Part II. for young people.
Chapter 1: Nelly.In the early autumn, on a lovely afternoon, a little girl sat upon the stile which led from a spacious farmyard into a field of newly-mown wheat. In her hand she held a long switch, and her business was to watch the motions of a large flock of fowls, which, as is usual at harvest-time, had been kept in their coop all day, and only let out for an hour or two, just before sunset, to run about in the grassy yard, seeking bugs and worms, or other dainties, which they alone know how to find. Of course they could not be allowed in the field before the grain had been safely garnered, so Nelly had been permitted to mount guard upon the stile, the better to observe and control them. She quite felt the importance of the trust, and, holding her switch as proudly as if it had been a sceptre, was eager and quick to discover occasions to use it. Many a staid and demure-looking hen, or saucy, daring young chicken, had stolen quite near to her post, stopping every few moments to peer cautiously around, or to peck at a blade of grass or an imaginary worm, as if quite indifferent to the attractions presented  by the field beyond, but just as they had come close to the fence, thinking themselves unnoticed, Nelly would jump from her perch, and, with a thwack of the switch, send them squawking back to their companions. At length, however, the child seemed to grow weary of her task. Slowly descending to the ground, she walked toward the barn, and, returning with her apron full of corn, opened the door of the chicken-house, and, having enticed her charge within, shut them up for the night. This done, Nelly wandered aimlessly about for a while, then, sitting down upon a large stone, which seemed to have been rolled under a tree just to make a nice seat, she looked around in an impatient and discontented manner. The sights and sounds which surrounded her were very pleasant, and—one would have imagined—exceedingly attractive to a child. The rays of the declining sun, slanting across the grassy yard, brightened up the low, brown farm-house until the oldfashioned glass door and latticed windows on either side seemed as if brilliantly lighted from within. One might easily have imagined it an enchanted castle. The mossy roof looked as if gilded. In front of the house the well-bucket, hanging high upon the sweep, seemed dropping gold into the depths beneath. On the porch, upon a table scrubbed ‘white as the driven snow,’ were set the bright tin pans ready to receive the evening's milk. Within the house the maids were singing gayly as they passed to and fro preparing a substantial supper for the farmer. Outside, the creaking wagons were being driven into the barn-yard. Gentle oxen, released from their daily toil, stood patiently waiting to be fed. Horses, with a great deal of stamping and fuss, were led into the barn. Up the lane came the cow-boy, alternately whistling, singing, and cracking his whip, until at length the drove of  sweet-breathed cows stood lowing at the bars, which, at milking-time, would be let down for them to pass each to her own stall. Nelly seemed to see and hear nothing that was passing around her. The shadow upon her face deepened; the sweet blue eyes filled with tears. At last she rose, and, crossing the stile, passed rapidly through the wheat-field, climbed a low stone wall and presently came to a green knoll, shaded by a sycamore-tree, commanding a view of the public road. Here she stood, eagerly gazing down the road, while seemingly struggling to subdue a sorrow which, however, soon found vent in heart-broken sobs. Still searching the road with anxious, tearful eyes, she seemed to hesitate for a while, but at last, after casting many a fearful glance toward the farm-house, the little girl began to descend the high bank, slipping many times, and sadly scratched by the rough gravel and projecting roots of the trees. Having reached the bottom, she did not pause a moment, but drew her light shawl over her head and ran swiftly away. And now let us try to discover the cause of all this trouble. My dear young friends, have you ever heard of a disease called ‘nostalgia?’ A long, hard word, and one which contains a world of terrible meaning. It is a kind of sickness which attacks not only children, but also strong and wise men, who have been known to suffer, nay, even to die, because they could not obtain the only remedy which ever does any good. Nostalgia means homesickness. Poor little Nelly was homesick, and in desperation she had fled, hoping to find, not her own dear, Southern home, for that she knew she could never see again, but the house of her grandmamma, where she had some time  before left her dear mother. The little girl had, ever since she could remember, lived very happily with her parents in their lovely Virginia home. An only child, she was petted to her heart's content, having scarcely a wish ungratified. But when the war began her papa became a soldier. Nelly thought he looked very grand in his uniform of gray with its red trimmings and bright buttons, and rather liked the idea of having a soldier papa. But after he had gone away she missed him dreadfully. Her mamma was always so pale and sad that the child also grew anxious, and could no longer enjoy her play. At first letters from the absent soldier cheered them, but as the months passed they ceased to hear at all, except the wild rumors which often frightened and distressed the anxious wife. ‘Maum Winnie,’ an old negro servant, who claimed to have ‘raised Mars Ned’ (Nelly's papa), now proved a faithful friend and a great comfort to her mistress; but Nelly, missing the old woman's cheerful talk and the laugh that used often to shake her fat sides, thought she had grown cross and exacting. The bright morning sunlight sometimes made the little girl forget to be sorrowful, and when her ‘Ponto’ came frisking around her, she gladly joined him in a wild romp. Immediately Maum Winnie would appear, the very picture of dignified astonishment,—‘Now, Miss Nelly, ain't you “shame” ? Yer pore mar she bin had a mity onrestless night, an‘ jes' as she 'bout to ketch a nap oa sleep, yere you bin start all dis 'fusion. Now, her eye dun pop wide open, an‘ she gwine straight to studyina agin.’ The days passed, each made more gloomy by rumors of the near approach of the enemy. At last, one dreadful night, a regiment of Federal soldiers suddenly appeared, and at midnight Nelly and her mamma were compelled to seek shelter in Maum  Winnie's cabin. The next morning only a heap of smoking ruins remained to show where their sweet home had been. The plantation owned by Nelly's papa was some three miles distant from the family residence; therefore, only the few servants necessary for household service lived upon the ‘home place.’ Their cabins, somewhat removed from the house, had escaped the flames. Maum Winnie's was larger and better furnished than any, and far more attractive in appearance. A rustic fence, built by her old husband, ‘Uncle Abe’ (long since dead), enclosed a small yard, where grew all kinds of bright, gaudy ‘posies,’ with here and there a bunch of mint or parsley or sage, and an occasional stalk or two of cabbage. Over the little porch were trained morningglories and a flourishing gourd vile. Beneath, on each side, ran a wide seat, where, in the shade, Maum Winnie used to sit with her knitting, or nodding over the big Bible which on Sunday evening she always pretended to read. The neat fence was now broken down, the bright flowers all trampled and crushed by the feet of men and horses. Inside also, the once spotless floor was muddy and stained with tobacco, all the old woman's treasures being broken and scattered. Amid all this confusion, in the little front room, once the pride of Winnie's heart, was carefully placed almost the only thing saved from the burning, an easy-chair, cushioned upon the back and sides, and covered with old-fashioned chintz. How the faithful soul had managed to get it there no one could have told, but there it stood, and Winnie said, ‘Dat ar wos ole mistes' cheer, and she sot in it plum twill she die. Ole Winnie couldn't stan‘ an‘ see dat burn, nohow.’ Upon the little porch sat Nelly and her mamma on the morning after the fire, worn out with excitement, and feeling utterly forlorn. Soon Winnie  appeared, bearing upon a gay red tray two steaming cups of coffee. Mrs. Grey took only a sip or two, then setting the cup upon the bench at her side, she grasped the arm of her old servant, and, leaning her head upon the faithful breast, began to sob and moan piteously. Nelly at this also cried bitterly. Tears streamed down Winnie's fat black cheeks. But the faithful negro tried to soothe and comfort her mistress, patting her shoulders as if she had been a baby, saying, ‘Dah! Dah! honey, don't take it so haad. Try to truss in de Lawd. He dun promus, an‘ he aint gwine back on nobody. I's dun sperience dat.’ At last, won by Nelly's caresses and Maum Winnie's coaxing, the weary lady consented to take some repose in ‘ole missis' cheer,’ where, leaning her aching head upon the cushioned side, she fell asleep. Nelly greatly enjoyed the strong coffee (which she never before had been allowed to drink). It made her feel very wide awake. Presently she strolled off toward the adjoining cabins. These were quite empty, the men-servants having disappeared with the Federal soldiers the night before, the women had followed to their camp not far distant. Not a living thing was to be seen; even the chickens had disappeared. The whole scene was very desolate,—the smoking ruins, the deserted cabin, a cloudy sky. Soon the child remembered her playfellow, Ponto, and began to call him. A doleful whine answered her, seeming to proceed from under one of the negro cabins. Nelly stooped to look, but could only see two glowing eyes, and hear the knocking of the dog's tail upon the ground. Ponto had been so badly frightened that no coaxing or ordering would induce him to come out. So his little mistress walked angrily away, and, passing through the broken gate, stood looking up and down the road. Presently there came riding  along a Federal officer on horseback, who, discovering the forlorn child, stopped to speak to her. Nelly's first impulse was to run away, but, instead, she stood clinging to the gate-post, kicking the ground with one foot and flashing angry glances at the ‘Yankee.’ The officer sighed deeply as his glance fell upon the ruined home, and then upon the little, tear-stained face before him. Dismounting, he approached more closely, and strove to take the unwilling hand. But the child now broke into a storm of sobs, crying out, ‘Go away! you're a naughty Yankee, and I hate you. ‘You ails’ have burnt up my mamma's pretty house, and all our things, and my mamma just cries and cries; but my papa is gone to fight the “Yankees,” and I hope he will shoot them all!’ The soldier slowly paced back and forth. ‘Ah,’ said he, softly, ‘if this were my little Ida: God bless her Little girl, where is your mamma? Perhaps I can help her. Will you lead me to her?’ The child had hidden her face upon her arm, but now looked up in affright. ‘You won't hurt my mamma? You ar'n't going to burn up Maum Winnie's house?’ said she. Gradually his kind face and gentle manner reassured her, and she was, at last, persuaded to convey to her mother a few lines which he pencilled on a card. To Nelly's surprise, Mrs. Grey consented to receive the ‘Yankee.’ The little girl was sent to conduct him to the cabin. The lady was standing at the door as the officer and his little escort drew near. Nelly thought she had never seen her mamma look so pretty. Her eyes wereshining, a lovely red spot glowed upon each cheek, but she did not smile as she used to do when receiving a guest, and, while offering the stranger a seat, she remained standing, looking very tall and grand.  During the conversation which followed, Mrs. Grey learned that as a battle was imminent at the front it was impossible to pass her through the lines (which had been her hope when she consented to see the officer). It was equally impossible to remain where she was. Her only place of refuge was her mother's home in Maryland, where she had been raised, and had lived previous to her marriage. Promising to arrange for her transportation to the nearest railroad station, the kind-hearted officer took his leave. When Maum Winnie was told of the proposed journey, she was greatly troubled. But when Mrs. Grey further informed her that she was free and not expected to make one of the party, her distress knew no bounds. Rushing out of the cabin, she seated herself on a log at some distance, and, throwing her apron over her head, rocked her body to and fro, wailing out, ‘Oh, my hebbenly Marster, 'pears like I aint fitten to bar all dis trouble. An‘ how dem dar gwine to do 'out ole Winnie?’ After a while, drawing her pipe and tobacco from her pocket, she sought the comfort of a smoke. Just then, Ruthy, the cook, made her appearance with a large bucket on her head. Flaunting past the old woman, she entered the kitchen without a word, and set about preparing a supper for the hungry inmates of the cabin. Where the material came from she declared was ‘her bizness,’ and her saucy manner and independent talk so confounded Maum Winnie that she asked no more questions, concluding that ‘Mars Yankee sont 'em ana made dat gal fetch 'em.’ Mrs. Grey and Nelly had few preparations to make for the morrow. The child, soon after sunset, threw herself across the foot of the high feather-bed which  stood in a corner of the cabin, and slept soundly. Maum Winnie, taking off her shoes, bustled about in her stocking-feet, apparently very busy. Her movements were for some time unobserved by her mistress, who was lost in thought. At last, kneeling before the fireplace, she reached up the chimney and brought out from its hiding-place an old, black tea-pot, with a broken spout. From this she took several papers of dried ‘yarbs,’ some watermelon-seed, an old thimble, a broken tea-spoon, a lock of ‘de ole man's ha'r,’ and lastly, the foot of an old stocking, firmly tied up. This last it took some time to undo, but finally, approaching Mrs. Grey, she turned out into the astonished lady's lap what proved to be a collection of gold and silver coins, the hoarded savings of years, the gift of many whom she had served. ‘Why, Winnie,’ said Mrs. Grey, ‘what does this mean? Where did you get this money, and why do you give it to me?’ ‘Wall, Miss Ellen, yoa see, ez fur back ez ole mass an‘ mists' time, me an‘ my ole man usen to wait on de wite gemplums an‘ ladies wot come to de big house, an‘ de ole man he mity clus-fisted, an‘ nebber spen‘ nuffin, an‘ scnce he die, an‘ ole mass an‘ miss dey gone, too, Mars Ned he dun tuk mity good keer of ole Winnie, an‘ I nebber bin had no excessity to spend dat money, so I's kep‘ it an‘ kep‘ it, ontwill ‘pears like de Lawd he dun pint out de way fur it to go. ‘Sides, we all's gwine way off yander, an‘ we can't ‘pear no ways ‘spectable ‘dout little cash money.’ ‘But, Winnie, only Nelly and I are going away. You are free now, and will find other friends, and——’ ‘Dah! Dah! honey,’ broke in the poor old creature, ‘don‘ say no mo! I's ‘bleeged to go ‘long. Wat I want to be free for? Who gwine keer ‘bout me? ‘Sides,  I dun promus Mars Ned I gwine to see to you an‘ dat chile yander, an‘ I's gwine ‘long shuah.’ Wearied and exhausted with the discussion, and unwilling to grieve her husband's faithful old nurse, who still clung to her own fallen fortunes, Mrs. Grey ceased to object, but resolutely refused to take the money, which Winnie reluctantly gathered up and carried out of the room, to seek among the numerous secret pockets she always wore a secure hiding-place for her treasure. This decided upon, while Mrs. Grey sank into an uneasy slumber in the chair, the old woman made a little fire just outside the back shed, where, with her pipe now lighted and now ‘dead out,’ she nodded and dozed until morning. Nelly awoke at sunrise, bewildered at her strange surroundings, then oppressed and sadly grieved by recollections of all that had happened. Catching sight of her mother's pale, suffering face, the child flew to her side, seeking to cheer her by fond caresses. Just then the sound of wheels was heard as the ambulance-wagon, which was to convey them to the railroad, drew up before the door. The driver dismounting, announced that, as the camp was about to be broken up, Colonel——desired the ladies to start at once, adding that ‘the colonel would ride over to see them off.’ Their loss by the fire had been so complete that there was no baggage. Nelly was glad to wear a clean, white sun-bonnet of Winnie's, and Mrs. Grey was similarly equipped with a black one and a small black shawl. Maum Winnie appeared in full Sunday rig, her head crowned with a towering head-handkerchief. Her manner was lofty and imposing. Evidently she was aiming to support the family dignity, which had been quite lost sight of by the others, Mrs. Grey being far too sorrowful, and Nelly, in spite of everything, gay  and excited at the prospect of a ride and a change. Putting on her brass-rimmed spectacles, the old woman inspected, with an air of supreme contempt, the ‘turnout’ before the door, occasionally rolling her eyes toward the driver in a manner that spoke volumes, but was quite lost upon ‘dat po “ wite trash, who ” spected Miss Ellen to git in dat ole market-wagon.’ After the others were seated, Winnie disappeared within the cabin, and, after much delay, came out dragging an immense bundle. She had tied up in a? gorgeous bed-quilt her feather-bed and pillows with,—nobody knows how many things besides. The driver sprang to the ground in consternation. ‘Hey, old nigger, what's in that great bundle? You can't lug that along. What you got in there, anyhow?’ ‘Dat my bizness,’ retorted Winnie. ‘You is too inquisity; “sides, who you call nigga” ? I's a “spectable cullud ooman, and Mars Ned nebber ” low nobody to call me outen my name.’ Mrs. Grey vainly tried to restore peace; her voice was not even heard; but just then Colonel——rode up, and as Winnie seemed inclined to stand her ground, he gave her a choice between mounting at once to a seat beside the driver or being left behind. Then perceiving that Mrs. Grey seemed quite overcome by emotion, and wishing to remove her as quickly as possible from the desolate scene before her, he gave the order to drive on, and, raising his hat, rode off towards camp before the lady could find voice to express her gratitude. A few hours' ride brought the refugees to the railroad station, where they took the cars for——, the home of Nelly's grandmamma. Here a warm welcome and entire comfort awaited them. Nelly had often spent weeks at a time with her grandmamma, and was delighted to find all her old haunts as  pleasant as ever. Her dolls, toys, books, etc., had been carefully kept. Better than all, she discovered a fine Newfoundland puppy and a litter of pretty white kittens to console her for the loss of Ponto. One day, when they had been at grandmamma's only a fortnight, Nelly saw a neighboring farmer drive up to the front gate, and ran gladly to meet him, for farmer Dale was a cheery old man, who had always seemed very fond of the child. Now, however, he looked very grave, merely shaking hands, then bidding Nelly tell her grandmamma that he must see her at once, ‘and, Nelly, you need not come back,’ said he, ‘I have business with your grandma.’ Soon after the farmer drove away, while grandmamma returned to the house, wearing a very serious face, and after sitting in the darkened parlor awhile, apparently thinking deeply, passed slowly into her daughter's room. Then Nelly heard a faint cry from her mamma, and hurrying into the house, found her excitedly walking up and down, wringing her hands, and crying, ‘I must go to him! I must, I must!’ A letter received by farmer Dale from his son, who was a Confederate soldier, had contained the news that Mr. Grey was wounded and a prisoner. Just where was unknown, or whether his wounds were severe or perhaps fatal. This news rendered the poor wife almost frantic. All night she paced the floor in sleepless agony. Next day the farmer paid a second visit, and was for a long time closeted with the distressed ladies. Afterward, Mrs. Grey seemed more restless than before, requiring the constant attention of both grandmamma and Maum Winnie. Thus a week passed. Suddenly, one morning farmer Dale again appeared, and this time very smiling and gracious to Nelly. ‘Chatterbox,’ said he, ‘how would you like to ride home with me and stay awhile, until your mother gets  better? You can run about over there, and make all the noise you want to; nobody will mind it.’ Nelly could not tell whether she would like or not. It was very dull where she was, but she did not care to leave her poor mamma. Grandmamma, however, decided the matter by assuring her that Mrs. Grey needed perfect quiet, and would be better without her. So the little girl ran off to Maum Winnie to be dressed for her ride. Arrived at the farm-house, the kindness of the family, and the novelty of everything she saw, so charmed the child that for a while she was quite content. Little tasks were, by her own request, assigned to her, easy and pleasant, but seeming to the child of great consequence. But, in spite of all, homesickness attacked her; she grew weary of everything, and begged to be taken to her mamma. The kind farmer and his wife tried to turn her thoughts from the subject, telling her she could not go just then; but day by day Nelly became more dissatisfied, the longing for home grew stronger, until, on the evening when this begins, she actually ran away. And now let us see what became of her. Once on the road, Nelly ran very fast, until, almost breathless, she found herself compelled to rest awhile in a little grove by the roadside. Scarcely had she seated herself upon the grass when the steady trot, trot of a horse was heard. She had barely time to hide behind a large tree when one of the farm-hands passed on his way from the mill. It seemed to Nelly that the slight rustle of the leaves under her feet must betray her, and the loud beatings of her heart be heard. But the boy passed on, and soon his low whistle, as well as the measured beat of the horse's hoofs, grew fainter. However, all danger was not over, for just as she was about to venture forth, the panting of some animal  startled her. For a moment her terror was extreme. This changed to chagrin and vexation as Rover, the farmer's dog, ran to her hiding-place and fawned upon her. Having followed the farm-boy to the distant mill, the poor dog, growing weary with his long run, had fallen far behind. Now Rover and the little girl had been great friends, and had enjoyed many a romp together, but just then his presence made her very cross; so, seizing a large stick, she beat the poor fellow until he ran yelping away. Left alone once more, Nelly set off in the direction of town. Having often, in her rides with grandmamma, passed along the same road, she thought she knew the way; but night was approaching. It appeared to the child that darkness must bring added danger. Besides, she would soon be missed at the farm, pursued, overtaken, and carried back. This dread gave her fresh courage, and again the young traveller walked rapidly on. Before she had gone far, a light wagon overtook her. In its driver she gladly recognized an old man who sometimes supplied her grandmamma with vegetables. He drew up in great astonishment as Nelly called to him, but at her request allowed her to climb to the seat beside him. As they approached the town, the heart of the runaway began to sink; a sense of her disobedience, and the knowledge that it would add to the grief of her dear mother, and, perhaps, greatly displease grandmamma, oppressed her sorely. She decided that she could not face them just then. Begging the old man to put her down at the nearest corner, the unhappy little girl approached the house by a back entrance, and, concealed amid the shrubbery, stood trembling and weeping. The lamps had been lighted, and from the windows of the dining-room a bright ray shone out upon the lawn, seeming almost to reach the place where the child was  hidden. Within was a pleasant little group gathered around the tea-table. To her great surprise, Nelly discovered her mother busily engaged in arranging upon a waiter covered with a white napkin a nice supper, while grandmamma added a cup of steaming tea. Winnie stood by as if waiting to carry supper to somebody, but Nelly was puzzled to know for whom it was intended. Just then, however, the gate-bell rang loudly. Winnie hurriedly caught up the waiter and disappeared as the opposite door opened to admit farmer Dale. His first words seemed greatly to disturb and alarm the ladies. Grandmamma quickly arose with a cry of grief and horror. Mrs. Grey stood motionless, her eyes fixed on the farmer's face, her hands pressed to her heart. Nelly could bear no more. Rushing impetuously into the house, she threw both her arms around her frightened mother, crying,— ‘Oh, mamma, grandmamma, I am not lost, but I have been so naughty. I wanted you so, and I ran away. Oh, let me stay; please let me stay.’ The mother sank into a chair, her arms instinctively enfolding her naughty child, but she did not kiss or welcome her. Grandmamma, too, looked very grave and troubled. After a few minutes of painful silence, the farmer took his leave, saying,— ‘I'll leave you to settle with the little one. I must make haste to relieve my wife's anxiety.’ After his departure, the penitent nestled more closely to her mother. She felt sure of her love and forgiveness, and hoped that grandmamma might not be too severe, although she fully expected a good scolding and some kind of punishment besides, which she meant to bear quite meekly. To her surprise, neither mentioned her fault. Her mother seemed to be thinking of something else, and Nelly did not at all understand the queer  looks which passed between the ladies. At last Winnie put her head in the door, evidently to deliver some message, for she began, ‘Mars——,’ when Mrs. Grey started up suddenly, saying,— ‘Oh, Winnie, here is our Nelly,’ while the child sprang forward to throw herself on the breast of her astonished nurse. ‘De Lawd er Massy I Whar dat chile cum from dis time oa nite?’ ‘Why, Winnie,’ explained grandmamma, ‘she has run away from the farm, and here she is. Did you ever hear of such badness?’ ‘Dab, now!’ cried the negro, ‘didn't I tole you dat? I jest know dat chile wasn't gwine to stay nowhar ‘dout her mar an‘ me. Po‘ chile, she look mity bad, ‘deed she do.’ ‘Well, Winnie, never mind that now, she is only tired; let her eat her supper and go tobed.’ Nelly had expected, at the very least, to be sent supperless to bed, but instead, grandma gave her all she could eat, and, but for the strange preoccupied manner which so puzzled her, the child would have been very comfortable. When, led by her mamma and attended by Winnie, she went up-stairs she found that her couch had been removed into her grandmamma's room. ‘You will be better here,’ explained Mrs. Grey, ‘for I am very restless and might disturb you.’ Nelly was just conscious of an unusual bustle in the passage outside, and of hearing voices and footsteps going up to the third story; but, too sleepy to pay attention, she soon ceased to hear anything. When she awoke the morning was far advanced, and her grandmamma was not in the room. While she lay thinking over the strange events of the day before, Maum Winnie appeared with some fresh, clean clothes upon her arm.  ‘Mornina, little missy,’ said she, pleasantly; ‘is you gwine ter sleep all day?’ Nelly sprang up and was soon dressed. Running into her mamma's room, she found it all in order, the sweet wind and the morning sun coming in freely through the open windows. Mrs. Grey, however, was not there; nor did she find her in the breakfast-room, where only grandmamma sat waiting to give the child her breakfast. Upon the sideboard stood a tray which had contained breakfast for somebody; Nelly wondered who, and suddenly asked,— ‘Is mamma sick?’ ‘No, she is quite well now,’ was the reply. ‘Well, did she eat breakfast with you?’ ‘Yes.’ The child again glanced toward the sideboard, and at last asked plainly,— ‘Whose breakfast is that yonder, and who did you all send supper to last night?’ ‘Nelly,’ said her grandmamma, sharply, ‘eat your breakfast, and ask no more questions. Little girls should be seen and not heard.’ The child obeyed, but remained curious, and determined to find out the mystery, if she could. Soon her another came in, kissed her affectionately, and stood for a few moments by her chair, smoothing back her curls just as she used to do. Nelly thought gladly of the happy day she would spend at her mother's side, but Mrs. Grey disappointed her by saying,— ‘My daughter, you must play as quietly as possible to-day, and don't run or romp near the house. I am far from well, and very nervous.’ The little girl, however, drew her mother out of the room upon the vine-shaded gallery, where they walked up and down for a few moments. But Mrs. Grey still  seemed ill at ease, and soon returned within the house. Then Nelly ran down the steps and across the lawn in search of her old playmates, the kittens and the puppy, visited the garden and summer-house, where she occupied herself in arranging a bouquet for her mamma. At last it seemed to her that it must be nearly twelve o'clock; so returning to the house, and finding the lower rooms deserted, she wandered into the kitchen, where she found Maum Winnie broiling some birds and preparing some nioe toast, while near by upon the kitchen-table was a waiter ready to carry up the delicate lunch to somebody. Nelly at once began,— ‘Oh, Maum Winnie, who are those birds for? Where is the cook? What are you in the kitchen cooking for?’ Winnie seemed wonderfully flurried and confused by all these questions, and Nelly was equally disconcerted at finding the old woman so cross. ‘Jes' listen to de chile!’ cried Winnie. ‘Wot you makina all dis miration ‘bout? I nebber seed nobody so inquisity as you is. De cook she dun leff, an‘ I's cookina ontwill yer grandmar git somebody. Ef you don‘ belieb me, ax yer mar. Ennyhow, I's gwine to ‘quaint yer mar with yer conduck, axina so many perterment questions.’ ‘But, who are the birds for?’ persisted Nelly. ‘I know mamma never eats birds, and grandmamma isn't sick.’ ‘I ‘clar, Miss Nelly, I's outdone wid you. Go outer heah, ‘fore I calls yer grandmar.’ Nelly left, still very curious and dissatisfied. Having wandered about aimlessly for a while, the little girl at last strayed into the empty parlor, and there sat down to consider. Suddenly she heard a stealthy step upon the stairs. At the same time a faint  odor of broiled birds saluted her nostrils. Nelly crept softly to the door, just in time to see her grandma ascending the flight of stairs leading to the third story. ‘Now,’ thought the child, ‘I will find out what all this means.’ Waiting until the old lady had passed out of sight in the corridor above, she stealthily followed. All the doors of the rooms in the third story were closed, but through an open transom came the sound of voices. Listening eagerly, she heard her mamma speaking, and in reply a voice which set her heart beating wildly and made her dizzy with surprise. In a moment she was vainly striving to open the locked door, screaming loudly, ‘Papa! oh, papa!’ Instantly the door was opened, and she found herself dragged inside the room, her grandma's hand placed closely over her mouth, while her mother, in a hoarse whisper, said, ‘Nelly, for pity's sake hush, no one must know.’ Gazing about her with wildly-distended eyes, the frightened girl beheld, reclining in an easy-chair by the bedside, her dear papa, but, oh, so pale, so changed. A small table drawn closely to his side so as to project over the arm of the chair held a large pillow covered with oil-cloth, upon this lay one arm, which, with the shoulder, was entirely bare; just under the collar-bone appeared a frightful wound, over which Mrs. Grey was preparing to lay a linen cloth wet with cool water. Nelly gasped for breath and turned very white, but when her papa held out his well hand towards her with the old sweet smile she so well remembered, she ran to his side and nestled there, still trembling and sobbing, for she had been frightened, first by the rough treatment of her grandma, and yet more by the changed appearance of the dearly loved father, who, as it seemed to her, must be dying. As further concealment was useless, Nelly was taken  into the confidence of the ladies, who, however, seemed almost in despair lest the child in some thoughtless manner should betray the secret so anxiously guarded. A short time before the visit to the farm a dreadful battle had been fought in Virginia, not many miles from the State-line, near which stood the house of Nelly's grandma. It so happened that the regiment to which Mr. Grey belonged had participated in the fight, and at the conclusion he found himself badly wounded and a prisoner. Having been ill previously, the wounded soldier was unable to be marched off with other prisoners, but was left, as all supposed, to die. The tide of battle rolled on, leaving the field where the fight began strewn with the dying and the dead. A blazing sun poured its intolerable light and heat upon the upturned faces and defenceless heads of hundreds of suffering, dying men, adding frightful tortures to the pain of their wounds. When the dews of night came to moisten parched lips, to cool aching brows, Mr. Grey managed to drag himself to a stump near by, and placing his back against it, waited hoping to gain a little more strength. His mouth was parched and dry, but he had not a drop of water. Suddenly his eyes fell upon a canteen lying at no great distance, almost within reach of his hand; with infinite pain and trouble be at last possessed himself of it. It was not quite empty, but just as Mr. Grey was about to drink, he heard a deep groan, and turning, met the imploring eyes of a Federal soldier. He was but a youth, and had been shot through the body and mortally wounded. His parched lips refused to speak, only the earnest eyes begged for water. Mr. Grey at once handed him the canteen, although he felt almost as if he would die for want of the water it contained. Eagerly the dying boy drank. It seemed as if he must take all, there was so very little, but after a swallow or  two he resolutely handed it back, gasping, ‘God bless—— . Left you some.’ When the moon arose, its rays fell upon the dead young face of the boy in his gory blue, whose last words had been a blessing upon the wounded, exhausted soldier in gray sitting beside him. Later came help,—old men who, starting when the first news of the battle reached them, had ridden miles guided by the sound of the firing. Most of them were Marylanders, who had sent forth their sons to battle for the Confederate cause, and who now sought among the dead and dying with dim, anxious eyes for the loved faces they yet prayed not to find. Among them came farmer Dale, whose son was a Confederate soldier. Eagerly he examined the faces of those who lay upon the bloody field. All, however, were strange, until at last he came upon Mr. Grey. Carefully assisting him to reach an old cabin which stood near, he made the suffering man as comfortable as possible, then, without loss of time, set out to convey the news to Mrs. Grey. Now, it would seem that the very easiest thing would have been to carry the wounded soldier at once to the house of his wife's mother to be nursed and cared for, but it must be remembered that the Federal army had been shown in many ways that they were considered as invaders by the people of Maryland, and that their presence was obnoxious and hateful. They, on the other hand, considered all Southern sympathizers as traitors to their flag and their country. Every open expression of such feelings was severely punished. Had it been known that any Confederate soldier was harbored or concealed in any house within the Federal lines, the owners would have been arrested together with the soldier they had hidden, their house would probably have been burned. So it was necessary in the case of Mr.  Grey to observe great secrecy and to plan carefully his removal. My readers will remember that Nelly was suddenly sent off to stay at the farm-house. Then Maum Winnie took occasion to pick a quarrel with the white servants, in which she succeeded so well that they both left in high displeasure. Shortly afterward, one dark night, Farmer Dale drove up to the carriage gate with a high-piled load of hay. There was a great deal of ‘geeing’ and ‘hawing’ and fuss, and then, instead of getting down, the farmer called out,— ‘Say, are you all asleep?’ At once Maum Winnie's voice was heard inquiring,— ‘Who dat?’ ‘Hey, old girl, come down here and open the gate. I've brought your hay, but I got stalled on the way, and it's too late to put it up to-night. I'll have to drive the wagon in and leave it. I'll unload it in the morning.’ Maum Winnie shut the window, and soon was heard shuffling along the carriage-road, grumbling to herself. ‘'Fore de Lawd, I is plum wore out. I dun wuk sence sun-up, an‘ dere dat ar fodder fotch here jes' es I gwine ter lie down.’ This pretence of ill-humor was kept up until the wagon was well out of sight from the street and driven up under a shed close by the kitchen-door, when poor old Maum Winnie came up close and whispered,— ‘Is you brung Mars Ned shure 'nuff? Oh, whar he? tell Winnie whar he!’ Just then the two ladies stole out from the house and came close to the wagon. Both seemed calm and self-possessed, save that the hurried breathing of Mrs. Grey showed her excitement. A light might have betrayed them, and they dared not run any risks. No time was now to be lost. Mr. Grey was, indeed, concealed among  the hay, and needed immediate attention, for the long ride had greatly increased the pain and fever of his wound. Slowly he crept out from his hiding-place, and, with the assistance of the farmer and Winnie, managed to reach an upper room, where he sank exhausted, yet with a contented sigh, on the comfortable bed which had been for days awaiting him. Under the loving care of the ladies and Maum Winnie he slowly improved. No one had suspected his presence in the house until Nelly discovered him, as above related. Mr. Grey scarcely dared to hope that the little girl would be able to keep the secret, but all was explained to her. She was made to understand the extreme danger to all concerned in case of discovery. The trust reposed in her made the child feel quite womanly. Every day she became more helpful, a greater comfort to her anxious mamma, better able to assist in nursing. Weeks passed, bringing renewed health and strength to the soldier, who began to feel very anxious to rejoin his command. Various plans were discussed, but none appeared practicable. Rumors of an advance of the Confederate forces, and of an impending battle, became every day more like certainties. At last, one morning all were startled by the sound of heavy guns; later, volleys of musketry could be plainly heard. Federal troops marched at double-quick through the town, on their way to the scene of strife. All day the fight raged. Sometimes the sound of firing would seem nearer, then farther off; at nightfall it ceased. When it became quite dark, Mr. Grey, bidding them all farewell, hurriedly left the house, hoping to join some detachment of Confederates during the night, and to participate in the battle next day.  The next day was fought the battle of——, which raged almost in sight of the town. Nelly was, of course, in a state of great alarm and excitement, but both her mamma and grandma were carefully preparing the house for the reception of the wounded. Soon every room was occupied, and the ladies had their hands full in attending to them. On the second day a wounded Federal was brought to the house. While nursing him, Mrs. Grey learned that he was a private in the regiment commanded by Colonel——, the officer who had so kindly assisted in her time of need. He told her that the colonel had been terribly wounded and carried to a hospital on the battle-field. Mrs. Grey at once determined to find him, and, if still alive, to do him all the good in her power. So, summoning farmer Dale, she rode with him to the hospital. Being an officer, Colonel——was easily found. He had just suffered amputation of an arm, and was weak from loss of blood, but recognizing Mrs. Grey, smiled and seemed glad to see her. It was impossible to move him, but from that time he lacked nothing that could add to his comfort. Later, Nelly was allowed to visit him, frequently bringing flowers, and in many pleasant ways cheering his loneliness. Meanwhile the Confederate forces had swept on into Pennsylvania, but, alas, were forced back. When they returned to Virginia, Mrs. Grey and Nelly went with them, for both preferred to risk all chances rather than to remain within the Federal lines, cut off from all communication with the husband and father who might at any time need their services. So they became ‘refugees,’ living as did thousands of homeless ones, as best they might. Maum Winnie having proved her skill as a nurse, found plenty of employment. Her wages, added to the little Mrs. Grey could earn by her needle,  kept them from absolute want. At last came the sad day of ‘the surrender.’ Nelly was yet too young to understand the sorrow and despair of her mother, nor could she refrain from exceeding wonder when one day Mr. Grey appeared, looking like an old and haggard man, and without a greeting to his wife and child, tottered to a seat, throwing his arms upon the table, burying his face within them, while he moaned and sobbed as only a man can. Kneeling by his side, his wife tried to soothe and comfort him, but although he was able at last to restrain his grief, it was many a day before he was seen to smile. There was nothing left for the impoverished family but to return to the old Virginia home, and try to make the best of it. They were compelled to travel as best they could, sometimes walking many miles, sometimes taking advantage of a passing wagon. At-last one evening, just as the sun was setting, they approached the home-place, once a blooming paradise, now a desert waste. The cabin of Maum Winnie with a few of the servants' houses were still standing, but deserted and desolate. Doors, log fireplaces, etc., had been torn down for firewood, and in many places patches of charred wood, or dead embers, showed where camp-fires had been lighted. The little garden in front of Maum Winnie's cabin, made and carefully tended by ‘de ole man,’ was a wilderness of weeds among which flowers of rank growth still struggled for a place. Where the chimneys of the ‘house’ still stood, and all over the half-burned trunks of once beautiful trees crept and clung sickly-looking vines, springing from the roots which had once nourished a luxuriant growth and were not wholly dead. As Mr. Grey surveyed the scene, a deep groan burst from his lips; but the wife laid her hand upon his shoulder, saying, ‘Courage, dear, we will make a home  even here.’ Maum Winnie here stepped to the front, briskly leading the way to the little cabin, followed by Nelly, who, child-like, entered readily into any plan that promised to be novel and exciting. Everything of value had been carried off, but a few chairs and a bed with a shuck mattress remained, together with a few pots and pans. The fireplaces were also ready for use. Winnie soon had a cheerful fire, while Nelly set out on the top of a box the remains of the rations they had brought along, and which with some steaming coffee of parched corn formed the evening meal. Ten years later a plain but tasteful cottage occupied the site of the ruined home. Fast-growing vines were doing their best to rival the luxuriant foliage which once almost hid the old house. A well-kept garden perfumed the air and delighted the eye. Fields ripe for the harvest occupied the land where the negro cabins had stood, forming an effective background to the newly-repaired and whitewashed house of Maum Winnie, which stood, a pleasant feature of this scene of peace and plenty, its fences intact, posies blooming as of old. On the little porch sat the old woman, dozing over her knitting. The gallery of the house was occupied by a family group, who were enjoying the fresh coolness of the evening out of doors. Mrs. Grey sat upon the upper steps arranging some flowers, which were supplied to her as she called for them by a lovely boy, who had just brought his apron full of them. Nelly, swinging in a hammock, was a picture of lazy enjoyment. The attention of all was attracted by the sound of wheels, which ceased as a carriage drove up containing a gentleman and lady, and a young lady who sat by the driver (an old negro who was often employed as a driver and guide by strangers). Nelly ran down to the gate, followed by her mother. The gentleman  had by this time descended. One glance at the empty sleeve was enough, even if the kindly face had not been so little changed. It was Colonel——, who, having business in Richmond, had ‘stopped off’ at the wayside station for a few hours, that he might endeavor to find the Greys, and introduce to his wife and daughter the kind friends who had so faithfully nursed him when wounded, and also show them the scene of incidents often related to them. The ladies having been introduced, the strangers accepted a cordial invitation to alight. While they were chatting pleasantly upon the vine-shaded gallery, Mr. Grey rode into the yard upon a strong-looking white mule. The greeting of the soldiers was courteous and pleasant. The contrast between them was striking indeed. The one clad elegantly and fashionably, his shirt-front blazing with diamond studs, his hair and beard luxuriant and carefully kept. The pleasant eyes untroubled and smiling. The other in the plain garb of one who must earn his bread, coarse but scrupulously neat. The face bronzed from exposure, the hair damp with the sweat of toil, and yet, when the brown, hardened hand of the Virginia gentleman met the white clasp of the rich man of the North, Mr. Grey lost nothing by comparison. Colonel——having laughingly inquired after Maum Winnie, the whole party repaired to her cabin. The old woman received her guests with stately politeness, holding her turbaned head high, as she majestically stalked before them to show, at their request, her chickens, ducks, and pigs. She omitted nothing that was due to her visitors, but there was a strained politeness, and a rolling of her eyes toward them, which made Mrs. Grey uneasy and quite prepared her for what followed. While Colonel——was in the act of saying  something which he thought would quite win the old creature's heart, she looked up at him over her glasses, saying,— ‘Yer ain't seen nuffin er dat ar fedder-bed yet, is yer? Kase ole Miss she dun giva me dat ar bed too long to talk about, an‘ ebery one ob dem fedders was ris rite on dis yere place. 'Fore de Lawd, if ole Miss know I dun loss dat ar bed she gwine ter rise rite outen de grabe.’ Colonel——, remembering the scene of the disaster to Winnie's feather-bed, felt inclined to laugh heartily, but wishing to mollify the old creature preserved his gravity while he offered her quite a handsome sum ‘to buy some more feathers.’ A look from Mr. Grey put a stop to the old woman's talk. Soon the visitors took their leave, having given and received most pleasant impressions. Their visit recalled so vividly their time of trial and adventure that the Greys sat talking far into night. The next morning Mr. Grey walked over to the cabin to administer a rebuke to Maum Winnie. As he drew near the gate the quavering voice of the old woman was heard singing jerkily, and with a pause between every few words,— “Aldo yer sees me gwine 'long so,
I has my troubles heah below.”
At last, discovering Mr. Grey, she rose and dropped a courtesy. ‘Mornina, Mars Ned.’ ‘Well, Winnie, you forgot your Virginia raising yesterday. What is all this about your feather-bed?’ ‘Well, Mars Ned, dey dun stole it.’ ‘Who stole it?’ ‘Dah, honey, de Lawd only knows, an‘ he ain't gwine  ter tell. I dun loss it anyhow, an‘ my pore ole bones mity sore sleepina on dem shucks.’ Mr. Grey, finding that the old creature's grievance was very real to her, refrained from scolding, and, passing out through the little flower-garden, proceeded to the stable to feed the stock, a piece of work which before the war had employed many hands, but which now was performed by himself, assisted only by one negro man. Upon the summer air rang the sweet voice of Nelly as she sang at her work. In the scented garden Mrs. Grey with her little boy weeded and trimmed and twined the lovely flowers, feeling really a greater delight in the fruit of their labor than if they had no real acquaintance with the flowers, but only received them from the hands of a gardener. Dear reader, we must now say farewell to our Nelly. Let us hope that the clouds which darkened her childhood and early youth have passed never to return, and that although ‘into each life some rain must fall,’ her rainy days may be few and far between.
Chapter 2: brave boys.I believe I may safely say that no cause ever fought for, no army ever raised, numbered among its adherents and soldiers so many mere boys as rallied around ‘The Bonnie Blue Flag,’ bringing to its defence the ardor of youth, added to unquestioning loyalty and Spartan bravery. Aye, more wonderful, more worthy of admiration than the bravery of the Spartan youth, because our Southern boys had, up to the beginning of the war, known nothing of hardship or danger. Yet they met with splendid courage all that fell to their lot as soldiers, fighting with an impetuosity and determination which equalled that of the oldest veterans. My book contains already many instances of lofty courage and patient endurance as shown by boys. I will add one or two incidents worthy of record. In one of the companies of the Third Lee Battalion was a bright Irish boy named Flannagan, who had been brought to Virginia by one of the officers as his attendant. During the seven days fight around Richmond this child, having procured a small shot-gun, fought with the best of them, coming out safe and sound. I learned this little history from a soldier who knew the boy. Flannagan now lives in Texas. It is well known that the boys of the Virginia University did excellent service under ‘Stonewall’ Jackson. Here is a story of some other school-boys, related to me  by their teacher, himself a brave soldier who lost an arm in one of the battles around Richmond. When Wilson's raiders reached Charlotte County, Virginia, preparations were made by the Home Guards, aided by a few veterans who happened to be home on furlough, to check their further progress. Breastworks were thrown up on the south side of Stanton River, the railroad bridge was blockaded, and a gun placed in position to defend the passage. Colonel Coleman, who was at home on furlough, gave it as his opinion that these precautions must be supplemented and supported by rifle-pits on the north side, or no successful defence could be made. The pits were hastily dug, but, when volunteers were called for, the extreme danger prevented a hearty response. None appeared except a few old soldiers and six or seven school-boys, whose ages ranged from fourteen to sixteen. The Yankees advanced in line, in an open plain, about two thousand strong. A rapid fire was opened from the rifle-pits and from the gun on the railroad bridge. After a few minutes the enemy retired, reformed, and came on again, but were again routed as before. Although the boys held a place where many a veteran would have quailed, they stood their ground nobly, and did a soldier's duty. After the fight was over, two of them had a quarrel regarding a Federal officer whom both shot at and both claimed to have killed. These were Virginia boys, the sons of veterans, and attending a local school. The raid came to grief soon after, being routed by Fitz-Hugh Lee. Thomas Hilton, of Uniontown, Alabama, volunteered  in the ‘Witherspoon Guards,’ Twenty-first Alabama Regiment, at the tender age of fourteen. He was too small to carry a musket, and was detailed as a drummer boy. At the battle of Shiloh he threw away his drum and so importuned his captain for a gun that it was given him. Shortly after, while in the thick of the fight, he was shot through the face, the ball entering one side and passing out at the other. Rev. N. I. Witherspoon (chaplain of the regiment) found him lying upon the ground, bleeding to death as he then supposed, and knelt beside him to pray. To his surprise the boy looked up, the fire in his eyes unquenched, and gasped out while the blood gushed afresh at every word,— ‘Yes—chaplain—I'm—badly hurt—but—I'm—not— whipped.’ Thomas Hilton still lives in Uniontown, Alabama, respected by all who know him. His fellow-citizens regard the ugly scar which still appears upon his face with pride and reverence. The battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, was one of the most hotly-contested and bloody of the war, the loss in men and officers being terrific. The tide of battle rolled on, through lofty pine forests, amid tangled undergrowth, and over open fields, where the soldiers were exposed a to storm of shot and shell, and where, on that beautiful Sunday morning, hundreds of the dead and dying strewed the ground. While the battle was at its height it became necessary, in order to secure concerted action, to send dispatches to a certain point. The only way lay across a ploughed field, exposed to a terrific fire from the enemy, whose target the messenger would become: and it seemed as if certain death must be the  fate of any one who should attempt to run the gauntlet. And yet the necessity was met. A boy of eighteen years stepped forth from the ranks of Company G, Crescent Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers, and offered to perform this dangerous service. Dashing on through a perfect hail of shot and shell, stumbling and falling over the furrowed ground, struggling up and on again, he passed unharmed, successfully executing his mission. His escape was so miraculous that one can only account for it by the belief that God gave his angels charge concerning him. The name of this valiant boy—James V. Nolan—should live in history. He still lives, and has been for years secretary of the Cotton Exchange at Shreveport, Louisiana.
Chapter 3: the young color-bearer.The story of ‘The Little Apron’ was written up by Major McDonald, of Louisville, to be read at a meeting of veterans of Association Army of Northern Virginia, Kentucky Division. It is true in every particular,— indeed, a matter of history. I have given it a place here because I feel sure that many of my young readers will remember having seen the apron in question, and will like to read its full history. It was very kindly loaned to me, during the New Orleans Exposition, by Major McDonald, and was on exhibition at my tent (‘The Soldiers' Rest’), among many other Confederate relics, where it never ceased to be an object of profound interest and veneration. Hundreds of people handled it. Veterans gazed upon it with moistened eyes. Women bedewed it with tears, and often pressed kisses upon it. Children touched it reverently, listening with profound interest while its story was told. The little apron was of plain white cotton, bordered and belted with ‘turkey red,’—an apron of ‘red, white, and red,’ purposely made of these blended colors in order to express sympathy with the Confederates. It yet bears several blood-stains. The button-hole at the back of the belt is torn out, for the eager little patriot did not wait to unbutton it. There is another hole, just under the belt in front, made when the wounded boy tore it from the staff to which he had nailed it to conceal it in his bosom. The story as told by Major McDonald is as follows:  In the spring of 1863, while the Army of Northern Virginia was encamped on the Rapidan River, preparing for that memorable campaign which included the battle of Gettysburg, there came to it, from Hampshire County, Virginia, a beardless boy, scarcely eighteen years of age, the eldest son of a widowed mother. His home was within the enemy's lines, and he had walked more than one hundred miles to offer his services to assist in repelling a foe which was then preying upon the fairest portions of his native State. He made application to join Company D, Eleventh Virginia Cavalry, which was made up principally from his county, and, therefore, contained many of his acquaintances, and seemed much surprised when told that the Confederate government did not furnish its cavalry with horses and equipments. Some members of the company present, who noticed his earnestness and the disappointment caused by this announcement from the officer, said,— ‘Enroll him, captain; we will see that he has a horse and equipments the next fight we get into.’ On faith of this promise he was enrolled,—James M. Watkins, Company D, Eleventh Virginia Cavalry, Jones's Brigade. Shortly afterward the campaign opened with the fight at Brandy Station, in which twenty thousand cavalry were engaged from daylight to sundown. Before the battle was over Watkins, mounted and fully equipped, took his place with his company. It was not long after this engagement that General Lee advanced the whole army, and crossed into Maryland, Watkins's command covering the rear. During the battle of Gettysburg, on the 3d and 4th of July, we were engaged several times with the enemy's cavalry on our right, upon which occasions he was always found in the front, and while on the march was ever bright and cheerful.  On the evening of the 4th, General Lee, in preparation for his retreat, began to send his wagons to the rear in the direction of Williamsport, when it was found that the enemy's cavalry had gone around our left and taken possession of a pass in South Mountain, through which lay our line of march. To dislodge them required a stubborn fight, lasting late into the night, in which General Jones's brigade was engaged, and he himself, becoming separated from his men in the darkness, was supposed to have been captured or killed. Finally the Federals were repulsed, and the wagon-train proceeded on its way to Williamsport. In the morning Watkins's command was ordered to march on the left flank of the train to prevent a renewal of the attack upon it, and on approaching Hagerstown those in the rear of the column heard loud and repeated cheering from the men in front. After having been in an enemy's country fighting night and day, in rain and mud, those cheers came to those who heard them in the distance as the first rays of sunshine after a storm. Many were the conjectures as to their cause: some said it was fresh troops from the other side of the Potomac; others that it was the ammunition-wagons, for the supply was known to be short; while others surmised that it was General Jones reappearing after his supposed death or capture. Whatever the cause was, its effect was wonderful upon the morale of those men, and cheers went up all along the line from those who did not know the cause in answer to those who did. When the command had reached a stone mill, about three miles southeast of Hagerstown, they found the cause only a little girl about fourteen years of age, perhaps the miller's daughter, standing in the door wearing an apron in which the colors were so blended as to represent the Confederate flag. A trivial thing it may seem to those  who were not there, but to those jaded, war-worn men it was the first expression of sympathy for them and their cause that had been openly given them since they had crossed the Potomac, and their cheers went up in recognition of the courage of the little girl and her parents, who thus dared to give their sympathy to a retreating army, almost in sight of a revengeful foe. When Company D was passing the house the captain rode up and thanked the little girl for having done so much to revive the spirits of the troops, and asked her if she would give him a piece of the apron as a souvenir of the incident. ‘Yes, certainly,’ she replied, ‘you may have it all,’ and in her enthusiasm she tore it off, not waiting to unbutton it, and handed it to the officer, who said it should be the flag of his company as long as it was upon Maryland soil. ‘Let me be the color-bearer, captain,’ said young Watkins, who was by his side; ‘I promise to protect it with my life.’ Fastening it to a staff he resumed his place at the head of the company, which was in the front squadron of the regiment. Later in the evening, in obedience to an order brought by a courier, the Eleventh Cavalry moved at a gallop in the direction of Williamsport, whence the roll of musketry and report of cannon had been heard for some time, and, rejoining the brigade, was engaged in a desperate struggle to prevent the Federal cavalry from destroying the wagons of the whole army, which, the river being unfordable, were halted and parked at this point, their principal defence against the whole cavalry force of the enemy being the teamsters and stragglers that General Imboden had organized. The Eleventh Cavalry charged the battery in front of them, this gallant boy with his apron flag riding side by side with those who led the charge. The battery was taken and retaken,  and then taken again, before the Federals withdrew from the field, followed in the direction of Boonsboroa, until darkness covered their retreat. In those desperate surges many went down on both sides, and it was not until after it was over that men thought of their comrades and inquiries were made of the missing. The captain of Company D, looking over the field for the killed and wounded, found young Watkins lying on the ground, his head supported by the surgeon. In reply to his question, ‘was he badly hurt?’ he answered, ‘Not much, captain, but I've got the flag’ and, putting his hand in his bosom, he drew out the little apron and gave it to the officer. When asked how it came there, he said that when he was wounded and fell from his horse the Federals were all around him, and to prevent them from capturing it he had torn it from the staff and hid it in his bosom. The surgeon told the captain, aside, that his leg was shattered by a large piece of shell, which was imbedded in the bone; that amputation would be necessary, and he feared the wound was mortal. ‘But,’ he added, ‘he has been so intent upon the safe delivery of that apron into your hands as to seem utterly unconscious of his wound.’ After parting with his flag the brave boy sank rapidly. He was tenderly carried by his comrades back to Hagerstown, where a hospital had been established, and his leg amputated. The next morning his captain found him pale and haggard from suffering. By his side was a bouquet of flowers, placed by some kind friend, which seemed to cheer him much. The third day afterward he died, and was buried in a strange land, by strangers' hands, without a stone to mark the place where he sleeps. Thus ended the mortal career of this gallant youth, who had scarcely seen sixty days service; but though  he lies in an unknown grave, he has left behind a name which should outlast the most costly obelisk that wealth or fame can erect. Gentle as a woman, yet perfectly fearless in the discharge of his duty, so sacred did he deem the trust confided to him that he forgot even his own terrible sufferings while defending it. Such names as this it is our duty to rescue from oblivion, and to write on the page of history, where the children of our common country may learn from them lessons of virtue and self-sacrifice. In his character and death he was not isolated from many of his comrades: he was but a type of many men, young and old, whose devotion to what is known as the ‘lost cause’ made them heroes in the fullest acceptation of the term, flinching from neither suffering nor death itself if coming to them in the line of duty.
Chapter 4: bravery honored by a foe.The following story was written out for me by Eddie Souby, of New Orleans, while I was acting as assistant editress of the Southern Bivouac. It was related to him by his father, E. J. Souby, Esq., formerly a gallant soldier of the Fifth Regiment, Hay's Brigade, and now an honored member of Association Army of Northern Virginia, Louisiana Division. It is a true story in every particular, and the name of the youthful hero is given, that it may live in our hearts, and be honored as it deserves, though he who so nobly bore it is now dead. I wish that I could also give the name of his generous foe,—no doubt as brave as generous,— the Federal officer who interposed his authority to preserve the life of this gallant boy. They should be recorded, side by side, on the same page of history, and be remembered with pride by the youth of our land, no matter whether their fathers wore the blue or the gray during the late civil war. Nathan Cunningham was the name of this young hero. He was a member of the Second Company Orleans Cadets, afterwards Company E, Fifth Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers, Hay's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, and color-bearer of the regiment at the time the incident narrated below occurred. The story is as follows:
It was a dark and starless night. Tattoo-beat had long been heard, and Hay's Brigade, weary after a long day's march, rested beneath the dewy boughs of gigantic  oaks in a dense forest near the placid Rappahannock. No sound broke the stillness of the night. The troops were lying on nature's rude couch, sweetly sleeping, perhaps, little dreaming of the awful dawn which was soon to break upon them. The camp-fires had burned low. The morrow's rations had been hastily cooked, hunger appeased, and the balance laid carefully away; but that which was most essential to life had, unfortunately, been neglected. No provision for water had been made. The springs being somewhat distant from the camp, but few had spirit, after the day's weary march, to go farther. The canteens were, for the most part, empty. Though thirsting, the tired soldiers slept, oblivious to their physical sufferings. But ere the morning broke, the distant sound of musketry echoed through the woods, rudely dispelling the solemn silence of the night, and awakening from their broken dreams of home and kindred the whole mass of living valor. The roll of the drum and the stentorian voice of the gallant chief calling to arms mingled together. Aroused to duty, and groping their way through the darkness, the troops sallied forth in battle array. In a rifle-pit, on the brow of a hill overlooking the river, near Fredericksburg, were men who had exhausted their ammunition in the vain attempt to check the advancing column of Hooker's finely equipped and disciplined army, which was crossing the river. But owing to the heavy mist which prevailed as the morning broke, little or no execution had been done. To the relief of these few came the brigade in double-quick time. But no sooner were they intrenched than the firing on the opposite side of the river became terrific, and the constant roaring of musketry and artillery became appalling. Undismayed, however, stood the little band of veterans, pouring volley after volley into the crossing column.  Soon many soldiers fell. Their agonizing cries, as they lay helpless in the trenches, calling most piteously for water, caused many a tear to steal down the cheeks of their comrades in arms, and stout hearts shook in the performance of their duty. ‘Water!’ ‘Water!’ But, alas! there was none to give. Roused as they had been from peaceful dreams to meet an assault so early and so unexpected, no time was left them to do aught but buckle on their armor. ‘Boys!’ exclaimed a lad of eighteen, the color-bearer of one of the regiments, ‘I can't stand this any longer. My nature can't bear it. They want water, and water they must have. So let me have a few canteens, and I'll go for some.’ Carefully laying the colors, which he had conspicuously borne on many a field, in the trench, he leaped out in search of water, and was soon, owing to the heavy mist, out of sight. Shortly afterwards the firing ceased for a while, and there came a courier with orders to fall back to the main line, a distance of over twelve hundred yards to the rear. It had, doubtless, become evident to General Lee that Hooker had crossed the river in sufficient force to advance. The retreating column had not proceeded far when it met the noble youth, his canteens all filled with water, returning to the sufferers, who were still lying in the distant trenches. The eyes of the soldier-boy, who had oftentimes tenderly and lovingly gazed upon the war-worn and faded flag floating over the ranks, now saw it not. The troops, in their hurry to obey orders and owing, probably, to the heavy mist that surrounded them, had overlooked or forgotten the colors. On sped the color-bearer back to the trenches to relieve  the thirst of his wounded companions as well as to save the honor of his regiment by rescuing its colors. His mission of mercy was soon accomplished. The wounded men drank freely, thanked and blessed him. And now to seize the flag and double-quick back to his regiment was the thought and act of a moment. But hardly had he gone ten paces from the ditch when a company of Federal soldiers appeared ascending the hill. The voice of an officer sternly commanded him to ‘Halt and surrender!’ The morning sun, piercing with a lurid glare the dense mist, reveals a hundred rifles levelled at his breast. One moment more and his soul is to pass into eternity, for his answer is, ‘Never while I hold these colors.’ But why is he not fired upon? Why do we still see him with the colors flying above his head, now beyond the reach of rifle-balls, when but a moment before he could have been riddled with bullets? And now, see he enters proudly but breathlessly the ranks, and receives the congratulations of his friends in loud acclaim. The answer comes, because of the generous act of the Federal officer in command of that company. When this noble officer saw that the love of honor was far dearer to the youth than life, in the impulse of a magnanimous heart he freely gave him both in the word of command,— ‘Bring back your pieces, men I don't shoot that brave boy!’ Such nobility of character and such a generous nature as that displayed by this officer, must ever remain a living monument to true greatness; and should these lines perchance meet his eyes, let him know and feel the proud satisfaction that the remembrance of his noble deed is gratefully cherished, and forever engraved in the heart of the soldier-boy in gray.
Chapter 5: Sally's ride.On a bright Sunday morning Sally sat upon the gallery of her uncle's house slowly swaying backward and forward in a low rocking-chair. In her hand was her prayer-book, but I greatly fear she had not read as she ought, for while her finger was held between the shut covers, marking ‘the Psalms for the day,’ her bright eyes wandered continually over the lovely scene before her. Above her head branches of tender green were tossing merrily in the March wind, at her feet lay a parterre bright with spring buds and flowers. Beyond the garden-fence the carriage-road described a curve, and swept away under the lofty pines which here bounded the view. On either side lay fields of newly-planted cotton. Behind the house, seen through the wide-open doors and windows, the orchard gleamed pink and white. Still beyond, blue smoke curled upward from the cabins of the negroes in ‘the quarter,’—almost a village in itself: The noise of their children at play was borne upon the wind, mingled with the weird chanting of hymns by the older negroes. The family, with the exception of Sally, had gone to church,—a distance of twelve miles. For weeks it had been known that ‘Wilson's raiders’ would be likely at any time to appear; but continued security bad lulled the apprehensions of the planters hereabouts, and, besides, they depended upon Confederate scouts to give timely warning. But suddenly on this peaceful Sunday a confused noise from the direction  of ‘the quarter’ startled Sally, and directly a crowd of frightened negroes ran to the house with the tale that a party of scouts had been driven in, reporting the Yankees approaching and only ten miles away. The sense of responsibility which at once took possession of the girl's mind overmastered her terror. She, as well as a few servants considered worthy of trust, had received clear instructions how to act in such an emergency; but before anything could be accomplished a party of horsemen (Confederates) rode up, and hastily giving information that the Federals had taken the ‘Pleasant Hill road,’ dashed off again. This knowledge did not relieve Sally's mind, however, for on the Pleasant Hill road lay the fine plantation of another uncle, Dr.——, who was, she knew, absent. The overseer, unaware of the approach of the raiders, would, unless warned, not have time to run off the valuable horses. By the road the enemy had taken the distance was several miles, but there was a ‘short cut’ through the woods, which would bring a rapid rider to the plantation much sooner, and at once it occurred to our heroine to send a boy on the only available animal, an old white mule, which had long enjoyed exemption from all but light work as a reward for faithful services in the past. Alas! Sally found she had ‘reckoned without her’—negro. Abject terror had overcome even the habitual obedience of the servants, and not one would venture; they only rolled their eyes wildly, breaking forth into such agony of protestations that the girl ceased to urge them, and, dismayed at the peril she was powerless to arrest, sat down to consider matters. She know that the family had that morning driven to church, and so the carriage-horses were safe for the present. But there was the doctor's buggy-horse, a magnificent  iron-gray, and Persimmon, her cousin's riding horse, a beautiful cream-colored mare with black, flowing mane and tail, and Green Persimmon, her colt, which was like its mother, and scarcely less beautiful. Besides, there were horses and mules which, if not so ornamental, were indispensable. Oh, these must be run off and saved,—but how? Goaded by these thoughts, and upon the impulse of the moment, the girl ordered a sidesaddle to be put upon old ‘Whitey,’ and, hastily mounting, belabored the astonished beast until, yielding to the inevitable, he started off at a smart trot. Once in the woods, Sally's heart quailed within her; her terror was extreme. The tramp, tramp of her steed she thought was as loud as thunder, and felt sure that thus she would be betrayed. The agitation of the underbrush caused by the wind seemed to her to denote the presence of a concealed enemy. She momentarily expected a ‘Yank’ to step from behind a tree and seize her bridle. As she rushed along, hanging branches (which at another time she would have stooped to avoid) severely scratched her face and dishevelled her hair; but never heeding, she urged on old Whitey until he really seemed to become inspired with the spirit of the occasion, to regain his youthful fire, and so dashed on until at length Sally drew rein at the bars of the horse-lot, where the objects of her solicitude were quietly grazing, with the exception of Green Persimmon, who seemed to be playing a series of undignified capers for the amusement of her elders. To catch these was a work of time: Sally looked on in an agony of impatience. But, forunately, a neighbor rode up just then with the news that for some unknown reason the Federal soldiers had, after halting awhile just beyond the forks of the road, marched back to the river and were recrossing. With the usual inconsistency of her sex,  Sally now began to cry, trembling so violently that she was fain to dismount, and submit to be coddled and petted awhile by the old servants. She declared that she never could repass those dreadful woods, but later, a sense of duty overcame her nervousness, and (the family having returned), escorted by her cousins and followed by a faithful servant, she returned to her anxious friends, who in one breath scolded her for having dared so great risks and in the next praised her courage and devotion. The visit of the raiders was, alas! not long delayed, but its attendant horrors may not here be described. The terrible story may, perhaps, be told at another time, —for the present, adieu.
Chapter 6:The following story, originally written by me for the Southern Bivouac, is strictly true. The successful forager was once a patient of mine, and is well known to me. I also know that he perpetrated the joke as described. The article is intended to appear as if written by a soldier's son.
High price for needles and thread.
>Walter.My father was once a private soldier in the Confederate army, and he often tells us interesting stories of the war. One morning, just as he was going down town, mother sent me to ask him to change a dollar. He could not do it, but he said,— ‘Ask your mother how much change she wants.’ She only wanted a dime to buy a paper of needles and some silk to mend my jacket. So I went back and asked for ten cents. Instead of taking it out of his vest-pocket, father opened his pocket-book and said,— ‘Did you say you wanted ten dollars or ten cents, my boy?’ ‘Why, father,’ said I, ‘whoever heard of paying ten dollars for needles and thread?’ ‘1 have,’ said he. ‘I once heard of a paper of needles, and a skein of silk, worth more than ten dollars.’ His eyes twinkled and looked so pleasant that I knew there was a story on hand, so I told mother and sis' Loo, who promised to find out all about it. After supper that night mother coaxed father to tell us the story.  We liked it ever so much: so I got mother to write it down for the Bivouac. After the battle of Chickamauga, one of ‘our mess’ found a needle-case which had belonged to some poor fellow, probably among the killed. He did not place much value upon the contents, although there was a paper of No. 8 needles, several buttons, and a skein or two of thread, cut at each end and neatly braided so that each thread could be smoothly drawn out. He put the whole thing in his breast-pocket, and thought no more about it. But one day, while out foraging for himself and his mess, he found himself near a house where money could have procured a fine meal of fried chicken, corn-pone, and buttermilk, besides a small supply to carry back to camp. But Confederate soldiers' purses were generally as empty as their stomachs, and in this instance the lady of the house did not offer to give away her nice dinner. While the poor fellow was inhaling the enticing odor, and feeling desperately hungry, a girl rode up to the gate on horseback, and bawled out to another girl inside the house,— ‘Oh, Cindy, I rid over to see if you couldn't lend me a needle! I broke the last one I had to-day, and pap says thar ain't nary 'nother to be bought in the country hereabouts!’ Cindy declared she was in the same fix, and couldn't finish her new homespun dress for that reason. The soldier just then had an idea. He retired to a little distance, pulled out his case, sticking two needles on the front of his jacket, then went back and offered one of them, with his best bow, to the girl on the horse. Right away the lady of the house offered to trade for the one remaining. The result was a plentiful dinner for himself; and in consideration of a thread or two of silk, a full haversack and canteen.  After this our mess was well supplied, and our forager began to look sleek and fat. The secret of his success did not leak out till long afterward, when he astonished the boys by declaring that he ‘had been ‘living like a fighting-cock’ on a paper of needles and two skeins of silk.’ ‘And,’ added father, ‘if he had paid for all the meals be got in Confederate money, the amount would have been far more than ten dollars.’ I know other boys and girls will think this a queer story, but I hope they will like it as well as mother and Loo and I did.
Chapter 7: Bunny.One bright morning I sat in the matron's room of the ‘Buckner Hospital,’ then located at Newnan, Georgia. Shall I describe to you this room—or my suite of rooms? Indeed, I fear you will be disappointed, dear young readers, for perhaps the word ‘hospital’ conveys to your mind the idea of a handsome and lofty building containing every convenience for nursing the sick, and for the comfort of attendants. Alasduring the war hospital arrangements were of the roughest. Frequent changes of location were imperative, transportation was difficult. So it became a ‘military necessity’ to seize upon such buildings as were suitable in the towns where it was intended to establish a ‘post.’ Courthouses, halls, stores, hotels, even churches had to be used,—the pews being removed and replaced by the rough hospital beds. The ‘Buckner Hospital’ was expected to accommodate nearly one thousand sick and wounded, and embraced every building for two solid squares. Near the centre a small store had been appropriated to the matron's use during the day. Here all business relating to the comfort of the sick and wounded was transacted. The store as it stood, shelves, counters, and all, became the ‘linen-room,’ and was piled from floor to ceiling with bedding and clean clothing. The back ‘shed-room’ was the matron's own. A rough table, planed on the top, stood in the centre. With the exception of one  large rocking-chair, kindly donated by a lady of Ringgold, Georgia, boxes served for chairs. A couch made of boxes and piled with comforts and pillows stood in one corner. This served not only as an occasional resting-place for the matron, but, with the arm-chair, was frequently occupied by soldiers who, in the early stages of convalescence, having made a pilgrimage to my room, were too weak to return at once, and so rested awhile. Here I sat on the morning in question looking over some ‘diet lists,’ when I heard a slight noise at the door. Soon a little girl edged her way into the room. Her dress was plain and faded, but when she pushed back the calico sun-bonnet a sweet, bright face appeared. She came forward as shyly as a little bird and stood at my side. As I put out my hand to draw her close, she cried, ‘Don't, you'll scare him!’ And then I perceived that she held close to her breast, wrapped in her check apron, something that moved and trembled. Carefully the little girl removed a corner of the apron, disclosing the gray head and frightened eyes of a squirrel. Said she, ‘It's Bunny; he's mine; I raised him, and I want to give him to the sick soldiers I Daddy's a soldier!’ And as she stated this last fact the sweet face took on a look of pride. ‘What is your name, and how did you get here?’ I said. ‘My name is Ca-line. Uncle Jack, he brung in a load of truck, and mammy let me come along, an‘ I didn't have nothing to fetch to the poor soldiers but Bunny. He's mine,’ she repeated, as she tenderly covered again the trembling little creature. I soon found that she desired to give the squirrel away with her own bands, and did not by any means consider me a sick soldier. That she should visit the fever-wards was out of the question, so I decided to go with her to a ward  where were some wounded men, most of whom were convalescent. My own eyes, alas! were so accustomed to the sight of the pale, suffering faces, empty sleeves, and dreadful scars, that I did not dream of the effect it would have upon the child. As we entered she dropped my hand, clinging convulsively to my dress. Addressing the soldiers, I said, ‘Boys, little Ca-line has brought you her pet squirrel; her father is a soldier, she says.’ But here the poor child broke down utterly; from her pale lips came a cry which brought tears to the eyes of the brave men who surrounded her: ‘Oh, daddy, daddy; I don't want you to be a soldier! Oh, lady, will they do my daddy like this?’ Hastily retreating, I led the tortured child to my room, where at last she recovered herself. I gave her lunch, feeding Bunny with some corn-bread, which he ate, sitting on the table by his little mistress, his bright eyes fixed warily upon me. A knock at the door startled us. The child quickly snatched up her pet and hid him in her apron. The visitor proved to be ‘Uncle Jack,’ a white-headed old negro, who had come for ‘little Missy.’ Tears came to my eyes as I watched the struggle which at once began in that brave little heart. Her streaming eyes and heaving breast showed how hard it was to give up Bunny. Uncle Jack was impatient, however, and at last ‘Missy’ thrust the squirrel into my hands, saying, sobbingly, ‘Thar, you keep him to show to 'em, but don't let nothina hurt him.’ I arose and placed Bunny in the deep pocket of an army overcoat that hung by the window, where he cuddled down contentedly. Ca-line passed out with a lagging step, but in a few moments ran back, and, drawing a box under the window, climbed upon it to peep into the  pocket at her pet, who ungratefully growled at being disturbed. She then ran out without a word to me, and I saw her no more. Bunny soon attached himself to me. Creeping into my pocket, he would always accompany me in my rounds through the wards. The sick and wounded took the greatest delight in his visits. As soon as I entered the door the squirrel would run up on my shoulder; from thence, jumping upon the beds, would proceed to search for the treasures which nearly every patient had saved and hidden for him. His capers were a source of unceasing amusement to his soldier friends,— I cannot describe to you how great. The story of little Ca-line's self-sacrifice went the rounds among them. All admired and truly appreciated her heroism and her love for ‘the poor, sick soldiers.’ Bunny lived happily for a long time. One day, however, as I was passing along the street, he began as usual to run from out my pocket to my shoulder, and back again to nestle in his hiding-place. Just then a large dog came by. The frightened squirrel made a vain attempt to reach a tree by the road-side. Failing, he was at once seized and instantly killed. My regret was shared by all the soldiers, who long remembered and talked of poor Bunny.