THE SPIRIT OF ’76.–

While the Senate of Maryland were in session in the State House, at Annapolis, a number of soldiers entered the ante-room, and inquired if the Senate Chamber was not the place where Gen. Washington once stood. An employee of the House answered that it was, and showed one of them, as near as he could, the spot where Washington stood when he resigned his commission. The young man reverently approached the spot, and standing for several minutes apparently fixed to the place, hastily turned and left the Chamber, exclaiming, that he could stand it no longer, for he “felt his Fourth of July rising too fast.”

Originally posted 2008-06-24 11:53:18.

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THE GUERRILLAS.

THE GUERRILLAS.

BY S. TEAKLE WALLIS.

AWAKE and to horse, my brothers!
For the dawn is glimmering gray,
And hark! in the crackling brushwood
There are feet that tread this way.

“Who cometh?” “A friend.” “What tidings?”
“O God! I sicken to tell;
For the earth seems earth no longer,
And its sights are sights of hell!

“From the far-off conquered cities
Comes a voice of stifled wail,
And the shrieks and moans of the houseless
Ring out like a dirge on the gale.

“I’ve seen from the smoking village
Our mothers and daughters fly;
I’ve seen where the little children
Sank down in the furrows to die.

On the banks of the battle-stained river
I stood as the moonlight shone,
And it glared on the face of my brother
As the sad wave swept him on.

“Where my home was glad are ashes,
And horrors and shame had been there,
For I found on the fallen lintel
This tress of my wife’s torn hair!

“They are turning the slaves upon us,
And with more than the fiend’s worst art
Have uncovered the fire of the savage
That slept in his untaught heart!

“The ties to our hearths that bound him,
They have rent with curses away,
And maddened him, with their madness,
To be almost as brutal as they.

“With halter, and torch, and Bible,
And hymns to the sound of the drum,
They preach the gospel of murder,
And pray for lust’s kingdom to come.

“To saddle! to saddle! my brothers!
Look up to the rising sun,
And ask of the God who shines there
Whether deeds like these shall be done.

“Wherever the Vandal cometh
Press home to his heart with your steel,
And when at his bosom you cannot,
Like the serpent, go strike at his heel.

“Through thicket and wood go hunt him,
Creep up to his camp-fire side,
And let ten of his corpses blacken,
Where one of our brothers hath died.

’In his fainting foot-sore marches,
In his flight from the stricken fray,
In the snare of the lonely ambush,
The debts we owe him pay.

“In God’s hand alone is vengeance,
But he strikes with the hands of men,
And his blight would wither our manhood
If we smite not the smiter again.

“By the graves where our fathers slumber,
By the shrines where our mothers prayed,
By our homes, and hopes, and freedom,
Let every man swear on his blade,

“That he will not sheath nor stay it,
Till from point to hilt it glow
With the flush of Almighty vengeance
In the blood of the felon foe.”

They swore—and the answering sunlight
Leaped red from their lifted swords,
And the hate in their hearts made echo
To the wrath in their burning words.

There’s weeping in all New England,
And by Schuylkill’s banks a knell,
And the widows there, and the orphans,
How the oath was kept can tell.

Originally posted 2008-06-23 11:54:14.

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A WIFE ON THE BATTLE-FIELD.-

The following extract from a letter, dated at Corinth, on the 6th of October, 1862, vividly portrays the fearful emotions and anxious thoughts which torture the mind of an observer during the progress of battle, and narrates but one of the many harrowing scenes of war:

“O, my friend! how can I tell you of the tortures that have nearly crazed me, for the last three days? Pen is powerless to trace, words weak to convey one tithe of the misery I have endured. I thought myself strong before. I have seen so much of suffering that I thought my nerves had grown steady, and I could bear anything; but to-day I am weak and trembling, like a frightened child.

“But do not wonder at it. My dear husband lies besides me, wounded unto death, perhaps. I have lost all hope of saving him, though I thank God for the privilege of being this moment beside him. And, besides this, all around me the sufferers lie moaning in agony. There has been little time to tend them, poor fellows. True, the surgeons are busy all the time, but all the wounded have not yet been brought in, and it seems as if the time will never come when our brave man shall have been made comfortable as circumstances may permit. It is awful to look around me. I can see every imaginable form of suffering, and yet am helpless to aid them any of consequence.

“Since night before last I have not left my husband’s side for a moment, except to get such things as I required, or to hand some poor fellow a cup of water. Even as I write, my heart throbs achingly to hear the deep groans and sharp cries about me. F—– is sleeping, but I dare not close my eyes, lest he should die while I sleep. And it is to keep awake, and in a manner relieve my overburdened heart, that I am now writing you under such sad circumstances.

“On the morning of the third instant the fight began. The attack was made on Gen. McArthur’s division, and we could plainly hear the roar of the artillery here, as it is about two miles and a half distant only from this place. O, the fearful agony of that awful, awful day! I had see F—– a moment early in the morning, but it was only a moment, when he bade me good-by, saying, hurriedly, as he tore himself away: ’Pray for me, my wife, and if I fall, God protect you!’ There was something in his look and tone which struck a chill to my heart, and every moment after I knew the fight had begun, I felt as if he had indeed fallen. I cannot tell how long it was before I heard that Oglesby’s brigade was engaged, but it seemed an age to me. After that my agony was nearly intolerable. I never had a thought of fear for myself; I was thinking only of F—-. Then I got the word that he had been hotly pursued by the rebels, and had fallen back.

“Late in the afternoon I succeeded in gaining a little intelligible information. Poor Gen. Hackleman was shot through the neck, while giving a command, and fell mortally wounded. He died between ten and eleven o’clock the same night, I have since learned. Up to the time of receiving the wound he had acted with the greatest bravery and enthusiasm, tempered by a coolness that made every action effective. When dusk at last put an end to the first day’s conflict, I learned that Gen. Oglesby had been dangerously wounded, but could gain no intelligence of my husband. I could not bear the suspense. Dark as it was, and hopeless as it seemed to search for him then, I started out to the battlefield.

“O, how shall I describe the search of that night? It looked like madness. It was madness. But all night long I staggered amongst bleeding corpses, over dead horses, trampled limbs, shattered artillery–everything that goes to make up the horrors of a battle-field when the conflict is over. They were removing the wounded all night. O, think how awful to stumble over the dead, and hear the cries of the wounded and dying, alone, and in the night-time. I had to start off alone, else they would not have let me go.

“As you may suppose, I could not find him, either amongst the living or the dead. But the next morning, just after sunrise, I came to a little clump of timber, where a horse had fallen–his head shot off, and his body half covering a man whom I supposed dead. His face was to the ground; but, as I stooped to look closer, I perceived a slight movement of the body, then heard a faint moan. I stooped and turned the face upward. The head and face were both covered with blood, but when I turned it to the light, I knew it in spite of its disfiguration. O God! the agony of that moment sickened me almost to suffocation. With a strength I thought impossible in me, I drew him, crushed and bleeding, from beneath the carcass of our poor old horse, whom we had both so loved and petted, and dipping my handkerchief in a little pool of water amongst the bushes, bathed his face, and pressed some moisture between his parched, swollen lips. He was utterly senseless, and there was a dreadful wound in his head. Both limbs were crushed hopelessly beneath his horse. He was utterly beyond the reach of human skill to save, but as soon as possible I had him conveyed to the hospital. I have nursed him ever since–hopelessly, and with a heart breaking with grief. O, how many wives, how many mothers, are to-day mourning the dead and dying, even as I mourn my dying. He has not opened his eyes to look at me, or spoken to me, since he fell. O, could he but speak to me once before he dies, I should give him up with more resignation. But to die thus–without a look or word! O, my heart is breaking!”—–

Originally posted 2008-06-22 13:17:54.

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THE IRISH WIT ALWAYS READY.–

It is now known that the surrender of Lexington was rendered a necessity by the want of ammunition, as well as by the want of water. A few of the companies had one or two rounds left, but the majority had fired their last bullet. After the surrender, an officer was detailed by Price to collect the ammunition, and place it in safe charge. The officer, addressing Adjutant Cosgrove, asked him to have the ammunition surrendered. Cosgrove called up a dozen men, one after the other, and exhibiting the empty cartridge-boxes, said to the astonished rebel officer, “I believe, sir, we gave you all the ammunition we had before we had stopped fighting. Had there been any more, upon my word, you should have had it, sir. But I will inquire, and if by accident there is a cartridge left, I will let you know.” The rebel officer turned away, reflecting upon the glorious victory of having captured men who had fired their last shot.

An Irishman, from Battle Creek, Michigan, was at Bull Run battle, and was somewhat startled when the head of his companion on the left hand was knocked off by a cannon-ball. A few moments after, however, a spent ball broke the fingers of his comrade on the other side. The latter threw down his gun and yelled with pain, when the Irishman rushed to him, exclaiming, “Blasht your soul, you ould woman, shtop cryin’; you make more noise about it than the man that losht his head!”

Originally posted 2008-06-21 12:42:15.

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