The Project Gutenberg eBook of Historic Tales: The Romance of Reality. Vol. 02 (of 15), American (2)

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Title: Historic Tales: The Romance of Reality. Vol. 02 (of 15), American (2)

Author: Charles Morris

Release date: April 19, 2008 [eBook #25103]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Kline, Greg Bergquist and The Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. Battle of Antietam.

Édition d'Élite

Historical Tales

The Romance of Reality



Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales from the
Dramatists," etc.


Volume II





Copyright, 1904, by J. B. Lippincott Company.

Copyright, 1908, by J. B. Lippincott Company.


Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth7
De Soto and the Father of Waters13
The Lost Colony of Roanoke23
The Thrilling Adventure of Captain John Smith29
The Indian Massacre in Virginia40
The Great Rebellion in the Old Dominion49
Chevalier La Salle the Explorer of the Mississippi62
The French of Louisiana and the Natchez Indians76
The Knights of the Golden Horseshoe88
How Oglethorpe saved Georgia from Spain95
A Boy's Working Holiday in the Wildwood104
Patrick Henry, the Herald of the Revolution113
Governor Tryon and the Carolina Regulators124
Lord Dunmore and the Gunpowder135
The Fatal Expedition of Colonel Rogers145
How Colonel Clark won the Northwest153
King's Mountain and the Patriots of Tennessee166
General Greene's Famous Retreat171
Eli Whitney, the Inventor of the Cotton-Gin185
How Old Hickory fought the Creeks193
The Pirates of Barataria Bay206
The Heroes of the Alamo217
How Houston won Freedom for Texas225
Captain Robert E. Lee and the Lava-Beds231
A Christmas Day on the Plantation241
Captain Gordon and the Raccoon Roughs252
Stuart's Famous Chambersburg Raid261
Forrest's Chase of the Raiders277
Exploits of a Blockade-Runner291
Fontain, the Scout, and the Besiegers of Vicksburg302
Gordon and the Bayonet Charge at Antietam311
The Last Triumph of Stonewall Jackson319
John Morgan's Famous Raid331
Home-Coming of General Lee and his Veterans347



Battle of AntietamFrontispiece.
Along the Coast of Florida9
De Soto Discovering the Mississippi19
Jamestown Ruin54
Coaling a Moving Boat on the Mississippi River73
Old Spanish Fort, St. Augustine98
Home of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va108
Home of Patrick Henry During His Last Two Terms As Governor of Virginia114
St. John's Church122
Old Magazine at Williamsburg138
View in the Northwestern Mountains155
Jackson's Birthplace198
The Alamo218
Cotton Field on Southern Plantation242
Colonial Mansion262
Gordon House316
Triumph of Stonewall Jackson323
Lee's House at Richmond348



A golden Easter day was that of the far-away year 1513, when a small fleet of Spanish ships, sailing westward from the green Bahamas, first came in sight of a flower-lined shore, rising above the blue Atlantic waves, and seeming to smile a welcome as the mariners gazed with eyes of joy and hope on the inviting arcades of its verdant forest depths. Never had the eyes of white men beheld this land of beauty before. English ships had sailed along the coast to the north, finding much of it bleak and uninviting. The caravels of Columbus had threaded the glowing line of tropic isles, and later ships had borne settlers to these lands of promise. But the rich southlands of the continent had never before been seen, and well was this unknown realm of beauty named Florida by the Spanish chief, whether by this name he meant to call it the "land of flowers" or referred to the Spanish name for Easter, Pascua Florida. However that be, he was the first of the discoverers to set foot on the soil of the great coming republic of the United States, and it is of interest that this was done within the domain of the sunny South.

The weight of half a century of years lay upon the shoulders of Juan Ponce de Leon, the discoverer,8 but warm hope burned in his heart, that of winning renewed boyhood and youthful strength, for it was a magic vision that drew him to these new shores, in whose depths he felt sure the realm of enchantment lay. Somewhere amid those green copses or along those liquid streams, he had been told, a living fountain sprang up clear and sparkling from the earth, its waters of such a marvellous quality that whoever should bathe in them would feel new life coursing through his veins and the vigor of youth bounding along his limbs. It was the Fountain of Youth he sought, that fabled fountain of which men had dreamed for centuries, and which was thought to lie somewhere in eastern Asia. Might not its waters upspring in this new land, whose discovery was the great marvel of the age, and which men looked upon as the unknown east of Asia? Such was the new-comer's dream.

Ponce de Leon was a soldier and cavalier of Spain in those days when Spain stood first among the nations of Europe, first in strength and enterprise and daring. Brave as the bravest, he had fought with distinguished courage against the Moors of Granada at the time when Columbus was setting out on his famous voyage over the unknown seas of the West. Drawn by the fame of the discovery of the New World, De Leon sailed with Columbus in his second voyage, and proved himself a gallant soldier in the wars for the conquest of Hispaniola, of whose eastern half he was made governor.

To the eastward lay another island, the fair9 tropic land ever since known as Porto Rico. De Leon could see from the high hills of Hispaniola the far green shores of this island, which he invaded and finally subdued in 1509, making himself its governor. A stern oppressor of the natives, he won great wealth from his possessions here and in Hispaniola. But, like many men in his position, his heart was sore from the loss of the youthful vigor which would have enabled him to enjoy to the full his new-found wealth.

ALONG THE COAST OF FLORIDA. Along the Coast of Florida.

Could he but discover the wondrous fountain of youth and plunge in its life-giving waters! Was not this the region in which it was said to lie? He eagerly questioned the Indians about it, and was told by them that they had often heard of such a fountain somewhere not far to the north. It is probable enough that the Indians were ready to tell anything, false or true, that would rid them of the unwelcome Spaniards; but it may be that among their many fables they believed that such a fountain existed. However that may be, De Leon gladly heard their story, and lost no time in going forth like a knight errant in quest of the magic fount. On March 3, 1513, he sailed with three ships from Porto Rico, and, after threading the fair Bahama Islands, landing on those of rarest tropic charm, he came on Easter Sunday, March 27, in sight of the beautiful land to which he gave the name of Florida.

Bad weather kept him for a time from the shore, and it was not until April 9 that he was able to10 land. It was near the mouth of the St. John River, not far from where St. Augustine now stands, that he set foot on shore, the first white man's foot to tread the soil of the coming United States since the days of the Northmen, five centuries before. He called his place of landing the Bay of the Cross, and took possession of the land for the king of Spain, setting up a stone cross as a sign of Spain's jurisdiction.

And now the eager cavalier began the search for that famous fount which was to give him perpetual youth. It is not likely he was alone in this, probably most of his followers being as eager as he, for in those days magic was firmly believed in by half of mankind, and many wild fancies were current which no one now accepts. Deep into the dense woodland they plunged, wandering through verdant miles, bathing in every spring and stream they met, led on and on by the hope that some one of these might hold the waters of youth. Doubtless they fancied that the fountain sought would have some special marks, something to distinguish it from the host of common springs. But this might not be the case. The most precious things may lie concealed under the plainest aspect, like the fabled jewel in the toad's forehead, and it was certainly wisest to let no waters pass untried.

Months passed on. Southward along the coast they sailed, landing here and there and penetrating inland, still hopeful of finding the enchanted spring. But wherever it might lie hidden, they found it11 not, for the marks of age which nature had brought clung to them still, and a bitterly disappointed man was Juan Ponce de Leon when he turned the prows of his ships away from the new-found shores and sailed back to Porto Rico.

The Will-o'-the-wisp he sought had baffled him, yet something of worth remained, for he had made a discovery of importance, the "Island of Florida," as he called it and thought it to be. To Spain he went with the news of his voyage, and told the story of his discovery to King Ferdinand, to whom Columbus had told his wonderful tale some twenty years before. The king at once appointed him governor of Florida, and gave him full permission to plant a colony in the new land—continent or island as it might prove to be.

De Leon may still have nourished hopes in his heart of finding the fabled fountain when, in 1521, he returned to plant the colony granted by the king. But the natives of Florida had seen enough of the Spaniards in their former visit, and now met them with arrows instead of flowers and smiles. Fierce fights ensued, and their efforts to establish themselves on the new shores proved in vain. In the end their leader received so severe an arrow wound that he withdrew and left to the victorious Indians the ownership of their land. The arrow was poisoned, and his wound proved mortal. In a short time after reaching Cuba he died, having found death instead of youth in the land of flowers.

We may quote the words of the historian Robertson12 in support of the fancy which led De Leon in the path of discovery: "The Spaniards, at that period, were engaged in a career of activity which gave a romantic turn to their imagination and daily presented to them strange and marvellous objects. A new world was opened to their view. They visited islands and continents of whose existence mankind in former ages had no conception. In those delightful countries nature seemed to assume another form; every tree and plant and animal was different from those of the ancient hemisphere. They seemed to be transported into enchanted ground; and, after the wonders which they had seen, nothing, in the warmth and novelty of their imagination, appeared to them so extraordinary as to be beyond belief. If the rapid succession of new and striking scenes made such impression on the sound understanding of Columbus that he boasted of having found the seat of Paradise, it will not appear strange that Ponce de Leon should dream of discovering the fountain of youth."

All we need say farther is that the first attempt to colonize the shores of the great republic of the future years ended in disaster and death. Yet De Leon's hope was not fully amiss, for in our own day many seek that flowery land in quest of youthful strength. They do not now hope to find it by bathing in any magic fountain, but it comes to them by breathing its health-giving atmosphere and basking in its magic clime.



America was to the Spaniards the land of gold. Everywhere they looked for the yellow metal, more precious in their eyes than anything else the earth yields. The wonderful adventures of Cortez in Mexico and of Pizarro in Peru, and the vast wealth in gold found by those sons of fame, filled their people with hope and avarice, and men of enterprise began to look elsewhere for great and rich Indian nations to subdue and plunder.

North of the Gulf of Mexico lay a vast, mysterious region, which in time to come was to be the seat of a great and mighty nation. To the Spaniards it was a land of enchantment, the mystic realm of the unknown, perhaps rich in marvels and wealthy beyond their dreams. It was fabled to contain the magic fountain of youth, the hope to bathe in whose pellucid waters lured Ponce de Leon to his death. Another explorer, De Ayllon, sailed north of Florida, seeking a sacred stream which was said to possess the same enchanted powers. A third, De Narvaez, went far into the country, with more men than Cortez led to the conquest of Mexico, but after months of wandering only a handful of his men returned, and not a grain of gold was found to pay for their suffering.


But these failures only stirred the cavaliers of Spain to new thirst for adventure and gain. They had been told of fertile plains, of splendid tropical forests, of the beauty of the Indian maidens, of romantic incidents and hair-breadth escapes, of the wonderful influence exercised by a white man on tribes of dusky warriors, and who knew what fairy marvels or unimagined wealth might be found in the deep interior of this land of hope and mystery. Thus when Hernando de Soto, who had been with Pizarro in Peru and seen its gold-plated temples, called for volunteers to explore and conquer the unknown northland, hundreds of aspiring warriors flocked to his standard, burning with love of adventure and filled with thirst for gold.

On the 30th of May, 1539, De Soto, with nine vessels and six or seven hundred well-armed followers, sailed into Tampa Bay, on the Gulf coast of Florida. Here they at once landed and marched inland, greedy to reach and grasp the spectral image of gold which floated before their eyes. A daring but a cruel man was this new adventurer. He brought with him blood-hounds to hunt the Indians and chains to fetter them. A drove of hogs was brought to supply the soldiers with fresh meat. They were provided with horses, with fire-arms, with cannon, with steel armor, with everything to overawe and overcome the woodland savages. Yet two things they needed; these were judgment and discretion. It would have been wise to make friends of the Indians. Instead, by their cruelty, they15 turned them into bitter and relentless enemies. So wherever they went they had bold and fierce foes to fight, and wounds and death marked their pathway across the land.

Let us follow De Soto and his men into the realm of the unknown. They had not gone far before a strange thing happened. Out of a crowd of dusky Indians a white man rode on horseback to join them, making gestures of delight. He was a Spaniard, Juan Ortiz by name, one of the Narvaez band, who had been held in captivity among the Indians for ten years. He knew the Indian language well and offered himself as an interpreter and guide. Heaven seemed to have sent him, for he was worth a regiment to the Spaniards.

Juan Ortiz had a strange story to tell. Once his captors had sought to burn him alive by a slow fire as a sacrifice to the evil spirit. Bound hand and foot, he was laid on a wooden stage and a fire kindled under him. But at this moment of frightful peril the daughter of the chieftain begged for his life, and her father listened to her prayer. Three years later the savage captors again decided to burn him, and again the dusky maiden saved his life. She warned him of his danger and led him to the camp of another chief. Here he stayed till the Spaniards came. What became of the warm-hearted maiden we are not told. She did not win the fame of the Pocahontas of a later day.

Many and strange were the adventures of the Spaniards as they went deeper and deeper into the16 new land of promise. Misfortune tracked their footsteps and there was no glitter of gold to cheer their hearts. A year passed over their heads and still the land of gold lay far away. An Indian offered to lead them to a distant country, governed by a woman, telling them that there they would find abundance of a yellow metal. Inspired by hope, they now pushed eagerly forward, but the yellow metal proved to be copper instead of gold, and their high hopes were followed by the gloom of disappointment and despair. But wherever they went their trail was marked by blood and pillage, and the story of their ruthless deeds stirred up the Indians in advance to bitter hostility.

Fear alone made any of the natives meet them with a show of peace, and this they repaid by brutal deeds. One of their visitors was an Indian queen—as they called her—the woman chief of a tribe of the South. When the Spaniards came near her domain she hastened to welcome them, hoping by this means to make friends of her dreaded visitors. Borne in a litter by four of her subjects, the dusky princess alighted before De Soto and came forward with gestures of pleasure, as if delighted to welcome her guests. Taking from her neck a heavy double string of pearls, she hung it on that of the Spanish leader. De Soto accepted it with the courtly grace of a cavalier, and pretended friendship while he questioned his hostess.

But he no sooner obtained the information he wanted than he made her a prisoner, and at once17 began to rob her and her people of all the valuables they possessed. Chief among these were large numbers of pearls, most of them found in the graves of the distinguished men of the tribe. But the plunderers did not gain all they hoped for by their act of vandalism, for the poor queen managed to escape from her guards, and in her flight took with her a box of the most valuable of the pearls. They were those which De Soto had most prized and he was bitterly stung by their loss.

The adventurers were now near the Atlantic, on ground which had been trodden by whites before, and they decided to turn inland and explore the country to the west. After months more of wandering, and the loss of many men through their battles with the Indians, they found themselves in the autumn of 1540 at a large village called Mavilla. It stood where stands to-day the city of Mobile. Here a large force of Indians was gathered.

The Indian chief or cacique met De Soto with a show of friendship, and induced him and a few of his men to follow him within the palisades which surrounded the village. No sooner had they got there than the chief shouted some words of insult in his own tongue and darted into one of the houses. A minor chief got into a dispute with a Spanish soldier, who, in the usual Spanish fashion, carried forward the argument with a blow from his sword. This served as a signal for hostilities. In an instant clouds of arrows poured from the houses, and before the Spaniards could escape nearly the whole of18 them were slain. Only De Soto and a few others got out with their lives from the trap into which they had been beguiled.

Filled with revengeful rage, the Spanish forces now invested and assailed the town, and a furious conflict began, lasting for nine hours. In the end the whites, from their superior weapons and organization, won the victory. But theirs was a costly triumph, for many of them had fallen and nearly all their property had been destroyed. Mavilla was burned and hosts of the Indians were killed, but the Spaniards were in a terrible situation, far from their ships, without medicine or food, and surrounded by brave and furious enemies.

The soldiers felt that they had had enough adventure of this kind, and clamored to be led back to their ships. De Soto had been advised that the ships were then in the Bay of Pensacola, only six days' journey from Mavilla, but he kept this a secret from his men, for hopes of fame and wealth still filled his soul. In the end, despite their entreaties, he led the men to the north, spending the winter in a small village of the Chickasaw Indians.

When spring opened the adventurers resumed their journey into the unknown. In his usual forcible fashion De Soto seized on Indians to carry his baggage, and in this way he brought on a violent battle, in which the whites met with a serious defeat and were in imminent danger of annihilation. Not a man of them would have lived to tell the tale if the savages had not been so scared at their own19 success that they drew back just when they had the hated Spaniards in their power.

DE SOTO DISCOVERING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. De Soto Discovering the Mississippi River.

A strange-looking army was that which the indomitable De Soto led forward from this place. Many of the uniforms of the men had been carried off by the enemy, and these were replaced with skins and mats made of ivy-leaves, so that the adventurers looked more like forest braves than Christian warriors. But onward still they trudged, sick at heart many of them, but obeying the orders of their resolute chief, and in the blossoming month of May they made that famous discovery by which the name of Hernando de Soto has ever since been known. For they stood on the banks of one of the mightiest rivers of the earth, the great Father of Waters, the grand Mississippi. From thousands of miles to the north had come the waters which now rolled onward in a mighty volume before their eyes, hastening downward to bury themselves in the still distant Gulf.

A discovery such as this might have been enough to satisfy the cravings of any ordinary man, but De Soto, in his insatiable greed for gold, saw in the glorious stream only an obstacle to his course, "half a league over." To build boats and cross the stream was the one purpose that filled his mind, and with much labor they succeeded in getting across the great stream themselves and the few of their horses that remained.

At once the old story began again. The Indians beyond the Mississippi had heard of the Spaniards20 and their methods, and met them with relentless hostility. They had hardly landed on the opposite shore before new battles began. As for the Indian empire, with great cities, civilized inhabitants, and heaps of gold, which Be Soto so ardently sought, it seemed as far off as ever, and he was a sadly disappointed man as he led the miserable remnant of his once well-equipped and hopeful followers up the left bank of the great stream, dreams of wealth and renown not yet quite driven from his mind.

At length they reached the region of the present State of Missouri. Here the simple-minded people took the white strangers to be children of the Sun, the god of their worship, and they brought out their blind, hoping to have them restored to sight by a touch from the healing hands of these divine visitors. Leaving after a time these superstitious tribes, De Soto led his men to the west, lured on still by the phantom of a wealthy Indian realm, and the next winter was passed near where Little Rock, Arkansas, is now built.

Spring returned at length, and the weary wanderings of the devoted band were resumed. Depressed, worn-out, hopeless, they trudged onward, hardly a man among them looking for aught but death in those forest wilds. Juan Ortiz, the most useful man in the band, died, and left the enterprise still more hopeless. But De Soto, worn, sick, emaciated, was indomitable still and the dream of a brilliant success lingered as ever in his brain. He tried now to win over the Indians by pretending to be 21immortal and to be gifted with supernatural powers, but it was too late to make them credit any such fantastic notion.

The band encamped in an unhealthy spot near the great river. Here disease attacked the men; scouts were sent out to seek a better place, but they found only trackless woods and rumors of Indian bands creeping stealthily up on all sides to destroy what remained of the little army of whites.

Almost for the first time De Soto's resolute mind now gave way. Broken down by his many labors and cares, perhaps assailed by the disease that was attacking his men, he felt that death was near at hand. Calling around him the sparse remnant of his once gallant company, he humbly begged their pardon for the sufferings and evils he had brought upon them, and named Luis de Alvaredo to succeed him in command. The next day, May 21, 1542, the unfortunate hero died. Thus passed away one of the three greatest Spanish explorers of the New World, a man as great in his way and as indomitable in his efforts as his rivals, Cortez and Pizarro, though not so fortunate in his results. For three years he had led his little band through a primitive wilderness, fighting his way steadily through hosts of savage foes, and never yielding until the hand of death was laid upon his limbs.

Fearing a fierce attack from the savages if they should learn that the "immortal" chief of the whites was dead, Alvaredo had him buried secretly outside the walls of the camp. But the new-made22 grave was suspicious. The prowling Indians might dig it up and discover the noted form it held. To prevent this, Alvaredo had the body of De Soto dug up in the night, wrapped it in cloths filled with sand, and dropped it into the Mississippi, to whose bottom it immediately sank. Thus was the great river he had discovered made the famous explorer's final resting-place.

With the death of De Soto the work of the explorers was practically at an end. To the Indians who asked what had become of the Child of the Sun, Alvaredo answered that he had gone to heaven for a visit, but would soon return. Then, while the Indians waited this return of the chief, the camp was broken up and the band set out again on a westward course, hoping to reach the Pacific coast, whose distance they did not dream. Months more passed by in hopeless wandering, then back to the great river they came and spent six months more in building boats, as their last hope of escape.

On the 2d of July, 1543, the scanty remnant of the once powerful band embarked on the waters of the great river, and for seventeen days floated downward, while the Indians on the bank poured arrows on them incessantly as they passed. Fifty days later a few haggard, half-naked survivors of De Soto's great expedition landed at the Spanish settlement of Panuco in Mexico. They had long been given up as lost, and were received as men risen from the grave.



In the year 1584 two wandering vessels, like the caravels of Columbus a century earlier, found themselves in the vicinity of a new land; not, as in the case of Columbus, by seeing twigs and fruit floating on the water, but in the more poetical way of being visited, while far at sea, by a sweet fragrance, as of a delicious garden full of perfumed flowers. A garden it was, planted not by the hand of man, but by that of nature, on the North Carolinian shores. For this was the first expedition sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh, the earliest of Englishmen to attempt to settle the new-discovered continent, and it was at that season as truly a land of flowers as the more southern Florida.

The ships soon reached shore at a beautiful island called by the Indians Wocokon, where the mariners gazed with wonder and delight on the scene that lay before them. Wild flowers, whose perfume had reached their senses while still two days' sail from land, thickly carpeted the soil, and grapes grew so plentifully that the ocean waves, as they broke upon the strand, dashed their spray upon the thick-growing clusters. "The forests formed themselves into wonderfully beautiful bowers, frequented by multitudes of birds. It was like a Garden of Eden, and the gentle, friendly inhabitants appeared in24 unison with the scene. On the island of Roanoke they were received by the wife of the king, and entertained with Arcadian hospitality."

When these vessels returned to England and the mariners told of what they had seen, the people were filled with enthusiasm. Queen Elizabeth was so delighted with what was said of the beauty of the country that she gave it the name of Virginia, in honor of herself as a virgin queen. The next year a larger expedition was sent out, carrying one hundred and fifty colonists, who were to form the vanguard of the British dominion in the New World.

They found the land all they had been told. Ralph Lane, the governor, wrote home: "It is the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven; the most pleasing territory in the world; the continent is of a huge and unknown greatness, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely. The climate is so wholesome that we have none sick. If Virginia had but horses and kine, and were inhabited by Englishmen, no realm in Christendom were comparable with it."

But they did not find the natives so kindly disposed as in the year before, and no wonder; for the first thing the English did after landing on Roanoke Island was to accuse the Indians of stealing a silver cup, for which they took revenge by burning a village and destroying the standing corn. Whether this method was copied from the Spaniards or not, it proved a most unwise one, for at once the colonists25 found themselves surrounded by warlike foes, instead of in intercourse with confiding friends.

The English colonists had the same fault as those of Spain. The stories of the wonderful wealth of Mexico and Peru had spread far and wide over Europe, and the thirst for gold was in all hearts. Instead of planting grain and building homes, the new-comers sought the yellow evil far and wide, almost as if they expected the soil to be paved with it. The Indians were eagerly questioned and their wildest stories believed. As the natives of Porto Rico had invented a magic fountain to rid themselves of Ponce de Leon and his countrymen, so those of Roanoke told marvellous fables to lure away the unwelcome English. The Roanoke River, they said, gushed forth from a rock so near the western ocean that in storms the salt sea-water was hurled into the fresh-water stream. Far away on its banks there dwelt a nation rich in gold, and inhabiting a city the walls of which glittered with precious pearls.

Lane himself, whom we may trust to have been an educated man, accepted these tales of marvel as readily as the most ignorant of his people. In truth, he had much warrant for it in the experience of the Spaniards. Taking a party of the colonists, he ascended the river in search of the golden region. On and on they went, finding nothing but the unending forest, hearing nothing but the cries of wild beasts and the Indian war-cries, but drawn onward still by hope until their food ran out and bitter26 famine assailed them. Then, after being forced to kill their dogs for food, they came back again, much to the disappointment of the Indians, who fancied they were well rid of their troublesome guests.

As the settlers were not to be disposed of by fairy-stories of cities of gold, the natives now tried another plan. They resolved to plant no more corn, so that the English must either go away or starve. Lane made matters worse by a piece of foolish and useless cruelty. Wisdom should have taught him to plant corn himself. But what he did was to invite the Indians to a conference, and then to attack them, sword in hand, and kill the chief, with many braves of the tribe. He might have expected what followed. The furious natives at once cut off all supplies from the colonists, and they would have died of hunger if Sir Francis Drake, in one of his expeditions, had not just then appeared with a large fleet.

Here ended the first attempt to plant an English colony in America. Drake, finding the people in a desperate state, took them in his ships and sailed with them for England. Hardly had they gone before other ships came and the missing colonists were sought for in vain. Then fifteen men were left on the island to hold it for England, and the ships returned.

In 1587 Raleigh's last colony reached Roanoke Island. This time he took care to send farmers instead of gold-seekers, and sent with them a supply27 of farming tools. But it was not encouraging when they looked for the fifteen men left the year before to find only some of their bones, while their fort was a ruin and their deserted dwellings overgrown with vines. The Indians had taken revenge on their oppressors. One event of interest took place before the ship returned, the birth of the first English child born in America. In honor of the name which the queen had given the land, this little waif was called Virginia Dare.

Now we come to the story of the mysterious fate of this second English colony. When the ships which had borne it to Roanoke went back to England they found that island in an excited state. The great Spanish Armada was being prepared to invade and conquer Elizabeth's realm, and hasty preparations were making to defend the British soil. The fate of the Armada is well known. England triumphed. But several years passed before Raleigh, who was now deep laden with debt, was able to send out a vessel to the relief of his abandoned colonists.

When the people sent by him landed on the island, they looked around them in dismay. Here were no happy homes, no smiling fields, no bustling colonists. The island was deserted. What had become of the inhabitants was not easy to guess. Not even their bones had been left, as in the case of the hapless fifteen, though many relics of their dwelling-places were found. The only indication of their fate was the single word "Croatan" cut into the bark of a tree.


Croatan was the name of an island not far from that on which they were, but it was the stormy season of the year, and John White, the captain, made this an excuse for not venturing there. So he sailed again for home with only the story of a vanished colony.

From that time to this the fate of the colony has been a mystery. No trace of any of its members was ever found. If they had made their way to Croatan, they were never seen there. Five times the noble-hearted Raleigh sent out ships to search for them, but all in vain; they had gone past finding; the forest land had swallowed them up.

It has been conjectured that they had mingled with a friendly tribe of Indians and become children of the forest like their hosts. Some tradition of this kind remained among the Indians, and it has been fancied that the Hatteras Indians showed traces of English blood. But all this is conjecture, and the fate of the lost colonists of Roanoke must remain forever unknown.



For those who love stories of the Indians, and the strange and perilous adventures of white men in dealing with the forest tribes, we cannot do better than give a remarkable anecdote of life in the Virginia woodlands three centuries ago.

On a day near the opening of the winter of 1608 a small boat, in which were several men, might have been seen going up the James River under the shadow of the high trees that bordered its banks.

They came at length to a point where a smaller stream flowed into the James, wide at its mouth but soon growing narrow. Into this the boat was turned and rowed briskly onward, under the direction of the leader of the expedition. They were soon in the heart of the wildwood, whose dense forest growth clustered thickly on either bank of the stream, which ran in a narrow silver thread through the green wilderness. The stream they pursued is that now known as the Chickahominy River, so called from an Indian tribe of that name, the most daring and warlike of all the savages of the region.

As they went on the stream grew narrower still, and in time became so shallow that the boat could30 go no farther. As they sat there in doubt, debating what had better be done, the bushes by the waterside were thrust aside and dusky faces looked out upon them through the leaves. The leader of the whites beckoned to them and two men stepped out of the bushy thicket, making signs of great friendliness. They pointed to the large boat, and indicated by gestures that they had smaller craft near at hand and would lend one to the whites if they wished to go farther up. They would go along with them and show them the way.

The leader of the party of whites was named John Smith. This is a very common name, but he was the one John Smith who has made the name famous in history. He had met many Indians before and found most of them friendly, but he had never seen any of the Chickahominies and did not know that they were enemies to the whites. So he accepted the offer of the Indians. The boat was taken back down the stream to a sort of wide bay where he thought it would be safe. Here the Indians brought him one of their light but strong canoes. Smith wanted to explore the stream higher up, and, thinking that he could trust these very friendly looking red men, he got into the canoe, bidding two of his men to come with him. To the others he said,—

"Do not leave your boat on any account. These fellows seem all right, but they are never to be trusted too far. There may be more of them in the woods, so be wide awake and keep your wits about you."


The two Indians now got into the canoe with Smith and his men and began to paddle it up the stream, keeping on until they were miles from the starting-point. Undergrowth rose thickly on the banks and vines hung down in green masses from the trees, so that the boat they had left was quickly lost to sight. Soon after that the men in the large boat did a very foolish thing. Heedless of the orders of their leader, they left the boat and strolled into the woods. They had not gone far before a party of savages came rushing at them with wild cries, and followed them fiercely as they turned and ran back to their boat. One of them was caught by the savages, and as the fugitives sprang into their boat they were horrified to see the hapless fellow killed by his captors. This lesson taught them not to leave the boat again.

Ignorant of all this, Smith went on, the boat being paddled here under a low canopy of vines, there through open spaces, until far up the stream. At length, as passage grew more difficult, he bade his guides to stop, and stepped ashore. Taking one of the Indians with him, he set out, carbine on shoulder, saying that he would provide food for the party. He cautioned his two followers, as he had done those in the large boat, to keep a sharp look-out and not let themselves be surprised.

But these men proved to be as foolish and reckless as the others. The air was cool and they built a fire on the bank. Then, utterly heedless of danger, they lay down beside it and soon were fast32 asleep. As they lay slumbering the Indians, who had started up the stream after killing their prisoner at the boat, came upon them in this helpless state. They at once killed the foolish pair, and then started into the woods on the trail of Smith.

POCAHONTAS. Pocahontas.

Daring and full of resources as Captain John Smith was, he had taken a dangerous risk in thus venturing alone into those forest depths, peopled only by prowling and hostile savages. It proved to be the most desperate crisis of his life, full of adventure as this life had been. As a youthful soldier he had gone through great perils in the wars with the Turks, and once had killed three Turkish warriors in single combat between two armies, but never before had he been in such danger of death as he was now, alone with a treacherous Indian while a dozen or more of others, bent on his death, were trailing him through the woods.

He was first made aware of his danger when a flight of arrows came from the low bushes near by. Then, with fierce war-whoops, the Indian braves rushed upon him with brandished knives and tomahawks. But desperate as was his situation, in the heart of the forest, far from help, surrounded by foes who thirsted for his blood, Smith did not lose his courage or his coolness. He fired his pistol at the Indians, two of them falling wounded or dead. As they drew back in dismay, he seized his guide and tied him to his left arm with his garter as a protection from their arrows, and then started through the woods in the direction of the canoe.33 Walking backward, with his face to his pursuers, and keeping them off with his weapons, he had not taken many steps before he found his feet sinking in the soft soil. He was in the edge of the great swamp still known in that region, and before he was aware of the danger he sank into it to his waist and his guide with him. The other Indians held back in fear until he had thrown away his weapons, when they rushed upon him, drew him out of the mud, and led him captive to the fire where his two companions lay dead.

Smith's case now seemed truly desperate. He knew enough of the savages to have very little hope of life. Yet he was not inclined to give up while a shadowy chance remained. Taking from his pocket a small compass, which he carried to aid him in his forest journeys, he gave it to the Indian chief, showing him how the needle always pointed to the north. But while the chief was looking curiously at this magic toy, as it seemed to him, the other Indians bound their captive to a tree, and bent their bows to shoot him. Their deadly purpose was prevented by the chief, who waved the compass in the air and bade them stop. For the time the mystery of the compass seemed to have saved the captive's life.

Smith was now taken through the woods, the journey ending at an Indian village called Orapakes. Here the dusky women and children took the captive in hand, dancing wildly around him, with fierce cries and threatening gestures, while the 34warriors looked grimly on. Yet Smith bore their insults and threats with impassive face and unflinching attitude. At length Opechancanough, the chief, pleased to find that he had a brave man for captive, bade them cease, and food was brought forth for Smith and his captors.

While they were in this village two interesting examples of the simplicity of Indian thought took place. Smith wrote a message to Jamestown, the settlement of the whites, sending it by one of the Indians, and receiving an answer. On his reading this and speaking of what he had learned from it, the Indians looked on it as the work of enchantment. They could not comprehend how "paper could talk." Another thing was the following: They showed him a bag of gunpowder which they had somehow obtained, saying that they were going to sow it in the ground the next spring and gather a crop of this useful substance. After spending some days in this and other villages, the captive was taken into the woods, his captors making him understand that they were going on a long journey.

Whither he was being taken or what was to be his fate Smith was not aware. The language of gestures, which was his only way of conversing with the savages, soon reached its limit, and he was quite ignorant of what they proposed to do with him, though his heart must have sunk as they went on day after day, northward through the forest. On they walked in single file, Smith unbound and35 seemingly free in their midst, but with a watchful Indian guard close beside him, ready to shoot him if he made any effort to escape. Village after village was passed, in each of which the women and children danced and shrieked around him as at Orapakes. It was evident they knew the value of their prisoner, and recognized that they had in their hands the great chief of the Pale Faces.

In fact, the Chickahominy chief felt that his captive was of too much importance to be dealt with hastily, and was taking him to the village of the great chief Powhatan, who ruled like an emperor over a powerful confederation of tribes. In summer his residence was near the Falls of the James River, but he was in the habit of spending the winter on the banks of York River, his purpose being to enjoy the fish and oysters of the neighboring Chesapeake. Wesowocomoca was the name of this winter residence, and here the captive was at length brought, after the long woodland journey.

Captain Smith had met the old Indian emperor before, at his summer home on the James River, near where the city of Richmond now stands. But that was as a freeman, with his guard around him and his hands unbound. Now he was brought before him as a captive, subject to his royal will or caprice.

He found the famous lord of the tribes in his large wigwam, with his wives around him, and his vigilant guard of warriors grouped on the greensward outside, where the Indian lodges stretched36 in a considerable village along the stream. Powhatan wore a large robe made of raccoon skins. A rich plume of feathers ornamented his head and a string of beads depended from his neck. At his head and feet sat two young Indian girls, his favorite wives, wearing richly adorned dresses of fur, with plumes in their hair and necklaces of pearls. Other women were in the room, and a number of the leading warriors who sat around gave the fierce war-cry of the tribe as the captive was brought in.

The old chieftain looked with keen eyes on his famous prisoner, of whose capture he had been advised by runners sent before. There was a look of triumph and malignity in his eyes, but Captain Smith stood before him unmoved. He had been through too many dangers to be easily dismayed, and near death's door too often to yield to despair. Powhatan gave an order to a young Indian woman, who brought him a wooden basin of water that he might wash his hands. Then she presented him a bunch of feathers to serve as a towel. This done, meat and corn-bread were placed before him. As he ate Powhatan talked with his warriors, consulting with them, the captive feared, upon his fate. But he finished his meal with little loss of appetite, trusting to the Providence which had saved him more than once before to come to his aid again.

As he ate, his vigilant eyes looked heedfully around the room. Many who were there gazed on him with interest, and one of them, a young37 Indian girl of twelve or thirteen years of age, with pity and concern. It was evident that she was of high rank in the tribe, for she was richly dressed and wore in her hair a plume of feathers like that of Powhatan, and on her feet moccasins embroidered like his. There was a troubled and compassionate look in her eyes, as she gazed on the captive white man, a look which he may perhaps have seen and taken comfort from in his hour of dread.

No such feeling as this seemed to rest in the heart of the old chief and his warriors. Their conference quickly ended, and, though its words were strange to him, the captive could read his fate in their dark and frowning faces. They had grown to hate the whites, and now that their leader was a captive before them, they decided to put him to death.

There was no loss of time in preparation for the execution of the fatal decree. At an order from Powhatan the captive was seized and securely bound, then he was laid on the floor of the hut, with his head on a large stone brought in from outside. Beside him stood a stalwart savage grasping a huge war-club. A word, a signal from Powhatan, was alone needed and the victim's brains would have been dashed out.

At this critical moment Smith's good angel watched over him. A low cry of pity was heard, and the young girl who had watched him with such concern sprang forward and clasped her arms around the poor prisoner, looking up at the Indian emperor with beseeching eyes. It was Pocahontas,38 his favorite daughter. Her looks touched the old man's heart, and he bade the executioner to stand back, and gave orders that the captive should be released. Powhatan soon showed that he was in earnest in his act of mercy. He treated the prisoner in a friendly fashion, and two days later set him free to return to Jamestown.

All that he asked in return was that the whites should send him two of their great guns and a grindstone. Smith readily consented, no doubt with a secret sense of amusement, and set out for the settlement, led by Indian guides. Rawhunt, a favorite servant of Powhatan, was one of the guides, and on reaching Jamestown Smith showed him two cannon and a grindstone, and bade him carry them home to his master. Rawhunt tried, but when he found that he could not stir one of the weighty presents from the ground, he was quite content to take back less bulky presents in their place.

So runs the story of Captain Smith's remarkable adventure. No doubt it is well to say here that there are writers who doubt the whole story of Pocahontas and her deed of mercy, simply because Captain Smith did not speak of it in his first book. But there is no very good reason to doubt it, and we know that things like this happened in other cases. Thus, in the story of De Soto we have told how Juan Ortiz, the Spanish captive, was saved from being burned alive by an Indian maiden in much the same way.

Pocahontas after that was always a friend of the39 English, and often visited them in Jamestown. Once she stole away through the woods and told her English friends that Powhatan and his warriors were going to attack them. Then she stole back again. When the Indians came they found the English ready, and concluded to defer their attack. Later, after she had grown up, she was taken prisoner and held in Jamestown as a hostage to make her father quit threatening the English. While there a young planter named John Rolfe fell deeply in love with her, and she loved him warmly in return.

In the end Pocahontas became a Christian and was baptized at Jamestown under the name of Rebecca. Then she and John Rolfe were married and went to live in England, where she was known as the "Lady Rebecca" and treated as if she were indeed a princess. She met John Smith once more, and was full of joy at sight of her "father," as she called him. But when he told her that she must not call him that, and spoke to her very respectfully as Lady Rebecca, she covered her face with her hands and began to weep. She had always called him father, she said, and he had called her child, and she meant to do so still. They had told her he was dead, and she was very glad to learn that this was false, for she loved him as a father and would always do so.

That was her last meeting with Captain Smith. In less than a year afterward she was taken sick and died, just as she was about to return to her beloved Virginia.



Friday, the 22d of March, of the year 1622, dawned brightly over a peaceful domain in Virginia. In the fifteen years that had passed since the first settlers landed and built themselves homes at Jamestown the dominion of the whites had spread, until there were nearly eighty settlements, while scattered plantations rose over a space of several hundred square miles. Powhatan, the Indian emperor, as he was called, had long shown himself the friend of the whites, and friendly relations grew up between the new-comers and the old owners of the soil that continued unbroken for years.

Everywhere peace and tranquillity now prevailed. The English had settled on the fertile lands along the bay and up the many rivers, the musket had largely given place to the plough and the sword to the sickle and the hoe, and trustful industry had succeeded the old martial vigilance. The friendliest intercourse existed between the settlers and the natives. These were admitted freely to their houses, often supplied with fire-arms, employed in hunting and fishing, and looked upon as faithful allies, many of whom had accepted the Christian faith.

But in 1618 the mild-tempered Powhatan had41 died, and Opechancanough, a warrior of very different character, had taken his place as chief of the confederacy of tribes. We have met with this savage before, in the adventurous career of Captain John Smith. He was a true Indian leader, shrewd, cunning, cruel in disposition, patient in suffering, skilled in deceit, and possessed of that ready eloquence which always had so strong an influence over the savage mind. Jealous of the progress of the whites, he nourished treacherous designs against them, but these were hidden deep in his savage soul, and he vowed that the heavens should fall before he would lift a hand in war against his white friends. Such was the tranquil and peaceful state of affairs which existed in Virginia in the morning of March 22, 1622. There was not a cloud in the social sky, nothing to show that the Indians were other than the devoted allies and servants of the whites.

On that morning, as often before, many of the savages came to take their breakfast with their white friends, some of them bringing deer, turkeys, fish, or fruit, which, as usual, they offered for sale. Others of them borrowed the boats of the settlers to cross the rivers and visit the outlying plantations. By many a hearth the pipe of peace was smoked, the hand of friendship extended, the voice of harmony raised.

Such was the aspect of affairs when the hour of noontide struck on that fatal day. In an instant, as if this were the signal of death, the scene changed from peace to terror. Knives and tomahawks were42 drawn and many of those with whom the savages had been quietly conversing a moment before were stretched in death at their feet. Neither sex nor age was spared. Wives were felled, weltering in blood, before the eyes of their horrified husbands. The tender infant was snatched from its mother's arms to be ruthlessly slain. The old, the sick, the helpless were struck down as mercilessly as the young and strong. As if by magic, the savages appeared at every point, yelling like demons of death, and slaughtering all they met. The men in the fields were killed with their own hoes and hatchets. Those in the houses were murdered on their own hearth-stones. So unlooked-for and terrible was the assault that in that day of blood three hundred and forty-seven men, women, and children fell victims to their merciless foes. Not content with their work of death, the savage murderers mutilated the bodies of their victims in the most revolting manner and revelled shamelessly in their crimes.

Yet with all their treacherous rage, they showed themselves cowardly. Wherever they were opposed they fled. One old soldier, who had served under Captain John Smith, was severely wounded by his savage assailants. He clove the skull of one of them with an axe, and the others at once took to flight. In the same way a Mr. Baldwin, whose wife lay bleeding from many wounds before his eyes, drove away a throng of murderers by one well-aimed discharge from his musket. A number of fugitive settlers obtained a few muskets from a43 ship that was lying in a stream near their homes, and with these they routed and dispersed the Indians for a long distance around.

The principal settlement, that of Jamestown, was a main point for the proposed Indian assault. Here the confidence and sense of security was as great as in any of the plantations, and only a fortunate warning saved the settlers from a far more terrible loss. One of the young converts among the Indians, moved by the true spirit of his new faith, warned a white friend of the deadly conspiracy, and the latter hastened to Jamestown with the ominous news. As a result, the Indian murderers on reaching there found the gates closed and the inhabitants on the alert. They made a demonstration, but did not venture on an assault, and quickly withdrew.

Such was the first great Indian massacre in America, and one of the most unexpected and malignant of them all.

It was the work of Opechancanough, who had laid his plot and organized the work of death in the most secret and skilful manner. Passing from tribe to tribe, he eloquently depicted their wrongs, roused them to revenge, pointed out the defenceless state of the whites, and worked on their passions by promises of blood and rapine. A complete organization was formed, the day and hour were fixed, and the savages of Virginia waited in silence and impatience for the time in which they hoped to rid the land of every white settler on its soil and win back their old domain.


While they did not succeed in this, they filled the whole colony with terror and dismay. The planters who had survived the attack were hastily called in to Jamestown, and their homes and fields abandoned, so that of the eighty recent settlements only six remained. Some of the people were bold enough to refuse to obey the order, arming their servants, mounting cannon, and preparing to defend their own homes. One of these bold spirits was a woman. But the authorities at Jamestown would not permit this, and they were all compelled to abandon their strongholds and unite for the general defence.

The reign of peace was at an end. A reign of war had begun. The savages were everywhere in arms, with Opechancanough at their head. The settlers, as soon as the first period of dread had passed, marched against them, burning for revenge, and relentless slaughter became the rule. It was the first Indian war in the British settlements, but was of the type of them all. Wherever any Indian showed himself he was instantly shot down. Wherever a white man ventured within reach of the red foe he was slain on the spot or dragged off for the more dreadful death by torture. There was no truce, no relaxation; it was war to the knife.

Only when seed-time was at hand did necessity demand a temporary pause in hostilities. The English now showed that they could be as treacherous and lacking in honor as their savage enemy. They offered peace to the savages, and in this way induced them to leave their hiding-places and plant45 their fields. While thus engaged the English rushed suddenly upon them and cut down a large number, including some of the most valiant warriors and leading chiefs.

From that time on there was no talk or thought of peace. Alike the plantation buildings of the whites and the villages of the Indians were burned. The swords and muskets of the whites, the knives and tomahawks of the red men, were ever ready for the work of death. For ten years the bloody work continued, and by the end of that time great numbers of the Indians had been killed, while of the four thousand whites in Virginia only two thousand five hundred remained.

Exhaustion at length brought peace, and for ten years more the reign of blood ceased. Yet the irritation of the Indians continued. They saw the whites spreading ever more widely through the land and taking possession of the hunting-grounds without regard for the rights of the native owners, and their hatred for the whites grew steadily more virulent. Opechancanough was now a very aged man. In the year 1643 he reached the hundreth year of his age. A gaunt and withered veteran, with shrunken limbs and a tottering and wasted form, his spirit of hostility to the whites burned still unquenched. Age had not robbed him of his influence over the tribes. His wise counsel, the veneration they felt for him, the tradition of his valorous deeds in the past, gave him unquestioned control, and in 1643 he repeated his work of twenty-one46 years before, organizing another secret conspiracy against the whites.

It was a reproduction of the former plot. The Indians were charged to the utmost secrecy. They were bidden to ambush the whites in their plantations and settlements and at a fixed time to fall upon them and to spare none that they could kill. The conspiracy was managed as skilfully as the former one. No warning of it was received, and at the appointed hour the work of death began. Before it ended five hundred of the settlers were ruthlessly slain. They were principally those of the outlying plantations. Wherever the settlers were in a position for effective resistance, the savages were routed and driven back to their forest lurking-places.

Their work of death done, the red-skinned murderers at once dispersed, knowing well that they could not withstand their foes in open fight. Sir William Berkeley, the governor of Virginia, hastily called out a strong force of armed men and marched to the main seat of the slaughter. No foes were to be found. The Indians had vanished in the woodland wilderness. It was useless to pursue them farther on foot, and the governor continued the pursuit with a troop of cavalry, sweeping onward through the tribal confines.

The chief result of the expedition was the capture of the organizer of the conspiracy, the hoary leader of the tribal confederacy, who was found near his place of residence on the Pamunky. Too feeble for47 hasty flight, his aged limbs refusing to bear him and his weakened sight to aid him, he was easily overtaken by the pursuers, and was carried back in triumph to Jamestown, as the very central figure of Indian hostility.

It was the clement purpose of the governor to send the old chief to England as a royal captive, there to be held in honorable custody until death should close his career. But this purpose was not to be achieved. A death of violence awaited the old Indian chieftain. A wretched fellow of the neighborhood, one of the kind who would not have dared to face an Indian in arms, slipped secretly behind the famous veteran and shot him with his musket through the back, inflicting a deadly wound.

Aged and infirm as Opechancanough was, the wound was not instantly mortal. He lingered for a few days in agonizing pain. Yet to the last moment of his life his dignity of demeanor was preserved. It was especially shown when a crowd of idlers gathered in the room to sate their unfeeling curiosity on the actions of the dying chief.

His muscles had grown so weak that he could not raise his eyelids without aid, and, on hearing the noise around him, he motioned to his attendants to lift his lids that he might see what it meant. When he saw the idle and curious crowd, a flash of wounded pride and just resentment stirred his vanished powers. Sending for the governor, he said, with a keen reproach that has grown historic, "Had I taken Sir William Berkeley prisoner, I48 would not have exposed him as a show to my people." Closing his eyes again, in a short time afterward the Indian hero was dead.

With the death of Opechancanough, the confederacy over which Powhatan and he had ruled so long came to an end. It was now without a head, and the associated tribes fell apart. How long it had been in existence before the whites came to Virginia we cannot say, but the tread of the white man's foot was fatal to the Indian power, and as that foot advanced in triumph over the land the strength of the red men everywhere waned and disappeared.



The years ending in "'76" are remarkable in America as years of struggle against tyranny and strife for the right. We shall not soon forget the year 1776, when the famous rebellion of the colonies against Great Britain reached its climax in the Declaration of Independence. In 1676, a century before, there broke out in Virginia what was called the "Great Rebellion," a famous movement for right and justice. It was brought about by the tyranny of Sir William Berkeley, the governor of the colony of Virginia, as that of 1776 was by the tyranny of George III., the King of England. It is the story of the first American rebellion that we are about to tell.

Sir William had ruled over Virginia at intervals for many years. It was he who took old Opechancanough prisoner after the massacre of 1643. In 1676 he was again governor of the colony. He was a man of high temper and revengeful disposition, but for a long time he and the Virginians got along very well together, for the planters greatly liked the grand style in which he lived on his broad estate of "Green Springs," with his many servants, and rich silver plate, and costly entertainments,50 and stately dignity. They lived much that way themselves, so far as their means let them, and were proud of their governor's grand display.

But what they did not like was his arbitrary way of deciding every question in favor of England and against Virginia, and the tyranny with which he enforced every order of the king. Still less were they pleased with the fact that, when the Indians in the mountain district began to attack the settlers, and put men, women, and children to death, the governor took no steps to punish the savage foe, and left the people to defend themselves in the best way they could. A feeling of panic like that of the older times of massacre ensued. The exposed families were forced to abandon their homes and seek places of refuge. Neighbors banded together for work in the field, and kept their arms close at hand. No man left his door without taking his musket. Even Jamestown was in danger, for the woodland stretched nearly to its dwellings, and the lurking red men, stealing with noiseless tread through the forest shades, prowled from the mountains almost to the sea, like panthers in search of prey.

At that time there was a man of great influence in Virginia, named Nathaniel Bacon. He was a new-comer, who had been in America less than three years, but he had bought a large estate and had been made a member of the governor's council. He was a handsome man and a fine speaker, and51 these and other qualities made him very popular with the planters and the people.

Bacon's plantation was near the Falls of the James River, where the city of Richmond now stands. Here his overseer, to whom he was much attached, and one of his servants were killed by the Indians. Highly indignant at the outrage, Bacon made up his mind that something must be done. He called a meeting of the neighboring planters, and addressed them hotly on the delay of the governor in coming to their defence. He advised them to act for themselves, and asked if any of them were ready to march against the savages, and whom they would choose as their leader. With a shout they declared that they were ready, and that he should lead.

This was very much like taking the law into their own hands. If the governor would not act, they would. As a proper measure, however, Bacon sent to the governor and asked for a commission as captain of the force of planters. The governor received the demand in an angry way. It hurt his sense of dignity to find these men acting on their own account, and he refused to grant a commission or to countenance their action. He went so far as to issue a proclamation, in which he declared that all who did not return to their homes within a certain time would be held as rebels. This so scared the planters that the most of them went home, only fifty-seven of them remaining with their chosen leader.


With this small force Bacon marched into the wilderness, where he met and defeated a party of Indians, killing many of them, and dispersing the remainder. Then he and his men returned home in triumph.

By this time the autocratic old governor was in a high state of rage. He denounced Bacon and his men as rebels and traitors, and gathered a force to punish them. But when he found that the whole colony was on Bacon's side he changed his tone. He had Bacon arrested, it is true, when he came to Jamestown as a member of the House of Burgesses, but this was only a matter of form, to save his dignity, and when the culprit went down on one knee and asked pardon of God, the king, and the governor, Berkeley was glad enough to get out of his difficulty by forgiving him. But for all this fine show of forgiveness Bacon did not trust the old tyrant, and soon slipped quietly out of Jamestown and made his way home.

He was right; the governor was making plans to seize him and hold him prisoner; he had issued secret orders, and Bacon had got away in good time. Very soon he was back again, this time at the head of four hundred planters. As they marched on, others joined them, and when they came into the old town, and drew up on the State-house green, there were six hundred of them, horse and foot.

The sight of this rebel band threw old Berkeley into a towering rage. He rushed out from the53 State-house at the head of his council, and, tearing open his ruffled shirt, cried out, in a furious tone:

"Here, shoot me! 'fore God, fair mark; shoot!"

"No," said Bacon, "may it please your honor, we will not hurt a hair of your head, nor of any other man's. We are come for a commission to save our lives from the Indians, which you have so often promised; and now we will have it before we go."

Both men were in a violent rage, walking up and down and gesticulating like men distracted. Soon Sir William withdrew with his council to his office in the State-house. Bacon followed, his hand now touching his hat in deference, now his sword-hilt as anger rose in his heart. Some of his men appeared at a window of the room with their guns cocked and ready, crying out, "We will have it; we will have it."

This continued till one of the burgesses came to the window and waved his handkerchief, calling out, "You shall have it; you shall have it."

Hearing this, the men drew back and rested their guns on the ground and Bacon left the chamber and joined them. The matter ended in Bacon's getting his commission as general and commander-in-chief, while an act was passed by the legislature justifying him in all he had done, and a letter to the same effect was written to the king and signed by the governor, council, and assembly. Bacon had won in all he demanded.

His triumph was only temporary. While he was54 invading the country of the Pamunky Indians, killing many of them and destroying their towns, Berkeley repudiated all he had done. He proclaimed Bacon a rebel and traitor and issued a summons for the train-bands to the number of twelve hundred men, bidding them pursue and put down Bacon the rebel. The men assembled, but when they heard for what they were wanted they broke out into a shout of "Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!" and dispersed again, leaving the old tyrant and his attendants alone. News of these events quickly reached Bacon and his men in the field. He at once turned and marched back.

"While I am hunting wolves which are destroying innocent lambs," he exclaimed, indignantly, "here are the governor and his men after me like hounds in full cry. I am like one between two millstones, which will grind me to powder if I do not look to it."

As he came near Jamestown the governor fled, crossing Chesapeake Bay to Accomac, and leaving Bacon in full possession. A new House of Burgesses was called into session and Bacon's men pledged themselves not to lay down their arms. Sir William had sent to England for soldiers, they said, and they would stand ready to fight these soldiers, as they had fought the governor. A paper to this effect was drawn up and signed, dated August, 1676. It was the first American declaration of independence.

JAMESTOWN RUIN. Jamestown Ruin.

The tide of rebellion was now in full flow. The55 movement against the Indians had, by the unwarranted behavior of the governor, been converted into civil war, nearly the whole colony supporting Bacon and demanding that the tyrant governor should be deposed.

But, while this was going on, the Indians took to the war-path again, and Bacon at once marched against them, leaving Sir William to his own devices. His first movement was against the Appomattox tribe, which dwelt on the river of the same name, where Petersburg now stands. Taking them by surprise, he burned their town, killed many of them, and dispersed the remainder. Then he marched south and attacked other tribes, driving them before him and punishing them so severely as quite to cure them of all desire to meddle with the whites.

From that time forward Eastern Virginia was free from Indian troubles, and Bacon was looked upon as the deliverer of the colony. But lack of provisions forced him to return and disband his forces, only a few men remaining with him. He soon learned that he had a worse enemy than the Indians to fight at home. Some of his leading supporters in Jamestown, Lawrence, Drummond, Hansford, and others, came hastily to his camp, saying that they had been obliged to flee for safety, as Sir William was back again, with eighteen ships in the river and eight hundred men he had gathered in the eastern counties.

The affair had now come to a focus. It was56 fight, or yield and be treated as a traitor. Bacon resolved to fight, and he found many to back him in it, for he soon had a force collected. How many there were we do not know. Some say only one hundred and fifty, some say eight hundred; but however that be, he marched with them on Jamestown, bringing his Indian captives with him. Rebels and Royalists the two parties were now called; people and tyrant would have been better titles, for Bacon was in arms for the public right and had the people at his back.

The old governor was ready. While in Accomac he had taken and hung two friends of Bacon, who had gone there to try and capture him. He asked for nothing better than the chance to serve Bacon in the same way. His ships, armed with cannon, now lay in the river near the town. A palisade, ten paces wide, had been built across the neck of the peninsula in which Jamestown stood. Behind it lay a strong body of armed men. Berkeley felt that he had the best of the situation, and was defiant of his foes.

It was at the end of a September day when Bacon and his small army of "rebels" arrived. Springing from his horse, he led the tired men up to the palisades and surveyed the governor's works of defence. Then he ordered his trumpeter to sound defiance and his men to fire on the garrison. There was no return fire. Sir William knew that the assailants were short of provisions, and trusted to hunger to make them retire. But Bacon was versed in the57 art of foraging. At Green Spring, three miles away, was Governor Berkeley's fine mansion, and from this the invading army quickly supplied itself. The governor afterwards bitterly complained that his mansion "was almost ruined; his household goods, and others of great value, totally plundered; that he had not a bed to lie on; two great beasts, three hundred sheep, seventy horses and mares, all his corn and provisions, taken away." Evidently the "rebels" knew something about the art of war.

This was not all, for their leader adopted another stratagem not well in accordance with the rules of chivalry. A number of the loyalists of the vicinity had joined Berkeley, and Bacon sent out small parties of horse, which captured the wives of these men and brought them into camp. Among them were the lady of Colonel Bacon, Madame Bray, Madame Page, and Madame Ballard. He sent one of these ladies to the town, with a warning to the husbands not to attack him in his camp, or they would find their wives in front of his line.

What Bacon actually wanted these ladies for was to make use of them in building his works. He raised by moonlight a defensive work of trees, brushwood and earth around the governor's outwork of palisades, placing the ladies in front of the workmen to keep the garrison from firing on them. But he had the chivalry to take them out of harm's way when the governor's men made a sortie on his camp.

The fight that took place may have been a hard one or a light one. We have no very full account58 of it. The most we know is that Bacon and his men won the victory, and that the governor's men were driven back, leaving their drum and their dead behind them. Whether hard or light, his repulse was enough for Sir William's valor. Well intrenched as he was and superior in numbers, his courage suddenly gave out, and he fled in haste to his ships, which set sail in equal haste down the river, their speed accelerated by the cannon-balls which the "rebels" sent after them.

Once more the doughty governor was a fugitive, and Bacon was master of the situation. Jamestown, the original Virginia settlement, was in his hands. What should he do with it? He could not stay there, for he knew that Colonel Brent, with some twelve hundred men, was marching down on him from the Potomac. He did not care to leave it for Berkeley to return to. In this dilemma he concluded to burn it. To this none of his men made any objection. Two of them, indeed, Lawrence and Drummond, who had houses in the place, set fire to them with their own hands. And thus the famous old town of John Smith and the early settlers was burned to the ground. Old as it was, we are told that it contained only a church and sixteen or eighteen houses, and in some of these there were no families. To-day nothing but the ruined church tower remains.

Bacon now marched north to York River to meet Colonel Brent and his men. But by the time he got there the men had dispersed. The news of the59 affair at Jamestown had reached them, and they concluded they did not want to fight. Bacon was now master of Virginia, with the power though not the name of governor.

What would have come of his movement had he lived it is impossible to say, for in the hour of his triumph a more perilous foe than Sir William Berkeley was near at hand. While directing his men in their work at the Jamestown trenches a fever had attacked him, and this led to a dangerous dysentery which carried him off after a few weeks' illness. His death was a terrible blow to his followers, for the whole movement rested on the courage and ability as a leader of this one man. They even feared the vindictive Berkeley would attempt some outrage upon the remains of the "rebel" leader, and they buried his body at night in a secret place. Some traditions assert that he was dealt with as De Soto had been before him, his body being sunk in the bosom of the majestic York River, where it was left with the winds and the waves to chant its requiem.

Thus ended what Sir William Berkeley called the "Great Rebellion." Its leader dead, there was none to take his place. In despair the men returned to their homes. Many of them made their way to North Carolina, in which new colony they were warmly welcomed. A few kept up a show of resistance, but they were soon dispersed, and Berkeley came back in triumph, his heart full of revengeful passion. He had sent to England for troops, and60 the arrival of these gave him support in his cruel designs.

All the leading friends of Bacon whom he could seize were mercilessly put to death, some of them with coarse and aggravating insults. The wife of Major Cheeseman, one of the prisoners, knelt at the governor's feet and pitifully pleaded for her husband's life, but all she got in return from the old brute was a vulgar insult. The major escaped the gallows only by dying in prison.

One of the most important of the prisoners was William Drummond, a close friend of Bacon. Berkeley hated him and greeted him with the most stinging insult he could think of.

"Mr. Drummond," said he, with a bitter sneer, "you are very welcome; I am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you shall be hanged in half an hour."

And he was. His property was also seized, but when the king heard of this he ordered it to be restored to his widow.

"God has been inexpressibly merciful to this poor province," wrote Berkeley, with sickening hypocrisy, after one of his hangings. Charles II., the king, took a different view of the matter, saying: "That old fool has hung more men in that naked province than I did for the murder of my father." More than twenty of Bacon's chief supporters were hung, and the governor's revenge came to an end only when the assembly met and insisted that these executions should cease.


We have told how Bacon came to his end. We must do the same for Berkeley, his foe. Finding that he was hated and despised in Virginia, he sailed for England, many of the people celebrating his departure by firing cannon and illuminating their houses. He never returned. The king was so angry with him that he refused to see him; a slight which affected the old man so severely that he soon died, of a broken heart, it is said. Thus ended the first rebellion of the people of the American colonies.



There are two great explorers whose names have been made famous by their association with the mighty river of the West, the Mississippi, or Father of Waters,—De Soto, the discoverer, and La Salle, the explorer, of that stupendous stream. Among all the rivers of the earth the Mississippi ranks first. It has its rivals in length and volume, but stands without a rival as a noble channel of commerce, the pride of the West and the glory of the South. We have told the story of its discovery by De Soto, the Spanish adventurer; we have now to tell that of its exploration by La Salle, the French chevalier.

Let us say here that though the honor of exploring the Mississippi has been given to La Salle, he was not the first to traverse its waters. The followers of De Soto descended the stream from the Arkansas to its mouth in 1542. Father Marquette and Joliet, the explorer, descended from the Wisconsin to the Arkansas in 1673. In 1680 Father Hennepin, a Jesuit missionary sent by La Salle, ascended the stream from the Illinois to the Falls of St. Anthony. Thus white men had followed the great river for nearly its whole length. But the greatest of all these explorers and the first to63 traverse the river for the greater part of its course, was the Chevalier Robert de la Salle, and to his name is given the glory of revealing this grand stream to mankind.

Never was there a more daring and indefatigable explorer than Robert de la Salle. He seemed born to make new lands and new people known to the world. Coming to Canada in 1667, he began his career by engaging in the fur trade on Lake Ontario. But he could not rest while the great interior remained unknown. In 1669 he made an expedition to the west and south, and was the first white man to gaze on the waters of the swift Ohio. In 1679 he launched on the Great Lakes the first vessel that ever spread its sails on those mighty inland seas, and in this vessel, the Griffin, he sailed through Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan.

La Salle next descended the Illinois River, and built a fort where the city of Peoria now stands. But his vessel was wrecked, and he was forced to make his way on foot through a thousand miles of wilderness to obtain supplies at Montreal. Such was the early record of this remarkable man, and for two years afterward his life was full of adventure and misfortune. At length, in 1682, he entered upon the great performance of his life, his famous journey upon the bosom of the Father of Waters.

It was midwinter when La Salle and his men set out from the lakes with their canoes. On the 4th of January, 1682, they reached the mouth of the Chicago River, where its waters enter Lake64 Michigan. The river was frozen hard, and they had to build sledges to drag their large and heavy canoes down the ice-closed stream. Reaching the portage to the Illinois, they continued their journey across the bleak and snowy waste, toilsomely dragging canoes, baggage, and provisions to the other stream. Here, too, they found a sheet of ice, and for some days longer trudged down the channel of the silent and dreary stream. Its banks had been desolated by Indian wars, and where once many flourishing villages rose there were to be seen only ashes and smoke-blackened ruins.

About the 1st of February they reached Crevecœur, the fort La Salle had built some years earlier. Below this point the stream was free from ice, and after a week's rest the canoes were launched on the liquid surface. They were not long in reaching the point where the Illinois buries its waters in the mighty main river, the grave of so many broad and splendid streams.

Past the point they had now reached the Mississippi poured swiftly downward, its waters swollen, and bearing upon them great sheets of ice, the contribution of the distant north. It was no safe channel for their frail birch-bark canoes, and they were obliged to wait a week till the vast freightage of ice had run past. Then, on the 13th of February, 1682, they launched their canoes on the great stream, and began their famous voyage down its mighty course.

A day's journey brought them to the place where65 the turbulent Missouri pours its contribution, gathered from thousands of miles of mountain and prairie, into the parent stream, rushing with the force and roar of a rapid through a channel half a mile broad, and quickly converting the clear Mississippi waters into a turbid yellow torrent, thick with mud.

La Salle, like so many of the early explorers, was full of the idea of finding a short route across the continent to the Pacific Ocean, and he found the Indians at the mouth of the Missouri ready to tell him anything he wanted to know. They said that by sailing ten or twelve days up the stream, through populous villages of their people, he would come to a range of mountains in which the river rose; and by climbing to the summit of these lofty hills he could gaze upon a vast and boundless sea, whose waves broke on their farther side. It was one of those imaginative stories which the Indians were always ready to tell, and the whites as ready to believe, and it was well for La Salle that he did not attempt the fanciful adventure.

Savage settlements were numerous along the Mississippi, as De Soto had found a century and more earlier. About thirty miles below the Missouri they came to another village of peaceful natives, whose souls they made happy by a few trifling gifts which were of priceless worth to their untutored minds. Then downward still they went for a hundred miles or more farther, to the mouth of another great stream, this one flowing from the66 east, and as noble in its milder way as the Missouri had been in its turbulent flow. Unlike the latter, this stream was gentle in its current, and its waters were of crystal clearness. It was the splendid river which the Indians called the Wabash, or Beautiful River, and the French by the similar name of La Belle Rivière. It is now known as the Ohio, the Indian name being transferred to one of its tributaries. This was the stream on whose waters La Salle had gazed with admiration thirteen years before.

The voyagers were obliged to proceed slowly. Unable to carry many provisions in their crowded canoes, they were often forced to stop and fish or hunt for game. As the Indians told them they would find no good camping-grounds for many miles below the Ohio, they stopped for ten days at its mouth, hunting and gathering supplies. Parties were sent out to explore in various directions, and one of the men, Peter Prudhomme, failed to return. It was feared that he had been taken captive by the Indians, traces of whom had been seen near by, and a party of Frenchmen, with Indian guides, was sent out on the trails of the natives. They returned without the lost man, and La Salle, at length, reluctantly giving him up, prepared to continue the journey. Just as they were entering the canoes the missing man reappeared. For nine days he had been lost in the forest, vainly seeking his friends, and wandering hopelessly. His gun, however, had provided him with food, and he reached the stream just in time.


Once more the expedition was launched on the swift-flowing current, eight or ten large birch canoes filled with Indians and Frenchmen in Indian garb, and laden with supplies. The waters bore them swiftly onward, there was little labor with the paddles, the wintry weather was passing and the air growing mild, the sky sunny, and the light-hearted sons of France enjoyed their daily journey through new and strange scenes with the warmest zest.

About one hundred and twenty miles below the Ohio they reached the vicinity of the Arkansas River, the point near which the voyage of Marquette had ended and that of the followers of De Soto began. Here, for the first time in their journey, they met with hostile Indians. As the flotilla glided on past the Arkansas bluffs, on the 3d of March, its people were startled by hearing the yells of a large body of savages and the loud sound of a drum, coming from behind the bluff. The natives had taken the alarm, supposing that a war party of their enemies was coming to attack them.

La Salle ordered his canoes at once to be paddled to the other side of the stream, here a mile wide. The party landing, some intrenchments were hastily thrown up, for across the river they could now see a large village, filled with excited and armed warriors. Preparations for defence made, La Salle advanced to the water's edge and made signs of friendship and amity. Pacified by these signals of peace, some of the Indian chiefs rowed across until68 near the bank, when they stopped and beckoned to the strangers to come to them.

Father Membré, the priest who accompanied the expedition, entered a canoe and was rowed out to the native boat by two Indians. He held out to them the calumet, or pipe of peace, the Indian signal of friendship, and easily induced the chiefs to go with him to the camp of the whites. There were six of them, frank and cordial in manner, and seemingly disposed to friendship. La Salle made them very happy with a few small presents, and at their request the whole party embarked and accompanied them across the river to their village.

All the men of the place crowded to the bank to receive their strange visitors, women and children remaining timidly back. They were escorted to the wigwams, treated with every show of friendship, and regaled with the utmost hospitality. These Arkansas Indians were found to be a handsome race, and very different in disposition from the northern tribes, for they replaced the taciturn and often sullen demeanor of the latter with a gay and frank manner better suited to their warmer clime. They were also much more civilized, being skilled agriculturists, and working their fields by the aid of slaves captured in war. Corn, beans, melons, and a variety of fruits were grown in their fields, and large flocks of turkeys and other fowls were seen round their dwellings.

La Salle and his party stayed in the village for some two weeks, and before leaving went through69 the form of taking possession of the country in the name of the king of France. This proceeding was conducted with all the ceremony possible under the circumstances, a large cross being planted in the centre of the village, anthems sung, and religious rites performed. The Indians looked on in delight at the spectacle, blankly ignorant of what it all meant, and probably thinking it was got up for their entertainment. Had they known its full significance they might not have been so well pleased.

Embarking again on the 17th of March, the explorers continued their journey down the stream, coming after several days to a place where the river widened into a lake-like expanse. This broad sheet of water was surrounded with villages, forty being counted on the east side and thirty-four on the west. On landing in this populous community, they found the villages to be well built, the houses being constructed of clay mixed with straw, and covered with dome-like roofs of canes. Many convenient articles of furniture were found within.

These Southern Indians proved to be organized under a very different system from that prevailing in the North. There each tribe was a small republic, electing its chiefs, and preserving the liberty of its people. Here the tribes were absolute monarchies. The head-chief, or king, had the lives and property of all his subjects at his disposal, and kept his court with the ceremonious dignity of a European monarch. When he called on La Salle, who was too sick at that time to go and see him, the70 ceremony was regal. Every obstruction was removed from his path by a party of pioneers, and the way made level for his feet. The spot where he gave audience was carefully smoothed and covered with showy mats.

The dusky autocrat made his appearance richly attired in white robes, and preceded by two officers who bore plumes of gorgeously colored feathers. An official followed with two large plates of polished copper. The monarch had the courteous dignity and gravity of one born to the throne, though his interview with La Salle was conducted largely with smiles and gestures, as no word spoken could be understood. The travellers remained among this friendly people for several days, rambling through the villages and being entertained in the dwellings, and found them far advanced in civilization beyond the tribes of the North.

Father Membré has given the following account of their productions: "The whole country is covered with palm-trees, laurels of two kinds, plums, peaches, mulberry, apple, and pear-trees of every variety. There are also five or six kinds of nut-trees, some of which bear nuts of extraordinary size. They also gave us several kinds of dried fruit to taste. We found them large and good. They have also many varieties of fruit-trees which I never saw in Europe. The season was, however, too early to allow us to see the fruit. We observed vines already out of blossom."

Continuing their journey down the stream, the71 adventurers next came to the country of the Natchez Indians, whom they found as friendly as those they had recently left. La Salle, indeed, was a man of such genial and kind disposition and engaging manners that he made friends of all he met. As Father Membré says, "He so impressed the hearts of these Indians that they did not know how to treat us well enough." This was a very different reception to that accorded De Soto and his followers, whose persistent ill-treatment of the Indians made bitter enemies of all they encountered.

The voyagers, however, were soon to meet savages of different character. On the 2d of April, as they floated downward through a narrow channel where a long island divided the stream, their ears were suddenly greeted with fierce war-whoops and the hostile beating of drums. Soon a cloud of warriors was seen in the dense border of forest, gliding from tree to tree and armed with strong bows and long arrows. La Salle at once stopped the flotilla and sent one canoe ahead, the Frenchmen in it presenting the calumet of peace. But this emblem here lost its effect, for the boat was greeted with a volley of arrows. Another canoe was sent, with four Indians, who bore the calumet; but they met with the same hostile reception.

Seeing that the savages were inveterately hostile, La Salle ordered his men to their paddles, bidding them to hug the opposite bank and to row with all their strength. No one was to fire, as no good could come from that. The rapidity of the current72 and the swift play of the paddles soon sent the canoes speeding down the stream, and though the natives drove their keen arrows with all their strength, and ran down the banks to keep up their fire, the party passed without a wound.

A few days more took the explorers past the site of the future city of New Orleans and to the head of the delta of the Mississippi, where it separates into a number of branches. Here the fleet was divided into three sections, each taking a branch of the stream, and very soon they found the water salty and the current becoming slow. The weather was mild and delightful, and the sun shone clear and warm, when at length they came into the open waters of the Gulf and their famous voyage was at an end.

Ascending the western branch again until they came to solid ground, a massive column bearing the arms of France was erected, and by its side was planted a great cross. At the foot of the column was buried a leaden plate, on which, in Latin, the following words were inscribed:

"Louis the Great reigns. Robert, Cavalier, with Lord Tonti, Ambassador, Zenobia Membré, Ecclesiastic, and twenty Frenchmen, first navigated this river from the country of the Illinois, and passed through this mouth on the ninth of April, sixteen hundred and eighty-two."

La Salle then made an address, in which he took possession for France of the country of Louisiana; of all its peoples and productions, from the mouth73 of the Ohio; of all the rivers flowing into the Mississippi from their sources, and of the main stream to its mouth in the sea. Thus, according to the law of nations, as then existing, the whole valley of the Mississippi was annexed to France; a magnificent acquisition, of which that country was destined to enjoy a very small section, and finally to lose it all.

COALING A MOVING BOAT ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. Copyright, 1906, by Detroit Publishing Company.

We might tell the story of the return voyage and of the fierce conflict which the voyagers had with the hostile Quinnipissa Indians, who had attacked them so savagely in their descent, but it will be of more interest to give the account written by Father Membré of the country through which they had passed.

"The banks of the Mississippi," he writes, "for twenty or thirty leagues from its mouth are covered with a dense growth of canes, except in fifteen or twenty places where there are very pretty hills and spacious, convenient landing-places. Behind this fringe of marshy land you see the finest country in the world. Our hunters, both French and Indian, were delighted with it. For an extent of six hundred miles in length and as much in breadth, we were told there are vast fields of excellent land, diversified with pleasing hills, lofty woods, groves through which you might ride on horseback, so clear and unobstructed are the paths.

"The fields are full of all kinds of game,—wild cattle, does, deer, stags, bears, turkeys, partridges, parrots, quails, woodcock, wild pigeons, and 74ring-doves. There are also beaver, otters, and martens. The cattle of this country surpass ours in size. Their head is monstrous and their look is frightful, on account of the long, black hair with which it is surrounded and which hangs below the chin. The hair is fine, and scarce inferior to wool.

"We observed wood fit for every use. There were the most beautiful cedars in the world. There was one kind of tree which shed an abundance of gum, as pleasant to burn as the best French pastilles. We also saw fine hemlocks and other large trees with white bark. The cottonwood-trees were very large. Of these the Indians dug out canoes, forty or fifty feet long. Sometimes there were fleets of a hundred and fifty at their villages. We saw every kind of tree fit for ship-building. There is also plenty of hemp for cordage, and tar could be made in abundance.

"Prairies are seen everywhere. Sometimes they are fifty or sixty miles in length on the river front and many leagues in depth. They are very rich and fertile, without a stone or a tree to obstruct the plough. These prairies are capable of sustaining an immense population. Beans grow wild, and the stalks last several years, bearing fruit. The bean-vines are thicker than a man's arm, and run to the top of the highest trees. Peach-trees are abundant and bear fruit equal to the best that can be found in France. They are often so loaded in the gardens of the Indians that they have to prop up the branches. There are whole forests of 75mulberries, whose ripened fruit we begin to eat in the month of May. Plums are found in great variety, many of which are not known in Europe. Grape-vines and pomegranates are common. Three or four crops of corn can be raised in a year."

From all this it appears that the good Father was very observant, though his observation, or the information he obtained from the Indians, was not always to be trusted. He goes on to speak of the tribes, whose people and customs he found very different from the Indians of Canada. "They have large public squares, games, and assemblies. They seem mirthful and full of vivacity. Their chiefs have absolute authority. No one would dare to pass between the chief and the cane torch which burns in his cabin and is carried before him when he goes out. All make a circuit around it with some ceremony."



The story of the American Indian is one of the darkest blots on the page of the history of civilization. Of the three principal peoples of Europe who settled the New World,—the Spanish, the British, and the French,—the Spanish made slaves of them and dealt with them with shocking cruelty, and the British were, in a different way, as unjust, and at times little less cruel. As for the French, while they showed more sympathy with the natives, and treated them in a more friendly and considerate spirit, their dealings with them were by no means free from the charge of injustice and cruelty. This we shall seek to show in the following story.

When we talk of the Indians of the United States we are very apt to get wrong ideas about them. The word Indian means to us a member of the savage hunting tribes of the North; a fierce, treacherous, implacable foe, though he could be loyal and generous as a friend; a being who made war a trade and cruelty a pastime, and was incapable of civilization. But this is only one type of the native inhabitants of the land. Those of the South were very different. Instead of being rude savages, like their Northern brethren, they had77 made some approach to civilization; instead of being roving hunters, they were settled agriculturists; instead of being morose and taciturn, they were genial and light-hearted; and instead of possessing only crude forms of government and religion, they were equal in both these respects to some peoples who are classed as civilized.

If any feel a doubt of this, let them read what La Salle and the intelligent priest who went with him had to say about the Indians of the lower Mississippi, their government, agriculture, and friendliness of disposition, and their genial and sociable manner. It is one of the tribes of Southern Indians with which we are here concerned, the Natchez tribe or nation, with whom La Salle had such pleasing relations.

It may be of interest to our readers to be told something more about the customs of the Southern Indians, since they differed very greatly from those of the North, and are little known to most readers. Let us take the Creeks, for instance,—a powerful association made up of many tribes of the Gulf region. They had their chiefs and their governing council, like the Northern Indians, but the Mico, who took the place of the Sachem of the North, had almost absolute power, and the office was hereditary in his family. Agriculture was their principal industry, the fields being carefully cultivated, though they were active hunters also. The land was the property of the tribe, not of individuals, and each family who cultivated it had to78 deposit a part of their products in the public store-house. This was under the full control of the Mico, though food was distributed to all in times of need.

Their religion was much more advanced than that of the Northern tribes. They had the medicine man and the notions about spirits of the North, but they also worshipped the sun as the great deity of the universe, and had their temples, and priests, and religious ceremonies. One of their great objects of care was the sacred fire, which was carefully extinguished at the close of the year, and rekindled with "new fire" for the coming year. While it was out serious calamities were feared and the people were in a state of terror. There was nothing like this in the North.

The most remarkable of the United States Indians were the Natchez, of whom we have above spoken. Not only La Salle, but later French writers have told us about them. They had a different language and were different in other ways from the neighboring Indians. They worshipped the sun as their great deity, and had a complete system of temples, priests, idols, religious festivals, sacred objects and the like, the people being deeply superstitious. Their temples were built on great mounds, and in them the sacred fire was very carefully guarded by the priests. If it should go out fearful misfortunes were expected to ensue.

Their ruler was high priest as well as monarch. He was called the Sun and was believed to be a direct descendant of the great deity. He was a79 complete autocrat, with the power of life and death over the people, and his nearest female relative, who was known as the woman chief, had the same power. On his death there were many human sacrifices, though it was not his son, but that of the woman chief, who succeeded to the throne. Not only the ruler, but all the members of the royal caste, were called Suns, and had special privileges. Under them there was a nobility, also with its powers and privileges, but the common people had very few rights. On the temple of the sun were the figures of three eagles, with their heads turned to the east. It may be seen that this people was a very interesting one, far advanced in culture beyond the rude tribes of the North, and it is a great pity that they were utterly destroyed and their institutions swept away before they were studied by the scientists of the land. Their destruction was due to French injustice, and this is how it came about.

Louisiana was not settled by the French until about twenty years after La Salle's great journey, and New Orleans was not founded till 1718. The French gradually spread their authority over the country, bringing the Mississippi tribes under their influence. Among these were the Natchez, situated up the river in a locality indicated by the present city of Natchez. The trouble with them came about in 1729, through the unjust behavior of a French officer named Chopart. He had been once removed for injustice, but a new governor,80 M. Perier, had replaced him, not knowing his character.

Chopart, on his return to the Natchez country, was full of great views, in which the rights of the old owners of the land did not count. He was going to make his province a grand and important one, and in the presence of his ambition the old inhabitants must bend the knee. He wanted a large space for his projected settlement, and on looking about could find no spot that suited him but that which was occupied by the Indian village of the White Apple. That the natives might object to this appropriation of their land did not seem to trouble his lordly soul.

He sent to the Sun of the village, bidding him to come to the fort, which was about six miles away. When the chief arrived there, Chopart told him, bluntly enough, that he had decided to build a settlement on the site of the White Apple village, and that he must clear away the huts and build somewhere else. His only excuse was that it was necessary for the French to settle on the banks of the rivulet on whose waters stood the Grand Tillage and the abode of the Grand Sun.

The Sun of the Apple was taken aback by this arbitrary demand. He replied with dignity that his ancestors had dwelt in that village for as many years as there were hairs in his head, and that it was good that he and his people should continue there. This reasonable answer threw Chopart into a passion, and he violently told the Sun that he81 must quit his village in a few days or he should repent it.

"When your people came to ask us for lands to settle on," said the Indian in reply, "you told us that there was plenty of unoccupied land which you would be willing to take. The same sun, you said, would shine on us all and we would all walk in the same path."

Before he could proceed, Chopart violently interrupted him, saying that he wanted to hear no more, he only wanted to be obeyed. At this the insulted chief withdrew, saying, with the same quiet dignity as before, that he would call together the old men of the village and hold a council on the affair.

The Indians, finding the French official so violent and arbitrary, at first sought to obtain delay, saying that the corn was just above the ground and the chickens were laying their eggs. The commandant replied that this did not matter to him, they must obey his order or they should suffer for their obstinacy. They next tried the effect of a bribe, offering to pay him a basket of corn and a fowl for each hut in the village if he would wait till the harvest was gathered. Chopart proved to be as avaricious as he was arbitrary, and agreed to accept this offer.

He did not know the people he was dealing with. Stung with the injustice of the demand, and deeply incensed by the insolence of the commandant, the village council secretly resolved that they would not be slaves to these base intruders, but would cut them off to a man. The oldest chief suggested the82 following plan. On the day fixed they should go to the fort with some corn, and carrying their arms as if going out to hunt. There should be two or three Natchez for every Frenchman, and they should borrow arms and ammunition for a hunting match to be made on account of a grand feast, promising to bring back meat in payment. The arms once obtained, the discharge of a gun would be the signal for them to fall on the unsuspecting French and kill them all.

He further suggested that all the other villages should be apprised of the project and asked to assist. A bundle of rods was to be sent to each village, the rods indicating the number of days preceding that fixed for the assault. That no mistake might be made, a prudent person in each village should be appointed to draw out a rod on each day and throw it away. This was their way of counting time.

The scheme was accepted by the council, the Sun warmly approving of it. When it was made known to the chiefs of the nation, they all joined in approval, including the Grand Sun, their chief ruler, and his uncle, the Stung Serpent. It was kept secret, however, from the people at large, and from all the women of the noble and royal castes, not excepting the woman chief.

This it was not easy to do. Secret meetings were being held, and the object of these the female Suns had a right to demand. The woman chief at that time was a young princess, scarce eighteen, and little83 inclined to trouble herself with political affairs; but the Strong Arm, the mother of the Grand Sun, was an able and experienced woman, and one friendly to the French. Her son, strongly importuned by her, told her of the scheme, and also of the purpose of the bundle of rods that lay in the temple.

Strong Arm was politic enough to appear to approve the project, but secretly she was anxious to save the French. The time was growing short, and she sought to have the commandant warned by hints of danger. These were brought him by soldiers, but in his supercilious self-conceit he paid no heed to them, but went on blindly towards destruction. He went so far as to put in irons seven of those who warned him of the peril, accusing them of cowardice. Finding this effort unavailing, the Strong Arm secretly pulled some rods out of the fatal bundle, hoping in this way to disarrange the project of the conspirators.

Heedless of all that had been told him, Chopart and some other Frenchmen went on the night before the fatal day to the great village of the Natchez, on a party of pleasure, not returning till break of day, and then the worse for his potations. In the mean time the secret had grown more open, and on his entering the fort he was strongly advised to be on his guard.

The drink he had taken made a complete fool of him, however, and he at once sent to the village from which he had just returned, bidding his interpreter to ask the Grand Sun whether he intended to84 come with his warriors and kill the French. The Grand Sun, as might have been expected, sent word back that he did not dream of such a thing, and he would be very sorry, indeed, to do any harm to his good friends, the French. This answer fully satisfied the commandant, and he went to his house, near the fort, disdaining the advice of the informers.

It was on the eve of St. Andrew's Day, in 1729, that a party of the Natchez approached the French settlement. It was some days in advance of that fixed, on account of the meddling with the rods. They brought with them one of the common people, armed with a wooden hatchet, to kill the commandant, the warriors having too much contempt for him to be willing to lay hands on him. The natives strayed in friendly fashion into the houses, and many made their way through the open gates into the fort, where they found the soldiers unsuspicious of danger and without an officer, or even a sergeant, at their head.

Soon the Grand Sun appeared, with a number of warriors laden with corn, as if to pay the first installment of the contribution. Their entrance was quickly followed by several shots. This being the signal agreed upon, in an instant the natives made a murderous assault on the unarmed French, cutting them down in their houses and shooting them on every side. The commandant, for the first time aware of his blind folly, ran in terror into the garden of his house, but he was sharply pursued and cut down. The massacre was so well devised and85 went on so simultaneously in all directions that very few of the seven hundred Frenchmen in the settlement escaped, a handful of the fugitives alone bringing the news of the bloody affair to New Orleans. The Natchez completed their vengeance by setting on fire and burning all the buildings, so that of the late flourishing settlement only a few ruined walls remained.

As may be seen, this massacre was due to the injustice, and to the subsequent incompetence, of one man, Chopart, the commandant. It led to lamentable consequences, in the utter destruction of the Natchez nation and the loss of one of the most interesting native communities in America.

No sooner, in fact, had the news of the massacre reached New Orleans than active steps were taken for revenge. A force, largely made up of Choctaw allies, assailed the fort of the Natchez. The latter asked for peace, promising to release the French women and children they held as prisoners. This was agreed to, and the Indians took advantage of it to vacate the fort by stealth, under cover of night, taking with them all their baggage and plunder. They took refuge in a secret place to the west of the Mississippi, which the French had much difficulty to discover.

The place found, a strong force was sent against the Indians, its route being up the Red River, then up the Black River, and finally up Silver Creek, which flows from a small lake, near which the Natchez had built a fort for defence against the86 French. This place they maintained with some resolution, but when the French batteries were placed and bombs began to fall in the fort, dealing death to women and children as well as men, the warriors, horrified at these frightful instruments of death, made signals of their readiness to capitulate.

Night fell before terms were decided upon, and the Indians asked that the settlement should be left till the next day. Their purpose was to attempt to escape, as they had done before during the night, but they were too closely watched to make this effective. Some of them succeeded in getting away, but the great body were driven back into the fort, and the next day were obliged to surrender at discretion. Among them were the Grand Sun and the women Suns, with many warriors, women, and children.

The end of the story of the Natchez is the only instance on record of the deliberate annihilation of an Indian tribe. Some have perished through the event of war, no other through fixed intention. All the captives were carried to New Orleans, where they were used as slaves, not excepting the Strong Arm, who had made such efforts to save the French. These slaves were afterward sent to St. Domingo to prevent their escape, and in order that the Natchez nation might be utterly rooted out.

Those of the warriors who had escaped from the fort, and others who were out hunting, were still at large, but there were few women among them, and87 the nation was lost past renewal. These fugitives made their way to the villages of the Chickasaws, and were finally absorbed in that nation, "and thus," says Du Pratz, the historian of this affair, "that nation, the most conspicuous in the colony, and most useful to the French, was destroyed."

Du Pratz was a resident of New Orleans at the time, and got his information from the parties directly concerned. He tells us that among the women slaves "was the female Sun called the Strong Arm, who then told me all she had done in order to save the French." It appears that all she had done was not enough to save herself.



On a fine day in the pleasant month of August of the year 1714 a large party of horsemen rode along Duke of Gloucester Street, in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, while the men, women, and children of the place flocked to the doors of the houses cheering and waving their handkerchiefs as the gallant cavaliers passed by. They were gayly dressed, in the showy costumes worn by the gentlemen of that time, and at their head was a handsome and vigorous man, with the erect bearing and manly attitude of one who had served in the wars. They were all mounted on spirited horses and carried their guns on their saddles, prepared to hunt or perhaps to defend themselves if attacked. Behind them followed a string of mules, carrying the packs of the horsemen and in charge of mounted servants.

Thus equipped, the showy cavalcade passed through the main streets of the small town, which had succeeded Jamestown as the Virginian capital, and rode away over the westward-leading road. On they went, mile after mile, others joining them, as they passed onward, the party steadily increasing in numbers until it reached a place called Germanna,89 on the Rapid Ann—now the Rapidan—River, on the edge of the Spotsylvania Wilderness.

No doubt you will wish to know who these men were and what was the object of their journey. It was a romantic one, as you will learn,—a journey of adventure into the unknown wilderness. At that time Virginia had been settled more than a hundred years, yet its people knew very little about it beyond the seaboard plain. West of this rose the Blue Ridge Mountains, behind which lay a great mysterious land, almost as unknown as the mountains of the moon. There were people as late as that who thought that the Mississippi River rose in these mountains.

The Virginians had given this land of mystery a name. They called it Orange County. There were rumors that it was filled with great forests and lofty mountains, that it held fertile valleys watered by beautiful rivers, that it was a realm of strange and wonderful scenes. The Indians, who had been driven from the east, were still numerous there, and wild animals peopled the forests plentifully, but few of the whites had ventured within its confines. Now and then a daring hunter had crossed the Blue Ridge into this country and brought back surprising tales of what was to be seen there, but nothing that could be trusted was known about the land beyond the hills.

All this was of great interest to Alexander Spotswood, who was then governor of Virginia. He was a man whose life had been one of adventure90 and who had distinguished himself as a soldier at the famous battle of Blenheim, and he was still young and fond of adventure when the king chose him to be governor of the oldest American colony.

We do not propose to tell the whole story of Governor Spotswood; but as he was a very active and enterprising man, some of the things he did may be of interest. He had an oddly shaped powder-magazine built at Williamsburg, which still stands in that old town, and he opened the college of William and Mary free to the sons of the few Indians who remained in the settled part of Virginia. Then he built iron-furnaces and began to smelt iron for the use of the people. Those were the first iron-furnaces in the colonies, and the people called him the "Tubal Cain of Virginia," after a famous worker in iron mentioned in the Bible. His furnaces were at the settlement of Germanna, where the expedition made its first stop. This name came from a colony of Germans whom he had brought there to work his iron-mines and forges.

After what has been told it may not be difficult to guess the purpose of the expedition. Governor Spotswood was practical enough to wish to explore the mysterious land beyond the blue-peaked hills, and romantic enough to desire to do this himself, instead of sending out a party of pioneers. So he sent word to the planters that he proposed to make a holiday excursion over the mountains, and would gladly welcome any of them who wished to join.

We may be sure that there were plenty, especially91 among the younger men, who were glad to accept his invitation, and on the appointed day many of them came riding in, with their servants and pack-mules, well laden with provisions and stores, for they looked on the excursion as a picnic on a large scale.

One thing they had forgotten—a very necessary one. At that time iron was scarce and costly in Virginia, and as the roads were soft and sandy, as they still are in the seaboard country, it was the custom to ride horses barefooted, there being no need for iron shoes. But now they were about to ride up rocky mountain-paths and over the stony summits, and it was suddenly discovered that their horses must be shod. So all the smiths available were put actively at work making horseshoes and nailing them on the horses' feet. It was this incident that gave rise to the name of the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," as will appear farther on.

At Germanna Governor Spotswood had a summer residence, to which he retired when the weather grew sultry in the lower country. Colonel William Byrd, a planter on the James River, has told us all about this summer house of the governor. One of his stories is, that when he visited there a tame deer, frightened at seeing him, leaped against a large mirror in the drawing-room, thinking that it was a window, and smashed it into splinters. It is not likely the governor thanked his visitor for that.

After leaving Germanna the explorers soon entered a region quite unknown to them. They were in92 high spirits, for everything about them was new and delightful. The woods were in their full August foliage, the streams gurgling, the birds warbling, beautiful views on every hand, and the charm of nature's domain on all sides. At mid-day they would stop in some green forest glade to rest and pasture their horses, and enjoy the contents of their packs with a keen appetite given by the fresh forest air.

To these repasts the hunters of the party added their share, disappearing at intervals in the woods and returning with pheasant, wild turkey, or mayhap a fat deer, to add to the woodland feast. At night they would hobble their horses and leave them to graze, would eat heartily of their own food with the grass for table-cloth and a fresh appetite for sauce, then, wrapping their cloaks around them, would sleep as soundly as if in their own beds at home. The story of the ride has been written by one of the party, and it goes in much the way here described.

The mountains were reached at length, and up their rugged sides the party rode, seeking the easiest paths they could find. No one knows just where this was, but it is thought that it was near Rockfish Gap, through which the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad now passes. There are some who say that they crossed the valley beyond the Blue Ridge and rode over the Alleghany Mountains also, but this is not at all likely.

When they reached the summit of the range and93 looked out to the west, they saw before them a wild but lovely landscape, a broad valley through whose midst ran a beautiful river, the Shenandoah, an Indian name that means "daughter of the stars." To the right and left the mountain-range extended as far as the eye could reach, the hill summits and sides covered everywhere with verdant forest-trees. In front, far off across the valley, rose the long blue line of the Alleghanies, concealing new mysteries beyond.

The party gazed around in delight, and carved their names on the rocks to mark the spot. A peak near at hand they named Mount George, in honor of George I., who had just been made king, and a second one Mount Alexander, in honor of the governor, and they drank the health of both. Then they rode down the western slope into the lovely valley they had gazed upon. Here they had no warlike or romantic adventures, fights with Indians or wild beasts, but they had a very enjoyable time. After a delightful ride through the valley they recrossed the mountains, and rode joyously homeward to tell the people of the plain the story of what they had seen.

We have said nothing yet of the Golden Horseshoe. That was a fanciful idea of Governor Spotswood. He thought the excursion and the fine valley it had explored were worthy to be remembered by making them the basis of an order of knighthood. He was somewhat puzzled to think of a good name for it, but at length he remembered the shoeing of94 the horses at Williamsburg, so he decided to call it the Order of the Golden Horseshoe, and sent to England for a number of small golden horseshoes, one of which he gave to each of his late companions. There was a Latin inscription on them signifying, "Thus we swear to cross the mountains." When the king heard of the expedition, he made the governor a knight, under the title of Sir Alexander Spotswood, but we think a better title for him was that he won for himself,—Sir Knight of the Golden Horseshoe.



On the 5th day of July, in the year 1742, unwonted signs of activity might have been seen in the usually deserted St. Simon's harbor, on the coast of Georgia. Into that sequestered bay there sailed a powerful squadron of fifty-six well-armed war-vessels, one of them carrying twenty-four guns and two of them twenty guns each, while there was a large following of smaller vessels. A host of men in uniform crowded the decks of these vessels, and the gleam of arms gave lustre to the scene. It was a strong Spanish fleet, sent to wrest the province of Georgia from English hands, and mayhap to punish these intruders in the murderous way that the Spaniards had punished the French Huguenots two centuries before.

In all the time that had elapsed since the discovery of America, Spain had made only one settlement on the Atlantic coast of the United States, that of St. Augustine in Florida. But slow as they were in taking possession, they were not slow in making claims, for they looked on Florida as extending to the Arctic zone. More than once had they tried to drive the English out of Charleston, and now they were about to make a similar effort in Georgia. That colony had been settled, only ten years before,96 on land which Spain claimed as her own, and the English were not there long before hostilities began. In 1739 General Oglethorpe, the proprietor of Georgia, invaded Florida and laid siege to St. Augustine. He failed in this undertaking, and in 1742 the Spaniards prepared to take revenge, sending the strong fleet mentioned against their foes. It looked as if Georgia would be lost to England, for on these vessels were five thousand men, a force greater than all Georgia could raise.

Oglethorpe knew that the Spaniards were coming, and made hasty preparations to meet them. Troops of rangers were raised, the planters were armed, fortifications built, and a ship of twenty-two guns equipped. But with all his efforts his force was pitifully small as compared with the great Spanish equipment. Besides the ship named, there were some small armed vessels and a shore battery, with which the English for four hours kept up a weak contest with their foes. Then the fleet sailed past the defences and up the river before a strong breeze, and Oglethorpe was obliged to spike the guns and destroy the war-material at Fort St. Simon's and withdraw to the stronger post of Frederica, where he proposed to make his stand. Not long afterward the Spaniards landed their five thousand men four miles below Frederica. These marched down the island and occupied the deserted fort.

There may not seem to our readers much of interest in all this, but when it is learned that against the fifty-six ships and more than five 97thousand men of the Spaniards the utmost force that General Oglethorpe could muster consisted of two ships and six hundred and fifty-two men, including militia and Indians, and that with this handful of men he completely baffled his assailants, the case grows more interesting. It was largely an example of tactics against numbers, as will be seen on reading the story of how the Spaniards were put to the right about and forced to flee in utter dismay.

On the 7th of July some of the Georgia rangers discovered a small body of Spanish troops within a mile of Frederica. On learning of their approach, Oglethorpe did not wait for them to attack him in his not very powerful stronghold, but at once advanced with a party of Indians and rangers, and a company of Highlanders who were on parade. Ordering the regiment to follow, he hurried forward with this small detachment, proposing to attack the invaders while in the forest defiles and before they could deploy in the open plain near the fort.

So furious was his charge and so utter the surprise of the Spaniards that nearly their entire party, consisting of one hundred and twenty-five of their best woodsmen and forty-five Indians, were either killed, wounded, or made prisoners. The few fugitives were pursued for several miles through the forest to an open meadow or savannah. Here the general posted three platoons of the regiment and a company of Highland foot under cover of the wood, so that any Spaniards advancing through the meadow would have to pass under their fire. Then98 he hastened back to Frederica and mustered the remainder of his force.

OLD SPANISH FORT, ST. AUGUSTINE. Old Spanish Fort, St. Augustine.

Just as they were ready to march, severe firing was heard in the direction of the ambushed troops. Oglethorpe made all haste towards them and met two of the platoons in full retreat. They had been driven from their post by Don Antonia Barba at the head of three hundred grenadiers and infantry, who had pushed through the meadow under a drifting rain and charged into the wood with wild huzzas and rolling drums.

The affair looked very bad for the English. Forced back by a small advance-guard of the invaders, what would be their fate when the total Spanish army came upon them? Oglethorpe was told that the whole force had been routed, but on looking over the men before him he saw that one platoon and a company of rangers were missing. At the same time the sound of firing came from the woods at a distance, and he ordered the officers to rally their men and follow him.

Let us trace the doings of the missing men. Instead of following their retreating comrades, they had, under their officers, Lieutenants Sutherland and MacKay, made a skilful détour in the woods to the rear of the enemy, reaching a point where the road passed from the forest to the open marsh across a small semicircular cove. Here they formed an ambuscade in a thick grove of palmettos which nearly surrounded the narrow pass.

They had not been there long when the Spaniards99 returned in high glee from their pursuit. Reaching this open spot, well protected from assault as it appeared by the open morass on one side and the crescent-shaped hedge of palmettos and underwood on the other, they deemed themselves perfectly secure, stacking their arms and throwing themselves on the ground to rest after their late exertions.

The ambushed force had keenly watched their movements from their hiding-place, preserving utter silence as the foe entered the trap. At length Sutherland and MacKay raised the signal of attack, a Highland cap upon a sword, and in an instant a deadly fire was poured upon the unsuspecting enemy. Volley after volley succeeded, strewing the ground with the dead and dying. The Spaniards sprang to their feet in confusion and panic. Some of their officers attempted to reform their broken ranks, but in vain; all discipline was gone, orders were unheard, safety alone was sought. In a minute more, with a Highland shout, the platoon burst upon them with levelled bayonet and gleaming claymore, and they fled like panic-stricken deer; some to the marsh, where they mired and were captured; some along the defile, where they were cut down; some to the thicket, where they became entangled and lost. Their defeat was complete, only a few of them escaping to their camp. Barba, their leader, was mortally wounded; other officers and one hundred and sixty privates were killed; the prisoners numbered twenty. The feat of arms was as brilliant as it was successful, and Oglethorpe, who did100 not reach the scene of action till the victory was gained, promoted the two young officers on the spot as a reward for their valor and military skill. The scene of the action has ever since been known as the "Bloody Marsh."

The enterprise of the Spaniards had so far been attended by misfortune, a fact which caused dissention among their leaders. Learning of this, Oglethorpe resolved to surprise them by a night attack. On the 12th he marched with five hundred men until within a mile of the Spanish quarters, and after nightfall went forward with a small party to reconnoitre. His purpose was to attack them, if all appeared favorable, but he was foiled by the treachery of a Frenchman in his ranks, who fired his musket and deserted to the enemy under cover of the darkness. Disconcerted by this unlucky circumstance, the general withdrew his reconnoitering party; reaching his men, he distributed the drummers about the wood to represent a large force, and ordered them to beat the grenadier's march. This they did for half an hour; then, all being still, they retreated to Frederica.

The defection of the Frenchman threw the general into a state of alarm. The fellow would undoubtedly tell the Spaniards how small a force opposed them, and advise them that, with their superior land and naval forces, they could easily surround and destroy the English. In this dilemma it occurred to him to try the effect of stratagem, and seek to discredit the traitor's story.


He wrote a letter in French, as if from a friend of the deserter, telling him that he had received the money, and advising him to make every effort to convince the Spanish commander that the English were very weak. He suggested to him to offer to pilot up their boats and galleys, and to bring them under the woods where he knew the hidden batteries were. If he succeeded in this, his pay would be doubled. If he could not do this, he was to use all his influence to keep them three days more at Fort St. Simon's. By that time the English would be reinforced by two thousand infantry and six men-of-war which had already sailed from Charleston. In a postscript he was cautioned on no account to mention that Admiral Vernon was about to make an attack on St. Augustine.

This letter was given to a Spanish prisoner, who was paid a sum of money on his promise that he would carry the letter privately and deliver it to the French deserter. The prisoner was then secretly set free, and made his way back to the Spanish camp. After being detained and questioned at the outposts he was taken before the general, Don Manuel de Mantiano. So far all had gone as Oglethorpe hoped. The fugitive was asked how he escaped and if he had any letters. When he denied having any he was searched and the decoy letter found on his person. It was not addressed to any one, but on promise of pardon he confessed that he had received money to deliver it to the Frenchman.

As it proved, the deserter had joined the English102 as a spy for the Spaniards. He earnestly protested that he was not false to his agreement; that he knew nothing of any hidden battery or of the other contents of the letter, and that he had received no money or had any correspondence with Oglethorpe. Some of the general's council believed him, and looked on the letter as an English trick. But the most of them believed him to be a double spy, and advised an immediate retreat. While the council was warmly debating on this subject word was brought them that three vessels had been seen off the bar. This settled the question in their minds. The fleet from Charleston was at hand; if they stayed longer they might be hemmed in by sea and land; they resolved to fly while the path to safety was still open. Their resolution was hastened by an advance of Oglethorpe's small naval force down the stream, and a successful attack on their fleet. Setting fire to the fort, they embarked so hastily that a part of their military stores were abandoned, and fled as if from an overwhelming force, Oglethorpe hastening their flight by pursuit with his few vessels.

Thus ended this affair, one of the most remarkable in its outcome of any in the military history of the United States. For fifteen days General Oglethorpe, with little over six hundred men and two armed vessels, had baffled the Spanish general with fifty-six ships and five thousand men, defeating him in every encounter in the field, and at length, by an ingenious stratagem, compelling him to retreat103 with the loss of several ships and much of his provisions, munitions, and artillery. In all our colonial history there is nothing to match this repulse of such a formidable force by a mere handful of men. It had the effect of saving Georgia, and perhaps Carolina, from falling into the hands of the Spanish. From that time forward Spain made no effort to invade the English colonies. The sole hostile action of the Spaniards of Florida was to inspire the Indians of that peninsula to make raids in Georgia, and this annoyance led in the end to the loss of Florida by Spain.



We wish to say something here about a curious old man who lived in Virginia when George Washington was a boy, and who was wise enough to see that young Washington was anything but a common boy. This man was an English nobleman named Lord Fairfax. As the nobles of England were not in the habit of coming to the colonies, except as governors, we must tell what brought this one across the sea.

It happened in this way. His grandfather, Lord Culpeper, had at one time been governor of Virginia, and, like some other governors, had taken care to feather his nest. Seeing how rich the land was between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, when he went home he asked the king to give him all this land, and the king, Charles II., in his good easy way of giving away what did not belong to him, readily consented, without troubling himself about the rights of the people who lived on the land. A great and valuable estate it was. Not many dwelt on it, and Lord Culpeper promised to have it settled and cultivated, but we cannot say that he troubled himself much about doing so.

When old Culpeper died the Virginia land went to his daughter, and from her it descended to her105 son, Lord Fairfax, who sent out his cousin, William Fairfax, to look after his great estate, which covered a whole broad county in the wilderness, and counties in those days were often very large. Lord Fairfax was not much concerned about the American wildwood. He was one of the fashionable young men in London society, and something of an author, too, for he helped the famous Addison by writing some papers for the "Spectator."

But noblemen, like common men, are liable to fall in love, and this Lord Fairfax did. He became engaged to be married to a handsome young lady; but she proved to be less faithful than pretty, and when a nobleman of higher rank asked her to marry him, she threw her first lover aside and gave herself to the richer one.

This was a bitter blow to Lord Fairfax. He went to his country home and dwelt there in deep distress, vowing that all women were false-hearted and that he would never marry any of them. And he never did. Even his country home was not solitary enough for the broken-hearted lover, so he resolved to cross the ocean and seek a new home in his wilderness land in America. It was this that brought him to Virginia, where he went to live at his cousin's fine mansion called Belvoir, a place not far away from the Washington estate of Mount Vernon.

Lord Fairfax was a middle-aged man at that time, a tall, gaunt, near-sighted personage, who spent much of his time in hunting, of which he was very fond. And his favorite companion in these hunting106 excursions was young George Washington, then a fine, fresh, active boy of fourteen, who dearly loved outdoor life. There was a strong contrast between the old lord and the youthful Virginian, but they soon became close friends, riding out fox-hunting together and growing intimate in other ways.

Laurence Washington, George's elder brother, who lived at Mount Vernon, had married a daughter of William Fairfax, and that brought the Mount Vernon and Belvoir families much together, so that when young George was visiting his brother he was often at Belvoir. Lord Fairfax grew to like him so much that he resolved to give him some important work to do. He saw that the boy was strong, manly, and quick-witted, and anxious to be doing something for himself, and as George had made some study of surveying, he decided to employ him at this.

Lord Fairfax's Virginia estate, as we have said, was very large. The best-known part of it lay east, but it also crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, and ran over into the beautiful valley beyond, which the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe had visited more than thirty years before. This splendid valley was still largely in a wild state, with few inhabitants besides the savage Indians and wild beasts. Before it could be fairly opened to settlers it must be measured by the surveyor's chain and mapped out so that it would be easy to tell where any tract was located. It was this that Lord Fairfax asked young Washington to do, and which the107 active boy gladly consented to undertake, for he liked nothing better than wild life and adventure in the wilderness, and here was the chance to have a delightful time in a new and beautiful country, an opportunity that would warm the heart of any live and healthy boy.

This is a long introduction to the story of Washington's wildwood outing, but no doubt you will like to know what brought it about. It was in the early spring of 1748 that the youthful surveyor set out on his ride, the blood bounding warmly in his veins as he thought of the new sensations and stirring adventures which lay before him. He was not alone. George William Fairfax, a son of the master of Belvoir, went with him, a young man of twenty-two. Washington was then just sixteen, young enough to be in high spirits at the prospect before him. He brought his surveyors' instruments, and they both bore guns as well, for they looked for some fine sport in the woods.

The valley beyond the mountains was not the land of mystery which it had been thirty-four years before, when Governor Spotswood and his gay troop looked down on it from the green mountain summit. There were now some scattered settlers in it, and Lord Fairfax had built himself a lodge in the wilderness, which he named "Greenway Court," and where now and then he went for a hunting excursion.

Crossing the Blue Ridge at Ashby's Gap and fording the bright Shenandoah, the young surveyors108 made their way towards this wildwood lodge. It was a house with broad stone gables, its sloping roof coming down over a long porch in front. The locality was not altogether a safe one. There were still some Indians in that country, and something might stir them up against the whites. In two belfries on the roof hung alarm-bells, to be rung to collect the neighboring settlers if report of an Indian rising should be brought.

HOME OF MARY WASHINGTON, FREDERICKSBURG, VA. Home of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va.
Purchased by George Washington for his mother.

On the forest road leading to Greenway Court a white post was planted, with an arm pointing towards the house, as a direction to visitors. As the post decayed or was thrown down by any cause another was erected, and on this spot to-day such a post stands, with the village of White Post built around it. But when young Washington and Fairfax passed the spot only forest trees stood round the post, and they rode on to the Court, where they rested awhile under the hospitable care of Lord Fairfax's manager.

It was a charming region in which the young surveyors found themselves after their brief term of rest, a land of lofty forests and broad grassy openings, with the silvery river sparkling through their midst. The buds were just bursting on the trees, the earliest spring flowers were opening, and to right and left extended long blue mountain-ranges, the giant guardians of the charming valley of the Shenandoah. In those days there were none of the yellow grain-fields, the old mansions surrounded by groves, the bustling villages and towns which now109 mark the scene, but nature had done her best to make it picturesque and beautiful, and the youthful visitors enjoyed it as only those of young blood can.

Up the banks of the Shenandoah went the surveyors, measuring and marking the land and mapping down its leading features. It was no easy work, but they enjoyed it to the full. At night they would stop at the rude house of some settler, if one was to be found; if not, they would build a fire in the woods, cook the game their guns had brought down, wrap their cloaks around them, and sleep heartily under the broad blanket of the open air.

Thus they journeyed on up the Shenandoah until they reached the point where its waters flow into the Potomac. Then up this stream they made their way, crossing the mountains and finally reaching the place which is now called Berkeley Springs. It was then in the depth of the wilderness, but in time a town grew up around it, and many years afterward Washington and his family often went there in the summer to drink and bathe in its wholesome mineral waters.

The surveyors had their adventures, and no doubt often made the woodland echoes ring with the report of their guns as they brought down partridge or pheasant, or tracked a deer through the brushwood. Nothing of special note happened to them, the thing which interested them most being the sight of a band of Indians, the first they had ever seen. The red men had long since disappeared from the part of Virginia in which they lived.


These tenants of the forest came along one day when the youths had stopped at the house of a settler. There were about thirty of them in their war-paint, and one of them had a fresh scalp hanging at his belt. This indicated that they had recently been at war with their enemies, of whom at least one had been killed. The Indians were given some liquor, in return for which they danced their war-dance before the boys. For music one of them drummed on a deer-skin which he stretched over an iron pot, and another rattled a gourd containing some shot and ornamented with a horse's tail. The others danced with wild whoops and yells around a large fire they had built. Altogether the spectacle was a singular and exciting one on which the boys looked with much interest.

While they had no serious adventures, their life in the forest was not a very luxurious one. In many ways they had to rough it. At times they were drenched by downpours of rain. They slept anywhere, now and then in houses, but most often in the open air. On one occasion some straw on which they lay asleep caught fire and they woke just in time to escape being scorched by the flames.

"I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed," wrote George to a friend, "but after walking a good deal all the day I have lain down before the fire on a little straw or fodder, or a bear-skin, whatever was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats; and happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire."


Their cooking was often done by impaling the meat on sharp sticks and holding it over the fire, while chips cut with their hatchet took the place of dishes. But to them all this was enjoyment, their appetites were hearty, and anything having the spice of adventure was gladly welcomed. It was the event of their young lives.

It was still April when they returned from their long river ride to Greenway Court, and here enjoyed for some time the comforts of civilization, so far as they had penetrated that frontier scene. Spring was still upon the land, though summer was near by, when George and his friend rode back across the Blue Ridge and returned to Belvoir with the report of what they had done. Lord Fairfax was highly pleased with the report, and liked George more than ever for the faithful and intelligent manner in which he had carried out his task. He paid the young surveyor at the rate of seven dollars a day for the time he was actually at work, and half this amount for the remaining time. This was worth a good deal more then than the same sum of money would be now, and was very good pay for a boy of sixteen. No doubt the lad felt rich with the first money he had ever earned in his pocket.

As for Lord Fairfax, he was in high glee to learn what a valuable property he had across the hills, and especially how fine a country it was for hunting. He soon left Belvoir and made his home at Greenway Court, where he spent the remainder of his life. It was a very different life from that of112 his early days in the bustle of fashionable life in London, but it seemed to suit him as well or better.

One thing more we have to say about him. He was still living at Greenway Court when the Revolutionary War came on. A loyalist in grain, he bitterly opposed the rebellion of the colonists. By the year 1781 he had grown very old and feeble. One day he was in Winchester, a town which had grown up not far from Greenway, when he heard loud shouts and cheers in the street.

"What is all that noise about?" he asked his old servant.

"Dey say dat Gin'ral Washington has took Lord Cornwallis an' all his army prisoners. Yorktown is surrendered, an' de wa' is ovah."

"Take me to bed, Joe," groaned the old lord; "it is time for me to die."

Five years after his surveying excursion George Washington had a far more famous adventure in the wilderness, when the governor of Virginia sent him through the great forest to visit the French forts near Lake Erie. The story of this journey is one of the most exciting and romantic events in American history, yet it is one with which most readers of history are familiar, so we have told the tale of his earlier adventures instead. His forest experience on the Shenandoah had much to do with making Governor Dinwiddie choose him as his envoy to the French forts, so that it was, in a way, the beginning of his wonderful career.



There was a day in the history of the Old Dominion when a great lawsuit was to be tried,—a great one, that is, to the people of Hanover County, where it was heard, and to the colony of Virginia, though not to the country at large. The Church of England was the legal church in Virginia, whose people were expected to support it. This the members of other churches did not like to do, and the people of Hanover County would not pay the clergymen for their preaching. This question of paying the preachers spread far and wide. It came to the House of Burgesses, which body decided that the people need not pay them. It crossed the ocean and reached the king of England, who decided that the people must pay them. As the king's voice was stronger than that of the burgesses, the clergy felt that they had an excellent case, and they brought a lawsuit to recover their claims. By the old law each clergyman was to be paid his salary in tobacco, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds weight a year.

There seemed to be nothing to do but pay them, either in cash or tobacco. All the old lawyers who looked into the question gave it up at once, saying that the people had no standing against the king114 and the clergy. But while men were saying that the case for the county would be passed without a trial and a verdict rendered for the clergy, an amusing rumor began to spread around. It was said that young Patrick Henry was going to conduct the case for the people.

HOME OF PATRICK HENRY. Copyright, 1906, by R. A. Lancaster, Jr.
Home of Patrick Henry During His Last Two Terms as Governor of Virginia.

We call this amusing, and so it was to those who knew Patrick Henry. He was a lawyer, to be sure, but one who knew almost nothing about the law and had never made a public speech in his life. He was only twenty-seven years of age, and those years had gone over him mainly in idleness. In his boyhood days he had spent his time in fishing, hunting, dancing, and playing the fiddle, instead of working on his father's farm. As he grew older he liked sport too much and work too little to make a living. He tried store-keeping and failed through neglect of his business. He married a wife whose father gave him a farm, but he failed with this, too, fishing and fiddling when he should have been working, and in two years the farm was sold. Then he went back to store-keeping, and with the same result. The trouble was his love for the fiddle and the fishing-line, which stood very much in the way of business. He was too lazy and fond of good company and a good time to make a living for himself and his wife.

The easy-going fellow was now in a critical situation. He had to do something if he did not want to starve, so he borrowed some old law-books and began to read law. Six weeks later he applied to115 an old judge for a license to practise in the courts. The judge questioned him and found that he knew nothing about the law; but young Henry pleaded with him so ardently, and promised so faithfully to keep on studying, that the judge gave him the license and he hung out his shingle as a lawyer.

Whatever else Patrick Henry might be good for, people thought that to call himself a lawyer was a mere laughing matter. An awkward, stooping, ungainly fellow, dressed roughly in leather breeches and yarn stockings, and not knowing even how to pronounce the king's English correctly, how could he ever succeed in a learned profession? As a specimen of his manner of speech at that time we are told that once, when denying the advantages of education, he clinched the argument by exclaiming, "Nait'ral parts are better than all the larnin' on airth."

As for the law, he did not know enough about it to draw up the simplest law-paper. As a result, he got no business, and was forced, as a last resort, to help keep a tavern which his father-in-law possessed at Hanover Court-House. And so he went on for two or three years, till 1763, when the celebrated case came up. Those who knew him might well look on it as a joke when the word went round that Patrick Henry was going to "plead against the parsons." That so ignorant a lawyer should undertake to handle a case which all the old lawyers had refused might well be held as worthy only of ridicule. They did not know Patrick Henry.116 It is not quite sure that he knew himself. His father sat on the bench as judge, but what he thought of his son's audacity history does not say.

When the day for the trial came there was a great crowd at Hanover Court-House, for the people were much interested in the case. On the opening of the court the young lawyer crossed the street from the tavern and took his seat behind the bar. What he saw was enough to dismay and confuse a much older man. The court-room was crowded, and every man in it seemed to have his eyes fixed on the daring young counsel, many of them with covert smiles on their faces. The twelve men of the jury were chosen. There were present a large number of the clergy waiting triumphantly for the verdict, which they were sure would be in their favor, and looking in disdain at the young lawyer. On the bench as judge sat John Henry, doubtless feeling that he had a double duty to perform, to judge at once the case and his son.

The aspiring advocate, so little learned in the law and so poorly dressed and ungainly in appearance, looked as if he would have given much just then to be out of the court and clear of the case. But the die was cast; he was in for it now.

The counsel for the clergymen opened the case. He dwelt much on the law of the matter, whose exact meaning he declared was beyond question. The courts had already decided on that subject, and so had his sacred majesty, the king of England. There was nothing for the jury to do, he asserted,117 but to decide how much money his clients were entitled to under the law. The matter seemed so clear that he made but a brief address and sat down with a look of complete satisfaction. As he did so Patrick Henry rose.

This, as may well be imagined, was a critical moment in the young lawyer's life. He rose very awkwardly and seemed thoroughly frightened. Every eye was fixed on him and not a sound was heard. Henry was in a state of painful embarrassment. When he began to speak, his voice was so low that he could hardly be heard, and he faltered so sadly that his friends felt that all was at an end.

But, as he himself had once said, "Nait'ral parts are better than all the larnin' on airth;" and he had these "nait'ral parts," as he was about to prove. As he went on a change in his aspect took place. His form became erect, his head uplifted, his voice clearer and firmer. He soon began to make it appear that he had thought deeply on the people's cause and was prepared to handle it strongly. His eyes began to flash, his voice to grow resonant and fill the room; in the words of William Wirt, his biographer, "As his mind rolled along and began to glow from its own action, all the exuviæ of the clown seemed to shed themselves spontaneously."

The audience listened in surprise, the clergy in consternation. Was this the Patrick Henry they had known? It was very evident that the young advocate knew just what he was talking about,118 and he went on with a forcible and burning eloquence that fairly carried away every listener. There was no thought now of his clothes and his uncouthness. The man stood revealed before them, a man with a gift of eloquence such as Virginia had never before known. He said very little on the law of the case, knowing that to be against him, but he addressed himself to the jury on the rights of the people and of the colony, and told them it was their duty to decide between the House of Burgesses and the king of England. The Burgesses, he said, were their own people, men of their own choice, who had decided in their favor; the king was a stranger to them, and had no right to order them what to do.

Here he was interrupted by the old counsel for the clergy, who rose in great indignation and exclaimed, "The gentleman has spoken treason."

We do not know just what words Henry used in reply. We have no record of that famous speech. But he was not the man to be frightened by the word "treason," and did not hesitate to repeat his words more vigorously than before. As for the parsons, he declared, their case was worthless. Men who led such lives as they were known to have done had no right to demand money from the people. So bitterly did he denounce them that all those in the room rose and left the court in a body.

By the time the young advocate had reached the end of his speech the whole audience was in a state of intense excitement. They had been treated to119 the sensation of their lives, and looked with utter astonishment at the marvellous orator, who had risen from obscurity to fame in that brief hour. Breathless was the interest with which the jury's verdict was awaited. The judge charged that the law was in favor of the parsons and that the king's order must be obeyed, but they had the right to decide on the amount of damages. They were not long in deciding, and their verdict was the astounding one of one penny damages.

The crowd was now beyond control. A shout of delight and approbation broke out. Uproar and confusion followed the late decorous quiet. The parsons' lawyer cried out that the verdict was illegal and asked the judge to send the jury back. But his voice was lost in the acclamations of the multitude. Gathering round Patrick Henry, they picked him up bodily, lifted him to their shoulders, and bore him out, carrying him in triumph through the town, which rang loudly with their cries and cheers. Thus it was that the young lawyer of Hanover rose to fame.

Two years after that memorable day Patrick Henry found himself in a different situation. He was now a member of the dignified House of Burgesses, the oldest legislative body in America. An aristocratic body it was, made up mostly of wealthy landholders, dressed in courtly attire and sitting in proud array. There were few poor men among them, and perhaps no other plain countryman to compare with the new member from Hanover120 County, who had changed but little in dress and appearance from his former aspect.

A great question was before the House. The Stamp Act had been passed in England and the people of the colonies were in a high state of indignation. They rose in riotous mobs and vowed they would never pay a penny of the tax. As for the Burgesses, they proposed to act with more loyalty and moderation. They would petition the king to do them justice. It was as good as rebellion to refuse to obey him.

The member from Hanover listened to their debate, and said to himself that it was weak and its purpose futile. He felt sure that the action they proposed would do no good, and when they had fairly exhausted themselves he rose to offer his views on the question at issue.

Very likely some of the fine gentlemen there looked at him with surprise and indignation. Who was this presumptuous new member who proposed to tell the older members what to do? Some of them may have known him and been familiar with that scene in Hanover Court-House. Others perhaps mentally deplored the indignity of sending common fellows like this to sit in their midst.

But Patrick Henry now knew his powers, and cared not a whit for their respectable sentiments. He had something to say and proposed to say it. Beginning in a quiet voice, he told them that the Stamp Act was illegal, as ignoring the right of the House to make the laws for the colony. It was121 not only illegal, but it was oppressive, and he moved that the House of Burgesses should pass a series of resolutions which he would read.

These resolutions were respectful in tone, but very decided in meaning. The last of them declared that nobody but the Burgesses had the right to tax Virginians. This statement roused the house. It sounded like rebellion against the king. Several speakers rose together and all of them denounced the resolutions as injudicious and impertinent. The excitement of the loyalists grew as they proceeded, but they subsided into silence when the man who had offered the resolutions rose to defend them.

Patrick Henry was aroused. As he spoke his figure grew straight and erect, his voice loud and resonant, his eye flashed, the very sweep of his hand was full of force and power. He for one was not prepared to become a slave to England and her king. He denounced the islanders who proposed to rob Americans of their vested rights. In what way was an Englishman better than a Virginian? he asked. Were they not of one blood and born with the same right to liberty and justice? What right had the Parliament to act the tyrant to the colonies? Then, referring to the king, he bade him in thundering tones to beware of the consequences of his acts.

"Cæsar had his Brutus," he exclaimed, in tones of thrilling force, "Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third——"

"Treason! Treason!" came from a dozen excited voices, but Henry did not flinch.


"May profit by their example." Then, in a quieter tone, he added: "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH. St. John's Church.

He took his seat. He had said his words. These words still roll down the tide of American history as resonantly as when they were spoken. As for the House of Burgesses, it was carried away by the strength of this wonderful speech. When the resolutions came to a vote it was seen that Henry had won. They were carried, even the last and most daring of them, by one vote majority. As the Burgesses tumultuously adjourned, one member rushed out in great excitement, declaring that he would have given five hundred guineas for one vote to defeat the treasonable resolutions. But the people with delight heard of what had passed, and as Henry passed through the crowd a plain countryman clapped him on the shoulder, exclaiming,—

"Stick to us, old fellow, or we are gone."

Ten years later, in the old church of St. John's, at Richmond, Virginia, standing not far from the spot where the old Indian emperor, Powhatan, once resided, a convention was assembled to decide on the state of the country. Rebellion was in the air. In a month more the first shots of the Revolution were to be fired at Lexington. Patrick Henry, still the same daring patriot as of old, rose and moved that Virginia "be immediately put in a state of defence."

This raised almost as much opposition as his former resolutions in the House of Burgesses, and123 his blood was boiling as he rose to speak. It was the first speech of his that has been preserved, and it was one that still remains unsurpassed in the annals of American eloquence. We give its concluding words. He exclaimed, in tones of thunder,—

"There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged, their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! It is in vain to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, 'Peace, peace,' but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

His motion was passed, and Virginia told the world that she was ready to fight. A month later there came from the north "the clash of resounding arms;" the American Revolution was launched.

"It is not easy to say what we would have done without Patrick Henry," says Thomas Jefferson. "His eloquence was peculiar; if, indeed, it should be called eloquence, for it was impressive and sublime beyond what can be imagined. After all, it must be allowed that he was our leader. He left us all far behind."



The first blood shed by "rebels" in America, in those critical years when the tide of events was setting strong towards war and revolution, was by the settlers on the upper waters of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. A hardy people these were, of that Highland Scotch stock whose fathers had fought against oppression for many generations. Coming to America for peace and liberty, they found bitter oppression still, and fought against it as their ancestors had done at home. It is the story of these sturdy "Regulators" that we have here to tell.

It was not the tyranny of king or parliament with which these liberty-lovers had to deal, but that of Governor Tryon, the king's representative in this colony, and one of the worst of all the royal governors. Bancroft has well described his character. "The Cherokee chiefs, who knew well the cruelty and craft of the most pernicious beast of prey in the mountains, ceremoniously distinguished the governor by the name of the Great Wolf." It was this Great Wolf who was placed in command over the settlers of North Carolina, and whose lawless acts drove them to rebellion.

Under Governor Tryon the condition of the colony125 of North Carolina was worse than that of a great city under the rule of a political "Boss." The people were frightfully overtaxed, illegal fees were charged for every service, juries were packed, and costs of suits at law made exorbitant. The officers of the law were insolent and arbitrary, and by trickery and extortion managed to rob many settlers of their property. And this was the more hateful to the people from the fact that much of the money raised was known to go into the pockets of officials and much of it was used by Governor Tryon in building himself a costly and showy "palace." Such was the state of affairs which led to the "rebellion" in North Carolina.

Many of the people of the mountain districts organized under the name of "Regulators," binding themselves to fight against illegal taxes and fees, and not to pay them unless forced to do so. The first outbreak took place in 1768 when a Regulator rode into Hillsborough, and Colonel Fanning wantonly seized his horse for his tax. It was quickly rescued by a mob armed with clubs and muskets, some of which were fired at Fanning's house.

This brought matters to a head. Supported by the governor, Fanning denounced the Regulators as rebels, threatened to call out the militia, and sent out a secret party who arrested two of the settlers. One of these, Herman Husbands, had never joined the Regulators or been concerned in any tumult, and was seized while quietly at home on his own126 land. But he was bound, insulted, hurried to prison, and threatened with the gallows. He escaped only by the payment of money and the threat of the Regulators to take him by force from the jail.

The next step was taken after Governor Tryon had promised to hear the complaints of the people and punish the men guilty of extortion. Under this promise Husbands brought suit against Fanning for unjust imprisonment. At once the governor showed his real sentiment. He demanded the complete submission of the Regulators, called out fifteen hundred armed men, and was said to intend to rouse the Indians to cut off the men of Orange County as rebels.

In spite of this threatening attitude of the governor, Husbands was acquitted on every charge, and Fanning was found guilty on six separate indictments. There was also a verdict given against three Regulators. This was the decision of the jury alone. That of the judges showed a different spirit. They punished Fanning by fining him one penny on each charge, while the Regulators were each sentenced to fifty pounds fine and six months' imprisonment. To support this one-sided justice Tryon threatened the Regulators with fire and sword, and they remained quietly at home, brooding moodily over their failure but hesitating to act.

We must now go on to the year 1770. The old troubles had continued,—illegal fees and taxes, 127peculation and robbery. The sheriffs and tax-collectors were known to have embezzled over fifty thousand pounds. The costs of suits at law had so increased that justice lay beyond the reach of the poor. And back of all this reigned Governor Tryon in his palace, supporting the spoilers of the people. So incensed did they become that at the September court, finding that their cases were to be ignored, they seized Fanning and another lawyer and beat them soundly with cowhide whips, ending by a destructive raid on Fanning's house.

The Assembly met in December. It had been chosen under a state of general alarm. The Regulators elected many representatives, among them the persecuted Herman Husbands, who was chosen to represent Orange County. This defiant action of the people roused the "Great Wolf" again. Husbands had been acquitted of everything charged against him, yet Tryon had him voted a disturber of the peace and expelled from the House, and immediately afterward had him arrested and put in prison without bail, though there was not a grain of evidence against him.

The governor followed this act of violence with a "Riot Act" of the most oppressive and illegal character. Under it if any ten men assembled and did not disperse when ordered to do so, they were to be held guilty of felony. For a riot committed either before or after this act was published any persons accused might be tried before the Superior Court, no matter how far it was from their homes, and if128 they did not appear within sixty days, with or without notice, they were to be proclaimed outlaws and to forfeit their lives and property. The governor also sent out a request for volunteers to march against the "rebels," but the Assembly refused to grant money for this warlike purpose.

Governor Tryon had shown himself as unjust and tyrannous as Governor Berkeley of Virginia had done in his contest with Bacon. It did not take him long to foment the rebellion which he seemed determined to provoke. When the Regulators heard that their representative had been thrown into prison, and that they were threatened with exile or death as outlaws, they prepared to march on Newbern for the rescue of Husbands, filling the governor with such alarm for the safety of his fine new palace that he felt it wise to release his captive. He tried to indict the sturdy Highlander for a pretended libel, but the Grand Jury refused to support him in this, and Husbands was set free. The Regulators thereupon dispersed, after a party of them had visited the Superior Court at Salisbury and expressed their opinion very freely about the lawyers, the officials, and the Riot Act, which they declared had no warrant in the laws of England.

As yet the Regulators had done little more than to protest against tyranny and oppression and to show an intention to defend their representative against unjust imprisonment, yet they had done enough to arouse their lordly governor to revenge. Rebels they were, for they had dared to question his acts,129 and rebels he would hold them. As the Grand Jury would not support him in his purpose, he took steps to obtain juries and witnesses on whom he could rely, and then brought charges against many of the leading Regulators of Orange County, several of whom had been quietly at home during the riots of which they were accused.

The governor's next step was to call the Grand Jury to his palace and volunteer to them to lead troops into the western counties, the haunt of the Regulators. The jurymen, who were his own creatures, hastened to applaud his purpose, and the Council agreed. The Assembly refused to provide funds for such a purpose, but Tryon got over this difficulty by issuing a paper currency.

A force of militia was now raised in the lower part of the colony and the country of the Regulators was invaded. Tryon marched at the head of a strong force into Orange County, and proceeded to deal with it as if it were a country conquered in war. As he advanced, the wheat-fields were destroyed and the orchards felled. Every house found empty was burned to the ground. Cattle, poultry, and all the produce of the plantations were seized. The terrified people ran together like sheep pursued by a wolf. The men who had been indicted for felony at Newbern, and who had failed to submit themselves to the mercy of his packed juries and false witnesses, were proclaimed outlaws, whose lives and property were forfeit. Never had the colonies been so spoiled on such slight pretence.


Thus marching onward like a conquering general of the Middle Ages, leaving havoc and ruin in his rear, on the evening of May 14, 1771, Tryon reached the great Alamance River, at the head of a force of a little over one thousand men. About five miles beyond this stream were gathered the Regulators who had fled before his threatening march. They were probably superior in numbers to Tryon's men, but many of them had no weapons, and they were principally concerned lest the governor "would not lend an ear to the just complaints of the people." These "rebels" were certainly not in the frame of mind to make rebellion successful.

The Regulators were not without a leader. One of their number, James Hunter, they looked upon as their "general," a title of which his excellent capacity and high courage made him worthy. On the approach of Tryon at the head of his men James Hunter and Benjamin Merrill advanced to meet him. They received from him this ultimatum:

"I require you to lay down your arms, surrender up the outlawed ringleaders, submit yourselves to the laws, and rest on the lenity of the government. By accepting these terms in one hour you will prevent an effusion of blood, as you are at this time in a state of war and rebellion."

Hopeless as the Regulators felt their cause, they were not ready to submit to such a demand as this. There was not an outlaw among them, for not one of them had been legally indicted. As to the lenity131 of the government, they had an example before their eyes in the wanton ruin of their houses and crops. With such a demand, nothing was left them but to fight.

Tryon began the action by firing a field-piece into the group of Regulators. At this the more timid of them—perhaps only the unarmed ones—withdrew, but the bold remainder returned the fire, and a hot conflict began, which was kept up steadily for two hours. The battle, at first in the open field, soon shifted to the woodland, where the opponents sheltered themselves behind trees and kept up the fight. Not until their ammunition was nearly gone, and further resistance was impossible, did Hunter and his men retreat, leaving Tryon master of the field. They had lost twenty of their number besides the wounded and some prisoners taken in the pursuit. Of Tryon's men nine were killed and sixty-one wounded. Thus ended the affray known as the battle of the Alamance, in which were fired the first shots for freedom from tyranny by the people of the American colonies.

The victorious governor hastened to make revengeful use of his triumph. He began the next day by hanging James Few, one of the prisoners, as an outlaw, and confiscating his estate. A series of severe proclamations followed, and his troops lived at free quarters on the Regulators, forcing them to contribute provisions, and burning the houses and laying waste the plantations of all those who had been denounced as outlaws.


On his return to Hillsborough the governor issued a proclamation denouncing Herman Husbands, James Hunter, and some others, asking "every person" to shoot them at sight, and offering a large reward for their bodies alive or dead. Of the prisoners still in his hands, he had six of them hung in his own presence for the crime of treason. Then, some ten days later, having played the tyrant to the full in North Carolina, he left that colony forever, having been appointed governor of New York. The colony was saddled by him with an illegal debt of forty thousand pounds, which he left for its people to pay.

As for the fugitive Regulators, there was no safety for them in North Carolina, and the governors of South Carolina and Virginia were requested not to give them refuge. But they knew of a harbor of refuge to which no royal governors had come, over which the flag of England had never waved, and where no lawyer or tax-collector had yet set foot, in that sylvan land west of the Alleghenies on which few besides Daniel Boone, the famous hunter, had yet set foot.

Here was a realm for a nation, and one on which nature had lavished her richest treasures. Here in spring the wild crab-apple filled the air with the sweetest of perfumes, here the clear mountain-streams flowed abundantly, the fertile soil was full of promise of rich harvests, the climate was freshly invigorating, and the west winds ripe with the seeds of health. Here were broad groves of hickory and133 oak, of maple, elm, and ash, in which the elk and the red deer made their haunts, and the black bear, whose flesh the hunter held to be delicious beyond rivalry, fattened on the abundant crop of acorns and chestnuts. In the trees and on the grasses were quail, turkeys, and pigeons numberless, while the golden eagle built its nest on the mountain-peaks and swooped in circles over the forest land. Where the thickets of spruce and rhododendron threw their cooling shade upon the swift streams, the brook trout was abundant, plenty and promise were everywhere, and, aside from the peril of the prowling savage, the land was a paradise.

It was not in Kentucky, where Boone then dwelt alone, but in Tennessee that the fugitive Regulators sought a realm of safety. James Robertson, one of their number, had already sought the land beyond the hills and was cultivating his fields of maize on the Watauga's fertile banks. He was to become one of the leading men in later Tennessee. Hither the Regulators, fleeing from their persecutors, followed him, and in 1772 founded a republic in the wilderness by a written compact, Robertson being chosen one of their earliest magistrates. Thus, still defiant of persecution, they "set to the people of America the dangerous example of erecting themselves into a separate state, distinct from and independent of the authority of the British king."

Thus we owe to the Regulators of North Carolina the first decided step in the great struggle for134 independence so soon to come. And to North Carolina we must give the credit of making the earliest declaration of independence. More than a year before Jefferson's famous Declaration the people of Mecklenburg County passed a series of resolutions in which they declared themselves free from allegiance to the British crown. This was in May, 1775. On April 12, 1776, North Carolina authorized her delegates in the Continental Congress to declare for independence. Thus again the Old North State was the first to set her seal for liberty. The old Regulators had not all left her soil, and we seem to hear in these resolutions an echo of the guns which were fired on the Alamance in the first stroke of the colonists of America for freedom from tyranny.



In the city of Williamsburg, the old capital of Virginia, there still stands a curious old powder magazine, built nearly two centuries ago by Governor Spotswood, the hero of the "Golden Horseshoe" adventure. It is a strong stone building, with eight-sided walls and roof, which looks as if it might stand for centuries to come. On this old magazine hinges a Revolutionary tale, which seems to us well worth the telling. The story begins on April 19, 1775, the day that the shots at Lexington brought on the war for independence.

The British government did not like the look of things in America. The clouds in the air, and the occasional lightning flash and thunder roar, were full of threat of a coming storm. To prevent this, orders were sent from England to the royal governors to seize all the powder and arms in the colonies on a fixed day, This is what Governor Gage, of Massachusetts, tried to do at Concord on April 19th. In the night of the same day, Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, attempted the same thing at Williamsburg.

Had this been done openly in Virginia, as in Massachusetts, the story of Lexington would have136 been repeated there. Lord Dunmore took the patriots by surprise. A British ship-of-war, the "Magdalen," some time before, came sailing up York River, and dropped its anchor in the stream not far from Williamsburg. On the 19th of April Lord Dunmore sent word to Captain Collins, of the "Magdalen," that all was ready, and after dark on that day a party of soldiers, led by the captain, landed from the ship. About midnight they marched silently into the town. All was quiet, the people in their beds, sleeping the sleep of the just, and not dreaming that treachery was at their doors. The captain had the key to the magazine and opened its door, setting his soldiers to carry out as quietly as possible the half-barrels of gunpowder with which it was stored. They came like ghosts, and so departed. All was done so stealthily, that the morning of the 20th dawned before the citizens knew that anything had been going on in their streets under the midnight shadows.

When the news spread abroad the town was in an uproar. What right had the governor to meddle with anything bought with the hard cash of Virginia and belonging to the colony? In their anger they resolved to seize the governor and make him answer to the people for his act. They did not like Lord Dunmore, whom they knew to be a false-hearted man, and would have liked to make him pay for some former deeds of treachery. But the cooler heads advised them not to act in haste, saying that it was wiser to take peaceful measures,137 and to send and tell Dunmore that their powder must be returned.

This was done. The governor answered with a falsehood. He said that he had heard of some danger of an insurrection among the slaves in a neighboring county, and had taken the powder to use against them. If nothing happened, he would soon return it; they need not worry, all would be right.

This false story quieted the people of Williamsburg for a time. But it did not satisfy the people of Virginia. As the news spread through the colony the excitement grew intense. What right had Lord Dunmore to carry off the people's powder, bought for their defence? Many of them seized their arms, and at Fredericksburg seven hundred men assembled and sent word that they were ready to march on Williamsburg. Among them were the "minute men" of Culpeper, a famous band of frontiersmen, wearing green hunting-shirts and carrying knives and tomahawks. "Liberty or Death," Patrick Henry's stirring words, were on their breasts, and over their heads floated a significant banner. On it was a coiled rattlesnake, with the warning motto, "Don't tread on me!"

Prompt as these men were, there was one man in Virginia still more prompt, a man not to be trifled with by any lordly governor. This was Patrick Henry, the patriotic orator. The instant he heard of the stealing of the powder he sent word to the138 people in his vicinity to meet him at Newcastle, ready to fight for Virginia's rights. They came, one hundred and fifty of them, all well armed, and without hesitation he led them against the treacherous governor. It looked as if there was to be a battle in Virginia, as there had been in Massachusetts. Lord Dunmore was scared when he heard that the patriots were marching on him, as they had marched on Lord Berkeley a century before. He sent word hastily to Patrick Henry to stop his march and that he would pay for the powder.

OLD MAGAZINE AT WILLIAMSBURG. Old Magazine at Williamsburg.

Very likely this disappointed the indignant orator. Just then he would rather have fought Dunmore than take his money. But he had no good excuse for refusing it, so the cash was paid over, three hundred and thirty pounds sterling,—equal to about sixteen hundred dollars,—and Henry and his men marched home.

Lord Dunmore was in a towering rage at his defeat. He did what Berkeley had done against Bacon long before, issuing a proclamation in which he said that Patrick Henry and all those with him were traitors to the king. Then he sent to the "Magdalen" for soldiers, and had arms laid on the floors of his lordly mansion ready for use when the troops should come.

All was ripe for an outbreak. The people of Virginia had not been used to see British troops on their soil. If Lord Dunmore wanted war they were quite ready to let him have it. Arms were lacking, and some young men broke open the door139 of the magazine to see if any were there. As they did so there was a loud report and one of the party fell back bleeding. A spring-gun had been placed behind the door, doubtless by Lord Dunmore's orders.

The startling sound brought out the people. When they learned what had been done, they ran angrily to the magazine and seized all the arms they could find there. In doing so they made a discovery that doubled their indignation. Beneath the floor several barrels of gunpowder were hidden, as if to blow up any one who entered. While they were saying that this was another treacherous trick of the governor's, word was brought them that the troops from the "Magdalen" were marching on the town. With shouts of fury they ran for their arms. If Lord Dunmore was so eager for a fight, they were quite ready to accommodate him and to stand up before his British soldiers and strike for American rights. A few words will end this part of our story. When the governor saw the spirit of the people he did as Berkeley before him had done, fled to his ships and relieved Williamsburg of his presence. The Virginians had got rid of their governor and his British troops without a fight.

This ends the story of the gunpowder, but there were things that followed worth the telling. Virginia was not done with Lord Dunmore. Sailing in the "Magdalen" to Chesapeake Bay, he found there some other war-vessels, and proceeded with this squadron to Norfolk, of which he took possession.140 Most of the people of that town were true patriots, though by promises of plunder he induced some of the lower class of whites to join him, and also brought in many negro slaves from the country around. With this motley crew he committed many acts of violence, rousing all Virginia to resistance. A "Committee of Safety" was appointed and hundreds of men eagerly enlisted and were sent to invest Norfolk. But their enemy was not easy to find, as they kept out of reach most of the time on his ships.

On December 9, 1775, the first battle of the Revolution in the South took place. The patriot forces at that time were at a place called Great Bridge, near the Dismal Swamp, and not far from Norfolk. Against them Dunmore sent a body of his troops. These reached Great Bridge to find it a small wooden bridge over a stream, and to see the Americans awaiting them behind a breastwork which they had thrown up across the road at the opposite end of the bridge. Among them were the Culpeper "minute men," of whom we have spoken, with their rattlesnake standard, and one of the lieutenants in their company was a man who was to become famous in after years,—John Marshall, the celebrated Chief Justice of the United States.

The British posted their cannon and opened fire on the Virginians; then, when they fancied they had taken the spirit out of the backwoods militia, a force of grenadiers charged across the bridge, led by Captain Fordyce. He proved himself a good141 soldier, but he found the colonials good soldiers too. They held back their fire till the grenadiers were across the bridge and less than fifty yards away. Then the crack of rifles was heard and a line of fire flashed out all along the low breastwork. And it came from huntsmen who knew how to bring down their game.

Many of the grenadiers fell before this scorching fire. Their line was broken and thrown into confusion. Captain Fordyce at their head waved his hat, shouting, "The day is ours!" The words were barely spoken when he fell. In an instant he was on his feet again, brushing his knee as if he had only stumbled. Yet the brave fellow was mortally wounded, no less than fourteen bullets having passed through his body, and after a staggering step or two he fell dead.

This took the courage out of the grenadiers. They fell back in disorder upon the bridge, hastened by the bullets of the patriots. At every step some of them fell. The Virginians, their standard-bearer at their head, leaped with cheers of triumph over the breastwork and pursued them, driving them back in panic flight, and keeping up the pursuit till the fugitives were safe in Norfolk. Thus ended in victory the first battle for American liberty on the soil of the South.

Lord Dunmore had confidently expected his bold grenadiers to return with trophies of their victory over the untrained colonials. The news of their complete defeat filled him with fear and fury. At142 first he refused to believe it, and threatened to hang the boy who brought him the news. But the sight of the blood-stained fugitives soon convinced him, and in a sudden panic he took refuge with all his forces in his ships. The triumphant Virginians at once took possession of the town.

Dunmore lingered in the harbor with his fleet, and the victors opened fire with their cannon on the ships. "Stop your fire or I will burn your town with hot shot," he sent word. "Do your worst," retorted the bold Virginia commander, and bade his men to keep their cannons going. The ruthless governor kept his word, bombarding the town with red-hot shot, and soon it was in flames.

The fire could not be extinguished. For three days it raged, spreading in all directions, till the whole town was a sheet of flames. Not until there was nothing left to burn did the flames subside. Norfolk was a complete ruin. Its six thousand inhabitants, men, women, and children, were forced to flee from their burning homes and seek what scant refuge they could find in that chill winter season. Dunmore even landed his troops to fire on the place. Then, having visited the peaceful inhabitants with the direst horrors of war, he sailed in triumph away, glorying in his revenge.

The lordly governor now acted the pirate in earnest. He sailed up and down the shores of Chesapeake Bay, landing and plundering the plantations on every side. At a place called Gwyn's Island, on the western shore, he had a fort built,143 which he garrisoned mainly with the negroes and low whites he had brought from Norfolk. Just what was his purpose in this is not known, for the Virginians gave him no chance to carry it out. General Andrew Lewis, a famous Indian fighter, led a force of patriot volunteers against him, planting his cannon on the shore opposite the island, and opened a hot fire on the fort and the ships.

The first ball fired struck the "Dunmore," the ship which held the governor. A second struck the same ship, and killed one of its crew. A third smashed the governor's crockery, and a splinter wounded him in the leg. This was more than the courage of a Dunmore could stand, and sail was set in all haste, the fleet scattering like a flock of frightened birds. The firing continued all day long. Night came, and no signs of surrender were seen, though the fire was not returned. At daylight the next morning two hundred men were sent in boats to reconnoitre and attack the fort. They quickly learned that there was nothing to attack. Lord Dunmore had been preparing all night for flight. The fort had been dismantled of everything of value, and as the assailants sprang from their boats on the island the ships sailed hurriedly away.

The island itself was a sickening spectacle. The cannonade had made terrible havoc, and men lay dead or wounded all around, while many of the dead had been buried so hastily as to be barely covered. While they were looking at the frightful scene, a strong light appeared in the direction of144 the governor's flight. Its meaning was evident at a glance. Some of the vessels had grounded in the sands, and, as they could not be got off, he had set them afire to save them from the enemy.

That was almost the last exploit of Lord Dunmore. He kept up his plundering raids a little longer, and once sailed up the Potomac to Mount Vernon, with the fancy that he might find and capture Washington. But soon after that he sailed away with his plunder and about one thousand slaves whom he had taken from the plantations, and Virginia was well rid of her last royal governor. A patriot governor soon followed, Patrick Henry being chosen, and occupying the very mansion at Williamsburg from which Dunmore had proclaimed him a traitor.



One of the great needs of the Americans in the war of the Revolution was ammunition. Gunpowder and cannon-balls were hard to get and easy to get rid of, being fired away with the utmost generosity whenever the armies came together, and sought for with the utmost solicitude when the armies were apart. The patriots made what they could and bought what they could, and on one occasion sent as far as New Orleans, on the lower Mississippi, to buy some ammunition which the Spaniards were willing to sell.

But it was one thing to buy this much needed material and another thing to get it where it was needed. In those days it was a long journey to New Orleans and back. Yet the only way to obtain the ammunition was to send for it, and a valiant man, named Colonel David Rogers, a native of Virginia or Maryland, was chosen to go and bring it. His expedition was so full of adventure, and ended in such a tragic way, that it seems well worth telling about.

It was from the Old Red Stone Fort on the Monongahela River, one of the two streams that make up the Ohio, that the expedition was to start, and here Colonel Rogers found the boats and men waiting146 for him at the end of his ride across the hill country. There were forty men in the party, and embarking with these, Rogers soon floated down past Fort Pitt and entered the Ohio, prepared for a journey of some thousands of miles in length.

It was in the summer of the year 1778 that these bold men set out on a perilous journey from which few of them were to return. But what might come troubled them little. The weather was pleasant, the trees along the stream were charming in their summer foliage, and their hearts were full of hope and joy as they floated and rowed down the "Beautiful River," as it had been named by the Indians and the French.

They needed, indeed, to be alert and watchful, for they knew well that hundreds of hostile savages dwelt in the forest depths on both sides of the stream, eager for blood and scalps. But the rough frontiersmen had little fear of the Indians, with the water beneath them and their good rifles beside them, and they sang their border songs and chatted in jovial tones as they went steadily onward, eating and sleeping in the boats, for it was nowhere safe to land. In this way they reached the mouth of the Ohio in safety and turned their prows into the broader current of the Mississippi.

The first important stopping-point of the expedition was at the spot made historic by De Soto and Marquette, at the mouth of the Arkansas River, or the Ozark, as it was then called. Here stood a Spanish fort, near the locality where La Salle, a century147 earlier, had spent a pleasant week with the friendly Arkansas Indians. Colonel Rogers had been told about this fort, and advised to stop there and confer with its commander. As he came near them, he notified the Spaniards of his approach by a salvo of rifle shots, firing thirteen guns in honor of the fighting colonies and as a salute to the lords of the stream. The Spanish officer in command replied with three cannon shots, the woods echoing back their report.

Colonel Rogers now landed and marched at the head of his men to the fort, over them floating the Stars and Stripes, a new-born standard yet to become glorious, and to wave in honor all along that stream on whose banks it was then for the first time displayed. As they came near the fort they were met by the Spanish commandant, Captain Devilie, with his troops drawn up behind him, and the flag of Spain waving as if in salute to the new banner of the United States. The Spaniard met Rogers with dignified courtesy, both of them making low bows and exchanging words of friendly greeting. Devilie invited his guest into the fort, and, by way of entertaining the Americans, put his men through a series of parade movements near the fort. The two officers looked on from the walls, Devilie in his showy Spanish uniform and Rogers gay with his gold-laced hat and silver-hilted sword.

These performances at an end, Colonel Rogers told his host the purpose of his expedition, and was informed by him that the war-material which he148 was seeking was no longer at New Orleans, but had been removed to a fort farther up the river, near the locality where the city of St. Louis now stands. If the colonel had been advised of this sooner he might have saved himself a long journey. But there was the possibility that the officer at the St. Louis fort would refuse to surrender the ammunition without orders from his superiors. Besides this, he had been directed to go to New Orleans. So, on the whole, he thought it best to obey orders strictly, and to obtain from the Spanish governor an order to the commandant of the fort to deliver the goods. There was one difficulty in the way. The English had a hold on the river at a place called Natchez, where, as Captain Devilie told the colonel, they had built a fort. They might fire on him in passing and sink his boats, or force him to land and hold him prisoner. To escape this peril Colonel Rogers left the bulk of his men at the Spanish fort, taking only a single canoe and a half-dozen men with him. It was his purpose to try and slip past the Natchez fort in the night, and this was successfully done, the canoe gliding past unseen and conveying the small party safely to New Orleans.

Our readers no doubt remember how, a century before this time, the Chevalier La Salle floated down the great river and claimed all the country surrounding it for the king of France. Later on French settlers came there, and in 1718 they laid out the town of New Orleans, which soon became the capital of the province. The settlements here149 did not grow very fast, and it does not seem that France valued them highly, for in 1763, after the British had taken Canada from the French, all the land west of the Mississippi River was given up by France to Spain. This was to pay that country for the loss of Florida, which was given over to England. That is how the Spaniards came to own New Orleans, and to have forts along the river where French forts had once been.

Colonel Rogers found the Spanish governor at New Orleans as obliging as Captain Devilie had been. He got an order for the ammunition without trouble, and had nothing before him but to go back up-stream again. But that was not so easy to do. The river ran so swiftly that he soon found it would be no light matter to row his canoe up against the strong current. There was also the English fort at Natchez to pass, which might be very dangerous when going slowly up-stream. So he concluded to let the boat go and travel by land through the forest. This also was a hard task in a land of dense cane-brakes and matted woodland, and the small party had a toilsome time of it in pushing through the woods. At length, however, the Spanish fort on the Ozark was reached, and the men of the expedition were reunited. Bidding farewell to Captain Devilie, they took to their boats again and rowed up-stream past the mouth of the Ohio until Fort St. Louis was reached. The colonel was received here with the same courtesy as below, and on presenting his order was given the ammunition150 without question. It was carefully stowed in the boats, good-by was said to the officer who had hospitably entertained them, the oars were brought into play again, and the expedition started homeward.

So far all had gone well. The journey had been slow and weeks had lengthened into months, but no misadventure had happened, and their hearts were full of hope as the deeply laden craft were rowed into the Ohio and began the toilsome ascent of that stream. It was now the month of October. There was an autumn snap in the air, but this only fitted them the better for their work, and all around them was beautiful as they moved onward with song and jest, joyful in the hope of soon reaching their homes again. They did not know the fate that awaited them in those dark Ohio woodlands.

The boats made their way upward to a point in the river near where the city of Cincinnati was to be founded a few years later. As they passed this locality they saw a small party of Indians in a canoe crossing the river not far ahead of them. These were the first of the Ohio Indians they had seen, and the sight of them roused the frontier blood of the hardy boatmen. Too many cabins on the border had been burned and their inmates mercilessly slain for a frontiersman to see an Indian without a burning inclination to kill him. The colonel was in the same spirit with his men, and the boats were at once turned towards shore in pursuit of the151 savages. At the point they had reached the Licking River empties into the Ohio. Rowing into its mouth the men landed and, led by the colonel, climbed up the bank to look for the foe.

They found far more than they had counted on. The canoe-load of savages was but a decoy to lure them ashore, and as they ascended the river-bank a hot fire was opened on them by a large body of Indians hidden in the undergrowth. A trap had been laid for them and they had fallen into it.

The sudden and deadly volley threw the party into confusion, though after a minute they returned the fire and rushed upon the ambushed foe, Colonel Rogers at their head. Following him with cheers and yells, the men were soon engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand conflict, the sound of blows, shots, and war-cries filling the air, as the whites and red men fought obstinately for victory. But the Indians far outnumbered their opponents, and when at length the brave Rogers was seen to stagger and fall all hope left his followers. It was impossible to regain the boats which they had imprudently left, and they broke and fled into the forest, pursued by their savage foes.

Many days later the survivors of the bloody contest, thirteen in all, came straggling wearily into a white settlement on the Kanawha River in Virginia. Of the remainder of their party and their gallant leader nothing was ever heard again. One of the men reported that he had stayed with the wounded colonel during the night after the battle, where he152 "remained in the woods, in extreme pain and utterly past recovery." In the morning he was obliged to leave him to save his own life, and that was the last known on earth of Colonel Rogers.

As for the ammunition for which he had been sent, and which he had been decoyed by an Indian trick into abandoning, it fell into the hands of the savages, and was probably used in the later war in the service of those against whom it was intended to be employed. Such is the fortune of war.



On the evening of the 4th of July, 1778, a merry dance was taking place at the small settlement of Kaskaskia, in that far western region afterward known as Illinois. It must not be imagined that this was a celebration of the American Independence day, for the people of Kaskaskia knew little and cared less about American independence. It was only by chance that this day was chosen for the dance, but it had its significance for all that, for the first step was to be taken there that day in adding the great Northwest to the United States. The man by whom this was to be done was a brave Kentuckian named George Rogers Clark. He came of a daring family, for he was a brother of Captain William Clark, who, years afterward, was engaged with Captain Lewis in the famous Lewis and Clark expedition across the vast unknown wilderness between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.

Kaskaskia was one of the settlements made by the French between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. After the loss of Canada this country passed to England, and there were English garrisons placed in some of the forts. But Kaskaskia was thought so far away and so safe that it was left in charge of a French officer and French154 soldiers. A gay and light-hearted people they were, as the French are apt to be; and, as they found time hang heavy on their hands at that frontier stronghold, they had invited the people of the place, on the evening in question, to a ball at the fort.

All this is by way of introduction; now let us see what took place at the fort on that pleasant summer night. All the girls of the village were there and many of the men, and most of the soldiers were on the floor as well. They were dancing away at a jovial rate to the lively music of a fiddle, played by a man who sat on a chair at the side. Near him on the floor lay an Indian, looking on with lazy eyes at the dancers. The room was lighted by torches thrust into the cracks of the wall, and the whole party were in the best of spirits.

The Indian was not the only looker-on. In the midst of the fun a tall young man stepped into the room and stood leaning against the side of the door, with his eyes fixed on the dancers. He was dressed in the garb of the backwoods, but it was easy to be seen that he was not a Frenchman,—if any of the gay throng had taken the trouble to look at him.

All at once there was a startling interruption. The Indian sprang to his feet and his shrill war-whoop rang loudly through the room. His keen eyes had rested on the stranger and seen at a glance that there was something wrong. The new-comer155 was evidently an American, and that meant something there.

His yell of alarm broke up the dance in an instant. The women, who had just been laughing and talking, screamed with fright. All, men and women alike, huddled together in alarm. Some of the men ran for their guns, but the stranger did not move. From his place by the door he simply said, in a quiet way, "Don't be scared. Go on with your dance. But remember that you are dancing under Virginia and not under England."

VIEW IN THE NORTHWESTERN MOUNTAINS. View in the Northwestern Mountains.

As he was speaking, a crowd of men dressed like himself slipped into the room. They were all armed, and in a minute they spread through the fort, laying hands on the guns of the soldiers. The fort had been taken without a blow or a shot.

Rocheblave, the French commandant, was in bed while these events were taking place, not dreaming that an American was within five hundred miles. He learned better when the new-comers took him prisoner and began to search for his papers. The reason they did not find many of these was on account of their American respect for ladies. The papers were in Madame Rocheblave's room, which the Americans were too polite to enter, not knowing that she was shoving them as fast as she could into the fire, so that there was soon only a heap of ashes. A few were found outside, enough to show what the Americans wanted to make sure of,—that the English were doing their best to stir up the Indians against the settlers. To end this part of our story,156 we may say that the Americans got possession of Kaskaskia and its fort, and Rocheblave was sent off, with his papers, to Virginia. Probably his wide-awake wife went with him.

Now let us go back a bit and see how all this came to pass. Colonel Clark was a native of Virginia, but he had gone to Kentucky in his early manhood, being very fond of life in the woods. Here he became a friend of Daniel Boone, and no doubt often joined him in hunting excursions; but his business was that of a surveyor, at which he found plenty to do in this new country.

Meanwhile, the war for independence came on, and as it proceeded Clark saw plainly that the English at the forts in the West were stirring up the Indians to attack the American settlements and kill the settlers. It is believed that they paid them for this dreadful work and supplied them with arms and ammunition. All this Clark was sure of and he determined to try and stop it. So he made his way back to the East and had a talk with Patrick Henry, who was then governor of Virginia. He asked the governor to let him have a force to attack the English forts in the West. He thought he could capture them, and in this way put an end to the Indian raids.

Patrick Henry was highly pleased with Clark's plan. He gave him orders to "proceed to the defence of Kentucky," which was done to keep his real purpose a secret. He was also supplied with a large sum of money and told to enlist four 157companies of men, of whom he was to be the colonel. These he recruited among the hunters and pioneers of the frontier, who were the kind of men he wanted, and in the spring of 1778 he set out on his daring expedition.

With a force of about one hundred and fifty men Colonel Clark floated down the Ohio River in boats, landing at length about fifty miles above the river's mouth and setting off through the woods towards Kaskaskia. It was a difficult journey, and they had many hardships. Their food ran out on the way and they had to live on roots to keep from starvation. But at length one night they came near enough to hear the fiddle and the dancing. How they stopped the dance you have read.

Thus ends the first part of our story. It was easy enough to end, as has been seen. But there was a second part which was not so easy. You must know that the British had other strongholds in that country. One of them was Detroit, on the Detroit River, near Lake Erie. This was their starting-point. Far to the south, on the Wabash River, in what is now the State of Indiana, was another fort called Vincennes, which lay about one hundred and fifty miles to the east of Fort Kaskaskia. This was an old French fort also, and it was held by the French for the British as Kaskaskia had been. Colonel Clark wanted this fort too, and got it without much trouble. He had not men enough to take it by force, so he sent a French priest there, who told the people that their best friends were the Americans,158 not the British. It was not hard to make them believe this, for the French people had never liked the British. So they hauled down the British ensign and hauled up the Stars and Stripes, and Vincennes became an American fort.

After that Colonel Clark went back to Kentucky, proud to think that he had won the great Northwest Territory for the United States with so little trouble. But he might have known that the British would not let themselves be driven out of the country in this easy manner, and before the winter was over he heard news that was not much to his liking. Colonel Hamilton, the English commander at Detroit, had marched down to Vincennes and taken the fort back again. It was also said that he intended to capture Kaskaskia, and then march south and try and win Kentucky for the English. This Hamilton was the man who was said to have hired the Indians to murder the American settlers, and Clark was much disturbed by the news. He must be quick to act, or all that he had won would be lost.

He had a terrible task before him. The winter was near its end and the Wabash had risen and overflowed its banks on all sides. For hundreds of square miles the country was under water, and Vincennes was in the centre of a great shallow lake. It was freezing water, too, for this was no longer the warm spring time, as it had been in the march to Kaskaskia, but dull and drear February. Yet the brave colonel knew that he must act quickly if he was to act at all. Hamilton had only eighty159 men; he could raise twice that many. He had no money to pay them, but a merchant in St. Louis offered to lend him all he needed. There was the water to cross, but the hardy Kentucky hunters were used to wet and cold. So Colonel Clark hastily collected his men and set out for Vincennes.

A sturdy set of men they were who followed him, dressed in hunting-shirts and carrying their long and tried rifles. On their heads were fur caps, ornamented with deer or raccoon tails. They believed in Colonel Clark, and that is a great deal in warlike affairs. As they trudged onward there came days of cold, hard rain, so that every night they had to build great fires to warm themselves and dry their clothes. Thus they went on, day after day, through the woods and prairies, carrying their packs of provisions and supplies on their backs, and shooting game to add to their food supply.

This was holiday work to what lay before them. After a week of this kind of travel they came to a new kind. The "drowned lands" of the Wabash lay before them. Everywhere nothing but water was to be seen. The winter rains had so flooded the streams that a great part of the country was overflowed. And there was no way to reach the fort except by crossing those waters, for they spread round it on all sides. They must plunge in and wade through or give up and go back.

We may be sure that there were faint hearts among them when they felt the cold water and160 knew that there were miles of it to cross, here ankle- or knee-deep, there waist-deep. But they had known this when they started, and they were not the men to turn back. At Colonel Clark's cheery word of command they plunged in and began their long and shivering journey.

For nearly a week this terrible journey went on. It was a frightful experience. Now and then one of them would stumble and fall, and come up dripping. All day long they tramped dismally on through that endless waste of icy water. Here and there were islands of dry land over which they were glad enough to trudge, but at night they often had trouble to find a dry spot to build their fires and cook their food, and to sleep on beside the welcome blaze. It was hard enough to find game in that dreary waste, and their food ran out, so that for two whole days they had to go hungry. Thus they went on till they came to the point where White River runs into the Wabash.

Here they found some friends who had come by a much easier way. On setting out Colonel Clark had sent Captain Rogers and forty men, with two small cannon, in a boat up Wabash River, telling them to stop at the White River fork, about fifteen or twenty miles below Vincennes. Here their trudging friends found them, and from this point they resumed their march in company. It was easy enough now to transport the cannon by dragging or rowing the boat through the deep water which they had to traverse.


The worst of their difficult journey lay before them, for surrounding the fort was a sheet of water four miles wide which was deeper than any they had yet gone through. They had waded to their knees, and at times to their waists, but now they might have to wade to their necks. Some of them thrust their hands into the water and shivered at the touch, saying that it was freezing cold. There were men among them who held back, exclaiming that it was folly to think of crossing that icy lake.

"We have not come so far to turn back now," said Colonel Clark, sternly. "Yonder lies the fort, and a few hours will take us there. Follow me," and he walked boldly into the flood. As he did so he told one of his officers to shoot the first man who refused to follow. That settled the matter; they all plunged in.

It was the most frightful part of their journey. The water at places, as we have said, came at times almost to their necks. Much of it reached their waists. They struggled resolutely on, almost benumbed with the cold, now stumbling and catching themselves again, holding their guns and powder above their heads to keep them from becoming wet, and glad enough when they found the water growing shallower. At length dry land was reached once more, and none too soon, for some of the men were so faint and weak that they fell flat on the ground. Colonel Clark set two of his men to pick up these worn-out ones and run them up and162 down till they were warm again. In this way they were soon made all right.

It was now the evening of the 18th of February, 1779. They were near enough to the fort to hear the boom of the evening gun. This satisfied the colonel that they were at the end of their journey, and he bade his men to lie down and sleep and get ready for the work before them. There was no more wading to do, but there was likely to be some fighting.

Bright and early the next morning they were up and had got their arms and equipments in order. They were on the wrong side of the river, but a large boat was found, in which they crossed. Vincennes was now near at hand, and one of its people soon appeared, a Frenchman, who looked at them with as much astonishment as if they had dropped down from the sky. Colonel Clark questioned him about matters in the fort, and then gave him a letter to Colonel Hamilton, telling the colonel that they had come across the water to take back the fort, and that he had better surrender and save trouble.

We may be sure that the English colonel was astounded on receiving such a letter at such a time. That any men on earth could have crossed those wintry waters he could hardly believe, and it seemed to him that they must have come on wings. But there they were, asking him to give up the fort, a thing he had no notion of doing without a fight. If Colonel Clark wanted the fort he must come and take it.


Colonel Clark did want it. He wanted it badly. And it was not long before the two cannon which he had brought with him were loaded and pouring their shot into the fort, while the riflemen kept them company with their guns. Colonel Hamilton fired back with grape-shot and cannon-balls, and for hour after hour the siege went on, the roar of cannon echoing back from woodland and water. For fourteen hours the cannonade was kept up, all day long and far into the night, the red flashes from cannon and rifle lighting up all around. At length both sides were worn out, and they lay down to sleep, expecting to begin again with the morning light.

But that day's work, and the sure shooting of the Kentucky riflemen, had made such havoc in the fort as to teach Colonel Hamilton that the bold Kentuckians were too much for him. So when, at day dawn, another messenger came with a summons to surrender, he accepted as gracefully as he could. He asked to be given the honors of war, and to be allowed to march back to Detroit, but Colonel Clark wrathfully answered, "To that I can by no means agree. I will not again leave it in your power to spirit up the Indian nations to scalp men, women, and children."

Soon into the fort marched the victors, with shouts of triumph, their long rifles slanting over their shoulders. And soon the red cross flag of England came down and the star-spangled banner of America waved in its place. Hamilton and his men were prisoners in American hands.


There was proof enough that this English colonel had been busy in stirring the Indians up to their dreadful work. His papers showed that. And even while the fight was going on some of the red demons came up with the scalps of white men and women to receive their pay. The pay they got was in bullets when they fell into the hands of the incensed Kentuckians. Colonel Hamilton and his officers were sent as prisoners to Williamsburg, Virginia, and were there put in fetters for their murderous conduct. It would have served them right to hang them, but the laws of war forbade, and they were soon set free.

We have told this story that you may see what brave men Virginia and Kentucky bred in the old times. In all American history there is no exploit to surpass that of Colonel Clark and his men. And it led to something of the greatest importance to the republic of the United States, as you shall hear.

It was not long after that time that the war ended and the freedom of the colonies was gained. When the treaty of peace was made the question arose, "What territory should belong to the new republic and what should still be held by England?" It was finally decided that the land which each country held at the end of the war should be held still. In that way England held Canada. And it would have held the great country north of the Ohio, too, if it had not been for George Rogers Clark. His capture of Kaskaskia and his splendid two weeks' march through the "drowned lands"165 of the Wabash had won that country for the United States, and when the treaty was signed all this fine country became part of the territory of the United States. So it is to George Rogers Clark, the Virginian and Kentuckian, that this country owes the region which in time was divided up into the great States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, and perhaps Kentucky also, since only for him the British might have taken the new-settled land of Daniel Boone.



Never was the South in so desperate a plight as in the autumn months of that year of peril, 1780. The British had made themselves masters of Georgia, and South Carolina and North Carolina were strongly threatened. The boastful Gates had been defeated at Camden so utterly that he ran away from his army faster than it did from the British, and in three days and a half afterward he rode alone into Hillsborough, North Carolina, two hundred miles away. Sumter was defeated as badly and rode as fast to Charlotte, without hat or saddle. Marion's small band was nearly the only American force left in South Carolina.

Cornwallis, the British commander, was in an ecstasy of delight at his success. He felt sure that all the South was won. The harvest was ready and needed only to be reaped. He laid his plans to march north, winning victory after victory, till all America south of Delaware should be conquered for the British crown. Then, if the North became free, the South would still be under the rule of George the Third. There was only one serious mistake in his calculations: he did not build upon the spirit of the South.


Cornwallis began by trying to crush out that spirit, and soon brought about a reign of terror in South Carolina. He ordered that all who would not take up arms for the king should be seized and their property destroyed. Every man who had borne arms for the British and afterward joined the Americans was to be hanged as soon as taken. Houses were burned, estates ravaged, men put to death, women and children driven from their homes with no fit clothing, thousands confined in prisons and prison-ships in which malignant fevers raged, the whole State rent and torn by a most cruel and merciless persecution. Such was the Lord Cornwallis ideal of war.

Near the middle of September Cornwallis began his march northward, which was not to end till the whole South lay prostrate under his hand. It was his aim to fill his ranks with the loyalists of North Carolina and sweep all before him. Major Patrick Ferguson, his ablest partisan leader, was sent with two hundred of the best British troops to the South Carolina uplands, and here he gathered in such Tories as he could find, and with them a horde of wretches who cared only for the side that gave them the best chance to plunder and ravage. The Cherokee Indians were also bribed to attack the American settlers west of the mountains.

But while Cornwallis was thus making his march of triumph, the American patriots were not at rest. Marion was flying about, like a wasp with a very sharp sting. Sumter was back again, cutting off168 strays and foragers. Other parties of patriots were afoot and active. And in the new settlements west of the Alleghanies the hardy backwoodsmen, who had been far out of the reach of war and its terrors, were growing eager to strike a blow for the country which they loved.

Such was the state of affairs in the middle South in the month of September, 1780. And it leads us to a tale of triumph in which the Western woodsmen struck their blow for freedom, teaching the over-confident Cornwallis a lesson he sadly needed. It is the tale of how Ferguson, the Tory leader, met his fate at the hands of the mountaineers and hunters of Tennessee and the neighboring regions.

After leaving Cornwallis, Ferguson met with a small party of North Carolina militia under Colonel Macdowell, whom he defeated and pursued so sharply as to drive them into the mountain wilds. Here their only hope of safety lay in crossing the crags and ridges to the great forest land beyond. They found a refuge at last among the bold frontiersmen of the Watauga in Tennessee, many of whom were the Regulators of North Carolina, the refugees from Governor Tryon's tyranny.

The arrival of these fugitives stirred up the woodsmen as they had never been stirred before. It brought the evils of the war for the first time to their doors. These poor fugitives had been driven from their homes and robbed of their all, as the Regulators had been in former years. Was it not the duty of the freemen of Tennessee to restore169 them and strike one blow for the liberty of their native land?

The bold Westerners thought so, and lost no time in putting their thoughts into effect. Men were quickly enlisted and regiments formed under Isaac Shelby and John Sevier, two of their leaders. An express was sent to William Campbell, who had under him four hundred of the backwoodsmen of Southwest Virginia, asking him to join their ranks. On the 25th of September these three regiments of riflemen, with Macdowell and his fugitives, met on the Watauga, each man on his own horse, armed with his own rifle, and carrying his own provisions, and each bent on dealing a telling blow for the relief of their brethren in the East.

True patriots were they, risking their all for their duty to their native land. Their families were left in secluded valleys, often at long distances apart, exposed to danger alike from the Tories and the Indians. Before them lay the highest peaks of the Alleghanies, to be traversed only by way of lofty and difficult passes. No highway existed; there was not even a bridle-path through the dense forest; and for forty miles between the Watauga and the Catawba there was not a single house or a cultivated acre. On the evening of the 30th the Westerners were reinforced by Colonel Cleveland, with three hundred and fifty men from North Carolina who had been notified by them of their approach.

Their foe was before them. After Ferguson had pursued Macdowell to the foot of the mountains he170 shaped his course for King's Mountain, a natural stronghold, where he established his camp in what seemed a secure position and sent to Cornwallis for a few hundred more men, saying that these "would finish the business. This is their last push in this quarter." Cornwallis at once despatched Tarleton with a considerable reinforcement. He was destined to be too late.

Ferguson did not know all the peril that threatened him. On the east Colonel James Williams was pursuing him up the Catawba with over four hundred horsemen. A vigilant leader, he kept his scouts out on every side, and on October 2 one of these brought him the most welcome of news. The backwoodsmen were up, said the scout; half of the people beyond the mountains were under arms and on the march. A few days later they met him, thirteen hundred strong.

Not a day, not an hour, was lost. Williams told them where their foes were encamped, and they resolved to march against them that very night and seek to take them by surprise. It was the evening of October 6 when the two forces joined. So prompt were they to act that at eight o' clock that same evening nine hundred of their best horsemen had been selected and were on the march. All night they rode, with the moon to light them on their way. The next day they rode still onward, and in the afternoon reached the foot of King's Mountain, on whose summit Ferguson lay encamped.

This mountain lies just south of the North Carolina171 border, at the end of a branching ridge from, the main line of the Alleghanies. The British were posted on its summit, over eleven hundred in number, a thousand of them being Tories, the others British regulars. They felt thoroughly secure in their elevated fortress, the approach up the mountain-side being almost a precipice, the slaty rock cropping out into natural breastworks along its sides and on its heights. And, so far as they knew, no foe was within many miles.

The Americans dismounted; that craggy hill was impassable to horsemen. Though less in number than their foes, and with a steep mountain to climb, they did not hesitate. The gallant nine hundred were formed into four columns, Campbell's regiment on the right centre and Shelby's on the left, taking the post of greatest peril. Sevier, with a part of Cleveland's men, led the right wing, and Williams, with the remainder of Cleveland's men, the left, their orders being to pass the position of Ferguson to right and left and climb the ridge in his rear, while the centre columns attacked him in front.

So well was the surprise managed that the Westerners were within a quarter of a mile of the enemy before they were discovered. Climbing steadily upon their front, the two centre columns quickly began the attack. Shelby, a hardy, resolute man, "stiff as iron," brave among the bravest, led the way straight onward and upward, with but one thought in his mind,—to do that for which he had172 come. Facing Campbell were the British regulars, who sprang to their arms and charged his men with fixed bayonets, forcing the riflemen, who had no bayonets, to recoil. But they were soon rallied by their gallant leader, and returned eagerly to the attack.

For ten or fifteen minutes a fierce and bloody battle was kept up at this point, the sharp-shooting woodsmen making havoc in the ranks of the foe. Then the right and left wings of the Americans closed in on the flank and rear of the British and encircled them with a hot fire. For nearly an hour the battle continued, with a heavy fire on both sides. At length the right wing gained the summit of the cliff and poured such a deadly fire on the foe from their point of vantage that it was impossible to bear it.

Ferguson had been killed, and his men began to retreat along the top of the ridge, but here they found themselves in the face of the American left wing, and their leader, seeing that escape was impossible and resistance hopeless, displayed a white flag. At once the firing ceased, the enemy throwing down their arms and surrendering themselves prisoners of war. More than a third of the British force lay dead, or badly wounded; the remainder were prisoners; not more than twenty of the whole were missing. The total loss of the Americans was twenty-eight killed and sixty wounded, Colonel Williams, a man of great valor and discretion, being among the killed.


The battle ended, a thirst for vengeance arose. Among the Tory prisoners were known house—burners and murderers. Among the victors were men who had seen their cruel work, had beheld women and children, homeless and hopeless, robbed and wronged, nestling about fires kindled in the ground, where they mourned their slain fathers and husbands. Under such circumstances it is not strange that they seized and hanged nine or ten of the captives, desisting only when Campbell gave orders that this work should cease, and threatened with severe punishment all who engaged in it.

The victory of the men of the backwoods at King's Mountain was like the former one of Washington at Trenton. It inspired with hope the despairing people and changed the whole aspect of the war. It filled the Tories of North Carolina with such wholesome dread that they no longer dared to join the foe or molest their patriot neighbors. The patriots of both the Carolinas were stirred to new zeal. The broken and dispirited fragments of Gates's army took courage again and once more came together and organized, soon afterward coming under the skilled command of General Greene.

Tarleton had reached the forks of the Catawba when news of Ferguson's signal defeat reached him and caused him to return in all haste to join Cornwallis. The latter, utterly surprised to find an enemy falling on his flank from the far wilderness beyond the mountains, whence he had not dreamed of a foe, halted in alarm. He dared not leave an174 enemy like this in his rear, and found himself obliged to retreat, giving up his grand plan of sweeping the two Carolinas and Virginia into his victorious net. Such was the work done by the valiant men of the Watauga. They saved the South from loss until Morgan and Greene could come to finish the work they had so well begun.



The rain was pouring pitilessly from the skies. The wind blew chill from the north. The country was soaked with the falling flood, dark rain-clouds swept across the heavens, and a dreary mist shut out all the distant view. In the midst of this cheerless scene a solitary horseman stood on a lonely roadside, with his military cape drawn closely up, and his horse's head drooping as if the poor beast was utterly weary of the situation. In truth, they had kept watch and ward there for hours, and night was near at hand, the weary watcher still looking southward with an anxiety that seemed fast growing into hopeless despondency.

At times, as he waited, a faint, far-off, booming sound was heard, which caused the lonely cavalier to lift his head and listen intently. It might have been the sound of cannon, it might have been distant thunder, but whatever it was, his anxiety seemed steadily to increase.

The day darkened into night, and hour by hour night crept on until midnight came and passed, yet the lone watcher waited still, his horse beside him, the gloom around him, the rain still plashing on the sodden road. It was a wearing vigil, and only176 a critical need could have kept him there through those slow and dreary hours of gloom.

At length he sharply lifted his head and listened more intently than before. It was not the dull and distant boom this time, but a nearer sound that grew momentarily more distinct, the thud, it seemed, of a horse's hoofs. In a few minutes more a horseman rode into the narrow circle of view.

"Is that you, sergeant?" asked the watcher.

"Yes, sir," answered the other, with an instinctive military salute.

"What news? I have been waiting here for hours for the militia, and not a man has come. I trust there is nothing wrong."

"Everything is wrong," answered the new-comer. "Davidson is dead and the militia are scattered to the winds. Cornwallis is over the Catawba and is in camp five miles this side of the river."

"You bring bad news," said the listener, with a look of agitation. "Davidson dead and his men dispersed! That is bad enough. And Morgan?"

"I know nothing about him."

Sad of heart, the questioner mounted his impatient steed and rode disconsolately away along the muddy road. He was no less a person than General Greene, the newly-appointed commander of the American forces in the South, and the tidings he had just heard had disarranged all his plans. With the militia on whose aid he had depended scattered in flight, and no sign of others coming, his hope of facing Cornwallis in the field was gone, and he was177 a heavy-hearted man when he rode at length into the North Carolina town of Salisbury and dismounted at the door of Steele's tavern, the house of entertainment in that place. As he entered the reception-room of the hotel, stiff and weary from his long vigil, he was met by Dr. Read, a friend.

"What! alone, General?" exclaimed Read.

"Yes; tired, hungry, alone, and penniless."

The fate of the patriot cause in the South seemed to lie in those hopeless words. Mrs. Steele, the landlady, heard them, and made all haste to prepare a bountiful supper for her late guest, who sat seeking to dry himself before the blazing fire. As quickly as possible a smoking hot supper was on the table before him, and as he sat enjoying it with a craving appetite, Mrs. Steele again entered the room.

Closing the door carefully behind her, she advanced with a look of sympathy on her face, and drew her hands from under her apron, each of them holding a small bag of silver coin.

"Take these, general," she said. "You need them, and I can do without them."

A look of hope beamed on Greene's face as he heard these words. With a spirit like this in the women of the country, he felt that no man should despair. Rising with a sudden impulse, he walked to where a portrait of George III. hung over the fireplace, remaining from the old ante-war time. He turned the face of this to the wall and wrote these words on the back: "Hide thy face, George, and blush."


It is said that this portrait was still hanging in the same place not many years ago, with Greene's writing yet legible upon it, and possibly it may be there still. As for Mrs. Steele, she had proved herself a patriot woman, of the type of Mrs. Motte, who furnished Marion with arrows for the burning of her own house when it was occupied by a party of British soldiers whom he could not dislodge. And they two were far from alone in the list of patriot women in the South.

The incident in General Greene's career above given has become famous. And connected with it is the skilful military movement by which he restored the American cause in the South, which had been nearly lost by the disastrous defeat of General Gates. This celebrated example of strategy has often been described, but is worth telling again.

Lord Cornwallis, the most active of the British commanders in the war of American Independence, had brought South Carolina and Georgia under his control, and was marching north with the expectation of soon bringing North Carolina into subjection, and following up his success with the conquest of Virginia. This accomplished, he would have the whole South subdued. But in some respects he reckoned without his host. He had now such men as Greene and Morgan in his front, Marion and Sumter in his rear, and his task was not likely to prove an easy one.

As for Morgan, he sent the rough-rider Tarleton to deal with him, fancying that the noted rifleman,179 who had won undying fame in the North, would now meet fate in the face, and perhaps be captured, with all his men. But Morgan had a word to say about that, as was proved on the 17th of January, 1781, when he met Tarleton at the Cowpens, a place about five miles south of the North Carolina line.

Tarleton had the strongest and best appointed force, and Morgan, many of whose men were untried militia, seemed in imminent danger, especially when the men of the Maryland line began to retreat, and the British, thinking the day their own, pressed upon them with exultant shouts. But to their surprise the bold Marylanders suddenly halted, turned, and greeted their pursuers with a destructive volley. At the same time the Virginia riflemen, who had been posted on the wings, closed in on both flanks of the British and poured a shower of bullets into their ranks. The British were stunned by this abrupt change in the situation, and when the Maryland line charged upon them with levelled bayonets they broke and fled in dismay.

Colonel Washington commanded the small cavalry force, so far held in reserve and unseen. This compact body of troopers now charged on the British cavalry, more than three times their numbers, and quickly put them to flight. Tarleton himself made a narrow escape, for he received a wound from Washington's sword in the hot pursuit. So utter was the rout of the British that they were pursued for twenty miles, and lost more than three hundred of their number in killed and wounded and six180 hundred in prisoners, with many horses, wagons, muskets, and cannon. Tarleton's abundant baggage was burned by his own order to save it from capture. In this signal victory Morgan lost only ten men killed and sixty wounded.

And now began that famous retreat, which was of more advantage to the Americans than a victory. Morgan, knowing well that Cornwallis would soon be after him to retrieve the disaster at the Cowpens, hastened with his prisoners and spoils across the Catawba. Cornwallis, furious at his defeat and eager to move rapidly in pursuit, set fire to all his baggage and wagons except those absolutely needed, thus turning his army into light troops at the expense of the greater part of its food-supply and munitions.

But when he reached the Catawba, he found it so swollen with the rains that he was forced to halt on its banks while Morgan continued his march. Meanwhile, General Greene was making earnest efforts to collect a force of militia, directing all those who came in to meet at a certain point. Such was the situation on the 1st of February when Greene waited for weary hours at the place fixed upon for the militia to assemble, only to learn that Cornwallis had forced the passage of the river, dispersing the North Carolina militia left to guard the ford, and killing General Davidson, their commander. He had certainly abundant reason for depression on that wet and dreary night when he rode alone into Salisbury.


The Catawba crossed, the next stream of importance was the Yadkin. Hither Morgan marched in all haste, crossing the stream on the 2d and 3d of February, and at once securing all boats. The rains began to fall again before his men were fairly over, and soon the stream was swelling with the mountain floods. When Cornwallis reached its banks it was swollen high and running madly, and it was the 7th of February before he was able to cross. It seemed, indeed, as if Providence had come to the aid of the Americans, lowering the rains for them and raising them for their foes.

Meanwhile, the two divisions of the American army were marching on converging lines, and on the 9th the forces under Greene and Morgan made a junction at Guilford Court-House, Cornwallis being then at Salem, twenty-five miles distant. A battle was fought at this place a month later, but just then the force under Greene's command was too small to risk a fight. A defeat at that time might have proved fatal to the cause of the South. Nothing remained but to continue the retreat across the State to the border of Virginia, and there put the Dan River between him and his foe.

To cover the route of his retreat from the enemy, Greene detached General Williams with the flower of his troops to act as a light corps, watch and impede Cornwallis and strive to lead him towards Dix's ferry on the Dan, while the crossing would be made twenty miles lower down.

It was a terrible march which the poor patriots182 made during the next four days. Without tents, with thin and ragged clothes, most of them without shoes, "many hundreds of the soldiers tracking the ground with their bloody feet," they retreated at the rate of seventeen miles a day along barely passable roads, the wagon-wheels sinking deep in the mud, and every creek swollen with the rains. In these four days of anxiety Greene slept barely four hours, watching every detail with a vigilant eye, which nothing escaped. On the 14th they reached the ford, hurrying the wagons across and then the troops, and before nightfall Greene was able to write that "all his troops were over and the stage was clear."

General Williams had aided him ably in this critical march, keeping just beyond reach of Cornwallis, and deceiving him for a day or two as to the intention of the Americans. When the British general discovered how he had been deceived, he got rid of more of his baggage by the easy method of fire, and chased Williams across the State at the speed of thirty miles a day. But the alert Americans marched forty miles a day and reached the fords of the Dan just as the last of Greene's men had crossed. That night the rear guard crossed the stream, and when Cornwallis reached its banks, on the morning of the 15th, to his deep chagrin he found all the Americans safe on the Virginia side and ready to contest the crossing if he should seek to continue the pursuit.

That famous march of two hundred miles, from183 the south side of the Catawba to the north side of the Dan, in which the whole State of North Carolina was crossed by the ragged and largely shoeless army, was the salvation of the Southern States. In Greene's camp there was only joy and congratulation. Little did the soldiers heed their tattered garments, their shoeless feet, their lack of blankets and of regular food, in their pride at having outwitted the British army and fulfilled their duty to their country. With renewed courage they were ready to cross the Dan again and attack Cornwallis and his men. Washington wrote to General Greene, applauding him highly for his skilful feat, and even a British historian gave him great praise and credit for his skill in strategy.

Shall we tell in a few words the outcome of this fine feat? Cornwallis had been drawn so far from his base of supplies, and had burned so much of his war-material, that he found himself in an ugly quandary. On his return march Greene became the pursuer, harassing him at every step. When Guilford Court-House was reached again Greene felt strong enough to fight, and though Cornwallis held the field at the end of the battle he was left in such a sorry plight that he was forced to retreat to Wilmington and leave South Carolina uncovered. Here it did not take Greene long, with the aid of such valiant partisans as Marion, Sumter, and Lee, to shut the British up in Charleston and win back the State.

Cornwallis, on the other hand, concluded to try184 his fortune in Virginia, where there seemed to be a fine chance for fighting and conquest. But he was not long there before he found himself shut up in Yorktown like a rat in a trap, with Washington and his forces in front and the French fleet in the rear. His surrender, soon after, not only freed the South from its foes, but cured George III. of any further desire to put down the rebels in America.



In the harvest season of the cotton States of the South a vast, fleecy snow-fall seems to have come down in the silence of the night and covered acres innumerable with its virgin emblem of plenty and prosperity. It is the regal fibre which is to set millions of looms in busy whirl and to clothe, when duly spun and woven, half the population of the earth. That "cotton is king" has long been held as a potent political axiom in the United States, yet there was a time when cotton was not king, but was an insignificant member of the agricultural community. How cotton came to the throne is the subject of our present sketch.

In those far-off days when King George of England was trying to force the rebellious Americans to buy and drink his tea and pay for his stamps, the people of Georgia and South Carolina were first beginning to try if they could do something in the way of raising cotton. After the war of independence was over, an American merchant in Liverpool received from the South a small consignment of eight bags of cotton, holding about twelve hundred pounds, the feeble pioneer of the great cotton commerce. When it was landed on the wharves in Liverpool, in 1784, the custom-house officials of186 that place looked at it with alarm and suspicion. What was this white-faced stranger doing here, claiming to come from a land that had never seen a cotton-plant? It must have come from somewhere else, and this was only a deep-laid plot to get itself landed on English soil without paying an entrance fee.

So the stranger was seized and locked up, and Mr. Rathbone, the merchant, had no easy time in proving to the officials that it was really a scion of the American soil, and that the ships that brought it had the right to do so. But after it was released from confinement there was still a difficulty. Nobody would buy it. The manufacturers were afraid to handle this new and unknown kind of cotton for fear it would not pay to work it up, and at last it had to be sold for a song to get a trial. Such was the state of the American industry at the period when the great republic was just born. It may be said that the nation and its greatest product were born together, like twin children.

COTTON-GIN. Cotton-Gin.

The new industry grew very slowly, and the planters who were trying to raise cotton in their fields felt much like giving it up as something that would never pay. In fact, there was a great difficulty in the way that gave them no end of trouble, and made the cost of cotton so great that there was very little room for profit. For a time it looked as if they would have to go back to corn and rice and let cotton go by the board.

The trouble lay in the fact that in the midst of187 each little head of cotton fibres, like a young bird in its nest, lay a number of seeds, to which the fibres were closely attached. These seeds had to be got out, and this was very slow work. It had to be done by hand, and in each plantation store-house a group of old negroes might be seen, diligently at work in pulling the seeds out from the fibres. Work as hard as they could it was not easy to clean more than a pound a day, so that by the time the crop was ready for market it had cost so much that the planter had to be content with a very small rate of profit. Such was the state of the cotton industry as late as 1792, when the total product was one hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds. In 1795 it had jumped to six million pounds, and in 1801 to twenty million pounds. This was a wonderful change, and it may well be asked how it was brought about. This question brings us to our story, which we have next to tell.

In the year 1792 a bright young Yankee came down to Georgia to begin his career by teaching in a private family. He was one of the kind who are born with a great turn for tinkering. When he was a boy he mended the fiddles of all the people round about, and after that took to making nails, canes, and hat-pins. He was so handy that the people said there was nothing Eli Whitney could not do.

But he seems to have become tired of tinkering, for he went to college after he had grown to manhood, and from college he went to Georgia to teach. But there he found himself too late, for another teacher188 had the place which he expected to get, so there he was, stranded far from home, with nothing to do and with little money in his purse. By good fortune he found an excellent friend. Mrs. Greene, the widow of the famous General Greene of the Revolution, lived near Savannah, and took quite a fancy to the poor young man. She urged him to stay in Georgia and to keep up his studies, saying that he could have a home in her house as long as he pleased.

This example of Southern hospitality was very grateful to the friendless young man, and he accepted the kindly invitation, trying to pay his way by teaching Mrs. Greene's children, and at the same time studying law. But he was born for an inventor, not a lawyer, and could not keep his fingers off of things. Nothing broke down about Mrs. Greene's house that he did not soon set working all right again. He fitted up embroidery frames for her, and made other things, showing himself so very handy that she fancied he could do anything.

One day Mrs. Greene heard some of the neighboring planters complaining of the trouble they had in clearing the cotton of its seeds. They could manage what was called the long-staple cotton by the use of a rough roller machine brought from England, which crushed the seeds, and then "bowed" or whipped the dirt out of the lint. But this would not work with short-staple cotton, the kind usually grown, and there was nothing to do but to pick the hard seeds out by hand, at the rate of a pound a189 day by the fastest workers. The planters said it would be a splendid thing if they only had a machine that would do this work. Mrs. Greene told them that this might not be so hard to do. "There is a young man at my house," she said, "who can make anything;" and to prove it, she showed them some of the things he had made. Then she introduced them to Eli Whitney, and they asked him if he thought he could make a machine to do the work they so badly wanted.

"I don't know about that," he replied. "I know no more about cotton than a child knows about the moon."

"You can easily learn all there is to know about it," they urged. "We would be glad to show you our fields and our picker-houses and give you all the chance you need to study the subject."

Mr. Whitney made other objections. He was interested in his law studies, and did not wish to break them off. But a chance to work at machinery was too great an attraction for him to withstand, and at length he consented to look over the matter and see if he could do anything with it.

The young inventor lost no time. This was something much more to his liking than poring over the dry books of the law, and he went to work with enthusiasm. He went into the fields and studied the growing cotton. Then he watched the seed-pickers at their work. Taking specimens of the ripe cotton-boll to his room, he studied the seeds as they lay cradled in the fibre, and saw how they190 were fastened to it. To get them out there must be some way of dragging them apart, pulling the fibres from the seed and keeping them separate.

The inventor studied and thought and dreamed, and in a very short time his quick genius saw how the work could be done. And he no sooner saw it than he set to work to do it. The idea of the cotton-gin was fully formed in his mind before he had lifted his hand towards making one.

It was not easy, in fact. It is often a long road between an inventor's first idea and a machine that will do all he wants it to. And he had nothing to work with, but had to make his own tools and manufacture his own wire, and work upward from the very bottom of things.

In a few months, however, he had a model ready. Mrs. Greene was so interested in his work and so proud of his success that she induced him to show the model and explain its working to some of her planter friends, especially those who had induced him to engage in the work. When they saw what he had done, and were convinced of the truth of what he told them,—that they could clean more cotton in a day by his machine than in many months by the old hand-picking way,—their excitement was great, and the report of the wonderful invention spread far and wide.

Shall we say here what this machine was like? The principle was simple enough, and from that day to this, though the machine has been greatly improved, Whitney's first idea still holds good. It191 was a saw-gin then, and it is a saw-gin still. "Gin," we may say here, is short for "engine."

This is the plan. There is a grid, or row of wires, set upright and so close together that the seeds will not go through the openings. Behind these is a set of circular saws, so placed that their teeth pass through the openings between the wires. When the machine is set in motion the cotton is put into a hopper, which feeds it to the grid, and the revolving saws catch the fibre or lint with their teeth and drag it through the wires. The seeds are too large to follow, so the cotton is torn loose from them and they slide down and out of the way. As the wheel turns round with its teeth full of cotton lint, a revolving brush sweeps it away so that the teeth are cleaned and ready to take up more lint. A simple principle, you may say, but it took a good head to think it out, and to it we owe the famous cotton industry of the South.

But poor Whitney did not get the good from his invention that he deserved, for a terrible misfortune happened to him. Many people came to see the invention, but he kept the workshop locked, for he did not want strangers to see it till he had it finished and his patent granted. The end was, that one night some thieves broke into the shop and stole the model, and there were some machines made and in operation before the poor inventor could make another model and secure his patent.

This is only one of the instances in which an inventor has been robbed of the work of his brain,192 and others have grown rich by it, while he has had trouble to make a living. A Mr. Miller, who afterward married Mrs. Greene, went into partnership with Whitney, and supplied him with funds, and he got out a patent in 1794. But the demand for the machines was so great that he could not begin to supply them, and the pirated machines, though they were much inferior to his perfected ones, were eagerly bought. Then his shop burned with all its contents, and that made him a bankrupt.

For years after that Whitney sought to obtain justice. In some of the States he was fairly treated and in others he was not, and in 1812 Congress refused to renew the patent, and the field was thrown open for everybody to make the machines. Nearly all he ever got for his invention was fifty thousand dollars paid him by the Legislature of South Carolina.

In later years Whitney began to make fire-arms for the government, and he was so successful in this that he grew rich, while he greatly improved the machinery and methods. It was he who first began to make each part separately, so it would fit in any gun, a system now used in all branches of manufacture. As for the cotton industry, to which Eli Whitney gave the first great start, it will suffice to say that its product has grown from less than one thousand bales, when he began his work, to over ten million bales a year.



Shall we seek to picture to our readers a scene in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, less than a century ago, though it seems to belong to the days of barbarism? Two groups of men, made up of the most respectable citizens of the place, stood furiously shooting at each other with pistols and guns, as if this was their idea of after-dinner recreation. Their leaders were Colonel Thomas H. Benton, afterward famous in the United States Senate, and General Andrew Jackson, famous in a dozen ways. The men of the frontier in those days were hot in temper and quick in action, and family feuds led quickly to wounds and death, as they still do in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Some trifling quarrel, that might perhaps have been settled by five minutes of common-sense arbitration, led to this fierce fray, in the midst of which Jesse Benton, brother of the colonel, fired at Jackson with a huge pistol, loaded to the muzzle with bullets and slugs. It was like a charge of grape-shot. A slug from it shattered Jackson's left shoulder, a ball sank to the bone in his left arm, and another ball splintered a board by his side.

When the fight ended Jackson was found insensible194 in the entry of a tavern, with the blood pouring profusely from his wounds. He was carried in and all the doctors of the town were summoned, but before the bleeding could be stopped two mattresses were soaked through with blood. The doctors said the arm was so badly injured that it must be taken off at once. But when Old Hickory set his lips in his grim way, and said, "I'll keep my arm," the question was settled; no one dare touch that arm.

For weeks afterward Jackson lay, a helpless invalid, while his terrible wounds slowly healed. And while he lay there a dreadful event took place in the territory to the south, which called for the presence of men like Old Hickory, sound of limb and in full strength. This was the frightful Indian massacre at Fort Mimms, one of the worst in all our history.

It was now the autumn of the year 1813, the second year of the war with England. Tecumseh, the famous Indian warrior and orator, had stirred up the savages of the South to take the British side in the war, and for fear of an Indian rising the settlers around Fort Mimms, in southern Alabama, had crowded into the fort, which was only a rude log stockade. On the morning of August 30 more than five hundred and fifty souls, one hundred of them being women and children, were crowded within that contracted space. On the evening of that day four hundred of them, including all the women and children, lay bleeding195 on the ground, scalped and shockingly mangled. A thousand Creek Indians had broken into the carelessly guarded fort, and perpetrated one of the most horrid massacres in the history of Indian wars. Weathersford, the leader of the Indians, tried to stop the ferocious warriors in their dreadful work, but they surrounded him and threatened him with their tomahawks while they glutted to the full their thirst for blood.

Many days passed before the news of this frightful affair in the southern wilderness reached Nashville. The excitement it created was intense. The savages were in arms and had tasted blood. The settlements everywhere were in peril. The country might be ravaged from the Ohio to the Gulf. It was agreed by all that there was only one thing to do, the Indians must be put down. But the man best fitted to do it, the man who was depended upon in every emergency, lay half dead in his room, slowly recovering from his dreadful wound.

A year before Jackson had led two thousand men to Natchez to defend New Orleans in case the British should come, and had been made by the government a major-general of volunteers. He was the man every one wanted now, but to get him seemed impossible, and the best that could be done was to get his advice. So a committee was appointed to visit and confer with the wounded hero.

When the members of the committee called on the war-horse of the West they found him still within the shadow of death, his wounds sore and196 festering, his frame so weak that he could barely raise his head from the pillow. But when they told him of the massacre and the revengeful feeling of the people, the news almost lifted him from his bed. It seemed to send new life coursing through his veins. His voice, weakened by illness, yet with its old ring of decision, was raised for quick and stern action against the savage foes who had so long menaced Tennessee. And if they wanted a leader he was the man.

When the committee reported the next day, they said there was no doubt that "our brave and patriotic General Jackson" would be ready to lead the men of war by the time they were ready to march. Where Jackson led there would be plenty to follow. Four thousand men were called out with orders to assemble at Fayetteville, eighty miles south of Nashville, on October 4, just one month from the day when Jackson had received his wounds. From his bed he took command. By his orders Colonel Coffee rode to Huntsville, Alabama, with five hundred men. As he advanced volunteers came riding in armed and equipped, till he was at the head of thirteen hundred men.

On the 7th of October Jackson himself reached the rendezvous. He was still a mere wreck, thin as a shadow, tottering with weakness, and needing to be lifted bodily to his horse. His arm was closely bound and in a sling. His wounds were so sensitive that the least jar or wrench gave him agony. His stomach was in such a state that he was in danger197 of dying from starvation. Several times during his first two days' ride he had to be sponged from head to foot with whiskey. Yet his dauntless spirit kept him up, and he bore the dreadful ride of eighty miles with a fortitude rarely equalled. So resolute was he that he reached Fayetteville before half the men had gathered. He was glad there to receive news that the Creeks were advancing northward towards Tennessee.

"Give them my thanks for saving me the pain of travelling," he said. "I must not be outdone in politeness, and will try to meet them half-way."

On the 11th a new advance was made to Huntsville, the troops riding six miles an hour for five hours, a remarkable feat for a man in Jackson's condition. Many a twinge of bitter pain he had on that march, but his spirit was past yielding. At this point Colonel Coffee was joined, and the troops encamped on a bend of the Tennessee River. A false alarm of the advance of the Indians had caused this hasty march.

Jackson and his men—twenty-five hundred in number with thirteen hundred horses—now found themselves threatened by a foe more terrible than the Indians they had come to meet. They were in the heart of the wilderness of Alabama, far away from any full supply of food. Jackson thus describes this foe, in a letter written by his secretary:

"There is an enemy whom I dread much more than I do the hostile Creeks—I mean the meagre monster Famine. I shall leave this encampment in198 the morning direct for the Ten Islands, and yet I have not on hand two days' supply of bread-stuffs."

JACKSON'S BIRTHPLACE. Jackson's Birthplace.

A thousand barrels of flour and a proportionate supply of meat had been purchased for him a week before. But the Tennessee River was low, the flatboats would not float, and the much-needed food lay in the shallows three hundred miles up-stream. There was nothing to do but to live on the country, and this Colonel Coffee had swept almost clear of provisions on his advance movement.

Under such circumstances Jackson ran a great risk in marching farther into the Indian country. Yet the exigency was one in which boldness seemed necessary. A reverse movement might have brought the Indians in force on the settlers of Tennessee, with sanguinary results. Keeping his foragers busy in search of food, he moved steadily southward till the Coosa River was reached. Here came the first encounter with the savages. There was a large body of them at Tallushatches, thirteen miles away. At daybreak on the morning after the Coosa was reached the Indian camp was encircled by Colonel Coffee with a thousand men. The savages, taken by surprise, fought fiercely and desperately, and fell where they stood, fighting while a warrior remained alive. All the prisoners were women and children, who were taken to the settlements and kindly treated. Jackson himself brought up one of the boys in his own family.

Four days afterward news came that a body of friendly Creeks, one hundred and fifty in number,199 were at Talladega, thirty miles away, surrounded by a thousand hostile Indians, cut off from their water-supply and in imminent danger of annihilation. A wily chief had dressed himself in the skin of a large hog, and in this disguise passed unsuspected through the hostile lines, bringing his story to Jackson twenty-four hours later.

At that moment the little army had only one day's supply of food, but its general did not hesitate. Advancing with all the men fit to move, they came within hearing of the yelling enemy, and quickly closed in upon them. When that brief battle ended two hundred of the Indian braves lay dead on the field and Colonel Coffee with his horsemen was in hot pursuit of the remainder. As for the rescued Indians, their joy was beyond measure, for they had looked only for death. They gathered around their preserver, expressing their gratitude by joyful cries and gestures, and gladly gave what little corn they had left to feed the hungry soldiers.

The loss of the whites in this raid was fifteen men killed and eighty-six wounded. The badly wounded were carried in litters back to Fort Strother, where the sick had been left, and where Jackson now fully expected to find a full supply of food. To his acute disappointment not an ounce had arrived, little in the shape of food being left but a few half-starved cattle. For several days Jackson and his staff ate nothing but tripe without seasoning.

And now, for ten long weeks, came that dread contest he had feared,—the battle with famine.200 With a good supply of provisions he could have ended the war in a fortnight. As it was, the men had simply to wait and forage, being at times almost in a starving state. The brave borderers found it far harder to sit and starve than it would have been to fight, and discontent in the camp rose to the height of mutiny, which it took all the general's tact and firmness to overcome.

Part of his men were militia, part of them volunteers, and between these there was a degree of jealousy. On one occasion the militia resolved to start for home, but when they set out in the early morning they found the volunteers drawn up across the road, with their grim general at their head. When they saw Jackson they turned and marched back to their quarters again. Soon afterward the volunteers were infected with the same fancy. But again Jackson was aware of their purpose, and when they marched from their quarters they found their way blocked by the militia, with Jackson at their head. The tables had been turned on them.

As time went on and hunger grew more relentless, the spirit of discontent infected the entire force, and it took all the general's power to keep them in camp. On one occasion, a large body of the men seized their arms, and, swearing that they would not stay there to be starved, got ready to march home. General Jackson, hot with wrath, seized a musket, and planting himself before them, swore "by the Eternal" that he would shoot the first man that set a foot forward. His countenance201 was appalling in its concentrated rage, his eyes blazed with a terrible fire, and the mutineers, confronted by this apparition of fury, hesitated, drew back, and retired to their tents.

But the time came at length in which nothing would hold them back. Persuasion and threats were alike useless. The general used entreaties and promises, saying,—

"I have advices that supply-wagons are on the way, and that there is a large drove of cattle near at hand. Wait two days more, and if then they do not come, we will all march home together."

The two days passed and the food did not arrive. Much against his will, he was obliged to keep his word. "If only two men will stay with me," he cried, "I will never give up the post."

One hundred and nine men agreed to remain, and, leaving these in charge of the fort, Jackson set out at the head of the others, with their promise that, when they procured supplies and satisfied their hunger, they would return to the fort and march upon the foe. The next day the expected provision-train was met, and the hungry men were well fed. But home was in their minds, and it took all the general's indomitable will and fierce energy to induce them to turn back, and they did so then in sullen discontent. In the end it was necessary to exchange these men for fresh volunteers.

When the dissatisfied men got home they told such doleful tales of their hardships and sufferings that the people were filled with dismay, volunteering202 came to an end, and even the governor wrote to Jackson, advising him to give up the expedition as hopeless and return home.

Had not Andrew Jackson been one man in a million he would not have hesitated to obey. A well man might justly have despaired. But to a physical wreck, his shoulder still painful, his left arm useless, suffering from insufficient food, from acute dyspepsia, from chronic diarrhœa, from cramps of terrible severity—to a man in this condition, who should have been in bed under a physician's care, to remain seemed utter madness, and yet he remained. His indomitable spirit triumphed over his enfeebled body. He had set out to subdue the hostile Indians and save the settlements from their murderous raids, and, "by the Eternal," he would.

He wrote a letter to Governor Blount, eloquent, logical, appealing, resolute, and so convincing in its arguments that the governor changed his sentiment, the people became enthusiastic, volunteers came forward freely, and the most earnest exertions were made to collect and forward supplies. But this was not till the spring of 1814, and the lack of supplies continued the winter through. Only nine hundred discontented troops remained, but with these he won two victories over the Indians, in one of which an utter panic was averted only by his courage and decision in the hour of peril.

At length fresh troops began to arrive. A regiment of United States soldiers, six hundred strong, reached him on February 6. By the 1st of March203 there were six thousand troops near Fort Strother, and only the arrival of a good food supply was awaited to make a finishing move. Food came slowly, despite all exertions. Over the miry roads the wagon-teams could hardly be moved with light loads. Only absolutely necessary food was brought,—even whiskey, considered indispensable in those days, being barred out. All sick and disabled men were sent home, and the non-combatants weeded out so thoroughly that only one man was left in camp who could beat the ordinary calls on the drum. At length, about the middle of March, a sufficient supply of food was at hand and the final advance began.

Meanwhile, the hostile Creeks had made themselves a stronghold at a place fifty-five miles to the south. Here was a bend of Tallapoosa River, called, from its shape, Tohopeka, or the "Horseshoe." It was a well-wooded area, about one hundred acres in extent, across whose neck the Indians had built a strong breastwork of logs, with two rows of port-holes, the whole so well constructed that it was evident they had been aided by British soldiers in its erection. At the bottom of the bend was a village of wigwams, and there were many canoes in the stream.

Within this stronghold was gathered the fighting force of the tribe, nearly a thousand warriors, and in the wigwams were about three hundred women and children. It was evident that they intended to make here their final, desperate stand.

The force led against them was two thousand204 strong. Their route of travel lay through the unbroken forest wilds, and it took eleven days to reach the Indian fort. A glance at it showed Jackson the weakness of the savage engineering. As he said, they had "penned themselves in for destruction."

The work began by sending Colonel Coffee across the river, with orders to post his men opposite the line of canoes and prevent the Indians from escaping. Coffee did more than this; he sent swimmers over who cut loose the canoes and brought them across the stream. With their aid he sent troops over the bend to attack the savages in the rear while Jackson assailed them in front.

The battle began with a fierce assault, but soon settled down to a slow slaughter, which lasted for five or six hours,—the fierce warriors, as in the former battles, refusing to ask for quarter or to accept their lives. Their prophets had told them that if they did they would be put to death by torture. When the battle ended few of them were left alive. On the side of the whites only fifty-five were killed and about three times as many wounded.

This signal defeat ended forever the power of the Cree nation, once the leading Indian power of the Gulf region. Such of the chiefs as survived surrendered. Among them was Weathersford, their valiant half-breed leader. Mounted on his well-known gray horse, famed for its speed and endurance, he rode to the door of Jackson's tent. The old soldier looked up to see before him this famous warrior, tall, erect, majestic, and dignified.


"I am Weathersford," he said; "late your enemy, now your captive."

From without the tent came fierce cries of "Kill him! kill him!"

"You may kill me if you wish," said the proud chief; "but I came to tell you that our women and children are starving in the woods. They never did you any harm and I came to beg you to send them food."

Jackson looked sternly at the angry throng outside, and said, in his vigorous way, "Any man who would kill as brave a man as this would rob the dead."

He then invited the chief into his tent, where he promised him the aid he asked for and freedom for himself. "I do not war with women and children," he said.

So corn was sent to the suffering women, and Weathersford was allowed to mount his good gray steed and ride away as he had come. He induced the remaining Creeks to accept the terms offered by the victorious general, these being peace and protection, with the provision that half their lands should be ceded to the United States.

As may well be imagined, a triumphant reception was given Jackson and his men on their return to Nashville. Shortly afterward came the news that he had been appointed Major-General in the army of the United States, to succeed William Henry Harrison, resigned. He had made his mark well against the Indians; he was soon to make it as well against the British at New Orleans.



On the coast of Louisiana, westward from the delta of the Mississippi, there lies a strange country, in which sea and land seem struggling for dominion, neither being victor in the endless contest. It is a low, flat, moist land, where countless water-courses intertwine into a complex net-work; while nearer the sea are a multitude of bays, stretching far inland, and largely shut off from the salt sea waves by barriers of long, narrow islands. Some of these islands are low stretches of white sand, flung up by the restless waters which ever wash to and fro. Others are of rich earth, brought down by lazy water-ways from the fertile north and deposited at the river outlets. Tall marsh grasses grow profusely here, and hide alike water and land. Everywhere are slow-moving, half-sleeping bayous, winding and twisting interminably, and encircling multitudes of islands, which lie hidden behind a dense growth of rushes and reeds, twelve feet high.

It was through this region, neither water nor land, that the hapless Evangeline, the heroine of Longfellow's famous poem, was rowed, seeking her lover in these flooded wilds, and not dreaming that he lay behind one of those reedy barrens, almost207 within touch, yet as unseen as if leagues of land separated them.

One of the bays of this liquid coast, some sixty miles south of New Orleans, is a large sheet of water, with a narrow island partly shutting it off from the Gulf. This is known as Grande Terre, and west of it is another island known as Grande Isle. Between these two long land gates is a broad, deep channel which serves as entrance to the bay. On the western side lies a host of smaller islands, the passes between them made by the bayous which straggle down through the land. Northward the bay stretches sixteen miles inland, and then breaks up into a medley of bayous and small lakes, cutting far into the land, and yielding an easy passage to the level of the Mississippi, opposite New Orleans.

Such is Barataria Bay, once the famous haunt of the buccaneers. It seems made by nature as a lurking-place for smugglers and pirates, and that is the purpose to which it was long devoted. The passages inland served admirably for the disposal of ill-gotten goods. For years the pirates of Barataria Bay defied the authorities, making the Gulf the scene of their exploits and finding a secret and ready market for their wares in New Orleans.

The pirate leaders were two daring Frenchmen, Pierre and Jean Lafitte, who came from Bordeaux some time after 1800 and settled in New Orleans. They were educated men, who had seen much of the world and spoke several languages fluently.208 Pierre, having served in the French army, became a skilled fencing-master. Jean set up a blacksmith shop, his slaves doing the work. Such was the creditable way in which these worthies began their new-world career.

Their occupation changed in 1808, in which year the slave-trade was brought to an end by act of Congress. There was also passed an Embargo Act, which forbade trade with foreign countries. Here was a double opportunity for men who placed gain above law. The Lafittes at once took advantage of it, smuggling negroes and British goods, bringing their illicit wares inland by way of the bayous of the coastal plain and readily disposing of them as honest goods.

Not long after this time the British cruisers broke up the pirate hordes which had long infested the West Indies. Their haunts were taken and they had to flee. Some of them became smugglers, landing their goods on Amelia Island, on the coast of Florida. Others sought the bays of Louisiana, where they kept up their old trade.

The Lafittes now found it to their advantage to handle the goods of these buccaneers, in which they posed as honest merchants. Later on they made piracy their trade, the whole fleet of the rovers coming under their control. Throwing off the cloak of honesty, they openly defied the laws. Prize goods and negroes were introduced into New Orleans with little effort at secrecy, and were sold in disregard of the law and the customs. It was209 well known that the Baratarian rovers were pirates, but the weak efforts to dislodge them failed and the government was openly despised.

Making Barataria Bay their head-quarters and harbor of refuge, the pirates fortified Grande Terre, and built on it their dwellings and store-houses. On Grande Isle farms were cultivated and orange-groves planted. On another island, named the Temple, they held auctions for the sale of their plunder, the purchasers smuggling it up the bayous and introducing it under cover of night into New Orleans, where there was nothing to show its source, though suspicion was rife. Such was Barataria until the war with England began, and such it continued through this war till 1814, the Lafittes and their pirate followers flourishing in their desperate trade.

We might go on to tell a gruesome story of fearful deeds by these bandits of the sea; of vessels plundered and scuttled, and sailors made to walk the plank of death; of rich spoil won by ruthless murder, and wild orgies on the shores of Grande Terre. But of all this there is little record, and the lives of these pirates yield us none of the scenes of picturesque wickedness and wholesale murder which embellish the stories of Blackbeard, Morgan, and other sea-rovers of old. Yet the career of the Lafittes has an historical interest which makes it worth the telling.

It was not until 1814, during the height of the war with England, that the easy-going Creoles of210 New Orleans grew indignant enough at the bold defiance of law by the Lafittes to make a vigorous effort to stop it. It was high time, for the buccaneers had grown so bold as to fire on the revenue officers of the government. Determined to bear this disgrace no longer, Pierre Lafitte was seized in the streets of New Orleans, and with one of his captains, named Dominique Yon, was locked up in the calaboosa.

This step was followed by a proclamation from Governor Claiborne, offering five hundred dollars for the arrest of Jean Lafitte, the acting pirate chief. Lafitte insolently retorted by offering five thousand dollars for the head of the governor. This impudent defiance aroused Claiborne to more decisive action. A force of militia was called out and sent overland to Barataria, with orders to capture and destroy the settlement of the buccaneers and seize all the pirates they could lay hands on.

The governor did not know the men with whom he had to deal. Their spies kept them fully informed of all his movements. Southward trudged the citizen soldiers, tracking their oozy way through the water-soaked land. All was silent and seemingly deserted. They were near their goal, and not a man had been seen. But suddenly a boatswain's whistle sounded, and from a dozen secret passages armed men swarmed out upon them, and in a few minutes had them surrounded and under their guns. Resistance was hopeless, and they were obliged to surrender at discretion. The grim pirates stood211 ready to slaughter them all if a hand were raised in self-defence, and Lafitte, stepping forward, invited them to join his men, promising them an easy life and excellent pay. Their captain sturdily refused.

"Very well," said Lafitte, with disdainful generosity. "You can go or stay as you please. Yonder is the road you came by. You are free to follow it back. But if you are wise you will in future keep out of reach of the Jolly Rovers of the Gulf."

We are not sure if these were Lafitte's exact words, but at any rate the captain and his men were set free and trudged back again, glad enough to get off with whole skins. Soon after that the war, which had lingered so long in the North, showed signs of making its way to the South. A British fleet appeared in the Gulf in the early autumn of 1814, and made an attack on Mobile. In September a war-vessel from this fleet appeared off Barataria Bay, fired on one of the pirate craft, and dropped anchor some six miles out. Soon a pinnace, bearing a white flag, put off from its side and was rowed shoreward. It was met by a vessel which had put off from Grande Terre.

"I am Captain Lockyer, of the 'Sophia,'" said the British officer. "I wish to see Captain Lafitte."

"I am he," came a voice from the pirate bark.

"Then this is for you," and Captain Lockyer handed Lafitte a bulky package.

"Will you come ashore while I examine this?" asked Lafitte, courteously. "I offer you such humble entertainment as we poor mariners can afford."


"I shall be glad to be your guest," answered the officer.

Lafitte now led the way ashore, welcomed the visitors to his island domain, and proceeded to open and examine the package brought him. It contained four documents, their general purport being to threaten the pirates with utter destruction if they continued to prey on the commerce of England and Spain, and to offer Lafitte, if he would aid the British cause, the rank of captain in the service of Great Britain, with a large sum of money and full protection for person and property.

The letters read, Lafitte left the room, saying that he wished time to consider before he could answer. But hardly had he gone when some of his men rushed in, seized Captain Lockyer and his men, and locked them up as prisoners. They were held captive all night, doubtless in deep anxiety, for pirates are scarcely safe hosts, but in the morning Lafitte appeared with profuse apologies, declaring loudly that his men had acted without his knowledge or consent, and leading the way to their boat. Lockyer was likely glad enough to find himself on the Gulf waters again, despite the pirate's excuses. Two hours later Lafitte sent him word that he would accept his offer, but that he must have two weeks to get his affairs in order. With this answer, the "Sophia" lifted anchor, spread sails, and glided away.

All this was a bit of diplomatic by-play on the part of Jean Lafitte. He had no notion of joining213 the British cause. The "Sophia" had not long disappeared when he sent the papers to New Orleans, asking only one favor in return, the release of his brother Pierre. This the authorities seem to have granted in their own way, for in the next morning's papers was an offer of one thousand dollars reward for the capture of Pierre Lafitte, who had, probably with their connivance, broken jail during the night.

Jean Lafitte now offered Governor Claiborne his services in the war with the British. He was no pirate, he said. That was a base libel. His ships were legitimate privateers, bearing letters of marque from Venezuela in the war of that country with Spain. He was ready and anxious to transfer his allegiance to the United States.

His sudden change of tone had its sufficient reason. It is probable that Lafitte was well aware of a serious danger just then impending, far more threatening than the militia raid which had been so easily defeated. A naval expedition was ready to set out against him. It consisted of three barges of troops under Commander Patterson of the American navy. These were joined at the Balize by six gunboats and a schooner, and proceeded against the piratical stronghold.

On the 16th of September the small fleet came within sight of Grande Terre, drew up in line of battle, and started for the entrance to Barataria Bay. Within this the pirate fleet, ten vessels in all, was in line to receive them. Soon there was214 trouble for the assailants. Shoal water stopped the schooner, and the two larger gunboats ran aground. But their men swarmed into boats and rowed on in the wake of the other vessels, which quickly made their way through the pass and began a vigorous attack on its defenders.

Now the war was all afoot, and we should be glad to tell of a gallant and nobly contested battle, in which the sea-rovers showed desperate courage and reddened the sea with their blood. There might be inserted here a battle-piece worthy of the Drakes and Morgans of old, if the facts only bore us out. Instead of that, however, we are forced to say that the pirates proved sheer caitiffs when matched against honest men, and the battle was a barren farce.

Commander Patterson and his men dashed bravely on, and in a very short time two of the pirate vessels were briskly burning, a third had run aground, and the others were captured. Many of the pirates had fled; the others were taken. The battle over, the buildings on Grande Terre and Grande Isle were destroyed and the piratical lurking-place utterly broken up. This done, the fleet sailed in triumph for New Orleans, bringing with them the captured craft and the prisoners who had been taken. But among the captives was neither of the Lafittes. They had not stood to their guns, but had escaped with the other fugitives into the secret places of the bay.

Thus ends the history of Barataria Bay as a215 haunt of pirates. Since that day only honest craft have entered its sheltered waters. But the Lafittes were not yet at the end of their career, or at least one of them, for of Pierre Lafitte we hear very little after this time. Two months after their flight the famous British assault was made on New Orleans. General Jackson hurried to its defence and called armed men to his aid from all quarters, caring little who they were so they were ready to fight.

Among those who answered the summons was Jean Lafitte. He called on Old Hickory and told him that he had a body of trained artillerymen under his command, tried and capable men, and would like to take a hand in defence of the city. Jackson, who had not long before spoken of the Lafittes as "hellish banditti," was very glad now to accept their aid. We read of his politely alluding to them as "these gentlemen," and he gave into their charge the siege-guns in several of the forts.

These guns were skilfully handled and vigorously served, the Baratarians fighting far more bravely in defence of the city than they had done in defence of their ships. They lent important aid in the defeat of Packenham and his army, and after the battle Jackson commended them warmly for their gallant conduct, praising the Lafittes also for "the same courage and fidelity."

A few words more and we have done. Of the pirates, two only made any future mark. Dominique Yon, the captain who had shared imprisonment216 with Pierre Lafitte, now settled down to quiet city life, became a leader in ward politics, and grew into something of a local hero, fighting in the precincts instead of on the deck.

Jean Lafitte, however, went back to his old trade. From New Orleans he made his way to Texas, then a province of Mexico, and soon we hear of him at his buccaneering work. For a time he figured as governor of Galveston. Then, for some years, he commanded a fleet that wore the thin guise of Columbian privateers. After that he threw off all disguise and became an open pirate, and as late as 1822 his name was the terror of the Gulf. Soon afterward a fleet of the United States swept those waters and cleared it of all piratical craft. Jean Lafitte then vanished from view, and no one knows whether he died fighting for the black flag or ended his life quietly on land.



On a day in the year 1835 the people of Nacogdoches, Texas, were engaged in the pleasant function of giving a public dinner to one of their leading citizens. In the midst of the festivities a person entered the room whose appearance was greeted with a salvo of hearty cheers. There seemed nothing in this person's appearance to call forth such a welcome. He was dressed in a half-Indian, half-hunter's garb, a long-barrelled rifle was slanted over his shoulder, and he seemed a favorable specimen of the "half-horse, half-alligator" type of the early West. But there was a shrewd look on his weather-beaten face and a humorous twinkle in his eyes that betokened a man above the ordinary frontier level, while it was very evident that the guests present looked upon him as no every-day individual.

The visitor was, indeed, a man of fame, for he was no less a personage than the celebrated Davy Crockett, the hunter hero of West Tennessee. His fame was due less to his wonderful skill with the rifle than to his genial humor, his endless stories of adventure, his marvellous power of "drawing the long bow." Davy had once been sent to Congress, but there he found himself in waters too deep for his footing. The frontier was the place made for him, and when he heard that Texas was in revolt218 against Mexican rule, he shouldered his famous rifle and set out to take a hand in the game of revolution. It was a question in those days with the reckless borderers whether shooting a Mexican or a coon was the better sport.

THE ALAMO. The Alamo.

The festive citizens of Nacogdoches heard that Davy Crockett had arrived in their town on his way to join the Texan army, and at once sent a committee to invite him to join in their feast. Hearty cheers, as we have said, hailed his entrance, and it was not long before he had his worthy hosts in roars of laughter with his quaint frontier stories. He had come to stay with them as a citizen of Texas, he said, and to help them drive out the yellow-legged greasers, and he wanted, then and there, to take the oath of allegiance to their new republic. If they wanted to know what claim he had to the honor, he would let Old Betsy—his rifle—speak for him. Like George Washington, Betsy never told a lie. The Nacogdochians were not long in making him a citizen, and he soon after set out for the Alamo, the scene of his final exploit and his heroic death.

The Alamo was a stronghold in the town of San Antonio de Bexar, in Western Texas. It had been built for a mission house of the early Spaniards, and though its walls were thick and strong, they were only eight feet high and were destitute of bastion or redoubt. The place had nothing to make it suitable for warlike use, yet it was to win a great name in the history of Texan independence, a name219 that spread far beyond the borders of the "Lone Star State" and made its story a tradition of American heroism.

Soon after the insurrection began a force of Texans had taken San Antonio, driving out its Mexican garrison. Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, quickly marched north with an army, breathing vengeance against the rebels. This town, which lay well towards the western border, was the first he proposed to take. Under the circumstances the Texans would have been wise to retreat, for they were few in number, they had little ammunition and provisions, and the town was in no condition for defence. But retreat was far from their thoughts, and when, on an afternoon in February, 1836, Santa Anna and his army appeared in the vicinity of San Antonio, the Texans withdrew to the Alamo, the strongest building near the town, prepared to fight to the death.

There were less than two hundred of them in all, against the thousands of the enemy, but they were men of heroic mould. Colonel Travis, the commander, mounted the walls with eight pieces of artillery, and did all he could besides to put the place in a state of defence. To show the kind of man Travis was, we cannot do better than to quote his letter asking for aid.

"Fellow-Citizens and Compatriots,—I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. The enemy have commanded220 a surrender at discretion; otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword if the place is taken. I have answered the summons with a cannon-shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism, and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all despatch. The enemy are receiving reinforcements daily, and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor or that of his country. Victory or death!"

"W. Barrett Travis,
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding."

"P.S.—The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found, in deserted houses, eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls twenty or thirty head of beeves."


The only reinforcements received in response to this appeal were thirty-two gallant men from Gonzales, who made the whole number one hundred and eighty-eight. Colonel Fannin, at Goliad, set out with three hundred men, but the breaking down of one of his wagons and a scarcity of supplies obliged him to return. Among the patriot garrison were Davy Crockett and Colonel James221 Bowie, the latter as famous a man in his way as the great hunter. He was a duelist of national fame, in those days when the border duels were fought with knife instead of pistol. He invented the Bowie knife, a terrible weapon in the hands of a resolute man. To be famed as a duelist is no worthy claim to admiration, but to fight hand to hand with knife for weapon is significant of high courage.

Small as were their numbers, and slight as were their means of defence, the heroes of the Alamo fought on without flinching. Santa Anna planted his batteries around the stronghold and kept up a steady bombardment. The Texans made little reply; their store of ammunition was so small that it had to be kept for more critical work. In the town a blood-red banner was displayed in lurid token of the sanguinary purpose of the Mexican leader, but the garrison showed no signs of dismay. They were the descendants of men who had fought against the Indians of the South under like conditions, and they were not likely to forget the traditions of their race.

On the 3d of March a battery was erected within musket-shot of the north wall of the fort, on which it poured a destructive fire. Travis now sent out a final appeal for aid, and with it an affecting note to a friend, in which he said,—

"Take care of my boy. If the country should be saved I may make him a splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost and I should perish,222 he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country."

The invading force increased in numbers until, by the 5th of March, there were more than four thousand of them around the fort, most of them fresh, while the garrison was worn out with incessant toil and watching. The end was near at hand. Soon after midnight on the 6th the Mexican army gathered close around the fort, prepared for an assault. The infantry carried scaling-ladders. Behind them were drawn up the cavalry with orders to kill any man who might fly from the ranks. This indicated Santa Anna's character and his opinion of his men.

The men within the walls had no need to be driven to their work. Every one was alert and at his post, and they met with a hot fire from cannon and rifles the Mexican advance. Just as the new day dawned, the ladders were placed against the walls and the Mexicans scrambled up their rounds. They were driven back with heavy loss. Again the charge for assault was sounded and a second rush was made for the walls, and once more the bullets of the defenders swept the field and the assailants fell back in dismay.

Santa Anna now went through the beaten ranks with threats and promises, seeking to inspire his men with new courage, and again they rushed forward on all sides of the fort. Many of the Texans had fallen and all of them were exhausted. It was impossible to defend the whole circle of the walls.223 The assailants who first reached the tops of the ladders were hurled to the ground, but hundreds rushed in to take their places, and at a dozen points they clambered over the walls. It was no longer possible for the handful of survivors to keep them back.

In a few minutes the fort seemed full of assailants. The Texans continued to fight with unflinching courage. When their rifles were emptied they used them as clubs and struggled on till overwhelmed by numbers. Near the western wall of the fort stood Travis, in the corner near the church stood Crockett, both fighting like Homeric heroes. Old Betsy had done an ample share of work that fatal night. Now, used as a club, it added nobly to its record. The two heroes at length fell, but around each was a heap of slain.

Colonel Bowie had taken no part in the fight, having been for some days sick in bed. He was there butchered and mutilated. All others who were unable to fight met the same fate. It had been proposed to blow up the magazine, but Major Evans, the man selected for this duty, was shot as he attempted to perform it. The struggle did not end while a man of the garrison was alive, the only survivors being two Mexican women, Mrs. Dickenson (wife of one of the defenders) and her child, and the negro servant of Colonel Travis. As for the dead Texans, their bodies were brutally mutilated and then thrown into heaps and burned.

Thus fell the Alamo. Thus did the gallant Travis224 and his men keep their pledge of "victory or death." Like the Spartans at Thermopylæ, the heroes of the Alamo did not retreat or ask for quarter, but lay where they had stood in obedience to their country's commands. And before and around them lay the bodies of more than five hundred of their enemies, with as many wounded. The Texans had not perished unavenged. The sun rose in the skies until it was an hour high. In the fort all was still; but the waters of the aqueduct surrounding resembled in their crimson hue the red flag of death flying in the town. The Alamo was the American Thermopylæ.



We have told the story of the Alamo. It needs to complete it the story of how Travis and his band of heroes were avenged. And this is also the story of how Texas won its independence, and took its place in the colony of nations as the "Lone Star Republic."

The patriots of Texas had more to avenge than the slaughter at the Alamo. The defenders of Goliad, over four hundred in number, under Colonel Fannin, surrendered, with a solemn promise of protection from Santa Anna. After the surrender they were divided into several companies, marched in different directions out of the town, and there shot down in cold blood by the Mexican soldiers, not a man of them being left alive.

Santa Anna now fancied himself the victor. He had killed two hundred men with arms in their hands, and made himself infamous by the massacre of four hundred more, and he sent despatches to Mexico to the effect that he had put down the rebellion and conquered a peace. What he had really done was to fill the Texans with thirst for revenge as well as love of independence. He had dealt with Travis and Fannin; he had Sam Houston still to deal with.


General Houston was the leader of the Texan revolt. While these murderous events were taking place he had only four hundred men under his command, and was quite unable to prevent them. Defence now seemed hopeless; the country was in a state of panic; the settlers were abandoning their homes and fleeing as the Mexicans advanced; but Sam Houston kept the field with a spirit like that which had animated the gallant Travis.

As the Mexicans advanced Houston slowly retreated. He was manœuvring for time and place, and seeking to increase his force. Finally, after having brought up his small army to something over seven hundred men, he took a stand on Buffalo Bayou, a deep, narrow stream flowing into the San Jacinto River, resolved there to strike a blow for Texan independence. It was a forlorn hope, for against him was marshalled the far greater force of the Mexican army. But Houston gave his men a watchword that added to their courage the hot fire of revenge. After making them an eloquent and impassioned address, he fired their souls with the war-cry of "Remember the Alamo!"

Soon afterward the Mexican bugles rang out over the prairie, announcing the approach of the vanguard of their army, eighteen hundred strong. They were well appointed, and made a showy display as they marched across the plain. Houston grimly watched their approach. Turning to his own sparse ranks, he said, "Men, there is the enemy; do you wish to fight?" "We do," came in227 a fierce shout. "Well, then, remember it is for liberty or death! Remember the Alamo!"

As they stood behind their light breastworks, ready for an attack, if it should be made, a lieutenant came galloping up, his horse covered with foam. As he drew near he shouted along the lines, "I've cut down Vince's bridge." This was a bridge which both armies had used in coming to the battle-field. General Houston had ordered its destruction. Its fall left the vanquished in that day's fight without hope of escape.

Santa Anna evidently was not ready for an immediate assault. His men halted and intrenched themselves. But Houston did not propose to delay. At three in the afternoon, while many of the Mexican officers were enjoying their siesta in perfect confidence, Santa Anna himself being asleep, the word to charge passed from rank to rank along the Texan front, and in a moment the whole line advanced at double-quick time, filling the air with vengeful cries of "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"

The Mexican troops sprang to their arms and awaited the attack, reserving their fire until the patriots were within sixty paces. Then they poured forth a volley which, fortunately for the Texans, went over their heads, though a ball struck General Houston's ankle, inflicting a very painful wound. Yet, though bleeding and suffering, the old hero kept to his saddle till the action was at an end.

The Texans made no reply to the fire of the foe228 until within pistol-shot, and then poured their leaden hail into the very bosoms of the Mexicans. Hundreds of them fell. There was no time to reload. Having no bayonets, the Texans clubbed their rifles and rushed in fury upon the foe, still rending the air with their wild war-cry of "Remember the Alamo!" The Mexicans were utterly unprepared for this furious hand-to-hand assault, and quickly broke before the violent onset.

On all sides they gave way. On the left the Texans penetrated the woodland; the Mexicans fled. On the right their cavalry charged that of Santa Anna, which quickly broke and sought safety in flight. In the centre they stormed the breastworks, took the enemy's artillery and drove them back in dismay. In fifteen minutes after the charge the Mexicans were in panic flight, the Texans in mad pursuit. Scarce an hour had passed since the patriots left their works, and the battle was won.

Such was the consternation of the Mexicans, so sudden and utter their rout, that their cannon were left loaded and their movables untouched. Those who were asleep awoke only in time to flee; those who were cooking their dinner left it uneaten; those who were playing their favorite game of monte left it unfinished. The pursuit was kept up till nightfall, by which time the bulk of the Mexican army were prisoners of war. The victory had been won almost without loss. Only seven of the Texans were killed and twenty-three wounded.229 The Mexican loss was six hundred and thirty, while seven hundred and thirty were made prisoners.

But the man they most wanted was still at large. Santa Anna was not among the captives. On the morning of the following day, April 22, the Texan cavalry, scouring the country for prisoners, with a sharp eye open for the hated leader of the foe, saw a Mexican whom they loudly bade to surrender. At their demand he fell on the grass and threw a blanket over his head. They had to call on him several times to rise before he slowly dragged himself to his feet. Then he went up to Sylvester, the leader of the party, and kissed his hand, asking if he was General Houston.

The man was evidently half beside himself with fright. He was only a private soldier, he declared; but when his captors pointed to the fine studs in the bosom of his shirt he burst into tears and declared that he was an aide to Santa Anna. The truth came out as the captors brought him back to camp, passing the prisoners, many of whom cried out, "El Presidente." It was evidently Santa Anna himself. The President of Mexico was a prisoner and Texas was free! When the trembling captive was brought before Houston, he said, "General, you can afford to be generous,—you have conquered the Napoleon of the West." Had Houston done full justice to this Napoleon of the West he would have hung him on the spot. As it was, his captors proved generous and his life was spared.

The victory of San Jacinto struck the fetters230 from the hands of Texas. No further attempt was made to conquer it, and General Houston became the hero and the first president of the new republic. When Texas was made a part of the United States, Houston was one of its first senators, and in later years he served as governor of the State. His splendid victory had made him its favorite son.



The Mexican War, brief as was its period of operations in the field, was marked by many deeds of daring, and also was the scene of the first service in the field of various officers who afterward became prominent in the Civil War. Chief among these were the two great leaders on the opposite sides, General Lee and General Grant. Lee's services in the campaign which Scott conducted against the city of Mexico were especially brilliant, and are likely to be less familiar to the reader than any incident drawn from his well-known record in the Civil War. The most striking among them was his midnight crossing of the lava-fields before Contreras.

On the 19th of August, 1847, Scott's army lay in and around San Augustin, a place situated on a branch of the main road running south from the city of Mexico. This road divided into two at Churubusco, the other branch running near Contreras. Between these two roads and a ridge of hills south of San Augustin extended a triangular region known as the Pedregal, and about as ugly a place to cross as any ground could well be.

It was made up of a vast spread of volcanic232 rock and scoriæ, rent and broken into a thousand forms, and with sharp ridges and deep fissures, making it very difficult for foot-soldiers to get over, and quite impassable for cavalry or artillery. It was like a sea of hardened lava, with no signs of vegetation except a few clumps of bushes and dwarf trees that found footing in the rocks. The only road across it was a difficult, crooked, and barely passable pathway, little better than a mule track, leading from San Augustin to the main road from the city of Mexico.

On the plateau beyond this sterile region the Mexicans had gathered in force. Just beyond it General Valencia lay intrenched, with his fine division of about six thousand men and twenty-four guns, commanding the approach from San Augustin. A mile or more north of Contreras lay General Santa Anna, his force holding the main city road.

Such was the situation of the respective armies at the date given, with the Pedregal separating them. Captain Lee, who had already done excellent engineering service at Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo, assisted by Lieutenants Beauregard and Tower of the engineers, had carefully reconnoitred the position of the enemy, and on the morning of the 19th the advance from San Augustin began, Captain Lee accompanying the troops in their arduous passage across the Pedregal. One of those present thus describes the exploit:

"Late in the morning of the 19th the brigade of which my regiment was a part (Riley's) was sent233 out from San Augustin in the direction of Contreras. We soon struck a region over which it was said no horses could go, and men only with difficulty. No road was available; my regiment was in advance, my company leading, and its point of direction was a church-spire at or near Contreras. Taking the lead, we soon struck the Pedregal, a field of volcanic rock like boiling scoria suddenly solidified, pathless, precipitous, and generally compelling rapid gait in order to spring from point to point of rock, on which two feet could not rest and which cut through our shoes. A fall on this sharp material would have seriously cut and injured one, whilst the effort to climb some of it cut the hands.

"Just before reaching the main road from Contreras to the city of Mexico we reached a watery ravine, the sides of which were nearly perpendicular, up which I had to be pushed and then to pull others. On looking back over this bed of lava or scoria, I saw the troops, much scattered, picking their way very slowly; while of my own company, some eighty or ninety strong, only five men crossed with me or during some twenty minutes after.

"With these five I examined the country beyond, and struck upon the small guard of a paymaster's park, which, from the character of the country over which we had passed, was deemed perfectly safe from capture. My men gained a paymaster's chest well filled with bags of silver dollars, and the firing and fuss we made both frightened the guard with the belief that the infernals234 were upon them and made our men hasten to our support.

"Before sundown all of Riley's, and I believe of Cadwallader's, Smith's, and Pierce's brigades, were over, and by nine o' clock a council of war, presided over by Persifer Smith and counselled by Captain R. E. Lee, was held at the church. I have always understood that what was devised and finally determined upon was suggested by Captain Lee; at all events, the council was closed by his saying that he desired to return to General Scott with the decision of General Smith, and that, as it was late, the decision must be given as soon as possible, since General Scott wished him to return in time to give directions for co-operation.

"During the council, and for hours after, the rain fell in torrents, whilst the darkness was so intense that one could move only by groping. To illustrate: my company again led the way to gain the Mexican rear, and when, after two hours of motion, light broke sufficiently to enable us to see a companion a few feet off, we had not moved four hundred yards, and the only persons present were half a dozen officers and one guide."

Much is said of the perils of war and of the courage necessary to face them. But who would not rather face a firing-line of infantry in full daylight than to venture alone in such a dark and stormy night as was this upon such a perilous and threatening region as the Pedregal, in which a misstep in the darkness would surely lead to wounds and perhaps235 to death. Its crossing, under such conditions, might well be deemed impossible, had not Captain Lee succeeded, borne up by his strong sense of duty, in this daring enterprise.

General Scott, who was very anxious to know the position of the advance forces, had sent out seven officers about sundown with instructions to the troops at Contreras, but they had all returned, completely baffled by the insuperable difficulties of the way. Not a man except Robert E. Lee had the daring, skill, and persistence to cross this region of volcanic knife-blades on that night of rain and gloom.

The writer above quoted from says, "History gives him the credit of having succeeded, but it has always seemed incredible to me when I recollect the distance amid darkness and storm, and the dangers of the Pedregal which he must have traversed. Scarcely a step could be taken without danger of death; but that to him, a true soldier, was the willing risk of duty in a good cause."

General Scott adds his testimony to this by saying, after mentioning the failure of the officers sent out by him, "But the gallant and indefatigable Captain Lee, of the engineers, who has been constantly with the operating forces, is just in from Shields, Smith, Cadwallader, etc., to report, and to request that a powerful diversion be made against the centre of the intrenched camp to-morrow morning."

Scott subsequently gave the following testimony236 to the same effect: "Captain Lee, engineers, came to me from the hamlet (Contreras) with a message from Brigadier-General Smith, about midnight. He, having passed over the difficult ground by daylight, found it just possible to return to San Augustin in the dark,—the greatest feat of physical and moral courage performed by any individual, in my knowledge, pending the campaign."

This praise is certainly not misapplied, when we remember that Lee passed over miles of the kind of ground above described in a pitch-dark night, without light or companion, with no guide but the wind as it drove the pelting rain against his face, or an occasional flash of lightning, and with the danger of falling into the hands of Valencia or Santa Anna if he should happen to stray to the right or the left. It is doubtful if another man in the army would have succeeded in such an enterprise, if any one had had the courage to attempt it. It took a man of the caliber which Robert E. Lee afterward proved himself to possess to perform such a deed of daring.

We may briefly describe Lee's connection with the subsequent events. He bore an important part in the operations against the Mexicans, guiding the troops when they set out about three o'clock in the morning on a tedious march through darkness, rain, and mud; an elevation in the rear of the enemy's forces being gained about sunrise. An assault was at once made on the surprised Mexicans, their intrenchments were stormed, and in seventeen minutes after the charge began they were in full flight and237 the American flag was floating proudly above their works.

Thus ended the battle of Contreras. Captain Lee was next sent to reconnoitre the well fortified stronghold of Coyacan, while another reconnaissance was made towards Churubusco, one mile distant. After Lee had completed his task, he was ordered to conduct Pierce's brigade by a third road, to a point from which an attack could be made on the enemy's right and rear. Shields was ordered to follow Pierce closely and take command of the left wing.

The battle soon raged violently along the whole line. Shields, in his exposed position, was hard pressed and in danger of being crushed by overwhelming forces. In this alarming situation Captain Lee made his way to General Scott to report the impending disaster, and led back two troops of the Second Dragoons and the Rifles to the support of the left wing. The affair ended in the repulse of the enemy and victory for the Americans. Soon after a third victory was won at the Molino del Rey.

Scott's army was now rapidly approaching the city of Mexico, the central point of all these operations, and the engineer officers, Captain Lee, Lieutenant Beauregard, and others, were kept busy in reconnaissances, which they performed with daring and success. Then quickly followed the boldest and most spectacular exploit of the war, the brilliant charge up the steep heights of Chapultepec, a hill that bristled with walls, mines, and batteries, and238 whose summit was crowned with a powerful fortress, swarming with confident defenders.

Up this hill went the American infantry like so many panthers, bounding impetuously onward in face of the hot fire from the Mexican works, scaling crags, clambering up declivities, all with a fiery valor and intrepidity which nothing could check, until the heights were carried, the works scaled, and the enemy put to flight. In this charge, one of the most brilliant in American history, Captain Lee took an active part, till he was disabled by a severe wound and loss of blood. General Scott again speaks of his service here in complimentary words, saying that he was "as distinguished for felicitous execution as for science and daring," and also stating that "Captain Lee, so constantly distinguished, also bore important orders from me, until he fainted from a wound and the loss of two nights' sleep at the batteries."

Scott, indeed, had an exalted opinion of Lee's remarkable military abilities, and Hon. Reverdy Johnson has stated that he "had heard General Scott more than once say that his success in Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor, and undaunted energy of Robert E. Lee." In later years Scott said, "Lee is the greatest military genius in America."

Lee's services were not left without reward. He received successively the brevet rank of major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, the latter for his service at Chapultepec. The victory at this point was239 the culminating event of the war. Shortly afterward the Mexican capital was occupied, and the Mexicans soon gave up the contest as hopeless. A new Cortez was in their streets, who was not to be got rid of except at a heavy sacrifice.

As to how Lee occupied himself during this period, we may quote an anecdote coming from General Magruder.

"After the fall of Mexico, when the American army was enjoying the ease and relaxation which it had bought by toil and blood, a brilliant assembly of officers sat over their wine discussing the operations of the capture and indulging hopes of a speedy return to the United States.

"One among them rose to propose the health of the Captain of Engineers who had found a way for the army into the city, and then it was remarked that Captain Lee was absent. Magruder was despatched to bring him to the hall, and, departing on his mission, at last found the object of his search in a remote room of the palace, busy on a map. Magruder accosted him and reproached him for his absence. The earnest worker looked up from his labors with the calm, mild gaze which was so characteristic of the man, and, pointing to his instruments, shook his head.

"'But,' said Magruder, in his impetuous way, 'this is mere drudgery. Make somebody else do it, and come with me.'

"'No,' was the reply; 'no, I am but doing my duty.'"


This is very significant of Lee's subsequent character, in which the demands of duty always outweighed any thought of pleasure or relaxation, and in which his remarkable ability as an engineer was of inestimable advantage to the cause he served.



Shall we not break for a time from our record of special tales and let fall on our pages a bit of winter sunshine from the South, the story of a Christmas festival in the land of the rose and magnolia? It is a story which has been repeated so many successive seasons in the life of the South that it has grown to be a part of its being, the joyous festal period in the workday world of the year. The writer once spent Christmas as a guest in the manor house of old Major Delmar, "away down South," and feels like halting to tell the tale of genial merrymaking and free-hearted enjoyment on that gladsome occasion.

On the plantation, Christmas is the beginning and end of the calendar. Time is measured by the days "before Christmas" or the days "since Christmas." There are other seasons of holiday and enjoyment, alike for black and white, but "The Holidays" has one meaning only: it is the merry Christmas time, when the work of the year past is ended and that of the year to come not begun, and when pleasure and jollity rule supreme.

A hearty, whole-souled, genial host and kindly, considerate master was the old major, in the days242 of his reign, "before the war," and fortunate was he who received an invitation to spend the midwinter festival season under his hospitable roof. It was always crowded with well-chosen guests. The members of the family came in from near and far; friends were invited in wholesome numbers; an atmosphere of good-will spread all around, from master and mistress downward through the young fry and to the dusky-faced house-servants and plantation hands; everybody, great and small, old and young, black and white, was glad at heart when the merry Christmas time came round.

COTTON FIELD ON SOUTHERN PLANTATION. Cotton Field on Southern Plantation.

As the Yule-tide season approached the work of the plantation was rounded up and everything got ready for the festival. The corn was all in the cribs; the hog-killing was at an end, the meat salted or cured, the lard tried out, the sausage-meat made. The mince-meat was ready for the Christmas pies, the turkeys were fattened, especially the majestic "old gobbler," whose generous weight was to grace the great dish on the manor-house table. The presents were all ready,—new shoes, winter clothes, and other useful gifts for the slaves; less useful but more artistic and ornamental remembrances for the household and guests. All this took no small thought and labor, but it was a labor of love, for was it not all meant to make the coming holiday a merry, happy time?

I well remember the jolly stir of it all, for my visit spread over the days of busy preparation. In the woods the axe was busy at work, cutting243 through the tough hickory trunks. Other wood might serve for other seasons, but nothing but good old hickory would do to kindle the Christmas fires. All day long the laden wagons creaked and rumbled along the roads, bringing in the solid logs, and in the wood-yards the shining axes rang, making the white chips fly, as the great logs were chopped down to the requisite length.

From the distant station came the groaning ox-cart, laden with boxes from the far-off city, boxes full of mysterious wares, the black driver seeking to look as if curiosity did not rend his soul while he stolidly drove with his precious goods to the store-room. Here they were unloaded with mirthful haste, jokes passing among the laughing workers as to what "massa" or "mistis" was going to give them out of those heavy crates. The opening of these boxes added fuel to the growing excitement, as the well-wrapped-up parcels were taken out, in some cases openly, in others with a mysterious secrecy that doubled the curiosity and added to the season's charm.

There was another feature of the work of preparation in which all were glad to take part, the gathering of the evergreens—red-berried holly, mistletoe with its glistening pearls, ground-pine, moss, and other wood treasures—for the decoration of parlor, hall, and dining-room, and, above all, of the old village church, a gleeful labor in which the whole neighborhood took part, and helpers came from miles away. Young men and blooming maidens244 alike joined in, some as artists in decoration, others as busy workers, and all as merry aids.

Days rolled on while all this was being done,—the wood chopped and heaped away in the wood-sheds and under the back portico; the church and house made as green as spring-tide with their abundant decorations, tastefully arranged in wreaths and folds and circles, with the great green "Merrie Christmas" welcoming all comers from over the high parlor mantel. All was finished in ample time before the day of Christmas Eve arrived, though there were dozens of final touches still to be made, last happy thoughts that had to be worked out in green, red, or white.

On that same day came the finish which all had wished but scarcely dared hoped for, a fleecy fall of snow that drifted in feathery particles down through the still atmosphere, and covered the ground with an inch-deep carpet of white. I well remember old Delmar, with his wrinkled, kindly face and abundant white hair, and his "By Jove, isn't that just the thing!" as he stood on the porch and looked with boyish glee at the fast-falling flakes. And I remember as well his sweet-faced wife, small, delicate, yet still pretty in her old age, and placidly sharing his enjoyment of the spectacle, rare enough in that climate, in spite of the tradition that a freeze and a snow-fall always came with the Christmas season.

Christmas Eve! That was a time indeed! Parlor and hall, porch and wood-shed, all were well245 enough in their way, but out in the kitchen busy things were going on without which the whole festival would have been sadly incomplete. The stoves were heaped with hickory and glowing with ardent heat, their ovens crammed full of toothsome preparations, while about the tables and shelves clustered the mistress of the place and her regiment of special assistants, many of them famous for their skill in some branch of culinary art, their glistening faces and shining teeth testifying to their pride in their one special talent.

Pies and puddings, cakes and tarts, everything that could be got ready in advance, were being drawn from the ovens and heaped on awaiting shelves, while a dozen hands busied themselves in getting ready the turkey and game and the other essentials of the coming feast that had to wait till the next day for their turn at the heated ovens.

As the day moved on the excitement grew. Visitors were expected: the boys from college with their invited chums; sons and grandsons, aunts and cousins, and invited guests, from near and far. And not only these, but "hired out" servants from neighboring towns, whose terms were fixed from New Year to Christmas, so that they could spend the holiday week at home, made their appearance and were greeted with as much hilarious welcome in the cabins as were the white guests in the mansion. In the manor house itself they were welcomed like home-coming members of the family, as, already wearing their presents of new winter246 clothes, they came to pay their "respecs to massa and mistis."

As the day went on the carriages were sent to the railroad station for the expected visitors, old and young, and a growing impatience testified to the warmth of welcome with which their arrival would be greeted. They are late—to be late seems a fixed feature of the situation, especially when the roads are heavy with unwonted snow. Night has fallen, the stars are out in the skies, before the listening ears on the porch first catch the distant creak of wheels and axles. The glow of the wood-fires on the hearths and of candles on table and mantel is shining out far over the snow when at length the carriages come in sight, laden outside and in with trunks and passengers, whose cheery voices and gay calls have already heralded their approach.

What a time there is when they arrive, the boys and girls tumbling and leaping out and flying up the steps, to be met with warm embraces or genial welcomes; the elders coming more sedately, to be received with earnest handclasps and cordial greetings, Never was there a happier man than the old major when he saw his house filled with guests, and bade the strangers welcome with a dignified, but earnest, courtesy. But when the younger comers stormed him, with their glad shouts of "uncle" or "grandpa" or other titles of relationship, and their jovial echo of "Merry Christmas," the warm-hearted old fellow seemed fairly transformed into247 a boy again. Guest as I was, I felt quite taken off my feet by the flood of greetings, and was swept into the general overflow of high spirits and joyful welcomes.

The frosty poll of the major and the silvery hair of his good wife were significant of venerable age, but there were younger people in the family, and with them a fair sprinkling of children. Of these the diminutive stockings were duly hung in a row over the big fireplace, waiting for the expected coming of Santa Claus, while their late wearers were soon huddled in bed, though with little hope of sleep in the excitement and sense of enchantment that surrounded them. Their disappearance made little void in the crowd that filled the parlor, a gay and merry throng, full of the spirit of fun and hearty enjoyment, and thoroughly genuine in their mirth, not a grain of airiness or ostentation marring their pleasure, though in its way it was as refined as in more showy circles.

Morning dawned,—Christmas morning. Little chance was there for sleepy-heads to indulge themselves that sunny Yule-tide morn. The stir began long before the late sun had risen, that of the children first of all; stealing about like tiny, white-clad spectres, with bulging stockings clasped tightly in their arms; craftily opening bedroom doors and shouting "Christmas gift!" at drowsy slumberers, then scurrying away and seeking the hearth-side, whose embers yielded light enough for a first glance at their treasures.


Soon the opening and closing of doors was heard, and one by one the older inmates of the mansion appeared, with warm "Merry Christmas" greetings, and all so merry-hearted that the breakfast-table was a constant round of quips and jokes, and of stories of pranks played in the night by representatives of Santa Claus. Where all are bent on having a good time, it is wonderful how little will serve to kindle laughter and set joy afloat.

Aside from the church-going,—with the hymns and anthems sung in concert and the reading of the service,—the special event of the day was the distribution of the mysterious contents of the great boxes which had come days before. There were presents for every one; nobody, guest or member of the family, was forgotten, and whether costly, or homely but useful, the gifts seemed to give equal joy. It was the season of good-will, in which the kindly thought, not the costliness of the gift, was alone considered, and when all tokens of kindliness were accepted in the same spirit of gratefulness and enjoyment.

A special feature of a Christmas on the plantation, especially "before the war," was the row of shining, happy black faces that swarmed up to the great house in the morning light, with their mellow outcry of "Merry Christmas, massa!" "Merry Christmas, missis!" and their hopeful looks and eyes bulging with expectation. Joyful was the time when their gifts were handed out,—useful articles of clothing, household goods, and the like,249 all gladly and hilariously received, with a joy as childlike as that of the little ones with their stockings. Off they tripped merrily through the snow with their burdens, laughing and joking, to their cabins, where dinners awaited them which were humble copies of that preparing for the guests at the master's table. Turkey was not wanting, varied here and there by that rare dish of raccoon or "'possum" which the Southern darky so highly enjoys.

The great event of the mansion house was the dinner. All day till the dinner-hour the kitchen was full of busy preparation for this crowning culmination of the festival. Cooks there were in plenty, and the din of their busy labor and the perfume of their culinary triumphs seemed to pervade the whole house.

When the dinner was served, it was a sight to behold. The solid old mahogany table groaned with the weight laid upon it. In the place of honor was the big gobbler, brown as a berry and done to a turn. For those who preferred other meat there was a huge round of venison and an artistically ornamented ham. These formed the backbone of the feast, but with and around them were every vegetable and delicacy that a Southern garden could provide, and tasteful dishes which it took all the ingenuity of a trained mistress of the kitchen to prepare. This was the season to test the genius of the dusky Southern cooks, and they had exhausted their art and skill for that day's feast.250 On the ample sideboard, shining with glass, was the abundant dessert, the cakes, pies, puddings, and other aids to a failing appetite that had been devised the day before.

That this dinner was done honor to need scarcely be said. The journey the day before and the outdoor exercise in that day's frosty air had given every one an excellent appetite, and the appearance of the table at the end of the feast showed that the skill of Aunt Dinah and her assistants had been amply appreciated. After dinner came apple-toddy and eggnog, and the great ovation to the Christmas good cheer was at an end.

But the festival was not over. Games and dances followed the feast. The piano-top was lifted, and light fingers rattled out lively music to which a hundred flying feet quickly responded. Country-dances they were, the lancers and quadrilles. Round dances were still looked upon in that rural locality as an improper innovation. The good old major, in his frock coat and high collar, started the ball, seizing the prettiest girl by the hand and leading her to the head of the room, while the others quickly followed in pairs. Thus, with the touch of nimble fingers on the ivory keys and the tap of feet and the whirl of skirts over the unwaxed floor, mingled with jest and mirth, the evening passed gayly on, the old-fashioned Virginia reel closing the ball and bringing the day's busy reign of festivity to an end.

But the whites did not have all the fun to 251themselves. The colored folks had their parties and festivities as well, their mistresses superintending the suppers and decorating the tables with their own hands, while ladies and gentlemen from the mansion came to look on, an attention which was considered a compliment by the ebon guests. And the Christmas season rarely passed without a colored wedding, the holidays being specially chosen for this interesting ceremony.

The dining-room or the hall of the mansion often served for this occasion, the master joining in matrimony the happy couple; or a colored preacher might perform the ceremony in the quarters. But in either case the event went gayly off, the family attending to get what amusement they could out of the occasion, while the mistress arranged the trousseau for the dusky bride.

But it is with the one Christmas only that we are here concerned, and that ended as happily and merrily as it had begun, midnight passing before the festivities came to an end. How many happy dreams followed the day of joy and how many nightmares the heavy feast is more than we are prepared to put on record.



The outbreak of the Civil War, the most momentous conflict of recent times, was marked by a wave of fervent enthusiasm in the States of the South which swept with the swiftness of a prairie fire over the land. Pouring in multitudes into the centres of enlistment, thousands and tens of thousands of stalwart men offered their services in defence of their cause, gathering into companies and regiments far more rapidly than they could be absorbed. This state of affairs, indeed, existed in the North as well as in the South, but it is with the extraordinary fervor of patriotism in the latter that we are here concerned, and especially with the very interesting experience of General John B. Gordon, as related by him in his "Reminiscences of the Civil War."

When the war began Gordon, as he tells us, was practically living in three States. His house was in Alabama, his post-office in Tennessee, and he was engaged in coal-mining enterprises in the mountains of Georgia, the locality being where these three States meet in a point. No sooner was the coming conflict in the air than the stalwart mountaineers of the mining district became wild with eagerness to fight for the Confederacy, and Gordon, in whom the war spirit burned as hotly as in any of them,253 needed but a word to gather about him a company of volunteers. They unanimously elected him their captain, and organized themselves at once into a cavalry company, most of them, like so many of the sons of the South, much preferring to travel on horseback than on foot.

As yet the war was only a probability, and no volunteers had been called for. But with the ardor that had brought them together, Gordon's company hastened to offer their services, only to be met with the laconic and disappointing reply, "No cavalry now needed."

What was to be done? They did not relish the idea of giving up their horses, yet they wanted to fight still more than to ride, and the fear came upon them that if they waited till cavalry was needed they might be quite lost sight of in that mountain corner and the war end before they could take a hand in it. This notion of a quick end to the war was common enough at that early day, very few foreseeing the vastness of the coming conflict; and, dreading that they might be left out in the cold, the ardent mountaineers took a vote on the question, "Shall we dismount and go as infantry?" This motion was carried with a shout of approval, and away went the stalwart recruits without arms, without uniform, without military training, with little beyond the thirst to fight, the captain knowing hardly more of military tactics than his men. They had courage and enthusiasm, and felt that all things besides would come to them.


As for arms suitable for modern warfare, the South at that time was sadly lacking in them. Men looked up their old double-barrelled shot-guns and squirrel rifles, and Governor Brown, of Georgia, set men at work making what were called "Joe Brown's pikes," being a sort of steel-pointed lances or bayonets on poles, like those used by pikemen in mediæval warfare. In modern war they were about as useful as knitting-needles would have been. Governor Brown knew this well enough, but the volunteers were coming in such numbers and were so eager to fight that the pikes were made more to satisfy them than with hope of their being of any service in actual war.

Gordon's company was among the earliest of these volunteers. Reluctantly leaving their horses, and not waiting for orders, they bade a quick adieu to all they had held dear and set off cheerily for Milledgeville, then the capital of Georgia. They were destined to a sad disappointment. On reaching Atlanta they were met by a telegram from the governor, who had been advised of their coming, telling them to go back home and wait until advised that they were wanted.

This was like a shower of cold water poured on the ardor of the volunteers. Go home? After they had cut loose from their homes and started for the war? They would do nothing of the kind; they were on foot to fight and would not consent to be turned back by Governor Brown or any one else. The captain felt very much like his men. He too255 was an eager Confederate patriot, but his position was one demanding obedience to the constituted authorities, and by dint of much persuasion and a cautious exercise of his new authority he induced his men to board the train heading back for their homes.

But the repressed anger of the rebellious mountaineers broke forth again when the engine-bell rang and the whistle gave its shrill starting signal. Some of the men rushed forward and tore out the coupling of the foremost car, and the engine was left in condition to make its journey alone. While the trainmen looked on in astonishment the mountaineers sprang from the train, gathered round their captain, and told him that they had made up their minds on the matter and were not going back. They had enlisted for the war and intended to go to it; if Governor Brown would not take them, some other governor would.

There was nothing left for the young captain but to lead his undisciplined and rebellious company through Atlanta in search of a suitable camping-place. Their disregard of discipline did not trouble him greatly, for in his heart he sympathized with them, and he knew well that in their rude earnestness was the stuff of which good soldiers are made.

Gordon gives an interesting and amusing description of the appearance his men made and the interest they excited in Atlanta's streets. These were filled with citizens, who looked upon the motley crew with a feeling in which approval was256 tempered by mirth. The spectacle of the march—or rather the straggle—of the mountaineers was one not soon to be forgotten. Utterly untrained in marching, they walked at will, no two keeping step, while no two were dressed alike. There were almost as many different hues and cuts in their raiment as there were men in their ranks. The nearest approach to a uniform was in their rough fur caps made of raccoon skins, and with the streaked and bushy tail of the raccoon hanging down behind.

The amusement of the people was mingled with curiosity. "Are you the captain of this company?" some of them asked Gordon, who was rather proud of his men and saw nothing of the grotesque in their appearance.

"I am, sir," he replied, in a satisfied tone.

"What company is it, captain?"

As yet the company had no name other than one which he had chosen as fine sounding and suitable, but had not yet mentioned to the men.

"This company is the Mountain Rifles," said the captain, proudly.

His pride was destined to a fall. From a tall mountaineer in the ranks came, in words not intended for his ears, but plainly audible, the disconcerting words,—

"Mountain hell! We are no Mountain Rifles. We are the Raccoon Roughs."

And Raccoon Roughs they continued through all the war, Gordon's fine-spun name being never heard of again. The feeble remnant of the war-scarred257 company which was mustered out at Appomattox was still known as Raccoon Roughs.

Who would have them, since Governor Brown would not, was now the question. Telegrams sped out right and left to governors of other States, begging a chance for the upland patriots. An answer came at length from Governor Moore, of Alabama, who consented to incorporate the Raccoon Roughs and their captain in one of the new regiments he was organizing. Gordon gladly read the telegram to his eager company, and from their hundred throats came the first example of the "rebel yell" he had ever heard,—a wild and thrilling roar that was to form the inspiration to many a mad charge in later years.

No time was lost by the gallant fellows in setting out on their journey to Montgomery. As they went on they found the whole country in a blaze of enthusiasm. No one who saw the scene would have doubted for a moment that the South was an ardent unit in support of its cause. By day the troop trains were wildly cheered as they passed; at night bonfires blazed on the hills and torchlight processions paraded the streets of the towns. As no cannon were at hand to salute the incoming volunteers, blacksmith anvils took their place, ringing with the blows of hammers swung by muscular arms. Every station was a throng of welcoming people, filling the air with shouts and the lively sound of fife and drum, and bearing banners of all sizes and shapes, on which Southern independence258 was proclaimed and the last dollar and man pledged to the cause. The women were out as enthusiastically as the men; staid matrons and ardent maids springing upon the cars, pinning blue cockades on the lapels of the new soldiers' coats, and singing the war-songs already in vogue, the favorite "Dixie" and the "Bonnie Blue Flag," in whose chorus the harsh voices of the Raccoon Boughs mingled with the musical tones of their fair admirers.

Montgomery was at length reached to find it thronged with shouting volunteers, every man of them burning with enthusiasm. Mingled with them were visiting statesmen and patriotic citizens, for that city was the cradle of the new-born Confederacy and the centre of Southern enthusiasm. Every heart was full of hope, every face marked with energy, a prayer for the success of the cause on every lip. Never had more fervent and universal enthusiasm been seen. On the hills and around the capital cannon boomed welcome to the inflowing volunteers, wagons rumbled by carrying arms and ammunition to the camps, on every street marched untrained but courageous recruits. As for the Raccoon Roughs, Governor Moore kept his word, assigning them to a place in the Sixth Alabama Regiment, of which Captain Gordon, unexpectedly and against his wishes, was unanimously elected major.

Such were the scenes which the coming war excited in the far South, such the fervid enthusiasm with which the coming conflict for Southern259 independence was hailed. So vast was the number of volunteers, in companies and in regiments, each eager to be accepted, that the Hon. Leroy P. Walker, the first Secretary of War of the Confederacy, was fairly overwhelmed by the flood of applicants that poured in on him day and night. Their captains and colonels waylaid him on the streets to urge the immediate acceptance of their services, and he was obliged to seek his office by roundabout ways to avoid the flood of importunities. It is said that before the Confederate government left Montgomery for Richmond, about three hundred and sixty thousand volunteers, very many of them from the best element of the Southern population, had offered to devote their lives and fortunes to their country's cause.

Many striking examples of this outburst of enthusiasm and patriotic devotion might be adduced, but we must content ourselves with one, cited as an instance in point by General Gordon. This was the case of Mr. W. C. Heyward, of South Carolina, a West Point graduate and a man of fortune and position. The Confederate government was no sooner organized than Mr. Heyward sought Montgomery, tendering his services and those of a full regiment enlisted by him for the war. Such was the pressure upon the authorities, and so far beyond the power of absorption at that time the offers of volunteers, that Mr. Heyward sought long in vain for an interview with the Secretary of War. When this was at last obtained he found the ranks260 so filled that it was impossible to accept his regiment. Returning home in deep disappointment, but with his patriotism unquenched, this wealthy and trained soldier joined the Home Guards and died in the war as a private in the ranks.

Such was the unanimity with which the sons of the South, hosts of them armed with no better weapons than old-fashioned flint and steel muskets, double-barrelled shot-guns, and long-barrelled squirrel rifles, rushed to the defence of their States, with a spontaneous and burning enthusiasm that has never been surpassed. The impulse of self-defence was uppermost in their hearts. It was not the question of the preservation of slavery that sustained them in the terrible conflict for four years of desolating war. It was far more that of the sovereignty of the States. The South maintained that the Union formed under the Constitution was one of consent and not of force; that each State retained the right to resume its independence on sufficient cause, and that the Constitution gave no warrant for the attempt to invade and coerce a sovereign State. It was for this, not to preserve slavery, that the people sprang as one man to arms and fought as men had rarely fought before.



Of all the minor operations of the Civil War, the one most marked at once by daring and success was the pioneer invasion of the Northern States, the notable Chambersburg raid of the most famous cavalry leader of the Confederacy, General J. E. B. Stuart. This story of bold venture and phenomenal good fortune, though often told, is worth giving again in its interesting details.

The interim after the battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam was one of rest and recuperation in both the armies engaged. During this period the cavalry of Lee's army was encamped in the vicinity of Charlestown, some ten miles to the southward of Harper's Ferry. Stuart's head-quarters were located under the splendid oaks which graced the lawn of "The Bower," whose proprietor, Mr. A. S. Dandridge, entertained the officers with an open-hearted and genial hospitality which made their stay one of great pleasure and enjoyment.

There were warriors in plenty who would not have been hasty to break up that agreeable period of rest and social intercourse, but Stuart was not of that class. He felt that he must be up and doing, demonstrating that the Army of Northern Virginia had not gone to sleep; and the early days262 of October, 1862, saw a stir about head-quarters which indicated that something out of the ordinary was afoot. During the evening of the 8th the officers were engaged in a lively social intercourse with the ladies of "The Bower," the entertainment ending in a serenade in which the banjo and fiddle took chief part. Warlike affairs seemed absent from the thoughts of all, with the exception that the general devoted more time than usual to his papers.

COLONIAL MANSION. Colonial Mansion.

With the morning of the 9th a new state of affairs came on. The roads suddenly appeared full of well-mounted and well-appointed troopers, riding northward with jingling reins and genial calls, while the cheery sound of the bugle rang through the fresh morning air. There were eighteen hundred of these horsemen, selected from the best mounted and most trustworthy men in the corps, for they were chosen for an expedition that would need all their resources of alertness, activity, and self-control, no less a one than an invasion of Pennsylvania, a perilous enterprise in which the least error might expose them all to capture or death.

On reaching the appointed place of rendezvous, at Darksville, Stuart issued an address in which he advised his followers that the enterprise in which they were to engage demanded the greatest coolness, decision, and courage, implicit obedience to orders, and the strictest order and sobriety. While the full purpose of the expedition must still be kept secret, he said, it was one in which success would263 reflect the highest credit on their arms. The seizure of private property in the State of Maryland was strictly prohibited, and it was to be done in Pennsylvania only under orders from the brigade commanders, individual plundering being strongly forbidden.

These preliminaries adjusted, the march northward began, the command being divided into three detachments of six hundred men each, under the direction of General Wade Hampton, Colonel W. H. F. Lee, and Colonel W. E. Jones. A battery of four guns accompanied the expedition. It was with high expectations that the men rode forward, the secrecy of the enterprise giving it an added zest. Most of them had followed Stuart in daring rides in the earlier months of that year, and all were ready to follow wherever he chose to lead.

Darkness had fallen when they reached Hedgesville, the point on the Potomac where it was designed to cross. Here they bivouacked for the night, a select party of some thirty men being sent across the river, their purpose being to capture the Federal picket on the Maryland side. In this they failed, but the picket was cut off from its reserve, so that the fugitives were not able to report the attack. Day had not dawned when all the men were in their saddles, and as soon as word of the result of the night's enterprise was received, the foremost troops plunged into the river and the crossing began. It was completed without difficulty, and Colonel Butler, leading the advance, rode264 briskly forward to the National turnpike which joins Hancock and Hagerstown.

Along this road, a few hours before, General Cox's division of Federal infantry had passed, Butler coming so close to his rear that the stragglers were captured. But a heavy fog covered the valley and hid all things from sight, so that Cox continued his march in ignorance that a strong body of Confederate cavalry was so close upon his track. On Fairview Heights, near the road, was a Federal signal-station, which a squad was sent to capture. The two officers in charge of it escaped, but two privates and all its equipments were taken.

Yet, despite all efforts at secrecy, the march had not gone on unseen. A citizen had observed the crossing and reported it to Captain Logan of the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, and the news spread with much rapidity. But there was no strong force of cavalry available to check the movement, and Stuart's braves passed steadily forward unopposed. Their line of march was remote from telegraph or railroad, and the Pennsylvania farmers, who did not dream of the war invading their fields, were stricken with consternation when Stuart's bold riders crossed Mason and Dixon's line and appeared on their soil.

It was hard for them to believe it. One old gentleman, whose sorrel mare was taken from his cart, protested bitterly, saying that orders from Washington had forbidden the impressment of horses, and threatening the vengeance of the government265 on the supposed Federal raiders. A shoe merchant at Mercersburg completely equipped Butler's advance guard with foot-wear, and was sadly surprised when paid with a receipt calling on the Federal government to pay for damages. While nothing was disturbed in Maryland, horses were diligently seized in Pennsylvania, the country on both sides of the line of march being swept clean of its farm animals. Ladies on the road, however, were not molested, and the men were strictly prohibited from seizing private property—even from taking provisions for themselves.

Chambersburg, the goal of the expedition, was reached on the evening of the 10th, after a day's hard ride. So rapid and well conducted had been the journey that as yet scarce one enemy had been seen; and when the town was called on to surrender within thirty minutes, under penalty of a bombardment, resistance was out of the question; there was no one capable of resisting, and the troops were immediately marched into the town, where they were drawn up in the public square.

The bank was the first place visited. Colonel Butler, under orders from his chief, entered the building and demanded its funds. But the cashier assured him that it was empty of money, all its cash having been sent away that morning, and convinced him of this by opening the safe and drawers for his inspection. Telegraphic warning had evidently reached the town. Butler had acted with such courtesy that the cashier now called the ladies266 of his family, and bade them to prepare food for the men who had made the search. That the captors of the town behaved with like courtesy throughout we have the evidence of Colonel A. K. McClure, subsequently editor of the Philadelphia Times, who then dwelt in the near vicinity of Chambersburg. Though a United States officer and subject to arrest or parole, and though he had good opportunity to escape, he resolved to stay and share the fate of his fellow-townsmen. We quote from his description of the incidents of that night. After speaking of an interview he had—as one of the committee of three citizens to surrender the town—with General Hampton, and the courteous manner of the latter, he proceeds:

"With sixty acres of corn in shock, and three barns full of grain, excellent farm and saddle horses, and a number of best blooded cattle, the question of property was worthy of a thought. I resolved to stay, as I felt so bound by the terms of surrender, and take my chances of discovery and parole....

"I started in advance of them for my house, but not in time to save the horses. I confidently expected to be overrun by them, and to find the place one scene of desolation in the morning. I resolved, however, that things should be done soberly, if possible, and I had just time to destroy all the liquors about the house. As their pickets were all around me I could not get it off. I finished just in time, for they were soon upon me in force, and267 every horse in the barn, ten in all, was promptly equipped and mounted by a rebel cavalryman. They passed on towards Shippensburg, leaving a picket force on the road.

"In an hour they returned with all the horses they could find, and dismounted to spend the night on the turnpike in front of my door. It was now midnight, and I sat on the porch observing their movements. They had my best corn-field beside them and their horses fared well. In a little while one entered the yard, came up to me, and after a profound bow, politely asked for a few coals to start a fire. I supplied him, and informed him as blandly as possible where he would find wood conveniently, as I had dim visions of camp-fires made of my palings. I was thanked in return, and the mild-mannered villain proceeded at once to strip the fence and kindle fires. Soon after a squad came and asked permission to get some water. I piloted them to the pump, and again received a profusion of thanks....

"About one o'clock, half a dozen officers came to the door and asked to have some coffee made for them, offering to pay liberally for it in Confederate scrip. After concluding a treaty with them on behalf of the colored servants, coffee was promised them, and they then asked for a little bread with it. They were wet and shivering, and, seeing a bright, open wood-fire in the library, they asked permission to enter and warm themselves until their coffee should be ready, assuring me that under268 no circumstances should anything in the house be disturbed by their men. I had no alternative but to accept them as my guests until it might please them to depart, and I did so with as good grace as possible.

"Once seated round the fire all reserve seemed to be forgotten on their part, and they opened a general conversation on politics, the war, the different battles, the merits of generals of both armies. They spoke with entire freedom upon every subject but their movement into Chambersburg. Most of them were men of more than ordinary intelligence and culture, and their demeanor was in all respects eminently courteous. I took a cup of coffee with them, and have never seen anything more keenly relished. They said that they had not tasted coffee for weeks before, and that then they had paid from six to ten dollars per pound for it. When they were through they asked whether there was any coffee left, and finding that there was some, they proposed to bring some more officers and a few privates, who were prostrated by exposure, to get what was left. They were, of course, as welcome as those present, and on they came in squads of five or more until every grain of brown coffee was exhausted. Then they asked for tea, and that was served to some twenty more.

"In the mean time a subordinate officer had begged of me a little bread for himself and a few men, and he was supplied in the kitchen. He was followed by others in turn, until nearly a hundred had been269 supplied with something to eat or drink. All, however, politely asked permission to enter the house, and behaved with entire propriety. They did not make a single rude or profane remark, even to the servants. In the mean time the officers who had first entered the house had filled their pipes from the box of Killikinick on the mantel—after being assured that smoking was not offensive—and we had another hour of free talk on matters generally....

"At four o'clock in the morning the welcome blast of the bugle was heard, and they rose hurriedly to depart. Thanking me for the hospitality they had received, we parted, mutually expressing the hope that should we ever meet again, it would be under more pleasant circumstances. In a few minutes they were mounted and moved into Chambersburg. About seven o'clock I went into town....

"General Stuart sat on his horse in the centre of the town, surrounded by his staff, and his command was coming in from the country in large squads, leading their old horses and riding the new ones they had found in the stables hereabouts. General Stuart is of medium size, has a keen eye, and wears immense sandy whiskers and moustache. His demeanor to our people was that of a humane soldier. In several instances his men commenced to take private property from stores, but they were arrested by General Stuart's provost-guard. In a single instance only, that I heard of, did they enter270 a store by intimidating the proprietor. All of our stores and shops were closed, and with a very few exceptions were not disturbed."

This was certainly not like the usual behavior of soldiers on foreign soil, and the incident at once illustrates the strict control which General Stuart held over his men and the character of the men themselves, largely recruited, as they were, from the higher class of Southern society. Though Colonel McClure evidently felt that the lion's claws lay concealed under the silken glove, he certainly saw no evidence of it in the manners of his unbidden guests.

Return was now the vital question before General Stuart and his band. Every hour of delay added to the dangers surrounding them. Troops were hastily marching to cut off their retreat; cavalry was gathering to intercept them; scouts were watching every road and every movement. Worst of all was the rain, which had grown heavy in the night and was now falling steadily, with a threat of swelling the Potomac and making its fords impassable. The ride northward had been like a holiday excursion; what would the ride southward prove?

With the dawn of day the head of the column set out on the road towards Gettysburg, no damage being done in the town except to railroad property and the ordnance store-house, which contained a large quantity of ammunition and other army supplies. This was set on fire, and the sound of the 271explosion, after the flames reached the powder, came to the ears of the vanguard when already at a considerable distance on the return route.

At Cashtown the line turned from the road to Gettysburg and moved southward, horses being still diligently collected till the Maryland line was crossed, when all gathering of spoil ceased. Emmittsburg was reached about sunset, the hungry cavaliers there receiving a warm welcome and being supplied with food as bountifully as the means of the inhabitants permitted.

Meanwhile, the Federal military authorities were busy with efforts to cut off the ventursome band. The difficulty was to know at what point on the Potomac a crossing would be sought, and the troops were held in suspense until Stuart's movements should unmask his purpose. General Pleasanton and his cavalry force were kept in uncertain movement, now riding to Hagerstown, then, on false information, going four miles westward, then, halted by fresh orders, turning east and riding to Mechanicstown, twenty miles from Hagerstown. They had marched fifty miles that day, eight of which were wasted, and when they halted, Stuart was passing within four miles of them without their knowledge. Midnight brought Pleasanton word of Stuart's movements, and the weary men and horses were put on the road again, reaching the mouth of the Monocacy about eight o'clock the next morning. But most of his command had dropped behind in that exhausting ride of seventy-eight miles272 within twenty-eight hours, only some four hundred of them being still with him.

While the Federals were thus making every effort to cut off the bold raiders and to garrison the fords through a long stretch of the Potomac, Stuart was riding south from Emmittsburg, after a brief stop at that place, seeking to convey the impression by his movements that he proposed to try some of the upper and nearer fords. His real purpose was to seek a crossing lower down, so near to the main body of the Federals that they would not look for him there. Yet the dangers were growing with every moment, three brigades of infantry guarded the lower fords, Pleasanton was approaching the Monocacy, and it looked as if the bold raider was in a net from which there could be no escape.

Stuart reached Hyattstown at daylight on the 12th, having marched sixty-five miles in twenty hours. The abundance of captured horses enabled him to make rapid changes for the guns and caissons and to continue the march without delay. Two miles from Hyattstown the road entered a large piece of woodland, which served to conceal his movements from observation from any signal-tower. Here a disused road was found, and, turning abruptly to the west, a rapid ride was made under cover.

Soon after the open country was reached again a Federal squadron was encountered; but it was dispersed by a charge, and from this point a rapid ride was made for White's Ford, the nearest available crossing. All now seemed to depend upon whether273 this ford was occupied in force by the enemy. As Colonel Lee approached it this question was settled; what appeared a large body of Federal infantry was in possession, posted on a steep bluff quite close to the ford. It seemed impossible to dislodge it, but foes were closing up rapidly from behind, and if all was not to be lost something must be done, and done at once.

To attack the men on the bluff seemed hopeless, and before doing so Lee tried the effect of putting a bold face on the matter. He sent a messenger under a flag of truce, telling the Federal commander that Stuart's whole force was before him, that resistance was useless, and calling on him to surrender. If this was not done in fifteen minutes a charge in force would be made. The fifteen minutes passed. No sign of yielding appeared. Lee, with less than a forlorn hope of success, opened fire with his guns and ordered his men to advance. He listened for the roar of the Federal guns in reply, when a wild shout rang along the line.

"They are retreating! Hurrah! they are retreating!"

Such was indeed the case. The infantry on the bluff were marching away with flying flags and beating drums, abandoning their strong position without a shot. A loud Confederate cheer followed them as they marched. No shot was fired to hinder them. Their movement was the salvation of Stuart's corps, for it left an open passage to the ford, and safety was now assured.


But there was no time to lose. Pleasanton and his men might be on them at any minute. Other forces of the enemy were rapidly closing in. Haste was the key to success. One piece of artillery was hurried over the dry bed of the canal, across the river ford, and up the Virginia bluff, where it was posted to command the passage. Another gun was placed so as to sweep the approaches on the Maryland side, and soon a stream of horsemen were rapidly riding through the shallow water to Virginia and safety. With them went a long train of horses captured from Pennsylvania farms.

Up came the others and took rapidly to the water, Pelham meanwhile facing Pleasanton with a single gun, which was served with all possible rapidity. But there was one serious complication. Butler with the rear-guard had not yet arrived, and no one knew just where he was. Stuart, in deep concern for his safety, sent courier after courier to hasten his steps, but no tidings came back.

"I fear it is all up with Butler," he said, despondently. "I cannot get word of him, and the enemy is fast closing in on his path."

"Let me try to reach him," said Captain Blackford, to whom the general had spoken.

After a moment's hesitation Stuart replied,—

"All right! If we don't meet again, good-by, old fellow! You run a desperate chance of being raked in."

Away went Blackford at full speed, passing the275 lagging couriers one by one, and at length reaching Butler, whom he found halted and facing the enemy, in complete ignorance of what was going on at the front. He had his own and a North Carolina regiment and one gun.

"We are crossing the ford, and Stuart orders you up at once," shouted Blackford. "Withdraw at a gallop or you will be cut off."

"Very good," said Butler, coolly. "But how about that gun? I fear the horses can't get it off in time."

"Let the gun go. Save yourself and your men."

Butler did not see it in that light. Whip and spur were applied to the weary artillery horses, and away they went down the road, whirling the gun behind them, and followed at a gallop by Butler and his men. As they turned towards the ford they were saluted by the fire of a Federal battery. Further on the distant fire of infantry from down the river reached them with spent balls. Ten minutes later and the rear-guard would have been lost. As it was, a wild dash was made across the stream and soon the last man stood on Virginia soil. The expedition was at an end, and the gallant band was on its native heath once more.

Thus ended Stuart's famous two days' ride. The first crossing of the Potomac had been on the morning of the 10th. The final crossing was on the morning of the 12th. Within twenty-seven hours he had ridden eighty miles, from Chambersburg to White's Ford, with his artillery and captured horses,276 and had crossed the Potomac under the eyes of much superior numbers, his only losses being the wounding of one man and the capture of two who had dropped out of the line of march—a remarkable record of success, considering the great peril of the expedition.

The gains of the enterprise were about twelve hundred horses, but the great strain of the ride forced the men to abandon many of their own. Stuart lost two of his most valued animals—Suffolk and Lady Margrave—through the carelessness of his servant Bob, who, overcome by too free indulgence in ardent spirits, fell out of the line to take a nap, and ended by finding himself and his horses in hostile hands.

The value of the property destroyed at Chambersburg, public and railroad, was estimated at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; a few hundred sick and wounded soldiers were paroled, and about thirty officials and prominent citizens were brought off as prisoners, to be held as hostages for imprisoned citizens of the Confederacy.

On the whole, it was eminently a dare-devil enterprise of the type of the knightly forays of old, its results far less in importance than the risk of loss to the Confederacy had that fine body of cavalry been captured. Yet it was of the kind of ventures calculated to improve the morale of an army, and inspire its men to similar deeds of daring and success. Doubtless it gave the cue to Morgan's later and much less fortunate invasion of the North.



Foremost in dash and daring among the cavalry leaders of the Confederacy was Lieutenant-General Nathan B. Forrest, a hero in the saddle, some of whose exploits were like the marvels of romance. There is one of his doings in particular which General Lord Wolseley says "reads like a romance." This was his relentless pursuit and final capture of the expedition under Colonel Abel D. Streight, one of the most brilliant deeds in the cavalry history of the war. Accepting Wolseley's opinion, we give the story of this exploit.

In General Rosecrans's campaign against General Bragg, it was a matter of importance to him to cut the railroad lines and destroy bridges, arsenals, etc., in Bragg's rear. He wished particularly to cut the railroads leading from Chattanooga to Atlanta and Nashville, and thus prevent the free movement of troops. The celebrated Andrews expedition of scouts, described in a previous volume of this series, failed in an effort to do this work. Colonel Streight, a stalwart, daring cavalry leader, made a second effort to accomplish it, and would doubtless have succeeded but for the bulldog-like persistence with which "that devil, Forrest" clung to his heels.

Colonel Streight's expedition was made up of four278 regiments of mounted infantry and two companies of cavalry, about two thousand men in all. Rome, Georgia, an important point on the railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, was its objective point. The route to be traversed included a barren, mountainous track of country, chosen from the fact that its sparse population was largely composed of Union sympathizers. But the road was likely to be so steep and rocky, and forage so scarce, that mules were chosen instead of horses for the mounts, on account of their being more surefooted and needing less food.

The expedition was sent by steamboat from Nashville, Tennessee, to Eastport, Alabama, which place was reached on the 19th of April, 1863. This movement was conducted with all possible secrecy, and was masked by an expedition under General Dodge, at the head of a force of some ten thousand men. The unfortunate feature about the affair was the mules. On their arrival at Eastport these animals, glad to get on solid land again, set up a bray that trumpeted the story of their arrival for miles around, and warned the cavalry of General Rodney, who had been skirmishing with General Dodge, that new foes were in the field.

When night fell some of Rodney's cavalry lads crept into the corral, and there, with yells and hoots and firing of guns and pistols, they stampeded nearly four hundred of the mules. This caused a serious delay, only two hundred of the mules being found after two day's search, while more time was279 lost in getting others. From Eastport the expedition proceeded to Tuscumbia, General Rodney stubbornly resisting the advance. Here a careful inspection was made, and all unfit men left out, so that about fifteen hundred picked men, splendidly armed and equipped, constituted the final raiding force.

But the delay gave time for the news that some mysterious movement was afoot to spread far and wide, and Forrest led his corps of hard riders at top-speed from Tennessee to the aid of Rodney in checking it. On the 27th he was in Dodge's front, helping Rodney to give him what trouble he could, though obliged to fall back before his much greater force.

Streight was already on his way. He had set out at midnight of the 26th, in pouring rain and over muddy roads. At sunset of the next day he was thirty-eight miles from the starting-point. On the afternoon of the 28th the village of Moulton was reached without trace of an enemy in front or rear. The affair began to look promising. Next morning the mule brigade resumed its march, heading east towards Blountsville.

Not until the evening of the 28th did Forrest hear of this movement. Then word was brought him that a large body of Union troops had passed Mount Hope, riding eastward towards Moulton. The quick-witted leader guessed in a moment what all this meant, and with his native energy prepared for a sharp pursuit. In all haste he picked out a suitable force, had several days' rations cooked for280 the men and corn gathered for the horses, and shortly after midnight was on the road, leaving what men he could spare to keep Dodge busy and prevent pursuit. His command was twelve hundred strong, the most of them veterans whose metal had been tried on many a hard-fought field, and who were ready to follow their daring leader to the death, reckless and hardy "irregulars," brought up from childhood to the use of horses and arms, the sturdy sons of the back country.

Streight was now in the ugly mountain country through which his route lay, and was advancing up Sand Mountain by a narrow, stony, winding road. He had two days the start of his pursuer, but with such headlong speed did Forrest ride, that at dawn on the 30th, when the Federals were well up the mountain, the boom of a cannon gave them the startling notice that an enemy was in pursuit. Forrest had pushed onward at his usual killing pace, barely drawing rein until Streight's camp-fires came in sight, when his men lay down by their horses for a night's rest.

Captain William Forrest, a brother of the general, had been sent ahead to reconnoitre, and in the early morning was advised of the near presence of the enemy by as awful a noise as human ears could well bear, the concentrated breakfast bray of fifteen hundred hungry mules.

The cannon-shot which had warned Colonel Streight that an enemy was near, was followed by the yell of Captain Forrest's wild troopers, as they281 charged hotly up the road. Their recklessness was to be severely punished, for as they came headlong onward a volley was poured into them from a ridge beside the road. Their shrewd opponent had formed an ambuscade, into which they blindly rode, with the result that Captain Forrest fell from his horse with a crushed thigh-bone, and many of his men and horses were killed and wounded before they could get out of the trap into which they had ridden.

The attack was followed up by Forrest's whole force. Edmonson's men, dismounted, advanced within a hundred yards of the Federal line, Roddy and Julian rode recklessly forward in advance, and Forrest's escort and scouts occupied the left. It was a precipitous movement, which encountered a sudden and sharp reverse, nearly the whole line being met with a murderous fire and driven back. Then the Federals sprang forward in a fierce charge, driving the Confederates back in confusion over their own guns, two of which were captured with their caissons and ammunition.

The loss of his guns threw Forrest into a violent rage, in which he made the air blue with his forcible opinions. Those guns must be taken back, he swore, at the risk of all their lives. He bade every man to dismount and tie their horses to saplings—there were to be no horse-holders in this emergency. Onward swept the avengers, but to their surprise and chagrin only a small rear-guard was found, who fled on their mules after a few shots. Streight,282 with the captured guns, was well on the road again, and Forrest's men were obliged to go back, untie their horses, and get in marching order, losing nearly an hour of precious time.

From this period onward the chase was largely a running fight. Forrest's orders to his men were to "shoot at everything blue and keep up the scare." Streight's purpose was to make all haste forward to Rome, outriding his pursuers, and do what damage he could. But he had to deal with the "Rough Riders" of the Confederate army, men sure to keep on his track day and night, and give him no rest while a man on mule-back remained.

Forrest's persistence was soon shown. His advance troopers came up with the enemy again at Hog's-back ridge an hour before dark and at once charged right and left. They had their own guns to face, Streight keeping up a hot fire with the captured pieces till the ammunition was exhausted, when, being short of horses, he spiked and abandoned the guns.

The fight thus begun was kept up vigorously till ten o'clock at night, and was as gallant and stubbornly contested as any of the minor engagements of the war, the echoes of that mountain desert repeating most unwonted sounds. General Forrest seemed everywhere, and so fearlessly exposed himself that one horse was killed and two were wounded under him, though he escaped unhurt. In the end Colonel Streight was taught that he could not drive off his persistent foe, and took to283 the road again, but twice more during the night he was attacked, each time repelling his foes by an ambuscade.

About ten o'clock the next morning Blountsville was reached. The Federals were now clear of the mountains and in an open and fertile country where food and horses were to be had. Both were needed; many of the mules had given out, leaving their riders on foot, while mules and men alike were short of food. It was the first of May, and the village was well filled with country people, who saw with dismay the Yankee troopers riding in and confiscating all the horses on which they could lay hands.

Streight now decided to get on with pack-mules, and the wagons were bunched and set on fire, the command leaving them burning as it moved on. They did not burn long. Forrest's advance came on with a yell, swept the Federal rear-guard from the village, and made all haste to extinguish the flames, the wagons furnishing them a rich and much-needed supply. Few horses or mules, however, were to be had, as Streight's men had swept the country as far as they could reach on both sides of the road.

On went the raiders and on came their pursuers, heading east, keeping in close touch, and skirmishing briskly as they went, for ten miles more. This brought them to a branch of the Black Warrior River. The ford reached by the Federals was rocky, and they had their foe close in the rear, but by an active use of skirmishers and of his two howitzers284 Straight managed to get his command across and to hold the ford until a brief rest was taken.

The Yankee troopers were not long on the road again before Forrest was over the stream, and the hot chase was on once more. The night that followed was the fourth night of the chase, which had been kept up with only brief snatches of rest and with an almost incessant contest. On the morning of the 2d the skirmishing briskly began again, Forrest with an advance troop attacking the Federal rear-guard, and fighting almost without intermission during the fifteen miles ride to Black Creek.

Here was a deep and sluggish stream walled in with very high banks. It was spanned at the road by a wooden bridge, over which Colonel Streight rushed his force at top speed, and at once set the bridge on fire, facing about with his howitzers to check pursuit. One man was left on the wrong side of the stream, and was captured by Forrest himself as he dashed up to the blazing bridge at the head of his men.

Colonel Streight might now reasonably believe that he had baffled his foe for a time, and might safely take the repose so greatly needed. The stream was said to be too deep to ford, and the nearest bridge, two miles away, was a mere wreck, impassable for horses. Forrest was in a quandary as to how he should get over that sluggish but deep ditch, and stood looking at it in dismay. He was obliged to wait in any event, for his artillery and the bulk of his command had been far outridden.285 In this dilemma the problem was solved for him by a country girl who lived near by, Emma Sanson by name. Near the burning bridge was a little one-storied, four-roomed house, in which dwelt the widow Sanson and her two daughters. She had two sons in the service, and the three women, like many in similar circumstances in the Confederacy, were living as best they could.

The girl Emma watched with deep interest the rapid flight, the burning of the bridge, and the headlong pursuit of the Confederate troop. Seeing Forrest looking with a dubious countenance at the dark stream, she came up and accosted him.

"You are after those Yankees?" she asked.

"I should think so," said Forrest, "and would give my best hat to get across this ugly ditch."

"I think you can do it," she replied.

"Aha! my good girl. That is news worth more than my old hat. How is it to be done? Let me know at once."

"I know a place near our farm where I have often seen cows wade across when the water was low. If you will lend me a horse to put my saddle on, I will show you the place."

"There's no time for that; get up behind me," cried Forrest.

In a second's time the alert girl was on the horse behind him. As they were about to ride off her mother came out and asked, in a frightened tone, where she was going. Forrest explained and promised to bring her back safe, and in a moment286 more was off. The ride was not a long one, the place sought being soon reached. Here the general and his guide quickly dismounted, the girl leading down a ravine to the water's edge, where Forrest examined the depth and satisfied himself that the place might prove fordable.

Mounting again, they rode back, now under fire, for a sharp engagement was going on across the creek between the Confederates and the Federal rear-guard. Forrest was profuse in his thanks as he left the quick-witted girl at her home. He gave her as reward a horse and also wrote her a note of thanks, and asked her to send him a lock of her hair, which he would be glad to have and cherish in memory of her service to the cause.

The Lost Ford, as the place has since been called, proved available, the horses finding foothold, while the ammunition was taken from the caissons and carried across by the horsemen. This done, the guns and empty caissons were pulled across by ropes, and soon all was in readiness to take up the chase again.

Colonel Streight had reached Gadsden, four miles away, when to his surprise and dismay he heard once more the shouts of his indefatigable foemen as they rode up at full speed. It seemed as if nothing could stop the sleuth-hounds on his track. For the succeeding fifteen miles there was a continual skirmish, and, when Streight halted to rest, the fight became so sharp that his weary men were forced to take to the road again. Rest was not for them,287 with Forrest in their rear. Streight here tried for the last time his plan of ambuscading his enemy, but the wide-awake Forrest was not to be taken in as before, and by a flank movement compelled the weary Federals to resume their march.

All that night they rode despondently on, crossing the Chattanooga River on a bridge which they burned behind them, and by sunrise reaching Cedar Bluff, twenty-eight miles from Gadsden. At nine o'clock they stopped to feed, and the worn-out men had no sooner touched the ground than they were dead asleep. Forrest had taken the opportunity to give his men a night's rest, detaching two hundred of them to follow the Federals and "devil them all night." Streight had also detached two hundred of his best-mounted men, bidding them to march to Rome and hold the bridge at that place. But Forrest had shrewdly sent a fast rider to the same place, and when Russell got up he found the bridge strongly held and his enterprise hopeless.

When May 3 dawned the hot chase was near its end. Forrest had given his men ten hours' sleep while Streight's worn-out men were plodding desperately on. This all-night's ride was a fatal error for the Federals, and was a main cause of their final defeat. The short distance they had made was covered by Forrest's men, fresh from their night's sleep, in a few hours, and at half-past nine, while the Federals were at breakfast, the old teasing rattle of small-arms called them into line again. About the same time word came from Russell that288 he could not take the bridge at Rome, and news was received that a flanking movement of Confederates had cut in between Rome and the Yankee troopers.

The affair now looked utterly desperate, but the brave Streight rallied his men on a ridge in a field and skirmishing began. So utterly exhausted, however, were the Federals that many of them went to sleep as they lay in line of battle behind the ridge while looking along their gun barrels with finger on trigger.

The game was fairly up. Forrest sent in a flag of truce, with a demand for surrender. Streight asked for an interview, which was readily granted.

"What terms do you offer?" asked Streight.

"Immediate surrender. Your men to be treated as prisoners of war, officers to retain their side-arms and personal property."

During the conversation Streight asked, "How many men have you?"

"Enough here to run over you, and a column of fresh troops between you and Rome."

In reality Forrest had only five hundred men left him, the remainder having been dropped from point to point as their horses gave out and no new mounts were to be had. But the five hundred made noise enough for a brigade, it being Forrest's purpose to conceal the weakness of his force.

As they talked a section of the artillery of the pursuers came in sight within a short range. Colonel Streight objected to this, and Forrest gave orders that the guns must come no nearer. But the289 artillerymen moved around a neighboring hill as if putting several small batteries into position.

"Have you many guns, general?" asked Streight.

"Enough to blow you all to pieces before an hour," was the grandiloquent reply.

Colonel Streight looked doubtfully at the situation, not knowing how much to believe of what he saw and heard. After some more words he said,—

"I cannot decide without consulting my officers."

"As you please," said Forrest, with a sublime air of indifference. "It will soon be over, one way or the other."

Streight had not all the fight taken out of him yet, but he found all his officers in favor of a surrender and felt obliged to consent. The men accordingly were bidden to stack their arms and were marched back into a field, Forrest managing as soon as he conveniently could to get his men between them and their guns. The officers were started without delay and under a strong escort for Rome, twenty miles away. On their route thither they met Captain Russell returning and told him of what had taken place. With tears in his eyes he surrendered his two hundred men.

Thus ended one of the most striking achievements of the Civil War. Forrest's relentless and indefatigable pursuit, his prompt overcoming of the difficulties of the way, and his final capture of Streight's men with less than half their force, have been commended by military critics as his most brilliant290 achievement and one of the most remarkable exploits in the annals of warfare.

The outcome of Colonel Streight's raid to the South was singularly like that of General Morgan's famous raid to the North. Morgan's capture, imprisonment, and escape were paralleled in Streight's career. Sent to Richmond, and immured in Libby Prison, he and four of his officers took part in the memorable escape by a tunnel route in February, 1864. In his report, published after his escape, he blames his defeat largely on the poor mules, and claims that Forrest's force outnumbered him three to one. It is not unlikely that he believed this, judging from the incessant trouble they had given him, but the truth seems established that at the surrender Forrest had less than half the available force of his foe.



There were no more daring adventures and hair-breadth escapes during the Civil War than those encountered in running the blockade, carrying sadly-needed supplies into the ports of the Confederacy, and returning with cargoes of cotton and other valuable products of the South. There was money in it for the successful, much money; but, on the other hand, there was danger of loss of vessel and cargo, long imprisonment, perhaps death, and only men of unusual boldness and dare-devil recklessness were ready to engage in it. The stories told by blockade-runners are full of instances of desperate risk and thrilling adventure. As an example of their more ordinary experience, we shall give, from Thomas E. Taylor's "Running the Blockade," the interesting account of his first run to Wilmington harbor.

This town, it must be premised, lies some sixteen miles up Cape Fear River, at whose principal entrance the formidable Fort Fisher obliged the blockading fleet to lie out of the range of its guns, and thus gave some opportunity for alert blockade-runners to slip in. Yet this was far from safe and easy. Each entrance to the river was surrounded by an in-shore squadron of Federal vessels, anchored292 in close order during the day, and at night weighing anchor and patrolling from shore to shore. Farther out was a second cordon of cruisers, similarly alert, and beyond these again gunboats were stationed at intervals, far enough out to sight by daybreak any vessels that crossed Wilmington bar at high tide in the night. Then, again, there were free cruisers patrolling the Gulf Stream, so that to enter the river unseen was about as difficult as any naval operation could well be. With this preliminary statement of the situation, let us permit Mr. Taylor to tell his story.

"The 'Banshee's' engines proved so unsatisfactory that, under ordinary conditions, nine or ten knots was all we could get out of her; she was therefore not permitted to run any avoidable risks, and to this I attribute her extraordinary success where better boats failed. As long as daylight lasted a man was never out of the cross-trees, and the moment a sail was seen the 'Banshee's' stern was turned to it till it was dropped below the horizon. The look-out man, to quicken his eyes, had a dollar for every sail he sighted, and if it were seen from the deck first he was fined five. This may appear excessive, but the importance in blockade-running of seeing before you are seen is too great for any chance to be neglected; and it must be remembered that the pay of ordinary seamen for each round trip in and out was from £50 to £60.

"Following these tactics, we crept noiselessly along the shores of the Bahamas, invisible in the293 darkness, and ran on unmolested for the first two days out [from the port of Nassau], though our course was often interfered with by the necessity of avoiding hostile vessels; then came the anxious moment on the third, when, her position having been taken at noon to see if she was near enough to run under the guns of Fort Fisher before the following daybreak, it was found there was just time, but none to spare for accidents or delay. Still, the danger of lying out another day so close to the blockaded port was very great, and rather than risk it we resolved to keep straight on our course and chance being overtaken by daylight before we were under the fort.

"Now the real excitement began, and nothing I have ever experienced can compare with it. Hunting, pig-sticking, steeple-chasing, big-game shooting, polo—I have done a little of each—all have their thrilling moments, but none can approach 'running a blockade;' and perhaps my readers may sympathize with my enthusiasm when they consider the dangers to be encountered, after three days of constant anxiety and little sleep, in threading our way through a swarm of blockaders, and the accuracy required to hit in the nick of time the mouth of a river only half a mile wide, without lights and with a coast-line so low and featureless that, as a rule, the first intimation we had of its nearness was the dim white line of the surf.

"There were, of course, many different plans of getting in, but at this time the favorite dodge was294 to run up some fifteen or twenty miles to the north of Cape Fear, so as to round the northernmost of the blockaders, instead of dashing right through the inner squadron; then to creep down close to the surf till the river was reached; and this was the course the 'Banshee' intended to adopt.

"We steamed cautiously on until nightfall; the night proved dark, but dangerously clear and calm. No lights were allowed—not even a cigar; the engine-room hatch-ways were covered with tarpaulins, at the risk of suffocating the unfortunate engineers and stokers in the almost insufferable atmosphere below. But it was absolutely imperative that not a glimmer of light should appear. Even the binnacle was covered, and the steersman had to see as much of the compass as he could through a conical aperture carried almost up to his eyes.

"With everything thus in readiness, we steamed on in silence, except for the stroke of the engines and the beat of the paddle-floats, which in the calm of the night seemed distressingly loud; all hands were on deck, crouching behind the bulwarks, and we on the bridge, namely, the captain, the pilot, and I, were straining our eyes into the darkness. Presently Burroughs made an uneasy movement.

"'Better get a cast of the lead, captain,' I heard him whisper.

"A muttered order down the engine-room tube was Steele's reply, and the 'Banshee' slowed, and then stopped. It was an anxious moment while a dim figure stole into the fore-chains,—for there is295 always a danger of steam blowing off when engines are unexpectedly stopped, and that would have been enough to betray our presence for miles around. In a minute or two came back the report, 'Sixteen fathoms—sandy bottom with black specks.'

"'We are not in as far as I thought, captain,' said Burroughs, 'and we are too far to the southward. Port two points and go a little faster.'

"As he explained, we must be well to the north of the speckled bottom before it was safe to head for the shore, and away we went again. In about an hour Burroughs quietly asked for another sounding. Again she was gently stopped, and this time he was satisfied.

"'Starboard, and go ahead easy,' was the order now, and as we crept in not a sound was heard but that of the regular beat of the paddle-floats, still dangerously loud in spite of our snail's pace. Suddenly Burroughs gripped my arm,—

"'There's one of them, Mr. Taylor,' he whispered, 'on the starboard bow.'

"In vain I strained my eyes to where he pointed, not a thing could I see; but presently I heard Steele say, beneath his breath, 'All right, Burroughs, I see her. Starboard a little, steady!' was the order passed aft.

"A moment afterward I could make out a long, low black object on our starboard side, lying perfectly still. Would she see us? that was the question; but no, though we passed within a hundred yards of her we were not discovered, and I breathed296 again. Not very long after we had dropped her, Burroughs whispered,—

"'Steamer on the port bow.'

"And another cruiser was made out close to us.

"'Hard-a-port,' said Steele, and round she swung, bringing our friend upon our beam. Still unobserved, we crept quietly on, when all at once a third cruiser shaped itself out of the gloom right ahead, and steaming slowly across our bows.

"'Stop her,' said Steele, in a moment; and as we lay like dead our enemy went on and disappeared in the darkness. It was clear there was a false reckoning somewhere, and that instead of rounding the head of the blockading line we were passing through the very centre of it. However, Burroughs was now of opinion that we must be inside the squadron, and advocated making the land. So 'slow ahead' we went again, until the low-lying coast and the surf-line became dimly visible. Still we could not tell where we were, and, as time was getting on alarmingly near dawn, the only thing to do was to creep down along the surf as close in and as fast as we dared. It was a great relief when we suddenly heard Burroughs say, 'It's all right. I see the Big Hill.'

"The 'Big Hill' was a hillock about as high as a full-grown oak, but it was the most prominent feature for miles on that dreary coast, and served to tell us exactly how far we were from Fort Fisher. And fortunate it was for us we were so near. Daylight was already breaking, and before we were 297opposite the fort we could make out six or seven gunboats, which steamed rapidly towards us and angrily opened fire. Their shots were soon dropping close around us, an unpleasant sensation when you know you have several tons of gunpowder under your feet.

"To make matters worse, the North Breaker Shoal now compelled us to haul off the shore and steam farther out. It began to look ugly for us, when all at once there was a flash from the shore followed by a sound that came like music to our ears,—that of a shell whirring over our heads. It was Fort Fisher, wide awake and warning the gunboats to keep their distance. With a parting broadside they steamed sulkily out of range, and in half an hour we were safely over the bar.

"A boat put off from the fort, and then—well, it was the days of champagne cocktails, not whiskeys and sodas, and one did not run a blockade every day. For my part I was mightily proud of my first attempt and my baptism of fire. Blockade-running seemed the pleasantest and most exhilarating of pastimes. I did not know then what a very serious business it could be."

On the return trip the "Banshee" was ballasted with tobacco and laden with cotton, three tiers of it even on deck. She ran impudently straight through the centre of the cordon, close by the flag-ship, and got through the second cordon in safety, though chased by a gunboat. When Nassau was reached and profits summed up, they proved to298 amount to £50 a ton on the war material carried in, while the tobacco carried out netted £70 a ton for a hundred tons and the cotton £50 a bale for five hundred bales. It may be seen that successful blockade-running paid.

It may be of interest to our readers to give some other adventures in which the "Banshee" figured. On one of her trips, when she was creeping down the land about twelve miles above Fort Fisher, a cruiser appeared moving along about two hundred yards from shore. An effort was made to pass her inside, hoping to be hidden by the dark background of the land. But there were eyes open on the cruiser, and there came the ominous hail, "Stop that steamer or I will sink you!"

"We haven't time to stop," growled Steele, and shouted down the engine-room tube to "pile on the coals." There was nothing now but to run and hope for luck. The cruiser at once opened fire, and as the "Banshee" began to draw ahead a shot carried away her foremast and a shell exploded in her bunkers. Grape and canister followed, the crew escaping death by flinging themselves flat on the deck. Even the steersman, stricken by panic, did the same, and the boat swerved round and headed straight for the surf. A close shave it was as Taylor rushed aft, clutched the wheel, and just in time got her head off the land. Before they got in two other cruisers brought them under fire, but they ran under Fort Fisher in safety.

One more adventure of the "Banshee" and we299 shall close. It was on her sixth trip out. She had got safely through the fleet and day had dawned. All was joy and relaxation when Erskine, the engineer, suddenly exclaimed: "Mr. Taylor, look astern!" and there, not four miles away, and coming down under sail and steam, was a large side-wheel steamer, left unseen by gross carelessness on the part of the look-out.

Erskine rushed below, and soon volumes of smoke were pouring from the funnels, but it was almost too late, for the chaser was coming up so fast that the uniformed officers on her bridge could be distinctly seen.

"This will never do," said Steele, and ordered the helm to be altered so as to bring the ship up to the wind. It took them off the course to Nassau, but it forced their pursuer to take in her sails, and an exciting chase under steam right into the wind's eye began. Matters at length became so critical that no hope remained but to lighten the boat by throwing overboard her deck-load of cotton—a sore necessity in view of the fact that the bales which went bobbing about on the waves were worth to them £50 or £60 apiece.

In clearing out the bales they cleared out something more, a runaway slave, who had been standing wedged between two bales for at least forty-eight hours. He received an ovation on landing at Nassau, but they were obliged to pay four thousand dollars to his owner on their return to Wilmington.

The loss of the cotton lightened the boat and it300 began to gain in the race, both craft plunging into the great seas that had arisen, yet neither slackening speed. A fresh danger arose when the bearings of the engine became overheated from the enormous strain put upon them. It was necessary to stop, despite the imminence of the chase, and to loosen the bearings and feed them liberally with salad oil mixed with gunpowder before they were in working order again. Thus, fifteen weary hours passed away, and nightfall was at hand when the chaser, then only five miles astern, turned and gave up the pursuit. It was learned afterward that her stokers were dead beat.

But port was still far away, they having been chased one hundred and fifty miles out of their course, and fuel was getting perilously low. At the end of the third day the last coal was used, and then everything that would burn was shoved into the furnaces,—main-mast, bulwarks, deck cabin, with cotton and turpentine to aid,—and these only sufficed to carry them into a Bahama Island, still sixty miles from Nassau. They were not there two hours before they saw a Federal steamer glide slowly past, eying them as the fox eyed the grapes.

The adventure was still not at its end. Mr. Taylor hired a schooner in the harbor to go to Nassau and bring back a cargo of coal, he and Murray Aynsely, a passenger, going in it. But the night proved a terrible one, a hurricane rising, and the crew growing so terrified by the fury of the gale and the vividness of the lightning that they nearly301 wrecked the schooner on the rocks. When the weather moderated the men refused to proceed, and it was only by dint of a show of revolvers and promise of reward that Taylor and his passenger induced them to go on. On reaching Nassau they were utterly worn out, having been almost without sleep for a week, while Taylor's feet were so swollen that his boots had to be cut off.

Thus ended one of the most notable chases in the history of blockade-running, it having lasted fifteen hours and covered nearly two hundred miles. Fortunate was it for the "Banshee" that the "James Adger," her pursuer, had no bow-chasers, and that the weather was too ugly for her to venture to yaw and use her broadside guns, or the "Banshee" might have there and then ended her career.



The Civil War was not lacking in its daring and interesting adventures of scouts, spies, despatch-bearers, and others of that interesting tribe whose field of operations lies between the armies in the field, and whose game is played with life as the stake, this being fair prey for the bullet if pursued, and often for the rope if captured. We have the story of one these heroes of hazard to tell, a story the more interesting from the fact that he was a cripple who seemed fit only to hobble about his home. It is the remarkable feat of Lamar Fontain, a Confederate despatch-bearer, which the record of the war has nothing to surpass.

Fontain's disability came from a broken leg, which had left him so disabled that he could not take a step without a crutch, and in mounting a horse was obliged to lift the useless leg over the saddle with his right hand. But once in the saddle he was as good a man as his fellow, and his dexterity with the pistol rendered him a dangerous fellow to face when it became a question of life or death.

We must seek him at that period in 1863 when the stronghold of Vicksburg, on which depended the Confederacy's control of the Mississippi, was303 closely invested by the army of General Grant, the siege lines so continuous, alike in the rear of the town and on the Mississippi and its opposite shore, that it seemed as if hardly a bird could enter or leave its streets. General Johnston kept the field in the rear, but Grant was much too strong for him, and he was obliged to trust to the chapter of chances for the hope of setting Pemberton free from the net by which he was surrounded.

Knowing the daring and usual success of Lamar Fontain in very hazardous enterprises, Johnston engaged him to endeavor to carry a verbal message to General Pemberton, sending him out on the perilous and seemingly impossible venture of making his way into the closely beleaguered city. In addition to his message, he took with him a supply of some forty pounds of percussion caps for the use of the besieged garrison.

On the 24th of May, 1863, Fontain set out from his father's home, at a considerable distance in the rear of the Federal lines. He was well mounted, and armed with an excellent revolver and a good sabre, which he carried in a wooden scabbard to prevent its rattling. His other burdens were his packet of percussion caps, his blanket, and his crutches.

That night he crossed Big Black River, and before dawn of the next day was well within the lines of the enemy. Travel by day was now out of the question, so he hid his horse in a ravine, and found a place of shelter for himself in a fallen tree that overlooked the road. From his hiding-place he saw304 a confused and hasty movement of the enemy, seemingly in retreat from too hot a brush with the garrison. Waiting till their columns had passed and the nightfall made it safe for him to move, he mounted again and continued his journey in the direction of Snyder's Bluff on the Yazoo.

Entering the telegraphic road from Yazoo City to Vicksburg, he had not gone far before he was confronted and hailed by a picket of the enemy. Spurring his spirited steed, he dashed past at full speed. A volley followed him, one of the balls striking his horse, though none of them touched him. The good steed had received a mortal wound, but by a final and desperate effort it carried its rider to the banks of the Yazoo River. Here it fell dead, leaving its late rider afoot, and lacking one of his crutches, which had been caught and jerked away by the limb of a tree as he dashed headlong past.

With the aid of his remaining crutch, and carrying his baggage, Fontain groped his way along the river side, keenly looking for some means of conveyance on its waters. He soon found what he wanted in the shape of a small log canoe, tied to a tree on the river bank. Pressing this into his service, and disposing himself and his burden safely within, he paddled down the stream, hoping to reach the Mississippi and drift down to the city front before break of day.

Success was not to come so easily. A sound of puffing steam came from down the river, and soon a trio of gunboats loomed through the gloom, 305heading towards Yazoo City. These were avoided by taking shelter among a bunch of willows that overhung the bank and served to hide the boat from view. The gunboats well past, Fontain took to the current again, soon reaching Snyder's Bluff, which was lighted up and a scene of animation. Whites and blacks mingled on the bank, and it looked like a midnight ball between the Yankee soldiers and belles of sable hue. Gunboats and barges lined the shore and the light was thrown far out over the stream. But those present were too hilarious to be watchful, and, lying flat in his canoe, the scout glided safely past, the dug-out not distinguishable from a piece of driftwood. Before the new day dawned he reached the backwater of the Mississippi, but in the darkness he missed the outlet of the Yazoo and paddled into what is called "Old River."

The new day reddened in the east while he was still vainly searching for an opening into the broad parent stream. Then his familiarity with the locality showed him his mistake, and he was forced to seek a hiding-place for himself and his boat. He had now been out two days and nights. The little food he brought had long been devoured, and hunger was assailing him. Sleep had also scarcely visited his eyes, and the strain was growing severe.

Getting some slumber that day in his covert, he set out again as soon as night fell, paddling back into the Yazoo, from which he soon reached the Mississippi. He was here on a well-peopled stream, boats and lights being abundant. As he glided on306 through the gloom he passed forty or fifty transports, but had the good fortune to be seen by only one man, who hailed him from the stern of a steamer and asked him where he was going.

"To look after my fishing-lines," he replied.

"All right; hope you'll have a good catch." And he floated on.

Farther down in the bend of the stream above Vicksburg he came upon a more animated scene. Here were the mortar-boats in full blast, bombarding the city, every shot lighting up the stream for a wide space around. But the gun crews were too busy to pay any attention to the seeming drift-log that glided silently by the fleet or to notice the man that lay at full length within it. On he went, trusting to the current and keeping his recumbent position. The next day's dawn found him in the midst of the Confederate picket-boats in front of the city. Here, tying a white handkerchief to his paddle, he lifted it as a flag of truce, and sat upright with a loud hurrah for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy. As may well be imagined, his cheers were echoed by the boatmen when they learned his mission, and he was borne in triumph ashore and taken to General Pemberton's head-quarters. He received a warm welcome from the general, alike for the message he brought and the very desirable supply of percussion caps. It was with no little admiration that Pemberton heard the story of a daring feat that seemed utterly impossible for a cripple on crutches.


During the next day the scout wandered about the beleaguered city, viewing the animated and in many respects terrible scene of warfare which it presented,—the fierce bombardment from the Federal works, extending in a long curve from the river above to the river below the city; the hot return fire of the defendants; the equally fierce exchange of fire between the gunboats and mortars and the intrenchments on the bluffs; the bursting of shells in the city streets; the ruined habitations, and the cave-like refuges in which the citizens sought safety from the death-dealing missiles. It was a scene never to be forgotten, a spectacle of ruin, suffering, and death. And the suffering was not alone from the terrible enginery of war, but from lack of food as well, for that dread spectre of famine, that in a few weeks more was to force the surrender of the valiantly defended city, was already showing its gaunt form in the desolated streets and the foodless homes.

Fontain was glad enough after his day and night among the besieged to seek again the more open field of operations outside. Receiving a despatch from General Pemberton to his colleague in the field, and a suitable reward for his service, he betook himself again to the canoe which had stood him in such good stead and resumed his task of danger. He was on a well-guarded river and had to pass through a country full of foes, and the peril of his enterprise was by no means at an end.

The gloom of evening lay on the stream when he308 once more trusted himself to its swift current, which quickly brought him among the craft of the enemy below the city. Avoiding their picket-boats on both sides of the river, he floated near the gunboats as safer, passing so near one of them that through an open port-hole he could see a group of men playing cards and hear their conversation. He made a landing at length at Diamond Place, bidding adieu to his faithful dug-out and gladly setting foot on land again.

Hobbling with the aid of his crutch through the bottom-lands, the scout soon reached higher ground, and here made his way to the house of an acquaintance, hoping to find a mount. But all the useful horses and mules on the place had been confiscated by the foe, there remaining only a worthless old gelding and a half-broken colt, of which he was offered the choice. He took the colt, but found it to travel so badly that he wished he had chosen the gelding.

In this dilemma fortune favored him, for in the bottom he came upon a fine horse, tied by a blind bridle and without a saddle. A basket and an old bag were lying close by, and he inferred from this that a negro had left the horse and that a camp of the enemy was near at hand. Here was an opportunity for confiscation of which he did not hesitate to avail himself, and in all haste he exchanged bridles, saddled the horse, turned loose the colt, mounted, and was off.

He took a course so as to avoid the supposed camp, but had not gone far before he came face to face with a Federal soldier who was evidently309 returning from a successful foray for plunder, for he was well laden with chickens and carried a bucket of honey. He began questioning Fontain with a curiosity that threatened unpleasant consequences, and the alert scout ended the colloquy with a pistol bullet which struck the plunderer squarely in the forehead. Leaving him stretched on the path, with his poultry and honey beside him, Fontain made all haste from that dangerous locality.

Reaching a settlement at a distance from the stream, he hired a guide to lead him to Hankerson's Ferry, on the Big Black River, promising him fifty dollars if he would take him there without following any road. They proceeded till near the ferry, when Fontain sent his guide ahead to learn if any of the enemy were in that vicinity. But there was something about the manner and talk of the man that excited his suspicion, and as soon as the fellow was gone he sought a hiding-place from which he could watch his return. The man was gone much longer than appeared necessary. At length he came back alone and reported that the track was clear, there being no Yankees near the ferry.

Paying and dismissing the guide, without showing his suspicions, Fontain took good care not to obey his directions, but selected his course so as to approach the river at a point above the ferry. By doing so he escaped a squad of soldiers that seemed posted to intercept him, for as he entered the road near the river bank a sentinel rose not more than ten feet away and bade him to halt. He seemed to310 form the right flank of a line of sentinels posted to command the ferry.

It was a time for quick and decisive action. Fontain had approached, pistol in hand, and as the man hailed he felled him with a bullet, then wheeled his horse and set out at full gallop up the stream. A shower of balls followed him, one of them striking his right hand and wounding all four of its fingers. Another grazed his right leg and a third cut a hole through his sword scabbard. The horse fared worse, for no fewer than seven bullets struck it. Keeling from its wounds it still had strength to bear up for a mile, when it fell and died.

He had outridden his foes, who were all on foot, and, dividing his arms and clothes into two packages, he trusted himself to the waters of the Big Black, which he swam in safety. On the other side he was in friendly territory, and did not walk far before he came to the house of a patriotic Southern woman, who loaned him the only horse she had. It was a stray one which had come to her place after the Yankee foragers had carried off all the horses she owned.

Fontain was now in a safe region. His borrowed horse carried him to Raymond by two o'clock the next morning, and was here changed for a fresh one, which enabled him to reach Jackson during the forenoon. Here he delivered his despatch to General Johnston, having successfully performed a feat which, in view of its difficulties and his physical disability, may well be classed as phenomenal.



In the opening chapter of General John B. Gordon's interesting "Reminiscences of the Civil War" he tells us that the bayonet, so far as he knew, was very rarely used in that war, and never effectively. The bayonet, the lineal descendant of the lance and spear of far-past warfare, had done remarkable service in its day, but with the advent of the modern rifle its day ended, except as a weapon useful in repelling cavalry charges or defending hollow squares. Fearful as their glittering and bristling points appeared when levelled in front of a charging line, bayonets were rarely reddened with the blood of an enemy in the Civil War, and the soldiers of that desperate conflict found them more useful as tools in the rapid throwing up of light earthworks than as weapons for use against their foes.

Later in his work Gordon gives a case in point, in his vivid description of a bayonet charge upon the line under his command on the bloody field of Antietam. This is well worth repeating as an illustration of the modern ineffectiveness of the bayonet, and also as a story of thrilling interest in itself. As related by Gordon, there are few incidents in312 the war which surpass it in picturesqueness and vitality.

The battle of Antietam was a struggle unsurpassed for its desperate and deadly fierceness in the whole war, the losses, in comparison with the numbers engaged, being the greatest of any battle-field of the conflict. The plain in which it was fought was literally bathed in blood.

It is not our purpose to describe this battle, but simply that portion of it in which General Gordon's troops were engaged. For hour after hour a desperate struggle continued on the left of Lee's lines, in which charge and counter-charge succeeded each other, until the green corn which had waved there looked as if had been showered upon by a rain of blood. But during those hours of death not a shot had been fired upon the centre. Here General Gordon's men held the most advanced position, and were without a supporting line, their post being one of imminent danger in case of an assault in force.

As the day passed onward the battle on the left at length lulled, both sides glad of an interval of rest. That McClellan's next attempt would be made upon the centre General Lee felt confident, and he rode thither to caution the leaders and bid them to hold their ground at any sacrifice. A break at that point, he told them, might prove ruinous to the army. He especially charged Gordon to stand stiffly with his men, as his small force would feel the first brunt of the expected assault. Gordon,313 alike to give hope to Lee and to inspire his own men, said in reply,—

"These men are going to stay here, general, till the sun goes down or victory is won."

Lee's military judgment, as usual, was correct. He had hardly got back to the left of his line when the assault predicted by him came. It was a beautiful and brilliant day, scarcely a cloud mantling the sky. Down the slope opposite marched through the clear sunlight a powerful column of Federal troops. Crossing the little Antietam Creek they formed in column of assault, four lines deep. Their commander, nobly mounted, placed himself at their right, while the front line came to a "charge bayonets" and the other lines to a "right shoulder shift." In the rear front the band blared out martial music to give inspiration to the men. To the Confederates, looking silently and expectantly on the coming corps, the scene was one of thrilling interest. It might have been one of terror but for their long training in such sights.

Who were these men so spick and span in their fresh blue uniforms, in strange contrast to the ragged and soiled Confederate gray? Every man of them wore white gaiters and neat attire, while the dust and smoke of battle had surely never touched the banners that floated above their heads. Were they new recruits from some military camp, now first to test their training in actual war? In the sunlight the long line of bayonets gleamed like burnished silver. As if fresh from the parade-ground314 they advanced with perfect alignment, their steps keeping martial time to the steady beat of the drum. It was a magnificent spectacle as the line advanced, a show of martial beauty which it seemed a shame to destroy by the rude hand of war.

One thing was evident to General Gordon. His opponent proposed to trust to the bayonet and attempt to break through Lee's centre by the sheer weight of his deep charging column. It might be done. Here were four lines of blue marching on the one in gray. How should the charge be met? By immediate and steady fire, or by withholding his fire till the lines were face to face, and then pouring upon the Federals a blighting storm of lead? Gordon decided on the latter, believing that a sudden and withering burst of deadly hail in the faces of men with empty guns would be more than any troops could stand.

All the horses were sent to the rear and the men were ordered to lie down in the grass, they being told by their officers that the Federals were coming with unloaded guns, trusting to the bayonet, and that not a shot must be heard until the word "Fire!" was given. This would not be until the Federals were close at hand. In the old Revolutionary phrase, they must wait "till they saw the whites of their eyes."

On came the long lines, still as steady and precise in movement as if upon holiday drill. Not a rifle-shot was heard. Neither side had artillery at this point, and no roar of cannon broke the strange315 silence. The awaiting boys in gray grew eager and impatient and had to be kept in restraint by their officers. "Wait! wait for the word!" was the admonition. Yet it was hard to lie there while that line of bayonets came closer and closer, until the eagles on the buttons of the blue coats could be seen, and at length the front rank was not twenty yards away.

The time had come. With all the power of his lungs Gordon shouted out the word "Fire!" In an instant there burst from the prostrate line a blinding blaze of light, and a frightful hail of bullets rent through the Federal ranks. Terrible was the effect of that consuming volley. Almost the whole front rank of the foe seemed to go down in a mass. The brave commander and his horse fell in a heap together. In a moment he was on his feet; it was the horse, not the man, that the deadly bullet had found.

In an instant more the recumbent Confederates were on their feet, an appalling yell bursting from their throats as they poured new volleys upon the Federal lines. No troops on earth could have faced that fire without a chance to reply. Their foes bore unloaded guns. Not a bayonet had reached the breast for which it was aimed. The lines recoiled, though in good order for men swept by such a blast of death. Large numbers of them had fallen, yet not a drop of blood had been lost by one of Gordon's men.

The gallant man who led the Federals was not316 yet satisfied that the bayonet could not break the ranks of his foes. Reforming his men, now in three lines, he led them again with empty guns to the charge. Again they were driven back with heavy loss. With extraordinary persistence he clung to his plan of winning with the bayonet, coming on again and again until four fruitless charges had been made on Gordon's lines, not a man in which had fallen, while the Federal loss had been very heavy. Not until convinced by this sanguinary evidence that the day of the bayonet was past did he order his men to load and open fire on the hostile lines. It was an experiment in an obsolete method of warfare which had proved disastrous to those engaged in it.

GORDON HOUSE. Gordon House.

In the remaining hours of that desperate conflict Gordon and his men had another experience to face. The fire from both sides grew furious and deadly, and at nightfall, when the carnage ceased, so many of the soldiers in gray had fallen that, as one of the officers afterward said, he could have walked on the dead bodies of the men from end to end of the line. How true this was Gordon was unable to say, for by this time he was himself a wreck, fairly riddled with bullets.

As he tells us, his previous record was remarkably reversed in this fight, and we cannot better close our story than with a description of his new experience. He had hitherto seemed almost to bear a charmed life. While numbers had fallen by his side in battle, and his own clothing had been often317 pierced and torn by balls and fragments of shells, he had not lost a drop of blood, and his men looked upon him as one destined by fate not to be killed in battle. "They can't hit him;" "He's as safe in one place as another," form a type of the expressions used by them, and Gordon grew to have much the same faith in his destiny, as he passed through battle after battle unharmed.

At Antietam the record was decidedly broken. The first volley from the Federal troops sent a bullet whirling through the calf of his right leg. Soon after another ball went through the same leg, at a higher point. As no bone was broken, he was still able to walk along the line and encourage his men to bear the deadly fire which was sweeping their lines. Later in the day a third ball came, this passing through his arm, rending flesh and tendons, but still breaking no bone. Through his shoulder soon came a fourth ball, carrying a wad of clothing into the wound. The men begged their bleeding commander to leave the field, but he would not flinch, though fast growing faint from loss of blood.

Finally came the fifth ball, this time striking him in the face, and passing out, just missing the jugular vein. Falling, he lay unconscious with his face in his cap, into which poured the blood from his wound until it threatened to smother him. It might have done so but for still another ball, which pierced the cap and let out the blood.

When Gordon was borne to the rear he had been so seriously wounded and lost so much blood that318 his case seemed hopeless. Fortunately for him, his faithful wife had followed him to the war and now became his nurse. As she entered the room, with a look of dismay on seeing him, Gordon, who could scarcely speak from the condition of his face, sought to reassure her with, the faintly articulated words, "Here's your handsome husband; been to an Irish wedding."

It was providential for him that he had this faithful and devoted nurse by his side. Only her earnest and incessant care saved him to join the war again. Day and night she was beside him, and when erysipelas attacked his wounded arm and the doctors told her to paint the arm above the wound three or four times a day with iodine, she obeyed by painting it, as he thought, three or four hundred times a day. "Under God's providence," he says, "I owe my life to her incessant watchfulness night and day, and to her tender nursing through weary weeks and anxious months."



The story of the battle of Chancellorsville and of Jackson's famous flank movement, with its disastrous result to Hooker's army, and to the Confederates in the loss of their beloved leader, has been often told. But these narratives are from the outside; we propose to give one here from the inside, in the graphic description of Heros Von Borcke, General J. E. B. Stuart's chief of staff, who took an active part in the stirring events of that critical 2d of May, 1863.

It is a matter of general history how General Hooker led his army across the Rappahannock into that ugly region at Chancellorsville, with its morasses, hills, and ravines, its dense forest of scrub-oaks and pines, and its square miles of tangled undergrowth, which was justly known as The Wilderness; and how he strongly intrenched himself against an attack in front, with breastworks of logs and an abattis of felled trees. It is equally familiar how Lee, well aware of the peril of attacking these formidable works, accepted the bold plan of Stonewall Jackson, who proposed to make a secret flank movement and fall with his entire corps on Hooker's undefended rear. This was a division of Lee's army which might have led to disaster and destruction;320 but he had learned to trust in Jackson's star. He accordingly made vigorous demonstrations in Hooker's front, in order to attract his attention and keep him employed, while Jackson was marching swiftly and stealthily through the thick woods, with Stuart's cavalry between him and the foe, to the Orange plank-road, four miles westward from Chancellorsville. With this introductory sketch of the situation we leave the details of the march to Von Borcke.

"All was bustle and confusion as I galloped along the lines on the morning of the 2d, to obtain, according to Stuart's orders, the latest instructions for our cavalry from General Lee, who was located at a distance of some miles to our right. Anderson's and McLaws's sharp-shooters were advancing and already exchanging shots with the enemy's skirmishers—the line of battle of these two divisions having been partially extended over the space previously occupied by Jackson's corps, that they might cover its movements.

"This splendid corps meanwhile was marching in close columns in a direction which set us all wondering what could be the intentions of old Stonewall; but as we beheld him riding along, heading the troops himself, we should as soon have thought of questioning the sagacity of our admired chief as of hesitating to follow him blindly wherever he should lead. The orders of the cavalry were to report to Jackson and to form his advanced-guard; and in that capacity we marched silently along through321 the forest, taking a small by-road, which brought us several times so near the enemy's lines that the stroke of axes, mingled with the hum of voices from their camp, was distinctly audible.

"Thus commenced the famous flank march which, more than any other operation of the war, proved the brilliant strategical talents of General Lee and the consummate ability of his lieutenant. About two o'clock a body of Federal cavalry came in sight, making, however, but slight show of resistance, and falling back slowly before us. By about four o'clock we had completed our movement without encountering any material obstacle, and reached a patch of woods in rear of the enemy's right wing, formed by the Eleventh Corps, Howard's, which was encamped in a large open field not more than half a mile distant.

"Halting here, the cavalry threw forward a body of skirmishers to occupy the enemy's attention, while the divisions of Jackson's corps—A. P. Hill's, Colston's, and Rode's, numbering in all about twenty-eight thousand men—moved into line of battle as fast as they arrived. Ordered to reconnoitre the position of the Federals, I rode cautiously forward through the forest, and reached a point whence I obtained a capital view of the greater part of the troops, whose attitude betokened how totally remote was any suspicion that a numerous host was so near at hand.

"It was evident that the whole movement we had thus so successfully executed was regarded as322 merely an unimportant cavalry raid, for only a few squadrons were drawn up in line to oppose us, and a battery of four guns were placed in a position to command the plank-road from Germana, over which we had been marching for the last two hours. The main body of the troops were listlessly reposing, while some regiments were looking on, drawn up on dress parade; artillery horses were quietly grazing at some distance from their guns, and the whole scene presented a picture of the most perfect heedlessness and nonchalance, compatible only with utter unconsciousness of impending danger.

"While complacently gazing on this extraordinary spectacle, somewhat touched myself apparently with the spell of listless incaution in which our antagonists were locked, I was startled with the sound of closely approaching footsteps, and, turning in their direction, beheld a patrol of six or eight of the enemy's infantry just breaking through the bushes and gazing at me with most unmistakable astonishment. I had no time to lose here, that was certain; so quickly tugging my horse's head round in the direction of my line of retreat, and digging my spurs into his sides, I dashed off from before the bewildered Yankees, and was out of sight ere they had time to take steady aim, the bullets that came whizzing after me flying far wide of the mark.

"On my return to the spot where I had left Stuart, I found him, with Jackson and the officers of their respective staffs, stretched out along the323 grass beneath a gigantic oak, and tranquilly discussing their plans for the impending battle which both seemed confidently to regard as likely to end in a great and important victory for our arms. Towards five o'clock Jackson's adjutant, Major Pendleton, galloped up to us and reported that the line of battle was formed and all was in readiness for immediate attack. Accordingly the order was at once given for the whole corps to advance. All hastened forthwith to their appointed posts, General Stuart and his staff joining the cavalry, which was to operate on the left of our infantry.

"Scarcely had we got up to our men when the Confederate yell, which always preceded a charge, burst forth along our lines, and Jackson's veterans, who had been with difficulty held back till that moment, bounded forward towards the astounded and perfectly paralyzed enemy, while the thunder of our horse-artillery, on whom devolved the honor of opening the ball, reached us from the other extremity of the line. The more hotly we sought to hasten to the front, the more obstinately did we get entangled in the undergrowth, while our infantry moved on so rapidly that the Federals were already completely routed by the time we had got thoroughly quit of the forest.

TRIUMPH OF STONEWALL JACKSON. Triumph of Stonewall Jackson.

"It was a strange spectacle that now greeted us. The whole of the Eleventh Corps had broken at the first shock of the attack; entire regiments had thrown down their arms, which were lying in regular lines on the ground, as if for inspection; suppers324 just prepared had been abandoned; tents, baggage, wagons, cannons, half-slaughtered oxen, covered the foreground in chaotic confusion, while in the background a host of many thousand Yankees were discerned scampering for their lives as fast as their limbs could carry them, closely followed by our men, who were taking prisoners by the hundreds, and scarcely firing a shot."

That the story of panic here told is not too much colored by the writer's sympathy for his cause, may be seen by the following extract from Lossing's "Civil War in America," a work whose sympathies are distinctly on the other side. After saying that Jackson's march had not passed unobserved by the Federals, who looked on it as a retreat towards Richmond, and were preparing for a vigorous pursuit of the supposed fugitives, Lossing thus describes the Confederate onset and the Federal rout:

"He (Jackson) had crossed the Orange plank-road, and, under cover of the dense jungle of the wilderness, had pushed swiftly northward to the old turnpike and beyond, feeling his enemy at every step. Then he turned his face towards Chancellorsville, and, just before six o'clock in the evening, he burst from the thickets with twenty-five thousand men, and, like a sudden, unexpected, and terrible tornado, swept on towards the flank and rear of Howard's corps, which occupied the National right; the game of the forest—deers, wild turkeys, and hares—flying wildly before him, and becoming to325 the startled Unionists the heralds of the approaching tempest of war. These mute messengers were followed by the sound of bugles; then by a few shots from approaching skirmishers; then by a tremendous yell from a thousand throats and a murderous fire from a strong battle line. Jackson, in heavy force, was upon the Eleventh Corps at the moment when the men were preparing for supper and repose, without a suspicion of danger near. Deven's division, on the extreme right, received the first blow, and almost instantly the surprised troops, panic-stricken, fled towards the rear, along the line of the corps, communicating their emotions of alarm to the other divisions.... In the wildest confusion the fugitives rushed along the road towards Chancellorsville, upon the position of General Carl Schurz, whose division had already retreated, in anticipation of the onset, and the turbulent tide of frightened men rolled back upon General A. Von Steinwehr, utterly regardless of the exertions of the commander of the corps and his subordinate officers to check their flight. Only a few regiments, less demoralized than the others, made resistance, and these were instantly scattered like chaff, leaving half their number dead or dying on the field."

With this vivid picture of an army in a panic, we shall again take up Von Borcke's personal narrative at the point where we left it:

"The broken nature of the ground was against all cavalry operations, and though we pushed forward with all our will, it was with difficulty we326 could keep up with Jackson's 'Foot-cavalry,' as this famous infantry was often called. Meanwhile, a large part of the Federal army, roused by the firing and the alarming reports from the rear, hastened to the field of action, and exerted themselves in vain to arrest the disgraceful rout of their comrades of the Eleventh Corps. Numerous batteries having now joined the conflict, a terrific cannonade roared along the lines, and the fury of the battle was soon at its full height. Towards dark a sudden pause ensued in the conflict, occasioned by Jackson giving orders for his lines to reform for the continuation of the combat, the rapid and prolonged pursuit of the enemy having thrown them into considerable confusion. Old Stonewall being thoroughly impressed with the conviction that in a few hours the enemy's whole forces would be defeated, and that their principal line of retreat would be in the direction of Ely's Ford, Stuart was ordered to proceed at once towards that point with a portion of his cavalry, in order to barricade the road and as much as possible impede the retrograde movement of the enemy.

"In this operation we were joined by a North Carolina infantry regiment, which was already on its way towards the river. Leaving the greater part of the brigade behind us under Fitz Lee's command, we took only the First Virginia Cavalry with us, and, trotting rapidly along a small bypath, overtook the infantry about two miles from the ford. Riding with Stuart a little ahead of our327 men, I suddenly discovered, on reaching the summit of a slight rise in the road, a large encampment in the valley to our right, not more than a quarter of a mile from where we stood; and, farther still, on the opposite side of the river, more camp-fires were visible, indicating the presence of a large body of troops.

"Calling a halt, the general and I rode cautiously forward to reconnoitre the enemy a little more closely, and we managed to approach near enough to hear distinctly the voices and distinguish the figures of the men sitting around their fires or strolling through the camp. The unexpected presence of so large a body of the enemy immediately in our path entirely disconcerted our previous arrangements. Nevertheless Stuart determined on giving them a slight surprise and disturbing their comfort by a few volleys from our infantry. Just as the regiment, mustering about a thousand, had formed into line according to orders, and was prepared to advance on the enemy, two officers of General A. P. Hill's staff rode up in great haste and excitement, and communicated something in a low tone to General Stuart, by which he seemed greatly startled and affected.

"'Take the command of that regiment, and act on your own responsibility,' were his whispered injunctions to me, as he immediately rode off, followed by the other officers and the cavalry at their topmost speed.

"The thunder of the cannon, which for the last328 hour had increased in loudness, announced that Jackson had recommenced the battle, but as to the course or actual position of affairs I had not an iota of information, and my anxiety being moreover increased by the suddenness of Stuart's departure on some unknown emergency, I felt rather awkwardly situated. Here was I in the darkness of the night, in an unknown and thickly wooded country, some six miles from our main army, and opposite to a far superior force, whom I was expected to attack with troops whom I had never before commanded, and to whom I was scarcely known. I felt, however, that there was no alternative but blind obedience, so I advanced with the regiment to within about fifty yards of the enemy's encampment and gave the command to fire.

"A hail of bullets rattled through the forest, and as volley after volley was fired, the confusion and dismay occasioned in the camp were indescribable. Soldiers and officers could be plainly seen by the light of the fires walking helplessly about, horses were galloping wildly in all directions, and the sound of bugles and drums mingled with the cries of the wounded and flying, who sought in the distant woods a shelter against the murderous fire of their unseen enemy. The troops whom we thus dispersed and put to flight consisted, as I was afterward informed, of the greater part of Averil's cavalry division, and a great number of the men of this command were so panic-stricken that they did mot consider themselves safe until they had reached329 the opposite side of the Rapidan, when they straggled off for miles all through Culpeper County.

"Our firing had been kept up for about half an hour, and had by this time stirred up alarm in the camps on the other side of the river, the troops of which were marching on us from various directions. Accordingly, I gave orders to my North Carolinians to retire, leaving the task of bringing his command back to the colonel; while, anxious to rejoin Stuart as soon as I could, I galloped on ahead through the dark forest, whose solemn silence was only broken by the melancholy cry of hosts of whippoorwills. The firing had now ceased altogether, and all fighting seemed to have been entirely given up, which greatly increased my misgivings. After a tedious ride of nearly an hour over the field of battle, still covered with hundreds of wounded groaning in their agony, I at last discovered Stuart seated under a solitary plum-tree, busily writing despatches by the dim light of a lantern.

"From General Stuart I now received the first intimation of the heavy calamity which had befallen us by the wounding of Jackson. After having instructed his men to fire at everything approaching from the direction of the enemy, in his eagerness to reconnoitre the position of the Federals, and entirely forgetting his own orders, he had been riding with his staff-officers outside our pickets, when, on their return, being mistaken for the enemy, the little party were received by a South Carolina regiment with a volley that killed or wounded nearly330 every man of them and laid low our beloved Stonewall himself. The Federals advancing at the same time, a severe skirmish ensued, in the course of which one of the bearers of the litter on which the general was being carried was killed, and Jackson fell heavily to the ground, receiving soon afterward a second wound. For a few minutes, in fact, the general was in the hands of the enemy, but his men, becoming aware of his perilous position, rushed forward, and, speedily driving back the advancing foe, carried their wounded commander to the rear."

Jackson received three balls, one in the right hand and two in the left arm, one of these shattering the bone just below the shoulder and severing an artery. He was borne to the Wilderness tavern, where a Confederate hospital had been established, and there his arm was amputated. Eight days after receiving his wounds, on the 10th of May, he died, an attack of pneumonia being the chief cause of his death. His last words were, as a smile of ineffable sweetness passed over his pale face, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

Thus died the man who was justly named the "right hand" of General Lee, and whose death converted his last great victory into a serious disaster for the Confederate cause, the loss of a leader like Stonewall Jackson being equivalent to the destruction of an army.



The romance of war dwells largely upon the exploits of partisan leaders, men with a roving commission to do business on their own account, and in whose ranks are likely to gather the dare-devils of the army, those who love to come and go as they please, and leave a track of adventure and dismay behind them. There were such leaders in both armies during the Civil War, and especially in that of the South; and among the most daring and successful of them was General John H. Morgan, whose famous raid through Indiana and Ohio it is our purpose here to describe.

Morgan was a son of the people, not of the aristocratic cavalier class, but was just the man to make his mark in a conflict of this character, being richly supplied by nature with courage, daring, and self-possession in times of peril. He became a cavalry leader in the regular service, but was given a free foot to control his own movements, and had gathered about him a body of men of his own type, with whom he roamed about with a daring and audacity that made him a terror to the enemy.

Morgan's most famous early exploit was his invasion of Kentucky in 1862, in which he kept the State in a fever of apprehension during most of the332 summer, defeating all who faced him and venturing so near to Cincinnati that the people of that city grew wild with apprehension. Only the sharp pursuit of General G. C. Smith, with a superior cavalry force, saved that rich city from being made an easy prey to Morgan and his men.

As preliminary to our main story, we may give in brief one of Morgan's characteristic exploits. The town of Gallatin, twenty miles north of Nashville, was occupied by a small Federal force and seemed to Morgan to offer a fair field for one of his characteristic raids. His men were ready,—they always were for an enterprise promising danger and loot,—and they fell on the town with a swoop that quickly made them its masters and its garrison their captives.

While the victors were paying themselves for their risk by spoiling the enemy, Morgan proceeded to the telegraph office, with the hope that he might find important despatches. So sudden had been the assault that the operator did not know that anything out of the usual had taken place, and took Morgan for a Northern officer. When asked what was going on, he replied,—

"Nothing particular, except that we hear a good deal about the doings of that rebel bandit, Morgan. If he should happen to come across my path, I have pills enough here to satisfy him." He drew his revolver and flourished it bravely in the air.

Morgan turned on the braggart with a look and tone that quite robbed him of his courage, saying,333 "I am Morgan! You are speaking to Morgan, you miserable wretch. Do you think you have any pills to spare for me?"

The operator almost sank on his knees with terror, while the weapon fell from his nerveless hand.

"Don't be scared," said the general. "I will not hurt you. But I want you to send off this despatch at once to Prentiss."

The much-scared operator quickly ticked off the following message,—

"Mr. Prentiss,—As I learn at this telegraph office that you intend to proceed to Nashville, perhaps you will allow me to escort you there at the head of my troop."

"John Morgan."

What effect this despatch had on Prentiss history sayeth not.

With this preliminary account of Morgan and the character of his exploits, we proceed to the most famous incident of his career, his daring invasion of the North, one of the most stirring and exciting incidents of the war.

The main purpose of this invasion is said to have been to contrive a diversion in favor of General Buckner, who proposed to make a dash across Kentucky and seize Louisville, and afterward, with Morgan's aid, to capture Cincinnati. It was also intended to form a nucleus for an armed counter-revolution in the Northwest, where the "Knights of the Golden Circle" and the "Sons of Liberty," associations in sympathy with the South, were334 strong. But with these ulterior purposes we have nothing here to do, our text being the incidents of the raid itself.

General Morgan started on this bold adventure on June 27, 1863, with a force of several thousand mounted men, and with four pieces of artillery. The start was made from Sparta, Tennessee, where the swollen Cumberland was crossed in boats and canoes on the 1st and 2d of July, the horses, with some difficulty, being made to swim.

After successful encounters with Jacob's cavalry and a troop of Wolford's cavalry, the adventurers pushed on, reaching the stockade at Green River Bridge on July 4. Here Colonel Moore was strongly intrenched with a small body of Michigan troops, and sent the following reply to Morgan's demand for a surrender: "If it was any other day I might consider the demand, but the 4th of July is a bad day to talk about surrender, and I must therefore decline."

Moore proved quite capable, with the aid of his intrenchments, of making good his refusal, Morgan being repulsed, after a brisk engagement, with a loss of about sixty men, as estimated by Captain Cunningham, an officer of his staff. Lebanon was taken, after a severe engagement, on the 5th, yielding the Confederates a good supply of guns and ammunition, and the Ohio was reached, at Brandenburg, in a drenching rain, on the evening of the 7th. Here two steamers were seized and the whole force crossed on the next day to the Indiana shore.


General Morgan's force had been swelled, by recruits gained in Kentucky, until it now numbered four thousand six hundred men, and its four guns had become ten. But he was being hotly pursued by General Hobson, who had hastily got on his track with a cavalry force stronger than his own. This reached the river to see the last of Morgan's men safe on the Indiana shore, and one of the steamers they had used floating, a mass of flames, down the stream.

Hobson's loss of time in crossing the stream gave Morgan twenty-four hours' advance, which he diligently improved. The advance of Rosecrans against Bragg had prevented the proposed movement of Buckner to the north, and there remained for Morgan only an indefinite movement through the Northern States with the secondary hope of finding aid and sympathy there. It was likely to be an enterprise of the utmost peril, with Hobson hotly on his track, and the home-guards rising in his front, but the dauntless Morgan did not hesitate in his desperate adventure.

The first check was at Corydon, where a force of militia had gathered. But these were quickly overpowered, the town was forced to yield its quota of spoil, three hundred fresh horses were seized, and Morgan adopted a shrewd system of collecting cash contributions from the well-to-do, demanding one thousand dollars from the owner of each mill and factory as a condition of saving their property from the flames. It may be said here that Corydon was336 the principal place in which any strong opposition was made by the people, the militia being concentrated at the large towns, which Morgan took care to avoid, pursuing his way through the panic-stricken villages and rural districts. There were other brushes with the home-guards, but none of much importance.

The failure of the original purpose of the movement, and the brisk pursuit of the Federal cavalry, left Morgan little to hope for but to get in safety across the Ohio again. In addition to Hobson's cavalry force, General Judah's division was in active motion to intercept him, and the whole line of the Ohio swarmed with foes. The position of the raiders grew daily more desperate, but they rode gallantly on, trusting the result to destiny and the edge of their good swords.

On swept Morgan and his men; on rushed Hobson and his troopers. But the former rode on fresh horses; the latter followed on jaded steeds. For five miles on each side of his line of march Morgan swept the country clear of horses, leaving his own weary beasts in their stead, while Hobson's force, finding no remounts, grew steadily less in number from the exhaustion of his horses. The people, through fear, even fed and watered the horses of Morgan's men with the greatest promptness, thus adding to the celerity of his movements.

Some anecdotes of the famous ride may here be fitly given. At one point on his ride through Indiana Morgan left the line of march with three hundred337 and fifty of his men to visit a small town, the main body marching on. Dashing into the place, he found a body of some three hundred home-guards, each with a good horse. They were dismounted and their horses tied to the fences. Their captain, a confiding individual, on the wrong side of sixty, looked with surprise at this irruption, and asked,—

"Whose company is this?"

"Wolford's cavalry," was the reply.

"What? Kentucky boys? Glad to see you. Where's Wolford?"

"There he sits," answered the man, pointing to Morgan, who was carelessly seated sideways on his horse. Walking up to Wolford,—as he thought him,—the Indiana captain saluted him,—

"Captain, how are you?"

"Bully; how are you? What are you going to do with all these men and horses?"

"Why, you see that horse-thieving John Morgan is in this part of the country, cutting up the deuce. Between you and me, captain, if he comes this way, we'll try and give him the best we've got in the shop."

"You'll find him hard to catch. We've been after him for fourteen days and can't see him at all," said Morgan.

"If our hosses would only stand fire we'd be all right."

"They won't stand, eh?"

"Not for shucks. I say, captain, I'd think it a favor if you and your men would put your saddles338 on our hosses, and give our lads a little idea of a cavalry drill. They say you're prime at that."

"Why, certainly; anything to accommodate. I think we can show you some useful evolutions."

Little time was lost in changing the saddles from the tired to the fresh horses, the hoosier boys aiding in the work, and soon the Confederates, delighted with the exchange, were in their saddles and ready for the word. Morgan rode up and down the column, then moved to the front, took off his hat, and said,—

"All right now, captain. If you and your men will form a double line along the road and watch us, we will try to show you a movement you have never seen."

The captain gave the necessary order to his men, who drew up in line.

"Are you ready?" asked Morgan.

"All right, Wolford."

"Forward!" shouted Morgan, and the column shot ahead at a rattling pace, soon leaving nothing in sight but a cloud of dust. When the news became whispered among the astonished hoosiers that the polite visitor was Morgan instead of Wolford, there was gnashing of teeth in that town, despite the fact that each man had been left a horse in exchange for his own.

As Morgan rode on he continued his polite method of levying a tax from the mill-owners instead of burning their property. At Salem, the next place after leaving Corydon, he collected three thousand339 dollars from three mill-owners. Capturing, at another time, Washington De Pauw, a man of large wealth, he said to him,—

"Sir, do you consider your flour-mill worth two thousand dollars?"

De Pauw thought it was worth that.

"Very well; you can save it for that much money."

De Pauw promptly paid the cash.

"Now," said Morgan, "do you think your woollen-mill worth three thousand dollars?"

"Yes," said De Pauw, with more hesitation.

"You can buy it from us for that sum."

The three thousand dollars was paid over less willingly, and the mill-owner was heartily glad that he had no other mills to redeem.

Another threat to burn did not meet with as much success. Colonel Craven, of Ripley, who was taken prisoner, talked in so caustic a tone that Morgan asked where the colonel lived.

"At Osgood," was the answer.

"That little town on the railroad?"

"Yes," said the colonel.

"All right; I shall send a detachment there to burn the town."

"Burn and be hanged!" said the colonel; "it isn't much of a town, anyhow."

Morgan laughed heartily at the answer.

"I like the way you talk, old fellow," he said, "and I guess your town can stand."

As the ride went on Morgan had more and more340 cause for alarm. Hobson was hanging like a burr on his rear, rarely more than half a day's march behind—the lack of fresh horses kept him from getting nearer. Judah was on his flank, and had many of his men patrolling the Ohio. The governors had called for troops, and the country was rising on all sides. The Ohio was now the barrier between him and safety, and Morgan rode thither at top speed, striking the river on the 19th at Buffington Ford, above Pomeroy, in Ohio. For the past week, as Cunningham says, "every hill-side contained an enemy and every ravine a blockade, and we reached the river dispirited and worn down."

At the river, instead of safety, imminent peril was found. Hundreds of Judah's men were on the stream in gunboats to head him off. Hobson, Wolford, and other cavalry leaders were closing in from behind. The raiders seemed environed by enemies, and sharp encounters began. Judah struck them heavily in flank. Hobson assailed them in the rear, and, hemmed in on three sides and unable to break through the environing lines, five hundred of the raiders, under Dick Morgan and Ward, were forced to surrender.

"Seeing that the enemy had every advantage of position," says Cunningham, "an overwhelming force of infantry and cavalry, and that we were becoming completely environed in the meshes of the net set for us, the command was ordered to move up the river at double-quick, ... and we341 moved rapidly off the field, leaving three companies of dismounted men, and perhaps two hundred sick and wounded, in the enemy's possession. Our cannon were undoubtedly captured at the river."

Morgan now followed the line of the stream, keeping behind the hills out of reach of the gunboat fire, till Bealville, fourteen miles above, was reached. Here he rode to the stream, having distanced the gunboats, and with threats demanded aid from the people in crossing. Flats and scows were furnished for only about three hundred of the men, who managed to cross before the gunboats appeared in sight. Others sought to cross by swimming. In this effort Cunningham had the following experience:

"My poor mare being too weak to carry me, turned over and commenced going down; encumbered by clothes, sabre, and pistols, I made but poor progress in the turbid stream. But the recollections of home, of a bright-eyed maiden in the sunny South, and an inherent love of life, actuated me to continue swimming.... But I hear something behind me snorting! I feel it passing! Thank God, I am saved! A riderless horse dashes by; I grasp his tail; onward he bears me, and the shore is reached!" And thus Cunningham passes out of the story.

The remainder of the force fled inland, hotly pursued, fighting a little, burning bridges, and being at length brought to bay, surrounded by342 foes, and forced to surrender, except a small party with Morgan still at their head. Escape for these seemed hopeless. For six days more they rode onward, in a desperate effort to reach the Ohio at some unguarded point. They were sharply pursued, and, at length, on Sunday, July 26, found themselves very hotly pressed. Along one road dashed Morgan, at the full speed of his mounts. Over a road at right angles rushed Major Rue, thundering along. It was a sharp burst for the intersection. Morgan reached it first, and Rue thought he had escaped. But the major knew the country like a book. His horses were fresh and Morgan's were jaded. Another tremendous dash was made for the Beaver Creek road, and this the major reached a little ahead.

It was all up now with the famous raid. Morgan's men were too few to break through the intercepting force. He made the bluff of sending a flag with a demand to surrender; but Rue couldn't see it in that light, and a few minutes afterward Morgan rode up to him, saying, "You have beat me this time," and expressing himself as gratified that a Kentuckian was his captor.

A mere fragment of the command remained, the others having been scattered and picked up at various points, and thus ended the career, in capture or death, of nearly all the more than four thousand bold raiders who had crossed the Ohio three weeks before. They had gained fame, but with captivity as its goal.


Morgan and several of his officers were taken to Columbus, the capital of Ohio, and were there confined in felon cells in the penitentiary. Four months afterward the leader and six of his captains escaped and made their way in safety to the Confederate lines. Here is the story in outline of how they got free from durance vile.

Two small knives served them for tools, with which they dug through the floors of their cells, composed of cement and nine inches of brickwork, and in this way reached an air-chamber below. They had now only to dig through the soft earth under the foundation walls of the penitentiary and open a passage into the yard. They had furnished themselves with a strong rope, made of their bed-clothes, and with this they scaled the walls. In some way they had procured citizen's clothes, so that those who afterward saw them had no suspicion.

In the cell Morgan left the following note: "Cell No. 20. November 20, 1863. Commencement, November 4, 1863. Conclusion, November 20, 1863. Number of hours of labor per day, three. Tools, two small knives. La patience est amère, mais son fruit est doux [Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet]. By order of my six honorable confederates."

Morgan and Captain Hines went immediately to the railroad station (at one o'clock in the morning) and boarded a train going towards Cincinnati. When near this city, they went to the rear car, slackened the speed by putting on the brake, and344 jumped off, making their way to the Ohio. Here they induced a boy to row them across, and soon found shelter with friends in Kentucky.

A reward of one thousand dollars was offered for Morgan, "alive or dead," but the news of the ovation with which he was soon after received in Richmond proved to his careless jailers that he was safely beyond their reach.

A few words will finish the story of Morgan's career. He was soon at the head of a troop again, annoying the enemy immensely in Kentucky. One of his raiding parties, three hundred strong, actually pushed General Hobson, his former pursuer, into a bend of the Licking River, and captured him with twelve hundred well-armed men. This was Morgan's last exploit. Soon afterward he, with a portion of his staff, were surrounded when in a house at Greenville by Union troops, and the famous Confederate leader was shot dead while seeking to escape.



Sad is defeat, and more than sad was the last march of General Lee's gallant army after its four years of heroic struggle, as it despondently made its way along the Virginian roads westward from the capital city which it had defended so long and valiantly. It was the verdant spring-tide, but the fresh green foliage had no charms for the heart-broken and starving men, whose food supplies had grown so low that they were forced to gnaw the young shoots of the trees for sustenance. It is not our purpose here to tell what followed the surrounding of the fragment of an army by an overwhelming force of foes, the surrender and parole, and the dispersion of the veteran troops to the four winds, but to confine ourselves to the homeward journey of General Lee and a few of his veterans.

Shortly after the surrender, General Lee returned to Richmond, riding slowly from the scene on his iron-gray war-horse, "Traveller," which had borne him so nobly through years of battle and siege. His parting with his soldiers was pathetic, and everywhere on his road to Richmond he received tokens of admiration and respect from friend and foe. Reaching Richmond, he and his companions passed sadly through a portion of the city which exhibited346 a distressing scene of blackened ruins from the recent conflagration. As he passed onward he was recognized, and the people flocked to meet him, cheering and waving hats and handkerchiefs. The general, to whom this ovation could not have been agreeable, simply raised his hat in response to the greetings of the citizens, and rode on to his residence in Franklin Street. The closing of its doors upon his retiring form was the final scene in that long drama of war of which for years he had been the central figure. He had returned to that private family life for which his soul had yearned even in the most active scenes of the war.

It is our purpose here to reproduce a vivid personal account of the adventures of some of the retiring soldiers, especially as General Lee bore a part in their experiences. The narrative given is the final one of a series of incidents in the life of the private soldier, related by Private Carlton McCarthy. These papers, in their day, were widely read and much admired, and an extract from them cannot fail still to be of interest. We take up the story of the "Brave Survivors, homeward bound:"

"Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 12th of April, without the stirring drum or the bugle call of old, the camp awoke to the new life. Whether or not they had a country, these soldiers did not know. Home to many, when they reached it, was graves and ashes. At any rate, there must be, somewhere on earth, a better place than a muddy, smoky camp in a piece of scrubby pines;347 better company than gloomy, hungry comrades and inquisitive enemies, and something in the future more exciting, if not more hopeful, than nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, nothing to do, and nowhere to go. The disposition to start was apparent, and the preparations were promptly begun.

"To roll up the old blanket and oil-cloth, gather up the haversack, canteen, axe, perhaps, and a few trifles,—in time of peace of no value,—eat the fragments that remained, and light a pipe, was the work of a few moments. This slight employment, coupled with pleasant anticipations of the unknown, and therefore possibly enjoyable future, served to restore somewhat the usual light-hearted manner of soldiers and relieve the final farewells of much of their sadness. There was even a smack of hope and cheerfulness as the little groups sallied out into the world to combat they scarcely knew what. As we cannot follow all these groups, we will join ourselves to one and see them home.

"Two 'brothers-in-arms,' whose objective-point is Richmond, take the road on foot. They have nothing to eat and no money. They are bound for their home in a city which, when they last heard from it, was in flames. What they will see when they arrive there they cannot imagine, but the instinctive love of home urges them. They walk on steadily and rapidly, and are not diverted by surroundings. It does not even occur to them that their situation, surrounded on all sides by armed enemies and walking a road crowded by348 them, is at all novel. They are suddenly aroused to a sense of their situation by a sharp 'Halt! Show your parole.' They had struck the cordon of picket-posts which surrounded the surrendered army. It was the first exercise of authority by the Federal army. A sergeant, accompanied by a couple of muskets, stepped into the road, with a modest air examined the paroles, and said, quietly, 'Pass on.'

LEE'S HOUSE AT RICHMOND. Lee's House at Richmond.

"This strictly military part of the operation being over, the social commenced. As the two 'survivors' passed on they were followed by numerous remarks, such as, 'Hello, Johnny! I say—going home?' 'Ain't you glad?' They made no reply, these wayfarers, but they thought some very emphatic remarks.

"From this point 'on to Richmond' was the grand thought. Steady work it was. The road, strangely enough, considering the proximity of two armies, was quite lonesome, and not an incident of interest occurred during the day. Darkness found the two comrades still pushing on.

"Some time after dark a light was seen a short distance ahead, and there was a 'sound of revelry.' On approaching, the light was seen to proceed from a large fire, built on the floor of an old and dilapidated outhouse, and surrounded by a ragged, hungry, singing, and jolly crowd of paroled prisoners of the Army of Northern Virginia, who had gotten possession of a quantity of cornmeal and were waiting for the ash-cakes then in the ashes. Being liberal, they offered the new-comers some of349 their bread. Being hungry, they accepted and ate their first meal that day. Finding the party noisy and riotous, the comrades pushed on in the darkness after a short rest and spent the night on the road.

"Thursday morning they entered the village of Buckingham Court-House, and traded a small pocket-mirror for a substantial breakfast. There was quite a crowd of soldiers gathered around a cellar-door, trying to persuade an ex-Confederate A. A. A. Commissary of Subsistence that he might as well, in view of the fact that the army had surrendered, let them have some of the stores; and, after considerable persuasion and some threats, he decided to forego the hope of keeping them for himself and told the men to help themselves. They did so.

"As the two tramps were about to leave the village and were hurrying along the high-road which led through it, they saw a solitary horseman approaching from the rear. It was easy to recognize at once General Lee. He rode slowly, calmly along. As he passed an old tavern on the roadside some ladies and children waved their handkerchiefs, smiled, and wept. The general raised his eyes to the porch on which they stood, and, slowly raising his hand to his hat, lifted it slightly and as slowly again dropped his hand to his side. The 'survivors' did not weep, but they had strange sensations. They passed on, steering, so to speak, for Cartersville and the ferry.

"Before leaving the village it was the sad duty of the 'survivors' to stop at the humble abode of350 Mrs. P. and tell her of the death of her husband, who fell mortally wounded, pierced by a musket-ball, near Sailor's Creek. She was also told that a companion who was by his side when he fell, but who was not able to stay with him, would come along soon and give her the particulars. That comrade came and repeated the story. In a few days the dead man reached home alive and scarcely hurt. He was originally an infantryman, recently transferred to artillery, and therefore wore a small knapsack, as infantry did. The ball struck the knapsack with a 'whack!' and knocked the man down. That was all."

The night was spent in an old building near the ferry, and in the morning the ferryman cheerfully put them across the river without charge.

"Soon after crossing, a good, silver-plated tablespoon, bearing the monogram of one of the travellers, purchased from an aged colored woman a large chunk of ash-cake and about half a gallon of buttermilk. This old darky had lived in Richmond in her younger days. She spoke of grown men and women there as 'chillun what I raised.' 'Lord! boss—does you know Miss Sadie? Well, I nussed her and I nussed all uv their chillun; that I did, sah. You chillun does look hawngry, that you does. Well, you's welcome to these vittles, and I'm pow'ful glad to git dis spoon. God bless you, honey!' A big log on the roadside furnished a comfortable seat for the consumption of the before-mentioned ash-cake and milk.


"The feast was hardly begun when the tramp of a horse's hoofs were heard. Looking up, the 'survivors' saw with surprise General Lee approaching. He was entirely alone and rode slowly along. Unconscious that any one saw him, he was yet erect, dignified, and apparently as calm and peaceful as the fields and woods around him. Having caught sight of the occupants of the log, he kept his eyes fixed on them, and as he passed turned slightly, saluted, and said, in the most gentle manner, 'Good-morning, gentlemen; taking your breakfast?' The soldiers had only time to rise, salute, and say, 'Yes, sir,' and he was gone.

"It seems that General Lee pursued the road which the 'survivors' chose, and, starting later than they, overtook them, he being mounted and they on foot. At any rate, it was their good fortune to see him three times on the road from Appomattox to Richmond. The incidents introducing General Lee are peculiarly interesting, and the reader may rest assured of the truthfulness of the narration as to what occurred and what was said and done.

"After the feast of bread and milk, the no longer hungry men passed on. About the time when men who have eaten a hearty breakfast become again hungry,—as good fortune would have it happen,—they reached a house pleasantly situated, and a comfortable place withal. Approaching the house, they were met by an exceedingly kind, energetic, and hospitable woman. She promptly asked, 'You352 are not deserters?' 'No,' said the soldiers; 'we have our paroles; we are from Richmond; we are homeward bound, and called to ask if you could spare us a dinner.' 'Spare you a dinner? Certainly I can. My husband is a miller; his mill is right across the road there, down the hill, and I have been cooking all day for the poor, starving men. Take a seat on the porch there, and I will get you something to eat.'

"By the time the travellers were seated, this admirable woman was in the kitchen at work. The 'pat-a-pat, pat, pat, pat, pat-a-pat, pat' of the sifter, and the cracking and 'fizzing' of the fat bacon as it fried, saluted their hungry ears, and the delicious smell tickled their olfactory nerves most delightfully. Sitting thus, entertained by delightful sounds, breathing the air and wrapped in meditation, or anticipation, rather, the soldiers saw the dust rise in the air and heard the sound of an approaching party.

"Several horsemen rode up to the road-gate, threw their bridles over the posts or tied them to the overhanging boughs, and dismounted. They were evidently officers, well-dressed, fine-looking men, and about to enter the gate. Almost at once the men on the porch recognized General Lee and his son. They were accompanied by other officers. An ambulance had arrived at the gate also. Without delay they entered and approached the house, General Lee preceding the others. Satisfied that it was the general's intention to enter the house, the353 two 'brave survivors,' instinctively and respectfully venerating the approaching man, determined to give him and his companions the porch. As they were executing a rather rapid and undignified flank movement to gain the right and rear of the house, the voice of General Lee overhauled them thus, 'Where are you men going?' 'This lady has offered to give us a dinner, and we are waiting for it,' replied the soldiers. 'Well, you had better move on now—this gentleman will have quite a large party on him to-day,' said the general. The soldiers touched their caps, said, 'Yes, sir,' and retired, somewhat hurt, to a strong position on a hen-coop in the rear of the house. The party then settled on the porch.

"The general had, of course, no authority, and the surrender of the porch was purely respectful. Knowing this, the soldiers were at first hurt, but a moment's reflection satisfied them that the general was right. He, no doubt, had suspicions of plunder, and these were increased by the movement of the men to the rear as he approached. He misinterpreted their conduct.

"The lady of the house—a reward for her name—hearing the dialogue in the yard, pushed her head through the crack of the kitchen door and, as she tossed a lump of dough from hand to hand and gazed eagerly out, addressed the soldiers: 'Ain't that old General Lee?' 'Yes, General Lee and his son and other officers come to dine with you,' they replied. 'Well,' she said, 'he ain't no354 better than the men that fought for him, and I don't reckon he is as hungry; so you just come in here. I am going to give you yours first, and then I'll get something for him.'

"What a meal it was! Seated at the kitchen table, the large-hearted woman bustling about and talking away, the ravenous tramps attacked a pile of old Virginia hoecake and corn-dodger, a frying-pan with an inch of gravy and slices of bacon, streak of lean and streak of fat, very numerous. To finish—as much rich buttermilk as the drinkers could contain. With many heartfelt thanks the 'survivors' bade farewell to this immortal woman, and leaving the general and his party in the quiet possession of the front porch, pursued their way.

"Night found the 'survivors' at the gate of a quiet, handsome, framed country residence. The weather was threatening, and it was desirable to have shelter as well as rest. Entering and knocking at the door, they were met by a servant girl. She was sent to her mistress with a request for permission to sleep on her premises. The servant returned, saying, 'Mistis says she is a widder, and there ain't no gentleman in the house, and she can't let you come in.' She was sent with a second message, which informed the lady that the visitors were from Richmond, members of a certain company from there, and would be content with permission to sleep on the porch, in the stable, or in the barn. They would protect her property, etc., etc., etc.

"This message brought the lady of the house to355 the door. She said, 'If you are members of the —— ——, you must know my nephew, he was in that company. Of course they knew him, 'old chum,' 'comrade,' 'particular friend,' 'splendid fellow,' 'hope he was well when you heard from him; glad to meet you, madam.' These and similar hearty expressions brought the longed-for 'Come in, gentlemen. You are welcome. I will see that supper is prepared for you at once.' (Invitation accepted.)

"The old haversacks were deposited in a corner under the steps and their owners conducted downstairs to a spacious dining-room, quite prettily furnished. A large table occupied the centre of the room, and at one side there was a handsome display of silver in a glass-front case. A good big fire lighted the room. The lady sat quietly working at some woman's work, and from time to time questioning, in a rather suspicious manner, her guests. Their direct answers satisfied her, and their respectful manner reassured her, so that by the time supper was brought in she was chatting and laughing with her 'defenders.'

"The supper came in steaming hot. It was abundant, well prepared, and served elegantly. Splendid coffee, hot biscuit, luscious butter, fried ham, eggs, fresh milk! The writer could not expect to be believed if he should tell the quantity eaten at that meal. The good lady of the house enjoyed the sight. She relished every mouthful, and no doubt realized then and there the blessing356 which is conferred on hospitality, and the truth of that saying of old, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

"The wayfarers were finally shown to a neat little chamber. The bed was soft and glistening white; too white and clean to be soiled by the occupancy of two Confederate soldiers who had not had a change of underclothing for many weeks. They looked at it, felt of it, and then spread their old blankets on the neat carpet and slept there till near the break of day.

"While it was yet dark the travellers, unwilling to lose time waiting for breakfast, crept out of the house, leaving their thanks for their kind hostess, and passed rapidly on to Manikin Town, on the James River and Kanawha Canal, half a day's march from Richmond, where they arrived while it was yet early morning. The greensward between the canal and river was inviting, and the 'survivors' laid there awhile to rest and determine whether or not they would push on to the city. They desired to do so as soon as they could find a breakfast to fit them for the day's march."

In this venture they met with a new experience, the party applied to, a well-fed, hearty man, gruffly repulsing them, and complaining that some scoundrels had stolen his best horse the night before. He finally invited them in and set before them the bony remnants of some fish he had had for breakfast. Rising indignantly from the table, the veterans told their inhospitable host that they were357 not dogs, and would consider it an insult to the canine race to call him one. Apparently fearing that the story of his behavior to old soldiers would be spread to his discredit, he now apologized for the "mistake," and offered to have a breakfast cooked for them, but they were past being mollified, and left him with the most uncomplimentary epithets at the command of two old soldiers of four years' service.

"At eleven a.m. of the same day two footsore, despondent, and penniless men stood facing the ruins of the home of a comrade who had sent a message to his mother. 'Tell mother I am coming.' The ruins yet smoked. A relative of the lady whose home was in ashes, and whose son said, 'I am coming,' stood by the 'survivors.' 'Well, then,' he said, 'it must be true that General Lee has surrendered.' The solemnity of the remark, coupled with the certainty in the minds of the 'survivors,' was almost amusing. The relative pointed out the temporary residence of the mother, and thither the 'survivors' wended their way.

"A knock at the door startled the mother, and with agony in her eyes she appeared at the opened door, exclaiming, 'My poor boys!' 'Are safe and coming home,' said the 'survivors.' 'Thank God!' said the mother, and the tears flowed down her cheeks.

"A rapid walk through ruined and smoking streets, some narrow escapes from negro soldiers on police duty, the satisfaction of seeing two of358 the 'boys in blue' hung up by their thumbs for pillaging, a few handshakings, and the 'survivors' found their way to the house of a relative, where they did eat bread with thanks.

"A friend informed the 'survivors' that day that farm hands were needed all around the city. They made a note of that and the name of one farmer. Saturday night the old blankets were spread on the parlor floor. Sunday morning, the 16th of April, they bade farewell to the household and started for the farmer's house.

"As they were about to start away, the head of the family took from his pocket a handful of odd silver pieces, and extending them to the guests, told them it was all he had, but they were welcome to half of it. Remembering that he had a wife and three or four children to feed, the soldiers smiled through their tears at his, bade him keep it all, and 'weep for himself rather than for them.' So saying, they departed, and at sundown were at the farmer's house, fourteen miles away.

"Monday morning, the 17th, they 'beat their swords (muskets in this case) into ploughshares' and did the first day's work of the sixty which the simple farmer secured at a cost to himself of about half rations for two men. Behold the gratitude of a people! Where grow now the shrubs which of old bore leaves and twigs for garlands? The brave live! are the fair dead? Shall time of calamity, downfall or ruin, annihilate sacrifice or hatch an ingrate brood?"