Puslapio vaizdai

his purpose of success. He reënlisted for three years as readily as he had enlisted for three months. It did not occur to him that he could do otherwise. The only thing that caused him thought was the question of adjusting his home affairs to a longer absence. He had kissed his mother, or wife, or sweetheart good-bye expect ing to return in time to cultivate his corn-crop and exchange work with his neighbors as usual during the wheat harvest. Now he must send back word that unforeseen circumstances delayed him, and that they would have to get along somehow without him. If the farm could be rented on shares, or managed with hired labor, and if his creditors would wait for their money until the next pay-day, he would be content. The war might last the whole three years, though he hardly thought it could; but it would end all right- that he knew; and he must see it through, of course. Thus he talked and wrote-not in a lofty and star-spangled style, but calmly, simply, manfully. And in that mood he went forward, prepared for any test, equal to every emergency. It was his way. He wore a blue uniform that never fitted him, and followed a flag instead of a plow; but he did not stop to consider what the change implied from a sentimental point of view. Perhaps it was because he did not care.

In short, the qualities of faith, of resolution, and of self-control which distinguished General Grant were peculiar also to the potential battalions of the West that he commanded. His calculations and their capabilities were in perfect accord. That was first conclusively demonstrated at Fort Donelson, where the first substantial Union victory was achieved, and where the South first began to rectify its disparaging notions of Northern pluck and steadfastness. It is from Fort Donelson, in reality, that the story of the war properly dates. The prior fighting had all been desultory, experimental, and ineffective; but there a blow was struck that had vital significance. It was no longer to be fancied that the military instinct was a sectional monopoly, and that the Union could be saved only by sending five men against one. The big-fisted, hairy-breasted Westerners had not yet learned to keep step with tactical precision, nor to handle their weapons in an entirely graceful fashion; but they went where they were ordered, and they knew how to "get the bulge," as they called it. On the other hand, it was evident that the boasted knighthood of the enemy was not merely "dubbed with unhacked rapier and on carpet consideration," but had a solid basis of determination and intrepidity. These were the thoughts of the soldiers of the two armies as they fraternized, after the surrender, in the cabins on that bleak and memorable hilltop.

They had not known each other before; henceforth they would meet with a better understanding. "You-all 'll git licked next time," the Confederates insisted; and the Federals smiled, and said, “Not much, Mary Ann."

When they came together again at Shiloh, where there were no fortifications to divide them, and where Thermopyla was repeated a dozen times over, they learned a like lesson of mutual respect for bravery that never flinched, and enterprise that never wearied. The same is to be said as to Corinth, Perryville, and Stone's River. It was through these severe experiences that the soldiers of the West, contending with foemen worthy of their steel, became thoroughly inured to the hardship and peril of their new vocation. At the opening of the third year of the war they were veterans. They moved invincibly upon Vicksburg, and made its capture their celebration of the Fourth of July. Then ensued the startling tragedy of Chickamauga, relieved from utter mortification only by the tenacious and splendid valor of George H. Thomas. After Chickamauga-what? That was the query that the soldiers discussed with eager interest around the camp-fires in Tennessee and Mississippi. The general belief among them was that Grant would be selected to retrieve the disaster, and so they were not surprised when he was sent to Chattanooga. They wondered, however, why such a step was not sooner taken, and why Rosecrans was left beleagured for a whole month when there were so many troops doing indifferent service elsewhere. Some of them contended, moreover, that if Grant had been ordered to join and supersede Rosecrans immediately after the fall of Vicksburg the Chickamauga calamity would have been prevented.

The men in the ranks were much given to speculations of this kind. They could not know what unseen complications their commanders had to deal with, nor what sinister influences sometimes frustrated the best-laid plans; and so they were privileged to esteem their personal opinions as highly as they pleased. That was one of the advantages of being a private. Curiously enough, they often anticipated important events as accurately as if they had been advised of the carefully concealed moving causes, which goes to show - does it not? that there is a certain degree of reciprocity between military science and unscientific common sense. They had views concerning the relative merits of the different generals too, derived from close observation, and not always incorrect, by any means. Their prime favorite at all times was Grant. Their feeling towards him was not exactly one of affection, but rather one of implicit trust, which was better than

affection, in the sense that reason is preferable to emotion. He never made speeches to them, and never solicited their admiration in any form of parade; but the humblest of them could always reach him with their petitions, and he had a quiet way of simplifying things that was very pleasing. Sherman had their approbation, with a difference. He was "bully," they would say, but over-demonstrative. Thomas they honored profoundly. Halleck impressed them as a man who thought the war was being prosecuted for the sole purpose of giving lessons in strategy. McPherson delighted them; and so did Logan, after they found him out; and Blair and Dodge. They would have liked Sheridan

more if he had been less severe.

They assumed a right of criticism towards their regimental and company officers that was almost as free as that exercised by the average voter with regard to political officials. In some instances they did injustice, no doubt; but, generally speaking, their estimates were sagacious and proper. They had no patience with pretense of any description, and they were quick to detect it. Thus, if a colonel invested his headquarters with unnecessary pomp and formality, as a colonel was occasionally known to do, they would nudge one another in passing and exchange looks and comments that rarely failed to produce a change. On one occasion a lieutenant-colonel, riding out to battle, forfeited the esteem of his regiment by holding a picture of his wife in his hand and gazing fixedly upon it; but he afterwards restored himself to favor by a daring act that cost him two ugly wounds. Another officer of the same rank, on a toilsome march, gained a cheer by alighting from his horse and giving his place in the saddle to a limping soldier; but when the major at his side did the same thing there was no response. The first had performed a kindness without prompting, while the second was a mere imitator. It was by such distinctions that officers were notified of the sharp watch that was being kept upon them, and admonished that they were mortal as well as those who wore no shoulder-straps. Now and then the instruction took a more amusing turn, as when a captain, noted for his conceit, undertook to lecture his company upon the necessity of increased respect for officers, and was checked by a droll fellow who said, with a grin and an extravagant salute, "Cap., I used to know you when you made harness."

At first the idea prevailed that the best men for officers were those who had figured as marshals in civic processions, or as captains in wolf-hunts, or as leaders in the sham warfare of the militia; but, as a rule, such selections proved to be disappointing. The most satisfactory officers were those who had won esteem

in private life as intelligent and successful business men. It was ascertained early in the war that one might be very brave and adventurous and yet not be the right kind of man to hold a commission, there were so many other duties for him to fulfill besides that of waving his sword in the bloody vicissitudes of battle. The constant care and active perseverance required to insure comfort, to maintain discipline, and to promote efficiency were quite as important as obligations of a more shining order. It was not an easy task to adapt the Western soldier to those rigid but indispensable rules which often seemed to be only arbitrary devices for trying his patience and subduing his energy. He could not see for a long time what so much drilling had to do with putting down the rebellion, or how the Union was being saved by compelling him to observe a given neatness in his apparel and to do his eating and sleeping according to an invariable time-table. But experience gradually enlightened him in this respect, and towards the last he came to be quite proud of his martial education, though he never forgot how irksome and provoking the process of learning had been. When the war was almost ended, one was heard to say on being aroused from a comfortable snooze, "The first thing I'm goin' to do after I git home is to hire a man to come and beat the reveille under my window every morning for a month, so I can poke my head out and tell him to go-to-thunder."

There were some officers who, like their men, were restive under the restraint and routine which necessity imposed upon them. They were unable, in particular, to appreciate the value of the minute records they had to keep, and the many reports they had to make; they had not enlisted, they would protest, for service of that mild and sedentary character. One of them went so far at one time as to refuse flatly to prepare an additional copy of one of his returns. "I've furnished a duplicate and a triplicate and a quadruplicate," he declared, "and I won't send any more— - not another d-dplicate." He changed his mind, however, when ordered under arrest. "I s'pose I'll have to do it," he grimly observed," or the war can't go on." Many a company commander squared his tangled accounts and preserved his reputation by placing "lost in action" opposite the list of articles for which he had no vouchers. The deception did not signify that the property had been misappropriated, but only that the bookkeeping was irregular. Those who made money dishonestly during the war were others than soldiers. The men who did the fighting did not do the stealing. In all history, it may truly be said, there was never another army that had so many opportunities for plunder and yet

pursued its way with so much integrity. There was devastation where it marched, but solely because war at best exacts devastation as a penalty. At times more Federal troops were employed in protecting the property of the Southern people than in carrying on the work of fighting the Southern army. That was a mistake, as experience proved, and it was abandoned after a while; but it had its origin in principle, and illustrated a point of character. The Western soldier watched eagerly for pay-day, however. He was not in the service on account of the wages, but nevertheless he wanted his money when it was due. That was one of the links that connected him with home, with family, with happiness. He liked to fold up the crisp new bills and put them in a letter to the woman who wrote him so cheerfully about herself and the children, in spite of the constant lump in her throat, and the burden of suspense that made even her dreams a source of agony. It was his habit to think a great deal more about those whom he had left behind him than about those with whom he was in daily association, or about himself and his adventures. If he happened to be in the rear, he was curious to know what was going on at the front; and the approach of a battle, with its hidden possibilities of gain or loss, absorbed his attention for the time. But it was news from home that had the largest place in his mind; and often a very little matter thus related would stir him deeply-as when he would read on the margin of his wife's last letter a babyish scrawl saying, "Dear papa, come back as soon as you can to me and mamma." That had coaxed a smile from mamma, he knew; ah, yes, and afterwards she had gone off by herself to cry, poor, dear woman! Then he would wish that the bugles might blow, or the drums beat, or the guns crack on the picket line. He was a soldier "for three years or during the war," and he must not let himself grow homesick. Some, alas, did fall victims to that insidious and pathetic influence. They had no disease that the doctors could discover, and yet they died died of the maladie du pays.

These examples of death produced by morbid longing might easily have been more numerous if the soldiers as a class had not been blessed with that indefatigable sense of humor which a modern philosopher has declared to be the next best thing to an abiding faith in Providence. They insisted upon seeing the comic side of their toils and misfortunes, and were even able sometimes to invent a ludicrous side when in reality none existed. If melancholy sought to enter a camp it was apt to be halted and turned back by a dry joke from the first sentinel it encountered. There was grumbling in plenty, and it did not always stop short of profanity; but the

profanity was usually of that robust and peculiar quality which Emerson guarantees to have a "fructifying" effect. There was always room left for a laugh, if indeed the oath did not prepare the way for the laugh. The chaplains strove diligently for a season to correct this undevout tendency; but in course of time they practically gave it up, on the hypothesis, it may be assumed, that it was better to tolerate a certain kind of profanity than to enlarge the sick-list by repressing it. There is some reason to suspect that some of them had an eye to personal success. Those chaplains were most popular who did least preaching, and devoted their time mainly to works which helped to promote the comfort and welfare of the soldiers. Not a few of them thus endeared themselves to the ranks as they could never have done by the best of strictly spiritual service; and occasionally, too, they won admiration by acts of military sense and courage, like that of the one who, being ordered to burn the transportation and supplies that he had charge of in the rear of the Federal lines at the battle of Corinth, said, "No, sir; the boys are not whipped yet,” and thus saved what the panic-stricken commander would have foolishly destroyed.

It was lucky for the soldiers of the West that to their gift of humor was added the even more important attribute of large and capable feet; for they had much marching to do, and were thus fitted to do it in a proper manner. They were always glad when an order came for such an experience. It suited them best to be moving; not only because that "looked like business," as they said, but also because it implied change of scene, duty, and diet. If the march lasted only a day, and had nothing but swamp-water and mosquitoes at the end of it, still it was a welcome relief; and when it was prolonged for weeks, and led to a great battle, like the march of Sherman's forces from Memphis to Chattanooga in the autumn of 1863, it became a supreme gratification. That notable expedition afforded the troops a rare chance to look upon the homes of the South in a continuous and leisurely way, and to learn how the war had affected them. The picture was sad enough in some respects; in others it was merely unpleasant; in yet others it was ludicrous. The Western soldier did not allow any of it to surprise him, unless it was the presence of so much chicken and honey where there were so many signs of general distress and decay. That seemed to him anomalous, and he took care to leave no cause for like wonder on the part of anybody who should visit that region after him. As for the rest, it was only what he had expected. It was the logic of things; and that was all there was to be said about it.

To be with the advance guard of the column, or with the roaming scouts and foragers, was to see army life in its most enjoyable aspect. The novelty of it was unfailing, with just sufficient peril to keep one thoughtful of his cartridges. If the people had entertained a conception of Yankee soldiers as creatures of low-browed ferocity and rapacity, they were speedily undeceived. A better-natured order of invaders never marched into any country. They were disposed to make themselves agreeable, so far as duty permitted, and to effect their "cramping," as they named the procedure by which they obtained necessary supplies, with as little offense as possible. They liked to sit on the doorsteps and chat with the women, and fumble at the toes of the babies, and have the negro urchins dance for them to the juba-patting of a presumptive Uncle Tom. It was very pleasant to them to hear a feminine voice again, if it did drawl its words and cut curious antics of pronunciation. The fact appeared very plainly that the Southern women were true to the cause for which the Southern men were fighting; and their blue-coated visitors really admired their fidelity while dutifully pretending to find it very shocking and lamentable. Their eyes snapped and their cheeks flamed very prettily as they talked of Chickamauga, and ironically pitied the poor Federals whom Bragg had "done got" surrounded at Chattanooga. They could not know though they must have suspected that they were then entertaining the very men who were to aid in delivering that beleaguered army, and inflicting a defeat upon Bragg from which he would never recover.

Many of these fair secessionists, with all their haughtiness and vindictiveness, were capable of pleading for the privilege of Rahab to bind scarlet lines in their windows against apprehended dangers. They knew how to be exceedingly polite and flattering when they wanted guards placed about their dwellings or their paltry residue of cows, sheep, and pigs saved from confiscation. Sometimes such negotiations led to episodes of marked romantic interest, in which the soldiers tasted nectar with their bacon and hard-tack, and made vows wholly unauthorized by the army regulations, thus attesting the loyalty of human nature to love in war as in peace. In some instances, too, these performances contained an element of treachery, and furnished prisoners to lurking bands of Confederate cavalry. In other words, it was not safe to assume that because the daughters of the South were willing to incline their ears to Federal love-making, they could not play the wooers false for a military advantage. Their hearts were well under control in that particular. They accepted homage with a reser

vation of the right to profit by it as they might choose. There should have been some genuine Unionists among them, according to popular report, but on that march of forty days the soldiers came across only one, as they believed. She wore a large pink sun-bonnet and a wellstarched white dress, and stood at a wood-pile in a stooping posture, with her back to a party of advancing foragers. The sergeant of the squad stole up behind her, put an arm quickly around her waist, and kissed her. Then he waited to be condemned. But instead of resenting the assault, she lifted a radiant face and said in a soft, appreciative tone, "You 'll find me right yer ev'ry day a-pickin' up chips."

The Federal commanders had cause repeatedly to attribute the failure of their schemes and hopes to the vigilance of the non-combatants of the South, especially the women. It was almost impossible to execute any movement that depended upon the mystification of the enemy. A voluntary and comprehensive system of spying and reporting existed which kept the Confederate authorities so well advised that they could rarely be taken unawares. By common consent those of both sexes who were at home watched continually in every direction for those signs by which the intentions of an army are foreshadowed and the opposite side made acquainted with valuable facts. From the day that a Federal regiment crossed the Ohio River, it was never exempt from this sort of surveillance; and the most innocent-looking old man, or meek-visaged woman, or wondering child was a possible bearer of important secrets to the nearest Confederate headquarters. There was no way to escape such an agency of mischief. The only thing that could be done in that connection was to deal summarily with all spies whose acts were definitely covered by the laws of war. One such, with a pass signed by General Bragg and other convicting documents on his person, was captured, tried by court-martial, and sentenced to be hanged. At the last moment, when sitting upon his coffin, with the gallows directly before him, he was offered an unconditional pardon if he would reveal the whereabouts of a certain prominent character under whose orders he had been immediately acting. He drew himself up, his hands tied behind him,—he was a slight, boyish, handsome fellow,-and answered scornfully, "Would you betray a friend? I'd rather die a thousand deaths!" That was as much as he cared to say. With a quick but firm step he ascended the scaffold and made good his fatal declaration. It was an odd coincidence, many of the soldiers remarked, that his name was Davis.

It is to be presumed that the Confederate spies notified Bragg promptly of every step

that Sherman took during that forty days' journey, and thus enabled him to divine in due season that the objective point in the case was Chattanooga. But Sherman's soldiers had no means of forecasting their destination. They thought one day that it might be one place, and another day another place. It was certain, at least, that they were not making such a long march merely "to take the kinks out of their legs and hunt up a little poultry," as their commander was said to have observed. There was hard work to be done somewhere, they were satisfied; but what it was or where it was they did not really know until they were ferried hastily over the Tennessee River by night and halted in the baleful shadow of Missionary Ridge. Then they understood. The enemy was to be forced from the strongest position that he had yet held, and Grant had sent for them waited for them—to insure the success of the undertaking. They were very proud of that, and they were anxious to begin the assault. It was past noon when the last of their artillery crossed the river. At 1 o'clock they moved forward. A drizzling rain was falling, and as they mounted the hill a fantastic drapery of mist involved them. They looked above only to see the low-lying clouds that hid the summit of the ridge, as similar clouds concealed Lookout Mountain, where Hooker's men were also ascending. From the clouds came crash of cannon and peal of musketry to dispute their right to be there. The haze and the smoke met, mingled, and blotted out the heavens; it was as if night had suddenly intervened, and a new sky in which the stars were made by the bursting shells. Then, after a time, it grew lighter. It was not yet sundown, and they stood upon the top of the hill. There they rested for the next day's struggle.

The situation was not conducive to sleep, and the boys longed for the morning to come that they might go on. They got an early start, with bright weather to encourage them, and advanced rapidly to the next hill and to the main ridge, gaining a position at length that meant victory if they could hold it. And they did hold it. They were there for that purpose, and Grant was watching them from Orchard Knob. It was so awfully hot at times that they had to fall back a little; and then they would advance again, driving the enemy before them, and pushing on still farther than they had been before. Column after column was hurled upon them, as Grant had anticipated; it was a part of the plan for them to contend against heavy odds, and they did it with their accustomed courage and faith. In the pauses of the battle they would look about them for chances to serve wounded comrades, or to identify dead ones—and there were plenty VOL. XXXVIII.-21.

of those sorrowful opportunities. And when they died, they did it as if with a feeling that death was not a thing that they could afford to make a fuss about." Boys," said one, "the doctor was mistaken; I can't live - I've got to go." The words were hardly spoken when he ceased to breathe. Said another, "Turn me over, some of you, so I can see-the colors"; and when they turned him over he was dead. Still another raised his hand as though it belonged to somebody else and with his own fingers closed his eyes for the grave. Thus it was that they talked and acted on Missionary Ridge. It was the way they had talked and acted when at home; and they saw no reason to do differently because they were in Tennessee instead of Illinois, or Iowa, or Kansas, or Minnesota. They realized, as they often quaintly remarked, that the Government did not provide against accidents to its soldiers. Certain things were to be taken for granted. If they should fortunately escape, very well; if not, then still very well. Such was their philosophy; and in a considerable measure it was also their religion.

In this brilliant and tremendous campaign against Bragg, the Western soldier touched elbows with the soldier of the East, and from that time on, more or less, they marched and fought together. The conjunction furnished a curious and suggestive study. The two types of men differed materially, and comparison was not only easy, but inevitable; in fact, the comparisons made themselves. It was evident that the Eastern soldier was not fortified by the same serene and immovable belief in victory that supported his Western comrade. He had grit and pride to match the best, but he admitted the possibility of failure, and was regardful of lines of retreat and partial to intrenchments. The idea of a campaign conducted without scrupulous regard for the art of war as taught by books did not meet his approval. He preferred to be so led that no disrespect should be shown to the opinions of Cæsar. Battles had been won, he conceded, by simply getting within fighting range of the enemy and staying there until success happened; but he doubted the excellence of such achievements, and held that it was better to be patient and do things scientifically. He thought the rebellion might ultimately be overcome if the North would stand sufficient drafting, and he feared that Mr. Lincoln had some bad advisers who were inducing him so to complicate matters in a political way as to discourage an amicable settlement of the contest. These views were expressed in confident, not to say dogmatic, terms. The Eastern soldier took himself and his cogitations seriously, so much so that at times he was a bit tiresome. But then

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