Monthly Archives: October 2008

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PATRIOT SOLDIER.–

A surgeon in one of the military hospitals at Alexandria, writes in a private note:

“Our wounded men bear their sufferings nobly; I have hardly heard a word of complaint from one of them. A soldier from the ‘stern and rock-bound coast’ of Maine–a victim of the slaughter at Fredericksburg–lay in this hospital, his life ebbing away from a fatal wound. He had a father, brothers, sisters, a wife, a little boy of two or three years of age, on whom his heart seemed set. Half an hour before he ceased to breathe, I stood by his side, holding his hand. He was in the full exercise of his intellectual faculties, and was aware that he had but a very brief time to live. He was asked if he had any message to leave for his dear ones at home, whom he loved so well. ‘Tell them,’ said he, ‘how I died–they know how I lived!'”

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THE BEDFORD BOY “ALEX.”–

At the battle of Winchester a young soldier was detailed for duty in guarding army property. He stood to his post until about the time his regiment made its famous charge, when he “made a break” for that regiment, joined it, and helped in the two desperate charges that decided the day. The young soldier was brought before a court-martial, and he came up with tears streaming down his face, and between sobs said: “You may shoot me if you must, but ‘dad’ told me, on leaving home, that when there was any fighting going on I must be in the thickest, and I was. Now, if you want your ‘stuff’ guarded when there is a fight, somebody besides me must do it.” The boy “Alex,” of Bedford, was let off on that plea, and after ever proved one of the best soldiers in his regiment.

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DIRGE FOR A SOLDIER.

IN MEMORY OF GEN. PHILIP KEARNY.

BY GEORGE H. BOKER.

CLOSE his eyes; his work is done!
What to him is friend or foeman,
Rise of moon, or set of sun,
Hand of man, or kiss of woman?
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know:
Lay him low!

As man may, he fought his fight,
Proved his truth by his endeavor;
Let him sleep in solemn night,
Sleep forever and forever.
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know:
Lay him low!

Fold him in his country’s stars,
Roll the drum and fire the volley!
What to him are all our wars,
What but death bemocking folly?
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know:
Lay him low!

Leave him to God’s watching eye,
Trust him to the hand that made him.
Mortal over weeps idly by:
God alone has power to aid him.
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know:
Lay him low!

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INCIDENTS OF WEBB’S CROSS-ROADS.–

While the body of Zollicoffer lay upon the ground in front of a Minnesota tent, surrounded by soldiers, an excited officer rode up, exclaiming to the men: “What in h__l are you doing here? Why are you not at the stretchers, bringing in the wounded?” “This is Zollicoffer,” said a soldier. “I know that,” replied the officer; “he is dead, and could not have been sent to h__l by a better man, for Col. Fry shot him; leave him, and go to your work.”

When the two Parrott guns were planted on the hill at Brown’s house, overlooking the enemy’s camp, the peculiar whir-r-r of the shells was new to our astonished darky, who, with hat off and eyes protruding, exclaimed to his sable companion: “Gosh, mighty, Sam, don’t dat go howlin’ trou de wilderness?”

In nearly a direct line with the course we had marched from the battle-field to the rebel works, is a bold elevation about three fourths of a mile this side of said works, on which one of our batteries was immediately planted, and commenced throwing shot and shell into their camp. Several regiments had lain down upon the ground to rest from the fatigue of their march; and as the rebels answered but feebly with two guns, their shot passed over the heads of our men. As the intervals grew longer and longer, watching the shot became a matter of amusement with them.–“Secesh ball! Secesh ball!” they would cry out, while half a dozen would start and run after it, others calling out: “Run harder, or you won’t overtake it.” While this amusement was going on, a rabbit sprang out of a bush between the lines, when the cry, “Secesh ball! Secesh ball!” arose, and the boys took after it with better success, for they caught it.

Upon the high ground last referred to, the rebels made a brief stand half an hour before we reached it, but were driven off by a few shots from Stannard’s battery. One of these six-pound shots struck a poplar tree, about two feet in diameter, directly in the centre, and some twenty feet from the General, passing entirely through the tree, tearing off splinters eight or ten feet long, and passing on “trou de wilderness.” Another shot struck a tree seven or eight inches in diameter, directly beside the other, but lower down, cutting it off nearly as square as though it had been done with a saw.

Being among the first who entered the rebel fortifications, I discovered a barrel, which proved to contain apple-brandy. Palling out the corn-cob from the bung-hole, I turned it up and filled a canteen. While doing this, one of Bob McCook;s skirmishers came in, and says: “Vat you gets there?” I replied that it appeared to be pretty fair apple-brandy, upon which the Dutchman ran to the door, calling out, furiously: “Hans! Heinrich! schnapps! See! come arous!” Upon which a dozen Dutchmen came in, and the brandy, which was not spilled upon the ground was soon transferred to their canteens. I said; “Boys, you had better look out; this is a doctor’s shop, and there may be strychnine in that brandy.” They paused a moment to look at each other, when one of them exclaimed, “Py God. Hans, I tells you vat I do; I trinks some, and if it don’t kill me, den you trinks:” upon which he took a long and hearty pull at the canteen, and smacking his lips a moment, said, “All right, Hans! go ahead!”

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