torches in the hands of invisible demons. But the God of Jacob was with the solitary watcher; her faith failed not even in this hour of awful extremity. As she still sat there listening to the far-away sounds of tumult, roaring flames and hurrahs and screams, there came a sudden crash in the direction of the dining-room, which opened upon a long piazza fronting a side street. She knew what it meant, and hastened thither. The windows had been burst through, though the doors were unfastened, and a horde of what scarcely seemed human creatures came pouring in, each with one or two lighted candles in his hands. There were a score or more, with faces smoke-blackened and eyes bloodshot and glaring with drink and a blind rage, which vented itself on any and everything. Several of them addressed her simultaneously. ‘Hello, old lady! where's your family? Got any sons or husbands?’ ‘My husband is off attending to his profession,’ was the reply. ‘My two sons, thank God! are in the army, though they are mere boys. If I had a dozen I would give them all to my country.’ I know how she said it—grand woman as she was!—dignified, proud, yet ever feminine. But nothing appealed to these insensate barbarians, however sweet or stately, however innocent or helpless. Some had already begun the work of pillage and burning, and while the terrified servants stood in the doorway with starting eyes, beseeching their beloved mistress to come away from the scene of destruction, she stood fearless and unmoved in the midst of starting flame and blasphemous plunder. Two had entered a closet, and were handing out to their confreres jars of preserves and such choice delicacies, as others applied their lighted candles to the upper shelves. At that moment, as a silent prayer of agonized entreaty went up from the heart of the lonely woman, a figure clad in the uniform of a Federal officer, with bare head and long, dark, dishevelled hair, his face pale and set—‘like an avenging angel’ he looked, my mother said—rushed in at the open door, a naked sword glistening in his hand. Without a word, but with apparently superhuman strength, he drove the incendiaries forth at the point of his weapon, caught the bending figure of the preserve-depredator by the waist-band, and applying his foot, sent him headforemost into the street. My mother fell on her knees before him. ‘God has sent you!’ she said, and would have kissed the hem of his garment; but he raised her with gentle deference.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
General Ewell at First Manassas .
Colonel Campbell Brown 's reply to General Beauregard .
The Merrimac and the Monitor —Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Report: [to accompany bill H. R. 244 .]
Official reports of the battle of Gettysburg .
Report of Colonel Bryan Grimes , of Fourth North Carolina .
Operations of detachment from Cashtown to Williams -Port—report of Major Charles Richardson .
From the Rapidan to Spotsylvania Courthouse .
Report of General R. S. Ewell .
Report of General A. L. Long , from 4th to 31st of May , 1864 .
Evacuation of Richmond .
Reunion of the Virginia division Army of Northern Virginia Association.
Orations at the unveiling of the statue of Stonewall Jackson , Richmond, Va. , October 26th , 1875 .
Governor Kemper 's address.
The battle of Honey Hill .
Battle of Chickamauga .
Report of Brigadier-General B. R. Johnson .
Letter from General Hagood on recapture of a flag.
The cavalry affair at Waynesboro .
General Sherman 's method of making war.
Letter from Colonel Stone .
Gleanings from General Sherman 's despatches.
The Wee Nee Volunteers of Williamsburg District, South Carolina , in the First ( Gregg 's) Regiment—Siege and capture of Fort Sumter .
The Kilpatrick - Dahlgren raid against Richmond .
Statement of Lieutenant Bartley , of the United States signal corps .
The Confederate account.
Authenticity of the Dahlgren papers.
The opening of the lower Mississippi in April , 1862 -a reply to Admiral Porter .
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