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
Republic of Texas
Civil War Gifts
Robert E. Lee Portrait
came up and would make me listen
to some stupid story. At last Harry left the piano forte and whispered to me
that we had better go, that our remaining was merely a useless distress to
Fanny. We took leave with as good grace as possible. I could see triumph in Mrs.
Denby's gray eyes as I bowed to her, and I saw how intently she watched Fanny as
the girl hurriedly snatched her hand from Harry's lingering grasp.
We agreed that the only thing was
for Harry to write to Brown immediately. When we got to my cottage I persuaded
the boy to come in and stop the night. I lighted the candles in my little
sanctum. Harry sat down at the table pen in hand. I took up a book, which I
pretended to read in my arm chair, but I was watching him all the time. He wrote
and tore up, and wrote again, till the pen trembled in his hand. It came back to
me with wonderful clearness that night of my life when I had been engaged in
writing a letter of the same kind. I sympathized in the agitating, feverish
anxiety which beset him, for I had experienced it years before.
"I can't tell what to write to
Brown!" he exclaimed; " do try and assist me." I put down my book and came close
to him. I dictated a sentence, which he wrote. "That's just what I wanted to say
!" he exclaimed. The words seemed strangely familiar to me. I looked over his
shoulder at what he had written. I remembered it in a moment ; they were the
words of my own letter years ago. "Do go on," said he, anxiously. It was not the
want of words that kept me silent ; the old words were ready enough on my
tongue. I was puzzling out new thoughts and words. I could find no new thoughts
; every sentence insensibly shaped itself to the old form. He kept urging me to
dictate; and in the end there was my old letter rewritten, as it seemed to me,
word for word.
It was with sad feelings that I
conned over that letter to make corrections, Harry looking at it with the young
feelings and young eyes with which I had looked at my former letter years ago. I
suppose it was a tolerably good letter in its way, because Harry declared it
expressed exactly what he had wished to say.
" It's all so true, so convincing
!" he exclaimed. "That part where you hint at the uncertainty of wealth, the
little value of high worldly position when life is so short considerations like
those must influence even a man like Brown."
Well, I could recollect in my day
that I had scanned over and over again that bit of moralizing, and its
incontestable truth had seemed, to my anxious eyes, certain to turn her father's
heart ; but the longer I now looked at the words through my glasses the more
trite and unsatisfactory did they become.
I told him he must not be too
"But that part of the letter is
so true," he urged, kith confidence.
" Quite true," I replied. "Why
there's not a man living who would not readily confess that life was very short,
that death makes quick ending of social distinctions ; but you must not think
that Brown's readiness to acknowledge that proposition will make one jot of
difference to his thirst for worldly position and wealth."
He looked at me with mixed
surprise and sadness.
" No, no, my boy," I continued ;
"logic is very pretty, but it don't rule men's lives. However, we may just as
well chance the letter, only I don't want you to build too hopefully upon its
So the letter was sent to Brown ;
Harry gave me Brown's answer to read a day or two after in my office. I read the
result I had feared in his countenance, he was striving to be so very cairn and
self possessed. Well, Brown's reply was very like the answer I had received
years ago ; I suppose in these love matters there is a set of stereotyped forms
supplied to men's minds which they use and modify at their need. I thought to
myself whether it would he any use for me to see Brown, and before I could
determine whether it would be any use or not I was off.
It happened I was the very man
Brown wanted to see ; he had been on the point of sending for me; be had wished
to have a talk about the Company; he had made an appointment with Denby, who
would be with us in a few minutes. That man's name started me on my subject at
once. I scarcely recollect the details of our conversation, I was so greatly
excited ; I believe in my desire to move him I recounted my own history, my
early love and disappointment ; how it had cankered my existence, the sorrow
which had attended he,' marriage with the man she disliked. Brown stared at me
with surprise in his stolid face. "You," said he "you, such a plain, practical,
businessman, I could not have believed it !" Brown was not to be changed. I
promised to give Harry money, declared I would treat him as my son, but all in
vain; and then I found I was talking in the strain of my letter about the vanity
of wealth. I told him that we were both of us old, and I asked him if we were
not sure to die in a few years?
" Certainly, " he replied, with
solemnity ; " whenever God wills."
And then I asked him what was the
worth, for the last few years of our lives, of feasting great folks who did not
care for us.
Of course he took care to evade
the answer, and this greatly provoked my anger, which was very absurd,
considering what I had said on the subject to Harry ; but a man can't be
perfectly consistent at all times. I abruptly took leave of Brown, ruffled in
temper, yet comforted in the conviction that if Harry's case was beyond my
mending Brown had at least heard a few words of wholesome truth.
I must say that Harry behaved
admirably under the circumstances; I made him come and stay at my house. He was
very silent and thoughtful ; we were neither of us inclined for much talking,
and when he did speak it was not about his love affair. I had not been quite
myself for the last month or so, and I declared that my doctor had recommended
me to travel. He readily consented to be my companion, and we began to make
ments for our tour. But Harry,
after all, was not destined to be my companion this year. Three days after my
interview with Brown, Harry burst into my room with a letter : he could not
utter a word; he thrust the letter into my hand; it ran thus:
"DEAR HARRY, Papa and mamma have
consented to our marriage; come this evening.
" Ever yours,
Harry declared it was Fanny's
writing: for the moment I almost thought it must be some wretched hoax. Harry
did go to the Browns in the evening ; Mr. and Mrs. Brown were very polite,
though cold, but the marriage was agreed to.
I can safely affirm I was never
more puzzled in my life than to discover the reason why the Browns had given
their consent. I apologized to Brown for the warmth of my language ; he was very
polite, but cold, so was Mrs. Brown ; their manner was just the same to Harry,
and they evidently wished us both at the bottom of the sea. Harry, generous
like, would have it that my conversation with Brown, or perhaps a second reading
of the letter, had touched their hearts ; but this solution was not satisfactory
Harry was to sleep at my cottage
that night, and we left Brown's house together. He was in excellent spirits, so
was I too ; but happiness at my time of life always makes me rather sedate and
meditative. I observed every now and then that Harry broke into a hearty laugh,
which rather jarred upon my feelings. "What's the joke, my boy?" I inquired at
" I've found out why the Browns
gave in," he replied.
" Out with it, Harry," said I,
impatiently. "You will never be able to look Brown in the face without
" I don't mind if that's to be
the only penalty."
" Well," said he, " when my
letter arrived at the Browns' there was a tremendous disturbance ; they tried
every method to make Fanny give me up coaxing, persuading, threatening. Mrs.
Denby, too, was brought up to the attack, and very skill fully did she allude to
the effect Fanny's youth and beauty would make in the great world, and all the
court and honor that would be paid her. One morning Mrs. Brown discovered that I
had written several letters to Fanny ; these she confiscated, and carefully
placed under lock and key in her own particular and sacred desk."
I felt indignant at this ; but
Harry, to my great surprise, only laughed.
" The evening of that day," he
continued, "Fanny was by herself in the back drawing room, when her father
suddenly entered with the packet of letters in his hand, which he requested her
to return to me herself, and also to write a note saying that our affair had
come to an end. Fanny of course expostulated ; and then Mr. Brown said that he
had just glanced at one or two of the letters as he came down from Mrs. Brown's
room, and that he had never read such precious stuff."
I declared that Brown had no
right to read the letters.
"I think perhaps he had," said
Harry, bursting into a positive fit of laughter. "He declared they were precious
stuff, recollect that love in a cottage, and that sort of folly. Presently he
took up another letter, and after fumbling at it with his glasses he exclaimed
in a state of great indignation, ` Why, Fanny, this is too bad! scandalous the
fellow positively asks you to run away !' "
" Harry," said I, seriously, "
you never told me about this running-off scheme you must know that I don't
approve of such things."
"Fanny would never have agreed,"
he replied. "Then I am surprised that you should have written such a letter."
" Fanny was surprised too, I can
assure you ; she snatched the letter from her father's hand and took it to the
light of the window."
"`Whose is this letter, papa?'
she exclaimed. ' It's not Harry's handwriting !'
" ' Don't tell me !' said Mr.
" ` Why, papa ! it can't be ;
yes, yes it is though, here's the date ; why it must be a letter of yours to
" The fact is," continued Harry,
who was almost choked with laughing, "Mr. Brown had been all the while
criticising his own love letters, which Mrs. Brown had in the confusion of the
moment and darkness of the room taken from her desk instead I of mine."
" Fanny says she was at first
somewhat puzzled by the writing, her father's hand having so greatly changed
since he wrote those letters, when he was quite a young man."
Harry went on to say that Brown
was overwhelmed with astonishment, and could not be brought for a long time to
believe that he had ever written the letters, declaring, notwithstanding the
evidence of the writing, that he never could have been such a fool. Mrs. Brown
was equally astonished ; she managed with some difficulty to call to mind that
many years previously she had sorted out some old letters, burning some, and
keeping others. It was evident she had preserved Mr. Brown's early letters,
though she had quite forgotten having done so.
It gradually transpired that Mr.
and Mrs. Brown's early attachment had been most imprudent in a worldly point of
view that they had absolutely married without a penny, and had to be supported
by relations for some years.
This sudden resurrection of long
buried feelings and sentiments had its effect on Mrs. Brown ; in addition to
that, the old arguments which had been used against Fanny were no longer
available; and at last, after many entreaties, Mr. and Mrs. Brown reluctantly
gave up their cherished plan of forming a grand alliance for their daughter.
Harry and Fanny were married the
next day. Mrs. Brown wept immensely; every body said it was so natural, a mother
losing her daughter. Mr. Brown declared " it was the happiest day of his life,"
but he looked most grievously solemn.
MR. EDITOR, I send you a bit of
veritable history a leaf from a soldier's diary in the last campaign. The
testimony of an eye and ear witness, the personal record and experience of one
man is always valuable. But every man in the army has his story or report to
give. Collect a hundred thousand such reports, and you have the history of a
campaign. Not the dry official report of the general or corps commander, nor
even the flaming rhetorical descriptions of " our correspondent." Here, as
nothing was done for glory, so nothing is written for effect. But the simple
incidents of a soldier's life, told naturally as they fell out, are forever
linked with the brightest and the darkest page in a nation's history.
To the writer, of course, and to
his family and friends, not to the great public, such a record is most valuable.
It will instruct the present, and be an heir-loom to future generations. And to
himself it remains a cherished memento of dear bought experience. A note taken
on the spot is a wonderful refresher of memory. The mere telling from day to day
of what he did and where he was brings up a host of incidents, a thousand
associations, just as the items of a business man's experience lay open at a
glance his whole plan and economy of life. All common men in the midst of great
actions are poets, and write poetically ; that is, truthfully. A bold stroke or
two, no matter how rough the writing may be, paints the image to the mental eye,
and gives the scenery of war and battle. And as the scene changes and shifts,
and unrolls itself to the gaze of the actor and spectator, he is made a
participant in all the fortunes of the fight, in all the passions of the
combatants, while the glory or disgrace of the action is keenly felt as his own.
In after life he lives over again in memory the battles through which he passed,
and how he fought all day and marched all night in one of those flank movements
which his General was so famed for executing. He remembers that in such an
action or skirmish a bullet ticked him, and a comrade was either wounded or
killed; that on such a night he worked in the trenches in the rain, or was
detailed as picket guard; and that another time he lay with his regiment a long
time under a broiling sun, and lay close to keep clear of rebel bullets and
shells falling thick about him. He is fond of telling over " hair breadth"
escapes, his " moving accidents" by flood and field, and his particular " peril"
in the "imminent deadly breach." In short, the whole art of writing or story
telling, to the private soldier, consists in putting the greatest quantity of
life and action into the fewest possible words.
April 13.—Pleasant morning. Left
for our regiment at 8 o'clock ; marched to Alexandria at 10 o'clock; took the
cars, got to our regiment at Rappahannock station at 5 o'clock.
April 17.—Sunday. Cloudy, cold
morning. Worked all day building our tents. Cleared off in the afternoon heavy
fall of snow on the mountains.
April 18.—Cold morning. Finished
our house and moved into it four of us all together.
April 22.—Frosty morning, but
pleasant. The regiment presented Colonel Woodard with a splendid horse, saddle,
and bridle, worth $305.
May 4.—Started for the front.
Marched across the Rapidan at 9 o'clock; camped and got our breakfast; marched
to the front and camped for the night.
May 5.—Drawn up in line of
battle. Marched into the woods and laid down. Four companies went out
skirmishing. At 9 o'clock, drawn up in line of battle; 12 o'clock, charged the
rebel lines. Lost a good many boys. Colonel Woodard wounded.
May 6.—Started at 4 o'clock ;
marched but two miles to the rebel lines, formed in line of battle, and laid
down. Laid all day: shells passed over us pretty thick. Rebs charged our right
wing: drove it in. Withdrew to our breast works.
May 7.—At sunrise the rebs made a
charge on our centre, but we drove them back: sharp shooters firing at us, we
charged on them and drove them back to their breast works. They shelled us all
day. Left at 9 o'clock to reinforce the left wing.
May 8.—Marched all night down
through Spottsylvania. Went into the fight at 10 o'clock, made two charges on
the rebs, got drove back loss very heavy. Rested. Ordered out in front: only 200
men left. Stand picket all night.
May 9.—Pleasant morning. Started
early, marched out, formed a line of battle. Laid down. Laid all day in the hot
sun, with our straps on. Attacked the rebs a little before night, drove them
back, then laid down and slept.
May 10.—Pleasant morning. The
battle commenced anew at noon, lasted till 9 o'clock, when we passed to the
front to support the skirmishers. Staid there until dark; drew back, lay down
for the night.
May 11.—Cloudy, looks like rain.
Skirmish firing commenced early. Just commenced to rain a little. Ten o'clock,
moved back into the woods, and stopped. Laid there all day and all night, until
4 o'clock. Rained nearly all night.
May 13.—Started at daylight,
marched one mile, stopped and wrote a letter home at 11 o'clock. Built a line of
breast works rained a good deal put up tents and laid down. Called up at 10
o'clock, and marched all night in the mud.
May 14.—Stopped at 5 o'clock,
made our coffee, and ate our breakfast. Laid there all day and all night ;
rained a good deal. Drew three days' rations. A good deal of fighting through
the day: got shelled some.
May 1T.—Cloudy. All quiet along
the lines this morning. Sick today : building fortifications.
May 18.—Warm morning. The battle
opened at sunrise ; very heavy artillery firing. Fired all the forenoon. Got
letters from home sent a letter home. Threatening rain. Go on picket : rained
some in the night.
May 19.—Cloudy. All quiet on the
line. Our boys changed papers with the rebs this morning. Wrote a letter home.
Relieved from picket at 9 o'clock: laid behind breast works all night.
May 23.—Cloudy and cool. All
quiet this morning. We are in Bowling Green, beginning to move forward. Marched
nine miles, forded the North Anna River at 2 o'clock. The rebs attacked us at 6
o'clock. Fought an hour and a half : whipped them.
May 28. —Pleasant morning.
Started at sunrise, marched 10 miles, crossed the Pamunky River, and formed a
line of battle: threw up breast works.
June 3.—Rainy morning. The battle
opened at six o'clock. Continual roar of musketry and artillery until evening :
rained all the time. I was on the skirmish line from 9 till 5 : balls and shells
fell thick all around me.
June 6.—Cloudy, but warm. Stopped
at 6 o'clock near Cold Harbor. Cooked our breakfast, washed, got a letter from
home: ordered to pack up and go on picket at evening. Got a good night's sleep.
June T.—Cool and cloudy. The boys
go in swimming in the mill pond. Went out on picket at 8 o'clock : relieved at
sundown. Marched five miles and bivouacked for the night.
That will do for the present. The
notes have a sameness, like the duties which the soldier has to perform. But
they give some idea of a campaign which the boys commonly describe as "forty
under fire." 0 ye civilians and
pen and ink generals, who manage the war at home and sketch imaginary campaigns
over cigars and wine and the daily papers, while you speculate on the rising
glory of the country, and the great names of the war, never forget the poor
private soldier, nor despise these " short and simple annals" of his existence !
HUMORS OF THE
THE IRISHMAN IN SCOTLAND.—Sorr,
there is a river that requires milk an' sugar before ye'd dhrihk a dhrop of it.
What is it ? Sure 'tis the river Tay.
EXPLOSION AT ROME.—It is our
painful duty to record a terrific explosion which has occurred at the Vatican.
This accident arose from want of caution on the part of the Pope and the College
of Cardinals in projecting a fulminating composition which they had been some
time en-gaged in preparing for the demolition of all modern ideas. Almost before
the destructive mixture had left their hands it blew up with a noise which was
heard all over Europe, and morally brought the venerable edifice in which they
were assembled about their ears.
THE LAST NOVELTY IN
AMOROUS-IS.—One of our most eminent oculists has just performed a successful
operation on a gentleman who had a lady in his eye.
A LITERARY MEM.—One fault leads
to many, but an author's only chance of avoiding errors is to have slips.
VERY NATURAL.—Speaking of the
imaginative nature of woman, a certain writer says : " The only time a woman
does not exaggerate is when she's talking of her own age."
THE PRE-ADAMITE PERIOD— Lizard
Point to the Isle of Man.
TWO IN ONE—A servant girl, who is
often "the maid and the magpie" as well.
AN APPROPRIATE TOAST. At an
election dinner at Kidderminster—a place celebrated for its manufacture of
carpets this toast was proposed by a townsman : " May the trade of our town
always be trodden under foot."
ONE FOR JACK.—Why should the
capture of Fort Fisher be credited to the navy? Because it was taken by a salt
A young lady was told by a
married lady that she had better precipitate herself off the Niagara Falls into
the basin beneath than marry. The young lady replied, " I would, if I thought I
could find a husband at the bottom."
Pat, what's the best way of
traveling ?—Troth, sure, an' isn't it the " rale" way (railway) ?
CHEMICAL ANALYSIS.—A Scotch
laird, on a market day in Kilmarnock, went into a tavern with a friend, and
ordered some whisky. The waiter, when he set down the measure, asked if they
wished to have water along with the spirits. " Na," said the laird; " had ye no
better try to tak' out the water that's in't already?"
It was proposed to tax ladies
corsets, but it was objected to, on the ground that such a tax would diminish
Old Rowe kept a hotel, where, as
he used to say, you could get any thing that was ever made to eat. One day in
came a Yankee, and stepping up to the bar, asked old Rowe what he could give him
for dinner. " Any thing, Sir," said old Rowe, " any thing, from a pickled
elephant to a canary bird's tongue." " Wa'al," said the Yankee, eying Rowe, " I
guess I'll take a piece of pickled elephant." " Well, we've got 'em ; got 'em
all ready, right here in the house, but you'll have to take a whole 'no, 'cause
we never cut 'em" The Yankee "thought he would take some codfish and potatoes."
It is well known that the
philosopher Thales believed water to be the first principle. Query: Was Thales a
Don't sleep with your coat on, or
its nap and yours will be taken together.
A SPIRITUAL JOKE.—A captain of a
militia company, encamped at Camp Hall, discovered a canteen of whisky in the
possession of one of his men, it night or two ago, and at once confiscated the
fluid. He placed it in his tent, and went out to invite some of his brother
officers to partake of the spiritual comfort. Returning with his shoulder-strap
friends, who smacked their lips in anticipation of the treat, the canteen was
reversed over the tin cups, and the health of the gallant Captain C— was
proposed. The captain was the first to taste, but he quickly spirted the fluid
from his mouth, and exclaimed, "By thunder, some one has changed the whisky to
water !" There was a laugh among the privates, but the captain did not join in
PARENTHESIS IN PRAYER. –A pastor
of a small congregation of dissenters in the west of Scotland, who in prayer
often employed terms of familiarity toward the great Being whom he invoked, was
addressing his petition in the season of an apparently doubtful harvest, that He
would grant such weather as was necessary for ripening and gathering in the
fruits of the ground; when, pausing suddenly, he added, " But what need I talk?
when I was up at the Shotts the other day every thing was as green as leeks."
A DOCTOR'S EPITAPH.—Doctor I.
Letsome wrote the following epitaph for his own tombstone; but it is not likely
that he allowed his friends, or at least his patients, to read it until he was
under the turf, or out of practice:
When people's ill they comes to
I physics, bleeds, and sweats 'em.
Sometimes they lives, sometimes
they die; What's that to I? I. Letsome (let's 'em).
Irishman called in great haste upon Dr. Abernethy, stating that, " Be jabers, my
boy Tim has swallowed a mouse." ' Then, be jabers," said Abernethy, " tell your
boy Tim to swallow a cat."
A SPANISH watchmaker, we learn
from a contemporary, has recently constructed a watch that only requires winding
up once a year. We should fancy the promoters of joint stock companies (limited)
would be very glad to get hold of the secret, as their works don't run as long
as that in most instances.
A DOCTOR'S REASON.—A practitioner
being asked by his patients why he had put up so many ingredients into his
prescription, is said to have answered, more facetiously than philosophically, "
In order that the disease may take which it likes best."
"Cato, what do you think is the
reason that the sun goes toward the South in the winter?" " Well, I don't know,
massa, unless he no stand the 'clemency of do Norf, and so am 'bilge to go to
the Souf, where he'speriences warmer longitude."
A wag seeing a lady at a party
with it very low-necked dress and bare arms, expressed his admiration by saying
she " outstripped" the whole party.
A STRANGE FACT.—That people of "
loose" habits should be so often tight."
MUSIOAL.—We know several fiddlers
who are now suffering from violint coughs!