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Title: Gettysburg - Stories of the Red Harvest and the Aftermath
Author: Singmaster, Elsie
Language: English
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GETTYSBURG

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          By Elsie Singmaster

                        GETTYSBURG. Illustrated

                WHEN SARAH WENT TO SCHOOL. Illustrated.
                              12mo, $1.00.

                 WHEN SARAH SAVED THE DAY. Illustrated.
                              12mo, $1.00.

                        HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
                          BOSTON AND NEW YORK
------------------------------------------------------------------------

GETTYSBURG

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration: A BATTLE IS TO BE FOUGHT HERE]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

GETTYSBURG

Stories of the Red Harvest and the Aftermath

by

ELSIE SINGMASTER



[Illustration: Publisher's Logo]

Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company
1913

Copyright, 1907, by Charles Scribner's Sons
Copyright, 1907, 1909, 1911 and 1912, by Harper And Brothers
Copyright, 1909, by J. B. Lippincott Company
Copyright, 1909, by the S. S. Mcclure Co.
Copyright, 1913, by Elsie Singmaster Lewars

All Rights Reserved

Published April 1913

------------------------------------------------------------------------


                              TO MY FATHER
                      JOHN ALDEN SINGMASTER, D.D.
                      THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY
                               DEDICATED

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               1863-1913


_Four Score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty; and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal._

_Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are
met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a
portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here
gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting
and proper that we should do this._

_But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we
cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add
or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say
here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the
living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us
to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from
these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation,
under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of
the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the
earth._

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

GETTYSBURG, NOVEMBER 19, 1863.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                CONTENTS


                                            _Page_
                      I. JULY THE FIRST          1

                      II. THE HOME-COMING       21

                      III. VICTORY              45

                      IV. THE BATTLE-GROUND     65

                      V. GUNNER CRISWELL        87

                      VI. THE SUBSTITUTE       109

                      VII. THE RETREAT         133

                      VIII. THE GREAT DAY      157

                      IX. MARY BOWMAN          181


NOTE. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors for permission to
reprint in this volume chapters that first appeared in _Harper's_,
_Lippincott's_, _McClure's_, and _Scribner's Magazines_.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


                    A BATTLE IS TO BE FOUGHT     13
                      HERE _Frontispiece_

                    From the drawing by
                      Sidney H. Riesenberg,
                      reproduced by courtesy
                      of Harper and Brothers

                    "I CAN'T STAND IT," HE       26
                      SAID THICKLY

                    From the drawing by
                      Frederic Dorr Steele
                      reproduced by courtesy
                      of McClure's Magazine

                    HE STOOD WHERE LINCOLN      104
                      HAD STOOD:

                    From the drawing by C. E.
                      Chambers, reproduced by
                      courtesy of Harper and
                      Brothers

                    THEY SAW THE STRANGE OLD    152
                      FIGURE ON THE PORCH

                    From the drawing by F.
                      Walter Taylor,
                      reproduced by courtesy
                      of Chas. Scribner's
                      Sons

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               GETTYSBURG

                                   I

                             JULY THE FIRST


From the kitchen to the front door, back to the kitchen, out to the
little stone-fenced yard behind the house, where her children played
in their quiet fashion, Mary Bowman went uneasily. She was a
bright-eyed, slender person, with an intense, abounding joy in life.
In her red plaid gingham dress, with its full starched skirt, she
looked not much older than her ten-year-old boy.

Presently, admonishing herself sternly, she went back to her work. She
sat down in a low chair by the kitchen table, and laid upon her knee a
strip of thick muslin. Upon that she placed a piece of linen, which
she began to scrape with a sharp knife. Gradually a soft pile of
little, downy masses gathered in her lap. After a while, as though
this process were too slow, or as though she could no longer endure
her bent position, she selected another piece of linen and began to
pull it to pieces, adding the raveled threads to the pile of lint.
Suddenly, she slipped her hands under the soft mass, and lifted it to
the table. Forgetting the knife, which fell with a clatter, she rose
and went to the kitchen door.

"Children," she said, "remember you are not to go away."

The oldest boy answered obediently. Mounted upon a broomstick, he
impersonated General Early, who, a few days before, had visited the
town and had made requisition upon it; and little Katy and the
four-year-old boy represented General Early's ragged Confederates.

Their mother's bright eyes darkened as she watched them. Those raiding
Confederates had been so terrible to look upon, so ragged, so worn, so
starving. Their eyes had been like black holes in their brown faces;
they had had the figures of youth and the decrepitude of age. A
straggler from their ranks had told her that the Southern men of
strength and maturity were gone, that there remained in his village in
Georgia only little boys and old, old men. The Union soldiers who had
come yesterday, marching in the Emmittsburg road, through the town and
out to the Theological Seminary, were different; travel-worn as they
were, they had seemed, in comparison, like new recruits.

Suddenly Mary Bowman clasped her hands. Thank God, they would not
fight here! Once more frightened Gettysburg had anticipated a battle,
once more its alarm had proved ridiculous. Early had gone days ago to
York, the Union soldiers were marching toward Chambersburg. Thank God,
John Bowman, her husband, was not a regular soldier, but a fifer in
the brigade band. Members of the band, poor Mary thought, were safe,
danger would not come nigh them. Besides, he was far away with
Hooker's idle forces. No failure to give battle made Mary indignant,
no reproaches of an inert general fell from her lips. She was
passionately grateful that they did not fight.

It was only on dismal, rainy days, or when she woke at night and
looked at her little children lying in their beds, that the vague,
strange possibility of her husband's death occurred to her. Then she
assured herself with conviction that God would not let him die. They
were so happy, and they were just beginning to prosper. They had paid
the last upon their little house before he went to war; now they meant
to save money and to educate their children. By fall the war would be
over, then John would come back and resume his school-teaching, and
everything would be as it had been.

She went through the kitchen again and out to the front door, and
looked down the street with its scattering houses. Opposite lived
good-natured, strong-armed Hannah Casey; in the next house, a dozen
rods away, the Deemer family. The Deemers had had great trouble, the
father was at war and the two little children were ill with typhoid
fever. In a little while she would go down and help. It was still
early; perhaps the children and their tired nurses slept.

Beyond, the houses were set closer together, the Wilson house first,
where a baby was watched for now each day, and next to it the McAtee
house, where Grandma McAtee was dying. In that neighborhood, and a
little farther on past the new court-house in the square, which
Gettysburg called "The Diamond," men were moving about, some mounted,
some on foot. Their presence did not disturb Mary, since Early had
gone in one direction and the Union soldiers were going in the other.
Probably the Union soldiers had come to town to buy food before they
started on their march. She did not even think uneasily of the sick
and dying; she said to herself that if the soldiers had wished to
fight here, the good men of the village, the judge, the doctor, and
the ministers would have gone forth to meet them and with accounts of
the invalids would have persuaded them to stay away!

Over the tops of the houses, Mary could see the cupola of the Seminary
lifting its graceful dome and slender pillars against the blue sky.
She and her husband had always planned that one of their boys should
go to the Seminary and learn to be a preacher; she remembered their
hope now. Far beyond Seminary Ridge, the foothills of the Blue Ridge
lay clear and purple in the morning sunshine. The sun, already high in
the sky, was behind her; it stood over the tall, thick pines of the
little cemetery where her kin lay, and where she herself would lie
with her husband beside her. Except for that dim spot, the whole
lovely landscape was unshadowed.

Suddenly she put out her hand to the pillar of the porch and called
her neighbor:—

"Hannah!"

The door of the opposite house opened, and Hannah Casey's burly figure
crossed the street. She had been working in her carefully tended
garden and her face was crimson. Hannah Casey anticipated no battle.

"Good morning to you," she called. "What is it you want?"

"Come here," bade Mary Bowman.

The Irishwoman climbed the three steps to the little porch.

"What is it?" she asked again. "What is it you see?"

"Look!—Out there at the Seminary! You can see the soldiers moving
about, like black specks under the trees!"

Hannah squinted a pair of near-sighted eyes in the direction of the
Seminary.

"I'll take your word for it," she said.

With a sudden motion Mary Bowman lifted her hand to her lips.

"Early wouldn't come back!" she whispered. "He would never come back!"

Hannah Casey laughed a bubbling laugh.

"Come back? Those rag-a-bones? It 'ud go hard with them if they did.
The Unionists wouldn't jump before 'em like the rabbits here. But I
didn't jump! The Bateses fled once more for their lives, it's the
seventeenth time they've saved their valuable commodities from the
foe. Down the street they flew, their tin dishes and their precious
chiny rattling in their wagon. 'Oh, my kind sir!' says Lillian to the
raggedy man you fed,—'oh, my kind sir, I surrender!' 'You're right you
do,' says he. 'We're goin' to eat you up!'—'Lady,' says that same snip
to me, 'you'd better leave your home.' 'Worm!' says I back to him,
'_you_ leave my home!' And you fed him, you soft-heart!"

"He ate like an animal," said Mary; "as though he had had nothing for
days."

"And all the cave-dwellers was talkin' about divin' for their cellars.
I wasn't goin' into no cellar. Here I stay, aboveground, till they lay
me out for good."

Mary Bowman laughed suddenly, hysterically. She had laughed thus far
through all the sorrows war had brought,—poverty, separation, anxiety.
She might still laugh; there was no danger; Early had gone in one
direction, the Union soldiers in the other.

"Did you see him dive into the apple-butter, Hannah Casey? His face
was smeared with it. He couldn't wait till the biscuits were out of
the oven. He—" She stopped and listened, frowning. She looked out once
more toward the ridge with its moving spots, then down at the town
with its larger spots, then back at the pines, standing straight and
tall in the July sunshine. She could see the white tombstones beneath
the trees.

"Listen!" she cried.

"To what?" demanded Hannah Casey.

For a few seconds the women stood silently. There were still the same
faint, distant sounds, but they were not much louder, not much more
numerous than could be heard in the village on any summer morning. A
heart which dreaded ominous sound might have been set at rest by the
peace and stillness.

Hannah Casey spoke irritably. "What do you hear?"

"Nothing," answered Mary Bowman. "But I thought I heard men marching.
I believe it's my heart beating! I thought I heard them in the night.
Could you sleep?"

"Like a log!" said Hannah Casey. "Sleep? Why, of course, I could
sleep! Ain't our boys yonder? Ain't the Rebs shakin' in their shoes?
No, they ain't. They ain't got no shoes. Ain't the Bateses, them
barometers of war, still in their castle, ain't—"

"I slept the first part of the night," interrupted Mary Bowman. "Then
it seemed to me I heard men marching. I thought perhaps they were
coming through the town from the hill, and I looked out, but there was
nothing stirring. It was the brightest night I ever saw. I—"

Again Hannah Casey laughed her mighty laugh. There were nearer sounds
now, the rattle of a cart behind them, the gallop of hoofs before.
Again the Bateses were coming, a family of eight crowded into a little
springless wagon with what household effects they could collect.
Hannah Casey waved her apron at them and went out to the edge of the
street.

"Run!" she yelled. "Skedaddle! Murder! Help! Police!"

Neither her jeers nor Mary Bowman's laugh could make the Bateses turn
their heads. Mrs. Bates held in her short arms a feather bed, her
children tried to get under it as chicks creep under the wings of a
mother hen. Down in front of the Deemer house they stopped suddenly. A
Union soldier had halted them, then let them pass. He rode his horse
up on the pavement and pounded with his sword at the Deemer door.

"He might terrify the children to death!" cried Mary Bowman, starting
forward.

But already the soldier was riding toward her.

"There is sickness there!" she shouted to his unheeding ears; "you
oughtn't to pound like that!"

"You women will have to stay in your cellars," he answered. "A battle
is to be fought here."

"Here?" said Mary Bowman stupidly.

"Get out!" said Hannah Casey. "There ain't nobody here to fight with!"

The soldier rode his horse to Hannah Casey's door, and began to pound
with his sword.

"I live there!" screamed Hannah. "You dare to bang that door!"

Mary Bowman crossed the street and looked up at him as he sat on his
great horse.

"Oh, sir, do you mean that they will fight _here_?"

"I do."

"In Gettysburg?" Hannah Casey could scarcely speak for rage.

"In Gettysburg."

"Where there are women and children?" screamed Hannah. "And gardens
planted? I'd like to see them in my garden, I—"

"Get into your cellars," commanded the soldier. "You'll be safe
there."

"Sir!" Mary Bowman went still a little closer. The crisis in the
Deemer house was not yet passed, even at the best it was doubtful
whether Agnes Wilson could survive the hour of her trial, and Grandma
McAtee was dying. "Sir!" said Mary Bowman, earnestly, ignorant of the
sublime ridiculousness of her reminder, "there are women and children
here whom it might kill."

The man laughed a short laugh.

"Oh, my God!" He leaned a little from his saddle. "Listen to me,
sister! I have lost my father and two brothers in this war. Get into
your cellars."

With that he rode down the street.

"He's a liar," cried Hannah Casey. She started to run after him. "Go
out to Peterson's field to do your fighting," she shouted furiously.
"Nothing will grow there! Go out there!"

Then she stopped, panting.

The soldier took time to turn and grin and wave his hand.

"He's a liar," declared Hannah Casey once more. "Early's went. There
ain't nothing to fight with."

Still scolding, she joined Mary Bowman on her porch. Mary Bowman stood
looking through the house at her children, playing in the little
field. They still played quietly; it seemed to her that they had never
ceased to miss their father.

Then Mary Bowman looked down the street. In the Diamond the movement
was more rapid, the crowd was thicker. Women had come out to the
doorsteps, men were hurrying about. It seemed to Mary that she heard
Mrs. Deemer scream. Suddenly there was a clatter of hoofs; a dozen
soldiers, riding from the town, halted and began to question her.
Their horses were covered with foam; they had come at a wild gallop
from Seminary Ridge.

"This is the road to Baltimore?"

"Yes."

"Straight ahead?"

"Yes."

Gauntleted hands lifted the dusty reins.

"You'd better protect yourself! There is going to be a battle."

"Here?" asked Mary Bowman again stupidly.

"Right here."

Hannah Casey thrust herself between them.

"Who are you goin' to fight with, say?"

The soldiers grinned at her. They were already riding away.

"With the Turks," answered one over his shoulder.

Another was kinder, or more cruel.

"Sister!" he explained, "it is likely that two hundred thousand men
will be engaged on this spot. The whole Army of Northern Virginia is
advancing from the north, the whole Army of the Potomac is advancing
from the south, you—"

The soldier did not finish. His galloping comrades had left him, he
hastened to join them. After him floated another accusation of lying
from the lips of Hannah Casey. Hannah was irritated because the
Bateses were right.

"Hannah!" said Mary Bowman thickly. "I told you how I dreamed I heard
them marching. It was as though they came in every road, Hannah, from
Baltimore and Taneytown and Harrisburg and York. The roads were full
of them, they were shoulder against shoulder, and their faces were
like death!"

Hannah Casey grew ghastly white. Superstition did what common sense
and word of man could not do.

"So you did!" she whispered; "so you did!"

Mary Bowman clasped her hands and looked about her, down the street,
out toward the Seminary, back at the grim trees. The little sounds had
died away; there was now a mighty stillness.

"He said the whole Army of the Potomac," she repeated. "John is in the
Army of the Potomac."

"That is what he said," answered the Irishwoman.

"What will the Deemers do?" cried Mary Bowman. "And the Wilsons?"

"God knows!" said Hannah Casey.

Suddenly Mary Bowman lifted her hands above her head.

"Look!" she screamed.

"What?" cried Hannah Casey. "What is it?"

Mary Bowman went backwards toward the door, her eyes still fixed on
the distant ridge, as though they could not be torn away. It was nine
o'clock; a shrill little clock in the house struck the hour.

"Children!" called Mary Bowman. "Come! See!"

The children dropped the little sticks with which they played and ran
to her.

"What is it?" whined Hannah Casey.

Mary Bowman lifted the little boy to her shoulder. A strange,
unaccountable excitement possessed her, she hardly knew what she was
doing. She wondered what a battle would be like. She did not think of
wounds, or of blood or of groans, but of great sounds, of martial
music, of streaming flags carried aloft. She sometimes dreamed that
her husband, though he had so unimportant a place, might perform some
great deed of valor, might snatch the colors from a wounded bearer,
and lead his regiment to victory upon the field of battle. And now,
besides, this moment, he was marching home! She never thought that he
might die, that he might be lost, swallowed up in the yawning mouth of
some great battle-trench; she never dreamed that she would never see
him again, would hunt for him among thousands of dead bodies, would
have her eyes filled with sights intolerable, with wretchedness
unspeakable, would be tortured by a thousand agonies which she could
not assuage, torn by a thousand griefs beside her own. She could not
foresee that all the dear woods and fields which she loved, where she
had played as a child, where she had picnicked as a girl, where she
had walked with her lover as a young woman, would become, from Round
Top to the Seminary, from the Seminary to Culp's Hill, a great
shambles, then a great charnel-house. She lifted the little boy to her
shoulder and held him aloft.

"See, darling!" she cried. "See the bright things sparkling on the
hill!"

"What are they?" begged Hannah Casey, trying desperately to see.

"They are bayonets and swords!"

She put the little boy down on the floor, and looked at him. Hannah
Casey had clutched her arm.

"Hark!" said Hannah Casey.

Far out toward the shining cupola of the Seminary there was a sharp
little sound, then another, and another.

"What is it?" shrieked Hannah Casey. "Oh, what is it?"

"What is it!" mocked Mary Bowman. "It is—"

A single, thundering, echoing blast took the words from Mary Bowman's
lips.

Stupidly, she and Hannah Casey looked at one another.



                                   II

                            THE HOME-COMING


Parsons knew little of the great wave of protest that swept over the
Army of the Potomac when Hooker was replaced by Meade. The sad
depression of the North, sick at heart since December, did not move
him; he was too thoroughly occupied with his own sensations. He sat
alone, when his comrades would leave him alone, brooding, his terror
equally independent of victory or defeat. The horror of war appalled
him. He tried to reconstruct the reasons for his enlisting, but found
it impossible. The war had made of him a stranger to himself. He could
scarcely visualize the little farm that he had left, or his mother.
Instead of the farm, he saw corpse-strewn fields; instead of his
mother, the mutilated bodies of young men. His senses seemed unable to
respond to any other stimuli than those of war. He had not been
conscious of the odors of the sweet Maryland spring, or of the song of
mocking-birds; his nostrils were full of the smell of blood, his ears
of the cries of dying men.

Worse than the recollection of what he had seen were the forebodings
that filled his soul. In a day—yes, an hour, for the rumors of coming
battle forced themselves to his unwilling ears—he might be as they.
Presently he too would lie, staring, horrible, under the Maryland sky.

The men in his company came gradually to leave him to himself. At
first they thought no less of him because he was afraid. They had all
been afraid. They discussed their sensations frankly as they sat round
the camp-fire, or lay prone on the soft grass of the fields.

"Scared!" laughed the oldest member of the company, who was speaking
chiefly for the encouragement of Parsons, whom he liked. "My knees
shook, and my chest caved in. Every bullet killed me. But by the time
I'd been dead about forty times, I saw the Johnnies, and something hot
got into my throat, and I got over it."

"And weren't you afraid afterwards?" asked Parsons, trying to make his
voice sound natural.

"No, never."

"But I was," confessed another man. His face was bandaged, and blood
oozed through from the wound that would make him leer like a satyr for
the rest of his life. "I get that way every time. But I get over it. I
don't get hot in my throat, but my skin prickles."

Young Parsons walked slowly away, his legs shaking visibly beneath
him.

Adams turned on his side and watched him.

"Got it bad," he said shortly. Then he lay once more on his back and
spread out his arms. "God, but I'm sick of it! And if Lee's gone into
Pennsylvania, and we're to chase him, and old Joe's put out, the Lord
knows what'll become of us. I bet you a pipeful of tobacco, there
ain't one of us left by this time next week. I bet you—"

The man with the bandaged face did not answer. Then Adams saw that
Parsons had come back and was staring at him.

"Ain't Hooker in command no more?" he asked.

"No; Meade."

"And we're going to Pennsylvania?"

"Guess so." Adams sat upright, the expression of kindly commiseration
on his face changed to one of disgust. "Brace up, boy. What's the
matter with you?"

Parsons sat down beside him. His face was gray; his blue eyes, looking
out from under his little forage-cap, closed as though he were
swooning.

[Illustration: "I CAN'T STAND IT," HE SAID THICKLY]

"I can't stand it," he said thickly. "I can see them all day, and hear
them all night, all the groaning—I—"

The old man pulled from his pocket a little bag. It contained his last
pipeful of tobacco, the one that he had been betting.

"Take that. You got to get such things out of your head. It won't do.
The trouble with you is that ever since you've enlisted, this
company's been hanging round the outside. You ain't been in a battle.
One battle'll cure you. You got to get over it."

"Yes," repeated the boy. "I got to get over it."

He lay down beside Adams, panting. The moon, which would be full in a
few days, had risen; the sounds of the vast army were all about
them—the click of tin basin against tin basin, the stamping of horses,
the oaths and laughter of men. Some even sang. The boy, when he heard
them, said, "Oh, God!" It was his one exclamation. It had broken from
his lips a thousand times, not as a prayer or as an imprecation, but
as a mixture of both. It seemed the one word that could represent the
indescribable confusion of his mind. He said again, "Oh, God! Oh,
God!"

It was not until two days later, when they had been for hours on the
march, that he realized that they were approaching the little
Pennsylvania town where he lived. He had been marching almost blindly,
his eyes nearly closed, still contemplating his own misery and fear.
He could not discuss with his comrades the next day's prospects, he
did not know enough about the situation to speculate. Adams's hope
that there would be a battle brought to his lips the familiar "Oh,
God!" He had begun to think of suicide.

It was almost dark once more when they stumbled into a little town.
Its streets, washed by rains, had been churned to thick red mud by
thousands of feet and wheels. The mud clung to Parsons's worn shoes;
it seemed to his half-crazy mind like blood. Then, suddenly, his gun
dropped with a wild clatter to the ground.

"It's Taneytown!" he called wildly. "It's Taneytown."

Adams turned upon him irritably. He was almost too tired to move.

"What if it is Taneytown?" he thundered. "Pick up your gun, you young
fool."

"But it's only ten miles from home!"

The shoulder of the man behind him sent Parsons sprawling. He gathered
himself up and leaped into his place by Adams's side. His step was
light.

"Ten miles from home! We're only ten miles from home!"—he said it as
though the evil spirits which had beset him had been exorcised. He saw
the little whitewashed farmhouse, the yellowing wheat-fields beside
it; he saw his mother working in the garden, he heard her calling.

Presently he began to look furtively about him. If he could only get
away, if he could get home, they could never find him. There were many
places where he could hide, holes and caverns in the steep, rough
slopes of Big Round Top, at whose foot stood his mother's little
house. They could never find him. He began to speak to Adams
tremulously.

"When do you think we'll camp?"

Adams answered him sharply.

"Not to-night. Don't try any running-away business, boy. 'Tain't worth
while. They'll shoot you. Then you'll be food for crows."

The boy moistened his parched lips.

"I didn't say anything about running away," he muttered. But hope died
in his eyes.

It did not revive when, a little later, they camped in the fields,
trampling the wheat ready for harvest, crushing down the corn already
waist-high, devouring their rations like wolves, then falling asleep
almost on their feet.

Well indeed might they sleep heavily, dully, undisturbed by cry of
picket or gallop of returning scout. The flat country lay clear and
bright in the moonlight; to the north-west they could almost see the
low cone of Big Round Top, to which none then gave a thought, not even
Parsons himself, who lay with his tanned face turned up toward the
sky. Once his sunken eyes opened, but he did not remember that now, if
ever, he must steal away, over his sleeping comrades, past the
picket-line, and up the long red road toward home. He thought of home
no more, nor of fear; he lay like a dead man.

It was a marvelous moonlit night. All was still as though round
Gettysburg lay no vast armies, seventy thousand Southerners to the
north, eighty-five thousand Northerners to the south. They lay or
moved quietly, like great octopi, stretching out, now and then, grim
tentacles, which touched or searched vainly. They knew nothing of the
quiet, academic town, lying in its peaceful valley away from the world
for which it cared little. Mere chance decreed that on the morrow its
name should stand beside Waterloo.

Parsons whimpered the next morning when he heard the sound of guns. He
knew what would follow. In a few hours the firing would cease; then
they would march, wildly seeking an enemy that seemed to have
vanished, or covering the retreat of their own men; and there would be
once more all the ghastly sounds and cries. But the day passed, and
they were still in the red fields.

It was night when they began to march once more. All day the sounds of
firing had echoed faintly from the north, bringing fierce rage to the
hearts of some, fear to others, and dread unspeakable to Parsons. He
did not know how the day passed. He heard the guns, he caught glimpses
now and then of messengers galloping to headquarters; he sat with bent
head and staring eyes. Late in the afternoon the firing ceased, and he
said over and over again, "Oh, God, don't let us go that way! Oh, God,
don't let us go that way!" He did not realize that the noise came from
the direction of Gettysburg, he did not comprehend that "that way"
meant home, he felt no anxiety for the safety of his mother; he knew
only that, if he saw another dead or dying man, he himself would die.
Nor would his death be simply a growing unconsciousness; he would
suffer in his body all the agony of the wounds upon which he looked.

The great octopus of which he was a part did not feel in the least the
spark of resistance in him, one of the smallest of the particles that
made up its vast body. When the moon had risen, he was drawn in toward
the centre with the great tentacle to which he belonged. The octopus
suffered; other vast arms were bleeding and almost severed. It seemed
to shudder with foreboding for the morrow.

Round Top grew clear before them as they marched. The night was
blessedly cool and bright, and they went as though by day, but
fearfully, each man's ears strained to hear. It was like marching into
the crater of a volcano which, only that afternoon, had been in fierce
eruption. It was all the more horrible because now they could see
nothing but the clear July night, hear nothing but the soft sounds of
summer. There was not even a flag of smoke to warn them.

They caught, now and again, glimpses of men hiding behind hedge-rows,
then hastening swiftly away.

"Desertin'," said Adams grimly.

"What did you say?" asked Parsons.

He had heard distinctly enough, but he longed for the sound of Adams's
voice. When Adams repeated the single word, Parsons did not hear. He
clutched Adams by the arm.

"You see that hill, there before us?"

"Yes."

"Gettysburg is over that hill. There's the cemetery. My father's
buried there."

Adams looked in under the tall pines. He could see the white stones
standing stiffly in the moonlight.

"We're goin' in there," he said. "Keep your nerve up there, boy."

Adams had seen other things besides the white tombstones, things that
moved faintly or lay quietly, or gave forth ghastly sounds. He was
conscious, by his sense of smell, of the army about him and of the
carnage that had been.

Parsons, strangely enough, had neither heard nor smelled. A sudden awe
came upon him; the past returned: he remembered his father, his
mother's grief at his death, his visits with her to the cemetery. It
seemed to him that he was again a boy stealing home from a day's
fishing in Rock Creek, a little fearful as he passed the cemetery
gate. He touched Adams's arm shyly before he began to sling off his
knapsack and to lie down as his comrades were doing all about him.

"That is my father's grave," he whispered.

Then, before the kindly answer sprang from Adams's lips, a gurgle came
into Parsons's throat as though he were dying. One of the apparitions
that Adams had seen lifted itself from the grass, leaving behind dark
stains. The clear moonlight left no detail of the hideous wounds to
the imagination.

"Parsons!" cried Adams sharply.

But Parsons had gone, leaping over the graves, bending low by the
fences, dashing across an open field, then losing himself in the
woodland. For a moment Adams's eyes followed him, then he saw that the
cemetery and the outlying fields were black with ten thousand men. It
would be easy for Parsons to get away.

"No hope for him," he said shortly, as he set to work to do what he
could for the maimed creature at his feet. Dawn, he knew, must be
almost at hand; he fancied that the moonlight was paling. He was
almost crazy for sleep, sleep that he would need badly enough on the
morrow, if he were any prophet of coming events.

Parsons, also, was aware of the tens of thousands of men about him, to
him they were dead or dying men. He staggered as he ran, his feet
following unconsciously the path that took him home from fishing,
along the low ridge, past scattered farmhouses, toward the cone of
Round Top. It seemed to him that dead men leaped at him and tried to
stop him, and he ran ever faster. Once he shrieked, then he crouched
in a fence-corner and hid. He would have been ludicrous, had the
horrors from which he fled been less hideous.

He, too, felt the dawn coming, as he saw his mother's house. He sobbed
like a little child, and, no longer keeping to the shade, ran across
the open fields. There were no dead men here, thank God! He threw
himself frantically at the door, and found it locked. Then he drew
from the window the nail that held it down, and crept in. He was
ravenously hungry, and his hands made havoc in the familiar cupboard.
He laughed as he found cake, and the loved "drum-sticks" of his
childhood.

He did not need to slip off his shoes for fear of waking his mother,
for the shoes had no soles; but he stooped down and removed them with
trembling hands. Then a great peace seemed to come into his soul. He
crept on his hands and knees past his mother's door, and climbed to
his own little room under the eaves, where, quite simply, as though he
were a little boy, and not a man deserting from the army on the eve of
a battle, he said his prayers and went to bed.

When he awoke, it was late afternoon. He thought at first that he had
been swinging, and had fallen; then he realized that he still lay
quietly in his bed. He stretched himself, reveling in the blessed
softness, and wondering why he felt as though he had been brayed in a
mortar. Then a roar of sound shut out possibility of thought. The
little house shook with it. He covered his ears, but he might as well
have spared himself his pains. That sound could never be shut out,
neither then, nor for years afterward, from the ears of those who
heard it. There were many who would hear no other sound forevermore.
The coward began again his whining, "Oh, God! Oh, God!" His nostrils
were full of smoke; he could smell already the other ghastly odors
that would follow. He lifted himself from his bed, and, hiding his
eyes from the window, felt his way down the steep stairway. He meant,
God help him! to go and hide his face in his mother's lap. He
remembered the soft, cool smoothness of her gingham apron.

Gasping, he staggered into her room. But his mother was not there. The
mattress and sheets from her bed had been torn off; one sheet still
trailed on the floor. He picked it up and shook it. He was imbecile
enough to think she might be beneath it.

"Mother!" he shrieked "Mother! Mother!" forgetting that even in that
little room she could not have heard him. He ran through the house,
shouting. Everywhere it was the same—stripped beds, cupboards flung
wide, the fringe of torn curtains still hanging. His mother was not
there.

His terror drove him finally to the window overlooking the garden. It
was here that he most vividly remembered her, bending over her
flower-beds, training the tender vines, pulling weeds. She must be
here. In spite of the snarl of guns, she must be here. But the garden
was a waste, the fence was down. He saw only the thick smoke beyond,
out of which crept slowly toward him half a dozen men with blackened
faces and blood-stained clothes, again his dead men come to life. He
saw that they wore his own uniform, but the fact made little
impression upon him. Was his mother dead? Had she been killed
yesterday, or had they taken her away last night or this morning while
he slept? He saw that the men were coming nearer to the house,
creeping slowly on through the thick smoke. He wondered vaguely
whether they were coming for him as they had come for his mother. Then
he saw, also vaguely, on the left, another group of men, stealing
toward him, men who did not wear his uniform, but who walked as
bravely as his own comrades.

He knew little about tactics, and his brain was too dull to realize
that the little house was the prize they sought. It was marvelous that
it had remained unpossessed so long, when a tiny rock or a little bush
was protection for which men struggled. The battle had surged that
way; the little house was to become as famous as the Peach Orchard or
the Railroad Cut, it was to be the "Parsons House" in history. Of this
Parsons had no idea; he only knew, as he watched them, that his mother
was gone, his house despoiled.

Then, suddenly, rage seized upon him, driving out fear. It was not
rage with the men in gray, creeping so steadily upon him—he thought of
them as men like himself, only a thousand times more brave—it was rage
with war itself, which drove women from their homes, which turned
young men into groaning apparitions. And because he felt this rage, he
too must kill. He knelt down before the window, his gun in his hand.
He had carried it absently with him the night before, and he had
twenty rounds of ammunition. He took careful aim: his hand, thanks to
his mother's food and his long sleep, was quite steady; and he pulled
the trigger.

At first, both groups of men halted. The shot had gone wide. They had
seen the puff of smoke, but they had no way of telling whether it was
friend or foe who held the little house. There was another puff, and a
man in gray fell. The men in blue hastened their steps, even yet half
afraid, for the field was broad, and to cross it was madness unless
the holders of the house were their own comrades. Another shot went
wide, another man in gray dropped, and another, and the men in blue
leaped on, yelling. Not until then did Parsons see that there were
more than twice as many men in gray as men in blue. The men in gray
saw also, and they, too, ran. The little house was worth tremendous
risks. Another man bounded into the air and rolled over, blood
spurting from his mouth, and the man behind him stumbled over him.
There were only twelve now. Then there were eleven. But they came
on—they were nearer than the men in blue. Then another fell, and
another. It seemed to Parsons that he could go on forever watching
them. He smiled grimly at the queer antics that they cut, the strange
postures into which they threw themselves. Then another fell, and they
wavered and turned. One of the men in blue stopped at the edge of the
garden to take deliberate aim, but Parsons, grinning, also leveled his
gun once more. He wondered, a little jealously, which of them had
killed the man in gray.

The six men, rushing in, would not believe that he was there alone.
They looked at him, admiringly, grim, bronzed as they were, the
veterans of a dozen battles. They did not think of him for an instant
as a boy; his eyes were the eyes of a man who had suffered and who had
known the hot pleasures of revenge. It was he who directed them now in
fortifying the house, he who saw the first sign of the creeping
Confederates making another sally from the left, he who led them into
the woods when, reinforced by a hundred of their comrades, they used
the little house only as a base toward which to retreat. They had
never seen such fierce rage as his. The sun sank behind the Blue
Ridge, and he seemed to regret that the day of blood was over. He was
not satisfied that they held the little house; he must venture once
more into the dark shadows of the woodland.

From there his new-found comrades dragged him helpless. His enemies,
powerless against him by day, had waited until he could not see them.
His comrades carried him into the house, where they had made a dim
light. The smoke of battle seemed to be lifting; there was still sharp
firing, but it was silence compared to what had been, peace compared
to what would be on the morrow.

They laid him on the floor of the little kitchen, and looked at the
wide rent in his neck, and lifted his limp arm, not seeing that a door
behind them had opened quietly, and that a woman had come up from the
deep cellar beneath the house. There was not a cellar within miles
that did not shelter frightened women and children. Parsons's mother,
warned to flee, had gone no farther. She appeared now, a ministering
angel. In her cellar was food in plenty; there were blankets,
bandages, even pillows for bruised and aching heads. Heaven grant that
some one would thus care for her boy in the hour of his need!

The men watched Parsons's starting eyes, thinking they saw death. They
would not have believed that it was Fear that had returned upon him,
their brave captain. They would have said that he never could have
been afraid. He put his hand up to his torn throat. His breath came in
thick gasps. He muttered again, "Oh, God! Oh, God!"

Then, suddenly, incomprehensibly to the men who did not see the
gracious figure behind them, peace ineffable came into his blue eyes.

"Why, _mother_!" he said softly.



                                  III

                               VICTORY[1]


Footnote 1:

  From the narrative of Colonel Frank Aretas Haskell, Thirty-sixth
  Wisconsin Infantry. While aide-de-camp to General Gibbon he was
  largely instrumental in saving the day at Gettysburg to the Union
  forces. His brilliant story of the battle is contained in a series
  of letters written to his brother soon after the contest.


Sitting his horse easily in the stone-fenced field near the rounded
clump of trees on the hot noon of the third day of battle, his heart
leaping, sure of the righteousness of his cause, sure of the
overruling providence of God, experienced in war, trained to
obedience, accustomed to command, the young officer looked about him.

To his right and left and behind him, from Culp's Hill to Round Top,
lay the Army of the Potomac, the most splendid army, in his opinion,
which the world had ever seen, an army tried, proved, reliable in all
things. The first day's defeat, the second day's victory, were past;
since yesterday the battle-lines had been re-formed; upon them the
young man looked with approval, thanking Heaven for Meade. The lines
were arranged, except here in the very centre near this rounded clump
of trees where he waited, as he would have arranged them himself,
conformably to the ground, batteries in place, infantry—there a
double, here a single line—to the front. There had been ample time for
such re-formation during the long, silent morning. Now each man was in
his appointed place, munition-wagons and ambulances waited, regimental
flags streamed proudly; everywhere was order, composure. The laughter
and joking which floated to the ears of the young officer betokened
also minds composed, at ease. Yesterday twelve thousand men had been
killed or wounded upon this field; the day before yesterday, eleven
thousand; to-day, this afternoon, within a few hours, eight thousand
more would fall. Yet, lightly, their arms stacked, men laughed, and
the young officer heard them with approval.

Opposite, on another ridge, a mile away, Lee's army waited. They, too,
were set out in brave array; they, too, had re-formed; they, too,
seemed to have forgotten yesterday, to have closed their eyes to
to-morrow. From the rounded clump of trees, the young officer could
look across the open fields, straight to the enemy's centre. Again he
wished for a double line of troops here about him. But Meade alone had
power to place them there.

The young officer was cultivated, college-bred, with the gift of keen
observation, of vivid expression. The topography of that varied
country was already clear to him; he was able to draw a sketch of it,
indicating its steep hills, its broad fields, its tracts of virgin
woodland, the "wave-like" crest upon which he now stood. He could not
have written so easily during the marches of the succeeding weeks if
he had not now, in the midst of action, begun to fit words to what he
saw. He watched Meade ride down the lines, his face "calm, serious,
earnest, without arrogance of hope or timidity of fear." He shared
with his superiors in a hastily prepared, delicious lunch, eaten on
the ground; he recorded it with humorous impressions of these great
soldiers.

The evening before he had attended them in their council of war; he
has made it as plain to us as though we, too, had been inside that
little farmhouse. It is a picture in which Rembrandt would have
delighted,—the low room, the little table with its wooden water-pail,
its tin cup, its dripping candle. We can see the yellow light on blue
sleeves, on soft, slouched, gilt-banded hats, on Gibbon's single star.
Meade, tall, spare, sinewy; Sedgwick, florid, thick-set; young Howard
with his empty sleeve; magnificent Hancock,—of all that distinguished
company the young officer has drawn imperishable portraits.

He heard their plans, heard them decide to wait until the enemy had
hurled himself upon them; he said with satisfaction that their heads
were sound. He recorded also that when the council was over and the
chance for sleep had come, he could hardly sit his horse for
weariness, as he sought his general's headquarters in the sultry,
starless midnight. Yet, now, in the hot noon of the third day, as he
dismounted and threw himself down in the shade, he remembered the
sound of the moving ambulances, the twinkle of their unsteady lamps.

Lying prone, his hat tilted over his eyes, he smiled drowsily. It was
impossible to tell at what moment battle would begin, but now there
was infinite peace everywhere. The young men of his day loved the
sounding poetry of Byron; it is probable that he thought of the
"mustering squadron," of the "marshaling in arms," of "battle's
magnificently-stern array." Trained in the classics he must have
remembered lines from other glorious histories. "Stranger," so said
Leonidas, "stranger, go tell it in Lacedæmon that we died here in
defense of her laws." "The glory of Miltiades will not let me sleep!"
cried the youth of Athens. A line of Virgil the young officer wrote
down afterwards in his account, thinking of weary marches: "Forsan et
hæc olim meminisse juvabit."—"Perchance even these things it will be
delightful hereafter to remember."

Thus while he lay there, the noon droned on. Having hidden their
wounds, ignoring their losses, having planted their guidons and loaded
their guns, the thousands waited.

Still dozing, the young officer looked at his watch. Once more he
thought of the centre and wished that it were stronger; then he
stretched out his arms to sleep. It was five minutes of one o'clock.
Near him his general rested also, and with them both time moved
heavily.

Drowsily he closed his eyes, comfortably he lay. Then, suddenly, at a
distinct, sharp sound from the enemy's line he was awake, on his feet,
staring toward the west. Before his thoughts were collected, he could
see the smoke of the bursting shell; before he and his fellow officers
could spring to their saddles, before they could give orders, the iron
rain began about the low, wave-like crest. The breast of the general's
orderly was torn open, he plunged face downward, the horses which he
held galloped away. Not an instant passed after that first shot before
the Union guns answered, and battle had begun.

It opened without fury, except the fury of sound, it proceeded with
dignity, with majesty. There was no charge; that fierce, final onrush
was yet hours away; the little stone wall near that rounded clump of
trees, over which thousands would fight, close-pressed like wrestlers,
was to be for a long time unstained by blood. The Confederate
aggressor, standing in his place, delivered his hoarse challenge; his
Union antagonist standing also in his place, returned thunderous
answer. The two opposed each other—if one may use for passion so
terrible this light comparison—at arm's length, like fencers in a
play.

The business of the young officer was not with these cannon, but with
the infantry, who, crouching before the guns, hugging the ground, were
to bide their time in safety for two hours. Therefore, sitting on his
horse, he still fitted words to his thoughts. The conflict before him
is not a fight for men, it is a fight for mighty engines of war; it is
not a human battle, it is a storm, far above earthly passion.
"Infuriate demons" are these guns, their mouths are ablaze with smoky
tongues of livid fire, their breath is murky, sulphur-laden; they are
surrounded by grimy, shouting, frenzied creatures who are not their
masters but their ministers. Around them rolls the smoke of Hades. To
their sound all other cannonading of the young officer's experience
was as a holiday salute. Solid shot shattered iron of gun and living
trunk of tree. Shot struck also its intended target: men fell, torn,
mangled; horses started, stiffened, crashed to the ground, or rushed,
maddened, away.

Still there was nothing for the young officer to do but to watch. Near
him a man crouched by a stone, like a toad, or like pagan worshiper
before his idol. The young officer looked at him curiously.

"Go to your regiment and be a man!" he ordered.

But the man did not stir, the shot which splintered the protecting
stone left him still kneeling, still unhurt. To the young officer he
was one of the unaccountable phenomena of battle, he was
incomprehensible, monstrous.

He noted also the curious freaks played by round shot, the visible
flight of projectiles through the air, their strange hiss "with sound
of hot iron, plunged into water." He saw ambulances wrecked as they
moved along; he saw frantic horses brought down by shells; he calls
them "horse-tamers of the upper air." He saw shells fall into
limber-boxes, he heard the terrific roar which followed louder than
the roar of guns; he observed the fall of officer, of orderly, of
private soldier.

After the first hour of terrific din, he rode with his general down
the line. The infantry still lay prone upon the ground, out of range
of the missiles. The men were not suffering and they were quiet and
cool. They professed not to mind the confusion; they claimed
laughingly to like it.

From the shelter of a group of trees the young officer and his general
watched in silence. For that "awful universe of battle," it seemed now
that all other expressions were feeble, mean. The general expostulated
with frightened soldiers who were trying to hide near by. He did not
reprove or command, he reminded them that they were in the hands of
God, and therefore as safe in one place as another. He assured his
young companion of his own faith in God.

Slowly, after an hour and a half, the roar of battle abated, and the
young officer and his general made their way back along the line. By
three o'clock the great duel was over; the two hundred and fifty guns,
having been fired rapidly for two hours, seemed to have become mortal,
and to suffer a mortal's exhaustion. Along the crest, battery-men
leaned upon their guns, gasped, and wiped the grime and sweat from
their faces.

Again there was deep, ominous silence. Of the harm done on the
opposite ridge they could know nothing with certainty. They looked
about, then back at each other questioningly. Here disabled guns were
being taken away, fresh guns were being brought up. The Union lines
had suffered harm, but not irreparable harm. That centre for which the
young officer had trembled was still safe. Was the struggle over?
Would the enemy withdraw? Had yesterday's defeat worn him out; was
this great confusion intended to cover his retreat? Was it—

Suddenly, madly, the young officer and his general flung themselves
back into their saddles, wildly they galloped to the summit of that
wave-like crest.

What they saw there was incredible, yet real; it was impossible, yet
it was visible. How far had the enemy gone in the retreat which they
suspected? The enemy was at hand. What of their speculations about his
withdrawal, of their cool consideration of his intention? In five
minutes he would be upon them. From the heavy smoke he issued,
regiment after regiment, brigade after brigade, his front half a mile
broad, his ranks shoulder to shoulder, line supporting line. His eyes
were fixed upon that rounded clump of trees, his course was directed
toward the centre of that wave-like crest. He was eighteen thousand
against six thousand; should his gray mass enter, wedge-like, the
Union line, yesterday's Union victories, day before yesterday's Union
losses would be in vain.

To the young officer, enemies though they were, they seemed admirable.
They had but one soul; they would have been, under a less deadly fire,
opposed by less fearful odds, an irresistible mass. Before them he saw
their galloping officers, their scarlet flags; he discerned their
gun-barrels and bayonets gleaming in the sun.

His own army was composed also; it required no orders, needed no
command; it knew well what that gray wall portended. He heard the
click of gun-locks, the clang of muskets, raised to position upon the
stone wall, the clink of iron axles, the words of his general, quiet,
calm, cool.

"Do not hurry! Let them come close! Aim low and steadily!"

There came to him a moment of fierce rapture. He saw the
color-sergeant tipping his lance toward the enemy; he remembered that
from that glorious flag, lifted by the western breeze, these advancing
hosts would filch half its stars. With bursting heart, blessing God
who had kept him loyal, he determined that this thing should not be.

He was sent to Meade to announce the coming of the foe; he returned,
galloping along the crest. Into that advancing army the Union cannon
poured shells; then, as the range grew shorter, shrapnel; then,
canister; and still the hardy lines moved on. There was no charging
shout, there was still no confusion, no halt under that raking fire.
Stepping over the bodies of their friends, they continued to advance,
they raised their muskets, they fired. There was now a new sound,
"like summer hail upon the city roofs."

The young officer searched for his general, and could not find him. He
had been mounted; now, probably wounded, possibly killed, he was down
from his horse.

Then, suddenly, once more, the impossible, the incredible became
possible, real. The young officer had not dreamed that the
Confederates would be able to advance to the Union lines; his
speculation concerned only the time they would be able to stand the
Union fire. But they have advanced, they are advancing still farther.
And there in that weak centre—he cannot trust his own vision—men are
leaving the sheltering wall; without order or reason, a "fear-stricken
flock of confusion," they are falling back. The fate of Gettysburg, it
seemed to his horrified eyes, hung by a spider's single thread.

"A great, magnificent passion"—thus in his youthful emotion he
describes it—came upon the young man. Danger had seemed to him
throughout a word without meaning. Now, drawing his sword, laying
about with it, waving it in the air, shouting, he rushed upon this
fear-stricken flock, commanded it, reproached it, cheered it, urged it
back. Already the red flags had begun to thicken and to flaunt over
the deserted spot; they were to him, he wrote afterwards, like red to
a maddened bull. That portion of the wall was lost; he groaned for the
presence of Gibbon, of Hays, of Hancock, of Doubleday, but they were
engaged, or they were too far away. He rushed hither and yon, still
beseeching, commanding, praying that troops be sent to that imperiled
spot.

Then, in joy which was almost insanity, he saw that gray line begin to
waver and to break. Tauntingly he shouted, fiercely his men roared;
than their mad yells no Confederate "Hi-yi" was ever more ferocious.
This repelling host was a new army, sprung Phœnix-like from the body
of the old; to him its eyes seemed to stream lightning, it seemed to
shake its wings over the yet glowing ashes of its progenitor. He
watched the jostling, swaying lines, he saw them boil and roar, saw
them dash their flamy spray above the crest like two hostile billows
of a fiery ocean.

Once more commands are few, men do not heed them. Clearly once more
they see their duty, magnificently they obey. This is war at the
height of its passion, war at the summit of its glory. A
color-sergeant rushed to the stone wall, there he fell; eagerly at
once his comrades plunged forward. There was an instant of fierce
conflict, of maddening, indistinguishable confusion. Men wrestled with
one another, opposed one another with muskets used as clubs, tore at
each other like wolves, until spent, exhausted, among heaps of dead,
the conquered began to give themselves up. Back and forth over
twenty-five square miles they had fought, for three interminable days.
Here on this little crest, by this little wall, the fight was ended.
Here the high-water mark was reached, here the flood began its ebb.
Laughing, shouting, "so that the deaf could have seen it in their
faces, the blind have heard it in their voices," the conquerors
proclaimed the victory. Thank God, the crest is safe!

Are men wounded and broken by the thousands, do they lie in burning
thirst, pleading for water, pleading for the bandaging of bleeding
arteries, pleading for merciful death? The conquerors think of none of
these things. Is night coming, are long marches coming? Still the
conquerors shout like mad. Is war ended by this mammoth victory? For
months and months it will drag on. Is this conquered foe a stranger,
will he now withdraw to a distant country? He is our brother, his ills
are ours, these wounds which we have given, we shall feel ourselves
for fifty years. Is this brave young officer to enjoy the reward of
his great courage, to live in fame, to be honored by his countrymen?
At Cold Harbor he is to perish with a bullet in his forehead. Is not
all this business of war mad?

It is a feeble, peace-loving, fireside-living generation which asks
such questions as these.

Now, thank God, _the crest is safe_!



                                   IV

                           THE BATTLE-GROUND


Mercifully, Mary Bowman, a widow, whose husband had been missing since
the battle of Gettysburg, had been warned, together with the other
citizens of Gettysburg, that on Thursday the nineteenth of November,
1863, she would be awakened from sleep by a bugler's reveillé, and
that during that great day she would hear again dread sound of cannon.

Nevertheless, hearing again the reveillé, she sat up in bed with a
scream and put her hands over her ears. Then, gasping, groping about
in her confusion and terror, she rose and began to dress. She put on a
dress which had been once a bright plaid, but which now, having lost
both its color and the stiff, out-standing quality of the skirts of
'63, hung about her in straight and dingy folds. It was clean, but it
had upon it certain ineradicable brown stains on which soap and water
seemed to have had no effect. She was thin and pale, and her eyes had
a set look, as though they saw other sights than those directly about
her.

In the bed from which she had risen lay her little daughter; in a
trundle-bed near by, her two sons, one about ten years old, the other
about four. They slept heavily, lying deep in their beds, as though
they would never move. Their mother looked at them with her strange,
absent gaze; then she barred a little more closely the broken
shutters, and went down the stairs. The shutters were broken in a
curious fashion. Here and there they were pierced by round holes, and
one hung from a single hinge. The window-frames were without glass,
the floor was without carpet, the beds without pillows.

In her kitchen Mary Bowman looked about her as though still seeing
other sights. Here, too, the floor was carpetless. Above the stove a
patch of fresh plaster on the wall showed where a great rent had been
filled in; in the doors were the same little round holes as in the
shutters of the room above. But there was food and fuel, which was
more than one might have expected from the aspect of the house and its
mistress. She opened the shattered door of the cupboard, and, having
made the fire, began to prepare breakfast.

Outside the house there was already, at six o'clock, noise and
confusion. Last evening a train from Washington had brought to the
village Abraham Lincoln; for several days other trains had been
bringing less distinguished guests, until thousands thronged the
little town. This morning the tract of land between Mary Bowman's
house and the village cemetery was to be dedicated for the burial of
the Union dead, who were to be laid there in sweeping semicircles
round a centre on which a great monument was to rise.

But of the dedication, of the President of the United States, of his
distinguished associates, of the great crowds, of the soldiers, of the
crape-banded banners, Mary Bowman and her children would see nothing.
Mary Bowman would sit in her little wrecked kitchen with her children.
For to her the President of the United States and others in high
places who prosecuted war or who tolerated war, who called for young
men to fight, were hateful. To Mary Bowman the crowds of curious
persons who coveted a sight of the great battle-fields were ghouls;
their eyes wished to gloat upon ruin, upon fragments of the weapons of
war, upon torn bits of the habiliments of soldiers; their feet longed
to sink into the loose ground of hastily made graves; the discovery of
a partially covered body was precious to them.

Mary Bowman knew that field! From Culp's Hill to the McPherson farm,
from Big Round Top to the poorhouse, she had traveled it, searching,
searching, with frantic, insane disregard of positions or of
possibility. Her husband could not have fallen here among the Eleventh
Corps, he could not lie here among the unburied dead of the Louisiana
Tigers! If he was in the battle at all, it was at the Angle that he
fell.

She had not been able to begin her search immediately after the battle
because there were forty wounded men in her little house; she could
not prosecute it with any diligence even later, when the soldiers had
been carried to the hospitals, in the Presbyterian Church, the
Catholic Church, the two Lutheran churches, the Seminary, the College,
the Court-House, and the great tented hospital on the York road.
Nurses were here, Sisters of Mercy were here, compassionate women were
here by the score; but still she was needed, with all the other women
of the village, to nurse, to bandage, to comfort, to pray with those
who must die. Little Mary Bowman had assisted at the amputation of
limbs, she had helped to control strong men torn by the frenzy of
delirium, she had tended poor bodies which had almost lost all
semblance to humanity. Neither she nor any of the other women of the
village counted themselves especially heroic; the delicate wife of the
judge, the petted daughter of the doctor, the gently bred wife of the
preacher forgot that fainting at the sight of blood was one of the
distinguishing qualities of their sex; they turned back their sleeves
and repressed their tears, and, shoulder to shoulder with Mary Bowman
and her Irish neighbor, Hannah Casey, they fed the hungry and healed
the sick and clothed the naked. If Mary Bowman had been herself, she
might have laughed at the sight of her dresses cobbled into trousers,
her skirts wrapped round the shoulders of sick men. But neither then
nor ever after did Mary laugh at any incident of that summer.

Hannah Casey laughed, and by and by she began to boast. Meade,
Hancock, Slocum, were non-combatants beside her. She had fought whole
companies of Confederates, she had wielded bayonets, she had assisted
at the spiking of a gun, she was Barbara Frietchie and Moll Pitcher
combined. But all her lunacy could not make Mary Bowman smile.

Of John Bowman no trace could be found. No one could tell her anything
about him, to her frantic letters no one responded. Her old friend,
the village judge, wrote letters also, but could get no reply. Her
husband was missing; it was probable that he lay somewhere upon this
field, the field upon which they had wandered as lovers.

In midsummer a few trenches were opened, and Mary, unknown to her
friends, saw them opened. At the uncovering of the first great pit,
she actually helped with her own hands. For those of this generation
who know nothing of war, that fact may be written down, to be passed
over lightly. The soldiers, having been on other battle-fields,
accepted her presence without comment. She did not cry, she only
helped doggedly, and looked at what they found. That, too, may be
written down for a generation which has not known war.

Immediately, an order went forth that no graves, large or small, were
to be opened before cold weather. The citizens were panic-stricken
with fear of an epidemic; already there were many cases of dysentery
and typhoid. Now that the necessity for daily work for the wounded was
past, the village became nervous, excited, irritable. Several men and
boys were killed while trying to open unexploded shells; their deaths
added to the general horror. There were constant visitors who sought
husbands, brothers, sweet-hearts; with these the Gettysburg women were
still able to weep, for them they were still able to care; but the
constant demand for entertainment for the curious annoyed those who
wished to be left alone to recover from the shock of battle.
Gettysburg was prostrate, bereft of many of its worldly possessions,
drained to the bottom of its well of sympathy. Its schools must be
opened, its poor must be helped. Cold weather was coming and there
were many, like Mary Bowman, who owned no longer any quilts or
blankets, who had given away their clothes, their linen, even the
precious sheets which their grandmothers had spun. Gettysburg grudged
nothing, wished nothing back, it asked only to be left in peace.

When the order was given to postpone the opening of graves till fall,
Mary began to go about the battle-field searching alone. Her good,
obedient children stayed at home in the house or in the little field.
They were beginning to grow thin and wan, they were shivering in the
hot August weather, but their mother did not see. She gave them a
great deal more to eat than she had herself, and they had far better
clothes than her blood-stained motley.

She went about the battle-field with her eyes on the ground, her feet
treading gently, anticipating loose soil or some sudden obstacle.
Sometimes she stooped suddenly. To fragments of shells, to bits of
blue or gray cloth, to cartridge belts or broken muskets, she paid no
heed; at sight of pitiful bits of human bodies she shuddered. But
there lay also upon that field little pocket Testaments, letters,
trinkets, photographs. John had had her photograph and the children's,
and surely he must have had some of the letters she had written!

But poor Mary found nothing.

One morning, late in August, she sat beside her kitchen table with her
head on her arm. The first of the scarlet gum leaves had begun to
drift down from the shattered trees; it would not be long before the
ground would be covered, and those depressed spots, those tiny wooden
headstones, those fragments of blue and gray be hidden. The thought
smothered her. She did not cry, she had not cried at all. Her soul
seemed hardened, stiff, like the terrible wounds for which she had
helped to care.

Suddenly, hearing a sound, Mary had looked up. The judge stood in the
doorway; he had known all about her since she was a little girl;
something in his face told her that he knew also of her terrible
search. She did not ask him to sit down, she said nothing at all. She
had been a loquacious person, she had become an abnormally silent one.
Speech hurt her.

The judge looked round the little kitchen. The rent in the wall
was still unmended, the chairs were broken; there was nothing else
to be seen but the table and the rusty stove and the thin,
friendless-looking children standing by the door. It was the house
not only of poverty and woe, but of neglect.

"Mary," said the judge, "how do you mean to live?"

Mary's thin, sunburned hand stirred a little as it lay on the table.

"I do not know."

"You have these children to feed and clothe and you must furnish your
house again. Mary—" The judge hesitated for a moment. John Bowman had
been a school-teacher, a thrifty, ambitious soul, who would have
thought it a disgrace for his wife to earn her living. The judge laid
his hand on the thin hand beside him. "Your children must have food,
Mary. Come down to my house, and my wife will give you work. Come
now."

Slowly Mary had risen from her chair, and smoothed down her dress and
obeyed him. Down the street they went together, seeing fences still
prone, seeing walls torn by shells, past the houses where the shock of
battle had hastened the deaths of old persons and little children, and
had disappointed the hearts of those who longed for a child, to the
judge's house in the square. There wagons stood about, loaded with
wheels of cannon, fragments of burst caissons, or with long, narrow,
pine boxes, brought from the railroad, to be stored against the day of
exhumation. Men were laughing and shouting to one another, the driver
of the wagon on which the long boxes were piled cracked his whip as he
urged his horses.

Hannah Casey congratulated her neighbor heartily upon her finding
work.

"That'll fix you up," she assured her.

She visited Mary constantly, she reported to her the news of the war,
she talked at length of the coming of the President.

"I'm going to see him," she announced. "I'm going to shake him by the
hand. I'm going to say, 'Hello, Abe, you old rail-splitter, God bless
you!' Then the bands'll play, and the people will march, and the
Johnny Rebs will hear 'em in their graves."

Mary Bowman put her hands over her ears.

"I believe in my soul you'd let 'em all rise from the dead!"

"I would!" said Mary Bowman hoarsely. "I would!"

"Well, not so Hannah Casey! Look at me garden tore to bits! Look at me
beds, stripped to the ropes!"

And Hannah Casey departed to her house.

Details of the coming celebration penetrated to the ears of Mary
Bowman whether she wished it or not, and the gathering crowds made
themselves known. They stood upon her porch, they examined the broken
shutters, they wished to question her. But Mary Bowman would answer no
questions, would not let herself be seen. To her the thing was
horrible. She saw the battling hosts, she heard once more the roar of
artillery, she smelled the smoke of battle, she was torn by its
confusion. Besides, she seemed to feel in the ground beneath her a
feebly stirring, suffering, ghastly host. They had begun again to open
the trenches, and she had looked into them.

Now, on the morning of Thursday, the nineteenth of November, her
children dressed themselves and came down the steps. They had begun to
have a little plumpness and color, but the dreadful light in their
mother's eyes was still reflected in theirs. On the lower step they
hesitated, looking at the door. Outside stood the judge, who had found
time in the multiplicity of his cares, to come to the little house.

He spoke with kind but firm command.

"Mary," said he, "you must take these children to hear President
Lincoln."

"What!" cried Mary.

"You must take these children to the exercises."

"I cannot!" cried Mary. "I cannot! I cannot!"

"You must!" The judge came into the room. "Let me hear no more of this
going about. You are a Christian, your husband was a Christian. Do you
want your children to think it is a wicked thing to die for their
country? Do as I tell you, Mary."

Mary got up from her chair, and put on her children all the clothes
they had, and wrapped about her own shoulders a little black coat
which the judge's wife had given her. Then, as one who steps into an
unfriendly sea, she started out with them into the great crowd. Once
more, poor Mary said to herself, she would obey. She had seen the
platform; by going round through the citizen's cemetery she could get
close to it.

The November day was bright and warm, but Mary and her children
shivered. Slowly she made her way close to the platform, patiently she
stood and waited. Sometimes she stood with shut eyes, swaying a
little. On the moonlit night of the third day of battle she had
ventured from her house down toward the square to try to find some
brandy for the dying men about her, and as in a dream she had seen a
tall general, mounted upon a white horse with muffled hoofs, ride down
the street. Bending from his saddle he had spoken, apparently to the
empty air.

"Up, boys, up!"

There had risen at his command thousands of men lying asleep on
pavement and street, and quietly, in an interminable line, they had
stolen out like dead men toward the Seminary, to join their comrades
and begin the long, long march to Hagerstown. It seemed to her that
all about her dead men might rise now to look with reproach upon these
strangers who disturbed their rest.

The procession was late, the orator of the day was delayed, but still
Mary waited, swaying a little in her place. Presently the great guns
roared forth a welcome, the bands played, the procession approached.
On horseback, erect, gauntleted, the President of the United States
drew rein beside the platform, and, with the orator and the other
famous men, dismounted. There were great cheers, there were deep
silences, there were fresh volleys of artillery, there was new music.

Of it all, Mary Bowman heard but little. Remembering the judge, whom
she saw now near the President, she tried to obey the spirit as well
as the letter of his command; she directed her children to look, she
turned their heads toward the platform.

Men spoke and prayed and sang, and Mary stood still in her place. The
orator of the day described the battle, he eulogized the dead, he
proved the righteousness of this great war; his words fell upon Mary's
ears unheard. If she had been asked who he was, she might have said
vaguely that he was Mr. Lincoln. When he ended, she was ready to go
home. There was singing; now she could slip away, through the gaps in
the cemetery fence. She had done as the judge commanded and now she
would go back to her house.

With her arms about her children, she started away. Then someone who
stood near by took her by the hand.

"Madam!" said he, "the President is going to speak!"

Half turning, Mary looked back. The thunder of applause made her
shiver, made her even scream, it was so like that other thunderous
sound which she would hear forever. She leaned upon her little
children heavily, trying to get her breath, gasping, trying to keep
her consciousness. She fixed her eyes upon the rising figure before
her, she clung to the sight of him as a drowning swimmer in deep
waters, she struggled to fix her thoughts upon him. Exhaustion, grief,
misery threatened to engulf her, she hung upon him in desperation.

Slowly, as one who is old or tired or sick at heart, he rose to his
feet, the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army and Navy, the hope of his country. Then he stood waiting. In
great waves of sound the applause rose and died and rose again. He
waited quietly. The winner of debate, the great champion of a great
cause, the veteran in argument, the master of men, he looked down upon
the throng. The clear, simple things he had to say were ready in his
mind, he had thought them out, written out a first draft of them in
Washington, copied it here in Gettysburg. It is probable that now, as
he waited to speak, his mind traveled to other things, to the misery,
the wretchedness, the slaughter of this field, to the tears of
mothers, the grief of widows, the orphaning of little children.

Slowly, in his clear voice, he said what little he had to say. To the
weary crowd, settling itself into position once more, the speech
seemed short; to the cultivated who had been listening to the
elaborate periods of great oratory, it seemed commonplace, it seemed a
speech which any one might have made. But it was not so with Mary
Bowman, nor with many other unlearned persons. Mary Bowman's soul
seemed to smooth itself out like a scroll, her hands lightened their
clutch on her children, the beating of her heart slackened, she gasped
no more.

She could not have told exactly what he said, though later she read it
and learned it and taught it to her children and her children's
children. She only saw him, felt him, breathed him in, this great,
common, kindly man. His gaze seemed to rest upon her; it was not
impossible, it was even probable, that during the hours that had
passed he had singled out that little group so near him, that desolate
woman in her motley dress, with her children clinging about her. He
said that the world would not forget this field, these martyrs; he
said it in words which Mary Bowman could understand, he pointed to a
future for which there was a new task.

"Daughter!" he seemed to say to her from the depths of trouble, of
responsibility, of care greater than her own,—"Daughter, be of good
comfort!"

Unhindered now, amid the cheers, across ground which seemed no longer
to stir beneath her feet, Mary Bowman went back to her house. There,
opening the shutters, she bent and solemnly kissed her little
children, saying to herself that henceforth they must have more than
food and raiment; they must be given some joy in life.



                                   V

                            GUNNER CRISWELL


On an afternoon in late September, 1910, a shifting crowd, sometimes
numbering a few score, sometimes a few hundred, stared at a massive
monument on the battle-field of Gettysburg. The monument was not yet
finished, sundry statues were lacking, and the ground about it was
trampled and bare. But the main edifice was complete, the plates, on
which were cast the names of all the soldiers from Pennsylvania who
had fought in the battle, were in place, and near at hand the
platform, erected for the dedicatory services on the morrow, was being
draped with flags. The field of Gettysburg lacks no tribute which can
be paid its martyrs.

The shifting crowd was part of the great army of veterans and their
friends who had begun to gather for the dedication; these had come
early to seek out their names, fixed firmly in enduring bronze on the
great monument. Among them were two old men. The name of one was
Criswell; he had been a gunner in Battery B, and was now blind. The
explosion which had paralyzed the optic nerve had not disfigured him;
his smooth-shaven face in its frame of thick, white hair was unmarred,
and with his erect carriage and his strong frame he was
extraordinarily handsome. The name of his friend, bearded, untidy,
loquacious, was Carolus Depew.

Gettysburg opens wide not only its hospitable arms, but its heart, to
the old soldier. Even now, after almost fifty years, the shadow of war
is not yet fled away, the roaring of the guns of battle is not
stilled. The old soldier finds himself appreciated, admired, cared
for, beyond a merely adequate return for the money he brings into the
town. Here he can talk of the battle with the proprietor of the hotel
at which he stays, with the college professor, with the urchin on the
street. Any citizen will leave his work to help find a certain house
where wounds were dressed, or where women gave out bread, fresh and
hot from the oven; or a certain well, from which life-saving,
delicious drinks were quaffed. When there are great excursions or
dedications such as this, the town is decorated, there is waving of
flags, there are bursts of song.

No stretching of hospitable arms could shelter the vast crowd which
gathered upon this occasion. The boarding-houses which accommodated
ten guests during the ordinary summer traffic now took thirty, the
hotels set up as many cot-beds as their halls would hold, the students
of the college and the theological seminary shared their rooms or gave
them up entirely, in faculty houses every room was filled, and all
church doors were thrown wide. Yet many men—and old men—spent the
night upon the street.

Gunner Criswell wondered often whether many lives ran like his, up and
up to a sharp peak of happiness, then plunged down, down to
inexpressible misery. As a boy he had been intensely happy, eager,
ambitious, alive to all the glory of the world. He had married the
girl whom he loved, and had afterward enlisted, scorning any fears
that he might not return. On the second day of July, 1863, on his
twenty-third birthday, he had lost his sight in an explosion on the
battle-field of Gettysburg; on the same day his young wife had died in
their faraway corner of the state, leaving a helpless baby to a blind
and sick father.

To-day the daughter was middle-aged, the father old. They lived
together on their little farm in Greene County, Ellen managing the
farm and doing much of the work, Gunner Criswell making baskets. War
had taken his sight, his wife, all his prospects for life; it had left
him, he said, Ellen, and the fresh, clear mountain air, a strong pair
of hands, and his own soul. Life had settled at last to a quiet level
of peace. He had learned to read the raised language of the blind, but
he could not afford many books. He was poor; owing to an irregularity
in his enlistment the Government had not given him a pension, nor had
any one taken the trouble to have the matter straightened out. The
community was small and scattered, few persons knew him, and no
Congressman needed his vote in that solidly Republican district. Nor
was he entirely certain that the giving of pensions to those who could
work was not a form of pauperization. He, for instance, had been
pretty well handicapped, yet he had got on. He said to himself often
that when one went to war one offered everything. If there was in his
heart any faint, lingering bitterness because his country had done
nothing for him, who had given her so much, he checked it sternly.

And, besides, he said often to himself with amusement, he had Carolus
Depew!

It was Carolus who had told him, one evening in July, about the
Pennsylvania monument. Carolus had served in a different regiment,
without injury and with a thousand brave adventures. He was talking
about them now.

"I'm going! I'm going back to that place. I could find it. I know
where I knocked that feller down with the butt of my gun when my
ammunition gave out. I know exactly where I stood when the captain
said, 'Give 'em hell, Carolus!' The captain and me, we was pretty
intimate."

The blind man smiled, his busy hands going on with their unending
work. When he smiled, his face was indescribably beautiful; one's
heart ached for the woman who fifty years ago had had to die and leave
him.

"Ellen!" he called.

Ellen appeared in the doorway, in her short, unbecoming gingham dress.
She had inherited none of her father's beauty, and the freshness of
her youth was gone. She looked at her father kindly enough, but her
voice was harsh. Ellen's life, too, had suffered from war.

"Ellen, Carolus wants me to go with him to Gettysburg in September. A
great monument is to be dedicated, and Carolus says our names are to
be on it. May I go?"

Ellen turned swiftly away. Sometimes her father's cheerfulness nearly
broke her heart.

"I guess you can go if you want to."

"Thank you, Ellen."

"I've reckoned it all out," said Carolus. "We can do it for twenty
dollars. We ought to get transportation. Somebody ought to make a
present to the veterans, the Government ought to, or the trusts, or
the railroads."

"Where will we stay?" asked Gunner Criswell. His hands trembled
suddenly and he laid down the stiff reeds.

"They'll have places. I bet they'll skin us for board, though. The
minute I get there I'm going straight to that monument to hunt for my
name. They'll have us all arranged by regiments and companies. I'll
find yours for you."

The hand of the blind man opened and closed. He could find his own
name, thank Heaven! he could touch it, could press his palm upon it,
know that it was there, feel it in his own soul—Adam Criswell. His
calm vanished, his passive philosophy melted in the heat of old
desires relit, desire for fame, for power, for life. He was excited,
discontented, happy yet unhappy. Such an experience would crown his
life; it would be all the more wonderful because it had never been
dreamed of. That night he could not sleep. He saw his name, Adam
Criswell, written where it would stand for generations to come. From
that time on he counted the days, almost the hours, until he should
start for Gettysburg.

Carolus Depew was a selfish person, for all his apparent devotion to
his friend. Having arrived at Gettysburg, he had found the monument,
and he had impatiently hunted for the place of Gunner Criswell's
Battery B, and guided his hand to the raised letters, and then had
left him alone.

"I've found it!" he shouted, a moment later. "'Carolus Depew,
Corporal,' big as life. 'Carolus Depew, Corporal'! What do you think
of that, say! It'll be here in a hundred years, 'Carolus Depew,
Corporal'!"

Then Carolus wandered a little farther along the line of tablets and
round to the other side of the great monument. Gunner Criswell called
to him lightly, as though measuring the distance he had gone. When
Carolus did not answer, Gunner Criswell spoke to a boy who had offered
him souvenir postal cards. It was like him to take his joy quietly,
intensely.

"Will you read the names of this battery for me?" he asked.

The boy sprang as though he had received a command. It was not only
the man's blindness which won men and women and children; his
blindness was seldom apparent; it was his air of power and strength.

The boy read the list slowly and distinctly, and then refused the
nickel which Criswell offered him. In a moment Carolus returned, still
thrilled by his own greatness, as excited as a child.

"We must hunt a place to stay now," he said. "This is a grand spot.
There's monuments as far as the eye can reach. Come on. Ain't you glad
to walk with 'Carolus Depew, Corporal'?"

It was three o'clock in the afternoon when Carolus left Gunner
Criswell on a doorstep in Gettysburg and went in search of rooms. At a
quarter to six the blind man still sat on the same spot. He was
seventy years old and he was tired, and the cold step chilled him
through. He did not dare to move; it seemed to him that thousands of
persons passed and repassed. If he went away, Carolus could not find
him. And where should he go? He felt tired and hungry and worn and
old; his great experience of the afternoon neither warmed nor fed him;
he wished himself back in his own place with his work and his peace of
mind and Ellen.

Then, suddenly, he realized that some one was speaking to him. The
voice was a woman's, low-pitched, a little imperious, the voice of one
not accustomed to be kept waiting.

"Will you please move and let me ring this door-bell?"

Gunner Criswell sprang to his feet. He did not like to acknowledge his
infirmity; it seemed always like bidding for sympathy. But now the
words rushed from him, words than which there are none more
heartrending.

"Madam, forgive me! I am blind."

A perceptible interval passed before the woman answered. Once Gunner
Criswell thought she had gone away.

Instead she was staring at him, her heart throbbing. She laid her hand
on his arm.

"Why do you sit here on the steps? Have you no place to stay?"

Gunner Criswell told her about Carolus.

"You must come to my house," she invited.

Gunner Criswell explained that he could not leave his friend. "He
would be worried if he couldn't find me. He"—Gunner Criswell turned
his head, then he smiled—"he is coming now. I can hear him."

Protesting, scolding, Carolus came down the street. He was with
several other veterans, and all were complaining bitterly about the
lack of accommodations. The lady looked at Carolus's untidiness, then
back at the blind man.

"I can take you both," she said. "My name is Mrs. James, and I live on
the college campus. Anybody can direct you. Tell the maid I sent you."

Mrs. James's house was large, and in it the two old men found a
comfortable room, distinguished and delightful company, and a
heart-warming dinner. There were five other guests, who like
themselves had neglected to engage rooms beforehand—a famous general
of the Civil War and four lesser officers. Professor James made them
all welcome, and the two small boys made it plain that this was the
greatest occasion of their lives. The dinner-table was arranged in a
way which Carolus Depew had never seen; it was lit by candles and
decked with the best of the asters from Mrs. James's garden. The
officers wore their uniforms, Mrs. James her prettiest dress. Carolus
appreciated all the grandeur, but he insisted to the blind man that it
was only their due. It was paying a debt which society owed the
veteran.

"This professor didn't fight," argued Carolus. "Why shouldn't he do
this for us? They oughtn't to charge us a cent. But I bet they will."

Gunner Criswell, refreshed and restored, was wholly grateful. He
listened to the pleasant talk, he heard with delight the lovely voice
of his hostess, he felt beside him the fresh young body of his
hostess's little son. Even the touch of the silver and china pleased
him. His wife had brought from her home a few plates as delicate, a
few spoons as heavy, and they had had long since to be sold.

Carolus helped the blind man constantly during the meal; he guided his
hand to the bread-plate and gave him portions of food, all of which
was entirely unnecessary. The blind man was much more deft than
Carolus, and the maid was careful and interested and kind. All the
guests except the general watched the blind man with admiration. The
general talked busily and constantly at the other end of the table; it
was not to be expected that he should notice a private soldier.

It was the general who had first proposed inscribing the names of all
the soldiers on the great monument; the monument, though he was not a
member of the building committee, was his dearest enterprise. Since
the war the general had become a statistician; he was interested in
lists and tabulations, he enjoyed making due return for value
received, he liked to provide pensions, to place old soldiers
comfortably in Soldiers' Homes. The war was long past; his memory had
begun to grow dim; to his mind the lives of the soldiers would be
completed, rounded, by this tribute, as his own would be by the statue
of himself which should some day rise upon this field. It was he who
had compiled the lists for this last and greatest roster; about it he
talked constantly.

Presently, as the guests finished their coffee, one of the lesser
officers asked the man next him a question about a charge, and then
Professor James asked another, and the war changed suddenly from a
thing of statistics and lists and pensions to what it actually was, a
thing of horror, of infinite sacrifice, of heroism. Men drilled and
marched and fought and suffered and prayed and were slain. The faces
of the _raconteurs_ glowed, the eager voices of the questioners
trembled. Once one of the officers made an effort to draw Gunner
Criswell into speech, but Gunner Criswell was shy. He sat with his arm
round the little boy, the candle-light shining on his beautiful face,
listening with his whole soul. With Carolus it was different. Carolus
had several times firmly to be interrupted.

In the morning Mrs. James took the blind man for a drive. The air was
as fresh and clear as the air of his own mountains; the little boy sat
on a stool between his feet and rested his shoulder against his knee.
Mrs. James knew the field thoroughly; she made as plain as possible
its topography, the main lines, the great charges, the open fields
between the two ridges, the mighty rocks of Devil's Den, the almost
impenetrable thickets. To Gunner Criswell, Gettysburg had been a
little smoke-o'erlaid town seen faintly at the end of a long march,
its recollection dimmed afterward by terrible physical pain. He
realized now for the first time the great territory which the
battle-lines inclosed, he understood the titanic grandeur of the event
of which he had been a part, he breathed in also the present and
enduring peace. He touched the old muzzle-loading cannon; the little
boy guided his hand to the tiny tombstones in the long lines of graves
of the unknown; he stood where Lincoln had stood, weary, heart-sick,
despairing, in the fall of '63.

[Illustration: HE STOOD WHERE LINCOLN HAD STOOD]

Then, strangely for him, Gunner Criswell began to talk. Something
within him seemed to have broken, hidden springs of feeling seemed to
well up in his heart. It was the talk of a man at peace with himself,
reconciled, happy, conscious of his own value, sure of his place in
the scheme of things. He talked as he had never talked in his life—of
his youth, of his hopes, of his wife, of Ellen. It was almost more
than Mrs. James could endure.

"It is coming back here that makes you feel like this," she said
brokenly. "You realize how tremendous it was, and you know that you
did your part and that you haven't been forgotten, that you were
important in a great cause."

"Yes, ma'am," answered Gunner Criswell, in his old-fashioned way. "It
is that exactly."

Mrs. James had little respect for rank as such. She and the great
general, the four lesser officers, her husband and her two boys, were
to drive together to the dedication that afternoon and to have seats
on the platform, and thither she took Private Criswell. Carolus Depew
was not sorry to be relieved of the care of the blind man; he had
found some old comrades and was crazy with excitement.

"It is a good thing that she invited you," said Carolus, "because we
are going to march, just like we used to, and you couldn't very well."

The dedication exercises were not long. To the blind man there was the
singing which stirred his heart, there was the cool air in his face,
there was the touch of the little boy's hand, there was Mrs. James's
voice in explanation or description.

"There is the Governor!" cried Mrs. James. "He will pass right beside
you. There is the Secretary of War. You can hear him talking to the
Governor if you listen carefully. That deep voice is his. _Can_ you
hear?"

"Oh, yes," answered the blind man happily.

He heard the speeches, he heard the music, he could tell by the wild
shouting when the great enveloping flag drifted to the ground and the
monument stood wholly unveiled; he could feel presently the vast crowd
beginning to depart. He stood quietly while the great general near him
laughed and talked, receiving the congratulations of great men,
presenting the great men to Mrs. James; he heard other bursts of
cheering, other songs. He was unspeakably happy.

Then suddenly he felt a strange hand on his arm. The general was close
to him, was speaking to him; there was a silence all about them. The
general turned him a little as he spoke toward the great bronze
tablets with their record of the brave.

"You were in the army?" asked the general.

"Yes, sir."

"In what regiment?"

"I was in Battery B, sir."

"Then," said the general, "let us find your name."

Mrs. James came forward to the blind man's side. The general wished to
make visible, actual, the rewarding of the soldier, and she was
passionately thankful that it was upon this man that the general's eye
had fallen.

But Gunner Criswell, to her astonishment, held back. Then he said an
extraordinary thing for one who hesitated always to make his infirmity
plain, and for one who could read the raised letters, who had read
them, here on this very spot. He said again those three words, only a
little less dreadful than the other three terrible words, "He is
dead."

"Oh, sir," he cried, "I cannot read! I am blind!"

The general flung his arm across the blind man's shoulder. He was a
tall man also, and magnificently made. It gave one a thrill to see
them stand together.

"I will read for you."

"But, sir—" Still Gunner Criswell hung back, his hand clutching the
little boy's, his beautiful, sightless eyes turned toward Mrs. James,
as though he would have given anything to save her, to save any of
them, pain. "It is not a question of reward, sir. I would endure it
all again, gladly—everything. I don't count it, sir. But do not look
for my name. It is chance, accident. It might have happened to any
one, sir. It is not your fault. But my name has been omitted."



                                   VI

                             THE SUBSTITUTE


It was nine o'clock on the eve of Memorial Day, and pandemonium
reigned on the platform of the little railroad station at Gettysburg.
A heavy thunderstorm, which had brought down a score of fine trees on
the battle-field, and had put entirely out of service the electric
light plant of the town, was just over. In five minutes the evening
train from Harrisburg would be due, and with it the last delegation to
the convention of the Grand Army of the Republic.

A spectator might have thought it doubtful whether the arriving
delegation would be able to set foot upon the crowded platform. In the
dim light, representatives from the hotels and boarding-houses fought
each other for places on the steps beyond which the town council had
forbidden them to go. Back of them, along the pavement, their
unwatched horses stood patiently, too tired to make even the slight
movement which would have inextricably tangled the wheels of the
omnibuses and tourist wagons. On the platform were a hundred old
soldiers, some of them still hale, others crippled and disabled, and
as many women, the "Ladies of the Relief Corps," come to assist in
welcoming the strangers. The railroad employees elbowed the crowd
good-naturedly, as their duties took them from one part of the station
to another; small boys chased each other, racing up the track to catch
the first glimpse of the headlight of the train; and presently all
joined in a wild and joyous singing of "My Country, 'tis of Thee."

High above the turmoil, on a baggage truck which had been pushed
against the wall, stood "Old Man Daggett," whistling. He was
apparently unaware of the contrast between the whiteness of his beard
and the abandoned gayety of his tune, which was "We won't go home
until morning"; he was equally unaware or indifferent to the care with
which the crowd avoided his neighborhood. But though he had been
drinking, he was not drunk. He looked down upon the crowd, upon his
former companions in the Grand Army post, who had long since
repudiated him because of the depths to which he had fallen; he
thought of the days when he had struggled with the other guides for a
place at the edge of the platform, and, wretched as was his present
condition, he continued to whistle.

When, presently, the small boys shouted, "There she comes!" the old
man added his cheer to the rest, purely for the joy of hearing his own
voice. The crowd lurched forward, the station agent ordered them back,
the engine whistled, her bell rang, the old soldiers called wildly,
"Hello, comrades!" "Hurrah, comrades!" and the train stopped. Then
ensued a wilder pandemonium. There were multitudinous cries:—

"Here you are, the Keystone House!"

"Here you are, the Palace, the official hotel of Gettysburg!"

"The Battle Hotel, the best in the city!"

There were shouts also from the visitors.

"Hello, comrades! Hurrah! Hurrah!"

"Did you ever see such a storm?"

"Hurrah! Hurrah!"

At first it seemed impossible to bring order out of the chaos. The
human particles would rush about forever, wearing themselves into
nothingness by futile contact with one another. Presently, however,
one of the carriages drove away and then another, and the crowd began
to thin. Old Daggett watched them with cheerful interest, rejoicing
when Jakie Barsinger of the Palace, or Bert Taylor of the Keystone,
lost his place on the steps. By and by his eyes wandered to the other
end of the dim platform. Three men stood there, watching the crowd.
The sight of three prosperous visitors, unclaimed and unsolicited by
the guides, seemed to rouse some latent energy in old Daggett. It was
almost ten years since he had guided any one over the field. He
scrambled down from the truck and approached the visitors.

"Have you gentlemen engaged rooms?" he asked. "Or a guide?"

The tallest of the three men answered. He was Ellison Brant, former
Congressman, of great wealth and vast physical dimensions. His manner
was genial and there was a frank cordiality in his voice which his
friends admired and his enemies distrusted. His companions, both
younger than himself, were two faithful henchmen, Albert Davis and
Peter Hayes. They had not heard of the convention in Gettysburg, which
they were visiting for the first time, and, irritated by having to
travel in the same coach with the noisy veterans, they were now
further annoyed by the discovery that all the hotels in the town were
crowded. Brant's voice had lost entirely its cordial tone.

"Have you any rooms to recommend?"

"You can't get places at the hotels any more," answered Daggett. "But
I could get you rooms."

"Where is your best hotel?"

"Right up here. We'll pass it."

"All right. Take us there first."

Brant's irritation found expression in an oath as they went up the
narrow, uneven pavement. He was accustomed to obsequious porters, and
his bag was heavy. It was not their guide's age which prevented Brant
from giving him the burden, but the fear that he might steal off with
it, down a dark alley or side street.

"There's the Keystone," said Daggett. "You can't get in there."

The hotel was brilliantly lighted, a band played in its lobby, and out
to the street extended the cheerful, hurrahing crowd. General
Davenant, who was to be the orator at the Memorial Day celebration,
had come out on a balcony to speak to them. Brant swore again in his
disgust.

"I can take you to a fine place," insisted old Daggett.

"Go on, then," said Brant. "What are you waiting for?"

A square farther on, Daggett rapped at the door of a little house. The
woman who opened it, lamp in hand, seemed at first unwilling to
listen.

"You can't get in here, you old rascal."

But Daggett had put his foot inside the door.

"I've got three fine boarders for you," he whispered. "You can take
'em or leave 'em. I can take them anywhere and get a quarter apiece
for them."

The woman opened the door a little wider and peered out at the three
men. Their appearance seemed to satisfy her.

"Come in, comrades," she invited cordially. She had not meant to take
boarders during this convention, but these men looked as though they
could pay well. "I have fine rooms and good board."

Daggett stepped back to allow the strangers to go into the house.

"I'll be here at eight o'clock sharp to take you over the field,
gentlemen," he promised.

There was a briskness about his speech and an alertness in his step,
which, coupled with the woman's gratitude, kept her from telling her
guests what a reprobate old Daggett was.

By some miracle of persuasion or threat, he secured a two-seated
carriage and an ancient horse for the next day's sight-seeing. A great
roar of laughter went up from the drivers of the long line of
carriages before the Keystone House, as he drove by.

"Where you going to get your passengers, Daggett?"

"Daggett's been to the bone-yard for a horse."

"He ain't as old as your joke," called Daggett cheerfully.

The prospect of having work to do gave him for the moment greater
satisfaction than the thought of what he meant to buy with his wages,
which was saying a great deal. He began to repeat to himself fragments
of his old speech.

"Yonder is the Seminary cupilo objecting above the trees," he said to
himself. "From that spot, ladies and gentlemen—from that spot, ladies
and gentlemen—" He shook his head and went back to the beginning.
"Yonder is the Seminary cupilo. From that spot—" He was a little
frightened when he found that he could not remember. "But when I'm
there it'll come back," he said to himself.

His three passengers were waiting for him on the steps, while from
behind them peered the face of their hostess, curious to see whether
old Daggett would keep his word. Brant looked at the ancient horse
with disapproval.

"Is everything in this town worn out, like you and your horse?" he
asked roughly.

Daggett straightened his shoulders, which had not been straightened
with pride or resentment for many days.

"You can take me and my horse or you can leave us," he said.

Brant had already clambered into the carriage. Early in the morning
Davis and Hayes had tried to find another guide, but had failed.

As they drove down the street, the strangers were aware that every
passer-by stopped to look at them. People glanced casually at the
horse and carriage, as one among a multitude which had started over
the field that morning, then, at sight of the driver, their eyes
widened, and sometimes they grinned. Daggett did not see—he was too
much occupied in trying to remember his speech. The three men had
lighted long black cigars, and were talking among themselves. The cool
morning air which blew into their faces from the west seemed to
restore Brant's equanimity, and he offered Daggett a cigar, which
Daggett took and put into his pocket. Daggett's lips were moving, he
struggled desperately to remember. Presently his eyes brightened.

"Ah!" he said softly. Then he began his speech:—

"Yonder is the Seminary cupilo objecting above the trees. From there
Buford observed the enemy, from there the eagle eye of Reynolds took
in the situation at a glance, from there he decided that the heights
of Gettysburg was the place to fight. You will see that it is an
important strategic point, an important strategic point"—his lips
delighted in the long-forgotten words. "And here—"

The old horse had climbed the hill, and they were upon the Confederate
battle-line of the third day's fight. Old Daggett's voice was lost for
an instant in a recollection of his ancient oratorical glories. His
speech had been learned from a guide-book, but there was a time when
it had been part of his soul.

"Here two hundred cannons opened fire, ladies and gentlemen. From the
Union side nearly a hundred guns replied, not because we had no more
guns, ladies and gentlemen, but, owing to the contour of the ground,
we could only get that many in position at one time. Then came the
greatest artillery duel of the war—nearly three hundred cannons
bleaching forth their deadly measles, shells bursting and screaming
everywhere. The shrieks of the dying and wounded were mingled with the
roar of the iron storm. The earth trembled for hours. It was fearful,
ladies and gentlemen, fearful."

The visitors had been too deeply interested in what they were saying
to hear.

"You said we were on the Confederate battle-line?" asked Brant
absently.

"The Confederate battle-line," answered Daggett.

He had turned the horse's head toward Round Top, and he did not care
whether they heard or not.

"Yonder in the distance is Round Top; to the left is Little Round Top.
They are important strategic points. There the Unionists were attacked
in force by the enemy. There—but here as we go by, notice the
breech-loading guns to our right. They were rare. Most of the guns
were muzzle-loaders."

Presently the visitors began to look about them. They said the field
was larger than they expected; they asked whether the avenues had been
there at the time of the battle; they asked whether Sherman fought at
Gettysburg.

"Sherman!" said Daggett. "Here? No." He looked at them in scorn. "But
here"—the old horse had stopped without a signal—"here is where
Pickett's charge started."

He stepped down from the carriage into the dusty road. This story he
could not tell as he sat at ease. He must have room to wave his arms,
to point his whip.

"They aimed toward that clump of trees, a mile away. They marched with
steady step, as though they were on dress parade. When they were half
way across the Union guns began to fire. They was torn apart; the
rebel comrades stepped over the dead and went on through the storm of
deadly measles as though it was rain and wind. When they started they
was fifteen thousand; when they got back they was eight. They was
almost annihilated. You could walk from the stone wall to beyond the
Emmitsburg road without treading on the ground, the bodies lay so
thick. Pickett and his men had done their best."

"Well done!" cried Brant, when he was through. "Now, that'll do. We
want to talk. Just tell us when we get to the next important place."

They drove on down the wide avenue. Spring had been late, and there
were lingering blossoms of dogwood and Judas-tree. Here and there a
scarlet tanager flashed among the leaves; rabbits looked brightly at
them from the wayside, and deep in the woods resounded the limpid note
of a wood-robin.

Disobedient to Brant's command, Daggett was still talking, repeating
to himself all the true and false statements of his old speeches.
Some, indeed, were mad absurdities.

"There's only one Confederate monument on the field," he said. "You
can tell it when we get there. It says 'C. S. A.' on it—'Secesh
Soldiers of America.'

"There was great fightin' round Spangler's Spring," he went on
soberly. "There those that had no legs gave water to those that had no
arms, and those that had no arms carried off those that had no legs."

At the summit of Little Round Top the old horse stopped again.

"You see before you the important strategic points of the second day's
fight—Devil's Den, the Wheat-Field, the Valley of Death. Yonder—"

Suddenly the old man's memory seemed to fail. He whispered
incoherently, then he asked them if they wanted to get out.

"No," said Brant.

"But everybody gets out here," insisted Daggett peevishly. "You can't
see Devil's Den unless you do. You _must_ get out."

"All right," acquiesced Brant. "Perhaps we are not getting our money's
worth."

He lifted himself ponderously down, and Davis followed him.

"I'll stay here," said Hayes. "I'll see that our driver don't run off.
Were you a soldier?" he asked the old man.

"Yes," answered Daggett. "I was wounded in this battle. I wasn't old
enough to go, but they took me as a substitute for another man. And I
never"—an insane anger flared in the old man's eyes—"I never got my
bounty. He was to have paid me a thousand dollars. A thousand
dollars!" He repeated it as though the sum were beyond his
computation. "After I came out I was going to set up in business. But
the skunk never paid me."

"What did you do afterwards?"

"Nothing," said Daggett. "I was wounded here, and I stayed here after
I got well, and hauled people round. Hauled people round!" He spoke as
though the work were valueless, degrading.

"Why didn't you go into business?"

"I didn't have my thousand dollars," replied Daggett petulantly.
"Didn't I tell you I didn't have my thousand dollars? The skunk never
paid me."

The thought of the thousand dollars of which he had been cheated
seemed to paralyze the old man. He told them no more stories; he drove
silently past Stannard, high on his great shaft, Meade on his noble
horse, fronting the west. He did not mention Stubborn Smith or gallant
Armistead. Brant, now that he had settled with his friends some
legislative appointments which he controlled, was ready to listen, and
was angry at the old man's silence.

"When you take us back to town, you take us to that hotel we saw last
night," he ordered. "We're not going back to your lady friend."

Old Daggett laughed. Lady friend! How she would scold! He would tell
her that the gentlemen thought she was his lady friend.

"And we'll have to have a better horse and driver after dinner, if
we're going to see this field."

"All right," said Daggett.

His morning's work would buy him drink for a week, and beyond the week
he had no interest.

He drove the ancient horse to the hotel, and his passengers got out.
He waited, expecting to be sent for their baggage. The porch and
pavement were as crowded as they had been the night before. The
soldiers embraced each other, hawkers cried their picture postcards
and their manufactured souvenirs, at the edge of the pavement a band
was playing.

Brant pushed his way to the clerk's desk. The clerk remembered him at
once as the triumphantly vindicated defendant in a Congressional
scandal, and welcomed him obsequiously. Brant's picture had been in
all the papers, and his face was not easily forgotten.

"Well, sir, did you just get in?" the clerk asked politely.

"No, I've been here all night," answered Brant. "I was told you had no
rooms."

Meanwhile old Daggett had become tired of waiting. He wanted his
money; the Keystone people might send for the baggage. He tied his old
horse, unheeding the grins of his former companions in the army post
and of the colored porters and the smiles of the fine ladies. He
followed Brant into the hotel.

"Who said we hadn't rooms?" he heard the clerk say to Brant, and then
he heard Brant's reply: "An old drunk."

"Old Daggett?" said the clerk.

A frown crossed Brant's handsome face.

"Daggett?" he repeated sharply. "Frederick Daggett?"

Then he looked back over his shoulder.

"Yes, Frederick Daggett," said the old man himself. "What of it?"

"Nothing," answered Brant nervously.

He pulled out his purse and began to pay the old man, aware that the
crowd had turned to listen.

But the old man did not see the extended hand. He was staring at
Brant's smooth face as though he saw it for the first time.

"You pay me my money," he said thickly.

"I am paying you your money," answered Brant.

The clerk looked up, meaning to order old Daggett out. Then his pen
dropped from his hand as he saw Brant's face.

"You give me my thousand dollars," said Daggett. "I want my thousand
dollars."

Some one in the crowd laughed. Every one in Gettysburg had heard of
Daggett's thousand dollars.

"Put him out! He's crazy."

"Be still," said some one, who was watching Brant.

"I want my thousand dollars," said old Daggett, again. He looked as
though, even in his age and weakness, he would spring upon Brant. "I
want my thousand dollars."

Brant thrust a trembling hand into his pocket and drew out his
check-book. If he had had a moment to think, if the face before him
had not been so ferocious, if General Davenant, whom he knew, and who
knew him, had not been looking with stern inquiry over old Daggett's
shoulder, he might have laughed, or he might have pretended that he
had tried to find Daggett after the war, or he might have denied that
he had ever seen him. But before he thought of an expedient, it was
too late. He had committed the fatal blunder of drawing out his
check-book.

"Be quiet and I'll give it to you," he said, beginning to write.

Daggett almost tore the slip of blue paper from his hand.

"I won't be quiet!" he shouted, in his weak voice, hoarse from his
long speech in the morning. "This is the man that got me to substitute
for him and cheated me out of my thousand dollars. I won't be quiet!"
He looked down at the slip of paper in his hand. Perhaps it was the
ease with which Brant paid out such a vast sum that moved him, perhaps
it was the uselessness of the thousand dollars, now that he was old.
He tore the blue strip across and threw it on the floor. "There is
your thousand dollars!"

He had never looked so wretchedly miserable as he did now. He was
ragged and dusty, and the copious tears of age were running down his
cheeks. His were not the only tears in the crowd. A member of his old
post, which had repudiated him, seized him by the arm.

"Come with me, Daggett. We'll fix you up. We'll make it up to you,
Daggett."

But Daggett jerked away.

"Get out. I'll fix myself up if there's any fixing."

He walked past Brant, not deigning to look at him, he stepped upon the
fragments of paper on the floor, and shambled to the door. There he
saw the faces of Jakie Barsinger and Bert Taylor and the other guides
who had laughed at him, who had called him "Thousand-Dollar" Daggett,
now gaping at him. Old Daggett's cheerfulness returned.

"You blame' fools couldn't earn a thousand dollars if you worked a
thousand years. And I"—he waved a scornful hand over his shoulder—"I
can throw a thousand dollars away."



                                  VII

                              THE RETREAT


Grandfather Myers rose stiffly from his knees. He had been weeding
Henrietta's nasturtium bed, which, thanks to him, was always the
finest in the neighborhood of Gettysburg. As yet, the plants were not
more than three inches high, and the old man tended them as carefully
as though they were children. He was thankful now that his morning's
work was done, the wood-box filled, the children escorted part of the
way to school, and the nasturtium bed weeded, for he saw the buggy of
the mail-carrier of Route 4 come slowly down the hill. It was
grandfather's privilege to bring the mail in from the box. This time
he reached it before the postman, and waited smilingly for him. It
always reminded him a little of his youth, when the old stone house
behind him had been a tavern, and the stage drew up before it each
morning with flourish of horn and proud curveting of horses.

The postman waved something white at him as he approached.

"Great news for Gettysburg," he called. "The state militia's coming to
camp in July."

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Grandfather Myers.

"Yes, they'll be here a week."

"How many'll there be?"

"About ten thousand."

Grandfather started away in such excitement that the postman had to
call him back to receive the newspaper. The old man took it and
hobbled up the yard, his trembling hands scarcely able to unfold it.
He paused twice to read a paragraph, and when he reached the porch he
sat down on the upper step, the paper quivering in his hands.

"Henrietta!" he called.

His son's wife appeared in the doorway, a large, strong, young woman
with snapping eyes. She was drying a platter and her arms moved
vigorously.

"What is it, grandfather?" she asked impatiently.

The old man was so excited he could scarcely answer.

"There's going to be an encampment at Gettysburg, Henrietta. All the
state troops is going to be here. It'll be like war-time again. It
says here—"

"I like to read the paper my own self, father," said Henrietta, moving
briskly away from the door. She felt a sudden anger that it was
grandfather who had this great piece of news to tell. "You ain't taken
your weeds away from the grass yet, and it's most dinner-time."

Grandfather laid down the paper and went to finish his task. He was
accustomed to Henrietta's surliness, and nothing made him unhappy very
long. He threw the weeds over the fence and then went back to the
porch. So willing was he to forgive Henrietta, and so anxious to tell
her more of the exciting news in the paper, that, sitting on the
steps, he read her extracts.

"Ten thousand of 'em, Henrietta. They're going to camp around
Pickett's Charge, and near the Codori Farm, and they're going to put
the cavalry and artillery near Reynolds Woods, and some regulars are
coming, Henrietta. It'll be like war-time. And they're going to have a
grand review with the soldiers marchin' before the Governor. The
Governor'll be there, Henrietta! And—"

"I don't believe it's true," remarked Henrietta coldly. "I believe
it's just newspaper talk."

"Oh, no, Henrietta!" Grandfather spoke with deep conviction. "There
wouldn't be no cheatin' about such a big thing as this. The
Government'd settle them if they'd publish lies. And—" grandfather
rose in his excitement—"there'll be cannons a-boomin' and guns
a-firin' and oh, my!" He waved the paper above his head. "And the
review! I guess you ain't ever seen so many men together. But I have.
I tell you I have. When I laid upstairs here, with the bullet in
here"—he laid his hand upon his chest—"I seen 'em goin'."
Grandfather's voice choked as the voice of one who speaks of some
tremendous experience of his past. "I seen 'em goin'. Men and men and
men and horses and horses and wagons. They was millions, Henrietta."

Henrietta did not answer. She said to herself that she had heard the
account of grandfather's millions of men millions of times. Wounded at
Chancellorsville, and sent home on furlough, he had watched the
Confederate retreat from an upper window of the old stone house.

"I woke up in the night, and I looked out," he would say. "Everybody
was sleepin' and I crept over to the window. It was raining like"—here
grandfather's long list of comparisons failed, and he described it
simply—"it was just rain and storm and marchin'. They kept going and
going. It was tramp, tramp all night."

"Didn't anybody speak, grandfather?" the children would ask.

"You couldn't hear 'em for the rain," he would answer. "Once in a
while you could hear 'em cryin'. But most of the time it was just rain
and storm, rain and storm. They couldn't go fast, they—"

"Why didn't our boys catch them?" little Caleb always asked. "I'd 'a'
run after them."

"Our boys was tired." Grandfather dismissed the Union army with one
short sentence. "The rebels kept droppin' in their tracks. There was
two dead front of the porch in the morning, and three across the
bridge. I tried to sneak out in the night and give 'em something to
eat, or ask some of 'em to come in, but the folks said I was too sick.
They wouldn't let me go. I—"

"It would 'a' been a nice thing to help the enemies of your country
that you'd been fightin' against!" Henrietta would sometimes say
scornfully.

"You didn't see 'em marchin' and hear the sick ones cryin' when the
rain held up a little," he reminded Henrietta. "Oh, I wish I'd sneaked
out and done something for 'em!"

Then he would lapse into silence, his eyes on the long, red road which
led to Hagerstown. It lay now clear and hot and treeless in the
sunshine; to his vision, however, the dust was whipped into deep mud
by a beating rain, beneath which Lee and his army "marched and
marched." He leaned forward as though straining to see.

"I saw some flags once when it lightened," he said; "and once I
thought I saw General Lee."

"Oh, I guess not!" Henrietta would answer with scornful indulgence to
which grandfather was deaf.

He read the newspaper announcement of the encampment again and again,
then he went to meet the children on their way from school, stopping
to tell their father, who was at work in the field.

"There'll be a grand review," grandfather said. "Ten thousand soldiers
in line. We'll go to it, John. It'll be a great day for the young
ones."

"We'll see," answered John.

He was a brisk, energetic man, too busy to be always patient.

In the children grandfather had his first attentive listeners.

"Will it be like the war?" they asked, eagerly.

"Oh, something. There won't be near so many, and they won't kill
nobody. But it'll be a great time. They'll drill all day long."

"Will their horses' hoofs sound like dry leaves rustlin'?" asked
little Mary, who always remembered most clearly what the old man had
said.

"Yes, like leaves a-rustlin'," repeated the old man. "You must be good
children, now, so you don't miss the grand review."

All through the early summer they talked of the encampment. Because of
it the annual Memorial Day visit to the battle-field was omitted. Each
night the children heard the story of the battle and the retreat,
until they listened for commands, faintly given, and the sound of
thousands of weary feet. Grandfather often got up in the night and
looked out across the yard to the road. Sometimes they heard him
whispering to himself as he went back to bed. He got down his old
sword and spent many hours trying to polish away the rust which had
been gathering for forty years.

"You expect to wear the sword, father?" asked Henrietta, laughing.

News of the encampment reached them constantly. Three weeks before it
opened, they were visited by a man who wished to hire horses for the
use of the cavalry and the artillery. John debated for a moment. The
wheat was in, the oats could wait until the encampment was over, the
price paid for horse hire was good. He told the man that he might have
Dick, one of the heavy draft horses.

Grandfather ran to meet the children as they came from a neighbor's.

"Dick's going to the war," he cried excitedly.

"To the war?" repeated the children.

"I mean to the encampment. He's been hired. He's going to help pull
one of the cannons for the artill'ry."

The next week John drove into town with a load of early apples. He was
offered work at a dozen different places. Supplies were being sent in,
details of soldiers were beginning to lay out the camp and put up
tents, Gettysburg was already crowded with visitors. Grandfather made
him tell it all the second time; then he explained the formation of an
army to the children.

"First comes a company, that's the smallest, then a regiment, then a
brigade. A quartermaster looks after supplies, a sutler is a fellow
who sells things to the soldiers. But, children, you should 'a' seen
'em marching by that night!" Grandfather always came back to the
retreat. "They hadn't any sutlers to sell 'em anything to eat. I
wish—I wish I'd sneaked out and given 'em something."

After grandfather went upstairs that night he realized that he was
thirsty, and he came down again. The children were asleep, but their
father and mother still sat talking on the porch. Grandfather had
taken off his shoes and came upon them before they were aware.

"I don't see no use in his going," Henrietta was saying. "There ain't
no room for him in the buggy with us and the children. Where'd we put
him? And he saw the real war."

"But he's looked forward to it, Henrietta, he—"

"Well, would you have me stay at home, or would you have the children
stay at home, or what?" Henrietta felt the burden of Grandfather Myers
more every day. "He'll forget it anyhow in a few days. He forgets
everything."

"Do you—do you—" They turned to see grandfather behind them. He held
weakly to the side of the door. "Do you mean I ain't to go,
Henrietta?"

It did not occur to him to appeal to his son.

"I don't see how you can," answered Henrietta. She was sorry he had
heard. She meant to have John tell him gently the next day. "There is
only the buggy, and if John goes and I and the children—it's you have
made them so anxious to go."

She spoke as though she blamed him.

"But—" Grandfather ignored the meanness of the excuse. "But couldn't
we take the wagon?"

"The wagon? To Gettysburg? With the whole country looking on? I guess
they'd think John was getting along fine if we went in the wagon."
Henrietta was glad to have so foolish a speech to answer as it
deserved. "Why, grandfather!"

"Then"—grandfather's brain, which had of late moved more and more
slowly, was suddenly quickened—"then let me drive the wagon and you
can go in the buggy. I can drive Harry and nobody'll know I belong to
you, and—"

"Let you drive round with all them horses and the shooting and
everything!" exclaimed Henrietta.

Her husband turned toward her.

"You might drive the buggy and take grandfather, and I could go in the
wagon," he said.

"I don't go to Gettysburg without a man on such a day," said Henrietta
firmly.

"But—" Grandfather interrupted his own sentence with a quavering
laugh. Henrietta did not consider him a man!

Then he turned and went upstairs, forgetting his drink of water. He
heard Henrietta's voice long afterward, and John's low answers. John
wanted him to go, he did not blame John.

The next day he made a final plea. He followed John to the barn.

"Seems as if I might ride Harry," he said tentatively.

"O father, you couldn't," John answered gently. "You know how it will
be, noise and confusion and excitement. Harry isn't used to it. You
couldn't manage him."

"Seems as though if Dick goes, Harry ought to go, too. 'Tain't fair
for Dick to go, and not Harry," he whispered childishly.

"I'm sorry, father," said John.

It was better that his father should be disappointed than that
Henrietta should be opposed. His father would forget in a few days and
Henrietta would remember for weeks.

The next day when the man came for Dick they found grandfather in the
stable patting the horse and talking about the war. He watched Dick
out of sight, and then sat down in his armchair on the porch
whispering to himself.

The children protested vigorously when they found that the old man was
not going, but they were soon silenced by their mother. Grandfather
was old, it was much better that he should not go.

"You can tell him all about it when you come home," she said.

"You can guard the place while we're gone, Grandfather," suggested
little Caleb. "Perhaps the Confederates will come back."

"They wouldn't hurt nothing," answered the old man. "They was
tired—tired—tired."

When the family drove away he sat on the porch. He waved his hand
until he could see little Mary's fluttering handkerchief no more, then
he fell asleep. As Henrietta said, he soon forgot. When he woke up a
little later, he went down to the barn and patted Harry, then he went
out to the mail-box to see whether by any chance he had missed a
letter. He looked at the nasturtium bed, now aglow with yellow and
orange and deep crimson blossoms, then he went back to the porch. He
was lonely. He missed the sound of John's voice calling to the horses
down in the south meadow or across the road in the wheat-field, he
missed the chatter of the children, he missed even their mother's curt
answers to his questions. For an instant he wondered where they had
gone, then he sighed heavily as he remembered. Instead of sitting down
again in his chair, he went into the house and upstairs. There he
tiptoed warily up to the garret as if he were afraid that some one
would follow him, and drew from a hiding-place which he fancied no one
knew but himself an old coat, blue, with buttons of dull, tarnished
brass. He thrust his arms into it, still whispering to himself, and
smoothed it down. His fingers hesitated as they touched a jagged rent
just in front of the shoulder.

"What— Oh, yes, I remember!"

Grandfather had never been quite so forgetful as this. On his way
downstairs he took from its hook his old sword.

"Caleb says I must guard the house," he said smilingly.

When he reached the porch, he turned his chair so that it no longer
faced toward Gettysburg, whither John and Henrietta and the children
had gone, but toward the blue hills and Hagerstown. Once he picked up
the sword and pointed with it, steadying it with both hands. "Through
that gap they went," he said.

Then he dozed again. The old clock, which had stood on the kitchen
mantelpiece since before he was born, struck ten, but he did not hear.
Henrietta had told him where he could find some lunch, but he did not
remember nor care. His dinner was set out beneath a white cloth on the
kitchen table, but he had not curiosity enough to lift it and see what
good things Henrietta had left for him. When he woke again, he began
to sing in a shrill voice:—

  "Away down South in Dixie,
  Look away, look away."

"They didn't sing that when they was marching home," he said solemnly.
"They only tramped along in the dark and rain."

Then suddenly he straightened up. Like an echo from his own lips,
there came from the distance toward Gettysburg the same tune, played
by fifes, with the dull accompaniment of drums. He bent forward,
listening, then stood up, looking off toward the blue hills. At once
he realized that the sound came from the other direction.

"I thought they was all past, long ago," he said. "And they never
played. I guess I was asleep and dreaming."

He sat down once more, his head on his breast. When he lifted it, it
was in response to a sharp "Halt!" He stared about him. The road
before him was filled with soldiers, in dusty yellow uniforms. Then he
was not dreaming, then—He tottered to the edge of the porch.

The men of the Third Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania
did not approve of the march, in their parlance a "hike," which their
colonel had decided to give them along the line of Lee's retreat. They
felt that just before the grand review in the afternoon, it was an
imposition. They were glad to halt, while the captain of each company
explained that upon the night of the third of July, 1863, Lee had
traversed this road on his way to recross the Potomac.

When his explanation was over, the captain of Company I moved his men
a little to the right under the shade of the maples. From there he saw
the moving figure behind the vines.

"Sergeant, go in and ask whether we may have water."

[Illustration: THEY SAW THE STRANGE OLD FIGURE ON THE PORCH.]

The sergeant entered the gate, and the thirsty men, hearing the order,
looked after him. They saw the strange old figure on the porch, the
torn blue jacket belted at the waist, the sword, the smiling, eager
face. The captain saw, too.

"Three cheers for the old soldier," he cried, and hats were swung in
the air.

"May we have a drink?" the sergeant asked, and grandfather pointed the
way to the well.

He tried to go down the steps to help them pump, but his knees
trembled, and he stayed where he was. He watched them, still smiling.
He did not realize that the cheers were for him, he could not quite
understand why suits which should be gray were so yellow, but he
supposed it was the mud.

"Poor chaps," he sighed. "They're goin' back to Dixie."

One by one the companies drew up before the gate, and one by one they
cheered. They had been cheering ever since the beginning of the
encampment—for Meade, for Hancock, for Reynolds, among the dead; for
the Governor, the colonel, the leader of the regiment band, among the
living. They had enlisted for a good time, for a trip to Gettysburg,
for a taste of camp-life, from almost any other motive than that which
had moved this old man to enlist in '61. They suddenly realized how
little this encampment was like war. All the drill, all the pomp of
this tin soldiering, even all the graves of the battle-field, had not
moved them as did this old man in his tattered coat. Here was love of
country. Would any of them care to don in fifty years their khaki
blouses? Then, before the momentary enthusiasm or the momentary
seriousness had time to wear away, the order was given to march back
to camp.

The old man did not turn to watch them go. He sat still with his eyes
upon the distant hills. After a while his sword fell clattering to the
floor.

"I'm glad I sneaked out and gave 'em something," he said, smiling with
a great content.

The long leaves of the corn in the next field rustled in the wind, the
sun rose higher, then declined, and still he sat there smilingly
unheeding, his eyes toward the west. Once he said, "Poor chaps, it's
dark for 'em."

The cows waited at the pasture gate for the master and mistress, who
were late. Henrietta had wished that morning that grandfather could
milk, so that they would not have to hurry home. Presently they came,
tired and hungry, the children eager to tell of the wonders they had
seen. At their mother's command, they ran to let down the pasture bars
while their father led the horses to the barn, and she herself went on
to the porch.

"Grandfather," she said kindly, "we're here." She even laid her hand
on his shoulder. "Wake up, grandfather!" She spoke sharply, angry at
his failure to respond to her unaccustomed gentleness of speech. Her
hand fell upon his shoulder once more, this time heavily, and her
finger-tips touched a jagged edge of cloth. "What—" she began. She
remembered the old coat, which she had long since made up her mind to
burn. She felt for the buttons down the front, the belt with its broad
plate. Yes, it was—Then suddenly she touched his hands, and screamed
and ran, crying, toward the barn.

"John!" she called. "John! Grandfather is dead."



                                  VIII

                             THE GREAT DAY


Old Billy Gude strode slowly into the kitchen, where his wife bent
over the stove. Just inside the door he stopped, and chewed
meditatively upon the toothpick in his mouth. His wife turned
presently to look at him.

"What are you grinning at?" she asked pleasantly.

Billy did not answer. Instead he sat down in his armchair and lifted
his feet to the window-sill.

"_Won't_ you speak, or can't you?" demanded Mrs. Gude.

When he still did not respond, she gravely pushed her frying-pan to
the back of the stove, and went toward the door. Before her hand
touched the latch, however, Billy came to himself.

"Abbie!" he cried.

"I can't stop now," answered Mrs. Gude. "I gave you your chance to
tell what you got to tell. Now you can wait till I come home."

"You'll be sorry."

Mrs. Gude looked back. Her husband still grinned.

"You're crazy," she said, with conviction, and went out.

An instant later she reopened the door. Billy was executing a _pas
seul_ in the middle of the floor.

"_Are_ you crazy?" she demanded, in affright.

Billy paused long enough to wink at her.

"You better go do your errand, Abbie."

Abbie seized him by the arm.

"What is the matter?"

Then Billy's news refused longer to be retained.

"There's a great day comin'," he announced solemnly. "The President of
the United States is comin' here on Decoration Day to see the
battle-field."

"What of that?" said Abbie scornfully. "It won't do you no good. He'll
come in the morning in an automobile, an' he'll scoot round the field
with Jakie Barsinger a-settin' on the step tellin' lies, an' you can
see him go by."

"See him go by nothin'," declared Billy. "That's where you're left.
He's comin' in the mornin' on a special train, an' he's goin' to be
driven round the field, an' he's goin' to make a speech at the
nostrum"—thus did Billy choose to pronounce rostrum—"an'—"

"And Jakie Barsinger will drive him over the field and to the nostrum,
and you can sit and look on."

"That's where you're left again," mocked Billy. "I, bein' the oldest
guide, an' the best knowed, an' havin' held Mr. Lincoln by the hand in
'63, an' havin' driven all the other big guns what come here till
automobiles an' Jakie Barsinger come in, _I_ am selected to do the
drivin' on the great day."

Mrs. Gude sat down heavily on a chair near the door.

"Who done it, Billy?"

"I don't know who done it," Billy answered. "An' I don't care. Some of
the galoots had a little common sense for once."

"_Why_ did they do it?" gasped Mrs. Gude.

"Why?" repeated Billy. "Why? Because when you get people to talk about
a battle, it's better to have some one what saw the battle, an' not
some one what was in long clothes. I guess they were afraid Jakie
might tell something wrong. You can't fool this President."

"I mean, what made 'em change _now_?" went on Abbie. "They knew this
long time that Jakie Barsinger was dumb."

"I don't know, an' I don't care. I only know that I'm goin' to drive
the President. I heard Lincoln make his speech in '63, an' I drove
Everett an' Sickles an' Howard an' Curtin, and this President's
father, an' then"—Billy's voice shook—"then they said I was gettin'
old, an' Jakie Barsinger an' all the chaps get down at the station an'
yell an' howl like Piute Indians, an' they get the custom, an' the
hotels tell the people I had an accident with an automobile.
Automobiles be danged!"

Mrs. Gude laid a tender hand on his shoulder.

"Don't you cry," she said.

Billy dashed the tears from his eyes.

"I ain't cryin'. You go on with your errand."

Mrs. Gude put on her sunbonnet again. She had no errand, but it would
not do to admit it.

"Not if you're goin' to hop round like a loony."

"I'm safe for to-day, I guess. Besides, my legs is give out."

Left alone, Billy rubbed one leg, then the other.

"G'lang there," he said, presently, his hands lifting a pair of
imaginary reins. "Mr. President, hidden here among the trees an'
bushes waited the foe; here—"

Before he had finished he was asleep. He was almost seventy years old,
and excitement wearied him.

For forty years he had shown visitors over the battle-field. At first
his old horse had picked his way carefully along lanes and across
fields; of late, however, his handsome grays had trotted over fine
avenues. The horses knew the route of travel as thoroughly as did
their master. They drew up before the National Monument, on the turn
of the Angle, and at the summit of Little Round Top without the least
guidance.

"There ain't a stone or a bush I don't know," boasted Billy, "there
ain't a tree or a fence-post."

Presently, however, came a creature which neither Billy nor his horses
knew. It dashed upon them one day with infernal tooting on the steep
curve of Culp's Hill, and neither they nor Billy were prepared. He sat
easily in his seat, the lines loose in his hands, while he described
the charge of the Louisiana Tigers.

"From yonder they came," he said. "Up there, a-creepin' through the
bushes, an' then a-dashin', an' down on 'em came—"

And then Billy knew no more. The automobile was upon them; there was a
crash as the horses whirled aside into the underbrush, another as the
carriage turned turtle, then a succession of shrieks. No one was
seriously hurt, however, but Billy himself. When, weeks later, he went
back to his old post beside the station platform, where the guides
waited the arrival of trains, Jakie Barsinger had his place, and Jakie
would not move. He was of a new generation of guides, who made up in
volubility what they lacked in knowledge.

For weeks Billy continued to drive to the station. He had enlisted the
services of a chauffeur, and his horses were now accustomed to
automobiles.

"I tamed 'em," he said to Abbie. "I drove 'em up to it, an' round it,
an' past it. An' he snorted it, an' tooted it, an' brought it at 'em
in front an' behind. They're as calm as pigeons."

Nevertheless, trade did not come back. Jakie Barsinger had become the
recognized guide for the guests at the Palace, and John Harris for
those at the Keystone, and it was always from the hotels that the best
patronage came.

"Jakie Barsinger took the Secretary of War round the other day," the
old man would say, tearfully, to his wife, "an' he made a fool of
himself. He don't know a brigade from a company. An' he grinned at
me—he grinned at me!"

Abbie did her best to comfort him.

"Perhaps some of the old ones what used to have you will come back."

"An' if they do," said Billy, "the clerk at the Palace'll tell 'em I
ain't in the business, or I was in a accident, or that I'm dead. I
wouldn't put it past 'em to tell 'em I'm dead."

Robbed of the occupation of his life, which was also his passion,
Billy grew rapidly old. Abbie listened in distress as, sitting alone,
he declaimed his old speeches.

"Here on the right they fought with clubbed muskets. Here—"

Often he did not finish, but dozed wearily off. There were times when
it seemed that he could not long survive.

Now, however, as Memorial Day approached, he seemed to have taken a
new lease of life. No longer did he sit sleepily all day on the porch
or by the stove. He began to frequent his old haunts, and he assumed
his old proud attitude towards his rivals.

Mrs. Gude did not share his unqualified elation.

"Something might happen," she suggested fearfully.

"Nothin' could happen," rejoined Billy scornfully, "unless I died. An'
then I wouldn't care. But I hope the Lord won't let me die." Billy
said it as though it were a prayer. "I'm goin' to set up once more an'
wave my whip at 'em, with the President of the United States beside
me. No back seat for him! Colonel Mott said the President 'd want to
sit on the front seat. An' he said he'd ask questions. 'Let him ask,'
I said. 'I ain't afraid of no questions nobody can ask. No s'tistics,
nor manœuvres, nor—'"

"But Jakie Barsinger might do you a mean trick."

"There ain't nothin' he _can_ do. Mott said to me, 'Be on time, Gude,
bright an' early.'" Then Billy's voice sank to a whisper. "They're
goin' to stop the train out at the sidin' back of the Seminary, so as
to fool the crowd. They'll be waitin' in town, an' we'll be off an'
away. An' by an' by we'll meet Jakie with a load of jays. Oh, it'll
be—it'll be immense!"

Through the weeks that intervened before the thirtieth of May, Abbie
watched him anxiously. Each day he exercised the horses, grown fat and
lazy; each day he went over the long account of the battle,—as though
he could forget what was part and parcel of himself! His eyes grew
brighter, and there was a flush on his old cheeks. The committee of
arrangements lost their fear that they had been unwise in appointing
him.

"Gude's just as good as he ever was," said Colonel Mott. "It wouldn't
do to let the President get at Barsinger. If you stop him in the
middle of a speech, he has to go back to the beginning." Then he told
a story of which he never grew weary. "'Here on this field lay ten
thousand dead men,' says Barsinger. 'Ten thousand dead men,
interspersed with one dead lady.' No; Billy Gude's all right."

Colonel Mott sighed with relief. The planning for a President's visit
was no light task. There were arrangements to be made with the
railroad companies, the secret service men were to be stationed over
the battle-field, there were to be trustworthy guards, a programme was
to be made out for the afternoon meeting at which the President was to
speak.

The night before the thirtieth Abbie did not sleep. She heard Billy
talking softly to himself.

"Right yonder, Mr. President, they came creepin' through the bushes;
right yonder—" Then he groaned heavily, and Abbie shook him awake.

"I was dreamin' about the automobile," he said, confusedly. "I—oh,
ain't it time to get up?"

At daylight he was astir, and Abbie helped him dress. His hand shook
and his voice trembled as he said good-bye.

"You better come to the window an' see me go past," he said; then,
"What you cryin' about, Abbie?"

"I'm afraid somethin' 's goin' to happen," sobbed the old woman. "I'm
afraid—"

"Afraid!" he mocked. "Do you think, too, that I'm old an' wore out an'
no good? You'll see!"

And, defiantly, he went out.

Half an hour later he drove to the siding where the train was to stop.
A wooden platform had been built beside the track, and on it stood
Colonel Mott and the rest of the committee.

"Drive back there, Billy," Colonel Mott commanded. "Then when I signal
to you, you come down here. And hold on to your horses. There's going
to be a Presidential salute. As soon as that's over we'll start."

Billy drew back to the side of the road. Evidently, through some
mischance, the plans for the President's reception had become known,
and there was a rapidly increasing crowd. On the slope of the hill a
battery of artillery awaited the word to fire. Billy sat straight, his
eyes on his horses' heads, his old hands gripping the lines. He
watched with pride the marshal waving all carriages back from the
road. Only he, Billy Gude, had the right to be there. _He_ was to
drive the President. The great day had come. He chuckled aloud, not
noticing that just back of the marshal stood Jakie Barsinger's fine
new carriage, empty save for Jakie himself.

Presently the old man sat still more erectly. He heard, clear above
the noise of the crowd, a distant whistle—that same whistle for which
he had listened daily when he had the best place beside the station
platform. The train was rounding the last curve. In a moment more it
would come slowly to view out of the fatal Railroad Cut, whose
forty-year-old horrors Billy could describe so well.

The fields were black now with the crowd, the gunners watched their
captain, and slowly the train drew in beside the bright pine platform.
At the door of the last car appeared a tall and sturdy figure, and ten
thousand huzzas made the hills ring. Then a thunder of guns awoke
echoes which, like the terror-stricken cries from the Railroad Cut,
had been silent forty years. Billy, listening, shivered. The horror
had not grown less with his repeated telling.

He leaned forward now, watching for Colonel Mott's uplifted hand; he
saw him signal, and then—From behind he heard a cry, and turned to
look; then he swiftly swung Dan and Bess in toward the fence. A pair
of horses, maddened by the noise of the firing, dashed toward him. He
heard women scream, and thought, despairing, of Abbie's prophecy.
There would not be room for them to pass. After all, he would not
drive the President. Then he almost sobbed in his relief. They were
safely by. He laughed grimly. It was Jakie Barsinger with his fine new
carriage. Then Billy clutched the reins again. In the short glimpse he
had caught of Jakie Barsinger, Jakie did not seem frightened or
disturbed. Nor did he seem to make any effort to hold his horses in.
Billy stared into the cloud of dust which followed him. What did it
mean? And as he stared the horses stopped, skillfully drawn in by
Jakie Barsinger's firm hand beside the yellow platform. The cloud of
dust thinned a little, and Billy saw plainly now. Into the front seat
of the tourists' carriage, beside Jakie Barsinger, climbed the
President of the United States. Billy rose in his seat.

"Colonel Mott!" he called, frantically. "Colonel Mott!"

But no one heeded. If any one heard, he thought it was but another
cheer. The crowd swarmed down to the road shouting, huzza-ing, here
and there a man or a girl pausing to steady a camera on a fence-post,
here and there a father lifting his child to his shoulder.

"Where is the President?" they asked, and Billy heard the answer.

"There, there! Look! By Jakie Barsinger!"

The old man's hands dropped, and he sobbed. It had all been so neatly
done: the pretense of a runaway, the confusion of the moment, Colonel
Mott's excitement—and the crown of his life was gone.

Long after the crowd had followed in the dusty wake of Jakie
Barsinger's carriage, he turned his horses toward home. A hundred
tourists had begged him to take them over the field, but he had
silently shaken his head. He could not speak. Dan and Bess trotted
briskly, mindful of the cool stable toward which their heads were set,
and they whinnied eagerly at the stable door. They stood there for
half an hour, however, before their master clambered down to unharness
them. He talked to himself feebly, and, when he had finished, went
out, not to the house, where Abbie, who had watched Jakie Barsinger
drive by, waited in an agony of fear, but down the street, and out by
quiet alleys and lanes to the National Cemetery. Sometimes he looked a
little wonderingly toward the crowded main streets, not able to recall
instantly why the crowd was there, then remembering with a rage which
shook him to the soul. Fleeting, futile suggestions of revenge rushed
upon him—a loosened nut in Jakie Barsinger's swingle-tree or a cut
trace—and were repelled with horror which hurt as much as the rage.
All the town would taunt him now. Why had he not turned his carriage
across the road and stopped Jakie Barsinger in his wild dash? It would
have been better to have been killed than to have lived to this.

Around the gate of the cemetery a company of cavalry was stationed,
and within new thousands of visitors waited. It was afternoon now, and
almost time for the trip over the field to end and the exercises to
begin. As Billy passed through the crowd, he felt a hand on his
shoulder.

"Thought you were going to drive the President," said a loud voice.

Billy saw for an instant the strange faces about him, gaping,
interested to hear his answer.

"I ain't nobody's coachman," he said coolly, and walked on.

"They ain't goin' to get a rise out of me," he choked. "They ain't
goin' to get a rise out of me."

He walked slowly up the wide avenue, and presently sat down on a
bench. He was tired to death, his head nodded, and soon he slept,
regardless of blare of band and shouting of men and roll of carriage
wheels. There was a song, and then a prayer, but Billy heard nothing
until the great speech was almost over. Then he opened his eyes
drowsily, and saw the throng gathered round the wistaria-covered
rostrum, on which the President was standing. Billy sprang up. At
least he would hear the speech. Nobody could cheat him out of that. He
pushed his way through the crowd, which, seeing his white hair, opened
easily enough. Then he stood trembling, all his misery rushing over
him again at sight of the tall figure. He was to have sat beside him,
to have talked with him! He rubbed a weak hand across his eyes.
Suddenly he realized that the formal portion of the speech was over,
the President was saying now a short farewell.

"I wish to congratulate the Commission which has made of this great
field so worthy a memorial to those who died here. I wish to express
my gratification to the citizens of this town for their share in the
preservation of the field, and their extraordinary knowledge of the
complicated tactics of the battle. Years ago my interest was aroused
by hearing my father tell of a visit here, and of the vivid story of a
guide—his name, I think, was William Gude. I—"

"'His name, I think,'" old Billy repeated dully. "'His name, I think,
was William Gude.'"

It was a few seconds before the purport of it reached his brain. Then
he raised both arms, unaware that the speech was ended and that the
crowd had begun to cheer.

"Oh, Mr. President," he called, "my name is William Gude!" His head
swam. They were turning away; they did not hear. "My name is William
Gude," he said again pitifully.

The crowd, pressing toward Jakie Barsinger's carriage, into which the
President was stepping, carried him with them. They looked about them
questioningly; they could see Colonel Mott, who was at the President's
side, beckoning to some one; who it was they could not tell. Then
above the noise they heard him call.

"Billy Gude!" he shouted. "Billy—"

"It's me!" said Billy.

He stared, blinking, at Colonel Mott and at the President.

Colonel Mott laid his hand on Billy's shoulder. He had been trying to
invent a suitable punishment for Jakie Barsinger. No more custom
should come to him through the Commission.

"The President wants you to ride down to the station with him, Billy,"
he said. "He wants to know whether you remember his father."

As in a dream, Billy climbed into the carriage. The President sat on
the rear seat now, and Billy was beside him.

"I remember him like yesterday," he declared. "I remember what he said
an' how he looked, an'—" the words crowded upon each other as eagerly
as the President's questions, and Billy forgot all save them—the
cheering crowd, the wondering, envious eyes of his fellow citizens; he
did not even remember that Jakie Barsinger was driving him, Billy
Gude, and the President of the United States together. Once he caught
a glimpse of Abbie's frightened face, and he waved his hand and the
President lifted his hat.

"I wish I could have known about you earlier in the day," said the
President, as he stepped down at the railroad station. Then he took
Billy's hand in his. "It has been a great pleasure to talk to you."

The engine puffed near at hand, there were new cheers from throats
already hoarse with cheering, and the great man was gone, the great
day over. For an instant Billy watched the train, his hand uplifted
with a thousand other hands in a last salute to the swift-vanishing
figure in the observation-car. Then he turned, to meet the unwilling
eyes of Jakie Barsinger, helpless to move his carriage in the great
crowd. For an instant the recollection of his wrongs overwhelmed him.

"Jakie—" he began. Then he laughed. The crowd was listening,
open-mouthed. For the moment, now that the President was gone, he,
Billy Gude, was the great man. He stepped nimbly into the carriage.
"Coachman," he commanded, "you can drive home."



                                   IX

                              MARY BOWMAN


Outside the broad gateway which leads into the National Cemetery at
Gettysburg and thence on into the great park, there stands a little
house on whose porch there may be seen on summer evenings an old
woman. The cemetery with its tall monuments lies a little back of her
and to her left; before her is the village; beyond, on a little
eminence, the buildings of the Theological Seminary; and still farther
beyond the foothills of the Blue Ridge. The village is tree-shaded,
the hills are set with fine oaks and hickories, the fields are green.
It would be difficult to find in all the world an expanse more lovely.
Those who have known it in their youth grow homesick for it; their
eyes ache and their throats tighten as they remember it. At sunset it
is bathed in purple light, its trees grow darker, its hills more
shadowy, its hollows deeper and more mysterious. Then, lifted above
the dark masses of the trees, one may see marble shafts and domes turn
to liquid gold.

The little old woman, sitting with folded hands, is Mary Bowman, whose
husband was lost on this field. The battle will soon be fifty years in
the past, she has been for that long a widow. She has brought up three
children, two sons and a daughter. One of her sons is a merchant, one
is a clergyman, and her daughter is well and happily married. Her own
life of activity is past; she is waited upon tenderly and loved dearly
by her children and her grandchildren. She was born in this village,
she has almost never been away. From here her husband went to war,
here he is buried among thousands of unknown dead, here she nursed the
wounded and dying, here she will be buried herself in the Evergreen
cemetery, beyond the National cemetery.

She has seen beauty change to desolation, trees shattered, fields
trampled, walls broken, all her dear, familiar world turned to chaos;
she has seen desolation grow again to beauty. These hills and streams
were always lovely, now a nation has determined to keep them forever
in the same loveliness. Here was a rocky, wooded field, destined by
its owner to cultivation; it has been decreed that its rough
picturesqueness shall endure forever. Here is a lowly farmhouse; upon
it no hand of change shall be laid while the nation continues.
Preserved, consecrated, hallowed are the woods and lanes in which Mary
Bowman walked with the lover of her youth.

Broad avenues lead across the fields, marking the lines where by
thousands Northerners and Southerners were killed. Big Round Top, to
which one used to journey by a difficult path, is now accessible;
Union and Confederate soldiers, returning, find their way with ease to
old positions; lads from West Point are brought to see, spread out
before them as on a map, that Union fish-hook, five miles long,
inclosing that slightly curved Confederate line.

Monuments are here by hundreds, names by thousands, cast in bronze, as
endurable as they can be made by man. All that can be done in
remembrance of those who fought here has been done, all possible
effort to identify the unknown has been made. For fifty years their
little trinkets have been preserved, their pocket Testaments, their
photographs, their letters—letters addressed to "My precious son," "My
dear brother," "My beloved husband." Seeing them to-day, you will find
them marked by a number. This stained scapular, this little housewife
with its rusty scissors, this unsigned letter, dated in '63, belonged
to him who lies now in Grave Number 20 or Number 3500.

There is almost an excess of tenderness for these dead, yet mixed with
it is a strange feeling of remoteness. We mourn them, praise them,
laud them, but we cannot understand them. To this generation war is
strange, its sacrifices are uncomprehended, incomprehensible. It is
especially so in these latter years, since those who came once to this
field come now no more. Once the heroes of the war were familiar
figures upon these streets; Meade with his serious, bearded face,
Slocum with his quick, glancing eyes, Hancock with his distinguished
air, Howard with his empty sleeve. They have gone hence, and with them
have marched two thirds of Gettysburg's two hundred thousand.

Mary Bowman has seen them all, has heard them speak. Sitting on her
little porch, she has watched most of the great men of the United
States go by, Presidents, cabinet officials, ambassadors, army
officers, and also famous visitors from other lands who know little of
the United States, but to whom Gettysburg is as a familiar country.
She has watched also that great, rapidly shrinking army of private
soldiers in faded blue coats, who make pilgrimages to see the fields
and hills upon which they fought. She has tried to make herself
realize that her husband, if he had lived, would be like these old
men, maimed, feeble, decrepit, but the thought possesses no reality
for her. He is still young, still erect, he still goes forth in the
pride of life and strength.

Mary Bowman will not talk about the battle. To each of her children
and each of her grandchildren, she has told once, as one who performs
a sacred duty, its many-sided story. She has told each one of wounds
and suffering, but she has not omitted tales of heroic death, of
promotion on the field, of stubborn fight for glory. By others than
her own she will not be questioned. A young officer, recounting the
rigors of the march, has written, "Forsan et hæc olim meminisse
juvabit,"—"Perchance even these things it will be delightful to
remember." To feel delight, remembering these things, Mary Bowman has
never learned. Her neighbors who suffered with her, some just as
cruelly, have recovered; their wounds have healed, as wounds do in the
natural course of things. But Mary Bowman has remained mindful; she
has been, for all these years, widowed indeed.

Her faithful friend and neighbor, Hannah Casey, is the great joy of
visitors to the battle-field. She will talk incessantly,
enthusiastically, with insane invention. The most morbid visitor will
be satisfied with Hannah's wild account of a Valley of Death filled to
the rim with dead bodies, of the trickling rivulet of Plum Creek
swollen with blood to a roaring torrent. But Mary Bowman is different.

Her granddaughter, who lives with her, is curious about her emotions.

"Do you feel reconciled?" she will ask. "Do you feel reconciled to the
sacrifice, grandmother? Do you think of the North and South as
reunited, and are you glad you helped?"

Her grandmother answers with no words, but with a slow, tearful smile.
She does not analyze her emotions. Perhaps it is too much to expect of
one who has been a widow for fifty years, that she philosophize about
it!

Sitting on her porch in the early morning, she remembers the first of
July, fifty years ago.

"Madam!" cried the soldier who galloped to the door, "there is to be a
battle in this town!"

"Here?" she had answered stupidly. "_Here?_"

Sitting there at noon, she hears the roaring blasts of artillery, she
seems to see shells, as of old, curving like great ropes through the
air, she remembers that somewhere on this field, struck by a missile
such as that, her husband fell.

Sitting there in the moonlight, she remembers Early on his white
horse, with muffled hoofs, riding spectralwise down the street among
the sleeping soldiers.

"Up, boys!" he whispers, and is heard even in that heavy stupor. "Up,
boys, up! We must get away!"

She hears also the pouring rain of July the fourth, falling upon her
little house, upon that wide battle-field, upon her very heart. She
sees, too, the deep, sad eyes of Abraham Lincoln, she hears his voice
in the great sentences of his simple speech, she feels his message in
her soul.

"Daughter!" he seems to say, "Daughter, be of good comfort!"

So, still, Mary Bowman sits waiting. She is a Christian, she has great
hope; as her waiting has been long, so may the joy of her reunion be
full.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         The Riverside Press

                      CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS

                              U . S . A

------------------------------------------------------------------------



Transcriber's note:

    ○ Chapter IV, fourth paragraph, the hyphen in out-standing was
      retained. In this context, the dress should have been standing
      out from her body. It was not an outstanding dress.

    ○ Chapters I, VI, the variable spelling of Emmittsburg / Emmitsburg
      is as in the original text





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