Funding from the Library of
Congress/Ameritech National Digital
supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text scanned (OCR) by
Images scanned by Jill Kuhn
Text encoded by Jill Kuhn and Natalia Smith
First edition, 1998
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
© This work is
the property of the University of
at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research,
teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability
is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American South.
Library of Congress Subject Headings,
21st edition, 1998
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
All quotation marks and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
Running titles have not been preserved.
Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.
Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
LC Subject Headings:
The following playful
Letters are dedicated, as they are, because you think
them calculated in some small degree, at least, to allay that bitter sectional
feeling engendered by the disastrous war through which our country has so
recently passed. Add to this that our intercourse as Christian Ministers for
the last few has been highly agreeable to both parties.
Can my readers become interested in a Manse? Perhaps they may if its inmates tried to maintain Christian feelings when the war was at its cedar gates. Religion alone or something allied to it ought to appear in a paper professedly religious. Let statesmen manage their own concerns; but Moriah, Olivet, Tabor and Calvary belong to us who are the ministers of good-will to our race. Isaiah says that the feet of Prophets in his day were beautiful. Why so? Because their sandals were adorned with pearls whenever they ascended such elevations to announce glad tidings.
My resolution was fixed to preach the Gospel, and only the Gospel, even should the war last so long as the one between the rival Houses of York and Lancaster, which for thirty years desolated England. What havoc did it everywhere create? Green fields faded before it, and moors became more dreary. Meadows and downs, lost their smiles when a rude soldiery crushed their flowers and dispersed their flocks. Churches too shared in the general ruin. Was not George Fox, of Leicester, a wise man in his opposition to all war? Was not Sully, prime minister of Henry Fourth, equally wise when he sought to bind all Europe in a league of peace for a hundred years by way of experiment? And what a Europe would it have been at the end of that century. Surely Russia would have been less barbarious, and Italy would have worn a sunnier look. The Rhine would have multiplied its grapes and France its lilies. Swiss Cantons would have become still more pastoral, and the fleets of England might have left their docks on errands of peaceful discovery. But let me keep to my Hermitage.
The first battle of Manassas was fought on a Sabbath. We wish that men-at-arms would choose, some other day for their sanguinary work. Waterloo was fought on the day of sacred rest. It might as well have been postponed till Monday. Christians may die on Sunday, but profane soldiers had better fix on some other time to be killed. My Hermitage was full of refugees. Mrs. Commodore Jones, of Sharon, was one of them, whose delicate health made her exceedingly nervous. The drama was opened early in the morning of that brilliant day in July, 1861. A neighbor rode by my house in great haste, with a spy-glass fastened on his shoulder, through which to peer at the combatants. Well: if it had been Wednesday your correspondent would have staid at home, but being the one which was kept holy in Eden, the vale of Hebron; in Shiloh, and by Siloa's brook - he took his Bible and spent the sacred Hours between sunrise and sunset in reading of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, and of Him who is Lord of all. That Bible must
be handed down to some one as an heirloom. It was presented to its owner by the Christian ladies of Greenwich Church. Paper fine, type capital, and well suited to the eye of a Septuagenarian. Don't mind these playful allusions, although they be personal. We would not possess the ponderous vanity of La Martine for the palace of St. Cloud. About sunset my Bible was closed. It was time for our evening meal. In 1745 the battle of Prestorpans was fought near a Manse in the Shire of Haddington, Scotland: and certainly one and a half a score besides were fought near mine in the Shire of Prince William, Va. We say nothing as to whose banner it was on which victory perched, because then only one side would read this letter. Many a traveler knows which way the tower of Pisa leans; but no one shall find out my leanings. That evening the sun went down superbly beyond the Ridge, to the azure tints to which my eye has been fondly attached for thirty years, but the next day it rained and kept raining. Plutarch says that it always pours down after a battle. Showers perhaps are sent in mercy to wounded soldiers. We retired for the night after reading at the domestic altar the lamentation of David over Jonathan, for we felt certain that friends had fallen to rise no more till the last trump shall sound. What is the bugle of the warrior compared to that mighty trumpet which the arm of Gabriel alone can wield.
For nearly a year after the battle of Manassas, the writer continued to officiate to his people at a distance of three miles from the Manse. The congregation was composed exclusively of Northern families who had bought lands sixteen years ago in Pleasant Valley. Every Sabbath they sent a carriage for their minister, and there could be no kinder people. But in the confusion of the country, with three or four exceptions, they concluded to return to the North. The last day on which service was held was one of sadness. My text was from the Psalms: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion." And now the kirk is solitary and none repair to its solemn feasts. We can say with the Prophet, "Where is that flock thou hast given me - that beautiful flock?" Dispersed in the whirlwind of war. For several Sabbaths many of the Federal soldiers attended at this church and demeaned themselves with reverence in the sanctuary. Some of them were professors of our holy religion. The solitude of the Manse became enlivened by strangers from Otsego Lake; the sources of the blue Juniata; the banks of the Monongehela or the tangled prairies of, the West. Two thousand in all though not at one and same time. They came in groups. Many humorous and some tragic incidents took place; but the former might be inappropriate to an ecclesiastical journal. To some of the soldiers we presented a variety of religious tracts which were courteously received. They promised to give them a faithful reading. Sometimes my consort would, of a Sabbath evening, go in where they were, read and explain a chapter in the Bible, and then kneel down and pray for them and all whom they had left at home. They showed deep feeling. Some of them said we will remember you in our graves; but we reckon
they must have been from Ireland. Among them were officers of intelligence, some of whom were fresh from their respective colleges. We could designate Col. Jones from Dartmouth and Capt. Wheeler from New Haven, which last has been called the City of Elms. Wheeler had left the cloisters of science for the pursuits of war, and the groves of learning for the camp. He was quite colloquial; fond of the piano and the zether; attended Divine service at my house; claimed to be a collateral relative of President Edwards, and his countenance was always arrayed in smiles. He fell at Atlanta, in Georgia, leaving a widowed mother at New Haven, in the profoundest grief for his loss. Major Makalone was from Philadelphia. Well read, and a Catholic. He attended service at the Manse. My text was, "And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee." He was mortally wounded in the battle of Chickamauga, when about to appear at the nuptial altar. One heart in addition to his own was stricken into sorrow. But we cannot designate that diversity of persons who came to my Hermitage in shorter space than that of a decade of letters. And permit me to say, that some of the incidents which occurred on my premises were fraught with peculiar interest, but they will be reserved for some future time. We must, however, allude to poor Hoskins, who fell near my farm. He was under the command of Mosby, and the son of an Episcopal minister in Kent county, England. He was an author, and had served under Garibaldi, and in the Crimea under Lord Raglan. Perhaps he was present at the storming of the Malakoff Tower. When wounded, he was taken to the kiosk of Charles Green, adjacent to Greenwich, who was a native of Hailes Ower, Salopshire, England, but last from Liverpool. There he received the kindest attention; but no skill could save his life. We laid him down in the cemetery of the village, and his father has sent over funds to rear a neat tablet to his memory. His steed had scoured the ruins of Italy, the margin of the Golden Horn and Canadian snows, but he met his end among the larches of Prince William. In riding by our sequestered kirk we sometimes glance at the grave of the stranger in a strange land. One hot summer afternoon, a Mississippi soldier was brought in an ambulance to my house. He was very sick, and in a few days he died, not without resignation to the Divine will; for, though young, he had been a member of the church. Twelve of his comrades were detailed to attend the funeral, and we buried him in a clump of cherry trees near the gate of the Manse, the white blossoms of which have since been sprinkled on his mound. After the second battle of Manassas, a soldier, dangerously wounded, lay about five miles distant from my dwelling. He had sent to the writer for some religious books, which were transmitted, together with a Decade of Letters about Scottish Manses, by old Peter Bell, published in a Richmond paper. We rode over to the Swiss-looking village of Buckland to pray with the stranger, and found him sensible, well-informed and affable. He was pale and emaciated, but by gentle nursing he slowly regained his strength, and was then put in a hand-carriage and moved to and fro over the yard. It is
something to be drawn by ladies for a team; but even for such a promenading, the writer would not consent to welcome a minnie ball through the shoulder. This gentleman, when recovered, went back to Charleston, South Carolina, from which city he communicated to us the pleasing news that he had connected himself with the people of the Lord. Perhaps by his affliction he was led to Him who received not one, but five wounds for our transgressions, and by whose stripes all returning sheep are healed.
But the question may be asked by my Methodist Protestant brethren was your Manse injured by the war? No; from the last advices it is still erect. Its bees are still riding on their chariot plants, its birds are still twittering from its locust boughs, and its grassy knolls have not been stained by a drop of blood. We told the knights that all their passes-at-arms must be enacted outside of my sylvan walls, for they are fit for nothing but to be scaled by squirrels and surmounted by wrens or sparrows. My books are intact. We can still turn over volumes teeming with ancient thought, or look on pictures ambrotyped from the light of the medieval imagination. We have quaint Chaucer, cornucopian Spencer, and can still go back to Eden with Milton for a guide. Would that we could say the same of Ringwood, my once happy home, which stands about five miles from my present abode. The war did it no good, but the injury will soon be repaired. Hope so, for that spot is associated with thirteen years of my hermit life, where morning so often chased away the night, and evening so often drew its pensive star from the urns of the sun. Its premises have been repeatedly sketched, and it gratifies me to say that one of those sketches is from the pencil of a Northern soldier. Nor could war affect its mountain views which still range in the distance. The hues of the Ridge defy the sternest look of the warrior, be he Taric the Moor, or Hannibal the Carthagenian. The Alps regarded the tread of Napoleon, and the Pyrenees that of Wellington no more than the footstep of a sauntering goat. There stands those monuments of Divine power, and there will they stand to the end of time. But one morning a train of wagons entered my gate. What's to pay now, thought I. They had come to forage, and a pair of officers dismounted. Major Bell was the spokesman. Have you any oats or corn? He politely inquired. Well, Major, I replied, we have some of both, though my farm is not much larger than that of Cincinnatus the Roman, or of Alcibiades the Greek, and this year have been obliged to buy. Our horses are starving was his reply. And so are mine in the present scarcity of grain. They are so reduced that they creep along like snails over the undulations of this county, and they are obliged to rest under the old oak tree between this and Greenwich kirk. You see, Major, that my home is among the pines, and here is a burr brought me from Waterloo near Brussels. 'Tis not so large as some of my cones. My interlocutor seemed quite willing to prolong the colloquy. Some time since, said he, I was passing up Georgetown, D. C., and coming to a Church my attention was struck by a sepulchral tablet in the wall of the edifice, and it occurred to me
that the deceased person might have been a progenitor to the one of the same name who wrote the "Picturesques" in Stockton's Christian World. My immediate progenitor, I replied, and his father came direct from Wales to Maryland. But where did you read the Picturesques? In the far West, he rejoined. But have you written anything besides, he contined. Do you see, Major, that heap of manuscripts on the table. They contain the history of my Times, and he who takes my grain will find an ugly niche in that gallery. Here, to cut a long story short, said Lieutenant Hill, suppose you write to Gen. King, under whose orders we act. Agreed, and in ten minutes the letter was written and sent by a soldier. When the messenger returned Lieutenant Hill waived off the teamsters by a motion of his hand. Very much obliged to Gen. King. He was a Milwaukee editor, but has since gone to Italy. Hope he will experience no annoyance from the lazzaroni of Naples, the cardinals of Rome, or the banditti of the Appenines. In the evening Major Halstead from Newark, New Jersey, who was one of Gen. Augur's staff, rode to my house to see after the preacher. Glad to hear from his staff, for he and the writer were well acquainted at college. The son was taken prisoner at Cedar mountain in Culpepper, but was soon exchanged.
During the blockade it was very difficult to procure pens, ink, and paper, and this was a severe trial to a scribbler. My dilemma was made known to Lieutenant Hill, who brought me eight quires of that precious article letterpress. How warm were my thanks. Col. Mann sent me up from his camp a bottle of very dingy ink, and Lieutenant Brockway gave me a couple of pens with gutta percha holders. The last mentioned officer was from the vale of Wyoming, but he had traveled along the Andes. His conversation was interesting. But most unfortunately one of the glasses of my spectacles fell out on the floor of the Manse. A sad tribulation, comforted, however, by remembering that Generals Taric and Kutersoff had each lost an eye. In this emergency Dr. Donnelly, who was from Ireland, came to my house. He had lived in Brazil where he had fallen in with the "Lusiad" of Camoens, of which he intended to publish a new translation. He asked me about Mikle who rendered that Epic into English. He was, I replied, the son of a Scotch minister who preached at Langholm in Dumfrieshire. The translator went to Lisbon on mercantile business; but afterwards returned to Forest Hill in Oxfordshire, England, where he resided, and where Milton was first married. Thank you, he remarked, for the information; and on my return from the city of fraternal love you shall own a new pair of spectacles. The doctor made good his promise, and on his leaving us he begged my consort to remember him in her prayers.
A coincidence: My son Chalmers was carried to the old Capitol; but bearing the name of an illustrious Scotch divine, he was released in few days and sent round to Richmond. He was moneyless, nor were his garments white as the snow of Salmon. In Richmond a stranger whose name was Selden, proved a friend in need. It is somewhat remarkable that precisely on the same day and at the same hour in which Selden
was befriending him that Selden's son, half famished, rode to my door and asked for breakfast His appetite was keen.
An editor looks askance at a long article. Ergo: It may be well to close at least for the present.
In a previous letter mention was made of several incidents that took place on my premises during the war which has just been brought to a close. It is admitted that these incidents are not sufficiently dignified to challenge the pen of the historian, but if not of the grand and instructive kind, they may serve at least to amuse your readers. To such as have been already stated, suffer me to add a few more, which shall be told in the most unpretending way. They are detailed, not to express any political proclivities, but simply to promote the reign of good feeling; and for this reason no offence can be given to either Jew or Gentile. These papers may be innocently read either by proud Castilians, or by the knights of Morocco. Garrick introduced Hannah More to the acquaintance of John Horne. The one had written the tragedy of Douglas and the other that of Percy, and the great actor playfully remarked, that now the Douglas and the Percy had shaken hands, he hoped the fight in the Cheviot Hills would be forgotten. Amen, responds the occupant of the Prince William Manse. There is a sterness in the following couplet which occurs in the Lay of the last Minstrel, quite uncongenial to my taste:
So long as Ettrick holds the Scott,
Shall feudal war ne'er be forgot.
It will be remembered that the Confederate army under Johnston, lay at Centreville and Manassas during the winter of 1861 and 1862, and some of the soldiers came to keep Christmas at my house. At such a period of distress they could not have expected the luxuries which used to be common at that joyful season. In olden times Christmas was kept at Branksome Hall, or Kenilworth Castle, in a mirthful way. Chieftans and their liegemen indulged in what is called wassail. Solders, said I, tippling would be something very inappropriate to a Manse, but we are not without some coffee, a berry of which Napoleon was fond. At present it is unimportant whether it come from Mocha, Java, or Brazil, provided it only be coffee. But have you any Louisiana sugar? said Corporal Draper. No: but we have some West India saccharine; and bowls of coffee are better than mugs of wine. We can trim our fires, give you some music on the zether, which will remind us of the Tyrolese Alps; and we can read to you Milton's hymn on the Nativity, Cowper's Winter Evening in the Country, or the Scotch ballad called the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, or the Braes of Yarrow, by Hamilton of Bargour. We can furnish you with corncob pipes and send you off to beds soft as
the down of the Gothland duck. Well, for a time like this, replied the corporal, you can do more for us than we expected. Our guests enjoyed themselves for a few days, when they decamped from my house and returned to their shabby tents The Manse then resumed its usual serenity, and became just as quiet as the Warkworth hermitage in the Shire of Cumberland, which has been celebrated in the ballads of Percy, who was Dean of Carlisle: but subsequently Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland. But now the lady of the manse was in a fix. Some socks had been previously sent to an Alabama soldier who was stockingless. He had written to express his thankfulness, but added that in taking aim at the Yankees he would always think of his benefactress, and this was just the thing which the lady did not desire. She remembered who had said, thou shalt not kill; and she did not send the socks as a prompter to heroic deeds. Such tenderness of conscience is worthy of all respect. Both Ney and Murat were in fifty battles, and each of them declared that he was unconscious of ever having killed a man. Byron used to wonder what were the feelings of a homicide. Bad enough, my lord of Newstead Abbey, though the writer does not say so from personal experience. The creed of the writer about war is the same with that of William Penn. War is an unlawful game, and for this reason we do not envy the inventors of Colt's revolver, Burnside's pistol or Dahlgren's gun. Men die fast enough without new implements of death. But it gives me pleasure to say that the Alabama soldier on receiving a note from the lady, withdrew his resolve to kill any body for her sake. It is presumed therefore that if he slew any one, it was done on his own account or from patriotism - but patriotism is nowhere commanded in the Bible. That Book was not made for France, England and Austria, but for the world. So thought Soame Jenyns, who from a deist became a Christian, because he could not find in Holy Writ any command to love England better than Greenland, Labrador or Tartary. We think as Soame thought, and hope that no offence will be taken at our thoughts.
The reader must not forget that in the spring of 1862, General McDowell advanced into Virginia with quite a numerous force, as high as Bristoe in Prince William. Johnston had fallen back to Gordonsville, and eventually in the direction of Yorktown. His reasons for this movement are too obvious to need even a word in the way explanation. His rear guard passed us, and a young lady in our vicinity wrote some very pretty lines, suggested by the sight of that guard. Falling back is always a damper to troops; but still they looked sprightlier than the rear guard of Ney when he left Moscow for the Beresina. The object of the Illinois General was to cover Washington and to aid McClellan; but a diversion was made in his plans by the movements of Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. These papers, however, are not graduated on a military scale. Whilst McDowell lay in the vicinity of Bristoe he was visited by a snow-storm, quite unusual in our latitude for the month of April. The violets had everywhere dotted the woods, but the cowslips and buttercups were buried beneath mounds of snow. Their streaks were lost to the eye and their fragrance neutralized on
the vernal air. It was a wintry scene. The tents of the army were cheerless. The men could not sleep, and permission was given them to spread themselves through the country, and they rushed out in search of better accommodations. The rooms of the Manse were crowded. They were not brought there by the bugle of Roderick Dhu or Malcolm Greame, but by the horn of winter, which was howling rather than winding along the azure ridge. The men occupied every inch of space except my chimney nook, and that would not have been given up to Wellington without a fight. Seated in my old arm-chair, no one dared to dispute its possession. Dominie, said one of the soldiers, can you tell us what all this muss is about? Certainly, said I, if you will hear me patiently during an hour, for the causes of the muss run back to the year of our Lord 1789. But mark me, you are not to know my politics from the dissertation. They listened with an attention entirely respectful. Among my audience was a chaplain who was from Troy, N. Y., and it gave me pleasure to hear, through him, of Dr. Snodgrass of that city, who was my fellow-student at the Princeton Seminary The chaplain afterwards lost a limb in the war, and was sent to the Alexandria Hospital. He will, no doubt, use crutches in ascending the pulpit. We wish him well, for during his stay at my house he went to camp, and brought me ten pounds of sugar and ten of coffee. The soldiers were apparently serious at family worship, but the weather broke and they all dispersed. One of them was named Abbot: he lingered longer than the rest, and was extravagantly fond of music. Glad to hear that he was no way connected with a person of the same name who wrote the Life of Bonaparte, a production which has pleased many women and children.
A few days after the above momentous events, a Federal soldier rode in hot haste to the door of the Manse, He refused to alight. Understand, said he, that you have three mocking birds, to sell at ten dollars a piece. When leaving Wisconsin, my mother made me promise to send her some Virginia birds, that imitated the note of all other birds. Your price will be freely given. Your filial affection is worthy of admiration, I replied, and we wish well to the good old Wisconsin lady, but really my aviary is very scantily furnished at present. I am no Audubon, and have not a wren, sparrow or hummer for sale. It was clear that the man did not believe me, for he went about peering into every tree and examining into empty cages. But his scepticism finally gave way before his own examination, and he rode off, not without muttering his discontent. It then occurred to me, that being April, some one in the way of merriment had given the man a useless tramp of five miles. Or perhaps the solution of the affair may be as follows: Three young ladies at the Manse, and one of them a refugee, had played in succession the little Alabama song called the Mocking Bird. The three were called up; and young ladies, said I, we hold each of you at the rate of a billion of dollars, but you have been put down at the low figure of ten apiece. They were quite amused. We suspected Hill who wore the straps of an officer, and we charged on him the sending of the man to my
domicile. Was he simple enough to come? he inquired, and laughed. Poor Hill, he had been at war among the Aztecs, and had fought his way up and down to the Halls of the Montezumas. He was badly wounded at Bull Run Bridge, and reduced to a fraction at Antietam, so that he left the army. Let us not judge men by appearances. His exterior was not prepossessing, but he is a generous and high-minded man. He took out a gold piece, amounting to two dollars and fifty cents, and divided it among the servants. He offered pay for his accommodation wherever he went. He was anxious to get home that he might see Frank, his little son. At prayer we remembered little Frank, and the father seemed much affected. He was surprised that a Southern minister would pray for a Northwestern child, but we told him that a Pagan had uttered the sentiment - I am a man, and nothing is alien to me that appertains to humanity, and surely a Christian ought not to be surpassed by a Roman. We wish well to Hill, he is a sensible soldier. He liked to mix among men far better than among flowers, for his imagination was not very arabesque. On taking leave of us, he remarked with deep feeling: Young ladies, if you will educate Frank, he shall be here directly after the peace; and we were surprised at his desire to give his son a Southern training. Now these incidents may appear trifling to the reader, but he ought to remember that these papers are not the history of the great big war that convulsed the country. They are simple affairs, that took place in my immediate vicinity and beneath my personal notice, and therefore the recital of them can be tolerated, even if they be not approved.
It looked strange to see a quiet home in Prince William filled up in part with Danes, Swedes and Russians; and it is remarkable that they stood the cold no better than the Confederates. In extreme latitudes men seldom leave their stoves. Even St. Petersburg is shut up all winter, and for this reason, when Russians venture out in a more moderate climate they become chilly. 'Tis true the Cossacks pursued Napoleon, but vindictive feeling against the man kept them warm, and in the chase of him they were going south. The Swedes talked of Jenny Lind, and of Augustus Adolphus, the great champion of Protestantism. The Danes had little to say about Tycho Brahe, for they did not understand his astronomy. The Russians knew something of Peter the Great, but nothing about Pushkin, their poet, who foolishly lost his life in a duel. There was quite a diversity of temperament among my numerous guests. Some were garrulous and other taciturn; some sullen and others easily pleased; some grave and others merry; some lazy and others would hitch up my team and bring in a cord of wood in a hurry. Captain Caldwell, from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, was constitutionally excitable, but even with him a soft answer could turn away wrath. He is a scholar, and his memory, if he be still alive, is very retentive. In fact, Christian meekness can keep down the quills of a porcupine in our intercourse with the world. Among the Northerners was a man whom his comrades called Jersey. We could not ascertain whether or not he was from that island in the
English Channel, but he was last from Brooklyn. After leaving my house, we heard that my friend Jersey had behaved badly; but the report was false, for Lieutenant Hoysradt, who called on us after the battle of Gettysburg, told me that he had distinguished himself in that affair. The Confederates had captured one of the Federal standards and borne it away; but Jersey rushed into the thickest of the fight, and the standard was re-taken. For this deed he was promoted on the spot. The writer cannot determine the exact number of soldiers who came to the Manse during that April snow-storm. They amounted to an inundation; but in an overflow of the Nile the minarets of the Delta are everywhere visible to the Egyptians, and it was my business to ask them about their Churches, and bring into view the steeples of their sacred edifices; Leslie, the Provost Marshal, was then at my house. His name indicated that he was Scotch. He had come from Balmoral in the Shire of Aberdeen, near to which place Queen Victoria has a palace, and in its vicinity Prince Albert used to shoot grouse. As General Ewell's residence, called Stony Lonesome, was on the hill that overlooked my premises, Leslie very kindly took an ambulance and brought the General's books to my house. They were preserved in that way, for some soldiers think no more of Homer's Iliad than of the History of Tom Thumb, or of the splendid creations of Sir W. Scott than of Dilworth's spelling book. When the General was told of this fact, he was peculiarly gratified. But short articles are more coveted at present than those that are long.
We are happy to acknowledge the general accuracy of your printing. But permit me to say that the concluding sentence of my previous letter needs correction. You call my son Chambers instead of Chalmers, and my manuscript stood as follows: But bearing the name of an illustrious Scotch divine he was released in a few days. Some of your readers have accused me of calling myself an illustrious divine. No! no: the writer is nothing but a shady divine.
"Home - sweet home." This is the title of a song which was written by my friend Howard Payne. He was a bachelor, and never knew the charm of domestic life. After wandering late and long, he died in Algiers. A petition was sent to the Government that his remains might be brought from Africa to the United States, and, as the hurly-burly war is over, we hope the wishes of his friends may be gratified. This song was hummed on the way from Washington to my Manse. After a long detention in that city, by the illness of Mrs. Genl. Macomb, how refreshing is a sight of the Blue Ridge.
A writer should always be judged by what he professes to execute. In these papers the reader need not expect the movement of great armies, or the recital of closely contested battles. Such things are
freely handed over to our historians, whilst the writer proceeds, with his present unambitious task, which is to add a few incidents to those already stated. These small affairs took place both with Federals and Confederates, and in telling them we must keep in mind that narrow pass in which Jonathan surprised the Philistine garrison. It had a sharp rock on the North, and one equally sharp on the South: but the writer hopes to get through without giving offence, that in all things the Ministry be not blamed.
The following incident is about a little dog whose name is Bruto. On the morning that Gen. Ewell left for the war, the writer went over to his residence to bid him adieu. It was a distance of five hundred yards from my own dwelling. His brother committed the diminutive creature to the keeping of my son, and a remarkable attachment grew up between the parties. His temporary owner could not stroll to my gate without being accompanied by the dog. He followed him wherever he went, and was with him on the evening he was captured and taken to Washington. Bruto returned after night, and we concluded that his master would soon make his appearance. But he did not, for he was safely lodged in the Carroll House. The dog was disconsolate, and for several days refused every kind of nourishment, constantly looking in the direction where his master was taken. When the prisoner returned the canine affair could not suppress its joy. Till then the writer never tolerated dogs. It was enough to know that they would bite. Byron's attachment to his Newfoundlander was set down as a piece of affectation, and the St. Bernard stories as humbug. We had heard of their protecting children, and that they had discovered murders, and how they had defended Grampian, Pentland and Pyrenean shepherds, but we regarded all this as gammon. But in future we must entertain a better opinion of the canine species. When convicted of an error, that error ought to be confessed.
The curiosity of the Federals who came on my premises, was intense. It extended to the garden, carriage-house, cistern, and kitchen. They peered about the walls of the Manse. What is this? said one of them, who came from the Knickerbocker city. That is a sketch of the Catskill mountains, which run through several counties of New York, and you ought to have known it at sight. They seemed pleased at our having any thing contiguous to Sleepy Hollow. But mark me, said I, the two peaks of the Catskill, as measured by Captain Partridge, are not so high as those of Otter in the Blue Ridge. Virginia must not yield in its scenery to the land of the Gothamites. And what is this? said another of my guests. A picture of Evangeline, I replied, drawn, no doubt, from fancy. Fancy might have made the heroine of Nova Scotia or Acadia much handsomer than she appears in that representation By whom was it executed? he rejoined. By Mrs. Ewing of Orange county - not in New York, but Virginia. And what is this? said a third soldier. A view of my native town, which lies on the north banks of the Potomac. It holds the Manse once occupied by my Sire. But to prevent any further guessing, it occurred to me to become a kind of
cicerone to the little ornaments of my cottage: This is a sketch of Lake Como in Italy, and one of the stone buildings on its margin. It was presented by a lady who came to Virginia from near Woodstock, in Oxford, England, together with many other pieces of English scenery, and among them Tintern Abbey on the Wye. And here is a Swiss cottage sent me by Prosinger who emigrated from Munich in Bavaria. And here is a bust of Petrarch, from Florence, and of Roscoe, from Liverpool; and here is a branch of palm from the tomb of Paul and Virginia in the island of Mauritius; and here is a staff from the Moluccas: and lastly, as the schedule is somewhat tedious, here is a large picture of my small self. What, said Major Jones, do you preach in gown and bands? No; but the likeness was taken by Mason, a young artist of Snow Hill, who died at an early age He worked under the instigation of a bachelor, who was not without some predilection for clerical dress, and as his money paid the artist, it was not my province to interfere with his fancy. The black gown is not amiss, but we should have rebelled against the white surplice, because it is both Jewish and Papal. Hope the reader will not regard me as a virtuoso, like Horace Walpole of Strawberry Hill.
The blockade became more and more tightened. The want of leather was general. My shoes were all down at the heel. My thoughts about sandals were quite intense. The Bard of the Seasons wanted a pair of shoes on the soles of which to pace the footways of London. The window in Pembroke College is shewn to this day out of which Dr. Johnson tossed a couple of hobnail commodities. And Josephine, when going from Martinique to France, wanted a pair for her daughter Hortense. What was to be done? To superintend farming operations in my stockings was rather awkward. We could not walk to the gate, the spring or the meadow. But after a noon of lamentation, a pretty twilight fell round the Manse, and a lonely horseman was approaching my door. His name was Alexander. He was not a combatant, but an engineer. He was of Scotch descent, and on a visit to Washington, had just fallen in with the chief of his clan, to whom he renewed his homage. Dismount, I said, and pass the night. Some of your men have just brought me several pounds of coffee. Could not, he replied. But here's a pair of shoes; try if they will fit. They fit exactly, was my answer. You guessed well at my measure. He rode away very briskly, for he had come five miles from his camp. But during the whole war, night was turned into day and day into night. Nor was this all the good fortune which befel the Manse about this time: for hearing of my shoeless feet, Commissary Bundy sent me a pair of boots, and Col. De Luc a pair of sandals with silk strings. The Colonel was of French extraction, and hailed from St. Paul, on the east banks of the Mississippi. He talked a great deal about the laughing waters of Minnesota, and shewed me some ambrotypes of the aquatic scenery, of which he was so fond. He was a lawyer, and, of course, a special pleader for his State. But, Colonel, said I, look yonder That is the line of the Blue Ridge; and though your country be undulating, it
holds no such mountain as the one now in sight. That elevation is full of cool fountains and fragrant leaves. Here the confab ended, but he gave me an Oration which had just been delivered in Boston, by O. W. Wolines, and upon which he requested some critical remarks. They were prepared and sent down to camp by a Northern soldier, who rode as express. It was a good-natured piece of criticism, with a request that it might be forwarded, not to the Czar of all the Russians, but to the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. The Colonel took all in good part, for on the next Sabbath he was in the church at my house, and heard a sermon from that blessed petition, give us this day our daily bread.
Paper at present is uncommonly scarce, as you will see from the scraps on which this communication is written. Perhaps some of your readers may be glad of the fix we are in, because it has shortened this letter. But we hope for a supply after my return from our Synod, which meets at Lynchburg, in sight of the Otter Peaks. They will look, we fear, less inviting than usual in their Autumnal dress. For the present, adieu.
One evening my third daughter was riding from the Federal camp. She was accompanied by a servant: but a young officer rode up and desired the privilege of seeing her safely home. He would listen to no expostulation. He was told that he might be captured on the way, and then she would be charged with decoying him into danger. But the young knight persevered, for he had come from the smoke of Pittsburg, and his sight must have been rather dim. The party reached the Manse some time after twilight, and rode quite briskly up to the kitchen. Since the absence of the young lady, three Confederate soldiers, all armed cap-a-pie, had arrived on my premises with the purpose of spending the night. They were in the parlor, the door and windows of which were open, for it was summer, and the moon was throwing its reflections into the room which they occupied. We heard distinctly the tramping of the horses as they approached our culinary establishment. My consort withdrew with the quickness of an Irish fairy or a Devonshire pixie, and in a hurry warned the young man of his critical situation. But he had lost the points of the compass, for the woods through which he had come were exceedingly dense. Which way lies my camp? asked the bewildered knight. Don't know, said the lady, being myself a keeper at home; but my son is one of the Confederates, and my creed is that the rites of hospitality are more sacred than the laws of war. But no talking. At that she ran with a footstep, quite elastic for a lady of sixty-two, and beckoned out the young soldier. Gulielmi, said the mother, this young man asks you to go with him a mile, but go with him twain. Don't mind your arms; but trust to his honor. Were he
to harm you he would be a fiend, whereas he seems to be a gentleman. So he escaped: and who would not skedaddle sooner than to go to the Libby or Fort Warren. He wore a sabre which he took off, because of its dangling. If he call for it the weapon can be restored. Gainer by this affair one sabre, but my anxiety to keep it is not very great: for they who take the sword shall perish by the sword. Was it right to save him? Yes; for he was performing an act of civility, and my politics shall never outrun my chivalry. We choose to be polite, and taking men prisoners is a very clownish business. The young man's name was Easton, and we mention names for fear the reader may look upon these incidents as fictions instead of realities. But permit me to mention an incident somewhat resembling the above, although its termination was not quite so happy. Another daughter went over to the Federal camp to make a few purchases. She was introduced to Gen. Meade, who was a kind of an American Creole, for he was born in Spain, probably at Madrid on the Manzenarez. His father was Minister to the Court of that city. When the fair daughter of Eve was about leaving his tent, the General called an officer, and ordered him to guard the lady home. No, General, said the lady, he may be sent to Belle Isle before you see him again. Not the least danger, was the reply; but in passing a clump of woods out came two Confederates ; but being one to two, the officer wisely surrendered. The lady protested, but little did the captors care for the tongue of a woman. But scarcely had the prisoners reached Richmond before a letter stating the circumstances was forwarded to the Hon. James A. Seddon, at that time Secretary of War. He immediately searched for the young man, and having found him, ordered his release. The pen is sometime more powerful than the sword. Arrests were frequent. On a beautiful summer evening, a gentleman from New Hampshire by the name of Snow, was driving me home from the Church in which the writer had just been officiating. Wishing for a little pedestrian exercise, he dropped me a half a mile off from my house, and was returning in his chariot when he was met by some Confederate cavalry and sent to Manassas, and from thence to Richmond. We wrote to Gen. Beauregard in his behalf, and to the Rev. Dr. Hoge of Richmond: and it gives me pleasure to say, that in three weeks he was set at liberty. This gentleman knows how to bear the frowns of fortune. He owned property in New York, but it was consumed by fire. He then bought a farm in Prince William; but in consequence of the war, not a plank is left, either of his barn or dwelling. He then purchased a steamer to ply between Washington and Alexandria, but it was sunk into the Potomac. He then entered into the coal business on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, but Mosby captured all his mules. Will any one doubt that he is possessed of a brave heart and that decision of character of which Foster has so eloquently written.
One bright afternoon three Confederates rode up to my yard. They dismounted, but instead of coming into the Manse, they laid themselves down in the shade of some locust trees, where they fell into a sleep as sound as was that of Gulliver's in Laputa. All the previous night they
had been scouting. Sleep has been eulogized by Dr. Young, and we only wish that the repose of these knights could have been witnessed by the Bard of Welwyn. Soldiers should be on their guard. Saul went to sleep in a Hebrew cave, and lost in that way the skirt of his garment, but our knights, Martin, Smith and Boteler, came near the loss of their lives. We have heard of the Three Graces; the three witches on the Forres Moor; of the three wise men of Gotham, but this triple group were not very sagacious in slumbering when they should have had wide open the hundred eyes of Argus. For who is this running from the kitchen and laying her ebony hands on the three sleepers and shaking them to pieces, and crying out - they are coming! they are coming! It was a servant woman who had descried fifteen Federals descending the slope of a hill, and spurring steeds that were flecked in foam. They were commanded by Lieutenant Littlefield, and a John Gilpin race was commenced. The knights sprung to their saddles sooner than they could whistle Jack Robinson. They cleared the bars of my fence - crossed a brook which flowed through a holm - ascended a hill, and though not killed, buried themselves in the woods. In the meantime the Federals lost ground by taking down instead of leaping the bars. As no mischief was done we enjoyed the chase. When the Lieutenant returned, the lady of the Manse expressed her satisfaction that his men had not fired. We thought your son of the Black Horse was one of the three, he replied. We only wanted to tuck them away into Fort Delaware. Poor Littlefield. He was a meritorious young man, but in a few weeks afterwards he was taken sick with the camp fever and died in Washington, far away from his Northwestern home. Towards night the Confederates returned in search of a bag of oats they had left in their flight, and which the Federals had overlooked. They were supplied with milk, and let me advise the reader to enter into a long rumination on the usefulness of the cow. Like Dr. Jenner, of Gloucester, England, the writer often leans over the bars of the cowpen to think of his vaccine discovery, for which Parliament voted him ten thousand pounds, when they ought to have given him ten times the sum. And as men will go to war in contrariety to his opinions, the writer is not sorry that Morgan whipped Tarlton at the battle of the Cowpens. This letter is sufficiently brief to suit the most scrupulous editor. There is at present a scarcity of paper in Old Prince William, though the county be named in honor of a Dutch King. We hope to procure a supply. A paper-mill might be useful at present in this part of the Old Dominion.
It is not pleasant to deprive books of their blank leaves, but what scribbler will fail to do this should he be pushed for paper? It was done by Addison and Pope. Why not, then, by the occupant of a dwelling hid in the woods, and far away from towns, where paper is
sold? Throughout the war, the Manse was subject to calls both by individuals and companies. My feelings were quite interested in young Allston, who sojourned awhile at my house. He was without a horse, but subsequently obtained a very superior one in a raid. He was brave to a fault, but we exceedingly doubt whether bravery be a virtue. Were all men destitute of this quality, would there or could there be any fighting? Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were gentle as a pair of doves skipping along the walks of Eden. War was one of the evils which came into the world with the loss of our original innocence. We ought therefore to oppose it under all circumstances if we ever expect to recover in the Second what was lost in the First Adam. But a word or two about my young friend, for he did not seem to have been more than nineteen years of age. He was born in Ireland, but was taken when a boy to the city of Hereford, in the west of England, which is situated on the north bank of the Wye. In coming from Hereford, I remarked, you come from the birth-place of the celebrated Garrick. Dr. Johnson said of him, that he promoted the gaiety of nations, but nations need to be solemn rather than gay, especially in time of war. All traditions of him, he replied, have died out in Hereford, but he is still spoken of in London. The confidence with which my young friend replied, convinced me that he was quite intelligent. I have caught trout in the Wye and the Severn, he continued, and have gone in my boat as high as the Shire of Montgomery. Then you have been at Ludlow wood and Ludlow castle? Yes, and the wood is still green, but the castle is brown with age and stern in its ruins. My skiff could touch at Chepston, Tintern Abbey, or the town of Ross, where lived John Kyrle, the good old bachelor. The trees he planted in Ross are still erect. Have been up the Welsh rivers and over the rough mountains of the principality, but always glad to see Hereford again, for absence only sweetened home. What bait did you use in angling? Anything, he answered, that resembled a fly, and like Sir Humphrey Davy, we could make a bait out of the feathers of the peacock. And what induced you to leave such juvenile pleasures for the scenes of war? We heard, he replied, that there was a great fuss in your country, and we concluded to cross the sea and help the Confederates, who were thought in England, to be the weaker party. The conversation of this soldier was instructive, but he was captured in the battle of the Wilderness. His comrades in arms have taken special pains to ascertain his fate; and the conjecture is that he died either in prison or in a hospital, at Richmond. If so he will never again behold the coral reefs of England. There is a bare possibility, however, that he may have returned to Hereford, the city from which he came.
A soldier from Minnesota. He had been taken prisoner, but the squad by whom he was captured, not wishing to lose time in going to Richmond, paroled him on the spot. He was a Frenchman, and we asked him to sing the Marseilles hymn in the language in which it was written. With this request he immediately complied. It stirred my heart like a trumpet; but after ten minutes reflection, the military fire
fell down to zero. Who would repudiate his books for one of Sharp's rifles or a Dahlgren gun? Certainly no civilized man would be guilty of such folly. The Frenchman was quite anxious to acquire the pronunciation of our language, and we set him to reading a volume of my manuscript sermons. You do slap now and ten at the Pope, he remarked, as he went on with his task. Its a part of my religion, I replied, never to spare the old man of sin. Dat is right, he answered, for de French be not dependent on de Vatican. Napoleon III. supply him wid de bayonets because he want him to feel his great dependence. Are there many of the frog-eating nation in Minnesota? Good many - good many do go from Montreal; but de priests do not like de going, for de Methodists do catch de Catholics, as de French do catch de frogs, and de priests are left in de Church. In the lurch, you mean. Dat is right, he said, in de lurch. De priests have to fry some fish. No; you mean that the priests have other fish to fry than going after those that the Methodists catch! Dat is right, for mineself have seen how de priests do grab all dey can get. Have you had, I asked, any hair-breadth escapes in the war? One, he answered, that do deserve mention. Mineself was under de apple tree, and a shell come at de tree and de apples fall down and bruise mine head, and where de shell did explode lift up mine haversack way up in de air, and cut up de haversack to pieces. And what became of the apples? I did eat up de apples, for in de heat of de battle one great tirst did come to mine mouth. Now, said I, you must quit your de, dey, mineself, tirst and all such things, for the English is a manly language. You must read my manuscripts for one month, and your pronunciation must be corrected as you proceed. This proposition was agreed to, and the Frenchman improved surprisingly under my tuition. He began to talk like a man instead of chattering like a monkey. He gave me the outlines of Minnesota - its undulations, St Paul's, the Falls of St. Antony, the prairies and their interior lakes. He imitated the barking of the prairie dogs, which was very amusing. These little creatures, however, are greatly lessened in numbers since Lewis and Clarke explored the Missouri in 1805. My guest had enjoyed the advantage of a good education among the Jesuit priests of Canada. We went over to Ringwood, and took a sketch of my former home, and attended the meeting of Presbytery in Greenwich, near my residence, and was much pleased with a discourse from the pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Alexandria. His name is Oliver Barry, but written by himself Olivier Barre. We wish him well in the future.
A third soldier arrived at the Manse. He was from Philadelphia. He was sick, and his disease was clearly of the pulmonary type, and of course he was unfit for service. His name was Pullen, and we nursed him as well as we could in the famine produced by the war. In a week he partially recovered, and went out to enjoy the shade of my yard. We looked up and saw a Confederate soldier from Abbeville, South Carolina, by the name of Guffin, riding Jehu-like to my dwelling with a Burnside pistol in his hand. Pullen, said I, throw up your arms in
token of surrender. We then took Guffin aside, who immediately wrote him a parole which was witnessed by myself, as my sign manual was known to several persons in Washington. When he left, we walked with him a mile, and he offered me a greenback, amounting to what Barry would call five dollar. Don't keep an inn, I remarked, but my beau ideal has always been to keep one, and talk to travelers whilst my man Jess should attend to the horses. Why, you heap coals of fire on my head. No, you mistake the meaning of that text. When we are kind to an enemy the kindness makes the recipient heap the coals on his own head. Hope that they will not scorch your fingers. When you get home, present me to your wife and children. That I will, he replied, and send you some Harper's. So do; but not the numbers containing Abbott's Life of Napoleon. These Manse reminiscences will be continued.
The waiter was standing one day at the door of the Manse looking at two of his horses grazing on a hill just above Cat Tail Run, which empties into a broader stream, called Kettle Run. What names for a pair of pretty brooks winding through velvet savannahs! Dr. Johnson, however, was very fond of his cat, and Cowper of his kettle. We are therefore reconciled to the names; but not to what took place on Arrelton Hill. Some Federal soldiers started the animals, and there was quite a chase and a race. The horses knew that their owner had given them as good nubbins as his crib could afford, and were therefore opposed to being taken prisoners. They liked Cat Tail water, as it would have been called by the Scotch, but poor things, they were noosed - lassoed - bridled - captured and borne away over the very stream at which they had so often slaked their mouths. Like the renowned Vicar of Wakefield, your correspondent determined to take everything in good humor, for otherwise, the sun might have gone down on his wrath. The pillow often soothes displeasure, and the next morning we sent the following good-natured note to the officer in command:
COLONEL: - Yesterday a squad of your men took off a couple of my horses. One of them is cream-colored, like the steed that Washington rode at Yorktown in 1781, and the other a bright sorrel, like one mentioned in the Arabian Nights. Please consult Blackstone on the mighty difference between meum and teum. Possession is nine out of twelve points of the law, and therefore you have no moral or military right to Fan and Reuben. It is not my purpose to use either of them in making a raid on your camp. A Presbyterian minister must not turn soldier as if he were a Romish Pontiff. One of the animals is a pony that carries my corn and wheat to Langley's mill, and you must not forget that Henry Clay was a millboy. With the going down of the sun, let me see both my steeds in their own fragrant clover fields, and the vesper beams of the orb of day will reflect renewed lustre on your deeds. Permit me to subscribe my middle name, in the hope that your sense of justice will be in full flower.
T. BLOOMER BALCH.
Who took this note to camp? We were obliged to employ the daughters of Eve as our plenipotentiaries, because their tongues are so much
more reserved than those of gentlemen. A very discreet young lady and a pedestrian offered to go on the errand. She found the horses all packed for travel, and about moving for the Rappahannock. Unpack those horses, said the heroine; they belong to one who lives in a Manse, and were you to take a hawthorn bud out of a Scottish Manse, the Coldstream guards who figured at Waterloo would be up and at you. The Colonel caught the tones of her voice and hurried to the muss. Colonel, said she, read this epistle, and then tell me to ride back this pony like a Virginia Die Vernon. The Colonel reading. Who wrote this note? My sire. Then your sire must be an odd fish, for he commands a military man, instead of asking a favor. He commands you, Colonel, to do to others as others ought to do to you. That's all. What favor is it to restore his own? Aristotle so teaches and so does the Decalogue, as expounded in the Sermon on the Mount. Let the pendulum of your determination swing itself to the side of justice and all will be well. Take your horses, said the gallant Colonel, and as we are breaking up our cantonment, take home anything we leave. The last was done according to Gunter. Gainer by the temporary absence of my steeds, three water buckets bound in brass hoops: four brooms, the sight of which made me shudder; one mug, one Pilgrim's Progress, and one ambrotype of Napoleon, which should have been sent to Abbott rather than to the owner of the Blue Ridge Manse. Thus ended the adventure of the horses, and on getting back, Reuben ranged as proudly as did the war-horse of Wellington after the affair at Waterloo.
It gives me pleasure to record some of the generous actions of the Federals. Let me tell the following: Corporal Finlan was passing my house. He was called in and offered a cup of milk. Where do you come from, corporal? From about Meansville, he replied, on the east bank of the Susquehanna, Bradford county, Pennsylvania. That county, I rejoined, may have been named from the town of Bradford-on-Avon in the English shire of Wilts. Not posted up in such things, said the corporal. He went on his way. Two or three weeks had gone by, when the writer was aroused one dreary night, about twelve o'clock, by some one fumbling at the door of the Manse. Who comes there, I called out, with a stentorian voice. A friend, was the reply. We opened the door and Finlan entered. Some fresh combustibles were put on the fire. Quite an unseasonable hour, he remarked. Couldn't elude my pickets till late, or our officers who were scouting. Lost my way and strayed off to an old field; encountered dogs; asked the way to your house; have found it at last. As there are lots of Presbyterians in Bradford, have brought you some notions. At that he opened his haversack and out rolled a baker's dozen of Northern apples, and as many of golden oranges. Here, too, is some sugar, tea and coffee, and fifteen papers of Anderson's solace, and enough gazettes to keep you reading for a week. Finlan, said I, go up and take a bed. No! must be back at camp. At this the lady of the Manse made her appearance. You don't go without a bowl of coffee, one for you and one for the Dominie. And none for yourself? No; not at this hour
of the night. And so we two sipped our coffee and piped away on Anderson's weed. He rose to go. Stop, said I, here's a greenback to reward you for your pains. None of it, none of it, he answered, and he hurried away. We hope that all minnies, shells, balls, pistols and sabres, spared the life of that man, and that he was welcomed home by his Bradford friends.
When Gibbon, the deist, was writing the History of the Roman Empire, he was employed on an objective task, or one outside of himself; but when he wrote his Memoirs, he was subjectively employed. Sorry to make myself the subject of these papers. Can't help it; for shall the writer be mum when others are talking or asleep; when others are awake or lazy; when others are active. We will go on with incidents in which my lilliputian self bears a part. The writer one Sabbath afternoon was occupying his arm-chair, superior as it is to the one owned by Gay the poet, and musing on that cloud of war which was expanding itself more and more in dark folds over the land. A young man of eighteen entered. From what point of the compass do you come? Richland District, South Carolina. Very well, then; you probably know something of Dr. Thornwell of Columbia, whom it was my good fortune to meet in the Presbyterian General Assembly, which convened at Richmond, in 1847. My father, the youth replied. Was he well when you left Columbia? At that he took from his pocketbook an obituary notice of the Doctor, of whose decease the writer was ignorant, for armies bar out both joyful and distressing intelligence. My father, rejoined the son, would have studied his eyes out had he lived. Then, I replied, he would have been like Homer, Milton, Ossian, Saunderson and Prescott. It is not well, however, to be over-bookish even to work our way into such a distinguished group. Too many books are one, but no books at all are another extreme, and you must pass between the extremes if you would learn to think. Just then, two additional young men entered the parlor. Their names turned out to be Logan and Bowie, who were comrades of Thornwell. Are you connected, said I, to the first, with a Scotch minister of your name who preached in South Leith, near Edinburgh? My sire, he replied, is a minister in South Carolina, and his ancestors were Scotch. Then here is a little memoir of the South Leith Logan, which can be read in thirty minutes. He wrote several beautiful hymns and the Braes of Yarrow; but everybody seems to have written about those Braes. And are you the son of a minister? said I, to Bowie. Only the grandson, he replied, of the Rev. Dr. Coffin, President of Greenville College in East Tennessee. Knew him well, and officiated for him in 1818, at Greenville, on the French Broad. Happy to return his hospitality in the person of his representative. He was from Newburyport, Massachusetts, on the Merrimac, and became the pioneer of learning to the valleys of the South-west. Now, then, young gents, take notice. We four, including myself, are sprung from ministers, and as such we must behave ourselves throughout the war like Christians. In came Sparks from Louisiana, who before the war was preparing for the
ministry. Great office that to which he looked. Our fathers, where are they, and the prophets, do they live forever? The next day my guests took their leave of the Manse, but alack, alack, two of them fell in skirmishes. Sparks on the farm of the widow Bedine, and Thornwell at Undon, near Warrenton Junction. We heard the pistol which laid Thornwell low. After his wound he was taken to a hospital in Alexandria, where he received the kindest attention from the friends of his father. The lady of the Manse wrote to Mrs. Thornwell detailing, the circumstances connected with the fall of her son, and received a reply which evinced the anguish of a mothers heart. We are commanded to weep with all who weep. Oh! Pagan Mars, what sad deeds have been enacted in thy name.
Rode to the Federal camp, and was introduced to General Howard, from Augusta, in Maine. The town is on the Kennebec, the navigation of which is interrupted by the Tetonic falls. The General, however, was not very romantic about cascades. He had lost his right arm in the battle of Seven Pines, but had since learned to scribble with his left. We sat at his tent door, not in the heat of the day, but some time after the sun had passed his meridian. How glorious he is on his noon-day line, but how lovely when he bestows his tints on cloud and woods, or when he inserts them into the arch of the rainbow. We were glad to find that the General was a professor of religion, and that he sometimes addressed his men on topics of vital importance. We discussed at large the state of the country, and it was clear that my interlocutor wanted to find out my leanings, but he was baffled in all his efforts. He told me, unequivocally, that he doubted the propriety of a Christian's going to war. We pointed his attention to the faith of Centurians as mentioned in the Gospels; but remarked at the same time that the responsibility in making war was thrown not on them, but on the Cæsars of Rome. Tools are not to answer at the great day, but they who employ the tools. Not the invincible guard, but Napoleon who created that guard. Just at that moment a soldier stepped up to the tent, and asked me, Are you the author of the Ringwood Discourses? 'Tis so said, was my reply. Read them down in Maine. He disappeared. Who can tell which way a book will travel when published. It may go to China or Peru, to Juan Fernandez or Tahiti. A legless soldier then came for the purpose of asking the General to make him a sutler. Very well, said the General, but be on the look out or Moseby may get your goods and chattels. Understand, said Major Balloch, that you have been in Newburyport. In 1819, I replied, and preached six times over the dust of Whitfield. Then don't ride, said he, till we get you some Java. And Major, please add to it an ounce of the hyson and a thimblefull of white sugar. The writer then rambled home, beneath an evening, in the presence of which Tintoretto would have dropped his pencil in despair. For the present, adieu.
In my last, mention was made of General Howard, and in the present letter it is my wish to say something to his credit. The village, or rather the hamlet of Greenwich stands more than two miles from the Manse. 'Tis on a hill, and commands a fine view of the Bull Run; but we wish that the mountain had a less homely name. Its environs abound in oak and pine. It has a Swiss cottage, built by Charles Green, who, in winter, resides in Savannah, Georgia, and who brought me some poppies from the villas of Cicero and Pliny. His residence is shaped like the houses of Helvetia. On the southern edge of Greenwich stands another kiosk, reared by another Savannah gentleman, whose name is Sorrel, a native of one of the Carribean islands, perhaps Martinique. At the Northwest of the settlement is a cottage which was occupied by an English lady from Liverpool, England, who once was a member in the Church of Dr. Raffles, a relative of Sir Thomas Raffles, who introduced so many reforms into the berry island of Java. Her cottage was called "Leasowes," in honor of Sherstone's grounds near Hagley Park, Worcester, England. Upon the breaking out of the war she went to Canada, and her home was occupied by a gentleman whose name was Jourdan. There were two Churches in Greenwich - one Free, and the other Presbyterian. The Free was of plank, and the other of brick. The plank one perished in the war; but the brick is still standing a monument of religious taste, and uninjured in the hurricane of civic strife. Jourdan was taken prisoner by McCabe and sent to several prisons. He reached home, but soon after, died. McCabe was killed near Richmond. Sorrel's Kiosk was burnt. But what connection has all this with the humanity of General Howard? We thought that the reader would like to know the locality at which a military court was convened for the trial of seven deserters from the Federal army. It was a solemn time. The lives of six were saved, and the Maine General exerted himself to save the seventh, but all in vain. The culprit was taken out a solitary victim, and under the fire of twelve men, he fell over into his grave in the rear of the Presbyterian Church. Not wishing to hear the fatal shot, the writer wandered away from the Manse into the very centre of our densely-matted pines. What was the use, thought I, of killing that one man. To prevent desertion. Why, in his dying speech he earnestly exhorted his comrades to desert. Four or five were shot near Brandy Station, and for a week afterwards refugees from the army were streaming by my house. At all events, the culprit was launched into eternity in a moment, for
to ashes, dust to
Was never spoken of the soul.
A man at the bars. He seemed loth to advance, but he need not have been afraid of dogs, for Gen. Ewell's terrier was just as harmless as the lap-dog of Josephine the Empress, or Madame Sevigne, the letter
writer. We went towards him that his apprehensions might be quieted. How is your Honor, this morning? Not a member of Congress, I replied, but a preacher. How then, is your Reverence? The brogue of the stranger settled the point that he was from the Emerald Isle, and we walked in company towards the Manse. There was an Irish warmth in the manner of my guest, whilst we immediately perceived that he was not devoid of the eloquence peculiar to his nation, and before leaving us it became certain that he had been to Blarney Castle The pitch of his language was high. We like Ireland. It holds the broad Shannon and Ovoca, that spreads its green tints by the side of its manifold brooks; and the esthetic Killarney which by reflection doubles trees, buds and stars; and the Giant's Causeway which supplies numerous pilgrims with its crumbling pebbles. But by this time we had reached the Manse. What news, I asked, do you bring from the seat of the war. They are fighting, he replied, beyond the Rappahannock; but as it is sanguinary work a notion took me to give 'em French leave. What: are you a deserter? Nothing of the sort. Not being a naturalized citizen of the United States, Uncle Sam had no right to the services of a man from a land out of which St Patrick drove all the snakes and dislodged all the toads. May it please your Reverence, it was just walking away. Deserters run. Mine was a ramble at leisure along the bye-ways which led me straight to your home so renowned for Irish hospitality. Was not aware that the Manse was celebrated for its hospitality. Then your Reverence is not posted up in what you ought to know. People told me on the road that you never turned off a Savoy hand-organist, a Swiss emigrant, or a wandering Gipsey; and the good Book says, be given to hospitality for thereby some unawares have entertained angels. You are positive then that you are no deserter? No, Sirree. No Irish gentleman like myself, descended from a Limerick Baron, would forsake his colors. We fall with our feet to the foe, but General Lee reflects no discredit on any cause. He could fight our Irish Wellington, or take the plume out of the chapeau of Napoleon First, Second and Third. Such is the fragrance of his powder, that like Sicilian hounds, we lost the scent of him, and he may be at Thoroughfare Gap for aught General Pope can tell. Perhaps your Reverence goes with the Confederates. Don't wish my politics to be known, I replied. Your Reverence is right. Solomon must have whispered to you so wise a determination in these days of fama clamosa. Were you to preach from the Book of Esther at present, some would say that by Haman you mean President Lincoln; and Jeff. Davis by Mordecai the Jew, when such a thought might not have entered your spotless mind. Couldn't, I answered, pervert the Bible to any party purposes. Another wise determination.
How unlike the Irish priests, who, instead of saying, repent ye, mumble out, do penance ye. Such a perversion will never cross your innocent mind or escape your eloquent tongue. The long and broad area of Ireland does not hold on its surface so generous a soul as yourself, and perhaps your Reverence would like to swap some old clothes
for my soldier garb, which is better than the brocade of Ispahan, though variegated with gold and silver. Uncle Sam dresses up his army and says, dress, men, dress. No doubt you have a pair of pants that the Pope might wear, and a vest that Wellington would have caught at, and a coat like that which Joseph paraded about Shechem and Dothan. All the danger is, that my gratitude for the swap might kill me, as my heart is a combustible that consumes me more and more at every favor bestowed. Shouldn't like, I replied, to swap without paying the difference in the value of the articles. Difference. Is your Reverence serious? Why the difference will lie on your side, payable in a greenback, with my lasting thanks thrown in to boot. Come, lets drive a trade. The lady of the Manse, I replied, has gone up stairs. She knows what you want, and is rummaging in her old chests, drawers and trunks. I saw her for a lady. It required no second sight to find out that she was equal to any Countess in Ireland. She is worthy of a Erin go Braugh, said the soldier. So we drove a bargain. But woe to me, said I, if they catch me in your regimentals. No danger, he rejoined. They would as soon send an Ezra or Nehemiah to the old Capitol. My guest, so redundant in blarney, went on his way. My suspicion is considerable that he was a half deserter.
Soldiers, both Federal and Confederate, often lost their way in our Prince William woods and lanes. One Sabbath afternoon an officer at the head of six men rode in a hurried manner through my gate. The men stood back whilst the Major advanced. Though invited, he declined to dismount. Your cedars hereabouts, said he, are very intricate. They are so, indeed, I replied. Which is north and where is west? If you tell me, I remarked, the exact point which you wish to reach, or where your camps are pitched, it will be easy to put you on your road. He was perfectly bewildered, but we gave him a map, so that he reached his tent in safety. We were always curious to know from what quarter strangers might have come. He reported himself as Major Robertson from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; then decamped. In a few days he paid us a friendly visit, bringing with him Chaplain Hunter, brother to the attorney at Charlestown, Va., who prosecuted John Brown. He lived on an island near Detroit, Michigan, and was quite eloquent in his description of the scenery by which he was surrounded. We invited him to preach in the "Church which is in my house." He partially accepted the invitation, but said something about Apostolical succession. We told him that the English House of Lords was a curious source from which to draw our authority to preach the Gospel, seeing that the bishops were required by law to proclaim that Gospel but four times out of fifty-two Sabbaths in the year. He hinted that the Prelates were intended to keep the Presbyters in order. 'Tis strange, then, I answered, that their twenty-five crosiers could not bang Wesley and Whitfield into good behavior. We waited for him beyond the hour for service, but the Detroit Chaplain did not make his appearance. Major Robertson was very amiable; fond of the piano; was acquainted with my friend Dr. Plumer by reputation; admired
the Pittsburg ladies, and had made the grand tour of Europe. The last fact rendered his conversation quite entertaining; but we have not since heard either from the Chaplain or the Major. We are indebted to the loss of his way for a visit from the celebrated Major Moseby. He called about nine o'clock at night, and dismounted under some locust trees before the door of the Manse. A full moon was shining, but the shade of the trees prevented me from a good view of his contour, but this is not important, as John Scott, Esq., is preparing a biography of the Major, which will be, doubtless, quite as interesting as the adventures of Daniel Boone, of Baron Trenck, or even of Alexander Selkirk. It has been said that Confederates were liable to lose the road. Two of them took their supper, one night, at a house about three-fourths of a mile from the Manse, and were then pressed to stay till the crack of light, but they alleged that they had never seen the scribbler of the Decades, and wished to see him before they went back to the Opelousas country. Well, they missed the sight by missing the road, and got over to a neighbors on the other side of Arrelton Hill. Glad they did'nt come. Why, says the reader. An hour before daylight the Federals, twenty strong, surrounded my house looking for the gents as if they had been the two spies who entered Jericho in the time of Joshua. We had no flax stalks in which they could have been concealed. So the Federals went away whilst the two were asleep like a couple of bugs in a carpet rug. And one evening, when strolling outside of my gate, the writer met a company of Confederate cavalry, under the Command of Captain Alfred Carter, who lost an arm at Luray, Page county, Va. They wanted to know the shortest cut to Catlett's, and that cut lay exactly by the door of my kitchen. One of the men spied an oven in which were sixteen or twenty rolls of bread which the fire had browned. They were torn asunder in a twinkle, though we grant its being done by as well bred gentlemen as the Master of the Rolls in England. There was a scrambling as if they were beggars from Naples, and each man, unlike the Idumean Patriarch, devoured his morsel alone. Every one ran from his comrades like a chicken that gets a crumb. At first the writer was out of humor, but my ire lasted not so long as the tints of the rainbow, when we felt reconciled to the raiders on the oven. Happy to say they found rations upon reaching the depot at Catlett's. Nor did we all go supperless to bed, for we waited patiently for a second oven full, made out of a barrel of flour sent me by General Sykes. He was a Maryland gentleman, for Maryland is famous both for its ladies and gentlemen. For the present, adieu.
The famine had become grievous in the land, and there was no Egypt into which we could send for supplies; nor any balm which could be presented to those who held the keys that were locking up oats, corn and wheat. How often had the writer doubted whether a dearth of provisions would ever reach that portion of Virginia in which his lot had been cast. Little do we know of the future. It became clear that my pictures of continued plenty had been penciled on green leaves which were destined to fade, or on clouds subject to evaporation. My services, as a minister, began to take their complexion from the circumstances in which we were placed. One of my discourses, or rather one of my talks, was from the text, "The Lord will provide." Habakkuk says that the Christian has a dependence on something higher than the buds of the fig-tree, or the blossoms of the vine. The Idumean believer went living on, after his olives had perished and his fields were smitten. His flocks were killed, and his stalls were empty; and the Idumean eagle could plume his wings from a warmer nest than the one occupied by the Patriarch. Our Lord assures us that man liveth not by bread alone. Even at such a time we thought it right to celebrate at the Manse the supper which our Lord had instituted on the night before his crucifixion. We had no wine, however, on our premises, and it was a rare element throughout the neighborhood. But Charles Green, member of the Independent Church of Savannah, being apprised of my wishes, sent me enough to supply the communicants, for which my sincere thanks were returned. Two silver goblets belonging to Mrs. Jones of Sharon, had been left at my house, and they were used on the solemn occasion. The day was bright, and the congregation crowded. Some were under the trees of the yard, some on the steps of the stairs, and others in the rooms of the Manse. Several ministers were present who gave me help in the service, and seldom has it been my lot to attend on communicants more apparently devout. May they advance in grace. The Divine Life has in it both an upward and downward tendency. The Japanese permit their trees to attain their full growth: but then dwarf them down to the smallest possible dimensions, and carry them about in diminutive vases. So with the great Husbandman. The more his people tower on high, the more does he reduce them into lowly violets. And here, allow me to ask, why may not the Lord's Supper be administered in a lower as well as an upper room - in a Manse - a grove, or on the slope of a hill, as well is in a Church? When were the Covenanters more happy than when they sung among the braes and kneeled on Scottish heather! or when were Whitfield and Wesley more successful than when they stormed the air circulating on the open fields and sequestered downs of England?
Mention has been made of what may be called an incipient famine. Destitution has at times taken place in Canaan, Egypt, the Canary Isles, and often in Ireland, but particularly in the seige of Londonderry. The
reader, perhaps, may smile incredulously when we speak of a famine in Virginia: but we can assure him that we are not inventing a fiction. The blockade grew tighter and tighter, and many were starved at last into the semblance of patriotism. It became my duty then to employ some means in the way of providing for my own household, or else be deemed worse than an infidel. To beg we were ashamed. The writer never could relish the works of Goethe, because of his spending so much of his ink in describing coarse German meals: but the calls of the appetite must be satisfied either by hook or by crook. About this time we heard that Gen. Sykes was encamped near Ringwood, my former residence. He was reported to be from Maryland, and we knew that every Marylander must be a gentleman from absolute necessity. My note to him is withheld because such a variety of those missives were written, that their insertion would swell these reminiscences to an undue proportion. My youngest daughter was sent with the communication, and we told her first to read what the Apostle James had said about the use of the tongue, and also the incident in the life of Æsop, whose master told him to buy the best thing in the Roman market, and the next morning to buy the worst thing, and each time he took home a tongue. With the tongue, said the Fabulist, we praise God, and with the same member we abuse our neighbors. Trust me said the young lady, to be gentle as the ring-streaked dove, and meek as the meekest bird that flew in Paradise before the Fall. She found the General engaged in his tent; but the voice of my ambassadress penetrated to the ear of Captain Jay, who was a member of the General's staff. The Captain made his appearance and received my letter. You are, doubtless, said the lady, a collateral relative of Chief Justice Jay. The Jays of New York are a distinguished clan. We have heard of them even among the pines of Prince William. A relative of mine married one of the clan, but he was not a brother; for then he would never have been a Prelatist, or been ordained by a bishop instead of a Presbytery. How soon had the young lady forgotten the epistle of James and the wit of Æsop. Why, said the Captain, your father speaks in his very legible note of all the denominations as representing the cardinal points of the compass - as sailing on the same ocean and steering for the same haven. True, Captain, but the tongue of a lady is privileged to box the circle of the world. My remarks were meant to be playful, and win you over to a little sympathy in the affairs of one who is as fond of Mocha as was Napoleon First, and who, in a running way, has preached from the Merrimac to the Cumberland, leaving at the same time a few of his exhortations in Chatham, Cedar and Wall streets in the renowned city of the Knickerbockers. Let me consult the General, replied the Captain. Be in haste, when serving a lady, for she can say to one, go, and he goeth; and to another, come, and he cometh; and the captain reappeared in a few minutes. And what says the General? asked the lady. He says that a private can drive you and myself to the Manse. What, then, Captain, will become of my steed? A soldier shall ride him along at an easy pace; and accordingly the ambulance was started. It reached
my house about twilight, and we found my new acquaintance to be a perfect gentleman, of about twenty-one years of age, and well-informed. He sat with us till nine of the clock, but on taking leave remarked: Gen. Sykes requested me to present his respects, and assure you, that to-morrow, he would send supplies to your house. Present my respects, Captain, to the General, with many thanks for his kindness. The next day the ambulance arrived well stocked with provisions; and over and above the substantials, Captain Jay had added an olla podrida, composed of materials from spice islands. We found some cinnamon from Ceylon, and a good deal of pepper from Borneo, and some superior mustard from Tewsberry, England. Come driver, said I, come and partake of the repast, to be provided out of the commodities you have brought. We must enjoy together a cup or two of this Java. In the mean time, the lady of the Manse will express her gratitude to Captain Jay, for one of her letters is worth a score of my own. The soldier and the dominie, or the boss, as he called me, sat down to our meal, and he told me of his neat little home near Boston, his vegetables and sundry flowers that he collected into bouquets for the ladies of that city, until the writer conceited himself to be talking to that Roman Emperor who boasted so much of the products of his Dalmatain farm, or to Pliny, who wrote con amore about the poppies of his villa. Captain Jay accompanied Sherman from Atlanta to the sea coast, and we hope that he escaped all injury in the closely-contested battle of Bentonville.
The writer is a believer in a special Providence; and the man who does not so believe, cannot be far short of atheism. He can keep to his dreary creed, if he please: but hope he will not seek to deprive me of a faith which has sustained my courage in the darkest hours of what men call fortune. But about this time we heard of several boxes provided in Washington, and awaiting transmission to my house: but how to get them up was the question. A letter was addressed to General Ayers from the State of Maine, explanatory of my wishes, to which he replied in the politest terms, that they should be sent to his care. A married daughter of yours, he remarked, sent me a quantity of ice when we were encamped in the hot fields of Virginia, and it will give me pleasure to comply with your request. This was acting like a gentleman; and the affairs arrived with an additional one from Baltimore. The one from the Monumental City inspired peculiar emotions, because it was sent by persons in no way connected with the Manse. The last was opened in a full congregation of the family, both white and black, and we wished that we could all have been photographed at the time when the hatchet flew at the box. Its contents would have been valuable in peaceful times; but how much more so at a period of scarcity engendered by war. Thanks to my friends on the Patapsco, with an assurance that their kindness will not be soon forgotten. It will perhaps give them pleasure to hear that my two daughters immediately became as fine as a couple of Baltimore birds. The lady of the Manse was dressed like a fiddle. The boys drew on the socks and boots, and the ebonies came in for a share of the spoil, whilst the Dominie
devoured the books, and handed over the greenbacks to his better half. But from time to time scarcity would continue its cheerless visits. One day however, a carriage arrived at my door, driven by Gibson Catlett, Esq. It was laden with the good things of this life. To whom, said I, is the Manse indebted for this unexpected help? Not to be told, was the reply. The gentleman does not know the difference between his right and left hand in acts of this kind. Very well; the ebonies will help you in taking out, as the Dutch say to their guests at meal time. The reader may say, perhaps, yours must have been a humiliating position. But let him remember that my position was not the result of idleness: though the writer does not deny his being the idlest white man in Virginia. Nor was it within my province to make the war, for we honestly deprecate all war, except when the Creator reveals it as His, and not our scourge. King David was once obliged to eat the shew bread, and King Alfred was once glad enough to devour a few oat meal cakes when pressed by the Danes. Often our supply of the Mocha was scanty, and what scribbler could live without coffee? In the use of it Napoleon could fight, and Schiller could write. It is better than the nectar which the Pagan deities used to drink, but it is not good without sweetening. Honey or sugar is indispensable to the fragrance of that berry. A Federal soldier called. The next time you come, said I, bring me some sugar, if it be only as much as can be held in the palm of my hand. At that he stepped out to his haversack, and on his return he poured out some seven thimblesful of saccharine into a hand quite cheerfully extended. You must have grown covetous, the Marylander may say, for there was plenty in the oyster State. Not guilty so far as my neighbor's house is concerned, but guilty on the specifications and counts of coffee, green tea and sugar. Does not Irving tell us what sort of tea General Washington drank at Mt. Vernon, and at what hours he called for the beverage. Rather minute, we think, on the part of the Knickerbocker historian. Good taste demands that we should not go too much into detail about trifles. But quite fortunately, the writer had fallen into company with Captain Hazard, at the house of Dr. Osmyn. He had been an editor in the Northwest, and was quite competent to an historical discussion on the state of the country: and the discussion was carried on in the finest humor. We then advised him, when the war was over, to come down into Virginia; to get married, live in a cottage in sight of the Blue Ridge. This advice so captivated his fancy that he sent me twenty pounds of coffee and sugar. Hurrah for Captain Hazard. But the reader may ask, have you not erred by introducing into these papers your consort, sons and daughters? Perhaps so, but then each one had to play his or her part in the domestic drama. Every man thinks his own sons Solomons, and his daughters queens of Sheba. What would the Vicar of Wakefield be if we take out of it the wife and children of the old Vicar? Hope the reader will pardon, even though he may condemn. For the present week, adieu.
Great want of coffee and sugar. The lady of the Manse kept hiding the Mocha. You must not put away anything of the sort, I remarked to my better half. Suppose, then, she replied, that company should come in, how can we entertain our guests? In the following way: If we lay up our stores Providence will not send us any more, but if we use them, that Providence will know all about our destitution, and He will be sure to provide for our wants. Agreed, said the fair daughter of Eve. The last berry from Java shall be put into the mill, and then some will come. But who will go for us to the Federal camp? The writer had instructed his family to call the Northerners not Yankees, but Feds, until we found out that they preferred the former designation. Then my scruples immediately vanished. Go, said I, to the youngest daughter of the household, go to the Yankee camp, and tell General Newton to sell me some Java. You bear the name of Julia, a name once held in respect among the war-like Romans. Let me give you some advice. Keep your tongue. Let it be quiet as a bird when asleep. Remember that you spoke to Captain Jay quite authoritatively. I'll mind, said the lady, and stand in his presence like the aspen you planted at Ringwood before Julia Ringwood was born. But notice, I replied, one thing: A night or two since, Moseby made one of his Spanish forays, and on that account Gen. Newton may look at you as sternly as Joseph on his goat-herd brethren. Speak to him softly and persuasively in the rich silver tones that should always characterize a Manse, where Siloa's brook ought to murmur by day and by night. Start. The cream-colored pony is at the rack, and if you evince the milk of human kindness we shall certainly skim off something better than milk. My neighbors say that the owner of the Manse knows no more about human nature than Dominie Sampson who figures in Guy Mannering, or the preacher that Sir W. Scott represents as asking after the health of his parishioners, when the objects of inquiry had been twenty years in their graves, or a mouse that will certainly be caught in the trap of the Old Capitol. Be off - be off -
And through the pines the lady went,
On getting Mocha, firmly bent.
Newton was in his marque when the General Ambassadress presented herself, arrayed in her hazel eyes and ruby cheeks, set off by a parcel of smiles. My sire, General, wishes your permit to purchase at the commissary store a little Java, Mocha, Brazil or even Liberia coffee. In a few hours - say twenty-four in number - he will be three score years and ten, and we wish to celebrate his birth-day, not in Jamaica or Burgundy, or even in bad Falermar, or the weak wines of Switzerland, but in a liquid more harmless than any drink ever made out of
Athenian currant. Do you know, said the General, that but yesternight, Moseby made a dash on our camp and stole fourteen horses. We have so heard, said the Roman Julia, but he probably conceited that they were wild horses running on the Western prairies. Besides, when that was done, we who live at the Manse were asleep in our hammocks. Moseby must be a kind of somnambulist. He seems to mount, ride and fight in his sleep, and no man can be responsible when unconscious of what he is about. Your father, you say, is above the military age. Long ago, General, long ago; but were he young as Adam before his fall, he would not in nine hundred years engage in war. He is not an Esau roaming in quest of game, but a plain man dwelling in tents, and like Isaac, he often goes forth to meditate at evening-tide. Is the old man well? said the General. Quite hale and hearty. He can still walk off his five miles; but sends me because no Knight of La Mancha can deny a few berries to a lady. But don't you harbor Moseby? No, General. He called one night, but we could not force him into our quiet haven. He seemed to be asleep, but in his dreaming he spurred his horse, and the steed flew away like the one mentioned in the Persian Tales. Besides, my sister Mary had been to camp in Fairfax, and on her coming out she met the Major, who threatened to serve her as Mary, the Queen of Scots, was served, if she would not tell him the position of your pickets. But she refused on a point of honor, and the Major fell into a nap, and she passed on without being sent to Lochlevin Castle or decapitated. He menaced me in the same way, but Julia Ringwood would not have told on your pickets, even had the Major wielded the club of Hercules, or strung the bow of Powhatan, or held the sword of Wellington flashing in her hazel peepers. We must entertain the Yankees, because if we don't they will take what they choose. The Confederates, too, are armed, and we are before them like so many trembling humming birds. They can say to us, get that zether - put on your thimble and make its wires sound out a Tyrolese air, or go to that piano and give us the Bonnie Blue Flag, or Bruce's Address to the Scots, or the Marseilles Hymn. You know, General, that we ladies catch beaus more by our music than by our looks, and it would be hard to deny us a chance. True, my sister is involved in Hebrew Paradigms, Algebraic equations and Conic sections. She will never be satisfied till she quadrate the circle, or, like Mary Somerville, understand the Mechanique Celeste of La Place. Therefore, in the twenty-two years she has lived we never heard her say beau once; but as for me, were a handsome one like Adonis to propose he might be accepted, after due consideration. Not very anxious, however, till the right one come. But don't you think, said the General, that the deeds of Moseby would justify us in laying waste Virginia? Never, never, replied the lady. The true hero is content with the sword. He never flies to the torch. You were born in Virginia. You must love her twin capes, broad valleys, blue mountains, her unrivaled law-givers and her inspiring legends. Would you turn out mothers and children to the storm, and old men to the
raging tempests? Every Athenian wore a gold grasshopper in the button-hole of his coat to intimate that he jumped up from classic soil. Can Virginians do less than they who forced Socrates to drink the hemlock when they ought to have feasted him on the honey of Hymettus? Attack Moseby, but not our matrons and damsels. Here the eyes of the General were somewhat moistened. You are quite eloquent. No, said the lady; not the least pretension in that way commonly, but when pleading for a Java-less father I can talk as earnestly as did Jeanie Deans to Queen Caroline. We must celebrate his birth-day - and surely you don't wish it done in coffee made out of rye, wheat, or John Barleycorn. Come, General, grant the boon we crave. My tongue is tired It has talked long enough to have gained all the gums of Arabia, the poppies of Turkey, the barks of Quito, and the aromatics of Borneo, instead of a few berries. Now, at this stage of the affair, who should appear but Col. Bankhead. He had overheard the diplomatic colloquy like a curious Erasmus, though born in Fredericksburg and not at Rotterdam. General, said the young friend, you are a man who listens to argument, and then yields to conviction. Such is the mark of a wise commander. The father of this young lady is known to my Colonelship in the following way: In 1840, he officiated for eight or nine moons among the crags of Fredericksburg, and on one occasion he preached from the text - "I shall die in my rest." The Mocha is indispensable to the comfort of his nest, and if he die without it we may be accessory to his premature demise. True, Gen. Grant has ordered a tight blockade, but he is not like Wellington, an iron-hearted Duke. His peepers are often suffused with tears, and the application before us, from a tearful lady, would melt an Osceola or Tecumseh. Let us not be impracticable, for secession was engendered among the impracticables of New England during the time of the embargo, and then adopted by those of South Carolina; and the putting of it down is likely to cost us banks of money and scores of lives. Allow me to assure you, General, that his Reverence of the Manse is a harmless man. When in romantic Fredericksburg he had a cushioned-chair in Charles Wellford's store, and with his ankles resting on a ledger he talked about various things; such as the currant bushes of Athens with Menoeos a Greek; and then about the flowers in the vales of Spiraz and Cashmere, though there was neither Persian nor Hindoo in the place; and then about the Bridge of Sighs at Venice; the marble palaces of Genoa; the Gonfaloniers of Florence - then about the Great Mogul - the Ghauts of the Himalayah, Chinese junks, et cetera. But, said the General, didn't he shoot over the heads of his hearers? He did; but that arose from his aversion to killing any body. Every man's hand is for him, but his against no man. He is not an Arab. We must not send him to Babylon to hear the shriek of the bittern and the cry of the cormorant, and like Nebuchadnezzar to browse on Chaldean grass. Does he never simplify his talk, asked the General. Yes, his discourse runs carelessly about the feet when he wants us to trample down error; and he has had a skirmish with
Abbott about his calling Napoleon a great man. He regards the Corsican as a pickpocket, but Wellington as having restored his plunderings to the purses of European kings. But he keeps his politics subrosa, for he has been menaced alike with the Carroll and the Libby. I can't remain mum any longer, said the lady. Colonel, your speech was as sweet as if a hogshead of sugar had spoken, though it came out of a head, the bank of which is rich in tender, beautiful, truthful, historical thoughts. Young lady, said the General, go and buy what you want, whispering at the same time upon the tympanum of Bankhead's ear, "put her money into the mouth of her sack." So the fair one came ambling to the rack of the Manse about sundown. On leaving the camp she was accosted by an officer bearing a sugar-dish. The lordly dish, he remarked, is the property of Uncle Sam, but the contents are my own. Please, said the lady, wrap it in a Washington Chronicle or in Bennett's Herald, and then it can be carried in my hand. I can take the sugar in my right hand, and, like Lord Raglan guide my steed with the left. Wish that General Newton, Colonel Bankhead and yourself could come up and help us to celebrate the seventieth birthday of my father. We would take no denial, but that wizzard Moseby is in the saddle. You sent infantry after him through our farm. Do you think that cavaliers can be caught by snails. The officer laughed. Conclusion next time.
Lieutenant Miller came to my house, bringing some music, which he had purchased either in Washington or Baltimore. The young ladies were quite thankful, as the pieces he brought were new. It seems strange, that both Federal officers and privates always preferred the performance of secession songs. The Star Spangled Banner was, certainly at a discount; but its being below par, might have arisen from want of novelty, for it has been in vogue since the war of 1812. The writer has studied throughout these papers to conceal his politics; otherwise he might say that secession pieces were played with a little more spirit, and patriotism for the time being, may have been sacrificed to the gratification which skill is sure to produce. And then so many of the soldiers were from abroad, that German airs and Italian duets were quite acceptable, together with pieces from Spain or Hibernia. The Lieutenant was devoted to the piano; and, indeed, fondness for music was far more a characteristic of the Northerners than the Southerners. Lieutenant, said I, you have been in several battles, and did you stand up to the fight like an Egyptian pyramid? Can a pyramid run, he archly replied. Jackson flanked us at Chancellorville, and we put off in a hurry, officers and all. It was impossible to stand his battery. He was accompanied by an Irishman, who said in my presence that Napoleon First was a great man. This fired me immediately; but in
planting my batteries the Lieutenant suddenly rose and said he must go, though pressed to remain for tea. But he persevered. They had not been gone more than three minutes before two Confederates, not mounted, but armed, approached the Manse. We then rejoiced at the going, not wishing that my premises should be moistened by a drop of blood, though the dew of Hermon is perfectly welcome to fall over the whole of my farm. Those fine steeds which the Federals rode might have tempted the Confederates to a skirmish, perhaps on the floor of the Manse, and the kitchen darkies would have been alarmed. One of these darkies was named Beauregard, not by the lord or lady of the Manse, but by his mother. My proclivities not to be known.
The anniversary of my seventieth birth-day had arrived. The family had been in the habit, for many years, of noticing the day, but the writer never cared much about Christmas trees, or rustic collations, or family meetings, so pleasing to the taste of many persons. But three score years and ten make quite an era in the frail life of any man. It was my wish, however, to postpone the affair until peace should come, in hopes that if life were spared another year, the very unimportant day could then be remembered, under more propitious auspices. But before rising, my young ladies came into my chamber, saying: as this is your natal day, we wish you to appear in Yankee dress. We have already prayed that you may live as long as Parr of London, or Jenkins of Lincoln, or the white headed Methuselah. Yankee dress, I replied, when only half awake. Why, the Confederates will send me off to Belle Isle if they catch me in such a costume. There are none of them about at present. Moseby is up in the mountains, and the Black. Horse are scouting on the Rapid Ann, and the Provost-Marshal at Catlett's has sent you a heap of things. They are laid on the chairs, and its time to rise. But one of you must stop and explain the articles. Well, then, here's a felt hat sent by a New Hampshire man, and the boots that Bundy gave; or you can decide between the shoes which Alexander brought, and those of Col. Le Duc; and here are pants, waistcoat, and coat; the last without a seam, and presented by a Yankee surgeon. They will answer, I replied, for the exterior - but the under-garments. Here, then, are four or five of the affairs about which Tom Hood wrote a song, and a bundle of socks out of which you can choose. They came from Lowell, where Gen. Butler lives, and where little pale-faced girls work sixteen hours a day. Sorry to hear it. Poor things, for ebony Beauregard won't work sixteen seconds. Was always opposed to excessive industry. And here, too, are several stocks. Now dress and appear like Solomon in all your glory, as he did on his gala days. The morning had worn away imperceptibly to a sleeper, and we had scarcely risen, before a runaway couple had entered the Manse. We want to be married, said the groom. At that Cassius Carter stepped forward as groomsman, and presented the license. Why this is not a printed license? Don't print it these times, he replied. The clerk wrote it with a pencil instead of a pen. Stand up then; and the bride was first on the tapis. They were in a hurry, and off immediately.
Happy to say the two families that had quarreled about the match, had a great making up next day, for what's the use of crying over that which can't be undone. Handed the fee to the lady of the Manse, ten dollars, partly in Confederate money, greenbacks, fractional currency and specie. All worth something at the time. Spent several hours in ruminating on my boyhood, when every thing about Georgetown, D. C., looked green to the eye, and though not a poet, actually wrote forty lines, expressive of thankfulness for all the way in which my gracious Lord had led me; lo, these seventy years in the wilderness, and not without a hope of soon reaching that paradise, one of whose flowers has never been agitated, nor one of its leaves rustled by the pestilential breath of war. But Mary Landon and Julia Ringwood now entered the parlor with a bowl of the Java, on which the cream was floating quite as prettily as the cork of an angler. Each one of you, black and white, said I, may take a cup; but this bowl is for my special use. So we all enjoyed the Java as if we had been at the table of St. Cloud, in the time of Napoleon, the great coffee drinker. But, said I, did not Ella Edmonds, the rebel, and Sarah Ruby, the Union, each send me a bottle of blackberry wine? They did, but they are locked up, said the lady of the Manse, who is great on temperance. Remember, she continued, in your picturesque voyage sent to Dr. Reese, that after the Black Bird escaped out of the Sea of Alcohol, the ship entered Wine Sea. Oh, that was a sea made out of Burgundy, Oporto, Talernian, Madeira, and not blackberries culled from Prince William fields. Blackberries can never prevent a man from counting the horns of the moon. Didn't Mrs. Osmyn, from Jersey, send me four bottles, and Charlotte Mitchell three, and Irene Leach two, and Mrs. Green five. Don't all the religious papers exhort us to make blackberry wine for the promotion of temperance. Unlock, or else people will say that you are as hard to manage as was Mrs. John Wesley, in England. It is my wish to drink the health of Gen. Lee. Then you politics will be known. No, my politics are not pinned to the sleeve of Gen. Lee, but he is your cousin. Whilst he was a captain, we never heard you claim kin with him; but now its cousin Lee. So we remembered the general, and the servants went off, wishing old master many happy years to come. A Highland chief, arrayed in his right-angled plaid cap and plume, never felt happier than the owner of the Prince William Manse, on the day to which allusion has been made. The bagpipe, however, was not present at the entertainment, for my enjoyment of music is not remarkably vivid.
A preacher called to forewarn me, that my arrest might take place at noon. Didn't believe one word of the marvelous story. But in the event of its being true, the writer resolved to take along with him the history of his times, and continue it in the Old Capitol, remembering that Sir Walter Raleigh wrote the History of the World in the Tower of London, and Bunyan, his Pilgrim's Progress in the Bedford prison. The lady of the Manse was requested to fold up a few articles of wearing apparel. The minister who took such an interest in my welfare, was about skedaddling to Richmond, but it was not in vain that Nehemiah
left on record the following words, "Shall such a man as I flee?" Never, whilst the temple of God is to be built. But about noon, the ebonies reported the rapid approach of two Federal officers. They were descending the declivity of a hill, which lies to the east of the Manse; and they dismounted in a twinkle after coming to the rack. Draw chairs, gentlemen. Lieutenant Zimmerman, said the younger of the twain. Are you not of Swiss descent, Lieutenant, probably the grandson of some Zurich Burgomaster, and the Burgomasters are looked upon as an order of nobility in the land of Wilhelm Tell. My reason for asking you, is as follows. In a decade of letters by Ulrich Bodmer, which appeared in a Richmond paper, and purporting to be written from the Bear city of Berne, mention is made of an author, who published a book on Solitude, and afterwards became physician to the King of Hanover. Not a doubt of your being a collateral relative of that distinguished man. It may be so, the Lieutenant replied. And you seem to be all alone as Zimmerman used to be, among the Bernese rocks. Yes, Mary Landon and Julia Ringwood are from home. My son, William Cowper, is in the Black Horse, and my other sons, Charles Carter and Robert Monro, are in Forrest's Legion, to the Southwest. But hope you will both dine with me, and you will then see the lady of the Manse, a person worth seeing. Understand, Lieutenant, that you are the arresting officer. Just so, he replied, and it is a most unpleasant office, but a soldier is obliged to obey his orders. It need not be so to you, I rejoined, for being an officer you can resign. Resign, then, forthwith, and all men will hold you in the highest esteem. Don't you know, he remarked, that we own this part of Virginia. Col. Pierce, I answered, holds Manassas, but Moseby seems to dispute his possession, and Jackson in three days may dislodge him from his stronghold. Never, never, he answered, quite in haste. But do you think he is any where north of the Rappahannock? Don't know, but he seemed to be pluripresent in the Valley, and perhaps that pluripresence will not forsake him on the east of the Ridge. Dinner was announced. Gentlemen, it is a war dinner, but warriors like Marion, ought to get used to such repasts. But we can give you a bowl of coffee, and you can choose between the Mocha and the Java. Glad to see you, gentlemen, said the lady of the Manse; but it seems to me, that instead of coming to the war, it would have been vastly better that you were both leading at home a lowly and devout life, feasting all the time on the sweet and rich promises of the Bible. War illustrates that solemn declaration. What is your life? It is a flower that cometh up in the morning: but in the evening it is cut down and withereth. We are not Christians, they replied. But you ought to be, she rejoined. Were you disciples of the Saviour, you would lose your taste for war; and if not, you have no time for such a dangerous pursuit, unless, like Mohammed, you believe that upon falling in battle you are in consequence translated into paradise. That is not our creed. Rejoiced to hear it, replied their interlocutrix; but they rose from the table and took a respectful leave. Present, said I, my kind regards to Col. Pierce, and tell him that tomorrow,
at the hour of eleven, A. M., it is my intention to preach near his camp. Let him reduce his charges against me to writing, and let the paper be endorsed with three hours' allowed for the defence. Let your file of men arrive in time to hear the sermon. The writer went, and soldiers came, but each one was mum about my arrest. We politely invited them to repeat their visit at my next appointment, and they gave me a cordial grasp of the hand as they rode off to their camp, and this was the last of the rumor about my arrest. But precisely in three days Jackson was thundering at Manassas. Col. Pierce escaped to Fairfax, and my friend Zimmerman was taken prisoner, and sent to Libby. It made me sad as he went by Greenwich, but he bore up like a man in his adverse fortune. We hope he may prosper.
Visited Bristoe, which is four miles from the Manse, where soldiers were laying, who were wounded in the skirmish between Ewell and Hooker. It was a mournful sight. Dr. Strickler was in attendance as a surgeon. He was from Luray in the County of Page. A handsome young lady was aiding the Doctor in nursing the mangled victims of war. So the lady and surgeon made up the match, and subsequently called on me to tie the knot. This was done at Brentsville, on a pleasant morning, just after breakfast. The writer, before the ceremony, waited on Col. Gill, the Federal officer in command, and asked him if he had ever seen a Virginny wedding? He replied negatively. Then, said I, the minister has always the right to invite a guest. So come along, and make yourself at home. The wedding party set off for the Blue Ridge immediately after the refreshments common on such joyful occasions, and the writer returned through Brentsville to the Manse. Poor Brentsville,
roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what its gentle people did befall:
for we saw lawyers without offices, doctors without medicines, ministers without Churches, and women and children without any shelter but the sky. Shades of George Fox and William Penn, what a sight. How pensive and appalling to the man who longs for the time when the lion and the lamb shall repose in the same shade, and when warriors shall spur their steeds into olive groves, and not into Aceldemas.
It is well known after the battle of Gettysburgh, in Adams County, Pa., that Gen. Meade advanced on the south of Rappahannock. He was compelled to fall back on his ramparts at Centreville. At that time Lee's army passed us at quite a short distance from the Manse. Gen. Stuart was a man of fine-commanding presence, and upon making myself known, found him remarkably polite, but he hurried on, for a battle was being fought in the front. But the chaplains, of course, kept out of the fray. They had gone on with the army, but hearing that the author of the Picturesques and the Decads was left in the rear, returned. We will call the roll, though at present they cannot answer to their names. Parris of Norfolk, Methodist Protestant; Garland, Methodist South; Hughes of North Carolina; Voss of Amherst; Hopkins of
Berkeley; Kennedy of Alabama. The four last were Presbyterians. Come, brethren, and spend the night. The manse is the very place for chaplains. The hours glided imperceptibly away. Before retiring, the Methodist South, gave us a truly devout prayer, and in the morning the Methodist Protestant did the same thing. Parris remarked to me: You turn out to be a smaller man than I expected. We have traveled with you from Japan to Rotterdam, and sundry other places, and thought that you must be somewhat robust to encounter so much fatigue. Oh, said I, Marco Polo was not a large man, though a very large wanderer. My person is the finest in Prince William. Were it a little more so, nothing of me would be left. How much do you weigh? About ninety-nine and three-fourths of a pound. Come, lets be off to camp, said Hughes and Garland, and the writer walked with them to Gen. Ewell's residence, but the General was with the army.
To conclude these recollections. There are materials for another Decade, but at present it may be wise to stop. There is nothing in the character of Addison which commands my admiration so unreservedly as his gratitude. And in closing these reminiscences, it is ornamental to thank my Creator for all His goodness. He often planted a hedge around me and mine, during the war; but the hedge often became laden with flowers, and some wicket-gate crowned with blossoms, was often opened, by which to escape into the green pastures of our Heavenly Shepherd. William Cowper and Charles Carter received no wound during the war, though under them three horses were killed, and three more were killed under Robert Monroe, my eldest son. The last was wounded either at Fort Donelson, or Shiloh, but as the ball did not produce either a simple or compound fracture, the wound will not affect his standing at the Memphis bar. Under a furlough from Forest, Charlie came in once to see his mother, after an absence of years. Great was our joy at his arrival. In the review of these incidents, my heart glows with thankfulness, but not without sympathy for the multitude of mothers and sisters in our land who refuse to be comforted. May they all seek and find the balm of Gilead.
Reference was made in my preceding letters to several poetical lines which were written in commemoration of the writer's seventieth birthday. The following are the lines:
My heart inspire, oh, Lord, with gratitude,
Throughout this day, in all its round of hours!
Recall each hill-side slope and copse of wood,
From which were cull'd my knots of school-boy flowers.
Remind me, too, of when my footsteps strayed
'Mid poplar walks 'round Nassau's classic Hall!
And the dense beech-trees cast their summer shade,
Ere evening bade its vesper star to fall.
Remind me, too, of early comrades gone,
Who play'd with me till yonder sun had set,
And yet till darkness came, we lingered on,
Then hurried home with dews of evening wet.
Prompt me to think of travels far and wide,
On land or wave - o'er sundry hills and plains -
On waters rough - on streams that smoothly glide -
Beneath Thy power, that o'er this vast world reigns.
And why not think of birds whose lovely plumes
Gleamed through the air, or flashed from forest trees?
All gone! although they sang in sylvan rooms,
Unlock'd for them by summer's shining keys.
And in the niches of my chequered years,
No brighter, purer, sweeter days have shone
Than Sabbath days, when all exempt from cares,
And free to muse on God, and Him alone;
Or hear the solemn Kirk-ward going bell
Call to the hill and dale - the lane and street -
Ye people come and by your presence swell
The sacred court where dense assemblies meet.
But is there no futurity for men?
No morn to break beyond sepulchral sleep?
If so, may we of three score years and ten,
For our spent days of anguish weep.
To this coarse earth a Paradise succeeds,
Where every leaf is of the deepest hue;
And off its Tree of Life the Saviour feeds
His ransomed flock on fruits forever new.
Oh, beauteous flock - the flock of happy souls -
Who wing their way on more than wheels of fire;
And always drink their fill from golden bowls,
Yet in their rush for bliss can never tire.
Adieu! adieu to years forever gone;
The clue is waving now from gates of pearl,
And in the act of swiftly beckoning on
To where sweet clouds of incense always curl.
He reached the age of six and thirty years,
Then Byron wrote some lines of tenderness,
In which no spark of gratitude appears,
For bonnie gifts and mercies numberless.
But may my memory on this day review
My way through life's all tangled labyrinth,
And watch the hand that holds the certain clue,
That winds me down to funeral hyacinths.
Among the archives of Thy throne on high,
Oh, Lord! my Lord, lay up this song of praise;
And then, perhaps, some Arch-angelic eye
May read the chart of my departed days.