Williamsport, Maryland

 

This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination

Slavery

Site Search

Civil War Links

 

Civil War Art

Mexican War

Republic of Texas

Indians

Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait


Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 18, 1862

This Site features online versions of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive serves as a valuable resource for those wishing to develop a more in depth understanding of the important events of the Civil War.

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

 

Franz Sigel

General Sigel

Southern Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation

Southern Reaction to Emancipation Proclamation

South Reacts to Emancipation proclamation

South Reacts to Emancipation Proclamation

shelbyville

Shelbyville, Tennessee

Williamsport

Williamsport, Maryland

Antietam Aftermath

Battle of Antietam Aftermath

General Nelson

General Nelson

Murder of General Nelson

Murder of General Nelson

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Blockade Runners

Captured Blockade Runners

Antietam Pictures

Pictures of the Battle of Antietam

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[OCTOBER 18, 1862.

662

THE PATRIOT'S SLEEP.

["Too many of the Wide-awakes of the last campaign are indeed fast asleep now, when their country needs them. I saw one of them slumbering by Culpepper Court House last week. He was sleeping with his right arm twisted in the spokes of a disabled cannon-wheel, and a purple mark was on his right temple. But he was not alone in his forgetful sloth, for near him, and rigidly grasping his disengaged hand, was a Democrat, slumbering too! They sleep for the flag, and may its stars shed pleasant dreams on their loyal souls forever!"]

Two soldiers slumbering, hand clasped in hand?

Not thus should freemen lie

When storms of trouble break upon the land,

And treason's hordes are nigh.

Not thus Columbia's children should give o'er

When tyrants boast and brag Of Freedom vanquished. "Nay, we can no more!

We sleep here for the flag!"

"See!" one said, "here's a mark upon my brow That cowards never wear;

I have but left the battle-field just now—

A bullet hit me there!"

The other looked up smiling in my face,

His rigid lips apart;

And spoke no word, but motioned me to trace

His wound above his heart.

Oh! many slumbering by the flag we see,

By love of ease possessed;

Feeling no shame; not caring to be free—

Not so they sunk to rest.

They met the foe, refusing to bow down

Before a rebel rag:

Speak softly! give their memory a tear

Who sleep thus for our flag!

Dear Flag, for whom so many sleep this day!

Let all thy bright stars shine

In pleasant dreams upon these loyal souls,

For they were always thine!

When others would have trailed thee in the dust,

And hailed thy fall with glee,

They sprang to save thee—fought in thy defense—

Now sleep in death for thee.

Sleep on, brave ones, ye shall not be forgot!

Through all the country's pain

She dreams not all of self—her tenderest thought

Is for her children slain.

When she looks for strong arms, and willing hearts,

And feet that never lag,

She wishes you were by her side again,

Who now sleep for the flag!

MISSING.

"WHAT is it, dear?"

"Only the drums. Oh, if they would only stop one moment!"

I saw my dear aunt shake her head sorrowfully, while a look of meaning passed between her and my uncle. They thought I was out of my mind, but they were mistaken. I knew as well as they did that the noise which was wearing upon every nerve was only the reverberation of the crowd of carriages and omnibuses on Broadway. Still I could only hear the roll of drums. I had heard it, day and night, for five weeks.

It was a drum this time, after all, and muffled: they were approaching the house. My aunt started up, with a gesture of dismay, to try and close out the sound. Nearer and nearer came the heavy tramp of men, and now the sad dirge wailed out by low-toned instruments the Dead March that marks a military funeral. Strange to say, it was wonderfully soothing and restful as it rose and died away upon my ears, strained so long to a steady, monotonous roll! When they had all gone by, I was weeping, for the first time in many days. It was like dew to my dry eyeballs—an unspeakably blessed physical relief to my aching heart.

Those funeral honors were in my mind apportioned to him. I felt no longer the bitterest, most maddening fear of all—that his dear form was left unburied, for the ill birds of prey to tear and mangle. A ghastly, blackened face, upturned to the scorching sun, no longer glared upon me when I closed my eyes; but a low, quiet grave, where comrades had said a prayer as it was hollowed, and where dust should quietly mingle with dust. The grass should spring upon it some day; wild-flowers look up with dewy eyes to heaven; and there peacefully, as in my arms, he should slumber until we should be reunited beyond all death and change.

Again that sad and touching strain floated back to my darkened room on its errand of mercy—fainter and fainter now as the footsteps receded—"Adestes Fidelis," our old Sunday evening hymn! For weeks my mind had gone in the same dull, maddening round; but now I saw my old home as vividly as if I were in reality the little fair-haired child nestling in my dear father's arms, while my mother touched the keys, and their voices rose upward in a solemn and tender unison—an emblem of their united godly lives!

A feeling of pity for myself came over me to think I had come to this—that bright, eager, hopeful child! I wondered if they did not pity me, removed as they were from the sorrows of earth; if they did not long to pluck me out of the dark waters that were surging over my soul. Who knows but it was their spirits ministering unto me; for from that moment the stupor of despair left me? I only wonder I had not died at first. It happened thus: I came down so cheerful and buoyant that morning, singing to my bird as I arranged the flowers that our city garden afforded, for it was my day for a letter from him, and all this long year he had never failed me. Twice a week his daily journal, in which every act and thought of his life was chronicled for my eyes, came. There might be delays after it left his hand, but none through him.

I did not think to unfold the morning paper, not knowing that a movement of his corps was expected; but my uncle had known it for several days, and had been dreading disaster, as I afterward found, from the carefully-worded telegraphs of the

War Department. But I was young, and over-confident of our cause, and had paid no heed to the ominous mutterings of the coming storm. The sun fell on my daily path—what were the clouds to me!

There was a white, fixed look in my uncle's face; that was my first warning. I dropped the blood-red fuschias and fragrant heliotropes which I held, and sprang to his side.

"What is it?—what is it?"

My voice sounded changed and husky to myself. The scared look passed from my uncle's kind eyes, and one of love and pity entered into them.

"He may be only a prisoner after all; do not worry before we hear."

But I could detect the deceit, as a child does the bitter drug hidden in the conserve.

"You mean that he is dead; and you are lying to me!"

It did not matter that "Missing" stood above the column in which his name was enrolled. They tormented me with watching, and writing for information, and all manner of hopeless devices for many a day. They were sure that when the list of the prisoners should be received from Richmond he would be reported among them, but I gave up from the first; and when that came with no news of him it was almost a relief, for they let me alone with my trouble.

You take up the papers day after day, and read those dreadful lists without a thought. Those names are no more to you than the columns of a directory, or a list of advertised letters. You have a kind heart, and you sigh, and say, "Poor fellows!" as you lay them down. How little do you understand of the sickening anxiety, the appalling shock, which those very columns carry to a thousand households! How eager eyes dilate with horror and unbelief as fearing, and hoping, and praying they come upon the name they seek for staring them in the face with such persistent reality—staring them into blindness.

So I read it, leaning over my uncle's shoulder, and following his finger with a dizzy brain: Missing—ARTHUR L. GRANT.

The first on the list, followed by the name of a company and regiment that had marched proudest of all through our streets thirteen months before, since they had left wealth, and ease, and luxury, to go out for their country's sake—a pure enthusiasm in what they believed to be a noble cause.

Again and again he had been in the thickest of the fight, and had come out unharmed. I impiously believed it was my unceasing selfish prayers that protected him!—how impious and how selfish I had never known till now; for I had come to believe the angels had a special charge concerning him. But that veil of self-delusion fell from my eyes like a mist; my presumption in thinking God would exempt me from the trials common to all! I dare say you know every phase of mind I passed through with, if you have over been visited with a sudden shock of loss; how, from what I conceived to be loving trust in my Heavenly Father and a glowing gratitude, I found myself madly rebellious, sullenly faithless, wholly unbelieving. W hat were all His promises worth since it had come to this! Only that morning before I left my room I had read with such a boastful confidence in the Bible which had been his earliest gift to me:

"He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven shall no evil touch thee.

"In famine he shall redeem thee from death, and in war from the power of the sword."

But now He had "put forth his hand and touched all that I had," and the temptation to "curse him to his face" swept over me, as it had through the soul of the patient Chaldean!

During the slow decline which had taken my father from me, and exhausted my mother's little strength in long-continued care and watchfulness, we had sailed on a long voyage, in the hope that it might stay the cruel disease which worked out its end with such deceptive quietness. I was wretchedly feverish and ill for a long, long time, unable to leave my berth or to take any nourishment; yet, strange to say, I never slept without such heavenly dreams! An unaccountable happiness stole over me as I sank to sleep; the fever and the thirst were slaked on delicious fruits or at sparkling fountains of the clearest water. The dull monotony of sight and sound, which almost maddened me when awake, was exchanged for the landscapes and the music of Paradise!

So it was with me now for a time; when awake, despair and desolation and eternal isolation closed around me; but when I sank into an unconsciousness that was not sleep, such bright, mocking visions of the past, with every precious hour that memory held in store, was lived over with a minuteness and vividness that mocked the changeless reality of widowhood.

Every half-expressed thought or glance of tenderness—the perfect repose of the full knowledge of his love—the bitter bliss of our first parting, when the call to arms sounded through the land—the unspoken longing to be called his—to hear his name, at least, if his life should be laid down for his country; the long clinging, passionate farewell, when I first felt all the intensity of his love; and his sudden, unlooked-for return.

That day came up before me continually. I heard the sound of clear ringing footsteps in the hall when I thought him hundreds of miles away, and started to be caught to his heart, and find that my quick recognition of that familiar tread was indeed a blessed reality! How tenderly he smoothed back my hair as I clung to him—afraid he would vanish as strangely as he had come—and pressed my cheek close and closer to his breast, till I could hear the strong throbbing of his heart; and then he whispered, "You must be my wife, Agnes, before I leave you again; this separation will be intolerable if I can not pour out my whole heart to you, and think of you as all mine!"

Yet he was to return the next day; for his sad errand of escort to a deceased comrade, one of the first to baptize the soil of Virginia with heroic blood, (Next Page)

Williamsport, Maryland

 

 

  

Site Copyright 2003-2014 Son of the South.  For Questions or comments about this collection, contact paul@sonofthesouth.net

Privacy Policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.