Page images

And rather than submit to shame, to die we would prefer ;

So cheer for the bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Then cheer, boys, cheer, raise the joyous shout,

For Arkansas and North Carolina now have both gone out;

And let another rousing cheer for Tennessee be given,

The single star of the bonnie Blue Flag has grown to be eleven!

From reprints in Rebel Rhymes and Rhapsodies (edited by Frank Moore, New York, 1864), 20-23, 120-122.

92. Horrors of War (1862)


Stevenson was a young New York man residing in Arkansas at the outbreak of the war. He "volunteered" in the Confederate army at the advice of a vigilance committee, and rose to the rank of lieutenant. At the battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, he saw the scenes which are described in this extract. After the battle he acted as civilian assistant-surgeon until he succeeded in escaping to the Union lines some months later. - Bibliography of the campaign as in No. 107 below.


BOUT three o'clock I was sent to the rear with dispatches of the progress of the battle, and asking reinforcements. When about half way to Beauregard's staff, riding at full gallop, my first serious accident occurred, my life being saved by but a hair's breadth. As my horse rose in a long leap, his fore-feet in the air and his head about as high as my shoulder, a cannon-ball struck him above the eye and carried away the upper part of his head. Of course the momentum carried his lifeless body some ten feet ahead, and hurled me some distance further, saber, pistols, and all. . . .

. . . When I had reached the camp of the 71st Ohio Volunteers, my strength failed, and after getting something to eat for myself and horse, and a bucket of water to bathe my side during the night, I tied my horse near the door of a tent, and crept in to try to sleep. But the shells from the gunboats, which made night hideous, the groans of the wounded, and the pleadings of the dying, for a time prevented. Weariness at length overcame me, and sleep followed more refreshing and sound than I hoped for under the circumstances. . .

[ocr errors]

At five A.M. I was in the saddle, though scarcely able to mount, from the pain in knee and side; and in making my way to General Beauregard's staff, my head reeled and my heart grew sick at the scenes

through which I passed. I record but one. In crossing a small ravine, my horse hesitated to step over the stream, and I glanced down to detect the cause. The slight rain during the night had washed the leaves out of a narrow channel down the gully some six inches wide, leaving the hard clay exposed. Down this pathway ran sluggishly a band of blood nearly an inch thick, filling the channel. For a minute I looked and reflected, how many human lives are flowing past me, and who shall account for such butchery! Striking my rowels into the horse to escape from the horrible sight, he plunged his foot into the stream of blood, and threw the already thickening mass in ropy folds upon the dead leaves on the bank! The only relief to my feelings was the reflection that I had not shed one drop of that blood. . .


At three o'clock P.M. the Confederates decided on a retreat to Corinth. . . .

About five o'clock I requested permission to ride on toward Corinth, as I was faint and weary, and, from the pain in my side and knee, would not be able to keep the saddle much longer. This was granted, and I made a détour from the road on which the army was retreating, that I might travel faster and get ahead of the main body. In this ride of twelve miles alongside of the routed army, I saw more of human agony and woe than I trust I will ever again be called on to witness. The retreating host wound along a narrow and almost impassable road, extending some seven or eight miles in length. Here was a long line of wagons loaded with wounded, piled in like bags of grain, groaning and cursing, while the mules plunged on in mud and water belly-deep, the water sometimes coming into the wagons. Next came a straggling regiment of infantry pressing on past the train of wagons, then a stretcher borne upon the shoulders of four men, carrying a wounded officer, then soldiers staggering along, with an arm broken and hanging down, or other fearful wounds which were enough to destroy life. And to add to the horrors of the scene, the elements of heaven marshaled their forces, a fitting accompaniment of the tempest of human desolation. and passion which was raging. A cold, drizzling rain commenced about nightfall, and soon came harder and faster, then turned to pitiless blinding hail. This storm raged with unrelenting violence for three hours. I passed long wagon trains filled with wounded and dying soldiers, without even a blanket to shield them from the driving sleet and hail, which fell in stones as large as partridge eggs, until it lay on the ground two inches deep.

Some three hundred men died during that awful retreat, and their bodies were thrown out to make room for others who, although wounded, had struggled on through the storm, hoping to find shelter, rest, and medical care.

By eight o'clock at night I had passed the whole retreating column. . . But my powers of endurance . . . were exhausted, and I dismounted at a deserted cabin by the wayside, scarce able to drag myself to the doorway.... Procuring two hard crackers and a cup of rye coffee, I made a better meal than I had eaten in three days, and then lay down in a vacant room and slept.

[W. G. Stevenson], Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army. By an Impressed New Yorker (New York, A. S. Barnes & Co., 1862), 155-172 passim.


"Stonewall Jackson's Way" (1862)


Palmer was born in Maryland and educated as a physician. During the latter half of the war he was a Confederate correspondent for the New York Tribune. Since the war he has gained prominence as an author and editor. This ballad was one of the most popular lyrics in the South.--For Jackson, see No. 113 below. Bibliography as in No. 80 above.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!
Old Blue-Light's going to pray.

Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!
Attention! it's his way.

Appealing from his native sod,

In forma pauperis to God

"Lay bare thine arm, stretch forth thy rod!
Amen!" That's "Stonewall's way."

He's in the saddle now. Fall in!
Steady! the whole brigade!

Hill's at the ford, cut off — we 'll win
His way out, ball and blade!

What matter if our shoes are worn?

What matter if our feet are torn?

"Quick-step! we're with him before dawn!"
That's "Stonewall Jackson's way."

The sun's bright lances rout the mists
Of morning, and by George !
Here's Longstreet struggling in the lists,
Hemmed in an ugly gorge.

Pope and his Yankees, whipped before,

"Bay'nets and grape !" near [hear?] Stonewall roar ; Charge, Stuart! Pay off Ashby's score!"

[ocr errors]

Is "Stonewall Jackson's way."

Ah! maiden, wait and watch and yearn
For news of Stonewall's band!

Ah! widow, read with eyes that burn
That ring upon thy hand.

Ah! wife, sew on, pray on, hope on!
Thy life shall not be all forlorn.

The foe had better ne'er been born

That gets in "Stonewall's way."

Rebel Rhymes and Rhapsodies (edited by Frank Moore, New York, 1864), 185-186.

94. Behind the Confederate Lines (1863)


Fremantle was a young officer in the English army who, according to his own statement, was strongly affected by the "gallantry and determination of the southerners," and was unable to repress a desire to see something of the struggle. He entered the Confederacy from Mexico, spent three months with the different armies of the South, and was present at Gettysburg. - Bibliography as in No. 80 above.

ENERAL JOHNSTON received me with much

[May 20, 1863-] G kindness, when I presented my letters of intro

duction, and stated my object in visiting the Confederate armies.

In appearance General Joseph E. Johnston (commonly called Joe Johnston) is rather below the middle height, spare, soldierlike, and well set up; his features are good, and he has lately taken to wear a greyish beard. He is a Virginian by birth, and appears to be about fifty-seven years old. He talks in a calm, deliberate, and confident manner; to me he was extremely affable, but he certainly possesses the power of keeping people at a distance when he chooses, and his officers evidently stand in great awe of him. He lives very plainly, and at present his only cooking-utensils consisted of an old coffee-pot and frying-pan- both very inferior articles. There was only one fork (one prong deficient) between himself and Staff, and this was handed to me ceremoniously as the "guest."

He has undoubtedly acquired the entire confidence of all the officers and soldiers under him. Many of the officers told me they did not consider him inferior as a general to Lee or any one else.

He told me that Vicksburg was certainly in a critical situation, and was now closely invested by Grant. He said that he (Johnston) had 11,000 men with him (which includes Gist's), hardly any cavalry, and only sixteen pieces of cannon; but if he could get adequate reinforcements, he stated his intention of endeavouring to relieve Vicksburg.

I also made the acquaintance of the Georgian General Walker, a fierce and very warlike fire-eater, who was furious at having been obliged to evacuate Jackson after having only destroyed four hundred Yankees. He told me, "I know I couldn't hold the place, but I did want to kill a few more of the rascals."

At 9 P.M. I returned with General Gist to his camp, as my baggage was there. On the road we were met by several natives, who com

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »