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   Chapter 23 MOTHER AND SON

The Long Roll By Mary Johnston Characters: 39821

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Margaret Cleave drew her arms gently from under the wounded boy she had been tending. He was asleep; had gone to sleep calling her "Maman" and babbling of wild-fowl on the bayou. She kissed him lightly on the forehead "for Will"-Will, somewhere on the Martinsburg pike, battling in heat and dust, battling for the Confederacy, driving the foe out of Virginia, back across the Potomac-Will who, little more than a year ago, had been her "baby," whom she kissed each night when he went to sleep in his little room next hers at Three Oaks. She straightened herself and looked around for more work. The large room, the "chamber" of the old and quiet house in which she and Miriam had stayed on when in March the army had withdrawn from Winchester, held three wounded. Upon the four-post bed, between white valance and tester, lay a dying officer. His wife was with him, and a surgeon, who had found the ball but could not stop the hemorrhage. A little girl sat on the bed, and every now and then put forth a hand and timidly stroked her father's clay-cold wrist. On the floor, on a mattress matching the one on which the boy lay, was stretched a gaunt giant from some backwoods or mountain clearing. Margaret knelt beside him and he smiled up at her. "I ain't much hurt, and I ain't sufferin' to amount to nothin'. Ef this pesky butternut wouldn't stick in this here hurt place-" She cut the shirt from a sabre wound with the scissors hanging at her waist, then bringing water bathed away the grime and dried blood. "You're right," she said. "It isn't much of a cut. It will soon heal." They spoke in whispers, not to disturb the central group. "But you don't look easy. You are still suffering. What is it?"

"It ain't nothing. It's my foot, that a shell kind of got in the way of. But don't you tell anybody-for fear they might want to cut it off, ma'am."

She looked and made a pitying sound. The officer on the bed had now breathed his last. She brought the unneeded surgeon to the crushed ankle, summoned to help him another of the women in the house, then moved to the four-poster and aided the tearless widow, young and soon again to become a mother, to lay the dead calm and straight. The little girl began to shake and shudder. She took her in her arms and carried her out of the room. She found Miriam helping in the storeroom. "Get the child's doll and take her into the garden for a little while. She is cold as ice; if she begins to cry don't stop her. When she is better, give her to Hannah and you go sit beside the boy who is lying on the floor in the chamber. If he wakes, give him water, but don't let him lift himself. He looks like Will."

In the hall a second surgeon met her. "Madam, will you come help? I've got to take off a poor fellow's leg." They entered a room together-the parlour this time, with the windows flung wide and the afternoon sunlight lying in pools among the roses of the carpet. Two mahogany tables had been put together, and the soldier lay atop, the crushed leg bared and waiting. The surgeon had an assistant and the young man's servant was praying in a corner. Margaret uttered a low, pained exclamation. This young lieutenant had been well liked last winter in Winchester. He had been much at this house. He had a good voice and she had played his accompaniments while he sang-oh, the most sentimental of ditties! Miriam had liked him very well-they had read together-"The Pilgrims of the Rhine"-Goldsmith-Bernardin de Saint Pierre. He had a trick of serenading-danced well. She put her cheek down to his hand. "My poor, poor boy! My poor, brave boy!"

The lieutenant smiled at her-rather a twisted smile, shining out of a drawn white face. "I've got to be brave on one leg. Anyhow, Mrs. Cleave, I can still sing and read. How is Miss Miriam?"

The assistant placed a basin and cloths. The surgeon gave a jerk of his head. "You come on this side, Mrs. Cleave."

"No chloroform?"

"No chloroform. Contraband of war. Damned chivalric contest."

Late in the afternoon, as she was crossing the hall upon some other of the long day's tasks she heard a group of soldiers talking. There were infantry officers from the regiments left in town, and a dusty cavalryman or two-riders from the front with dispatches or orders. One with an old cut glass goblet of water in his hand talked and drank, talked and drank.

"The aide came to George H. Steuart and said, 'General Jackson orders you to pursue vigorously. He says lose no time. He says kill and capture; let as few as possible get to the Potomac. Do your best.'" He filled his glass again from the pitcher standing by. "Steuart answers that he's of General Ewell's Division. Must take his orders from General Ewell."

"West Point notions! Good Lord!"

"Says the aide, 'General Jackson commands General Ewell, and so may command you. His orders are that you shall pursue vigorously'-Says Steuart, 'I will send a courier to find General Ewell. If his orders are corroboratory I will at once press forward-'"

"Good God! did he think Banks would wait?"

"Old Dick was in front; he wasn't behind. Took the aide two hours to find him, sitting on Rifle, swearing because he didn't see the cavalry! Well, he made the air around him blue, and sent back highly 'corroboratory' orders. Steuart promptly 'pressed forward vigorously,' but Lord! Banks was halfway to the Potomac, his troops streaming by every cow path, Stonewall and the infantry advance behind him-but Little Sorrel couldn't do it alone." He put down the glass. "Steuart'll catch it when Old Jack reports. We might have penned and killed the snake, and now it's gotten away!"

"Never mind! It's badly hurt and it's quitting Virginia at a high rate of speed. It's left a good bit of its skin behind, too. Hawks says he's damned if the army shan't have square meals for a week, and Crutchfield's smiling over the guns-"

"Falligant says the men are nigh dead, officers nodding in their saddles, giving orders in their sleep. Falligant says-"

Margaret touched one of the group upon the arm. He swung round in the hall that was darkening toward sunset and swept off his hat. "Do you think, sir, that there will be fighting to-night?"

"I think not, madam. There may be skirmishes of course-our men may cut off parties of the enemy. But there will be no general battle. It is agreed that General Banks will get across the Potomac. The troops will bivouac this side of Martinsburg."

The wounded in the house slept or did not sleep. The young widow sat beside the dead officer. She would not be drawn away-said that she was quite comfortable, not unhappy, there was so much happiness to remember. Hannah found a nook for the little girl and put her to bed. The officers went away. There were a thousand things to do, and, also, they must snatch some sleep, or the brain would reel. The surgeon, hollow-eyed, grey with fatigue, dropping for sleep, spoke at the open front door to the elderly lady of the house and to Margaret Cleave. "Lieutenant Waller will die, I am afraid, though always while there is life there is hope. No, there is nothing-I have given Mrs. Cleave directions, and his boy is a good nurse. I'll come back myself about midnight. That Louisiana youngster is all right. You might get two men and move him from that room. No; the other won't lose the foot. He, too, might be moved, if you can manage it. I'll be back-"

"I wish you might sleep yourself, doctor."

"Shouldn't mind it. I don't expect you women do much sleeping either. Got to do without like coffee for a while. Funny world, funny life, funny death, funny universe. Could give whoever made it a few points myself. Excuse me, ladies, I hardly know what I am saying. Yes, thank you, I see the step. I'll come back about midnight."

The old yards up and down the old street were much trampled, shrubbery broken, fences down, the street thick dust, and still strewn with accoutrements that had been thrown away, with here and there a broken wagon. Street and pavement, there was passing and repassing-the life of the rear of an army, and the faring to and fro on many errands of the people of the relieved town. There were the hospitals and there were the wounded in private houses. There were the dead, and all the burials for the morrow-the negroes digging in the old graveyard, and the children gathering flowers. There were the living to be cared for, the many hungry to be fed. All the town was exalted, devoted, bent on service-a little city raised suddenly to a mountain platform, set in a strange, high light, fanned by one of the oldest winds, and doing well with a clear intensity.

Miriam came and stood beside her mother, leaning her head upon the other's breast. The two seemed like elder and younger sister, no more. There was a white jasmine over the porch, in the yard the fireflies were beginning to sparkle through the dusk. "Dear child, are you very tired?"

"I am not tired at all. That Louisiana boy called me 'Zephine'-'Zephine!' 'Zephine, your eyes are darker, but your lips are not so red.' He said he kept all my letters over his heart-only he tore them up before the battle, tore them into little bits and gave them to the wind, so that if he fell into his hands 'l'ennemi' might not read them."

"The doctor says that he will do well."

"He is like Will. Oh, mother, I feel ten thousand years old! I feel as though I had always lived."

"I, too, dear. Always. I have always borne children and they have always gone forth to war. They say there will be no fighting to-night."

She put her daughter slightly from her and leaned forward, listening. "That is Richard. His foot strikes that way upon the street."

In the night, in his mother's chamber Cleave waked from three hours of dreamless sleep. She stood beside him. "My poor, dead man, I hated to keep my word."

He smiled. "It would have been as hard to wake up at the end of a week!-Mother, I am so dirty!"

"The servants have brought you plenty of hot water, and we have done the best we could with your uniform. Here is fresh underwear, and a beautiful shirt. I went myself down to the officer in charge of captured stores. He was extremely good and let me have all I wished. Tullius is here. He came in an hour ago with Dundee. I will send him up. When you are dressed come into the hall. I will have something there for you to eat."

Richard drew her hand to his lips. "I wonder who first thought of so blessed an institution as a mother? Only a mother could have thought of it, and so there you are again in the circle!"

When he was dressed he found in the wide upper hall without his door, spread upon a small leaf table, a meal frugal and delicate. A breeze came through the open window, and with it the scent of jasmine. The wind blew the candle flame until his mother, stepping lightly, brought a glass shade and set it over the silver stick. Small moths flew in and out, and like a distant ground swell came the noise of the fevered town. The house itself was quiet after the turmoil of the day; large halls and stair in dimness, the ill or wounded quiet or at least not loudly complaining. Now and then a door softly opened or closed; a woman's figure or that of some coloured servant passed from dimness to dimness. They passed and the whole was quiet again. Mother and son spoke low. "I will not wake Miriam until just time to say good-bye. She is overwrought, poor child! She had counted so on seeing Will."

"We will press on now, I think, to Harper's Ferry. But events may bring us this way again. The 2d is bivouacked by a little stream, and I saw him fast asleep. He is growing strong, hardy, bronzed. It is striking twelve. Tullius is saddling Dundee."

"There will be no fighting in the morning?"

"No. Not, perhaps, until we reach Harper's Ferry. Banks will get across to Williamsport to-night. For the present he is off the board. Saxton at Harper's Ferry has several thousand men, and he will be at once heavily reinforced from Washington. It is well for us and for Richmond that that city is so nervous."

"General Jackson is doing wonderful work, is he not, Richard?"

"Yes. It is strange to see how the heart of the army has turned to him. 'Old Jack' can do no wrong. But he is not satisfied with to-day's work."

"But if they are out of Virginia-"

"They should be in Virginia-prisoners of war. It was a cavalry failure.-Well, it cannot be helped."

"Will you cross at Harper's Ferry?"

"With all my heart I wish we might! Defensive war should always be waged in the enemy's territory. But I am certain that we are working with the explicit purpose of preventing McDowell's junction with McClellan and the complete investment of Richmond which would follow that junction. We are going to threaten Washington. The government there may be trusted, I think, to recall McDowell. Probably also they will bring upon our rear Frémont from the South Branch. That done, we must turn and meet them both."

"Oh, war! Over a year now it has lasted! There are so many in black, and the church bells have always a tolling sound. And then the flowers bloom, and we hear laughter as we knit."

"All colours are brighter and all sounds are deeper. If there is horror, there is also much that is not horror. And there is nobility as well as baseness. And the mind adapts itself, and the ocean is deeper than we think. Somewhere, of course, lies the shore of Brotherhood, and beyond that the shore of Oneness. It is not unlikely, I think, that we may reinforce Johnston at Richmond."

"Then Miriam and I will make our way there also. How long will it last, Richard-the war?"

"It may last one year and it may last ten. The probability is perhaps five."

"Five years! All the country will be grey-haired."

"War is a forge, mother. Many things will be forged-more of iron perhaps than of gold."

"You have no doubt of the final victory?"

"If I ever have I put it from me. I do not doubt the armies nor the generals-and, God knows, I do not doubt the women at home! If I am not so sure in all ways of the government, at least no man doubts its integrity and its purpose. The President, if he is clear and narrow rather than clear and broad, if he sometimes plays the bigot, if he is a good field officer rather than the great man of affairs we need-yet he is earnest, disinterested, able, a patriot. And Congress does its best-is at least eloquent and fires the heart. Our crowding needs are great and our resources small; it does what it can. The departments work hard. Benjamin, Mallory, Randolph, Meminger-they are all good men. And the railroad men and the engineers and the chemists and the mechanics-all so wonderfully and pathetically ingenious, labouring day and night, working miracles without material, making bricks without straw. Arsenals, foundries, powder-mills, workshop, manufactories-all in a night, out of the wheat fields! And the runners of blockades, and the river steamer men, the special agents, the clerks, the workers of all kind-a territory large as Europe and every man and woman in the field in one aspect or another! If patriotism can save and ability, fortitude, endurance, we are saved. And yet I think of my old 'Plutarch's Lives,' and of all the causes that have been lost. And sometimes in the middle of the night, I see all our blocked ports-and the Mississippi, slipping from our hands. I do not believe that England will come to our help. There is a sentiment for us, undoubtedly, but like the island mists it stays at home."

He rose from the table. "And yet the brave man fights and must hope. Hope is the sky above him-and the skies have never really fallen. I do not know how I will come out of war! I know how I went into it, but no man knows with what inner change he will come out. Enough now, being in, to serve with every fibre."

She shaded her eyes with her hand. With her soft brown hair, with her slender maturity, with the thin fine bit of lace at her neck, against the blowing curtains and in the jasmine scent she suggested something fine and strong and sweet, of old time, of all time. "I know that you will serve with every fibre," she said. "I know it because I also shall serve that way." Presently she dropped her hand and looked up at him with a face, young, soft, and bright, lit from within. "And so at last, Richard, you are happy in the lovely ways!"

He put something in her hand. "Would you like to see it? She sent it to me, two weeks ago. It does not do her justice."

Margaret laughed. "They never do! But I agree with you-and yet, it is lovely! Her eyes were always wonderful, and she smiles like some old picture. I shall love her well, Richard."

"And she you. Mother, the country lies on my heart. I see a dark'ning sky and many graveyards, and I hear, now 'Dixie,' now a Dead March. And yet, through it all there runs a singing stream, under a blue Heaven-"

A little later, Miriam having waked, he said a lingering, fond good-bye, and leaving them both at the gate in the dead hour before the dawn, rode away on Dundee, Tullius following him, down the pike, toward the sleeping army. He passed the pickets and came to the first regiment before dawn; to the 65th just as the red signals showed in the east. It was a dawn like yesterday's. Far and wide lay the army, thousands of men, motionless on the dew-drenched earth, acorns fallen from the tree of war. He met an officer, plodding through the mist, trying to read in the dim light a sheaf of orders which he carried. "Good-morning, adjutant."

"Good-morning. Richard Cleave, isn't it? Hear you are going to be a general. Hear Old Jack said so."

Cleave laughed, a vibrant sound, jest and determination both. "Of course I am! I settled that at sixteen, one day when I was ploughing corn. How they all look, scattered wide like that!"

"Reveille not until six. The general's going to beat the devil round the stump. Going to have a Sunday on a Monday. Rest, clean up, divine service. Need all three, certainly need two. Good record the last few weeks-reason to be thankful. Well, good-bye! Always liked you, Cleave!"

Reveille sounded, and the army arose. Breakfast was a sumptuous thing, delicately flavoured with compliments upon the taste, range, and abundance of the Federal commissariat. Roll call followed, with the moment's full pause after names that were not answered to. A general order was read.

Within four weeks this army has made long and rapid marches, fought six combats and two battles, signally defeating the enemy in each one, captured several stands of colours and pieces of artillery, with numerous prisoners and vast medical, ordnance, and army stores; and finally driven the host that was ravaging our country into utter rout. The general commanding would warmly express to the officers and men under his command, his joy in their achievements and his thanks for their brilliant gallantry in action and their patient obedience under the hardship of forced marches; often more painful to the brave soldier than the dangers of battle. The explanation of the severe exertions to which the commanding general called the army, which were endured by them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given, in the victory of yesterday. He receives this proof of their confidence in the past with pride and gratitude, and asks only a similar confidence in the future.

But his chief duty to-day, and that of the army, is to recognize devoutly the hand of a protecting providence in the brilliant successes of the last three days, and to make the oblation of our thanks to God for his mercies to us and to our country, in heartfelt acts of religious worship. For this purpose the troops will remain in camp to-day, suspending as far as practicable all military exercises; and the chaplains of regiments will hold divine service in their s

everal charges at four o'clock P. M.

At four the general went to church with the 37th Virginia. The doxology sung, the benediction pronounced, he told the chaplain that he had been edified exceedingly, and he looked it. There were times when it might be said quite truly that his appearance was that of an awkward knight of the Holy Grail.

Headquarters was a farmhouse, a small, cosy place, islanded in a rolling sea of clover. About dusk Allan Gold, arriving here, found himself admitted to the farmer's parlour. Here were a round table with lamps, a clerk or two writing, and several members of Jackson's military family. The general himself came in presently, and sat down at the table. A dark, wiry man, with a highly intellectual face, who had been going over papers by a lamp in the corner of the room, came forward and saluted.

"Very well, Jarrow. Have you got the mail bag?"

"Yes, sir." He laid upon the table a small, old, war-worn leather pouch. "It won't hold much, but enough. Headquarters' mail. Service over the mountain, to the Manassas Gap for the first Richmond train. Profound ignorance on General Jackson's part of McDowell's whereabouts. The latter's pickets gobble up courier, and information meant for Richmond goes to Washington."

"Who is the volunteer, Gold?"

"A boy named Billy Maydew, sir. Company A, 65th. A Thunder Run man."

"He understands that he is to be captured?"

"Yes, sir. Both he and the mail bag, especially the mail bag. After it is safe prisoner, and he has given a straight story, he can get away if he is able. There's no object in his going North?"

"None at all. Let me see the contents, Jarrow."

Jarrow spread them on the table. "I thought it best, sir, to include a few of a general nature-"

"I thought of that. Here are copies of various letters received from Richmond. They are now of no special value. I will return them with a memorandum on the packet, 'Received on such a date and now returned.'" He drew out a packet, tied with red tape. "Run them over, Jarrow."

Jarrow read aloud,-

Mobile, March 1st, 1862.

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,

President of the Confederate States of America:

Sir,-The subject of permitting cotton to leave our Southern ports clandestinely has had some attention from me, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a Yankee trick that should have immediate attention from the Governmental authorities of this country. The pretence is that we must let it go forward to buy arms and munitions of war, and I fear the fate of the steamer Calhoun illustrates the destination of these arms and munitions of war after they are bought with our cotton. Her commander set her on fire and the Yankees put her out just in time to secure the prize. This cotton power is a momentous question-

"Very good. The next, Jarrow."

Richmond, Va., February 22d.

Hon. J. P. Benjamin,

Secretary of War:

Sir,-I have the honour to state there are now many volunteers from Maryland who are desirous of organizing themselves as soon as possible into companies, regiments, and brigades-

"Good! good! The next, Jarrow."

Executive Department,

Milledgeville, Ga.

His Excellency Jefferson Davis:

Sir,-I have the pleasure to inform you that in response to your requisition on Georgia for twelve additional regiments of troops she now tenders you thirteen regiments and three battalions-

"Good! The next."

Havana, March 22d, 1862.

Hon. J. P. Benjamin,

Secretary of War, Richmond.

Sir,-Our recent reverses in Tennessee and on the seacoast, magnified by the Northern press, have had a tendency to create doubt in the minds of our foreign friends here as to our ultimate success. I have resisted with all my power this ridiculous fear of the timid-

"Lay that aside. It might jeopardize the agent. The next."

"Copy of a proposed General Order.

War Department

Adjt. and Insp. General's Office

No. 1. General officers and officers in command of departments, districts, and separate posts will make a detail of men from their commands to work the nitre caves which may be situated within the limits of their respective commands-"

"Good! The next."

Surgeon General's Office,

Richmond, Va.

It is the policy of all Nations at all times, especially such as at present exist in our Confederacy, to make every effort to develop its internal resources, and to diminish its tribute to foreigners by supplying its necessities from the productions of its own soil. This observation may be considered peculiarly applicable to the appropriation of our indigenous medicinal substances of the vegetable kingdom, and with the view of promoting this object the inclosed pamphlet embracing many of the more important medicinal plants has been issued for distribution to the medical officers of the Army of the Confederacy now in the field. You are particularly instructed to call the attention of those of your corps to the propriety of collecting and preparing with care such of the within enumerated remedial agents or others found valuable, as their respective charges may require during the present summer and coming winter. Our forests and Savannahs furnish our materia medica with a moderate number of narcotics and sedatives, and an abundant supply of tonics, astringents, aromatics and demulcents, while the list of anodynes, emetics and cathartics remains in a comparative degree incomplete-

"Very good! The next, Jarrow-"

Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac RR.

President's Office

Hon. George W. Randolph:

Dear Sir,-At the risk of seeming tedious, permit me to say that my impression that you were mistaken last night in your recollection of the extent to which Louis Napoleon used railroads in transporting his army into Sardinia is this morning confirmed by a gentleman who is a most experienced and well-informed railroad officer, and is also the most devoted student of geography and military history, with the most accurate and extraordinary memory for every detail, however minute, of battles and all other military operations that I have ever met with. He is positive in his recollection that not less than 100,000 and probably more, of that army were gradually concentrated at Toulon and sent thence by sea to Genoa, and the rest were during some weeks being concentrated at a little town on the confines of France and Italy, whence they were transferred, partly on foot and partly on a double-track railroad, into Sardinia. The capacity of a double-track railroad, adequately equipped like the European railroads, may be moderately computed at five times that of a single-track road like those of the Confederate States. For the sudden and rapid movement of a vanguard of an army, to hold in check an enemy till reinforced, or of a rear guard to cover a retreat, or of any other portion of an army which must move suddenly and rapidly, and for the transportation of ordnance, ammunition, commissary and other military supplies, railroads are available and invaluable to an army. And when these objects of prime necessity are attained, they can advantageously carry more troops according to the amount of the other transportation required, the distance, their force, and equipment, etc. But to rely on them as a means of transporting any large body of troops beside what is needed to supply and maintain them, is certainly a most dangerous delusion, and must inevitably result in the most grievous disappointments and fatal consequence.

Very respectfully and truly yours, etc.

P. V. Daniel, Jr.

P. S. As a railroad officer, interest would prompt me to advocate the opposite theory about this matter, for troops constitute the most profitable, if not the only profitable, part of any transportation by railroads. But I cannot be less a citizen and patriot because I am a railroad officer.

"Good! good. The next, Jarrow."

"Copy of resolutions declaring the sense of Congress.

"Whereas the United States are waging war against the Confederate States with the avowed purpose of compelling the latter to reunite with them under the same constitution and government, and whereas the waging of war with such an object is in direct opposition to the sound Republican maxim that 'all government rests upon the consent of the governed' and can only tend to consolidation in the general government and the consequent destruction of the rights of the States, and whereas, this result being attained the two sections can only exist together in the relation of the oppressor and the oppressed, because of the great preponderance of power in the Northern section, coupled with dissimilarity of interest; and whereas we, the Representatives of the people of the Confederate States, in Congress assembled, may be presumed to know the sentiments of said people, having just been elected by them. Therefore,

"Be it resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America that this Congress do solemnly declare and publish to the world that it is the unalterable determination of the people of the Confederate States, in humble reliance upon Almighty God, to suffer all the calamities of the most protracted war-"

"Just so. That will do for this packet. Now what have you there?"

"These are genuine soldiers' letters, sir-the usual thing-incidents of battle, wounds, messages, etc. They are all optimistic in tone, but for the rest tell no news. I have carefully opened, gone over, and reclosed them."

"Good! good! Let Robinson, there, take a list of the names. Lieutenant Willis, you will see each of the men and tell them they must rewrite their letters. These were lost. Now, Jarrow."

"These are the ones to the point, sir. I had two written this morning, one this afternoon. They are all properly addressed and signed, and dated from this bivouac. The first."

My dear Father,-A glorious victory yesterday! Little cost to us and Banks swept from the Valley. We are in high spirits, confident that the tide has turned and that the seat of war will be changed. Of late the army has grown like a rolling snowball. Perhaps thirty thousand here-

An aide uttered a startled laugh. "Pray be quiet, gentlemen," said Jackson.

Thirty thousand here, and a large force nearer the mountains. Recruits are coming in all the time; good, determined men. I truly feel that we are invincible. I write in haste, to get this in the bag we are sending to the nearest railway station. Dear love to all.

Aff'y your son,

John Smith.

"Good!" said Jackson. "Always deceive, mystify, and mislead the enemy. You may thereby save your Capital city. The next."

"From one of Ashby's men, sir."

My dear Sister,-We are now about thirty companies-every man from this region who owns or can beg, borrow, or steal a horse is coming in. I got at Staunton the plume for my hat you sent. It is beautifully long, black, and curling! Imagine me under it, riding through Maryland! Forty thousand of us, and the bands playing "Dixie"! Old Jack may stand like a stone wall, but by the Lord, he moves like a thunderbolt! Best love. Your loving brother,

William Patterson.

"Scratch out the oath, Jarrow. He is writing to a lady, nor should it be used to a man. The next."

My dear Fitzhugh,-Papers, reports, etc., will give you the details. Suffice it, that we've had a lovely time. A minie drew some blood from me-not much, and spilt in a good cause. As you see, I am writing with my left hand-the other arm's in a sling. The army's in the highest spirits-South going North on a visit.

All the grey bonnets are over the border!

We hear that all of you in and about Richmond are in excellent health and spirits, and that in the face of the Young Napoleon! Stronger, too, than he thinks. We hear that McDowell is somewhere between you and Fredericksburg. Just keep him there, will you? We'd rather not have him up here just yet. Give my love to all my cousins. Will write from the other side of the water.

Yours as ever,

Peter Francisco.

P. S. Of course this is not official, but the impression is strong in the army that the defensive has been dropped and that the geese in the other Capitol ought to be cackling if they are not.

Jarrow drew the whole together. "I thought the three would be enough, sir. I never like to overdo."

"You have the correct idea, Jarrow. Bring the boy in, Gold. I want the bag captured early to-morrow."

On May the twenty-eighth, fifteen thousand in all, Winder still in advance, they moved by Summit Point toward Harper's Ferry, thirty miles away. Ewell on Rifle led the main column, Jackson and Little Sorrel marched to-day with the rear, Ashby on the black stallion went far ahead with his cavalry. The army moved with vigour, in high spirits and through fine weather, a bright, cool day with round white clouds in an intense blue sky. When halts were made and the generals rode by the resting troops they were loudly cheered. The men were talkative; they indulged in laughter and lifted voice in song. Speculation ran to and fro, but she wore no anxious mien. The army felt a calm confidence, a happy-go-lucky mood. It had come into a childlike trust in its commanding general, and that made all the difference in the world. "Where are we going? Into Maryland? Don't know and don't care! Old Jack knows. I think we're going to Washington-Always did want to see it. I think so, too. Going to take its attention off Richmond, as the Irishman said when he walked away with the widow at the wake. Look at that buzzard up there against that cloud! Kingbird's after him! Right at his eyes!-Say, boys, look at that fight!"

In the afternoon the Stonewall came to Charlestown, eight miles from Harper's Ferry. Here they found, strongly posted in a wood, fifteen hundred Federals with two guns, sent from Harper's Ferry by Saxton. A courier went back to Ewell. Winder, without waiting for reinforcements, attacked. The fight lasted twenty minutes, when the Federal line broke, retreating in considerable disorder. The Stonewall, pressing after, came into view, two miles from the Potomac, of the enemy's guns on Bolivar Heights.

Saxton, now commanding about seven thousand men, had strongly occupied the hills on the southern side of the Potomac. To the north the Maryland Heights were held by several regiments and a naval battery of Dahlgren guns. The brigadier commanding received and sent telegrams.


Brigadier-General Saxton,

Harper's Ferry.

Copy of Secretary of War's dispatch to Governors of States.

"Send forward all the troops that you can immediately. Banks completely routed. Intelligence from various quarters leaves no doubt that the enemy, in great force, are advancing on Washington. You will please organize and forward immediately all the volunteer and militia force in your state."

In addition, the President has notified General McClellan that his return to Washington may be ordered. City in a panic.

X. Y.

Harper's Ferry, Virginia, May 31.

The enemy moved up in force last evening about seven o'clock, in a shower of rain, to attack. I opened on them from the position which the troops occupy above the town, and from the Dahlgren battery on the mountains. The enemy then retired. Their pickets attacked ours twice last night within 300 yards of our works. A volley from General Slough's breastworks drove them back. We lost one man killed. Enemy had signal-lights on the mountains in every direction. Their system of night-signals seems to be perfect. They fire on our pickets in every case. My men are overworked. Stood by their guns all night in the rain. What has become of Generals Frémont and McDowell?

R. Saxton.

Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

At Williamsport on the Maryland side, twelve miles above, General Banks likewise sent a telegram to the Government at Washington.

Williamsport, May 28, 1862.

Have received information to-day which I think should be transmitted, but not published over my name, as I do not credit it altogether. A merchant from Martinsburg, well known, came to inform me that in a confidential conversation with a very prominent secessionist, also merchant of that town, he was informed that the policy of the South was changed; that they would abandon Richmond, Virginia, everything South, and invade Maryland and Washington; that every Union soldier would be driven out of the Valley immediately. This was on Friday evening, the night of attack on Front Royal. Names are given me, and the party talking one who might know the rebel plans. A prisoner was captured near Martinsburg to-day. He told the truth I am satisfied, as far as he pretended to know. He was in the fight at Front Royal and passed through Winchester two hours after our engagement. He says the rebel force was very large-not less than twenty-five thousand at Winchester and 6000 or 7000 at Front Royal; that the idea was general among the men that they were to invade Maryland. He passed Ashby yesterday, who had twenty-eight companies of cavalry under his command; was returning from Martinsburg, and moving under orders, his men said, to Berryville. There were 2000 rebels at Martinsburg when he passed that town yesterday. These reports came to me at the same time I received General Saxton's dispatch and the statement from my own officer that 4000 rebels were near Falling Waters, in my front.

N. P. Banks,

Major-General Commanding

Hon. E. M. Stanton.

Friday evening the thirtieth was as dark as Erebus. Clouds had been boiling up since dark. Huge portentous masses rose on all sides and blotted out the skies. The air was for a time oppressively hot and still. The smoke from the guns which had wrangled during the day, long and loud, hung low; the smell of powder clung. The grey troops massed on Loudoun Heights and along the Shenandoah wiped the sweat from their brows. Against the piled clouds signal-lights burned dull and red, stars of war communicating through the sultry night. The clouds rose higher yet and the lightnings began to play. A stir began in the leaves of the far-flung forests, blended with the murmur of the rivers and became rushing sound. Thunder burst, clap after clap, reverberating through the mountains. The air began to smell of rain, grew suddenly cool. Through the welcome freshness the grey troops advanced beyond Bolivar Heights; there followed a long crackle of musketry and a body of blue troops retreated across the river. The guns opened again; the grey cannon trained upon the Maryland Heights; the Maryland Heights answering sullenly. Down came the rain in torrents, the lightning flashed, the thunder rolled. The lightnings came jaggedly, bayonets of the storm, stabbing downward; the artillery of the skies dwarfed all sound below. For an hour there was desultory fighting, then it ceased. The grey troops awaiting orders, wondered, "Aren't we going to cross the river after them?" "Oh, let it alone. Old Jack knows."

Toward midnight, in the midst of a great access of lightning, rain, and thunder, fighting was renewed. It was not for long. The guns fell silent again upon Loudoun Heights; moreover the long lines of couching infantry saw by the vivid lightning the battery horses come up, wet and shining in the rain. From regiment to regiment, under the rolling thunder, ran the order. Into column! By the left flank! March!

A small stone hut on the side of a hill had formed the shelter of the general commanding. Here he wrote and gave to two couriers a message in duplicate.

Harper's Ferry,


May 31. Midnight.

Hon. Geoerge W. Randolph, Secretary of War:

Under the guidance of God I have demonstrated toward the Potomac and drawn off McDowell, who is sending Shields by Front Royal. Moving now to meet him and Frémont who comes from the West.

T. J. Jackson,

Major-General Commanding

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