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The Long Roll By Mary Johnston Characters: 35288

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Snow lay deep on the banks of the Rappahannock, in the forest, up and down the river, on the plain about the little city, on the bold heights of the northern shore, on the hills of the southern, commanding the plain. The snow was deep, but somewhat milder weather had set in. December the eleventh dawned still and foggy.

General Burnside with a hundred and twenty thousand blue troops appointed this day to pass the Rappahannock, a stream that flowed across the road to Richmond. He had been responsible for choosing this route to the keep of the fortress, and he must make good his reiterated, genial assurances of success. The Rappahannock, Fredericksburg, and a line of hills masked the onward-going road and its sign, This way to Richmond. "Well, the Rappahannock can be bridged! A brigade known to be occupying the town? Well, a hundred and forty guns admirably planted on Stafford Heights will drive out the rebel brigade! The line of hills, bleak and desolate with fir woods?-hares and snow birds are all the life over there! General Lee and Stonewall Jackson? Down the Rappahannock below Moss Neck. At least, undoubtedly, Stonewall Jackson's down there. The balloon people say so. General Lee's got an idea that Port Royal's our point of attack. The mass of his army's there. The gunboat people say so. Longstreet may be behind those hills. Well, we'll crush Longstreet! We'll build our bridges under cover of this fortunate fog, and go over and defeat Longstreet and be far down the road to Richmond before a man can say Jack Robinson!"

"Jack Robinson!" said the brigade from McLaws's division-Barksdale's Mississippians-drawn up on the water edge of Fredericksburg. They were tall men-Barksdale's Mississippians-playful bear-hunters from the cane brakes, young and powerfully made, and deadly shots. "Old Barksdale" knew how to handle them, and together they were a handful for any enemy whatsoever. Sixteen hundred born hunters and fighters, they opened fire on the bridge-builders, trying to build four bridges, three above, one below the town. Barksdale's men were somewhat sheltered by the houses on the river brink; the blue had the favourable fog with which to cover operations. It did not wholly help; the Mississippians had keen eyes; the rifles blazed, blazed, blazed! Burnside's bridge-builders were gallant men; beaten back from the river they came again and again, but again and again the eyes of the swamp hunters ran along the gleaming barrels and a thousand bronzed fingers pulled a thousand triggers. Past the middle of the day the fog lifted. The town lay defined and helpless beneath a pallid sky.

The artillery of the Army of the Potomac opened upon it. One hundred and forty heavy guns, set in tiers upon the heights to the north, fired each into Fredericksburg fifty rounds. Under that terrible cover the blue began to cross on pontoons.

A number of the women and children had been sent from the town during the preceding days. Not all, however, were gone. Many had no place to go to; some were ill and some were nursing the ill; many had husbands, sons, brothers, there at hand in the Army of Northern Virginia and would not go. Now with the beginning of the bombardment they must go. There were grey, imperative orders. "At once! at once! Go where? God knows! but go."

They went, almost all, in the snow, beneath the pallid sky, with the shells shrieking behind them. They carried the children, they half carried the sick and the very old. They stumbled on, between the frozen hills by the dark pointed cedars, over the bare white fields. Behind them home was being destroyed; before them lay desolation, and all around was winter. They had perhaps thought it out, and were headed-the various forlorn lines-for this or that country house, but they looked lost, remnant of a world become glacial, whirled with suddenness into the sidereal cold, cold! and the loneliness of cold. The older children were very brave; but there were babes, too, and these wailed and wailed. Their wailing made a strange, futile sound beneath the thundering of the guns.

One of these parties came through the snow to a swollen creek on which the ice cakes were floating. Cross!-yes, but how? The leaders consulted together, then went up the stream to find a possible ford, and came in sight of a grey battery, waiting among the hills. "Oh, soldiers!-oh, soldiers!-come and help!"

Down hastened a detachment, eager, respectful, a lieutenant directing, the very battery horses looking anxious, responsible. A soldier in the saddle, a child in front, a child behind, the old steady horses planting their feet carefully in the icy rushing stream, over went the children. Then the women crossed, their hands resting on the grey-clad shoulders. All were over; all thanked the soldiers. The soldiers took off their caps, wished with all their hearts that they had at command fire-lit palaces and a banquet set! Having neither, being themselves without shelter or food and ordered not to build fires, they could only bare their heads and watch the other soldiers out of sight, carrying the children, half carrying the old and sick, stumbling through the snow, by the dark pointed cedars, and presently lost to view among the frozen hills.

The shells rained destruction into Fredericksburg. Houses were battered and broken; houses were set on fire. Through the smoke and uproar, the explosions and detonations and tongues of flame, the Mississippians beat back another attempt at the bridges and opened fire on boat after boat now pushing from the northern shore. But the boats came bravely on, bravely manned; hundreds might be driven from the bridge-building, but other hundreds sprang to take their places-and always from the heights came the rain of iron, smashing, shivering, setting afire, tearing up the streets, bringing down the walls, ruining, wounding, slaying! McLaws sent an order to Barksdale, Barksdale gave it to his brigade. "Evacuate!" said the Mississippians. "We're going to evacuate. What's that in English? 'Quit?'-What in hell should we quit for?"

Orders being orders, the disgust of the bear-hunters did not count. "Old Barksdale" was fairly deprecating. "Men, I can't help it! General McLaws says, 'General Barksdale, withdraw your men to Marye's Hill.' Well, I've got to do it, haven't I? General McLaws knows, now doesn't he?-Yes,-just one more round. Load! Kneel! Commence firing!"

In the late afternoon the town was evacuated, Barksdale drawing off in good order across the stormed-upon open. He disappeared-the Mississippi brigade disappeared-from the Federal vision. The blue column, the 28th Massachusetts leading, entered Fredericksburg. "We'll get them all to-morrow-Longstreet certainly! Stonewall Jackson's from twelve to eighteen miles down the river. Well! this time Lee will find that he's divided his army once too often!"

By dark there were built six bridges, but the main army rested all night on the northern bank. December the twelfth dawned, another foggy day. The fog held hour after hour, very slow, still, muffled weather, through which, corps by corps, all day long, the army slowly crossed. In the afternoon there was a cavalry skirmish with Stuart, but nothing else happened. Thirty-six hours had been consumed in crossing and resting. The Rappahannock, however, was crossed, and the road to Richmond stretched plain between the hills.

But the grey army was not divided. Certain divisions had been down the river, but they were no longer down the river. The Army of Northern Virginia, a vibrant unit, intense, concentrated, gaunt, bronzed, and highly efficient, waited behind the hills south and west of the town. There was a creek running through a ravine, called Deep Run. On one side of Deep Run stood Longstreet and the 1st Corps, on the other, almost at right angles, Stonewall Jackson and the 2d. Before both the heavily timbered ridge sank to the open plain. In the woods had been thrown up certain breastworks.

Longstreet's left, Anderson's division, rested on the river. To Anderson's right were posted McLaws, Pickett, and Hood. He had his artillery on Marye's Hill and Willis Hill, and he had Ransom's infantry in line at the base of these hills behind a stone wall. Across Deep Run, on the wooded hills between the ravine and the Massaponax, was Stonewall Jackson. A. P. Hill's division with the brigades of Pender, Lane, Archer, Thomas, and Gregg made his first line of battle, the divisions of Taliaferro and Early his second, and D. H. Hill's division his reserve. His artillery held all favourable crests and headlands. Stuart's cavalry and Stuart's Horse Artillery were gathered by the Massaponax. Hills and forest hid them all, and over the plain and river rolled the fog.

It hid the North as it hid the South. Burnside's great force rested the night of the twelfth in and immediately about Fredericksburg-Hooker and Sumner and Franklin, one hundred and thirteen thousand men. "The balloon people" now reported that the hills south and west were held by a considerable rebel force-Longstreet evidently, Lee probably with him. Burnside repeated the infatuation of Pope and considered that Stonewall Jackson was absent from the field of operations. Undoubtedly he had been, but the shortest of time before, down the river by Port Royal. No one had seen him move. Jackson away, there was then only Longstreet-strongly posted, no doubt. Well! Form a great line of battle, advance in overwhelming strength across the plain, the guns on Stafford Heights supporting, and take the hills, and Longstreet on them! It sounded simple.


The fog, heavy, fleecy, white, persisted. The grey soldiers on the wooded hills, the grey artillery holding the bluff heads, the grey skirmishers holding embankment and cut of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, the grey cavalry by the Massaponax, all stared into the white sea and could discern nothing. The ear was of no avail. Sound came muffled, but still it came. "The long roll-hear the long roll! My Lord! How many drums have they got, anyway?"-"Listen! If you listen right hard you can hear them shouting orders! Hush up, you infantry, down there! We want to hear."-"They're moving guns, too! Wish there'd come a little sympathizing earthquake and help them-'specially those siege guns on the heights over there!"-"No, no! I want to fight them. Look! it's lifting a little! the fog's lifting a little! Look at the guns up in the air like that! It's closed again."-"Well, if that wasn't fantastic! Ten iron guns in a row, posted in space!"-"Hm! brass bands. My Lord! there must be one to a platoon!"-"Hear them marching! Saw lightning once run along the ground-now it's thunder. How many men has General Ambrose Everett Burnside got, anyhow?"-"Burnside's been to dances before in Fredericksburg! Some of the houses are burning now that he's danced in, and some of the women he has danced with are wandering over the snow. I hope he'll like the reel presently."-"He's a good fellow himself, though not much of a general! He can't help fighting here if he's put here to fight."-"I know that. I was just stating facts. Hear that music, music, music!"

Up from Deep Run, a little in the rear of the grey centre, rose a bold hill. Here in the clinging mist waited Lee on Traveller, his staff behind him, in front an ocean of vapour. Longstreet came from the left, Stonewall Jackson from the right. Lee and his two lieutenants talked together, three mounted figures looming large on the hilltop above Deep Run. With suddenness the fog parted, was upgathered with swiftness by the great golden sun.

That lifted curtain revealed a very great and martial picture,-War in a moment of vastness and grandeur, epic, sublime. The town was afire; smoke and flame went up to a sky not yet wholly azure, banded and barred with clouds from behind which the light came in rays fierce and bright, with an effect of threatening. There was a ruined house on a high hill. It gave the appearance of a grating in the firmament, a small dungeon grating. Beyond the burning town was the river, crossed now by six pontoon bridges. On each there were troops; one of the long sun rays caught the bayonets. From the river, to the north, rose the heights, and they had an iron crown from which already came lightnings and thunders. There were paths leading down to the river and these showed blue, moving streams, bright points which were flags moving with them. That for the far side of the Rappahannock, but on this side, over the plain that stretched south and west of the smoke-wreathed town, there moved a blue sea indeed. Eighty thousand men were on that plain. They moved here, they moved there, into battle formation, and they moved to the crash of music, to the horn and to the drum. The long rays that the sun was sending made a dazzle of bayonet steel, thousands and thousands and thousands of bayonets. The gleaming lines went here, went there, crossed, recrossed, formed angles, made a vast and glittering net. Out of it soared the flags, bright hovering birds, bright giant blossoms in the air. Batteries moved across the plain. Officers, couriers, galloped on fiery horses; some general officer passed from end to end of a forming line and was cheered. The earth shook to marching feet. The great brazen horns blared, the drums beat, the bugles rang. The gleaming net folded back on itself, made three pleats, made three great lines of battle.

The grey leaders on the hill to the south gazed in silence. Then said Lee, "It is well that war is so terrible. Were it not so, we should grow too fond of it." Longstreet, the "old war horse," stared at the tremendous pageant. "This wasn't a little quarrel. It's been brewing for seventy-five years-ever since the Bill-of-Rights day. Things that take so long in brewing can't be cooled by a breath. It's getting to be a huge war." Said Jackson, "Franklin holds their left. He seems to be advancing. I will return to Hamilton's Crossing, sir."

The guns on the Stafford Heights which had been firing slowly and singly now opened mouth together. The tornado, overpassing river and plain, burst on the southern hills. In the midst of the tempest, Burnside ordered Franklin to advance a single division, its mission the seizing the unoccupied ridge east of Deep Run. Franklin sent Meade with forty-five hundred Pennsylvania troops.

Meade's brigades advanced in three lines, skirmishers out, a band playing a quickstep, the stormy sunlight deepening the colours, making a gleaming of bayonets. His first line crossed the Richmond road. To the left was a tiny stream, beyond it a ragged bank topped by brushwood. Suddenly, from this coppice, opened two of Pelham's guns.

Beneath that flanking fire the first blue line faltered, gave ground. Meade brought up four batteries and sent for others. All these came fiercely into action. When they got his range, Pelham moved his two guns and began again a raking fire. Again the blue gunners found the range and again he moved with deliberate swiftness, and again he opened with a hot and raking fire. One gun was disabled; he fought with the other. He fought until the limber chests were empty and there came an imperious message from Jeb Stuart, "Get back from destruction, you infernal, gallant fool, John Pelham!"

The guns across the river and the blue field batteries steadily shelled for half an hour the heavily timbered slopes beyond the railroad. Except for the crack and crash of severed boughs the wood gave no sign. At the end of this period Meade resumed his advance.

On came the blue lines, staunch, determined troops, seasoned now as the grey were seasoned. They meant to take that empty line of hills, willy-nilly a few Confederate guns. That done, they would be in a position to flank Longstreet, already attacked in front by Sumner's Grand Division. On they came, with a martial front, steady, swinging. Uninterrupted, they marched to within a few hundred yards of Prospect Hill. Suddenly the woods that loomed before them so dark and quiet blazed and rang. Fifty guns were within that cover, and the fifty cast their thunderbolts full against the dark blue line. From either side the grey artillery burst the grey musketry, and above the crackling thunder rose the rebel yell. Stonewall Jackson was not down the river; Stonewall Jackson was here! Meade's Pennsylvanians were gallant fighters; but they broke beneath that withering fire,-they fell back in strong disorder.

Grey and blue, North and South, there were gathered upon and above the field of Fredericksburg four hundred guns. All came into action. Where earlier, there had been fog over the plain, fog wreathing the hillsides, there was now smoke. Dark and rolling it invaded the ruined town, it mantled the flowing Rappahannock, it surmounted the hills. Red flashes pierced it, and over and under and through roared the enormous sound. There came reinforcements to Meade, division after division. In the meantime Sumner was hurling brigades against Marye's Hill and Longstreet was hurling them back again.

The 2d Corps listened to the terrible musketry from this front. "Old Pete's surely giving them hell! There's a stone wall at the base of Marye's Hill. McLaws and Ransom are holding it-sorry for the Yanks in front."-"Never heard such hullabaloo as the great guns are making!"-"What're them Pennsylvanians down there doing? It's time for them to come on! They've got enough reinforcements-old friends, Gibbon and Doubleday."-"Good fighters."-"Yes, Lord! we're all good fighters now. Glad of

it. Like to fight a good fighter. Feel real friendly toward him."-"A thirty-two-pounder Parrott in the battery on the hill over there exploded and raised hell. General Lee standing right by. He just spoke on, calm and imperturbable, and Traveller looked sideways."-"Look! Meade's moving. Do you know, I think we ought to have occupied that tongue of land?"

So, in sooth, thought others presently. It was a marshy, dense, and tangled coppice projecting like a sabre tooth between the brigades of Lane and Archer. So thick was the growth, so boggy the earth, that at the last it had been pronounced impenetrable and left unrazed. Now the mistake was paid for-in bloody coin.

Meade's line of battle rushed across the open, brushed the edge of the coppice, discovered that it was empty, and plunging in, found cover. The grey batteries could not reach them. Almost before the situation was realized, forth burst the blue from the thicket. Lane was flanked; in uproar and confusion the grey gave way. Meade sent in another brigade. It left the first to man-handle Lane, hurled itself on, and at the outskirt of the wood, struck Archer's left, taking Archer by surprise and creating a demi-rout. A third brigade entered on the path of the first and second. The latter, leaving Archer to this new strength, hurled itself across the military road and upon a thick and tall wood held by Maxey Gregg and his South Carolinians. Smoke, cloud, and forest growth-it was hard to distinguish colours, hard to tell just what was happening! Gregg thought that the smoke-wrapped line was Archer falling back. He withheld his fire. The line came on and in a moment, amid shouts, struck his right. A bullet brought down Gregg himself, mortally wounded. His troops broke, then rallied. A grey battery near Bernard's Cabin brought its guns to bear upon Gibbon, trying to follow the blue triumphant rush. Archer reformed. Stonewall Jackson, standing on Prospect Hill, sent orders to his third line. "Generals Taliaferro and Early, advance and clear the front with bayonets."

Yaaaiih! Yaaaiiih! Yaaaaihh! yelled Jubal Early's men, and did as they were bid. Yaaaaiiih! Yaaiiihhh! Yaaaaiiihhhh! yelled the Stonewall Brigade and the rest of Taliaferro's, and did as they were bid. Back, back were borne Meade's brigades. Darkness of smoke, denseness of forest growth, treachery of swampy soil!-all order was lost, and there came no support. Back went the blue-all who could go back. A. P. Hill's second line was upon them now; Gibbon was attacked. The grey came down the long slopes like a torrent loosed. Walker's guns joined in. The uproar was infernal. The blue fought well and desperately-but there was no support. Back they went, back across the Richmond Road-all who could get back. They left behind in the marshy coppice, and on the wooded slopes and by the embankment, four thousand dead and wounded. The Light Division, Taliaferro and Early, now held the railroad embankment. Before them was the open plain, and the backward surge to the river of the broken foe. It was three o'clock of the afternoon. Burnside sent an order to Franklin to attack again, but Franklin disobeyed.

Upon the left Longstreet's battle now swelled to giant proportions. Marye's Hill, girdled by that stone wall, crowned by the Washington Artillery, loomed impregnable. Against it the North tossed to destruction division after division. They marched across the bare and sullen plain, they charged; the hill flashed into fire, a thunder rolled, the smoke cloud deepened. When it lifted the charge was seen to be broken, retreating, the plain was seen to be strewed with dead. The blue soldiers were staunch and steadfast. They saw that their case was hapless, yet on they came across the shelterless plain. Ordered to charge, they charged; charged very gallantly, receded with a stubborn slowness. They were good fighters, worthy foes, and the grey at Fredericksburg hailed them as such. Forty thousand men charged Marye's Hill-six great assaults-and forty thousand were repulsed. The winter day closed in. Twelve thousand men in blue lay dead or wounded at the foot of the southern hills, before Longstreet on the left and Stonewall Jackson on the right.

Five thousand was the grey loss. The Rockbridge Artillery had fought near the Horse Artillery by Hamilton's Crossing. All day the guns had been doggedly at work; horses and drivers and gunners and guns and caissons; there was death and wounds and wreckage. In the wintry, late afternoon, when the battle thunders were lessening, Major John Pelham came by and looked at Rockbridge. Much of Rockbridge lay on the ground, the rest stood at the guns. "Why, boys," said Pelham, "you stand killing better than any I ever saw!"

They stood it well, both blue and grey. It was stern fighting at Fredericksburg, and grey and blue they fought it sternly and well. The afternoon closed in, cold and still, with a red sun yet veiled by drifts of crape-like smoke. The Army of the Potomac, torn, decimated, rested huddled in Fredericksburg and on the river banks. The Army of Northern Virginia rested with few or no camp-fires on the southern hills. Between the two foes stretched the freezing plain, and on the plain lay thick the Federal dead and wounded. They lay thick, thick, before the stone wall. At hand, full target for the fire of either force, was a small, white house. In the house lived Mrs. Martha Stevens. She would not leave before the battle, though warned and warned again to do so. She said she had an idea that she could help. She stayed, and wounded men dragged themselves or were dragged upon her little porch, and within her doors. General Cobb of Georgia died there; wherever a man could be laid there were stretched the ghastly wounded. Past the house shrieked the shells; bullets imbedded themselves in its walls. To and fro went Martha Stevens, doing what she could, bandaging hurts till the bandages gave out. She tore into strips what cloth there was in the little meagre house-her sheets, her towels, her tablecloths, her poor wardrobe. When all was gone she tore her calico dress. When she saw from the open door a man who could not drag himself that far, she went and helped him, with as little reck as may be conceived of shell or minie.

The sun sank, a red ball, staining the snow with red. The dark came rapidly, a very cold dark night, with myriads of stars. The smoke slowly cleared. The great, opposed forces lay on their arms, the one closely drawn by the river, the other on the southern hills. Between was the plain, and the plain was a place of drear sound-oh, of drear sound! Neither army showed any lights; for all its antagonist knew either might be feverishly, in the darkness, preparing an attack. Grey and blue, the guns yet dominated that wide and mournful level over which, to leap upon the other, either foe must pass. Grey and blue, there was little sleeping. It was too cold, and there was need for watchfulness, and the plain was too unhappy-the plain was too unhappy.

The smoke vanished slowly from the air. The night lay sublimely still, fearfully clear and cold. About ten o'clock Nature provided a spectacle. The grey troops, huddled upon the hillsides, drew a quickened breath. A Florida regiment showed alarm. "What's that? Look at that light in the sky! Great shafts of light streaming up-look! opening like a fan! What's that, chaplain, what's that?-Don't reckon the Lord's tired of fighting, and it's the Judgment Day?"

"No, no, boys! It's an aurora borealis."

"Say it over, please. Oh, northern lights! Well, we've heard of them before, but we never saw them. Having a lot of experiences here in Virginia!"-"Well, it's beautiful, any way, and I think it's terrible. I wish those northern lights would do something for the northern wounded down there. Nothing else that's northern seems likely to do it."-"Look at them-look at them! pale red, and dancing! I've heard them called 'the merry dancers.' There's a shooting star! They say that every time a star shoots some one dies."-"That's not so. If it were, the whole sky would be full of falling stars to-night. Look at that red ray going up to the zenith. O God, make the plain stop groaning!"

The display in the heavens continued, luminous rays, faintly rose-coloured, shifting from east to west, streaming upward until they were lost in the starry vault. Elsewhere the sky was dark, intensely clear, the winter stars like diamonds. There was no wind. The wide, unsheltered plain across which had stormed, across which had receded, the Federal charges, was sown thick with soldiers who had dropped from the ranks. Many and many lay still, dead and cold, their marchings and their tentings and their battles over. They had fought well; they had died; they lay here now stark and pale, but in the vast, pictured web of the whole their threads are strong and their colour holds. But on the plain of Fredericksburg many and many and many were not dead and resting. Hundreds and hundreds they lay, and could not rest for mortal anguish. They writhed and tossed, they dragged themselves a little way and fell again, they idly waved a hat or sword or empty hand for help, they cried for aid, they cried for water. Those who could not lift their voices moaned, moaned. Some had grown delirious, and upon that plain there was even laughter. All the various notes taken together blended into one long, dreary, weird, dull, and awful sound, steady as a wind in miles of frozen reeds. They were all blue soldiers, and they lay where they fell.

There was a long fringe of them near the stone wall and near the railway embankment behind which now rested the Light Division and Taliaferro and Early. The wind here was loud, rattling a thicker growth of reeds. Above, the long, silent, flickering lights mocked with their rosy hue, and the glittering stars mocked, and the empty concave of the night mocked, and the sound of the Rappahannock mocked. A river moving by like the River of Death, and they could not even get to the river to drink, drink, drink....

A figure kneeling by a wounded man, spoke in a guarded voice to an upright, approaching form. "This man could be saved. I have given him water. I went myself to the general, and he said that if we could get any into the hospital behind the hill we might do so. But I'm not strong enough to lift him."

"I air," said Billy. He set down the bucket that he carried. "I jest filled it from the creek. It don't last any time, they air so thirsty! You take it, and I'll take him." He put his arms under the blue figure, lifted it like a child, and moved away, noiseless in the darkness. Corbin Wood took the bucket and dipper. Presently it must be refilled. By the creek he met an officer sent down from the hillside. "You twenty men out there have got to be very careful. If their sentries see or hear you moving you'll be thought a skirmish line with the whole of us behind, and every gun will be opening! Battle's decided on for to-morrow, not for to-night.-Now be careful, or we'll recall every damned life-in-your-hand blessed volunteer of you!-Oh, it's a fighting chaplain-I beg your pardon, I'm sure, sir! But you'd better all be very quiet. Old Jack would say that mercy's all right, but you mustn't alarm the foe."

All through the night there streamed the boreal lights. The living and the dying, the ruined town, the plain, the hills, the river lay beneath. The blue army slept and waked, the grey army slept and waked. The general officers of both made little or no pretence at sleeping. Plans must be made, plans must be made, plans must be made. Stonewall Jackson, in his tent, laid himself down indeed for two hours and slept, guarded by Jim, like a man who was dead. At the end of that time he rose and asked for his horse.

It was near dawn. He rode beneath the fading streamers, before his lines, before the Light Division and Early and Taliaferro, before his old brigade-the Stonewall. The 65th lay in a pine wood, down-sloping to a little stream. Reveille was yet to sound. The men lay in an uneasy sleep, but some of the officers were astir, and had been so all night. These, as Jackson checked Little Sorrel, came forward and saluted. He spoke to the colonel. "Colonel Erskine, your regiment did well. I saw it at the Crossing."

Erskine, a small, brave, fiery man, coloured with pleasure. "I'm very glad, sir. The regiment's all right, sir. The old stock wasn't quite cut down, and it's made the new like it-" He hesitated, then as the general with his "Good! good!" gathered up the reins he took heart of grace. "It's old colonel, sir-it's old colonel-" he stammered, then out it came: "Richard Cleave trained us so, sir, that we couldn't go back!"

"See, sir," said Stonewall Jackson, "that you don't emulate him in all things." He looked sternly and he rode away with no other word. He rode from the pine wood, crossed the Mine Road, and presently the narrow Massaponax. The streamers were gone from the sky; there was everywhere the hush of dawn. The courier with him wondered where he was going. They passed John Pelham's guns, iron dark against the pallid sky. Presently they came to the Yerby House, where General Maxey Gregg, a gallant soldier and gentleman, lay dying.

As Jackson dismounted Dr. Hunter McGuire came from the house. "I gave him your message, general. He is dying fast. It seemed to please him."

"Good!" said Jackson. "General Gregg and I have had a disagreement. In life it might have continued, but death lifts us all from under earthly displeasure. Will you ask him, Doctor, if I may pay him a little visit?"

The visit paid, he came gravely forth, mounted and turned back toward headquarters on Prospect Hill. In the east were red streaks, one above another. The day was coming up, clear and cold. Pelham's guns, crowning a little eminence, showed distinct against the colour. Stonewall Jackson rode by, and, with a face that was a study, a gunner named Deaderick watched him pass.

All this day these two armies stood and faced each other. There was sharpshooting, there was skirmishing, but no full attack. Night came and passed, and another morning dawned. This day, forty-eight hours after battle, Burnside sent a flag of truce with a request that he be allowed to collect and bury his dead. There were few now alive upon that plain. The wind in the reeds had died to a ghostly hush.

That night there came up a terrible storm, a howling wind driving a sleety rain. All night long, in cloud and blast and beating wet, the Army of the Potomac, grand division by grand division, recrossed the Rappahannock.

The storm continued, the rain and snow swelled the river. The Army of the Potomac with Acquia creek at hand, Washington in touch, lay inactive, went into winter quarters. The Army of Northern Virginia, couched on the southern hills, followed its example. Between the two foes flowed the dark river. Sentries in blue paced the one bank, sentries in grey the other. A detail of grey soldiers, resting an hour opposite Falmouth, employed their leisure in raising a tall signpost, with a wide and long board for arms. In bold letters they painted upon it this way to richmond. It rested there, month after month, in view of the blue army.

At the end of January Burnside was superseded. The Army of the Potomac came under the command of Fighting Joe Hooker. In February Longstreet, with the divisions of Pickett and Hood, marched away from the Rappahannock to the south bank of the James. In mid-March was fought the cavalry battle of Kelly's Ford-Averell against Fitz Lee. Averell crossed, but when the battle rested, he was back upon the northern shore. At Kelly's Ford fell John Pelham, "the battle-cry on his lips, and the light of victory beaming from his eye."

April came with soft skies and greening trees. North and south and east and west, there were now gathered against the fortress with the stars and bars above it some hundreds of thousands under arms. Likewise a great navy beat against the side which gave upon the sea. The fortress was under arms indeed, but she had no navy to speak of. Arkansas and Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina, vast lengths of the Mississippi River, Fortress Monroe in Virginia and Suffolk south of the James-entrance had been made into all these courts of the fortress. Blue forces held them stubbornly; smaller grey forces held as stubbornly the next bastion. On the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, within fifty miles of the imperilled Capital, were gathered by May one hundred and thirty thousand men in blue. Longstreet gone, there opposed them sixty-two thousand in grey.

Late in April Fighting Joe Hooker put in motion "the finest army on the planet." There were various passes and feints. Sedgwick attempted a crossing below Fredericksburg. Stonewall Jackson sent an aide to Lee with the information. Lee received it with a smile. "I thought it was time for one of you lazy young fellows to come and tell me what that firing was about! Tell your good general that he knows what to do with the enemy just as well as I do."

Flourish and passado executed, Hooker, with suddenness, moved up the Rappahannock, crossed at Richard's Ford, moved up the Rapidan, crossed at Ely and Germanna Fords, turned east and south and came into the Wilderness. He meant to pass through and, with three great columns, checkmate Lee at Fredericksburg. Before he could do so Lee shook himself free, left to watch the Rappahannock, and Sedgwick, ten thousand pawns and an able knight, and himself crossed to the Wilderness.

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