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Title: Camp Court and Siege - A Narrative of Personal Adventure and Observation During Two Wars: 1861-1865; 1870-1871
Author: Hoffman, Wickham
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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A Narrative of Personal Adventure and Observation During Two Wars
1861-1865      1870-1871



Assistant Adj.-Gen. U. S. Vols. and Secretary U. S. Legation at Paris

Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington
Crown Buildings, 188 Fleet Street.







  Hatteras.--"Black Drink."--Fortress Monroe.--General Butler.
  --Small-pox.--"L'Isle des Chats."--Lightning.--Farragut.--Troops
  land.--Surrender of Forts                                    Page 11


  New Orleans.--Custom-house.--Union Prisoners.--The Calaboose.
  --"Them Lincolnites."--The St. Charles.--"Grape-vine Telegraph."
  --New Orleans Shop-keepers.--Butler and Soulé.--The Fourth
  Wisconsin.--A New Orleans Mob.--Yellow Fever                      23


  Vicksburg.--River on Fire.--Baton Rouge.--Start again for Vicksburg.
  --The _Hartford_.--The Canal.--Farragut.--Captain Craven.--The
  _Arkansas_.--Major Boardman.--The _Arkansas_ runs the
  Gauntlet--Malaria                                                 35


  Sickness.--Battle of Baton Rouge.--Death of Williams.--"Fix
  Bayonets!"--Thomas Williams.--His Body.--General T. W. Sherman.
  --Butler relieved.--General Orders, No. 10.--Mr. Adams and Lord
  Palmerston.--Butler's Style                                       47


  T. W. Sherman.--Contrabands.--Defenses of New Orleans.--Exchange
  of Prisoners.--Amenities in War.--Port Hudson.--Reconnoissance
  in Force.--The Fleet.--Our Left.--Assault of May 27th.--Sherman
  wounded.--Port Hudson surrenders                                  59


  Major-general Franklin.--Sabine Pass.--Collision at Sea.--March
  through Louisiana.--Rebel Correspondence.--"The Gypsy's Wassail."
  --Rebel Women.--Rebel Poetry.--A Skirmish.--Salt Island.--Winter
  Climate.--Banks's Capua.--Major Joseph Bailey                     74


  Mistakes.--Affair at Mansfield.--Peach Hill.--Freaks of the
  Imagination.--After Peach Hill.--General William Dwight.--Retreat to
  Pleasant Hill.--Pleasant Hill.--General Dick Taylor.--Taylor and
  the King of Denmark.--An Incident                                 87


  Low Water.--The Fleet in Danger.--We fall back upon Alexandria.
  --Things look Gloomy.--Bailey builds a Dam in ten Days.--Saves
  the Fleet.--A Skirmish.--Smith defeats Polignac.--Unpopularity
  of Foreign Officers.--A Novel Bridge.--Leave of Absence.--A
  Year in Virginia.--Am ordered again to New Orleans                98


  Visit to Grant's Head-quarters.--His Anecdotes of Army Life.--Banks
  relieved.--Canby in Command.--Bailey at Mobile.--Death of
  Bailey.--Canby as a Civil Governor.--Confiscated Property.--Proposes
  to rebuild Levees.--Is stopped by Sheridan.--Canby appeals.--Is
  sustained, but too late.--Levees destroyed by Floods.--Conflict
  of Jurisdiction.--Action of President Johnson.--Sheridan abolishes
  Canby's Provost Marshal's Department.--Canby asks to be recalled.--Is
  ordered to Washington.--To Galveston.--To Richmond.--To
  Charleston.--Is murdered by the Modocs.--His Character           105


  The Writer appointed Assistant Secretary of Legation to Paris.
  --Presented to the Emperor.--Court Balls.--Diplomatic Dress.--Opening
  of Corps Législatif.--Opening of Parliament.--King of the Belgians.
  --Emperor of Austria.--King of Prussia.--Queen Augusta.--Emperor
  Alexander.--Attempt to assassinate him.--Ball at Russian
  Embassy.--Resignation of General Dix                             119


  Washburne appointed Minister.--Declaration of War.--Thiers opposes
  it.--The United States asked to protect Germans in France.--Fish's
  Instructions.--Assent of French Government given.--Paris
  in War-paint.--The Emperor opposed to War.--Not a Free
  Agent.--His _Entourage_.--Marshal Le Bœuf                        134


  Germans forbidden to leave Paris.--Afterward expelled.--Large
  Number in Paris.--Americans in Europe.--Emperor's Staff an Incumbrance.
  --French Generals.--Their Rivalries.--False News from the Front.
  --Effect in Paris.--Reaction.--Expulsion of Germans.--Sad
  Scenes.--Washburne's Action.--Diplomatic Service.--Battle of
  Sedan.--Sheridan at Sedan                                        145


  Revolution of September 4th, 1870.--Paris _en Fête_.--Flight of the
  Empress.--Saved by Foreigners.--Escapes in an English Yacht.
  --Government of National Defense.--Trochu at its Head.--Jules Simon.
  --United States recognizes Republic.--Washburne's Address.--Favre's
  Answer.--Efforts for Peace.--John L. O'Sullivan                  159


  Belleville Demonstrates.--Radical Clubs.--Their Blasphemy and Violence.
  --Unreasonable Suspicion.--Outrages.--Diplomatic Corps.--Some of them
  leave Paris.--Meeting of the Corps.--Votes not to Leave.--Embassadors
  and Ministers.--Right of Correspondence in a Besieged Place.
  --Commencement of Siege, September 19th.--Besiegers and Besieged.
  --Advantages of Besieged                                         170


  Balloons.--Large Number dispatched.--Small Number lost.--Worth.
  --Carrier-pigeons.--Their Failure.--Their Instincts.--_Times_
  "Agony Column."--Correspondence.--Letters to Besieged.--Count Solms.
  --Our Dispatch-bag.--Moltke complains that it is abused.--Washburne's
  Answer.--Bismarck's Reply                                        182


  Burnside's Peace Mission.--Sent in by Bismarck.--Interview with
  Trochu.--The Sympathetic Tear.--Question of Revictualment.--Failure
  of Negotiations.--Point of Vanity.--Flags of Truce.--French
  accused of Violation of Parole.--Question of the Francs-Tireurs.
  --Foreigners refused Permission to leave Paris.--Washburne
  insists.--Permission granted.--Departure of Americans.--Scenes
  at Créteil                                                       196


  Mob seize Hôtel de Ville.--"Thanksgiving" in Paris.--Prices of
  Food.--Paris Rats.--Menagerie Meat.--Horse-meat.--Eatable only
  as Mince.--Government Interference.--Sorties.--Are Failures.--Le
  Bourget taken by French.--Retaken by Prussians.--French
  Naval Officers.--Belleville National Guard.--Their Poetry.
  --Blundering.--Sheridan's Opinion of German Army                 207


  The National Guard.--Its Composition.--The American Ambulance.--Its
  Organization.--Its Success.--Dr. Swinburne, Chief Surgeon.--The
  Tent System.--Small Mortality.--Poor Germans in Paris.--Bombardment
  by Germans.--Wantonness of Artillery-men.--Bad News from the Loire.
  --"Le Plan Trochu."--St. Genevieve to appear.--Vinoy takes Command.
  --Paris surrenders.--Bourbaki defeated.--Attempts Suicide        221


  Election in France.--Terms of Peace.--Germans enter Paris.--Their
  Martial Appearance.--American Apartments occupied.--Washburne
  remonstrates.--Attitude of Parisians.--The Germans evacuate
  Paris.--Victualing the City.--Aid from England and the
  United States.--Its Distribution.--Sisters of Charity            234


  The Commune.--Murder of French Generals.--The National Guard of
  Order.--It disbands.--The Reasons.--Flight of the Government to
  Versailles.--Thiers.--Attempts to reorganize National Guard.--An
  American arrested by Commune.--Legation intervenes.--His Discharge.
  --His Treatment.--Reign of King Mob.--"_Démonstrations Pacifiques._"
  --Absurd Decrees of the Commune.--Destruction of the Vendôme
  Column                                                           243


  Diplomatic Corps moves to Versailles.--Journey there and back.--Life
  at Versailles.--German Princes.--Battle at Clamart.--Unburied
  Insurgents.--Bitterness of Class Hatred.--Its Probable Causes.--United
  States Post-office at Versailles.--The Archbishop of Paris.--Attempts
  to save his Life.--Washburne's Kindness to him.--Blanqui.--Archbishop
  murdered.--Ultramontanism.--Bombardment by Government.--My Apartment
  struck.--Capricious Effects of Shells.--Injury to Arch of Triumph.
  --Bas-reliefs of Peace and War                                   256


  Reign of Terror.--Family Quarrels.--The Alsacians, etc., claim
  German Nationality.--They leave Paris on our Passes.--Prisoners of
  Commune.--Priests and Nuns.--Fragments of Shells.--"Articles
  de Paris."--Fearful Bombardment of "Point du Jour."--Arrest of
  Cluseret.--Commune Proclamations.--Capture of Paris.--Troops
  enter by Undefended Gate.--Their Slow Advance.--Fight at the
  Tuileries Gardens.--Communist Women.--Capture of Barricades.
  --Cruelties of the Troops.--"Pétroleuses."--Absurd Stories about
  them.--Public Buildings fired.--Destruction of Tuileries, etc., etc.
  --Narrow Escape of Louvre.--Treatment of Communist Prisoners.
  --Presents from Emperor of Germany                               271



  Hatteras.--"Black Drink."--Fortress Monroe.--General Butler.
  --Small-pox.--"L'Isle des Chats."--Lightning.--Farragut.--Troops
  land.--Surrender of Forts.

In February, 1862, the writer of the following pages, an officer on
the staff of Brigadier-general Thomas Williams, was stationed at
Hatteras. Of all forlorn stations to which the folly and wickedness
of the Rebellion condemned our officers, Hatteras was the most
forlorn. It blows a gale of wind half the time. The tide runs through
the inlet at the rate of five miles an hour. It was impossible to
unload the stores for Burnside's expedition during more than three
days of the week. After an easterly blow--and there are enough of
them--the waters are so piled up in the shallow sounds between
Hatteras and the Main, that the tide ebbs without intermission for
twenty-four hours.

The history of Hatteras is curious. There can be little doubt that
English navigators penetrated into those waters long before the
Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. But the colony was not a success. Of the
colonists some returned to England; others died of want. The present
inhabitants of the island are a sickly, puny race, the descendants of
English convicts. When Great Britain broke up her penal settlement
at the Bermudas, she transported the most hardened convicts to
Van Diemens Land; those who had been convicted of minor offenses,
she turned loose upon our coast. Here they intermarried; for the
inhabitants of the Main look down upon them as an inferior race,
and will have no social intercourse with them. The effect of these
intermarriages is seen in the degeneracy of the race.

Until within a few years their principal occupation was wrecking.
Hatteras lies on the direct route of vessels bound from the West
Indies to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. The plan adopted
by these guileless natives to aid the storm in insuring a wreck
was simple, but effective. There is a half-wild pony bred upon the
island called "marsh pony." One of these animals was caught, a leg
tied up Rarey fashion, a lantern slung to his neck, and the animal
driven along the beach on a stormy night. The effect was that of a
vessel riding at anchor. Other vessels approached, and were soon
unpleasantly aware of the difference between a ship and a marsh pony.

The dwellings bear witness to the occupation of their owners.
The fences are constructed of ships' knees and planks. In their
parlors you may see on one side a rough board door, on the other an
exquisitely finished rose-wood or mahogany cabin door, with silver or
porcelain knobs. Contrast reigns everywhere.

But the place is not without its attractions to the botanist. A wild
vine, of uncommon strength and toughness, grows abundantly, and is
used in the place of rope. The iron-tree, hard enough to turn the
edge of the axe, and heavy as the metal from which it takes its
name, is found in abundance, and the tea-tree, from whose leaves the
inhabitants draw their tea when the season has been a bad one for
wrecks. This tea-tree furnishes the "black drink," which the Florida
Indians drank to make themselves invulnerable. They drank it with due
religious ceremonies till it nauseated them, when it was supposed
to have produced the desired effect. What a pity that we can not
associate some such charming superstition with the _maladie de mer_!
It would so comfort us in our affliction!

But we were not to stay long on this enchanted isle. Butler had
organized his expedition against New Orleans, and it was now ready
to sail. He had applied for Thomas Williams, who had been strongly
recommended to him by Weitzel, Kenzel, and other regular officers
of his staff. Early in March we received orders to report to Butler
at Fortress Monroe. We took one of those rolling tubs they call
"propellers," which did the service between the fortress and Hatteras
for the Quartermaster's Department; and, after nearly rolling over
two or three times, we reached Old Point. Here we found the immense
steamer the _Constitution_, loaded with three regiments, ready to
sail. Williams had hoped to have two or three days to run North and
see his wife and children, whom he had not seen for months. But with
him considerations of duty were before all others. He thought that
three regiments should be commanded by a brigadier, and he determined
to sail at once. It was a disappointment to us all. To him the loss
was irreparable. He never saw his family again.

It has always appeared to me that General Butler has not received
the credit to which he is entitled for the capture of New Orleans.
Without him New Orleans would not have been taken in 1862, and
a blow inflicted upon the Confederacy, which the London _Times_
characterized as the heaviest it had yet received--"almost decisive."
The writer has no sympathy with General Butler's extreme views, and
no admiration for his _protégés_; but he was cognizant of the New
Orleans expedition from its inception, he accompanied it on the day
it set sail, he landed with it in New Orleans, he remained in that
city or its neighborhood during the whole of Butler's command; and
a sense of justice compels him to say that Butler originated the
expedition, that he carried it through, under great and unexpected
difficulties, that he brought it to a successful termination, and
that his government of the city at that time, and under the peculiar
circumstances, was simply admirable.

It is not perhaps generally known that it was Butler who urged
this enterprise upon the President. He was answered that no troops
could be spared; M'Clellan wanted them all for his advance upon
Richmond. Butler thereupon offered to raise the troops himself,
provided the Government would give him three old regiments. The
President consented. The troops were raised in New England, and
three old regiments--the Fourth Wisconsin, the Sixth Michigan, and
the Twenty-first Indiana--designated to accompany them. At the
last moment M'Clellan opposed the departure of the Western troops,
and even applied for the "New England Division." It was with some
difficulty that, appealing to the President, and reminding him of his
promise, Butler was able to carry out the design for which the troops
had been raised.

We sailed from Old Point on the 6th of March with the three regiments
I have named. We numbered three thousand souls in all on board.
If any thing were wanting at this day to prove the efficacy of
vaccination, our experience on board that ship is sufficient. We took
from the hospital a man who had been ill with the small-pox. He was
supposed to be cured. Two days out, his disease broke out again. The
men among whom he lay were packed as close as herring in a barrel,
yet but one took the disease. They had all been vaccinated within
sixty days. I commend this fact to the attention of those parish
authorities in England who still obstinately refuse to enforce the
Vaccination Act.

Five days brought us, in perfect health, to Ship Island. Here was
another Hatteras, with a milder climate, and no "black drink;" a
low, sandy island in the Gulf, off Mobile. This part of the Gulf of
Mexico was discovered and settled by the French. They landed on Ship
Island, and called it "L'Isle des Chats," from the large number of
raccoons they found there. Not being personally acquainted with that
typical American, they took him for a species of cat, and named the
island accordingly. From Ship Island and the adjacent coast, which
they settled, the French entered Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain,
and so up the Amite River in their boats. They dragged their boats
across the short distance which separates the upper waters of the
Amite from the Mississippi, embarked upon the "Father of Waters,"
and sailed down the stream. Here they played a trick upon John Bull;
for, meeting an English fleet coming up, the first vessels that ever
entered the mouths of the Mississippi, they boarded them, claimed
to be prior discoverers, and averred that they had left their ships
above. There existed in those days an understanding among maritime
nations that one should not interfere with the prior discoveries of
another. The English thereupon turned, and the spot, a short distance
below New Orleans, is to this day called "English Turn."

We remained at the "Isle of Cats" about six weeks--the life
monotonous enough. The beach offered a great variety of shell-fish,
devil-fish, horse-shoes, and sea-horses. An odd thing was the
abundance of fresh, pure water. Dig a hole two feet deep anywhere in
the sand on that low island, rising scarcely five feet above the sea,
and in two hours it was filled with fresh water. After using it a
week, it became brackish; when all it was necessary to do was to dig
another hole.

When on Ship Island, I witnessed a curious freak of lightning. One
night we had a terrible thunderstorm, such as one sees only in those
southern latitudes. In a large circular tent, used as a guard-tent,
eight prisoners were lying asleep, side by side. The sentry stood
leaning against the tent-pole, the butt of the musket on the ground,
the bayonet against his shoulder. The lightning struck the tent-pole,
leaped to the bayonet, followed down the barrel, tearing the stock to
splinters, but only slightly stunning the sentry. Thence it passed
along the ground, struck the first prisoner, killing him; passed
through the six inside men without injury to them; and off by the
eighth man, killing him.

Finally, the expedition was complete. Stores, guns, horses, all
had arrived. Butler became impatient for the action of the navy.
He went to the South-west Pass, where Farragut's fleet was lying,
and urged his advance. Farragut replied that he had no coal. Butler
answered that he would give him what he wanted, and sent him fifteen
hundred tons. He had had the foresight to ballast his sailing ships
with coal, and so had an ample supply. A week passed, and still the
ships did not ascend the river. Again Butler went to the Pass, and
again Farragut said that he had not coal enough--that once past
the forts, he might be detained on the river, and that it would be
madness to make the attempt unless every ship were filled up with
coal. Once again Butler came to his aid, and gave him three thousand
tons. We were naturally surprised that so vital an expedition should
be neglected by the Navy Department. The opinion was pretty general
among us that the expedition was not a favorite with the Department,
and that they did not anticipate any great success from it. They
were quite as surprised as the rest of the world when Farragut
accomplished his great feat.

At length all was ready. The troops were embarked, and lay off the
mouth of the river, waiting for the action of the fleet. Farragut,
after an idle bombardment of three days by the mortar-boats, which
he told us he had no confidence in, but which he submitted to in
deference to the opinions of the Department and of Porter (the firing
ceased, by-the-way, when it had set fire to the wooden barracks in
Fort Jackson, and might have done some good if continued), burst
through the defenses, silenced the forts, and ascended the river.
It is not my province to describe this remarkable exploit. Its
effect was magical. An exaggerated idea prevailed at that time of
the immense superiority of land batteries over ships. One gun on
shore, it was said, was equal to a whole ship's battery. The very
small results obtained by the united English and French fleets during
the Crimean war were quoted in proof. Those magnificent squadrons
effected scarcely any thing, for the capture of Bomarsund was child's
play to them. The English naval officers, proud of their service and
its glorious history, were delighted to find that, when daringly
led, ships could still do something against land batteries, and all
England rang with Farragut's exploit.

The part played by the army in this affair was minor, but still
important. Our engineer officers, who had assisted in building forts
St. Philip and Jackson, knew the ground well. Under their guidance we
embarked, first in light-draught gun-boats, then in barges, and made
our way through the shallow waters of the Gulf, and up the bayou,
till we landed at Quarantine, between Fort St. Philip and the city,
cutting off all communication between them. As, in the stillness of
an April evening, we made our slow way up the bayou amidst a tropical
vegetation, festoons of moss hanging from the trees and drooping
into the water, with the chance of being fired on at any moment from
the dark swamp on either side, the effect upon the imagination was
striking, and the scene one not easily forgotten.

Farragut had passed up the river, but the forts still held out,
and the great body of the troops was below them. When, however,
they found themselves cut off from any chance of succor, the men
in Fort St. Philip mutinied, tied their officers to the guns, and
surrendered. Fort Jackson followed the example. No doubt our turning
movement had hastened their surrender by some days. I once suggested
to Butler that we had hastened it by a week. "A month, a month, sir,"
he replied.

It was here they told us that the United States flag had been hauled
down from the Mint by a mob headed by that scoundrel Mumford, and
dragged through the mud. I heard Butler swear by all that was sacred,
that if he caught Mumford, and did not hang him, might he be hanged
himself. He caught him, and he kept his oath. There never was a wiser
act. It quieted New Orleans like a charm. The mob, who had assembled
at the gallows fully expecting to hear a pardon read at the last
moment, and prepared to create a riot if he were pardoned, slunk home
like whipped curs.


  New Orleans.--Custom-house.--Union Prisoners.--The Calaboose.
  --"Them Lincolnites."--The St. Charles.--"Grape-vine Telegraph."
  --New Orleans Shop-keepers.--Butler and Soulé.--The Fourth
  Wisconsin.--A New Orleans Mob.--Yellow Fever.

On the evening of the 1st of May, 1862, the leading transports
anchored off the city. Butler sent for Williams, and ordered him to
land at once. Williams, like the thorough soldier he was, proposed
to wait till morning, when he would have daylight for the movement,
and when the other transports, with our most reliable troops, would
be up. "No, sir," said Butler, "this is the 1st of May, and on this
day we must occupy New Orleans, and the first regiment to land must
be a Massachusetts regiment." So the orders were issued, and in half
an hour the Thirty-first Massachusetts Volunteers and the Sixth
Massachusetts Battery set foot in New Orleans.

As we commenced our march, Williams saw the steamer _Diana_ coming up
with six companies of the Fourth Wisconsin. He ordered a halt, and
sent me with instructions for them to land at once, and fall into
the rear of the column. I passed through the mob without difficulty,
gave the orders, and we resumed our march. The general had directed
that our route should be along the levee, where our right was
protected by the gun-boats. Presently we found that the head of the
column was turning up Julia Street. Williams sent to know why the
change had been made. The answer came back that Butler was there, and
had given orders to pass in front of the St. Charles Hotel, while the
band played "Yankee Doodle," and "Picayune Butler's come to Town,"
if they knew it. They did not know it, unfortunately, so we had one
unbroken strain of the martial air of "Yankee Doodle" all the way.

Arrived at the Custom-house late in the evening, we found the doors
closed and locked. Williams said to me, "What would you do?" "Break
the doors open," I replied. The general, who could not easily get
rid of his old, regular-army habits, ordered "Sappers and miners to
the front." No doubt the sappers and miners thus invoked would have
speedily appeared had we had any, but two volunteer regiments and a
battery of light artillery were the extent of our force that night. I
turned to the adjutant of the Fourth Wisconsin, and asked if he had
any axes in his regiment. He at once ordered up two or three men. We
found the weakest-looking door, and attacked it. As we were battering
it in, the major of the Thirty-first came up, and took an axe from
one of the men. Inserting the edge in the crack near the lock, he
pried it gently, and the door flew open. I said, "Major, you seem
to understand this sort of thing." He replied, "Oh! this isn't the
first door I have broken open, by a long shot. I was once foreman of
a fire-company in Buffalo."

We entered the building with great caution, for the report had
been spread that it was mined. The men of the Fourth Wisconsin had
candles in their knapsacks; they always had every thing, those
fellows! We soon found the meter, turned the gas on, and then
proceeded to make ourselves comfortable for the night. I established
myself in the postmaster's private room--the Post-office was in the
Custom-house--with his table for my bed, and a package of rebel
documents for a pillow. I do not remember what my dreams were that
night. We took the letters from the boxes to preserve them, and piled
them in a corner of my room. They were all subsequently delivered to
their respective addresses.

Pretty well tired out with the labor and excitement of the day, I
was just making myself tolerably comfortable for the night, when
the officer of the day reported that a woman urgently desired to
see the general on a matter of life or death. She was admitted. She
told us that her husband was a Union man, that he had been arrested
that day and committed to the "Calaboose," and that his life was in
danger. The general said to her, "My good woman, I will see to it
in the morning." "Oh, sir," she replied, "in the morning he will be
dead! They will poison him." We did not believe much in the poison
story, but it was evident that she did. Williams turned to me,
and said, "Captain, have you a mind to look into this?" Of course
I was ready, and ordering out a company of the Fourth Wisconsin,
and asking Major Boardman, a daring officer of that regiment, to
accompany me, I started for the Calaboose, guided by the woman. The
streets were utterly deserted. Nothing was heard but the measured
tramp of the troops as we marched along. Arrived at the Calaboose, I
ordered the man I was in search of to be brought out. I questioned
him, questioned the clerk and the jailer, became satisfied that he
was arrested for political reasons alone, ordered his release, and
took him with me to the Custom-house, for he was afraid to return
home. Being on the spot, it occurred to me that it would be as well
to see if there were other political prisoners in the prison. I had
the books brought, and examined the entries. At last I thought I had
discovered another victim. The entry read, "Committed as a suspicious
character, and for holding communication with Picayune Butler's
troops." I ordered the man before me. The jailer took down a huge
bunch of keys, and I heard door after door creaking on its hinges. At
last the man was brought out. I think I never saw a more villainous
countenance. I asked him what he was committed for? He evidently did
not recognize the Federal uniform, but took me for a Confederate
officer, and replied that he was arrested for talking to "them
Lincolnites." I told the jailer that I did not want that man--that he
might lock him up again.

Having commenced the search for political prisoners, I thought it
well to make thorough work of it; so I inquired if there were other
prisons in the city. There was one in the French quarter, nearly two
miles off; so we pursued our weary and solitary tramp through the
city. My men evidently did not relish it. The prison was quiet,
locked up for the night. We hammered away at the door till we got
the officers up; went in, examined the books, found no entries of
commitments except for crime; put the officers on their written oaths
that no one was confined there except for crime; and so returned to
our Post-office beds.

The next day was a busy one. Early in the morning I went to the
St. Charles Hotel to make arrangements for lodging the general
and his staff. With some difficulty I got in. In the rotunda of
that fine building sat about a dozen rebels, looking as black as a
thunder-cloud. I inquired for the proprietor or clerk in charge, and
a young man stepped forward: "Impossible to accommodate us; hotel
closed; no servants in the house." I said, "At all events, I will
see your rooms." Going into one of them, he closed the door and
whispered, "It would be as much as my life is worth, sir, to offer to
accommodate you here. I saw a man knifed on Canal Street yesterday
for asking a naval officer the time of day. But if you choose to
send troops and open the hotel by force, why, we will do our best to
make you comfortable." Returning to the rotunda, I found Lieutenant
Biddle, who had accompanied me--one of the general's aids--engaged
in a hot discussion with our rebel friends. I asked him "What use in
discussing these matters?" and, turning to the rebs, with appropriate
gesture said, "We've got you, and we mean to hold you." "That's the
talk," they replied; "we understand _that_." They told us that the
rebel army was in sight of Washington, and that John Magruder's guns
commanded the Capitol. Why they picked out Magruder particularly,
I can not say. This news had come by telegraph. We used to call
the rebel telegraphic lines "the grapevine telegraph," for their
telegrams were generally circulated with the bottle after dinner.

The shop-keepers in New Orleans, when we first landed there, were
generally of the opinion of my friend the hotel-clerk. A naval
officer came to us one morning at the Custom-house, and said that
the commodore wanted a map of the river; that he had seen the very
thing, but that the shop-keeper refused to sell it, intimating,
however, that if he were compelled to sell it, why then, of course,
he couldn't help himself. We ordered out a sergeant and ten men. The
officer got his map, and paid for it.

But Butler was not the man to be thwarted in this way. Finding this
_parti pris_ on the part of the shop-keepers, he issued an order
that all shops must be opened on a certain day, or that he should
put soldiers in, and sell the goods for account "of whom it might
concern." On the day appointed they were all opened. So, too, with
the newspapers. They refused to print his proclamation. An order
came to us to detail half a dozen printers, and send them under
a staff officer to the office of the _True Delta_, and print the
proclamation. We soon found the men. From a telegraph-operator to
a printer, bakers, engine-drivers, carpenters, and coopers, we had
representatives of all the trades. This was in the early days of the
war. Afterward the men were of an inferior class. The proclamation
was printed, and the men then amused themselves by getting out the
paper. Next morning it appeared as usual; this was enough. The editor
soon came to terms, and the other journals followed suit.

On the 2d of May Butler landed and took quarters at the St. Charles.
There has been much idle gossip about attempts to assassinate him,
and his fears of it. In regard to the latter, he landed in New
Orleans, and drove a mile to his hotel, with one staff officer, and
one armed orderly only on the box. When his wife arrived in the city,
he rode with one orderly to the levee, and there, surrounded by the
crowd, awaited her landing. As regards the former, we never heard of
any well-authenticated attempt to assassinate him, and I doubt if any
was ever made.

That afternoon Butler summoned the municipal authorities before
him to treat of the formal surrender of the city. They came to
the St. Charles, accompanied by Pierre Soulé as their counsel.
A mob collected about the hotel, and became turbulent. Butler
was unprotected, and sent to the Custom-house for a company of
"Massachusetts" troops. The only Massachusetts troops there were
the Thirty-first, a newly raised regiment. They afterward became
excellent soldiers, but at that time they were very young and very
green. It so happened, too, that the only company available was
composed of the youngest men of the regiment. They were ordered out.
The officer in charge did not know the way to the St. Charles. No
guide was at hand, so I volunteered to accompany them. We drew the
troops up on Common Street, and I entered the hotel to report them
to Butler. I found him engaged in a most animated discussion with
Soulé. Both were able and eloquent men, but Butler undoubtedly got
the better of the argument. Perhaps the fact that he had thirteen
thousand bayonets to back his opinions gave point to his remarks.
Interrupting his discourse for a moment only, he said, "Draw the
men up round the hotel, sir; and if the mob make the slightest
disturbance, fire on them on the spot," and went on with the
discussion. Returning to the street, I found the mob apostrophizing
my youthful soldiers with, "Does your mother know you're out?" and
like popular wit. It struck me that the inquiry was well addressed.
I felt disposed to ask the same question. I reported the matter to
Williams, and he thought that it would be well to counteract the
effect. That evening he sent the band of the Fourth Wisconsin to play
in front of the St. Charles, with the whole regiment, tall, stalwart
fellows, as an escort. In a few minutes the mob had slunk away. An
officer heard one _gamin_ say to another, "Those are Western men, and
they say they _do_ fight like h----." One of the officers told me
that his men's fingers itched to fire.

I suppose that all mobs are alike, but certainly the New Orleans
mob was as cowardly as it was brutal. When we first occupied the
Custom-house, they collected about us, and annoyed our sentries
seriously. The orders were to take no notice of what was said, but
to permit no overt act. I was sitting one day in my office, the
general out, when Captain Bailey, the officer who distinguished
himself so much afterward in building the Red River dam--and a
gallant fellow he was--rushed in, and said, "Are we to stand this?"
I said, "What's the matter, Bailey?" He replied that "One of those
d----d scoundrels has taken his quid from his mouth, and thrown it
into the sentry's face." I said, "No; I don't think that we are to
stand that: that seems to me an 'overt act.' Arrest him." Bailey
rushed out, called to the guard to follow him, and, jumping into
the crowd, seized the fellow by the collar, and jerked him into the
lines. The guard came up and secured him. The mob fell back and
scattered, and never troubled us from that day. The fellow went
literally down upon his knees, and begged to be let off. We kept him
locked up that night, and the next day discharged him. He laid it all
to bad whisky.

As the course of this narrative will soon carry the writer from New
Orleans into the interior, he takes this opportunity to say that he
has often been assured by the rebel inhabitants, men and women of
position and character, that never had New Orleans been so well
governed, so clean, so orderly, and so healthy, as it was under
Butler. He soon got rid of the "Plug-uglies" and other ruffian bands:
some he sent to Fort Jackson, and others into the Confederacy. There
was no yellow fever in New Orleans while we held it, showing as
plainly as possible that its prevalence or its absence is simply a
question of quarantine. (Butler had sworn he would hang the health
officer if the fever got up.) Before we arrived there, the "back
door," as it was called--the lake entrance to the city--was always
open, and for five hundred dollars any vessel could come up. In 1861,
when our blockade commenced, and during the whole of our occupation,
yellow fever was unknown. In 1866 we turned the city over to the
civil authorities. That autumn there were a few straggling cases, and
the following summer the fever was virulent.


  Vicksburg.--River on Fire.--Baton Rouge.--Start again for Vicksburg.
  --The _Hartford_.--The Canal.--Farragut.--Captain Craven.--The
  _Arkansas_.--Major Boardman.--The _Arkansas_ runs the

Admiral Farragut was anxious, after the capture of New Orleans, to
proceed at once against Mobile. I heard him say that, in the panic
excited by the capture of New Orleans, Mobile would fall an easy
prey. The Government, however, for political as well as military
reasons, was anxious to open the Mississippi. Farragut was ordered
against Vicksburg, and Williams, with two regiments and a battery,
was sent to accompany and support him. When one reflects upon the
great strength of Vicksburg, and the immense resources it afterward
took to capture it, it seems rather absurd to have sent us against it
with two regiments and a battery. The excursion, however, if it is to
be looked upon in this light, was delightful. We had two fine river
boats. The plantations along the banks were in the highest state
of cultivation; the young cane, a few inches above the ground, of
the most lovely green. Indeed, I know no more beautiful green than
that of the young sugar-cane. Our flag had not been seen in those
parts for over a year, and the joy of the negroes when they had an
opportunity to exhibit it without fear of their overseers was quite
touching. The river was very high, and as we floated along we were
far above the level of the plantations, and looked down upon the
negroes at work, and into the open windows of the houses. The effect
of this to one unused to it--the water above the land--was very
striking. Natchez, a town beautifully situated on a high bluff, was
gay with the inhabitants who had turned out to see us. The ladies,
with their silk dresses and bright parasols, and the negro women,
with their gaudy colors, orange especially, which they affect so
much, and which, by-the-way, can be seen at a greater distance than
any other color I know of.

One often hears of "setting a river on fire," metaphorically
speaking: I have seen it done literally. The Confederate authorities
had issued orders to burn the cotton along the banks to prevent its
falling into our hands. But as the patriotism of the owners naturally
enough needed stimulating, vigilance committees were organized,
generally of those planters whose cotton was safe at a distance.
These men preceded us as we ascended the river; and burned their
neighbors' cotton with relentless patriotism. The burning material
was thrown into the stream, and floated on the surface a long time
before it was extinguished. At night it was a very beautiful sight
to see the apparently flaming water. We had to exercise some care to
steer clear of the burning masses.

Arrived opposite Vicksburg, we boarded the flag-ship to consult
for combined operations. We found Farragut holding a council of
his captains, considering the feasibility of passing the batteries
of Vicksburg as he had passed the forts. We apologized for our
intrusion, and were about to withdraw, when he begged us to stay,
and, turning to Williams, he said, "General, my officers oppose my
running by Vicksburg as impracticable. Only one supports me. So I
must give it up for the present. In ten days they will all be of my
opinion; and then the difficulties will be much greater than they are
now." It turned out as he had said. In a few days they were nearly
all of his opinion, and he did it.

But we found no dry place for the soles of our feet. "The water was
down," as the Scotchmen say (down from the hills), and the whole
Louisiana side of the river was flooded. It would have been madness
to land on the Vicksburg side with two regiments only. Nothing could
be done, and we returned to Baton Rouge, where, finding a healthy
and important position, a United States arsenal, and Union men who
claimed our protection, Williams determined to remain and await

Here cotton was offered us, delivered on the levee, at three cents a
pound. It was selling at one dollar in New York. I spoke to Williams
about it, and he said that there was no law against any officer
speculating in cotton or other products of the country (one was
subsequently passed), but that he would not have any thing to do
with it, and advised me not to. I followed his advice and example. A
subsequent post-commander did not. He made eighty thousand dollars
out of cotton, and then went home and was made a brigadier-general; I
never knew why.

But the Government was determined to open the river at all hazards.
Farragut was re-enforced. Butler was ordered to send all the troops
he could spare. Davis was ordered down with the Upper Mississippi
fleet. Early in June we started again for Vicksburg, with six
regiments and two batteries. It was a martial and beautiful sight
to see the long line of gun-boats and transports following each
other in Indian file at regular intervals. Navy and army boats
combined, we numbered about twenty sail--if I may apply that word
to steamers. On our way up, the flag-ship, the famous _Hartford_,
was nearly lost. She grounded on a bank in the middle of the river,
and with a falling stream. Of course there was the usual talk about
a rebel pilot; but no vessel with the draught of the _Hartford_, a
sloop-of-war, had ever before ventured to ascend above New Orleans.
The navy worked hard all the afternoon to release her, but in vain.
The hawsers parted like pack-thread. I was on board when a grizzled
quartermaster, the very type of an old man-of-warsman, came up to the
commodore on the quarter-deck, and, pulling his forelock, reported
that there was a six-inch hawser in the hold. Farragut ordered it up
at once. Two of our army transports, the most powerful, were lashed
together, the hawser passed round them, and slackened. They then
started with a jerk. The _Hartford_ set her machinery in motion, the
gun-boat lashed along-side started hers, and the old ship came off,
and was swept down with the current. It required some seamanship to
disentangle all these vessels.

We found that the waters had subsided since our last visit to
Vicksburg, and so landed at Young's Point, opposite the town.
Some years previously there had been a dispute between the State
authorities of Louisiana and of Mississippi, and the Legislature of
the former had taken steps to turn the river, and cut off Vicksburg
by digging a canal across the peninsula opposite. This we knew, and
decided to renew the attempt. We soon found traces of the engineers'
work. The trees were cut down in a straight line across the Point.
Here we set to work. Troops were sent to the different plantations
both up and down the river, and the negroes pressed into the service.
It was curious to observe the difference of opinion among the old
river captains as to the feasibility of our plan. Some were sure
that the river would run through the cut; others swore that it would
not, and could not be made to. The matter was soon settled by the
river itself; for it suddenly rose one night, filled up our ditch,
undermined the banks, and in a few hours destroyed our labor of days.
A somewhat careful observation of the Mississippi since has satisfied
me that if a canal be cut where the stream impinges upon the bank,
it will take to it as naturally as a duck does to water. But when the
current strikes the opposite bank, as it does at Young's Point, you
can not force it from its course. Had we attempted our canal some
miles farther up, where the current strikes the right bank, we should
have succeeded. Grant, the next year, renewed our ditch-digging
experiment in the same place, and with infinitely greater resources,
but with no better success.

Farragut had now made his preparations to run by the batteries. He
divided his squadron into three divisions, accompanying the second
division himself. The third was under command of Captain Craven,
of the _Brooklyn_. We stationed Nim's light battery--and a good
battery it was--on the point directly opposite Vicksburg, to assist
in silencing the fire of one of the most powerful of the shore
batteries. Very early in the morning Farragut got under way; two
of his divisions passed, completely silencing the rebel batteries.
The third division did not attempt the passage. This led to an
angry correspondence between the commodore and Craven, and resulted
in Craven's being relieved, and ordered to report to Washington.
There was a great difference of opinion among naval officers as to
Craven's conduct. He was as brave an officer as lived. He contended
that it was then broad daylight, that the gunners on shore had
returned to their guns, and that his feeble squadron would have been
exposed to the whole fire of the enemy, without any adequate object
to be gained in return. Farragut replied that his orders were to
pass, and that he should have done it at all hazards.

And now an incident occurred which mortified the commodore deeply.
His powerful fleet, re-enforced by Davis, lay above Vicksburg. The
weather was intensely hot, and the commodore, contrary to his own
judgment, as he told Williams, but on the urgent request of his
officers, had permitted the fires to be extinguished. Early one
morning we had sent a steamboat with a party up the river to press
negroes into our canal work. Suddenly a powerful iron-clad, flying
the Confederate colors, appeared coming out of the Yazoo River. There
was nothing for our unarmed little boat to do but to run for it. The
_Arkansas_ opened from her bow-guns, and the first shell, falling
among the men drawn up on deck, killed the captain of the company,
and killed or wounded ten men. It is so rarely that a shell commits
such havoc, that I mention it as an uncommon occurrence.

The firing attracted the attention of the fleet, and they beat to
quarters. But there was no time to get up steam. The _Arkansas_
passed through them all almost unscathed, receiving and returning
their fire. The shells broke against her iron sides without
inflicting injury. The only hurt she received was from the
_Richmond_. Alden kept his guns loaded with powder only, prepared
to use shell or shot as circumstances might require. He loaded with
solid shot, and gave her a broadside as she passed. This did her some
damage, but nothing serious.

In the mean time the alarm was given to the transports. Farragut had
sent us an officer to say that the _Arkansas_ was coming, that he
should stop her if he could, but that he feared that he could not.
The troops were got under arms, and our two batteries ordered to the
levee. A staff officer said to General Williams, "General, don't let
us be caught here like rats in a trap; let us attempt something, even
if we fail." "What would you do?" said the general. "Take the _Laurel
Hill_, put some picked men on board of her, and let us ram the rebel.
We may not sink her, but we may disable or delay her, and help the
gun-boats to capture her." "A good idea," said the general; "send for
Major Boardman." Boardman, the daring officer to whom I have before
referred, had been brought up as a midshipman. He was known in China
as the "American devil," from a wild exploit there in scaling the
walls of Canton one dark night when the gates were closed; climbing
them with the help of his dagger only, making holes in the masonry
for his hands and feet. He was afterward killed by guerrillas, having
become colonel of his regiment. Boardman came; the _Laurel Hill_
was cleared; twenty volunteers from the Fourth Wisconsin were put
on board, and steam got up. The captain refused to go, and another
transport captain was put in command. We should have attempted
something, perhaps failed; but I think one or other of us would have
been sunk. But our preparations were all in vain. The _Arkansas_ had
had enough of it for that day. She rounded to, and took refuge under
the guns of Vicksburg.

Reporting this incident to Butler subsequently, he said, "You would
have sunk her, sir; you would have sunk her."

Farragut, as I have said, was deeply mortified. He gave orders at
once to get up steam, and prepared to run the batteries again,
determined to destroy the rebel ram at all hazards. He had resolved
to ram her with the _Hartford_ as she lay under the guns of
Vicksburg. It was with great difficulty he was dissuaded from doing
so, and only upon the promise of Alden that he would do it for him in
the _Richmond_. Farragut, in his impulsive way, seized Alden's hand,
"Will you do this for me, Alden? will you do it?" The rapidity of the
current, the unusual darkness of the night, and the absence of lights
on the _Arkansas_ and on shore, prevented the execution of the plan.
To finish with the _Arkansas_, she afterward came down the river to
assist in the attack on Baton Rouge. Part of her machinery gave out;
she turned and attempted to return to Vicksburg, was pursued by our
gun-boats, run ashore, abandoned, and burned.

The rebels never had any luck with their gun-boats. They always came
to grief. They were badly built, badly manned, or badly commanded.
The _Louisiana_, the _Arkansas_, the _Manassas_, the _Tennessee_, the
_Albemarle_--great things were expected of them all, and they did

But we were as far from the capture of Vicksburg as ever. Fever
attacked our men in those fatal swamps, and they became thoroughly
discouraged. The sick-list was fearful. Of a battery of eighty men,
twenty only were fit for duty. The Western troops, and they were our
best, were homesick. Lying upon the banks of the Mississippi, with
transports above Vicksburg convenient for embarkation, they longed
for home. The colonels came to Williams, and suggested a retreat _up_
the river, to join Halleck's command. Williams held a council of war.
He asked me to attend it. The colonels gave their opinions, some in
favor of, and others against, the proposed retreat. When it came to
my turn, I spoke strongly against it. I urged that we had no _right_
to abandon our comrades at New Orleans; that it might lead to the
recapture of that city; that if our transports were destroyed, we
should at least attempt to get back by land. I do not suppose that
Williams ever entertained the least idea of retreating up the river,
but thought it due to his officers to hear what they had to say in
favor of it. The plan was abandoned.


  Sickness.--Battle of Baton Rouge.--Death of Williams.--"Fix
  Bayonets!"--Thomas Williams.--His Body.--General T. W. Sherman.
  --Butler relieved.--General Orders, No. 10.--Mr. Adams and Lord
  Palmerston.--Butler's Style.

Of the events which immediately followed the council of war referred
to in the last chapter, the writer knows only by report. He was
prostrated with fever, taken to a house on shore, moved back to
head-quarters boat, put on board a gun-boat, and sent to New Orleans.
Farragut, with his usual kindness, offered to take him on board
the _Hartford_, give him the fleet-captain's cabin, and have the
fleet-surgeon attend him. But Williams declined the offer. Farragut
then offered to send him to New Orleans in a gun-boat. This Williams
accepted. The writer was taken to New Orleans, sent to military
hospital, an assistant-surgeon's room given up to him, and every care
lavished upon him; for one of Williams's staff--poor De Kay--wounded
in a skirmish, had died in hospital. Butler had conceived the
idea--erroneous, I am sure--that he had been neglected by the
surgeons. When I was brought down he sent them word that if another
of Williams's staff died there, they would hear from him. I did not

Meantime, unable to effect any thing against Vicksburg, with more
than half his men on the sick-list, Williams returned to Baton
Rouge. The rebel authorities, with spies everywhere, heard of the
condition of our forces, and determined to attack them. Early one
foggy morning twelve thousand men, under Breckenridge, attacked our
three or four thousand men fit for duty. But they did not catch
Williams napping. He had heard of the intended movement, and was
prepared to meet it. Our forces increased, too, like magic. Sick
men in hospital, who thought that they could not stir hand or foot,
found themselves wonderfully better the moment there was a prospect
of a fight. Happily a thick mist prevailed. Happily, too, they first
attacked the Twenty-first Indiana, one of our stanchest regiments,
holding the centre of the position. This fine regiment was armed
with breech-loaders, the only ones in the Gulf. Lying on the ground,
they could see the legs of the rebels below the mist, and fire
with a steady aim upon them, themselves unseen. On the right the
Thirtieth Massachusetts was engaged, but not hotly. The left was but
slightly pressed. Williams had carefully reconnoitred the ground the
afternoon before, and marked out his different positions. As the
battle progressed, he fell back upon his second position, contracting
his lines. As it grew hotter, he issued orders to fall back upon the
third position. As he gave the order, the lieutenant-colonel of the
Twenty-first, Colonel Keith, as plucky a little fellow as lived, came
to him and said, "For God's sake, general, don't order us to fall
back! We'll hold this position against the whole d--d rebel army."
"Do your men feel that way, colonel?" replied Williams; and turning
to the regiment, he said, "Fix bayonets!" As he uttered these words,
he was shot through the heart. The men fixed bayonets, charged, and
the rebels gave way. But there was no one competent to take command.
The Fourth Wisconsin, on our left, waited in vain for the orders
Williams had promised them, eager to advance, for he had meant that
this regiment should take the rebels in flank. The victory was won,
but its fruits were not gathered.

I think that grander words were never uttered by a commander on the
field of battle as he received his death-wound than these words of
Williams's. "Fix bayonets!" means business, and in this instance they
meant victory.

Thomas Williams was a noble fellow. Had he lived, he would have been
one of the great generals of our war. Butler told the writer that,
had Williams survived Baton Rouge, it was his intention to have
turned over the whole military command to him, and confined himself
to civil matters. The "General Order" he issued on Williams's death
is a model of classic and pathetic English. It is quoted as such by
Richard Grant White in his "Miscellany." I give it entire, for it can
not be too widely circulated, both on account of its style and its

  "Head-quarters, Department of the Gulf,
  "New Orleans, August 7th, 1862.


  "The commanding general announces to the Army of the Gulf the
  sad event of the death of Brigadier-general Thomas Williams,
  commanding Second Brigade, in camp at Baton Rouge.

  "The victorious achievement, the repulse of the division of
  Major-general Breckenridge by the troops led on by General
  Williams, and the destruction of the mail-clad _Arkansas_ by
  Captain Porter, of the navy, is made sorrowful by the fall of
  our brave, gallant, and successful fellow-soldier.

  "General Williams graduated at West Point in 1837; at once
  joined the Fourth Artillery in Florida, where he served with
  distinction; was thrice breveted for gallant and meritorious
  services in Mexico as a member of General Scott's staff. His
  life was that of a soldier devoted to his country's service. His
  country mourns in sympathy with his wife and children, now that
  country's care and precious charge.

  "We, his companions in arms, who had learned to love him, weep
  the true friend, the gallant gentleman, the brave soldier, the
  accomplished officer, the pure patriot and victorious hero, and
  the devoted Christian. All, and more, went out when Williams
  died. By a singular felicity, the manner of his death illustrated
  each of these generous qualities.

  "The chivalric American gentleman, he gave up the vantage of the
  cover of the houses of the city, forming his lines in the open
  field, lest the women and children of his enemies should be hurt
  in the fight.

  "A good general, he made his dispositions and prepared for battle
  at the break of day, when he met his foe!

  "A brave soldier, he received the death-shot leading his men!

  "A patriot hero, he was fighting the battle of his country, and
  died as went up the cheer of victory!

  "A Christian, he sleeps in the hope of a blessed Redeemer!

  "His virtues we can not exceed; his example we may emulate, and,
  mourning his death, we pray, 'May our last end be like his.'

  "The customary tribute of mourning will be worn by the officers
  in the department.

  "By command of Major-general BUTLER.

  "R. T. DAVIS, Captain and A. A. A. G."

Williams was an original thinker. He had some rather striking ideas
about the male portion of the human race. He held that all men
were by nature cruel, barbarous, and coarse, and were only kept in
order by the influence of women--their wives, mothers, and sisters.
"Look at those men," he would say. "At home they are respectable,
law-abiding citizens. It's the women who make them so. Here they rob
hen-roosts, and do things they would be ashamed to do at home. There
is but one thing will take the place of their women's influence, and
that is discipline; and I'll give them enough of it." I used to think
his views greatly exaggerated, but I came to be very much of his
opinion before the war was over.

A curious thing happened to his body. It was sent down in a transport
with wounded soldiers. She came in collision with the gun-boat
_Oneida_ coming up, and was sunk. Various accounts were given of
the collision. It was of course reported that the rebel pilot of
the transport had intentionally run into the gun-boat. I think this
improbable, for I have observed that rebel pilots value their lives
as much as other people. Captain (afterward Admiral) Lee lay by the
wreck, and picked up the wounded: none were lost. Shortly afterward
Gun-boat No. 1, commanded by Crosby, a great friend of Williams, came
up. Lee transferred the men to her, ordered her to New Orleans, and
himself proceeded to Baton Rouge. Crosby heard that Williams's body
was on board. He spent several hours in searching for it, but without
success. He reluctantly concluded to abandon the search. Some hours
later in the day, and several miles from the scene of the disaster,
a piece of the wreck was seen floating down the current, with a box
upon it. A boat was lowered, and the box was picked up. It turned out
to be the coffin containing the body. His portmanteau too floated
ashore, fell into honest hands, and was returned to me by a gentleman
of the coast.

It had been General Butler's intention, on my recovery, to give me
command of the Second Louisiana, a regiment he was raising in New
Orleans, mostly from disbanded and rebel soldiers. My recovery was
so long delayed, however, that he was compelled to fill the vacancy
otherwise. Shortly afterward General T. W. Sherman was ordered to
New Orleans, and I was assigned to duty on his staff. He was sent
to Carondelet to take charge of the post at the Parapet, and of all
the northern approaches to New Orleans. This was done under orders
from Washington; but of this Sherman was not aware, for no copy of
the orders had been sent him. He never knew to what an important
command it was the intention of the Government to assign him till
some years later, when the writer, having become Adjutant-general of
the Department of the Gulf, found the orders in the archives of the

But the days of Butler's command were brought to a close. Banks
arrived with re-enforcements, and exhibited his orders to take
command of the Department. No one was more surprised than Butler.
He had supposed that Banks's expedition was directed against Texas.
His recall seemed ungrateful on the part of the Government, for it
was to him that the capture of New Orleans at that early date was
principally due. It is probable that the consuls in that city had
complained of him, and our Government, thinking it all-important to
give no cause of complaint to foreign governments, Great Britain and
France especially, recalled him.

As General Butler will not again appear in these pages, I can not
close this part of my narrative without endeavoring to do him justice
in regard to one or two points on which he has been attacked. The
silver-spoon story is simply absurd. Butler confiscated and used
certain table-silver. When Banks relieved him, he turned it over
to him. When a howl was made about it toward the close of the war,
and the Government referred the papers to Butler, for a report, he
simply forwarded a copy of Banks's quartermaster's receipt. I was
amused once at hearing that inimitable lecturer, Artemus Ward, get
off a joke upon this subject in New Orleans. He was describing the
Mormons, and a tea-party at Brigham Young's, and said that Brigham
Young probably had a larger tea-service than any one in the world,
"except," said he, and then paused as if to reflect--"except,
perhaps, General Butler." Imagine the effect upon a New Orleans
audience. It is perhaps needless to observe that Butler was not at
that time in command.

The only charge against Butler which was never thoroughly disproved
was that he permitted those about him to speculate, to the neglect
of their duties and to the injury of our cause and good name. He
must have been aware of these speculations, and have shut his eyes
to them. But that he himself profited pecuniarily by them, I do not

The famous General Orders, No. 10, "The Woman's Order," was issued
while I was in New Orleans, and excited much and unfavorable comment.
Butler ordered that ladies insulting United States officers should
be treated "as women of the town plying their trade." Strong, his
adjutant-general, remonstrated, and begged him to alter it. He said
that he meant simply that they should be arrested and punished
according to the municipal law of the city, _i.e._, confined for one
night and fined five dollars. Strong replied, "Why not say so, then?"
But Butler has much of the vanity of authorship. He was pleased with
the turn of the phrase, thought it happy, and refused to surrender it.

In this connection, when in London, I heard an anecdote of Mr. Adams
and Lord Palmerston which is not generally known. It was not often
that any one got the better of old "Pam," but Mr. Adams did. When
Butler's order reached England, Lord Palmerston was the head of the
Government; Lord John Russell was Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs. Lord Palmerston wrote to Mr. Adams to know if the order as
printed in the London papers was authentic. Mr. Adams asked if he
inquired officially or privately. Lord Palmerston replied rather
evasively. Mr. Adams insisted. Lord Palmerston answered that if
Mr. Adams must know, he begged him to understand that he inquired
officially. Mr. Adams had the correspondence carefully copied in
Moran's best handwriting, and inclosed it to Lord John with a note
inquiring, who was Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs; was it Lord Palmerston, or was it Lord John? A quick reply
came from Lord John, asking him to do nothing further in the matter
till he heard from him again. The next day a note was received from
Lord Palmerston withdrawing the correspondence.

I have given two specimens of Butler's style. Here is another, and
of a different character. At the request of a naval officer in high
command, Farragut applied to Butler for steamboats to tow the mortar
vessels to Vicksburg. Butler replied that he regretted that he had
none to spare. The officer answered that if Butler would prevent
his brother from sending quinine and other contraband stores into
the Confederacy, there would be boats enough. This came to Butler's
ears. He answered. After giving a list of his boats, and stating
their different employments, he proceeded substantially as follows. I
quote from memory. "Now, there are two kinds of lying. The first is
when a man deliberately states what he knows to be false. The second
is when he states what is really false, but what at the time he
believes to be true. For instance, when Captain ---- reports that the
ram _Louisiana_ came down upon his gun-boats, and a desperate fight
ensued, he stated what is in point of fact false; for the _Louisiana_
was blown up and abandoned, and was drifting with the current, as is
proved by the report of the rebel commander, Duncan: but Captain ----
believed it to be true, and acted accordingly; for he retreated to
the mouth of the river, leaving the transports to their fate."


  T. W. Sherman.--Contrabands.--Defenses of New Orleans.--Exchange
  of Prisoners.--Amenities in War.--Port Hudson.--Reconnoissance
  in Force.--The Fleet.--Our Left.--Assault of May 27th.--Sherman
  wounded.--Port Hudson surrenders.

The autumn of 1862 passed without any special incident. Sherman
rebuilt the levees near Carrollton, repaired and shortened the
Parapet, pushed his forces to the north, and occupied and fortified
Manchac Pass. All these works were constructed by Captain Bailey,
to whom I have already alluded, and of whom I shall have much to
say hereafter; for he played a most important and conspicuous part
in the Louisiana campaigns. At Manchac he constructed a _bijou_
of a work built of mud and clamshells. He had the most remarkable
faculty of making the negroes work. I have seen the old inhabitants
of the coast (French _côte_, bank of the river) stopping to gaze with
surprise at the "niggers" trundling their wheelbarrows filled with
earth on the double-quick. Such a sight was never before seen in
Louisiana, and probably never will be again. Sherman was the first
officer, too, to enroll the blacks, set them to work, and pay them
wages. He was no _professed_ friend of the negro, but he did more
practically for their welfare to make them useful, and save them from
vagabondage, than Phelps or any other violent abolitionist, who said
that the slaves had done enough work in their day, and so left them
in idleness, and fed them at their own tables. Every negro who came
within our lines--and there were hundreds of them--was enrolled on
the quartermaster's books, clothed, fed, and paid wages, the price of
his clothing being deducted. The men worked well. They were proud of
being paid like white men.

Later in the season, Sherman sent out successful expeditions into the
enemy's territory. One to Ponchitoula destroyed a quantity of rebel
government stores; another, across Lake Pontchartrain, captured a
valuable steamer. Sherman employed an admirable spy, the best in the
Department. As a rule, both Butler's and Banks's spies were a poor
lot, constantly getting up cock-and-bull stories to magnify their
own importance, and thus misled their employers. Sherman's spy was a
woman. Her information always turned out to be reliable, and, what
is perhaps a little remarkable, was never exaggerated.

Butler had now left the Department, and Banks was in command. About
this time Holly Springs was occupied by Van Dorn, and our dépôts
burned, Grant falling back. The attack upon Vicksburg, too, from
the Yazoo River had failed. Banks's spies exaggerated these checks
greatly, and reported that the enemy was in full march upon New
Orleans. There was something of a stampede among us. A new command
was created, called the "Defenses of New Orleans," and given to
Sherman. In a fortnight the face of these defenses was vastly
changed. When he took command, the city was undefended to the east
and south. In a few days the rebel works were rebuilt, guns mounted,
light batteries stationed near the works, each supported by a
regiment of infantry. New Orleans, with our gun-boats holding the
river and lake, was impregnable.

No commanding officer in our army was more thorough in his work than
Sherman. I remember an instance of this in an exchange of prisoners
which took place under his orders. The arrangements were admirable.
We were notified that a schooner with United States soldiers on board
lay at Lakeport, on Lake Pontchartrain. Within an hour of receiving
the report I was on my way to effect the exchange. I was accompanied
by our quartermaster, to insure prompt transportation to New Orleans;
by our commissary, to see that the men were fed, for our prisoners
were always brought in with very insufficient supplies, the rebel
officers assuring us that they had not food to give them; and by our
surgeon, to give immediate medical assistance to those requiring it.
Sherman told me to give the rebel officers in charge a breakfast
or dinner, and offered to pay his share. We reached Lakeport about
sunset. I went on board at once, and made arrangements for the
exchange at six o'clock in the morning. I inquired of the men if
they had had any thing to eat. "Nothing since morning." The officer
in charge explained that they had been delayed by head-winds; but
they were always delayed by head-winds. We sent food on board that
night. At six in the morning the schooner was warped along-side of
the pier. A train was run down, a line of sentries posted across the
pier, and no stranger permitted to approach. The roll was called,
and as each man answered to his name, he stepped ashore and entered
the train. Meantime I had ordered down a breakfast from the famous
French restaurant at Lakeport; and while the necessary arrangements
were being completed by the quartermaster, we gave the Confederate
officers a breakfast. It was easy to see, from the manner in which
they attacked it, that they did not fare so sumptuously every day.
Colonel Szymanski, who commanded, an intelligent and gentlemanly
officer, asked permission to buy the remnants from the restaurant for
lunch and dinner on the return voyage. The train was now ready, the
schooner set sail, and we started for New Orleans. On our arrival,
we bought out a baker's shop and one or two orange-women. It was a
long time since the prisoners had tasted white bread. They formed,
and marched to the barracks. Before noon that day they were in
comfortable quarters, and seated at a bountiful dinner, prepared
in advance for them. This was Sherman's organization. I had an
opportunity to contrast it, not long after, with an exchange effected
under direct orders from head-quarters. The contrast was not in
Banks's favor.

On this occasion I had gone down as a spectator, and to see if I
could be of use. I was going on board the cartel, when I was stopped
by a lady who asked me to take a young girl on board to see her
brother. Of course I was compelled to refuse. She then asked if I
would not tell her brother that she was on the end of the pier, that
they might at least see each other. This I promised to do. On board
I found a number of sailors, part of the crew of the _Mississippi_,
which had been recently lost at Port Hudson. As usual, they had had
nothing to eat since the previous evening.

Before leaving the vessel, I inquired for Lieutenant Adams. They told
me that he was in "that boat," pointing to one, having pulled ashore,
hoping to see his sister. As I approached the shore I met his boat
returning; I stopped it, and asked him if he had seen his sister. He
had not. I told him to get in with me, and I would take him to her.
He did so, and I pulled to within a few yards of the spot where she
was standing. Scarcely a word passed between them, for both were
sobbing. We remained there about three minutes, and then pulled back.
We were all touched, officers and men, by this little display of the
home affections in the midst of war. I think it did us all good.

General Banks was not pleased when he heard of this incident. Perhaps
it was reported to him incorrectly. But Sherman thought that I had
done right. I always found that our regular officers were more
anxious to soften the rigors of war, and to avoid all unnecessary
severity, than our volunteers. On our march through Louisiana under
Franklin, a strong provost guard preceded the column, whose duty it
was to protect persons and property from stragglers till the army
had passed. If planters in the neighborhood applied for a guard,
it was always furnished. On one occasion such a guard was captured
by guerrillas. General Franklin wrote at once to General Taylor,
protesting against the capture of these men as contrary to all the
laws of civilized warfare. Taylor promptly released them, and sent
them back to our lines. General Lee did the same in Virginia.

And so the winter wore through, and the spring came. Banks made a
successful expedition to Alexandria, winning the battle of Irish
Bend. I am the more particular to record this, as his reputation as a
commander rests rather upon his success in retreat than in advance.
And the month of May found us before Port Hudson.

Vicksburg is situated eight hundred miles above New Orleans. In all
this distance there are but five commanding positions, and all these
on the left or east bank of the river. It was very important to the
rebels to fortify a point below the mouth of the Red River, in order
that their boats might bring forward the immense supplies furnished
by Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. They selected Port Hudson, a
miserable little village not far below the Red River, and fortified
it strongly. Sherman had seen the importance of attacking this place
when the works were commenced, but Butler told him, very truly, that
he had not troops enough in the Department to justify the attempt.

I think that it was the 24th of May when we closed in upon Port
Hudson. Sherman's command held the left. He had a front of three
miles, entirely too much for one division. The country was a _terra
incognita_ to us, and we had to feel our way. Of course there was
much reconnoitring to be done--exciting and interesting work--but
not particularly safe or comfortable. Sherman did much of this
himself. He had a pleasant way of riding up in full sight of the
enemy's batteries, accompanied by his staff. Here he held us while
he criticised the manner in which the enemy got his guns ready to
open on us. Presently a shell would whiz over our heads, followed by
another somewhat nearer. Sherman would then quietly remark, "They
are getting the range now: you had better scatter." As a rule we did
not wait for a second order.

I remember his sending out a party one day to reconnoitre to our
extreme left, and connect with the fleet, which lay below Port
Hudson. We knew it was somewhere there; but how far off it lay, or
what was the character of the country between us, we did not know. A
company of cavalry reconnoitring in the morning had been driven in.
Sherman determined to make a reconnoissance in force. He sent out the
cavalry again, and supported it with a regiment of infantry. I asked
permission to accompany them. He gave it, and added, "By-the-way,
captain, when you are over there, just ride up and draw their fire,
and see where their guns are. They won't hit you." I rode up and
drew their fire, and they did not hit me; but I don't recommend the
experiment to any of my friends.

This reconnoissance was successful. We passed through a thickly
wooded country, intersected by small streams, for about two miles,
when we emerged upon the open in full view of the works of Port
Hudson. This we had to cross, exposed to their fire. We thus gained
the road, running along the top of the bluff; and, following this,
we came in view of the fleet. Our arrival produced a sensation. They
had been looking out for us for two or three days. The men swarmed
up the rigging and on to the yards. Fifty telescopes were leveled
at us; and as we galloped down the bluff and along the levee to the
ships, cheer after cheer went up from the fleet. We went on board
the nearest gun-boat, and got some bread-and-cheese and Bass--which
tasted remarkably good, by-the-way. I staid but a little while, for I
was anxious about my men. On our homeward march the enemy opened on
us, and we lost two or three men. I felt saddened at the loss of any
men while in some measure under my command, and reported this loss
first to the general. I was much comforted when he replied, "Lose
men! of course you lost men. Reconnoissances in force always lose

A few weeks previous to my visit to the fleet, Farragut had attempted
to run by Port Hudson, with a view to communicate with Porter at
Vicksburg, but more especially to blockade the mouth of the Red
River. This, though the least known of his great exploits, was
probably the most perilous and the least successful. But two vessels
passed the batteries--his own, the old _Hartford_, as a matter of
course, and the gun-boat that was lashed to her. Several were driven
back disabled, and that fine ship, the _Mississippi_, got aground and
was lost. The _Hartford_ and her consort, however, did good service,
preventing all rebel vessels from showing themselves upon the river
between Port Hudson and Vicksburg.

While on board the gun-boat, I remarked to her captain that I was
surprised that General Banks did not make his assault upon our left,
where we could have the aid of the fleet, instead of on the right, as
he evidently proposed to do. The remark was repeated to Farragut, who
mentioned it to Banks. A day or two after the failure of our assault
of the 27th of May, I was surprised by a summons to head-quarters,
and still more surprised when I was asked what was my plan for
taking Port Hudson. My plan was simply to utilize our powerful fleet
instead of ignoring it. Sherman, who, after his recovery from his
wound received a few days later, visited the place after its fall,
and carefully examined the ground, told me that the assault should
undoubtedly have been made on our left, not only on account of the
fleet, but on account of the character of the ground. We afterward
erected batteries here within a very short distance of the enemy's,
and commanding them; and we dug up to their very citadel. Had another
assault been ordered, as it seemed at one time probable, it would
have been made here, and would probably have been a repetition, on
a small scale, of the affair of the Malakoff. There was another
advantage on this flank. Had we effected a lodgment even with a small
force, we could have maintained our position in the angle between
the parapet and the river until re-enforcements reached us. At the
points selected for the assault of the 27th of May--had we succeeded
in getting in--we should have found ourselves exposed to attacks in
front and on both flanks, and should probably have been driven out

The siege of Port Hudson was tedious and bloody. Banks ordered an
assault. It was made, and resulted in a miserable repulse. He was
asked why assault when the place must inevitably be starved out in a
few weeks. He replied, "The people of the North demand blood, sir."
Sherman led the assault in person, at the head of the Sixth Michigan
regiment; Bailey headed the negroes, with plank and other materials
to fill up the fosse. I had heard before of negroes turning white
from fright, and did not believe it; but it is literally true. The
men advanced within a few yards of the works, but could effect no
lodgment. There never was a more useless waste of life. Sherman lost
his leg, and his horse was killed under him; one staff officer and
his horse were killed; an orderly was killed; another staff officer
was wounded, and his horse killed; and another orderly had his horse
killed. This is a pretty bloody ten minutes' work for a general and
his staff.

The staff officer who was wounded was Badeau, our consul-general at
London, and author of that model military history, the first volume
of the "Life of Grant."

Fortunately, probably, for me, I had been sent with orders to
Sherman's other brigade, to support the attack by an assault on the
left. It was hot enough where I was. The shells shrieked over my
head, and a round shot rolled playfully between my horse's legs. But
it was nothing like the "hell of fire" to which Sherman was exposed.

Sherman having been sent to New Orleans, to hospital, General William
Dwight took command of the division. After a while another assault
was made: it was as fruitless as the first. But the enemy was now
getting short of provisions. They lived mostly on Indian corn. Many
deserters came to us, mostly Louisianians, for the "Wrackensackers"
(Arkansas men) and the Texans rarely deserted. These made up the
garrison. They reported great want in the place; and, what was far
better proof--for it will not do to trust implicitly to deserters'
stories--their gums showed the want of proper food. The end was
approaching. On the 4th of July Vicksburg surrendered. Our outposts
communicated this intelligence to the rebel outposts, and chaffed
them about it. The news was reported to Gardiner. He sent a flag to
Banks to inquire if it were true. Banks replied that it was, and Port
Hudson surrendered.

It was curious to observe the sort of _entente cordiale_ which the
soldiers on both sides established during the siege. When they were
tired of trying to pick each other off through the loop-holes, one
of them would tie a white handkerchief to his bayonet, and wave it
above the parapet. Pretty soon a handkerchief, or its equivalent--for
the rebs did not indulge in useless luxuries--would be seen waving
on the other side. This meant truce. In a moment the men would swarm
out on both sides, sitting with their legs dangling over the parapet,
chaffing each other, and sometimes with pretty rough wit. They were
as safe as if a regular flag were out. No man dared to violate this
tacit truce. If he had done so, his own comrades would have dealt
roughly with him. After a while, on one side or the other, some one
would cry out, "Get under cover now, Johnnie," or "Look out now,
Yank; we are going to fire," and the fire would recommence.

Active military operations were now suspended, and I obtained
leave of absence. But it was revoked; for General William B.
Franklin had arrived in the Department, and I was assigned to
his staff. I naturally felt disappointed at losing my leave, but
I was subsequently glad that it had so happened; for it led to
my promotion, and to the establishment of friendly and pleasant
relations which have survived the war.


  Major-general Franklin.--Sabine Pass.--Collision at Sea.--March
  through Louisiana.--Rebel Correspondence.--"The Gypsy's Wassail."
  --Rebel Women.--Rebel Poetry.--A Skirmish.--Salt Island.--Winter
  Climate.--Banks's Capua.--Major Joseph Bailey.

Early in the fall of 1863, Major-general Franklin was put in command
of the military part of an expedition which had been planned against
Sabine Pass, on the coast of Texas. The arrangement was for the navy
to enter the port at night, get in the rear of the work, and capture
it; whereupon the troops were to land, garrison the place, and hold
it as a base for future operations in Texas. The plan failed. The
expected signals were not displayed. The gun-boats made the attempt
in broad daylight, got aground in the shallow and winding channel,
and were captured. Many of the sailors jumped overboard, swam ashore,
ran down through the marsh, and were picked up by our boats. The plan
had failed, and there was nothing for the troops to do but to return.

That night we had a collision between one of our large sea-going
steamers and our light river boat used for head-quarters. Our
side was apparently smashed in. A panic seized the crew; captain,
pilot, engineer, hands, all rushed for the steamer. Most of our
head-quarters company and officers followed the example. I was
reading in the cabin when the collision occurred. The crash and the
cries attracted my attention. I went upon deck, and tried for a
moment to restore order, but in vain. The soldiers on the steamer
shouted, "Come on board! come on board! You're sinking! there's a
great hole in your side!" The waves dashed our little boat against
the sides of the steamer, and the light plank of the wheel-house
was grinding and crashing. I can easily understand how contagious
is a panic. It was with a great effort I could restrain myself from
following the example set me. I knew, however, that my place was
with the general, and I went in search of him. I found him on the
hurricane-deck, seated on the sky-light, quietly smoking his cigar.
I said, "General, are you not going to leave her?" "I don't believe
she'll sink," he replied. "But she is an abandoned ship, sir; every
one has left her." "Have they? are you sure?" "I'll make sure," I
replied; and, going to the wheel-house, found it deserted. Then I
looked into the engine-room--I remember the engine looked so grim
and stiff in its solitude. Franklin then consented to go. We found a
quiet place aft where there was no confusion; and as the waves tossed
up our light vessel to a level with the steamer, he sprung upon her
deck. As soon as he had jumped, I attempted to follow, but the vessel
was not tossed high enough. So I watched my chance, and plunged
head foremost into a port-hole, where friendly hands caught me, and
prevented my falling on the deck.

But our little steamer would not sink. Franklin at once ordered out
the boats, secured the captain and crew, and returned on board. We
found that the outer shell of the boat was crushed in, and that she
was leaking badly; but the inner ceiling was unhurt. We easily kept
her free with the pumps until we had repaired damages. I do not think
that the general ever quite forgave me for persuading him to leave

As we had failed by sea, we next tried the land, and with better
success. We marched to Opelousas, driving the rebels before us. A
pleasant incident happened on this march, one of those trifles which
soften the horrors of war. I had known at New Orleans a charming
rebel creole whose husband was a general in the Confederate army. I
had had an opportunity to render the family some trifling service.
One day we intercepted a courier bearing a letter from General
---- to General Miles, commanding the district. He wrote that he
had fallen upon the rear of our column and picked up a number of
stragglers, and that he should send them next day to head-quarters.
Of course we laid our plans, captured the escort, and recaptured
our own men. With the general's assent, I sent the letter to the
lady in question, with a line to the effect that she probably had
not seen her husband's handwriting for some time, and might be
gratified to learn from the inclosed letter that he was well. She
would regret to learn, however, that our men had been retaken and
the escort captured; that I should spare no pains to capture the
general himself, and send him to his wife; and that if he knew what
fate was in store for him, I was sure that he would make but a feeble
resistance. She replied in the same spirit, that with such generous
enemies war lost half its terrors.

Under Franklin nothing was left undone that could properly be done
to soften the rigors of war to non-combatants. Often have his staff
officers spent weary hours over intercepted correspondence. It was
our duty to examine the correspondence in search of intelligence
that might be useful to us; but it was no part of our duty carefully
to reseal those letters which were purely on domestic or personal
matters, re-inclose the hundred odd little souvenirs they contained,
and send them under a flag to the rebel lines. And yet we did this
repeatedly. I wonder if the rebels ever did as much for us anywhere
in the Confederacy!

Speaking of intercepted letters, I remember that at New Orleans we
once seized a bag as it was about to cross the lake. Among other
letters, it contained one from a young lady to her brother-in-law
in Mobile. I have rarely seen a cleverer production. She gave an
account, with great glee, of a trick she had played upon a Boston
newspaper, perhaps the "Respectable Daily." She wrote that she had
sent them a poem called "The Gypsy's Wassail," the original in
Sanscrit, the translation of course in English, and all that was
patriotic and loyal. "Now, the Sanscrit," she wrote, "was English
written backward, and read as follows:

      "'God bless our brave Confederates, Lord!
      Lee, Johnson, Smith, and Beauregard!
      Help Jackson, Smith, and Johnson Joe,
      To give them fits in Dixie, oh!'"

The Boston newspaper fell into the trap, and published this
"beautiful and patriotic poem, by our talented contributor." But in a
few days some sharp fellow found out the trick and exposed it.

The letter was signed "Anna" simply, and no clue to the author was
given. Anna thought that she was safe. She forgot that in the same
bag was a letter from her sister to her husband, with signature and
address, in which she said, "Anna writes you one of her amusing
letters." So I had discovered who Miss Anna was, and wrote her
accordingly. I told her that her letter had fallen into the hands of
one of those "Yankee" officers whom she saw fit to abuse, and who
was so pleased with its wit that he should take great pleasure in
forwarding it to its destination; that in return he had only to ask
that when the author of "The Gypsy's Wassail" favored the expectant
world with another poem, he might be honored with an early copy. Anna
must have been rather surprised.

As may be supposed, there were constant trials of wit between the
rebels and ourselves, in which we sometimes came off second best.
But they had their women to help them, which gave them an immense
advantage, for in such matters one woman is worth a "wilderness" of
men. I recollect one day we sent a steamboat full of rebel officers,
exchanged prisoners, into the Confederacy. They were generally
accompanied by their wives and children. Our officers noticed the
most extraordinary number of dolls on board--every child had a
doll--but they had no suspicions. A lady told me afterward that every
doll was filled with quinine. The sawdust was taken out and quinine
substituted. Depend upon it that female wit devised that trick.

They attacked us in poetry too, generally written by young ladies,
and some of it decidedly clever. Strong, Butler's adjutant-general,
had stopped the service in one of the Episcopal churches, because the
clergyman prayed for Jeff Davis instead of for the "President of the
United States." This furnished a theme for some bitter stanzas. Banks
had sent a light battery to drive among a crowd of women and children
collected on the levee to see their friends off, and disperse them.
This furnished a fruitful theme for the rebel muse.

To return to our Opelousas campaign.

We followed the course of the Teche for several days through a lovely
country, the "Garden of Louisiana," and it deserves its name. The
names in this part of the country are French. I remember we had a
skirmish at a place called "Carrion-crow Bayou." It struck me as an
odd name to give to a stream. I made inquiries, and found that a
Frenchman had settled upon its banks, named Carran Cro.

Our march to Opelousas was without striking incident. The
Confederates once or twice came into position, as if to dispute our
progress, but they always gave way. Our return, however, was more
eventful. The rebels attacked an outlying brigade, and caught it
napping. It occupied a strong position, and could easily have beaten
cavalry off, the only force by which it was attacked. Two regiments,
however, were seized with a panic, and surrendered without firing
a shot. The alarm was given to the main body, and re-enforcements
quickly arrived, and drove off the rebels; but they carried off
many prisoners. Not long afterward we turned the tables upon them.
They encamped a regiment of Texas cavalry at a beautiful spot near
Iberville, called "Camp Pratt." Franklin organized an attack upon
them. One night he sent our cavalry to make a wide détour upon the
prairie and get into their rear. Then he attacked them in front
with infantry. They mounted and fled in disorder, and fell, nearly
to a man, into the hands of our cavalry. It was a well-organized
and well-conducted expedition, and reflected credit upon Lee, who
commanded the cavalry, and upon Cameron, who commanded the infantry.
Tradition says that Dick Taylor, who commanded in that part of
Louisiana, swore "like our army in Flanders" when he heard of it.

There is a very curious salt island near Iberville, well worth a
visit, in a scientific point of view. Franklin wanted very much
to explore it, but he did not wish to take an army as an escort,
and he said it would be too absurd if he were captured on such an
expedition. It would not have been quite so absurd for me, however;
so I went, accompanied by Colonel Professor Owen, of the Indiana
University, and volunteers, and with our head-quarters cavalry
company as an escort. The island lies in the Gulf, and is perhaps
half a mile in diameter. In the centre is a hollow about a hundred
yards across, which has all the appearance of an extinct crater.
Here, a few inches below the surface, lies the salt, in an almost
perfect state of purity. For years our Southern brethren, who do not
shine as inventors, sunk wells, pumped up the water, evaporated it,
and so made their salt. At last it occurred to some one more clever
than his neighbors, "Why not blast out the salt itself?" And so it
was done. It seems scarcely possible, and yet I was credibly assured
that so scarce was salt in the Confederacy, that wagons came all the
way from Charleston, were loaded with salt, and returned to that
city. It must have been a journey of months.

We wintered at Franklin, preparing for a spring campaign to the Red
River. The climate of Louisiana is delicious in winter. I have tried
both the South of France and Italy, but know no climate equal to that
of Louisiana. The summer, _en revanche_, is intensely hot, and lasts
from May to October, the thermometer ranging from 86° at night to 96°
in the day-time. Yet the heat is not stifling. You feel no particular
inconvenience from it at the time; but two seasons affect the nervous
system seriously, and a white man must from time to time get the
Northern or the sea-air. Happily the sea-coast is of easy access from
New Orleans.

But while our command was under canvas, and preparing for the
approaching campaign, the cavalry was being mounted and drilled
amidst the allurements of a large city. Why Banks did not send it to
Thibodeaux, or to some other post where the prairie gave admirable
opportunities for cavalry exercise, is a question which was often
asked, but to which no satisfactory answer has ever been given.
Farragut said that he feared that New Orleans would prove Banks's
Capua. One of the consequences, as regards the cavalry, was, that
they started upon the campaign with "impedimenta" enough for an
army. Crossing a ford one day, Franklin spied a country cart drawn
by a mule, containing bedding, trunks, and a negro woman. He sent
the corps inspector to see to whom it belonged. It turned out to be
the property of a sergeant of a cavalry regiment. Needless to say
that the cart went no farther. After the rebels had captured their
Champagne, sardines, and potted anchovies, at Sabine Cross Roads,
they became excellent cavalry.

And now, fortunately for the navy, Bailey joined our staff. He had
done such good work at Port Hudson--built half our works, got out a
steamboat that lay high and dry in the mud, etc., etc.--that Banks
had promoted him to be colonel of the regiment, over the head of
the lieutenant-colonel. Banks had no right to do this. In so doing,
he had usurped the prerogative of the Governor of Wisconsin; and the
governor, as might be expected, resented it. Of course the governor
was sustained by the War Department. Bailey was, naturally enough,
annoyed and mortified, and wrote to me that he should leave the
service; indeed, he supposed that he was already out of it, for he
had been mustered out as major when he was mustered in as colonel;
and now he had been mustered out as colonel. I wrote to him not to go
off at half-cock, to write to the governor and ask in what capacity
he recognized him, and then to the adjutant-general and ask the same
question. He was answered by the governor that he recognized him as
lieutenant-colonel, and by the Government that they recognized him
still as major. He then wrote me that he would gladly remain in the
service if I could get him on Franklin's staff, but that, under the
circumstances, he could not return to his regiment. I spoke to the
general upon the subject, and mentioned all that he had done under
Sherman at Port Hudson and elsewhere. The general applied for him;
he was ordered to report to us, and was announced as "Military
Engineer of the Nineteenth Army Corps." Thus it happened that Bailey
was with us when his regiment was not, and the fleet on the Red River
consequently saved from destruction or capture.


  Mistakes.--Affair at Mansfield.--Peach Hill.--Freaks of the
  Imagination.--After Peach Hill.--General William Dwight.--Retreat to
  Pleasant Hill.--Pleasant Hill.--General Dick Taylor.--Taylor and
  the King of Denmark.--An Incident.

I think it was on the 20th of March that we left for the Red River.
We marched the whole distance, arriving at Natchitoches about the
3d of April. From Alexandria to Natchitoches we followed the Red
River. Here began our mistakes. Banks arrived from New Orleans, and
ordered us to take the inland road to Shreveport. Franklin suggested
the river road, where the army and the fleet could render mutual
support. Banks said no; that the other was the shorter route. It
was the shorter in distance, but for the greater part of the way
it was a narrow wood road, unfitted for the march of troops and
the movement of artillery and wagons. We marched two or three days
without interruption. Lee, who commanded the cavalry in advance, had
often applied for a brigade of infantry to support him. Franklin
had always declined to separate his infantry, answering that if Lee
found the enemy too strong for him, to fall back, and we would come
up with the whole infantry force and disperse them. On the evening
of the 6th of April, I think it was, Banks came up at Pleasant Hill,
and assumed command. The next day we were beaten; for that evening
Lee again applied for his infantry, and got them. Franklin sent in a
written remonstrance against the danger of separating the infantry,
and having it beaten in detail. He was disregarded; and we marched to
certain defeat.

The battle of Sabine Forks--Mansfield, the rebels call it; and as
they won it, they have a right to name it--scarcely rises to the
dignity of a battle. We had our cavalry and one brigade of infantry
only engaged. We lost heavily, however, in guns and wagons, for the
wagon-train of the cavalry followed close upon its heels, and blocked
up the narrow road, so that the guns could not be got off. When
Franklin heard from Banks that the cavalry and infantry brigade were
seriously engaged, and that he must send re-enforcements, he at once
ordered Emory up with the First Division of the Nineteenth Corps, and
then rode forward himself to the scene of action. Here he lost his
horse and was wounded in the leg, while one of our staff officers
was killed. When our cavalry and brigade were finally defeated, the
rebels advanced upon us. It was a striking and beautiful sight to
see a column of their best infantry--the "Crescent City Regiment," I
think it was--marching steadily down the road upon us, while their
skirmishers swarmed through the woods and cotton fields. The column
offered so beautiful a mark for a shell or two, that the general rode
up to a retreating gun, and tried hard to get it into position, but
the stampede was too general, and we had to look to our own safety.
When he found how things were likely to turn out, Franklin had sent
an aid-de-camp to Emory with orders to select a good position, come
into line, and check the advancing enemy. Meantime, we retreated,
abandoning the road--it was too blocked up--and taking to the woods
and across the cotton fields, not knowing our whereabouts, or
whether we should land in the rebel lines or in our own. At length
we caught sight of Emory's red division flag, and a joyful sight it
was. We soon reached it, and found that "Bold Emory" had chosen
an excellent position on the summit of a gentle eminence, called
Peach Hill, and had already got his men into line. His division had
behaved admirably. In face of cavalry and infantry retreating in
disorder--and every officer knows how contagious is a panic--the
First Division of the Nineteenth Army Corps steadily advanced, not a
man falling out, fell into line, and quietly awaited the enemy. They
did not keep us waiting long. In less than half an hour after we had
joined the division, they appeared, marching steadily to the attack.
But they were received with a fusillade they had not counted upon,
and retreated in confusion. Again they attempted an attack on our
right, but with no better success. They were definitively repulsed.

In this skirmish Franklin had another horse killed under him, shot in
the shoulder, for the enemy's fire was very sharp for a few minutes.
I offered him my horse, but he refused it. The captain of our
head-quarters cavalry company offered him his, and he accepted it.
The captain dismounted a private.

I saw here a striking instance of the effect produced by the
imagination when exalted by the excitement of battle. A staff officer
by my side dropped his bridle, threw up his arms, and said, "I am
hit." I helped him from his horse. He said, "My boot is full of
blood." We sent him to the ambulance. I said to myself, "Good-bye to
---- I shall go to his funeral to-morrow." Next day he appeared at
head-quarters as well as ever. He had been struck by a spent ball.
It had broken the skin and drawn a few drops of blood, but inflicted
no serious injury. At Port Hudson I saw the same effect produced
by a spent ball. A man came limping off the field supported by two
others. He said his leg was broken. The surgeon was rather surprised
to find no hole in his stocking. Cutting it off, however, he found
a black-and-blue mark on the leg--nothing more. The chaplain was
reading to him, and the man was pale as death. I comforted him by
telling him to send the stocking to his sweetheart as a trophy.

As we lay on our arms that night at Peach Hill without fire, for we
were permitted to light none, lest we should reveal our small numbers
to the enemy, we could hear distinctly the yells of the rebels as
they found a fresh "cache" of the good things of the cavalry. It was
very aggravating. They got our head-quarters ambulance too, but there
was precious little in it. Expecting to bivouac, we had thrown a few
things hastily into it. All they got of mine was a tooth-brush. I
comforted myself with the reflection that they would not know what
use to put it to.

Banks now sent for Franklin, and communicated to him his intention
to remain on the battle-field all night, and renew the fight in
the morning. Franklin represented that we had six thousand men at
most, and the rebels thirteen thousand. Banks replied that A. J.
Smith would be up. (Smith was thirteen miles in the rear, with eight
thousand men.) "But how is he to get up, sir? The road is blocked up
with the retreating troops and wagons, and is but a path, after all.
He can't get up." "Oh! he'll be up--he'll be up;" and the interview
ended. On his return to head-quarters, partly under a tree and partly
on a rail fence, Franklin told me what had happened.

General William Dwight, of Boston, commanded the First Brigade of
Emory's division. I knew Dwight well, for he had succeeded Sherman in
command of our division at Port Hudson. I had recommended him highly
to Franklin, when he was offered his choice of two or three generals
for commands in the Nineteenth Corps, as an officer who could be
thoroughly relied upon in an emergency. Dwight had said to me,
"Major, if Franklin ever wants Banks to do any thing, and he won't
do it, do you come to me." I thought that the time had arrived to go
to him; so I found my way through the darkness. "Well, general, we've
got to stay here all night, and fight it out to-morrow." Dwight, who
is quick as a flash, and whose own soldierly instinct told him what
ought to be done, said at once, "Does Franklin think Banks ought to
fall back upon A. J. Smith?" "Yes, he does." "Then I'll be d--d if
he sha'n't do it. Wait here a minute." Dwight disappeared in the
darkness. In ten minutes he returned and said, "It's all right; the
order is given."

That night we fell back upon Pleasant Hill, Dwight bringing up the
rear with his brigade. Franklin asked him if he could hold his
position till half-past ten. "Till morning," he replied, "if you say

At Pleasant Hill we found General Smith with his "gorillas," as they
were profanely called. Smith's command boasted that they had been in
many a fight, and had never been defeated. I believe it was a true
boast. It was partly luck, partly their own courage, and partly the
skill with which they were handled. They were a rough lot, but good
soldiers. I have seen them straggling along, one with a chicken hung
to his bayonet, another with a pig on his back: turkeys, ducks, any
thing of the kind came handy to them. The alarm sounded, and in an
instant every man was in the ranks, silent, watchful, orderly, the
very models of good soldiers.

The battle which now ensued at Pleasant Hill formed no exception
to the rule which Smith's corps had established. The rebels, too,
had been re-enforced, and attacked us in the afternoon with great
spirit. But they soon found the difference between an affair with
a single brigade of infantry, and one with three divisions fully
prepared and admirably handled; for Franklin and Smith had made all
the dispositions. They drove in the left of our first line, where
we had a Five Points New York regiment (rowdies, by-the-way, always
make the poorest troops); but they could make no impression on the
second line, composed of Smith's "gorillas," and were beaten off with
considerable loss.

General Dick Taylor, son of the President, commanded the rebel army
in these engagements, and received much credit, and deservedly, for
the manner in which he had defeated us at Mansfield. It was reported
that General Smith, who commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department
of the Confederacy, found fault with Taylor for attacking us, as
he had intended to draw us on to Shreveport, and there, with the
help of Magruder from Texas, and Price from Arkansas, overwhelm us
disastrously. Perhaps it was as well that we had it out at Mansfield.
As regards the affair at Pleasant Hill, it was a mistake of the
rebels. They were not strong enough to attack us in position. Taylor
has since said that the attack was against his better judgment, but
that the officers who had come up the night before wanted their share
of glory. Perhaps, too, they had tasted the cavalry Champagne, and
liked the brand. They might not have been quite so eager for the fray
had they known what force they had to deal with at Mansfield, and
what lay before them at Pleasant Hill.

The writer has since met General Taylor in London, and a most
agreeable companion he is. He is a great favorite in court circles,
largely for his own merits, but partly as "Prince Dick." In
monarchical countries they can not divest themselves of the idea that
our presidents are monarchs, and their children princes. "Prince
John," "Prince Dick," "Prince Fred," all received quasi-royal honors.
At Constantinople, when Fred Grant was with Sherman, a lieutenant
on his staff, it was to Grant that the Sultan addressed his remarks.
Grant tried to stop it, but could not.

They tell an amusing story of Dick Taylor in London. Taylor plays
a good game of whist. The King of Denmark was on a visit to his
daughter, and she sent for Taylor to make up a game with her father.
Taylor won largely, and laughingly said to the king, "Your majesty
can not find fault; I am only getting back those 'Sound Dues' my
country paid Denmark for so many years."

Banks now wanted to continue his onward march to Shreveport, but A.
J. Smith opposed it. He said that he belonged to Sherman's command,
and had been lent to Banks for a season only; that he was under
orders to return to Sherman by a certain day; that much time had been
lost; and that if he undertook the march to Shreveport, he could not
return by the date appointed. Our supplies, too, were rather short,
the cavalry having lost their wagon-train. We fell back, therefore,
upon Grand Ecore, where we rejoined the fleet. And here a curious
incident occurred. An officer in high position came to Franklin and
said that the army was in a very critical situation; that it required
generalship to extricate it; that under Banks it would probably
be captured or destroyed; and proposed to put Banks on board of a
steamer, and send him to New Orleans, and that Franklin should take
command. "And my men, general," he said, "will stand by you to the
last man." Of course Franklin treated it as a joke, and laughed it
off. But there can be no doubt that the officer was in earnest.

General Banks did not command the confidence of his troops,
especially of the Western men. They generally spoke of him as "_Mr._
Banks." It was a great pity that his undoubted talent could not have
been utilized in the civil service. As it turned out, he was perhaps
the most striking instance in our service of the grave, almost fatal,
mistake we made at the beginning of the war. He had been a good
Speaker, so we made him a major-general; he had roused a certain
interest in Massachusetts in her militia, so we gave him command of
armies, and sent him out to meet trained soldiers like Stonewall
Jackson and Dick Taylor. The result was a foregone conclusion.


  Low Water.--The Fleet in Danger.--We fall back upon Alexandria.
  --Things look Gloomy.--Bailey builds a Dam in ten Days.--Saves
  the Fleet.--A Skirmish.--Smith defeats Polignac.--Unpopularity
  of Foreign Officers.--A Novel Bridge.--Leave of Absence.--A
  Year in Virginia.--Am ordered again to New Orleans.

The Red River had now fallen very low. The gun-boats had great
difficulty in descending the stream. One chilly evening, as we stood
round the head-quarters camp-fire, word was brought us that one of
Porter's best iron-clads was fast aground in the stream, and that
they had tried in vain to get her off. I turned laughingly to Bailey,
and said, "Bailey, can't you build a dam and get her off?" alluding
to what he had done at Port Hudson. Bailey followed me to my tent
and said, "Seriously, major, I think I _could_ get that ship off,
and I should like to try." I went immediately to the general, and
got a letter from him to Porter, and sent Bailey to the grounded
ship. She was built in compartments. He found them breaking in the
partitions. He remonstrated, and said, "Pump out one compartment,
then shut it hermetically, and the confined air will help to buoy up
the ship." The navy men, naturally enough, resented the interference
of an outsider. Bailey gave Porter Franklin's letter. Porter said,
"Well, major, if you can dam better than I can, you must be a good
hand at it, for I have been d--g all night." Bailey had not met with
a very encouraging reception. He was one of those serious men, who,
as Sydney Smith said, require a surgical operation to get a joke into
their heads. He returned to camp, and reported to me that Porter had
insulted him. "What did he say, Bailey?" He told me; whereupon I
explained to him the joke, and he was perfectly satisfied. "Oh, if
that's what he meant, it's all right!" The ship was not got off. She
was blown up and abandoned.

From Grand Ecore we fell back upon Alexandria. Franklin was put in
command of the movement, and Bailey selected our line of march. We
started at dark, and marched all night. But the Confederates were
on the watch. They threatened our rear, and compelled us to halt,
and deploy, while they hurried a strong force to take position at
Kane's Ferry. Here we had a sharp skirmish. The position is a
very strong one, the stream not being fordable at the Ferry. We
crossed two brigades higher up. Moving slowly through the woods,
for there were no roads, they struck the rebels on the left flank,
and dislodged them. The fight was very sharp for a time. Colonel
Fessenden, afterward brigadier-general, commanding a Maine regiment,
and gallantly leading it, lost a leg in this affair.

But a severer trial awaited the fleet. About a mile above Alexandria
the river shoots over a rapid, the Falls of Alexandria. On this shoal
there was about five feet of water, and the river was falling. The
boats drew from seven to nine feet. The floods come down with great
rapidity in the Red River. One night's rain would have given the
ships plenty of water. Twenty-four hours' hard rain raises it twenty
feet. But the rain would not come. Things looked gloomy enough for
the fleet. Bailey came to me and said that he could build a dam in
ten days, and get those ships out. The river was six hundred and
sixty-six feet wide at the Falls. Franklin sent me to Porter with
the proposition. Porter said that it was not worth while--"It will
rain to-night or to-morrow." To-night and to-morrow came, and it
did not rain, and still the river fell. Again Franklin sent me to
Porter. I found him unwell and despondent. "Tell General Franklin,"
he said, "that if he will build a dam or any thing else, and get me
out of this scrape, I'll be eternally grateful to him." I returned to
Franklin. "Now go to Banks, and get his permission." I found Banks
closeted with General Hunter. It was reported that the Government had
become anxious about our command, and had sent Hunter down to examine
and report upon our condition. I stated what was proposed. Banks
turned to Hunter and said, "What do you think of it, general?" Hunter
replied that he thought it impracticable, "But if Franklin recommends
it, try it; for he is one of the best engineers in the army." Banks
said, "Tell the general to give the necessary orders." The orders
were given. Maine and Wisconsin regiments, principally lumbermen,
were detailed for the work. In ten days the dam was built, the water
rose, and the fleet came over in safety.

The rebels made a great mistake in not interfering with our work. Had
they done so, they might have embarrassed us seriously on the left
bank of the river, opposite Alexandria. But they never fired a shot.
We were told that they laughed at the idea of damming the Red River,
and said that we might as well try to dam the Mississippi. We would
have done this, had it been necessary.

Bailey handled water as a lumberman handles his axe. One of the
gun-boats was aground, hanging by the stern some little way above the
Falls. They tugged at her with all sorts of mechanical contrivances,
but in vain. In two hours Bailey built a little "wing-dam," he called
it, turned the current under the stern of the vessel where she hung,
washed out the sand, and the ship floated off.

Porter told me that if Bailey got his fleet out he would never
rest till he was made a brigadier-general. He kept his word. The
Government promoted him. The naval officers subscribed, and gave him
a sword of honor and a service of plate. He deserved it all.

The fleet saved, we renewed our march to the Mississippi. It was
made without incident, except that Smith defeated the rebels in a
skirmish on the Atchafalaya. He practiced a ruse upon them: concealed
a brigade in the deep dry ditches that intersect the sugar-fields
there, then sent his skirmishers out. The rebs drove them in and
pursued them; when up rose the men in the ditches, poured in a
deadly fire, and took two hundred prisoners. We were not again
troubled by the enemy.

Prince Polignac commanded the rebels upon this occasion. It was
reported that he had come to Louisiana expecting that the Confederacy
would become a monarchy; and it probably would have done so, had the
Rebellion succeeded. I afterward heard that his defeat was not very
disagreeable to his brother officers, for he was not popular with
them. Indeed, very few foreign officers were popular on either side.
Both Union and rebel officers were very much disposed to look upon it
as a family quarrel, and wanted no interference from outsiders.

We crossed the Atchafalaya by a novel bridge constructed of
steamboats. This, too, was Bailey's work. He anchored them side
by side, the bows level with each other, and placed planks across
them. The whole army, with its baggage-wagons and artillery, crossed
safely and rapidly. A steam-whistle sounded, and in ten minutes the
bridge had disappeared, and every boat was under full headway to its

The writer's connection with the Department of the Gulf now ceased
for a year. He obtained leave of absence, and went North. But he
had scarcely arrived there when Early made his daring march upon
Washington. My leave was revoked, and I was ordered to report to
Major-general Gillmore. For a year I remained in Virginia, most of
the time in Norfolk, for Gillmore had been thrown from his horse, and
was unable to take the field in command of the Nineteenth Army Corps,
as had been intended, and I had been assigned to a different duty.
Early in the spring of 1865, on application of Brigadier-general T.
W. Sherman, I was ordered again to New Orleans.


  Visit to Grant's Head-quarters.--His Anecdotes of Army Life.--Banks
  relieved.--Canby in Command.--Bailey at Mobile.--Death of
  Bailey.--Canby as a Civil Governor.--Confiscated Property.--Proposes
  to rebuild Levees.--Is stopped by Sheridan.--Canby appeals.--Is
  sustained, but too late.--Levees destroyed by Floods.--Conflict
  of Jurisdiction.--Action of President Johnson.--Sheridan abolishes
  Canby's Provost Marshal's Department.--Canby asks to be recalled.--Is
  ordered to Washington.--To Galveston.--To Richmond.--To
  Charleston.--Is murdered by the Modocs.--His Character.

Shortly after my arrival at the North, I paid a visit of a few days
to Colonel Badeau at Grant's head-quarters at City Point. Badeau
had been with me on Sherman's staff. I staid at head-quarters in a
tent reserved for guests, and messed with the general and his staff.
Grant has the reputation of being a taciturn man, and he is generally
so. But when seated on a summer's evening under the awning in front
of his tent with his staff, and, perhaps, a few friends about him,
he took his share of the conversation. He was full of anecdote,
especially of army life. He talked very freely, not hesitating to
express his opinions of men and things. Grant contended that no
commanding officer could succeed in the long run, if he were not an
honest and an honorable man. He did not care what were his talents,
he was sure to come to grief, and injure the cause sooner or later.
But Butler took different ground. He held that he could appoint
clever and energetic officers to command, and benefit by their
talents, while he could prevent their dishonesty from injuring the
cause. Grant was undoubtedly right, and Butler wrong.

One evening, as we sat before his tent, Grant observed that he had
that day sent orders to remove a certain general from high command
in the West. I expressed my surprise, and said that I had always
understood, and from army men too, that the officer in question was
one of the best of our volunteer generals. Grant took his cigar from
his mouth, and remarked, in his quiet way, "He's too much mixed up
with cotton."

Politics makes strange bed-fellows. What a pity that President
Grant was unable to carry into his civil appointments the same
admirable principle upon which General Grant acted so inflexibly
and so successfully in his military appointments! The officer whom
he removed from command as "too much mixed up with cotton" he soon
after appointed, under strong party pressure, to high civil office.

On my return to New Orleans, I found that Banks had been relieved,
and Canby now commanded the Department of the Gulf. He was absent,
engaged in the campaign against Mobile, which resulted in the capture
of that city. Here Bailey again distinguished himself. The bay was
strewed with torpedoes. Bailey had no fear of torpedoes. He told me
that he had often navigated the Upper Mississippi when enormous cakes
of ice, swept along by the rapid current, threatened to destroy the
boat, but that it was easy enough by some mechanical contrivance to
avoid them. He thought that torpedoes might be treated in the same
way. He showed his faith by his works. He took the quartermaster's
boats up without accident. The navy followed his lead, and safely.
But the Admiral, changing his mind, ordered some of the boats back.
In backing down, two were blown up and sunk.

But the war was now near its close. Bailey was shortly afterward
mustered out of service, and returned to civil life. He removed from
Wisconsin to Missouri, and settled in one of the border counties.
Here he was elected sheriff. His end was a sad one. With his usual
daring, he attempted to arrest two noted desperadoes, horse-thieves,
single-handed. They murdered him. He had not lived in vain. He had
rendered good service to his country.

To return to Louisiana. The writer was now promoted to General
Canby's staff, and became adjutant-general of the Department. Canby
enjoyed the full confidence of the Government, and most justly.
He had an exceedingly important command, extending from St. Louis
to the Gulf, and from Florida to Texas. We had one hundred and
eighty-seven thousand men upon our rolls. Canby was an excellent
military commander, but his forte lay in civil government. Never
was a Department better governed than was Louisiana in his day. A
kind-hearted, benevolent gentleman, he gave one half of his pay
to the rebel poor. Often have I seen his wife driving about New
Orleans, accompanied by a Sister of Charity, dispensing his bounty. A
clear-headed, just man, he governed that turbulent city with wisdom
and justice, and with unflinching firmness. There were no riots in
his day. More than once we were told that a riot was planned for
the next day. Canby sent for Sherman; that night a battery would be
quietly marched up from Jackson Barracks, and stationed out of sight
in a cotton-press. Very early in the morning a company of cavalry
picketed their horses in Esplanade Street. The quiet citizens saw
nothing unusual, but the would-be rioters of course knew what had
been done, and there was no riot. Canby was relieved; Sherman got
leave of absence; and within a month a riot took place.

General Canby has saved millions of money to the United States. In
these days of barefaced raids upon the Treasury, under color of bogus
Southern claims, Canby's foresight and care are brought out in strong
relief. When the war was ended, he returned all confiscated rebel
property to its owners, but he took from them a release to the United
States for all claim for rent or damage during our occupation. These
men's mouths are now closed. The only exception he made was made
most reluctantly under the orders of Sheridan. That great soldier
does not shine in civil government as he does in the field. When he
arrived in New Orleans, he told General Canby that he came there to
take military command; that as for civil matters he knew nothing
about them, and left them all to Canby. Before a month had passed
an order came that General Canby would please report why he did not
return the Metairie Ridge Race-course to its owners. This course was
owned by gamblers. The gamblers of New Orleans are an institution
and a power in that city. Canby replied with the indorsement,
"Respectfully returned with a copy of the order bearing date (a month
back) returning the Metairie Ridge Racecourse to its owners on the
usual conditions." The order came back, "General Canby will return
the Metairie Ridge Race-course without condition." Canby felt deeply
hurt. His carefully devised and impartially executed plan to protect
the Treasury had been frustrated, and this in favor of a lot of
gamblers. I do not doubt that these men are now before Congress as
"loyal citizens," with their humble petition for reimbursement for
the occupation of the race-course and the destruction of the fences.

Had Canby been permitted to have his own way, the levees in Louisiana
would have been rebuilt in the fall of 1865, millions of money saved
to the United States, and much suffering and vagabondage among the
inhabitants avoided. In 1862 Butler had confiscated the crops on many
abandoned estates. This property, when sold, realized a fund which
was turned over to the successive Department commanders, to be used
for various public purposes. Banks gave a monster concert, with
artillery accompaniments, out of it, and balls, to dance the fair
Creoles into loyalty. Canby proposed to rebuild the levees. In his
day the fund amounted to about eight hundred thousand dollars. He
thought that this money, raised in Louisiana, could with propriety be
expended in repairing the levees in Louisiana. He said expressly that
the rebels had no right to this expenditure--as they had sown, so
must they reap; but that it was in the interest of the United States
and of humanity that he proposed to rebuild the levees. That if this
were done, the people would be occupied, contented, and quiet, they
would be no expense to the Government, and their crops would add to
the general wealth of the country. That if it were not done, the
plantations would be overflowed, the crops ruined, the inhabitants
discontented, the value of the crops lost to the country, and the
United States compelled, as a matter of humanity, to issue rations to
the starving people. In the month of October, 1865, every thing was
ready, the unemployed negroes enrolled, our negro regiments detailed,
and the work about to commence, when it was stopped by an order from
General Sheridan. Of course Sheridan did not do this from any mere
caprice. He had his reasons, and to his mind they were conclusive.
But they were purely technical and narrow. He said that the fund
referred to did not belong to the Department; that it belonged to
the Treasury, or at least to the Quartermaster-general, and could
not be used without his assent. Canby was always most reluctant to
appeal from his superior officer to higher authority, but he thought
that in this instance the interests of his Department, and those of
the United States itself, were too deeply involved for him to accept
Sheridan's decision. He appealed to Washington, and was sustained.
But the Government, instead of ordering him to commence the work at
once, sent out a board of engineers--Barnard at the head--to survey
the levees, and agree upon plans for repairing them. At length all
these most unnecessary formalities were got through with, and Canby
was ordered to proceed with the work. This was promptly done. But
it was now January, instead of October. In February the water rose,
and swept away all that had been done. All the evils predicted by
Canby now came upon the country. And not for that year only, but for
several succeeding years, the Government was compelled to feed a
suffering, discontented, and turbulent population.

Several nice and novel legal questions arose on the termination
of the war in reference to confiscated property. These were
determined by General Canby so wisely and so justly that the
Quartermaster-general not unfrequently sent to him for copies of
his orders as guides for the Department at Washington in its own
decisions. I recollect one question particularly, which brought
him into conflict with the United States District Judge. It will
be remembered that at the close of the war an immense quantity of
cotton was found stored in the by-ways of the Confederacy, especially
far up the Red River. Part of this cotton was undoubtedly liable to
confiscation, but the greater part was not. Treasury agents thronged
all over the South. The character of these men "left much to be
desired," as the Frenchman politely puts it. They were "on the make."
Their object was to prove all cotton liable to confiscation, for
the law gave them a large percentage of the proceeds. The amount of
perjury committed by these men, and by the professional perjurers
whom they employed, was fearful. The effect was demoralizing to the
last degree, and exasperated the inhabitants; while it was the object
of the Government, and the earnest desire of the victorious North,
to pacify the South by dealing not only justly, but generously, by
it. Canby felt this, and with his usual sagacity and foresight made
a proposition to the Secretary of the Treasury, which, if adopted,
would have saved the Government millions in money, and more than
millions in peace and good-will. He proposed that ports should be
designated on the Mississippi for the receipt of cotton; that every
pound arriving there should pay the Government twenty-five cents, or
fifty cents (any thing that the Government might designate), and that
no questions should be asked as to its origin. Mr. M'Culloch replied
that it was an admirable plan, but that there were reasons why it
could not be adopted. The reason, I fear, was the influence brought
to bear at Washington by the nascent race of carpet-baggers. There
was money in the Treasury-agent system.

This system led, as I have said, to a collision between the military
and the judicial authorities in New Orleans, which in any other
hands than Canby's might have been serious. M'Culloch wrote to the
general asking him to sustain his agents with the military power in
their seizure of cotton. Canby of course replied that he would do
so. Shortly afterward an agent applied to us for a military force.
He had seized a lot of cotton, and brought it to New Orleans. The
owner, an alleged Union man, had applied to the United States
District Court, and the United States Marshal had been ordered to
take possession of it. He attempted to do so, but was, of course,
repulsed by the military, the city being still under martial law. The
judge thereupon issued an order for Canby to appear before him, and
show cause why he held the cotton against the process of the court.
The order was an impertinent one; for the judge knew well enough
that the city was still under martial law. The judge was that Durell
who afterward came to grief. But Canby always showed the greatest
respect to the judiciary. I remember, as if it were yesterday,
seeing him start for the court-room at the appointed time, in full
uniform, accompanied by Major De Witt Clinton, his judge-advocate.
His return to the order of the court was to my mind conclusive. He
said, substantially, that the United States District Court was a
creation of the law; that it possessed precisely those powers which
had been conferred upon it by Congress, and no others; that if this
cotton had been captured by the navy on the high seas, he should have
surrendered it at once on the order of the judge, for the court was
clothed with admiralty jurisdiction, but that it had no military
jurisdiction, and that he had no right to surrender, and might be
held responsible for surrendering, powers which, under martial law,
were vested in him alone. The judge reserved his decision. The
claimant's lawyers telegraphed to the President; and Johnson, who was
then beginning to coquet with the Democrats, contrary to Stanton's
advice, and without waiting for Canby's report, ordered the cotton to
be given up, to the general's great satisfaction; for it soiled the
fingers of every one who touched it.

General Canby had now been thwarted twice by General Sheridan in
purely civil matters--matters belonging properly to the commander of
the Department. He felt as if his usefulness were gone, and prepared
a letter to the Adjutant-general asking to be relieved from his
command, and ordered elsewhere. He showed me this letter. I felt that
his loss to the Department would be irreparable, and I persuaded
him to withhold it. But shortly afterward Sheridan again interfered
with the civil government of the city, and this time by breaking up
the provost-marshal's department of General Canby's own staff. It is
a matter of great delicacy for one general to interfere with the
staff of another. Canby felt deeply hurt, and told me that he should
forward his letter to Washington. Of course I could no longer object;
for it seemed to me that self-respect left him no choice. He was
relieved at once, for he was all-powerful with Stanton, who had the
highest esteem and regard for him, and unbounded confidence in his
integrity and wisdom. He was made president of a most important board
on war claims, sitting at Washington. But shortly afterward there was
disturbance in Texas, and Canby was immediately sent there. Again,
there was disturbance in Virginia, and Canby was transferred to
Richmond. Then came difficulty in South Carolina, and at once Canby
was ordered to Charleston. Wherever he went, order and tranquillity
followed his footsteps.

This wise, great, and good man lost his life miserably. He fell a
victim to the Peace Commission. He commanded the Department in which
Captain Jack and those wretched Modocs gave us so much trouble.
Although the force operating against the Indians numbered but five
hundred men, and the weather was so severe that the ink froze in
his tent, Canby thought it his duty to go in person to the "Lava
Beds." Here he was rapidly unearthing the savages from "their caves
and dens in the rocks," when the Peace Commission begged him to send
the Indians a flag of truce and invite them to a "talk." He replied
that it was useless; that he knew the Indians far better than those
gentlemen could; and that the best and most humane method was to
follow up his military advantages. They entreated, and appealed to
his love of peace. He yielded, went unarmed and without escort to the
conference, and was murdered by the savages. Thus died one of the
best, ablest, and purest men the war had brought to the front.

The writer left Louisiana in June, 1866, and shortly afterward, on
his own request, was mustered out of the service. He looks back with
pleasure to the years passed in that lovely and fruitful land. He
regrets the evil days which have fallen upon it, and can not but
think that the upright and honorable men whom he knew there--and
there are plenty of them among its inhabitants--must regret the loss
of the rule of justice, law, order, and economy under Canby, when
they contrast it with the infamous rule of the carpet-baggers--fraud
and corruption on one side met by violence and intimidation on the


  The Writer appointed Assistant Secretary of Legation to Paris.
  --Presented to the Emperor.--Court Balls.--Diplomatic Dress.--Opening
  of Corps Législatif.--Opening of Parliament.--King of the Belgians.
  --Emperor of Austria.--King of Prussia.--Queen Augusta.--Emperor
  Alexander.--Attempt to assassinate him.--Ball at Russian
  Embassy.--Resignation of General Dix.

In October, 1866, at the request of General Canby, Mr. Seward
appointed the writer to be Assistant Secretary of Legation at Paris.
Johnson was then President, but he very properly left all these minor
appointments in the State Department to its chief. Frederic Seward
told me that it was impossible to have a better friend at their court
than General Canby--"they always accepted his bills at sight."

General Dix had then been named Minister to France, but had not
sailed. Mr. Bigelow still filled the office. On presenting my
credentials, he requested me to await the arrival of the General
before entering upon my duties, that the proposed changes might all
be made at the same time.

Late in December General Dix arrived, and was presented. Court
carriages were sent for the minister, and he was accompanied by the
secretaries of legation, and by the "Introducteur des Ambassadeurs"
in gorgeous uniform. Those were the halcyon days of the diplomatic
service, before Congress had come to the conclusion that the safety
of the republic depended upon its foreign representatives being
dressed in swallow-tail coats. We were then permitted to dress like
other gentlemen of the diplomatic corps in the same grade.

The Emperor was always happy in his reception of the diplomates
accredited to him. The custom was to send in advance to the Minister
of Foreign Affairs a copy of the address to be delivered, that the
Emperor's reply might be prepared. These speeches, under ordinary
circumstances, might be stereotyped: change the names, and one
will answer for another. After the formal addresses, an informal
conversation followed. General Dix then presented the secretaries.
The Emperor spoke English very well, and liked to ventilate it.
He did not speak it perfectly, however, as was claimed by his
enthusiastic admirers. He translated French into English, as we
so often translate English into French. He said, for instance, to
Colonel Hay, "You have made _ze_ war in _ze_ United States?" ("_Vous
avez fait la guerre?_") meaning, "Did you serve?" Hay was strongly
tempted to tell him that it was not he; it was Jeff Davis.

After the presentation to the Emperor, we paid our respects to
the Empress. That charming and beautiful woman was then in the
zenith of her beauty and grace. She received us in her bonnet and
walking-dress, as she had come from mass; for in Catholic countries
diplomatic presentations generally take place on Sunday. Nor in
Catholic countries only, for in England the Prince of Wales sometimes
receives on that day. The Empress too speaks English, and with less
accent than the Emperor, though not so fluently.

The imperial court in 1866-'67 was at the height of its splendor.
France was apparently prosperous and powerful, and Paris reigned
the queen-city of the world. All nations paid her willing tribute.
She was preparing for the Exhibition of 1867, the most successful
ever held, except our own at Philadelphia. The winter was unusually
gay, the palace setting the example. As a rule, the Emperor gave
four grand balls during the season. They were very magnificent, and
would have been very pleasant except for the great crowd. But those
balls were given principally to the military, and the garrison of
Paris thronged them to the number of two or three thousand. Some of
the subordinate officers were wholly unused to any other society
than that of the barracks, and they brought their barrack manners
with them, crowding, pushing, treading upon the ladies' dresses,
scratching their shoulders with their epaulets. When the supper-room
was opened, the Centgarde on duty at the door had great difficulty in
keeping back the hungry crowd. Once they actually broke through and
rushed in. The sentries were thereupon doubled, but even then were
compelled to threaten to report the most prominent disturbers to the
Emperor. Every private in the Centgardes ranked as an officer of the

It may interest some of my readers to know how presentations were
made at these balls. The United States Minister was allowed to
present twenty-six persons in all. They were selected generally upon
the principle of first come, first served; but the matter rested
wholly in his discretion. No one had a right to a presentation. Mr.
Seward settled this in a clear and positive dispatch to Mr. Dayton,
and his instructions now regulate the action of our ministers in
most of the courts of Europe. Occasionally we asked for one or two
extra presentations. The inquiry was then generally made, "Is it a
young and pretty woman?" If it were, there was no difficulty, for the
Empress, like other ladies, was pleased to have her balls set off
with beautiful and well-dressed women. American ladies were always
well received by her for this reason. Her balls were sometimes called
by the envious "_bals américains_."

The persons to be presented were arranged round one of the rooms at
the Tuileries. The Emperor entered and passed down the line, each
person being named to him. He sometimes stopped, though rarely, and
addressed a few words to one of the presentees. The Empress followed
in the same manner. She exacted that every lady should be in full
evening dress, and if by chance one slipped in not _décolletée_, the
minister was pretty sure to hear of it. General Dix was once asked to
present a young lady with her mother. He consented. She turned out to
be a child of fourteen. Before many days he heard that the Empress
had said that she did not receive children.

But the Empress's Mondays, _petits lundis_, were charming. They
were not unpleasantly crowded, and they were composed exclusively
of people who knew how to behave themselves. Frequently they were
musical parties, and there one heard the best musical talent of the
world. No money was paid to the leading artists; for the theory is
that the honor of singing before the sovereign is sufficient; but a
bracelet or other piece of jewelry was sent to the singer, and always
of value, for the Emperor was very generous--too much so for his own
interests and those of his family, as events have shown.

The _petits lundis_ were a paradise for our American diplomates.
There we wore our swallow-tail coats, with black tights and silk
stockings. The most rabid anti-uniformist could not object to that.
To wear swallow-tail at one of the balls, however, was by no means a
pleasant duty. After one or two experiments our secretaries gave up
going. The French officers--not those of high rank, of course--would
stare with all the impertinence they could muster, and take the
opportunity to jostle them accidentally in the crowd. It was very
different in London. If one of us went to a ball at Buckingham Palace
in mufti, the page at the door simply asked, "United States, sir?"
and he passed in without difficulty. Of course every one present
noticed the dress, but no one appeared to do so. They evidently felt
sorry for the poor devil who found himself in such an awkward fix,
and wished to make it as easy for him as possible. French politeness
did not shine by the contrast.

Early in the winter the Emperor opened the Corps Législatif. In all
constitutional monarchies this is an occasion of great ceremony and
splendor. A hall in the Louvre was used for the purpose. All the
great bodies of state attended in their gorgeous uniforms. Senators,
deputies, judges, members of the Academy and of the Institute,
marshals, admirals--every thing that France possessed of glorious in
arms, or eminent in literature, science, art, and statesmanship, was
congregated there. When all was ready, the Empress, attended by the
ladies of the imperial family, and by her ladies in waiting, walked
up the whole length of the centre aisle to her seat on the throne,
amidst the indescribable enthusiasm of the audience. Her beauty, her
grace, and her stately bearing carried the enthusiasm to its height.
You would have sworn that every man there was ready to die for his
sovereign. Within less than four years she sought in vain for one of
them to stand by her in her hour of danger.

The opening of the Corps Législatif, splendid and interesting as
it was, did not compare in either respect--in American eyes, at
least--with the opening of Parliament by the Queen in person. She has
done this so rarely of late that, when she does appear, the interest
and excitement in London are very great. The ceremony takes place in
the House of Lords. The peers are in their robes of office, scarlet
and ermine. Each particular robe is ugly enough, very much like red
flannel and cat-skin; but the effect of all together is very fine.
The peeresses are in full dress. The diplomatic corps are present in
their rich uniforms. The princes enter and take their seats as lords.
That graceful and beautiful woman, the Princess of Wales--perhaps
the most beautiful woman in England--and the Princess Mary and the
Duchess of Edinburgh, follow and take their seats upon the wool-sack
facing the throne. When all is ready, the Queen, preceded by the
white rod and the black rod (they call them the "sticks" in England),
the lord chancellor and the lord chamberlain, and all her high
officers of state, appears and seats herself upon the throne, the
Princess Louise and the Princess Beatrice supporting her on either
side. Short and stout as is the Queen, she has the most graceful
and stately walk perhaps in Europe. It is a treat to see her move.
Then the lower doors are opened; there is a rush and a scramble,
and loud voices are heard, and the Commons of England, headed by
their Speaker, the very body for whom all this show and state and
splendor are got up, crowd into a narrow space behind a railing,
and there stand while the Queen reads her speech. It seems strange,
when one reflects that the Commons really govern England, to see
them shut out in the cold as if they were not fit to associate with
the distinguished company present. When the speech is finished, the
Speaker bows, the Queen descends from the throne, the Commons return
to their House, and the pageant is ended.

The Great Exhibition opened on the 1st of May, 1867. It was not
nearly ready, but was opened punctually to the day with all the
well-arranged ceremony for which the French are noted. The sovereigns
of Europe began to flock to Paris. "The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein"
was then in the full tide of success at one of the theatres. It was
odd to note that among the first visits the great royalties paid (the
Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia) was one to "The Grand
Duchess." The minor sovereigns, the kinglings, rarely went; and when
they did, they saw nothing amusing in it.

The diplomatic corps had admirable opportunities to see the
different sovereigns visiting Paris. It is the custom for a monarch
to receive the diplomatic corps accredited to the capital at which
he is a guest. We stood in a circle, and, while the royal visitor
talked to our own minister and to those near him on either side,
we had excellent opportunities to study his features, expression,
and manners. The most agreeable of them all, with an apt word for
every one, was the King of the Belgians. He had a great deal to say
to General Dix about Mr. Seward, whom he had known, and the port
of Antwerp as convenient for American shipping. He spoke English
admirably. He was accompanied by the Queen, a young and pretty
woman, who, by-the-way, was the only sovereign lady who came to the
Exposition, much to the Empress's disappointment, and somewhat,
it was said, to her mortification. Next in tact to the King of
the Belgians came the Emperor of Austria, a small, well-made,
military-looking man, with most polished manners. He spoke to me--for
General Dix was then temporarily absent--of his brother, the Emperor
Maximilian, and expressed his gratitude to our Government for its
efforts to save his life. Later, while _chargé_ at London, I met the
Empress of Germany. She, too, has the gift of saying the right thing
in the right place. I heard her conversation with two or three of my
colleagues who stood near me. It was always happy. To me she spoke
of all that the Legation at Paris had done to protect "_mes pauvres
Allemands dans ces tristes, ces pénibles circonstances_." She was
glad to have the opportunity to thank me in person, and wished me to
convey her thanks to Mr. Washburne.

But the chief guest, the man to whom all eyes were turned, was the
Emperor of Russia, a pale, handsome, silent, gentlemanly-looking man.
For him reviews were held, gala operas given, and magnificent fêtes
at the Tuileries and at the Hôtel de Ville. I doubt if the world
ever saw a more beautiful fête than that given to him by the Empress
at the Tuileries. It was summer, the month of June. The gardens of
the palace were closed to the public. The flower-beds (the flowers
were then in full bloom) were bordered with gas-jets, the trees were
festooned with variegated lamps, the fountains played, and electric
lights--blue, pink, and yellow--were thrown alternately upon the
sparkling waters. It was very beautiful. And when, at midnight, the
Empress, accompanied by a number of ladies, and by the Emperors and
their suites, descended into the gardens, and the electric light
flashed on their bright dresses and jewels, and brilliant uniforms,
the effect was fairy-like.

The review was next in order. Sixty thousand men passed before the
Emperors without check or delay. The King of Prussia was present,
accompanied by Bismarck and Moltke. Bismarck even then attracted much
attention. I have rarely seen a finer-looking man. More than six feet
high, large and powerful in proportion, with a grand head well set
upon the shoulders, he looks like Agamemnon--"king of men."

It was on the return from this review that the Emperor of Russia was
shot at by a Pole. Fortunately, he was not hit. The only creature
hurt was the horse of one of the equerries. The blood spurted from
a wound in the animal's neck upon the Emperor's second son, who was
in the carriage with him. The father's only thought was for his
son; and, leaning forward, he laid his hand tenderly upon him while
he anxiously inquired if he was wounded. It was reported that the
Emperor of the French turned to his imperial guest, and said, "Sire,
we have been under fire together for the first time to-day;" to which
the Emperor replied, with much solemnity of manner, "Sire, we are in
the hands of Providence."

That evening I saw him at a ball at the Russian embassy. It was very
small, not more than two hundred persons present. He looked pale
and _distrait_, evidently anticipating, with some apprehension, the
effect to be produced in Russia, and upon her relations with France,
when the news should reach St. Petersburg. Madame Haussmann, the
wife of the Prefect of the Seine, a well-meaning woman, but who did
not shine precisely by her tact, was trying to make conversation
with him. He looked over her head, as if he did not see her, and
finally turned upon his heel and left her. It was not perhaps polite,
but it was very natural. The Emperor and Empress of the French
made extraordinary exertions to enliven the ball, but there was a
perceptible oppression in the air. The would-be assassin was not
condemned to death. Strange to say, a French jury found "extenuating
circumstances." But the French sympathize strongly with the Poles;
and I doubt if, under any circumstances, a French jury would condemn
to death a Pole who had attempted to murder a Russian.

The Emperor of Russia is a man of the highest sense of personal
honor. When lately he sought an interview with the English
embassador, and assured him on his honor that he had no thought of
conquest, or any desire to occupy Constantinople, those who know
his character believed him implicitly. It was reserved for certain
ultra Tory journals in London to doubt his word. No language would
be strong enough for these journals to employ if a Russian newspaper
were to doubt the word of honor of Lord Derby or any other prominent
English gentleman. Happily, the _Standard_ and its _confrères_ do not
yet direct public opinion in England.

In the fall of 1867, the Exhibition closed with great ceremony,
and Paris settled down for a time to the even tenor of its way. In
1868, General Grant was elected President, and was inaugurated in
1869. In the spring of this year General Dix resigned. He preferred
the comforts of his home, with the society of his children and
grandchildren, to the attractions of the imperial court. No minister
ever represented the United States with more dignity than General
Dix. A man of marked ability, an accomplished scholar and gentleman,
he possessed precisely those qualities which are the most highly
prized at a court like that of France. The ladies, too, of his family
shone in their sphere; a matter of much greater importance than
is generally supposed in our country. The general has left a very
pleasant impression in France; and not unfrequently since the fall
of the empire I have been stopped in the street by some sad looking
ex-official with inquiries after his health.


  Washburne appointed Minister.--Declaration of War.--Thiers opposes
  it.--The United States asked to protect Germans in France.--Fish's
  Instructions.--Assent of French Government given.--Paris
  in War-paint.--The Emperor opposed to War.--Not a Free
  Agent.--His _Entourage_.--Marshal Le Bœuf.

In the month of May, 1869, Mr. Washburne arrived in France, and
entered upon the duties of his office. In the mean time I had been
promoted, at the request of General Dix, to be secretary of legation.
At Mr. Washburne's request, I was retained in that position. Paris
was uneasy and restless. Conspiracies against the empire were rife.
The Republicans, as they called themselves--Radicals is a better
name for the majority of them--became bold and defiant. France was
jealous, too, of the renown acquired by Prussia at Sadowa. She had
been so accustomed to consider herself, and to be considered, the
first military power in the world, that she could not bear the
semblance of a rival near the throne. The Emperor was suffering from
the disease of which he afterward died, and no longer governed with
"the hand of steel in the glove of silk" always needed in France.
The Church was alarmed at the rise of a great Protestant power, and
the Empress sympathized with her Church. In short, public sentiment
had reached such a pass in France, or rather in Paris, which is
France, that the Emperor was compelled to choose between war and
revolution. He naturally chose war. It was definitely resolved upon
on the 15th July, 1870, but not officially declared until the 19th. I
was _chargé d'affaires_, Mr. Washburne being absent at Carlsbad.

On the 13th of July I went to the sitting of the Corps Législatif
to learn what were the prospects of war. In the tribune of the
diplomatic corps I met the Spanish Embassador. He told me that peace
was assured, as he had persuaded Prince Hohenzollern to decline the
proffered crown of Spain, and that now nothing remained to fight
about. On the 14th, I went again. I found Lord Lyons there, and,
falling into conversation with him, he left the impression upon
my mind that there would be war, for the proffered mediation of
England had failed. Lord Lyons had come to the sitting expecting
to hear an authoritative declaration by the Government, and this
declaration he thought would be warlike. I at once telegraphed to
Mr. Fish that the chances were strongly in favor of war. This, and
all our subsequent telegrams in cipher, were delayed by the French
Government for twenty-four hours, probably with a view to decipher
them. On the 15th I was again at the _séance_, and heard the warlike
declaration made by the Government. It was not the formal declaration
of war, but was equivalent to it. Thereupon Mr. Thiers rose, and
attempted to address the House in a speech deprecating hostilities.
The scene that followed was indescribable and most disgraceful to
any legislative body. The great mass of the members sprung to their
feet, pointed their fingers at the orator, yelled, and shouted
"_Traître, traître! Allez à Berlin!_" The little man stood like a
rock, and when the tumult had somewhat subsided, I could hear his
shrill, piping voice raised in solemn warning against the step they
were about to take. The Government had stated that their embassador
had been insulted by the King of Prussia. Mr. Thiers asked that the
dispatches might be produced, that the Assembly might judge for
itself. This the Government refused; and, on a show of hands, but
twenty members--among whom were Favre, Arago, Simon, Pelletan, and
others, most of them afterward prominent in the Government of the
National Defense--voted with Thiers.

While the debate was proceeding I was called out by the messenger of
the Legation, with word that the German Embassador was very anxious
to see me. As soon as the proceedings in the Corps Législatif were
ended, I went to the German embassy. The embassador told me that
he had been instructed by his Government to ask the United States
Legation at Paris to assume the protection of the North Germans in
France during the coming war. I saw at once the importance of this
step, the compliment paid us by a great power like Germany, and the
advantages to the country. I replied that I felt confident that
my Government would gladly assume the charge; that if there were
no cable across the Atlantic, and it were necessary to say "Yes"
or "No" at once, I should say "Yes;" but as there was telegraphic
communication, and I could receive an answer in forty-eight hours, I
must ask instructions from Mr. Fish. He appeared to be disappointed,
and inquired when I could give him an answer, as he must leave Paris
in two days. He evidently desired the matter to be settled before
he left. I told him that I thought I should receive a reply within
that time. I went at once to the office, and telegraphed Mr. Fish as
follows. This telegram, like the other, was detained for twenty-four
hours by the French Government.

  "Paris, July 15th, 1870.

  "FISH--_Washington_:--War is certain. Can I take Prussian
  subjects in France under our protection? Have promised answer


On the 17th I received Mr. Fish's answer, as follows:

  "Washington, July 16th, 1870.

  "Protection of North Germans in French territory by American
  representative can only be given at request of North Germany, and
  with assent of France. Examine request of Mr. Moustier of July
  16th, 1867, to United States to protect French in Mexico.


On receipt of this instruction, I wrote at once to the Duke de
Gramont, to ask for the assent of the French Government. My note was
as follows:

  "Legation of the United States,
  Paris, July 17th, 1870.

  "SIR,--I was requested by the embassador of the North German
  Confederation, before his departure from Paris, to take the
  North German subjects residing on French territory under the
  protection of this Legation. To-day I am in receipt of a telegram
  from my Government authorizing me to do so, provided that it be
  done with the assent of his majesty's Government. I have the
  honor to apply for this assent.

  "I have the honor, etc., etc., etc.,


  "His Excellency the DUKE DE GRAMONT,
  Etc., etc., etc."

The Duke de Gramont replied, on the 18th, that the French Government
gave its "entire assent," whereupon I telegraphed to Mr. Fish as

  "FISH--_Washington_:--Consented to take North Germans under
  protection on application of embassador, and with assent of
  France. * * * * Washburne returns immediately.


I learned afterward that my note to the Duke de Gramont produced
quite a sensation in the Emperor's cabinet. The French Government
had already requested the good offices of Great Britain to protect
French subjects in North Germany, and it had fully expected that
North Germany would make a similar request. Speculation was therefore
rife in official circles as to what the action of Count Bismarck
meant. It was supposed that he anticipated a general European war,
into which Great Britain would necessarily be drawn; and preferred,
therefore, to ask the good offices of a power which under all
circumstances was likely to remain neutral.

The Duke de Gramont was then Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was
supposed to have had much to do with bringing on the war. The story
was current in Paris that, when he was embassador at Vienna, Bismarck
represented Prussia. They quarreled, and Bismarck remarked of him,
"_C'est l'homme le plus bête d'Europe._" He never forgave it. At
Vienna he naturally associated with the Viennese aristocracy, who
disliked the Prussians. From them he got the idea that Austria would
readily join France in a war against Prussia, and so reported to the
Emperor. He took no note of the all-powerful middle class, which
rules in constitutional countries. This class would not hear of
becoming allies of France in a war against Germany.

Late in the evening of the 18th of July, Mr. Washburne returned
to Paris. He had been at Carlsbad for his health, but on learning
the probability of hostilities, started at once on his return
to his post. We had telegraphed him, but he never received the
telegram. Few private telegrams were forwarded at all, and none with
promptitude, in those days.

Paris now put on its war-paint. The streets were gay with the
_pantalon rouge_, and all day long the French drum rat-a-tapped in
the streets. The Mobiles began to arrive, the National Guard to
parade--everywhere was heard the "Marseillaise." The forbidden air
was delightful to Parisian ears, because it was forbidden. Long
before the end of the siege it was rarely heard. The Parisians could
chant it as they pleased, so it soon lost its attractions.

The war was popular in Paris. The journals clamored for it, and the
violent republican papers, whatever they may now say to the contrary,
were among the most blatant. The Emperor, personally, was opposed to
war. He was suffering from the acute disease which afterward killed
him, and was naturally depressed and despondent. He would gladly have
avoided hostilities, but he was pushed into them. They persuaded him,
too, that the continuance of his dynasty, the succession of his son,
demanded war; and this was the one ruling motive which governed both
his conduct and that of the Empress. The Emperor was by no means
the omnipotent potentate he was popularly supposed to be. He was
scarcely a free agent. It was his misfortune to be surrounded by a
crowd of adventurers--French carpet-baggers. The best men of France,
the gentry of the country, held aloof. The Emperor felt this, and
often tried to reconcile them. Had he reigned ten years longer, I
think that he would have succeeded. There were signs of relenting. He
was consequently thrown, for his high officers of state, upon a class
of clever adventurers. Look at his last cabinet before the Revolution
of September. One member was most unenviably known for the loot of
the Summer Palace at Pekin; another is now in Mazas, convicted of
swindling; and a third, it was currently reported in Paris, received
one hundred thousand francs in the Transcontinental, Memphis, and
El Paso swindle; and I have heard from high Prussian authority that
when the gates of Paris were opened after the siege, and the Germans
sold flour and cattle and sheep to meet the pressing necessities of
the starving Parisians, of a flock of three thousand sheep not one
was permitted to enter the city till this gentleman had received two
francs a head.

I have said that the Emperor was scarcely a free agent. Here is an
anecdote in point. Prince Metternich, the Austrian Embassador,
returning from Vienna, called to pay his respects at the palace.
The Emperor asked him what military news there was in Austria. He
replied that they were arming with the Remington breech-loader. "The
Remington," said the Emperor, "what is that? I thought I knew all
the principal breech-loaders, but I never heard of that." Metternich
explained. "Where is Remington?" said the Emperor. The Prince replied
that he happened to be in Paris. "I wish you would bring him to me,
and do you bring him yourself; this will insure my seeing him."
Metternich brought him. The Emperor examined his piece, and was much
pleased with it. He wrote a note with his own hand to the Minister
of War, Le Bœuf, and told Remington to take it at once: of course he
was received without delay. "So, my good friend, you have seen the
Emperor, have you?" "Yes, sir, I had the honor to see his Majesty."
"Well, you won't see him again:" and he did not. This was the way
the Emperor was served. Le Bœuf was the capable and well-informed
Minister of War who stated in the Assembly that France was thoroughly
prepared for the field--"not a button on a gaiter was wanting." When
the sad truth became known, the French wits said that his statement
was literally correct, for there was not a gaiter in store.

But while the war was popular in Paris, it was not so in the
provinces. After the Revolution broke out, the Provisional Government
found in the Tuileries a number of important historical documents,
and among them reports from the prefects of the different departments
on this subject. They breathed one tone. The people wanted peace; but
if they were attacked, if the honor of France were at stake, they
were ready to fight. Considering the source whence this information
came, from imperial prefects, creatures of the Government, there was
no mistaking the pacific feeling of the country.


  Germans forbidden to leave Paris.--Afterward expelled.--Large
  Number in Paris.--Americans in Europe.--Emperor's Staff an Incumbrance.
  --French Generals.--Their Rivalries.--False News from the Front.
  --Effect in Paris.--Reaction.--Expulsion of Germans.--Sad
  Scenes.--Washburne's Action.--Diplomatic Service.--Battle of
  Sedan.--Sheridan at Sedan.

And now began our labors at the Legation, increasing from day
to day, until we had thirteen distinct nationalities under our
charge, European and South American. Nor was this all. The citizens
of other countries--countries which had not formally asked our
protection--came to us for assistance. This was particularly the
case with Mexico and Roumania. There was a large colony of Mexicans
in Paris, and Mexico had no representative in France. The diplomatic
relations which were suspended by the Mexican war are still
unrenewed, notwithstanding the friendly efforts of our Government.
As regards Roumania, its position is peculiar. Nominally it is under
the suzerainty of Turkey, and the Turk claims to represent it abroad.
But Roumania does not acquiesce in this claim, and appoints its
own agents, who are quasi-recognized by the powers to whom they are
accredited. There was a large number of Roumanian students in Paris
at the outbreak of the war. These young men were left quite destitute
during the siege. The French Government behaved very generously
by them. At Mr. Washburne's suggestion, it made them a monthly
allowance, sufficient for their support.

The French Government had at first decided that no German should
leave France to return home. The reason given for this harsh measure
was that every German was a soldier, and would go to swell the
enemy's ranks. It was very hard on the Germans in France. They
were thrown out of employment, insulted, liable to violence, and
sometimes assaulted, and, in addition to all this, were treated as
_insoumis_ at home, and subject to severe punishment for neglect
of military duty. Mr. Washburne remonstrated against this measure,
and wrote an able dispatch to the Duke de Gramont, claiming the
right of the Germans, under all recognized international law, to
leave France if they wished to do so. It was in vain. But now came
a change of ministry. The Prince de la Tour d'Auvergne became
Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Government took precisely
the opposite course, and decided to expel the Germans. Again Mr.
Washburne intervened, claiming that this was as much a violation
of international law as the other course. All he could obtain was,
that the decree should be executed with leniency, and that liberal
exceptions should be made in individual cases of special hardship.
But the French press called for the expulsion of the Germans, and the
Corps Législatif passed a resolution that they should be expelled _en

As soon as the decree was published in the _Journal Officiel_,
and placarded on the walls of Paris, they came in shoals to the
Legation. From seven o'clock in the morning till five in the
afternoon, when we closed the office, they fairly besieged us. Five
hundred often collected in the street at once. We were compelled,
though reluctantly, to ask for the aid of the police, both as a
protection to the Germans themselves against the mob, and for our own
convenience. We had six gendarmes constantly on duty. It was almost
impossible to get up our own stairs, and Americans who had business
at the Legation complained of the impossibility of getting in. I
found a side-entrance through a neighbor's apartment, of which I
revealed the secret to some of my countrymen.

The French Government required that every German leaving Paris should
be furnished with a pass from us. At Mr. Washburne's request they
dispensed with the police _visa_, and so simplified matters. But
there were forty thousand Germans in Paris; of these about thirty
thousand went away. Allowing three persons to each pass, for many
had families, we issued about three thousand passes in six weeks.
Many needed assistance to enable them to leave Paris. The Prussian
Government, with great liberality, put fifty thousand thalers
(thirty-seven thousand five hundred dollars) at our disposition,
and this sum they afterward increased. We gave those who needed
them railroad tickets to the frontier of Germany and Belgium; there
the German Government took charge of them, or rather a charitable
organization under the presidency of the Empress Augusta, who showed
the most unwearying devotion in good works during the whole war.
Eight or ten thousand remained in Paris during the siege. Of those at
least one-third came upon the Legation for support, unwillingly in
most cases, and driven by necessity.

But while the Germans thus thronged our office, our own countrymen
were not wanting. In six weeks we issued eleven hundred passports.
Allowing an average of three persons to a passport, thirty-three
hundred Americans passed through Paris in those six weeks. To these
may be added another thousand who had passports from the State
Department. The question has often been asked me, How many Americans
do you suppose are in Europe? If to the above forty-three hundred we
add seventeen hundred for those who remained quietly where the war
found them, or procured their passports at other legations, we have
six thousand souls. At that time this was the average number of our
people temporarily in Europe. There are fewer now.

On the 28th of July the Emperor started for the seat of war. He took
with him his Centgardes and a numerous staff. Nothing can be worse
for an army than to be encumbered with a large head-quarters staff.
It involves an immense amount of transportation, blocking up the
roads, and interfering with the march of the troops. Every thing must
give way to head-quarters trains, even supplies for the soldiers
and ammunition for the guns. This naturally breeds discontent, and
interferes with the efficiency of the army. A staff should consist
of the fewest possible number of working men, and they should be
restricted, like the line, to a limited amount of baggage. Sherman
gave an example of what a staff should be in this respect, on his
famous march to the sea.

Meantime rumors of disaster came thick and fast from the front. The
French had fought the battle of Wissembourg with great gallantry,
but they were outnumbered and outgeneraled. Indeed, it was their
misfortune in this war to have no great generals. I was reminded of
our own experience when our war broke out, and when we appointed to
high command men who had "the Spirit of the Lord, and a disposition
to storm works," which Mr. Stanton then declared to be all that was
necessary. He lived to change his mind, and to become one of the
strongest advocates of trained military talent. Happily for us,
the war lasted long enough to enable us to sift the wheat from the
chaff. Its close found in high command the very men best fitted
to be there. The good sense of our rulers and the tenacity of our
people had enabled us to effect this vital change. The French were
not so fortunate. Their generals in high command when the war broke
out were not equal to the situation, and their armies were defeated
and overwhelmed before the officers of ability, who were undoubtedly
to be found among them, but in inferior positions, had had the
opportunity to show what was in them. For the system of advancement
under the Empire was not calculated to bring the best men to the
front. I was told during the siege by General Berthaut, now Minister
of War, that an officer who studied was looked upon as a republican,
and passed over. The road to promotion lay through the _café_.

There were bitter rivalries, too, between the corps commanders. It
was stated, I do not know with what truth, that repeated messages
failed to bring up the supporting corps to MacMahon's assistance. The
same thing had happened at Solferino, where, as it was alleged, the
battle was nearly lost, because Canrobert would not support Niel.
A challenge passed between them, and nothing but the imperative
intervention of the Emperor prevented the scandal of a duel.

The defeat at Wissembourg was not published in Paris till several
hours after it had appeared in the London morning papers. The press
was muzzled. The depression produced was very great. Certain Bourse
operators took advantage of the inflammable state of public opinion.
One day a man in the uniform of a Government courier rode up to
the Bourse, and, calling out his confederate, delivered a dispatch
purporting to come from the front: "Great victory; total defeat of
the Prussians; capture of the Crown Prince; French army in full
march for Berlin!" Up went stocks. The crowd shouted, sung, wept for
joy, threw themselves into each other's arms, embraced, and kissed.
Popular actors and singers were recognized as they drove through the
streets, stopped, and compelled to sing or recite the "Marseillaise."
Paris was drunk with joy. Then came the reaction. The truth was
soon known. As they had been extreme in their joy, they were now
extreme in their grief. They were not only despondent, they were in
despair. As the poor Empress said at the time to Mr. Washburne, "They
have no for-ti-tude." The crowd collected in the streets, inveighed
against the Government, and, in a pouring rain, marched to Ollivier's
residence, in the Place Vendôme, and insisted upon his addresing
them. Ollivier was then the head of the Government. He had not much
to say, but he was an eloquent speaker, and partially pacified them.

But the defeats of the French and their consequent exasperation
reacted upon the Germans under our protection. Employers discharged
their workmen; those who would gladly have kept them dared not.
They lived in constant dread, and the number of those thronging
to the Legation to obtain the means of departure increased daily.
The suffering, both moral and physical, was very great. It must be
borne in mind that many of these people had been settled for years
in Paris; that they had married there; their children had been born
and had married there; their property and their business interests
all lay there. Yet they were pitilessly expelled, and not only their
business interests ruined, but the dearest family ties dissevered. We
have heard much in history and romance of the expulsion of the Moors
from Spain, and of the Huguenots from France, and our sympathies are
deeply stirred as we read of the misery endured by those poor exiles.
I do not see why the expulsion of the Germans does not rank with
these touching episodes, both in the suffering of the victims and the
pathos of their departure.

Of course the French Government did not expel these poor people with
the _cœur léger_. They had their reasons. They said that in case of
siege there would be additional mouths to feed, and that it would be
a constant source of danger to have so many Germans residing in their
midst. But at that time a siege was not anticipated; and, except in
this case, there surely could have been no danger in their stay.

There were touching scenes at the Legation among the weeping crowd
of women. Some left children and grandchildren married to Frenchmen.
Some were not in a fit condition to travel, but required the comforts
of a home, and tender care. A child was born upon a bench in the
street in front of the Legation. (It was suggested to name it after
a distinguished American diplomate.) Every thing that energy and
kindness of heart could do to facilitate the departure of those poor
people, and to mitigate its severity, was done by our minister.

And here let me remark that no one could have been better fitted for
the difficult task he was suddenly called upon to undertake than Mr.
Washburne. He trusted to the dictates of a sound judgment, a kind
heart, and a fearless temperament; and these are pretty safe guides
in the long run. Had he been brought up in diplomacy, he would have
hesitated and read up for precedents which did not exist, and so let
the propitious moment pass. The result of my observation in Europe
during ten years of pretty active service is this: that while there
should be a permanent officer in every embassy--a _chancellier_,
as he is called in Paris--who can turn promptly to any page of
the archives, and is posted in the history of the relations of
the country in which he resides with his own; who knows the court
ceremonial, and is intimate with the court officials; in short,
"who knows the ropes"--it is quite as well that the head of the
embassy should be a _new_ man. He will attach much less importance
to trifles, and act more fearlessly in emergencies. Great Britain
and France have pursued this plan in several instances lately. The
old diplomates grumble, but it is clearly for the advantage of the

News of reverses now poured in upon us, until they culminated in
the great disaster of Sedan. That this should have been so great a
calamity--a capitulation instead of a defeat--appears to have been
the fault of MacMahon. He was compelled by imperative orders from
Paris, and entirely against his own judgment, to go to the relief
of Bazaine, and to fight against overwhelming odds. But for the
tactical disposition of his forces, by which they were penned up
in a _cul-de-sac_ from which they had no line of retreat, he, as
commander-in-chief, is apparently responsible. But the French armies
seem from the beginning to have been badly organized, badly led, and
conscious that they were so, and discouraged accordingly. I have
General Sheridan's authority for saying that the position of the
French at Sedan was a very strong one; and while it was inevitable
that they should be defeated by superior numbers, they ought to have
held their ground for three days. I have no doubt that our troops
under Sheridan would have done so. He spoke in the highest terms
of the gallantry of the French cavalry, which was sacrificed to
encourage the infantry. The remark of a distinguished French general
upon the Charge of the Six Hundred, "_C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est
pas la guerre_," would have applied equally well to the charge of the
cuirassiers at Sedan.

Sheridan accompanied the King's head-quarters. We had asked
officially, at the commencement of the war, that he might be
permitted to accompany the French army, and been refused. The
Emperor subsequently told Dr. Evans that he had never heard of the
application. General orders had been issued that no foreign officer
should go with the army; but there was surely some difference between
the application of an officer for this permission on his own account,
and the request of a friendly Government that the Lieutenant-General
of its armies might be permitted to accompany the Emperor. The
application probably never got beyond the _chef du cabinet_ of the
Minister of Foreign Affairs. Nowhere in the world is bureaucracy
carried to the extent it is in France. A minister can scarcely
appoint a clerk in his office. The _chef du bureau_ is omnipotent in
his own department. The Republic promised to change all this; but its
ministers, after a gallant effort, have fallen in the struggle, and
things move on in the same old groove.

At the battle of Sedan, Sheridan stood near Count Bismarck. Toward
its close he shut up his glass, and, turning to Bismarck, said, "The
battle is won." The Count replied that he should be glad to think so,
but saw no signs of it yet. In a minute or two more the French gave
way. Turning his glass toward Sedan, Sheridan observed, "The Emperor
is there." Bismarck answered that it could not be; that the Emperor
was not such a fool as to place himself in that situation. Looking
again, Sheridan said, "He is there, anyhow." He had drawn his
conclusions from the immense staff he saw, and the confusion reigning
among them.

Sheridan was right. The Emperor and his staff were prisoners of war.
The Emperor had behaved with the greatest personal courage, and
subsequently, when dissensions arose between the French generals as
to who was responsible for the great disaster, he behaved with the
greatest generosity. But he should not have been at Sedan. The post
of usefulness and of danger for him was at Paris, and not with the


  Revolution of September 4th, 1870.--Paris _en Fête_.--Flight of the
  Empress.--Saved by Foreigners.--Escapes in an English Yacht.
  --Government of National Defense.--Trochu at its Head.--Jules Simon.
  --United States recognizes Republic.--Washburne's Address.--Favre's
  Answer.--Efforts for Peace.--John L. O'Sullivan.

On Sunday, the 4th of September, 1870, Paris was _en fête_. The
Parisians had a new revolution, and were delighted with it. The whole
population had turned out, men, women, and children, in their holiday
clothes. They filled the beautiful Place de la Concorde, the finest
in the world; they swarmed across the bridge and into the Palais
Bourbon, where the Corps Législatif was in session. The soldiers who
guarded the imperial legislators melted away, the cocked hats of the
truculent gendarmes vanished miraculously. The Conscript Fathers did
not exactly imitate the Roman Senators when they too were invaded by
the Gauls, but disappeared as quickly as the gendarmes. These were
the gentlemen who had howled for war, and called Mr. Thiers traitor
when he pleaded for peace. The people were gay, good-humored, happy;
in short, it was a Sunday fête, and in half an hour Paris, and
consequently France, was a republic.

From the Palais Bourbon the crowd went to the Tuileries, where the
Empress was awaiting the progress of events. There was no anger then
felt toward her, and she was not in danger; but a mob, and especially
a French mob, is a capricious creature. It may be in the gayest of
humors; a trifle turns its mood, and it becomes blood-thirsty as a
tiger. The Empress sent for Trochu, the Governor of Paris. He had
sworn on his faith as a soldier, a Catholic, and a Breton, to stand
by her to the end. He kept his word by sending an aid-de-camp to
her assistance. Of all the creatures of the court whom the favor
of the Emperor had raised from obscurity, not one came near her.
Jerome Bonaparte--the American Bonaparte--had been Governor of
the Palace. Fortunately he had been appointed to the command of a
regiment of cavalry; for had he still been Governor there would
probably have been a fight, and it was as well that there should be
no bloodshed. Happily for the Empress, two foreigners remembered
her. The Embassador of Austria and the Minister of Italy went to
her aid. They found every sign of demoralization at the palace,
the servants deserting, and pilfering as they went. They persuaded
her, much against her will, to fly. They traversed the whole length
of the Louvre to the door in the rear. Metternich opened the door,
but, seeing the crowd, closed it again. "_Ce n'est que l'audace qui
sauve_," said the Empress, and ordered it opened. They passed into
the crowd. A _gamin_ recognized her, and cried, "_L'Impératrice!
l'Impératrice!_" "I'll teach you to cry '_Vive la Prusse_!'" said
Nigra, and pinched his ear till he howled. Metternich went for his
carriage. While he was gone, a _fiacre_ passed, Nigra hailed it, and
the Empress and Madame Le Breton entered. It was agreed that they
should meet at the house of a noted Bonapartist. She went there,
and was refused admission. She went to another; he was out of town.
In this emergency she thought of Dr. Evans, her American dentist,
and drove to his residence. He was expecting two American ladies on
a visit to his family, and every thing was prepared for them. When
the servant announced two ladies, the doctor was at dinner. Excusing
himself to his guests, he went out to receive them, and found the
Empress. The next day he took her and Madame Le Breton in his
carriage to Trouville, on the coast, near Havre. There was a sort
of guard kept at the gates of Paris, though not a very strict one.
The doctor said, "You know me, Dr. Evans. I am taking this poor lady
to the asylum here at Neuilly." They passed, and arrived safely at
Trouville, where the doctor's family were spending the summer.

In the mean time a little English yacht of fifty tons was lying in
dock at Trouville. Her owner, Sir John Burgoyne, great-nephew of
General Burgoyne, who commanded the British troops at Saratoga, had
intended to sail that day for England; but at the suggestion of an
American lady, a friend of his wife's, had decided to remain another
day, and make an excursion to the ruins of the castle of William the
Conqueror. In the evening Dr. Evans went on board, and stated who he
was, and what he had come for. As soon as he was satisfied that the
Empress was really at Trouville, Sir John said that he would gladly
take her across the Channel, and it was agreed that she should come
on board in the morning, when the tide served. That evening the
gendarmes visited the yacht, for it was rumored that the Empress was
at Trouville. In the morning she came on board, and the yacht sailed.
The voyage was very rough, and the little vessel was obliged to lie
to. She arrived safely at Hyde, however, and the Empress proceeded
at once to Hastings, where she met her son. Thus she had escaped by
the aid exclusively of foreigners--an Austrian and an Italian, an
American and an Englishman.

The new Government, the "National Defense" they called it--the French
attach great importance to names--was duly inaugurated at the Hôtel
de Ville. Had it not been inaugurated there, and proclaimed from the
historic window, the Parisians would scarcely have looked upon it
as a legitimate Government. General Trochu was placed at its head,
and Jules Favre made Minister of Foreign Affairs. The appointment
of Trochu was unfortunate. He was an honorable man, intelligent, a
student, and a good military critic, but utterly valueless in active
service. He coddled the mob, treating them as if they were the purest
of patriots; whereas they were the marplots of the Defense. He was
selected probably because he was the only Republican among the French
generals of prominence, and not for any peculiar fitness for command
in those troublous times.

Shortly after the inauguration of the Government of the National
Defense, Mr. Washburne had occasion to go to the Hôtel de Ville.
Jules Simon, now Minister of the Interior, seized the opportunity to
make us an oration. What particular object he had in view, unless it
were to convince the Minister of the United States that Jules Simon
was a great orator, I have been unable to discover. If that was his
object, he succeeded. Whether it was worth while to occupy his and
our valuable time for this purpose only, may be doubted.

On the 7th of September came our instructions to recognize the
Republic if it seemed to us to be firmly established. Mr. Washburne
sent me to make an appointment with Jules Favre. It was made for
that afternoon. While Washburne prepared his address, I read up in
the archives of the Legation to learn what was done under similar
circumstances in 1848. I found that we had been the first to
recognize the Republic at that date, but that Lamartine, in his
report, had taken no notice of the fact, for fear, it was said, of
wounding the susceptibilities of Great Britain. Washburne told me to
mention this circumstance to Favre: he did not intend that we should
be ignored a second time, if he could prevent it. I mentioned it to
Favre, and he replied, substantially, that Great Britain had not
treated France so well that they need have any particular anxiety
about wounding her susceptibilities; and added that Great Britain was
now of very little consequence.

Mr. Washburne's address was an admirable document. Favre replied
to it very happily. He said that the recognition of the "young
Republic" by the United States was a "_grand appui_;" that he "felt
gratitude and profound emotion." Jules Favre is a master of the
French language. It is a great treat to hear him, even in ordinary
conversation, roll out in a charming voice and impressive manner the
most perfectly harmonious words of that beautiful language. French
does not rise to the sublimity of poetry. Shakspeare is absurd in
French. But for charm in conversation, and precision in science, it
is simply perfect.

The next day the interview was reported in full in the _Officiel_.
Washburne's address was very well translated, except where he quoted
from the Declaration of Independence, and spoke of the right of
every man to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Here the
translator had made him say that every man had a right "_de vivre
en travaillant au bonheur de tous_." Rather a liberal translation,
and thoroughly French both in language and sentiment. But I have not
remarked that the French Republicans labor more for the happiness
of their neighbors than other nationalities, or than their own
countrymen. If there be a political party in France which does more
in charities than another, it is the Orleanist.

Favre was very anxious that Mr. Washburne should intervene to make
peace. When he found that under our instructions we could not join
with other European powers in political matters purely European
(advice left us by Washington, and wisely followed by Mr. Fish), he
begged Mr. Washburne to intervene in his private capacity. But he
replied very sensibly that it was impossible for him to separate his
private from his public capacity; he must always be the Minister of
the United States.

But what Washburne felt compelled to decline, another American
gentleman, Mr. O'Sullivan, formerly our Minister at Lisbon,
undertook. He asked Mr. Washburne for a letter to Bismarck, but this
he did not feel authorized to give. He then begged for a letter of
introduction to Sheridan, who was at the King's head-quarters. This
he received. Jules Favre, who clutched eagerly at any thing that
might possibly lead to peace, gave him a safe-conduct, and he started
for the Prussian lines. But he never got to head-quarters. That
long-headed Bismarck had anticipated some such outside benevolent
efforts, and had given orders to the outlying corps that if any
distinguished gentlemen came along desiring to make peace, they
should be treated with all possible courtesy, but not allowed to
approach head-quarters without permission of the King. O'Sullivan
was stopped, and his letter forwarded to Sheridan. Bismarck sent
for the General, and asked if he knew O'Sullivan. He said he did
not. He then asked if he was anxious to see him. Sheridan replied
that he should be happy to make his acquaintance, but that he saw no
pressing haste in the matter. "Then he sha'n't come," said Bismarck;
and O'Sullivan returned to Paris. But the French did not treat him so
well as the Germans. As he approached Paris, walking quietly along
the high-road, a carpet-bag in one hand and an umbrella in the other,
a detachment of the vigilant National Guard rushed across a field and
covered him with their loaded pieces. As he made no resistance, they
simply took from him his bag and umbrella, and led him before their
commander blindfolded. That officer sent him under guard to one of
those wretched dens scooped out of the barrier where they sometimes
confined smugglers temporarily, but which were oftener used for more
unsavory purposes. There they kept him all night. In the morning
Jules Favre sent to his assistance, and he was released.

O'Sullivan afterward left Paris in the general exodus of Americans.
He went, as they did, to Versailles; but he staid there some three
weeks, talking peace to the German princes quartered at the Hôtel
des Réservoirs, some of whom he had previously known. He had a plan,
not at all a bad one in itself, but under the circumstances entirely
impracticable. It was to neutralize a strip of territory lying
between France and Germany, annex part of it to Belgium, and part to
Switzerland, and put it under the protection of the Great Powers.
One evening O'Sullivan dined with the Crown Prince. He sat next to
Bismarck, and discoursed upon his pet neutral-strip theory. As they
parted, Bismarck shook his hand, and said that he was charmed to make
his acquaintance. "But, Mr. O'Sullivan, a curious thing sometimes
happens to me: I make the acquaintance of a most agreeable gentleman
in the afternoon, and in the evening I find myself reluctantly
compelled to order him out of Versailles." O'Sullivan mentioned
this to friends he was visiting in the evening, but did not see its
application to himself. They did, however. He went to his hotel, and
found a Prussian officer at his door with orders for him to leave
Versailles that night. He remonstrated, and it was finally agreed
that he should start at eight o'clock in the morning. A sentry was
placed at the bedroom door, who thought that a proper discharge of
his duty required him to open it every five minutes during the night,
to make sure that his prisoner had not escaped. Mrs. O'Sullivan did
not quite appreciate the situation.


  Belleville Demonstrates.--Radical Clubs.--Their Blasphemy and Violence.
  --Unreasonable Suspicion.--Outrages.--Diplomatic Corps.--Some of them
  leave Paris.--Meeting of the Corps.--Votes not to Leave.--Embassadors
  and Ministers.--Right of Correspondence in a Besieged Place.
  --Commencement of Siege, September 19th.--Besiegers and Besieged.
  --Advantages of Besieged.

Belleville now began a series of patriotic demonstrations at the
Legation, which soon became a nuisance. When I first heard the drum
and fife coming up the Rue Chaillot, and several respectable-looking
citizens came in and inquired for Mr. Washburne, I was quite
impressed with the interest of the occasion. Washburne went out
upon the balcony and made them a speech, and thanked them for this
_démonstration patriotique_. But when they began to come daily,
and the rag, tag, and bobtail at that, and day after day Washburne
was called out to thank them for this _démonstration patriotique_,
I got very heartily sick of it. We were too busy to have our time
wasted in this way. But as the siege progressed, and we did our duty
in protecting the Germans, as we received news from the outside
when others did not, and that news was uniformly unfavorable to the
French, the _démonstrations patriotiques_ ceased; and it was only a
fear of the law, and that "divinity that doth hedge in a" diplomate,
that prevented our receiving a demonstration of a very different sort.

For the clubs were now rampant, another bane of the Defense. Had they
been suppressed at the beginning, as they were at the end, of the
siege by General Vinoy, the result might have been different. Their
orators advocated the wildest and most destructive theories amidst
the applause of a congenial audience. Blasphemy was received with
special favor. I remember once, however, the orator seasoned his
discourse too high even for that audience. He said he "would like to
scale heaven, and collar [_empoigner_] the Deity." It was the day
of balloons, and a wag in the audience called out, "Why don't you
go up in a balloon?" This turned the laugh upon the orator, and he
disappeared, for in Paris ridicule kills.

A curious and annoying feature in the Parisian character during the
war was the unreasoning and unreasonable suspicion of the population.
A gentleman from Philadelphia interested in Fairmount Park, which
was then just opened, was struck with the beauty of the gates at the
entrance to the _Bois_ on the Avenue de l'Impératrice--Avenue du Bois
de Boulogne they call it now, certainly not a change for the better,
for it was a beautiful avenue, appropriately named after a beautiful
woman. Our Philadelphia friend called his daughter's attention to the
gates, remarking that they would be appropriate at Fairmount, and
took out his note-book to sketch them. He was at once surrounded by
a mob, he and his daughter arrested, and hurried before the _Maire_
of the arrondissement. They said he was a Prussian spy, and was
sketching the fortifications. He explained who he was, and what he
was doing, and offered the drawing in proof. There were the gates to
speak for themselves, but this was no evidence to them. Mr. Justice
Shallow insisted that he must be a spy. Happily for him, the mayor's
clerk was a sensible man, and spoke a little English, and through his
instrumentality our friend was discharged.

I have seen a mob collect about a gentleman who took from his pocket
a piece of paper and a pencil to write down an address. I knew an
American friend to be arrested, mistaken for Mr. Schneider, formerly
President of the Corps Législatif. My man was dark, and Schneider
was fair; but that made no difference. During the petroleum madness,
immediately after the suppression of the Commune, an American lady
was followed to her home and very nearly maltreated because she had a
bottle of _fleur d'orange_ in her hand, which she had just bought at
the druggist's. Our vice-consul had red curtains in his sitting-room.
One evening he was disagreeably surprised by a visit of armed
National Guards. They accused him of making signals to the enemy. On
seeing the red curtains, they became satisfied. That a five-story
house on the opposite side of a narrow street must effectually
preclude his lights from being seen at a distance, was no answer to
them. Mr. Washburne called the attention of the French Government
to this outrage; but, as no harm had been done, we could not follow
the matter up. Under our consular convention with France, a consul's
house is inviolable; but a vice-consul has no official existence when
the consul is present. When he is absent, his deputy succeeds to his
privileges and immunities as consular representative of the country.

Mr. Washburne was not the man to submit to any outrage upon German
or American property. A squad of National Guards entered and
partially pillaged the house of the German school-master Hedler,
where Washburne's son and other American boys were at school.
Our Minister was in arms at once. The Government apologized, the
battalion was paraded under arms, the Chief of Police made them a
speech, the guilty men were called out and punished, and full damages
were paid to Hedler, assessed to Mr. Washburne's satisfaction.

To resume my narrative. On the 18th of September, several of the
principal members of the diplomatic corps left Paris. Their departure
gave rise to a good deal of discussion, and much has been written
and said upon the subject. The diplomatic corps, as a body, never
left Paris. A few days before the siege, Lord Lyons called upon
Jules Favre. Favre suggested that if the diplomatic corps wished to
leave Paris--and it was natural that they should--he was prepared
to accompany them. Lord Lyons replied that he saw no necessity for
departure at that time. Favre thereupon said that, in this case, he
should stay too.

On the morning of the 18th, Prince Metternich, the Austrian
Embassador, came very early to the British Embassy, and said that
he meant to go away that afternoon in company with the Turkish
Embassador and the Italian Minister, and hoped that Lord Lyons
would accompany them. Lord Lyons replied that he saw no necessity
for haste, for Bismarck would let them go at any time. Metternich
answered, "I don't want to ask any favors of Bismarck, and my
Government doesn't want me to." Lord Lyons then finding that the
Great Powers of Europe had left, or were about to leave, Paris,
consented to go too, and called again upon Favre. But Favre told him
that he had then made his arrangements to stay; but that he should
send Count Chaudordy to represent his department at Tours.

As soon as it was known that the representatives of several of the
Great Powers had left Paris, a meeting of the corps was called by
the Nuncio, at the request of several of its members. The question
was put, Shall the diplomatic corps leave Paris? and decided in the

But the members departed one by one, till but a few were left.
Another meeting was then called, and again it was decided not to
leave Paris.

It is quite generally supposed that Mr. Washburne was the only
Minister who remained during the whole siege. This is incorrect.
There were six in all--the representatives of Northern powers--Norway
and Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United
States. In their relations to the French Government, and in their
correspondence with Count Bismarck upon their right to communicate
with their respective governments during the siege, and to due notice
in case of proposed bombardment, these gentlemen acted in unison as
the diplomatic corps at Paris.

The division of diplomatic representatives into embassadors and
ministers appears to me to be a mistake. It is certainly pleasant for
the embassadors. They have the right of direct communication with
the sovereign, for they are held to represent the person of their
own sovereign, which the ministers do not. At Paris, at the court
festivities, they occupied arm-chairs by the side of the Emperor and
Empress, while the ministers were seated on benches in a _loge_.
They had precedence on the reception-days of the Minister of Foreign
Affairs. A minister might have waited two hours; an embassador
dropped in, and entered before him. Some of them, like Lord Lyons,
did not abuse this privilege. He transacted his business as quickly
as possible, and gave place to another. The Turkish Embassador, on
the other hand, used to gossip by the hour. That he kept a dozen of
his colleagues waiting seemed rather to please him. I once heard
Lord Lyons remonstrate with him for doing so, and he giggled as if
he thought it rather a good joke. In Prussia this is not permitted:
first come, first served, is the rule at Berlin, and it seems to
me to be the just one. Mr. Bancroft got this rule established, and
deserves great credit for the stout fight he made on the occasion.
Count Bismarck is stated to have said that if there had been no
embassadors, there would have been no war; for the French Government
could not have invented the story that their Embassador had been
insulted by the King. However this may be, there can be no doubt that
the system leads to the formation of cliques, and, consequently, to
separate action by a clique instead of by the whole corps. This is
bad under any circumstances, but particularly unfortunate in great

In regard to the right of free communication with their respective
governments claimed by the diplomatic corps at Paris, Count Bismarck
refused to accord it. He argued that if these gentlemen saw fit to
shut themselves up in a besieged place when they could go away
for the asking, and when the French Government had made provision
for this case by establishing a branch of the Government at Tours,
they must take the consequences; but as a favor he would permit
correspondence if it were left unsealed. Of course the corps declined
these terms. To Mr. Washburne he wrote (and Bismarck writes and
speaks admirable English) that his position as protector of the
North Germans in France entitled him to a different answer; that as
an evidence of his gratitude for the fidelity and energy with which
the duties of this position had been discharged, it had given him
great pleasure to obtain from the King permission for Mr. Washburne
to receive a sealed bag containing his dispatches and his private
correspondence as often as military necessities would permit.

There has been much difference of opinion expressed as to the right
of a diplomatic body voluntarily remaining in a besieged place
to receive and answer dispatches in sealed correspondence. Mr.
Washburne contended that they had such a right; and in this he was
energetically supported by Mr. Fish. I confess, however, that to my
mind the right is by no means clear. To me Bismarck's argument is
unanswerable. "You see fit to stay when the Great Powers of Europe
have gone, and when the French Government has made arrangements for
the due discharge of your duties elsewhere. By so doing you put
yourselves in the position of other inhabitants of the besieged
place, and can claim no privileges not accorded to them." In the case
of Mr. Washburne, charged with the protection of the Germans at the
request of the German Government itself, the necessity for remaining
at Paris may have existed. At all events, if he thought that it did,
it did not lie in the mouth of that Government to say that it did
not. By choosing as their agent the representative of a friendly and
independent power, they left his judgment unfettered as to the manner
of discharging his duties. The same remark applies to M. Kern, the
Minister of Switzerland, who was charged with the protection of the
Bavarians and the Badois. But as regards the other gentlemen, I can
not but agree with Count Bismarck. I was confirmed in this view,
after the siege was over, by General Sheridan. Dining at my table one
day in company with Mr. Washburne, he said to him, "If I had been in
Moltke's place, you would not have had your bag."

The siege commenced on the 19th of September. For some days
previous the streets of Paris had presented an unwonted and curious
appearance. They were thronged with the quaintest-looking old carts,
farm-wagons, Noah's arks of every kind, loaded with the furniture of
the poor inhabitants of the neighborhood flying to Paris for safety.
On the other hand, the stations were thronged with the carriages of
the better classes leaving the city. The railroads were so overworked
that they finally refused to take any baggage that could not be
carried by the passenger himself. Imagine the painful situation of
some of our fair countrywomen, Worth's admirers and patrons! To have
come to Paris amidst all the dangers of war to procure something to
wear, to have procured it, and then to be unable to carry it away!
But what will not woman's wit and energy do under such circumstances?
A clever and energetic friend of mine hired a _bateau-mouche_, one of
the little steamers that ply on the Seine from one part of Paris to
another, and, embarking with her "impedimenta," sailed triumphantly
for Havre.

It had been agreed between Mr. Washburne and myself that if the
diplomatic corps left Paris, and he accompanied them, I should remain
to take charge of the Legation, and look after American and German
property; and he so reported to Mr. Fish. I had quite a curiosity
to be a besieged. I had been a besieger at Port Hudson, and thought
that I would like to experience the other sensation. The sensation
is not an unpleasant one, especially in a city like Paris. If you
have been overworked and harassed, the relief is very great. There
is a calm, a sort of Sunday rest, about it that is quite delightful.
In my experience the life of the besieged is altogether the most
comfortable of the two. You live quietly in your own house, and with
your own servants; and with a little forethought you may be amply
provisioned. You sleep in your own room, instead of in a cold, damp,
and muddy tent; and if an _éclat d'obus_--as the French delicately
call it--strikes your house on one side, you move into the other.
There has been a great deal of fine writing about famous sieges, and
the suffering and heroism of the inhabitants. I imagine that there
was not so much suffering, after all, at Saragossa; and that the
"Maid" and her companions in arms had plenty of corn-meal and good
mule-meat to eat--not a disagreeable or unwholesome diet for a while!


  Balloons.--Large Number dispatched.--Small Number lost.--Worth.
  --Carrier-pigeons.--Their Failure.--Their Instincts.--_Times_
  "Agony Column."--Correspondence.--Letters to Besieged.--Count Solms.
  --Our Dispatch-bag.--Moltke complains that it is abused.--Washburne's
  Answer.--Bismarck's Reply.

At the beginning of the siege, one of the absorbing topics of
discussion among the Parisians was the means of communication with
the outer world. The French had always had a fancy for ballooning,
and were probably in advance of the rest of the world in this
respect. They now applied their experience to a practical use, and
soon a service of mail balloons was organized, starting from Paris
twice a week. At first they were dispatched in the afternoon, for the
all-sufficient reason that they always had been dispatched in the
afternoon; but soon they found that the balloon did not rise quickly
enough to escape the bullets of the Prussians encamped upon the hills
which surround Paris. So they changed the hour of departure to one in
the morning. When daylight appeared they were beyond the Prussian
lines. Indeed, the speed of the balloon is sometimes marvelous.
Starting at one o'clock in the morning, one of them fell into the sea
off the coast of Holland at daylight. The passengers were rescued by
a fishing-smack. A second descended in Norway on the very morning it
left Paris. The officer of the Post-office who was charged with the
organization of this service told me that, of ninety-seven balloons
that left Paris during the siege, ninety-four arrived safely; about
equal to railway-trains in these latter days. Two fell into the hands
of the enemy, and one was never heard of. It was supposed to have
drifted out to sea and been lost. A balloon was seen off Eddystone
Light-house. A few days afterward a gentleman spending the winter at
Torquay received a letter from the rector at Land's End, Cornwall,
stating that a number of letters had drifted ashore, supposed to have
been lost from a balloon, and among them was one addressed to him;
that it had been dried, and on receipt of twopence it would be sent
him. It proved to be a balloon letter from me, and is still preserved
as a souvenir of the siege and the sea.

Quite at the beginning of the siege a member of my own family
received a letter from me, dispatched by the first balloon which
left Paris. Its arrival created quite a sensation in the little Welsh
watering-place where she was spending a part of the autumn. People
stopped her in the street, and asked to see the "balloon letter." The
natives evidently thought that it must have something of the balloon
about it.

I recollect Worth's coming to the Legation one day--(and who does not
know Worth? He rules the women throughout the civilized and toileted
world; and through the women he rules the men, or their pockets at
least). Worth was in great distress. His nephew had gone out in a
balloon and been captured, and there were rumors that his life was in
danger. I promised to ascertain his fate, if possible, and prepared
a letter to Count Bismarck, which Mr. Washburne signed. Bismarck
replied most promptly, as he always did. And here let me state that
during the siege, at the request of anxious wives and parents, we
often addressed inquiries to German Head-quarters to ascertain the
fate of a husband or a son, and that these inquiries always received
the promptest and kindest attention. To the inquiry about young
Worth, Bismarck replied that he had been captured attempting to cross
the Prussian lines in a balloon; that to cross the Prussian lines
in the air was like crossing them on the land; and that the person
caught attempting it would be similarly punished; that young Worth
was in prison, and would be kept there for a few months, to teach
others not to attempt the same thing; but that no other harm had
happened, or would happen, to him. I sent for Worth, and read him the
letter. He was much relieved, and expressed himself very grateful.
Some years later a relative of mine took the material for a dress to
Worth, and asked him to make it up. Think of the audacity of such
a request! But Worth did it. If gratitude is to be measured not by
the magnitude of the favor conferred, but by the sacrifice made by
him who confers it, then Worth's gratitude stands out in unequaled

But while with the help of balloons the Parisians managed very well
to send letters from Paris, it was no easy task to receive them. The
pigeon experiment proved a failure. No doubt pigeons can be trained
to do their work tolerably well, and the French Government now has
a large collection of carriers at the Jardin d'Acclimatation. But
during the siege very few succeeded in reaching home. A carrier will
scarcely ever make a two days' journey. If night overtakes him, he
goes astray, misled perhaps by siren wood-pigeons. In winter, too,
the days are short, snow-storms blind him, and hawks pounce upon him.
One of the canards circulated in Paris was that the Prussians trained
hawks for this purpose. The instinct of the animal, too, seems to
teach it to fly northward only. Two or three times a carrier arrived
safely, bringing with it one of those marvels of scientific skill,
a photographic letter. The microscope revealed the contents of a
good-sized newspaper transferred to a scrap of paper that a pigeon
could carry under its wing.

Some of the French residing in London took advantage of the "agony
column" of the _Times_ to send news to their friends. They had faith
in the ubiquity of the great journal, and their faith was rewarded.
I doubt if you could so hedge in a city that the _Times_ would not
penetrate it. Our Legation in London sent it to us. I received one
number a week. In it I found multitudes of _prières_ addressed to Mr.
Washburne, and some to myself, begging us to inform Mr. So-and-so,
or Madame Blank, that their wife, or husband, or children, were at
such and such a place, and all well. When these messages were purely
personal, we delivered them. If they were in cipher, or susceptible
of a double meaning, we did not. I remember finding a message in
cipher, and addressed to the Minister of War. I not only did not
deliver it, but I burned it for fear that the favor of receiving
our letters and papers accorded us by the German Government might
be abused. About two days before the _jour de l'an_, I received
a _Times_ of December 23d, for the Germans purposely delayed our
bag, probably that the news, should it become known to the French
Government, might not be acted on by it, to the detriment of German
military operations. The "agony column" was full of messages to
besieged relatives. I thought that the Parisians could receive no
more acceptable presents for their New-year's-day, so I copied all
the messages which had addresses and sent them by mail. But some
had no addresses. How the writers ever expected them to reach their
destinations, I do not understand. I copied them too, however, and
sent them to the _Gaulois_. On New-year's morning that journal
published them. In a few days it received grateful letters, thanking
the editors warmly, and offering to pay a share of the expense,
"which must have been great." The _Gaulois_ replied, declining all
payment, but modestly assuming great credit to itself for its
"unparalleled enterprise," and assuring its correspondents that it
should continue to spare no expense to procure them news of their

The Prussian officers, too, at head-quarters not unfrequently sent in
letters, with the request that we would distribute them. I remember
once receiving from Count Solms, who had been _chargé d'affaires_ at
Paris after the departure of the Embassador, a letter forwarded by
him, without address, without signature, and without date. I waited
a few days, thinking that other letters might refer to it, and that
the owner would call and claim it. No one came. As the difficulties
increased, of course I was the more determined to trace out the
owner. Every thing else failing, I read the letter, to try to obtain
a clue. Fortunately, I found the name of Mr. Henri Blount. I knew
Mr. Blount, and knew that his father was in Paris. I wrote him, and
told him the circumstances. He replied that if I would trust him with
the letter, he thought that he could find the owner. He took it to
the Jockey Club at dinner-time, and asked if there was any gentleman
there whose name was Charles, and whose wife's name was Anna. A
gentleman immediately claimed it, but after a glance reluctantly
gave it up. Another claimed it, and turned out to be the right man.

I had rather an amusing correspondence with Count Solms in reference
to this letter and other matters. I give two or three of the letters
which passed between us, as showing that we contrived to enjoy
ourselves after a fashion in Paris, notwithstanding the rigors of
the siege. I give the letters as written. One of them is, perhaps,
better adapted to the French language than to its more austere sister

  "Paris, le 13 Décembre, 1870.

  "MON CHER COMTE,--Votre lettre n'est pas vraiment d'un "intérêt
  palpitant," mais vous êtes bien disciplinés vous autres
  Prussiens, et j'adore la discipline. Nous voyons les résultats.

  "Néanmoins, il puisse être permis à un neutre de vous remercier
  de vos anxiétés à son égard. Mais il ne meurt pas absolument de
  faim. J'ai dîné, il y a quatre jours, chez un restaurateur bien
  connu, en compagnie de quatre jeunes gens que vous connaissez
  bien. Nous avons mangé un cochon-de-lait, un canard rôti, des
  truffes et du beurre frais. Ce n'est pas la famine ça--tout
  arrosé de Château Margaux de '50. Ne croyez pas que dans ces
  temps ci j'ai commandé un tel dîner de Sybarite moi-même.
  J'ai été invité. Voilà pourquoi je ne puis rien vous dire de

  "J'espère qu'on ne trouvera rien de compromettant dans cette
  lettre excepté pour le cochon-de-lait. Lui il a été bien

  "Je suis toujours à vos ordres pour envoyer des lettres de
  famille de vos amis.

  "Votre dévoué, etc., etc., etc.

  "Comme je plains vous autres pauvres Prussiens enfermés hors de

  "Versailles, le 17 Décembre, '70.

  "MON CHER COLONEL,--Merci de votre amusante lettre. Le menu
  qu'elle contenait m'a complètement tranquillisé, et la solidité
  de votre repas me fait espérer que vous jouissez encore des
  forces physiques nécessaires pour que je puisse me permettre
  de vous prier de vouloir bien vous charger de la distribution
  des lettres que j'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer cijoints. Mille
  amitiés de votre très-discipliné,

  "F. SOLMS."

  "Paris, le 25 Décembre, '70.

  "MON CHER COMTE,--J'ai reçu votre billet du 17, et je me suis
  hâté d'envoyer les lettres y incluses. Quelques-unes j'ai livrées
  moi-même; les autres je les ai mises à la poste.

  "Depuis le repas dont la solidité a tant frappé votre esprit, je
  suis heureux de vous dire que j'ai mangé quelques-uns encore plus
  solides. Que pensez-vous de lard salé aux haricots--pas verts?
  Je me suis trouvé transporté aux premiers jours de notre petite
  guerre en Kansas, au Grand-Ouest, il y a 16 ans.

  "Nous avons une nouvelle idée à Paris, une idée tout-à-fait
  parisienne. Connaissez-vous la cause de la guerre? Evidemment
  non. Eh bien, la Providence a trouvé que les vieilles races
  d'Europe commencent à se dégénérer. Elle désire les mélanger un
  peu. Il y a probablement 350,000 soldats français prisonniers
  en Allemagne; il y a peut-être 600,000 soldats allemands sur
  le territoire français. Vous voyez, ou plutôt vous verrez, les
  résultats. Voilà l'idée que j'ai entendu développée avec beaucoup
  d'éloquence par la belle marquise de ---- à une petite soirée où
  j'ai eu l'honneur d'assister il y a quelques jours. Je la livre,
  gratuitement bien entendu, au George Bancroft de l'avenir--'La
  cause et les résultats de la guerre de 1870.'

  "Vous voyez que nous tâchons de nous amuser encore à Paris.

  "Agréez, etc., etc., etc."

To be in exclusive receipt of news during a siege is gratifying to
one's vanity, but it has its decidedly disagreeable side. I doubt
if the siege were to begin again if Mr. Washburne would accept
a bag containing any thing but his official dispatches and his
family letters. If we gave the Parisians news, they said that we
gave them only bad news. If we withheld it, they said that we
were withholding the news of French victories. I speak of what was
said in the workmen's clubs, and by the inferior press; the better
classes and the more respectable newspapers found no fault. Then
General Moltke complained that we abused our privilege. His scouts
had intercepted a balloon letter, in which the writer spoke of the
facility of receiving letters through the Legation, and instructed
her correspondent to write under cover to me. That clever writer,
too, Labouchère, "The Besieged Resident," told in the columns of
the _Daily News_ how small a matter it was to be shut up in Paris.
"Go to the Legation of the United States on any day, and there you
find the latest London journals lying on the table." All this was
nuts to General Moltke, for he had opposed our receiving our bag,
but had been overruled by the King on the request of Count Bismarck.
Bismarck wrote to Mr. Washburne, calling his attention to Moltke's
complaint. Washburne replied. After stating the circumstances under
which I had authorized a letter to be sent under cover to me, for an
American lady whose daughter was sick with the small-pox at Brussels,
he proceeded to say that both he and I had endeavored honorably to
discharge our duties as neutrals; that we had acted according to the
best of our judgments under this sense of duty; that we proposed to
continue to act as we had done; and that if the German authorities
could not trust us, they had better stop the bag altogether, with the
exception, of course, of the dispatches from our Government. At the
same time he sent back nearly five hundred letters which had been
sent us without authority, and which had not been delivered, as the
best possible proof that he had not abused his privilege. Washburne's
letter concluded as follows:

  "Before closing this communication, I trust your Excellency will
  pardon me a further observation. For the period of six months I
  have been charged with the delicate, laborious, and responsible
  duty of protecting your countrymen in Paris. Of the manner in
  which these duties, having relation to both belligerents, have
  been performed, I do not propose to speak. I am content to abide
  by the record made up in the State Department at Washington.
  But I can state that there has never been a time when these
  duties have involved graver consequences and responsibilities
  than at the present moment. As I have expressed to you before, I
  have been astonished at the number of Germans who, as it turns
  out, were left in the city when the gates were closed. Having
  exhausted their last resources, and finding themselves in a
  state of the most absolute destitution, they have applied to
  me for protection and aid, which I have so far been enabled to
  extend to them from the funds placed in my hands by the Royal
  Government. The number of these people amounts to-day to two
  thousand three hundred and eighty-five; and it is certain, had
  there not been some one to protect and aid them, many must have
  inevitably perished of cold and starvation. My position in
  relation to these people and to your Government is known to the
  people of Paris, and as the siege wears on, and the exasperation
  is intensified, I now find myself exposed to the hostility of
  a certain portion of the population of the city. While your
  military authorities seem to be agitated by the gravest fears in
  relation to my dispatch-bag, I am daily violently assailed by a
  portion of the Paris press as a "Prussian representative" and a
  "Prussian sympathizer;" and a short time since it was proposed
  in one of the clubs that I should be hanged--rather a pleasant
  diversion in these dreary days of siege through which we are

  "I will only add that, so long as I am the diplomatic
  representative of my country in Paris, I shall discharge every
  duty, even to the end, and in the face of every circumstance,
  that I owe to my own Government, and every duty that I have by
  its direction assumed toward the subjects of the North German

  "I have the honor, etc., etc."

Bismarck replied with an apology. He said he knew that the privilege
accorded us had not been abused, and he was satisfied that it would
not be; that the military authorities had called his attention
to this matter, and that it was therefore his duty to call Mr.
Washburne's attention to it; that the bag would continue to be sent
as usual; and that he returned the five hundred letters, with full
authority to Mr. Washburne to deliver them if he saw fit. I heard
afterward that Bismarck was delighted with Washburne's letter, and
took special pleasure in sending a copy to General Moltke.


  Burnside's Peace Mission.--Sent in by Bismarck.--Interview with
  Trochu.--The Sympathetic Tear.--Question of Revictualment.--Failure
  of Negotiations.--Point of Vanity.--Flags of Truce.--French
  accused of Violation of Parole.--Question of the Francs-Tireurs.
  --Foreigners refused Permission to leave Paris.--Washburne
  insists.--Permission granted.--Departure of Americans.--Scenes
  at Créteil.

Early in the month of October we were surprised by a visit from
General Burnside. He happened to be at Versailles, more from
curiosity than any other motive, where, through General Sheridan,
he became quite intimate with Count Bismarck. Bismarck asked him
one day if he would like to go into Paris on a peace mission. Lord
Granville had been very urgent with the King to grant the French
an armistice, and had induced him to offer it, with a view to an
election. There would be no difficulty, Bismarck said, on any point
except that of revictualment. This General Moltke would not hear of.
Not an ounce of food should enter Paris. "Now," said Bismarck, "that
Government of the National Defense is not the wisest in the world,
but they are not such d--d fools as to stand out on a point like
that. There will be an armistice, and an armistice means peace. If
there is peace, England will get the credit of it; and as the United
States represents us, I would rather that you had the credit of it."
Burnside came in accordingly, accompanied by Mr. Paul Forbes, who
was promoted to the rank of aid-de-camp for the occasion, and dubbed
a colonel. The Prussians could not realize the idea of a general
traveling without his aid. A meeting was appointed with Trochu, and
I went as interpreter. His headquarters were at the Louvre, in a
large and convenient apartment, occupied, under the Empire, by M.
Rouher. Before Burnside had stated the object of his visit, Trochu
made us a speech. He spoke well for nearly half an hour. He told us
that France had been very wicked; that she had fallen away from the
true Catholic faith; that infidelity and skepticism were rampant in
the land; that the misfortunes which had come upon her were deserved;
that they were visitations for the sins of the people; but that,
when they had repented and humbled themselves, he had faith that the
punishment would pass from them. He continued in this strain for
full twenty minutes, speaking very eloquently; then pulled out his
handkerchief, and saying, "Excuse my emotion," he wept. After this he
came to business. Burnside confined himself most conscientiously to
the exact tenor of his message. Trochu made repeated suggestions of
such and such possibilities, but Burnside refused to follow him. He
knew nothing but his instructions. As I had feared, Trochu bristled
up at the no-revictualment clause. "Such a condition had never been
heard of. From the most remote antiquity, there had always been
revictualment allowed in case of armistice, so much per head per
diem." He gave us at that time no positive answer, but said he would
discuss the matter with his colleagues. Negotiations failed upon
this very point. The French Government called it a point of honor.
It was rather a point of vanity. We did not need the provisions,
as the result showed we had food enough for three months. Yet, for
that barren privilege of bringing in food which was not needed, the
Government of the National Defense rejected the armistice. They
could then have made peace, with the loss of one province and two
milliards. They continued the war, and lost two provinces and five
milliards (one thousand millions of dollars).

It must be remembered that the members of the Government of the
National Defense were self-appointed. They were always preaching
of their earnest desire to appeal to the people. Here was the
opportunity, and they rejected it. It is a pleasant thing to appoint
yourself and your particular friends rulers of a great country like
France, and one does not readily resign the position. The people
might not re-appoint you.

As we left the Louvre, I said to Burnside, "If France is to be saved,
it will not be by that man." "I don't know that--I don't know that,"
he replied. He was evidently impressed by Trochu's eloquence and
emotion, and ready tear.

It has been stated that Bismarck refused to enter into negotiations
with the Government of the National Defense; that he would not
recognize its self-assumed authority, and considered that there was
no evidence that it was recognized by the majority of the French
people; for there were riots in the great cities of the South, and
disturbances in Brittany. Bismarck recognized it or not, as suited
his policy, and that policy was exclusively the interests of Germany.
Had Trochu waived the food question, Bismarck would have promptly
recognized him and his colleagues, so far, at least, as to make an
armistice with them, as he afterward did.

Burnside returned that afternoon to Versailles. I accompanied him
as far as Sèvres. Trochu sent a carriage for us. It was odd to find
one's self in one of the old imperial barouches, drawn by the famous
post-horses of the Emperor. We drove through the Bois by Rothschild's
house, and so to the broken bridge at Sèvres. In the Bois desolation
reigned. The trees were cut down within three hundred yards of the
ramparts, the roads torn up and torpedoes planted in them. The swans
had gone to feed the hungry soldiers, and the ducks, to avoid the
same fate, kept wisely out in the middle of the lake. When we had
reached the bridge, a bugle sounded on the French side, and a white
flag was displayed. It was soon answered from the German side, and a
similar flag was raised. At once the French troops lounged from under
cover, their hands in their pockets, and down to the water's edge.
The Prussians were kept concealed. They saw us, no doubt, but not one
of them was to be seen. Presently, a Prussian officer descended the
street, followed by a flag-bearer. He stalks across the bridge to
the broken arch, turns, takes the flag from the bearer, and plants
the staff in the bridge, with an air as if to say "Touch that, if
you dare." The French soldiers are evidently impressed. They mutter,
"_Voici des militaires_." The officer asks in French, "Are those
the American generals?" "They are." "Then let them pass." Burnside
requests permission to take Antoine with him, the messenger of the
Legation. "Is he an American?" "Yes." "Then he can come, of course."
The steam-launch puffs up, and the party cross. I cross with them,
but return at once to the French side. The soldiers disappear, the
flag is lowered, and the firing recommences. I have been rather
minute in this description, as the same ceremonies were observed
twice a week, when we sent and received our dispatch-bags.

The German Government complained on several occasions of the
violation of flags of truce. These complaints were addressed to
the French authorities through us. Indeed, every communication
addressed to the French Government and its replies were sent
through the Legation. This kept us busy even during the quiet days
of the siege. The violation of parole was another fruitful source
of correspondence. The Germans sent us a list of over twenty-five
officers, whom they alleged had broken their paroles. In some
cases--that of General Ducrot, for instance--there are two sides to
the question. He claimed that it was a legitimate escape, and the
French press was unanimously of his opinion. There was another branch
of correspondence that occupied a good deal of our time. The two
governments, to their credit be it spoken, did not allow the war to
interfere with the administration of justice. Under their treaties
each Government was bound to serve upon its own subjects all legal
documents in civil suits emanating from the courts of the other. This
was done throughout the war, and they all passed through our hands.

There was, too, correspondence between the two hostile governments
upon other subjects. Among them I recollect one in relation to the
Francs-Tireurs. The Germans treated these irregulars as guerrillas.
The French remonstrated. The Germans answered that they had no
uniform; that they wore the blue blouse, which is the national dress
of the French peasant; and that they ought to wear something which
could be distinguished at rifle range. I do not remember how the
matter was settled, but I believe that the Francs-Tireurs gradually
disappeared, absorbed in the Mobiles.

Not long after Burnside's mission I paid a second visit to Trochu.
Mr. Washburne had applied to the Germans for permission for Americans
and other foreigners to leave Paris. The King accorded it at once.
Any American could leave on Mr. Washburne's pass, any other foreigner
on the same pass, provided that his name had first been submitted
to and accepted by the German authorities. Having obtained this
concession, Mr. Washburne next applied to the French Government
for its permission. To his surprise, it was refused. He could not
understand it. That the Germans should wish to keep in the city
a number of "useless mouths" to help consume the provision, was
natural, but that the French, who, for the same reason, ought to
have wished to get rid of them, should refuse to let them go, was
inconceivable. But Washburne was not the man to sit down quietly
under a refusal in a matter like this. He insisted that they must go,
and should go. Favre was evidently on his side, and we had reason
to believe that he was backed by some, at least, of his colleagues.
Trochu opposed the departure for fear of the effect upon Belleville.
If I had not heard him say so, I could not have believed it.

As Washburne insisted, and Favre was in favor of the permission
being given, an interview was arranged with Trochu. The "Governor
of Paris," as he loved to call himself, made us another oration.
It was very much a rehash of the first. He then stated that he had
been unwilling that the "strangers" should leave Paris; it looked
like "rats deserting the sinking ship;" he feared the effect upon
Belleville. But out of regard for Mr. Washburne, and in deference to
the opinion of some of his colleagues, he would now consent. He added
that he would send an aid-de-camp to Belleville, to spread the report
that it was the diplomatic corps leaving the capital. I looked at him
with astonishment. That he should tell a lie was bad enough, but that
he should tell it out of fear of that wretched mob was a degree of
weakness I was not prepared for.

Permission having been given, no time was lost in the preparations
for departure. On the 24th of October, forty-eight Americans and
several Russians went out by Créteil. A number of English started,
but were turned back. Their names had not been sent to Versailles
in season. Permission was subsequently received, and they left
Paris a few days later. We drove to the French outposts, and thence
sent forward the flag with an officer of Trochu's staff, and Mr.
Washburne's private secretary, Mr. Albert Ward, who was charged
with the necessary arrangements on our side. While we waited, a
German picket of six men advanced toward us, dodging behind the
trees, muskets cocked, and fingers on trigger. I confess I was not
much impressed with this specimen of German scouting. It looked too
much like playing at North American Indian. There were some twenty
traveling-carriages, open and closed, filled with ladies, and piled
up with baggage. The party had as little of a military look as can
well be imagined, and yet the picket advanced as if they feared an

The necessary arrangements having been made, we proceeded to the
German outposts. Here the Prussian officers verified the list,
calling the roll name by name, and taking every precaution to
identify the individuals. I heard afterward, however, that a
Frenchman of some prominence had escaped disguised as a coachman.

I met here a young American, who was living not far from Versailles,
and who was known to Count Bismarck. I gave him a couple of morning
papers. That evening he dined with Bismarck, and offered to sell him
the papers for a quart bottle of Champagne for the big one, and a
pint bottle for the little one. Bismarck offered a quart bottle for
both; but my American indignantly rejected the terms: so Bismarck
accepted his, and paid the bottle and a half. I record this as
perhaps the only diplomatic triumph ever scored against Count de


  Mob seize Hôtel de Ville.--"Thanksgiving" in Paris.--Prices of
  Food.--Paris Rats.--Menagerie Meat.--Horse-meat.--Eatable only
  as Mince.--Government Interference.--Sorties.--Are Failures.--Le
  Bourget taken by French.--Retaken by Prussians.--French
  Naval Officers.--Belleville National Guard.--Their Poetry.
  --Blundering.--Sheridan's Opinion of German Army.

Late in October, M. Thiers came into Paris on a peace mission, but
met with no success. He brought the news of the fall of Metz. There
was great excitement in Paris. The mob collected, marched to the
Hôtel de Ville, and took possession. They arrested several members
of the Government, and shut them up--others escaped. They then
proceeded to depose the Government, and to set up one of their own.
Ducrot begged Trochu to let him fire on the mob; he could disperse
them, he said, in five minutes. The Mobiles were eager to fire; for
the Mobiles and the National Guard lived like cat and dog together.
Trochu would not consent. The insurgents remained in possession of
the Hôtel de Ville all that night, and the next day gradually melted
away. It was one of those unfortunate mob triumphs which contributed
not a little to the success of the Commune.

The siege found about two hundred Americans in Paris. I ought to
say "citizens of the United States;" but we have taken to ourselves
the broader title, and in Europe it is generally accorded to us.
Of these two hundred about fifty went away, and about one hundred
and fifty remained. The French live from hand to mouth, buying only
what is necessary for the day, and laying no stores in. This comes,
I think, from their system of living in apartments, and the want of
store-rooms. The Americans, as a rule, laid in a stock of provisions.
The grocers of Paris had imported a large quantity of canned food
for the use of the _colonie américaine_, which was then, and still
is, a power in Paris. The greater part of the _colonie_ having gone,
there remained a quantity of canned vegetables, fruit, deviled ham
and turkey, oysters, lobsters, etc., etc., and, above all, hominy
and grits. The French knew nothing of these eatables till late in
the siege, when they discovered their merits. In the mean time the
Americans had bought up nearly all there was on hand.

As Thanksgiving approached we determined to celebrate it,
notwithstanding our supposed forlorn condition. Some thirty of us met
at a restaurant on the Boulevard, where we feasted on the traditional
turkey, or, rather, on two of them, at twelve dollars apiece. Under
the circumstances, we had quite an Epicurean repast. Mr. Washburne
presided, and made a humorous speech, dwelling provokingly on the
good things our unbesieged countrymen were then enjoying at home.
Professor Shepherd, of Chicago, was present, and made some clever
and appropriate remarks. The Professor has written one of the most
readable and reliable books upon the siege I have met with.

Prices of food in Paris had now reached their height. Turkeys, as I
have said, sold at $12 apiece, chickens at $6, cats $1.60, rats 15
cents, dogs from 80 cents up, according to size and fat. There was a
refinement in rats. They were known as the brewery rat and the sewer
rat. The brewery rat was naturally the most delicate titbit, and
as the siege progressed and but little food found its way into the
sewers, the sewer rats diminished wofully in numbers, while their
brethren of the brewery increased. I know of no better evidence
of the severity of the cold, and the scarcity of food during that
winter, than an incident that came under my own observation. I was
called by the _concierge_ of the building to look at the apartment of
an American gentleman, on the floor below me. The rats had made their
way with great gymnastic agility into the kitchen; they had thrown
down and broken two or three dishes which the cook had imperfectly
washed, and on which there remained a little grease. They had then
made their way into the salons and bedrooms, had gnawed and burrowed
into the sofas and mattresses, and there several lay, dead of cold
and hunger.

But there was no time in Paris when money would not buy good food,
though it could not buy fuel, for that had been seized by the
Government. Very late in the siege a man brought to the Legation
a piece of _filet de bœuf_ of six pounds, for which he asked four
dollars a pound. Mr. Washburne and I did not indulge in such
luxuries, living principally upon our national pork and beans, and
the poetic fish-ball. A young American happened to be in the office,
however, who took it at once, and paid his twenty-four dollars.

In the suburbs of Paris food was more abundant. I breakfasted in
December with a French general, who commanded one of the outposts.
We had beef, eggs, ham, etc., and, from what I heard, I should say
that he and his staff breakfasted as well every day. These noonday
breakfasts, by-the-way, ruined the French army. I reached my
general's head-quarters at half-past eleven. He and one of his staff
were smoking cigars and drinking absinthe. At twelve we breakfasted
bountifully, as I have said, and with Champagne and other wines,
followed by coffee, brandy, and more cigars. We got through breakfast
about three o'clock. This was on an outpost, in presence of the
enemy. Had he attacked, what would the general and his staff have
been worth? They were very far from being intoxicated, but certainly
their heads were not clear, or their judgments sound.

The Prussians soon learned the French habits, and attacked them in
the field when they were making their soup. The French soldiers could
not catch up their soup and pocket it, and eat it at their leisure.
They consequently lost not only their breakfasts, but frequently
their cooking utensils too. The Germans, on the other hand, had a
liberal ration of meat (_fleisch_--what a disagreeable word!)--one
pound and a half per diem. But, meat failing, they always had a
German sausage and a piece of bread in their haversacks, and could
eat as they marched. Yet such is the power of habit in France, and
the strength of tradition, that I suppose the French soldier will
continue to all time to prepare his soup, even at the expense of

Without stirring from Paris, I had the opportunity during the
siege to taste as many varieties of wild meat as the greatest of
travelers--as Humboldt himself. It was found to be impossible to
procure food for the animals at the Jardin d'Acclimatation, and they
were sold and killed. They were bought mostly by the enterprising
English butcher of the Avenue Friedland. I indulged from time to time
in small portions of elephant, yak, camel, reindeer, porcupine, etc.,
at an average rate of four dollars a pound. Of all these, reindeer
is the best; it has a fine flavor of venison. Elephant is tolerably
good. Some of my readers may remember the charming twin elephants,
Castor and Pollux, who carried children round the Garden on their
backs, in 1867 to 1869. They were done to death with chassepots--shot
through the head. I eat a slice of Castor. It was tolerably good
only; did very well in time of siege. But all these meats are but
poor substitutes for beef and mutton; and when travelers tell us of
the delights of elephant's trunk or buffalo's hump, depend upon it,
it is the hunter's appetite that gives the flavor.

The main-stay of the population, in the way of fresh meat, was horse.
These were requisitioned, and every horseholder having more than one
was compelled to contribute toward feeding the population. The horses
were liberally paid for, so much per pound. Some individuals made a
very good thing out of it. They got in with the horse officials. A
fine animal, requisitioned from the owner, who knew no better than
to send it, appeared at the shambles. One of these gentry, with the
connivance of the official in charge, would take him, and substitute
an old screw of equal or greater weight. I know an American in
Paris who is daily aggravated by seeing at the Bois a beautiful
mare he once owned, and whose loss he had deeply deplored, but had
been comforted by the reflection that she had perished to feed the
starving Parisians.

The horse-meat was rationed and sold by the Government at reasonable
prices: nine ounces and a half were allowed per diem to each adult.
There is a refinement in horse-meat, as in rats. A young light-gray
is tender and juicy. Black is the worst color; the meat is coarse
and tough. But horse-flesh is poor stuff at best. It has a sweet,
sickening flavor. Some people spoke highly of it as soup; others when
_mariné_. The only way I found it eatable was as mince mixed with

From horse-meat to beef is but a slight transition, but one
more easily made on paper than on the table in those days. The
interference of the French Government in almost every detail of
private life is something of which happily we know nothing in this
country. You can not cut down a tree on your own land without its
permission. During the siege you could not kill your own ox without
leave from the Minister of Commerce. If you had providently laid in a
larger supply of fuel than he thought you needed, he took possession
of it, and paid you Government prices for what was then almost
priceless. An American lady resident in Paris had a cow. The cow ran
dry, and she wanted to convert it into beef. She came to the Legation
to secure Mr. Washburne's intervention to obtain for her permission
to kill her own cow. At first it was refused, and it required no
inconsiderable amount of diplomatic correspondence and the waste of
many pages of good foolscap, with a large expenditure of red tape
and sealing-wax, before the permission was obtained.

I have said very little of the sorties from Paris. The subject is
not a pleasant one. There were five hundred thousand armed men in
Paris, and only three hundred and fifty thousand outside. Yet but
one serious sortie was ever made. This was to the south-east, under
Ducrot; and the fighting was obstinate, and lasted two days. Ducrot
had published a proclamation to the effect that he should come back
victorious, or be brought back dead. He was defeated, but marched
quietly back nevertheless. We are unaccustomed among Anglo-Saxons to
this style of proclamation, and call it bombast. I am told, however,
by those better acquainted with the French character than I am, that
it has its effect upon the French soldier, and is therefore allowable.

The garrison of Paris should have made a sortie every night,
sometimes a thousand men, and sometimes a hundred thousand, and in
two or three quarters at once. Their central position gave them
every opportunity to do this to advantage. Had they done so, they
would soon have worn out the Germans with constant _alertes_, and
with comparatively little fatigue to themselves. But this, too, was
mismanaged. They surprised and took Le Bourget, a little village to
the north-east. Of course we all supposed that it would be strongly
garrisoned, and the garrison well supported. Not at all. Two days
later the Prussians retook it. The garrison made a most gallant
defense, but they were entirely unsupported. Not a regiment of the
immense army in Paris came to their assistance. No possible excuse
can be given for this abandonment.

The loss of Le Bourget produced great discontent among the Parisians;
and Trochu was blamed, and most justly. He made an effort to retake
it, but in vain. The sailors, under their gallant officers, made a
spirited assault, but were repulsed with great loss; for they were
not supported by the soldiers. The officers made every effort to lead
them on, but they would not assault.

The French naval officers are a very superior class of men. They
compare most favorably with those of any other nation. They are
painstaking, intelligent, and well-informed. Under their command the
sailors fought gallantly during the war, for there was a large number
of them detailed to the army, as they had little to do at sea. They
felt strongly the deterioration of their sister service, the army.
At Versailles I was once dining at a restaurant near a naval officer.
An army officer, accompanied by two non-commissioned officers,
entered, called loudly for dinner, and made a great disturbance. They
were evidently the worse for liquor. I overheard the naval officer
muttering to himself, "_Cette pauvre armée française! cette pauvre
armée française!_"

There was always blundering. They had shut up a brigade of cavalry
in Paris. Jerome Bonaparte, who commanded one of the regiments, told
me he had no idea why he was ordered in, unless it was to eat up
his horses. This they proceeded to do so soon as they were fairly
trained, and so doubled in value. Trochu organized a sortie to the
north-west. Two columns left Paris one night by different gates,
and were to take up their positions simultaneously and attack at
daylight. He forgot that one road crossed the other, and that one
column must necessarily halt for the other to pass. Of course one
of them arrived late on the ground, and the attack failed. When a
sortie was to be made, a flag was hoisted on Mount Valérien. The
Germans soon knew its meaning as well as the French, and prepared
accordingly. An intended sortie was known at least twenty-four hours
before it took place, and its chances discussed on the boulevards.
The National Guard, too, with some honorable exceptions, would not
fight. The heroes of Belleville howled to be led against the enemy.
They got as far as the barriers, and refused to go farther. "They
were enlisted to defend Paris, and they would not go beyond the
_enceinte_; the Reactionists wanted to get them out, that they might
deliver Paris over to the enemy." There was a popular song they sung
as they marched through the streets which perfectly illustrates their
sentiments and character:

      "Nous partons,
                    ons, ons,
      Comme des moutons,
      Comme des moutons,
      Pour la boucherie,
                    rie, rie.

      "On nous massacra,
                    ra, ra,
      Comme des rats,
      Comme des rats.
      Comme Bismarck rira!

An officer commanding a fort applied for re-enforcements to relieve
his exhausted men. They sent him a battalion of our Belleville
gentlemen. The next day he sent them back, saying they had been
drunk and fought in the trenches all night, and that he preferred to
get along as well as he could with his overworked garrison.

Trochu planned a sortie to the south-east. It was necessary to cross
the Marne. The troops arrived at the appointed hour, but the pontoons
did not. A whole day was lost, and the sortie was _une affaire
manquée_. Outside, things were nearly as badly managed. No serious
effort was ever made to cut the German lines of communication.
The railways to the east were all-important to them, not so much
for provisions (for they drew these mostly from France), but for
ammunition. With the enormous guns in use, the transportation of
ammunition was a serious matter, taxing the railroad facilities
of the Germans to the uttermost. An interruption might have
compelled them to raise the siege. Sheridan, who, being at the
King's head-quarters, and treated with the greatest kindness and
attention, naturally sympathized with the Germans, could not help
exclaiming that if he had been outside with thirty thousand cavalry,
he would have made the King * * * Well, it is not worth while to quote
Sheridan's exact words; they were a little in the style, of the
commander of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo; but the substance of
them was, that an active officer with a good cavalry force could have
so broken up the communications of the German army as to compel it
to raise the siege. For the Germans are not particularly handy at
repairing a broken road or bridge; and a German general does not, as
the rebel soldier said of Sherman, carry a duplicate tunnel in his

As I am quoting Sheridan, let me here record his opinion of the
German army. He _believed_ that they were brave soldiers. They were
well disciplined, well led, and had every appearance of thorough
soldiers; but he could not say so positively, for, so far as his
observation went, they had never met with any serious resistance. He
looked upon the German army as in no respect superior to one of our
great armies at the close of the war--the Army of the Potomac, for
instance--except as regards the staff. That was far superior to ours,
and to any staff in Europe. Their field telegraph, too, excited his
admiration. It had been borrowed from us, but improved.


  The National Guard.--Its Composition.--The American Ambulance.--Its
  Organization.--Its Success.--Dr. Swinburne, Chief Surgeon.--The
  Tent System.--Small Mortality.--Poor Germans in Paris.--Bombardment
  by Germans.--Wantonness of Artillery-men.--Bad News from the Loire.
  --"Le Plan Trochu."--St. Genevieve to appear.--Vinoy takes Command.
  --Paris surrenders.--Bourbaki defeated.--Attempts Suicide.

A gentleman of rank and great historic name, of approved bravery, and
who had seen service as an officer in the French army, came one day
to the Legation in the uniform of a private. I asked him why he had
enlisted, when he could so easily have got a commission. He replied
that it was true he could easily have got a company in the National
Guard, but before he could know his men, and they could know him, and
he could drill and discipline them, they would go into action. Then
they would inevitably run away. If he ran with them, he would be held
responsible; if he stood, he would be killed. So he had decided to
enlist as a private, to stand as long as the rest stood, and to run
away when they ran. It struck me that this gentleman was wise in his
generation, but that it was not precisely in this way that France was
to be saved.

In speaking of the National Guard as I have done, it is proper to
state that I speak of the masses, the workmen of Paris, and the
_petite bourgeoisie_ of most of the arrondissements. There were some
few battalions that could be relied upon, some composed in part of
the "gentlemen of France;" but they were insufficient to leaven the
whole lump. The masses, those who drew a franc and a half per diem
for themselves, and seventy-five centimes for their wives, or for the
women who lived with them--for the Government of the National Defense
had decided that it was the same thing--were the turbulent, unruly,
unsoldierly mob I have described.

One of the most interesting and satisfactory features of the siege
was the American ambulance. Here were order, system, and discipline.
It was located on vacant lots in the Avenue de l'Impératrice. It
did better work than any other ambulance in Paris; and there were
many of them. A number of the wealthy people of the city gave
up their hotels, or parts of them, for this purpose. The Press
organized an admirable ambulance, copied as much from the American
as circumstances would permit. The Italians started one, and two or
three other nationalities. But the American ambulance was the only
one organized upon the tent system, which is unquestionably the true
one. Fresh air and fresh water are what is needed for the wounded.
It is impossible to get fresh air in a building, as you get it in a
tent. As Dr. Swinburne expressed it, "The air filters through the

At the Exposition of 1867 we had a remarkably good exhibition of our
ambulance system. It was due to the energy and liberality of Dr.
Evans. At the close of the exhibition he bought the whole collection;
and when the war broke out, he organized an ambulance association,
presented it with this material, and gave it ten thousand francs.
Other Americans contributed, and the enterprise was launched. Dr.
Swinburne, a distinguished corps surgeon of our army, and afterward
Quarantine Officer at Staten Island, happened to be in Paris,
traveling for his health and amusement. He gave up his trip, and
staid in the city, that he might be of service to the wounded French.
He deserves much credit for his humanity. Dr. Johnson, a prominent
American physician in Paris, took charge of the medical department.
Both of these gentlemen discharged their duties with devotion and
skill, and with remarkable success, and without remuneration, except
that they were decorated by the French Government. For an American
residing at home a decoration is of very little account. In France
it is useful. It procures him attention on the railways and at the
restaurants. But it has been very much abused of late years. There
are about one hundred thousand _décorés_ in France, so that they now
say it is the correct thing not to be decorated. I never heard of but
one individual, however, who refused it, and that was from political

A number of American ladies and gentlemen who remained in Paris
offered their services in the ambulance, and were enrolled as
volunteer nurses. Among them Mr. Joseph K. Riggs was particularly
conspicuous by his skill and devotion. They went upon the field
after, or even during, an engagement and picked up the wounded.
Indeed, there was quite a contest among the ambulances to get
possession of the wounded; for while the number of the sick in Paris
was very great, that of the wounded was comparatively small. The
medical director of General Ducrot's corps became much interested in
our ambulance. He turned over to Dr. Swinburne the charming house
of M. Chevalier, the eminent French writer on political economy, and
then begged him to take charge of the wounded of his corps. Swinburne
used the house as a convalescent hospital when his tents were full.

So successful was his treatment that of the amputated only one in
five died; while at the great French ambulance of the Grand Hôtel
four in five died. The mortality there was fearful.

The apparatus for warming the tents was simple, but most effective.
It had grown up among our soldiers during the war. A hole was made in
the ground outside of one end of a long tent, a stove placed in it,
and the pipe carried the whole length of the tent in a trench. The
result was that the ground was thoroughly dried and warmed, and this
warmed the whole tent. I have known the thermometer outside to be at
20° Fahrenheit, while in the tents it stood at 55°. The doctor said
that for wounded men well covered up in bed 55° was better than 70°.

The men were well fed, and admirably cared for generally. The French
Government put the best of their stores at the disposition of the
ambulances, and treated them with the greatest liberality. There was
always plenty of canned fruit, jellies, etc., in Paris, so valuable
in sickness. The ladies bought these, and brought them to the
wounded. Tobacco was provided in the same way for the convalescents.

The American ambulance was soon so well and so favorably known, that
I heard of French officers who put cards in their pocket-books, on
which they had written the request that if they were wounded they
might be carried to _l'ambulance américaine_.

The great drawback we had to contend with was the impossibility of
procuring new tents. Dr. Swinburne told me that at home they would
have been condemned after a month's use, and new ones substituted.
But in Europe the cloth is not to be had. We use cotton cloth, the
French use linen. Cotton is lighter, is more porous in dry and fulls
in wet weather. The result is that the air filters through it in the
one case, and the water does not penetrate it in the other. In the
absence of new canvas, the doctor thoroughly fumigated the old from
time to time. This answered the purpose tolerably well, but did not
exhibit the tent system in its perfection.

We had now reached the middle of January, and the end of the
siege was rapidly approaching. The want of proper food, especially
for young children, was producing its necessary results; and the
death-rate had risen from about eight hundred--which is the average
number of weekly deaths in Paris--to four thousand, and this without
counting those in hospital which may be set down at one thousand
more. The number of poor Germans supported by the Legation had also
increased very greatly, and had risen to twenty-four hundred. We
were compelled to hire another room, where the weekly allowance
made them was paid and duly entered in books kept for this purpose;
for every penny expended was regularly entered and vouched for. The
poor German women were obliged to walk two or three miles on those
cold winter days; for the workmen's quarter is far from that of the
Champs Elysées. Mr. Washburne pitied these poor creatures, and gave
them omnibus tickets for the return trip. He bought a cask of _vin
ordinaire_, too, and gave a glass of warm sweetened wine to each of
them. It did them infinite good.

Provisions were now running short; enough remained for a few days
only. Even in this most vital matter there was blundering. A
gentleman high placed in the office of the Minister of Commerce, the
_ministère_ which had charge of the supplies, told Mr. Washburne that
there were provisions in Paris to last till March. We could hardly
credit it, but it came to us from such high authority that we were
staggered. He spoke positively, and said he had seen the figures.
After the surrender this gentleman met a mutual friend, and said, "I
am afraid your minister must take me for either a liar or a fool. I
hope I am neither. The mistake we made at the _ministère_ happened
in this way: the minister appointed two officers; each was to take
an account of all the food in Paris, in order that one account might
control the other. When their statements came in, he added them
together, but forgot to divide them by two."

Meantime we were being bombarded, but after a very mild fashion. I
have since talked with a German general who commanded at the quarter
whence most of the shells entered the city. He assured me that there
never was the slightest intention to bombard Paris. If there had
been, it would have been done in a very different style. The German
batteries fired from a height upon a fort in the hollow, and their
shells, flying high, entered Paris. Still, when nearly two hundred
lives were lost, and shells fell among us for nineteen days, people
had a right to say that they were bombarded, and no Parisian will
admit to this day that they were not. Artillery-men of all nations
become not only very careless, but very wanton. The Germans were
eager to hit something, and the public buildings of the Latin Quarter
offered a tempting mark to the gunners. I was complaining to a
French officer one day of the shameful manner in which the French
Government troops during the Commune bombarded the quarter of the
Champs Elysées, a quarter inhabited almost exclusively by friends of
the Government, who were longing for the troops to come in. He told
me that it was due to the wantonness of the artillery-men, and cited
an instance which came under his own observation. A gunner at Mount
Valérien pointed out to the captain of the gun a cart making its
slow way through the distant plain toward Paris, and exclaimed, "O,
my officer! see that cart carrying supplies to the enemy." "Where,
where?" "There, near that white house." "Give it a shell." He fired,
missed half a dozen times, but finally hit. It turned out to be
the cart of a poor washer-woman, carrying the week's wash to her

A few days before the surrender bad news came thick and fast. A
sortie in the direction of Mount Valérien had been repulsed. Chanzy
had been defeated. All hope of aid from that quarter had vanished,
and but a few days' provisions remained. Will it be believed that
even then Trochu "paltered in a double sense" with the suffering
people? He published a proclamation in which he said the "Governor of
Paris would never surrender." The next day he resigned, and appointed
no successor. When, three days later, the city surrendered there was
no Governor of Paris.

But even to the last moment there were people who had confidence
in Trochu's proclamation. The Parisians are credulous, and readily
believe what they wish to believe. Among the populace there was
always a sort of half belief in the "Plan Trochu," which, as he often
told us, when all else failed, was to save France. This plan he kept
mysteriously to himself, or confided it only to a few bosom-friends.
But I had it from a source I thought entitled to belief, that Trochu
confidently anticipated a miracle in his favor in return for his
devotion. St. Genevieve was to appear and save Paris. It is almost
impossible to believe that, in the nineteenth century, and in that
skeptical capital, a man of intelligence, cultivation, and varied
experience, could be found who believed in a miraculous appearance of
the saint; but Trochu was a strange compound of learning, ability,
weakness, and fanaticism, and I have little doubt that he confidently
anticipated the personal intervention of St. Genevieve to save her
beloved city.

On the 24th of January, Vinoy took command. He suppressed the clubs,
seized the violent press, and took other energetic measures. A mob
attacked Mazas, and released the prisoners. They then tried the Hôtel
de Ville a second time; but they had now a different commander to
deal with, and they were beaten off with ease. Mr. Washburne and I
happened to be in the neighborhood of the Hôtel de Ville, and saw
something of this affair. We did not stay to the end, however, for we
felt that it was not the proper place for us, accredited as we were
to the Government the mob was attempting to overthrow. Had Vinoy or
Ducrot been in command from the beginning, the result might have been
different. There was no reason why the National Guard should not have
made good soldiers; but they needed a discipline of iron. They were
permitted to choose their own officers. This of itself was fatal. In
the beginning of our war in some of the States the company officers
were elected by the men. But the men themselves were the first to see
the folly of this course, and petitioned that their officers might be
appointed by the Executive. Had the officers of the National Guard
been appointed by the Government, and when they halted at the barrier
and refused to go farther, had a battery been ordered up, and a dozen
or so of them shot, "_pour encourager les autres_," as the French
said of Admiral Byng, they might have given a very different account
of themselves in their combats with the Germans.

On the 27th of January, with seven days' provisions only in Paris,
with every man, woman, and child on the shortest possible allowance,
the city surrendered. An armistice was agreed upon, which was not,
however, to apply to the armies of the East operating toward Lyons.
It is said that the French commander in that quarter was not notified
that the armistice did not extend to him. He was attacked, caught
napping, and defeated.

If I recollect correctly, it was Bourbaki who was defeated in the
East. Bourbaki is the type of the _beau militaire_ of the French
Empire. A dashing, gallant soldier, he had distinguished himself and
gained his promotion by scaling the walls of an Arab town at the
head of his troops, armed with a light riding-whip only. But these
were not the men then wanted at the head of the French armies. When
Bourbaki was defeated, and his army in retreat, making its disorderly
way to Switzerland, and needing all its General's care and attention,
he attempted to commit suicide. In the German service he would
undoubtedly have been tried for desertion. In France every thing is
pardoned to a man who acts under the influence of strong emotion; and
Bourbaki was never even blamed for leaving his army to its fate.


  Election in France.--Terms of Peace.--Germans enter Paris.--Their
  Martial Appearance.--American Apartments occupied.--Washburne
  remonstrates.--Attitude of Parisians.--The Germans evacuate
  Paris.--Victualing the City.--Aid from England and the
  United States.--Its Distribution.--Sisters of Charity.

During the armistice an election took place. The Assembly met at
Bordeaux late in February, and steps were taken toward peace. All
sorts of rumors were current as to the terms, and it was said that
they were so severe that France must fight on at all hazards rather
than accept them. Ten milliards, it was rumored, were to be paid
(two thousand millions of dollars). Alsace and Lorraine and a French
colony were to be given up, and a number of French men-of-war made
over to Germany. The preliminaries were finally agreed upon: five
milliards were to be paid, and Alsace and Lorraine transferred.
German troops were to occupy Mount Valérien and to enter Paris, and
hold a part of it until peace was definitively signed. The Crown
Prince was reported to have been opposed to the troops entering the
capital, as humiliating to the French, and not a military necessity;
but he was overruled.

On the 1st of March I was awakened by military music. I had not
heard any for a long time, the French bands having been broken up. I
hurried out, and found that the Germans were entering Paris. First
came the traditional Uhlans. The safety with which these troops rode
in pairs through a great part of France was a curious feature of the
war. They were followed by their supports. Then came a mixed band of
about one thousand troops, representing all arms and the different
German nationalities. They were sent as an advance-guard to secure
and prepare the quarters assigned the troops by the _maires_. In the
mean time, the Emperor was holding a review at Longchamps, on the
very field where, three years and a half before, he had assisted at
the review of sixty thousand French troops by the Emperor Napoleon,
and it was not until the afternoon that the main body, the Prussian
Guard, the Saxons, and the Bavarians, marched into the city. They
occupied the quarter of the Champs Elysées, extending as far as the
Place de la Concorde--in all about one-eighth of Paris.

This was a busy day for me. Mr. Washburne was overrun with
_concierges_ and servants complaining that the Prussians were
occupying American apartments. I went to the mayor of the
arrondissement. He said that he had quartered the Germans impartially
upon all the householders; that the French law exempted apartments
of an annual value of less than one hundred dollars; that in his
arrondissement, as I knew, the apartments were either remarkably good
or remarkably poor; that the good ones were occupied principally by
foreigners, and that the poor ones were exempt. From the mayor I
went to the German commander occupying the house of Queen Christine
on the Champs Elysées, and was told at his head-quarters that they
had nothing to say in the matter; that they had requisitioned a
certain number of rooms from the French authorities, and that they
must go where those authorities sent them, and had no right to go
elsewhere; that it was then too late to make any change that day,
but that if Mr. Washburne would find them quarters elsewhere, they
would cheerfully vacate all American apartments the next day. In the
mean time Washburne had been to Jules Favre. Favre told him that
there was every prospect that the terms of peace would be accepted
by the Assembly at Bordeaux that evening, and that the Germans, in
accordance with the treaty, would leave Paris the next day. They were
accepted that evening; but Bismarck wished to give as many German
troops as possible an opportunity to enter Paris, and so refused to
accept the telegraphic announcement of the acceptance of the treaty
by the Assembly. The next day the written official notice arrived,
and the day after Paris was evacuated. The Germans remained in Paris
three days. They did no harm. I heard of nothing missing but a few
blankets. By the terms of the treaty thirty thousand were to occupy
Paris. It was rumored that the garrison was changed every night, and
that ninety thousand entered in all.

The attitude of the people of Paris toward the conquerors was, upon
the whole, excellent. They staid away from the occupied quarter,
and minded their own business. In this quarter the shops were all
closed, except a few restaurants and cafés that the Germans insisted
should be opened. Some of these cafés were afterward gutted by the
mob, which was rather hard on the owners, as they had been compelled
to open them. But a mob is never just. Some few of the populace
fraternized with the invaders, and were to be seen talking amicably
with them; and some of the rougher element attempted to create a
disturbance, but were soon overawed by the great numbers and martial
bearing of the conquerors. While only thirty thousand were in Paris,
there can be little doubt that a hundred thousand were within a
half-hour's march, ready to enter to the assistance of their comrades
if needed. Indeed, I imagine that all the troops who passed in review
before the Emperor at Longchamps either occupied Paris, or were
bivouacked in the Bois during the three days of the occupation.

They had come in very quietly, and with military precautions against
surprise. They went out with a flourish of trumpets. They had
bivouacked in large numbers about the Arch, and their camp-fires
lighted up the inscriptions on that magnificent monument recording
the victories of French over German arms. It certainly is most
creditable to the conquerors that they did the Arch no harm. Few
nations would have been so magnanimous. The weather was perfect, the
night mild and balmy, the moon nearly full, and the beautiful German
camp-songs, admirably sung, resounded in the stillness of the hour
till ten o'clock struck, when perfect silence reigned in the camp.
When the Germans entered Paris, they marched round the Arch; when
they went out they took down the chains which inclose it, and every
regiment of infantry and cavalry, and every battery of artillery
passed directly under it, drums beating, colors flying, and the men
cheering as they passed. They were gloriously repaid for the trials
of the campaign.

Ten days passed after the surrender, and apparently the French
authorities had made no provision to revictual Paris. There was no
beef, to speak of, in the city, and very little mutton. The bread
remained the same wretched dark stuff, one-third flour, two-thirds
pease, beans, oats, rice, straw--in fact, any refuse. Delicious
white bread, fresh butter, and eggs were to be bought of the German
soldiers just beyond the barriers; and any one who took the trouble,
and had the means, could procure these luxuries at reasonable
prices. The peasants sold them to the German soldiers, and they
were permitted to resell them at a small profit. The first train of
provisions to enter Paris was sent by the citizens of London, to
their credit be it spoken. Will it be believed that considerable
difficulty was experienced in finding persons willing to take the
trouble to distribute this food gratuitously? It was done to a very
limited extent at the _mairies_. The great dry-goods establishment
of the Bon Marché distributed a portion; but much was stored in the
Halles de l'Abondance for want of distribution, and burned up when
that establishment was destroyed during the Commune. I remember
hearing a Chauvin of the Assembly at Versailles pitch into the
English for coming over after the Commune to visit Paris in her
desolation. He was answered by Jules Favre, as happily as truly, that
"the English, before they organized their trains of pleasure, had
organized their trains of relief."

In this connection let me state that more than two millions of
dollars were sent from the United States. At least two cargoes of
provisions arrived at Havre, our Government supplying the vessels.
No one could be found to distribute the supplies. The French are so
government-ridden that they are unable to take the initiative in any
thing for themselves. I have seen a strong, bold man, a guide in the
Pyrenees, stand wringing his hands and crying, while his house was
on fire, waiting for the soldiers to come and save his furniture
and put out the flames. One of the shiploads of provisions I speak
of was sent to London, sold there, and the proceeds distributed to
the poor of France. Part of the relief sent was distributed through
the Government, but experience showed this method to be slow--there
was too much red-tape about it. The funds were finally placed in
the hands of American ladies and gentlemen residing at Paris and
Versailles, whose knowledge of France and acquaintance with French
people gave them the means of making a judicious distribution. A part
was expended by a committee of ladies, of which Madame MacMahon was
the President; something was placed at the disposal of the Countess
of Paris, out of regard for her husband, who had served in our army
during the war; and a very large portion was distributed through the
Sisters of Charity. Nothing could be more judicious, and at the same
time more thoroughly business-like, than the manner in which these
admirable women disposed of the money intrusted to them, rendering a
voucher for every franc they expended. One felt that every penny in
their hands had been placed where it was most needed, and would do
most good.

Mr. Washburne left Paris early in February for Brussels, where his
family were residing, and where, by-the-way, a very large number of
our Parisian Americans had taken refuge. But he came back in a week,
feeling quite poorly. He had been so overrun with visitors making
inquiries or asking favors, that he had had no rest, and so returned
to the lately beleaguered city for a little quiet. I remained until
the Germans had made their triumphal entry, and their more triumphal
departure, and then got leave and went to London to join my family.


  The Commune.--Murder of French Generals.--The National Guard of
  Order.--It disbands.--The Reasons.--Flight of the Government to
  Versailles.--Thiers.--Attempts to reorganize National Guard.--An
  American arrested by Commune.--Legation intervenes.--His Discharge.
  --His Treatment.--Reign of King Mob.--"_Démonstrations Pacifiques._"
  --Absurd Decrees of the Commune.--Destruction of the Vendôme

But it has rarely been my lot, in the course of my official life,
to enjoy an uninterrupted leave of absence. The present was no
exception. I was scarcely fairly installed in England, and fighting
"my battles o'er again," and showing "how fields were lost", when
there came a telegram from Mr. Washburne telling me that there were
disturbances in Paris, and that I must return immediately. Some of
the National Guard of the Belleville and Montmartre quarters had
taken advantage of the confusion reigning immediately after the
surrender, and seized several field-guns and mitrailleuses, and
carried them off to their fastnesses on Montmartre. They now refused
to surrender them; and when the Government attempted to take them,
the troops fraternized with the mob, and deserted their generals,
Lecompte and Thomas, whom the Communists forthwith shot. It was said
that Count Bismarck had urged the disarming of the National Guard at
the time of the surrender. Trochu's Government had refused. They must
have bitterly regretted it afterward.

On my return I entered Paris by the Gare St. Lazare. That usually
peaceful temple of traffic was thronged by _Gardes Nationaux_--"The
National Guard of Order," they called themselves, or were called, to
distinguish them from the Communists. These gentlemen appeared to be
enjoying themselves. They were comfortably housed in the building,
and lounged and chatted there, not without frequent visits to the
neighboring cafés. I found that they held the Grand Hotel, and the
new Opera-house, both strong positions, and within easy supporting
distance of each other. They also held the Bourse, the Bank of
France, the "Finances," and many other "coignes of vantage." But
"coignes of vantage" are of very little use when the heart to defend
them is lacking. In a very few days these men, outnumbering the
Communists two or three to one, backed by the power of the Government
and the wealth of Paris, and by the moral support of the Germans and
of the civilized world, had disbanded, taken refuge in flight, and
left their families, and their property, and their beautiful city to
the tender mercies of the mob.

It was a matter of the utmost astonishment to me, and to every one
with whom I conversed, that the National Guard of Order should
have behaved as they did. I never understood it till I talked
with my barber just after his battalion had disbanded, and before
he had escaped to London. They got tired of sleeping away from
their families, getting their meals irregularly, and having to pay
restaurant-prices for them. They were in a state of disgust, too,
with the Government, who refused to pass an act to relieve them from
their rents accrued during the siege. My barber was an excellent
representative of his class, the _petite bourgeoisie_; a well-to-do
man, employing two apprentices, making a good livelihood, and laying
by something for a _dot_ for his children--economical, intelligent,
sober. He belonged to the most respectable battalion in the city,
that of the quarter of the "Finances." I expressed my surprise at
their disbanding. He said that the Government would do nothing for
them, so they would do nothing for the Government: it might put down
the _émeute_ itself. So they abandoned their property and their homes
and their idolized Paris, shut up their shops, and ran away.

The relations between the Government and the governed in France are
difficult for an American to understand. In the United States and in
England the Government is _our_ government, its interests are _our_
interests, and we stand by and defend it, not only because it is our
duty to do so, but because it is _ours_. This feeling does not exist
in France among the masses, the _petit commerce_ and the peasantry.
They look upon the Government as a foreign body which has somehow
or other--it matters very little how--got possession of power. As
long as it preserves order, prevents crime, insures prosperity, and
gratifies vanity by foreign conquests, it is firmly seated; but
the moment it ceases to be able to do all this, let it go, and try

It is a strange notion of the duties of a Government that it must
insure prosperity; but it prevails very generally among the masses
in France, and is not unknown among the uneducated classes in other
countries. The theory of the Long Island fisherman is more generally
acted upon than is acknowledged: "He knew Governor Dix, and he liked
Governor Dix, but he hadn't averaged an eel to a pot all summer; and
he thought he would try a new governor."

The conduct of the Government, or, rather, that of M. Thiers--for
at that time Thiers was the Government, and he might have said with
perfect truth, "_L'état c'est moi_"--has been much and harshly
criticised. Whether this criticism is just or not, depends upon the
loyalty or disloyalty of the troops. If they were true to their
colors and ready to fight the mob, as they afterward did, there
never was a more cowardly and disgraceful surrender than the retreat
to Versailles, as unwise and unmilitary as it was cowardly, for it
discouraged the respectable citizens, and abandoned to the mob all
the advantages of position, immense war material, and the unbounded
wealth of the capital. It was proceeding upon Artemus Ward's military
plan. Artemus said that if he were in a city with fifty thousand men,
besieged by an enemy with fifty thousand men, he would open the gates
and march out, and let them march in, and then besiege them. Artemus
and M. Thiers appear to have studied in the same military school. But
if, as Thiers alleged, the army could not be relied upon, but were
ready to raise the butts of their muskets "_en air_" and fraternize
with the Communists, then there never was a wiser movement: it was
truly a "masterly retreat." Had what Thiers apprehended happened,
had the troops fraternized with the mob, a movement which was only
an insurrection--a bloody one, it is true, but confined to one
city--would have spread over France, and there would have been
a repetition, with aggravation, of all the horrors of the first

Before the National Guard of Order disbanded, several
well-intentioned efforts were made by officers of rank to effect
an organization among the citizens against the insurgents. Admiral
de Saissy either volunteered, or was sent by the Government, to
take command. He made his head-quarters at the Grand Hôtel, within
a stone's-throw of the Communists intrenched in the Place Vendôme.
Here they were isolated, far from their supports at Belleville and
Montmartre. Why the Admiral did not place a battery in position
in the Tuileries Gardens, commanding the Place Vendôme by the Rue
Castiglione, or why he did not simply starve the Communists out, I
never knew: probably he could not depend upon his men. I am confirmed
in this belief by a circumstance which happened within my own
observation. Two or three French gentlemen called at the Legation one
morning, to say that a young American friend, a Mr. Delpit, of New
Orleans, had been arrested by the Communists, and was then a prisoner
in the Place Vendôme, and would probably be dragged that day before
a Communist court-martial, condemned, and shot. Mr. Washburne was
at Versailles. I immediately sent his private secretary, an attaché
of the Legation, furnished with all the necessary documents, to
his relief. In a very short time Mr. M'Kean returned, after a most
successful mission. He had seen Delpit, he had seen the insurgent
authorities, and they had promised to discharge their prisoner that
very day. They did so. The next day he came up to thank us for our
prompt intervention in his behalf, which had undoubtedly saved his
life. I naturally asked him how he happened to be arrested. He said
that he had gone to see Admiral de Saissy, whom he knew, at the Grand
Hôtel; that the Admiral was very anxious to send a dispatch to a
distant part of the city; that the Admiral's aid was ready to start,
but that there appeared to be a very unanimous indisposition on the
part of the officers of the National Guard to accompany him; that
thereupon he volunteered. The Admiral jumped at the offer, and said,
"_You_ will go, I know; _you_ are an American; _you_ are not afraid."
A French commander must have been very much provoked by the conduct
of the officers about him to use such language in their presence.
Delpit and the aid started, but had gone but a little way, when they
were surrounded by a squad of the insurgents, who ordered them to
halt. Delpit drew his revolver, and threatened to shoot, while he
told his companion to run. The aid escaped. The insurgents leveled
their pieces, and were about to fire, when Delpit, seeing that his
companion had escaped, concluded that discretion was the better part
of valor, and surrendered. They disarmed him, treating him very
roughly, and one of them--a negro--spat in his face. They shut him
up in a cellar in the Place Vendôme, and it was likely to go hard
with him, when M'Kean appeared upon the scene. Delpit told me that
when they found that he was cared for by the Legation, their conduct
changed marvelously. They treated him with the greatest respect, and
the colored brother who had spit in his face was particularly marked
in his attentions. Delpit has since distinguished himself as a poet.
His work on the siege of Paris was crowned by the Academy, and he is
the author of a successful play, which means much in France.

But Admiral de Saissy had had enough of it. He gave it up, and went
back to Versailles. The National Guard of Order disbanded, and King
Mob reigned triumphant.

At first King Mob was a good-natured monarch. He collected a lot of
pitch-pine torches, and lighted them on top of the Vendôme Column.
The effect was good. He made bonfires, fired off guns, organized
processions, made speeches; in fact, behaved like any first-class
American city on the Fourth of July. This did not last long, however.
The tiger soon showed his claws. The party of order, having given
up their arms and disbanded, proceeded to organize what they called
a "_démonstration pacifique_," designed to produce a moral effect
upon a horde of savages. They paraded the streets in large numbers
unarmed. The first day's procession was rather a success. It was
a novelty, and took. The second day's was not so successful. They
marched up the Rue de la Paix, intending, in the grandeur of their
moral strength, to pass straight through the Place Vendôme, the
tiger's lair. The barricades were to disappear at their approach,
the insurgents were to throw themselves into their arms, and there
was to be one huge kiss of peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately,
things did not turn out as set down in the bills. The barriers did
not melt away, and the insurgents refused to kiss and make friends.
On the contrary, they opened fire on the procession, and several of
its numbers were killed. It was a well-meant effort, but Quixotic to
the last degree.

And now the tiger had tasted blood, and his appetite grew by what
it fed on. But his rage increased by degrees, advancing from one
atrocity to another, till it culminated in the slaughter of the

There was a mixture of the ridiculous with the infamous in the
early acts of the Commune. Its members were very numerous; so, for
working purposes they appointed a "Committee of Public Safety,"
which very soon belied its name. These men appointed the ministers.
To call a man "Minister of War" was not democratic, so they called
him "_citoyen délégué au Ministère de la Guerre_." The title of
"General" they found inconsistent with the simplicity of republican
institutions, and so suppressed it. "Colonel" could pass muster,
but "General" was too aristocratic for their dainty ears. Then they
found that, like other mere mortals, they must live and provide for
their families. It was so much easier to pillage a shop than to work!
The shop-keeper should be proud to contribute to the well-being of
the brave defenders of the Republic! Then they published a decree
seizing all the workshops, that they might be occupied by Communist
workmen on the co-operative system. A jury was to be appointed--by
the Commune, of course--to assess the value of the property, and
compensation was to be made to the owner. As a practical measure,
this was not a success. The workmen found it pleasanter to play
soldier, and to take what they wanted, than to work even on the
co-operative system. So the workshops generally remained in the hands
of their owners. Next they commenced the work of demolition, and
almost equaled the great Haussmann in this respect. They pulled down
the house of M. Thiers (the Assembly has since built him a better
one); and they passed decrees to tear down the houses of Jules Favre
and other members of the Government, and confiscate their property.
Happily the patriots to whom the execution of these decrees was
intrusted were not perfectly immaculate; they could generally _be
seen_. In this way much less irreparable injury was done than might
have been expected.

One of their follies was the destruction of the Colonne Vendôme. An
eminent artist--Courbet--who was a member of the Commune, said that
it offended his artistic taste. Others of this band of brothers said
that it perpetuated the victory of war over peace; that it kept alive
a feeling of triumph in the conquerors and revenge in the conquered;
that the peoples should be brothers, etc., etc. So they pulled it
down; and the present Government forthwith rebuilt it, and the courts
have condemned M. Courbet to pay the expense.

When the Column was pulled down, all the shop-windows within half a
mile were pasted over with strips of paper to prevent their being
broken by the shock. It fell, and people two hundred yards off did
not know that any thing unusual had happened. It was a question much
discussed how far the prostrate Column would reach. Its length was
generally much overestimated. It was thought that it would extend at
least one hundred feet into the Rue de la Paris. It did not enter
the street, nor even cross the Place Vendôme. The bronze plates
were nearly all saved. Some few were disposed of by the Communist
soldiers. One was sold by a sailor to a lady for five hundred francs.
He afterward denounced her to the Government, and got five hundred
francs more for doing so. A profitable transaction! One was sold to
an American, and made the voyage to New York, where it was found by
the French Consul, reclaimed, and returned to Paris.


  Diplomatic Corps moves to Versailles.--Journey there and back.--Life
  at Versailles.--German Princes.--Battle at Clamart.--Unburied
  Insurgents.--Bitterness of Class Hatred.--Its Probable Causes.--United
  States Post-office at Versailles.--The Archbishop of Paris.--Attempts
  to save his Life.--Washburne's Kindness to him.--Blanqui.--Archbishop
  murdered.--Ultramontanism.--Bombardment by Government.--My Apartment
  struck.--Capricious Effects of Shells.--Injury to Arch of Triumph.
  --Bas-reliefs of Peace and War.

As soon as the Government had moved to Versailles, the diplomatic
corps followed. Mr. Washburne hired a large room in the Rue de
Mademoiselle (the sister of Louis XIV.--all Versailles bears the
impress of the reign of that monarch). This room had to do for
office, bedroom, and sitting-room; for Versailles was crowded, and
we were lucky to get any thing so comfortable. As we had far more
to do at Paris than at Versailles, and Paris was then, as always,
the seat of attraction, Mr. Washburne spent four days of the week in
that city, and three at Versailles, and I alternated with him. We had
passes from both sides. I made the trip twice a week, and sometimes
under considerable difficulties. I have traveled more than thirty
miles to reach Paris from Versailles, a distance of nine miles,
partly in a diligence, partly on foot, partly in flat-boats to cross
the Seine where the French had most unnecessarily blown up their own
beautiful bridges, and partly by rail. I suppose that I am better
acquainted with the westerly environs of Paris than any foreigner but
a medical student. Some of the drives in the months of April and May,
especially one by Sceaux and Fontaine-les-Roses, and up the valley of
the Bièvre, are very lovely.

But after a while we had a regular organized line by St. Denis.
The Germans occupied this town, and insisted upon keeping open the
railroad into Paris, the Chemin de Fer du Nord. They said that under
the treaty they had a right to draw certain supplies from France,
and that Paris was the most convenient place to draw them from, and
from Paris they meant to draw them; and that if the Communists did
not keep the Porte St. Denis open, _they_ would. The Commune always
had a wholesome fear of the Germans; this was all that restrained
them from even greater outrages than they perpetrated; and they hated
the Germans less than they did their own countrymen at Versailles.
In going to Versailles we took the train to St. Denis; there we
hired a carriage, or took the public conveyance, and so drove to
our destination, a trip of about three hours in all: or we drove
out by the Porte St. Denis, and so all the way to Versailles. This
was generally my route, for a number of American and French friends
asked me to bring their horses and carriages from the ill-fated city.
If the Communist officers at the gates were close observers, they
must have thought that I was the owner of one of the largest and
best-appointed stables in Paris.

There was very little to do at Versailles, and perhaps less to
eat. The Government was there, and the Assembly, and the Corps
Diplomatique, and consequently the crowd of people who had business
with these bodies, thronged to that city. At the restaurants it
was a struggle to get any thing; and when you got it, it was not
precisely in the Café Anglais style. I found two or three pleasant
American families who had wintered here very quietly during the
German occupation. They had had no occasion to complain of their
treatment. At the Hôtel de France I found Dr. Hosmer, the intelligent
and cultivated principal correspondent of the _Herald_. That
enterprising journal had its staff of couriers, who were always at
our service during those days of irregular postal communication. At
the Hôtel des Réservoirs several German princes, officers of the
army, were lodged--intelligent, agreeable, cultivated gentlemen. They
were only too glad to have the pleasure of the society of American
ladies, for of course they could not visit the French; and no class
of men long for and appreciate ladies' society like educated officers
on campaign in an enemy's country. They eagerly accepted invitations
to dine with my friends for a double reason, the pleasure of their
society, and that of a good dinner; for the French cook never could
manage, though of course he did his best, to cook a good dinner for
the Germans, and the landlord was always just out of that favorite
brand of Champagne.

The day after my first arrival at Versailles I made an excursion to
the battle-field at Clamart, near Meudon. The Communists had been
defeated there the day before. I had "assisted" at the battle from
the Paris side. In attempting to reach Versailles in that direction,
I found myself in the midst of the insurgents, and under the fire
of the troops. The manner in which the insurgents behaved had not
given me a very exalted idea of their soldierly qualities. It was
all confusion, talking, drinking, and panic. A mob of them surged up
to the gate, and demanded admission. It was refused, and they were
ordered back to their regiments. But the crowd increased, and became
more clamorous. The principles of fraternity forbade the guard to
keep their brethren out in the cold, where the naughty Versaillais
might pounce upon them; so the draw-bridge fell, the gates opened,
and the runaways entered.

When I visited the battle-field, many of the dead still lay
unburied, while the soldiers lounged about with their hands in those
everlasting pockets, and looking with the most perfect indifference
upon their dead countrymen. The class hatred which exists in France
is something we have no idea of, and I trust that we never shall. It
is bitter, relentless, and cruel; and is, no doubt, a sad legacy of
the bloody Revolution of 1789, and of the centuries of oppression
which preceded it. At the beginning of the war the peasants in one of
the villages not far from Paris thrust a young nobleman into a ditch,
and there burned him to death with the stubble from the fields. They
had nothing particular against him, except that he was a nobleman.
In Paris the mob threw the gendarmes, when they caught them, into
the Seine, and when they attempted to struggle out upon the banks
hacked off their hands. On the battle-field I have referred to, the
_frères chrétiens_, a most devoted and excellent body of men, were
moving about on their errands of mercy. Seeing these unburied bodies,
they went to the commanding officer, and begged him to detail a
party to bury them. He did it to oblige them. As the soldiers lifted
one of the dead, a young American who accompanied me said, "Why, he
hasn't a bad face after all!" At once the soldiers looked at him with
suspicion, the officer asked him who he was, and, upon being told,
advised him not to express any such sentiments again.

Our principal occupation at Versailles was keeping a post-office
for Americans in Paris. M. Rampont, the _directeur des postes_,
had escaped, with all his staff, and established the office at
Versailles. The archives of the bureau of the Avenue Joséphine
were placed in our Legation. The Communists were angry enough to
find themselves cut off from all postal communication with the
departments. It diminished their chances of success. The only means
Americans had of communicating with their friends in Paris was to
send their letters to the care of the Legation at Versailles. We
have received as many as fifty in one day. Two or three times a
week we took or sent them to Paris. They were there mailed by the
Legation, and distributed by the rebel post-office. It cost Uncle
Samuel a penny or two, but he and his representatives at Washington
did not grumble.

The only episode of interest that occurred at Versailles was our
attempt to save the life of the Archbishop of Paris. He had been
arrested by the Commune, and held as a hostage for the release of
some of their own rag, tag, and bobtail. One day the Pope's Nuncio
called to see Mr. Washburne. He was in Paris. The Nonce thereupon
explained his business to me, and afterward sent two canons of the
Metropolitan Church to see me. They came to beg Mr. Washburne to
do all in his power to save the life of the Archbishop, which they
considered to be in imminent danger. They had already tried one or
more European embassies, but were met with the answer that they could
have nothing to do with the Commune. They handed me their papers,
and I went at once to Paris. Mr. Washburne took up the matter with
his accustomed energy and kindliness. He got permission to see the
prisoner. He took him books and newspapers and old wine. He did
all in his power to negotiate an exchange with Blanqui, a veteran
agitator held by the Government. The Commune consented, but the
Versailles authorities would not. M. Thiers consulted his ministers
and his council of deputies. They were unanimously of opinion that
they could hold no dealings with the Commune. It was then proposed to
let Blanqui escape, and that thereupon the Archbishop should escape
too, and that there need be no negotiations whatever. This M. Thiers

Matters were complicated by the conduct of the Vicar-general Lagarde.
He had been a prisoner with the Archbishop, and had been released
for the purpose of bringing letters to Versailles with a view to
negotiate the proposed exchange, and on condition that he should
return. Once safely at Versailles, he declined to go back. His
pretext was that M. Thiers's letter in reply to the Archbishop's was
sealed, and that he could not carry back a sealed letter in reply to
one unsealed. I remember the sad and resigned, but not bitter tone,
in which the Archbishop wrote of this desertion, and the exceedingly
cautious terms in which the Pope's Nuncio referred to it.

But Mr. Washburne's untiring efforts were in vain. He had to contend
with the _vis inertia_ of French bureaucracy, and he who can move
this mass must be ten times a Hercules.

The Archbishop was murdered; but Blanqui, whom the French Government
held with so relentless a grip, was condemned to a year or two's
imprisonment only.

I thought at that time, and think still, that no determined effort
was made to save the Archbishop's life, except by two or three canons
of his Church, and by the Minister of the United States. The French
authorities certainly were lukewarm in the matter. The Archbishop
was a Gallican, a liberal Catholic, notably so. Had he been an
Ultramontane, I think that the extreme Right of the Assembly--the
Legitimists--would have so exerted themselves that his life would
have been saved. M. Thiers occupied a difficult position. He was
suspected by the Legitimists of coquetting with the radicals, and of
having no serious intention of putting down the insurrection. The
suspicion was, of course, unfounded; but it may have prevented him
from entering upon those informal negotiations which would probably
have resulted in the release of the prisoner.

I once expressed these views to a lady in Paris, herself a liberal
Catholic. She would not admit them to be true. Some weeks later, I
met her again, and she told me that she believed that I was right;
that she had heard such sentiments expressed by Legitimist ladies,
that she was satisfied that there was an influential, if not a large,
class of Ultramontanes, to whom the death of the Archbishop was not
unwelcome. He has been succeeded by a noted Ultramontane.

Meantime the army was being rapidly reorganized. The Imperial Guard,
and other _corps d'élite_, had returned from Germany, where they had
been prisoners of war. Marshal MacMahon took command. Why M. Thiers
did not then assault the city, and carry it, as he undoubtedly could
have done, was a matter of surprise to every one, and especially to
those whose lives and property lay at the mercies of the Commune.
But Thiers had built the fortifications of Paris. He looked upon
them with a paternal eye. To him they were not like other men's
fortifications. They were impregnable to ordinary assault, and could
only be taken by regular approaches. How I wished that Guizot had
built them! We might have been saved a month of danger, loss, and
intense anxiety.

On my weekly visit to Paris I had a better opportunity to observe the
progress of events than if I had staid there without interruption,
while my residence of three days gave me ample occasion to appreciate
the full pleasures of the bombardment. It must always be a mystery
why the French bombarded so persistently the quarter of the Arch of
Triumph--the West End of Paris--the quarter where nine out of ten
of the inhabitants were known friends of the Government. They had
their regular hours for this _divertissement_, for so they seemed
to regard it. They took a turn at it before breakfast, to give them
an appetite; and at five o'clock in the morning I was waked by the
shells from Mont Valérien bursting and crashing in the Place de
l'Etoile. About noon they went at it again, and when I went home to
breakfast (_anglice_ lunch), I had to dodge round corners, and take
refuge behind stone columns. Then, just before sunset, they always
favored us with an evening gun, for good-night. The days, too, were
so confoundedly long at that season of the year--April and May--and
the weather provokingly fine. How I longed for a delicious London fog!

I remember one day, as I dodged behind a stone pillar in the Rue
de Presbourg to avoid a coming shell, the _concierge_ called me in.
I went into his _loge_, but declined to go into the cellar, where
his wife and children had taken refuge. He had two _loges_, and I
strongly advised him to move into the unoccupied one as the safer of
the two, for I had observed that the shells generally passed easily
enough through one stone wall, but were arrested by a second. He took
my advice. The next day a shell from one of their evening guns fell
into the window of the _loge_ he had left, passed through the floor
into the cellar, and there exploded, and tore every thing to pieces.

My own apartment was struck eight times by fragments of shells.
Fortunately but one exploded in the house, and that two stories above
me. It shattered the room into which it fell fearfully, but, strange
to say, did no damage in the adjoining rooms. Happily the apartment
was unoccupied. The tenants, a few days before, had taken advantage
of a law of the Commune which released all tenants from their rent if
they found it inconvenient to pay it, and had decamped, furniture and

Mr. Washburne advised me to change my residence, as it was not safe.
But I felt that the dignity of the great American people would not
permit even one of its subordinate representatives to leave the
building while a Frenchman remained in it. Mr. Washburne's practice,
too, was not in accordance with his precepts. If we heard of any part
of Paris where shells were likely to burst and bullets to whistle,
Washburne was sure to have important business in that direction.

I was not in my house when the shell exploded. I generally came home
to dinner after dark. If there is any thing thoroughly disagreeable,
it is to have shells tumbling and bursting about you when you are at
dinner. It is bad enough at breakfast, but the dinner-hour should be
sacred from vulgar intrusion.

I recollect one day after my midday breakfast, as I left my house,
I saw a knot of men standing on the corner of the Avenue de
l'Impératrice and the Rue de Presbourg; I thought that I would go and
see what was up. Mont Valérien was blazing away at a great rate. As I
joined the group, one of them said, "They'll fire at us soon, seeing
half a dozen people here." He had hardly said so, when there was a
flash, and a puff of smoke, and in a minute we heard the huge shell
hurtling through the air. It missed us, of course, and fell in the
Place, and exploded. All these men were friends of the Government,
and they were looking to Mont Valérien for help, longing for the
troops to come in. This was the protection the Government gave its
friends, "the protection which the vulture gives the lamb, covering
and devouring it."

About once a week I was called in by some neighboring _concierge_ to
note the damage done by shells in apartments belonging to Americans.
Shells are strangely capricious. One end of No. 8 Rue de Presbourg,
opposite my own residence, was nearly torn to pieces; the other end
was untouched. At No. 12, shell after shell penetrated the kitchen
departments, while the _salons_ were uninjured. I was called to see
the damage done to the _premier_ of No. 8, a beautiful apartment
belonging to a New York lady. A shell had entered the _salon_ and
exploded. I have never seen more thorough destruction. The mirrors
were shattered; the floors and ceilings rent and gaping; sofas,
chairs, and tables upset and broken. In the midst of all this
destruction stood a little table with a lady's work-basket upon it,
the needle in the work, the thimble and scissors on the table, as if
she had left them five minutes before--the only objects unhurt in the
room. It was a touching souvenir of peaceful domestic life in the
midst of the worst ravages of war.

Mr. Washburne and Lord Lyons complained to Jules Favre of this
persistent bombardment, for the property destroyed and the lives
endangered were largely American and English. He replied that it
was "bad shooting," but he smiled as he said so, and evidently did
not believe it himself. It was sheer wantonness, that irrepressible
desire of artillery-men, of which I have before spoken, to hit
something--an enemy if possible, a friend if no enemy offers.

It was singular that while so many shells fell in the immediate
neighborhood of the Arch of Triumph, so little serious injury was
done to it. I remarked a curious circumstance in this connection.
The bas-reliefs on the arch facing the Avenue de la Grande Armée are
Peace and War--on the right, as you face the Arch, War; on the left,
Peace. War was very much injured; Peace was scarcely touched.


  Reign of Terror.--Family Quarrels.--The Alsacians, etc., claim
  German Nationality.--They leave Paris on our Passes.--Prisoners of
  Commune.--Priests and Nuns.--Fragments of Shells.--"Articles
  de Paris."--Fearful Bombardment of "Point du Jour."--Arrest of
  Cluseret.--Commune Proclamations.--Capture of Paris.--Troops
  enter by Undefended Gate.--Their Slow Advance.--Fight at the
  Tuileries Gardens.--Communist Women.--Capture of Barricades.
  --Cruelties of the Troops.--"Pétroleuses."--Absurd Stories about
  them.--Public Buildings fired.--Destruction of Tuileries, etc., etc.
  --Narrow Escape of Louvre.--Treatment of Communist Prisoners.
  --Presents from Emperor of Germany.

As time passed, the puerilities and atrocities of the Commune kept
equal pace. They had taken possession of the public buildings and
raised the red flag upon them, suppressing the tricolor. They now
passed a decree requiring every man to be provided with a _carte
d'identité_; this, they said, was to protect them against Government
spies. They established a bureau of denunciation, where any man
who had a grudge against his neighbor had simply to denounce him
as a Versailles sympathizer, and he was arrested. They closed the
churches, or turned them into clubs. They arrested the priests;
they shut up some of the convents, and imprisoned the nuns. They
confiscated the gold and silver church plate, and turned it into
coin. It was emphatically a "Reign of Terror." It was estimated
that within a month after the outbreak of the Commune three hundred
thousand people left Paris.

In the clubs they denounced the Legation. They said that Mr.
Washburne was about to call in the Germans at the request of the
diplomatic corps. They proposed to hang him, and to banish the
rest of us. In point of fact, I believe that Mr. Washburne could
have called in the German army at any time. He had only to report
to General Manteuffel that the lives of the Germans in Paris were
in danger, and that he found himself unable to protect them, and
Manteuffel would have occupied Paris at once. But Mr. Washburne never
entertained an idea of doing this.

Then the Commune began to quarrel among themselves. The Happy Family
was at variance. Strange as it may appear, at the beginning of the
affair, there were many earnest, honest fanatics in Paris who joined
the movement. The first demands of the Commune under the influence
of these men were not unreasonable, in American eyes. They asked
that they might elect their own prefect, and that Paris should not be
garrisoned by Government soldiers. But events soon outstripped these
men; and as they found the city given over to organized pillage--the
Committee of Public Safety meeting in secret, instead of in the light
of open day, as they had promised, and the model republic of which
they had dreamed as much a chimera as ever--they withdrew from the
Government. Over twenty of them withdrew in a body, and published
their reasons for doing so. But the scoundrels who now directed
the movement "cared for none of these things." They had used these
poor enthusiasts while it suited their purpose; now they threw them
overboard, and replied to their manifesto by removing the Committee
of Public Safety as too mild, afflicted with scruples, and appointing
one of a bloodier type, one of its members a murderer.

During all this time the Legation was beset from morning till night.
The Alsacians and Lorrains residing in Paris, whom the treaty had
made Germans, but who were nevertheless permitted to choose their
nationality, had fully intended to _opter_ for the French, and
refused with indignation a German nationality. But when they found
that to remain French condemned them to the National Guard, while to
become German enabled them to leave Paris, and return to their homes,
they came in shoals to the Legation to ask for German passports. It
was a renewal of the days before the siege, the days of the German
expulsion. Much of Mr. Washburne's time was taken up in visiting
German prisoners, and procuring their discharge, and sometimes that
of French priests and nuns. To procure the release of Germans was no
very difficult task, for the Commune, as I have said, had a wholesome
fear of the Teuton, and "_Civis Germanicus sum_" was an open-sesame
to Communist prison-doors. But to release the poor French nuns was a
more difficult task. Mr. Washburne effected it in many instances; but
it required all his energy and decision.

And here I must remark how much better and more humane it was to do
as Mr. Washburne did--to hold such communication with the officials
of the Commune as was absolutely necessary, and so save human life,
and mitigate human suffering--than to sit with folded arms, and say,
"Really, I can have nothing to do with those people," and so let
fellow-creatures suffer and perish.

Where there is a will, there is generally a way. Mr. Washburne was
able to assist and protect indirectly many persons whom he could not
claim as American citizens or German subjects. We could not give a
United States passport to a Frenchman, but we could make him a bearer
of dispatches, give him a courier's pass, and so get him safely out
of Paris. Colonel Bonaparte escaped in this way. He was on the "Black
List" of the Commune for arrest, and arrest then meant death.

As the siege progressed, the bombardment became more and more severe.
The beautiful avenue of the Champs Elysées was like a city of the
dead. Not a living creature was to be seen upon it for hours. From
time to time a man would emerge cautiously from a side street, gaze
anxiously up the avenue, then start on a run to cross it. But the
"insatiate thirst of gold" is stronger than the fear of death; and,
at the worst of the bombardment, men and boys were to be seen lurking
near the Arch, and darting upon an exploding shell to secure its
fragments while they were still too hot to hold. A large business was
done in these fragments after the siege, as well as in the unexploded
shells. They were sold as relics; and the Parisian shop-keepers
mounted them as clocks, fenders, inkstands, penholders, and other
_articles de Paris_.

A battery of immense strength was at length erected at Montretout,
near St. Cloud. It was probably the most powerful battery ever
erected in the world. It opened upon the gate of the Point du Jour,
and in a few days the scene of devastation in that quarter was
fearful. Not a house was left standing, scarcely a wall. Bodies of
soldiers of the National Guard lay unburied among the ruins. The fire
was too hot for their comrades to approach them.

In the mean time dissension reigned among the Communists. A new
Committee of Public Safety was appointed. They arrested Cluseret,
their Minister of War, as they had already arrested Lullier. They
accused him of treason, and it would have gone hard with him had the
Commune continued much longer in power. They said that "a hideous
plot had been discovered," but that the guilty were known, and "their
punishment should be exemplary as their crime was unparalleled." They
announced that if the Commune fell, they would fire the city, and its
beauty and its pride should be buried with them. They wrote forcibly,
those fellows! Had they fought with as much vigor as they wrote,
the world would at least have respected their courage, instead of
pronouncing them as cowardly as they were cruel. But their career of
crime and folly was drawing to a close.

One day a citizen of Paris, a civil engineer, was taking his
afternoon walk. As he approached one of the gates, not far from
Auteuil, he was surprised to find no National Guard on duty. He
kept on, and came to the fortifications. There was not a defender
in sight, while the French troops lay outside under cover watching
for some one to fire at. Why they had not discovered the absence
of the enemy can only be accounted for by the general inefficiency
into which the French army had fallen. The engineer raised his white
handkerchief on his cane, and when he saw that it was observed,
quietly walked through the ruins of the work, crossed the fosse, and
asked the officer in command why on earth he did not come in; there
was a gate, and no one to defend it. It occurred to the officer that
it might be as well to do so; that perhaps that was what he was
there for: so he marched in with his company, and Paris was taken.
It was rather an anticlimax! After a delay of months, and a fierce
bombardment, to enter Paris on the invitation of a citizen taking
his afternoon walk! It was never known how that gate came to be left
unguarded. It was probably owing to dissensions in the Commune. The
battalion holding it had not been relieved, as they expected to be;
so they voted that they would not stay any longer, shouldered their
muskets, and marched off.

The troops entered on the 22d of May. Once fairly in, the work
was comparatively easy; but they proceeded with great caution. It
was said that Gallifet urged that he should take his cavalry, and
scour the city. I believe that he could have done it on that day,
for the Communists were thoroughly demoralized; but it was thought
to be too hazardous an operation for cavalry. The next morning the
troops advanced unopposed as far as the Place de la Concorde. I
have the word of an American friend, whose apartment looked upon
the Place, that the strong barricade which connected the Rue St.
Florentin with the Tuileries Gardens was then undefended, and that
if the troops had advanced promptly they could have carried it
without resistance; but while they sent forward their skirmishers,
who found no one to skirmish with, and advanced with the utmost
caution, a battery, followed by a battalion of the National Guard,
galloped up from the Hôtel de Ville. The troops then began regular
approaches. They entered the adjoining houses, passing from roof to
roof, and occupying the upper windows, till finally they commanded
the barricade, and fired down upon its defenders. They filled barrels
with sand, and rolled them toward the barrier. Each barrel covered
two skirmishers, who alternately rolled the barrel and picked off the
defenders of the barricade if they ventured to show themselves. My
informant saw a young and apparently good-looking woman spring upon
the barricade, a red flag in her hand, and wave it defiantly at the
troops. She was instantly shot dead. When the work was carried, an
old woman was led out to be shot. She was placed with her back to the
wall of the Tuileries Gardens, and, as the firing party leveled their
pieces, she put her fingers to her nose, and worked them after the
manner of the defiant in all ages, or, as Dickens expresses it, "as
if she were grinding an imaginary coffee-mill."

Many of their strongest positions were abandoned by the insurgents,
having been turned by the troops. Those that resisted fell one after
the other, carried in the way I have described. Indeed, I can see
no possibility of a barricade holding out unless the adjacent houses
are held too. That at the head of the Rue St. Florentin was of great
strength, a regular work; for the Communists had several excellent
engineers in their ranks, graduates of the military schools, men who
had been disappointed under the Government in not meeting with the
promotion they thought they deserved, and so joined the Commune. The
ditch of the barricade St. Florentin was about sixteen feet deep.
It made a convenient burying-ground. The dead Communists, men and
women, were huddled into it, quicklime added, and the fosse filled
up. As the pleasure-seeker enters the Rue de Rivoli from the Place
de la Concorde he passes over the bodies of forty or fifty miserable
wretches--most of them scoundrels of the deepest dye--but among them
some wild fanatics, and some poor victims of the Commune, forced
unwillingly into its ranks.

Much must be pardoned to soldiers heated with battle, and taught
to believe every prisoner they take an incarnate devil. But making
all allowances, there is no excuse for the wholesale butcheries
committed by the troops. A friend of mine saw a house in the
Boulevard Malesherbes visited by a squad of soldiers. They asked
the _concierge_ if there were any Communists concealed there. She
answered that there were none. They searched the house, and found
one. They took him out and shot him, and then shot her. One of the
attachés of the Legation saw in the Avenue d'Autin the bodies of six
children, the eldest apparently not over fourteen, shot to death as
_pétroleuses_, suspected of carrying petroleum to fire the houses.
There was no trial of any kind, no drum-head court-martial even, such
as the laws of civilized warfare require under all circumstances.
Any lieutenant ordered prisoners to be shot as the fancy took him,
and no questions were asked. Many an innocent spectator perished in
those days. An English officer had a narrow escape. He approached a
crowd of prisoners halted for a moment on the Champs Elysées; and
when they moved on, the guard roped him in with the rest, and would
not listen to a word of explanation. Happily he was able to attract
the attention of the Marquis de Gallifet and explain his position.
An officer of high rank who was escorting a batch of prisoners to
Versailles is said to have halted in the Bois, ridden down the
column, picked out those whose faces he particularly disliked, and
had them shot on the spot. The number of lives taken after the defeat
of the Commune can never be accurately known; but it was generally
computed at the time to exceed the number of those lost in both

Petroleum next became the madness of the hour. Every woman carrying
a bottle was suspected of being a _pétroleuse_. The most absurd
stories were told of its destructive properties. Organized bands of
women were said to be patrolling the streets armed with bottles of
petroleum. This they threw into the cellar windows, and then set
fire to it. The windows were barred, and the cellars in Paris are
universally built in stone and concrete. How they effected their
purpose under these circumstances is not readily seen. If this was
their _modus operandi_, they were the most inexpert incendiaries ever
known. The Commune should blush for its pupils in crime. I do not
believe in the petroleum story, and I do not think that one-third of
the population believed in it. Yet such was the power of suspicion
in those days, and such the distrust of one's neighbor, that every
staid and sober housekeeper bricked up his cellar windows, and for
weeks in the beautiful summer weather not an open window was to be
seen on the lower stories. No doubt every second man thought it a
great piece of folly thus to shut out light and air from his lower
stories; but if he had not done as his neighbors did, he would have
been denounced by them as a _pétroleux_.

The leaders of the Commune, as I have said, had sworn that, if the
city were taken, they would blow up the public buildings, and bury
every thing in a common ruin. Happily, their good-will exceeded their
ability. They had no time to execute their atrocious projects. They
burned the Tuileries, the Finances, the Hôtel de Ville, the Comptes,
the Hotel of the Legion of Honor, and a small portion of the Palais
Royal. The only irreparable loss was that of the Hôtel de Ville. The
Finances, the Comptes, and the Legion of Honor had no imperishable
historical associations connected with them. The Tuileries was an
old and inconvenient building. The Emperor had already rebuilt it in
part. Plans for reconstructing the whole building had been prepared
and still exist, and nothing but the want of money had prevented
their being carried into execution long before.

I do not propose to dwell upon the horrors of the nights of the
23d and 24th of May, when all Paris appeared to be in flames. The
view from the high ground upon which the Legation stands was very
striking. A pall of smoke hung over the city by day, and pillars
of fire lighted it by night. One of the most painful features of
those days was the prolonged suspense. We did not know which of
the magnificent monuments of Paris were in flames; for the troops
permitted no approach, and the most startling rumors were current.
The Louvre was at one time in danger, but happily escaped.

I pass over, too, the cruelties of the march of the prisoners to
Versailles, and the sufferings they there endured. These things
are written in the annals of the times, and no good can be done
by reviving them. Beautiful France has been sorely tried with
revolutions. Let us hope that she has seen the last.

In the hotel of the German Embassy at Paris may be seen several
articles of value, mostly Sèvres and Dresden china, which the
German Government desires to present to Mr. Washburne, General
Read, and some few other officers of the United States, in token of
its gratitude for services rendered to German subjects during the
war. These articles can not be received without the permission of
Congress. The House promptly passed the joint resolution. The Senate
still hesitates. Mr. Fox, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
and the officers who accompanied him to Russia, were permitted to
receive such presents as "the Emperor might see fit to give them."
Are Mr. Washburne and his subordinates, who certainly rendered some
services, and suffered some hardships, less entitled to receive this
permission than Mr. Fox and his companions, who took a monitor to

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained. For example,
  reconnoissance; embassador; encumbered, incumbrance; titbit.

  Pg 10, 'Bass-reliefs' replaced by 'Bas-reliefs'.
  Pg 234, 'mlliards' replaced by 'milliards'.
  Pg 256, 'Bass-reliefs' replaced by 'Bas-reliefs'.
  Pg 270, 'bass-reliefs' replaced by 'bas-reliefs'.

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