previous next

[149] pressing close upon the narrow little lane that let the White House family through. Then it was rumored that Mr. Davis had denied any despatch to him; but pandemonium reigned. Men rushed home, flew back to the Capitol Square, with shotguns, target rifles, and one stately old gentleman with his dueling pistols! Companies fell in, under any volunteering the command; same started on the terrible march to Rocketts, full three miles off; and each courier, or staff officer lashing by, followed at a run. None paused to recall that the dreaded ship was a single one; and that she would have to pass Drewry's Bluff, eight miles below.

Still the hubbub raged, in spite of formal denial from the War Department that there was any ship above Norfolk; until woman's wit calmed the storm. Some one repeated Miss Howell's quiet speech to her, on the steps of the White House. It flew from lip to lip, was caught by popular fancy, and laughed the bugaboo out of court ‘in one round.’ The President's sister-in-law had only said:

‘How is the Pawnee coming; on wheels? These people forget that there is no water above Drewry's Bluff, and her guns do not carry half the distance.’

Shame brought revulsion that reason had not, and the panic allayed itself. I may add that no one paused to analyze either the brilliant woman's hydrography or her gunnery. That was not needed.

On many a Sunday, a few months later, these same women assembled in their churches and worshipped calmly and unnoting, while the dull boom of great guns made dread discordance with the hymnal. Thence, bravely as gently, they moved almostas one, to Rocketts, Chimborazo Heights, or other hospital, to receive the incoming loved ones—of their own kith, or with unknown faces, alike—and then—

‘To do for those dear ones that woman alone in her pity can do.’

During the entire war—and through the entire South——it was the hospital that illustrated the highest and best traits of the tried and stricken people.

Doubtless, there was good work done by the women of the North, and much of it. Happily, for the sanity of the nation, American womanhood springs from one common stock. It is ever true to its own, as a whole—and, for aught I shall deny—individually. But behind that Chinese wall of wood and steel blockade,


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Rocketts (Virginia, United States) (2)
Drewry's Bluff (Virginia, United States) (2)
Pawnee City (Nebraska, United States) (1)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)
China (China) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Howell (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: