Monthly Archives: February 2008


A chaplain in one of the regiments on the Potomac narrates the case of a sick soldier, which strikingly illustrates the reasoning of many men in the camp and out of it. Some one had mentioned to the soldier the case of the Vermonter who was sentenced to be shot for sleeping on his post. During the evening following, the fever set in violently; the sick man imagined he was the one sentenced to be shot. The surgeon being called, the following conversation ensued:–

“Doctor, I am to be shot in the morning, and which you to send for the chaplain. I desire to make all necessary preparations for my end.”

“They shall not shoot you; I’ll take care of you. Whoever comes to take you from here, I shall have them arrested and put under guard.”

“Will you, dear doctor? Thank you, thank you–well, then, you need not send for the chaplain ‘just yet.'”

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The following story was told by Gen. Cheatham of the manner in which he escaped capture at the battle of Bemont, Mo.: —

Just as the opposing armies were approaching one another, Gen. Cheatham discovered a squadron of cavalry coming down a road near his position. Uncertain as to which force it belonged, accompanied only by an orderly, he rode up to within a few yards of it, and inquired,–

“What cavalry is that?”

“Illinois cavalry, sir,” was the reply.

“O! Illinois cavalry. All right; just stand where you are!”

The cavalry obeyed the order, and unmolested by them, who supposed he was one of the Federal officers, the general rode safely back, directly under the guns of another Federal regiment, which had by that time come up, but who, seeing him coming from the direction of the cavalry, also supposed that he was one of them. Some of the national officers remembered the incident, and agreed with the hero of it, that if they had known who he was, it was very probable that there would have been one general less that night.

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During the last week in December, 1861, while about a dozen oyster smacks were on their way to the “banks” in Mississippi Sound, they were surrounded by a number of launches from the national ships: all were seized in the name of the Government, and a guard put aboard each to conduct them under the guns of the ships of war. One of the smacks thus seized was the “Clide,” commanded and owned by Capt. King, a man who had resided in New Orleans since boyhood, and who was well known as a brave and determined seaman by all of his acquaintances around the New Basin. A sergeant and one soldier were placed aboard the “Clide,” with orders to steer for the New London; then some twelve or eighteen miles off. The wind was ahead, and the boat had to beat all the way. The “Clide,” somehow, strange to say, worked badly; all the rest of the smacks were soon several miles ahead, and still the contrary wind was blowing, and the lazy boat dragging slowly along. So passed the greater part of the day, and at five o’clock in the afternoon the fleet was yet several miles off. The soldiers on board the “Clide” grew hungry, and asked Capt. King if he had anything to eat aboard. He politely told them that there was plenty in the cabin–a sort of little hold in the after part of the craft, reached by a narrow scuttle and two or three crooked steps. The sergeant volunteered to go down and get the victuals, directing the soldier to keep a sharp watch while he did so. He started down the steps with rifle in hand, Capt. King standing near, officiously showing the way. As soon as he had got into the cabin, and was about to stoop and go forward, the hitherto polite and kind captain suddenly seized his rifle, and jerking it from his hand, shot him dead on the spot. Not stopping to swap jack-knives, Capt. King jumped forward, and seizing the other soldier’s gun before he had time to recover from his fright and astonishment, commanded him to surrender. The soldier saw there was no use to resist, gave up, and was securely tied and laid in the hold.

Capt. King then set sail for Fort Pike, and as if understanding the necessity for haste, the little craft recovered from her languor, and sped over the water at railroad speed. And it was well she did, for the men on the other boats had heard the musket shot, and suspecting something wrong from seeing the :Clide” suddenly change her course, made chase, one and all. The affair then grew exciting, and for a while Capt. King’s chances for safety were rather squally; but his gallant little craft was in earnest, and rushed on towards the haven of safety as if she understood the whole affair. Night soon came on, and darkness hiding her from the view of her pursuers, enabled her to get safely to Fort Pike, where Capt. King recited his adventures, and excited the admiration of the garrison. Leaving the fort the next morning, he arrived in the New Basin with his prisoner and dead sergeant, who were placed in the hands of the military authorities. Besides his prisoner, Capt. King captured a fine six-oared launch, nearly new, one Minie rifle, one musket, three bayonets, one sergeant’s sword, and four cartridge boxed filled with ammunition–quite a good day’s work for a simple oysterman.

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As vonce I valked by a dismal swamp,
There sot an old cove in the dark and damp,
And at everybody as passed that road
A stick or a stone this old cove throwed.
And venever he flung his stick or his stone,
He’d set up a song of “Let me alone.”

“Let me alone, for I loves to shy
These bits of things at the passers-by;
Let me alone, for I’ve got your tin,
And lots of other traps snugly in;
Let me alone–I am rigging a boat
To grab votever you’ve got adout;
In a week or so I expects to come,
And turn you out of your ouse and ome;
I’m a quiet old cove,” says he, with a groan;
‘All I axes, is, Let me alone.”

Just then came along, on the self same vay,
Another old cove, and began for to say:
“Let you alone! That’s comin’ it strong!
You’ve ben let alone–a darned sight too long!
Of all the sarce that ever I heerd!
Put down that stick! (You may well look skeered.)
Let go that stone! If you once show fight,
I’ll knock you higher than sry kite.

“You must have a lesson to stop your tricks,
And cure you of shying them stones and sticks;
And I’ll have my hardware back, and my cash,
And knock your scow into tarnal smash;
And if ever I catches you round my ranch,
I’ll string you up to the nearest branch.
the best you can do is to go to bed,
And keep a decent tongue in your head;
For I reckon, before you and I are done,
You’ll wish you had let honest folks alone.”

The old cove stopped, and the other old cove,
He sot quite still in his cypress grove,
And he looked at his stick, revolvin’ slow,
Vether ’twere safe to shy it or no;
And he grumbled on, in an injured tone,
‘All that I axed vos, “Let me alone.”

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