Monthly Archives: March 2018

SONGS UPON THE BATTLE-FIELD.–

A brave and godly Captain in one of our Western regiments told us his story as we were taking him to the hospital. He was shot through both thighs with a rifle-bullet–a wound from which he could not recover. While lying on the field he suffered intense agony from thirst. He supported his head upon his hand, and the rain from heaven was falling around him. In a little while a little pool of water formed under his elbow, and he thought if he could only get to that puddle he might quench his thirst. He tried to get into a position to suck up a mouthful of muddy water, but he was unable to reach within a foot of it. Said he, “I never felt so much the loss of any earthly blessing. By and by night fell, and the stars shone out clear and beautiful above the dark field, and I began to think of that great God who had given his Son to die a death of agony for me, and that he was up there–up above the scene of suffering, and above those glorious stars; and I felt that I was going home to meet him, and praise him there; and I felt that I ought to praise God, even wounded and on the battle-field. I could not help singing that beautiful hymn:

‘When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I’ll bid farewell to every fear,
And dry my weeping eyes.’

“And,” said he, “there was a Christian brother in the brush near me. I could not see him, but I could hear him. He took up the strain, and beyond him another and another caught it up, all over the terrible battle-field of Shiloh. That night the echo was resounding, and we made the field of battle ring with the hymns of praise to God.”

Originally posted 2009-06-16 20:38:45.

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A PRIVATE.–

A PRIVATE in battery F, Fourth U. S. artillery, wrote the following epitaph for John B. Floyd:

Floyd has died, and few have sobbed,
Since, had he lived, all had been robbed:
He’s paid Dame Nature’s debt, ’tis said,
The only one he ever paid.
Some doubt that he resigned his breath,
But vow he has cheated even death.
If he is buried, O, then, ye dead, beware!
Look to your swaddlings, of your shrouds take care,
Lest Floyd should to your coffins make his way,
And steal the linen from your mouldering clay.

Originally posted 2009-06-15 23:20:33.

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CLARA BARTON.–

The following is an extract of a letter from Brigade Surgeon James L. Dunn:

“The Sanitary Commission, together with three or four noble, self-sacrificing women, have furnished everything that could be required. I will tell you of one of these women, a Miss Barton, the daughter of Judge Barton, of Boston, Mass. I first met her at the battle of Cedar Mountain, where she appeared in front of the hospital at twelve o’clock at night, with a four mule team loaded with everything needed, and at a time when we were entirely out of dressings of every kind; she supplied us with everything; and while the shells were bursting in every direction, took her course to the hospital on our right, where she found everything wanting again. After doing everything she could on the field, she returned to Culpepper, where she staid dealing out shirts to the naked wounded, and preparing soup, and seeing it prepared, in all the hospitals. I thought that night if Heaven ever sent out an angel, she must be one, her assistance was so timely. Well, we began our retreat up the Rappahannock. I thought no more of our lady friend, only that she had gone back to Washington. We arrived on the disastrous field of Bull Run; and while the battle was raging the fiercest on Friday, who should drive up in front of our hospital but this same woman, with her mules almost dead, having made forced marches from Washington to the army. She was again a welcome visitor to both the wounded and the surgeons.

“The battle was over, our wounded removed on Sunday, and we were ordered to Fairfax Station; we had hardly got there before the battle of Chantilly commenced, and soon the wounded began to come in. Here we had nothing but our instruments–not even a bottle of wine. When the cars whistled up to the station, the first person on the platform was Miss Barton, to again supply us with bandages, brandy, wine, prepared soup, jellies, meal, and every article that could be thought of. She staid here until the last wounded soldier was placed on the cars, and then bade us good by and left.

“I wrote you at the time how we got to Alexandria that night and next morning. Our soldiers had no time to rest after reaching Washington, but were ordered to Maryland by forced marches. Several days of hard marching brought us to Frederick, and the battle of South Mountain followed. The next day our army stood face to face with the whole force. The rattle of one hundred and fifty thousand muskets, and the fearful thunder of over two hundred cannon, told us that the great battle of Antietam had commenced. I was in a hospital in the afternoon, for it was then only that the wounded began to come in.

“We had expended every bandage, torn up every sheet in the house, and everything we could find, when who should drive up but our old friend Miss Barton, with a team loaded down with dressings of every kind, and everything we could ask for. She distributed her articles to the different hospitals, worked all night making soup, all the next day and night; and when I left, four days after the battle, I left her there ministering to the wounded and the dying. When I returned to the field hospital last week, she was still at work, supplying them with delicacies of every kind, and administering to their wants–all of which she does out of her own private fortune. Now, what do you think of Miss Barton? In my feeble estimation, Gen. McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age–the angel of the battle-field.”

Originally posted 2009-06-15 03:08:01.

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THE DRUMMER BOY OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK.–

Recently, a bright boy, with dark eyes and ruddy cheeks, gave a brief history of his adventures at the battle of Fredericksburg. He was neatly dressed in a military suit of gray cloth, and carried in his hands a pair of drumsticks; his drum was destroyed by the fragment of a shell immediately after his landing on the river bank, in that hurricane of sulphury fire and iron hail on the 12th of December, 1862.

The reader will distinctly remember that for several days a curtain of thick fog rose up from the waters of the Rappahannock, completely hiding from view the artillery that crowned the opposite hills, and the infantry that crowded the sheltering ravines; but the preparation for the great fight, so hopefully commenced, was continued amid the thunder of cannon and the volcanic eruptions of exploding batteries.

The hazardous work of laying the pontoon bridges was frequently interrupted by the murderous fire of rebel sharpshooters, concealed in the stores and dwelling-houses on the bank of the river. To dislodge these men, and drive them out of their hiding-places, seemed an impossible task. At a given signal our batteries opened with a terrific fire upon the city, crashing through the walls of houses and public buildings, not sparing even the churches, in which treason had been taught as paramount to Christianity. In this storm of shot and shell, which ploughed the streets and set the buildings on fire, the sharpshooters survived, like salamanders in the flames, and continued to pour a deadly fire upon our engineers and bridge builders.

In this dilemma it became evident that the bridges could not be laid except by a bold dash. Volunteers were called for to cross in small boats; forthwith, hundreds stepped forward and offered their services. One hundred men were chosen, and at once started for the boats..Robert Henry Hendershot, the hero of our sketch, was then a member of the Eighth Michigan, acting as a drummer. Seeing a part of the Michigan Seventh preparing to cross the river, he ran ahead and leaped into the boat. One of the officers ordered him out, saying he would be shot. The boy replied that he didn’t care, he was willing to die for his country. When he (the boy) found that the Captain would not permit him to remain in the boat, he begged the privilege of pushing the boat off, and the request was granted. Whereupon, instead of remaining on shore, he clung to the stern of the boat, and, submerged to the waist in water, he crossed the Rappahannock. Soon as he landed, a fragment of a shell struck his old drum and knocked it to pieces. Picking up a musket, he went in search of rebel relics, and obtained a secesh flag, a clock, a knife, and a bone ring. On opening a back door in one of the rebel houses, he found a rebel wounded in the hand, and ordered him to surrender. He did so, and was taken by the boy soldier to the Seventh Michigan. When the drummer boy recrossed the river from Fredericksburg, General Burnside said to him, in the presence of the army, “Boy, I glory in your spunk; if you keep on this way a few more years, you will be in my place.”

At the battle of Murfreesboro’, where the Union forces were taken by surprise, before daylight in the morning, after beating the long roll, and pulling the fifer out of bed to assist him, he threw aside his drum, and seizing a gun, fired sixteen rounds at the enemy from the window of the court-house in which his regiment was quartered; but the nationals were compelled to surrender, and they were all taken prisoners, but were immediately paroled, and afterwards sent to Camp Chase, Ohio.

Originally posted 2009-06-12 16:36:57.

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