Monthly Archives: May 2008


One of the guns of Sherman’s battery was rescued from capture by the rebels, and brought off the field by two horses that had been shot through by Minie musket-balls. When the order, “Forward,” was given, they resolutely straightened out, and absolutely brought off the gun.

At the commencement of the battle, Lieut. Hasbrouck, of the West Point battery, was riding a little sorrel horse. In a short time he was shot three times, and from loss of blood became too weak for further service. He was stripped of bridle and saddle, and turned loose, as his owner supposed, to die. In the heat of the contest nothing more was thought of the little sorrel, nor was he seen again until the remnant of the battery was far towards Washington on the retreat. It paused at Centreville, and while resting there, Lieut. Hasbrouck was delighted to be joined by his faithful horse, which, by a strong instinct, had obeyed the bugle call to retreat, and had found his true position with the battery, which is more than most of the human mass engaged on the field could boast of doing. He went safely into Washington, recovered of his wounds, ready for another fight.

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THE GREAT BELL ROLAND.* (*The famous bell Roland, of Ghent, was an object of great affection to the people, because it rang to arm them when Liberty was in danger.)


(Suggested by the President’s first call for Volunteers.)


TOLL! Roland, toll!

In old St. Bavon’s tower,
At midnight hour,
The great bell Roland spoke!
All souls that slept in Ghent awoke!
What meant the thunder-stroke?
Why trembled wife and maid?
Why caught each man his blade?
Why echoed every street
With tramp of thronging feet?
All flying to the city’s wall!
It was the warning call
That Freedom stood in peril of a foe!
And even timid hearts grew bold
Whenever Roland tolled,
And every hand a sword could hold!
So acted men
Like patriots then
Three hundred years ago!


Toll! Roland, toll!

Bell never yet was hung,
Between whose lips there swung
So grand a tongue!
If men be patriots still,
At the first sound
True hearts will bound,
Great souls will thrill!
Then toll and strike the test
Through each man’s breast,
Till loyal hearts shall stand confest,–
And may God’s wrath smite all the rest!


Toll! Roland, toll!

Not now in old St. Bavon’s tower–
Not now at midnight hour–
But here, –this side the sea!–
Toll here, in broad, bright day!–
For not by night awaits
A noble foe without the gates,
But perjured friends within betray,
And do the deed at noon!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Thy sound is not too soon!
To arms! Ring out the leader’s call!
Re-echo it from East to West
Till every hero’s breast
Shall swell beneath a soldier’s crest!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Till cottager from cottage wall
Snatch pouch and powder-horn and gun!
The sire bequeathed them to the son
When only half their work was done!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Till swords from scabbards leap!
Toll! Roland, toll!
What tears can widows weep
Less bitter than when brave men fall!
Toll! Roland, toll!
In shadowed hut and hall
Shall lie the soldier’s pall,
And hearts shall break while graves are filled!
Amen! so God hath willed!
And may His grace anoint us all!


Toll! Roland, toll!

The Dragon on thy tower
Stands sentry to this hour,
And Freedom so stands safe in Ghent,
And merrier bells now ring,
And in the land’s serene content,
Men shout, “God save the King!”
Until the skies are rent!
So let it be!
A kingly king is he
Who keeps his people free!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Ring out across the sea!
No longer They, but We,
Have now such need of thee!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Nor ever may thy throat
Keep dumb its warning note,
Till Freedom’s perils be outbraved!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Till Freedom’s flag, wherever waved,
Shall shadow not a man enslaved!
Toll! Roland, toll!
From northern lake to southern strand!
Toll! Roland, toll!
Till friend and foe, at thy command,
Once more shall clasp each other’s hand,
And shout, one-voiced, “God save the land!”
And love the land that God hath saved!
Toll! Roland, toll!

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A good story is told of the courageous conduct of the wife of Capt. McGilvery, master of the ship Mary Goodell, which was captured by a rebel privateer, and subsequently released, and arrived at Portland. Mrs. McGilvery was on the voyage with her husband, and when the ship was boarded by the pirates, she was asked by them for a supply of small stores for their use, as they were rather short. She immediately replied that she had nothing but arsenic, and would gladly give them a supply, but that they could have nothing else from her. Seeing the national flag near at hand, they started to secure it, when she sprang forward, and grasping the flag, threw it into a chest, and placing herself over it, declared they should not have it unless they took her with it. Finding the lady rather too spunky for them, they retired without further molesting her.

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Rich Mountain is famous as the scene where the first decisive battle was fought in West Virginia, between Gen. McClellan and Gen. Garnett.

Rich Mountain range, as it is sometimes called, is in Randolph county, sixty miles from Glenville, one hundred miles from Parkersburg, and twelve miles from Beverly, the county seat of Randolph County. It is long, narrow, and high; and, except the summit, whereon is Mr. Hart’s farm, it is covered with timber densely, save a narrow strip on one side, which is thickly covered with laurel. The Parkersburg and Staunton Pike winds round the mountain, and passes, by the heads of ravines, directly over its top. The soil is black and rich, differing from that of all adjacent mountains, and it is from this circumstance that its name is derived.

The topographical formation of the mountain top is admirably adapted for the erection of strong military defences; and on this account Gen. Garnett had selected it as a stronghold for his army. He had erected formidable fortifications, rendering an attack fatal to the assailing party, on the road leading up the mountain, which was deemed the only route by which the enemy could possibly reach his position. Gen. McClellan was advancing with an army of five thousand men from Clarksburg, on the Parkersburg and Staunton Turnpike, intending to attack Garnett early in the morning where his works crossed the road, not deeming any other route up the mountain practicable. Had he carried his plan into execution, subsequent examination showed that no earthly power could have saved him and his army from certain defeat. The mountain was steep in front of the fortifications; reconnoisance, except in force, was impossible; and McClellan’s knowledge, had rendered his defences impervious to any power that man could bring against him.

Mr. Hart, whose farm is on the mountain, was a Union man, knew the ground occupied by Garnett, and had carefully examined his fortifications on the road coming up the mountain. Hearing that McClellan was advancing, and fearing that he might attempt to scale the works at the road, he sent his little son, Joseph Hart, in the night, to meet McClellan and inform him of the situation of affairs on the mountain. Joseph, being but a boy, got through the rebel lines without difficulty, and travelling the rest of the night and part of the following day, reached the advanced guard of the Union army, informed them of the object of his coming, and was taken, under guard, to the General’s quarters. Young as he was, the Federal commander looked upon him with suspicion. He questioned him closely. Joseph related in simple language all his father had told him of Garnett’s position, the number of his force, the character of his works, and the impossibility of successfully attacking him on the mountain in the direction he proposed. The General listened attentively to his simple story, occasionally interrupting him with: “Tell the truth, my boy.” At each interruption Joseph earnestly but quietly would reply: “I am telling you the truth, General.” “But,” says the latter, “do you know, if you are not, you will be shot as a spy?” “I am willing to be shot if all I say is not true,” gently responded Joseph. “Well,” says the General, after being satisfied of the entire honesty of his little visitor, “if I cannot go up the mountain by the road, in what way am I to go up?” Joseph, who now saw that he was believed, from the manner of his interrogator, said there was a way up the other side, leaving the turnpike just at the foot, and going round the base to where the laurel was. There was no road there, and the mountain was very steep; but he had been up there; there were but few trees standing, and none fallen down to be in the way. The laurel was very thick up the side of the mountain, and the top matted together so closely that a man could walk on the tops. The last statement of Joseph once more awakened a slight suspicion of Gen. McClellan, who said sharply, “Do you say men can walk on the tops of the laurel?” “Yes sir,” said Joseph. “Do you think my army can go up the mountain, over the tops of the laurel?” “No, sir,” promptly answered Joseph; “but I have done so, and a man might, if he would walk slowly and had nothing to carry.” “But, my boy, don’t you see, I have a great many men, and horses, and cannon to take up, and how do you think we could get up over that laurel?” “The trees are small; they are so small you can cut them down, without making any noise, with knives and hatchets; and they will not know on the top of the mountain what you are doing or when you are coming,” promptly and respectfully answered Joseph, who was now really to be the leader of the little army that was to decide the political destiny of West Virginia.

The Federal commander was satisfied with this; and although he had marched all day, and intended that night to take the easy way up the mountain by the road, he immediately changed his plan of attack, and suddenly the army of the Union were moving away in the direction pointed out by Joseph Hart. When they came to the foot of the mountain, they left the smooth and easy track of the turnpike, and with difficulty wound round the broad base of the mountain, through ravines and ugly gorges, to the point indicated by the little guide. Here the army halted. McClellan and some of his staff, with Joseph, proceeded to examine the nature of the ground, and the superincumbent laurel covering the mountain from its base to its summit. All was precisely as Joseph had described it in the chief’s tent on the Staunton Pike; and the quick eye of the hero of Rich Mountain saw at a glance the feasibility of the attack. It was past midnight when the army reached the foot of the mountain. Though floating clouds his the stars, the night was not entirely dark, and more than a thousand knives and hatchets were soon busy clearing away the marvellous laurel. Silence reigned throughout the lines, save the sharp click of the small blades and the rustle of the falling laurel. Before daybreak the narrow and precipitous way was cleared, and the work of ascending commenced. The horses were tied at the foot of the mountain. The artillery horses were taken from the carriages. One by one the cannon were taken up the rough and steep side of the mountain by hand, and left within a shot distance of the top, in such a situation as to be readily moved forward when the moment of attack should arrive. The main army then commenced the march up by companies, many falling down, but suddenly recovering their places. The ascent was a slow and tedious one. The way was winding and a full mile. But before daybreak all was ready, and the Yankee cannon were booming upon and over the enemy’s works, nearly in his rear, at an unexpected moment, and from an entirely unexpected quarter. They were thunder struck, as well as struck by shell and canister. They did the best they could by a feeble resistance, and fled precipitately down the mountain, pursued by the Federals to Cheat River, where the brave Garnett was killed. Two hundred fell on the mountain, and are buried by the side of the turnpike, with no other sigh of the field of interment than a long indentation made by the sinking down of the earth in the line where the bodies lie.

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