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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 13, 1862

Welcome to our collection of online Harper's Weekly newspapers. We feature all issues published during the Civil War. These newspapers offer a rich opportunity to gain more insight into the people and places of the Civil War.

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General Pope

General Pope

President's Emancipation Policy

Lincoln's Emancipation Policy

Second Battle of Bull Run

Second Battle of Bull Run

Warrenton

Warrenton, Virginia

Tennessee

Tennessee

War in Virginia

War in Virginia

New Iron Clad Navy

New Iron Clad Navy

Camp Curtin

Camp Curtin

Manassas Junction

Manassas Junction

Camp Morton

Camp Morton

Civil War Iron Clads

Civil War Iron Clads

Scenes in Tennessee

Scenes in Tennessee

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

 

 

SEPTEMBER 13, 1862.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

587

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 blood."

"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 otherwise."

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 the hearth-stone.

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.

"Saratoga?"

"Virginia, rather."

"A bad time to go South, in summer."

"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 mother say?"

"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 go."

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 me back."

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 asked,

"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 quietly,

"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 only said,

"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 away."

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 comfortable.

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 there:

"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:

"Private Devereux Dare—dangerously."

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 coldly.

"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 her up.

"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 that she

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 tones,

"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 swept."

"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 his manhood."

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.

CAMP CURTIN.

ON 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.

CAMP MORTON.

ON 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.


 

 

  

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