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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 6, 1863

You are viewing part of our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This archive serves as an invaluable resource for developing a more in depth perspective on this critical part of American History.

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Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson

Colonel Grierson Biography

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General Van Dorn Death

City Park

New Orleans City Park

Colonel Grierson Raid

Grant's March

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Loyalty Oath

Loyalty Oath

Alexandra

Alexandra

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

Hand to Hand Combat

Hand to Hand Combat

General Grant

General Grant

Stomach Bitters

Stomach Bitters

Illinois Central Railroad

Illinois Central Railroad Land

 

 

 

JUNE 6, 1863.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

363

(Previous Page) and that I will bear true and faithful allegiance and loyalty to the same—any ordinance, resolution, or law of any State, Convention, or Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding; and further, that I take this oath, and assume all its responsibilities, legal and moral, of my own free-will, and with a full determination, pledge, and purpose to observe and fulfill it, and without any mental reservation or evasion whatever; and, further, that I will well and faithfully perform all the duties that may be required of me by law, as a true and loyal citizen of the United States. And may God help me so to do!

"(Signed)

"Sworn to and subscribed before me, this — day of

—,1863."

You can readily imagine what a flutter this has caused in the ranks of the Secesh. Any one reading the form of oath here required can hardly imagine how any one pretending to a particle of soul or manhood could subscribe to it with any arriere pensee; and yet a Secesh told a friend of mine the other day, when asked what he was going to do—take the oath, or leave—" Oh, just as all the rest have done; take it over the left."

It will be well, however, for these people to be warned in time, and not attempt to get around General Banks by laying such willful perjury on their souls. There is not one man who subscribes to that oath but will henceforth find himself under a sort of moral microscope, in the hand of every loyal man in the place. He has studied human nature but little who does not know that men of kindly and confiding natures, like General Banks's, are those whose souls revolt most instinctively against any thing like willful deception. Therefore, the very leniency of the General's past administration will probably make him only ten times more vigilant against offenders; and if he catches one, he may, in severity, be found to out-Butler Butler.

It is really quite amusing to spend an hour at the head-quarters of General Bowen. People—principally ladies—are constantly flocking in to try if there is no possible way of avoiding the dreadful alternative of starvation in Dixie or bowing to the horrible Yankee flag. Some have long, desponding faces—some have a haughty bearing, as if they scorned the very favors they had come to try and get; some, again, vainly appeal to the conscience of the venerable Captain Nott, "as a father," while others as vainly waste their bewitching smiles upon that fascinating young officer, Lieutenant Milner Brown, neither of whom can swerve one inch from the inexorable duty of swearing them in, or banishing them to Dixie.

THE RAPPAHANNOCK.

WE are with you, brothers, brothers, fighting on the Rappahannock;

We are with you in the morning and at setting of the sun:

All our thoughts go flying thither where our brothers are a-bleeding;

Heart and hand we will be with you till your noble work is done.

We are with you, fathers, fathers, fighting on the Rappahannock;

Do not think that we are happy when the cannons round you roar;

But we know you fight for justice, and the waving of our banner

Over every State and hamlet where it ever waved before.

We are with you, children, children, fighting on the Rappahannock;

Oh! we fain would clasp you fondly, and a mother's heart-felt kiss

We would plant upon our offspring—but, dear children, go on bravely,

And a thousand matron-prayers shall be given for your bliss.

 

We are with you, kinsmen, kinsmen, fighting on the Rappahannock;

We remember all your hardships on Virginia's crimson bank;

We are not forgetting, kinsmen, that you battle for our country,

And we pray that God will bless you in the cold and in the dank.

We are with you, friends and loved ones, fighting on the Rappahannock;

Heart and soul we are among you, and our bodies shall not lack;

For if traitors take your life-blood we will step into your traces;

If you conquer, friends and loved ones, we will meet you coming back.

 

God is with you, patriot - soldiers, fighting on the Rappahannock;

He has issued His great mandate, "Manumission to the slave!"

He has given you the weapons, He has given you the power,

He has given you our country, and our country you must save.

MISTE, PRINCE OF FOGGE.

THE fairy Myrtilla was getting ready for a trip to Fairy-land. Her mouse-skin cloak was warming by the fire, her chariot was before the door, and her team of blood-beetles stamping themselves nearly out of the harness in their impatience, while she herself was putting on her mullen-leaf leggings, for it was as yet early spring, and the weather was somewhat cool.

Quoth Lilla, her god-daughter, pouting, "Every one goes to Fairy-land. Not a paltry flower or vagabond sunbeam but has something to tell of its rosy gates and diamond palaces: only I must mope at home."

But answered her godmother, "Patience! There are people who go to Fairy-land, and there are those to whom it comes. Keep the doors fast and let no one in; for the sprites of the forest are ever ready for mischief; and have an eye on those spider-spinners. They are so long about the coverlets that the Queen is getting impatient. If you are lonely, talk to the birds or practice your dancing, and we shall see what we shall see."

Now Myrtilla's eloquence, like that of mortals, was very satisfactory to herself; and, putting on her mouse-skin cloak, she whirled away over the tree-tops, so well satisfied with herself that she must needs stop the goblin of the brook and a sprite or two of the mist, that she happened to meet, to tell them how "Steina's god-daughter ruled her house, and Muta had run away with a gay young Northern Light, while Lilla was content to stay at home and spin, and never even guessed that she was fair."

But Lilla sat looking into the cedar-wood fire, and saying, "I am tired of talking to the birds, who tell me nothing but how the young Robins are coming on, and what little eaves-droppers are the Wrens, and what airs the Oriole takes; and as for my dancing, the very mention reminds me of that ridiculous old Grasshopper, with his green tights, and his little fiddle, and his everlasting whir-r, ma'm'selle, that is the very air of the Fairy Queen; and as for the Spiders, I am afraid of them. They look as if they could eat me up."

And the fire roared the words up the chimney, and the pines that stood thick about the old castle caught it up, and whispered about it till the zephyrs got hold of it, and these told it to the brooks, and presently there wasn't so much as a violet in the forest that had not heard how Lilla was discontented and moping in the old castle; and there arose such a buzzing, and humming, and whispering on the subject, that Lilla, hearing it, began to wonder what it was all about.

So she called to a Sparrow, passing by; and said the Sparrow,

"There is a Fairy Prince coming hither."

But Lilla answered,

"The Prince, whatever that may be, must go further, then; for godmother bade me open the doors to none."

And, sitting down at a golden wheel, she began to spin stuff for pansy-leaves, singing the while the Song of the Giants of Fire; yet ever and anon she caught herself wondering what like was this Fairy Prince; for in her whole life she had seen no one but her godmother; and while she was singing came hosts of wild sunbeams and tittering flower-sprites, tapping at the window; but Lilla hardly stopped to shake her head at them, for she knew their tricks of old; and then followed a whistle and a gruff voice, as the wind went about the castle, trying every door and casement, and threatening to blow the roof off; but Lilla stinted her song none the more for that, for the castle was charmed with a fairy spell, and would open to none without her will.

The day went on and drew toward the close; and though there are five hundred verses in the Song of the Giants, Lilla had sung them all; and though there was stuff for six hundred thousand pansies, she spun so fast that now, at twilight, they were done. The stir and whisper, too, in the forest had quite died away; and, as Lilla sat before the fire, she began once more to wonder what the Sparrow meant by his Fairy Prince.

Came just then a soft tap at the door.

"Who is there?" cried Lilla.

"Miste, Prince of Fogge," answered a voice, "who has traveled thither from Fairy-land for love of you."

"Alas!" returned Lilla, "you must go away. I am bidden to keep the doors fast."

"I saw your godmother in Fairy-land," pursued the sweet voice. "The Fairy Queen has taken to violet stockings of late, and none but Myrtilla can shape them. She has three days' work before her."

"I dare not," sighed Lilla.

"Then I must die. Fairy princes, and specially the children of the mist, always die for love."

"Why do you love me?"

"Because you have hair like sunbeams, and eyes like a June heaven at noon, and a sweeter voice than any Fay in Fairydom.

Now Lilla knew all the tales in the book of the Sages, and the Songs of the Giants, and the Fables of the Birds; but none of these were half so witty and interesting as a prince (whatever that might be) who could tell her, "You are so lovely that all must love you. How then can you blame me?" And if she were only quite sure that her godmother was busy with violet stockings and thinking nothing of her—

It was very still without: what if he were dead! He had said that he should die for love of her! If she could be certain that her godmother wouldn't find her out and shut her up for a thousand years with the Witch of the Sea, or Jack Frost!

Just then an owl began with his great coarse voice.

"Towhit! towho! Here is a fine fool of a Fairy Prince dying for a girl who hasn't the spirit to open a door and take a look at him."

"I am going to open the door!" cried Lilla, angrily.

But the words were hardly uttered when a handsome young man stood before her.

"Your will, not the door, was between us," he said, with a cold smile that made Lilla (though she could hardly tell why) wish him well outside again. She had not time, however, for a word, for just then came a tremendous prancing of beetles, and a bouncing at the door. Myrtilla had come back.

Then Lilla wrung her hands and cried to the fire, "Hide him!" but, "No," said the fire, "I should burn him."

And she ran to the fountain and prayed it to shelter him; but, "No," gurgled the nymph, "I should drown him!" "Then," said the Prince, "have no fear;" and, wrapping his cloak about him, became invisible.

Myrtilla meanwhile was in a rage.

"Let me in!" she cried, thumping at the door. "I hear your whispering within."

Lilla went trembling and undid the door.

"Now I've caught you!" exclaimed her god-mother, bouncing in, but stopped short in surprise at seeing Lilla quite alone. "Some one has been here," she began. "The birds and the brooks told me of it, and yet the bolt has not been drawn. The door-stone was charmed, and it was echoing with a strange footstep, and yet I see no prints on the floor, which is like snow for every foot but yours and mine."

"I know nothing of your birds, and brooks, and charmed door-stones," answered Lilla. "For all company I have had the hooting of an old owl who lives in the pine yonder. Perhaps, however, he is a Prince in disguise."

"Prince? how know you that there is such a thing?" asked the fairy, sharply.

Lilla sat down at her empty wheel and began to spin in a violent hurry.

"What are you doing there?" demanded Myrtilla. "Spinning air?"

"I want to keep in practice."

Here the Prince, who, though invisible, hovered about her, gave her hand a gentle squeeze, at which she cried out, "Oh!"

"What is the matter now?" said her godmother.

"Nothing; I was only thinking of the Spiders, who have droned all day."

"But what made you blush?"

"What is that?" said Lilla. "I have never heard the word."

"Humph!" returned the fairy; "it is a word that goes with prince;" and, sitting down, she began to pull off her mullen-leaf leggins.

"Dear Lilla," whispered Prince Miste, "will you come with me?"

"Help me off with these," cried Myrtilla, at the same moment.

"Yes, love," answered Lilla, aloud, quite forgetting what she was about; on which her godmother jumped up in a passion and boxed her ears.

"Are you out of your wits? Go to your room and stay there. Yes, love, indeed!"

Lilla obeyed, weeping; but hardly had she closed the door when Miste, who had followed her, took shape again and stood before her.

"Are you ready to come?" he asked.

"Alas!" sighed Lilla, "the doors are fast, and I have no wings that I can escape through the windows. I must now dim my eyes with weeping, and spin prickly thistle sheaths, or mullen leaves, that are more hateful still. Since, however, I shall see you no more, my Prince, it hardly matters. No one else will ever love me, or know that I have hair and eyes at all."

At this the owl commenced again,

"Lilla has had her ears boxed, and is going to bed like a great school-girl."

"I wish I were dead!" she sobbed, pulling at her golden hair for spite.

"Better become as I am," said the Prince.

On Lilla's finger was an opal bolding a jet of flame, that quivered and leaped continually, and paled only at the approach of danger. Looking at it now she saw that it had grown dim, and drew back.

"Oh! you believe in stones rather than in me," said Miste, scornfully, floating out at the window.

"Hoo! hoo!" cried the owl, "leave her, Prince Miste, to spin and get her ears boxed. It is what she is fit for."

"Stop!" exclaimed Lilla, "I will become as you are, whatever that may be."

The cloud returned, it wrapped her round, it seemed to penetrate her with cold and dread. The flame in the opal had gone out and was dead, like her heart that seemed turning to ice. She herself was losing shape and outline; her rounded limbs, her bright hair, her lovely face, fading into blank whiteness, thinning away into mist, till, like a breath, she floated from the window into the forest, quivering all about her with ominous laughter.

Once there the winds seized her. They hunted her across wild moors and fearful wastes; she was shuddering with cold and terror, torn by jagged rocks and boughs, longing for rest.

"Let us stop here," she cried, "and give me back my shape!"

"Nay," returned the Prince, "you became as I, and your mortal form once gone it is lost forever, for the sprites of the mist change not in essence. They are always cold at heart; they find no rest; they are the sport of every breeze; and they flee before all things. You must abide by the choice you have made."

So Lilla wanders over desolate seas and barren hills, a mist wreath forever.

THE GOOD-NATURED MAN WITH
ONE EYE.

ABOUT half-way between two small towns whose names are unimportant, there is or was a wayside inn called the Traveler's Delight. Its name was probably a mistake, or it might have been a satire, since the Traveler's Delight presented an aspect by no means delightful; indeed, a timid traveler would have been apt to turn from it with a shudder, as intolerably desolate and gloomy, and prefer pressing on at all risks to making trial of it.

One evening, however, at dusk, a horse laboring under the weight of two persons, a man-servant and a lady on a pillion—you must remember that it is a long time since this happened—stopped before the door of the Traveler's Delight.

"We must be wrong, I know," said the servant. "I don't remember any inn on the road." Whereupon he proceeded to make some inquiries of a surly-looking host, and then turned to the lady. "We have missed the turning, and are some miles from the right way. What is to be done?"

The lady—we will call her Mrs. Benson—looked at the darkening night, and shivered as a blast of wind went howling by.

"Is there accommodation for us here? But I think we had better go on."

The servant, however, was not inclined to go on. There was plenty of accommodation for his mistress, he said, and the horse was dead beat. As for himself, the landlord said there was an outhouse he could sleep in; and he was sure his master would not like Mrs. Benson to peril her health and safety by going on in the cold dark night.

The lady suffered herself to be persuaded, and entered the house. A woman with an unpleasant face came to meet her. When Mrs. Benson saw this woman she looked again at the dark road hesitatingly, but the horse had been taken to the stable, and the servant was not to be seen.

"Can I have a private room?" inquired the lady.

"A bedroom, of course. But there's no sitting-room, except the house-place. You'll find it warm and comfortable, and can have the best seat."

By this time the outer door was shut and fastened, and Mrs. Benson taking courage in the thought that at least her servant was somewhere within call, made a virtue of necessity, and accepted the offered best seat with seeming satisfaction.

Supper was placed before her, which the landlord and his wife shared at her request.

During the meal there was a violent knocking at the outer door, and when it was opened there entered a tall, broad-shouldered man, with one eye, and a shock head of red hair.

"Can I have a bed?" was the query.

"Well, I suppose you can, if the missis and me gives up our room. It won't be the first time we've had to camp in the house-place."

"Sorry to put you out. Thank you, I think I will take a mouthful."

No one had invited the new-corner to take a mouthful, and as he helped himself his one eye turned on the strange lady. Mrs. Benson could not help returning the look with interest, the man had such a comical face; and then his hair was the reddest she had ever seen, and the whole man seemed to be jolly with an expression of grotesque good-nature. At some surly remark of the landlord's this queer one eye looked at the lady again quickly; its owner gave a comical sidelong nod toward the host, and then the eye twinkled, as much as to say: "He's a queer-tempered chap; but don't be frightened—I'll protect you."

In fact, Mrs. Benson felt quite a sense of security in the presence of the good-natured man, and was sorry when his huge supper came to an end.

"Well, then, I'll turn in," he said, pushing his plate away, "if the master here will be good enough to show me the room, for I'm tired. Good-night, missis—servant, ma'am."

Then Mrs. Benson fancied that the sour face of the hostess grew sourer still; it fairly scowled at her, but she did not feel at all inclined to go to bed. There was no alternative, however; she could not sit up all night where she was, because the master and mistress had expressed their intention of remaining there. She asked for her servant, and was told that he had retired to his outhouse for the night; there was no further pretext for lingering, so she accepted the repeated offer of the lady to show her to her room.

When she got inside that room, Mrs. Benson's first impulse was to lock the door, and as she did so the key came out in her hand. Not satisfied with the lock, which looked crazy, she proceeded to pile every movable article of furniture against the door; that done, she turned to the fire, which was burning cheerfully. While she stood there meditating upon the insufficiency of the furniture for a barricade, the door-key, which she was twisting about in her fingers, dropped into the ashes. Mrs. Benson stooped to pick it up, and as she stooped, with her face bent in an upside-down position, a gleam of fire sent its light underneath the bed behind her. It flashed upon a shock head of the reddest hair she had ever seen. Mrs. Benson raised her head again rather quickly. The first tangible idea that presented itself in the dizziness that crept over her was to pull away the barricade, and call for help. But long before a sound could be made audible below, her fate might, and doubtless would be decided. Then she thought of professing aloud to have forgotten something which she must go to fetch, but, thinking of all the circumstances, she could not help believing the sour people down stairs to be in league with the red man, so that certain death must follow that move, even if the robber were not too wide awake to permit the ruse. She had heard of its being done, and so no doubt had he, and he would understand it. Besides all this, she had not found the key, and somehow she shrank from bending down again to search for it. Who knew what she might encounter the next time? A knife, a pistol, or that one gleaming eye; and some startled motion might cause the robber to suspect her knowledge of his presence. No, she could not look for the key.

A little while longer Mrs. Benson stood warming her hands at the fire, then she turned round to examine the position of the bed, and yawned aloud. She saw that the bed had been drawn down so as to leave a small space between its low head and the wall, and it occurred to her that this arrangement had been made by the robber, who would doubtless prefer to emerge behind, where there would be least chance of the victim catching sight of him, and so unnecessary noise might be avoided.

By reason of her light barricade on one side, and the wall on the other, she would have to creep in at the foot of the bed. After thinking over her position as calmly as was possible under the circumstances, she took a strong thick woolen scarf of unusual length, which had been wrapped over her chest for the journey, and tied behind; and putting out the candle, she got into bed, yawning again audibly. The fire burned low in the grate, and the room grew nearly dark. If any one could have looked into it, they would have seen on the bed a crouching figure, holding in its two hands the two ends of a scarf—one of these ends being slipped through a long loose knot on the other, and a pair of large eager eyes straining upon that fatal space between the bed-head and the wall.

A clock struck down below. Mrs. Benson could hear the dull whirring sound of every stroke in the silent house, and a hysterical desire to scream seized her; but just then there was a slight dragging noise under the bed, and her eyes were again fixed in that strained watchfulness. The dragging came nearer the wall, slowly. The watcher had well calculated that the form of her terrible visitor must push itself up head first, shoulders flat against the wall, and the arms comparatively pinioned. The hideous chance was that it might come up on one side or the other of the big noose waiting for it. More dragging, then a shock head above the pillow, a stifled, gurgling cry, and the two hands of the watcher were tugging with all their might at the two ends of the woolen scarf.

Chancing to pass by the strange lady's door in the early morning, the sour landlady was startled by the sound of a voice uttering strange sounds, a medley of talking, screaming, and chuckling. She called her husband first, then the lady's servant; and after some altercation the latter insisted on breaking open the door. A clatter of falling furniture followed; and edging themselves in with some difficulty, they found the lady still in her crouching posture, and still clutching with both hands the ends of the scarf about that ghastly, staring head. At the sight of those three horrified faces she burst into a fit of hysterical crying, which probably saved her reason.


 

 

 

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