Monthly Archives: June 2008


The following was written by a young Bostonian, who was engaged in mercantile business at the place from which he dates his letter:

NEW YORK, July 29, 1862.

My Dear Father and Mother: I wrote you a day or two ago on passing events. Now I write on the subject that lies nearest my heart. The country calls for men, and we must have them! Recruiting lags, and we are in danger of a draft. It is now useless to say there are enough men without me. It is not the fact. I want to volunteer; and had I a hundred lives I would now place them at the disposal of the Government, for it needs all the young men who can be spared, and I am one who can. Let me calmly state the case to you. First, if the rebellion succeeds, we shall have the disintegration of our country to look upon. We shall not have North and South alone, but after that, State will separate from State, county from county, and then it may be every man for himself. Then will commence a series of wars none of us could see the end of. The stronger State will make war on the weaker, and the successful military commander would assume power. We should have military despotism and anarchy alternately. If we succeed, all will be peace, and we shall enjoy the freedom of institutions, and the perfect liberty we have hitherto enjoyed.

They you must acknowledge the power to do, or not to do, lies with ourselves. We have the men, but they must come forward. Money we have, and we must use it. The South are terribly in earnest. The North are fast asleep, compared with them. We are fighting for life, for our old institutions, for nationality, for all we hold most dear. The South are endeavoring to destroy all these, and to prevent them we must have men. We must conquer. We can if we use our means. If the South conquer, I don’t want to live in this country any longer. Now I acknowledge that a father’s and a mother’s love is one of the greatest blessings a young man can enjoy, next to the favor of God himself; but that love descend to selfishness when it restrains a young man from his manifest duty. The love for parents, and fear of their displeasure if they disobey them, are what hold many hundred young men from joining our noble array.

Let all such restrictions be removed, and our ranks will swell with twice the rapidity they are now doing. My duty is to go–yours to let me go. The duties of the country at large are patience, steadfastness, hope, and prayer. A very fine preacher here says: “Pray for your dying son, but pray for your country more than ten thousand sons.” The love of money must be put down. What good is money going to do us if we have no country to live in? I don’t want a living if I have not a country. Hoping, praying, trusting, you will accede to my wishes, I await an answer. My name is on the militia rolls; so I am subject to draft; and sooner than have me go with drafted men here, I know you will let me go in a Massachusetts regiment. I have written this letter after weeks of deliberation, and in no sudden burst of enthusiasm

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A STRANGE SCENE for a Sabbath day is presented to a visitor, who will stand on one of the hills back of Alexandria, and look around him. Thousands of camps dot the hillsides, which are whitened by whole villages of them as far as the eye can extend. Frowning fortifications crown every hill, while innumerable roads and paths cross from one to the other, intersecting at all angles. The valleys are filled with soldiers, who are strolling about for wood, water, and various other purposes. Here and there horsemen are seen galloping from camp to camp. Guards are stationed in every direction, pacing regularly to and fro, and a strange activity, yet military precision, marks the whole. The ruin and desolation, as well as the “pomp, pride, and circumstance of glorious war,” are the distinguishing features of the whole scene.

Yonder, amid all this strange sight, is a funeral procession. In front, mounted on a splendid charger, rides the chaplain. He is followed by a full band of music, from which come the saddening, yet thrilling and solemn procession as it passes. Following these is the ambulance with the remains, escorted by a few companions of the deceased. Another soldier has gone to rest, far from home and friends. Who is he? “Only a private!” “Henry Sleeper, Company H, 13th New Hampshire, died November 15, 1862,” will be the simple record on his regimental rolls, and on the rude board, placed on the sacred soil where sleeps the brave, and then he will be forgotten. Fond friends in the distant home will weep for a time, almost broken-hearted, and then he will be remembered only by the wife or mother, who will, in after years, tell of the loved one who lost his life in suppressing the great Southern rebellion. Virginia will, indeed, be “sacred soil” to many an aching heart all over our land–sacred as the resting-place of the flower of thousands of families.–Nov. 1862

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A correspondent describes a tableau, given at Murfreesboro’, Tenn., for the benefit of the soldiers, on the 22d of January, 1862, as follows:

“We should not do justice to the tableau, unless we were to describe the first scene. A young gentleman, representing King Cotton, sat upon a throne resembling a bale of cotton. Down on one side of the throne sat a representative of the ebon race, with a basket of cotton. The king held a cotton cloth as a sceptre, and one of his feet rested on a globe. Around him stood young ladies dressed in white, with scarfs of red and white looped on the shoulder with blue. On their heads they wore appropriate crowns. These represented the Confederate States. Missouri and Kentucky were guarded by armed soldiers.

“While we were gazing on this picture, a dark-haired maiden, robed in black, with brow encircled by a cypress-wreath, and her delicate wrists bound with clanking chains, came on and knelt before his majesty. He extended his sceptre, and she arose. He waved his wand again, and an armed soldier appeared with a scarf and crown, like those worn by her sister States. He unchained this gentle girl at the bidding of his monarch, changed her crown of mourning for one of joy and liberty, and threw the Confederate flag across her, raised the flag over her, and led her forward; then Kentucky advanced, took her by the hand, and led her into the ranks. Need we tell you whom this maiden of sable garments was intended to represent? We leave that to be understood. If your readers cannot divine, it is owing to our description, and not to the scene. The ceremony was performed in pantomime.

“We will gratify the pride of the F. F. V.’s by saying that their representative had inscribed on her crown, ’Mater Heroum.’ After this attempt to praise you, dear Express, you will surely pardon us if we tell you that North Carolina were on her brow a white crown, on which was the word ’Bethel.’ Both of these States were represented by their own daughters.”

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HARK, hark! there’s a sound in the West,
That’s wafted far over the sea;
’Tis the voice of the brave, though oppressed,
That are struggling hard to be free.
Basely wronged they have been by a brother,
Who sought to oppress in his might;
But the South, boys, the South, boys, forever!
’Tis the cause that we all know is right.

To shake off the yoke of a tyrant,
Their forefathers fought side by side;
And ere they could claim Freedom’s Charter,
Many hundreds of brave men had died;
But the Eagle, that then soared so proudly,
Can now scarcely look on the light;
But the South, boys, the South, boys, forever!
’Tis the cause that we all know is right.

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