An interesting anecdote, though of doubtful authenticity, 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 lately occurred in Washington. In one of the fierce engagements with the rebels near Mechanicsvill, in May, 1864, 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 sufferings 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, sobering 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 2009-08-01 02:20:45.

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One of the Indiana regiments was fiercely attacked by a whole brigade, in one of the battles in Mississippi. The Indianians, unable to withstand such great odds, where compelled to fall back about thirty or forty yards, losing, to the utter mortification of the officers and men, their flag, which remained in the hands of the enemy. Suddenly, a tall Irishman, a private in the color company, rushed from the ranks across the vacant ground, attacked the squad of rebels, who had possession of the conquered flag, with his musket felled several to the ground, snatched the flag from them, and returned safely back to his regiment. The bold fellow was, of course, immediately surrounded by his jubilant comrades, and greatly praised for his gallantry. His Captain appointed him to a sergeantcy on the spot; but the hero cut everything short by the reply, “O, never mind, Captain,–say no more about it. I dropped my whiskey flask among the rebels, and fetched that back, and I thought I might just as well bring the flag along!”

Originally posted 2009-07-29 13:12:36.

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As chanted by Gideon J. Pillow and his boys on retreating from Lafayette, Georgia, June 24, 1864.

TELL me not, in boastful twaddle,
Yankees five by one “Confed”
Are unnerved and made skedaddle,
With coat-tail as high as head.

“Feds” will fight–a bold defender
In each member of their ranks;
That they readily surrender,
Can’t be spoken of the “Yanks.”

‘Twas enjoyment, and not sorrow,
That we hoped to reap to-day;
Certain that before the morrow
We should march the Yanks away.

Without bloodshed, without battle,
In their bivouac so nice,
We would pen them like dumb cattle,
Gobble all up in a trice.

But their bullets now remind us
We should all be making tracks,
And, departing, leave behind us–
Far behind–those deadly “cracks.”

Deadly, and perhaps some other
Fell shots may increase our slain;
Many a fallen, war-wrecked brother
Never can take aim again.

‘Stride our horses let’s be jumping,
While our hearts we thought so brave,
Like unmuffled drums, are thumping,
And our knees are like to cave.

Trust no shelter, howe’er pleasant!
Let the Yankees bury our dead!
Run! run! in this dreadful present,
Bullets whizzing overhead!

Let us, too continue going,
Spur our “plugs” to fastest gait:
For the blue-coats are pursuing,
And we’ve had “enough” of late.

Originally posted 2009-07-28 13:19:53.

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The traitor Floyd took great pains to put the United States forts in Charleston harbor into the hands of the South Carolinians, without expense of men or money. For this purpose he refused the constant entreaties of Colonel John L. Gardner, the officer in command at Fort Moultrie, for troops. Just at the time the danger was becoming imminent, he sent, instead of soldiers for defence, a body of laborers, who, under the direction of an engineer, were orddered to repair the fort in such a way and at such a time as to render the fort defenceless against the seceders. These laborers were to be fed from the supplies at the fort. This made it necessary to purchase provisions in Charleston from week to week, so that, in the event of a siege, the garrison would be starved out in a few days. By desperate efforts the repairs were finished in such a way that the forty-five men in the fort could make some defence; but being dependent on Charleston for food, the South Carolinians and Floyd well knew that the fort was completely in their power whenever they should see fit to cut off supplies from the city.

In this dilemma Colonel Gardner practised the piece of strategy which finally enabled Anderson to hold the fort and make his defence. Colonel G. wrote to an old friend, the chief of the commissary department, to send him provisions for one hundred men for six months; at the same time significantly hinting to him that he could obey this requisition in the ordinary discretionary routine of his duty without consulting with the Secretary of War. He added also the further request that the transport should be ordered to land her cargo at Fort Moultrie immediately on her arrival in the harbor, and before she should go to Charleston. The patriotic commissary officer, Colonel Taylor, the brother of the late President Taylor, understood the hint conveyed, and the reason for it, and took the responsibility of acting on Colonel Gardner’s requisition. The provisions were thus safely landed at Fort Moultrie, the traitor Secretary being not a whit the wiser for the operation. These were the provisions which were gradually carried over to Fort Sumter in the engineer’s boats, and supported Major Anderson and his gallant command during the memorable siege. Floyd, not knowing the ruse that had been played upon him by Colonel Gardner, expected every day that hunger would do the business for the little garrison, which he intended to hand over, bound hand and foot, to the enemy.

While these matters were going on, Floyd sent down a young officer to look after the carrying out of his plans, and to represent to Colonel G., by various indirect processes, the Secretary’s idea of an officer’s duty in command at Fort Moultrie. Colonel Gardner had reported to the Secretary that, though he had but one man for each great gun, he was determined to defend the place to the utmost against whatever force should be sent against it. Floyd’s spy found Colonel Gardner’s men at work day and night adding to the defences of the place. He found even the brick quarters within the fort loopholed for a stand with musketry, in case of an escalade by a sudden rush of a large number of men. All this was evidently directly the opposite of the Secretary’s policy, as represented in various indirect ways by the officer whom he had sent. He was shown all the preparations for a desperate defence, which Colonel Gardner had made, and was told that they would be used against any force which should march from Charleston, as soon as they came within range of the guns. He was, moreover, requested to tell the Secretary all that he had seen and heard. The consequence was, that the commandant, disposed to do his duty too well, was suspended, and an officer of Kentucky birth, who had married in Georgia, was put in command.

From Major Anderson’s birth and connections Floyd evidently supposed that he had obtained a pliant tool for his purposes. A few days’ observation convinced Major Anderson that he had been sent there to sacrifice his honor, and that he could save it only by carrying out the desperate measures of defence already begun by Colonel Gardner. The retreat to Fort Sumter, its repair, its siege, and bombardment were the natural sequel. All these events, so important already in history, turned upon the ruse by which Colonel Gardner’s requisition for provisions was met by Colonel Taylor and kept secret from Floyd. This is a scrap of history well worth remembering, and is given on the best of authority.

Originally posted 2009-07-27 03:30:17.

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