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John D. Billings, Hardtack and Coffee: The Unwritten Story of Army Life, I. The tocsin of war. (search)
should refer occasionally to her part in the opening of this momentous crisis in the country's history, as being more familiar to me than the record of any other State. Yet, proud as I am of her conspicuous services in the early war period, I have no desire to extol them at the expense of Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island, who so promptly pressed forward and touched elbows with her in this emergency; nor of those other great Western States, whose sturdy patriots so promptly crossed Mason's and Dixon's line in such serried ranks at the summons of Father Abraham. It has often been asked how Massachusetts, so much farther from the National Capital than any of the other States, should have been so prompt in coming to its assistance. Let me give some idea of how it happened. In December, 1860, Adjutant-General Schouler of that State, in his annual report, suggested to Governor (afterwards General) N. P. Banks, that as events were then occurring which might require that the
ch were now concentrated upon the narrow path. The darkness of the night at last put an end to the conflict, and we found ourselves with small loss masters of the situation against vastly superior numbers. Early on the morning of the 25th the contest was renewed, and for several hours we had very hot work, until about eleven A. M. we were relieved by our infantry, and enabled to take some rest from our exhausting duties. During the afternoon I received from Fitz Lee's Quartermaster, Major Mason, as a mount for my negro servant William, an excellent grey mule, which was among our captures at Catlett's Station, and will often be mentioned in succeeding portions of this narrative. It will be recollected that some of the spolia opima of Catlett's Station were greenbacks and gold. As these were contained in solid iron safes, of which the key had been lost, it was not the easiest matter in the world to get at them. It was thought, however, a profitable employment of our earliest le
Heros von Borcke, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Chapter 12: (search)
d, and especially Fitz Lee's brigade, had suffered severely from the continuous marching and fighting we had undergone, from the inclement wintry weather, and from scarcity of food. Many of our horses had been killed, and many more, broken down or lame, could only be led along. All the sick and disabled men, making up a body of nearly 500 non-combatants, were formed together into a corps which was jokingly called Company Q, and had been put in charge of Fitz Lee's gallant quartermaster, Major Mason. I felt no little anxiety until I saw the last of this large squad of limping men, leading crippled horses, safely on the other side of the river. I had often to urge the stragglers along by saying, The Yankees are close upon you, when they lingered to pluck the fruit of the numerous persimmon trees on either side of the road-fruit which the recent frosts had brought plentifully to perfection, and which furnished a welcome though meagre repast of our famished troopers. The persimmon
winding walks, rare old trees and rich sweep of sod filled with children, so full of enjoyment that one is half-minded to drop down and roll over the grass with them. On the central walk, midway between the Capitol and St. Paul's church, stands Crawford's equestrian Washington in bronze, resting upon a circular base and pedestal of plain granite, in which are bases for statues of the mighty Virginians of the past. Only the three southern ones were now occupied; but those figures-Jefferson, Mason and Henry — were accepted as surpassing in merit the central work. The Washington is imposing in size and position, but its art is open to criticism. The horse is exaggeration of pose. and muscle; being equally strained, though not rampant, as that inopportune charger on which Clark Mills perched General Jackson, at the national Capital. Nor is this first in peace by any means the first on horseback; the figure being theatric rather than dignified, and the extended arm more gymnastic tha
d it; the fortifications were perfectly uncovered and their small garrisons utterly demoralized by the woe-begone and terrified fugitives constantly streaming by them. The triumphant legions of the South were almost near enough for their battle-cry to be heard in the Cabinet; and the southern people could not believe that the bright victory that had perched upon their banners would be allowed to fold her wings before another and bloodier flight, that would leave the North prostrate at her feet. Day after day they waited and — the wish being father to the thought-day after day the sun rose on fresh stories of an advance---a bloody fight — a splendid victory-or the capture of Washington. But the sun always set on an authoritative contradiction of them; and at last the excitement was forced to settle down on the news that General Johnston had extended his pickets as far as Mason's and Munson's hills, and the army had gone into camp on the field it had so bloodily won the week befo
Thomas C. DeLeon, Four years in Rebel capitals: an inside view of life in the southern confederacy, from birth to death., Chapter 31: the Chinese-Wall blockade, abroad and at home. (search)
essly compromised, while their powerless representatives were kept abroad, to knock weakly at the back door of foreign intervention. Slight reaction came, when Mason and Slidell were captured on the high seas, under a foreign flag. Mr. Seward so boldly defied the rampant Lion; Congress so promptly voted thanks to Captain Wilke! It is not supposable that the people of the South realized to the full that humiliation, to which their State Department was subjecting them. Occasionally Mr. Mason, seeing a gleam of something which might some day be light, would send hopeful despatches; or before the hopeful eyes of Mr. Slidell, would rise roseate clouds oe European landscape, except through the Claude Lorrain glass which Mr. Slidell persistently held up before him. The expose of Mr. Yancey, the few sturdy truths Mr. Mason later told; and the detailed resume sent by Mr. DeLeon and printed in the North-all these were ignored; and the wishes of the whole people were disregarded, that
Jubal Anderson Early, Ruth Hairston Early, Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early , C. S. A., Chapter 5: operations along Bull Run. (search)
artillery under Captain Holman reported to me. In the latter part of August, General Longstreet, who had command of the advanced forces at Fairfax Court-House, threw forward a small force of infantry and cavalry and established strong pickets at Mason's and Munson's Hills, in close proximity to the enemy's main line on the south of the Potomac. McClellan had succeeded McDowell, in command of the Federal Army opposed to us, and that army was being greatly augmented by new levies. A few e from the main force in the direction of Alexandria, was attacked by a detachment from a New Jersey regiment, under its colonel, and after a very sharp fight, repulsed the enemy and inflicted a severe punishment on him. This advanced line at Mason's and Munson's Hills was about twelve or fifteen miles in front of Fairfax Court-House, and was a mere picket line held ordinarily by two infantry regiments with a few pieces of artillery, while a small force of cavalry watched the flanks. From
Lt.-Colonel Arthur J. Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States, April, 1863. (search)
heavy Castilian style, elaborately ornamented. These missions are very interesting, and there are two more of them, which I did not see. In the afternoon I saw many negroes and negresses parading about in their Sunday clothes-silks and crinolines-much smarter than their mistresses. At 5 P. M. I dined with Colonel Bankhead, who gave an entertainment, which in these hard times must have cost a mint of money. About fourteen of the principal officers were invited; one of them was Captain Mason (cousin to the London commissioner), who had served under Stonewall Jackson in Virginia. He said that officer was by no means popular at first. I spent a very agreeable evening, and heard many anecdotes of the war. One of the officers sang the abolition song, John Brown, together with its parody, I'm bound to be a soldier in the army of the South, a Confederate marching song, and another parody, which is a Yankee marching song, We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple tree. Whenever I h
Lt.-Colonel Arthur J. Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States, June, 1863. (search)
e. The weather and the scenery were delightful. General Hardee asked me particularly whether Mr. Mason had been kindly received in England. I replied that I thought he had, by private individuals.f a metal recently invented by the Austrians, and recommended to the Confederate Government by Mr. Mason. They are tested by a charge of ten pounds of powder, and by loading them to the muzzle with antgeneral to the Confederate forces, and senior general in the army. He is brother-in-law to Mr. Mason, the Southern Commissioner in London. I then called upon Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of State. After passing through about two miles of bivouacs, we begged for shelter in the hayloft of a Mr. Mason: we turned our horses into a field, and found our hayloft most luxurious after forty-six milen the same direction. 23d June, 1863 (Tuesday). Lawley and I went to inspect the site of Mr. Mason's (the Southern Commissioner in London) once pretty house — a melancholy scene. It had been c
dah, Willie, after immense mental effort, asked his betrothed if he might kiss her. He had never been guilty of the offence before. Mary, delighted that Willie was at last becoming sensible, gave immediate approval. Willie accomplished the kiss, and fainted on the instant. Mary stepped back, and wishing to exonerate herself from any charges which might be brought against her, as to doing him injury, exclaimed loudly: You did it yourself! you did it yourself! As we traveled to Mason, near the State line, between Virginia and North Carolina, we came to a stream across which was a trestle bridge. Upon reaching the bridge, a rebel soldier who had been standing on the platform of the car, and who was intoxicated, lost his balance and fell through the trestle-work, a distance of full thirty feet. He was seen to fall only by Captain Crawford and myself. He was not missed, however, until we had nearly reached Petersburg, Virginia, where it was discovered when they were about
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