When a young man, he was a stage-driver among the Berkshire hills, in Massachusetts, and this is how he happened to get into the army: At a time in winter when the roads were dangerous, going down a steep hill, the stage slewed and turned over, but the horses kept on. One of the passengers pushed out the door on the upper side of the coach and climbed upon the box, and attempted to take the reins from Sumner’s hands. “You let the reins alone or I’ll throw you off!” said the driver, with determination. The passenger wisely abandoned his attempt at interference, and Sumner guided the team firmly till it was safe to stop them, dragging the overturned coach along, and so saved passengers and team. The passenger who attempted to take the reins was General Worth. He was so impressed with young Sumner’s sterling qualities that he cultivated his acquaintance and induced him to join the army, and the cool and determined driver made an intrepid commander.”

Originally posted 2008-02-10 21:54:04.

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The army correspondent of the Atalanta “Intelligencer,” relates the following incident to show how welcome a letter from home was to the soldier, and how depressing it was when those at home neglected to write to him:

“I witnessed an incident yesterday which goes far to show how welcome a letter is to the soldier, and how sad he feels, when those at home neglect to write to him. As I was riding to town I heard a man on horseback hail another in a wagon, and, going up, handed him a letter. Another man in the same wagon inquired if there was no letter for him, and the reply was ‘none.’ It was at that moment I noted the feeling between the two men by their changed countenances. The features of one lit up with pleasure, as he perused the epistle in his hand,–doubtless the letter of some dear wife or mother, –and as he read it, a smile of joy would illuminate his weather-beaten face. This was happiness. It was an oasis on the desert of his rough life of danger and suffering, and no doubt was welcomed by him as the dearest gift a relative could send. With the other the opposite effect was observed; as soon as the word ‘none’ had passed the lips of the man addressed, the look of anxiety with which the question was put faded away, and an appearance of extreme sorrow could have been seen plainly stamped on his features, while a feeling of envy at his fortunate comrade was very apparent. This was unhappiness. The song of hope that had illuminated his heart when he inquired if there was any letter for him had died away, and a feeling of loneliness and regret at the neglect of those at home took possession of him. Happy are they who have homes and loved ones to hear from! While it is the cruelest of all neglect not to write to those relatives in the army; if it makes them sad and unhappy, how much more must those feel whose homes are in possession of the enemy, and they cannot hear from their relatives.”

Originally posted 2008-02-09 20:01:30.

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A few days after the publication of the President’s Message and Proclamation, the fact of its promulgation having been made known to the rebel pickets, they manifested great curiosity to hear it; and one of our men consenting to read it to them, quite a party collected on the opposite bank to listen. While it was reading, the utmost silence and attention were preserved by the listening rebels, and after it was finished one of them called out: “Well, that sounds about right. We’ll go back to camp and tell the boys about it.” Papers are frequently exchanged by the pickets, but the rebels tell our men that their officers do not like them to get our papers of late as “there is nothing encouraging in them.”

Originally posted 2008-02-08 16:17:10.

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A correspondent relates the following: — A wife who dwelt in the West, beyond the lakes, whose husband is an officer in the army, had not heard from him in some weeks. Two small boys were with him,–their only ones. While she sat at home, reading a paper, her eyes fell upon a notice of the death of her husband. All the tenderness of a mother’s love, all the strength of a wife’s devotion, nerved her to start immediately for her children, and clasp them to a widowed heart. Day after day passed; how slowly let a mother tell; how tedious let a widow speak who knows her idol broken in a distant land. Two weeks were past ere she reached Vicksburg. Three days a sand bar! What torture! At last she reached the hoped-for city. As the boat neared the wharf one looked at the crowd, and saw her two boys upon ponies, and beside them the father and husband. One long, piecing cry of joy filled the air; the husband flew, rather than ran, and took the lifeless form in his arms. It was too much of joy for a heart overcharged with grief. The strings snapped and reason tottered for a time, to fall, in two days, to the sleep of death.

Originally posted 2008-02-02 16:28:11.

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