Civil War Overview
Civil War 1861
Civil War 1862
Civil War 1863
Civil War 1864
Civil War 1865
Civil War Battles
Robert E. Lee
Civil War Medicine
Civil War Links
Civil War Art
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
soil from these invaders." And
Harry had obeyed. It was under his own country's flag that he received the wound
which had sent him to the North for healing. "I couldn't deny myself one day in
Westmore," he said; but the day became six weeks before it was over. Then he
went back again to his great work, with my mother's blessing and mine. And ever
since I seem to live only to read and answer those dear, brave letters, which
come so faithfully to our office under the superscription—"Mrs. Ada Carr Kent."
DEVEREUX DARE, PRIVATE.
MRS. ASHLEIGH DARE always looked
at her handsome, manly son with a maternal pride which was altogether excusable.
They were a fine couple, for any one's seeing the widow and her son. Mrs. Dare's
forty years had not met her as enemies. The dark brilliance of her eyes was
undimmed. Scarcely a thread of silver flecked the raven blackness of her hair.
Her complexion kept bright still its clear, dark tints, and even her figure had
not lost its old stately grace. The haughty French blood in her veins was not
chilled either. She was as fit to be the mother of a hero as she had been to be
Colonel Dare's wife—Colonel Dare, whose back no foeman ever saw.
Her son was after her own heart.
He had her dark eyes and hair, her sparkling expression, and Huguenot hauteur;
all intensified in him, however, by the long-during, persistent nature of his
father, which he had inherited along with a certain resolute contour of mouth,
which was the only external sign of his paternity. For all the rest he was,
outwardly, a Devereux. No need to ask from which side his courage came—neither
Dare nor Devereux had ever reckoned a coward among their children.
They had been discussing, these
two, an engrossing question. It was just after that dreadful day at Bull Run,
when the country needed so bitterly all her children, and every loyal heart was
throbbing to one anguish of endeavor. Regiments were being filled up rapidly,
and young Dare, just home, in the spring of '61, from his three years of foreign
travel, was only waiting his mother's consent to enlist. He looked at her now
with persuasive eyes.
"It should not be you, mamma, the
daughter of a heroic race, the widow of a man who got his death-blow in the
front of the fray, who would hold back your son when the land of his fathers has
need of him."
"I do not, Devereux. I am willing
you should enlist if only you will use the interest of your family to procure
you a suitable commission."
"I may not be worthy of one. I
have not yet proved my fitness to rule."
"Your fitness! It is in your
"Well then, seriously, I do not
want a commission, because I feel sure that I can do more good by going as a
private. All can not be officers, and more men than you think are holding back
because they can not. They say—'It is the lower orders who serve in the ranks;
we will not fight unless our comrades can be gentlemen.' Every one is waiting
for some other. Do you think there are not men in Boston who will follow the
flag the more readily if they march in company with my father's son?"
"Your father would not have
done—did not do —what you wish to do."
"Because he was needed
He knelt down beside her, just
then, that handsome, gallant fellow, whom all women found so fascinating. He
rested his head on her knee—it was an old, boyish trick he had—and looked with
those great, persuading, dark eyes of his up into her face. His voice was full
of appeal—his tones grew solemn in their earnestness.
"Mother, I must go. I can only go
as a private, for my conviction that that is my duty is unalterable. If it is a
sacrifice, it is one that must be made. Will not you make it with me? If you
kept me back I should hardly be willing to accept life on such terms. It would
only he a long misery, with the ghost of this unfulfilled duty stalking beside
me forever. Be brave, mother, brave and kind. If I should fall in battle, and
lie beside some Southern stream with my life-blood ebbing away, let me not have
to think, when your voice and your smile come back to haunt me, that I went away
without your blessing."
The heart, the quick, impulsive,
woman's heart, through which the eager French blood throbbed, was softened.
Tears fell from the proud eyes, and glistened a moment in the short curls of the
head upon her silken lap. Then she put her hands on those thick curls with a
caressing touch, and said to him:
"You have conquered. I will not
keep you back from the duty your eyes see so clearly. You may be right. At any
rate, if you go, you shall go with my blessing, and remember that one at home
prays for you every hour."
Tears, not hers, wet the hand her
son drew to his mouth. Strongest hearts in the fray are tenderest oftentimes at
That was one struggle and one
victory. The soldier had yet another conflict to dare—a harder one possibly—in
the boudoir of Clara Gage.
He went there that night after
his enlistment had been registered. She was his betrothed wife, and he loved her
as a brave man can love a true woman. It may be that he feared her a little,
also. If he did, forgive him, for there was nothing else out of heaven that he
did fear. In her case it was only because she was so precious to him that no
calamity, save loss of honor, could have been reckoned by the same measure as
loss of her. Somehow he shrank from telling her his plan, and meeting the look
he fancied her eyes would wear when she heard it; and so he had unfolded it to
her in a note which she had received that morning. He hoped that she would have
reconciled herself to his views before he saw her.
I think he could have done a good
many sterner things with less fluttering of the heart than he
felt when he walked into the
little azure-hung room where she waited for him.
She was a beauty of a different
type from his handsome mother; but of one no less haughty. She was pure Saxon,
with hair of dun gold, and blue eyes which could swim in seas of passionate
tenderness, but which knew how to flash scorn, or scintillate anger. Just the
woman for long loving or long hating. Your dark-eyed beauties are too stormy,
their emotions exhaust themselves. For slow, strong patience in hating or loving
give me a slight woman with fair hair and innocent-looking blue eyes.
Miss Gage met her lover cordially
enough—a wary general does not commence his attack till he has reconnoitred the
field. If he can maintain his own line of defense and lure the enemy to leave
covert and begin the battle, so much the better the chances in his favor.
Perhaps Miss Gage had read Hardee.
She talked smilingly about the
weather. She was going, next week, to Newport—couldn't she persuade him to go
too? They would have merry times.
"I shall have to do with other
balls," he said, a little resolutely, determined that she should beat no longer
about the bush of his purpose.
She raised her eyebrows slightly.
"A bad time to go South, in
"Necessity makes all times alike.
Did you not get my note?"
"What—that pleasantry you sent me
this morning about enlisting? Did you think I did not know you better? Fancy
Devereux Dare trudging through the Virginia mud, with that rolled-up bundle,
whatever they call it, on his back!"
"It is well to fancy it, Clara.
It will be real soon. I enlisted to-night."
"Without asking me?"
"Forgive me. My life was God's
and my country's before it was yours. I knew my duty. I dared not run the risk
of having my resolution shaken by your persuasions. I should not be worth your
loving, Clara, if I could shrink from what I know I am called of Heaven to do."
"I thought Heaven's calls were of
a more peaceful nature—to pray or preach to men, not shoot them. What does your
"That she will pray for her
absent soldier every hour in the day. Her prayers and yours will be my shield."
"I will not pray for you!" The
girl's lips whitened with anger and resolution as she spoke.
"Not pray for me?"
"No; unless I do so unwittingly,
in the prayer we are taught to offer for our enemies. You are my enemy if you
There was nothing weak or
irresolute in Miss Gage's face. Her voice was quiet and even. Dare shivered as
its firm tones fell on his ear.
"Clara," he cried, "what does
this mean? You said that you loved me last night."
"It means simply that, like most
women, I give in such measure as I receive. Last night I thought you loved me."
"And so I do, God knows!"
"Do you think I believe you?
Would a man who loved a woman go away from her to almost certain destruction
without even the grace to tell her his purpose until after he had pledged
himself? Why did you not come here before you enlisted?"
"Because I was too cowardly. You
have the honest truth now. I loved you so well that I dared not trust myself to
your persuasions. My duty, I hope, I should have done in any case; but I shrank
from the strain my heart strings would suffer in doing it when you were holding
A half-suppressed triumph looked
from Clara Gage's eyes. She liked, even then, this confession of her power over
him. She determined to test it fully. As his mother had. done before her, she
"Why do you not get a
commission?—I know you could. It would be bad enough to have you go at best. It
is so much easier to fight where the martial music clashes, and the excitement
of the hour works heart and brain to madness, than to wait at home and open
every day's newspaper as if it might contain your death-warrant. I might bear
it; I might forgive your leaving me so cruelly if you went in a position worthy
of your name. If you go as a private I never will."
Dare's courage rose now. Summoned
by her attack, it leaped up and formed into line-of-battle with quick bravery.
He answered her as he had answered his mother before—gave her, with calm
patience, all his reasons.
Her eyes hardened, looking wide
at him with a cold want of comprehension, of sympathy, which he had never seen
in them before. She waited until he was all through, when she said—oh! so
"My mind is not changed. If you
go, as you have planned, you go my enemy, not my betrothed."
Passion-heat of the dark-browed
Devereux, tempered to firmness by the Dare persistency, rose up in his nature
and took the reins. Had he yielded then to her commands, so ungently given, I
believe that nothing could have appeased the measure of his self-contempt but to
die by his own hand, like an old Roman. She had gone just the one step too far.
He had no more persuasion for her now, and scant courtesy. His voice shivered
through her nerves like the sharp whirr of a bullet.
"I accept the position toward you
which you elect! Miss Gage, you had better ask God to forgive you in time; your
death-bed will not be easy without such mercy!"
She trembled. There was that in
his tone and manner which appalled her. She began to feel that she was a woman,
and weak; and he was a man, and strong. But she had a pride as stern and
inflexible as his courage. For sole answer she took from her finger a ring,
wherein a single diamond sparkled, and dropped it into his extended palm. Then
rising, she bowed as she would have
dismissed a morning visitor, as
he stood, hat in hand, before her. He had loved that woman, with her blue eyes
and her pale hair. He looked at her hungrily. His soul clamored for one touch of
her careless hand, her falsely-smiling lips. But he mastered the emotion, and
"I shall fight the better for
this, Miss Gage! More than one dead rebel will have you to thank for his
death-wound. The man who leaves least at home can best afford to throw his life
Two days after that he marched
with his regiment. He had not seen Clara Gage again.
She did not go the next week to
Newport. She had said he would be to her only as her enemy, but a sickening
longing took possession of her to trace that enemy's fate. She could not have
danced—I think her limbs were too unsteady. Her father—she had no mother—was
astonished at her resolution to remain in town all through the season; combated
it a little at first; then became convinced that, after all, no place was more
comfortable than Beacon Hill, and began to rejoice secretly in the prospect of
coming from business to an open house, and a home which a woman's presence made
He knew nothing of the great wave
that had swept over his daughter's life. He heard, indeed, that Devereux Dare,
whom he knew to be his prospective son-in-law, had gone to the war as a private.
Like every one else he wondered, and grumbled out, besides, a little personal
dissatisfaction. He knew not that the vow which bound those two had been
sundered; and if the face opposite to him was pale, he had not too much
perception to joke his daughter about her sweet-heart, until one day she
silenced him with these words, at which he experienced something such a
sensation as if a rebel shell had fallen suddenly at his feet and exploded
"Father, there are some things
which I can not bear—this is one. Never name Mr. Dare's name to me again."
Thereupon she retired into her
shell, and he was left outside wondering. He had thought to please her by
talking of her lover; to give her an opportunity to express her grief at his
absence, and seek for sympathy; but it seemed she did not like it. Well, he
could be silent; it cost him nothing. Little he knew what to hear that name or
to speak it cost her!
The autumn had not passed before,
in the depths of her soul, she had repented; but her stubborn pride would
scarcely acknowledge it even to herself. She would not open her heart to one
emotion of tender ruth. Yet there was something feverish in the eagerness with
which she caught at every day's paper. Scarcely his own mother followed the
footsteps of that regiment so ceaselessly.
Mrs. Dare waited in hope. Once
persuaded to consent to her son's wishes, she had gone with him heart and soul.
She had said she would pray for him hourly, and she did. Perhaps those prayers
were mighty to turn aside Southern bullets. Ile was in many engagements—wounded
slightly sometimes; but, so far, he had seemed to bear a charmed life. No great
peril came near him.
Before he went away he had told
his mother that all was at an end between him and Miss Gage, and given her the
reason. He had not entered into particulars, but the little he said had been
enough to enlist on his side all his mother's ardent sympathies. The two women
had been almost friends before—drawn together by their love for one object.
Since he went away they had never spoken. They had met in the street a few
times, passing each other with a cold bow, and that was all. Mrs. Dare saw at
these times that the girl was growing pale, and it did her heart good.
At length came the news from
Winchester, of the retreat where the Massachusetts boys brought up the rear,
forming in the line of battle and fighting as they went. In the list of the
wounded two women read with strained eyes these words:
One with white lips, and a cry of
passionate be-wailing—" Oh, my boy! my boy!" The other, with tearless face, and
the wail of a yet deeper agony—"And I told him I would not pray for him!" Each
with the one purpose of hastening to her hero.
Miss Gage did not delay. She put
on her bonnet and went at once to his mother's house. Mrs. Dare received her
"I do not understand your coming
here now," she began. "I am in too much trouble to receive visitors. Do you not
know—have you not heard—?"
"Every thing. Can't you see that
it is killing me? Even though you are his mother, you would forgive me if you
knew what I have suffered. I love him. I did love him all the while. I must, I
will go to him. I must hear him speak my pardon before he dies."
Mrs. Dare's warm, impulsive heart
softened to the poor, anguish-torn creature, who sank imploringly on the floor
at her feet. She knelt down beside her and folded her arms round her, and raised
"You shall go, Clara; you shall
go with me, and I pray God that we may yet look upon his face again in this
life's life. The train leaves at four. Can you be ready?"
"You will find me waiting for you
at the depot."
It was well for Clara Gage that
she had a proud woman's fortitude. Once assured that she might go to him, she
did not suffer her limbs to tremble, or her face to betray her. With step as
lofty as ever she went home. She met her father going up the steps.
"Father," she said, speaking with
the calmness of one all whose plans are fixed—" Devereux is dangerously wounded,
and I am going to him. I shall start at four with Mrs. Dare."
Seldom is a woman in any position
more entirely her own mistress than was Miss Gage. Her father never thought of
disputing her will, or interfering with her purposes. Moreover, he had never
been informed of the dissolution of her engegement, and thought it but natural
should resolve to go to her
lover. She encountered no opposition from him, therefore, but rather help.
Hurriedly her preparations were made, and when Mrs. Dare reached the station she
found her companion waiting for her.
It was midnight of the second day
when, after long travel and many delays, they reached the hospital. For a moment
Mrs. Dare held parley with the surgeon.
"Was it safe to go to him? Would
he know them? Where was his wound?"
Clara Gage listened for the
reply, clasping Mrs. Dare's arm with her nervous fingers till it ached.
"Yes, they might see him and tend
him; it would do no harm; but he would not know them, he was delirious. His
right arm was shot away, and he had, besides, a severe wound in his chest."
"Was there any hope?"
"A little—there might be a chance
for him with good nursing. It looked more like it now than it did two days ago."
Then they went to his
bedside—those two women who loved him.
He lay there, his cheeks flushed,
his eyes wild with fever. He was talking incoherently—living over again, as it
seemed, the brave charge in which he had fallen. At last he murmured, in tender
"You said you would pray for me,
mother. Are you praying for your boy now?"
Then, indeed, tears rained from
his mother's eyes as she stood bending over him. But Miss Gage could not weep;
had she not said she would not pray for him?
For days they tended him—almost,
it seemed, without sleep or rest; hardly knowing, in their anxiety, whether it
was one day or many. There were slow steps from despair toward hope; and
by-and-by there came an afternoon when he looked at them with calm eyes, and
spoke to them in his own voice.
"Mother, you here? This makes
home in a strange land. And Clara—?"
Miss Gage was not too proud then
to sink on her knees by the bedside, and her voice shook so with her sobs that
he could hardly hear her say,
"Forgive me—oh, can you? I did
not mean it when I said you were my enemy, and I would not pray for you. I have
prayed for you, Devereux."
"And I have forgiven you, Clara.
Not at first, though; the sense of wrong was too bitter then. It was just before
that last charge. The bullets were raining thick, and I knew it was an even
chance whether I came out of it alive. Then I thought of you. I remembered how I
had loved you. The bitterness went out of my heart, and that mighty love surged
back. When the rest shouted their war-cry I only cried 'Clara!' and on we
"No more talking, ladies, unless
you would lose again all we have gained."
It was the surgeon's voice, as he
went his round, and it put an end to a conversation that gave back to Clara Gage
hope and youth.
It was not until they had been
able to remove the beloved patient by easy stages to Boston that any thing was
said about the future. Then, one day, he drew from his bosom a ring fastened to
his neck by a blue ribbon.
"Untie it, Clara."
Miss Gage obeyed him, as he
reached it toward her.
For a moment he held the ring,
sparkling and glittering in the fingers of his one hand. Then he said:
"I put on this ring before with
my right hand. I had a strong arm then to shield and support you. Do you care to
wear my token, when I have only my left hand to put it on with?"
For all answer she held out her
finger, waiting for the ring. He hesitated still.
"Do you understand all it means?
Do you care to marry a one-armed man?"
"I care to be yours, if you think
me good enough to wear the honor of your name. I shall only be prouder of my
hero because he bears about with him a token of how dear he held his country and
And so the ring was placed again
on Clara Gage's finger, and the next week they were married. He had wanted her
before, but he needed her now; and she had come too near to losing him to delay
her happiness by any coy pretenses.
He has gained strength
rapidly—perhaps because he willed to be well, or because he was so happy. His
country had yet work for him to do. As one who had a right to say "come" and not
"go," he has aided in the cause of recruiting under the recent calls. He who has
given so much has a right to ask others to risk something. To those who know him
his example is more eloquent than his words.
page 588 we give a
representation of CAMP CURTIN, near
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the great camp of
instruction for Volunteers in Pennsylvania. It is situate on the bank of the
Susquehanna, about one mile northwest of Harrisburg. At the time our sketch was
made some 20,000 athletic fellows, from the various counties of Pennsylvania,
were being drilled there and equipped for the war. General Wool lately reviewed
them, and expressed himself much pleased with their proficiency in drill.
page 588 we give a picture of
CAMP MORTON, at Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the camp of instruction where the
Indiana Volunteers are mustered and drilled before being sent forward to the
war. It is situate on the outskirts of the town of Indianapolis, and was
formerly used as a fair ground. No State has done more nobly than Indiana; no
camp has sent forward more or better soldiers to the war than Camp Morton.