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the center of the earth by a force of gravity we could fully sympathize with, it soon formed a junction in the roads and fields to the extent of four or five inches of half and half, denominated in the Low-German dialect mudde ; but later circumstances inclined certain travelers to transpose the superfluous final d and put it to use as the initial prefix of a deeply descriptive adjective. Drenched, hungry, draggled in mire, that long, lank body presented an image not unlike that reported by Daniel on the king's dream,--the head gold, the belly brass, the legs iron, and the feet clay,but the proportions were not so well observed. We were informed in animated tones that we were to draw rations that night,--but what kind of a draw it was to be we were by no means assured. We noticed that the goal was fixed a long stretch ahead; it suggested to us what we had seen offered a team of cattle tolled on by a show of forage fastened well forward of the yoke or pole. Near Evergreen Station
Gustave Sniper (search for this): chapter 9
f the inhabitants. This region had been overrun successively by the two hostile armies for the last two years, hence it was now a scene of desolation. This was exemplified within the limits of my own command. My First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Sniper, had its headquarters at Wilson's, which was in the vicinity of our conflicts on the White Oak Road; my Second Brigade, under General Gregory, made headquarters at Ford's Station, its jurisdiction covering the battlefields of Five Forks, Dinws they could lay their hands on, abusing the weak, terrifying women, and threatening to burn and destroy. This was an evil that had to be met promptly, and we construed our orders to protect the country liberally. So the First Brigade under Colonel Sniper was sent out charged with the duty of protecting the homes of the people, and the peace of the community, more especially against the depredations of the lawless negro bands, of whom there were about a thousand within my jurisdiction. For o
uthorized. I had adopted some measures of a domestic character. One of them was in the commissary's and quartermaster's departments. The lack of food among the people was a condition which laid on us an imperative duty. We had seized, of course, all the commissary's supplies belonging to the Confederacy and distributed them among the citizens. I felt obliged now to take under control all the necessities of life to whomsoever belonging, both for protection and for judicial distribution. Mills, shops, and stores were also taken under control and put in operation, and the products distributed according to need. Strict accounts were kept; debits and credits carefully adjusted to the parties concerned. Abandoned vehicles, implements, and animals, chiefly Confederate property, were seized and put in the hands of those who could make use of them for livelihood. We also had to undertake the administration of justice. There were no courts, or municipal or police officers, exercis
with a warning, I replied. I have put your house under a strict guard. It is Lincoln. I was sorry to see her face brighten with an expression of relief. The So in self-interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people. Lincoln had committed no crime in being constitutionally elected President of the United States. He then portrayed the character of Lincoln, his integrity, his rugged truth, his innocence of wrong, his loyalty and lofty fidelity to the people. Then of his audience with searching, imploring glance, he reminded the soldiers of Lincoln's love for them, and theirs for him; that brotherhood of suffering that made tk the earth guilty of a nation's blood. Better, thousandfold, forever better, Lincoln dead, than Davis living. Then admonished of the passion he was again arousiome of the delivered Capitol, and nearest, it seemed, the White House, home of Lincoln's mighty wrestle and immortal triumph. Around us some were welcoming with che
Joseph J. Bartlett (search for this): chapter 9
showed one reliance to be counted on in case the need had come. We returned at evening to our several stations, ready for anything. But no worse news came from the capital. Our soldiers, like our people, wonderfully patient in severest stress, kept their self-command even now. So the march was resumed calmly and orderly as before, and more so, now that we had free course and a fair road. In the meantime I had been assigned to the command of the First Division of the Fifth Corps, General Bartlett having been transferred to the Ninth Corps at Alexandria. Two days additional rations were issued at daylight on the 17th, and we marched out for Burkeville. Near here we were by some blunder switched off on the Danville Road, and encamped near Liberty Church by the Little Sandy River. The erroneous move being now discovered, we resumed our march early the next morning, almost retracing our steps, and finally encamped near Burkeville. On the nineteenth, the day appointed for the fun
ong the missing. As we were not to move until ten o'clock, they asked permission to gather up these mournful remnants and pack them in the empty cracker-boxes in our supply trains, to be sent to friends who would gladly cherish even such tokens of the fate of the unreturning brave. I was glad to grant this and to instruct the wagoners to take especial care of these relics on the road or in camp. And so the strange column set forth bearing in its train that burden of unlost belongings, as Moses coming up out of Egypt through the wilderness of the Red Sea, bearing with him the bones of Joseph the well-beloved. Ayres led that day; we had the rear of the column, with the artillery. Passing through Hanover Court House, and crossing the Pamunkey, we made twelve miles march and camped at Concord Church, not far from our battlefield of the North Anna and Jericho Mills. On the 8th, the Third Division led, the First following. We crossed the Mattapony and bivouacked at Milford, south
of Libby and Belle Isle prisons, which I had always carefully instructed my men never to allow themselves to get into, but to prefer death,--by which desperate tactics they sometimes saved their lives, cutting their way out of capture like madmen. But these buildings carried heavy thoughts to some among us, which ministered to silence in the ranks. Orders had been given to the Twenty-fourth Corps to pay us some attention; accordingly we passed in review along the front of that corps,--General Halleck and General Meade being in their line. These troops had instructions to present arms to every general officer by regiments in succession, and afterwards to stand at order arms. We were about as threadbare a set of fellows as was not usually seen, to use the French idiom. But we were clean and straight. We bore ourselves with greatest military precision,--that was something we could do,--mostly out of pride. Looks go for a good deal, especially when you have a previous reputation to
d so long striven; but now when we saw their terrible strength, we were not wholly sorry that we satisfied ourselves with the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and took a wide sweep to the southern flank of those entrenchments rather than fight it out on that line all summer. Out towards the old battlefields we drew, crossing the baleful Chickahominy and the unforgotten Totopotomoy, scarcely pausing until ten o'clock at night, when we were halted, after a singularly hard march, at Peake's turn out on the Virginia Central Railroad, not far from Hanover Court House. This was familiar ground for the Fifth Corps. Here it was that our First Division in the ardor of its youth made the gallant fight three years before, and where especially our Second Maine under the chivalrous Roberts proved the quality of its soldiership and manhood. In the darkness of establishing bivouac, I heard some mutterings, as I had seen some sour looks before, among the men, seeming to hold me resp
John Baptist (search for this): chapter 9
us for whatever life or death could bring. Then, a few words-such as could be spoken-introducing the occasion and its orator. His very first words deepened the passion of the music echoing in the hearts of that stern, impressionable, loving, remembering assembly. With countenance precluding speech, in measured articulation made more impressive by its slightly foreign cast, he launches forth his thrilling text: And she, being instructed of her mother, said, Give me here the head of John Baptist in a charger. The application went through men's minds with a thrill. But he took it up phrase by phrase. The spirit of rebellion against the country's life and honor, he said, incited its followers to murder the innocent and just. Even on its own showing, the cause of secession was narrow and trivial. The will of a section rooted in self-interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people. Lincoln had committed no crime in being constitutionally elected President o
with thoughts that fleck the sunshine; pondering the paradox of human loss which is gain,--not jubilant but firmstepped, reverently, as treading over graves. Warren was in the city. He had alighted here, where with corps flag in hand he had passed like a meteor infantry and cavalry and leaped the rebel breastworks down into tion; the men of the Fifth Corps, who had seen him in their front from the beginning, could not pass him now, voiceless themselves as he. General Griffin had sent Warren word that the corps would like to give him the salute of honor as they marched through the city. He accepted, and placed himself with his wife and some members oe half the corps had gone, passing the death-streams of all Virginia's rivers; two hundred miles of furrowed earth and the infinite of heaven held each their own. Warren, too, had gone in spirit, never to rise, with deeper wound than any who had gone before. There was much to interest us in this city we had held so near and ye
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