Category Archives: Recent Entries

A TOUCHING INCIDENT OF THE WAR.–

An interesting anecdote is related of Franklin, who, it is alleged, in order to test the parental instinct existing between mother and child, introduced himself as a belated traveller to his mother’s house after an absence of many years. Her house being filled with more illustrious guests than the unknown stranger, she refused him shelter, and would have turned him from her door. Hence he concluded that this so-called parental instinct was a pleasant delusive belief, not susceptible of proof.

The opposite of this occurred in Washington, in one of the fierce engagements with the rebels near Mechanicsville, a young lieutenant of a Rhode Island battery had his right foot so shattered by a fragment of shell that, on reaching Washington after one of those horrible ambulance rides, and a journey of a week’s duration, he was obliged to undergo amputation of the leg. He telegraphed home hundreds of miles away that all was going well, and with a soldier’s fortitude composed himself to bear his suffering alone.

Unknown to him, however, his mother, one of those dear reserves of the army, hastened up to join the main force. She reached the city at midnight, and the nurses would have kept her from him until morning. One sat by his side fanning him as he slept, her hand on the feeble fluctuating pulsations which foreboded sad results. But what woman’s heart could resist the pleadings of a mother then? In the darkness she was finally allowed to glide in and take the place at his side. She touched his pulse as the nurse had done; not a word had been spoken; but the sleeping boy opened his eyes and said, “That feels like my mother’s hand; who is this beside me? It is my mother; turn up the gas and let me see mother!”

The two dear faces met in one long, joyful sobbing embrace, and the fondness pent up in each heart sobbed and panted, and wept forth its expression.

The gallant fellow, just twenty-one, his leg amputated on the last day of his three years’ service, underwent operation after operation, and at last, when death drew nigh, and he was told by tearful friends that it only remained to make him comfortable, said, “he had looked death in the face too many times to be afraid now,” and died as gallantly as did the men of the Cumberland.

Originally posted 2009-02-20 03:03:54.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment

THE MOCKING BIRD OF RESACA.–

A correspondent in Georgia, wrote as follows:–I find in an Atlanta paper the following extravaganza upon a mocking bird at Resaca. It calls to my mind a fact that I had forgotten. At the first advance upon Resaca, on the 9th of May, I remember observing at dusk an unusual number of birds, and as night fell, just as the troops were withdrawing, a grand chorus of whip-poor-wills rang through the forest. Perhaps Resaca has been a favorite home for the songsters of the woods.

“Waverley,” the correspondent, who was an eye-witness and participator in the late battles in North Georgia, relates the following pretty incident of the battle of Resaca:

“In the hottest part of the battle of Sunday, a shell came screaming through the air from the works in front of our left. It paused above a point where General Johnston and General Polk were standing, whistled like a top above them, and before exploding whistled half-a-dozen notes clear as a fife to the drum-like rattle of musketry. The din had scarce died away, and the fragments fallen to the ground, when the attention of the party was directed to one of the upper boughs of a tall pine, where a mocking-bird had begun to imitate the whistle of the shell. Neither the roar of cannon, nor the rain of balls could drive this brave bird from its lofty perch. It sat above the battle-field like a little god of war, its blythe tones warbling over the din of arms–

“In profuse strains of unpremeditated art,”

and its stout heart as free as though it swelled to the breezy winds of peace in the summer woods. Thou Touchstone of the battle-field, mocking the very air of death and pouring out a cheery canticle for the slain, who are happy in dying for the land they love, thou art the true type of the great Confederate heart. Be it like thine, as bold and free. May it swell as it is pressed, and grow strong as it hurls back the vandal and invader. May it stand upon its own door-sill, as that gallant bird stood upon the bough of the pine, and trill a chant of defiance in the face of danger, and though despair span its bony fingers about its throat, may its armies take a lesson from thy cluck, thou valiant mocking-bird, to the music of Minie ball and shrapnell, never doubting, never daunted, defying the power of the world, and obedient only to the God of the universe. For he who dies in the front dies in the love of the Lord, and there is not a sentiment truer for the soldier than that the brave who perish in the cause of liberty and thrice blessed above the lazy sons of peace.

“Not man nor monarch half so proud,
As he whose flag becomes his shroud.”

Originally posted 2009-02-18 15:18:52.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment

HOW GENERAL MCPHERSON WAS KILLED.–

A soldier who was near the General at the time he was shot gives the following particulars of the occurrence and the actions of the confederates which preceded it:–“I entered the woods to behold a wounded man whose name is George Reynolds, of the Fifteenth Iowa Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, and a short distance from him lay General James B. McPherson, suffering intense agony from a fatal wound, a Mini ball having entered the right breast, passed near the heart, and came out near the left side.

I then took my position close to his side and requested him to drink a little cold water I had secured a short time before, and asked the privilege to bathe his temples; to which interrogatories I could elicit no reply, only a faint nod of the head. Occasionally returning to consciousness he would ask me for his hat, which by search I found had been stolen from him, as also his belt. I had not been in this situation over five minutes when a rebel straggler came up, to whom I remarked, “You are a prisoner, are you not?” To which he replied, “No, sir-ee!” and then asked me, “Can you walk? Come along,” etc. I gave a negative answer and exhibited a very sore and bandaged leg, all besmeared with blood, which had troubled me of late, and was thus successful in making him believe I was severely wounded.

This was the work of a few moments; when four more rebels came up, and simultaneously two more of our stragglers passed near by. They were taken with the previously mentioned. They then extracted the papers which were in plain view from the General’s pocket, took his watch and marine glass, but did not search the remainder of his pockets, nor ask any questions in reference to whom he was nor did we inform them. They acted with civility, considering it a battle-field. They then ordered the wounded man and myself to follow them. We told them we were not able, and if they took us they would have to carry us, etc.; when to my glad astonishment they absconded with their three prisoners, with the aforementioned articles, leaving their two supposed cripples with the General. All this time the rebel shot and shell were crashing with fearful rapidity all around us, in every direction. Several balls lighted within a few feet of the General, scattering the dirt all over him in a complete shower. While the rebels were taking from the General the articles previously mentioned, he sat up and again asked for his hat, which I believe, were the last words he spoke, for his agony was most intense.

After the rebels had gone, it was agreed that I should go in search of an ambulance, while my solitary wounded companion remained with the General. My companion believing that our men were still in front fighting as well as rear, I proceeded in the direction of Atlanta, as near as I can judge, about three-eighths of a mile, when I saw rebel skirmishers not far distant in my front, as also their works; the brush being rather thin, it was difficult to escape; but by creeping back where the brush was more dense, I then ran as best I could until I got back again to the General, when my companion informed me he had just died, but said nothing after I left him. During this interval the woods were thoroughly riddled, and every moment I expected to meet the General’s sad fate; but Providence spared me.

A straggler who said he belonged to the Third or Fourth Division, Pioneer Corps, came up and was requested to act as witness. He, it seems, committed the theft.

The first thing we examined was the contents of the wallet, and on opening it saw the gold chains and gold piece, or medal; opening another apartment, we saw a roll of bills, which our new comer instantly grabbed, as he said, to ascertain the contents. Unfolding them, as near as I can recollect, I saw the aforementioned bills. As soon as his eye caught sight of the large bills, he separated them from the smaller ones, and then made the following diabolical proposition, to wit:–Boys, let us equally divide the spoils and say nothing about it. We positively and in the strongest terms refused to be accomplices in such an infernal scheme. He then kept possession of all the large bills, leaving only eight dollars, and ran as fast as his legs could carry him in a westerly course toward the wagon trains.

I looked upon him as a wretch like Judas of old, and could have wished that in his escape he had met with the same fate as he of whom sacred writ informs us, “He burst asunder and all his bowels gushed out.” Leaving the guilty culprit with the fruits of his dastardly act, I would remark that fearing capture every moment, and the importance of the General’s rescue, was the reason of our not continuing a critical examination of the remaining contents, and making all speed, we proceeded in the direction I entered the woods an hour or more before. Emerging from the woods we bore to the south-west, in which direction we saw wagon-trains and ambulances.

The first ambulance to which we made known our mission refused to go. Proceeding further, we came to two more, when we requested the foremost one to go with us, and seeing three officers riding up toward us, we explained to them our object, when they informed us they were part of his staff and were very anxious to get him. So taking the first ambulance, we piloted them to the spot, and then a most thrilling scene took place that I shall never forget. Looking down the woods from the ambulance, I saw the rebel skirmishers steadily advancing, and thinking the staff officers were not fully aware of the danger we were all in (as I had intentionally refrained from describing the danger to them previously), I jumped from the ambulance, and to my surprise, confronted an armed rebel.

Seeing we were in desperate circumstances, I rushed to inform the staff officers, who were now carrying his body out of the woods, and I informed them that the rebels were now closing in around us, and the necessity of all who had revolvers being ready to use them. I believe they all drew them, and I endeavored as best I could to assist in carrying his body to the ambulance. We got him in as best we could, under such exciting circumstances (for I was afraid every moment a cannon ball or shell would crush the ambulance or kill the mules), and whirling swiftly around, we drove off at a perfect gallop, with rebel shot and shell and Minie balls hurled in a perfect storm after us. But, fortunately, no one was hurt.

So great was the danger that we had to drive with fearful rapidity nearly three-fourths of a mile before we could properly and comfortably adjust the General’s body. I only remember the name of one of these staff officers, and that is Lieutenant Colonel Strong. There was also a Captain and First Lieutenant. I would remark that the officers acted with determined bravery; in fact, all did, and the coolness of my wounded companies was really sublime amidst sever suffering from his arm.

After the rescue we drove to Gen. Sherman’s head-quarters. The body was taken out and carried into the house to be examined. Gen. Sherman seemed deeply affected by the sight. My wounded companion was then taken to the nearest hospital of the Twenty-third Corps, by order of the Medical Director. He was wounded by a Minie ball through the left arm just above the elbow. He went through all the exciting circumstances from the time he was wounded to the time he was taken to the hospital before he had it dressed, which must have been nearly five hours. The General was wounded about half-past 12 P. M., and rescued from the rebels about 3 P. M. He lived about one hour after he was wounded.

Originally posted 2009-02-17 16:35:15.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment

LIFE IN SOUTHERN PRISONS.–

During the expedition of Col. Streight through Georgia in the spring of 1863, Capt. T. M. Anderson of Company D, Fifty-first Regiment, of Indiana, was captured by the confederates and imprisoned at Richmond, from whence he escaped in company with Lieutenant Skelton, of the Seventeenth Iowa Regiment, and, reached the Union lines in safety, after much suffering. The following is his account of his experiences:–

I was taken prisoner on the third day of May 1863, near Rome, Ga., with Col. Streight’s command. We were all paroled and sent to Richmond with the expectation of going through to our lines; but judge of our surprise when we were thrust into Libby Prison, and our paroles taken from us. We entered Libby on the sixteenth day of May, and from that day I was not on the ground until I made my escape.

From the day that I entered until I succeeded in getting away, did I watch my opportunity. I soon became satisfied that to get out of any of the upper rooms was an impossibility, and the only room that there was any prospect of getting out of was the hospital room in the east end of the building, which is as low as the street on the north side, but the second floor on the south side. Well,I had to get into the hospital before I could hope to escape; consequently, I was taken suddenly very sick. Of course I was carried to the hospital, where all sick men are taken. I kept my bed three or four days; was visited by the surgeon (a mullet-bearded fellow, that didn’t know beans), regularly, every day. He left me a large dose of medicine, which I found did me a great deal of good, in my vest-pocket. After several days of feigned sickness, I set to work to find a companion to go with me; and, as fortune favored me, I found the man, Lieut. Skelton, of the Seventeenth Iowa Regiment, who had long had the same opinion that I had, that he would get away from there if possible.

We soon commenced our arrangements, and worked very slowly, and everything being ready on the eleventh of this month, we resolved to make the attempt. During the day we went down into the basement story, which is used as a cook-room for the hospital, and cut a small door open into the south-east corner of the room. This we opened with a large beef-cleaver, by drawing the spikes and nails and by cutting off the cross-bars. As we had to work very cautiously and silently, it took us some time to do this, but it was accomplished ere dark. The hour of ten o’clock was the hour we set to make the break. We prepared crackers and dried beef enough to last us through, and then dressed ourselves in citizens’ clothes (which we had received from home), and then everything was ready. We watched the sentinels very closely, and just as the hour of ten was called they all turned and walked to the west, and at that moment we opened the door, and like lightning we crossed the guard-line, and when the guards faced about we were walking coolly and briskly down the street.

We kept down canal street some two squares, and then turned up Main street. We then thought that the boldest step was safest, so we went through the city on Main street, then through Rockets, a little town adjoining Richmond on the east. After passing through Rockets we came to the Williamsburg road. This we kept for about a mile, when we came in sight of their batteries and forts, and we knew that pickets were on the road; so, to avoid the batteries and pickets, we took a by-path leading off to the right and down into a deep ravine, and in this we passed between their forts out into the country. The night was dark, and consequently it was very difficult travelling. We made about seven miles that night, and came to the Williamsburg road again just at daybreak. We filed into a thick clump of cedar bushes and lay down for the day. It was raining very hard, and it was chilling cold; but we were FREE; what cared we for cold rains when we were breathing air of freedom! All day Saturday we were in the bushes. The rebel drums we could plainly hear on all sides of us, guns firing, and soldiers were passing and re-passing; and at one time five rebs passed so near us that I thought we should surely be discovered, but they did not see us, and we, of course, did not hail them. We had been surmising all day about our whereabouts, but could not find out our exact locality, so we concluded to hail the first darkey that passed. We watched the road closely, and about sundown I heard a wagon coming. Lieutenant Skelton said he would go out and stop it if it was driven by a negro. He crawled close to the road-side and awaited the coming of the wagon, when he jumped out and told the negro-driver to halt.

The boy stopped his team, and out came a white man to know what he wanted. He instantly saw our danger, and being ready for any emergency cried out: “Say, Mister, I have lost a black boy, and have tracked him out into this neighborhood, but here I lost him. Have you heard or seen anything of a boy about twenty years old, five feet five and very black? My name is Calloway and if you hear anything of my boy you will do me a grand kindness by having him put in irons. Goo day, sir.” The man promised to do his best, and believing every word, drove on. Just at dark we again set forward on the Williamsburg road leading to Bottom’s bridge, over the Chickahominy river. There is a force of about 400 men at the bridge. We travelled some three miles, and fearing we would run into their pickets if we went further, we turned into the woods again. It had been raining some time, and consequently was as dark as Egypt in the woods. We could not go any further, so laid down for the night again. We could not sleep, for we were by this time as wet as if we had been in the river. Day at last dawned, and ere it was quite light we were on our way. We had only left Richmond some ten miles behind us up to Sunday morning. We now by the aid of a small pocket compass, laid out our course directly north, and kept it for several hours. We then turned directly east, toward the Chickahominy river, and soon found ourselves in one of the most dense swamps that it was ever my fortune to get into, but in this swamp we knew we could travel with safety. On we went through under-brush and briers, through water over our boots several inches, and all of that day did we travel through that miry swamp.

We crossed the Chickahominy about a half an hour by sun, and again fortune favored us, for at the very point where we first struck the river there was a large tree blown across the stream. On this we crossed about three miles north of Bottom’s bridge. Being very weary, we did not go more than a mile from the river where we halted for the night in the woods. We were now close to the main travelled road running from Bottom’s bridge, parallel with the river up to Savages, and we could hear cavalry passing along this road all night. We did not sleep any, for again it rained and it was a cold night, but almost everything has an ending, and so it was with that Sunday night, but I thought it was forty-eight hours long. After feasting on our dried beef and hard tack we set forward and soon came to this road, and just as we were in the act of crossing the fence we spied a rebel scout coming up the road. He had seen us and we dared not run, for then he would be sure to suspicion us, so we stood our ground prepared to club him if he said anything.

He came up and we looked at him boldly and impudently, and without uttering a word. He passed on, never looking back to see where we went. We quickly crossed the road and entered the woods, and if we didn’t do some tall walking then for about ten miles, I wouldn’t be here to say so. On we went, keeping our course directly east, allowing nothing to turn us from it but farm-houses, all of which we were very careful to go around; but through swamps, over hills and hollows we went. About ten o’clock A. M. on Monday, as we were going through the woods we suddenly came in sight of a farm-house, and a negro girl raking leaves close by. I thought likely she could tell us where we were, so I went up and spoke to her. All that she could tell was that we were, in New Kent County. I then asked her whether her master was a secesh, and whether he was at home or not. She said he was both. I then told her that we were Yankees, trying to get home, and that she must not tell her master that she had seen any one all of which she readily promised.

She said, “I am looking for Mr. Bradley (which was her master’s name) every minute, and you had better run.” Again we made good time, and soon came to one of the most intricate swamps I ever saw. It was about two hundred yards wide, and as far as we could see to the right or left it was the same. There were little tufts of grass growing up all over it, some three or four feet apart, and out of these there were little sprouts growing. We had to pull ourselves from one of the bunches of grass to another, and I feel justified in saying that the quicksand and mire was six feet deep in many places, but in about an hour, and after getting very wet, we succeeded in getting over, and then we turned around, pulled off our hats, and yelled, “Good by, Mr. Bradley.” During all of our day’s travel that was a by-word with us, but on we pushed, exerting ourselves to the utmost to put as many miles between us and Richmond as possible.

That night we came within three miles of Dyuscuna Creek, and about twenty-two miles from Williamsburg. We were now in a negro settlement, and stopped for the night. We engaged a negro guide to conduct us to Dyuscuna Creek bridge the next morning, and an hour before daylight we were on our way, arriving at the bridge just at sun-up. We here partook sparingly of our beef and crackers, and then set forward. We had not gone more than a mile before we saw two horsemen coming down the road toward us. We thought that it was perfectly safe to travel the road by daylight then, as we had heard that our troops had been at the bridge late the evening before; so when these horsemen came in sight we quickly jumped into the bushes to await their coming. I saw they were colored men, and felt no hesitancy in coming out to the road and speaking to them. They said, in answer to my inquiries, that there were rebel scouts on that road every day. I then told them that we were Yankee prisoners from Richmond trying to get within our lines. Their faces instantly brightened, and they told us to go back in the woods, and remain there until night or we would be picked up. We knew it to be good advice, so we backed into the bushes again.

One of the darkies lived only a few miles from us, and the other near Chickahominy Church, some eight miles directly on our route. This darkey told us that he would pass there on his way back home in the evening, and said he would show us the way home if we would wait. We remained in the bushes all that day, which was Tuesday, and true to his promise the darkey made his appearance late in the evening. He instructed us how to get round a large plantation that was close by and reach his friend’s house. We accordingly set forth, and in about an hour arrived safely at the house. The old darkies gave us our supper, and kept a strict watch for intruders while we were eating. When it became sufficiently dark our guide harnessed his horse and put him to his cart, putting on the cover and tying it down very tight all round.

We then ensconced ourselves very snugly in the back part of the cart, while the darkey almost filled the front part, and away we went, driving like the wind sometimes. When about half way we came to a picket post. Mr. Darkey told us to lay down and be mute, whereupon he gave his horses the reins and whip and we went past that picket like a whirlwind. If there were any pickets there, they saw nothing but the outlines of a cart, for we were out of sight ere they could halt us. We reached the church about nine o’clock, and after giving us another supper the darkey piloted us for three miles on the road to Williamsburg and then left us. We were now about eight miles from our lines, on a plain road leading to them. We had some fears of meeting with some of the rebel scouts on the road, for our guide told us they were on the road day and night. So we moved briskly but very cautiously. The road was not the mainly-travelled one leading to Williamsburg, but we came into it when within about two miles of the town.

We thought if we met any scouts at all it would be at the junction of these two roads, so we approached the main road very slowly but found no one there. Then we thought ourselves safe. So on we went toward town, not knowing at what unfortunate moment we might come in contact with a party of rebel scouts, and have all our hopes dashed to the ground. We had gone about two miles and walking very fast, when suddenly and unexpectedly the stillness of the night was broken by a gruff voice calling out, “Halt.” We did not wait for a second challenge, but came to a dead halt instantly, not knowing whether we were near our own pickets or a couple of rebs, for we could see that there were two. “Who comes there?” was the next challenge. I answered “friends.” He then told me to advance and give the countersign. Not liking to go up blindly, I asked “To whom I should advance;” and without answering my question, he asked “To whom are you friends?” That was the hardest question I ever had to answer. I knew not what to say, but in a moment answered. “We are friends to the North.” “Come up,” said he; “we are Union pickets.”

I thought those were the sweetest words that I ever heard. We threw up our hats high in the air, and went with such a yell that the sentries thought us crazy. When inside our pickets we turned and said, “Good-by, Mr. Bradley.” We soon explained our boisterous conduct to the pickets, who were looking on with amazement, and then everything was all right. My pen here fails, dear Tribune, to express our happiness; but to know and feel that we were under the protection of Uncle Sam, and standing on the ground over which that dear flag was triumphantly floating, under whose folds both of us had fought on many battle-fields, was inexpressible. We were conducted to the quarters of the Lieutenant of the Guard, and there remained until morning. It was at two o’clock, A. M. when we crossed the lines. We had walked nearly seventy-five miles through swamps, woods, and briers, and consequently our feet were nearly used up.

I had cut my boots off my feet the night before, for my feet were wet from the first night of starting, and my boots had contracted to my feet and were punishing me severely, so on Wednesday morning we were without boots or socks, our feet swollen and bruised, even bleeding, and it was with the utmost difficulty that I could walk. Yet we were two of the happiest boys, I suppose, in America at that time. What cared we then whether we had any feet at all or not, for we had our liberty. We took breakfast with Major Wheeling of the Fourth N. Y. Cavalry, and Provost Marshal of the District. He treated us with the greatest kindness, and after breakfast sent us in his buggy to Col. Forrest’s quarters with a letter of introduction to that officer.

Col. West received us kindly, and gave us stockings and slippers, and in the evening sent us to Yorktown, where we arrived on the night of the great fire and magazine explosion. We had been ordered to report to Gen. Butler at Fortress Monroe, and at Yorktown were furnished transportation by Gen. —– to the fort, with a letter of introduction to Gen. Butler. Immediately on our arrival we went to the General’s head-quarters and were shown to his room, in rather a sorry plight to be sure–clothes torn in many places by the briers, an slip-shod, with sore feet. The old General eyed us very closely when we entered. His military eye ran all over us in a moment. After saluting him, he asked, “Do you wish to see me on business?” Whereupon we gave him our letter from Col. West. After glancing over it he changed instantly. It was not the rigid General Butler of a moment before, for now he grasped our hands, shaking them warmly. After asking us many questions concerning our prisoners, he placed us in the care of the gentlemanly Capt. Puffer, one of his A. D. C’s, with orders to furnish us with clothing, transportation and everything else that we needed, which was all faithfully attended to by that officer.

Originally posted 2009-02-16 23:42:15.

Posted in Recent Entries | Leave a comment