Monthly Archives: November 2008


“O, TELL me, Sergeant of Battery B,
O hero of sugar Pine,
Some glorious deed of the battle-field,
Some wonderful feat of thine;–

“Some skilful move when the fearful game
Of battle and life was played
On yon grimy field, whose broken squares
In scarlet and black are laid.”

“Ah! stranger, here at my gun all day
I fought till my final round
Was spent, and I had but powder left,
And never a shot to be found.

“So I trained my gun on a rebel piece;
So true was my range and aim,
A shot from his cannon entered mine,
And finished the load of the same!”

“Enough! O Sergeant of Battery B,
O hero of Sugar Pine!
Alas! I fear that thy cannon’s throat
Can swallow much more than mine!”

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The case of a young woman in Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, brings to mind the story of the unfortunate Maid of Orleans, who was “burnt by wicked Bedford for a witch.” It well illustrates the Solomonic proverb that “there is nothing new under the sun.” The superstitions of the days of Joan of Arc still flourish.

Early in 1863, when disaster everywhere overtook the Union arms, and our gallant sons were falling fast under that marvellous sword of rebellion, a young lady, scarce nineteen, just from school, conceived the idea that she was destined by Providence to lend our arms to victory, and our nation through successful war. It was at first thought by her parents that her mind was weakened simply by reading accounts of continued reverses to our arms, and they treated her as they would a sick child. This only had the effect of making her more demonstrative, and her enthusiastic declarations and apparent sincerity gave the family great anxiety. Dr. B—- was consulted, the minister was spoken to, friends advised, family meetings held, interviews with the young lady by her former companions in the academy were frequent, but nothing could shake the feeling which had possessed her.

It was finally resolved to take her to Michigan. A maiden aunt accompanied the fair enthusiast, and for a few weeks Ann Arbor became their home. The stern command of her aunt alone prevented her from making her way to Washington to solicit an interview with the President for the purpose of getting command of the United States army. Finally it was found necessary to restrain her from seeing any but her own family, and her private parlor became her prison. To a high-spirited girl, this would be unendurable at any time, but to a young lady filled with such a hallucination, it was worse than death. She resolved to elude her friends, and succeeded, leaving them clandestinely; and although the most distinguished detectives of the East and the West were employed to find her whereabouts, it was unavailing. None could even conjecture the hiding-place. This was in April, 1863. She was mourned as lost. The habiliments of mourning were donned by her grief-stricken parents, and a suicide’s grave was assumed to be hers. But it was not so. The infatuated girl, finding no sympathy with her friends, resolved to enter the army disguised as a drummer boy, dreaming, poor girl, that her destiny would be worked out by such a mode. She joined the drum corps of a Michigan regiment at Detroit, her sex known only to herself, and succeeded in getting with her regiment to the army of the Cumberland. How the poor girl survived the hardships of the Kentucky campaign, where strong men fell in numbers, must forever remain a mystery. The regiment to which she was attached had a place in the division of the gallant Van Cleve, and during the bloody battle of Sunday, the fair girl fell, pierced in the left side by a minie ball; and when borne to the surgeon’s tent, her sex was discovered. She was told by the surgeon that her wound was mortal, and advised to give her name, that her family might be informed of her fate. This she finally, though reluctantly, consented to do, and the Colonel of the regiment, although suffering himself from a painful wound, became interested in her behalf, and prevailed upon her to let him send a despatch to her father. This she directed in the following manner:

“Mr. —– , No—-Willoughby Street, Brooklyn: Forgive your dying daughter. I have but a few moments to live. My native soil drinks my blood. I expected to deliver my country, but the Fates would not have it so. I am content to die. Pray, pa, forgive me. Tell ma to kiss my daguerreotype. EMILY.

“P. S. Give my old watch to little Eph.” (The youngest brother of the dying girl.)

The poor girl was buried on the field on which she fell in the service of her country, which she fondly hoped to save.

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On Thursday, Sept. 10, 1863, while General Forrest was at Lafayette, Ga., he was ordered to Ringgold for the purpose of checking the enemy, reported to be marching in large force in that direction. Picking up about four hundred of his command, he marched off with all the promptitude of his ardent and enthusiastic nature. Here he found Vanclave’s corps, consisting of seventeen thousand infantry and cavalry. Skirmishing immediately commenced, General Forrest fighting them at every step, as he slowly fell back. For two days did the unequal conflict continue, and notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, the loss on either side was about the same. General Forrest retired to Tunnel Hill about four o’clock, and in an hour the enemy was in sight, when one of the most gallant and thrilling incidents of the war occurred. The enemy’s advancing column marched on,–right on,–and the cloud of dust and the huge paraphernalia which they displayed made them look indeed “terrible as an army with banners.” On reaching the apex of the hill, a short pause was perceptible; but skirmishers being thrown out on the right and left, on they came. In every ambush, behind every knoll, and house, and tree, could be seen a blue-coat, slyly, cautiously sneaking up like a hungry wolf in search of its prey. General Forrest levelled his trusty gun at the nearest one. The smoke from his gun seemed only to exasperate the infuriated foe, and to inspire them with anxiety either to capture or destroy the small but defiant squad of Confederates, and for this purpose a hundred guns opened upon them, while a dozen Yankees rushed across the railroad for the purpose of getting still closer. As they crossed the track, General Forrest looked still farther up, and he saw a couple of Confederate soldiers coming down the road, unaware of the approach of the enemy, and the immediate danger that surrounded them. The impudence of the Yankees that had crossed the railroad, and were seen crawling in the woods, together with the peril that surrounded the two Confederate soldiers approaching, was more than General Forrest could stand. Hastily calling to his side five of his escort, he told them that his imperilled soldiers must be rescued, and that the insolent squad that had crossed the road must be captured. With coolness and self-possession, but with a loud and cheering shout, he ordered his little squad to the charge. In the midst of the iron hail that rained upon them, they rushed on. Every man forgot his own danger. The soldier stooped over his musket, or leaned upon his horse, absorbed in the scene. Dressed in a huge duster, General Forrest, as he dashed on in his fierce purpose, looked infernal. There was a sudden pause; then their heads were curtained in by the wreathing smoke of their own guns. The Yankees were seen retreating back across the road, and the Confederate soldiers rescued from death. From the hill-side a volley of musketry was now poured upon the small squad. Having accomplished their purpose, they turned to retreat, but three of the seven were wounded. A ball struck General Forrest near the spine, within an inch of the wound he received at Shiloh, inflicting a painful but not dangerous wound; while two of his escort were wounded–one in the back of the head, the other in the arm.–Marietta Rebel.

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A correspondent accompanying the Union forces in their march from Jefferson City to Rolla, Mo., in 1861, relates the following: “After leaving camp at Union Hollow, a rugged part of the mountains beyond Springfield, an incident occurred worthy of preservation. Gen. Wyman had issued orders that no man should go in advance of his company. About five miles from camp the General met two of the boys of the Illinois Thirteenth, waiting the approach of their company. Those who know the General, know, when he does not like anything, how roughly he can reprimand a soldier. The General addressed the boys in one of his very roughest styles:

“‘Boys, why ——- are you in advance of your company this morning?’

“One of the men, taking off his hat, addressed the General in the following style:

“‘General, about two and a half miles from here are the graves of my mother and sisters, and I thought it was likely this was the last time I should be permitted to visit them, and I got permission of the Captain to go this morning to visit them, and I am here waiting for them to come up.’

“This was too much for the General. Said he, ‘My boy, that was right. I have always loved you, but that makes me love you twice as well as I ever did.’ At this point, tears choked the words of the noble soldier, and one might have seen one whole-souled man weeping under the effects of paternal affection. Some time after this, they joined our staff, and rode with us, and while riding with me, he narrated to me the incident, and again gave vent to tears. Said he, ‘I am not ashamed of tears under such circumstances.'”

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