knocked down one timber from before it, and scattered the nails, charcoal, &c., over the table. One ball glanced and struck a tub behind me. My companion behind the chimney wanted to know if I was “hit.” He seemed to think a ball that struck behind me must have gone through me. This iron howitzer is the one the negroes fired when the place became too hot for the chivalry.
near Yorktown, May 3, 1862.There has been more or less firing about us all day. Just now it is perfectly quiet, though at intervals there comes back to us the music of a band in the Rebel camp. Only the song of birds, the hum of mosquitoes, and an occasional woodpecker breaks the stillness. A gun goes off now and then, but reminds me, in the quiet, of a sportsman's fowling-piece rather than of a soldier's rifle. It is past three o'clock, and the rifle-pit in which I am writing begins to afford a little shade. Now that the days are longer and we can sit out of doors, my interest in these German books increases. I wish—— would be looking about for something more, and send it out, if the mails continue regular, in about a fortnight.
Kent Court-House, Virginia, May 12, 1862.Three letters from you of different dates have just arrived. The day has been quite hot and dusty, for the passing of so many men, horses, and wagons have worn the sod away already. But how different everything looks since I received these letters! It was merely hot and dull before, now it might have been ten times hotter and duller, and these letters would have made up for all. So it would have been if they had come to me as they should, one at a time. But coming all at once, they are a greater pleasure, especially as they are all in different tones. I have finished the French books, but not “Egmont” as yet. Have just received the “Parasite,” and hope to be able to hold on to it until I finish it. If we have no longer marches than we have had recently, I shall have no trouble.
Fair Oaks, June 12, 1862.The Rebels continued throwing shell at intervals, and we had orders to go out and see if we could not silence the guns. Most of our available men had been sent in another direction; but we mustered a dozen or twenty, and went along the front of our picket lines for a good place to fire from. It was not easy to find, for the Rebel guns were protected by the nature of the ground; and that is perhaps the reason that they have been allowed to annoy us in this way with impunity. It seems, beside, to be the object not to bring
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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