General Silas Casey

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 5, 1862

This site contains an online archive of all Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These newspapers will allow you to develop unique insights into the events that made up the Civil War. The illustrations present eye-witness records of this important period in American History.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)

 

Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap

Before Richmond

Before Richmond

Emancipation Bill

Emancipation Bill

Memphis Post Office

Memphis Post Office

Joe Hooker

General Joe Hooker

Memphis, Tennessee

Affairs in Memphis Tennessee

Silas Casey

General Silas Casey

Fairoaks Battle

Fairoaks Battle Description

Fairoaks

Fairoaks

Charleston

Charleston

Cavalry Charge

Cavalry Charge

   

Charleston Approach

Charleston Approach

Captain Clitheroe

Captain Clitheroe

Negro Cartoon

Negro Cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY 5, 1862.]

HARPERS WEEKLY.

427

something, we women; we may bind up the wounds, we may scrape lint, and roll bandages, and prick our fingers black making tunics. I've done all three of the last; but it don't give us the glow which your work does, or at least it does not to me. But don't argue from that, Mr. Grey, that I am emulous of becoming la fille du regiment. Don't think me unwomanly, however, if when I read how this brave fellow, led on to some deed of valor, or that one saved a column by personal sacrifice or risk, if I wish for a moment that I might feel the thrill, the glow that he felt. A wiser woman than I says,

'Flags wave, drums beat, and unawares

You flash your souls out with the guns

And take your Heaven at once."'

A shadow here fell upon them. Shannon looked up to meet his mother's face, bland and smooth, but with a fixed purpose underneath. A gentleman bore her company.

"Miss Dane," the placid voice said, "will you let me present my nephew to you—'Mr. Richmond, Miss Dane;'" and thus she broke the tete-a-tete and triumphantly returned from the field of operations with the refractory Shannon. "I am ashamed of you, Shannon!" she cried, in indignation. "Here are forty girls you haven't spoken twice with, and your guests every one. What are you thinking of, spending a good half hour talking to that insignificant little Miss Dane while such girls as the Ranleighs and De Laneys are before you?"

"Miss Dane—what's the matter with Miss Dane, mother?"

He was told that Miss Dane was a nobody—not in so many words; Mrs. Grey was not so vulgar as that; but a few careless sentences, and Shannon Grey knew that Agnes Dane was but a third or fourth branch of the Lovell family, and that distant boon of blood crossed by a mesalliance. Her father had been a small trader in the West India Islands. Dying, he left his daughter penniless, at the mercy of her mother's relatives. She never waited for that mercy, but took her destiny in her own two small hands, and was working it out bravely by the daily use of gifts and graces that were her inheritance and education. In a word, Agnes Dane was the under-teacher in a girl's school, and spending her vacation with the Lovell cousins.

All this Shannon Grey got in a breath or two as he walked down the room with his mother.

"Blood, good blood—what does it mean, mother? When I talked with Miss Dane just now I thought she might have been descended from heroes. When I talk with Lou Ranleigh, or the little Rensselaer Snyder, I think of cockneys and snobs invariably; I suppose because they mark the contrast so vigilantly by lofty scorn of parvenues, more implied than spoken. And so I as invariably make a savage of myself, and get autocratical, as you call it, lordly, and insolent, and satirical; and they bear it. Bear it! They accept it, and smile, and flatter, and fawn because I am Shannon Grey, the owner of Shannon Hill and the oldest family in the country. They think I am the first gentleman in the land, even then when I am an insufferable coxcomb. Do you think I can forgive them for causing me make such a fool of myself! Bah! how weak I am;" and he shook his shoulders with an impatient indignation, adding, "look at the little dryad there. She would turn her back upon me in a twinkling if I dared put on such airs to her. I vow she's the only real girl I ever saw—real, and honest, and true. I think the cross of the blood works well."

"You'd better offer yourself to her at once," sneered Mrs. Grey.

She wouldn't have me; don't fret, mamma. She's for my betters."

And then with a half laugh: "Mamma mine, if you ever break up a tete-a-tete in that way again I'll waltz with every girl in the room till I get a limp for life. See if I don't. You don't believe me? I'm talking nonsense? Clara, Clara Snyder, give me the other half of my mazurka, or I shall never know happiness in this world."

A hand caught in passing, an imperious order to the musicians, and he went whirling away with the flattered little Rensselaer Snyder, while his mother bit her lips in mortification.

Three swift turns, stopping at the end in the neighborhood of Miss Dane, with the words for only her ear in a semitone.

" I've been disobeying orders and running a risk to pay a debt of passion, Miss Dane. My temper is uneven, you see. I shall never make one of the heroes you were envying. But come, have pity on me; come into the garden, Maude, and sing me the song of the dryad. They're going to play the Weber in a moment."

She laughed, shook her head—" No, I can't exorcise evil spirits; besides, I'm going now: good-night!"

"Going? I wish I was going. May I come and see you, Miss Dane, and talk war?"

"Yes, do: nothing pleases me so much."

Mrs. Grey sighed relief as the Lovells bade their adieux, taking the dryad with them. She did not hear that final arrangement, but when later she saw her son cloaking Lou Ranleigh with the most devoted air, and talking the veriest nonsense that nobody could hear but the lady in question, her spirits rose. That would be a fine link for her chain —the Shannon Greys and the Lowdon Ranleighs.

In the mean time, however, Shannon Grey was quite unconscious of his air or his words—force of habit, you see. And this was the hero. You don't believe in him? Wait.

Agnes Dane, sitting by the low fire of wood branches, dipped into Mrs. Browning's " Last Poems," while the Lovell cousins grouped round for hearing. She had read "Bianca among the Nightingales," that plaintive, passionate protest, that loving reproach, wet all through with tears, in a voice that seemed to come between the Tuscan trees, straight up from the bleeding, broken heart of the Tuscan girl.

Across the fire-place, leaning against the mantle, Richard Lovell regarded her steadfastly. It was not difficult to read his thought if you had watched him while she read,

" 'Sweet, above,

God's ever guaranties this Now.'

And through his words the nightingales

Drove straight and full their long clear call,

Like arrows through heroic mails,

And love was awful in it all,

The nightingales, the nightingales."

But there was no one there to watch. They watched instead the eager, flushing reader; for the Lovells were very fond of cousin Agnes; they thought there was none like her. To them the cross of blood went for nothing. Whether Lovell or Dane their hearts took her in, and their homes wanted her; but Agnes liked her free life, and lived it.

She read on, and still moveless and absorbed Richard Lovell regarded her.

Look into the other faces. In "The Nightingales" they saw "Bianca." In "Nature's Remorse" the unfortunate young queen whose soul

"Was bred by a throne."

But Richard Lovell saw, over and above all, Agnes Dane. Do you read the meaning?

It was a rainy day, the day after the party at Shannon Hill, and no one was expected. So the time was all their own.

"Read 'Parting Lovers,' Kate asked, "after 'The Nightingales.' "

She was at the very verse she had quoted last night to Shannon Grey, when a roll of carriage-wheels in the avenue sent Richard's steadfast eyes from their watching to the window. The next moment he held the door open.

"Grey, we needed but you," was genial Dick's hearty cheer.

The others welcomed him cordially, gave him a place by the fire, and the reading went on.

Watching the reader now were two faces—two who saw only Agnes Dane.

Taking up the thread stopped for his coming, she went through the familiar verse—

"Heroic males the country bears—

But daughters give up more than sons;

Flags wave, drums beat, and unawares

You flash your souls out with the guns,

And take your Heaven at once."

Lifting her head she met the eyes of Shannon with a smile of recognition. They both remembered.

From that hour, that moment in that hour, Richard Lovell knew his rival—knew it before they dreamed it themselves.

He stooped; fresh boughs upon the dying fire, flung in with strong, fierce gestures, which sent a cloud of ash and spark far into the room, and the outer demonstration was spent for the time. The face that lifted itself had a new look of resolve, as, "Who shall win?"

And Shannon Grey, riding back to the "Hill" after his visit, laughed as he thought how the "nobody" was regarded at Lovell Place.

"She is pure gold there, at all events," he mused. "A proud little thing, too."

Proud! He little guessed her pride. It was pride to wound and slay in its unalterable decrees, and grand because heroic in its meaning.

This first visit of his was but the beginning of many others. Shannon Hill and Lovell Place were neighborly estates, and the Lovell guest a fresh new type to the world-weary heir of Shannon Hill.

The Lovells looked on, and drew their conclusions at this growing intimacy. Kate, the elder, exulted in the prospect; and they all knew the meaning before many days, and all liked it but one. Richard Lovell kept his secret, and fought his battle silently but gallantly.

Agnes Dane was inscrutable. She gave no sign but of simple natural pleasure, until one day a stone was cast into the balance. How many knew that the still, secret pride of the girl made the stone-weight double!

Dick Lovell stood by the window that day and looked out through the thickening trellis-vine. That day—only the other day when along the telegraph wires flashed the startling call from State to State for troops, more troops.

Dick Lovell, brave, and gentle, and strong—fit head and heart for a soldier—chafed and fretted in impotent rebellion at the unrelenting fate which held him fast in inaction.

You scarcely notice the defect as he walks across the room; but Richard Lovell, one of the handsomest men in the county, and as lithely built as Shannon Grey, carries a maimed foot under that polished boot. A twenty-years'-old accident to a daring boy riding roughly over a stone wall gave a limp for life, and consequent disability.

Looking out through the trellis-vine he hears the gate clang, and sees presently his neighbor of the "Hill" hastening up the avenue. A glance at the flushed, eager face, and Richard reads the resolve. Going out to meet him, he says,

"You're off again, Shannon."

"Yes, old boy; how did you know?"

" How did I know? I looked on your face, and saw a declaration of war. And your walk was fast getting into a double-quick. I'd give ten years of my life, Shan, to run as you did. Bah! what a useless fellow I am!"

Over the stalwart shoulder Shannon's arm flung with a warmth of cordial sympathy which told his appreciation; and down the garden the two went walking like school-boys.

"What regiment do you go in?" asked Dick. "Oh, my same old regiment; bless the boys, they've got a place for me yet."

"And your knee—you dare risk it?"

"Yes, Belmont won't insure me; he says there are two chances—mine and his; and I take the risk. Good Heaven, Dick, I could not stay at home! How could I?"

His head thrown back as he thus ejaculated, what did he see that sent it warmer color to his cheek, and a radiant smile flashing upward? Richard in a breath recognized the whole.

If Agnes Dane had flung down a rose at his companion he would not have been surer of the glance she sent from that window above them.

There was a moment's silence between the two young men, and then, with his usual impetuosity

and more than his usual blindness, Shannon began: "Dick, I want her."

"What!" A swift, sharp ejaculation.

The other went on: "Your cousin; I want her for my wife. Shall I ask her, Dick? Have I any chance, do you know?"

Dick Lovell crowded down the angry tide, and answered: "Ask her? yes, if you wish, of course." Shannon unnoticing, proceeded:

"Sometimes I think—yet no, I can not say. Dick, I have been the veriest puppy, but she has knocked all the conceit out of me. I am coward enough now—humble enough. But what a girl she is, Dick—so simple, so true!"

They turned into the house. Richard was giving a servant a message for Miss Dane. "Mr. Shannon Grey's compliments, and he waits for her in the library," when a carriage wheeled suddenly into view. A call from Mrs. Shannon Grey upon the young ladies.

The message was remanded for the nonce and changed to a more general one; and into the drawing-room presently floated the three young ladies to receive Mrs. Shannon Grey and her son—the two Lovells and Miss Dane.

The call was not fifteen minutes in duration; but in that brief space of time, without absolute committal of her sweet outward suavity, Mrs. Grey had sent her javelin with unerring aim, and Agnes Dane knew the ground upon which she stood, the estimation in which she was held—but not a line of her face betrayed it. Who else but herself penetrated this insult, shrouded in silken sentences? She looked up and caught the blaze in the eyes of her cousin Richard. Then a glow for a moment warmed her heart. She stooped swiftly for a fallen ribbon, and let her lips brush his hand in rising. That sudden acceptation of his sympathy, what did it mean? Half an hour later she stood with Shannon Grey alone in the library.

He had asked her to become his wife, and she had refused him. A faint glimmer of the truth flashed over him. With swift recall he brought to mind certain faltering words, and involuntary blush and smile which had given him hope.

Incredulous of despair, he made a profound mistake in the next moment. Impulsively he asked, with a suspicion of the truth at his heart,

"Will you give me your reason, Miss Dane?" A little dilation of the dark eyes, then sudden drooping ere the flash went out, and very coldly she answered,

"I do not wish to marry you, Mr. Grey."

He could have cursed his folly now it was too late, for he saw at once the inference of his arrogance. He essayed apology and explanation; but he had no words to explain what he dared not mention—the dark suspicion of his mother, whose very suggestion would but double the insult.

Looking into the still, inscrutable face before him, he at length felt how immutable was its resolves.

Then all pleading ceased. Very quietly, very gently he bent before her, with the simple sentence, "I beg your pardon," and turned to go. With a face of deep sadness she came to his side and put out her hand.

"Forgive me," she said, less coldly. "Forgive me, if I have hurt you; but it was impossible that I could give you any other answer."

He began to speak, hoping he knew not what; but she fled past him with a scarce uttered adieu, and vanished up the stairway to her room.

There all the repressed emotion of the past hour had liberty of expression. But one sentence slowly uttered told the story. "How dared he think I would enter where condescension opened the door? I! He little knows a proud woman's pride."

Do not judge her. If she wronged him, perhaps she wronged herself. I told you hers was pride to wound and slay in its unalterable decrees, but grand, because heroic in its meaning. Such pride is inherent—a pulsation, a drop of the life-blood, and its violation is death.

With the turbulent tide seething in her soul she left the house, and sought the thickest gloom of the garden. In this mood Richard Lovell found her. He bethought him of that swift glance, the stooping figure, the lips brushing his hand. He looked into her face now and knew the hurt ached on.

Striking through the Lovell dignity, Mrs. Grey's javelin had touched a nearer nerve of the heart and roused both passion and resentment within him.

He had hardly need to say "I love you, Agnes," out there under the maples—her womanly sense had felt it long before; but the words, "Come to me, child, let the accident of my worldly position shield you in future! We are of one blood, though a century rolled between us, let us be of one soul—one life, Agnes." She was moved to the depths of her nature. "Here I am safe," she said unto herself. " Here, my love shall be honored."

As generous in her gifts as she was unfaltering in her pride, she vowed herself to him there with tears and lavish humility.

If she has ever loved another she shall love me better, was the silent resolve of Richard Lovell. If unexacting devotion, if sympathetic pride, could bring fulfillment, he would not be disappointed.

And again I say, do not judge her. It is by no means to be supposed that she had surrendered all her soul, her heart to Shannon Grey.

From the first she had seen him as the type of a class for whom she had no respect, no fellowship. Later, if his own words had given her a better view—later still, that one sharp shock had brought the slumbering suspicion back again; and his fatal question there in the library had sealed it.

Straight in from the garden Richard Lovell led his affianced wife, and presented her as such to his sister Kate. Kate looked surprised, perhaps, for she had looked for another wooer; but there was hearty welcome in her kiss; and as such things go, before the day was many hours older, it was known from end to end of Shannonleigh that Richard Lovell was to marry his cousin, Agnes Dane.

At Shannon Hill, a caller, idling over a Paris fashion-plate, communicated the fact between talk of tulle and lace. Mrs. Grey, sitting before her,

thrilled through with sudden secret delight and triumph. Shannon, then, was safe.

Shannon! He rose up out of the deep window, and quite unheeding his mother or her guest went slowly down the path to the old study-haunt of his boyhood—the cedar grove. There another battle was fought, a sharper conflict than the three for which he had been crowned before; and with what spirit, what courage he fought it, you shall see in the result.

Mrs. Grey waited tea for an hour, then sent her own away untasted. Where was Shannon? Another hour, and the bells were ringing nine from the village clock when he walked in. She remembered the stern white face that went out, and she waited for a sight of him now with a troubled heart.

"Did you wait tea, mother?"

She sent a swift glance up to him. The tones were quiet, almost gentle, the face quiet too, but the weariest face you ever saw. He who had chafed and fretted like a spoiled child at the thwarting of a pleasure, now, at the thwarting of the grandest scheme of his life, showed solemn patience and humility.

A flutter of fear, a foreboding of she knew not what, crossed the worldly mother's heart. Dimly she felt the wrong she had wrought, and this new and noble way of forgiveness and forbearance was like a flame of fire to her.

By-and-by he spoke again—the same weary quiet:

"Mother, I have joined my regiment." "Shannon!" A piercing wail was in her exclamation.

"Yes, mother, I have meant it all along, when I should get strength enough."

"But you haven't strength yet."

"I think I have. At all events I can not sit down selfishly at so small a risk when such a need as this arises. I must go, mother; the country can not wait; and men of any actual experience should be willing to hazard much to serve now."

"Shannon"—her voice was husky and low as she leaned forward to address him—"Shannon, is there any other reason for your going? Does Agnes Dane send you away?"

For a moment there was utter silence; then he said:

"Mother, this morning, when the news came that more troops were wanted, I rode into the city and offered my services. Four hours later I offered myself to Agnes Dane, and she rejected me. It was just after your call, mother."

Nothing more; not a reproach of any outward word or action. Speechless, Mrs. Grey had listened, but there was that at her heart which was fast becoming her punishment. Clearer and clearer grew the wrong she had wrought, as this solemn patience, this uncomplaining suffering became apparent to her. It was her only son—the pride of her life—and she sat abased before him.

Again he broke the silence:

"I know what you think, mother. I am a disappointed man, it is true; but not to ease a sad heart, to soothe disappointment, shall I lead on my regiment to-morrow. I tell you truly when I say that it is a long resolve. Perhaps, perhaps, who knows?"—he concluded, in a musing manner—"perhaps my country needs my whole heart."

"And I, Shannon; have you nothing for your mother?" was the pitiful question, in broken tones. He had risen up to go to his room, and, passing her, paused a moment, saying,

"And you, mother."

A kiss, dropped softly down upon her cheek, was his offering, his seal of forgiveness.

Educated to selfish, worldly aims by a selfish, worldly mother, his tastes pampered by almost exhaustless wealth and the adulation which it brings, of a naturally impetuous temper and inclined to personal pleasure, in the great trial—the one disappointment of his life—you see what courage, what brave and generous manliness rose up to save and redeem.

And when, next morning, through the city streets, at the head of his men, marching on amidst flashing steel and fluttering flags, he went in obedience to his sense of duty, with a heart purged of envy and all uncharitableness, and learning even then by stout resolve to give his whole heart to his country, I say there went, though uncrowned in the days that are to come, one of our heroes!

BRIG.-GENERAL SILAS CASEY.

ON page 421 we publish a portrait of BRIGADIER-GENERAL SILAS CASEY, who commanded the advance division of our army at the Battle of Fairoaks, and who for many hours held his ground against a foe five times as numerous as his own force.

General Casey was born in Rhode Island about the year 1806; entered West Point in 1822; graduated in 1826, and entered the Seventh Infantry; was promoted to First Lieutenant in June, 1836, and Captain in July, 1839. In the Florida War Captain Casey served with distinction under General Worth. He served also thoughout the Mexican War, and added still further to his reputation for gallantry. At Contreras and Churubusco he distinguished himself, and received the brevet of Major. At the assault on Chapultepec he led the storming party, and was severely wounded. For this he received the brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel. At the outbreak of the rebellion Colonel Casey was one of the first to offer his services to the Government, and obtained command of a brigade in August, 1861. On the reorganization of the army under General McClellan he was appointed to the command of a division in General Heintzelman's corps.

General McClellan's first dispatch, written hastily on the field of battle, did some injustice to General Casey, which has since been repaired by an explanatory dispatch. General Casey's division, though weak, and much reduced by sickness, stood its ground splendidly, as its long record of killed and wounded proves.


 

 

  

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