mountains to fall upon them," &c.

It was a crude, disjointed discourse, having very little logic, a
great many large words, some of them ludicrously misapplied, yet
contained striking thoughts, and appropriate similes. This was a
congregation standing on the lowest step of civilization. Minister and
people were but a twelvemonth out of bondage. All behind them was
barbarism. Before them was a future, unrevealed, but infinitely better
than what their past had been. Their meeting was orderly, and I have
seen grave legislative bodies in quite as much of a muddle over a
simple question as that congregation of black men emerging from their
long night of darkness.

On the following Sunday I was present at a service on Ladies' Island.
The owner of the plantation where the meeting was held erected his
house in full view of Beaufort, and near the bank of the stream where
the tide ebbs and flows upon the sandy beach. It was a mean mansion,
standing on posts, to give free circulation to the air underneath. In
hot summer days the shade beneath the house was the resort of all the
poultry of the premises. Thousands of hard-working New England
mechanics live in better houses, yet from Beaufort the place made an
imposing show, surrounded by orange and magnolia trees. The sandy
acres of the plantation stretched towards St. Helena. A short distance
from the planter's house were the weather-beaten cabins of the
negroes, mere hovels, without window-panes, with mud chimneys,--the
homes of generations who had gone from the darkness and hopelessness
of a wearying life to the rest and quiet of the grave.

On that morning when Admiral Dupont shelled the Rebels out of the
forts at Hilton Head and Bay Point, the owner of these acres made a
hasty exit from his house. He sent his overseer to the cabins to hurry
up the negroes, but to his surprise not a negro was to be found. The
colored people had heard the thundering down the bay. They knew its
meaning. It set their hearts beating as they never had throbbed before.
It was the sweetest music they ever had heard. A horseman came riding
furiously up to the house, with terror in his countenance. The master
hastened out to know how the battle was going.

"The Yankees have taken the forts!" said the messenger. The master
became pale.

"You had better get your negroes together, and be ready for a move,"
said the messenger.

Sharp ears had heard all this,--the ears of Sam, a colored man, who,
seeing the herald arrive in hot haste, had the curiosity to hear what
he had to say, then bounded like a deer to the cabins, running from
door to door, whispering to the inmates, "To the woods! to the woods!
De Yankees hab taken de forts,--massa is going to de mainland, and is
going to take us wid him."

The cabins were deserted in an instant; and five minutes later, when
the overseer came round to gather his drove of human cattle, he found
empty hovels. The planter and his overseer were obliged to do their
own hasty packing up.

The plantation was in the hands of a warm-hearted Christian gentleman
from Massachusetts, Mr. Norton. The people of the estate gathered for
worship in the large parlor of the house.

The room was eighteen or twenty feet square, and had a wide-mouthed
fireplace, in which a cheerful fire of pitch knots was blazing. There
was a settee, a mahogany sideboard, where the former owner was
accustomed to quaff his wines and liquors. Seats and chairs were
brought in. The big dinner-bell was rung, and the people, thirty or
forty in number, came in, men, women, and children. Some of the women
brought their infants. Uncle Jim, the patriarch of the plantation, was
too feeble to attend. The superintendent, Mr. Norton, comforted his
heart by reading to him a chapter in the Bible and offering prayers in
the miserable cabin, where the old man was lying on a pile of rags.
Uncle Jim was a sincere Christian. The word of God was sweet to him.
His heart overflowed with thanks and praise, for the display of God's
great goodness to him and his people.

A hymn was lined off by Mr. Norton, after the fashion of our fathers.
William, a stout, middle-aged man, struck into St. Martin's, and the
congregation joined, not reading the music exactly as good old Tansur
composed it, for there were crooks, turns, slurs, and appoggiaturas,
not to be found in any printed copy. It was sung harshly, nasally, and
dragged out in long, slow notes.

A pure-blooded negro, Sancho, offered prayer. He had seen great
hardship in life and had suffered more than his namesake, the squire,
who was once unceremoniously tossed in a blanket. His prayer was the
free utterance of a warm heart. It was a familiar talk with Jesus, his
best friend. He improved the opportunity to mingle an exhortation with
his supplication. He thus addressed the unconverted:--

"O, my poor, impenitent fellow-sinner, what you think you are doing?
Where you think you are going? Death will ride up soon in a big black
carriage and take you wid him down to de regions of deep darkness. Why
don't you repent now, and den he will carry you up into de light of

Looking forward to the hour of the Christian's release from the
bondage of this life, he said, in conclusion, "And now, good Lord,
when we have done chaw all de hard bones and swallowed all de bitter
pills, we trust de good Lord will take us to himself."

After an address from the superintendent, Sancho rose.

"My belobed friends," said he, "I neber 'spected to see such a day as
dis yere. For twenty years, I hired my time of old massa, I was
'bleeged to pay him twelve dollars a month in advance, and if I didn't
hab de money ready, he wollopped me. But I's a free man now. De good
Lord hab done it all. I can't read. It is de great desire ob my heart
to learn to read, so dat I can read de Bible all my own self; but I's
too old to learn. But I rejoice dat my chillen can hab de opportunity
to study de precious word. De Lord is doin great tings for us in dese
yere days. Ole massa, was a purty good massa, and I prays de Lord to
make him lay down his weapons ob rebellion and become a good Union man
and a disciple ob de Lord Jesus, for Jesus tells us dat we must lub
our enemies."

After the exercises of the religious meeting were concluded, the
chairs were set aside, and they began a "praise meeting," or singing
meeting. Most of their music is plaintive. The piece frequently
commences with a recitative by one voice, and at the end of the first
line the chorus joins. The words are often improvised to suit the

A favorite song is "Roll, Jordan, roll," in which the progression of
the melody is very descriptive of the rolling of waves upon the beach.
There are many variations of the melody, but that here given is as I
heard it sung by the negroes of Bythewood.


  Little children sitting on the tree of life. To hear the Jordan roll; O
  roll, Jordan roll, Jordan roll, Jordan roll. We march the angel march, O
  march the angel march, O my soul is rising heavenward To hear the Jordan roll.]

The verses vary only in recitation. If Mr. Jones is present he will
hear, "Mr. Jones is sitting on the tree of life." There is no pause,
and before the last roll is ended the one giving the recitative places
another personage on the tree, and thus Jordan rolls along.

As the song goes on the enthusiasm rises. They sing louder and
stronger. The recitative is given with increased vigor, and the chorus
swells with increasing volume. They beat time, at first, with their
hands, then their feet. They rise from their seats. William begins to
shuffle his feet. Anna, a short, thick-set woman, wearing a checkered
dress, and an apron, which once was a window-curtain, claps her hands,
makes a short, quick jerk of her body, stamps her feet on the
unaccented part of the measure, keeping exact syncopation. Catherine
and Sancho catch the inspiration. They go round in a circle,
shuffling, jerking, shouting louder and louder, while those outside of
the circle respond with increasing vigor, all stamping, clapping their
hands, and rolling out the chorus. William seems to be in a trance,
his eyes are fixed, yet he goes on with a double-shuffle, till the
perspiration stands in beads upon his face. Every joint seems hung on
wires. Feet, legs, arms, head, body, and hands swing and jump like a
child's dancing Dandy Jim. Sancho enters into it with all his heart,
soul, mind, and might, clapping his hands, rolling his eyes, looking
upward in ecstasy and outward upon the crowd, as if he were their
spiritual father and guardian.

Thus it went on till nature was exhausted. When the meeting broke up,
they all came round in procession, shaking hands with the
superintendent and the strangers present, and singing a parting song,

  "There's a meeting here to-night!"

The superintendent informed me that the children who attended school
could not be coaxed to take part in those praise meetings. They had
learned to sing Sunday-school songs, and evidently looked upon the
plantation songs of their fathers and mothers as belonging to their
bondage and not worthy to be sung now that they were free.

A short distance from Hilton Head is the town of Mitchelville, laid
out by the lamented astronomer, General Mitchell, who fell a victim to
the yellow-fever in the summer of 1862. The town is on a broad sandy
plain, bordered by groves and thickets of live-oak, palmetto, and the
coast pine.

At that time there were about seventy houses,--or cabins rather,--of
the rudest description, built of logs, chinked with clay brought up
from the beach, roofs of long split shingles, board floors, windows
with shutters,--plain board blinds, without sash or glass. Each house
had a quarter of an acre of land attached. There was no paint or lime,
not even whitewash, about them. It was just such a place as might be
expected in a new country, where there were no saw-mills or
brick-kilns,--a step in advance of a hole in the ground or a bark
wigwam. It was the beginning of the experiment of civilization on the
part of a semi-barbarous people just released from abject bondage, and
far from being free men.

I looked into the first cabin, and seeing an old man sitting before
the fire, greeted him with "How do you do, Uncle?" the sobriquet of
all middle-aged negro men.

"'Pears how I'm rather poorly,--I's got de chills, boss."

He was a slave in Florida, made his escape from his master's
plantation fifty miles inland, reached Fernandina, and entered the
lines of the Union army. He was dressed in pants made of old
sailcloth, and the tattered cast-off blouse of a Union soldier. The
room was twelve feet square. I could see through the chinking in a
hundred places. At the coping of the roof, where it should have joined
the wall, there was a wide opening all around, which allowed all the
warmth to escape. The furniture consisted of three tables, four
chairs, a mahogany wash-stand, all of which once stood in the mansion
of some island planter. There was a Dutch-oven on the hearth, the
sight of which made my mouth water for the delicious tea-cakes of
childhood. There were pots, kettles, baskets, and bags, and a pile of
rags, old blankets which the soldiers had thrown aside. It required
but a few words to thaw out Uncle Jacob, who at once commenced
fumbling in his pockets, producing, after a studious search, a brown
paper, carefully folded, enclosing the name of a gentleman in New York
who had taken home Uncle Jacob's nephew. He wanted me to read it to
him,--the name, the street, the number,--that he might learn it by

"He is learning to write, boss, and I shall have a letter from him by
and by," said the old man, in glee. He handed me three letters, all
from men who once were slaves, not written by them individually, but
by amanuenses. One was a sailor on the gunboat Ottawa, off Charleston;
one was in New York city, and the third in Ohio.

"Please, boss, I should like to hab you read 'em," he said.

It was a pleasure to gratify the kind-hearted man, who listened with
satisfaction beaming from every line of his countenance.

Uncle Jacob had been five months in the employ of the United States,
unloading vessels at Hilton Head, and had received only his rations
and a little clothing.

"Well, Uncle Jacob, which would you rather be, a freeman or a slave?"
I asked.

"O, Lor' bless you, boss, I wouldn't like to be a slave again."

"Do you think you can take care of yourself?"

"Jes let gubberment pay me, boss, and see if I can't."

It was spoken with great earnestness.

In the next cabin I found Peter, who had taken the name of Brown, that
of his former master. Slavery gave its victims but one name. General
Mitchell said that they were entitled to another name, and he ordered
that they should take that of their former masters; hence there are
Peter Beauregards, James Trenholms, Susan Rhetts, Julia Barnwells, on
the plantations of the Sea Islands.

"Mr. Brown, did you ever hear about the Abolitionists?" I asked.

"Yes, sir, tank you, I's he'd of 'em."

"What did you hear about them?"

"O, dey is a werry bad sort of people, sir. Old massa said dat if dey
could get a chance dey would take all our pickaninnies and smash der
brains out agin de trees!"

"Did you ever see an Abolitionist?"

"No, sir, tank you, nebber saw one."

"Well, Mr. Brown, I am one."

Mr. Brown started involuntarily. He looked me all over from head to
feet, giving a keen search. "'Pears how I shouldn't tink you could hab
de heart to do it, sir."

"Do I look as though I should like to kill your little ones?"

"No, sir, I don't tink you would."

I told him who the Abolitionists were, and what they wished to
do,--that they were friends of the slaves, and always had been. He
grasped my hand, and said, "God bless you, sir." And then burst into
hearty laughter.

Having been informed that it would be impossible to obtain a fowl of
the negroes at that season of the year, I made the attempt; but though
I offered treble the value, not one would part with a hen. They were
looking forward to broods of chickens which would bring them in
"heaps" of money in the fall of the year. The negro race understands
the value of money quite as well as we who boast of Anglo-Saxon blood.

Entering the head-quarters of the commanding officer one day, I saw a
thin, spare colored woman sitting before the fire. She nodded and
smiled, ran her eyes over me, as if to take in every feature or
peculiarity of my person and dress, then gazed into the fire and
seemed absorbed in her own thoughts. A friend said, "That is our
Sojourner Truth."

She had brought off several companies of negroes from the mainland,
and had given a great deal of information concerning the movements of
the Rebels. She had penetrated swamps, endured hardships, eluded Rebel
pickets, visiting the plantations at midnight, and conversing with the

"I can travel all through the South, I reckon," she said.

"Are you not afraid that the Rebels will catch you?"

"Well, honey, I reckon they couldn't keep me," she said, with a smile.

She had exhibited such remarkable shrewdness and finesse in her
exploits, and had rendered such valuable services to the department,
that she was held in high esteem.

At that time, Mrs. Frances D. Gage, favorably known as a writer for
the press, was residing on Paris Island. Seated one evening by the
bright fire blazing on her hearth, I listened to her narrative of
Sojourner Truth, who had been a slave, who had penetrated the far
South in search of her lost children, who had run off many slaves to
Canada, and who went round the country, impelled by the conviction
that she had been called of God to testify against the sins of the
people; hence her name, "Sojourner Truth."

[Illustration: The Nation's Ward.]

The narration revealed traits of character, not unfrequently seen
in the negro race, and it will not be out of place in this chapter,
which is intended to give the position of a race at its lowest plane
of life.

This wonderful woman lives in modern art. She is the original Libyan
Sibyl, a statue by Mr. Story, which was more impressive than all
others in the gallery of the World's Exhibition in London in 1862.
Sojourner once called upon Mrs. Stowe, who has given us this account
of the interview:[44]--

         [Footnote 44: Atlantic Monthly, April, 1863.]

     On her head she wore a bright Madras handkerchief, arranged as a
     turban, after the manner of her race. She seemed perfectly
     self-possessed and at her ease,--in fact, there was almost an
     unconscious superiority, not unmixed with a solemn twinkle of
     humor, in the odd, composed manner in which she looked down on
     me. Her whole air had at times a gloomy sort of drollery which
     impressed one strangely.

     "So, this is _you_," she said.

     "Yes," I answered.

     "Well, honey, de Lord bless ye! I jes' thought I'd like to come
     an' have a look at ye. You's heerd o' me, I reckon?" she added.

     "Yes, I think I have. You go about lecturing, do you not?"

     "Yes, honey, that's what I do. The Lord has made me a sign unto
     this nation, an' I go round a-testifyin', an' showin' on 'em
     their sins agin my people."

     So saying, she took a seat, and, stooping over and crossing her
     arms on her knees, she looked down on the floor, and appeared to
     fall into a sort of revery. Her great gloomy eyes and her dark
     face seemed to work with some undercurrent of feeling; she sighed
     deeply, and occasionally broke out,--

     "O Lord! O Lord! Oh, the tears, an' the groans, an' the moans! O

            *       *       *       *       *

     By this time I thought her manner so original that it might be
     worth while to call down my friends; and she seemed perfectly
     well pleased with the idea. An audience was what she wanted,--it
     mattered not whether high or low, learned or ignorant. She had
     things to say, and was ready to say them at all times, and to any

     I called down Dr. Beecher, Professor Allen, and two or three
     other clergymen, who, together with my husband and family, made a
     roomful. No princess could have received a drawing-room with more
     composed dignity than Sojourner her audience. She stood among
     them calm and erect as one of her own native palm-trees waving
     alone in the desert. I presented one after another to her, and at
     last said,--

     "Sojourner, this is Dr. Beecher. He is a very celebrated

     "_Is_ he?" she said, offering her hand in a condescending manner,
     and looking down on his white head. "Ye dear lamb, I'm glad to
     see ye! De Lord bless ye! I loves preachers. I'm a kind o'
     preacher myself."

     "You are?" said Dr. Beecher. "Do you preach from the Bible?"

     "No, honey, can't preach from de Bible,--can't read a letter."

     "Why, Sojourner, what do you preach from, then?"

     Her answer was given with a solemn power of voice, peculiar to
     herself, that hushed every one in the room.

     "When I preaches, I has jest one text to preach from, an' I
     always preaches from this one. _My_ text is, 'WHEN I FOUND

     "Well, you couldn't have a better one," said one of the

     She paid no attention to him, but stood and seemed swelling with
     her own thoughts, and then began this narration:--

     "Well, now, I'll jest have to go back, an' tell ye all about it.
     Ye see, we was all brought over from Africa, father an' mother
     an' I, an' a lot more of us; an' we was sold up an' down, an'
     hither an' yon; an' I can 'member, when I was a little thing, not
     bigger than this 'ere," pointing to her grandson, "how my ole
     mammy would sit out o' doors in the evenin', an' look up at the
     stars an' groan. She'd groan an' groan, an' says I to her,--

     "'Mammy, what makes you groan so?'

     "An' she'd say,--

     "'Matter enough, chile! I'm groanin' to think o' my poor
     children: they don't know where I be, an' I don't know where they
     be: they looks up at the stars, an' I looks up at the stars, but
     I can't tell where they be.

     "'Now,' she said, 'chile, when you're grown up, you may be sold
     way from your mother an' all your ole friends, an' have great
     troubles come on ye; an' when you has these troubles come on ye,
     ye jes' go to God, an' He'll help ye.'

     "An' says I to her,--

     "'Who is God, anyhow, mammy?'

     "An' says she,--

     "'Why, chile, you jes' look up _dar_! It's Him that made all

     "Well, I didn't mind much 'bout God in them days. I grew up
     pretty lively an' strong, an' could row a boat, or ride a horse,
     or work round, an' do 'most anything.

     "At last I got sold away to a real hard massa an' missis. Oh, I
     tell you, they _was_ hard! 'Peared like I couldn't please 'em
     nohow. An' then I thought o' what my old mammy told me about God;
     an' I thought I'd got into trouble, sure enough, an' I wanted to
     find God, an' I heerd some one tell a story about a man that met
     God on a threshin'-floor, an' I thought, 'Well an' good, I'll
     have a threshin'-floor, too.' So I went down in the lot, an' I
     threshed down a place real hard, an' I used to go down there
     every day, an' pray an' cry with all my might, a-prayin' to the
     Lord to make my massa an' missis better, but it didn't seem to do
     no good; an' so says I, one day,--

     "'O God, I been a-askin' ye, an' askin' ye, an askin' ye, for all
     this long time, to make my massa an' missis better, an' you don't
     do it, an' what _can_ be the reason? Why, maybe you _can't_.
     Well, I shouldn't wonder ef you couldn't. Well, now, I tell you,
     I'll make a bargain with you. Ef you'll help me git away from my
     massa an' missis, I'll agree to be good; but ef you don't help
     me, I really don't think I can be. Now,' says I,'I want to git
     away; but the trouble's jest here: ef I try to git away in the
     night, I can't see; an' ef I try to git away in the daytime,
     they'll see me, an' be after me.'

     "Then the Lord said to me, 'Get up two or three hours afore
     daylight, an' start off.'

     "An' says I, 'Thank'ee, Lord! that's a good thought.'

     "So up I got, about three o'clock in the mornin', an' I started
     an' travelled pretty fast, till, when the sun rose, I was clear
     away from our place an' our folks, an' out o' sight. An' then I
     begun to think I didn't know nothin' where to go. So I kneeled
     down, an' says I,--

     "'Well, Lord, you've started me out, an' now please to show me
     where to go.'

     "Then the Lord made a house appear to me, an' He said to me that
     I was to walk on till I saw that house, an' then go in an' ask
     the people to take me. An' I travelled all day, an' didn't come
     to the house till late at night; but when I saw it, sure enough,
     I went in, an' I told the folks the Lord sent me; an' they was
     Quakers, an' real kind they was to me. They jes' took me in, an'
     did for me as kind as ef I'd been one of 'em; an' after they'd
     giv me supper, they took me into a room where there was a great,
     tall, white bed; an' they told me to sleep there. Well, honey, I
     was kind o' skeered when they left me alone with that great white
     bed; 'cause I never had been in a bed in my life. It never came
     into my mind they could mean me to sleep in it An' so I jes'
     camped down under it, on the floor, an' then I slep' pretty well.
     In the mornin', when they came in, they asked me ef I hadn't been
     asleep; an' I said, 'Yes I never slep' better.' An' they said,
     'Why, you haven't been in the bed!' An' says I, 'Laws, you
     didn't think o' sech a thing as my sleepin' in dat 'ar' _bed_,
     did you? I never heerd o' sech a thing in my life.'

     "Well, ye see, honey, I stayed an' lived with 'em. An' now jes'
     look here: instead o' keepin' my promise an' bein' good, as I
     told the Lord I would, jest as soon as everything got a-goin'
     easy, _I forgot all about God_.

     "Pretty well don't need no help; an' I gin' up prayin'. I lived
     there two or three years, an' then the slaves in New York were
     all set free, an' ole massa came to our house to make a visit,
     an' he asked me ef I didn't want to go back an' see the folks on
     the ole place. An' I told him I did. So he said, ef I'd jes' git
     into the wagon with him, he'd carry me over. Well, jest as I was
     goin' out to git into the wagon, _I met God!_ an' says I, 'O God,
     I didn't know as you was so great!' An' I turned right round an'
     come into the house, an' set down in my room; for 't was God all
     around me. I could feel it burnin', burnin', burnin' all around
     me, an' goin' through me; an' I saw I was so wicked, it seemed as
     ef it would burn me up. An' I said, 'O somebody, somebody, stand
     between God an' me! for it burns me!' Then, honey, when I said
     so, I felt as it were somethin' like an _amberill_ [umbrella]
     that came between me an' the light, an' I felt it was
     _somebody_,--somebody that stood between me an' God; an' it felt
     cool, like a shade; an' says I, 'Who's this that stands between
     me an' God? Is it old Cato?' He was a pious old preacher; but
     then I seemed to see Cato in the light, an' he was all polluted
     an' vile, like me; an' I said, 'Is it old Sally?' an' then I saw
     her, an' she seemed jes' so. An' then says I, '_Who_ is this?'
     An' then, honey, for a while it was like the sun shinin' in a
     pail o' water, when it moves up an' down; for I begun to feel 't
     was somebody that loved me; an' I tried to know him. An' I said,
     'I know you! I know you! I know you!'--an' then I said, 'I don't
     know you! I don't know you! I don't know you!' An' when I said,
     'I know you, I know you,' the light came; an' when I said, 'I
     don't know you, I don't know you,' it went, jes' like the sun in
     a pail o' water. An' finally somethin' spoke out in me an' said,
     '_This is Jesus!_' An' I spoke out with all my might, an' says I,
     '_This is Jesus!_ Glory be to God!' An' then the whole world grew
     bright, an' the trees they waved an' waved in glory, an' every
     little bit o' stone on the ground shone like glass; an' I shouted
     an' said, 'Praise, praise, praise to the Lord!' An' I begun to
     feel sech a love in my soul as I never felt before,--love to all
     creatures. An' then, all of a sudden, it stopped, an' I said,
     'Dar's de white folks, that have abused you an' beat you an'
     abused your people,--think o' them!' But then there came another
     rush of love through my soul, an' I cried out loud,-'Lord, Lord,
     I can love _even de white folks_!'

     "Honey, I jes' walked round an' round in a dream. Jesus loved me!
     I knowed it,--I felt it. Jesus was my Jesus. Jesus would love me
     always. I didn't dare tell nobody; 'twas a great secret.
     Everything had been got away from me that I ever had; an' I
     thought that ef I let white folks know about this, maybe they'd
     get _Him_ away,--so I said, 'I'll keep this close. I won't let
     any one know.'"

     "But, Sojourner, had you never been told about Jesus Christ?"

     "No, honey. I hadn't heerd no preachin',--been to no meetin'.
     Nobody hadn't told me. I'd kind o' heerd of Jesus, but thought he
     was like Gineral Lafayette, or some o' them. But one night there
     was a Methodist meetin' somewhere in our parts, an' I went; an'
     they got up an' begun for to tell der 'speriences; an' de fust
     one begun to speak. I started, 'cause he told about Jesus. 'Why,'
     says I to myself, 'dat man's found him too!' An' another got up
     an' spoke, an' I said, 'He's found him, too!' An' finally I said,
     'Why, they all know him!' I was so happy! An' then they sung this
     hymn": (Here Sojourner sang, in a strange, cracked voice, but
     evidently with all her soul and might, mispronouncing the
     English, but seeming to derive as much elevation and comfort from
     bad English as from good):--

       "There is a holy city,
          A world of light above,
        Above the stairs and regions,[45]
          Built by the God of love."

         [Footnote 45: Starry regions.]

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Well, den ye see, after a while I thought I'd go back an' see de
     folks on de ole place. Well, you know, de law had passed dat de
     culled folks was all free; an' my old missis, she had a daughter
     married about dis time who went to live in Alabama,--an' what did
     she do but give her my son, a boy about de age of dis yer, for
     her to take down to Alabama? When I got back to de ole place,
     they told me about it, an' I went right up to see ole missis, an'
     says I,--

     "'Missis, have you been an' sent my son away down to Alabama?'

     "'Yes, I have,' says she; 'he's gone to live with your young

     "'O Missis,' says I, 'how could you do it?'

     "'Poh!' says she, 'what a fuss you make about a little nigger.
     Got more of 'em now than you know what to do with.'

     "I tell you, I stretched up. I felt as tall as the world!

     "'Missis, says I, '_I'll have my son back agin!_'

     "She laughed.

     "'_You_ will, you nigger? How you goin' to do it? You ha'n't got
     no money.'

     "'No, Missis,--but _God_ has,--an' you'll see He'll help
     me!'--an' I turned round an' went out.

     "O, but I _was_ angry to have her speak to me so haughty an' so
     scornful, as ef my chile wasn't worth anything. I said to God, 'O
     Lord, render unto her double! It was a dreadful prayer, an' I
     didn't know how true it would come.

     "Well, I didn't rightly know which way to turn; but I went to the
     Lord, an' I said to Him, 'O Lord, ef I was as rich as you be, an'
     you was as poor as I be, I'd help you,--you _know_ I would; and,
     oh, do help me!' An' I felt sure then that He would.

     "Well, I talked with people, an' they said I must git the case
     before a grand jury. So I went into the town when they was
     holdin' a court, to see ef I could find any grand jury. An' I
     stood round the court-house, an' when they was a-comin' out, I
     walked right up to the grandest-lookin' one I could see, an' says
     I to him,--

     "'Sir, be you a grand jury?'

     "An' then he wanted to know why I asked, an' I told him all about
     it; an' he asked me all sorts of questions, an' finally he says
     to me,--

     "'I think, ef you pay me ten dollars, that I'd agree to get your
     son for you.' An' says he, pointin' to a house over the way, 'You
     go 'long an' tell your story to the folks in that house, an' I
     guess they'll give you the money.'

     "Well, I went, an' I told them, an' they gave me twenty dollars;
     an' then I thought to myself, 'Ef ten dollars will git him,
     twenty dollars will git him _sartin_.' So I carried it to the man
     all out, an' said,--

     "'Take it all,--only be sure an' git him.'

     "Well, finally they got the boy brought back; an' then they tried
     to frighten him, an' to make him say that I wasn't his mammy, an'
     that he didn't know me; but they couldn't make it out. They gave
     him to me, an' I took him an' carried him home; an' when I came
     to take off his clothes, there was his poor little back all
     covered with scars an' hard lumps, where they flogged him.

     "Well, you see, honey, I told you how I prayed the Lord to render
     unto her double. Well, it came true; for I was up at ole missis'
     house not long after, an' I heerd 'em readin' a letter to her how
     her daughter's husband had murdered her,--how he'd thrown her
     down an' stamped the life out of her, when he was in liquor; an'
     my ole missis, she giv a screech, an' fell flat on the floor.
     Then says I, 'O Lord, I didn't mean all that! You took me up too

     "Well, I went in an' tended that poor critter all night. She was
     out of her mind,--a-cryin', an' callin' for her daughter; an' I
     held her poor ole head on my arm, an' watched for her as ef she'd
     been my babby. An' I watched by her, an' took care on her all
     through her sickness after that, an' she died in my arms, poor

In the spring of 1851, a Woman's Rights Convention was held in Akron,
Ohio. The newspapers had ridiculed such conventions, and they were
looked upon as legitimate subjects for ridicule. They had been
vilified and caricatured, but there was a desire through that section
of the country to hear what the women would have to say for
themselves, and the church in which the meeting was held was
consequently crowded. Sojourner Truth was there. Mrs. Gage was
president of the meeting. She said:--

     "The leaders of the movement, tremblingly alive to every
     appearance of evil that might spring up in their midst, were many
     of them almost thrown into panics on the first day of the
     meeting, by seeing a tall, gaunt black woman, in a gray dress and
     uncouth sun-bonnet, march deliberately into the church and up the
     aisle with an air of a queen, and take her seat on the pulpit
     steps. A buzz of disapprobation was heard all over the house, and
     such words as these fell upon listening ears: 'An Abolition
     affair! Woman's Rights and Niggers!' 'We told you so!' 'Go it,
     old darkey!'

     "The second day the work waxed warm. Methodist, Baptist,
     Episcopal, and Presbyterian, and Universalist ministers came in
     to hear and discuss the resolutions brought forth. One claimed
     superior rights and privileges for man because of superior
     intellect; another, because of the manhood of Christ. If God had
     desired the equality of woman, he would have given some token of
     his will through the birth, life, and death of the Saviour.
     Another gave a theological view of the sin of our first mother.
     There were few women in those days who dared to speak in
     meeting'; and the august teachers of the people, with long-winded
     bombast, were seeming to get the better of us, while the boys in
     the galleries and sneerers among the pews were enjoying hugely
     the discomfiture, as they supposed, of the strong-minded. Some of
     the tender-skinned friends were growing indignant and on the
     point of losing dignity, and the atmosphere of the Convention
     betokened a storm.

     "Slowly from her seat in the corner rose Sojourner Truth, who
     till now had hardly lifted her head.

     "'Don't let her speak!' gasped a half-dozen in my ear. She moved
     slowly and solemnly to the front, laid her old bonnet at her
     feet, and turned her great piercing eyes upon me. There was a
     hissing sound of disapprobation above and below. I rose and
     announced 'Sojourner Truth,' and begged the audience to keep
     silence a few moments. The tumult subsided at once, and every eye
     was fixed on this almost Amazon form, which stood nearly six feet
     high, head erect, and eye piercing the upper air like one in a
     dream. At her first word there was a profound hush. She spoke in
     deep tones, which, though not loud, reached every ear in the
     house, and away through the throng at the doors and windows.

     "'Well, chillen, whar dar's so much racket dar must be som'ing
     out o' kilter. I tink dat 'twixt de niggas of de Souf and de
     women of de Norf, all a talking about de rights, de white men
     will be in a fix pretty soon.

     "'But what's all dis here talking 'bout? Dat man ober dar say dat
     woman needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches,
     and to hab de best place eberywhar. Nobody eber helps me into
     carriages, or ober ditches or ober mud-puddles, or gives me any
     best place.' Raising herself to her full height, and her voice to
     a pitch like rolling thunder, she asked, 'And arn't I a woman?
     Look at me. Look at my arm,' and she laid bare her right arm to
     her shoulder, showing its tremendous muscular power. 'I have
     ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could
     head me; and arn't I a woman? I have borne thirteen chillen, and
     seen most of 'em sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with
     a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard; and arn't I a woman? Den
     dey talks about dis ting in de head. What dis dey call it?'
     'Intellect,' whispered some one near her. 'Dat's it, honey.
     What's dat got to do wid woman's rights or niggers' rights? If my
     cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you
     be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?'

     "She pointed her significant finger and sent a keen glance at the
     minister who had made the argument. The cheering was long and

     "'Den dat little man in black, dar, he say woman can't have as
     much right as man, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman. _Whar did your
     Christ come from?_'

     "Rolling thunder could not have stilled that crowd as did those
     deep and wonderful tones, as she stood there with outstretched
     arm and eye of fire. Raising her voice she repeated, 'Whar did
     your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to
     do with him.'

     "O what a rebuke she gave the little man! Turning again to
     another objector, she took up the defence of Mother Eve. It was
     pointed, and witty, and solemn, and eliciting at almost every
     sentence deafening applause; and she ended by asserting that 'if
     de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world
     upside down, all herself alone, all dese togeder,' and she
     glanced her eye over us, 'ought to be able to turn it back again
     and git it right side up again; and now dey is asking to, the men
     better let 'em. Bleeged to you for hearin' me, and now old
     Sojourner ha'n't got notin' more to say.'

     "Amid roars of applause she turned to her corner, leaving more
     than one of us with streaming eyes and hearts beating with
     gratitude. She had taken us up in her great strong arms and
     carried us over the slough of difficulty, turning the whole tide
     in our favor. I have never in my life seen anything like the
     magical influence that subdued the mobbish spirit of the day and
     turned the jibes and sneers of an excited crowd into notes of
     respect and admiration. Hundreds rushed up to shake hands with
     the glorious old mother and bid her God speed."

The enlistment of negro troops began at Port Royal in the fall of
1862, and by midwinter the First South Carolina, commanded by Colonel
Higginson, had its ranks nearly full. There was strong prejudice in
the army against employing negroes. The New Jersey troops in the
department of the South were bitterly hostile. Colonel Stevenson, of
Massachusetts, a gallant officer, having imprudently given utterance
to his feelings upon the subject, was arrested by General Hunter,
which caused a great deal of excitement in the army, and which
attracted the attention of the country to the whole subject.

The day after the arrest of Colonel Stevenson, a scene occurred in the
cabin of the steamer Wyoming, plying between Beaufort and Hilton Head,
which is given as a historical note. The party consisted of several
ladies, one or two chaplains, fifteen or twenty officers, four
newspaper correspondents, and several civilians.

A young captain in the Tenth New Jersey opened the conversation.

"I wish," said he, "that every negro was compelled to take off his
hat to a white man. I consider him an inferior being."

"You differ from General Washington, who took off his hat and saluted
a negro," said one of the correspondents.

"General Washington could afford to do it," said the captain, a little

"Are we to understand that in this age a captain cannot afford to
equal a negro in politeness?" was the provoking question of the

"Do you want to be buried with a nigger, and have your bones touch his
in the grave?"

"As to that I have no feeling whatever. I do not suppose that it will
make much difference to the bones of either party."

"Well, when I die I want twenty niggers packed all around me," shouted
the captain, excitedly, turning to the crowd to see the effect of his

"I presume, sir, you can be accommodated if you can get the consent of
the twenty negroes."

The captain saw that he was losing his argument by losing his temper,
and in calmer tones said: "I want to see the negro kept in his proper
place. I am perfectly willing he should use the shovel, but it is an
outrage upon the white man,--an insult to have him carry a musket."

"I would just as soon see a negro shot as to get shot myself. I am
perfectly willing that all the negroes should help put down the
Rebellion," said the correspondent.

"I am not willing to have them act as soldiers. Put them in the
ditches, where they belong. They are an inferior race."

A second correspondent broke in. "Who are you, sir?" said he; "you who
condemn the government? You forget that you as a soldier have nothing
to say about the orders of the President or the laws of Congress. You
say that the negro is an inferior being; what do you say of Frederick
Douglass, who has raised himself from slavery to a high position? Your
straps were placed on your shoulders, not because you had done
anything to merit them, but because you had friends to intercede for
you,--using their political influence,--or because you had money, and
could purchase your commission. You hate the negro, and you want to
keep him in slavery, and you allow your prejudice to carry you to the
verge of disloyalty to the government which pays you for unworthily
wearing your shoulder-straps."

The captain and the entire company listened in silence while another
correspondent took up the question.

"Gentleman, you denounce the negro; you say that he is an inferior
being. You forget that we white men claim to stand on the highest
plane of civilization,--that we are of a race which for a thousand
years has been in the front rank,--that the negro has been bruised,
crushed, trodden down,--denied all knowledge, all right, everything;
that we have compelled him to labor for us, and we have eaten the
fruit of his labors. Can we expect him to be our equal in acquisition
of knowledge? Where is your sense of fair play? Are you afraid that
the negro will push you from your position? Are you afraid that if you
allow him to aid in putting down the Rebellion, that he too will
become a free man, and have aspirations like your own, and in time
express toward you the same _chivalric_ sentiments which you express
toward him? How much do you love your country if you thus make
conditions of loyalty?"

The captain made no reply. The whole company was silent. There were
smiles from the ladies. The captain went out upon the deck, evidently
regretting that the conversation had fallen upon so exciting a topic.

The First South Carolina Regiment of loyal blacks was in camp on
Smith's plantation, four miles out from Beaufort. We rode over a sandy
plain, through old cotton-fields, pine-barrens, and jungles, past a
dozen negro-huts, where the long tresses of moss waved mournfully in
the breeze. The men had gathered a boat-load of oysters, and were
having a feast,--old and young, gray-headed men, and curly-haired
children, were huddled round the pans, steaming and smoking over the
pitch-knot fires.

Smith's plantation is historic ground,--the place where the Huguenots
built a fort long before the Mayflower cast anchor in Cape Cod harbor.
The plantation was well known to the colored people before the war as
a place to be dreaded,--a place for hard work, unmerciful whippings,
with very little to eat. The house and the negro quarters were in a
delightful grove of live-oaks, whose evergreen leaves, wide-spreading
branches, thick foliage, and gnarled trunks, gave cooling shade. In
front of the house, leading down to the fort, is a magnolia walk.
Behind the house, in a circular basin,--a depression often found on
sandy plains,--was the garden, surrounded by a thick-set, fantastic
palmetto hedge. The great oak between the house and the garden, was
the whipping-post. One of the branches was smooth, as if a swing had
been slung there, and the bark had been worn by the rope swaying to
the merry chattering and light-hearted laughter of children. Not that,
however. There the offender of plantation law,--of a master's
caprice,--had paid the penalty of disobedience; there men, women, and
children, suspended by the thumbs, stripped of their clothing,
received the lash. Their moans, groans, cries, and prayers fell
unheeding on overseer, master, and mistress,--but heard and heeded
they were in heaven, and kept in remembrance. And the hour of
retribution had come, the time of deliverance was near.

What a choice spot for the punishment of the criminal! close to the
house,--where the master, the mistress, their sons and daughters, the
infant at the nurse's breast, could see the blood fly.

The plantation jail was in the loft of the granary, beneath a
pitch-pine roof, which, under the heat of a midsummer sun, was like an
oven. There was one little window in the gable for the admission of
air. There were iron rings and bolts in the beams and rafters, where
the slaves were chained.

The owner of the plantation was not unmindful of the religious wants
of his fellow-Christians. West of the house was the plantation chapel,
a whitewashed building of rough boards, twenty feet by thirty, with a
rude belfry, where hung the plantation bell, which on week-days was
rung at daybreak. Charmingly its music floated over the blue waters of
Beaufort Bay, mingling with the morning winds, swaying the magnolia
branches, calling the hands--men, women, and children--to their
unrequited tasks in the cotton-field. On Sunday it called them, with
silvery lips and melting sounds, to come and worship: not to study
God's Word, not to bow down with him who--by the "divine missionary
institution," as the Southern doctors of divinity called it, was their
master, ordained of God--could separate husband and wife, or toss in
a baby to boot, in a bargain; not to bow down with him, for he
worshipped in Beaufort, in the ancient church;--he was a chivalric son
of South Carolina, riding up in his coach, and leaving his four
hundred fellow-disciples to grope their way to heaven, directed by a
pious bondman, as best they might.

If one wish for a flood of reflections, he will be overwhelmed on such
a spot.

The First South Carolina was at drill beneath the oak, drilling as
skirmishers, advancing, retiring, rallying, deploying, loading and
firing, with precision. They had already been under fire in an
expedition up one of the Georgia rivers.

I had breakfasted with the captain of the steamer Darlington, which
was used as a transport on the occasion, who showed me the numerous
bullet-marks on the steamer.

"How did the negroes stand fire?" I asked. "They fought splendidly,

It was no longer an experiment whether they would make good soldiers.
They had demonstrated it by their courage and patriotism. The
antipathy which at the beginning was rampant quickly toned down. The
deportment of the colored soldiers under insult, their bravery in
battle, compelled respect from all who had doubted their heroism or

In the attack upon Jacksonville, which occurred on the 12th of March,
an old patriarch--too old to do any fighting--harangued the troops,
and told them that every one who should be killed in a cause so holy
would be pretty sure of stepping directly into heaven; but that if
they hung back and showed that they were cowards, there wasn't much
hope of eternal life for such! He was greatly venerated by the
soldiers, for he had been a preacher.

[Illustration: A bird's-nest Bank.]



[Sidenote: April, 1863.]

After vexatious delays, the ironclad fleet was ready for action. It
was deemed desirable to test their armor, before attacking Sumter, by
making a reconnoissance of Fort McAllister, on the Ogeechee.

It was late on the afternoon of March 1st, when the steamer George
Washington left Hilton Head for a trip to Ossabow Sound. The Passaic,
Montauk, Nahant, and Patapsco, ironclads of the Monitor pattern, were
already there. The Washington took the "inside" route up Wilmington
River and through the Rumley marshes. The gunboat Marblehead was
guarding the entrance to the river. It was past sunset, and the tide
was ebbing.

"You had better lie here till morning; there are indications that we
shall hear from those fellows up there," said the commander of the
Marblehead. Looking westward into the golden light of the departing
day, we could see the spires of Savannah, also nearer the Rebel
gunboats moving up and down the river.

The anchor dropped, the chain rattled through the hawsehole, the
lights were extinguished, the guns put in trim; the lookout took his
position; the sentinels passed to and fro, peering into the darkness;
a buoy was attached to the cable, that it might be slipped in an
instant; all ears listened to catch the sound of muffled oars or
plashing paddle-wheels, but there was no sound save the piping of the
curlew in the marshes and the surging of the tide along the reedy
shores. At three o'clock in the morning we were away from our
anchorage, steaming up Wilmington River. The moonlight lay in a golden
flood along the waters, revealing the distant outline of the Rebel
earthworks. How charming the trip! exhilarating, and sufficiently
exciting, under the expectation of falling in with a hostile gunboat,
to bring every nerve into action. It was sunrise when the Washington
emerged from the marshes and came to anchor among the ironclads. The
Montauk had just completed a glorious work,--the destruction of the
Nashville. We had heard the roar of her guns, and the quick,
ineffectual firing from Fort McAllister.

The Nashville, which began her piratical depredations by burning the
ship Harvey Birch, ran into Savannah, where she had been cooped up
several months. She had been waiting many weeks for an opportunity to
run out to sea again. On Saturday morning, the last day of February, a
dense fog hung over the marshes, the islands, and inlets of Ossabow.
The Montauk lay at the junction of the Great and Little Ogeechee
Rivers, when the fog lifted and the Nashville was discovered aground
above the fort.

The eyes of Captain Worden sparkled as he gave the command to prepare
for action. He had not forgotten his encounter with the Merrimack. The
Montauk moved up stream, came within range of the fort, which opened
from all its guns, but to which Captain Worden gave no heed. Taking a
position about three quarters of a mile from the Nashville and half a
mile from the fort, he opened with both guns upon the grounded
steamer, to which the Nashville replied with her hundred-pounder. The
third shell from the Montauk exploded inside the steamer, setting her
cotton on fire. The flames spread with great rapidity. Her crew fled
to the marshes, the magazine soon exploded, and the career of the
Nashville was ended.

At high tide on the morning of the 3d of March the Passaic, Patapsco,
and Nahant moved up the Ogeechee, and opened fire on the fort, to test
the working of their machinery. The fire was furious from the fort,
but slow and deliberate from the ironclads. Several mortar-schooners
threw shells in the direction of the fort. The monitors were obliged
to retire with the tide. They were struck repeatedly, but the balls
fell harmlessly against the iron plating. It was evident that at the
distance of three fourths of a mile, or a half-mile even, the
ironclads could withstand the heaviest guns, while on the other hand
the fire of the monitors must necessarily be very slow. The attack was
made, not with the expectation of reducing the fort, but to test the
monitors before the grand attack upon Fort Sumter.

The first attack on Sumter occurred on the 7th of April. The fort
stood out in bold relief, the bright noon-sun shining full upon its
southern face, fronting the shallow water towards Morris Island,
leaving in shadow its eastern wall toward Moultrie. The air was clear,
and we who were on shipboard just beyond the reach of the Rebel guns,
looking inland with our glasses, could see the city, the spires, the
roofs of the houses thronged with people. A three-masted ship lay at
the wharves, the Rebel rams were fired up, sail-boats were scudding
across the harbor, running down toward Sumter, looking seaward, then
hastening back again like little children, expectant and restless on
great occasions, eager for something to be done.

The attacking fleet was in the main ship-channel,--eight little black
specks but little larger than the buoys which tossed beside them, and
one black, oblong block, the New Ironsides, the flag-ship of the
fleet. It was difficult to comprehend that beneath the surface of the
sea there were men as secure from the waves as bugs in a bottle. It
was as strange and romantic as the stories which charmed the Arabian
chieftains in the days of Haroun Al Raschid.

The ironclads were about one third of a mile apart, in the following

  Weehawken, Patapsco,  Nantucket,
  Passaic,   Ironsides, Nahant,
  Montauk,   Catskill,  Keokuk.

The Keokuk was built by a gentleman who had full faith in her
invulnerability. She was to be tested under fire from the Rebel
batteries before accepted by the government. She had sloping sides,
two turrets, and was built for a ram. The opinions generally
entertained were that she would prove a failure.

General Hunter courteously assigned the steamer Nantucket to the
gentlemen connected with the press, giving them complete control of
the steamer, to go where they pleased, knowing that there was an
intense desire not only in the North, but throughout the world, to
know the result of the first contest between ironclads and
fortifications. The Nantucket was a small side-wheel steamer of light
draft, and we were able to run in and out over the bar at will. Just
before the signal was given for the advance we ran alongside the
flag-ship. The crew were hard at work hoisting shot and shells from
the hold to the deck. The upper deck was bedded with sand-bags, the
pilot-house wrapped with cable. All the light hamper was taken down
and stowed away. The iron plating was slushed with grease. Rebel
soldiers were marching across Morris Island, within easy range. A
shell would have sent them in haste behind the sand-hills; but heavier
work was at hand, and they were harmless just then.

It was past one o'clock when the signal for sailing was displayed from
the flag-ship, and the Weehawken, with a raft at her prow, intended to
remove torpedoes, answered the signal, raised her anchor, and went
steadily in with the tide, followed by the others, which maintained
their respective positions, distant from each other about one third or
a half-mile. In this battle of ironclads there are no clouds of
canvas, no beautiful models of marine architecture, none of the
stateliness and majesty which have marked hundreds of great naval
engagements. There are no human beings in sight,--no propelling power
is visible. There are simply eight black specks and one oblong block
gliding along the water, like so many bugs.

But Sumter has discovered them, and discharges in quick succession
nine signal guns, to announce to all Rebeldom that the attack is to be
made. Morris Island is mysteriously silent as the Weehawken advances,
although she is within range. Past Fort Wagner, straight on toward
Moultrie the Weehawken moves. The silence is prolonged. It is almost
painful,--the calm before the storm, the hushed stillness before the
burst of the tornado!

There comes a single puff of smoke from Moultrie,--one deep
reverberation. The silence is broken,--the long months of waiting are
over. The shot flies across the water, skipping from wave to wave,
tossing up fountains, hopping over the deck of the Weehawken, and
rolling along the surface with a diminishing ricochet, sinking at last
close upon the Morris Island beach. Fort Wagner continues the story,
sending a shot at the Weehawken, which also trips lightly over the
deck, and tosses up a water-spout far toward Moultrie. The Weehawken,
unmindful of this play, opens its ports, and sends a fifteen-inch
solid shot toward Sumter, which, like those that have been hurled
toward her, takes a half-dozen steps, making for a moment its
footprints on the water, and crashes against the southwest face of the
fort, followed a moment later by its eleven-inch companion. The vessel
is for a moment enveloped in the smoke of its guns. Bravely done!
There comes an answer. Moultrie, with the tremendous batteries on
either side by the hotel and east of it, and toward the inner harbor,
bursts in an instant into sheets of flame and clouds of sulphurous
smoke. There is one long roll of thunder, peal on peal; deep, heavy
reverberations and sharp concussions, rattling the windows of our
steamers, and striking us at the heart like hammer strokes.

The ocean boils! Columns of spray are tossed high in air, as if a
hundred submarine fountains were let instantly on, or a school of
whales were trying which could spout highest. There is a screaming in
the air, a buzzing and humming never before so loud.

At five minutes before three Moultrie began the fire. Ten minutes have
passed. The thunder has rolled incessantly from Sullivan's Island.
Thus far Sumter has been silent, but now it is enveloped with a cloud.
A moment it is hid from view--first a line of light along its parapet,
and thick folds of smoke unrolling like fleeces of wool. Other flashes
burst from the casemates, and the clouds creep down the wall to the
water, then slowly float away to mingle with that rising from the
furnaces in the sand along the shore of Sullivan's Island. Then comes
a calm,--a momentary cessation. The Rebel gunners wait for the breeze
to clear away the cloud, that they may obtain a view of the monitor,
to see if it have not been punched into a sieve, and if it be not
already disappearing beneath the waves. But the Weehawken is there,
moving straight on up the channel, turning now toward Moultrie. To her
it has been only a handful of peas or pebbles. Some have rattled
against her turret, some upon her deck, some against her sides.
Instead of going to the bottom, she revolves her turret, and fire two
shots at Moultrie, moving on the while to gain the south eastern wall
of Sumter.

Again the forts and batteries begin, joined now by Cummings Point and
long ranges from Fort Johnson. All around the Weehawken the shot
flash, plunge, hop, skip, falling like the rain-drops of a summer
shower. Unharmed, undaunted, she moves straight on, feeling her way,
moving slowly, with grappling-irons dragging from the raft in front to
catch up torpedoes. It is for the Weehawken to clear the channel, and
make smooth sailing for the remainder of the fleet.

To get the position of the Weehawken at this moment, draw a line from
Cummings Point to Moultrie, and stick a pin on the line a little
nearer to Moultrie than to Morris Island. It is about one half a mile
from Moultrie, about one third of a mile from Sumter.

There she is,--the target of probably two hundred and fifty or three
hundred guns, of the heaviest calibre, at close range, rifled cannon
throwing forged bolts and steel-pointed shot, turned and polished to a
hair in the lathes of English workshops,--advancing still, undergoing
her first ordeal, a trial unparalleled in history!

For fifteen minutes she meets the ordeal alone, but the channel found
to be clear, the Passaic, the Montauk, and Patapsco follow, closing up
the line, each coming in range and delivering their fire upon Sumter.
At twenty minutes past three the four monitors composing the right
wing of the fleet are all engaged, each pressing on to reach the
northeastern face of the fort, where the wall is weakest, each
receiving as they arrive at particular points a terrible fire,
seemingly from all points of the compass,--points selected by trial
and practice indicated by buoys. They pass the destructive latitudes
unharmed. Seventy guns a minute are counted, followed by moments of
calm and scattering shots, but only to break out again in a prolonged
roar of thunder. They press on, making nearer and nearer to Sumter,
narrowing the distance to one thousand yards, eight hundred, six,
five, four hundred yards, and send their fifteen-inch shot crashing
against the fort, with deliberate, effective fire.

At first the fort and the batteries and Moultrie seem to redouble
their efforts in increasing the fire, but after an hour there is a
perceptible diminution of the discharges from the fort. After each
shot from the ironclads, clouds of dust can be discerned rising above
the fort and mingling with the smoke. Steadying my glass in the lulls
of the strife, watching where the southwest breeze whiffs away the
smoke, I can see increasing pock-marks and discolorations upon the
walls, as if there had been a sudden breaking out of cutaneous

The flag-ship, drawing seventeen feet of water, was obliged to move
cautiously, feeling her way up the channel. Just as she came within
range of Moultrie her keel touched bottom on the east side of the
channel; fearing that she would run aground the anchor was let go.
Finding the vessel was clear, the Admiral again moved on, signalling
the left wing to press forward to the aid of the four already engaged.
The Ironsides kept the main channel, which brought her within about
one thousand yards of Moultrie and Sumter. She fired four guns at
Moultrie, and received in return a heavy fire. Again she touched
bottom, and then turned her bow across the channel toward Sumter,
firing two guns at Cummings Point. After this weak and ineffectual
effort, the tide rapidly ebbing the while, she again got clear, but
gave up the attempt to advance. The Catskill, Nantucket, Nahant, and
Keokuk pressed up with all possible speed to aid the four which were
receiving a tremendous hammering.

See them sweep past the convergent points and radial lines! See the
bubbling of the water,--the straight columns thrown up in the
sunlight,--the flashes, the furrows along the waves, as if a plough
driven with lightning speed were turning up the water! They are all
close up to Sumter, within four or five hundred yards. Behind them are
Moultrie and Fort Ripley, and Fort Beauregard, flashing, smoking,
bellowing; in front is Sumter, and in the background are Fort Wagner
and Cummings Point. Across the shallow waters is Fort Johnson; still
farther off to the right is Castle Pinckney, too far away to do
damage. From all sides the balls fall around the fleet. Calmly and
deliberately the fire is returned,--with a deliberation which must
have commanded the admiration of the enemy.

The Keokuk presented a fair mark with her sloping sides and double
turrets. Her commander, Captain Rhind, although not having entire
confidence in her invulnerability, was determined to come to close
quarters. She was not to be outdone by the ironclads who had led the
advance. Swifter than they, drawing less water, she made haste to get
up with the Weehawken. The guns which had been trained upon the others
were brought to bear upon her. Where she sailed the fire was fiercest.
Her plating was but pine wood to the steel projectiles, flying with
almost the swiftness of a minnie bullet. Shot which glanced harmlessly
from the others penetrated her angled sides. Her after turret was
pierced in a twinkling, and a two-hundred pound projectile dropped
inside. A heavy shot crashed into the surgeon's dispensary, and mixed
emetics, cathartics, pills and powders not according to prescriptions.
The enemy noticed the effect of his shot and increased his fire.
Captain Rhind was not easily daunted. He opened his forward turret and
gave three shots in return for the three or four hundred rained around
him. The sea with every passing wave swept through the shot-holes, and
he was forced to retire or go to the bottom with all on board.

The tide was ebbing fast, and the signal for retiring was displayed by
the flag-ship. It was raised, seemingly, at an inopportune moment, for
the fire of the fort had sensibly diminished, while that from the
ironclads was steady and true. It was past five o'clock, almost
sunset, when the fleet came back. Never had there been such a
hammering of iron and smashing of masonry as during two and a half
hours of that afternoon. The gunboat Bibb, the Ben Deford, and the
Nantasket had taken position in the North Channel at a respectful
distance off Sullivan's Island. A mile or two east of Moultrie is
Beach Inlet, where a powerful battery had been erected. While intently
gazing on the contest, the correspondents and all hands on the other
steamers were startled by hearing the whiff and whiz of a rifle
projectile, which came diagonally across the Nantasket, across the bow
of the Ben Deford, falling into the sea about one hundred yards ahead.
There was a laughable cuddling down and scampering for the
coal-bunkers, the engine-room, and between decks. There was an
immediate hauling in of cables and motion of paddle-wheels. A second
shot in admirable line fell short. We being at anchor and within
range, the Rebel gunner had made nice calculations. He had already
fired a half-dozen shots, which had fallen far ahead unnoticed.
Cummings Point also tried to reach us with shells, but failed. One of
the correspondents claimed that the press completely silenced a
battery--by getting out of the way!

Steaming into the retiring fleet we ran alongside the Keokuk. A glance
at her sides showed how terrible the fire had been. Her smoke-stack,
turrets, sides,--all were scarred, gashed, pierced through and
through. An inspection revealed ninety-four short-marks. There were
none below the water-line, but each wave swept through the holes on
the sides. Her pumps were going and she was kept free. Only three of
her officers and crew were wounded, although she had been so badly

"All right, nobody hurt, ready for them again," was the hearty
response of Captain George Rodgers, of the Catskill, as I stepped upon
the slushed deck of that vessel and grasped the hand of her wide-awake
commander. The Catskill had received about thirty shots. One
two-hundred-pounder, thrown evidently from a barbette gun, had fallen
with tremendous force upon the deck, bending, but not breaking or
penetrating the iron. On the sides, on the turret, and on the
pilot-house were indentations like saucers, but there was no sign of
serious damage.

The Nahant came down to her anchorage with a gashed smoke-stack. Going
on board, we found that eleven of her officers and crew had received
contusions from the flying of bolt-heads in the turret. One shot had
jammed the lower ridge of her turret, interfering with its revolution.
She had been struck forty times, but--aside from the loss of a few
bolt-heads, a diminished draft to her chimney, and the slight jam upon
the turret--her armor was intact.

The other monitors had each a few bolts started. Four gun-carriages
needed repairs,--injured not by the enemy's shot, but by their own
recoil. One shot had ripped up the plating of the Patapsco and pierced
the wood-work beneath. This was the only shot, out of the twenty-five
hundred or three thousand supposed to have been fired from the forts
which penetrated the monitors!

The Weehawken had received three heavy shot upon her side, the
indentations close together. The plates were badly bent, but the shot
had fallen as harmlessly as pebbles upon the side of a barn.

The Ironsides had received thirty balls, all of which had been turned
by her armor.

One hundred and fifty-three shots were fired by the fleet, against
twenty-five hundred or three thousand by the Rebels. The monitors were
struck in the aggregate about three hundred and fifty times.

About six thousand pounds of iron were hurled at Fort Sumter during
the short time the fleet was engaged, and probably five or six times
that amount of metal, or thirty thousand pounds, was thrown at the
fleet. The casualties on board the fleet were,--none killed; one
mortally, one seriously, and thirteen slightly wounded.

Captain Ammen, commanding the Patapsco, was confident that the last
shots which he fired passed through the wall of the fort. He and other
commanders obeyed the signal for retiring with great reluctance. They
saw that the fire of the fort was growing weaker,--that the wall was
crumbling. It is now known that the Rebel commander, General Ripley,
was on the point of evacuating the fort when the signal was made for
the fleet to withdraw. The wall was badly shattered, and a few more
shots would have made it a complete ruin.

The lower casemates were soon after filled with sand-bags, the guns
having been removed. The walls were buttressed with palmetto logs, and
the fort lost nearly all of its original features, but was made
stronger than ever.

The Keokuk sunk in the morning on the bar. The sea was rough, and the
water poured through the shot-holes with every wave, so that it was
found impossible to keep her afloat.

Admiral Dupont decided not to renew the attack, which caused a good
deal of murmuring among the soldiers in the fleet. The ironclads
returned to Hilton Head for repairs, the expedition was abandoned, and
Sumter was left to float its flag in defiance of Federal authority.



[Sidenote: June, 1863.]

The second invasion of the North was planned immediately after the
battle of Chancellorsville. The movement of General Lee was upon a
great circle,--down the valley of the Shenandoah, crossing the Potomac
at Williamsport with his infantry and artillery, while General Stuart,
with the main body of Rebel cavalry, kept east of the Blue Ridge to
conceal the advance of the infantry.

General Hooker, at Fredericksburg, the first week in June, received
positive information that Lee was breaking up his camp, and that some
of his divisions were moving towards Culpepper. The dust-clouds which
rose above the tree-tops indicated that the Rebel army was in motion.
The Army of the Potomac immediately broke up its camp and moved to
Catlett's Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, where
intelligence was received that Stuart had massed the Rebel cavalry at
Brandy Station for a raid in Pennsylvania.

General Pleasanton, commanding the cavalry, was sent with his entire
force to look into the matter. He fell upon Stuart on the 9th of June,
on the broad, open plains along the Rappahannock. A desperate battle
ensued,--probably it was the greatest cavalry battle of the war,--in
which Stuart was driven back upon the Rebel infantry, which was
hurried up from Culpepper to his support. The object of the attack was
accomplished,--Stuart's raid was postponed and Lee's movement
unmasked. On the same day, Lee's advanced divisions reached
Winchester, attacked General Milroy, captured the town, the cannon in
the fortifications, and moved on to the Potomac.

[Illustration: Cavalry charge.]

Hastening to Pennsylvania, I became an observer of the great events
which followed. The people of the Keystone State in 1862 rushed to
arms when Lee crossed the Potomac, but in 1863 they were strangely
apathetic,--intent upon conveying their property to a place of
security, instead of defending their homes. In '62 the cry was,
"Drive the enemy from our soil!" in '63, "Where shall we hide our

Harrisburg was a Bedlam when I entered it on the 15th of June.

The railroad stations were crowded with an excited people,--men,
women, and children,--with trunks, boxes, bundles; packages tied up in
bed-blankets and quilts; mountains of baggage,--tumbling it into the
cars, rushing here and there in a frantic manner; shouting, screaming,
as if the Rebels were about to dash into the town and lay it in ashes.
The railroad authorities were removing their cars and engines. The
merchants were packing up their goods; housewives were secreting their
silver; everywhere there was a hurly-burly. The excitement was
increased when a train of army wagons came rumbling over the long
bridge across the Susquehannah, accompanied by a squadron of cavalry.
It was Milroy's train, which had been ordered to make its way into

"The Rebels will be here to-morrow or next day," said the teamsters.

At the State-House, men in their shirt-sleeves were packing papers
into boxes. Every team, every horse and mule and handcart in the town
were employed. There was a steady stream of teams thundering across
the bridge; farmers from the Cumberland valley, with their household
furniture piled upon the great wagons peculiar to the locality;
bedding, tables, chairs, their wives and children perched on the top;
kettles and pails dangling beneath; boys driving cattle and horses,
excited, worried, fearing they knew not what. The scene was painful,
yet ludicrous.

General Couch was in command at Harrisburg. He had but a few troops.
He erected fortifications across the river, planted what few cannon he
had, and made preparations to defend the place.

General Lee was greatly in need of horses, and his cavalrymen, under
General Jenkins, ravaged the Cumberland Valley. A portion visited
Chambersburg; another party, Mercersburg; another, Gettysburg, before
any infantry entered the State.

Ewell's corps of Lee's army crossed the Potomac, a division at
Williamsport, and another at Shepherdstown, on the 22d of June, and
came together at Hagerstown. The main body of Lee's army was at
Winchester. Stuart had moved along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge,
and had come in contact with a portion of Pleasanton's cavalry at
Aldie and Middleburg. Hooker had swung the army up to Fairfax and
Centreville, moving on an inner circle, with Washington for a pivot.

Visiting Baltimore, where General Schenck was in command, I found the
Marylanders much more alive to the exigencies of the hour than the
Pennsylvanians. Instead of hurrying northward with their household
furniture, they were hard at work building fortifications and
barricading the streets. Hogsheads of tobacco, barrels of pork, old
carts, wagons, and lumber were piled across the streets, and patriotic
citizens stood, musket in hand, prepared to pick off any Rebel troops.

Colored men were impressed to construct fortifications. They were shy
at first, fearing it was a trap to get them into slavery, but when
they found they were to defend the city, they gave enthusiastic
demonstrations of joy. They went to their work singing _their

  "John Brown's body," &c.

While writing in the Eutaw House, I heard the song sung by a thousand
voices, accompanied by the steady tramp, tramp, tramp of the men
marching down the street, cheering General Schenck as they passed his

How rapid the revolution! Twenty-six months before, Massachusetts
troops had fought their way through the city, now the colored men were
singing of John Brown amid the cheers of the people!

General Hooker waited in front of Washington till he was certain of
Lee's intentions, and then by a rapid march pushed on to Frederick.
Lee's entire army was across the Potomac. Ewell was at York, enriching
himself by reprisals, stealings, and confiscations. General Hooker
asked that the troops at Harper's Ferry might be placed under his
command, that he might wield the entire available force and crush Lee;
this was refused, whereupon he informed the War Department that,
unless this condition were complied with, he wished to be relieved of
the command of the army. The matter was laid before the President and
his request was granted. General Meade was placed in command; and what
was denied to General Hooker was substantially granted to General
Meade,--that he was to use his best judgment in holding or evacuating
Harper's Ferry! General Halleck was military adviser to the President,
and the question between him and Hooker was whether Halleck, sitting
in his chair at Washington, or Hooker at the head of the army, should
fight General Lee. The march of Hooker from Fairfax to Frederick was
one of the most rapid of the war. The Eleventh Corps marched
fifty-four miles in two days,--a striking contrast to the movement in
September, 1862, when the army made but five miles a day.

It was a dismal day at Frederick when the news was promulgated that
General Hooker was relieved of the command. Notwithstanding the result
at Chancellorsville, the soldiers had a good degree of confidence in
him. General Meade was unknown except to his own corps. He entered the
war as brigadier in the Pennsylvania Reserves. He commanded a division
at Antietam and at Fredericksburg, and the Fifth Corps at

General Meade cared but little for the pomp and parade of war. His own
soldiers respected him because he was always prepared to endure
hardships. They saw a tall, slim, gray-bearded man, wearing a slouch
hat, a plain blue blouse, with his pantaloons tucked into his boots.
He was plain of speech, and familiar in conversation. He enjoyed in a
high degree, especially after the battle of Fredericksburg, the
confidence of the President.

I saw him soon after he was informed that the army was under his
command. There was no elation, but on the contrary he seemed weighed
down with a sense of the responsibility resting on him. It was in the
hotel at Frederick. He stood silent and thoughtful by himself. Few of
all the noisy crowd around knew of the change that had taken place.
The correspondents of the press knew it long before the corps
commanders were informed of the fact. No change was made in the
machinery of the army, and there was but a few hours' delay in its

General Hooker bade farewell to the principal officers of the army on
the afternoon of the 28th. They were drawn up in line. He shook hands
with each officer, laboring in vain to stifle his emotion. The tears
rolled down his cheeks. The officers were deeply affected. He said
that he had hoped to lead them to victory, but the power above him had
ordered otherwise. He spoke in high terms of General Meade. He
believed that they would defeat the enemy under his leadership.

While writing out the events of the day in the parlor of a private
house during the evening, I heard the comments of several officers
upon the change which had taken place.

"Well, I think it is too bad to have him removed just now," said a

"I wonder if we shall have McClellan back?" queried a lieutenant.

"Well, gentlemen, I don't know about Hooker as a commander in the
field, but I do know the Army of the Potomac was never so well fed and
clothed as it has been since Joe Hooker took command."

"That is so," said several.

After a short silence, another officer took up the conversation and

"Yes, the army was in bad condition when he took command of it, and
bad off every way; but it never was in better condition than it is
to-day, and the men begin to like him."

The army was too patriotic to express any dissatisfaction, and in a
few days the event was wholly forgotten.

It was evident that a collision of the two armies must take place
before many days, and their positions, and the lines of movement
indicated that it must be near Gettysburg, which is the county seat of
Adams, Pennsylvania, nearly forty miles a little north of east from
Frederick, on the head-waters of the Monocacy. Rock Creek, which in
spring-time leaps over huge granite boulders, runs south, a mile east
of the town, and is the main stem of the Monocacy. Being a county
seat, it is also a grand centre for that section of the State,
contains three thousand inhabitants, and has a pleasant location,
surrounded with scenery of quiet beauty, hills, valleys, the dark
outline and verdure-clad sides of the Blue Ridge in the west, and the
billowy Catoctin range on the south. Roads radiate in all directions.
It was a central point, admitting of a quick concentration of forces.

The army commanded by General Meade consisted of seven corps.

1. Major-General Reynolds; 2. Major-General Hancock; 3. Major-General
Sickles; 5. Major-General Sykes; 6. Major-General Sedgwick; 11.
Major-General Howard; 12. Major-General Slocum.

As Ewell was at York, and as Lee was advancing in that direction, it
was necessary to take a wide sweep of country in the march. All Sunday
the army was passing through Frederick. It was a strange sight. The
churches were open, and some of the officers and soldiers attended
service,--a precious privilege to those who before entering the army
were engaged in Sabbath schools. The stores also were open, and the
town was cleaned of goods,--boots, shoes, needles, pins, tobacco,
pipes, paper, pencils, and other trifles which add to a soldier's

[Illustration: Advance to Gettysburg.]

Cavalry, infantry, and artillery were pouring through the town, the
bands playing, and the soldiers singing their liveliest songs. The
First Corps moved up the Emmettsburg road, and formed the left of the
line; the Eleventh Corps marched up a parallel road a little farther
east, through Griegerstown. The Third and Twelfth Corps moved on
parallel roads leading to Taneytown. The Second and Fifth moved still
farther east, through Liberty and Uniontown, while the Sixth, with
Gregg's division of cavalry, went to Westminster, forming the right of
the line.

The lines of march were like the sticks of a fan, Frederick being the
point of divergence.

On this same Sunday afternoon Lee was at Chambersburg, directing
Ewell, who was at York, to move to Gettysburg. A. P. Hill was moving
east from Chambersburg towards the same point, while Longstreet's, the
last corps to cross the Potomac, was moving through Waynesboro' and
Fairfield, marching northeast towards the same point.

It was a glorious spectacle, that movement of the army north from
Frederick. I left the town accompanying the Second and Fifth Corps.
Long lines of men and innumerable wagons were visible in every
direction. The people of Maryland welcomed the soldiers hospitably.

When the Fifth Corps passed through the town of Liberty, a farmer rode
into the village, mounted on his farm-wagon. His load was covered by
white table-cloths.

"What have ye got to sell, old fellow? Bread, eh?" said a soldier,
raising a corner of the cloth, and revealing loaves of sweet soft
plain bread, of the finest wheat, with several bushels of

"What do you ask for a loaf?"

"I haven't any to sell," said the farmer.

"Haven't any to sell? What are ye here for?"

The farmer made no reply.

"See here, old fellow, won't ye sell me a hunk of your gingerbread?"
said the soldier, producing an old wallet.


"Well, you are a mean old cuss. It would be serving you right to tip
you out of your old bread-cart. Here we are marching all night and all
day to protect your property, and fight the Rebs. We haven't had any
breakfast, and may not have any dinner. You are a set of mean cusses
round here, I reckon," said the soldier.

A crowd of soldiers had gathered, and others expressed their
indignation. The old farmer stood up on his wagon-seat, took off the
table-cloths, and replied,--

"I didn't bring my bread here to sell. My wife and daughters set up
all night to bake it for you, and you are welcome to all I've got, and
wish I had ten times as much. Help your selves, boys."

"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" "Bully for you!" "You're a brick!" "Three
cheers for the old man!" "Three more for the old woman!" "Three more
for the girls!"

They threw up their caps, and fairly danced with joy. The bread and
cakes were gone in a twinkling.

"See here, my friend, I take back all the hard words I said about
you," said the soldier, shaking hands with the farmer, who sat on his
wagon overcome with emotion.

On Tuesday evening, General Reynolds, who was at Emmettsburg, sent
word to General Meade that the Rebels were evidently approaching
Gettysburg. At the same time, the Rebel General Stuart, with his
cavalry, appeared at Westminster. He had tarried east of the Blue
Ridge till Lee was across the Potomac,--till Meade had started from
Frederick,--then crossing the Potomac at Edwards's Ferry, he pushed
directly northeast of the Monocacy, east of Meade's army, through
Westminster, where he had a slight skirmish with some of the Union
cavalry, moved up the pike to Littlestown and Hanover and joined Lee.

Riding to Westminster I overtook General Gregg's division of cavalry,
and on Wednesday moved forward with it to Hanover Junction, which is
thirty miles east of Gettysburg. There, while our horses were eating
their corn at noon, I heard the distant cannonade, the opening of the
great battle.

Striking directly across the country, I rejoined the Fifth Corps at
Hanover. There were dead horses and dead soldiers in the streets lying
where they fell. The wounded had been gathered into a school-house,
and the warm-hearted women of the place were ministering to their
comfort. It was evening. The bivouac fires of the Fifth Corps were
gleaming in the meadows west of the town, and the worn and weary
soldiers were asleep, catching a few hours of repose before moving on
to the place where they were to lay down their lives for their

It was past eight o'clock on Thursday morning, July 2d, before we
reached the field. The Fifth Corps, turning off from the Hanover road,
east of Rock Creek, passed over to the Baltimore pike, crossed Rock
Creek, filed through the field on the left hand and moved towards
Little Round-top, or Weed's Hill as it is now called.

Riding directly up the pike towards the cemetery, I saw the Twelfth
Corps on my right, in the thick woods crowning Culp's Hill. Beyond,
north of the pike, was the First Corps. Ammunition wagons were going
up, and the artillerymen were filling their limber chests. Pioneers
were cutting down the trees.

Reaching the top of the hill in front of the cemetery gate the
battle-field was in view. To understand a battle, the movements of the
opposing forces, and what they attempt to accomplish, it is necessary
first to comprehend the ground, its features, the hills, hollows,
woods, ravines, ledges, roads,--how they are related. A rocky hill is
frequently a fortress of itself. Rail fences and stone walls are of
value, and a ravine may be equivalent to ten thousand men.

Tying my horse and ascending the stairs to the top of the gateway
building, I could look directly down upon the town. The houses were
not forty rods distant. Northeast, three fourths of a mile, was Culp's

On the northern side of the Baltimore pike were newly mown fields, the
grass springing fresh and green since the mower had swept over it. In
those fields were batteries with breastworks thrown up by Howard on
Wednesday night,--light affairs, not intended to resist cannon-shot,
but to protect the cannoneers from sharpshooters. Howard's lines of
infantry were behind stone-walls. The cannoneers were lying beside
their pieces,--sleeping perhaps, but at any rate keeping close, for,
occasionally, a bullet came singing past them. Looking north over the
fields, a mile or two, we saw a beautiful farming country,--fields of
ripened grain,--russet mingled with the green in the landscape.

Conspicuous among the buildings is the almshouse, with its brick
walls, great barn, and numerous out-buildings, on the Harrisburg road.
Beyond are the houses of David and John Blocher,--John Blocher's being
at the junction of the Carlisle and Newville roads. Looking over the
town, the buildings of Pennsylvania College are in full view, between
the road leading northwest to Mummasburg, and the unfinished track of
a railroad running west through a deep excavation a half-mile from the
college. The Chambersburg turnpike runs parallel to the railroad.
South of this is the Lutheran Theological Seminary, beautifully
situated, in front of a shady grove of oaks. West and southwest we
look upon wheat, clover, and corn fields, on both sides of the road
leading to Emmettsburg. A half-mile west of this road is an elevated
ridge of land, crowned with apple-orchards and groves of oaks. Turning
to the southeast, two miles distant, is Round-top, shaped like a
sugar-loaf, rocky, steep, hard to climb, on its western face, easy to
be held by those who have possession, clad with oaks and pines.
Nearer, a little east of the meridian, is Weed's Hill, with Plum Run
at its western base, flowing through a rocky ravine. From the sides of
the hill, and on its top, great boulders bulge, like plums in a
pudding. It is very stony west of the hill, as if Nature in making up
the mould had dumped the _débris_ there.

Between Round-top and Weed's there is a gap, where men bent on a
desperate enterprise might find a passway. Between Weed's and the
cemetery the ridge is broken down and smoothed out into fields and
pastures. The road to Taneytown runs east of this low ridge, the road
to Emmettsburg west of it. A small house stands on the west side of
the Taneytown road, with the American flag flying in front of it.
There are horses hitched to the fences, while others are nibbling the
grass in the fields. Officers with stars on their shoulders are
examining maps, writing, and sending off cavalrymen. It is General
Meade's head-quarters. When the Rebel batteries open it will be a warm

Having taken a general look at the field, I rode forward towards the
town, between Stewart's and Taft's batteries, in position on either
side of the road. Soldiers in blue were lying behind the garden

"Where are you going?" said one.

"Into the town."

"I reckon not. The Rebs hold it, and I advise you to turn about. It is
rather dangerous where you are. The Rebels are right over there in
that brick house."

Right over there was not thirty rods distant.

"Ping!"--and there was the sharp ring of a bullet over our heads.

General Howard was in the cemetery with his maps and plans spread upon
the ground.

"We are just taking a lunch, and there is room for one more," was his
kind and courteous welcome. Then removing his hat, he asked God to
bless the repast. The bullets were occasionally singing over us.
Soldiers were taking up the headstones and removing the monuments from
their pedestals.

"I want to preserve them, besides, if a shot should strike a stone,
the pieces of marble would be likely to do injury," said the General.

The flowers were blooming around us. I gathered a handful as a memento
of the hour. Preparations were rapidly going on for the approaching
struggle. North, west, and southwest the whole country was alive with
Rebels,--long lines of men deploying in various directions, tents
going up, with yellow flags above them on the distant hills, thousands
of canvas-covered wagons, slowly winding along the roads, reaching as
far as the eye could see towards Chambersburg, Carlisle, and
Fairfield,--turning into the fields and taking positions in park.
There were batteries of artillery, the cannon gleaming in the noonday
sun, and hundreds of horsemen riding in hot haste on many a desperate

While partaking of our refreshment, General Howard narrated the
operations of the preceding day.



[Sidenote: July, 1863.]

On Tuesday evening, the 30th of June, General Reynolds was in camp on
Marsh Run, a short distance from Emmettsburg, while General Howard,
with the Eleventh Corps, was in that town. Instructions were received
from General Meade assigning General Reynolds to the command of the
First, Eleventh, and Third Corps. General Reynolds moved early in the
morning to Gettysburg, and sent orders to General Howard to follow.
General Howard received the orders at 8 o'clock in the morning.
General Barlow's division of the Eleventh followed the First Corps by
the most direct road while General Schurz's and General Steinwehr's
divisions went by Horner's Mills, the distance being thirteen miles.
General Howard, with his staff, pushed on in advance of his troops.

Buford's division of cavalry passed through Gettysburg on Tuesday and
went into camp a mile and a half west of the town on the Chambersburg
pike. At 9.30 A. M. on Wednesday, the Rebels of A. P. Hill's division
appeared in front of him, and skirmishing commenced on the farm of
Hon. Edward McPherson. General Reynolds rode into Gettysburg about 10
o'clock in advance of his troops, turned up the Chambersburg road,
reconnoitred the position, rode back again, met the head of his column
a mile down the Emmettsburg road, turned it directly across the
fields, towards the seminary, and deployed his divisions across the
Chambersburg road. General Archer's brigade of Heth's division of A.
P. Hill's corps was advancing eastward, unaware of Reynolds's
movement. He had passed Herr's tavern, two miles beyond the town, when
he found himself face to face with General Meredith's brigade of
Reynolds's command. The fight opened at once. Archer and several
hundred of his men were captured. General Cutler, pushing out from
the town between the half-finished railroad and the Chambersburg road,
came in contact with Davis's brigade of Mississippians. The contest
increased. General Reynolds, while riding along the line, was killed
in the field beyond the Seminary, and the command devolved on General

General Howard heard the cannonade, and riding rapidly up the
Emmettsburg road entered the town, sent messengers in search of
General Reynolds, asking for instructions, not knowing that he had
been killed.

While waiting the return of his aids, he went to the top of the
college to reconnoitre the surrounding country. His aid, Major Biddle,
soon came back, with the sad intelligence that General Reynolds had
fallen, and that the command devolved on himself.

It was half past eleven. The Rebels were appearing in increased force.
The prisoners taken said that the whole of A. P. Hill's corps was near

"You will have your hands full before night. Longstreet is near, and
Ewell is coming," said one, boastingly.

"After an examination of the general features of the country," said
General Howard, "I came to the conclusion that the only tenable
position for my limited force was on this ridge. I saw that this was
the highest point. You will notice that it commands all the other
eminences. My artillery can sweep the fields completely."

He pointed towards the north, where across the pike, just beyond the
gateway, were Colonel Wainwright's batteries of the First Corps, and
around us were Colonel Osborn's of the Eleventh. Behind us, east of
the cemetery, was some of the reserve artillery.

The head of the Eleventh Corps reached Gettysburg about twelve
o'clock. The first and third division passed through the town, moved
out beyond the college, and joined the right of the First Corps.
Howard sent three batteries and his second division, Steinwehr's, to
take possession of the cemetery and the hill north of the Baltimore

Thus far success had attended the Union arms. A large number of
prisoners had been taken with but little loss, and the troops were
holding their own against a superior force. About half past twelve
cavalry scouts reported that Ewell was coming down the York road, and
was not more than four miles distant. General Howard sent an aid to
General Sickles, who was at Emmettsburg, requesting him to come on
with all haste. Another was sent down the Baltimore pike to the Two
Taverns, three miles distant, with a similar message to General
Slocum. The Second Corps was there,--resting in the fields. They had
heard the roar of the battle, and could see the clouds of smoke rising
over the intervening hills. General Slocum was the senior officer. He
received the message, but did not, for reasons best known to himself,
see fit to accede to the request. He could have put the Twelfth Corps
upon the ground in season to meet Ewell, but remained where he was
till after the contest for the day was over.

It was a quarter before three when Ewell's lines began to deploy by
John Blocher's house on the York road. The Rebel batteries were
wheeled into position, and opened on Wadsworth. Weiderick's battery in
the cemetery replied. Again a messenger went in haste to the
delinquent officer.

"I sent again to General Slocum, stating that my right flank was
attacked; that it was in danger of being turned, and asking him if he
was coming up," said General Howard.

The message was delivered to Slocum, who was still at the Two Taverns,
where he had been through the day. Weiderick's battery was in plain
view from that position, but General Slocum did not move.

This officer on Thursday and Friday did hard service. He afterward
commanded acceptably one of Sherman's wings in the march from Atlanta
to the sea, but on the first day at Gettysburg his inaction, unless
satisfactorily explained, will compel the impartial historian to
assign him a lower place on the scroll of fame than would otherwise
have been accorded him.

Sickles was too far off to render assistance. Meanwhile Ewell was
pressing on towards the college. Another division of Rebels under
General Pender came in from the southwest, and began to enfold the
left of Howard's line.

"I want a brigade to help me!" was the word from Schurz, commanding
the two divisions in front of Ewell, beyond the college.

"Send out Costa's brigade," said Howard to his chief of staff.
The brigade went down through the town accompanied by a battery, and
joined the line, upon the double-quick. An hour passed, of close,
desperate fighting. It wanted a quarter to four. Howard confronted by
four times his own force, was still holding his ground, waiting for
Slocum. Another messenger rode to the Two Taverns, urging Slocum to

"I must have reinforcements!" was the message from Doubleday on the
left. "You must reinforce me!" was the word from Wadsworth in the

"Hold out a little longer, if possible; I am expecting General Slocum
every moment," was Howard's reply. Still another despatch was sent to
the Two Taverns, but General Slocum had not moved. The Rebel cannon
were cutting Wadsworth's line. Pender was sweeping round Doubleday;
Ewell was enclosing Schurz. Sickles was five miles distant, advancing
as fast as he could. Slocum was where he had been from early morning,
three miles distant. The tide was turning. The only alternative was a
retreat. It was past four o'clock. For six hours the ground had been
held against a greatly superior force.

Major Howard, the General's brother, a member of his staff, dashed
down the pike in search of Slocum, with a request that he would move
at once, and send one division to the right and the other to the left
of Gettysburg. Slocum declined to go up to the front and take any
responsibility, as he understood that General Meade did not wish to
bring on a general engagement. He was willing, however, to send
forward his troops as General Howard desired, and issued his orders
accordingly. Under military law the question might be raised whether a
senior officer had a right to throw off the responsibility which
circumstances had forced upon him; also whether he could turn over his
troops to a subordinate.

[Illustration: The color-bearer.]

But before the divisions of the Twelfth Corps could get in motion, the
Rebels had completely enfolded both flanks of Howard's line. The order
to retreat was given. The two corps came crowding through the town.
The Rebels pressed on with cheers. Most of the First Corps reached the
cemetery ridge, and were rallied by Howard, Steinwehr, and Hancock.
This officer had just arrived. The troops were streaming over the
hill, when he reined up his steed in the cemetery. He came, under
direction of General Meade, to take charge of all the troops in front.
The Eleventh Corps was hard pressed, and lost between two and three
thousand prisoners in the town.

The Rebels of Ewell's command pushed up the northern slope, through
the hay-fields, flushed with victory; but Weiderick's battery poured
canister in quick discharges into the advancing ranks, breaking the

The retreat was so orderly and the resistance so steady that the
Rebels gave utterance to their admiration. Said General Hill,--

"A Yankee color-bearer floated his standard in the field and the
regiment fought around it; and when at last it was obliged to retreat,
the color-bearer retired last of all, turning round now and then to
shake his fist in the face of the advancing Rebels. He was sorry when
he saw him meet his doom."[46]

         [Footnote 46: Lieutenant Freemantle.--_Blackwood's Magazine_,
         September, 1863.]

Three color-bearers of the Nineteenth Indiana were shot. The
Sergeant-Major, Asa Blanchard, ran and took the flag when the third
man fell, waved it, and cried "Rally, boys!" The next moment he fell.
His comrades stopped to carry him off. The Rebels were close at hand.

"Don't stop for me," he cried. "Don't let them have the flag. Tell
mother I never faltered." They were his parting words to his comrades,
who saved the flag.

General Hancock met General Howard and informed him of his
instructions, saying, "General Meade undoubtedly supposed that I was
your senior, but you outrank me."

"It is no time to talk about rank. I shall most cheerfully obey your
instructions and do all in my power to co-operate with you," was
Howard's reply, thus waiving the command which was his by right. They
perfectly agreed in what was to be done. General Howard took charge of
the troops and batteries on the right of the line, while General
Hancock brought order out of confusion on the left.

The Rebels having been repulsed by the batteries, and satisfied with
the work of the day, made no further attack, although they greatly
outnumbered the Union force.

General Sickles arrived at seven o'clock, and General Slocum also came
up, he being the senior officer, General Howard turned over the
command to him, while General Hancock went back to see General Meade
at Taneytown, to inform him of the state of affairs. The Third Corps
filed into position on the left of the First, south of the cemetery,
while the Twelfth took possession of Culp's Hill.

So closed the first day at Gettysburg.



General Meade arrived on the battle-field at three o'clock on the
morning of the 2d, and had an interview with General Howard soon after
by the cemetery gate. They rode along the lines together.

"I am confident that we can hold this position," said General Howard.

"I am glad to hear you say so, for it is too late to leave it," said

The cannonade began at daybreak, the guns in the cemetery and those of
the Rebels near Blocher's house keeping up a steady fire for an hour,
when both parties, as if by mutual consent, became silent; but the
pickets were at it all along the lines.

While I was conversing with General Howard, his brother, Major Howard,
who was keeping a sharp look upon the Rebels, came running up. "There
is a splendid chance to cut them up, General; just see them!"

A column of Rebels was moving along the Chambersburg road, and stood
out in bold relief.

"Let Osborn pitch in the shells from his rifled pieces," said the

General Howard surveyed them a moment and replied: "We might do them
some damage, but we are not quite ready to bring on a general
engagement. It isn't best to hurry. We shall have enough fighting
before night."

The battle had not commenced in earnest. Lee was moving his troops
towards the left. The Union pickets were posted along the Emmettsburg
road; some were lying down in the wheat-fields beyond it, keeping up a
steady interchange of shots with the Rebels. It was a favorable time
to ride over the ground where the great contest was to take place.

The first division, General Ames's, of the Eleventh Corps, was north
of the Baltimore pike, the third division, Schurz's, was on both sides
of it, and the second division, Steinwehr's, in the cemetery, lying
behind the stone wall, which forms its western boundary. Colonel
Osborn's batteries were on the crest of the ridge, in position to fire
over the heads of the infantry. Robinson's division of the First Corps
was posted at the left of Steinwehr's, crossing the Taneytown road.
Wadsworth's and Doubleday's divisions of the First were north of the
Baltimore pike, to the right of General Ames, reaching to Culp's Hill,
where they joined the Twelfth Corps.

Riding down the road towards Taneytown, I came upon General Stannard's
brigade of nine months' Vermont boys, lying in the open field in rear
of the cemetery. Occasionally a shell came over them from the Rebel
batteries, by Blocher's. It was their first experience under fire.
They were in reserve, knowing nothing of what was going on the other
side of the hill, yet tantalized by a flank fire from the distant
batteries. A short distance farther I came to General Meade's
head-quarters, in the house of Mrs. Leister. General Meade was there
surrounded by his staff, consulting maps and issuing orders. General
Hancock's head-quarters' flag,--the tree-foil of the Second
Corps,--was waving on the ridge southwest of the house. General
Slocum's,--the star-flag,--was in sight, on a conical hill a half-mile
eastward. The crescent flag of the Eleventh was proudly planted on the
highest elevation of the cemetery. The Maltese cross of the Fifth
Corps was a half-mile south, toward Round-top.

Turning into the field and riding to the top of the ridge, I came upon
Hayes's division of the Second Corps, joining Robinson's of the First;
then Gibbons's and Caldwell's of the Second, reaching to a narrow
roadway running west from the Taneytown road to the house of Abraham
Trostle, where, a half-mile in advance of the main line, was planted
the diamond flag of the Third Corps, General Sickles. Pushing directly
west, through a field where the grass was ripening for the scythe, I
approached the house of Mr. Codori, on the Emmettsburg road. But it
was a dangerous place just then to a man on horseback, for the pickets
of both armies were lying in the wheat-field west of the road. General
Carr's brigade of the Third Corps was lying behind the ridge near the
house of Peter Rogers. Soldiers were filling their canteens from the
brook in the hollow. Further down by the house of Mr. Wentz, at the
corner of the narrow road leading east from the Emmettsburg road, and
in the peach-orchards on both sides of it, were troops and batteries.
The Second New Hampshire, the First Maine, and the Third Michigan were
there, holding the angle of the line, which here turned east from the
Emmettsburg road. Thompson's battery was behind Wentz's house. General
Sickles had his other batteries in position along the narrow road, the
muzzles of the guns pointing southwest. Ames's New York battery was in
the orchard, and the gunners were lying beneath the peach-trees,
enjoying the leafy shade. Clark's New Jersey battery, Phillips's Fifth
Massachusetts, and Bigelow's Ninth Massachusetts were on the left of
Ames. Bigelow's was in front of Trostle's house, having complete
command and the full sweep of a beautiful slope beyond the road for
sixty rods.

The slope descends to a wooded ravine through which winds a brook,
gurgling over a rocky bed. Beyond the brook are the stone farm-house
and capacious barn of John Rose, in whose door-yard were the Union
pickets, exchanging a shot now and then with the Rebels of
Longstreet's corps, south of Rose's, who were lying along the
Emmettsburg road.

General Barnes's division of the Third Corps was in the woods south of
the narrow road, and among the rocks in front of Weed's Hill.

Sickles had advanced to the position upon his own judgment of the
fitness of the movement. He believed that it was necessary to hold the
ravine, down to Round-top, to prevent the enemy from passing through
the gap between that eminence and Weed's Hill.

General Meade had called his corps commanders to his head-quarters
for consultation. Sickles did not attend, deeming it of vital
importance to prepare for the advance of the enemy, and his soldiers
were levelling fences and removing obstructions.

A peremptory order reached Sickles requiring his presence. He rode to
the head-quarters of the army, but the conference was over, and he
went back to his command followed by General Meade.

"Are you not too much extended? Can you hold your front?" asked the

"Yes, only I shall want more troops."

"I will send you the Fifth Corps, and you may call on Hancock for

"I shall need more artillery."

"Send for all you want. Call on General Hunt of the Artillery Reserve.
I will direct him to send you all you want."

The pickets were keeping up a lively fire.

"I think that the Rebels will soon make their appearance," said

A moment later and the scattering fire became a volley. General Meade
took another look at the troops in position, and galloped back to his

General Lee, in his report, has given an outline of his intentions, he

     "It had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a
     distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy; but,
     finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal army, it
     became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains
     with our large trains. At the same time the country was
     unfavorable for collecting supplies while in the presence of the
     enemy's main body, as he was enabled to restrain our foraging
     parties by occupying the passes of the mountains with regular and
     local troops. A battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable.
     Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement of the first
     day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from
     the defeat of the army of General Meade, it was thought advisable
     to renew the attack.

     "The remainder of Ewell's and Hill's corps having arrived, and
     two divisions of Longstreet's, our preparations were made
     accordingly. During the afternoon intelligence was received of
     the arrival of General Stuart at Carlisle, and he was ordered to
     march to Gettysburg and take position on the left. A full
     account of these engagements cannot be given until the reports of
     the several commanding officers shall have been received, and I
     shall only offer a general description.

     "The preparations for attack were not completed until the
     afternoon of the 2d.

     "The enemy held a high and commanding ridge, along which he had
     massed a large amount of artillery. General Ewell occupied the
     left of our line, General Hill the centre, and General Longstreet
     the right. In front of General Longstreet the enemy held a
     position from which, if he could be driven, it was thought that
     our army could be used to advantage in assailing the more
     elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to reach the crest of
     the ridge. That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this
     position, while General Ewell attacked directly the high ground
     on the enemy's right, which had already been partially fortified.
     General Hill was instructed to threaten the centre of the Federal
     line, in order to prevent reinforcements being sent to either
     wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present
     itself to attack."

Lee had been all day perfecting his plans. He was riding along his
lines at sunrise, reconnoitring Meade's position. His head-quarters
were near the Theological Seminary, where, at five o'clock in the
morning, Lee, Hill, Longstreet, Hood, and Heth were engaged in
conversation. The conference lasted till seven o'clock, when
Longstreet rode down to his corps to make arrangements for the attack.
Hood had the extreme right, and McLaws stood next in line. Pickett,
commanding his other division, had not arrived. It was to be held in

         [Footnote 47: The accompanying plan of the battle-field
         accurately represents the general positions of the troops
         engaged. On the right of the Union line is the Twelfth Corps;
         then two divisions of the First; then the Eleventh in and
         around the cemetery; then Robinson's division of the First;
         then the Second and the Fifth on the left, occupying Weed's
         Hill. The Third Corps is in the position it occupied at the
         beginning of the battle on the afternoon of the second day.
         It was forced back to Trostle's house. The Sixth Corps is in
         the position it occupied at sunset on the second day. On the
         third day it was in line along Weed's Hill. When Slocum went
         over from the right to aid in repulsing Longstreet on the
         second day, he passed near the two houses standing on the
         Taneytown road. Meade's quarters were in the house over which
         a flag is flying.

         Longstreet is in the position which he occupied at three
         o'clock on the afternoon of the second day, and to which he
         retired after failing to push Sickles beyond Trostle's.

         Pickett commanded a division and not a corps. But as his
         division took the lead in the last attack, on the third day,
         and as his repulse was seemingly the turning-point of the
         Rebellion, especial mention has been made of the part taken
         by the troops under his command. Hill supported him. A
         portion of Hill's troops were with Longstreet in the attack
         of the second day.

         Ewell is in the position he occupied at dark on the second
         day, while two of Slocum's divisions were aiding the left of
         Meade's line.

         Lee's head-quarters were near Smucker's house.

         The fight on the first day began on Willoughby's Run. The
         Union lines on that day extended from the Middletown road
         along the semicircle occupied by the Rebel cannon in the
         diagram, to the railroad east of Blocher's. The map is
         reduced from an accurate survey.

         The best plan of this battle extant is the isometrical
         picture of Gettysburg, by Colonel J. B. Batchelder, who has
         devoted many months to the study of the field. It will ever
         be standard authority for the historian.]

Lee chose, as his first point of attack, the position occupied by
Sickles. The ground by Wentz's house is higher than the ridge, where
Hancock had established his head-quarters. If he could drive Sickles
from the peach-orchard by turning his left flank, and gain Weed's
Hill, Meade would be compelled to retreat, and the nature of the
ground was such in rear of the cemetery that a retreat might be turned
into a complete rout. Meade's position was a very fair one for
defence, but one from which an army could not well retire before a
victorious enemy. The trains in park along Rock Creek would have been
in the way. Baggage trains are exceedingly useful, but there are times
when commanders do not know what to do with them. A battery in the
hands of the enemy, planted on the ridge, or in the cemetery, if those
places had fallen into the hands of the Rebels, would have produced
confusion in Meade's rear among the teamsters, who are not always cool
under fire, especially if they have refractory mules to manage.
General Meade would have chosen a position fifteen or twenty miles in
rear, nearer to his base of supplies, and had he been at Gettysburg on
Wednesday evening, doubtless would have ordered a retreat. The
question, whether to fall back or to hold the position, was seriously
debated. But Howard had made the stand. He believed that the position
could be held, and Lee defeated there. He did not calculate for a
defeat, but for victory. Had Meade fallen back, Lee would have been
wary of moving on. It was not his intention, he says, to fight a
general battle so far from his base. He would have followed
cautiously, if at all. Through the foresight, faith, and courage of
Howard, therefore, Gettysburg has become a turning-point in history.
And yet, not that alone, for the warp and woof of history are made up
of innumerable threads. The Rebels, on that afternoon of Thursday, as
they moved out from the woods into the fields south of the house of
John Rose, had a thorough contempt for the troops in blue, standing
beneath the peach-trees in Sherfy's orchard, and along the road
towards Trostle's. Big Bethel, Bull Run, Richmond, Manassas,
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Cedar Mountain, Harper's Ferry they
remembered as victories; and even Antietam and South Mountain were
called drawn battles by the Rebel commander-in-chief. They had already
achieved one victory on the soil of Pennsylvania. Five thousand
Yankees had been captured. The troops of the Confederacy were
invincible, not only while fighting at their own doors, but as
invaders of the North. Such was the feeling of the soldiers. But the
Rebel officers were not quite so sanguine of success as the men. An
Englishman, who saw the fight from the Rebel side, says:--

     "At 4.30 P. M. (Wednesday) we came in sight of Gettysburg, and
     joined General Lee and General Hill, who were on the top of one
     of the ridges which form the peculiar feature of the country
     round Gettysburg. We could see the enemy retreating up one of the
     opposite ridges, pursued by the Confederates with loud yells.

     "The position into which the enemy had been driven was evidently
     a strong one. General Hill now came up, and told me he had been
     very unwell all day, and in fact he looks very delicate. He said
     he had two of his divisions engaged, and had driven the enemy
     four miles into his present position, capturing a great many
     prisoners, some cannon, and some colors; he said, however, that
     the Yankees had fought with a determination unusual to them. He
     pointed out a railway cutting in which they had made a good
     stand; also a field, in the centre of which he had seen a man
     plant the regimental colors, round which the regiment had fought
     for some time with much obstinacy; and when at last it was
     obliged to retreat, the color-bearer retired last of all, turning
     round every now and then to shake his fist at the advancing
     Rebels. General Hill said he felt quite sorry when he saw this
     gallant Yankee meet his doom.

     "General Ewell had come up at 3.30 on the enemy's right and
     completed his discomfiture.

     "General Reynolds, one of the best Yankee generals, was reported
     killed. Whilst we were talking, a message arrived from General
     Ewell, requesting Hill to press the enemy in front, whilst he
     performed the same operation on his right. The pressure was
     accordingly applied in a mild degree, but the enemy were too
     strongly posted, and it was too late in the evening for a regular

         [Footnote 48: Freemantle.]

[Illustration: Gettysburg battlefield.]

General Hill and General Lee had been observant of the "determination
unusual to the Yankees." The "pressure" brought upon Howard in the
cemetery, at nightfall, was resisted by men who had suffered defeat,
who had left a third of their comrades dead or wounded on the field,
or as prisoners in the hands of the enemy. But the Rebel
rank-and-file, remembering only the victories they had already won,
did not for a moment doubt their ability to win another. They were
flushed with the enthusiasm of repeated successes.

On the other hand, the soldiers of the Union believed, with Howard,
Hancock, Sickles, and other officers, that they could hold the
position against the assaults of Lee. It was not a calculation of
advantages,--of the value of hills, ravines, fields, and meadows,--or
of numbers, but a determination to win the day or to die on the spot.

Such were the feelings of the opposing parties on that sunny
afternoon, as they appeared in line of battle.

The Rebel forces moving to the attack south of Wentz's were wholly
under Longstreet's command. Anderson's division of Hill's corps was
joined to McLaw's and Hood's, to form the attacking column. The
Washington Artillery of New Orleans was in the woods southwest of
Wentz's house. Barksdale's Mississippians were behind artillery. A few
rods west of the same house, on a narrow road leading towards
Hagerstown, is the residence of Mr. Warfield. A third of a mile north
of Wentz's, on the Emmettsburg road, is the house of Philip Snyder.
Between Warfield's and Snyder's, Longstreet planted fifty or sixty
guns to bear on the peach-orchard and the batteries which Sickles had
stationed along the road leading past Trostle's, and upon the woods
east of the house of Mr. Rose.

Longstreet's plan was to attack with all the vigor possible,--to bear
down all opposition in the outset. Commanders frequently begin an
engagement by feeling of the enemy's position,--advancing a few
skirmishers, a regiment, or a brigade; but in this instance Longstreet
advanced all but his reserve.

It was half past three. Riding rapidly to the right to see if there
were signs of activity in that direction, dismounting in rear of the
line, and tying my horse to a tree, I took a look northward. A mile to
the north Rebel officers were in view, galloping furiously over the
fields, disappearing in groves, dashing down the road to the town, and
again returning. There was a battery in position beyond the railroad,
and as I looked narrowly at an opening between two groves, I saw the
glistening of bayonets, and a line as if a column of men were marching
east toward the thick forest on Rock Creek. It was surmised that they
were to attack our right upon Culp's Hill by advancing directly down
Rock Creek through the woods. Prisoners captured said that Ewell had
sworn a terrible oath to turn our flank, if it took his last man. To
guard against such a movement, Slocum was throwing up breastworks from
the crest of the hill down to Rock Creek. Two batteries were placed in
position on hillocks south of the turnpike, to throw shells up the
creek, should such an attempt be made. The Union Cavalry in long lines
was east of the creek, and the Reserve Artillery, in parks, with
horses harnessed, was in the open field south of Slocum's

'As near as I can make out, the Rebels have got a line of batteries in
that piece of woods,' said an officer who had been looking steadily
across the ravine to Blocher's Hill. Laying my glass upon the
breastwork, I could see the guns and the artillerymen beside their
pieces, as if ready to begin the action.

Suddenly there came the roar of a gun from the south. It was
Longstreet's signal. Another, another, and the fire ran from Snyder's
to the Seminary, then round to Blocher's Hill.

I was at the moment near the cemetery. There came a storm of shot and
shell. Marble slabs were broken, iron fences shattered, horses
disembowelled. The air was full of wild, hideous noises,--the low buzz
of round shot, the whizzing of elongated bolts, and the stunning
explosions of shells, overhead and all around.

There was a quick response from the Union batteries. In three minutes
the earth shook with the tremendous concussion of two hundred pieces
of artillery.

The missiles of the Rebels came from the northeast, north, northwest,
west, and southwest. The position occupied by the Vermont nine months'
men was one of great exposure, as the ground in rear of the cemetery
was the centre of a converging fire.

"Lie close," said General Stannard to the men. They obeyed him, but he
walked to the top of the ridge and watched the coming on of the storm
in the southwest.

The Fifth Corps had not moved into position, but was resting after the
sixteen miles' march from Hanover.

The Rebels of Longstreet's command first in sight come out from the
woods behind Warfield's house, a long line in the form of a crescent,
reaching almost to Round-top. Ames's battery was the first to open
upon them. Thompson, Clark, and Phillips began to thunder almost
simultaneously. Bigelow, from his position, could not get a sight at
them till two or three minutes later. The Third Michigan, Second New
Hampshire, and Third Maine were the first regiments engaged. The fire
ran down the line towards Rose's house. The regiments in the woods
along the ravine south of the house,--the Seventeenth Maine, Third
Michigan, and others,--were soon in the fight. A portion of the
Seventeenth Maine had been skirmishing all the morning.

Ward's brigade on the rocky ridge in front of Weed's Hill was assailed
by Hood. How fearful the fight! Sickles's front line, after an
obstinate struggle, was forced back. He was obliged to withdraw his
batteries by Wentz's house. Bigelow retired firing by prolonge, over
the rocky ground. The contest in the peach-orchard and around Rose's
house was exceedingly bloody. Sickles sent his aide for
reinforcements: "I want batteries and men!" said he.

"I want you to hold on where you are until I can get a line of
batteries in rear of you," said Colonel McGilvery, commanding the
artillery of the Third Corps, to Bigelow. "Give them canister!" he
added as he rode away. Bigelow's men never had been under fire, but
they held on till every charge of canister was spent, and then
commenced on spherical case. Bigelow was just west of Trostle's barn.
A Rebel battery hastened up and unlimbered in the field. He opened
with all his guns, and they limbered up again. McGilvery's batteries
were not in position, and the gallant captain and his brave men would
not leave. The Rebels rushed upon the guns, and were blown from the
muzzles. Others came with demoniac yells, climbing upon the limbers
and shooting horses. Sergeant Dodge went down, killed instantly; also
Sergeant Gilson. Lipman, Ferris, and Nutting, three of the cannoneers,
were gone, twenty-two of the men wounded, and Bigelow shot through the
side; also four men missing, yet they held on till McGilvery had his
batteries in position!

It was a heroic resistance. Gun after gun was abandoned to the
advancing Rebels. But the cannoneers were thoughtful to retain the
rammers, and though the Rebels seized the pieces they could not turn
them upon the slowly-retreating handful of men, who with two pieces
still growled defiance. Back to Trostle's door-yard, into the garden,
halting by the barn, delivering a steady fire, they held the enemy at
bay till the batteries of the Fifth Corps, a little east of Trostle's,
and the arrival of reinforcements of infantry, permitted their
withdrawal. More than sixty horses belonging to this one battery were
killed in this brief struggle at the commencement of the battle. With
the seizure of each piece the Rebels cheered, and advanced with
confident expectation of driving Sickles over the ridge.

But new actors came. Barnes's division of the Fifth went down through
Trostle's garden and through the grove south of the house, crossed the
road, and entered the woods. The Rebels were in the ravine by Rose's
house. Winslow's New York battery was in a wheat-field south of
Trostle's, holding them in check, while Hazlitt's battery on Weed's
Hill rained a torrent of shells from its rocky fortress.

Ayer's division of Regulars, which had been lying east of Weed's Hill,
moved upon the double-quick through the woods, up to the summit. The
whole scene was before them: the turmoil and commotion in the woods
below,--Barnes going in and the shattered regiments of the Third Corps
coming out. Some batteries were in retreat and others were taking new
positions. They dashed down the hillside, became a little disorganized
in crossing Plum Run, but formed again and went up the ridge among the
boulders, disappeared in the woods, stayed a few minutes, and then,
like a shattered wreck upon the foaming sea, came drifting to the

After the battle, an officer of the Seventeenth Regulars pointed out
to me the line of advance.

"We went down the hill upon the run," said he. "It was like going down
into hell! The Rebels were yelling like devils. Our men were falling
back. It was terrible confusion: smoke, dust, the rattle of musketry,
the roaring of cannon, the bursting of shells."

The Pennsylvania Reserves, under Crawford, went in. They were fighting
on their own soil. Among them were soldiers whose homes were in

Sickles called upon Hancock for help. Caldwell's division went down,
sweeping past Trostle's into the wheat-field, dashing through Barnes's
men, who were falling back. Regiments from three corps and from eight
or ten brigades were fighting promiscuously. The Rebel lines were also
in confusion,--advancing, retreating, gaining, and losing.

It was like the writhing of two wrestlers. Seventy thousand men were
contending for the mastery on a territory scarcely a mile square! It
has been called the battle of Little Round-top, but most of the
fighting at this point took place between Little Round-top on Weed's
Hill and the house of Mr. Rose. But there was also a contest around
and upon the hill.

The advance of Hood enveloped the Union force below. The men on Hood's
extreme right skirted the base of the hill, clambered over the rocks
by the "Devil's Den,"--a rocky gorge,--and began to pour into the gap
between Weed's and Round-top. Vincent's and Weed's brigades were
holding the hill. The Twentieth Maine, Colonel Chamberlain, was on the
extreme left. The Eighty-Third Pennsylvania, Forty-Fourth New York,
and Sixteenth Michigan were farther north. The Twentieth Maine stood
almost alone. There began to be a dropping of bullets along the line
from the Rebel skirmishers creeping into the gap, and Colonel
Chamberlain saw the enemy moving past his flank. He immediately
extended his own left flank by forming his men in single rank. The
fight was fierce. The Rebels greatly outnumbered Chamberlain, but he
had the advantage of position. He was on the crest of the hill, and at
every lull in the strife his men piled the loose stones into a rude
breastwork. He sent for assistance, but before the arrival of
reinforcements Hood's troops had gained the eastern side of the hill,
and the Twentieth Maine stood in the form of the letter U, with Rebels
in front, on their flank, and in rear.

It was nearly six o'clock. I was at Meade's head-quarters. The roar of
battle was louder and grew nearer. Hill was threatening the centre. A
cloud of dust could be seen down the Baltimore pike. Had Stuart
suddenly gained our rear? There were anxious countenances around the
cottage where the flag of the Commander-in-Chief was flying. Officers
gazed with their field-glasses. "It is not cavalry, but infantry,"
said one. "There is the flag. It is the Sixth Corps."

We could see the advancing bayonets gleaming in the setting sun. Faces
which a moment before were grave became cheerful. It was an inspiring
sight. The troops of that corps had marched thirty-two miles during
the day. They crossed Rock Creek, filed into the field, past the
ammunition train, threw themselves upon the ground, tossed aside their
knapsacks, and wiped the sweat from their sun-burnt cheeks.

"We want reinforcements. They are flanking us," said an officer,
riding up to Meade. Word was sent to Slocum, and Williams's division
of the Twelfth left their breastwork on Culp's Hill, came down upon
the double-quick, leaping the stone walls between Slocum's
head-quarters and the cemetery, and moved into the field west of the
Taneytown road.

Stannard's brigade was attached to the First Corps, commanded by
Doubleday. The Vermont boys had been lying on their faces through
the long, tormenting hours. They were ready for desperate work.
Doubleday dashed down to General Stannard. There is a strong
contrast between these two officers. Doubleday is tall,
broad-shouldered, a little stooping. He was in Sumter with Anderson
when the Rebels fired the first gun at the old flag. He is cool and
courageous. Stannard is short, straight, compactly built. He was a
private citizen at St. Albans, Vermont, when the war began. He is a
thorough citizen-soldier, as undaunted as his superior.

"You are wanted over there. Report to Hancock," said Doubleday.

The men of Vermont sprang to their feet, and went up the ridge toward
the southwest upon the run. At the same time an officer rode down to
the Sixth Corps. I saw the tired and weary men rise from the ground
and fall into line. They also moved off upon the run toward Weed's
Hill, which was all aflame. Hazlitt was firing canister from the top.
Nearly all the Third, Fifth, and Second Corps batteries were at work.
The sun was just setting. Sickles had been forced back from the
peach-orchard, and from Rose's house, but he was still holding
Trostle's. The dark lines of the Sixth Corps became lost to sight, as
they moved into the woods crowning the hill. There were quicker
volleys, a lighting up of the sky by sudden flashes, followed by a
cheer,--not the wild yell peculiar to the Rebels, but a sharp, clear
hurrah, from the men who had held the hill. Longstreet was giving up
the struggle, and his men were falling back. Colonel Randall, with
five companies of the Thirteenth Vermont, led the advance of General
Stannard's column. Hancock had been forced to leave the guns of one of
his batteries on the field near Codori's house.

The Rebel sharpshooters were lying along the Emmettsburg road, pouring
in a deadly fire, under cover of which a large body of Rebels was
advancing to take possession of the pieces.

"Can you retake that battery?" was Hancock's question to Randall.

"We'll do it or die, sir!"

"Then go in."

"Forward!" said Randall, turning in his saddle and waving his sword.
His men gave a cheer, and broke into a run. The Colonel's horse fell,
shot through the shoulder, but the Colonel dashed ahead on foot. They
reached the guns, drew them to the rear. The Rebels came on with a
rush. But help was at hand,--the Fourteenth Maine joined the
Vermonters. Leaving the guns the soldiers faced about, charged upon
the Rebels, captured eighty-three prisoners, and two Rebel cannon, and
then returned! Long and loud were the cheers that greeted them.

"You must be green, or you wouldn't have gone down there," said a
Pennsylvanian, who had been in a dozen battles. The blood of the
Vermont boys was up, and they had not calculated the consequences of
such a movement.

So closed the day on the left. But just as the contest was coming to
an end around Weed's Hill, it suddenly commenced on the north side of
the cemetery. Hayes's brigade of Louisiana Tigers, and Hoke's North
Carolinians, belonging to Early's division of Ewell's corps, had been
creeping across Spangler's farm, up the northern slope of the cemetery
hill. Suddenly, with a shout they sprang upon Barlow's division,
commanded by Amos. It was a short, fierce, but decisive contest. The
attack was sudden, but the men of Ames's command were fully prepared.
There was a struggle over the guns of two Pennsylvania batteries. The
Fifth Maine battery was in an exceedingly favorable position, at an
angle of the earthworks, east of the hill, and cut down the Rebels
with a destructive enfilading fire. The struggle lasted scarcely five
minutes,--the Rebels retreating in confusion to the town.

When Slocum went with Williams to the left there were no indications
of an attack on Culp's Hill, but unexpectedly Ewell made his
appearance in the woods along Rock Creek. General Green, who had been
left in command, extended his line east and made a gallant fight, but
not having men enough to occupy all the ground, Ewell was able to take
possession of the hollow along the Creek. When Williams returned, he
found his entrenchments in possession of the enemy. The men of the
Twelfth threw themselves on the ground in the fields on both sides of
the Baltimore pike, for rest till daybreak.

"We are doing well," was Longstreet's report to Lee at seven o'clock
in the evening, from the left.[49] Ewell himself rode down through the
town, to report his success on the right.

         [Footnote 49: Blackwood's Magazine, September, 1863.]

At a later hour Longstreet reported that he had carried everything
before him for some time, capturing several batteries, and driving the
Yankees; but when Hill's Florida brigade and some other troops gave
way, he was forced to abandon a small portion of the ground he had
won, together with all the captured guns except three.

It was late in the evening when I threw myself upon a pile of straw in
an old farm-house, near the Baltimore pike, for a few hours' rest,
expecting that with the early morning there would be a renewal of the

There was the constant rumble of artillery moving into position, of
ammunition and supply wagons going up to the troops. Lights were
gleaming in the hollows, beneath the shade of oaks and pines, where
the surgeons were at work, and where, through the dreary hours
wailings and moanings rent the air; yet though within musket-shot of
the enemy, and surrounded with dying and dead, I found refreshing


FRIDAY, July 3.

Boom! boom! Two guns, deep and heavy, at four o'clock. It was a sultry
morning. The clouds hung low upon the hills. Two more! and then more
rapidly than the tick of a pendulum came the concussions. There were
flashes from all the hills,--flashes in the woods along Rock Creek.
The cemetery was aflame. The door which had been opened against Slocum
was to be closed, and this was the beginning of the effort.

The cannonade broke the stillness of the morning, and drowned all
other sounds. Riding up the turnpike to the batteries, I had a good
view of the battle-ground. General Sickles was being carried to the
rear on a stretcher. He had suffered amputation. Following him was a
large number of prisoners, taken in the fight upon the left. Some were
haggard and care-worn,--others indifferent, or sulky, and some very
jolly. "I have got into the Union after hard fighting," said one, "and
I intend to stay there."

There were a few musket-shots in the woods upon the hill, from the
pickets in advance. Slocum was preparing to regain what had been lost.
It was seven o'clock before he was ready to move. The men moved
slowly, but determinedly. The Rebels were in the rifle-pits, and
opened a furious fire. A thin veil of smoke rose above the trees, and
floated away before the morning breeze. Rapid the fire of
musketry,--terrific the cannonade. Ewell was determined not to be
driven back. He held on with dogged pertinacity. He had sworn
profanely to hold the position, but in vain his effort. The rifle-pits
were regained, and he was driven, inch by inch, up Rock Creek.

It took four hours to do it, however. Ewell, well knowing the
importance of holding the position, brought in all of his available
force. Johnson's, Rhodes's, and Early's divisions, all were engaged.
To meet these General Shaler's brigade of the Sixth Corps was brought
up to Culp's Hill, while Neil's brigade of the same corps was thrown
in upon Early's flank east of Rock Creek, and the work was
accomplished. The men fought from behind trees and rocks, with great
tenacity. It was the last attempt of Lee upon Meade's right.

Gregg's and Kilpatrick's divisions of cavalry were east of Rock Creek.
An orderly came dashing down the Hanover road.

"Stuart is coming round on our right!" said he. "General Pleasanton
sends his compliments to General Gregg, desiring him to go out
immediately and hold Stuart in check. His compliments also to General
Kilpatrick, desiring him to go down beyond Round-top, and pitch in
with all his might on Longstreet's left."

I was conversing with the two officers at the time.

"Good! come on, boys!" shouted Kilpatrick, rubbing his hands with
pleasure. The notes of the bugle rang loud and clear above the rumble
of the passing army wagons, and Kilpatrick's column swept down the
hill, crossed the creek, and disappeared beyond Round-top. A half-hour
later I saw the smoke of his artillery, and heard the wild shout of
his men as they dashed recklessly upon the Rebel lines. It was the
charge in which General Farnsworth and a score of gallant officers
gave up their lives.

General Gregg's division formed in the fields east of Wolf Hill.
Stuart had already extended his line along the Bonnoughtown road.
There was a brisk cannonade between the light batteries, and Stuart
retired, without attempting to cut out the ammunition trains parked
along the pike.

Through the forenoon it was evident that Lee was preparing for another
attack. He had reconnoitred the ground with Longstreet in the morning,
and decided to assault Meade's line between the cemetery and Weed's
Hill with a strong force. He could form the attacking column out of
sight, in the woods west of Codori's house. In advancing the troops
would be sheltered till they reached the Emmettsburg road. Howard's
guns in the cemetery would trouble them most by enfilading the lines.
Howard must be silenced by a concentrated artillery fire. The cemetery
could be seen from every part of the line occupied by the Rebels, and
all the available batteries were brought into position to play upon
it, and upon the position occupied by the Second Corps.

The arrangements were intrusted to Longstreet. He selected Pickett's,
Pender's, Heth's, and Anderson's divisions. Pickett's were fresh
troops. Heth had been wounded, and Pettigrew was in command of the
division. Wilcox's and Perry's brigades of Anderson's division had the
right of the first Rebel line. Pickett's division occupied the centre
of the first line, followed by Pender's. Heth's division, followed by
Wright's brigade of Anderson's, had the left of the line.

Wilcox and Perry's line of advance was past Klingel's house. Pickett's
right swept across the Emmettsburg road by the house of Peter Rogers;
his left reached to Codori's, where it joined Pettigrew's. Rhodes's
division of Ewell's corps was brought down from the woods by Smucker's
house, and put in position south of the town, to support Pettigrew's
left. The attacking column numbered from twenty to twenty-five
thousand men, but the force in support gave nearly thirty-five
thousand men which Longstreet had in hand.

The movements of the Rebels, as seen from the Union lines, indicated
an attack upon our extreme left. The Fifth, Third, and Sixth Corps
therefore were placed well down toward Round-top.

Commencing at the Taneytown road and walking south, we have the
following disposition of the troops resisting this attack. Robinson's
division of the First Corps, reaching from the road along an oak
grove, past a small house occupied by a colored man. Hays's division
lay behind a stone wall, and a small grove of shrub-oaks. Gibbon had
no protection except a few rails gathered from the fences. There are
three oak-trees which mark the spot occupied by Hall's brigade.
Harrow's was just beyond it, south. In front of Harrow's, six or
eight rods, were three regiments of Stannard's Vermont brigade,--the
Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Sixteenth,--lying in a shallow trench.
Caldwell's division extended from Gibbon's to the narrow road leading
past Trostle's house. The ridge in rear of the troops bristled with
artillery. The infantry line was thin, but the artillery was compact
and powerful.

Longstreet having made his disposition for the attack, and the Rebel
artillery not being ready, threw himself on the ground and went to

         [Footnote 50: Blackwood's Magazine, September,

Lee reconnoitred the position from the cupola of the college, over
which the Confederate hospital-flag was flying,--thus violating what
has been deemed even by half-civilized races a principle of honor.

Visiting General Meade's head-quarters in the house of Mrs. Leister,
in the forenoon, I saw the Commander-in-chief seated at a table with a
map of Gettysburg spread out before him. General Warren, chief
engineer, was by his side. General Williams, his Adjutant-General, who
knew the strength of every regiment, was sitting on the bed, ready to
answer any question. General Hunt, chief of artillery, was lying on
the grass beneath a peach-tree in the yard. General Pleasanton, chief
of the cavalry, neat and trim in dress and person, with a riding-whip
tucked into his cavalry boots, was walking uneasily about. Aids were
coming and going; a signal-officer in the yard was waving his flags in
response to one on Round-top.

"Signal-officer on Round-top reports Rebels moving towards our left,"
said the officer to General Meade.

It was five minutes past one when the signal-gun for the opening of
the battle was given by the Rebels on Seminary Hill. Instantly the
whole line of Rebel batteries, an hundred and fifty guns, joined in
the cannonade. All of the guns northeast, north, and northwest of the
town concentrated their fire upon the cemetery. Those west and
southwest opened on Hancock's position. Solid shot and shells poured
incessantly upon the cemetery and along the ridge. The intention of
Lee was soon understood,--to silence Howard's batteries because they
enfiladed the attacking force ready to move over the fields toward the
centre, our weakest point. If they could give to the living who held
the burial-place a quiet as profound as that of the sleepers beneath
the ground, then they might hope to break through the thin line of men
composing the Second Corps.

But Howard was not a man to be kept quiet at such a time without
especial cause. His horses were knocked to pieces, the tombstones
shivered, iron railings torn, shrubs and trees cut down, here and
there men killed, but his batteries were not silenced.

Mr. Wilkenson of the New York _Tribune_, who was at General Meade's
head-quarters when the fire was severest, thus describes the scene:--

     "In the shadow cast by the tiny farm-house, sixteen by twenty,
     which General Meade had made his head-quarters, lay wearied staff
     officers and tired correspondents. There was not wanting to the
     peacefulness of the scene the singing of a bird, which had a nest
     in a peach-tree within the tiny yard of the whitewashed cottage.
     In the midst of its warbling a shell screamed over the house,
     instantly followed by another, and another, and in a moment the
     air was full of the most complete artillery-prelude to an
     infantry battle that was ever exhibited. Every size and form of
     shell known to British and to American gunnery shrieked, whirled,
     moaned, and whistled, and wrathfully fluttered over our ground.
     As many as six in a second, constantly two in a second, bursting
     and screaming over and around the head-quarters, made a very hell
     of fire that amazed the oldest officers. They burst in the
     yard,--burst next to the fence on both sides, garnished as usual
     with the hitched horses of aides and orderlies. The fastened
     animals reared and plunged with terror. Then one fell, then
     another,--sixteen lay dead and mangled before the fire ceased,
     still fastened by their halters, which gave the expression of
     being wickedly tied up to die painfully. These brute victims of a
     cruel war touched all hearts. Through the midst of the storm of
     screaming and exploding shells an ambulance, driven by its
     frenzied conductor at full speed, presented to all of us the
     marvellous spectacle of a horse going rapidly on three legs. A
     hinder one had been shot off at the hock. A shell tore up the
     little step at the head-quarters cottage, and ripped bags of oats
     as with a knife. Another soon carried off one of its two pillars.
     Soon a spherical case burst opposite the open door,--another
     ripped through the low garret. The remaining pillar went almost
     immediately to the howl of a fixed shot that Whitworth must have
     made. During this fire, the horses at twenty and thirty feet
     distant were receiving their death, and soldiers in Federal blue
     were torn to pieces in the road, and died with the peculiar yells
     that blend the extorted cry of pain with horror and despair. Not
     an orderly, not an ambulance, not a straggler was to be seen upon
     the plain swept by this tempest of orchestral death, thirty
     minutes after it commenced. Were not one hundred and twenty
     pieces of artillery trying to cut from the field every battery we
     had in position to resist their purposed infantry attack, and to
     sweep away the slight defences behind which our infantry were
     waiting? Forty minutes,--fifty minutes,--counted watches that
     ran, O so languidly! Shells through the two lower rooms. A shell
     into the chimney, that daringly did not explode. Shells in the
     yard. The air thicker, and fuller, and more deafening with the
     howling and whirring of these infernal missiles. The Chief of
     Staff struck,--Seth Williams,--loved and respected through the
     army, separated from instant death by two inches of space
     vertically measured. An aide bored with a fragment of iron
     through the bone of the arm. And the time measured on the
     sluggish watches was one hour and forty minutes."

A soldier was lying on the ground a few rods distant from where I was
sitting. There was a shriek, such as I hope never again to hear, and
his body was whirling in the air, a mangled mass of flesh, blood, and

A shell exploding in the cemetery, killed and wounded twenty-seven men
in one regiment![51] and yet the troops, lying under the
fences,--stimulated and encouraged by General Howard, who walked
coolly along the line,--kept their places and awaited the attack.

         [Footnote 51: General Howard's Report.]

It was half past two o'clock.

"We will let them think that they have silenced us," said General
Howard to Major Osborne. The artillerists threw themselves upon the
ground beside their pieces.

Suddenly there was a shout,--"Here they come!"

Every man was on the alert. The cannoneers sprang to their feet. The
long lines emerged from the woods, and moved rapidly but steadily over
the fields, towards the Emmettsburg road.

Howard's batteries burst into flame, throwing shells with the utmost
rapidity. There are gaps in the Rebel ranks, but onward still they
come. They reach the Emmettsburg road. Pickett's division appears by
Klingel's house. All of Howard's guns are at work now. Pickett turns
to the right, moving north, driven in part by the fire rolling in upon
his flank from Weed's Hill, and from the Third, Fifth, and Sixth Corps
batteries. Suddenly he faces east, descends the gentle slope from the
road behind Codori's, crosses the meadow, comes in reach of the
muskets of the Vermonters. The three regiments rise from their shallow
trench. The men beneath the oak-trees leap from their low breastwork
of rails. There is a ripple, a roll, a deafening roar. Yet the
momentum of the Rebel column carries it on. It is becoming thinner and
weaker, but they still advance.

The Second Corps is like a thin blue ribbon. Will it withstand the
shock? "Give them canister! Pour it into them!" shouts Major Charles
Howard, running from battery to battery. The Rebel line is almost up
to the grove in front of Robinson's. It has reached the clump of
shrub-oaks. It has drifted past the Vermont boys. Onward still. "Break
their third line! Smash their supports!" cries General Howard, and
Osborne and Wainwright send the fire of fifty guns into the column,
each piece fired three times a minute! The cemetery is lost to
view,--covered with sulphurous clouds, flaming and smoking and
thundering like Sinai on the great day of the Lord! The front line of
Rebels is melting away,--the second is advancing to take its place;
but beyond the first and second is the third, which reels, breaks, and
flies to the woods from whence it came, unable to withstand the storm.

Hancock is wounded, and Gibbon is in command of the Second Corps.
"Hold your fire, boys; they are not near enough yet," says Gibbon, as
Pickett comes on. The first volley staggers, but does not stop them.
They move upon the run,--up to the breastwork of rails,--bearing
Hancock's line to the top of the ridge,--so powerful their momentum.

Men fire into each other's faces, not five feet apart. There are
bayonet-thrusts, sabre-strokes, pistol-shots; cool, deliberate
movements on the part of some,--hot, passionate, desperate efforts
with others; hand-to-hand contests; recklessness of life; tenacity of
purpose; fiery determination; oaths, yells, curses, hurrahs,
shoutings; men going down on their hands and knees, spinning round
like tops, throwing out their arms, gulping up blood, falling;
legless, armless, headless. There are ghastly heaps of dead men.
Seconds are centuries; minutes, ages; but the thin line does not

The Rebels have swept past the Vermont regiments. "Take them in
flank," says General Stannard.

The Thirteenth and Sixteenth swing out from the trench, turn a right
angle to the main line, and face the north. They move forward a few
steps, pour a deadly volley into the backs of Kemper's troops. With a
hurrah they rush on, to drive home the bayonet. The Fifteenth,
Nineteenth, Twentieth Massachusetts, and Seventh Michigan, Twentieth
New York, Nineteenth Maine, One Hundred Fifty-First Pennsylvania, and
other regiments catch the enthusiasm of the moment, and close upon the

The Rebel column has lost its power. The lines waver. The soldiers of
the front rank look round for their supports. They are gone,--fleeing
over the field, broken, shattered, thrown into confusion by the
remorseless fire from the cemetery and from the cannon on the ridge.
The lines have disappeared like a straw in a candle's flame. The
ground is thick with dead, and the wounded are like the withered
leaves of autumn. Thousands of Rebels throw down their arms and give
themselves up as prisoners.

How inspiring the moment! How thrilling the hour! It is the high-water
mark of the Rebellion,--a turning-point of history and of human

Treason had wielded its mightiest blow. From that time the Rebellion
began to wane. An account of the battle, written on the following day,
and published on the 6th of July in the Boston _Journal_, contains the
following passage:--

     "The invasion of the North was over,--the power of the Southern
     Confederacy broken. There at that sunset hour I could discern the
     future; no longer an overcast sky, but the clear, unclouded
     starlight,--a country redeemed, saved, baptized, consecrated anew
     to the coming ages.

     "All honor to the heroic living, all glory to the gallant dead!
     They have not fought in vain, they have not died for naught. No
     man liveth to himself alone. Not for themselves, but for their
     children; for those who may never hear of them in their
     nameless graves, how they yielded life; for the future; for all
     that is good, pure, holy, just, true; for humanity,
     righteousness, peace; for Paradise on earth; for Christ and for
     God, they have given themselves a willing sacrifice. Blessed be
     their memory forevermore!"

[Illustration: "With a hurrah they rush on!"]

I rode along the lines, and beheld the field by the light of the
gleaming stars. The dead were everywhere thickly strown. How changed
the cemetery! Three days before, its gravelled walks were smooth and
clean; flowers were in bloom; birds carolled their songs amid the
trees; the monuments were undefaced; the marble slabs pure and white.
Now there were broken wheels and splintered caissons; dead horses,
shot in the neck, in the head, through the body, disembowelled by
exploding shells, legs broken, flesh mangled and torn; pools of blood,
scarlet stains on the headstones, green grass changed to crimson;
marble slabs shivered; the ground ploughed by solid shot, holes blown
out by bursting shells; dead men lying where they had fallen, wounded
men creeping to the rear; cries and groans all around me! Fifty shells
a minute had fallen upon that small enclosure. Not for a moment was
there thought of abandoning the position. How those batteries of
Osborne and Wainwright, of the Eleventh and First Corps, had lightened
and thundered! There were scores of dead by the small house where the
left of the Rebel line advanced, lying just as they were smitten down,
as if a thunderbolt had fallen upon the once living mass!

An English officer, who saw the battle from the Rebel lines, thus says
of the repulse:--

     "I soon began to meet many wounded men returning from the front;
     many of them asked in piteous tones the way to a doctor, or an
     ambulance. The further I got the greater became the number of the
     wounded. At last I came to a perfect stream of them flocking
     through the woods in numbers as great as the crowd in Oxford
     Street in the middle of the day.... They were still under a heavy
     fire; the shells were continually bringing down great limbs of
     trees, and carrying further destruction amongst their melancholy
     procession. I saw all this in much less time than it takes to
     write it, and although astonished to meet such a vast number of
     wounded, I had not seen enough to give me an idea of the real
     extent of the mischief.

     "When I got close up to General Longstreet, I saw one of his
     regiments advancing through the woods in good order; so, thinking
     I was just in time to see the attack, I remarked to the General
     that 'I wouldn't have missed this for anything.' Longstreet was
     seated on the top of a snake-fence, in the edge of the wood, and
     looking perfectly calm and unperturbed. He replied, 'The devil
     you wouldn't! I would like to have missed it very much; we've
     attacked and been repulsed. Look there!'

     "For the first time I then had a view of the open space between
     the two positions, and saw it covered with Confederates slowly
     and sulkily returning towards us in small broken parties....

     "I remember seeing a general (Pettigrew I think it was) come up
     to him and report that he was unable to bring his men up again.
     Longstreet turned upon him and replied with some sarcasm: 'Very
     well,--never mind, then, General; just let them remain where they
     are. The enemy is going to advance, and will spare you the
     trouble.' ...

     "Soon afterward I joined General Lee, who had in the mean while
     come to the front, on becoming aware of the disaster. He was
     engaged in rallying and in encouraging the troops, and was riding
     about a little in front of the woods quite alone, the whole of
     his staff being engaged in a similar manner further to the rear.
     His face, which is always placid and cheerful, did not show signs
     of the slightest disappointment, care, or annoyance; and he was
     addressing to every soldier he met a few words of encouragement,
     such as, 'All this will come right in the end; we will talk it
     over afterwards,--but in the mean time all good men must rally.
     We want all good men and true men just now,' &c.... He said to
     me,'This has been a sad day for us, Colonel,--a sad day; but we
     can't expect always to gain victories.' ... I saw General Wilcox
     (an officer who wears a short round jacket and a battered straw
     hat) come up to him, and explain, almost crying, the state of his
     brigade. General Lee immediately shook hands with him, and said,
     cheerfully, 'Never mind, General. All this has been my fault,--it
     is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it in
     the best way you can.'"[52]

         [Footnote 52: Blackwood's Magazine, September,
         1863.--Lieutenant-Colonel Freemantle.]

It was past eleven o'clock in the evening when I rode up from the
gory field, over the ridge, where the Second Corps had stood like a
wall of adamant. Meade's head-quarters were in a grove, east of the
small house where he established himself at the beginning of the
battle. The fire had been too hot at Mrs. Leister's. Meade was
sitting on a great flat boulder, listening to the reports of his
officers, brought in by couriers. It was a scene which lives in
memory: a dark forest,--the evening breeze gently rustling the green
leaves over our heads,--the katydids and locusts singing
cheerily,--the bivouac fires glimmering on the ground, revealing the
surrounding objects,--the gnarled trees, torn by cannon-shot,--the
mossy stones,--the group of officers,--Williams, Warren, Howard (his
right sleeve wanting an arm), Pleasanton, as trim as in the morning;
Meade stooping, weary, his slouched hat laid aside, so that the
breeze might fan his brow.

"Bully! bully! bully all round!" said he; and then turning to his
chief of staff, Humphrey, said, "Order up rations and ammunition."

To General Hunt, chief of artillery, "Have your limbers filled. Lee
may be up to something in the morning, and we must be ready for him."

A band came up and played "Hail to the Chief!" the "Star-spangled
Banner," and "Yankee Doodle." Soul-stirring the strains. The soldiers,
lying on their arms, where they had fought, heard it, and responded
with a cheer. Not all: for thousands were deaf and inanimate evermore.

No accurate statement of the number engaged in this great, decisive
battle of the war can ever be given. Meade's march to Gettysburg was
made with great rapidity. The Provost Marshal of the army, General
Patrick, committed the great error of having no rear guard to bring up
the stragglers, which were left behind in thousands, and who found it
much more convenient to live on the excellent fare furnished by the
farmers than to face the enemy. Meade's entire force on the field
numbered probably from sixty to seventy thousand. The Rebel army had
made slower marches, and the soldiers could not straggle; they were in
an enemy's country. Lee, therefore, had fuller ranks than Meade. His
force may be estimated at ninety thousand men.

The people of the North expressed their gratitude to the heroes who
had won this battle, by pouring out their contributions for the relief
of the wounded. The agents of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions
were quickly on the ground, and hundreds of warm-hearted men and
women hastened to the spot to render aid. The morning after the battle
I saw a stout Pennsylvania farmer driving his two-horse farm wagon up
the Baltimore pike, loaded down with loaves of soft bread which his
wife and daughters had baked.

Tender and affecting are some of the incidents of the battle-field. A
delegate of the Christian Commission passing among the wounded, came
to an officer from South Carolina.

"Can I do anything for you?" he asked.

"No!" was the surly reply.

He passed on, but upon his return repeated the question, and received
the same answer. The day was hot, the air offensive, from putrefying
wounds, and the delegate was putting cologne on the handkerchiefs of
the patients.

"Colonel, let me put some of this on your handkerchief."

The wounded man burst into tears. "I have no handkerchief."

"Well, you shall have one"; and wetting his own gave it to him.

"I can't understand you Yankees," said the Colonel. "You fight us like
devils, and then you treat us like angels. I am sorry I entered this

         [Footnote 53: Address before Alumni of Williams College,
         1865. Charles Demond.]

Said another Rebel,--an Irishman,--to a chaplain who took care of him,
"May every hair of your head be a wax-taper to light you on your way
to glory!"[54]

         [Footnote 54: Ibid.]

A chaplain passing through the hospital, came to a cot where lay a
young wounded soldier who had fought for the Union.

"Poor fellow!" said the chaplain.

"Don't call me 'poor fellow!'" was the indignant reply.

"Dear fellow, then. Have you written to your mother since the battle?"

"No, sir!"

"You ought to. Here it is the tenth,--a whole week since the battle.
She will be anxious to hear from you."

The lad with his left hand threw aside the sheet which covered him,
and the chaplain saw that his right arm was off near the shoulder.

"That is the reason, sir, that I have not written. I have not
forgotten her, sir. I have prayed for her, and I thank God for giving
me so dear a mother."

Then turning aside the sheet farther, the chaplain saw that his left
leg was gone. Sitting down beside the young hero the chaplain wrote as
he dictated.

"Tell mother that I have given my right arm and my left leg to my
country, and that I am ready to give both of my other limbs!" said

         [Footnote 55: Rev. Mr. Auley, meeting Christian Association,

The courage and patriotism of Spartan mothers is immortalized in story
and song. "Return with your shield, or upon it," has been held up for
admiration through three thousand years. The Greek fire is not
extinguished; it burns to-day as bright and pure as ever at Salamis or

Riding in the cars through the State of New York after the battle of
Gettysburg, I fell in conversation with a middle-aged woman who had
two sons in the army.

"Have they been in battle?" I asked.

"Yes, sir; one has been in fifteen battles. He was taken prisoner at
Chancellorsville and was wounded at Gettysburg. The other is in the
Medical Department."

"The one who was wounded at Gettysburg must have seen some hard

"Yes, sir; and I hear a good account of him from his captain. He says
my son behaves well. _I told him, when he went away, that I would
rather hear he was dead than that he had disgraced himself._"

"His time must be nearly out."

"Yes, sir, it is; but he is going to see it through, and has
re-enlisted. I should like to have him at home, but I know he would be
uneasy. His comrades have re-enlisted, and he is not the boy to back
out. I rather want him to help give the crushing blow."

There were thousands of such mothers in the land.

Lee retreated the morning after the battle. His reasons for a
retrograde movement are thus stated by himself:--

     "Owing to the strength of the enemy's position and the reduction
     of our ammunition, a renewal of the engagement could not be
     hazarded. and the difficulty of procuring supplies rendered it
     impossible to continue longer where we were. Such of the wounded
     as were in condition to be removed, and part of the arms
     collected on the field, were ordered to Williamsport. The army
     remained at Gettysburg during the 4th, and at night began to
     retire by the road to Fairfield, carrying with it about four
     thousand prisoners. Nearly two thousand had previously been
     paroled, but the enemy's numerous wounded, that had fallen into
     our hands after the first and second day's engagements, were left

         [Footnote 56: Lee's Report.]

Meade made no attempt to follow him with his main army, but marched
directly down the Emmettsburg road, once more to Frederick, then west
over South Mountain to intercept him on the Potomac. Meade had the
inside of the chess-board. He was a victor. The men who had made a
forced march to Gettysburg were awake to the exigency of the hour, and
made a quick march back to Frederick, and over the mountains to
Boonsboro'. A severe storm set in, and the roads were almost
impassable, but the men toiled on through the mire, lifting the
cannon-wheels from the deep ruts, when the horses were unable to drag
the ordnance, singing songs as they marched foot-sore and weary, but
buoyant over the great victory.

And now, as the intelligence came that Grant had taken Vicksburg, that
Banks was in possession of Port Hudson, and that the Mississippi was
flowing "unvexed to the sea," they forgot all their toils, hardships,
and sufferings, and made the air ring with their lusty cheers. They
could see the dawn of peace,--peace won by the sword. The women of
Maryland hailed them as their deliverers, brought out the best stores
from their pantries and gave freely, refusing compensation.

Meade left all his superfluous baggage behind, and moved in light
marching order. Lee was encumbered by his wounded, and by his trains,
and when he reached Hagerstown found that Meade was descending the
mountain side, and that Gregg was already in Boonsboro'.

Reinforcements were sent to Meade from Washington, with the
expectation that by concentration of all available forces, Lee's army
might be wholly destroyed. The elements, which had often retarded
operations of the Union troops,--which had rendered Burnside's and
Hooker's movements abortive in several instances, now were propitious.
The Potomac was rising, and the rain was still falling. On the morning
of the 13th I rode to General Meade's head-quarters. General Seth
Williams, the ever-courteous Adjutant-General of the army, was in
General Meade's tent. He said that Meade was taking a look at the

"Do you think that Lee can get across the Potomac?" I asked.

"Impossible! The people resident here say that it cannot be forded at
this stage of the water. He has no pontoons. We have got him in a
tight place. We shall have reinforcements to-morrow, and a great
battle will be fought. Lee is encumbered with his teams, and he is
short of ammunition."

General Meade came in dripping with rain, from a reconnoissance. His
countenance was unusually animated. He had ever been courteous to me,
and while usually very reticent of all his intentions or of what was
going on, as an officer should be, yet in this instance he broke over
his habitual silence, and said, "We shall have a great battle
to-morrow. The reinforcements are coming up, and as soon as they come
we shall pitch in."

I rode along the lines with Howard in the afternoon. The Rebels were
in sight. The pickets were firing at each other. There was some
movement of columns.

"I fear that Lee is getting away," said Howard.

He sent an aide to Meade, with a request that he might attack.

"I can double them up," he said, meaning that, as he was on Lee's
flank, he could strike an effective blow.

Kilpatrick was beyond Howard, well up towards Williamsport. "Lee is
getting across the river, I think," said through a messenger.

It was nearly night. The attack was to be made early in the morning.

The morning dawned and Lee was south of the Potomac. That officer

     "The army, after an arduous march, rendered more difficult by the
     rains, reached Hagerstown on the afternoon of the 6th and morning
     of the 7th July.

     "The Potomac was found to be so much swollen by the rains that
     had fallen almost incessantly since our entrance into Maryland,
     as to be unfordable. Our communications with the south side were
     thus interrupted, and it was difficult to procure either
     ammunition or subsistence, the latter difficulty being enhanced
     by the high waters impeding the working of the neighboring mills.
     The trains with the wounded and prisoners were compelled to await
     at Williamsport the subsiding of the river and the construction
     of boats, as the pontoon bridge, left at Falling Waters, had been
     partially destroyed. The enemy had not yet made his appearance;
     but, as he was in condition to obtain large reinforcements, and
     our situation, for the reasons above mentioned, was becoming
     daily more embarrassing, it was deemed advisable to recross the
     river. Part of the pontoon bridge was recovered, and new boats
     built, so that by the 13th a good bridge was thrown over the
     river at Falling Waters.

     "The enemy in force reached our front on the 12th. A position had
     been previously selected to cover the Potomac from Williamsport
     to Falling Waters, and an attack was awaited during that and the
     succeeding day. This did not take place, though the two armies
     were in close proximity, the enemy being occupied in fortifying
     his own lines. Our preparations being completed, and the river,
     though still deep, being pronounced fordable, the army commenced
     to withdraw to the south side on the night of the 13th.

     "Ewell's corps forded the river at Williamsport, those of
     Longstreet and Hill crossed upon the bridge. Owing to the
     condition of the roads, the troops did not reach the bridge until
     after daylight of the 14th, and the crossing was not completed
     until 1 P. M., when the bridge was removed. The enemy offered no
     serious interruption, and the movement was attended with no loss
     of material except a few disabled wagons and two pieces of
     artillery, which the horses were unable to move through the deep
     mud. Before fresh horses could be sent back for them, the rear of
     the column had passed."[57]

         [Footnote 57: Lee's Report.]

Kilpatrick was astir at daybreak; he moved into Williamsport. I
accompanied his column. The Rebels were on the Virginia hills,
jubilant at their escape. There were wagons in the river, floating
down with the current, which had been capsized in the crossing.
Kilpatrick pushed on to Falling Waters, fell upon Pettigrew's brigade,
guarding the pontoons, captured two cannon and eight hundred men, in
one of the most daring dashes of the war. It was poor satisfaction,
however, when contrasted with what might have been done. The army was
chagrined. Loud were the denunciations of Meade.

"Another campaign on the Rappahannock, boys," said one officer in my

"We shall be in our old quarters in a few days," said another.

General Meade has been severely censured for not attacking on the
13th. Lee had lost thirty thousand men. He had suffered a crushing
defeat at Gettysburg. Enthusiasm had died out. His soldiers were less
confident than they had been. His ammunition was nearly exhausted. He
was in a critical situation.

Those were reasons why he should be attacked; but there were also
reasons, which to Meade were conclusive, that the attack should not be
made till the 14th: the swollen river,--the belief that Lee had no
means of crossing the Potomac,--and the expected reinforcements. The
delay was not from lack of spirit or over caution; but with the
expectation of striking a blow which would destroy the Rebel army.

Lee went up the valley, while Meade pushed rapidly down the base of
the Blue Ridge to Culpepper. But he was not in condition to take the
offensive, so far from his base; and the two armies sat down upon the
banks of the Rapidan, to rest after the bloody campaign.

[Illustration: Regiment at dinner.]



[Sidenote: May, 1864.]

There are few months in the calendar of centuries that will have a
more conspicuous place in history than the month of May, 1864. It will
be remembered on account of the momentous events which took place in
one of the greatest military campaigns of history. We are amazed, not
by its magnitude merely, for there have been larger armies, heavier
trains of artillery, greater preparations, in European warfare,--but
by a succession of events unparalleled for rapidity. We cannot fully
comprehend the amount of endurance, the persistency, the hard
marching, the harder fighting, the unwearied, cheerful energy and
effort which carried the Army of the Potomac from the Rappahannock to
the James in forty days, against the stubborn opposition of an army of
almost equal numbers. There was not a day of rest,--scarcely an hour
of quiet. Morning, noon, and midnight, the booming of cannon and the
rattling of musketry echoed unceasingly through the Wilderness, around
the hillocks of Spottsylvania, along the banks of the North Anna, and
among the groves of Bethesda Church and Cold Harbor.

There were individual acts of valor, as heroic and soul-stirring as
those of the old Cavaliers renowned in story and song, where all the
energies of life were centred in one moment. There was the spirited
advance of regiments, the onset of brigades, and the resistless
charges of divisions,--scenes which stir the blood and fire the soul;
the hardihood, the endurance, the cool, collected, reserved force,
abiding the time, the calm facing of death; the swift advance, the
rush, the plunge into the thickest of the fight, where hundreds of
cannon, where fifty thousand muskets, filled the air with iron hail
and leaden rain.

The army wintered between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan. There had
been a reduction and reconstruction of its corps,--an incorporation
of the First and Third with the Fifth and Sixth, with reinforcements
added to the Second. The Second was commanded by Major-General
Hancock, the Fifth by Major-General Warren, the Sixth by Major-General

These three corps, with three divisions of cavalry commanded by
General Sheridan, composed the Army of the Potomac, commanded by
Major-General Meade. The Ninth Corps, commanded by Major-General
Burnside, was added when the army took up its line of march.

Lee was behind Mine Run, with his head-quarters at Orange Court-House,
covering the advance to Richmond from that direction.

There was concentration everywhere. General Gillmore, with what troops
could be spared from the Department of the South, joined his forces to
those on the Peninsula and at Suffolk under General Butler; Sigel
commanded several thousand in the Shenandoah; Crook and Averell had a
small army in Western Virginia; at Chattanooga, under Sherman and
Thomas, was gathered a large army of Western troops; while Banks was
up the Red River, moving towards Shreveport.

The _dramatis personæ_ were known to the public, but the part assigned
to each was kept profoundly secret. There was discussion and
speculation whether Burnside, from his encampment at Annapolis, would
suddenly take transports and go to Wilmington, or up the Rappahannock,
or the James, or the York. Would Meade move directly across the
Rapidan and attack Lee in front, with every passage, every hill and
ravine enfiladed by Rebel cannon? Or would he move his right flank
along the Blue Ridge, crowding Lee to the seaboard? Would he not make,
rather, a sudden change of base to Fredericksburg? None of the wise
men, military or civil, in their speculations, indicated the line
which General Grant adopted. The public accepted the disaster at
Chancellorsville and the failure at Mine Run as conclusive evidence
that a successful advance across the Rapidan by the middle fords was
impossible, or at least improbable. So well was the secret kept, that,
aside from the corps commanders, none in or out of the army, except
the President and Secretary of War, had information of the line of
march intended.

General Grant had a grand plan,--not merely for the Army of the
Potomac, but for all of the armies in the Union service.

Banks was to take Shreveport, then sail rapidly down the Mississippi
and move upon Mobile, accompanied by the naval force under Farragut.
Sherman was to push Johnston from his position near Chattanooga. If
Banks succeeded at Mobile, he was to move up to Montgomery and
co-operate with Sherman. Such a movement would compel the Rebel
General Johnston to retire from Atlanta. It would sever Alabama and
Mississippi from the other States of the Confederacy.

Butler was to move up the James and seize Richmond, or cut the
railroads south of the Appomattox. Sigel was to pass up the
Shenandoah, while the troops in Western Virginia were to sever the
railroad leading to East Tennessee.

The Army of the Potomac was to move upon Richmond,--or rather upon
Lee's army. The policy of General Grant--the idea upon which he opened
and conducted the campaign--must be fully comprehended before the
events can be clearly understood.

That idea is thus expressed in General Grant's official report:--

     "From an early period in the Rebellion I had been impressed with
     the idea that active and continuous operations of all the troops
     that could be brought into the field, regardless of season and
     weather, were necessary to a speedy termination of the war. The
     resources of the enemy, and his numerical strength, were far
     inferior to ours; but as an offset to this, we had a vast
     territory, with a population hostile to the government, to
     garrison, and long lines of river and railroad communications to
     protect, to enable us to supply the operating armies.

     "The armies in the East and West acted independently and without
     concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together,
     enabling the enemy to use to great advantage his interior lines
     of communication for transporting troops from east to west,
     reinforcing the army most vigorously pressed, and to furlough
     large numbers during seasons of inactivity on our part, to go to
     their homes, and do the work of producing for the support of
     their armies. It was a question whether our numerical strength
     and resources were not more than balanced by these disadvantages
     and the enemy's superior position.

     "From the first, I was firm in the conviction that no peace could
     be had that would be stable and conducive to the happiness of the
     people, both North and South, until the military power of the
     rebellion was entirely broken.

     "I therefore determined, first, to use the greatest number of
     troops practicable against the armed force of the enemy;
     preventing him from using the same force at different seasons
     against first one and then another of our armies, and the
     possibility of repose for refitting and producing necessary
     supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to hammer
     continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his
     resources, until, by mere attrition, if in no other way, there
     should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the
     loyal section of our common country, to the Constitution and laws
     of the land."

The Army of the Potomac had no easy task to perform. Lee had the
advantage of position. The Rapidan was his line. He had improved his
old earthworks and thrown up new ones. His cannon covered the fords.
His army was as large as when he invaded Pennsylvania. Grant must
cross the Rapidan at some point. To attempt and fail would be
disastrous. It was easy to say, Push on! but it was far different to
meet the storm of leaden hail,--far different to see a line waver,
break, and scatter to the rear, with utter loss of heart. Those were
contingencies and possibilities to be taken into account.

It was no light affair to supply an army of one hundred and fifty
thousand men, over a single line of railway,--to accumulate supplies
in advance of the movement,--to cut loose from his base of operations,
and open a new base as occasion should call. Every mile of advance
increased Grant's difficulty, while every mile of retrograde movement
carried Lee nearer to his base of operations.

All the speculations in regard to Burnside's destination fell to the
ground when, on the 25th of April, the Ninth Corps passed through
Washington, and moved into Virginia. It was a sublime spectacle. The
Ninth Corps achieved almost the first successes of the war in North
Carolina. It had hastened to the Potomac in time to aid in rescuing
the capital when Lee made his first Northern invasion. It won glory at
South Mountain, and made the narrow bridge of Antietam forever
historic. It had readied Kentucky in season to aid in driving the
Rebels from that State, and now, with recruited ranks,--with new
regiments of as good blood as ever was poured out in the cause of
right, with a new element which was to make for itself a name never
again to be despised, the corps was marching through the capital of
the nation, passing in review before Abraham Lincoln. The corps
marched down Fourteenth Street past Willard's Hotel, where upon the
balcony stood the President and General Burnside. Behold the scene!
Platoons, companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions.
The men are bronzed by the rays of a Southern sun, and by the March
winds. The bright sunshine gleams from their bayonets; above them wave
their standards, tattered by the winds, torn by cannon-ball and
rifle-shot,--stained with the blood of dying heroes. They are
priceless treasures, more beloved than houses, land, riches, honor,
ease, comfort, wife or children. Ask them what is most dear of all
earthly things, there will be but one answer,--"The flag! the dear old
flag!" It is their pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day,--the
symbol of everything worth living for, worth dying for!

Their banners bear the names of Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, Roanoke,
Newburn, Gains's Mills, Mechanicsville, Seven Pines, Savage Station,
Glendale, Malvern, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, South
Mountain, Knoxville, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Gettysburg, inscribed in
golden characters.

The people of Washington have turned out to see them. Senators have
left their Chamber, and the House of Representatives has taken a
recess to gaze upon the defenders of their country, as they pass
through the city,--many of them, alas! never to return.

There is the steady tramping of the thousands,--the deep, heavy jar of
the gun-carriages,--the clattering of hoofs, the clanking of sabres,
the drum-beat, the bugle-call, and the music of the bands. Pavement,
sidewalk, windows, and roofs are occupied by the people. A division of
veterans pass, saluting the President and their commander with cheers.
And now with full ranks, platoons extending from sidewalk to sidewalk,
are brigades which never have been in battle, for the first time
shouldering arms for their country; who till a year ago never had a
country, who even now are not American citizens, who are
disfranchised,--yet they are going out to fight for the flag! Their
country was given them by the tall, pale, benevolent-hearted man
standing upon the balcony. For the first time they behold their
benefactor. They are darker hued than their veteran comrades; but they
can cheer as lustily, "Hurrah! Hurrah!" "Hurrah for Massa Linkum!"
"Three cheers for the President!" They swing their caps, clap their
hands, and shout their joy. Long, loud, and jubilant are the
rejoicings of those redeemed sons of Africa. Regiment after regiment
of stalwart men,--slaves once, but freemen now,--with steady step and
even rank, pass down the street, moving on to the Old Dominion.

It was the first review of colored troops by the President. He gave
them freedom, he recognized them as soldiers. Their brethren in arms
of the same complexion had been murdered in cold blood, after
surrender, at Port Pillow and at Plymouth. And such would be their
fate should they by chance become prisoners of war.

The time had come for the great movement.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 3d, the cavalry broke camp on the Orange and
Alexandria Railroad, and moved eastward,--General Gregg's division
towards Ely's Ford, and General Wilson's division towards Germanna
Ford, each having pontoons. At midnight the Second Corps, which had
been encamped east of Culpepper, followed General Gregg. At daylight
on the morning of the 4th of May, the Fifth and Sixth Corps and the
reserve artillery were moving towards Germanna Ford. The
supply-train--four thousand wagons--followed the Second Corps. There
were but these two available roads.

The enemy was at Orange Court-House, watching, from his elevated
lookout on Clark's Mountain, for the first sign of change in the Union
camp. In the light of the early dawn he saw that the encampments at
Culpepper were broken up, while the dust-cloud hanging over the forest
toward the east was the sure indication of the movement.

General Lee put his army in instant motion to strike the advancing
columns as they crossed the Rapidan. The movement of Grant was
southeast, that of Lee northeast,--lines of advance which must produce
collision, unless Grant was far enough forward to slip by the angle.
There is reason to believe that General Grant did not intend to fight
Lee at Wilderness, but that it was his design to slip past that point
and swing round by Spottsylvania, and, if possible, get between Lee
and Richmond. He boldly cut loose his connection with Washington, and
plunged into the Wilderness, relying upon the ability of his soldiers
to open a new base for supplies whenever needed.

In this first day's movement he did not uncover Washington. Burnside
was still lying on the north bank of the Rappahannock. It was
understood in the army that the Ninth Corps was to be a reserve to
protect the capital. So, perhaps, Lee understood it. But at nightfall,
on the 4th, the shelter-tents were folded, and the men of the Ninth,
with six days' rations in their haversacks, were on the march along
the forest-road, lighted only by the stars, joining the main army at
Germanna Ford on the morning of the 5th.

The movement from the Rapidan to Cold Harbor was made in thirty days.
It was a series of movements by the left flank, in part to get between
Lee and his southern communications, and in part to force him to
abandon strong positions.

  The movements were:--
  From Culpepper to Wilderness.
  From Wilderness to Spottsylvania.
  From Spottsylvania to the North Anna.
  From the North Anna to Cold Harbor.
  From Cold Harbor to Petersburg.

It was thirty days of continuous marching, or fighting, building
defences and bridges, opening roads, establishing new bases of
supplies, through a country densely wooded, and crossing four large
rivers, besides numerous smaller streams, to find always the enemy
upon the other side, prepared to give desperate battle.

It was early in the morning on the 4th of May when the reveille
sounded for the last time over the hills and dales of Culpepper. The
last cups of coffee were drunk, the blankets folded, and then the
army, which through the winter had lain in camp, moved away from the
log huts, where many a jest had been spoken, many a story
told,--where, through rain and mud, and heat and cold, the faithful
and true-hearted men had kept watch and ward through the long, weary
months,--where songs of praise and prayer to God had been raised by
thousands who looked beyond the present into the future life.

So rapid was the march that the Second Corps reached Chancellorsville
before night, having crossed the Rapidan at Ely's Ford. The Sixth and
Fifth Corps crossed at Germanna Ford, without opposition, and before
night the Army of the Potomac was upon the southern side of that
stream, where it was joined by the Ninth Corps the next morning.

General Grant's quarters for the night were in an old house near the
ford. Lights were to be put out at nine o'clock. There were the usual
scenes of a bivouac, and one unusual to an army. The last beams of
daylight were fading in the west. The drummers were beating the
tattoo. Mingled with the constant rumbling of the wagons across the
pontoons, and the unceasing flow of the river, was a chorus of
voices,--a brigade singing a hymn of devotion. It was the grand old
choral of Luther, Old Hundred.

  "Eternal are thy mercies, Lord,
   Eternal truth attends thy word;
   Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
   Till suns shall rise and set no more."

Many soldiers in that army were thinking of home,--not only of loved
ones, and of associations full of sweet and tender memories, but of a
better abiding-place, eternal in the heavens. To thousands it was a
last night on earth.

Early in the morning of the 5th Generals Meade and Grant, with their
staffs, after riding five miles from Germanna Ford, halted near an old
mill in the Wilderness. General Sheridan's cavalry had been pushing
out south and west. Aides came back with despatches.

"They say that Lee intends to fight us here," said General Meade, as
he read them.

"Very well," was the quiet reply of General Grant.

The two commanders retire a little from the crowd, and stand by the
roadside in earnest conversation. Grant is of medium stature, yet has
a well-developed _physique_, sandy whiskers and moustache, blue eyes,
earnest, thoughtful, and far-seeing, a cigar in his mouth, a knife in
one hand, and a stick in the other, which he is whittling to a point.
He whittles slowly towards him. His thoughts are not yet crystallized.
His words are few. Suddenly he commences upon the other end of the
stick, and whittles energetically from him. And now he is less
reticent,--talks freely. He is dressed in plain blue; and were it not
for the three stars upon his shoulder, few would select him as the
Lieutenant-General commanding all the armies of the Union in the

Meade is tall, thin, a little stooping in the shoulders, quick,
comprehending the situation of affairs in an instant, energetic,--an
officer of excellent executive ability.

Years ago, a turnpike was built from Fredericksburg to Orange
Court-House; but in the days when there was a mania for plank roads,
another corporation constructed a plank road between the same places.
A branch plank road, commencing two miles west of Chancellorsville,
crosses the Rapidan at Germanna Ford, running to Stevensburg, north of
that stream. The turnpike runs nearly east and west, while the
Stevensburg plank road runs northwest. General Grant has established
his head-quarters at the crossing of the turnpike and the Stevensburg
road, his flag waving from a knoll west of the road. A mile and a half
out on the turnpike, on a ridge, is Parker's store, where, early in
the morning, I saw long lines of Rebel infantry, the sunlight gleaming
from bayonet and gun-barrel.

Before the contest begins, let us go up to the old Wilderness tavern,
which stands on the Stevensburg plank road, and take a view of a
portion of the battle-field. It will be a limited view, for there are
few open spaces in the Wilderness.

From the tavern you look west. At your feet is a brook, flowing from
the southwest, and another small stream from the northwest, joining
their waters at the crossing of the turnpike and the plank road. The
turnpike rises over a ridge between the two streams. On the south
slope is the house of Major Lacy, owner of a house at Falmouth, used
by our soldiers after the battle of Fredericksburg. It is a beautiful
view,--a smooth lawn in front of the house, meadows green with the
verdure of spring; beyond the meadows are hills thickly wooded,--tall
oaks, and pine and cedar thickets. On the right hand side of the
turnpike the ridge is more broken, and also thickly set with small
trees and bushes. A mile and a half out from the crossing of the two
roads the ridge breaks down into a ravine. General Lee has possession
of the western bank, Grant the eastern. It is such a mixture of woods,
underbrush, thickets, ravines, hills, hollows, and knolls, that one is
bewildered in passing through it, and to attempt to describe would be
a complete bewilderment to writer and reader.

But General Grant has been compelled to make this ridge his right line
of battle. He must protect his trains, which are still coming in on
the Germanna road.

The Sixth Corps, commanded by General Sedgwick, holds the right,
covering the road to Germanna Ford. The left of the Third Division
reaches the turnpike, where it connects with the Fifth Corps,
Warren's. Before the arrival of Burnside's force, one division of the
Fifth is placed in position south of the turnpike. Now leaving a wide
gap, you walk through the woods towards the southeast, and two miles
from head-quarters you find the Second Corps, under Hancock, a long
line of men in the thick forest, on both sides of the Orange plank

The forenoon of the 5th instant was devoted to taking positions.
Engineers rode over the ground and examined the character of the
country. A small party pushed out to Parker's store, but encountered a
Rebel column advancing; but the knowledge thus obtained of the ground
in that direction was of great value.

Word was sent to General Hancock, who had orders to move in direction
of Spottsylvania; that Lee was taking positions. He hastened to make
connection with the other corps. Had he not moved rapidly, Lee would
have obtained possession of the fork of the two plank roads, the
Stevensburg and the Orange road, which would have been a serious
mishap. The Rebel advance was not more than a mile distant when
Hancock secured it. No sooner had the pickets been thrown out, than
the rattling of musketry commenced all along the line. About four in
the afternoon, each commander began to feel the position of the other
by advancing brigades on the right, left, and centre. An exchange of a
few volleys would seemingly satisfy the parties.

It had been the practice of General Lee to begin and close a day with
a grand fusilade. In this battle he adhered to his former tactics, by
advancing a heavy force upon our right, and then, when the contest was
at its height in that direction, attacked on the left. The rolls of
musketry were very heavy and continuous for an hour. There was but
little opportunity to charge bayonet. It was a close contest in a
thick wood, on land which years ago was turned by the plough, but
which, having by thriftless culture incident to the existence of
servile labor, been worn out, now bears the smallest oaks, hazels,
sassafras, and briers.

Hostilities ceased at night. Each commander learned enough of the
other's operations to make dispositions for the following day. Grant
had no alterations to make. Lee had forced him to accept battle there,
and he must do the best he could. Longstreet arrived in the night, and
was placed against Hancock, on the Rebel right, or rather on the right
centre, overlapping the Second and coming against a portion of the
Ninth Corps, which was assigned to the left centre. Thus these two
corps and their two commanders met again in deadly conflict, having
fought at the first and second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, and

General Alexis Hays, in the front line, finding that he was
outnumbered, sent word to Hancock that he must have reinforcements.

"Tell him," said Hancock to the aide, "that he shall have a fresh
brigade in twenty minutes."

Twenty minutes! An age to those who see their comrades falling,--their
lines growing thinner. Before the time had expired, General Hays was
carried back a corpse; but though the brave man had fallen, the troops
held their ground.

Night closed over the scene. Everybody knew that the contest would be
renewed in the morning. Lee began the attack on the 5th, falling like
a thunderbolt on the flank of Grant, but made no impression on the
Union lines,--not moving them an inch from their chosen positions.

Grant resolved to take the initiative on the morning of the 6th, and
orders were accordingly issued for a general attack at daybreak.

Sedgwick was to commence on the right at five o'clock, but Lee saved
him the trouble. A. P. Hill forestalled the movement by advancing at
half past four. The Rebel batteries by Parker's store sent a
half-dozen shots into the Union lines as a signal for the beginning of
the contest. Then came a slight ripple of musketry, then a
roll,--long, deep, heavy,--and the crash,--indescribable, fearful to
hear, terrible to think of. Fifty thousand muskets were flashing, with
occasional cannon-shots, mingled with shouts, cheers, and hurrahs from
the Union lines, and yells like the war-whoop of Indians,--wild,
savage howls from the depths of the tangled jungle. The sun rises upon
a cloudless sky. The air becomes sultry. The blood of the combatants
is at fever heat. There are bayonet-charges, surgings to and fro of
the opposing lines, a meeting and commingling, like waves of the
ocean, sudden upspringings from the underbrush of divisions stealthily
advanced. There is a continuous rattle, with intervening rolls
deepening into long, heavy swells, the crescendo and the diminuendo of
a terrible symphony, rising to thunder-tones, to crash and roar

The Ninth Corps during the day was brought between the Fifth and
Second. Divisions were moved to the right, to the left, and to the
centre, during the two days' fight, but the positions of the corps
remained unchanged, and stood as represented in the diagram.

[Illustration: Wilderness.]

Through all those long hours of conflict there was patient endurance
in front of the enemy. There were temporary successes and reverses on
both sides. In only a single instance was there permanent advantage to
Lee, and that he had not the power to improve. It was at the close of
the contest on the 6th. The sun had gone down, and twilight was
deepening into night. The wearied men of Rickett's division of the
Sixth Corps, in the front line of battle on the right, had thrown
themselves upon the ground. Suddenly there was a rush upon their
flank. There was musketry, blinding flashes from cannon, and
explosions of shells. The line which had stood firmly through the day
gave way, not because it was overpowered, but because it was
surprised. General Seymour and a portion of his brigade were taken
prisoners. There was a partial panic, which soon subsided. The second
line remained firm, the enemy was driven back, and the disaster
repaired by swinging the Sixth Corps round to a new position, covered
by the reserve artillery.

On the morning of the 7th the pickets reported that Lee had fallen
back. Reconnoitring parties said that he was throwing up
entrenchments. Grant was thoughtful through the day. He said but
little. He had a cigar in his mouth from morning till night. I saw him
many times during the day, deeply absorbed in thought. He rode along
the centre, and examined the Rebel lines towards Parker's store. At
times a shell or solid shot came from the Rebel batteries through the
thick forest growth, but other than this there was but little
fighting. Grant determined to make a push for Spottsylvania, and put
his army between Lee and Richmond. By noon the trains were in motion,
having been preceded by Sheridan with the cavalry, followed by the
Ninth Corps, and then the Fifth on a parallel road. But Lee had the
shortest line. He was on the alert, and there was a simultaneous
movement of the Rebel army on a shorter line.

The Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps took the Block road, while the
Ninth, with the trains, moved by Chancellorsville, over the
battle-ground of the preceding summer, where the bones of those who
fell in that struggle were bleaching unburied in the summer air.

It was eleven P. M. on Saturday evening, May 7th, when Generals Grant
and Meade, accompanied by their cavalry escorts, left the Wilderness
head-quarters of General Hancock for a ride to Todd's Tavern, a place
of two or three houses, exhibiting the usual degree of thriftlessness
which characterized the Old Dominion. Twice during the ride we ran
into the Rebel pickets, and were compelled to take by-paths through
fields and thickets. General Grant rode at a break-neck speed. How
exciting! The sudden flashing of Rebel muskets in front, the whiz of
the minnie projectile over our heads, the quick halt and right about
face,--our horses stumbling over fallen timber and stumps, the
clanking of sabres, the clattering of hoofs, the plunge into brambles,
the tension of every nerve, the strain upon all the senses, the
feeling of relief when we are once more in the road, and then the
gallop along the narrow way, beneath the dark pines of the forest,
till brought to a halt by the sudden challenge from our own sentinel!
It is a fast life that one leads at such a time. When the reaction
sets in the system is as limp as a wilted cabbage-leaf.

"Where are you going?" was the question of a cavalryman as we halted a

"To Spottsylvania."

"I reckon you will have a scrimmage before you get there," said he.


"Well, nothing in particular, except there are forty or fifty thousand
Rebs in front of you. Sheridan has had a tough time of it, and I
reckon there is more work to be done."

We pushed on and reached Todd's at one o'clock on Sunday morning. The
roads were full of cavalry, also the fields and woods. Sheridan had
been fighting several hours, with Fitz Lee. The wounded were being
brought in. Surgeons were at work. In the field, a short distance from
the spot, the pickets were still firing shots. The Rebels were
retiring, and Sheridan's men, having won the field, were throwing
themselves upon the ground and dropping off to sleep as unconcernedly
as when seeking rest in the calm repose and silence of their
far-distant homes.

Fastening our horses to the front-yard fence of Todd's, making a
pillow of our saddles, wrenching off the palings for a bed to keep our
bones from the ground, wrapping our blankets around us, we were sound
asleep in three minutes, undisturbed by the tramping of the passing
troops, the jar of the artillery, the rumble of the ammunition wagons,
the shouts of the soldiers, the shrieks of the wounded, and groans of
the dying.

At sunrise the head-quarters of the army were removed to Piney Grove
Church. No bell called the worshippers of the parish to its portal on
that Sabbath morning, but other tones were vibrating the air. The
Fifth Corps had come in collision with the Rebels, and while the
rear-guard of the army were firing their last shots in the Wilderness,
the cannonade was reopening at Spottsylvania.

The day was intensely hot. I was wearied by the events of the
week,--the hard riding, the want of sleep, the series of battles,--and
instead of riding out to the field, enjoyed luxurious repose beneath
the apple-trees, fragrant with blossoms, and listened to the strange
Sabbath symphony, the humming of bees, the songs of the birds, the
roll of musketry, and the cannonade.

The second division, Robinson's, and the fourth, Cutler's (after the
loss of Wadsworth, killed at the Wilderness), were engaged. Baxter's
brigade of Robinson's division was thrown forward to ascertain the
position of the enemy. Their advance brought on the battle. The Sixth
Corps was moved to the left of Warren's on the Piney Church road, and
was placed in supporting distance. In this first engagement Robinson
was badly wounded in the leg.

The Second Corps having filed through the woods, after a hot and dusty
march, came up behind the Fifth and Sixth. I took a ride along the
lines late in the afternoon. The Fifth was moving slowly forward over
undulations and through pine thickets,--a long line of men in blue,
picking their way, now through dense underbrush, in a forest of
moaning pines, now stepping over a sluggish stream, with briers,
hazel, thorn-bushes, and alders impeding every step, and now emerging
into an old field where the thriftless farmers had turned the shallow
soil for spring planting.

There had been a lull in the cannonade, but it commenced again. It was
as before, a spirited contest, which lasted half an hour. Warren
pressed steadily on and drove the Rebels from their advanced position,
forcing them to retire across the creek, but losing several hundred
men before he dislodged them.

Reaching an opening in the forest, I came upon Hart's plantation, a
collection of negro huts and farm buildings,--a lovely spot, where the
spring wheat was already rolling in green waves in the passing breeze.
Looking south over Po Creek, I could see the Catharpen road lined with
horse and footmen, and could hear in the intervals of silence the
rumble of wagons. A cloud of dust rose above the forest. Were the
Rebels retreating, or were they receiving reinforcements? General
Grant came down and looked at them. The Rebel artillerists near the
court-house must have discovered us, for a half-dozen cannon-shot came
ringing through the air, plunging into the newly ploughed cornfield
and the clover-land, knee deep with luxuriant grass.

On Monday morning it was found that Lee's whole army was at
Spottsylvania; and as our skirmishers were deployed to ascertain the
position of the enemy, it was discovered that Rebels occupied all the
ground in front. General Grant did not at first think Lee would make a
detour of his whole force from a direct line to Richmond; he thought
it must be only detachments of men which had been thrown in his way;
but when he discovered what Lee's intentions were, he prepared to
accept battle. Word was sent to General Burnside to take position on
the extreme left. The Second Corps, which had been in rear of the
Fifth, was swung to the right, while the Sixth was deflected toward
the Ninth. While these dispositions were being made, the skirmishing
and cannonade were never intermitted for an instant. A pontoon train
was sent around to the right, to be used by Hancock. A battery was
placed in position at Hart's plantation, and its rifle shot and shells
interrupted the tide of travel on the Catharpen road. Riding down to
the front of Hancock's corps, I found Birney, who with the Third
Division held the extreme right, and had already pushed far over
toward the Catharpen road.

Gibbon's division was in the centre, and Barlow's was on the left,
occupying, in part, ground which the Fifth had held the night
previous. It was nearly night, and the conflict was deepening. The day
had been intensely hot, but, as the coolness of evening came on, both
parties addressed themselves to the encounter. Barlow marched over
undulating pasture-lands, through fringes of forest, into a meadow,
across it, and into the dark pines beyond. Taking a favorable stand
near a deserted farm-house, by the Piney Church road, I could see the
dark lines move steadily on. Below me, on a hillock, were Hancock and
staff directing movements. A half-dozen batteries were in position
close by. One--the Third Massachusetts--was sending its shells over
the heads of our men into the woods beyond the meadow. Mounting the
breastworks which had been thrown up at this spot, I could see the
orchard where the Rebel riflemen were lying. There was the sharp,
shrill ringing of the minnie bullets whistling through the air, and at
times a lurid sheet of flame from a brigade pouring in its volleys.
There was the flash, the cloud of dust wherever the ragged iron tore
its way, and the deafening report. I gladly availed myself of whatever
protection the breastwork afforded, although a solid shot would have
passed through the slight embankment as readily as a stone could be
hurled through chaff. The chances were as one to several thousand of
my being hit, but it is the one chance which makes a person wish he
were somewhere else. The Second Corps was smartly assailed, but stood
their ground and became assailants in turn,--not because they obeyed
orders, but from the impulse of the men, who needed no urging. It was
a remarkable feature. The men in that contest fought because they
wanted to. Gibbons and Birney swung like a double-hinged door upon
Longstreet's left flank and obtained possession of the ground which
the Rebels occupied at the beginning of the engagement.

It became evident on Tuesday morning that General Lee had chosen
Spottsylvania as a place for a trial of strength. Preparations were
accordingly made for the work. General Grant's wounded impeded his
movements. He decided to send them to Fredericksburg. All who could
walk were started on foot. Those who could not, but who did not need
ambulances, were placed in empty wagons. The long procession took its
winding way, and other thousands of mangled forms were brought in to
fill the empty places. It was a sad sight. It made me sick at heart,
and weary of war, and how much more sick and weary when I thought of
the great iniquity which had caused it.

At daybreak the cannonade recommenced, Grant's guns coming first into
play. The Rebels for a while remained in silent indifference; but as
continued teasing rouses a wild beast's anger, so at length they

The air was calm, and the reverberation rolled far over the forest.
There was constant skirmishing through the forenoon. General Grant
rode along the lines, inspected the position, and issued orders for a
general advance at five o'clock; but Lee took the initiative, and
through the afternoon the battle raged with exceeding fierceness.

There was nothing at Spottsylvania worthy of contention,--no
mountain-pass or deep-running river; but General Grant being on his
way to Richmond, his adversary, like Apollyon assaulting Christian,
had come out to meet him on that spot. Lee had the advantage of
position and was able to concentrate his forces. It was about one
o'clock when Longstreet began to press Hancock. There was a hot
engagement for an hour, principally by Birney's division; but failing
to move Birney, an attempt was made to pry open still wider the joint
between the Second and Fifth Corps.

The relative positions of the two armies will be seen from the
following diagram.

[Illustration: Spottsylvania.]

The battle was fought in the forest,--in the marshes along the
Ny,--in ravines,--in pine-thickets densely shaded with the dark
evergreens that shut out the rays of the noonday sun,--in open fields,
where Rebel batteries had full sweep and play--with shell, and grape,
and canister--from intrenched positions on the hills.

During a lull in the strife I visited the hospitals. Suddenly the
battle recommenced in greater fury. The wounded began to come in at a
fearful rate. The battle was drawing nearer. Shells were streaming
past the hospitals. There were signs of disaster.

"Are they driving us?" was the eager inquiry of the wounded.

While the storm was at its height, a stalwart soldier who had just
risen from the amputating-table, where his left arm, torn to shreds by
a cannon-shot, had been severed above the elbow, leaning against the
tent-pole, sang the song he often had sung in camp,--

  "The Union forever! Hurrah, boys! hurrah!
   Down with the traitor, up with the star;
   While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
   Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom!"

His wounded comrades heard it, and joined in the chorus, raising their
arms, swinging their caps, and cheering the flag they loved. It is one
of memory's fadeless pictures. Is it a wonder that the recollection of
that scene sometimes fills my eyes with tears?

The contest all along the line was terrific. Even now, over all the
intervening time and distance, I seem to hear the unceasing rattle and
roll of musketry and cannon, the cheer of the combatants, the tramping
of horses, the explosion of shells, the shriek of the rifled
projectile, the crash through the trees. It goes on hour after hour.
The ranks are thinning. The men with stretchers bring in their
bleeding burdens, and lay them gently upon the ground.

It is past seven o'clock. The shades of evening are falling. The
hillside in front of the Sixth Corps is aflame. While the uproar is
wildest there is a cheer, sharper and louder than the din of the
conflict. It is not the savage war-cry of the enemy, but a buoyant
shout. Into the storm sweeps the Vermont brigade, with bayonets firmly
set, leaping over the Rebel works, and gathering hundreds of prisoners
from Dale's brigade of Rebels. Ewell poured in reinforcements to
strengthen his line and regain his lost work, which was stubbornly
held by the Second Vermont. Far in advance of the main line lay that
regiment, pouring a deadly fire upon the enemy. General Wright (in
command after Sedgwick's death) sent to have the regiment withdrawn.

"We don't want to go back! Give us rations and ammunition, and we'll
hold it for six months if you want us to," was the reply.

General Wright rode to General Grant. "What shall I do?" he asked.

"Pile in the men and hold it!" was the answer.

General Wright returned, but meanwhile a subordinate officer had
ordered them to retire. They were loath to give up what they had won
so gloriously.

General Rice, commanding a brigade in the Fifth Corps, was wounded,
and borne to the rear. The surgeon laid down his knife after removing
the shattered limb, and stood beside him to soothe with tender words
in the last dread hour which was coming on apace. The sufferer could
hear the swelling tide of battle, the deepening rolls like waves upon
the ocean shore. His eyes were closing. He was approaching that ocean
which has no shore. His pain was intense.

"Turn me over," said he, faintly.

"Which way?"

"Let me die with my face to the enemy!"

They were his last words. A short struggle and all was ended. A
Christian patriot had finished his work on earth, and was numbered
with the heroic dead.

The early dawn of Thursday, the 12th, beheld the Second Corps in
motion,--not to flank the enemy, but moving, with fixed bayonets,
straight on towards his intrenchments. Barlow's and Birney's
divisions in columns of battalions, doubled on the centre, to give
strength and firmness, led the assault. They move silently through
the forest,--through the ravine in front of them, up to their own
skirmish-line,--past it,--no longer marching, but running
now,--dashing on with enthusiasm thrilling every nerve. They sweep
away the Rebel picket-line as if it were a cobweb. On! into the
intrenchments with a hurrah which startles the soldiers of both
armies from their morning slumbers. Major-General Johnson and
Brigadier-General Stewart, and three thousand men of Ewell's
division are taken prisoners, eighteen cannon, and twenty-two
standards captured.

It was the work of five minutes,--as sudden as the swoop of an eagle.
Then the uproar of the day began. The second line of the enemy's works
was assaulted; but, exasperated by their losses, the Rebels fought
fiercely. The Ninth Corps was moved up from the left to support the
Second. Longstreet, on the other hand, was brought over to help Ewell.
The Fifth and Sixth became partially engaged. There were charges and
counter-charges. Positions were gained and lost. From morning till
night the contest raged on the right, in the centre, and on the left,
swaying to and fro over the undulations and through the ravines. It
was a battle of fourteen hours' duration,--in severity, in unflinching
determination, in obstinacy, not exceeded by any during the war.
Between forty and fifty pieces of artillery were at one time in the
hands of General Hancock; but owing to the difficulties of removal,
and the efforts of the enemy, he could secure only eighteen. During
the day Grant advanced his lines a mile towards the court-house, and
repulsed Lee in all his counter-attacks.

During the lull in the strife at Spottsylvania I spent a day in
Fredericksburg, visiting the hospitals.

The city is a vast hospital; churches, public buildings, private
dwellings, stores, chambers, attics, basements, all full. There are
thousands upon the sidewalk. All day long the ambulances have been
arriving from the field. There are but few wounded left at the front,
those only whom to remove would be certain death.

[Illustration: The sanitary commission in the hospital.]

A red flag has been flung out at the Sanitary Commission rooms,--a
white one at the rooms of the Christian Commission. There are three
hundred volunteer nurses in attendance. The Sanitary Commission have
fourteen wagons bringing supplies from Belle Plain. The Christian
Commission has less transportation facilities, but in devotion, in
hard work, in patient effort, it is the compeer of its more
bountifully supplied neighbor. The nurses are divided into details,
some for day service, some for night work. Each State has its Relief

How patient the brave fellows are! Not a word of complaint, but thanks
for the slightest favor. There was a lack of crutches. I saw an old
soldier of the California regiment, who fought with the lamented Baker
at Ball's Bluff, and who had been in more than twenty battles,
hobbling about with the arms of a settee nailed to strips of board.
His regiment was on its way home, its three years of service having
expired. It was reduced to a score or two of weather-beaten,
battle-scarred veterans. The disabled comrade could hardly keep back
the tears as he saw them pass down the street. "Few of us left. The
bones of the boys are on every battle-field where the Army of the
Potomac has fought," said he.

There was the sound of the pick and spade in the churchyard, a
heaving-up of new earth,--a digging of trenches, not for defence
against the enemy, but for the last resting-place of departed heroes.
There they lie, each wrapped in his blanket, the last bivouac! For
them there is no more war,--no charges into the thick, leaden
rain-drops,--no more hurrahs, no more cheering for the dear old flag!
They have fallen, but the victory is theirs,--theirs the roll of
eternal honor. Side by side,--men from Massachusetts, from
Pennsylvania, and from Wisconsin,--from all the States, resting in one
common grave. Peace to them! blessings on the dear ones,--wives,
mothers, children whom they have left behind.

Go into the hospitals;--armless, legless men, wounds of every
description. Men on the floor, on the hard seats of church-pews, lying
in one position all day, unable to move till the nurse, going the
rounds, gives them aid. They must wait till their food comes. Some
must be fed with a spoon, for they are as helpless as little children.

"O that we could get some straw for the brave fellows," said the Rev.
Mr. Kimball, of the Christian Commission. He had wandered about town,
searching for the article.

"There is none to be had. We shall have to send to Washington for
it," said the surgeon in charge.

"Straw! I remember two stacks, four miles out on the Spottsylvania
road. I saw them last night as I galloped in from the front."

Armed with a requisition from the Provost Marshal to seize two stacks
of straw, with two wagons driven by freedmen, accompanied by four
Christian Commission delegates, away we went across the battle-field
of December, fording Hazel Run, gaining the heights, and reaching the
straw stacks owned by Rev. Mr. Owen, a bitter Rebel.

"By whose authority do you take my property?"

"The Provost Marshal, sir."

"Are you going to pay me for it?"

"You must see the Provost Marshal, sir. If you are a loyal man, and
will take the oath of allegiance, doubtless you will get your pay when
we have put down the Rebellion."

"It is pretty hard. My children are just ready to starve. I have
nothing for them to eat, and you come to take my property without
paying for it."

"Yes, sir, war is hard. You must remember, sir, that there are
thousands of wounded men,--your Rebel wounded as well as ours. If your
children are on the point of starving, those men are on the point of
dying. We must have the straw for them. What we don't take to-night we
will get in the morning. Meanwhile, sir, if anybody attempts to take
it, please say to them that it is for the hospital, and they can't
have it."

Thus with wagons stuffed, we leave Rev. Mr. Owen and return to make
glad the hearts of several thousand men. O how they thank us!

"Did you get it for me? God bless you, sir."

It is evening. Thousands of soldiers just arrived from Washington have
passed through the town to take their places in the front. The hills
around are white with innumerable tents.

A band is playing lively airs to cheer the wounded in the hospitals. I
have been looking in to see the sufferers. Two or three have gone to
their long home. They will need no more attention. A surgeon is at
work upon a ghastly wound, taking up the arteries. An attendant is
pouring cold water upon a swollen limb. In the Episcopal church a
nurse is bolstering up a wounded officer in the area behind the
altar. Men are lying in the pews, on the seats, on the floor, on
boards on top of the pews.

Two candles in the spacious building throw their feeble rays into the
dark recesses, faintly disclosing the recumbent forms. There is heavy,
stifled breathing, as of constant effort to suppress cries extorted by
acutest pain.

Passing into the street you see a group of women, talking about _our_
wounded,--Rebel wounded, who are receiving their especial devotion.
The Provost Marshal's patrol is going its rounds to preserve order.

Starting down the street, you reach the rooms of the Christian
Commission. Some of the men are writing letters for the soldiers, some
eating their night-rations, some dispensing supplies. Passing through
the rooms, you gain the grounds in the rear,--a beautiful garden
once,--not unattractive now. The air is redolent with honeysuckle and
locust blossoms. The prunifolia is unfolding its delicate milk-white
petals; roses are opening their tinted leaves.

Fifty men are gathered round a summer-house,--warm-hearted men, who
have been all day in the hospitals. Their hearts have been wrung by
the scenes of suffering, in the exercise of Christian charity,
imitating the example of the Redeemer of men. They have dispensed food
for the body and nourishment for the soul. They have given cups of
cold water in the name of Jesus, and prayed with those departing to
the Silent Land. The moonlight shimmers through the leaves of the
locusts, as they meet at that evening hour to worship God

The little congregation breaks into singing,--

  "Come, thou fount of every blessing."

After the hymn, a chaplain says, "Brethren, I had service this
afternoon in the First Division hospital of the Second Corps. The
surgeon in charge, before prayer, asked all who desired to be prayed
for to raise their hands, and nearly every man who had a hand raised
it. Let us remember them in our prayers to-night."

A man in the summer-house, so far off that I cannot distinguish him,

"Every man in the Second Division of the Sixth Corps hospital raised
his hand for prayers to-night."

There are earnest supplications that God will bless them; that they
may have patience; that Jesus will pillow their heads upon his breast,
relieve their sufferings, soothe their sorrows, wipe away all their
tears, heal their wounds; that he will remember the widow and the
fatherless, far away, moaning for the loved and lost.

Another hymn,--

  "Jesus, lover of my soul,
   Let me to thy bosom fly,"

and the delegates return to their work of mercy.

At Spottsylvania there were constant skirmishing and artillery-firing
through the 13th, and a moving of the army from the north to the east
of the Court-House. A rain-storm set in. The roads became heavy, and a
contemplated movement--a sudden flank attack--was necessarily

There was a severe skirmish on the 14th, incessant picket-firing on
the 15th, and on the 16th another engagement all along the line,--not
fought with the fierceness of that of the 12th, but lasting through
the forenoon, and resulting in the taking of a line of rifle-pits from
the enemy.

On Wednesday, the 18th, there was an assault upon Lee's outer line of
works. Two lines of rifle-pits were carried; but an impassable abatis
prevented farther advance, and after a six hours' struggle the troops
were withdrawn.

On the afternoon of the 19th Ewell gained the rear of Grant's right
flank, and came suddenly upon Tyler's division of heavy artillery,
armed as infantry, just arrived upon the field. Though surprised, they
held the enemy in check, forced him back, and with aid from the Second
Corps compelled him to retreat with great loss. This attack was made
to cover Lee's withdrawal to the North Anna. His troops were already
on the march.

Grant was swift to follow.

It is a two days' march from Spottsylvania to the North Anna. The
crossings of the Mattapony were held by Rebel cavalry, which was
quickly driven. Then came the gallant crossing of the Fifth Corps at
Jericho Ford, the irresistible charge of Birney and Barlow of the
Second Corps at Taylor's Bridge, the sweeping-in of five hundred
prisoners, the severe engagements lasting three days,--all memorable
events, worthy of prominence in a full history of the campaign.

[Illustration: North Anna.]

The North Anna is a rapid stream, with high banks. East of Taylor's
bridge, towards Sexton's Junction, there is an extensive swamp, but
westward the country is rolling. It was supposed that Lee would make a
stubborn resistance at the crossings, but at Jericho Warren found only
a few pickets upon the southern bank. A pontoon was laid and two
divisions sent over; but moving towards the railroad a mile, they
encountered Hood's and Pickett's divisions of Ewell's corps. The
cannonade was heavy and the musketry sharp, mainly between Cutler's
command and Ewell's, lasting till dark.

It is about two miles from Jericho crossing to the railroad, the point
for which the right wing was aiming.

"I reckon that our troops didn't expect you to come this way," said
Mr. Quarles, a citizen residing on the north bank, with whom I found
accommodation for the night.

"I suppose you didn't expect Grant to get this side of the

"We heard that he was retreating towards Fredericksburg," was the

He was the owner of a saw-mill. Timber was wanted for the construction
of a bridge. His mill was out of repair, but there were men in the
Union army accustomed to run saw-mills, and an hour was sufficient to
put the machinery in order for the manufacture of lumber. It was
amusing to see the soldiers lay down their guns, take up the crowbar,
roll the logs into the mill, adjust the saw, hoist the gate, and sit
upon the log while the saw was cutting its way. The owner of the mill
looked on in disgust, as his lumber was thus freely handled.

In the first advance from Jericho bridge, the force was repulsed. The
Rebels of Ewell's command came on with confidence, to drive the
retreating troops into the river; but Warren had taken the precaution
to place his smooth-bore guns on a hillock, south of the stream, while
his rifled pieces were on the north side, in position, to give a
cross-fire with the smooth-bores. When the Rebels came within reach of
this concentrated fire they were almost instantly checked. It was no
time to rush on, or to stand still and deliberate; they fled,
uncovering the railroad, to which the Sixth advanced, tearing up the
track and burning the depot. In the centre, the Ninth Corps had a
severe fight, resulting in considerable loss.

It is two miles from Jericho bridge to Carmel Church, which stands in
a beautiful grove of oaks. While the troops were resting beneath the
trees, waiting for the order to move, a chaplain entered the church
and proposed to hold religious service.

The soldiers manifested their pleasure, kneeled reverently during the
prayer, and listened with tearful eyes to the exhortations which

It was inspiring to hear them sing,

  "Come, sing to me of heaven,
   When I'm about to die;
   Sing songs of holy ecstasy,
   To waft my soul on high."

At dark on the evening of the 25th of May, I rode along the lines of
the Second Corps to take a look at the Rebels. There was a steady fire
of artillery. One battery of the Rebels had full sweep of the plain,
and the shells were flying merrily. A thunder-storm was rising. The
lightning was vivid and incessant. My head-quarters for the night were
to be with a surgeon attached to the First Division of the Ninth
Corps, several miles distant. The dense black clouds rising in the
west made the night intensely dark, except when the lightning-flashes
gleamed along the sky. It was a scene of sublime grandeur: heaven's
artillery in play,--the heavy peals of thunder, mingling with the roar
of the battle-field! After an hour's ride through pine thickets,
over old corn-fields, half-blinded by the lightning, I reached the
quarters of my friend the surgeon, whose tent was just then being
packed into the wagon for a night march to a new position. The storm
was close at hand, and together we fled for shelter to a neighboring
cabin. I had barely time to fasten my horse and enter the door before
the storm was upon us.

[Illustration: Bayonet charge.]

The house was built of logs, chinked with mud, contained two rooms
about fifteen feet square, and was occupied by a colored family.

Others had fled for shelter to the hospitable roof. I found
congregated there for the night nine surgeons, three hospital nurses,
a delegate of the Christian Commission, two soldiers, two colored
women, a colored man, three children. The colored people had taken
their only pig into the house, to save the animal from being killed by
the soldiers, and had tied it to the bed-post. Their poultry--half a
dozen fowls--was imprisoned under a basket. The rain fell in torrents
throughout the night. Finding a place under the table for my head,
with my overcoat for a pillow, and thrusting my legs under the bed
which was occupied by three surgeons, I passed the night, and thought
myself much more highly favored than the forty or fifty who came to
the door, but only to find a full hotel.

Instead of trying to walk over the obstacle in his path, Grant decided
to go round it. Stealing a march upon Lee, he moved suddenly
southeast, crossed the Pamunkey at Hanover Town, opened a new base of
supplies at White House, forcing Lee to fall back on the Chickahominy.

On Sunday, the 29th, a great cavalry engagement took place at Hawes's
shop, west of Hanover Town, in which Sheridan drove the Rebels back
upon Bethesda Church. The army came into position on the 30th, its
right towards Hanover Court-House. Lee was already in position, and
during the day there was firing all along the line. All the corps were
engaged. The Second Corps by the Shelton House, by a bayonet-charge
pushed the enemy from the outer line of works which he had thrown up,
while the Fifth Corps rolled back, with terrible slaughter, the mass
of men which came upon its flank and front at Bethesda Church. At Cold
Harbor, the Sixth, joined by the Eighteenth Army Corps, under
Major-General W. F. Smith, from Bermuda Hundred, met Longstreet and
Breckenridge, and troops from Beauregard. Sheridan had seized this
important point,--important because of the junction of roads,--and
held it against cavalry and infantry till the arrival of the Fifth and
Eighteenth. The point secured, a new line of battle was formed on the
1st of June. The Ninth held the right of Bethesda Church; the Fifth
was south of the church, joining the Eighteenth; the Sixth held the
road from Cold Harbor to Gaines's Mills; while the Second was thrown
out on the left, on the road leading to Despatch Station and the

[Sidenote: June, 1864.]

In the campaign of 1862, Cold Harbor was General McClellan's
head-quarters while he was on the north bank of the Chickahominy, and
Jackson, when he advanced to attack Fitz John Porter, marched down the
road over which Grant moved, to that locality. It is a place of one
house,--an old tavern standing at a crossing of roads, twelve miles
from Richmond. The most direct route to the city runs past Gaines's
Mills, where the first of the series of battles was fought before
Richmond, in the seven days' contest. Jackson's head-quarters were at
Cold Harbor during that engagement.

The general position of the two armies in Grant's battles at Cold
Harbor is indicated by the accompanying diagram.

[Illustration: Cold Harbor.]

A huge catalpa stands in front of the old tavern, where in the
peaceful days of the Old Dominion travellers rested their horses
beneath the grateful shade, while they drank their toddy at the tavern
bar. Two great battles were fought there by Grant, the first in the
evening of the 1st of June, the second on the evening of the 3d.

There is a line of breastworks west of the house, a few rods distant,
behind which Russell's division of the Sixth Corps is lying. The road
to Despatch Station runs due south; the road to New Cold Harbor
southwest, the road to Bethesda Church northwest. In the battle fought
on the 1st instant, Neil was east of the road leading to Despatch
Station, Russell west of the house, and Ricketts northwest.

Passing toward the right one mile, we come to the house of Daniel
Woody, which is in rear of the right of the line of the Eighteenth. It
is the head-quarters of General Martindale, who commands the right
division of the line. Next is Brooks's division in the centre, with
Devens on the left, connecting with Ricketts's on the right of the

There is a clear space west of Woody's house, a cornfield lately
planted, but now trodden by the feet of Martindale's men. In front of
Brooks there is a gentle swell of land, wooded with pines. On the
crest of the hill there is a line of Rebel rifle-pits. In front of
Devens the swell is smoothed to a plain, or rather there is a
depression, as if the hillock had been scooped out of the plain. This
also is wooded. The belt of timber stretches over the plain, crossing
the road to Gaines's Mill, about half a mile from the tavern,--a dark
strip of green twenty or thirty rods in width. Beyond the belt toward
Richmond is a smooth field, half a mile in width, bounded on the
farther edge, under the shadow of another belt of green, by the line
of Beauregard's breastworks. The line of Rebel defence runs diagonally
to the road, the distance being less between Ricketts and the work
than on the left in front of Neil. This plain is swept by Rebel cannon
and thousands of rifles and muskets.

It was past six o'clock--nearly seven--before the troops were in
position to move upon the enemy's works. They marched through the
woods, emerged upon the open field The Rebel batteries opened with
redoubled fury, but the line advanced steadily. Devens found the
depression in front of him almost a marsh, with trees felled, forming
an abatis; but his men passed through, and again came into line.
Burnham's brigade, of Brooks's division, containing the Tenth and
Thirteenth New Hampshire, Eighth Connecticut, and One Hundred and
Eighteenth New York, charged up the hill in front, and took the
rifle-pits above them. Ricketts, having less distance to advance than
the other divisions of the Sixth, was soonest in the fight, sweeping
all before him. Before the Rebels could reload their pieces after the
first volley the bayonets of the advancing columns, gleaming in the
light of the setting sun, were at their throats. Half a brigade was
taken prisoners, while the rest of the Rebels in front of Ricketts
fled in disorder.

Russell moving along the road received an enfilading fire from
artillery and musketry. The Rebels having recovered from their panic,
held on with stubbornness. The broad plain over which Russell moved
was fringed with fire. From dark till past ten o'clock Breckenridge
tried in vain to recover what he had lost.

The loss was severe to us in killed and wounded. But it was a victory,
so signal that a congratulatory order was issued by General Meade to
the Sixth Corps.

Lying beneath the ever-moaning pines, with the star-lit heavens for a
tent, I listened to the sounds of the battle,--steady, monotonous,
like the surf on the beach. An hour's sleep, and still it was rolling
in. But all things must have an end. Near midnight it died away, and
there was only the chirping of the cricket, the unvarying note of the
whip-poor-will, and the wind swaying the stately trees around me.
Peaceful all around; but ah! beyond those forest belts were the
suffering heroes, parched with thirst, fevered with the fight,
bleeding for their country. How shall we thank them? How shall we
reward them? What estimate shall we place upon their work? O friends,
as you recall this sacrifice, let your hearts warm with devotion to
your country. Do honor to the noble dead, and forget not the
living,--the widow and the fatherless.

The battle of the 3d of June was obstinate and bloody, and resulted
in great loss to Grant. The artillery firing was constant through the
forenoon, but Lee was too strongly entrenched to be driven.

As soon as there was a lull in the roar of battle, I improved the
opportunity to visit the hospitals. There were long lines of
ambulances bringing in the wounded, who were laid beneath the trees.
Unconscious men were upon the tables, helpless in the hands of the
surgeons,--to wake from a dreamless sleep with a limb gone, a bleeding
stump of a leg or arm. Horrid the gashes where jagged iron had cut
through the flesh, severing arteries and tendons in an instant. Heads,
hands, legs, and arms mangled and dripping with blood,--human blood!
There were moans, low murmurings, wrenched from the men against their
wills. Men were babbling, in their delirium, of other scenes,--dim
recollections, which were momentary realities. To be with them and not
do for them,--to see suffering without power to alleviate,--gives
painful tension to nerves, even though one may be familiar with scenes
of carnage.

I turned from the scene all but ready to say, "Anything to stay this
terrible destruction of human life." But there were other
thoughts,--of retributive justice,--of sighs and groans, scourged
backs, broken hearts, partings of mothers from their children,--the
coffle train, and the various horrors of the accursed system of
slavery, the cause of all this "wounding and hurt." I remembered that
it was a contest between eternal right and infernal wrong; that He who
is of infinite love and tenderness in His war against rebellion,
spared not his only begotten Son;--and thus consoled and strengthened,
I could wish the contest to go on till victory should crown our
efforts, and a permanent peace be the inheritance of our children.

At Cold Harbor the abilities of Lee, McClellan, and Grant as
commanders have been exhibited. Lee's head-quarters during the battle
of Gaines's Mills were at New Cold Harbor, but during the afternoon he
rode over to the old tavern and had a talk with Jackson. That battle
was won by Lee after a hard struggle, not through any lack of courage
on the part of the Union troops, but through McClellan's want of
generalship. McClellan was ever taking counsel of his fears. He
uniformly overestimated the numbers of the enemy. When Lee advanced to
Munson's Hill, near Alexandria, in October, 1861, his army did not
exceed sixty thousand, but McClellan estimated it at "one hundred and
fifty thousand, well drilled, equipped, ably commanded, and strongly
entrenched."[58] In March, 1862, when Lee evacuated Manassas, his
estimate of the Rebel army was one hundred and fifteen thousand, while
the actual strength was less than fifty thousand. "It seems clear that
I shall have the whole force of the enemy on my hands, probably not
less than one hundred thousand, and probably more," wrote McClellan to
the Secretary of War upon his arrival at Yorktown.

         [Footnote 58: McClellan's Report, p. 46.]

Magruder commanded the Rebels at Yorktown. "My whole force," says he,
"was less than eleven thousand."[59]

         [Footnote 59: Magruder's Report.]

The day before the battle of Cold Harbor, McClellan's estimate of
Lee's army was two hundred thousand.[60] His own force, sick and well,
on the 20th, was one hundred and seventeen thousand. He had present
and fit for duty on the day of battle from one hundred to one hundred
and five thousand. Lee's force was two or three thousand less.

         [Footnote 60: McClellan's Report, p. 238.]

McClellan knew very little of Lee's army. He intrusted the management
of the secret service to two French princes, who, however estimable
they might be as individuals, had a superficial acquaintance with the
English language, who knew but little of America or Americans,--whose
geographical knowledge of the country in which the war was being
carried on was less than that of the scholars of a New England grammar
school,--who were wanting in the lawyer-like qualifications necessary
to separating the true from the false in the stories of deserters,
scouts, and spies. So inefficient was the secret service that
McClellan had no information of Lee's movements or intentions till
Jackson was at Ashland, within a few hours' march of Cold Harbor. When
he saw that he was to be attacked, he moved his own head-quarters to
the south side, making no effort to win the battle, thinking only of a
retreat to the James.

A general who wins a battle through the blundering of an inefficient
opponent cannot be called, on that account alone, a great commander.
There must be genius in movements, in making use of positions and
forces, so that victory is wrenched from a skilful foe, to entitle a
commander to wear the bay leaves upon his brow.

McClellan's army was divided by the Chickahominy. He had about thirty
thousand men on the north bank and seventy-five thousand on the south
side. Lee submitted a plan to Jeff Davis, which was accepted, by which
he hoped to destroy that portion of McClellan's force on the north
bank. Whiting's and Ewell's divisions were put on board the cars and
sent up the Virginia Central Railroad to Gordonsville, as if to join
Jackson in the Shenandoah, or for a march on Washington, but Jackson
was on his way towards Richmond. He commanded the united force,
amounting to thirty thousand. He moved down to Ashland. A deserter
informed McClellan at Cold Harbor that Jackson would attack him on the
28th.[61] Negroes came in on the next day who said that Jackson was at
Hanover Court-House. McClellan's line was twenty miles long. His
extreme right was north of Richmond, at Mechanicsville; his left was
southeast of the city, resting on White Oak Swamp. McClellan could
have reinforced Porter, and defeated Lee, or he could have withdrawn
him to the south bank, and pushed into Richmond, but he left Porter to
contend with Lee's entire army, except Magruder's command of about
twenty thousand men,[62] while he burned his supplies, destroyed the
railroad, and made ready to march to the James. Porter held his ground
till nearly night, calling for reinforcements. Had a division been
sent him at the right time, Lee would have suffered a terrible defeat.
Slocum, of Franklin's corps, was sent over when too late to be of
essential service. Jackson extended his left south from the old
tavern, and fell upon Porter's right flank, and drove the Union
troops, but everywhere else Lee was repulsed with great loss. His
entire loss in that battle was about nine thousand and five hundred,
McClellan's about four thousand.

         [Footnote 61: McClellan's Report.]

         [Footnote 62: Pollard, First Year, p. 329.]

Lee moved out from Richmond when Jackson was at Hanover Court-House.
Branch's division marched up the Brooke turnpike, A. P. Hill moved
over the Mechanicsville turnpike, Longstreet and D. H. Hill by the New
Bridge road. McClellan was informed of the movement. Here was his
golden opportunity. By throwing nearly his entire army north of the
Chickahominy, he could have met Lee outside of his entrenchments, or
he could have withdrawn Porter and made a rush upon the city. Lee
expected to meet the whole Union army at Cold Harbor, and in the
battle supposed he was fighting McClellan's main force.

"The principal part of the enemy was on the north side," says Lee in
his report. It is evident that in his plan he calculated that
McClellan would not risk a battle with a divided army, and he
therefore left but a small force to hold Richmond. Magruder on the
other hand, saw the danger to the city. Says Magruder:--

     "From the time at which the enemy withdrew his forces to this
     side of the Chickahominy, and destroyed the bridges, to the
     moment of his evacuation,--that is, from Friday night until
     Sunday morning,--I considered the situation of our army extremely
     critical and perilous. The larger portion of it was on either
     side of the Chickahominy, the bridges had all been destroyed, and
     but one was rebuilt, the New Bridge, which was fully commanded by
     the enemy's guns at Golding's; and there were but twenty-five
     thousand men between his army and Richmond. I received repeated
     instructions during Saturday night from General Lee's
     head-quarters, enjoining upon my command the utmost vigilance,
     directing the men to sleep on their arms, to be prepared for
     whatever might occur. I passed the night without sleep, and in
     the superintendence of their execution. Had McClellan massed his
     whole force in column, and advanced it against any point of our
     line of battle, as was done at Austerlitz by the greatest captain
     of any age, though the head of his column would have suffered
     greatly, its momentum would have insured him success, and the
     occupation of our works about Richmond, and consequently the city
     might have been his reward. Our relief was therefore great when
     information reached us that the enemy had evacuated his works and
     was retreating."[63]

         [Footnote 63: Magruder's Report, p. 191.]

Magruder, in the above statement, unintentionally exposes the
faultiness of Lee's plan, which, had McClellan improved his
opportunity, would have been the loss of the Rebel capital, the rout
and disorganization of Lee's army, and a historic page wholly
different from that now on record.

In contrast is Grant's plan of operations. His secret-service
department was managed with rare ability, by men acquainted with the
English language, who were adepts in the art of sifting truth from
falsehood. Grant was well informed as to Lee's numbers, the
reinforcements at his disposal, and his movements. He took counsel of
his courage, never of his fear. In his plan of the Wilderness
campaigns, the series of movements from the Rapidan to the James, were
duly considered before the orders for the advance were given. When he
saw that he could not reach Richmond from the north, he decided to
sweep round to the James, but not till he had made it impossible for
Lee to move upon Washington, by breaking up the Virginia Central and
Fredericksburg Railroad. McClellan complained that he was deprived of
the control of McDowell's force at Fredericksburg, which was retained
by the President to cover Washington; but the railroad from Richmond
to Manassas was then in running order, with the exception of the
bridge across the Rappahannock. Grant's prudence in securing
Washington was as marked as his tenacity of purpose to push on towards

The transfer of the Eighteenth Corps from Bermuda Hundred to seize
Cold Harbor,--the order for which was given before the army crossed
the Pamunkey,--was a conception as brilliant as that of Lee's in the
transfer of Jackson from the Shenandoah in '62. The march of the army
to the south side of the James, which will be narrated in another
chapter, was the most striking movement of the campaign, exhibiting
the same quality of genius which had been exhibited at Vicksburg, and
which has no parallel in the movements of any of the Rebel commanders
during the war.

There was a season of rest while Grant was preparing for the march to
the James. The army needed it. A month had passed, the most terrible
of all the months of the war. There had been scarcely an hour of quiet
from the moment when the army broke camp at Culpepper till it reached
Cold Harbor. It never can be known how many were killed and wounded
in that month of battle. The hospitals of Washington were crowded.
Thousands of slightly wounded were granted leave of absence.
Reinforcements were hurried on to fill up the wasted ranks. Lee's loss
was nearly as heavy as Grant's. Richmond was overflowing with wounded;
all central Virginia was a hospital. Both armies were becoming

Lee was the attacking party at the Wilderness, but it was his last
offensive movement, except as the gauge of battle was given by Grant.

The march from Spottsylvania to Cold Harbor was through a section
never before visited by Union troops. At the crossing of the Ny I
found quarters at a farm-house owned by a feeble, forceless,
gray-bearded, black-eyed man. There was constitutionally a want of
starch in his physical organization. He was free and frank, but
shiftless. He owned eighty acres of land, two negroes, an old horse,
and a rickety cart. His house was mean, but it was charmingly located,
overlooking the broad valley of the Mattapony, and surrounded by
locusts and magnolias. Nature had done a great deal towards making it
a paradise, but the owner had been an indifferent steward. Lying upon
the grass beneath the trees, I fell into conversation with the

"This is Caroline County, I believe."

"Yes, sir, this is old Caroline,--a county which has sold more negroes
down south than any other in Virginia."

"I was not aware of that; but I remember now a negro song which I used
to hear. The burden of it was,

  'I wish I was back in old Caroline.'"

"Quite likely, for the great business of the county has been
nigger-raising, and it has been our curse. I never owned only old
Peter and his wife. I wish I didn't own them, for they are old and I
have got to support them; but how in the world I am to do it I don't
know, for the soldiers have stripped me of everything."

"Do you mean the Union soldiers?"

"Yes, and ours (Rebels) also. First, my boys were conscripted. I kept
them out as long as I could, but they were obliged to go. Then they
took my horses. Then your cavalry came and took all my corn and stole
my meat, ransacked the house, seized my flour, killed my pigs and
chickens, and here I am, stripped of everything."

"It is pretty hard, but your leaders would have it so."

"I know it, sir, and we are getting our pay for it."

It was frankly spoken, and was the first admission I had heard from
Southern lips that the South was suffering retribution for the crime
of Secession. It probably did not enter his head that the selling of
slaves, the breaking up of families, the sundering of heart-strings,
the cries and tears and prayers of fathers and mothers, the outrages,
the whippings, scourgings, branding with hot irons, were also crimes
in the sight of Heaven. Broken hearts were nothing to him,--not that
he was naturally worse than other men, but because slavery had blunted

During the march the next day towards the North Anna, I halted at a
farm-house. The owner had fled to Richmond in advance of the army,
leaving his overseer, a stout, burly, red-faced, tobacco-chewing man.
There were a score of old buildings on the premises. It had been a
notable plantation, yielding luxuriant harvests of wheat, but the
proprietor had turned his attention to the culture of tobacco and the
breeding of negroes. He sold annually a crop of human beings for the
southern market. The day before our arrival, hearing that the Yankees
were coming, he hurried forty or fifty souls to Richmond. He intended
to take all,--forty or fifty more,--but the negroes fled to the woods.
The overseer did his best to collect them, but in vain. The proprietor
raved, and stormed, and became violent in his language and behavior,
threatening terrible punishment on all the runaways, but the
appearance of a body of Union cavalry put an end to maledictions. He
had a gang of men and women chained together, and hurried them toward

The runaways came out from their hiding-places when they saw the
Yankees, and advanced fearlessly with open countenances. The first
pleasure of the negroes was to smile from ear to ear, the second to
give everybody a drink of water or a piece of hoe-cake, the third to
pack up their bundles and be in readiness to join the army.

"Are you not afraid of us?"

"Afraid! Why, boss, I's been praying for yer to come; and now yer is
here, thank de Lord."

"Are you not afraid that we shall sell you?"

"No, boss, I isn't. The overseer said you would sell us off to Cuba,
to work in the sugar-mill, but we didn't believe him."

Among the servants was a bright mulatto girl, who was dancing,
singing, and manifesting her joy in violent demonstration.

"What makes you so happy?" I asked.

"Because you Yankees have come. I can go home now."

"Is not this your home?"

"No. I come from Williamsport in Maryland."

"When did you come from there?"

"Last year. Master sold me. I spect my brother is 'long with the army.
He ran away last year. Master was afraid that I should run away, and
he sold me."

The negroes came from all the surrounding plantations. Old men with
venerable beards, horny hands, crippled with hard work and harder
usage; aged women, toothless, almost blind, steadying their steps with
sticks; little negro boys, driving a team of skeleton steers,--mere
bones and tendons covered with hide,--or wall-eyed horses, spavined,
foundered, and lame, attached to rickety carts and wagons, piled with
beds, tables, chairs, pots and kettles, hens, turkeys, ducks, women
with infants in their arms, and a sable cloud of children trotting by
their side.

"Where are you going?" I said to a short, thick-set, gray-bearded old
man, shuffling along the road; his toes bulging from his old boots,
and a tattered straw hat on his head,--his gray wool protruding from
the crown.

"I do'no, boss, where I's going, but I reckon I'll go where the army

"And leave your old home, your old master, and the place where you
have lived all your days?"

"Yes, boss; master, he's gone. He went to Richmond. Reckon he went
mighty sudden, boss, when he heard you was coming. Thought I'd like to
go along with you."

[Illustration: Negroes coming into the lines.]

His face streamed with perspiration. He had been sorely afflicted with
the rheumatism, and it was with difficulty that he kept up with the
column; but it was not a hard matter to read the emotions of his
heart. He was marching towards freedom. Suddenly a light had shined
upon him. Hope had quickened in his soul. He had a vague idea of what
was before him. He had broken loose from all which he had been
accustomed to call his own,--his cabin, a mud-chinked structure, with
the ground for a floor, his garden patch,--to go out, in his old age,
wholly unprovided for, yet trusting in God that there would be food
and raiment on the other side of Jordan.

It was a Jordan to them. It was the Sabbath-day,--bright, clear, calm,
and delightful. There was a crowd of several hundred colored people at
a deserted farm-house.

"Will it disturb you if we have a little singing? You see we feel so
happy to-day that we would like to praise the Lord."

It was the request of a middle-aged woman.

"Not in the least. I should like to hear you."

In a few moments a crowd had assembled in one of the rooms. A stout
young man, black, bright-eyed, thick-wooled, took the centre of the
room. The women and girls, dressed in their best clothes, which they
had put on to make their exodus from bondage in the best possible
manner, stood in circles round him. The young man began to dance. He
jumped up, clapped his hands, slapped his thighs, whirled round,
stamped upon the floor.

"Sisters, let us bless the Lord. Sisters, join in the chorus," he
said, and led off with a kind of recitative, improvised as the
excitement gave him utterance. From my note-book I select a few


  "We are going to the other side of Jordan."


      "So glad! so glad!
  Bless the Lord for freedom,
      So glad! so glad!
  We are going on our way,
      So glad! so glad!
  To the other side of Jordan,
      So glad! so glad!
  Sisters, won't you follow?
      So glad! so glad!
  Brothers, won't you follow?"

And so it went on for a half-hour, without cessation, all dancing,
clapping their hands, tossing their heads. It was the ecstasy of
action. It was a joy not to be uttered, but demonstrated. The old
house partook of their rejoicing. It rang with their jubilant shouts,
and shook in all its joints.

I stood an interested spectator. One woman, well dressed, intelligent,
refined in her deportment, modest in her manner, said, "It is one way
in which we worship, sir. It is our first day of freedom."

The first day of freedom! Behind her were years of suffering,
hardship, unrequited toil, heartaches, darkness, no hope of recompense
or of light in this life, but a changeless future. Death, aforetime,
was their only deliverer. For them there was hope only in the grave.
But suddenly Hope had advanced from eternity into time. They need not
wait for death; in life they could be free. Is it a wonder that they
exhibited extravagant joy?

Apart from the dancers was a woman with light hair, hazel eyes, and
fair complexion. She sat upon the broad steps of the piazza, and
looked out upon the fields, or rather into the air, unmindful of the
crowd, the dance, or the shouting. Her features were so nearly of the
Anglo-Saxon type that it required a second look to assure one that
there was African blood in her veins. She alone of all the crowd was
sad in spirit. She evidently had no heart to join in the general

"Where did you come from?" I asked.

"From Caroline County."

Almost every one else would have said, "From old Caroline." There was
no trace of the negro dialect, more than you hear from all classes in
the South, for slavery has left its taint upon the language; it spares
nothing, but is remorseless in its corrupting influences.

"You do not join in the song and dance," I said.

"No, sir."

Most of them would have said "master" or "boss."

"I should think you would want to dance on your first night of
freedom, if ever."

"I don't dance, sir, in that way."

"Was your master kind to you?"

"Yes, sir; but he sold my husband and children down South."

The secret of her sadness was out.

"Where are you going? or where do you expect to go?"

"I don't know, sir, and I don't care where I go."

The conversation ran on for some minutes. She manifested no animation,
and did not once raise her eyes, but kept them fixed on vacancy.
Husband and children sold, gone forever,--there was nothing in life to
charm her. Even the prospect of freedom, with its undefined joys and
pleasures, its soul-stirring expectations, raising the hopes of those
around her, moved her not.

Life was a blank. She had lived in her master's family, and was
intelligent. She was the daughter of her master. She was high-toned in
her feelings. The dancing and shouting of those around her were
distasteful. It was to her more barbaric than Christian. She was alone
among them. She felt her degradation. Freedom could not give her a
birthright among the free. The daughter of her master! It was gall and
wormwood; and he, her father, had sold her husband and his

I had read of such things. But one needs to come in contact with
slavery, to feel how utterly loathsome and hateful it is. There was
the broken-hearted victim, so bruised that not freedom itself, neither
the ecstasy of those around her, could awaken an emotion of joy. Hour
after hour the festivities went on, but there she sat upon the step,
looking down the desolate years gone by, or into a dreamless, hopeless

It was late at night before the dancers ceased, and then they stopped,
not because of a surfeit of joy, but because the time had come for
silence in the camp. It was their first Sabbath of freedom, and like
the great king of Israel, upon the recovery of the ark of God, they
danced before the Lord with all their might.

We had a hard, dusty ride from the encampment at Mongohick to the
Pamunkey. It was glorious, however, in the early morning to sweep
along the winding forest-road, with the head-quarters' flag in
advance. Wherever its silken folds were unfurled, there the two
commanders might be found,--General Meade, commanding the Army of the
Potomac, and General Grant, the commander of all the forces of the
Union in the field. We passed the long line of troops, crossed the
Pamunkey upon a pontoon bridge, rode a mile or two across the verdant
intervale, and halted beneath the oaks, magnolias, and buttonwoods of
an old Virginia mansion. The edifice was reared a century ago. It was
of wood, stately and substantial. How luxurious the surrounding shade;
the smooth lawn, the rolled pathways bordered by box, with moss-roses,
honeysuckle, and jessamines scenting the air, and the daisies dotting
the greensward! The sweep of open land,--viewing it from the wide
portico; the long reach of cultivated grounds; acres of wheat rolling
in the breeze, like waves of the ocean; meadow-lands, smooth and fair;
distant groves and woodlands,--how magnificent! It was an old estate,
inherited by successive generations,--by those whose pride it had been
to keep the paternal acres in the family name. But the sons had all
gone. A daughter was the last heir. She gave her hand, and heart, and
the old homestead,--sheep, horses, a great stock of bovines, and a
hundred negroes or more,--to her husband. The family name became
extinct, and the homestead of seven or eight generations passed into
the hands of one bearing another name.

When McClellan was on the Peninsula, the shadow of the war-cloud swept
past the place. One or two negroes ran away, but at that time they
were not tolerated in camp. The campaign of 1862 left the estate
unharmed. But Sheridan's cavalry, followed by the Sixth Corps, in its
magnificent march from the North Anna, had suddenly and unexpectedly
disturbed the security of the old plantation. There was a rattling
fire from carbines, a fierce fight, men wounded and dead, broken
fences, trodden fields of wheat and clover; ransacked stables,
corn-bins, meat-houses, and a swift disappearing of live stock of
every description.

[Illustration: Foraging.]

But to go back a little. The proprietor of this estate ardently
espoused Secession. His wife was as earnest as he. They hated the
North. They loved the institutions and principles of the South. They
sold their surplus negroes in the Richmond market. They parted
husbands and wives, tore children from the arms of their mothers,
and separated them forever. They lived on unrequited labor, and grew
rich through the breeding of human flesh for the market.

When the war commenced, the owner of this magnificent estate enlisted
in the army and was made a Colonel of cavalry. He furnished supplies
and kept open house for his comrades in arms; but he fell in a cavalry
engagement on the Rappahannock, in October, 1863, leaving a wife and
three young children. The advance of the army, its sudden appearance
on the Pamunkey, left Mrs. ---- no time to remove her personal estate,
or to send her negroes to Richmond for safe keeping. Fitz-Hugh Lee
disputed Sheridan's advance. The fighting began on this estate.
Charges by squadrons and regiments were made through the corn-fields.
Horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, were seized by the cavalrymen. The
garden, filled with young vegetables, was spoiled. In an hour there
was complete desolation. The hundred negroes--cook, steward,
chambermaid, house and field hands, old and young--all left their work
and followed the army. Mrs. ---- was left to do her own work. The
parlors of the stately mansion were taken by the surgeons for a
hospital. The change which Mrs. ---- experienced was from affluence to
abject poverty, from power to sudden helplessness.

Passing by one of the negro cabins on the estate, I saw a middle-aged
colored woman packing a bundle.

"Are you going to move?" I asked.

"Yes, sir; I am going to follow the army."

"What for? Where will you go?"

"I want to go to Washington, to find my husband. He ran away awhile
ago, and is at work in Washington."

"Do you think it right, auntie, to leave your mistress, who has taken
care of you so long?"

She had been busy with her bundle, but stopped now and stood erect
before me, her hands on her hips. Her black eyes flashed.

"Taken care of me! What did she ever do for me? Haven't I been her
cook for more than thirty years? Haven't I cooked every meal she ever
ate in that house? What has she done for me in return? She has sold my
children down South, one after another. She has whipped me when I
cried for them. She has treated me like a hog, sir! Yes, sir, like a

She resumed her work of preparation for leaving. That night she and
her remaining children joined the thousands of colored people who had
already taken sudden leave of their masters.

Returning to the mansion to see the wounded, I met Mrs. ---- in the
hall. She was tall, robust, dignified. She evidently did not fully
realize the great change which had taken place in her affairs. The
change was not complete at that moment. The colored steward was there,
hat in hand; obsequious, bowing politely, and obeying all commands. A
half-hour before I had seen him in the cook's cabin, making
arrangements for leaving the premises, and a half-hour later he was on
his way toward freedom.

"I wish I had gone to Richmond," said the lady. "This is terrible,
terrible! They have taken all my provisions, all my horses and cattle.
My servants are going. What shall I do?" She sank upon the sofa, and
for a moment gave way to her feelings.

"You are better off here than you would be there, with the city full
of wounded, and scant supplies in the market," I remarked.

"You are right, sir. What could I do with my three little children
there? Yet how I am to live here I don't know. When will this terrible
war come to an end?"

But enough of this scene. I have introduced it because it is real, and
because it is but one of many. There are hundreds of Southern homes
where the change has been equally great. Secession is not what they
who started it thought it would be. The penalties for crime always
come, sooner or later. God's scales are correctly balanced. He makes
all things even. For every tear wrung from the slave by injustice, for
every broken heart, for the weeping and wailing of mothers for their
babes sold to the far-off South, for every wrong there is retribution

  "Though the mills of God grind slowly,
     Yet they grind exceeding small;
   Though with patience he stands waiting,
     With exactness grinds he all."



[Sidenote: June, 1864.]

General Grant had tried to break Lee's lines at Cold Harbor, and had
been repulsed with great loss. The Richmond newspapers were jubilant.
"He is floundering in the swamps of Chickahominy. He has reached the
graveyard of Yankee armies," said they.

The newspapers opposed to the war and in sympathy with the Rebellion,
in the North, made Cold Harbor an occasion for glorifying General
McClellan, their candidate for the Presidency.

"Grant is a butcher. He has sacrificed a hundred thousand lives. He
acts under Lincoln's orders. Elect McClellan, and we shall have

The army was dejected, but did not lose heart. It had been repulsed,
had lost many brave men, but it had pushed Lee from the Wilderness to

I conversed freely with the soldiers, and rarely found one who had not
full confidence in the ability of General Grant. Round their bivouac
fires the history of the Army of the Potomac was freely discussed. The
old soldiers, who had fought in the first Cold Harbor battle,
remembered how twenty-seven thousand men held Lee at bay on that
ground through the long hours of the first of the seven days' fight in
front of Richmond; how McClellan kept sixty thousand men on the south
bank of the Chickahominy, inactive,--sending a brigade to their aid
when too late to be of use. They recalled the scenes of those terrible
demoralizing days,--how McClellan kept out of harm's way. When the
battle was raging on the north bank of the Chickahominy he was south
of it; when Sumner was holding Savage Station, McClellan was across
White Oak Swamp; when Glendale was fought, and the Rebels under Hill
routed, McClellan was at Malvern, and while Magruder was madly pushing
his troops on to be slaughtered at Malvern, McClellan was on board a
gunboat; how in the night the whole army was ordered away from a
victorious field, from an impregnable position, while Lee was fleeing
towards Richmond! Soldiers who had come later into the service
remembered the failure at Fredericksburg and the retreat from
Chancellorsville, and in contrast saw that Grant had pluck. It is a
quality of character which soldiers admire. They could also see that
there was system in his movements. They sometimes spoke of him as the
Grand Flanker. "He'll flank Lee out of Richmond yet; see if he don't,"
said a soldier.

If Grant had failed to move Lee from his position in a direct attack,
Lee also had failed to drive Grant from the junction of the roads at
old Cold Harbor,--an important point, as, by opening the railroad from
White House, he could easily bring up his supplies. His army was
intact,--not divided, as McClellan's had been by the dark and sluggish

"What will Grant do?" was a question often discussed around the
mess-tables of brigadiers, colonels, and captains,--by men who were
bound to obey all orders, but who nevertheless had their own ideas as
to the best method of conducting the campaign. The Lieutenant-General
had the whole plan of operations settled for him many times. It was
amusing to see the strategic points indicated on the maps.

"He can swing in north of the city upon the high lands. The
Chickahominy swamps don't extend above Mechanicsville," said one.

"But how will he get his supplies?"

"Open the Fredericksburg road. It is open now from Aquia Creek to the

But Grant, instead of opening the road, determined to break it up
completely, also the Virginia Central, which runs to Gordonsville, to
prevent Lee from moving upon Washington. Up to this time all of his
movements, while they were upon Lee's flank, had not uncovered that
city; but now Washington would take care of itself.

The plan of the campaign had been well matured by General Grant
before he started from Culpepper. He says:--

     "My idea from the start had been to beat the enemy north of
     Richmond if possible. Then after destroying his lines of
     communication north of the James River, to transfer the army to
     the south side, and besiege Lee in Richmond, or follow him south
     if he should retreat."[64]

         [Footnote 64: Grant's Official Report.]

Grant was not willing to sacrifice his men. He resolved to transfer
his army south of the James, and cut Lee's communications. Gregg was
sent in advance, with the cavalry belonging to the Army of the
Potomac, crossing the Chickahominy, and making a rapid movement by the
left flank.

Lee evidently did not mistrust Grant's intention,--judging from the
disposition he made of his troops, and the tardiness with which he
marched to counteract the movement. The transfer of the Eighteenth
Corps from Bermuda Hundred to Cold Harbor undoubtedly had its effect
upon Lee's calculations. It was an indication that Grant intended to
keep Washington covered.

Hunter at this time was advancing from the West. Sheridan, who had
been guarding the road to White House, was withdrawn, and sent with
two divisions of his cavalry up the Virginia Central road to
Gordonsville, hoping to meet Hunter at Charlottesville; but Hunter had
moved on Lynchburg, and the union of the forces was not effected.
Sheridan's movement, however, threw dust in the eyes of Lee.

Grant knew that Petersburg was held by a handful of Rebel
troops,--Wise's Legion. The citizens had been organized into a
battalion, but the place could be taken by surprise. Strong earthworks
had been thrown up around the city early in the war, but the troops in
the city were not sufficient to man them. Grant believed that the
place could be seized without difficulty; and taking a steamer at
White House went to Bermuda Hundred, held a conference with Butler,
who sent Gillmore with thirty-five hundred men across the Appomattox,
near the Point of Rocks, to attack the city from the east. At the same
time, Kautz's division of cavalry was sent, by a long detour, across
the Norfolk Railroad, to enter the town from the south. Having made
these arrangements, Grant returned to his army, which had been lying
behind its intrenchments at Cold Harbor.

Preparations had been quietly making for a rapid march. The Second
Corps had been moved down towards the Chickahominy. The Fifth was sent
to Despatch Station. Gregg and Torbett, with their divisions of
cavalry, were placed at Bottom's Bridge. The Rebel pickets were there
on watch. Meanwhile workmen were busily engaged in opening the
railroad. Lee must have known that Grant had a new movement under way,
the precise nature of which it was difficult to understand.

The movement of Gillmore was a disgraceful failure. He crossed the
Appomattox on the evening of the 10th of June, without molestation,
marched up within sight of the city spires, discovered a formidable
line of breastworks, and without making an attack, turned about and
retired to Bermuda Hundred. Kautz, on the contrary, after a rapid
movement, entered the city from the south, but Gillmore having
retreated, could not hold it, and was obliged to retire.

Grant was justly indignant when he heard of the failure. It was a
golden opportunity lost. Gillmore and Kautz could have taken and held
the place till the arrival of reinforcements. Gillmore was wholly
responsible for the failure. Grant once more hurried to Bermuda
Hundred, to superintend in a second movement, leaving Meade to conduct
the army from Cold Harbor to the James.

The grand movement from the north of Richmond, by which the whole army
was placed south of that city, was begun on the 12th, in the evening.
Wilson's division of cavalry was thrown across the Chickahominy, and
sent to seize Long Bridge in White Oak Swamp. The Fifth Corps
followed. The Rebels struck the Fifth Corps in flank, but Crawford
repulsed them. The Second Corps followed the Fifth. The Sixth and
Ninth crossed at Jones's Bridge, while the fifty miles of wagon trains
swung far to the east and crossed the swamp fifteen miles below. Gregg
covered the flank of the army with his cavalry, concealing the
movement. The men had a hard time, being attacked constantly by the
Rebel cavalry and infantry. It was of the utmost importance to Lee to
know where Grant intended to strike, whether north of the James, by
the Charles City and New Market roads, or across the James at Dutch
Gap, joining his forces with Butler's, or whether his movement was
directly upon Petersburg.

Lee moved on the inner circle with great caution.

The Eighteenth Corps took water transportation from White House, and
arrived at Bermuda Hundred at midnight on the 14th. Grant was there.
He ordered General Smith to proceed at once against Petersburg. If
successful in the seizure of that place, Lee would be compelled to
leave Richmond. It was in the line of his direct communication with
the South. Losing that place, he would have only the Danville road,
and Grant would soon deprive him of that. The Appomattox would be
Grant's line of defence. Seizing it Grant could bide his time. He
could become a patient watcher, and Lee would be a victim to

Grant was quick to see the advantages to be gained. Lee was slower in
arriving at a perception of the fatal consequences to himself which
would result from the loss of the place; but when awakened to a sense
of his danger, acted with great energy. On the other hand, Smith, who
was intrusted with the execution of the enterprise, was dilatory in
the execution. Birney in part is to be held responsible for the delay
in the execution of the order.

"Push on and capture the place at all hazards! You shall have the
whole army to reinforce you," said Grant to Smith. Grant was in such
haste to have Smith move, that he did not stop to write the order. He
believed that Smith could reach Petersburg before Lee could make his
detour through Richmond.

A. P. Hill had already been thrown south of Richmond, and was in front
of Butler. The scouts up the Appomattox reported the rumbling of heavy
trains along the Richmond and Petersburg railroad. Lee was putting his
troops into the cars. The dash of Kautz, and the movement of Gillmore
up to the entrenchments, and his retirement without an attack, had
resulted in the manning of the Petersburg batteries. A brigade had
been thrown down towards City Point, five miles from Petersburg. Soon
after daylight the cavalry came upon the Rebel pickets, by the City
Point railroad, beyond which they found the Rebels with two cannon
behind rifle-pits, in the centre of an open field on Bailey's farm.

Hinks's division of the Eighteenth Corps was composed of colored
troops, who had never been under fire. Would they fight? That was the
important question. After a reconnoissance of the position by General
Hinks, the troops were formed for an assault. The Rebel cannon opened.
The sons of Africa did not flinch, but took their positions with
deliberation. They had been slaves; they stood face to face with their
former masters, or with their representatives. The flag in front of
them waving in the morning breeze was the emblem of oppression; the
banner above them was the flag of the free. Would an abject, servile
race, kept in chains four thousand years, assert their manhood?
Interesting the problem. Their brothers had given the lie to the
assertion of the white man, that negroes wouldn't fight, at Wagner and
Port Hudson. Would they falter?

The Rebels were on a knoll in the field, and had a clear sweep of all
the approaches. The advancing troops must come out from the woods,
rush up the slope, and carry it at the point of the bayonet, receiving
the tempest of musketry and canister.

Hinks deployed his line. At the word of command the colored men
stepped out from the woods, and stood before the enemy. They gave a
volley, and received one in return. Shells crashed through them, but,
unheeding the storm, with a yell they started up the slope upon the
run. They received one charge of canister, one scathing volley of
musketry. Seventy of their number went down, but the living hundreds
rushed on. The Rebels did not wait their coming, but fled towards
Petersburg, leaving one of the pieces of artillery in the hands of
their assailants, who leaped over the works, turned it in a twinkling,
but were not able to fire upon the retreating foe, fleeing in
consternation towards the main line of entrenchments two miles east of
the city.

The colored troops were wild with joy. They embraced the captured
cannon with affectionate enthusiasm, patting it as if it were animate,
and could appreciate the endearment.

"Every soldier of the colored division was two inches taller for that
achievement," said an officer describing it. These regiments were the
Fifth and Twenty-Second United States colored troops, who deserve
honorable mention in history.

Brooks's division now moved up. Martindale was approaching Petersburg
by the river road. By noon the whole corps was in front of the main
line of works. Martindale was on the right, by the river, Brooks in
the centre, Hinks on the left, with Kautz's division of cavalry
sweeping down to the Jerusalem road, which enters Petersburg from the

Smith delayed unaccountably to make the attack. It was a priceless
moment. A reconnoissance showed a line of strong works, in which were
eighteen pieces of field artillery. The forts were well built, and
connected with breastworks, but the Rebels had not soldiers enough to
man them. The citizens of Petersburg had been called out to hold the
town. It is evident that Smith might just as well have accomplished at
one o'clock what was achieved at sunset. He was a brave officer,
fearless in battle, an engineer of ability, reckless of danger, but
failed to see the necessity of impetuous action. The value of time was
left out of his calculations.

General Grant thus speaks of Smith's operations:--

     "General Smith got off as directed, and confronted the enemy's
     pickets near Petersburg before daylight next morning, but for
     some reason that I have never been able to satisfactorily
     understand, did not get ready to assault his main lines until
     near sundown. Then, with a part of his command only, he made the
     assault, and carried the lines northeast of Petersburg from the
     Appomattox River, for a distance of over two and a half miles,
     capturing fifteen pieces of artillery and three hundred
     prisoners. This was about seven P. M."[65]

         [Footnote 65: Grant's Report.]

The main road leading east from Petersburg ascends a hill two miles
out, upon the top of which stands the house of Mr. Dunn. The house is
a few rods south of the road. In front of it is a fort; another south;
a third north, and other works, with heavy embankments and deep
ditches. The woods in front of the house of Mr. Dunn were cut down in
1862, when McClellan was on the Peninsula, and the trunks of the
trees, blackened by fire, are lying there still, forming an abatis.
The ground is nearly level, and the Rebel riflemen have a fair view of
the entire field. It is three hundred and sixty paces from the forts
to the woods, in the edge of which Hinks's division of colored troops
are lying. The guns in the forts by the house of Mr. Dunn give a
direct front fire, while those by the house of Mr. Osborn on the north
enfilade the line. Brooks is in position to move upon the batteries by
Osborn's house, while Martindale is to advance up the railroad.

The troops were placed in line for the attack not far from one
o'clock. They were exposed to the fire of the artillery. Hinks
impatiently waited for orders. Two o'clock passed. The shells from the
Rebel batteries were doing damage.

"Lie down!" said he to his men. They obeyed, and were somewhat

Three o'clock! four o'clock,--five,--still no orders. Duncan's brigade
was lying on both sides of the road, a short distance north of
Buffum's house.

At length the word was given. Duncan threw forward a cloud of
skirmishers. The Rebels opened with renewed vigor from the batteries;
and the infantry, resting their muskets over the breastworks, fired at
will and with great accuracy of aim. Men dropped from the advancing
ranks. It was of little use to fire in return. "On! push on!" was the
order. Hinks and Duncan both entered heartily into the movement. They
had chafed all the afternoon at the delay; but had been admiring
observers of the conduct of the troops under the fire of shells.

The skirmishers advanced quickly within close range, followed by the
main line, moving more slowly over the fallen timber. The skirmishers
gave a yell and pushed on, without waiting for the main body. They
leaped into the ditches in front of the breastworks, and climbed on
their hands and knees up the steep embankments. The Rebels above fired
into their faces, and many a brave fellow rolled back dead to the

The column, perceiving the advance of their comrades, and catching the
enthusiasm, broke into a run, rushing upon the forts, sweeping round
the curtains, scaling the breastworks, and dashing madly at the
Rebels, who fled towards Petersburg. Brooks's men at the same moment
swarmed over the embankments by Osborn's, while Martindale advanced
along the railroad. Fifteen pieces and three hundred men were
captured, of which two thirds of the prisoners and nine cannon were
taken by the colored troops, who wheeled the guns instantly upon the
enemy, and then, seizing the spades and shovels which the Rebels had
left behind, reversed the fortifications and made them a stronghold.

Through the months which followed the colored troops looked back to
this exploit with pride. They never were weary of talking about
it,--how they advanced, how they leaped over the intrenchments, how
the Rebels went down the hill upon the run.

Smith had possession of the fortifications at 7 P. M. He ought to have
moved on. There were no other works between him and Petersburg. Not a
brigade from Lee had reached the city, and the disaster was calculated
to demoralize the Rebel soldiers. The Second Corps had arrived.
Birney, who had the advance of that corps, ought to have been on the
ground by mid-afternoon, and Smith had delayed the assault on his
account. He expected Birney to appear on his left, and attack by the
Jerusalem plank-road; but that officer, by taking the wrong road, went
several miles out of his way. Had he been in position at the time
Smith expected him, the attack would have been made at 3 o'clock
instead of at 7.

Smith's delay to follow up the advantage gained was an error. General
Grant says:--

     "Between the line thus captured and Petersburg there were no
     other works, and there was no evidence that the enemy had
     reinforced Petersburg with a single brigade from any source. The
     night was clear,--the moon shining brightly,--and favorable to
     further operations. General Hancock, with two divisions of the
     Second Corps, had reached General Smith just after dark, and
     offered the service of these troops as he (Smith) might wish,
     waiving rank to the named commander, who, he naturally supposed,
     knew best the position of affairs. But instead of taking these
     troops and pushing on at once into Petersburg, he requested
     General Hancock to relieve a part of his line in the captured
     works, which was done before midnight."[66]

         [Footnote 66: Grant's Report.]

Not till the Rebel outpost on Bailey's farm fell into the hands of the
colored troops did Lee fully comprehend Grant's movement. Then there
were lively movements in the Rebel ranks. All of the railroad cars in
Richmond were put upon the road. Brigades were hurried through the
streets, piled into the cars, and sent whirling towards Petersburg.

While Lee was watching the Charles City and Newmarket roads, north of
the James, expecting Grant in that direction, Butler sent General
Terry, with a portion of the Tenth Corps, on a reconnoissance in front
of Bermuda Hundred. Terry encountered the Rebel pickets, drove them
in, reached the main line, attacked vigorously, broke through,
carrying all before him, and pushed on to the railroad at Port
Walthall Junction, cut down the telegraph, and tore up the track.

This was an advantage not expected by Grant, who at once ordered two
divisions of the Sixth Corps, under Wright, to report to Butler at
Bermuda Hundred; but that officer, instead of moving rapidly, advanced
leisurely, and even halted awhile.

Terry was attacked by A. P. Hill and obliged to fall back. Grant had
the mortification of learning in the evening that, through the
dilatory movements of the troops under Smith and Wright, his plans had

In the counsels of the Almighty the time for final victory had not
come. God reigns, but men act freely nevertheless. There have been
numerous instances during the war where great events hung on little
things. An interesting chapter might be written of the occasions where
the scales were seemingly evenly balanced, and where, to the eye of
faith, the breath of the Almighty turned them for the time.

At Bull Run the victory was lost to the Union arms through the mistake
of Captain Barry.[67] At Pittsburg Landing, if Johnston had attacked
from the northwest instead of the southwest,--if he had deflected his
army a mile,--far different, in all human probability, would have been
the result of that battle.

         [Footnote 67: See "My Days and Nights on the Battle-Field";
         also testimony of Captain Ricketts and Captain Griffin, in
         Report of Committee on Conduct of the War.]

Was the arrival of the Monitor in Hampton Roads on that morning, after
the havoc made by the Merrimac, accidental? How providential rather!
How singular, if not a providence, that the wind should blow so wildly
from the southwest on that night of the withdrawal of the army from
Fredericksburg, wafting the rumbling of Burnside's artillery and the
tramp of a hundred thousand men away from the listening ears of the
enemy within close musket-shot! Events which turn the scales according
to our desires we are inclined to count as special providences: but
the disaster at Bull Run, the sitting down of McClellan in the mud at
Yorktown; the lost opportunities for moving upon Richmond after
Williamsburg and Fair Oaks; also, while the battle was raging at
Gaines's Mills and at Glendale; the pusillanimous retreat from
Malvern; the inaction at Antietam; Hooker's retreat from
Chancellorsville,--from Lee, who also was in retreat,--are
inexplicable events. Meade's waiting at Boonsboro, Lee's escape,
Gillmore's unexplained turning back from Petersburg, Wright's halting
when everything depended on haste, Smith's delay,--all of these are
mysterious providences to us, though to the Rebels they were at the
time plain interpositions of God. God's system is reciprocal;
everything has its use, everything is for a purpose. We read blindly,
but to reason and faith there can be but one result,--the
establishment of justice and righteousness between man and man and his
Maker. There must be a righting of every wrong, an atonement for every

  "The laws of changeless justice bind
     Oppressor with oppressed;
   And, close as sin and suffering joined,
     We march to fate abreast."

It must have been evident to most observers, that as the war
progressed men were brought to a recognition of God, as an overruling
power in the mighty conflict. In the first uprising of the people
there was pure, intense patriotism. The battle of Bull Run stung the
loyal masses of the North, and filled them with a determination to
redeem their tarnished honor. The failure of the Peninsular campaigns,
the terrible disasters in 1862, crushed and bruised men's spirits.
They began to talk of giving freedom to the slave as well as of the
restoration of the Union.

"My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or
destroy slavery," wrote President Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August
22d, 1862, reflecting doubtless the feelings of nearly a majority of
the people. Whittier had already expressed, in the lines quoted on
pages 41, 42, the feelings of those who saw that slavery or the
nation must die.

Two years passed, and Abraham Lincoln gave utterance to other
sentiments in his second inaugural address to the people. Disaster,
suffering, a view of Gettysburg battle-field, the consecration of that
cemetery as the hallowed resting-place of the patriotic dead, had
given him a clear insight of God's truth. Thus spoke he from the steps
of the Capitol:--

     "The Almighty has his own purposes. Woe unto the world because of
     offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to
     that man by whom the offence cometh! If we shall suppose that
     American slavery is one of these offences, which in the
     providence of God must needs come, but which, having continued
     through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he
     gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to
     those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any
     departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a
     living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do
     we pray, that the mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.
     Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by
     the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil
     shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash
     shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three
     thousand years ago, so still must it be said, the judgments of
     the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

It was the recognition of these principles that made the people
patient under the severe afflictions, the disasters, the failures.
Fathers and mothers, weeping for their sons slain in battle, said to
their hearts, "Be still!" for they saw that God was leading the
people, through suffering, to recognize justice and righteousness as
the Republic,--that thus he was saving the nation from perdition.

The heroism of the colored soldiers, and their splendid achievements,
won the respect of the army. Their patriotism was as sublime, their
courage as noble, as that of their whiter-hued comrades boasting
Anglo-Saxon blood, nurtured and refined by centuries of civilization.

On the morning after the battle, an officer, passing through the
hospital, came upon a colored soldier who had lost his left leg.

"Well, my boy, I see that you have lost a leg for glory," said the

[Illustration: One day's labor, one day's income.]

"_No, sir; I have not lost it for glory, but for the elevation of my

It was a reply worthy of historic record, to be read, through the
coming centuries, by every sable son of Africa, and by every man, of
whatever lineage or clime, struggling to better his condition.

The negroes manifested their humanity as well as their patriotism.

"While the battle was raging," said General Hinks, "I saw two wounded
negroes helping a Rebel prisoner, who was more severely wounded, to
the rear."

"Give the water to my suffering soldiers," said the wounded Philip
Sidney. The incident stands upon the historic page, and has been
rehearsed in story and song, as worthy of admiration. Shall not this
act of two unknown colored soldiers also have a place in history?

The time, we trust, will come when men will be rated for what they are
worth,--when superiority will consist, not in brute force, but in
moral qualities. The slaveholders of the South, at the beginning of
the war, esteemed themselves superior to the men of the North, and
immeasurably above their slaves; but in contrast,--to the shame of the
slaveholders,--stands the massacre at Fort Pillow and the humanity of
the colored soldiers in front of Petersburg.

On the night of the 16th, Burnside arrived with the Ninth Corps.
Neill's division of the Sixth also arrived. Burnside attacked the
Rebels, but was repulsed. The lines were reconnoitred, and it was
determined to make a second assault.

About half a mile south of the house of Mr. Dunn was the residence of
Mr. Shand, held by the Rebels. During the cannonade which preceded the
assault, a Rebel officer entered the house and sat down to play a
piano. Suddenly he found himself sitting on the floor, the stool
having been knocked away by a solid shot, without injury to himself.

The house was a large two-story structure, fronting east, painted
white, with great chimneys at either end, shaded by buttonwoods and
gum-trees, with a peach-orchard in rear. Fifty paces from the
front-door was a narrow ravine, fifteen or twenty feet deep, with a
brook, fed by springs, trickling northward. West of the house, about
the same distance, was another brook, the two joining about twenty
rods north of the house. A Rebel brigade held this tongue of land,
with four guns beneath the peach-trees. Their main line of breastworks
was along the edge of the ravine east of the house. South, and on
higher ground, was a redan,--a strong work with two guns, which
enfiladed the ravine. Yet General Burnside thought that if he could
get his troops into position, unperceived, he could take the tongue of
land, which would break the Rebel line and compel them to evacuate the
redan. Several attempts had been made by the Second Corps to break the
line farther north, but without avail. This movement, if not
successful, would be attended with great loss; nevertheless, it was
determined to make the assault.

It was past midnight when General Potter led his division of the Ninth
down into the ravine. The soldiers threw aside their knapsacks,
haversacks, tin plates and cups, and moved stealthily. Not a word was
spoken. The watches of the officers in command had been set to a
second. They reached the ravine where the pickets were stationed, and
moved south, keeping close under the bank. Above them, not fifteen
paces distant, were the Rebel pickets, lying behind a bank of sand.

If their listening ears caught the sound of a movement in the ravine,
they gave no alarm, and the troops took their positions undisturbed.
The moon was full. Light clouds floated in the sky. Not a sound, save
the distant rumble of wagons, or an occasional shot from the pickets,
broke the silence of the night. The attacking column was composed of
Griffin's and Curtin's brigades,--Griffin on the right. He had the
Seventeenth Vermont and Eleventh New Hampshire in his front line, and
the Ninth New Hampshire and Thirty-Second Maine in the second. Curtin
had six regiments,--the Thirty-Sixth Massachusetts, and the
Forty-Fifth and Forty-Eighth Pennsylvania, in his front line; the
Seventh Rhode Island, Twelfth New York, and Fifty-Eighth Massachusetts
in his second line.

[Illustration: Petersburg July 17th 1864.]

The soldiers were worn with hard marching and constant fighting, and
had but just arrived from City Point, yet they took their positions
without flinching. The officers gazed at the hands of their watches in
the moonlight, and saw them move on to the appointed time,--fifteen
minutes past three. Twenty paces,--a spring up the steep bank would
carry the men to the Rebel pickets; fifty paces to the muzzles of the
enemy's guns.

"All ready!" was whispered from man to man. They rose from the ground
erect. Not a gun-lock clicked. The bayonet was to do the work.

"_Hurrah!_" The lines rise like waves of the sea. There are straggling
shots from the Rebel pickets, four flashes of light from the Rebel
cannon by the house, two more from the redan, one volley from the
infantry, wildly aimed, doing little damage. On,--up to the
breastworks! Over them, seizing the guns! A minute has passed. Four
guns, six hundred and fifty prisoners, fifteen hundred muskets, and
four stands of colors are the trophies. The Rebel line is broken. The
great point is gained, compelling Lee to abandon the ground which he
has held so tenaciously.

In the Fifty-Seventh Massachusetts was a soldier named Edward M.
Schneider. When the regiment was formed he was a student in Phillips
Academy, Andover. From motives of patriotism, against the wishes of
friends, he left the literature of the ancients and the history of the
past, to become an actor in the present and to do what he could for
future good. His father is the well-known missionary of the American
Board at Aintab, Turkey.

On the march from Annapolis, though but seventeen years old, and
unaccustomed to hardship, he kept his place in the ranks, from the
encampment by the waters of the Chesapeake to the North Anna, where he
was slightly wounded. The surgeons sent him to Port Royal for
transportation to Washington, but of his own accord he returned to
his regiment, joining it at Cold Harbor. While preparing for the
charge upon the enemy's works, on the 17th instant, he said to the

"I intend to be the first one to enter their breastworks."

The brave young soldier tried to make good his words, leading the

He was almost there,--not quite: almost near enough to feel the hot
flash of the Rebel musketry in his face; near enough to be covered
with sulphurous clouds from the cannon, when he fell, shot through the

He was carried to the hospital, with six hundred and fifty of his
division comrades; but lay all night with his wound undressed, waiting
his turn without a murmur. The chaplain looked at his wound.

"What do you think of it?"

Seeing that it was mortal, the chaplain was overcome with emotion. He
remembered the last injunction of the young soldier's sister: "I
commit him to your care."

The young hero interpreted the meaning of the tears,--that there was
no hope.

"Do not weep," said he; "it is God's will. I wish you to write to my
father, and tell him that I have tried to do my duty to my country and
to God."

He disposed of his few effects, giving ten dollars to the Christian
Commission, twenty dollars to the American Board, and trifles to his
friends. Then, in the simplicity of his heart, said,--

"I have a good many friends, schoolmates, and companions. They will
want to know where I am,--how I am getting on. You can let them know
that I am gone, and that I die content. And, chaplain, the boys in the
regiment,--I want you to tell them to stand by the dear old flag! And
there is my brother in the navy,--write to him and tell him to stand
by the flag and cling to the cross of Christ!"

The surgeon examined the wound.

"It is my duty to tell you that you will soon go home," said he.

"Yes, doctor, I am going home. I am not afraid to die. I don't know
how the valley will be when I get to it, but it is all bright now."

Then, gathering up his waning strength, he repeated the verse often
sung by the soldiers, who, amid all the whirl and excitement of the
camp and battle-field, never forget those whom they have left behind
them,--mother, sister, father, brother. Calmly, clearly, distinctly he
repeated the lines,--the chorus of the song:

  "Soon with angels I'll be marching,
     With bright laurels on my brow;
   I have for my country fallen,--
     Who will care for sister now?"

The night wore away. Death stole on. He suffered intense pain, but not
a murmur escaped his lips. Sabbath morning dawned, and with the coming
of the light he passed away.

"I die content," said Wolfe, at Quebec, when told that the French were

"Stand up for Jesus," said Dudley Tyng, in his last hours: words which
have warmed and moved thousands of Christian hearts.

"Let me die with my face to the enemy," was the last request of
General Rice, Christian, soldier, and patriot, at Spottsylvania; but
equally worthy of remembrance are the words of Edward M.
Schneider,--boy, student, youthful leader of the desperate charge at
Petersburg. They are the essence of all that Wolfe and Tyng and Rice
uttered in their last moments. His grave is near the roadside, marked
by a rude paling. The summer breeze sweeps through the sighing pines
above the heaved-up mound. Mournful, yet sweet, the music of the
wind-harp;--mournful, in that one so young, so full of life and hope
and promise, should go so soon; sweet, in that he did his work so
nobly. Had he lived a century he could not have completed it more
thoroughly or faithfully. His was a short soldier's life, extending
only from the peaceful shades of Andover to the intrenchments of
Petersburg; but O, how full!

Will the tree of Liberty prematurely decay, if nourished by such
life-giving blood? It is costly, but the fruit is precious. For pain
and anguish, waste and desolation, we have such rich recompense as
this,--such examples of patriotic ardor, heroic daring, and Christian
fortitude, that make men nobler, nations greater, and the world better
by their contemplation.

I have stood by the honored dust of those whose names are great in
history, whose deeds and virtues are commemorated in brass and marble,
who were venerated while living and mourned when dead; but never have
I felt a profounder reverence for departed worth than for this young
Christian soldier, uncoffined, unshrouded, wrapped only in his
blanket, and sleeping serenely beneath the evergreen pines.

His last words--the messages to his comrades, to his father, and his
brother--are worthy to live so long as the flag of our country shall
wave or the cross of Christ endure.

"Stand up for the dear old flag and cling to the cross of Christ!"
They are the emblems of all our hopes for time and eternity. Short,
full, rounded, complete his life. Triumphant, glorious his death!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Petersburg July 30th 1864.]

Grant determined to assault all along the line on the morning of the
18th, as nearly the entire army had arrived. Lee, however, fell back
during the night to a new position nearer the city.

But the attack was made. The Eighteenth, Second, and Sixth Corps
gained no advantage; but the Ninth and Fifth drove the Rebels across
the Norfolk Railroad, and reached the Jerusalem plank-road. The
position of the besieging army is shown by the accompanying diagram.

On the 21st of June Grant attempted to take the Weldon Railroad with
the Second and Sixth Corps, but was opposed by the Rebels on Davis's
farm, beyond the Jerusalem road, and a battle ensued.

[Illustration: Army corps chapel near Petersburg.]

The engagement was renewed the next day. There was a gap in the
lines, of which A. P. Hill took advantage, and attacked Barlow's
division in flank. A severe struggle followed, in which Gibbon's
division lost four guns. The battle was continued on the 23d, but no
farther progress was made. The troops had been fighting, marching,
or building breastworks for forty-seven days, without interruption.
Daily and nightly, from the Rapidan to the Weldon road, they had
been in constant action. The troops were exhausted. Grant had lost
seventy thousand. The reinforcements which had reached him were
inexperienced. Men when physically prostrated are indifferent to
commands. Discipline becomes lax. Hundreds of efficient officers had
fallen during the campaign. Brigades were commanded by majors,
regiments by captains, companies by corporals. The army needed
thorough reorganization. The right of the line was sufficiently near
to Petersburg to commence siege operations. Intrenchments were
accordingly thrown up and guns mounted, and the army enjoyed
comparative rest. But it was a rest under fire, day and night, the
Ninth and Eighteenth Corps especially being constantly harassed by
the enemy, who were bitterly opposed to the employment of colored
troops. It was systematic hostility,--ingrained, revengeful,
relentless. They would not recognize or treat them as prisoners of
war. Slavery long before had proclaimed that black men had no rights
which white men were bound to respect. For them was no mercy; only
the fate of their compatriots at Fort Pillow awaited them, if taken
in arms against their former masters, though wearing the uniform of
the republic which had given them freedom and sent them to battle.

There was a tacit understanding between the soldiers of the Fifth and
the enemy in front of them that there should be no picket-firing. They
filled their canteens at the same spring and had friendly
conversations. But not so in front of the Ninth, in which thirty were
wounded or killed every twenty-four hours. Such was the unnecessary
sacrifice of life to this Moloch of our generation! There were those
in the army, as well as out of it, who were not willing that the
colored soldier should be recognized as a man.

"The negroes ought not to be allowed to fight," said a Massachusetts
captain to me.

"Why not, sir?"

"Because the Rebels hate us for making them soldiers," was the reply;
and adding, dubiously, "I don't know but that the negroes have souls;
but I look upon them as a lower order of beings than ourselves."

The old prejudice remained. We were not willing to deal fairly. We
asked the negro to help fight our battles, but we were willing to pay
him only half a soldier's wages, as if we feared this simple act of
justice might be construed as an acknowledgment of his social as well
as civil equality.

Through all the weary months of fighting and exposure the wants of the
soldiers were greatly relieved by the Sanitary and Christian
Commissions. The warm-hearted people in the North never ceased their
contributions. The machinery of both those excellent organizations was
so perfect that the soldiers had quick relief.

The power of any force--moral and religious as well as mechanical--is
in proportion to the directness of its application. I recall, in this
connection, a hot, dry, sultry day. The sun shone from a brazen sky.
The grass and shrubs were scorched, withered, and powdered with dust,
which rose in clouds behind every passing wagon. Even the aspens were
motionless, and there was not air enough to stir the long, lithe
needles of the pines. The birds of the forest sought the deepest
shade, and hushed even their twitter. It was difficult for men in
robust health to breathe, and they picked out the coolest places and
gave themselves up to the languor of the hour. It required an earnest
effort to do anything. Yet through this blazing day men crouched in
the trenches from morning till night, or lay in their shallow
rifle-pits, watching the enemy,--parched, broiled, burned, not daring
to raise their heads or lift their hands. To do so was to suffer death
or wounds.

The hospital tents, though pitched in the woods, were like ovens,
absorbing and holding the heat of the sun, whose rays the branches of
the trees but partially excluded. Upon the ground lay the sick and
wounded, fevered and sore, with energies exhausted, perspiration
oozing from their faces, nerves quivering and trembling, pulses faint
and feeble, and life ebbing away. Their beds were pine boughs. They
lay as they came from the battle-field, wearing their soiled, torn,
and bloody garments, and tantalized by myriads of flies.

The surgeons in charge were kind-hearted and attentive. They used all
means in their power to make their patients comfortable. Was this the
place where the sick were to regain their health, far from home and
friends! With nothing to cheer them, hope was dying out, and
despondency setting in; and memory, ever busy, was picturing the dear
old home scenes, so painfully in contrast with their dismal present.

It was the Sabbath, and there were many among the suffering thousands
who had been accustomed to observe the day as one of worship and rest
from toil and care. In imagination they heard the pealing of
church-bells, the grand and solemn music of the organ, or the hum of
children's voices in the Sabbath school.

There were no clouds to shut out the sun, but the brazen dome of the
sky glowed with steady heat. The Christian Commission tent had been
besieged all day by soldiers, who wanted onions, pickles, lemons,
oranges,--anything sour, anything to tempt the taste. A box of oranges
had been brought from City Point the night before. It was suggested
that they be distributed at once to the sick and wounded. "Certainly,
by all means," was the unanimous voice of the Commission. I
volunteered to be the distributor.

Go with me through the tents of the sufferers. Some are lying down,
with eyes closed, faces pale, and cheeks sunken. The paleness
underlies the bronze which the sun has burned upon them. Some are half
reclining on their elbows, bolstered by knapsacks, and looking into
vacancy,--thinking, perhaps, of home and kin, and wondering if they
will ever see them again. Others are reading papers which delegates of
the Commission have distributed. Some of the poor fellows have but one
leg; others but the stump of a thigh or an arm, with the lightest
possible dressing to keep down the fever. Yesterday those men, in the
full tide of life, stood in the trenches confronting the enemy. Now
they are shattered wrecks, having, perhaps, wife and children or
parents dependent upon them; with no certainty of support for
themselves even but the small bounty of government, which they have
earned at such fearful sacrifice. But their future will be brightened
with the proud consciousness of duty done and country saved,--the
surviving soldier's chief recompense for all the toil and suffering
and privation of the camp and field.

As we enter the tent they catch a sight of the golden fruit. There is
a commotion. Those half asleep rub their eyes, those partially
reclining sit up, those lying with their backs toward us turn over to
see what is going on, those so feeble that they cannot move ask what
is the matter. They gaze wistfully at our luscious burden. Their eyes
gleam, but not one of them asks for an orange. They wait. Through the
stern discipline of war they have learned to be patient, to endure, to
remain in suspense, to stand still and be torn to pieces. They are
true heroes!

"Would you like an orange, sir?"

"Thank you."

It is all he can say. He is lying upon his back. A minnie bullet has
passed through his body, and he cannot be moved. He has a noble brow,
a manly countenance. Tears moisten his eyes and roll down his sunken
cheeks as he takes it from my hand.

"It is a gift of the Christian Commission, and I accept your thanks
for those who made the contribution."

"Bully for the Christian Commission," shouts a wide-awake, jolly
soldier, near by, with an ugly wound in his left arm.

"Thank you," "God bless the Commission," "I say, Bill, aren't they
bully?" are the expressions I hear behind me.

In one of the wards I came upon a soldier who had lost his leg the day
before. He was lying upon his side; he was robust, healthy, strong,
and brave. The hours dragged heavily. I stood before him, and yet he
did not see me. He was stabbing his knife into a chip, with nervous
energy, trying to forget the pain, to bridge over the lonely hours,
and shut the gloom out of the future. I touched his elbow; he looked

"Would you like an orange?"

"By jingo! that is worth a hundred dollars!"

He grasped it as a drowning man clutches a chip.

"Where did this come from?"

"The Christian Commission had a box arrive last night."

"The Christian Commission? My wife belongs to that. She wrote to me
about it last week,--that they met to make shirts for the Commission."

"Then you have a wife?"

"Yes, sir, and three children."

His voice faltered. Ah! the soldier never forgets home. He dashed away
a tear, took in a long breath, and was strong again.

"Where do you hail from, soldier?"

"From old Massachusetts. I had a snug little home upon the banks of
the Connecticut; but I told my wife that I didn't feel just right to
stay there, when I was needed out here, and so I came, and here I am.
I shall write home, and tell Mary about the Christian Commission. I
have been wishing all day that I had an orange; I knew it was no use
to wish. I didn't suppose there was one in camp; besides, here I am,
not able to move a peg. I thank you, sir, for bringing it. I shall
tell my wife all about it."

These expressions of gratitude were not indifferent utterances of
courtesy, but came from full hearts. Those sun-burned sufferers
recognized the religion of Jesus in the gift. The Christian religion,
thus exemplified, was not a cold abstraction, but a reality, providing
for the health of the body as well as the soul. It was easy to
converse with those men concerning their eternal well-being. They
could not oppose a Christianity that manifested such regard for their
bodily comfort. Such a religion commended itself to their hearts and
understandings. Thus the Commission became a great missionary
enterprise. Farina, oranges, lemons, onions, pickles, comfort-bags,
shirts, towels, given and distributed in the name of Jesus, though
designed for the body, gave strength to the soul. To the quickened
senses of a wounded soldier parched with fever, far from home and
friends, an onion was a stronger argument for the religion which
bestowed it than the subtle reasoning of Renan, and a pickle sharper
than the keenest logic of Colenso!

Visiting Washington one day, I passed through several of the
hospitals, and was present when the delegates came to the
head-quarters of the Commission and narrated their experiences of the
day. About fifty were present. Their work was washing and dressing
wounds, aiding the sick and wounded in every way possible,
distributing reading matter, writing letters for those unable to
write, with religious exercises and conversation. No delegate was
allowed to give jellies or wines as food, or to hold meetings in any
ward, without permission of the surgeon in charge, which usually was
granted. It was a rule of the Commission, and not of the Medical
Department. The design was to do everything possible for the good of
the men, and nothing for their hurt. One delegate said that he found
fully one third of the men in his wards professing Christians. They
were glad to see him, and rejoiced to obtain religious reading. A few
days before he had given an old man a book entitled the "Blood of

"I have found Jesus, and O, he is so precious!" said the old soldier.

Another delegate said: "I found among the patients a minister who
enlisted as a private. He has been in the hospital sixteen months, and
has maintained his Christian character through all the trials of camp
and hospital life. I found some convalescents playing cards.

"'My boys, you don't play cards on Sunday, do you?'

"'It isn't Sunday, is it? Why, hang it all, chaplain, we can't keep
track of the days in the army.'

"I talked to them of home and of their mothers. The tears rolled down
their cheeks. They put up their cards, and read the papers I gave

"I never saw men so ready to receive religious instruction," said
another delegate, "or who were so easily impressed with its truths. I
am satisfied that this is a golden opportunity to the Christian
Church. I found a young man to-day who said, 'I want you, chaplain, to
tell me just what I have to do to be a Christian. I will do just what
you say. I want to be a Christian.' It was a sincere desire. I find
that the Catholics are just as eager to have religious instruction as

"I found a sergeant from Massachusetts, very low, but he met me with a
smile. 'It is all right, I am happy, and I die content. Tell my
friends so,'" reported another.

"I have been over the river to see some detached regiments," said a
chaplain. "I asked one noble-looking soldier if he loved Jesus?

"'No, I don't.'

"'Are you married?'

"'No; but I have a sister. She isn't a Christian, but she wrote to me
that she wanted me to become one, and I wrote to her that I wanted her
to be one; and I guess, chaplain, that everybody who believes the
Bible feels just so. If they ain't good themselves, they want their
friends to be.'

"I found another soldier writing a letter on a little bit of paper. I
gave him a full sheet and an envelope.

"'Are you a Christian Commission man?'


"'You are a d---- good set of fellows.'

"'Hold on, soldier, not quite so hard.'

"'I beg your pardon, chaplain, I didn't mean to swear, but, darn it
all, I have got into the habit out here in the army, and it comes
right out before I think.'

"'Won't you try to leave it off?'

"'Yes, chaplain, I will.'"

Said another delegate: "I went among the men, and they all gathered
round me with great eagerness. They were a little disappointed,
however, when they saw that I was a delegate of the Commission. They
took me to be the paymaster.

"But I have something that is better than gold."

"'Give me some of it,' said one, who was the son of a Baptist
minister, a tender-hearted Christian."

One, just returned from the army at Petersburg, said: "I came across a
drummer-boy of one of the Massachusetts regiments, a member of the
Sabbath school at home, who lost his Bible during the campaign, but he
has written the heads of his drum all over with texts of Scripture
from memory. He beats a Gospel drum."

An hour was passed with such narration interspersed with devotional
exercises. Glorious their work! Sweet the music of their parting

  "Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee;
   E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
   Still all my song shall be,
   Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee."



[Sidenote: June, 1864.]

The Norfolk Railroad enters Petersburg through a ravine. In the attack
upon the enemy's lines, on the 18th of June, the hollow was gained and
held by Burnside's troops, their most advanced position being about
four hundred feet from the Rebel line.

Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pleasants, commanding the Forty-Eighth
Pennsylvania Regiment, a practical miner, conceived the idea of
excavating a tunnel under the Rebel works and exploding a mine. He
submitted the plan to Burnside, who approved it. General Meade said it
could not be done. Major Duane, of the Engineers, laughed at the idea.
Other officers, of high rank, scouted the project. Colonel Pleasants
was fully convinced of its practicability, and set his men to work.

He made application at head-quarters for a theodolite to make a
triangulation of the distance, but was refused its use. He was obliged
to send to Washington to obtain one. No facilities were granted him.
He could neither obtain boards, lumber, or mining-picks. But his
regiment, numbering four hundred men, were mostly miners, and he was
confident of success. Work was accordingly commenced on the 25th of
June, at noon. No wheelbarrows being provided, the men were obliged to
make hand-barrows of cracker-boxes. But they were at home in the
earth, and not easily discouraged by difficulties or want of proper
tools to work with, and pushed forward the gallery, which was about
four and a half feet high and the same in width, with great zeal. The
earth brought out was covered with bushes, to conceal it from the
Rebels, who by its fresh appearance might suspect where the mine was
being sunk, as it was known throughout the army that mining operations
had been commenced, and the Rebels had heard of it. The Richmond
papers published the news, and it was heralded through the North.

At every discharge of the Rebel artillery there was danger of the
caving in of the earth; but Pleasants' daring burrowers crept steadily
forward, till the noise overhead, as well as previous measurements,
convinced them that they were immediately under the Rebel works. The
main gallery was five hundred and ten feet in length, beside which
were two lateral galleries, one thirty-seven and the other
thirty-eight feet in length.

A short distance from the entrance, inside of the Union
fortifications, a vertical shaft was sunk, in which a fire was kept
constantly burning, to produce ventilation. Eight magazines were
placed in the lateral galleries, charged with four tons of powder,
strongly tamped, and connected by fuses. The mine was completed on the
23d of July.

Grant planned an assault upon the Rebel line, independently of the
explosion of the mine. He sent two divisions of the Second Corps, with
two divisions of Sheridan's cavalry, to the Army of the James, at Deep
Bottom, where an attack was made, four guns captured, and the line
extended from Deep Bottom to the New Market road. Lee attempted to
recover his lost ground, but failed. Grant, in this expedition,
employed an immense train of empty baggage-wagons, which, passing in
sight of the Rebel pickets, made the movement an enigma to Lee. The
Rebels in the fortifications had commenced a counter-mine, but
suspended labor.

General Burnside wished that the colored troops of his division, under
General Ferrero, should lead in the assault after the mine was
exploded; and the troops were drilled with that special object in
view. He believed that they would make a successful charge. They were
fresh, had taken but little part in the campaign, and were desirous of
emulating the example of their comrades of the Eighteenth Corps. The
white troops were worn with hard marching, fighting, and exposure in
the trenches in front of Petersburg, where they had been on the watch
day and night. The lines were so near to the Rebels that a man could
not show his head above the parapet without being shot. They had
acquired the habit of taking their positions by covered approaches,
and had lost the resolute confidence and fearlessness manifested at
the beginning of the campaigns.

General Meade objected to Burnside's plan.

"I objected," says Meade, "not that I had any reason to believe that
the colored troops would not do their duty as well as the white
troops, but that they were a new division, and had never been under
fire, had never been tried, and, as this was an operation which I knew
beforehand was one requiring the very best troops, I thought it
impolitic to trust to a division of whose reliability we had no

         [Footnote 68: Attack on Petersburg, Report of Committee on
         Conduct of the War, p. 4.]

The matter was referred to General Grant, who says:--

     "General Burnside wanted to put his colored division in front,
     and I believe if he had done so it would have been a success.
     Still I agreed with General Meade in his objections to the plan.
     General Meade said that if we put the colored troops in front (we
     had only one division), and it should prove a failure, it would
     then be said, probably, that we were shoving those people ahead
     to get killed, because we did not care anything about them. But
     that could not be said if we put white troops in front."[69]

         [Footnote 69: Ibid., p. 5.]

General Burnside had three divisions of white troops; as there were
reasons for assigning either of the divisions to lead the assault,
lots were cast, and the duty fell upon General Ledlie.

Burnside was directed by Meade to form his troops during the night,
and be ready to assault at daylight on the 30th. His pioneers were to
be equipped to destroy the enemy's abatis. Intrenching tools were
provided, so that if successful in breaking the Rebel lines, the
position might be quickly secured.

Portions of the Fifth and Eighteenth Corps were brought up to support
the Ninth.

The field artillery was to be harnessed for immediate use. The siege
artillery was to open a heavy fire. The Second Corps, at Deep Bottom,
was to move to the rear of the Eighteenth, and be ready for any
emergency. Sheridan, with the cavalry, was ordered to attack south and
east of Petersburg. The Engineers were to have sand-bags, gabions,
and fascines in readiness. The mine was to be fired at half past
three, and simultaneously with the explosion the assaulting column was
to rush into the gap.

"Promptitude, rapidity of execution, and cordial co-operation are
essential to success," wrote General Meade, in his concluding orders.

The movements and preparations were completed before three o'clock.
The moon was shining brightly, but the Rebels made no discovery of the
change of position and massing of troops in rear of the Ninth Corps.
The heights near the hospitals were covered by teamsters, ambulance
drivers, surgeons, and civilians, waiting with intense interest for
the expected upheaval.

Half past three came, and the fuse was lighted. A stream of fire ran
quickly along the gallery, but no explosion followed. Had the fuse
failed? Lieutenant Douty and Sergeant Reese went boldly in to
ascertain, and found the fire had gone out one hundred feet from the
entrance. The fuse was relighted, but it was almost five o'clock, and
the anxious spectators began to speculate as to the cause of the

Grant and Meade were at the front. The troops thought the whole thing
a failure, and began to ridicule the Pennsylvania miners.

Fleming's Rebel brigade, composed of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and
Twenty-Second North Carolinians, was asleep over the mine. The pickets
only were awake. Pegram's battery was also in the redoubt.

Finally there came a trembling of the earth, then a bursting forth of
volcanic flames and rolling up of dense clouds of smoke. A mountain of
rubbish rose in the air. Earth, men, planks, timbers, cannon, shot and
shell, were hurled upward and outward! The sight was terribly grand.
To add to the frightfulness of the eruption and the grandeur of the
spectacle, one hundred guns instantly belched forth their thunders.
The Rebels were surprised and panic-stricken for the moment, and ran
to escape the falling earth and timbers, leaving their artillery
silent. A huge gap had been made in the Rebel works, four or five
hundred feet in length and twenty feet in depth.

Success depended upon the immediate occupation of the breach. Ten
minutes passed before Ledlie moved, and then he only advanced to the
crater. The Rebels offered no opposition. The important point to be
gained and held was a ridge four hundred yards beyond. Ledlie still
halted in the excavation. Wilcox and Potter soon followed him, and the
three divisions became intermixed, and general confusion prevailed. An
hour of precious time was lost. Ledlie made no attempt to move in or
out, and Potter and Wilcox could not go forward while he blocked the

The enemy gradually recovered from their stupor, and began to fire
from the hills, and batteries of artillery were brought up on the
right and left to enfilade the crater: but not a cannon-shot was fired
by the Rebels till after seven o'clock. The supporting brigades
meanwhile were crowding upon those in front. The colored troops were
ordered forward. They also entered the crater, which only added to the
confusion. Potter succeeded in freeing his troops from Ledlie's, and
pushed on toward the crest, but being unsupported, he was obliged to
retire, driven back by the canister which the enemy poured into his
ranks from the new position they had taken on Cemetery Hill. The Rebel
fire increased. Eight, nine, ten o'clock passed; their batteries were
throwing a concentrated fire of shells and solid shot into the mingled
human mass. Mahone's and Ransom's divisions of infantry were hurried
to the top of the ridge, and mortars were brought into play, and the
crater became a terrible scene of slaughter. Meade, seeing that
further attempt to take the ridge would be not only useless, but a
waste of life, permitted Burnside to withdraw his troops at
discretion. Yet to retire was to run the gauntlet of almost certain
death. The space between the abyss and Burnside's breastworks was
swept by a cross-fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry. To
remain in the crater was sure destruction; to advance was impossible;
to retreat the only alternative. Permission was given the troops to
retire. By degrees they fled to the rear; but it was two o'clock in
the afternoon before the place was wholly evacuated.

Forty-seven officers and three hundred and seventy-two soldiers were
killed, one hundred and twenty-four officers and fifteen hundred and
fifty-five soldiers wounded, and nineteen hundred missing; a total
loss of over four thousand men, and no substantial advantage gained.

The loss of the Rebels by the explosion was very great, as also by the
heavy artillery fire.

The causes of the failure, as decided by the Committee on the Conduct
of the War, were: the injudicious formation of the troops assaulting;
the halting of Ledlie; lack of proper engineers; and the want of a
competent head at the scene of assault.

The reasons why the attack ought to have been successful are thus

     "1. The evident surprise of the enemy at the time of the
     explosion of the mine, and for some time after.

     "2. The comparatively small force in the enemy's works.

     "3. The ineffective fire of the enemy's artillery and musketry,
     there being scarcely any for about thirty minutes after the
     explosion, and our artillery being just the reverse as to time
     and power.

     "4. The fact that our troops were able to get two hundred yards
     beyond the crater, towards the west, but could not remain there
     or proceed farther for want of supports."[70]

         [Footnote 70: Report of Committee.]

It was a humiliating, disgraceful failure, which filled the North with
mourning. The Rebels manifested their hatred of the colored troops by
shooting some of them even after they had surrendered. The Richmond
_Enquirer_ said that the assaulting column was led by colored troops,
who rushed on with the cry of "No quarter," but the assertion is not
true. The colored troops were not ordered forward till late in the
morning, and then advanced but a few steps beyond the crater. The
_Enquirer_ of August 1st doubtless gave expression to the sentiments
of the Southern people respecting the treatment to be accorded to
colored soldiers. Said that paper:--

     "Grant's war cry of "No quarter," shouted by his negro soldiers,
     was returned with interest, we regret to hear not so heavily as
     it ought to have been, since some negroes were captured instead
     of being shot.... Let every salient we are called upon to defend
     be a Fort Pillow, and butcher every negro that Grant hurls
     against our brave troops, and permit them not to soil their hands
     with the capture of one negro."

It was the opinion of many officers who saw the advance of the
colored division, that, had they been permitted to lead the assault,
the crest would have been seized and held. Such is the opinion of the
Lieutenant-General already given.

The onset promised to be successful, but ended in one of the severest
disasters of the war, without any compensation worthy of mention.

Sad the scene on that afternoon. The ground was thickly strewn with
dying and dead. The sun blazed from a cloudless sky, and the heat was
intense. The cries of the wounded were heart-rending. Officers and men
on both sides stopped their ears, and turned away heart-sick at the
sight. It was an exhibition of the horrible features of war which,
once seen, is forever remembered.

The operation of Grant upon the enemy's lines of communication was
beginning to be felt in Richmond. Wilson and Kautz on the Danville and
Weldon roads, Sheridan on the Virginia Central, and Hunter in the
vicinity of Lynchburg, altogether had caused an interruption of
communication which advanced the prices of produce in the markets of
that city.

It is amusing to read the papers published during the summer of 1864.
All of Grant's movements from the Rapidan to Petersburg were retreats.
Lee, in his despatches to Jeff Davis from the Wilderness, said that
Grant was retreating towards Fredericksburg. It happened, however,
that Lee found Grant attacking his lines at Spottsylvania on the
following morning. "The enemy is falling back from Spottsylvania,"
said the _Examiner_, when Grant moved to the North Anna.

"Grant is floundering in the swamp of the Chickahominy; he has reached
McClellan's graveyard," said the Rebel press, when he was at Cold

"Grant's attitude before Petersburg is that of a baffled, if not a
ruined man," said the Richmond _Enquirer_.

"We can stand such a siege as Grant thinks he has established for
twenty years to come," was the language of the Petersburg _Express_.

Another number of the _Enquirer_, commenting upon the Richmond
markets, revealed more clearly the truth.

"The extortion _now_ practised upon the people," said the _Enquirer_
of June 30th, "in every department of necessary supply, is frightful.
It is a pitiable sight to see the families of this city swarming in
the markets for food, and subjected to the merciless exactions of this
unrestrained avarice."

The fortunes of the Confederacy were becoming desperate. Sherman had
advanced from Chattanooga, driving Johnston to Atlanta. The removal of
Johnston, and the appointment of an officer in his stead who would
fight the Yankees, was demanded. Jeff Davis heeded the cry, removed
Johnston, and appointed Hood to succeed him. The _Enquirer_ was
jubilant. Said that sheet:--

     'There must be an end of retreating, and the risk of defeat must
     be encountered, or victory can never be won. The rule of
     Cunctator must have an end, for the rashness of Scipio can only
     end this war. If General Johnston has been relieved, the country
     will accept this action of the President as a determination
     henceforth to accept the risk of battle, as involving the fate
     and fixing the destiny of the Confederacy. To go forward and to
     fight is now the motto of our armies, and since Johnston would
     not advance, Hood has no other alternative, for his appointment
     has but one meaning, and that is to give battle to the foe....
     Grant is hopelessly crippled at Petersburg, and Lee has but a few
     days ago thundered his artillery in the corporate limits of
     Washington City. Grant, while apparently advancing, has been
     really retreating, and this day is in a position from which he
     can advance no farther, and from which his retreat is only a
     question of time. Grant is exhausting the malice of
     disappointment and the chagrin of defeat in bombarding
     Petersburg; but Sherman, unless defeated by Hood, must march into
     Atlanta. The movements of General Lee have so weakened the army
     of Grant, that it is more an object of pity than of fear."[71]

         [Footnote 71: Richmond _Enquirer_, July 19, 1864.]

Early in the campaign Grant, seeing the necessity of keeping the ranks
of the Army of the Potomac full, had ordered the Nineteenth Corps,
then on the Mississippi, to take transports for the James. His policy
was concentration combined with activity. His foresight and prudence
in this matter were of inestimable value, as will be seen in the
ensuing chapter.



[Sidenote: July, 1864.]

The armies of the Union in Virginia, in the West, beyond the
Mississippi, and along the Gulf were controlled by General Grant. The
chess-board was continental in its dimensions, but everything upon it
seemed within reach of his hand. He had two armies under his immediate
direction,--the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James. He was
in constant communication with Sherman at Atlanta, and his orders
reached the forces a thousand miles distant on the Mississippi! The
details were left to the commanders of the various armies, but all
important schemes were submitted to him for approval. But his best
plans sometimes miscarried, from the neglect or inability of his
subordinates to carry them into execution. Before starting from the
Rapidan, General Grant ordered Hunter, who had succeeded to the
command of Sigel in the Shenandoah, to proceed up the valley to
Staunton and Gordonsville. When Grant was on the North Anna, he
advised that officer to move on Charlottesville and Lynchburg, live on
the country as he marched, and destroy the railroads, and, if
possible, the James River Canal. Accomplishing that, he was to return
to Gordonsville, and there join Grant. Hunter advanced. Sheridan was
sent with the cavalry, while Grant was at Cold Harbor, to aid him.
Sheridan broke up the Virginia Central Railroad, moved to
Gordonsville, but hearing nothing of Hunter returned to the White
House, and rejoined Grant at Petersburg.

Hunter moved up the valley. At the same time Generals Crook and
Averill, leaving Western Virginia, met Hunter near Staunton, where
they had a battle with the Rebels under General Jones, who was killed,
and his force routed, with a loss of three guns and fifteen hundred

Hunter, instead of approaching Lynchburg by Gordonsville and
Charlottesville, took the road leading through Lexington and thus
missed Sheridan.

He reached Lynchburg on the 16th of June, at the same time that Grant
was moving from Cold Harbor to the James. Lee, seeing the danger which
threatened him at the backdoor of the Rebel capital, threw
reinforcements into Lynchburg, and Hunter was obliged to retreat,
being far from his base, and having but a limited supply of
ammunition. Having advanced upon Lynchburg from the west, instead of
from the north, he was obliged to retreat in the same direction
through Western Virginia, a country wellnigh barren of supplies. This
left the Shenandoah open. There was no force to oppose the Rebels who
were at Lynchburg. The decision of Hunter to go forward by Lexington
instead of by Gordonsville disarranged Grant's plans, who did not
direct him to move by Charlottesville. His letter to Halleck of the
25th of May reads: "If Hunter can possibly get to Charlottesville and
Lynchburg, he should do so, living on the country. The railroads and
canals should be destroyed beyond the possibility of repair for weeks.
Completing this, he could find his way back to his original base, or
from Gordonsville join this army." No mention was made of his
advancing by Lexington; but taking that route, and being compelled to
retreat by the Great Kanawha, gave Lee an opportunity to strike a blow
at Washington. He was active to improve it, but Grant was quick to
discover his intentions.

Ewell was sick, and Early was appointed to command the Rebel troops in
the Valley. Breckenridge was sent up from Richmond. The troops took
cars and moved up the Lynchburg road to Gordonsville. Early found
himself at the head of twenty-five or thirty thousand men. Mosby, with
his band of guerillas, was scouring the Valley and Western Virginia.
He reported a clear coast towards Washington, but that Sigel was at

Early passed rapidly down the Valley, drove Sigel across the Potomac,
and followed him to Hagerstown. The people of Western Maryland and
Southern Pennsylvania, who had already received two unpleasant visits
from the Rebels, fled in haste towards Baltimore and Harrisburg. The
panic was widespread. Extravagant stories were told of the force of
the enemy: Lee's whole army was advancing; he had outgeneralled Grant;
he had sixty thousand men across the Potomac; Washington and Baltimore
were to be captured. All of which was received with exceeding coolness
by the Lieutenant-General in command at City Point, who detached the
Sixth Corps, ordering Ricketts's division to Baltimore and the other
two divisions to Washington. The Nineteenth Corps, which had arrived
at Fortress Monroe, was despatched to Washington.

The news was startling. Leaving the army at Petersburg, I hastened to
City Point, to proceed to Washington. There was no commotion at
General Grant's head-quarters. The chief quartermaster was looking
over his reports. The clerks were at their regular work. There were
numerous transports in the stream, but no indications of the
embarkation of troops. General Grant was out, walking leisurely about,
with his thumbs in the arm-holes of his vest, smoking his cigar so
quietly and apparently unconcerned, that, had it not been for the
three stars on his shoulders, a stranger would have passed him without
a thought of his being the man who was playing the deepest game of war
in modern times. The members of his military family were not in the
least excited. Calling on Colonel Bowers, Grant's adjutant-general, I
found him attending to the daily routine.

"They are having a little scare at Washington and in the North. It
will do them good," said he.

"How large a force is it supposed the Rebels have in Maryland?"

"Somewhere about twenty-five thousand,--possibly thirty. Breckenridge
has gone, with his command. And Early has raked and scraped all the
troops possible which were outside of Richmond. Mosby is with him, and
the irregular bands of the upper Potomac, and the troops which met
Hunter at Lynchburg. It will not affect operations here. Lee
undoubtedly expected to send Grant post-haste to Washington; but the
siege will go on."

On the wall of his room was a map of the Southern States, showing by
colored lines the various gauges of all the railroads. Grant came in,
looked at it, said "Good morning," and went out for another stroll
about the grounds, thinking all the while.

On board our boat was a lively company, principally composed of the
soldiers of the Massachusetts Sixteenth, who had served three years,
and were on their way home. They were in the Peninsular campaigns.
Their commander, Colonel Wyman, was killed at Glendale, where they
held the ground when McCall's line was swept away. His fugitives ran
through Hooker's and Sumner's lines, but the men of the Sixteenth
stood firm in their places, till the drift had passed by, and moved
forward to meet the exultant enemy, pouring in such a fire that the
Rebel column became a mob, and fled in haste towards Richmond. They
were in Grover's brigade at the second battle of Manassas. There have
been few bayonet-charges pushed with such power as theirs in that
battle. The Rebels were on Milroy's left flank, which was bending like
a bruised reed before their advance, when Grover moved to the attack.

"We stood in these lines," said a wounded officer of the Second
Louisiana, a prisoner at Warrenton, two months after that battle.
"They fell upon us like a thunderbolt. They paid no attention to our
volleys. We mowed them down, but they went right through our first
line, then through our second, and advanced to the railroad
embankment, and there we stopped them. They did it so splendidly that
we couldn't help cheering them. It made me feel bad to fire on such
brave fellows."

They were reduced to a squad. Their comrades were lying on nearly all
the battle-fields of Virginia.

"We have had a pretty rough time of it, and I am glad we are through;
but I wouldn't mind having another crack at the Johnnie's round
Washington," said a soldier, lying on the deck with his knapsack for a

The whole regiment was ready to volunteer for the defence of

The cannoneers of the Twelfth New York battery were of the company.
They were in Wilson's raid, had lost their guns, and felt sore. Even
when their loss is owing to no fault on the part of the artillerists,
they usually feel that it is humiliating. They give pet names to the
dogs of war; and when a good shot has been made, affectionately pat
their brazen lips.

There were members of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, taking
care of the sick and wounded; also a family of refugees from Prince
George County, on the way to Maryland, to find a new home till the war
was over.

Early was making the most of his opportunity. His cavalry moved at
will, with no force to oppose them.

They divided into small bodies and overran the country from Frederick
to Williamsport, destroying the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, burning
canal-boats, seizing horses, cattle, and supplies, from the farmers,
ransacking houses as thoroughly as the soldiers of the Union had done
in Virginia.

The first invasion of Maryland, in 1862, was a political as well as a
military movement. It was supposed by the Rebel leaders that the State
was ready to join the Confederacy, that the people were held in
subjection by a military despotism. "My Maryland" was then the popular
song of the South, sung in camp, on the march, and in parlors and

  "The despot's heel is on thy shore,
   His torch is at thy temple-door,
   Avenge the patriotic gore
   That wept o'er gallant Baltimore,
   And be the battle-queen of yore,
       Maryland! My Maryland!"

When Jackson's corps crossed the Potomac, his troops sang it with
enthusiastic demonstrations, tossing up their caps. They came as
liberators. Jackson's orders were strict against pillage. All property
taken was to be paid for in Confederate notes,--at that time esteemed
by the Rebels to be as good as greenbacks, though not very acceptable
to the Marylanders. It was an invasion for conciliation. The troops
respected the orders, and, aside from the loss of a few horses, the
people of Maryland were well treated in that campaign. But in the
second invasion, when Lee passed into Pennsylvania, no favor was shown
to Maryland. Houses, stores, public and private buildings alike were
sacked and burned. The soldiers foraged at will, and the one who could
secure the most clothing or food was the best fellow. In this third
and last invasion, officers and soldiers pillaged indiscriminately.

[Illustration: Ruins of Chambersburg.]

"Pay me twenty thousand dollars or I will burn your town," said Early
to the citizens of Hagerstown, who advanced the money or its

General Lew Wallace was in command at Baltimore. He sent what troops
he could collect to the Monocacy, where he was joined by Ricketts's
division of the Sixth Corps. Wallace formed his line across the
railroad and awaited Early's advance. With the exception of Ricketts's
division, Wallace's troops were men enlisted for one hundred days,
also heavy artillerests taken from the Baltimore fortifications,
invalids from the hospitals, and volunteers, numbering about nine
thousand. The Rebels forded the stream and began the attack. They were
held in check several hours. Wallace, after losing about twelve
hundred men, was obliged to retreat.

His defeat, and the stories of the magnitude of the Rebel force, put
Baltimore and Washington in great excitement. The battle at Monocacy
was fought on Saturday. On Sunday morning the church-bells in
Baltimore were rung, and the citizens, instead of attending worship,
made haste to prepare for the enemy. Alarming reports reached that
city from Westminster, Reisterstown, and Cockeysville, that the Rebels
were in possession of those places. Couriers dashed into Washington
from Rockville, only twelve miles distant, crying that the Rebels were
advancing upon the capital. On Monday morning they were near
Havre-de-Grace, at Gunpowder River, where they burned the bridge, cut
the telegraph, captured trains, and robbed passengers, entirely
severing Baltimore and Washington from the loyal North. Only five
miles from Washington, they burned the house of Governor Bradford, and
pillaged Montgomery Blair's. Government employees were under arms, and
troops were hastening out on the roads leading north and west, when I
arrived in Washington. Loud cheers greeted Wright's two divisions of
the Sixth Corps, and still louder shouts the veterans of the
Nineteenth Corps, from the Mississippi, as they marched through the
city. It was amusing and instructive to watch the rapid change in
men's countenances. When disaster threatens, men are silent; the
danger past, the tongue is loosened.

On Tuesday the Rebel sharpshooters were in front of Fort Stevens;
they picked off some of the gunners, but a charge by a brigade
dislodged them. They fled, leaving about one hundred dead and wounded.
Forces were gathering around Early, and on Wednesday morning he
hastily retreated. He recrossed the Potomac at Edwards's Ferry, and
made his way, through Snicker's Gap, into the Shenandoah Valley, with
an immense train of plunder, consisting of forage, grain, horses,
cattle, hogs, sheep, groceries, clothing, and a forced contribution of
two hundred thousand dollars from the people of Frederick, levied
under threat of burning the town.

Early had no serious intention of attacking Washington, but the
invasion was designed primarily to raise the siege of Petersburg, and
secondarily to replenish the commissariat of the Rebel army.

Grant comprehended the movement, and instead of abandoning Petersburg,
made preparations to seize the Weldon road, which, after a severe
struggle, was accomplished. A few weeks later Sheridan defeated Early
in the Valley, which ended the campaign of 1864 in Virginia.

[Illustration: A lay delegate in the hospital.]

[Illustration: A charge.]



[Sidenote: Dec., 1864.]

The army under General Sherman fought its way from Chattanooga to
Atlanta, and then marched to the sea, capturing Fort McAllister, and
opening communication with the fleet under Dupont on the 13th of
December, and a few days later made its grand _entrée_ into Savannah.
A brief review of Sherman's campaign is necessary to a clear
understanding of what afterward transpired in his department.

While the Army of the Potomac was pushing through to the south side of
the James, the Army of the West was moving upon Atlanta, having driven
the Rebels under Johnston from Tunnel Hill, Buzzards' Roost, Resaca,
Kingston, Allatoona, and Kenesaw. Johnston fought only on the
defensive, and was constantly beaten, abandoning stronghold after
stronghold that the Rebels had declared impregnable, and whose
surrender they felt was humiliating and disgraceful.

There was a clamor throughout the South for his removal, and the
appointment of a general who would take the offensive. Jeff Davis
disliked Johnston on personal grounds, and appointed Hood his
successor. That officer hurled his troops against Sherman's
breastworks, and suffered a damaging defeat. Sherman in turn made a
flank movement, and compelled Hood to evacuate Atlanta, which Sherman
occupied on the 2d of September. Jeff Davis hastened West. He
conceived the idea of forcing Sherman to retreat from Atlanta to
Nashville, by invading Tennessee. As Hood's army had been driven from
Chattanooga to Dalton, losing all its strong positions, this plan is
one of the most remarkable in military history. It is hardly within
the sphere of sober criticism, but appropriately belongs to the comic
page. "Your feet shall again press the soil of Tennessee, within
thirty days," said Davis to the soldiers. "The invader shall be driven
from your territory. The retreat of Sherman from Atlanta shall be like
Napoleon's from Moscow."

Sherman had already contemplated a movement to Savannah, and had
opened correspondence with Grant.

     "Until we can repopulate Georgia it is useless to occupy it; but
     the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will
     cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads
     we will lose a thousand men monthly, and will gain no result. I
     can make the march and make Georgia howl.... Hood may turn into
     Tennessee and Kentucky, but I believe he will be forced to follow
     me. Instead of being on the defensive, I would be on the
     offensive. Instead of guessing at what he means, he would have to
     guess at my plans. The difference in war is fully twenty-five per
     cent. I can make Savannah, Charleston, or the mouth of the
     Chattahoochee, and prefer to march through Georgia, smashing
     things to the sea."

Grant authorized the movement. Hood was preparing to move north.

Sherman's right wing, commanded by Howard, was composed of Osterhaus's
Fifteenth Corps and the Seventeenth, under Blair; Slocum had his left
wing, containing the Fourteenth Corps under Jeff. C. Davis, and the
Twentieth with Williams.

The Twentieth was consolidated from the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps of
the Army of the Potomac, which had fought at Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

Sherman sent his last despatch to Washington on the 11th of November.
On the 17th, the day on which Sherman left Atlanta, Hood crossed the
Tennessee River, to make the movement which was to compel Sherman to
evacuate Georgia!

Sherman's southward march was a surprise to the Rebels. They affected
joy, and predicted his destruction.

Said the Augusta _Constitutionalist_:--

     "The hand of God is in it. The blow, if we can give it as it
     should be given, may end the war. We urge our friends in the
     track of the advance to remove forage and provisions, horses,
     mules, and negroes, and stock, and burn the balance. Let the
     invader find the desolation he would leave behind him staring him
     in the face.... Cut trees across all roads in front of the enemy,
     burn the bridges, remove everything possible in time, and, before
     the enemy arrives, burn and destroy what cannot be
     removed,--leave nothing on which he can subsist; and hide the
     millstone and machinery of the mills.... The Russians destroyed
     the grand army of Napoleon, of five hundred thousand men, by
     destroying their country, by the fulness of fire applied to their
     own cities, houses, and granaries. Let Georgians imitate their
     unselfishness and love of country for a few weeks, and the army
     of Sherman will have the fate of the army of Napoleon."[72]

         [Footnote 72: Augusta _Constitutionalist_, November 22,

Said the Savannah _News_:--

     "We have only to arouse our whole arms-bearing people,--hover on
     his front, his flanks, and rear,--remove from his reach or
     destroy every thing that will subsist man or beast,--retard his
     progress by every means in our power,--and, when the proper time
     comes, fall upon him with the relentless vengeance of an insulted
     and outraged people, and there need be no doubt of the

         [Footnote 73: _News_, November 22, 1864.]

If it be true," said the _Examiner_ of Richmond, "that Sherman is now
attempting this prodigious design, we may safely predict that his
march will lead him to the Paradise of Fools, and that his magnificent
scheme will hereafter be reckoned

  'With all the good deeds that never were done.'"

Almost without opposition Sherman reached the sea, and forced Hardee
to evacuate Savannah.

General Sherman is regarded by many people in the Southern States as
the Attila of the nineteenth century, because his path from Atlanta to
the Roanoke is a widespread scene of devastation. Yet he did only that
which the leaders of the Rebellion and the newspapers of the South
urged the people to do. They proposed to make the country a ruin in
self-defence. Sherman did it to shorten the war. He says:--

     "We consumed the corn and fodder in the region of country for
     thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah;
     also the sweet potatoes, hogs, sheep, and poultry, and carried
     off more than ten thousand horses and mules. I estimate the
     damage done to the State of Georgia as one hundred million
     dollars; at least twenty million dollars of which enured to our
     advantage, and the remainder was simple waste and

         [Footnote 74: Sherman's Report.]

This is a frank avowal. It is the official utterance of the commander
who was instrumental in causing such wholesale destruction. To what
end? What was gained by it? Was such destruction warranted? What will
be the verdict of history? These are questions which force themselves
upon every thinking mind.

General Sherman's vindication of himself is found in his
correspondence with the Mayor of Atlanta and with General Hood
concerning the expulsion of the non-combatants from that city.

As he could not subsist his army and the citizens also, he ordered
that every person not connected with the army should leave the place.
The people of that town had done what they could to overthrow the
government of the United States. They had given great material aid to
the Rebellion. They hated the Union as bitterly as ever, but were
willing to be consumers of the food dispensed by a government which
they were not willing to recognize as holding rightful authority over
them. The Mayor set forth the suffering which would be entailed upon
women and children, the poor and sick, by the enforcement of the

     "You know the woe, the horror, and the suffering cannot be
     described in words," said the Mayor. "Imagination can only
     conceive of it, and we ask you to take these things into
     consideration.... We solemnly petition you to reconsider this
     order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain
     at home and enjoy what little means they have."

The reply of General Sherman was clear and decisive.

     "GENTLEMEN: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a
     petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from
     Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your
     statements of the distress that will be occasioned by it, and yet
     shall not revoke my order, simply because my orders are not
     designed to meet the humanities of the case, but to prepare for
     the future struggles in which millions, yea, hundreds of millions
     of good people outside of Atlanta, have a deep interest. We must
     have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure
     this we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and
     favored country. To stop the war, we must defeat the Rebel armies
     that are arrayed against the laws and Constitution, which all
     must respect and obey. To defeat the armies, we must prepare the
     way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and
     instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose.

     "Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, and that we may
     have many years of military operations from this quarter, and
     therefore deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of
     Atlanta for warlike purposes is inconsistent with its character
     as a home for families. There will be no manufactures, commerce,
     or agriculture here for the maintenance of families, and sooner
     or later want will compel the inhabitants to go....

     "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought
     war on our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a
     people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and
     I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to
     secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our

     "You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against
     these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the
     only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in
     peace and quiet at home, is to stop this war, which can alone be
     done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in
     pride. We don't want your negroes or your horses, or your houses
     or your land, or anything you have; but we do want, and will
     have, a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we
     will have, and if it involves the destruction of your
     improvements, we cannot help it.

     "You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers,
     that live by falsehood and excitement, and the quicker you seek
     for truth in other quarters the better for you. I repeat, then,
     that by the original compact of government, the United States had
     certain rights in Georgia which have never been relinquished, and
     never will be; that the South began the war by seizing forts,
     arsenals, mints, custom-houses, etc., etc., long before Mr.
     Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or tittle
     of provocation. I myself have seen, in Missouri, Kentucky,
     Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and
     children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and
     with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we
     fed thousands upon thousands of the families of Rebel soldiers
     left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war
     comes home to you, you feel very differently, you deprecate its
     horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of
     soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot to carry war
     into Kentucky and Tennessee, and desolate the homes of hundreds
     and thousands of good people, who only asked to live in peace at
     their old homes, and under the government of their inheritance.
     But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can
     only be reached through Union and war; and I will ever conduct
     war purely with a view to perfect an early success.

     "But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call upon
     me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker,
     and watch with you to shield your home and families against
     danger from every quarter. Now, you must go, and take with you
     the old and feeble; feed and nurse them, and build for them in
     more quiet places proper habitations to shield them against the
     weather, until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the
     Union and peace once more to settle on your old homes at

General Hood protested against the order. By a flag of truce he sent a
letter, saying:--

     "Permit me to say, the unprecedented measure you propose
     transcends in studied and iniquitous cruelty all acts ever before
     brought to my attention in this dark history of the war. In the
     name of God and humanity, I protest, believing you are expelling
     from homes and firesides wives and children of a brave people."

To this Sherman answered on the same date:--

     "You style the measures proposed, 'unprecedented,' and appeal to
     the dark history of war for a parallel, as an act of 'studied and
     iniquitous cruelty.' It is not unprecedented, for General
     Johnston himself very wisely and properly removed the families
     all the way from Dalton down, and I see no reason why Atlanta
     should be excepted. Nor is it necessary to appeal to 'the dark
     history of war,' when recent and modern examples are so handy.
     You yourself burned dwelling-houses along your parapet; and I
     have seen, to-day, fifty houses that you have rendered
     uninhabitable because they stood in the way of your forts and
     men. You defended Atlanta on a line so close to the town that
     every cannon-shot and many musket-shots from our line of
     investment, that overshot their mark, went into the habitations
     of women and children. General Hardee did the same thing at
     Jonesboro', and General Johnston did the same last summer at
     Jackson, Mississippi.

     "I have not accused you of heartless cruelty, but merely instance
     these cases of very recent occurrence, and could go on and
     enumerate hundreds of others, and challenge any fair man to judge
     which of us has the heart of pity for the families of 'brave
     people.' I say it is kindness to these families of Atlanta to
     remove them at once from scenes that women and children should
     not be exposed to; and the 'brave people' should scorn to commit
     their wives and children to the rude barbarians who thus, as you
     say, violate the rules of war as illustrated in the pages of its
     'dark history.'

     "In the name of common sense, I ask you not to 'appeal to a just
     God' in such a sacrilegious manner,--you who in the midst of
     peace and prosperity have plunged a nation into war, dark and
     cruel war; who dared and badgered us into battle; insulted our
     flag; seized our arsenals and forts that were left in the
     honorable custody of a peaceful ordnance sergeant; seized and
     made prisoners even the very first garrisons sent to protect your
     people against negroes and Indians, long before any other act was
     committed by the, to you, 'hateful Lincoln government,' tried to
     force Missouri and Kentucky into rebellion, in spite of
     themselves; falsified the vote of Louisiana; turned loose your
     privateers to plunder unarmed ships; expelled Union families by
     the thousands, burned their houses, and declared by acts of your
     Congress the confiscation of all debts due Northern men for goods
     had and received. Talk thus to the Marines, but not to me, who
     have seen these things, and who will this day make as much
     sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best-born
     Southerner among you. If we must be enemies, let us be men, and
     fight it out as we propose to-day, and not deal in such
     hypocritical appeals to God and humanity.

     "God will judge us in due time, and he will pronounce whether it
     will be humane to fight with a town full of women and the
     families of 'a brave people' at our back, or to remove them in
     time to places of safety among their own friends and people."

Notwithstanding the excesses which were committed by the foragers on
Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea, his army maintained its
discipline. The soldiers while in and around Savannah were orderly and
quiet. No woman was insulted; there was no debauchery, no breaking
open of houses. Citizens could walk the streets and engage in business
without molestation. Life and property were respected. General Sherman
in his official report thus spoke of the conduct of his soldiers:--

     "As to the rank and file, they seem so full of confidence in
     themselves that I doubt if they want a compliment from me; but I
     must do them the justice to say that, whether called on to fight,
     to march, to wade streams, to make roads, clear out obstructions,
     build bridges, make 'corduroy,' or tear up railroads, they have
     done it with alacrity and a degree of cheerfulness unsurpassed. A
     little loose in foraging, they 'did some things they ought not to
     have done,' yet, on the whole, they have supplied the wants of
     the army with as little violence as could be expected, and as
     little loss as I calculated. Some of these foraging parties had
     encounters with the enemy which would, in ordinary times, rank as
     respectable battles.

     "The behavior of our troops in Savannah has been so manly, so
     quiet, so perfect, that I take it as the best evidence of
     discipline and true courage. Never was a hostile city, filled
     with women and children, occupied by a large army with less
     disorder, or more system, order, and good government. The same
     general and generous spirit of confidence and good feeling
     pervades the army which it has ever afforded me especial pleasure
     to report on former occasions."

Although Sherman's army was composed of four corps, the Fourteenth,
Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth, he had another made up from all
of these, which, though unknown in the war office, was of much service
to him and of great damage to the enemy. It was known as the "Bummer"
Corps. The word is not to be found in either of the American
unabridged dictionaries, though it has become historic. Who made it,
or how it came into use, is not known. It may have been derived from
the word _bum-bailiff_, which is a corruption of bound-bailiff, a
subordinate civil officer appointed to serve writs and to make
executions, and bound with sureties for a faithful discharge of his
trust; or from _bum-boat_, a boat used for conveying provisions,
fruit, and supplies from shore to ship. From the two words we get the
full meaning of the term _Bummer_.

Sherman could not start from Atlanta with sufficient supplies of
bread, meat, and corn for his great march. He must live on the
country. Hence he marched in four parallel columns, near enough to aid
each other if attacked, yet far enough apart to mow a swath forty or
fifty miles in width.

The foraging party, numbering over five thousand, always on the alert,
ever in the advance, kept ahead of Kilpatrick with his cavalry.

"If I come to a town or village or plantation, and stop to obtain
forage, I find that the infernal bummers have been there," said

Having authority to take provisions, the bummers were not tardy in
executing their trust. They went in squads, fought the Rebel
skirmishers, and defeated Wheeler's cavalry in several encounters. No
matter how rich a prize there might be of poultry in a farm-yard, the
appearance of a Rebel brought them into line for mutual defence.

Sometimes they came in with a dozen fresh horses loaded with
chickens, turkeys, and pigs. In one instance a squad, with live fowls
dangling at their saddles, was confronted by Rebel cavalry. They
formed in line, fired a volley, and started upon a charge. The
galloping of the horses, accompanied by the flapping of wings, the
cackling of hens, gobbling of turkeys, and squealing of pigs,
stampeded the horses of the enemy, and gave the bummers an easy

Farm wagons were confiscated and filled with provisions,--jars of
jelly, preserves, pickles, and honey, baskets of sweet potatoes and
legs of bacon. They often rode grandly in family carriages,
accompanied by crowds of grinning negroes, who had pointed out the
places where the planters had secreted provisions, and who watched for
Rebels while the bummer secured his plunder; and then, when the master
was out of sight, bid good by forever to the old plantation, and with
light hearts leaped the fences, on their way to freedom.

There were two classes of bummers,--the regular soldier of the corps,
who kept his comrades well supplied with good things, and the
irregular member, whose chief care was to provide for himself.

They were of great service, not only as foragers, but as flankers and
scouts, keeping Sherman well informed of the whereabouts of the
Rebels. Yet their lawlessness had a demoralizing tendency. Some were
tender-hearted, and took only what was needed to eat, while others
ransacked houses, ripped open feather-beds, smashed looking-glasses
and crockery, and tumbled tables and chairs about unceremoniously,
frightening women and children. But a bummer outraging a woman would
have been hung by his fellows on the nearest tree, or if not by them
he would have had short respite of life from the soldiers in the

While in Savannah they had no occasion to ply their vocation, as
provisions were abundant. Noticing full-grown chickens picking up corn
in the streets, I expressed my surprise to an officer of the Twentieth

"The fact is," he replied, "we have lived on chickens all the way from
Atlanta. We have had roast chicken, fried chicken, and stewed chicken,
till we are tired of it."

But when Sherman resumed his march through South Carolina, the
bummers were keener than ever. The whole army was eager to begin the
march. Each regiment, when it crossed the Savannah River, and set foot
in South Carolina, gave a cheer. They were in the hot-bed of

"We'll make South Carolina howl!" they said.

I saw an unoccupied mansion, upon the floors of which were Brussels
and tapestry carpeting, and mirrors of French plate-glass adorned the
parlor. There was a library with well-filled shelves, and in the
drawing-room a costly rosewood piano,--all of which in an hour were
licked up by the flames.

Far away to the north, as far as the eye could reach, were pillars of
smoke, ascending from other plantations.

"We'll purify their Secession hate by fire," said one.

The soldiers evidently felt that they were commissioned to administer
justice in the premises, and commenced by firing the premises of the
South Carolinians. They were avengers, and their path through that
proud State was marked by fire and desolation. "South Carolina began
the Rebellion, and she shall suffer for it. If it had not been for her
there would have been no war. She is responsible for all the misery,
woe, and bloodshed." Such was the universal sentiment.

Although Sherman's troops carried the torch in one hand and the sword
in the other, and visited terrible retribution upon the Rebels, they
were quick to relieve the wants of the truly loyal. A few days before
reaching Savannah they came to a plantation owned by a man who through
all the war had remained faithful to the Union. He had been hunted
through the woods with bloodhounds by the Rebel conscript officers.
Hearing the Yankees had arrived, he came out from his hiding-place,
and joined the Twentieth Corps, with the intention of accompanying it
to Savannah. The soldiers made up for him a purse of one hundred and
thirty dollars. When it was presented he burst into tears. He could
only say, so great was his emotion, "Gentlemen, I most heartily thank
you. It is a kindness I never expected. I have been hunted through
swamps month after month. My wife and children have been half starved,
insulted, and abused, and all because we loved the old flag."

The stories which were told by those refugees, of Union men and
conscripts hunted by bloodhounds, of imprisonment and murder by
Rebels,--of the sufferings of the Union prisoners at Millen, Libby,
Salisbury, and Andersonville,--wrought the soldiers of Sherman's army
into a frenzy of wrath against South Carolina.

[Illustration: Mt. Vernon, Edward Everett, The Capitol, Savannah.]



[Sidenote: Dec., 1864.]

When Sherman's army entered Savannah the people of that city were on
the verge of starvation. The Rebel authorities had not accumulated
sufficient supplies for a long defence. They were ignorant of the
intentions of Sherman when he left Atlanta, and were unable to see
through his plan till too late to put the place in condition to
withstand a siege. Breastworks were hastily thrown up on the west side
of the city. The eastern approaches were strongly protected by a
series of forts, turrets, and batteries built by slaves at the
beginning of the war, in which were heavy guns commanding the river
and the roads. No one had dreamed that the Yankees would come from the
west. When Sherman was fairly on his march there was consternation in
all the cities along the coast. Charleston expected him. Would he not
aim directly toward the cradle of Secession? The people of Mobile
believed that the fleet which was gathering in the Gulf was destined
to co-operate with the "ruthless invader" in an attack upon them. The
inhabitants of Brunswick expected to see him there. The citizens of
Savannah were equally alarmed. Proclamations and manifestoes were
issued. Governor Brown called upon the Georgians to rise in their
might; but their former might was weakness now. They had lost heart.
They saw that their cause was failing. Their armies, successful in the
beginning, had won no victory for many months. The appeals of the
Governor, the manifestoes of the Rebel generals, the calls of
municipal authorities, and the exhortations of Davis, awakened no
enthusiasm. The planters did not hasten to the rendezvous, nor respond
to the call to send provisions. The Rebel quartermasters and
commissaries were active in making forced levies, and the conscription
bureau was vigilant in bringing in reluctant recruits; but before
preparations for defending the city were completed Sherman was
thundering at the door.

When he saw the destitution, he made an appeal to the humanity of the
people of the North. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were quick to
respond. In Boston thirty thousand dollars were contributed in four
days, a steamer chartered, loaded, and despatched on its errand of
mercy. The occasion being so unusual, I deemed it worth while to visit
Savannah, to be an eye-witness of the reception of the timely and
munificent gift.

The employment of the steamer Greyhound on such a mission added to the
interest. She was a captured blockade-runner, built at Greenock,
Scotland, in 1863, purposely to run the blockade. She made one trip
into Wilmington, and was seized while attempting to escape from that
port. In every timber, plank, rivet, and brace was England's hatred of
the North, support of the South, and cupidity for themselves; but now
she carried peace and good-will, not only to the people of Savannah,
but to men of every clime and lineage, race and nation. The Greyhound
speeding her way was a type and symbol of the American Republic,
freighted with the world's best hopes, and sailing proudly forward to
the future centuries.

Among the passengers on board at the time of her capture was Miss
Belle Boyd, of notoriety as a spy,--bold, venturesome, and dashing,
unscrupulous, bitter in her hatred of the Yankees, regardless of truth
or honor, if she could but serve the Rebels. She was of great service
to them in the Shenandoah. Being within the Union lines, she obtained
information which on several occasions enabled Jackson to make those
sudden dashes which gave him his early fame.

It was nearly dark on Saturday evening, January 14th, when the
Greyhound discharged her pilot off Boston Light. The weather was
thick, the wind southeast, but during the night it changed to the
northwest and blew a gale. The cold was intense. Sunday morning found
us in Holmes's Hole, covered with ice. At noon the gale abated, and we
ran swiftly across the Vineyard Sound, shaping our course for
Hatteras. Off Charleston we passed through the blockading fleet, which
was gayly decorated in honor of the taking of Fort Fisher. The Rebel
flag was floating defiantly over Sumter. On Thursday evening we
dropped anchor off Port Royal, where a half-day was lost in obtaining
permission from the custom-house to proceed to Savannah. The
obstructions in Savannah River made it necessary to enter Warsaw Sound
and go up Wilmington River. With a colored pilot,--the only one
obtainable, recommended by the Harbor-Master of Hilton Head,--the
Greyhound put to sea once more, ran down the coast, and on Sunday
morning entered the Sound. Our pilot professed to know all the crooks
and turns of the river, but suddenly we found ourselves fast on a
mud-bank. It was ebb-tide, and the incoming flood floated us again.
Then the engines refused to work, the pumps having become foul, and
the anchor was dropped just in season to save the steamer from
drifting broadside upon a sandbar. It was ten miles to Thunderbolt
Battery. The captain of a pilot-boat was kind enough to send Messrs.
Briggs and Baldwin, of the committee of the citizens of Boston in
charge of the supplies, Mr. Glidden, of the firm owning the Greyhound,
and the writer, up to that point. We landed, and stood where the
Rebels had made sad havoc of what was once a pleasant village. Some
Iowa soldiers, on seediest horses and sorriest mules, were riding
round on a frolic. Shiftless, long-haired, red-eyed men and women,
lounging about, dressed in coarsest homespun, stared at us. A score of
horses and mules were in sight, and here were collected old carts,
wagons, and carriages which Sherman's boys had brought from the

"We want to get a horse and wagon to take us to Savannah," said one of
the party to a little old man, standing at the door of a house.

"Wal, I reckon ye can take any one of these yere," he said, pointing
to the horses and mules. Such animals! Ringboned, spavined,
knock-kneed, wall-eyed, sore-backed,--mere hides and bones, some of
them too weak to stand, others unable to lie down on account of stiff

"How far is it to Savannah?" we asked of the residents of the village.

"Three miles," said one.

"Two miles and a half, I reckon," said a second.

"Three miles and three quarters," was the estimate of a third person.

A woman, dressed in a plaid petticoat, a snuff-colored linsey-woolsey
tunic, with a tawny countenance, black hair, and flashing black eyes,
smoking a pipe, said: "I'll tell yer how fur it be. Savannah be a
frying-pan and Thunderbolt be the handle, and I live on the eend on
it. It be four miles long, zactly."

Two colored soldiers rode up, both on one horse, with "55" on their

"What regiment do you belong to?"

"The Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts."

Their camp was a mile or so up river. A steamboat captain, who wished
to communicate with the quartermaster, came upstream in his boat and
kindly offered to take us to the Fifty-Fifth. It began to rain, and we
landed near a fine old mansion surrounded by live-oaks, their gnarled
branches draped with festoons of moss, where we thought to find
accommodations for the night; but no one answered our ringing. The
doors were open, the windows smashed in; marble mantels, of elaborate
workmanship, marred and defaced; the walls written over with doggerel.
There were bunks in the parlors, broken crockery, old boots,--_débris_

The committee took possession of the premises and made themselves at
home before a roaring fire, while the writer went out upon a
reconnoissance, bringing back the intelligence that the camp of the
Fifty-Fifth was a mile farther up the river. It was dark when we
reached the hospitable shanty of Lieutenant-Colonel Fox, who, in the
absence of Colonel Hartwell, was commanding the regiment, which had
been there but twenty-four hours. The soldiers had no tents.

One of the committee rode into Savannah, through a drenching rain, to
report to General Grover. The night came on thick and dark. The rain
was pouring in torrents. Colonel Fox, with great kindness, offered to
escort us to a house near by, where we could find shelter. We splashed
through the mud, holding on to each other's coat-tails, going over
boots in muddy water, tumbling over logs, losing our way, being
scratched by brambles, falling into ditches, bringing up against
trees, halting at length against a fence,--following which we reached
the house. The owner had fled, and the occupant had moved in because
it was a free country and the place was inviting. He had no bed for
us, but quickly kindled a fire in one of the chambers and spread some
quilts upon the floor. "I haven't much wood, but I reckon I can pick
up something that will make a fire," said he. Then came the pitch-pine
staves of a rice-cask; then a bedstead, a broken chair, a wooden

The morning dawned bright and clear. General Grover sent out horses
for us, and so we reached the city after many vexatious delays and
rough experiences.

The people in Savannah generally were ready to live once more in the
Union. The fire of Secession had died out. There was not much
sourness,--less even than I saw at Memphis when that city fell into
our hands, less than was manifested in Louisville at the beginning of
the war.

At a meeting of the citizens resolutions expressive of gratitude for
the charity bestowed by Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were
passed, also of a desire for future fellowship and amity.

A store at the corner of Bay and Barnard Streets was taken for a
depot, the city canvassed, and a registry made of all who were in
want. I passed a morning among the people who came for food. The air
was keen. Ice had formed in the gutters, and some of the jolly young
negroes, who had provided themselves with old shoes and boots from the
camp-grounds of Sherman's soldiers, were enjoying the luxurious
pastime of a slide on the ice. The barefooted cuddled under the sunny
side of the buildings. There was a motely crowd. Hundreds of both
sexes, all ages, sizes, complexions, and costumes; gray-haired old men
of Anglo-Saxon blood, with bags, bottles, and baskets; colored
patriarchs, who had been in bondage many years, suddenly made freemen;
well-dressed women wearing crape for their husbands and sons who had
fallen while fighting against the old flag, stood patiently waiting
their turn to enter the building, where through the open doors they
could see barrels of flour, pork, beans, and piles of bacon, hogsheads
of sugar, molasses, and vinegar. There were women with tattered
dresses,--old silks and satins, years before in fashion, and laid
aside as useless, but which now had become valuable through

There were women in linsey-woolsey, in negro and gunny cloth, in
garments made from meal-bags, and men in Confederate gray and
butternut brown; a boy with a crimson plush jacket, made from the
upholstering of a sofa; men in short jackets, and little boys in long
ones; the cast-off clothes of soldiers; the rags which had been picked
up in the streets, and exhumed from garrets; boots and shoes down at
the heel, open at the instep, and gaping at the toes; old bonnets of
every description, some with white and crimson feathers, and ribbons
once bright and flaunting; hats of every style worn by both sexes,
palm-leaf, felt, straw, old and battered and well ventilated. One
without a crown was worn by a man with red hair, suggestive of a
chimney on fire, and flaming out at the top! It was the ragman's
jubilee for charity.

One of the tickets issued by the city authorities, in the hand of a
woman waiting her turn at the counter, read thus:--

               MARY MORRELL.
  12 lbs. Flour,
  7   "   Bacon,
  2   "   Salt,
  2 qts.  Vinegar."

Andersonville, Belle Isle, Libby Prison, Millen, and Salisbury will
forever stand in suggestive contrast to this City Store in Savannah,
furnished by the free-will offering of the loyal people of the North.

"At Libby," reads the report of the United States Sanitary Committee,
"a process of slow starvation was carried on. The corn-bread was of
the roughest and coarsest description. Portions of the cob and husk
were often found grated in with the meal. The crust was so thick and
hard that the prisoners called it 'iron clad.' To render the bread
eatable they grated it, and made mush of it; but the crust they could
not grate. Now and then, after long intervals, often of many weeks, a
little meat was given them, perhaps two or three mouthfuls. At a later
period they received a pint of black peas, with some vinegar, every
week; the peas were often full of worms, or maggots in a chrysalis
state, which, when they made soup, floated on the surface.... But the
most unaccountable and shameful act of all was yet to come. Shortly
after this general diminution of rations, in the month of January, the
boxes (sent by friends in the North to the prisoners), which before
had been regularly delivered, and in good order, were withheld. No
reason was given. Three hundred arrived every week, and were received
by Colonel Ould, Commissioner of Exchange; but instead of being
distributed, they were retained and piled up in warehouses near by, in
full sight of the tantalized and hungry captives."[75]

         [Footnote 75: Report of the United States Sanitary

While these supplies were being distributed to the people of Savannah,
thirty thousand Union prisoners in the hands of the Rebels in
Southwestern Georgia were starving to death,--not from a scarcity of
food, but in accordance with a deliberately formed plan to render them
unfit for future service in the Union ranks by their inhuman
treatment, should they live to be exchanged.

What a page of darkness for the future historian!

On the other hand, the Rebel prisoners in the North received
invariably the same rations, in quality and quantity, given to the
Union soldiers in the field, with ample clothing, fuel, and shelter.
So unexceptional was their treatment, that since the war a Southern
writer, desirous of removing the load of infamy resting upon the
South, has advertised for statements of unkind treatment in Northern

         [Footnote 76: See the _Watchman_, New York.]

Of the treatment of Union soldiers in the Southern prisons the United
States Sanitary Commission says:--

     "The prisoners were almost invariably robbed of everything
     valuable in their possession; sometimes on the field, at the
     instant of capture, sometimes by the prison authorities, in a
     quasi-official way, with the promise of return when exchanged or
     paroled, but which promise was never fulfilled. This robbery
     amounted often to a stripping of the person of even necessary
     clothing. Blankets and overcoats were almost always taken, and
     sometimes other articles; in which case damaged ones were
     returned in their stead. This preliminary over, the captives were
     taken to prison."

At the trial of Wirz, the commandant of Andersonville, Dr. John C.
Bates, a surgeon of the Rebel service, testified as follows:--

     "My attention was called to a patient in my ward who was only
     fifteen or sixteen years of age. I took much interest in him,
     owing to his youth. He would ask me to bring him a potato, bread,
     or biscuit, which I did. I put them in my pocket. He had scurvy
     and gangrene. I advised him not to cook the potato, but to eat it
     raw. He became more and more emaciated, his sores gangrened, and
     for want of food, and from lice, he died. I understood that it
     was against orders to take anything in to the prisoners, and
     hence I was shy in slipping food into my pockets. Others in the
     ward came to their death from the same causes. When I went there,
     there were two thousand or two thousand five hundred sick. I
     judge twenty or twenty-five thousand persons were crowded
     together. Some had made holes and burrows in the earth. Those
     under the sheds were doing comparatively well. I saw but little
     shelter, excepting what ingenuity had devised. I found them
     suffering with scurvy, dropsy, diarrhoea, gangrene, pneumonia,
     and other diseases. When prisoners died, they were laid in
     wagons, head foremost, to be carried off. I don't know how they
     were buried. The effluvia from the hospital was very offensive.
     If by accident my hand was abraded, I would not go into the
     hospital without putting a plaster over the affected part. If
     persons whose systems were reduced by inanition should by chance
     stump a toe or scratch the hand, the next report to me was
     gangrene, so potent was the regular hospital gangrene. The
     prisoners were more thickly confined in the stockade,--like ants
     and bees. Dogs were kept to hunt down the prisoners who escaped.
     Fifty per cent of those who died might have been saved had the
     patients been properly cared for. The effect of the treatment of
     the prisoners was, morally as well as physically, injurious.
     There was much stealing among them. All lived each for himself. I
     suppose this was superinduced by their starving condition. Seeing
     the dying condition of some of them, I remarked to my student, 'I
     can't resuscitate them; the weather is chilling; it is a matter
     of impossibility.' I found persons lying dead sometimes among the
     living. Thinking they merely slept, I went to wake them up and
     found they had taken their everlasting sleep. This was in the
     hospital. I judge it was about the same in the stockade. There
     being no dead-house, I erected a tent for the purpose, but I soon
     found that a blanket or quilt had been clipped off the canvas;
     and as the material could not be readily supplied, the dead-house
     was abandoned. I don't think any more dead-houses were erected.
     The daily ration was less in September, October, November, and
     December than it was from the 1st of January to the 20th of
     March. The men had not over twenty ounces of food in the
     twenty-four hours."

The prison at Andersonville was established in January, 1864, and was
used a little more than a year. It was in the form of a quadrangle,
1,295 feet long, 865 feet wide. A small stream, rising from
neighboring springs, flowed through the grounds. Within the enclosure,
seventeen feet from the stockade, the dead-line was established,
marked by small posts, to which a slight strip of board was nailed.
Upon the inner stockade were fifty-two sentry-boxes, in which the
guards stood with loaded muskets; while overlooking the enclosure were
several forts, with field artillery in position, to pour grape and
canister upon the perishing men at the first sign of insurrection.

Miss Clara Barton, the heroic and tender-hearted woman who, in the
employ of government, visited this charnel-house to identify the
graves of the victims, thus reports:--

     "Under the most favorable circumstances and best possible
     management the supply of water would have been insufficient for
     half the number of persons who had to use it. The existing
     arrangements must have aggravated the evil to the utmost extent.
     The sole establishments for cooking and baking were placed on the
     bank of the stream immediately above and between the two inner
     lines of the pallisades. The grease and refuse from them were
     found adhering to the banks at the time of our visit. The guards,
     to the number of three thousand six hundred, were principally
     encamped on the upper part of the stream, and when the heavy
     rains washed down the hillsides covered with thirty thousand
     human beings, and the outlet below failed to discharge the flood
     which backed and filled the valley, the water must have become so
     foul and loathsome that every statement I have seen of its
     offensiveness must fall short of the reality; and yet within
     rifle-shot of the prison flowed a stream, fifteen feet wide and
     three feet deep, of pure, delicious water. Had the prison been
     placed so as to include a section of 'Sweet Water Creek,' the
     inmates might have drank and bathed to their hearts'

         [Footnote 77: Miss Barton's Report.]

The prisoners had no shelter from the fierce sun of summer, the
pelting autumn rains, or the cold of winter, except a few tattered
tents. Thousands were destitute of blankets. For refuge they dug
burrows in the ground.

Miss Barton says:--

     "The little caves are scooped out and arched in the form of
     ovens, floored, ceiled, and strengthened, so far as the owners
     had means, with sticks and pieces of board, and some of them are
     provided with fireplaces and chimneys. It would seem that there
     were cases, during the long rains, where the house would become
     the grave of its owner by falling upon him in the night....
     During thirteen long months they knew neither shelter nor
     protection from the changeable skies above, nor the pitiless,
     unfeeling earth beneath....

     "Think of thirty thousand men penned by close stockade upon
     twenty-six acres of ground, from which every tree and shrub had
     been uprooted for fuel to cook their scanty food, huddled like
     cattle, without shelter or blanket, half clad and hungry, with
     the dewy night setting in after a day of autumn rain. The hilltop
     would not hold them all, the valley was filled by the swollen
     brook. Seventeen feet from the stockade ran the fatal dead-line,
     beyond which no man might step and live. What did they do? I need
     not ask where did they go, for on the face of the whole earth
     there was no place but this for them. But where did they place
     themselves? How did they live? Ay! how did they die?"

Twelve thousand nine hundred and ninety graves are numbered on the
neighboring hillside,--the starved and murdered of thirteen
months,--one thousand per month, thirty-three per day! Murdered by
Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, James Seddon, and John C. Breckenridge!
Murdered under official sanction, in accordance with premeditated
design. Davis, Lee, Seddon, and Breckenridge may not have issued
orders to starve the prisoners; but if cognizant of any inhumanity,
it was in the power of Davis to stop it, and of Lee, as
commander-in-chief of the army, as also of Sedden, and after him
Breckenridge, secretaries of war. A word from either of these
officials would have secured humane treatment.

General Lee is beloved by the Southern people for his amiability, his
gentleness and generosity, as well as his unselfish devotion to the
cause of Secession. But the historian will doubtless keep in mind that
to be amiable is to be worthy of esteem and confidence. Those who have
espoused the cause of the Union cannot discover much amiability in one
who remained in the service of the government as the confidant of the
commander-in-chief of the army of the United States till hostilities
were commenced, and then, three days after his resignation, accepted
the command of the Rebel forces in Virginia. Fort Sumter was fired
upon April 12, 1861. General Lee resigned his commission in the
service of the United States on the 19th, and on the 22d took command
of Rebel troops at Richmond. The State had not then seceded. The
ordinance of Secession was passed by the convention on the 17th of the
same month, to be submitted to popular vote for ratification on the
third Tuesday of May. Without waiting for the action of the people of
his State, General Lee issued his military orders and waged war
against the United States.

The future historian will not overlook the fact that General Lee, if
not issuing direct orders for the starvation of Union prisoners, made
no remonstrance against the barbarities of Andersonville, or of the
course taken to debauch the patriotism of the Union soldiers. It was
promised that whoever would acknowledge allegiance to the Confederacy,
or consent to make shoes or harness or clothing for the Rebels, should
have the privilege of going out from the stockade, and finding
comfortable quarters and plenty of food and clothing. Thus tempted,
some faltered, while others died rather than be released on such
terms, preferring, in their love for the flag, to be thrown like logs
into the dead-cart, and tumbled into the shallow trenches on the

Among the prisoners was a lad who pined for his far-off Northern home.
Often his boyish heart went out lovingly to his father and mother and
fair-haired sister. How could he die in that prison! How close his
eyes on all the bright years of the future! How lie down in death in
that loathsome place, when, by taking the oath of allegiance to the
Southern Confederacy, he could obtain freedom? His comrades were
dying. Every day the dead-cart came and bore them away by scores and
hundreds. What a sight their stony eyes, sunken cheeks, and swaying
limbs! Around him was a crowd of living skeletons.

"Take the oath and you shall live," said the tempter. What a trial!
Life was sweet. All that a man hath will he give for his life. How
blessed if he could but hear once more the voice of his mother, or
grasp again a father's hand! What wonder that hunger, despair, and
death, and the example of some of his comrades, made him weakly

Too feeble to walk or to stand, he crawled away from the dying and
the dead, over the ground reeking with filth. He had almost reached
the gate beyond which were life and liberty. A comrade, stronger and
older, suspected his purpose. Through the long, weary months this
brave soldier had solaced his heart by taking at times from his bosom
a little flag,--the stars and stripes,--adoring it as the most sacred
of all earthly things. He held it before the boy. It was the flag he
loved. He had sworn to support it,--never to forsake it. He had stood
beneath it in the fierce conflict, quailing not when the death-storm
was thickest. Tears dimmed his eyes as he beheld it once more.
Tremblingly he grasped it with his skeleton fingers, kissed it, laid
it on his heart, and cried, "God help me! I can't turn my back upon
it. O comrade, I am dying; but I want you, if ever you get out of this
horrible place, to tell my mother that I stood by the old flag to the

And then, with the flag he loved lying on his heart, he closed his
eyes, and his soul passed on to receive that reward which awaits those
to whom duty is greater than life.

  "On Fame's eternal camping-ground
     Their silent tents are spread,
   And Glory guards, with solemn round,
     The bivouac of the dead."

This is the contrast between Christian charity and barbaric hate,--not
that all the people of the South were inhuman, or that men there are
by nature more wicked than all others; but the barbarity was the
legitimate outgrowth of slavery.

The armies of the South fought bravely and devotedly to establish a
Confederacy with slavery for its corner-stone; but not their valor,
sacrifice, and endurance, not Stonewall Jackson's religious enthusiasm
or intrepidity, not Lee's military exploits, can avail to blot the
horrors of Andersonville from the historic record. Their cause

  "Hath the primal, eldest curse upon it,
   A brother's murder."



[Sidenote: Dec., 1864.]

As I intended to spend some days in Savannah, I set out one afternoon
in search of lodgings more commodious than those furnished at the
Pulaski House, and I was directed to a house owned by a gentleman who,
during the war, had resided in Paris,--a large brick mansion, fronting
on one of the squares, elegantly finished and furnished. It had been
taken care of, through the war, by two faithful negroes, Robert and
his wife Aunt Nellie, both of them slaves.

I rang the bell, and was ushered into the basement by their daughter
Ellen, also a slave. Robert was fifty-three years of age,--a tall,
stout, coal-black, slow-spoken, reflective man. Aunt Nellie was a year
or two younger. Her features were of the African type; her eyes large
and lustrous. Her deportment was lady-like, her language refined. She
wore a gingham dress, and a white turban.

Ellen, the daughter, had a fair countenance, regular features, of
lighter hue than either father or mother. She appeared as much at ease
as most young ladies who are accustomed to the amenities of society.

Aunt Nellie called me by name.

"I saw you yesterday at church," she said.

She placed a chair for me before the fire, which burned cheerfully on
the hearth. There was a vase of amaranths on the mantel, and
lithographs on the walls. A clock ticked in one corner. There were
cushioned arm-chairs. The room was neat and tidy, and had an air of
cheerfulness. A little boy, four or five years old, was sitting by the
side of Aunt Nellie,--her grand-nephew. He looked up wonderingly at
the stranger, then gazed steadily into the fire with comical gravity.

"You are from Boston, I understand," said Aunt Nellie. "I never have
been to Boston, but I have been to New York several times with my

"Did you have any desire to stay North?"

"No, sir, I can't say that I had. This was my home; my children and
friends, and my husband were all here."

"But did you not wish to be free?"

"That is a very different thing, sir. God only knows how I longed to
be free; but my master was very kind. They used to tell me in New York
that I could be free; but I couldn't make up my mind to leave master,
and my husband. Perhaps if I had been abused as some of my people
have, I should have thought differently about it."

"Well, you are free now. I suppose that you never expected to see such
a day as this!"

"I can't say that I expected to see it, but I knew it would come. I
have prayed for it. I didn't hardly think it would come in my time,
but I knew it must come, for God is just."

"Did you not sometimes despair?"

"Never! sir; never! But O, it has been a terrible mystery, to know why
the good Lord should so long afflict my people, and keep them in
bondage,--to be abused, and trampled down, without any rights of their
own,--with no ray of light in the future. Some of my folks said there
wasn't any God, for if there was he wouldn't let white folks do as
they have done for so many years; but I told them to wait,--and now
they see what they have got by waiting. I told them that we were all
of one blood,--white folks and black folks all come from one man and
one woman, and that there was only one Jesus for all. _I knew it,--I
knew it!_" She spoke as if it were an indisputable fact which had come
by intuition.

Here Aunt Nellie's sister and her husband came in.

"I hope to make your better acquaintance," she said, courtesying. It
is a common form of expression among the colored people of some parts
of the South. She was larger, taller, and stouter than Aunt Nellie,
younger in years, less refined,--a field hand,--one who had drunk
deeply of the terrible cup which slavery had held to her lips. She
wore a long gray dress of coarse cloth,--a frock with sleeves,
gathered round the neck with a string,--the cheapest possible
contrivance for a dress, her only garment, I judged.

"These are new times to you," I said.

"It is a dream, sir,--a dream! 'Pears like I don't know where I am.
When General Sherman come and said we were free, I didn't believe it,
and I wouldn't believe it till the minister (Rev. Mr. French) told us
that we were free. It don't seem as if I was free, sir." She looked
into the fire a moment, and sat as if in a dream, but roused herself
as I said,--

"Yes, you are free."

"But that don't give me back my children,--my children, that I brought
forth with pains such as white women have,--that have been torn from
my breast, and sold from me; and when I cried for them was tied up and
had my back cut to pieces!"

She stopped talking to me, raised her eyes as if looking into
heaven,--reached up her hands imploringly, and cried in agony,--

"O Lord Jesus, have mercy! How long, O Lord? Come, Jesus, and help me.
'Pears like I can't bear it, dear Lord. They is all taken from me,
Lord. 'Pears like as if my heart would break. O blessed Jesus, they
say that I am free, but where are my children!--my children!--my

Her hands fell,--tears rolled down her cheeks. She bowed her head, and
sat moaning, wailing, and sobbing.

"You wouldn't believe me," said Aunt Nellie, speaking to her. "You
said that there was no use in praying for deliverance; that it was no
use to trust God,--that he had forgotten us!"

She rose and approached her sister, evidently to call her mind from
the terrible reality of the past. "You used to come in here and go
worry, worry, worry all day and all night, and say it was no use; that
you might as well die; that you would be a great deal better off if
you were dead. You wouldn't believe me when I said that the Lord would
give deliverance. You wouldn't believe that the Lord was good; but
just see what he has done for you,--made you free. Aren't you willing
to trust him now?"

The sister made no reply, but sat wiping away her tears, and sighing
over the fate of her children.

"Did you not feel sometimes like rising against your masters?" I
asked of the husband.

"Well, sir, I did feel hard sometimes, and I reckon that if it hadn't
been for the grace which Jesus gave us we should have done so; but he
had compassion on us, and helped us to bear it. We knew that he would
hear us some time."

"Did you ever try to escape?"

"No, sir. I was once interested in colonization, and talked of going
to Africa,--of buying myself, and go there and be free. Rev. Mr.
Gurley came here and gave a lecture. He was the agent of the
Colonization Society, I reckon; but just then there was so much
excitement among the slaves about it, that our masters put a stop to

"The good people of Boston are heaping coals of fire on the heads of
the slaveholders and Rebels," said Aunt Nellie.

"How so?" I asked.

"Why, as soon as General Sherman took possession of the city, you send
down ship-loads of provisions to them. They have fought you with all
their might, and you whip them, and then go to feeding them."

"I 'spect you intended that black and white folks should have them
alike," said her sister.

"Yes, that was the intention."

"Not a mouthful have I had. I am as poor as white folks. All my life I
have worked for them. I have given them houses and lands; they have
rode in their fine carriages, sat in their nice parlors, taken voyages
over the waters, and had money enough, which I and my people earned
for them. I have had my back cut up. I have been sent to jail because
I cried for my children, which were stolen from me. I have been
stripped of my clothing, exposed before men. My daughters have been
compelled to break God's commandment,--they couldn't help
themselves,--I couldn't help them; white men have done with us just as
they pleased. Now they turn me out of my poor old cabin, and say they
own it. O dear Jesus, help me!"

"Come, come, sister, don't take on; but you just give thanks for what
the Lord has done for you," said Aunt Nellie.

Her sister rose, stately as a queen, and said,--

"I thank you, sir, for your kind words to me to-night. I thank all the
good people in the North for what they have done for me and my
people. The good Lord be with you."

As she and her husband left the room, Aunt Nellie said,--

"Poor girl! she can't forget her children. She's cried for them day
and night."

Never till then had I felt the full force of Whittier's burning

  "A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood,--
   A wail where Camden's martyrs fell,--
   By every shrine of patriot blood,
   From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well!

  "By storied hill and hallowed grot,
   By mossy wood and marshy glen,
   Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
   And hurrying shout of Marion's men,
   The groan of breaking hearts is there,--
   The falling lash, the fetter's clank!
   _Slaves_, SLAVES are breathing in that air
   Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank!

  "What, ho! _our_ countrymen in chains!
   The whip on WOMAN'S shrinking flesh!
   Our soil yet reddening with the stains
   Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!
   What! mothers from their children riven!
   What! God's own image bought and sold!
   Americans to market driven,
   And bartered, as the brute, for gold!"

The night of the 28th of January was a fearful one in Savannah. The
inhabitants experienced all the terror of a bombardment combined with
the horror of a great conflagration. A fire broke out a little before
midnight in a long row of wooden buildings at the west end of the
city. The wind was fresh from the northwest, and the night exceedingly
cold. My rooms were in the Pulaski House. I was awakened by a sudden
explosion, which jarred the house, and heard the cry that the arsenal
was on fire.

There was another explosion,--then a volley of shells, and large
fragments came whirring through the air, striking the walls, or
falling with a heavy plunge into the street.

"There are three thousand shells in the building," said a soldier
running past, fleeing as if for his life.

"There are fifty tons of powder, which will go off presently," said
another, in breathless haste. Fifty tons of powder! Savannah would be
racked to its foundations! There would be a general crumbling of
walls. Men, women, and children were running,--crying, and in fear of
being crushed beneath the ruins of falling buildings.

It was the Rebel arsenal. I could not believe that the Rebels would
store fifty tons of powder in the city, and waited for the general
explosion. It did not come. Gradually I worked my way, under the
shelter of buildings, towards the fire. The fire-engines were
deserted, and the fire was having its own way, licking up the
buildings, one after another, remorselessly.

It was a gorgeous sight,--the flames leaping high in air, thrown up in
columns by the thirteen-inch shells, filling the air with burning
timbers, cinders, and myriads of sparks. The streets were filled with
fugitives. The hospitals were being cleared of sick and wounded, the
houses of furniture.

It was grand, but terrible. General Grover at once took measures to
arrest the progress of the flames, by tearing down buildings, and
bringing up several regiments, which, with the citizens and negroes,
succeeded in mastering the destroying element.

In the morning there was a wilderness of chimneys, and the streets
were strewn with furniture.

It was amusing to see with what good humor and _nonchalance_ the
colored people and the soldiers regarded the conflagration.

Two negro women passed me, carrying great bundles on their heads.

"I's clean burned out," said one.

"So is I"; and they both laughed as if it was very funny.

"Let 'em burn: who cares?" said one soldier. "They have fought us, and
now let 'em suffer."

"We have got to do guard duty, and it is a little more comfortable to
be quartered in a house than to sleep in a shelter-tent, so let us
save the place," said another; and the two went to work with a will to
subdue the flames.

       *       *       *       *       *

General Sherman's Special Field Order No. 15, dated January 16, 1865,
permitted the freedmen to take possession of the abandoned lands. A
meeting--called by General Saxton, who had been appointed
Inspector--was held in the Second African Baptist Church, a large
building, which was crowded to its utmost capacity by the colored
people. It was the first meeting ever held in Savannah having in view
the exclusive interests of the colored people.

The organist was playing a voluntary when I entered the church. He was
a free colored man, a native of Charleston, having a bullet-shaped
head, bright, sparkling eyes, and a pleasant voice. He had lived in
Savannah nine years, and was a music-teacher,--giving instruction on
the violin, piano-forte, and organ, also vocal music, to persons of
his own race. He was in the habit of putting in clandestinely some of
the rudiments of the English language, although it was against the
peace and dignity of the State. He dared to open a school, and taught
in secret in the evening; but a policeman discovered that he was an
incendiary, and he was compelled to hide till the matter was

"When the voluntary was completed, the choir sung Rev. Mr. Smith's
American hymn,--

  "My country, 'tis of thee,
   Sweet land of liberty,
     Of thee I sing."

Their country! Their liberty! The words were no longer meaningless.

By request of General Saxton, they also sang Bishop Heber's Missionary

  "From Greenland's icy mountains,
     From India's coral strand,
   Where Afric's sunny fountains
     Roll down their golden sand,
   From many an ancient river,
     From many a palmy plain,
   They call us to deliver
     Their land from error's chain."

General Saxton addressed them.

"I have come to tell you what the President of the United States has
done for you," said he.

"God bless Massa Linkum!" was the response of a thousand voices.

"You are all free."

"Glory to God! Hallelujah! Amen!" they shouted in tumultuous chorus.

[Illustration: Sherman's "bummers."]

He explained the cause of the war: how the Rebels fired upon the flag,
how they hated freedom, and wished to perpetuate slavery, which
produced the war, that, in turn, under God's providence, had made them
free men. They were free, but they must labor to live. Their relations
to their masters had all been changed. They could go where they
pleased, do what they pleased, provided they did that which was right;
but they had no claim upon their masters,--they must work for
themselves. All wealth came from the soil, and by cultivating the
ground they could obtain food, and thus increase their wealth. He read
and explained General Sherman's order, and told them of the
advancement which the freedmen had made at Beaufort. They had
comfortable homes, their children were attending school, and the men
and women had almost forgotten that they had been slaves. One man had
accumulated ten thousand dollars in four years; another was worth five
thousand. He advised them to go upon the islands and take possession
of the abandoned lands. He also advised the young and able-bodied to
enlist in the service of the United States. They were citizens, and
they must begin to do their part as citizens. They were free, but
there was still some fighting to be done to secure their liberty.

Rev. Mr. French also addressed them.

"Your freedom," said he, "is the gift of God. The President has
proclaimed it, and the brave men of General Sherman's army have
brought it to you."

"God bless General Sherman! Amen! That's so!" were the enthusiastic
responses. They clapped their hands and gave expression to their joy
in emphatic demonstrations. It was a strange sight,--a sea of turbaned
heads in the body of the house, occupied by the women, wearing
brightest colored handkerchiefs, or bonnets with flaming ribbons;
while above, in the galleries, were two sable clouds of faces. Every
window was filled by a joyous, enthusiastic crowd.

"You are to show your late masters that you can take care of
yourselves. If I were in your place I would go, if I had to live on
roots and water, and take possession of the islands," said Mr. French.

"Yes, sir, dat is what we will do. We're gwine."

"Show your old masters that you can work as hard to keep out of
slavery as they did to keep you in bondage. And you must have but one
wife, instead of two or three, as you used to do."

There was a great sensation at this point,--an outburst of laughter
echoing and re-echoing from floor to ceiling. I was utterly unable to
understand how the remark was received, but the sable audience
evidently looked upon it as a very funny affair. The negro race has a
quick and natural appreciation of anything bordering upon the
ridiculous. They boil over with uncontrollable merriment at a very
small matter.

"Treat your old masters with all respect; be generous and kind to
them. This is your day of rejoicing, and they are drinking their cup
of sorrow. Do them good,--help them. Break off bad habits,--be good
citizens, truthful and honest. Now, all of you who are ready to
scratch for a living,--who are resolved to make your own way in the
world,--hold up your hands."

Up went a thousand hands.

"You owe your liberty to the men of the North, to President Lincoln,
to the thousands who have died,--to Jesus Christ."

Deep and solemn was the Amen,--a spontaneous outburst of gratitude,
welling up from their sympathetic and affectionate natures.

A prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Houston, of the Third African Baptist
Church. It was impassioned, fervent, and earnest, in which there were
thanksgiving, confession of sin, and a pleading for God's help. The
President, the Union army, the Federal government, were remembered. He
prayed also that God would bring the Rebels to see that they ought to
lay down their arms and be at peace.

Then in conclusion they sang the hymn,--

  "Eternal are thy mercies, Lord,
   Eternal truth attends thy word."

How gloriously the grand old choral of Luther rang! Old men
sang,--tottering upon the verge of the grave, their heads white, their
voices tremulous, their sight dim; women with scarred backs
sang,--who had toiled unrequited in the malarious rice-swamps, who had
prayed in dungeons and prisons, who had wept and moaned for their
stolen babes,--for their husbands, mangled and torn by bloodhounds.
But that was all of the past. The day of jubilee had dawned. They had
cried day and night, "O Lord, how long!" But now they had only
thanksgiving and praise.

After the meeting there was a general shaking of hands. "Bless de Lord
for dis yere day." "May de good Lord be wid you." "I never 'spected to
see dis yere day; but de praise belongs to de good Lord; he be wid
you, brudder."

Such were the congratulations. There were none of the white people of
Savannah present. Before the men of the West entered the city, such a
gathering, even for religious worship, would have been incendiary
unless attended by white men. But it was an inauguration of a new
era,--a beginning of the settlement of the question over which
philanthropists, politicians, and statesmen had puzzled their
philosophic brains: "What shall we do with them?"

Rev. Mr. Houston accompanied me to my room, and gave me a history of
his life. He was forty-one years old, had always been a slave, and
received his freedom at the hands of General Sherman. When a boy his
master hired him out to the Marine Hospital. Waiting upon the sailors,
he had an opportunity to hear a great deal about the world. They had
books and papers. He had a desire to learn to read, and they, not
having the black laws of Georgia before their eyes, taught him his
letters. Then obtaining a Bible, and other books, he read with great
zeal. He wanted to be a preacher, and after examination by the Baptist
Association, was ordained to preach by white men. He purchased his
time before the war, paying fifty dollars a month to his master, and
became a provision-dealer, yet preaching on Sundays. He leased the
lower story of a building fronting the market, where he sold his meat
and where he lived. Above him, up two flights, was the slave-mart of
Savannah. He used to go into the country, up the railroad to the
centre of the State, to purchase cattle, and became well acquainted
with the planters. He heard their discussions on current affairs, and
thus received information upon the politics of the country. He gave
an account of the state of affairs, of opinions held in the North and
in the South at the time when Fremont was a candidate for the

"We knew that he was our friend," said Mr. Houston, "and we wanted him
elected. We were very much disappointed at the result of that
election; but we kept hoping and praying that God would have mercy on
us as a race."

"Did your people understand the points at issue between the South and
the North, when the war begun?" I asked.

"Yes, sir, I think we did. When South Carolina fired on Sumter we
understood that the North was fighting for the Union. The flag had
been insulted, and we thought that you of the North would have spunk
enough to resent the insult. Those of us who could read the papers
knew that the points at issue really were between Freedom and

"What did you think when we were defeated at Manassas? Did you not

"No, sir. I knew that the North would not give in for one defeat. Some
of our people were down-hearted, but I had faith in God, sir. I felt
that the war must go on till we were made free. Besides, we prayed,
sir! There have been a great many prayers, sir, offered up from
broken-hearted men and women,--from negro cabins, not in public,--for
the success of the North. They could not offer such supplications at
church; they were offered to a God who sees in secret, but who rewards
openly. We are receiving all we ever asked for. Bless his holy name."

"You have seen people sold in the market, I suppose?"

"O yes, sir, thousands of them. O, sir, it seems as if I now could
hear the groans and cries of mothers and fathers as they marched down
those stairs out into the street in gangs,--their chains rattling and
clanking on the stairs. It was hell, sir! The wailings of the damned
can never be more heart-rending, as they were driven out, crying, 'O
Lord! have mercy! O massa, don't! don't! O my poor children!'"

His eyes shone with a strange light. The muscles of his hands
tightened. He arose and walked the room, wiped the tears from his
eyes, but composing himself sat down, and said; "Iniquity was at its
height when the war began, and it continued till General Sherman
came. O, it was terrible! terrible! to be there in that room on the
lower floor, and see the hundreds taken out,--to see them nabbed in
the streets, or taken from their beds at dead of night by the sheriff,
and sold at once; for since the war began white men have been obliged
often to raise money suddenly, and slave property being especially
insecure, we were liable to be sold at any moment. Runaway slaves were
whipped unmercifully. Last summer I saw one receive five hundred
lashes out on the Gulf Railroad, because he couldn't give an account
of himself. The man who kept the slave-market left the city with a
large number of slaves just before Sherman came, taking them South;
but he is back in the city. He is a bitter old Rebel."

Mr. Houston and a party of freedmen had been to Skidaway Island to
take possession of lands under General Sherman's order, and commence a

They laid out a village, also farm lots of forty acres, set aside one
central lot for a church, another for a school-house; then placing
numbers in a hat, made the allotment. It was Plymouth Colony repeating
itself. They agreed that if any others came to join them they should
have equal privileges. So the Mayflower was blooming on the islands of
the South Atlantic!

"We shall build our cabins and organize our town government for the
maintenance of order," said Mr. Houston.

"I told you that I hired my time of my master," said he. "My master
hired my money, and when I asked him for it he refused to pay me; and
as I had no power before the law, I could not compel him, and have
lost it. I have about five hundred hides, which I would like to send
North. I want to purchase a portable saw-mill. We shall need
lumber,--must have it to build our houses and our church."

Such was his plan,--indicating a foresight which gave promise of a
prosperous future.

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing by a church, I saw the sexton, with brush in hand, sweeping
the aisles. The edifice was a substantial, ancient structure, with a
mahogany pulpit of the old style, a broad aisle, chandelier pendent
from the arched roof, filagree and panel-work around the galleries.
Old and aristocratic families had sat in the cushioned pews,--men of
vast wealth, owning houses, lands, and slaves. A great organ loomed
high up in the gallery, its gilt pipes fronting the pulpit. Marriages
and funerals had been solemnized at the altar. For fifteen years,
Sunday after Sunday, this sexton had faithfully discharged his duties
at the church.

He was stout, thick-set, strong, with well-developed muscles and a
clear eye. He was gentlemanly in his deportment, and his voice was one
of the most musical I ever heard.

"Shall I take a look at the church?"

"Certainly, sir. Walk in."

His words were as if he had chanted them, so faultless the tone,
inflection, and cadence. His features were well formed, but anthracite
coal is not blacker than his complexion. I was interested in him at
once. He leaning upon his broom, and sitting in one of the pews, had a
free conversation upon the events of his life.

He was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1829.

"My old master died," said he, "and I fell to his son, who went off to
college and got to spreeing it, lost all his property, and of course I
had to be sold. I brought twelve hundred dollars,--that was in
1849,--but another man offered the man who bought me a hundred and
fifty dollars bonus for his bargain, which was accepted, and I was
brought to Charleston. I have always been a slave."

"But you are a free man now; just as free as I am."

"Yes, sir, so General Sherman told me. I had a talk with him; and he
talked just as free with me as if I was his own brother. But I don't
feel it in my heart, sir, to go away and leave my old master, now that
he is poor, and calamity has come upon him."

"Has he always treated you well?"

"Yes, sir,--that is, he never scarred my back. Some masters are mighty
hard, sir. I don't blame some negroes for running away from their
masters now that they can, for they have been treated mighty bad, sir;
but my master has had great calamity come upon him, sir. When I was
brought here from Norfolk, master's son Bob, who is in Texas,--a
captain in the Southern army now,--saw me, and liked me, and I liked
him, and his father bought me for Bob, and Bob and I have been like
brothers to each other. I have no complaint to make. But master has
lost two sons in Virginia. One of them was killed in the first battle
of Manassas."

"I suppose you have heard many prayers here for Jeff Davis?"

"Yes, sir, and mighty fine sermons for the Southern army, sir; and
there have been solemn scenes in this church, sir. Six bodies, one
Sunday, after the first battle of Manassas, were here in this broad
aisle. I had the communion-table set out here, right in front of the
pulpit, and there they lay,--six of 'em. I couldn't help crying when I
saw 'em, for they were just like old friends to me. They used to
attend the Sunday school when they were boys, and used to cut up a
little wild, and it was my business to keep 'em straight. They
belonged to the Oglethorpe Light Infantry, and went with Colonel
Bartow. They went away gayly, and thought they were going to Richmond
to have a nice time. Their mothers and sisters told them to go and
fight the Yankees. They didn't expect to see them brought back dead, I
reckon. It was a sad day, sir."

"Then the women were as eager as the men for the war?"

"Yes, sir,--more. They were crazy about fighting the Yankees. I know
that some of the boys didn't want to fight against the flag, but the
women made 'em. The men had to wear Secession badges, as something to
show that they were for the South. If it hadn't been for the ladies, I
reckon we wouldn't have had the war."

"What do the women think now?"

"Well, sir, some of them are as bitter as ever they were against the
Yankees, but I reckon they don't care to say much; and then there are
others who see it ain't no use to try to hold out any longer. There
are lots of 'em who have lost their husbands and brothers and sons. I
reckon there are very few of the Light Infantry left. I know 'em all,
for I took care of their hall,--their armory,--and they made me hoist
the flag one day union down. That made me feel very bad, sir. I always
loved the flag, and I love it now better than ever. It makes me feel
bad to think that my boys fought against it (he meant the boys who
attended the Sunday school). But I reckon it is the Lord's doing, sir,
and that it will be a blessing to us in the end."

"Can you read and write?" I asked.

"A little, sir. I never had any one to show me, but I used to sit down
here in the pews and take up the hymn-book, and spell out the words,
and one day master Bob set me a copy in writing, and so I have learned
a little. I can read the newspapers, sir, and have kept track of the

Upon the first battle of Manassas, the Peninsular campaigns, the
blowing up of the Merrimac, the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg,
Vicksburg, New Orleans, and Sherman's campaign, he was well informed.
He had a brother who was fighting for the Union.

"He is a brave fellow, and I know he won't show the white feather,"
said he.

We talked upon the prospects of the colored people now that they were

"I reckon, sir," said he, "that a good many of 'em will be
disappointed. They don't know what freedom is. But they will find that
they have got to work, or else they won't get anything to eat. They
are poor, ignorant creatures; but I reckon, sir, that after a while,
when things get settled, they will learn how to take care of
themselves. But I think they are mighty foolish to clear out and leave
their old masters, when they can have good situations, and good pay,
and little to do. Then, sir, it is kind of ungrateful like, to go away
and leave their old masters when the day of calamity comes. I could
not do it, sir; besides, I reckon I will be better off to stay here
for the present, sir."

I informed him that I was from Massachusetts.

"I know something about Massachusetts, and I reckon it is a mighty
fine State, sir. I have heard you abused, and the people of Boston
also. Savannah people said hard things about you: that you were
abolitionists, and wanted the negroes to have equal privileges with
the white men. My father, when I was in Norfolk, undertook to get to
Massachusetts, but he was hunted down in the swamps and sold South,
away down to Alabama, and that is the last I have heard of him. I have
always liked Massachusetts. I reckon you are a liberal people up
there. I hear you have sent a ship-load of provisions to us poor

I gave him information upon the subject, and spoke of Mr. Everett, who
made a speech at the meeting in Faneuil Hall.

"Mr. Everett! I reckon I heard him talk about General Washington once
here, five or six years ago. He was a mighty fine speaker, sir. The
house was crowded."

The sun was setting, and the sexton had other duties. As I left the
church, he said: "Come round, sir, some afternoon, and I will take you
up to the steeple, so that you can get a sight of the city, and may be
you play the organ. I love to hear music, sir."

How strangely this will read fifty years hence! The words
_slave_,--_master_,--_sold_,--_hunted down_, will make this present
time seem an impossibility to those who live after us. This sexton--a
slave--heard the minister preach of the loosing of the bonds of the
oppressed, and of doing unto others as they would be done by, yet he
found in his own experience such a Gospel a lie. His bonds were not
loosened; and the boys of the Sunday school, the petted sons of
Savannah, went out from their aristocratic homes to perpetuate that
lie. At last through war came deliverance; and yet there was so much
gentleness in the heart of this man, that in the day of calamity which
came to his master, when his sons one by one were killed in their
endeavors to sustain that lie; when his property disappeared like dew
before the morning sun; when his pride was humiliated; when his
daughters, who were expectants of immense fortunes, were compelled to
do menial service,--this servant, though a free man, could not find it
in his heart to leave them, and take the liberty he loved! It may have
been an exceptional case; but it shows an interesting feature of
Southern life. The words of this sexton of Savannah will adorn the
historic page. "I reckon, sir, that it is the Lord's doing, and that
it will be a blessing to us in the end."

Society in the South, and especially in Savannah, had undergone a
great change. The extremes of social life were very wide apart before
the war; they were no nearer the night before Sherman marched into the
city; but the morning after there was a convulsion, an upheaval, a
shaking up and a settling down of all the discordant elements. The
tread of that army of the West, as it moved in solid column through
the streets, was like a moral earthquake, overturning aristocratic
pride, privilege, and power.

Old houses, with foundations laid deep and strong in the centuries,
fortified by wealth, name, and influence, went down beneath the shock.
The general disruption of the former relations of master and slave,
and forced submission to the Union arms, produced a common level. A
reversal of the poles of the earth would hardly have produced a
greater physical convulsion than this sudden and unexpected change in
the social condition of the people of the city.

On the night before Sherman entered the place there were citizens who
could enumerate their wealth by millions; at sunrise the next morning
they were worth scarcely a dime. Their property had been in cotton,
negroes, houses, land, Confederate bonds and currency, railroad and
bank stocks. Government had seized their cotton; the negroes had
possession of their lands; their slaves had become freemen; their
houses were occupied by troops; Confederate bonds were waste paper;
their railroads were destroyed; their banks insolvent. They had not
only lost wealth, but they had lost their cause. And there were some
who were willing to confess that they had been fighting for a system
of iniquity.

One could not ask for more courteous treatment than I received during
my stay in Savannah. I am indebted to many ladies and gentlemen of
that city for kind invitations to pass an evening with them. There was
no concealment of opinion on either side, but with the utmost good
feeling full expression was given to our differing sentiments.

"We went into the war in good faith; we thought we were right; we
confidently expected to establish our independence; but we are
whipped, and have got to make the best of it," was the frank
acknowledgment of several gentlemen.

"I hate you of the North," said a young lady. It came squarely, and
the tone indicated a little irritation.

"I am very sorry for it. I can hardly think that you really hate us.
You don't hate me individually?"

"O no. You come here as a gentleman. I should indeed be rude and
unladylike to say that I hated you; but I mean the Yankees in general.
We never can live together in peace again. For one, I hope to leave
the country."

"If I were to reside here, you of course would treat me courteously so
long as I was a gentleman in my deportment?"

"Certainly; but you are an individual."

"But if two individuals can live peacefully, why not ten,--or a
hundred,--a thousand,--all?"

She hesitated a moment; and then, with flashing eyes and flushed
countenance, which added charms to her beauty, said, "Well, it is
hard--and you will not think any worse of me for saying it--to have
your friends killed, your servants all taken away, your lands
confiscated; and then know that you have failed,--that you have been
whipped. I wish that we had the power to whip you; but we haven't, and
must make the best of it. What we are to do I don't know. We have been
able to have everything that money could buy, and now we haven't a
dollar. I don't care anything about keeping the negroes in slavery;
but there is one feeling which we Southerners have that you cannot
enter into. My old mamma who nursed me is just like a mother to me;
but there is one thing that I never will submit to,--that the negro is
our equal. He belongs to an inferior race."

She laid down the argument in the palm of her hand with a great deal
of emphasis.

"Your energy, boldness, and candor are admirable. If under defeat and
disaster you sat down supinely and folded your hands, there would be
little hope of your rising again; but your determination to make the
best of it shows that you will adapt yourself readily to the new order
of things. There never will be complete equality in society. Political
and social equality are separate and distinct. Rowdies and ragamuffins
have natural rights: they may have a right to vote, they may be
citizens; but that does not necessarily entitle them to free entrance
into our homes."

The idea was evidently new to the young lady,--and not only to her,
but to all in the room. To them the abolition of slavery was the
breaking down of all social distinctions. So long as the negro was
compelled to enter the parlor as a servant, they could endure his
presence; but freedom implied the possibility, they imagined, of his
entrance as an equal, entitled to a place at their firesides and a
seat at their tables. The thought was intolerable.

The poor whites of the South are far below the colored people in
ability and force of character. They are a class from which there is
little to hope. Nothing rouses their ambition. Like the Indians, they
are content with food for to-day; to-morrow will take care of itself.
In the cities they swarm along the sides of buildings on sunny days,
and at night crawl into their miserable cabins with little more
aspiration than dogs that seek their kennels. Undoubtedly there is far
less suffering among the poor of the Southern cities than among the
poor of New York, where life is ever a struggle with want. The South
has a milder climate, nature requires less labor for production, and
the commercial centres are not overcrowded. The poor whites of the
South maintain no battle with starvation, but surrender resignedly to
poverty. They can exist without much labor, and are too indolent to
strive to rise to a higher level of existence. The war has taken their
best blood. Only shreds and dregs remain.

"What can be done for the poor whites?"

It is a momentous question for the consideration of philanthropists
and statesmen.

They are very ignorant. Their dialect is a mixture of English and
African, having words and phrases belonging to neither language;
though the _patois_ is not confined to this class, but is sometimes
heard in sumptuously furnished parlors.

"I suppose that you will not be sorry when the war is over," I
remarked to a lady in Savannah.

"No, sir. I reckon the Confederacy is done gone for," was the reply.

It is reported that a North Carolina colonel of cavalry was heard to
address his command thus,--"'Tention, battalion. Prepare to gen orto
yer critter. Git!"

The order to ride rapidly was, "Dust right smart!"

You hear young ladies say, _Paw_, for Pa, _Maw_, for Ma, and then,
curiously adding another vowel sound, they say _kear_ for car, _thear_
for there.

The poor whites of the country are called "poor white trash,"
"crackers," "clay-eaters," "sand-hillers," and "swamp angels," by the
educated whites. There is no homogeneity of white society. The
planters, as a rule, have quite as much respect for the negroes as
for the shiftless whites.

Yet these miserable wretches are exceedingly bitter against the North:
it is the bitterness of ignorance,--brutal, cruel, fiendish, produced
by caste, by the spirit of slavery. There is more hope, therefore, of
the blacks, in the future, than of this degraded class. The colored
people believe that the people of the North are their friends.
Freedom, food, schools, all were given by the Yankees; hence gratitude
and confidence on the part of the freedmen; hence, on the part of the
poor whites, hatred of the North and cruelty toward the negro.
Idleness, not occupation, has been, and is, their normal condition. It
is ingrained in their nature to despise work. Indolence is a virtue,
laziness no reproach. Thus slavery arrayed society against every law
of God, moral and physical.

The poor whites were in bondage as well as the blacks, and to all
appearance will remain so, while the natural buoyancy of the negro
makes him rise readily to new exigencies; with freedom he is at once
eager to obtain knowledge and acquire landed estates.

The colored people who had taken up lands on the islands under General
Sherman's order met for consultation in the Slave Market, at the
corner of St. Julian Street and Market Square. I passed up the two
flights of stairs down which thousands of slaves had been dragged,
chained in coffle, and entered a large hall. At the farther end was an
elevated platform about eight feet square,--the auctioneer's block.
The windows were grated with iron. In an anteroom at the right women
had been stripped and exposed to the gaze of brutal men. A colored man
was praying when I entered, giving thanks to God for the freedom of
his race, and asking for a blessing on their undertaking. After
prayers they broke out into singing. Lieutenant Ketchum of General
Saxton's staff, who had been placed in charge of the confiscated
lands, was present, to answer their questions.

"I would like to know what title we shall have to our lands, or to the
improvements we shall make?" was the plain question of a tall black

"You will have the faith and honor of the United States," was the

Rev. Mr. French informed them that the government could not give them
deeds of the land, but that General Sherman had issued the order, and
without doubt President Lincoln would see it was carried out. "Can't
you trust the President who gave you your freedom?" he asked.

A stout man, with a yellow complexion, rose in the centre of the
house: "I have a house here in the city. I can get a good living here,
and I don't want to go to the islands unless I can be assured of a
title to the land; and I think that is the feeling of four fifths

"That's so!" "Yes, brother!" was responded. There was evidently a
reluctance to becoming pioneers in such an enterprise,--to leaving the
city unless the guaranty were sure.

Another man rose. "My bredren, I want to raise cotton, and I'm gwine."

It was a short but effective speech. With keen, sharp intellect, he
had comprehended the great commercial question of the day. He knew
that it would pay to raise cotton on lands which had been held at
fabulous prices when the staple was worth but ten or fifteen cents. He
was going to improve the opportunity to raise cotton, even if he did
not become a holder of the estate.

"I'm gwine ye, brudder!" "So will I!" and there was a general shaking
of hands as if that were sealing a contract. Having determined to go,
they joined in singing "The Freedmen's Battle-Hymn," sung as a solo
and repeated in chorus:--


    I'll fight for Lib-er-ty, I'll fight for Lib-er-
    ty, I'll fight--I'll fight for Lib-er-ty.

    _Solo._--I'll fight for Liberty,
                  I'll fight for Liberty,
                  I'll fight--I'll fight for Liberty.

            _Chorus._--In the New Jerusalem,
                            In the New Jerusalem,
                            In the New--the New Jerusalem.

                  I'm not afraid to die,
                  I'm not afraid to die,
                  I'm not--I'm not afraid to die.

            _Chorus._--In the New, &c.

                  I shall meet my Saviour there,
                  I shall meet my Saviour there,
                  I shall meet--shall meet my Saviour there.

            _Chorus._--In the New, &c.

                  I shall wear a starry crown,
                  I shall wear a starry crown,
                  I shall wear--I shall wear a starry crown.

            _Chorus._--In the New, &c.]

The colored soldiers of Foster's army sang it at the battle of Honey
Hill, while preparing to go into the fight. How gloriously it sounded
now, sung by five hundred freedmen in the Savannah slave-mart, where
some of the singers had been sold in days gone by! It was worth a trip
from Boston to Savannah to hear it.

The next morning, in the same room, I saw a school of one hundred
colored children assembled, taught by colored teachers, who sat on the
auctioneer's platform, from which had risen voices of despair instead
of accents of love, brutal cursing instead of Christian teaching. I
listened to the recitations, and heard their songs of jubilee. The
slave-mart transformed to a school-house! Civilization and
Christianity had indeed begun their beneficent work.

[Illustration: Fort Sumter.]



[Sidenote: Dec., 1864.]

General Sherman received, soon after his arrival in Savannah,
instructions from General Grant to hasten with his army to James
River. Transports were sent down for the shipment of the troops. Grant
desired to combine the two great armies, throw Sherman upon his own
left flank, and sever Lee's communications with the South, and also
prevent his escape. Through all the long months of summer, autumn, and
winter,--from June to February,--Grant had put forth his energies to
accomplish this object, but had not been able to cut the Danville
road, Lee's chief line of supply or retreat. The arrival of Sherman
upon the sea-coast made the plan feasible.

But that officer thought it better to march northward, driving the
enemy before him, and finish up the entire Rebel forces on the
Atlantic coast; besides, South Carolina deserved a retribution as
severe as that which had been meted out to Georgia. He also believed
that he could thus join Grant quite as soon as by the more circuitous
route by water. Grant assented to the proposition, and having full
confidence in the ability of his lieutenant, left him to co-operate in
the manner he thought most advisable.

The Rebels expected that Sherman would move upon Charleston, but such
was not his intention. He determined to make a movement which would
compel its evacuation, while at the same time he could drive the
forces of the Rebels in the interior of the State northward, and by
destroying all the railroads in his progress, and severing Lee from
the agricultural regions of the South, so cripple his resources as to
paralyze the Rebel army before Richmond, and bring the war to a speedy

He wished to preserve his army entire, and accordingly a division of
the Nineteenth Corps, which had fought under Emory in the Southwest
and under Grover in the Shenandoah, having no enemy to pursue after
the annihilation of Early, was sent down to garrison Savannah, Grover
being made commandant of the post.

General Howard, commanding the right wing, took transports with the
Seventeenth Corps, Blair's, for Beaufort, whence he pushed into the
interior, striking the Charleston and Savannah Railroad at Pocatoligo,
and establishing there a depot of supplies. The Fifteenth Corps,
Logan's, followed, except Corse's division, which, being prevented by
freshets from marching direct to Pocatoligo, moved with the left wing,
commanded by Williams, joining the Twentieth Corps, and crossing the
Savannah marched to Hardeeville, on the Charleston Railroad, and
opened communication with Howard.

"Come with me," was the kind invitation of General Williams; "you will
see high old times, I reckon. My soldiers are crazy to get into South
Carolina." But believing that Sherman's movement would necessitate the
evacuation of Charleston, I preferred to enter that city at the hour
of her deepest humiliation.

Davis's corps, the Fourteenth, with Geary's division of the Twentieth,
crossed at Sister's Ferry, fifty miles above Savannah. This detour was
necessary on account of the flooding of the country by freshets. The
gunboat Pontiac was sent up to cover the crossing. When Slocum reached
the river at Sister's Ferry he found it three miles in width, and too
deep to ford, and was obliged to wait till the 7th of February before
he could cross. This movement deceived Hardee and Beauregard. The
presence of Howard at Pocatoligo looked like an advance upon
Charleston, while Slocum being at Sister's Ferry indicated an attack
upon Augusta. The Rebel commanders therefore undertook to hold a line
a hundred miles in length. D. H. Hill was hurried to Augusta, Hardee
took position at Branchville, while Beauregard remained at Charleston.
This scattering of the Rebel forces made Sherman's task comparatively
easy, as their combined army would hardly have been a match for
Sherman in a pitched battle on a fair field. His troops had entire
confidence in themselves and in their commander. Having fought their
way from Chattanooga to Atlanta, having marched to the sea and taken
Fort McAllister and Savannah, they believed there was no obstacle
which they could not overcome in marching or fighting.

Wilmington had been captured, and Sherman proposed to receive his next
supplies from the coast.

"I shall reach Goldsboro' about the 15th of March," said Sherman to
his chief quartermasters, who at once made preparations to forward
supplies from Morehead City in North Carolina.

Sherman held a conference with Admiral Dahlgren on the 22d of January,
and with General Foster, commanding the Department of the South. All
the troops in that quarter were to be employed in a movement against
Charleston. General Foster being in feeble health, Major-General
Gillmore, who had charge of the department during the summer, and who
had conducted the engineering operations against Wagner and Sumter,
again took command.

The march of the right wing, under Howard, commenced on the 1st of
February. Howard found obstructions on all the roads. The negroes from
the plantations had been impressed into the Rebel service to burn
bridges, fell trees, and open sluice-ways; but his Pioneer Corps was
so thoroughly organized that such obstacles did not greatly impede his

The Salkehatchie River runs southeast, and reaches the Atlantic midway
between Charleston and Savannah. Howard moved up its southern bank,
northwest, till he reached River's bridge, thirty-five miles above
Pocatoligo. It was a weary march, through swamps, mud, and
pine-barrens. River's bridge and Beaufort bridge were held by the
Rebels, who were strongly posted. Blair, with the Seventeenth Corps,
was ordered to carry the first, and Logan, with the Fifteenth, the
latter. Blair detailed Mower's and Corse's divisions for the work. The
troops saw before them a swamp three miles wide, overflowed, with soft
mire beneath, filled with gnarled roots of gigantic trees. It was
midwinter. The air was keen. They knew not the depth of the water. The
forest was gloomy. Above them waved the long gray tresses of moss.
There was nothing of pomp and circumstance to inspire them. It was an
undertaking full of hazard. They must shiver an hour in the water,
breast deep, before they could reach the enemy. But they hesitated not
an instant when the order was given to move. They stepped into the
water jocosely, as if upon a holiday excursion.

A Rebel brigade guarded the farther shore; flanking it, and reaching
the firm land below the bridge, the troops rushed recklessly forward,
and quickly drove the enemy from his strong position, losing but
seventeen killed and seventy wounded.

Thus by one dash the Rebel line of the Salkehatchie was broken, and
Hardee retired behind the Edisto to Branchville. The railroad from
Charleston to Augusta was reached the next day, and D. H. Hill at
Augusta, with one third of the Rebel force, was severed from Hardee
and Beauregard. For three days Howard's men were engaged in destroying
the railroad west of the Edisto,--waiting also for the left wing,
which had been detained by freshets.

Kilpatrick, meanwhile, had pushed well up towards Augusta, driving
Wheeler, burning and destroying property, and threatening Hill. The
Rebels everywhere were in a state of consternation. They could not
divine Sherman's intentions. The people of Charleston, who for four
years had heard the thunder of cannon day and night down the harbor,
and had come to the conclusion that it was impossible the city could
ever be taken, now thought Sherman was intending to knock for
admission at the back door. The people of Augusta saw that their fair
town was threatened. It had been an important place to the
Confederates through the war, contributing largely to help on the
Rebellion by its manufacturing industry. Citizens fled from Charleston
to Cheraw, Columbia, Winsboro', and other towns up the Santee and
Catawba, little thinking that they were jumping from the "frying-pan
into the fire."

Branchville is sixty-two miles northwest of Charleston, on the north
bank of the Edisto. Hardee expected to see Sherman at that place, and
made elaborate preparations to defend it, as it lay in the path to
Charleston. But Sherman, instead of turning southeast, kept his eye on
the north star, and moved on Orangeburg, thirteen miles north of
Branchville, where also the Rebels were prepared to make a stand; but
the Seventeenth Corps made one dash, and the enemy fled from a long
breastwork of cotton-bales. This was on the 12th of February.
Meanwhile General Hatch, with a portion of Gillmore's troops, was
threatening Charleston along the coast.

A division under General Potter, accompanied by a large number of
gunboats, went to Bull's Bay, north of Charleston, as if to approach
the city from that quarter. The monitors were inside the bar. There
were Union troops on Morris's Island, ready to move, while the
batteries kept up their fire, sending shells into the city. Thus from
every point except on the northern side Charleston was threatened.

It was not till Howard was well up towards Columbia that Hardee saw he
had been completely flanked, and that Sherman had no intention of
going to Charleston. The only force in front of Sherman was Wheeler's
and Wade Hampton's cavalry, with straggling bands of infantry.
Hampton's home was Columbia. He was rich, and had a palatial
residence. He was an aristocrat, in principle and action. He was
bitter in his hatred of the Union and the men of the North. He had
fought upon nearly all the battle-fields of Virginia, and doubtless,
in common with most of the people of his State, had not thought it
possible the war should reach his own door. But Sherman was there, and
being powerless to defend the capital of the State, he was reckless to

Columbia had been a depot of supplies through the war. In view of its
occupation, Sherman gave written orders to Howard to spare all
dwellings, colleges, schools, churches, and private property, but to
destroy the arsenals and machinery for the manufacture of war

Howard threw a bridge across the river three miles above the city, and
Stone's brigade of Wood's division of the Fifteenth Corps was sent
across. The Mayor came out in his carriage, and made a formal
surrender to Colonel Stone, who marched up the streets, where huge
piles of cotton were burning. Hampton, in anticipation of the giving
up of the city, had caused the cotton to be gathered, public as well
as private, that it might be burned. There were thousands of bales.
Negroes were employed to cut the ropes that bound them, and apply the
torch. As Stone marched in the last of Hampton's troops moved out.
The wind was high, and flakes of burning cotton were blown about the
streets, setting fire to the buildings. The soldiers used their utmost
exertions to extinguish the flames, working under the direction of
their officers. The whole of Wood's division was sent in for the
purpose, but very little could be done towards saving the city. The
fire raged through the day and night. Hundreds of families were burned
out, and reduced from opulence, or at least competency, to penury. It
was a terrible scene of suffering and woe,--men, women, and children
fleeing from the flames, surrounded by a hostile army, composed of men
whom they had called vandals, ruffians, the slime of the North, the
pests of society, and whom they had looked upon with haughty contempt,
as belonging to an inferior race. Indescribable their anguish; and yet
no violence was committed, no insulting language or action given by
those soldiers. Sherman, Howard, Logan, Hazen, Woods,--nearly all of
Sherman's officers,--did what they could to stay the flames and
alleviate the distress. They experienced no pleasure in beholding the
agony of the people of Columbia.

General Sherman thus vindicates himself in his official report, and
charges the atrocity upon Wade Hampton:--

     "I disclaim on the part of my army any agency in this fire, but,
     on the contrary, claim that we saved what of Columbia remains
     unconsumed. And without hesitation I charge General Wade Hampton
     with having burned his own city of Columbia,--not with a
     malicious intent, or as the manifestation of a silly 'Roman
     stoicism,' but from folly and want of sense, in filling it with
     lint, cotton, and tinder. Our officers and men on duty worked
     well to extinguish the flames; but others not on duty, including
     the officers who had long been imprisoned there, rescued by us,
     may have assisted in spreading the fire after it had once begun,
     and may have indulged in unconcealed joy to see the ruin of the
     capital of South Carolina."[78]

         [Footnote 78: Sherman's Report.]

Thus Columbia, the beautiful capital of a once haughty State, became a
blackened waste. The convention which passed the ordinance of
Secession, when called together on the 17th of December, 1860, met in
Columbia, but after organizing adjourned to Charleston, as the city
was infected with small-pox. But it was the more poisonous virus of
Secession which finally laid their proud city low.

The people of South Carolina are bitter in their hatred of General
Sherman. They charge all the devastation committed during his march
from Atlanta to Goldsboro' upon him. In their estimation he is "a
fiend," and his conduct not merely "inhuman," but "devilish." Yet he
only adopted the policy which the Rebel leaders urged upon their
adherents, and which was vehemently advocated by the Southern press.
Rebel, not loyal torches, fired Charleston, Orangeburg, and Columbia.

It is claimed that Sherman did not regard private property, but
destroyed it indiscriminately with that belonging to the Confederate
government. Was there any respect shown by the Rebel authorities?
Cotton, resin, turpentine, stores owned by private individuals, were
remorselessly given to the flames by the Rebels themselves, and their
acts were applauded by the people of the South as evincing heroic

Great stress is laid upon the suffering occasioned by the pillaging
and burning by Sherman's troops; but in Pennsylvania yet remain the
ruins of Chambersburg as evidence of the tender mercy of the Rebels,
who not only destroyed public property, but gave dwelling-houses and
stores to the torch.

What act so malignant, bloody, ghastly, and fiendish as the sacking,
burning, and massacre at Lawrence! What deed so damning since the
barbarities of Scio or Wyoming! What woe so deep!--men, children,
murdered, butchered, scalped, the bodies of the dead tossed into the
flames! No relenting on the part of the Rebels, but savage, infuriate
joy at the sight of the warm heart's blood of their victims! Woman's
prayers and tears availed not to stay their murderous hands or move
their brutal hearts.

The responsibility cannot be evaded by saying that Quantrel was only a
guerilla. If not holding a commission from the Rebel government, he
was fighting for the Confederacy, and was ranked with Morgan and
Mosby. He was an ally of Jeff Davis and General Lee. When were his
acts disavowed by the Rebel government? What restraint was ever laid
upon him? He passed from the scene of massacre, lighted by the flames
of the burning town, safely into the Rebel lines, where instead of
outlawry he found protection and favor. On what page of Confederate
history shall we read the remonstrance of Lee, Davis, Stephens,
Toombs, or Breckenridge? Where is the protest of the "chivalrous"
gentlemen of the South? What action was taken by the Rebel Congress?

Vain the search for disavowal of or protest against the act. The
historian of another generation will be able to pass right judgment
upon all that has transpired during these dark years of anarchy and
revolution, sorrow, tears, and anguish. The verdict of posterity will
be just, and will endure through the ages.

[Illustration: Mississippi river hospital steamer.]



[Sidenote: Dec., 1864.]

To fully comprehend the fitting punishment of South Carolina we must
keep in remembrance her position before the war. We must behold her as
she appeared in 1860,--the leader and chief conspirator against the

She had always taken a prominent part in the political affairs of the
nation. Although a State, she was hardly a republican commonwealth,
and very far from being a democracy. The State was ruled by a clique,
composed of wealthy men, of ancient name, who secured privileges and
prerogatives for themselves at the expense of the people, who had but
little voice in electing their lawgivers.

The basis of representation in the Legislature was exceedingly
complex. In the House of Representatives it was a mixture of property,
population, white inhabitants, taxation, and slaves. In the Senate it
consisted of geographical extent, white and slave population,
taxation, and property. The Senate was constituted after the "Parish
system," which gave the whole control of political affairs in the
State into the hands of a few wealthy men from the sea-coast.

[Illustration: Battle of Fort Sumter.]

There are two distinct classes of people in South Carolina,--the
lowlanders and the uplanders. The settlers of the lowlands were
emigrants from England and France, gentlemen with aristocratic ideas.
The settlers of the uplands, in the western counties, were pioneers
from Virginia and North Carolina,--small farmers, cultivating their
own lands. During the Revolutionary war the uplanders were Whigs, the
lowlanders Tories. The lowlanders had wealth, the uplanders were poor.
When the Constitution was formed, organizing a State government, the
lowlanders took care of their own interests. The lowlands in Colonial
times were divided into parishes, and with the forming of the
Constitution each parish was to have a Senator. The uplands, not
being parishes, were districts of much larger territorial area, hence
political power fell into the hands of a few individuals along the
coast. As white population increased in the districts, and decreased
or remained stationary in the parishes, the up-country men tried to
emancipate themselves from political serfdom, but there was no remedy
except by an amendment to the Constitution, through a Convention
called by the Legislature; and as the lowlanders had control of that
body, there was no redress. The State, therefore, became an engine of
political power, managed and worked by a few men from Charleston,
Beaufort, St. Helena, Edisto, Colleton, and other parishes along the

Nature gave South Carolina sunny skies and a genial clime. The sea
contributed an atmosphere which gained for Edisto and St. Helena
islands the monopoly in the world's markets for cotton of finest
fibre. Wealth increased with the gathering in of each new crop, and
with wealth came additional power. Superiority of political privilege
made the few impatient of restraint and ambitious not only to control
State, but national affairs. South Carolina attempted defiance of
national law in 1832, and was defeated.

The parishes governed the State solely in the interests of slavery. It
gave them power, to perpetuate which they made slavery aggressive.
Here is exposed the root from which Secession sprung. Free labor in
the North was a plant of vigorous growth. Slavery was slow. It left
worn-out lands in its track. Hard work, brutality, and sin sent its
victims to an early grave. Freedom was gaining ground. Slavery must be
carried into the Territories and secure a foothold in advance of free
labor. So the struggle began, and through pride, passion, and
malignant hatred of the North Secession was at last accomplished.

Upon the assembling of the Legislature for the choice of Presidential
electors, the President of the Senate, W. D. Porter, of Charleston,
said to his fellow-legislators:--

     "All that is dear and precious to this people,--life, fortune,
     name, and history,--all is committed to our keeping for weal or
     for woe, for honor or for shame. Let us do our part, so that
     those who come after us shall acknowledge that we were not
     unworthy of the great trusts devolved upon us, and not unequal
     to the great exigencies by which we were tried.... No human power
     can withstand or break down a united people, standing upon their
     own soil and defending their own firesides."[79]

         [Footnote 79: Proceedings of South Carolina Legislature.]

They made their election. They thought it to be weal, but under God's
providence it proved to be woe.

A Senator said:--

     "We have two ways before us,--in one, whether we will or not, we
     must tread; for, in the event of this issue, there would be no
     repose. In both lie dangers, difficulties, and troubles, which no
     human foresight can foreshadow or perceive; but they are not
     equal in magnitude. One is beset with humiliation, dishonor,
     _emeutes_, rebellion,--with submission in the beginning to all,
     and at all times, and confiscation and slavery in the end. The
     other, it is true, has its difficulties and trials, but no
     disgrace. Hope, duty, and honor shine along the path. Hope
     beacons you to the end.... For himself he would unfurl the
     Palmetto flag, fling it to the breeze, and with the spirit of a
     brave man determine to live and die as became our glorious
     ancestors, and ring the clarion notes of defiance in the face of
     an insolent foe."[80]

         [Footnote 80: Speech of Senator Chestnut.]

When assembled in Hibernia Hall, in Charleston, since called Secession
Hall, the delegates gave free utterance to their sentiments.

Said Mr. Parker:--

"It is no spasmodic effort that has come suddenly upon us; it has been
gradually culminating for a long period of thirty years. At last it
has come to that point where one may say the matter is entirely

"I have been engaged in this movement ever since I entered political
life," said Lawrence M. Keitt.

"It is not anything produced by Mr. Lincoln's election or by the
non-execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. It has been a matter which
has been gathering head for thirty years," said R. Barnwell Rhett.

It was the fire of 1832 flaming anew. No rights had been invaded. That
Secession was inaugurated without cause must ever be the verdict of
history. And history will forever hold John C. Calhoun, R. Barnwell
Rhett, Right Rev. Bishop Elliott, Rev. Dr. Thornwell, and other
statesmen, editors, ministers,--members of the slaveholding forum,
bar, and pulpit,--responsible for all the suffering, bloodshed, and
desolation which have come to the country.

Proud in spirit was South Carolina just then. The cotton crop was
luxuriant. Planters were plethoric with money. The internal
slave-trade established its marts of human flesh all through the
South. Virginia became slave-breeding, and South Carolina
slave-consuming. In former years slavery was deemed an evil, a curse;
but the call for cotton, its rise in market value, with increased
profit of culture and a consequent demand for labor, transformed it
into a blessing, to be perpetuated for the best good of the human

It was found to be in perfect accordance with the teachings of the
Bible. The system itself was right; the abuse of the good was only
evil. Rev. Dr. Thornwell, Professor of Theology in the Presbyterian
Seminary at Columbia, came boldly forward to advocate slavery as a
Divine institution, ordained of God for the welfare of the human race.
He preached thus:--

     "Our slaves are our solemn trust, and while we have a right to
     use and direct their labors, we are bound to feed, clothe, and
     protect them, to give them the comforts of this life, and to
     introduce them to the hope of a blessed immortality. They are
     moral beings, and it will be found that in the culture of their
     moral nature we reap the largest reward from their service. _The
     relation itself is moral_, and in the tender affections and
     endearing sympathies it evokes it gives scope for the most
     attractive graces of human character. Strange as it may sound to
     those who are not familiar with the system, slavery is a school
     of _virtue_, and no class of men have furnished sublimer
     instances of heroic devotion than slaves in their loyalty and
     love to their masters. We have seen them rejoice at the cradle of
     the infant, and weep at the bier of the dead; and there are few
     among us who have not drawn their nourishment from their generous

         [Footnote 81: Southern _Presbyterian Review_, January, 1861.]

Such was the teaching from those who called themselves appointed of
God to preach the Gospel of purity and peace. Church and State, morals
and religion, everything that could give strength and respectability
to their cause, were brought in to aid the work of the conspirators.
So thorough were the teachings, that South Carolina became almost a
unit on the question of Secession.

The people of the South charge the Union army with desecrating their
church edifices. Is it a wonder that soldiers, reasoning from cause to
effect, concluded that the religion which was foremost in
precipitating a Rebellion which sustained such an inhuman system was
not worth serious consideration? Is it a wonder that, after
experiencing the horrors of Rebel prisons, they lost reverence for a
religion which could uphold a government guilty of such fiendish

Slavery was the corner-stone and foundation of the Confederacy. Never
was the trade in slaves between States so thriving as during the
winter of 1860. And the leaders of the Rebellion were looking forward
to the time when the commerce with Africa would be reopened. Mr. Lamar
of Savannah, who during the Rebellion was agent of the Confederacy in
London for the purchase of army supplies, imported in the bark
Wanderer a cargo of native Africans, some of whom were sold in
Charleston. There was a large party in the Confederate Congress which
advocated the resumption of the foreign trade, the abolition of which
in 1808 was set down as one of the grievances of the South.

It is the province of history to make a record of the bad as well as
the good, shameful and humiliating though it may be. Sin and
wickedness are horrible facts. To view them as such, to contemplate
them in contrast with holiness and righteousness, and draw useful
lessons from such contemplation, is far better than to say that they
have no place in history. Posterity will wonder that a Church which
called itself Christian ever gave its support and advocacy to an
institution which daily brought its victims, like cattle, to the
auction-block, which made no distinction of age, which was remorseless
as death, and which from the cradle to the grave held its victim as
with a tiger's gripe.

On the opposite page is presented a sample of an auctioneer's
handbill, which I found upon the floor of the slave-mart, with the
prices paid by the buyers marked in pencil against the names of the
"chattels," and now appearing in parentheses.

  Administrator's Sale, by Order of the Ordinary.

  68 Long Cotton Field Negroes,
  Belonging to the Estate of the late Christopher J. Whaley.

  Will sell at PUBLIC AUCTION in Charleston,
  At the Mart in Chalmers Street,
  On Thursday, Feb. 2d, 1860,
  Who are said to be remarkably prime, and will be sold as per Catalogue.

  NAMES.                 AGES.
  Jimmy,  driver,         30
  Flora,  seamstress,     24
  James,                   5
  Charles, ($125,)         1
  August,                 52
  Mathias, ($1,220,)      18
  Sandy,                  16
  John,                   13
  Tom,                    70
  Jack,                   38
  James,                   6
  Leah,                    5
  Flora,                   2
  Andrew,                 42
  Binah,                  40
  Phillis,                20
  Mary,                   15
  Lymus,                  10
  Abram, ($275,)           2
  Binah,              2 mos.
  Andrew,                 29
  Hagar,                  25
  Dayman,                  4
  Cuffy,                  21
  Hagar, ($1,320,)        20
  Margaret,               85
  Lucy,  cripple,         60
  John,                   22
  Ellick, ($1,160,)       18
  Libby,                  19
  Carter,                 36
  Taffy,                  13
  Rachel, ($720,)          8
  Jannett,                18
  Phebe, ($860,)          40
  Judy,                    8
  Major,                  40
  Lavinia,                30
  Billy, ($550,)          10
  Tamor,                   6
  Jimmy,                  52
  Kate,                   46
  Susan,                  25
  Thomas, ($380,)          6
  Kate,                    1
  Edward, coachman,       49
  Amey,                   22
  Teneh,  washer,         30
  Josephine,               9
  Sam,                    11
  Isaac,                   5
  William,                 1
  Amey,                   27
  Louisa, ($750,)          8
  Joe,                     3
  Sam,  ruptured,         65
  Andrew, dropsical,      61
  Daniel,                 70
  Lymus,                  30
  Lucy,  nurse,           58


  One-third Cash; balance in one and two years, secured by bond, and
  mortgage of the negroes, with approved personal security. Purchasers
  to pay us for papers.

The Charleston _Mercury_ was the organ of the Secessionists from the
start. It not only advocated Secession as a political principle, but
filled its columns with articles holding up to ridicule and contempt
the people of the North. The spirit of hate seemed to seize the whole
community, in which women even exceeded their husbands. Thus wrote a
Southern lady:--

"I would rather die than hold a position of inferiority and vassalage
to the North, and the dominant feeling of my heart is to leave a State
where men are too cowardly to protect their women and too mercenary to
risk their money."[82]

         [Footnote 82: Charleston _Mercury_, November 3, 1860.]

"The question has thrust itself into our domestic fireside, and you
find all classes,--men, women, and children,--asking what they must do
to be saved," said W. F. Cullock, Collector of Charleston, in a speech
at the Pulaski House, Savannah, on the opening of the Charleston and
Savannah Railroad.

"Fight! Secede!" was the response from the drunken crowd.

The South Carolina Muse tuned her lyre and sang,--

  "We'll unfurl the Lone-Star banner,
     And we'll keep it waving high;
   For Secession we are pledged,
     For Secession we will die."

The city of Charleston was foremost for Secession. When the news was
received that Mr. Lincoln was elected President, a red flag, with the
palmetto-tree and a lone star wrought upon it, was raised. Says the
_Mercury_: "A shout and twice three cheers greeted its appearance. The
Association of 1860 assembled. The feeling was for prompt action."

The Legislature was in session at Columbia. On the 11th of the month a
bill was passed calling a State convention.

"Gentlemen, hats off!" said the _Mercury_. "Then
hip-hip-hip-hurrah--hurrah--hurrah--hurrah--for the homes we

         [Footnote 83: _Mercury_, November 12, 1860.]

Then more soberly the editor added:--

     "The news of the passage of the convention resolutions by an
     almost unanimous vote, at Columbia, was received in this city on
     Saturday night with demonstrations which have, perhaps, never
     been equalled in the political history of the country. Our whole
     community seemed to breathe freer and deeper, and upon every brow
     sat confidence and hope. It was as though the glorious sun had
     suddenly dispersed cloud and mist and vapor, and sent its
     illuminating rays to every heart and home. Men looked each other
     in the face as men should do who feel that under God their
     destinies are in their own hands."

Thus a "daughter of South Carolina" inflamed her sisters:--

     "Listen, daughters of South Carolina, to the voice of a faithful
     sister. Should our State back out now she would be disgraced
     forever.... Shrink now, and we are crushed forever. Then there
     will be no end of the trouble you fear. Abolition emissaries will
     be at work all over the South, inciting the negroes in every
     direction. Trials must come, but let them come in the right way,
     and all will be well. Secede, put ourselves in a state of
     defence; be ready for any emergency. Should the government
     coerce, our sister States will come to the rescue. Let it be so.
     Better perish beneath the shock than to live degraded.... O women
     of South Carolina! Mothers, sisters, wives! do not wear the white
     feather now, unless, like that gallant king of old, it waves on
     our men to the war."[84]

         [Footnote 84: _Mercury_, November 9, 1860.]

Said another:--

     "Let us women of Carolina prove that the same noble spirit which
     visited the mothers and maidens of '76 is alive, and glowing in
     the spirits of their descendants. I am myself a widowed mother,
     but I have said to my three sons, that if any one of them shall
     be craven enough to desert the State now, to temporize in her
     councils, or be backward if her honor calls them to the field,
     let him never look upon my face again."[85]

         [Footnote 85: Charleston _Mercury_, November 17, 1860.]

What had transpired to produce this white heat of passion? Simply that
a party was coming into power opposed to the extension of slavery over
free territory. True this party had also disavowed any intention of
interference with slavery in the States; but restriction was loss of
power,--paralysis and death at last. The grievance of South Carolina
arose wholly from slavery. She claimed the right to traffic in human
beings. She believed it was a natural right, authorized by the
Creator of the universe, having the sanction and solemnity of the
patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and Christ himself. It was a natural,
moral, and scriptural right for a master to rob his brother in the
Lord of his earnings during the week, commune with him on Sunday, whip
him on Monday, and sell him on Tuesday. The institution being
missionary in its nature, and designed to carry the Gospel to Africa,
he had a right to separate husbands and wives, parents and children,
break the marriage relation, and establish new alliances at will. No
doubt they were sincere in their belief that the system was not only
good in itself, but that it was a beneficent arrangement for the
well-being of the human race. Certainly it was beneficial to the
master; why should it not be to the slave? Men can be as sincerely
zealous for Wrong as for Right. Eighteen hundred years ago a man
zealous for the truth filled the prisons of Syria with Christians, and
thought he was doing righteously in the sight of God; and human nature
is the same now as then. Men and women who advocated the righteousness
of slavery were scrupulous to a penny in their dealings with one
another, and with colored people who were free,--but the loss of
freedom gave the right to commit robbery! Strange, also, the confusion
and delusion of moral ideas. Society prided itself on its virtue. Men
and women of Caucasian blood departing from morality found the door of
society shut against them; but slavery being patriarchal it was not a
crime, not even an offence against morality, for a planter to choose a
Hagar from his slaves. Society placed no bar in his way, the Church no
ban upon his action. Hagar could be taken into the master's household,
appear in silks and satins, with Ishmael for the pet of the family, or
both could be knocked off to the highest bidder in the mart, separated
and sent one to the rice-swamps of Georgia and the other to the
cane-brakes of Louisiana, Hagar weeping and mourning for her child,
and the planter, with the price of blood in his pocket, be received in
any parlor in Charleston, or made Governor of the State! There were
patriarchs in the convention which carried South Carolina out of the
Union, who were urged on to treason by the women of the South. Ishmael
would not rise in insurrection, even if his brother Isaac and father
Abraham went to war.

Said another "daughter of South Carolina":--

     "Arming the State will keep the negroes in check. They are arrant
     cowards, those dear dark friends of ours.[?] Some of you can
     remember how in '22 they would shrink away at the gleam of their
     master's sword as he armed for the nightly patrol, and the
     creaking of the horseman's saddles as they paraded the streets
     sent them hiding in every hole and corner."[86]

         [Footnote 86: Charleston _Mercury_, November 9, 1860.]

Isaac was eager for the fray; he burned to fight the Yankees. Hence
the consummation of the treason.

[Illustration: Cooper shop volunteer refreshment saloon.]



[Sidenote: Feb., 1865.]

Fort Sumter was evacuated by the Rebels and occupied by the Union
troops on the 18th of February, 1865; but before entering upon the
events of that ever-memorable morning it will give breadth and color
to the picture to glance at the scenes witnessed there at the
beginning and during the Rebellion.

On the 17th of December, 1860, Governor Pickens sent a strictly
confidential letter to President Buchanan.

     "To spare the effusion of blood," said he, "which no human power
     may be able to prevent, I earnestly beg your immediate
     consideration of all the points I call your attention to.... I
     would most respectfully, and from a sincere devotion to the
     public peace, request that you will allow me to send a small
     force, not exceeding twenty-five men and an officer, to take
     possession of Fort Sumter immediately, in order to give a feeling
     of safety to the community. There are no United States troops in
     that fort whatever, or perhaps only four or five at present,
     besides some additional workmen or laborers lately employed to
     put the guns in order.... If Fort Sumter could be given to me as
     Governor, I think the public mind would be quieted, under a
     feeling of safety."

The State seceded on the 20th. Major Anderson with a handful of men
was at Fort Moultrie. "The garrison will not be strengthened. The
people will obey the call for war, and take the forts," said the
Charleston _Mercury_ of the 22d.

Five days later, on the 27th, the people of Charleston looked seaward
and saw Moultrie in flames, and the stars and stripes waving over
Sumter. They were indignant. They considered it a breach of faith.

"Anderson has opened civil war," said the _Courier_.[87]

         [Footnote 87: _Courier_, December 29, 1860.]

"His act must be repudiated by the government," said the

         [Footnote 88: _Mercury_, December 29, 1860.]

"Unless you order Anderson back, I cannot, under my convictions of
patriotism and honor, continue to hold office," said the Secretary of
War, John B. Floyd, of Virginia.[89]

         [Footnote 89: Floyd's Letter to Buchanan.]

Charleston was intensely excited.

"Assemble the Light Infantry and the Meagher Guards at the Citadel.
Arm them and take possession of Castle Pinckney. Proceed immediately
to Fort Moultrie; send troops to Morris Island," were the orders of
Governor Pickens to Colonel Pettigrew.

"Our line of operations embraces four points: Fort Moultrie, Castle
Pinckney, Fort Johnson, and Morris Island. You are indebted to the
forbearance of the enemy for the liberty of transporting the
reinforcements and supplies, which you ordered at midnight, and which
are to be sent to your battery now in course of erection on Morris
Island. A single gun from Fort Sumter would sink your transports and
destroy your troops and supplies," reported General Simmons to the
Governor on the 1st of January.

It was the language of war. The United States was an enemy. The guns
of Moultrie were already trained on Sumter. The battery on Morris
Island was for the destruction of that fort. South Carolina had begun
the war in intention and in fact. The erection of the battery was war.

On the 9th of January the same battery opened fire on the Star of the
West, steaming into the harbor, bearing the United States flag.

"You are asked to surrender the fort to the constituted authorities of
South Carolina," was the demand of Governor Pickens on the 11th.

"I cannot comply with your request," was the response from Anderson.

Then came the negotiations between Charleston and Washington,--the
demands upon Buchanan, the shuffling and indecision of the two-faced,
unprincipled politician, who had written himself down as an "Old
Public Functionary." Major Anderson was watched day and night, cut off
from intercourse with the shore, deprived of fresh provisions, treated
as an enemy, and compelled to see the preparations on Morris Island
and on the floating battery for the reduction of the fort. Thus
February and March passed away. His provisions were nearly gone.
Troops were pouring into Charleston from all parts of the State and
from other States. Savannah sent a company early in December. They
were under the command of General Beauregard,--a small, brown, thin,
wiry man, forty years old, born upon the banks of the Mississippi, in
Louisiana, yet more of a Frenchman than an American.

Mr. Lincoln could not consent that Major Anderson should starve. The
people of the North would not permit it. Its sentiment was for
sustaining an officer who had been true to his oath, amid a general
breaking down of loyalty.

Sunday dawned, the 7th of April, and Major Anderson, looking out from
his prison, saw the Rebels hard at work to complete the batteries on
Morris Island.

"An attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only,"
was the official notice from President Lincoln to Pickens on the 8th.

"Demand the surrender of the fort; if refused, reduce it," was the
order from Montgomery.

"Surrender," was the message of Beauregard to Anderson. "I cannot; but
I shall soon be starved out unless relieved," was the courteous reply.

"When will you evacuate?"

"At noon on the 15th, if I receive no supplies," wrote Anderson on the

"I shall open fire in one hour," was the last message of Beauregard,
at twenty minutes past three on the morning of the 12th.

Then came the roar of the first gun, fired by old Mr. Ruffin,
gray-haired, nearly fourscore. Not the young bloods of the South
alone, but men and women of all ages and classes were crazy for the

Shells burst in the fort, plunging through the wooden barracks and
officers' quarters. Solid shot from Morris Island were hurled
point-blank against the walls. All day the batteries flamed, and
Sumter leisurely replied.

[Illustration: Defence of Fort Sumter.]

When darkness came on Sumter closed its port-holes and rested, but the
Rebels, like spirits of evil, were at work through the night.

The second day dawned, and all the cannon were roaring again. The
barracks were on fire, the smoke curling into the casemates, the hot
stifling air reaching the gunners, who, wrapping themselves in wet
cloths, and covering their faces, crept along the passages, rolling
casks of powder into the sea. What delight on shore to see the flames
mount above the walls! With what energy Moultrie, Pinckney, and Morris
Island and the floating battery redoubled their fire. All but three of
Anderson's cartridges were gone. The flagstaff was shot away. "The
flag is down!" is the cry within the fort. Up into the storm, where
the shot and shell are falling, walks Lieutenant Hall, planting the
flag upon the parapet, where it waves till Wigfall appears at a
port-hole. Then the parley,--the surrender,--and Charleston was
excited as never before or since. Men and women on the house-tops, and
gathered in church-steeples; business at a stand still, champagne
flowing like water, costliest wines quaffed at the expense of
merchants of New York; bells ringing, guns firing, ladies waving their
handkerchiefs,--the city all aglow with bonfires in the evening;
crowds surging through the streets, or drinking whiskey in the
bar-rooms: Beauregard the Napoleon of the new era. Governor Pickens
addressed the mob from the balcony of the Charleston Hotel:--

     "It is a glorious and exultant occasion. Fellow-citizens, I
     clearly saw that the day was coming when we would triumph beyond
     the power of man to put us down. Thank God the day has
     come,--thank God the war is open, and we will conquer or perish!
     We have defeated their twenty millions, and we have made the
     proud flag of the stars and stripes, that never was lowered
     before to any nation on this earth,--we have lowered it in
     humility before the glorious little State of South Carolina!"[90]

         [Footnote 90: Speech of Governor Pickens.]

Intoxicated with wine and whiskey, delirious with success, insane with
Secession, the jubilant crowd cheer and drink, and shout again,
bidding defiance to the government, and cursing the Yankees.

Four years pass, and Sumter is repossessed by the troops of the Union.
How cheering the sight to behold once more the crimson folds and
fadeless stars of our country's flag waving in the sunlight over the
crumbled walls!

Early in the morning we entered the harbor,--General Gillmore and
staff, General Webster, chief of General Sherman's staff, with several
gentlemen and ladies from Port Royal. The blockading fleet and the
monitors were steaming in, their long watch through the sweltering
days of summer and the stormy nights of winter at an end. They were
feeling their way up the channel searching for torpedoes.

The steamer Deer, built on the Clyde, a few hours from Nassau, with an
assorted cargo,--a low, rakish, fast-running craft, with steam
escaping from her pipes,--was lying under the guns of a monitor. She
had worked her way in during the night. The crestfallen captain was
chewing the cud of disappointment on the quarter-deck, looking
gloomily seaward the while, and doubtless wishing himself in the
harbor of Nassau. Two nights before the Syren had passed in. The wreck
of a third blockade-runner was lying on the sands of Sullivan's
Island, near Moultrie, which months before had been run ashore by the
fleet. The tide was surging through the cabin windows. Barnacles had
fastened upon the hull, and long tresses of green, dank seaweed hung
trailing from the iron paddle-wheels. It was a satisfaction to know
that the time was at hand when Englishmen at Nassau would have to shut
up shop.

We glided along the shore of Morris Island, white with tents. What
heroic valor on those sands,--the assault upon Wagner, the slow,
persistent excavation of the trenches, the unremitting vigilance and
energy, the endurance which had forced the evacuation of Morris
Island,--the turning of the guns of Wagner upon Sumter, the planting
of the "Swamp-Angel" battery,--the first shell sent streaming into the
city, startling the inhabitants, and awaking the unpleasant conviction
that the Yankees were at their doors! So memory ran over the historic
events, as we swept up the channel.

The steamer could not approach near the landing, and we were taken to
the fort in small boats. We reached the interior through a low,
narrow passage.

The fort bore little resemblance to its former appearance, externally
or internally. None of the original face of the wall was to be seen,
except on the side towards Charleston and a portion of that facing
Moultrie. From the harbor and from Wagner it appeared only a
tumulus,--the _débris_ of an old ruin. All the casemates, arches,
pillars, and parapets were torn up and utterly demolished. The great
guns which two years before kept the monitors at bay, which flamed and
thundered awhile upon Wagner, were dismounted, broken, and partially
buried beneath the mountain of brick, dust, concrete, sand, and
mortar. After Dupont's attack, in April, 1863, a reinforcement of
palmetto-logs was made on the harbor side, and against half of the
wall facing Moultrie, and the lower casemates were filled with
sand-bags; but when General Gillmore obtained possession of Wagner,
his fire began to crumble the parapet. The Rebels endeavored to
maintain its original height by gabions filled with sand, but this
compelled a widening of the base inside by sand-bags, thousands of
which were brought to the fort at night. Day after day, week after
week, the pounding from Wagner was maintained so effectually that it
was impossible to keep a gun in position on the side of Sumter
fronting it, and the only guns remaining mounted were five or six on
the side towards Moultrie, in the middle tier of casemates. Five
howitzers were kept on the walls to repel an attack by small boats,
the garrison keeping under cover, or seeking shelter whenever the
lookout cried, "A shot!"

_Cheveaux-de-frise_ of pointed sticks protected the fort from a
scaling party. At the base outside was a barrier of interlaced wire,
supported by iron posts. There was also a submerged network of wire
and chains, kept in place by floating buoys.

I had the curiosity to make an inspection of the wall nearest
Moultrie, to see what had been the effect of the fire of the ironclads
in Dupont's attack. With my glass at that time I could see that the
wall was badly honeycombed; a close inspection now proved that the
fire was very damaging. There were seams in the masonry, and great
gashes where the solid bolts crumbled the bricks to dust. It was
evident that if the fire had been continued any considerable length of
time the wall would have fallen. Its effect suggested the necessity of
filling up the lower casemates.

An hour was passed in the fort, the band playing national airs, and
the party inspecting the ruins and gathering relics.

Captain James of the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth, aide to General
Gillmore, was wounded in the assault on Wagner. He gazed at the ruins
with a satisfaction not unmixed with melancholy, for beneath the sands
of Morris Island was lying his beloved commander, Colonel Shaw.

The Rebels had refused to give up his body. "Let him lie buried
beneath his niggers," was their answer to the request. And there he
lies beside the brave men who followed him to death and glory, having
won an immortal name no less as the commander of the first negro
regiment sent to the war than by his gentle bearing as a man and
bravery as a soldier. His acceptance of the command of the despised
men who gladly enlisted when called to the field required at the time
a devotion to principle and a decision of character, to face the gibes
and sneers flung at him by negro-haters in his rear, greater than the
courage to meet the enemy at the front. But he nobly led the way, and
silenced every carping tongue.

For four long years the cannon of Sumter had hurled defiance at the
rights of man; but the contest now was ended. Eternal principles had
prevailed against every effort of Rebel hate to crush them. The strong
earthworks on Sullivan's and Johnson's islands, the batteries in the
harbor, Castle Pinckney and Fort Ripley, and those in the city erected
by slaves, were useless forever, except as monuments of folly and
wickedness. As I stood there upon the ruins of Sumter, looking down
into the crater, the past like a panorama was unrolled, exhibiting the
mighty events which will forever make it memorable. The silent landing
of Major Anderson at the postern gate, the midnight prayer and solemn
consecration of the little band to defend the flag till the last, the
long weeks of preparation by the Rebels, the Star of the West turning
her bow seaward, the 12th of April, the barracks on fire, the supplies
exhausted, the hopelessness of success, the surrender, and all that
had followed, were vivid memories of the moment.

How inspiring to hear the music of the band, to behold the numerous
vessels of the fleet decorated from bowsprit to yardarm and topmast
with flags and streamers, to recall the heroic sacrifices of those who
had fought through the weary years, to know that Sumter, Moultrie, the
city, and the State were redeemed from the worst system of vassalage,
that our country was still a nation, renewed and regenerated by its
baptism of fire and blood, that truth and right were vindicated before
the world; and to look down the coming years, and know that Freedom
was secured to all beneath the folds of the flag that had withstood
the intrigues of cabals and the shock of battle, and that Christianity
and civilization, twin agents of human progress, had received an
impetus that would forever keep us in the van of nations.

[Illustration: For our Flag.]

Looking at that flag, involuntarily I repeated the words of the song
which I heard when the shadows of night fell upon the gory field of
Antietam, sung by our wounded in one of the hospitals:--

  "Our flag is there! our flag is there!
   We hail it with three loud huzzas!
   Our flag is there! our flag is there!
   Behold the glorious stripes and stars!
   Stout hearts have fought for that bright flag,
   Strong hands sustained it masthead high,
   And O, to see how proud it waves,
   Brings tears of joy to every eye!"



[Sidenote: Feb., 1865.]

A city of ruins,--silent, mournful, in deepest humiliation. It was
early morning when we reached the wharf, piled with merchandise, not
busy with commercial activity as in other days, but deserted, its
timbers rotting, its planks decayed, its sheds tumbling in and reeling
earthward. The slips, once crowded with steam and sailing vessels,
were now vacant, except that an old sloop with a worm-eaten gunwale,
tattered sails, and rigging hanging in shreds, alone remained.

A few fishermen's dories only were rocking on the waves, tethered to
the wharves by rotten ropes, where the great cotton Argosies in former
years had shipped or landed their cargoes.

Before the sailors had time to make fast the steamer, myself and
friend[91] were up the pier. The band was playing "Hail, Columbia,"
and the strains floated through the desolate city, awakening wild
enthusiasm in the hearts of the colored people, who came rushing down
the grass-grown streets to welcome us.

         [Footnote 91: James Redpath.]

When near the upper end of the pier we encountered an old man bending
beneath the weight of seventy years,--such years as slavery alone can
pile upon the soul. He bowed very low.

"Are you not afraid of us Yankees?"

"No, massa, God bless you. I have prayed many a night for you to come,
and now you are here. Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!"

He kneeled, clasped my hand, and with streaming eyes poured out his
thanks to God.

Let us, before entering upon a narrative of military incidents, look
at Charleston as she was at the beginning of the Rebellion, when the
great cotton mart of the Atlantic coast, with lines of steamships to
New York and Boston. Then her wharves not only were piled with bales
of cotton and tierces of rice, or with goods from the warehouses and
manufactories of New England and Great Britain, but, next to New
Orleans, she was the most populous city of the South, and, in
proportion to the number of inhabitants, the wealthiest. Her banks and
insurance offices were as stable as those of Wall Street. She aspired
to be the commercial emporium of the South. The newspapers of
Charleston taught the people to believe that Secession and
non-intercourse with the North would make the city the rival of New
York. She first adopted the vagaries of her own son, Calhoun, on the
rights of States. She proclaimed cotton king, not of America, but of
the world, and in her pride believed that all nations could be brought
to do her homage. She was rich and aristocratic, and looked upon the
people of the North with contempt.

"The Cavaliers, Jacobites, and Huguenots," wrote De Bow, "who settled
the South, naturally hate, contemn, and despise the Puritans, who
settled the North. The former are master races; the latter a slave
race, descendants of the Anglo-Saxon serfs."

Through ignorance and vanity such assertions were accepted as truths.
Boys and girls of the common schools of the North could have shown
that, in the contests between the Cavaliers and Puritans, the
Cavaliers were defeated; that the Jacobites went down before the party
which placed William of Orange on the throne.

Charleston called the people of South Carolina into council. The
_Mercury_--that able but wicked advocate of Secession--threw out from
its windows this motto: "One voice and millions of strong arms to
uphold the honor of South Carolina!" Not the honor of the nation or of
the people, but of South Carolina,--the Mephistopheles of the
Confederacy, the seducer of States. With honeyed words, and well-timed
flattery she detached State after State from the Union.

"Whilst constituting a portion of the United States," said South
Carolina, in her address to the slaveholding States, "it has been
_your_ statesmanship which has guided it in its mighty strides to
power and expansion. In the field and in the cabinet _you_ have led
the way to renown and grandeur."

The ministers of her churches were foremost in abetting the Rebellion.
Church and State, merchant and planter, all from high to low of the
white population, brought themselves to believe that their influence
was world-wide, through King Cotton and his prime minister, African
Slavery. Hence the arrogance, fierce intolerance, and mad hate which
had their only prototypes in the Rebellion of the Devil and his angels
against Beneficent Goodness.

The siege of Charleston was commenced on the 21st of August, 1863, by
the opening of the "Swamp-Angel" battery. On the 7th of September Fort
Wagner was taken, and other guns were trained upon the city,
compelling the evacuation of the lower half. For fourteen months it
had been continued; not a furious bombardment, but a slow, steady fire
from day to day. About thirteen thousand shells had been thrown into
the town,--nearly a thousand a month.

They were fired at a great elevation, and were plunging
shots,--striking houses on the roof and passing down from attic to
basement, exploding in the chambers, cellars, or in the walls. The
effect was a complete riddling of the houses. Brick walls were blown
into millions of fragments, roofs were torn to pieces; rafters, beams,
braces, scantlings, were splintered into jack-straws. Churches,
hotels, stores, dwellings, public buildings, and stables, all were
shattered. There were great holes in the ground, where cart-loads of
earth had been excavated in a twinkling.

In 1860 the population of the city was 48,509,--26,969 whites, 17,655
slaves, and 3,885 free colored. The first flight from the city was in
December, 1861, when Port Royal fell into the hands of Dupont; but
when it was found that the opportunity afforded at that time for an
advance inland was not improved, most of those who had moved away
returned. The attack of Dupont upon Sumter sent some flying again; but
not till the messengers of the "Swamp Angel" dropped among them did
the inhabitants think seriously of leaving. Some went to Augusta,
others to Columbia, others t