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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) was already accomplished. It was all so strange, so hurried, so
dream-like, when I stood up between my kind uncle and aunt the next morning, and
my uncle laid my hand in Arthur's, and, trembling from head to foot, I made
those solemn vows that bound me to him for life and death.
Once—only once—I heard his dear
voice utter the sacred name of "wife"—and then it was all over; my clasping arms
were unlocked from his neck with tender and gentle force, my husband's first and
last kisses were showered upon my face—and he was gone!
Was this the end of my faithful
watching and waiting—ceaseless vigils in spirit by an unknown, unhonored grave?
But now neither bitter realities
nor tender memories mingled in the sleep to which I sank; for hours my unstirred
pillow was as dreamless as that of the dead, and I awoke so rested and so calm
that at first they feared the new mood only as a more insidious symptom of
mental malady. I had a plan and purpose of life—for a time, at least —which had
cone to me as suddenly as an inspiration. I had been denied that which I had
coveted—to soothe his pain, to watch by his bed of suffering; but there were
those who had suffered in the same holy cause to whom I could minister—his
comrades, who, in turn, were far from all they loved.
My aunt called it madness when I
told her of my intention to leave my sheltered home with her, and devote myself
to the wearing self-sacrificing life of nurse among the hospitals. "My health
forbade;" "my strength had never been taxed;" "it was a romance I should soon be
cured of;" "they would not undertake the risk to which my life would be
exposed." But I had expected opposition, and met it quietly but firmly. An only
child, self-will had been long a governing principle, and they finally gave way,
believing what I told them, that it was my only escape from madness, the
prospect of action, a mind and heart both occupied fully.
I knew he would have approved my
course, and what was my ease and comfort that it could not be resigned when
Arthur's had been so readily sacrificed? And suppose the worst came—or what they
thought so—there was a selfish, cowardly pleasure to me in the thought that I
should then be united to him again so soon.
I wanted to put on the
mourning-dress which suited my condition, but that they would not allow me.
Arthur's relations opposed it "while there was hope." Alas! there had never been
hope. Some of them caviled at my purpose, and called it unwomanly; but then they
had at my sudden marriage also—dull souls, who made religion of routine and
It was the first approach to
happiness I had known when I put on the plain gray dress which Arthur had always
liked so much, calling me his "little nun," and knelt down in the silence of my
own room with a vow of consecration to my God and may suffering
fellow-creatures; for He accepted it, I knew, blotting out the human weakness of
my rebellion. I knew it by the power that I had given me at that moment to look
upon the past without bitterness, and the long, weary future without a cowardly
shrinking from it.
My dear aunt waited for me below,
with tears that she could not restrain; she saw my blighted life in my thin,
worn face, and she had tried so hard to make me happy after that first great
loss, and be a mother to me. I stood on the spot where I had been made Arthur's
wife. How should I return to my home again? How pass through those doors that
now closed so reluctantly upon me?
But then all pain was over save
meeting my uncle's pitiful looks, from time to time, as we went on our little
The surgeons did not care to
admit me at first—my youth and inexperience were against me; but my uncle told
them my story with a faltering voice, and I pleaded so humbly for the least and
lowest office, that they allowed me to remain. My narrow, comfortless quarters
were assigned me, and my longed-for task began.
The first day tried my resolution
to the utmost; the long rows of sufferers, the wan and wasted faces, the pitiful
imploring looks from eyes that followed me as I passed, the sickening sight of
maimed and wounded limbs, the ghastly stump cushioned into sight and coolness,
the ravings of delirium, the wan, ashen faces of the dying!—oh, my God, that
such scenes should be!—repeated with unvarying sameness through those long, dull
wards—through miles of wards like these all over our land! And then I saw his
sufferings in theirs. Ah! I could not close my eyes, could not compose my limbs
to sleep; could only start, and turn, and pray for them and for those they
loved, and for my country, all those long wakeful hours.
After that I entered into my work
with the exceeding comfort I had expected, and an eager interest in individual
suffering that surprised me. When I first came upon the empty bed of one who had
been my peculiar care, and who had passed beyond the reach of all ministry, I
wept as if I had lost a brother. I forgot aching limbs and weary head when
moistening lips blackened by fever, cooling the stiffened bandages, or turning
the heated pillow. The close, heavy air ceased to sicken me, my nerves shrank no
longer at cries of pain or sight of gaping wound, if so I could prepare a
cordial or bathe the sinking pulse back to life again.
Two weeks had passed, and I had
won the confidence of the surgeon who had opposed my admission most decidedly.
He was abrupt and cold in his manner, but he had a warm and feeling heart; these
men had found it out beneath his brusque exterior, for no woman's touch was more
gentle, though so firm and rapid in all that required to be done.
I had never obtruded myself upon
him, but I noticed, with a pleasure like the award of commendation, that he
began to intrust his orders to me more and more; that he singled me out for
cases that required the most constant watchfulness.
This day he said to me, after
giving his directions, "You have not broken down yet, poor thing! poor young
It was as if my father had pitied
and caressed me; but it was so unlooked-for that I almost gave way to tears
That same afternoon I found
myself passing a ward that had been prepared some days for new arrivals, just as
they were bringing in those sad and touching burdens. Men helpless as infants
clung to the arms that supported them, or tottered to the beds prepared for them
like little children just learning to walk; stretchers as ghastly as biers
passed and repassed with those to whom all places were alike, so that motion
would cease and they might be allowed to die in peace; others moaned or shrieked
at the torture of the tenderest touch; and all were, without exception, squalid
and wretched to the last degree. I wondered to see them so, even while I passed
from one to another with restoratives; but still I had not heard that they were
paroled prisoners, fresh from the filth and privations of the rebel capital. No;
there was not even a tremor of possible hope that I might hear his name or his
story among that suffering crowd, as one by one passed before me.
I stooped at length over a wan
and wasted figure laid upon the bed in the most remote corner. The face was
hollow and emaciated, the eyeballs sunken, the dry lips black and parched by
fever; the dark hair and heavy beard were closely shaven; the thin hands clasped
together, as if death had already released this poor sufferer. I thought it must
be so at first; but as I bent down more closely the eyelids were feebly lifted,
the lips quivered painfully.
"Yes—it is heaven!"
I caught the feeble, wandering
whisper; but, oh, my Heavenly Father! was my mind wandering too?—had pity
clouded my brain?
They must have thought I had gone
mad! Perhaps the kind surgeon thought so when he turned, the moment after, to
find me kneeling by the bed with that poor, wasted, shriveled face cradled in my
arms, and my passionate outcries for help startling the painful quiet around us,
for life seemed to have flickered and gone out with the look of recognition
which I had caught.
I had said—oh how often!—that I
would be content if he could die in my arms; and there he lay, slipping away
from me into eternity!
I knew it was best, when they
unwound my arms as he had done on that blessed morning, and the surgeon lifted
me as if I had been a child and carried me from the room; but I crouched down by
the door, blessing the falling darkness that sheltered me, and when he had
passed out I crept back again to that bedside. Surely we might be trusted: we
did not exchange one word! Sight and touch were sufficient; the grateful, almost
adoring looks from those large, brilliant eyes, as my hand passed softly over
his forehead, wooing for him the sleep that would save him, and praying that it
might avail. And at last the lids fell softly, the hand that I clasped sank
away, the painfully tense expression faded from his face; and I began to find
that it was no cheating dream, but a blessed, hopeful reality, that Arthur had
been given back to me from the dead!
How did I return to the home I
had left with such a breaking heart? As a bride indeed, with the blessed
consciousness that, but for my presence and watchful care, Arthur would have
been at that moment lying among the crowded unknown dead of a soldiers'
burial-ground. There had been no trace of his name or home, for the fever had
been on him when he went out to the battle-field, and he was carried away from
it to a prison shelter, wounded and raving in delirium.
Think of the change in my heart
and life when I entered the room in which I had suffered those long, slow weeks
of torture; when I knelt by the white-robed bed, too speechlessly thankful for
words or tears, with Arthur's arm clasping me, and his dear voice thanking God
for both of us, and for the strange deliverance which He had wrought!
THE BROKEN VOW.
DYING lies young Effie Logan
While the snow-drops spring:—
Though her lily hand, so wasted,
Wears no bridal ring,
Yet a babe unto her white breast
Tenderly doth cling!
She is dreaming of the false one,
And the traitor's vow
That beguil'd her heart so
Trusting even now!
"He will come!" she softly
Death dews on her brow
Lo! a Chief spurs o'er the
And the draw-bridge falls,
And a stately step is sounding
Through Glenallen's halls.
Well she knew that haughty
With a sobbing cry
Stretching wide her arms so
"Kiss me ere I die!
"Fold me fondly to your bosom!
Clasp me closer still!
Let me feel my true-love's kisses
Though his kiss doth kill!
"Though my woes of hope bereft
Did my sore heart break?
No! I lived—that bliss was left
For thy bairnie's sake!
"Fast my soul is fleeting
From this weary strife
By the babe that calls ye FATHER—
By my ruined life
Let the stone among the daisies
Bear the name of WIFE!
"Bring the priest and wed me,
If ye love me still!"
See, his proud, wild heart is
With a softer thrill;
With a pang he kiss'd her white
"By Christ's love I will!"
* * * * *
When the clans swept down to
On Culloden's day,
Gallant Gordon bravely perish'd,
Foremost in the fray:
With his tartan pierced and
On the muir he lay.
Effie and her babe are resting
From this weary strife,
And the stone among the daisies
Bears the name of WIFE.
She hath sinned, and she hath
Christ absolve her life.
WAR IN KENTUCKY.
WE reproduce on
page 660 a
picture by our special artist, Mr. Mosier, representing THE ENTRY OF BUELL'S
ARMY INTO LOUISVILLE,
page 661 another picture, also by Mr. Mosler,
showing the MOVEMENT OF VETERANS ON THE OHIO; and on the same page a sketch by
Mr. Hubner, representing
SHELBYVILLE, the only Union town in Tennessee.
Buell entered Louisville on
September 25. The Herald correspondent, writing on that day, said:
I have to announce the junction
of the main portion of the United States forces under
General Buell, and the army under General
Nelson, assembled for the immediate defense of this city. The advance of General
Buell reached the city today, and is going into temporary camp on the eastern
limits of the town. The advance consisted of General Crittenden's division. It
is followed by those of
McCook, Smith (formerly Ammen's), and Wood.
General Buell reached here during last night, and will to-day assume the command
of all the forces in the vicinity. A new organization of the two armies into one
will doubtless ensue.
Speaking of Buell's rapid march
Green River, the same writer says:
The march from Green River has
been made in the rear of Bragg, and battle has been several times offered him,
but we have had no response. The whole march has had the appearance of a rapid
retreat on the part of Bragg, but General Buell, as if designing to push him as
far North as possible, has pursued slowly. The theory of an officer on General
Crittenden's staff, with whom I have conversed is, that Bragg has been
retreating ever since he reached Glasgow and made an attack on Munfordsville.
Failing in his first attempt, the rebel moved up in force and took the position
to find that Buell was in line of battle in his rear on Thursday morning. Too
late to fall back to Glasgow, Bragg hastily moved forward to Elizabethtown, and,
on Thursday night, made a forced march, evacuating Munfordsville in such haste
that he did not destroy the railroad bridge at that point. General Buell did not
discover this until next morning, when he immediately moved forward. Thomas's
corps—Rousseau and Schoepff —by the Glasgow and Bardstown road, and Wood,
McCook, Crittenden, and Ammen (now Smith), by the road to Elizabethtown.
Colonel Edward McCook, Second
Indiana cavalry, had the advance of the main column in Bragg's rear. He began to
feel Bragg at Bacon Creek, and skirmished with him for three days. Major William
H. Polk, volunteer aid on General Crittenden's staff, describes this skirmishing
on the part of Colonel McCook as exceedingly skillful and successful. He moved
with rapidity, and was every where at the same time. He boldly attacked the
rebel flanks, and made gallant dashes and charges upon the retreating column.
Colonel McCook and his men were in the saddle night and day, and harassed the
enemy most terribly. He killed a large number, and has brought in over seven
hundred prisoners. He states that among the rebels killed in skirmishing with
Bragg's rear were Colonel Forsyth, formerly editor of the Mobile Register, and
on Bragg's staff; Major Wicks, of Hardee's staff; Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, in
command of Bragg's rear-guard, and two captains. Among the prisoners are several
majors and two captains. The privates, do many instances, were stragglers, but
many were taken in actual skirmish. Colonel Edward McCook is a member of the
McCook family. It is not ridiculous or obscure language I use when I say he is a
son of old McCook, for the name is historical, and the old man and all his sons
have made their mark in this war.
The picture on
needs no description. As soon as it was known that the rebel armies were moving
Kentucky portions of our veterans were quietly
sent north, on transports up the Mississippi and the Ohio, and distributed among
the new levies at
Louisville and Cincinnati. These are the troops who fought at
Fort Donelson and
Shiloh. Their arrival and their thoroughly
soldierly aspect gave heart and hope to the frightened denizens of those cities.
Of Mr. Hubner's picture of
Shelbyville the artist says: "Shelbyville is the county seat of Bedford County,
in Middle Tennessee. It is not only noted for its beauty, but for the loyalty of
its inhabitants. Shelbyville stands alone in the rebel States true to the Union.
To the Federal soldier, on his march through the rebellious States, Shelbyville
is like an oasis to a traveler in a great desert. Your correspondent had the
pleasure of entering Shelbyville with the advance-guard of
General Mitchell's division, it being the first
to penetrate Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama. The citizens shouted for joy
at the sight of the columns of Union men. Flags were waved from the principal
public buildings and most of the private residences. Unlike most portions of the
South, the wealthiest and most influential persons of the town are loyal. The
accompanying sketch represents the
Stars and Stripes waving from a pole erected
in the public square by the citizens, and although the place is not at present
occupied by Union troops, the national banner still waves in defiance of the
threats of rebellious citizens and guerrillas of the State. The names of such
as Wisener, Warren, and others
deserve to be perpetuated in history for their unyielding fidelity to the great
republic. Their sacrificing spirit should nerve up the loyal men of the North,
and be an example to the weak-kneed Union men of the South.
"The kind hospitality of the
citizens of Shelbyville will never be forgotten by the Union soldier whose good
fortune it has been to enter the place."
THE illustration of the Prize
Fleet, which we publish on
page 668, by no means includes all the steamers
captured by our naval forces, but only refers to those at present in our harbor.
The largest of the fleet is the
CIRCASSIAN, formerly one of the Galway line of steamers. She is about 2300 tons,
and is a very fast and stanch vessel. She was captured in the Gulf, with an
assorted cargo on board, bound for rebeldom. She is at present at the Navy-yard,
where she will be put in order for the purpose, it is said, of carrying out the
first colored emigrants to Chiriqui.
Next in size is the MEMPHIS, also
a British-built steamer, which was captured off
Charleston on the 21st of July, 1862, by the
Magnolia, formerly a rebel steamer. The Memphis was libeled August 8, and
purchased by the Navy Department for a cruiser. She is at the Navy-yard, and is
a splendid specimen of naval architecture.
The STETTIN is also at the
Navy-yard, to be fitted for naval service. She was captured on the 24th of May,
1862, off the coast of South Carolina, by the
Bienville. She was loaded with munitions of war
in great abundance.
The ELIZABETH, a wooden vessel,
has borne at least half a dozen names, among the number that of the General
Miramon. She was captured, with a full cargo of war materials, on the 27th of
May, by the steamer Keystone State.
The PATRAS was captured near
Bull's Bay, South Carolina, on the 27th of May, by the Bienville, and was
libeled April 21. Her cargo consisted of hardware, quinine, powder, arms, lead,
The TUBAL CAIN was captured at
sea on the 24th of July, by Commander D. D. Porter, in the Octorora. She was
loaded with arms and munitions of war.
The ANN was captured on the 17th
of July, by the Susquehanna, Kanawha, and Preble. She had a large cargo of
powder, and some arms and medicines.
The ELLA WARLY, formerly the
Isabel of Charleston, was captured on the 24th of April, by the St. Jago de
Cuba, and was libeled June 4, 1862. Her cargo consisted of arms, skins, copper,
paper, cigars, and powder.
The ship ALLIANCE was captured by
the army under General Burnside at Morehead city, North Carolina, May 12, 1862,
when she was awaiting an opportunity to run the blockade. Her cargo consisted of
rosin, turpentine, and pitch. She was turned over to Captain Lockwood, senior
naval officer in command.
A large fleet of sailing vessels
are now in the harbor awaiting the action of the United States Marshal.
Our neutral friend John Bull has
unwillingly contributed somewhat to the increase of our navy.
BATTLE OF ANTIETAM.
WE reproduce on
pages 664 and 665
a number of photographs of the
Battle of Antietam, taken by the well-known and
enterprising photographer, Mr. M. B. Brady, of this city. The following
description of these wonderfully lifelike pictures is from one who knew the
The first of these
large view of Antietam creek and bridge, the crossing of which
General Burnside effected at such a fearful
sacrifice of life—exhibits little or no traces of the conflict. The spot is just
as lovely and tranquil as when last we visited it. Artistically speaking, the
picture is one of the most beautiful and perfect photograph landscapes that we
have seen. The tone is clear and firm, but soft, and every object is brought out
with remarkable distinctness. Next to it is a smaller photograph, some seven
inches square, which tells a tale of desperate contention. Traversing it is seen
a high rail fence, in the fore-ground of which are a number of dead bodies
grouped in every imaginal position, the stiffened limbs preserving the same
attitude as that maintained by the sufferers in their last agonies. Minute as
are the features of the dead, and unrecognizable by the naked eye, you can, by
bringing a magnifying glass to bear on them, identify not merely their general
outline, but actual expression. This, in many instances, is perfectly horrible,
and shows through what tortures the poor victims must have passed before they
were relieved from their sufferings.
Another photograph exhibits a
deep trench or gully, one side of which had been protected by a strong fence,
the rails of which are seen scattered about. Lying transversely in its depths,
where they have evidently fallen in attempting to cross, are piles of rebel
dead, many of them shoeless and in rags. On the left bank are a number of
persons examining the spot with curious interest, visitors probably from some of
the Northern cities.
A poetic and melancholy interest
attaches to the next scene that we come to. There is such a dash of sentiment in
it that it looks more like an artistic composition than the reproduction of an
actuality. A new-made grave occupies the centre of the picture, a small head and
foot board, the former with lettering, defining its limits. Doubled up near it,
with the features almost distinguishable, is the body of a little drummer-boy
who was probably shot down on the spot. How it happens that it should have been
left uninterred, while the last honors were paid to one of his comrades, we are
unable to explain. Gazing on the body, with a pitying interest, stands in
civilian's attire one of those seedy, shiftless-looking beings, the first glance
at whom detects an ill-spent career and hopeless future. It is some time,
perhaps, since that blunted nature has been moved by such deep emotion as it
betrays at this mournful sight.
We now pass on to a scene of
suffering of another character, where, under tents, improvised by blankets
stretched on fence-rails, we see the wounded receiving the attentions of the
medical staff. Next to it is a bleak landscape, on which the shadows of evening
are rapidly falling, revealing, in its dim light, a singular spectacle. It is
that of a row of dead bodies, stretching into the distance, in the form of an
obtuse angle, and so mathematically regular that it looks as if a whole regiment
were swept down in the act of performing some military evolution. Here and there
are beautiful stretches of pastoral scenery, disfigured by the evidences of
strife, either in the form of broken caissons, dead horses, or piles of human
corpses. In one place a farm-house offers visible marks of the hot fire of which
it was the centre, the walls being battered in and the lintels of the windows
and doors broken.