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Chapter 32: press, literature and art.

  • Newspapers North and South
  • -- ability Differently used -- reasons therefor -- criticism of affairs; its effect -- magazines and their clientele -- prose writers ante bellum -- Rebel war Rhymes -- origin and characteristics -- the northern “National Hymn” -- famous poets and their work -- dirge poetry and prison songs -- Father Ryan and the Catholic church -- “furled forever!” -- musical taste -- how songs — were utilized -- military bands -- Painters and Paintings -- no southern art -- a few noted pictures.
    However much of ability may have been engaged upon it, the press of the South--up to the events just preceding the war-had scarcely been that great lever which it had elsewhere become. It was rather a local machine than a great engine for shaping and manufacturing public opinion.

    One main cause for this, perhaps, was the decentralization of the South. Tracts of country surrounding it looked up only to their chief city, and thence drew their information, and even their ideas on the topics of the day. But there it ceased. The principal trade of the South went directly to the North; and in return were received northern manufactures, northern books and northern ideas. Northern newspapers came to the South; and except for matters of local information, or local policy, a large class of her readers drew their inspiration chiefly from journals of New York-catholic in their scope as unreliable in their principles.

    These papers were far ahead of those of the South-except in very rare instances — in their machinery for collecting news and gossip; for making up a taking whole; and in the no less important knowledge of manipulating their circulation and advertising patronage. The newspaper system of the North had been reduced to a science. Its great object was to pay; and to accomplish this it must force its circulation in numbers and in radius, and must become the medium of communicating with far distant points. Great competitionappli-cation of il faut bien vivre-drove the drones from the field and only the real workers were allowed to live.

    In the South the case was entirely different. Even in the large cities, newspapers were content with a local circulation; they had a little-varying clientele which looked upon them as infallible; and their object was to consider and digest ideas, rather than to propagate, or manufacture them. [289]

    The deep and universal interest in questions immediately preceding the war, somewhat changed in the scope of the southern press. People in all sections had intense anxiety to know what others, in different sections, felt on vital questions that agitated them; and papers were thus forced, as it were, into becoming the medium for interchange of sentiment.

    An examination of the leading journals of the South at this period will show that-whatever their mismanagement and want of business success — there was no lack of ability in their editorial columns. Such organs as the New Orleans Delta, Mobile Advertiser, Charleston Mercury and Richmond Examiner and Whig might have taken rank alongside of the best-edited papers of the country. Their literary ability was, perhaps, greater than that of the North; their discussions of the questions of the hour were clear, strong and scholarly, and possessed, besides, the invaluable quality of honest conviction. Unlike the press of the North, the southern journals were not hampered by any business interests; they were unbiased, unbought and free to say what they thought and felt. And say it they did, in the boldest and plainest of language.

    Nowhere on the globe was the freedom of the press more thoroughly vindicated than in the Southern States of America. And during the whole course of the war, criticisms of men and measures were constant and outspoken. So much so, indeed, that in many instances the operations of the Government were embarrassed, or the action of a department commander seriously hampered, by hostile criticism in a paper. In naval operations, and the workings of the Conscript Law, especially was this freedom felt to be injurious; and though it sprang from the perfectly pure motive of doing the best for the cause-though the smallest southern journal, printed on straw paper and with worn-out type, was above purchase, or hush moneystill it might have been better at times had gag-law been applied.

    For, with a large proportion of the population of different sections gathered in huge army communities, their different newspapers reached the camps and were eagerly devoured. Violent and hostile criticisms of Government-even expositions of glaring abuses-were worse than useless unless they could be remedied; and when these came to be the text of camp-talk, they naturally made the soldiers think somewhat as they did. [290]

    Now, the greatest difficulty with that variously-constituted army, was to make its individuals the perfect machines-unthinking, unreasoning, only obeying — to which the perfect soldier must be reduced. “Johnny Rebwould think; and not infrequently, he would talk. The newspapers gave him aid and comfort in both breaches of discipline; and in some instances, their influence against the conscription and impressments was seriously felt in the interior. Still these hostilities had their origin in honest conviction; and abuses were held up to the light, that the Government might be made to see and correct them.

    The newspapers but reflected the ideas of some of the clearest thinkers in the land; and they recorded the real and true history of public opinion during the war. In their columns is to be found the only really correct and indicative “map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns” in the South, during her days of darkness and of trial.

    These papers held their own bravely for a time, and fought hard against scarcity of labor, material and patronage-against the depreciation of currency and their innumerable other difficulties. Little by little their numbers decreased; then only the principal dailies of the cities were left, and these began to print upon straw paper, wall papering — on any material that could be procured. Cramped in means, curtailed in size, and dingy in appearance, their publishers still struggled bravely on for the freedom of the press and the freedom of the South.

    Periodical literature — as the vast flood of illustrated and unillustrated monthlies and weeklies that swept over the North was misnamed --was unknown in the South. She had but few weeklies; and these were sturdy and heavy country papers-relating more to farming than to national matters. Else they were the weekly editions of the city papers, intended for country consumption. Few monthly magazinessave educational, religious, or statistical ventures, intended for certain limited classes, were ever born in the South; and most of those few lived weakly and not long.

    De Bow's Review, the Southern Quarterly, and the Literary Messenger, were the most noteworthy exceptions. The business interests of the larger towns supported the first-which, indeed, drew part of its patronage from the North. Neither its great ability nor the taste of its [291] clientele availed to sustain the second; and the Messenger-long the chosen medium of southern writers of all ages, sexes and conditionsdragged on a wearisome existence, with one foot in the grave for many years, only to perish miserably of starvation during the war.

    But any regular and systematized periodical literature the South never had. The principal reason doubtless is, that she had not the numerous class of readers for amusement, who demand such food in the North; and of the not insignificant class who did indulge in it, nine-tenths--for one reason, or another, preferred northern periodicals. This is not altogether unnatural, when we reflect that these latter were generally better managed and superior in interest — if not in tone --to anything the South had yet attempted. They were gotten up with all the appliances of mechanical perfection; were managed with business tact, and forced and puffed into such circulation as made the heavy outlay for first-class writers in the end remunerative.

    On the contrary, every magazine attempted in the South up to that time had been born with the seeds of dissolution already in it. Voluntary contributions-fatal poison to any literary enterprise-had been their universal basis. There was ever a crowd of men and women among southern populations, who would write anywhere and anything for the sake of seeing themselves in print. And while there were many able and accomplished writers available, they were driven off by these Free-Companions of the quill-preferring not to write in such company; or, if forced to do it, to send their often anonymous contributions to northern journals. These two reasonsespecially the last-availed to kill the few literary ventures attempted by more enterprising southern publishers. The first of these two in a great measure influenced the scarcity of book-producers, among a people who had really very few readers among them; and even had the number of these been larger, it seems essential to the increase of authors that,there should be the constant friction of contact in floating literature.

    Good magazines are the nurseries and forcing houses for authors; and almost every name of prominence in modern literature may be traced back along its course, as that of magazinist, or reviewer.

    The South-whether these reasons for it be just or not, the fact is patent-had had but few writers of prominence; and in fiction especially the names that were known could be numbered on one's fingers. [292] W. Gilmore Simms was at once the father of southern literature and its most prolific exemplar. His numerous novels have been very generally read; and, if not placing him in the highest ranks of writers of fiction, at least vindicate the claims of his section to force and originality. He had been followed up the thorny path by many who stopped half-way, turned back, or sunk forgotten even before reaching that far.

    Few, indeed, of their works ever went beyond their own boundaries; and those few rarely sent back a record. Exceptions there were, however, who pressed Mr. Simms hard for his position on the topmost peak; and most of these adventurous climbers were of the softer sex.

    John Esten Cooke had written a very clever novel of the olden society, called “Virginia Comedians.” It had promised a brilliant future, when his style and method should both ripen; a promise that had not, so far, been kept by two or three succeeding ventures launched on these doubtful waters. Hon. Jere Clemens, of Alabama, had commenced a series of strong, if somewhat convulsive, stories of western character. “Mustang gray” and “Bernard Lile,” scenting strongly of camp-fire and pine-top, yet had many advantages over the majority of successful novels, then engineered by northern publishers. Marion Harland, as her nom de plume went, was, however, the most popular of southern writers. Her stories of Virginia home-life had little pretension to the higher flights of romance; but they were pure, graphic and not unnatural scenes from every-day life. They introduced us to persons we knew, or might have known; and the people read them generally and liked them. Mrs. Ritchie (Anna Cora Mowatt) was also prolific of novels, extracted principally from her fund of stage experience. Piquant and bright, with a dash of humor and more than a dash of sentiment, Mrs. Ritchie's books had many admirers and more friends. The South-west, too, had given us the “Household of Bouverie” and “Beulah;” and it was reserved for Miss Augusta Evans, author of the latter, to furnish the only novel-almost the only book-published within the South during continuance of the war. The only others I can now recallemanating from southern pens and entirely made in the South-were Mrs. A. de V. Chaudron's translation of Miilbach's “Joseph II.,” and Dr. Wm. Sheppardson's collection of “War poetry of the South.” [293]

    This is not an imposing array of prose writers, and it may be incomplete; but it is very certain that there are not many omissions.

    In poetry, the warmer clime of the South would naturally have been expected to excel; but, while the list of rhymsters was longer than Leporello's, the poets hardly exceeded in number the writers of prose. Thompson, Meek, Simms, Hayne, Timrod and McCord were the few names that had gone over the border. Up to that time, however, the South had never produced any great poem, that was to stand aere perennius. But that there was a vast amount of latent poetry in our people was first developed by the terrible friction of war.

    In the dead-winter watches of the camp, in the stricken homes of the widow and the childless, and in the very prison pens, where they were crushed under outrage and contumely — the souls of the southrons rose in song.

    The varied and stirring acts of that terrible drama-its trying suspense and harrowing shocks-its constant strain and privations must have graven deep upon southern hearts a picture of that time; and there it will stand forever, distinct-indelible-etched by the mordant of sorrow!

    Where does history show more stirring motives for poetry? Every rood of earth, moistened and hallowed with sacred blood, sings to-day a noble dirge, wordless, but how eloquent! No whitewashed ward in yonder hospital, but has written in letters of life its epic of heroism, of devotion, and of triumphant sacrifice!

    Every breeze that swept from those ravished homes, whence peace and purity had fled before the sword, the torch and that far blackernameless horror!-each breeze bore upon its wing a pleading prayer for peace, mingled and drowned in the hoarse notes of a stirring cry to arms!

    But not only did our people feel all this. They spoke it with universal voice — in glowing, burning words that will live so long as strength and tenderness and truth shall hold their own in literature.

    For reasons thus roughly sketched, no great and connected effort had been made at the South before the war. Though there had been sudden and fitful flashes of rare warmth and promise, they had died before their fire was communicated. That the fire was there, latent and still, they bore witness; but it needed the rough and cruel friction of the war to bring it to the surface. [294]

    What the southron felt he spoke; and out of the bitterness of his trial the poetry of the South was born. It leaped at one bound from the overcharged brain of our people-full statured in its stern defiance mailed in the triple panoply of truth.

    There was endless poetry written in the North on the war; and much of it came from the pens of men as eminent as Longfellow, Bryant, Whittier and Holmes. But they wrote far away from the scenes they spoke of-comfortably housed and perfectly secure. The men of the North wrote with their pens, while the men of the South wrote with their hearts!

    A singular commentary upon this has been given us by Mr. Richard Grant White-himself a member of the committee. In April, 1861, a committee of thirteen New Yorkers-comprising such names as Julian Verplanck, Moses Grinnell, John A. Dix and Geo. Wm. Curtis-offered a reward of five hundred dollars for a National Hymn! What hope, feeling, patriotism and love of the cause had failed to produce — for the lineal descendants of the Star Spangled banner were all in the South, fighting under the bars instead of the stripes — was to be drawn out by the application of a greenback poultice! The committee advertised generally for five hundred dollars' worth of pure patriotism, to be ground out “in not less than sixteen lines, nor more than forty.”

    Even with this highest incentive, Mr. White tells us that dozens of barrelfuls of manuscript were rejected; and not one patriot was found whose principles — as expressed in his poetry — were worth that much money! Were it not the least bit saddening, the contemplation of this attempt to buy up fervid sentiment would be inexpressibly funny.

    Memory must bring up, in contrast, that night of 1792 in Strasbourg, when the gray dawn, struggling with the night, fell upon the pale face and burning eyes of Rouget de Lisle — as with trembling hand he wrote the last words of the Marseillaise. The mind must revert, in contrast, to those ravished hearths and stricken homes and decimated camps, where the South wrought and suffered and sangsang words that rose from men's hearts, when the ore of genius fused and sparkled in the hot blast of their fervid patriotism!

    Every poem of the South is a National Hymn!-bought not with dollars, but with five hundred wrongs and ten times five hundred precious lives! [295]

    To one who has not studied the subject, the vast number of southern war poems would be most surprising, in view of restricted means for their issue. Every magazine, album and newspaper in the South ran over with these effusions and swelled their number to an almost countless one. Many of them were written for a special time, event,, or locality; many again were read and forgotten in the engrossing duties of the hour. But it was principally from the want of some systematized means of distribution that most of them were born to blush unseen.

    Before my little collection--“South songs, from the Lays of later-days” --went to press, over nineteen hundred poems had accumulated on my hands! And since that time the number has greatly increased. There were battle odes, hymns, calls to arms, paeans and dirges and prayers for peace-many of them good, few of them great; and the vast majority, alas! wretchedly poor. Any attempted notice of their authors in limits like this would be sheer failure; and where many did so well, it were invidious to discriminate. The names of John R. Thompson, James Randall, Henry Timrod, Paul Hayne, Barron Hope, Margaret Preston, James Overall, Harry Lyndon Flash and Frank Ticknor had already become household words in the South, where they will live forever.

    Wherever his people read anything, the classic finish of his “Latane,” the sweet caress of his “Stuart” and the bugle-blast of his “Coercion” and “Word with the West,” had assured John R. Thompson's fame. The liltful refrain of “Maryland, my Maryland” echoed from the Potomac to the Gulf; and the clarion-call James R. Randall so nobly used-“There's life in the old land yet!” warmed every southern heart, by the dead ashes on its hearth. Who does not remember “Beechenbrook,” that pure Vestal in the temple of Mars? Every tear of sympathy that fell upon its pages was a jewel above rubies, in the crown of its gentle author.

    Paul Hayne had won already the hearts of his own readers; and had gained transatlantic meed, in Tennyson's declaration that he was “the sonneteer of America!” And the yearning sorrow in all eyes that looked upon the fresh mound, above what was mortal of tender Henry Timrod, was more eloquent of worth than costly monuument, or labored epitaph.

    But not only the clang of action and the freedom of stirring [296] scenes produced the southern war-poems. Camp Chase and forts Warren and Lafayette contributed as glowing strains as any written. Those grim bastiles held the bodies of their unconquered inmates; while their hearts lived but in the memory of those scenes, in which their fettered hands were debarred further portion. Worn down by confinement, hunger and the ceaseless pressure of suspense; weakened by sickness and often oppressed by vulgar indignity — the spirit of their cause still lingered lovingly around them; and its bright gleams warmed and lighted the darkest recesses of their cells.

    That bugle blast, “Awake and to horse, my brothers!” ,Teackle Wallis sent from the walls — of Warren, when he was almost prostrated by sickness and mental suffering. Another poem, more mournful but with a beautiful thought of hope beyond, comes from that dismal prison-pen, Camp Chase. Colonel W. S. Hawkins, a brave Tennesseean, who was held there two long years, still kept up heart and ministered to his fellow-sufferers day and night. The close of the war alone released him, to drag his shattered frame to “his own, fair sunny land,” and lay it in the soil he loved so well. But he has left a living monument; and the tender pathos of “The hero without a name” --and the flawless poetical gem that closes his “Last of earth,” will be remembered as long as the sacrifices of their noble author. The pent walls of other military prisons sent forth plaintive records of misery, as well as stirring strains of hope unconquered; but the two here named are easily first of the rebel-prisoner poets.

    Dirges for the great dead became a popular form, in which the spirit of southern song poured itself out. I had in my collection no fewer than forty-seven monodies and dirges on Stonewall Jackson; some dozens on Ashby and a score on Stuart. Some of these were critically good; all of them high in sentiment; but Flash's “Jackson” --heretofore quoted, when noting that irremediable loss-stands incomparably above the rest. Short, vigorous, completely rounded-it breathes that high spirit of hope and trust, held by that warrior people; and, not alone the finest war dirge of the South, it is excelled by no sixteen lines in any language, for power, lilt and tenderness!

    Perhaps Thompson's “Dirge for Ashby,” Randall's song of triumph over dead John Pelham and Mrs. Margaret Preston's “Ashby,” may rank side-by-side next to the “Jackson.” The modest author of the last-named did not claim it, until the universal voice [297] of her people called for her name; and it is noteworthy that large numbers of war-song writers hid from their just meed, behind the sheltering anonymous: And the universal characteristic of this dirge-poetry is not its mournful tenderness-while nothing could be more touching than that; but its strong expression of faith in the efficacy of the sacrifice and in the full atonement of the martyrdom!

    The battle-breeze bore back to the writers no sound of weak wailing. It wafted only the sob of manly grief, tempered by a solemn joyousness; and-coming from men of many temperaments, amid wide-differing scenes and circumstance-every monody bears impress of the higher inspiration, that has its origin far beyond the realm of the narrow house!

    Sacred to one and all — in the Dixie of yesterday, in the southern half of the cemented Union of to-day — is the memory of that past. Sweet and bitter commingled, as it is, we clasp it to our heart of hearts and know — that were it bitterer a thousand fold — it is ours still! So I may not leave the field of southern song, unnoting its noblest strain-its funeral hymn! Father Ryan's “Conquered banner” is so complete in, fulfillment of its mission, that we can not spare one word, while yet no word is wanting! Every syllable there finds it echo far down in every southern heart. Every syllable has added significance, as coming from a man of peace;--a priest of that church which ever held forth free and gentle hand to aid the cause of struggling freedom!

    In hottest flashings of the fight; in toilsome marches of winter; in fearful famine of the trenches — the Catholic soldiers of the Confederacy ever acted the motto of the Douglas; their deeds ever said ---“Ready! Aye, ready!”

    And, in fetid wards of fever hospital; in field-tents, where the busy knife shears through quivering flesh; on battle-ground, where shattered manhood lies mangled almost past semblance of itself; at hurried burial, where gory blanket, or rough board, makes final rest for some “Hero without a name;” --there ever, and ever tender and tireless, the priest of Rome works on his labor of love and consolation! And the gentlest daughter of the eldest church was there as well. All southern soldiers were brothers, in her eyes; children of the One Father. And that noble band of Sisters of Mercy — to which our every woman belonged; giving light and hope to the hospital, [298] life itself to the cause — that band knew no confines of ministry-no barriers of faith, which made charity aught but one common heritage!

    Over the border, too; in struggling Maryland, in leaguered Missouri, and far into the North, the Catholic clergy were friends of the southern cause. They ceased never openly to defend its justice; quietly to aid its sympathizers. They helped the self-exiled soldier to bear unaccustomed hardships, on the one side; carried to his lonely mother, on the other, tidings of his safety, or his glory, that “caused the heart of the widow to sing for joy!”

    Fitting, then, it was that a father of that church should chant the requiem for the dead cause, he had loved and labored for while living; that Father Ryan should bless and bury its conquered banner, when the bitter day came that saw it “furled forever.”

    But is that proud flag — with the glory and the pride wrought into its folds, by suffering, honor and endurance unexcelled-really “furled forever?” The dust of centuries may sift upon it, but the moth and the mold may harm it not. Ages it may lie, furled and unnoted; but in her own good time, historic Justice shall yet unfold and throw it to the breeze of immortality; pointing to each glorious rent and to each holy drop that stains it!

    The war-poetry of the South has been dwelt upon, perhaps, at too great length. But it was, in real truth, the literature of the South. To sum it up may be repeated, after a lapse of twenty-five yearsthat sentence from the preface to my “South songs,” which raised such ire among irreconcilables of the southern press :--“In prose of all kinds, the South stood still, during the war; perhaps retrograded. But her best aspiration, ‘ lisped in numbers, for the numbers came! ’ ”

    Even then her poetry proved that there was life-high, brave life --in the old land yet; even then it gave earnest that, when the bitter struggle for bread gave time for thought, reason and retrospect, southern literature would rise, in the might of a young giant, and shake herself wholly free from northern domination and convention.

    In art and her twin sister, music, the South displayed taste and progress truly remarkable in view of the absorbing nature of her duties. Like all inhabitants of semi-tropic climes, there had ever been shown by her people natural love and aptitude for melody. While this natural taste was wholly uncultivated-venting largely in plantation songs of the negroes — in districts where the music-master was [299] necessarily abroad, it had reached high development in several of the large cities. Few of these were large enough, or wealthy enough, to support good operas, which the wealth of the North frequently lured to itself; but it may be recalled that New Orleans was genuinely enjoying opera, as a necessary of life, long before New York deemed it essential to study bad translations of librettos, in warmlypacked congregations of thousands.

    Mobile, Charleston, Savannah and other cities also had considerable latent music among their amateurs; happily not then brought to the surface by the fierce friction of poverty. And what was the musical talent of the Capital, has elsewhere been hinted. When the tireless daughters of Richmond had worked in every other way, for the soldiers themselves, they organized a system of concerts and dramatic evenings for benefit of their families. At these were shown evidences of individual excellence, truly remarkable; while their average displayed taste and finish, which skilled critics declared would compare favorably with any city in the country.

    The bands of the southern army-so long as they remained existent as separate organizations — were indisputably mediocre, when not atrociously bad. But it must be recalled that there was little time to practice, even in the beginning; literally no chance to obtain new music, or instruments; and that the better class of men — who usually make the best musicians-always preferred the musket to the bugle. Nor was there either incentive to good music, or appreciation for it, among the masses of the fighters. The drum and fife were the best they had known “at musters;” and they were good enough still, to fight by. So, recalling the prowess achieved constantly, in following them, it may be wondered what possible results might have come from inspiration of a marine band, a Grafulla, or a Gilmore!

    Likewise, in all art matters, the South was at least a decade behind her northern sisterhood. Climate, picturesque surrounding and natural warmth of character had awakened artistic sense, in many localities. But its development was scarcely appreciable, from lack of opportunity and of exemplar. The majority of southern girls were reared at their own homes; and art culture-beyond mild atrocities in crayon or water-color, or terrors bred of the nimble broiderer's needle — was a myth, indeed. A large number of young men-a majority, perhaps, of those who could afford it-received education at the [300] North. Such of these as displayed peculiar aptitude fcr painting, were usually sent abroad for perfecting; and returning, they almost invariably settled in northern cities, where were found both superior opportunities and larger and better-paying class of patrons. But, when the tug came, not a few of these errant youths returned, to share it with their native states; and some of them found time, even in the stirring days of war, to transfer to canvas some of its most suggestive scenes.

    Of them, the majority were naturally about Richmond; not only as the great army center, but as the center of everything else. Among the latter were two favorite pupils of Leutze, William D. Washington and John A. Elder. Both Virginians, by birth and rearing, they had the great advantage of Dusseldorf training, while they were thoroughly acquainted and sympathetic with their subjects. Some of Washington's figure-pieces were very successful; finding ready sale at prices which, had they continued, might have made him a Meissonnier in pocket, as well as in local fame. His elaborate picture, illustrating the “Burial of Latane” --a subject which also afforded motif for Thompson's most classic poem-attracted wide attention and favorable verdict from good critics. Mr. Washington also made many and excellent studies of the bold, picturesque scenery of his western campaigning, along the Gauley and Kanawha.

    Elder's pictures-while, perhaps, less careful in finish than those of his brother student — were nothing inferior as close characterstudies of soldier-life. Their excellence was ever emphasized by prompt sale; and “The Scout's prize” and the “Raider's return” --both horse and landscape studies; as well as a ghastly, but most effective picture of the “Crater fight” at Petersburg, made the young artist great reputation.

    Washington's “Latane” had post-bellum reproduction, by the graver; becoming popular and widely-known, North and South. The three of Elder's pictures, named here, were purchased by a member of the British parliament; but, unfortunately, were destroyed in the fire of the Dies irae. The two first were duplicated, after the peace; and they gained praise and successful sale in New York.

    Mr. Guillam, a French student, worked carefully and industriously, at his Richmond studio; producing portraits of Lee, Jackson and others; which, having exaggerated mannerisms of the French [301] school, still possessed no little merit. A remarkable life-size picture of General Lee, which produced much comment in Richmond, was done by a deaf-mute, Mr. Bruce. It was to have been bought by the State of Virginia; possibly from sympathy with the subject and the condition of the artist, rather than because of intrinsic merit as an art-work.

    But, perhaps, the most strikingly original pictures the war produced were those of John R. Key, a Maryland lieutenant of engineers; one of those decendants of “The star Spangled banner,” early noted in this chapter. Young, ambitious and but little educated in art, Mr. Key made up that lack in boldness of subject and treatment. His school was largely his own; and he went for his subjects far out of the beaten track, treating them afterward with marked boldness and dash.

    Drewry's Bluff” was a boldly-handled sketch of what the northern army persisted in calling “Fort Darling.” It showed the same venturesome originality in color-use, the same breadth and fidelity that marked Mr. Key's later pictures of Sumter, Charleston harbor and scenes on the James river.

    These pictures named in common, with minor sketches from pencils less known at that time-among them that of William L. Sheppard, now famous as graphic delineator of southern scenes-illustrate both the details of the unique war, and the taste and heart of those who made it. Amid battles, sieges and sorrows, the mimic world behind the Chinese wall revolved on axis of its own. War was the business of life to every man; but, in the short pauses of its active strife, were shown both the taste and talent for the prettiest pursuits of peace. And the apparently unsurmountable difficulties, through which these were essayed, makes their even partial development more remarkable still.

    The press, the literature and the art of the Southern Confederacy-looked at in the light of her valor and endurance, shining from her hundred battle-fields-emphasize strongly the inborn nature of her people. And, while there were many whom the limits of this sketch leave unnamed, that sin of omission will not be registered against the author; for the men of the South-even in minor matters --did their work for the object and for the cause; not for selfillus-tration.

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