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Robert E. Lee Portrait
WE publish this week several
illustrations of the Army of the Potomac from sketches by Mr. Mead of Vermont.
One of them, on page 428,
represents the desperate struggle which took place, during the
battle of Fairoaks,
around Ricketts, now Kirby's Battery. The Herald correspondent wrote:
While Lieutenant Kirby's battery
was being placed in position, the enemy came out in force and made a desperate
attempt to capture it. It was the same artillery company which Captain Ricketts
Bull Run when the pieces were captured.
It was formerly the now rebel
General Magruder's battery. He evidently recognized the colors of the company,
and the prisoners we have captured say he swore he would have that battery. He
ordered an immediate and desperate charge. The rebels came within twenty yards,
when they poured a destructive fire into our ranks. The fire and the effect for
a few moments were terrific. The cannoneers were driven from their pieces;
horses plunged and reared, while some fell in the traces, killed or wounded;
others dashed off with caissons, but the generals present at this critical
moment and exciting scene dashed forward, swords in hand, the gunners sprang
forward also, and, "quick as lightning," manned their pieces. The supporting
regiment, which had for a moment wavered, though its colonel and other valuable
officers had fallen, now rallied, and they were greeted with a tremendous shower
of fire, which caused them to fall back in great disorder. It was at that latest
fire from the enemy that Colonel Riker, of the Sixty-second New York, was
killed. As he was advancing he said, "We have some cold steel to give them,
boys," and then he fell mortally wounded in the body. The Thirty-first
Pennsylvania and the Chasseurs were doing excellent service on the right, and
had already performed their share in driving the enemy away from our artillery.
Before our deadly fire the enemy fell back, and General Magruder did not get his
Another picture, on
page 421, from a
sketch by the same hand, represents the rebel cavalry firing into a train of
cars containing wounded men near Tunstall's Station. This deed was done by that
band of rebel cavalry, who, under General Stuart, made a daring swoop on the
rear of General McClellan's army on the night of 13th, killed a number of
teamsters and horses, stole and burned some stores and a couple of schooners,
and made good their retreat without loss.
General McClellan's account of the affair is as
The rebels, after driving from
Old Church a squadron of the Fifth Cavalry, proceeded to Garlick's Landing, on
the Pamunky River, about four miles above the White House, where they burned two
schooners and some wagons, and drove off the mules. Here their conduct is
represented as barbarous, having killed several of our teamster's without any
necessity. Those who failed to make their escape were taken prisoners. From here
they proceeded to Tunstall's Station, four miles from White House, with a view
of burning the railroad bridge. A train which was passing down at the time was
fired into, killing two and wounding several. A colonel belonging to the
Excelsior Brigade was there taken prisoner, but succeeded in making his escape
during the night. A paymaster jumped from the train and hid himself in the woods
until morning, leaving $125,000 in the cars. The train never stopped, but passed
on to the White House. After destroying the telegraph wire at this point, they
proceeded to Baltimore Cross Roads, near New Kent Court House on their way to
Richmond, crossing the
Chickahominy, between Bottom's Bridge and the
James River, about two o'clock this morning. The force that accomplished this
was composed of fifteen hundred cavalry and six pieces of artillery, under
General Stuart, most of whom were residents of this locality.
The rebel account of the affair,
from the Richmond Dispatch, reads thus:
Upon approaching the railroad,
cars were heard advancing and the whistle sounded. By orders every man was
instantly dismounted and ranged beside the track. Again the whistle blew, and
thinking the force to be a friendly one perhaps, the steam was stopped, when the
Caroline troop opening fire, disclosed the ruse, and, putting on steam again, on
sped the train toward the Chickahominy, and despite heavy logs placed on the
track, made good its escape; but the carriages being but uncovered freight
trucks, and having soldiers on them, the slaughter that ensued was frightful.
Many of the enemy jumped from the train and were afterward captured or killed,
to the number of twenty or more. The engineer was shot dead by Lieutenant
page 428 we reproduce a sketch by Mr. Mead,
representing a very remarkable accident which lately took place in the
Army of the Potomac. Mr. Mead writes:
"A very sad and singular accident
occurred in Captain Wheeler's Battery, General Smith's Division, near Richmond,
about two o'clock on the morning of the 3d of June. A heavy thunder-storm had
been raging from the west for some time, and had apparently almost spent its
force. The tents of time men consisted of paulins or gun-covers stretched on
sticks and rails, and were placed on a line between the guns and caissons. The
sentries perceived a dark cloud sweeping from the west at a very low elevation,
and as it passed over the park a terrific discharge of the electric fluid took
place. The whole battery seemed enveloped in a sheet of flame. All of the
sentries but one, the corporal of the guard, and the horses were knocked down.
The flame seemed to strike one of the guns, leaped from thence to the supports
of the tent, passing downward, and stunning and burning or partially paralyzing
a whole platoon of twenty men. One, Corporal James Bryant, of Bath, New York,
gunner of the left piece, an intelligent and brave young man, was instantly
killed; the others in that tent, although rendered senseless for a time being,
with the exception of three or four, were able to do duty the next day. The
electric fluid passed under the rubber blanket of one man, lifting him several
inches from the ground. Some had legs and arms partially paralyzed.
Providentially the ammunition chests were not touched.
Captain Wheeler's battery belongs
to the First New York Artillery, organized by the lamented Colonel G. D. Bailey,
and was engaged at Dam No. 1 before Yorktown, where a shell from the enemy
exploded one of the ammunition chests, at Lee's Mills, at Williamsburg with
Hancock's brigade, and at
Mechanicsville with General Davidson. The men
are unanimous in the belief that lightning is harder to beat than the rebels.
ONE OF OUR HEROES.
THE soft, clear notes of the
French horns began toning out one of Chopin's wild mazurkas, sounds like a
lark's song, thrilling and sweet; and presently rang in the reedy vibrant harp
threads, the fine carol of the flute, the gay greeting of the viol, then the
clang of the cymbals, and "the kettle-drums throbbed proudly."
It was the night of Mrs. Shannon
Grey's famous fete. All the world was there; that is, all the world of Mrs.
Shannon Grey—a gay, great world enough indeed on that night even for that lady's
A famous fete given in honor of
her son—in honor and happy jubilation, for Shannon Grey was a hero at Shannon
Hill. And he deserved it. Wounded at Manassas, taken prisoner at Leesburg,
released, and returned again to share in the victory of
Roanoke: he shared, too, in its suffering, and
home unwillingly, with honorable
mention and discharge, to nurse a shattered limb and a wasted body back to life,
if not to health again. A splendid natural physique had worked the wonder which
no one had dared to expect; and on the first of May he found himself once more
an able man, and by all indications on the road to the old perfection of
And this recovery Mrs. Shannon
Grey was now celebrating while the month was yet in its first days of May-bloom.
For this she had decked Shannon Hill with triumphal banners and fluttering
flags, turning the lawns and garden into a fairy land of illumination, and
invoking the presence of the lovely and the brave.
A hero! Perhaps you don't think
he carries out the idea very forcibly as you see him now—a tall, slight-looking
young man, rather superb in his air, slowly pulling off a violet-colored glove
from a white hand, and the hand sending forth an amethystine glitter where a
ring of strange device is lurking. And all the time he is talking the lightest
nonsense in the most graceful though self-assured manner to a lady by his side.
Perhaps you think him a trifle supercilious. Perhaps under that charm of grace
you fancy you see a cool, unpromising disregard, and a lordly sort of
indifference which verges on self-love. This may be the indication; and
supposing it a true one, is it very strange that constant adulation from his
cradle up, the world's pomp and glory should have the effect of self-centring at
first, and then of weariness and disgust? Yet perhaps the indication is all
But while we speculate the horns
steal out into that wild mazurka.
"Hark!" And Shannon Grey actually
has the audacity to lift a finger of silence to the pretty lady's talk there.
"Hark!—that's a wonderful
thing—beads of dropping water and distant bells. Don't you hear them?"
The lady patted a little foot
impatiently, beat time to the music with a black fan on a white snow-drift of an
arm, and—wished that Shannon Grey would remember what mazurka measures meant.
She heard no beads of water, nor distant bells in the swelling sounds.
At last he remembers. A long
sigh, a gaze that comes back from some invisible field of fancy, and he puts out
Slightly autocratical you think,
and your impressions return with full force; but see how the lady takes it. A
brilliant smile, a ready hand to meet his, and they go whirling off into the
If he is spoiled, who spoiled
him? Who made him autocratical and self-centred?
And while you ponder this
question on this suggestion, Mrs. Shannon Grey comes up with an anxious face, in
which is a gleam of anger.
"That Clara Snyder to set him
dancing on that weakened limb!" and, breaking her indignant soliloquy short, she
sent out a flutter of handkerchief for a signal of distress. So on the second
round the young gentleman slid into a walk, with the words,
"Dear Lady Clara, my good mamma
is in some dire perplexity, which only her graceless son can settle, evidently.
She has been hanging out flags of distress for the last three minutes. You know
it breaks my heart to leave you!" And he relinquished the "dear Lady Clara,"
with the most beaming smile, to a glittering young officer who stood
And the good mamma fell upon him
with caution and reproof, all of which he turned a heedless ear to—listening,
instead, to the beads of dropping water and the distant bells in that wild
mazurka of Chopin's. The lady caught the heedless look. A little shake of the
arm she held and a sharper tone brought him back.
"Shannon, why will you not
listen? Dr. Belmont says that the knee is yet weak, and that you must not use it
needlessly; and there you were whirling round with that romp of a Clara Snyder!
How could you?"
"My dear little mamma"—Mrs.
Grey's avoirdupois was a long break into the second hundred, and the stateliest
woman in the room—"my dear little mamma, how could you invite such a vulgar
personage as a grown-up romp?"
"What ever are you thinking of,
Shannon? She is Rensselaer Snyder's daughter! There isn't better blood, you
"Oh! I beg pardon. I forgot for a
moment. Of course, whatever she does is fine!"
"Now, Shannon, you are sneering.
I know that innocent air."
"Innocent! Is it innocent? Three
young ladies told me to-night that they thought I was a delightfully-wicked
"They really did, mamma.
'Delightfully-wicked'—that was the phrase; and they said it with a series of
little giggles, and a flirting of little red fans. Now isn't it a temptation for
any young fellow to forswear innocence when such charming creatures declare for
wickedness in this hilarious manner?"
"Come, Shannon, leave your
sarcasm and those silly girls; by-the-way, they spoil you, Shan—"
"To be sure they do—make me
conceited and vain—an insolent, insufferable, young puppy; and they think it's
very fine. There isn't better blood, you know, than the Shannon Greys! Then the
taxes, mamma. Bah, how vulgar I am." And with a sudden real look—a look of
disgust and disdain—he flung the flower Miss Snyder had decked his button-hole
with out of an open window.
And then his mother returned to
the point of attack. "Now, Shannon, do remember. You run great risks, you know;
don't trifle with your coming strength. I should so hate to see you limping
round all your life! It would quite ruin your splendid figure. You're a perfect
Shannon!—all my family have just that tall, erect figure. I can't bear to think
of its becoming any thing less. You
are the only son, you know—the
last of the name; and you must be careful that you don't do it discredit."
The look of disdain settled into
something inscrutable. No anger, but a tired, haggard expression, as it were;
and the eyes went searching off again into invisible distances, listening to the
beads of dropping water, the distant bells.
"Remember"—came the motherly
caution once more, as they neared a group of girls—" remember that by one waltz,
perhaps, to-night you lose your chance of waltzing forever."
"And my chance of serving nay
country too," he said, in a low voice.
"How absurd you are, Shannon! Why
can't you be serious?"
What could Mrs. Grey want? There
couldn't well be a graver face, a more serious air, than her son's presented
then; but perhaps she knew "his ways," and this was one of them.
The wild mazurka had changed by
this into a soft sliding waltz—one of the Weber wonders: close clinging chords
and clustered semitones, the flute-tones rising in a species of single harmony,
aloft and clear and lonely, while the harp-strings threaded passionate notes of
wailing, and the winding horns sobbed meaningly between.
Leaving the gay group of girls
with a wordless apology of smile and bow, the young host hurried on, and rested
at last underneath the spreading banners which hung from the wide arms of an elm
in the garden-grounds. There, where the colored lamps rocked resplendently in
the branches of the trees, making a mimic paradise out of the "leafy tide of
greenery," he seated himself more like a man who was hunted down by cruel
circumstances than a young lord in his domain.
And the horns and harps, the
flutes and viols, the silver shocks of cymbals, and the melodious roll of the
kettle-drums wafted out to him in softened cadences. Perhaps as he listened he
heard again the beads of dropping water, the distant bells, for the face
smoothed itself into placid calm.
Beads of dropping water and
distant bells. Hark! This was not it. He listens, and hears a fine, sweet
undertone weaving words into the flute-tones—a voice like a bird on bough,
singing solely for its own pleasure; words sweet as the music changes—a dulcet
flow of soft syllables, strung liquidly together—a perfect dryad's song, suited
to the hour.
The listener kept breathless
silence. The night was still; not a leaf stirred; not a branch or blade rustled:
only the distant clangor of the musicians, and the near trill of this wood-nymph
strain. It ceased with the last winding flute-notes; and then, from some dainty
perch, the nymph alighted on the smooth sward—a dark, slight figure, in a mantle
The concealed watcher laughed
inaudibly, with secret glee. Clearly it was a veritable dryad; the color was
orthodox—a mantle of green. From what tree did she slip? He had half a fancy to
call out to her, but changing his mind, followed softly in her fleet footsteps.
Entering the door of a side-hall, he saw her disappear up the broad stairway,
and turned himself away by a shrouding curtain-fall to wait.
A moment, and she came again, the
mantle of green laid aside—a dark, slight figure in her attire—floating lace of
black—but a white lily in flesh-tints. He let her pass in, and then following
closely, sought his mother. The stately lady stood talking blandly with the best
blood in the country, Rensselaer Snyder.
The son put his head down at the
back of her ear with a whisper,
"Who and what is she, little
The bland sentences arrested in
"We were talking of Mr. Snyder's
niece, Mrs. Dupont, Shannon," was the warning answer; and Mrs. Grey thought the
boy had been taking too much wine.
The "boy" shook his black locks
with impatient merriment.
"No, no; I mean the dryad—the
small white elf there, in black, with a diamond star at her throat."
"Oh! some one that came with the
Lovells—their cousin, I believe, a Miss Dane."
He drew her hand over his arm in
his willful way, and said, for apology to Mr. Snyder,
"You must come and present me to
the young lady, mother. I ran against her just now in the hall, and must make my
"If you had been at your post
earlier in the evening, Shannon, you would not have missed her. But where have
you been all this time?"
"Listening to a nightingale — a
bird on the bough, mamma. And I saw it fly down from its perch in a plumage of
green and flutter in at your door. It was either that or a dryad. Do dryads
"You've been drinking Champagne,
"No, on my honor, nothing but the
dew from the wood. The wine of time dryads. Yes, she has fed upon lilies and
dew, I perceive—nothing else."
"My son, Miss Dane," and the
gracious lady, with a word or two of affable courtesy, moved away, leaving the
"son" to "make his excuses" —mythical excuses!
To the self-possessed young
autocrat a new feeling had come—half embarrassment and half uncertainty. And all
because the small white elf in black bowed to his rather elaborate greeting with
a simple, slow bend of honest indifference. He had made not the least impression
on her. She looked at him as blankly as if he had been a block of wood. Then she
had one of those provoking exteriors which seem by air and expression to signify
an unconscious self-isolation. Her very naturalness was sure evidence.
Shannon Grey had met a new
experience. Where should he begin with her?
His native audacity at length
came to his aid.
"Did you wet your feet in the
grass?" he asked, demurely.
She waited a moment to wonder,
then remembrance came, and with it a little low laugh like a tinkle of bells.
"No, I ran quickly," she
answered. "How did you see me?"
"I was wrapped in a banner out
there, and heard a song. A dryad slipped its bark and came forth. I knew it by
its mantle of green," he replied, gravely.
The cool face began to wake to
enjoyment. These fancies suited the girl's nature.
"Yes, it was an ash," she
answered, slyly. "'Young ashes pirouetted down,
Coquetting with young beeches.'
I didn't find my beech, however."
"He followed you in," was the
swift, smiling response.
"Oh, is that it ?"
He didn't half like the laughing
ease with which she took his fine speeches, but she had an odd charm for him for
her very singularity.
And here again the band began
that same Weber waltz, and she broke out archly with the sweet humming words she
had sung in the garden—just the lowest thread of a voice, yet clear and
intelligible; and ceasing, she beat her foot upon the floor in rhythmic measure.
Was she thinking, as Clara Snyder had thought, and wishing he would remember
what dance music meant? There was hardly impatience in the beating foot, or in
the listening face. He bent down to look in it, and said.
"I wish I could ask you to waltz
with me, but I am not quite sound of limb yet, and my good mother gets into a
fever of alarm if I try it."
She glanced up questioningly.
"Oh, you have been ill—my cousins told me. Wounded, were you not?"
Her manner changed now; from
impassible she became eager, earnest.
"I don't care for the waltzing!"
she exclaimed; "but if you are not tired of telling the story, talk to me about
the battle. I am so interested!" And her eyes lit, and her cheek kindled color.
"Which? How many have you seen,
"I was at Manassas, at Leesburg,
and at Roanoke."
She clapped her hands together
applaudingly, and with a real gesture of delight.
Half an hour ago Shannon Grey
would have fled from the "pretty interest" of the young ladies of his
acquaintance in disdain. But this interest was so real, so intense, that he went
back to the old scenes with a thrilling pulse. Her clear, intelligent questions,
her magnetic sympathy led him freely on; and he told his last and largest
experience—the battle at Roanoke, with its splendid victory—in accents of
enthusiasm, which roused all the slumbering fire in those watchful, eager eyes
upturned to his.
"And it was here I got my worst
wound," he went on. "It was just at the last, when I was leading my men on to
the final attack, and they were already shouting with triumph, when I felt a
shock, a trickle of something icy and stinging, no pain at first, nor until long
after—then another shot, and my horse fell under me, carrying me down. There I
got the ugly crush which made the wound ten times worse; but I'm all right now,"
he added, with a blush and a laugh at the personalities he had been betrayed
into by the swift sympathy of his companion.
"Ah, but you should have seen the
endurance, the uncomplaining courage of our men on that campaign," he proceeded,
with glistening eyes. "One poor fellow falling near me, I stooped to give him
aid if I could, and he cried out, 'Never mind me, Captain, turn me on my side
and go on. I shall soon be where it's all right, and our men will make it all
right here.' Another had lost his cap, shot off by a musket-ball, which
inflicted a flesh wound, and with his head bound up with his handkerchief, which
was dripping blood, he pressed on with undaunted courage."
As he paused, she said:
"And you went again, and yet
again to these bloody fields. I like that—it shows persistence, earnestness,
determination. I believe in the meaning of those men who return after their
first battle, and you were wounded on that first, too. It does you honor,
A color like a girl's came into
his cheek at this simple, honest praise. It touched him because it was simple
and honest—not a particle of flattery; she regarded him not as a young gentleman
who reveled in the sunshine of worldly prosperity, but a man who had done his
duty. Then again, she goes on:
"Why did you go at all—tell me,
will you? Was it zeal, patriotism, real earnest belief in the need of you? But
pardon me, I have no right to ask."
He hesitated only a moment, then
answered: "Yes, Miss Dane, I will tell you why I went, though I am afraid it
will not satisfy your idea of earnestness."
"When that first call came for
troops a year ago, I will do myself the justice to say that my heart thrilled at
the need. Then the long want was filled for me. Here was unending excitement,
real life, for the false one I had lived daily; for I had no vocation for
polities, literature, or any of the million interests wherein other men flung
themselves readily, and since my college days I had sunk into that detestable
timing—an idle man, without an aim. I can not say that the present crisis gave
me a decided aim. It gave me occupation, excitement, which roused, and did not
pall. And if you will pardon the egotism, Miss Dane, I think I have been a more
earnest man since the experience."
"I do not doubt it, Captain Grey.
Ah!" and she shook her head with a wistful look of pain, "you think we women
know nothing of that feeling—the want of reality—the purposeless existence in
trifles. I know it fully, and have yearned to do something that my heart
thrilled to do. Very selfish, we may argue, when there is so much to be done in
the world; but it's nevertheless a stubborn fact." Then in a lighter way, "Yes,
we may do