At the battle of the Hatchie, when the conflict was waging fiercest, upon advancing, midway between the contending forces, we found–what do you think? Not a masked battery–not an insidious trap, inviting but to destroy–not any terrible engine of death–but a sweet little blue-eyed BABY. Sweet little thing, as I saw it there, hugging the cold earth, its only bed–the little tear on its cheek,–
“That nature bade it weep, turned
An ice-drop sparkling in the morning beam.”–
Unalarmed mid the awful confusion of that fearful battle, with the missiles of death flying thick about it and crowding close upon its young existence, yet unhurt, it seemed a wonderful verification of the Divine declaration: “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings I will ordain wisdom.” That little “child of war,” as it lay in its miraculous safety, seemed to say to me these words of profound instruction: “My helplessness and innocence appealed to God, and he preserved me in the midst of this wrecking carnage. If you will make your plaint to Heaven, God will preserve your poor bleeding country.”
Little child of destiny, born mid the flash of musketry, the thunder of cannon, and the clash of arms, I will watch your course through life, and witness whether an existence so auspiciously begun will pass by the masses unnoticed, and end without saving a name “damned to everlasting fame!” Who would suppose that in the wild, fierce battle of the Hatchie, when the field was strewn with the dead, and the shrieks of the wounded rent the heavens with agony, a great army would pause in the thickest of the conflict to save a harmless, a helpless child? Yet the brave Fourteenth, that never yet has quailed in battle, did pause, and an officer of the regiment ordered “our little baby” carried to headquarters and tenderly cared for.
I remember having read, somewhere in Grecian history, a story something like the one I have related. A little child was found on the battle-field, and by an infuriated soldiery trampled in the dust. After the battle the victorious general in an address to his army, said: “But for the blood of a little child that mars it, our victory would be complete.” Thank God, the blood of no little child mars our victory.
The next day after the battle “our babe” was brought before the Fourteenth, and unanimously adopted “Child of the Regiment.” Three or four days later, strange as it may seem, a poor, heart-stricken, poverty-pinched mother came searching the battle-field in quest of her child. My dear reader, imagine if you can the wild exclamations of thanksgiving that burst from that poor womans heart, when informed that her child had been rescued, and with a mothers tenderness cared for. I saw the mother receive her child, heard her brief prayer for the soldiers who saved it, and, with the blessings of a thousand men following her and hers, she took away
“Our little baby–
Little blue-eyed, laughing baby.”
Originally posted 2008-04-22 12:09:42.