Introduction: the spirit of nationality
In Virginia, 1865.
What the war brought to the South--ruins of a mill in Petersburg just after the capture of the town by Grant.|
The end of the war—cannon useless save to be melted for plowshares|
What is in some ways the most remarkable and significant feature of the American Civil War
is generally overlooked.
Many another struggle has been rendered glorious by daring charges upon the ramparts of the foe; other armies and captains have inscribed upon their banners victories as brilliant as Chancellorsville
; other nations have poured out treasures of gold and blood in maintaining some right held sacred.
But it has remained for the American
people to present the spectacle of a fierce fratricidal conflict, prolonged to the point of exhaustion, swiftly followed by an even firmer knitting of the ties of brotherhood than had prevailed before the joining of battle.
In a word, the Civil War
, though stubbornly waged, was in many respects the most generous civil conflict of modern times.
Even in the midst of the strife, commanders on either side were frank to recognize the sterling qualities of their opponents.
A Confederate cavalry leader, in 1863, reported of his antagonists, ‘The Federals fought like devils.’
This eulogy, to be sure, is not couched in conventional terms, but that does not lessen its sincerity.
In the following year, the unrelenting Sherman
wrote to his wife concerning the people of the South
: ‘No amount of poverty or adversity seems to shake their faith: niggers gone, wealth and luxury gone, money worthless, starvation in view within a period of two or three years, and causes enough to make the bravest tremble.
Yet I see no signs of let-up—some few deserters, plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out.’
By no means was the spirit of brotherly sympathy lacking
Julia Ward Howe in 1861
The author of the magnificent Battle-hymn of the Republic was born in New York in 1819, a daughter of the banker Samuel Ward.
In 1843 she married the philanthropist, Dr. S. G. Howe, best known as the head of Perkins Institute for the Blind.
She assisted him in editing his anti-slavery journal, the Boston Commonwealth.
In 1861, at the time of this picture, she made her first trip to Washington, where her husband became interested in the work of the Sanitary Commission.
During the visit the party was invited to a military review in the Virginia camps.
On the way back she and the others in the carriage sang John brown's body to the applause of the soldiers by the roadside.
Her pastor, who was in the party, suggested that she invent better words for the tune.
That night the inspiration came; she wrote the best known of her poems and one of the finest products of the whole Civil War period.
Her later life was devoted largely to the cause of woman suffrage.
She died at Newport, October 17, 1910.|
among the private soldiers.
‘Trading and “swapping” between the pickets and between the lines became so prevalent before the war closed as to cause no comment and attract no special attention.’
General John B. Gordon
declares, ‘I should, perhaps, not exaggerate the number or importance of these evidences if I said that there were thousands of them which are perhaps the brightest illustrations and truest indices of the American
This spirit was not confined to the army.
It represented the temper of a whole people.
At the close of hostilities the South
might very easily have been converted into another Ireland
But no confiscations of conquered territory, no execution of prominent leaders ensued upon the downfall of the Confederacy
Reconstruction, it is true, was accompanied by a plundering of the already wrecked Southern resources.
But this was not so much the result of malice or political vindictiveness as of the wave of corruption that was then inundating the Nation.
The people of New York city during the same decade were contributing some seventy million dollars to support the leadership of ‘Boss’ Tweed
Whatever bitterness post-bellum politics did arouse in the South
has proved transitory.
Since that unhappy period there has been a continually deepening sense of nationality, accompanied by a constant fading of sectional antagonism.
It must not be supposed, however, that the literature of the Civil War
invariably expresses a spirit of brotherhood.
During the conflict itself there was a ceaseless effusion of poetry and eloquence which served an exactly opposite purpose.
A favorite method of instilling troops with patriotism was to proclaim loudly the cowardice of their opponents.
There were also gleeful threats of suspending conspicuous leaders from sour-apple trees and malicious attributing of wholesale mendacity to the Presidents
of the opposing Governments.
During the progress of the war such fiery ebullitions were enormously popular.
Dozens of collections, such as the Touch the Elbow Songster,
with three grim-looking volunteers
James Ryder Randall the author of |
My Maryland, at twenty-two
In 1861, just as he looked when he wrote his famous battle-cry, My Maryland, James Ryder Randall, the youthful poet, faces the reader.
Randall was born in Baltimore the first day of 1839.
His early schooling was under Joseph H. Clark, a former teacher of Edgar Allan Poe. At Georgetown College he was the smallest boy that had ever been received as a student.
After becoming known as the poet of the college, he traveled extensively in the West Indies and South America, landing in 1858 in New Orleans on his return.
Then he accepted the chair of English literature at Poydras College, a flourishing Creole institution at Pointe Coupee, Louisiana.
He was still teaching there when he learned through the New Orleans Delta of the attack on the Sixth Massachusetts in Baltimore on April 19, 1861.
That night he wrote the verses that ran like wildfire through the South and were parodied numberless times in the North.
The remainder of his days were chiefly spent in newspaper work, largely in Georgia.
He became indifferent to his poetical work, and it was owing to the insistence of his friend, Miss Lillian McGregor Shepherd, that his verse was collected.
Through her courtesy is here reproduced the intimate and appealing photograph above, a gift to her from the poet himself.
He died in 1908 in Augusta, Georgia.
glaring forth from the yellow cover and poising their bayonets ready for the charge, were issued by numerous publishers in the North
More popular still were the broadsides containing the words of a single song, sometimes beneath some brilliant parti-colored patriotic design.
One Philadelphia house advertised six hundred different productions of this nature.
Glee clubs and village socials throughout the country sang these animated effusions lustily at every gathering.
The South was the scene of a similar activity.
A Richmond house, early in the war, announced twenty-nine songs for immediate delivery.
Later, a Mobile publisher offered a prize of fifty dollars for a Confederate poem.
Among those submitted was one by an anonymous author, who requested that the prize, if awarded him, should be devoted to the relief of Confederate soldiers.
Whether this request was the determining factor in the award for literary excellence is not recorded.
Such publishing activity, however, had little influence on the life of the soldiers.
The songs about the camp-fire were started by some comrade with a strong voice and a good memory who had returned from furlough, and were taken up by less musical members of the squad and repeated on the march or in bivouac, until words and music became an unforgetable personal possession.
Such marching-songs and strident jeers are now happily passing into oblivion.
Two exceptions must be made to this sweeping statement.
The earliest poem of the conflict deserves to be treasured as one of its proudest memories.
James Ryder Randall
's fervid call of Maryland, my Maryland
will live, by reason of its martial ring and splendid vigor, long after the last vestige of the hostility that evoked it has passed away.
The other notable song is Julia Ward Howe
's Battle hymn of the Republic,
whose swinging, deep-toned measures form a significant contrast to Randall
's high-pitched lyric.
The two poems are, indeed, typical of the two sections.
One surges forward with the fire and dash of Southern temperament through an impassioned
Walt Whitman during the war
The most individual of American poets was born at Westhills, Long Island, in 1809, the son of a carpenter.
He early learned the trade of printing; at twenty he was editor and publisher of a paper.
For many years he was traveling all over the West of that day, from New Orleans to Canada.
In 1855 he brought out the first edition of Leaves of grass, at first a thin volume of ninety-four pages, later growing until it had become several times the size of the original.
At the end of the second year of the Civil War, Whitman went to Washington to care for his brother, who had been wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg.
For the next three years he served as an army nurse, chiefly in the hospitals of Washington.
The literary outcome of this experience was Drum Taps, from which the poems in the present volume are taken, and which he described as ‘a little book containing life's darkness and blood-dripping wounds and psalms of the dead.’
For several years after the war he remained in Government employ in Washington, but in 1873 he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where in 1892 he died in cheerful poverty.|
The other trumpets forth the calmer faith and determination of the North
in the reiteration that ‘God is marching on.’
Both are sectional, and one intensely so, but they will survive because they have the divine spark wanting in other martial verse of the period.
Most of the noteworthy poems, however, were inspired by stirring or pathetic incidents of the conflict—by the fall of some leader in the thick of the fight, by the dash of troops into the jaws of death, by the musings of a lonely private in faithful discharge of duty.
It is well that such poems should live into these piping times of peace to keep fresh the remembrance of American heroism on whatever field displayed.
When preserved in the amber of fit poetic form, these achievements shine with no trace of sectional pride.
The charge of Kearny
at the battle of Fair Oaks
, or Seven Pines
, as sung in Stedman
's ringing verse, is familiar to many who have never read a military account of the battle, and cannot tell whether it occurred in the first or the last year of the war. Ticknor
's ballad on the touching devotion of Little Giffen of Tennessee
will likewise go straight to the hearts of thousands who may never learn whether Johnston
was a Northern or a Southern leader.
Such instances demonstrate the capacity of the American citizen for heroism, and the poetic record of his daring should be enshrined in memory as the heritage of a reunited people.
Those greater incidents known as battles have been made the subject of numerous poetic efforts.
Virtually every important battle and many a minor engagement were seized upon by the chroniclers in verse.
Some of these descriptions are spirited, and the greater combats have attracted many different hands.
has been appropriately celebrated by both Northern and Southern poets, and each side has recognized the intrepid valor that gave undying fame to those heights of sacrifice.
Nothing in verse so grandly simple as Lincoln
's address has been produced, but Will Thompson
's The high Tide at Gettysburg
is an inspiring description of Pickett
James Russell Lowell in 1863
The poet who recited his ode at the Harvard Commemoration looked thus on that memorable occasion.
He was born in 1819 at Cambridge, Massachusetts, of a long line of eminent New Englanders.
In Harvard he was poet of his class.
During the Mexican War he won immense popularity by his series of satirical poems in Yankee dialect, collected in 1848 as The Biglow papers. In 1855 he was appointed to succeed Longfellow in the Smith Professorship of Modern Languages.
The additional distinction he had gained as editor of The Atlantic Monthly and later of The North American review made him the logical poet at the commemoration service held by Harvard University on July 21, 1865, for its students and graduates who had perished in the war. His ode, not very enthusiastically received that day, has made him the foremost poet of American patriotism.
His later life was filled with varied activities.
From 1877 to 1885 he represented this country at Madrid and London.
He continued to publish poetry and prose that made him at his death in 1891 the most eminent man of letters in America.|
though written some years after the event, reviews the three days fight in rolling strophes that preserve the elation of triumph thrilling the North
on the morrow of that stupendous conflict.
With these should be mentioned the ode of George Parsons Lathrop
, recited on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Gettysburg
before the joint meeting of Union and Confederate veterans, for, with a voice at times eloquent, it renders the spirit of brotherhood that now predominates in our thoughts when dwelling on the greatest battle in American history.
The leaders in these historic events have occasioned more eulogies than will ever be cherished.
The poet is here at a peculiar disadvantage, which can be overcome only by finding the inevitable phrase.
‘Weak-winged is song’ when compared with actual achievement, unless it rush forth from genuine enthusiasm and fine feeling.
But the silent, impassive Grant
and the quiet, chivalrous Lee
have furnished small personal impulse to poetic flight.
No cause for regret in this; they need no imperishable literature to prolong their fame to a busy and forgetful posterity.
Their deeds are their fittest memorial.
The like may be said of ‘Stonewall
, although his picturesque campaigns have been sung in the vivid, rousing stanzas of Palmer
's Stonewall Jackson's way.
Yet it remains true that fine feeling has usually been touched by the thought of men now overshadowed, of some Zollicoffer
, or Ashby
, or Pelham
The greatest figure of the war has received a more enduring commemoration.
has inspired the finest imaginative product of the period.
's mystic dirge, When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,
enthusiastically pronounced ‘the most sonorous nocturn ever chanted in the church of the world,’ though too long for inclusion in this volume, consecrates with power and deep-toned solemnity the death of all who never returned from the colossal struggle.
The ‘large, sweet soul that has gone’
Sidney Lanier in 1879
Sidney Lanier's war poems The death of Stonewall Jackson and The Tournament appear in this volume.
Lanier was born in Macon, Georgia, February 3, 1842.
In early childhood he developed a passion for music, learning to play on many instruments without instruction.
At eighteen he graduated from Oglethorpe University with the highest honors in his class.
Soon after the war broke out he marched to the front with the Second Georgia Battalion of the Macon Volunteers, served through the Seven Days Battles before Richmond, then spent two exciting years along the James in the Confederate Signal Service, and in August, 1864, was transferred to a blockade runner plying between Wilmington, North Carolina, and the Bermudas, which was captured in November of the same year.
Thereafter Lanier was imprisoned for four months in City Point Prison, Maryland.
On securing his freedom he was emaciated to a skeleton, with the seeds of tuberculosis already developing.
After the war he studied law with his father and practised for a time, but when it became apparent that he might not survive for many years, he courageously determined to devote his powers to music and literature.
He settled in Baltimore in 1873 as first flute in the Peabody Symphony Concerts, eagerly studied the two arts of his love, attracted attention by his poems, and received national recognition in 1876 through the invitation to write the Centennial ‘Cantata.’
A noble feature of his writings is the absence of all sectionalism and the broadly national spirit that breathes through his verse.
In 1879 he was appointed to a lectureship in literature in the recently founded Johns Hopkins University.
He was winning recognition when the end came in 1881 in the mountains of North Carolina.|
was there mourned in a symbolic way, but Whitman
spoke in a poignant, personal way in O Captain, my Captain,
which, partly on that account and partly because of its more conventional poetic form, has become much more popular.
Loftier in its flight is the ode recited by Lowell
at the Harvard
commemoration for her sons slain in battle.
The idealism of the poet there attained its most inspired utterance, and in particular the section on Lincoln
has been taken up by the whole Nation as the highest and truest characterization of the martyred President
The features thus commemorated, however, are not peculiar to our Civil War. There have been other occasions for the display of heroism, other fields where pathetic incidents call for tears, other conflicts where leaders have arisen whom whole nations have delighted to honor.
What is peculiar to the American Civil War
is the generous feeling of reconciliation—the spirit of nationality which has developed since the close of hostilities.
When once the battle was joined, the forces of common tradition and of common blood asserted themselves inevitably.
Numerous poems depicted scenes on the battlefield where sons of the same mother clutched each other in the death-grapple.
A Southern production, popular throughout the land, was John Reuben Thompson
's Music in Camp,
which in simple rimes pictured the soldiers of the recently contending hosts as hushed into silence by their recollections of home.
But it is a striking fact that, in the beginning of hostilities, the poems on the Southern
side were much more intense and inspired than those produced in the North
Only the fear of dissolution aroused in all its strength the latent devotion to the central Government.
Only then throughout the North
They closed the ledger and they stilled the loom,
The plough left rusting in the prairie farm;
They saw but ‘Union’ in the gathering gloom;
The tearless women helped the men to arm.
Henry Timrod in 1865
Henry Timrod, born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1829, devoted himself during all his brief life to the service of his native city and State.
During his early education in the Charleston schools his love of poetry was already apparent.
After leaving the University of Georgia, on account of ill-health and lack of means, he studied law for a time in Charleston.
His poetic convictions led him to withdraw from the profession and accept a position as private tutor.
Among the literary men of the city he soon became known as one of the choicest spirits.
At the outbreak of the Civil War he entered service as a volunteer, but was ordered back by the physician as soon as he reached the front.
He fired Southern hearts with several martial lyrics, proclaiming the resolution of the Confederacy to fight to the death and inspiring thousands to an intenser determination.
Up to 1864 he was an army correspondent.
In that year he settled in Columbia as an editor of the South Carolinian.
In 1867 he died of tuberculosis, courageous to the end. His biographer records that ‘His latest occupation was correcting the proof-sheets of his own poems, and he passed away with them by his side, stained with his life-blood.’|
Brigades from towns—each village sent its band,
German and Irish—every race and faith;
There was no question then of native land,
But—love the Flag and follow it to death.
The close of the war, to be sure, was attended with a temporary widening of the breach between North and South.
The destruction of a whole social order and the disfranchisement of the greater part of its best citizenship produced a depth of alienation which four years of armed conflict had only begun.
In the North
, a few politicians found it advantageous to foment as much hostility to the recently embattled section as possible.
But even during this period the spirit of reconciliation was abroad.
Those noble phrases, ‘with malice toward none, with charity for all,’ that closed Lincoln
's Second inaugural
expressed a very general attitude among the mass of the people.
Several Decoration Day odes during the height of Reconstruction breathed the same spirit.
's line, ‘Foes for a day and brothers for all time’ epitomized the calmer feeling of the victorious section, and Judge Finch
's The blue and the gray
so perfectly echoed the generosity of both North and South that it became a national classic.
was hardly a half-dozen years in the past when a bill of general amnesty was passed by Congress.
made a notable speech on the subject, and though his proposals were more liberal than the majority was willing to adopt, the debate showed that the political atmosphere was beginning to clear for a broader and more generous view of Reconstruction.
That the leading spirits of the South
were not behindhand in these sentiments was made abundantly evident by one of the most notable orations ever delivered in the House of Representatives.
, it will be remembered, had been foremost among the leaders in the negro legislation of Congress.
Yet it was on the death of Charles Sumner
that L. Q. C. Lamar
, congressman from Mississippi
, melted the members
Lucius Q C. Lamar in 1879
Taken only five years after his Eulogy of Sumner, this photograph preserves the noble features of Lamar as he stood before the House of Representatives in 1874.
He was born in Georgia in 1825, studied at Emory College in that State, graduating at twenty; and soon began the practice of law. In a few years he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he became a professor of mathematics in the State University, and continued his legal practice.
His reputation as a speaker dates from 1851, when he met Senator Foote in joint debate and borne from the platform in triumph by the students of the University. Six years later he went to Congress from that district.
During the war he served in the army until his health gave way, when he was sent as commissioner to Russia.
In 1872 he was elected to Congress.
Two years later, he was the best known Southerner in Washington because of his Eulogy of Sumner. From 1877 to 1885 he represented Mississippi in the Senate.
In 1885 he became Secretary of the Interior under Cleveland, and in 1887 he was appointed to the Supreme Court, where he served with distinction.
His death in 1893 called forth tributes to his noble character and high patriotism from North and South alike.|
of the House
to tears and woke the applause of the Nation by a eulogy conceived in the most magnanimous temper and closing with a plea for a fuller understanding and a closer union.
How quickly the prayer was being answered appeared in 1876.
The hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence
was celebrated by the International Industrial Exhibition
The honor of writing the official cantata for this national occasion was conferred upon the Southern
poet, Sidney Lanier
The cantata, composed for Dudley Buck
's music, was sung ‘in the open air, by a chorus of many hundred voices, and with the accompaniment of a majestic orchestra.’
Daniel Coit Gilman
thus describes the occasion: ‘The devotional exercises awakened no sentiment of reverence.
At length came the cantata.
From the overture to the closing cadence it held the attention of the vast throng of listeners, and when it was concluded loud applause rang through the air. A noble conception had been nobly rendered.’
The same glorification of American freedom was expressed by Lanier
in the freer poetic form of the Psalm of the West,
and by including the revised ballad, The Tournament,
he voiced his own joy at the uniting of the recently antagonistic sections.
The celebration itself, followed by the immense wave of enthusiasm that ran over the country, and taken in connection with the withdrawal of Federal troops from the South
in the early weeks of the Hayes administration, was significant in many ways.
In the South
, it marked the return to power of the responsible classes; in the North
, the return of political parties to something nearer equality; and in the country as a whole, the confirmation of a conviction, arising from the panic of 1873, that problems unconnected with the war were in most pressing need of solution.
The resulting consciousness of national unity, deeper and broader than had existed before, was hastened by the gathering of economic forces for an unparalleled material development.
The civilization of the South
was in a few
Henry Woodfin Grady: the herald of the new South
The Southerner who made himself famous, in 1886, by his New York address on ‘The New South’ was born in Athens, Georgia, in 1851.
After graduating at the University of Georgia, in his native town, he studied in the University of Virginia.
His qualities of leadership appeared at an early age while he was editing the Courier of Rome, Georgia.
The proprietor would not allow him to print an article denouncing a political ring, whereupon young Grady bought two other papers of the town, combined them, and carried on his campaign.
After some experience on the New York Herald he served as reporter on the Atlanta Constitution.
In 1880 he purchased a fourth interest in the paper and became the managing editor.
He was soon recognized as a moving spirit in the progress of his city and the whole South.
The reputation he gained as a speaker and editor secured him the invitation from the New England Society of New York to respond to the toast, ‘The South,’ at its banquet on December 22, 1886.
The response, which was largely impromptu, was copied all over the country and brought him to a position of national importance.
Some critics, however, consider his speech before the Merchants' Association of Boston in December, 1889, a superior performance, It was also his last.
Hardly had he returned home when the whole Nation was grieved by the news of his death, on December 23, 1889.
Every leading newspaper in the country commented upon his labors for the progress of brotherly feeling between the North and the South.|
years transformed from the purely agricultural condition of ante-bellum times.
Coal and iron were found in untold quantities beneath the fertile soil.
Manufactures developed with astonishing rapidity.
Railways and telegraph lines spread a network over the entire section.
Millions of Northern capital were poured in a quickening stream upon these newly springing industries.
Amid such absorbing and multifarious activities, the old alienation receded into a hazy background.
The South was no longer a peculiar section founded on a distinct civilization.
It shared the interests of the whole mighty and growing Republic, and it became proud of this unification, eager to have its part in the national life everywhere recognized.
The most conspicuous Southern leader in the progress of nationalization was Henry W. Grady
, of Georgia
His father, a Confederate soldier on the staff of General Gordon
, met his death at Petersburg
in the attack on Fort Stedman
only two weeks before the surrender at Appomattox
Yet the son looked back on the conflict with no feeling of bitterness.
‘With the eyes of a statesman and the heart of a patriot,’ he lent his great energy, his talent for organization, his influence as a journalist to fostering the spirit of activity that had now awakened throughout his section.
Better still, in all his public speeches he endeavored to bring about a more thorough understanding between the North
and the South
A recognition of his prominence came in the first invitation extended a Southerner to address the New England Society of New York city.
His address on the evening of December 22, 1886, not only brought him national renown, but became one of the most important events in the unification of the once-sundered sections.
The illness and death of Grant
, in 1885, had already shown to what extent cordiality of feeling was displacing the old antagonism and alienation.
From all over the country came messages of sympathy during the last months of his life, especially at the time when it was thought he was at death's door.
Among his last words were: “I am thankful for the providential
Oliver Wendell Holmes in war-time
Something of Holmes' gracious personality and his fastidious care for personal appearance may be traced in the portrait.
The writer of Brother Jonathan, the first selection in this volume, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1809.
He graduated from Harvard at the age of twenty.
At twenty-one he was famous for the stiring verses, Old Ironsides, which preserved the old frigate Constitution from destruction.
In 1836, after several years spent in studying medicine both in Harvard and abroad, he began practice in Boston.
It is said that he made the announcement, ‘The smallest fevers thankfully received.’
Certainly he is best known as a humorist.
After some twenty years he was an honored professor in the Harvard Law School and a much sought after poet for social occasions.
But in 1857 his series of essays in The Atlantic Monthly, under the title The Autocrat of the breakfast table, brought him national recognition.
Their wit and humor have made them the most popular essays written in America, and they have gained wide reception in England.
He also wrote three novels, the best known of which is Elsie Venner. Many of his poems, such as The last Leaf and Dorothy will long continue to give him a warm place in the public heart.
The poem in this volume, Brother Jonathan's lament for sister Caroline, is characteristic of Holmes' kindly disposition—striking as a piece of prophecy before the war had really begun.
The last thirty-four years of his life, ending in 1894, were filled with a large variety of literary work.|
extension of my time to enable me to continue my work.
I am further thankful, and in a much greater degree thankful, because it has enabled me to see for myself the happy harmony which has so suddenly sprung up between those engaged but a few short years ago in deadly conflict.”
's gratitude was well founded.
With only insignificant exceptions, the Southern
press showed that the harmony was real.
So representative a newspaper as The Mobile Register
used this language: ‘The South unites with the North
in paying tribute to his memory.
He saved the Union
For this triumph-and time has shown it to be a triumph for the South
as well as the North-he is entitled to, and will receive, the grateful tribute of the millions who in the course of time will crowd this continent with a hundred imperial States, and spread to the world the blessings of republican freedom.’
's thankfulness for the spirit of brotherhood was shared by the survivors of the hosts he led. From July 2 to 4, 1887, was held the most impressive celebration of the decade, the joint meeting on the field of Gettysburg
of the survivors of the Philadelphia
brigade of the Union
army and of Pickett
's division of the Confederate army.
As part of the program, it was intended to return the Confederate
standards captured by the Pennsylvania
The plan failed because of the political turmoil of the time, but the failure did not lessen the heartiness of the good feeling that characterized the occasion.
The next year, the Grand Army of the Republic furthered these cordial relations by holding a reunion with the veterans of the Confederate armies on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the great battle.
Some three thousand old soldiers were in attendance.
The well-known Georgian, General John B. Gordon
, delivered an earnest and eloquent address.
The New Englander, George William Curtis
, followed him. One who was present reports that “his tribute to Confederate valor and the purity of Confederate motives was all that any Southerner could have desired, and brought a genuine glow of pleasure over Longstreet
One of the most American of American authors, the novelist Francis Bret Harte is represented in this volume by three poems that reveal the lighter vein of his versifying.
The Aged stranger is purposely humorous.
John Burns of Gettysburg is half-humorous.
A Second review of the Grand Army has touches of wit in spite of its solemn subject.
Harte was born in Albany, New York, in 1839.
The gold-fever caught him at fifteen; he wandered to California, where he made more at school-teaching than at gold-digging.
At eighteen, he entered newspaper life as a typesetter, and soon worked up to the position of editor-in-chief of the Weekly Californian. From 1864 to 1867, while secretary of the United States Mint in San Francisco, he wrote most of his Civil War poems and many humorous verses that made his name familiar in both East and West.
During the next two years he was editor of the Overland Monthly, publishing in it his best-known stories—The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Outcasts of Poker flat. In 1871, he left for New York, to devote all his time to writing.
Beginning with 1878, he held a succession of consular appointments.
In 1885 he settled in England, where he lived till his death in 1902.
A born story-teller; Harte put into his vividly realistic scenes from early California life a racy swing combined with universal sentiment that made him popular both at home and abroad.|
tranquil face, and won vigorous applause from his sinewy hands.”
That the survivors of the Southern
armies were as loyal to the Union
as the survivors of the Northern
came out very clearly in those same years.
In 1887, Adjutant-General Drum
suggested the return of the Confederate
battle-flags then in the War Department at Washington
to the governors of the States from whose troops they had been captured.
accordingly ordered their return, but on account of dissatisfaction in some quarters soon revoked the order.
When Governor Fitzhugh Lee
, of Virginia
, heard of the Northern
protest he declared: ‘The country should not again be agitated by pieces of bunting that mean nothing now. The South is part and parcel of the Union
to-day, and means to do her part toward increasing its prosperity and maintaining the peace of the Republic
The leading Southern newspapers treated the subject in a similar spirit.
The Atlanta Constitution
said the flags would have been received ‘as a solemn pledge that the last spark of resentment between the two best armies the sun ever shone on had died out forever.’
It at the same time recorded its belief that ‘the great American heart can neither be misled nor deterred.
It has determined that there shall be peace. . . . The war is over; its results are fixed; its passions are dead, and its heroism and sacrifices have bound this people together as they were never bound before.’
It was, then, no exaggeration for that eminent Mississippian, L. Q. C. Lamar
, in his oration at Charleston
, the center of secession, at the unveiling of the statue of Calhoun
, the apostle of States' rights, to declare that the appeal to arms in 1861 guaranteed and established ‘the indissolubility of the American Union and the universality of American freedom.’
How true this was proving was demonstrated in 1898 by the War
That ninety days expedition was more influential than any other one event in drawing North and South into relations of exultant brotherhood.
Richard Watson Gilder as a cadet of the war days
Born in Bordentown, New Jersey, on February 8, 1844, Richard Watson Gilder was educated at Bellvue Seminary, an institution conducted by his father in Flushing, Long Island.
At the age of twelve he was publishing a newspaper—a sheet a foot square, entitled The St. Thomas Register, for which he wrote all the articles, set all the type, and performed all the press-work.
As a member of Landis's Philadelphia battery, he enlisted for the ‘emergency campaign’ of the summer of 1863, and took part in the defense of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when Lee made the invasion of the North ending at Gettysburg.
His long editorial career began the next year, when he joined the staff of the Newark Advertiser, of Newark, N. J. In 1869 he became editor of Hours at home.
When it was absorbed by the old Scribner's Monthly, Doctor J. G. Holland retained young Gilder as managing editor.
Thus at twenty-six he had attained high literary influence.
On the death of Doctor Holland, in 1881, Gilder became editor-in-chief of the same magazine, re-named The century. His many poems, chiefly lyrical, gave him distinguished standing among American poets.
But his interests exceeded the bounds of literature.
All kinds of civic progress engaged his energies.
He rendered valuable service in tenement-house reform in New York City and in promoting civil-service reform over the country at large.
He died on November 18, 1909.|
moved all discrimination against former Confederate officers, and one of the conspicuous Southern leaders entered the service of the armies against Spain
Newspapers and magazines were filled with expressions of cordiality, such as Joined the Blues
and Wheeler at Santiago.
This new patriotism was no spasmodic affair of the moment.
Political parties were still fervidly debating about imperialism and the colonial policy when the assassination of McKinley
, in 1901, startled the whole country.
Professor William P. Trent
, an acute observer, remarked to me in conversation: ‘I recall vividly how I had to make a flying trip from North to South at the time, and how impressed I was with the fact that not a particle of difference
could be noticed between the sections-both were deep in grief. . . . I should say that few events of our time have brought out our essential unity more clearly than his assassination.’
The justice of Professor Trent
's observation is apparent from a dramatic episode of the next year.
When General Charles Francis Adams
, a veteran of the Union
armies, a New Englander, and the descendant of a long line of distinguished New Englanders, delivered his eulogy on Robert E. Lee
, in 1902, it was a sign that extremes had indeed been reconciled.
More expressive of popular feeling was an incident almost unnoticed at the time.
On February 24, 1905, a bill for returning the Confederate
flags was passed in Congress without a single dissenting vote, without even a single moment's debate.
This action was the result, not of careful prearrangement, but of spontaneous unanimity among the representatives of an harmonious people.
With this impressive proof of the completeness of American union, this record appropriately closes.