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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 24, 1864

Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper of the Civil War period. These newspapers have analyses of the war created by people watching it unfold at the time it was happening. The illustrations were created by eye-witnesses to the historic events.

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

 

John Morgan

John Morgan

Peace Through Victory

Peace Through Victory

Democratic Presidential Candidate

1864 Democratic Presidential Candidate

Sherman Atlanta

Sherman Captures Atlanta

Mobile Bay

Battle Mobile Bay

Reuben Fenton

Reuben Fenton

Dress in the 1800's

Dress in the 1800's

Miles O'Rielly

Miles O'Reilly

Trench Warfare

Trench Warfare

Strange Bedfellows

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[SEPTEMBER 24, 1864.

622

(Previous Page) four MURPHY cousins, thirty-seven KELLY cousins, twenty-three LANIGAN cousins, together with a small army of other Milesians—all his own blood relations, many of them now in the service, and all decent boys—would be both proud and happy to enlist or re-enlist for twenty years or the war, if his Riverence's Excellency the President would only oblige them 'the laste mite in life' by declaring war against England. He is of opinion that no excuse is ever needed for going to war; but adds that if any were, it might be found in the recent Canadian-rebel conspiracy to release our prisoners of war, now in camp on Johnson's Island."

We can not dismiss Private MILES from consideration in any manner more appropriate than by giving one of the songs which first brought him into notice, and which may now be heard sung to the air of " Jamie's on the Stormy Sea" at many of the camp-fires of our various armies. He called it his.

SONG OF THE SOLDIERS.

"COMRADES known in marches many, Comrades tried in dangers many, Comrades hound by memories many,

Brothers ever let us be!

Wounds or sickness may divide us, Marching orders may divide us, But, whatever fate betide us, Brothers of the heart are we.

"Comrades known by faith the clearest, Tried when death was near and nearest, Bound we are by ties the dearest,

Brothers ever more to be:—And, if spared and growing older, Shoulder still in line with shoulder, And with hearts no thrill the colder, Brothers ever we shall be.

" By communion of the banner—Battle-scarred but victor banner, By the baptism of the banner,

Brothers of one church are we! Creed nor faction can divide us, Race nor Ianguage can divide us, Still, whatever fate betide us, Brothers of the heart are we!"

THE REVENGE OF A GODDESS.

THROUGH the dewy thicket, out into the patch of silver moonlight, on to the silent wood, paced the picket-guard, humming a love-song between his teeth, and thinking of bright eyes far away, of honeyed breath and velvet lips, of a true heart and a plighted faith all his own, when he should return to claim them.

"Like enough this very minute she's looking at the moon shining down so bright, and thinking about—"

Seth Bryant never finished the sentence thus be-gun, for the same air-wave that brought his own words to his ears brought also a very different sound, and the sentimental murmur of the lover changed to the sentinel's stern demand of

" Who goes there ?"

As private Bryant's musket-barrel dropped into his broad left palm, and his quick eyes fixed themselves eagerly upon a certain point in the thicket, where the crashing of branches and the sobbing sound of a labored breath denoted that some creature, driven almost to the death, was struggling for-ward toward the little moonlit glade.

" Who goes there ?" reiterated the picket-guard. " Speak, or I shall fire !"

The last stubborn branches gave way suddenly, and the dusky figure of a negro woman broke through, and staggering a step or two farther, fell prostrate at Seth Bryant's feet, and clung about his knees.

" What is it? Who are you ?" exclaimed he, trying to withdraw from that convulsive clasp.

The woman struggled for speech, but from her laboring breast and dry lips came only a moan, half of anguish, half of exhaustion.

Seth looked at her in the moonlight, and read her story in the dark, dumb face upturned to his. A life of toil, of misery, of hopelessness, had writ-ten its monogram upon every one of the coarse features, had bowed the figure that should yet have been in its prime, and intensified to terrible pathos the natural mournful expression of the negro's eyes, her only point of beauty. She was apparently about thirty years of age.

Y ou're a fugitive slave," said Seth Bryant, at last.

Before the woman could reply the renewed sound of crashing branches and trampling footsteps showed that a third person was about to appear upon the scene.

The negro woman shrank together, and uttered a gasping cry as she clung more closely to the Union soldier.

" Save me, mas'r ! Oh, for de Lord's sake, don' let him git me !" panted she.

" Let go—let go of me this minute !" returned Bryant, somewhat roughly, as he tore himself away from the desperate arms clinging about him.

" Who goes there ?" challenged he again, as soon as he could command his piece.

"A friend! A good Union man! You needn't be scared of me," returned a rough voice, as a man parted the branches and emerged into the moonlit glade.

"Halt, friend, and give the countersign !" re-turned the sentinel, covering the friend's gleaming right eye with the "sight" of his piece.

"I don't know the countersign, nor I don't want any thing to do with you," retorted the man, irritably. " All I'm after is that wench of mine that's trying to hide away in them bushes. You ain't going to hinder my coming fur enough into your lines to-grab her, are you?"

He advanced as he spoke 'a step or two, and the woman, abandoning the futile effort at concealment, rushed once more to the feet of the sentinel, and clung there, moaning,

" 0 mas'r! oh, for de Lord's sake don' let him git me ! 0 mas'r, tink it 'twor you own mudder or sister ! Oh, good Lord, help me this time ! Turn your bressed face dis way just a 'minit, an' help a

pore, mis'able creter dat ain't got no one but you and dis good Yankee sojer to look to."

"Halt where you are !" ordered Bryant, sternly, his musket still aimed at the intruder's head. "Another step and I'Il fire. Now, tell me who you are, and who this woman is ?"

"My name's Thomas Bellows, and I live about ten mile below here. I'm a good Union man as there is in Old Virginny. I'll stump any one to prove I ain't. That there gal is my wench Juno, and she's runned away, trying to git to the North, I reckon. I got track of her last night, and come up to look for her. I found her hid up in an old shanty down here a piece, and had just got a grip of her when she slipped through my fingers, and put for the woods with me after her. I come up with her just here, and all by chance, I expect, she sighted you, and thought you was going to help her. But your Kunnel don't believe in running off niggers, I've heard say, especially when they belong to good Union men like me."

"No, Colonel Sawyer don't want them to come into camp, and if you're a Union man as you say, I suppose he'd give up the slave if you was to go to him about it," said Bryant, thoughtfully.

" Of course he would, and as long 'as she's here, and I'm here, and camp's a good way off, why ain't it just the same thing to let me grab her, and be off without any more to do ?" argued Thomas Bel-lows, persuasively.

" Well, I suppose it is," assented the picket-guard, uneasily, as he glanced down at the face of agony silently upraised to his.

"I don't know as I've any right to let you come within the lines though," added he, hesitatingly.

" Why, I don't want to stop a minute, nor go out of your sight. All I want is my own, and you say yourself that your Kunnel would give the gal to me."

" Very well, take her, and begone," said Bryant, sharply, as he once more disengaged those withy arms from their hold, and moved quickly away to the other end of the glade.

Not so quickly though but that he heard the savage oath—heard the brutal kick, with which the planter took possession of his slave ; not so quickly but that his ears were pierced and his heart stabbed through with a long, low woman-wail full of despairing anguish.

When he turned round he was alone. Only the white moonlight filled the little glade, only the song of the whip-poor-will broke the midnight stillness ; but to Seth Bryant's eyes that pure moonlight still showed a dark anguished face and form, that night-bird's mournful voice repeated always that passion-ate cry, " 0 Lord, Lord, have you clean forgot me ?"

"And what would Mary think after all she said about just this ?" asked the young man's heart, as he paced on mechanically ; and then his thoughts went back to the night, three months ago, when he had bid his betrothed good-by, and heard her last prayers and charges for his welfare and well-doing. The old question, the old sorrow had come up between them even then ; for Mary Gifford had been bred an ardent friend of emancipation, of liberty in its widest sense, for every human being in her native land.

Seth Bryant came of another stock and another creed ; and while enlisting himself a soldier of the Union against the rebellion, he had spared no ,pains to convince his betrothed, himself, and every one to whom he spoke, that he in nowise pledged himself to fight against the very root and corner-stone of that rebellion.

But at least he would never, could never, take part in the cruel treachery of returning a fugitive slave, who, not learned in these nice distinctions between cause and effect, should have fled to him for safety. Thus pleaded the woman he loved, her hand in his, her eyes resting upon his, with a look of anxious doubt.

"Should I not return his horse, his ox, nay, his very child, if it thus escaped, and be came to demand it of me ?" asked Seth, sturdily.

"God has given him the child, and will reckon with him for its training. God, too, has given men dominion over the beasts of the field ; but God never gave man to man to hold as something lower than the very beasts," said Mary, earnestly.

Seth, however, had no mind for, such discussion on the eve of a long parting from his betrothed, and so cut it short with a kiss and a whisper ; but he had not yet forgotten the sadness which in that moment had settled upon Mary's gentle face, nor the tears that filled her eyes as she fixed them silently upon him.

And it might be hard to say which ghost haunted the stalwart soldier most persistently through the long hours of that moonlit night, or whether he turned most shudderingly from that delicate face with swimming blue eyes, eloquent in their loving sorrow, or those coarser, darker, stronger features, and wild dark eyes, raised to his in the terrible anguish of a vain appeal. Nor had daylight the power to lay these phantoms, but rather seemed to in-crease their horror by adding to their vagueness, and day by day, and night by night, they kept Seth Bryant company until he hardly had time or thought for other society, and became a lonely and moody man.

Suddenly upon this dreary dream came a sharp change. The rattle of musketry, the heavy boom of cannon, the fierce cry of onset, and Seth Bryant found himself fighting madly in the foremost ranks of his noble Massachusetts regiment, and for a moment forgot to wonder what was clone to that woman called Juno by the brute who carried her away, and what God and Mary Gifford would say to his agency in the matter.

Then came the repulse, the terrible struggle for honor and life, of a handful of men, crushed between a legion of pitiless enemies and the precipice with a river at its base.

Of all the bloody battle-fields where this cruel war has left its footsteps, of all the God's Acres consecrated by the heart's-blood of hero-martyrs, of all the terrible blunders where hundreds of true, brave men have been offered up in vain expiation of one man's folly or treachery, there is to my mind none

' so pregnant with bitter interest, with pathetic hero-ism, as this battle of Ball's Bluff. Let those whose nearest and dearest perished there for naught say if my words are not sooth.

Seth Bryant, cruelly wounded in the very last of the struggle, staggered to the verge of the steep cliff and threw himself over, choosing rather to lie beneath the waters already turbid with the blood of his comrades than to fall alive into the hands of an enemy whose barbarous treatment of their prisoners shall ever throw a darker shade over the shameful annals of their treason.

*But he was not then to die. Floating some distance down the stream he drifted at last into a tangle of reeds, osier-willows, and thick-set river plants, and lay there neither dead nor alive, nor caring much to intensify his condition to either state. Drifting in presently, so that his head and shoulders lay above the river-bed, while the water, softly lapping his wounded arm and breast, soothed the fever of his wounds, the poor fellow fell asleep, and dreamed of home and Mary, and the old mill-dam where they had sat while he told her how well he loved her. But just as Mary's head drooped low and lower toward his breast a dark hand rose from the water at their feet, and thrusting Mary aside touched him over the heart, and the touch was of molten iron. With a gurgling cry Seth awoke. The hand was gone, and so was the dark phantom-face that had just begun to shape itself beneath the water; but the sting remained, the cruel, burning thrill that seemed scorching the very blood within his heart. It was the wound, left exposed to the air, now that the rapid current had washed its plaything higher upon the shore, almost out of its own reach.

It was night now, a dark, breathless night, and Seth, slowly recovering his recollection, drew him-self carefully out of the water, and rising to his feet tried to ascertain where he might be.

It was no easy task. Far away upon the opposite shore burned fires and lights that might be those of the Union camp, but might as well be those of the enemy ; for the wounded man had no means of judging in the darkness to which bank of the river he had drifted, and his wounds were fast be-coming so painful as to deprive him of the full use of his native coolness and acumen.

Leaving the river-side he climbed a long steep bank, and then crossing a highway and traversing some fields, plunged into a wood of considerable ex-tent, with a vague intention of remaining there until he should feel able to reconnoitre his position more thoroughly, and see what were his chances for rejoining his regiment.

Creeping cautiously along—for he foreboded that he was on the enemy's ground—the fugitive presently found himself in an open space among the trees, and as he traced its boundaries by the dim starlight the old terror, the familiar phantoms suddenly rose up and claimed him as their own. The place was so like that one upon the opposite shore where a few weeks before he had turned coldly from that woman pleading to him for help in her mortal agony, had seen her hurried away with his consent to that prison-house whose secrets are only fully known to the Judge and Rewarder of all men.

And now it was he who was the fugitive ; he who fled, wounded and trembling, from the ruthless men who, as they had misused their power over their bondslaves, would and had misused it over their captive countrymen. Men imbruted by slaveholding until they had come to feel that strength and dominion are the weapons of the tyrant, instead of the Godlike attributes of men, who are thus endowed that they may humbly imitate God in their bearing to their fellow-men.

With a wailing cry Seth Bryant sank upon the ground and hid his face in the wet grass.

"God has found me out. This is judgment!" said he, aloud. "I wish that poor creature knew it.,,

A slight sound at his side startled him—a step, a movement as of some one stooping close over him, a hand upon his shoulder. He turned hastily, and found a face bent within a few inches of his own. He thought in his feverish remorse it was the phantom, in a more visible shape, come to exult over him.

"It is Juno,"murmured he-" Juno. She was a queen, wasn't she ?—no, a goddess, and they killed her ; burned her to death, and then whipped her till the ground was as red with her blood as that place where the Captain lay to-day. Juno ! Where is Mary, Juno? Did you pull her down into the mill-dam ? You're glad enough to see me here now,

c you, Mary ? No, it was Juno that I gave up to the hunter. Hunters of men they call them, don't they? I wonder if they're bunting me? Hark ! They're coming now ! I hear them !"

He sprang to his feet, and stood glaring around in a frenzy of delirious rage and terror. Then his fevered brain reeled, the dark wood and the dim sky blended wildly, and he fell heavily to the earth.

At the first words he had spoken the dark, silent woman whom he addressed as Juno had started to her feet and turned as if to fly ; but curiosity or an-other motive detained her to listen to his wild mutterings; and now, as he lay silent and motionless, she slowly approached beside him, looking down in an uncertain, doubtful sort of fashion.

At last she touched. him again, gently grasping his arm.

"Mas'r, Mas'r Yankee, can't gnu listen ills' a

minit? You's hurt in the fight I expects, wasn you?"   

" Hurt ! Did they hurt you, Juno ? Did they hurt Mary any ?" asked Seth, dreamily.

The negro paused before she answered in a stifled voice,

"De Lord send dat Mary needn' nebber be hurt dat way, whoebber she may be. Now hark, Mas'r Yankee, an' try fer onderstand. You's in de enemy's country, and you'll be cotched sure if you stops here or goes wanderin' roun' by youse'f. But if so be as you can walk, an' will come 'long o' me, I'll carry you to a safe place whar you can stop till you gets well ob dis wound."

" Come with you ? Oh, you're going to give me up to the tormentors. Well, when it was my turn

I did so by you, and now it's your turn. Come on then, it's all fair."

And Bryant, staggering to his feet, suffered the negro to put his sound arm over her shoulders and lead him gently forward.

"No, mas'r," said she, presently, when she found the wounded man able to walk, and began' to hope that she should effect her purpose—" no, I isn' goin' to gib you to de tormentors same's you did me dat time. I's goin' to take you to a place whar I stopped las' night, and was hid up real snug an' safe. I got away agin from my mas'r 'bout a week ' ago, an' to-night dere's a chance fer me to git acrost de ribber. If you could stan' it to git dere I'd take you to de place whar de boat is, but it's too fur."

"And then that black woman under the water is waiting to pull me down. She's got Mary now. No, that's Mary looking at us ; but where's the other—where's Juno ?" muttered the sick man, leaning more and more heavily upon the shoulders of his guide.

"He' don't know nothing. He's gone wild," said Juno to herself; and -with no farther attempt at conversation, she plodded steadily on until, near the opposite edge of the wood to that where Bryant had entered it, she came upon a little cabin built close to the face of a craggy hill, and looking as if 1 it was trying to burrow completely in, and hide it-1 self from sight.

All was dark and silent ; but Juno, tapping lightly on the one little window, said, in a low voice,

" Quashy—Uncle Quashy ! Be you dere ?"

"Bress de Lord, who dat callin' Quashy dis yer time ob night ?" asked a quavering voice.

" Only me, Uncle Quash—Juno."

" You ! What's fotcht ye back, gal ?" asked the querulous voice, doubtfully.

"Open de door, Uncle Quash. Dere ain't no call to be skeered, but open de door, an' let us in." "Us! What's us, gal ?"

"Me an' a pore wounded brudder," said Juno, drawing still closer about her neck the arm that was heavily slipping away.

The door now cautiously opened, and the grizzled head and stooping form of a very old negro appeared upon the threshold.

" Come in den, gal," said he, peering out into the darkness. "Whar's yer brudder? I nebber heern as you'd got one in dose parts."

Without reply Juno led her charge into the cab-in, and let him sink gently upon the bed whence the old negro had just risen.

"He's my brudder 'cause we've got de same Fader—no oder way," said she, solemnly. "He's a Yankee sojer, Quashy ; de berry one dat-I saw seine —when mas'r cotcht me."

"What! de feller as gib you up when you was clingin' hold ob him knees, an' beggin' him fer sale you ? Dat one you tol' use 'bout las' night ?" asked Quashy, in great astonishment.

"Yes, Quash, dat berry one," said .Juno, briefly-, as she pulled the coarse curtain across the window and lighted a pine torch.

"An' why in de Lord's name has you. fotched um here? Why didn' you leave him for de'federates? Dey treats de Yankees when dey cotch um mos' half as bad as (ley does us. Why didn' you leab him for de prison an' de hospital ? He'd know den how good it is to be gib up to de tor-mentors," asked the old man, bitterly.

"Dem was de berry words he said," returned Juno, as she bent over the now insensible form of the wounded man, and cut away the sleeve from his arm. "De tormentors, says he. But, Quashy, I couldn' do it. Fust, when I foun' out who it wor, I was goin' fer jus' leab him where he were lyin', an' keep along to do ribber, but somehow the Lord wouldn' let me. I kepi it thinkin"bout what mist's use to read me ont'n de Bible—how we wasn' jes to do good to dem dat was good to us, but to dem dat was real hard an' cruel wid us, an' how we was to do to ebery one jes do way we wanted they'd do to us. Den yer words come right into my heart same's if some one had said 'em, an' I spec it was de Lord hisself. Any ways I couldn' go contrairy to 'em, so I jes help dis pore feller de berry same way I'd ha' liked to hab him help me dat time dat he didn't."

"But, gal, you's los' yer chance ob crossin' de ribber. Nick 'll tink somefin's got ye, an' he'll be gone 'fur dis."

"Spec he will," returned Juno, absently. " But I didn' fotch dis man here fer you to nuss, Uncle Quash. I's goin' to stay an' do fer him till he gits a chance to go fin' chat Mary he's alluz talk in"bout. He's got ter be hid in de spar' room, Quashy."

"Well, gal, of de Lord's put so much inter vet heart, 'twon't do fer ignerant ole nigger ter stan' in de light. Go 'head jus' as you sees yer way, on'y be keerful, do be keerful, honey."

Thus Quashy, mingling in his simple mind and uncouth speech a superstitious obedience to what he understood as the direct guidance of Providence, with an attempt to guide and control by human caution the working of Infinite Power.

"Well, he's got to be toted into de spare room," said Juno, looking a little anxiously at the young soldier's stalwart form, lying so helplessly before her.

" Lucky dere ain't no fire dere, " returned Quashy, and he proceeded to pull out of the chimney a heap of brush piled there in readiness to be lighted.

Behind this, a large slab of slate-stone made the back of the fire-place, but Quashy, removing a brick or two that held it in place, easily slipped this aside, leaving visible a dark chasm behind the chimney of indefinite extent.

This chamber, hollowed out of the sandy cliff, at whose foot the cabin nestled, was the refuge alluded to by Juno as the " spare room"—a name given it. by Quashy himself partly in jest, partly to avoid a plainer allusion. It was the patient work of his own hands, and had served as hiding-place through a long term of years to more than one fugitive from bondage and oppression.

Here Juno had been hid during the previous day and night, and it was Quashy who had arranged with the free negro called Nick, who was to have rowed her across the river on her way to the North,


 

 

  

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