Monthly Archives: April 2018


The editor of The American Wesleyan relates the following as a portion of his experience among the wounded in the hospitals:

“Not long since I was called to witness the following, which I will call ‘The Dying Soldier’s Dream of Childhood.’

“He was brought in mortally wounded, although by a false feeling of kindness one or two of the surgeons told him his wound was severe, but not dangerous. I thought it my duty to un-deceive him; and so, sitting down beside his lowly pallet, and taking his hand in mine while I brushed back the dark curls from his high, open brow, I tried to lead him easily into such a channel of conversation as I desired. I had not conversed long with him when he suddenly inquired what I thought of his prospects of recovery. Rather avoiding for the time giving a direct answer, I inquired how he felt himself in regard to that matter. He answered with considerable hesitation, that the surgeons told him he would get along nicely; but that he himself felt afraid that he would never recover. I noticed, too, that his lips quivered, and he drew a long, deep sigh. Then he turned his youthful, open face full upon me; he sighed again; there was a choking, fluttering sensation which told the intensity of his feelings, and he said, ‘If I was only at home!’ Poor boy! Many a hill, and valley, and mountain gorge, and broad river, lay between him and his home! And the loving ones there were all unconscious of his deep distress; and even before his name would appear in the list of killed and wounded of some daily paper, he would already be ‘where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.’ I spoke to him of the tender sympathy of the infinite Father, of the all-sufficient Savior, who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, and how that a full and free salvation was offered to all through the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus. I could not get him to say much, and so, tr praying with him, I left him for a time. In a few hours I called to see him again, and in the course of conversation endeavored to press home the momentous truths of salvation. At last he opened his mind freely, told me he thought he was once a Christian, that he sought an interest in Christ when a boy, and felt happy in the belief that he loved the Savior–that his happiest hours were spent in the Sunday school, and that he used to take delight in prayer and reading the Scripture.’I remember, too,’a he, ‘how my father prayed–O Chaplain! I had a good father–he’s in heaven now–how he prayed for me, that I might always be good. I remember the night that he died–and how happy he was, and how he sung “On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,” and how he put his hand on my head and told me to serve God and meet him in heaven. O, if I was as good as my father was, it would be better with me now! I have forgotten my promises, I have turned my back on Christ. What shall I do? what shall I do? I’m dying–I know I’m dying, and I am afraid to die! O Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner!’

“I did not interrupt him till he had given full and free vent to his feelings, and then tried to point him to the all-sufficient Savior.

“‘Do you think God will have mercy on my poor soul?’ he exclaimed in such a piteous tone of voice and with such genuine earnestness, that my own feelings nearly overcame me, and I could barely say, ‘Yes, dear brother, God is ready now to bless you, to forgive you all your sins, and make you happy in the enjoyment of his love.’

“‘But I have neglected prayer and back-slidden from God; I sinned against light and knowledge; I knew better, Chaplain, I knew better, for my conscience troubled me; it was God’s Spirit striving with me,–yes, I knew better, for I once loved Jesus. O Jesus, have mercy on a poor sinner!’

“‘Hear God’s own answer to your question,’ said I. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” “God so loved the world that he gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Now, these words are as much addressed to you as if there were not another sinner upon earth. Take them as God’s own words to yourself, and remember that that dear Savior whom you say that you once served loves you yet, loves you now, and is yearning over you with the deepest sympathy. He waits to take away the heavy burden from your heart, and give you joy and peace in believing. Just come back as a poor wanderer, weary and helpless; and remember you are coming to your own God and Savior, who knows just what you need, and how you feel, and is more willing to receive you and forgive you than you are to return to him.’

“‘O, if I was just as happy as I once was! but now I’m here wounded and dying–and O, this awful pain–what will I do–what will I do–Jesus, Jesus, what will I do!’ he exclaimed in the deepest agony of body and mind.

“‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, cast your poor troubled soul upon the Savior, just place yourself as a poor helpless sinner in His hands, and you will be saved.’ said I, trying to lead his mind to the one only source of comfort.

“The agony of this poor boy was terrible. His pitiful groans sunk into my very heart, and made me feel as if I was entirely powerless to do him any good.

“lSomtimes it was difficult to tell whether his bodily or mental anguish was greater. Frequently the deep, agonizing groan of bodily pain uend in a most pathetic cry for mercy, or a child-like petition to be received into the favor of his heavenly Father. Sometimes he turned upon me such a pitiful, helpless look, such a look as a drowning child might cast towards its mother; aaaaaaaalook of unutterable meaning, but which plainly said, ‘I’m dying,–won’t you help me?’ Seeing that to all appearance he was rapidly sinking, I urged him to accept the free offer of reconciliation to God through the atonement of Christ, and after praying with him, I left him for a little time. An hour, perhaps, had elapsed, when I again was beside him. The first words he uttered were:

“‘I’m trying to come back to God, and I think that he will not cast me off; but I’m afraid.’

“‘I am going to ask you one question,’ said I; ‘but you must not answer it till you think over it. It is this: Do you think that God loves you?’

“He seemed to ponder the question a little, and then answered,—

“‘I think–I think He does.”

“‘Yes,’ I said, ‘He loves you dearly, and sympathizes with you in your great distress, and is so very anxious for your soul’s salvation that He is waiting even now, this moment, to forgive you all your sins and make you happy in His love. Can you take your own heavenly Father’s word, that “whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved!” Just trust in him; just throw yourself as you are,—a poor, helpless sinner,–into His hands, and you will be saved.’

“‘Is that all I’m to ?’ said he, musingly; ‘and yet what else can I do? Yes, yes; I think I see it all; I have been afraid to trust in the promises of God, I feel myself to be so unworthy; but now, Jesus, Savior, I come to thee, a poor, helpless sinner.

“Here, Lord, I give myself to thee–
‘Tis all that I can do.”

Yes, Lord, it is all that I can do!’

“Then followed a scene I shall never forget to my dying day. It was night. The temporary hospital was in an old, dark, dingy house. The candle burned dimly, and seemed, by its flickering, uncertain light, to make the gloomy surroundings all the more gloomy. The poor mangled soldier boy lay rolling uneasily from side to side. Large drops of cold sweat stood like beads on his open brow. A quivering sensation seemed to pass through every nerve and fibre of his body; and there was a long, deep, shivering sigh, which told of the very extremity of mortal anguish. His large bright eye grew dim, and seemed as if looking up from a great depth; and that mysterious change of color and feature took place, which tells that the wheels of life are about to stand still. Suddenly he threw out his arms and clasped me tightly round the neck as I stooped over him, and exclaimed, ‘What shall I do, O Chaplain, what shall I do?’

“‘Put your trust in Christ, your own Savior, who died for you,’ I replied.

“‘I do believe in Jesus,’ he said, ‘and I think He will save me; yes, He will save me! But O, what is this? am I dying now? Tell me, amd I dying?’

“‘Yes, you are dying, dear brother,’ I answered; ‘you will soon be in the spirit world. Is Jesus near you? Have you peace of mind?’

“‘It’s all over now,’ he whispered. ‘God has for Christ’s sake, forgiven me, a poor sinner; and he will take me to himself. Good by, Chaplain; good by.’

“He fell into a kind of stupor, or what might be called an uneasy slumber, and I sat by his side waiting and watching. He dreamed. He seemed to be again at home, mingling with loved ones, for he whispered the name of mother. Then he seemed to be praying, as if, a child again, he knelt at a parent’s knee and repeated his evening prayer. I stooped over him and listened attentively to every whisper. At last I caught a few disjointed sentences, as follows: ‘Our Father–who art–this night–I lay me–down–O Jesus–my Savior–take me–to heaven. Hallowed be–thy name–‘ There was then a pause, and a deep sigh. The angel of death had come! The golden bowl was broken, and the wheel stood still at the cistern! Poor mangled sufferer! he had found Christ; and his dream of childhood’s devotions gave place, we trust, to the brighter visions of glory and the songs of salvation!”

Originally posted 2009-09-17 19:18:17.

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A soldier at the headquarters of the artillery brigade of the Fifth corps, at Culpepper, Va., gives the following account he amusements in camp:

“Almost the only diversion the soldiers have noway, is derived from the new recruits, constantly arriving. They are the butt of all jokes, and the easy prey of all sells and tricks. No class of men enjoy fun more heartily than the sole. They squeeze sport out of everything, and seem to have acquired the faculty of ascertaining, intuitively, where most of it is to be found. On drill, a new recruit is always sure to get his toes exactly where a ‘Vet.’ wishes to put the butt of his musket, as he ‘orders arms;’ and if there is a mud-puddle within a yard of him, he is sure to ‘dress’ into it. Captain Reynolds, of Battery ‘S,’ First New York artillery, has got a large number of recruits, and some of the jokes that the Veterans play on them are very amusing. The recruits are constantly sighing over departed luxuries, and are very easily duped into any sell, where the inner man is concerned. A mischievous ‘Vet.’ got a whole squad of them out in line the other day, when it was raining quite hard, to receive their ration of ‘warm bread.’ One fellow, greener than the rest, was sent to the Captain’s quarters for his ‘ticket for butter.’ Another one went to the Company Clerk with a two-quart pail for his ‘three days ‘ ration of maple-sugar.’ Some of them have very funny ideas of discipline in the army. In a newly arrived squad a few days since, was one of these, who thought he would ingratiate himself with the Captain by making him a call in the evening. Accordingly, he rapped at the door, walked in, took off his hat, made a very low bow, and replaced it on his head.

“‘Well, what do you want?’ said the Captain.

“‘O, nothing,’ says the fellow, at the same time seating himself in a chair opposite the Captain. ‘I thought I would come down and have a little chat with you.’

“‘O, that’s it,’ said the Captain. ‘Well, that isn’t the way t in the army. When a soldier comes into an officer’s quarters, he takes hs hat and stands at “attention,” with his heels together, his toes at an angle of forty-five degrees, hands at his side, and eyes to the “front.” He does not take a seat unless asked to, and when he has done his business, salutes the officer, makes an “about face,” and —-leaves.’

“The fellow did not wait for further instructions, but took his departure, having recieved his first lesson in the ‘school of the soldier.'”

In repartee and fun our soldiers are not behind any class of men living, and they have a most keen appreciation of the ludicrous and sarcastic. Chapman tells a good story:

“A few days ago, two soldiers were sentenced, for some trivial offence, to ten days in the guard-house; but they were taken out occasionally to do police duty about camp. One’s police duty, you must know, is not in the army what it is in the city; but consists in going about under guard and cleaning up the camp. These soldiers were put to cleaning away the mud from the front of the Colonel’s quarters. They were from a New York city regiment, and to judge from their dialect, might have been named Mose and Sykesy. At any rate, I shall call them so in the recital hey had worked well, and finally seated themselves on a log to await the arrival of the Sergeant of the Guard to relieve them, when the following conversation took place:

“Mose—‘Say, Sykesy, what you going to do when yer three years up? Goin’ to be a Vet.? Say.’

“Sykesy–‘Not if I know myself, I ain’t; no! I’m goin’ to be a citizen, I am. I’m goin’ back to New York, and am goin’ to lay off and take comfort, bum around the engine-house, and run wid der machine.’

“Mose–‘well, I tell yer what I’m agoin’ to do. I’ve jest been thinkin’ the matter all over, and got the whole thing fixed. In the first place, I’m goin’ home to New York, and as soon as I get my discharge, I’m goin’ to take a good bath, and get this Virginia sacred soil off me. Then I’m goin’ to have my head shampooed, my hair cut and combed forward and ‘iled, and then i’m goin’ to some up-town clothing store, and buy me a suit of togs. I’m agoin’ to get a gallus suit, too–black breeches, red shirt, black silk choker, stove-pipe hat, with black bombazine around it, and a pair of them shiny butes. Then I’m goin’ up to Delmonico’s place, and am goin’ for to order jest the best dinner he can get up. I’m goin’ to have all he has on his dinner ticket, you can bet. What? No! I guess I won’t have a gay old dinner, much; for I’ll be a citizen then, and won’t have to break my teeth off gnawin’ hard tack. After I’ve had my dinner, I will call for a bottle of wine and a cigar, and all the New York papers, and then I’ll jest set down, perch my feet up on the table, drink my wine, smoke my cigar, read the news, and wonder why the devil the army of the Potomac don’t move.'”

Originally posted 2009-09-15 19:19:21.

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A WHITE SOLDIER, at the camp of the Fifteenth regiment of colored troops, in Nashville, Tenn., while deprecating the employment of negroes as soldiers, boasted that he could make the grand rounds on the colored boys, and capture a musket or bayonet. Accordingly, he approached a sable guard, drew him into conversation, and kindly requested to see his musket, which the guard refused. then wished to look at his bayonet, but the guard, stood on his orders. He then tried intimidation, and, pretending to be insulted, aud a fighting attitude; but the guard ordered him to retire or he would shoot. The foolish fellow advanced, and was promptly shot, and the loss of an arm was the penalty of his imprudence.

Originally posted 2009-09-08 17:10:14.

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The following story of the escape of Colonel Montgomery from the Confederate authorities at Vicksburg, was given by him at the Union League Rooms at Washington, in April, 1864:–

“One year ago last November I was in jail in Vicksburg, condemned to be shot. I escaped one day; I ran home to my wife and little ones. It was about noon; a train would leave the city at three o’clock. I told my wife to pack up our trunks, and we must go. She packed them and sent them to the depot by a negro, and then followed with our little girl, and boy, while I went around outside the town, met the train going through a cut, jumped aboard, and all went well till we got to Holly Springs. I must go to Memphis, fifty miles, and no railroad, and most of the way through rebel pickets. I must get a pass and a conveyance if I could. I went to the General’s office; he was away, but his Adjutant was there, and said it was of no use to ask for a pass; if I was Jefferson Davis’ son, and had my mother with me, I could not be passed in that direction. I talked with him about other things; I asked him down to take a drink. He drank, and I talked. I told him how many adjutants I had known, and what smart men they were, and that i thought him the smartest of all, and was sure, when his merits were known, he would be at the head of all the adjutants in the Confederacy. The General came at last, and the Adjutant begged him to grant a pass to this very particular friend of his, to take his wife and children to Memphis and return. I was particular about the return. he gave the pass, but it did not cover a conveyance, and there was none to be had. Then the telegraph brought news of my escape, and orders to have me sent back to be shot. The Adjutant had the order, and he told me to git. Do you know what git means? Well, I tell you in such a case it means to—git! The Adjutant had indorsed me as his friend: he was afraid he had hfoot in, so he wanted me to git, and I did. My wife made a bundle of what clothes the children must have. I put it on my back, took my little boy by the hand, she took the little girl, and we started on foot for Memphis. It was a day of scorching heat; the thermometer above 90 degrees; the burning sand six inches deep; my little ones both barefooted; my little boy with no hat; and my wife with only thin-soled slippers on, worth about forty cents, but for which I paid ten dollars hard cash. There was no getting out of that burning sun and burning sand; and, as we went on, O my God! the screams of those little children! The red, fiery streaks ran up their white ankles; every step was agony, and every breath. We dragged them on. Every moment we expected to hear the couriers behind, coming for me. My wife and little girl were before me, the little boy was too young to keep up with them. At every rise of ground my wife would turn and look to see if a messenger were coming for me. One time, as she stood so, my little boy reached her, his poor feet all red and blistered, his curls matted to his head with perspiration, with both hands clinging to her dress, and his dusty, tearful face lifted to hers, he cried out, ‘O mamma, can’t you see our home now?’
“So we went on all one day. At night we stopdan overseer’s house, where we were permitted to stay. They were poor, but kind. A bed was made on the floor for us, but the agony the children suffered a great they could not sleep, exhausted as they were. We bound their little feet in cloths, and I sat by all night to keep them wet with cold water; then they could sleep. If in my stupor and exhaustion I chanced to forget myself, their shrieks quickly wakened me again. In the morning we had to start; there was no staying here. Those poor little feet, burnt all day and sad all night, looked as if they had been parboiled;y blistered as they were, swollen shapeless, and streaked with red and purple and blue, they must go into that burning sand again. O my God! my God! those cries! will thine avenging angel gather up the tears that bedewed that fiery path, tears from those helpless little ones in their awful agony! (He covered his face with his hand an instant, and then resumed.) But we dragged them on! I don’t know how it happened that i did not notice when the little hand slipped from mine, but, from whatever distraction of mind I was in, i was startled by a shriek that is ringing in my ears yet, and looking back I saw my little boy lying in the sand in the road behind me. He could not walk another step, and thought I had left him to die. I put my pack over on one shoulder, and laid him across the other with his burning cheek to mine, and his hot breath fanning my face. His mother and sister had gone on, and were sitting on the grass under a tree waiting for us. Little Freddy saw them, and said:

“‘Papa, do mamma and sister see our home now?’

“I said, ‘Yes.’

“‘Well,’ said he, ‘if Ponto sees them, he’ll know I’m coming, and he’ll run past them, and I’ll ask him, and get on his back, and ride home, and then you won’t have to carry me–will you, papa?’ Ponto was a great dog we had at home.

“I laid the child down on the grass beside his mother; she told me then that she could go no farther. There we were. Presently my wife saw a cloud of dust in the distance. I saw it too.

“‘It is the courier coming for you,’ she said. ‘He will take you from us; and what will become of you? what will become of us?’

“I looked and saw that the man was in a small buggy–just room enough for him and me–no provision for my family. My poor wife was on her knees. Her face was white as marble, and cold. She was trying to pray, but she only repeated ove er again, ‘O my God! O my God!’ Not another word would come. I put my hand on her shoulder, and said, ‘My dear, there is but one man, and no one man takes me from you to-day!’

“The man in the buggy drove up. He stopped and looked at us. Said he, ‘I see you are travelling.’ ‘No, sir,” said I; ‘travelling and I have quit.’ ‘Well, you don’t live hereaos.’ ‘No.’ ‘What is your name?’ ‘Montogomery.’

“He looked at the feet of my little ones, lying on the grass ‘Have those children got the small pox?’ ‘No.’ ‘The measles?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, what have they got?’ ‘My dear sir, they have got just as near nothing as it is possible for a human being to get.’ I found he was the rebel mail carrier. I showed him my pass, and asked what he would charge to take my wife and children through the lines. He said, ‘Fifty dollars in gold.’ My wife and her mother had saved fifty dollars in gold, and fifty cents in silver, all of it I had, and it was all. I put yfe in the seat beside him, the little boy in her lap, the little girl at her feet, my bundle under the seat, gave the man the fifty dollars in gold, put the fifty cents in my pocket, and they drove off. I followed. When I came to a picket, I showed my pass, and asked about the buggy. The answer was always, ‘Yes; the mail carrier, with a woman and two children, went by about an hour and a half ago, and reported a man coming with a pass covering the woman and children. All right.’ I went on. At last I asked, ‘How many more picket stations are there?’ ‘Only one.’ ‘How far is it?’ ‘Three miles.’ ‘That is the last?’ ‘Yes.’ I had on such boots as the slaves wear. I had paid thirty dollars for them and I made them earn every cent of the money in that three miles. I came in sight of the picket so soon that I was frightened. I thought of the telegraph wires. What might they not have told before this? Who knew but that man held my life in his hands? There was no help for it. I walked up to him as he sat on his horse, and handed my pass, and asked about the buggy. Yes, it had gone by an hour and a half ago. But why did the man not give me back my pass? Would he never be done reading it?–or, instead of giving it back, would he level his pistol and shoot me? There I stood, on the border of Rebeldom. The United States was before me–the free glorious United States, and wife and little ones; and what was behind? O God! would the man never be done reading that little scrap of writing? That a our flag was before me, and freedom. My heart beat so loud I was afraid the the man would hear it. I tried to stir. Was he reaching down his hand to shoot me? No; it was only to give back the pass, as he said, ‘All right!’ and I was a free man again–free, and in the United States, and under the flag of stars! I was not long in getting to St. Louis with my family. We walked the streets of that city barefooted. There was a political meeting that night–a republican one. I happened in. The chances are that something was said. The next morning the copperhead paper stated that there was such a meeting, and t was entertained by the blatant ravings of a southenrenegade. That meant me. Since then, i have been in many of your Northern cities and States, and without a pass. Here is the difference: at the South you cannot turn round, cross the street, kiss your wife, or go to market, without a pass. Here, where Abraham Lincoln tyrannizes like a military despot,–where he usurps all the people’s rights and puts them in his pocket,–every one can go where he pleases, like sheep without a shepherd. Jeff Davis takes better care of the liberties of his people!

“Now I must say a word about that little wife of mine. I am going to take her home to die! (Here the tears almost choked his utterance; but he crushed them back, and went on. His simple, touching narrative had already brought tears to many eyes, and there was scarcely a dry one in that crowded room.) Yes, I am going to take her home to die! The doctors have told us she cannot live long, and she wants to die and be buried among her own people; so we are going. The ladies of one of your Northern cities have given her a beautiful silk flag–a l with all the stripes and all the stars upon it. We will take that with us, and if our old home is standing, the flag shall float above it. If it is not standing, then we will plant the flag upon its ruins, or over the place where it once was; and as we sit beneath its folds, we will think, with rs of gratitude, of all the kindness of these free and happy Northern people to the wandering, homeless refugees.”

Originally posted 2009-09-05 19:57:09.

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