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for writing tkfe book. My fast TOW of Scott 
Appointment to Ids staff. Impressions on Scott doriag mr first 
senrket My first dinner with Kim. Hb advice Description of 
Scott Anecdo^ His mling passion ambition. Hfe opinions of 
various pttbtic ineo. Washington CStr about i$*x-Genentl con- 
dWwtof theconaTt th^uafcc. MUitaxj science and its prqfRS& 


Scott as a man of galhntiy ** *** J* 53 * 1 ^ * feanay. Scott in t&e 
Mckty of Wfes Hb ^enecal dteneanor. Fond of swx*l vtatingr. 
Hi$ cv>nT<*satku--Anec<fotes. Hi$ fore of attention. Views of 
ovm vaniase. Opinion of nanugein thearay. 


Scott as a xfebur, and a wan of it*iwg,~ H edncatMu Rk stwfies 
of t&w. PttMk en of ni$ tune. H$ londae^ lor 


life vraai* dtxfcais* of 

- * 

tf dMMS*kanwd&~Fondness fcr cinss and wfcfct, 


v Contents. 


Scott as aChristian.-Hi S dislike for religious controversy. -Expres- 
bnof religious belief.-His manner of worship. -Comparison of 
emLit preachers in French and English.-Strength of ^Scotf . con- ^ 


Puritanism. -Its nature, its benefits, and its dangers. -A study of 
Puritanism.-Its origin.-The first Puritans. -Result of Puritan 
instruction.-Puritans and Catholics in the conversion of the heathen 
Puritan beliefs concerning private judgment. Character o 
present government derived from Puritanism 3 


The evils of foreign immigration.-Scott opposed to foreign immi- 
gration.-My study of his opinions.-Overcrowded population in 
Europe.-Anecdotes.-Future of immigration in the Unite 
Foresight of Scott on this question 


A review of the autobiography of General Scott-Scott's character as 
exhibited in the book. -His comments on e vents. -Bur r s trial. 
Wilkinson.-War with England. -The quarrel with J-^7^ 
dotes of Jackson.-Van Buren's Administration.-Troubles m Can- 
ada.-Anecdotesof a journey with Scott-Scott in ^e South.-The 
Cherokees.-Scott as a politician.-His opmion S .-Benton.- * ^ 
autobiography on the Mexican War 


Reminiscences of events and characters from the time of my first ser- 
vice with Scott till I rejoined his staff as confidential Military Secre- 
tary.-Mycaptaincy.-Farewell dinner from Scott. -Life in Wash- 
LgL,-Ordered to Florida. -W. T. Shern^n.-Fort Lauderdale. 
-George H. Thomas. - Lieutenant Wyse, and other officers. - 
Service in Florida.-In New Orleans. -General Gaines. -Compari 
son of Scott and Gaines. -Ordered to Fort Moultrie.-The voyage. 
-Purchase of a slave.-The officers at Fort Moultrie.-Quarrel with 
Bragg. Anecdotes of other officers 




From my appointment to duty at West Point as Chief of Department 
of Artillery and Cavalry. The West Point board. Nominations 
for the post. My nomination by Lee. The Military Academy and 
its merits. Influence of Colonel Thayer. His successors. Dela- 
field, Cullum, and others. The class of 1846. McClellan, Foster, 
Reno, Couch, Sturgis, Stoneman, Palmer. Thomas J. Jackson, 
Maxey, Pickett Derby ("John Phoenix "). Classes of '47 and '48. 
Miss Scott l88 


Generals Lee and Grant. The military career of Lee. His personal 
appearance. My last sight of him. Scott on Lee. Foreign opinions 
of Lee. Comparison of Lee and Grant. First sight of Grant. 
Grant in 1880. His early career. His civil life. His re-entry into 
the army. Actions at Forts Henry and Donaldson. Trouble with 
Halleck. The army in Tennessee under Grant. Comparison with 
ancient and modern generals. E. B. Was hburne. Sherman's recog 
nition of Grant. Grant in the Wilderness. Grant the ablest Amer 
ican General 204 


My journey to San Francisco. Life in California. The voyage via 
Cape Horn. Delay at Panama. Anecdotes of the journey. San 
Francisco in 1849. The discovery of gold. San Francisco in early 
days. Fellow officers. Expedition to the San Joaquin Indians. 
Treaty with them. Great fire in San Francisco. California admitted 
to the Union. The Vigilance Committee 223 


Indian campaigns on the Pacific Coast. Expedition to Fort Vancouver. 
Indian Fighting. Return to San Francisco. Steptoe's disaster in 
Washington Territory. General Clark's move. At the Dalles. 
The march to Walla Walla. Cceur d'Alene. More Indian Fight 
ing. Colonel Wright. Harney 250 


Return to San Francisco from the Indian War. Description of society 
and individuals. Condition of California. The Parrotts, McAllis 
ters, Thorntons, Lakes, Donohues, McKinstrys, Gwins, Bowies, and 
others. The Bar of San Francisco. Leading lawyers 290 

vi Contents. 



General Scott's visit to the Pacific Coast. His conduct and character in 
old age. His appearance. Judge Ogden Hoffman. My appoint 
ment as Military Secretary. Scott's growing fondness for money. 
His inactivity. My own state upon resuming service with him. 
Some general opinions. Scott's feeling as to sectional politics 
Return to Washington. Various social events. Visit of the Prince 
of Wales. Affairs in the beginning of 1860 315 


Events of 1860 and '61.- State of the Union and of parties in the 
autumn of 1860. Buchanan's Cabinet. Election of Lincoln. 
Scott's suggestion of names for Lincoln's Cabinet. Various social 
events in Washington. General Cameron. The first demands from 
the South. Hayne's mission. Petigrew. Seward's speech. 
Scott's views on the situation. Stanton's appointment to office. 
First troops ordered to Washington. Reports from various parts of 
the country. Threats against Lincoln. Scott's depression 337 


Major Anderson and Forts Moultrie and Sumter. Description of 
Anderson. Anecdotes. Anderson ordered to relieve Gardner. His 
vigilance. His masterly movement from Moultrie to Sumter. The 
question of reinforcement. Expedition of the " Star of the West." 
She is fired upon. First shots from Sumter. Beginning of civil 
war 367 


Reinforcements of Fort Pickens. Captain Vogdes. Gen. Scott on the 
situation of Fort Pickens. Interview between Lincoln and Scott. 
My interview with the President and Mr. Seward. The expedition 
ordered. Lincoln's letter of authority. Gen. Butler. Close of my 
secretaryship. Service under Morgan of New York 375 


Arrival of Lincoln at Washington. Caricatures. Threatening letters. 
Dinner with Stanton. The retiring President. The inauguration 
of Lincoln. Visit to New York. Scott's letter to Texas. Anec 
dotes of Lincoln. Farewell speeches of Benjamin and Davis 410 

Contents. vii 



The War of the Rebellion. State of affairs at its outbreak .Letter to 
the President. Bull Run. The Peninsula. Letter to Senator 
Harris. Fair Oaks. Testimony concerning the battle. The field 
revisited. Conversation with President Lincoln. Letter from Sec 
retary Chase 42 9 


A letter from Col. C. C. Suydam 49 1 

Battle of Fair Oaks.-Report of Brig.-Gen. E. D. Keyes, 4th Corps . . 500 






Occasion for writing this book. My first view of Scott. Appointment to 
his staff. Impressions on Scott during my first service. My first dinner 
with him. His advice. Description of Scott. Anecdotes. His ruling 
passion ambition. His opinions of various public men. Washington 
City about 1840. General condition of the country at that time. 
Military science and its progress. 

IN the month of August, 1881, my attention was called 
to a controversy, then going on in the newspapers, 
the occasion for which was an article from the pen of 
the Hon. Jeremiah S. Black, who was Attorney -General 
during the administration of Mr. Buchanan. 

Mr. Black asserted that the failure to reinforce Fort 
Sumter, Charleston Harbor, was due to the delays and 
reluctance of Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott, who 
was, at the time, the commanding general of the Army. 

The statement of Mr. Black was regarded by many as 

2 Fifty Years' Observation 

an undeserved accusation, and without foundation in 

My former intimate associations with the general, and 
my friendly feeling toward him and his alleged accuser, 
gave me an especial interest in the controversy, and I 
commenced a letter to Mr. Black, with a purpose to re 
late such facts and circumstances as I remembered in re 
gard to the question in dispute. The subject was so sug 
gestive that I soon found my narrative would transcend 
the limits of an epistle, and I determined to write my 
reminiscences of General Scott, and of other distinguished 
persons and events with which I had been associated. 

The first time I ever saw General Scott was in the year 
1831, when he was the President of the Board of Visitors 
at the West Point Military Academy, and I was a cadet 
under examination. I was called to the blackboard and 
required to work out the barometric formula as in Fran- 
cceur's Mechanics. I remember the time with perfect 
distinctness, as there was in the course a problem relat 
ing to the precession of the equinoxes, that I had not 
been able to review, and I feared it would be given to me 
and that I should fail, or " 'fess," as the cadets would 
say. The announcement of my task made me happy, 
and I had time to observe the general without pre-occu- 
pation. He was much taller than any other member of 
the Board, but not very stout. His complexion was 
light, his eyes large, clear, and blue, and it appeared 
to me that his face was marked with more lines than I 
observed at a later date. His whole appearance was that 
of a convalescent nearly restored to good health. As I 
proceeded with my demonstration, I noticed that he 
looked at me as though he was my teacher, and I ex 
pected he would question me, but he did not, and as he 
gave the same attention to all the others in the class, I 

First Impressions of Scott. 3 

could boast of no special distinction. I did not speak to 
the general during the three or four weeks he remained 
on the Point, and when I went to report to him as act 
ing aide-de-camp, on the 2Qth day of October, 1833, he 
did not recognize me. 

I owed my selection for the Staff to the influence of my 
very dear friend, Lieutenant Hugh W. Mercer, who was 
the second aide. He was the son of General Mercer, of 
the Revolutionary Army, and a gentleman of the purest 
type. He was a model of elegance and grace, and his 
talents were of a superior order. 

General Scott esteemed Mercer so highly as to take me 
into his military family upon his sole recommendation. 

I arrived at the office in Lispenard Street, New York, at 

II o'clock in the morning, and was then first introduced 
to my future chief. He received me with a coldness that 
chilled the marrow in my bones. Looking up from his 
writing, he asked me how long I had been out of the 
Military Academy ? I replied sixteen months. 

Then turning to Mercer he remarked : " How happened 
it that General Jones allowed this young officer to leave 
his regiment so soon ? " 

Nothing more was said. The general wafted his eye 
over me in a way that was not encouraging and resumed 
his writing, while I withdrew to a desk in the rear office, 
there to await the bidding of my superiors. 

From my seat I could always see and hear the old 
chief, and I was not slow to learn that his temperament 
was irritable, and that he was easily bored. I was told 
that the young officer who was my predecessor brought 
himself into disfavor and lost his place because he would 
every morning question the general about his health, how 
he slept, how his family were, etc. 

I concluded, therefore, to ask no questions, and only to 

4 Fifty Years' Observation. 

speak to him when he addressed me, which was seldom., 
as I received my orders mostly through the Assistant Ad 

I took good care to be punctual, and as the mail ar 
rived at 10 o'clock A.M., that was the hour I was expected 
to be at my post, and 1 made it a point invariably to be 
entering the door while the clock of Saint John's Church 
was striking ten. I finished everything I had to do 
neatly, and with despatch, and in that way I gained ap 
proval and secured to myself the reward that follows un- 
officious usefulness. 

It was often required of me to go to the general for 
orders, and to show him papers, but he never said any 
thing that denoted the slightest personal interest in me 
till I had been with him four months. 

One day at the end of that time, after finishing his 
writing, he turned in his chair and said, " Mr. Keyes, I 
wish you to come and dine with me at four o'clock this 
afternoon." I accepted his invitation, which I considered 
an order, and at the appointed hour found myself at his 
house, No. 5 Bond Street, which at that time was one of 
the most fashionable streets in the city. 

Lieutenant William C. De Hart, who was first aide-de 
camp and assistant adjutant-general, and I were the only 
guests, and the dinner, though simple, was good. Al 
though I took little part in the conversation at that 
dinner, I gained without design a strong point with my 
host. Wishing for the salt, which stood nearer to De 
Hart than to me, but nearer to the general than to either 
of us, I said, " Mr. De Hart, will you please pass me the 
salt?" He did so, and I helped myself. Then the 
general turned and said, " Young gentleman, you showed 
tact in asking Mr. De Hart for the salt instead of me, as 
he is more nearly your own age," and his eye rested upon 

Funeral of Lafayette. 5 

me with a bland expression that was cheering, and ever 
afterwards when I went to him for orders he would look 
up at me. 

Nevertheless I was so much awed in the presence of 
my chief that I seldom said a word to him except in reply 
to his questions, until after the funeral ceremonies of La 
Fayette, which were celebrated in New York in the 
month of July, 1834. During the night preceding that 
solemn event it rained, and the cobble pavements were 
covered with mud and were very slippery. 

A dozen or more officers of the army, headed by 
Generals Scott and Brady, joined in the procession, and 
marched on foot six or seven miles in the blazing sun of 
one of the hottest days known. Near the end of the 
route, the column halted, and. the officers closed around 
the two generals. Remarks were made about the heat, 
the mud, the length and slowness of the march, and 
several complained of exhaustion. Old General Brady 
said, " Mr. Keyes, you don't appear to be tired." " No," 
interrupted Dr. Mower, " the blood meanders calmly in the 
veins of this youth." Those simple remarks, and the 
friendly attention of those two venerable men General 
Brady appeared very old, and was a captain in 1792 won 
my heart, and to this day I feel an affection for their 
memory. It was nearly dark when the ceremony ended 
at the City Hall, and General Scott called a carriage, 
took me in with him, and drove slowly to Bond Street. 

During the whole passage he was giving me advice. 
" You are now," said he, " beginning life you are green 
and ignorant of society and of yourself. You appear to be 
industrious and studious enough to fit yourself for high 
exploits in your profession, and your next object should 
be to make yourself a perfect man of the world. To do 
that, you must carefully observe well-bred men, like Mr. 

6 Fifty Years Observation. 

Charles King, Lieutenant Mercer and others. You musi 
also learn to converse and to express your thoughts ir 
proper language, like Mr. Ogden Hoffman and Dr 
Hawkes. You must make acquaintances among the besl 
people, and take care always to be respectful to old per 
sons and to the ladies ! " 

No young man was ever more surprised and astonished 
than I was while I listened to the foregoing homily. It was 
a manifestation of interest in me that he had never shown 
before. The impression it made upon me can only be 
understood by knowing how I then felt, and how the 
speaker appeared to me. 

^The value of my opinion of the hero of my work will be 
better estimated if I give my observations upon him 
when I was untutored as well as when experience and 
time had qualified my judgment. I must therefore de 
scribe myself as I was, and him as he seemed at the time 
I first joined his staff. 

My mother was a puritan of the severest type, but my 
father was not a puritan ; consequently there was a possi 
bility of my being something else. My father had a strong 
will and my mother was the climax of virtue, although 
her disposition was saddened by the views she entertained 
of religion and accountability. 

She read the works of Petrarch, Zimmerman's book on 
solitude, Young's Night Thoughts, and every species of 
dismal sentimental literature. During all my youth it 
appeared to me that my mother spent her evenings 
poring over the five folio volumes of Scott's Commen 
taries on the Bible. She sought a reason for her faith, 
which was of the darkest, coldest shade of Presbyterian- 
ism. My grandmother, from whom my mother derived 
her peculiar cast of mind, was endowed with the most 
extraordinary memory I ever witnessed in a woman. It 

Description of Scott. 7 

appears to me that she could recite all the poetry ever 
conceived by human brains to express every emotion of 
sorrow that can arise from discontent, life-long despond 
ency, and despair. Even Madame de Stae'l, who surprised 
the world by the genius with which she depicted the 
various forms of anguish that oppress the human breast, 
could not drape this vale of tears in more sombre weeds 
than could my grandmother Corey. 

As I had a supreme affection and reverence for my 
mother and grandmother, I could not fail to participate 
in a large degree in the anxiety and doubts with which 
their lives were environed. I had scruples which not 
even the military training and new associations at West 
Point had removed, and the general's advice to me to be 
come a perfect man of the world sounded like a lesson in 
deviltry. But for the darkness that concealed the ex 
pression of my face, he would have seen that I did not 
fully accept his teachings ; nevertheless, they have been 
verified by time, and I have repeated them to my sons. 

At the period referred to General Scott was a little past 
the middle life, but still in the perfection of his bodily 
and mental powers. He was six feet four and a quarter 
inches tall, erect as an Indian chief, with an eye of won 
derful force and expression. His features were regular, 
his nose nearly straight, although a slight curve added 
essentially to the air of command which is peculiar to the 
masters of slaves, whether they be white or black. His 
martial bearing was enhanced by the remembrance of 
past exploits, by constant adulation, by self-content, and 
many feasts. Instead of estimating his prominent traits 
at a less value because I saw him every day, I valued 
them more highly, so that I must have pleased him better 
by what I thought than what I did. I listened to his 
voice with attention, and accepted his counsels with the 

8 Fifty Years' Observation. 

docility of Kaled when he stood in the presence of Omar 
the Prudent. 

As soon as I became planted in his favor, I took care 
that my growing should not be retarded by negligence. 
I set myself to study the expression of his face and his 
habits, when influenced by various emotions, and I was 
not slow to learn that to know when to stop speaking 
was a capital point. Often would I break away in the 
middle of a sentence and be out of his sight in a second. 
When I went to his private office or his room, which it 
was my duty to do often, if I saw his face did not invite 
discourse or company, I would turn and be gone before 
he could open his mouth. 

Until I knew General Scott's true character, and when 
I pictured him from report, I concluded he was a great 
soldier and a very vain man. When I became better ac 
quainted with him, I discovered new proofs of his excel 
lent soldiership, and my opinion of his vanity was essen 
tially modified. Old Captain Jock Munro of the artillery 
defined him truly when he said : " The jinral thinks well 
of himself and is fond of a compliment, but he is willing 
to give a compliment now and then in exchange. He is 
not like some men we know, who want all the compli 
ments to themselves and never give any." He mentioned 
the names of two army officers, which I omit. 

The general was often extravagantly ironical and exag 
gerated in his expressions on many subjects, vanity in 
cluded. One evening when I returned from a dinner 
party, he asked me what I had to eat. Among other things 
I mentioned veal. "Veal!" said he; "did you ever know 
a gentleman to eat veal ? " The next day I dined with 
him, and he gave me veal and no other meat. 

There can be no doubt that the general was vain of 
many things, and especially so of his person. For that 

Scott s Vanity. 9 

there was good reason, since I was often sickened by hear 
ing persons of all degrees remind him of his stature and 
symmetry, but he was never offended. He referred to it 
himself on all occasions, and sometimes under strange cir 
cumstances, as in the following example which I heard 
him relate several times. It was, I think, in the year 1830 
the general was always minutely particular in naming 
the exact date of every event he described when travel 
ling in the northern part of Ohio, he stopped at a coun 
try store where they sold liquor by the glass. He had on 
a common travelling cap and a plain overcoat that con 
cealed his buttons. The landlord having stepped out, he 
went behind the counter upon which the glasses stood, to 
a desk, and was busy writing a note, when a farmer came 
in and called out, " Give me a glass of rum toddy." The 
general straightened up, and turning full upon the man, 
he exclaimed : " Did you ever know a man six feet four 
and a quarter inches tall to sell rum toddy ? " 

He told me that when he received his first commission 
in the army, which was that of captain, he immediately 
ordered a new suit of uniform sword, sash, cap every 
thing complete, and had it carried into the largest room 
in the house, in the diagonal corners of which he placed 
two looking-glasses. Then he cleared away all the furni 
ture, let in as much light as possible, put on his new uni 
form, and strutted back and forth between the mirrors 
for two hours. " But," said he, " if any man had seen me, 
I should have proceeded at once to put him to death." 

He never forgot any allusion or reference to any defi 
ciency or fault in his person, dress, or carnage. Colonels 
Bankhead, Lindsay, and Eustis used to relate that, when 
Scott was a young man, he had a healthy, active appear, 
ance, but owing to his extraordinary height he looked 
thin, and that he only weighed impounds. The general 

IO Fifty Years Observation. 

himself more than once recalled to me the impression 
made upon others by his youthful figure. He told me 
that a man who envied him circulated a story, that before 
visiting his lady-love he would have his coat padded, and 
put on false calves! Forty years had not subdued his 
wrath when he exclaimed, " The idea of me with false 

As my narrative proceeds, I shall have occasion to re 
late other incidents to show the pride and satisfaction 
with which he regarded his own person. 

He was equally content with the excellence of his 
mental qualifications, as the following incident will prove: 
One day I was reading to him a newspaper article in 
praise of Henry Clay. The writer described the distin 
guished Kentuckian as a man of commanding presence, 
with a lofty forehead and a large, loose mouth. He re 
ferred also to several other renowned orators Burke, 
Mirabeau, and Patrick Henry whose mouths were of ex 
traordinary size, and he concluded his article with the re 
mark, " All great men have large mouths." " All great 
men have large mouths ! " exclaimed the general ; " why, 
my mouth is not above three-fourths the size it should be 
for my bulk ! " 

The foregoing citations clearly indicate that General 
Scott had a good opinion of himself, and it is certain that 
most people thought him excessively vain. Neverthe 
less, after my long service and intimacy with him, he did 
not leave on my mind the impression of the mean, selfish 
vanity in all things which characterized two or three other 
men with whose domination I have been cursed. On the 
contrary, his vivid fancy and animated utterances in re 
gard to himself seemed but responsive to the good quali 
ties he had recognized in others. A vast number of men 
and women had secured his friendship by their respect 

Scott's Ambition. n 

and kindness towards him, and he found great pleasure 
in describing their virtues to me. He would unfold the 
wisdom of the old, the valor of the young, the gentleness 
of matrons, the tenderness of maidens of various ages, 
the bounties of some and the prudence of others, with 
such a genial flow of words that I listened to him with 
delight. But I confess I often wondered why I had not 
met more characters like those he described to me ! 

The chief ruling passion of the general was ambition 
and its uniform attendant, jealousy. In matters of rivalry 
he was easily vexed, and when the thing pursued was of 
great distinction, he seemed to go out of his own skin 
into that of an angry porcupine with every quill standing 
fiercely on end. Wild Medea could not rage as he would 
against all men who obstructed the way to the prize he 
coveted. He would pour out his venom against his rivals 
in terms which showed him skilled in the jargon of ob 
loquy; and after two or three years in his company, if I 
had credited his descriptions of the superior officers of 
the Northern armies in the War of 1812, I must have 
concluded that not one of them was above mediocrity and 
that several were far below. 

He had also many things to say in disparagement of 
every aspirant to the Presidency who competed with him. 
He thought Harrison was equally insignificant, and weak 
in person and mind, and could never find fit words to de 
scribe his loathing for Franklin Pierce, who he believed 
was the meanest creature that ever aspired to be Presi 
dent ! 

One day when he, Mr. Joseph Blunt and I were dining 
together at the Union Club, New York, the general 
swooped upon Daniel Webster. Blunt, amazed at his 
violence, dropped his knife and fork, looked up and 
sought to expostulate, but to no purpose. Scott kept on 

12 Fifty Years Observation. 

till he had made the great expounder as bad as Belial 
and in the same line, and Belial, as Milton informs us, 

" The dissolutest spirit that fell, 
The sensualest, and after Asmodai, 
The fleshliest incubus . . ." 

The antics of military and political jealousy, like the 
follies of love, are beyond the scope of prose, and if we 
could uncover the hearts of all rising generals and poli 
ticians, we should find them about equally black, and 
quite as fully charged with hatred against their rivals as 
that of my angry, outspoken chief. 

On a former occasion, and before they came into direct 
competition for the Presidency, I often heard General 
Scott speak in terms of admiration of Mr. Webster's ex 
traordinary abilities. I was with the two gentlemen on a 
journey from New York to Philadelphia shortly after Mr. 
Webster returned from England in the autumn of 1839. 
They were wedged together in the same seat, and I sat 
in front of them. Both the great men were in a cheerful 
mood, and Mr. Webster did nearly all the talking, while 
the general listened attentively, thus paying to him an un 
usual compliment. Mr. Webster's conversation was more 
interesting to me than one of his speeches in the 
Senate. He had much to say about the Duke of Wel 
lington, Lords Brougham, Palmerston and other distin 
guished Britons; I was astonished at what he said of 
the Duke of Wellington, whom he thought the ablest 
man he met in England. He spoke of Wellington's 
orders and despatches, many of which he had read, and 
he commented on their force and clearness. He also 
praised the elegance of the Iron Duke's manners and the 
graces of his conversation, and there can be little doubt 
that his judgment of Wellington was correct. No order 

We&ster's Memories of England. 13 

the Duke ever wrote contained a superfluous word, 01 
could by possibility have been misunderstood. If he had 
framed laws, and he would never have framed one on a 
subject he did not fully understand, they would have been 
equally clear, and no lawyer, however astute, could have 
driven through them with his coach and four. A statute ^ 
drawn by a legal gentleman to regulate business he does 
not comprehend is usually a nest of law-suits. Mr. 
Webster's remarks upon Lord Brougham's character, 
writings, and speeches were not so flattering he found 
many flaws, and his general opinion of the Scotchman was 
disparaging, as compared with Wellington. He consid- 
dered Palmerston a very able statesman, and purely Eng 
lish in character. Mr. Webster discoursed at length upon 
English agriculture, and described his visit to Mr. Cook's 
model farm, of which he gave many interesting particulars. 
He had much to say concerning English railroads and 
their management, which were at that time in all respects . 
vastly superior to those in America. I remember he said 
that from London to Liverpool signal men with flags were 
placed in sight of one another throughout the entire line ! I 
recollect the very words he used to describe our railroads 
in America. " They are made," said he, " of two stringers of 
scantling notched into ties that often get loose in the ground. 
Upon the stringers two straps of iron the width and thick 
ness of wagon tires are nailed. These straps of iron fre 
quently get detached at the ends, which turn up like 
snakes' heads and pierce the floors of the cars." (Such a 
thing actually occurred in a car in which General Scott 
was seated on his way from Elizabeth to New York.) 
" Then," said he, " the wheels slip on the iron straps, in 
winter especially, so much that no dependence can be 
placed upon the time of arrival, and many people think it 
is not certain that railroads will be a success." 

14 Fifty Years Observation. 

The above was literally true in the year 1840. At that 
time the locomotive was a small, weak machine, that was 
employed to drag a few pinched, coach-like cars at a 
speed of about ten miles an hour. On slightly ascend 
ing grades the wheels would often whirl and race 
while the train stood still. Now the locomotive is per 
fected, and endowed with such power as to be able to 
carry along over the face of the earth and across conti 
nents a train of palatial cars a quarter of a mile long at a 
speed of from forty to sixty miles an hour. Then the 
directors and stockholders of railroads constituted the 
meekest and most sorrowful class of our citizens. They 
were pallid, meagre, supplicating men ; but now they are 
a distinct class, to which all the world makes obeisance, 
and they have become ruddy, surfeit-swelled, and dicta 

The facilities of intercommunication introduced by 
steam, and the enormous developments of wealth result 
ing from it, have produced an absolute revolution in the 
objects of respect and veneration of our people. Elo 
quence and learning, duty, wit, birth, and manners are no 
longer regarded, and all who possess those graces are 
eager to pay court and servility to the biggest fortunes. 
Gold is the only god, and his prophet is the man who pos 
sesses most of it. This state of things is verified by all 
who boast of an experience of thirty-five years. 

At the time I left the Military Academy, and long be 
fore, and down to near 1850, there were living and in ac 
tivity three illustrious statesmen, all Senators, whose 
names were heard every day all over the Union. The 
order in which they were mentioned was in accord with 
the estimation in which they were held in the different 
sections. In the East and North it was Webster, Clay, 
and Calhoun. In the West it was Clay, Calhoun, and 

The Country About 1840. 15 

Webster ; and in the South it was Calhoun, Clay, and 
Webster. The consideration in which those men were 
held and they were all poor was not only an evidence 
of their genius, but it was a proof of the dignity of 
thought and an example of the prevailing public opinion. 
During the same period there lived two military men, 
Winfield Scott and Andrew Jackson, whose opinions were 
undisputed in all questions relating to war. There were 
also many authors and men of science who enjoyed re 
spect, and only one who possessed a mystic and unap* 
proachable renown for being rich, and that was John 
Jacob Astor. Mr. Astor was not personally ostentatious, 
but towards the end of his life he entertained at his table 
many literary and scientific men. He was always enter 
prising and industrious, and he built for use and not for 
show. I shall have more to say of Messrs. Webster, Clay, 
Calhoun, and Jackson in the succeeding chapters, this 
one being devoted to outlines and general characteristics 
which I will fill up and develop hereafter. 

To understand the character and extent of the revolu 
tion effected by steam and electricity in the last forty- 
five years, we must consider the condition of society in 
America from the time the first railroad was in operation, 
in 1830, the first friction match was used, about 1837, and 
the first telegraphic message was sent, in 1844. 1 l8 38 
Samuel Swartwout, being Collector of Customs for the 
Port of New York, was found to be defaulter to the 
amount of $1,200,000. That discovery produced a shock 
in every corner of the United States greater than would 
be caused to-day if that city, with all its people and 
structures, were to be engulfed by an earthquake. 

The building of the Astor House shortly before that 
date was a greater surprise and more talked about than 
any other edifice that has been subsequently erected 

1 6 Fifty Years' Observation. 

in America. In 1838 a man with a clear annual income 
of $6,000 or $8,000 was considered rich, and there were 
not then five private two-horse carriages in the city of 
New York the owner's names of which I did not know ; 
and I was personally acquainted with a majority of them. 

The city of Washington was a dirty, shabby village, 
and to go there from New York required two days. The 
arts of cooking and keeping a hotel were in their dawn, 
and the headings in the newspapers from time to time 
announced thirty days, and now and then sixty days, lat 
er news from Europe. The country between Utica and 
Buffalo was mostly covered with forests, and in travelling 
through it in a stage-coach in the spring of 1838 I saw 
many deer. In the autumn I was ordered to St. Louis, and 
the journey from New York occupied twenty-eight days. 
The last 350 miles I was carried in an open farm wagon 
over a part of Indiana and the whole of Illinois. The 
boastful city of Chicago was scarcely known, and in that 
very year a letter was addressed as follows : " Mr. Seth 
Fisher, Chicago near Alton Illinois." Alton was a 
small settlement on the Mississippi, above its junction 
with the Missouri. 

The art of land and maritime warfare and the means 
of assault and defence had been at a standstill 200 
years, and in many particulars, over 300 years. The 
model of the twelve bronze cannon, made during the 
reign of Charles V. of Spain, and called the Twelve 
Apostles, was considered good in 1840. Vauban's fortifi 
cations, 200 years old, had scarcely been changed, and the 
flint lock was still employed. The use of gunpowder 
had increased the facilities of slaughter so suddenly as 
to produce a kind of lethargic contentment in the human 
mind, and the genius of inventions to kill remained in re 
pose hundreds of years. It was finally awakened about 

Progress in the last Forty Years. 17 

the year 1845 by Captain Minie of the French army, 
who invented the Minie ball and rifle in about the year 
1846. His invention has been succeeded by that of many 
new and fearfully destructive explosives, and the com 
plete change of model in artillery and small arms tending 
vastly to increase their range. The Parrott gun, which is 
made by swedging a jacket of wrought upon a tube of 
cast iron, is the invention of a West Pointer a few years 
later. That weapon played an important part in the Re 
bellion, and it kills at an immense distance. 

In theology, law, surgery, therapeutics, chemistry, and 
engineering there has been wonderful activity. Christi 
anity continues to rear her temples, and the conceited 
creatures who boast their skepticism and infidelity are not 
increasing in numbers, but it would seem that the in 
tricacies and subterfuges of the law are multiplying. 
Surgery has advanced immensely and therapeutics show 
amelioration. On the whole, the present material con 
dition of mankind may be considered satisfactory. Re 
ligion, surgery, chemistry and engineering are prosperous, 
and if a man is now more to be pitied when he falls into 
the clutches of the law and his property is coveted by 
sharpers, he is safer when he trusts himself with a doctor. 

Artists have greatly increased in numbers, and in the 
opinion of some of them their works are approaching the 
excellence of the past. It is clear to me, nevertheless, 
that no man has lived within the last 100 years who has 
originated a form of beauty, whether linear, superficial or 
solid, that had not already been equalled and often ex 
celled. Eloquence and art have long been exhausted de 
velopments, and of music I am not a judge. It is under 
going change and it may be improving. 

My reminiscences have noted all the changes above de 
scribed, but in the essential qualities of the human heart I 

1 8 Fifty Years' Observation. 

have found no change. Everywhere the young man thinks 
his own love is the most beautiful being that lives. The 
ambitious man esteems himself as best fitted for the office 
to which he aspires, and hates his rivals, and if he fails he 
curses the world's ingratitude and lack of appreciation. 
Several men are at all times living who imagine the world 
cannot do without them, and no person thinks his service 
overpaid by the praise or money bestowed upon him. 
Finally, pride, conceit, or snobbery usually attend all sud 
den exaltations to wealth or power, while envy, slander, and 
hypocrisy never sleep. If the record of my past obser 
vations fails to make good all these assertions, it will be 
because I lack the capacity of an able chronicler. 


Scott as a man of gallantry and the head of a family. Scott in the society 
of ladies. His general demeanor. Fond of social visiting. His conver 
sation. Anecdotes. His love of attention. Views of married life. 
His own marriage. Opinion of marriage in the army. 

IT would be impossible to convey a full knowledge 
of General Scott's character without describing his re 
lations with the opposite sex. My observations of his 
conduct in the society of ladies are perhaps rendered 
more distinct by a certain marked contrariety in our 
natures. He always declared himself to be a gallant 
gentleman, and such, in a dubious sense, he was. It is 
true he never omitted to speak kindly to women, and 
when he was in their society he addressed them with a 
sort of tenderness which only appeared strange to me by 
its eternal sameness. From all I could learn from his 
conversation and conduct, he never had a desultory love 
affair in his whole life, and he never allowed himself 
to be swayed or diverted from his purpose by a woman, 
and no one ever gained the slightest hold upon him. 
These facts appear strange when we reflect that he 
possessed in an unusual degree the qualities which uni 
versally attract them, such as courage, manly bearing, 
martial exploits, and contempt for money. His indiffer 
ence enabled him to escape the evils which unprincipled 
females so often inflict upon our sex ; at the same time he 
lost the benefits which attend the companionship and 
counsels of the better sort, for no man can be prosperous 

2O Fifty Years' Observation. 

and happy who is not governed by a good woman, nor fail 
to be wretched if led by a bad one. 

During the two-and-a-half years in which he was occu 
pied with the troubles on the Canadian Frontier, the re 
moval of the Cherokee Indians, and the settlement of 
the Northeastern Boundary, we were in continual move 
ment. General Scott was then so popular that in all the 
cities and towns from Maine to Georgia, and from Boston 
to Detroit, his presence was greeted by immense crowds, 
and he was frequently beset by women, who clustered 
around him like summer flies. As I always kept near 
him, I was equally surprised and amused to notice the 
sameness of his salutations and responses to all who ad 
dressed him. Among those who approached I saw every 
variety of female yet enumerated. Thin-lipped, sharp- 
nosed vixens, loud-talking viragos, stately matrons, senti 
mental damsels, joyous maidens, faded and dejected spin 
sters, prancing widows, fussy house-wives, willing dames 
and scandal-mongers would all leave his presence content 
with having been gently spoken to by the great general. 

General Scott was fond of social visiting and of sitting 
in conversation with small assemblies of his intimate 
friends. He would join in the discussion of all subjects 
of family and domestic interest with such feeling and can 
dor as would gain the sympathy of his auditors. Some 
times, however, he would indulge in a license with young 
ladies that would appall me. I have seen him, while yet 
in his prime, call to him the most debonaire maiden pres 
ent, spread her palm upon his, examine her hand with 
leisure scrutiny, and then bestow a kiss upon her forehead ! 
He would do all this with such an innocent pudency, and 
such an air of patriarchal gravity, that there was no more 
suggestion of dalliance in his actions than in the benedic 
tion of a saint. 

Scott's Behavior to Women. 21 

In all societies of either sex, or mixed, General Scott's 
conversation was universally free from the slightest tinge 
of lasciviousness, and he would invariably rebuke all allu 
sions to that subject. I never knew him to engross an 
opportunity to be alone with a woman, nor with one ex 
ception, which I will give further on, did I hear him re 
late an adventure with one, which might not have been 
described in the society of the most fastidious ladies. I 
never gave him cause to rebuke me for any grossness of 
conversation, although I sometimes caused him to look 
serious when I read to him, or made a quotation, from 
books or poems that were not of his liking. When, in so 
ciety, he saw me too attentive to women whose allures 
did not please him, he would afterwards give me a lect 
ure or an admonition, which I considered unmerited, 
since nearly all the ladies I consorted with were fit for 
vestals. Such was my reputation among mothers, that I 
was constantly trusted to travel and be alone with young 
ladies, and if all the dead could be restored to testify with 
the living to the truth I should stand acquitted of the 
slightest betrayal of my trust. 

Occasionally I was heedless in my conversations in gen 
eral society, as the following example will show by the 
details of it, which I will faithfully recite. At one time 
when we arrived at a large Northern town, the inhabi 
tants offered a ball to the general, which he accepted. He 
attended the ball and remained till its close, contrary to 
his usual habit. It happened that among the guests there 
was an intimate friend of mine, who was accompanied by 
his wife, to whom he had been married only a few months, 
and to whom he introduced me. The bride was radiant 
with health and beauty, and her countenance sparkled 
with intelligence and spirit. I confess to an instant ad 
miration, which I proceeded to exemplify by a warmth of 

22 Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

manner and a persistence of attentions that soon brought 
upon me the gaze of my chief, which I heeded not. I 
danced with her and I waltzed with hen Then we pro 
menaded and danced together again. In one of our cir 
cuits around the room our way was through a narrow pas 
sage between two rows of chairs occupied by wall flowers, 
and we were obliged to press together in a way that 
shocked the general. When the ball was over I joined 
my superior and walked with him to his chamber. He 
was not in a good humor, said nothing, and all I said was, 
" I'm sorry the ball is breaking up so soon." The moment 
the door was closed, he exclaimed, " Who was that woman 
you were with all the evening ?" I told her name, and, 
after some remarks that were not flattering to her, he 
proceeded to lecture me. He had observed us walking 
arm in arm through the narrow passage, and declared that 
my conduct was indecent. This last word agitated me, 
and in a hasty attempt to justify myself I committed a 
serious fault. I told him that as we approached the nar 
row passage, I said to the lady, " We must pass this defile 
single, or pack close." " Will that annoy you ? " said she. 
"What did you say to her? " interrupted the general sud 
denly. " I said no ! with effusion." My reply was not 
relished by the old chief, although it was in keeping with 
the hilarity with which I was still surcharged. He was be 
ginning to show anger, and having no other means of de 
fence I resorted, as was my custom on frequent occasions, 
to a quotation. Looking up at him smiling, I said, 
" General ! 

" ' Your own precedent passions will inform you 
What levity's in youth . . .'" 

Then his countenance relaxed, and he said : " Young 

gentleman, you'd better go to bed " and to bed I went. 

History records that some of the most intrepid warriors 

Anecdotes of Scott. 23 

have been not only bashful, but actually afraid in the 
presence of ladies. Charles the Xllth of Sweden was 
one example, and I think Marshal Ney was another. 

General Scott once told me a story of himself to show 
that he was more scared by a broomstick in the hands of 
a woman than he could have been by a sabre in the 
hands of a Turk ! 

" It was during my college vacation," said he, " and I 
was at home near Petersburg. One day I started on a 
long walk through the country, and after a tramp of sev 
eral miles I arrived at a farm-house, where I stopped to 
get a glass of milk. There was no one present but the 
farmer's wife, who was a stout, buxom woman, and I fell 
into conversation with her. In a short time the devil put 
it into my head to take manual liberties with her ; but at 
my first motion she sprang away, seized a broom, and 
came at me with a fury such as only an earnest female 
can display. The door being open I shot through she 
pursuing and abusing me cleared a high fence, and ran 
with all speed across the fields till I got clear of the sound 
of her voice ; and that, sir," said he, " is the only advent 
ure of the kind that I ever undertook." 

On another occasion he was horribly frightened by an 
actress. We were stopping at the Astor House, on our 
return from the North. The general occupied a room on 
the second floor, and in the corresponding room of the 
third story there lodged a young tragedy queen whose 

name was Josephine , and who was more famous for 

her personal than for her histrionic accomplishments. She 
was six feet three inches tall, her complexion was a light 
clear brunette, and her eyes were large and lustrous. Her 
form was symmetrical, though a trifle full, and her 
womanly proportions were redundant. Altogether she 
was a wonderful girl to behold. Miss Josephine; who 

24 Fifty Years' Observation. 

was probably in a brown study or thinking of her r6le, mis 
took her loft, and with her head down opened the door, and 
actually stood for a moment within the room, and in the 
presence of Major-General Winfield Scott! When she 
saw him sitting in his wrapper strapping his razor, she 
exclaimed " Oh ! " and left. I met her as she went away 
near the stairway, and noticed no signs of agitation in 
her, but when I entered the general's room his face was the 
picture of terror. " Did you see that woman? " " Yes," 
said I. " Well," said he, " she's been in my room ! " and 
he added harsh expressions which I omit. 

He seemed seriously alarmed lest his reputation should 
be compromised, and he was scarcely satisfied until he 
was assured that the actress opened his door thinking it 
was her own. 

In matters of the heart it was not easy for me to com 
prehend my chief, whose conduct seldom conformed with 
its dictates as observed in others. It is usually recog 
nized that young men derive more happiness from loving 
than in being loved. In advanced life when time has 
torpified the faculties, and when the dark shadow of old 
age has fallen upon him, the old man knows no happi 
ness that is comparable with that of being loved by a 
woman. He will even part with his gold to gain affec 
tion. Most men of sixty have passed through the change 
above described, but General Scott, so far as I could ob 
serve, or had learned, remained always stationary, and he 
was equally ignorant of either extreme. What he desired 
was attention, and that he craved incessantly. He was 
quite as fond of old as of young women, whether single 
or married. If he had a preference, it was for old maids, 
whose hair was well silvered, as the following incident 
will show : 

When he was over seventy, and we lived at Wormley's 

A Defence of Old Maids. 2$ 

in Washington, we usually walked to the office at about 
ten o'clock in the morning. As we were moving along in 
silence through the square in front of the White House, 

we met Miss , to whom we bowed, and whom we both 

knew and esteemed as one of the ornaments of her sex. 
After passing her a few steps, I said in a soliloquizing 
tone, " I suppose the most calamitous condition of a 
woman is to be an old maid." We were then in the 
shade of a clump of bushes, and the general had my arm, 
which he pulled violently and stopped. " I am shocked," 
said he, " at your cruel, senseless speech. You never 
could make a more wanton assertion, or one that is less 
deserved. Instead of it being a calamity it is often a 
blessing, and those you call old maids are generally the 
best of their sex." He continued in that strain at least 
ten minutes, and gave me not a moment to defend my 
self, and he did not wish to hear me. I must therefore 
defend myself now, for I can say with all sincerity that 
in the main I agree with him. My long experience has 
brought me to the conviction that, in the proportion of 
numbers, I have found more amiable, lovable, and de 
serving women among old maids than among married 
women of equal ages. Many accomplished women re 
main single by reason of self-sacrifice to family and friends. 

I could cite numerous anecdotes to prove that his re 
gard for women was not dependent upon youth, beauty, 
or wit, but upon alacrity of attentions. This history of a 
visit, which I will relate as proof, will not only establish 
my position, but it will also show the wonderful influence 
of an energetic female, and prove a warning to mothers. 

While we were stopping a week on the northern fron 
tier, many farmers of the neighborhood came with their 
wives and daughters to pay their respects and to see 
the general. Among them was a Mrs. B and her 

26 Fifty Years* Observation. 

husband. I say Mrs. B , for it was she who did all the 

talking, and she invited the general and me to tea at her 
house on the evening of the following day. She said 
she would send John with the carnage to bring us out. 
The distance being five miles, it was getting dark when 
we arrived. It was easy to see, however, that we were 
visiting a well-to-do farmer, that the buildings were spa 
cious and the grounds in beautiful order. Mrs. B 

was on the steps to receive us, and her husband was stand 
ing within the door. She seized the general's hand and 
welcomed him with excessive gladness. The lady was of 
the sanguine bilious temperament, which denotes force 
tall, rather spare in person, her face long, nose the same 
and high and thin with a slight cant to the left, eyes dark and 
firmly set, teeth good. She wore a white muslin cap ruffled 
all around and tied under the chin. She had on also a 
white apron, and her dress and all her surroundings denoted 
the extreme of neatness and order. In age she appeared 
about forty-five, and a stranger to every sort of malady. 
On entering the house we were conducted to a large 
parlor, which contained several pieces of furniture that ap 
proached elegance, and in various places could be seen 
articles of ladies' handiwork. A row of high-backed chairs 
stood against the wall on three sides of the room, in one 
corner of which was a small round table. Several family 
pictures adorned the walls, and that of the man of the 
house reminded me of a portrait I had once seen of the 
late Job Caudle. At the end of a few minutes we were 

taken into the dining-room, where we found Mr. B and 

two full-grown girls. "These are my * darters,' " said 

Mrs. B to the general, and then she asked him to take 

the seat on her right. The table was covered with a vast 
variety of good things broiled chicken, oysters, beef 
steaks, hot and cold bread, butter, cream, and many kinds 

77ie Loquacious Mrs. B. 27 

of cakes and preserves, besides tea and coffee. Mrs. B 's 

loquacity was astonishing, and the ingenuity with which 
she varied her compliments and her solicitations to the 
general to make him eat of everything on the table was 
wonderful. He did eat more cakes and preserves than I 
ever saw him eat before, and to satisfy his hostess he 
tasted all the sweets which the lady said she had " put up" 

with her own hands. Mr. B , the girls and I scarcely 

said a word, and for myself I was content to listen to 
the principal personages, who seemed mutually pleased 
with one another. 

At the end of an hour we returned to the parlor. Mrs. 
B stopped at the little round table and asked the ge 
neral to sit near her. The girls passed across the room 
and placed themselves side by side in chairs against the 
wall. I had the courage to draw out another chair and 
wheel it into such a position that by turning my face to 

the right I could see Mrs. B and to the left the 

" darters." Mr. B took a seat by himself. The girls 

were so ruddy and healthful that, notwithstanding their 
silence at the tea-table, I supposed I should easily get 
them to talk ; but in this I was sadly mistaken. I began 
by asking them questions about themselves and their 
home, but they answered by monosyllables. Then I spoke 
of myself, my travels and adventures, which awakened no 
interest. Then I referred to churches, theatres, plays, and 
sports, and schools, but all in vain. Finally I discussed 
novels and quoted poetry, and of all I hit upon there was 
only one thing that either of them knew, and that was a 
stanza from one of Watts's hymns. 

Being absolutely discouraged, I sat musing in silence on 
the power of that woman who was entertaining my chief. 

The unceasing pressure of her will had arrested the men 
tal developments of her offspring, and she had henpecked 

28 Fifty Years Observation. 

her husband to a nonentity. Her children were probably 
not deficient in natural capacity, but their aspirations and 
individuality had been alike repressed and blasted. Fond, 
selfish mothers often overwhelm their daughters with 
such pernicious watchings, and instead of studying their 
bent by fostering the guardian virtues and allowing the 
swelling buds of youth to expand in beautiful flowers, 
they hedge them in with frigid cautions, which are as fatal 
to loveliness as the sting of the worm that kills the tender 

" Ere it can spread its sweet leaves to the air," 
Or dedicate its beauty to the sun." 

At about 9 o'clock my uneasiness was relieved by the 

general, who rose to depart. Mrs. B followed him 

into the hall and continued her prattle. She threatened 
to inflict upon him a long front-door discussion, which is 
one of the greatest of all social pests, but he forced his 
way out. If my worst enemy could establish that I had 
ever in mixed company been found within a house at the 
end of one minute after I had signified that " I must go," 
my courage should fail and I would confront the social 
world- no longer. Once in the carriage I found that the 
general, instead of being in a sulk, as I expected, was in 
a glee. He praised the tea-table and the house and its 
mistress, who he thought was a first-class manager, upon 
which I remarked : "And what haste she made to enter 
tain you." At this the general laughed heartily and said : 
" But where was the good man of the house ? did you 
see him after tea ? " " Yes," said I, " he came into the 
parlor and sat down." 

" I didn't observe him when did he go out ? " 
" Ah, that is more than I can tell ; but I am equally sure 
that he came into the parlor, and that he was not there 
when we left." 

Scotfs Views of Marriage. 29 

The foregoing account of our visit is strictly true as re 
gards its essential facts, but I have condensed the conver 
sations, interwoven a few moral reflections, and added 
certain flourishes of my own with a view to give effect to 
the most striking example of high-principled petticoat 
government that I have known. 

General Scott's character as a man of gallantry could 
not be justly estimated without knowing his views of 
married life. At about the age of 30 he was wedded to 
a young Virginia lady, who was widely celebrated for her 
beauty and wit. When I came to know her and to enjoy 
the benefits of her society she was in the full maturity 
of her faculties, and although it has chanced to me to en 
joy the acquaintance of many of the grandest and most 
gifted dames of all the Christian nations of the world, I 
remember none who, in breeding and accomplishments, 
were the superior of Mrs. Scott. Her husband always re 
ferred to her with pride and affection, but as he and she 
were each the centre of attraction to great numbers of 
people, they were often separated. As old age approached, 
Mrs. Scott, although she was by nature strong and en 
during, declined in health, and as she found herself better 
in Europe than in America, she passed the closing years 
of her life abroad, where she died. The animadversions 
upon their frequent separation were always much exag 
gerated. I shall never forget Mrs. Scott's kindness to 
me, nor her numerous acts of social beneficence and 
charity, which I often witnessed. 

Many of General Scott's frequent references to matri 
mony were doubtless sportive, but no one could be 
habitually near him and not conclude that in his opinion 
marriage is not promotive of human happiness. He often 
quoted Dr. Johnson's expression, " It cannot be denied 
that there is in the world much connubial infelicity." In 

3O Fifty Years' Observation. 

Johnson's writings we find other sentences of the same 
import, but it is certain that he loved his own ugly wife, 
and that he is the author of the following maxim, which 
offsets his innumerable slurs upon the institution which he 
so strongly commends: "Marriage is the best state of 
man in general, and every man is a worse man in propor 
tion as he is unfit for the married state." 

At one time we had before us an engraving to represent 
Dr. Johnson reading Goldsmith's manuscript of the Vicar 
of Wakefield. Johnson holds the writing close to his 
eyes ; Goldsmith sits near in his dressing gown and looks 
anxious, while his landlady stands in the doorway, which 
she fills full. I said to the general: " Goldy looks anxious, 
for he knows if the doctor don't approve his book, so 
that he can sell it and pay his board bill, that he will be 
turned out of doors." " No, sir," said the general, "his 
landlady has threatened that if he don't pay his board 
he must marry her. His anxiety is not to pay, but 
to escape the fangs of matrimony." He repeated : " Yes, 
sir, he must pay his board bill or be clutched in the 
fangs of matrimony." 

I could always amuse my chief by quotations to show 
the unhappiness and disappointments of matrimony. 
Shakespeare says : 

" War is no discord to the unquiet house, 
And the detested wife." 

But the great bard has reference to a bad wife, which is a 
fearful infliction. 

I once restored him to good humor by quoting from 
Burton's " Anatomy of Melancholy." It was at a time 
when he was aspiring to the Presidential nomination. 
One of his opposing candidates was rich, but his wife was 
old, peevish, and sickly. The general, after summing up 

Marriage in the Army. 31 

his rival's qualifications in his usual style of depreciation 
in such cases, added : " And yet this man can get money 
and is very rich ; the public turn their eyes up at him." 

At this point I interjected my quotation. " General," 
said I, " if you would envy Euphorion his big fortune, 
you must be willing to take his old wife with it." The 
fitness of my allusion dispelled his irritation, and he 
laughed and changed the subject. 

The marriage of young officers of the army, which was 
probably more frequent than it is now, was the subject of 
his constant animadversion. He thought there should be 
a law to restrain and regulate the marriage of officers of 
the army and navy, as there is in France and some other 
countries. In France a dotation for the bride is pre 
scribed and is held by the government, the interest only 
being paid to her during her life. 

The temerity of young graduates from the Military 
Academy was often a subject of amazement to old offi 
cers. It was not unusual to see a second lieutenant, four 
months after graduating, start off for Council Bluffs, 
Laramie, or Fort Towson, or Fort Leavenworth, any one 
of which at that time was nearly as inaccessible as is the 
source of the Amazon, carrying with him two large brass- 
bound trunks, and a wife bigger and sometimes older 
than himself. 

As the whole income of the pair was only $62.50 per 
month, the bride in her far-away home was obliged to do 
her own housework. General Scott often told me that 
he had many times seen the wives of officers stationed at 
these remote posts at the washtub, with their sleeves 
rolled up. Some of these strange combinations produced 
large families of children, which fact convinces us that, if 
Heaven were not merciful, there would be more paupers 
than there are in the world. 

32 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Notwithstanding his flings at marriage, the general 
took a special interest in the engagements of his young 
friends. When I first proposed and was accepted, he 
was the first person to whom I disclosed that most fortu 
nate event of my life. On the day following we were 
alone in the office, and I said : 

" General, I have some news to tell you." 

" What is it ? " said he. 

" I'm engaged to be married ! " 

" Engaged to be married," said he, holding up both his 
hands. "To whom?" 

" To Miss Caroline M. Clarke." 

" Who is Miss Caroline M. Clarke, and where is she 

" She is the youngest daughter of a retired lawyer of 
New York, and she lives in Brooklyn." Then I added a 
florid description of my intended, which caused my chief 
to smile. He wished to know how I became acquainted 
with Miss Clarke. I told him it was by accident, and as 
follows : 

I was living far up Broadway, and had a parlor and bed 
room in the third story of a house which is still standing. 
In the same house resided with her mother a young, accom 
plished girl,who was the cousin of an Episcopal clergyman's 
daughter of New York, who was also the cousin of Miss 
Clarke. The three young ladies found themselves to 
gether in the parlor below mine, at 9 o'clock in the even 
ing, dressed for a party, and accompanied by a single 
beau. The mother of the resident came up to my room, 
and requested me to come down u and see a beautiful 
sight." I descended in haste, was introduced to Miss 
Clarke, and was captivated on the instant. Her aunt 
suggested that I should join the company and go with 
them. I consented, dressed in a hurry, handed Miss Clarke 

Scott and the Phrenologist. 33 

to her carriage, and at the ball, which was full of beauty, 
I devoted my exclusive attentions to her. Those atten 
tions led to my marriage with her. 

I begged the general not to speak of what I had told 
him, but instead of promising me not to do so, he con 
tinued to talk with me in a jocular strain till I left. I 
went directly to my lodgings, remained there about ten 
minutes, and then I proceeded to make a call at the house 
of Mr. Charles King, in Bleecker Street. When I rang at 
the door it was not a minute over an hour since I had left 
my chief, and he was the only one in the city, as I sup 
posed, who knew my secret. What was then my dismay 
on entering to be met with the noisy salutations of four 
or five ladies, who called out together : " So you are en 
gaged to be married, Mr. Keyes ! When is the wedding 
to come off? Is she good-looking? " etc., etc. 

They refused to tell me how they knew I was engaged, 
and it was a considerable time before I learned. It turned 
out that the general left the office shortly after I did, and 
by chance he met Mrs. King, who was on her way home, 
told her I was engaged to be married, and she arrived 
only fifteen minutes in advance of me. 

Before summing up his claims as a man of gallantry, I 
will relate an incident which provoked in me an exclama 
tory quotation that came near bringing upon me a rebuke 
for coarseness. I escaped the rebuke, but gave occasion 
for a remarkable declaration from the general. While 
the English Professor Coombe was in America, he en 
joyed great repute as a craniologist. One day the gen 
eral went without me, and had his head examined. On 
his return he gave me the card on which his bumps were 
classified. Nearly all the numbers were high, and when 
I saw the highest mark for the sexual instinct, I exclaimed, 
" Why, General, he has marked you maximum for amative- 

34 Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

ness ! I suppose you never felt the stings and motions of 
the sense.'* Half of my exclamation was out before I 
looked up and saw a cloud on his brow. It did not break, 
however, and the general, who was standing, raised his 
hand, and with an air and attitude of profound solemnity 
said : " The professor did not mistake me, but I have al 
ways curbed my mutinous appetites. Since my wedding 
day I never violated my marriage vow, nor did I ever give 
a human being cause to imagine that I desired to violate 
it. I pledge my soul, my honor and my life that all I 
now say is strictly true." Without his grand asseveration, 
I should have conceded to General Scott the entire 
credit of an absolute purity of life and conversation; and 
we may conclude with certainty that he never had an 
intrigue, and that against the dribbling darts of love he 
preserved a complete bosom. 

Before announcing my own judgment of the general's 
claims to gallantry, I submitted some of the proofs I have 
given above to one of my lady acquaintances. The per 
son selected for reference is rich in the guarded treasures 
of womanhood, balanced in judgment, in form and man 
ners most attractive, and deeply skilled in the alchemy of 
the heart. She delivered her opinion in such gracious 
language and lucid illustrations, as would have won me 
from a false conclusion, but which, as she coincided with 
mine, deserves to be accepted as conclusive. She declared 
that a gentleman of such a position and with the oppor 
tunities for observation enjoyed by General Scott, and 
who had never acknowledged the empire of a single 
woman to usurp his will, to cheer his spirit and to rule 
his conduct, could not be considered a man of gallantry ; 
and such is my decision. 

The lack of those qualities which entitle a man to be 
called gallant caused General Scott to prefer the society 

Scott's Lack of Gallantry. 35 

of his own to that of the opposite sex consequently he 
missed the highest grade of social enjoyment, which can 
only be found in the company of enlightened, high-bred 
ladies. I doubt if he ever comprehended the meaning, or 
felt the ecstatic delight of those feminine euphonies which 
proclaim the touch of hearts, such as " Did you miss 
me ? " " Did you think of me ? " " You don't mean it ! " 
and other similar pearls of speech, which to a man of true 
gallantry constitute the spice of life. 


Scott as a scholar, and a man of reading. His education. His studies of 
law. Public men of his time. His fondness for philology. Knowledge 
of French. Criticisms upon various authors. Mathematics. Scott's 
favorite quotations. His association with learned men. 

AS I intend to pass in view all the characteristics of 
General Scott's career, and to illustrate it by 
speeches and events anterior to his old age, and without 
a chronological order, I will now describe him as a scholar 
and man of reading. 

He was well educated, although he did not complete 
his college course, and he preserved throughout his life 
the habit of a constant and general reader. He studied 
common, civil, statute and military law, and gave great 
attention to international law, and was familiar with the 
works of all its standard writers. While he was engaged 
in pacifying the Canadian troubles, and settling the North 
eastern and Northwestern boundaries, I enjoyed all 
the frequent discussions between him and many other 
eminent men, among the principal of whom were Presi 
dent Van Buren, Mr. Webster, Mr. Poinsett, Mr. Preston, 
Governor Marcy, Mr. John C. Spencer, Mr. John J. Crit- 
tenden, Mr. John Van Buren, son of the President, Mr. 
Gouverneur Kemble, Governor Edward Everett, Mr. 
Harrison Gray Otis, Mr. Jeremiah Mason, Mr. Ogden 
Hoffman, Mr. Charles King, Governor Fairfield, Senator 
Evans, Sir John Caldwell, on the part of Sir John Harvey, 
and many others. 

Orators of* the Time. 37 

What floods of light those mighty minds poured upon 
their subject ! Webster, Otis, and Mason I only heard 
twice each. The first seemed like Juggernaut rolling on 
to crush everything. The last two were like giants in de 
cline : the light they shed resembled the slant rays of the 
setting sun warm, but void of scintillation. Spencer's 
arguments were forcible, at the same time subtle as com 
ing from a nature that was essentially cold and as sombre 
as the caverns of the deep. Marcy was among the most 
powerful, but he was homely in speech, and, notwith 
standing his ability and learning in law and statesman 
ship, he was not genial to me, and there were certain 
traits of the politician in him that I did not like. Presi 
dent Van Buren was both polished and able in an uncom 
mon degree, and when he discussed our relations with the 
Indians, and with England, although he was the Chief 
Magistrate, he showed less dogmatism than many others 
who had no authority whatever. Preston, Hoffman, King 
and Everett dressed their redundant explanations in a 
flowery diction, and gained audience by their charms of 
voice and manner. In Mr. Preston I saw in perfection 
the slaveholder's grace of movement and frankness of in 
tercourse. Hoffman was negligent in dress and careless 
in manners, but in the sonorous sweetness of his voice 
and the amplification of his arguments he stood un 
rivalled. Everett and King were stately in appearance, 
and elegantly precise in manner. Everett's voice was 
good, and, notwithstanding his ready fluency of speech, I 
never heard him utter a sentence that needed correction 
for the press. Both these men were polished scholars. 
Crittenden, whose vocalization was superb, was remark 
able for the skill with which he could marshal his illus 
trations, a skill which gained him repute as the most able 
debater in Congress. He, too, was seldom neatly dressed, 

38 Fifty Years' Observation. 

and he chewed tobacco and spat constantly. It would 
have been well for Mr. Crittenden if he had played the 
man of fashion a few years in his youth. It would cer 
tainly have improved his personal appearance and habits 
of spitting, but it might have deprived him of his com 
mon sense. The school of fashion is beneficial to an ora 
tor who - aspires also to be a gentleman, but if he re 
mains in it too long, and is a slave to it he will waste him 
self and die young, or live in discontent. Sir John Cald- 
well, who came to see General Scott as the representative 
of Sir John Harvey, who was the lieutenant-governor of 
New Brunswick, had much to say upon the subject of in 
ternational law. He was clever enough, but stolid in 
manner and appearance. Generally non-concurrent, he 
displayed to perfection the traditional British oppug- 
nancy. Scott, although he was not habituated to public 
discussions, was the peer of the most able of them all in 
knowledge of his subject. The effect of all these learned 
disputes upon me was to excite admiration for the inge 
nuity of the speakers. I was, however, convinced that in 
ternational law, if it is an admirable subject for debate 
among diplomatists, is but of small moment to the na 
tion which has power to protect its own frontiers from in 
vasion, and spirited enough to give an easy feeling to its 
merchants and to its own citizens abroad. 

The general had an excessive fondness for philology, and 
it was his study to find the exact meaning of words and 
their correct pronunciation. Johnson and Walker were his 
standard authorities, and one day when he went to place 
his daughter at a boarding-school, seeing Webster's 
Dictionary lying on the table, he retired before the lady 
came in, and placed his daughter at another establish 
ment. I was subject to his instruction fifteen years and 
more, and whenever he heard me mispronounce a word 

Scott on French Literature. 39 

he would correct me wherever we might be. Many times 
did he call out and repeat the word, giving its correct 
pronunciation, although at a dinner party and ten files 
from me. While we were travelling at the North and so 
journing at hotels with Governor M , he thought I 

was becoming negligent, and he corrected me with annoy 
ing frequency. I took an opportunity when the governor 
was absent and said : " General, you can't teach me faster 
than I can learn ; suppose you give a few lessons to 

Governor M ." " Ah ! " said he, "that's an unweeded 

garden ; life's too short to clear it." I agreed with my 
instructor in most cases, but in regard to a few words I 
was refractory. He insisted on cowcumber, and said it 
must be dark, or die ; but I continued to say cucumber 
and clerk. He undertook to weed out many of my 
peculiar forms of expression, and all the windy epithets of 
my colloquial discourses, but I resisted. If I had com 
plied, I should have missed his peculiar attractions, and 
might have become as didactic and uninteresting as a 

The general was in France directly after the battle of 
Waterloo, and remained there nearly a year. He had not 
learned to speak the language of that country in his boy 
hood, but he could read it fluently, and from books and 
observation he acquired an extended knowledge of 
France, its people, and their literature. He was familiar 
with many French works on military science, as well as 
memoirs, chronicles, histories, etc. He translated for our 
army the French system of Infantry Tactics, and was 
profoundly learned in the campaigns of Turenne, Conde, 
Saxe, Frederick the Great, by Jomini, Napoleon, and 
others. I frequently heard him make general compari 
sons between the English and French writers of the past 
centuries. He placed Addison and Johnson above all 

40 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Frenchmen as essayists, but he thought the letters of 
Geuz de Balzac and Blaize Pascal superior to any in the 
English language. The writers of French memoirs, for 
which he had a special fondness, he placed above all 
others. He admired some of the writings of Voltaire, 
especially his histories and romances. He seldom spoke 
of French theology or poetry, which he did not under 
stand. It appears to me that no American or English 
man can find pleasure in French poetry. I have never 
met one who confessed a fondness for more than a few 
lines of it. Voltaire thought that Racine's "Athalie " was 
the greatest effort of the human mind. I have tried four 
times to read Athalie, but never succeeded in finishing it. 
During the last ten years I have been intimately associ 
ated with one of the most gifted and accomplished 
Frenchmen that lives. When we are together he sympa 
thizes with me for not knowing Racine, and I regard 
him with sorrow because he cannot comprehend Shake 
speare. Some of the sprightly and refined French novels 
attracted the general, as did Gil Bias in a moderate de 
gree, but such stuff as is found in the " Chronique de 
1'ceil de bceuf," and in the works of Paul de Kock and 
his successors, disgusted him, as they ought to disgust 
every healthy mind. 

Among English standard writers, General Scott was 
always at home. I held in equal esteem many of his 
favorite authors, especially Addison, Shakespeare, Milton, 
Johnson, and Goldsmith. Dryden, whom he so much 
admired, never strongly attracted me. His favorite Eng 
lish historians were Hume and Gibbon. Of the writers of 
fiction and romance, he often referred to Fielding, Gold 
smith, Walter Scott, Cooper, Irving, and occasionally to 
Bulwer. To the current fashionable novels and all the 
stories of love he paid no attention whatsoever. He es- 

The Newspapers. 41 

teemed Adam Smith and Locke, and agreed with Hobbes 
that war is the natural state of man. He had no faith in 
peace societies and congresses, and spoke of them with 
contempt as composed of fanatics and visionaries. The 
works of infidel writers he disregarded. He read the 
English and American periodicals habitually, and studied 
the newspapers with the diligence of a politician. It 
astonished me to see him read through those long arti 
cles in the old Richmond Whig and Richmond Enquirer, 
written by doctrinaires of the Southern school ; but he 
could not read the shorter articles of Northern doctrinaires 
in the journals of the Puritan stripe, which at that time I 
could read. Now I can read neither, and think the one class 
as remote from good government and good policy as the 
other. I could not see in the prevailing ideas of those old 
Richmond papers any coherence with his present opinions, 
and I concluded his fondness for them was the result of 
early associations and local partiality. He certainly was 
not a Secessionist. 

When Carlyle's works first appeared in America it 
chanced that I obtained a collection of articles written by 
him, and in accordance with my custom I let every one 
near me know by many quotations what I had been read 
ing. The general appeared ignorant of all my references, 
and at the end of forty-eight hours he broke out impa 
tiently : " Who is the man Carlyle that you are boring 
me about? " I replied : " He is a Scotchman who fancies 
he is going to make a noise in the world." The next 
evening, after the general had retired, having occasion to 
ask him a question, I went to his room, and found him 
in bed reading Carlyle's " Miscellany." At that time I 
was discursive in my reading, but this is the first instance 
I remember of getting the start of the general in the dis 
covery of an English author of merit. He was curiously 

42 Fifty Years Observation. 

learned in title-pages and prefaces, but he seldom read 
through the books, especially works of fiction, or pure 
science other than military. 

He often expressed his regret to me that he had not 
given greater attention in his youth to the study of 
mathematics. Once when he had succeeded in solving a 
difficult arithmetical problem, I said to him that if he 
had devoted himself to high analysis he would have 
gained excellence, but he would have dwarfed his ability 
to move men on the field of battle, and he would also have 
missed the plaudits of his countrymen which had been 
so freely lavished upon him. I, myself, at one time was 
enamoured with mathematical studies. When I discovered 
how the calculus enabled me to pry into the mechanism 
of the starry sphere, to follow the heavenly bodies in their 
orbits, to estimate their influence one upon the other, 
and to find how the Sovereign Architect has balanced the 
forces of the universe, I was awed into an admiration 
which tended to divert me from human sympathies, and 
in that it was unpropitious. It may frequently be re 
marked of the devotees to analytical investigations that 
they are obdurate and unsocial in disposition, and narrow 
and conceited in their ideas of general beneficence. This 
seems paradoxical, since astronomy, if studied with intel 
ligence, ought to make men religious. General Scott, 
though not given to controversy, was fond of eloquent 
speeches, especially those of Southern statesmen. It was 
also an agreeable pastime with him to discuss and com 
pare the merits and peculiarities of various authors. Mil 
ton's works often engaged his comments, and in looking 
back I remember that I fully agreed with what he said of 
that writer, his prose, his poetry, and his policy. 

Now, when I reflect that General Scott's ethical system 
was that of Paley and Shakespeare, I am not able to 

Dryden. Milton. 43 

understand how he so generally approved Milton, who in 
most things was unquestionably a fanatic. Milton's views 
of human government are such as attract the applause of 
confiding young men, and of the idealogists of all ages ; 
but men who have studied human nature and the history 
of nations deeply, with the aid of experience in affairs, 
wih disapprove him in everything except his style and 
his imagination. In style he is excellent, and in imagi 
nation he is without a peer among the writers of ancient 
and modern times. 

The general found attractions in Dryden's poetry, 
which he knew I could not share beyond a limited de 
gree. From time to time he would recite passages and 
ask me if I liked them. On one occasion I answered, 
" Yes." " Then/' said he, " why don't you like Dryden? " 

" I am not able to give a reason, but I can give an ex 
ample. If I had a sweetheart that I only loved when I 
was with her, that," said I, " would be an example." 

" Ugh ! " exclaimed he, as a sign that he disapproved 
my taste as well as my manner of showing it. 

He seldom made long quotations from any author. 
The longest as well as the most frequent of all his quota 
tions was from Milton's Comus : 

41 Mortals, that would follow me, 
Love virtue : she alone is free. 
She can teach ye how to climb 
Higher than the starry chime, 
Or if virtue feeble were, 
Heaven itself would stoop to her." 

He invariably omitted the four words I have italicized, 
and the fondness with which he dwelt on those lines is an 
additional proof that in his nature there was a tincture of 
fanaticism. It is not correct to say, " Mortals love vir 
tue," since we know that the majority of mortals are, have 

44 Fifty Years' Observation. 

been, and will be wicked. Another quotation was often 
on his tongue when he felt that he was neglected by the 
government, or by the world, as he frequently did. It is 
strange that all men and all women who receive the most 
attention complain most of neglect. Returning from a 
feast, I have heard him recite the following distich : 

" True as the dial to the sun 
Although it be not shined upon." 

For the last line he always substituted the words 

" Though not shone upon." 

Short quotations and many ideas from Shakespeare 
interlarded and enlivened his daily conversation, and a 
mind like his could not fail to profit by the teachings of 
the most gifted men of all our race. I owe him a debt 
of gratitude for having first turned my attention sharply 
upon that king of poets, as he did in the following 

One Sunday, as we were walking home from Saint 
Thomas' Church, in New York, he said to me : " Doctor 
Hawks made a mistake in his quotation from Shakes 
peare, this morning." The quotation was the following, 
and I had not heard it before : 

" * * * the time of life is short ! 
To spend that shortness basely were too long 
If life did ride upon a dial's point, 
Still ending with the arrival of an hour." 

I made no note of the mistake, but those lines coming 
from the eloquent lips of Dr. Hawks, and the suggestion 
of my chief, inflamed me with a desire to study their au 
thor, whose ability to express all the emotions of our nat 
ure in every possible condition of human life has placed 
him at the head of uninspired men. The general had 
studied the works of the mighty bard so deeply that his 

Scott's Heroes. 45 

language came to his lips as it were spontaneously, and 
thus he was able to impart to his discourse an additional 
interest, although its subjects were often trifles. 

In his younger days the general had read Plutarch's 
Lives so attentively that their influence upon his charac 
ter and conduct was always apparent. His body's action 
he modelled upon Coriolanus, but the spirit that fasci 
nated him most was that of the mighty Julius. Like 
the first he could never bend low enough in politics to 
gain the applause of the mob, but like the second he 
sought always to be first in power and renown. He 
claimed a certain near relationship in virtue to the Catos, 
but there was nothing in his nature which tended to sui 
cide. He thought he would be able to struggle in neg 
lect and adversity, like Scipio Africanus or Sertorius, but 
he found little to admire in old Marius, whom he likened 
to a savage, ungrateful beast, as he was. 

He was excessively fond of comparing his own qualities 
of greatness with those of other distinguished men of 
modern as well as ancient times. He compared himself 
most frequently with the great military commanders of 
the world's history, and three times, on various occasions, 
did I hear General Scott say, while he was yet in his 
vigor, that he thought himself " next to Washington with 
many lengths between." Once he said " with many links 
perhaps between." In this he was partially mistaken, as 
it was only in conscientiousness and patriotism that the 
two men resembled each other. Scott, before old age 
came upon him, observed the precept " Spend as you 
go," while V/ashington, always till his death, was exceed 
ingly watchful of his pecuniary interests. If he had been 
a New England man he would have been accused of nar 
rowness and jobbery. Washington's patriotism, aristo 
cratic bearing, and constancy secured to him the confi- 

46 Fifty Years Observation. 

dence of his poor suffering countrymen, but he lacked 
enthusiasm. He could never have inflamed the courage 
of his soldiers, nor animated them on the march and in 
battle, while the presence of Scott sufficed to lift the tired 
soldier from his feet, and to hurl cowards against the 
enemy. There was never any facetiousness in the con 
versation nor levity in the conduct of Washington, and if 
Stuart's portrait of him is true to nature he must have 
been heavy to look upon, and dull as a companion. Scott 
thought it an accomplishment to be able to trifle ele 
gantly, and he often indulged in extravagant speeches and 
colloquial exaggerations, all of which he could dismiss 
upon the slightest call to duty, and assume, on the in 
stant, a dignity and severity equal to that of the Father 
of his country without his gloom. It seems superfluous, 
however, to compare the genius of any man with that of 
Washington, since around his head the prescriptive ap 
proval of his countrymen has gathered a halo through 
which no imperfection could be seen. Washington's 
strategy, if it was his, which caused the convergence of 
the forces on Yorktown, in 1781, would entitle him to 
rank with the greatest strategists of modern times. Scott, 
who never enjoyed a similar opportunity, cannot be com 
pared in that respect, but otherwise as a tactician he was 
unquestionably superior. 

Metaphysical subjects had no special attraction for 
General Scott, but he enjoyed his conversations with men 
of learning, like Mr. John Quincy Adams, Rev. Wm. 
Ellery Channing, Dr. Hawks, and Mr. Charles King, upon 
subjects of " high morality," as he called it. While we 
were in Boston, at a dinner given him by that venerable 
merchant prince, Thomas H. Perkins, he was placed next 
to Dr. Channing. My seat at the table was too distant 
to enable me to understand them, but I observed that the 

Dr. Channing. 47 

general was an attentive listener. They presented a sin 
gular contrast a giant warrior listening with deference 
to a puny preacher, whose frail body excited compassion. 
His learning and eloquence, which were ennobled by a 
spirit of benevolence, secured to Dr. Channing a profound 
respect even from those men who could not agree with his 
theology and his restrictive code of morals. Returning 
from the dinner the general told me the subject of their 
conversation was the Grecian Philosophy, and he fancied 
he had been spending the evening with Anaxagoras. It 
was on the same occasion that he compared two great 
cities by saying: "New York in comparison with Boston 
is a barbarian city !" 


Scott's habits, pleasures, and diversions. His prompt discharge of duty. 
His servant. Anecdotes of David. His gardening and care of domestic 
animals. Fondness for chess and whist. 

SCOTT'S mental, physical, and moral nature con 
spired to form in him a habit of promptness and 
constancy in the discharge of all his duties. He foresaw 
the requirements of his professional and pecuniary en 
gagements, and attended to them fully. Until the duty 
to be done and the task in hand were executed and com 
pletely finished, he would allow himself neither rest nor 
pleasure night or day, in sickness or in health. 

He required to be waited upon, to be observed, and to 
be attended without intermission, and his body servant 
was to be always within call. He occasionally excused 
himself for this last necessity from the fact that his left 
arm was partially disabled by a terrible wound he received 
at Lundy's Lane. He had many wants, however, that 
had no essential connection with his shoulder-joint. He 
chewed tobacco, and his tobacco must be kept at a 
certain moisture, be brought to 'him and taken away. He 
often needed a glass of water, and while he suffered from 
a renal affection the water must be dashed with a tea- 
spoonful of gin. After his return from Mexico, where the 
water disagreed with him, he found relief from mint julep, 
which must be very weak, as he had no inclination for 
strong drinks. 

It would be impossible to complete the picture of his 

Scotfs Servant David. 49 

daily life without describing his body servant, and espe 
cially the one who was with him many years, and went 
with him on all the journeys along the Northern frontiers, 
at the removal of the Cherokee Indians, and elsewhere. 
His name was David. David was as black as Spanish ink, 
five feet six inches tall, strongly built, visage purely 
Ethiopian, capacity ordinary, education much neglected. 
The maxim, " like master, like man," was not extensively 
applicable in this case, though it applied in part. David 
was so straight that a plumb line falling from the back of 
his head would drop clear of his body to the ground. 
David had full charge of his master's personal effects, 
which he stowed according to a system of his own. I 
thought David was always in sight, but he was not, for at 
least twice a week I would hear the general exclaim in an 
angry voice, " Damn you, David ! you hide everything I've 
got, and then you hide yourself." 

There was a comical streak in David's character which 
he exhibited in various ways. One day while we had our 
headquarters at the American Hotel in Buffalo we occu 
pied the largest parlor on the second floor as an office, 
and having business at the Falls we left in the morning to 
be gone all day. I told David to remain and watch the 
office, and to have a good fire burning at our return. It 
happened that, after an absence of two hours, I returned 
for a paper. Opening the door suddenly, I saw David 
rigged out in General Scott's full-dress uniform, marching 
up and down the room in the presence of another nigger. 
The superb cocked hat and plume was prevented from 
falling down like an extinguisher by the abundance of 
wool on the back of his head, which gave the chapeau a 
cant forward. The huge gold epaulettes, ornamented 
with silver stars, the gilt buttons and gold embroidery, 
the splendid sabre with massive sword-knot, the coat-tails 

$o Fifty Years Observation. 

and sabre dragging a yard behind on the floor, the pants, 
with two-inch wide gold stripes down the sides, which 
were held up by David's nigger heel, and the gold spurs 
strapped upon his nigger shoe, suggested a strange com 
parison. The uniform was so familiar to me, and having 
so often seen it on the most martial figure of modern 
times, it appeared as though my chief had been consumed 
by an internal fire, burnt out, collapsed, blackened, and 
left standing before me. David appealed tome in piteous 
terms not to tell t\\zjineral, and I never did tell him. 

David sometimes served as an exponent of comparison 
for his master. On the eve of our departure from Buffalo, 
I told him to pack up and have everything ready, as we 
must be off early in the morning for Detroit. " Detroit ! 
Detroit ! where's dat ? " said he. Not long afterwards the 
general compared a certain other general's knowledge of 
grammar to David's knowledge of geography. 

David's Ethiopian nature was sorely tried in our long 
winter journeys, one of which was from the Astor House 
in New York to Detroit, in sleighs all the way except from 
Albany to Utica, where there was a railroad. My young 
blood was nearly congealed when we arrived at Cleve 
land, with the thermometer at 10 below zero. David 
was torpid, his eyes bloodshot, and his skin as dry as 
husks; but the general, who was enveloped in a huge 
blanket, showed no signs of suffering or impatience. In 
fact, he seldom complained of the hardships of travel, 
which in those days tried the endurance of most men. 
During the year 1838 we were together on the road in 
stage-coaches or sleighs fifty-four whole nights, and he 
showed no uneasiness except at delays, which always an 
noyed him. No necessity or incident of duty seemed to 
trouble him, and in its performance Job himself could not 
have been more patient. 

Anecdotes of David. 51 

If David wilted in the winter blasts of the North, the 
blazing summer sun of the Cherokee country restored 
him completely. His wool recovered from its dry, dead 
appearance to look like clusters of live snakes, and 
blacker. Signs of mischief showed themselves in him 
also. He took to drink, and one evening when his master 
called him to inquire about his wash clothes, David came 
in staggering, just able to stand and no more, and his 
visage was unusually greasy and shining. 

" Damn you, David, you are drunk ! " said the general. 

" No, sur ! I ishn't drunk ! " And this is the nearest 
approach to insolence I ever discovered in him, for David 
thought the "jineral" was the greatest of living men. 

David was negligent in some things, especially about 
the house in Elizabeth, where his master, he and the 
cook, who was also a Virginia negro, lived together in the 
absence of Mrs. Scott and the children. The cook and 
David could never agree, and each charged the other with 
whatever the master found amiss. A lively discord arose 
one day when Captain Gait of the artillery and I dined 
with the general. The table was spread where we sat, in 
a room adjoining the kitchen, and the general intermed 
dled in the preparations. Several dishes had been broken 
and others had been put away unwashed. Every neglect 
was disputed, but the question of the napkins was by 
far the most serious. Only two could be found, and 
there were three convives. 

A furious storm arose. The master asserted that no 
longer ago than the last week there had been 13 15 
yes, 17 napkins in use, and what had become of them? 
The jargon of the darkies was not conclusive, but the 
burden of responsibility was against David, because he 
was the dining-room waiter. Then the general ex 
claimed : " David ! David ! What have you done with 

52 Fifty Years Observation. 

those 15 napkins?" Notwithstanding the scoldings and 
recriminations, I paid little attention to them, and con 
tinued reading a newspaper till I was called to the table. 

After dinner Captain Gait and I went to pay a call on 
the Kings, who then lived in Elizabeth. Gait had been 
an aide to the general, and was a man of genuine humor. 
His sympathetic, flexible voice, high breeding, and good 
temper made him a favorite with all the Kings, and 
wherever he went he had an attentive audience to his 
stories and relations. His description of what occurred 
at the dinner was simply inimitable. The company was 
seized with a fit of laughter that was almost irrepressible. 
He introduced into his voice a whine that would have 
made the fortune of a comedian, when he imitated the 
general's despairing exclamation, " David ! David ! 
Where are all those napkins ? What have you done, 
David, with those 15 napkins?" 

David himself had certain negro intonations of voice 
which no white man could reproduce. Once on a journey 
he left the general's cocked hat behind at Utica, and it 
was wanted at Buffalo. Before his master called for the 
hat, David had informed me he had forgotten it. I told 
him he must prepare for a terrible scolding. The only 
reply he made to my warning was : " The jineral he 
scolds me every day he he he eyah ! " He got a 
fearful setting down, beginning with the words " Damn 
you ! why didn't you leave yourself ? " 

The general found pleasure in gardening, and in the 
care of domestic animals of all kinds, as well as of the 
birds that visited his enclosures. One summer, after the 
Canadian troubles were over, the general occupied his 
house in Elizabeth and I boarded not far off. As soon as 
the office work was finished we would go together and 
work in his garden. It was large and well planted with 

Moralizing upon the Pig. 53 

flowers, various shrubs, and vegetables, which we culti 
vated with our own hands. At the remote extremity of 
the garden was a spacious pen, in which two shoats were 
confined. Every clear day the general and I would visit 
the pen, carrying roots and succulent weeds, and remain 
to see the pigs feed. While so engaged we discussed the 
nature of the hog, as well as all the subjects and similes in 
which he figures, and the enclosure where he is confined. 
The hog was once the receptacle of devils, and all 
mankind regard him as the filthiest of beasts, and still his 
flesh is prized as an article of food by all the Christian 
nations. He and his habitations have been the theme of 
the poet, the Christian and moralist, and the historian 
Shakespeare displays the power of contrast when he ex 
claims : 

"What a god 's gold 

That he is worship'd in a baser temple 
Than where swine feed." 

Our Lord in the parable of the Prodigal Son has held 
up as a warning to heedless youth a sad example of the 
effects of filial impiety and riotous living, by bringing a 
wayward child of affluence to care for this unclean animal 
and to feed on husks. The moralist may deduce a profit 
able lesson from the contrast offered by the hog in his 
untamed condition, by comparing the independent bold 
ness of the wild boar, that tests the prowess of noble 
hunters, and when vanquished his head is honored as a 
trophy at the banquet that follows ; while the domestic 
hog is content to eat and sleep, and when he is scratched 
with a chip he lies down, grunts, and is happy. Finally, 
the historian has exemplified the extremest sweep of am 
bition by tracing the career of Pizarro from his youth as 
a swineherd till in his manhood he became the conqueror 
and Viceroy of Peru. 

54 Fifty Years' Observation. 

On an occasion when the general was in a moralizing 
frame of mind, which was quite usual with him, he pointed 
to one of the shoats and said : " That pig is happy though 
he feeds on weeds which he picks up from the dirt." 
" Yes," said I, " and we are happy because we expect by 
and by to eat the pig." 

In front of the house were some shade trees in which 
several singing birds had made their nests, and where 
they remained to roost. As we were working in the gar 
den one afternoon, the general was trimming a quince 
tree with a large hooked pruning-knife, while I was dig 
ging at some distance from him. He had on a wide- 
brimmed straw hat, and long-waisted knit jacket of a 
brownish color. Suddenly I saw him advancing with im 
mense strides towards the street in front. The house 
concealed from me the object which attracted him, and I 
had only time to arrive at the corner to see a boy with a 
shot-gun gazing up into a tree. The youngster was so 
intent that he did not observe our approach till the gen 
eral, who had arrived within twenty paces of him, holding 
high the knife, called out in a voice which might have 
been heard by a whole division of soldiers : " Young man ! 
are you going to shoot my birds?" The boy was scared 
nearly to death, and for a moment lost the power of mo 
tion ; but he quickly recovered and took to his heels. I 
ran to the gate and watched him till he passed Brittain's 
house, still pulling foot as if chased by a mad bull. The 
terror inspired in that boy was not owing to the general's 
equipments, for he had on an old brown dressing jacket 
and a battered straw hat, but his air was terrific. The 
scene recalled to me the story of old Marius and theCim- 
brian ruffian who was sent to his prison to assassinate him 
while he was naked and unarmed ; but with a countenance 
more dreadful than ever, he exclaimed : " Barbare ! Ose* 

General Scott at Chess. 5f 

tu tuer Marius!" Such men are born to command in 

The general was fond of the game of chess, at which he 
was fairly skilful. I often played with him, and I think 
my game stood to his as about two to five ; nevertheless, 
he beat me as often as four times in five. Whenever by 
chance or skill I gained a threatening position, he became 
irritable, and if I did not move quickly he would angrily 
ejaculate : " Have you moved ? " One day we were 
playing in the parlor of the hotel at West Point, and Mr. 
Ogden Hoffman was looking on. In the process of that 
game, which I won, my chief was uncommonly tart. I 
took my time, and while I was considering a critical po 
sition, he reached out his hand and took up a periodical 
and opened it to an article on geology. " Do you think," 
said he to Mr. Hoffman, " that I shall be able to master 
this subject before the young gentleman gets ready to 
move ? " After we had separated Mr. Hoffman came to 
console me for what I might think was rudeness on the 
part of my chief. "What did the general say?" said I, 
" being absorbed by my game and determined to beat 
him, I paid no attention to his remarks, but if there had 
been a hostile tone in his voice, I should have detected it 
at once. That's the general's manner when he is impa 
tient, and it never hurts me." 

If the general beat me easily, it was not so with his 
brother-in-law, Mayo, whose game was much the strong 
est of the three. The two brothers-in-law agreed remark 
ably well, considering that they differed essentially in 
most particulars. Mayo was an uncompromising Demo 
crat, and the general was a Whig. Mayo was odd and 
slovenly in his dress, my chief was in the fashion and 
neat. Mayo squinted awfully, but he was a gentleman 
and a scholar, and he would stuff his ordinary conversa- 

56 Fifty Years' Observation. 

tion with more Latin quotations than any man I knew. 
He came frequently to play chess, and was able to beat 
us both if he chose to do so. Occasionally the general 
won a party, and that encouraged him to conclude that 
those he lost were accidents. One day their game was 
close, and they prolonged it over an hour. In the midst 
of it the general left his chair to spit in the fire he then 
had the habit of chewing tobacco. Finally the game 
ended in favor of Mr. Mayo, and the general arose from 
his chair and took three or four turns up and down the 
room in silence. Then he came near me, lifted up his 
spectacles and said : " Young gentleman ! do you know 
why I lost that game ? " " No, sir," said I. " It was be 
cause I got up to spit." 

The chief diversion of General Scott, and the one to 
which he was most attached, was the game of whist. The 
idea that without a knowledge of the game of whist a 
man's old age must necessarily be unhappy is said to 
have originated with Talleyrand. The old Frenchman's 
smart saying was the simple expression of the opinion of 
vast numbers of people of all nations, that whist and 
other games with cards are the most efficient promoters 
of cheerfulness in old age. Whist, although it is the most 
genteel of all games, is the one that most frequently gives 
rise to altercations and disputes. All confirmed whist 
players end every game with a wrangle, and General 
Scott was not easily pleased with his partner. Occasion 
ally, to make up the complement I was called on to take 
a hand. I disliked the game and acknowledged that I 
played badly, but the general declared that I couldn't 
play at all, and when he had me for a partner he was 
obliged to play against three. I thought no one could 
please him, for he even quarrelled with dummy. It is a 
mistake to suppose that a confirmed whist player is satis- 

Scott as a Whist-player. 57 

fied with gaining the stake. On one occasion I was in 
vited to take part in a game, and for that purpose was 
introduced to a polished old gentleman who was to be my 
partner. I excused my want of knowledge of whist, but 
the old gentleman in the blandest tones insisted on my 
being his partner, and assured me that my ignorance of 
the finesse of the game would make no difference. The 
stake was to be $5, which was more than I ever played 
for before or since. I and my partner won the first 
game, but my blunders, which he gently rebuked, had 
cleared away the bland expression of his countenance. 
We also won the second game, and then the old man was 
almost rude in the manner in which he recalled my wrong 
plays. Finally, we gained the third party and pocketed 
$15 each, but the old man's passion broke loose, and 
throwing down his cards he declared that he could stand 
such stupidity no longer, and left the table. 

The range of General Scott's amusements was compa 
ratively restricted. Apart from the enjoyment he derived 
from ambition, fame, and reading, all his principal pleas 
ures were embraced in the following list : Conversation 
the table, including wine the games of whist and chess. 

He was entertained by aristocratic associations, by 
travel, fine horses, and his own personal appearance. Un 
til the conclusion of the Mexican war, tobacco was a 
necessity with him ; subsequently he wholly renounced 
the use of tobacco in all its forms. 

It is supposed that old men love their sycophants, and 
young men love their mistresses ; but towards all who 
demonstrated admiration for him he was at all times 
throughout his life kindly disposed. In regard to love 
for the gentler sex, I never suspected that in him at any 
time of his life. 

For balls and dancing parties, hunting-, fishing, operas and 

58 Fifty Years' Observation. 

plays, he had little inclination, although his position 
made it necessary for him to attend them frequently. I 
seldom heard him speak of operas or theatrical entertain 
ments, hunting, fishing, racing, and he appeared indiffer 
ent to all such diversions. He disliked solitude, was 
cheered with the company of intimate friends, and gener 
ally I regarded him as a happy man. 


Scott as a gastronomer. His liking for the table. Some of his tastes. 
His hospitality. Kemble Sam Ward. 

T NOW proceed to describe General Scott as a gas- 
-*- tronomer. He derived from his ancestors the in 
estimable heritage of a healthy and long-enduring 
stomach. Aside from moral obligations and ambitious 
pursuits, he found a continuous source of enjoyment in 
the pleasures of the table throughout a period of sixty 
years of his life. He regarded a knowledge of the culi 
nary processes as a necessary accomplishment for a 
gentleman and a soldier, and he placed cooking in the 
front rank of the useful arts. 

While yet a very young man he had the good fortune 
to attract the notice of an old French gentleman who had 
fled from Saint Domingo at the revolt of the negroes 
towards the end of the last century, and with the remnant 
of his former large fortune had come to the neighbor 
hood of Petersburg, Virginia, and established himself in a 
small cottage. In that humble abode the dining-room 
and kitchen were separated by a partition that extended 
only five feet above the floor. As monsieur was too poor 
to afford a waiter or cook, he did the duty of both him 
self, and young Scott, while seated in the dining-room, 
waiting for the repast to be served, could see the old 
gentleman's head bobbing up and down attending to his 
stew-pans. After placing the dishes upon the table, the 
Frenchman would remove his apron, put on a rusty dress 

60 Fifty Years Observation. 

coat, and dispense the hospitality of his house with the 
grace and dignity of a prince. " It was there," said the 
general, "that I received my first and best lessons in cook 
ing, and in conduct at the head of a table." 

Many men, illustrious for their wisdom and high 
positions, have extolled the delights of prandial enjoy 
ments, and there appears to be a period in the lives of the 
healthiest and best of mortals in which the pleasures of 
the table prevail over all others. The man who, after the 
toils and vexations of the day, is able to seat himself at a 
good dinner, with wine in abundance, will find his heart 
rejoiced. If the cook is skilful, amiable discourses will 
enliven the feast from which envy is banished, sweet 
dreams will succeed it, and happiness and concord will be 
the final result. 

Among the omissions of my former days there are few 
which I more regret than my neglect to keep continuous 
notes of conversations with my chief and others in his 
company, upon all subjects, and especially the one under 
examination. I know of no flesh of beasts, or edible 
fishes, or fowl, or herb, or root, or grain, the preparation 
of which for food was not many times the subject of con 
versation. If I could enrich my history with all I learned 
from the general and his associates upon that subject, I 
should be the author of a valuable system of nourish, 
ment, and a benefactor of mankind. As it is, I must con 
tent myself with reminiscences, disjointed in time, lacking 
in order, and destitute of agreeable concatenation. 

At the time Mr. Cozzens kept the old American Hotel 
in Broadway, corner of Barclay Street, New York, I was 
in the habit of going there to dine at the ladies' ordi 
nary. It was at that table that I ate the best bread I 
had ever seen, and until about the year 1837 the bread 
in America was as vile as it is now in the best hotels in 

Virginia Hams. 6l 

London. The general told me he had originally taught 
Mr. Cozzens how to make the bread that I praised so 
highly. He said that at his first visit to the Point, after 
Cozzens opened his hotel there, he found the bread de 
testable, and not fit for dogs to eat. He volunteered to 
go to the bakehouse, and instruct the baker, which he did 
shortly before leaving. The following summer, upon his 
return to West Point, Mr. Cozzens exultingly called his 
attention to the bread. " This is less bad than it was," 
said the general, " for the bread you have now is fit for 
the kennel." He went again to the" bakehouse and suc 
ceeded in having his ideas put in practice, and the result 
was the bread I have found so good. 

Another prolific subject of conversation with the gen 
eral was the preparation of the flesh of swine for the 
table. Like all Southern men, my chief was fond of Vir 
ginia hams. They were quite thin compared with those 
of the Northern States, and kept longer in the smoke 
house, in which the fire was renewed every wet day 
throughout the summer. The Southern hams owe their 
pleasant flavor to the fact that their hogs are given ex 
tensive range, and fed on mast, or Indian corn. The 
flesh of no quadruped is more delicate than that of 
the wild boar, and that of his domestic congenitor gains 
in proportion as he is made to get his living in a similar 
way. In the cooking of the hams the general omitted no 
care. He insisted on their being simmered until they 
could be cut with a spoon, and he would have them 
brought to the table with the skin on. Every winter the 
general would have sent to him from Norfolk or Peters 
burg a barrel full of hams, packed in ashes, and none 
others were used in his family. 

The times at which food should be eaten after with 
drawal from heat had engaged his study, and he con- 

62 Fifty Years' Observation. 

eluded, after long contemplation, that bread should not 
be eaten till it had been out of the oven at least twenty- 
four hours. He condemned bread which is too white, be 
cause it is less healthful than that with a tinge of yellow 
which is found in flour that has not been too finely 
bolted. He had considered the various methods of ap 
plying heat and seasoning, and he never allowed a pepper 
box in his kitchen, on account of the stolidity of cooks, 
who apply that condiment in such excess as to confound 
all other flavors. He had pursued his examinations with 
such nice discrimination as to discover the changes which 
meats undergo after being removed from the fire up to 
the point of highest excellence, which stops short of what 
is termed haut gout. 

After the shoats referred to in a former chapter had 
been killed, and the various parts cured, he had one of 
the pickled shoulders boiled, and I was at supper alone 
with him at his house in Elizabeth when it was first 
brought upon the table. With a perversity of selfishness 
innate in sinful man, I acknowledged the satisfaction I 
felt in the spoil of the quadruped that had interested me 
in life, and I told the general the shoulder was delicious. 
"Young gentleman," said he, "you will like it much 
better after it has been kept a while in a cool place/' 
Then marking off on the shoulder with his knife the 
amount we should probably consume successively at every 
supper, he added ; " In seven days we shall come to this 
point, and then it will be ripe and at its best." 

The general had an unvarying fondness for fish, and 
generally at breakfast, and always at dinner, he had them 
served to him. It seemed to be his ambition to know 
the names of all the edible fishes that swim near the ocean 
shores of Europe, and all the coasts of America, and in 
the lakes, ponds, and running streams. For convenience 

Fondness for Fish. 63 

he designated crabs, lobsters, oysters, mussels, terrapins, 
shrimps, prawns, clams, turtles, and skates as fishes. Of 
the finny tribe there were two in ordinary use which he 
disliked for food. Once when we were at a restaurant 
dining alone they had no fish but porgies. He declined 
them, saying : " Damn your porgies ; who eats porgies ? " 
I never remember to have seen him eat an eel, but he fre 
quently referred to that fish in connection with his efforts 
to sleep, by saying he had " caught, or was about to 
catch, the eel by the tail." 

Whenever I discovered anything new about fish, or the 
method of cooking them, I made haste to inform my 
chief. The first time I met the late Professor Agassiz 
was at West Point shortly after his arrival in America. I 
spent the evening in his company at the house of Profes 
sor Bailey. The conversation turned on the fishes which 
are peculiar to America. I told him I thought the con 
tents of a seine drawn on the coast of South Carolina, or 
Florida, would interest him. Among others, I named the 
gar fish. The professor sprang from his chair, took hold 
of my hand, and exclaimed : " Have you seen a live gar 
fish?" "Many of them," said I. "Well," said he, "I 
never saw a gar fish alive, but I hope to see one soon, as 
he is of the oldest fish family alive in the ocean ; his origin 
is antediluvian." When I repeated all this to the general 
he was not aware of its ancient origin, but he knew that 
gar broth is the meanest porridge that's made. 

Occasionally, without being aware of it, the general 
manifested sectionalism in his choice of food of various 
kinds. He cared little for tea, and nothing for pies, and 
he disliked what he called " white-faced puddings." For 
breakfast he liked hominy and milk whenever it could be 
had. He thought the Connecticut River shad inferior to 
those of some of the Southern streams, which is unques- 

64 Fifty Years' Observation. 

tionably a mistake, the Connecticut River shad being de 
cidedly the best in the world. He esteemed the white 
fish of Lake Superior, the cod fish, black fish, mackerel, 
salmon and sea bass of the North, as highly as the hog 
fish, the pompano, the king fish, the sheephead, and rock 
fish of the Southern waters. He told me the white fish 
of Lakes Superior and Huron were far better than those 
of the lower lakes. He described to me the manner of 
eating those fishes. They were to be cooked done and 
immediately rolled up, one after another, in a napkin, 
doubled and heated almost to scorching. Then they were 
to be served and eaten immediately, unrolling the napkin 
as the fish were wanted. Thus prepared, I understood 
him to say that when hungry he could eat through an ex 
tensive series. 

An essential and daily portion of the general's diet con 
sisted of the flesh of various species of the feathered race. 
First in excellence and above all volant animals stood the 
canvas-back duck of the Chesapeake Bay, in its season ; 
then in order woodcock, the English snipe, turkeys, and 
domestic fowls, especially poulards and capons. He con 
sumed more of them than of beef, mutton, veal, pork and 
bacon. But of all the denizens of air, earth and water, the 
one he best loved to eat was the terrapin of the Mary 
land waters. This animal is called by some a reptile, and 
he is amphibious. At the time to which I refer there 
were not three cooks in America, and none in the other 
parts of the earth, whom he would acknowledge to be able 
to cook the terrapin properly. On one occasion, in Wash 
ington, while dining with a company of eight, all lovers 
of good cheer, I offered to bet a dinner of the best, for 
the company, that if we should invite the general to dine 
with us at any time v/ithin a month, and have terrapin pre 
pared by his favorite cook, that he would during the din- 

Terrapin. 65 

ner say and do the following things in manner following: 
He would, while leaning his left elbow on the table, having 
some of the terrapin on his fork, held raised about six 
inches above his plate, exclaim : u This is the best food 
vouchsafed by Providence to man ! " and then carry 
it immediately to his mouth. The other thing he would 
do, or I would lose the wager, was, that leaning on the 
table in manner aforesaid he would pour wine from one 
glass into another. No man took my bet. 

Whenever a nice dish of terrapin was set before my 
chief, his countenance glowed with satisfaction, and his 
tongue gave utterance to eloquent discourses. " This 
little, ugly, black-legged animal," said he, " that carries 
his house with him, is obliged to seek his living in the 
swamps and solitary coves, among the rushes, and to 
burrow in mud ; and yet he is sought after with painful 
diligence, and the dish prepared from his flesh is honored 
at the feasts of the rich and the brave." The above 
speech, which I report faithfully, is in the style of the 
Anatomy of Melancholy, where Burton compares a poor 
Christian to a hen that lives all her life on a dunghill, and 
at last is served up at her lord's table ; " while the falcon 
is fed on capons, carried on his master's arm, and when 
he dies he is thrown on a compost heap and there he rots" 

While General Scott resided in Paris, after the fall of 
the great Napoleon, he was in the habit of dining by 
turns at the three restaurants which were then in highest 
repute in that city of gourmets, Ve'ry's, Les trois frtres 
Proven^catix, and the Rocher de la Cancale. The general's 
means and position enabled him to pursue his inquiries 
to advantage. He could practise at the restaurants re 
ferred to ; at the same time he could study Brillat Sav- 
arin and other standard authors, and collect the traditions 
of Vattel and other illustrious cooks. The loyalty of his 

66 Fifty Years' Observation. 

disposition and the fidelity of his stomach secured him 
against all spurious methods of practice and every illusion 
of theory. He was never dazzled nor influenced by 
fashion or the devices of conceit to abandon a position 
to which he had been led by natural laws, and through 
out his life he preserved the simplicity of his tastes and 
the discriminating delicacy of his palate, as the following 
instances prove. 

It was his frequent custom at hotel tables to call for 
a raw onion, which, when it was brought to him by the 
waiter, he would hold down his hand to receive. He 
would then slice it and mingle it with his salad or other 
dishes, according to his taste. He was also fond of the 
Swedish turnip, which must not be too much nor too 
little cooked. Once, at Cleveland, on our return from 
the Northwest, he found the turnips to his liking, and 
having one on his plate, he turned to me while patting 
the turnip with his fork, and said : " Young gentleman ! 
we are now in a civilized community." To minds not 
fully fraught with the importance of the subject, the 
foregoing examples may appear to savor of vulgarity of 
taste, but to me they are compatible with the extremest 
finesse of observation which was characteristic in him 
throughout his life. 

The general did not like solitary meals, and rather than 
dine alone he preferred to pay for the dinner of a pleasant 
companion. If the cooking was good he was uniformly 
cheerful, and would tell stories and anecdotes during the 
repast. One day, when he and I were dining together at 
the Union Club, he remarked that the table-knives in 
France were pointed, and only used to cut viands. He 
related an anecdote about the tragic use of a table-knife 
by an accomplished individual. While he was in Paris, 
dining at the Rocher de la Cancale, he often noticed com- 

Dinners Given to Scott. 67 

ing in, or seated at table, the most strikingly elegant and 
handsome man he had ever seen. It was a French chev 
alier d'industrie, who, while he was secretly plotting 
against the government, was openly acting the part of its 
warm supporter. One morning, the chevalier called on 
General d'Espinasse, who was Governor of Paris, while he 
was at breakfast. He came to ask a favor and to urge 
haste. The governor replied : " There is no need of haste, 
monsieur, we have your papers." " Mes papiers ! " ex 
claimed the chevalier ; at the same instant seizing a knife 
from the table he plunged it into his heart and fell dead. 
General Scott, at the conclusion of his story, looked at 
me attentively and added : " A man must be better look 
ing than you or I, to get his living by his wits." 

My remarks this far upon General Scott's gastronomic 
accomplishments have been designedly analytical; a com 
parison with others will afford something of a synthetical 
view of the subject. Definite comparisons, however, are 
not easy in cases like this, since at the times when his 
popularity was at its flood there was not a city in the 
Union that he visited in which the best dinner givers did 
not vie with one another to prepare for him their most 
sumptuous feasts. I was almost always invited with 
him, and could witness the alacrity with which he was 
served and the admiration excited by his presence. At 
nearly all those grand dinners, it usually happened that 
some extraordinary or surprising attraction presented it 
self to draw away the attention from the excellence of 
the viands and the skill of the cook. Sometimes mere 
tricious ornaments, or vast displays of wealth in furniture, 
would confuse the thoughts, and at other times, when he 
was surrounded by gifted men and elegant women, all 
eager to catch the tones of his voice, the general's exalta 
tion was not propitious to serious study. My own atten- 

68 Fifty Years' Observation. 

tion to grosser objects was also diverted by the presence 
of the favorites of fortune, male and female, with whom I 
was confronted distinguished men, matrons blazing 
with gems, fair damsels, whose luminous eyes, when by 
chance they fell on me, would daze my mind and fill my 
imagination with sensuous illusions. Subject as I was to 
such joyous surroundings, the fluctuations of my fancy 
deprived me of the power to render a sober judgment of 
the conduct of others, and my neglect to note the events 
to which I was a witness must be charged, like other omis 
sions, to the levity of my youth. 

To enable me to give a better understanding of Gen 
eral Scott's merits as a gastronomer, and the elegant sim 
plicity of his taste, it affords me pleasure to escape the 
pomp and flare of fashion, and to make comparison 
with an old friend and his hospitality, the memory of 
which I cherish as one of the great benefits of my life. I 
allude to the late Hon. Gouverneur Kemble, of Cold 
Springs, New York. He was a man who, during a period 
of fifty years, was known and loved for his good deeds and 
amiable qualities, and for spreading every week a table 
around which were assembled the choicest company of 
men I have known socially, and among whom it was my 
good fortune to be numbered during a period of nearly 
five years that I occupied the head of a department at 
the Military Academy. I say company of men, because 
being a bachelor he seldom invited women. It was re 
ported of Mr. Kemble that, when in early manhood he 
saw his affianced lowered into her grave, his breast was 
so lacerated that it never healed. The niche in his 
heart where his idol had stood was never to be filled 
again; and having lost by death the greatest felicity 
a man can enjoy on earth, which is to be loved by the 
woman he esteems, he sought an inferior happiness, by 

Mr. Kernble and His Guests. 69 

making glad the men who could appreciate his hospital 
ity. At Mr. Kemble's table General Scott was often 
seen, and there from time to time we met ex-President 
Van Buren ; Mr. Paulding, author, and ex-Secretary of 
the Navy; Mr. Bancroft, the historian, Mr. Washington 
Irving, Mr. Poinsett, Secretary of War, Mr. Preston, Mr. 
John Van Buren, Colonel Thayer, General Totten, Mr. 
Parrott and Robert E. Lee, and the principal heads of de 
partment of the Military Academy, many foreigners of 
distinction from various countries, and numerous other 
men who were distinguished in governments and for 
their learning and good breeding. 

My chief had often told me of Mr. Kemble's dinners be 
fore I had been honored by an invitation to his table. 
He said they were composed of many small dishes, be 
sides fat turkeys and domestic fowls, and that the only 
objection to them was the danger of eating too much. 
The wines were good, especially the port and the sherry, 
which was his favorite. Champagne wine he did not 
favor, and he only gave one glass unless it was especially 
called for. He disliked cigars also, but he would pass 
his gold snuff-box around the table at the end of the 

At Mr. Kemble's entertainments the discussions em 
braced every subject that claims the attention of civilized 
man the policy of governments ; the habitudes engen 
dered by climate, race, and occupation ; the laws and 
rites of various nations and ages ; sculpture, painting, ar 
chitecture, and all the vast domain of science, history, 
politics, parties, civil and military biographies, poetry, 
and manners. The subjects of religion and matrimony 
were seldom debated, and such was the urbanity of the 
guests that every one was allowed, without interruption, 
to state his own opinions. 

7O Fifty Years' Observation. 

From the time I was ordered to California I continued 
to correspond with Mr. Kemble, and my last letter from 
him was received while I was in Europe. It was written 
to describe a dinner of thirty-two covers which he gave to 
celebrate his eighty-seventh birthday. The chirography 
was firm and elegant, covered four large pages, and the 
letter contained the following remarkable passage : " And 
now having done my duty to my friends, to society, and I 
trust to my God, I am ready to depart." There was for 
me in those words a pathos deeper and more affecting 
than could have been uttered by Fenelon or St. Pierre. 

A little more than two years after the letter was writ 
ten, when he had entered upon his ninetieth year, the 
angel of death descended upon his hospitable abode and 
served on him the last summons, which he with worthy 
submission obeyed about 1875. Thus ended a life which 
was made glorious by innumerable acts of beneficence 
and an unvarying integrity. 

The two illustrious citizens, Scott and Kemble, whose 
characters I have so fully portrayed, will be better under 
stood if I pass to another level and present one of a dif 
ferent mould. In my search for a fit comparative, espe 
cially in the matter of gastronomy, my selection has fallen 
upon Mr. Samuel Ward, whose unctuous presence clings 
to my memory after the lapse of many years that we have 
been separated. 

Samuel Ward is a man * 

41 That apprehends no further than this world, 
And squares his life according . . ." 

I was quite young when I first saw him at a small pri 
vate party at the house of Mr. Lynch, in New York. He 
was singing a Russian song in the Russian language, and 
accompanying himself on the piano with great clatter. I 

* Written before the recent news of his death. 

Mr. Samuel Ward. 71 

met him several times in similar gatherings, but did not 
seek his acquaintance. I was content to study his ap 
pearance, which was strikingly at variance with that of 
ordinary young New Yorkers who were the sons of opu 
lent fathers. I admired in his compact form and stat 
ure of medium height, his vivacity of speech, and spon 
taneous activity, the proofs that his vital enginery was 
perfect. There was also in his countenance an openness 
and candor which denoted nurture and that his youth had 
been blameless. It was the opinion of J. J. Rousseau 
(though he himself was a base infidel and debauched dem 
agogue) that those young men who preserve their inno 
cence till their twenty-first or twenty-second year are the 
most attractive and engaging of mankind, and such did 
Samuel Ward appear before fair fortune turned her back 
on him. 

I formed his personal acquaintance at the time the gold 
fever broke out, and a few years later I became intimate 
with him in California. At that time my bark was rocked 
by the gentle gales of fortune, while his was aground. To 
study men in various conditions is the sole method by 
which they can be known, and when I commenced the 
survey of his character I quickly discovered that Samuel 
was deficient in some of the rules of prudence, but that 
in the variety of his accomplishments he was unexampled. 
To denote the scope and instances of his versatility is a task 
for which I am unequal, and when I reflect on all he has done 

"... 'tis wonder that enwraps me." 

For a while when his fortunes were at their lowest ebb, 
Samuel was misanthropic, and spoke of going to live in 
Alaska. His thoughts were probably turned upon that 
icy country by reading his favorite poet, Campbell, who 
refers to 

" The wolf's long howl on Analaska's shore." 

72 Fifty Years Observation. 

If he had carried out his purpose the germ of his re 
nown might have been frozen and killed, or that wolf 
might have devoured him, and we should never have heard 
of Sam as the u king of the lobby and the prince of good 
fellows." He did not go to Alaska, however, but he left 
San Francisco, as I supposed to hide himself in 

" The mountains and the barbarous caves " 

of California. He was not long absent, but long enough 
to enrich his vocabulary with the dialects of several tribes 
of wild Indians, while he added little to his fortunes and 
nothing to his accomplishments. 

Having thus within the period of a few years been 
forced by the blasts of an adverse fortune to abandon the 
haunts of luxury, and compelled to subsist on the coarse 
stubs and meagre repasts of poverty, he appears to have 
formed the plan of his future life upon the supposition 
that pleasure and happiness are convertible terms, and 
that mankind are generally gullible. Some natural affec 
tions remained in him, as he is fond of caressing babies, 
and always finds something tender to say to aged and de 
jected females. Whatever has been his scheme or pur 
pose, the principal auxiliary to gain it has been a dinner, 
and as the organizer of dinners and the presiding genius of 
feasts he is everywhere known. To consider him chiefly 
as a gastronomer is my design and excuse for this digres 
sion from the subject of this memoir. 

When he returned to San Francisco from his short so 
journ among the savages, he went to live with Hall 
McAllister, who is his relative. Hall is of a hospitable 
disposition, and has long shone from the summit of the 
California Bar. One day, wishing to give a dinner to a 
party of his friends, he commissioned Sam to prepare it, 
allowing him carte blanche. Hall went early to his office, 

Ward as a Dinner-giver. 73 

and at his return towards night he found several me 
chanics at work in his kitchen building a new range, hav 
ing already removed the old one. Sam was supervising the 
workmen, who were employed at $10, $12 and $16 a day, 
and the one who was to foot the bills had not been con 
sulted. In due course of time the dinner was ready, and the 
guests assembled to the number of eighteen or twenty, of 
which I was one. Looking around upon the company, I 
discovered a uniformity in their countenances, which arose 
from an expression of compliant benevolence such as men 
acquire who habitually eat good dinners and drink good 
wine at the expense of other men. 

Sam's air denoted perplexity and doubt, which was ac 
counted for by the fact that he had engaged a cook who 
was refractory to his orders ; but in the end he triumphed. 
The dinner proved a perfect success, and in the midst of 
it there came upon the table a dish superladen with orna 
ments, the name of which no one could tell. Sam was 
appealed to for information, but instead of responding at 
once, he proceeded to examine it with the solemnity of an 
autopsy. When he had finished he said : " Gentlemen, 
the name of this dish, the basis of which is beef, is not 
found in any of the catalogues, but it is composed in the 
fashion of Bechemelle." Now, although I ate many a 
feast, and drank many a flagon with Mr. Ward, the above 
detailed allusion will suffice to show that Sam's motives 
are always mysterious, that his conduct is attended with 
surprises, that he often dignifies trifles, and sometimes 
employs large phrases to convey small ideas. What 
ordinary mortals call a spit is, with him, a wand ; his 
stew-pans are alembics, his carving-knife is a bistoury, and 
his fork is a trident. At the feast, whether given by him 
self or others, he is always blandly cheerful and sympa 
thizing, and when he holds up a glass of old wine to the 

74 Fifty Years' Observation. 

light and looks through it, the glow of his countenance 
makes all others look dismal by the comparison. With 
such endowments as I have ascribed to him, joined to 
the ability to turn night into day, it might have been 
easily foreseen that when Mr. Ward transferred his 
presence to Washington, he would become " the king of 
the lobby " and gain repute as " the prince of good fel 

As Mr. Ward has been proclaimed by the newspapers, 
and by the ephemera of society, the model gastronomer 
of the country, it is fit that I should examine his title to 
that distinction and subject it to every test of excel 
lence. In the forms and ceremonies of feasts he is no 
toriously learned, and he possesses a smattering knowl 
edge of the chemical changes which the raw material of 
nourishment undergoes in its preparation for the table. 
Such knowledge may be acquired by ordinary men, but 
before a claim can be entertained to be the peer of such 
illustrious names as Scott and Kemble (at whose tables I 
never met Mr. Ward), we must examine further. We 
must scan his motives, the tendency and effect of his ex 
ample, and the character of his followers. Can a man's 
motives be laudable who gives dinners to men who have 
claims against the Government, and who promote him to 
be " king of the lobby " ? Can the effect and example 
of entertainments be commendable when, instead of in 
spiring a disposition to virtuous deeds they incline a man 
to commit more sin ? And, finally, is a man a good pa 
triot among whose adherents we find so many scurvy 
politicians, blatant demagogues, worldly theologians, in 
triguing courtiers, trencher friends, revellers, and time 
serving minute-jacks ? I think otherwise. 

Few persons ever held him to an account for his sins, 
or undertook to ascertain his depth. It struck me, how- 

Ward's Character. 75 

ever, that he was lacking in that which gives complete 
ness to genius and permanence to enterprise. He was 
fond of excitements that are near and notorious, and if 
he hid himself it was for effect. He loved poetry the 
charm of which is cheerful in sound, like that of Camp 
bell and Longfellow, but Shakespeare was to him, as far 
as I could observe, incomprehensible. He lived a stranger 
to the inspired prophets, and was unmoved by the won 
ders of creation. 


Scott as a Christian. His dislike for religious controversy. Expression of 
religious belief. His manner of worship. Comparison of eminent 
preachers in French and English. Strength of Scott's convictions. 

" Let never day nor night unhallowed pass, 
But still remember what the Lord hath done." 

THAT which most ennobles humanity is a belief in the 
Christian religion, compared with which the grand 
est earthly prize is an unsubstantial trifle. The man who 
clearly recognizes the truth of revelation is permitted to 
know by intuition more of the works of the Almighty 
than the greatest scientist can learn of the properties of 
matter in all its forms, combinations, and changes. The 
field which the Christian explores is illimitable in extent, 
and filled with charms that continue till his death, which 
the good deplore. 

The path of the infidel worldling is narrow and 
crooked, and ends in confusion and misery. The pleas 
ures he pursues are bubbles that break at every acci 
dent, and after his death we remember nothing of him 
but his follies. 

It is my purpose to describe General Scott as a Chris 
tian, in the broadest sense of the term, and not as a sec 
tarian. He seemed always averse to religious contro 
versy and to estimate its futility as strongly as did the 
author of the following stanza : 

" Who travels in religious jars, 

Truth mixed with error, shades with rays, 
Like Whiston wanting pyx or stars, 
In ocean wide, or sinks or strays." 

Chaplain Warner. 77 

The first time I ever heard General Scott speak of re 
ligion was something more than a year after I joined 
him. It was during a long conversation he then had 
with the Reverend Thomas Warner, who was at the time 
chaplain and professor of ethics and belles-lettres in the 
Military Academy. 

The general was fond of conversing with that gifted 
clergyman, for whom I entertained a great admiration. I 
trust, therefore, that a concise account of him will not be 
out of place here. 

Mr. Warner was a man of genius, and in person he so 
strongly resembled General Jackson as to be sometimes 
mistaken for that old hero. Tall, spare, and erect in car 
riage, his Roman profile and full-thatched, iron-gray head 
and handsome face were lighted up by a pair of deep 
blue eyes that changed their expression with every emo 
tion of his soul. Though a clergyman, he was passionate, 
ambitious, and more haughty than beseems a follower of 
the meek Redeemer. He was also morbid, and in his 
moments of depression he would lament the hardness of 
his youthful lot, which entailed upon him the loss of 
early instruction. He would also speak in a tone of bitter 
ness of having married a woman whom he supposed to be 
rich, to discover, when too late, that " she had not a cent ! " 

I learned more from Professor Warner in the section 
room than from any other teacher, and I sat four years 
under his preaching. I afterwards heard the celebrated 
Dr. Hawks about the same length of time. I could never 
decide which of the two could read the Episcopal Ser 
vice better, or was more eloquent in the pulpit, each 
being superior to any other divine I had listened to. 
The polish of Mr. Warner's language and the music of 
his rich tenor voice attracted General Scott, who was 
pleased to converse with him. 

78 Fifty Years' Observation. 

In the year 1835 the inhabitants of West Point were 
shocked by the death of Cadet Carter, who was 
killed accidentally while fencing with one of his most in 
timate friends. The button of his opponent's foil came 
off, and the bare point of the weapon passed through 
young Carter's eye to his brain, inflicting a wound from 
which he died in a few days. Hearing of the accident 
Chaplain Warner, without first seeking permission from 
the superintendent, hastened to the hospital to administer 
consolation to the dying youth, and for this disregard for 
the regulations the reverend gentleman was placed in ar 
rest. He was afterwards released, and he came down to 
the headquarters of the Eastern Division in New York 
to discharge his fancied griefs into the ear of General 
Scott. I was present at the interview, and can never for 
get how fiercely the fire of resentment can burn in the 
breast of a Christian pastor. 

I had witnessed the anger of Mr. Warner on many 
occasions while I was a cadet. One Sunday morning he 
came to the chapel following the cadets. It was evident 
from the expression of his face and the nervous move 
ments of his hands that he was out of humor, and when 
he observed that one cadet did not rise with all the 
others, as prescribed by the ritual, he leaned over his 
desk, pointed sharply at the seated youngster, and ex 
claimed : " I'll thank you to rise ! " The color left his 
face, and his voice and eyes displayed the extreme of 
anger. After holding the young cadet under his wild 
gaze a whole minute, he resumed his erect position, and 
proceeded with the service. His anger continued, and in 
his sermon he evidently strayed from his notes to attack 
sin and the indifference of sinners, with unusual vehe 

The displeasure shown on the above occasion was as a 

Chaplain Warner. 79 

flash, compared with the torrent of vengeful eloquence he 
poured out to General Scott. He pictured his obligation 
as a minister of the gospel to fly to the bedside of the 
dying boy, and declared that no human regulation could 
prevail with him against such a sacred duty. He attacked 
the superintendent, and upbraided the surgeons for in- 
competency, saying that with proper treatment the youth 
might have been saved. General Scott listened to his 
visitor with patient attention, and did not even comment 
on the chaplain's mistaken views of military orders and 
regulations, but was so much excited by his fervor that he 
began to comment on certain grievances of his own, and 
in the course of his remarks the general uttered several 
oaths, taking God's name in vain. For such rudeness and 
impropriety he quickly corrected himself, and apologized 
to Mr. Warner. His excuse was that he had contracted 
the vile habit of profanity in his youth, and although he 
had constantly striven to correct himself it would some 
times break out in moments of great excitement. " But 
for this bad habit," continued the general, " I have for 
several years considered myself a good Christian." 

Mr. Warner left the office apparently content with his 
reception, and in a short time his connection with the 
Military Academy was severed. Subsequently he became 
the domestic chaplain of Colonel Herman Thorn, who 
was maintaining in Paris such a state as often to cloud 
the grandeur of King Louis Philippe and his court. The 
gorgeous household of Colonel Thorn was enhanced by 
the splendid presence and gracious voice of Mr. Warner ; 
but harmony between two such incongruous characters 
could not long subsist, and they soon separated. The 
sermons which he had composed and preached in the 
fashionable establishment Mr. Warner afterwards exhibit 
ed as " Good seed sown among thorns." Finally, his 

8o Fifty Years' Observation. 

purse and credit being exhausted, he was lodged in the 
Clichy Prison of Paris. He was there at the time Lieu 
tenant Halleck (afterwards General Halleck) while on a 
visit to the French capital, called to pay his respects. 
Mr. Warner came forward with a smile to greet him, and 
said : " I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me." 

The sad example of Mr. Warner is worth preserving. 
He was a firm believer in Christianity, and a man of pure 
morals, as well as a refined genius. His presence when 
not excited was uncommonly striking and dignified, and 
but for his impatience and ungovernable temper he would 
have achieved the highest honors of the church to which 
he belonged. 

The declaration of General Scott that he considered 
himself a good Christian was not belied at any time by 
my observation of his conduct. The manifestations of 
his piety were in accord with his general character. He 
was not of the abject, despondent class of Christians 
whose feebleness inclines them to be always leaning on 
the Lord, nor timid like the Publican, who in terror cried 
for mercy from a remote corner of the Temple ; but he 
modelled after the Centurion, who boasted of his high 
commands and whose robust faith was approved by our 
Saviour. He often read the Bible on Sundays, and when 
I approached he would say, " I am searching the Scrip 
tures." He was an habitual attendant at the Episcopal 
Church, and his deportment during the service was char 

Let us follow him into the sanctuary through the high 
est arched gate where he has passed. When at home 
he generally carried a splendid gold-headed cane, which 
was a present, and as strong as the staff of Jacob. 
This cane he took with him to church, and on being 
seated in his pew he would superpose his two hands, the 

Scott's Religion. 8 1 

one above the other, on this cane, bend forward, and offer 
a silent prayer. His length of limb made it difficult for 
him to kneel, and I never saw his knee touch the earth in 
adoration, nor did I ever hear him pray audibly. In 
church, throughout the service, he always rose at the 
proper time and stood bolt upright. His responses were 
uttered in a full voice, and with such distinctness as to be 
heard far around. The dignity with which he rose, and 
the grace with which he resumed his seat, were wonder 
fully conspicuous. 

Prejudiced and uncharitable persons might infer from 
the foregoing description that General Scott's religion was 
Pharisaical. It was, however, quite the contrary. The 
typical Pharisee of Scripture was unsocial, sour, and 
devoted to self. General Scott was cheerful, grateful, 
and his abundant benevolence was the offspring of a 
generous nature. His Creator had been bountiful to him 
in the bestowal of physical health and strength, and a 
sturdy moral sense. His playfulness, his occasional out 
bursts of temper, his adjurations and a few venial sins, 
were the natural result of a redundant energy. When he 
entered the temple of the Lord, and stood erect before 
the Altar, his motive was to show that he had not 
neglected the talents confided to him. He did not affect 
the outward shows of asceticism, but his frequent ejacu 
lation was, " Rend your hearts and not your garments." 

He considered the sanctions of Holy Writ essential to 
a lofty character, and he was an habitual reader of the 
Bible. The prayers and sublime liturgies of the Catholic 
Church, many of which are found in the Episcopal Prayer 
Book, never failed to attract and interest him. Other re 
ligious books he seldom perused, and although he was an 
attentive hearer of sermons, he read not many of such as 
are in print. So far as I could observe, he was ignorant of 

82 Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

the sacred literature of France, notwithstanding his resi 
dence in that country. The Spanish tongue displays the 
majesty of heavenly truth, that of France reveals its love 
liness. Nowhere is the shrine of the Redeemer and His 
blessed Mother adorned with more appropriate emblems 
of piety, nor can there be conceived a form of worship 
more devout in its supplications, or submissive in its 
tenderness and trust, than that we see and hear in the 
French cathedrals. The number of eminent preachers is 
not great, although there has been, and there still remains 
a number of pulpit orators of surprising brilliancy. It is 
doubtful if there has been found among English-speaking 
ecclesiastics one who could match the fervent beauty and 
power of Bossuet, Massillon, or Bourdaloue of the past, or 
of Lacordaire, Vallet and a few others of the present 

After a careful survey of his character, there can be no 
question that General Scott's religious faith was deep and 
strong, and proof against the assaults of sceptics and in 
fidels. His morality was founded on religion and unvary 
ing integrity. An excess of ambition and jealousy of 
rivals, of which he seemed unconscious, were but the 
attendants of his lofty aspirations, and for these we are 
permitted to hope the Divine Master has pardoned him. 


Puritanism. Its nature, its benefits, and its dangers. A study of Puritan 
ism. Its origin. The first Puritans. Result of Puritan instruction. 
Puritans and Catholics in the conversion of the heathen. Puritan beliefs 
concerning private judgment. Character of our present government 
derived from Puritanism. 

THE opportunities that I have enjoyed to study Pu 
ritanism have been such as to impress its charac 
teristics strongly upon my mind. When, as a green boy, 
I entered the Military Academy, I was full of the vague 
apprehensions and the fearful sense of accountability that 
are infused in the minds of all Puritan children. There I 
commenced the battle of life with youths from every State 
in the Union, the majority of whom were ignorant of the 
nature of Puritanism, which I had supposed was universal 
and infallible. 

At the end of two years of hard study and seclusion, I 
went home on furlough, and was asked by my brother 
what I had learned at West Point. I replied that I had 
learned a great deal of mathematics, a little French, and 
military tactics. I also told him that, if the Southern 
boys with whom I associated were right, all I knew be 
fore going to the Military Academy was one wrong way 
to do a few things. 

Before going to West Point, I had never been in an 
Episcopal or a Roman Catholic church, and all I knew of 
the plan of salvation was derived from Presbyterians, 
Congregationalists, Methodists and Baptists all of whom 
I class together as Puritans in their relations to political 

84 Fifty Years' Observation. 

and civil life. I had also read many sermons of those 
sects, and a few of their books. 

The first time I attended the chapel of the Academy 
and saw the dignified person of Mr. Warner, invested in 
his Episcopal robes, heard him read the Litany and all 
the prayers from a book, I was profoundly impressed with 
the strange contrast before me to the forms of worship to 
which I had been accustomed. When I saw the congre 
gation stand up to sing, and kneel down to pray, I asked 
myself, why is this ? From that day and hour I began in 
voluntarily to study Puritanism and to reflect upon its 
origin. The more I observed the more I was confused, 
and I am not yet certain that I can define it clearly, or to 
tell precisely how it originated. Nevertheless, I have con 
vinced myself that it is characterized by many negations, 
and that it has been the cause of wonderful modifica 
tions in the civilized religious governments of men ; and 
notwithstanding it may appear presumptuous in me to 
attack so mighty a subject, I am going to describe 
Puritanism, its benefits and its dangers, as they appear 
to me. 

If we can imagine an original community of human 
beings all in as perfect health of body and mind as the 
race admits, and all ignorant of the strifes, diseases, suc 
cesses and miscarriages that in the future would come to 
agitate their spirits and modify their character, and if we 
suppose that a superior intelligence had observed our p^o- 
gcnitors in such a condition of pristine purity, and fore 
told the possible changes their descendants might under 
go, what would have been the conclusion ? It would have 
been easy to foresee that violence, lust, pride, avarice, in 
justice, ambition, poverty, hypocrisy, wrath, tyranny, ig 
norance, servility, and superstition would largely prevail ; 

Puritanism. 85 

and that there would also be found benevolence, fortitude, 
self-abnegation, chastity, sobriety, liberality, justice, frank 
ness, piety, and forgiveness, but there was nothing to in 
dicate that a Puritan would ever be possible. It remained 
after many generations and until folly, crime, ignorance, 
submission to wrong, sorrow, tyranny and superstition 
had wrought their effects, embittered existence, corrupted 
the healthful currents of life, made men desperate and 
reckless by exactions and hopeless suffering, that a class 
of men could be generated who would thrust aside and 
reject all hitherto existing customs, manners, usages, 
modes of thought, forms of rule and worship, and treat 
as worthless and beneath contempt every insignia of 
sacerdotal, civil and military rank, all the devices of 
heraldry, and every token of inequality among men. In 
addition to all that, it was necessary to suppress or 
subdue the pleasures of sense, destroy all the forms of 
beauty which had hitherto been engraved on stone and 
traced on canvas, or wrought on gems, metals, wood and 
tissues, and to forbid their renewal ; to add to the list of 
sins dancing, music, plays, sports, fashions, hilarity, and 
every diversion that nature craves ; and finally to incul 
cate in children an idea that all the thoughts, exemptions, 
immunities and privileges of the magistrates, of courts, 
camps and church are wrong, and force them to believe 
that to hate kings, lords, and the pope is a supreme duty, 
and that there was no beauty but the beauty of Puritan 
holiness. Finally, that future salvation could only follow 
an overworked, joyless life of unbroken sadness. When we 
contemplate the folly, injustice, presumption, and cruelty 
of human domination in the ages that are past, we are in 
no way surprised that such a race of desperate men should 
have arisen. That they could gain proselytes, however, 
when they proclaimed open war on all the pleasures and 

86 Fifty Years' Observation. 

diversions of youth, all the worldly ends and aims of man 
hood, and all the earthly prizes of ambition, surprises us 
beyond expression. Yet all that was accomplished, 
and Puritanism became the mightiest power of all the 

The original Puritans were destitute of arms, equip 
ments, and generals. They had no baggage but the 
Bible, a slate, and spelling-book, and for music they sub 
stituted dolorous hymns and canticles recited in nasal 
tones. The bounties they offered for recruits were hard 
work and meagre fare 312 days in the year, long written 
sermons to hold up the horrors of Catholicism and im 
penitence, and extempore prayers 52 days, and one day 
for thanksgiving. Their numbers increased slowly in the 
Old World, and the scorn of the aristocrats threatened 
them with annihilation, until the choicest spirits among 
them gathered together and went across the ocean to 
plant a colony in New England. It was a far-off, cold, 
rocky outpost, where every man, woman, and child was 
obliged to work or starve, and it was there they organized 
the relentless war they afterwards waged against all the 
strongholds of tyranny, privilege, and ignorance. They 
advanced upon the old civilizations, and never abandoned 
a position they had once gained. They could not be 
frightened, because they were bound by a terrible dogma, 
which cannot be described, and which they called " prin 
ciple," and is superior to fear ; nor could they be bought 
by kings and priests, because they had nothing the Puri 
tans valued to offer them. The hopelessness of the task 
served only to add to the dogged energy of the workers, 
and what the democracy of Greece, and all the rebellious 
assemblages from Mons Sacra to the battle of Jemappes 
wholly failed to accomplish, was finally established by the 
unfaltering obstinacy of the Puritans. Tyrants were cowed, 

Dangers of Puritanism. 87 

and as a consequence the people now legislate for them 
selves, without molestation or constraint. 

The results of Puritan instruction and example have 
been to set free the human genius and to unshackle its 
energies. The whole earth has been surveyed, the secrets 
of chemistry and magnetism unveiled, the mechanic powers 
vastly developed, comforts and plenty immensely multi 
plied, universal suffrage and education established with 
us, and both demanded in all the other civilized nations 
of the world. Such are the benefits and effects which 
must be imputed to Puritanism, and now it is proper to 
state the dangers to which it apparently tends, and the 
evils that may hereafter arise from it. 

Originally one of the chief elements of Puritanism was 
religion of a peculiar character, which was evidenced by 
an austere sanctity, a lack of ornament, and a fierce icono- 
clasm. The characters and habits of thought were so 
inculcated in its youthful votaries, that a man might lose 
his religion and not cease, apparently, to be a Puritan. 
Moreover, at the breaking off from the old primitive church 
which had preserved the rites and traditions of Christi 
anity, although lewd and corrupt men were found among 
its ministers, the Puritans had indulged in many spite 
ful negations which were repugnant to reason, and set 
an example of discontent and rebellion against laudable 
things. Hence the multiplication of sects, and the in 
crease of scepticism, which, as it frequently lapses into in 
fidelity, threatens the whole fabric with destruction and 
the loss of the greatest benefit and solace to man, which 
is the Church of Christ. 

There was another defect in Puritanism, which appears 
like an instinct when acting upon savage and heathen 
races of men. The Puritans in all cases in which they 
have undertaken to evangelize the barbarians have failed, 

88 Fifty Years' Observation. 

because they have required them first to become Puritans, 
which was an impossibility. Wherever the Puritan mis 
sionaries have appeared in contact with them, the abo 
rigines of this continent have withered and disappeared 
like the green herbage upon which a cloud of locusts 
has settled. I asked our representative at the Sandwich 
Islands, General McCook, what they had taught the 
Kanakas. " They have taught them discontent," said 
he ; " and every one of them that is old enough knows 
how to read and write, and the race is disappearing with 
fearful rapidity." 

In contrast let us observe the Catholics among the 
heathen, and especially what the Jesuit fathers have ac 
complished, and how they proceeded. Once in Rome I 
enjoyed the honor of a long conversation with the Gen 
eral of the Jesuits, and had several interviews with his 
gifted secretary, Father Armilini, S. J. They showed me 
the spot in the cell where we conversed where St. Ignatius 
Loyola wrote the constitution of their society, where he 
took his meals, where he slept, where he prayed, and 
where he died. They told me that in all his writings and 
instructions to his followers he inculcated the necessity 
of first studying the characters of the people to whom 
they ministered. They were required to acquaint them 
selves clearly with the impulses, modes of thought, and 
all the peculiarities of the heathen, and of all unbelievers 
of every nation and sect, and then to lead them out of 
their errors into the Catholic Church. In that manner 
they succeeded in civilizing, converting, and preserving 
many savage tribes, and arresting infidelity. 

On the Pacific coast of our own country the benefi 
cence of their labors was apparent in the well-being of 
many Indians, but when the breath of our countrymen 
fell upon them they perished almost immediately. The 

Dangers of Puritanism. 89 

labors of the Puritans are most effective among those who 
prize comfort and " progress." If St. Ignatius had taught 
his followers to study mechanics, and to preach thrift and 
convenience, there would have been no Puritans. 

There is another 'dangerous tendency in Puritanism, 
which arises from the unabridged, unregulated right of 
private judgment in matters of religion, and from the ab 
solute universality and equality of the suffrage which it 
inculcates. The two operating together, besides the en 
couragement they give to infidelity, operate to produce 
political and social equality, which if it could be estab 
lished would, in the opinion of Dr. Johnson, destroy all 
happiness but physical happiness. Absolute, universal, 
and equal suffrage cannot prove beneficent in the end, 
unless the majority of mankind are good. If they are so, 
then we must conclude that the wise men of Greece, the 
inspired writers and prophets of old, and the experience 
of the best men of all ages and all countries have been 
erroneous. It is true that many of the old Puritans were 
made so arrogant by their austerities that they called in 
question the wisdom of the Creator in making man as he 
is, and they have endeavored to change his essential dis 
position, but thus far they have not wholly succeeded. 
Absolute equality of suffrage was never admitted on a 
large scale until we in the United States adopted it since 
the war of the Rebellion. Wherever it has approached 
nearest to equality in fully populated countries it has in 
variably terminated in disaster. Its deluded advocates 
in our country have been encouraged by the facility of 
gaining subsistence from our vast fertile territory. As 
soon as the public domain is disposed of, and the price 
of all lands enhanced, there will be no more room for 
easy expansion, and the agrarian spirit will make head 
against property, which is the fundamental basis of all 

90 Fifty Years Observation. 

human society. Children are now born who will live to 
see the suffrage abridged, or to witness the spilling of 
more blood on account of exactions, principally through 
taxation, peculation, and legal plunder, than was shed on 
account of negro slavery. 

The character and policy of our Government, as it is 
now administered, and the prevailing system of education, 
are the result of Puritanism. Our wealth, prosperity, and 
power excite the envy of the world, and yet, uncon 
sciously to most people, we are sowing the seeds of de 
struction. Our system of common schools, as they are 
conducted, inculcates in the minds of the youth of both 
sexes the idea that the right of indigent children to a 
luxurious education at the expense of others is a perfect 
right, for which no acknowledgment of respect or grati 
tude is due from them. The teachers are mostly of the 
same conviction, and the result is a diminution of respect 
for age and duty to parents, aversion to necessary subor 
dination, an agrarian idea of property, and a general con 
tempt for manual labor. This state of things can be en 
dured without any very obvious disturbance, so long as 
we can command foreign " help " to do our drudgery, 
while cheap land is to be had, and until overcrowding of 
population begins to multiply its foul brood of evils. If 
the present rate of increase continues, that state of things 
will be established within the next fifty years. After 
that the shrinking process will commence, the foot of the 
grown man must be diminished to fit the shoe of the 
child, and the irremediable horrors of an over-dense popu 
lation will be apparent to all persons except such as de 
rive their happiness from the misfortunes and sufferings 
of their fellow-beings. 

In this chapter it has been my purpose to give an idea 
of the origin and essential qualities of Puritanism, as well 

Puritan Theories. 91 

as its effects upon governments, civilization and manners. 
The theory of the Puritans seems to be subject to many 
disputes and rapid changes. It appears to me that it is 
less characterized by the religious element than by politi 
cal equality, or freedom, as it is called. Upon that sub 
ject it would be needless for me to enlarge. 

No one can fail to observe the immense stream of util 
ity that has its origin in Puritanism, and we see that many 
of our most able, honest, and enterprising citizens are of 
Puritan descent, but they have lost the grimness of 
their forefathers. 

The Puritan theories of benevolence are too sentimental 
for me. I confess that I am not willing to contribute 
to teach every indigent child contempt for any kind of 
necessary labor, nor to play on grand pianos at the pub 
lic expense. I would not allow all the idle, vicious, 
penniless vagabonds to vote, especially the aliens, but 
I would give every child, however destitute, an oppor 
tunity to learn to read, write, and cipher, and every 
one, rich and poor, should be admitted upon equal con 
ditions to pursue every calling in life to gain his bread, 
and every able-bodied needy person should work or starve. 


The evils of foreign immigration. Scott opposed to foreign immigration. 
My study of his opinions. Overcrowded population in Europe. 
Anecdotes. Future of immigration in the United States. Foresight 
of Scott on this question. 

SCOTT was evidently opposed to giving 
V_J encouragement to foreign immigration, and he 
thought our future well-being as a nation would be best 
promoted by native increase of population. I infer that 
he would have denied the suffrage to foreign-born 
men, and that he had given some attention to the evils 
incident to too many people to the square mile while 
he was in Europe. When I was with him, I was ig 
norant of those evils, and they had not, until quite re 
cently, begun to be apparent in our country. I have 
since made myself familiar with them to an extent that 
would require a volume to explain. I will give a few 

The vast majority of Americans who travel in Europe 
have no eyes for the dark caverns of misery, and no 
care but for luxury ; and the doings of the favorites of 
fortune and fashion shape all their conclusions. For 
tunately for me, before I visited Europe my opportu 
nities had enabled me to observe all the devices of fash 
ion, which are similar throughout the world. The 
manners of such as feel secure and easy, and the man 
ners of those who seek to enter the charmed circle by 
reason of newly-gotten gold, are so various as to defy 

Overcrowded Pop illation. 9 3 

description. This latter class of Americans is quite nu 
merous in Europe, and the vigor with which they display 
their wealth and court notoriety, although I was often 
amused and agreeably entertained by them at rare in 
tervals, had fewer attractions for me than many other 

I employed my time in studying the monuments of ages 
that are past, and to learn from them the history of igno 
rance, cruelty, oppression, folly, and suffering, as well as 
the proofs of labor, ingenuity, fortitude, affection, and 
piety, to which the human race has been subject. Above 
all else was I interested to learn the effect of overcrowd 
ing of population upon the poor, and upon all those un 
fortunate persons who have miscarried in their designs, 
or who were born to the heritage of misery. 

In Paris with my family I occupied one of ten apart 
ments in a large house ; each of the apartments had an 
average of eight rooms, including a kitchen for each. 
The concierge and his wife lived on the ground floor, 
and occupied a space of eight feet by twenty feet for re 
ception or business room, kitchen, and bedroom, upon 
which the sun never shone, and which received light from 
one barred window. The concierge and his wife were 
intelligent and respectable, and one of them was obliged 
to be present throughout every day and night of the year. 
They must attend to the door, to receive and transmit 
messages and parcels for ten families, and to keep in per 
fect order the stairway and elevator in a building six 
stories high, for all of which the proprietor paid them $25 
per month without board. In the course of time the 
wife of the concierge gave birth to a son. Two days 
after the birth the landlord made his appearance and noti 
fied the mother that she might retain her child till he was 
eight days old, and then she must send him away, which 

94 Fifty Years Observation. 

she did. The landlord also notified the parents that if 
they had another child they could not remain in his house. 
The French people could see nothing strange or un 
usual in the landlord's conduct, and the concierge said 
he must submit, as hundreds of couples would be very 
glad to get his place on any conditions. 

Within a year past the vast body of government em 
ployees in Paris, finding the pittance allowed them in 
sufficient for their subsistence, now that provisions are 
nearly twice as dear as they are in San Francisco, vent 
ured to draw up a petition for an increase of wages. 
The petition, after representing the hardships of the 
signers, asked for relief in terms of respect which ap 
peared to me humiliating. No notice but insult was 
given to the appeal, and several members of the Govern 
ment regarded the petition as seditious, and thought all 
the signers should be discharged ; and this under French 
Republican rule ! 

In Provence, which is in the southeastern portion of 
France, the three principal sources of wealth that the in 
habitants relied on for subsistence have been nearly cut 
off within the last twenty years, viz.: Madder for dyes 
has been displaced by a chemical ; olive trees, which have 
decayed in vast numbers, and vines, which have been 
nearly destroyed by the phylloxera. I asked an intelli 
gent farmer how the poor people (and nearly all are poor) 
lived. His reply was that their principal food was beans. 

In Switzerland, especially in the Maritime Alps, the 
hardships are more obvious than in any portion of 
France. The steep sides of the mountains are terraced 
with infinite labor, and when the rain washes away the 
soil it is carried up again in baskets by men, women, and 
children. Sometimes the drought destroys or cuts short 
the harvest, and then terrible suffering ensues. In the 

Conditions in Europe. 95 

most favorable seasons a comfortable subsistence can only 
be secured by the incessant toil of both sexes from in 
fancy to old age. 

Italy presents in many places still more startling scenes 
of misery than France or Switzerland. Hereditary lack of 
proper nourishment has resulted in dreadful diseases, for 
which there is no possible remedy but a better supply of 
food. Before I went to Italy I was told that " laziness," 
which many prejudiced persons suppose to be an invariable 
incident of " Popery," was the cause of the poverty I wit 
nessed. The falseness of that supposition is demonstrated 
by the eagerness with which our people seek for Catholic 
Belgian, French, Swiss, Italian, and Portuguese gardeners. 
The care, diligence and skill of one of those will double 
the product of an equal area of ground over the waste 
and neglect of one of our native-bred laborers. Instead 
of * laziness " being apparent in the husbandry around 
Milan, Florence, Bologna, and Naples, I found the lands 
labored, caressed, and coaxed to yield as abundant har 
vests as in any part of the world. In Naples I was told 
that many laborers considered themselves rich if they had 
six cents per day to subsist on viz., two cents for wine, 
two cents for maccaroni, one cent for vegetables, and one 
cent for tobacco. A robust young laborer of Antwerp 
told me there were many men in Belgium as good as him 
self who only tasted meat once a year. There are dens 
of filth and squalor in all the large cities of Europe which 
I never cared to inspect, but within a month I have seen 
an official report of the condition of the poor in Paris, 
which states that the city now contains over 46,000 indi 
gent families (menages), but the families average a fraction 
less than three in each. It is well known that in France 
the growth of population is checked by immoral prac 
tices. Unthinking observers usually impute those prac- 

g6 Fifty Years Observation. 

tices to other than their true cause. I once asked a 
French woman, who was the manager of a large hotel, 
why she had only one child. " Because," said she, " I 
can't afford to have more ! " 

In England they are now speculating on the best 
method of arresting the increase of population. One of 
the means practised is to ship great numbers of paupers 
and vicious persons to America at the public expense. 
The same is done and has long been practised on an ex 
tensive scale in the continental countries of Europe, es 
pecially in Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. Enforced 
emigration is necessary from those regions where the soil 
has been more. or less exhausted, and where the animal 
forces of men,, women, and children, horses, mules, oxen, 
cows, donkeys, and dogs, are taxed, often to excess, to 
gain a bare subsistence that our poorest people would 
scorn. In those countries there is not half as many idlers 
proportionately as we find in all parts of the United 

Those examples ought to influence the patriot and man 
of foresight among us to withhold all encouragement to 
foreign immigration. The first step should be to repeal 
all naturalization laws, and only to constitute one voting 
citizen at a time from an alien by an act of Congress. 
Our Consul at Zurich, Switzerland, Mr. Byers, has inves 
tigated the evils I am speaking of, and he is strongly in 
favor of regulating emigration, with a view to diminish it. 
That is made the more necessary by the average increase 
in the length of human life, which is due chiefly to ma 
chinery and easy transportation. Forty years ago the 
labor of travelling and moving goods on land and by sea 
and of cultivating the soil was so great as to exhaust our 
people prematurely and to shorten life. 

I have not visited many of the pagan countries, but 

Scott on Foreign Immigration. 97 

every one ought to be aware of the indescribable horrors 
of overcrowding of population in India, China, and Japan. 
With our present rate of increase of population, the 
United States will, at the end of 125 years, contain a 
greater number of inhabitants to the square mile than 
either of those countries. A hundred years in the dura 
tion of a well-governed State ought to be considered as 
one year in the life of a man, and the time will very 
shortly arrive when the curses of all good citizens will fall 
thick upon the names of those silly enthusiasts and sordid 
grovellers who now exert themselves to promote emigra 
tion from any country in the world. 

The foresight of General Scott could not be more strik 
ingly exemplified than by the fact that, when all our do 
main from the immediate borders of the Mississippi River 
to the Pacific Ocean was an uncultivated wilderness and 
the haunt of savages and wild beasts, he clearly foresaw 
the evils that would arise from a too rapid increase of 
foreigners among us, and gave a note of warning against 

It is proper that I should analyze the kind of govern 
ment to which in his heart, it appeared to me, General 
Scott aspired. My conclusions are the results of the 
boundless confidence he reposed in me, and are not 
wholly derived from his writings, nor his speeches, when 
he sought the Presidency. It would be idle for him, or 
any other man, to hope to be Chief Magistrate of the 
United States who could not heartily pay his court to the 
Irish and Germans. Not because the votes of those two 
nationalities tend to secure good laws and good execu 
tion of them, but because of their clannishness, and the 
imperiousness with which their numbers and wealth en 
able them to sway legislation and to modify our customs. 
His awkwardness as a stump speaker was in part due to 

98 Fifty Years' Observation. 

the fact that, being in the canvass, he was obliged to act 
a part that was foreign to *his convictions in many par 

General Scott would never have sought the counsel nor 
suffered the dictation of the alien element in our midst to 
frame the government of his choice ; otherwise his plans 
were as broad as the limits of his country. He would 
have scanned the theories and weighed the maxims of 
sobriety and industry of the Puritans. He would have 
given heed to the martial spirit and social graces of the 
holders of slaves, though he would have gladly discarded 
their peculiar institution. He had learned from the Jews 
how commendable it is in children to love and honor 
their parents. He reverenced religion, but would have 
inculcated tolerance and absolute freedom of conscience. 
He was learned in scripture ; he had imbibed the spirit 
of civil prudence from Shakespeare, the lessons of history 
and the essential attributes of man, and he was convinced 
that certain degrees, not lapsing in tyranny, but founded 
in merit, experience, talent, services, and age, are neces 
sary to give stability and dignity to human governments. 

The degrees he would have encouraged are such only 
as spring from innate or well-earned superiority, and such 
gifts and services as are employed for the benefit of 
society, in whatever rank they are found. Often did he 
call my attention to laboring men in his employ, and 
would say: " Young gentleman, that man you see work 
ing in his shirt-sleeves does his duty faithfully, and you 
are bound to respect him as though he were clothed in 

No man could have been more careful than he to re 
spect the feelings and to guard the rights of all persons 
who toil in the inferior, or rather in the least conspicuous, 
fields of industry. On the other hand, he rejected all 

Scott's Ideal Government. 99 

propositions coming from idlers and dissolute people, as 
well as from enthusiasts and dreaming humanitarians, 
who go about to correct abuses and remedy evils which 
they have not investigated. 

The essential quality of the government to which Gen 
eral Scott aspired was healthfulness in all its elements. 
He could not imagine the possibility that bad seed could 
produce a good harvest, or that a sickly tree could pro 
duce wholesome fruit. Neither did he think it reason 
able to encourage or to permit large bodies of aliens wl:o, 
in the contests of the Old World, have been degraded Ly 
reason of their physical, mental, and moral weaknesses 
and their crimes, to come among us, to exercise the suf 
frage, to make laws, and to corrupt our youth with 
vicious examples. Hence his intense repugnance to the 
race of extreme humanitarians. It has been said that 
whole nations from time to time become insane, and that 
fact is sufficiently established by many enactments and 
usages of past ages. But was there ever a period in the 
history of mankind in which insanity was more apparent, 
or more to be deplored, than we find it in many of our 
learned citizens and highest functionaries, who strive to 
bring within our borders the oppressed and downtrodden 
of the whole world, and to constitute them, politically, 
the equals of our best citizens. Such false philanthro 
pists are the architects of ruin. They always build the 
monuments of human folly so high that they tumble 
down before the crowning statue can be put up. What 
is called liberty with us is fast turning to license and 



Scott's character as exhibited in the book. His comments on events.* 
Burr's trial. Wilkinson. War with England. The quarrel with Jack 
son. Anecdotes of Jackson. Van Buren's Administration. Troubles 
in Canada. Anecdotes of a journey with Scott. Scott in the South. 
The Cherokees. Scott as a politician. His opinions. Benton. The 
autobiography on the Mexican War. 

AT the time the autobiography of General Scott 
issued from the press I was away, and for several 
years succeeding my whole attention was given to my 
private affairs. The comments of the critics were not in 
all cases flattering to his work, and as it happened that 
his book never came into my hands, my omission to read 
what he had written was entirely accidental, and fortunate, 
as it served to verify the impressions of his character 
which long personal intercourse with him had left in my 

To me it is not surprising that a person should under 
value General Scott, if he only knows him from his auto 
biography. When the general attempts to describe his 
own good qualities he frequently appears like a boaster, 
and the petulance of his irritable disposition finds vent in 
many pages. I intend to trace the filaments of his true 
character through his writings, and to disentangle them, 
as far as I am able, from the cankers that gathered upon 
them in the gloom of his declining years. 

The general's comments on the trial of Aaron Burr for 
treason are concise and pleasant to read. A hundred 
times did I hear him speak of that trial, at which he was 

Scott's Autobiography. 101 

present, and it always appeared to me that he disliked 
Jefferson as much as he did Burr. He never failed to ex 
press his hostility to any man who dabbled with the unity 
of these States, but he was seldom as emphatic in his de 
nunciations as he is in his book, in which he exclaims : 
" It is a striking fact that three of our Vice-Presidents 
Aaron Burr, J. C. Calhoun, and J. C. Breckinridge be 
came, each in his day, a leader in treason." 

During the trial of Burr, and soon after he had been ad 
mitted to the bar, Scott was, as he declares, first seized 
with a desire to become a soldier, and there was not in 
him the making of a first-class lawyer. He might have 
been a respectable counsellor, but as a pleader before a 
jury he would have failed. In the whole domain of 
history that I have searched I have found no proof that a 
great general could be, or could have been, a great jury 

The character of mind essential to a successful jury 
lawyer must be such that he can conform, pliantly and 
without seeming effort, to every cause, and advocate 
either side with equal sincerity and zeal. He must be elo 
quent alike for judge and jury, and able to know human 
nature at a glance in all its customary and accidental con 
ditions, and quick to address the proper argument neces 
sary to convert to his own purpose all whom he seeks to 
convince or control. He must have groans always at com 
mand, and be as ready to shed tears as Leonarda in the 
robbers' cave. Finally he must know when he has con 
vinced the court and jury, and when to quit and sit 
down. It is the privilege of the great advocate, such as 
I have described, to release the assassin, and let the mur 
derer go unpunished to acquit the thief, and justify the 
betrayer of trusts to give credit to perjurers and 
slanderers, and to enable confederate villains to pillage 
industrious and to cloud the names of innocent men. 

IO2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Scott's military career commenced as captain of light 
artillery, and on the 3d of May, 1808, which is the date 
of his first commission. His comments upon the state of 
the army at that time display a spirit of fairness, and he 
records the names and merits of officers uninfluenced by 
the pique and jealousies that subsequently warped his 
judgment of some of them. Referring to the officers com 
missioned at about the same time with himself, he thrusts 
at President Jefferson, whom he accuses of contempt for 
the military character consequent upon his hostility to 
those men who achieved our independence. Not only 
were Jefferson's appointments to the army generally bad, 
but those commissioned by Jackson, Polk, and Pierce 
were of a similar character. Such was the opinion of 
General Scott, who, it must be understood, was hostile to 
the four Presidents above named. At the same time, 
much to his honor, Scott pays a compliment to the West 
Point Academy, the benefits of which, although he did 
not enjoy them, he estimated throughout the whole of 
his life as highly as any one of its graduates. 

It was in the year 1809 when, after a leave of absence 
and visit to the North, Captain Scott rejoined his com 
pany, that his natural repugnance to rivals and such as 
stood in his way becomes apparent. Scott had expressed 
his belief that the Department Commander, Wilkinson, 
under whom he served, was a confederate in Burr's trea 
son. Wilkinson and Scott could not have lived or acted 
together in harmony under any possible conditions. 
Each thought the other vain and weak, and Scott's sug 
gestion, which was subsequently, as he states, verified 
that Wilkinson was a traitor was for that reason the 
more distasteful to the latter. It verifies the French 
maxim, " There is nothing but the truth that always 
offends," and it gave rise to an intensely malignant feud. 
Wilkinson charged Scott with having gambled away the 

Horace Greeley. 103 

money he had received to pay his soldiers, and the accu 
sation is recorded in Wilkinson's Memoirs. General 
Scott never detailed the whole affair to me, but he ex 
plained it fully in his autobiography, and he gives the 
finding of the court-martial which tried him, and in which 
these words appear : " The court have no hesitation in 
acquitting the accused [Scott] of all fraudulent intentions 
in detaining the pay of his men." 

There was nothing unusual in Captain Scott's conduct. 
He probably was negligent or forgetful of a small item, 
but his accounts had not been settled, and the charge 
against him was, as I judge, a simple ebullition of per 
sonal spite. Nevertheless something remained of it to 
be employed against him subsequently by his political 
opponents. I remember that in the first canvass of 
General Scott for the Presidency, Horace Greeley came 
to me in the cars one day and asked me to explain 
Wilkinson's charge against Scott for using his soldiers' 
money. I was not then able to detail all the facts, but I 
told Mr. Greeley that the charge was slanderous, and that 
it arose from a transaction usual in the army, and which 
was the result of forgetfulness or slight error in accounts. 

I had never before seen Mr. Greeley, who was then 
beginning to attract notice as the editor of the New York 
Tribune. At that time he was about thirty-five years old, 
round-faced and healthful, with blue eyes and very light 
hair. The restless eagerness of his interrogations denoted 
the character he afterwards established, which enabled 
him to change his convictions or ruling texts and hobbies 
as suddenly as a bird in a cage hops from one perch to 
another. Mr. Greeley was a man of good intentions, but 
he made the grand mistake of killing himself with over 
work, in order to leave the world better than he found it, 
and to be President. 

IO4 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Having been falsely accused by General Wilkinson and 
suspected by his enemies of having appropriated to his 
own use the money due to his men, it is proper that I 
should give my own solemn opinion of General Scott's 

During many years I was intimate with his minutest 
pecuniary and business transactions, as I have been with 
a vast number of others, and among them all not one has 
appeared to me to be a more perfect model of honesty 
than Winfield Scott. It was impossible for him to cheat ; 
he was so unsuspiciously honest that he was often duped 
by rogues. My old friend, the glorious Gouverneur 
Kemble, while he was at the head of West Point 
Foundry, often manufactured guns, shot and shells for 
the United States. At one time Mr. Kemble received in 
his office a man who brought from General Scott a letter 
of introduction, which contained fulsome praise of the 
individual's good character and fitness to have a contract. 
As soon as Mr. Kemble finished reading the letter the 
bearer, in the most unblushing manner, submitted a plan 
by which they could cheat the Government. All this I 
had from Mr. Kemble's own lips, and he agreed with me 
that General Scott was incapable of dishonesty. 

The manner in which Scott describes the part he took 
in the war with England, of 1812, displays to perfec 
tion his aspirations and his ardent ambition. He seems 
indifferent to fatigue and seeks the post of danger on 
all occasions. His jealousy of prerogative never forsakes 
him, and he refuses to join the expedition against 
Queenstown which had already been organized with 
Lieutenant-Colonel Van Rensellaer in command, because 
his own commission of the same grade was the older. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Fenwick had waived rank, but Scott 
declined, and he only consented to cross and assume the 
command after Van Rensellaer had been wounded and 

Scott on Armstrong. 105 

disabled. He fought desperately, but was overwhelmed by 
numbers and taken prisoner. 

Scott, having been paroled and afterward exchanged, 
resumed his military duties in January, 1813. His 
references to the operations of the army on the north 
ern frontier during the year make us acquainted with 
a succession of disasters that were due to unskilful 
combinations and incompetent commanders. He pays 
a tribute of respect to Major-General Dearborn, on 
whose staff he served for a while as chief, and to the 
Secretary of War, Armstrong. When he announces the 
instalment of the new commanding officer, General Wil 
kinson, September 4, 1813, his unsubdued rancor breaks 
forth in a note of which the following is a transcript: 
" The selection of this unprincipled imbecile was not 
the blunder of Secretary Armstrong. Wilkinson, whose 
orders were dated March 10, 1813, contrived not to 
reach Fort George till the 4th of September!" 

For how many of the blunders and miscarriages of the 
year 1813 General Wilkinson was responsible, it is need 
less for me to inquire. It is evident that Scott regarded 
him as the chief offender, and hence the bitter vindictive- 
ness of his criticisms a vindictiveness which in this 
instance is excusable. General Scott was a perfectly 
honest man in money matters; and when Wilkinson 
assailed his integrity he committed an offence greater 
than murder, and Scott had a right to avenge himself by 
every measure, even by weapons drawn from the arsenals 
of hell ! 

For Mr. Van Buren, who was emerging to notice in 
1813, notwithstanding his politics and friendship for Gen 
eral Jackson, Scott always retained a friendly feeling. 
While the former was President of the United States I 
was often present when the two gentlemen met to discuss 
the troubles of the Canadian frontier and the removal of 

106 Fifty Years' Observation. 

the Cherokee Indians. Mr. Van Buren appeared to be 
thoroughly acquainted with the subject in discussion, and 
the ease as well as the suavity of his manners were re 

In describing the campaign of 1814, Scott, now a 
brigadier-general in the army, displays all his enthusiasm. 
A spirit of fairness pervades his narrative generally in 
regard to the majority of his associates, although the 
friends of his commanding-general, Brown, found fault 
with Scott for arrogating to himself the lion's share of 
merit for the victories of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, 
both of which he always, in his subsequent conversations 
with me, claimed as his own. 

At the battle of Lundy's Lane, or Niagara, as the Eng 
lish historians more properly name it, which was fought 
mostly after dark on the 28th of July, 1814, both sides 
claimed the victory. Both commanders, Brown and 
Riall, were wounded, and the latter was taken prisoner ; 
and it was there that Scott himself, at the moment when 
he supposed the victory was ours, was struck down by a 
musket ball through the left shoulder joint, and carried 
from the field unconscious from loss of blood and agony. 
It was that terrible wound, the solicitude and attentions 
which it secured to the sufferer from many persons of dis 
tinction, his gallant achievements, his youth, his ardent 
ambition, his martial stature, his confidence in himself, 
his Southern birth, all conspiring, that made a hero of 
Winfield Scott. His commanding officer, General Brown, 
was likewise disabled on that same field, and in that 
desperate night's conflict Ripley, Jesup, O'Neil, Hind- 
man, Brady, Porter, and Leavenworth displayed their 
valor and devotion ; and there Miller, by the personal 
order of General Brown, led the brilliant charge up the 
hill, captured the British battery, and routed the enemy. 

Politics in 1860. 107 

Few more gallant achievements grace the annals of war 
than that of Miller, and yet his fame, like that of nearly 
all the brave men I have mentioned, was of short duration. 

The history of that year was discussed at Augusta in 
the spring of 1839, at tne time he was there to settle the 
Northeastern boundary. One of Governor Fairfield's 
associates shocked the general with two astounding 
questions. "What was the date of the battle of Chip- 
pewa? " Scott answered in the blandest terms, " It was 
July 5th, 1814." Directly afterward he turned to me 
and said, "There is fame for you." The next question 
was, " General Scott, will you please tell me what State 
you were born in ? " "I was born in the State of Vir 
ginia." " Ah ! " said the down-Easter, " I always thought 
you were a native of Connecticut." The general made 
no further remark, but in the evening, after his visitors had 
left, he found mistakes in what I had done during the 
day, and told me my dancing all night stupefied my 

It was one of the peculiarities of General Scott to 
attach immense importance to all the actions in which he 
took part, however trivial they might be. He had the 
art of magnifying his own exploits and of keeping him 
self in view, notwithstanding he had many stereotyped 
phrases that denoted humility. 

General Scott thought it strange that a man should 
inquire the date of a battle twenty-five years after it was 
fought, in which the whole combined numbers engaged 
on both sides Was considerably less than ten thousand 
men. Since our civil war, and after the public mind be 
came surfeited with big battles, heroes and carnage, and 
military rank was vulgarized by a flood of high commis 
sions, a superior officer, who has commanded more men, 
and been more under fire than the general was in his 

io8 Fifty Years' Observation. 

whole life, would not be the least surprised if asked by an 
old friend, ten years after the war, a question like the 
following: "Where were you during the Rebellion?" 

Scott's wound completely disabled him till the war was 
over. The suffering he endured on his journey to Phila 
delphia, where he says he arrived " flattered and feeble," 
was as great as humanity could bear. The mischief done 
to the shoulder-joint could not have been repaired even 
with the affectionate skill and care that awaited him, if the 
patient had not been young and healthful. Fortunately 
he had always been a stranger to those baleful dens where 
young men void of understanding repair to interfuse their 
blood with ineradicable poisons ; and the fair conduct of 
his early manhood had charged the purple current of his 
veins with a balm more healing to his wound than 
all the lotions of a thousand Galens and the admiring 
smiles of friends. As soon as his convalescence was well 
advanced he sailed for Europe. The space occupied in 
his book by the account of his doings and enjoyments dur 
ing the year he was absent from America is short. His 
written narrative seems like a pointless story, compared 
with the florid anecdotes of persons and descriptions of 
things he saw while he was abroad, and to which I so often 
listened when we were alone together. 

The general gives at some length the history of his 
quarrel with General Jackson, and he refers to Parton's 
Life of Jackson, and to his own life by Mansfield, for 
further particulars. His own references to the hero of 
New Orleans are frequent in his autobiography, and in 
his conversations with me Scott spoke of Jackson on 
numerous occasions, never to praise, and seldom to cen 
sure with severity. He entertained no personal asso 
ciations with President Jackson, nor with any member of 
his Cabinet except Mr. Van Buren. He often referred to 

Anecdotes of Jackson. 109 

Mr. Woodbury as " the great Levi," and to Mr. Kendall 
as " the great Amos/' with neither of whom did he ever 
exchange a word. All his anecdotes of " Old Hickory " 
related mostly to the ferocity of his character, which 
the world recognized when he was excited. 

From Jackson's admirers I heard many anecdotes con 
cerning him which General Scott omits. From Mr. Bailey 
Peyton, recently deceased, at the age of over eighty 
years, and who was long the friend and associate of the 
occupant of the Hermitage, I learned that General Jack 
son was a good neighbor, a good husband, a true friend, 
and an honest man. From an old officer of the army who 
was in the staff of General Jackson in his Creek campaign, 
I was told that he was a stern disciplinarian, but always 
just and mindful of the good service of officers and men, 
and towards the sick and wounded he was very tender. 
He required every man under him to do his full duty, and 
once, as they were marching along, an officer who was on 
foot at the head of the column turned aside to avoid 
the water which the men had to pass through. The 
general rode instantly forward, ordered the officer back to 
his place, and then cursed him violently in the presence 
of the troops. At another time complaint was made 
that an army surgeon was shamefully neglecting a sick- 
soldier. Jackson summoned the doctor to go with him 
to the tent of the sufferer, whom he questioned. Find 
ing that the case had been exaggerated, and that his 
own favorite pill had been given to the patient, he 
went away appeased. At another time at Nashville, 
while he was a young man and member of a club, his 
associates undertook to give a supper, and leave him out 
on account of his imperious conduct. Jackson took no 
notice of the slight till near the end of the feast, when he 
opened the door of the hall, and stood armed a minute to 

no Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

observe the company. He then bounded upon one end 
of the table, walked to the other end, shuffling off every 
thing with his feet, jumped down, walked quietly to 
the door, faced about, bowed, and left without having 
uttered a word. 

Dr. Heiskell of the army, an early friend of mine, was, 
before he joined the service, the domestic physician of 
General Jackson, and lived at the Hermitage. He was 
there at the time the old hero was first elected President, 
and he attended Mrs. Jackson in her last illness, and 
was present when she died. During the final agony 
the general remained upright at the foot of the bed. 
The mind fails to conceive the impressiveness of the 
scene, and if I could recall the action and the words 
of my friend when he described it, I should chill the blood 
of the reader. There, silent and erect like a statue, 
stood that tall, unconquered old man, his white hair 
bristling upon his majestic head, his lips firmly closed, his 
face pale, his eyes gleaming with suppressed rage, and 
while the death-struggle continued he did not move. 
When all was over, he said, " They've killed her ! " and 
then for five minutes longer he continued mute, and 
looked upon the victim of slander as she lay dead 
before him. If Salvator Rosa had been alive and a 
witness in that chamber, he might have indued the linea 
ments of despair and vengeance with a fiercer expression 
than any he has left on canvas. 

While he was young, and before he was accepted by the 
world as an extraordinary personage, Jackson was a great 
swaggerer, and would show temper at the most trifling 
inattentions towards himself. Later in life his man 
ners became easy, and his appearance was that of 
a venerable nobleman of a kindly disposition. Senator 
Evans, of Maine, told me that he was present at the 

Characteristics of Jackson. Ill 

White House in Washington, at the time La Fayette 
was there in 1824, the guest of the nation, and great 
numbers of people from ail parts of the country came to 
see the French marquis ; but no sooner had they dis 
covered that the hero of New Orleans was seated tran 
quilly in the room than they left the Frenchman to go 
and stare at General Jackson. 

His force of will enabled him to put down nullification, 
to extort from the government of Louis Philippe an in 
demnity of $5,000,000, and to crush Nicholas Biddle and 
the United States Bank, of which he was the head. No 
sooner had he become President than he dismissed all 
the Federal office-holders who had opposed his election, 
and filled their places with his own partisans, giving the 
preference to such as had been most defamed by his po 
litical opponents. When his Cabinet Ministers showed 
contumacy in regard to Mrs. Eaton, he said to Colonel 
Bomford, who was chief of the Ordnance Department, 
" By the Eternal, if they don't submit, I'll sweep every 
man of them ! " Soon after he had executed his threat, 
he said to Bomford, " Didn't I tell you I'd sweep *em." 

The old Southern politicians told me he was a great 
reader of newspapers, and that he calculated political 
chances with singular astuteness. He seldom forgave a 
man who offended him, and what it was that reconciled 
him to Colonel Benton, who one night attacked him with 
a bowie-knife, I could never learn. He knew how to dis 
semble, and many of his outbursts of passion were 
feigned, and when it was his purpose to persuade his 
words were gentle and his smile as sweet as the vernal 

As a lawyer, judge, general, politician, president and 
a private citizen, he was equally fearless, and when op- 

112 Fifty Years Observation. 

posed audacious in the extremest degree. When not 
opposed, he was amiable and sympathetic, and in the 
ordinary business of life he was ruled by prudence, com 
mon sense, and justice. He was born to command, and 
his military genius was of the first order. If it had been 
put to the test in a great war, he would have taken rank 
with the most renowned commanders of the world. The 
possessor of the qualities I have described could not fail 
to be the idol of the people, who never held him respon 
sible for his evil deeds, nor their results. In retirement 
he was revered, and when old age had subdued him he 
was regarded as a saint, and his fellow-citizens visited the 
Hermitage as they would visit a shrine. 

It is obvious that in a personal contest with General 
Jackson almost any man living would have been worsted. 
The first serious quarrel between him and General Scott 
originated in the following incident : 

Jackson was a Major-General in the regular army, in 
the year 1817, and in command of the Division of the 
South, with his headquarters at Nashville, Tennessee. 
An officer of topographical engineers, who was on duty 
at some point on the Ohio River, I think, but within the 
jurisdiction of Jackson, received an order direct from the 
acting Secretary of War, Graham, to leave the Depart 
ment of the South, and report for duty elsewhere. Ac 
cording to Army Regulations, and the custom of service, 
the order should have been forwarded through the Divi 
sion Commander. The violation of that custom in the 
army is frequent with some men, but in ninety-nine cases 
in a hundred it arises from a desire to insult and degrade 
the officer who is thus ignored, and its non-observance 
indicates a mean, malignant spirit in the violater. I am 
not aware that General Scott ever overslaughed an officer 

" Old Hickory s" Wrath. 113 

in that way, except in cases of absolute necessity, and 
then the orders were simultaneously forwarded to the 
superior and subordinate. In the case in question, the 
acting Secretary of War may have been ignorant of cus 
tom, and probably his only motive in sending the order 
direct to the engineer was to avoid the loss of time by 
the journey to Nashville. 

With " Old Hickory " no excuse could justify or palli 
ate a disregard of his prerogative. As soon as he learned 
the facts, he issued an order and sent it to every post in 
his Division, forbidding all officers to leave his command 
without orders from him. He added wrathful expressions 
peculiar to himself, which I am unable to repeat, as the 
order is not within my reach. 

General Scott often told me it was at the end of a din 
ner party in New York, and in a conversation with Gov 
ernor De Witt Clinton, as the two sat together on a sofa, 
that they discussed Jackson's order, which he, Scott, 
characterized as "mutinous" The remark was overheard 
by a politician of an inferior grade " a sort of familiar" 
as the general called him by whom it was reported in a 
letter, or newspaper, sent anonymously to Jackson. 

The latter enclosed a slip from the newspaper, and in 
the simplest language he asked if the charge it contained 
was true. Scott instead of answering the question cate 
gorically, wrote an evasive answer, which was in the nat 
ure of a homily. It aroused the wrath of the old lion 
of the Hermitage, and in his reply he poured upon its 
author a stream of vituperation the like of which is not 
to be found in any book. The name of the writer of the 
letters of Jimius has been sought in vain by the English- 
speaking world for a whole century, and yet the severest 
of those letters was moderate compared with the one in 

114 Fifty Years' Observation. 

question. In it Jackson maps out the extremes of his 
own character. He apologizes for his delay in answering 
Scott's letter by stating, in the commencement, that he 
had been absent in Knoxville, where he had gone to close 
the eyes of a friend. It was needful in him to display 
the tenderness of his heart by telling how he had sat by 
his dying friend, whose home was far from his own ; that 
duty done, he proceeds to mangle his enemy. A wild 
boar that had disemboweled a fawn never tore the vitals 
of his prey with a more heedless cruelty and lack of sen 
timent than that displayed by Jackson as he tossed the 
character and flung into sight all the weaknesses and 
vanities of his assailant. 

The autobiographer would have us to infer that the 
wrong done by " this ingenious miscreant from vicari 
ous hostility and love of mischief," was aggravated by 
the suppression, in his anonymous communication, of 
" Scott's praises of Jackson." In this my old chief is 
guilty of a compound blunder, first, in thinking that 
*' Old Hickory " would resent the charge of " mutinous 
conduct" less, because it was qualified by any kind of 
compliment, and second, in supposing that he was capa 
ble of anything but faint praise to a rival. The simple 
truth is that Scott regarded himself as the most able 
general of American history, and the grossest stupidity 
could have detected self-appreciation in him, whenever 
he spoke approvingly of any other commander. The re 
membrance of his controversy with Jackson haunted 
Scott till the day of his death. His lost ground in the 
beginning which he could never regain. 

In my reference to those two illustrious generals, I 
have thrown off all reserve, because my design is to give 
my full impressions of both; of Jackson, from the report 

Death of General Brown. 115 

of his associates, and of Scott from my own intimate ac 
quaintance with him. There was an outspoken frankness 
in those two men which enabled the observer to judge 
their natures correctly. In one respect they were similar, 
and they resembled all other distinguished military men 
in this particular. Each of them disliked every other 
man who had the actual or seeming power to endanger 
his own laurels. If we could uncover the hearts of con 
querors we should disclose in them all, with rare excep 
tions, the same bubbling cauldron of jealousy, hate, and 
contempt for their rivals. 

After his return from Europe in 1816, Scott employed 
a portion of his time writing for the magazines, on the 
subjects of temperance and morals, and in the study of 
military laws, regulations, and infantry tactics. His pur 
suits were interrupted early in the year 1828, by the 
death of the general-in-chief of the army, Jacob Brown, 
who commanded at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, where 
Scott proved himself a hero. 

Upon the death of Brown, three officers, all major- 
generals by brevet, aspired to his place. Gaines stood 
highest, and he had succeeded in having his name on the 
army register placed above that of Scott, who ranked 
him a month as major-general by brevet. Macomb was 
chief engineer, and his rank had been cut down at the re 
duction of the army in 1821 to that of a colonel, but he 
still held his commission of brevet major general, which 
was junior to the other two. Macomb's selection, by 
President Adams, to be the successor of Brown was due, 
as the autobiographer would have us believe, to the in 
trigues of certain ladies whose names he gives, Mrs. 
Mason, Mrs. Rush, and Mrs. J. Q. Adams. The offic- 
iousness of those dames was, without doubt, very active 
in the matter, but with such a man as John Quincy 
Adams it was " Beaucoup de bruit et peu de besogne" He 

n6 Fifty Years' Observation. 

was not a man to be swayed by women, and if he had 
conformed to the usual rule of promotion he would 
have made Gaines the commanding general; but he 
selected Macomb, and he violated no law or usage by 
his choice. 

Scott went astray in his over-estimate of the value of 
brevet rank, and his argument failed to convince even 
those officers of the army whose interests resembled his 
own. I was in a position subsequently to have been 
worried if his reasonings had been just. During eight 
years, while I was captain and commanded a company of 
artillery, my first lieutenant, George P. Andrews, was a 
major by brevet. He was twice breveted for gallant 
conduct in the Mexican war, but he never pestered me 
with any claim of precedence, nor did he assert a right 
to be advanced before me to the lineal rank of major ; on 
the contrary, our relations were then and have remained 
till this day entirely friendly. 

In the year 1832, the South Carolinians passed an ordi 
nance of nullification. President Jackson met it with his 
famous exclamation, "The Union must and shall be pre 
served ! " He called Scott into consultation, ordered him 
South, and gave him carte blanche in respect to the troops. 
Scott executed his mission with energy and tact, at the 
same time that he displayed the strength of his Union 
sentiments. Congress having passed the Compromise act 
the South Carolinians rescinded their nullification ordi 
nance, and Scott returned to Washington to receive the 
congratulations of Mr. Van Buren and other friends, 
President Jackson himself " deigning a few terms of 
measured praise." 

During the troubles referred to Mr. Lewis Cass was 
Secretary of War, but I am unable to find in the autobi 
ography that he, or any other Northern man, had a hand 
in the putting down of nullification. The Southerners 

Scott and Jackson. 117 

evoked the evil spirit of disunion, and it was for them to 
exorcise it. Scott alludes to several South Carolinians 
and Virginians in loving terms, and his letter to William 
C. Preston, who had joined the nullifiers, had the charm 
of an Eastern tale. 

I was present in Charleston and heard Mr. Preston's 
funeral oration upon the death of the Hon. Hugh S. 
Legare", in 1843. His polished manners, his voice and 
action enabled him to recite the history, and to give a 
wonderful relief to the character of that accomplished 
statesman. At another time I heard Mr. Preston speak 
in the Senate of the United States. It was upon the 
Florida War, and he followed Mr. Benton. Old Bullion's 
arguments were like the strokes of a sledge-hammer, but 
Preston's discourse, though it sounded like sweet music, 
had but little recognizable coherence with his sub 

I find a paragraph in the autobiography, commencing 
page 259, which is so strikingly characteristic that I make 
no excuse for transcribing it entire. The dinner alluded 
to was the only occasion on which the two eager men 
ever broke bread together. 

" Scott being on a short visit to Washington, had the 
honor to be invited to dine with President Jackson, and 
was further complimented by being assigned to conduct 
an agreeable lady, to him a stranger, to the table, where 
he was desired to place her between the President and 
himself. Towards the end of the sitting General Jackson 
said to the fair lady, in a tone of labored pleasantry that 
is, with ill-disguised bitterness : 1 1 see you are pleased 
with the attentions of your neighbor. Do you know that 
he has condemned all the measures of my administra 
tion ? ' 

" Mrs. was perfectly shocked. Scott promptly 

replied : ' Mr. President, you are in part mistaken. I 

Fifty Years Observation. 

thought well of your proclamation against nullifiers, and 
yesterday I was equally pleased with your special message 
on the French indemnity question which I heard 

" ' That is candid,' retorted the President. ' He thinks 
well of two, but two of my measures ! ' The lady evi 
dently regarded Scott, like the old general, as a bad sub 
ject of the realm. The most unsuspicious nature might 
plainly see that the bolt was forged and would in due 
time be launched." 

The above paragraph shows that the two fighting-cocks 
were ready to bristle up the moment they came in sight 
of one another. 

The Florida War, which commenced in December, 
1835, and ended towards the close of 1842, was an affair 
that tried the skill of generals and the endurance of men 
more severely than the Revolutionary War. The com 
manders, every one of whom may be said to have failed, 
were, in order, Clinch, Gaines, Scott, Jessup, Taylor, 
Armistead and Worth, of the regular army, and, for an 
interval, Governor Call, of Florida. As a rule, each in 
succession, on assuming the command, let fly a poisoned 
arrow at his predecessor. Scott refers to the one before 
him in the following terms : " Clinch liberated the be 
leaguered Gaines," and after stating that the latter had 
made a treaty with the Indians, which allowed them to 
remain in the country under certain specified conditions, 
he adds : " This the superannuated general preposterously 
called dictating a peace to the Indians, and went off 
swiftly to New Orleans." 

From Florida Scott was ordered to the Creek country 
to compel the Indians to move west of the Mississippi. 
General Jessup, being there in advance, disapproved the 
delay proposed by Scott for co-operation, and in a pique 

Scott and Jackson. 119 

he wrote his famous letter to Francis P. Blair, editor of 
the Globe, " denouncing," as the autobiographer says, 
" Scott's dilatoriness against the Creeks, and likening it 
to his want of energy in the Florida War." 

The letter contained a request to Blair to show it to 
the President, which was done accordingly. General 
Jackson insisted on retaining the letter, which he en 
dorsed, and ordered it placed on file in the War Office. 
The transaction elicits from the autobiographer the fol 
lowing commentary : 

" The letter was laid before the President, who, too 
happy that the moment had at length arrived to launch 
the bolt so long held in readiness, ordered, 1st Jessup 
be placed in command, and Scott before a court. But before 
meeting the Thunderer full face to face, it will be best to 
follow up the interminable Florida War." 

The remarks which follow are immaterial to this 

The candid mind, after a careful consideration of all 
the facts and circumstances attending the origin of the 
tripartite conflict, will conclude that Jessup was censur 
able for having criticised his commanding officer in a 
private letter to Mr. Blair, which he designed for the 
President, and that the latter was hasty and tyrannical in 
ordering General Scott before a military court upon the 
indefinite accusation of a subordinate. 

The next step taken by President Jackson had no 
appearance of tyranny or unfairness. The members of 
the Court of Inquiry were Generals Macomb, Atkinson 
and Brady. Macomb was a gentleman incapable of 
malice and without prejudice against the accused, while 
Atkinson and Brady were the friends and special favor- 
ties of General Scott. Arraigned before such a tribunal 
upon charges which had no real foundation, his honorable 

I2O Fifty Years Observation. 

acquittal was the necessary result. The trial enhanced 
the reputation of Scott before the general public, al 
though his speech in defence was a subject of merriment 
with many persons. Its opening words, as given by the 
autobiographer, differ essentially from those that lodged 
in my memory from having heard them often repeated 
during several years after the trial. I recall those open 
ing words, as follows : 

" When, for some imaginary offence, the Doge of Genoa 
was torn from his government by Louis XIV. and ordered 
to appear before him at Versailles, he was asked by that 
haughty monarch : 'What amidst the splendors that sur 
rounded him surprised him the most ? ' * To find myself 
here/ replied the intrepid Lascaro." 

Several years later, Surgeon Henderson, when arraigned 
before a court martial on charges which he was unable to 
recognize, began his defence by saying : " Gentlemen, I 
don't think that the Doge of Genoa and General Scott 
both together were as much surprised to find themselves 
where they were as I am to find myself before this court 

In the month of January, 1843, General Scott wrote, 
and published in the National Intelligencer, a review of 
certain essays by a Kentuckian upon the subject of 
Martial Law. The essays and the review had for their 
special purpose the condemnation of the declaration of 
martial law at New Orleans in 1815, by General Jackson. 
Scott's article was the result of extensive research and a 
true labor of love, in which the hero of New Orleans fared 
badly. The name of that terrible man appears to have 
exercised an irresistible fascination upon our autobiog 
rapher ; he hovers around it continually but the time 
was at hand when the fire at the Hermitage was to go out, 
and on the 8th of January, 1845, that human volcano be- 

Jackson's Death. 121 

came extinct. The news of the event arrived at West 
Point at the moment a class was under examination be 
fore a board of visitors, of which General Scott was the 
president. Upon its announcement the general arose, and 
spoke as follows: 

44 Major Delafield, superintendent, I suspend the fur 
ther labors of the examination till to-morrow in honor 
of an event interesting to all Americans. A great 
man has fallen among us. Andrew Jackson, after 
filling the world with his fame, and covering his 
country with glory, departed this life on the 8th instant. 
It is not for any authority inferior to the President to 
prescribe the special honors to be paid to the illustrious 
dead by the military posts and troops of the United 
States. No doubt orders on the subject will soon arrive 
from Washington." 

Our autobiographer having advanced his chronology to 
bury his old oppressor, returns to notice the administra 
tion of Mr. Van Buren, which commenced March 4, 1837. 
The acquaintance of the two gentlemen began when 
they were both young men and soon ripened into 
friendship. Scott says in his book: " He believes he was 
the first to suggest that, with his advantageous stand 
point, it would be easy for the rising New Yorker to 
make himself President of the United States." In his 
conversations with me, the general many times asserted 
that he was the first to awaken hope in Mr. Van 
Buren to be President, and that he told him the only 
possible means to attain his object was to court the 

Mr. Van Buren displayed entire confidence in Scott's 
ability, and when the troubles at the North threatened 
war with England, he was given unlimited authority to 
act as pacificator. 

122 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Those troubles at the North grew out of the politi 
cal agitations in Canada in the year 1837. A strong 
party of radicals opposed to monarchical government 
sought the independence of that country, and found 
many sympathizers on our side of the line. Two-hun 
dred thousand men along our border, from Maine to 
Michigan, bound themselves by secret oaths to assist 
the Canadian patriots. The first armed body from our 
side collected at Navy Island, above the Niagara Falls, 
under the command of a Colonel Van Rensellaer. They 
engaged a small steamer called " The Caroline,'* to ply 
as a ferry-boat between the island and Schlosser, where 
the boat was made fast to the wharf on the evening of 
December 29. During the night an armed party stole 
across from the Canadian shore, seized " The Caroline," 
killed one man at least, and wounded several others, set 
fire to the vessel, and cut her adrift over the falls. The 
dead body was carried up to Buffalo, and around it the 
people of the city and neighboring country gathered 
with frenzied haste to cry for war and vengeance. 

The whole frontier was in a blaze, but, strange as it 
may appear at this day, the news of the outrage did not 
reach Washington till the 4th of January. It came to 
the executive mansion while a large party, including Mr. 
Clay and General Scott, were assembling there for a state 
dinner. The President entered the room after all his 
guests had arrived, saluted them with the same com 
posure of manner which was usual with him, and then he 
whispered in the ear of General Scott : " Blood has been 
shed ! You must go with all speed to the Canadian 
frontier. The Secretary of War (Poinsett) is engaged in 
writing you instructions." General Scott started for 
Buffalo early the next morning, and arrived late on the 
7th of January. He was without a staff officer, as he had 

Scott at Biiffalo. 123 

left me to collect certain documents and books from the 
office in Elizabeth, and with orders to follow him with 
out delay. I lost no time, and reached Buffalo twenty- 
four hours after him, having for companions from Albany 
Generals Wool and Worth. 

The commotion at Buffalo was like that of actual war. 
Our people would regard nothing but the invasion of 
their soil and the murder of an innocent citizen, while 
the British authorities were equally incensed at the hos 
tile intrusion of lawless men from the States upon their 
domain and jurisdiction. Fortunately Scott was recog 
nized by many men who remembered his gallant bear 
ing in the same neighborhood during the last war with 
England. With them he conversed singly, and he made 
speeches to the crowds in the streets and hotels at the 
same time he communicated his pacific intentions to the 
authorities in Canada. In that way he calmed the 
angry passions of all parties, and prevented an actual 
collision of arms. His personal presence for over four 
weeks was restricted to the frontiers from Buffalo to 
the falls. During the same time, several regiments and 
New York militia, in addition to a small body of regu 
lars, were enrolled, and an incessant correspondence 
with officers at a distance, with citizens and applicants 
for service, and with the War Department, was sus 
tained. The general took no time for rest except about 
six hours in twenty-four for sleep, and, as I was his 
only staff officer, he kept me at work sixteen hours 
every day, allowing short intervals for meals, and giving 
me time, as he would kindly say, to drink two or three 
glasses of sherry at dinner. He took one advantage of 
me, for he would mix a glass of toddy before going to 
bed, for which I would sometimes avenge myself, when I 

124 Fifty Years' Observation. 

felt weary, by pouring out one or two extra glasses of 
sherry at dinner. 

The general's successful efforts at Buffalo put him in a 
good humor, and we left to move along the frontier. He 
refers in his book to his travels by night and to the cold. 
It was always his custom to start in an extra coach after 
dark, and keep on till the end of his journey. Our prog 
ress was often very slow, but he could easily sleep while 
jolted on the road, more easily than I could, although he 
thought otherwise. I am certain that I was often awake at 
early dawn and indulged my curiosity by watching him and 
his black servant David while they slept. He had the 
look of a tawny old lion slumbering quietly, but David's 
black visage would twitch as if he was uneasy. David 
was like a branch that had been wrenched from a tropi 
cal tree and carried up to the frozen zone he was out 
of place. On one of those winter journeys the general 
showed me a mark of approval which I have never for- 
gotten. It was early in the morning, after we had been 
three successive nights in a stage-coach, as we were 
moving slowly through the deep snow, that I saw him re 
gard me with compassion. My face was probably sor 
rowful to behold at that moment, for the general took 
out from his pocket a handful of parched corn and 
dropped five or six grains into my hand, one after an 
other, keeping his eye fixed on mine with an expression 
of affection like that of a mother watching her suffering 
child. There was no feigning in that gaze, and its be 
nignity has remained fixed on my memory always. 

After visiting the Northern frontiers of Vermont, where 
the excitement had ceased to be alarming, the general 
concluded, about the middle of February, to return to 
New York. On arriving in that city we parted, he to go 
to the Astor House and I to my own home, which was in 

Mr. James Monroe. 125 

Brooklyn. At the hotel he found letters from Mr. Poin- 
sett, to inform him that news of a fresh outbreak on the 
Niagara frontier had come down from Buffalo, and direct 
ing him to return there immediately. The general forth 
with despatched a note to me to rejoin him at once, as he 
intended to start for the North at 9 o'clock that same 
night. Fortunately for me the ice on the East River 
had closed in, and the passage of the messenger was inter 
cepted, and our departure was thus delayed till 7 o'clock 
P. M. of the following day. 

Mr. James Monroe, an old aide de camp, and one of the 
general's stanchest friends, was boarding at the Astor 
House with his family. We all sat together at a side 
table for dinner, and Mr. Charles King was with us. My 
chief at that time was troubled with gravel in the kid 
neys, and could take no stimulating beverage except 
Manzanillo sherry and Holland gin. Mr. Monroe had a 
full cellar and he placed upon the table a bottle of his 
best Manzanillo, which the general tasted and rejected 
with violence. He declared it to be Madeira, and that it 
was poison to him. Mr. Monroe was complaisant, and 
brought up other bottles to the number of six or eight ; 
all were cast aside like the first. Scott declared that a 
single glass from any one of those bottles would kill him 
before morning, and so he was content with a glass of gin 
and water. 

At precisely 7 o'clock P. M. we took leave of our 
delightful company to arrange ourselves in the big 
covered four-horse sleigh, that stood at the Astor House 
front door, full of straw. David was stowed with us, and 
when all were in place the driver cracked his whip, and 
we trotted away in the direction of the North Pole. 
The road was well beaten the first thirty miles, and then 
the snow slackened our pace, so that it was 2 o'clock in 

126 Fifty Years Observation. 

the morning when we arrived at a tavern opposite West 
Point, where we were to change horses. Being in an 
extra coach we were detained half an hour to harness a 
fresh team, and we all got out of the sleigh and went into 
the tavern, where a bright wood fire was burning. While 
waiting I overheard a conversation between the landlord 
and a man who came in, which attracted my attention. 
" Have you been in Mr. M.'s room ? " " Yes," said the 
man. "Is he quiet?" " He's asleep, sir." The name 
was that of a young gentleman whom I had missed from 
New York a considerable time, but its initial was not M. 
He was insane, and in the keeping of our landlord, who 
with his assistant watched him day and night. 

The young alient referred to belonged to one of the 
old families of New York, and a little more than three 
years before had, on arriving at his majority, been placed 
in possession of $300,000, which at that time was the 
equivalent of a million now. To celebrate the event he 
gave a dinner at Delmonico's, to which I was invited, not 
because I was intimate with M., for I only knew him 
slightly, but because we had a common intimate friend, 
whom I will call X., and who was the active man or 
adjutant of M. in the arrangements of the feast, which 
was in Delmonico's grandest style. 

The company numbered eighteen, of which only two 
were over thirty years of age. Of all the others, sixteen 
of us, not one had seen his twenty-fifth birth-day. As I 
glanced up and down the table, I fancied I had never 
seen an equal number of handsome, manly, young men, 
in a single group. There was not a feeble countenance 
among them ; joy sparkled in every eye, and gladness 
was in the tone of every voice. No histories were related 
but the histories of the day and passing events, but there 
was boasting enough of personal exploits and of the vari- 

Homily on the Dinner. 127 

ous devices they were beginning to practise to waste their 
youth and redundant strength, and to let go by unem 
ployed the splendid opportunities they had inherited. 
The evening wore on ; the consumption of food and 
the spilth of wine were enormous. At about 9 o'clock, 

M had filled himself over-full, shrunk down in his 

arm-chair, and was fast asleep; some were noisy, and 
others were dull and drooping in lips and eyelids. The 
coffee had been served, and they were beginning to call 
for whiskey, punch, rum, and gin, and such like infernal 
fluids, and the room was already full of the smoke of 
tobacco. As the hour of ten approached, I started to 
glide away, as was always my custom on such occasions, 

without leave-taking. X saw me move, and sprang 

to intercept me, declaring that I should not go, but when 
I said, in a serious voice, that I had been charged by my 
chief to prepare despatches of vast importance for the 
early morning's mail, I was permitted to depart. 

The facts of that dinner are like a homily, and the his 
tory of its assistants as startling as a sermon of Massillon. 
They were nearly all young men of fortune, and as well 
equipped as I for length of days, devoted to fashionable 
popularity, heaping upon the mad sports of the day those 
wild orgies of the night that sow cramps in the muscles 
and aches in the bones, permitting General Alcohol to 
establish posts and places of arms in their vitals, to draw 
off the balm of hope from their hearts and inject them 
full of gall ; to pinch up the avenues of sleep in the brain, 
and drive them with vertiginous rapidity to early deaths, 
which nearly every one of them found. How many halted 
at the mad-house in their speedy transit I am not in 
formed ; but it is certain that, fifteen years ago, my hand 
some friend Ch and I were all that remained. 

128 Fifty Years' Observation. 

During these patriotic troubles, large bodies of British 
troops were sent over, and at one time there were 
present in Canada as many as twenty thousand. Among 
them were several regiments of Household troops, in 
cluding that of which the Duke of Wellington was the 
titular colonel, and also the 93d Highlanders. When 
ever there was a lull in the excitement, the English 
officers would come over to visit those of our army, 
with whom they fraternized. They were a vigorous 
set of young men, all accustomed to high life and to 
an elegant society in which effeminacy was not pop 
ular. No man in our army pleased them more than 
Prince John Magruder, who was then in his prime. 
Prince John's endurance lasted many years. In the early 
days of California, I invited him to dine with me at the 
Presidio of San Francisco. At 10 o'clock, I left the table 
and went to bed as usual. The next morning at 8 o'clock, 
when I came in to breakfast, I found the Prince and Lieu 
tenant L sitting at the table. " Prince," said I, "you 

and L are early this morning." " I don't know 

whether we are early or late," said he ; " we haven't left 
the dinner-table yet." L was the most taciturn indi 
vidual of our mess, and I suspect he had been asleep at 
least seven out of the fourteen hours they had remained 
at the table, but the Prince kept on talking. 

Among the English officers who visited us toward the 

last was Lieutenant R , of Wellington's regiment. 

He was as elegant and beautiful a youth as could be 
found in the two hemispheres, and from him I learned 
that grumbling is not confined to officers of the American 
army. One day he entertained me an hour abusing his 
colonel. His discourse in form and substance was about 
as follows : 

" The Duke is a selfish old man, you know. He'd send 

Scott Returns to Washington. 129 

his regiment to the devil if he could be comfortable him 
self. There's no use our being over here, but here we've 
been nearly a whole year. Last winter I was stationed 
at Quebec, and that is the vilest place in the world. I'd 
like to have the old fellow over there and make him go 
the rounds at midnight in January that would bring 
him to his senses. The Duke's in his dotage, you know, 
but he holds on, and he will hold on till death. He had 
the regiment out at the coronation, and he commanded 
the whole column, but he scarcely looked at us. The old 
fellow's neck was so weak that he couldn't hold his head 
up, so he wore a tall stiff leather stock to rest his chin on. 
He looked like an old mummy dressed up. The Queen 
appeared angry with him, and sent for him to come to her 
carriage. He waited a while, and then went up sulking. 
When her Majesty spoke to him he did not look towards 
her. He's no manners, you know," and much more in 
the same strain. 

As soon as the ice broke up on the rivers the Canadian 
Patriots ceased operations, and in the month of April, 
1838, Scott was called to Washington to receive instruc 
tions concerning the removal of the Cherokee Indians to 
the west of the Mississippi River. Mr. Van Buren mani 
fested his approval of General Scott's recent services at 
the North by many polite attentions, and by signing his 
instructions with his own hand, the Secretary of War, 
Poinsett, being dangerously ill. While waiting a few 
days for those instructions General Macomb gave a large 
dinner-party to my chief, at which I was present. Directly 
after dinner the two generals, Mr. Forsyth and another 
gentleman I think it was Senator Preston retired to a 
small room for a game of whist, and I sat by to look on. 
One game had been played and another was in progress, 
when a messenger came hurriedly into the room and ex- 

130 Fifty Years' Observation. 

claimed : " General Macomb, I am sent to tell you that 
Mr. Poinsett is dying ; the death-rattle is in his throat !" 

Mr. Forsyth had drawn out a card and held it in his 
hand while the messenger was speaking. The four great 
men exchanged glances in silence and looked serious for 
a few seconds, and then Mr. Forsyth played and the 
game went on. It happened, however, that Mr. Poinsett 
recovered, notwithstanding his breathing was mistaken 
for the rdle of death. After his restoration he explained 
the matter by saying that the phlegm in his throat caused 
the ominous rattle ; and feeling from his excessive weak- 
ness that the effort to cough would kill him, he waited to 
recover a little more strength, and in that way he saved 
his life. 

Mr. Poinsett was a polished gentleman of uncommon 
intelligence, and his genial disposition made him many 
friends in all parts of the Union. He was a South Caro 
linian, but during the nullification troubles he took a firm 
stand in opposition at Charleston and bravely supported 
the Federal Constitution and laws. 

On our passage through South Carolina and Georgia 
the general was received and entertained with that frank 
hospitality, which appeared somewhat peculiar when con 
trasted with the formal entertainments of the North. 
The Southerners seemed bound together by stronger 
social ties, and they possessed a certain ease and grace of 
manner which was enhanced by their natural eloquence. 
They were more clearly self-appreciating and more 
chivalrous in their ideas than the denizens of large cities 
at the North. The vast majority of South Carolinians 
regarded that arch-sophist, John C. Calhoun, as a prophet 
and leader more infallible than Moses. He possessed an 
astute intellect, and his teachings were enforced by a 
purity of life which was partly due to his natural repug- 

The Cherokee Indians. 131 

nance to every kind of dissipation and excess. Such 
men are often dangerous, and he was able to tangle the 
ideas of his neighbors into a knot that had finally to be 
cut with the sword of the civil war. 

As we approached that portion of the Cherokee coun 
try lying near Georgia the complaints of the settlers 
against the Indians increased. They coveted the fair 
land of the aborigines, and put forward a thousand pre 
texts to justify their expulsion. Scott was there with 
orders to send them away, and in the execution of his 
task he was animated by a merciful spirit, and he dis 
played a wonderful discretion. He always spoke kindly 
to the Indians, to whom he explained his instructions, 
and when he arrived at Calhoun, in the southeastern 
corner of Tennessee, he assembled a body of fifty 
or sixty chiefs and head men, to whom he read his 
orders and made an address. The council lasted over 
two hours, and gave me time to note the conduct of those 
red men while they listened to the mandates of banish 
ment. They were a solid set of men to look upon, and 
the repose and dignity of their appearance could not 
have been excelled by an equal number of our race. The 
chiefs said little, but the air of resignation and sadness 
which pervaded the assemblage impressed us more forci 
bly than words. 

The lands of the Cherokees embraced the contiguous 
corners of the States of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, 
and North Carolina. The general, attended by his per 
sonal staff and a small escort of soldiers, visited the vari 
ous settlements to supervise the removal and to see that 
the rights of the Indians were protected. The most in 
teresting excursion we made was during the last days of 
May and the first days of June, to Fort Butler, in North 
Carolina. There we were entertained by the gentleman 

*3 2 Fifty Year? Observation. 

from whom the fort was named, and from him we derived 
much useful information. Mr. Butler's daughter had re 
cently married Surgeon C. M. Hitchcock of the army, 
and the newly married couple were in our company, Dr. 
Hitchcock being attached to our staff. The lady enliv 
ened us with her wit and surprised us by the grace with 
which she sat and the skill with which she managed her 
spirited horse. The weather was superb, all the buds of 
spring were expanding, and the landscape was variegated 
with hills and valleys and running streams. In many 
places the sun warmed a fertile soil which returned for 
little culture an abundant harvest of grains and fruits 
and herbage for man and beast. Comfortable houses 
and gardens were frequently in view, and many domes 
tic animals were browsing in sight. The trees were 
festooned with vines, and the hillsides and portions of 
the plains were enmeshed in floral beauty. It was a 
scene of enchantment, in which God's bounty to man 
was everywhere apparent. 

The natives of that fair domain were attached to 
their homes, and their ancestors had possessed it long 
before the pale face of the European had been seen on 
the Western Continent. The disposition of the Chero- 
kees was in accord with the outward shows I have de 
scribed, and was more romantic than in any other sav 
ages I have known. The voices of the maidens were 
musical, and the names of their rivers, mountains and 
abodes had the charm of poetical numbers. 

At the end of our last long day's ride, I had my 
couch placed in a tent that stood near the bank of 
the Hiwassee, and there, for a while, I resigned myself to 
such reflections and reverie as my surroundings sug 
gested. The night was calm and warm, and the sounds 
that saluted my ears were such as are made by the in- 

In the Lands of the Cherokees. 133 

numerable insects that spread their wings, or hinge their 
shards in darkness. With them were mingled the rip 
pling of soft waters, and those lulling murmurs or chaf- 
ings of the elements, for which philologers have found 
no name, and which we detect so often in the warm 
climates, and especially within the tropics, where alone 
the sweetest harmonies of nature may be heard. 

The benign influences to which I was subject inclined 
me to compassion. I revolved in my mind the enterprise 
in progress, which was to uproot and transport to a dis 
tant and wholly dissimilar territory an entire community 
of human beings whose sensibilities in many respects 
were more acute than my own. They cling around the 
graves of their progenitors with a superstitious fondness. 
They regarded the clear fountains and beautiful streams 
on whose banks they had sported in childhood as objects 
of adoration, and the echoes of their mountains and dells 
were as grateful to them as angels' voices. 

They never showed their grief in noisy demonstrations, 
nor by tears, but it could be seen with chilling effect in 
the lines of sadness which despair had engraven on the 
faces of nearly all of them. For a moment I regarded 
myself as a trespasser, as one of a gang of robbers, and 
in my effort to justify my position the spectre of Avarice 
arose upon my imagination. His ministers have been 
the principal actors in all our Indian dramas, and the 
thought of the endless jargon by which they seek to jus 
tify their plundering outrages oppressed me, and I found 
relief in slumber. 

The warm weather and the healthy mountain air of the 
country had relieved him of his renal pains, and the gen 
eral was in excellent spirits. Now and then he would 
allow himself to be vexed, and on one occasion, as I 
thought, without sufficient cause. A captain of artillery, 

134 Fifty Years Observation. 

on duty with us, who was of New England birth and 
character, an accomplished officer and a good man, ap 
plied for a leave of absence to visit his wife, who was dan 
gerously ill at the North. The general refused the leave, 
and wrote a letter to the applicant which appeared to me 
wantonly unjust and insulting. The officer in question 
had commented, like many others, upon the cruelty of the 
Government towards the Cherokees, and which it is possi 
ble he imputed to Southern politicians and land-grabbers. 
A reflection upon his native section, of any sort, would 
invariably irritate my chief, and in this instance he re 
garded it as an intolerable assumption of superior moral 
ity on the part of a New England man, and hence his 

He handed me the letter with instructions to have it 
copied and despatched immediately, but I contrived to 
leave it among unfinished business till I returned from an 
afternoon's ride. We went out as usual alone, and in 
stead of talking of my own horse, Narses, as I often did,' 
I admired his and his riding. I told him he reminded 
me of an equestrian likeness of Charles XII. of Sweden, 
which I had once seen, and that I did not believe that 
hardy king could have ridden longer without tiring. My 
chief being content with himself and me, I said, " Gen 
eral, don't you think the letter you wrote to Captain 

was rather severe ? " " You think so, do you ? " was the 
abrupt reply he made, and we rode along in silence with 
out another word. After getting in he called me and 
inquired if the letter had gone. I answered in the 
negative and gave it back to him. He read the letter 
over carefully, tore it into small pieces, and wrote an 
other which was vastly less severe than the first, although 
he still refused the leave of absence. I never related this 
transaction to the officer, nor to any member of his 

Worth and Floyd. 135 

family, but I took the captain's part, because I thought 
it wrong that he should be lashed for having the habi 
tudes of his birthplace. 

The autobiographer, in concluding his notice of the re 
moval of the Cherokee Indians, gives the names of twelve 
officers " who well supported him in the labor of necessity 
executed, it is felt, in mercy." My name is found among 
the twelve, but certain other names are omitted of officers 
who were active in the same service. At the head of the 
omitted names I should place those of Worth and Floyd. 
Of Worth, who was our chief of staff, I shall speak more 
at length further on. General Floyd commanded the 
Georgia Volunteers on duty with us. He was a charac 
teristic type of Southern chivalry, at all times quick to 
resent insults, and ready to defend his rights. I found 
him in social intercourse one of the most amiable of men* 
I often rode out with him while we remained at New 
Echota, and it was pleasant to see his horsemanship, his 
erect carriage, and beautiful sabre. It was said he 
possessed an armory of weapons of various patterns and 
strange device, at his plantation in the low country. At 
the time I left my chief in July to go North, he and Gen 
eral Floyd appeared in perfect harmony, but something 
must have occurred afterwards to interrupt it. The roll 
of honor in the closing paragraph of the first volume of 
the autobiography, and its omission of the names of 
Worth and Floyd, produced in me a feeling of sincere 
regret. When I read it I felt a desire to close the book 
to go and visit the graves of those two knightly soldiers. 

During my separation from General Scott consequent 
to my promotion to be Assistant Adjutant-General and 
assignment as chief of staff to General Gaines, I con 
tinued my correspondence with my former chief, who 
urged me repeatedly to return to him as aide de camp, 

136 Fifty Years' Observation. 

and I finally consented to do so. I sacrificed actual 
rank to gratify my desire to enjoy the society of New 
York and Washington, and to be, for a limited time, long 
er with my old commander. My last letter, which con 
veyed my decision to resume my position as aide de 
camp, enabled me to discover, at a later date, what 
subtlety is burrowed in the human heart. 

In a well-studied sentence I conveyed the idea that 
one of the reasons for my determination was to oblige 
my General ! I retained no copy of that letter, and to 
recall its wording now that my imagination has been 
withered in a long and varied experience of the world's 
chicanery, and after my once redundant diction has been 
constricted to the narrow measures of utility and vulgar 
commerce, would be impossible. My meaning was en 
veloped in a cloud of glozing words in which I endeavored 
to conceal the shadowy image of sacrifice on my part with 
a view to gratify my former benefactor. I was not cer 
tain that he would discover the microscopic thread I had 
shot into the woof of my epistle, but he did discover it, as 
I was informed several months afterwards by an associate 
aide de camp. Lieutenant, afterwards Colonel, Bradford 
R. Alden was my informant, and he was a favorite asso 
ciate of mine in the staff, and one of the best men I have 
ever known. He possessed toward me a friendly candor 
like that of Melchior de la Bonda, who gave such good 
counsel to Master Gil Bias on his entry into the service 
of the Archbishop of Grenada. 

Conversing one day about me, the general alluded to 
my letter, which he handed to Alden to read. He waved 
the paper up and down when he passed it over, as if to 
catch an uncertain reflection. " Examine that letter care 
fully," said he, " and you will discover that the young 
gentleman considers he is making a sacrifice by joining 

The Northern Frontier Again. 137 

my staff. The letter clearly bears that interpretation." 
Alden told me the general was offended, and he warned 
me to be on my guard. I followed my friend's 
advice, and preserved the secret which enabled me 
on more than one subsequent occasion to under 
stand the general's conduct towards me, which other 
wise would have been obscure. In a reasonably short 
time his irritation subsided, and my indiscretion was ap 
parently forgotten. 

When I rejoined my old chief in the winter of 1838-39 
the agitations on the Canadian frontier had been re 
newed, and another excursion to the North, as far as 
Detroit, was the consequence. That was followed by a 
journey to Augusta, Maine, early in the spring of 1839. 
A dispute concerning the boundary line dividing the 
State of Maine and New Brunswick had grown so warm 
as to threaten war with England. It had no connection 
with the Canadian patriot disturbances, which had a 
fanatical origin, while this affair at the Northeast re 
ferred to the integrity of the national territory, and ap 
pealed to genuine patriotism. The President and his 
Cabinet, as well as Congress, apprehended war with Great 
Britain, which would only be avoided honorably by the 
most skilful negotiations. General Scott was selected to 
conduct those negotiations, and given full power and dis 
cretion. In conferring this delicate and important trust, 
Mr. Van Buren d^played in his manner not only an abso 
lute confidence, but also a cordial friendship which I sup 
posed my chief fully reciprocated. It was, therefore, with 
the extremest surprise that I read for the first time, and 
quite recently, in the book of the autobiographer, that his 
friendly relations with Mr. Van Buren had remained sus 
pended until after the election of General Harrison to the 
Presidency in 1840. That confession is, therefore, a dis- 

138 Fifty Years' Observation. 

covery to me, and thus far it is the only one I have found 
in his history of himself. The reconciliation concurring 
with Harrison's election to the Presidency, an event 
which removed Mr. Van Buren from the field of compe 
tition, and consigned the most philosophic and graceful 
of all our chief magistrates to a life of contemplative re 
tirement, makes it manifest that with Scott rivalry was 
the principal cause of the previous discord. 

Never did General Scott display more signal ability and 
tact than in his negotiations to settle the Northeastern 
boundary. He, being a Whig, was obliged to conciliate 
the Democrats, then in power in Maine, and the British 
Lion's mane was bristling at the armed intrusion of the 
" Yankees " upon the Aroostook lands, which he regarded 
as his own. Fortunately, the Lieutenant-Governor of 
New Brunswick, General Sir John Harvey, was the 
English diplomat, and he and Scott had contracted an 
enduring friendship while fighting on opposite sides in the 
war of 1812. They both exerted themselves to calm ex 
citement in Maine and New Brunswick, and they suc 
ceeded in having the soldiers withdrawn from the disputed 
territory, and the matter referred to their respective 
governments, and a final adjustment soon followed. 

The general's uniform success on the Canadian frontiers 
and in Maine had new burnished his glories, and he was 
the happiest of men. On our return from Augusta, and 
during our delay of a week at Boston, he conversed fre 
quently with the eloquent Unitarian preacher, William 
Ellery Channing, who was almost a dwarf in person, and 
very weak and sickly in appearance. I was struck with 
the strange contrast as they sat together, and with the 
unusual attention with which the giant warrior watched 
the lips of the puny moralist. The general was charmed 
with Dr. Channing, and after a two hours' conference with 

Scott's Candidacy. 139 

him he declared to me that he fancied he had been con 
versing with a Grecian sage. 

The man of arms appears also to have captivated the 
peaceful theologian, for in the succeeding autumn Dr. 
Channing wrote a lecture on War, in which he devoted 
two paragraphs " to the honor of the autobiographer's 
peace labors." The last paragraph concluded in the 
following words : " There is so much noble generosity of 
character about Scott, independent of his skill and bravery 
as a soldier, that his life has really been one of romantic 
beauty and interest ! " 

General Scott had long secretly cherished the hope 
that he would one day become President of the United 
States. His success as a pacificator of the troubles 
on the Canadian frontier, his admirable conduct in 
the removal of the Cherokee Indians, his diplomatic 
triumph in the settlement of the Northeastern boun 
dary, all tended to satisfy him that he had won the 
confidence of his fellow-citizens, and that in considera 
tion of his great military services, his ability and patriot 
ism, they would cheerfully bestow upon him the highest 
distinction in their power. 

The Whig convention which met at Harrisburg in 
the year 1839 discussed the names of three candidates, 
Clay, Scott and Harrison. Scott watched its proceed 
ings with the eagerness of a falcon, and his disappoint 
ment at not being nominated was correspondingly in 

It was a signal good fortune to Scott that he was left 
out and enabled subsequently to pursue his military 
career in Mexico, and to enjoy in his old age the afflu 
ence which his country cheerfully bestowed for his great 
services, instead of penury, which must certainly have 
fallen to his lot as ex-President. 

140 Fifty Years' Observation. 

It was different with Mr. Clay, whose failure deserves 
a tear from every one who can sympathize with the dis 
appointment of the most attractive orator, statesman, 
and patriot that is known to our history. When I first 
heard Mr. Clay speak he was old, and his person and 
voice betrayed the havoc of time. Enough remained, 
however, to testify to the wonderful endowments of his 
prime. His son Henry was three years in the Military 
Academy with me, and we belonged to the same debating 
society. His fresh voice reminded aged persons of his 
father's, though they declared it far less sweet and 
powerful, and he had neither the genius nor the com 
manding presence of his sire ; nevertheless, when the 
young man spoke I always wished him to continue, for 
his intonation never tired. When the matchless voice of 
the great statesman, Henry Clay, was silenced by death, 
the grief of his surviving friends was like the unwordable 
sorrow that oppresses the heart when memory turns back 
to recall the joys that can return no more. 

Before presenting my own opinion of General Scott as 
a politician, I will give that of President Lincoln, as I re 
ceived it in 1861. 

I was sent by my chief to the President with a message 
that referred to a military subject and led to a discussion. 
Finding Mr. Lincoln's observations were beginning to 
tangle my arguments, I said : " That is the opinion of 
General Scott, and you know, Mr. President, that he is a 
very able military man." "Well," said the President, 
" if he is as able a military man as he is unable as a poli 
tician, I give up." This was said with an expression of 
the eye, which he turned on me, that was peculiar to 
him, and which signified a great deal. The astounding 
force of Mr. Lincoln's observation was not at all dimin 
ished by the fact that I had long suspected that my chief 

Scott as a Statesman. 141 

lacked something which is necessary to make a successful 

In some respects General Scott resembled that class of 
people whom the great Napoleon designated as ideal- 
ologlstSy by which he referred to all such men and women 
who derived their convictions from reverie, cogitation, or 
meditation without regard to facts or experience. Na 
poleon's designation also embraced, or implied, all men 
and women who regard human nature as perfectable by 
simple indulgent treatment, by persuasion, and chiefly by 
cramming with book-learning, without inculcating re 
spect, discipline, and love of manual labor with it; and 
also all such as think it just to tax the industrious, provi 
dent, and self-denying, out of all their earnings to sup 
port and give place to those who have the misfortune to 
be idle, drunken, debauched, and shiftless, and those who 
make constant excuses for and pay court to assassins, 
thieves, and murderers. It was only the first branch of 
Napoleon's definition that had the least application to 
General Scott, and with none of the others had he the 
slightest affinity. 

The political ideas which he entertained seemed to be 
in some respects nourished by sources within himself, 
and he never came near enough to the lower strata of 
voters to be able to sympathize with their affections* and 
motives. Mr. Lincoln and General Jackson, the two 
Presidents who differed the most essentially in disposi 
tion, each found his way to the hearts of the people, but 
by different roads. General Jackson had neither pardon 
nor pity for his enemies, and Mr. Lincoln loved all man 
kind. General Scott was between the two, and hated 
only his rivals and those who belittled him, while his love 
for the balance of his fellow-beings was far greater than 
he had credit for. When he undertook to please the 

142 Fifty Year 3 Observation. 

people he offered them toys, which they rejected. In 
his stump speeches his jokes and arguments were not 
recognizable by his audiences, consequently he lost votes 
and was stifled in his own effusions. 

As a statesman, especially in that department of states 
manship which exerts itself to uphold the dignity of a 
nation in its internal and external relations, General Scott 
was better fitted. Neither the exercise of official vigil 
ance and power nor the complexity of negotiations ever 
fatigued him, nor was his watchfulness ever at fault. In 
discussing international questions with the representa 
tives of foreign powers, and especially in defining the 
terms of settlement of the Northeastern boundary with 
Sir John Harvey, and Sir John Caldwell, his deputy, 
Scott displayed an amount of information and finesse as 
a diplomatist which was surprising. He also exhibited 
high-bred courtesy in his discussions, which were in 
marked contrast with his dogmatic impatience on some 
other occasions. 

In order to define General Scott's merits as a patriot it 
is not enough to say that he was passionately devoted to 
his country and to the Union of the States, and that he 
was willing to bestow his talents and to sacrifice his life 
to render that country glorious, but we must pry into the 
secrets of his heart and try and ascertain the kind of 
government he thought the best. It was during the year 
1847 or 1848, in a conversation he had, in my presence, 
with a confidential friend since deceased, upon the sub 
ject of universal suffrage, that I heard the following re 
mark from General Scott : " I was," said he, " recently 
discussing this same subject of universal suffrage and a 
democratic republic, with a highly distinguished North 
ern personage, who surprised me by saying that a man 
who was not a Republican up to thirty years of age 
was a rascal, but if after thirty he was a Republican he 

Scott and Immigration. 143 

was a fool." Many circumstances and casual obser 
vations on other occasions convinced me that General 
Scott was not by any means in favor of making the 
suffrage absolutely equal and universal as it is with us 
now. It is proper that I should add, however, that on no 
occasion did I ever hear him say or do anything that 
tended in the slightest degree to raise the suspicion that 
he was in favor of a monarchical government for the 
United States. On the contrary, I am certain he was not 
in favor of such a form for his own country. Neverthe 
less, he was entirely indifferent to the choice of govern 
ments adopted in other parts of the world. 

At another time, when he was canvassing for the Presi 
dency, it appeared that he was called on to explain a re 
mark which had been imputed to him that savored of 
Know-Nothingism. I was not present when the enquiring 
politician asked for an explanation, but the general him 
self afterwards enlightened me. He told me he was at 
one time in Philadelphia during a riot raised by foreign 
ers, a majority of whom were Irish. Shocked by the brutal 
insolence of the rioters, while walking with a friend, he 
exclaimed : " It would be better if the native-born citizens 
would find some means to repress this kind of turbulence, 
etc., etc." Although I never heard him avow more 
distinct Know-Nothing sentiments, yet I never heard him 
utter a word to indicate that he was willing our fair land 
should become, or should continue to be, "the refuge 
of the oppressed of all nations." Such a fanatical 
euphemism as that would not befit the manly lips of a 
true patriot like General Winfield Scott. All right 
minded Americans would gladly make that sickening 
apothegm obsolete, and no longer consent to have our 
country used as a cesspool and spitbox for the whole 

There is another strong negative proof that General 

144 Fifty Years Observation. 

Scott desired that Americans should rule America. It is 
the attitude that he maintained in regard to the hordes of 
itinerant patriots, ambulatory philanthropists, and blatant 
disturbers of the world's peace, that from time to time 
wing their flight from other lands and settle like unclean 
fowls upon our shores, or who exhaust their howling at 
home. I never heard from him a word of approval of, or 
interest in, Kossuth, Garibaldi, Mazzini, Blanqui, Victor 
Hugo, the German Lasalle, nor any one of the innumer 
able, never-ending chronic flood of Irish patriots and agi 
tators. He had no liking for those native-born Ameri 
cans whose rarefied intellects and feeble reasoning 
powers led them to sympathize with the strange creatures 
I have just referred to, nor was he in unison with the so- 
called " reformers " of any country. In nine cases in ten 
a " reformer " is a conceited individual, destitute of ex 
perience, who, when he thinks his follies are not suffi 
ciently appreciated, strives to introduce a new order of 
things, and to make himself notorious. Genuine re 
formers are, as a rule, men of rare ability, who are seem 
ingly unconscious of their powers. They labor unosten 
tatiously to achieve their aims, and when their benefi 
cent work is accomplished, they often live and die in 

The most difficult task yet undertaken by man has 
been to frame a government under which every man 
shall have an equal vote. The demands of the populace 
and the concessions of their leaders soon fritter away and 
destroy all that is respectable, noble, just, or prudent, and 
then, after a period of spoliation and anarchy, the 
country passes to the domination of a tyrant. Such has 
been the fate of all democratic republics hitherto known, 
and such is destined to be the fate of ours, unless corrup 
tion can be stayed and the best native-born citizens ad 
vanced to its controlling offices. 

Scotfs Opinions of Officers. 145 

In the year 1846, the war with Mexico commenced. 
It is foreign to my purpose to repeat the arguments 
for and against the invasion of that country, it being 
certain that it originated with the slaveholders, who 
designed thereby to extend the area of their favorite 

That war produced two successful candidates for the 
Presidency, Taylor and Pierce, and it awakened the as 
pirations of General Scott and several others for the 
same office. It irritated and disappointed many men 
who had assisted in the field, as well as a still greater 
number v/ho had opposed it. I was not a partisan on 
either side, and when my application to be relieved 
from duty at the Military Academy and ordered to join 
my regiment was conditionally denied, I felt no regret. 
It would have been quite different if I had foreseen that 
we should acquire at the peace which succeeded the 
glorious State of California. 

In treating of General Scott's connection with the 
Mexican war I am entering upon the most difficult task 
I have yet encountered in my reminiscences of the time. 
He forgets that he had been allowed to gather rich 
harvests of fame under the Democratic administration 
of Mr. Van Buren, and that now the same party, to 
which he was loudly opposed, was holding out to him 
the opportunity to win new laurels in a foreign field. Be 
fore drawing his sword, with fangs out he swoops upon 
the President, who was his commander, swashes him in 
his ink-pot, and then holds him up thus : 

" Mr. Tyler, like many of his successors, was weaker in 
office than Mr. Polk, whose little strength lay in the most 
odious elements of the human character cunning and 
hypocrisy. It is true that these qualities when discov 
ered become positive weaknesses, but they often triumph 

146 Fifty Years Observation. 

over wisdom and virtue before discovery. It may be 
added that a man of meaner presence is not often seen. He 
was, however, virtually the nominee of General Jackson." 

This bolt was aimed at three heads, every one of 
which he hated. The autobiographer next proceeds to 
discuss General Taylor and his staff officer, Bliss, who 
was assigned by Scott " to complement the qualities and 
supply the defects of his chief." He magnifies the preju 
dices of Taylor, scales his virtues, and clearly proves a 
strange discordancy between Old Zack's barbecue speech 
while he was being feasted after the war, and his dis 
patches and letters which preceded the battle of Buena 
Vista. Finally he salutes the " neophyte statesman" as he 
calls Taylor, at the edge of the grave, with the following 
mixed compliment: 

" He had no vice but prejudice, many friends, and left 
behind him not an enemy in the world, not even the 
autobiographer, whom in the blindness of his great weak 
ness he, after being named for the Presidency, had seri 
ously wronged." 

Bliss he praises without stint or qualification, and de 
servedly, since the army did not contain a more amiable, 
gifted, and accomplished gentleman. Bliss was cut down 
by death before he had reached the meridian of his days. 

Prior to his leaving Washington, and after it had been 
decided to order him to Mexico, General Scott was 
treated by Mr. Polk with a cordiality that won his 
esteem. His warrant of command from Mr. Marcy, 
Secretary of War, was an elegant document, brimful of 
confidence, and the general went on his way content. 
But at the moment he was about to embark at New 
Orleans he was told by Mr. Hodge that President Polk 
had asked for the grade of Lieutenant-General, which was 
to be given to Senator Benton, who was to be placed over 

Webster's Characteristics. 147 

Scott. The latter discredited the report, which, when it 
was proved to be true, drew from him the following 
blast : 

"A grosser abuse of human confidence is nowhere 

Whether it was Mr. Polk or the Democratic party that 
suggested Colonel Benton as the head of the army in 
Mexico is uncertain, but the announcement surprised al 
most everybody, and will, I trust, excuse a more ex 
tended description of the recipient of such an honor 
than I have already given. 

The first time I saw Colonel Benton was the first time I 
ever entered the Chamber of the United States Senate, in 
the spring of 1838, and I have no hesitation in asserting 
that the Senate was then more distinguished by the 
talents, personal appearance, and dignity of its members 
than it has ever been since. There were five among them, 
every one of whom was the equal, and several of whom 
were the superiors, of any Senator who has succeeded 
them. Those five were Webster, Clay, Calhoun, Benton, 
and Silas Wright. Even if those five had been with 
drawn and the remainder increased in numbers by average 
men to the present complement, that Senate would have 
been the equal of any one during the last twenty years, 
for it would still have possessed John Davis of Mas 
sachusetts, James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, Mr. Bayard of 
Delaware, and Felix Grundy of Tennessee, and other able 
men. Of the first five named, Webster and Benton were 
the greatest, made so by native talents and profound 
study ; next came Silas Wright, for judgment and common 
sense ; then followed Clay with his brightness, vast obser 
vation, oratory and gallant bearing, and finally lurking 
there was John C. Calhoun with his abstractions and 
cavernous research. Miss Martineau said Calhoun looked 

148 Fifty Years Observation. 

like a man who had never been young. To me he looked 
like a priest that ministered at hidden altars, and as one 
who practises mysterious rites. He was of no sort of 
benefit to the world. 

Although Mr. Webster, in appearance and reasoning 
powers, was the Hercules of the Senate, and although in 
the opinion of Hall McAllister he was the only man in 
the country able at all times, and on all subjects, to make 
a sensible impromptu speech, he had one disadvantage 
as a leader when compared with Senator Benton. Huge 
and solemn as were his eyeballs, vast and capacious as 
was his skull, massive as were his shoulders, and sonorous 
as was his voice, there was yet occasionally something 
deprecating in his manners and apologetic in his dis 
course. These deficiencies for championship were due to 
the influence of Puritanism, which had done its work upon 
him in his youth. 

Puritan public opinion is the most inexorable force that 
has been generated by the community of men. It forbids 
its subjects to learn the arts of command, which are re 
garded as the attributes of tyrants, it permeates and sub 
dues to its behests the most stubborn dispositions, and it 
had chiselled its hard lines ineffacably upon the character 
of Daniel Webster. It had infused into his nature a vague 
sense of fear and accountability that sometimes made him 
timid when there was no danger, and weakened the force 
of his blow lest he should too much bruise the offender. 
It was impossible that such a man should become a suc 
cessful political leader ; and relying upon the gratitude of 
the Republic to reward his great services rendered, 
missing the Presidency, and shocked by the ingratitude 
and want of appreciation of his fellow-citizens, he pined 
to death, instead of raging to death, which would have 
been more heroic. 

A Talk with Benton. 149 

What would have been the renown of Mr. Webster if 
his nurture had been chivalric, can only be conjectured, 
but, in my opinion, it would have been like a legend to 
link himself with our history, to descend through in 
numerable generations. 

Mr. Benton, though inferior in mental depth to Mr. 
Webster, had been fashioned in his boyhood in a less 
rigid school of morals. His native dominating qualities 
had been developed and expanded to their utmost, and 
consequently there was a repose and assurance in his 
manners which nothing could disturb. His healthy, erect, 
and commanding person seemed a fitting socket for his 
resolute will. V/henever I visited the Senate Chamber 
my eyes were often fixed on him, and if, when leaving, a 
friend had called out to say, " Senator Benton is rising to 
speak," I should have returned to hear him against a 
greater urgency of business than for any other speaker. 
Time, which has verified the wisdom of his policy, has also 
justified the admiration I felt for the august Missourian 
patriot and statesman. 

I might relate several anecdotes of Mr. Benton, but 
one must suffice. In New York I had been accustomed 
to a paper currency and thought it the best. In Cali 
fornia I changed my views and became a convert to Mr. 
Benton's hard-money doctrines. Being about to return 
East after a long sojourn in San Francisco, Mr. Page, the 
head of the banking firm of Page & Bacon, requested 
me to see Mr. Benton and tell him how admirably his 
theory was working in practice. I accordingly made my 
way to his house in Washington, and found the Senator 
alone in a room writing on a table without a cover. The 
walls were bare and the furniture of the plainest descrip 
tion. The apartment, however, contained a man who 
was insensible to moral and physical fear, and he inte- 

150 Fifty Years' Observation. 

rested me more than would all the beautiful objects ever 
designed by Benvenuto Cellini, or gathered together by 
the Baron Davillier. My reception, though it was stately, 
did not prevent me from broaching the subject of my 
visit with a flippancy which would have offended the 
great personage if it had not been in such a flattering 
strain as would have mollified the traits of a behemoth. 
I described the joyousness of old Mr. Page in his bank 
with heaps of gold in sight, watching the business of 
a mart where paper money was excluded and short 
credits exacted. I told him of my own conversion from 
having been such a young devotee to paper and long 
credits, that when I read of his and General Jackson's 
war on the United States Bank, and the bills of all 
banks, I should have been glad to see both their heads 
chopped off ! I told him how I had sworn in my own 
heart never to take another bank-note, and that the 
thought of one, reeking and enslimed with the sweat and 
filth of the many begrimed hands through which it had 
passed, disgusted me. Then I went on to confess how, 
after an absence of nearly four years, I landed in New 
York, hired a hack for two dollars to carry me home, and 
how finally the hackman, being without coin, took my 
five-dollar gold piece and returned to me a three-dollar 
note, which I received ! 

At this point Old Bullion's countenance underwent a 
sudden change, and with an air and voice that would 
have suited a Caliph of Bagdad he rebuked me. " Young 
man," said he, "you were wrong to take the three-dollar 
note you had no right to barter your principles. The 
paper you received was probably without intrinsic value. 
Such notes pass from hand to hand like other counters of 
gamblers, and are not intended to be redeemed. They 
enrich knaves, sir, and rob the industrious. Better return 

A Burst of Ill-temper. 151 

to your California teachings." A little more in the same 
strain, and I left, feeling as though I had been tossed by a 

If the stupendous individuality I have described had 
been commissioned as lieutenant-general, a rank then 
unknown to our service, and sent to place himself at the 
head of the army in Mexico, and give orders to such 
battle-scarred veterans as Scott, Wool, Taylor, and Worth, 
it would have been a shocking injustice. Fortunately for 
them the plan failed, and Mr. Benton was left to pursue 
his civil career and to write his " Thirty Years in the 

The autobiographer's twenty-eighth chapter opens with 
an exposition of ill-temper, which it would have been 
better for the fame of his book if he had omitted. His 
spite, though not wholly without cause, is so condensed 
and sweeping, and so replete with injustice towards 
certain men whose names I respect, that I make no excuse 
for reproducing it in his own words as follows : 

" Successful as was every prediction, plan, siege, battle, 
and skirmish of mine in the Mexican war, I have here 
paused many weeks to overcome the repugnance I feel to 
an entrance on the narrative of the campaign it was my 
fortune I had almost said misfortune to conduct with 
half means, beginning at Vera Cruz, March 9, and termi 
nating in the capital of the country, September 14, 1847, 
six months and five days. This feeling is occasioned by 
the lively recollection of: i. The perfidy of Mr. Polk; 
2. The senseless and ungrateful clamor of Taylor, which, 
like his other prejudices, abode with him to the end ; 3. The 
machinations of an ex aide-de-camp, who owed his public 
status mainly to my helping hand ; a vain man of weak 
principles, and most inordinate ambition. The change 
commenced on hearing that I had fallen under the ban at 

152 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Washington ; 4. The machinations of a Tennessee major- 
general, the special friend and partisan of Mr. Polk, an 
anomaly without the least malignity in his nature 
amiable, and possessed of some acuteness, but the only 
person I have ever known who was wholly indifferent in 
the choice between truth and falsehood, honesty and dis 
honesty ; ever as ready to attain an end by the one as 
the other, and habitually boastful of acts of cleverness at 
the total sacrifice of moral character. Procuring the nomi 
nation of Mr. Polk for the Presidency, he justly considered 
his greatest triumph in that way. These conspirators 
for they were soon coalesced, were joined by like charac 
ters the first in time and malignity, a smart captain of 
artillery, whom they got breveted, on brevet, more for 
the smoke of his guns than their shots, and to whom Mr. 
Polk, near the end of his term, gave the substantial re 
ward of colonel and inspector-general, an office that 
happened to fall vacant just then. ' The ox knoweth his 
owner, and the ass his master's crib.' And alas, poor 
human nature ! Even the brave Colonel Riley, the hero 
of Contreras (for which he was made brigadier after 
wards), got the brevet of major-general, and the command 
in California, by yielding to some weakness (see his testi 
mony in the Pillow investigation). These appointments 
proved an estate to Riley. The certainty of such fat 
benefits freely promised by the conspiration called into 
activity the sordid passions of other bribeworthy officers. 
Hence the party of MISCREANTS became quite respect 
able in numbers after the conquest. Those were not the 
only disgusts. The master outrage soon followed. 

"The offences of the two anonymous generals becom 
ing a little too prononct, I arrested them both, and asked 
that a court might be ordered for their trial. A court was 
ordered, I was relieved in the command, and the wronged 

Worth and Duncan. 153 

and the wrong-doers, with stern impartiality, placed be 
fore the tribunal ! ! If I had lost the campaign it would 
have been difficult to heap upon me greater vexations and 

In that portion of my reminiscences of General Scott 
which were written before I had read the autobiography, 
the reader will have observed my remark, that in matters 
of rivalry my chief would instantly go out of his own skin 
into that of an angry porcupine with every quill standing 
fiercely on end. The foregoing extracts make it evident 
that the fretful porcupine does not serve for a proper 
simile, and another beast of a less discriminating and 
more volting ferocity must be substituted. Nothing I 
ever saw in General Scott's conduct, or heard in his dis 
course, disclosed such a degree of rancor and selfishness 
as he himself has published to the world, and I am unwill 
ing to admit that he has reported himself correctly. His 
arrest before his subordinates had been tried was an act 
of stupid cruelty to a successful commander, and the 
memory of that and many other vexations soured his 
mind to such a degree as to cloud his judgment, and lead 
him to denounce several of our most meritorious officers 
as " miscreants, sordid and bribeworthy" 

A defence of the two Presidents, Polk and Taylor, by 
me would be superfluous, and in regard to the Tennessee 
major-general, Gideon J. Pillow, I never saw him, and 
never heard a man speak of him who was not his declared 
enemy ; consequently I know nothing of General Pillow. 
The ex aide-de-camp referred to, General William J. 
Worth, I knew as intimately as I could know a man who 
was old enough to be my father. He was the command 
ant of the corps while I was a cadet, and it was he, above 
all other men, who impressed upon it the martial character 
it has since always borne. He was one of the autobio- 

154 Fifty Dears' Observation. 

grapher's most energetic assistants during the Canadian 
patriot troubles, and in the removal of the Cherokees, 
where, by Scott's selection, he was chief of staff. 
Throughout a period of more than thirty years, and up to 
the commencement of the Mexican war, the two officers 
had been surprisingly intimate, for Worth's compliments 
to the general were always fulsome, and when the former 
returned from his command against the Seminole Indians 
in Florida, the latter received him with caressing fondness. 

Many officers thought that Worth had more ability to 
inspire his soldiers than Scott himself. Alden told me 
he was at Palo Alto when Worth came in from a rccon- 
noissance after sunset, and at his approach Alden fancied 
he " saw a son of Mars riding in darkness." The fables 
must be searched to find an officer with a more sparkling 
eye and a more gallant bearing, or one who was more pro 
digal of himself where the clang of arms was loudest. Yet 
when this magnificent officer discovered a passage around 
Lake Chalco and reported it to General Scott, he was met 
with a rebuke, and a declaration that the passage had al 
ready been discovered by another. Then it was that the 
virus of rivalry entered the heart of the autobiographer and 
wrought upon his sense as suddenly as the juice of the 
cursed hebenon curdled the blood of the Royal .Dane. 

The " smart captain of artillery, whom they (the con 
spirators), got breveted, on brevet, more for the smoke 
of his guns than their shots," was James Duncan. I 
knew him while we were two years together in the 
Military Academy, though not of the same class, and I 
knew him as an officer. His manners were quiet, and he 
was not especially popular with the cadets, among whom 
personal beauty is as much prized as among girls, and 
James was not handsome, but his perseverance and un 
swerving good conduct secured him respect. After 

Vera Cruz. 155 

graduating he continued his devotion to duty and study 
till he was acknowledged by his brother officers to be one 
of the most accomplished artillerists in the service. In 
the valley of Mexico the good order of Duncan's Battery 
and the spirit and effect with which he handled it in bat 
tle were so remarkable that when he was made inspector- 
general his promotion was generally conceded to have 
been well earned. What Duncan's offence against Gen 
eral Scott was I am not aware, and no obligation towards 
my former chief requires me to search for it, when I 
consider his reckless and unjustifiable assault upon the 
characters of two such noble public servants as were my 
friends Worth and Duncan, who did most deserving ser 
vice for their country and died prematurely at their posts 
of duty. 

The siege of Vera Cruz was conducted with such skill 
and success as to allow no room for censure. Scott's 
plan to capture the city by regular approach, rather than 
by assault, avoiding the guns of the castle of San Juan 
de Ulloa, was approved by his chosen advisers, and its 
execution committed to the supervision of Colonel, after 
wards General, Joseph G. Totten, chief engineer of the 
United States Army, and a man of extraordinary merit. 
The capitulation, which followed quickly on the 27th 
March, 1847, was an enormous advantage. The siege 
had not cost the lives of many of our people, but among 
the killed were Captains John R. Vinton and William Al- 
burtis, upon whom the autobiographer bestows unusual 
compliments. Vinton was a first- class officer, and his 
death was a serious loss to the army. Nevertheless he 
had suffered many an official slight for being a Northern 
man, or I am not a competent witness in any case. 

Notwithstanding the brilliant achievement at Vera 
Cruz, and the admirable conduct of the campaign that 

156 Fifty Years' Observation. 

succeeded, all of which the public had abundantly 
acknowledged, the autobiographer, after an interval of 
nearly fifteen years, proceeds in his notice of that siege 
to expose in strange relief the prevailing weakness of his 
character. " Although," he writes, " I know our country 
men will hardly acknowledge a victory unaccompanied 
by a long butcher's bill [report of killed and wounded], I 
am strongly inclined policy concurring with humanity 
to forego their loud applause and aves vehement, and 
take the city with the least possible loss of life. In this 
determination I know, as Dogberry says truly of himself, 
I write me down an ass.' " 

The above is in the text, and one would suppose it the 
climax of ill-humor, but it is followed by a note which 
must be quoted entire to show with what labored in 
genuity he has piled one folly upon another. 

Behold the note ! 

" When the victory of Buena Vista reached Major- 
General Brooke, a noble old soldier commanding at New 
Orleans, and a friend of Major-General Taylor, he rushed 
with the report in hand through the streets to the ex 
change and threw the whole city into a frenzy of joy. By 
and by came the news that the Stars and Stripes waved 
over Vera Cruz and its castle, and Brooke, also a friend 
of mine, was again eager to spread the report. Some 
body in the crowd early called out : * How many men 
has Scott lost ? ' Brooke was delighted to reply : ' Less 
than a hundred ! ' * That won't do/ was promptly re 
joined. l Taylor always loses thousands. He is the man 
for my money ! ' Only a few faint cheers were heard for 
Vera Cruz. The long butcher's bill was wanted. When 
I received friend Brooke's letter giving the details, I own 
that my poor human nature was piqued for a moment, 
and I said, ' Never mind, Taylor is a Louisianian. We 

North and South In the Mexican War. 157 

shall in due time hear the voice of the Middle, the North 
ern, and the Eastern States ; they will estimate victories 
on different principles/ But I was mistaken. The key 
note raised in New Orleans was taken up all over the 
land.- Mortifications are profitable to sufferers, and I 
record mine to teach aspirants to fame to cultivate 
humility ; for blessed is the man who expects little and 
can gracefully submit to less." 

I doubt if General Scott's worst enemy could have 
alleged anything more disparaging to his nature than the 
above extracts from his own pen, and yet to me they 
count for little, since I know how much he was given to 
exaggerations when he was in an irritable state of mind, 
which was often. All men of all ages who have aspired 
to exclusive fame have been oppressed by the honors 
paid to rivals in the same line. Haman, when he saw 
Mordecai sitting in the king's gate, erected a gallows 
upon which he intended his rival should swing, but upon 
which he himself finally swung. Scott shows his freedom 
from hypocrisy when he confesses how much he was 
piqued "by the " loud applause and aves vehement," paid 
to Taylor rather than to himself. But it is evident he 
would not have strangled " Old Zack " if he had had 
the power, since he makes his pique the subject of an 
admonition to humility. 

It is not my purpose to attempt a history of the war 
with Mexico, but a few remarks upon it, I trust, will be 

The small armies with which General Scott forced his 
way to the City of Mexico and conquered it, and that 
with which General Taylor beat Santa Anna at Buena 
Vista, were as well officered as any that ever took the 
field in modern times, and were most ably commanded. 
Without such advantages it would have been impossible 

158 Fifty Years' Observation. 

for them to overcome the stupendous obstacles that 
opposed them. As an American I should have exulted 
in their prowess had I not been depressed with a feeling 
of degradation when I saw that all the chiefs in highest 
command, as well as all the heroes of minor exploits, were 
Southern men. When I read the history of that war, the 
names of Scott, Taylor, Twiggs, Harney, Quitman, Per- 
sifer F. Smith, W. O. Butler, Pillow, Mclntosh, Garland, 
Lawson, Vandorne, Jefferson Davis, R. E. Lee, Beaure- 
gard, Ringgold, Humphrey Marshall, Bragg, Huger, G. 
W. Smith, and Andrews, are seen scattered thick and 
they are heard afar. 

On the other hand the names of the Northern officers 
of equal merit, but without patronage, such as Wool, 
N. S. Clarke, Worth, Totten, Pierce, Cadwalader, Patter 
son, Hitchcock, Dimmick, De Hart, Sumner, Vinton, 
Burnett, Thorn, Thomas W. Sherman, Kendrick, J. J. 
Stevens, Kirkham, Tower, Robert Allen, Grant, Rey 
nolds, McClellan, and others, are seen but seldom, and 
when anecdotes are told of the various campaigns by the 
prattlers of both sections, the accredited hero is always a 
Southerner ! 

The reports of General Scott of the operations of his 
army before the City of Mexico place fully before the 
reader the difficulty of the situation. They also demon 
strate the ability of its commander, the excellence of his 
assistants and their enterprising bravery, which is shown 
by an almost, if not entirely, unequalled proportionate 
loss in battles and sieges of commissioned officers. These 
reports also display an extraordinary spirit of fairness, and 
I confess to the pleasure I felt in reading them to find 
that the author had dismissed all his antipathies, and had 
labored to bestow praise where credit was due. He gives 
conspicuous prominence to the valor of Worth, and 

Qualified Compliments. 159 

enables us to see that martial figure in his desperate 
attack on Molino del Rey, in the assaults upon Chapulte- 
pec and the gate of Cosme. In connection with the first 
exploit the general uses the significant words : " Major- 
General Worth, in whose commendations of the gallant 
officers and men living and dead I fully concur," etc. 
Of Major-General Pillow, who was up with the first attack 
on Chapultepec, he says : " That gallant leader was struck 
down by an agonizing wound." Many other officers and 
non-commissioned officers are complimented with a 
heartiness that leaves nothing to be desired. 

Nevertheless in brooding for years over the events of 
the war, the autobiographer indulges in retrospective 
comments which not only show that he repented of his 
laudable impulses, but that he was willing to expose in 
full view the darkest caverns of his own soul. I had 
intended, in my reminiscences, to allow only such a faint 
glimpse of that cavern as was necessary to an under 
standing of certain instances of his conduct. If, however, 
my design had been vengeance, I should have shrunk from 
the use of such weapons as he has lavishly employed 
against himself, and of which the following note is an 
example : 

" Litera scripta manet. In this edition of my reports 
of battles, etc., I, of course, expunge none of the praises 
therein bestowed upon certain divisions and brigade com 
manders, but as a caution to future generals-in-chief, I 
must say, I soon had abundant reason to know that I had, 
in haste, too confidently relied upon the partial statements 
of several of those commanders respecting their individ 
ual skill and the merits of a few of their favorite subor 
dinates. I except from this remark Generals Quitman, 
Shields, P. F. Smith, N. S. Clarke, Riley and Cad- 

160 Fifty Years' Observation. 

This simoom of a note was intended to nip the laurels 
of Generals Twiggs, Worth, W. O. Butler, Pillow, Pierce, 
and Gushing among the chiefs, and Duncan, Ripley, 
Hooker, and others, among the favorite subordinates. 
The observations I have made upon this writer, and upon 
several other old men, and old women, tend to the conclu 
sion that wrath, envy, and discontent promote longevity. 

Innumerable surprises, both real and imaginative, 
awaited the invaders of Mexico under Scott. They 
followed in the track of Cortez, like him to encounter 
hosts of enemies whose defence of their country was as 
sisted by nature and strengthened by art. Volcanic 
eruptions had strewn the valley with jagged pedregal, 
rocky heights, deep chasms, lakes, and marshes, over 
which many bridges and causeways led to the city, which 
was protected by wet ditches, ramparts, gates, and towers. 
The bridges and causeways had been broken, and behind 
all these natural obstructions on the plain and in the 
forts, which crowned the heights, the enemy awaited with 
triple numbers the approach of our small band of heroes, 
every man of whom the Mexicans confidently expected 
to destroy. 

The head of Scott's column came in sight of the capi 
tal and the vast surrounding valley of Mexico on the loth 
of August, 1847, arj d it was then for the first time that 
the hostile standard of the United States could be seen 
fluttering in sight from the halls of the Montezumas. 
The gallant young cavalry officer, Alfred Gibbs, in a 
letter exhausted his admirable descriptive powers to give 
an idea of the unspeakable beauty and variety of the 
landscape, and the enthusiasm it produced in all ranks 
upon our army. That army knew without instruction 
that the task before it had but one condition it was to 
conquer or to die ! 

The Inauguration. 161 

But neither the activity nor the eloquence of Santa 
Anna were of any avail against the aggressive combina 
tions of Scott, whose rare foresight had surprised his 
troops at every step and won their confidence. He ap 
peared to divine every movement of the enemy as 
though he had been in their ranks, and he struck where 
his blow was least expected. After a series of assaults 
and battles following in quick succession at a terrible cost 
in blood, despair and confusion seized upon the Mexi 
cans, and on the I4th September they surrendered their 

The submission was quickly followed by the triumphal 
entry of the army into the capital, Scott riding at the 
head of the cavalry. The bands saluted his passage with 
all our patriotic strains, and the whole army filled the air 
with shouts of gladness and joy, in which many Mexicans 
joined. After so many dangers passed and battles won, 
it might be supposed that the surviving actors would be 
bound together by ties of lasting friendship, and that 
every vexation would be forgotten. But who has ex 
plored all the dark chambers of the human heart At 
the very time of the triumph the demon of jealousy was 
abroad, and its echoes had scarcely ceased when a terri 
ble discord arose among the chiefs and their supporters, 
and hatreds were engendered which death could not end, 
since they survive in the succeeding generations. Who 
among the discordants was most guilty of destroying the 
peace I have no means of judging; and having sought to 
be impartial in my comments upon the merits of all, I 
may take leave of the Mexican War and of the glorious 
realm of the Aztecs. 


Reminiscences of events and characters from the time of my first service 
with Scott till I rejoined his staff as confidential Military Secretary. My 
captaincy. Farewell dinner from Scott. Life in Washington. Ordered 
to Florida. W. T. Sherman. Fort Lauderdale. George H. Thomas. 
Lieutenant Wyse, and other officers. Service in Florida. In New Or 
leans. General Gaines. Comparison of Scott and Gaines. Ordered to 
Fort Moultrie. The voyage. Purchase of a slave. The officers at Fort 
Moultrie. Quarrel with Bragg. Anecdotes of other officers. 

ON the 3<Dth day of November, 1841, Captain Schriver, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, came into my room in 
the War Office, and saluted me as Captain of the Third 
Regiment of Artillery. A superior officer had died the 
night before and I was promoted to be captain, and ceased 
to be the aide-de-camp of General Scott, as the law at that 
time required him to select his aides from the lieutenants 
of the army. I had served in his staff eight years, less a 
few months while I was an Assistant Adjutant-General in 
the general staff, and I was attached to my chief by ties 
of affection and gratitude. 

In the following evening, before parting, he invited me 
to his room, where he had brought in a supper of can 
vas-back ducks, champagne, etc. Our good cheer was 
not more enlivening than was the remembrance of the 
past. I had always accepted his advice and instruction 
with spontaneous docility. I was in the morning of life, 
and in me no element or blossom of youth had been 
staled by excesses nor saddened by treachery and disap 
pointment. In that glorious time a thousand things 

Ordered to Florida. 163 

could make me joyous, and when at three o'clock in the 
morning the general took me by the hand to bid me fare 
well, his unspeakably expressive eye beamed on me like a 
heavenly messenger and thus I took leave of my bene 
factor to brave the storms of my future life. 

My orders were to join my company in Florida, and 
after one day with my family, then temporarily sojourn 
ing in Elizabeth, I sailed for that Indian-infested prison 
house of the army. My life in Washington had been one 
of luxurious enjoyment, with a show of work that made 
me feel respectable. I had all the diversions my nature 
craved dancing, dinners, and music, and a wide ac 
quaintance with men and women of the choicest society. 

To show the strong contrast to which officers of the 
army are subject, I will give my experience in the six 
weeks succeeding my departure from Washington. With 
in ten days I was put on shore at Fort Laud erd ale, on the 
Atlantic coast, near the southern extremity of Florida. 

On the way down from St. Augustine the steamer 
called to deliver supplies for a fort, at which Lieutenant 
(now General) William T. Sherman was stationed. His 
post was several miles inland, but he came down and 
brought two fat turtles and some fine oysters as a present 
for our captain. I had not met Sherman before, though 
we belonged to the same regiment. At that time he was 
thin and spare, but healthy, cheerful, loquacious, active, 
and communicative to an extraordinary degree. Further 
on I shall have more to say of this officer. He gave me 
a good idea of the country, and described the difficulties 
of campaigning in the swamps and jungles, where the 
Seminole Indians had so long evaded pursuit. I passed 
on, and was soon enabled to verify all he had told me. 

It was about seven o'clock in the morning when I went 
on shore at Fort Lauderdale, if that could be called a 

164 Fifty Years Observation. 

fort which consisted of a cluster of cane-built huts and a 
few Indian wigwams. I was shown my quarters, or a 
thatched hut of one room. The floor was of unplaned 
boards laid on the sand. There was nothing in the room 
but an old champagne basket which stood in a corner. 
On lifting the lid of the basket I saw many hundreds of 
enormous cockroaches resting in a clump of wet straw. 
My entire baggage consisted in the contents of a moder 
ate-sized trunk, two blankets, an air pillow, and my 
sword with these I commenced housekeeping. 

Being called to breakfast, I went into another thatched 
hut, and sat down on a block of wood at a table com 
posed of two unplaned planks which rested upon stakes 
driven into the sand. A complement of tin plates, 
pewter spoons, rusty knives, and two-pronged forks, con 
stituted the table setting. The breakfast was brought in, 
and it consisted in muddy coffee, without milk, brown 
sugar, hard bread, tough buckwheat cakes, and semi-fluid 
rancid butter, held in a cracked teacup. The murky heat 
of the morning had taken away my appetite, and when I 
viewed the food before me, I groaned and thought of the 
rich soups and juicy meats on which I had fed in Wash 

Colonel (then Major) Thomas Childs was in command, 
and he allowed me two days to arrange myself before go 
ing on duty. I strolled about the post the first day, talked 
with the few officers remaining in the garrison, and visited 
the lodges of some sixty Seminole Indians who had volun 
tarily surrendered. Among them were two young chiefs 
and three girls that seemed to me to be more elegantly 
shaped and graceful in motion than any human beings I 
had ever seen. When I entered the wigwam they all 
stood up, and to the few questions I put them, through 
an interpreter, they returned answers with an ease and 

Fort Lauderdale. 165 

politeness which could scarcely be excelled. The old 
negro interpreter told me that these savages before they 
surrendered had never seen a white man. After an in 
terview with a party of wild Indian chiefs like these, Laf 
ayette declared that their deportment was as polished as 
that of the old nobility of France. 

My first dinner at Fort Lauderdale differed from my 
first breakfast by the substitution of bean soup and salt 
pork for buckwheat cakes, and commissary whiskey for 
muddy coffee. I was cautioned against plain river water, 
which was full of danger, but I took it only because it 
was less nauseous than the whiskey. After dinner I re 
tired to my hut, blew up my air pillow, and lay down on 
my blankets to muse on my change of condition and to 
sleep if I could. 

On the east lay the ocean, and it was pleasant to hear 
the splash of the waves, net more than two hundred feet 
from me. On the west, at an equal distance, ran a small 
stream called the Indian River. Beyond the river an 
almost impenetrable jungle of tropical growth spread out. 
It was the abode of serpents, alligators, frogs, foxes, owls, 
wildcats, and other noisy creatures, whose moans, yelps, 
and hootings joined with the hum and buzz of the innu 
merable winged and sharded insects that filled the whole 
surrounding atmosphere. There was no cessation nor in 
terlude in the horrid though varied concert. The hum of 
mosquitoes was continuous, the barking of foxes and 
hooting of owls was nearly so, while the piercing scream 
and hoarse croak of birds of the night, hitherto unknown 
to me, were interjected at short intervals to make the hel 
lish fugue complete. The strange noises were not wholly 
disagreeable, but the army of fleas that invaded my couch 
kept me awake, and I thought of happier times. 

Two days after my arrival at Fort Lauderdale a scout- 

1 66 Fifty Years' Observation. 

ing party returned in canoes from the interior. On going 
to the landing, I saw stepping on shore from a boat a 
young lieutenant whose name was George H. Thomas. 
He was afterward Major-General, and he died at San 
Francisco on the 28th of March, 1870, while in command 
of the Department of the Pacific. As he served nearly 
two years under me as my subaltern, I will describe him 
according to the impression he left upon me after a long 
and varied intimacy. 

At the time above referred to Thomas was twenty-six 
years old. His height was exactly six feet, his form per 
fectly symmetrical, inclining to plumpness; his com 
plexion was blonde, eyes deep blue and large. The shape 
and carriage of his head and the expression of his hand 
some face corresponded with my idea of a patrician of 
ancient Rome. He was a Virginian by birth, and at the 
time he entered the Military Academy he was twenty 
years of age, or four years beyond the average of cadets 
at the time of admission. 

Of all the hundreds of Southern men with whom 
I have been intimate, he and Robert E. Lee were the 
fairest in their judgment of Northern men. In this con 
clusion I make no exception. 

Thomas possessed an even temperament, and was never 
violently demonstrative. He was equally calm when he 
went in and when he came out of the battle. He was 
seldom much in advance of the appointed time in his ar 
rival at the post of duty, and I never knew him to be 
late, or to appear impatient or in a hurry. All his move 
ments were deliberate, and his self-possession was 
supreme, without being arrogant, and he received and 
gave orders with equal serenity. From the first we were 
companions, and my confidence in him was at once com. 
plete. He did his duty and kept all his appointments 

George H. Thomas. 167 

precisely, and a long acquaintance with him invariably led 
to respect and affection. His deportment was dignified, 
and in the presence of strangers and casual acquaintances 
he was reserved. Nevertheless he was social, and he pos 
sessed a subtle humor always ready to show itself in 
similes and illustrations of character which I could exem 
plify by numerous anecdotes if I were writing his history. 
He was an accomplished officer, and although his turn of 
mind inclined him more to science than literature, his 
reading was extensive and varied. The qualities which 
exalted him most above his fellows were judgment, im 
partiality, and integrity, in all which he had few equals 
and in the last no superior. After the Rebellion, when 
he arrived in San Francisco to assume command of the 
Division of the Pacific, I met him, and was shocked to ob 
serve the effect which war and change of climate had 
wrought in his countenance. White lines bordered his 
lips and his eyes had lost their wonted fires ; and although 
a mortal malady had entrenched itself in his vitals, he 
made no complaint, but applied himself with his custom 
ary strictness to duty. He was at my house to attend 
the wedding of my daughter Caroline, and in my conver 
sation with him on that occasion I said : " Thomas, I no 
tice no change in our social relations now, and when in 
Florida, New Orleans, and Charleston I used to order you 
to go and drill the company." " There is none, and why 
should there be ? " Three days after that conversation I 
saw him in his coffin, and such was the noble repose of 
his face that I might have supposed he was asleep. 

There is a moral in the life and services of General 
George H. Thomas which merits consideration. He was 
strictly conscientious, he loved Virginia, which was his 
birthplace, and the bias of his affections was towards the 
South. He was also warmly attached to the Union, and 

1 68 Fifty Years' Observation. 

he espoused its cause in the War of the Rebellion. His 
wife was a noble Northern woman, and his deference for 
her was great ; and it is my opinion that it was her influ 
ence, more than any other consideration, that determined 
him to cast his fortunes with us. Had he followed his 
own inclinations, he would have joined the Confederates, 
and fought against the North with the same ability and 
valor that he displayed in our cause. His part once 
chosen, he stood like a tower for the North, arid he has 
been rewarded with a monument and a lasting fame. 

Yet this great man's crowning success may be said to 
have been accidental. Not long before the battle of 
Nashville, which gave permanence to his renown, he was 
accused of dilatoriness and inefficiency. The disadvan 
tageous reports were credited, and General-in-Chief of 
the army Halleck issued an order, and had it printed, re 
lieving Thomas and directing General Schofield to assume 
command of his army. For some reason unknov/n to me 
the order was not sent, and Thomas fought his battle, 
which was successful. If the order had been carried into 
effect, Schofield might have gained the victory, but the 
name of Thomas and all his merits would have vanished 
at once in oblivion. I delight to dwell on the memory 
of my departed friend, and will give specimens of his 
humor, which made him so pleasant as a companion. 

At the time of my arrival at Fort Lauderdale I had 
been long absent from my regiment, and had never served 
with it except as a file-closer, consequently I came at 
once to the command of a company with all the igno 
rance of a novice. My first lieutenant, Wyse, was a good 
soldier, but he had the habit of praising his own military 
character, with which he was content. He was a great 
talker and excessively dogmatic in his opinions. At a 
later date, in New Orleans, he came in from the opera, in 

Anecdotes of Thomas. 160 

the middle of the night, and declared to me that the 
American people knew nothing about music ! Thomas, 
who appreciated my situation and knew the character of 
my first lieutenant, who had charge of the company be 
fore my arrival, told me that if I asked Wyse to teach me 
anything about my duty he would always boast of having 
been obliged to instruct me. Taking the hint, with pen 
in hand I went through every law, regulation, order, and 
document relating to the command of a company of ar 
tillery, and at the end of a week I required no teaching 
from Mr. Wyse. 

At another time I required something from the Quar 
termaster, Lieutenant Schover. I told Thomas that I 
had been three times to his office, which was a tent, and 
had not found him. " You will not find him in his tent," 
said Thomas, " but if you place yourself near the trail 
that passes between those two palmetto trees (the 
tops of which we could see from where we sat) he will 
pass you within twenty minutes." I went immediately 
to the place indicated, and sure enough Schover came 
along at the end of ten minutes ! 

He told me also how to find another officer, who 
chewed tobacco and spat incessantly. We were at a 
Southern post in summer. The officer in question would 
sit reading and spitting ; by turning his head to the right 
he could spit in the fireplace, and to the left out of the 
window each being several yards from his chair. 
" Now," said Thomas, " you may come in at the window 
and follow up the line of tobacco juice on the floor, or 
you may descend the chimney and trace from that, and 
at the intersection of the two lines you will discover 
B ." 

My experience in Florida was short, but it sufficed to 
show me why the war lasted so long, and why so many 


170 Fifty Years' Observation. 

distinguished officers failed in its conduct. The thickets in 
which the Indians could conceal themselves were almost 
impenetrable to our soldiers. They could subsist on shell 
fish, roots, and berries, and do without fires, the smoke of 
which would have betrayed them. In all the battles and 
skirmishes, it is probable that five times as many of our 
officers and men were killed as of the enemy. A friend 
of mine who was in the battle of Ochechobee, in which 
several of our officers were slain, and which lasted a 
whole day, told me he did not see an Indian, and that 
very few of our people saw one, so skilfully were they 
able to hide themselves. 

The Florida war commenced on the 24th day of De 
cember, 1835, at which date Major Dade's whole com 
mand of 102 were massacred, with the exception of one 
man, near Tampa Bay. It ended in about twelve years 
not by our success in conflicts, but by the treason of the 
Indians themselves, and by the act of General Jessup, who 
prevailed on Osceola and about 80 of his braves to come 
in under a flag of truce and treat for peace. The terms 
submitted were not accepted by the red men, and Jessup 
detained the whole party as prisoners of war. Osceola 
was a splendid chief, but he could not bear captivity, and 
at the end of a few months he died of a broken heart. 

Fortunately for me, the term of service of my company 
in Florida expired in January, 1842, and I was ordered 
to New Orleans, via Tampa Bay. 

General Worth, who was in command, had his head 
quarters at that place, and he received me with the ut 
most cordiality. I was at death's door from the effect of 
drinking the water of the everglades without whiskey. 
The volunteer doctor who had attended me declared that I 
could not recover, and if I had continued the remedies he 
prescribed his prophecy would have been verified. The 

General Gaines. 


chief of the medical staff at headquarters was Surgeon 
Harney, brother to the famous General William Harney. 
He saw me, and compounded a potion which I took in 
the evening during a lucid interval (for I was half the time 
out of my head with the delirium of fever), and the next 
morning I was well. I sailed with my company for New 
Orleans, and assumed command of the barracks below 
that city early in February, 1842. 

Major-General Edmund Pendleton Gaines was in com 
mand of the Western Department, with headquarters in 
the city of New Orleans. When I called to pay my re 
spects to him, he surprised me by a cordial greeting, 
which was the reverse of what I had anticipated. He 
went so far as to offer to take me on an extensive tour of 
inspection with him, which I was obliged to decline. Be 
tween him and my former chief, Scott, there was a feud 
as fierce as ever raged between military commanders. 

Three years previous, while I was aide to the latter, I 
was promoted to the rank of captain and assistant adju 
tant-general, and ordered to report to General Gaines at 
St. Louis as chief of his military staff. He refused to re 
ceive me, and declared that he would as soon take a wife 
at the dictation of other men as to take his chief of staff. 
He had no confidence in my former friends, nor in the men 
who had sent me to him. We had three interviews. The 
first was short and angry on his part, although he de 
clared that he had heard nothing objectionable to me. 
He intended to have Captain McCall for his chief of staff, 
or he would get along with his present assistants. Our 
two following interviews were friendly, and lasted over an 
hour each. Half the time was devoted to the explana 
tion of a system of railroads which he had devised, and 
the plan of which he showed me. He had traced nearly 
all the trunk lines, as they now exist, east of the Missis- 

172 Fifty Years' Observation. 

sippi and many on the west of that river. His system 
was distinguished by more roads terminating at Mem 
phis, Tennessee, than at St. Louis and Chicago together. 
The other half the time was mostly spent in abusing my 
former chief. As I had never heard the name of Gaines 
mentioned in the presence of Scott that it did not pro- 
voke an expression of contempt, I was willing to listen 
to what the accused could say. 

The scorn on both sides appeared about equal, but 
Scott vastly excelled in sententious vilification such as 
" Gaines is only fit to be a dry nurse in a lying-in hospi 
tal." " Superannuated old martinet." " Imbecile com 
mander," etc., etc. Referring to Gaines's efforts to ap 
pear learned in the French language, he told me he once 
observed him wrestling with the phrase, " Je ne sais 
quoi," and he thought he was describing a " Genesee 

Gaines's manner of speaking of his enemy was earnest 
and solemn. He belittled him as much as he could, and 
said Scott's character was chiefly composed of puerilities, 
and that he was a vain pretender. There was a lurid air 
of satisfaction in the old gentleman's face when he said, 
" In our quarrel about rank, I established the superiority 
of mine, and had my name placed above that of Scott on 
the Army Register." 

My opinion of General Gaines was necessarily confused 
before we met. After seeing and hearing him, I con 
cluded that he was equally as vain as General Scott, but 
that his vanity displayed itself in a different way. He 
boasted continually of his abstemiousness and hardihood, 
that he never used an umbrella, that when he was ailing 
he cured himself without the aid of drugs, that he could 
tire young men in walking, etc., etc. His habits were 
apparent in. his looks. He was tall, thin, and his face 

Ordered to Charleston. 173 

was covered with fine wrinkles. His eye was sparkling 
and clear, and his hair, which was snow-white, stood so 
thick that his scalp could nowhere be seen. His whole 
appearance was strikingly similar to that of many old 
Frenchmen of high rank that I have since seen, and his 
manners had an equal polish. 

These two men were good citizens and excellent offi 
cers, but their rivalry had been a source of worry to both 
during forty years. Notwithstanding I had so often wit 
nessed their sweltered venom and contumelious asper 
sions, they never influenced my judgment of the merits 
of either. The same ebullitions are invariably disclosed 
by intimacy with men who contend for the same prize, 
and they affect me no more than the steam that rises from 
a heated cauldron. 

As I had formed pleasant social relations in New Or 
leans, it was with regret that I received orders, in the 
month of June, to transfer my company by sea to Fort 
Moultrie, Charleston Harbor. We sailed the 1st of July, 
and, after lying becalmed 16 days in the Gulf of Mexico, 
we landed the 26th in Charleston and proceeded to Sulli 
van's Island. The heat was so oppressive on the voyage 
that we kept in our berths or in the cabin during the day, 
and walked the deck at night. One morning at about 
two o'clock, while I was in the forepart of the ship look 
ing out, I fancied I saw a mountain ahead. I found the 
mate, and told him I had seen something which might be 
land. He jumped forward and shrieked out, " Helm hard 
a-port ! " The vessel sheered around without striking, and 
it appeared we were less than two cables' length from the 
island of Cuba. 

Under the old regime, to such as enjoyed their con 
fidence, the hospitality of the South Carolinians was 
supremely attractive. My initiation to it was due to an 

i/4 Fifty Years' Observation. 

event, the relation of which recalls a condition of things 
now forever past. 

One day, when my wife found it difficult to hire a cook, 
I went up to Charleston and bought a female slave. As 
she stood upon a block I bid her off. Then I went to 
a desk and received a bill of sale, " For one wench, aged 
23 years, price $350." Having paid forthe wench, I told 
her to get her trunk and come with me. She had neither 
trunk nor parcel, and was alone. All she possessed she 
had on, which was a hickory shirt and a linsey-woolsey 
gown ; and yet she was cheerful, and we found her a good 
servant. I had already experienced the pride of owner 
ship in its various gradations, as the proprietor of a dog, 
a horse, and a bit of land ; but it was only when I could 
call a human being my property that I enjoyed the self- 
importance of a real capitalist. No sooner was my pur 
chase known, than I was admitted to the society of 
Charleston with a stamp of merit above my value. I 
visited the plantations in winter, and in the warm season 
many families established themselves on Sullivan's Island. 
In their companionship I recognized the truth of what 
Prince Murat said of the Charleston society. After he 
had seen nearly all the courts of Europe he found 
by comparison that the men of South Carolina were 
the most aristocratic, and the women the most grace 

The peculiar charm of the South Carolinians was de 
rived from an unusual coalition of races. The blood of 
the Huguenots had mixed with that of the Cava 
liers of England. In Canada and Louisiana it is 
different. There the two nationalities remain distinct, 
for the French in habits and association are the most 
insular of all the Christian communities. The Legrees, 
the De Saussures, the Porchers, the d'lons, the Rhetts, the 

South Carolina Society. 175 

Izzards, the Petigrews, the Rutledges, the Prestons, the 
Butlers, the Pinckneys, the Pringles, the Haynes, the 
Northrops, the Harveys, and the Calhouns all joined in 
social amity, and among them were brave men of the 
highest refinement and almost incomparable eloquence. 
The women exalted the noble accomplishments of the 
men by many enchanting qualities. In form they were 
unrivalled, and the beauty of their hands and feet sur 
passed the proofs of my observation in all my journeys. 
In such a society I should have been a groveller if I had 
not secured a voucher of eternal credit, which I found in 
the friendship of a young lady to whom I was introduced, 
while walking on the beach of Sullivan's Island. This 
beautiful lady was endowed with rarest gifts ; and in her 
person and character all the attributes which enabled 
her sisters of the sunny land, where she inherited life, 
to ensorcillize and enslave the ruder sex, cohered. At 
the time to which I refer, I was bound by the holy vows 
of matrimony to a woman of transcendent worth, and 
thus being hedged in, I addressed no discourse to the 
fore-named maiden which it would have distressed her 
mother to witness. The many succeeding years in which 
it was my happy fortune to enjoy her friendship served 
always to enhance my estimate of the female character ; 
and so deep were the impressions left in my memory by 
her various excellence, that I fancy death will have no 
power to erase them, and that, should my sins be for 
given, I shall be permitted to meet her again in the realms 
beyond the stars. 

I could relate numerous other incidents and circum 
stances that tended to establish my attachment to the 
South Carolinians and to make me forget their follies and 
regret their misfortunes. I had a son born on Sulli 
van's Island, whose early promise and final success have 

176 Fifty Years' Observation. 

cheered me, and I was associated there on duty with a 
group of young officers a larger proportion of whose 
names was destined to be distinguished than could have 
been found among an equal number elsewhere. I will 
designate them by the ranks they finally achieved. 

There were General W. T. Sherman, now commanding 
the United States army ; Lieutenant-General Braxton 
Bragg, late Confederate States army ; Major-General 
George H. Thomas, who was so highly renowned ; Major- 
General John F. Reynolds, Major-General Thomas W. 
Sherman, Major-General S. Van Vleit, General E. D. 
Keyes ; General A. C. Myers, late Quartermaster-General 
Confederate States army; Colonel Henry B. Judd, 
Colonel Jasper Stewart, Lieutenants Churchill, Field, 
Ayers, and Austin. All the above-named officers served 
together above a year, with the exception of Reynolds, 
who was with us a shorter time. 

The commanding officer at first was Brigadier-General 
W. K. Armistead, who about the year 1820 surveyed the 
sand-spit at the mouth of Hampton Roads, and traced 
the ground plan of the great Fortress Monroe. The 
second commanding officer was Brigadier-General Will 
iam Gates, who was one of the earliest graduates of the 
West Point Military Academy. Captain (afterwards 
Colonel) Martin Burke was always second in command, 
and he alone was not a graduate of the Military Acad 

The fate of many of those public servants illustrates 
the famous line of Gray, 

" The paths of glory lead but to the grave." 

Bragg fell dead in Texas from heart disease. George 
H. Thomas died suddenly in San Francisco from fatty 
degeneration of the heart contracted from hard service in 

W. T. Sherman. 177 

unwholesome climates. Reynolds was killed at Gettys 
burg. T. W. Sherman lost a leg at Port Hudson. 
Churchill died of cholera while on duty at Point Isabel, 
Texas. Ayers was killed at Molino del Rey, Mexico, and 
Field was swept overboard, with several other officers 
and men, from the steamer San Francisco while en route 
with the Third Regiment of Artillery from New York to 
San Francisco. Martin Burke lived the full term of 
human life, and died within this year (1882) at the nomi 
nal age of 8 1, though he must have been not less than 91 
years old. 

Let us glance back through the vista of years and 
events and contemplate the characteristics of some of the 
officers I have named. W. T. Sherman, with whom my 
cordial relations have never known abatement, was ambi 
tious without asperity, and surprisingly active and always 
attentive to duty. In one respect he has since undergone 
an anomalous change, for then his style of speaking and 
writing was plain and succinct; now it is ornate and so 
expansive as to embrace nearly the whole range of human 
thought. From time to time he undertook to reform my 
speech, and he would often criticise my conduct, which I 
prove as follows : 

I had an ill-favored yellow pup named Carlo that would 
follow me to the parade ground from where I lived out 
side the fort. Wishing to be rid of the beast, I called 
my company clerk and said : " Waterbury, conduct this 
quadruped to my dwelling." Sherman thought my style 
too pompous. I asked him what he would have said. He 
replied : " I would have said : ' Waterbury, take this dog 
down to my house.' ' As to my conduct : I had in my 
company a stunted, crooked, cross-grained soldier, whose 
name was Jim Hill. Hill spent above half the time in 
the guard-house, and on parade his head was always seen 

178 Fifty Years' Observation. 

protruding six or eight inches in front of the line, and all 
my efforts to straighten the wretch had been futile. 
Sherman questioned my skill as a drill master, and one 
day I asked him to drill my company and try his hand on 
the scalawag. He consented, and I went out to look on. 
Hill's visage wore an unusually perverse aspect that 
morning, and I was encouraged. Sherman began upon 
him at once with reproofs and adjurations, to which the 
fellow paid no heed. At last, his patience being ex 
hausted, Sherman, with angry haste, proceeded to the 
rear of the company, and having first with a tremendous 
thrust sunk his sword into the sand nearly to the hilt, he 
took hold of Jim's shoulders with his knee against 
his back, and tried his utmost to rectify the individual in 
question. Hill's strength was enormous, and instead of 
yielding he strove in a contrary direction, and absolute 
ly gained two inches in crookedness, which he retained 
till the drill was ended. Sherman's face acknowledged 
defeat. I was calm. 

Of Bragg I will not say much. He was equally as am 
bitious as W. T. Sherman, but being of a saturnine dis 
position and morbid temperament, his ambition was of 
the vitriolic kind. He could see nothing bad in the South 
and little good in the North, although he was disposed to 
smile on his satellites and sycophants whencesoever they 
came. He was intelligent, and the exact performance of 
all his military duties added force fo his pernicious influ 
ence. As I was not disposed to concede to his intolerant 
sectionalism, nor to be influenced by his dictatorial utter 
ances, our social relations could not long remain harmo 
nious. At last, upon a matter of discipline which arose 
between me and Lieutenant Churchill, whose cause 
Bragg espoused against his own theories, and in opposi 
tion to the advice of Captain Martin Burke, Bragg and I 

Thomas and Other Officers. 179 

quarrelled and ceased forever afterwards to speak with 
one another. 

This book is not to define my enemies, and I leave 
Bragg to those who regard him with more favor than 
I do. 

The character of General George H. Thomas I have 
already drawn. In the fiery throng to which I allude he 
was always calm. His nature was not only absolutely 
just, but it was also highly sympathetic and genial, and 
neither malice nor envy could question his motives. The 
happiest illusions of my youth and the most joyous en 
counters of my life have left no more benignant traces in 
my memory than my associations with George H. Thomas 
while I was his direct commanding officer. 

Van Vleit and Reynolds only remained with us two or 
three months, but they were always our intimate asso 
ciates. The former was a man of the world, and after 
wards stood high in the Quartermaster's Department; 
and the latter was one of our most gallant officers, and he 
was as amiable as he was brave. The next in the list was 
a man of marked peculiarities, and of him I will speak 
more at length. 

Major-General Thomas W. Sherman was a native of 
Rhode Island, and the traits of his character denoted a 
descent from Roger Williams. He was dyspeptic and fear 
less, and he would revolve his New England ideas regard 
less of his company. While serving in Florida he man 
aged to make himself unpopular, and when the order 
came to me at New Orleans assigning him to my com 
pany of artillery he was personally unknown to me. My 
messmates volunteered to inform me that I should find in 
him a hard case for a " sub." I questioned them in re 
gard to his characteristics, and concluded from the replies 
that Sherman was hated because he was faithful to the 

i8o Fifty Years' Observation. 

place of his birth. Two days later an orderly came in 
while we were at the dinner table to say that Sherman 
was at the gate and desired to see me. I dropped my 
knife and fork and ran with outstretched hands to greet 
him. I fetched him to the table, called for okra soup 
and an extra glass, and while he ate and drank I exerted 
myself to convince him that I was delighted with the 
prospect of having him and George H. Thomas for my 
subalterns at the same time. He only came for a call, 
and was to join me at Charleston. I went with him to 
the carriage that was waiting at the gate, and when I 
bade him good-bye a looker-on would have supposed two 
dear friends were parting. 

Sherman joined me at Fort Moultrie shortly after my 
arrival there with my company, and entered upon his 
duties. Myers had beforehand vouchsafed his opinions 
of my sub., and advised me not to commit myself too 
far with such a refractory individual. Time wore on, and 
Sherman, as soon as he discovered that my opinion of him 
had not been forestalled, became communicative, and I 
found him a man of great intelligence and sterling merit. 
Myers, who lived outside the Fort by himself, by one of 
those slippery turns to which men are subject, dismissed 
his prejudice against Sherman, invited him to mess at his 
table, and the two former repugnants fed and glozed to 
gether in loving fraternity. 

Colonel Judd was a man of humor and something of a 
martinet. The company he commanded in the absence 
of its captain was always in perfect order. He was fond 
of long discussions, and often complained that his audi 
tors did not understand him. When not arguing he 
would sometimes sing the song of the " Pizen sarpi-ent" 
Judd was popular with the officers and greatly beloved by 
his men, in spite of his severe discipline. He was very 

Lieuts. Field, Churchill, and Ayers. 181 

useful in the civil war, though not much in the field, owing 
to the delicacy of his health. He married a charming 
South Carolina lady, by whom he had no children, and al 
though he and she are uncommonly loquacious, it ap 
peared to me, when I saw them at Nice, about the year 
1873, that they were quite content and happy with one 

Lieutenant Field was called " the Parson" on account 
of the plainness and sobriety of his appearance ; but the 
parson, when angry, would swear. He was tall and lank 
as a dried bean-pod, and at the age of twenty-three years 
was almost entirely bald. He played the lady's man, and 
spent money to dress fine, but to what effect I did not en 
quire. He never gave offence, and when he was drowned 
it was agreed in the regiment that a handsomer man might 
have been less regretted. 

Lieutenants Churchill and Ayers, both of whom were 
untimely cut off by death, were among the most promis 
ing officers of our garrison. Churchill, in form and mar 
tial port, was perhaps the most strikingly handsome youth 
amongst us. He was also brilliant and accomplished in 
mind, but he had a defect not unusual with handsome 
men, and even girls, which was self-consciousness. At 
New Orleans, and for a while after we came to Charles 
ton, I was warmly attached to Churchill, and we were 
jocularly intimate. When he fell under Bragg's influence, 
he and I for a while separated. At the time we were 
happy together, he went one day to call on the young 
lady of whom I have already spoken in admiring terms, 
and from her he suffered a harsh rebuke. Knowing my 
friendship for her he came to tell me what had happened 
to him, and to warn me of the dangers to which I might 
unconsciously expose myself. Churchill had beautiful 
hands, and he was careful to wear conspicuous sleeve 

1 82 Fifty Years' Observation. 

buttons, and he would look at his hands and their fit 
tings while apparently regarding another object. 

" I went," said he, " to call on Miss , and after 

talking with her a while, I took hold of that long ribbon 
with which she confined her hair, and while I examined 
its texture, I continued to talk to her a minute or two 
without looking up. When I did look up I fancied I 
saw two balls of fire coming from her eyes against my 
head. I was confounded, and got away as soon as I 
could." He advised me to be careful, and asked me 
what I thought of her conduct towards him. I replied 
that I admired her spirit and was astonished at his 
temerity. "Your telling me what you did," said I, "has 
covered me all over with goose-flesh. If I had sought 
the notice of a flax wench, I would have proceeded with 
more respect than you showed to that nonpareil of 
maidens. When you take hold of any portion of a lady's 
dress before you have convinced her that you admire 
everything she wears, you commit a breach of gallantry 
for which I can imagine neither justification nor remedy." 

There was one other officer (and he was the only one 
at Fort Moultrie who was not a West Pointer) with whom 
my associations were so friendly that I feel disposed to 
describe his peculiar traits of character at some length. 
The name of the officer to whom I refer was Captain, 
afterwards Colonel, Martin Burke, who deceased April 
24, in the year 1882. The New York Graphic noticed 
his death, with details of his history, and gave his portrait, 
which I could easily recognize after an absence of many 
years. Nominally, when he died, his age was 81, but 
actually I doubt if it was less than 90. The senior officers, 
when I joined the army, spoke of Burke as an " oldish 
man " at the date of his first commission, which was 
1820. It was reported that before entering the service he 

Captain Martin Burke. 183 

had failed in or become weary of some kind of business 
or trade, when by good fortune he gained a commission 
of second lieutenant in the artillery. General Scott, 
when he sought to enforce discipline in sport or serious 
ness, seldom failed to cite the name of Martin Burke as a 
supreme exemplar of obedience. " If," said he, "I were 
to order Captain Burke to bring me the head of the 
President of the United States, he would proceed to exe 
cute the order with as much unconcern as he would send 
a drunken soldier to the guard-house." The order of his 
commanding officer had the effect to clear the mind of 
Captain Martin Burke of all fears and apprehensions, and 
if directed by his chief to lead a forlorn hope, or to kill a 
citizen, not a nerve of his body would have moved. On 
the other hand his dread of civil tribunals and the man 
dates of courts overwhelmed him. Once when he was 
summoned as a witness in a simple cause which affected 
him not, he would fain have fled the jurisdiction. When 
outside the chain of sentinels he always had a scared look, 
and he regarded a camp or fort as a refuge of sweet re 
pose and security. I never learned what incident or cir 
cumstance of his early career it was that filled his whole 
nature with such a terror and repugnance to the tyranny, 
injustice, corruption, bickering, lying, cheating, swindling, 
slandering, obduracy, cruelty, cunning, deceit, perjury, 
indecency, quackery, litigation, snobbishness and other 
nameless deviltries of civil society, but certain it is that 
nothing short of an order from his commanding officer, or 
other supreme necessity ever kept him away from the 
sound of a drum over-night. 

I apprehend that Captain Burke's early education had 
been neglected. I never saw him reading any other books 
than tactics, Army Regulations, and a work on chess, 
though he may have read others unknown to me. He 

1 84 Fifty Years Observation. 

could never learn correctly the tactics actually in vogue, 
for the reason that he at first studied some antique 
system, probably that of Baron Steuben, and the 
knowledge thus acquired he always afterwards jumbled 
with the succeeding prescribed commands. Orthography 
occupied his attention, though he sometimes took pains 
to be wrong in his spelling. Being second in command at 
the post, he was the President of the Council of Admin 
istration, which convened at muster days every two 
months to regulate sutler's accounts and other matters. 
At one council when I was a member, the record, being 
complete, was signed as usual, " Martin Burke, Captain 
3d Artillery, President of Council," and deposited at 
headquarters. The following morning I chanced to 
notice Captain Burke sitting on a bench, and that he 
glanced frequently at the door of the adjutant's office. 
After a while Adjutant Austin left and passed out of the 
fort. Burke then entered the office furtively, and after 
five minutes withdrew to his own quarters. As I fancied 
he had thought of some change he wished to make in the 
Record of the Council, I went in, and upon examination 
found that he had added another / to the last word of his 
title, so as to make it read: "Martin Burke, Captain $d 
Artillery, President of Councill." 

Whenever the captain heard an expression or idea that 
struck his fancy forcibly, it was his invariable habit to 
repeat it to himself afterwards. He and I were at lunch 
in a Charleston restaurant, and seeing the standard plate of 
smelts on the table, I said, " He was a brave man who first 
ate these monsters of the deep." Burke left before me, and 
having to turn a corner and come near the window where I 
sat, I heard him mumbling to himself, " monsters of the deep, 
monsters of the deep." At another time after Generals 
Scott and Wool had paid us official visits, some of the 

Burke 9 s Walk. 185 

officers remarked upon the fondness of those gentlemen 
for display and adulation. I turned to Burke and said, 
"Those men live on fame, but we in this fort are obliged 
to content ourselves with pork and beans." When we 
had all separated, I could hear him at a distance say, " live 
on fame," " live on fame," "pork and beans," "pork and 
beans." Thus it was that meditation supplied the famous 
captain with an inexhaustible source of happiness, which 
preserved his body and mind in health and contentment. 

Curiosity will be awakened by what I have related above 
of this worthy man and faithful public servant, to know 
how he looked and what was the fashion of his dress. 

Nature had furnished Martin Burke with a capacious 
chest and well-shaped limbs. He had contracted the 
habit of bending forward at the hips, though his back was 
straight and broad, and yet his head drooped a trifle, es 
pecially when he walked alone on the ramparts, as he did 
almost every day, dressed in a calico morning gown that 
flopped over his hands as he clasped them behind him. 
The length of his walk was thirty paces, and at one end, 
at about every third turn, he would raise his head and 
look out upon the Atlantic Ocean. At the other end he 
would fret his brow and gaze inland, upon the region 
where Poe places the scene of the Gold Bug. No man 
ever divined the subject of the captain's cogitations 
during these diurnal promenades. His complexion was 
brownish, his face full, nose ordinary, forehead high and 
pyramidal. His mouth was of the medium size, but as it 
showed no lips it appeared much like a slit in a curved 
surface with the corners tending downward. From them, 
when Martin was excited, rills of tobacco juice could be 
seen to flow, often copiously. As his vital organs were 
strong and healthy, his voice was clear and amazingly 
sonorous. The following commands, all obsolete, he would 

1 86 Fifty Years Observation. 

vociferate in clarion tones: " Form column of attack !" 
instead of double column on centre. " Draw ramrod !" in 
stead of draw rammer. " Load by twelve commands ! " 
instead of load in twelve times. When the change from 
flint to percussion locks was accomplished, and Scott's 
tactics had been superseded, Burke's diction on the drill 
ground became still more confused. Still the earnest old 
soldier maintained his confidence, delivered his cullings 
from many systems of tactics in a voice which for dis 
tinctness, melody, and force was not surpassed in the 
whole army. 

His dress when on duty was prescribed by the regula 
tions, but still there crept in certain peculiarities of the 
wearer. The material and pattern of his shoes never 
varied during all the years I knew him, and were unlike 
any others. He also had a drab vest with bright buttons 
and standing collar that he wore at home and abroad, and 
which seemed of perpetual duration. To a buttonhole 
of that vest a thong of buckskin was fastened to hold a 
large, plump silver watch, that marked the exact time of 
tattoo, reveille, and all the daily calls. Martin went to bed 
directly after tattoo, except when he was officer of the 
day, and he was always up and out at reveille. 

Upon those rare occasions when Captain Burke left his 
post to go to Charleston for supplies, he doffed his regu 
lation coat and pants and replaced them with a suit of 
satinet. Where that satinet dress-coat with short trun 
cated tails and horizontal pocket-openings was fabricated, 
no mortal could tell or imagine. He retained the drab 
vest with standing collar, and when he approached the 
shore he would open the big leather hat-box that he 
always carried, take out and put upon his head a tall, 
right cylindrical, black silk hat with a narrow rim, and re 
place it in the box with his forage cap. Thus equipped, 

Pleasant Years at Charleston. 187 

Martin would make his rounds in the city and return to 
the boat a few minutes before the time of leaving. He 
never had any intercourse with citizens that I could see, 
except to purchase what he needed, and although his 
dress and figure attracted much notice, there was an air 
of determination in his face and of force about him 
which protected him from insult. He was prompt in the 
discharge of his duties, and absolutely free from vice. 
Let all those who would comprehend the most perfect 
specimen of a garrison officer that has lived in the nine 
teenth century attend to the history herein given of the 
late Colonel Martin Burke of the United States army. 

To sum up the reasons that contributed to attach me to 
Charleston and the people of South Carolina, I find I en 
joyed during the two years from July, 1842, till June, 
1844, while I was stationed at Fort Moultrie, all the essen 
tial elements of human happiness. 

I had health, youth, congenial company, emulation, re 
sentments that proved my temper, connubial felicity, the 
exultation of early offspring, the hospitality of a proud 
aristocracy, the society of incomparably graceful women, 
the enlivenment of platonic love, the councils of noble 
men, and all the emotions that warm the human heart. 

Notwithstanding all the above-named attractions, to 
gether with such phantoms of hope as would sometimes 
visit my imagination, which has always been as arid of 
future benefits as an Arabian desert of verdure, I had 
time to reflect on the tendency of the prejudices of the 
Carolinians against the North, and I foresaw that slavery, 
as it fostered those prejudices, would ere long terminate 
in civil war. 


From my appointment to duty at West Point as Chief of Department of 
Artillery and Cavalry. The West Point board. Nominations for the 
post. My nomination by Lee. The Military Academy and its merits. 
Influence of Colonel Thayer. His successors. Delafield, Cullum, and 
others. The class of 1846. McClellan, Foster, Reno, Couch, Sturgis 
Stoneman, Palmer. Thomas J. Jackson, Maxey, Pickett. Derby 
("John Phoenix ") Classes of '47 and '48. Miss Scott. 

HAVING been appointed a member of the Board of 
Visitors to the Military Academy, I left Charleston 
with my family and arrived at West Point early in June, 
1844. The Board was composed wholly of officers of the 
army, among whom were Major-General Winfield Scott, 
President ; Brigadier-General William J. Worth, Captain 
(afterwards General) Robert E. Lee, of the Engineer 
Corps, and others. My seat happened to be next that of 
Lee, and as I had been previously intimate with him, we 
had an opportunity every day for three weeks that the 
examination lasted to interchange our views. We dis 
cussed the topics of the day, and all subjects relating to 
the Union and the dangers that threatened it. I gave 
full expression to my ardent Northern sentiments, and he 
treated them with a candor and fairness altogether un 
usual with his fellow Southerners. What surprised me 
most was that immediately afterwards he placed me 
under obligations to him which I can never forget. 

The Department of Artillery and Cavalry, over which 
Captain Miner Knowlton had presided and lost his 
health, was vacant, and there were three candidates for 
his succession. General Scott nominated Captain Robert 

Appointment to Duty at West Point. 189 

Anderson, who was afterwards made famous at Fort 
Sumter ; Colonel Delafield, who was the Superintendent, 
nominated Lieutenant Irwin McDowell, now Major-Gen 
eral, and I was nominated by Captain Robert E. Lee, 
without suggestion or knowledge on my own part. In 
the beginning General Scott told me he should support 
Captain Anderson, but after a few days he informed me 
that he had conversed with the Academic Board and 
that they preferred me. " Now, young gentleman," said 
he, " I am for you." Backed by the names of Scott and 
Lee, I was, as a matter of course, successful. I held the 
place nearly five years, and found it profitable to myself 
and advantageous to my family. 

The benefit received was clearly due to Lee, and the 
manner of its bestowal added many-fold to its value in 
my estimation. He did not ostentatiously stoop from his 
high estate to elevate a suppliant and give him a con 
spicuous position, nor did he afterwards claim to have 
made me. 

On the other hand, when I thanked him for his service 
in my behalf, he made me feel that I owed him nothing. 
Such a favor, so graciously bestowed, produced in me a 
sense of gratitude that nothing could change ; and 
although I subsequently met General Lee on several 
fields of battle, and did my best to kill him and his fol 
lowers, yet every pulsation of my heart has been of kind 
ness for him and his, and will be till the end of my life. 

Under the influence of that feeling, but with a firm re 
solve to adhere strictly to the truth, I shall give my im 
pressions of him, which will be found in another chapter. 

Upon rejoining the Military Academy as an officer, it 
seemed to me when I saw the battalion marching on the 
plain, that its appearance had undergone no change. I 
could only discover by a near approach that the counte- 

19 Fifty Years' Observation. 

nances of the cadets were strange to me. As I was to 
teach ballistics, etc., I thought it prudent to read over 
the entire course of mathematics, which I had wholly 

While I was a cadet it was supposed that our seniors of 
a few years could graduate if they knew the "rule of 
three." I found the same idea still prevailing, but when 
I came to read Church's Calculus and other mathemati 
cal text-books, I found everything had been simplified 
and made so easy that all I had to do was to cram. If 
the same simplifying process continues, the cadets of 
the present day must be able to answer a host of easy 
questions, but they are no longer subject to the strong 
tests of mental perspicacity that were applied in my day. 

The Military Academy has already had numerous 
enemies, but in my opinion it is an invaluable institution 
in many respects. It constitutes the only society of 
human beings that I have known in which the standing 
of an individual is dependent wholly upon his own merits 
so far as they can be ascertained without extraneous in 
fluence. The son of the poorest and most obscure man, 
being admitted as a cadet, has an equal chance to gain 
the honors of his class with the son of the most powerful 
and the richest man in the country. All must submit to 
the same discipline, wear the same clothes, eat at the 
same table, come and go upon the same conditions. Birth, 
avarice, fashion and connections are without effect to 
determine promotion or punishment ; consequently the 
Military Academy is a model republic in all things saving 
respect to constituted authority and obedience to orders, 
without which an army is impossible. 

Although a military school had been established at 
West Point about the year 1801, it was not till 1817, 
when Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Super- 

Superintendent Thayer. 191 

intendent, that it assumed the character it has since 
borne. Thayer was an accomplished man, and nature 
had endowed him with the requisites to found a system 
and give it permanence. He established a Roman dis 
cipline, and introduced the system of mathematical and 
military studies which were then in vogue in France, 
where he had studied. His personal appearance was 
majestic, and his punctuality unfailing. Every morning 
at half-past seven o'clock he was in his office neat and 
prim, epaulettes and ruffled shirt, a glory long since 
departed ready to receive the applications and com 
plaints of cadets. His decisions once quickly made were 
final, and no cadet was ever known to repeat an effort to 
change them. Besides my admiration for General 
Thayer, he secured my gratitude by telling me, after I had 
graduated, that I should be one of the first of my class he 
should apply for to return as an instructor, advising me 
at the same time to go and serve a while with my regi 
ment. I thanked him for his kindness, but at the end of 
eighteen months, when I was applied for as a teacher of 
mathematics, I declined, as I had no use for more equations. 
It was never, to my knowledge, asserted that Superin 
tendent Thayer was partial in the bestowal of punish 
ments or rewards, but once during the administration of 
General Jackson several cadets who had been discharged 
for violating the regulations, or for incompetency in study, 
were reinstated by that stupendous old hero, with orders to 
Colonel Thayer to moderate the discipline. Superintendent 
Thayer, who considered himself grossly snubbed, applied 
to be relieved, left the Point, and no persuasion could 
afterwards induce him to return there. He was placed on 
duty in the harbor of Boston, where he built a fort which 
stands as a model, in the fashion of the time, of defensive 

192 Fifty Years' Observation. 

At his new post he became less social than formerly 
contracted his personal expenses almost to penury, which 
enabled him to save the greater portion of his pay. With 
the assistance and advice of a friend of great financial 
ability his savings grew to a fortune of over $300,000, the 
largest part of which he left to establish an institution of 
learning. His habits were regular and simple, especially 
in his old age, but his appetite was always good, and at 
his dinner, as General Scott informed me, he was satisfied 
with three pounds of anything. General Thayer was a 
most valuable public servant, able and laborious, and 
never disposed to hilarity. He died a bachelor at the 
age of 88. He was called the father of the Military 
Academy, a title that no officer ever disputed, and a statue 
has recently been erected at West Point that will recall to 
the cadets the features of their illustrious benefactor. 

Among the officers of engineers who succeeded Colonel 
Thayer were many able men, Richard Delafield, Robert 
E. Lee, and George W. Cullum being of the number. 
Delafield, who was then a major and afterwards a general, 
was Superintendent when I arrived, and from him I re 
ceived my department, from which he withheld the com 
mand of a company of soldiers that had been subject to 
the orders of my predecessor. Upon the refusal of the 
Superintendent to give me the company, I appealed to the 
Chief Engineer. To him I addressed several letters, in 
one of which I accused Major Delafield in direct terms of 
being influenced against me by personal considerations, 
which I suspected because my appointment had been in 
opposition to his recommendation. I was finally over 
ruled, but instead of my respect for my immediate 
superior being diminished it was -greatly increased, be 
cause I became assured by observation that he was the 
chief at the Point, and that he was not directed by 

Colonel Thayer's Successors. 193 

favorites in the Academic Board. At the end of a year 
another officer succeeded as Superintendent, whose will, 
compared with that of Delafield, was as a rush to an oak. 
The new incumbent, governed by counsellors, and the un 
certainty as to who originated the orders given to me, was 
a constant source of annoyance and discomfort. 

Major Delafield had not the genius of Thayer to origi 
nate a system, but in economical ingenuity and taste he 
vastly excelled all others. Delafield embellished the 
Point with roads and structures of various uses, and he 
had the credit of doing more with a dollar than any other 
man in the army. His supervision was felt throughout 
all the departments of the academy ; not by the sneaking 
methods peculiar to many commanders, but in such a 
way as enabled him to judge fairly the services of his 
subordinates. As a commanding officer he was always 
just and fearless, and for that reason I admired him as 
much as any one I ever served under. In the year 1860, 
while I was the military secretary of Lieutenant-General 
Scott, Colonel Delafield, being again on duty as Superin 
tendent, invited me to take charge of the department of 
artillery and cavalry a second time, but I declined, and 
Major George H. Thomas, afterwards general, was ap 

Of the administrations of Lee and Cullum at West 
Point my knowledge is not sufficiently specific to enable 
me to speak intelligently. Lee's character I will portray 
to the best of my ability in another chapter, and Cullum's 
history is too extensive and varied for my work. His per 
sonal character I could not depict in a manner satisfac 
tory to myself, because I never tugged with him in the 
same service, nor clashed with him in any conflict. From 
him and his admirable wife I have received civilities, and 
I hold them both in great respect. No consideration, 

194 Fifty Years' Observation. 

however, that is entirely personal to myself, could so 
strongly move me to refer to him, as does the service he 
has rendered to our common Alma Mater. He has col 
lected and published in books the names of all the grad 
uates of the Military Academy, and given the prominent 
events in the histories of a vast majority of them. His 
tedious labors have been performed with a perseverance 
and accuracy, as well as a freedom from prejudice, that 
entitle him to the gratitude of his compeers. His col 
lection is not only interesting to all whom it directly 
concerns, but it is an essential benefit to the whole coun 
try to find in a compendious form the proofs of the value 
of the Military Academy. That institution accomplishes 
all that finite means can perform in an equal space of 
time, to increase a man's value in war and his integrity 
in peace ; and among those whose faithful and efficient 
devotion to it entitle them to honor, I place the name of 
George W. McCullum second only to that of Sylvanus 

In my time applications for cadets' warrants were made 
directly to the Secretary of War. Now they are obtained 
through the members of Congress of the districts in which 
the applicants reside. Under the former system the corps of 
cadets contained a large number of youths whose fathers 
were conspicuous for talents, wealth, and position. At 
present few such, comparatively, are enrolled. Represen 
tatives are constantly boasting that their candidates are 
poor boys, and their rule appears to be to exclude the 
well-to-do from the academy. Such a rule is vicious in 
the extreme, unless it can be shown that a boy will be 
come efficient because his father was a failure. There 
should be no such rule, since it would be unjust to exclude 
the poor, and impolitic to deny the sons of the rich and 
powerful. A body of officers who have in charge the de- 

West Point Characters. 195 

fences of the country, and who may be called on to pro 
tect its frontiers and defend its honor, ought certainly to 
embrace representatives of the country's most prominent 

To keep within the limit prescribed for my work, I am 
obliged to forego the satisfaction I should feel in record 
ing my remembrance of many worthy officers with whom 
I was associated at West Point. I refer to a few whose 
qualities were extraordinary, or peculiar, and to such as 
did me service for which I am bound to be grateful. 

There was one instructor of mathematics, who was long 
the terror of all new cadets. His name was Edward C. 
Ross, but for some reason, unknown to me, he was called 
Old Ruben." " Old Ruben " had a habit of arranging 
surds in such a knotty combination as seemed to defy so 
lution, and he would require his pupils to disentangle 
them. While chalking the surds on the blackboard, " Old 
Ruben " would from time to time pause, throw back his 
left leg and bend the knee, and then draw back his right 
shoulder, with his hand behind him, depress his chin and 
look at his work, and then at his class, every member of 
which would sit in consternation expecting to be called 
up. We regarded him as a direct descendant of Dio- 
phantus, that cursed old Egyptian who invented the hor 
rors that Old Ruben cherished. I had not been a week 
at the Point when he was pointed out to me by an old 
cadet, who frightened me with the prospect of being called 
on at no distant day to attack a clump of surds and be 
demolished. When I afterwards met Old Ruben as a 
captain of artillery, I found him a quiet gentleman, but I 
could never divest myself of the idea that his nature was 

Every genus of creature embraces many varieties, and 
so it is with mathematicians. When the Omnipotent 

196 Fifty Years' Observation. 

created " all things for man's delightful use," he made 
Albert E. Church to teach cadets algebra, geometry, 
trignometry, conic sections, and calculus, and to find out 
all that candidates for admission know of vulgar and deci 
mal fractions. My first recitation in algebra was to Mr. 
Church. He gave me a problem which I wrote on the 
blackboard, but, not feeling certain of its accuracy, I re 
turned to my seat to verify it from the book. " What 
are you doing, Mr. Keyes?"said he. I replied that I 
was verifying the accuracy of my statement. " I called 
you up to ascertain if you knew the problem," said he, 
" and not to hear you read it ; so you may rub out what 
you have written and I will give you another." I did not 
require a second similar admonition, and took care after 
wards to know my problems without reference to the text. 
Church was appointed professor at an early age, and after 
an uninterrupted service of nearly forty years he died sud 
denly at West Point, March 3<Dth, 1878. I doutt if he 
left in the world a superior in his special branch of knowl 
edge, or one who did his duty with greater patience and 
conscientiousness. His reputation as an author of mathe 
matical text-books was also great, and his integrity as a 
man was of the highest order. I do not remember to have 
heard Professor Church charged with injustice in a single 
instance, and no pupil could have found cause for such a 
charge. He would have been better known if he had been 
more demonstrative and more intriguing, but he could 
not have been more esteemed by those who knew him 
well. To his superior merit as a teacher and an author, 
he added the inestimable gift of fidelity to friendship. 
My experience of the kisses and kicks of that uncertain 
damsel Fortune has enabled me to mark her influence upon 
the countenances of men. Church held the jade in con 
tempt, and the friend he had once adopted was ever after 

The Class of 1846. 197 

sure of him. When my bark was assailed by tempests of 
lies and seemed about to founder, he turned on me a 
look that sustained me, till poverty, disgrace, and death 
began to fang my traducers, and until my bark was fanned 
again by prosperous gales. 

During my service at West Point my opportunities 
enabled me to observe the qualities and to estimate the 
promise of a great number of cadets, of whom several 
afterwards became known to the public. Subsequent suc 
cess has not in all cases corresponded with class standing, 
nor could that be expected, since the number of a cadet 
in his class is chiefly determined by the acquisitions in 
the exact sciences, of which the foundation is mathematics. 
Macaulay, who had known a vast number of the distin 
guished men of his time, declared that the greatness of 
every man was in nearly the exact proportion with his 
memory, while at the Military Academy a great memory 
is often regarded as the evidence of a moderate intellect, 
which is a local mistake. I suspect that talent and mem 
ory go together, and that genius is often independent 
of the latter. 

McClellan was of the class of 1846, and a pleasanter 
pupil was never called to the blackboard. I shall have 
occasion to refer to him hereafter. 

Foster, Reno, Couch, Sturgis, Stoneman, Palmer, Gor 
don, Davis, and Russell, all of whom held commissions as 
major-generals or brigadier-generals in the Union army 
during the Rebellion, were of the same class ; also Thomas 
J. Jackson, Samuel B. Maxey and George E. Pickett, who 
became famous among the Confederates. The class was 
full of merit, but my space will not admit detailed allu 
sions to more than a few individuals. Our historians 
should do justice to the Northern officers, and there is no 
good reason why we should deny merit to those who 

;g8 Fifty Years' Observation. 

fought against us. General Lee designated Stonewall 
Jackson as his right arm, and the loss of that officer could 
no more be replaced than could that of the great South 
ern chief himself. As a cadet, I observed no unusual sign 
or indication of genius in Jackson. He was seventeenth 
in a class of fifty-nine. His conduct was good, his appear 
ance manly, and his demeanor quiet. He never sought to 
attract notice, and the same disposition appears to have 
attended him in his ascent to the pinnacle of distinction, 
for he always allowed fame to follow in the wake of his 
exploits. The conduct of Jackson's campaign in 1862 
between Harper's Ferry and Richmond justifies any meas 
ure of praise. He was the Laudon of the Confederate 

George Derby, known afterwards as " Squibob " and 
" Phcenix," was of the class of 1846. He was a caricatur 
ist of no mean order and a humorist, in both of which 
capacities he took delight in exposing weaknesses, follies, 
and indelicacies. There was a regulation at the academy 
which forbade the disfiguring of text-books. Derby, in 
disregard of that regulation, transformed all the pictures 
of bones and fossils of the antediluvian periods into 
strange monsters. His text-book on geology was seized 
and placed before the Academic Board, where it caused 
such irresistible laughter that it was decided not to in 
terview nor punish the delinquent. 

At one time in the Section Room, while I was examin 
ing my class upon the force of explosives, Derby inquired 
of me, with great soberness, what would be the effect of 
confining a single grain of gunpowder in the centre of 
the earth and setting fire to it. I replied, with equal grav 
ity, that I was not able to answer his question, but that 
I would make requisition on the ordnance sergeant for a 
grain of powder, and authorize him to try the experiment. 

John Phoenix (Squibob). 199 

Men like "Squibob" are generally irreverent, and he 
was not an exception. During the Indian wars of 1856- 
'57, and '58 in Washington Territory, the savages captured 
a Catholic priest and led him away into bondage. 
" Squibob " illustrated the event by representing a priest 
in full canonicals, with a big half-naked Indian walking on 
each side of him. They carried a crook and crozier, with 
a tooth-brush attached to one and a comb to the other. 
The letters I. H. S. were conspicuous upon the chasuble 
of the priest, and upon close inspection could be read the 
words, " I Hate Siwashes." 

The frequent changes of the uniform of the army have 
often been absurd, inconvenient, and costly. Many of 
the changes are as idiotic and uncalled-for as the recent 
alterations of coins; and what change could be less sensi 
ble than the abandonment of the old nickel five-cent 
piece for the new one, which is often mistaken for a quar 
ter-dollar, or a $5 piece, when gilt ? 

At one time when the War Department, or rather Ad 
jutant-General R. Jones, determined to adopt a new uni 
form, " Squibob " sent to him a description, with draw 
ings, of a uniform, which he said possessed several pe 
culiar advantages, one of which was a hook on the seat 
of the soldier's pants. The company officers were to 
carry a long pole with a similar hook at the end. When 
the column was to change direction the officers would 
place their poles in the hooks, so that the platoons would 
" wheel as even as a gate." In case a soldier attempted 
to run away, the officer would spring forward, catch him 
by the hook, and hold him fast. Poor riders in the cav 
alry could be held in the saddle by another hook fixed 
upon the cantle ; and in case of a deficiency of wagons, 
the soldiers could carry their camp kettles suspended 
from the hooks. All the changes suggested by " Squi- 

2OO Fifty Years' Observation. 

bob " were illustrated by drawings that were inimitably 
ludicrous, but his propositions were discarded. 

A new uniform was adopted which was so different 
from the old that for a considerable length of time it 
gave full scope to " Squibob's " genius as a caricaturist. 
One of his drawings represented Paradise, in the form of 
a convent and enclosed garden. A section of the build 
ing was cut off so as to expose to view a choir of ten or 
twelve officers who had been killed in the Mexican War, 
or who had died within a few years. 

There were Generals Taylor, Worth, and Brooke, 
Colonels Cross and Ringgold, Captain Vinton, and others. 
All the likenesses were exact, and the departed officers 
had on the old uniform, and were chanting a hymn with 
devout earnestness. Below, standing within the gate 
way, was Saint Peter, whose face had a hard, rectilinear ex 
pression. The Saint had on the dress of a monk, but in 
stead of a cowl he wore a rim cap, the top of which was a 
square flat slab, with tassels hanging from the corners. A 
young officer who had been killed in the war, fully 
dressed and equipped according to the new regulations, is 
approaching to enter the gate, but Saint Peter stops him, 
saying : " Young man, you can't come in here with that 
uniform on ! " 

"Squibob's " written compositions were as fantastic as 
his pictures, and there was nothing he could not turn to 
ridicule. He was intimate with Surgeon C. M. Hitch 
cock, superior medical officer in San Francisco, and on one 
occasion, seeing the doctor's horse hitched at his door^he 
mounted him and rode out to the Presidio. Hitchcock 
was furiously angry, and wrote a letter to upbraid him. 
" Squibob " replied in a long letter, in which he excused 
himself and deprecated "the wrath of the physician," 
in a way that furnished laughter for a week at the mess. 

The Class of 1847. 201 

Derby published a book entitled " John Phoenix," with 
a portrait of the author. His account of himself and his 
oddities omitted many of his best sayings and doings, and 
made him appear of much less importance than he was in 
reality, for he was an able and accomplished engineer. 

Of the class of 1847 I have kept in view the names of 
several of its members, among them my friend, Colonel 
Julian McAllister, of the Ordnance Department, in which 
he is always conspicuous. Those who rose to be Briga 
dier or Major-Generals during the Civil War were O. B. 
Wilcox, J. B. Fry, H. G. Gibson, John Gibbon, Ambrose 
E. Burnside, R. B. Ayers, Thomas H. Neill, and Eg 
bert L. Viele, who since the war has had employment in 
the civil service of New York City. Ambrose P. Hill 
joined the Confederate army, rose to high rank, became 
famous, and was killed near Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865. 

At the time of graduating, I applied to the Superin 
tendent to allow me to detain McAllister, Burnside, and 
Hill as assistants in artillery during the encampment. I 
applied for those young gentlemen for no other reason 
but that I considered them best fitted to aid me in the 
instruction of the new cadets. My superior disapproved 
of Burnside and Hill, and I was obliged to substitute 
other names. I am unable to guess the motives that 
caused the rejection of those two officers, both of whom 
had the gift of personal popularity joined with ambition, 
which enabled them in all the situations of life to pass 
for their full value. I was obliged to reverse my judg 
ment of most things to be in accord with the officers who 
rejected them. 

James B. Fry, an excellent officer and man, was the 
chief of staff of General McDowell at the first battle of 
Bull Run, and since that he has gained distinction in the 
Adjutant-General's Department. 

2O2 Fifty Years Observation. 

H. G. Gibson was my subaltern lieutenant about nine 
years, and our friendly associations have undergone no va 
riations. He is an accomplished officer and a gentleman, 
and a good speaker. I know of no man except Cullum 
who is more intimately and correctly acquainted with the 
history of the army during the last thirty-six years than 
H. G. Gibson. 

The class of 1848 has not been so much illustrated by 
the achievements of its members as many other classes, 
although several good names are among them. William 
P. Trowbridge is the Professor of the Engineering School 
of Mines of New York City, and General Tidball and 
Colonel Dodge are in the staff of General Sherman, the 
commanding General of the army. R. S. Williamson and 
Nathaniel Michler were accomplished officers, and several 
joined the lost cause, and with their history I am not so 
well acquainted. 

General Scott passed a portion of every summer at the 
Point, except that of 1847, when he was absent in Mexico. 
There I saw nearly as much of him as when I belonged to 
his military staff. His family came also to the Point, and 
one summer Mrs. Scott and three of her daughters spent 
several weeks at my house. 

It was a custom of the old masters of sacred art to 
adorn their portraits of the Blessed Virgin with imaginary 
cherubs. They hunted through the world for beautiful 
forms, and exhausted the power of invention to endow 
the faces of mortals with the expression of angels. I 
have studied the pictures of Raphael, Guido, and Murillo 
with delight, but never did I behold the likeness of a 
child more lovely in shape and countenance than Miss 
Adelaide Camille Scott, as she appeared in the early 
morning of her life. 

As soon as the war with Mexico commenced (in 1846) 

The Mexican War. 203 

I applied for duty in the field, but my request was denied. 
I confess that I felt in no way distressed at being left un 
disturbed in my comfortable quarters. The war was re 
garded by many good Northern men as an affair of the 
slaveholders, and it is certain that its conduct was entire 
ly sectional. All the glory of its victories, and the lion's 
share of its promotions and rewards, inured to the profit 
of Southern officers. The wounds and contusions, shat 
tered constitutions, and deaths were freely shared by 
those from the North. The acquisition of the goodly ter 
ritory which now constitutes Arizona and the State of 
California, though an incident of the Mexican War, was a 
sordid purchase for the gross sum of $15,000,000. The 
intention of the purchasers was to devote it to slavery, 
but in that they failed. It is a land of endless resources, 
where free labor, skilfully bestowed, is better rewarded 
than in any other portion of the United States. After 
having compared its attractions many times with those of 
the most favored regions of the earth, I was made more 
content and happy at my last return to it than ever be 
fore. As my space will not admit of a long chapter on 
California, I must content myself with a short one, and 
such allusions to it as occasion may hereafter provoke. 


Generals Lee and Grant. The military career of Lee. His personal ap 
pearance. My last sight of him. Scott on Lee. Foreign opinions of 
Lee. Comparison of Lee and Grant. First sight of Grant. Grant in 
1880. His early career. His civil life. His re-entry into the army. 
Actions at Forts Henry and Donaldson. Trouble with Halleck. The 
army in Tennessee under Grant. Comparison with ancient and modern 
generals. E. B. Washburne. Sherman's recognition of Grant. Grant 
in the Wilderness. Grant the ablest American General. 

THE whole civilized world has reviewed the career of 
General Lee. The qualities of his mind and dispo 
sition have been recognized and extolled, and his fate has 
excited the tenderest sympathy in millions of hearts. A 
character like that of Robert E. Lee could not possibly 
be found in any human society in which the laws and pub 
lic opinion do not sanction and approve of marked dis 
tinctions of rank among its members. 

Lee's family was of the highest, and his cradle was 
rocked by a slave. His sense of superiority and fitness 
to command, being infused at his birth, were never 
questioned. From infancy to three-score he. knew no 
physical malady, and the admirable symmetry of his per 
son and the manly beauty of his countenance were the 
aids to his virtues which secured to him tolerance, 
affection, and respect from all with whom he mingled. 
He passed the four years of his cadetship without a single 
mark of demerit, and during my long acquaintance with 
him I never heard him accused of an act of meanness, 
tyranny, or neglect of duty. His nature was genial and 

General Lee. 205 

sociable, and he would join freely in all the sports and 
amusements proper to his age. He was exempt from 
every form and degree of snobbery, which is a detestable 
quality that appears most often among people whose 
theories of government presume an absolute equality. He 
was a favorite with the ladies, but he never allowed them 
to waste his time, to warp his judgment, or to interrupt 
his duty. To whatever station he was ordered, however 
secluded or unhealthy it might be, he would go to it with 
cheerfulness. Every kind of duty seemed a pleasure to 
him, and he never intrigued for promotion or reward. 
Nevertheless, no man could stand in his presence and not 
recognize his capacity and acknowledge his moral force. 
His orders, conveyed in mild language, were instantly 
obeyed, and his motives were universally approved. In 
all the time in which I observed his conduct I was true to 
my own antecedents. I was a Northern man, and no word 
dropped from my lips or was shed from my pen that did 
not testify to my origin and proper allegiance. I will not 
deny that the presence of Lee, and the multiform graces 
that clustered around him, oftentimes oppressed me, 
though I never envied him, and I doubt if he ever excited 
envy in any man. All his accomplishments and alluring 
virtues appeared natural in him, and he was free from the 
anxiety, distrust, and awkwardness that attend a sense of 
inferiority, unfriendly discipline, and censure. 

The last time I saw Lee was in the spring of 1861. He 
had just arrived in Washington from Texas, where he had 
been second in command to General Twiggs, who sur 
rendered to the Secessionists. Coming to pay his respects 
to the commanding general of the army, he entered my 
room and inquired if Lieutenant-General Scott was dis 
engaged. I stepped quickly forward, seized his hand- 
greeted him warmly, and said : " Lee, it is reported that 

206 Fifty Years' Observation. 

you concurred in Twiggs* surrender in Texas; how's 
that?" Without replying to my question he assumed an 
air of great seriousness, and calmly said : " I am here to 
pay my respects to General Scott ; will you be kind 
enough, Colonel, to show me to his office ?" I opened the 
general's door, Lee passed in, and the two Virginians re 
mained alone together nearly three hours. 

It was usually the custom of General Scott, after having 
had a private interview with an important person, to re 
late to me what had been said. On this occasion he told 
me not a word, and he made no reference to the subject 
of his conversation with Colonel Lee. His manner that 
day, when we dined alone, was painfully solemn. He had 
an almost idolatrous fancy for Lee, whose military genius 
he estimated far above that of any other officer of the 
army. On one occasion, after the Mexican War, General 
Scott, speaking to me of Lee, remarked that, if hostilities 
should break out between our country and England, it 
would be cheap for the United States to insure Lee's life 
for $5,000,000 a year! 

It has frequently been surmised that Scott at one time 
offered to retire from service and give Lee the command 
of the Federal army. In my mind there is not a shadow 
of a doubt that he did so during the conference above re 
ferred to. Without question he employed his utmost 
powers to convince Lee that it was his duty to comply 
with his suggestion. The two gentlemen, although their 
opinions were usually harmonious, probably disagreed in 
regard to the state of things then existing. Scott could 
have had no idea that Lee was going to lead an army of 
Northern men to fight against the South. On the con 
trary, he desired to see him at the head of a Union force 
sufficiently powerful to keep the peace and to prevent 
civil war, which they equally abhorred. Both those men 

Comparison of Lee and Grant. 207 

were born in Virginia, and both loved the Union, and 
neither of them could bear the thought of unsheathing 
his sword against his native State. The younger man 
considered war inevitable, the older indulged hopes that 
it might be avoided. Lee being in full vigor of mind, and 
conscientiously bound to comply with the decision of his 
native State, departed to join the seceders, while Scott, 
weighed down with years and infirmities, and trusting that 
hostilities might be avoided or confined to a few skir 
mishes, remained with the North. 

It is not my intention to enter into the minute details 
of General Lee's military operations, to show my esti 
mate of him as a strategist and commander of armies. 
Several foreign officers with whom I discussed his military 
character thought him superior to any leader in the 
Federal service, and I understood that on one occasion 
General Wolseley, of the British army, declared Lee to be 
not only the superior of all the American generals, but 
that he was the equal of any one of ancient or modern 
times. In arriving at that conclusion, the distinguished 
English officer took into consideration the smallness of 
Lee's resources in men, the material of war, means of 
transportation, etc. He did not, however, consider that 
nearly all the officers, as well as a large portion of the 
rank and file of the Confederate armies, were as much in 
terested in the success of the Rebellion as he himself was. 
They bore their hardships and deprivations without com 
plaint and with the constancy of martyrs. Without such 
devotion Lee must have laid down his arms long before 
he did. In view, therefore, of all the circumstances of his 
case, I can only concede to him the second rank as a 
general, Ulysses S. Grant standing in the first. 

Lee's greatness as a chief was not alone on the field of 
battle, for he foresaw clearly the difficulties of the mighty 

2o8 Reminiscences of General Scott. 

task before him, to which the majority of his associates 
were made blind by conceit and senseless prejudice. When 
one of them boasted of their superior bravery, and that 
one Southerner was a match for five Yankees, he rebuked 
him with a serious reply. He told him that the Northern 
men were a resolute race, abounding in resources of every 
kind, and that to beat them would not only require the 
whole strength of the South and an able leader, but also 
an abundant good fortune. He also saw the difficulty of 
feeding the Confederate troops after access to the Nor 
thern stores was cut off. He and a few other prudent 
men would have taken steps to provide for a future sup 
ply of breadstuffs and meat, but the President of the 
Confederacy was too frantic in his contempt for the Nor 
thern people to pay attention to such suggestions. 

During my experience in the field, especially against In 
dians (for in the war of the Rebellion our soldiers were 
always well and sometimes over-fed and pampered) a 
part of the ration would from time to time be unavoid 
ably wanting, or damaged by heat and transport. On all 
such occasions the discontent of the soldiers was apparent 
and obtrusive. Once during the war on Puget Sound, 
several mules of a pack train, bringing supplies to my camp 
in the interior, were swept away by a mountain torrent 
they were obliged to cross. They were laden with coffee 
and sugar, and the loss of those luxuries came near pro 
ducing a mutiny. What, therefore, must have been the 
secret of Lee's influence, which enabled him to keep an 
army together, month after month, and could make them 
fight valiantly when the soldiers had nothing but raw 
corn to eat ? Who can estimate his labors and anxiety 
when, striving to avoid starvation, he was obliged to find 
a way to provide war materials, and to transport over 
worn-out railroads and muddy paths through the woods ? 

Lee's Character. 209 

By what charm did he sustain the spirits of his followers 
in winter when they were in need of shoes and blankets ? 
How did he animate his sentinels to watch his lines in 
the midnight sleet and rain when their coats were thread 
bare ? Yet all those things he accomplished with unfal 
tering courage. He witnessed the closing, one after 
another, of every opening on the coast through which 
foreign supplies could reach him ; saw his own ranks 
thinned by disease and lack of recruits, while the million 
of armed Union soldiers were penetrating every part of 
the Southern Territory ; and it was only when all possi 
bility of further resistance was at an end that he surren 
dered. After the surrender there was scarcely a vestige of 
military strength remaining in the whole South every 
thing had been consumed in the struggle, the duration 
and intensity of which were due almost wholly to the 
genius and energy of this one man. 

It is possible that General Lee made a mistake in cross 
ing the Potomac in 1863 to fight the battle of Gettysburg. 
Perhaps he had not sufficiently weighed the loss he had 
sustained by the death of Stonewall Jackson, who was 
killed at Chancellorsville May 10, 1863, less than two 
months before. If that hero had been alive the battle 
in all likelihood would have commenced earlier and been 
won by Lee. In such case Washington would have 
quickly fallen, and the Union would have been split. 
Heaven mercifully saved us from that calamity. 

The inherent nobleness of Lee's character was made 
manifest after he had been vanquished in war and retired 
to the walks of civil life. The Southern people never re 
proached him, so far as I could learn, and their blessings 
attended him till his death, which occurred Oct. 12, 1870, 
in the 65th year of his age. He was offered positions of 
trust with large compensation and little labor, and was 

2IO Fifty Years' Observation. 

invited to pass the remainder of his life in luxury by a 
titled Englishman, but he declined all inducements to 
ease: He accepted the presidency of the Washington 
College, which, since his death, is called " Washington and 
Lee University," and gave all his remaining strength to 
its pupils. 

I can discover no sufficient reason to impugn the mo 
tives of General Lee in joining the Confederate ranks. 
His State believed in the right of secession, which was 
repugnant to my understanding, and with it he undertook 
a revolution, which, although it was unsuccessful, was 
concurred in by a larger proportion of the virtue, intelli 
gence, and patriotism of the whole Southern community, 
than was any other revolution of ancient or modern 
times. The right to hold slaves was recognized and re 
served when the Union was formed, and when the slave 
holders imagined that right was invaded by the North 
they rebelled and made war, which, fortunately for them 
as well as for us, ended in their defeat. War was the 
only means to get rid of the curse of slavery, and it is 
idle to clamor about the motives of either party to it. It 
is therefore proper that the world should credit General 
Robert E. Lee with genius and purity of intention, jus 
tice and an unsoiled life. Such were his cardinal virtues, 
and in the variety of his manly accomplishments, and the 
graces of his manners and person, he excelled every indi 
vidual with whom I have had the good fortune to be ac 

Grant and Lee, the conqueror and conquered, having 
been the commanding generals-in-chief of all the forces 
of their respective sections, met together after many 
bloody conflicts to close the civil war. Their names will 
therefore descend to posterity as its principal champions. 
The account I have given of Lee suggests a comparison 

General Grant. 211 

with Grant, the notice of whose varied history, I must, for 
want of space, condense to a summary of his distinguish 
ing characteristics and such incidents as will best serve to 
elucidate a comparison of their qualities. 

In describing General Grant's character and military 
achievements, I am not actuated by personal friendship. 
I never served with or directly under him, have no reason 
to suppose he ever asked an opinion of me but of one 
man, and that one my enemy ; and it was only on three 
occasions that I ever exchanged a word with him. The 
first time I saw him was in the month of March, 1864, 
when he was about to assume command of the Army of 
the Potomac. 

Being at the Continental Hotel, Philadelphia, and seat 
ed at a table in the dining-room with General Sackett, I 
saw General Grant at another table conversing with a 
man who showed great anxiety to engage his attention, 
which Grant seemed not disposed to give him. In a 
short time he left the stranger, and came over to join 
Sackett and me, saying as he sat down : " I can't stand 
that fellow any longer." We conversed pleasantly on 
various subjects, and when I offered to fill a glass with 
champagne for him, the general placed his hand over the 
glass, saying : " If I begin to drink, I must keep on drink 
ing." After that half-hour's interview, I did not see Gen 
eral Grant again till he came to San Francisco in 1880, 
returning from his trip around the world. 

The interval of eighteen years had wrought a surpris 
ing change in his person and manners. At my first inter 
view, he was meagre in appearance and thoughtful in 
manner, but success and the world's adulation appeared 
to have expanded his body and imparted dignity to his 
presence. I enjoyed a few minutes' conversation with 
him at Senator Sharon's grand reception, and on a day 

212 Fifty Years' Observation. 

before he left San Francisco, when it was given out that 
he would not see company, I sent up my card, and was 
admitted to his rooms in the Palace Hotel. On that oc 
casion two officers were present, and also three ladies, 
who were calling on Mrs. Grant, with whom I had a 
pleasant conversation. The general himself was quite 
civil, and I was beginning to feel complimented, when he 
remarked with a smile that when my card came up he 
mistook it for that of another person ! That speech de 
prived my reception of the grace of exclusiveness, and re 
stored my mind to the equilibrium of impartiality. I can, 
therefore, discuss the merits of Grant and his great an 
tagonist without bias in favor of the former. 

In comparing the two chiefs, the early advantages of 
Lee over Grant must be regarded. The former, by birth 
and breeding among slaves, was an aristocrat, and he was 
regarded by the masters as the one of themselves who was 
best fitted to be their leader. On the other hand, Grant's 
origin, manners, and personal appearance, though highly 
respectable, were not such as could gain him special 
notice of any kind. 

Lee graduated at the Military Academy in 1829, 
second in a class of forty-six. Grant graduated in 1843, 
twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine. The difference of 
class standing was not a prognostic of much value, but 
Lee's martial appearance, invariable good conduct, and 
Southern nativity secured to him the office of adjutant 
of the corps of cadets, which enabled him to practise the 
art of command in his youth. But Grant kept the place 
of a private soldier, and at no time while a cadet did he 
exercise any official influence with his fellow-students. 

After graduating, Lee's positions in the army were at 
all times advantageous. During the Mexican War he was 
attached to the staff of General Scott, enjoyed the full 

Granfs Early Career. 213 

confidence of his chief, and was enabled to profit by a 
knowledge of all plans and councils, and he received more 
compliments in orders than any of his brother officers in 
the field. Grant was at the same time a lieutenant of in 
fantry, and he was once noticed for bravery by General 
Scott. At other times during the eleven years of service 
in the army he was stationed at various frontier posts be 
tween the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. The 
monotony of garrison life oppressed him severely, and he 
fell under the tyranny of strong drink, and finally quit 
the service in 1854. 

His occupations in civil life during the next five years 
after he gave up his commission were various, and he was 
reduced to many shifts and hardships to gain a liveli 
hood for himself and family. But poverty was equally as 
powerless to depress the native vigor of his mind as was 
his addiction to drink to make him reckless. His pride 
had not degenerated, and he had overcome a tyrannous 
habit, which I regard as one of his most difficult con 

Thus seasoned in the hard school of penury and 
neglect, he re-entered the army in 1861 as Colonel of the 
Twenty-first Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. Many 
young men in the ranks of that regiment were averse to 
subordination, but their new colonel, as he remarked, soon 
" took the nonsense out of them by long marches and 
hard drilling," and when they crossed the Ohio River to 
begin war Grant's regiment was noticed for its good disci 
pline and efficiency. 

The Colonel being promoted to the rank of Brigadier- 
General, met the enemy at Fort Hemy, and early in Feb 
ruary, 1862, at the head of almost 15,000 men, a number 
which was afterwards increased, he advanced upon and 
captured Fort Donelson. The assailants of the fort were 

214 Fifty Years Observation. 

inferior in numbers to the defenders, who were com 
manded by a triumvirate of generals Floyd, former Sec 
retary of War under Buchanan ; Gideon J. Pillow, who 
figured in Mexico under Scott ; and Simon Buckner, 
a West Pointer, and man of ability and pluck. The two 
former escaped during the night of February I4th, and 
Buckner surrendered unconditionally on the morning of 
the 1 6th. 

Grant's difficulties at the siege of Fort Donelson, 
owing to the rawness of his troops and the rigor of the 
season, were great ; but in addition to them he was op 
pressed with a fearful burden of another character, which 
was the inveterate partiality of the department com 
mander, Halleck, for C. F. Smith, who was second in 
rank, and who led the principal assaulting column. Hal- 
leek complimented Smith, who was a Brigadier, for the 
victory, recommended him for promotion, and ignored 
Grant entirely. The Government had the sagacity, how 
ever, to divine the truth, and Grant was promptly com 
missioned a Major-General. 

It is possible that Grant's stupendous success, which 
was magnified throughout the country, may have over 
excited him, and caused him to omit making customary 
reports to headquarters. At all events, General Halleck 
accused him of neglect, superseded him in his command 
by General C. F. Smith, and finally, upon some pretence, 
placed Grant in arrest. 

General H. W. Halleck was a man of talents and a 
patriot, but often a slave to prejudice. He know nothing 
about Grant's character, and he wished to know nothing 
good ; but Smith was his favorite. Every one liked C. F. 
Smith, whose shape was that of an Apollo, and whose 
disposition in peace was that of a lamb, but in battle he 
was as fierce as a lion of the Jordan. When at the head 

Grant 's Patience. 215 

of his column he gained a footing within Fort Donelson, 
his appearance as he strode along the ramparts was in 
comparably majestic. Smith was a friend of mine, and I 
lamented his untimely death, which occurred in the month 
of April, 1862, about two months after his gallant exploit 
at Fort Donelson. 

Grant, having been released from arrest and restored 
to command, moved forward, and fought the battle of 
Shiloh. The commander opposed to Grant in that battle 
was Albert Sidney Johnson, a native of Kentucky and a 
graduate of the Military Academy. President Jefferson 
Davis regarded him as the ablest of the Confederate gen 
erals, and at that time many Northern officers, I among 
them, agreed with him in opinion. Now I rank him after 
Lee and "Stonewall " Jackson, and the equal of Joseph 
E. Johnston. General A. S. Johnson was killed in the 
battle of Shiloh, and a portion of Grant's army was 
thrown into confusion, and he himself shoved back, but not 
chased back. The timely arrival of reinforcements under 
Don Carlos Buell enabled the Federal army to recover 
from its check, and the enemy retreated. 

Shortly after the battle of Shiloh, General Halleck took 
the field in person, supplanting Grant, who remained 
second in command. During the succeeding two months, 
although Grant remained with the army in nominal com 
mand of a portion and of a district of Tennessee, Halleck 
quite ignored him, sent orders direct to his subordinates, 
moved detachments of his troops without his knowledge, 
and on one occasion when Grant proffered advice, or rather 
an opinion, he was snubbed by a hint that when his ad 
vice was needed it would be asked for. 

Under the same unbearable provocations, Washington 
and Jackson would have rebelled, and the latter would 
have shot somebody ; but all the resentment shown by 

216 Fifty Years Observation. 

Grant that I know is reported in Sherman's book: "I 
can't stand this any longer, and I'm going away." Sher 
man advised him to be patient and remain. He did so, 
but was looked upon as an officer in disgrace, and had no 
more influence at headquarters than a lame mule. 

Halleck continued to fortify against a retreating enemy, 
gained nothing, so far as I have discovered, but disad 
vantages, until the month of July, and being convinced 
that to command an army in the field was not his 
vocation, he recommended Colonel Robert Allen as his 
successor, and departed for Washington to assume the 
command of the whole army, vice General George B. 
McClellan. Allen declined the command, and Grant was 
restored to it. 

The operations of the Army of the Tennessee under its 
new leader were full of vigor, and in the month of May, 
1863, Grant crossed the Mississippi below Vicksburg, and 
placed himself between Pemberton, who commanded in 
that city, and Joseph E. Johnston, who was at the head 
of an army in the interior. From the moment I became 
acquainted with the nature of that movement, I have con 
sidered Grant as one of the great captains of history. The 
story of nearly every one of them embraces a similar in 
cident. Alexander of Macedon crossed the Indus to 
capture old Porus ; Scipio went over the Mediterranean to 
fight and vanquish Hannibal. Caesar, already as great as 
any man in the world, crossed the Rubicon and became 
the greatest. Tamerlane passed the Sehon on the ice to 
die of fatigue. Turenne crossed the Rhine to drive back 
Monticuculi and to be killed. Napoleon fought his way 
over the Adige to enter the Temple of Fame, and at a 
later date, when success had turned his head, he ventured 
to the northern side of the Boristhenes to see the lustre of 
his star pale in the smoke of burning Moscow. 

Grant's Final Triumph. 217 

It would be foreign to my purpose to follow the details 
of General Grant's movements and strategy after July 
23d, 1864, when Vicksburg capitulated. His operations 
were on a vast scale, and on all occasions he displayed a 
wonderful military sagacity, especially in the neighbor 
hood of Chattanooga, where, by a brilliant movement, he 
released the army from a perilous situation. He over 
came the prejudice of General Halleck, to whose praise it 
must be said that after the battle of Chickamauga he de 
ferred to his subordinate's judgment without discussion. 

At this juncture, Grant's capacity being recognized and 
his influence established, it seems fit that I should mention 
a circumstance of extraordinary significance and highly 
honorable to another man. During all his early struggles 
in the war to do his duty and to make himself known, 
Grant had at Washington a faithful and devoted friend, 
who foresaw his worth without trial, and who stood 
by him at a time when ignorance, envy, and detraction 
assailed and threatened to destroy him. Considering the 
credence which was so generally given by the Govern 
ment to slanders, and the facility offered to men without 
scruple to climb to distinction upon the destruction of 
their betters, it has often occurred to me that without the 
active and stubborn support of Mr. E. B. Washburne, 
Grant's aspirations would have been nipped in the bud, 
his name forgotten, and his glorious deeds lost to his 
country. Mr. Washburne's constancy and fidelity to 
Grant characterized his nature, in which there is nothing 
false. He was a most useful and efficient member of 
Congress, dutiful and just in all his various official posi 
tions. While he was minister to France I saw much of 
him during several years. His dignity was the resuli; of 
intelligence and common sense, and the conduct of no 
other man in that station has been approved by a greater 

218 Fifty Years' Observation. 

number of sensible men and women than his. It was the 
country's loss, more than his own, that Mr. Washburne 
was not made President of the United States. 

The law creating Scott Lieutenant-General having 
lapsed with him, a bill to renew it was introduced by Mr. 
Washburne and passed. Grant was promoted to that grade 
and received his commission early in March, 1864, and on 
the 8th of that month he arrived in Washington to assume 
the command of all the Union troops which were then en 
rolled, to the number of nearly 600,000 men. 

On that occasion Sherman wrote a letter of congratu 
lation to the new Lieutenant-General, in which he 
ascribes to him an intuitive knowledge of strategy and 
the science of war. The letter was magnanimous on the 
part of Sherman, who followed next to Grant in the 
Federal army in renown and martial prowess, and who, it 
is known, is not deficient in self-appreciation. If General 
Sherman's letter was sincere, and I am constrained to be 
lieve it was, it belies all the histories of competitive military 
ambition that I have studied. 

Lieutenant-General Grant, after a survey of his vast 
field of operations and his mighty power, adopted one 
of the numerous maxims of the great Napoleon, and di 
rected that every one of the department commanders 
should, on the same day and upon an agreed signal, move 
upon a vital point of the enemy. He himself in personal 
command of the army of the Potomac, which was nearly 
120,000 strong, crossed the Rapidan early in the morning 
of May 4, 1864, and advanced into "the Wilderness " to 
meet General R. E. Lee, who was his only worthy adver 

The country between the Rapidan and Richmond is 
generally low and flat, sparsely inhabited, and mostly 
covered with forests. Earth roads and wood paths inter- 

Grant in 1864. 219 

sect the forest in all directions, and render the manoeuvres 
of an army extremely difficult and make it liable to lose its 
way without guides. Lee had the advantage of numerous 
defensive works, previously constructed, a knowledge of 
the roads and paths, and superior facilities for gaining 

I shall not undertake in this book to detail any part of 
the bloody tragedy which was presented on the field I 
have described in the summer of 1864. The first act was 
between 200,000 combatants, the majority of whom were 
young and middle-aged men of the most valuable classes 
of population, North and South, and all inured to war. 
The commanders of both armies, without a dissenting 
voice, enjoyed the full confidence of their respective 
countrymen and soldiers. As fast as battles and disease 
thinned their ranks, the vacancies were filled, and the 
battalions of the North much more than filled, with re 

Grant, the Federal chief, maintained a pressure upon 
Lee's defences which knew no intermission. As a rule, 
he would neutralize the force of his enemy's strongly for 
tified points by attacking those that were weaker ; but 
lest his adversary should infer that he was influenced by 
fear, he assailed the almost impregnable position at Cold 
Harbor, at a cost to himself of 7,000 men at least, while 
he inflicted but trifling loss upon the Confederates. Grant 
has been charged with an unnecessary sacrifice of life on 
that occasion, but he must have considered his situation 
such as to justify his conduct. It was a maxim with the 
great Napoleon, that such rashness is sometimes neces 
sary for the safety, as well as the honor, of an army. The 
sustained vigor and timely boldness of General Grant con 
stitute an important factor in the problem I am studying 
in regard to his supremacy. 

220 Fifty Years' Observation. 

General Lee, from the nature of things, was constrained 
to imitate the example of the Roman Fabius against Han 
nibal, and of Marshal Daun against Frederick the Great. 
He was defending interior lines against superior num 
bers, and being wofully deficient in transportation it would 
have been madness for him to sally out beyond the sup 
port of his ramparts. Some of his critics, however, have 
fancied that from over-caution, on two or three occasions, 
he failed to see opportunities offered him by Grant to 
break through his lines and harass the invader much more 
than he did. It is barely possible that such censure may 
have been deserved. General Lee was overworked and 
so dreadfully oppressed by his responsibilities that from 
time to time nature claimed its right to repose, and occa 
sionally he may have fallen into that state which I call 
the syncope of the mind, a state in which energy refuses to 
respond to external impressions, however obvious they 
may be. Where is the man of action who has never ex 
perienced such a state, and seen passing by and beyond 
recovery precious opportunities and golden prizes, which 
in his ordinary condition he would have easily appro 
priated? But, whatever may have been the faults of 
General Lee, it is certain that he increased the death-rate 
in the Federal army to a degree that ought to satisfy the 
most ferocious lover of slaughter. 

The series of manoeuvres, battles, actions, and changes 
of position in the Wilderness, and until Lee was driven 
behind the defences of Richmond, and afterwards till the 
Southern Confederacy heaved its last groan, have no 
parallels on the continent of America. They rank with 
those displays of martial genius of ancient and modern 
times, which have been the study of military men in all 
ages, and the wonder of the world. They remind us of 
the struggles of Sylla when the Samnite Tellesenes gave 

Grant and Lee Compared. 221 

him the slip and placed the eternal city in such jeopardy 
that Sylla appealed to his gods to save him and Rome ; of 
the contests in Greece between Pompey and Caesar be 
fore the battle of Pharsalia, when Pompey's sycophants 
felt such confidence that they lampooned the mighty Julius 
and called him " a vendor of cities ;" and more than all, 
perhaps, they give an idea of the war of the allies upon 
Napoleon in France after the campaign in Russia, when 
that great commander's genius shone most brightly, fight 
ing against fearful odds but to fail. 

Ours was an intestine conflict, and the glory of the 
actors loses a portion of its lustre when we reflect that in 
the opinion of some men, if good counsels had prevailed, 
it might have been avoided, and the thousands of brave 
men whose fraternal blood seethed and impasted the 
soil from Petersburg to Richmond might have been 

In determining the relative merits of Grant and Lee, I 
have been careful to consider all the qualities and circum 
stances peculiar to each, and not only the exploits of the 
two generals, but also their dispositions and tempera 
ments. The fact that the former finally conquered the 
latter is not by any means conclusive. If I were to see a 
man take up a gun weighing a thousand pounds, place it 
upon his shoulder, and walk away with it, I should know 
without further investigation that he possessed extraor 
dinary physical strength ; but the gain or loss of a single 
battle would not prove a man to be a good or a poor gen 
eral. Hannibal, Turenne, Frederick, and Napoleon all 
lost battles, and yet they are cited among the greatest 
captains of all time. 

Wellington never quite lost a battle, but he was seri 
ously checked, and in this respect Grant resembles the 
Englishman. At the approach of Lee or Sherman, his 

222 Fifty Years' Observation. 

army would shout more enthusiastically than for Grant, 
but when the latter came up during the fight the lines be 
came more steady, and the soldier would adjust his aim 
with greater accuracy than before. 

Sherman showed wonderful vigor and sagacity when he 
pushed Johnston from Chattanooga to Atlanta, but Grant 
would drive his chariot through passes that Sherman would 
not venture to approach. There was an abatement in Lee's 
audacity during the twenty-four hours preceding the 
battle of Gettysburg, otherwise he would have won it and 
gained the Southern cause ; but nowhere can I discover 
debility in Grant's movements or assaults. 

Grant could hold his enemy as in a vice, with a ruth- 
lessness like that of Tamerlane or the Duke of Alva, and 
when he had accomplished everything he left upon the 
mind of his observer an impression that he possessed a 
reserve of force that had not been called into play. I am 
constrained, therefore, to assign to Ulysses S. Grant the 
highest rank as a military commander of all that have 
been born on the continent of America. 


My journey to San Francisco. Life In California. The voyage via Cape 
Horn. Delay at Panama. Anecdotes of the journey. San Francisco in 
1849. The discovery of gold. San Francisco in early days. Fellow offi 
cers. Expedition to the San Joaquin Indians. Treaty with them. 
Great fire in San Francisco. California admitted to the Union. The 
Vigilance Committee. 

war with Mexico having been concluded by the 
Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, in the month of 
May, 1848, I was relieved from duty at West Point, and 
ordered to proceed with my company, " M " of the Third 
Regiment of Artillery, to California. Fortunately forme, 
there was a delay in the arrival of my successor, and I 
was allowed to defer my departure until after my com 
pany, under the command of my friend, Major George 
P. Andrews, had sailed via Cape Horn. 

The reports of gold discoveries reached New York 
early in the autumn of 1848. At first they were not gen 
erally credited, but they gained confidence so rapidly 
that when I embarked for Chagres on the 1st of Febru 
ary following, the little steamer Falcon was crowded 
almost to suffocation. Among that first detachment of 
gold-seekers there was a greater number of educated 
men than were found with any one that succeeded. The 
steamer that was despatched from New York to receive 
the Falcon's passengers at Panama, broke down, and we 
were detained thirty days on the Isthmus, the climate of 
which had been represented to be pestilential. It proved 
to be such to a considerable number of our people, but to 
me it was healthful. 

224 Fifty Years Observation. 

There was no railroad at that time, and we were 
obliged to cross from Chagres in boats to Gorgona, and 
thence to Panama on the backs of mules. We spent two 
and a half days upon the river, which is so crooked that 
in the course of two hours the sun shone alternately upon 
the prow and stern of our boats. That was my first tropi 
cal journey inland, and it was then I saw the flowery re 
gion in all its beauty and luxuriance, of which those who 
travel now by rail can form no conception. Upon the 
banks of the stream in many places were trees of vast 
height, whose tops were covered with roses, and their sides 
hung with vines that stretched from one to another like 
verdant curtains. Here and there, strewn with profusion, 
were floral tints of every hue, that gave to those waving 
screens a beauty that mocks the glory of all the tapestries 
of Italian pencils and Flemish looms. 

On our way from Gorgona we stopped about midway 
for the night. Lieutenant May and I spread our blankets 
under an old shed that stood on a bare hill of moderate 
height. At three o'clock in the morning May called me 
out to look at the great Southern Cross, which I had not 
seen before. The night was clear, and while I gazed at 
the vast azure fields of the austral heavens, dotted with 
stars of first magnitude, the cool air, laden with perfumes, 
refreshed my senses, and I was unconscious that the hu 
man heart is the abode of such disturbing passions as 
avarice, wrath, and envy. 

At Panama I enjoyed Spanish cooking and agreeable 
associations. I had the companionship of the naval and 
military commissioners sent out by our Government to 
select sites for docks, lighthouses, and forts : Captains 
Goldsborough and Van Brunt, and Lieutenants Blunt, 
May, Blair, Hammenly, Elliott, and Doctor A. J. Bowie, 
of the Navy ; Colonel Smith and Lieutenant D. Lead* 

Voyage to California. 225 

better, and Major R. P. Hammond and Doctor Turner, of 
the Army. Besides those there were several civilians in 
our circle, the most prominent of whom were : Mr. John 
W. Geary, the first American Postmaster at San Francisco 
and afterwards Governor of Pennsylvania; Messrs. 
Frederick Billings, John Benson, Rev. Mr Mines, and 
Rev. Albert Williams, Archibald, Peachy, Ruth, Sibley, 
Laffan, Havens, and others. I formed many lasting 
attachments among those gentlemen, all of whom are 
dead with the exception of Williams, Billings, Bowie, 
Benson and myself. 

On the morning of March 12, the Oregon, Captain Pier- 
son, was sighted coming up the Bay of Panama. Thirty-six 
hours afterwards that vessel was steaming for California, 
so crammed with passengers that there was no room in any 
part for exercise. We called at Acapulco and San Bias, 
Mexico, and at San Diego and Monterey, California. We 
reached the offing of the latter at midnight, and I went in 
the boat with the captain to deliver the mail. As I 
stepped upon the wharf I was saluted in friendly tones by 
Lieutenants Halleck and Burton. They gave us valuable 
information, and told us the ship of war Ohio, under 
command of Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones, was 
in the Harbor of San Francisco, anchored off Saucelito. 
We entered the Golden Gate on the morning of April I, 
1849, and I went on shore. The first persons I met were 
Lieutenant W. T. Sherman and Captain Joseph L. 
Folsom, who was quartermaster. Sherman saluted me 
as warmly as a brother. Folsom was less cordial, but he 
loaned me a wheelbarrow, by means of which I trans 
ported my trunks to the old Russian storehouse, where I 
slept the first two nights on the floor, with a bit of wood 
for a pillow. 

At the time I landed there was a scattering village or 


226 Fifty Years' Observation. 

pueblo, containing seven or eight hundred inhabitants, 
which was called by the natives Yerba Buena, and by the 
Americans San Francisco. There was not a street that 
was marked by houses aligned upon it, but a survey had 
been made and pegs driven to show where they were to 
be. The ground was covered with brush and sand hills, 
and broken at the north and west by rocky heights. The 
site was not promising for a large city, but subsequent 
labor, assisted by art, has modified it to such an extent 
that it now seems both convenient and pleasant to look 

The fame of gold discoveries had reached all the sea- 
ports of the world, and numerous ships and steamers 
came in rilled with immigrants, and laden with merchan 
dise of every description. In the course of the summer 
there were anchored in the harbor several hundred square- 
rigged vessels, the crews of which had deserted and gone 
to the mines. Many kinds of goods were tenfold in ex 
cess of the requirements of the people, especially wines, 
liquors, tobacco, and framed houses. I purchased the 
finest red wines of France for $4 a case that would have 
sold in New York for $20. At the same time, one dozen 
fresh eggs sold for $12, and a cooked potato in an eating- 
house or tent cost $i, and the wages of unskilled labor 
was $16 a day. 

At first nearly all the new-comers lived in tents, and the 
scarcity of permanent shelter induced many persons to 
order framed houses, which, at the end of eight months, 
arrived in such numbers that they were given away to 
those who would take them from the ships. I ordered 
one from my friend Kemble, and when the bill and plan 

of it arrived in November, an acquaintance named G 

begged me to sell it to him. At first I refused, but when 
he convinced me that it was much better fitted for his lot 

California in i849'-5o. 227 

of ground than mine, I consented to sell the house to 
him at his own price, which was its cost and freight and 
$1,200 profit to me. As soon as he received the bill of 
lading and transfer, he said to me : " I'll not sell this 
bargain for less than $1,000." The house arrived in 
March, 1850, at which time he could have had another of 
equal value for the cost of bringing it from the ship to the 

shore. G thought I should return the $1,200, but I 

declined, and lost his friendship. Seven years after 
wards he made an affidavit in " my lawsuit " concerning 
the value of real estate in San Francisco, in which I 
thought I discovered in his estimates and suppositions 
that he remembered the trade for the house. 

The first brick building that was constructed on Mont 
gomery Street, which for many years was the most im 
portant thoroughfare of the city of San Francisco, was built 
by Mr. William D. M. Howard, in 1851. He employed two 
surveyors to mark the west side of the street, and their 
lines were about one yard apart. Mr. Howard, supposing 
I was a man of science, applied to me to make another 
survey, which I accomplished after three days' labor. I 
ran lines on neighboring streets, guided by the pegs, and 
made measurements, by which I determined a line that 
fell about midway between the other two, of which I was 
ignorant. My line is the present western boundary of 
Montgomery Street. 

All the men who lived in California in the year 1849 
arrogate to themselves a special glory. Necessity con 
founded all social distinctions, and civility of intercourse 
was secured by the use and display of a pistol by nearly 
everybody. Drunkenness was common, and assassina 
tions not unfrequent. Otherwise dishonesty was far less 
apparent than it has been since. The custom house was 
in an old adobe building on the Plaza, and when I went 

228 Fifty Years' Observation. 

there, as I often did, I saw men sitting on sacks of Mexi 
can dollars that were piled three feet high along the wall. 
There were several rice tierces full of the same coin stored 
under a shed on California Street. 

My company of artillery arrived about the end of April 
and on the first day of May, 1849, I was assigned to the 
command of the post of San Francisco by General Persifor 
F. Smith, who was the commander of the department and 
the successor of Colonel Mason. With the exception of 
a short interval, in which Colonel Merchant was my supe 
rior, I continued the actual or nominal commander till 
1858, when I was promoted to be major of artillery vice 
Taylor deceased. During the whole period of over nine 
years I was twice absent on leave, about twelve months 
in all, and two years in the field, campaigning against In 
dians. I do not count short absences on court-martial 
and other temporary duty. 

Major Andrews, assisted by Lieutenants H. G. Gibson 
and William G. Gill, brought me a company of 86 men, 
all fine-looking and in good discipline. We began hav 
ing dress parades, and doing garrison duty strictly ac 
cording to army regulations. Within a week, however, 
the soldiers commenced to desert, and in a short time our 
numbers were reduced by two-thirds. One night the 
whole guard, including the corporal, went off, and I de 
spatched Major Andrews in pursuit of the fugitives. He 
overtook them some fifteen miles on the road to San Jose", 
shot a couple, but brought back only one wounded sol 
dier, as all his escort joined the deserters. 

The garrison being too much reduced for proper mili 
tary service, the officers were allowed by General Smith 
to do something to increase their pay, which was not at 
all proportionate to the cost of living at that time and 
place. By good fortune I was now at a juncture in which 

Building a Wharf. 229 

I was to reap the benefit of the foresight which I had 
exercised at West Point. In the months of October and 
November, 1848, after I received my orders to proceed to 
the Pacific Coast, Lieutenant B. L. Alexander, of the 
Engineer Corps, was then engaged surveying the Point, 
and I went out to assist him. I not only made myself 
practically expert in running lines and adjusting the 
theodolite, but I looked into a book on civil engineering. 
Thus prepared I was ready to compete for $500, which 
was offered for the best plan for a wharf, which a com 
pany of capitalists proposed to construct on what is now 
Commercial Street. I was allowed but three days for 
study and preparation, but by almost continuous labor, 
night and day, I was ready in time and appeared at the 
meeting of the directors with an immense drawing and 
voluminous specifications for a wharf. Two or three other 
plans were put in, one of which was decidedly preferable 
to mine ; but its author was a quiet person, and I, at that 
time of my life, was noisy. My design being approved 
and adopted, I was appointed superintending engineer of 
the work. 

The chief difficulty was to obtain lumber for the wharf. 
I canvassed the town, but failed to find a man who would 
agree to furnish it. Then I crossed the Bay to Contra 
Costa and went on foot to the top of the hills, where 
stood a beautiful and extensive grove of red-wood trees, 
not one of which now remains. Mr. John Benson was 
with me, and in going and returning we had great diffi, 
culty to 'avoid the wild cattle that covered the hills and 
plains, which are now occupied by the charming city of 
Oakland. Not succeeding in Contra Costa, I visited 
Corta Medera and Reed's Rancho on the north of the 
bay. At the latter I fell in with a discharged soldier of 
Stevenson's regiment, who contracted to furnish a hun- 

230 Fifty Years Observation. 

drccl piles, to be delivered at the landing in San Fran 
cisco, for one dollar the running foot. I reported my 
contract to the directors, and they scouted at it, as they 
knew the contractor to be a shiftless fellow. One of them 
said he should feel happy if he could be certain that he 
could live till Maple brought the first pile. He was the 
only man who would agree to furnish the material, and 
he disappointed us all by bringing fifty good piles, and I 
obtained others, as well as the necessary square timber, 
from Santa Cruz. 

On the fifth day of July, 1849, ^ e ^ rst P^ e was driven 
that ever stood in the harbor of San Francisco. That was 
also the date of the first encroachment by any real im 
provement upon the area which now embraces nearly all 
of the wholesale establishments in the city. The tide 
then came over Montgomery Street at Jackson, and near 
it at the starting-point of the wharf. To-day there are 
solid ground and Belgian pavements at the east end of 
Sacramento Street, eighteen hundred feet to the eastward 
of Montgomery. In the summer of 1849 tns intervening 
space was the anchorage of a fleet of ships, many of them 
one thousand tons burthen or more. To fill up so much 
of the sea, mountains of sand and rocks were required. 
The sand hill that occupied the site of the Occidental 
Hotel was higher than that magnificent five-story struct 
ure, and an almost equally spacious bulk of rocks has 
been blasted from Telegraph Hill and dumped in. 

I have given the foregoing details to show the enor 
mous amount of labor that was bestowed by the first 
American settlers of the city of San Francisco. Those 
who laid its foundation are nearly all dead, or if alive are 
seldom seen. Something that they strewed is gathered 
every day by their successors, who remember them not. 
The history of the first board of directors of the Central 

San Francisco in Early Days. 231 

Wharf Company will serve as an example of the muta 
tion of fortune. They were seven in number, and they 
were all strong, healthy men, and they seemed prosper 
ous three of them being the richest men in the city. 
Their names were William D. M. Howard, Joseph L. Fol- 
som, Samuel Brannan, Charles Gillespie, William Davis, 
Mr. Cross, of the firm of Cross, Hobson & Co., and Will 
iam Hooper. 

Mr. Howard died early of consumption, but left a fort 
une, and his grandson now enjoys a portion of it, and is 
a prominent and worthy citizen. Folsom deceased in 
1855, leaving a vast estate in land, but so encumbered 
that his heirs received nothing. Brannan, who had the 
largest income of any man in the city in 1853, is now the 
possessor of nothing in California so far as I know. Gil 
lespie and Davis were rich and enterprising. They built 
more than the times required, and in consequence of the 
depression of values and the fires in 1851 and '52 they 
lost and sacrificed property which is now worth millions, 
but they did not lose their courage. Mr. Hooper, the 
least wealthy of the seven directors, was an excessively 
conscientious man, He deceased in 1866, leaving a mod 
erate competency to his family. 

The confusion of Spanish and American laws and cus 
toms, and the mingling of all the nations of the earth, 
which were largely represented by sanguine adventurers, 
fugitives from justice, and other reckless characters, gave 
rise to much disorder. 

A lawless band, calling themselves " Hounds" collected 
in San Francisco in 1849, an< ^ bade defiance to the au 
thorities. The " Hounds" were summarily put down with 
out legal process. Again, in 1851, the dangerous classes 
became so audacious that a Vigilance Committee was or 
ganized, and several depredators sentenced to death. 

232 Fifty Years Observation. 

Among the condemned were two that had been rescued 
by the Sheriff, or Alguazil, and confined in the Broadway 
jail. One Sunday afternoon, in the month of July, while 
the Rev. Albert Williams was holding divine service in the 
prison, two solid young men entered and joined in the de 
votions. A hymn was given out, and the prisoners stood 
up in a circle to sing. The strangers, who were members 
of the Vigilance Committee, managed to place themselves 
respectively at the sides of the two criminals, and with 
pealing voices they joined in the chant. At the begin 
ning of the third verse the two suddenly dropped their 
books, each clutched his man, and rushed through the 
open door to a hack that stood in the street, thrust them 
in, and took seats by their sides as guards. The coach 
man drove furiously to the stores that then stood on Bat 
tery Street, between California and Pine, and delivered 
his load to the committee. 

I happened to be walking on Stockton Street when the 
carriage passed me, and I followed with all speed. When 
I arrived, although the distance was not above a quarter 
of a mile, the two men were hanging dead from the pro 
jecting ridge-poles of two adjacent stores. Several other 
men were executed, but the vicious elements were too 
numerous to be wholly subdued, and the orderly citizens 
continued to be disturbed by many outrages. 

In consequence of the depredations of the Indians 
in the San Joaquin Valley, a commission was sent 
out from Washington to treat with them. Messrs. 
McKee, Woozencroft, and Barbour were the commission 
ers, and a body of 200 infantry soldiers was collected, of 
which I was the commander, to attend them. My secret 
orders from General Hitchcock, the commander of the 
department, were to obey the instructions of the commis 
sioners so long as they could conduct their negotiations 

Abstinence from Tobacco. 233 

peacefully and prevail with the Indians to live on reser 
vations. In case of failure on their part to accomplish 
that purpose without force, I was to assume control and 
make war. No difficulty was encountered until we came 
to the camp on the Chowchilla River. At that point, 
Major Savage, who had been among the " Monos," re-, 
turned with a report that a portion of that tribe refused 
to come in. Thereupon the commissioners requested me 
to go out and bring them by force. I then exhibited my 
secret orders, and told the commissioners that before mov 
ing against the enemy my duty was to conduct them to 
a place of safety in the rear. They reconsidered their 
request, and in a few days the refractory " redskins" were 
induced to surrender and come in. From that time for 
ward no similar difficulty was encountered. 

While we were encamped on the south bank of the San 
Joaquin, I remarked to Mr. John McKee, who was the 
secretary of the commission, that the old pipe I was 
smoking gave me a heart-burn. He said his pipe 
troubled him in the same way, and offered to bet $100 
that he would abstain from the use of tobacco in every 
form longer than I. I took the bet, and afterwards, at 
his suggestion, agreed to limit its duration to the time we 
should serve together on the commission. 

Scarce had a week elapsed when orders came from 
Washington to divide the commission. The elder McKee 
and his son and Dr. Woozencroft were to go north, and 
I, with Barbour and the military escort, were to continue 
and go south. When the commission separated, I rode 
down to the crossing of the river, and as we entered the 
old scow I noticed that McKee had a pipe in his hat 
band. On reaching the opposite bank, he stepped ashore 
and exclaimed : " The bet is ended ! " Then he rubbed 
a match on the gunwale of the boat, lighted his pipe, and 

234 Fifty Years Observation. 

from that time till now I have seldom seen him that he 
was not smoking. I continued to abstain, and have 
never returned to my old habit in any one of its varia 
tions. I was obliged to practise great self-denial for a 
long time, but at the end of seven years I ceased to think 
of tobacco. It is not difficult to interchange the habit of 
smoking, chewing, and snuffing, but the customary use of 
the weed cannot be wholly renounced until after an absti 
nence of at least seven years. A less time serves only to 
whet the appetite for a greater indulgence. 

It was in the spring of the year 1851, and the San 
Joaquin Valley was in an absolute state of nature. From 
Stockton to the Tejon Pass, a distance of 300 miles, no 
evidence of occupation by white men was seen, save that 
in a few spots there were ashes and charcoal to show 
where a cottage had recently stood. Four miles from 
Stockton I saw a band of several hundred elk, and the 
motion of their antlers as the animals ran away was worth 
a journey across the continent to witness. Large troops 
of wild horses, many deer, antelope, and coyotes were 
constantly in view, and upon each day's march the land 
scape presented a striking change of attractions in the 
flowers that overspread the ground. They alternated in 
color : one day the flowers were red, the next white, then 
blue and yellow. The atmosphere was clear and whole 
some, and our animals in fine condition. In our wagons 
we carried an abundant supply of wines, hams, buffalo 
tongues and condiments, and a herd of fat steers supplied 
us with plenty of fresh beef. Our hunters brought in 
venison, antelope, and birds, and everything conspired 
with youth and health to make me happier than I have 
ever felt in the haunts of fashion and envy. 

I had in my camp an excellent man named Vinconhaler 
for guide. We called him " Captain Haler." He had 

" Captain Haler? 235 

crossed the continent twice with Colonel Fremont, to 
whom he must have rendered important assistance. His 
ability to " find paths " appeared to me almost miraculous. 
One day while our camp was on the San Joaquin, where 
it issues from the hills, a party of us went down the river 
some twenty miles to hunt elk and antelope. I had a 
large horse of moderate speed that I had led to the hunt 
ing ground. Seeing a band of elk, I exchanged my mule 
for the horse, and gave chase. I pursued them several 
miles, but could get no nearer than about 200 yards. 
After discharging six shots from my pistol, and only 
slightly wounding two of the animals, I reined up and 
dismounted to tighten the saddle-girth. The moment I 
seized the strap, my horse sprang from me, and ran off with 
a far greater speed than I had been able to get from him. 
I looked around, but was unable to see on all the wide 
plain a single one of my companions. It was getting late 
in the afternoon, and I was at least twenty-five miles 
from camp, on foot, and alone. A dark cloud that 
threatened rain and thunder was rising in the west, and 
I was hungry under such circumstances, with the almost 
certain prospect of spending the night among the wild 
beasts of the field. I was anything but cheerful. I fol 
lowed my treacherous horse with my eye till he became 
fearfully small to the view, when another speck starting 
out from the edge of the horizon moved to intercept him. 
It was " Captain Haler," who rode a fleet animal, and 
found no difficulty in catching mine. He came directly 
back to where I was, and I asked him how he had found 
me so soon, as it was not possible to see me on the ground 
so far off. " I followed the trail of your horse," said he, 
" and that was all I needed ; but it would be safer for you 
not to quit the bridle the next time you dismount to 
tighten your saddle-girth." The result of our hunt was 

236 Fifty Years Observation. 

one antelope and a ravenous appetite when we returned 
to camp at midnight. 

All the browsing wild animals afforded us pleasure, but 
the rattlesnakes that were so plentiful in the Tulare 
Valley and Tejon Pass sometimes caused us apprehension. 
One day the soldiers killed eleven of those venomous 
beasts, and saw ten times as many more as they dis 
appeared in the squirrel holes. At mid-day rest on our 
march over the Tejon Mountains, a half-dozen of us offi 
cers spread our blankets in the shade of an oak tree. 
Some were napping, but Lieutenant Gibson was awake 
and resting on his elbow. In that position he saw gliding 
out from a squirrel hole that was half covered by his 
blanket an enormous rattlesnake. He remained quiet 
till the reptile had crawled away a few feet ; then he sprang 
up, seized a club, and despatched him. 

While we were encamped on King's River, the soldiers 
captured a water snake, and brought him in confined in 
the cleft of a long pole that held him near the tail. Many 
years before I had read in the " New York Mirror " a 
series of articles to prove that snakes never hiss, and con 
sequently that all the poetical allusions to " hissing ser 
pents " were false. I took a long stick and worried the 
water moccasin, and when he became spiteful he made a 
noise exactly like that made by a goose with goslings 
when the boys and girls approach her, and now I am con 
vinced that snakes hiss. 

The last treaty with the Indians was made at French's 
deserted rancho, at the entrance of Tejon Pass. Several 
hundred were there assembled, and among them were many 
good-looking, healthy bucks and squaws. Two young girls, 
the daughters of a chief, were admired for their graceful 
shapes and the unrivalled beauty of their teeth. All the 
aborigines who were unused to civilization had sound 

Indian War Dances. 237 

teeth, but the dentists say that as soon as they adopt our 
custom of eating, their teeth begin to decay rapidly. 
The diet of the San Joaquin and Tulare Indians consist 
ed of acorns, grass seeds, with such fish and game as they 
could catch. Their delicacies were dried grasshoppers 
and a conserve of ants. This last was highly prized. I 
was told that it had a delightful spicy flavor that re 
mained long on the palate. 

I have seen the peace and war dances and heard the 
songs and chants of some ten or twelve tribes of Indians 
from Florida to Puget Sound, and they all differ in most 
respects, but are alike in some. Generally they danced 
around a fire, and the squaws sat near it clacking 
dry sticks, or rattling pebbles or beans in a gourd, while 
they intoned wild and gloomy ditties. In the war dance, 
the braves distort their painted faces in a way to give the 
fiercest aspect. The one who succeeded best in the camp 
on King's River was an old fellow who laughed with his 
mouth, and at the same time, with a horrible scowl on his 
brow, he darted vengeance from his eyes. At the gath 
ering near the four creeks there were about 1,400 
Indians, and among them the Chief Pasqual. His incan 
tations in a war-dance surpassed anything of the kind I 
ever saw before or since. He was naked from the waist 
upwards, and the position of his body and arms, and the 
expression of his face in some of his attitudes, might have 
served as a model for a statue of Moloch. On one occa 
sion I held a conversation with a chief, which tended to 
prove the unity of the human family. He had uncom 
mon intelligence, and could speak Spanish, which he had 
learned at a mission where he was born, and from which 
he had fled to the mountains many years before. He 
wished to know all about San Francisco and the white 
people who were flocking to it. When I told him there 

238 Fifty Years' Observation. 

were 20,000 men and scarcely any women, he looked 
astonished, and repeated my words, " Veinte mil hombres 
y casi ningunas mujeres ! " " Si," said I. Then after 
musing a while he looked up at me smiling, and said : 
" En poco tiempo habrd bastantes." (In a little while 
there'll be plenty.) 

At the Indian camp on the San Joaquin an old Mono 
squaw agreed to give us her son for a waiter-boy. Ac 
cordingly, the day following she brought in a youth of 12 
years of age who was as naked as a fishworm. We dressed 
him, and kept him about the mess till he grew to be a man. 
We called him Sam, and he was an untutored savage in the 
broadest sense of that term. He had never seen a house 
and only one white man before he was brought to our camp. 
I set myself to watch the development of Sam's moral 
nature, and to observe the characters which the lessons of 
civilization inscribed most easily upon a blank human 
mind. The boy left his father and mother, his tribe, and 
his country to join us, without the slightest apparent emo 
tion or regret. Frequently at subsequent times I spoke 
to him of his parents, but could never prevail on him to 
express a wish to see either one of them, or to relate to 
me a single incident of his childhood. The gloomy 
penury of his own early years, compared with what he 
saw of the happiness of children of our race, made him 
averse to recall it to mind. 

We made no efforts to teach him letters, but he learned 
enough of the Spanish and English languages to under 
stand what was said to him, with as much facility as the 
brightest of our youth. Generally, the boy appeared to 
be deficient in curiosity, saving that writing seemed to 
him the most wonderful of all mysteries. As soon as he 
had learned the names of the different officers, they 
would write such messages as they wished to send by him 

" Sam" 239 

on slips of paper. Those slips of paper he would turn often 
in his hands, and when he received the book, paper, or 
other thing sent for, he would break out into a loud ex 
clamation of surprise. Laughter was not usual with him, 
nor is it ever much practised by savages. It is peculiar 
to civilized beings, and is largely indulged in by hypo 
crites. I have known all the races of mankind except 
ing the Laplanders, the Hottentots, the Caffres, the 
Patagonians, and original Australians. I have found 
that in all the world the Americans laugh and smile the 

Sam's giggling was not bestowed as we bestow it, 
sometimes to give pleasure to others, but only to express 
his own. I never knew him to laugh heartily and to con 
tinue laughing in spite of himself but once. An officer 
had mounted a vicious mule, and the moment he was in 
the saddle the mule began to kick and buck in a most 
fearful manner, and finally succeeded in dashing the offi 
cer to the ground with such violence that I feared he was 
killed. All the while Sam looked on at a distance, laughed 
as if he would split, and when the officer struck the ground 
his joy was without bounds, and he yelled and hopped 
about like a jumping-jack. 

In his ability to find his way to any point of the wildest 
country that he had once visited, and in recognizing men 
and animals that he had ever seen before, Sam was pre 
eminent above all other human beings I have known. 

On one occasion I went with a party of officers to a 
clambake on the shore of the ocean. In a space of six or 
seven miles there was only one passage down the steep, 
high bank to the sea, and to that we were conducted by 
a white guide, while Sam, apparently half-asleep, trudged 
along behind. A year later I started with the same par 
ty for the same spot. Arriving at a place about five 

240 Fifty Years 1 Observation* 

miles off the high ridge extending along the shore, we 
halted to determine the ridge where we should find the 
pass. We all agreed on the same point, and started off 
towards it. There was no road over the intervening 
country, but it was crossed in every direction by trails 
made by cattle and wild animals. After going a mile 
or so, I accidentally fell to the rear and joined 
Sam. He said: " Captain, this is not the way. It's 
down there, " pointing to a place three miles to the 
right. I called a halt, and we all again examined the 
heights, and concluded we were not mistaken and so 
pushed on. Sam made no objection, and his face wore 
its unchangeable resemblance to a bronze casting. We 
proceeded three miles further, and found out our mistake 
after an hour's search. We could not make a short cut 
owing to the broken ground, and were obliged to retrace 
our steps to the point of our first consultation. When we 
arrived there, having wasted three hours, it was too late, 
and we returned home hungry, and missed our clambake. 
During my life, I have known a thousand enterprises to 
miscarry because haughty men would not take counsel 
from inferiors. 

While in camp on King's River a beautiful stallion was 
stolen from us. The animal was as fat and sleek as a 
seal, and was often ridden by my servant O'Brien. Two 
years later I was standing on the sidewalk in Dupont 
Street, and Sam was with me. At that moment a man 
rode rapidly down Clay Street on a poor, long-haired, 
rough-looking horse, and was not in our sight above two 
seconds. Sam cried out : " O'Brien horse ! " We followed 
the horseman on a run, and kept him in view till he 
turned into a stable on Kearney Street, and there I recog 
nized the stolen horse from a brand on his flank, which 
was on the side opposite to us when Sam saw him. No 

Los Angeles. 241 

white man in the world could have recognized our beauti 
ful stallion of 1851 in this ill-conditioned beast of 1853 as 
Sam did. 

As Sam advanced in years, he began to adopt the vices 
of civilization. He hated work and loved whiskey, and 
ere long he became a drunkard, and I then lost sight of 

We arrived in Los Angeles about the middle of June, 
and pitched our camp above the town, which was then an 
irregular cluster of adobe buildings, most of which were 
one-story high. There were a few gardens and vine 
yards, but no made streets, and the surrounding country 
was nearly all unenclosed and devoted to the pasturage of 
horses and horned cattle. Now it is a large city of brick 
and stone, and the country in spring, especially the valley 
of the San Gabriel, covered as it is with vines, orange, 
lemon, olive, and other fruit-bearing trees, resembles an 
earthly paradise. In May, 1881, Senator Randolph, of 
New Jersey, passed through that valley, and afterwards 
told me its beauty was beyond description. He had been 
describing half of its charms in a letter to his wife, and 
she, without doubt, would accuse him of an effort to imi 
tate the style of Baron Munchausen. 

I remained about ten days at Los Angeles, and had an 
opportunity to observe its citizens. Old Don Louis 
Vigne invited me to breakfast, and gave me some excel 
lent sherry wine of his own making. In the evening I 
attended a fandango, and I saw the ton of the Pueblo. 
Among the native California seftoritas were a half-dozen 
who in any country would have passed for beauties. I 
engaged one of them in conversation, and she with 
tongue, eye, hand, and sway of body, distanced all my 
former acquaintances in expressing the seductive emo 
tions. In the midst of her wavy prattle, she suddenly 

242 Fifty Years' Observation. 

broke off, took from the bosom of her dress a couple of 
cigarettes, and offered me one, which I declined. Then 
she rubbed a match on the sole of her shoe, lighted hers, 
and blew the smoke from her nose. After a while she 
rose, lifted a large, white wash-basin pitcher which was 
full of water, drank from it, and passed the pitcher to me, 
and I replaced it on the window-sill. Finding that this 
seftorita could work up the minutest fugitive idea into a 
long discourse, I left her and continued my observation 
of others. At midnight I returned to my camp, musing 
as I rode upon what constitutes fashion. 

There being no further need of a military escort, 
Colonel Barbour, in a note complimentary to the troops, 
dispensed with my further service with him. We em 
barked at San Pedro for San Francisco, and on our way 
up the coast stopped off Monterey late in the evening. A 
San Francisco newspaper was brought on board at that 
point in which a map was blackened to show the ravages 
of the fire of June, 1851. 

In that fire and in the conflagration of the month of 
May preceding, every building I owned in that city was 
consumed, and there was no insurance. Consequently, 
when. I arrived, instead of a rent-roll of nearly $1,000 per 
month, I had $37, and no more. 

The ground remained, and I still possessed a few thou 
sand dollars in money. Those rebukes of fortune not being 
due to treachery, nor breaches of trust, so far as the flames 
were concerned, caused me no loss of sleep by night, but 
they made me heavy by day for a whole month. At the 
end of that time, while I was walking alone on California 
Street, despondency left me in a moment. At the end of 
a year my income was nearly restored. 

The smoke of the recent fires had scarcely ceased to 
ascend (they had destroyed almost the entire business 

Admission of California. 243 

portion of the city), nevertheless many new wooden 
buildings were almost completed at my return. The 
losses did not appear to have abated the enterprise of 
the people, but their effect, and the uncertainty in regard 
to the productiveness of the soil, was to reduce the 
market value of real estate in some instances to one-tenth 
of what it had been in the month of December, 1849. It 
remained low till about the middle of the year 1853, when 
it rose with a bound. 

For more than a year preceding many good citizens, as 
well as all the office-seeking politicians a class which has 
ever been superabundant in California desired its erec 
tion into a State. The matter was long debated in Con 
gress with unparalleled bitterness. The slaveholders 
sought to enshroud the whole territory which had been 
acquired from Mexico in their peculiar institution, but 
they failed to succeed. Then they undertook to secure 
the portion lying south of 30 30' north latitude, and 
being again defeated, they opposed the admission of 
California into the Union as a State. 

In the course of the long delay, my friend, Mr. Albert 
Priest, who was a Prussian and a large land-owner in Sac 
ramento, visited Washington to represent the unsettled 
state of things on the Pacific coast and to urge speedy 
Congressional action. He was of a social disposition, 
boasted that he had been aide-de-camp to old Field Mar 
shal Blucher, and all his gestures were military. I met 
him shortly after his return, and said to him : " Mr. 
Priest, what did you tell the authorities in Washington ? " 
" I tell dem, ven you don't give us laws you shall make 
us in a state of siege ! " This energetic appeal of the 
honest ex-aide-de-camp of old Blucher was probably as 
effective as would have been a petition a yard long. 

The State was finally admitted into the Union on the 

244 Fifty Years* Observation. 

7th day of September, 1850, and when the news arrived 
in San Francisco it was followed with extraordinary re 
joicings. A ball was given in the building now standing 
at the corner of Kearney and Commercial streets. It 
was attended by a crowd of well-dressed male citizens 
and many officers of the navy and army, but the number 
of ladies was comparatively small indeed. At that time 
there was not one woman to fifty men in the city. There 
were a few accomplished ladies of excellent character 
Mrs. C. V. Gillespie, Mines, Vermehr, Fourgeaud, 
Hooper, and a few others whose names I do not recall. 
There were also a number of respectable Mexican, Ger 
man, and French ladies, with whom I was not acquaint 
ed. Also several handsome actresses and other females, 
a portion of whom were questionable, but all classes were 
represented at the ball. Every man present had a robust 
appearance, for at that early period puny men had not 
ventured to come to the Pacific coast, and gray-haired 
persons were seldom met. The dancing continued 
through the night, and at about two o'clock in the morn 
ing there arose a scene of drunkenness which was as bad, 
or even worse, than I had witnessed in any Atlantic city. 
I saw a naval officer, in full uniform, tumble headlong 
down stairs. Being plump in figure and full of drink, he 
fell like a rubber ball, and was not seriously injured. 
Since that time the habit of drunkenness, which is not 
encouraged by the climate of California, has gradually 
subsided in good society, and now an intoxicated person 
is rarely seen in an assemblage of ladies and gentlemen. 
The first constitution of the new State was a purely 
Democratic-Republican charter, and it excluded negro 
slavery. The first Senators chosen were William M. 
Gwin and John C. Fremont, and the first Representatives 
to Congress were Gilbert and Wright. It had been an- 

California Elections. 245 

ticipated by people of a sanguine disposition that the 
abrogation of the mixed American, Spanish, and military 
system of laws and customs under which the people had 
groaned would immediately give place to good order and 
prosperity under the new constitution. That happy state 
of things did not follow at once, but corruption, venality, 
and violence continued to prevail, as the following inci 
dent will prove. 

A young protege" of mine, to whom I was much at 
tached, and whose name was S. L. Merchant, lived with 
the officers of my post. One of his associates wished to 
elect a certain municipal candidate, and urged S. L. to 
vote for him ; and the two young gentlemen actually de 
posited their ballots at the Presidio Precinct hustings. 
S. L., not feeling quite certain that he had a right to 
vote in that Precinct, expressed his uneasiness to me 
in the evening. As I had been at the polls and seen 
that "Yankee Sullivan," who was the most ruffianly 
pugilist of his time, was exercising the office of judge of 
elections, I advised my young friend not to disturb him 
self until he saw the returns. They were all published 
in the " Alta California " newspaper of the following 
morning, but the name of the candidate for whom S. L., 
his friend, and eight or ten other electors voted, did not 
appear in the list for the Presidio Precinct. " Yankee 
Sullivan" disapproved of that candidate, and destroyed 
all the votes that had been cast for him. Similar 
methods of election, by which votes were multiplied or 
subtracted according to the behests of demagogues, con 
tinued till many offices were rilled with unworthy men. 
Even the judges, all of whom were elective, in frequent 
instances were foul in morals, deficient in legal training, 
and their decisions were unjust. Thus the beneficence of 
the laws was countervailed, and the people were afflicted 

246 Fifty Years' Observation. 

with a judiciary unworthy of confidence, and that is the 
most biting curse that can befall a community under any 
form of government 

The year 1853 was the most productive of all in Cali 
fornia gold. It was chiefly washed from the Placers, as 
few gold-bearing ledges had been discovered, and the 
methods of extracting it from rock were defective. A 
wild prosperity prevailed during the last half of that year, 
and the bricklayers and carpenters, who had worked for 
$10 a day, struck successfully for $12. No reason could 
be assigned for the prosperity of 1853 except the rich 
ness of the placers. The capacity of the soil for the 
growth of wheat and other grains was neither known nor 
considered. Viticulture was at a discount, and old mer 
chants declared that good wine could not be made from 
California grapes. Nothing was thought of other fruits 
as a source of profit, and it was anticipated by some that 
all prosperity in the State. would be at an end when gold- 
mining should cease to be remunerative. 

The appearance of the country in the dry season was 
certainly unpromising. Many portions of it were peopled 
with hares, snakes, horned toads, worthless squirrels, 
gophers, and numerous other rodents that burrowed 
everywhere in the ground and dwelt in desolate places. 

Colonel Barbour, the Indian Commissioner of 1851, a 
native of the blue-grass region of Kentucky, after travel 
ling leisurely from Stockton to Los Angeles, declared 
that the best land he saw was not fit to raise black-eyed 
peas, and that the beautiful flowers we had seen in the 
San Joaquin Valley were all sterile blossoms. I had a 
conversation with General (then Lieutenant) W. S. Sher 
man, who in 1853 was a banker in San Francisco, of 
which the following is the substance. I asked him why 
he had not bought some of the fifty vara lots (square 

Land in California. 247 

pieces 137^ by 137^4 feet) in San Francisco before the 
gold was discovered, as he might have had them for $15 
a lot. " Because/' said he, "they were not worth $15 
before the gold was found." I remarked that the great 
New York merchants, Rowland and Aspinwall, had 
thought well enough of the country without the gold 
mines to build three steamers to ply between Panama and 
San Francisco, and to carry the mails ten years for a 
small subsidy. " Well," said Sherman, " if the mines had 
not been discovered, their enterprise would have failed, 
and they would have been obliged to carry back all the 
people they brought here for nothing, or they would have 
starved." Then I asked him why he did not purchase 
land, now that the mines were so flourishing. " I don't 
purchase," said he, " because they are higher now than 
they ever will be in the future. The mines will become 
exhausted, and in forty years the country will be a desert 
again ! " 

The great Daniel Webster took a similar view of Cali 
fornia, and in one of his speeches he declared that it was 
the poorest country in the world. The two distinguished 
gentleman were deceived by lack of practical knowledge 
of their subject. My faith in the agricultural wealth of 
the country arose from observing the abundant products 
of the soil that looked barren, while riding about 
my post. I permitted a man to fence in a piece of 
ground to the west of the Presidio, and to cultivate it as 
a garden, on shares, for the garrison. His fence enclosed 
a portion of the sand-hill, and upon that he sowed tur 
nips, and watered the sand to prevent its being blown 
away. I saw grown upon that white sand, which con 
tained a natural mixture of marl, a turnip that was twelve 
inches in diameter. Another man enclosed a patch of 
moist, sandy land near Washerwoman's Bay, and took 

248 Fifty Years' Observation. 

from it five large crops of turnips, lettuce, and radishes in 
one year. Those examples convinced me that, with a 
sufficient supply of water, California could be made as 
fertile as Egypt and as lovely in flowers as the Valley of 

After the year 1853 the production of gold fell off an 
nually, and as there was not enough of commerce, manu 
factures, and agriculture to make good the deficiency, the 
general prosperity of all California declined so much that 
in the years 1857 and 1858 there was avast shrinkage in 
the value of real estate. 

In all periods of commercial depression and general 
scarceness the vicious classes multiply their infractions, 
and become more audacious in their attacks on the prop 
erty and rights of others. In 1856 crimes and assassina 
tions had so increased in frequency through the corrup 
tion of courts and the tricks of blackmail lawyers cog 
nate pests which the infernal powers are permitted still to 
retain on earth that the orderly people of San Francisco 
rose almost in mass to suppress the evils for which there 
was no remedy in ordinary forms, and to expel or put to 
death the vulgar criminals and the office-holding scoun 
drels. The immediate cause of the uprising was the kill 
ing of James King of William, by a man named Casey. 
King of William was the editor and originator of the 
" Evening Bulletin," and he had exposed some of Casey's 
doings in his journal of the morning, and on the evening 
of the same day Casey met the editor on Montgomery 
Street and shot him dead. 

Mr. King of William had been a banker, and was in 
duced to change his occupation partly by the stagnation 
of business in San Francisco, but chiefly by his taste for 
journalism. He was a handsome, healthy man, in the 
prime of life, uncommonly active in body and mind., ex- 

The Vigilance Committee. 249 

emplary in morals, and charitable in disposition. His 
sudden taking off by a base assassin was the drop that 
caused the stew of corruption to overflow. His death 
created a profound grief. It furnished a justifiable pre 
text for vengeance upon his slayer, who was hanged by 
the Vigilance Committee, which was embodied to the 
number of many thousands. The people afterward con 
tributed a fund of $25,000 for the support of his widow. 
The committee embraced a judicial organization of its 
own, the business of which was to ascertain without delay 
and by common-sense methods if the accused was guilty 
of the palpable crimes of murder, robbery, arson, or theft, 
and if he was, to punish him at once. Against impalp 
able offences and defalcations, the wickedness of which 
often tends to greater harm than the former, their de 
cisions were equally speedy and effective. Some of the 
judges who had toyed with evil-doers, and expected tol 
erance, while wearing a figurative mantle called the er 
mine, were so terrified that they fled before they were 
formally charged. The committee maintained its opera 
tions several months, and so effectively did they cleanse 
the municipal and judicial departments that for several 
years succeeding San Francisco was one of the most or 
derly cities in the American Union. 

In the year 1857 the taxes, which had been excessive 
previously,were moderate, but they did not long remain so, 
since the agencies by which shiftless and idle vagabonds 
and those that trade in politics employ to extract the 
fruits of industry from the producers, are living forces 
against which an eternal warfare must always be waged. 

It was not my privilege to take any direct part in the 
glorious operations of the Vigilance Committee of 1856, 
as I was all the time of its continuance absent in Wash 
ington Territory fighting Indians. 


'Indian campaigns on the Pacific Coast. Expedition to Fort Vancouver. 
Indian Fighting. Return to San Francisco. Steptoe's disaster in Wash 
ington Territory. General Clark's move. At the Dalles. The march to 
Walla Walla. Cceur d'Alene. More Indian Fighting. Colonel Wright. 

EGARDING the outbreak of the Indians in the 
JL\. Puget Sound district of Washington Territory, 
which occurred in 1855, and the war which followed, I 
shall confine my remarks to a limited space. The hostili 
ty of the tribes was so general in all the Territory, and 
their devastations so cruel in many places, that General 
John E. Wool, who commanded the Department of the 
Pacific, thought it requisite to repair in person to Fort 
Vancouver. My company, " M," Third Regiment of Ar 
tillery, embarked with him on board the steamer Cali 
fornia, Captain William E. Ball, and proceeded north 
ward, early in November, 1855. We arrived off the 
mouth of the Columbia River in the afternoon, 
and although a fierce wind had covered the whole bar 
from shore to shore and for several miles up and down 
with a white foam, it was decided to cross at once. There 
happened to be a pilot on board, and he and the captain 
stood together on the bridge. The head of steam was in 
creased to secure steerage-way in the billows, and we 
moved up against a strong ebb tide at a fair rate of 
speed till we reached about midway in the passage, when 
a flue collapsed, drove all the burning coals from under 
one of the boilers, and set fire to the ship, which immedi- 

Fire on Shipboard. 251 

atejy lost headway so much that she ceased for a moment 
to obey her rudder. The pilot lost courage, exclaimed, 
" She's a goner ! " and started down from the bridge. 
Captain Ball instantly resumed command, called out to 
the firemen to feed the remaining fires with lard and tal 
low, and after a few seconds the ship began to move for 
ward, and at the end of an hour we were anchored off 

When the steamer lost headway the lead showed a 
draught of water almost exactly corresponding with that 
of the vessel, but fortunately she did not ground. If she 
had struck, not a soul on board could by possibility have 
been saved. Some of the soldiers, as they saw the pilot 
quitting his post, came to me in terror, and asked 
what they should do. I replied, " Take hold of that hose 
and let us put out that fire in the hold." I carried the 
end of the hose down the steps as far as I could breathe, 
the men pumped, and in a short time the flames were ex 
tinguished. General Wool was perfectly calm, as were the 
other officers, but it is certain none of us ever escaped a 
greater danger than on that occasion, and such was the 
opinion of the eight or ten shipmasters who were among 
the passengers. Captain Ball's intrepidity was the admi 
ration of every man on board the ship. 

From the Columbia River, 'General Wool ordered me 
to proceed in another transport to Steilacoom and assume 
command of the Puget Sound Bistrict. I arrived there 
on the 24th day of November, 1855, and found a con 
dition of wild alarm. Many families had been massacred, 
and the surviving settlers were all collected in the small 
towns. There were only two skeleton companies of 
regular infantry and a few companies of volunteers in the 
district, and they were widely scattered. Lieutenant 
Slaughter, with one company, guarded a stockade at the 

252 Fifty Years' Observation. 

north of the Puyallup, and I arranged an interview with 
him with the aid of a friendly Indian. I went out twenty 
miles from Fort Steilacoom, and conversed with him 
across the river, which was so deep and rapid that my 
volunteer messenger, after delivering my note to Slaugh 
ter, lost his horse in returning, but saved himself. 
Slaughter assured me that he was safe from attack in his 
strong block-house, with plenty of supplies, and that, 
owing to the high state of the water in the streams and 
the smallness of my force in men and animals, it would 
be folly to invade the Indian country before the arrival 
of reinforcements, and the subsidence of the streams. 
Recommending caution and vigilance on his part, I re 
turned to my post. 

Four days later, to wit, on the 4th of December, 
Lieutenant Slaughter was killed by a party of Indians, 
headed by the famous Klicitat Chief, Kanaskat. As 
William A. Slaughter was a graduate of the West Point 
Military Academy of the class of 1848, and a pupil of 
mine, I will transcribe the circumstances of his death 
from my journal. 

"December*], 1855. At about 4.30 to-day, news was 
brought that Lieutenant Slaughter, 4th Infantry, had 
been shot by the Indians. On the 3d instant he left his 
camp at Morrison's, near the Puyallup, with fifty-four 
soldiers. He had with him Lieutenant James E. Harri 
son of the marine corps, and Dr. Taylor of the navy. On 
the afternoon of the 4th they arrived at a deserted farm 
on Brannan's Prairie, which is two miles from the fork of 
White and Green rivers, where there is a post com 
manded by Captain Hewett of the volunteers. Hewett 
came up to see Slaughter, and to tell him he had been 
scouting over the neighborhood all day, and that he 
found no signs of Indians. As Slaughter, who had come^ 

Death of Lieut. Slaughter. 253 

from another direction, discovered none, they considered 
themselves safe, and they allowed fires to be built and 
kept burning long after dark. In this they made a fatal 
mistake, as among hostile savages there is no safety ex 
cept by keeping dark and well guarded. This I had 
learned from my service in Florida, and that in a cam 
paign against Indians, the front is all around, and the 
rear nowhere. 

" The men were busy cooking their suppers, and the offi 
cers, Slaughter, Hewett, Harrison, and Taylor, were con 
versing in a small log hut, which stood near the fence at 
the edge of the prairie. All this while a band of red 
skins, directed by Kanaskat, were creeping up and ar 
ranging themselves in a thicket of brush and tall grass 
that stood a hundred yards distant. The sentinel had 
noticed the rustling of the grass, and heard what he sup 
posed was the grunting of hogs, and as the settlers had 
often left their animals at their farms, he paid no atten 
tion to those noises. At a little past seven o'clock, the 
Indians fired a volley, aimed mostly at the hut. One 
bullet passed between the logs and directly through 
Slaughter's heart. He fell over and expired in a minute. 
His only words were : ' Take care of yourselves, I am 
dying!' Two corporals were killed outright, and four 
private soldiers wounded, one of whom died the following 
day. After a single volley the Indians withdrew." 

Among the Indian chiefs of the Puget Sound district 
were five whose names were on every tongue. These were 
Pat Kanim, Kanaskat, Kitsap, Quimelt, and Leschi. Pat 
Kanim remained friendly, although he confessed to me 
that he had two turn turns (hearts), one of which inclined 
him to fight the Bostons (whites), and the other to keep 
the peace because he thought them too strong! The 
other four were hostile, and Kanaskat, above the others. 

254 Fifty Years' Observation. 

was the most deadly foe to our race. This chief was en- 
gaged in nearly all the murders that brought on the con 
flict. He was not only noted for the ingenious devices of 
torture that he would practise on his victims, but for the 
ferocious pertinacity with which he began and continued 
the war. He boasted that he could prolong it five years, 
and that no bullet could kill him. 

Cutmouth John and other messengers who came to me 
from the hostile camp all gave the same account of 
Kanaskat. He would have nothing to say about peace, 
but would sit apart in obstinate sulkiness. Kanaskat's rep 
utation extended beyond the mountains, and Ohwi sent his 
son Qualchein and another young brave from the Yackima 
country to learn from him the art of fighting in the night 
time. He was a model Indian patriot, hardy and enter 
prising, perfect in feral stealth, and vengeance was his 
ruling quality. He hated all the white settlers, and 
rather than they should possess his country he preferred 
to perish. It chanced that I laid the plan which resulted 
in the death of Kanaskat, as will appear from the follow 
ing account which I wrote in my journal the day it oc 

I transcribe all the facts as then recorded : 

Colonel Silas Casey, of the gth Infantry, having arrived 
with reinforcements of men and animals, a force under 
his command left Fort Steilacoom on the 26th of February 
1846, to operate against the Indians. We crossed the 
Puyallup at a point eighteen miles distant to a post com 
manded by Captain Maurice Malony. Here we remained 
till the morning of the 28th, and then marched eight 
miles up the right bank to Lemmon's Prairie, and pitched 
our tents. 

Lemmon's Prairie is small, and at that time it was 
bordered with a fringe of trees and bushes on the side of 

At Lemmorfs Prairie. 255 

the river, from which it is distant about half a mile. On 
the opposite side was a wooded steep hill, at the base of 
which was a narrow stream spanned by a bridge of logs. 
From thence a wood road wound up the hill into the 
country of the hostiles. 

Being second in command, I was detailed officer of the 
day, and became responsible for the safety of the camp. 
After guard mounting, I took with me the non-commis 
sioned officers, and with them made the entire circuit of 
the camp, keeping within and near the fringe of trees 
and brush all the way around. On the river side I ordered 
single sentinels to be posted, but on the slope of the hill 
I found two points from which an enemy might fire upon 
the tents. At the first I ordered three guards to be posted, 
of which one sentinel would stand in a spot which I indi 
cated, and the other two would lie down near by. Then 
proceeding along 150 yards, I came to the trail leading up 
the hill, and selected another post for three men as at the 
first. From this the sentinel could look up the road 100 
yards to where it made an angle to the left. After that, 
I continued my circuit to a spot where I obtained a view 
up the road beyond the elbow. It was in a small open 
space, near a large tree from the shadow of which an 
Indian could watch the officers coming out of their tents 
at break of day, fire on them, and retreat in safety. I 
therefore ordered Sergeant Newton of my company, who 
was the chief non-commissioned officer of the guard, to 
establish the picket here instead of at the crossing of the 
trail. The sergeant differed so strongly in opinion from 
me that he ventured to remonstrate, but I over-ruled 
him, and told him that the place where we stood was de 
cidedly the best of all, and that good men must occupy it. 
I gave minute directions for the sentinel to stand near 
the trunk of the tree, and watch the road up the hill 

256 Fifty Years' Observation. 

above the turn, for if the Indians came they must cer 
tainly come that way. 

Having completed the circuit of the camp, and made 
myself acquainted with every possible approach to it, I 
returned and made another inspection of the guard. Ob 
serving that Private Kehl, of Company D, of the Qth 
Infantry, had a determined countenance, I selected him 
for one of the important picket guards. Then I addressed 
the men as follows : (I will copy here the exact words of 
my journal) "You must take care to-night not to make a 
false alarm. I am the officer of the day, and should con 
sider myself disgraced by a false alarm. Be sure that you 
fire at nothing but an Indian, and be sure also if you do 
fire that you get him." 

Private Kehl, with his two companions, went to the 
post assigned them, and in the morning, soon after five 
o'clock, Kehl was standing sentinel under the tree. It 
was before daybreak, but the cooks had already lighted 
their fires, and the watchful soldier saw a gleam of light 
reflected from the barrel of a rifle a hundred yards up the 
trail beyond the bend. Then in a few minutes he saw 
five Indians in single file creeping stealthily down the 
hill. The one in front was waving his right hand back 
ward to caution the four who followed him. Kehl stood 
motionless till the leader came nearly abreast of him ; 
then with deliberate aim he fired, and the great chief 
Kanaskat fell. At the report of his shot, I ran out to the 
bridge, where I heard Sergeant Newton forty yards be 
yond cry out, " We've got an Indian ! " He and another 
man were dragging him along by the heels. The savage 
had been shot through the spine, and his legs were para 
lyzed, but the strength of his arms and voice was not 
affected. He made motions to draw a knife. I ordered 
two soldiers to hold him, and it required all their strength 

Death of Kanaskat. 257 

to do so. As they dragged him across the bridge, I 
followed, and he continued to call out in a language I did 
not understand. Some one came up who recognized 
the wounded Indian, and exclaimed, " Kanaskat ! " 
" Nawitka ! " said he with tremendous energy, his voice 
rising to a scream " Kanaskat Tyee Mamelouse nica 
nica mamelouse Bostons " yes, Kanaskat chief Kill me, 
I kill Bostons. He added, " My heart is wicked towards the 
whites, and always will be, and you had better kill me." 
Then he began to call out in his native language, not a 
word of which could any of us understand. I ordered two 
soldiers to stop his mouth, but they were unable to do so. 
He appeared to be yelling for his comrades, and two 
other shots were fired from the pickets on the hill, when 
Corporal O'Shaughnessy, who was standing by, placed 
the muzzle of his rifle close to the chieftain's temple, blew 
a hole through his head, and scattered the brains about. 

During all the frantic imprecations of the prostrate 
savage, I was standing only two yards from his feet, look 
ing at his face. I have seen men in rage, and women in 
despair, and maniacs, but never before did I gaze on a 
human countenance in which hate and blasted hope were 
so horribly depicted, as in that of Kanaskat. It seemed 
to me, while I was regarding the fierce contortions and 
burning gaze of the dying chief, that I was in the presence 
of a defiant demon whose fitting habitation was the most 
fulgent cavern of Hell. 

After death the countenance of Kanaskat wore the ex 
pression nafural to it in life, saving that the infernal fires 
that glowed from the depth of his eyeballs had gone out 
with the vital spark. There was a diabolical fascination 
in the massive jaw, 'fixed scowl, and bronzed skin of the 
monster's visage, that drew me to cross the field several 
times to gaze on it where he lay, face up and eyes wide 

258 Fifty Years' Observation. 

open. I even dismounted from my horse, when ready to 
march, and wandered apart to look on him once more. 
It seemed that every moment of his life had deposited a 
particle of matter to form a perfect image of vengeance. 
There was no line that pity or tenderness, or holy medi 
tation had ever traced upon it. It presented a scene of 
absolute moral desolation more awful than the Dead Sea 
or the crater of Etna. 

Regarding the carcass of the dead chief as that of an 
unclean animal that men hunt for the love of havoc, we 
left it in the field unburied, and went on our way to fight 
his people. 

Leaving Lemmon's Prairie on the morning of March I, 
we advanced into the enemy's country, and at mid-day 
we were met by two messengers, a white man and an 
Indian, sent by Lieutenant A. V. Kautz of the Qth In 
fantry, to inform us that he, with his company, was held 
at bay on the right bank of White River by a large body 
of Indians. Kautz's men were intrenched within a huge 
pile of dead timber and trees that had collected on the 
edge of the stream. Colonel Casey immediately detached 
me with fifty-four soldiers to go to his relief. I took the 
Indian boy, who was only fifteen years old, for guide. 
We pushed forward with all possible speed a distance of 
eighj or nine miles, but instead of leading me to the ford, 
the young rascal conducted us to a point half a mile 
below, where the contracted torrent was absolutely im 
passable. I called the boy to me and told him to show 
me the crossing, or I would shoot him on the spot. He 
replied, 4t Nica cumtux" (I know), and led the way 
through the woods to a place where the river spread out 
to three times its width below. I ordered the soldiers to 
fasten their cartridge-boxes about their shoulders, and 
then we dashed in and passed over without accident, al- 

White River. 259 

though the water, which was ice-cold, came up to the 
armpits of the short men, and ran like a mill-race. 

Between the water's edge and the bluff on the opposite 
side of the river was a grass-covered slope about two 
hundred yards wide. The bluff or bank was not high, and 
it was so thickly covered with trees and brush that not an 
enemy could be seen. I deployed my men as skirmishers, 
and Kautz, who had left the wood-pile, did the same, 
and I ordered the whole to charge. The Indians fired a 
volley, enough to kill every one of us, but they aimed 
too high, and only one man was struck, and that was 
Lieutenant Kautz. A rifle-ball passed through his leg, 
but I was not aware that he had been wounded until the 
battle was over. After one discharge, the Indians ran, 
and we pursued them through the woods half a mile, at 
double quick time, to the base of a steep hill, on the brow 
of which they made a stand, and, with derisive epithets, 
dared us to come on. The slope of the hill for a 
distance of 200 yards was bare, and at the top were 
many large standing and fallen trees, which afforded 
cover to the enemy and gave him a great advantage. 
Lieutenant David B. McKibbin of Kautz's Company, Qth 
Infantry, was in line with the front rank, and when half 
way up the slope the savages arose with a whoop and 
opened fire. Several soldiers fell, but McKibbin's gal 
lantry encouraged the others, and not one flinched. I 
was at the moment just coming up the slope of the hill, 
and we all pressed forward, and in a short time our 
victory was complete. Our number engaged was 100, 
and we lost two killed and eight wounded. The smallness 
of our loss was probably due to the bravery of the men, 
who rushed upon the Indians, disconcerting them, and 
fifty of their shots went over our heads for every one that 
took effect. 

260 Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

The death of their most warlike chief, and the decisive 
victory we achieved on the first of March, dismayed the 
redskins, and thereafter all their energies were exerted to 
avoid a battle with the regulars, although they fought 
afterwards with the volunteers. We hunted and pursued 
them almost without intermission night or day for two 
months, over hills and dales, through swamps and 
thickets. It rained more than half the time, and the in 
fluence of Mount Regnier and its vast, eternal covering 
of snow upon the temperature made the nights exces 
sively cold. Such was our liability to surprise, that we 
were obliged to be ready to fight at all times, and there 
was not an hour of darkness during the active operations 
that I could not have stood outside my tent equipped at 
the end of one minute from the first sound of alarm. 
The hardships of that campaign, in which the pluck and 
endurance of Kautz, Sukely, Mendell, and several others 
were so severely tested, caused me afterwards to regard 
the seven days' fight before Richmond as a comparative 
recreation. I was the second in rank to Colonel Silas 
Casey, who had had much experience on the frontiers. 
My position was one which, in the army, frequently pro 
vokes grumbling and censoriousness, but I found no fault 
with his arrangements, and thought he displayed decided 
ability in the conduct of his campaign. A year later I 
had a conversation in San Francisco with Colonel Casey 
as he was embarking for Washington. He then stated to 
me that tile-victory of March 1st, 1856, in which I com 
manded, saved the Government not less than $5,000,000. 
He also said on the same occasion that the plan I laid re 
sulted in the killing of the Chief Kanaskat. He promised 
to use his influence to have me breveted, and he ex 
pected a brevet for himself, which he certainly deserved. 
In those days, however, when Mr. Jefferson Davis was 

Surgeon Sukely. 261 

Secretary of War, the exploits of Northern officers were 
not much regarded, and neither of us received the slight 
est notice. 

In my plan to kill Kanaskat I suspended two regula 
tions one that required a single sentinel to walk his 
post, and thus to enable a skulking savage to see and 
avoid him, and another which prescribed the relief of 
the sentinels at intervals of one or two hours by a de 
tachment of the guard making its rounds for that pur 
pose or to see if they are awake. I posted three men in 
a single spot where they were all concealed under trees 
and behind logs or stones, with orders for one to stand 
still and watch, and from time to time to awaken the man 
who was to take his place. 

The above-described plan originated with me, so far as 
I know. Its originality with me is conceded by General 
A. V. Kautz, of the United States Infantry, and Colonel 
George H. Mendell, of the Engineer Corps, both of 
whom were most efficient actors with me in the cam 
paign of 1856, and are men of unimpeachable integrity. 
After writing my account of our operations, I received 
letters from those two officers corroborative of my de 

Surgeon George Sukeley, whom I have already men 
tioned, was with us on nearly all our scouting expedi 
tions. He was a man of genius and devoted to science. 
His activity of body and mind was extraordinary, and he 
was equally admired by the army, the citizens, and the 
friendly Indians. He collected and forwarded to the 
Smithsonian Institute a vast number of beasts, birds, 
fishes, reptiles, and insects peculiar to the country we 
were in ; likewise many bones, jaws, and skulls of dead 
Indians. He also sent the head of an enormous wolf, 
which one of the sentinels shot while on post at Muckle- 

262 Fifty Years' Observation. 

shoot Prairie. He had in his employ an old squaw who 
was able to tell him the Indian names of every quad 
ruped, snake, worm, bug, insect, fish, creeping, swimming, 
flying, or burrowing animal that he found, and many that 
he did not find, but which she discovered and brought to 
him. If Cuvier or Agassiz had known of the existence of 
that squaw they would have gone half round the world 
to consult her, for she was an unexampled genius and a 
veritable she Aristotle. 

We had another gentleman, Mr. George Gibbs, who 
was in civil government employ and who was a member 
of the officers' mess at Steilacoom, and who is worthy of 
mention for the reason that he possessed many accom 
plishments and amiable qualities. Gibbs devoted much 
time to the dialects of the aborigines, and became a mas 
ter of the Chinook jargon. All unwritten languages are 
difficult to learn, but he was able to speak them so well 
that he astonished the Indians themselves. The Chinook 
dialect is made up of the distorted and truncated words 
and phrases of the Russian, English, French, and native 
languages. It was remarked that Gibbs could speak 
Chinook better than any other man, white or red. He 
came down to San Francisco, and one morning put on the 
dress and headgear which he had worn among the sav 
ages. In that rig he entered a fashionable shop to make 
purchases. He inquired for various articles, but none of 
the shopmen could comprehend him. They sent out for 
linguists of various nations and tribes, of which there 
were many in the city, but not one could speak Chinook. 
Gibbs wore a long beard and a serious countenance, and 
appeared anxious to make himself understood. Finally, 
after babbling his jargon for half an hour, he walked 
away, leaving the wondering crowd to conjecture his na- 

General Ord. 263 

The Indian war in the Puget Sound district being at an 
end, I was ordered by Colonel Casey in the month of Oc 
tober, 1856, to return to my post, the delightful Presidio 
of San Francisco. The year succeeding was too barren 
of incident to require especial notice. 

In the month of May, 1858, I was a member of a court- 
martial convened at Fort Miller, on the San Joaquin 
River. Captain E. O. C. Ord was the commanding offi 
cer, and his family were with him at his post. They en 
tertained the members of the court-martial bountifully, 
and the loving harmony of that household was delightful 
to observe. Ord was cheerful and domestic in his habits, 
and his accomplished wife told me that her life had been 
joyous. Little did she foresee what the future had in 
store for her gallant husband, or what sorrow for herself. 
General Ord, although a Virginian by birth, illustrated his 
name in the Northern armies during our civil war. If 
we except General Crook, for a shorter time he probably 
did as much constant hard service as any other officer in 
the army. After forty years of active duty he was re 
tired, went to Mexico, where he exercised important 
civil functions, and married one of his daughters to a gen 
eral of that country. Being still in vigorous health and 
prosperous, he left Vera Cruz in the month of August, 
1883, for a trip to Cuba, and while on board the ship was 
taken down v/ith yellow fever and died. 

It was on the very site of Fort Miller, in the same 
month of May seven years before, that I saw assembled 
above 1, 200 aborigines, natives of the adjacent plains and 
mountains, many of whom had never seen a white man 
till they came to treat with us. I was then impressed 
with the appearance of several chiefs, and remembered the 
general aspect of all. Especially was I struck with the 
activity of the young Indians of both sexes while they 

264 Fifty Years' Observation. 

amused themselves with football and other rough sports. 
As all those Indians had been assigned to a reservation 
of which Fort Miller was a central point, I inquired for 
several individuals whom I remembered. I was told that 
they were nearly all dead, victims to drunkenness, and 
that of the whole number I then saw in such full activity 
not above fifty remained. I took pains to see the wretch 
ed survivors, and was shocked with the spectacle of deg 
radation and self-abandonment they presented. 

To show the care bestowed upon its copper-colored 
wards by our Government when it collected them upon 
reservations, I might relate many incidents that I have 
learned by observation and credible report, but shall 
limit myself to one. The commissioners, McKee,Woozen- 
croft, and Barbour, made generous provisions for the 
denizens of the San Joaquin Valley. The reservations 
were extensive, and the Indians were to be supplied with 
agricultural implements, seeds, work animals, blacksmiths, 
schools, and many other useful things, the most essential 
to them being beef cattle. About ten years subse 
quent to the treaties made by those commissioners, a 
herdsman who had been employed by contractors to fur 
nish beeves to these Indians on their reservations de 
clared to me, as a solemn truth, that he had delivered and 
had receipted for one and the same old Toruno (stag) 
twenty-seven times. The weight of that beast was en 
tered in the accounts and paid for at figures varying from 
1,000 to 1, 100 pounds. That old stag was an energetic quad 
ruped, and would break loose invariably the night after 
he was receipted for, and return to the corral to which he 
was habituated, and where he was always well cared for. 
If I were to write a treatise on the relations between theo 
retic and practical benevolence, I should select for my sub 
ject the Indian policy of the United States Government. 

Steptoe's Disaster. 265 

Towards the end of May, 1858, news was received in 
San Francisco of Colonel Steptoe's disaster at the north 
of Snake River, Washington Territory. The Colonel had 
been detached from Walla Walla with 1 59 men to capt 
ure cattle thieves, and while on his march towards Fort 
Colville he was attacked by a thousand or more Spokans, 
Pelouses, Cceur d'Alenes, and Yackimas, and obliged to 
retreat. His small band defended themselves from morn 
ing till night, and Captain H. P. Taylor, Lieutenant Will 
iam Gaston, and several of the rank and file were killed. 
The balance had the good fortune to get away in the 
darkness, and at ten o'clock on the morning of the i/th, 
after a ride of 75 miles, they reached a place of safety at 
the south of the river. Considering the fatigue of a 
whole day's fighting with the Indians, the flight of 75 
miles during the succeeding night, without the loss of a 
man that started, was an evidence of endurance that has 
few examples in history. 

General N. 3. Clark, the commander of the Department 
of the Pacific, lost no time in sending northward all the 
available troops in California. I arrived at the Dalles 
with two companies on the 2 1st of June, and on the 24 th 
was joined by two other companies, the four being under 
my orders and all encamped together. From the 25th of 
June till the 7th of July I lost no time in preparing my 
force to fight the Indians. I had numerous targets the 
height of a man set up at various distances on even and 
uneven ground, and for several hours every day, Sundays 
not excepted, I caused the soldiers, individually and col 
lectively, to fire at those targets. In every case they 
were required to estimate the distance, which was after 
wards told, and required to adjust their aim accordingly. 
The effect of that drilling was wonderful, and I estimated 
it as giving a quadruple value to my numbers. I told the 

266 Fifty Years' Observation. 

men that our operations would probably be in an open 
prairie country, and that their muskets being of a longer 
range than those sold by the Hudson Bay Company to 
the enemy, they could aim at an Indian as securely as at 
a plank. 

The march of 177 miles from the Dalles to Walla 
Walla was fatiguing, as the weather was excessively hot, 
and in places the ground was so difficult that it occupied 
twelve days. Colonel George H. Wright of the Ninth In- 
fantry was assigned to the command of the expedition, 
and it required time to organize and send forward his 
little army to the point on the south side of the Snake 
River which he selected to cross to the country of the 
hostiles. It was at the mouth of a little stream called the 
Tucanon, and in obedience to orders, as soon as I ar 
rived there in the advance I caused a small fort to be con 
structed, which was left in charge of Brevet Major F. O. 
Wyse, with one company of artillery. 

I had never before served under the orders of 
Colonel Wright, but from a slight personal acquaintance 
with him and many favorable reports I had conceived 
great respect for his military capacity. I was glad, there 
fore, to be his lieutenant, and to receive from him the 
command of a battalion of six companies of artillery 
serving as infantry. Major William N. Grier commanded 
the dragoons, about 200 in number; Lieutenant White, 
the mountain howitzer company ; Captain Winder, a 
company of riflemen, and Lieutenant Dent, brother-in- 
law to General Grant, a company of infantry. Lieutenant 
John Mullan had under his orders 33 friendly Nez Perces 
Indians, who were to act as guides, scouts, and inter 
preters. Mullan was also the topographical engineer of 
the expedition, and he was well acquainted with the 
country we were to operate in. Captain R. W. Kirkham 

Indian Fighting. 267 

was quartermaster and commissary. Surgeon J. F. Ham 
mond, brother to Senator Hammond of South Carolina 
and author of the expression " mudsills," was the chief 
of the medical staff, Lieutenant P. A. Owen acting 
adjutant-general, and Lieutenant L. Kipp, Third Artil 
lery, adjutant of my battalion. 

All the detachments, numbering about 900 men, having 
arrived, we crossed the river on the 25th and 26th days of 
August the men, baggage, provisions for 40 days, and 
ammunition in boats, of which there was a great scarcity, 
and about 700 mules and horses swimming the rapid 
stream, with Indians alongside the leaders to keep them 
headed towards the opposite shore. That was a singular 
and amusing sight. It was a stupendous task to pack 
400 mules the next morning, but Kirkham's arrangements 
were so effective that it was accomplished at five o'clock, 
at which hour we left the river to find the enemy. 

Numerous reports and stories had reached us that the 
Indians were exulting in their victory over Steptoe, and 
they were confident that not a man of us who crossed the 
Snake River would return alive. On the 3<Dth of August 
they first showed themselves in small scouting parties, 
and the next day they appeared in considerable numbers, 
skirting our line of march for several hours, but keeping 
out of gunshot. They were apparently luring us on to a 
favorable spot they had previously selected to attack and 
destroy us. 

Towards the end of our march, on the 3ist of August, 
Colonel Wright and his escort having preceded me about 
half a mile and encamped, the Indians set fire to the 
grass, and under cover of the smoke, approached and 
fired upon the rear guard. We had kept the pack train 
well closed, and upon hearing the first shots I ordered the 
three companies of Winder, Ihrie, and Hardie and Dent 

268 Fifty Years' Observation. 

to deploy at double-quick time as skirmishers across the 
rear and along the two sides of the column, while the 
front was well protected by Captain Ord. Within five 
minutes from the first command the whole train and every 
thing else was enclosed in a rectangle of armed men, and 
the attack repulsed. The promptness of the manoeuvre 
was admirable, and showed the benefit of discipline and 
previous instruction. 

The battle of the Four Lakes was fought on the 1st of 
September, 1858. It was not Colonel Wright's intention 
to attack that day, but to rest the men and animals in the 
beautiful camp established the evening before. His de 
termination was changed, however, by the appearance in 
the morning of a considerable body of the enemy on a 
neighboring hill, and the report of our Nez Perces scouts 
of many more beyond. The Colonel having arranged his 
plan, the whole force, with the exception of a guard to 
protect the camp and pack-train, marched about a mile 
to the foot of the eminence, from whence Gregg's dra 
goons, Ord's company, and Mullan with his scouts were 
ordered up to dislodge the hostiles, which was quickly 
done. Then our commander ascended with his staff, fol 
lowed by me and my battalion and the artillery. When 
we reached the summit we halted a few minutes to view 
an animated spectacle. We could see the four lakes and 
the gullies and patches of woods bordering the water, and 
a vast plain stretching away to the front and left. The 
natural scenery was interesting, but its effect was wonder 
fully heightened by the thousand or more savage warriors 
who were riding furiously hither and thither over the 
plain or issuing from the woods and valleys. The bar 
barous host was armed with Hudson Bay muskets, spears, 
bows and arrows, and apparently they were subject to no 
order or command. The brilliant morning sun, which il- 

Indian Fighting. 269 

luminated the purest air of the continent, enabled me to 
distinguish through my field-glass the individual savages, 
their horses, their trappings, and equipments. Both men 
and animals were smeared and striped with gaudy pig 
ments and bedecked with the feathers and plumes of 
birds of prey. The skins of bears, wolves, and the buffalo 
served generally for saddles, and the whole display was 
enhanced by the frantic gestures and yells of the war 
riors, who brandished their weapons in defiance. 

Colonel Wright indicated to me my point of attack, 
and I descended to the plain, where I ordered several 
companies to deploy as skirmishers and to advance firing. 
Our first discharge seemed to surprise the Indians, and 
those nearest scampered off, but some would turn back 
and fire upon us. After clearing the broken ground, we 
made way for Grier to pass on the right. He ordered his 
men to charge, and they started off handsomely, but his 
horses had been marching without a day's rest for nearly 
a month, and they scarcely gained on the hardy Indian 
ponies, which were all fresh. Lieutenant Gregg, who was 
a splendid sabreur, overtook one of the flying rascals, and 
with a blow of his blade split his skull in two. I pursued 
and fought the enemy nearly three hours, and upon 
reaching a hill over which the savages had disappeared I 
was obliged to halt the advance to allow a considerable 
number of the soldiers who were fatigued and overheated 
to come up. On reaching the crest of the hill I could see 
not more than ten or fifteen Indians, the main body hav 
ing fled to the woods beyond. While I was halted the 
recall was sounded, and I returned to camp after an 
absence of about four hours. The plain was scattered 
with Indian muskets, bows, arrows, blankets, skins and 
trinkets which had been abandoned by the warriors in 
their flight, but they had carried off their killed and 

270 Fifty Years' Observation. 

wounded, according to custom. We could not ascertain 
from observation during the fight the exact loss of the 
enemy, but we were certain that a considerable number 
were slain, and from subsequent enquiry and information, 
we concluded that not less than sixty Indians were killed 
and wounded. Of my battalion not a man was hit. As 
I had anticipated, our long-ranged arms, discipline, and 
careful previous instruction secured our safety, and en 
abled us to thin the number of the savages until their 
panic-flight took them beyond our reach. The impor 
tance of the victory of the Four Lakes was not the less for 
having been bloodless for us, and it stimulated the 
soldiers greatly. 

The men and animals needed rest ; we remained in 
camp at the Four Lakes until six o'clock on the morning 
of September 5, when we resumed our advance. At first 
we saw no Indians, but at the end of an hour they began 
to show themselves, and to move along parallel with our 
line of march over the rough ground, beyond which was 
the great Spokan Plain. We had advanced far within 
the prairie, when, all at once, we saw the savages setting 
fire to the tall dry grass with which the plain was covered 
nearly all around us. A strong wind was blowing in our 
faces, and the flames were shooting high and constantly 
extending. Our situation was sufficiently alarming when 
we discovered, a few hundred yards to the front and left, a 
patch of bare rock and scant herbage. Upon that we 
collected our animals in haste, and the drivers put out 
the fire on the short stubble, which gave room and saved 
us from a stampede. Meanwhile the enemy had opened 
fire upon us, and our men passed through where the 
flames were least, Grier and his dragoons leading, and 
commenced the battle of Spokan Plains. That battle 
ended fourteen miles from where it began, and the field 

Battle of Spokan Plains. 271 

upon which it was fought embraced hills and ravines, 
woods, rocks, and bare level ground. I kept one, and oc 
casionally two, companies in close order, and the others 
deployed, so that my line of battle was often above a 
mile long. The woods and openings alternated in long 
strips, and riding at full speed to and fro, along the rear, 
enabled me to see the Indians when they passed across 
those openings, as they did frequently in both directions. 
As soon as I saw them making to the right or the left, I 
ordered forward reinforcements to meet them wherever 
they opened fire. The activity and spirit displayed by 
the officers of my battalion left nothing to be desired. 
They certainly did their best and did well. It is not 
easy to discriminate, and I name them as they occur to my 
memory Captains E. O. C. Ord and J. A. Hardie, 
Lieutenants H. G. Gibson, R. P. Tyler, J. L. White, G. F. 
B. Dandy, M. R. Morgan, Ihrie, D. R. Ransom, and my 
adjutant, Lawrence Kipp. There were probably 1,000 In 
dian warriors opposed to us, and among them were some of 
the Pend d'Oreilles and the famous Yackima chief, Kam- 
miakin. He was severely wounded by a splinter torn 
from a tree that was struck by one of White's howitzer 
shells. On our side not a man was killed, and only one 
wounded. The loss of the enemy was considerable, but 
it could not be ascertained, on account of their invari 
able habit of carrying away their killed and wounded. 
The country fought over was without water, and 
when we reached the Spokan River, and pitched our 
camp, twenty-five miles distant from the former, the 
whole command, men and animals, were nearly ex 
hausted. It was estimated that I had ridden eighty 
miles on the same pony of incredible endurance. I kept 
my saddle till my tent was pitched ; then I dismounted, 
took a glass of wine, gave orders not to disturb me, and 

272 Fifty Years' Observation. 

lay down on my back to rest. For half an hour I did not 
move a muscle, and felt the whole time that if I did move 
one I should die. At the end of an hour I was restored, 
and no one had noticed my debility. Never before, or 
since, was I so nearly finished by the toil of war. 

September 8. Instead of crossing the Spokan River 
we kept up along the south bank over an extensive 
grassy plain. As we advanced we saw a great cloud of 
dust rising up far ahead. Then we discovered what we 
mistook for a patch of brown, bare earth on the side of 
the mountain, but by close watching we saw it move. It 
was a band of cattle. After marching eight miles fur 
ther, the train was halted and left in charge of Ord's and 
Gibson's companies of artillery and a company of dra 
goons. Gregg's, with the balance of my command, I 
pushed forward, following Colonel Wright and staff, 
Grier's three companies of dragoons, and the Nez Perces 
guides. I marched my foot-soldiers eighteen miles at 
quick time, without a halt, to the top of a range of hills. 
From their summit we discovered, far across a beautiful 
lake and plain, many moving specks, which were horses. 
Grier had overtaken and captured them without opposi 
tion. The band consisted of about 1,000 horses, mares, 
and colts, which were the property of a Tyee whose name 
was Tilcohitz ; and he was a great thief and rascal. 

At first Colonel Wright and others were not disposed to 
kill the horses, thinking them too valuable. I told him I 
should not sleep so long as they remained alive, as I re 
garded them the main dependence and most prized of all 
the possessions of the Indians, who would find a way to 
stampede them. Finally the Colonel organized a board 
of officers, of which I was president, to determine what 
should be done with the horses. The board decided to 
allow the officers and the quartermaster to select a cer- 

Proposals for Peace. 273 

tain number, and the friendly Indians were to choose one 
or two each, and in this way about 200 were disposed of 
for the present. For the others a high enclosure was 
constructed, the poor animals driven in, and the work of 
shooting commenced. The soldiers soon learned that by 
planting a bullet just behind the ears the animal would 
drop dead at once. In two days the number shot by 
actual tally was 690, and the expenditure of cartridges 
about twice as many. It was a cruel sight to see so many 
noble beasts shot down. They were all sleek, glossy, and 
fat, and as I love a horse, I fancied I saw in their beauti 
ful faces an appeal for mercy. Towards the last the 
soldiers appeared to exult in their bloody task ; and such 
is the ferocious character of men. 

While the work of destruction was going on I saw an 
Indian approaching our camp, carrying in his hand a long 
pole from which a strip of white cloth was flying, and in 
the cleft end of the pole was a letter. The letter was 
from Father Joset, S. J., of the Cceur d'Alene mission, 
written to inform Colonel Wright that in consequence of 
our victories the hostiles were completely cast down, and 
that they wished him to be their intercessor for peace. 
The father added in his communication that the friend- 
lies were delighted at our victories, as they had been 
threatened with punishment by the hostiles for not fight 

On the nth of September we crossed the Spokan, and 
ours was the first civilized army that ever passed that 
stream. Our first march beyond was through a rich agri 
cultural country, where we found many rude huts and 
numerous stacks of wheat. The dragoons all fed their 
horses with wheat, and each carried away one or two 
sheaves. The large balance we burned, so that desola 
tion marked our tracks. We encamped on the edge of 

274 Fifty Years' Observation. 

the beautiful Cceur d'Alene Lake, and after a tedious 
march over a narrow trail through the mountain forest 
we arrived, on the I3th, at the mission of the same 

The next day I visited the mission, which was estab 
lished in 1846. The church was built of logs, spacious, 
but unfinished. Everything within and around had a rustic 
appearance. Father Joset, Father Minitree, and two lay 
brothers were there. In this savage, out-of-the-way place 
they were obliged to live and labor with the aborigines. 
In the evening I supped with the fathers. They had 
plenty of excellent beef, vegetables, and milk, but the 
table and its service were as plain as possible. 

In Father Joset I found a cultivated gentleman in the 
prime of life, fit to adorn the most polished society in 
the world. I was unable to restrain my expressions of 
astonishment when he informed me that he had passed 
the last fourteen years in the wilderness with the savages. 
I asked him if he had no longings for a better life and 
society. " No," said he, " I am content and happy where 
I am. In your profession an outward obedience to orders 
is all that is required of you, but in the society to which 
I belong obedience must be internal, and cheerful, and 
ready. I am happy, and have no desire to exchange 
situations with any person." 

Twice every day while I remained at the mission I had 
conversations with Father Joset, which increased my 
admiration for his character and my estimation of his 
self-denial. He instructed me how his Church had pre 
served the traditions and dogmas of Christianity, and 
sustained the purity of the faith, and it was primarily 
due to his influence that I enrolled myself, at a subse 
quent date, in the Roman Catholic Church. By his 
explanations and revelations Father Joset revealed to 

The Treaty. 275 

my mind vistas through which the light from Calvary 
shone more pure and brilliant than ever before. 

The hostiles, who, in the beginning were so confident 
and audacious, finding themselves absolutely powerless 
to resist us in the field, changed their policy and became 
the most humble supplicants for peace. Large numbers 
came to the mission every day, and on the i/th of Sep 
tember a council was held at which ninety-five chiefs and 
head men were present, besides numerous squaws and 
pappooses. The terms of the treaty were not harsh, and 
old chief Polotkin was so much pleased that he assured 
Colonel Wright that all his people would cheerfully sub 
mit, which they subsequently did. 

Vincent, the principal chief of the Cceur d'Alenes, 
and Polotkin, the head of the Pelouses, both signed the 
treaty and kept their promises. 

While at the mission Colonel Wright invited me to 
read all his letters, orders and reports. His orders I 
knew, as they had all been published to the command. I 
made a careful examination of every document written 
by the colonel during the campaign, and found in them 
continual proofs of justice, impartiality, and the absence 
of prejudice. It seemed to afford him especial satisfac 
tion to set forth the merits of his subordinates, and he 
omitted no subject worthy of praise, saving his own 
activity and fitness for command. 

All fears of further collisions being at an end, we left 
the Cceur d'Alene Mission September 18, on our return 
march. To avoid the narrow trail through the forest, 
we crossed the Cceur d'Alene River below the lake and 
also the St. Joseph's. In crossing those deep, clear 
streams we had the assistance of many Indians with 
their birch-bark canoes. The white birch grows to an 
immense size in that northern country sometimes four 

276 Fifty Years Observation. 

feet in diameter and a hundred feet high. The bark is 
tough, and peels off without breaking, so that a canoe 
can be made of a single strip. An angular piece is cut 
out of each end of the sheet of bark, which is brought up, 
sewed together at the extremes, and the seams smeared 
with pitch. In that way a boat is made in a short time, 
but as they are round on the bottom, and without a keel, 
they are easily capsized. 

On the 22d of September we arrived and pitched our 
camp on the banks of the Nedwall, a small stream, 
tributary to the Spokan River. Here a treaty was made 
and signed by chiefs of the Spokans, Calespools and 
Pelouses. The treaties, among other things, required 
the surrender of Indian murderers and thieves, and 
several, eight I think, were surrendered and hanged in 
this camp. One day six were hanged in two batches. 
The following is a copy of one of Colonel Wright's 
laconic orders : 

" The three Indians confined last will be executed within an hour. 
" Signed, G. WRIGHT, 

" Colonel gth Infantry Com'ing." 

It was my habit during the campaign to record the 
dates of all important movements and transactions, and 
occasionally I wrote descriptions of events and men in 
my journal. What follows herein was written in great 
part directly after the facts occurred : 

"In the afternoon of September 22, near night, I 
observed an old man of medium stature and robust 
frame, dressed like an American, approaching our camp 
on horseback. The old man's name was Owhi, brother- 
in-law to the famous Yackima chief Kammiakin, and 
father of a young brave named Qualchein, and he came 
in to make peace, as he said. Old Owhi has a mild 

Owhi and his Son. 277 

expression of countenance, which is assumed, since he 
has proved himself a double-faced man. He deceived 
Colonel Wright in his Yackima campaign of 1856, by 
promising to bring in all his people, and by failing to do 
so, or to try to do so. After telling Owhi to send for his 
son Qualchein, he directed the guard to confine the aged 
chief in irons. At this order the old man's countenance 
fell completely. He wiped the big drops of sweat from 
his forehead, dropped his hat, took out his prayer-book, 
and began to turn the leaves. His skin assumed an ashy 
pallor, he trembled, and altogether his appearance indi 
cated the profoundest grief and despair. 

"September 24. At about 12 o'clock to-day, as I 
was standing in front of Colonel Wright's tent, I saw 
issuing out of a canon about two hundred yards from me 
two Indian braves and a handsome squaw. The three 
rode abreast, and following close behind rode a little 
hunchback whom I had before seen in our camps. The 
three principal personages were all gayly dressed, and 
presented a most dashing air. They all had on a great 
deal of scarlet, and the squaw sported two ornamental 
scarfs, passing from the right shoulder under the left 
arm. She also carried, resting across, in front of her 
saddle, a long spear, the staff of which was completely 
wound with various colored beads, and from the ends of 
which hung two long round pendants of beaver skins. 
The two braves carried rifles, and one of them had an 
ornamented tomahawk. I pulled aside the flap of the 
tent, remarking, as I did so : ' Colonel, we have distin 
guished strangers here.' " The colonel came out, and 
after a few minutes' conversation recognized Qualchein, 
who is the son of Owhi, and one of the most desperate 
murderers and villains on this coast. He had not met 
the messenger sent out for him, but came in of his own 

278 Fifty Years' Observation. 

accord, or perhaps he had been induced to come by the 
reports of the imp of a hunchback, who looked happy 
when his party entered our camp. 

Having dismounted, Qualchein stood leaning on his 
rifle talking with Colonel Wright, who stood in front of 
him, while I was on the right and a few paces in the rear. 
His bold appearance induced me to watch him closely. 
The colonel mentioned Owhi's name, at which Qualchein 
started suddenly and exclaimed, " Car ? " (where). 
Colonel Wright answered calmly, " Owhi mittite yawa " 
(Owhi is over there). A section of the guard came up, 
and Qualchein, seeing the hopelessness of his situation, 
drooped instantly. His eyes watered, and he appeared 
stupefied, while he repeated several times the words, 
" Owhi mittite yawa" He was ordered to go with the 
guard, but he stood still, apparently lost in revery. The 
soldiers pushed him along to the guard tent and ironed 
him heavily. Within one hour from his entry into our 
camp he was hanged by order of Colonel Wright. 

Qualchein was a scion of a line of chieftains ; his com 
plexion was not so dark as that of the vulgar Indian, and 
he was a perfect mould of form. His chest was broad 
and deep, and his extremities small and well shaped. He 
had the strength of a Hercules, and it required six men 
to tie his hands and feet, so violent were his strug 
gles, notwithstanding he had an unhealed wound in his 

In all the battles and forays in Washington Territory, 
Qualchein was one of the leading spirits, and owing to his 
youth and hatred of the whites, and his bloody deeds, his 
influence was probably greater than that of his father, 
and equal to that of his uncle, the famous Kammiakin. 
In the action of March I, 1856, in which I commanded, 
on White River, Puget Sound district, Qualchein was 

The Return. 279 

present with fifty Yackima warriors, of whom he lost 
seven. He went over the mountains, as he said, " to learn 
to fight at night." During his life he enjoyed the repu 
tation of bravery and enterprise, but at last, when the 
rope was around his neck, he begged for mercy in tones 
that were abject. He promised Captain Dent, who was 
charged with his execution, horses and icters (things) of 
all kinds, if he would spare his life. Many persons who 
witnessed his conduct charged him with cowardice and 
poltroonery, but for myself I took a different view of it. 
As soon as his hands and feet were bound and the prepa 
rations for his death concluded, resistance was out of the 
question, and love of life was the sole motive of his con 
duct. He was still young, not over twenty-five years of 
age, and his physical constitution was apparently perfect 
that, and his renown as a prince and warrior, gave* to 
his life a charm and value which he was unwilling to sur 

On the 26th of September we left the spot, which I 
called the Camp of Death, on the Nedwall or Lato, and 
on the 1st day of October we crossed the Snake River on 
our return. The weather had been, during the last few 
days of September, cold, rainy, and excessively trying to 
us all, with our scant supply of clothing. Forewarned of 
our approach, Major Wyse had ready for all the officers a 
supper, which we devoured with ravenous appetites. The 
improvised table groaned under the weight of bunch-grass 
fed beef (the best in the world), prairie chickens and 
vegetables. The men were also well supplied with the 
same good cheer. For us, the major had the foresight 
to have on hand a basket of champagne, which dis 
appeared down our thirsty throats like water in the 

I am now going to transcribe a leaf from my journal 

280 Fifty Years' Observation. 

which relates to the aged Yackima chief, Owhi, his power 
of dissimulation, and his death. 

At the advent in Eden of our first parents, Satan in the 
guise of an angelic page having deceived Uriel, the regent 
of the sun, and learned from him the way to earth, flew 
thither, and alighted without the garden. Then at one 
immense leap, overleaping all bounds, he dropped 
sheer within, and, like a cormorant, perched upon a tree 
thence he proceeded to corrupt our mother Eve. Ever 
since, and from that time, hypocrites have been numerous 
among all nations, clans and tribes of men. 

" False face must hide what the false heart doth know." 

Before setting out on the march of October 3, I com 
mitted Owhi, the Indian prisoner, to the charge of |Lieu- 
tenant M. R. Morgan and his guard of foot-soldiers. The 
old man appeared reconciled to his fate, and on several 
occasions he expressed satisfaction at being secure in our 
protection. We kept him under strict watch, otherwise 
we treated him with kindness. I often visited him, and 
it interested me to mark the effects of time (he was 
seventy years old), bereavement and captivity upon a 
savage prince, who, in his prime, must have possessed 
extraordinary physical and mental vigor. I never saw 
him smile, and frequently deep sadness would mantle his 
countenance and impart to it an air of dignity. Without 
doubt he felt sharp pangs, for he had lost all his power, 
had witnessed the ignominious death of his son, who ex 
celled all his tribe in strength and savage prowess, and 
now, bereft of hope, he seemed resigned to whatever 
might be in store for him. 

He was mounted upon his own horse, and we had 
taken the precaution to secure him by a chain and strap 
attached to his ankles and passing under the saddle-girth. 

Death of Owhi. 281 

In this way he rode in silence at the side of Lieutenant 
Morgan till they came to a rivulet that is a branch of the 
Tucanon. At the crossing, the stream spread out to 
the width of seventy-five yards, and about an equal 
distance above a log spanned it to serve as bridge for 
footmen. While the soldiers proceeded to pass on the 
log, Morgan led the Indian's horse across the ford, and 
dropped the reins when he reached the opposite bank. At 
the same instant Owhi struck his own horse with violence 
and made off. Morgan drew his pistol and pursued, firing 
as he rode. One ball took effect upon the fugitive's horse, 
which slackened his pace, and enabled the lieutenant to 
come up abreast. Then, quick as thought, the old man 
struck Morgan's horse on the head with his whip handle, 
the size of a wagon spoke, and gave a rough blow with the 
lash upon the rider's face. At this moment several 
dragoons approached, and commenced to fire upon 
Owhi, who was quickly riddled with balls and brought to 

When the firing commenced I was a third of a mile 
away, and suspecting the cause, I rode rapidly in its di 
rection, and met the cavalrymen bringing the dying chief 
on his own horse, lying across like the carcass of a dead 
wolf, while his brains were oozing from the bullet-holes 
in his head. 

Surgeon Hammond ordered the old man to be stripped. 
Two shots had passed through his leg, one into his breast, 
and one had penetrated under his right cheek-bone, and 
diagonally up and out near the top of his head, and had 
destroyed consciousness. The dying chief looked like a 
gasping bull-dog, and I stood by to see his broad chest 
heave. He lingered two hours and then expired. 

The death scene of this aged Yackima chief present 
ed a strange contrast to that of the Clicitat Tyee, Kanas- 

282 Fifty Years' Observation. 

kat, whose last moments I have already described. The 
countenance of old Owhi in his last hours was gloomy, 
not terrible ; but when I recall to mind the dying strug 
gle of Kanaskat I still recoil with horror, after the lapse 
of seven and twenty years, for I fancied that devils were 
glaring at me through his eyes, and that his voice was a 
blast from hell. 

On the 5th of October, 1858, we arrived at Walla Walla, 
and our campaign was at an end. Inspector-General 
Mansfield being there, after a searching examination, 
found occasion to compliment us generally. Notwith 
standing our long march, the men presented a healthy 
appearance, which was due in a great measure to the fact 
that they had lived without whiskey during the last two 
months or more. 

While at Walla Walla we enjoyed the hospitality of the 
officers stationed there, Steptoe, Dent, and others, and 
one day there was a feast spread in a large hospital tent, 
to which several of the Nez Perces chiefs, our allies, were 
invited. Chief Moses appeared with a sword and scarlet 
sash and an artillery colonel's dress-coat with large gold 
epaulettes. Whiskey having been plentifully served, he 
became brave and loquacious fora time, and then he re 
lapsed, and finally became stupefied, and sank in silence 
upon his bench, half lying on the table. The feast being 
over I went away, but an hour later I returned by the 
tent, and saw old Moses stretched flat on the floor, his 
feet in the shade, his face in the sun, dead drunk, and 

I doubt if in the history of our country there has ever 
been an Indian campaign in which so much was accom 
plished at an equal cost. The good result was due to 
three causes : The proper instruction of the soldiers at 
the commencement, the excellence of the quartermaster's 

Surgeon Hammond. 283 

department, and the admirable fitness of our commander, 
Colonel George Wright. 

Our quartermaster was Captain (now General) Ralph 
W. Kirkham, and he fully satisfied all the requirements 
of his office. Never did a man more completely escape 
notice by the perfection of his work than did General 
Kirkham in the campaign of 1858. 

The medical department was presided over by Surgeon 
J. F. Hammond, who stood high in his profession, but his 
temperament was impressionable to an uncommon de 
gree. As a surgeon he had little to do no bones to set 
nor wounds to dress. To show what false reports a man's 
senses may often make, I will relate in this connection an 
anecdote. One morning, towards the end of September, 
when I turned out there was a thick fog, and I was 
chilled and uncomfortable, and the air seemed to pene 
trate to the marrow of my bones. While I was feeling 
the worst, after starting, Surgeon Hammond joined me, 
his face radiant with unusual smiles, and he cried out : 
" Keyes, did you ever know such a glorious climate as 
this ? It's perfect joy to live. I never felt so well in all 
my life." Then without waiting for a reply he galloped 
away out of my sight. I did not observe him again till 
near sunset, when we were in camp. In the meantime 
the. atmosphere had undergone a complete change. The 
air was mild and smoky. I felt perfectly happy, and was 
forecasting the pleasures of San Francisco, when Ham 
mond approached me again, beating his sides, his visage 
as gloomy as night. Coming near, he exclaimed : 
" Keyes, who ever knew such an accursed climate as this? 
Fire and thumping won't keep me warm. I've a mind to 
commit suicide." He did not wait to be consoled, but 
walked away, uttering maledictions against the weather. 

Lieutenant John Mullan, of the Ninth Infantry, the 

284 Fifty Years' Observation. 

topographical engineer of the expedition, had in his for- 
mer surveys made himself familiar with the country. In 
addition to his experience, he possessed uncommon mental 
and physical activity ; he knew all the trails and fords, 
and in the crossing of streams which were not fordable 
his ingenuity was so remarkable that I dubbed him 
" Duke of Bridgewater." 

It would be ungrateful in me to omit special notice of 
the company officers of my battalion. Ord, H. G. Gib 
son, Dandy, Flemming, Ransome, Morgan, and R. O. Ty 
ler were conspicuous for their activity. Gibson (now 
General) was my subaltern lieutenant about eight years, 
and was always conscientious in the discharge of his 
duties. He was better posted in the laws and regula 
tions of the army, and in the history of individual offi 
cers, than any man I have known. The readiness with 
which he could answer questions and cite authority 
saved me much labor, but tended to make me sluggish. 

Lieutenant Lawrence Kip, Third Artillery, son of the 
Episcopal Bishop of California, performed his duty as my 
adjutant efficiently, and at the close of the campaign he 
wrote and published its history in a small book, which 
was reviewed in one of the English periodicals. On a re- 
perusal of Kip's work after finishing my own account, I 
find an exact correspondence of dates and few inaccura 
cies. The most that he said of Qualchein he borrowed 
from and credited to me. 

The commander of our expedition, Colonel George 
Wright, a native of Vermont and a graduate of the Mili 
tary Academy of the class of 1822, was every inch a 
soldier and a gentleman. In the year 1838 I heard 
Colonel Worth say of Wright, who was then a major, 
that he was entitled by his soldierly qualities to be ad 
vanced two grades. General Dandy, who was four times 

Wright's Discipline. 285 

breveted for gallant conduct during the Rebellion, and 
who was my subaltern in 1858, considered Wright the 
best commanding officer he had served under. My posi 
tion of second in command was one the difficulties of 
which have always been recognized by military men. 
The chief sometimes dislikes or envies his junior, and the 
latter fancies or discovers faults that he, if in command, 
would have avoided. From the commencement to the 
end of the campaign my relations with Colonel Wright 
were confidential and cordial, and if I were to give ex 
pression to my admiration and respect for that gallant 
soldier and gentleman, I fear my style would appear more 
flowery than the rules of rhetoric prescribe for a narrative 
of facts. The discipline he enforced was extremely rigid 
and severe. After crossing into the hostile country, re 
veille was at three o'clock A. M., and the hour of march 
generally five o'clock. One morning something delayed 
me, not above three minutes, but that was long enough 
to make it necessary for me to answer a brisk demand, 
through a staff officer, to explain why my column did not 
move at the time appointed. The rebuke was proper, al 
though my delay was caused by no fault of my own, and 
at no time did I suspect for a moment that Colonel 
Wright would censure me unjustly or withhold praise 
that I deserved. Nothing in his conduct indicated that 
an acknowledgment of my deserts would dwarf his fame, 
and his order after the battle of the Spokan plains was 
profuse in the praise of the conduct of others, while it was 
silent in regard to his own. The passage in that order 
which related to me was in the following words : 

" Captain E. D. Keyes, Third Artillery, commanding 
battalion, was energetic and gallant throughout. Al 
though the troops extended over a mile, yet the captain 
was always in the right place in the right time." 

286 Fifty Years' Observation. 

I will relate a circumstance to show the estimate placed 
by the War Department upon the strength of the enemy 
opposed to Colonel Wright. 

While at the Cceur d'Alene mission we learned that the 
Sixth Regiment of Infantry was on its way overland to 
Washington Territory. An order was addressed to Brig 
adier-General Albert Sidney Johnson, the same gentle 
man who, on the outbreak of the civil war, went South 
and was in command of the Confederate army at the 
battle of Shiloh, where he was killed. The following 
paragraph appeared in that order : 

" If the commander in Utah should obtain information to cause him to be 
lieve it unsafe for the regiment to direct its march upon Walla Walla, he will 
order it by such other route as he may deem best. " 

It appears that General Johnson did receive informa 
tion that caused him to apprehend danger to the regi 
ment in the direction of Walla Walla, and he accordingly 
instructed its commander to proceed to Benicia, Cali 
fornia, where in regard to expense and time of trans 
port it was further from Walla Walla than at Salt Lake. 
For that reason I feared the Sixth Regiment would be de 
tained in the harbor of San Francisco and I should be 
left in Oregon or Washington Territory. 

In anticipation of such an arrangement, I addressed an 
application to General Clark to order me back to my old 
post, the Presidio. Colonel Wright endorsed my applica 
tion as follows : 

" The rank and long service of Captain Keyes, and particularly his zeal, 
perseverance, and gallantry during the present campaign, will, I trust, com 
mend his application to the favorable consideration of the commander of the 

" (Signed) G. WRIGHT." 

As soon as the report of Colonel Wright's operations 
and the result of the campaign were received at the head- 

General Harney. 287 

quarters of the army, then in New York City, Lieutenant- 
General Scott issued an order, dated November loth, 
1858, which was highly complimentary to General 
Clarke, commanding the Department of the Pacific, to 
Colonel Wright, and a large number of his subordinates, 
whose names are given. From John B. Floyd, who was 
then Secretary of War, no line or word of praise or satis 
faction was received. Instead of acknowledging the 
merits of Clarke and Wright and breveting them, as they 
deserved, his treatment of both those officers was con 
temptuous. He reduced the command of the former by 
cutting off the northern portion, which embraced Oregon 
and Washington Territories, and erecting it into a new de 
partment, to the command of which he assigned the cele 
brated Brevet Major-General William S. Harney, who ar 
rived at Fort Vancouver on the 24th day of October, 1858. 
I had a few days prior to that date arrived at the 
same post, with orders to proceed with my company to 
San Francisco. 

I lost no time in paying my respects to the new com 
mander, whom I had not seen before. He received me 
with ordinary politeness in other words, he was not rude 
to me, though he was sufficiently taciturn. I had heard a 
great deal of General Harney, and of his extraordinary 
physical accomplishments and his prowess as an Indian 
fighter. I saw before me a man six feet two or three 
inches in height, faultless in proportion, complexion 
bordering on the sandy, head small, eyes and counte 
nance ordinary. I felt at once that I was in the 
presence of a typical Southerner, and the coldness of his 
salutation inclined me to credit the reports or accusations 
I had heard that his official conduct towards Northern 
officers was often harsh. Captain Pleasonton, assistant 
adjutant-general, was present with his chief, and I asked 

-288 Fifty Years Observation. 

him if there was any military news. The general inter 
posed abruptly, saying: " None of the troops are to leave 
for San Francisco. I suppose that is what you want to 
know ? " I answered, " Yes, sir," without betraying any 
sort of emotion, although this hasty announcement of his 
decision was most unwelcome to me. I had heard that it 
was Harney's intention to renew the campaign against the 
Indians that Wright had so completely crushed, and the 
general reiterated that intention during my first interview 
with him. I considered his remarks as disparaging to all 
the officers engaged in the recent expedition, and espe 
cially to its commander. The Harney clique spoke inde- 
rision of our battles, in which not a man was hit, and their 
prejudices inclined them to withhold all credit from 
Wright and his associates, a great majority of whom were 
Northern men. 

On going out from General Harney's office I met 
Surgeon Barnes, who was afterwards surgeon-general of 
the army, and one of the attending surgeons of President 
Garfield. He invited me to mess with him, and I gladly 
accepted his invitation, and took my meals with him 
while I remained at the post. 

At that period Barnes possessed a sound body and 
a genial disposition ; at the same time he was quite 
studious and methodical in his habits. He was so full of 
anecdotes of distinguished persons, and so generally 
fertile in discourse that I began to reconcile myself to 
the discomforts of Fort Vancouver, when on the morning 
of November 24 the steamer Cortez arrived from San 
Francisco, bringing news of the death of Colonel Frank 
Taylor and my consequent promotion to be major of the 
First Regiment of Artillery. Being no longer a company 
officer, General Harney gave me an order to repair to 
San Francisco and there await the official announcement 

General Harney. 289 

of my promotion. The order was obliging to me, and it 
greatly modified my unfavorable impression of General 
Harney in regard to myself, but considering him as a 
prominent member of the sectional party to which I was 
so strongly opposed, I would not relinquish my vicarious 
resentment, which I cherished as a sacred duty. 


Return to San Francisco from the Indian War. Description of society and 
individuals. Condition of California. The Parrotts, McAllisters, Thorn 
tons, Lakes, Donohues, McKinstrys, Gwins, Bowies, and others. The 
Bar of San Francisco. Leading lawyers. 

ETURNING to San Francisco after an absence of 
-TV less than six months, the city appeared to be in a 
condition of uncertainty and depression. During the 
past summer the Frazier River excitement had drawn 
away a vast number of people, who had found the reported 
gold discoveries a myth, and were returning much poorer 
than they left. 

The future of California was then more discouraging 
than at any time since 1848. The product from the 
placer mines was diminishing rapidly, while agriculture 
and viticulture were not encouraging. The mineral 
wealth of Nevada was yet undiscovered to any profitable 
extent, and many of my associates feared that Califor 
nia was in a decline. Nevertheless my confidence was 
unshaken, and in the month of December, 1858, I made 
a purchase of real estate on Montgomery Street, which 
has proved the most profitable investment I ever made. 

I maintained extensive social relations in San Fran 
cisco, the society of which has always been cosmopolitan 
to an unusual extent, although it has been shaped by the 
Southern element. On the 1st of January, 1859, * made 
seventy calls, and omitted twenty-three that were on my 
list for want of time to pay them. 

The San Francisco Sea-wall. 291 

Extracts from my journal : 

"January 11, 1859. To-day I was introduced to Mr. 
James, who was Mr. Anson Burlingame's second in his 
proposed duel with Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, who 
was the assailant of Senator Sumner. Mr. James told 
me several circumstances connected with that affair, of 
which I was previously ignorant. He informed me that 
Brooks was a strong, healthy man, six feet two and a half 
inches tall, and a good match in strength for Sumner. 
He told me also that Brooks was not satisfied with him 
self, and the manner of getting out of the quarrel, and 
that during a slight indisposition he took a mixture of 
salt and water, as he supposed, prepared by himself, and 
died soon after." 

" February 8, 1859. To-day and yesterday I have been 
engaged getting up a bill for a bulkhead, or sea wall, in 
the harbor of San Francisco, in opposition to that pre 
sented by Judge Levi Parsons. The plan arranged by 
the gentlemen who consulted me did not meet my 
approval, because it was proposed to construct it too far 
out and to enclose too much ground to be gobbled by 
speculators, and my limit was inserted in the bill." I 
foresaw that a sea wall was necessary, although at that 
time the majority of the people were opposed to it. 
Both bills failed, and all those who advocated them were 
charged with selfish motives. At a date several years 
subsequent a plan was adopted, and a sea wall is now in 
process of construction and well advanced upon nearly 
the identical line proposed by me, which was a modifica 
tion of that of J. P. Manro. In the Assembly the 
advocates of the bill I had approved ascribed to me 
astonishing talents and services, while those who sup 
ported the Parsons project discovered strange deficien 

292 Fifty Years' Observation. 

For Judge Parsons I entertained a friendly feeling, for 
the reason that he was a companionable man, and also be 
cause in my first lawsuit he non-suited the plaintiff. My 
experience in that suit is valuable, as showing how justice 
or injustice is often meted out by juries. 

Being in charge of the Government reserves in San 
Francisco, I was directed by General Riley, then Military 
Governor of the Territory, to lease them. Accordingly I 
did lease the Rincon Point reserve to the late Theodore 
Shillaber, with a promise to remove the squatters, whose 
tents covered the whole of it. I visited the Point several 
times, and notified the occupants that they must leave or 
I should, on a certain day, remove them by force. My 
verbal instructions were unheeded, and on the morning of 
February ist, 1850, I issued ball cartridges to my entire 
disposable force of about fifty men and two officers, 
Lieutenants Landrum and Gibson, and took up my line 
of march for Rincon Point, four miles distant from the 
Presidio. As we wound over the sand-hills it was ob 
served that the sky was perfectly clear, and that the sun 
shone with unusual brightness. It was one of those 
charming days which surprise the stranger who visits our 
shores in the clear intervals of the rainy season. I direct 
ed the soldiers to be silent, and to pay no attention to 
anything but the orders of their officers. Arrived at the 
border of the reserve, I halted my men, and passing 
across the line called on all the squatters to vacate. They 
crowded about me, and all, with one single exception, 
submitted. The exception was a " Sydney Duck," as he 
was called, whose name was White. He refused to go, 
and dared me to touch his property, which was somewhat 
extensive, as he kept a hardware store in one tent and 
lived in irregular combination in another adjoining. I 
wasted no words upon the Sydney Duck, but marched my 

" The Sydney Duck:' 293 

soldiers close to his premises, ordered six robust fellows 
to stack their arms and carry beyond the line and de 
posit with care the tents and all they contained. It was 
done with despatch, and saving my orders, which were 
few, not a word was uttered by any man in my command. 
As soon as the ground was cleared, I directed the 
workers to take their arms and resume their places in the 
ranks. Then I gathered the full force of my lungs, and in 
a voice which a man told me " could have been heard two 
miles off," I shouted, " Shoulder arms ! By the right 
flank, right face Forward march!" The ranks were 
closed, and we moved away in silence along what is now 
First Street, leaving a crowd of not less than 7,000 men, 
who had assembled to witness our achievement. There 
was a man in the multitude who had been in the " battle 
of San Pascual." He afterwards said to me : " That 
battle was nothing to that clearing out of squatters." 

I was in full-dress uniform, and marching in front of 
my men, when I arrived at the junction of Market and 
Montgomery streets, where I was met by an Alguazil 
(Sheriff), who served on me a summons to appear without 
delay before Judge Almon of the Court of First Instance. 

I went direct to that court, where Mr. Calhoun Ben- 
ham, on the part of the Sydney Duck, opened the cause 
in a fiery discourse upon my armed encroachment upon 
civil rights. He deprecated the exercise of military tyran 
ny and usurpation in a strain of eloquence which touched 
the sublime. Mr. Peachy assumed my defence, and ex 
plained the circumstances and orders under which I had 
acted, whereupon the judge released me and I returned 
to my post. 

As I had forcibly ejected, or caused to be ejected, 
many other intruders upon the public grounds, I fancied 
I should not be troubled again by the Sydney Duck ; but I 

294 Fifty Years' Observation. 

was mistaken. He consulted several lawyers, and found 
one or more who advised him to bring a civil suit against 
me for $6,000 damages. Notwithstanding his neighbors 
on the hill were disturbed almost every night by the 
drunken orgies in White's tent, and shocked by the 
screams of his woman, whom he frequently beat and 
thrust out into the cold, he found many sympathizers 
among the squatters, who would gladly have seen me 
mulcted for the tyrannous proceedings of which I was 

The preliminaries caused me great trouble and ex 
pense ; but, being a novice in litigation, I felt no appre 
hension in regard to the result. I was so simple as to 
suppose that the plaintiff sought compensation only for 
the damages done him by my forcible ejectment of him 
self and his goods. He complained of nothing more in 
the several conversations I subsequently had with him. 
But his lawyer informed him that he had suffered a hor 
rible outrage, of which he was wholly unconscious at the 
time it occurred. The outrage arose from the following 
circumstance : As I before remarked, the weather was 
delightful on the morning of February 1st, and it con 
tinued so without any sign of atmospheric disturbance, 
until nearly all White's effects had been removed. Then, 
with an astonishing suddenness, a solitary cloud came 
driving athwart the sky, and when it came over our heads 
it discharged big drops of rain while all around was sun 
shine. The rain continued not above two minutes and 
caused a general shout of merriment among the crowd, 
and the effect was cheerfulness, as the air seemed more 
balmy than before. 

At the trial, which came on before Judge Levi Parsons, 
some of the plaintiff's willing witnesses described that 
merry dripping from the fugitive cloud as a serious storm 

Some Legal Eloquence. 295 

of rain. In the speech of his attorney it was magnified 
to a howling tempest, and me, the most placable of men, 
he held up to the jury as a ferocious despot. I fancy I 
see him yet, his hands clenched, his lips drawn taut, his 
eyes wildly rolling, when he paused a full minute, as if to 
master his passion and to choose the most fitting words 
to impart it. Then he lifted up his voice and entered 
upon the climax of his declamation. " Gentlemen of the 
jury," said he, in caressing tones, " you have heard the 
evidence in this cause, and it would be an insult to your 
understanding to suppose you are not fully impressed 
with the gravity of the wrong done my unoffending cli 
ent by a man who seems insensible to the rights of an 
innocent citizen, and whose heart has been 'changed to 
stone by the practice of tyranny. Yet, notwithstanding 
the enormity of his trespass, we might find some extenu 
ating circumstances in his conduct, had he not himself 
foreclosed every claim to your compassion by the studied 
cruelty of his procedure. Instead of choosing a day and 
hour for the exercise of his nefarious authority, when the 
sky was clear and the air was warm, he held his armed 
hirelings in hand till the elements were at war. He 
watched the sky with malignant scrutiny, and when the 
angry clouds began to discharge their floods, he drove 
out, at the point of the bayonet, my honest client and 
his gentle, delicate spouse, and exposed them to the 
drenching rain and the rude winter blast. For such an 
act of causeless vengeance, these modest people here be 
fore you [the Sydney Duck and his woman were both in 
the court] have only asked the imposition of a fine of 
$6,000, when the whole fortune of the sullen military ty 
rant would be an inadequate amende." 

Alter a few additional remarks, complimentary to the 
jurors upon their dignified character, sturdy indepen- 

2g6 Fifty Years 1 Observation. 

dence, and love of justice, the eloquent pleader sat down 
and mopped the sweat from his forehead. 

Judge Parsons ordered the clerk of the court to enter a 
non-suit, and that ended my first lawsuit. 

A few days after the trial, I met one of the jurors 
whom I knew, and asked him what would have been 
the verdict, if my case had been submitted. He re 
plied that he should have given the plaintiff the full sum 
demanded, not because I had done anything wrong in 
itself, and he allowed that my orders fully justified the 
removal of the squatters ; " but," said he, " you had no 
right to turn them out in such a cold storm of rain I 
thought that indicated an oppressive disposition in you, 
and I was willing to see you punished for it ! ! ! " 

A feeling of gratitude inspires me to name the families 
and persons in California whose society has cheered me 
most during my long sojourn in that State. The Parrotts 
and the McAllisters stand first in duration and constancy 
of friendship. Mr. John Parrott is several times a mill- 
ionnaire. He came to San Francisco from Mexico in 1850, 
bringing what was then considered a large fortune, which 
he has increased to its present magnitude by enterprise 
and foresight as a banker, merchant, and agriculturist. 
He was the first American to establish an elegant home 
in California, which, under the admirable supervision of 
his wife, has been the scene of a luxurious hospitality 
during the last twenty-five years. Mrs. Parrott's un 
stinted bounties to the poor, and to every deserving ob 
ject, entitle her to the leadership of Christian charity on 
the Pacific Coast. Her husband is worthy of honor for 
the timely and efficient services rendered by him to se 
cure the Territory of California to the United States. 
The two are alike remarkable for virtues which are the 
rarest in the world. They never turn their backs upon 

Prominent Californians. 29} 

an old friend who has been overtaken by poverty, and 
they never mistake rudeness for gentility. Mr. Parrott 
at one time was regarded the richest man in the State, 
but his deportment underwent no change, and being now 
advanced in years and oppressed by weakness, he is re 
ferred to as a man whose head has not been turned by 
the possession of an immense fortune acquired by him 
self. Numerous other families have received me with 
uniform cordiality ; among them I can only mention 
those whose intimacy I have enjoyed the longest the 
Thorntons, Floyds, Lakes, Babcocks, Lincolns, Lows, 
Donohues, Tevises, Hogans, Sillems, McKinstrys, Otises, 
Gwins, Hagers, Bowies, Loughboroughs, Zanes, and others. 

I have known a great number of the prominent men of 
California, but the majority of my intimate associates 
have been of the legal profession. In estimating their 
merits and demerits it is proper that I should first define 
my own qualifications to judge them fairly. 

During the last nine years my purpose has been to 
ascertain the distinctive qualities of men who succeed at 
the bar, with a view to instruct one of my younger sons, 
who, at the age of eleven years, elected to prepare him 
self for the legal profession. 

One of my older sons, Dr. E. L. Keyes, of New 
York, at the same age determined to be a physician 
and surgeon. With a view to bend his mind in the 
right direction, I observed the lives and studied the 
histories of the great men whose example I desired 
him to pattern after. My own father, who was a mem 
ber of the same profession, possessed a genius not in 
ferior to that of my son, but his advantages and field 
for practice were vastly less. I determined, therefore, 
that the best opportunities the world afforded my son 
should have. In their search I discovered, to my aston- 

298 Fifty Years Observation. 

ishment, that the surgeons and therapeutists, in spite 
of their bickerings and backbiting, were far more uniform 
in disposition and genius than the lawyers. One reason 
for their similarity probably arises from the fact that the 
medical body is almost destitute of political significance, 
while the legal men constitute an estate, and they wield 
a mighty power in the land. 

Considering my younger son, and with a view to give 
clearness to my descriptions and force to my precepts, I 
found it necessary to study jurisprudence under three 
heads, which I designate the grand, or heroic, the sedate, 
and the emotional. It was under the accursed classifica 
tion of emotional jurisprudence that two flippant adepts 
once placed my name and fortune in fearful jeopardy. 

Strange as it may seem, I discovered all the three best 
exponents of the designations given above in France. 
They were, in order, Berryer, Marie" and Lachaud. To 
Berryer I have heard old Frenchmen ascribe the attri 
butes of a demigod. The grandeur of his person, the 
majesty of his countenance, and the indescribable melody 
and strength of his voice awed alike the court and jury 
to compliance with his arguments. Aside from all mere 
tricious advantages, Berryer was one of the profoundest 
jurists of his time. 

Then Marie", whose success in nearly every cause, and 
his large fees, inspired my informant Alphonse Karr, the 
celebrated writer, to go many times to hear him plead. 
Marie's person was small and insignificant, his voice pip 
ing, and his general appearance homely. Yet in spite of so 
many apparent drawbacks he had the art of shaping and 
stating with wonderful clearness and method everything 
that favored his client ; at the same time he could confuse 
the statements and dwarf the facts of opposing counsel to 
such an extent that the verdict was usually declared for him 

Lachaud. 299 

Lastly, the celebrated Lachaud, who was called Vami 
des ptcheurs, the friend of the sinners. Five years ago I 
heard him plead, and last year he died. He was of an 
amiable disposition, but his genius he must have derived 
from Satan. 

In France there is a hideous variety of crime, surpass 
ing all that can be learned among native Americans. 
The habitual reader of the Gazette des Tribuneaux 
discovers that human depravity is without limit, and that 
the vengeance excited by cupidity, jealousy, and malice 
displays itself in horrors which are inconceivable to the 
writers of fiction. In such a state of things Lachaud 
found constant employment. During forty years the 
throwers of vitriol, the mutilators, the assassins, parri 
cides, robbers, thieves, and murderers looked to him to 
confuse the courts and get them free, or to secure circon- 
stances attcnuantes, one of which ends he seldom failed to 
gain. In a certain cause I heard him plead. I use the 
word plead, because I am referring to a speech in a law 
court by a Frenchman. Judge Hoffman objects to the 
word plead, and says I should say argue. He ought to 
understand that I make no reference to an argument, 
but to the harangue of the greatest master of emotional 
jurisprudence of modern times. 

A young man of good family was accused of way 
laying in a solitary place, murdering and robbing an old 
respectable citizen. The proofs were conclusive of the 
facts, which were acknowledged by the accused and his 
family. With a view to extenuation, Lachaud was sent 
for, and he came down to Nice to conduct the defence. 
Through the kind offices of my young friend, D'Arson, I 
secured a seat in the court-room, which was packed almost 
to suffocation. Two infantry soldiers with muskets 
guarded each door, and others stood on the right and left 

3OO Fifty Years' Observation. 

of the murderer. M. Lachaud, who was a trifle taller 
than the average of his countrymen rather stout, lightish 
in complexion, and round-faced had already commenced 
speaking when I entered. For a while he spoke in a 
moderately animated tone of things of small importance. 
Then his voice subsided into a lulling tone, and during 
three full minutes he detailed the movements of the aged 
victim how he got into his carriage, how his wife, his son 
and daughter got in after him, how the vehicle moved 
over hill and dale till it entered a lonely forest, etc., etc. 
His words seemed to glide from his mouth in a con 
tinuous stream, while he stood upright and motionless as 
a statue with his arms at his sides. The tones of his voice 
were clear and low, and so monotonous as to pro 
duce a sleepy, listless look in his auditors, when all 
at once his right hand shot up to its utmost stretch as if 
moved by a shock of electricity at the same time in a 
voice sharp enough to cleave the walls, he screeched, 
" Quelle heure est-il ? " It appeared to me that every per 
son in the hall jumped, or bounced, a foot high. Then, 
after a pause of a half minute, he answered himself: 
" Onze heures " another pause " Onze heures du soir." 
After another pause of equal duration, he assumed an air 
and voice of freezing solemnity, and said : " a cette meme 
heure ce jeune homme la (pointing at the prisoner) a donne" e 
le coup mortel au vieillard." The jury and audience were 
with him, and the scene before us was as terrible as the 
vision of Ezekiel. From that point he called up the 
murdered man and laid bare all the offences of his life. The 
youthful felon he treated with fatherly tenderness, ascribed 
to him many virtues, and magnified the provocations he 
had received to such a degree as to almost exculpate him. 
The effect of the speech, which was nothing but sound 
and gesture, resulted in a short imprisonment, when the 

The San Francisco Bar. 301 

crime of the young villain deserved the guillotine. It is 
to be hoped the time is not far distant when such buf 
foonery in courts will be dispensed with in the determi 
nation of the guilt or innocence of men accused of crimes. 

In England and America I do not find in the profession 
of the law men who so distinctly typify the three classi 
fications of jurisprudence as the Frenchmen I have re 
ferred to. Thurlow of England and Daniel Webster in 
America stand next to Berryer, with a wide interval be 
tween. Sugden of England and Charles O'Conor in 
America compare with Marie', leaving out of view the un 
approachable hypocrisy of the Gaul. Erskine at the 
English bar, and James T. Brady of New York, were the 
champions of emotional jurisprudence of the Anglo-Saxon 
training, but far inferior to Lachaud of the Latin race, 
whom I consider /tors concours beyond comparison. 

The bar of San Francisco is and has been well peopled 
with able lawyers. Subjects for litigation on the Pacific 
Coast have always, since the close of the Mexican war, 
been abundant, and some unsettled titles and many dis 
cordant nationalities promote strife, so that confusion 
still thrives. 

The law firm of Halleck, Peachy & Billings was one of 
the first formed in San Francisco, and it held together 
longest. Its members were as incongruous and dissimilar 
in disposition, manners, and habit, as any three men I 
have known. Halleck was thrifty and persevering, but 
his distinctive characteristics were obduracy and laboru 
ousness. I was less intimate with him than with the 
other two, for he was more inclined to be my enemy than 
friend. Peachy was a Virginian, aristocratic in deport 
ment, magisterial in manners, and fairly learned in the 
law. He gained a fortune and afterwards lost it by un 
fortunate investments. Billings, the business man of the 

3O2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

concern, was active, ambitious, cheerful, and always lavish 
in his chanties. The permanence of the association of 
those three men was simply a conjunctive disjunctive 
continuance, and when the partnership dissolved no 
strong ties were severed. 

Among the lawyers of San Francisco of an early date 
was Edward D. Baker, who removed to Oregon a few 
years before the civil war, and was elected to the United 
States Senate from that State. When the war broke out 
he was commissioned a brigadier-general, and fell at Ball's 
Bluff. I was intimate with him, and when we met in the 
street or elsewhere he was usually disposed to discuss 
various subjects with me, or to talk of national questions 
upon which we agreed. When Judge Hoffman joined us, 
as he often did, Baker would take a cigar from the judge's 
vest-pocket, where several were always exposed to the 
clutch of his numerous fuming acquaintances, light it by 
the one that Hoffman was smoking, and continue the 
discussion. On one occasion Baker told me he was sur 
prised that so many Northern men expressed regret 
that they were not Southerners. " For my part," said he, 
" if I had been born in New England I should have been 
proud of it." Baker's moral and physical courage was so 
great as almost to entitle him to be called intrepid, and 
yet in social life he was the easiest and most amiable of 
men. He possessed the gift of eloquence to an extra 
ordinary degree, and his perceptions were quick. 

The occasional advantages he gained at the bar and in 
the Senate were due, in a measure, to the readiness and 
brilliancy of his speech. I sat next him at one of the 
New England dinners in San Francisco. Knowing that 
he would be called on to address the company, I asked 
him if he had prepared a speech. " No," said he, " I 
shall think on what I am going to say when I rise from 

E. D. Baker. 303 

my chair." Then he told anecdotes of his ability to refer 
to any subject suggested to him, and said I might suggest 
something if they should call him up. I waited till he 
was starting to rise, and whispered: "Tell us how Han 
nibal descended from the Alps into Italy." His address 
was one of his best and quite long. It was delivered 
without apparent effort, appropriate to the occasion, and 
towards the end he described Hannibal's passage of the 
Alps with elegant exactness, and so artfully was it inter 
woven in the subject before the meeting that it seemed a 
necessary part of his discourse. This uncommon readi 
ness rendered him remiss in study and averse to patient 
investigation, without which no man can become great 
except for dash and earnestness, which were also charac 
teristics of Senator Baker. 

He was a warm personal friend and admirer of Brod- 
erick, and attended him till he died, after the wound he 
received in his duel with Judge Terry. After Broderick's 
death the remains were brought in a coffin to the Plaza, 
and there, upon a high platform, Baker stood to pro 
nounce his funeral oration. His first words rang out 
over the vast assemblage, and secured profound atten 
tion : " Fellow-citizens ! A Senator lies dead before 
you !" 

His whole discourse was fearless and impressive. He 
portrayed in vivid colors the life and services of the de 
ceased statesman, described his ascent from a youth of 
poverty, and the opposition which he encountered at 
every step till he gained distinction and became a Sena 
tor. He commented with much ability and severity upon 
the folly and futility of Northern men fighting duels with 
Southerners. In the free States public opinion pro 
scribed duelling, while it was encouraged and counte 
nanced by the slaveholders, who, by their practice with 

304 ''Fifty Years* Observation. 

pistols, secured a great advantage over their Northern 
antagonists. Baker, who was not a native-born citizen of 
the United States, was able to judge the subject without 
prejudice, and he might have proved from the history of 
war that a soldier is not braver or better for being a 
duellist, nor worse for refusing a challenge. 

Of the living members of the California bench and bar, 
I am on terms of social intimacy with a large number, but 
I can only venture to describe the distinguishing traits of 
a few that I have known longest and best. 

The present Chief Justice of the State, Morrison, owes 
his position, in addition to his knowledge of law, to his 
aptness in classification, and to his superior conscien 
tiousness. Unfortunately he is now in poor health. 

Justice Morrison's immediate predecessor, Wallace, is a 
man of sanguine temperament, fairly self-appreciative, 
commanding in person, and in character and disposition a 
fine specimen of the manly race among whom he was 
born. I know more of his natural ability and general ac 
complishments than of his genius and acquirements as a 
jurist and advocate, for which he is distinguished. He 
possesses the rare faculty of being able to collect from all 
his reading and observation every poetical and romantic 
idea, as well as those that are ludicrous. All this he does 
with as little apparent effort as the magnet thrust into the 
sand withdraws all the ferruginous particles, and thus he 
is enabled to strew the monotony of life with the gems 
of thought and the illusions of fancy. 

The majority of people, when they refer to the heads of 
the California bar, speak of Hall McAllister, Joseph Hoge, 
and Samuel Wilson. For thirty years I have been f riend- 
ly with those prominent gentlemen, and cordially intimate 
with die first two, and I will give my impression of them, 
beginning with the iad- named. 

Hall McAllister. 35 

Mr. Wilson, while still a very young practitioner, 
attracted attention in Illinois in a cause wherein the 
court designated him to defend a criminal, which he did 
in a masterly manner. He is a small, compactly built 
man, with a bright, dark eye, which indicates the physical 
and mental activity for which he is distinguished. His 
knowledge of law, persistent industry, fruitfulness in 
expedients, have enabled him to win as many important 
causes as any man hi California, The qualities named 
above, with which Mr. Wilson is endowed to an extra 
ordinary degree, entitle him to rank with men of the 
highest order of talent, but being somewhat deficient in 
imagination, he falls a trifle short of genius, or my judg 
ment of him is at fault. 

Mr. Joseph Hoge was Wilson's law partner in Illinois, 
where he showed signs of great promise. In the Supreme 
Court, when an intricate cause is to be argued, Mr. 
Hoge can present his side with a clearness and brevity 
unequalled by any of his colleagues. His eye, and his 
power to use it, denote genius, and his voice is the best 
of all. He has always mingled in politics to an extent 
that has occasionally interrupted his studies ; and he was 
terribly chagrined at one time when he failed to receive 
the nomination for United States Senator. He is erect 
in person, hardy, nimble hi motion, tasteful in dress, 
wears cravats of many tints, and rings and pins of rare 
devices. When he is in luck the presence of Joseph 
Hoge makes me joyous. 

Of Hall McAllister, I must speak at greater length 
than of the others, I knew him and his family at the 
East before the Mexican War. His father, M. H. 
McAllister, was prominent in Georgia, and later was the 
United States Circuit Judge in California. Hall was 
born in Georgia, but is essentially a Northern man. 

306 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Among his paternal ancestors was the Great English 
historian, Edward Gibbon, author of the " Decline and 
Fall of the Roman Empire," and from him he inherits 
fatness and a turn for investigation. His energy he 
derives from his mother, who was a woman of the first 
order, and of great strength of mind. McAllister's 
breadth of nature, genial disposition, grasp of intellect, 
and power of application were foreshadowed in his boy 
hood. He has surveyed the whole of human nature, 
takes men as they are, never allows himself to be soured 
or seriously depressed by misfortunes, can sympathize 
with his clients (in appearance at least), is void of ego 
tism and envy, appreciative, and, consequently, he pos 
sesses the qualities that have drawn me to him like a 
load-stone. He, and one other very great lawyer, that I 
knew when I was a young man, were the only two who 
could look upon the system of law as intelligent non- 
professional men look upon it. He, like all laymen of 
large experience, believes that the practice of law hardens 
most men and renders them insensible to the torments of 
litigation. I don't think that McAllister goes quite as 
far as the famous French author, Alphonse Karr, who 
declared that " Tavocat (lawyer) after ten years at his 
trade, no longer retains any distinction between right and 
wrong, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice all that 
is to be pleaded !" Hall McAllister differs from Karr in 
other respects, for he believes an attorney ought to listen 
to his client, whom he encourages to look up witnesses 
that can strengthen all points. Hall also asserts that all 
lawyers become lazy and indifferent unless their clients 
stir them up. When I told Karr, during the course of 
my second lawsuit, that I was often irritated with my 
attorneys, for the reason that when I undertook to explain 
the facts of my case to them, they invariably showed 

Hall McAllister. 307 

signs of impatience "Without doubt they were im 
patient," said he, " for a knowledge of the facts would 
have embarrassed them." 

Although Hall McAllister believes, and has so ex 
pressed himself to me, that a lawsuit is a drama in which 
the ablest actor wins, yet like my other illustrious exam 
ples, he has never suggested that the system of law and 
practice can be essentially improved. That adds new 
proof to me that the abuses of no human organization 
can ever be corrected by those who profit by them. 
External pressure may at some future period shorten 
statutes of limitation, make them positive, and, thus dis 
regarding the effect of extreme negligence, prescribe 
higher qualifications for jurors, and enforce their attend 
ance ; require the previous training of the higher judges 
in the inferior courts ; limit precedents to the decisions 
of the most august tribunals ; secure to all men the right 
when charged with fraud, to a speedy trial, near the place 
where the alleged fraud was enacted ; and, finally, to make 
it far more difficult than it is now for scoundrels to rob and 
impoverish honest men through the intervention of a law 
suit. There are men of a Utopian turn of mind who indulge 
in hopes that the time may come when the facilities afforded 
by present statutes to administrators, executors, and trus 
tees to rob the estates of the dead, and to consume and 
pillage the heritage of orphans and widows, shall be 
abridged, but the tendency of the times is in opposition 
to all such chimerical anticipations. The judges oppose 
definiteness in statutes, and when they are precise they 
are declared unconstitutional. Some new abstraction is 
discovered to annul all limitations and the great privilege 
of freemen to sue and to be sued can never be infringed. 

Mr. McAllister is fully aware of the evils above re 
ferred to, and the obvious necessity of many changes in 

308 Fifty Years' Observation. 

the laws and their administrations. If the full powers of 
his catholic mind could be turned upon the subject, he 
could suggest many improvements. He is, however, too 
much occupied with his cases and other engagements to 
think of undertaking to reform the stupendous chaos of 
law and jurisprudence, which is yearly becoming more 

His excellence is not confined to any specialty of his 
profession, but it extends to many. He is able as a 
counsellor for one reason, among others, that by convic 
tion he considers litigation an evil. I don't think he has 
a superior before a jury, and in the presence of a full 
bench Hoge alone equals him in clearness and elegance 
of statement. No man prepares his cases better than he, 
and notwithstanding the conceit, roguery, and heartless 
selfishness exhibited by many of his clients, and the baf 
fling assurance of willing witnesses and perjurers, and the 
shuffling obstructiveness of those who are unwilling, the 
stupidity and prejudice of juries, as well as the theories 
and wayward ignorance of an occasional judge, he is never 
thrown from his balance, and appears never to be dis 
couraged or made angry. He takes time to amuse him 
self, is often sportive and gallant, and on many occasions 
in elegant society he embarrasses me by the levity of his 

I have witnessed his conduct with a friendly disposition 
for thirty years, but have permitted every instance of his 
character and life that could reveal itself to an intimate 
observer to impress itself with due effect upon my judg 
ment, and the conclusion to which I have been led is that 
Hall McAllister has been for many years past, and is now, 
the head of the California Bar. 

There are many other lawyers in California whose 
genius and qualifications would, in the absence of the 

W. H. L. Barnes. 309 

three whom I have described, enable them worthily to 
supply their places, but I can only refer in short sentences 
to a few that I have known best. 

William H. L. Barnes interests me because I knew his 
parents, and have been long friendly with him. His father 
was graduated from the West Point Military Academy, 
high in the class, with General Robert E. Lee, and his 
mother was a woman of rare excellence. Barnes has rea 
son to be proud of his ancestry, and he possesses versa 
tility, brilliancy and gallantry past description. If he 
were less endowed with those gifts, his learning, sense 
and judgment would, by many unimaginative people, be 
gauged at a higher value. 

Barnes is employed in a great variety of important 
actions, but he is especially sought by those whose con 
nubial felicity has been wrecked, or is in a state of dis 

There is another category of causes in which his ser 
vices are generally considered essential to wit, all such 
cases as arise under those transcendental statutes that 
are designed to punish and hold in check the specious 
youths and curious seniors who invade or menace femi 
nine purity, but which, in effect, encourage the designs 
of unscrupulous women to disturb the peace and pillage 
the goods of careless men, and to destroy sociability be 
tween the sexes. 

The most surprising of all legal contests originate in 
the vagaries of true or simulated love. Its manifestations 
are inexplicable by any process of reasoning or narrative 
of facts, and they can only be inferred from comparisons. 
A lover's eye sees an ugly grub that suddenly changes 
to a butterfly. The butterfly spreads its mealy wings and 
hovers in a bower of roses. The susceptible swain pur 
sues, and in the paths of dalliance resigns himself to the 

3io Fifty Years' Observation. 

tyranny of sense. Heedless of time and consequence, he 
inhales the perfume of flowers and dots his passage with 
scented billets and love-tokens, till all at once the phan 
tasmagoria vanishes, the butterfly resumes again the form 
of a grub, and the idol of yesterday is the oppression of 

To adjust such a history to some form of reason, to 
unravel the tangled meshes in which the parties are in 
volved, to discover the guilt and to fix it upon the one 
opposed to him, is a task that Mr. Barnes often assumes. 
His masterly skill has given him renown, but it has also 
damaged his respect for his species. One day when he 
was returning weary and disgusted from the court, where 
he had spent the day wrangling with a factious attorney, 
I asked him if his investigations caused him to think bet 
ter or worse of mankind. " Worse every day," said he, 
and I suppose the same effect is invariably produced by 
all attempts to make men and women virtuous by statute. 
In spite of many vexations, Mr. Barnes has his consola 
tions, for his fees are large, and in addition to a knowl 
edge gained of all recognizable forms of wickedness, the 
vast scope of his practice affords him opportunities to ex 
plore the nebulae of sin. 

There is one law firm in San Francisco which attracts 
me by reason of the compensating dispositions of its 
members. It is that of Thornton & Garber. The former 
is the nephew of the great Kentucky senator, John J. 
Crittenden, and he is full of energy, and so hopeful that 
he anticipates success in all his enterprises. Defeat in an 
action never fails to inspire him with confidence to renew 
the contest. Nothing daunts him, and he sometimes 
asks of the Court rulings as strange as would be a request 
to change the orbit of a planet. Most men who should 
attempt to imitate Mr. Thornton in this respect would 

Thornton and Garber. 311 

give offence, but he is so pleasant and polished in his 
manners that he offends no one. His aged mother, nde 
Crittenden, is as remarkable for talent and genius as was 
her celebrated brother, and many of his relations of both 
sexes are distinguished for their talents. 

Garber is the antipode of his associate, and misgivings 
attend him even in cases in which all the facts and 
equities are on his side. His briefs are prepared in the 
murky atmosphere of distrust, but when they see the 
light no eye can discover defects in them. His citations 
of law and precedent are universally to the point, and 
that circumstance indicates a positive judgment which is 
incompatible with doubt. His hesitancy is therefore due 
to his wonderful imagination, which enables him to analyze 
the subtile complications of the law. If he halts in his 
investigations it is only to determine the fitness and co 
herence of nice distinctions with his subject. It is ap 
parent to me that Mr. Garber's ability entitles him, with 
out presumption, to aspire to the head of the bar. 

There are, and have been, lawyers in California whose 
chief employment is to search for flaws in titles and con 
tracts with a view to a suit and contingent fees. One 
man whom I knew, and whose talents are recognized, de 
fended his course by asserting that wrong and injustice 
should be pursued and exposed wherever they may be 
found concealed. This idea, pushed to extreme, as it 
always is, often becomes the source of infinite vexations, 
and causes much greater loss than the thing that's missed. 
A calm-visaged attorney tells a widow woman that she has 
lost a hare, and she can employ him to recover it. He 
demands a small sum for his disbursements, but the 
hounds with which he hunts must be fed at great expense, 
and before the hare is caught the widow's cow has starved 
to death. 

312 Fifty Years* Observation. 

The late John B. Felton was considered in some re 
spects the most remarkable man at the California bar. He 
was an innate gentleman, a polished classical scholar, and 
a wit. He had a kind of genius that was without a parallel, 
but in sound knowledge of jurisprudence he had many 
superiors. His immense influence arose from his power 
to delve beneath all canonical, civil, common, statute, 
commercial, military and municipal law, to avoid stare 
deciseSy and to evade deodand, and it is certain that if a 
born citizen, or a citizen that is not born, />., a corpo 
ration, had, with a club, beaten an innocent man's brains 
out, he would have shown that the club had been trans 
ferred to innocent hands, become a vested right, and was 
no longer subject to confiscation. His peculiar genius en 
abled him to cast a fierce light upon relations, facts, and 
duties that are not apparent to ordinary minds, and his 
facile eloquence was so seductive that he could convince 
the Court or a jury that a man might do what he pleased 
with himself, his talents and his possessions, or that he 
could do nothing, as his cause required. He was equally 
potent to obscure a good title as to mend a bad one, 
and for that reason he was feared and respected by all 
parties. He gained enormous contingent fees, as well as 
such as were specific, and was habitually paid large re 
tainers to remain quiet. Such subsidies, without service, 
contributed to an occasional sluggishness and a careless 
ness with his own interests, which, since his death, has 
given much trouble to his amiable widow. Mr. Felton had 
many friends, and his premature death was much la 

I am on terms of friendship with many other judges and 
lawyers of whom I could relate anecdotes if my space 
would permit, but I must confine my notice of them to a 
single page. 

The California Bench. 313 

Judge Ogden Hoffman, of the United States District 
Court, to whom I have made frequent allusions, has been 
on the Bench about thirty years, and at the time of his 
appointment he was the youngest of all the Federal 
judges. Many of his opinions have been famous, especi 
ally those rendered in land cases, and the title to the 
Alirmden quicksilver mine. He is a polished scholar, and 
his brightness has been at all times admired. He is elo 
quent, genial, and well bred by inheritance, and my 
friendly intimacy of over thirty years with him has never 
known the slightest interruption. Together we have dis 
cussed every topic and subject with which I am 
acquainted. On most of them he is sufficiently lucid, but 
his theology I have never been able to grasp. I have 
clutched at it, but have it not. 

With Judge McKinstry, of the California Supreme 
Court, and his family, I am also on terms of cordial social 
intercourse. He is a distinguished gentleman, and is 
honored in his position. His wife and daughter are orna 
ments to society, his sons are promising, and few families 
in California are more attractive. 

Judge John S. Hageris now retired from the profession 
of the law. While he was on the Bench, a legal friend of 
mine remarked to me that Judge Hager was a man of 
learning, a gentleman, and incorruptible. Mrs. Hager, 
ne'e Lucas, is of French descent, and reminds me of 
several grande dames I saw in Normandy. Her manners, 
intelligence, and force of will make her quite conspicuous, 
and her wealth enables her to be charmingly hospitable. 

Judge Cope is another of the profession in California, 
who to elegance of manners adds legal ability of a high 
order and an incorruptible character. I hold him and 
his family in high esteem. His worthy partner, James T. 
Boyd, has long been among my most intimate and 

3 ! 4 Fifty Years' Observation. 

cherished friends, and there are many more whose 
society I find pleasant and instructive, especially Evans, 
Mastick, Harrison, Reardon, Judge Wright, Lough- 
borough, John T. Doyle, who is the most accomplished 
scholar at the Bar; Judge Thornton and many more. 
Among my lay acquaintances no man stands higher than 
John Benson. He has many attractions, and so have W. 
F. Babcock, Eugene L. Sullivan, and William Moor. 

It was my design also to refer to the most prominent 
merchants, bankers, mechanics, viniculturists, pomologists, 
and agriculturists of my acquaintance, with a view to 
give an idea of the material progress of the State of Cali 
fornia. By a short reference to this subject, I should be 
in danger of making invidious distinctions, and a full his 
tory would require a separate volume. The activity and 
the enterprise that have been displayed in the last thirty 
years could only be fully understood by such as remem 
ber the barren appearance and meagre productions of 
1850, to contrast them with the abundance now enjoyed. 
The transformations are like miracles, and incline us to 
credit the fable of the Hesperian gardens 

"Which one day bloomed, and fruitful were the next." 


General Scott's visit to the Pacific Coast. His conduct and character in old 
age. His appearance. Judge Ogden Hoffman. My appointment as 
Military Secretary. Scott's growing fondness for money. His inactivi 
ty. My own state upon resuming service with him. Some general opin 
ions. Scott's feeling as to sectional politics Return to Washington. 
Various social events. Visit of the Prince of Wales. Affairs in the be 
ginning of 1860. 

" In life's last scene what prodigies surprise, 
Fears of the brave and follies of the wise. " 

HAVING been on duty on the Pacific Coast, I did not 
see General Scott during the five years next preced 
ing the month of October, 1859, when he landed at San 
Francisco on his way to Puget Sound. He was under 
orders to investigate the disputed boundary between the 
British possessions and our territory which then vexed 
the councils of England and America. Returning, he 
stopped a few days in San Francisco, where he received 
me with his usual cordiality. The exhilaration of 
the voyage, the success of his mission, and the enthusias 
tic reception he had everywhere met, revived his spirits, 
and except that his bulk had greatly increased at the ex 
pense of his bodily activity, the signs of old age were 
not very apparent, although he was then 74 years old. 
He was pleased with the country, spoke hopefully of its 
prospects, and was astonished to find so many luxuries and 
comforts in a city only ten years old. He said he had 
found more good fishes in Puget Sound and its tributaries 
than anywhere else in the world. He thought the silver 

3*6 Fifty Years Observation. 

salmon and some of the trout of those waters were sur 
passingly excellent. I dined with him at the old Oriental 
Hotel, which was then the best in the city. The general ate 
and drank with a good appetite, told many anecdotes of his 
past experience, related his observations during his long 
voyage, and all his guests retired full of admiration for 
the old hero. 

The morning following the dinner I called again. I 
was at the time on leave of absence, with orders to report 
for duty at Fortress Monroe, Va. My leave having near 
ly expired, the general told me I must sail in the same 
ship with him. My affairs in San Francisco needed my 
attention a while longer, and I ventured to ask him to ex 
tend my leave, which he consented to do with a slight 
show of reluctance, and shortly afterwards he embarked 
for New York. 

I left in the steamer of December 1st, and arrived in 
New York on the morning of the 24th. Judge Ogden 
Hoffman, of the United States District Court, was in the 
ship with me, and we occupied berths in the same state 
room. The judge challenged me to an effort of memory 
on the passage to Panama. We undertook to recite 
Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard, which I had never 
learned by heart, and the judge said he had not. We met 
at about eleven o'clock every morning, and I managed, 
after painful efforts, to recite with tolerable accuracy two 
stanzas, but the judge would tell off two, and sometimes 
three, with a readiness that astonished me. All my 
efforts enabled me to master less than half the poem, but 
Hoffman went through the whole, and at the conclusion 
he walked away with the air of a fighting-cock after a 
victory. I was ignorant of Hoffman's process, till at the 
end of two months after our arrival in New York he told 
me he had found a book in the ship's barber's shop contain- 

Return to Scotfs Staff. 317 

ing the Elegy, which he placed open before him and studied 
while the barber arranged his hair and cut his beard. 

The father of Judge Hoffman was long the intimate 
friend and associate of General Scott, at whose house the 
son in his youthful days was a most welcome visitor. It 
was, therefore, alike the inclination and duty of the judge 
and myself to honor him with our first respects. Accord 
ingly we found our way to the general's residence on 
Twelfth Street the evening of the day we landed. Hav 
ing sent up our cards, we were ushered into a large parlor, 
where the general was seated alone in a spacious arm 
chair. Notwithstanding the room seemed to me oppres 
sively warm, he had on over his thick winter clothing a 
large, knit, woollen afghan. He did not rise from his 
chair, but he gave to each of us in succession both his 
hands, and greeted us in terms of warmest regard. While 
I stood in the presence of the venerable patriot my 
memory flashed upon the past, to reveal a thousand ad 
vantages and pleasures which I owed to him. At the end 
of half an hour, as we rose to depart, the general said to 
me : " After you have seen your children and friends, 
come to my office, and I shall, in a few days, have some 
thing to say which will interest you." 

In obedience to his suggestion, on the morning of the 
third day after my arrival I reported at the army head 
quarters, which were then in New York, and was as kind 
ly received as before in his private office, where he was 
alone. He then told me that the law which bestowed 
upon him the rank of lieutenant-general in the army al 
lowed him a military secretary, with the rank of lieuten 
ant-colonel. " I have never filled the place," said he, 
" but I have offered it to Colonel Robert E. Lee, who is 
now on duty in Texas, and who is a full colonel. My ex 
pectation is that Colonel Lee will decline my invitation, 

318 fifty Years' Observation. 

because its acceptance would place him on duty in a 
grade below his actual rank. If he does decline, young 
gentleman, I shall offer the place to you." 

Events followed quickly, as the General had foretold. 
Colonel Lee declined for the exact reasons specified ; at 
the same time he was lavish in thanks and terms of ad 
miration for his old chief. I was therefore installed as 
the Confidential Military Secretary of the Lieutenant- 
General, commanding the United States Army, on the 
1st day of January, 1860, and from that time forward till 
the 2d day of April, 1861, was in daily attendance upon 
him. Knowing his admiration for Colonel Lee, and that 
he had so many worthy officers to choose from, I con 
sidered his selection of me as an extraordinary compli 

After General Scott had offered the secretaryship to 
Colonel Lee, and while the offer was still pending, Lieu 
tenant Lay, A.D.C., remarked to him, " What will they 
say, General, if all the staff are Southerners?" They 
would have all been Southerners if Lee had accepted. 
The General replied : u If the Southern rascals will have 
so much merit, how can we fail to advance them ! " This 
recognition of the swelling and obtrusive merits of men 
of his own kith, denoted, among many other signs, that he 
was growing old and returning to his first loves. His 
vanity had assumed new and varied aspects. " At my 
time of life," he would often remark, "a man requires 
compliments." Instead of boasting that he was six feet 
four and a quarter inches tall, he would display in his 
rooms his bust in marble as well as portraits of himself at 
various ages, and it occurred to me that he was pleased 
that I should admire them. He would from time to time 
refer to the great historical commanders, and match his 
own exploits with theirs. He would narrate the good 

New Traits of Scott. 3 X 9 

qualities of his earlier associates, and assign almost un 
imaginable virtues to many Southern men, making them 
much better than the men I have known in any part of 
my life ; at the same time he would make his enemies 
appear blacker, more perfidious and ungrateful, than the 
wretches who have pestered me, with, say, seven or eight 
exceptions. He seemed more anxious than he formerly 
was to call attention to the elegancies of his style of 
writing, although it appeared to me his style had not im 
proved. He always had the habit of speaking of his 
bodily infirmities, want of sleep, want of time to take 
necessary food, and this habit had increased. Neverthe 
less, he would say to an inquirer that he was in vulgar 
health, and more than once, when he was taking a foot 
bath, he would call my attention to his bared limbs, and 
say, " Most men at my age are covered all over with 
bunches, but you see my flesh is fair." He had many 
new subjects on which he intended to write at some fu 
ture time, such as his plan to improve the health and 
good looks of men, to make them temperate, the best 
method to get rid of pauperism, slavery, etc. I was once 
speaking to him of a book I had read, giving conversa 
tions with the inmates of a mad-house. He told me he 
had often had it in his head to write on the same subject, 
the nature of which will be better understood when I 
relate my subsequent experience. 

In 1862 and 1863 I had the charge and supervision 
within m)' lines of the Insane Asylum at Williamsburg, 
Va. I made it a point to converse frequently with the 
inmates. One learned and dignified man was about to 
discover a perpetual motion, which would be completed 
at my next visit. He had constructed a strange-looking 
machine to illustrate, as he said, " the forces evolved by 
the unstable equilibrium of two bodies acting in parallel 

3 2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

lines." He would have talked me crazy, if I had waited 
till he had completed his explanations. I also listened 
to several women, whose reason had given way to relig 
ious mania, and others who had become discouraged in 
their efforts to make the world as good as themselves. If 
my sympathies were touched by the fantasies and vaga 
ries of the sufferers who were shut up in confinement, I 
was amazed when I went to Washington and heard the 
humanitarians who flocked to that resort to unfold their 
schemes to banish war, crime, and roguery, to annul the 
passions of youth and the greed of avarice, and make all 
men wise, candid, and happy. When conversing with 6ne 
of these last, I would look around to see if I was not in 
the asylum, and, not finding myself there, I concluded the 
lunatic with whom I conversed had escaped. The drift 
of General Scott's conversation coincided remotely with 
the foregoing remarks. 

The number of the General's stones had diminished, and 
such as he retained he often repeated, but I never gave 
him to understand that I had heard them before. The ma 
jority of his numerous maxims had lost their martial type 
and assumed a character of thrift and prudence. His affec 
tions, which had formerly been wholly absorbed by glory 
and personal distinction, were now turning with a longing 
gaze upon gold, upon yellow, precious, glittering gold ! 

Towards the end of every month I would see him 
adjust his spectacles, and make rows and files of figures 
on bits of paper. His bank-book was before him con 
taining checks and other papers, and after examining 
everything over and over, he would drive to the bank in 
his one-horse coup and make his deposits. His other 
qualities had been modified by time, but this passion of 
avarice was apparently new in him, and he excused it by 
saying, " At my time of life I need all the comforts." But 

Dinners with Scott. 321 

why should he excuse himself for a passion that so uni 
versally gains possession of men, not more by reason of 
their advancing years, than from their past experience? 
His weakened health and declining influence, especially 
at the South, tended to sadness, and every day he could 
see around him evidences of the all-pervading power of 
wealth, and how with baneful stealth when massed in 
syndicates, or combined in corporations, it suborns and 
bends to its purposes all the most able men and women 
of the country. Its influence, like pestilence in the hov 
ering air, permeates our halls of legislation, the bench 
and bar, and even the sanctuary. With gold I can hire 
a pagan idolater to profane his gods ! It was therefore 
not his present parsimony that surprised me, but the con 
trast it offered to his former practices. 

The time was when he would frequently count the 
money in his purse, and sometimes rinding seven, ten, or 
fifteen dollars more than he expected, he would say: " I 
am seven or ten dollars richer than I thought I was 
(which was very strange for a prodigal like him) ; let's go 
to the club, or to Delmonico's, and dine." So off we 
would go, and he would, as a rule, order soup, fish 
(sometimes salmon, though I liked codfish or bass better), 
tete de veau en tortue, apple fritters for the two last 
named dishes he had an unvarying fondness sherry and 
champagne. Once at the table, with these good things 
before me, and he the paymaster, my voice was attuned 
to his. Vulgar complimentary platitudes, that can be 
bought in the market and would be dear at a penny a 
gross, I never dealt in. Some remark of his would send 
my imagination in search of an apt quotation, or some 
other form of expression, to nurse the idea he had started, 
and he would soon begin to glow with self-content. Then, 
while words flowed from my mouth like water from a 

3 22 Fifty Years Observation. 

spout, he would keep my glass full, and I would, while 
the bottles lasted, continue to pour streams of good wine 
down my throat. 

While I confess to my former extraordinary fondness 
for rich soups and juicy meats, and my appreciation of 
the vivifying influence of dry wines, I often realfzed how 
extensively I indulged in those luxuries at the expense of 
others. I once dined out by invitation in the city of 
New York twenty-one days in succession. Notwithstand 
ing I proclaimed myself a poor officer of the army, living 
on his meagre pay, my conscience was occasionally smit 
ten with qualms, and I would soothe myself with the 
hope that I should some time be rich and able to pay my 
debts of hospitality. That hope was a vague and fruit 
less impulsion of gratitude, and the death or insensibility 
to enjoyments of most of those who entertained me has 
rendered its accomplishment impossible. As I have con 
tinued my survey of the conduct of society I have learned 
that a man is not often invited to a feast when his com 
pany is not wanted. It may be I possessed certain 
attractions not recognizable by myself, and it is certain 
that I never employed a complimentary expression to 
wards General Scott (and seldom to any one else) that I 
ever heard addressed to him by another. The^ occa 
sion gave birth to my compliments, and therefore I 
imitated none, and none could imitate me. Thus it is 
that my remorse for neglected requitals has gradually 
diminished, and I shall reserve much of my repentance 
and many of my orisons for sins of a graver complexion. 

Another striking contrast to his former self, and a 
dreadful token of age, was his bodily inactivity. He 
moved slowly and with pain, and it distressed him to 
ascend three or four steps. Consequently his office, bed 
room, dining and sitting-room must all be on the ground 

Scott and the Barcelona. 3 2 3 

floor. His bulk was immense, but the expression of his 
eye and countenance had lost its fire. Seeing him thus, 
I naturally recalled his appearance when I joined him in 
my youth, and for several years afterwards. 

The most imposing show he ever made was during the 
Canadian Patriot troubles a month or more after the 
" Caroline affair." The Barcelona was to be taken up 
from Black Rock to Buffalo, and it had been rumored 
that the British commander was going to fire on her as 
she passed a battery he had established on the left bank 
of the Niagara River. Having heard the rumor, the 
general dressed himself in full uniform and repaired to a 
point on the shore which was directly opposite the Eng 
lish guns. There, by chance, he found an old oak that 
had been blown down. The tree was but slightly in 
clined, and was lying almost parallel with the stream, and 
the bright sun enabled us to see clearly the English 
soldiers on the opposite shore. As the vessel approached 
the general clambered upon the old oak, the trunk of 
which was six or eight feet in diameter and bare of limbs 
thirty or forty feet from the upturned roots. He appeared 
taller than before, and as he strode to and fro on his high 
wooden walk, his cocked hat looked higher, and his 
plumes spread wider than ever. Seizing the moment 
when the prow of the Barcelona was directly opposite us, 
he faced the foe and drew his sword, jerking it from its 
scabbard and flinging its point skyward, as he would 
flaunt the moon. Then bringing his weapon to a carry, 
he scowled upon Canada! holding his vast height up- 
stretched to its extremest altitude. Never did knight of 
chivalry, though but fabled, present a shape more heroic. 
He glistened with burnished steel and gold, and was as 
gorgeous to look upon as a king of Sara. Though he was 
not fired upon, he frequently referred to this defiant man- 

324 Fifty Years' Observation. 

ifestation, and it seemed to me that it was several hours 
after he came down from that old tree before his fiery 
scintillations and bristling flurry had wholly subsided. 

The changes which age and political agitations had 
wrought in General Scott after I ceased to be his aide-de 
camp until I rejoined him as secretary were probably less 
than I had undergone in my disposition and views of 
life, by reason of my varied experience. While I was 
first with him I was wholly influenced by my training at 
the Military Academy, and a blind admiration for his 
personal character. His theories of morality and honor 
embraced no reference to trade and barter ; and when I 
engaged in business in California I was disposed to 
trust everybody, and to think it impossible that an inti 
mate friend could cheat me. As a consequence, I found 
myself swindled right and left out of nearly all my gains, 
and while I supposed it impossible that any man could 
distrust my integrity, I found myself duped and involved 
in legal strife. When all this had taken place, I sudden 
ly wakened to the conclusion that a man who would gain 
money or fame must depend chiefly upon his own sagac 
ity and courage. From that hour, having first looked in 
the glass and sworn at the silly visage I saw reflected, I 
began to thrive, and in a short time I achieved pecuniary 
independence, which is more soothing to the nerves than 
all the anodynes of the pharmacopoeia. 

Other striking changes in my character had been pro 
duced by the continuous sectional strife which disturbed 
the country and finally ended in civil war. Among the 
champions of the Northern cause there were hundreds of 
abler men than I, but none more noisy and outspoken 
on all occasions. Polemic and humanitarian problems I 
neglected absolutely, and limited my exertions in efforts 
to induce Northern representatives to assert their rights 

My Health. 325 

to proportionate civil and military commands and honors. 
By so doing, I was in advance of the times, and all my 
exertions served but one purpose, which was to season 
me for a scapegoat, at the same time that they cooled the 
old affections of General Scott. 

As I have described the physical condition of my chief 
when I joined him as secretary, it is but just that I should 
tell what was my own at the same date. A winter cam 
paign against the Puget Sound Indians had done far 
more than all the hardships and gayeties of my former 
life to strain my constitution, and for a time I feared I 
must take my chance with the physic-taking, sour-visaged 
race of valetudinarians. A short trial with doctors in 
creased my fears and maladies, and induced me to throw 
all their drugs to the dogs, and assume the care of my 
self. In that way I shortly regained my health, and at 
the time referred to I was unconscious of any bodily 
weakness or ailment. The general always accused me of 
an immense sleeping power. In one respect he was cor 
rect, for it was my invariable habit, when not dis 
turbed, to take only one nap in the twenty-four hours, 
which I could depend on to last, every day in the year, 
eight hours at least. He, like many other men, often 
boasted that he could do with much less. It was my 
opinion and computation, however, that his several diur 
nal naps were equal in duration to my one. I have been 
thus specific in describing the changes which time and ex 
perience had wrought in my chief and me while I had 
been separated from his military family. He was living 
in the past, and for the present he was absorbed by fears 
of civil war and attention to his bodily weakness and 
pains. For myself, while I was in a condition to enjoy 
the present with infinite zest, I lived more in the future 
than ever before. I had no dread of the approaching 

326 Fifty Years* Observation. 

civil war, which I had been brought to conclude was the 
only possible solution of the vexed question of slavery. 

The French Socialist, Paul Louis Courier, in his spleen 
against human society, occasionally emitted brilliant 
sparks. He declared that mankind are by nature canailliere, 
and that, if there were but three men in the world, the 
second would lift his hat to the first and say, monseigneur, 
and the two would combine to make the third work for 
them. The truth of this remark I have often verified in 
all the societies and throngs of men wherever I have jour 
neyed over the face of the earth. Our race is all em 
braced in four grand divisions, which are typified by mas 
ter and slave, sycophant and hermit ; for those who refuse 
to be classified must consent to dwell alone. From the 
organization of our Government the master and slave 
were at the South, the sycophant at the North, and the 
hermit by himself. The sycophant frequently shoots 
madly from his sphere and becomes a tyrannous master. 
I am not by nature either sycophant or tyrant, and I had 
become weary of being obliged to simulate the former to 
avoid being a hermit, and as a natural consequence I lis 
tened to the thunders of sectional discord as they grew 
louder with far more pleasure than pain. 

My admiration and gratitude for my benefactor had not 
lost their fervor, but it was impossible that I could every 
day witness the ravages that time had wrought upon the 
mind and body of the hero of my youthful fancy and not 
find my admiration giving way to sympathy, and some 
times to pity. Amidst the general decay, two affections 
in him remained in undiminished and apparently in 
creased prominence his attachment to the Union and his 
love for his native South. For myself, I cared not to pre 
serve the Union (although its value I regarded as ines 
timable) under the old conditions, and if my early train- 

Politics in 1860. 327 

ing, to love the place of my birth, had been defective, 
pride enabled me to supply the deficiency, and whenever 
his Southern sectionalism showed itself, my Northern bias 
became at once spontaneously apparent. The conditions 
of our association had, therefore, undergone a radical 
change, and I was not slow to observe a decline in his 
affection for me, although he insisted on my being near 
him more constantly than ever before. But the vigor of 
Omar had departed and Keled had lost his docility and 
while the envenomed national feud was developing a 
bloody issue, irritations accumulated, and finally termi 
nated in a temporary estrangement between him and me. 

From January to May, 1860, the general's headquarters 
being in New York City, he received numerous visitors, 
and the almost unvarying subject of conversation was 
" the state of the Union." The strife of the two great 
political parties was raging in fury in anticipation of the 
Presidential election, which was to take place the next 
autumn. Speculations were rife as to who would be the 
chosen candidate. General Scott, although he had long 
since apparently renounced his political aspirations, was 
tormented with many letters. On the iQth of April, he 
showed me one which he had just received from a gentle 
man in Iowa City, Iowa, to say that if he (the general) 
would send the writer funds, he would attend the Chi 
cago convention and procure his nomination for the 
Presidency. The man professed great admiration for 
General Scott, who treated his letter with contemptuous 
silence. My chief was beset daily by beggars, who came 
for themselves and others to lay siege to his purse. His 
kindness of manner to these mendicants encouraged im 
posture, and he often gave money to the undeserving. 

In the month of April the Democratic convention was 
sitting in Charleston. The composition of that body of 

328 Fifty Years' Observation. 

politicians was as various and incongruous as the in 
gredients of the witches' caldron. Northern men, or some 
of them, began there to find themselves out of place. Mr. 
Benjamin Butler was a member, and probably he found 
in the debates reasons for a future change of base. 

About the same time I received a letter from an army 
associate, who was a Southerner and a State sovereignty 
man, which covered sixteen large pages. The letter was 
intended to convince me of the futility of all attempts on 
the part of the North to coerce the slave States. The 
writer attempted to prove from history that a country 
like the South, which he called Pastoral, had never been 
conquered. He cited Parthia, Arabia, Switzerland, and 
America ; but all his citations and reasonings appeared 
equally inconsequential to me. The general was in the 
office with me, and asked who it was that sent me such a 
stupendous document, and what it contained. I told him 
the name of my correspondent, and that I was only able 
to say it was a huge vehicle of words that conveyed little. 
"It is," said I, ;< like employing a six-mule wagon to 
transport one tallow candle." I added "Thinks the 
North can never subdue the South." At this the gen 
eral's face clouded, and he made a snappish remark 
which I have forgotten. I could never criticise the South, 
or anything in the South, before General Scott that he did 
not manifest a certain degree of displeasure. Nearly all 
Southerners resembled him in this respect. Once, while 
we were journeying from Charleston to the Cherokee 
country, I frequently called his attention to the skeleton 
hogs I saw near the road. On the coast "poor as a 
sand-hill hog " is a current saying. Farther up the coun 
try the hogs are as thin as hounds, and can run as fast, 
and jump further. I told the general I had seen a hog 
turn while in the air and jet through a rail-fence flat-ways, 

A Dinner at the President's. 329 

and that in the Cherokee country the hogs lived on rattle 
snakes, which made them so fierce. More than a year 
after our journey he referred to my savage comments on 
Southern hogs. 

I find by my journal that I was in Washington with 
General Scott from May I to May 19, 1860, and that 
we lived at Wormley's, where we had our private table. 
In his company I attended a series of splendid dinner 
parties. At President Buchanan's the company was com 
posed of sixteen gentlemen and sixteen ladies. At that 
dinner I had a lady on one side and Senator Zach Chand 
ler on the other side. The Senator was full of war and 
blood, though he lowered his voice to a whisper in 
speaking to me, saying : " Before the rebels get to Wash 
ington they will have to kill Western men enough to 
cover up the dome of the Capitol with their dead 
bodies." At Mr. Corcoran's there were twenty-one per 
sons, among whom were four foreign ministers, also Sena 
tor and Mrs. Slidell. Mr. Corcoran introduced me to 
Mrs. Slidell, who was a French Creole of New Orleans, of 
wondrous beauty and grace. While I conversed with her 
I thought more of lutes and bowers than of guns and 
drums and camps. At Lord Lyons's dinner the company 
numbered twenty-two. At Baron Stoeckl's there were 
only eight guests, and I was there without General Scott. 
At Colonel Freeman's there were twenty persons. 
At Senator Douglas's dinner, where the guests were 
numerous, several judges of the Supreme Court were 
present, and I sat next Judge Wayne. The judge re 
ferred, with a considerable degree of regret, to his son 
Henry, a West Pointer, a friend of mine and a young 
man of merit, who had decided to trust his fortunes with 
the seceders. Senator Douglas's dinner was followed by 
a general reception at which many ladies appeared. 

33O Fifty Years Observation. 

There and in other assemblages I formed the acquaint 
ance of numerous charming women, young and old, 
among whom were Miss Lane and Miss Buchanan, nieces 
of the President ; Miss McAllester, of Philadelphia, who 
was staying with Miss Lane at the White House ; the 
Misses Magruder, the Misses Slidell, the Misses Lorings, 
Miss Kinney, Miss Campbell, Miss Johnson, daughter of 
Hon. Reverdy Johnson; Miss Turnbull, Miss Dixon, 
daughter of Senator Dixon ; Mrs. Bass, a tall, handsome 
widow from Mississippi ; the Misses Carroll, Miss Philips, 
and many more from the South and from the North. I 
found great delight with the Southern damsels, and even 
with some of the matrons, notwithstanding the incandes 
cence of their treason. Although I now consider myself 
far enough along in years to be out of danger, it is my 
solemn opinion that beautiful women ought to be consid 
ered as contraband of war, and captured wherever found, 
and detained till after the fight under the guard of old 
persons of their own sex. Mrs. Greenough, who was re 
puted to be the most persuasive woman that was ever 
known in Washington, after expatiating on the injustice 
of the North, tried to persuade me not to take part in the 
war. Among her other arguments, she dwelt upon the 
sickliness of the Southern coasts in summer ; but she 
showed her woman's weakness by prescribing to me reme 
dies against the deadly miasms. I reported the tempta 
tions to which I was exposed to a patriotic Northern lady, 
who, if she lacked some of the peculiar accomplishments 
of Mrs. G., was more beautiful, and equally eloquent 
on this particular question. The latter encouraged me to 
hasten to the conflict, and told me that nothing but a 
bullet could kill me. Although I was never in the least 
danger of being diverted from my purpose, yet I well re 
member how often I was lured to the brink of the preci- 

A Tour of Inspection. 331 

pice, and I am convinced that under the slave regime few 
men could have boasted of their ability to withstand the 
blandishments of Southern ladies. It would have been 
idle to deny that in society they were the most attract 
ive women in the world. The extinction of slavery has 
dimmed their brightness. 

Late in the summer of 1860, the General invited the 
Kemble brothers, Gouverneur and William, to accompany 
us on a tour of inspection to the North. We went as far 
as Plattsburg, where we stopped at " Fouquet's." That 
famous caterer did his best to surfeit us with fish and 
game and other luxuries. I took a long walk outside the 
town and across the fields with Mr. Gouverneur Kemble, 
who was then seventy-four years old, and in good health, 
saving his rigidity. Coming to a board fence, where there 
was no gate, we were obliged to climb it or to make a 
long circuit. As the boards were parallel with the ground, 
and six inches apart, I thought it quite easy to get over, 
but Mr. Kemble found the undertaking next to an im 
possibility, and I was obliged to assist him. His figure 
was always, since I had known him, bent forward, but he 
was sound, and had still in him fifteen years of life, and 
yet it was all he could do to get his foot over that top 

On our trip we delayed two days at Saratoga Springs, 
where we found several prominent gentlemen from New 
Orleans and other parts of the South. They all agreed 
in sentiment in regard to the aggressive conduct of the 
North, and in their views it was only requisite to accede 
to all the demands of the South, elect a fire-eater Presi 
dent, and be content. I listened to all the conversations, 
but learned nothing new and was silent. 

On the nth of October, 1860, the Prince of Wales ar 
rived in New York, and WSLS welcomed by the citizens, 

33 2 Fifty Years Observation. 

who packed the streets from the landing to the Fifth 
Avenue Hotel, where he alighted after dark. The fol 
lowing evening he attended the ball given him at the 
Academy of Music. I went with the General, and we 
entered with the Prince and his suite. The managers of 
the fete, the most prominent and officious of whom was 
Mr. Peter Cooper, had selected a list of dancing partners 
for his Royal Highness, which I understood he refused 
to go through with. After dancing with a certain num 
ber of elderly dames, he broke loose and went among the 
bevy of young beauties to select for himself. In the 
midst of the gayety the temporary floor over the pit gave 
way and sank down with its heavy load of low-necked 
dowagers, glowing maidens, grizzled officials, and eager 
beaux, but none of them were bruised. By good luck 
there were carpenters and plenty of lumber in the build 
ing, and the floor was quickly restored, and the entertain 
ment kept up till nearly daylight. 

General Scott had received orders from Washington to 
receive the Prince, and on the i6th of October we went up 
to West Point to join Colonel Delafield, Superintendent, 
who had also been instructed to receive him with all the 
honors of the post. 

While at the Point, I conversed with the Duke of New 
castle, Lord Saint Germains, General Bruce and Lord 
Lyons, of the Prince's suite. His Royal Highness, whom 
I stood near for half an hour, was then nineteen years 
old, of light complexion, rather under the medium height, 
well shaped, eyes large and color clear blue, nose promi 
nent, mouth ordinary, chin slightly retreating, forehead 
ordinary, health and constitution good. His general ap 
pearance was that of a polished young gentleman of good 
abilities. He joined in the sports of the young officers, 
riding, bowling, ten pins, etc. In the game they bowled 

Colonel Hardee. 333 

for a dollar, and the Prince one day won three gold dol 
lars, one from Saxton, and one from Clitz, and, I think, 
one from Palmer. He strung the gold dollars upon his 
watch-guard, and was very proud of them. 

As an acknowledgment of the civilities paid to his 
Royal Highness, the British Minister, Lord Lyons, ad 
dressed a letter to the General, to say the Prince felt con 
cerned lest the General's attention to him may have caused 
the indisposition he complained of. The Prince was grat 
ified at having been able to see so much of the General, 
and hoped he would be able to visit England, etc. 

After returning from West Point to New York, an in 
cident occurred which showed the extent to which sec 
tionalism was raging in the army. I find the account of 
it in my journal of October 23d, as follows : 

" To-day, Colonel W. J. Hardee, of the Regiment 

of Dragoons, called at the office in reference to an invi- 


tation from Governor Letcher, of Virginia, to attend 
an encampment of Volunteer Cavalry near Richmond 
next month. By direction of General Scott, I had, the 
day previous, enclosed to Colonel Hardee a copy of the 
Governor's invitation, with a note from myself, which 
contained the following words : * As you [Colonel Har 
dee] have been authorized to delay joining your post 
until the 1st of February next, you are, of course, at 
liberty to accept, or to decline, Governor Letcher's invi 
tation to attend the encampment of cavalry, as you may 
think proper." 

As I had addressed my note to West Point, it had not 
reached Colonel Hardee, and when I showed him the 
copy in the presence of the general, the colonel said 
snappishly, " I am snubbed ! " This remark produced 
violent agitation, which partly subsided when Colonel 
Hardee disclaimed any disrespect towards the general 

334 Fifty Years Observation. 

Colonel Hardee then referred to Major Anderson and 
Lieutenant Sinclair having been ordered to Fort Wood 
to instruct a regiment of New York volunteers, and he 
was not satisfied when he was told that matter originated 
in Washington. General Scott further remarked that he 
had not at any time given orders to officers to attend en 
campments of volunteers and militia, though he had en 
couraged them to do so when he had been able. 

Colonel Hardee left the office evidently dissatisfied, and 
with the belief that General Scott was biased in favor of 
the North. Hardee was one of those officers who 
nourished in the army the most advanced Southern ideas. 
He looked forward with fond hope to the independence 
of the South, and when afterwards the fortune of war 
began to turn against her, his grief was beyond expres 

October 29, 1860. This is the date of a paper on the 
state and prospects of the Union, by General Scott, en 
titled " Views" and addressed to the President of the 
United States. I give below a synopsis of the contents 
of the paper, to show how ignorant the general really was 
of the fierce animosities that were raging at the South 
and in the North, and for which there was no possible 
remedy but war. The general was occupied eight or ten 
days in the composition of his " Views" and every morn 
ing he discussed them with, or rather he harangued me 
about them, as I disagreed with him in all his statements 
and conclusions. I was in favor of Lincoln for President, 
and I felt as confident that war would soon come as that 
the sun would rise on the morrow. 

In his paper the general balances the assumed right of 
secession by an interior State with the superior right of 
re-establishing the continuity of territory afterwards. In 
the event of the dissolution of the great Republic, he sup- 

Scott on the Eve of War. 335 

poses there would be formed out of the fragments several 
new confederacies probably four. He sketches their 
imaginary boundaries, and names their capitals, reason 
ing from natural lines, the laws of trade, contiguity of 
territory, and the necessities of defence. The general 
thinks there is an indifference to slave labor in Western 
Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, and that 
they would by moral force alone be induced to coalesce 
with Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and other free States. He 
proves that the right to carry slaves to the Territories is a 
barren right, and appeals to the people of the South to be 
content with things as they are, rather than to change 
without reflection. He enforces his appeals with several apt 
quotations from Shakespeare, Paley, and other authors. 

He imagines the excitement grows out of the prospect 
of Lincoln's election to the Presidency, thinks Lincoln, 
whom he is not certain of having seen, will not be aggres 
sive towards the South, and avows his own partiality for 
the Bell and Everett ticket. Gives counsel, and says the 
country has a right to expect moderation and firmness in 
the Executive for the next twelve months, dwells upon 
the benefits of moderation, and thinks that at the end of 
a year the danger will have passed without bloodshed ! ! ! 
Recommends freedom of exports, and the collection of all 
duties to pay debts and invalid pensions, etc. Describes 
the absence and feebleness of the garrisons of Southern 
forts, and recommends that they should be so strength 
ened as to prevent coups de main, and concludes by avow 
ing his solicitude for the Union. 

No man can consider the views entertained by General 
Scott in the autumn of 1860, and compare them with 
actual subsequent events, and not be amazed at the dis 
crepancy. Although he had lived nearly the whole time 
since the war of 1812 in New York and Philadelphia, he 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

remained wholly unconscious of the mighty revolution 
which was going on in the Northern sentiment, and he 
ascribed the first mutterings of the dreadful tempest of 
war which was soon to drench the land with fraternal 
blood to the irritation caused by the election of Mr. 
Lincoln to the Presidency. What he mistook for a 
cutaneous pustule was the plague. 


Events of 1860 and '61. State of the Union and of parties in the autumn 
of 1860. Buchanan's Cabinet. Election of Lincoln. Scott's sugges 
tion of names for Lincoln's Cabinet. Various social events in Washing 
ton. General Cameron. The first demands from the South. Hayne's 
mission. Petigrew. Seward's speech. Scott's views on the situation. 
Stanton's appointment to office. First troops ordered to Washington. 
Reports from various parts of the country. Threats against Lincoln. 
Scott's" depression. 

THE journal I kept in the winter of 1 860-61 enables 
me to trace the mad political current down to the 
time when I separated from my venerable chief. The 
short notes made at the time will assist me to recall to 
mind the events that were passing, and now that passion 
has subsided, the reader will be enabled to judge if my 
own conduct was reprehensible, or if I was the object of 

To such persons as are too young to remember the 
state of feeling throughout the United Spates during the 
autumn of 1860, all attempts to convey an adequate im 
pression of it would be vain. A majority of the South 
erners desired to separate from the North and to set up 
a confederacy of their own. A majority of the Northern 
people dreaded disunion, and were willing to concede 
much to avoid it. There was, however, at the North, a 
stubborn minority that hated negro slavery, and were 
determined to destroy it at whatever cost. There was 
also a class of reflecting Northern men not yet moulded 
into form as a political element, who had witnessed the 

33$ Fifty V ears' Observation. 

arrogant assumptions of the South, and the confidence 
with which they claimed all the chief offices and com 
mands in the Federal Government, the army and navy, 
by right of innate superiority, and who being impressed 
with the consequent necessary debasement of the North 
ern character from such a state of things, could see no 
other remedy but war, and war they desired. To this 
last class I belonged, and hence the nonchalance with 
which I recorded my impressions. 

I find the following entry in my journal : 

" October 30, 1860. 

" In this morning's New York Times it is stated that 
President Buchanan's Cabinet is a unit on the subject of 
allowing the States to secede peaceably, if they determine 
to secede, and not to interpose force." 

No history of the present age should omit the names 
of the individuals, or their functions, that composed the 
assemblage whose resolve is heralded to the world in 
the above simple announcement. They were as fol 
lows : 

Lewis Cass, of Michigan, Secretary of State. 

Howell Cobb, of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury. 

John B. Floyd, of Virginia, Secretary of War. 

Isaac Toucey, of Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy. 

Jacob R. Thompson, of Mississippi, Secretary of the 

Horatio King, of Maine, Postmaster-General. 

J. S. Black, of Pennsylvania, Attorney-General. 

Those men were the chosen counsellors of the Chief 
Magistrate of this mighty nation, and when they assem 
bled in synod unbenign to gloze upon the value of the 
Union, they concluded it was not worth contending for. 
Their decision being wholly incompatible with reason, 

Buchanan's Cabinet. 339 

we must seek its cause among the accidents to which 
humanity is exposed. 

All men are aware that judgment is often the thrall of 
ecstacy or prejudice, or it may be so obscured in the haze 
of reverie as to lose its choice between wisdom and folly. 
It may be wholly suspended for a while, and in the hiatus 
of his thoughts a man may commit acts of depravity, or 
allow opportunities to pass that will sadden his declining 
years. All this may occur to an individual and occasion 
no surprise ; but we are amazed to find that the seven 
selected advisers of the President were every one of them 
afflicted with a dreadful syncope at the same moment, or 
else they would have retained a discrimination between 
the inestimable blessings that cluster around the Union 
of these States and the legion of plagues that would 
attend their rupture. The illustrious De Tocqueville 
declares that in the whole world there is not so advan 
tageous a residence for man as the valley of the Missis 
sippi, and yet he surveyed it in a condition of barbarism, 
but in its unity, and knew not half its value. Now that 
our boundaries are vastly extended, and so many new 
sources of wealth and happiness disclosed, the dullest 
understanding can feel the madness of a disunion of the 
States and a division of the Mississippi Valley. We may 
therefore absolve the Cabinet ministers of Mr. Buchanan 
of treasonable intent, while we impute to them a simul 
taneous occultation of reason. 

I could never admit the propriety of listening to any 
of the arguments of the seceders, since I regarded the 
duty to preserve the Union as an axiom. General Scott 
touched upon the absurdity of the assumed right of seces 
sion, when he referred to the withdrawal of an interior 
State like Tennessee or Kentucky. That absurdity would 
be better shown by supposing the tier of States which 

34 Fifty Years' Observation. 

extends one above another, from Mexico to the British 
possessions, should set up for themselves and inter 
dict land commerce between the Pacific and Atlantic 

There can be no doubt of the desirability of defining 
more explicitly in the Constitution of the United States 
the limits of Federal and State jurisdictions. It appears 
to me that all laws relating to money, saving the interest 
on money, which should be left to free competition, 
should be uniform throughout the whole country. The 
same may be said of the laws of marriage and divorce, of 
insolvency, defamation, and many other things. But the 
States should be allowed to make their own police regula 
tions and to frame such laws as are requisite to meet the 
exigencies of climate, special employments, productions, 
etc., etc. Above all things should the citizen who is 
charged with a trespass, or a wrong, the establishment of 
which would affect his character, be allowed a trial in the 
community where the trespass is alleged to have been 
committed. At present a man who is charged with 
stealing a lump of ice in Alaska, in January, may be tried 
at Fort Yuma in July by a judge and jury who had never 
left Yuma. 

My lawsuit in New York, in which it was required to 
make " a judge of strong prejudices " and a very common 
place set of jurymen comprehend the state of things as 
they existed in California from 1849 to l8 53> anc * before 
Alcalde titles had been settled, is a fitter comparison than 
the ice case, although, perhaps, less easily understood. 

From my journal : 

"November 7, 1860. 

" The die is cast ! Yesterday the election of President 
took place, and resulted in the choice of Abraham Lincoln 
of Illinois, by an overwhelming majority in all the free 

Lincoln s Cabinet. 341 

States heard from except New Jersey. That little State 
it is thought may have gone Fusion, as they call it. 

" November g. 

"The above is all true. New Jersey stands alone, 
among all the free States this side the Rocky Mountains, 
with the South, and notwithstanding the certainty of 
Lincoln's election, I feel the most lively anxiety to learn 
avhat Oregon and California have done." 

At the time referred to, Joe Lane, as he was familiarly 
called, in Oregon, and Dr. William M. Gwin, of California, 
both seceders of the most refractory sort, enjoyed each in 
his own State enormous influence. When the returns 
came in it was found that California and Oregon had both 
gone for Lincoln, to the great joy and surprise of every 
lover of the Union. 

" November 12. 

"To-day General Scott writes to the Hon. John J. 
Crittenden, United States Senator from Kentucky, in 
answer to a letter to him from that gentleman. The two 
letters relate to the dangers to which this Union is now 
exposed, and are filled with patriotic sentiments. Mr. 
Crittenden referred to the subject of strengthening the 
Southern forts, which General Scott suggested in his 
Views of October 29. In General Scott's reply to Mr. 
Crittenden, he speaks of the probability that Mr. Lincoln 
will bring into his Cabinet some of the following names, 
viz. : Crittenden, Bell, Rives, Stephens, Everett, and 
Bates. General Scott inclines to a belief in the propriety 
of Mr. Lincoln's publishing his programme of policy, so 
as to quiet the South, and seems to fear that his silence 
on this matter would prove hurtful. He thinks, however, 
that the new President's Inaugural will be conservative 
and moderate," etc. 

All the above names, which General Scott suggested as 

342 Fifty Years Observation. 

eligible to places in the Cabinet, except that of Everett, 
were Southern men, and Bell and Everett were the opposi 
tion candidates for President and Vice-President. It 
would have been a singular breach of custom if Mr. 
Lincoln had invited those two gentlemen to a place 
among his confidential advisers. Mr. Bates was made 
Attorney-General, and he was a man of respectable 
ability, but without strong convictions, so far as I was 
able to discover, in regard to the great national quarrel. 

From my journal : 

" NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 1860. 

"To-day commences the last session of the twenty-sixth 
Congress. Party spirit never raged with so much 
virulence as at this time. Many political doctors and 
quacks are busy with nostrums and bandages to strengthen 
and bind up the Union, but the patient is getting worse 
under their treatment." 

Many people with whom I conversed were so de 
spondent at the prospect of a rupture of the Union 
that in a letter to my agent in San Francisco, dated 
December 10, 1860, 1 said : " It is now generally conceded 
that this Union is about to slide. Let us stand fast on 
the Pacific. If we break off, France, with the permission 
of England, will gobble up California in a month." For 
my own part I was not downcast, but rather exultant at 
the prospect that, whatever might be the fate of the 
Union, the North would shortly enter on the experiment 
of governing itself. 

The following extracts from my journal are full of in 
terest : 

' December 20, 1860. 

" Arrived in Washington, and in the evening attended 
a party at Senator Dixon's. Senator Dixon is a Connect 
icut Republican, and is of the sort of Northern men 

Affairs at the end of 1 860. 343 

whom the South so easily frighten, and by whose tacit 
co-operation they have heretofore so rudely controlled 
the North. I found occasion during the evening to pour 
my spirit into several intelligent ears, and to counsel 
firmness and unity of action on the part of the North. 
Mr. Dixon remarked that he did not think there was 
virtue enough left to preserve the country." 

"WASHINGTON, December 21, 1860. 

" Saw many people, and among them Mr. Clingman, of 
the Senate, and Mr. John Sherman, of the House. Mr. 
Sherman, to whom I introduced myself, and with whom 
I conversed an hour and a half, is an able, fair, and dis 
passionate exponent of Northern sentiments and inter- 
ests. Speaking of the threats of some of the Southerners 
to make Washington the seat of government of a South 
ern Confederacy, he said, that ' sooner than it should be 
so, a million Northern lives would be sacrificed in defend 
ing it.' He remarked, also, that at the present time 
many respectable Northern men from Ohio were detained 
in Louisiana, where they had gone to sell their produce, 
for the reason that they had voted for Lincoln ! Mr. 
Sherman also informed me that the Austrian Consul at 
Charleston had, in his official capacity, assured the au 
thorities of South Carolina that in case of secession 
Austria would acknowledge her independence. This in 
formation concerning the Charleston Consul came through 
the Austrian Consul-General at New York, to Chevalier 
Hulseman, the Austrian Minister at Washington. Hulse- 
man immediately rebuked the offending Consul, and 
caused him to be suspended from his functions for hav 
ing acted without authority." 

The Chevalier Hulseman was of a sociable disposition, 
and well informed on general subjects. I agreed with 

344 Fifty Years' Observation. 

him, as a rule, but when he said to me, '* There are many 
good cooks in Holland," I doubted. 

" WASHINGTON, December 23, 1860. 

" Last evening I was at a dinner party, given by Mr. 
Speaker Pennington. The company was composed of 
our host, his wife and two daughters, and son, Lieu 
tenant -General Scott, Senators Crittenden, Trumbull, 
Chandler, and Dixon, Representatives Winter Davis and 
Charles Francis Adams, and myself. I was the only man 
at the table whose name is not now prominently before 
the public. All, with the exception of General Scott and 
Senator Crittenden, were out and out Republicans. 

" The conversation turned on the state of the Union, 
and all the persons with whom I conversed gave little hope 
of any important concessions on the part of the North. 
Mr. Dixon appeared uneasy and uncertain. Mr. Adams 
was calm and said but little. Senator Chandler, as usual, 
was defiant, and declared that the slightest violence in 
Washington done to any Republican would bring down 
from the Northwest 500,000 armed men, and that they 
were fond of righting. General Scott was in excellent 
spirits, said many things in support of the Union, and 
which tended to harmonize discordant elements." 

"WASHINGTON, December 24, 1860. 

" The General and I dined at home, and had with us 
United States Senator John J. Crittenden, of Ken 

I find I neglected to record the conversations at this 
dinner, which were highly interesting, but I left a space 
in my book for the record, as the eloquence of Mr. Crit 
tenden was impressive. I recall the appearance of bitter 
ness and disgust with which the Kentucky senator re 
ferred to certain members of Congress, who continually 

Mr. Crittenden. 345 

harped upon what they called "PRINCIPLE/' when the 
Union was in danger! Mr. Crittenden thought slavery 
might be gotten rid of gradually, and gave arguments in 
support of the resolutions which he introduced on the 
subject. General Scott agreed with him, and gave addi 
tional reasons for his opinion. In such company, on such 
a subject, I could not give free vent to my sentiments, 
although I admired the two illustrious men in whose 
presence I found myself. My thoughts were turned on 
Southern domination, which had so long oppressed me, 
and against that I desired to fight ; otherwise I agreed in 
many particulars with them both, as my ideas of govern 
ment had wholly ceased to be sentimental. I have no 
clear perception of what the advanced Northern politi 
cians mean by the words principle, liberty, freedom, and 
such like, which appear to leap spontaneously from their 
outstretched throats, and to mean nothing good. I am 
a friend of principle, liberty, and freedom, but the vaunt 
ing orators and humanitarians generally attach a meaning 
to those words that tends to evil, to impossible equality, 
to communism, which is barbarism without romance. 

Mr. Crittenden was one of the friends of General 
Scott, with whom he was always socially intimate, and 
whom he greatly admired. I do not remember any other 
man whose opinions the General referred to and quoted 
more frequently, and his influence was acknowledged by 
all who knew him. 

Mr. Crittenden was a typical Kentucky gentleman, un 
affected in manner, brave, honest, outspoken, and abound 
ing in common sense. He was neither handsome in his 
person, nor specially graceful in his movements, and yet 
no man more than he grew upon acquaintance. His son 
George was a classmate and friend of mine at West Point, 
and for that reason the father probably noticed me more 

346 Fifty Years Observation. 

than he otherwise would. Among the distinguished ora 
tors and debaters in Congress to whom I have at various 
periods of my life listened, Mr. Crittenden was, on the 
whole, the most generally attractive. He seemed never 
to lack knowledge of the subject under discussion, his 
statement of facts was always clear, his diction wonder 
fully appropriate, and his voice as near perfection as could 
be desired. When he stood up in the Senate to speak, 
it was at once evident to the beholder that he had never 
been frightened or cowed. Such men as have in youth 
been made afraid of too many gloomy dogmas, or been 
too heavily charged with mysterious accountability of a 
dark and dismal character, can never in after-life appear 
brave, unless they seem to defy some person or some 
thing. At the North, fear or apprehension of undefined 
evil has destroyed the efficiency of vast numbers of the 
noblest of men, and their fate should demonstrate the 
value of true courage, which was one of the essential 
elements of strength in the character of this illustrious 

" Mr. Crittenden was an able legislator and finished 
statesman, and from his early manhood till the end of his 
life he was, with short intervals, always in office. He 
was Governor of Kentucky, Representative and Senator 
in Congress, United States Attorney-General, and Secre 
tary of State. He was faithful to every trust, and his 
integrity was unquestioned in all his employments. His 
associates recognized in him a perfect gentleman, though 
he lived without ostentation, and died poor." 

" WASHINGTON, December 25^. 

" Dined at Captain Cadwatader Ringgold's. At this 
dinner, besides General Scott, I met Senator and Mrs. 
Crittenden, Mrs. Bass from Mississippi, Mr. G. W. Hughes 

Dinner at Winter D avis' s. 347 

and wife, Colonel and Mrs. Lay, of the Army. I was the 
only Northern man present, and was careful not to ex 
press any very decided Northern sentiments, since the 
dinner was good and I the guest of a friendly host. The 
vein of conversation was entirely Southern, except when 
General Scott related anecdotes. 

" The advance of time demonstrates and confirms what 
I learned many years ago that there is an absolute in 
compatibility of ideas between the North and the South. 
The two sections may possibly moderate their antip 
athies, but I am certain they will never, while negro 
slavery lasts, conquer their prejudices or assimilate their 
affections. We are not a homogeneous people, and never 
can be such while slavery and freedom are associated 
under the same government, and neither section can 
judge the other fairly. To live together at all each 
should allow to the other its pro rata of honors, offices 
and benefits, and leave the question of merit to rest in 

" WASHINGTON, December 26. 

" Dined with the Honorable Winter Davis, of the 
House of Representatives. At his table I met again Mr. 
Speaker Pennington, Mr. Gant, of Saint Louis, Mr. and 
Mrs. Pendleton, of the House of Representatives, Mr. 
Bradley and Captain Humphries, of the Army, also two 
naval officers, Porter (now Admiral), and another whose 
name I missed. 

" For once politics was not the topic of conversation. 
We spoke of the resources of the country and such other 
subjects as usually engage the attention of men of expe 
rience and education. Among other matters we discussed 
the Thirty Years War in Germany, the character of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus of Sweden, and of Wallenstein, to whom 
he was opposed. It happened that I had shortly before 

348 Fifty Years' Observation. 

finished a careful reading of ' Schiller's History,' and was 
thus enabled to shine like a pedant. I sat near Mr. Gant, 
and found him a companionable gentleman and full of 


" WASHINGTON, Jantiary 3, 1861. 

" General Simon Cameron, United States Senator from 
Pennsylvania, dined with General Scott and me to-day. 
Senator Cameron told the general that he had been on a 
visit to Mr. Lincoln, from whom he brought a message to 
the effect that he intended to preserve the Union, and 
would confide to General Scott the means of saving it. 
The same message .was imparted to the general last 
evening by Senator Baker, of Oregon. Considerable talk 
ensued upon the subject of Mr. Buchanan, whom the 
Pennsylvania Senator declared he had made and after 
wards quarrelled with him." 

I first became acquainted with Mr. Cameron at Saint 
Louis, in the autumn of 1838. He was then Indian Com 
missioner, and on his way to the Winnebago country. 
At that time his activity was astonishing, and all his 
movements indicated a determination to become rich and 
famous. From 1838 nearly twenty-three years elapsed 
before I enjoyed another opportunity to converse with 
him. During that long interval he had become wealthy 
and famous, and so great was his political influence that 
I frequently heard it remarked that he owned his State, 
or, in the expressive language of General Scott, that " he 
carried Pennsylvania in his breeches pocket." My sur 
prise may be judged when, on the renewal of my social 
relations with Mr. Cameron, in the spring of 1861, I 
found him in the full fruition of his early hopes and 
without a sign of arrogance in his deportment. On the 
contrary, his manners and speech were gentle, and he 
would listen to the addresses of his former associates 

General Cameron. 349 

with as much patience as before. In this respect I have 
only known one man who fully resembled him. I omit 
the name of that man, for fear of giving offence to some 
of the vast number of men and women that I have seen 
emerge from meekness and poverty to wealth and power. 
They all, but one, put me in mind, in various degrees, of 

a man in California named H , who " struck a lead " 

and became a millionaire in a day. As I had an interest 
in an adjoining mine, the title to which was in dispute, I 

asked an up-country man to consult Mr. H , who 

probably knew all the facts. " I consult Mr. H ," 

said he. " Why, I should have to get up to a third-story 
window to speak to him ! " 

Mr. Cameron said that at one time, for several years, 
his health had been poor, and that he derived benefit 
from the daily moderate use of champagne wine. Upon 
that hint I motioned David to uncork a bottle of that 
propitious fluid. Mr. Cameron gave us much informa 
tion about the politics of Pennsylvania. 

" WASHINGTON, January 5. 

" The Hon. Gouverneur Kemble arrived from New York 
in company with Governor Fish and Mr. Aspinwall." 

Mr. Kemble joined our mess and remained with us two 


" WASHINGTON, January 6. 

" Governor Fish and Mr. Aspinwall dined with us to 
day. They are both prominent citizens of New York 
and strong supporters of the Union. Governor Fish 
remarked that there were many persons at the South 
who were secessionists per se, and, therefore, it would be 
superfluous to make concessions to them. The govern 
or's patriotism is strongly tinctured with common sense, 
and everything in him judgment, thoughts, conversa- 

35O Fifty Years Observation. 

tion, heart and character is sound and well balanced. 
The original framers of our Federal Constitution had in 
view the production of men like Governor Fish." 

" WASHINGTON, January 7. 

" Dined this evening with the Baron de Stoeckl, Prus 
sian Ambassador, and his elegant wife. The guests were 
General Scott, Mr. Kemble, Mr. W. H. Aspinwall, ex- 
Governor Fish, Mr. Corcoran and his son-in-law, Eustis 
of Louisiana, and myself. The courtesies of this dinner 
were remarkable. I witnessed no violent outbursts of 
sectionalism while at the table. After dinner I fell into 
conversation with Mr. Eustis, whose father was a native 
of Massachusetts. The son, who was born in Mississippi, 
being a new-hatched slaveholder, proclaimed his attach 
ment to the South with an enthusiasm becoming a 

"WASHINGTON, January 9. 

" Dined at Judge Campbell's. At the table were 
many attractive young ladies. I enjoyed myself greatly ; 
danced with Miss Campbell, and conversed a long time 
with Miss Philips. I alone was from the North ; all the 
others were Southerners elegant, fascinating, beautiful, 
but traitorous." 

General Scott dined the same evening at Mr. Cor- 
coran's. He met at the table Senators Toombs and 
Benjamin, and several other secessionists whose names 
he withheld from me, and I sorely regret that I neglected 
to search them out. The general told me he had never 
witnessed such violent outbursts of passion as were ex 
hibited by the two Senators from Mississippi and Georgia. 
" They cursed the Union as it is, and as it has been, and 
they cursed its founders. They abused the President 

Mrs. Slide II. 351 

and other high functionaries. They also abused Major 
Anderson, and behaved in their discourse like madmen." 

The abuse of Mr. Buchanan by two such enthusiastic 
rebels tended to confirm my opinion that he was not 
always their willing tool. 

" January 9. 

" To-day Colonel Harvey Brown of the regular army ar 
rived to take command of the companies that have been 
ordered here for the protection of the Capitol. I con 
versed with this devoted old soldier and staunch patriot, 
and we agreed that as the North is at this time strong 
and prosperous, it is as well that the conflict should 
begin now as at a later date. We both agreed that it was 
all well enough with the South so long as they could 
command the North, but now that the power was about 
to pass from their hands they were off." 

{ WASHINGTON, January 13. 

" Dined to-day at Mr. Corcoran's. In the company 
were General Scott, Mr. Badger, of North Carolina; Mr. 
Fay, of Boston ; Mr. Mosely, of Buffalo ; Mr. Alexander 
Duncan and Mr. Watts Sherman, of New York; also 
Senator Slid ell and wife, of Louisiana. I had been in 
troduced to the Senator's wife before, and conversed with 
her half an hour. Mrs. Slidell has the beauty and grace 
of a high-born native of Paris, and she speaks English 
with an accent. It occurred to me that she would have 
appeared more spirittielle if she had spoken the language 
of her ancestors, though I found her broken English vast 
ly engaging. Nevertheless, as I was walking home from 
the party, I reflected that no blandishments could mod 
erate my desire for war." 

"WASHINGTON, Jan uary 14. 

" The South Carolinians have sent Mr. J. W. Hayne 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter. There is a 
mighty exultation in the Charleston papers over the ex 
pulsion of the ' Star of the West' from their harbor. 

"General Scott has received a letter from Mr. Peti- 
grew, of Charleston. The letter is filled with sentiments 
worthy of its author. Mr. Petigrew does not concur in 
any of the schemes of the South Carolina madmen. He 
thinks it will not be possible to reclaim any of the seceded 

Mr. Petigrew was one of the few South Carolinians 
who was from the beginning radically opposed to seces 
sion. He was the acknowledged head of the bar in his 
own State, a man of large observation, excellent judg 
ment, and the possessor of a subtle and penetrating 
genius. The sophistries of Mr. Calhoun had no influence 
with him, and he clearly foresaw the ruin which civil war 
would bring upon the South. While stationed at Fort 
Moultrie I enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Petigrew and 
his family. His daughter, Mrs. Carson, inherited the pa 
triotic spirit of her father, with much of his genius, and 
the hardships of penury, brought upon her by the war, 
she has sustained with heroic dignity. 

(January 14 continued.") 

"This morning, while General Scott was writing the 
last words of an article to be appended to another paper 
which he had written in New York under date of October 
29th, 1860, Governor Seward of the Senate entered his 
office. In General Scott's * Views' it was stated dis 
tinctly that no idea was entertained by him of invading a 
seceded State. 

"Governor Seward, in his speech in the Senate last Sat 
urday (the 1 2th inst.), stated to the effect that the Union 
was not worth preserving at the expense of civil war ! " 

Scott's "Views" and Correspondence. 353 

I have transferred the above entry made in my journal 
on the fourteenth day of January, 1861, without change. 
It shows the state of mind at that date of two of the 
most prominent Union patriots of the country. They 
both cherished the Union, but lacked resolution to fight 
for it 

" Letting ' I dare not' wait upon ' I would/ 
Like the poor cat i' the adage." 

(January 14 continued.} 

" To-day I urged General Scott to order down from 
Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, to the posts near 
San Francisco, two companies of artillery, and to place 
one company in the fort at the entrance of the harbor. I 
know the danger of leaving a strongly armed fort without 
any guard whatsoever to the mercy of such desperadoes 
as are among the Federal officers in that city." 

" WASHINGTON, January 15. 

<4 General Scott corrected the proofs of his ' Views ' for 
the Intelligencer. 

" The general receives a vast number of letters on all 
imaginable subjects. Some of the writers propose to 
raise regiments. Some offer to fight for him, as they 
hear he has had a difficulty with Senator Toombs. Some 
offer their own military services, some ask for money, and 
some glorify him. I read them all, and many I answer. 
These letters, in various respects, constitute a better 
study of belligerent and laudatory human nature than any 
book I ever read. Some of the letters threatened him 
with assassination. 

" I am getting fatigued with overwork, feasting, and 
gayety. The incessant calls on me during the day allow 
no time for rest, and the numerous feasts and parties ab 
sorb my evenings and keep me out late. The general 

354 Fifty Years' Observation. 

sometimes detains me in conversation till after midnight, 
which, he says, is his favorite time for conversation. Oc 
casionally he sends for me after I have retired to come 
over and listen to something that interests him. At such 
times I generally find him in bed with a book in his hand, 
which he puts aside to talk with me, or hear me talk. If 
I remain silent too long he snappishly remarks : ' Have 
you nothing to say?' When I feel fatigued and non- 
compliant in all he says, he soon grows weary and places 
his hand on his forehead, at which signal I vanish. It is 
not the toughness of my constitution so much as the 
force of my convictions that sustains me under such vari 
ous pressure upon my nervous system." 

Willie Van Buren, the son of my distinguished friend, 
Dr. William H. Van Buren, of New York City, having 
written to request me to obtain for him the autographs of 
General Scott, Senator Crittenden, and Mr. Winter Davis 
of the House, I wrote in reply a note of which the follow 
ing is a copy: 

WASHINGTON, January 16, 1861. 

We have been informed by Colonel Keyes that you desire our auto 
graphs because you think we are devoted to the Union. The reason given 
for your request betokens a laudable sentiment, and we comply with it 
cheerfully for that condition, and because we learn that you are a youth of 
excellent conduct and a diligent student, and we remain, 
Very truly yours, 



Willie Van Buren was a youth of much promise. He 
was erect, healthful, and bright in appearance; and so 
amiable in disposition and engaging in his manners that 
he was a favorite with his companions and the idol of his 

Extracts from my Diary. 355 

parents. His untimely death, which occurred a few 
months after he received the note, had a crushing effect 
upon his father and mother. The former built his hopes 
upon his only son, who he anticipated would worthily 
succeed him in his profession. My son, Edward L. 
Keyes, who was of the same age with Willie, and his con 
stant associate, had the rare good fortune to take the 
place in the father's heart, which a cruel fate had made 
vacant, to the fullest extent that nature permits. Drs. 
Van Buren and Keyes during fifteen years were insepara 
ble in duty and affection, till death closed the magnificent 
career of the elder partner on Easter day, 1883. 

" WASHINGTON, January 18. 

" In the New York Evening Post of the i/th inst. is a 
quotation from a Haytien paper, in which, after referring 
to Mr. Lincoln's election, and its effects upon the black 
race, the writer winds up with the following sentence: 
* We plainly say then that we have greater faith in the 
follies of the South than in the wisdom of the North.' " 

" /an ttary 19. 

"To-day General Scott changed his quarters from 
Wormley's to Cruchett's, at the corner of Sixth and D 
streets. The change was made for convenience, not for 
discontent with Wormley. In the Sixth Street house, the 
general's bedroom is spacious, and adjoins the dining- 
room. I took lodgings in the house of Mrs. Harris, 
directly across the way." 

"January 20. 

" Yesterday I wrote a letter to General A. S. Johnson, 
commanding the department of the Pacific, directing him 
to transfer two companies from Fort Vancouver, Wash 
ington Territory, and place them in the forts which defend 
San Francisco. 

356 Fifty Years' Observation. 

"To-day Lieutenant Duane, of the Engineer Corps, 
with the company of sappers and miners, arrived in 
Washington from West Point. Lieutenant Saunders 
arrives also from Pensacola, to which place he had been 
sent with despatches for Commodore Armstrong. He 
was taken prisoner by the people of Pensacola before he 
had delivered his letters, but would not surrender them 
except to the commodore, who himself was a prisoner. 
The commodore's men had been set at liberty on parol, 
not to serve against Florida at any future time / The 
lieutenant was also set at liberty upon his promise not to 
communicate with the forts near Pensacola, and under 
the written safeguard of Colonel William Chase, Saunders 
was allowed to depart." 

Colonel Chase was a graduate of the Military Academy, 
and for many years an officer of the corps of engineers. 
He was a native of Massachusetts, and married to a 
Southern lady of fortune. The chivalry had subdued 
him to their policy long before the rebellion, and when the 
war began he joined the seceders. At first he appeared 
to have influence in their councils, which apparently de 
clined suddenly, and I heard of him no more. 

The entries in my journal, which I am reproducing in 
this book, although they frequently refer to trifles, will 
suffice not only to show the state of society at the federal 
capital, but they also exhibit the irresolute conduct of the 
Government towards the seceders. An excess of labor 
and gayety, conspiring with the unsatisfactory policy of 
Mr. Buchanan's administration, kept me in a state of irri 
tation, which may have caused me for the first time in my 
life to brave my powerful chief. The following is an 
exact account of my conduct on the evening of January 
21, 1861, which I wrote on the morning after it occurred : 

Extracts from my Diary. 357 

" Captain Barry and Lieutenant Duane of the Army 
dined with us. While we were at the table, Colonel Stone 
came in and brought intelligence of the contemplated 
attack on Harper's Ferry Armory. The news came 
through Colonel Van Ness, of the pay department. In 
relating it Colonel Stone spoke of Captain Magruder, of 
the Army, who has been drilling men in Maryland, and it 
was thought probable that Magruder was disaffected. 
From what was said to me in the hall by Lieutenant 
Duane as he and Barry were leaving, and from the report 
of Colonel Stone, I derided the conclusion that Magruder 
was working with the enemies of this Union. Returning 
to the dining-room under that impression, I said with some 
excitement, ' General, you must, or you ought to take 
that young man in hand/ or words to that effect. General 
Scott thought that my manner and words evinced a dis 
position to dictate to him, and he became at once exces 
sively angry. I was excited also, and said I was a patriot, 
and when so many people were treacherous I would not 
measure my words against traitors. I disclaimed the idea 
of dictating to my superior officer, but in matters of 
patriotism I must have my own way of speaking. The al 
tercation was hot ; we both stood up, and I supposed it 
would end my connection with General Scott as a mem 
ber of his staff. However, we finally cooled off, and I re 
tired to my lodgings without excitement or ill feeling." 

" General Scott reminded me of my habit of late of 
speaking to him in a dictatorial manner, and that he had 
long had an affection for me. I intend to do my duty to 
all men and to the country, but it is not a part of my duty 
to feel or to know in this contingency fear for any man." 

*' WASHINGTON, January 22. 
"To-day a Georgian named Moulton came to offer 

358 Fifty Years Observation. 

General Scott the service of his boats in the cause of 
the Union. He said the men of property in Georgia 
were generally in favor of the Union, but they were 
overawed and kept down by the Secessionists." 

" Mr. Benjamin Stanton, Chairman of the House Com 
mittee on Military Affairs, came to the office to consult 
General Scott about a bill to raise volunteers for local 
defence of the capital, etc. He referred to Mr. Henry 
Winter Davis, who said that volunteers for the defence of 
the capital should be drawn from Maryland. Mr. Stanton 
thinks Virginia will secede." 

" The United States steamer Brooklyn, with Captain 
Vogdes's company of artillery, sailed for Pensacola to 

"WASHINGTON, January 25. 

" During many days past rumors of the existence of an 
organization to seize the Capitol and the public archives 
have been more frequent than usual. I have not the 
shadow of a doubt that such an organization does, in fact, 
exist. President Buchanan seems loath to order troops 
here, because he fears a display of troops would cause 
irritation ! This temporization may yet be fatal to the 

The pressure upon the President at the time referred 
to above appeared to distress him sorely. The organizers 
of the rebellion claimed to have promoted him to the 
office he held, and they were not satisfied with anything 
less than an abject submission on his part to their dicta 
tion. He had already conceded enough to destroy all 
power of resistance. One day he came into General 
Scott's private office while I was present, and, dropping 
heavily into a chair, he exclaimed : " The office of Presi 
dent of the United States is not fit for a gentleman to 

General Lyon. 359 

hold !" Unfortunately the general was at the moment 
dictating an order that required instant attention, and I 
left his office and heard no more of the object of Mr. 
Buchanan's visit from either of the persons concerned. 

" The rumors of schemes and plans to seize the Capitol 
continue to arrive from all quarters. Colonel Titus, of 
Kansas notoriety, is here, and in communication with the 
secessionists. It is rumored that the Mayor of the city 
of Washington is in communication and in accord with 
them also." 

' ' WASHINGTON, Jamiary 29. 

"Adjutant-General Thomas writes to Colonel Scott 
directing him to have a company organized from the best 
instructed recruits and in readiness to march at a mo 
ment's notice, with two, or preferably three, officers. 
Colonel Thomas also directs that Captain Elzy's com 
pany shall be filled up immediately and ordered to 

" Orders are issued to-day for Captain E. Lyon with 
his company to proceed and garrison the Saint Louis 
Arsenal. This order was issued upon the earnest solici 
tation of Mr. Montgomery Blair, who recommended Lyon 

Lyon was a man whose appearance made a false report 
of his qualities. He was plain in person, vand his counte 
nance was not expressive. Nevertheless he possessed de 
cided ability, and his temperament was of the most 
ardent. A native of Connecticut, he avowed his Northern 
sentiments in all situations with a fearlessness which had 
few examples in the army under the old regime. As a 
consequence, he was held in disfavor by the ruling func 
tionaries, and his popularity among his brother-officers 
never foreshadov/ed his future exploits. He exemplified 

360 Fifty Years' Observation. 

his valor on the field, where he fell fighting for the Union, 
and thus secured to his memory such posthumous re 
nown as men like him can hope only to inherit from 

4 ' WASHINGTON, January 29. 

" To-day General Scott wrote to Governor Hicks of 
Maryland to say he had endeavored to prevail on the 
President to order ten or twelve companies of Maryland 
volunteers to defend the Capitol. With them, and say 
seven companies of regulars and 200 marines, he thinks 
he will be able to guard the Capitol against any violation 
of the peace." 

I do not think anything was done in compliance with 
the above suggestion of General Scott. 

" WASHINGTON, January 29. 

" Was introduced to-day to General Mather, Adjutant- 
General of the State of Illinois. I conversed with him 
upon the miserable condition of the Northern States to 
resist and overcome the rebellion of the South. Illinois 
is, according to General Mather's account, almost without 
arms, and up to 1856 no record appears to have been 
kept of the arms distributed to that State by the general 

" In St. Louis he says the arsenal is in the greatest 
danger. The Governor (Jackson) has placed all the arms 
received from the general Government in the hands of 
men who, like himself, are violent seceders. 

" I spoke with General Mather of the necessary qualifi 
cations of a Secretary of War for the new administration. 
General Mather told me that Mr. Lincoln desired the 
sense of the officers of the Army as to whom he should 
place in the War Office. I replied that none but a dis 
creet Northern man who had firmness and perseverance 

On the Eve of the War. 36* 

would answer. That all military authority was now in 
the hands of the South as fully as in the civil depart 
ments, and that a man capable of reversing that order of 
things was required. The North must have power and 
patronage in the full proportion of its numbers, and noth 
ing short of that would answer. 

" Letters threatening General Scott's life are received 
from Mississippi to-day. 

" Prince John Magruder's battery arrives in Baltimore 
to-day. The subject of ordering him and his company to 
Washington was mooted. To intrust Prince John Magru 
der with the safety of the Capitol would have been like 
placing a wolf to guard the sheep-fold. Reports are cur 
rent in this city of conspiracies to prevent the inaugura 
tion of Mr. Lincoln. It is just possible that no attempt 
on the Capitol will be made. Rumors enough have come 
in to put men in office on their guard. All neglects, 
therefore, to protect the public archives are treasonable 
crimes. I feel depressed at the apparent apathy of the 
President, whose conduct is not such as Northern men 
have a right to demand from the Executive of the United 

" General Scott is summoned to appear before a Con 
gressional Committee of five, which is appointed to inves 
tigate the conspiracy to seize the Capitol. 

" It has this day been decided to call all the United 
States Artillery out of Texas. 

" The general instructs me to write to Colonel Duryee 
of New York to describe his epaulettes, and to tell the 
Colonel of the perils of the Capitol." 

" WASHINGTON, January 31. 

" Judge Parrott of Cold Springs was at the office to 
day ; also a committee, of which Messrs. Peter Cooper 

362 Fifty Years' Observation. 

and Royal Phelps of New York are members. These 
men will endeavor to compromise our national difficul 

" Last night I attended an elegant dinner party at Mr. 
Vinton's. Among the guests were General Scott, Mr. 
and Mrs. Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts, M. 
Hulseman, the Austrian Minister, Baron Austen Saken, 
of Prussia, also the Belgian Minister, Mr. Moseley, and 
others. Mr. Vinton's daughter, now Mrs. Dahlgren, 
did the honors with much taste and spirit. After the 
dinner I attended a party at Judge Campbell's. There I 
met many remarkable young ladies, as usual at the Camp 
bell's and elsewhere. The most conspicuous for beauty, 
grace, and treason were the two Misses Slidell, the two 
Misses Magrucler, Miss Philips, and the daughter of our 
host. The sectional rancor of these damsels was admin 
istered to me, tempered with soothing conditions. They 
promised that in case I should be wounded and captured 
they would bring me comforts in my prison. They even 
went so far as to assure me that, after the war was over 
and the Confederacy established, they would invite me 
to their houses. Some of the matured Southern dames 
and dowagers appeared to hate the portion of earth 
where I was born, unconditionally ; consequently I do 
not trouble myself to record their names, nor to remem 
ber what they said. But of the others whose charming 
condescension enlivened me, some I know to be pros 
perous, and I trust they all are." 

" WASHINGTON, February i. 

"The rumors of perils to the capital thicken. Mr. 
Thomas Corwin visited the general and remained alone 
with him in consultation a long time. I know not the 
subject of their discussion, further than that a letter to 
the general from New York, concerning the plans of the 

The Eve of the War. 363 

rebels, made allusion to Mr. Corwin, whose name the 
general was requested not to divulge. 

" Mr. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, came to the office, 
and I was introduced to him for the first time. Colonel 
E. V. Sumner, of the Army, also called, and I began my 
acquaintance with that good old soldier. Both those 
gentlemen said they had heard much of me as a North 
ern man. 

" Mr. W. Swan writes from Nashville, Tennessee, under 
date of January 20, that the rebels will prevent the in 
auguration of Mr. Lincoln. The writer thinks a large 
force is necessary in Washington." 

" WASHINGTON, February 2. 

"Last night I attended a brilliant party at the house 
of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson. A glance at the assem 
blage showed that the majority of the guests were South 
ern. There were among them, however, a considerable 
number of persons from the North. I conversed with 
Mrs. C. F. Adams, Mrs. Douglas, Mrs. Wayne, Mrs. 
Dixon, and many others. 

" It is said that the rebels are arriving in squads and 
taking up their abode in and in the neighborhood of 
Washington, so as to be able to assemble in the city in 
vast numbers as soon as the signal is given. 

" While the rebels are organizing and arming, the 
people of the North, with their customed fatuity in 
matters of command and government, are moralizing. 

" Last night the West Point Battery of Artillery 
arrived in Washington. This morning as I saw it passing 
along Pennsylvania Avenue I felt a glow of satisfaction 
that I had not experienced before in many days." 

"WASHINGTON, February 7. 

" Captain Elzy, of the Second Regiment of U. S. 
Artillery, who surrendered the Augusta Arsenal to the 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

Georgians, arrived in Washington with his company this 

" Wrote long letter yesterday to W. A. Burleigh, Esq.*, 
of Harrisburg, Penn., giving him advice for the organ 
ization, arming and equipping of 70,000 men, the ex 
penses, etc. 

"Cost of rifled musket, complete $13-93 

Cost of equipments for do 4.92 

Cost of rifle, complete 17-43 

Cost of accoutrements for, complete. . . 4.52 

"Last night a telegram from Little Rock, Arkansas, 
sent by Captain Totten, Second Artillery, announced 
that a lawless assemblage threatened to capture the 

"WASHINGTON, February 10. 

" Yesterday Mr. William H. Aspinwall dined with me, 
and ex-Governor Robinson, of Virginia, dined with Gen 
eral Scott. The four constituted an agreeable party. 
The conversation was general on various subjects." 

"WASHINGTON, Febrtiary n 

" Last night I attended a large dinner party given by 
Surgeon-General Lawson, of the Army. About thirty 
persons were present, and I observed that when all the 
seats at the table were filled five gentlemen remained 
standing. After a delay of about half an hour, a small 
table was improvised, and the work of eating and drink 
ing commenced." 

" WASHINGTON, February 13. 

"The counting of the votes for President passed 
quietly, and many think the precautionary measures 
were superfluous. 

" Dined at Mr. H. Winter Davis's, in I Street. It was 
a social party with ladies, and uncommonly agreeable. 

Extracts from my Diary. 365 

General Scott, who had dined elsewhere, called for me, 
and carried me home at ten o'clock P.M." 

"WASHINGTON, February 15. 

" Attended a party last night, given by Mrs. Charles 
Francis Adams. I was introduced to Mrs. Lawrence 
(nte Chapman), of Boston, and found her agreeable. She 
is a beautiful woman, with elegant person and manners. 
I was also introduced to Miss Crowninshield, who is to 
marry young Mr. Adams." 

"WASHINGTON, February 17. 

" Attended party last night at Captain Manydier's. 
Found several beautiful young ladies there, and among 
them some were musical. The majority were seces 

" February -& 

11 During the last two days I have been despondent 
about the Union. Factions are springing up in the ranks 
of the Republicans. At the same time the Rebels, who 
are in session, at Charleston and Montgomery, are as au 
dacious in their efforts to overthrow the Government and 
set up a Southern Confederacy as ever. Our Northern 
people are so much accustomed to private judgment in all 
matters that they will not serve under a leader. In this 
respect they resemble the Poles of former days. I feel 
as old John Sobieski felt when the insane division of his 
countrymen led him to foretell the downfall of Poland. 

" Last night General Scott appeared depressed also. 
He analyzed the difficulties, and called on me for specu 
lations as to the course Mr. Lincoln would probably 
pursue. I did speculate glibly, without giving any special 
opinion as to Mr. Lincoln's course, but I showered re 
proaches upon the North for its supineness and upon the 
South for its violence." 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

" WASHINGTON, February 21. 

"Captain Meigs has arrived here from Fort Jefferson, 
Tortugas, and came to the office this morning to report to 
General Scott." 

"February 22. 

" Orders were given yesterday for a grand review of all 
the troops in Washington to-day, but the orders were 
countermanded this morning by the President. Mr. Sec 
retary Holt wrote the order of countermand, which was 
delivered to General Scott while he was at breakfast. I 
ran to circulate it with all haste, but at one o'clock P. M. 
Mr. Holt came to the general's office to request him to 
have the review. The general told him that it was not 
practicable, as all the troops were dispersed, and it would 
be impossible to reassemble them before night. This 
circumstance shows the supervision to which Mr. Bu 
chanan's minutest actions were subjected. It should serve 
as a warning to all succeeding Chief Magistrates of this 
mighty nation, that when they have accepted its guar 
dianship they are bound to repel the officiousness of all 
men that speak or move to destroy or disintegrate it." 


Major Anderson and Forts Moultrie and Sumter. Description of Ander 
son. Anecdotes. Anderson ordered to relieve Gardner. His vigilance. 
His masterly movement from Moultrie to Sumter. The question of 
reinforcement. Expedition of the "Star of the West." She is fired 
upon. First shots from Sumter. Beginning of civil war. 

rj iHE agitations preceding our civil war were more vio- 
-*- lent in the State of South Carolina than in any other 
portion of the country, and the defences of the harbor of 
Charleston, especially Forts Moultrie and Sumter, be 
came a subject of lively interest. 

Before quoting from my journal what I wrote in refer 
ence to the change of commanders in Charleston harbor, 
which was made in the month of November, 1860, I will 
sketch the character of Major Anderson, who was made 
famous by that change. We belonged to the same regi 
ment of artillery, and served together in General Scott's 
personal staff about four years. 

Robert Anderson was born in Kentucky. Both his 
parents were, I think, natives of Virginia, and descended 
from good families. I did not become acquainted with 
him till he had been fourteen or fifteen years in the army, 
and I had been commissioned about half as long a time. 
Of all my acquaintances among men, Anderson had the 
fewest vices of any one of them. In fact, I doubt if he 
had any quality which the world ordinarily denominates a 
vice. Certainly he had none which are embraced under 
the sweeping phrase, "Wine, women, and play," and 

368 Fifty Years' Observation. 

which, according to Gil Bias, are those that usually ruin 
men. In all things he was rigorously temperate and 
moderate, and he was as honest and conscientious as it is 
possible for a man to be. He was a pattern of order and 
method, and worked out his plans slowly. He always 
had a reason for what he did, and generally he pro 
claimed his reasons, and his frankness sometimes rubbed 
me centre poll. This was accounted for by the strong di 
vergence of temperament between him and me. His ar 
guments seldom modified my convictions, and I would 
often run after sports and feasts, while he remained plod 
ding in the office. His minute punctuality in all the 
duties, habits, and relations of life sometimes annoyed 
me, but did not diminish my respect for him, since I felt 
certain his decisions were never intended to be unjust. 
Generally, while we served together in the staff, I was the 
only Northern man attached to it. Our chief, Pegram, 
and Shaw were all Southerners. Pegram and I were as 
much in accord as though we had been rocked together 
in the same cradle, and Shaw, who was a Tennessean and 
a volunteer, and I were seemingly more fond of one an 
other because we were born so far apart. 

In person Anderson was well-built, and a trifle less 
than five feet eight inches tall. His shoulders were slop 
ing, and the tailor found it easy to fit him with a coat. 
His face was rather long, his forehead high and narrow, 
and the expression of his hazel eyes was such that they 
could always be seen when his face was in sight. His 
hair was dark and straight, and was cropped close, and 
his beard clean shaved. He was popular among citizens, 
to whom his salutations were cordial, and with whom he 
maintained extensive friendly relations, 

The foregoing description does not indicate a poetical 
temperament, which was not one of the endowments of 

Anecdotes of Major Anderson. * 369 


Major Anderson, though he occasionally dabbled in verse. 

A curious incident occurred m Augusta, Maine, while 
we were there to settle the northeastern boundary. The 
staff was then quite brilliant, as it was composed of An 
derson, Joe Johnson, since the distinguished Confederate 
commander ; George Talcott, who was one of the hand 
somest men in the army; William Palmer, an accom 
plished member of the engineer corps, and myself. 
United States Senator Williams and his wife lived in Au 
gusta, and we had met them in Washington, where Mrs. 
Williams was known for her great beauty and accom 
plishments. One day Anderson, Talcott, and I started 
out to call on Mrs. Williams, who lived half a mile from 
our hotel. On the way to her house Anderson and Tal 
cott occupied themselves in saying over a stanza of 
poetry which one of them had discovered, and which I 
had never seen. They finally satisfied themselves they 
had the poetry correct, and they commented on its 
beauty without referring to me, but I had full possession 
of it before we reached the door. We were cordially re 
ceived by Mrs. Williams, who had two agreeable young 
ladies with her. The conversation was pleasant and soon 
became general upon a fitting subject, when I assumed 
an air of suave composure and discharged the stanza 
upon the waked attention of the whole six ! I studied 
the proper emphasis of every syllable, and in my delivery 
I vwafted my eyes from our hostess to my companions, 
upoB whose faces amazement sat. They said nothing, 
but the ladies admired the poetry and asked where I 
found itu I told them I had picked it up in my travels, 
and was glad it pleased them. After coming out Ander- 
.son and Talcott assailed me with reproaches for my auda 
cious the& -with stich violence that I apprehended a fight 
or a foot r&c.e,, <t>Bt 1 escaped both, and when I related the 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

incident to the general and the other members of the 
staff they made merry over it for several days. 

Major Anderson was so little aware of his Southern 
partialities that he frequently offended me without know 
ing it. Almost invariably, when a Northern officer was 
named for any kind of distinction, he would shake his 
head and make a disparaging remark. At the same time 
his moderation and candid manner would add to my dis 
sent and irritate me beyond expression. The effect of 
that irritation was probably operating upon me when I 
made the following entry in my journal : 

"NEW YORK, October 15, 1860. 

"To-day Major Robert Anderson came to General 
Scott's office. He has been to Washington, and is to be 
ordered to Charleston, S. C., to relieve Colonel Gardner, 
who is, in the same order, instructed to proceed forthwith 
to Fort Brown, Texas. The Secretary of War directed 
Major Anderson to report to General Scott for instruc 
tions. The general gives the Secretary's order as his in 
structions, and I see he will not venture anything more 
specific. General Scott, however, suggested to Major 
Anderson the propriety of examining into the state of 
things in Charleston Harbor, and then to make a report. 

" I can say, if hatred and contempt for the people of 
the North and East, and especially the latter, and a 
boundless partiality for the South, are qualifications for a 
successor in command to Colonel Gardner, few better 
than Major Anderson can be found among my acquaint 
ances in the army. As to Colonel John L. Gardner of 
Massachusetts, if he has been avowing secession senti 
ments, as it is reported, he is a doughface, and deserves 
neither compassion nor pity." 

Major Anderson proceeded without delay to Charles- 

Major Anderson. 371 

ton, relieved Colonel Gardner, and took quarters at Fort 
Moultrie, Sullivan's Island. There he found a small 
garrison of about sixty regular soldiers and seven officers, 
among whom were Captain Abner Doubleday and Sur 
geon Crawford, two men of pronounced Northern cast of 
mind, strong Union sentiments, and the former decidedly 
incongruous in disposition with his commanding officer. 

Anderson from the first seems to have been active and 
vigilant, and did all in his power to strengthen his posi 
tion, which was exposed nearly all around to attacks from 
land batteries. It soon became evident that Fort Moul 
trie was untenable, and the major, with masterly secrecy, 
prepared to abandon it. He executed his purpose on the 
night of December 26, 1860, by an exploit which of itself 
was brilliant, and which made him the subject of conver 
sation all over the continent. I record my impressions of 
it in my journal as follows : 

" WASHINGTON, December 27, 1880. 

" To-day the news from Charleston is that Major An 
derson, commanding Fort Moultrie, abandoned that post 
last night and repaired with all his force, except four 
soldiers, to Fort Sumter, which is one mile and thirty 
yards from Fort Moultrie, and across the ships' channel. 
He had spiked all the guns and burned the gun-carriages 
before leaving. 

" Fort Sumter is built on an irregular pentagon, in the 
bay, of which the longest side is between three hundred 
and four hundred yards. The cisterns in that fort are of 
the capacity of about 3,500 gallons, and with provisions, 
arms, and ammunition in abundance, he can hold out 
a considerable time against the strength of South 

" I regard the movement of Anderson as one of the 
greatest merit. It brings the question of secession to a 

372 Fifty Years' Observation. 

focus. If the commissioners from South Carolina, Messrs. 
Orr, Adams and Barnwell, demand the surrender of the 
forts, the question may be settled at once, as to whether 
the government of Mr. Buchanan is in league with the 
secessionists or not." 

At the time I wrote the above I was not aware that a 
portion of the structure of Fort Sumter was inflammable, 
as in fact it was to a considerable extent, nor was I aware 
that the supply of rations was quite small. 

The subject of reinforcing Major Anderson became at 
once a source of immense confusion. The majority of 
the Cabinet was unquestionably opposed to it, but I 
infer that Mr. Buchanan was not as backward in the 
matter as many supposed, from the following record in 
my journal which I made at the time : 

" January I, 1861. 

"On the 3 ist ultimo, the Secretary of War, John B. 
Floyd, resigned his portfolio in a letter glorifying himself 
and insulting the President of the United States. 

" Mr. Holt, of Kentucky, Postmaster-General, is to do 
the duty of Secretary of War, ad interim. Mr. Holt and 
General Scott will act together in harmony, and Major 
Anderson will be supported in Fort Sumter, and efforts 
will be made to prevent the forts falling into the hands 
of the seceders. General Scott has continued to appeal 
without ceasing to the President to protect the public 
property of the Union.*' 

"January 8. 

" Some days ago secret orders were given to reinforce 
Major Anderson from the recruits at Governor's Island. 
Colonel Thomas went to New York to execute the order. 
He was so cautious that two hundred recruits were put 
on board the ' Star of the West ' by means of a steam 

The " Star of the West " Fired on. 373 

tug which conveyed them through the Narrows, trans 
ferred them to the 'Star of the West,' and then put out 
to sea to be gone two or three days. The ' Star of the 
West ' got under headway Saturday, January 5, ostensibly 
for New Orleans, and it was not till yesterday that the 
matter appeared in the newspapers. The public mind is 
now, consequently, in a most feverish condition. If the 
seceders of South Carolina fire on the ' Star of the West,' 
either from Fort Moultrie or from Morris Island, I trust 
it may cause unity of sentiment at the North, and that 
the war may commence in earnest." 

"January IO. 

" Rumors reach Washington in the newspapers, and 
last night by wire, that the South Carolinians have been 
firing on the ' Star of the West.' It is reported that the 
ship did not get into the harbor to reinforce Major 
Anderson, and that several shots struck her from the 
batteries on Morris and Sullivan's Island. Thus the 
drama advances !" 

The above rumors proved true. Two shots struck the 
" Star of the West," but no person on board was hit. 

"WASHINGTON, January 16, 1861. 

" To-day Mr. Gourdin from Charleston (a member of 
the South Carolina Convention), was in the office. He 
gave a list of the grievances of South Carolina, and he 
seemed convinced that the Charlestonians are right in 
the main, but, like other men under strong excitement, 
they sometimes would do foolish things and things to be 
regretted. I told him it would cause great and universal 
hostility at the North if they longer cut off the necessary 
comforts for Major Anderson and his garrison in Fort 
. " After the futile attempt of the Star of the West ' to 

374 Fifty Years' Observation. 

land reinforcements and supplies, Anderson and his little 
band 'of heroes were left to encounter the hardships and 
discomforts of a siege. On the other hand, the vaunting 
seceders continued their destructive preparations with 
unmolested vigor. All things being ready, an aged Con 
federate patriot named Ruffin, a native of Virginia, 
claimed the right of a debutant in the national tragedy, 
and it was he who, on April 12, 1861, discharged the first 
shot at Fort Sumter, which, being set on fire, forced the 
garrison shortly to surrender. The noise of the gun that 
Ruffm set off was soon known to the entire civilized 
world. The shock stimulated and united the hearts of 
Northern men, and was the practical beginning of the 
civil war in America." 

Among the apothegms of Holy Writ there are few 
which upon probation leave in the memory a more frigid 
impression than this: " Pride goeth before a fall." The 
South Carolinians learned in after-times the truth of this, 
since they were the proudest people I have known, and 
their fall has been the most signal. 

" How nations sink by darling schemes opprest, 
When vengeance listens to the fool's request." 


Reinforcement of Fort Pickens. Captain Vogdes. Gen. Scott on the 
situation of Fort Pickens. Interview between Lincoln and Scott. My 
interview with the President and Mr. Seward. The expedition ordered. 
Lincoln's letter of authority. Gen. Butler. Close of my secretary 
ship. Service under Morgan of New York. 

ON the 25th of March, the subject of Fort Pickens 
was brought into notice as follows : On that day 
a correspondence between Lieutenant A. J. Slemmer of 
the United States Army, commanding Fort Pickens, 
Pensacola Harbor, and Major-General Braxton Bragg, 
commanding the forces of the Confederate States at 
Pensacola, was read by the President and Cabinet. It 
appears by the correspondence that it was the impression 
of both Slemmer and Bragg, that the armistice previously 
agreed on in Washington required notice of its discon 
tinuance, and that while it lasts the United States can 
not, without a breach of faith, land Captain Vogdes' 
company from the ship-of-war " Brooklyn," nor do any 
other act to reinforce or strengthen Fort Pickens. 

It now appears that Bragg, under the real or feigned 
belief that Slemmer had, during the armistice, raised a 
battery across Santa Rosa Island, has been at work forti 
fying the opposite shore of the channel. Slemmer denies 
that he has erected a battery on the island as accused. 

The history of the armistice above referred to strikingly 
illustrates the respect paid by the United States Gov 
ernment to the men who were laboring openly to destroy 
it. It appears that about the 2Qth day of January, 1861, 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

a telegram from Mr. Mallory was received by Messrs. 
Slidell, Hunter, and Bigler, and laid before the President 
of the United States. The purpose of that telegram was 
to avoid a hostile collision at Fort Pickens, and to give 
the assurance of Colonel Chase that no assault would be 
made by the Confederates. 

Thereupon the Secretaries, Holt and Toucey, of the 
War and Navy departments, did, on the 2Qth of January 
aforesaid, address a joint note to the naval commanders 
near Pensacola, and to Lieutenant Slemmer at Fort 
Pickens, forbidding Captain Vogdes to land his company 
unless the fort should be attacked. The right to land pro 
visions and ammunition was reserved, and communication 
with the United States Government must be kept open 
and free. 

Mr. Holt asserted that the sole motive of the joint 
letter was to avoid "irritation" during the Peace Con 
vention, which commenced its session at Washington, 
February 4, 1861. 

General Scott remarked that he never saw the joint 
letter of the two secretaries until the 2$th of March, 
though he was informed by Mr. Holt of its substance at 
about the time it was written. Mr. Holt declared that 
there was no obligation implied or expressed to prevent 
the landing of Vogdes and his company of artillery. On 
the contrary, he thought our Government was at full 
liberty to land the troops without giving any kind of 
notice to the Confederate forces. 

Notwithstanding the armistice, Captain Vogdes went 
on shore with his company, and assumed command of the 
fort. He was astonished at its meagre armament, and its 
poverty in everything requisite for a defence, and with 
out loss of time he made requisitions to supply all de 

General Vogdes. 377 

As Captain, now General, Vogdes was often referred to 
in connection with the subject under consideration, it is 
proper that I should say a word of an old friend from 
whom the tide of life has long separated me. While I 
was his neighbor at West Point, Vogdes was assistant 
professor, and remarkable for three things. He was 
among the leading mathematicians, one of the most skil 
ful chess players at the Point, and the best-read man in 
the military history and campaigns of the great Napoleon 
of the whole army. His disposition was amiable, albeit a 
trifle irritable, while certain oddities of voice and manner 
and other eccentricities tended to detract from his de 
served reputation. While he commanded at Fort 
Pickens, a body of rebels stole across to the island in the 
night to alarm or capture the fort. Vogdes, at the head 
of a party of his troops, sallied out to repel the marauders, 
among whom was a West Point associate, who recog 
nized his shrill voice. Guided by that, which continued 
to direct them, a few of the assailants found it not diffi 
cult to gather around the captain, to seize his person, and 
carry him away into captivity. Even in the depth of 
his prison-house, Vogdes' strategical faculties remained 
bright, and he made some happy suggestions for the con 
duct of the war on the Potomac. 

Subjects connected with Fort Pickens had been con 
stantly discussed, and I find in my journal of March 29 
the following entry : 

" Last night General Scott went to dine with the 
President. I came in at 5 P.M., and found him talking 
with Senator Sumner of Massachusetts. The subject 
under discussion was Fort Pickens. I had while in New 
York, some ten or fifteen days before, written to General 
Scott, to set forth the difficulty of landing ordnance 
stores on the beach for Fort Pickens. I also added, that 

378 Fifty Years' Observation. 

if the fort needed all that Captain Vogdes had made re 
quisitions for, it must be in a bad way. I thought the 
matter serious, and that General Scott's attention should 
be called to it especially. On my return from New York, 
I suggested that, in consideration of the difficulty of re 
inforcing Fort Pickens, it would be better to give it and 
Fort Sumter up together, as an act of grace. Those two 
forts may be considered as having been given up by Bu 
chanan's administration. 

" Before dinner the General received from President 
Lincoln a note, asking him to come at once to the execu 
tive mansion. On setting out, the General whispered to 
me, that Mr. Lamon had informed him (Mr. Lamon 
had been down to Charleston with a letter from General 
Scott, with the sanction of Mr. Lincoln) that Governor 
Pickens wished to come back into the Union. The 
General also remarked that he supposed Mr. Lincoln 
wished to converse with him about Forts Sumter and 
Pickens, and he seemed to expect the President would be 
willing to give up both. 

" This morning the General appeared to be troubled. 
He told me that the long conversation he had with Mr. 
Lamon about the forts, and which he supposed Lamon 
reported to the President, had apparently not been re 
ported. The President said Anderson had played us false, 
and he seemed to indicate a want of consistency in Gen 
eral Scott's own views concerning Fort Pickens. The 
President went so far as to say that his administration 
would be broken up unless a more decided policy was 
adopted, and if General Scott could not carry out his 
views, some other person might. This last alternative 
was dimly shadowed forth in Mr. Lincoln's conver 
sation, and it seems to have disturbed General Scott 

Fort Pic kens. 379 

"WASHINGTON, Easier-Day, March 31, 1861. 

" Last night and this morning General Scott was en 
gaged in writing a short chronological history of Forts 
Sumter and Pickens. Doubtless he was inclined to do 
so by the President's conversation with him, and by the 
conviction that, knowing the progress the secessionists 
have made in closing in Fort Sumter, and in fortifying 
the whole western side of the Harbor of Pensacola with 
strong batteries, the two forts must soon be captured, or 
given up. Moreover the general feels nettled at the 
idea of having been considered tardy in making prepara 
tions to reinforce Fort Pickens, which President Lincoln 
told me he had given orders on the tyh of March to be done. 

" In consequence of the above, the general conversed 
at length with me, and he appeared glad that I agreed 
with him as to the policy of surrendering the forts, or 
rather of withdrawing the garrisons from them. I sug 
gested that it should be done, and that a paper should be 
drawn up by an able writer, that would give an air of 
grace to the concession." 

The foregoing proves the sad truth in regard to myself, 
that I had in despair surrendered my own opinions. I, 
however, retain the consolation that as I knew the abso 
lute weakness of the forts and the strength of the 
rebels, the forts must soon be surrendered or capt 
ured. I conscientiously refrained from all allusions 
to the Navy, because I could not arrive at any clear 
understanding of the designs of Secretary Welles in re 
gard to his co-operation. That there was no energetic 
co-operation on his part, although the assistance of armed 
ships was absolutely required, is strikingly apparent. 
During the whole time which intervened from Ander 
son's movement to Fort Sumter till his final evacuation, 

380 Fifty Years Observation. 

I witnessed no disposition to employ force to protect 
the Southern forts in any of the directing agents of the 
Federal Government, except President Lincoln and Mr. 
Seward his Secretary of State. 

At breakfast on Easter morning, the General encour 
aged me to talk. I spoke at length, and went into mi 
nute details of the manner of landing heavy guns, gun- 
carriages and ammunition on the sand beach of Santa 
Rosa Island, and getting them into the fort. I told him 
it would be futile to attempt the reinforcement weak- 
handed. During my explanations I was astonished at 
the expression of the General's face. He did not once 
interrupt me, though I continued speaking not less than 
half an hour. A portion of the time, however, his 
thoughts appeared to wander from my discourse. As 
soon as I had finished speaking he wheeled in his chair, 
reached out his hand and took, from a pile of rolled-up 
maps and plans, a long roll, and handed it to me. It 
was a map of the Harbor of Pensacola and its surround 
ings, which I did not know was in the room. "Take 
this map," said he, " to Mr. Seward, and repeat to him 
exactly what you have just said to me about the difficulty 
of reinforcing Fort Pickens." 

As I had entirely abandoned all hope and expectation 
that any serious effort was to be made to relieve the 
post, I regarded my errand as one of the merest form. 
So, placing the roll under my left arm, I passed down 
Sixth Street to the Avenue and strolled along towards 
the Treasury Building. 

My pace was slower than usual, as I anticipated I had 
time to talk ten minutes with Governor Seward, and 
then be early at St. Matthew's Church, where I intended 
to go. I was stopped by an acquaintance, who enquired 
what that long roll contained. I told him it related to 

Plan to Reinforce Fort Pic kens. 381 

unfinished business, and I was going to leave it with 
Governor Seward. 

Arriving at Mr. Seward's house on F Street, I was ad 
mitted, and found the astute Secretary standing in the 
middle of his parlor alone. After a respectful salutation, 
I said : 

" Mr. Seward, I am here by direction of General Scott, 
to explain to you the difficulties of reinforcing Fort 

" I don't care about the difficulties," said he. "Where's 
Captain Meigs ? " 

" I suppose he's at his house, sir." 

"Please find him and bring him here.'' 

" I'll call and bring him on my return from church." 

"Never mind church to-day; I wish to see him and 
you here together without delay." 

Notwithstanding I had been long subject to obey mili 
tary commands implicitly, a rebellious thought arose in 
my mind, when I received from Secretary Seward such 
clean-cut orders. Nevertheless I reflected that he could 
speak from the ambush of original power, and concluded 
to obey him with alacrity, and within ten minutes Meigs 
and I stood together before him. 

Without preliminary remarks Mr. Seward said : " I 
wish you two gentlemen to make a plan to reinforce 
Fort Pickens, see General Scott, and bring your plan 
to the Executive Mansion at 3 o'clock this after 

Accordingly we hastened to the office of the Engineers, 
and the negro custodian allowed us to enter without 
obstruction. Meigs, being familiar with all the deposi 
tories, went directly to that which contained the maps 
and plans of the Pensacola Harbor and the fort. Having 
spread them out upon the large tables, we commenced 

382 Fifty Years' Observation. 

work, each in his own way, and continued our labors 
nearly four hours with scarcely a word from either one of 
us. We made out lists of everything a bare fort would 
require; calculated the weight and bulk of the various 
pieces and packages, the tonnage needed, and the num 
ber of troops of the different arms required to place the 
fort in a state of siege. Meigs made out sailing direc 
tions partly, and a requisition for machines to sweeten 
sea water. We finished our plans almost simultaneously, 
and started at once for the White House. On arriving 
at the door, I found by my watch that it lacked only five 
minutes to 3 o'clock, and that it was impossible for 
me to go to Sixth Street, see General Scott, and report 
at the White House at the appointed hour. Neverthe 
less I concluded to go in and lay the case before my 

We found the President and Secretary of State waiting 
to receive us in the Executive Mansion. Mr. Lincoln 
was sitting behind the table near the end ; his right leg, 
from the knee to foot, which was not small, rested on the 
table, his left leg on a chair, and his hands were clasped 
over his head. Those positions were changed frequently 
during the conference, and I never saw a man who could 
scatter his limbs more than he. We sat down, and the 
places occupied by the four persons were about the 
corners of a square of eight feet sides. 

"Gentlemen, are you ready to report?" said Mr. 

" I am ready," said I, " but I have not had time to see 
General Scott, who is entirely ignorant of what I have 
been doing. As I am his military secretary, he will be 
angry if I don't let him know." 

" I'm not General Scott's military secretary, and I am 
ready to report," was the remark of Meigs. 

The Plan. 383 

Mr. Lincoln then said : " There's no time to lose. Let 
us hear your reports, gentlemen." 

Meigs read first, and his plan was as new to me as to 
the other auditors. Then I read mine, and there was 
nothing especially discordant in the two. Meigs went 
more into the details of engineering, and I into those of 
artillery, which was my specialty. When we spoke of 
scarps, counterscarps, terreplains, barbettes, trench cava 
liers, etc., Mr. Seward interrupted, saying : 

" Your excellency and I don't understand all those 
technical military terms." 

" That's so," said Mr. Lincoln ; " but we understand 
that the rare rank goes right behind the front ! " and then 
he brought both feet to the floor and clasped his hands 
between his knees. 

As soon as the readings were at an end, not a sugges 
tion of an amendment or addition having been made by 
either of the august personages to whom we had ad 
dressed ourselves, the President said : " Gentlemen, see 
General Scott, and carry your plans into execution with 
out delay." 

It was already close upon six o'clock, which was our 
dinner-hour, and I made haste to return home. I found 
General Scott seated alone at the table, and saw in his 
countenance such a mixture of anger and anxiety as I 
had never witnessed before. 

" Where have you been all day?" said he. 

Then I described to him in the fewest words possible 
how Mr. Seward had declined to listen to my explana 
tions; how he had directed me and Captain Meigs to 
make a plan to reinforce Fort Pickens ; how he had told 
me to see General Scott and come to the Executive 
Mansion at 3 o'clock P.M. How I had been detained 
till it was too late to see him before that hour, and how 

384 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Mr. Lincoln had told me " to read my plan without first 
seeing you !" 

11 Did he tell you that ? " said the general. 

"He did, sir!" said I, and then there was a pause of 
at least five minutes. 

It was easy for me to perceive that my chief was strug 
gling to restrain a tremendous emotion. He no doubt 
felt, as he looked, like a haughty dictator who had been 
over-ruled. The majesty of his mien, which in times 
past was so threatening when thwarted in his preroga 
tive, was not now apparent. In its stead I noted in his 
countenance that gloomy sadness, which antedates but 
little the culmination of honors and the lapse of power. 

The spectacle before me demanded a deferential 
silence on my part, which I neglected to guard. To the 
excitability of my temperament was due a gross breach 
of decorum, of which, at the time, I was unconscious. 
Gladness sparkled in my eyes, and the tones of my voice 
were joyous. The dogs of War were to be let slip, and 
I a factor ! Moreover all my faculties had been in vio 
lent exercise during ten hours without refreshment of 
any kind. There was not a mouthful of victuals, nor a 
drop of drink in the War Office, nor in the executive 
mansion, for us. Consequently I brought to the table the 
appetite of a Siberian wolf in winter, and the thirst of a 
Bedouin returned from a foray in the scorched sand of 
Arabia. The dinner was good and the wines choice. I 
indulged my voracity, while the general sat musing, and 
between every three or four turns of my knife and fork I 
poured off a bumper, throwing my head back to imbibe 
the last drop. What happened after dinner I cannot re 
member. It is certain that I was full of bread and 
well charged with distempering draughts, though I was 
not by any means drunk. I sought my bed early, and 

Despatch to Col. Brown. 385 

after a long sleep I arose refreshed for the hard work 
of the following day. 

Early on the morning of April i, Meigs and I 
commenced our preparatory work in the various mili 
tary bureaus at Washington. We needed time to select 
officers, troops and material required, and to ascertain 
where they were. Colonel Harvey Brown of the Artil 
lery was selected to command the expedition, and we 
drew up the following letter of instructions to him, the 
authorship of the letter being about equally the work of 
Meigs and me ; except the words " if necessary for de 
fence," which were inserted by Mr. Seward, to whom I 
submitted the letter. General Scott, before whom I 
afterwards laid it, attached his signature without remark 
or comment. 


WASHINGTON, April i, 1861. ) 

Brev,et Colonel Harvey Brown, United States Army, Washington, D. C. 

SIR :. You have been designated to take command of an expedition to 
reinforce and to hold Fort Pickens in the Harbor of Pensacola. 

You will proceed with the least possible delay to that place, and you will 
assume command of all the land forces of the United States within the 
limits of the State of Florida. . 

You will proceed to New York, where steam transportation for four com 
panies will be engaged, and putting on board such supplies as you can ship 
without delay, proceed at once to your destination. 

The engineer company of sappers and miners, Brevet Major Hunt's 
Company M, 2d Artillery, Captain John's Company C, 3d Infantry, 
Captain Clitz's Company E, 3d Infantry, 'will embark with you in the first 
steamer. Other troops and full supplies will be sent after you, as soon as 

Captain Meigs will accompany you as engineer, and will remain with you 
until you are established in Fort Pickens, when he will return to resume 
his duties in this city. 

The other members of your staff will be : Assistant Surgeon John Camp 
bell, Med. Staff ; Captain Rufus Ingalls, Assistant Quartermaster ; Captain 
Henry F. Clark, Commissary of Subsistence, and 1st Lieutenant George 
F. Balch, Ordnance Officer. 

386 Fifty Years' Observation. 

The object and destination of this expedition will be communicated to no 
person to whom it is not already known. 

The naval officers in the Gulf will be instructed to co-operate with you, 
and to afford every facility in their power for the accomplishment of the 
object of the expedition, which is the security of Fort Pickens against all 
attacks, foreign and domestic. 

Should a shot be fired at you, you will defend yourself and your expe 
dition at whatever hazard, and, if needful for defence, inflict upon the 
assailant all the damage in your power, within the range of your guns. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes, Military Secretary, will be authorized to 
give all necessary orders and to call upon the staff departments for 
every requisite material and for transportation, and other steamers will fol 
low that upon which you embark, to carry reinforcements, supplies and pro 
visions for Fort Pickens for six months. 

Captain Barry's battery will follow as soon as a vessel can be fitted for 
its transportation. Two or three foot companies will embark the same 
time with the battery. 

All the companies will be filled up to the maximum standard. Those to 
embark first from recruits in the harbor of New York. The other com 
panies will be filled, if practicable, with instructed soldiers. 

You will make Fort Jefferson your main depot and base of operations. 
You will be careful not too much to reduce the means of the fortresses on the 
Florida Reef, as they are deemed of greater importance than even Fort 
Pickens. [We regarded them as constituting the key to the Gulf of 

The naval officers in the Gulf will be instructed to co-operate with you in 
every way in order to ensure the safety of Fort Pickens, Fort Jefferson, and 
Fort Taylor. 

You will freely communicate with them to this end, and will exhibit to 
them the authority of the President herewith. 

With great confidence in your judgment, zeal, and intelligence, etc. 


The paragraph directing Colonel Brown to defend 
himself in case he should be fired upon was written by 
me, and when Mr. Seward insisted on the insertion of the 
words, " if needful for defence'' I speculated on his 
motives and the character of his mind, which could 
suggest a benefit from such a diplomatic caution in my 
military composition. In writing the directions I antici- 

Ordered to New York. 

pated the possibility that a rebel or piratical cruiser 
might cross his track, and in case a shot or shell should 
come hissing through the air from a craft bearing an un 
recognized flag, he was instructed to return it, and 
to damage his assailant to the utmost of his strength. I 
have known officers who were so scrupulous about orders 
that, seeing such a phrase, they would, after the shot was 
fired, call a council of war to determine its meaning, and 
thus give time to the rover on the sea to cripple and 
capture the ship. 

As I desired before leaving Washington to have in my 
possession such a warrant of authority as would secure to 
me instantaneous obedience of all the staff and other 
officers in and about New York, I wrote the following 
order, and carried it to General Scott for his signature. 
He took the order and held it in his hand, looking at it 
two or three minutes. Then he returned it to me, 
saying, " You had better get the President to sign that 
order." I then changed the heading, carried it to the 
White House, and Mr. Lincoln signed it without a 
moment's hesitation. 

The order was as follows : 

1 86 1. \ 

Lieutenant-Colonel E. D. Keyes, United States Army, Military Secretary : 

You will proceed forthwith to the city of New York to carry out the in 
structions which you have received here. All requisitions made upon 
officers of the staff by your authority, and all orders given by you to any 
officer of the Army in my name, will be instantly obeyed. 


Having ascertained the stations and depositions of all 
the troops and materials we should require, and armed 
with the President's mandate, which is few in words but 
spacious in effect, Captain Meigs, Lieutenant Porter (now 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

admiral of the Navy), and I left Washington in the even 
ing train of April 3, for New York. It was past midnight 
when we embarked in the ferry-boat at Philadelphia to 
cross the Delaware. As the boat was about to cast off, I 
heard a group of men talking about us. One of them 
said "There's General Scott's secretary; what's up?" 
Spies were so thick in those days that I assumed an air 
of indifference, and said, " Meigs, I'm not going to travel 
all night ; please look out for my trunk, and I'll come on 
in the morning train, if I don't oversleep myself." The 
next morning I took the route via Amboy, and while 
going up to New York from that city I prepared orders 
for ordnance and recruiting officers, quartermaster and 
commissary, and Meigs being on hand at the quarter 
master's office when I arrived, a buzz of activity was 
started immediately in the city. 

Having issued orders, some in the name of Lieutenant- 
General Scott and some in the name of the President of 
the United States, and made requisitions upon the 
quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and recruiting 
officers, the medical purveyor, and certain engineer 
officers, I went out to inspect such ships and vessels as 
were required. I agreed at once to the charter of the 
steamers " Atlantic " and the " Illinois," and later I en 
gaged the " Philadelphia," and others through Colonel D. 
D. Tompkins, assistant quartermaster-general in charge 
at New York. 

The amount of war material of every sort and subsis 
tence of all kinds for, say, 750 men for six months, with 
forage for horses, and the various medical and quarter 
master's stores, including fuel, would require the storage 
of not less than 12,000 tons. The stevedores were awk 
ward in handling some of the heavy ordnance, the gun 
carriages and ammunition, and I was obliged to give fre- 

Loading the "Atlantic" 

quent personal attention to them. Fortunately, I knew, 
and had at my tongue's end, the dimensions and weight 
of every gun, howitzer, and mortar in the service, as well 
as their carriages, and the same of every weapon, shot, 
shell, and box of cartridges and fuses. Consequently I 
could aid in the proper placement of those things. 

The number of notes, letters, and orders to be written 
was surprising, and the men who came to offer ships and 
various kinds of service were a constant interruption to 
us. We were obliged to cut short every interview, and 
decline all idle talk, and by the incessant labor of Meigs 
and myself we had the large steamer, the " Atlantic," 
loaded and ready to sail at 12 o'clock M., on the 6th day of 
April. Thereupon Captain Meigs addressed the follow 
ing letter to the Secretary of State, whom we both re 
garded as the chief patron and originator of our enter 
prise : 


2% P.M., 6th. April, 1861. 

Hon. W. H. Seivard, Secretary of State . 

DEAR SIR : By great exertions within less than six days from the time 
the subject was broached in the office of the President, a war steamer sails 
from this port, and the " Atlantic," built under contract to be at the service 
of the United States in case of war, will follow this afternoon with five 
hundred troops, of which one company is sappers and miners, and a 
mounted battery. The " Illinois " will follow on Monday with the stores 
which the " Atlantic " could not hold. 

While the throwing a few men into Fort Pickens may seem a small mat 
ter, the opening of a campaign is a great one. Unless this movement is 
supported by ample supplies and followed up by the navy, it will be a 

This is the beginning of a war which every statesman and soldier has 
foreseen since the passage of the South Carolina ordinance of secession. 
You will find the army and navy clogged at the head with men, excellent 
men patriots, who were soldiers and sailors forty years ago, but who now 
keep active men out of their places, in which they could serve the country. 



3QO Fifty Years' Observation. 

If you call out volunteers you have no general to command. The genius, 
born, not made, is yet to be found, who is to govern this great army which 
is to save the country, if saved it can be. 

Colonel Keyes has shown intelligence, zeal, activity, and I look for a 
high future for him. 

England took six months to get a soldier to the Crimea. We were from 
May to September in getting General Taylor to Monterey. Let us be sup 
ported. We go to serve our country, and our country should not neglect us 
or leave us to be strangled in tape, however red. 

I remain, etc., 

[Signed] M. C. MEIGS. 

The above letter was the frank expression of the 
thoughts of the writer at its date. Afterwards, and 
recently, when younger men, " excellent men, patriots," 
looked with longing eyes upon the office of Quarter 
master-General of the Army, which he held, they served 
up the ingredients of that letter as their chief argument 
for his displacement, and they succeeded in putting him 
on the retired list, although his mind is still bright, and 
his capacity undiminished. 

At the time Captain Meigs wrote his letter to Secre 
tary Seward he was young, vigorous, handsome, clever, 
laborious, and, when he chose to be, seductive. When I 
saw him last, which was a year before his retirement from 
active service, it appeared to me that time had tallied 
the years upon him lightly, and I noticed no signs of 
mental decay. But his place being wanted, he was ousted. 

The habit indulged in by young officers of the army of 
depreciating the capacity of their seniors, is not peculiar 
to any one in particular, but it is general. There is a 
certain age at which the majority of officers become unfit 
for duty in the field, but it is not universal, and in many 
cases it can only be determined individually. Dr. John 
son said a man might hate his king and not love his 
country, and it is equally evident that a man may be 

Age of Military Leaders. 391 

young and not a good commander. It is also certain 
that some old men are good generals. Caesar was past 
fifty when he crossed the Rubicon to display, at a later 
date, the most wonderful prodigies of his genius in the 
field against Pompey, Pharnaces, Mutius Scipio, and his 
old lieutenant, Labienus. Genseric shone in war when 
much older. In more modern times the Venetian Dan- 
dolo commanded with distinction the expedition against 
Constantinople when he was ninety-two years old. 
Turenne, who was the first general of his age, was 
killed in 1675, while in command of the French army, 
at the age of sixty-four years, and his opponent, Monti- 
culi, was still older. Wurmser, at eighty years, gained 
the respect of Napoleon for his defence of Mantua, and 
Radetski, another Austrian, gained the battle of Novara, 
at the age of eighty- two. Finally, the examples of 
King William and his lieutenant, Von Moltke, show that 
septuagenarians are sometimes fit for duty in the field. 
Fitness does not depend upon years, but upon genius 
and strength and preparation. 

The "Atlantic," with Colonel Brown and Captain 
Meigs on board, left New York for Pensacola on the 6th 
of April, P.M. Captain Grey was master of the ship, and 
I addressed to him the following laconic note : 

NEW YORK, April 6, 1861. 
Captain A. A. Grey, Steamship Atlantic: 

SIR. The expedition, of which you are a part, is under the command of 
Colonel Harvey Brown. You will therefore implicitly obey his orders. 
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, 

By authority [signed] E. D. KEYES, 

Lieutenant-Colonel United States Army. 

The absence of Captain Meigs was a serious loss to me, 
as only about one-fourth the amount of stores to be for- 
warded was on board the "Atlantic." Although the 

39 2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

" Illinois " was nearly loaded, I had after the " Illinois" 
to load the " Philadelphia " and three sail-vessels, which 
were to be filled partly with the heaviest cannon and 
gun-carriages, which were so difficult to handle. I was 
obliged to examine numerous invoices and documents to 
ascertain what had been shipped and what more was 
needed, and to avoid mistakes. I was obliged to take 
measures to guard my secret, and I had for only clerk 
and amanuensis my young son, E. L. Keyes, to whom I 
took care not to mention the destination of the expedi 
tion, and I was not sure whether he had discovered it 
or not. I am certain, however, that Colonel Brown and 
Captain Meigs arrived off Santa Rosa Island unex 
pectedly to Bragg, and made success certain. 

During the few days I worked with Captain Meigs, 
preparing for a great advantage, which was the security 
of Pensacola and its surroundings, I was struck with the 
ease with which he grasped his subject and the facility 
of his execution, and I was willing to concede that, what 
ever might be the merit of our joint labors, the measure 
of praise which was due to me should for him be filled 
to abundant overflowing. 

Now that I am no longer spurred by ambition, nor 
troubled with official intrigues and jealousies, it amuses 
me to contemplate the off-hand style of my letters, 
orders, and other communications, of which I proceed to 
give additional specimens. One of my reasons for ad 
dressing Mr. Seward, instead of my chief, was, that I 
fancied a letter to him would be less liable to be tam 
pered with. 

NEW YORK, April 7, 1861. 
Hon. W. H. Seward, Secretary of State. 

DEAR SIR .' Captain Meigs received a telegram to stop a certain vessel. 
Fortunately it came too late, and its execution would have struck our enter 
prise between the horns. 

Letter to Seward. 393 

Coming on I told Porter, of the Navy, that the placing of one or two ves- 
Bels in a certain place in time, would make the game certain without, the 
loss will be certain. 

I found some difficulty in chartering the ships. Insurance companies 
wished to know where they were going. I wrote on a slip of paper " To 
go into any port between Passamaquoddy Bay and Brazos, or any port in the 
West Indies where a sloop of war could float." This, and the light battery 
put Wall Street in a mist. 


Meigs has head and pluck, and Brown has zeal of the true stamp. When 
they begin to work look out for the capital, Forts Me Henry and Monroe, 
the arsenals at Washington and St. Louis, navy yards, armory, &c. To 
know where troops are to be had at a moment's notice to defend them will 
be a sine qua non. 

The "Atlantic" is off with Meigs and Brown, well laden. All this 
Sunday and all night a large gang of men will be loading the "Illinois," 
and she, I trust, will be on her way when the sun goes down. Then I must 
take a day to look through my and Meigs' memoranda to know what has 
been done, and what we expect to do. We could not employ clerks lest our 
purpose should get wind. I am not very expert with the pen, and Meigs 
writes so illegibly that what he commits to paper I call fixed facts. 

When every preparation for defence is made two bull-heads should be 
placed in command of Forts Taylor and Jefferson, and Meigs, who can 
grasp the whole subject, ought not to be far from the capital. 
I am sir, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

P. S. I have not time to write to any one but you to-day. 

The vessel referred to in the first paragraph of the 
"above letter was the sloop of war " Powhatan " which it 
appeared the Secretary of the Navy desired for another 
purpose than ours. At the moment the telegram was re 
ceived to detain the ship, I knew she had not passed the 
Narrows, and might have been stopped. The dispatch 
was not to me, and as I thought it almost indispensable 
that the vessel should go to Pensacola I said nothing and 
did nothing in the matter. 

394 Fifty Years Observation. 

My second letter to the Secretary of State was the fol 
lowing : 

NEW YORK, April 10, 1861. 
Hon. W. H. Seivard, Secretary of Stale. 

SIR : Lieutenant Rodgers of the Navy [afterward Admiral Rodgers] has 
reported. He has gathered some information at the navy yard for me. 
Nothing can be ready for sea soon except the " Perry" ic-gun brig. The 
formidable steam frigates, the "Wabash" and the 4< Roanoke," can be 
got ready in three and six weeks, so we must rest content with what we 
have in the Gulf and on the way there. 

I had the good luck to get on board the " Illinois" one battery (Hunt's) 
of Napoleon guns, with ammunition and implements complete, and another 
battery (I suppose of Dahlgren guns) from the navy yard, with plenty 
of ammunition. In the " Atlantic " some shells were sent, with plenty of 
primers and fuses, cartridge bags, and such things as could be handled 

The two ships took better than six weeks' forage for the horses and four 
months' complete rations for, say 720 men ; about that number will be there, 
as I sent 75 recruits to fill up, etc. I am straining every nerve to get for 
ward such ordnance and stores as I know will be needed. Enough have 
gone to strike the first blow and to hold for a while against all they (the 
secessionists) can do, provided the naval vessels can place themselves. I 
shall charter another steamer to-morrow and secure the right to tow sail ves 
sels which are now loading with such things as cannot be got on board the 
steamers. If large demonstrations are made there it will be necessary to in 
crease our force to the war standard, which is 1,250 men. In view of the 
present complexion of affairs, a naval and military depot at Fort Jefferson, 
Tortugas, is a thing of immediate and absolute necessity. That depot 
should contain everything. I guard my secret against all. Our opposers 
lack means of transportation, mechanical skill and capital. To distract 
their attention and cloud it with mystery is the best course. 

The Union sentiment, or the conviction that the Government ought to be 
sustained, is growing among all parties. As soon as the first blow is struck 
the capital will be in real danger. 

Curiosity to know what I am about has increased so much that I address 
this letter to you instead of General Scott. I am kaown to be his secretary, 
and my letters might be tampered with. Please show this to the general if 
it is worth showing. 

I remain with high respect, etc., 

[Signed] E. D. KEYES, 

Lieutenant-Colonel V. S. Army. 

Our Instructions. 


The directions contained in the following letter were 
drawn up by Captain Meigs while we were engaged to 
gether forming our plans : 

NEW YORK, April, 1861. 
Lieutenant-Colonel //. S. Brooks, 

Commanding on board Steamship " Illinois" 

SIR : You, and the captain of the " Illinois " through you, will be gov 
erned by the following orders, which are to be opened at sea below Cape 
Hatteras : 

{As before directed, you will have discharged your pilot 
in deep water and have passed Cape Hatteras twenty 
miles to the eastward. 

No. 3. 

No. 4, 

No. 5. 

Cross the Gulf at right angles ; steer then for Mata- 
milles Bank ; coast along the edge to lat. 25 36'; thence 
make Carysford Light, and follow the usual course to Key 

f Land the District Attorney Boynton at Key West. 
J Have no communication with the shore or boats except 
I to ask for orders at the Fort, but proceed with all speed 

[to sea. 

( Report yourself for orders to Colonel Brown, off Fort 
\ Pickens, 

No. 6. 

No. 7. 

Should anything prevent a literal compliance with the 
above directions, you will follow them as nearly as possi 
ble, having in view their main purpose, which is, that you 
should report to Colonel Brown, off Fort Pickens, without 

f Communicate these orders to no person whatsoever, ex 
cept to the captain of the steamer, and it is supposed it will 
, . . \ not be necessary that he should know more than that he is 
to steer for Key West ; until after passing that point, com- 
[ municate no more than is actually required. 

By command of Lieutenant-General Scott, 

[Signed] E. D. KEYES, 
Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

396 Fifty Years' Observation. 

Lieutenant-Commander Rodgers having procured much 
important information from me, our relations terminated 
with the following note : 

NEW YORK, April 13, 1861. 

SIR : Having given me the assistance and information required, to my 
entire satisfaction, you are now at liberty to return to Washington, in con 
formity with the instructions of the Secretary of War, which you received 
on the 8th instant. 

I have the honor to be, etc. , 

. [Signed] E. D. KEYES, 
Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

Commander John Rodgers, U. S. Navy, New York. 

Having received no instructions from my chief to write 
to him, I omitted to do so, for fear my letters would be 
tampered with. My first letter to him was the following: 

NEW YORK, April 13, 1861. 
Lieutenant-General W. Scott, 

Commander of U. S. Army, Washington, D. C. 

SIR : The steamer " Philadelphia " has been chartered and is partly 
loaded. The work is suspended to-day by the rain, as most of the cargo 
would be ruined by wet storage. This steamer will carry a siege battery of 
ten pieces, with everything necessary to use it, also ammunition, imple 
ments, and other necessaries for the fort. It will also take the balance of 
a six months' supply of provisions and a considerable amount of forage and 

If the first blow shall have been struck everybody will be safe and com 
fortable until the heavy armament arrives, and then the place will be im 
pregnable against the present means of the seceders. 

One schooner is loaded with the heavy pieces, and two others will be 
necessary. To place them on shore without the assistance of a wharf is the 
great puzzle . I will do what I can here to solve it. 

Commander Rodgers, sent here to co-operate with me, has given me all 
the information I desired of him. The day he reported he remarked that 
he was a border-State man. To-day his expressions are strongly in favor of 
the Government against all opposers. It may be the noise at Charleston 
has brought him, as it has brought many others, to a just conclusion. I 
trust it has, as he appears to be an officer of merit. 

The " Philadelphia " has accommodations for a company of men if it is 

Letters to Scott and Seward. 397 

needful to send another company South. The vessel is old, however, and 
not so safe as I should have desired for troops. 

Commander Rodgers leaves for Washington this evening. By the middle 
of next week I shall have accomplished the business for which I came here, 
and then I shall leave unless otherwise directed 

The vigorous measures of the Government are giving immense encour 
agement, and the traitors at the North will soon be obliged to take cover. 
I wrote last to the Secretary of State the loth instant. 
I am, general, with perfect respect, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

I have not the least doubt that the above letter pro 
duced a very disagreeable effect upon General Scott, 
although not intended by me. I must have appeared too 
positive to him, and the word " traitor" in connection 
with the sectional turmoil which then existed, had an 
unmusical sound to all men of Southern birth. 

My next letter was to Mr. Seward. 

NEW YORK, April 14, 1861. 
Hon. W. H. Seward, Secretary of State. 

SIR : The surrender of Fort Sumter, which is the conclusion of a series 
of bad things, leaves several ships at liberty, and I know not their destina 
tion. My secret is not out. Some conjecture Saint Domingo, others Texas 
and Mexico. Fort Pickens and Fort Jefferson are also among the guesses. 

I had intended to leave for Washington next Thursday, but now the 
enterprise will take larger proportions. If it is intended to make all 
arrangements for a state of war I ought to remain longer. I know what is 
necessary, and yesterday I wrote to the general what I had done. Shall I 
wait here to get news of the first \Aovf from our own people? 

I have suspended work to-day and spent the time bewailing the fall of 
Fort Sumter and the loss of much labor. Of course the storm has dis 
persed the ships, and they cannot be heard from in less than a week, and I 
have the credit of having worked hard for defeat. 

I am, etc., 

Lieutenant- Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

P.S. Since writing the above, I have seen Mr. Aspinwall, who says the 

398 Fifty Years' Observation. 

11 Baltic" will be here on Wednesday evening, and that she is chartered by 
the month. Shall I load her here for the South? May she not be in Nor 
folk ? There is an agency here for the Armstrong guns, and in six weeks 
we could have some here. Captain Kingsbury, of the Ordnance Office, is a 
perfectly competent and reliable officer in his department. He is something 
of a genius. 

A Mr. J. Dow Williamson has just left me. Says he was in Pensacola 
on the 8th instant. Says also, the batteries to the right and left of Fort 
Burancas are mounted with wooden guns, and that Bragg is concentrating his 
forces in the live oak groves across the Bay, to the east of the town, and is 
building rafts upon which to cross to Santa Rosa Island. 

If Vogdes' company has landed, I think they may hold out, and I have 
shipped the exact battery for that point which defends the landing on the 
island. I have heard, but not trusted, this man. 

I should like to go on with the "Baltic," for if Brown, Meigs, and myself 
are Fort Sumterized, it ought to, and I trust will, kill us all. 

I hope to finish loading the " Philadelphia " to-morrow night. I could 
not store ordnance supplies and forage in the rain on Saturday, and I would 
not work on Sunday, as it would have betrayed my secret. The " Baltic " 
ought to take more troops. 

Respectfully, etc., 

Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Military Secretary. 

The style and jumble of the foregoing letter perpetu 
ates the feeling of rage and despair which possessed me 
when I heard that Fort Sumter had fallen. The fall it 
self was less than the cowardice and imbecility at Wash 
ington which preceded it, and was nothing compared 
with the suffering and blood which were subsequently re 
quired to regain the fort and place. It cost the life of 
Chatfield, whose valor I witnessed at the first battle of 
Bull Run, when we charged up the hill side by side in 
the line of file-closers. His courage shone with equal 
brightness in the last fatal act of his life, when he was 
killed in an assault. He was one who fought calmly and 
with no succeding display of vanity. If he hoped for 
recognition, no one knew or knows it. 

Mr. Seward wrote me a note in reply to the above 

Letter to Col. Townsend. 399 

letter, which I do not find among my papers. Mr. 
Cameron disliked his officiousness in this matter, and for 
that reason Mr. Seward requested me to address my 
future communications to the War Department. 

In my letter of instruction to Captain Kitteridge com 
manding the " Philadelphia," I observed the following 
paragraph : 

Should you find yourself in danger of capture by the seceders, you will 
do all in your power to escape, and rather than allow your ship to fall into 
their hands, you will set fire to her, take to your boats, and report that she is 
loaded with gunpowder. 

My next letter was to Colonel Townsend, Adjutant- 
General : 

NEW YORK, Aptil 18, 1861. 
Colonel E. D. Tovmsend, Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, JD.C. 

COLONEL: The "Philadelphia" is now about loaded. A little more 
lumber, the mules, beef cattle, and 150 barrels of powder and some imple 
ments are all that remain to go on board. 

We have had three rainy days, and it would not do to wet the forage. 
The handling of the siege train and the stowing were necessarily very slow. 

I have sent down launches from the Navy Yard. I examined there the 
means and appliances which our people will have at hand to land the heavy 
ordnance, and obtained from a naval officer written instructions and dia 
grams to show the manner of using them. The three steam vessels carried 
twenty-four cannon with their carriages, with all necessary appliances, and 
upward of six months' provisions for the men, and about three months' 
forage, with an abundance of shelter and clothing. I must examine all in 
voices to see what has gone. General Scott will understand the immense 
labor I have had to perform, and I trust you will let him know how uneasy 
I feel at being here, while he has such burdens on his shoulders. 

If you think the general would prefer I should join him before completing 
the business here, let me know by telegraph, and I will set out Saturday 
morning. If not, I shall start Monday morning. 

I am, sir, etc., 

Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Military Secretary. 

I receive no answer to the above letter, and no letter 
from General Scott. The silence was ominous, and indi- 

400 Fifty Years' Observation. 

cated that I was laying up in store some kind of disap 

On the 1 8th of April I wrote to Colonel Harvey 
Brown, the commander of the expedition. The greater 
portion of the letter consists in statements already 
given, and which I omit. The conclusion of the letter 
was as follows : 

We worked so harmoniously together here that I will speak freely to 
you. The war has commenced in earnest. Fort Sumter, after being girt 
without opposition by batteries, and insulted during four months, has 
fallen of course. 

Fort Pickens has been long menaced and insulted under an armistice 
which has only bound our people, and perhaps will be in the hands of 
the enemy when you arrive. The time for moralizing it appears to me 
has passed, and I trust you will consider that to stick a spade in the 
sand is to begin the fight, and that you will rain a shower of iron upon 
the rebellious workers who menace you. 

I remain, etc., 

Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army, Military Secretary. 

From my letter to Captain Meigs of April 19, 1861, 
I omit the details contained in the first portion. The 
other parts contained prophecies that were subse 
quently verified to the letter. I wrote as follows : 

The war will soon commence in earnest. 75,ooo troops have been called 
for by the President, and more will be needed. Virginia has seceded, 
and North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas will immediately follow. 
Maryland may remain, as the white laborers menace the lovers of slaves. 
Missouri is doubtful. Perhaps there will be a fight there, but all the 
other slave States will go as a unit, except that Western Virginia may 
hang back. - 


In such a state of things it is all important that you should be here, and 
if you can make a little capital where you are, hasten on. I will enhance 
your exploits and capacity, and when you return, I trust we may work to* 
gether for the common cause and for one another. 

One thing I trust you and Colonel Brown will not lose sight of for a 
moment. That is, the necessity of having true men in charge of the Southern 

Return to Washington. 401 

or Gulf forts. A heavy hand should fall at once upon all such as sympa 
thize with the rebels. 

If we had had vigorous minds at the head of affairs six months ago the 
serpent might have been crushed in the shell. Even now I must venture on 
one sad prediction. It is this at least one hundred tons of blood must be 
drawn from Northern veins, before Northern men will cease to heed the 
admonitions and to stand in awe of Southerners, and before they will cease 
to abide by the Constitution and laws which are not, and seldom have been, 
a bar to them. 

It would be as unwise for us to act as to forbear the act, upon the sup 
position that the rebels have any feeling for us but scorn, as it would be to 
suppose the tiger in the jungle has pity. 

The seceders having stolen nearly all the best arms and learned the use 
of them, while we have been moralizing, I anticipate frightful havoc among 
our Northern levies. The North, however, is [nearly] a unit [?] and if 
necessary, 500,000 men will be forthcoming. Two Massachusetts regi 
ments have passed on, and they are thirsting for vengeance. No horror 
will surprise me, though I will do nothing that is not warranted by civilized 

Many of our people, I know, would like to imitate in the South the con 
duct of Hyder AH in the Carnatic. 

Callum has been appointed A. D. C. to General Scott, and for that 
reason I stay here to finish. 

In haste, your friend, 

Lieutenant-Colonel U. S. Army. 

On receiving news of the arrival of Brown and Meigs 
at Fort Pickens in time to secure it, and to surprise 
Bragg, I prepared to return to Washington. Mean 
time, that city being threatened by the rebels, I was 
invited by General Sanford, of the New York State 
Militia, to go with volunteers from that State, over 
whom he gave me authority, as did Governor Sprague 
of Rhode Island over a regiment from his State. 

The transports "Baltic," " R. R. Cuyler," "Coatza- 
coalcos," and " Columbia," having on board the 6th, 
1 2th and 7 1st regiments of New York Volunteers, and 
the first Rhode Island Regiment under Colonel Burn- 

4O2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

side, convoyed by the " Harriet Lane," left New York 
April 21, 1 86 1, to rendezvous at Hampton Roads. I 
embarked in the "Baltic" with Colonel Daniel Butter- 
field's regiment. We arrived and anchored off Fort 
Monroe at 4 P.M., April 22. Colonel Dimmick, the com 
mander, came on board and gave me a detailed list of 
the things needed to place the fort in a condition fit 
for defence. The present armament, as that brave and 
patriotic old soldier described it, was -wretchedly dilapi 
dated, and I lost not a moment in writing a full state 
ment of the information derived from him to General 
Scott. It was desirable to proceed to Washington via 
the Potomac River, but the captains of the largest ships 
decided that stream was too shallow, and I ordered the 
convoy to proceed to Annapolis, where it arrived and 
anchored on the morning of the 23d. As soon as prepa 
rations could be made for the march, I ordered the troops 
to advance for the capital, and renounced my authority 
over them. 

General Benjamin F. Butler was in command at An 
napolis, and to him on landing I offered my services. I 
had never met that gentleman before, and although he 
was at the time a prominent politician, I had not felt 
interest enough in him to watch his proceedings. He 
invited me to his mess, and after being in constant com 
munication with him six days I saw plainly that he pos 
sessed phenomenal activity and persistence of brain 
power, and that he considered himself fit to be the leader 
in all the pursuits, callings, professions and occupation 
of men whether he had studied them or not. At this 
time I am not inclined to work out and condense upon a 
single page a formula which would embrace all the traits 
of his character, all his labors, aspirations, schemes and 
achievements, but I will give an anecdote of another man 

General Butler. 403 

which will set off in part the disposition of General But 

Several years before the war I met in the cars, going 
from New York to Washington, a New Jersey man who had 
invented a salt-boiling apparatus which he thought would 
prove efficient and economical. The man told me he 
had applied for a patent, and that he was on his way to 
see Senator Benton, who at that time was making 
speeches upon the subject of salt, its domestic and in 
dustrial uses, its value as a fertilizer, etc., etc. 

It may be remarked, in addition to what I have already 
said of him, that of all the men I ever saw sitting in the 
upper house of Congress not one so completely filled my 
idea of a Roman Senator as Thomas Hart Benton. I 
admired the ponderous majesty of his presence, and list 
ened with admiration to his surcharged arguments, none 
of which were derived from Mrs. Grundy nor from Caleb 

The inventor, who was a man of faint complexion and 
feeble tissues, armed with a proper introduction, found 
himself confronted with the august Missouri Senator. 
He was permitted simply to say he had invented a salt 
boiling apparatus, and then Mr. Benton commenced a 
dissertation upon salt, beginning with Lot's wife and 
coming down to the present time. He spoke nearly an 
hour, and concluded with a " Good-morning, sir ! " that 
frightened the Jerseyman, who left without a word 
about his invention. 

The above anecdote illustrates one phase of General 
Butler's character only. Unlike the senator, the general 
would have heard a description of the invention, pro 
vided that neither his interest, his vanity, nor his am 
bition was concerned in it. 

I must add a word more about General Butler, although 

404 Fifty Years' Observation. 

I have greater reason to hate than to like him. At 
heart he would have fame, in default of which he is 
content with notoriety at the expense of abuse and 
slander. Weighed in the balance his virtues turn the 
scale against his faults, one of which his accusers call 
obstinacy. I think it should be called perverseness, 
which is locomotive obstinacy. He showed masterly 
vigor and judgment in anticipation of the capture of 
New Orleans, and his subsequent labors as governor of 
that city in its police and assaignissment, as well as in the 
proper treatment of the rebels, male and female, entitle 
him to be called a model city governor and to as much 
praise as any man occupying his position could have 

General Scott had sent several messengers, some of 
whom were intercepted, but one who came through 
brought me a letter the contents of which I did not an 
ticipate, and of which the following is a copy: 

WASHINGTON, April 19, 1861. 

SIR : Considering that you recently left me on a mission without my 
suggestion or special consent, and considering that in our late official con 
nection I several times found it necessary to suppress acts of rudeness on 
your part, and considering that, after the high functions you have recently 
executed, I should find it still more difficult to restrain your temper, I 
think it necessary to terminate our official connection without further corre 
spondence or irritation. 

I enclose a letter this moment received from his excellency the Governor 
of New York, together with my reply, which you can either use or return to 
me as you may think proper. 

Wishing you and yours all happiness, 

I remain with much respect, 


Lieutenant-Colonel JS. D. Keyes, U. S. Army. 

The duty I had recently performed in New York, where 
there was no commander present to supervise me, was so 

End of My Secretaryship. 405 

agreeable that I did not much regret the loss of my sec 
retaryship, which had during the past winter not only re 
quired from me a perpetual attention and unremitted 
labor, but it also subjected me sometimes to the whims 
and caprices of a superior. Moreover in the sectional 
strife which then raged with such savage bitterness, my 
Northern sentiments, which I did not think it right to 
conceal, could not fail on frequent occasions to wound 
the susceptibilities of my chief. And although he had 
treated me with uniform kindness, and only one alterca 
tion had marred the harmony of our association, it was 
evident to me that its warmth was subsiding. Neverthe 
less, the duty I had so successfully performed, and which 
resulted in depriving the rebels of a port and navy yard 
of vast importance to them, I imagined entitled me to 
a respectful recognition from my superiors. 

Although I intended to accept service with Governor 
Morgan, I thought it my duty to report in person to the 
President and Mr. Seward, from whom I had received my 
instructions. They were in earnest and thanked me 
warmly for what I had done. I was also cordially received 
by Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, and Mr. Chase, Sec 
retary of the Treasury, who invited me to breakfast, and 
by Professor Bache and many others. When I called on 
General Scott he declined to receive me, and I left his 
antechamber without showing anger to Colonel Town- 
send, who brought me the repellant message. 

I was ignorant at the time of the opinion entertained 
by Townsend of the cause of General Scott's refusal to see 
me, and only learned it about three years ago from 
Townsend's own lips. He had for twenty years cherished 
the idea that I had gone away without notice from 
General Scott to place myself in correspondence with the 
President and Mr. Seward to reinforce Fort Pickens. I 

406 Fifty Years' Observation. 

have already related how I told the President that I was 
General Scott's secretary, and that he would be offended 
if I did not first notify him of what I was doing. Where 
upon Mr. Lincoln ordered me to read my propositions, 
which I did, and then without a moment's delay I re 
ported fully to my chief all that had happened. The 
President had a perfect right to give me the order, which 
was in no way improper ; I was absolutely bound to obey 
the President, and if I had refused his dignity would have 
enforced him to dismiss me from the army on the spot. 
General Scott denied himself to Meigs also on his return. 

General Cullum, who succeeded to my place on the 
staff, entertained a similar opinion, and was equally mis 
taken with Colonel Townsend. It was General Scott's 
wounded vanity which swayed his feelings towards Meigs 
and me, and colored the impressions he communicated to 
his attendants. If I had been guilty of the slightest treach 
ery or disrespect to my chief, they would have been justi 
fied in condemning me, and the mistake they both made 
has caused in me no feeling of resentment for either one 
of them ; on the contrary, my strong friendship for both 
remains unchanged. 

Townsend, during the whole war of the rebellion, and for 
fifteen years after its close, held the important office of 
Adjutant of the Army. He performed his vast labors with 
ability, without spite or prejudice, and is one of the most 
conscientious and amiable of men. 

My irritation against my former chief continued several 
years, but it gradually subsided, and was finally ex 
tinguished by an incident which I will relate in its proper 
place. I often spoke of his tyrannical conduct towards 
Northern officers, and referred to his having quarrelled 
with Worth and Temple, who had formerly served on his 
staff. They were both Northern men, and had no superi- 

Governor Morgan. 407 

ors in the army for gallantry and accomplishments. I was 
unable to discover a more tenable reason for his quarrel 
with either of those meritorious officers than with me. In 
a conversation with Assistant Adjutant- General Baird, 
shortly after my discharge, he one day said to me, " All 
General Scott's sentiments are Southern, and towards 
Northern officers he has always been a most oppressive 
tyrant." It is true the general's birth and breeding made 
him necessarily partial to officers of Southern birth, and 
he was wholly unconscious of his frequent harsh de 
meanor towards those from the North. He would have 
considered it a gross insult to have accused him of official 
tyranny of any kind. I always felt far less hurt by his 
partiality for his own section than by the uniform indiffer 
ence and neglect of Northern functionaries in regard to 
all natives of the North who were in the army and navy. 
Nearly every benefit I ever enjoyed in the service I owed 
to a Southern man. 

The application from Governor Morgan of New York 
was for an officer to assist him in organizing the \olun- 
teers of his State for the approaching civil war. I was 
glad to find myself selected for a task of such distinction, 
and on the 2d day of May, 1861, I reported for duty to 
the governor at Albany. After twenty days I left him 
with the satisfaction that I had gained the approval of a 
most worthy and patriotic gentleman. At the close of 
our relations, Governor Morgan addressed to me the fol 
lowing note. I had notified the governor that I had 
finished the business for which I joined. 

ALBANY, May 22, 1861. ) 

COLONEL : While heartily regretting, for reasons personal to myself, 
the necessity which severs our official relations, I cannot but congratulate 
the military authorities in securing the talent and experience possessed by 
yourself to the public service. 

In terminating formally, as it becomes my duty under the circumstances, 

4S Fifty Years Observation. 

and as I hereby do, the connection established by General Scott's orders on 
the igth April, allow me to express my thanks for the invaluable services 
you have rendered me and the State in the organization and despatch of the 
quotas of troops forwarded by this State on the requisition of the General 
Government. I am very respectfully yours, 

[Signed] E. D. MORGAN. 
Colonel E. Z>. Keyes, U. S. Army 

The luxury of serving under a commander who did not 
feel himself degraded when I told him what I had learned 
in the army was so exquisite that I craved no additional 
reward for what I had done for Governor Morgan. I 
thought my services over-estimated, as they consisted 
chiefly in giving him the details of the organization of 
companies and regiments, the care of arms, ammunition 
and accoutrements, the selection and police of camps, 
the necessity of vigilance and impartiality on the part of 
officers, and of prompt obedience to orders by every one, 
etc., etc. I took special pains to show the necessity of 
guarding against the tricks of contractors and their in 
numerable devices to cheat the Government and wrong 
the soldier. On a certain day I was called to inspect a 
lot of specimen shoes. I think there were five. One of 
the shoes presented such a nice substantial appearance 
that it secured favor from the other inspectors, and my 
opinion was asked. Before deciding I had the shoe cut 
entirely open longitudinally. The sole was found to be 
welted all around, and a slip of wood beneath a shaving 
of leather gave it solidity. Such a shoe at the end of one 
day's march over the muddy roads of Virginia would 
have gone to pieces, and the patriotic foot of a volunteer 
would have touched mother earth. The sordid contractor 
who presented that shoe deserved to be shut up in prison 
and kept there until the end of the war. It is not im 
probable, however, that he is now playing the snob in a 
palace. His audacious attempt at robbery, as the times 
go, promised success and a gross fortune. 

Chester A. Arthur. J. Meredith Read. 409 

It was never my good luck to labor with a more agree 
able company than when I was in the staff of Governor 
Morgan, of New York. He was a genuine patriot and a 
man of the kind that constitutes the true riches of a 
State. It was composed of Mr. Chester A. Arthur, who 
is now President, Mr. J. Meredith Read, since succes 
sively Consul-General in France and United States Min 
ister to Greece, and Massena R. Patrick, a graduate of the 
Military Academy, and at present Superintendent of the 
Soldiers' Home in Ohio. 

Mr. Arthur was remarkable for method and neatness. 
Like his chief, he showed no signs of egotism, and seemed 
intent only to execute his tasks promptly and well. Mr. 
Read, with whom in Europe I have since maintained 
correspondence and social intimacy, was also a diligent 
worker, but in his demeanor worldly ambition was ap 
parent. He is of high birth, and his coat of arms is seen 
upon his note-paper. I heard an Englishman ask the 
question : " What does the Prince of Wales find in that 
American, to be always with him or writing to him ? " 
Read remained in Paris throughout the siege of 1871 
and collected an immense mass of details concerning it. 
He also recorded his observations upon Greece, which 
are highly interesting. On several occasions I heard 
learned Frenchmen speak admiringly of Read's ability 
and industry as well as in praise of his social qualities. 
Notwithstanding Read is aristocratic and fanciful, he 
is not snobbish, and among my most cherished friends I 
regard him as one of the most amiable and the least selfish. 
When I was last in Paris Read arrived there as I was on 
the point of leaving. I asked him if he was alone. " No," 
said he, " I came with the King of Greece." 

Patrick was a most worthy man, and I he genius of 



Arrival of Lincoln at Washington. Caricatures. Threatening letters. 
Dinner with Stan ton. The retiring President. The inauguration of 
Lincoln. Visit to New York. Scott's letter to Texas. Anecdotes of 
Lincoln. Farewell speeches of Benjamin and Davis. 

"WASHINGTON, February 22, 1861. 

MR. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the President-elect of 
the United States, arrived in Washington this 
morning before daybreak. He disguised himself and 
stole a march on those who anticipated his coming in the 

The second day after his arrival a caricature appeared 
representing " Old Abe," crouched in a large safe, of which 
the door was open. At his feet lay a maul, and an axe 
stood by his side. His meagreness and length of limb 
were exaggerated, but the likeness of his face and person 
was unmistakable. Such was the manner of his ingress to 
the capital, and the symbolized appearance of one of the 
mightiest figures of modern history. 

"WASHINGTON, February 25. 

" Numerous letters arriving in the daily mails contain 
threats to assassinate General Scott. He assumes an in 
difference to the threats, but he shows the letters to great 
numbers of people, and wonders at their calmness. Last 
night he exhibited some of the letters at Mr. Crittenden's 
rooms in the National Hotel, and this morning when 
alone with me he commented on the imperturbability of 

Secretary Stanton. 411 

his auditors. He ended by saying he could see the sel 
fishness of mankind in everything. I told him I thought 
mankind sympathized as much with him as with any man 
of my acquaintance. The general sent word for me last 
night and a week ago to come down to Mr. Crittenden's 
quarters and walk home with him. I trust the assassins 
will not pass their rapiers through me." 

"February 26. 

" Last night Mr. Stanton, the Attorney-General, dined 
with me. He is a man of vast attainments as a lawyer, 
with an extraordinary capacity for labor. 

" He is a Union man, though he is one of President 
Buchanan's Cabinet." 

Upon a more matured and intimate acquaintance with 
Mr. Stanton, after he became Secretary of War, under 
Mr. Lincoln, I found no cause to change my first impres 
sions of his talents and industry. I discovered, also, that 
he was subject to violent impulses, and that occasionally 
he would decide upon insufficient evidence and some 
times with gross injustice. 

One trifling incident will show my meaning : While I 
was in command of an extensive section of the defences 
of Washington city, I gave orders to Colonel Birney, of 
the Pennsylvania Volunteers, to proceed with his regi 
ment and occupy a redoubt which had recently been 
erected. Three hours later, a messenger from Mr. Stan- 
ton arrived at my headquarters with a note, ordering me 
in precise terms to remove the soldiers instantly from the 

house and grounds of Mr. , who, I was informed, 

was a violent Secessionist. My horse being at the door, 
I lost not a moment, and on my arrival at the house indi 
cated I found it and its inclosure vacant. I kept on, and 
upon consultation with Colonel Birney, he informed me that 
while on the march a soldier fainted in the ranks, and as 

412 Fifty Years Observation. 

it was raining hard he was carried in and laid on the 
porch of a vacant house that stood near, and left with a 
couple of soldiers till an ambulance could be sent for to 
take him to the hospital. The fainting man was not upon 
the premises above half an hour, but he was seen by the 
rebel, who considered his house defiled by the touch of 
a defender of the Union, and he represented the intru 
sion to Mr. Stanton as a violent trespass and outrage. 

Mr. Stanton was accused of many hasty decisions, one 
of which resulted, in my case, in a monstrous injustice. 
He punished me ruinously, upon a report, without inves 
tigation, and to this day I am ignorant of the fault he 
imputed to me. I have always considered that I was a 
scapegoat. The blows he let fall on me set loose a 
hideous brood of misfortunes, which would have killed 
me if they had not stunned me and benumbed my faculties. 

" To-day, Mr. Hannibal Hamlin, Vice-President elect, 
came with a number of other gentlemen, mostly from the 
State of Maine, to pay their respects to General Scott. 
Frequently during the winter the general was the recipient 
of similar marks of respect and confidence. On one oc 
casion an incident occurred which was attended with a 
curious excitement. Mr. Weir, the professor of drawing 
at the Military Academy, being on a visit to Washington, 
I invited him to dine with us. I told Cruchett in the 
morning that General Scott and I loved Mr. Weir, and 
desired to give him a good dinner, and he promised to 
do his best. As it happened, both the general and my 
self had recently laid in a stock of wines of various 
brands, and we had out specimens of every kind. Cruchett 
had also clustered upon a vacant corner of the table 
numerous jugs, flasks, decanters and black bottles con 
taining Eau de vie, Kirchwasser, Curagoa, Maraschino, 

Scott and His Visitors. 413 

Chartreuse, old Bourbon and other like tokens of depraved 
taste and lax morality. All these indicated that we were 
the slaves of drink and devotees to gluttonous delights. 
When our feast was well advanced, and while we sat 
tasting and comparing the wines from our numerous 
glasses, a thundering knock at the door and a loud ring 
ing at the bell announced the arrival of an important 
company, and the clatter of many feet was heard. ' My 
God ! ' exclaimed the general, ' these bottles ! I am 
a disgraced man ! bring me a pistol and let me blow 
my brains out ! Keep them back, David ! ' It was a 
desperate emergency. I said to our guest, * Let us clear 
the table ! ' So, gathering up as many bottles and glasses 
as I could hold, I rushed into the general's bedroom, 
which adjoined, hid them behind the bed, and returned 
for more again and again. Weir helped with all his might, 
while David delayed entrance by clanking the chain at 
tached to the door and shoving the bolts, as if he were 
opening a cage of wild beasts. In this way we had time 
to clear the table of everything excepting one pint claret 
bottle that was half full, a few plates, crusts of bread and 
ribs of lamb cleanly picked, and when the first man of the nu 
merous delegation from one of the western States entered 
the room, he saw nothing that he might not expect to 
see in a city during the last days of a siege. While this 
preparation was being made by Mr. Weir and me, the 
general quickly subsided from clamor to silence, from 
agitation to quiet, his face cleared up, and he posed for 
audience. I verily believe that old Father Abraham 
when he fetched the centenarian worshipper of the sun 
into his tent to give him wise instruction and hospitable 
entertainment, could not have presented a more majestic 
picture of calmness and dignity than did my venerable 
chief on this occasion. 

Fifty Years Observation. 

11 The delegates came in and arranged themselves com 
pactly around him, like penitents who gather near a holy 
shrine. The foreman, in a few broken sentences, pro 
claimed his admiration for the aged hero, and begged his 
counsel for guidance through the perils that harassed the 
country. In reply the general acknowledged the honor 
done him, and then he proceeded in that low, soft voice 
which characterized his conversations on important sub 
jects, to describe the national troubles and their causes. 
He inculcated good temper, caution and firmness, and 
gave hopes that the agitations might cease without blood 
shed, which he greatly deprecated. He found fault with 
no one, and all he said encouraged good feeling and har 
mony. The impression made upon his hearers was pro 
found, and I saw tears running down the cheeks of sev 
eral sturdy men. Some of them were manifestly aston 
ished to hear a voice so soft and gentle issuing from such 
a giant of war and renown. They all shook hands with 
him as he sat in his large arm-chair, from which he had 
not risen, and they left apparently fully satisfied with 
their visit." 

" WASHINGTON, March 2. 

" To-day the officers of the Army, or a majority of 
them, in a body, paid their respects to Mr. James 
Buchanan, the retiring President of the United States. 
Mr. Buchanan made a short complimentary address and 
took an affectionate leave. Not a word of compliment 
or consolation was said to him. Like all his predecessors 
in office from the North, he retires covered with obloquy, 
without honor, and without praise. He conceded to the 
South far more than he ought, but he failed in the last 
days of his administration to concede everything, and 
hence the neglect with which he is treated by all par 

The Inauguration. 415 

" From the executive mansion the body of officers pro 
ceeded to visit Mr. Holt, the Secretary of War. Gen 
eral Scott made a complimentary address to him, to 
which he returned a graceful response. I did not dis 
agree particularly with anything that was said, but I 
felt melancholy to be obliged to hear all the compli 
ments paid and received by Southern men. I had been 
so drugged with that custom that I could no longer toler 
ate it." 

" WASHINGTON, March 6. 

"The inauguration of Mr. Lincoln passed quietly. The 
military forces and police had been judiciously posted, 
and I noticed no signs of disturbance. General Scott 
drove in his coup to the side of the hill on the 
north of the capital, and remained in it during the 
ceremony. I was on horseback in plain clothes, and 
from time to time rode out to make observations and 
return to report to my chief, who escaped observation. 
There was an immense assemblage, and Mr. Lincoln's 
deportment was admirable. 

" The inaugural ball was a decided success. It was the 
first assemblage of the kind I had ever attended in 
which the great majority of leading personages of both 
sexes were not Southerners. The coup <zil was en 

" While I was standing at a distance looking at the Presi 
dent and his party, I observed Mr. Lincoln talking. He 
made a remark that must have amused himself, for he 
laughed loudly, and at the same time he joined his hands 
on Lord Lyons' shoulder and bore down heavily. Mr. 
Lincoln's acquaintance with the British Minister was of a 
week's date, and had ripened quickly to intimacy. I 
trust the reader will not infer from the above remarks 
that I thought lightly of the President. On the contrary 

41 6 Fifty Years' Observation. 

I felt respect for him the first time I heard his voice, and 
every successive interview increased it. 

Among the numerous delegations that called about 
this time to pay their respects to General Scott there was 
a rough-looking farmer from Illinois who said he was the 
man who, in former years, hired Mr. Lincoln to maul 
rails. I entertain no doubt that Abraham Lincoln would 
have been a great man even if he had never split rails, 
although many men called him " the rail splitter." 

" WASHINGTON, March 8. 

" This day, after a long discussion between General 
Scott, Professor Bache, the head of the Coast Survey, 
General Totten, chief engineer of the Army, Captain Ward 
and myself, it was determined not to be expedient nor 
justifiable to attempt the relief or reinforcement of Fort 
Sumter with any means at hand and within the time req 
uisite to save the garrison from starvation." 

The above conclusion was rendered inevitable by the 
scattering of the forces of the Army and Navy under 
Buchanan's administration. 

"WASHINGTON, March 9. 

" General Scott instructs me to proceed to New York 
city and despatch steamers to Texas to bring away the 
Federal troops." 

" NEW YORK, March 10. 

" Dined with my charming friends Dr. and Mrs. Van 
Buren. The feeling of home which I experience on my 
return to this city fills me with delight. My New York 
friends I am certain are the best people in the world." 

" NEW YORK, March 12. 

" Dined at Mr. Delano's. Had the seat of honor. 
Mrs. Delano is the daughter of Mr. Wm. B. Astor. The 

Dinners in New York. 417 

hospitality of this dinner was elegant without the least 
sign of affectation." 

" March 13. 

" Dined at Mr. John Jacob Astor's, Jr. His father 
was present and evinced much interest to know my opin 
ion about the prospect of war. Mrs. Astor's goodness of 
heart would have made her conspicuous in poverty, but 
in her affluence it tells with prodigious effect." 

"Mart A 14. 

" Dined at William H. Aspinwall's and had the seat 
of honor. Messrs. Renwick, John Aspinwall, Gouver- 
neur Kemble and five ladies were guests. At that time 
Mr. W. H. Aspinwall was a model in appearance of 
manly beauty and vigor. He was an active supporter of 
the Northern cause, and a merchant of great enterprise. 
It was he who projected the first line of steamers from 
Panama to San Francisco before the discovery of gold." 

" NEW YORK, March 15. 

" Dined at the Union Club. Conversed with Dr. William 
Gwin, ex-Senator from California. He remarked that Gen 
eral Scott had written a paper in reference to coercing the 
seceded States, and that Mr. Seward read that paper to Mr. 
Lincoln on the day of the inauguration. The paper, accord 
ing to Dr. Gwin, stated how many men it would cost, and 
that a good young general could accomplish it. Dr. Gwin 
further added that in his paper General Scott regretted 
that he was not forty years younger, that he might do it." 

The above paragraph is all I find in my journal in refer 
ence to the paper referred to by Dr. Gwin. General 
Scott I know wrote a paper on the subject of preserving 
the Union, but if it contained a proposition on his part to 
fight the South I have forgotten it. On numerous occa 
sions he expressed to me his regret that he was not 
younger, say of the age of Hoche or Marceau, and at the 

Fifty Years Observation. 

head of a well-disciplined army of 40,000 or 50,000 men, 
with which he could keep the peace. 

General Scott was fond of referring to Hoche and 
Marceau, and it was apparent to me that he imagined a 
strong likeness of himself in those two gallant young 
Frenchmen. Hoche was so full of daring that the great 
Napoleon confessed that he would have feared him as a 
rival but for the fact that Hoche was too fond of money 
and pleasure. Marceau had an unusual ability to reform 
his broken battalions under fire, and to restore the bat 
tle when it swayed against him. Death cut off both 
those heroes before the age of 30 years. The present 
government of France is taking measures to perpetuate 
their renown, by placing their equestrian statues with 
those of Kleber and Desaix at the four entrances of one 
of the great public buildings in Paris. I saw the models 
at my last visit to France, and was struck with the resem 
blance of Marceau's figure to that of the late General 
Custer of our army. 

"NEW YORK, March 16. 

" Dined at Doctor Mott's. He is the most distinguished 
American surgeon living. The party was thirty in num 
ber, and agreeable. The venerable doctor explored his 
cellars, and brought forth five bottles of Madeira wine, 
the least ancient of which had been thirty-five years in 
his bins. Messrs. Gerard and Libbey, both intimate 
friends of Dr. Mott, General Scott and I were present. 
Mr. Gerard was a celebrated lawyer and a conservative 
Democrat in politics. He was an orator, and on one oc 
casion, in the spring of 1861, he addressed a vast assem, 
blage in the Cooper Institute Hall to prove that there 
would be no civil war. At the table he repeated some of 
his arguments ; then turning, he called to me I was far 
from him : * Colonel, what is your opinion will there be 

Scoffs Letter upon Texas. 419 

war or will there be peace?' ' There will be war ! ' said 
I. About a year afterwards as I was coming down the 
stairs of the Academy of Music, he left his ladies, and 
approached me, saying, ' General, you were right ; there is 
war.' I noticed that many clever men declared there 
would be no war, and for the simple reason that they had 
never been called on to feel the cause of the war." 

"WASHINGTON, March 20. 

"Last night the grand letter from General Scott to 
the commanding officer in Texas, looking to the retention 
of that State in the Union, which had been the subject of 
numerous discussions, was despatched to its destination 
by Lieutenant Collins of the army. Prior to the despatch 
I carried the letter to Mr. Seward, and went with him to 
visit Mr. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War. In a con 
versation with me in the morning, and again at the meet 
ing with Mr. Seward, General Cameron told me he would 
not agree to the plan without the previous approval of 
Mr. Lincoln in writing. Mr. Seward said to me, while we 
were alone together, that he did not wish the President's 
name signed to any paper in the matter. When I sug 
gested that some words should be inserted in the paper 
to show that it was in co-operation with Governor 
Houston, he (Mr. Seward) exclaimed: 'It may as well 
begin here as anywhere ! ' 

" WASHINGTON, March 22. 

"Yesterday General Scott wrote a postscript to the 
above-named letter to the commanding officer in Texas, 
and submitted it to a discussion with General Cameron, 
Secretary of War, and Mr. Seward, Secretary of State. 
The postscriptum, which was approved by those gentle 
men, contained in substance a direction to the command 
ing officer there to co-operate with Governor Houston, or 

420 Fifty Years' Observation. 

other executive head of affairs in Texas, acting in de 
fence of the Federal Government, provided such head 
was in command of a respectable force up in arms to 
maintain that government. 

" After finishing with Texas, Mr. Cameron having left, 
and only General Scott, Mr. Seward, and I being present, 
Mr. Seward remarked in strict confidence that he had re 
ceived information from a high source, that General 
Albert Sidney Johnson, commanding the Department of 
the Pacific, was unfaithful to the Union. Senator Nesmith 
of Oregon was Mr. Seward's informant. My opinion of 
Mr. Johnson was asked. I had known and respected him 
as an honorable gentleman, believed him to be a Demo 
crat, but could not say whether he was a Secessionist or 

" After a long discussion it was determined to send me 
to the Pacific coast to investigate matters there. It was 
decided that I should carry orders in my pocket, to be 
used at my own discretion, to send General Johnson to 
Washington, and to devolve his command on Colonel 
George Wright. The suggestion to send me to San 
Francisco came from Mr. Seward, and was acceded to by 
my chief with a reluctance that was quite apparent. At 
the conclusion, General Scott exclaimed, 'What shall I 
do ? I can work, I suppose ! ' As I was anxious to go 
out and have an opportunity to look after my interests, 
the unsatisfactory tone of his remark made me apprehen 
sive that I, should not be gratified. I was not in the least 
surprised, therefore, when on the following morning the 
general wrote an order for Colonel E. V. Sumner to pro 
ceed without delay to San Francisco, and assume com 
mand of the Department of the Pacific. The order was 
approved by the Cabinet in secret session Colonel 
Sumner embarked by stealth, and on his arrival in San 

President Lincoln. 421 

Francisco he went direct from the boat to General John 
son's headquarters, exhibited his orders, assumed com 
mand, and directed his predecessor to repair without delay 
to Washington." 

It is possible that General Scott may have had more 
reasons than one for his reluctance to have me leave him 
on the mission proposed by the Secretary of State. I 
had studied to lighten his labors as much as I could, and 
to keep him informed of the current topics of the day. 
He might have detailed one, or if necessary two, officers 
to assist him in his office, but in regard to companionship 
I had one advantage over all others. I had studied his 
humors for fifteen years, and knew how to avoid giving him 
offence in every thing except sectional disputes and matters 
tending to civil war. In reference to them I was heedless, 
and on many occasions I must have irritated him like 
a blister. When my gaze annoyed him I looked at some 
thing else, and never asked him to repeat a verbal order 
or word upon any subject whatsoever. He knew my par 
tiality for that noble old soldier, Colonel George Wright, 
and would have been dull indeed if he had not foreseen 
that for me the noise of my heels on the stones would be 
all the proof I should need to justify the removal of 
General Johnson, and advance Wright to the command 
of the Department of the Pacific, and this was probably 
his main reason for detaining me in Washington. 

In the line of my duty as military secretary to Gen 
eral Scott I had frequent interviews with the President, 
the Secretary of State Seward, and with Cameron and 
Stanton, secretaries of war. If ever there was a diamond 
in the rough, or good fruit enclosed in shabby husk, it 
was Abraham Lincoln. A correspondent of the New 
York Herald, after his nomination for President, described 
the nominee as " tall, gaunt, and as ugly, awkward and 

422 Fifty Years Observation. 

shuffling in his gait as Horace Greeley." A stranger on 
seeing Mr. Lincoln would have concurred in that de 
scription, and would have found in his unreserved con 
versations with all approachers a strain of indescrib 
able jocular freedom. I doubt if any man or woman 
could have had an interview of five minutes' duration 
with " Old Abe," as he was called, upon any subject 
without hearing him relate an anecdote to illustrate it, 
and many of his anecdotes were as broad and smutty 
as language can convey. Religion itself was in the 
category of his illustrations, as the following story told 
by him will prove. 

A certain Judge Campbell of Illinois had in his cir 
cuit the town of Springfield, for which he entertained 
a profound dislike. One day when he adjourned his 
court, a demure individual approached and asked of 
the judge the favor of holding divine service in his 
court room on the ensuing Sabbath morning. The re 
quest being granted, a conversation followed, in which 
Mr. Campbell begged to know the denomination of 
Christians to which the applicant belonged. " I am an 
Adventist," said he, " and my discourse on the approach 
ing Lord's day will be the second coming of Christ." 
"I beg pardon," said the judge, "your labor would be 
thrown away in this town. In the first place I don't 
think Christ was ever in Springfield, but if he was you 
may be sure he'll never come there again." 

I do not intend, by the above allusions to Mr. Lincoln's 
peculiarities, to forestall my opinion of his merits. My 
first impression of his character was erroneous, and it re 
quired much observation and close study to enable me to 
penetrate the homely environments of his nature, and 
disclose the lustre of his genius, his candor, integrity 
and boundless benevolence. His story-telling enabled 

President Lincoln. 423 

him to discharge the fulness of his mind and sometimes 
to hint at his conclusions without giving offence. As 
he understood human nature in all its variety of exhi 
bitions he acquired an unlimited scope of illustrations. 
His goodness of heart and freedom from suspicion 
sometimes made it difficult to detect treachery, self- 
interest, envy, rivalry, and malice, and consequently, 
during the first years of his administration, he gave a 
too ready ear to the advice of unscrupulous men and 
allowed unworthy and incompetent officers to be ad 
vanced, while their betters were disregarded. Poltroon 
ery, covetousness, dishonesty and obscenity he discovered 
quickly, and his frankness naturally led him to expose 
them in the fittest words and similes. It would be as 
unreasonable and unjust to infer vulgarity and obscenity 
in the character of Mr. Lincoln, from the freedom of his 
speech, as it would be to question the genius and deli 
cacy of Shakespeare because he has introduced in the 
same play, " Measure for Measure," two such characters as 
the incomparable Isabella and the disgusting Mistress 
Overdone, the one possessing all the loveliness and 
virtue that man imagines in a woman the other one of 
the same sex who condenses in two lines all the vilest 
depravities of human nature. 

Judging the entire character of President Lincoln's 
mind and heart, and viewing the conduct of his whole 
private and public life, I am convinced that in genius he 
was the equal, and in unselfish benevolence he was the 
superior, of all the men who have hitherto occupied the 
chair of Chief Magistrate of the United States. That a 
man so great and good should have been wantonly slain 
by an actor whose declamation on the stage he had come 
to witness, would be incredible if history had not taught 
that the wisest and most humane rulers of ancient and 

424 Fifty Years' Observation. 

modern times were the most exposed to the assaults of 
murderers. Caesar, William of Orange, and Henry IV. 
of France were assassinated, but Nero, Ivan the Terrible 
of Russia, and Henry VIII. of England, were permitted 
to die in their beds. 

In regard to Mr. William H. Seward, Secretary of 
State under Lincoln, although he was my professed 
friend, I find greater difficulty in defining his character 
satisfactorily to myself. It is certain that he was a 
man of more than ordinary talents, laborious and full 
of ambition in civil life, but not inclined to martial 
exploits. He abounded in words, both spoken and 
written, but his reasoning was not conclusive because 
his judgment was not positive. He was convinced that 
there was an irrepressible conflict between freedom and 
slavery, but he failed to foresee clearly the necessary 
termination of that conflict in civil war. He made a 
speech in Wall Street, in the autumn of 1860, to prove 
that all the disputes between the North and the South 
would be amicably settled in sixty days, and recom 
mended the merchants to continue their commerce. 
After the civil war commenced he said it could have been 
avoided if his advice had been followed. He filled many 
offices, the most important of which were those of Gov 
ernor of New York, United States Senator and Secretary 
of State. He was faithful in all his trusts, but he did not 
equal in genius the greatest men of his time. After my 
return from New York on the i8th of March, I observed 
that he had lost all hope of a national reconciliation, and 
he originated the idea of reinforcing Fort Pickens and 
pursued it with an unqualified zeal. His disposition had 
become entirely belligerent, and his conduct thereafter in 
his office of Secretary of State was such as entitled him 
to rank with the noblest patriots. 

Debates in the Senate. 4 2 5 

As to General Scott, it appeared to me, and many en 
tries in my journal testify to the fact, that he had become 
much less anxious to strengthen the Southern forts than 
formerly. He was oppressed with maladies of age, and 
his debility had increased. It being Lent we often dined 
alone. The general ate and drank with a tolerable appe 
tite, but the moment the repast was finished he would 
call David (I gave the name David to all his body ser 
vants after the great sable David of the Canadian fron 
tier), to wheel his spacious arm-chair around, and put his 
feet up; then he would say, " A dull man would -be the 
death of me now," and I would survey his countenance 
and determine whether to leave or to talk upon some 
subject that would not annoy him. 

Occasionally, during the winter, the general requested 
me to go to the Senate Chamber and listen to the debates. 
On my return I would relate to him what I had heard 
and seen. My memory being good, I was able to repeat 
the swelling periods of the Senatorial magnates and save 
him the trouble of reading. As I was almost equally 
vexed with both factions, I slashed them both in my criti 
cisms, and in that way I made myself more interesting to 
my chief. When I heard Mr. Sumner and others pro 
claim the superiority of the North in jurists, men of 
science, historians, orators, merchants, mechanics, philan 
thropists, schools and general intelligence, I felt disposed 
to stone them. Every speech of the Northern Senators 
had something deprecatory in it, and that at a time when 
all the powers of the Government were in the hands of 
Southern men. If I had been a member of that august 
body of law-makers, my only speech would have been : 
" The North demands its equal proportionate share of 
authority, offices and honors of the Government, or war! " 
Notwithstanding my hostility of sentiment, I admired 

426 Fifty Years' Observation. 

the graceful dignity and splendid elocution of the South 
ern Senators, as well as the candid selfishness with which 
they told how long and grievously they had groaned 
under the oppressive exactions of the North. 

I was present and heard the farewell speeches of Sena 
tors Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and Benjamin of Louis 
iana. Of the former it is unnecessary for me to say much. 
As a rule there was a mannerism in all his public dis 
courses by which he endeavored to appear in loving har 
mony with his audience, although he was obstinate and 
selfish by nature, and his heart was as cold as a stone. 

While he was Secretary of War he was partial and 
capricious in the exercise of his authority, and showed 
hostility to Generals Scott and Wool. He would seldom 
comply with a suggestion made to him by another, but 
would say, " Quite the contrary, sir! " 

I don't know how I can better exemplify Mr. Davis's 
disposition, than by repeating a story which General 
Scott often told, late in life, to illustrate the word contrary. 

Down in North Carolina there once lived an old Scotch 
farmer whose son was named Jock. One day an obtru 
sive old sow, whose time had come, was missing. The 
farmer and his son went up the stream to hunt for her. 
Far up they found her in the bushes with many little 
grunters near. Having started them homeward, the old 
man said, " Jock, you cross over and look along down, 
for she's a contrary old bitch, and I wouldn't wonder if 
she pigged a little on both sides the creek ! " 

It is understood that Mr. Davis wrangled more or less 
with his own people during the war. He is determined 
to have his way of thinking till he dies. 

In regard to Mr. Benjamin, he appeared to me to be 
essentially different from Mr. Davis. Notwithstanding his 
incomparable abilities, and that he with great reluctance 

Debates in the Senate. 427 

became a Secessionist, he never excited animosity in me 
or any other Northern man so far as I am aware. When 
I listened to his last speech in the Senate, I was trans 
ported out of myself. Such verbal harmony I had never 
heard before. There was neither violence in his action 
nor anger in his tones, but a pathos that lulled my senses 
like an opiate that disturbs the domain of reason and 
fills the mind with delightful illusions. I was conscious 
that it was Senator Benjamin who spoke, and that his 
themes were mighty wrongs and desperate remedies, but 
his words I could not recite, nor can I yet recall them; 
but memory restores the illusive pleasure they left, which 
is not unlike the impression I retain of my youthful days, 
when the voices of my loves since mute enchanted me 
in bowers and shady walks. 

One day I was in the Senate Chamber, when the chair 
men of an unusual number of committees reported. The 
heads of the committees on Foreign Affairs, Finance, 
Ways and Means, Commerce, Judiciary, Military and 
Naval Affairs, Post-Offices and Post-Roads, were all 
Southern-born men, and they also had places on other 
committees. As the speakers rose in succession to report, 
my strength seemed to be giving way, and when I re 
turned home, shortly before dinner, I feigned more de 
bility than I felt. Going into the dining-room where the 
general was sitting alone, I dropped upon the sofa as 
though I was exhausted. The general exclaimed, "What's 
the matter? Are you ill!" 

" Not ill of any distemper, but of debasement, and a 
sense of inferiority," said I. 

" What's happened ? I don't understand you." 

" I have been to the Senate, and have heard the chair 
men of the great committees report, and all of them were 
Southerners. Only one Northern man spoke, and he 

428 Fifty Years' Observation. 

was chairman of the Committee on Public Grounds and 
Buildings. It is his duty, I suppose, to stand at the gate 
uncovered and make obeisance when his masters pass on 
their way to the Capitol." 

General Scott said nothing in reply, but he reached 
out and handed me the small pamphlet containing the 
names of all the members of both houses of Congress. 
" Young gentleman," said he, " look at that list and tell 
me if you find better names for chairmen than those that 
distress you so much?" He said more, but I have for 
gotten his exact words. They gave me the impression, 
however, that none of the Northern senators were fit to 
be the heads of the principal committees. Thereupon I 
discharged all signs of life from eye, lip and limb, slunk 
into a corner of the sofa, and in a mournful voice ejacu 
lated : " Now I'm dying, and I wish to die, for my race 
is degraded; none of my breed is fit to be the head of a 
committee of Congress." The General made light of my 
sadness, and I, having been long accustomed to similar 
debasing spectacles, soon turned my thoughts upon more 
agreeable subjects. 


The War of the Rebellion. State of Affairs at its Outbreak. Letter to the 
President. Bull Run. The Peninsula. Letter to Senator Harris. 
Fair Oaks. Testimony concerning the Battle. The Field Revisited. 
Conversation with President Lincoln Letter from Secretary Chase. 

IN this concluding chapter of my book there will not be 
found a consecutive history of any part of the War 
of the Rebellion, but it will contain facts and document 
ary evidence in relation to the service of troops I com 
manded which have not been heretofore reported. It 
will also embrace references to my own conduct and to 
other officers, and to histories of the conflicts in which I 
was engaged. 

At the outbreak of the Rebellion Northern officers en 
joyed about the same standing in the Federal Army as 
the Sepoys enjoy in the English East Indian military 
service. In civil life " Northern men with Southern 
principles" had the best opportunities for advancement, 
and among all the governing classes a man suspected of 
being an abolitionist was deemed unworthy to walk in 
any of the paths of honor. 

The state of things then existing in the army is set 
forth in the following letter which I addressed to Mr. 
Lincoln, the President-elect : 

NEW YORK, November 26, 1860. 
Hon. Abraham Lincoln , President-elect. 

DEAR SIR : I am an officer of the army of more than twenty-five years' 
standing, and I am going to present certain facts in relation to the service 
which you may deem worthy of being considered in the selection of your 
Secretary of War. 

43O Fifty Years Observation. 

At this time all the departments into which the United States and Terri 
tories are divided are commanded by officers of Southern birth, saving only the 
Department of the East, which embraces the country east of the Mississippi 
River, where but a small number of troops are stationed. The great bulk of 
the army is in the Departments of the Pacific, Utah, the West, New Mexico 
and Texas, and the applications, conduct and prospects of all Northern offi 
cers must pass under the revision of Southern men before they reach the 
commanding general or the Secretary of War, who are both Southern 

The Surgeon-General and Quartermaster-General, the chief of the 
Topographical Bureau, the Chiefs of Commissary and Ordnance Bureaux, 
are all Southerners. During the past twelve years Messrs. Conrad, Davis 
and Floyd, all Southern men, and of extreme Southern views, have been 
charged with the patronage of the War Department, and they have taxed 
that patronage to the utmost to build up and fit for command the young 
officers of Southern birth, while those from the North have been treated 
with neglect and contempt. 

In 1855 four new regiments were added to the army, and of the sixteen 
field officers then appointed from the officers already iu commission, eleven 
were of Southern and five of Northern birth. The selections made for pro 
motion were made ostensibly on the ground of merit, but the judges them 
selves were from the South, and when Southern men shall admit Northern 
men as equal to themselves in any respect, the Millennium will have arrived, 
and war will have ceased. 

As I have no personal interests to serve, and no grudge against any 
Southern individual, and as I acknowledge that nearly all the favors I have 
received since I entered the service I owe to the kindness of Southern offi 
cers, it may be asked why I write this letter. I write to ask that you will 
appoint a Secretary of War, a Northern man, who, like Wade or Sherman, 
or one who understands the principles of dominations, will proceed to build 
up Northern officers and place them in commands proportionate with the 
population of the North, or, if the present policy of giving all authority, 
command, grace and dignity to the Southern officers is to be continued, the 
young men from the North ought to be notified in advance, so that when 
they enter the army they must never aspire to any but subordinate positions. 

How is this apparent superiority, as exemplified in the army, brought 
about ? If we examine the Cadets' Registers it will be seen that Northern 
talent predominates at the military academies. There the standing in the 
classes is determined by daily examinations, and the knowledge of facts is 
demonstrated in the presence of all, so that partiality and favoritism have 
no room to operate. But as soon as the cadets are put in commission it is 
found that all the Southern officers coalesce to assist one another, and that 

Beginning of the War. 431 

all their civil functionaries are on the watch to advance their friends. On 
the other hand, Northern officers being wholly overlooked by Northern 
functionaries, are divided among themselves, and of those who have spirit 
and capacity some turn doughfaces, and others, the victims of disgust and 
blasted hopes, die early, or fall into premature decay of body and mind. 

In the city of Washington no one can fail to see with what an arrogant 
assumption of superiority Southern men demean themselves. In the army 
Southern domination is more apparent and pernicious than elsewhere. 

One of the chief benefits of a military peace establishment being to ascer. 
tain who is fit to command, nearly the whole fruit of the twenty and odd 
millions spent yearly on the army goes to foster the martial capabilities of 
the South. That fact, but more still the insolent superiority and propensity 
to domination inherent in Southerners, have at last waked in the North a 
spirit of vengeance, a spirit which will never subside until the patronage, 
commands and honors of the Government are justly and fairly distributed. 
I am, Sir, with perfect respect, 

Your obedient servant, 


The election of Mr. Lincoln made civil war inevitable, 
but its magnitude was not foreseen by many. The vet 
eran General John E. Wool estimated the situation 
properly when he declared that an army of 200,000 men 
should be placed at once in the field to take Richmond 
and hold it. Wool's opinions were ridiculed as the mut- 
terings of a dotard, and General W. T. Sherman, who 
called for an equal force in Kentucky, was pronounced 
crazy. The advocates of half measures prevailed, and a 
call was made for 75,000 volunteers. Congress voted an 
increase of the regular army, and of the new regiments of 
infantry to be added I was appointed colonel of the nth 
and despatched to Boston to recruit it. My recruiting 
was scarcely begun when I was ordered, upon the requisi 
tion of General Irvin McDowell, to return to the capital 
and take command of a brigade in his army, at Ar 

My brigade was composed of four regiments of volun 
teers, the 2d Maine, the 1st, 2d, and 3d Connecticut. 

43 2 Fifty Years Observation. 

When I assumed command early in July, 1861, there was 
not a man under my orders whom I had ever seen be 
fore. The intelligence of officers and men enabled them 
to learn their duties quickly, and at the end of two 
weeks, when we took up the line of march for Manassas, 
I could manoeuvre my brigade without difficulty. 

On the evening of July 21, I was encamped on the 
slope of the hill at Centreville. General McDowell called 
a council of war, and the movements for the next day 
were discussed. The plan of the intended battle, from 
all I could learn of the field and the position of the en 
emy, was a good one. I noticed no want of confidence 
in our commander, and but for the rawness of a large ma 
jority of the volunteers a victory might have been antici 

The division of Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler was 
composed of the brigades of Schenck, Wm. T. Sherman 
and my own. 

General Tyler was a graduate of the Military Acad 
emy, and, though past sixty years of age, his activity and 
fitness for command were not impaired, while in the army 
he had been distinguished for his knowledge of his pro 
fession and employed on various important duties. He 
was a man of high character. 

My orders required me to march at 2 o'clock in the 
morning of July 21, and precisely at that hour I moved 
out of the field where we had bivouacked into the road. 
As General Hunter's column was passing I found mine 
obstructed by his men, and after thirty minutes I re 
ceived orders from General Tyler to place my brigade on 
the side of the road and allow Hunter's and Heintzel- 
man's divisions to pass. The road was so narrow that, 
being anxious about the long delay, I sent a staff officer 
to ask permission to get forward as best I could. The 

Bull Run. 433 

aide returned with orders from General McDowell to re 
main where I was. When the road was clear I pressed 
forward and overtook Sherman's brigade at the crossing 
of Bull Run above the bridge. Some of his compa 
nies were doubled up at the ford, and I was obliged to 
halt my column not less than five minutes to allow 
them to straighten out before my leading files entered 
the stream. 

After crossing I kept my men well closed, and on 
reaching the top of the hill 1 formed line, facing the 
enemy, and proceeded to the attack simultaneously with 
General Sherman. 

The above specific description of my movements I 
think excusable, for the reason that I have frequently 
seen it stated that the loss of the Battle of Bull Run 
was due to the delay of Keyes' brigade ! Senator 
Chandler, in one of his speeches, cited my delay as one 
of the probable causes of defeat, and when I wrote to 
ask his authority for such an assertion, he replied : 
" They said so ! " As neither General McDowell, nor his 
able and observant chief of staff, General Jas. B. Fry, 
General Tyler, nor any officer or man of my brigade, 
ever hinted that I was tardy in getting into the fight, 
I took no further notice of the groundless slander. 

The service of my brigade in the battle of Bull Run is 
described in my report of it, which is found in the 2d vol 
ume, page 15, Rebellion Record. I had the enemy con 
stantly in front of me, and renewed my assaults several 
times. I was on the extreme left, and about twenty 
minutes before the panic on the right commenced I 
found myself in a critical situation. A strong body of 
Rebel infantry was in front of me, and on the left was a 
battery of artillery that opened fire and sent its shots rico- 
chetting along parallel to my line, and about two hun- 

434 Fifty Years' Observation. 

dred yards in rear. To get away from that exposure I 
faced my line to the right and moved rapidly around the 
base of a hill, a distance of about 300 yards. That move 
ment was scarcely accomplished when Lieutenant Em 
ory Upton (afterwards General) came to me with orders 
from General McDowell to retire, as the right wing had 
been routed. The beginning of the rout, or panic, was 
indicated by a sudden lull in the firing, which produced 
an ominous effect in my mind. 

As I retired, with ranks closed, towards the point 
where I was to descend to the crossing of Bull Run, I 
saw on the heights to the left a long line of Rebel infan 
try looking down upon us in what appeared to be a state 
of uncertainty. They did not fire upon us, although we 
were within range, and I joined the retreating mass a 
short distance in rear of General McDowell and his staff. 
I allowed all my brigade, which was in perfect order, 
to file past me into the woods, and then I followed to 
the ford without any molestation from the enemy. 

After crossing the stream there was not a sign of 
military organization to be seen, but there was very 
little noise. The retreating current tended towards the 
main road, which I joined at a point about half a mile 
from the bridge. The road, and both sides of it, were 
crowded with men, horses, cannon, baggage-wagons, and 

My aide, Lieutenant Gordon, was riding by my side, 
and shortly after we got into the main road the Rebel 
cavalry came thundering upon the retreating mass from 
the opposite side. Then a scene of confusion ensued 
which beggars description. Cavalry horses without rid 
ers, artillery horses disengaged from the guns with 
traces flying, wrecked baggage-wagons, and pieces of ar 
tillery drawn by six horses without drivers, flying at their 

After Bull Run. 435 

utmost speed and whacking against other vehicles, sol 
diers scattered everywhere, running, some without arms 
or caps. ,1 saw men throw down their muskets with a 
gesture as violent as they would throw off a venomous 
reptile. The rush produced a noise like a hurricane at 
sea. Gordon was made prisoner at my side. 

After crossing Cub Run the hurly-burly subsided in a 
great degree. I kept on at a moderate pace, met Captain 
Meigs and exchanged a few words with him, and a little 
further along I was addressed by Bonn Piatt, who was try. 
ing to collect men to stay the retreat. I tarried not with 
him, but pursued my way to my bivouac of the preceding 
night, where I found all the survivors of my three Con 
necticut regiments collected together. Col. Jameson, 2d 
Maine, on his arrival at Centreville, in advance of me, had 
been directed by General Tyler, or General McDowell, to 
proceed to Alexandria. In a little while orders came to 
me from General Tyler to return to our former camp near 
Falls Church. The ranks were formed, and after a tedious 
night's march we reached our destination after daylight 
the 22d July, and found all our tents standing. 

Having been 27 continuous hours in the saddle, with 
occasional short intervals in which I kept the reins in my 
hand, I felt weary. After giving orders that no man 
should leave camp, I lay down for an hour's rest, which 
restored me to freshness. While I was lying down Col 
onel (afterwards General) W. T. Sherman came alone into 
my tent. His countenance was that of a disappointed 
man. After resting in silence twenty minutes, he arose 
and departed. I am not certain whether Sherman had 
troops or company with him or not. 

Captain Hodge, the Brigade Quartermaster, was a man 
of extraordinary energy. I dispatched him to Washing 
ton to bring out teams to carry in the tents and other 

436 Fifty Years Observation. 

public property. He had great difficulty to prevail on 
the drivers to venture out, but finally succeeded in bring 
ing over a small number, which was gradually increased 
to about forty wagons, and he procured twelve long plat 
form cars from Alexandria. We sent in and saved from 
the enemy not less than 175 six-mule wagon loads of 
tents and camp equipage belonging to my brigade, the 
Ohio brigade, and others (comprising about 9,000 men), 
which but for us the rebels would have captured. We 
left nothing, and in the afternoon of Tuesday, at the head 
of my three Connecticut regiments of volunteers, every 
man with his musket, I marched from the railroad to Fort 
Corcoran on the Potomac, where we arrived at 5 o'clock 
P.M., or about fifty hours after crossing Bull Run in re 
treat. The last three miles of our march from the rail 
road was over ground as desolate in appearance as the 
land of Idumea. 

The energy displayed by Col. Terry since, and now, a 
major-general in the regular army Colonels Chatfield 
and Burnham, their officers and men, and Captain Hodge, 
Brigade Quartermaster, deserves to be recorded. Very 
little notice has ever, to my knowledge, been taken of our 
delay in the retreat, but it was reported to me that " they 
said" I had deserted to the rebels! 

Major-General Terry being alive, and in high standing 
in and out of the army, and others of my brigade can 
testify to the truth, or falsehood, of the foregoing narra 
tive, and if any portion of it is exaggerated they will not 
fail, I trust, to correct it. 

General Tyler was active throughout the day riding 
from one of his brigades to the other, and he was long 
enough with me to know all my doings. The following 
extract from his report expresses his opinion of my 
brigade of soldiers : 

General Wadswortfa 437 

On closing this report it gives me great pleasure to express my admira 
tion of the manner in which Colonel Keyes handled his brigade ; completely 
covering it by every possible accident of the ground while changing his posi 
tion, and leading it bravely and skilfully to the attack at the right moment, 
to which the brigade responded in every instance in a manner highly credit 
able to itself and satisfactory to its commanding officers. At no time during 
the conflict was this brigade disorganized, and it was the last off the field in 
good order. 

Gen. Beauregard in his book states that the small loss 
in Keyes' brigade (10 per cent.) was due to the skill with 
which it was handled by its commander. 

Shortly after the battle of Bull Run, I was promoted 
to the rank of brigadier-general, and took command of 
another brigade at Arlington, under General McDowell. 
There I was associated on duty with Brigadier-General 
James Wadsworth of New York, a man of great worth 
and exalted patriotism. One day he said to me : " If my 
father was alive now, and would not devote his mind, 
body, and estate to this cause, I could not respect him." 
He told me he was an abolitionist. 

The first time I relieved Wadsworth as general officer 
of the day, he was going to lead me directly across a large 
open field at one side of which was a thick wood in pos 
session of the enemy, to one of our posts. I represented 
to him the folly of exposing ourselves at short range to 
the rebel sharpshooters, as we were in full uniform, and 
there was no necessity for doing so. Accordingly we 
made a detour. General Wadsworth was subsequently 
killed in battle. No better patriot fell in the war. 

After General McClellan took command of the Army 
of the Potomac, I was advanced to the head of the divi 
sion which Don Carlos Buell had left to go West, and had 
charge of a section of the defences of Washington city. 

The subject of army corps was discussed, and I gave 
my opinion in favor of such an organization, which was 

438 Fifty Years' Observation. 

announced by General McClellan in orders, and I was 
assigned to the command of the 4th corps, Army of the 
Potomac, Generals McDowell, Sumner, and Heintzelman 
being respectively assigned to the 1st, 2d, and 3d corps. 
J understand that General McClellan was not in favor 
of the appointment of any one of the four above named. 
It may have been rumor in regard to others, but I am 
certain he was opposed to me. I was, therefore, conscious 
that, in addition to the responsibilities of an important 
command, I was about to enter upon a campaign laden 
with disfavor at headquarters. For that reason I was the 
more cautious to avoid all acts and words of insubordi 
nation, and determined to obey the orders of General 
McClellan with the same zeal that I obeyed the glorious 
Colonel George Wright in his Indian campaign of 1858. 

The discussions concerning the line of operations 
against the rebels were protracted and warm. President 
Lincoln took part, and the clearness of his perception on 
this subject, as on most others, was apparent. The ele 
ments of ferocity and selfishness, which are not unusual 
with first-class military chiefs, were wholly foreign to Mr. 
Lincoln's nature. Nevertheless, there was not one of his 
most trusted warlike counsellors in the beginning of the 
war that equalled him in military sagacity. His supreme 
benevolence caused him many times to surrender good 
positions for bad ones. 

The line by Fort Monroe and the Isthmus was my first 
choice, and for that I voted after I had sent and gone to 
the Navy Department, and received assurance upon two 
points 1st, that the rebel ironclad Merrimac had been 
neutralized by the illustrious hero, John L. Worden, and 
2d, that the navy would be able to co-operate effectively 
to secure to us the free passage of the James and York 
rivers, and especially the latter. 

The New Army. 439 

General McClellan was at first in favor of the line by 
Urbana, but he was not strongly opposed to the line by 
Fort Monroe, which was his alternate choice, and to that 
point his army was transported. 

That body of about 120,000 men, which landed at Fort 
Monroe in March, 1862, lacked some of the qualifications 
of an army. The material was good enough to form a 
Spartan Phalanx, or Caesar's favorite legion, and Gen 
eral McClellan had shown superior ability in organi 
zation ; but there were many new levies with little or no 
instruction, and the majority, from want of experience, 
were deficient in esprit de corps and the necessity of 
passive obedience. The want of training of the volun 
teers, however, was not greater than the incongruity of the 
officers of the regular army who held the superior com 

That incongruity is easily explained. During forty 
years before the rebellion it was an axiom with the War 
Department that no officer was fit to command an army 
who was not of Southern birth. My loud dissent from 
that assumed axiom was considered a sure indication of 
folly and in competency. I refer to myself simply as an 
exponent of a state of things that naturally grew out of 
the institution of slavery. 

When the Southerners retired from the army the 
Northern functionaries, in their discordancy and dejec 
tion, cast about for another class of men fit for com 
mands. As the military sentiment was not in repute at 
the North, the public mind turned upon men of science 
and politicians. The Engineer Corps was the principal 
depot of science in the army, and the politicians were 
obtrusively near. 

The Engineer Corps is recruited from the heads and 
upper files of classes at the Military Academy, and the 

440 Fifty Years' Observation. 

exaltation of superiority in scholarship while a cadet is 
not modified or lessened after graduating, but is increased 
by exclusive employment and association as officers. The 
engineers are worthy of all respect for their talents, in 
tegrity, and devotion to duty ; but they appear always 
to overlook and disregard the necessity of service with 
troops of the line as a preparation for command in the 
field. The grumbling old line officer goes to duty and 
observes precedence often against the bias of his judg 
ment. Not so the engineer officer, who has acquired the 
habit of independent action and placed science above 
a knowledge of human nature in the management of 

In the beginning of the war the engineers were nearly 
everywhere in the direction. Those first in command 
offered a strange variety of administration due to their 
native dispositions. They were able and active, but 
those who disapproved them voiced their criticisms in 
strains like the following : Halleck was stub and twist ; 
Fremont was vanity incarnate; Rosecrans was polemi 
calbut it is not possible to encase McClellan in a single 
phrase that will show him fully. I must therefore drift 
a little into his character, and sink a winze here and there 
to find the value of his metal. 

At West Point I had McClellan under instruction in 
artillery and cavalry, and was struck with the facility 
with which he learned his lessons and his strong attach 
ments to friends qualities for which he has always been 
remarkable. I knew how proud he was of being in the 
Engineer Corps, but I did not forecast his love of popular 
applause, which, though apparent, was occasionally over 
stated, as it was one day by old Count Gurowski, the 
snarling ex-Polish nobleman and translator in the De 
partment of State. 

General McClellan. 441 

It was after a review in the outskirts of Washington, 
when McClellan returned late in the afternoon followed 
by a train of generals, adjutants, aides, orderlies, senators 
and other civil functionaries, and a rabble of idlers that 
would have been crowded on ten acres of ground. Noth 
ing was lacking that denotes 

" Supremacy and all the large effects 
That troop 

Among them was old Gurowski, who wore a wide- 
brimmed hat and a gray overcoat. I was quite intimate 
with the count, who had taught me several new epithets 
of censure and terms of dissent. After a while the old 
Pole came sidling up to me. His lowering countenance 
showed that the glittering pomp of war had no power to 
cheer him. He found fault with everything ; said he had 
lived many years in Washington and had noticed how 
quickly the heads of popular favorites were turned, but 
no head was ever turned so quickly as that one yonder 
pointing to McClellan. 

Such denunciations as the above, which were frequent, 
ought not to weigh in our estimate of the character under 
discussion, since if there has been, or is now on earth, a 
man whose head could not be turned by the show and 
adulation of which General McClellan was then the sub 
ject, I have not known him. Unfortunately for him, how 
ever, the host of his admirers embraced all the " Northern 
men with Southern principles/' and nearly all the " cop 
per-heads," to wit : all those who thought the war un 
justifiable, like Vallandigham, S. L. M. Barlow and 
August Belmont, and many other prominent Northern 

The disembarkation on the Isthmus was not complete 
when General McClellan issued his orders for the three 

442 Fifty Years' Observation. 

corps, mine being on the James River side, to move on 
the first day to points indicated. Before reaching these 
points the whole army was brought to a halt by a rebel 
line of defensive works stretching across from Yorktovvn 
to the James River near Warwick Court House. 

The head of my column arrived at that point in a 
drenching rain ; all the streams and low places were full 
of water which the enemy had used to the best advantage 
to obstruct us. I visited the same place in May, 1884, 
and I was unable to imagine how human ingenuity 
could have collected so much water as I saw there in 

During ten days, after reaching Warwick Court House, 
the ground was so soft and miry in places that the rations 
for the soldiers at many points of the line had to be car 
ried on the backs of men. 

The following is the letter which I wrote to my friend, 
Senator Ira Harris. As General McClellan embodied the 
entire letter in his report I make no excuse for inserting 
it here. 

VIRGINIA, April 7, 1862. 

MY DEAR SENATOR : The plan of campaign on this line was made with 
the distinct understanding that four army corps should be employed, and 
that the navy should cooperate in the taking of Yorktown ; and also (as I 
understood it) support us on our left by moving gunboats up James River. 

To-day I have learned that the first corps, which by the President's 
order was to embrace four divisions, and one division (Blenker's) of the 
second corps, have been withdrawn altogether from this line of operations 
and from the Army of the Potomac. At the same time, as I am informed, 
the navy has not the means to attack Yorktown, and is afraid to send gun 
boats up James River for fear of the Merrimac. 

The above plan of campaign was adopted unanimously by Major-General 
McDowell and Brigadier-Generals Sumner, Heintzelman and Keyes, and 
was concurred in by Major-General McClellan, who first proposed Urbana 
as our base. 


)2. ) 

Letter to Senator Harris. 443 

This army being reduced by 45,000 troops, some of them among the best 
in the service, and without the support of the navy, the plan to which we 
are reduced bears scarce any resemblance to the one I voted for. 

I command the James River column, and I left my camp near Newport 
News the morning of the 4th inst. I only succeeded in getting my artillery 
ashore the afternoon of the day before, and one of my divisions had not all 
arrived in camp the day I left, and for the want of transportation has not yet 
joined me. So you will observe that not a day was lost in the advance, and 
in fact we marched so quickly and so rapidly that many of our animals were 
twenty-four and forty-eight hours without a ration of forage. But notwith 
standing the rapidity of our advance, we were stopped by a line of defence 
nine or ten miles long, strongly fortified by breastworks erected nearly the 
whole distance behind a stream or succession of ponds, nowhere fordable, 
one terminus being Yorktown and the other ending in the James River, 
which is commanded by the enemy's gunboats. Yorktown is fortified all 
around with bastioned works, and on the water side it and Gloucester are so 
strong that the navy is afraid to attack them. 

The approaches on one side are generally through low, swampy and 
thickly wooded ground, over roads which we are obliged to repair or to 
make before we can get forward our carriages. The enemy is in great force, 
and is constantly receiving reinforcements from the two rivers. The line in 
front of us is, therefore, one of the strongest ever opposed to an invading 
force in any country. 

You will then ask why I advocated such a line for our operations? My 
reasons are few, but I think good. 

With proper assistance from the navy we could take Yorktown, and 
then, with gunboats on both rivers, we could beat any force opposed to us 
on Warwick River, because the shot and shell from the gunboats would 
nearly overlap across the Peninsula, so that if the enemy should retreat 
and retreat he must he would have a long way to go without rail or steam 
transportation, and every soul of his army must fall into our hands, or be 

Another reason for my supporting the new base and plan was that this 
line, it was expected, would furnish water transportation nearly to Rich 

Now, supposing we succeed in breaking through the line in front of us, 
what can we do next ? The roads are very bad, and, if the enemy retains 
command of James River, and we do not first reduce Yorktown, it would be 
impossible for us to subsist this army three marches beyond where it is now. 
As the roads are at present, it is with the utmost difficulty that we can sub 
sist it in the position it now occupies. 

You will see, therefore, that the force originally intended for the capture 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

of Richmond should be all sent forward. If I thought the four army corps 
necessary, when I supposed the navy would co-operate, and when I judged 
of the obstacles to be encountered by what I learned from maps and the 
opinions of officers stationed at Fort Monroe, and from all other sources, 
how much more should I think the full complement of troops requisite, now 
that the navy cannot co-operate, and now that the strength of the enemy's 
lines and the number of his guns and men prove to be almost immeasurably 
greater than I had been led to expect ! The line in front of us, in the 
opinion of all military men here who are at all competent to judge, is one of 
the strongest in the world, and the force of the enemy capable of being 
increased beyond the numbers we now have to oppose to him. Inde 
pendently of the strength of the lines in front of us, and of the force of the 
enemy behind them, we cannot advance until we get command of either 
York River or James River. The efficient co-operation of the navy is, 
therefore, absolutely essential, and so I considered it when I voted to change 
our base from the Potomac to Fort Monroe. 

An iron-clad boat must attack Yorklown, and if several strong gunboats 
could be sent up James River also, our success will be certain and complete, 
and the rebellion will soon be put down. 

On the other hand, we must butt against the enemy's works with artillery, 
and a great waste of time, life, and material. 

If we break through and advance, both our flanks will be assailed from 
two great watercourses in the hands of the enemy ; our supplies would give 
out, and the enemy, equal if not superior in numbers, would, with the 
other advantages, beat and destroy this army. 

The greatest master of the art of war has said " that if you would invade 
a country successfully you must have one line of operation, and one army, 
under one general." But what is our condition? The State of Virginia is 
made to constitute the command , in part or wholly, of some six generals, 
viz : Fremont, Banks, McDowell, Wool, Burnside, and McClellan, besides 
the scrap over the Chesapeake in the care of Dix. 

The great battle of the war is to come off here. If we win it, the rebel 
lion will be crushed if we lose it, the consequences will be more horrible 
than I care to tell. The plan of campaign I voted for, if carried out wilh 
the means proposed, will certainly succeed. If any part of the means pro 
posed are withheld or diverted, I deem it due to myself to say that our suc 
cess will be uncertain. 

It is no doubt agreeable to the commander of the first corps to have a 
separate department, and as this letter advocates his return to General Mc- 
Clellan's command, it is proper to state that I am not at all influenced by 
personal regard, or dislike, to any of my seniors in rank. If I were to 
credit all the opinions which have been poured into my ears, I must believe 

McClelland Report. 445 

that, in regard to my present fine command, I owe much to General Mc 
Dowell and nothing to General McClellan. But I have disregarded all such 
officiousness, and 1 have since last July to the present day supported General 
McClellan, and obeyed all his orders with as hearty a good-will as though 
he had been my brother or the friend to whom I owe most. I shall continue 
to do so until the last, and so long as he is my commander. He left Wash 
ington with the understanding that he was to execute a definite plan of cam 
paign with certain prescribed means. The plan was good and the means 
sufficient, and without modification the enterprise was certain of success. 
But with the reduction of force and means the plan is entirely changed, and 
is now a bad plan, with means insufficient for certain success. 

Please show this letter to the President, and I should like also that Mr. 
Stanton should see its contents. Do me the honor to write to me as soon 
as you can, and believe me, with perfect respect, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Brigadier-General commanding ^th Army Corps. 

Senator Harris wrote me some time afterwards that he 
had given one of my letters to President Lincoln, and 
this was the one. It finally came into the hands of Gen 
eral McClellan, who embodied the whole letter in his re 
portpage 555. 

General McClellan also quoted in his report a long 
paragraph from my testimony before the Congressional 
Committee on the conduct of the war, and he associates 
my opinions with those of my friend and correspondent, 
Major-General J. G. Barnard, his chief engineer, who, it 
should be known, was entitled to be called illustrious for 
his genius in science and his virtues as a man. 

When, after the campaign was ended, I had read Gen 
eral McClellan 's report and saw myself quoted in a man 
ner so flattering my astonishment was inexpressible. I 
was in New York, where I met Col. Key, A. D. C. and 
judge-advocate with the Army of the Potomac. I asked 
him how it happened that his chief had so copiously em 
ployed my opinions to strengthen his decisions. " Be- 

446 Fifty Years' Observation. 

cause," said he, " your opinions were so correct and so 
well expressed that he could not avoid it ! " 

The reason for my astonishment was that from the 
time I landed at Fort Monroe till after I crossed White 
Oak swamp on the 2Qth of June, leading the way in the 
change of base to the James River, General McClellan 
never once asked my advice or opinion in regard to any 
battle or movement, nor did he once call me into council 
with the other corps commanders. I was several times 
told that they were called into council and I was left out. 

While the army was detained before Yorktown, an un 
fortunate attack was made on Lee's Mill from a point with 
in my line which was guarded by General W. F. Smith, one 
of my division commanders. On the i6th April, the day of 
the attack, I visited Smith's headquarters and found him 
and General McClellan alone together in consultation. I 
remained in their presence about five minutes, and, my 
opinion not being asked, I withdrew from the position. 
Shortly afterward the assault was made, which caused a 
heavy loss on our side in killed and wounded, and no 
benefit whatsoever. 

If my opinion had been asked by the General-in-Chief 
it would have been given decidedly in opposition. My 
opinion was fixed that the proper method to break 
through that line with our large force was by a simul 
taneous pressure and menace along the whole line, and 
serious assaults upon points previously indicated. That 
was the proper way, but my judgment was not sought ; 
and I absolutely deny all responsibility for the attack of 
April i6th, 1862. 

It would appear, however, that my name was associated 
in the affair. General Webb, when writing his book on 
the war in the summer of iSSi, questions me in a note 
about the attack on Lee's Mill. He also indicated a 

Lees Mill. 


supposition that I had been ordered by General McClellan 
to attack it and had disobeyed the order. I was dis 
mayed, for I did not retain in memory the slightest inci 
dent that could suggest such a supposition. The subject 
perplexed me often, and it was only made clear in July, 
1884, when, in turning the leaves of McClellan's Report 
in the Astor Library, I discovered the following (p. 553) : 

The nature of that position (Lee's Mill) in relation to the Warwick not 
being at that time understood, I instructed General Keyes to attack and 

carry this position upon coming in front of it When General 

Keyes approached Lee's Mill, his left flank was exposed to a sharp artillery 
fire from the further bank of the Warwick, and upon reaching the vicinity 
of the mill he found it altogether stronger than was expected, unapproach 
able by reason of the Warwick River, and incapable of being carried by 

The above reference to Lee's Mill had no connection 
with the attack of April i6th, but it was ample ground 
for a slanderous charge of disobedience of orders and in- 
competency against me. 

The slander had reached a friend of mine to whom I 
wrote a letter from Yorktown, concerning a young volun 
teer. My letter also referred to my being left on the 
Isthmus, and to certain experiences in the recent cam 
paign. The officer to whom I wrote was a man of talents, 
in full sympathy with me regarding the war, and he 
afterward commanded a corps. I give here the closing 
paragraph of his letter, which is sombre in tone and full of 
heat. The letter from which I quote is dated October 
23, 1862 : 

I have had command of a division at and since the battle of South 

Mountain, but it devolved on me from 's sickness and 's wound. I 

do not expect to retain it, for it is well known I dislike the stand-still policy 

of and . As soon as they find a decent pretext I suppose they 

will throw me overboard. It did not need your letter to convince me that 

448 Fifty Years Observation. 

you would receive nothing but injustice from those men. They attempted to 
throw the catastrophe of Lee's Mill upon your shoulders. Perhaps they think 
it is useful to retain a few of us in the army as scapegoats for their own 
blundering and incapacity." 

I am entirely ignorant of the names of the persons who 
" attempted to throw the catastrophe of Lee's Mill upon 
your (my) shoulders," but I here solemnly assert that 
whosoever did say I had anything to do with that attack 
made a specific and unqualified mistake. 

The rebels having retired from Yorktown our army 
pursued, and on the 4th day of May fought the battle of 
Williamsburg, which it is not my purpose to describe 

When the head of my column arrived near the field of 
battle after sunset on the evening of the 3d, it was 
stopped by other troops and their carriages that blocked 
the road completely. I got forward with one staff officer, 
and found General Sumnerin a house, where I slept on the 
floor of a small room, in which was the Prince of Joinville 
with six or seven other persons. Early the next morning 
General Sumner, who had the chief command, said he 
should intrust me with the attack on the right. There 
was a considerable delay in giving the order, due, prob 
ably, to ignorance of the topography of the country and 
the position of the enemy. The moment he gave me the 
order I proceeded to select Hancock's brigade, and went 
with it a considerable distance to the right and ordered 
him to attack, which he did in gallant style. 

As soon as I saw Hancock well at work, I returned to 
get forward and send into action other portions of my 
corps. That was a task of difficult performance, owing 
to the woods and the narrowness of the communications 
in which the different columns were mingled. 

There was some hard fighting below Williamsburg, 

General Hancock. 


but not much beauty in the battle. General McClellan 
in a despatch to Mrs. McClellan announces his admiration 
for the conduct of Hancock, who was one o( his favorites. 
Couch, Peck and others of my corps did excellent ser 

While he was in my corps, Hancock's activity, gal 
lantry, cheerfulness and freedom from spite and insub 
ordination attracted me strongly. After he was trans 
ferred I was not near enough to him to note how great 
success and adulation in and after the war had affected 
his nature, and I know not his humor now that he has 
been jolted on the rough ways of politics, and warped 
and stretched upon a Democratic platform, but it would 
be impossible to corrupt Hancock. 

The army halted several days at Williamsburg, and I 
was quartered in the house of a prominent rebel who had 
abandoned it to fight against the Union. General Mc 
Clellan had issued an order against marauding, and under 
cover of that order the Provost-Marshal General of the 
army found occasion to administer to me a most humili 
ating experience. 

The rebel owner of the house had left behind several 
bottles of wine and brandy. I took for myself one bot 
tle of wine and drank it with my friends, and I gave a 
bottle of the brandy to Colonel John J. Astor, A.D.C. to 
General McClellan. At the suggestion of my chief Sur 
geon Brown and Colonel Suydam, I took several bottles 
and carried them along for the use of the sick. The 
liquor was safe with me, for I did not drink brandy, and 
not one drop of the brandy seized ever touched my lips. 

On arriving at Roper's Church, two marches from Wil 
liamsburg, I received peremptory orders to report in 
person to the Provost-Marshal General of the army. By 
him I was questioned concerning the liquor and directed 

45O Fifty Years' Observation. 

to return it in charge of a staff officer to the place from 
which it was taken. I suppressed all signs of anger, and 
directed Lieutenant Chetwood, A.D.C., to execute the 
order without delay. 

The Provost- Marshal General to whom I, a corps com 
mander, was ordered to report in person, was my junior 
in rank, and the opinions he entertained in regard to the 
war and its causes were doubtless as little in sympathy 
with my own as those of any man in either army. I am 
greatly mistaken if he did not feel happy in the oppor 
tunity to insult me grossly in the line of duty. 

As I have before remarked, it is not my purpose to 
write a complete history of any part of the war of the 
rebellion, but to draw attention to actions in which I 
took part. 

The battle of Fair Oaks was one of the most san 
guinary of the war, and considering the isolation of 
the combatants due to an unexpected rise of the Chicka- 
hominy, the Union cause was in greater danger on the 
3 1st of May, 1862, than at the date of any other battle 
except Gettysburg. It was called by the Confederates the 
battle of Seven Pines, and that is its proper designation, 
because there the principal fighting v/as done and the 
greatest losses on both sides sustained. 

In all the numerous histories that I have seen not one 
contains a tolerably fair account of the battle of Fair 
Oaks. In none of the reports of the chiefs engaged on 
our side except mine are the positions of the brigades of 
my corps at the beginning of the action stated. Without 
a clear knowledge of those positions, a hundred persons 
might read all the reports and all arrive at wrong and dif 
ferent conclusions. 

My corps was on the right bank of the Chickahominy, 
and considerably in advance on the 3ist of May, 1862, 

Fair Oaks. 451 

which was the first day of what is called the battle of 
Fair Oaks. To that first day alone this description ap 

To comprehend the battle let it be understood that the 
place called Seven Pines is at the junction of the Wil- 
liamsburg and Nine Mile roads. At that point the reader 
must fancy himself placed. Looking thence up the Wil- 
liamsburg road towards Richmond, he will have Casey's 
redout half a mile from him, on the left of that road and 
near to it. Casey's division of three brigades of infantry, 
and certain artillery under Colonel Bailey, forms the first 
line which extends to the right across to the railroad, 
which is about a mile off, and to the left to the White 
Oak swamp, which was, owing to heavy rains, less than 
a mile distant. Most of Bailey's artillery was in and near 
the redout, the horses outside. Palmer's brigade is on 
the left, Wessel's brigade in the centre, and Naglee's 
brigade on the right of Casey's line, with two regiments 
across the railroad. In front of Casey's line, at an aver 
age distance of a long musket range, were woods and 
thickets that concealed the enemy, whose approach was 
down the Williamsburg road and through other openings 
in the woods. 

The Nine Mile road starting from Seven Pines to the 
right slants a little forward to Fair Oaks station, which is 
one mile distant. To the rear of that road on the right 
and left of the Williamsburg road Couch's division of 
three brigades of infantry and West's artillery forms the 
second line, which was somewhat nearer to Casey's line 
on the right than on the left where the distance apart 
was over half a mile. Peck's brigade forms the left of 
Couch's line, and is all on the left of the Williamsburg 
road. Devens's brigade is in the centre of Abercrombie's 
brigade, is on the right of Couch's line, and has two 

45 2 Fifty Years' Observation. 

regiments across the railroad, where Brady's battery is 
also stationed. The White Oak swamps, the Williams- 
burg road and railroad are nearly parallel. When Heint- 
zelman came up at about 4 P. M. with two brigades of 
his corps, they went in under General Kearny on the 
left of the Williamsburg road ; and when Sumner got 
into action at about 5 P. M., he was on the right of the 
railroad, and did not, I think, cross it on the 3 1st. 

Below Seven Pines I held a reserve of several regiments 
of Couch's division, which I dispatched successively to 
strengthen Casey's line at points where I saw they were 
most needed. 

I stated in my report that the country was mostly 
wooded and greatly intersected with marshes, and such 
was the truth on the day of the battle, and the deep mud 
is mentioned in some of the reports. It was otherwise in 
May, 1884, when I found all the ground dry and hard. 

The position my corps occupied was not of my 
selection, but was chosen by the engineers and ap 
proved by General McClellan, who had not visited it 
in person to my knowledge. The left of my lines was 
well protected by the White Oak swamps, but the right 
was on ground so favorable to the approach of the enemy, 
and so far from the Chickahommy, that, if Johnston had 
attacked there an hour or two earlier than he did, I 
could have made but a feeble defence comparatively, 
and every man of us would have been killed, captured, 
or driven into the swamps or river before assistance 
could have reached us. I supposed the attack would 
come from the right even before the sudden overflow 
of the Chickahommy. I made many reports to head 
quarters of my situation during the thirty-six hours 
immediately preceding the battle, and was constantly 
expecting an attack. 

Fair Oaks. 453 

My report is a far better history of the conflict than I 
could write now, and to its truth in every essential 
particular I can take oath. I was not positive in stating 
the exact time at which General Heintzelman arrived 
on the field with reinforcements, nor that at which the 
last line of battle was formed by General Heintzelman 
and me. General McClellan's report states that it was 
near 5 o'clock P. M. when Heintzelman arrived, but I am 
convinced that he came up the Williamsburg road, and 
that when I rode over and spoke with him it was not 
five minutes before or after 4 o'clock. Jameson's brigade 
was approaching, and Heintzelman asked me where they 
were most needed, and I pointed up and to the left 
of the road, and in that direction Jameson's column 
passed, while we stood together and got into action 
fifteen or twenty minutes past 4. The last line was 
formed after sunset, that is, after 7 o'clock P. M., and it 
was as late as 7.30 when the battle ended. 

General Heintzelman ranked me and had been placed 
in the general command of all the forces on the right 
bank of the Chickahominy. During the three last hours 
of the battle, from his arrival on the field, when Casey 
and his whole line had been overwhelmed with superior 
numbers and hurled to the rear, we often met and 
consulted together. He gave me no order, nor did he 
in the least interfere with my command of my own 
people, though in the confusion the men of his corps got 
mixed with mine, and we both gave directions wherever 
we happened to be. We both had all we could do, 
because all the enemy's forces had got into action, while 
a very great number of our men had deserted the ranks 
and left us with a fearful minority against the enemy. 

The bravery and activity of General Heintzelman were 
conspicuous throughout, and when a clerk carried my 

454 Fifty Years Observation. 

report to him without my signature, it was sent back with 
the following note : 

Brig.-Gen*l E. D. Keyes, Commanding %th Corps. 

DEAR GENERAL : You have omitted to sign your report. Will you 
please sign and return it by the orderly ? General Heintzelman has ex 
pressed himself as much pleased with your report, and is astonished at the 
accuracy with which you have detailed the events of the day. 

Yours respectfully, 
[Signed] C. WcKEEVER, Chief of Staff. 

The general's own report of the battle repeats his 
compliments to mine, to the correctness of which there 
cannot possibly be adduced more direct and positive 
proof. Many other officers assured me of its truth and 
fairness, and no man has ever to my knowledge accused 
me of error or unfairness. General Devens, afterwards 
Attorney-General of the United States, whose bravery 
and good conduct in the battle were conspicuous, wrote 
me that instead of retiring from the field on being 
wounded near me, he only withdrew a short distance to 
have his wound bandaged, and then he went into action 
again. I stated what I saw, and I happen to 
observe him when returned into action. 

Directly after the battle, instead of an inconsiderable 
number of enemies who sought to damage me for my 
strong Northern Republican sentiments, and gather my 
reputation from slanderous tongues, I found that many 
persons who had no special reason to dislike me sought 
to misrepresent my conduct or ignore me. Slanders 
were widely circulated and credited ; one was that I had 
been superseded in the command of the 4th Corps by 
General Heintzelman. 

Under the sting of that and other foul slanders and 
insinuations, I addressed a note to headquarters, but did 
not retain a copy. It brought the following response : 

General Marcy's Letter. 455 


NEW BRIDGE, June 4, 1862. 

DEAR KEYES : In reply to your letter received this morning, I can say 
to you that instead of there being any unfavorable impression on the mind of 
General McClellan, regarding your action on the field of battle of the 3ist 
ultimo, he has informed me that from what he has learned you conducted 
yourself with great gallantry. He has spoken in terms of censure of the 
general conduct of the division commanded by General Casey, which has 
been wanting in that excellent discipline that has characterized the other 
divisions of the army, but he does not by any means hold you responsible for 

This division was for the most part composed of new regiments, and of 
course so much could not be expected as from others, yet he has not a doubt 
but parts of this division may have behaved well. 

The general has no other desire but to do justice to all, and you may rely 
upon it that he will not do you the least injustice. 

His health has not been good, and he is overwhelmed with important 
business, but he will take the first opportunity to make a report of the 3ist 
and ist, which will, I think, be perfectly satisfactory to you. 

Very sincerely your friend, 

[Signed] R. B. MARCY. 

P. S. General Heintzelman was placed in command of your corps in 
order to have one general command the entire line. In the same way 
Sumner was placed in command of the whole. This was done without 
intent to cast any reflection on you, and I am surprised that you should 
have so regarded it. 

[Signed] R. B. M. 

The postscript to General Marcy's letter is very impor 
tant. The Chickahominy ran between the two wings of 
the army, and it was in a military point of view quite 
proper to designate in orders the ranking officer on the 
right bank as the commanding general of the whole. In 
the same way my orders to command the Fourth Corps 
made me the commander of its divisions and brigades. 
But the order given to General Heintzelman in this in 
stance has been generally employed with apparent malig 
nity to my prejudice. It is certain, however, that I com 
manded the Fourth Army Corps on the 3ist May, and no 

456 Fifty Years' Observation. 

officer in the battle of Fair Oaks was less interfered 
with in the exercise of his proper functions than I 

Another false impression has gained a footing. Many 
persons have been made to believe that there were two 
fights on the 3 ist May one fought by Casey's line and one 
by that of Couch. An officer of rank stated to me that 
such an inference might originate in my own report, 
which stated that " after I had sent reinforcements to 
sustain Casey's line until the numbers were so much re 
duced in the second line that no more could be spared," 
I then proceeded to describe " the operations of the sec 
ond line, which received my uninterrupted supervision." 
It would be as incorrect to say there were two battles on 
the 3 ist as to say that every division and brigade had a 
fight of its own. 

The veteran Casey in his report makes a statement 
which favored the mistake. He says he received no re 
inforcements in his first line. Now it is probable that 
none of the regiments I sent to support Casey's line act 
ually got quite up to his redoubt, but the 5$th New York, 
the 23d and 6ist Pennsylvania, the 7th Massachusetts, 
and others under Couch and Abercrombie supported him 
valiantly. This is shown by my report and the reports 
of Couch, Peck, Abercrombie, and several colonels. 

Until Casey's line was broken, and I confess he held it 
with masterly conduct and bravery, I acted the part of a 
corps commander by watching operations at a certain 
distance, though I was not a minute out of the range of 
the enemy's shot and shells. As soon as Casey's men 
were obliged to give ground to vastly superior numbers, 
and the'contest looked desperate, I drew nigh the com 
batants. I was often in the line of file closers, and some 
times at the head of columns and batteries, leading them 

Fair Oaks. 457 

to new positions. I conducted the loth Massachusetts 
seven or eight hundred yards to a new position at the 
moment when I thought a rout was most imminent. 
See Byron Porter's report see also reports of Colonel 
Adams and of West, Chief of Artillery, and Miller and 
Peck. West and Miller state in their reports that I 
placed the artillery in position and continued to direct 
the firings throughout the action. 

Owing to mud, water, and thickets, the advance of the 
enemy was in places obstructed. The passages through 
which they could approach I took care to guard, and the 
supports I had sent to Casey were able to make resistance 
continuous. The enemy had no spaces without defenders 
to trot over and gain confidence. 

Perhaps the most fortunate order I gave during the 
day was to General Couch early in the action to go with 
two regiments to support the right. He thought he 
should have had more than two regiments, and I agreed 
with him, but if I had sent another regiment, I should 
have been certainly crushed at Seven Pines before dark. 
In my despatch to General Heintzelman in the beginning 
of the battle I requested him to send a brigade up the 
railroad. He ordered Burney's brigade up that way, but 
General Kearny stopped him, and only a small part of 
Burney's command got into action late in the day. Couch 
therefore found himself in a desperate strait ; he was 
thrust across the railroad, and the enemy cut off his con 
nection, and but for the opportune arrival at 5 P.M. of 
General E. V. Sumner, who came from the opposite bank 
of the Chickahominy over an unfinished bridge, the loose 
planks of which were beginning to float, Couch must have 
been destroyed, and the rebels would have rolled up the 
right of our line. Couch's conduct was admirable, and 
when Sumner joined him the strength of our side in that 

45 8 Fifty Years' Observation. 

quarter was sufficient and proportionately much greater 
than at Seven Pines. 

The difficulties of our task on that bloody day may be 
more easily understood by what General Joseph E. John 
ston, the Confederate chief, says in his report of the 
battle See Vol. 5, p. 96, Rebellion Record. 

After describing the rush by which Casey's line was 
carried, he continues as follows : 

The operation was repeated with the same gallantry and success, as our 
troops pursued their victorious career through the enemy's successive camps 
and entrenchments. At each new position they encountered fresh troops 
belonging to it, and reinforcements brought up from the rear. Thus they 
had to repel repeated efforts to retake works which they had carried. 

It is true we met the enemy and assailed him wherever 
he showed himself, and General Johnston supposed the 
various new lines of battle formed under fire were with 
fresh troops. In that he was mistaken, as all my remain 
ing force as well as that brought up by Heintzelman were 
actually engaged soon after Casey's line gave way. Those 
movements and the terrible fighting from half-past four 
till half-past seven o'clock have scarcely been noticed by 
former historians. They have skipped over them like 
hares, and omitted all mention of the chiefs of corps in 
command who directed them. 

The formation by me of successive lines of battle under 
fire, as described in my report, though no one has denied 
the fact, has not, to my knowledge, been recorded in any 
history. The Count de Villarceau, the one of my aides 
who (his English being imperfect) was near me longest, 
wrote and sent off without my dictation or knowledge an 
article which was published in the Courrier des Etats-Unis 
of June 21, 1862. 

The Count describes the dispositions made by me to 
prevent surprise, and says I mounted my horse soon after 

Fair Oaks. 459 

the first report of the enemy's cannon, referring to the 
signal guns fired a little before eleven o'clock, while I was 
speaking to the captured aide-de-camp of General John 
ston. He then refers to the charge of the 55th Regiment, 
New York Volunteers, composed wholly of Frenchmen, 
and describes fully in his own way what I did to resist 
the advance of the enemy, and concluded as follows : 

It is thus that he (Keyes) established in the open fields, which offered no 
natural defence, four consecutive lines of battle. In the fourth line he dis 
mounted and mixed with the soldiers, etc. 

My report describes the ending of the battle minutely 
and refers in no flattering terms to the officers and men 
who left the ranks and field without orders. It cannot 
be denied that there were recreants from all the regi 
ments. General I. N. Palmer, whose brigade was as much 
exposed as any, after stating that he lost about one-third 
of his men, accounts for his casualties of all kinds in the 
following swelling sentences : 

This is sufficient to induce me to think that while the men did not, per 
haps, act like veteran troops, they did as well as could be expected. For 
the disasters of the day those who placed a small force of the rawest troops 
in the army in a position where they would of necessity bear the brunt of 
any attack on the left must bear the blame. I take none to myself. 

General Casey speaks highly of the conduct of his 
brigadiers, Naglee, Wessels and Palmer. 

In connection with my report of the battle of Fair 
Oaks, I have stated that no man had accused me of un 
fairness. For a convincing reason I was made to believe 
that a son of General Casey thought I had been unjust 
to his father. To dispose of such a supposition, by 
whomsoever it may be entertained, I here produce the 
copy of a letter, the original of which is in my pos 
session : 

460 Fifty Years Observation. 

WASHINGTON, August 25, 1862. 

DEAR GENERAL: You will probably remember that while I was at Poplar 
Ridge you informed me that you had recommended me for a brevet. Inas 
much as it has not come to the knowledge of the President, you would con 
fer a great favor by informing me what disposition you made of the recom 
mendation, and by enclosing me a copy. It is a sad thought to me, General, 
that my brothers in arms are unwilling to do me that justice which the enemy 
are constantly making known. I have felt gratified that you have been dis 
posed to do justice in your report. 

Of all the generals that have commanded divisions in the Army of the 
Potomac, I have been made an exception. I am resting under severe 

If you can say anything to the President in my favor respecting this mat 
ter, and will enclose it to me, it shall be remembered. They may have killed 
me, but I am not buried yet. I find that I have friends left. 

I have been placed on the duty of receiving and reorganizing new troops, 

and am busily employed. 

Believe me, truly yours, 

[Signed] SILAS CASEY, Brig. Gen. Bt. 
Maj-Gen. E. Z). Keyes, Commanding %th Corps, 
Yorkto-wn, or Ft. Monroe, Va. 

Having failed to discover in any of the printed histories 
of the Peninsular campaign an account of the services of 
the 4th corps that was not imperfect, garbled, unfair, or 
shockingly prejudiced, I addressed a letter to my former 
chief of staff, Colonel C. C. Suydam, dated December 24, 
1877, from which I extract the following: 

We owe it to the brave men with whom we fought in the Army of the 
Potomac to establish the truth in regard to their service. To that end let 
us appeal to the testimony of actual participants, and reject all imaginative 
speculations. How often does the zeal of partisans, the fashion of a name 
or the blindness of sectional prejudice determine the deserts of a whole army 
of men ! Too much of this may be seen in the books already published, 
whereon many worthy names have been ignored, and others blazoned beyond 
their merits. 

From you I expect a transcript of many transcripts from your field books, 
and an account of things known to you, as the chief of my staff, and of 
which the public are now ignorant. 

My letter having been circulated brought many replies., 

Surgeon Hamilton's Testimony. 461 

some of which were of considerable length. I regarded 
those of Surgeon Hamilton and Colonel Suydam as the 
most valuable, for the reason that they had the best op 
portunities for observation. Colonel Suydam, though not 
an educated military man, had a special aptness for his 
duties as a staff officer, and he was vigilant and hardy. I 
received him as a stranger upon the sole recommendation 
of Mr. Charles King, late of New York, a noble gentleman, 
long my friend, whose heart was dedicated to the cause. 

Surgeon Frank Hamilton, whose works on military 
surgery are standard, came a stranger to me from General 
Franklin's division. He was with me four months, and 
messed with me. Dr. Hamilton acted awhile as Medical 
Inspector of the Army of the Potomac, and enjoyed 
ample opportunities for observation and comparison. 
Since he left the army he has written extensively, and 
one of his works he dedicated to me. He was a consult 
ing surgeon with those who attended President Garfield 
after he was shot by the assassin Guiteau. His probity 
of character is as remarkable as his skill in his profession, 
and as his ambition did not clash with mine, I cite his 
testimony with perfect confidence. 

Surgeon Hamilton drew a plan in his note-book of the 
field and stations of the troops, and the defences that had 
been hastily constructed before the battle, and from 
entries made at the time he sent me copious extracts, 
which I will draw upon to illustrate my narrative as 

After referring to my vigilance and endurance, etc., 
he continues : 

On the 2gth of May General Keyes said before myself and his aides, 
when we were lying at Seven Pines in a position of great exposure: "Our 
position is certain to tempt the enemy to attack us, and they will do so as 
soon as it is fairly understood, and I have so represented it to the com- 

462 Fifty Years Observation. 

manding general repeatedly." He was all that day busy looking after the 
position of his troops. 

On the 3Oth General Keyes repeated a similar remark. 

On the morning of the 3ist young Washington, the aide of General 
Johnston, was brought to our headquarters as a prisoner. General Keyes, 
having sent him to the commanding general, immediately ordered his horse, 
saying, " I'm going to the front." 

Captain Oswald Jackson, one of my aides, went with 
us and has testified in writing to the same fact and time. 
Hamilton continues : 

I said to General Keyes, " If you anticipate a battle I had better go to 
the front with you. " We rode to the Nine- Mile road, and turning to the 
right soon passed General Abercrombie's headquarters. General Abercrombie 
was in front of his tent when General Keyes said to him, " You had better 
get your men in position, for I think we are going to be attacked." General 
Abercrombie replied: " Can I have time to get something to eat?" " No, 
you had better do it at once." 

When we reached Fair Oaks station, General Keyes called for the colonel 
of a Pennsylvania regiment and told him to put his men in position and 
prepare for an attack. I then left him and rode further to the right to look 
after a building for a temporary hospital. 

Dr. Hamilton states further that after about one hour 
and a half he " heard heavy firing of small arms, indicat 
ing the commencement of the engagement." He states 
also that " he attended General Abercrombie professionally 
previous to his death, and they compared notes and 
agreed that what I [Hamilton] stated about the General 
[Keyes] was substantially correct." 

The foregoing direct evidence of Hamilton, Abercrom 
bie, Jackson and Villarceau, with the corroborating testi 
mony of Generals Couch, Peck, and others in support of 
my own assertion of the same facts, I trust will satisfy 
those who may hereafter write of the battle of Fair Oaks, 
that I was not surprised, nor tardy in the fight. 

I shall have occasion to make further references to 
Surgeon Hamilton's notes. 

Army Jealousies. 463 

The fact is well established that on the 3ist of May, 
1862, my corps was attacked by, and obliged to contend 
alone three hours and more, and till the end with only 
two of Heintzelman's brigades at Seven Pines, against the 
grand divisions of A. P. Hill, Longstreet, G. W. Smith, 
and Huger. There I witnessed the heaviest responsibility 
and hardest task of my life. I executed it better than I 
hoped, and was satisfied. Furthermore I gained con 
firmation to my belief that no man can know who his 
meanest enemies are until he finds an opportunity to do 
his best. In attestation of this position I give the follow 
ing letter unabridged : 


CINCINNATI, Ohio,//>/ 10, 1862. 
Major- General Keyes. 

SIR : Allow me to congratulate you on having partial justice done you 
and your heroic valor and skill in battle recognized and rewarded by the 

I told you all would yet be right. I knew that Secretary Chase would 
stand by you, when he once understood thoroughly your merits. To make 
him fully acquainted with them I did all and more than I promised you I 
would do. The letter I wrote from your headquarters was copied by 
Chase's secretary (he informs me), and taken before the Cabinet. / met and 
refuted charges of in competency contained in a letter from a person on the 
staff of one of your brother corps commanders, made against you and sent to 
Secretary Chase ; but of this fact say nothing until I see you, and I will tell 
you what a jealous set of men you have in the "Army of the Potomac." 

Count Villarceau's account of the ' ' Battle of Seven Pines " I had trans 
lated by a translator in the Interior Department and made good use of it. 

I am here with Miss Chase (who was very grateful for your compliments) 
and am engaged in fixing up some of the Governor's [Chase's] private busi 
ness ; shall not return to Washington for two weeks yet. If you have time 
amid your labors will you please send me some of your autographs on the 
inclosed cards to Columbus, Ohio; there are several of the leading citizens' 
families there who would like greatly to have one to put with your cartes de 
visite in their photographic albums. With great respect, 

Your friend and obedient servant, 
[Signed] D WIGHT BANNISTER, P. Mr., U.S.A. 

464 Fifty Years' Observation. 

On the ist of August, Secretary of the Treasury 
Chase wrote me a long letter, in which he referred to 
various interesting subjects relating to the President, the 
war, and himself, in such a confidential strain that the en 
tire contents of the letter would, I fear, excite controversy. 
I therefore reproduce but one of its paragraphs, which 
refers directly to my enemies and me. The letter was 
written after I had been breveted a Brigadier-General in 
the regular army. 

At length your merits have been properly recognized by the President 
and the Senate ; though you are doubtless aware that there have not been 
wanting those who would have deprived you of this recognition had it been 
in their power. 

Besides the letters of the Paymaster, Governor Chase 
and Senator Harris, I received many others from approv 
ing friends, among which were several from ladies Mrs. 
Carson, daughter of Mr. Pettigrew, of Charleston, S. C., 
the great Union patriot, wrote me one which I prized 
greatly. Nearly all the communications, written and 
verbal, that reached me disclosed the activity of my 
enemies of the baser sort. Their confusion could only be 
imagined by letting a full beam of light into a dungeon 
filled with bats, owls, toads, snakes, roaches and other 
reptiles. I took no pains to learn their names. 

My notice of the battle of Fair Oaks would not be 
complete without a detail of some of the apparent causes 
for the numerous incomplete, erroneous and prejudiced 
histories of it. The reports of the chiefs engaged in it 
were published in 1875, in Volume V., " Military Reports 
of the Rebellion." Before 1875 access to all the best 
sources of information was not easy, and writers generally 
gave credit to false or prejudiced reports, and to slan 
derers who never lag. 

After several unsuccessful attempts to cull from an 

The Count de Paris History. 465 

immense mass and arrange documents with intelligent 
coherence, the task was assigned to Col. Thomas Scott. 
He is the genius of classification, and if I blunder in my 
citations he will be best able to detect me. He knows 
more of what was done in the war than the actors them 
selves. It has often happened that an officer who was 
clogged in his own conceits, and strayed from his record, 
has come to Scott's office to demand correction of what 
he declares is a gross slander, but to find it a true extract 
from his own report. 

To show how an honest author may be deceived, I will 
invite attention to the errors in the description of the bat 
tle of Fair Oaks in the Count of Paris' history of the Civil 
War in America see Volume II. I select this example 
for two reasons first, because I have a profound respect 
for the Count, to whom I am indebted for various civilities 
in France, and second, because I have heard his history 
referred to as the best that has been written of our Civil 
War. The excellent qualities of the Count of Paris would 
entitle him to great distinction if he were of an humble 
instead of a royal, lineage. He is strikingly correct in his 
descriptions of other events with which I was familiar ; 
but his mistakes in regard to the battle of Fair Oaks are 
so numerous and essential, that they could only have 
arisen from his reliance upon incompetent authority. The 
integrity and fairness of his intentions towards me I never 
thought of questioning. 

It was remarked in the army that the Orleans Princes, 
J. J. Astor, Wright, Cutting, Haven, Wadsworth and 
other sons of affluence were distinguished for subordina 
tion to military rank, and for the cheerfulness with which 
they sustained the hardships of war. 

The following extracts are from the Count's history : 

The first works of the Federals, yet unfinished, simple abatis or epaule- 

466 Fifty Years' Observation. 

ments, the profile of which could not protect the men, were occupied by 
Naglee's brigade. This resisted energetically, and the division artillery di 
rected by an old officer of Regulars, Colonel Bailey, made great ravages in 
the ranks of the assailants. . . . The other two brigades of Casey hastened 
to the support of Naglee, and in spite of great losses they held good against 
the Confederates, whose numbers increased unceasingly. 

The above extract conveys an impression absolutely 
foreign from the truth, in the most essential particulars. 

Those first unfinished works of ours (that is, the chief 
and the greatest number of artificial defences), where 
Bailey was killed, were on the right and left of the Wil- 
liamsburg road, the redoubt being on the left of that road, 
and fully a mile from the railroad, astride which, on 
Casey's extreme right, Naglee's brigade was posted at the 
beginning of the action. The supports of the redoubt 
were Wessel's and Palmer's brigades, and those brigades, 
being hotly engaged almost from the beginning of the 
action, could not and did not go to the assistance of that 
of Naglee. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., August 4, 1884. 

DEAR GENERAL KEYES : I am in receipt of your letter of the 2gth ult. 
In regard to the statement made by the Count of Paris, in his history of the 
battle of Fair Oaks, that " the first works of the Federals were occupied by 
Naglee's brigade," I can only state that Naglee's brigade was one of those 
comprising Casey's division. When in position at Seven Pines, and when 
the engagement commenced, I had the left with the 3d Brigade, Wessels the 
centre with the 2d, and Naglee the right with the 1st. I have never heard 
before of either of these brigades as occupying the " first works " on the 
day of the battles of Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. 

In reply to your interrogatory, " Did you or any portion of your brigade 
go to the support of Naglee's brigade ? " I will state I do not recollect of 
ever receiving any order on that day to go to the support of Naglee or of 
sending any portion of my brigade to his support. 

In reply to your question, " Did any movement made by you in the bat 
tle of Fair Oaks have any reference to Naglee's brigade ? " I will state I 
made on that occasion no movement having any reference to his brigade. 

In reply to your question, " Did you have anything to do with General 
Naglee or his orders or his brigade in the battle of Fair Oaks of May 31, 

The Count de Paris' History. 467 

1862 ? " I reply that I was the senior brigade commander in Casey's division 
on that day, and as General Casey was present I had nothing to do with 
General Naglee or his orders. 

I think, General, that the Count gets things a little mixed in some parts 
of his history of this battle, and that the information on which some of his 
statements are based was not always reliable. 

I remain, General, very truly yours, 
[Signed] I. N. PALMER. 

General E. D. Keyes. 

From the letter of August 8, 1884, written to me by 
Brig. H. W. Wessels, commanding Casey's centre brigade, 
I extract the following he repeats my question : 

QUESTION. Did you have anything to do with General Naglee, or his 
orders or his brigade in the battle of Fair Oaks ? 


QUESTION. Did any movement made by you in the battle of Fair Oaks 
have any reference to Naglee's brigade ? 


The following is another extract from the Count of 
Paris' history: 

Bailey is killed upon the cannon which he has just spiked, and seven 
pieces remain in the hands of the assailants. It is just 3 o'clock, precisely. 
At this moment Peck's brigade of Couch's division arrived from Seven Pines 
led by Keyes, who had been notified a little late of the gravity of the com 

It often occurs that the most envenomed slanders are 
mingled with beneficent truths, and the above extract is 
an apt example. It is true the gallant Bailey was killed, 
and the guns in the little fort fell into the hands of the 
enemy because all the horses had been killed on the out 
side of it. But the charge that it was 3 o'clock P.M., at 
which precise moment I appeared on the field with Peck's 
brigade, in obedience to a tardy notification that a great 
battle was raging, is an unqualified falsehood. I never 
suspected the existence of this foul charge till the month 

468 Fifty Years' Observation. 

of September, 1880. Eighteen years and upwards had 
passed, and I had never known, or suspected, that I had 
been accused of being late at the battle of Fair Oaks. 

The simple facts of the case are as follows : I had not 
been off the field where the battle was fought for thirty- 
six hours, as my tent was close up with Couch's line and 
within full view and hearing of Casey's redoubt and the 
centre of his line. On the morning of the battle, that is, 
of the 3 1st of May, 1862, in anticipation of an attack, I 
gave orders to General Couch to advance Peck's brigade, 
(that is, Peck received the order at 1 1 o'clock A.M !) 
and then directly afterwards I mounted my horse at pre 
cisely 1 1 o'clock A.M., and proceeded to examine my lines 
from the Williamsburg road to Fair Oaks station, 
Surgeon Frank Hamilton, chief of my medical staff, and 
Captain Oswald Jackson, aide de camp, accompanying me, 
I went as far as the railroad. On my way over / met 
Colonel Bailey at a considerable distance from his guns, 
stopped him, told him that there was going to be a fight, and 
ordered him to proceed quickly and prepare his batteries. I 
also stopped to converse with, and give orders to, General 
Abercrombie to prepare for an immediate attack. I gave 
other orders, but made no changes of position, because 
none appeared necessary. Neither during the battle, nor 
since, have I had reason to regret or find fault with the 
orders I gave or the movements made by the troops of 
my corps. It appears strange that none of those who 
sought to destroy me have ever resorted to direct charges 
of misconduct, but they have been content to misrepre 
sent or ignore me and allow my name to fade in silence. 
My examinations continued about an hour, and I had 
some time to spare after I had taken up a most favor 
able position to observe the whole field, which was about 
midway between Casey's and Couch's lines, from whence 

The Count de Paris History. 469 

I saw the columns of the enemy issuing from the woods at 
about 12:30 M. Surgeon Hamilton, as I before remarked, 
took notes of the above-described reconnoissance at the 
time it was made, and to his testimony I refer in support 
of my present statements, and those contained in my 
report of the battle. 

Referring to alleged delays on our side as well as on the 
side of the enemy, the Prince says: "Notwithstanding 
their surprise, the Federals had lost a little less time." 

In regard to the above charge, I assert that if I had 
known with certainty that the attack would be made at 
the moment it was made, I could not have been better 
prepared than I was, and General Casey emphatically 
denied that he was surprised. 

I am constrained to transcribe another passage from 
the history of the royal Prince which refers to the con 
duct of brave men, yet its conclusions, being founded 
upon wrong premises and gross errors, are monstrously 
unjust : 

The Government, always animated by a secret jealousy against General 
McClellan, seldom communicated to the public the news it received from 
him ; but after a battle like this silence was impossible, and it caused the 
first dispatch from the commander-in-chief (McClellan) to be printed. Un 
fortunately the latter, deceived by the report of Heintzelman, cast unjust 
blame upon Casey's division. This dispatch was corrected in Washington, 
but in a manner to aggravate the pernicious effect of the error it contained. 
The unmerited censure was allowed to remain, while the praise which 
McClellan awarded to Sumner was suppressed. The general-in-chief soon 
re-established the truth, and it was known that the army had been saved by 
the tenacity of Naglee and Bailey, by the order that Kearny had communi 
cated to the brigades of Jameson and Berry, and finally by the indomitable 
energy of the aged Sumner. 

It must be borne in mind that General McClellan was 
ill in bed on the opposite side of the Chickahominy on 
the 3 1st of May, and he was therefore obliged to judge 

470 Fifty Years' Observation. 

by reports of the conduct of officers engaged. He never 
consulted me, and I was told that he was much confused 
by the various statements made to him by individuals. 

I am ignorant of the circumstances which led to the 
conclusion that the army was saved in the way and by the 
officers above referred to, but the justice of that conclu 
sion I deny emphatically. Leaving myself apart and my 
name to be placed where, after a careful examination of 
all reports in which my name occurs, it properly belongs, 
I can with confidence assert that it would have been 
more in accordance with equity and truth to say the army 
was saved by Casey, Couch and Heintzelman, instead of 
Naglee, Kearny and Sumner. My personal predilections 
have nothing to do with this decision. 

General E. V. Sumner was one of the best instructed 
line officers in the army. His bravery was beyond dis 
pute, and his untiring energy was never more remarkable 
than when he crossed the Chickahominy and came into 
action to assist Couch, who was across the railroad, and 
Abercrombie at 5 P. M. on the 3ist. After the junction 
of those officers they were comparatively stronger to cope 
with the enemy in front of them than Heintzelman and 
I were at Seven Pines, where, as the Count of Paris cor 
rectly says, the most of the fighting was done on that 

In regard to Philip Kearny, I had been his intimate 
associate and correspondent for more than twenty years 
before the war. His bravery and dash were proverbial, 
and never questioned by any one. He was rich by in 
heritance, profuse in his generosity, and polite in society. 
His occasional rashness in the pursuit of fame, and his 
lack of reserve when opposed or thwarted in his ambi 
tion, were also well understood. He lost an arm in the 
Mexican War, and was killed in the War of the Rebellion. 

General Kearny. 471 

It seems superfluous, therefore, to impute to General 
Kearny an exploit which the truth could in any manner 
qualify. The Count refers to his entry into the battle as 
follows : 

At half-past 3 o'clock Kearny, who knew no obstacles, as soon as he 
heard the sounds of cannon arrived from Seven Pines with two brigades 
(Berry's and Jameson's), and his opportune presence re-established for a 
moment the combat. 

It is true that Kearny came up and got into action 
fifteen or twenty minutes after 4 o'clock P.M., but he 
came in obedience to the orders of his corps commander. 
He was opposed by greatly superior numbers, and in a 
short time his force and all around him were repulsed 
and scattered. He remained longer on the field, but he 
did not at any time cross the Williamsburg road, where 
so much heavy fighting was done during the last two 
hours of the battle, nor was he near that road when 
Heintzelman and I formed the last line of battle across it 
and repulsed the enemy. 

The credit given to Kearny by the Count for " know 
ing no obstacles as soon as he heard the sounds of can 
non," is essentially qualified in this instance by what 
Surgeon Hamilton wrote in his note-book at the time, 
and there was not a man in the army more truthful than 

The doctor says that while he was on his way to Sav 
age's Station to establish a general field hospital, he 
" met General Kearny, who was standing, unmounted, 
not far from his headquarters, and who inquired : ' Doc 
tor, have you just come from the front?' 'Yes, sir,' I 
replied. ' How is it going ? ' said the general. ' We are 
pressed very hard,' I replied, ' but I think we are holding 
our own.' To which the general answered quickly : * Why 

472 Fifty Years' Observation. 

^don't General Keyes send for me ? I have been waiting 
an hour.' ' 

In the report of General Birney, to which I invite 
especial attention, he speaks at length of orders given him 
by General Kearny, who was his division commander. 
Kearny appeared to think from the number of runaways 
that a rout in front was imminent, and he stopped Bir- 
ney's advance up the railroad. I confess the sight of such 
a crowd of recreants was alarming, and enough to prevent 
the knightly Kearny from obeying " the first sounds of 
cannon." If the truth could be told I have no doubt that 
among the dastards who deserted their fellows in the fight 
there are many who are now living who are the most ex 
pensive pensioners and greatest boasters living. When 
Colonel Suydam, my chief of staff, left me and Heintzel- 
man to carry orders to Birney, we were still in the fight 
and over a mile away. The words " to the rear," used by 
Birney, might be understood to mean that we were in a 
place of personal safety. 

I now proceed to give my attention to Brigadier Gen 
eral Henry M. Naglee, upon whom the Count of Paris 
has bestowed extraordinary praise, and upon whom he 
seems to rely extensively. In justice to my own corps, 
and in my own self-defence, I must pour upon that gen 
tleman, his works and disposition, sufficient light to 
enable the reader to understand him fully. In addition 
to what I have already quoted from the Count's books, 
that author in a note at the end of his second or third 
volume cites Naglee's report to establish the positions of 
Peck's and Deven's brigades, although they belonged to 
Couch's division ! Also, upon the same authority of 
Naglee's report, the author states that the rest of Keyes' 
corps lost possession of Seven Pines. These facts and 
references should be kept in mind while reading what 

General Naglee's Report. 473 

follows. It must also be remembered that General Casey 
and I both made honorable mention of Naglee, and it 
was more than once hinted to me that he received his 
full meed of praise, and even more, in proportion, than 
was given to other officers. 

I forwarded my report of the battle before I received 
that of Naglee. He only remained a short time with his 
brigade, and I did not require a report from him of the 
operations of the other brigades, the divisions or the 
corps, nor of his own conduct while in my sight. 

In reading his report, one might suppose that Naglee, 
not Casey, commanded the divisions. It might even be 
inferred that he was the chief of the 4th Corps, although 
I fail to discover in his florid composition any designation 
of such an organization, or any mention of my name, 
although I gave him many verbal orders on the field while 
I employed him as a staff-officer. 

The following commentary was enclosed and forwarded 
to Headquarters with Naglee's report See No. 98, Mili 
tary Reports of the Rebellion, page 294: 

Near SEVEN PINES, June 20, 1862. \ 

SIR : I have the honor to enclose the report of Brigadier General H. M. 
Naglee, who commanded the First Brigade of Casey's Division in the battle 
of May 31. His brigade was composed of the $2d and iO4th Pennsyl 
vania, the nth Maine, and the 56th and looth New York Volunteers. 

General Naglee's report did not arrive in time to be forwarded with my 
report of the battle. The paper he has now furnished contains matter 
which will lead to angry controversies, and ought not, in my opinion, to ap 
pear in its present form among the reports of the battle. 

The objections to General Naglee's report are the following : 

1st. It refers to the movements of the 4th Corps, or part of it, for several 
days prior to and in the battle, and it is not his province to refer to them in 
his report of the battle further than to give the position of the troops of his 
own brigade. 

2d. General Naglee states that he gave orders to other troops beside his 

474 Fifty Years Observation. 

own brigade without giving the authority for so doing. To allow such a 
practice to subordinate commanders without stating reasons to justify it 
would have a most disorganizing tendency. 

3d. General Naglee has referred to a line of battle formed in rear of, and 
near to, the Nine-Mile road in a manner which seems to convey the impres 
sion that the line there formed was about the termination of the battle. It 
is certain, however, that two other distinct lines of battle stoutly resisted 
the enemy after the one above referred to. As General Naglee does not 
refer to his being near the first of the last two lines, and as I did not see 
him there, I infer he was not present. In the last line of battle formed dur 
ing the day, and which line stayed the advance of the enemy, I know Gen 
eral Naglee was not present. 

4th. General Naglee's report conveys the idea, I think, that one division, 
cr one brigade, of the 4th corps did nearly all the fighting on the 3ist, and 
that the other divisions did very little fighting. 

5th. Having mentioned General Naglee favorably in my report of the 
battle, I respectfully request that the paper now forwarded from him as his 
report may be returned to me as objectionable for the reasons above stated. 
I will then require Biigadier General Naglee to report the operations of his 
own brigade during the battle of May 31. At the same time I would 
intimate to him that if he desires to describe the operations of the 4th 
corps, or of General Casey's division, or the conduct of individuals not 
under his command, or his own conduct generally, there will be no ob 
jection to his doing so in a separate paper. 

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant, 


Brig. Gen. Comd'g, $th Corps. 
To Brigadier General S. Williams, Adjt. Gen., Army of the Potomac. 

True copy from original iu the official reports of the Peninsular Campaign. 

[Signed] SCOTT, U. S. A. 

February 14, 1881. 

In the above commentary I express a doubt of the 
presence of General Naglee in the line of battle which 
\vas next the last that was formed. That doubt was in 
creased to a conviction by what he told me afterwards, 
lie said he was over at a Anderson's saw-mill, where he 
saw General Kearny and another general officer. That 
saw-mill is the one referred to by General Jameson of 
Kearny's division. The mill is one mile to the left and 

General Naglee. 475 

rear of Seven Pines towards White Oak swamp, and two 
miles from Naglee's first position in the battle. At that 
time the road to it was crooked, muddy and difficult, and 
probably not another man but General Naglee of Casey's 
first brigade was within a mile and a half of that mill 
during the day. 

After being at the mill Naglee certainly returned to the 
Williamsburg road, where I saw him under the following 
well-remembered circumstances. 

After I had placed the loth Massachusetts in the gap 
of the last line of battle but one, as mentioned in my re 
port, I remained near it enveloped in smoke. The rebels 
pressed and enfiladed the left of that line so hard, 150 
yards from me, that it gave way the infantry ran, and 
the artillery limbered up and drove furiously away. See 
ing the last piece where the Williamsburg road entered 
the woods, rode with all speed to rally the fugitives. At 
least a half-mile from the line I had left, I saw General 
Naglee in the road walking his horse towards Bottom's 
bridge. He told me he was entirely exhausted, and I 
allowed him to continue. He crossed the Chickahominy 
and passed the night on the opposite side of that stream. 

I succeeded, with the assistance of my staff, in turning 
back a large number, with whom and others who had 
stood fast I formed another, and the last, line of battle 
on the left in the twilight, while General Heintzelman 
formed it on the right, and that line repulsed the enemy 
and ended the fight of the 3 1st, at Seven Pines. General 
Naglee was certainly not near that line, and I estimate 
that he quit the field one hour before I left it. I need 
say no more concerning Naglee's remarks upon the posi 
tions of Peck, Couch and Devens, nor of that stupendous 
phrase which terminates one of the paragraphs of his 
report in the following words : " and when at dark the 

Fifty Years' Observation. 

enemy swept all before him, we were the last to leave 
the field ! " 

In regard to the movement of the 55th New York, 
General Peck, to whose brigade that regiment of gallant 
Frenchmen belonged, has the following : " At I o'clock 
P.M. (it should have been 2 o'clock) General Keyes, 
commanding 4th corps, detached the 55th N. Y. Volun 
teers under Lieut.-Col. Thourot from my command, and 
led it into position himself." I did detach that regiment 
because I saw it was needed by General Casey, not at 
Naglee's suggestion, and rode at its head three or four 
hundred yards, and while it filed to the left into the Wil- 
liamsburg road I ordered Naglee to go on with it to save 
the guns, etc. See Lieut-Col. Thourot's report. 

Naglee refers, in his report, to the 55th as follows: 
" At half-past 3 P.M. I rode to the rear and I led up 
the 55th N. Y., Lieutenant-Colonel Thourot." Peck says 
the time was I, Thourot says 1:30, Naglee 3:30. It was, 
in fact, about 2 o'clock P.M., certainly not later than 2. 

The gallant Bailey is unfortunately not alive to thank 
General Naglee for his congratulations and directions on 
the field. Bailey was a noble soldier. The last time I 
saw him was one hour before the battle commenced, when 
he was on his way to Fair Oaks station. I told him to 
return and prepare his batteries for action. 

For my part I am unable to consider General Naglee's 
report of the battle of Fair Oaks as a reliable document 
for its history. General D. N. Couch's report is essentially 
important. The credit given to Naglee's report, and to 
its author, by the Count of Paris, if by chance they met, 
justifies me in speaking further of Naglee and of his pecu 
liar traits as an officer, his bravery and energy being con 
sidered by me unquestionable. 

In all armies there is a class of men who are at variance 

The Field Revisited. 477 

with their commanding officer. Of that class, so far as my 
reading and military experience extends, Henry M. Naglee 
is entitled to stand head. He came to my corps from 
General Hooker's division, and at his first interview with 
me he discharged a tirade of maledictions against that 
officer, which made so slight an impression that, if Hooker 
had rifled me of my fondest hopes, it would not have 
occurred to me to allege a word that Naglee had said 
against him by way of revenge or justification. 

I am not certain that Naglee was ever under the com 
mand of General Sumner, but the following circumstance 
induces me to suppose he had been subject to that old 
hero's orders. Not long after the battle of Fair Oaks, 
several members of Congress came down to the camps. 
Naglee, being informed of their approach, went down the 
road and intercepted them. He told me afterwards that he 
found an opportunity to tell them what had been done, 
and he trusted he had told them enough to prevent old 
Sumner from getting a brevet ! Such is the epic poetry 
of war. Wonder what he said about a brevet for me ? 

In the month of May, 1884, I was invited by the sur 
vivors of the 6ist Pennsylvania Volunteers to accompany 
them and visit the field of Fair Oaks on its twenty- 
second anniversary. That brave regiment lost one-third of 
its number, including its colonel, Rippey, and all its other 
field and staff officers, and all the captains were killed 
or disabled down to the 8th captain, Orr, who assumed 
command on the field. It was full of heroes, and I gladly 
accepted the cordial invitation of its survivors, which 
contained in its reference to me the following words : 
" Our Corps Commander, to whom is due all the honor 
of the victory, orders and so-called history notwithstand- 

On the field I found some difficulty in recognizing its 

478 Fifty Years' Observation. 

features. The trees had been cut down in some places, 
and had grown up in others, and all the mud and stand 
ing water had given place to dry, hard ground. An old 
settler, who was one of General Johnston's guides before 
and in the battle, assisted me in finding where the rifle 
pits, abatis and epaulements had been, and after I had 
pointed out the position of the last lines of battle I 
called on him and he showed the same positions that I 
had given. Going over to our right beyond the railroad, 
I had the help of a man who was in the fight there to 
study Couch's position when he was cut off, and where 
Sumner came to extricate him. Looking around upon 
the favorable approaches there I felt terrified to think of 
the danger my troops were in twenty-two years ago, and 
I was ready to exclaim, Why did not Johnston attack us 
there ? As it was, if I had known then all I know now, I 
would have said and done exactly the same, in the posi 
tion to which my corps was assigned. 

Subsequent to the termination of the Peninsular cam 
paign General Naglee was under my command at York- 
town, from whence he was detached and placed on duty 
at Newbern, N. C. 

Our separation gave rise to the following correspond 
ence, in which the writers, in terms succinct, record their 
mutual military repugnance : 

NEWBERN, June 12, 1863. j" 

GENERAL : I am most happy to advise you that I have been transferred 
with my brigade into the Department of North Carolina. 

It may be equally agreeable and satisfactory to you, as it certainly is to 
myself, to be assured that the separation will be a permanent one. 

To Maj.-Gen. Erasmus D, Keyes, Commanding, <SrV., <SrV. 

General Naglee s Vineyard. 479 

YORKTOWN, June 25, 1863. f 

GENERAL : Your letter of the i$th instant has been received. 
The happiness you express in your announcement of a permanent separa 
tion from me is, I assure you, most cordially reciprocated. I will add, with 
the risk of being thought to exaggerate, that I do not believe anyone of your 
previous commanding officers was made more happy at parting with you 
than I was. 

Very respectfully, etc., 

[Signed] E. D. KEYES. 

Brig. II. M. Naglee, U. S. Volunteers. 

The scope of this work allows, and my own feelings 
suggest, an allusion to General Naglee after we had both 
withdrawn from the strife of war and put off our armor 
to don the habiliments of peace and utility. 

Naglee dwells in San Jose, California, where he owns a 
vineyard and a vast establishment. When he comes to 
San Francisco we meet and talk in a friendly vein of our 
affairs, which can in no way ever clash. He, or one of 
his agents, put into my hand a small pamphlet which de 
scribes the virtues of his vinicultural products. It is ac 
knowledged that the brandy he distils is the best that is 
made, and it has been adopted for the use of our army 
hospitals. While I read Naglee's description of his prod 
ucts, I was enlivened by the lucid clearness and beauty 
of his style, and I arose from its perusal persuaded that 
all who desire long life and exemption from every known 
malady will be gratified if they drink freely of Naglee's 

But he will have his own way. He owned a large 
ranche as tenant in common with my friend McDermott, 
who is a man of positive convictions. Mac often amused 
me relating his disputes with Naglee, till one day he told 
him they had divided their interest. Then I said to him : 
" In all the business you have had for sp many years with . 

480 Fifty Years Observation. 

Naglee about that ranche, did he ever agree with a sug 
gestion you made to him ? " 
" Never." 

" Thus he spake, and speaking sighed." 

The part taken by my corps and me in the change of 
base to the James River, and my service as commander 
of the rear guard after the battle of Malvern Hill, are de 
scribed in my report ; see page 560, Military Reports of 
the Rebellion. 

I received my orders from General McClellan at I 
o'clock A. M., June 28, to place the great bulk of my 
corps across White Oak Swamp before daylight of that 
morning. When I arrived at the swamp at the head of 
my column the new bridge was not suffiicently complete 
to allow the passage of a wheel vehicle. I passed over 
soon after sunrise and called up a farmer who was a resi 
dent of the place, and required him to describe to me, 
under fine of death, all the roads and paths leading to the 
James River, as well as those leading to and from Rich 
mond. He was intelligent, and gave so clear a descrip 
tion that I ordered the first brigades of infantry and the 
artillery that came over the bridge to advance about four 
miles to a point near the junction of the Quaker road to 
the James, and the road to Richmond. Peck and Couch, 
division commanders, and Palmer's and Wessel's brigades 
were the first to arrive, and I refer to my report for fur 
ther particulars and the names of officers and companies 
who distinguished themselves in repelling a spirited as 
sault of rebel cavalry on the morning of the 29th, which 
resulted in a loss to the enemy of about eighty and no 
damage to us. 

I was close at hand when the assault was made, and 
while the dismounted prisoners were passing within our 

The Change of Base. 481 

line General McClellan came up accompanied by the 
Prince of Joinville. The general seemed pleased with 
everything he saw, and the tone of confidence and ap 
proval in which he addressed me was in absolute contrast 
with his previous salutations to me during the cam 

My corps being in the advance I received orders on the 
afternoon of the same day to move my whole force to the 
James River by the line of my own choice, to secure Tur 
key bridge, etc. 

The Quaker road was the one in use, and there was 
another old abandoned road below it, running nearly 
parallel and distant from one to two miles. No wheel 
vehicle had passed over the old road in the last five years, 
and it was in many places concealed by vines and bushes 
and much encumbered with fallen trees. Before I had 
any reason to suppose I should be called on to use that 
road it had been brought to my attention by Captain 
Keenan, of Colonel D. McGregg's 8th Pennsylvania 
Cavalry, but the particular knowledge which decided me 
to pass over it I derived from the farmer above re 
ferred to. 

The Count of Paris correctly describes the uncertainty 
at headquarters until it was learned, as he remarks, that 
" Keyes had, by chance, discovered" the old road in ques 
tion. The discovery was almost of inestimable advan 
tage, and over it I made my labored way by the light of 
lanterns for the choppers and workers, and at sunrise on 
the 3<Dth I posted a strong force to hold Turkey bridge. 
The Count says there passed in safety over that old road 
400 carriages, 500 ambulances, 350 field-pieces, 50 siege 
guns, and 2,500 head of beeves. If they had all been 
crowded upon the Quaker road the embarrassment to the 
army might have been fatal. 


482 Fifty Years' Observation. 

The following is from the notes kept by Dr. Hamilton : 

He [Keyes] kept his scouts always on the alert, and soon made himself 
acquainted with all the roads to the James River. This knowledge 
possessed probably by no other officer of his rank to the same extent, proved 
of inestimable value to us on our retreat, which was led by General Keyes's 
column. All the way across the same untiring vigilance was noticeable, 
and I was unable to discover when the General ate or slept. 

The doctor has more to say in regard to my endurance 
when he fell asleep from weariness, while I went two 
miles further to post the guard at Turkey bridge. 

After posting the guard at Turkey bridge, I went on 
board the war steamer lying off the landing, and break 
fasted with Captain John Rodgers. At his table I met, 
for the first time, the accomplished Lieutenant Samuel R. 
Franklin, now commodore in charge of the observatory in 
Washington. From that time till now, Franklin has 
ranked high among my most esteemed friends. 

I ate and slept as much as was necessary to keep me 
fresh, and no march, battle, task, or vigil of the campaign 
produced on me a feeling of exhaustion. At the end of 
the seven days' fights I was less fatigued than I felt on 
arriving at the unfinished bridge over the swamp. At 
that moment my nervous depression was great, lest the 
enemy should appear on the opposite bank. 

At the battle of Malvern Hill I detached Couch's 
division, and sent it above Turkey bridge, and had 
directly under my own eye Peck's brigade of infantry, 
two regiments of cavalry, and thirty-five pieces of artillery. 
Here my observation enables me to correct the erroneous 
impressions entertained subsequently by some persons 
concerning General McClellan's going on a gunboat. 

Twice during the day General McClellan came to me 
to direct a change in my line. His second visit was late 
in the afternoon, and he came to me from the direction 

The Retreat. 483 

of Turkey bridge. He described minutely how the 
action was progressing, and apprehended that the enemy 
would probably get around and attack me through the 
road I had come in upon. I hastened to make the 
changes required, and the general left me, saying he 
was going on board the gunboat to instruct navy officers 
where to direct their shots. 

After the battle of Malvern Hill, which was fought 
July I, the army retreated to Harrison's Landing. 

On the evening of the first I received my orders to 
command the rear guard. I spent nearly the whole night 
in making arrangements to destroy Turkey bridge, send 
ing two of my aides, Jackson and Gibson, to attend to it. 
Ordered Captain Clark, 8th Illinois Cavalry, with twenty- 
five expert axe-men, to chop the largest trees along the 
road below nearly through, so that within fifteen minutes 
after the tail of the column passed the bridge was 
destroyed without blowing up, and the road through the 
jungle blocked beyond the possible passage of wheels or 
cavalry, for twenty-four hours, and made difficult for 

A strong line of battle facing to the rear, composed of 
Wessel's brigade of infantry, Miller's and McCarthy's 
battery, was formed on the hill overlooking Haxall'svast 
farm. I placed it under the immediate charge of General 
Peck, Naglee, with his brigade, and more of West's 
artillery were further on. Farneworth, 8th Illinois 
Cavalry, was drawn up in line, and as much of all the force 
as possible was concealed from the view of the enemy. 
Cavalry scouts were kept out in all directions, and the 
greatest possible assistance was rendered me during the 
day by Gregg's 8th Pennsylvania and Farneworth's 8th 
Illinois Cavalry. Gregg was a splendid cavalry leader of 
the Regular Army, whose daring and good service I had 

484 Fifty Years' Observation* 

often witnessed, and Farneworth was a natural born 
hussar. No man at the head of a regiment of horse could 
have done more effective duty than he. 

Naglee had, at his own request, and with my consent, 
felled numerous trees across a road passing between the 
river and the main highway, and that I was obliged to 
reopen, and an immense number of carriages passed over 
it that could not have escaped otherwise, as, with all our 
exertions to double and treble the line of vehicles, we 
had not quite five minutes to spare before the enemy 
came upon us from the woods at the edge of the large 
wheat field near our intended camp. 

During the day I received the following letter from 
General McClellan's chief of staff : 

GENERAL : I have ordered back all the cavalry that can be raised here 
(Harrison's Landing). It is of the utmost importance that we should save 
all our artillery, and as many of our wagons as possible ; and the com 
manding general feels the utmost confidence that you will do all that can 
be done to accomplish this. Permit me to say that if you bring in everything 
you will accomplish a most signal and meritorious exploit, which the com 
manding general will not fail to represent in its proper light to the Depart 

Very respectfully, 

[Signed] R. T. MARCY, 

Chief of Staff. 

The despatch from Headquarters sending Averill's 
and Farneworth's cavalry to my assistance authorized us, 
in case of the impossibility of getting up all the wagons, 
to destroy them, and drive the horses forward. General 
McClellan came out half a mile to meet me, and was 
greatly pleased with the entire success of the operations 
of the rear guard. 

The following day, not being satisfied with the position 
of the line established by the engineers for me to guard, 

The Retreat. 485 

I requested the general to inspect it with me. He did 
so, and approved another line further out of my selection. 
His agreement with me, and his manner on this occa 
sion, caused me to think I had at last won his confi 

In some of the accounts that I have seen of the retreat 
to Harrison's Landing my name is not mentioned. In 
some the command of the rear guard is assigned to, or 
assumed by, other officers. To establish the truth I have 
cited reliable documents, the most conclusive of which is 
the following from General McClellan's report : 

The greater portion of the transportation of the army having been start 
ed for Harrison's Landing during the night of the soth of June and the ist 
of July, the order for the movement of the troops was at once issued upon 
the final repulse of the enemy at Malvern Hill. 

The orders prescribed a movement by the left and rear, General Keyes 1 
corps to cover the manoeuvre. It was not carried out in detail as regards 
the divisions on the left, the roads being somewhat blocked by the rear of 
our trains. Porter and Couch were not able to move out as early as had been 
anticipated, and Porter found it necessary to place a rear guard between his 
command and the enemy. Colonel Averell, of the 3d Pennsylvania Cav 
alry, was entrusted with the delicate duty. He had under his command his 
own regiment and Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan's brigade of regular 
infantry and one battery. By a judicious use of the materials at his com 
mand, he deceived the enemy so as to cover the withdrawal of the left wing 
without being attacked, remaining himself on the previous day's battle-field 
until about seven o'clock of the 2d of July. Meantime General Keyes, 
having received his orders, commenced vigorous preparations for covering 
the movements of the entire army, and protecting the trains. It being 
evident that the immense number of wagons and artillery pertaining to the 
army could not move with celerity along a single road, General Keyes took 
advantage of every accident of the ground to open new avenues, and to 
facilitate the movement. He made preparations for obstructing the roads 
after the army had passed so as to prevent any rapid pursuit, destroying 
effectually Turkey bridge, on the main road, and rendering other roads and 
approaches temporarily impassable by felling trees across them. He kept 
the trains well closed up, and directed the march so that the troops could 
move on each side of the road, not obstructing the passage, but being in 
good position to repel an attack from any quarter. His dispositions were so 

486 Fifty Years Observation. 

so successful that, to use his own words : " I do not think that more vehicles 
or more public property were abandoned on the march from Turkey bridge 
than would have been left, in the same state of the roads, if the army had 
been moving toward the enemy, instead of away from him," and when it is 
understood that the carriages and teams of the army, stretched out in one 
line, would extend not far from forty miles, the energy and caution neces 
sary for their safe withdrawal from the presence of an enemy vastly superior 
in numbers will be appreciated. 

Great credit must be awarded to General Keyes for the skill and energy 
which characterized his performance of the important and delicate duties 
entrusted to his charge. 

Shortly after the army reached Harrison's Landing 
President Lincoln and certain members of his Cabinet 
came down to visit us. I went to pay my respects, and 
before leaving the vicinity of his lodging, he came out 
and asked me to walk with him. As we were starting an 
officer of the Quartermaster's Department approached 
and reported to me that one of the wagons for which he 
was accountable broke down on the retreat and the rebels 
had captured it. " Did you get a receipt for the wagon ?" 
said the President. The officer replied in the negative 
and left. Mr. Lincoln then related a story concerning 
two ruffians who lived in Sangamon County, Illinois. 
The story described a receipt and the strange manner of 
getting it by one of the ruffians. I had never heard from 
the President a more astounding illustration, nor one 
that was more laughable. Instantly after telling it he 
said: "What's to be done with this army?" His ques 
tion was so abrupt that I replied : 

" Take it back to Washington." 

" What are your reasons ? " 

In answer to that serious interrogatory, I spoke at 

I said : " Mr. President, this army is in retreat, and it is 
reasonable to suppose its spirit is not improved, but it is 

A Talk With the President. 487 

certain the rebels feel great exultation at having chased 
us into these limits. If we could not take Richmond be 
fore coming here, what hope is there of taking it with this 
same army after such an acknowledgment of defeat as 
you see before you ? It would be folly, in my opinion, 
to advance again without strong reinforcements, and be 
fore such reinforcements could reach us the malaria of 
the James would damage this army twenty per cent." I 
then referred to the largeness of the sick list, and the ef 
fects I had noticed of the malaria of the swamps of the 
Chickahominy, etc. I told him, also, that on account of 
the sickliness of the season and place it would be better 
to transport the army to Washington for a while, and 
then bring it back again if this line should be approved. 
If we remain here much longer, I added, " the rebels 
may strengthen the defences of Richmond, and despatch 
an army to occupy Washington before us." 

I do not know to what extent my statements influenced 
the President, and at the time of making them I was ig 
norant of the plans and intentions of General McClellan. 
I afterward learned that his opinions were in direct op 
position to mine, and as he was overruled, and the army 
ordered North, it is reasonable to suppose the general 
was irritated against me. I committed no offence by 
giving my opinions to our common superior who required 
them, but I was left behind at Yorktown with a broken 
portion of my corps, to my inexpressible disappointment 
and disgust. I remained there a year guarding an exten 
sive line on both sides of York River ; sent out frequent 
expeditions to harass the enemy, one under Kilpatrick, 
and one to destroy a foundry near Catlet's Station, under 
Major Carroll Tevis, who on that occasion distinguished 
himself in a brilliant manner ; was in temporary com 
mand of the department when the rebels came down to 

488 Fifty Years' Observation. 

attack Suffolk and Williamsburg simultaneously ; visited 
and consulted with General Peck, who bravely defended 
Suffolk. Took a subordinate part in another expedition 
which failed. The want of time and space is my excuse 
for not entering into particulars concerning my last year's 
service on the Peninsula. At its beginning my constitution 
was so perfect that I had no suspicion of any physical dis 
ease or weakness, but before many months the emanations 
from the swamps about Yorktown began to report them 
selves in my liver, which was then so much disordered 
that it has troubled me ever since. Whether it was the 
free expression of my opinion to the President, at which 
General McClellan had no rfght to be offended, or his 
dislike, or the dislike and slanders of other men, I know 
not, but there must have been some cause for my aban 
donment, which was as fatal to my aspirations and useful 
ness in the army as a dismissal would have been. 

I have not given my impressions at length in this book 
of General McClellan's capacity to command armies, for 
the reason that he held me at times in what I considered 
unmerited disfavor, the remembrance of which might 
sway my judgment. If I were to estimate his qualifica 
tions only from his conduct during the change of base to 
the James River, I should assign to him a distinguished 
rank among military leaders. 

Strong efforts were made by many of my friends to 
have the balance of my corps and me brought up from 
Yorktown. Among them were Mr. Secretary Chase and 
General James Wadsworth, with the latter of whom I had 
served several months. My enemies pleaded against me 
in my absence, and would have done so if I had the 
genius of Napoleon, for I was considered no better than 
an abolitionist. 

Mr. Chase wrote me the following note: 

Secretary Chase's Letter. 489 

September I, 1862. 

MY DEAR GEN'L : I lost no time, after becoming informed of your 
views, in urging an order to bring up the balance of your corps, and I under 
stood yesterday that such an order was issued. 

The clique is not so strong as formerly. The eyes of the whole coun 
try are upon the conduct of its chief. 

Yours truly, 

[Signed] S. P. CHASE. 

Maj.-Gen. Keyes. 


THE following is from Colonel C. C. Suydam, who was 
my Chief of Staff : 

Having had the pleasure and honor of serving on the staff of General 
Keyes during a portion of the time he commanded the division which covered 
the rear of Washington from the autumn of 1861 to the spring of 1862, and 
during the whole sixteen months he was in command of the Fourth Corps of 
the Army of the Potomac, it has seemed to me it might be of interest to the 
future historian of the war of the Rebellion to indulge in a few reflections 
and reminiscences of some of the events in the careers of my former compan 
ions in arms. As indicated in General Keyes' letter to me of December 24, 
1877, I am in possession of many memoranda of events, and my recollection 
of others, not noted at the time, is still very fresh. Certainly such personal 
reminiscences, coupled with the official reports of operations, cannot but aid 
the future writer in compiling a true record. I cannot but feel that in the 
writing of the day justice has not been done to the services rendered to the 
cause of the Union by General Keyes and the troops who were so fortunate 
as to have him for their commander. 

It was in November 1861, that I reported to General Keyes for duty as aide- 
de-camp ; and very early in my career on his staff I learned to appreciate his 
worth as a man and soldier. To a constitution of iron, and an untiring in 
dustry, a thorough acquaintance gained through long training with all the 
duties appertaining to his profession, and a finished ability in the perform 
ance of those duties, he added, in a marked degree, an intense earnestness 
and honesty of purpose. To him the war meant something more than the 
mere gaining of battles, something far higher and nobler than the personal 
rewards of success. His whole heart was in the cause of suppressing the 
Rebellion and maintaining the dignity of the Government, and he was out 
spoken in expressing his convictions. These traits of character, and this 
strong Northern feeling as it was then called were so well known that, 
while in the Executive Mansion he was esteemed and trusted and honored, 
the controlling authorities of the army during the first two and a half years 

492 Appendix I. 

of the war never gave him the credit to which his services entitled him. 
Trusted by Mr. Lincoln though he was, many of the President's military ad 
visers at the time, who did not yet and some of whom never did wage the war 
with the earnestness which subsequent events showed to be absolutely neces 
sary to save the life of the nation, failed to appreciate the whole-souled de 
termination which General Keyes threw into all his efforts. They had not 
yet learned that a Rebel to the constituted authorities meant an open enemy, 
to be treated as such as though attacking beneath the protection of a foreign 
flag. Those were the times when the war was conducted, on the part of the 
so-called Federal leaders so to speak with gloves ; when the people of the 
country passed through were not to be despoiled of their possessions, when 
their lands were not to be devastated, when their growing crops were not 
to be molested, but were to be protected and permitted to come to full 
fruition that they might be garnered and preserved to fill the commissariat 
of the Southern armies ; when favoritism and adulation of favorites readily 
took the place of earnest zeal for the common cause, regardless of individual 
choice ; when the fate of the nation was willingly left hanging undecided in 
the balance rather than an unpopular commander should gain a victory. And 
it needed the bitter experience of many a defeat to teach our leaders that 
peace could be conquered and the nation saved only by applying the most 
destructive rules of war, and the sharp admonition of a court martial to re 
mind the officers of the army of the Potomac that it was their first duty to 
obey orders, and to render a whole-hearted support to superior authority, 
whether they admired that authority or did not. 

In organizing and drilling the untrained troops that came to Washington 
to do service for the country I believe General Keyes did not have a superior. 
He felt the necessity of thorough preparation in all the departments to meet 
the life and death struggle which he knew was certain to come ; he did not 
believe in any 30 or 60 days' campaign as sufficient to crush the life out of 
the Rebellion ; fully aware of the fighting qualities of the men of the 
South, and appreciating their fierce and earnest if mistaken determination 
to seize the reins of government and administer it to their own liking, he 
knew that only the utmost completeness in all details would enable us to wage 
an equal fight. And so, while the army lay about Washington, he suffered 
no moment to pass without improving the condition of his division, and 
causing both officers and men to be well instructed in the duties which 
they would be called upon to perform after taking the field. Drills and 
inspections were frequent, and all the minutiae of camp, and march, and bat 
tle-life were so constantly repeated, that when in the spring of 1862 the 
division took the field under General Couch who succeeded General Keyes 
on his promotion to the command of the Fourth Corps it gave so good an 
account of itself that it speedily took rank as one of the most reliable divi- 

Appendix L 493 

sions of the army, a proud eminence which it retained to the end of the 
war. With his staff the General was equally exacting ; with two exceptions 
we were all from civil life, with little or no knowledge of military matters, 
and to the instruction and advice we received from our chief those of us who 
were without previous experience owe whatever success we achieved. I had 
entered the army from my lawyer's desk, utterly ignorant of anything apper 
taining to the service, and after three months' diligent application had tolerably 
well familiarized myself with the duties of a first lieutenant of cavalry ; the 
afternoon of the day after I reported for duty the General remarked to his 
three aides-de-camp, "Young gentlemen, to-morrow morning I drill the 

division. Mr. , you will accompany General Couch; Mr. , you will 

accompany General Peck; Mr. , you will accompany General Graham, 

and you will all see that my orders are properly executed." We did not pass 
the evening together, and a subsequent comparison of notes showed that each 
of us had betaken himself to the privacy of his own quarters and consumed 
much midnight oil in mastering the intricacies of " grand tactics " as set forth 
in the last volume of Hardee. Owing to the clearness of the General's voice, 
the already rapid progress of the troops, and the superior qualities of the brig 
ade commanders named, we aides had really very little to do, but we were 
enlightened as to what was to be expected of us, and it was not very long be 
fore we were pretty well versed in the requirements of " tactics" and " army 

It is a well-known fact that President Lincoln's designation of officers to 
command the four corps, into which the Army of the Potoma.c was divided 
in the spring of 1862, did not meet with the entire approval of the general 
commanding, and that efforts were made to change some of those designa 
tions after they were made ; those efforts, however, were not successful, and 
General Keyes assumed command of the Fourth Corps, composed of his 
own division in fine condition, and then commanded by General Couch. 
" Baldy " Smith's division, a splendid body of men, who in the subsequent 
events of the war made a record second to none ; and Casey's division, this 
latter composed of the regiments most recently arrived at the capital, but 
who gave an account of themselves which was recognized by the Southern 
generals, if not by some of our own. There was no time to consolidate the 
command and to harmonize its component parts ; the officers and men of 
the regiments of the different divisions had no opportunity to meet and be 
come acquainted with each other, and, although the corps existed as a desig 
nated body of men, no time was given to make of it a compact whole before 
taking the field ; with the rest of the army the troops were hurried to the 
Peninsula as rapidly as transportation could be furnished, and they first as 
sembled as a corps in camp at Newport News. Soon after that active 
campaigning began, the field life of the soldier set in, the time for organiz- 

494 Appendix L 

ing and drilling had passed, but the General set to work with his inborn 
zeal and earnestness to do full service in the position to which he had been 
appointed by the President. And he was ably assisted by his subordinate 
officers and the privates of the command. Example, whether for good or 
evil, is infectious, and in this instance the whole corps willingly followed 
the lead of their chief in doing their utmost in the service to which they had 
voluntarily devoted their lives and their honors. In the operations opposite 
the enemy's strong works on the left of the Yorktown line, the General was 
ever vigilant and thorough. No great amount of fighting was done ; but so 
close a hold upon the enemy's lines was established, and so incessant a 
watchfulness of his movements was had, that when, on that warm Sunday 
in May, 1862, the evacuation of Yorktown by Magruder was reported, the 
corps, ever ready for such, or any, emergency, were speedily set in motion 
in pursuit with their commander at their head. Coming up to their rear 
guard at Williamsburg, the willing troops did noble service, and the Gen 
eral gave marked evidence of his decision and activity ; intuitively he seemed 
to take in the requirements of the occasion, and the quickness with which he 
executed a movement when its necessity became apparent was something 
remarkable ; to that rapid perception and speedy execution was in large 
measure due the solid support given by Peck's brigade of Couch's division to 
the roughly handled troops of Hooker, and the brilliant success achieved by 
Hancock's brigade which he led and placed in position, after which he 
brought up the remainder of the corps and placed them in the fight. 

After the battle of "Williamsburg the army proceeded up the Peninsula in 
as rapid pursuit of the retreating enemy as was permitted by the wretched 
condition of the roads, and by the necessity of establishing a firm base of 
supplies for future movements. While en route above Williamsburg, 
Smith's division was detached from the corps and reported to General 
Franklin, forming with his division and under his command the Provisional 
Army Corps. We regretted losing Smith. He and his mefti could and did 
always give good account of themselves ; but I think no one questioned the 
good judgment of General McClellan in reducing the component parts of 
the Infantry Army Corps to two divisions, the organization which I believe 
was retained to the close of the war in the Army of the Potomac. Franklin 
was an able officer. 

One incident that occurred in this march up the Peninsula filled with in 
dignation the hearts of General Keyes and his staff. While resting in the 
city of Williamsburg for a few days succeeding the battle, we selected for 
our headquarters the house of a prominent citizen who had fled on the ap 
proach of our troops, leaving a negro man-servant in charge. I think it was 
I, in person, who informed the General that I had learned from the negro 
servant that there were some bottles of brandy in the house we occupied, 

Appendix I. . 495 

and suggested to him that, in this emergency, there would impropriety 
in appropriating some of the brandy to be used in case of need. Surgeon 
Brown, the medical director, recommended it strongly. And so, with the 
General's permission, I ordered a few bottles of brandy to be taken from the 
cellar and put in the General's wagon, where it was to remain under Surgeon 
Brown's orders. At the end of the second day's march from Williamsburg 
the General was summoned to report in person to the Provost Marshal, An 
drew Porter, charged with having violated orders in having despoiled the 
citizen of Williamsburg, taking away his brandy and appropriating it to 
his use. Notwithstanding the facts were explained as I have given them, 
notwithstanding the further fact that Dr. Brown represented in writing that 
the brandy was required in the unhealthy region through which we were 
then marching, General Keyes was ordered to send back the brandy under 
the escort of an aide-de-camp and to restore it to the place whence it had 
been taken. This order was obeyed, and those bottles, together with all 
others containing liquor, or wine, or their contents, soon thereafter found 
their way into the canteens or haversacks of the troops which occupied the 
city after the main army had gone forward. I do not know whether the 
movements of all the corps commanders were so closely watched, but I felt 
at the time, a feeling which is in no sense diminished by the lapse of years, 
that it was a studied indignity put upon General Keyes by the half -loyal 
clique who formed a considerable part of General McClellan's staff, and a 
signal instance of the careful guard kept over the property of the common 
enemy even to the possible detriment of our own officers and men. 

At New Kent Court-house, while the bulk of the army kept on up to White 
House and thence outward towards Richmond on the east, to General Keyes, 
with his corps, now composed of the divisions of Couch and Casey, and 
accompanied by Gregg's Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, was assigned the 
advance by the left towards where the main road and the railroad cross the 
Chickahominy at and near Bottom's Bridge. This advance was most admi 
rably conducted ; the enemy were driven back steadily, and on May 23 the 
Chickahominy was crossed and positions taken up on its right bank. The 
Chickahominy is not navigable above Bottom's Bridge, where in the dry 
season ft is an insignificant, sluggish stream. In times of freshets and heavy 
rains it suddenly overflows its banks to the width of half a mile and is not 
fordable. Meanwhile the base of supplies had been established at White 
House. The railroad thence to the front was strongly covered and guarded 
by the infantry and by Stoneman with the cavalry and the corps of 
Sumner. Franklin and Porter were taking up positions to the right along 
the left bank of the Chickahominy, with Heintzelman in reserve. And thus 
it was that this treacherous stream with the spring freshets then due was 
straddled by the army. The 4th Corps continued its advance towards Rich- 

496 Appendix L 

mond, and on the 25th day of May Heintzelman's corps also crossed at 
Bottom's Bridge, and took up positions on the extreme left and rear at White 
Oak swamp with Hooker's division, while Kearny's division was advanced 
to supporting distance of Keyes. These two corps were the only troops on 
the right bank of the stream when the battle of Fair Oaks began on the 3ist 
of May, and at that time the only means of communicating with the troops 
on the left bank was by way of Bottom's Bridge, a distance of ten or twelve 
miles. There were no practicable fords, and although considerable work had 
been done in constructing bridges none had been completed during the 
eight days between the crossing of the corps on the 23d and the engage 
ment of the 3 ist. Meanwhile General Keyes, thoroughly aware of the ex 
posed position of his troops, failed not to adopt every means in his power to 
prepare for the attack which to him seemed imminent. The position he 
selected for his corps was not the one where the battle of the 3ist was 
fought ; that position he felt to be too far advanced under the conditions of his 
great separation from the main body of the army, and he so represented to 
the general of the army ; but his advice was not considered, and, under the 
immediate directions of the engineer department the corps was placed in 
position on the 2gth of May with its left resting on the White Oak 
swamp, which formed a fair cover to that flank, and its right covering Fair 
Oak station ; this flank was in air, the country between it and the Chick- 
ahominy being covered merely by a picket line ; the centre on the Williams- 
burg road was close to the enemy's lines. Yet, notwithstanding this un 
favorable condition of affairs, the general bent his best energies as a true 
soldier to prepare for the storm which he felt positive was before long to 
break upon him. Constantly vigilant, he discovered in his direct front the 
presence of the enemy in great force, and his constantly reiterated reports to 
army headquarters should have given ample warning of the attack which he 
knew to be imminent. How anxious were the night watches and the daily 
expectations in those corps headquarters at " Seven Pines" ! But his advice 
was all unheeded and disregarded ; as one of McClellan's staff officers said 
to me, " Keyes thinks the enemy are in his front ; but they are not they are 
off to the right up at Meadow Bridge." Certainly it seems a just criticism 
that General McClellan never expected a serious attack upon his left wing ; 
else why should he have pushed it so far in advance, and so far removed 
from the support of the main army ? 

The official reports on both sides are so full of the preparations for the 
battle of Fair Oaks and of the events of the battle itself, that I shall not 
attempt to improve upon them. So far as the Fourth Corps is concerned no one 
could write so full and clear an account as General Keyes himself has done ; 
his record is a manual of completeness of detail, and is a monument to his 
fair treatment of all concerned. Many of the officers engaged remarked its 

Appendix I. 497 

accuracy to me. When the first sounds of battle came from the enemy's 
lines General Keyes was thoroughly prepared for the attack and gave all 
necessary orders to meet it. He anticipated the first onslaught on the right 
at Fair Oaks Station, the quarter where his experience taught him it would 
naturally be made ; and, appreciating the vast importance of retaining his hold at 
this point so long as possible, if help from across the stream should be needed, 
he strengthened that position by sending there General Couch with a portion 
of his proved troops to support the first line. He had already sent to request 
reinforcements there, and subsequently got General Heintzelman to advance 
Birney's brigade towards the same point by the railroad. And though, from 
the fact that General Johnston did not strike the right heavily until late in the 
day, but concentrated his attack upon the left and centre and drove the lines 
past Couch's left, that officer with the troops immediately under his com 
mand was cut off from the remainder of the corps and was unable to render 
assistance to it when so hard pressed, yet his being where he was enabled 
him to render immeasurable service when Sedgwick's division came up in the 
afternoon. His presence checked the advance of Smith's rebel division, 
and, strengthened by his six regiments, Sumner was enabled to retain firm 
hold upon Fair Oaks and thus to turn defeat into victory. Who can tell 
what would have been the result if Couch had not been where he was, but 
had taken part in the earlier work of the day ? In this, as in every other dis 
position of his forces on that eventful day, General Keyes showed the results 
of a complete and ready judgment ; his efforts to stay the enemy's onward 
approach were well-nigh superhuman ; he handled his troops with perfect 
coolness and clear-headedness under the most trying circumstances ; he 
seemed to be ubiquitous, perceiving with unerring judgment the point of 
each fresh attack and placing troops in position to meet each, so that the 
capacity of his comparatively small force to contest the field inch by inch 
was vastly increased ; and when at the closing hours of that hard day's work 
the last unbroken line was formed to stop the further advance of the baffled 
foe, he was on foot among his brave men to cheer and sustain them in that 
their final and successful effort. Truly the battle was well fought against 
desperate odds, both of position and numbers and, notwithstanding the 
slanders given to the world at the time, the men of the Fourth Corps 
acquitted themselves as heroes. Their general gave them all credit for their 
noble efforts ; and they appreciated that for their success they were in 
large measure indebted to his foresight, judgment, and activity. 

After Fair Oaks the duties of the corps were comparatively light ; it needed 
recuperation after the terrible exhaustion it had experienced. But on the 
early morning of June 28 it took the advance of the army in the change 
of base to the James River. In this movement despatch and secrecy were 
of the utmost moment, for after his victory of Games' Mill Jackson would 

498 Appendix L 

come thundering on our rear, and Lee would crowd down on us from the 
direction of Richmond. With admirable judgment the general, after cross 
ing White Oak swamp, advanced the corps to a position which opened the 
way to a successful completion of the movement of the army contemplated 
by General McClellan. And here occurred an incident which is so thoroughly 
illustrative of the intense earnestness of the Southern character during the 
war that I think it worth recording. The official reports state how Rebel 
cavalry regiment, commanded by a major, made an unexpected and a futile 
attack upon our lines, and how in the attack the major received his death- 
wound. The whole affair occurred within a very short distance of the 
general and his staff ; and when we advanced over the road down 
which the regiment had charged I saw the major lying by the roadside, 
desperately wounded, and with the pallor of approaching death upon his 
brow. I rode to him, dismounted, and proffered him aid, but he rejected 
iny offers with maledictions. He wore near his heart, suspended by blue 
ribbon, a portrait of a lady, which he had managed to have in his hand, 
and on which he was gazing with fond looks. This seemed to him to be his 
only desire in the few moments he had to live, and I presume my intended 
kindly interference was an obtrusion. So I could do nothing but sadly re 
mount my horse and ride away, reflecting upon the horrors of war which 
made such things possible Here, too, the general gave signal evidence of 
the worth of his services. In moving so vast a body of men, with all their 
impedimenta, it was of the utmost consequence to discover the roads lead 
ing to the James River. One main road down towards Turkey Bridge was 
known, but it was left to General Keyes to discover another road over which 
troops could march. By questioning a farmer who had long resided in the 
country, and threatening him with instant death if he failed to tell the truth, 
he learned that there was an old abandoned road through the woods in al 
most a straight line to the James ; this road, through long disuse, had be 
come much choked with fallen trees, but the axes of the pioneers removed 
these obstructions ; the road was made practicable by the light of lanterns ; 
and thus the whole corps was enabled to pass over it and hasten to the 
James River and seize the positions which made possible the success of 
Malvern Hill. It is certain that no map, nor any other indication of this old 
road, was received by General Keyes from any of the engineers, report to the 
contrary notwithstanding. 

After Malvern it is well known that the army fell back to Harri 
son's Landing to recuperate. In that movement, to General Keyes, with 
Peck's division of his corps and a mixed command of cavalry and ar 
tillery, was committed the duty of covering the rear and of saving if possible 
the immense transportation of the army. How well he performed that duty 
General McClellan has expressed in his reports, but there are many details 

Appendix I. 499 

of the service which have not been made public. Suffice it to say that never 
was more zeal or earnestness shown by any one ; advantage was taken of 
everything that would in the least degree contribute to a successful carry 
ing out of his orders ; no effort that thought could suggest was neglected, 
and he had the proud satisfaction of receiving from his army commander a 
full recognition of the services of himself and the troops under his com 
mand. It became my duty on the 2d day of July to ride within the entrench 
ments at Harrison's Landing and to report to General McClellan from 
General Keyes that the whole of the transportation of the army was saved, 
and to receive from him for my chief a message thanking him for the ser 
vice he had rendered. And yet in the subsequent movements of the Army 
of the Potomac General Keyes' claims were ignored, his corps was disinte 
grated ; Couch's division was taken north to participate in the grand con 
flicts that ensued ; Casey's division now Peck's was sent to Suffolk. The 
general was left at Yorktown with a mixed command for a time ; and in 
the summer of 1863 the old Fourth Corps was abolished, and the general 
deprived of a command in the field, which was never afterwards accorded 
to him. And yet, among the many general officers who had commands 
during the war, I know of no one who was more fit to command troops ; no 
one who so whole-heartedly threw himself into the cause which all pretended 
to be serving ; no one who could give a better account of himself no one 
who did give a better account of himself in the performance of any duty 
to which he was called. 


Report of Brigadier -General E. D. Keyes, $th Corps. 


SIR : The following is my report of the operations of the 4th Corps in the 
battle of the 3 1st of May and 1st of June : 

The 4th Corps being in the advance crossed the Chickahominy at Bot 
tom's Bridge the 23d of May, and encamped two miles beyond. Two days 
later I received orders to advance on the Williamsburg road and take up 
and fortify the nearest strong position to a fork of roads called the " Seven 
Pines." The camp I selected, and which was the next day approved by 
Major General McClellan, stretches across the Williamsburg road between 
Bottom's Bridge and the Seven Pines, and is distant about a mile from the 
latter. I caused that camp to be fortified with rifle-pits and breastworks 
extending to the left about one thousand yards, and terminating in a crotchet 
to the rear. Similar works about three hundred yards farther in advance 
were constructed on the right, extending toward the Richmond and West 
Point Railroad. 

Having been ordered by General McClellan to hold the Seven Pines 
strongly, I designed to throw forward to that neighborhood two brigades of 
Casey's division, and to establish my picket-line considerably in advance 
and far to the right. The lines described above are those where the main 
body of the troops engaged near the Seven Pines spent the night of the 3ist 
after the battle. Examinations having been made by several engineers, I 
was ordered on the 28th of May to advance Casey's division to a point indi 
cated by a large wood-pile and two houses, about three- fourths of a mile 
beyond the Seven Pines (but which in fact is only half a mile), and to estab 
lish Couch's division at the Seven Pines. Accordingly Casey's division 
bivouacked on the right and left of Williamsburg road and wood-pile, and 
Couch established his division at the Seven Pines and along the Nine- mile 
road. Both divisions set to work with the few intrenching tools at hand to 
slash the forests and to dig a few rifle-pits. Casey erected a small pent- 

Appendix IL 501 

angular redoubt, and placed within it six pieces of artillery. The country is 
mostly wooded and greatly intersected with marshes. The Nine-mile road 
branching to the right from the Seven Pines slants forward, and at a distance 
of a mile crosses the railroad at Fair Oaks. A mile beyond it reaches an 
open field, where the enemy was seen in line of battle on the 2gth and soth 
days of May. 

Casey's pickets were only about one thousand yards in advance of his 
line of battle, and I decided, after a personal inspection with him, that they ' 
could go no farther, as they were stopped by the enemy in force on the 
opposite side of an opening at that point. I pushed forward the pickets on 
the railroad a trifle, and they had been extended by General Naglee to the 
open field, where the enemy was seen in line of battle, and from thence to 
the right bank of the Chickahominy. After a thorough examination of my 
whole position I discovered that on the 3Oth of May the enemy were, in 
greater or less force, closed upon the whole circumference of a semicircle 
described from my headquarters near Seven Pines, with a radius of two 

A considerable space about the fork of the road at Seven Pines was open, 
cultivated ground, and there was a clear space a short distance in front of 
Casey's redoubt at the wood-pile. Between the two openings we found a 
curtain of trees, which were cut down to form an abatis. That line of 
abatis was continued on a curve to the right and rear and across the Nine- 
mile road. 

When the battle commenced Casey's division was in front of the abatis ; 
Naglee's brigade on the right, having two regiments beyond the railroad ; 
Palmer's brigade on the left, and Wessell's brigade in the centre. Couch's 
division was on the right and left of the Williamsburg road, near the forks, 
and along the Nine-mile road. Peck's brigade was on the left, Devens' 
brigade in the centre, and Abercrombie's on the right, having two regiments 
and Brady's battery across the railroad, near Fair Oaks, thus forming two 
lines of battle. 

Through all the night of the soth of May there r/as raging a storm the 
like of which I cannot remember. Torrents of rain drenched the earth, the 
thunderbolts rolled and fell without intermission, and the heavens flashed 
with a perpetual blaze of lightning. From their beds of mud and the pelt- 
ings of this storm the 4th Corps rose to fight the battle of the 3ist of May, 

At about 10 o'clock A.M. it was announced to me that an aide-de-camp 
of Major-General J. E. Johnston, Confederate States Army, had been capt 
ured by our pickets on the edge of the field referred to above, beyond Fair 
Oaks Station. While speaking with the young gentleman, at the moment 
of sending him away, a couple of shots fired in front of Casey's headquarters 

5O2 Appendix IT. 

produced in him a very evident emotion. I was perplexed, because having 
seen the enemy in force on the right when the aide was captured I supposed 
his chief must be there. Furthermore the country was more open in that 
direction and the road in front of Casey's position was bad for artillery. I 
concluded, therefore, in spite of the shots, that if attacked that day the 
attack would come from the right. Having sent orders for the troops to be 
under arms precisely at II o'clock A.M. I mounted my horse and rode along 
the Nine-mile road to Fair Oaks Station. On my way I met Colonel Bailey, 
chief of artillery of Casey's division, and directed him to proceed and pre 
pare his artillery for action. 

Finding nothing unusual at Fair Oaks, I gave some orders to the troops 
there, and returned quickly to Seven Pines. The firing was becoming 
brisk, but there was yet no certainty of a great attack. As a precaution to 
support Casey's left flank, I ordered General Couch to advance Peck's bri 
gade in that direction. This was promptly done, and the 93 d Pennsylvania, 
Colonel McCarter, was advanced considerably beyond the balance of that 

About I2| P.M. it became suddenly apparent that the attack was real 
and in great force. All my corps was under arms and in position. I sent 
immediately to General Heintzelman for reinforcements, and requested 
him to order one brigade up the railroad. My messenger was unaccount 
ably delayed, and my dispatch appears not to have reached its destina 
tion till much later than it should have done. General Heintzelman arrived 
on the field at about 4 P.M., and the two brigades of his corps, Berry's 
and Jameson's, of Kearny's division, which took part in the battle of the 
3ist, arrived successively, but the exact times of their arrival in the pres 
ence of the enemy I am unable to fix with certainty ; and in this report I 
am not always able to fix times with exactness, but they are nearly exact. 

Casey's division, holding the front line, was first seriously attacked at 
about 12.30 P.M. The iO3d Pennsylvania Volunteers, sent forward to sup 
port the pickets, broke shortly and retreated, joined by a great many sick. 
The numbers as they passed down the road as stragglers conveyed an 
exaggerated idea of surprise and defeat. There was no surprise, how 
ever. All the effective men of that division were under arms, and all the 
batteries were in position, with their horses harnessed (except some belong 
ing to the guns in the redoubt) and ready to fight as soon as the enemy's 
forces came into view. Their numbers were vastly disproportionate to the 
mighty host which assailed them in front and on both flanks. 

As remarked above, the picket line being only about one thousand yards 
in advance of the line of battle, and the country covered with forests, the 
Confederates, arriving fresh and confident, formed their lines and masses 
under the shelter of the woods, and burst upon us with great suddenness, and 

Appendix II. 503 

had not our regiments been under arms they would have swept through 
our lines and routed us completely. As it was, however, Casey's division 
held its line of battle for more than three hours, and the execution done 
upon the enemy was shown by the number of rebel dead left upon the field 
after the enemy had held possession of that part of it for upward of 
twenty-four hours. During that time it is understood all the means of 
transport available in Richmond were employed to carry away their dead 
and wounded. The enemy advancing, as they frequently did, in masses, 
received the shot and shell of our artillery like veterans, closing up the 
gaps and moving steadily on to the assault. From my position, in the front 
of the second line, I could see all the movements of the enemy, but was 
not always able to discover his numbers, which were more or less concealed 
by the trees, nor could I accurately define the movements of our regiments 
and batteries. 

For the details of the conflict with Casey's line I must refer to his report, 
and to the reports of Brigadier-Generals Naglee, Palmer, and Wessells, 
whose activity I had many opportunities to witness. When applied to for 
them, I sent reinforcements to sustain Casey's line until the numbers were 
so much reduced in the second line that no more could be spared. I then 
refused, though applied to for further aid. 

I shall now proceed to describe the operations of the second line, which 
received my uninterrupted supervision, composed principally of Couch's 
division, second line. As the pressure on Casey's division became greater, 
he applied to me for reinforcements. I continued to send them as long as 
I had troops to spare. Colonel McCarter, with the 93d Pennsylvania, Peck's 
brigade, engaged the enemy on the left, and maintained his ground above 
two hours, until overwhelming numbers forced him to retire, which he did 
in good order. 

At about 2 o'clock P.M. I ordered the 55th New York (Colonel De Tro- 
briand, absent, sick), now in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thorout, to 
"save the guns," meaning some of Casey's. The regiment moved up the 
Williamsburg road at double-quick, conducted by General Naglee, where it 
beat off the enemy on the point of seizing some guns, and held its position 
more than an hour. At the end of that time, its ammunition being exhausted, 
it fell back through the abatis, and after receiving more cartridges the regi 
ment again did good service. It lost in the battle nearly one-fourth of its 
numbers, killed and wounded. At a little past 2 o'clock I ordered Neill's 
23d and Rippey's 6ist Pennsylvania regiments to move to the support of 
Casey's right. Neill attacked the enemy twice with great gallantry. In the 
first attack the enemy were driven back. In the second attack, and under 
the immediate command of General Couch, these two regiments assailed a 
vastly superior force of the enemy, and fought with extraordinary bravery, 

504 Appendix IL 

though compelled at last to retire. They brought in thirty-five prisoners. 
Both regiments were badly cut up. Colonel Rippey, of the 6ist, and his 
adjutant were killed. The lieutenant-colonel and major were wounded 
and are missing. The casualties in the 6ist amount to two hundred and 
sixty-three, and are heavier than in any other regiment in Couch's division. 
After this attack the 23d took part in the hard fighting which closed the day 
near the Seven Pines. The 6ist withdrew in detachments, some of which 
came again into action near my headquarters. 

Almost immediately after ordering the 23d and 6ist to support the right, 
and as soon as they could be reached, I sent the 7th Massachusetts, Colonel 
Russell, and the 62d New York, Colonel Riker, to reinforce them. The 
overpowering advance of the enemy obliged those regiments to proceed to 
Fair Oaks, where they fought under the immediate orders of Generals Couch 
and Abercrombie. There they joined the 1st U. S. Chasseurs, Colonel 
Cochrane, previously ordered to that point, and the 3ist Pennsylvania, Col 
Williams, on duty there when the action commenced. The losses in the 
62d were not so great as in some of the other regiments ; its conduct was 
good, and its colonel, Lafayette Riker, whose signal bravery was remarked, 
met a glorious death while attacking the enemy at the head of his regiment. 
The ist U. S. Chasseurs, Colonel Cochrane, fought bravely. By that regi 
ment our enemy's standard-bearer was shot down and the battle-flags of the 
22d North Carolina Regiment captured. 

For further particulars of the conduct of the 62d New York and the 1st 
U. S. Chasseurs, as well as for the account of those two excellent regiments, 
the 7th Massachusetts and 3ist Pennsylvania, Colonels Russell and Wil 
liams, I refer to the reports of Generals Couch and Abercrombie. Those 
regiments, as well as Brady's battery, 1st Pennsylvania Artillery (which is 
highly praised), were hid from my personal observation during most of the 
action. They acted in concert with the 2d Corps, by the opportune arrival 
of which at Fair Oaks in the afternoon, under the brave General E. V. 
Sumner, the Confederates were brought to a sudden stand in that quarter. 
They were also present in the action of the following day near Fair Oaks, 
where, under the same commander, the victory, which had been hardly con 
tested the day before, was fully completed by our troops. 

At the time when the enemy was concentrating troops from the right, 
left and front upon the redoubt and other works in the front of Casey's head 
quarters and near the Williamsburg road, the danger became imminent 
that he would overcome the resistance there and advance down the road 
and through the abatis. In anticipation of such an attempt I called 
Flood's and McCarthy's batteries of Couch's division to form in and on the 
right and left of the junction of the Williamsburg and Nine-mile roads, 
placed infantry in all the rifle-pits on the right and left, pushing some up 

Appendix II. 505 

also to the abatis, and collecting a large number of stragglers posted them 
in the woods on the left. Scarcely had these dispositions been completed 
when the enemy directly in. front, driven by the attack of a portion of 
Kearny's division on their right, and by our fire upon their front, moved 
off to join the masses which were pressing upon my right. 

To make head against the enemy approaching in that direction it was 
^ound necessary to effect an almost perpendicular change of front of the 
troops on the right of the Williamsburg road. By the energetic assistance 
of Generals Devens and Neglee, Colonel Adams, 1st Long Island, and 
Captains Walsh and Quackenbush, of the 36th New York, whose efforts I 
particularly noticed, I was enabled to form a line along the edge of the 
woods, which stretched nearly down to the swamp, about eight hundred 
yards from the fork, and along and near to the Nine-mile road. I threw 
back the right crotchetwise, and on its left Captain Miller, 1st Pennsyl 
vania Artillery, Couch's division, trained his guns so as to contest the ad 
vance of the enemy. 

I directed General Naglee to ride along the line, to encourage the men 
and keep them at work. This line long resisted the progress of the enemy 
with the greatest firmness and gallantry, but by pressing it very closely 
with overwhelming numbers, probably ten to one, they were enabled finally 
to force it to fall back so far upon the left and centre as to form a new 
line in rear. Shortly after this attack I saw General Devens leave the 
field wounded. There was then no general officer left in sight belonging 
to Couch's division. Seeing the torrent of enemies continually advancing 
I hastened across to the left beyond the fork to bring forward reinforce 
ments. Brigadier-General Peck, at the head of the iO2d and Q3d Penn 
sylvania regiments, Colonels Rowley and McCarter, was ordered, with the 
concurrence of General Heintzelman, to advance across the open space and 
attack the enemy, now coming forward in great numbers. Those regiments 
passed through a shower of balls, and formed in a line having an oblique 
direction to the Nine-mile road. They held their ground for more than 
half an hour, doing great execution. Peck's and McCarter's horses were 
shot under them. After contending against enormous odds those two regi 
ments were forced to give way, Peck and the iO2d crossing the Williams- 
burg road to the wood, and McCarter and the bulk of the Q3d passing to 
the right, where they took post in the last line of battle, formed mostly after 
6 o'clock P. M. During the time last noticed Miller's battery, having taken 
up a new position, did first-rate service. 

As soon as Peck had moved forward I hastened to the roth Massachusetts, 
Colonel Briggs, which regiment I had myself once before moved, now in 
the rifle-pits on the left of the Williamsburg road, and ordered them to 
follow me across the field. Colonel Briggs led them on in gallant style, 

506 Appendix II. 

moving quickly over an open space of seven or eight hundred yards, under 
a scorching fire, and forming his men with perfect regularity towards the 
right of the line last above referred to. The position thus occupied was a 
most favorable one, being in a wood, without much undergrowth, where the 
ground sloped somewhat abruptly to the rear. This line was stronger on 
the right than on the left. Had the loth Massachusetts been two minutes 
later they would have been too late to occupy that fine position, and it would 
have been impossible to have formed the next and last line of the battle of 
the 3ist, which stemmed the tide of defeat and turned it toward victory a 
victory which was then begun by the 4th Corps and two brigades of Kearny's 
division of the 3d Corps, and consummated the next day by Sumner and 

And seeing the loth Massachusetts and the adjoining line well at work 
under a murderous fire I observed that that portion of the line, one hundred 
and fifty yards to my left, was crumbling away, some falling and others 
retiring. I perceived also that the artillery had withdrawn, and that large 
bodies of broken troops were leaving the centre and moving down the Wil- 
liamsburg road to the rear. Assisted by Captain Suydam, my assistant 
adjutant-general, Captain Villarceau, and Lieutenants Jackson and Smith, 
of my staff, I tried in vain to check the retreating current. 

Passing through to the opening of our intrenched camps of the 28th 
ultimo I found General Heintzelman and other officers engaged in rallying 
the men, and in a very short time a large number were induced to face about. 
These were pushed forward and joined to others better organized in the 
woods, and a line was formed stretching across the road in a perpendicular 
direction. General Heintzelman requested me to advance the line on the left 
of the road, which I did, until it came within some sixty or seventy yards of 
the opening in which the battle had been confined for more than two hours, 
against a vastly superior force. Some of the loth Massachusetts, now under 
the command of Captain Miller ; the 93d Pennsylvania, under Colonel 
McCarter, of Peck's brigade ; the 23d Pennsylvania, Colonel Neill, of Aber- 
crombie's brigade ; a portion of the 36th New York, Colonel Innis ; a por 
tion of the 55th New York, and the 1st Long Island, Colonel Adams ; 
together with fragments of other regiments of Couch's division, still con 
tended on the right of this line, while a number of troops that I did not 
recognize occupied the space between me and them. 

As the ground was miry and encumbered with fallen trees I dismounted 
and mingled with the troops. The first I questioned belonged to Kearny's 
division, Berry's brigade, Heintzelman's corps ; the next to the 56th New 
York, now under command of its lieutenant-colonel, and the third be 
longed to the iO4th Pennsylvania, of Casey's division. I took out my 
glass to examine a steady, compact line of troops about sixty- five yards in 

Appendix II. 507 

advance, the extent of which, towards our right, I could not discover. The 
line in front was so quiet that I thought they might possibly be our own 
troops. The vapors from the swamps, the leaves and the fading light 
(for it was then after 6 o'clock) rendered it uncertain who they were, so I 
directed the men to get their aim, but to reserve their fire until I could go 
up to the left and examine at the same time saying that they must hold that 
line or the battle would be lost. They replied with a firm determination to 
stand their ground. 

I had just time to put up my glass and move ten paces towards the left 
of the line where my horse stood, but while I was in the act of mounting as 
fierce a fire of musketry was opened as any I had heard during the day. 
The fire from our side was so deadly that the heavy masses of the enemy com 
ing in on the right, which before had been held back for nearly two hours 
(that being about the time consumed in passing over less than a thousand 
yards) by about a third part of Couch's division, were now arrested. The 
last line, formed of portions of Couch's and Casey's divisions and a portion 
of Kearny's division, checked the advance of the enemy and finally re 
pulsed him, and this was the beginning of the victory which on the follow 
ing day was so gloriously completed. 

During the action, and particularly during the two hours immediately 
preceding the final successful stand made by the infantry, the three Penn 
sylvania batteries, under Major Robert M. West (Flood's, McCarthy's, 
and Miller's), in Couch's division, performed most efficient service. The 
conduct of Miller's battery was admirable. Having a central position in 
the forepart of the action it threw shells over the heads of our own troops, 
which fell and burst with unusual precision among the enemy's masses, 
as did also those of the other two batteries ; and later in the day, when 
the enemy was rushing in upon our right, Miller threw his case and canister 
among them, doing frightful execution. The death of several officers of 
high rank and the disability and wounds of others have delayed this report. 

It has been my design to state nothing as a fact which could not be sub 
stantiated. Many things escaped notice by reason of the forests, which con 
cealed our own movements as well as the movements of the enemy. From 
this cause some of the reports of subordinate commanders are not suffi 
ciently full. In some cases it is apparent that these subordinate com 
manders were not always in the best positions to observe, and this will account 
for the circumstance that I have mentioned some facts derived from per 
sonal observation not found in the reports of my subordinates. The reports 
of division and brigade commanders I trust will be published with this im 
mediately. I ask their publication as an act of simple justice to the 4th 
Corps, against which many groundless aspersions and incorrect statements 
have been circulated in the newspapers since the battle. These reports are 

508 Appendix II. 

made by men who observed the conflict while under fire, and if they are 
not in the main true the truth will never be known. 

In the battle of the 3ist of May the casualties on our side (a list of 
which is enclosed) were heavy, amounting to something like twenty-five per 
cent, in killed and wounded of the number actually engaged, which did not 
amount to more than 1 2,000, the 4th Corps at that date having been much 
weakened by detachments and other causes. Nearly all who were struck 
were hit while facing the enemy. 

The Confederates outnumbered us, during a great part of the conflict, at 
least four to one, and they were fresh drilled troops, led on and cheered by 
their best generals and the President of their Republic. They are right 
when they assert that the Yankees stubbornly contested every foot of 
ground. Of the nine generals of the 4th Corps who were present on the 
field, all, with one exception, were wounded or his horse was hit in the 
battle. A large proportion of all the field officers in the action were 
killed, wounded, or their horses were struck. These facts denote the fierce 
ness of the contest and the gallantry of a large majority of the officers. 
Many officers have been named and commended in this report and in reports 
of division, brigade, and other commanders, and I will not here recapitu 
late further than that I received great assistance from the members of my 
staff, whose conduct was excellent, though they were necessarily often 
separated from me. 

To the energy and skill of Surgeon F. H. Hamilton, the chief of his depart 
ment in the 4th Corps, and the assistance he received from his subordinate 
surgeons, the wounded and sick are indebted 'for all the relief and comfort 
which it was possible to afford them. 

I should be glad if the name of every individual who kept his place in 
the long struggle could be known.* All those deserve praise and reward. 

* There is no incident of the war which I keep in remembrance with so much de 
light as the closing scene of the battle of the 3ist of May, 1862. 

In the advancing twilight of that long, bloody day, while I walked in the last line 
that had been so terribly thinned by deaths, disability, and desertions, I strode with 
the elite of the brave. The mad surges and tempest of the battle had winnowed out 
the unworthy. The cowards had fled ; the recreants had slunk to the rear ; those feeble 
creatures who could be exhausted by an eight or ten hours' struggle, had limped to 
their repose. All the braggarts, and such as quit the fray early to proclaim their own 
exploits, and to smear with calumny their associates, had departed. In "their stead 
were gathered from all the brigades a band of heroes who coalesced by a natural at 
traction to achieve a victory and save the Union. I know not how it is that clustered 
jewels enhance the lustre of one another, but so it was with the men around me. They 
were all begrimed with mud and sweat, and their visages were 

" As black as Vulcan's with the smoke of war," 

and still they were beautiful. Carnal fear had never debased them, and in their pres 
ence I felt a charm which I shall remember till death. 

Appendix II. 509 

On the other hand the men who left the ranks and the field, and especially 
the officers who went away without orders, should be known and held up to 
scorn. In all the retreating groups I discovered officers, and sometimes the 
officers were farthest in the rear. What hope can we have of the safety of 
the country when even a few military officers turn their backs upon the 
enemy without orders ? Such officers should be discharged and disgraced, 
and brave men advanced to their places. The task of reformation is not 
easy, because much true manliness has been suffocated in deluding theories, 
and the improvement will not be complete until valor is more esteemed, nor 
until we adopt as a maxim that to decorate a coward with shoulder-straps is 
to pave the road to a nation's ruin. 
Respectfully submitted. 


Brig.-Gen. t Comdg. ^th Corps. 
Brigadier-General S. WILLIAMS, 

Adjt.-Gen. Army of Potomac, 


Abercrombie, General, 462, 468. 
Adams, Charles Francis, 344. 
Adams, John Quincy, 46, 115. 
Adams, Mrs. John Quincy, 115. 
Agassiz, Professor, 63. 
Alburtis, Captain William, 155. 
Alden, Bradford R., 136. 
Alexander, Lieut. B. L., 229. 
Allen, Col. Robert, 216. 
Anderson, Captain Robert, iSS, 367, 


Andrews, Gen. Geo. P., 116, 223. 
Andrews, Major, 228. 
Annilini, Father, 88. 
Armistead, General W. K., 176. 
Armstrong, Secretary, 105. 
Arthur. Chester A., 409. 
Aspinwall, W. H., 349, 350. 
Astor, John Jacob, 15. 
Atkinson, General, 119. 
Austin, Lieut., 176. 
Ayers, Lieut., 176, 177, 181. 

Bailey, Prof., 63. 

Baker, Edward D., 302, 303. 

Bancroft, George, 69. 

Bankhead, Col., 9. 

Bannister, Dwight, 463. 

Barnard, Gen. J. G., 445. 

Barnes, Surgeon-General, 288. 

Barnes, William H. L., 309, 310. 

Bayard, Thomas F., 147. 

Benson, John, 229. 

Benton, Thomas H., ill, 117, 146- 

151, 403. 

Biddle, Nicholas, in. 
Birney, General, 472. 
Black, Jeremiah S., I, 2, 338. 
Blair, Francis P., 119. 
Blunt, Joseph, n. 
Bomford, Col., in. 

Boyd, James T., 313. 

Brady, General, 5, 119. 

Brady, James T., 301. 

Bra gg> General Braxton, 176-181, 


Breckinridge, John C. , 101. 
Brooke, Maj. -General, 156. 
Brougham, Lord, 12, 13. 
Brown, General, 106. 
Brown, Col. Harvey, 351, 385, 400. 
Brown, Jacob, 115. 
Bruce, General, 332. 
Buchanan, Jas., I, 329, 414. 
Buchanan, J. C., 147. 
Buckner, Simon, 214. 
Buell, Don Carlos, 215. 
Burke, Edmund, 10. 
Burke, Col. Martin, 176, 177, 182- 


Burlingame, Anson, 291. 
Burnside, A. E., 201. 
Burr, Aaron, 100, 102. 
Butler, Benjamin F., 328, 402, 403. 
Byers, Mr., 96. 

Caldwell, Sir John, 36, 38, 142. 
Calhoun, John C., 14, 15, 101, 130, 


Cameron, Simon, 348, 349, 419. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 41. 
Carter, Cadet, 78. 
Casey, Col. Silas, 254, 260, 451, 456, , 


Cass, Lewis, 116, 338. 
Chandler, Zach., 329, 344. 
Channing, Rev. Wm. Ellery, 46, 47, 

138, 139- 

Charles V., of Spain, 16. 
Charles XII. of Sweden, 23, 134. 
Chase, Salmon P., 464, 488, 489. 
Chase, Col. William, 356. 



Childs, Thomas, 164. 

Church, Albert E., 196. 

Churchill, Lieut., 176, 177, 181. 

Clark, General N. S., 265. 

Clarke, Caroline M., 32. 

Clay, Henry, 10, 14, 15, 122, 138, 

140, 147. 

Clinton, De Witt, 113. 
Cobb, Howell, 338. 
Coombe, Professor, 33. 
Cope, Judge, 313, 
Corey, Mrs., 7- 
Corwin, Thomas, 362. 
Couch, General D. N., 457, 476. 
Courier, Paul Louis, 327. 
Cozzens, Mr., 60, 61. 
Crittenden, John J., 36-38, 341-346. 
Cullum, George W., 192-194, 202. 

Dade, Major, 170. 

Dandy, General, 284. 

David, 49-52, 125. 

Davis, Jefferson, 215, 260, 426. 

Davis, John, 147. 

Dearborn, Maj.-Gen., 105. 

Delafield, Colonel, 121, 189, 192, 


Dent, Lieutenant, 266, 279. 
Derby, George, 198, 201. 
D'Espinasse, General, 67. 
Devens, General, 454. 
Dixon, Senator, 342. 
Dodge, Colonel, 202. 
Doubleday, General Abner, 371. 
Douglass, Stephen A., 329. 
Duane, Lieutenant, 356, 357. 
"Duck, Sydney," 292, 295. 
Duncan, James, 154, 155. 

Eaton, Mrs., in. 
Eustis, Colonel, 9. 
Evans, Senator, 36. 
Everett, Edward, 36, 37. 

Fairfield, Governor, 36, 107. 
Felton, John B., 312. 
Fenwick, Lieut. -Col., 104. 
Field, Lieutenant, 176, 177, 181. 
Fish, Hamilton, 349. 
Floyd, John B., 135, 287, 338, 372. 
Folsom, Joseph L., 225. 
Forsyth, Mr., 129, 130. 
Franklin, Samuel R., 482. 

Fremont, John C., 244, 440 
Fry, James B., 201. 

Gaines, General E. P., 115, 116, 135, 

171, 173- 

Gait, Captain, 51, 52. 

Gardner, Col. John L., 370. 

Gates, Gen. William, 176. 

Gibbs, Alfred, 160. 

Gibbs, George, 262. 

Gibson, Lieut. H. G., 202, 228, 236. 

Gill, Lieut. W. G., 228. 

Goldsmith, Oliver, 30. 

Graham, Secretary, 112. 

Grant, General U.S., 207-222. 

Grant, Mrs. U. S., 212. 

Greeley, Horace, 103. 

Greenough, Mrs., 330. 

Gregg, Lieut., 269. 

Grier, William N., 266. 

Grundy, Felix, 147. 

Gurowski, Count, 440, 441. 

Gwin, Dr. William M., 244, 341, 417. 

Hager, John S., 313. 

" Haler, Captain," 234, 235. 

Halleck, General H. W., 80, 168, 

214-217, 440. 
Hamilton, Dr. Frank, 461, 462, 471, 


Hamlin, Hannibal, 412. 
Hammond, J. F., 267, 283. 
Hancock, Gen. W. S., 448, 449. 
Hardee, Col. W. J., 333, 334- 
Harney, Surgeon, 171. 
Harney, Maj.-Gen. W. S., 287-289. 
Harris, Senator Ira, 442, 445. 
Harrison, Lieut. James E., 252, 253. 
Harrison, Wm. Henry, II, 137-139. 
Hart, Lieut. W. C. De, 4. 
Harvey, Sir John, 36, 38, 138, 142. 
Hawkes, Dr., 6, 44, 46, 77. 
Heintzelman, General, 453. 
Heiskell, Dr., no. 
Henderson, Surgeon, 120. 
Henry, Patrick, 10. 
Hewett, Captain, 252, 253. 
Hill, Jim, 177, 178. 
Hitchcock, Surgeon C. M., 132, 200, 


Hodge, Captain, 435. 
Hodge, Joseph, 304, 305. 


Hoffman, Ogden, 6, 36, 37, 55, 313, 

316, 317- 

Holt, Secretary, 376, 415. 
Hooker, Gen. Joseph, 477. 
Howard, W. D. M., 227. 

Irving, Washington, 69. 

Jackson Andrew, 15, 77, 102, 105, 
108-122, 141, 146, 150, 191. 

Jackson, General Stonewall, 198, 
209, 215. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 101, 102. 

Jessup, General, 118. 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 29, 30, 38, 89. 

Johnson, Albert Sidney, 215, 286, 
355,420, 421. 

Johnston, Joseph E., 215, 216, 222, 

458, 459- 

Jones, General, 3. 
Jones, George R., 199. 
Joset, Father, 273, 274. 
Judd, Col. Henry B., 176, 180. 

Kanaskat, 257-261. 

Kautz, Lieut. A. V., 258-261. 

Kearny, Philip, 470-472. 

Kemble, Gouverneur, 36, 68-70, 104, 

331, 349. 

Keyes, Dr. E. L., 297, 355. 
King, Charles, 6, 33, 36, 46, 125, 


King, Charles, Mrs., 33. 
King, Horatio, 338. 
Kipp, Lieut. L., 267, 284. 
Kirkham, General R. W., 266, 283. 
Knowlton, Capt. Miner, 188. 

Lachaud, M., 299, 3O 1 - 

La Fayette, HI. 

Lamon, Mr., 378. 

Lane, Harriet, 330. 

Lane, Joe, 341. 

Lee, Robert E., 69, 166, 188, 189, 

192, 198, 204-221, 317, 3i8. 
Legree, Hugh, 5, 117. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 140, 141, 334~ 

341, 378-387, 4 IO -438, 486. 
Lindsay, Col., 9. 
Longfellow, Henry W., 75- 
Lyon, Captain E., 359. 
Lyons, Lord, 332, 333. 

Macomb, General, 115-119, 129, 


Magruder, Prince John, 128. 
Maloney, Capt. Maurice, 254. 
Manro, J. P., 291. 
Marcy, General R. B., 455. 
Marcy, William L., 36, 37, 147. 
Martineau, Harriet, 147. 
Mason, Colonel, 228. 
Mason, Jeremiah, 36, 37. 
Mason, Mrs., 115. 
Mather, General, 360. 
May, Lieutenant, 224. 
Mayo, 55- 

McAllister, Hall, 72, 148, 305-308. 
McAllister, Julian, 201. 
McCall, Captain, 171. 
McClellan, Gen. George B., 197-216, 

438-453, 409 480-488. 
McCook, General, 88. 
McDowell, General Irwin, 189, 431- 


McKee, John, 233. 
McKibbin, Lieut. David B., 259. 
McKinstry, Judge, 313. 
Meigs, Capt. M. C., 389-392. 
Mendell, Col. Geo. H., 261. 
Mercer, Lieut. Hugh W., 3, 6. 
Merchant, S. L., 245. 
Michler, Nathaniel, 202. 
Minie, Captain, 17. 
Mirabeau, 10. 
Monroe, James, 125. 
Morgan, E. D., 407, 408. 
Morgan, Lieut. M. R-, 280, 281. 
Moses, Chief, 282. 
Mower, Dr., 5. 

Mullan, Lieut. John, 266, 283. 
Munro, Captain Jock, 8. 
Myers, Gen. A. C., 176, 180. 

Naglee, Gen. Henry M., 472-479. 
Napoleon, 65. 
Newcastle, Duke of, 332. 

O'Conor, Charles, 301. 
Ord, Capt. E. O. C., 263, 268. 
Otis, Harrison Gray, 36, 37. 
Owen, Lieut. P. A., 267. 
Owhi, 280-283. 

Palmer, Gen. I. N., 459, 467. 
Palmerston, Lord, 12. 


Paris, Comte de, 465, 467, 481. 

Parrott, Mr., 69, 296. 

Parsons, Levi, 291, 294. 

Patrick, M. R., 409. 

Paulding, Mr., 69. 

Peck, General, 476. 

Peyton, Bailey, 109. 

Piatt, Don, 435. 

Pierce, Franklin, u, 103, 145. 

Pillow, Gideon J., 153, 159, 214. 

Poinselt, Mr., 36, 69, 122, 125-130. 

Polk, James K., 102, 145-153. 

Preston, William C., 36, 37, 69, 117, 

Priest, Albert, 243. 

Qualchein, 276-278. 

Randolph, Senator, 241. 
Read, J. Meredith, 409. 
Reynolds, Maj.-Gen. John F., 176- 


Riall, General, 106. 
Riley, Colonel, 152. 
Riley, General, 292. 
Rosecrans, General W. S., 440. 
Ross, Edward C., 195. 
Rousseau, J. J., 71. 
Rush, Mrs., 115. 

Sackett, General, 211. 

Saint Germans, Lord, 332. 

Savage, Major, 233. 

Seward, William H., 352, 380-383, 

Schover, Lieut., 169. 

Scott, Adelaide Canaille, 202. 

Scott, Gen. Winfield, I, 2, 7, 8, 10, 
13, 15, 19-24, 31, 34, 38, 46, 48, 
59. 65, 77, 92, 98, loo, 107, 120, 
129, 137, 139, 158, 162, 183, 188, 
202, 206, 218, 318, 324, 327, 332, 
334. 339 341, 361, 378, 383, 384. 
404-410, 419-425- 

Scott, Mrs. General, 29, 51. 

Sherman, John, 343. 

Sherman, Maj.-Gen. Thos. W., 176- 

Sherman, William T., 163, 176, 177, 
216, 218, 225, 246, 431, 435. 

Shriver, Captain, 162. 

Slaughter, William A., 251-253. 

Slemmer, Lieut. A. J., 376. 
Slidell, Senator, 329. 
Slidell, Mrs., 329. 
Smith, General C. F., 214. 
Smith, General Persifer F., 228. 
Smith, General W. F., 446. 
Spencer, John C., 36, 37. 
Stanton, Edwin M., 411, 412. 
Stewart, Col. Jasper, 176. 
Sukely, Surgeon George, 261. 
Sumner, General E. V., 448, 457, 


Suydam, Col. C. C., 460, 491. 
Swartwout, Samuel, 15. 

Taylor, Dr., 252,253. 

Taylor, Col. Frank, 288. 

Taylor, Zachary, 145-157. 

Terry, General O. H., 436. 

Tevis, Major Carroll, 487. 

Thayer, Col. Sylvanus, 69, 190-192. 

Thomas, George II., 166-169, 176- 

180, 193. 

Thompson, Jacob" R., 338. 
Thorn, Col. Herman, 79. 
Thourot, Lieut. -Col., 476. 
Tidball, General, 202. 
Totten, General Joseph G., 69, 155. 
Toucey, Isaac, 338. 
Trowbridge, William P., 202. 
Twiggs, General, 205. 
Tyler, General Daniel, 432-436. 

Upton, General Emory, 434. 

Van Buren, John, 36, 69, 116. 

Van Buren, Martin, 36, 37, 69, 105- 

108, I2T, 129, 137, 138, 145. 
Van Buren, Dr. W. H., 354. 
Van Buren, Willie, 355. 
Van Rensselaer, Lieut-Col., 104, 122. 
Van Vliet, Maj. -General S., 176, 179. 
Vinton, Captain John R., 155. 
Vogdes, General, 375, 377- 

Wadsworth, General James, 437. 
Wales, Prince of, 331-334. 
Ward, Samuel, 70-74. 
Warner, Rev. Thos., 77-84. 
Washburne, E. B., 217. 
Washington, George, 45. 



Webb, General, 446. 

Webster, Daniel, 11-15, 36, 37, 147- 

149, 247. 

Wellington, Duke of, 12, 13, 128. 
Wessels, H. W., 467. 
White, Lieutenant, 266. 
Wilkinson, Commander, 102-105. 
Williams, Rev. Albert, 232. 
Williams, Roger, 179. 
Williamson, R. S., 202. 
Wilson, Samuel, 304, 305. 

Winder, Captain, 266. 

Wolseley, General Garnet, 207. 

Woodbury, Levi, 109. 

Wool, General John E., 123, 184, 

250, 251, 431. 
Worth, General, 123, 135, 153-159, 

170, 188. 
Wright, Col. Geo. H., 266-287, 

420, 421. 

Wright, Silas, 147. 
Wyse, Lieutenant, 168, 169. 


publish, under the general title of 


A Series of volumes, contributed by a number of leading 
actors in and students of the great conflict of 1861-65, with 
a view to bringing together, for the first time, a full and 
authoritative military history of the suppression of the 

The final and exhaustive form of this great narrative, in which every 
doubt shall be settled and every detail covered, may be a possibility 
only of the future. But it is a matter for surprise that twenty years 
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has grown up needing such knowledge, there is no authority which is 
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to which a reader can turn for any general view of the field. 

The many reports, regimental histories, memoirs, and other materi 
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the authors have had individual opportunities to express elsewhere. 

The volumes are duodecimos of about 250 pages each, 
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The price of each volume is $1.00. 

The following volumes are now ready : 

I. The OutbreaJc of Rebellion. By JOHN G. NICOLAY, 
Esq., Private Secretary to President Lincoln ; late Consul- 
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A preliminary volume, describing the opening of the war, and covering th 
period from the election of Lincoln to the end of the first battle of Bull Run. 

//. From Fort Henry to Corinth. By the Hon. M. 
F. FORCE, Justice of the Superior Court, Cincinnatti; late 
Brigadier-General and Bvt. Maj. Gen'l, U.S.V., commanding 
First Division, I7th Corps: in 1862, Lieut. Colonel of the 
2Oth Ohio, commanding the regiment at Shiloh ; Treasurer of 
the Society of the Army of the Tennessee. 

The narrative of events in the West from the Summer of 1861 to May, 1863; 
tovering the capture of Fts. Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, etc., etc. 

I. II. The Peninsula. By ALEXANDER S. WEBB, LL.D., 
President of the College of the City of New York : Assistant 
Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, 1861-62 ; Inspector 
General Fifth Army Corps; General commanding 2d Div., 
2d Corps; Major General Assigned, and Chief of Staff, Army 
of the Potomac. 

The history of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign, from his appointment to th 
?nd of the Seven Days' Fight. 

4V. The Army under Pope. By JOHN C. ROPES, Esq., 
of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, the Massa 
chusetts Historical Society, etc. 

From the appointment of Pope to command the Army of Virginia, to the appoint 
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V.The Antietam and Fredericksbura. By FRANCIS 
WINTHROP PALFREY, Bvt. Brigadier Gen'l, U.S.V., and form 
erly Colonel 2Oth Mass. Infantry ; Lieut. Col. of the 2Oth 
Massachusetts at the Battle of the Antietam; Member of 
the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, of the Massa 
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From the appointment of McClellan to the general command, September, i862,"ta 
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VI. Chancellor sville and Gettysburg. By ABNER 
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From the appointment of Hooker, through the campaigns of Chancellorsville and 
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VII. The Armn of the Cumberland. By HENRY M. 
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From the formation of the Army of the Cumberland to the end of the battles al 
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X.Tfie March to the Sea Franklin and Nashville. 

By the Hon. JACOB D. Cox. 

From the beginning of the March to the Sea to the surrender of Johnston- 
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XI. The Shenandoah Valley in 1864. The Cam 
paign of Sheridan. By GEORGE E. POND, Esq., Asso 
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XII. The Virginia Campaign of >(>4 and >65. TJte 
Army of the Potomac and Ihe Army of the 
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Navy in the Civil War 

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The facts that the Civil War was the first great conflict in which steam 
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such a vast length of hostile coast will make it an epoch for the techinal 
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out of plans by which Messrs. CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS are 
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fessor J. RUSSELL SOLEY, U. S. Navy. 

AMMEN, U. S. Navy. 


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2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

1-year loans may be recharged by bringing 
books to NRLF 

Renewals and recharges may be made 4 
days prior to due date. 


HAY ~ 5 19S9 



Keyes, E.D. 

Fifty years f observa 
tions of men and events 

Call Number: