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Full text of "God's war"

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THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



i8^4"Ai£ft COLLECT 



Digitized by tine Internet Arcinive 

in 2010 witin funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/godswarOOvanc 



GOD'S WAR. 



BY 



WILSON VANCE, 

Author of " Prince' t Favors" and "Little Amy' a Chriatmas. 




F. TENNYSON NEELY, 

PUBLISHER, 
LONDON. NEW YORK. 



Copyright, 1899, 

by 

F. Tennyson Nkblt 

ID 

United States 

and 
Qreat Britain. 

AU Rights Reserved. 



TO MY SONS AND MY DAUGHTERS; AND TO THE SONS AND THB 
DAUGHTERS OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF 1861 IN AMERICA; 
AND TO THEIR CHILDREN, AND THEIR CHILDREN'S 
CHILDREN UNTO THE REMOTEST GENERA- 
TIONS OF THEM, THIS STORY 
IB DEDICATKO. 



603296 



PREFACE. 



To the end that the memory of the men aud women 
whose valor aud sacrifices defended and preserved the 
Republic through the trial as by fire of the great civil 
war in America shall not perish from the earth ; that their 
descendants and successors may appreciate the splendor 
of the steadfast patriotism and patient resolute endurance 
to which humanity owes so mnch; and in the hope that 
the world may the better understand and value the les- 
sons taught by a divinely ordained educational process, 
this story has been written. Persuaded that its faults 
must be many and grievous (since, how should a plain 
layman, sometime soldier, with no claims to literary skill, 
avoid them?), and conscious of its inadequacy, the author 
submits it; trusting that it may, at least in some small 
degree, accomplish the work whereunto it is sent. 

November, 1898. 



Since the foregoing was Avritten and while the manu- 
script was still in the hands of the printer, the follow- 
ing letter appeared in the New York Sun of the 26th of 
December, 1898; and as it expresses, even better than 
the author of "God's War" could, his primaiy motivu 
in writing the story, he takes the liberty to place it here, 



VI PREFACE. 

without apology, but with thanks to "C. G. B.," who- 
ever he may be. 

"To THE Editor of the Sun — Sir: The brief obituary 
notice subjoined appeared the other day in the New 
York Times: 

BALAKLAVA HERO DEAD AT SPRINGFIELD. 

"SpniNGFiELD. Mass., Dec 20. —John Howell, aged seventy-four, died to-day. 
He was born in England, and was one of the Six Hundrel in the famous charge 
at Balaklava. He was also a veteran of the civil war. 

"This illustrates vividly a mental attitude altogether 
too prevalent among us Americans. Here was an old 
warrior who had laid down his arms forever and gone to 
join the countless millions of good Soldiers who have 
passed over to the majority. It is right aud fitting that 
his death should be honorably recorded and handed down 
to memory in the complimei)tar3' terms <iuoted above, and 
I hope that tender hands may keep his grave green for 
ages to come. But! 

"What is there in this career that appeals most power- 
fully to our interest and sympathy? Is it the fact that 
Howell was a 'Balaklava hero,' one of the 'Six Hun- 
dred' that made the 'famous charge?' or is it because 
he was a 'veteran of the civil war?' Evidently the for- 
mer. The emphasis, the capitals and the headline all 
show that in the miiid of the writer the Crimean chapter 
in this man's life was the glorious chapter, while his civil 
war experiences were but an episode. 

"And so we find it everywhere. All our examples and 
illustrations in military matters are drawn from foreign 
warfare, and the heroes of our own great contest, the men 
who made the glorious history of 1861-1865, are passing 
into oblivion as 'veterans of the civil war.' 

"I really believe that the reason why this is true is our 
ignorance of our own history. I can find you twenty 
men who are quite familiar with Austerlitz, Jeua, Water- 
loo, Inkermann, Lucknowand Sedan to oue who can give 
you any information about Spottsj'lvania, Antietam, or 
Stone River. 

"Was the Balaklava matter unparalled in history ? Was 
there anything in our great civil war that could compare 



PREFACE. Vll 

with it? Any instances of devotion; any percentage of 
loss nearb' equal? Well, yes — there were maneuvers 
and charges; there were instances of self-sacrifice and 
loss; scores of them that far exceed the glorious record 
made by the light brigade on that October morning in 
1854, or indeed any record made by any military organ- 
ization other than American during this century! 

"How would this read as an obituary notice in one of 
our American journals? 

FRANKLIN HERO DEAD AT NASHVILLE. 
" Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 20.— John Howell died here yesterday, aged seventy- 
four years. He was born in Williamson county, was one of Cheatham's division 
in the civil war. and took part in the famous charge asainst Schofleld's breast- 
works at Franklin. In his 3'outh he was a member of the British army, and was 
present at the light cavalry affair at Balaklava. 

"I fear that the average reader would be tempted to ex- 
claim with Virgil ' Sic parvis companere magna,' but the 
average reader would be wrong if he did. There was 
greater loss, greater sacrifice, and more bloody fighting 
on the part of 'Old Frank's' (Cheatham's) men on that 
beautiful Wednesday evening in November, 1864, than 
took place on any field in the Crimean War. While 
thirty-seven per cent, of Lord Cardigan's six hundred 
and seventy-three men were killed and wounded, more 
than half of Cleburne's and Brown's two entire divisions 
were left dead or wounded in the fields and gardens of 
that little Tennessee town. And how many of us know 
anything about it? 
/* "President McKinley well said at Atlanta the other 
( day that it was time for the nation to care for the graves 
\ of the Confederate soldiers. By all means let us care for 
them and keep their memory fresh. The glory won bj' 
these men and their leaders on many a hard-fought field 
belongs to the American nation, and should be perpetu- 
ated by monuments of granite and marble on each and all 
of these fields, but especially should we insist that the 
deeds of all our soldiers should be carefully and truth- 
fully enshrined in the pages of history, and proudly 
celebrated b3' orator and poet. 

"Mr. John Fiske, in writing of the battle of Guilford 
Court House in 1781, says: 'The British fighting was 
magnificent, worthy to be compared with that of Thomas 



viii PREFACE. 

and his men at Chickamauga. ' Thank you, Mr. Fiske. 
you did not need to go to the 'lieights of Mont St. Jeau' 
for an example of stubborn, dogged tenacity, but found 
quite as good a one in the pages of our own history. 

"Yes! Thomas and Chickamauga, Jackson and the old 
railroad grade at Groveton, D. H. Hill in the sunken 
lane at Sharpsburg, Porter at Gaines* Mill for stubborn 
tenacity; the Second Corps under Couch at Fredericks- 
burg, Pickett's division at Gettysburg, Cheatham at 
Franklin for daring valor against the impossible. In- 
stances could be multiplied and examples given of every 
possible military virtue — courage, patience, obedience, 
endurance, almost beyond the power of man, all -were 
illustrated by the American soldier in the great civil war 
to a degree that has never been excelled and seldom 
equalled in the history of the world. 

"C. G. B. 

"Black Hall, Conn., Dec. 24." 



CONTENTS. 



PART L— ORE IN THE BANK. 

CHAPTER I. PAOK 

"That'sMe!" 7 

CHAPTER II. 
The Judge's Daughter 17 

CHAPTER III. 
Her Two Best Friends 23 

CHAPTER IV. 
Susie's Victory 34 

CHAPTER V. 
^awyer Jordan's Mistake 44 

CHAPTER VI. 
' ' Bonyparte a-Crossin' the Alps " 57 

PART II.— RAW MATERIALS. 

CHAPTER VII. 
" I Don't Care if There's a Million !" 64 

CHAPTER VIII. 
A Strange Thing Happens in Clayton 75 

CHAPTER IX. 
What the Vagabond Winds Heard 86 

CHAPTER X. 

The Fires are Lighted 93 

CHAPTER XI. 
Was He Born to be Hung? 10» 



X ~ CONTENTS. 

PART III.— THE FIERY FURNACE. 

CHAPTER XII. PAOB 

Ethel Lynde 118 

CHAPTER XIII. 
The Coming and Going of Faces 128 

CHAPTER XIV. 
Setting the Battle Front 140 

CHAPTER XV. 
The Thirty-first of December, 1862 153 

CHAPTER XVI. 
"The Girl I Left Behind Me !" 160 

CHAPTER XVII. 
The Hour and the Man 173 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
In the Devil's Name 192 

CHAPTER XIX. 
The Clock Strikes Four 203 

CHAPTER XX. 
" He Tried to Choke Me to Death !" 215 

CHAPTER XXI. 
A Rash Volunteer 225 

CHAPTER XXII. 
The Superiority of Hindsight over Foresight 232 

CHAPTER XXin. 
Cautious Blundering 246 

PART IV.— HIS INSTRUMENTS. 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
The Nineteenth of Septembfr, 1868 , 253 

CHAPTER XXV. 
The Twentieth of Septeinlier, 1803 257 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
Courage, Then and Now 267 



CONTENTS. Xi 

CHAPTER XXVII. pagk 

A Regiment at Chickamauga 269 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 
One Surprise After Another 295 

CHAPTER XXIX. 
A Fool's Paradise 306 

CHAPTER XXX. 
The Inevitable 316 

CHAPTER XXXI. 
The Lost is Found 327 

CHAPTER XXXII. 
A Noble Grief, Nobly Borne 333 

CHAPTER XXXIII, 
Drained to the Dregs 338 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 
Sleep is uot Death 346 



GOD'S WAR. 



PART I. 
Ore in The Batsk. 



CHAPTER I. 

"that's me!" 

If warm at all, an April afternoon in Clayton vras 
always, in the days of which I write, pretty sure to be 
either one thing or another; that is to say, either very 
moist, showery, steamy and warm, or very soft, balmy 
and warm. In the former case of course the clouds came 
and went in masses across the heavens, dropping their 
fatness as they moved about; in the latter case the blue 
vault was exquisitely clear and joyous, and seemed like 
a great transparent sounding-board to send down to the 
earth and into the rather dull ears with which Clayton 
abounded, the songs of the spring birds which were 
almost as plentiful there as the swelling buds on the 
trees. 

The particular April afternoon of which I am writing 
was in 1861, and it was of the soft, warm and heavenly 
description. The atmosphere was of the mildly exhil- 
arating sort that puts healthy blood up to that degree of 
high animal spirits which gives perfect confidence, cast- 
ing out all fear, driving megrims and blue devils to the 
rear, so that the impossible doesn't seem to be after all 
much more than a good, square, invigorating before- 
breakfast task. 



8 GOD'S WAR. 

The grass had not yet dared to venture fuUj' forth in 
the Clayton latitude, but it showed a timid inclination to 
make the venture before long if nothing serious should 
happen mcanwhil(3 tu iiwa it a backset. There ^vere spots 
(in the black mould which filled old Aunt Nan's circular 
flower beds surrounded with brick.s planted deeply on 
end, for instance) where the green shoots of the crocuses 
made a swaggeringly brave show, while the flowers them- 
selves wore an air of having always been there — whereas 
they had just been born. From the swaths cut in the 
heavy woods which surrounded the village — the swaths 
north, south, east and west cut by the county roads 
which went out through soggy swamp-lands and by the 
side of obstinate black-looking fields, through these 
channels the breath of the young spring came mingled 
and chilled with the cold dark vapors of dying winter; 
but in the village itself spring had fairly established her- 
self and the deceptive mildness was provoking to active 
persons who grew heated but were restrained from dofling 
winter garments through a fear of the rheumatism and in- 
iluenza which experience had taught them lay perdu 
ready to pounce upon the unduly precipitate. 

There was an pJmost complete silence in the town, dis- 
turbed by little save the occasional bang of a hasty door 
or the clatter of a kitchen utensil as an unwary cat or a 
vigilant housewife interfered momentarily with the estab- 
lished order of things in the well-kept rooms which 
served in most Clayton homes not only for cooking but 
for dining and sitting rooms as well. Through the doors 
left open, from an unconscious desire to drink in the 
odors of the awakening season, came occasional tinkles of 
low laughter as matrons and maidens sat over their sew- 
ing and lightly discussed the small gossip belonging to 
the love-making of the little world in the woods; and the 
tang of the machinery in the new planing mill down by 
the creek had a dreamy tone and rhythm that lulled and 
soothed. 

The farmers were all busy with a deperate attempt to 
avail theiuselves of the fortunate circumstance of the 
coming together of two clear, warm days without rain to 
get forward with their plowing ; and not more than two 



GOD S WAR. 9 

country wagons could be seen standing on Main Street. 
The shopkeepers sat within their doors patiently wait- 
ing, as becomes far-seeing traders who know that seed- 
time must precede harvest, and that wheat cannot be sold 
till it has been both sowed and reaped. There was not 
much chafing in their tranquil souls at this enforced 
leisure — their expenses were light and their small profits 
satisfactory because sufficient for their modest wants. 

The clink of Xat Kellogg 's hammer had ceased for 
some .ninutes and that industrious young man, with his 
black hands and sooty brow, his leathern apron rolled up 
to his waist and his hair lightly lifting with each idle 
breeze, stood leaning against the side of the smithj' door 
idly gazing into vacancy. 

There were good possibilities evident in Nat's square, 
manly face. It showed no marks of deep thought it is 
true, and to the practiced eye was plainly indicative of a 
not very great nor harassing experience mentally, but it 
was good-humored and strong, from the broad brow with 
the frank, direct eyes beneath, down to the rather large 
nose and wide mouth and the firm, massive chin which 
was not so ugly but seemed as powerful as a bulldog's. 
Below, beginning with a round, columnar neck, the fig- 
ure was that of a young Hercules ; and was planted on 
broad, wholesome feet which might clearly be relied 
upon in any emergency. 

The fire in his forge was slowly dying out as his rev- 
erie grew deeper, notwithstanding the fact that he was 
doubtless thinking of nothing at all. He had simply 
yielded to the influences surrounding him, and having a 
clear conscience, generally speaking, toward God and 
man, was steeping himself like a well-kept animal in an 
atmosphere of perfect comfort and content. 

At last a sound, hollow and thumping came from the 
east, and rousing himself to glance down the street, Nat 
saw ahorse with a rider approaching him at a leisurely 
gait iu harmony with the day and tho scene. The hol- 
low, thumping noise was explained by the fact that the 
horse was crossing the small, mud-covered wooden 
bridge which spanned Eagle Creek, a few hundreds of 
yards off. Nat was a young ma» to have a shop of his 



10 god's war. 

own — he was barely twentj- -three — but he was quick of 
apprehension, which explained his success, perhaps. 

"Tom Bailee'," he said to himself, keeping his eyes on 
horse and rider; "on Bill's horse. Shoe off; left hind 
foot. Queer, how that old sorrel oan't never keep a shoe 
on like any other horse;" and he turned to pump his 
bellows and blow his eoals into life. "Wonder if he 
\Yants a new shoe?" and he glanced over his shoulder at 
his approaching visitor — "No, Tom's got the old one 
with him." He rolled down his apron, gave his coals a 
jiat or two with a short iron rod lying on the forge, and 
turned to greet his customer. 

"Seems to me if Bill had just one more horse like that 
one he'd save money if he'd keep a blacksmith on his 
farm, wouldn't he?" 

"I don't s'pose he'd lose much if he did — old Blaze 
can kick off shoes faster than Bill iikes to pay to have 
them put on again, I notice," and the rider, a boy just 
approaching manhood, slid off tlie horse's side as he 
came to a halt. After throwing the reins of the blind- 
bridle over the hitching-post he handed the cast shoe to 
the smith, who, glancing at it for a moment grasped it 
with his tongs and thrust it into the fire, while he re- 
sumed work with the bellows handle. 

Tom Bailey was apparently rather deli(;ate and verging 
upon the age of twenty. In point of fact he was healthy 
and strong and not much over seventeen. He was of a 
light build and medium height, with small hands and feet 
and limbs moulded like a girl's. The spring sun had 
already begun to tan him, but beneath his hat his skin 
showed white and clear where his short, silky curls 
allowed it to be seen. His nose was straight and thin, 
but with generously expansive nostrils; his mouth was 
sensitive and mobile and as tender as a woman's, with a 
short upper lip that could curl as scornfully as a maiden's 
while the fairly rounded and well set chin was as inno- 
cent of a beard as a baby's. 

"You'd have laughed till you died to see how old Blaze 
got rid of that shoe j'esterday morning. Bill wanted me 
to go over to Jackson's to see if the boys would come to 
the barn-raising and so he sent Pete Schultze down to 



GOD'S WAR. 11 

curry Blaze off. Blaze would rather have me curry him 
than anybody else, but he hates Pete somehow, like 
poison. I thought there'd be fun; bo I poked around a 
little and sure enough, in about two minutes there was 
the thunderinest racket in the barn you ever heard, and 
Pete came piling out, hair on end, as if the Old Scratch 
was after him. 'Got in himmel! dot horse was kill me!' 
I just laid down and rolled over with laughing." 

"Bully for Blaze! He's an American, that horse is, 
and don't want no kraut-eatin' Dutchman around him. 
Did he hurt him?" 

"No. He kicked his shoe off though, and as Aunt 
Sallie wants to drive over the Corduroy Road down to 
John's to-morrow. Bill told me to fetch him in and get 
him shod." 

"Sorry he didn't give the Dutchman just one welt 
for luck," answered Nat, as he lifted Blaze's foot and 
began to pare the horny hoof. 

"Bill was awful mad," said the boy. "He cussed the 
Dutchman till all was blue for awhile and then he turned 
on me because I laughed." 
"What did he say to you?" 

"Oh, he said I'd never amount to anything — that 
mother had spoiled me sending me to school so much, 
and all that sort o' thing he always says when he gets 
mad." 

"Why, you hadn't done anything!" 
"That made no difference. He let me have it all the 
same." 

"I'll bet a little red apple you got even with him." 
"Oh, I don't know," answered Tom, with an indolent 
curl of the lip. "I don't say much to Bill when he gets 
into a tantrum, nor at any other time, for the matter of 
that. You see he's my uncle, if he is only ten yea,rs 
older than I am, and I don't like to say anything dis- 
respectful to him, and I never do except when he 
pushes me too hard. What's the use? / don't care 
what he says so long as he don't fling out too much about 
the way mother brought me up. He has no business to 
do that. She's been dead a year now, and if she did have 
too good an opinion of me its none o' his business. I 
don't care what be thinks o' me." 



12 god's war. 

A pause ensued, during which Nat deftly shaped the 
shoe and litted it to the hoof. 

"Must be mighty hard — whoa, there, you great club- 
footed fool! — luighty Lard to have to keep on good terms 
— hand me that hammer, will you? — not that one, the 
other — with him." 

"I don't have to." 

■'But suppose he turns you out." 

"He can do that just as soon as he pleases. I'd be a 
fine specimen if I couldn't get along without Bill Bailey! 
What in the world did you make those corks so sharp 
for?" 

"They are sharp, ain't they?" replied Nat, looking at 
the shoe with great satisfaction. "The next tinie he gets 
a whack at that Dutchman he'll leave his mark on him or 
I'm no "blacksmith. " 

Again a hollow thumping sound smote the ear, but this 
time the blows upon the bridge fell fast and told of a 
high rate of speed. 

"Hello! a runaway I reckon. No, it's Jim Druett. 
"What the devil — he went over to Bryan's Station this 
morning early." Bryan's was the nearest telegraph 
station — fifteen miles distant. "T\'hy he'll kill that 
horse!" 

"They've fired on Fort Sumter and the President has 
issued a proclamation for seventy-five thousand soldiers!" 
shouted Jim, as he reined in his reeking steed. 

'That's me !" ejaculated Nat, as he threw off his apron, 
put on his hat and started for the street. 

"And me, too," said Tom, in a low tone, without im- 
mediately changing his attitude. 

"What are you going to do, Nat?" asked Jim. 

"I'm going to ring the bell," was the quiet reply, and 
in a moment Nat had traversed the half-square between 
his shop and the courthouse, and instantly the bell 
begun to clamor with a noise that might have waked the 
dead. 

The shopkeepers left the serenit.v of their quiet shelves; 
the women and maidens came to the door; the shoe- 
maker dropped his last, the carpenter his jackplane, the 
doctor his Medical Beiieic, the preacher his text; the 



god's war. 13 

boys out of school pocketed their marbles and scurried 
on to the courthouse siiuare; the boys in school left off 
the making of spit bails and sat on nettles; the school- 
master raised his brovv's for an instant and then dropped 
them and tried to look unconscious of anything extraor- 
dinary in the atmosphere; the streets began to fill and — 
still the bell kept on. The county officials, like rats 
leaving a cheese, thronged into the corridor of the court- 
house; the lawyers from their dens joined them. "With 
one consent it was agreed that beyond dispute something 
had happened. What it was no one knew at first, for 
Jim had gone to the stables with his horse, leaving his 
work to be carried on by Nat, while nobody thought to 
say anything to Tom, who sat unconcernedly on an 
empty dry-goods bos on the corner, lazily watching the 
bees as they buzzed out of their hive. 

Something had happened — everybody knew that, but 
nobody knew just what — and in the uncertainty this 
something loomed up with startling possibilities. Here 
and there a man had hard work to keep his teeth from 
chattering, as the mysterious insistence of the bell grew 
more and more impressive, and almost every one felt a 
chilly sensation travel up and down his spinal column. 
It wasn't a fire — the bell was not ringing the fire alarm. 
Perhaps it was a murder. 

That it meant war perhaps not one in the now populous 
street had the slightest notion, for, while many were ripe 
for a fraj' with the South, and war talk had been plenti- 
ful, it is true, for some time, yet there had been so much 
of it and for so long a time that verj' few attached any 
significance to it. They had grown accustomed to it, 
and had a quiet conviction that the troubles between the 
North and the South would somehow be arranged with- 
out a war after all. At last, as with one mind, the mass 
moved quickly toward the public square, and Aleck 
Anderson climbed to the cupola. 

"What in the world is the matter?" he asked. 

"Here, take hold of this rope and keep *er going. I'm 
going downstairs." 

"But what does it mean?" again demanded Aleck, 
complying nevertheless with Nat's command and pulling 
Justily at the rope. 



14 god's war. 

"It means war. They've fired on Fort Sumter, and 
tlie President has called for soldiers, volunteers" — and 
Xat was gone, while the clangor of the bell took on fresh 
vigor and a more alarming tone. 

At the bottom of the btairs Nat met Lawyer Jordan, 
short, stout, scant of breath, important and fussy. 

"What's that bell ringing for?" he demanded im- 
periously. 

" 'Cause there's a fellow pulling the rope," and Nat 
passed on. Lawyer Jordan followed. 

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked. 

"It means war. They've fired on Fort Sumter, and 
the President has called for volunteers." 

A murmur ran through the crowd as the words, uttered 
in a clear, loud voice, were understood by all. 

"Well, what of it? Why should the bell be rung?" 

"So's to get the boys here. Clayton ain't going to be 
left behind. We're going to raise a company and send a 
dispatch to-night from Bryan's to the government that 
Ave're ready for marching orders." 

"Who gave the orders? Who's doing this?" 

"I am." 

"By whose authority?" 

"By my own authority. The authority of Jigadier 
Brindle Nathaniel Kellogg, Esquire, blacksmith." 

"Why, you've no right " 

"Oh, you be d — d!" And the crowd laughed in a 
nervous waj', showing increasing excitement. 

"You're impudent — you're — you're— sassy, " fumed 
Lawj'er Jordan, dropping into the vernacular in his 
bewildered heat. 

"Of course I'm sassy. It stands me in hand to be 
sassj'. It stands all of us in hand to be sassy. We've 
got to lick the South, and we can't do it if we're not 
sassy." 

"Hurrah for Nat!" cried the crowd. 

"Yust BO goot dot I got my drum out," said a voice. 

"That's right, Dutchy," said Nat. "Go get your 
drum and beat it all over town, and tell the boys to come 
here right away. There's one Dutchman that's good for 
something, anyhow," he added, as he turned and led the 
way into the courtroom. 



god's war. 15 

The crowd followed him, and more came; men pale 
and excited, women red and apprehensive and children 
round-eyed and curious. They found their tong;ues, and 
the jargion of Babel ensued, in the pauses of which the 
Dutchman's drum was heard rattling in the streets as he 
marched about with a queer, mechanical, wooden sort of 
a step, which he had learned in his Fatherland. 

"Well, Captain Kellogg," said satirical Lawyer Jor- 
dan, as the room became crowded to suffocation and time 
passed rapidly away, while nothing was done, "you've 
got us here, what do you intend to do with us?" 

"We want to enlist — you're a lawyer — tell us how to 
do it," said Nat, feeling that perhaps after all his enter- 
prise had outgrown him. 

"You can't expect it on such short notice," returned the 
lawyer. "This is a very serious matter. We want to 
consider it calmly. I'm quite willing to explain this 
thing to our people, but I must have time to prepare my- 
self. If you will wait till to-morrow night we can do 
things decently and in order. By that time — although 
itis very shortnotice — I will have a speech prepared " 

"Oh, speech be bothered!" cried Nat. "We don't 
want no speeches — the time for talk has passed," and he 
stepped up to the judge's bench. 

"Fellow citizens!" he began in a loud, formal way, 
after he had rapped the assemblage to order. "No, I 
don't mean that — that's too Fourth of July — I mean — 
boys, the Southerners are mad because Abe Lincoln, the 
rail-splitter, was elected President, and they think that 
cooks their goose on the nigger slave business, and I 
reckon it does. So they've gone to work to bust up the 
government. They say they can lick us. They think 
because they don't do no work that one of them can lick 
five of us. Maybe they can and maybe they can't. 
We'll give 'em a whirl anyhow just for luck. They 
sneer at us because we work, and earn our living in the 
sweat of our brows, according to Scripture. Thej' call 
us 'mudsills,' that's what they call us, and think that us 
men who work for our living while they live off of the 
work of their nigger slaves like a lot of sneaks — they 
think we won't fight. Maybe they're right, but I guess 



16 god's war. 

they ain't. The President wants volunteers and he wants 
a com}')an3' from Clayton. Here's a piece of i)aper, and 
every man who puts his name on it means that he will go 
for a soldier. This ain't no time for frills and spread- 
eagle and flapdoodle. Thei^e's my name. Now who's 
the next fellow?" 

"Here he is," said Tom, standing at Nat's elbow. 

"Bully for you," replied Nat, and he stepped aside to 
make room for the young men "who came thronging for- 
ward to enlist. 



god's war. 17 



CHAPTER 11. 

THE judge's daughter. 

The judge's daughter was tall and fair, with blue eyes 
that were of great depth and earnestness ; and perhaps 
they never showed so much of the latter quality as when 
the young woman was inclined to be just a little bit 
coquettish. Alas! she was a daughter of Eve and there- 
foie what else could have been expected of her? But she 
never carried her coquettish tendencies beyond a safe 
line. She kept her conscience clear and her dignity and 
self-respect unimpaired. The boldest antagonist she 
ever encountered never dreamed of becoming familiar. 
He flirted with due decorum as a courtier might take his 
proper pleasure with the queen. 

As merry a girl as all America could show, Margaret 
Henderson never became "Maggie," even to her chosen 
companions. The closest of them sometimes in their 
gushing moments called her "Margie;" but it is clearlj' 
to their credit that this very absurd diminutive never 
became popular with them. The old judge himself 
always said "Margaret" and his dignified utterance of 
the name had in it a lingering tenderness which his 
acquaintances knew well how to account for. It was 
not strange that the name borne by two such noble 
women as the moiher and the daughter should grow to be 
dear to him — nor would the circumstance that the 
mother had slept peacefully for long years under tanglod 
grasses and a weeping-willow in the low graveyard by the 
river side be calculated to make him less reverential 
when he took her name upon his lips. 

The judge's daughter was tall and fair and twenty ; and 
she lived a quiet, tranquil, and very happy life with her 
father in the great, red-brick mansion which stood back 



18 GOD'S WAR. 

from the street, surrounded by large and well-kept 
grounds. The house was the finest in the -village and 
one of the oldest; having been built when the judge was 
a thriving middle-aged lawyer; before he went on the 
Supreme Bench, and the year after he married Margaret's 
mother, the delicate lady whom he found and won at 
Columbus, the State capital in the last year of his service 
as attorney general. The judge had retired of his own 
will from the bench upon the adoption of the constitu- 
tion of '51, and pursued a studious, uneventful career, 
devoted to his daughter his books and the care of 
orphans' estates, left to his charge by loving parents who 
appreciated his integrity no less than his shrewdness as 
an investor and manager. 

Judge Henderson had no doubts as to his perfect 
knowledge of his daughter. No father ever has such 
doubts if he is a loving father; and Judge Henderson 
loved Margaret so much that it ma^' be said that he lived 
for her. But he had not the key to the strong and noble 
nature of the girl, whatever he may have imagined in his 
fondness. That key was held by another, who used it to 
unlock the heart of the maiden and walk into its sacred 
precincts and take up his abode there, long before either 
he, the lucky fellow, or Margaret herself suspected the fact. 
And that man was Miles Bancroft, the young lawyer who 
had settled down in Clayton only a year or two before 
the time at which this story o]iens. 

Miles Bancroft dropped down in Clayton at the close 
of a summer's day, "as if," to use the common expres- 
sion in which the Claytonians were wont to formulate the 
fact of his sudden appearance, "he had dropped down 
from the clouds." In order that there shall be no mis- 
take as to the meaning of these good people, it is only 
fair to explain that w^hile they located heavenly apper- 
tainings in the skies, thej' had no thought of attributing 
angelic qualities or celestial attributes to the newcomer. 
They merely meant to convey the idea that he came sud- 
denly, unheralded, and nobody knew where from. The 
fact that the burning curiosity to know all about him 
with which the town was consumed and for a time well- 
nigh distracted was never gratified by its object, had the 



GOD'S WAR. 19 

effect to fill their minds with suspicion, as all will admit 
was right and proper; which, with the broadta'-inindfil 
gradually wore off into a feeling of liking, despite Ban- 
croft's manifest peculiarities, but with the narrower 
grew into a doggedness of dull dislike where it did not 
rise to a sort of a fearsome and sullen respect. 

Did not that fact at once stamp him as wrong? His habits 
differed from the habits of the male Claytouians. If that 
did not prove that he was dangerous did it not go far to 
show that he was at least a fool? He was always "bow- 
ing and scraping" — he took his hat off to the women — 
"haw! haw!" It was well known in Clayton that these 
"French airs" were sure indications of a namby-pamby, 
unmanly spirit. He was gentle and unobtrusive in his 
demeanor. Did not that show that he lacked in the 
genuine virtues of manhood? Could it be possible that 
a man who was at pains to keep his nails clean and whose 
hands were white was really a man of courage — the equal 
of the brave bluff fellow who scorned soap and water 
only less than he did personal danger? He talked 
"school talk." The home-bred Clayton lawyer never 
dared to place himself so far above the people till he had 
reached middle life and had been at least a candidate for 
the legislature. "Every day talk" was good enough for 
honest people. It was expected of the schoolmaster and 
the preacher and Judge Henderson who had been on the 
Supreme Bench and might go to congress "any time he 
was a mind to saj' the word," or even the doctor (but in 
the latter case it would be wise not to go too far), to talk 
smoothly and elegantly; but the young man who wanted 
to become popular and make his way in the world 
oughtn't to put on too manj' airs! Then what right had 
he to laugh and shift the subject so adroitly when the 
conversation took a turn that threatened to become per- 
sonal to himself? There was something wrong about 
him or he would have been glad to tell all about himself. 
Besides, he was "so infernally stiff. " There was nothing 
genial and companionable about him. If he was too 
"stuck up" to loaf in the grocery with the boys and play 
seven-up for the whiskey, could there be any good in 
him? And then he sung tenor in the choir; and the 



20 god's war. 

girls— what a lot of geese women are anyhow! Have not 
you and I had our oiiiuion of the tenor, uiy friend, as we 
have listened to the enthusiastic prattling of fair ones 
whose faces, ah me! rise sweet and gracious out of the 
mists of the past? 

So, you must see that ^Miles Bancroft had to fight his 
way. He did it manfully too ; and while at the time of 
which we write he had not won universal popularity, his 
condition wus mending. He had a sharp struggle for 
business; for it stands to reason that these fellows who 
are so finicky about their person can't know anj'thing! 
If Judge Heudley had not assigned him to the defense in 
a murder case which no one else would undertake, the 
accused being a friendless fellow with everything against 
him. Miles would probably never have had any business 
offered him. But he showed himself so good a lawyer and 
so strong a man that he routed all the cunning of the cruel 
prosecuting attorne.v; tore to shreds the skillfully woven 
mesh of circumstantial evidence with which the trem- 
bling wretch was surrounded and in which he was nigh 
choked to death, and made such a rousing speech to 
the jury that the populace fairly cheered with enthusiasm 
when the verdict of acquittal was brought in. When 
Judge Henderson came down from the bench where he 
had a seat through the courtesy of the presiding justice 
and shook Miles by the hand and complimented him and 
told him that he must allow him to become acquainted 
with him, there was no one in the courthouse who did 
not rejoice; although some of them repented of their 
hasty enthusiasm when cool reason afterward showed 
them that he was still, after all, in default in the matter 
of dress and manners and his personal history. 

His change of fortune did not come auy too soon. He 
needed it. The small store of money which he had 
brought with him and had husbanded so ecouoniically, 
had pretty nearly all disappeared. His coat had urown 
shiny from brushing and he needed the money lie begun 
to make; for, among other things, and as if to crown 
his good luck, the judge invited him to his house to din- 
ner and there he met the judge's daughter. 

In truth Miles might just as well have yielded his 



god's war. 21 

story to Clayton, for it was the simple one of a young 
man who, born in Boston, had been educated at Harvard 
and finished at the law school just as his father died, leav- 
ing him a few hundred dollars and the world before him. 
He had dropped into Clayton by the merest accident, 
trusting to luck to choose his home; and had got his 
blood up when the people showed such a prickly side to 
him. He determined to conquer them and to do it with- 
out telling them anything about himself either ; not be- 
cause he wanted to conceal anything, for there was noth- 
ing in his history that he was ashamed of, but because it 
was "none of their business." He did tell his story, 
however, to the judge and to the judge's daughter, and as 
I have said before, he soon came to love the latter. This 
happened to be about the time that she fell in love with 
him; although, perhaps, she was as unconscious of her 
feeling as he was consumed and made wretched by his. 

But up to the afternoon when Nat Kellogg rang the 
courthouse bell with such lusty vigor no word of love 
had passed between the two. 

And poor Tom, too, was in love with the judge's daugh- 
ter. I don't know why he was, unless it was because he 
had no business to be. But he was. And Margaret knew 
it, too; and she did not know whether she was glad or 
sorry that the boy had been so unwise. Perhaps this 
was because every maiden likes to be loved, and she 
thought that as he was such a boy he would get over it in 
time without hurt. She liked him very much. She had 
known his mother, a gentle, refined and loving little 
woman who had lived a life of devotion to her strange, 
bright boy, and when the mother died Margaret thought 
that Tom would find it pleasant, perhaps, to be with her 
occasionally — pleasanter than at his uncle's where the 
surroundings were rude and unattractive. And Tom was 
glad to go, and fell in love with the kindly, gracious 
young woman as readily as the bud opens at the touch of 
the sun. But of course he said nothing. Aside from the 
fact that he thought that a great gulf was fixed between 
them by the disparity in their ages, he really felt a lazy 
pleasure in his passion which, at the least, miglit be 
marred if he revealed it. The occasional jealous pang 



22 god's war. 

that lio felt sometimes when he met Miles Bancroft at the 
judge's only heightened his ardor and strengthened his 
love. He didn't like Bancroft. He thought Miles pat- 
ronized him — perhaps he did. And then he was a little 
jealous, of course. He did not dislike Miles because of 
the reasons that had set so many Claytonians against the 
young lawyer. On the contrary he approved of those 
things which others regarded as objections. But he was 
always uncomfortable when he found the handsome, pol- 
ished, patronizing young man tete-a-tete with Margaret. 

Calling upon Margaret in the evening Miles told her all 
of the events of the day. In the effort to resist her im- 
pulse to analyze the feelings with which she received his 
aunouncement that he had enlisted, she remembered that 
Tom had promised to call that evening and was already 
overdue. She wished he would come — and then she 
hoped he wouldn't. 

But she could have spared herself if she had known 
what she learned the next morning. At the moment he 
Mas due at the judge's Tom was riding Blaze without a 
saddle at a terrific pace over the Corduroy Eoad through 
the swamp. He was going to Bryan's to telegraph to 
the government at Washington that a company of volun- 
teers were awaiting orders in the village of Clayton, 
Shawnee County, Ohio. 



god's war. 23 



- CHAPTER III. 

HEE TWO BEST FRIENDS. 

The judge had begun life as a schoolteacher in New 
York State, qualifying himself by assiduous application 
to his books at the country school in the winter when the 
exigencies of farm work justified his father in giving him 
relief from field tasks. He was naturally methodical and 
devoted every spare moment to his studies. He was 
"born old," in the opinion of the companions of his 
youth who looked back in after years to realize that he 
displayed in his boyhood the wisdom and foresight and 
prudence which came to them only after they had spent 
half the number of years allotted to man in buffeting the 
world. "With the money he earned at teaching he after 
awhile, being in his minority', "bought his time" of his 
iron-featured old father and going to the nearest county 
town entered upon the study of the law, and at last, upon 
its practice. Frugal and careful as he was, it was several 
years before he had amassed enough money in this way 
to warrant him in seeking a life-home in a new country; 
but at last his dream was realized and at Clayton he 
found the elbow-room professionally and otherwise that 
he desired so much. 

He struck his root down deep and strong; invested 
every dollar he could save (and it was simply wonderful 
how many the poor young lawyer could save) in the 
cheap lands in the neighborhood. A few years more 
found him the possessor of quite a large number of acres 
which were steadily and rapidly growing in value. 
Then he saw that he could afford to reach out for honors, 
since the material part of his life was tolerably well pro- 
vided for, and he entered politics — confining his aspira- 
tions, however^ strictly to the line of his profession. It 



24 god's war. 

was not till his youthful frugality and his judicious in- 
vestments begun to bear fruit in a round money income 
that he relaxed his watchfulness over his expenditures, 
and gave a tolerably loose rein to his natural liking for 
the good things of this world and the easy side of this 
life. 

Such a man as this is not apt to be overindulgent or 
charitable with young fellows who were "born young, "and 
who spend nianj' years in battling with diflSculties brought 
on by their own heedlessness before they learn that lesson 
of life which is the sternest that can be taught to an 
easy nature. He never stops to reflect that he was 
"born so," and will not understand that the majority of 
mankind were sent into the world but imperfectly 
equipped in comparison with himself. 

All this is to make it clear to my patient reader why it 
was, when Miles Bancroft came, with a delicate courtesy 
not usual in that day or locality, to ask permission to pay 
his addresses to Margaret with the ultimate object of win- 
ning her for his wife, that the judge refused to sanction 
his suit. 

He did not deny Miles the house; but he insisted that 
the young man should do no wooing for a time j'et. He 
had, he explained, been much pleased with many of the 
traits he had discovered in JMiles, and was disposed to 
think that his career would be a useful and an honorable 
one. He knew that he would make a strong, good law- 
yer if he continued to apply himself to his profession. 
But whether he would so apply himself remained to be 
seen. He might or he might not. The fact that during 
the two years of his residence in Claj'ton he had been 
studious and well-behaved was to Miles' credit, but it 
did not prove his character so conclusively as the judge 
would like. It might be merely a spurt. He had known 
men to go to the dogs after all, with a mach longer 
record of usefulness than that. He did not predict that 
Miles would do so. He would not be justified in such a 
prediction. But, he put it, to the chagrined young fel- 
low, between man and man, Avas he not wise in asking a 
further demonstration of the character of the suitor for 
Margaret's hand, a demonstration that time alone could 



god's war. 35 

give, before he could consent to part with the daughter 
whom he loved so dearly ? 

When a cool, wise old fatlier places an ardent young" 
fellow in a situation like this he does him an injustice. 
The ardent young fellow knows in the depths of his soul 
that he thinks the cool, wise old father is too hard on 
him, asks too much, and is just as capable of judging at 
the moment as he would be ten years later. This is what 
he knows and what he would like to say. But he is 
compelled to say just the contrary, and he does say it; 
and if he has sufficient breath and presence of mind left 
him, he tries to utter a few words of adroit praise and 
feigned admiration for the wisdom of the old gentleman's 
views in the premises. This is what Miles did, and then 
he wrung the judge's hand as if he were the dearest 
friend he had on earth; and talked away denouncing 
himself as a fool, a craven, a liar, and a creature without 
an atom of self-respect. 

And tbe farther he walked the more enraged he be- 
came with both parties to the intei'view. AVhat right 
had the old man to so coolly set out a lot of insulting- 
doubts about him and his character? The mere circum- 
stance that he had gone to him to ask permission to 
make love to his daughter gave no such right. He was 
conscious of as perfect integrity and uprightness of pur- 
pose as any man could have. And Miles halted on the 
corner debating whether it would not be a wholesome 
thing for the judge as well as himself if he should go 
back to tbe house and tell the self-righteous old fellow 
just what he thought about it, and th<tt if he icas poor 
and had never been on the Supreme Bench he was just as 
honest a man as if he were seventy years old and he 
didn't propose to be insulted simply because he had made 
an honorable offer for a girl's hand — and all that sort of 
thing. But he showed prudence for once, in recalling 
the fact that the judge held a very heavy advantage over 
him, and in deciding that he had better, perhaps, wait a 
little while. Things might change. 

And then Miles swallowed the biggest lump that ever 
stuck in his throat — and grew cold and half-sick and 
remarked a sort of a greenish tinge in the yellow of the 



2G god's war. 

sunshine; and kept on walking till he found himself at 
Flipper time miles out of town, in the black mud and the 
night falling. 

It was the recollection of this interview of only a week 
previous that prevented Miles from falling upon his 
knees to Margaret at about the same moment that Tom 
hitched Blaze's blind-bridle to the post in front of the 
tavern at Bryan's and rushed down to the station to tele- 
graph to Abraham Lincoln that the Clayton boys were 
awaiting his summons to serve the countrj'. The young 
woman did not realize, perhaps, how much feeling she 
displayed in her voice and eyes as she discussed the fact 
that Miles had enlisted and would go off to the wars very 
soon, it might be before daylight — whenever the sum- 
mons came. And Miles did not hesitate to believe that 
this feeling which Margaret showed so plainly was a 
proof that she loved him. He never for a moment 
thought that an intelligent, tender-hearted, patriotic 
young girl ought to be very much distressed at the fact 
that her native country was about to be plunged into a 
war, and, worse than all, an internecine strife, wherein 
brother would be arrayed against brother and the father 
might perchance seek to slay the son. No. He didn't 
dream of thinking anything of the sort. He only realized 
that all at once the swift change in circumstances had 
intensified bis love, and hers too, he was sure. And he 
burned with a fever that raged like the seething of a 
volcano to throw himself at her feet with his manly 
avowal, clasp her in his arms and then let the judge make 
the best he might of it. But he remembered his inter- 
view and that he had voluntarily put himself under 
bonds not to speak without the father's sanction and he 
restrained himself. 

And when the judge came in to join in the conversa- 
tion, showing such grave concern and patriotic solicitude 
for the future of the country, how the young man lis- 
tened and acquiesced! with what an air of respectful 
interest he caught without understanding, every word 
that fell from the judge's lips and echoed every sigh that 
came from the old man's heart! How he toadied to him 
and abased himself, cursing his own stupidity and lack 
of manhood the while. 



GOD'S WAR. 27 

A sleepness night does not cool such a fevei' as raged 
iu Miles Bancroft's veins. "What a volume it would take 
to record all that passed thruugb his mind as the long, 
tedious hours dragged on! Huw many times did he 
review his life, noting its failures and belittling its suc- 
cesses! And, always, his thoughts came back to the 
events of the short week just passed. Hiso'erraastering 
love for Margaret Henderson ; his painful interview with 
the judge; last night's espisode, with its mingled honey 
and wormwood — the sweetness of the little proofs the 
maiden unconsciously gave him that she loved him and 
the bitterness of the struggle he had with himself during 
the entire evening ; his enlistment and all that it involved. 
He might be dead thirty days hence. 

Ay! Then why should he wish to embarrass this 
j'oung girl with his love? 

"Come now, old fellow! If you go away without say- 
ing anything about your passion, and never come back — 
get killed — why, she may feel bad for a little while, but 
she will get over it and one of these days the right man 
will come along, the man who will be worthy of her, as 
you are not, and the old judge, confound him! will give 
his consent, offhand, and she will marry and be happy! 
And once in awhile she will think of you tenderly and 
perhaps even lovingly as you lie sleeping on the sunny 
hillside hundreds of miles away. For surely, if she loves 
3'ou now, she will never forget you, even if she does love 
another after you are gone, and marries him. The feel- 
ing she will have for you will bo a chastened and holy 
thing — very much better than the love for the living 
which is of the flesh, fleshly, of the earth, earthy! It is 
better so! 

"Besides, what good would it do you to tell her that 
you love her? And how much harm may it not do her? 
Suppose you had told her to-night. You would have 
mumbled and stammered and done yourself much less 
than justice. The sweetness of your happiness would 
have been imbittered by the thought that at any time, 
iu an hour perhaps, j-ou would have to leave her. It 
would do you no good. And it would give her pain to 
separate from you so soon after your mutual love had 



2S GOD'S WAR. 

been confessed. Honestly, now, would the momentary 
satisfaction to you compensate for the pain she would 
suffer? Why not go off like a man, carrying your bur- 
den with ^•^)U an I bearing its weight alone— would not 
that be much better than to thrust a part of it upon her 
weak shoulders? How infernally selfish love makes a 
man! 

"No. I won't tell her! That is settled! She shall 
never feel a pang such as the avowal at such a time as 
this might bring her! 

"But, my God, how can I help it!" 

And so the young fellow got up at daybreak, hollow- 
ej'ed and nervous, and went out into the streets which 
were filled with anxious, excited men and women and 
children who revelled in the awful fact of impending war 
which they could not understand. The people gathered 
in knots and groups and talked with pale faces of the 
gaunt possibilities which had so suddenly sprung up 
before them. The horror that filled the air was i-edoubled 
by the stories that fertile-tongued rumor sowed thick 
and fast. The events that afterwards came were more 
than anticipated by these narrations which sprung from 
and had no other foundation than the nervously excited 
imaginings of a people wholly unused to war. It was a 
time of terrible trial to everybody and it was made worse 
by the existence of a class, few in numbers it is true, 
but bitter in venom, who arrayed themselves against the 
sentiment in fuvor of the preservation of the Union, and 
predicted dire disaster to any attempt to put down the 
rebellion by force of arms. Good people who lived 
through those dreadful days pray that they may never 
be repeated in any nation, among any people. 

Tom rode like Tom-o'-Shauter to Bryan's. A call was 
made for a volunteer to carry the dispatch and Tom was 
I'eady. 

"\Vhat -will Bill say to your using Blaze without ask- 
ing?" queried Nat. 

"I don't care what he says," replied Tom, as he 
vaulted on the bare back of his steed and gave him a cut 
w^ith his apple-tree sprout. 

"When will you be back?" shouted Nat, as the horse 
sprang to his work. 



god's war. 29 

"In the morning," came the reply from the flying boy. 

The shades of evening were already falling and the 
swamp was a darksome place on a moonless night, but 
Tom and Blaze had traveled the road so often that they 
had no fears. It was 8 o'clock when the lights of Bryan's 
came in view, and the train from the east had just got 
in. The railway station was thronged with an eager 
crowd listening to the reports brought in by the few 
travelers who stopped off, the sidewalks were filled and a 
baud of effervescing patriots were working off their en- 
thusiasm by tramping through the muddy streets, led by 
a fife and drums whose booming Tom had heard, borne 
to him on the still evening air, miles away. Tom saw 
that he would not be able to get to the railway station 
w'ith his horse, so he alighted and left the animal in front 
of an adjacent tavern and made his way slowly through 
the crowd to the window of the telegraph office. 

"What have you got there, young feller?" 

"A dispatch for the President of the United States," 
said Tom stoutly, with a vague feeling that he was assert- 
ing the integrity of the Union and affirming the suprem- 
acy and inviolability of the national government. 

"What does it say?" demanded the voice. 

"It says that a company has been formed at Clayton to 
fight the Secessionists, and they're waiting for orders!" 

A mighty roar of applause went up from the crowd and 
spread and repeated itself throughout the neighborhood, 
and roared again, and was answered by the patriots who 
were marching through the muddy streets and who made 
response without stopping to inquire why, but simply 
shouted on general principles. 

After spending an hour drifting about the town and 
gathering up the news and rumors, Tom remounted Blaze 
and started homeward with a strange feeling of boyish 
elation which found a vent in urging the tired steed to a 
much faster pace than was necessary, seeing that he had 
all night to get home in. 

When he got there he found Bill and Aunt Sallie sitting 
up awaiting him, and was glad to find that in the unwonted 
feeling produced by his wonderful news Bill forgot to 
quarrel with him for having taken the sorrel on a thirty- 



30 GOD'S WAR. 

mile trip without asking permission. He was also grati- 
fied to see that Bill made no objection to his enlistment, 
while his lij) curled slightly at the indifference which his 
worthy uncle showed and which Tom thought proceeded 
from a feeling of relief at the prospect of getting rid of 
him. 

At 1 o'clock in the afternoon of the following day a 
reply to their dispatch was received by the Clayton Vol- 
unteers. It came from the governor of the State, to 
whom the Washington authorities had referred the dis- 
patch sent by Tom. Clayton had ignored the doctrine 
of State's rights with a vengeance. The governor 
directed through his adjutant-general, that the Clayton 
Volunteers should embark on a railway train at Bryan's the 
next morning at 4 o'clock to be transported to Columbus, 
where the^' would be mustered in and armed. 

On receipt of this order Tom thought, for the first time 
in twentj'-four hours, of Margaret, and forthwith started 
to the judge's house to eay good-by. On the way, how- 
ever, the suggestion occurred to him that as he was going 
to the war and might get killed he would buy a keep- 
sake or so for Aunt Sallie and her chubby children, who 
all loved him and might like to have something to re- 
member him by. This little shopping occupied him at 
the jeweler's and bookstore for tw^enty minutes or half an 
hour. 

Miles Bancroft had no one to buy keepsakes for, and 
consequently did not lose any time. Ho also started at 
once for the judge's house. All of his good resolutions 
were swept away by the announcement that the company 
would march to Bryan's that night. With a conscious 
feeling of guilt he hated himself most heartily as, seeing 
the judge leave his gate to go down the street to learn 
the cause of the renewed exciteinent, he realized that his 
heart grew lighter and his spirits rose. 

"I am a coward," he said to himself, "to rejoice that 
the old man is out of the way." 

Nevertheless he kept on his course, feeling at exery 
step that he was plunging deep into a yawning abyss of 
dishonor that had suddenly opened before him. He rang 
the bell and was immediately- admitted to the parlor 



god's war. 31 

where Margaret sat with a p:)'; r face aurl a more troubled 
expression than she had ever worn before. She rose 
hastily. 

"Oh, Mr. Bancroft, is there any more bad news?" 

"On the contrary, Miss Henderson, there is good 
news." 

"Thank Heavei^ ! There is to be no war " 

"Oh, yes, there is to be war — that can't be disposed of 
so quickly." 

"Then what is the good news? Oh, I know, the gov- 
ernment doesn't need any more soldiers and the Clayton 
Volunteers will not be called out — " with eager anxiety. 

"Would that be good news?" 

There was an abruptnees amounting almost to gruff- 
ness in the young man's speech, something unusual in 
him ; and it accompanied a manner with which it was in 
harmony, a behavior that w-as almost rude and quite 
foreign to the air of repose which ordinarily was a 
marked characteristic of the man. 

"The best news — except that there would be no war." 

"Why don't you want the Clayton Volunteers to go?" 

"Why — of course — why, one does not want one's 
friends to go to war — to be shot at— wounded perhaps — 
pei-haps killed — " and the girl's face grew paler and her 
eyes dilated at the picture she drew. 

"I didu't imagine that there was any one in the Clay- 
ton company in whom you took such an interest." 

"How can you say suvjh a thing! I know nearly all of 
them — they are my old neighbors — I have known them 
all my life. I should feel dreadful to think that they 
were going to meet such dangers — besides you are a 
member of the company — and so is poor little Tom, I 
hear " 

"Poor little Tom who?" 

"Why, Tom Bailey." 

"Oh, yes. I believe he did join. But he's a boy and 
will back out just as likely as not." 

"Not he. He has the spirit of a lion. But I hope 
none of you will go." 

"This boy seems to be a great favorite of yours." 

"He is. He is brave and gentle and generous and 
strong. But you have not told me your news," 



32 GOD S WAR. 

"I came to tell you the news. Miss Henderson. "We 
march at 8 o'clock to-night for Bryan's, where we 
will take the cars for Columbus." 

"Going — so soon!" 

yhe sank into a chair as if suddenly grown faint. 

"And I have other news for you." 

"No more — bad — news — I hope?" 

"That remains to be seen, I have come to tell you 
before we start " 

Ah! the color is coming back now. 

"I have come to tell you that I love you " 

She sits silent and with her eyes on his face. It is 
impossible to say what effect the blunt declaration has 
upon her. It is as if she had heard nothing. 

"I must tell you before I go — I would die if I didn't." 

"Mr. Bancroft!" 

"Oh, my darling! I have loved you more than my 
God! You are the noblest woman I ever knew. I asked 
your father's permission to tell you this, a week ago, but 
he would not give it." 

"And has he since given it?" 

"Alas, no!" 

"And yet you come to me and tell me — without his 
knowledge " 

"He would not consent. He is too hard on me — he is 
unreasonable " 

"My father is never unreasonabla. He is the wisest 
and best man in the world!" 

"I mean — have pity on me " 

Tom has completed his purchases and has entered the 
house, where he is at home as if of the family, without 
ringing. Casting his hat on the table in the hall he 
steps upon the tl'reshold. He sees the woman he loves, 
Margaret Henderson, her figure drawn up to its full 
height, her head thrown back, her eyes dilated, with her 
hand upon a chair in front of her, confronting Miles 
Bancroft, who leans upon the mantelpiece, his hair dis- 
hevelled and the veins standing out upon his forehead 
like whipcords, his face discolored and distorted while 
]iis eyes gleam and glow like living coals; and he hears 
Miles say that his love for Margaret will drive him mad. 
Aud with a swift transformation the boy becomes at once 
a man. 



god's war. 83 

He cannot stand by to listen to more — that would be 
dishonorable, even if he cared to. He cannot go for he 
is not sure whether Margaret is alarmed or pleased — the 
roan is like a maniac and his aspect is enough to frighten 
any woman. He advances into the room with a slight 
noise at which they both turn to him. Involuntarily 
Margaret gains his side and lays her hand upon his arm, 
with a smothered exclamation — "Oh, Tom!" 

Tom keeps his eyes fastened upon Miles whom he has 
never seen look like this before. 

"You have been listening!" Miles is livid and he 
gasps rather than utters the insult. 

The boy's eyes flash an instant and his head is lifted 
quickly Avith an almost imperceptible movement of scorn- 
ful indignation. But he controls himself and turn gently 
and proudb' to Margaret : 

"I have come to say good-by, Miss Henderson. The 
company will march to-night." 

Where did this backwoods boy get this high bearing? 
No wonder Miles is amazed and cooled in a breath. 

"Oh, Tom, I'm so sorrj'. You're so young. And you 
are both going. My two best friends. What shall I do? 
I can only pray for you — both " 

What a deadly calm has come over Miles! She leads 
Tom to him. 

"You are my two best friends. You must be the best 
of friends to each other. You will promise me that, will 
you not? Then I will feel, somehow, that both of you 
are safer than you would be otherwise. Take each other's 
hands and promise me, will you not?" 

How can Tom take the hand of this patronizing whelp 
who has insulted him? How can he refuse when Mar- 
garet asks him? 

"My dear boy, forgive me," cries Miles. "I know 
you are incapable of such a thing!" 

Their eyes and hands meet and they are sworn friends 
— and yet they both love this woman, and neither dreams 
of giving her up! 

An angry tumult as of men beside themselves and 
furious as wild beasts comes up the street. There are 
cries and imprecations borne on the top of this wave of 
BuUen roaring that has the horror of homicide in it! 



34 god'.s war. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Susie's victory. 

Nat Kellogg 's shop stood on the corner of a lot which 
was at the junction of an alley with Main Cross Street, and 
it was just half a square from the courthouse, as we have 
seen. The shop i^^^self was not an extensive affair, per- 
haps fifteen or twenty feet square — big enough to run a 
wagon iiito when repairs were needed — and the forge 
tilled the corner where the double doors opened on the 
street. A back door showed the house ten feet off, which 
was Nat's home. This latter structure was modest, but 
neat. It was a stoi-y and a half high and was constructed 
of rough bricks with three rooms on the ground floor and 
two cozy little sleeping apartments above. It was a fair 
specimen of most of the Clayton homes. It was rude, 
perhaps, and contracted, and the floors were covered with 
a homely rag carpet, save in the parlor, where, under the 
highly varnished haircloth sofa and chairs, an ingrain 
with large and grotesque figures in deep crimson and 
green was spread. 

There were no chromos in Clayton in those days, but 
on the walls of Nat's house were colored lithographs or 
engravings of slim-waisted young women, in pale pink 
dresses cut low in the neck and short in the sleeves — such 
as you will find on a smaller scale in the "Keepsake," 
that queer-looking book which your grandmother sets 
such store by. In addition, Nat's parlor was adorned 
with a picture of Abe Lincoln which was his reward from 
Horace Greeley for having gotten up a club of sub- 
scribers for the Tribune during the campaign of '60. On 
the marble-topped center table which was, like the chairs 
and sofa, sticky and shiny with varnish, were, first, a 
woolen mat of bright colors which Nat's wife had 



' GOD'S WAR. 35 

wrought the year before they -were married, whereon was 
set with great unsteadiness a lamp for burning coal oil, 
that wonderful new illuminant; a large, new black family 
Bible with a big brass clasp and a family record which 
showed that Nathaniel Kellogg and Susan Croly were 
married by a duly licensed preacher of the Baptist per- 
suasion in January, 1859, and that Susan had borne unto 
Nathaniel, children, viz. : Eichard, born in the month of 
November 1859, and Rosalind who made her advent into 
this troublous world in the month of February, 1861, 
(Strangely enough it was practical Nat who had insisted 
that the daughter si ion Id be called Rosalind. During 
the winter of '60 — '61 he had spent the evenings in read- 
ing a large print copy of Shakespeare which Tom had 
loaned him, for he was a great reader and he was capti- 
vated with the merry maiden of Arden.) Beside these 
adornments there were on the table an album wherein 
Susan Cioly's rustic admirers h;ul inscribed much amor- 
ous verse, with many laboriously wrought pen-flourishes 
and pictures of various kinds and degrees of excellence as to 
execution ; prominent among them being wreaths, of which 
there were four; and birds, full-breasted and bearing in 
their bills a scroll with such tender inscriptions as "Forget- 
me-not" and the like. Of these birds there were six, and 
the best one was done by the writing-master from Cleve- 
land who once spent a winter in Clayton, and who was 
doubtless responsible for most of the heavy down-strokes 
and light up-strokes and gracefullj' curling tails with 
which each verse of poetic aspiration was finished, as 
well as the wonderful curlicues which adorned the "g's" 
and "y'8"and finished off the bottom of the page. And 
it was noticeable that the writing-master's bird was 
doubtless the mother of all the other birds, to markedly 
strong was the family resemblance among them. A book 
of Baptist hymns might sometimes have been found on 
this table, altlioiigh it was clearly not considered as one 
of the permanent ornaments, and was as frequently found 
on Susan 'h bureau in her bedroom upstairs or on tb-^ 
mantelpiece in the dining and sitting room alongsid ' 
the tteth Thomas clock, w^hose clacking tick was on';.- 
exceeded for loudness in the still hours of the night by 
the sonorous clangor of ita bell upon which the hours 



86 god's war. 

were rung. A sbeet-ivon stove with a big door and no 
attempt whatever at decoration save a niedallion in front 
giving a view of a female scantily attired in a floating 
scarf and a curly-Leaded boy Jiot utlired at lill, completed 
the furniture of this apartineiit which was never opened 
except on Sundays and stale occasions — such as Mother 
Croly's visits with her knitting, a call froin the Rev. Mr. 
Jabez Waterman, tlie pastor of the ciiurch, or an occa- 
sional tea given to Susan's old girl-friends who had not as 
yet gone into matrimony for themselves — and which 
when closed was kept very dark by means of thick, 
glossy, green pnper window shades. 

In the front yard stood two dismal evergreen trees, 
which Nat, with a patience worthy of a better cause, 
assiduously strove to teach to grow into the cheerful shape 
of funeral urns, ^Yhile a heart-shaped trellis between the 
window and the door bore, in its season, that dear old 
vine whereon morning-glories blow. A bod of pinks and 
sweet-williams and hollyhocks found a place in the sum- 
mer between the evergreen urns, and, notwithstanding 
the fact that it was neither an aesthetic time nor place a 
sunflower or two usually stood in the corner. Back of 
the house was the kitchen garden, hencoop, cowhouse 
and pigpe)i, for the householder in Clayton who did not 
raise his own pork on his own ]jreinises was poor indeed, 
and it was no more possible to keei> house without a cow 
than without a house in that sensible and comfortable 
slow-going backwoods village. 

Things iiave changed in Clayton since then and I war- 
rant you that young Dick Kellogg cracks many a joke 
with his brand-new young wife at the expense of her 
mother's cow and too convenient pump; while Mrs. 
Rosalind sighs over her delicate baby and Grandmother 
Susan says, "No wonder, when the njilk is so thin, and 
thank Heaven /c^r children didn't have to depend upon a 
cow, and she don't know what things are coining to in 
this world, anyhow!" She thinks "things" were better 
in the old days; and sometimes Nat agrees with her, for 
all their big, tine house and the machine shop with ever 
so many hands into which the old horseshoeing estab- 
lishment hm expanded. 



god's war. 37 

Dick hasn't got half the arm on him that Nat had at 
his age and Rosy can't even take care of her baby, let 
alone do all the housework besides, as Susan did. Still, 
Dick has married a yood girl with a 3ie;it mi-.n ni' money 
and has the making of a fine lawyer in him if he would 
only let politics alone and didn't have such a fondness 
for trottiug-horses; and Rosy 's husband is a partner in 
the woolen-mill that has spoiled the water at the old 
"swimming-hole" that Nat remembers so well. 

But we are getting ahead of our story, which deals with 
the good old times for which Susan sighs so unreasonably. 

Susan Kellogg, at the time our story opens, was as 
plump and round a little brown-eyed body as ever made 
a husband happy. "While Nat was ringing the sparks 
out at his anvil Susan's song kept time to the strokes of 
the hammer as she went about her household labors. Nat 
never understood how much he had grown to lean on her 
till he had got away off South, hundreds of miles from 
her. And then he used to think when, as he walked his 
lonely rounds on picket duty of a dark night, the picture 
would come up before his eyes of the trim little figure in 
the neat brown calico dress and white linen collar at the 
neck, and narrow, spotless cuffs just peeping below the 
sleeves, standing in the door to call him to the dinner or 
supper prepared by herself. I say Nat used to think at 
such times as this picture would come to him, that he 
never had loved her, never could love her, as she deserved 
to be loved. And then he would laugh with a laugh that 
was half-pathetic as he confessed to himself that strong 
and self-reliant as he was he would be the weakest and 
most worthless man in the world without Susie. He first 
recognized the dawn of this feeling when, at about 8 
o'clock of the evening that he had led the way in the 
enlistment of the Clayton Volunteers, in responding to a 
touch upon his arm, he looked down and saw her by his 
side. 

He had been thoughtful enough to see that a war was 
imminent and had always known that when it came he 
would (!ili;jt, allliough lie had never formiilated the de- 
termination and had speculated but little on the effect 
that his doing so would have upon his domestic affairs, 



38 god's war. 

And when Jim brought him the news that the war had at 
last liGgun and the President had crdled for volunteers he 
had dropped his hammer to lesiiond without a thought of 
Susie au'l the ba'-ies. lu the o\cit<'nie!it that followed 
during the next few hours he had continued to forget 
them; ai;<l he forgot his sup]>or hcHides; as did nearly 
every man in Clayton that evening. The presence of his 
wife now brought it all upon him like a huge wave that 
threatened to smother both him and her. 

"Why, little woman, God bless you, you startled me! 
Is the baby sick — is Dick's croup worse?" 

"Ain't you coming home to supper?" 

"Why of course I am. Is it time? I'm as hungry as 
a wolf, now I come to think of it." 

"Come along then. Supper'.s been ready these three 
hours. The baby ain't sick, and Dick's croup is better." 

"Who's with them?" 

"Aunt Nan's there. She brought down some hoarhound 
and made Dick some tea." 

And right there, somehow, the conversation ceased, 
and they walked homeward through the dark street in 
silence. Nat's heart was suddenly filled with a great, in- 
expressible tenderness which seemed to crowd everything 
else out, so that the events which had for the last few 
hours so completely absorbed him seemed as if they were 
something he dimly remembered to have read about; 
their very echoes were distant and faint — and his impulse 
was to pick np the little wife in his brawny arms as he 
could so easily have done, and kiss her, and let her lay 
her head upon his breast and weep all those tears away 
which he knew were lying back of her soft, brown eyes. 

But the people of Clayton in those days were wont to 
be strangely repressive as to their emotions, and were 
like Indians, in that they seemed to think shame of that 
indulgence which would displa3'' such weakness. So Nat 
refused to obey the impulse and Susan could not have 
suspected it, if she had not known how dearly Nat loved 
her,and if she had not felt his arm holding her hand pressed 
more tightly than usual to his breast. And so they 
walked homeward. 

And Susie looked out upon an unknown sea and sud- 



god's war. 39 

denly found herself helpless; and its great waves leaped 
all the more ftariuiiy that she could see such a short dis- 
tance because of the fog ■which obscured her future. Out 
of that foj^ caiiie sickeuiug iiuagiuiuLiri wli'c'a appalled 
her — and might well have done so even if she had been 
more stout-hearted than she was. Nat had never said to 
her that he would go to the war if a war should come, 
and she had never seriously thought that such a thing as 
a war was possible. Why should it be? At the same 
time she knew now that she had always expected that he 
would go, if his country called. He had read his Tribune 
faithfully and aloud to her every week, and as the bitter- 
ness and desperation of the factions ^rrev; iierce his com- 
ments showed how deeply he felt. 

She could see very well, now, that the strength of liis 
feeling of aversion for the institution of human slavery 
and of sympathy for the negro bondsman v.'ould make 
him quick and prompt to seize upon an opportunity to 
wipe out the one and so do God's slow justice to the other. 

But it had been so far off and apparently so imi)0ssible 
that she had never given it a thought, serious or other- 
wise. Only that morning they had discussed at break- 
fast, their projects for the spring. She had her sewiug 
plans all arranged and had laughed at Nat's remark that 
it was nonsense to keep a boy in petticoats when he got 
old enough to walk so well as Dick could. Dick in 
trowsers! And Nat liad said that he would plow up the 
garden next week, and if it kept fair only one day longer 
he would spade up her flower beds so that she could sow 
the seed fur her morning-glories and her pinks and sweet- 
williams and hollyhocks, and said ho had spoken to Bill 
Jones for a couple of shoats to put in the pen to fatten 
for next winter's bacon. And he had promised her that 
if Avork was good so that he could pay off the last install- 
ment of the mortgage on the house to "Old Eamsey" by 
fall he would buy her the nicest*tea-set of gold-baud china 
that could be had in all Clayton, fully as good as her 
mother's; and maybe he would throw in a new bombazine 
dress for her for Sundays; and didn't she think Dick 
would be big enough to need a pair of red-topped boots 
to play around in the snow in next winter? And she was 



40 god's war. 

to go "clown to niotlier's" with the children to spend a 
week during sugar-makinp:, and Nat was to come to spend 
Sunday — and — and — now all was over! There was 
nothing that she could see but a black wall of waves, 
angry and ready to drown her and her dear ones, and 
nothing that she could feel but a great pain at her heart 
as if a cruel hand was gripping it so that it almost ceased 
to beat. 

But she mustn't let Nat know it! He was a man and 
had a man's righteous work to do, and she would cut her 
right hand off before she would allow an exhibition of 
her forebodings to l)e jnade to weaken his heart or arm. 

The children were asleep when they got home, lying 
side by side in the big cradle Nat had made for them — 
"might almost just as well a-had twins at once and been 
done with it, Susie," he had said when he brought it in 
from the shop; the table was spread and the bacon and 
potatoes were in the oven keeping hot. 

Aunt Nan, the old octoroon, who had been brought 
from Virginia hy Nat's father, and who was the village 
nurse and doctress, was sitting there looking grave and 
wise and thoughtful. Susie wished she would go home, 
when she saw her face and remembered the lugubrious 
talk she had had with the old woman that evening while she 
was waiting for Nat; and then her conscience smote her, 
for Aunt Nan was always ready to come to help her take 
care of the children when they got sick ; and so the little 
woman's conscience compelled her to exert herself more 
than usual to entertain her visitor. 

But what she feared came; the news had to be dis- 
cussed, although Susie could see that Nat did not like to 
talk much ; in all its details. Aunt Nan insisted upon 
hearing it. The trembling wife found it a terrible strain 
with Nat looking at her with more love than his eyes had 
ever shown before. But she did very well ; and had to 
reproach herself only once, and that was when Nat an- 
swered Aunt Nan that the company might get orders to 
march before morning. Then, spite of all she could do, 
she spilled the cream she was i)ouring into Nat's cup. 

"Ah, me!' sighed Aunt Nan. "This war and fighting 
is an awful thing. People here in Clayton don't know 



GOD'S WAR. 41 

anything about it. To hear 'em talk you'd suppose it was 
a kind of a frolic. And so it is s 'long's there's nothing 
but beating of drums and plaj'ing of bands and a-marching 
around with fine clothes on. That's all very pretty, but 
that ain't war. I lived down to Urbana when the Mexi- 
can war was fought, and Colonel James he got up a com- 
pany there. Everybody was crazy about war when they 
was parading around. But it was different when the news 
came that John Grain was killed at BunerVister, and that 
George Grant had his whole head shot right off at some 
other place with an outlandish name that it seems to me 
never did mean anything." 

"Oh, well. Aunt Nan," said Nat, "they didn't all get 
killed. Some of them did, of course; that's the chance 
of war that every man's got to take — but the most of them 
come home again." 

"Not the most of them. Colonel James took fifty men 
from Urbana and only twenty of them got back. They 
wasn't all killed I know. John Greenlaw he stayed down 
there in Mexico and they say he married one of them Mexi- 
can women — though how he could have the stomach to do 
that I can't see — for thej-'re heathens — at least they're 
nearly as bad — they're Catholics and worship images. I 
don't suppose such a woman as that could have really 
right children." 

"Why, you don't suppose they'd have three legs, do 
you, Aunt Nan?" cried Nat, anxious to get her off her 
doleful topic and willing to spend a little cheap wit in 
the cause. 

"'Tain't that. But nevermind. 'Tain't the Mexican 
v.ar we're talking about. John Crain, he had two little 
children just about the age of Dick and Ivosy there, when 
jjt3 went to the war. And Mis' Crain she had to take iu 
sewing for a living till she got that broke down that she 
had to give it up, and the last I heard of her she was in 
the poorhouse — the children was 'liound out,' I 
believe." 

This time it was Nat who winced and was anxious that 
his weakness should not be witnessed. 

"We must hope for the best. Aunt Nan. That's the 
way to do. It don't pay to look on the dark side of 



42 god's war. 

tliiugs. This won't be much of a war. I see by the 
papers that some of the big men iu AVashington don't 
think it'll last more'n three months, and they ought to 
know." 

"Nobody knows how long the war will last, honey. 
They thought the Mexican war wouldn't last long. They 
was a-going down there and was going to whip them 
'Greasers', as they called them, in less'n no time, they 
said. But it took a long time ; and man3' a poor fellow died 
there, away from his Jiome and his familj- ; and his children 
wanting bread to this day, maybe." 

"Not so bad as that, I hope," said Nat with a tremor, 
in spite of himself. "Not so bad as that. The good Lord 
will take cave of them that lights His battles. And if it 
isn't tighting His battles to free the poor nigger slaves I 
don't know Avhut is." 

"Ihatmaj' be," replied Aunt Nan, who felt her own 
strong religious nature respond to Nat's adroit stroke, 
and at the same tin)e had to wrestle a little with the in- 
cidents of life which don't always fit in with the theories 
of good people. "But I've heard 'em say that Bonyparte 
he said that the Lord was on the side of the most soldiers. " 

"Ah, but Bonyparte isn't good authority. He was a 
bloody, butchering fellow who only made war so that he 
could get to be a big man. Look at the Bible, Aunt Nan, 
and see how the Lord used to fight on the side of the 
Jews — His chosen people." 

"Ho ain't been doing much fighting for them lately." 

"But they are no longer His chosen people. And be- 
sides Bonyparte — why he was just as big a Catholic as 
anybody!" 

But it was of no use. Aunt Nan was keyed in a minor 
and she only made matters worse the more she talked. 
Nat and Susie strove hard against her, each for the sake 
of the other, and both felt relieved when the good-hearted 
old woman, who meant no harm, took her leave. 

And then Susie did feel that she would like to talk all 
her doubts and fears awa3' with Nat. It would be a re- 
lief to her if she could open her heart to him. But she 
would not, for his sake. And she was glad that the 
"cboreb" occupied him till bedtime, and that there was 



GOD'S WAR. 43 

no moment when they had nothing to do but to look 
blankly at each other. 

But when they bad got to bed and the awful thought 
came to her that maybe this was the last time that ever 
Nat's arms would hold her to his side, she could not help 
it any longer. She crept up to him and laid her head on 
his breast as he had wished her to do, and sobbed a long, 
long time. Not a word was spoken, but Nat clasped her 
with a tenderness that showed that he shared her grief 
and sympathized with all her feelings, and was only 
restrained from joining his tears with hers by the 
thought that he was a man and must show himself the 
sti'onger of the two. At last the grief grew duller and 
with contrition she whispered : 

"Oh, Nat, I didn't mean to." 

"God bless you, my wife!" he replied as he kissed her 
fervently and solemnly. 

And then she slept; while he waited the coming of the 
day with eyes that would not close. 



^A. GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER YI. 



LAWYER JORDAN S MISTAKE, 



It was as if a wbirhviud had gathered up all the men 
iu Clayton and by its strong centripetal force had made of 
them a cohesive mass iu which each atom was instinct 
with life but in which a common motion controlled and 
forced them to do its will as if it was sentient and 
furiously powerful. For the mass whirled about like a 
bunch of leaves in a Avhirlwiiul ; and outside the compact 
formation men danced and darted to and fro like de- 
tached leaves feeling but faintly the force of the centrip- 
etal suction. And as it whirled it moved steadily if 
slowly southward toward the market-house. And the 
roar of the hundreds of angry men was awful. It was 
as if the higher nature had left them and they were soul- 
less — beasts and brutes who had no reason and could be 
)noved by nothing higher nor lower than the blind rage 
which possessed them. There was snarling and snapping 
and teeth were gnashing; till a sane being with his eyes 
shut could have readily i)ersuaded himself that he was in 
the midst of wolves ravenous with hunger and suddenly 
come upon a prospect of food. The undertone was a dumb, 
inarticulate noise made with the closed mouth and in 
each individual sounding like the suppressed groan of 
pain coming from a desperate man, struggling and 
fighting for his life and suffering mental as well as phA-- 
sical anguish. This undertone possessed all the attributes 
of volume and horror, and above it forked and darted the 
snarling and snapping and the sound of the gnashing of 
teeth as tho blue llames play and spurt over the low 
moaning of molten metal in a furnace. The corruscatiug 
of thisawfuUightning was momentarily rent and torn by 



GOD'S WAR. 45 

a thunflerouR roar from red aiul an^ry throats, wbon teeth 
and lips relaxed or rather wave urenclied apart by tlie 
maddened strength of an anj^er that ^vonld Jiot longer be 
restrained. Men's vital forces Ts-ere put to sucli terrific 
stress that they saw things bathed in a horrible color, 
blood-red, and there was a ringing in their ears inore 
terrible than the sudden clang of a firebell in the .solemn 
hush of deep night. It was a mob of maniacs bent on 
murder. 

It was a mob of men who had been accustomed during 
all of their lives to hold their passions as well as their 
weaknesses under the strictest control. Such men when 
overmastered by passion are compared with men used to 
yielding to every impulse, as giants to pygmies. The 
greater force required to break down the barriers sweeps 
everything before it like a devastation. 

CoAvards stood behind windows shivering and quaking 
and looking with inhuman dastard eyes at the begin- 
ning of a crime which they did not dare to raise a finger 
to prevent, as the mob swept whirling by. Women 
looked an instant on a horror surpassing anything of 
which thej' had ever dreamed, and, moaning, covered 
their eyes and fled to remote hiding-places. Children 
ran shrieking and gazed from a distance. "With their 
tails between their legs dogs loped yelping away from a 
ferocity as much more bloodthirsty and vindictive than 
the ferocity of the animal as the superior intelligence of 
man could suffice to make it. 

Miles and Tom, without releasing their clasped hands, 
looked from the window as the sullen roar with the horror 
of murder in it came to their ears, and a moan of terror 
burst from Margaret's lips. In a moment the three un- 
derstood everything and the two men scarcely needed the 
word "Go!" from the maiden to cause them to dart from 
the house toward the mob. For a moment they hung 
upon the outskirts, debating without a spoken word upon 
the best step to take. They had comprehended at a 
glance the significance of the scene, and knew Avhy the 
mob drifttd toward the market-house. There were stout 
cross-beams there over which the rope already around 
Lawyer Jordan's neck could be easily thrown! 



4C GOD'S WAR. 

For it was Lawyer .Tordau in the midst, the very centei* 
of this whirlpool of men — inul his liat.ds were bound in 
front of him, his hat waa gone and ho was bleeding from 
a wound in his fortbfiad. The white-faced men about 
him were beyond reason; that Avas clear, as to all of them 
save possibly Nat Kelloy;<j:, who, though he walked by the 
condemned man's side and actually held the rope with 
which Lawyer Jordan was to be huns, was apparently 
at himself. Bancroft thought he could see that much in 
the glance he got from Nat's eye and at once decided that 
the one chance for Jordan's life lay in the brawny black- 
smith's hands. With Nat's co-operation everything might 
be done; without it, nothing. Miles threw his shoulder 
against a crevice in the crowd and ])ressing inward left 
the rest to centripetal force; and without a word between 
them Tom followed his example. 

The fact of the business was that Lawyer Jordan had 
been talking treason — treason to the government, treason 
to the cause of humanity and, what was perhaps the worst 
of all, treason to the Clayton Volunteers. 

You need not be told, my dear sir, of the bitterness 
between the people of the North who were loyal to the 
Union and those who sj'mpathized with the Secessionists. 
It was in your day, and you remember it perfectlj'. 
Indeed it has scarcely died away yet, and, liberal, pro- 
gressive, sensible man that you are and pride yourself on 
being, you smile when you see Deacon Gray and Deacon 
Brown come face to face in the prayer-meeting and ad- 
dress fervent petitions to Almighty God from the same 
church floor and respond devoutly in perfect harmony, 
and yet at the close pass each other with hard, firm-set 
faces and eyes filled with cold hati*ed for each other; you 
smile still more when, as Deacon Brown's stalwart young 
son and Deacon Gray's blooming, winsome young 
daughter go off from that same prayer-meeting arm in 
arm, you observe the two stubborn old fathers pull their 
hats angrily down over their eyes and, each taking his 
own side of the street march off stolidly homeward. You 
laugh, when you ought not to think of laughing, because 
the grace of the God which the two old men honestly 
strive to serve, has not softened and sweetened the heax'ts 



GOD'S WAR. 47 

which grew so hard and bitter toward each other thirty 
odd 3'ears ago when oue was au "abolitionist" and the 
other was a "copperhead." And you chuckle mischiev- 
ously as you think of the "pretty kettle of fish" there 
will be if the two young folks don't make an end of this 
falling in love with each other; for you know that Gray 
would rather see his daughter marry the devil than that 
she should become the spouse of "old Brown's" son, and 
Brown would prefer that his boy should take a negresa 
to wife if he had no other choice beside than "old Gray's" 
daughter. 

But your grandson doesn't know these things so vividly 
as you do, impatient old man ; and I have him very much 
more in my eye than you as I write; he will appreciate 
my book much better than j-ou do, I hope. 

There were some localities where there was scarcely a 
difference of opinion as to the merits of the question be- 
tween the North and the South, and where the few who 
dissented from the views of the majority maintained a 
discreet silence, and peace reigned. There were other 
localities where sentiment was pretty evenly divided, and 
there war reigned ; not always with bloodshed and yet 
very frequently; but invariably v.'ith a bitterness that still 
rankles though decades have passed and the actual com- 
batants have fraternized like brothers in arms. 

The northwestern part of Ohio where the scene of our 
story is laid so far, was oue of the localities where the 
Southern sympathizers were a very large minority of the 
population; and the congressional district in which 
Clayton was situated had for many years sent men to con- 
gress who were very strongly inclined to sympathize with 
the South, and did so take sides in all the great struggles 
in the field of politics which brought on, at last, the war 
of the rebellion. Lawyer Jordan was with the majority 
in his district if not in the village itself. As has been 
hinted he had aspirations which nothing less than a 
national field would satisfy. He had been a long and a 
loud advocate of the rights of the South and bitter in his 
denunciation of those who belonged to the other party. 

He was conspicuous in the ranks of those who inveighed 
against the policy of a resistance by force of arms to the 



48 GOD'S WAR. 

dismeiuberment of the Union! and had frequently' eaid 
that if a war came it would not be confined in its dovas- 
tutions to the South, but would be general and foujzbt 
out in every State in the Union. Men from the North as 
well as those of the South would take up arms against the 
national authority, he maintained, and would fight and 
die to secure to the seceding States the right to set up a 
separate government. And if he had never said in so 
}nany words that he would himself take up arms in behalf 
of the South, he had said a great deal that would warrant 
the inference that he meant to do so. 

When, the evening before, at the courthouse, Nat had 
asked him to advise the people how to go about the work 
of enlisting and forming a company, both tbe blacksmith 
and the lawyer were deceived as to the true state of affairs. 
Nat knew of course that Lawyer Jordan had been classed 
with the Southern sympathizers and among the most active 
of them, but he had paid little heed to the circumstance. 
And when the blow was finally struck, when Sumter 
was fired on and the President had called for volunteers. 
Nat at once jumped to the conclusion, without doing 
any thinking to speak of on the subject,that of course all 
division of opinion was at an end — that forthwith all 
would unite in support of the government — that no man 
would at this last extremity desert his section, no matter 
how much he had vapored and talked up to that time. 
He supposed that of course Lawyer Jordan was with him 
and the rest of his loyal neighbors, now that the war had 
actually come. So that he. made his request for advice 
in all simplicity and good faith; and even when Lawyer 
Jordan gave his reply Nat attributed it rather to a desire 
on the lawyer's part to have a chance to air his oratorical 
powers than to anything else, and was far from suspect- 
ing for a moment the real truth. 

For, vain as Lawyer Jordan unquestionabb' was of his 
abilities as a speaker, he did not care so much for a 
chance to show them as he did for something else, viz. : 
to know precisely which way the cat was going to jump — 
for he intended to aoconjpany that interesting animal 
provided he was spared to the exercise of his faculties, if 
he was personally cognizant of his own state of mind. 



GOD'S WAR. 49 

If you had asked him that morning, or even so late in the 
day as the moment at which Nat was so cruelly sharpen- 
ing the corks on Blaze's shoe with the mutilation of a 
"Dutchman" in view, if you had asked him then whicli 
way the majoritj' of the people in the Clayton district 
would go in event of a war he would have unhesitatingly 
told you that they would go with the South; and, if you 
had given him time he would have demonstrated to you 
just why they would espouse the cause of secession. 
For hfi was a man of parts; among which his parts of 
speech were very prominent. Then why did he shuffle 
and waste his opportunity ? Why did he not at once take 
the stand and denounce the Union movement and make 
head for the South now that she needed friends, as man- 
fully as he had done before the hour of her peril had come? 
Because he was puzzled and hard put to it to decide 
whether he should believe the evidence of his own eyes or 
cling to the theory which he had so often and so satisfac- 
torily demonstrated, in spite of the warnings of his out- 
lying senses. 

For, as he came to the courthouse in response to the 
long-continued ringing of the bell, he observed that many 
of those who were also hurrying tliere were those who 
had followed his lead for years in politics. And when he 
got within the building he found that the announcement 
of tlie cause of the bell-ringing had started a conflagration 
which spread like a tire in a dry stubble. It consumed 
not only the seasoned stalks of abolitionism whose condi- 
tion invited combustion, but to his surprise, and perhaps 
dismay, he found the green shoots of his own sowing and 
nurturing, flaming up with rapid and increasing heat. 
How far would this go? If the sudden breaking out of 
hostilities had actually united those who yesterday were 
widely apart, and if this consolidation was going to be 
a permanent thing, it behooved him to know it; for it 
behooved hini to get on the stronger side at all times. 
It looked as if everybody was in favor of the hated policy 
of coercion so far as this sudden light illuminated things. 

Still, he wasn't certain about it; and Lawyer Jordan 
was ordinarily a careful man. Certainly at this juncture 
he couldn't afford to make a mistake. So he decided to 



50 god's war. 

wait and see what a night's reflection would bring forth. 
Perhaps in that time his okl follo^vers uould recall some 
of the doctrine he had so faitljfully preached to them and 
\vould see that they uere going all wrong, aud would 
return to their allegiance. He would make a pretty mess 
of it if he, too, yielded to this sudden excitement only 
to find a few days hence that he had swung away from 
the majority in the district and had thereby destro^-ed 
his future ! 

So that his answer to Nat Avas intended as a skillful 
movement in favor of delay. It was not very much, it is 
true, but it was as much as he dared to essaj' at the 
moment. We have seen, however, that it ha;l no effect, 
aJid tliat in spite of it Nat went ahead aud organized his 
company — if what Avas done can be so termed. 

Law.A-er Jordan was not the soundest sleeper in Clayton 
that night — a night when scarcely an adult in the whole 
village h;id undisturbed repose. During the early even- 
ing he sent for his party friends, the leaders in the county, 
and held an anxious conference with them. In union of 
desire there is strength ; and as these gentlemen came 
together desiring to find a state of facts which would 
warrant them in believing that their party — the party of 
sympathizers with secession — Avould recover itself, and 
after reflection again present a united front upon the old 
alignment— as they so much desired this they found 
abundant data upon which to build something with much 
more solidity than a mere hope would have. Of course 
they made a mistake, because they argued only from that 
which had prevailed for so many years, when men fol- 
lowed, without consideration, the lead of their chiefs and 
investigated the claims of their party no further than to 
satisfy themselves that it was the organization to which 
their fathers had belonged; and they failed to take into 
account the tremendous effect that the smoke from Gen- 
eral Beauregard's gun had had upon the atmosphere by 
which men's political views were influenced. Of course 
they made a mistake in assuming that since they had in 
themselves nothing of genuine love for the Union or re- 
gard for the cause of humanity us represented by the 



GOD'S WAR. 51 

proposition to free the slave, therefore their followers had 
not. They counted that the effect upon themselves -would 
eventually be the same upon their followers. And they 
pledged themselves to the faith that was in them, 
solemnly, hopefully, orally and bibulously and went otf 
to bed calculating with confidence upon the result with 
their followers of the sober second thought; and without 
any sort of comprehension of the value and weight of the 
new factors that had entered into the combination. 

But the men who manifested no surprise in perceiving 
that whereas the night before they went to bed Seces- 
sionists, now, the night after, they were going to bed 
Union men if not actually Abolitionists, found themselves, 
when day broke, still calm and without thought of a 
return to the old belief; and set about with swift method 
getting their affairs in order, as became wise men enter- 
ing upon an unknown path. 

And the fatuity of Lawj'er Jordan and his friends and 
coadjutors continued. The.y spent the forenoon in dis- 
cussing the details of a demonstration to make headway 
against the influences that had set in so strongly against 
what they conceived were their true interests. It was at 
last decided that they should divide and mingle among 
the people and that to Lawyer Jordan should be left the 
decision as to the time when and the place where, and 
the manner in which they should reassert themselves 
and regain the ground that had been lost. Lawyer 
Jordan was not only the leader by virtue of his superior 
intelligence, but because, also, he had more at stake polit- 
ically than any of the rest of them. 

It all came about through another mistake on Lawyer 
Jordan's part. He unwisely seized the opportunity when 
the American flag was being hoisted into place upon a 
pole newly set up by the enthusiastic volunteers to de- 
liver himself of sentiments which were derogatory to the 
government of which the flag was the symbol, denouncing 
it as a tyranny which would soon be rebuked by the brave 
men of the South, etc., etc. He really said very little if 
any more thnn he had said a thousand tiiues before. But 
it was received with an ill grace by men who belonged 
the day before to two widely separated parties, but who 



52 GOD'S WAR. 

had in the twinkling of an eye become allies of the 
staucijest and truest description. Still, nothing was 
said to disturb the lawyer, who did not hesitate to think 
that the inarticulate murmurs which he heard were 
really evidences of the good etfeet he had produced, and 
that his hearers were supiilementing his own arguments 
with others drawn from their reawakened political con- 
sciences. He grew bolder and proceeded with such 
vehemence and oratorical excellence that the crowd 
finalb' became quiet, if not, as he thought, sympathetic 
listeners. 

Lawyer Jordan flattered himself that he could gauge 
the feelings of a jury as accurately' as any man, and this 
time he congratulated himself upon an unexpectedly easy 
victory. His coadjutors, who had gathered warily upon 
the outskirts of the crowd, grew bolder with him and 
encouraged him with nods and smiles of approbation. 
And just here the crisis was reached. 

With the advocate's shrewd calculation of dramatic 
effect, and completely deceived by the aspect of his 
hearers, Lawyer Jordan suddenly seized the flag which 
he had denounced so bitterly, and casting it upon the 
ground proceeded to trample it under his foot. 

The instant after he had done it Nat Kellogg'siron fist 
smote him on the forehead with a force that would have 
been suflBcient to kill him had not tlie blow been a 
glancing one. 

The movement of Nat's arm was not quicker than the 
flash that sprang into the eyes of the volunteers. With 
a drawing in of the breath that was more a moan than a 
roar, they rushed in, and in an instant the lawyer was 
bound and in another moment the rope with which the 
flag was to have been hoisted was over his head with the 
slipknot of a running-noose under his left ear; and in 
the babel of curses and imprecations that filled all the 
space the eager cry "To the market-house! Hang him !" 
gave the command that the maddened men without debate 
started to execute. White and trembling the poor lawyer 
looked about for his friends. They were not. They had 
incontinently vanished. The prayer for mercy that 
formed itself on his lips was silenced by an imprecation 



GOD'S WAR. 53 

that was so horrible it seemed to freeze his blood. A 
minute had not elapsed and Lawyer Jordan was on his 
way to his death — in the hands of executioners momen- 
tarily growing more furious. 

His lips were livid and the sweat stood on his brow in 
great drops, mingling with the blood that Nat's knuckles 
had drawn. He looked piteously about for a friendly 
glance. But every eye was stern and implacable. Those 
who were his followers yesterday seemed the most de- 
termined to have his life. In a second of time he had 
been tried, convicted and sentenced by a court which 
was hurrying to execute its own sentence with such 
rapidity that hope had no time to spring up. It was as 
if the judgment of God had fallen upon him — only worse 
— for Heaven holds out a hope in repentance to the last. 

"Mj' God!" he moaned, "will they kill me?" 

"If the devil don't stand up for his own mighty quick 
they will," replied Nat, speaking plainly from custom 
and not from a desire to be needlessly cruel. He meant 
what he said — Avas not the wretch a lawyer as well as a 
traitor and therefore doubly bound to Satan? And from 
where else should help come to such a man? 

Nat regretted that he had struck him. He had not 
supposed that his blow would have such an effect. His 
passion was gone before his fist had reached its mark'. 
Now, he only thought how to save his neighbors from 
committing a ci'ime which would forever dishonor them. 

His senses were all alert, but he saw no hope till he 
caught Miles Bancroft's eye. And even then he had no 
idea how it was to be done. 

Neither had Miles at the moment. But he was there, 
first, because Margaret had sent him, and next because 
he realized how grave the results would be if the mob 
was not stayed in time. The sucking swirling of the 
crowd soon drew him to the center with Tom close be- 
hind. Nat greeted him with a look which said, "I 
understand, and will help!" 

In another moment they were in the market-house. 

"Put him up on a block!" 

"Yes — put him up, curse him, where we can all see 
him!" 



54 god's war. 

"WJicu Lawyer Jordan was raised iip on the butcher's 
block life was neailj' extinct — from fright. With one 
hand Nat threw the rope over a beam and with the 
other strove to hold up the collapsed lawyer. 

"Look at the coward; I can't hold him up!" 

"I'll help," said Miles in reply to a glance from Nat. 

This was the opportunity if they were to have anj-. A 
great bearded Goliath of a fellow had snatched the rope. 

"Now then — off he goes!" and he gave a tremendous 
pull. 

The rope flew up over the beam! The noose had been 
cut with a sharp knife! 

"Who did that?" 

"I did!" 

Miles was never before in such danger; he could not 
be in greater, and he knew it. But he was as calm as 
the day ; and his senses worked as the most perfect ma- 
chinery ought to do. A new knot was tying, but time 
is everything. 

"Men," said Miles (as the crowd regarded him their 
astonishment rapidly changing to rage) "this man is 
no dearer to me than he is to that man of you all who 
liates him the most. But this is not right. I don't care 
for him — I do care for you. I am one of you and expect 
to share your fortunes and be your comrade and com- 
panion. I'm a little particular as to whom I sleep with, " 

He hazarded this rough pleasantry, and it was not 
without its effect. It was an odd and unexpected thing 
under the circumstances. It relieved the tension a little. 

"I don't want to sleep with any man who was one of 
a hundred who murdered an unarmed man." 

"Neither do I," said Nat. "And what's more I won't!" 

"Why, you hit him," said a voice. 

"I know I did, and I'm sorry for it. If I had supposed 
all you fellows were going to jump on him when I had 
him down, why, I wouldn't a-hit him." 

"All ready again," shouted Goliath. "Let me up there 
and I'll make sure of him." 

"There ain't room for any more," said Tom, nimbly 
jumping up by Miles' side. 

"Then you get down," 



GOD'S WAR. 55 

"I won't do it. You fellows ought to be ashamed of 
yourselves. AVhat kind of soldiers will you make — a 
hundred of you on one man " 

"Yes, and such a specimen of a poor, sneaking bloat 
as he is," said Kat skillfully, eying Lawyer Jordan with 
humorous contempt. The crowd laughed. "Look at 
him! Why, my Dick could lick him!" Another laugh 
and the men began to grow calmer. 

"It is for your own sakes," pleaded Miles. 

"You're another Secessionist, yourself," cried a voice 
in the outskirts of the crowd. 

"Who says that?" demanded Miles, jumping down as 
the crowd made room for him. "Come here and saj' it 
to my face. My grandfather stood in Charleston once 
with a rope around his neck, like this poor cur here. 
They were going to hang him because he was an Aboli- 
tionist. I have it in my blood — and if the man who saj'S 
I'm a Secessionist will come here I'll whip him within an 
inch of his life!" 

Another diversion which had its effect. 

The men composing this mob were not quickly swayed 
by light considerations; they were not of the sort to be 
influenced by trifles. But they had been heretofore law- 
abiding and had been taught to hold the public peace as 
of the highest importance ; and they had a strong sense of 
fair play and the sanctity of personal rights. It was 
not a light consideration that brought them back to their 
senses. The tricks that were played b}' Nat and Miles 
and Tom w-ere not intended to deceive. On the contrary 
they w^ere meant only to give the time in which the mad- 
dened rioters might recover themselves. Even so light 
a thing as a child's hand upon the rein will guide the 
well-trained steed, though he flee with the wind. The 
power of habit will assert itself and is stronger than pas- 
sion — and it was the habit of these men to regard blood- 
shed with an infinite aversion. 

It was also a habit with them to avoid anything savor- 
ing of unnecessary or superogatory acknowledgment 
of error. They did not care to go further than to abandon 
the error. That was enough. So they begun to turn 
away from Lawyer Jordan with an air of indifference, 



56 GOD'S WAR. 

and an expression of countenance innocent of any sort of 
•violent intention. 

"This hanging's j:)OHtpoued till we git something that's 
got sand enough in it to stand up to be hung!" said Nat 
as he let the lawj-er drop in a limp heap on the block. 

"That's so! That's so!" and the crowd laughed good- 
humoredly. 

"We've got to march at 8 o'clock to-night, " continued 
Nat, "and we've got no captain. We must elect one." 

"You be our captain, Nat." 

"No — I'm not the man. You want a better man than 
me." 

"We haven't got a better one. " 

"Yes, we have, and here he is. I nominate Miles 
Bancroft for captain of the Clayton Volunteers. He may 
put perfumery on his handkerchief, but he's got a wheel- 
barrow load of sand into him!" 

"Second the motion," cried half a dozen voices. 

"You that's in favor of Miles Bancroft say ay ! Op- 
posed, no! Carried unanimously!" 

"Why, men, I — " began Miles. 

"That's all right," said Nat. "Now, boys, three 
cheers for Captain Bancroft, and if we don't make him a 
colonel I'll eat him! Now then, all ready — one — two — ■ 
three!" 

And the cheers wei'e given with such will that all 
Clayton heard them ; and Margaret Henderson hearing 
them knew that her two knights had won their first fight. 



GOD'S WAR. ^H 



CHAPTER VII. 

"bonyparte a-crossin' the alps." 

"Now then, boys, " said the tall, old white-haired, rosy 
cheeked fifer to his companious composing the hastily 
improvised band of the Clayton Volunteers; "now then, 
to begin with, we'll give 'em " IJovyparte a-crossin' the 
Alps.' That'll fetch 'em here quicker 'n anj'thiug else!" 

And the inspiring old tune was played with a will that 
made up for the lack of artistic excellence, if there was 
any such lack, in the execution. I am inclined to believe, 
however, that there was nothing lacking. Perhaps 
Piccolo in the orchestra at the opera might have played 
it with more smoothness and the addition of fancy trills 
and quavers and flourishes, and he might have shaken a 
jeweled finger over the vents in his instrument with great 
effect upon the eye. I don't mean to say that he would 
not have done better, perhaps, looking at the performance 
from the point of view of the mere musical director. 
Perhaps he would. But I do mean to say that for the 
purposes of the occasion no maccaroni-eating, garlic- 
scented high-salaried son of Italy could have begun to do 
the work as old Fielding did it. 

The spirit was there; and the thrill of the song as it 
rose and fell did not come from the old man's breath, 
which was only wind, but from his soul which was im- 
mortal and soaring with the inspiration of a cause which 
the hard-headed old Abolitionist believed was the grandest 
God ever gave for man to fight and die in. The old man 
thought he knew what he was doing — knew what he was 
saying to the world with that little black fife of his. He 
knew that he summoned, not mere men to a bloody, 
ruffianly riot, but grand, strong, shining souls to go forth 
despising all ease, despising all danger, with contempt 



58 god's war. 

for all pain and suffering and sacrifice and death, to do 
God's Avork by God's appointment and bearing God's 
commission in their hands. 

He almost imagintd that tie poor slave, hundreds of 
miles awaj-, fainting beneath the lash in the humid air of 
his prison-pen, might hear the strain and that it might 
be to him as a draught of pure air from the mountain top, 
to invigorate and encourage him to strike a blow for him- 
self and his race. And as his imagination took him this 
flight the strain soared with a buoyant curve of joyous 
elation that made men's blood tingle in their veins. 

But when he dreamed that he was sending a shrill 
warning to the oppressor and the tyrant he put such a 
stress of stern meaning, such a threat of awful vengeance 
— God's long-delayed but terrible reprisal — into the 
song, that men liearing it grew suddenly grave and awed 
with shudderings. 

And as his mental vision swept forward over the scenes 
of carnage that must be before the wrong could be made 
right and before the keen sword of the Almighty should 
cease its flashings among wicked men; when he heard 
with prophetic ear the wail of strong men distorted in 
agony on bloody fields and saw with sharpened sight the 
strewn corses of a nation's gallant youth; when he 
conned the trials through which all would have to pass 
before the end was reached he sent into his music all the 
strength of a soul seasoned to endurance and nerved to 
unyielding determination. 

When he saw the piteous eyes of wives and maidens as 
they silently flocked about him and drank in the aAvful 
significance of the message he brought, his heart almost 
softened and his breath was fain to attune itself to milder 
strains; but when he looked again and saw back of this 
piteous pleading the strong souls of these heroines and 
that they would not have him hesitate even though their 
hearts were bleeding, then he triumphed with them, 
and sang the song of their victory in a nobler note! 

No one knew better than he that for the moment the 
burden of the day rested upon him chiefly. The hour 
that was to try not only the souls of men but of women, 
j'.lso, had come. Nothing that had ,gone before and 



god's war. 59 

nothing that could follow could equal the strain that 
this hour brought upon the niauhood aud ^Noiuauhood uf 
Clayton. For it v»-as the hour set for the assembling of 
the volunteers to take up the line of march from their 
peaceful homes to meet the swiftly-coming chances of 
war. Alii] while he knew his neighbors well enough to 
know that trying as the ordeal might be they would 
triumph over it, that they were men who were not accus- 
tomed to the idle aud thoughtless assumption of responsi- 
bilities and were therefore not of those to be frightened 
from an undertaking of which they had counted the cost, 
still he knew that with the inspiration he could furnish 
new courage would come to lift up their hearts. 

Can we ever forget the old man as he stood there that 
day, tall and thin, with the snows of years upon the sparse 
locks that straggled down to his shoulders, the roses of 
hale old age on his clean-shaven cheeks and the fire of 
heroism in his steel-blue eyes, his hat off and his head 
thrown forward, his foot keeping time with the music as 
he played? He may have beeu an uncouth old man of 
rude speech and manners, but his soul was clean and his 
heart was the heart of a Eound-Table Knight. It beat 
with a man's love for his race with a saint's pity for their 
sufferings and a warrior's daring in their cause. And 
there was no rudeness in the song with which he sum- 
moned his comrades to their task. Its grammar was 
perfect and its eloquence divine. 

Of course not all of his comrades had come to the point 
where they looked at things as he did. The late fol- 
lowers of Lawyer Jordan were not all of them as yet, by 
any means, "Abolitionists." They were simply "Union 
men." They were to grow a great deal before they 
caught up with old Fielding. There were, in truth, cot 
many besides Nat aud Miles who were in entire harmony 
with the old fifer. Tom was not, certainly. He had given 
the matter but little attention. So far, he was rejoiced 
chiefly at an opportunity to get away from uncongeuial 
surroundings and to enter upon a life whose romantic 
promise was inexpressibly attractive to him. He was to 
reach manhood by a short cut. Aud he was to have an 
opportunity to win a name and a fame that would wipe 



r,o noD s WAR. 

out the few j-ears that stood between him and Margaret 
Henderson. He didn't stop to inquire what l:e would do 
when this desirable result was accomplished, nor to 
speculate upon the matter further than to dccid© that 
when he had won a man's laurels he would no longer be 
a boy and that neilhcr ho nor Margaret would ever stop 
to think again about his age. 

But Tom, with the few other thoughtless ones, and 
Lawyer Jordan's late followers, were all to come to old 
Fielding's way of thinking and take their places with 
Nat and IMiles, before they were through with the work 
they had so suddenly entered upon ; and old Fielding 
knew it, by instinct, and hailed as brothers to-day men 
whom yesterday he detested as aliens from the saving- 
knowledge of God's righteousness. 

And so they gathered, in the dropping twilight of the 
early evening, Tom and Nat and Miles, and we know 
what they were leaving; and Aleck Anderson, casting 
behind him his reckless, half-vagabond life with others, 
his companions; and Jim Druett from his law studies; 
and Sam Jamieson from his case in the Eagle office and 
his old, praying mother who gave him her blessing and 
was glad and proud of him while her heart was breaking 
with gloomy fears; and John Everett from his new farm, 
half-paid for, and his big family of little children; and 
Will "Walters, the dapper little clerk from the dry-goods 
store; antl John Wesley Hammond, the young Methodist 
parson elbow to elbow with Andrew McQuirk, the mid- 
dle-aged Scotchman who had preached the terrors of Cal- 
vinism and had made the Presbyterian meeting-house 
fairly reel with the thunders of his denunciations of the 
accursed institution of human slaverj' for these twenty 
years; and Ed Hobson, the big rawboned country school- 
teacher who had come to town by accident just in time 
to enlist, which he did with a sigh of relief to think that 
he would not have to enter the hated schcolhouse again, 
for awhile at least; and Albert Olmstead, who left his 
widowed mother in paroxysms of grief which she would 
not trj' to stay; and John Hendley, who resigned hastily 
from the Common Pleas bench and sought to participate 
in an arbitrament sterner than any to which he had been 



god's war. 61 

accustomed, but for which his soul had been longing, and 
which had come at last; and Harry Hunter, just graduated 
from Gambler; and young Dr. Woods, and Charley Hall, 
the shoemaker, and Robert Snead, the carpenter; and 
Dick Drummond, the loafer— why prolong the list? With 
the flower of the town the weeds were bound up— aud 
we shall see some of them disappear in the stern shifting 
of war's selection and others springing up to magnificent 
manhood— from every rank in life in Clayton, and from 
all parties, creeds, churches, sects and religions, the well, 
and the^ sick, the strong and the weak, the good and the 
bad. Nearly all of them very quiet and grave, but some 
of them, of course, half-drunk and noisy. 

They carried wardrobes, in some cases knotted up in 
handkerchiefs swung on sticks over their shoulders; but 
for the most part in sacks made of cotton cloth glazed to 
imitate leather. Provisions enough were brought to sup- 
ply them for a week,and as they realized that they could not 
burden themselves thus uselessly they gave pain to wives 
aud mothers and sweethearts who had toiled to prepare 
them dainties. 

Fortunately Miles had picked up enough knowledge of 
military drill from the Massachusetts militia to be able 
after a half-hour's work to teach his men how to form 
company, face to the right in ranks of four and come to 
a front again — and he deepened thereby the admiration 
that had been growing in the town since the events of 
the afternoon at the market-house. 

Nearly the entire population had turned out to see the 
volunteers off, and the boys had gathered boxes and bar- 
rels with which they made a huge bonfire to give light. 
Its flickering shone on the brass ball surmounting the 
spire which grew out of the cupola of the courthouse be- 
hind them, and lighted up the faces of the women 
thronged on the steps of the shops across the street in 
front of them. Among these latter Tom aud Miles rec- 
ognized the pale, beautiful face of the woman they both 
loved, and Nat dared not to look, for he knew that some- 
where there, shaded from the brightest glare, Susie was 
watching, with Dick in her arms. He had bidden her 
good-by in a half-hour's talk in the little sitting room. 



62 god's AVAR. 

when they and the children before God were as to their 
souls and hearts naked and not a.shamed, revealing their 
secret thoughts as they had never dreamed of doing. 
Tenderness might be permitted there, but nothing but 
stoicism could be allowed on the street. 

"My friends," cried one, when at last everything 
seemed to be ready for the departure, "you are about to 
start out to the war- " 

"Yes, and wo don't want any flapdoodle about it, 
either," replied Nat with great promptness, cutting down 
thus remorselessly the professional orator of the dllage, 
who had thought to send the Claj'tou heroes proudly off 
to the war with a fine speech. "I'm not in con^mand," 
continued Nat, "but it seen)s to me that if Father Good- 
man will just say a little prayer for us we'll be all ready 
to march." 

AYith boAved and reverent heads the crowd heard the 
good old man commend the volunteers to the protection 
of the God in whose cause they were going forth; and 
Miles, lifting his hat in silent farewell to IMargaret, gave 
the command "Right face, tile left, march!" Old 
Fielding struck up "Barbara Allen," the crowd parted 
and the volunteers took their way steadily out the street 
leading east, toward Bryan's. As they passed the people 
closed in behind them and followed quietly till they 
reached the town limits, where they gave three cheers, 
to which the volunteers responded as they went on alone. 
As they came to the turn in the road and the lights of 
the village disappeared, Old Fielding dreAV a long breath 
and sent back the strains of "The Girl 1 left Behind Me" 
by way of a farewell. 

Oh, the pain in torn hearts as the cords that bound 
them to those they loved stretched out till it seemed that 
death would snap them! And, oh, the strength of those 
cords that will stretch till they go round the world and 
will never yield till deatli shall sever them! 

How these cords drew little Susie till she found at last 
that she had walked miles after lier dear husband, with 
poor Dick asleep in her tired arms, and returned home 
to Aunt Nan, and Rosy awake and hungry and cross, long 
after midnight! How they held that stately girl, the 



god's war. c,3 

judge's daughter, at the edpo of the village till the last 
mocking sound of old Fieldiug's life had died away aud 
her father had silently led her home, where, seeking her 
room she had fallen upon her bed in a flood of tears! 

And then began a weary round of days which counted 
up to weeks and weeks which grew to be months, when 
to those at home the cross was insupportable, and yet it 
was borne. Infrequent mails brought occasional letters 
from the loved ones in the field upon which mothers 
wives and sweethearts, living dazed lives, fed and drew 
such comfort of life as might be. 



64 GOD'S WAR. 



PART II. 

Raw Materials. 



CHAPTER VII. 

"i don't care if there's a million!" 

"There's a whole regiment of Johnnies just beyond 
the cut, and they're dismounting and surrounding us I 
"What shall we do?" asked the frightened soldier of his 
commander. 

"We'll do what we were sent here to do," quietly re- 
plied the first corporal of Company "A" of the Second 
Regiment of Infantry. He was the commander. 

"Well, but for God's sake! There's only eleven of us, 
and there's a thousand of them." 

"I don't care if there's a million." 

From the indolent tone and drawl you would have sup- 
posed that this first corporal was discussing a question in 
which he took but a slight and very languid interest. 

"But they'll eat us up!" 

"Do you think so?" 

"Why, we can't hold out a minute!" 

"Well, we won't knock under till the minute is up." 

"Do you mean to say that you're going to fight?" 

"Yes." 

"Against such tremendous odds?" 

"I don't find it in the books, so far, that we're ex- 
pected to fight oulj' when the enemy's force is smaller 
than ours." 

"But do you find it ia the books that eleven men have 
got to tight a thousand?" 

i 



god's war. 65 

"Yes, when it's necessary." 

""Why, you're crazy! Nobody would blame you for 
surreudering- to such an overwhelraing force." 

"I don't intend to give them the chance to blame me." 

"I tell you again that there's a thousaud of them." 

"I tell 3'ou again that I don't care if there is a million 
of them." 

Who but Tom had such a way of saying that he didn't 
"care" when he didn't? Who else had such a supple, 
swinging way of going ahead when once he had made up 
his mind; such a lithe, withy disregard of consequences? 
Yes, it was Tom. He continued : "But we've had enough 
talk. We were sent here to guard that bridge and my 
orders don't say that we are to run away from it the 
minute the enemy comes in sight. That's no way to 
guard it. It strikes me that's just the time to stick. 
We're not 'Home Guards.' If I understand this war 
business we are expected to fight occasionally. I enlisted 
with that understanding. Now, if the Johnnies get that 
bridge they will burn it and our troops can't get down to 
Manassas Junction. That's why they want to burn the 
bridge. It is our business to keep them from doing it, 
and that's what we'll do so long as we can. Get to your 
places and don't fire till I tell you to." 

A pretty long speech for Corporal Tom. 

"But we can escape now — the Johnnies haven't got 
around to the east of us — they're all down there in the 
cut. We can get away !" 

"Not till we get orders. There ought to be a train- 
load of soldiers along here pretty soon and they will 
di'ive the cavalry off. Meantime we'll keep them from 
burning the bridge — if we can." 

"Well, you can stay here if you want to. I'm going- 
back to the regiment." 

"Bar the door, Aleck. I'll shoot the first man who 
tries to desert!" 

"You won't shoot me- " 

"If 3'ou try to desert I will." 

"You're " 

"That'll do — get to your places — Dick, I think I see a 
movement in the bushes just beyond the bridge — yes 



Hfi god's war. 

— there he comes — wait till he passes the tree on the 
right and then let him have it!" 

"He don't seem to l)e in no hurry, neither," said Dick. 

"No. He's looking about to see where we are. He 
will find out in a minute or two. " 

"Why don't he stand up like a man?" 

"Like a fool, you mean. He doesn't want to expose 
himself." 

"I've got all the soldiering I want," said the man 
who had brought in the announcement of the arrival of 
the enemy. "I'm mighty glad my three months is up." 

"So am I," replied Tom. 

"We won't enlist again, will we, Tom?" 

"Not in the same company nor regiment if I find out 
which one you're going to join." 

While he talked Tom's eyes were fastened upon the 
advancing enemy. 

"There he comes," cried Dick. 

"Well, keep cool about it. Don't aim higher than his 
chest." 

The report of the musket had scarcely sounded when 
the Johnnie jumped into the air — a sure indication of a 
mortal wound — then fell in a convulsive heap on the 
ground. 

Instantly, with a shout of rage and defiance, half a dozen 
of the stricken man's companions rushed from their con- 
cealment in the bushes. 

"Now then — all together — don't waste any shots! 
Load and fire as rapidly as you can!" 

The men in the stockade poured in a volley, and two 
more Johnnies fell. Dick had reloaded b^' this time and 
his second shot fetched a fourth. The remaining three 
lied. 

This happened on a Sundaj', just seven days before the 
first battle of Bull Run. The regiment to which the 
Clayton Volunteers had been assigned as Company "A," 
had spent two out of the three months for which they 
were enlisted in and about Washington, drilling, help- 
ing to build forts, etc. In the latter part of June they 
were sent to the Virginia side of the Potomac, and about 
two weeks before the occurrence of which* we have seen 



GOD'S WAR. 67 

the beginniug Tom had been sent with a party of ten 
under command of Sergeant Kellogg — Nat — ^to guard 
the bridge upon which the railway crossed a small stream. 

The lay of the ground was such that it was hard to get 
accommodations for his men; Avhich led Nat to construct 
what was perhaps the first bridge stockade built during 
the war. The railroad wound arouud a steep hill facing 
south. The bridge was at the west end of the hill, which, 
almost up to the stream, had been dug down to make a 
roadbed. South of the road lay an immense ravine, 
receding sharply from the embankment which was stayed 
hy a rude stone wail. On the west side of the stream the 
road trended southward through a deep cut, and it was 
in this cut that the enemy had been discovered by the 
guard as he lazily lounged across the structure. 

Nat did not flatter himself that he was born for a sol- 
dier nor anything else in particular but a pretty good 
blacksmith, but he soon realized that if he got a comfor- 
table place for quarters he would have to dig it out of the 
side of the hill. He found a spot within fifty yards of 
the bridge, where a huge shelf of rock projected about 
eight feet above the level of the roadway, and here he dug- 
out a sort of a cave large enough to accommodate his 
men. The stone above formed a good roof, and the thing 
was comfortable enough except in the afternoon, when 
the hot sun gave them great annoyance. After enduring 
it for a day or two Nat finally concluded to put a front 
to his cave. A wrecked freight car lying half a mile off 
furnished the lumber, which he utilized by driving posts 
into the ground, two together but just far enough apart 
to admit his boards edgewise. He had no nails, nothing 
but a hatchet and an ax. 

When he had i)ut up the "face" of his cave his men 
made a roof of green boughs, which hung over and soon 
became withered and browned by the sun. The boards 
were already innnted a reddish brown, and similar in 
color to the clay of the hillside, so that one might pass 
very near to the place without observing the habitation. 
From the bridge a stranger would be pretty sure not t- 
see it. A door had been wrenched from the car an I 
placed inside the hut, ov Hiockade, or cave—the reador 
way call it whatever he yhouses. 



68 god's war. 

This was very comfortable and was much enjoyed for 
a da3' or two. The duty of guardiug the bridge was per- 
formed in a most perfunctory way, and as there was no 
drilling nor fatigue duty to do the boy.s cuugratulated 
themselves on their good luck. 

You smile, you grizzled old warrior, at such soldiering 
as this! But you must remember that this was very earl.y 
in the war, when our volunteers were picnicking, so to 
speak. They learned very rapidly during the next year 
or two. Up to this time, however, experience in earnest 
war had taught them very little. For one thing, for ex- 
ample, they had an exceedingly strong notion that they 
would crush the rebellion in the ver^' first battle they got 
into; and their notion of how they should tight that bat- 
tle was just as crude as ^-ou could expect from an army 
of lawj'ers and judges and doctors and preachers and 
painters and farmers and carpenters and shoemakers and 
blacksmiths, who had never smelled powder. 

One da.y, however, an idea seemed to strike Sergeant 
Kellogg. He and Corporal Bailey had climbed the hill 
west of the stream and were lying in the shade of a tree, 
looking idly down at the bridge. 

"I've just been thinking, Tom " 

"Don't do it! You're getting no pay for it. You're 
paid only for fighting — and for the amount you've done 
I'm of the opinion that you've been overpaid." 

"There, there; listen to me! That's what I've been 
thinking about. Now, what were we sent here for?" 

Tom looked at him with an expression of indolent in- 
quiry. 

"That's the question," added Nat. 

"Why, to guard the bridge, I reckon — I haven't seen 
your orders." 

"That's what they saj'." 

"Well?" 

"Well, it's just struck mo that we would guard this 
bridge like the old woman kept tavern in Indiana if any 
Johnnies should attack it." 

Tom grew interested— just a little bit. 

"Do 3'ou expect them to attack it?" 

"Well, I should scarcely thiuk they'd i&ut us here if 
they didn't think that they might attack it." 



GOD'S WAR. 69 

•'That's SO." 

"I've been thinking that if the Johnnies should coino 

in any force we wouldn't be more'n a half a bite for 

•era!'' 
"That would depend on how long we would last." 
"Exactly. And how long: would we last if wo had to 

stand out there — for we've got to defend the bridge — and 

let the Johnnies stay up here in the bushes and shoot at 

usV" 

"We could flank them — that's military." 

"Yes, and raise thunder! While we were gallivantin' 

around, flankin' and cutting all them military frills, 

they'd burn the bridge!" 

"That's so! Well, what are you going to do about it?" 

"That's what I've been thinking about." 

A brief pause followed, during which Tom chewed the 

stems of the long timothy grass and Nat was buried in 

profound thought, his brows knitted and his eyes fixed 

on the scene below. 

"Tom, what would you call that thing down there?" 
"What thing?" asked Tom, rising quickly on his elbow. 
"Why the thing we live in." 
"Oh," said Tom, falling back into the grass with an 

air of relief. "Why, that's a — a — why that's a she- 
bang!" 

"Very well. Now we've got to fix up the shebang so 

that we can fight in it." 
"How?" 
"Cut some holes in her and fix up the door so we can 

shut her up." 

"Sergeant Kellogg, you're a smart man — almost smart 

enough to be a second lieutenant. If you keep on I'll 

recommend you for promotion!" 

"Come on," answered Nat, "we've no time to lose." 

"W^hy? Do you see any Johnnies coming?" 

"No, nor I don't want to till I get the shebang fixed 

up so's we can entertain them when they call." 

The detail had to work like beavers for the next 
twenty-four hours, but at last, with the thickness of the 
board front doubled, holes cut for muskets and the door 
arranged so that it could be closed and barred, the she- 



70 god's war. 

bang: bad heen converted iiito a jnetty good sort of a 
stockade. An opening at tho east side, furthest from 
the bridi-^o, gave aini^le liKht. 

He had ycaroely i^ot his defenses coniiiit:ted when Nat 
was ordered back to the regiment, ten miles in the rear, 
and Tom v^- as left in command. So lung- as Nat was pres- 
ent Tom was very careless and took life easy like a major 
with the colonel and lieutenant-colonel present for duty. 

So soon, however, as the responsibility of the post de- 
volved on him he became watchful and alert. The at- 
tack found him ready. He knew that if there really was 
a regiment of Johnnies it would be a question of time 
only, and that unless a train happened along he would be 
overpowered sooner or later. But he meant to fight as 
long as he could. That was about the clearest impres- 
sion he had in the premises. 

His effort at repelling the advance on the bridge had 
been so successful and bloody for a small affair that the 
enemy rested in concealment for some little time. They 
had met with so warm a reception that they had con- 
cluded to consult over the matter before making a second 
essay. It behooved them to think. They had expected 
to meet nothing more formidable than a corporal's guard. 
The vigor of their repulse was as if it came from a reg- 
iment. Tom watched from his shebang with great 
anxiety for their reappearance and thanked God for 
every moment's delay; feeling that it brought his train 
with succor that much nearer. 

At last a bugle-call was heard from near the enemy's 
position and three men — an officer, a soldier bearing a 
handkerchief on a staff, and a bugler cautiously emerged 
from the cut at the west end of the bridge. The3' were 
without arms. 

"A flag of truce," said Tom. "They want to talk it 
over. ' ' 

"Don't 3'ou go out there — they might hurt you." 

"Ob, no, they won't — not under a flag of truce. Aleck, 
I leave you in command. Keep a sljarp eye on them, 
and if they do try to play me any games do what you can 
to help me." 

"All right— but be careful!"' ♦ 



god's war. 71 

"I will," answered Tom, as be stftppocl out and slipped 
dovvu the steep bill to the bridge. Tbe bearers of the 
flag advauced to meet bim, bnltiug midway of tbe bridge. 

"I have come from Colonel Harding to demand tbe 
tiurrender of your garrison, sir. I am a captain, sir, 
:uul it is scarcely a fair return of our courtesy that your 
tiommanding officer sends out a corporal to meet me." 

"You are mistaken, sir," said Tom, with dignity and 
yet a gentle air of bumor, "we ougbt to complain if any 
complaint is to be made, since tbe commanding officer 
of our forces comes in person to meet you." 

"Do you mean that you are in command?" 

"I do." 

"Well, sir, I have but few words to say, sir. I sum- 
mon you to surrender at once." 

"And I bave fewer to answer. We won't do it." 

"Won't surrender?" 

"Not any." 

"This is no time for braggadocio." 

"I've no intention of bragging." 

"Why, sir, we bave a thousand men here." 

"So I have been told." 

"You can't hold out against us. " 

"I'll try it." 

"Why, we can eat you up." 

"Yes?" 

"It will be hopeless to attempt to resist." 

"Still, I will attempt it. I bave some pretty good men 
under my command, and I assure you you won't get this 
bridge without fighting for it." 

"We must have the bridge, and we will!" 

"Not without paying for it." 

"I warn you that if you persist in your foolish resist- 
ance you will be given no mercy — if you surrender now 
we will parole you and let you go home — if you resist we 
will show you no quarter." 

"I don't ask any, sir. It is useless to waste words. 
I was ordered to defend this bridge and I'll do it so long 
as I have a round of ammunition and a man to handle a 
musket. I don't know much about soldiering, but I 
know that muchl" 



72 GOD'S WAR. 

"You are a brave man — or boy — and I'na sorry for 
you." 

"Don't mention it, I beg! Have you anything more 

to 883'?" 

"Nothing." 

"Then we may a.s well return to our friends, I reckon." 

"Are there many such men as you in your army?" 

"I hope we have but few who are not better men." 

"It is an honor to fight such men I" 

"We will try to be worthj' of your good opinion." 

"Good-by, sir." 

"Good-by." 

And shaking hands cordially they separated, each re- 
turning to his command. 

"Now then, boys," said Tom, "the fighting begins in 
earnest! Take care that every shot counts and don't give 
up till I say the word!" 

The men took their places, drawing coolness from their 
leader, till .vou would have thought them veterans. 

"What did they want?" asked Dick. 

"They wanted us to surrender." 

"Surrender? Before we'd had a fight?" asked Aleck 
incredulously. 

"Precisely." 

"Well, that was mighty cheeky!" 

"You was an infernal fool not to do it," whined Hil- 
man, the coward who had first given notice of the 
presence of the enemy. 

"If I hear another word out of you I'll put you out- 
side to draw their fire!" said Tom fiercely'. "Get back 
there out of the way and keep still!" 

"Here they come!" shouted Dick. 

This time they came to the number of a score and 
without paying any heed to Tom and his men they de- 
voted all their energies to an attempt to fire the bridge. 

The little band in the shebang opened fire with great 
coolness and deadly effect. Still the Johnnies stuck to 
their work, a new man stepping forward to take the 
place of every one that was stricken. In a very few 
minutes smoke began to ascend from the west end of the 
bridge. . 



god's war. 73 

"They've got her started!" shouted Dick. "Hadn't 
we better go out and charge them?" 

"No — then they will have us. They are too many for 
us, man to man, with cold steel. This is the best place 
to do effective work." 

Tom had scarceb* ceased speaking when a ragged roar, 
like the rending of a mighty sail, was heard and simul- 
taneously a shower of balls pattered on the hillside and 
all around, above and below them. 

"They are up on the hill!" screamed one of the men, 
suddenly growing frantic with excitement. 

"I don't care if they are," said Tom. "Keep cool, 
nobody's hurt yet! Fire on the fellows at the bridge — 
leave the fellows on the hill alone. Now then — give it 
to 'em!" 

The Johnnies had climbed the hill south of the cut and 
were firing like demons. 

"I'm afraid the bridge is gone," said Tom. 

"See them crossing the bridge!" 

Sure enough! A hundred of them at least were hur- 
rying over the bridge, with the evident purpose of 
storming the shebang. 

"Give it to 'em!" yelled Tom. "They shan't all get 
here, anyhow!" 

He realized that the supreme moment had come at last, 
as did his men, and they nerved themselves to die like 
men. The Johnnies came swarming up the hill yelling 
like devils, when just as they were at the threshold of the 
shebang the scream of a bugle mingled with the shriek of 
a locomotive was heard and as their comrades disap- 
peared from the hilltop beyond, those in Tom's front 
tumbled to the track and sought refuge as best the}' 
might. But some were crushed by the engine, while 
others were shot down by the soldiers on the train as it 
rushed over the bridge and stopped in the cut whence 
came the confused roar of instant, bitter carnage. 

"The buckets!" cried Tom so soon as his front was 
cleared ; and with his men in a few moments he had 
water from the stream upon the burning timbers. So 
soon as he had extinguished the flames he returned to 
the sbfbang. 



74 god's war. 

The first sight that met his eyes was the dead body of 
Hilman. The poor wretch in seeking safety had found 
danger in the back part of the cave, where a glancing 
shot had given him his death — the only loss to Corporal 
Tom's command. 

In another moment Nat and Miles were at his side. It 
was his own regiment on the train, en route to Manasses 
Junction; and they took him and his men along with 
them, leaving to others the duty of guarding the bridge. 

It was the first time that any of the regiment had been 
under fire. And if Tom's eyes glowed with gratification 
when he was complimented on all hands, and by the 
general commanding the division in a published order in 
which his exploit was set forth, who shall blame him? 
Or Miles for sending home to Margaret Henderson a copy 
of a Washington paper containing an elaborate if highly 
colored account of the affair? "Was it not a generous and 
manly thing? 

For Miles had guessed that the woman he loved was 
equally dear to his first corporal. 



god's war. 76 



CHAPTER VIIL 

A STRANGE THING HAPPENS IN CLAYTON. 

And now a strange thing happened in Clayton. 

Aunt Nan was coming home from a visit to a sick 
neighbor and she got the news from a small boy. With- 
out pausing to think, she went ^vith it at once to Susie. 
The little woman was sitting in a low rocking chair with 
Rosy at her fair, bountiful breast, and her eyes were 
filled with a far-away look; as well they might be, for 
she was looking at Nat, away off down South there, per- 
haps wounded and dying at this very moment. She 
sprang to her feet. 

"Aunt Nan!" 

It was almost a shriek, for the old woman's sallow face 
held the horror of an awful message. 

"There's been a battle, honey, down in Virginia!" 

"And Nat?" 

"I dont know, honey, I didnt hear." 

And as the poor, trembling little mother stood there 
holding her child to her breast where it drank life in its 
sleep. Aunt Nan gave her the news she got from the boy. 

A great battle had been fought near Washington in 
Virginia. The rebels had an overwhelming force and they 
had whipped the Union armj' terribly. What few were 
not killed outright had thrown down their arms and fled, 
hunted by "Louisiana Tigers," "The Black Horse Cav- 
alry," "The Texas Rangers," and other organizations 
with terror-breeding names, made up of wild, desperate 
men who were known to be athiched to the rebel army at 
Manassas. Only a few of the Union soldiers had escaped 
with their lives. 

This was the story, in brief, that Aunt Nan, having it 
from the boy, had repeated to poor little Susie. Before 



76 god's war. 

she concluded it Snsie sank down upon the haircloth 
«ofa where she sat, her eyes growing hollower each sec- 
ond, as if she were dying. Then she handed the child 
without a word, to the old woman, rearranged her dress 
and put on her wide-brimmed straw hat. She was 
trembling and almost tottering. 

"Where are you going?" 

"Down to the judge's. Maybe — maybe — I don't know 
— but I'm going there " 

If Nat could only have been there to have stayed with 
his big, strong hands her trembling little lingers, which 
went wandering over her dress front and toyed with the 
strings to her hat and seemed to linger longest on the 
brooch which fastened her collar, and which contained 
his hair, although clearly the motion was involuntary 
and she was not thinking of that! If he could have 
ended that distresjs then and there and brought peace 
and comfort back to that loving heart he would have done 
enough for one man's lifetime! 

But Nat wasn't there. He was very far away — heaven 
knew whether he was even living or not. Oh, the thou- 
sand pictures of her brave husband that sprang into her 
mind in that short minute! 

Lying dead — stark, cold and bloody, Avith his dear 
face cloven by a blow from the saber of one of those 
dreadful, inhuman rebels ; they had been barbarous with 
slaves all their lives and would think nothing of killing 
a man ! 



Groaning on the field, trampled by fierce horses, suffer- 
ing agonizing pains, with cold and deathly sweat on his 
brow, and no one near to do him the simplest act of 
God's charity! 

A prisoner, in the hands of the brutal enemy, who, it 
might be, would torture him as the Indians used to tor- 
ture their captives! 

Helpless in a hospital, his ears filled with the cries 
and groans of the wounded under the hands of the sur- 
geons, shrieking as the keen knives cut into them or the 
bloody saws gnawed their bones! 

Pursued by infuriated human bloodhounds and flying 
—but, no! Nat would never form a part of any such pic- 
ture as that ! 



GOD'S WAR. 77 

And the thought heartened her up a bit. 

"Aunt Nan, lie may be dead, or he may be wounded 
or a prisoner, but Nat would never throw down his gun 
and run away!" 

"No, indeed, he wouldn't, honey! Maybe it would 
be better for him if he would! But he won't never turn 
his back to no man, even if he was the biggest rebel in 
all South Car'liny!" 

The men of the North may have doubted it at times, 
but the women and children knew that without question 
the rebels in South Carolina were only approached in 
natural ferocit.y akin to that of a wild beast by those of 
Louisiana and Texas. They had terrible attributes and 
would probably think little of eating human flesh, even 
if the notion should strike them that by so doing they 
would add a pang to the fears or sufferings of their 
enemies. 

"I'm going to the. judge's," repeated Susie, somewhat 
vacantly. 

"Go along, an' don't worry. I'll take care of the 
children. " 

Oh, yes, the children! She felt a little hand grasp her 
skirts to stay the unsteady swaying of a little figure and 
looking down Susie gave a cry of joy, for there were Nat's 
dear eyes smiling up at her! It is true they were in 
little Dick's curly head, but they were Nat's eyes, and 
they brought her Nat's message all the same. And she 
stooped and strained the little fellow to her heart and 
drew wonderful strength and comfort from him. Then 
she ^rose quickly and went swiftlj- toward the judge's 
house. 

It was in the air! 

Five minutes had not elapsed since Aunt Nan and the 
small boy had held their solitary converse in the de- 
serted street, and noAv the footwaj's were filled with 
silent, flitting figures. It was not necessary for Susie 
to wonder whether they had heard the news. Although 
none of them spoke with their tongues they cried aloud 
their intense feeling in the gait with which thej' walked. 
And as she passed along men drew back quietly and re- 
spectfully, as they would at a funeral, to give her room. 



T8 cod's war. 

"Poor Nat! Dead, maybe by this time. He was a 
good fellow, if be was a little rough!" And they fell to 
suruming up his virtues, according to the blessed way of 
the world, in bubdued tones. 

Margaret Henderson was sitting at the low window 
from which you might step on the lawn if it were not for 
the wild brier rosebush that would prick you. The 
maiden was idly dreaming with the Ladies' Repository 
in her la)). The judge was taking a comfortable after- 
dinner nap on the roomy lounge in the wide hall, twenty 
feet away. The house was quiet and perfect repose and 
silence reigned, save for the loud ticking of the tall old 
clock on the lauding at the head of the stairs. What was 
Margaret thinking about? 

Do you need to ask when you see her rise so quicklj', 
as Susie clicked the latch of the gate, and pass so swiftly 
and noiselessly out to meet her? You are dull eyed, too, 
if you cannot see that she has grown paler. 

"Oh, Margaret, there's been a dreadful battle, and of 
course the regiment must have been in it, for it was in 
Virginia, right where they were when Nat wrote me 
last " 

You are filling your soft, white palms with thorns, my 
child, and the blood from your wounds is staining the 
rose leaves! 

"And is — is — have you heard " 

"Oh, Margaret, Margaret, I don't know whether Nat 
is dead or alive! But I do know that he didn't run like 
they say they all did!" 

Ah! Margaret remembers now. She rallies her senses 
She had nearly betrayed herself, but now she is calm. 

"Of course he didn't! Who would dare say such a 
thing of Nat? Come, Susie," and she drew her to the 
bench under the apple tree whose sweeping boughs hid 
them from the street, and heard the terrible story in full. 

Whose face is it that Margaret sees, pale and cold and 
trampled with cruel hoofprints into ihe bruised grass 
and dull clay ? Whose groan of agonj' falls upon her ear? 
Whose bright blood wells from an awful gaping wound? 
Who is it, with high courage and will, and strength is 
daring Death as he faces the wicked foe and stems the 



god's war. 79 

wild, shameful retreat? Whose face is this, haudsoine 
aud godlike, that is ever before the maiden's eyes as she 
hears the story Susie is tellicg witli a tongue so dry that 
it will scarcely perform its functions? Is it yours. Miles 
Bancroft? 

Or my poor, poor Tom; my bright, chivalric, brave 
boy, is it yours? Do you thank God in the unreasoning 
and all daring hopefulness of generous youth that you 
don't know? You ought to! 

What has become of all this stoicism that Clayton has 
taught her children and of which they have been so 
proud? What shameful weakness! Would anything less 
than the rude shocks of war batter it down as the guns 
yonder batter down the strong walls of the fort? If 
nothing less would do it let us thank Heaven that at least 
there is this good gotten out of this calamity. 

Susie has fallen into Margaret's arms and together 
they are weeping bitterly. They will feel all the better 
for it presently. 

And it did them good, and when it had spent its force 
and they were calmer they rose up and went toward the 
house to wake the old man, who was sleeping uneasily 
there under his red bandanna handkerchief ; but as they 
drew near the door the clang of the bell broke the silence. 
They stopped and looked at each other as if the mere 
sound brought the confirmation of their fears. The slow, 
dull peal was full of meaning ; a very different meaning 
than it had when Nat's strong thews were ringing Clayton 
patriotism to arms. This time it was tolled slowly and 
solemnly and mournfully. 

"What is the bell ringing for, Margaret? And why do 
they ring it so slowly?" 

The judge had been asleep, bear in mind, and who 
knows what he had been dreaming of? 

"There is dreadful news, father. Susie has just told 
me of it. There has been an awful battle fought down 
in Virginia before Washington, and the Union forces 
have been whipped and what few of them were not killed 
or captured threw down their arms aud fled in a shameful 
panic." 



so GOD^S WAR. 

The judge rose from his couch and listened to the story 
amazed, breathless and almost stunned. The Union army 
whipped, throwing down its arms and flying panic 
stricken? What, in God's name, did it mean? Was it 
true then that the South had rated the manhood of the 
North properly? What was to become of the countrj- ? 
Was God asleep and would He permit such a calamity' as 
the triumph of the ISouth would be? He had never 
dreamed of such a thing! 

Would it be possible for the North to rally from such 
a shock? 

Possible! It ??ii/s/ rally ! This awful reverse must not 
be permitted to be conclusive if even he himself had to 
shoulder a musket and oppose the dried marrow of his 
old bones to the insolence of these unholy victors? What 
was this vision of long years of bloodshed and devastation 
that rose UI1 before him? He had thought the struggle 
would be but a brief one, but now — he glanced at the 
two women gazing at him with childlike appeal in their 
dewy eyes. He saw the pain in Susie's face, and with a 
father's compassion he said, as if involuntarily : 

"My poor child! My heart bleeds for you!" 

The blood rushed to Margaret's face. He knew her 
secret, she thought, and although he had never before 
said a word to her, his quick, warm heart could not resist 
the anxiety he must know consumed her! 

"You are grieving for your husband and fearing all 
evil for him," and he took Susie's hand with such fatherly 
tenderness as brought the tears afresh to her eyes. "But 
keep up 3'our courage! It may be all right with him. 
We cannot tell. We will soon know," and he hands her 
to a seat with gentle kindliness, repeating almost incoher- 
ently his reassurances. 

And Margaret? How suddenly and cruelly was she 
undeceived. The color fled almost as quickly as it had 
come. And then she felt a cold sickness at her heart as 
she walked to the window and looked out into the July 
sunlight and felt that even if the worst should come she 
was shut out from all sympathy. Others could have 
friendly hands to hold them up and h^lp them to bear 
their heavy burdens, but she must go alone and not even 



god's war. 81 

have the privilege of claiming an equal interest in the 
fortunes of the time. And there was no help for it. 
Very well. She would not repine. Indeed she could 
not. 

"Come, let us go," said the old man after a few 
moments' thought, and without further words the three 
took their waj' to the courthouse, toward which all the 
people in the village were bending their steps as the 
solemn bell still called them. 

There was no written law for this. The village council 
had never passed an ordinance providing that in time of 
war tbe people should, at the ringing of the bell, assem- 
ble at the courthouse to take counsel together. But since 
the April day when Nat had assumed the leadership it 
was as well understood as if it had been proclaimed with 
all the impressiveness of a law duly enacted and pub- 
lished. 

And as the people entered the building they silently 
tiled into the seats and benches and sat with a solemn 
stillness that was broken now and then only by the sup- 
pressed sobbing of a woman grieving over her fears, or 
the short, dry cough of a man, as if he had arrived at 
that point in his thoughts when it became necessary for 
him to stop and collect himself that he might go on with 
the subject decently and in order. 

Outside, the sun began to decline slowly toward the 
west, and the birds waking from their heat-of-the-day 
nap began to flit about and fill the air with songs, v/hile 
a light breeze came quietly rustling the leaves of the 
locusts and elms which, filled with glancing light, stood 
by the open windows. 

At last the bell ceased its doleful tolling and an added 
hush fell upon the people, like that in church at a 
funei'al. No one thought of asking himself what was to 
be done now that all were gathered together. They were 
there together, where they could look into each other's 
faces and unite in supporting individual woes, if such 
woes as they faced could be called individual — were 
aught else than public calamities. The fear that Nat 
Kellogg or John Hendley had been killed in battle was 
no less their concern than it wag that ol Susie or Rebecca 



82 god's war. 

Hendley, the young judge's wife. And the timid mother 
of that ne'er-do-well, Aleck Anderson, the unassuming 
old woman who had lost caste because her wild son had 
involved himself in iietty neighborhood disgrace, was 
given place and consideration that afternoon as the woman 
who had brought a hero and a patriot into the world. 

The preliminary clearing of his throat gave notice that 
Father Goodman was about to open the exercises of tho 
meeting, whatever they might prove to be, and with one 
consent, unbidden, the throng rose and stood with bent 
heads. They were before their God, and to Him, 
stretching forth his hands over the stricken i^eople, the 
parson brought their griefs. 

"Before Thee stand all the nations and the people 
thereof, and their lives and their works are in Thy hands. 
We are but as sparrows, and yet Thou dost note the 
fall of the bird to the ground. "We have striven with 
much weakness and feebleness but, oh, God, with no in- 
firmity of purpose, to keep Thy laws and to live after Thy 
commandments. AVhen we thought that Thou didst call 
us to go forth against the enemies of Thy truth, our 
young men and our strong men, our fathers, husbands, 
brothers and friends, hastened to obej' the summons. 
Our hearts were torn at parting with them and our dreams 
have been filled with visions of evil come upon them. 
But we have never doubted that we heard Thy voice 
aright, and we have never swerved from our determina- 
tion to do Thy will, even though we drink of the bitter 
waters and our streets are filled with the moans of those 
whose loved ones have perished in Thy cause. Thou 
doest all things well, and we come, oh, our Father, while 
our lips are white and almost dumb with the horror of 
the tidings that have reached us, and all the more awful 
because they are vague and not plain and open, while 
our hearts are wrung and torn with anguish we come to 
say again to Thee that Thou doest all things well, and 
that as Thy children we bow to Thy will, which our faith 
assures us is loving kind toward us, although Thy clouds 
are thick about us. If an}' of our loved ones have fallen 
in death thej' are beyond our prayers — our hope is that 
ill the pious fervor and courage with which the.y went 



god's war. sr{ 

forth to do Thy will even unto death, they xviped out 
from the book of Thy renienibrauce all evidences of their 
sins and shortcomings. And oh, most just God, if it be 
sin that we believe that this is so, be not angry with us 
— for we do believe it!" 

Strive ai he did, perhaps, the old man could not re- 
strain an almost defiant ring to his voice and he fairly 
trembled as a fervent "Amen !" burst from the people. 
His tone grew more subdued, but his manner was no less 
earnest as he went on : 

"If our dear ones are lying stricken with wounds, be 
with them, we beseech Thee. Give them patience under 
their afflictions and bring them again to speedj' health, 
that the3' may live nobler lives in Thy service. And 
upon these gathered here together, and in this village, 
and throughout all this broad land who are sorrowing 
and whose hearts are bursting with grief and apprehen- 
sion — upon them and upon us we pray that Thou wilt 
look in pity and with tender love. Lift up our hearts 
and heal us with glad tidings of the safety of our friends 
and loved ones if it be possible. But if it be otherwise 
give us strength to bear with Christian resignation what- 
ever woe Thy love shall lay upon us. 

"Sinners as we are, weak and erring, we claim our 
birthright; we are Thy children, and we will bless Thy 
holy name forever! All our trust is in Thee!" 

There was a firmer beat to every heart when the old 
preacher had made an end of his praj'er. He had led the 
people up and placed their feet upon the firm rock. They 
raised their heads with increased courage and calujness. 
After a moment's pause the judge rose and by force of 
liabit, it may be, took his place at the bench. A glance 
:it his face was a confirmation of the strength the preacher 
had given. 

"My friends," he began in his guarded wa,v, "we have 
had to-day sad news. Sad, first, because it seems to 
threaten evil to our beloved country, and secondly, be- 
cause it portends hurt and harm to those who have gone 
from among us to fight against a wicked and unholy 
attempt to destroy the republic. I confess that the first 
impression is one of dismay and humiliation. We had 



84 god's war. 

countod on something different. Notwithstanding the 
boasts of the Secessionists, we felt hero that the man- 
hood of our own people would be more than equal to the 
test to which it would be put. Our news brings us deep 
chagrin. The Union army has been defeated; and re- 
port says that such of our solditns as were not disabled 
fled in a panic, throwing away their arms with a shame- 
less desire to rid themselves of all that would impede 
their flight. This is bitter news. All in all it is too 
early yet to understand its full signiticance, perhaps. 

"It may excite a smile if I should say to j'ou that this 
news has suddenly convinced me that the nation has 
entered upon a struggle that will last longer and be much 
more bloody and disastrous than I had anticipated. We 
may have ignorantly belittled our enemy. "We have for- 
gotten that the Southern people are, after all, bone of our 
bone and flesh of our flesh — Americans. Then let us 
learn from this news that we must gird ourselves and 
prepare for a great war. 

"I have no fear nor doubt as to the result. Our cause 
is God's cause. We cannot err as to that. And we must 
win. The manhood of those who went from our midst 
a few weeks ago has been built up among us, and we 
cannot doubt it. The recent disaster I know did not 
come about through the cowardice of our friends, and 
when we remember that the people of Clayton are like 
the people of the thousands of towns throughout the 
North and reflect that these towns sent their brave men 
as we sent ours to make up that array, how can we resist 
the conclusion that that army is an army of heroes and 
not of cowards; that by some mismanagement or error 
likely to happen and naturally to be expected from a 
people almost wholly unused to war our army was thrown 
into confusion, and thus the day was lost? No, no! The 
Clayton Volunteers are not cowards. The men in the 
Union army are not cowards, and the time and the place 
will serve before we are through with this war when they 
will demonstrate that they are not." 

The suppressed tire that was burning within the old 
judge burst forth and kindled every hearer. 

"We must win, if we all have to ealist! Get ready! 



god's war. 85 

More soldiers will be needed! Put your houses in 
order, as I will mine, to go if the need comes. I'm an 
old man, but not too old to fight for my country and 
against the accursed institution of slavery ! 

"Let our women be strong. They are the super- 
structure upon which we build, after all. The influence 
of woman is the most potent in the world after that of 
God Himself; and it molds men. Let them not yield to 
the fears with regard to our friends in the army that 
have naturally come upon them. Our volunteers may 
not have suffered greatly, although I know thej' were in 
the fight if they could get there ! If they have suffered 
our women must give us the example of heroic fortitude 
and endurance with which woman in all times has nerved 
the heart of man in the hour of need!" 

It was Sunday, it is true, and the inhabitants of the 
village of Clayton were strongly religious, but they sent 
up such a cheer after the judge's speech, of which I have 
been able to give only the dry husks, as rent the heavens. 

And the parson joined in. 

And the people went to their homes strengthened and 
encouraged, and put their houses in order as the judge 
had advised; and upon the first opportunity Clayton 
sent more of her strong men to the army. 

Now, is it not strange that while Clayton had heard 
the news of the battle of Bull Eun, in all essentials true 
in outline as to that battle, it heard it precisely one week 
before it was fought, viz. : on Sunday, July 14, 1861, the 
very day that Corporal Tom made such a gallant de- 
fense of Bartlett's bridge? Where the report came from 
or how it originated no one knew, nor does any one know 
to this day. 

And at the moment that Susie was drawing such com- 
fort and strength from little Dick, as she strained him to 
her heart, Nat was wringing Tom's hand aud congratu- 
lating him upon the brave fight he had made. 



86 god's war. 



CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT THE VAGABOKD WINDS HEARD. 

Early in the evening the camp was a babel of all man- 
ner of sounds, -which were caught ou the evening winds 
and softly carried away, beyond the guards and the 
pickets, out into that vague, mysterious distance in the 
depths of which the enemy lay, grim and defiant. Be- 
ginning at the rear where the wagons were, with the 
neighing of horses, the song of the teamsters, the clank 
of chains and the rattle of wagons, it went along toward 
the white tents and bright fires where the soldiers were, 
gathering the clinking of pots and pans, the bai'king of 
an occasional dog, the hee-haw of a mule, the squeaking 
of a fiddle, the snorting blasts blown hy a practicing 
bugler, the laughter of careless men seated in their tents 
or lying in the grass of the parade ground, telling stories, 
cracking jokes and amusing themselves as if the3' were 
on a frolic. There was the humming of men's voices to 
furnish the body to which the other sounds were a garn- 
ishment. Occasionally the dull thump of horses' hoofs, 
accompanied by the rattling of harness and a heavy 
rumbling gave notice that batteries of artillery were 
being shifted about from one part of the field to the 
other; and the whistling of locomotives, subdued and 
mufSed by the distance which scarcely permitted the 
faintest echo of the roar of railway trains, testified that 
fresh troops and supplies were reaching the front. A 
ragged volley of cheers once in awhile canje floating up 
from the rear to say that a new regiment, very much 
fatigued but full of enthusiasm, was on hand to share the 
fortunes of the monow. The camp guards were kept 
busy to restrain the wandering propensities of the men, 
and the sharp "Halt! halt!" fell u])on the ear with a flat 



god's war. 87 

lack of resonance like the patter of heavy, detached rain 
drops upon the leaves that herald the coming of a sudden 
summer shower. The sutler's shops were thronged with 
laughing, talkative men in shabbj-, carelessly worn uni- 
forms, who paid three prices for little luxuries wholly 
unnecessary, if not absolutely harmful, with the pro- 
verbial recklessness of soldiers. Bursts of laughter came 
from detached groups sitting apart in the darkness, and 
sometimes seriously talking heroes in groups of two or 
thi'ee might have been stumbled upon, grave and low 
voiced, trading messages for loved ones at home, steadily 
and manfully looking the morrow with all its chances in 
the eye. 

At headquarters the tents were luminous, and seemed 
from a short distance like filmy creations of palpitating 
light held to the earth mysteriously by black lines which 
were of spider-web delicacy or broader and darker as they 
happened to be ropes or poles. A line of horses saddled 
and bridled stood in front of the long row of tents and 
active orderlies summoned by short, sharp calls were 
constantly darting into the glowing cones and out again 
and mounting steeds and plunging off into the darkness 
with haste and a free rein. And as they went they also 
momentarily came; dismounting with much jingling of 
spurs and clanking of sabers to present their receipts or 
replies; so that the number was never diminished. 
Within the tents anxious brains were puzzling over prob- 
lems connected with the disposition of regiments and 
batteries and brigades and divisions and, alas, ambu- 
lances and hospital tents; and coming to conclusions 
which were rapidly being crystallized into words and 
given to waiting staff officers and clerks to be put into 
orders ; and the pen scratched wearily the whole night 
through in behalf of the sword — the master serving the 
servant.. 

And there was one brain that knew no rest and one 
head that was filled with the anxiety of responsibility in 
the ^jremises, where thousands of lives and who could 
tell? it might be the destiuies of millions of people de- 
pended upon his wisdom and courage and skill! And of 
the thousands of men this one made the least noise! 



88 god's war. 

And all at once, added to the other turmoil, came first 
the silvery tone of a solitary bugle and then the ringing 
blasts from hundreds, and then the tap, tap of the drums 
preceding the rattling thunder of tattoo. Before the 
reverberations had died out a new apparent confusion 
arose as thousands of men in company formation were, 
each for himself, answering "here!" to the loud mo- 
notonous calling of the roll. And now the noise was at its 
height. 

And the evening wind still carried it out beyond the 
guards and the pickets till it reached the lowering front 
of that vague mystery behind which the enemy lay, and 
there it halted and temporized and faded away into the 
dewy darkness like a vaporing bully who suddenly col- 
lapses when confronted by the foe he has been so noisily 
seeking. 

Ah ! there were secrets behind that vagueness Avhose 
mystery was enough to appal something stouter hearted 
and stronger limbed than a wandering babel of noise 
borne upon the vagabond winds of the stealthy, shadowy 
night!" 

They came near to appalling Tom himself as he prowled 
noiselessly along the front of the foe, vainly trying to 
pierce the shades and discover something. He had no 
business there and went in pursuance of an idle inclina- 
tion, which he could not have explained had he been 
summoned to do so. A friend in charge of a picket post 
had yielded to his importunities and, giving him the 
countersign, had allowed him to go beyond the lines. 

For some time Tom saw nothing to reward him as he 
crept up and down in front of the enemy, but he was at 
least away from the annoyances of camp, and his thoughts 
were a curious jumble, in which Margaret Henderson and 
the enemy, whose position he was trying to scan, and 
the dread probabilities of the morrow, with an occasional 
I'ecollection of how poor Hilraan looked lying dead in the 
shebang; and Margaret again, and Miles Bancroft, with 
his distorted face and wild, passionate pleadings on that 
April afternoon, and the trend of the slope off to the 
right toward the row of low bushy trees along the coun- 
try lane, beyond which was an expanse jof dense, impene- 



GOD^S WAR. 80 

trable thicket, and a thousand otber tbings ^^ere strangely 
intermingled. And he began to chide himself musingly 
that this was so, and that he was not improving his op- 
portunities, which, he thought, showed that he lacked 
balance and would never amount to an3'thing, when from 
the top of the slope came a sharp click like the sound 
made when a shovel strikes a pebble. 

At once his senses were all alive, and while Margaret 
Henderson's face still remained with him and floated 
between him and his thoughts, as it always did, still his 
faculties had settled down to one task and that was in- 
dicated by the sound he had heard. 

He dropped flat upon the sward and listened. By 
degrees he got his auricular bearings and could distin- 
guish the sound of men digging. Their low tones came 
to him faintly at times, but he was not able to catch their 
words. As his eye grew accustomed to the sky line he 
perceived what seemed to be a row of bushes like the 
currant and gooseberry bushes in a country garden — not 
very extensive, perhaps fifty yards along the top of the 
slope, and it was from this row of bushes apparently that 
the sound of digging and of men's voices came. The 
shifting of the clouds for an instant enabled him to see 
a steady dropping of something upon the bushes like 
the alighting of a wavering flight of birds. Then he 
knew what it was. They were constructing an earth- 
work ! 

A group of men — soldiers — passed him with measured 
tread, going toward the Union camp. He soon heard 
them, a short distance below him, exchanging challenge 
and reply. It was the relief picket guard! He was 
inside the enemy's lines! 

He lay quietly for a moment after making this dis- 
cover}', holding his breath as if to see what would hap- 
pen; for the revelation came upon him so like a thunder- 
clap that it seemed as if the attention of the rebels so 
near him must be attracted by it. Then he began to feel 
safer. 

"Well, since I am here I might as well see what I can. 
Those fellows are so busy they won't be apt to notice me. 
I'll slip off to the right here and see how far this thing 



00 GOD'S WAR. 

goes in that direction. I can >ee the end of it to the 
loft- — only it seems — yes, it rounds off with the hill 
toward the rebel camp. Now for the right!" 

Everything favored him and he soon gained the right 
rear of the earthwork. As he lay there a battery of ar- 
tillery came up at a slow walk, so close to him that it 
seemed as though the wheels almost grazed his cheek. 
The guns were wheeled into the space behind the earth- 
work. 

"Ah!" said Tom softly. "A battery! Right in front 
of our regiment too! Well, if they knock the head off 
of mo to-morrow — if I get back to-night, by George! — I 
will know what hit me anyhow! There's some satisfac- 
tion in knowing what disease you die of." 

He lay watching the work for some little time, taking 
in all the points the darkness would let him gain — for 
the men were working without lights. Then he turned 
and took such survey as he could of the ground betw'een 
the battery and the spot where his regiment lay. Then 
he turned again to watch the work at the battery. 

"They'll give us the very devil to-morrow, and we've 
no sign of a protection — all smooth as a bare floor! I 
wonder if I can get back aagin? I must try it. The 
best way, I reckon, will be to slip along the line of trees 
by the lane. ' ' 

The trees were dwarfs, quite close together, with bushes 
and weeds in the interstices. Tom thought he had es- 
caped — had passed the picket line in safety — when he 
was suddenly brought to a dead standstill with his heart 
in his throat by the apparition of a man with his gun at 
a "ready" standing within ten feet of him. Where had 
he come from? Out of the ground? 

However, it made no difference where he came from. 

There he was, and he was evidently looking straight at 
Tom and prepared to shoot, although it was so dark just 
at the moment that it Avas hard to saj' which way he was 
looking. 

Tom stood motionless. 

"Well," said the man finally, solving Tom's doubt, 
"why don't you come on?" 

"'Cause ye don't hold ye'rweepon to suit me,"replied 



GOD'S WAR. 91 

Tom instantly. "Ye don't think I'm a-gwiue to come on 
when .ve'r holclin' yer gun that a-way, do ye? It looks 
too almighty liable!' 

The sentry replied with a low laugh. 

"What' d'ye want down here, anyhow?" 

"The captain sent me. He thought he saw something 
a-movin' down by the creek bridge an' he told me to go 
down an' see what it war. Says I, 'See here, captain, 
there's them pickets down thar. Why don't you send 
them?* 'Why, they can't leave their posts,' says he. 
You're a mighty long time a-larnin' about this war busi- 
ness,' sa3's he." 

The man laughed softly again. 

"He ruther had ye thar, didn't he?" 

"Yes! Well, ye see I don't take no pride in this 
soldier business anyhow. 'Taint in my line, ye see. So 
I don't care so much about the fine pints." And Tom 
coolly seated himself on a large stone back in the shadow 
of the overhanging boughs. "But I reckon I've got to 
larn some of it. I've gone into this thing for business 
till we clean out these everlastin' abolitionists and nigger 
thieves. Soon's we do that I'm a-gwine to quit. But 
I jist naturally hate a nigger thief!" 

"So do I." 

"You bet! I'm ready to stay till we clean 'em all out. 
Then I'm done soldiering. I hain't got no taste for to 
be ordered around by no high-steppin' rooster with 
grimcracks onto him till he looks like a ringmaster into 
a circus. 

"'Tis curus, hain't it?" 

"Lord how they're heads is swelled!" 

"That's so!" 

"Now my notion of life's different. All I want is some 
good dogs, and niggers to raise the crop, an' I kin super- 
intend it, ye know. Then in the fall I want jist a plumb 
month a-huntin' up on Black Water — deer and bear, ye 
know. Plenty o' hog an' hominy, ye know, an' a barrel 
o' hard cider in the cellar! Hey?" 

"Now that's solid comfort, that is!" 

"Course it is. 'Taint s'much glory an' big talk as 
this, but it's a powerful sight more fillin', an' comfort- 
able." 



93 r,OD'5^ WAR. 

"You bet it is. Do you go every year up to Black 
Water?" 

"Been goin' tbere for the last five year." 

"Kill anything?" 

"Kill anything? Well I should say so. Deer and 
bear. Well, last fall I had the biggest time with a bear. 
Gimme a chaw tobacker, will ye? Thank ye — that's the 
kind I like. Regular old original nat'ral leaf. No 
molasses to make ye sick at the stomach. Well, sir, ye 
never saw a feller in a worse fix nor I was. It was just 
about a mile back from Suggses clearin'. S&y, do ye 
hear anything down that a-way?" 

"'Pears like I did hear something!" 

"Oh, well, maybe its a hog. Let me know if ye hear 
it agin. Well, ye see, the dogs set up the everlastinest 
yelpin' all at oncet, an' it was to'rds evenin' an' I had 
been trampin' over the mountains all day an' I was 
right smart tired, ye see. However, I know'd by the 
noise they was a-makiu' iLat — ye don't see nothin'more, 
do ye?" 

"Seems like it's movin'down toward the Yanks, now." 

"I'll bet a red apple it's a hog. I didn't enlist to 
hunt no hogs. Well, as I was sayin'," continued Tom, 
crossing his legs comfortably and thanking his luckj' 
stars that in the thick gloom made by the overhanging 
boughs blue could not be distinguished from gray, "as I 
was sayiu', I started over to where the dogs was, and 
they was just a-barkin' their ears off. I give j-e roy 
word I never heerd dogs bark like that before! By the 
way, I'm sorry I didn't bring ray applejack down with 
me. I've got a bottle of the kind that'd make yer hair 
curl." 

"Nevermind, I've got some whisky here," and the 
guileless sentry swung his canteen around to the front. 
"It's the genuine article — some of that old Monongahela 
whisky." 

"Sorry, and I'm much obliged, but I can't never drink 
none o' that Pittsburg whisky. Don't seem to have the 
awakening' sperit about it. D'ye ever notice it? Never 
has no effect but ter give me a misery in my stomach. 
D'ye see anything more o' that hog?" » 



god's war. 93 

"Derued ef I don't believe it's a-coinin' up this way!" 
And the sentry peered earnestly down the lane. 

"Well, I reckon I'd better go on down an' see what it 
is. How far is it off?" 

"Not naore'n a hundred yards, I jedge by the noise." 
"Well, I'll go an' see, ef it's a hog I'll give ye a hind 
quarter." 

"Goin' without a gun?" 
"Oh, I reckon I won't need none." 
"Ye might." 

"Yes, that's so. 'Spose ye lend rae your'u. I'll give 
it to ye when I come back, an' then I'll tell ye the 
rest of that bear story. By Gemini! It war the 
tightest place ever I war in! You stand right here 
and don't ye move onless ye hear me holler for help. 
Then you come a-bilin', for ye kin bet I don't never 
holler 'less I got something to holler fer." 

The sentry gave up his gun very contentedly, and as 
Tom sauntered off down the lane he sat down on the rock 
and solaced himself with a generous draught of his 
Monongahela whisky. 

After proceeding a hundred yards or so Tom found a 
convenient opening in the shrubbery and slipped through 
to the side nest his own camp. Not till then did he draw 
a free breath, which he made good use of in a swift run 
till he got near the Union lines. Then, striking off to 
the right, he found the place whence he had gone forth, 
and in a half-hour he reached his own company street. 
Captain Bancroft was standing in the tent door. 
"Hello, Tom! Is that you?" 
"Yes." 

"You were reported for absence without leave at roll 
call to-night." 

"Yes. I bad other fish to fry," replied Tom imper- 
turbably. 

"What are you doing with that gun?" 
"I'm going to take it to my tent. Good-night." 
"Warm work to-morrow, Tom!" 

"Warmer than some of the boys think for, in my 
opinion." 

"I'm afraid so. Good-night." 



94 god's war. 

Nat loomed up. 

"Where in the workl have you been, Tom?" 

"Over in tlie enemy's lines," 

"Where?" 

"In the rebel's camp." 

"Where'd you get that gun?" 

"Borrowed it from a rebel picket!" And then he told 
his adventure briefly. 

"Well, you must *a been born to be hung, for I'm 
blest if I believe they'll ever shoot you!" 

"Not if mj' legs hold out." 

"No, nor you won't run away, either!" 

It was two hours after this before Tom got to sleep. 
He lay awake thinking, not of the events of the evening, 
but of Margaret Henderson and of what might happen 
to-morrow. And the boy's heart softened and was filled 
with pure and gentle aspirations : and they followed him 
in his sleep and colored his dreams. 



god's war. 95 



CHAPTER X. 

THE FIRES ARE LIGHTED. 

What is the matter -with John Wesley Hammond, the 
mild .voung chaplain, that he quits his knees at the side 
of the dying every now and then and seizes a musket to 
fight like a tiead incarnate? Is it not enough that lay- 
men must stain their hands Avith their brother's blood? 
Shall God's minister also maim and mutilate and perhaps 
send his fellow-man all unrepentant and unforgiven 
before the dread bar of a just judge? Has he not enough 
to do to pray for those who are passing so swiftly from 
the scenes of their weakness and transgressions? 

But his face shines with a sort of exaltation, and if any 
man there is unconscious of danger it is the soft-mannered 
young preacher. And his lips move, and he mutters. 
What is this he is saying to himself? 

"Shall I not do my part? Is not this a holy war? Is 
it not God's battle? Shall the bondman stretch out his 
shackles to me in entreaty and shall I forbear to strike 
them off? I bear you no personal ill-will, poor, mis- 
guided creatures! But He has written it that through 
your destruction He will work His awful will! Yes — ■ 
yes — through blood and groans and sufferings! Ay! 
Ay! Andrew McQuirk, I am with you!" 

"Ay, that you are John, Hammond! But this is not 
your work. You've work there with the poor souls that 
need your prayers before they meet their God, and it's 
with them that you have your place! It is appointed to 
each man, his place; and in His providence I am put 
here to light and you are ordered thereto pray — although 
I know that it would be hard for me, too, to be heit* 
without lifting a hand against these sous of Belial! But 
go you to your woi'k, " 



06 god's war. 

And the j'oung mau accepts the admonition of his 
elder brother and goes back to try to faithfully do his 
sad duty. And he does it faithfully; and bravely, too. 
And it would seem that if all the terrors of hell were to 
suddenly confront him he would not be disma^'ed, so 
cool and calm is he in all this roar and din of battle — 
with spouting blood and quivering wounds and shriek 
and groan and curse of agonized and dying men. He 
tries to do his appointed work, but as the stress of the 
battle grows more severe, he leaves his knees and con- 
tinues his prayer unconsciously as he crushes the skulls 
of the cannoneers and breaks their limbs and defaces 
God's image with a zeal that burns like a fever. 

The air seems filled with singing musket balls and 
booming round shot aud screaming shells, flying as if 
from a devil's hand, to tear and rend and kill. The 
grass is splashed and dyed with blood, and the red drops 
are spattered on the stems and limbs of trees where, 
sometimes, fragments of human flesh still palpitating 
clung as if they were holding fast to life. Men are rush- 
ing to aud fro, washed by the waves of the conflict now 
high now low ; and they shout and yell, some with horri- 
ble blasphemy and some with unintelligible roaring 
which voices no words, but is as the cry of a wild beast 
or a maniac. Never before having witnessed such a 
scene or felt such influences they seem like creatui-es 
born to ifc aud without ever having known anything else. 

In the midst of it all ever and ever there comes to 
them a glimpse of smiling orchards aud waving wheat 
fields shimmering on the softened summer-glare; and 
toddling children plucking flowers and laughing in glee 
as the fleecy thistledown sails upon the scented air out 
of reach of chubby outstretched hands. Or of peaceful, 
gently gliding brooks with shoals of swift-darting min- 
nows and borders of waving, purple-blossomed flags, 
where they have fished and waded on summer afternoons 
that were so long and dreamy titer seemed a lifetime 
steeped in golden sunshine. And how strange that 
memory should bring back at such a time the visions 
which their childhood saw when they |ay prone upon 



GOD'S WAR. 97 

tbeii" backs watching the wool-white clouds slowly float- 
ing; beneath tlie blue sky! 

Is it not a strange thing that while men are engaged 
in the awful business of killing each other and the wild 
battle is swirling about them and their every sense seems 
to be quickened to the most perfect working by the fierce, 
bloody struggle in which they are engaged — is it not a 
strange thing that in men's minds at such a moment as 
this the picture of carnage is photographed upon a back- 
ground of humble, homely, tender recollections of child- 
hood scenes. 

In the death-throe the end of life clasps hands with the 
beginning, and in what is or may be the approach to the 
end Death seems to woo in the guise of childhood ! It 
is a rosy-cheeked boy who stands before the victim and 
conjures him with spells of sunlight filtering through 
waving trees; and nestling groups of flowers; and hum- 
ming bees; and glancing birds; and balmy rest in the 
tall grass. 

Does it not seem perfectly natural and logical to every 
man who has passed through battle that the great pure- 
hearted Confederate, Jackson, should have murmured 
the wish of a child, as his life-blood ebbed away — "Let 
us cross the river and rest in the shade of the trees?" 
The leaden ball smote the silver cord and the blessed 
mercy of heaven struck down the grim warrior as a mask 
is dropped off, and took to its loving bosom the simple 
happy innocent tired child, playing among the flowers 
that bordered the rippling waters, and gave it rest be- 
neath the shade of the trees! 

It seemed to Tom that he had not been asleep more 
than a moment when the bugle sounded the reveille and 
with his comrades he hastily tumbled out into the com- 
pany street to answer to his name at rollcall amid the 
rattling of the drums. He regretted, however, that his 
slumber had been long enough and sound enough to 
dispel the gentle, tender visions which filled his imagina- 
tion when he fell asleep; and that in their stead came 
the cold, recognition of the ugly realities that he must 
face, and that would not down. His heart beat with 



98 GOD'S WAR. 

great leaps and bounds, almost painfully; and a feelinj? 
of shivering excitement took such possession of him that 
lie glanced furtively at his comrades to see whether thc\' 
had perceived it and were inclined to set it down to 
timidity. He struggled with it while he waited for his 
coffee which was hastily preparing, and was annoyed to 
Und that the hot stimulant had not driven it away. He 
knew he was not a coward — at least he thought he knew 
he was not — and yet why should he shiver and why 
should his teeth chatter till he was fain to close them 
tightly to stop their noise? No, he wasn't a coward- 
he would see this thing through, without disgrace, 
though he died for it! 

But it was very unpleasant. He was much tempted, 
when one of his comrades, already half-drunk, offered 
him a pull at a canteen filled with whisky; but he re- 
sisted and shook his head muteb', while the thought — ■ 
"I'll not be indebted to whisky for any courage I may 
be able to show to-day— if I show any at all, by George! 
I don't know what in the world is the matter with me!" 

In an uuconceivably short space of time the regiment 
was.under arms and in position; the men standing "at 
ease" but keeping their alignment. They were waiting 
for orders to move forward to attack the slope up which 
Tom had crawled, Avith what had seemed to be such 
foolish and useless daring, the night before. The men 
saw with natural murmurs of astonishment the earthwork 
which our hero had inspected. And Tom was surprised, 
also, to observe that a second earthwork — something a 
trifle better than a line of mere rifle-pits — had been 
thrown up during the night, about an eighth of a mile 
below the battery, which, it will be remembered, crowned 
the gently sloping hill. The new work on the right 
rested on the lane (beyond which was the impenetrable 
thicket) separated from it by the narrow width of a small 
pond ; but to the left it swept clear around the knoll, 
lapping over the left of the earthwork in which the bat- 
tery was stationed, a considerable distance. 

"They must have worked mighty lively after I left to 
get that done," said Tom. "I s'pose we've got to charge 
that thing — and with that battery behin^d them we'll 



god's war. 99 

have a healthy job of it. Well, I suppose it's got to be 
done — but I know of a half-dozen things I'd rather 

do!" 

Captain Miles Bancroft stood at the head of the com- 
pany, calm and collected, but paler than usual. He 
called Tom to him and stepping aside, in front of his 
men, he took him by the hand. 

"Tom," he said in a low voice, "I don't think I'm 
superstitious nor cowardly, but it is only wise to take a 
little thought for the future. Somehow I have a sort of 
a feeling that I won't get through this day's work with- 
out getting hurt in some way. It may be a foolish 
notion. I don't believe in presentiments. But still, 
you know, we can't tell what may happen. If anything 
does happen to me, Tom, if I get killed or mortally hurt, 
I mean, I want you to promise me," and his grasp tight- 
ened on Tom's hand, "I want you to promise me that 
you will tell Miss Henderson that my last thought was of 
her— for it will be ! " 

Tom grew paler, and in spite of all his efforts to look 
Miles in the eye, he could not. 

"I hope you won't get hurt " 

"I know you do — but I may. I have had no word 
from her since we left home — but I have loved her more 
since then than I ever dreamed that I could love anybody 
— and — and — I feel sure somehow that she loves me — 
though she never told me so!" 

Why should the man press the boy so? Couldn't he 
see that he, too, loved her? Or did he think that it was 
a mere foolish boy's love, not worthy to be considered 
like a man's love, at such a time? 

For an instant the blood had rushed to Tom's cheek 
and his eyes had met Bancroft's, almost fiercely. But 
in that look he read such sadness, such unhappiness, that 
he looked away again. 
"Will you promise?" 

A pressure of the hand and a sign of assent with the 
head was the response; and loosening his clasp Tom 
went slowly back to his place, with his eyes still bent o.i 
the ground. Miles looked after him sadly and made ;is 
if he Avould follow him to say something further, but he 
checked himself and resumed his post. 



100 god's war. 

"Captain Bancroft, we are to charge the works in front 
of us! The signal Avill be the firing of one gun from 
Battery *B' on the hill behind the second brigade!" 

And the adjutant rode on down the line to repeat the 
order. 

Desultory firing was going on among the skirmishers 
all along the line. Occasionally a sharp volley, as if 
from a platoon or companj- was heard. At which the 
men would straighten themselves up and grow visibly 
more excited. And still the battle did not begin. The 
two armies were getting their bearings. The wait was 
a long cue, and a cruel trial to inexperienced soldiers. 

The sound of galloping horses came from the left and 
down the line the commanding general was seen coming, 
surrounded by his staff antl followed by his escort. The 
men broke into a cheer as they took courage from his 
infectious calmness at such a trying moment, to which 
he responded with uncovered head. 

A rapid exchange of shots on the skirmish line im- 
mediately in front of the regiment made the breath come 
quicker and the heart beat faster, and the men involun- 
tirily grasped their jiieces and sought the mutual strength 
of the elbow-touch. But the little spat was soon over, 
and all was silent again in that part of the field. 

Presently a group of men came slowly back. As they 
drew near it was seen that on a stretcher made by fasten- 
ing the sides of a blanket to muskets, they were carrying 
the body of a man. They passed Company "A" and 
then it was seen that the man was dead; with a hole in 
his forehead red and blue about the edges, where a 
musket-ball had entered and let out his life. A shudder 
went through the spectators, 

Tom turned deathly sick and would have fallen but for 
a tremendous exercise of his will of which he was not 
conscious. He was in an agony of shame and humilia- 
tion, for he said to himself: 

"My God! laui a coward Oh, if the earth would only 
open and swallow me up." 

"Why, Tom Bailey! You're scarej^ll" exclaimed 
Suead, a big, beefy fellow, whose cheeks glowed with 



GOD'S WAR. 101 

unimpaired color, Tom threw up his head quickly. 

"Scared!" cried Nat of whose presence Tom was not 
aware till he spoke. And how cheering to hear his voice. 
"Scared! Why if you was scared half as bad as Tom (m- 
me either, for that matter, you'd run like the devil was 
after you ! ' ' 

The men laughed at the sally. 

"Of course he's scared!" continued Nat. "It stands 
him in hand to be scared. He'd be a thunderiu' fool if 
he wasn't! But you'll get your elegant sufficiency of 
fighting to-day if you'll only stick to Tom Bailey, Mr. 
Snead!" 

Boom! 

"Attention! Shoulder arms! Steady there! Forward, 
march! Steady now — don't run yet! Keep your line! 
Dress to the left!" 

"Hold your fire till you get the word, men! As soon 
as you fire charge on the works!" 

It was the colonel, dashing up and down the line and 
calling out as he rode. 

Boom ! Boom ! Boom ! Boom ! Boom ! Boom ! 

It was as if the battery on the knoll had also waited for 
the signal from behind the second brigade, and the 
screaming shell came flying over the men, making them 
quiver and stoop. For they had not learned yet that the 
artillerj' under such circumstances is not so dangerous as 
it sounds — not nearly so dangerous as the little, singing, 
leaden pellets which do not make anything like such a 
noise. 

"Steady there! Heads up ! They haven't come within 
a mile of us! Put that gun down, Moller! Wait for the 
word!" 

"Not so fast there in the center! Steady — and stop 
that dodging!" 

A feathery line of smoke ran along the lower earthwork 
followed by the sharp rattle of musketry, and the bullets 
pattered along the front of the line. 

"Steady ! Dress to the left! That's all right — let 'em 
waste their ammunition!" 

Captain Bancroft was getting to be a good deal of a 
soldier, you see. 



102 GOD'S WAR. 

His voice could scarcely be heard though he strained 
till he was red in the face. A dozen batteries in different 
parts of tlie field were pounding a^Ya.v all at once, while 
ten thousand muskets were being fired each minute. 
The battery in front of the second regiment was hard at 
it, and rupidly getting the range. The infantry in the 
earthwork had ceased firing. Battery "B" was pounding 
away in reply to the rebel artillery, but wildly and with- 
out effect. The shells from the two batteries went 
screaming back and forth but a few feet above the heads 
of the men — so near that it seemed a miracle that no one 
was struck. After one or two battles tlie soldier learns 
that that is a way shells have and don't mind it much. 
But it is hard on a new man. 

The regiment began to grow restive, and the officers 
had all they could do, shouting and running up and 
down the line knocking muskets up with their swords, 
to keep their men from firing; although it was plain that 
nothing would come of it but a waste of ammunition. 
Still they kept on with tolerable steadiness but an accel- 
erated pace. If they would only keep this line for five 
minutes more! 

But five imnutes is an age at such a time! The men 
were utterly ignorant of such scenes, and their excite- 
ment was only increased by the fact that they were being 
shot at, out in the open field, by an enemy under cover, 
and were not allowed to rei^ly. If they could only fire 
back — that would give escape to some of their nervous- 
ness and excitement. True, nobody was hurt yet, but 
this can't last long. 

"Shall we be shot down like dogs and not attempt to 
defend ourselves?" 

God in heaven! what is this? 

A shrill shrieking unheard before fills the air — it is not 
the singing of a minie ball nor yet the scream of a shell 
but more horrible than either — and the air is full of it. 
The sickening thud of balls striking and entering human 
flesh is heard — and men drop down all along the line! 
The enemy is throwing grape and canister and mowing 
swaths in the living moving wall of human beings! 

That ends it! There is no use in struggling and trying 



god's war. 103 

to make greeu soldiers keep in Hue or hold their fire 
after that I 

They fire wildly, some iu the air, the cooler ones 
toward the enemy, but many ot tlie coolest without takiuy; 
any sort of aim whatever! Then they huddle together 
iu groups like sheep, and reload and firo aud load agaiu, 
while the rebel infantry from their cover pour iu volley 
after volley, well aimed and with fearful effect, and the 
grape and canister come thicker than ever. Men begin 
to fly to the rear. The ground is strewn with smitten 
helpless dead aud dying! MilesBancroft is down! Will 
"Walters, the dapper little fellow, is on his back, the blood 
gushing out of a great hole iu his side— his limbs are 
jerking about spasmodically while his features are working 
strangely and horribly. Charlie Hall lies motionless — 
killed instantly — and a peaceful smile is coming into his 
dead face. Tom and Nat are loading and firing and en- 
couraging the men to come on. 

But it is of no use! In the left wing of the regiment 
the panic has set in — there go the colors to the rear — 
the men glance over their shoulders and see the whole 
regiment in headlong flight. The few obstinate fellows 
give it up! They rush back pellmell and do not stop 
till they get to the rear of their old camp again. 

Tom aud Nat are left alone. They are both cool now, 
save for their rage at the shameful retreat. They look 
at each other and, without speaking, shoulder their 
muskets and turn their backs upon the enemj-. A groan 
of agony draws their attention to Miles. He has a ragged 
hole in his thigh. They pick him up and bear him back 
to the field hospital. 

Then they come back with perhaps a hundred men of 
their regiment gathered up here and there, cool now, 
and bitter; and determined to retrieve their disgrace if 
a chance offers. 

They are just in time to see the fresh troops sent to 
take the works repulsed. They stand gloomily on the 
spot of their first formation, watching the poor fellows 
slaughtered like sheep or flying like cravens. Their 
hearts grow more bitter aud the desire for revenge soon 
overbears every other feeling, complete!}' driving out all 
considerations as to their personal safety. 



104 cod's war. 

The general is off on another part of the field even 
more important than this; and there is no one here who 
knows any more about war than a babe in arms. 

"Who's in commantl around here?" asks Tom. 

"God knows," answers Nat. "Anybody, everybody 
and nobody, so fnr as I can see!" 
see!" 

"Sort of a free fight, isn't it?" 

"Looks like it." 

"Well, let's go in!" 

"W^here?" 

"They're going to charge the works again, with two 
fresh regiments." 

"So they are — I see!" 

"Well, I believe we can take that battery!" 

"How? Show us how and we'll do it or die trying!" 

And the men, suddenly grown quiet and determined 
and dangerous, gather around Tom as he explains bis 
plan. 

"Good! We'll try it!" 

"Will you take command, Nat?" 

"No, but I'll follow you!" 

"But think a little. It's worse than charging out 
here!" cries one of the men. 

"I don't care if it is!" 

"It's almost certain death!" 

"I don't care for that either! I believe we can make 
it. What do you say, boys, will you try it?" 

"We will!" 

"Yes," said Nat, "we'll give 'em a whirl, anyhow, just 
for luck!" 

Yesterday they would have been noisy about it. They 
will never swagger again, but whenever thej- start here- 
after they will be more likely to accomplish what they 
set out to do. 

Tom draws them off to the right, and to the other side 
of the trees that line the hither side of the lane that runs 
by the impenetrable thicket. Then he explains more in 
detail his plan, so that each man understands what is 
expected of him. 

The enemy have ceased firing and are intently "watch- 



god's war. 105 

ing the formation of the two regiments that are to essay 
the third charge upon them. They know that the thicket 
protects their left flank. 

When the two regiments start up the slope Tom moves 
his men in ranks of four swiftly up the lane, ahead of 
the line an eighth of a mile. He regulates his movements 
by those of the two regiments, who present a gallant 
front, poor fellows! But he keeps ahead of them. 

The battery opens with shell and round shot, but the 
charging column moves on bravel.v. "When it approaches 
the line of thickly strewn bodies which marks the cul- 
mination of the disaster to those who had gone before the 
men waver perceptibly, and Tom trembles with anxietj'. 

But they steady themselves and start up on a trot, with 
trailed arms. 

This is the moment Tom has waited for. His men 
have reached the left flank of the battery, still under 
cover of the trees. The rebel cannoneers are preparing 
to load with the fatal grape and canister, but think to 
plaj' with their victims. They will let this column come 
much nearer than the others did, and then they will do 
greater execution. They are chuckling over their aaticsi- 
pated victory and they hear the infantry below cheering 
as they deliver their tirst volley at their assailants. 

Still the line comes on ! The commander of the battery 
gives the order to load the guns. Tom gives his com- 
mand in the same breath : 

"Forward, double quick, march!" 

In an instant his com)uand — a hundred or more men 
from various companies and regiments, have leaped from 
their cover, not fifty feet from the guns. 

"By the left Hank, charge!" shrieks Tom, and his men 
are upon the gunners, shooting, stabbing with the ha.y- 
onet and crushing in skulls with the butts of their 
muskets. The cannoneers fight bravely, but to no pur- 
pose. Their assailants have a fearful reckoning to make 
with them. The struggle is a terrible one! Tom is 
knocked down with a swab-stock and the man who struck 
him has his head broken hy the barrel of Nat's gun— the 
stock has been worn out on other heads. 

The surprise was a complete one, and the result of the 



106 god's war. 

exploit is soon told. The rebel infantry turned to see 
why it was that the artillery Avas sil«ut. They discovered 
the cause just as the assailing Union column realized 
that something favorable for thein had happened. The 
rebels fell into a panic and the charging column gave 
them a volley to complete their demoralization and with 
a cheer swept the hill. 

But the Confederates cannot permit them to remain 
there undisturbed. From new coigns of vantage they 
pour in a hot and withering fire, and charge upon the 
Union soldiers by brigades. The Federals gather up 
reinforcements wherever they can. The fatal knoll is 
covered with dead and dying so thickly that some are 
piled on top of others, and the waves of advancing and 
retreating regiments sweep over them, each leaving fresh 
victims to add to the number. The rebel guns are 
captured and recaptured, and are used by the Union men 
and the rebels alternately — as the swab is rammed into 
the piece by the rebel it is drawn out by the Union sol- 
dier; the charge that is driven home by the blue is fired 
by the gray. 

The combatants are almost equally matched and each 
can only hope for a miracle, for all over the field fierce 
fighting is going on and no reinforcements can be spared 
to either side — but neither will yield, and the struggle 
goes on till hundreds are left to continue the work that 
thousands begun. 

But of what avail? The world knows that sudden re- 
inforcements to the Confederates came pouring in from 
the Shenandoah Valley and the prophetic vision which 
Clayton had, a week before, was fulfilled. The battle 
of Bull Run was lost and through its loss the nation 
was waked and saved. 

As Tom was pursuing his sullen, dogged retreat that 
evening, just as the dusk was falling, he discovered a 
wounded man lying under a tree at the roadside. The 
poor fellow was praying and Tom, thinking he recognized 
the voice, halted. It was Andrew IMcQuirk, the Presby- 
terian minister. 

"Ay, lad, is it you?" He raised his bushy brows as 
he recognized Tom. He went on in a queer * jargon, 



god's war. 107 

relapsing into his broad Scotch by times. "The Lord 
Jehovah reigus! Diuua ye be downcast, my lud! He 
doetb all things well! Thou'rt a brave lad! Ay! Ay! 
Ye've the richt stuff iu ye! Ye fought the Lord's battle 
the day, like a mon, though ye've nae spear o' hair on 
ye r chin! I was with thee, lad. I followed ye to the 
battery, and ye vrere born to fight Jehovah's battles and 
flash among his enemies for their destruction like a 
shining sword! Ye 're gude and brave — keep yer soul 
clean for He has anointed ye! Have ye water?" 

Tom had none, but offered whisky from a canteen he 
had picked up during the day. 

"Nae! nae! I cannot tak'it," said the preacher as he 
smelled it, "it has nae the smell o' the smoke on it! It 
is no gude — 'tis the deil's broth! 

"Dinna be downcast! This is not the last battle ye'll 
fight iu this war! There'll be many to come! But this 
defeat was the Lord's doing! He sent it for the awaken- 
ing o' this dull and drowsy people! They will rise and 
establish His ways in a' this land! He will set His 
sign over this people, for they will do His w-ill! 

"He is gude and loving-kind! I thank Thee, oh my 
Lord Jehovah that Thou hast esteemed Thy servant 
worthy to shed his blood like the blessed martyrs of old, 
that Thy kingdom might be established and Thy people 
jnade free! 

"Go, lad, and save thyself!" 

But when Tom left the old Scotchman he was dead; 
and his grim, stern face shone in the darkness -with a 
ghostb', phosphoreecent gleam that sent a new horror to 
the boy's heart as he glanced oer his shoulder and 
quickened his steps. 



108 god's war. 



CHAPTER XL 

WAS HE BORN TO BE HUNQ? 

"Didn't I say you was born to be bung?" 
Tom bad plodded many a weary mile tbat nigbt and 
it was breaking day wbeu Nat's cbeerful salutation fell 
upon bis ear. After tbe last grand cbarge by the rebels, 
wbicb bad scattered bis comrades in all directions, be 
found bimself surrounded by strangers; and too heart- 
sick to care to bunt up Company "A" be bad wandered 
hither and thither without any particular aim except 
perhaps to keep out of tbe bauds of the victorious Con- 
federates who were scouring the Held in all directions 
and following up the retreating Federals as closely as 
they dared — which was pretty close, as some of the sur- 
Tivors will tell you to this day. In this way tlie sore 
and chagrined young corporal seemed to be walking in a 
dream; and when be was aroused from it bj- the sound 
of old ]McQuirk's praying be found himself again within 
the enemy's lines. As we have seen, however, be re- 
mained to perform the last pious offices for the dying 
man, with tbat nonchalant disregard for personal con- 
sequences to bimself that bad at all times characterized 
him and been a part of his nature, unless we except the 
morning of that same day when he stood with the regi- 
ment awaiting the summons to the onset. And when be 
stole away from tbe glimmering, white face of the old 
Presbyterian lying there so silent and so awful in the 
darkness, be went with a stealthy step, and a watchful 
eye, for a long time, till be liad reached the rear of the 
retreating army. 

We have seen the hoy rapidly assimilating experiences 
of a startling and sternly imperative sort, and we have 



GOD'S WAIL 109 

found hira growing quickly into manhood from the 
rnoinent when he learned on the thresliold of the pailor 
of the judge's house that ho had a rival — tlie monjenfc 
when he first imatrined, too, perhaps, that he loved and 
loved ardently and deeply. During his service in the 
camp and before he was ever under fire he Avas daily 
becoming more and more manly — among men, he was 
adopting their manners, losing the awkwardness and 
rawness of style usual to boyhood, while in thought and 
mind he was far outstripping the majority of those with 
whom he was associated. The affair at Bartlett's bridge 
had still further developed him and given him confidence 
in himself and weight among his fellows. The awful ex- 
perience of the day he had just passed had solidified him 
and taken from him v,'hatever there might be of a boyish 
tendency to overrate himself. He had lost no particle 
of his self-confidence; but he had learned caution, and 
that the sober view of things was the wiser one to take. 
He came out of the battle better fitted for his new pro- 
fession than he was when he went into it. In brief he 
was clay ready to receive the impression and quick to 
harden in the new shape given by the swift working 
hand of events. He thought that the experience had 
made him old — as it had — and gray-headed, as it had 
not. He was surprised to find a few days afterward that 
there were after all no new seams and wrinkles in his 
face. During the struggle on Battery Knoll, as the boys 
soon came to call it, he thought he could actually feel 
the deep furrows growing in his face and brow. 

Still, he had a great deal to learn and he learned a 
very important part of it while he listened to the mono- 
logue of the dying preacher in the falling twilight. 
There was to him in the old man's words a startling reve- 
lation of the significance of the work in which he was 
engaged. He had enlisted first, because on general 
principles he was a citizen of the republic and desired 
to see the effort to destroy it crushed out, and was willing 
to do what he might to aid in putting down the rebellion. 
In the second place he was by nature so chivalric that 
the idea of human slavery was repugnant to him, 
although he had never thought deeply upon the subject. 



110 GOD'S WAR. 

Then lie liad anotlier motive, perhaps it was the strong- 
eat, and that was a desiro to getaway from the humdrum 
existence at Clayton and see something of the world. Of 
course when the opportunity to do so took a form prom- 
ising so much that was romantic and adventurous it was 
irresistible as it ought to have been and always will be 
to every properly organized youth — to all boys except 
those monstrosities who are born wise and prudent and — 
selfish. He enjoyed the life; enjoj'ed the successes he 
achieved in quickly acquiring the drill and picking up 
the points of routine which go so far to make a good 
soldier — enjoyed even the discomforts of the life — there 
was a novelty about them that gave them great zest. He 
knew to his satisfaction in a by-and-large sort of way 
that he was doing the right thing, but he valued the 
feeling more because it contributed to his general com- 
fort than because he was strenuous^' anxious to do a 
great work in a grand, heroic way. He was not quite 
living up to his powers but he was unconscious of the 
fact and nothing had seemed to arouse him to a realiza- 
tion of it. 

He had heard a great many political speakers and had 
read the newspapers and could have told with sufficient 
precision what the war was about and why he should be 
a soldier in the Union army instead of the Confederate. 
He understood Fielding's earnestness, but didn't enter 
into his enthusiasm. He recognized McQuirk's zeal, but 
it was as a man may perceive — through the window — the 
glow of light at another man's hearthstone and yet not 
feel the warmth that comes from the tire. He might have 
gone on in this careless, boyish Avay, fighting bravely and 
successfully to the close of the war — doing just as good 
service perhaps, but not doing it with such intelligent 
knowledge of what it meant, if he had not happened to 
spend the brief hour with poor McQuirk. 

The solemn earnestness with which the old man spoke 
of the holiness of the cause — that it was the working out 
of the awful will of the Lord Jehovah — impressed him as 
the same words had never before done. They lifted the 
veil and he gazed with uncovered eyes upon that of which 
he had up to that time only seen the imperfect outlines. 



god's war. Ill 

He felt the warm, living hand clasp his own and a new 
strength was given him to battle for the right. 

But was the old man wandering when he declared that 
the lad was "anointed" to a great work? Was he simply 
dealing in the figures of speech to which his long service 
in the church had accustomed him, and which, boiled 
down and stripped of lofty verbiage, only meant that he 
was, perhaps, unusually well qualified for a soldier's life? 
Tom tried to think so, but the solemn manner of the 
preacher which was as if he was an inspired prophet 
proclaiming a message from on high had an effect which 
he could not shake off. In connection with it was Tom's 
own recognition of the fact that he had been successful — ■ 
more successful than any of his comrades had been. He 
tried to reason with himself, saying that any one of them 
under the same circumstances would have done the same 
things just as well as he had done them; but reason as 
he would he could not throw off the impression the old 
man had made on him. 

There are very few of us who are not affected seriously 
by the solemn messages given us by a dying man, even 
when we feel that doubtless his mind is wandering. His 
feet are laved by the waters of that mysterious river 
which flows between the here and the hereafter. In a 
sense — in part at least — he is already of the other world. 
"Who can tell that by the subtle connection between the 
mortal and the immortal — the spirit which has perhaps 
already opened its eyes in the other world and the frail 
body which has not yet ceased altogether to perform its 
functions in this world — who can tell that b^^ that subtle 
link not yet severed the spirit may not send to us 
through the dying body a message taken from the reve- 
lation it encounters there? Did the preacher simply 
voice a conviction he had formed on the battlefield? Or 
was it given him in that dread moment to read in the 
register of heaven the entry of the lad's name and the 
purpose for which he was sent into the world? If others 
might have done as well as he, the fact remained that they 
had not done so. If the circumstances were all that they 
required, was it not true that the circumstances had not 
been afforded them? Did it not prove that he was 



112 god's war. 

specially selected ? Tom was not mucli of a believer in 
accidents. He had never relied upon chance to help 
him out. To him things were ordered from the begin- 
ning; there was no doubt of that; precisely what it was 
that was ordered — the point was to find that out. 

All in all the dying Scotchman had done Tom an im- 
portant service in imbuing him with a sort of holy en- 
thusiasm in the cause, making him to understand that it 
really meant something more than the mere resistance to 
an attempt to overthrow a government of man's con- 
struction. And he did him a further service in showing 
him that, perhaps, he was serving out an appointed 
destiny, and had put his hand unconsciously to a work 
whereunto he was divinely sent. And this conviction, 
or semi-conviction, clung to him, even if the evident 
ponderousness of its weight did very soon disappear. 
He learned to carry the load, as was natural with him in 
manner and under whatever i-esponsibility, with grace and 
ease and no apparent effort. 

It was the early dawn. The boy was weary and was 
plodding along half-asleep, passing by many little groups 
who had gathered by the wayside around fires hastib' 
lighted, to talk over with bitterness and shame the result 
of the battle and to look forward to the future with dis- 
mal forebodings. He passed crippled horses and dead 
ones; wagons mired and abandoned by frightened team- 
sters and wagons mired and surrounded still by angry 
and profane drivers too obstinate to give them up; here 
and there a piece of artillery; very frequently a musket; 
almost constantly canteens and haversacks and cartridge- 
boxes and overcoats and blankets, all cast away and 
thrown aside by men flying panic-stricken. In all his 
weary tramp he had seen nothing nor heard anything to 
cheer him till he heard Nat's cordial inquiry: 
"Didn't I say you was born to be hung?" 
"Good-morning, Sergeant Kellogg. You are up early !" 
"Rather, yes! Toe sweet air was so inviting and the 
songs of the birds so enchanting that I couldn't resist!" 
"That'll do verj' well for a blacksmith!" 
"Are you out for a stroll for your health?" 
"A little something in that way." * 



god's war. 113 

"Yes — I thought it would be healthy myself to stroll 
a little, yesterday eveniug — about the same time you 
came to the same conclusion, I reckou." 

"I hope you didn't overdo it. The trouble with some 
folks is that when they need exercise they take too much, 
and do themselves more harm than good. Now, you look 
as if you had strolled at the rate of about thirty miles an 
hour. That's overdoing it!" 

"That depends, my son, on the necessities of the case! 
There are times when you are so infernally particular 
about your health — when it is in such peril, you see, 
that gentle exercise don't quite fill the bill " 

"Still, I scarcely think that your extreme energy was 
justifiable." 

"Well, the last I saw of you, j'ou was goin' like the 
devil beating tan-bark! That's what saved me! The 
Johnnies stopped to look at you, and while they was 
betting that you could beat a loose locomotive, wide-open 
and the switch locked, I took French leave!" 

"Then I have saved your life?" 

"Well— yes!" 

"I'm glad of it. It isn't much, but it's the first thing 
I ever did save. It's a beginning!" 

"Thank you!" 

"Don't mention it! It's not of the slightest conse- 
quence." 

"Oh, you be blowed!" cried Nat, in a broad grin; 
overjoyed to find Tom alive and in such high spirits. 

The truth is the sound of Nat's voice had brought 
about a natural revulsion from the somberness of the 
thoughts Tom had been filled with all night to the height 
of absurd exhilaration. 

"Speaking of saving," observed Tom, "did you man- 
age to save anything to eat?" 

"Ah, when the Kellogg family gets left on the grub 
question just call my attention to it, will you?" 

"Well, you mercenary wretch, will you sell me some- 
thing?" 

"Do you see that coffee-pot on the fire there?" 

"That's the loveliest spectacle I ever set eyes on!" 

"It's mine!" 



114 GOD'S WAR. 

"Good!" 

"Good? Isbouldsay so! It's full of the best and 
strongest coffee you ever met anywhere in your life!" 

"You interest me!" 

"Biliu' hot!" 

"Ah!" 

"I'm sorry you're in such a hurry! I was going to 
ask 5'ou to take a cup, but if you must be going, why 
good-by! Take care of yourself!" 

"If it's all the same to you, you needn't worry about 
me! I have concluded to stay here awhile!" 

"It ?'.s a nice spot!" 

"Beautiful!" 

"Have you cast your optic over the scenery?" 

"I have viewed the landscape o'er with a great deal of 
pleasure!" 

"Exactly! But if you hadn't been in such a hurry 
comiu' along you'd have seen more. You can view a 
landscape much more o'er-er when you take things 
leisurely. But maybe j'ou had a pressing engagement?" 

"I had! Or rather, that is to say, I had a caller whom 
I wished to avoid. A creditor! Thin party, skeleton 
suit with a sickle in his hand and an unpleasant sort of 
a grin on his face!" 

"Ah! saw the same party, myself!" 

"Yes. He said he was looking for a fat man — friend 
of his runs a sulphur-pit and fire was getting low!" 

"The devil!" 

"I think that's the name of your friend! Well, old 
Bonesey claimed my account was due. Wanted me to 
pay it. I objected " 

"Yes — it's a way you have, I'm told! Never pay what 
j'ou owe, if you can help it!" 

"Exactly! Don't intend to pay this fellow till the 
very last." 

"Yes?" 

"Yes. So to avoid high words and unpleasant feelings 
Ilifc out!" 

"He followed?" 

"Not far! I was too speedy — too handy with my legs!" 

And without a smile the two friends jested atv the ex- 



god's war. 115 

periences of the da.v before, wliile tbey ate their break- 
fast. Then they started out to find their regiment. 

It was not an easy task. But they argued correctly 
that, as their term of enlistment was about up, they 
would find their comrades in Washington. And they 
did find them, after a search of nearly thirty -six hours, 
and were received with a wild welcome. They had been 
given up as dead or prisoners. 

They found that Bancroft's wound was a very serious 
one. By great good fortune he had been brought from 
the field and w'as in hospital. It was a question whether 
his leg could be saved from amputation, but the surgeon, 
our old friend Woods, had promised to do his best. Old 
Fielding, too, was in hospital. He had got a cut over 
the eye, which, with the high state of nervous excitement 
that he had worked himself into over the war, had sent 
him to the little white cot with a great fever. 

Dick Drummond had got a flesh wound, Sam Jamieson 
was likely to lose his arm, Aleck Anderson had six holes 
through his clothes, etc., etc. The news was all retailed 
to the friends, concluding with the announcement that 
the regiment was ordered to Camp Chase at Columbus 
to be mustered out, and that Bob Snead was missing, 
never having been seen after the first fire. 

"I saw him," said Nat. "He ran like a whitehead, 
the great beef! He's the fellow that said you were 
afraid, Tom." 

"Poor fellow!" replied Tom. He was wondering if 
the awful terror he had experienced was not enough to 
make a man run, what on earth could be the sensation 
which would suffice for that purpose? And he felt sorry 
for Snead — needlessly, for the fellow was a bully. 

In a few more days they were to start back to Ohio. 
They had nearly all agreed to re-enlist "for three years 
or during the war, " but stipulated for a furlough of a 
few days to go home and arrange business affairs. 

They were encamped with thousands of others just 
north of the city on what has since come to be called 
Columbia Heights. The day before they were to start 
home Tom and Nat, trying to get a Avink of sleep under 
their hot tent, were aroused by a tremendous shouting 



116 god's war. 

and bnrrahing; in which the whole camp seemed to he 
participating. They ran to the door in time to see a 
tall, angular, homely man, -who sat his horse with re- 
markable grace, ride by, surrounded b}' a brilliant array 
of officers and soldiers. He had his hat off and bowed 
right and left, while a sad, anxious smile lit up his care- 
worn face. His horsemanship struck Nat. While his 
brilliantly uniformed attendants rode English fashion, 
with their knees bent, the plain man's stirrup-leathers 
were so long that his toes just touched the brasses. But 
his heels were out, and it was evident that his seat was 
firm, although his big, raw-boned thoroughbred was 
vicious and fractious. 

"He knows how to ride," said Nat. 

"Don't you know who it is?" asked Tom. 

"No! Who is it?" 

"Why Lincoln — the President!" 

"What, old Abe?" Nat had not thought to look at 
his face. "So it is! Hurrah for old Abe!" and his 
stentorious shout won a special recognition from the 
President. 

The cavalcade halted in front of the colonel's tent and 
that gentleman bustled about like a man possessed by the 
demon of unrest. The President! He had done no 
other colonel such an honor! He must have heard 

"Colonel, you have a young fellow in your regiment I 
want to see. He's a corporal, I think, by the name of 
Bailey!" 

"Tom Bailey! Tom Bailey!" and the boys sent up 
another shout — for Tom was popular with them. 

"That's the man," said the President with a gratified 
smile. 

Tom was brought before him. He stood, perfectly at 
his ease, with his hat in his hand. 

"Are you Tom Bailey?" 

"Yes, sir!" 

"Corporal Bailey, who defended Bartlett's bridge?" 

"I helped to defend the bridge, sir!" 

"And the man Avho led the charge on Battery Knoll?" 

"Yes, sir, I was in the charge." 

"Will you let me shake hands with you?" v 



god's war. in 

It was said with such sincere, unaffected deference, 
and the request was made with such a wistful look from 
the sad eyes, as if the President almost doubted whether 
he was worthy of such an honor and yet desired it very 
much, that the tears sprang to Tom's eyes. 

"Why, Mr. President, I wanted to ask leave to take 
your hand!" 

"I am the one who is honored, corporal! The politi- 
cians have made me President, but the Almighty has 
made you a leader! You rank me!" 

Tom started. This was what McQuirk said, only in 
different words. 

"Can I do anything for you, Captain Bailey?" 

"Corporal " 

"Captain! I will commission you a captain in the 
regular army, to-day!" 

Then such another shouting, in the midst of which 
Tom stood pale and embarrassed, his eyes shining with 
love for this man whom he had never seen before. He 
was ready to die for him, now. 

"Can I do anything for you, captain?" he asked 
again. 

Tom swallowed the lump in his throat. 

"I would like to ask one thing, sir!" 

"Ask it!" 

"I would like to ask you not to put me in the regular 
armj'. I would rather stay with the boys, here. We're 
all going to re-enlist." 

If the boys shouted before, they roared now. 

"I guess you're right," said the President after a 
pause. "You'll do your duty, wherever j'ou are. Bat 
remember to call on me if you ever need my help." 

And again shaking hands, he rode off. 



118 GOD S WAR. 



PAKT III. 



The Fiery Furnace. 



CHAPTER XII. 

ETHEL LYNDE. 

A TREMENDOUS clatter of hoofs came ringing up the pike, 
startling the hushed quiet of the night and sending 
echoes flying to and fro through the sleeping country- 
side till the uproar fairly filled the entire valley. Away 
down the road which rolled over the gently sweeping 
swells of the rounded hills, on the summit of the highest 
ridge within sight, at a point where the white line of 
the highway showed like a narrow lute-string between 
somber masses of dark cedars clustering on either side — 
right at this point, simultaneously with the first sound of 
the clattering, nervous hoof-beats there careered over 
the summit and flashed down the hither slope and so 
passed out of sight in the hollow below a swiftly moving 
clump of darkness like the shadow of a cloud upon a 
mountainside; only of more rapid motion. A moment 
later, and upon a nearer rise of the road a smaller, de- 
tached, solitary spot, fast-fleeing, rose and crossed and 
fell again into obscurity, soon followed by the heavier, 
noisier mass, with more ponderous but still energetic 
and determined movement. Then came shouts and calls 
muffled by the distance and finally the sound of rapid 
single-firing of guns or carbines. And the dewy night 
air which gave such hollow resonance to the barking of 
the awakened house dogs at the farmhouses for a mile 
around, seemed to clutch each weapon by the throat and 



god's war. 119 

3hoke the life out of the report it made ; so that the fir- 
ing fell upon the ear like the snapping of so many 
blacksnake whips. And Jthe voices, shouting and calling, 
came up thin, and almost ghostly. 

The sentry on the picket-line stopped full in the glare 
of the moonlight falling on the road and stood idly and 
carelessly looking toward the little valley whence the 
noise came, as if he had no particular interest in it, and 
in point of fact was not impressed that it was at all out 
of harmony with the scene and the hour. And indeed 
it did not seem to be of a nature that might not be ex- 
pected as a matter of course, under the circumstances. 
The flooding moonlight was so -weird; and the dotting 
clumps of dense, dwarf cedars here and there, along the 
roadside and grouped in the fields and crowning the 
slopes were so uncanny ; and the pike itself was so un- 
naturally white and still and silvery that, when one looked 
up to the deep softness of the sky in which no cloud 
could be seen, and drank in the soft, sensuous air of a 
warm, glorious December night peculiar to and yet rare 
in the latitude, and all these influences combined had 
obtained full mastery of the senses the only surprise 
possible at any happening was that it could be expected 
to be startling. 

But it aroused Tom like the firing of a piece of artil- 
lery at his sleeping ear. He had not been wrapped in 
slumber, but was so buried in a reverie that one seeing him 
might readily suppose he had lost consciousness. He 
had gone outside the line, perhaps twenty' j ards, and 
thrown himself upon his side in the dense sward that 
rolled in stripes on either hand along the road. The 
figure that thus displayed itself, measuring the upward 
swell of a minor ridge, was fuller and manlier than when 
we last saw it; and the moonlight made a pretty play of 
glancing beams upon hia buttons and the bullion straps 
upon his well-set shoulders, and flashed up and down 
the length of the sword that lay by his side, from the 
big brass hilt to the shining tip of the scabbard. 

It is tolerably safe to assume the subject of his rev- 
erie; since we know that from the April day that he took 
his leave of Margaret Henderson in the judge's parlor in 



120 god's war. 

Clayton, even though nearly two years have passed, he 
has had with romantic persistence but one topic to dream 
on. We may be sure that the reverie oould not have been 
n, bitter one, for he was too much of a man to brood in 
the weakness of self-pity; nor could it have been a rap- 
turous delight, for he was all too calm for that. It had 
for him merely a soothing and lulling effect, and in that 
respect was like the moonlight which steeped and soothed 
the landscape and all that thereon was. If he stopped to 
analyze it he doubtless came to the conclusion that it was 
a pleasant thing which served to pass away the time and 
did no particular harm. But the chances are that he 
didn't stop to analyze his feeling at all; being at the 
time and in that respect like the pigeon softly cooing in 
the sunshine and neither knowing nor caring to know 
why it found life so pleasant. 

But if Tom was a healthy young animal who could 
enjoy the goods which the gods provided without im- 
pairing his mental or phj'sical digestion by useless wor- 
rying as to the wh}'s and wherefores and the component 
I)art8 of each of his pleasurable and comfortable sensa- 
tions, he was no less a good soldier; and like a flash of 
lightning he had fled into the lines, after a hasty glance 
toward the spot from whence came the sound of firing, 
and had roused his reserve guard which he brought 
tramping down to the front with the hasty thud, thud, 
thud of the double-quick, and the tinkling sound of loose 
pieces of metal upon the trailed pieces and the dull clash 
of the bayonet against the cloth-covered canteen. Having 
reached the point where he had been lying, held in the 
bonds of an idle dream, he halted his men to decide upon 
the next step. 

"What are you going to do, captain?" asked his 
burly lieutenant, coming up and dwarfing his superior 
officer — something as a big sluggish three-master in port 
looms up over the sentient little tug alongside — only not 
quite so much so. 

"Tell off ten men from the right, and you stay here 
with them. Keep them well in hand — I'll take the rest 
and go and see what all that bobbery's about." 

"I Avouldu't, if I was you," replied the lieutenant. 
*'It may be just a trap to catch you. " 



GOT)'?, WAR. 121 

"I don't care if it is, I'm going, anyhow;" and in a 
moment he had deployed Lis men as skirmishers on each 
side of the pike. Then giving his orders in a low, sharp 
tone he sung out the commaud to movo forward at 
double-quick, and with a wave of his hand to his lieu- 
tenant ho trotted off down the center of the pike, abreast 
of his men. 

"Good-by, Nat!" 

"Good-by, Tom! But this ain't no way — to leave me 
here!" growled his subordinate. 

All this, of course, was done in much less time than it 
takes to tell it ; and from the moment when the clatter of 
hoofs first smote the ear down to the time when Tom's 
line of skirmishers, flitting across the fields through the 
moonlight, disappearing in and reappearing from the 
gloom of the cedar-clumps, till they were seen to move 
more cautiously and the sound of their footfalls had 
ceased, and they had, nearing the scene of the firing, 
disappeared finally, was a very short period indeed. Nat 
placed his men on the sward by the side of the road 
where they would not be so conspicuous as on the pike, 
and glancing up and down his picket-line to see that his 
silent sentries were pacing with soldierly regularity to 
and fro on their beats, he took his stand square in the 
center of the pike — the best point from which to keep 
his lookout. 

Soon a solitary horse and rider were seen to cross the 
ridge on the further side of which the firing came from, 
flying, as Nat judged, right into Tom's hands. Then all 
was qu'iet for a moment, till the flash of the discharge of 
a dozen carbines embroidered the dark cedars on the 
right with splashes of golden flame. 

"They've fired on him!" said Nat to himself as 
he drew his breath hard, between his clinched teeth. 
"Yes, and they've fired on the wrong man, by the piper 
that played before Moses!" he added grimly, as he heard 
a shout and saw Tom's skirmishers swiftly climbing the 
slope before them making for the spot from whence the 
firing came. Then the clatter of a horse's hoofs again 
came to his ears, and a steed, riderless now, galloped 
easily toward him. 



122 god's war. 

"Catch that horse, you fellows," he said, sterpiug 
aside to let the creature pass. The firing became more 
rapid. 

Spat! 

Spat! Spat! Spat! 

Spat! Spat! 

Spat! Spatl Spat! Spat! Spat! 

Away off in the distance the clatter of hoof beats, this 
time going rapidly and growing fainter and fainter. 

"Aw-haw, me laddy-bucks! I told you you had fired 
on the Avroijg man!" chuckled Nat. "Some o' you lead 
that horse down the pike. Maybe they'll need it. And 
— by the Great Horn Spoon! it's got a side-saddle on it! 
Now how the thunder do you s'pose the captain knew it 
was a woman ? Great Cajsar ! ' ' 

There is very little more to tell of what had happened, 
Tom had pushed his men, rapidly but carefully, till he 
had reached the slope beyond which the firing was going 
on. Here he had halted with a view to a reconnoissance 
so that he might not walk too promptly into the trap 
which Nat had suspected. Before, however, he could 
make this reconnoissance, a horse dashed over the ridge 
and down the slope and was caught by Tom. 

The rider was a woman! 

And a young woman, too. 

She sat upon her horse with the ease and confidence of 
a bird on a swinging twig; and her willowy form swayed 
with the motion of her steed as if she were a part of him. 

"Oh, sir, thank Heaven, you have saved me!" 

She spoke with gratitude and agitation, and then she 
— collapsed — there is no other word for it — and Tom had 
to let go of the horse, to have his hands free to catch 
her. She had fainted — apparently. 

Certainly! I'll admit all you say. I'll go further, and 
say that if it had been Sergeant Heinrich Heimbach 
(now standing ten feet off, grinning at the captain) who 
had caught the horse the chances are nine out of ten that 
she would not have fainted. The sergeant was not a 
handsome man, either as to face or figure. He was pro- 
nounced in the region of the abdomen — very much too 
pronounced, and his face was not a fascinatin^g one. It 



god's war. 123 

justified Nat, in part, at least, who invariably, referred to 
him as "that bottle-nosed Dutchman." We have seen 
that Nat had a strange prejudice against anybody who 
hailed from either Germany or Holland — two countries 
which were but one on his map. But Tom was a very 
different looking fellow, as we know. And when he 
turned his bright, handsome face up, so that the moon- 
light deepened a little bit the young mustache which 
shaded his lip while it gave his eyes a glorious softness 
and brilliancy — well? what could the young woman do? 
What could any healthy, well-regulated young woman 
do? 

Then, remember, she had just escaped from a band of 
cutthroats who had been shooting at her, if the senses 
were to be believed. She was entirely right! 

Certainly Tom didn't stop to question the propriety of 
the young woman's procedure, as he clasped the little 
waist with his arms and looked down into the pale face 
that lay on his shoulder. On the contrary he felt a most 
peculiar thrill pass through all of his nerves; not an un- 
pleasant, but an utterly unaccustomed sort of a shock. The 
perfectly oval face was pale and yet of a pallor just a little 
lighter than the color of your grandmother's old ivory 
spool case. The hair was black and shone lustrous in 
the moonlight. The hat had fallen back and showed the 
low, sweet brow — and he gazed fascinated upon it. 

Have a care, Tom ! It is certain that the Serpent of 
the Nile conquered with just such a brow. 

And then, the eyes being closed, long, black lashes 
shining like silk lay upon the cheek, and upon the lip 
there was the faintest suggestion of a mustache — not too 
much — if the lips beneath tvere a shade too full and pout- 
ing showing their lovely scarlet above the dainty chin — 
just as if their owner were not in a dead faint. Tom had 
time to see all this, and more, for he noted the curve of 
the eyebrows and the perfection of the nose, which was 
not as straight as a ruled line, or it wonld have been im- 
perfect, before the firing from the cedar clump begun. 

"Here, sergeant, take this girl! Lay her down on the 
bank there and sprinkle some water from your canteen 
in her face!" and he was gone, eager as a foxhound, 
with his men up the slope. 



124 COD'S WAR. 

As the sergeant took holi^ of the young woman, which 
he did very reluctantly to say truth, and with an ex- 
pression of countenance which did not add to the beauty 
with which nature had endo^Yed liini, the lon^ black 
lashes were raised a little way and the eyes beneath stole 
a glance at the "second relief," as one may say, and then 
— well, then the young woman recovered at once! And 
before the sergeant could sprinkle the water in his can- 
teen in her face she had quietly walked to the roadside 
and seated herself on the bank. 

"Thank you; I am better now!" 

And that was fortunate for the water in Sergeant 
Heimbach's canteen was stale beer, and not much of 
that! 

Tom was speedily back. He left off the chase much 
sooner than those who knew him well might have thought 
he would ; but then you can't iiursue cavalry with in- 
fantry! Besides he was at every step getting farther and 
farther away from camp and going in the direction where 
it was known that Bragg had a large array — how large 
no one knew. He might indeed full into a trap. You 
can't chase cavalry with infantry I repeat, and a cautious 
commander won't run his men into an unknown country 
which may be tilled with the enemy ; and there is no 
good reason to suiipose that Tom's speedy return was at 
all hastened by the knowledge that there was a lovely 
young girl waiting for him, perhaps still in a dead faint. 

She was, hoAvever, sitting on the bank, with Sergeant 
Heinbach mounting guard over her as if she were a box 
of hard bread or a bag of coffee. She had apparently 
recovered her composure — at least so far as it might be 
expected that a young girl, so recently in such grave 
peril, could recover in such a short length of time — her 
hat was restored to its proper place and her dress was as 
smooth and tidy as if she had just attired herself for a 
pleasure ride with her sweetheart. 

"How do you feel now?" 

Tom didn't know exactly how to open up a conversa- 
tion., but thought this would do as well as anything. 

"Oh, thank you, I'm ever so much better! And how 
grateful I am to you for rescuing me from those dreadful 
men! I can never repay you!" * 



god's war. 1^5 

Doubtless Tom had by this time in his life grown a 
little bit conceited over his personal appearance. He 
■was entitled to feel pretty well satisfied with himself on 
that score, not only because he was really a handsome 
fellow but because he was of the proper age to entertain 
such feelings. At all events it was well that the hat 
brim shaded the young woman's eyes so that he could 
not see how much of admiration for him they were filled 
with. He had enough to do to keep his face from telling 
tales of the influence of her voice which vibrated through 
and through his sensitive nature, making new music be- 
sides its own tones like the zephyr playing on the strings 
of the harp. And when she rose as he approached and 
came near to lay her hand upon his arm in the warmth of 
her gratitude, he thought it was very absurd and pro- 
vokingly uncalled for that his whole being should be so 
filled Avith thrills and tremors, ecstatic as tbej' unques- 
tionably were. 

"Oh, that'sall right," he replied awkwardly. "Don't 
say a word." He didn't mean that. 

"But I must! I am afraid j'ou dared a great danger 
to come out and drive those awful men away for me." 

And she shuddered as she thought of it. 

"Why — why, I didn't do it for you. I mean — of 
course I would have done it all the same if I had known 
you were here. But you seel didn't. I heard the row, 
and I came out to see what it was. But I'm glad if I've 
been of service to you." 

"Oh, sir, you have saved my life. You have saved me 
from death — perhaps something more dreadful than that, 
even," she continued, in a lower tone, "/cannot reward 
you — I never could — but Heaven certainly will." 

"That's all right" — and Tom was glad that her horse 
came up at that moment, for he felt himself growing 
more and more awkward every second. 

"Here's your horse. Shall I help you?" 

"If you please." 

"Was there ever a daintier, prettier little foot in the 
world than the one Tom held in his hand for an instant 
while the young lady sprang into her saddle? 

As the little party pursued the way back toward Nash- 



126 god's war. 

ville, Tom's band on the horse's bit, the men, still de- 
ployed and watchful, following on behind, the girl told 
her story briefly ; and as Tom listened his soul seemed 
to dtink in an intoxication such as one inhales at the 
first dawn of sunrise when the breeze comes fresh, dewj' 
and odorous from the grass and flowers, and the birds 
begin to sing with a sweetness that they never achieve 
at any other hour of the twenty -four. 

Her name was Ethel Lynde, she said. Her family 
were Unionists living in the mountains near Sparta. 
She had been home from the boarding-school at Hunts- 
ville but a short time. The Secessionists had persecuted 
her familj' — even to the death of some of them. She had 
stayed there till one dreadful night when men came and 
dragged her father from his bed to imprison him. Her 
mother had been dead for some years — her only surviving 
brother had escaped and she thought he had joined the 
Union army. She had no one to help or advise her. So 
she had saddled Selira with her own hands and in three 
daj'S he had borne her, stanchly and safely, by the de- 
vious course she had to take to reach Nashville. She 
owed her life to brave old Selim — and it seemed as if the 
noble horse understood what she said, for he arched his 
slender neck and tossed his head and stepped more proud- 
ly as she talked. She had ridden around Murfreesboro 
where Bragg lay with his soldiers, and while she had 
had many narrow escapes she thought she had been in no 
real danger till that evening, when a band 'of rebels 
had followed her from Franklin, and would have caught 
her but for the brave and chivalric soldier who had come 
to her rescue. She had friends in Nashville; good Union 
people with whom slie knew she would find a home. 

Nat had built a bright lire in front of the rude shelter, 
a "lean-to" built of cedar branches, back to the picket 
line and face to the city, which had been erected therefor 
the comfort of the picket guards, and the new recruit was 
soon made cozy with a cup of hot coffee and such por- 
tions of a soldier's fare as seemed worthy to be offered to 
a woman. While she was eating Nat observed that Tom's 
left hand presented a peculiar a])pearance. Snatching it 
he held it toward the light of the fire. It was covered 
with blood! ^ 



god's war. 127 

"My God, captain, you're \vounded! Why didn't you 
tell us?" 

"I guess not," replied Tom. "Maybe I was hit — but 
I didn't feel it. I am a little faint, Nat." 

The young girl turned ghastly pale— and it was well 
that Nat was quick of eye and arm. 

"Here, faint in ?/;// arms, miss! Don't you see that 
one of his is wounded?" 

It was pleasant, after his moment of trance-like oblivion 
to lie at the young girl's feet and listen to her voice as 
she talked, and finally, at daybreak to escort her to her 
friends in the citj'; for his wound was a trifling one. 

Later in the day, while lying in his quarters smoking 
his pipe it suddeulj' occurred to Tom with a sensation of 
surprise that he had not once thought of Margaret Hen- 
derson from the moment that he first heard the horse's 
hoofs the night before up to that hour! Even in his 
moment of half-oblivion it wasn't her face he saw before 
him! 



128 GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER XIIL 

THE COMING AND GOING OF FACES. 

But it was Margai'et Henderson's face which first filled 
his mind's eye when Tom waked the next morning from 
a sound, healthy sleep which was in noway disturbed by 
the slight scratch he had got in his arm. And as he lay 
there, wrapped in a sort of luxurious languor, half-awake 
and half-asleep, when the things of the world seemed all 
favorable and pleasurable, he was sometime in coming 
to the conclusion, which he finally reached however, 
that Margaret's features were not so clear nor sharply 
defined so to speak, as usual. Whereat he mentally 
rubbed that mental eye and looked again and with a 
greater concentration of his powers, but^jWith no better 
result. Still the face seemed dim and indistinct — pro- 
vokingly so. Something was the matter, and whatever 
it was it must be set right. 

Ah! The effort to set it right only aroused him more 
fully; and as he became wider awake Margaret's pale 
fase with its blue eyes and encircling crown of golden 
hair was totally obscured by another face of another 
pallor, with darker eyes with silken lashes and encircled 
by a crown of lustrous black hair. This new face flashed 
into Tom's mental vision as the sun flashes into the 
heavens in the morning; and then the old face could not 
be seen even after the most careful searching, any more 
than the moon can be seen when the full grandeur of the 
newlj' risen orb of day has filled all the sky and is flood- 
ing the secret places of the hills and valleys below with 
a heated ardor which drinks up the dewdrops before 
they have had time to shoot more than one brief, pris- 
matic ray. 

And then Tom was wide awake, and fully conscious of 



GOD'S "WAR. 129 

every tiling of import to hiiuself in the world; and bad 
DO longer any excuse to lie nbed, save that by doing so 
he was enabled to reflect upon this new combination in 
his affairs, much more satisfactorily than if ne had been 
out in the company street where he ought to have been 
some time ago, looking after the routine affairs of his 
company like a good captain and a model soldier. 

It would be difficult to analyze and give a minute ac- 
count of Tom's reflections just then. Eemember, he was 
in most respects more of a man than a boy and yet in 
many respects besides his age he was much more of a boy 
than a man. That there was a struggle between a new 
and overwhelming passion which had suddenly got hold 
upon him, and a strongly assertive feeling of loyalty to 
the only other passion of the tender sort he had ever 
known ; a struggle in which this loyalty which was so 
creditable to him was set upon and beaten about, and 
hustled and worried and whirled breathlsejsly by the new 
passion, and treated with no sort of respecu nor consider- 
tion anj' more than if it was the ghost of a dead love 
which had possessed Tom in a previous state of existence 
when his soul inhabited the bodj' of a holy Hindoo living 
in the shadow of a Buddhist temple as likely as not; that 
he reproached himself at one moment with great acerbity 
and bitterness for a fickleness which he was still unwill- 
ing to own to; and that at the same time he found it 
pleasant to plunge from these chilb' breezes headlong 
into the warm crystal waves of the new passion which 
lapped the pebbles at his feet with a music that was more 
enticing than that which lured stern old Ulysses and 
gave no warning of the white bones ■ that lay on the 
nether side of its seductiveness; that he tried to assert 
himself, and denounced himself and yet ivoidd turn for 
one more look into the eyes that were so soft and yet 
shot such sharp unerring arrows straight into his heart; 
that he tugged at these shafts and sought to draw them 
out, and laughed to see that he could not, loving so 
much their thrilling sting — and that at last he rose and 
gave it up and went to the mess tent for his breakfast 
very much put out with himself, not having lived long 
enough to have learned the handy dodge of taking fate 



130 GOD^S WAR. 

iuto consideration aud throwing everything on to the 
liroad shoulders of that stout old party — that all this 
took place and Tom was much discomposed by it, I am 
free as his biographer in a small way, to pledge to the 
reader, -who will perhaps be glad to let it go at that and 
uot ask for anything more- 

He had heard nothing from her since he left her at the 
house of her friends the previous morning ; nor had he 
mentioned her to any one after he had made his report 
to Lieutenant-Colonel Miles Bancroft, who, recovered 
from his wounds and now upon the general staff, was 
acting as provost-marshal of the city and whose business 
it was, as such, to take cognizance of and find out all 
about the new arrivals, and especially those who came 
in under such peculiar circumstances. He had not used 
manj' words in making his report to Colonel Bancroft, 
simpb' describing the little brush and telling where he 
had left "the girl," in the city. (Ethel had timidly 
asked his name and regiment. She, naturallj', wanted 
to know who and what her preserver was; and Tom had 
written his address down ujton a leaf torn from an old 
memorandum book and given it to her.) Doubtless Miles 
had called on her and, no one could tell, might have 
found her a most dangerous person, and perhaps had sent 
her to prison. The air was full of all sorts of romantic 
stories about lovely young women who were serving the 
Confederacy as spies and she might be one. No one 
could tell, because no one knew so far as Tom's informa- 
tion went. Still, when he recalled — recalled? nonsense! 
when he looked with his mind's eye at the little girlish 
figure, and the deep, dark eyes, and not so intently at 
the scarlet lips a trifle overfull, he could not find it in 
his heart to think she was anything but what she said 
she was. 

Still, this is a queer world, or Tom thought it was at 
that time, and no one could tell. 

So, when after breakfast he loaded up his briar-wood 
pipe with some genuine killikiuick which he had 
stumbled upon a few days before, he sent for his orderly 
sergeant and told him to have the company "fall in" — 
he would give them an hour's drill by way of warming 



god's war. 131 

them up. And then he stood at his tent door idly watch- 
ing the men as they came slowly forth, buckling their 
belts, or giving their guns one more rub with a piece of 
oiled flannel or grumbling in an undertone that they 
were trotted out so soon after breakfast. How did they 
know, how could they divine the fact that Tom hoped by 
a little brisk exercise to get his love affairs into a more 
satisfactory shape — ^that in point of fact he considered 
the conjunction of Mars with Venus at that particular 
moment as a piece of good fortune, and that by worship- 
ping at the shrine of Mars for a little while he hoped he 
would be able to give Venus the go-by? And would they 
have grumbled any the less if they had known all this? 

He was just thinking to himself "Well, after all, why 
not?" For he had not seen Margaret Henderson since 
the April day when he and Miles bade her farewell to- 
gether, and he had no reason to believe that she thought 
anything of him more than she would think of almost 
any well-conditioned young patriot of her acquaintance 
who was making a target of himself in order that the 
Union might be preserved. He had written to her three 
or four times — and had received a dozen letters from her; 
but the fact is that just before the battle of Bull Run he 
had written her with an unmistakable warmth and had 
received a reply so sisterly, so altogether and con- 
foundedly sisterly in its tone, that he had sworn he 
would never write her again, nor see her any more, till 
he could present himself to her in such growth of physi- 
cal manhood and crowned with such guerdon of brave 
and manly deeds that she would not dare to attempt to 
treat his passipn as a mere boy's whim — that she would 
be compelled to listen to him and answer him with re- 
spect and candor. He had broken over this rule once or 
twice by writing her such letters as any one might write 
to a young lady friend, but he refused to go back to 
Clayton when the others did at muster out, and remained 
at Camp Chase till the regiment was reorganized, putting 
in the time in drilling raw recruits for which work he 
was in great demand. Miles had gone home with ii 
glorious wound — and had rejoined the arm3'' in his new 
position a very blithe and well-contented man; but that 



132 god's war. 

might have been because he had been made a lieutenant- 
colonel; and up to this time Tom had contented himself 
that that was the explanation of Miles' cheerful serenity. 
Still, how could he tell what might have happened be- 
tween Margaret and Miles while he was away ? Miles 
had nevar spoken to him of Margaret since the day of 
the battle of Bull Kun. 

Somehow, these points in the case had never seemed 
so clear to Tom before, nor so weightj' and worthy of 
consideration. 

He was just thinking "Why not?" when his big lieu- 
tenant came up. 

"Are you going to drill the company yourself ?" asked 
Nat. 

"Yes." 

"Well, I'm sorry. You'd better let me take them 
out." 

"Why? W^hat's the matter?" 

"Well — you've got a wound — ■ — " 

"Oh, pshaw! You know that don't amount to any- 
thing." 

"Still, I don't think you've got any call to go galli- 
vanting around taking risks. You might take cold." 

"You must be craz3'. " 

"No, I'm not. I " 

"Oh, well, come; you overgrown elephant, you; what 
is it? Don't beat about the bush. Give me your true 
reason ! ' ' 

The orderly-sergeant approached with his hand to his 
cap. 

"The company is formed, captain." 

"Very well, I'll " 

"Kin any of you gemmens tell me whar I kin find 
Cappen Bailey?" 

It was a very black and very ragged and very bright- 
looking old darky, with a small parcel rolled up in a 
scrap of newspaper in his hand. 

"Well," drawled Nat. "We might — for money. 
Money's a cash article, old charcoal, and business is 
business. How much will you give?" 

"'Deed, sah, I can't give nuffin! Yah! Yah! You'se 



GOD'S WAR. 133 

makiu' spote of me, sah! I'se uufiSn' but a ole niggah, 
sah! I'se got a note fob Captain Bailey, sah, from a 
lady I" 

"Ah!" 

"I'm Captain Bailey," said Tom. 

"Yes, sab; yes, sab! Thar it is, sah!" 

And he unfolded the piece of newspaper, as if the iu- 
closure was the most precious thing in the world. He 
took the minutest nip on the corner of the envelope that 
Avas possible with his great, broad, horny thumb and 
forefinger, and throwing off his hat with a flourish and 
a bow he handed the missive to Tom. 

""Yes, sah, yes, sah! De young lady tole me to give it 
to Cappen Bailey hissef, sah!" 

"The young lady?" queried Nat as he seated himself 
on a campstool and bent a quizzical look upon the darky. 
"A ?/ow??^ lady? Pretty?" 

"De Lawd didn't never make no purtier lady sence 
Adam war a leetle boy!" answered the black, with round 
emphasis. 

"Humph!" said Nat, looking at Tom. 

The boy, strangely enough, was irresolute ; he scarcely 
knew whether to take the note or not. Indeed, so far, 
he had made no move to take it, and the darky did not 
seem to insist that he should. 

Nat enjoyed Tom's betrayal of himself, while he was 
by no means aware of the facts in the case. He had at- 
tached but little importance to the advent of Miss Ethel 
upon the boards where our characters are playing their 
small parts, and had so far forgotten the matter that he 
did not connect the note nor Tom's evident embarrass- 
ment with the dark-eyed girl who galloped into the 
picket-post by moonlight to an accompanient of gun 
firing and the whistling of bullets. He simply saw that 
Tom was off his balance for once in a way and he enjoyed 
the hot blush that disfigured the boy's face and stained 
his temples to the roots of his hair. The poor goose! 
He had lived so intensely during the past twent3'-tive or 
thirty hours that it seemed to him as if the whole world 
must know of his secret. He thought the air was full 
of it. So he stood like an idiot, for a moment, over- 



134 god's war. 

whelmed as if the winds were blabbing everything — in- 
cluding his gigantic disloyalty to a girl fvom whom he 
had never had a love word or token ! 

"Yes, euh! De lady didn't gimme nuffin'sah! Hits 
de custom in disbyer country foh de gemman to 'ward 
de messenger, sah!" 

"This acursed thirst for gain!" groaned Nat, as if to 
himself. "This awful hungering for wealth! How it 
lays its blighting power upon all. Even a bright and 
beautiful being like this, whose unpolluted soul, one 
would think, was incapable of such a thing ! Great 
Julius Csesar's wife's grandmother!" he exclaimed with 
such sudden and startling vehemence that the darky 
recoiled from him in dismay. "It is awful! But at the 
same time I didn't think it was in me to get them words 
out so manganiferously ! Don't give him a cent, captain. 
Not onb^ because base is the slave who pays, you know, 
but because you owe it to him to preserve him from the 
fate that rushes upon him! Hey, there, you misguided 
cause of the war, what's your name?" 

"Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy, sah!" Tremblingly. 

"Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy? Well, now; that's a 
right smart chance of a name, ain't it? Eeckon that 
after your parents gave you that name they felt free to 
divide the balance of the family assets among the rest of 
the children, didn't they? Phoebe Ann! what a name 
to fill the sounding trump of " 

"You is mistaken, sah! My fadder an' mudder didn* 
gimme da name, sah! Gin'rl Hardin' he done gimme 
dat name, sah! He's de ole marster an' he's pow'ful 
rich man, sah, he is!" 

"Liberal old cuss when it comes to namin' nigger 
babies, anyhow! "What do they call you for short?" 

"'Curg, sah!" 

"Well, that's better if a fellow hasn't got all day before 
him. Now, 'Curg, have you ever reflected — don'ttouch it, 
captain, don't touch it," cried Nat with affected concern 
as Tom handed 'Curg a shinplaster and reached for the 
letter. "Don't touch it, I say! Its hoodoo! Its 
hoodoo!" 

'Curg's knees smote together, his jaw fell, and hist ©yes 



god's war. 135 

tilled with terror were fastened on Nat's face while in his 
fright he dropped the note on the grourid. 

"Yea, sir, it's hoodoo! It's hoodoo! And this tremb- 
ling wretch here, this double-dyed incarnation of mid- 
night darkness, this old he-scouudrel with the mangan- 
iferous name, he's a hoodoo, too! I see it in his e3'e!" 

"'Fore God, massa cunnel I " 

"Do you pretend to tell me that you're not a hoodoo?" 

"'Fore God, I isn't!" 

"Do you mean to say that j'ou're not a hoodoo, and 
what's worse a Baptist hoodoo?" 

"'Deed I isn't! I'se a Baptiz — but I ain't no hoodoo! 
1 didn't know denote was hoodoo — 'deed I didn't! /'.se 
nuffin* but a pore ole niggah, sah, an' I doan mean no 
hahm to nobody ! 'Deed I don't!" 

Meantime Tom had secured his message and gone 
within his tent to read it. 

"Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy," said Nat, changing his 
tone to one of business negotiation. "Can you cook, 
and wash dishes?" 

"'Deed I kin!" 

"Can you black boots and brush clothes? " 

"Deed I kin!" 

"Can you shave a fellow?" 

"Yes, sah!" 

"Can you make pies?" 

"Yes, sah!" 

"Out of nothing?" 
"Yes— no, sah!" 

"Are you a liar?" 

"'Deed I isn't, massa gin'r'l! 'Fore " 

"Can you take care of horses?" 

"Yes, sah!" 

"Would you like to go with the sogers?" 

"'Deed I would!" 

"Do you like to fight?" 

"No— no, sah!" 

"Are you fond of wading Jin gore and carnage up to 
your eyebrows, and do you like to drink hot blood and 
sigh for more?" 

"Oh, no — massa gin'r'l, 'deed I don't!" 



/36 god's war. 

"Are you fond of stalking godlike in the awful bell of 
battle?" 

"I'd die firstl" 

"What? Don't your blood leap and thrill in your 
veins when you are summoned forth to scenes of 
slaughter?" 

"No, dey don't — 'deed dey don't!" 

"Do you think it's 'sweet for your country to die?' " 

"Gin'r'l, gin'r'l, hits sweeter to live!" 

"You're head's as level as a board! Where do you 
hide things when you steal 'em?" 

"Oh, gin'r'l, I don't never steal!" 

"But you can steal if you want to, can't you? There's 
no constitutional infirmity about you to keep you from 
stealing if you want to, is there?" 

"Oh, gin'r'l, I can't steal!" 

"What? Do you mean to tell me that if you saw Cap- 
tain Bailey and Jigadier-Brindle Kellogg (that's me) 
fainting and weak from hunger after a long march, our 
noble spirits drooping after an excessive waste of patriotic 
ardor over muddy roads and plowed fields in a hard rain 
— do you mean to say that under such circumstances as 
those you would hesitate about stealing a chicken or so 
or even a paltry pig or sheep wherewith to stay our wai'- 
like stomachs and build up and refresh our heroic na- 
tures? Pause, Xerxes! Pause, Lycurgus! Ponder and 
reflect, old man McCurdy, for upon your answer may 
depend the outcome of this internecine struggle!" 

"Oh, but dat's diffrunt!" cried 'Curg, grinning, 
"Datch-yers diffrunt! Why, o' cose, o' cose under dem 
yer suckumstances " 

"You could steal, eh?" 

"'Cose I could — ^'cose I could!" 

"Then that settles it! Get in there and go to work. 
You are cook and valet and chambermaid and liar and 
barber and thief for the officer's mess of Company 'Q.' " 

"Yes, sah!" 

"But there's one thing I want to caution you about. 
You said you was a Baptist?" 

"Yes, sah!" 

"There's where I want to caution you! It's all right 



god's war. 137 

^vhen you're washing shirts or performing your own 
personal ablutions, you bright and beautiful being! On 
such occasions let 'er come! Be a Baptist till you can't 
rest, then ! But when it comes to making coffee and 
beau soup, my boy, be cautious! Don't at such times 
allow your religious prejudices to lead you too far! 
Water's a good thing — but there are times when you can 
get too much of a good thing, and I tell you — no matter 
what you may have been taught by the gifted men who 
have pointed out the damp and heavenly way for you, I 
tell you that when it comes to coffee and bean soup there's 
mighty little saving grace in a superabundance of water! 
D'ye see?" 

"I onderstau', sah!" 

"'Tis well, then! Go to your work — and when you 
steal be discriminating ! Wear your rue with a difference ! 
Don't ever steal from the officer's mess of Company 'Q. ' 
"We had a noble j-outh filling the high and responsible 
position to which you have just been called. He 
cooked be-3'outifully ! He was perfect but for one thing. 
He lacked discrimination about stealing. We were 
grieved of course when he stole sugar from the 
colonel's mess, and were saddened when he got 
away with the doctor's whisky, but we bore up 
under it; and when we drank the resultant punch we 
seemed somehow to gather consolation and hope! We 
could not condemn him utterly for that one venial fault. 
But when he forgot to discriminate and begun to steal 
from us, we felt that the time for action had come. We 
— but do you see those buzzards slowly circling through 
the circumambient atmosphere?" 

"Yes, sah!" with awe, inspired by Nat's big words 
and pompous delivery. 

"They have risen from an awful feast!" 

"GoodLawd!" 

"Beneath the shadow of their obscene wings lie bleach- 
ing the bones of — but I will spare you and myself! 
Brindle into that kitchen and get to work!" 

But Mr. McCurdy hesitated. A moment ago he was 
eager to embrace the new avocation that presented itself; 
but now — now his mind was filled with vague and horri- 



138 GOD'S WAR. 

ble possibilities. The path into which he was so anxious 
to spring, had suddenly lost its brightness. He would 
save himself before it was too late. 

"'Deed I'd love to, Massa giu'r'l; but I can't! 'Deed 

can t. 

"Why not?" 

'"Case I 'longs to Gin'r'l Hardin', sah." 

"I don't care who you belong to. You're a free nig- 
ger now. Go ahead!" 

"But Gin'r'l Hardin' he prizes me, he does!" 

"All right — if he wants you he can come and get you 
— if he can! Don't you understand? You're a free 
nigger, now!" 

"Free?" 

"Yes, free. I'll see to that!" 

The darky's eyes dilated. He was about to speak 
when Tom came out of the tent. 

"You can drill the company, Nat. I'lu going into the 
city!" 

'Curg retired to the tent that was used for a Jjitchen 
whence soon came the sounds of rattling pots and pans 
above which rose the darky's voice, singing in a wild, 
quaint, uncouth but sadly sweet melody : 

" I'se free! I'se free! 
Washed in the blood of the Lamb!' 

Nat's voice was heard down in the company street — no 
drawl now — giving sharp, peremptory orders, and Tom 
lifting the tent flap passed within. Taking off his sword 
he threw himself upon his cot to read again his missive. 
It was written in the cultivated hand of an educated 
woman — the great, slender, sprawling, angular characters 
that had, before that day, set men's hearts to beating — 
the hearts of men who were older and wiser than Tom. 
"Captain Thomas Bailky, 

"Twenty-first Ohio Eegiuient : 

"Does it seem indelicate that the little girl whom you 
rescued from such an awful fate, should wish to see and 
thank her preserver once more, or presumptuous that 
she should write to him to solicit him to call upon 
her that she may have the opportunity to do so? I sin- 



god's war. 130 

cerely hope not. For I do not wish to overstep the 
bounds of maidenly' modesty and pi'oper decorum, and 
yet I feel that I must see you once more. It is said that 
you will soon go to Murfreesboro to fight General Bragg. 
When I think of what may happen then, that I may never 
see you again, I feel that I need no other excuse for thus 
addressing you. Besides, I am very lonely here. 
"Sincerely and gratefully, 

"Ethel Lynde. " 

Be it remembered, that Captain Thomas Bailey, although 
he had won much renown already as a fighter, was still 
but a lad of nineteen. It makes no difiference what the 
effect of such a note received under such circumstances 
would have been upon you. Perhaps it had quite a 
different effect upon Tom. At all events he spent half 
an hour in reading and rereading it. 

Then he made a discovery ; the which he mentally 
contemplated for at least ten minutes, with a great deal 
of pleasure and inward satisfaction, namely, that if he 
h:id thought that he loved Margaret he had never told 
her so, and thus was free from the imputation of disloy- 
alty. Then he put the note away, very carefully, in the 
inside pocket of his waistcoat, on the left side. And the 
simple fact of its presence there increased his feeling of 
satisfaction ; at least he chose to assume that it did ; 
which amounted to the same thing. 

Then he buttoned his coat up to his chin, and started 
off to the city. Just as he left the camp he heard Nat 
cry out to the company on the parade ground, "Great 
Julius Caesar! The Home Guards would do better than 
that!" and he smiled to think how the boys would squirm 
under the rebuke — the severest that could possibly have 
been employed. 



140 god's war. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

SETTING THE BATTLE FRONT. 

The column moved slowly aud cautiously, with frequent 
halts and long tedious waits, occasioned by the general 
sending back word every little while that evei'ything 
must be kept in instant readiness for going into action 
"as the enemy are evidentb' advancing en mo.««e."' 

The pike was filled as far back as the eye could reach 
with infantry and artillery, and wagons loaded with camp 
equipage, rations and an- munition, all moving slowly for 
perhaps fifteen minutes out of every sixty and waiting 
wearily for the other forty-five. On the flanks occasional 
glimpses could be had of cavalry dashing here and there, 
and once in awhile the muffled sound of musketry firing 
by small squads could be heard. Much leas often the 
cottony boom of a piece of artillery would fall upon the 
ear — the sound gathering softness as it travei'sed the 
miles from where the gun spit out its spiteful flames and 
ringing roar. Once in awhile the troops would be sum- 
moned to throw down a fence and tramp for a mile or two 
in hot haste in soft, moist soil, through thick woods and 
over the brown slopes; and then, having got no one knew 
where, they would retrace their steps with much grumb- 
ling and swearing back to the 'pike; or perhaps would 
take up a new position in a "dirt road," where the men 
could boil coffee and exchange jokes with the peculiar 
persons who drove mule-teams — a class sui generu, un- 
questionably. 

During a prolonged halt, a rather heavy firing going on 
the while at the front on the extreme left, a regiment of 
cavalry came pounding and clinking up from the rear. 
The road ran for some distance through a cut, and as it was 



GOD'S WAR. 141 

filled with troops aud canuou and M'agoiis, the borsemen 
galloped and trotted along through the adjacent field. 
In the cut the men had gathered in groups; some around 
small fires on which they were boiling coffee and before 
which they broiled their strips of bacon on the end of 
long sticks or the steel rammers of their muskets — and 
the air was full of the sharp, delicate odor of cedar rails 
burning; some stood erect in the road as if expecting 
momentarily the order to fall in and double-quick to the 
scene of the firing; others, with their knapsacks under 
their heads lay on their broad backs regardless of the 
dampness of the ground, smoking their pipes thought- 
fully ; a few having climbed to the top of the cut indulged 
in sarcastic comments on the "creeter compauj'" in 
which the ungraceful rider was asked "Why don't ye 
git a string and tie yerself on, sonny?" and the swag- 
gering, dashing, valiant fellow was told of the standing 
reward offered for the man who had ever laid eyes on a 
dead cavalryman, or a defunct mule ; to which the horse- 
men, you may be sure, were not slow to give reply in 
kind. 

Given, six mules to a wagon, hitched together more or 
less closely and with a competent driver — competent to 
drive mules, mind you — and you have a variety of talent 
in a small space, such as may not easily be equalled 
under other circumstances. 

For an hour perhaps, the six long-eared creatures 
would stand quietly like so many philosophers, statuesque 
and serene, while the gifted being who guided their 
destinies for thirteen dollars a month, rations and clothing, 
slumbered peacefully by the roadside upon a saddle- 
blanket, or exchanged refined amenities with his fellow- 
drivers over a pipe, a surreptitious canteen of commissary 
whisky or a game of cards. Then all at once Satan 
would enter into the mules to try conclusions with his 
usually more than peer, the driver. Each several and 
distinct mule, fully impressed that his great patron and 
exemplar from below had honored him with his sole and 
exclusive company, would testify his appreciation of the 
additional mulishness thus acquired by kickings and 
^quallings and hee-haws, which to the uninitiated would 



142 god\s war. 

seem to have their spring in nothing at all under the 
sun. In course of time unutterable exaltation to the 
mules would be attained — this happening when they had 
involved themselves in an inextricable snarl, with per- 
haps one or two of their number prone in the mud. 
That they esteemed this state of things to be blissful 
could easily be told by the expression with which they 
eyed the gifted being as he approached to untangle 
them. 

Then the soft and gentle breezes would bear upon their 
odorous wings fragments of strange and strong and 
concentrated remarks, as the teamster communed with 
himself upon the topic most readily suggestive; in time, 
it were safe to say, if a breeze of sufficient body to bear 
the weight came booming along, a volume of straight, 
clear and resonant profauitj' would go roaring and swell- 
ing down the pike — in its 83'mmetrical and well sustained 
and almost artistic proportions as far above the broken 
ejaculatory character of the opening observations of the 
teamster as the roar of a corps d'arme fully engaged 
with the enemy is superior to the spatting and cracking 
of muskets in a skirmish at a picket post. 

In other branches of high art "some are born great, 
some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust 
upon them." In this particular branch — the driving of 
army mules — the successful man is born great. No train- 
ing will suffice to make him competent; though the zeal 
of madness fill his soul he cannot reach perfection; and 
sooner or later the pitying, patronizing admonition of 
the noble being predestined to the work, "You have 
mistaken your avocation! You hain't got the hang of 
the language and never will git it! Your blood hain't 
rich enough! You were born for to be a chaplain!" 
bitter and stinging as it is at first, must come to be ac- 
cepted ; and the too-daring aspirant must yield to a 
fate which molds him with its iron hands and sink to 
his place among men of common clay. 

But there are degrees of excellence even among those 
who are born great ; and as the regiment of cavalry passed 
by, the acknowledged first artist in the brigade sat 
smoking, solitary, as became his rank, on the bank beside 



god's war. 143 

his team. When Satau came seeking mules to amuse, 
he took the team iu front — whether he felt ami acknowl- 
ecltjeci the champion's superiority or riot, is not material. 
The usual kicking and squealing and hee-hawing resulted 
iu the overthrow of a small but particularly tough old 
mule, with an entanglement of harness that was not at 
first apparent in all its diabolical perfection to the half- 
awakened driver, suddenly aroused by the noise. The 
champion, long, thin, dark, hook-nosed and small-eyed, 
sat beneath his great, broad-brimmed wool-hat, smoking 
and calmly watching and listening. 

Patiently, and with manly self-restraint the forward 
driver strove to release his fallen mule.' Only occasion- 
ally did he pause to give expression to his feelings; and 
then he did it in a half-finished way, like a man who 
felt that the job was not so gigantic after all — not one 
which demanded that he should put forth more than a 
part of his vast energies. And the mule lay quietly. It 
was a matter not vitally important to him — at least 
as yet. His companions drooped their heads and seemed 
half-asleep; also unconcerned and placid to the hasty 
observer. It was only when the twinkle in their half- 
shut eyes betrayed them that one could be brought to 
believe that they were not asleep indeed. 

The driver stayed his hand, and sat him down while 
he spoke in tones of — well, say hopeful sadness. Then 
he remained silent for a moment. 

Then he went at his work again with renewed deter- 
mination and fresh cheerfulness. And his determination 
deepened and grew fiercer iu its demonstration minute 
by minute, while his cheerfulness melted gradually away 
like the fleecy cloud on a blue, summer sky. 

Then he rested again — but not so calmly as before. 
He wiped the perspiration from his brow with the back of 
his hand, while he gazed with steadfast eye upon the 
tranquil mule. There was a dark threatening in his eye, 
and — and the mule knew it. I don't know how he knew 
it — but he did ; and he remained only more, and more 
provokingly, tranquil. 

The struggle recommenced — the struggle of the noble 
reasoning man with the perverse and twisted, insensate 



144 GOD'S WAR. 

and obstinate gearing. At last a ray of light appeared! 
A buckle loosened here — a chain untwisted there, a lift 
and a pull, a groan and an improper remark in a sup- 
pressed tone, and, aha! victory is at hand! 

This M'as the moment the mule had waited for so 
tranquilly. The time had come, and with a frantic 
wriggling, well calculated to deceive (as it seemed like 
an effort to get his fore-feet under him so that he might 
rise), he brouglit his great hammer head with all the 
force of his tough old neck straight up and into the eye 
and cheek bone of the buoyant being bending over him 
and hurled him back, shrieking and writhing with pain. 

Ah ! then was displayed the resources of a mule-driver's 
soul! Then came a revelation of a vocabulary such as 
would have paralyzed the enthusiasm of the father of all 
the lexicographers! Then he that spoke the English 
language with pride in its variety and elasticity might 
well felicitate himself upon a new discovery of richness 
and fecundity theretofore undreamed of! 

The bright and gifted ones in charge of adjacent teams 
gathered and stood about in proud envy as they listened 
to the comrade who, with his hand to his eye writhed 
and stamped upon the ground, and bent his body and 
foamed at the mouth with an utterance of novel and 
unparalleled magnificence. And glances were cast at the 
great champion himself, as if to ask whether he realized 
that his own hitherto unchallenged supremacy was 
threatened. 

But that superior person smoked on imperturbably, 
calmly regarding the suffering and struggling man with 
the air of a fair but experienced and thoroughly compe- 
tent critic. At last as the paroxyzms subsided and the 
hazy blue of the atmosphere cleared awaj' a little, he 
removed his pipe and quietly said, as who should' pro- 
nounce an impartial and yet discriminating verdict: 

"Them words, Jeems, is all right, in fact be-you-tiful! 
But the tone," as with a shake of the head he knocked 
the ashes out of his pipe and rose to saunter away, "the 
tone of voice is a — le-e-e-tle too low!" 

And the pain of the bruised one was not alleviated but 
added to by the consciousness that spite of his splendid 



god's war. 145 

spurt be had not even succeeded in collaring the chain - 
piou. And his comrades, round about, who had listened 
and looked with such interest, turned thein one and all 
carelessly away and left him as men always leave the 
unsuccessful one, without pity or sympathy. 

And the mule? Was he radiant? 

Your question shows that you are all acquainted with 
mule character. The mule weak enough to show a sign 
of gratification at such a time were unworthy of his 
ears. 

In his attitude and expression the mule gave evidence 
of the possession of powers of self-repression and self- 
restraint such as the most polished man of the world 
might envy. It was the refinement of high ai't. Every 
line in his pose, the humble droop to the tail, the half- 
closed eye, the sad, abstracted expression of his face, 
even the careless half-neglige of the disarrangement of 
his ears — every one of these things was a study! 

He Avas as meek as Moses. 

For two days, namely the 26th and 27th of December, 

the story was the same. 

Weary delays beneath a leaden sky, under orders which 
contemplated such exigence of heavy work with the 
enemy circling fiercely and vigilantly around that no at- 
tempt to take comfort could be made; sudden and hot 
rushes through and over a country that was soft and 
muddy where it was not rocky and tangled — sorties that 
might have been better borne if they had resulted in 
anything more satisfactory than a harmless volley at the 
tails of a scurrying and disappearing handful of butternut- 
clothed horsemen — 'longer waitings in the ankle-deep 
mud; and then hours of pulling and prying and tugging 
and shouting to release wagons or cannon from miry pits 
or to put them over precipices and stretches of jagged 
stone in the country roads so rough that even birds 
couldn't fly over them with any comfort. At night to 
halt, so late that selection of the better places to rest the 
body in was impossible, so that one was as likely to seek 
the semblance of comfort in a mudhole or on a ridge of 
outcropping rock as on a spot where the tough hide of a 



146 GOD'S WAR. 

rhinoceros would find nothins: to object to; and to He 
there without tent or shelter through the cold raw night 
sleeping with one eye open and a sense of utter inse- 
curity. Happy the comuuiud encamped in a cornfield 
where the furrows afforded a bed out of which one could 
not well fall or roll ; even if the furrow should become a 
raging torrent during the sweet and subtle mystery of 
the silent, brooding night! 

Kain on Friday the 2Gth and rain on Saturday the 27th 
steadily pouring down, cold and peneti'ating and persist- 
ent, till the pikes became rivulets of gray water and the 
"dirt roads" became long channels of swimming mud, 
and the man who essayed to cross the open field lifted a 
ton of soil with every step ; and rain again all day Sun- 
day, when a halt was made out of respect for the day, 
and the soldiers instead of moving around drippingly 
were ])ermitted to lie about and soak. Everything satu- 
rated; the crackers a pulp; the bacon slimy; coffee beans 
soft, swollen and spongy; sugar, very thin molasses, and 
salt a villainously weak brine; the woolen blankets 
absorbing a barrel of water each; the rubber blanket as 
cheerfully comforting as the cool moisture of a clinging 
snake; the whiskj', even, revolting and sickening — 
because it tasted so strongly of water; shoes, contract 
shoes, God forgive them who made them for the poor 
fellows to wear — no; I don't mean that — I hope He won't 
forgive them ! — shoes as spongy and porous and sodden 
as rotten basswood bark, and falling to pieces amid grim 
ie^ts as to the mistake that was made in issuing them to 
infantry when they were clearly intended for cavalry; 
everything cold and wet and cheerless from the blue, 
shivering lips down to the cramped and benumbed toes 
— everything except the cartridges and the chambers and 
locks of the rifles and the jokes with which unsurpassed 
and patient heroism wiled the time away. There was 
not even excitement enough to warm the men up and 
keep down the infernal shivers that ran through the sys- 
tem like an ague chill. 

Monday morning, however, showed better. That is, 
the fighting of the advance and on the flanks was more 
frequent and interesting and gave better promise of 



god's war. 147 

warmer work for all. As the army neared Murfreesborn, 
moving cautiously and like a great troop of ghosty 
through the fog, the men involuntarily got nearer to- 
gether and carried their jiieces \vith a lirmer grip and 
out of the wonderfully mysterious depths of man's divine 
and inexhaustible elasticity they gathered a strength that 
certainly neither nourishment nor comfort had given 
them. And Monday' night found the whole army save 
the right wing, McCook's command, within three miles 
of Murfreesboro. The right wing, detained by fogs, and 
bad roads and a more persistent opposition from the 
enemy, was a few miles farther back to the right and 
rear. 

Silently, and feeling their way with their hands, as it 
were, the troops found their alignment, and with but 
little discussion of what daylight might bring, laid them 
once more down, chilled and wear3', to sleep. On Tues- 
day McCook came up, pushing from the right rear till 
his line, running in a southwesterly direction, was at 
almost right angles with the line of the center of 
the army, which faced more to the south; and the sound 
of his steadily advancing guns throughout the entire day 
was listened to almost enviously by the men of the left 
and center who might have fairly owned that they feared 
their comrades of the right wing would bear away all the 
honors of the campaign. 

After all, McCook with bis troops, almost constantly 
in motion and coming almost hourly in contact with the 
enemy, by which they were kept warm and active, had 
by far the easier task. Under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances and meteorological conditions it is harder for 
brave men to stand inert while their companions near by 
are fighting than it is to fight. Then, there is nothing- 
more wearing upon nerves, temper and courage itself 
than to be held with your enemy in full view, prepared 
for and anticipating battle at every moment, and yet to 
be restrained — with an occasional shot or two on the 
skirmish-line and once in awhile the sight of a wounded 
or dead man brought back from the front. At such 
times one has to contemplate the grimmest, coldest, 
harshest features of war, and to do it with calmly flowing 



148 god's war. 

blood :, and I know of nothing in the -world that will test 
the manhood of a soldier like this. In the heat and noise 
and excitement of the actual conflict men are carried 
along on the full bosom of a sweeping and irresistible 
tide which sustains while it whirls them on; in the other 
case they breast a cold and deadly current which con- 
stantly weakens them and strives to suck tliera under. 

When the men of the left and center lay down in the 
mud for such repose as they might be able to get, on the 
night of the 30th, they were not permitted to even strike 
a match, lest they should betray their position. Over 
on the right, however, where it was desired to deceive 
the enemy, fires were built away beyond the real flank. 

And whatever may have been the theories and guesses 
and surmises and hopes and fears of the soldiers of the 
Army of the Cumberland up to that hour, speculation 
then came to an end; and every man, from the general 
in command down to the hook-nosed teamster, knew that 
daylight would bring with it an awful struggle — if indeed 
a night attack did not precipitate it sooner. 

"It's my private opinion publiclj' expressed," said 
Nat to Tom that night, as they lay shivering, belted and 
booted as all were sleeping on their arms, of course; "it's 
my private opinion, publicly expressed, that if they don't 
cut old John F. loose to-morrow morning and let him 
fight, he'll sail out o' here on his own hook and give 'em 
a whirl just for luck!" 

"Why? W' hat's the matter with John F. ?" 

"Well, I've been keeping, my eye on him all Hay, and 
I tell you he means business!" 

"Of course he does. We all mean business. That's 
what we're here for. Did you think it was a picnic?" 

"Not much! But John F, means business rather more 
than some other fellows around here I tell you." 

"Well, that's all right. That's what we want." 

"Have you seen him going up and down the lines to- 
day on that bay horse?" 

"Yes, I've noticed him." 

"That horse is a thoroughbred — and so's John F. 
They've been looking this thing over together to-day and 



god's war. 149 

what they don't know about things aorund here ain't 
•worth knowing. I tell you John F. can see with them 
eyes! He can see as far and as quick with them eyes as 
any man can with a fieldglass! And the horse — he don't 
have to look! All he's got to do is just to brindle around 
and when John F. sees anything why the horse sees it — 
knows it without seeing — they've got a fellow feeling, ye 
see' — sort o' brothers!" 

"Well, that's a compliment for John F. !" 

"Of course it is ! Why, I tell you there's more brother- 
hood — more relationship — kin — whatever you call it, be- 
tween a good njan and a good horse than there is between 
a good man and many a fellow I know of." 

"Yes, I believe that too. But you don't think John F. 
would fight without orders, do you?" 

"Oh, no! I was joking about that — I only meant that 
he is loaded and he's increasing the charge every minute. 
He's come down here to fight, you know, and he thinks 
he'll have a chance jiretty soon, and it kind o' makea 
him hump himself around, ye see. No — I don't think 
he has any idea of fighting without orders, but if he has, 
why I'm his huckleberry — he can count on me every 
time!" 

"Yes, somehow all the boys seem to have that same 
sort of faith in him." 

"Faith in him? Of course they have! John F. 's all 
right! He don't have any velvet facings on his coat, 
nor his staff don't wear no white breeches on review, but 
he's business all the same!" 

And Nat. slipping down a little so that the out-crop- 
ping rock which had been pressing his hip joint till it 
was bruised was adjusted into the soft place just above, 
where it fitted better, and putting his hand between his 
face and the canteen which served him for a pillow, fell 
asleep. 

How long the night was, and yet how short! To those 
who watched, thinking till their brains grew hot and 
painful and striving to foresee what the morning, the 
dreadful to-morrow, would bring them, balancing all the 
chances and the probabilities with thoughts of wives 



150 god's war. 

aud children and their future in a, certain awful contin- 
gency; to these the night \Yhich njeasured their suspense 
was long — drearily and wearily long. 

Does any one know, save the man who leaves wife and 
children and puts their future comfort and well being in 
the scale along with his own life for his country, does 
any one else know what patriotism is? From hundreds 
and thousands of happy homes in this land went men to 
offer their lives for the preservation of the Union, men 
who loved their wives and their little ones as dearly as 
men could love; and they went, knowing that while they 
lived and the war lasted, their families, these dear ones, 
would be pinched and depri 'ed upon their small wages; 
while if their lives were lost, suffering, such as would 
drive to madness to think of, would come to them. The 
fond and loving wife would be compelled to hardest toil, 
perhaps far beyond her strength, and find an early grave 
worn out in a struggle to maintain and educate the 
golden-haired girl and the brown-eyed boy whose pictures 
shone ever before the father's eyes. How could he tell? 
Might not they become outcasts and beggars before the 
time came that they could work and earn their own 
living? 

In the man who went into the army without ties of this 
sort, or the man who knew that if he fell his loved ones 
were provided for, it was still a grand and noble and 
heroic thing! But what was it in the case of the hun- 
dreds of thousands who risked so much more than their 
own lives; but who never x^ermitted themselves to meas- 
ure the two duties — to imagine for a moment that loyalty 
to their country could perhaps be treason to their fam- 
ilies? And what strength it must have taken to enable a 
warm-hearted loving husband and lather to resist the 
temptation to believe that the claims of his dear ones 
came first! It is only when we make an estimate of this 
sort that we get at anything like the true value of this 
uprising which saved llie Lhiiou and 1 believe blessed 
humanity as no other act of men ever did. 

And how swiftly the hours flew l)y to those who stood 
to guard whilst others slept — hearing through all the 
night the sound within the enemy's lines o| marching 



god's war. 151 

feet and rumbling wheels and clanking sabers going 
steadily toward our right, and seeing through the foggy 
darkness figures of men, and groups flitting and looming 
here and there and striving to penetrate the secrets of 
our line and to find its weak places! 

And how soon the dawn came to those who, worn with 
fatigue, slept in all their cheerless discomfort and 
dreamed of home, and kissed their children at their knees, 
and looked into the steadfast eyes of the loving wife 
more dear than au.y other being upon the earth; or 
walked adown the scented lane with the maiden of the 
starry eyes and flitting blush — how soon it came to these 
— that single shot which pierced the silence, and with its 
sharp echo rang the knell of ten thousand souls and in 
an instant woke a hell of crashing carnage! 



15JJ god's war. 



CHAPTEK XV. 

THE THIRTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER, 1862. 

The men were moving about quietly, joking in low 
tones, scraping together the crumbs of soaked hardtack 
that made their morning meal, for they were not per- 
mitted on the left and along the center to make fires to 
cook anything ; stretching themselves prone in the mire 
to drink out of puddles and then filling their canteens 
with the muddy, unwholesome liquid, which they fore- 
saw would soon be worth more, drop for drop, than its 
weight in diamonds; rubbing up the locks of their guns 
and adjusting cartridge boxes, so that they might fight 
to the best possible advantage when the signal came — 
not at all insensible to the influences of the hour and the 
place, but mentally and physically girding themselves 
up for the encounter — swallowing their cold, nervous 
shivers with a feeling of shame that even the power of 
the great will which kept them steadfast could not sup- 
press such unmanly, involuntary shuddering. 

In the midst of this subdued hum there suddenly came 
a sound like that which is made when one breaks a stick 
across one's knee — snap! 

That first shot! 

You have heard in the sweet dewness of the fresh and 
odorous dawn the cheep of the earliest awakened bird 
and have observed that another at once follows and then 
another and another till suddenly' the whole grove is 
filled with melodj'? 

Well, it was like that; and yet, of course, it was not! 

For that first shot, coming from the rifle of a vigilant 
sikrmisher who sought to check the intrusivenesa of an 
overbold Confederate, had scarcely sounded before an- 



god's war. lofj 

other followed and then a third and yet another, till all 
along" the miles of the front a fusillade rang out that 
bx-ouffht the men up, standing, with compressed lips, 
quick-beating hearts and hard, deep breathing. . . . 

General Bragg, commanding the Confederate Army 
during battle of Stone River, had that stream, with 
some insignificant earthworks some distance back, and 
but little else, to protect his right wing. On his left he 
had some fairly good intrenchments. He perhaps over- 
estimated, for a careful commander, the value of the river 
as an obstacle to the advance of the Union left wing. It 
was not a serious obstacle — but that is neither here nor 
there. His plan of battle contemplated a fierce and heav3' 
attack upon the right of the Union line and the annihila- 
tion of the Union Army, and circumstances not pleasant 
to remember greatly helped him and very nearly gave 
him complete success. 

General Rosecrans, with a more correct judgment, 
made up his mind that Stone's River was but a feeble 
barrier to the advance of brave men ; and as he knew that 
the Confederate left was tolerably w'ell intrenched he, 
too, determined upon a plan of battle which contem- 
plated the crushing of his adversary's right; this accom- 
plished, the fall of Murfreesboro must follow. 

And the two generals on Tuesday evening issued in- 
structions almost precisely identical in spirit to their 
corps commanders. The commander of the right wing, 
in each case, was to keep up a bold and determined front; 
not to force the fighting, but to so bear himself as to 
persuade his opponent that he was, always, just on the 
point of doing so; and the commander of the left wing, 
in each case, was to fall upon his adversary with fury 
and persistence. 

The two brigades on the right of the Union line were 
at breakfast with hot coffee, their arms stacked and their 
battery horses unhitched and some of them led off to 
water. For this terrible mistake the commander of one 
of these brigades, Colonel Kirk, atoned with his life 
before sunset, fighting gallantly and with a valor than 
which no man ever showed greater. The other, bluff old 
August Willich, reputed natural son of the Emperor 



lo4 GOD'S WAR. 

AVilliam of Germany, in a vain attempt to retrieve his 
eiror fell into the enemy's hands and lauguiHhed for 
some months in a Southern prison. If anything could 
have wiped out tlie blame which lay upon these com- 
manders, their heroic fighting and that of their soldiers 
on this awful day would have sufficed. And let us hope 
that history will decide that it did. 

Down upon these men, lulled into a feeling of false 
security by this carelessness of their commanders, came, 
swooping, Bragg's fighters, ten to one; the rebel left 
extending far beyond the Union right, and rushing in to 
envelop and crush it. Valor could not stem the onset; 
the courage of as noble and brave a band of men as ever 
felt in their veins the strength of Anglo-Saxon blood was 
of no avail ; and though they sprang to arms like tigers 
upon their prej', and sought to align themselves, and 
fought with desperation, they were crushed in almost 
less time than it takes to write it and swept back upon 
their comrades further on the left, almost back to 
back with them. 

At last the surge of the rebel advance was momentarily 
stayed. Changing front to rear with coolness and rap- 
idity the fresh troops in the Union line offered a stubborn 
resistance. But they met and challenged an advance 
which they could not hold. For it was irresistible, and 
almost before their gun barrels were heated another 
brigade of men was Hying back upon the line which 
stretched still farther to the left, whei'e again a desperate 
struggle, but a hopeless one, ensued. 

Remember that now it was not alone Bragg's ponderous 
flanking masses of men, coming from the rear, who had 
to be encountered and resisted. The whole front of the 
line was furiously engaged; so that when one shattered 
brigade after another was thrown back, the men in the 
line remaining steadfast and apparently with their hands 
full with the enemy in front, found themselves assailed 
from the flank and rear also and incumbered and embar- 
rassed by thousands of their flying comrades. What were 
mortal men to do? They fought their enemy front and 
rear, to the right and left and then of course were com- 
pelled to yield, join and merge themselves with the dis- 



tJOD S WAR. irut 

organized mob and retreat still farther to the left, uhile 
the Coufederate musketry and artillery poured volley 
after volley, shot, shell, grape and canister at short 
range into the mass, plowing through from side to side, 
striking down, killing and maiming as Indians slay be- 
wildered buffalos. 

All that could be done was done by Rosecrans to stem 
the swirling tide of disaster. His little force of cavalry 
was kept busy in the rear protecting the ammunition and 
suppb' trains from the attacks of the Wheelers and 
Morgans who with their reckless riders were infinitely 
troublesome; in moments of brief respite from these 
onsets they dashed now and again upon the rebel left 
Hank to worry and distract attention ; till they were called 
off again to look after matters in the rear, from Lavergne 
to Overall's Creek. The Union reserves thus thrown 
into the breach withered and passed away like a cloud of 
dry leaves sucked by the heat into a forest fire. And still 
the victorious Confederates, crazy, fierce, and relentless 
with joy at their tremendous success, came pouring on 
like tumbling waves on the storm-swept rocks, shrieking 
their peculiar war cry like so many possessed of devils. 

The Union left, which it was planned should sweep 
like a whirlwind across the stream and into the town, 
had but just begun its movement when the roar of battle 
coming from the right so rapidly and so menacingly, like 
the noise of a consuming conflagration which cannot be 
stayed, gave it pause. It was seen that Bragg 's plan 
was succeeding, and Rosecrans must change his. Then 
came orders swift and fast and all who could be seized 
upon were thrown into the maelstrom in the hope to 
choke and check it. The beaten troops were rallied and 
sent charging again and again into the fiery cloud that 
marked Bragg's steady advance. Flying batteries were 
halted and, posted at new points of vantage, set to work. 

Presently this determined and heroic, clinging and 
unyielding obstinacy began to have its effect. The 
advancing rebels, who had been almost on the run, slowed 
down, then halted, and then found it necessary to con- 
template something else than a continuance of success. 
Coming finally to a dead standstill they realized that, 



15G r,OD's WAR. 

stroug and triumpbaut aud brave as they were, they Lad 
met an obstacle they could not overcome. That obstacle 
was a line of Ameiican soldiers who had been badly 
whipped, but who uad from that whippinti drawn such 
inspiration of stubborn heroism that nothing- could move 
them further— nut an inch— nor a hair's-breadth. 

And who shall strive to paint the picture during all 
this time, of the rear, where frightened teamsters and 
panio-stricken stragglers and thieving camp-followers 
and all of the worst elements of the army, with horses 
and wagons, locked themselves together in an apparently 
inextricable tangle, blocking up the roads, cowering and 
sneaking and flying at the terror-breeding rumors which 
■were borne on the idle winds thick as thistledown on a 
golden day in August? The uproar and the pitiful ex- 
hibitions of avarice and cowardice by turns, all the vilest, 
mosi abject frailties of the lowest order of humanity, 
made such a picture as would drive a decent man to the 
frenzied verge of suicide that he might no longer be 
charged to the race. 

Have you ever seen a panic-stricken soldier in time of 
battle? If you have you will never forget it. 

On the day following this I am describing so feebly, 
while temporarily with the cavalry at the rear, near 
Overall's Creek, I saw one such man; and the picture is 
still vivid although thirty years have since elapsed. For 
days it was with me, tilling me with horror and giving 
to my waking hours the terrors of a hideous nightmare. 
He was a young man of perhaps twenty, stout and well 
made, with a big round head fronted by a big round face 
which usually held, as one could plainly see, a plenty of 
rich healthy color; now, however, it was ghastly in its 
pallor, the clear white having grown a greenish yellow — 
as if his fright had upset his internal economy and poured 
the bile into his veins. It was at a moment of compara- 
tive quiet, front and rear, only an occasional shot to be 
heard, when he came down the pike from the front with 
all the speed of a quarter horse. The general command- 
ing the cavalry, D. S. Stanley, sitting on his horse near 
me, seemed to know at once what this strange sight of a 



god's war. 157 

man fleeing, when no one pursued, as if for his life, 
meant; although it was a puzzle to me; and quickly 
whipping out his light slender sword he drove at the 
fugitive as if he were charging a battery. The presence 
of the real and tangible danger in his front compelled 
the trembling wretch to pause in his insane flight from 
the imaginary danger behind him. He halted under the 
nose of the general's horse and looked up at the stern 
soldier with such an expression of agonized, beseeching 
appeal as I have never seen in mortal eyes before nor 
since, 

"Where are you going, you — whelp!" demanded Stan- 
ley, hesitating when he came to the epithet as if he were 
searching for the vilest term in his vocabulary. 

A wild waving of his hands and rolling of his eyes, 
with a torrent of incoherent gibberish, was all the reply 
the coward could give. 

"Get back to your place! Back, Isa.v; back, I say; 
back, you damned scoundrel, back, back, back!" and 
with each "back" the general's withy blade swished in 
the air and smote, flat side on, the fellow's great fat 
cheeks with a sound like a pistol shot. 

As God is my judge, it was pitiful! 

The coward writhed and screamed and begged, but 
made no effort either to excuse or defend himself. Such 
abasement as he showed of God's image! It was too 
much, and I turned aside to banish the sight from my 
eyes, and when I looked again he was scurrying back to 
the front as fast as he had come, with the fierce, lean 
general tearing after him and bending over his horse's 
neck to strike him whenever he could reach him with the 
flat of that wickedly hissing sword! 

The Union right on "Wednesday morning stretched to 
the south, facing strongly, almost squarely to the east, 
while the center faced south by east, and the left faced 
in a direction to the east, trending slightly to the north, 
conforming its front to the vagaries of the stream. In 
the afternoon the right wing was faced in a semicircular 
form squarely to the west, with its right fully three miles 
north of the point where it (the right of the right wing) 



158 GOD'S WAR. 

had rested in the morning, while the left and center, 
compressed into the smallest posaible space, held a posi- 
tion facing due south, slightly in the rear of the position 
occupied by the left Aving in the morning. 

This does not make it plain, nor will it become so 
unless you will take the pains to make your own diagram, 
rememijeriug that the right and center fell back as if they 
had used the right flank of the left wing as a pivot till, 
if the line had swung back intact, the right flank of the 
right wing would have, in describing the arc of a circle, 
traversed a distance of more than four miles, while in 
a straight line it did go more than three miles from 
the point where Bragg fell upon the two brigades at 
their breakfast with hot coffee. The steady advance 
of the Confederates, while it was persistently and 
obstinately resisted (for, from three to four hours 
passed away before the Union troops were beaten 
back to the position last given above), received its 
first substantial check when it reached "John F. 's" 
brigade in the center, and the hard fighting of that 
hei'oic band even long after it had been deserted on 
right and left, gave time for new combinations and align- 
ments to be formed on the Union side. Then this brig- 
ade, isolated and surrounded, cut its way out at the 
point of the bayonet. 

And when the firing was suddenly stilled for a brief 
moment, between 12 o'clock noon and 1 o'clock p.m., the 
miles of ground between the Franklin road on the 
south and running east and west, and the Nashville 
pike to the northeast, which ran south by west, was 
filled, open fields and tangled cedar brakes, rounded 
dells and rocky hills, with dead men ; and living men, 
dying, maimed and shattered, moaning and shrieking, 
cursing and praying, thousands of them ; and upon them 
fell a merciless chilling and stiffening misty rain, from 
a sky as cruelly cold and gray as ever frowned ujjon 
human beings in their death agony. Now, "old John 
F. " was a dark-eyed young ludianian, who commanded 
the brigade to which our soldier boys, Nat and Tom, and 
the rest nf them, belonged. He was a quiet man ordin- 
arily but could be noisy wlion occasion re'ni'i'<'d; then it 
was observed that whatever uuise he made went directly 



GOD'S WAR. 159 

to the point of the business in hand, and whether it was 
much or little it was always judt enough and accomplished 
its purpose. His dark hair and closely cropped beard 
framed a handsome, manly face that was peculiarly 
strong in repose and remarkably vivid and inspiring 
when he was aroused. This setting gave, perhaps, ad- 
ditional depth to his dark eyes which were soft and win- 
ning, and only the close observer would detect the lam- 
bent tires that slept and burned in their depths. When 
aroused, as in time of battle, these eyes were to those 
upon whom they flashed an inspiration of courage and 
heroism more startling and awakening in its power than 
the sudden blast of the trumpet sounding the charge. 
He was quick in his movements, but never nervous; and 
his iron will never acknowledged defeat. Without osten- 
tation, indeed having a pride which would not permit 
itself to condescend to such a thing any more than it 
would permit him to make himself common, he seemed 
one of those rarely poised men whose lives are governed 
by fixed laws— men whom it is impossible to disturb in 
their well ascertained and defined and thoroughly un- 
derstood duties and purposes. This did not preclude 
a quickness, as of lightning, in moments of emergency; 
only the decision thus arrived at in the winking of an 
eye, was for firmness and enthusiastic strength as if it 
had been the result of years of careful deliberation. 
And how unerring was the aim of this instinct, which 
makes great the man who possesses it, whoever he may 
be or wherever he may be placed, we shall see. 

"Old John F. " I repeat, was a young man — only about 
thirty at the time of the occurrences which I am now 
recalling; he was given the venerable appellation by the 
men in his command in compliance with the unwritten 
law which prescribes that the head or master, whether 
in the army or the workshop is "the old man" to the 
men under him; especially if they love him; whether he 
is an octogenarian or a beardless boy. When he rode 
around among his men their eyes followed him with a 
look of afifectiouate regard. And among the survivors 
of the old Seventh Brigade you will find gray -headed 
worshippers of two commanders above all others dear to 
them, and whom they dub "old Pap Thomas" and "John 



160 god's war. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

"the girl I LEFT BEHIND Me!" 

"That begins the business, without any flap-doodle." 
quietly observed Nat as the first shot was heard on 
Wednesday morning; it made a noise very little louder 
than the snapjiing of a good-sized dry twig and yet its 
significance was recognized at once by all. 

"Yes," replied Tom, rising to his feet and taking up 
his rubber blanket from the ground, "that means busi- 
ness. All ready there, men; get your places!" 

"That's one thing I like about a battle," continued 
Nat. "That is, if I like anything at all about such mur- 
derous work. There ain't no fuss and feathers about it! 
You get right down to business from the jump!" 

"Am I to understand, Lieutenant Kellogg," asked Tom 
mockingly, "that you really don't enjo.y a battle?" 

"Well, yes; that's about the size of it! There may 
be great and glorious fellows who revel in this sort of 
thing — maybe these fellows who wear gold buttons and 
velvet facings and white duck trowsers and papei'-collars 
do — sometimes, when I have seen them raising so much 
dust on reviews, galloping up and down the line on 
their fierce he-male charges, at such times I have been 
impressed that they never are happy, never can be, ex- 
cept when they are stalking godlike through the awful 
hell of battle— but I'm different you know — I'm off of 
another piece of cloth, and I don't enjoy it like it was a 
Sunday-school picnic, to tell the truth." 

"What do you do it for, then?" 

"Now there's where you strike me right hard, captain! 
I often ask myself that same question, especially when I 
meet one of these Awful Beings whose political friends 



GOD S WAk. 161 

Iiave helped them to get comini«sions as colonels or Jiga- 
dier briudles, but who are uo luore fit for soldiers or to 
ooiniuaud soldiers than old puffy Jordan is. When I 
meet one of them and think that maybe the next fight I 
get into I will be under his command, then I wonder why 
I stay in the service. And when I get into a battle and 
realize the danger I am in no, matter who is in command, 
I wonder more than ever." 

"But we are not serving under that kind of a man." 
"No. So far as the brigade is concerned we're all 

right. But " 

"Well, well, I say," cried Tom impatiently, "why 
don't 5'ou quit it then?" 

"I don't know, unless it is because this thing's got to 
be did, and I reckon I'm as much bound to help do it as 
anybody. I'm in for the war; and I'm going to stay. 
The South 's got to be wallopped if we've got it into us, 
and I'm going to do my share. But it ain't no particu- 
lar fun, my friend." 

"You're fighting for a great deal, Nat." 
"Yes. Among other things to see how high little Susie 
will carry her head when it's over, and to give little Dick 
something to brag about when he meets old Jordan's 
grandson at school, a few years from now. ' * 

"Haven't you heard that Jordan has been made colonel 
of a new regiment?" 

"Great Julius " 

"Fall m, men, fall in! Every man to his place! 
They're coming!" 

But it was a feint merely; serious enough in all con- 
science, but still nothing more than a terrific firing of 
musketry and artillery. The men were held strongly in 
check and warned not to fire till they could see something 
to shoot at. Again and again this was repeated, till they 
grew somewhat used to it and fell to joking in a half- 
careless way, but were still watchful. . . 

The minutes grew into hours, and it had got to be 8 
o'clock, and still, beyond protecting themselves as best 
they could from the heavy firing of the enemy in his 
earthworks across the open field, they had nothing to do 
but listen to the steady roar on the right which came 
swinging about to the left and rear with significant 
rapidity. 



16? GOD'S WAR. 

"No fight for us to-day." The tone was fairly de- 
sponflent, but the words had scarcely been uttered when 
the reply came : 

"Yes, there i8, by God! See, they're coming!" cried 
a quick, tense voice. 

And "they" were coming, with such a din of shrieking 
shells as rent the air to ribbons, and sending in advance 
a shower of leaden balls whistling and singing overhead, 
and spat, spat, spatting as they struck the cedar trees or 
the great gray bowlders, giving a deadlier sound when 
they buried themselves in human desh — a sound that 
was followed by a low moan from the victim and a nau- 
seating sensation within his comrades who gave a hasty 
glance at his drawn face and his eyes tilled with a wild, 
half-beseeching, horritied look, and then turned away to 
face the foe with an effort of will that paled their lips 
and sent the blood crowding their hearts almost to 
bursting. 

"Steady there, men! Don't tire till you get the word!" 

They crouched like beasts, waiting for their prey ; 
their eyes gleaming and their breath coming with but a 
faint fluttering, so strongly repressed was the emotion 
which they felt. . 

A wild taunting cheer came from the woods opposite 
as a long line of gray-clad men leaped over the line of 
intrenchments into the open field and with trailed arms 
started on a loping run for the clump of cedars in the 
edge of which the Twenty -first lay. Fierce and steady 
as they came their line was straight as a board. 

"Put down that gun — what do you mean? That's the 
third load you've put in and you've rammed your cart- 
ridge, ball first!" cried Nat. 

"I — I — don't you see — " stammered the culprit. 

"Get to the rear — now," answered Nat with a voice 
filled with suppressed rage and contempt. "Now, I say, 
or by the Eternal I'll shoot you dead," and at the muzzle 
of a Colt's navy in Nat's hand the one coward in the 
company turned and fled like a frightened deer. The 
men saw in the flash of an eye; some, it would seem, 
without turning their heads; they all understood Nat's 
motive and they ;*U approved his act. 



god's war. 163 

Ab! what whips and scorns must he not bear with him 
who thus flies from his duty ! Better to face the unut- 
terably awful challenge of death, to lose the wager and 
to endure the brief pain of dissolution and leave your clay 
on the field — ^a thousand times better! Of a truth, to 
the man who is healthy in mind and body the most 
dreadful moment is that when he sits hob and nob with 
Death, piercing those sightless sockets with a glance of 
steady defiance, whether he feels it in his heart or no, 
and giving back, grin for grin, the mockery of those 
fleshless chops, till the brain reels! Heads have whitened 
and hearts have grown old in one brief moment of such 
a strain! But how infinitely preferable that to the 
gnawing of the worm at the heart of the man who re- 
members that he fled his duty! How polluted the life 
saved in such a way I 

"Steady men — don't tiro till you get the word!" and 
the half-dozen muskets that had been involuntarily raised 
wei'e slowly lowered again. 

AVould the time never come? 

The charging column deliver a volle^^ — ^one terribly 
effective! Now, surely, is the time! But no — "Steady 
there — not yet, not yet — wait for the word!" 

And the cool commander sits motionless on his horse, 
his eyes alone showing a sign of life as they glance rap- 
idly back and forth taking in all parts of the field, and 
watching this devil's kettle till the color should come 
which would tell him when to thi'ow in his ingredients 
to give new wickedness to the weird, hellish flames. 

Flesh and blood cannot stand this much longer! The 
men feel, strong as is the power of the discipline under 
which they are held, that they must fire. The enemy 
are so near that they can read the "C. S. A." on their 
belts, and they are becoming insolently exultant. 

*'Kow then; let 'e?/i hace it!" 

The discharge of their guns was like the roar of a blast 
of wind, only quicker, beginning with a low growl and 
rising and swelling into a thunderous crash that seemed 
to shake the earth! It smote the enemy swift ani! 
sudden and awful as the wrath of God; and the gray coats 
littered the field like sheep upon a hillside. 



164 god's war. 

"Keep it up, men! Load and fire at will! Don't let 
a man get back alive!" the oiliceis shrieked and danced 
about like madmen, but with a dreadful method in their 
madness; and never losing sight of the chances of the 
fight. 

A puff of heavy, mist-laden wind floats off the smoky 
pall and reveals the combatants — the men of the Twenty- 
first loading and firing with the fury of devils, groaning 
and growling and filling the air with inarticulate mur- 
murs of an indescribable fierceness, while the startled 
Confederates resolutely and nobly strive to close up their 
decimated ranks, and fairly manage to rally their brave 
men, and with it all keep up a fire under which their 
blue-coated opponents are toppling over by dozens. 

Ah! we can look back at it, through the softening blue 
haze of more than thirty years, and understand why 
there was no man there, either in the gray or tlie blue, 
who was ashamed that day that he was an American! 

Was it a year or a day? an hour or five minutes? At 
such times one cannot stop to measure the sweep of the 
long, gray beard with his cleaving scythe — there is an- 
other reaper whose keen steel interests us more! But at 
last the Confederates begin to retire; they fall back in 
comparatively good order; no frantic, panicky haste, but 
facing their foe and sending Parthian messengers as they 
go to swell the death roll in their enemy's camp. 

And now the roar extends along the whole line; heavy 
and continuous on the Union left and center, but fiercest 
and most ai)palling on the right, still drawing nearer and 
nearer to the rear, till at last the Seventh Brigade realizes 
that the enemy are not only in their front and on their 
right and left, but squarely behind them, as well. A 
dense cloud hangs over all that part of the field, lit up 
momentarily with lines of red flashing tires as a regiment 
delivers a volley, or suddenly illuminated by a swelling, 
palpitating splash of flame as the great guns bellow and 
belch their monster missiles through quivering masses of 
men. 

You are kneeling ; partly to be able to aim better 
under the smoke and partly to gain the small protectiou 



GOD'S WAR. 165 

that a low bowlder or the trunk of a fallen tree will give 
you; you are loading and firing with all tho rapidity 
possible ; you can scarcely spare the time to aim at any 
one individual in the screaming, yelling throng before 
you — you do well if you take care to depress your piece 
so as to make sure not to overshoot, and you blaze away 
at the herd ; you find that your shivers have passed away 
and you grow heated; your nervousness has gone; you 
do not lose the sense of danger, but you grow careless of 
it or accustomed to it, and as you work awa.v, your gun 
barrel growing hot and foul so that a stream of fire 
spouting out of the muzzle and falling to the ground fol- 
lows each discharge, j-ou realize that your lips are 
tightly closed and that you are grinding your clinched 
teeth keeping time with them to the melody of some old 
tune— "The Monastery Bells," "The Maiden's Prayer," 
"Rosalie the Prairie Flower," "Old Dan Tucker," 
"Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming," "The Blue 
Juniata" — heaven knows what, and you smile at the 
incongruity of the thing; an exclamation at your side 
tells you that your file leader has been hit and you catch 
a gleam of the red blood spouting from his lips or well- 
ing forth from the ugly hole in his chest or thigh — and 
you help to draw him to the shelter of a great bowlder and 
with scarcely a word to him you hasten back, as if to a 
delightful pastime, to your post and begin again loading 
and firing and grinding your teeth, and occasionally giving 
vent to a groan that is half a growl, and the meaning or 
motive of -which you could not explain if you tried; you 
notice that the cedar bough, but an inch in diameter, 
hanging near your head sways back and forth with a 
quick, jerky motion and that it has been shivered and 
splintered to the semblance of a brush or miniature broom 
b3' repeated shots which strike it and give it the eccentric 
vibration you have observed, and you wonder, without 
any alarm, why it is that, presenting a front to the fire bo 
much greater than the twig, 3'ou, too, have not been 
riddled out of all human form and shape; and as you 
almost forget your surroundings, musing upon chances 
so curious, you are suddenly aroused by a shower of warm 
liquid which spots your hands and face with red, and 



166 GOD'S WAR. 

you find that the man standing over you has been struck 
by a ragi^ed fragment of a sliell or by a round shot, and 
as bis poor frame reels and totters to its fall his blood is 
apoutiny: forth like a fountain; you inhale the saltpeter 
smoke till your thirst grows intolerable and you suck the 
muddy dregs from the bottom of your canteen, squeezing 
out the last drop for the poor fellow lying near by with 
fast glazing eyes and whitey-blue lips who can only mur- 
mur "water," while his hand wanders to his breast where 
you instinctively know there is an ambrotype — the pic- 
tures of the loving, patient wife, the sturdy boy and the 
bright-eyed girl who, hundreds of miles off up in the 
North are building snow forts or coasting or contriving 
Christmas presents for the father who is at the front' — 
and you note that a look of peace shines in his eyes, dull 
as they are, when you unbutton his coat and transfer the 
pictures to your own breast; the sweeping boughs of the 
low-hanging cedar over your head are cut off by a 
screaming shell and topple down upon you, but you 
shake them off as you would a cloud of summer insects, 
and — you work away ; your cartridges give out and you 
calmly roll your dead messmate over and supply yourself 
from his bos; the air is filled with moans and curses in 
which you unconsciously join in obedience to the great 
law of sympathy which finds you quick to respond to its 
subtle influence, and you do not rouse until the firing 
ceases, or you are summoned to a bayonet charge, when 
the red coals of your dull, obstinate mood flash into the 
roaring, leaping flame of a reckless enthusiasm. "You were 
sickened at the sight of a dead man yesterday; to-day you 
coollj' plunder his haversack for food which he no longer 
needs. You are usually morbidly sensitive to the pres- 
ence of death, and the sight of a wound, even a small cut, 
makes you squeamish, but to-day you fight among acres 
of dead and dying men, showing all manner of wounds 
and hurts, mutilated beyond recognition or di-awn by 
pain into shapes so horribly grotesque that years after 
you will recall them with a shudrler and you are unmoved 
and gaze upon the scene with what you reproachfully 
think is apathetic indifference. You wonder if it is you? 
and what the name of the battle will be? and whether 



GOD'S WAR. 167 

vour side is winning or being whipped? and what the 
boys are at, just about this time, up North on the old 
farm? — tearing down the snow-covered fodder-shocks 
doubtless to feed the cattle in the woods-pasture — yes, 
that's what they will be doing just now; when they get 
through they will load the sled with beech and hickory 
logs for fuel at the house, and, after spending the rest of 
the day a-rabbit-hunting they will go to spelling-school 
in the evening or to a taffy-pulling over at Slimminses, 
where there is a house full of strapping big girls! And 
the picture swiftly changing, you see a vision of the low 
bridge on the country road just below the big gate, and 
the shoals of minnows darting about in the clear, shallow 
watei% shivering the pool into tremulous waves of liquid 
gold, just as they used to do on a summer afternoon when 
you were a boy fishing there with a pin hook fastened to 
a tow string, with an apple tree sprout for a rod. 

No time to think of these things? My dear sir, in the 
dual thinking that you are keeping up all the time these 
apparently incongruous thoughts are stronger and livelier 
and more absorbing even than those which enable you 
to keep photographing on your mind all the minutiae of 
the tremendous scene enacting before and around you. 

The brigades on the right and left have given way and 
the red waves of carnage tower above "John F." and 
the old Seventh Brigade, mountain high, threatening to 
topple over upon the devoted band and submerge and 
bury it out of sight. And still it fights on — every 
moment worth millions to the disorganized troops on the 
left and in the rear who, while the overwhelming torrent 
is angrily striving to sweep away this obstinate rock in 
its path, are gathering themselves together, forming new 
alignments and preparing for that final resistance which 
will be successful. 

And "John F. !" How the men watch him on the bay 
horse which, thinking with his rider's head, needs no 
guidance, as he rides in and out among them, the incar- 
nation of the fearless spirit of battle, encouraging no less 
by his voice and the flash of his eyes than by his presence 
and example, the heroes upon whom so much depends! 



168 GOD'S WAR. 

If they hold out a little longer, surrounded as they are, 
and receiving from right and left, front and rear, volley 
after volley and blasts of shot and shell every second, 
the day may be retrieved and the army savcl! If they 
yield a moment too soon the living wave of gray-clad 
valor pressing so eagerly up will roar on and through 
and over «ver3'thing and annihilate the shattered, strug- 
gling mob that this morning was an army with banners. 
Will they be e(iual to it? 

So long as they can see "John F. " ridingabout among 
them, and can hear his voice bidding them stand their 
ground they will try to equal their task. They will do 
all that mortal men can do — ay! they will essay more, so 
long as he is with them. They make no noisy pretense, 
and give vent to none of the Hatulent cheers that sound 
so thrilling on the parade ground, but they answer his 
burning glance with a steadfast regard that must make 
his heart swell with pride that he commands such men ! 
Does not his aspect tell as much as he feels his own hot 
blood pouring forth from his own wound and laughs at 
the fears of the bystanders? 

A putty-faced, panicky colonel dashes up to him, crj'- 
ing, "The day is lost!" 

He rises in his stirrups and seems to grow a giant as 
he bursts out with thrilling indignation and contempt — 
"Lost! The day is never lost!" and from an atmosphere 
that seems charged with electricity, the puttj'-faced 
colonel rides away with a new seeming of courage. 

Tom and Nat, we may be sure, are at their work. 
There is no hesitation about it — they make no false 
moves. They have quickly learned their dreadful busi- 
ness. And while the flaming enthusiasm of the one in- 
spires the men like a draught of fiery wine, the calm, 
imperturbable strength of the other holds them steadfast. 
Their men are falling like leaves. They close up the 
ranks and concentrate their little company. 

But even steel will crumble under constant pounding. 

"Great God, Nat, we are falling back!" 

The tremendous force of the enemy is, truly, forcing 
them slowly but surely back into the center of the clump 
of cedars in which they are posted. 



GOD'S WAR. 169 

Do j'ou know what it means in the fierce stress of a 
bard-fought battle to lose even an inch of ground? You 
have held it against fearful odds, and you have endured 
the heaviest shocks — you feel that you have won the 
right to stay there. Then, as the irresistible force 
presses upon you and you find that unconsciously you 
have yielded a foot, five feet, ten feet, a great band of lead 
is fastened about your heart and compressing and weigh- 
ing with the weight and force of tons, it crushes your 
spirit and fills you with a dismay such as no other dis- 
aster can give. 

What was to be done? No amount of vehement expos- 
tulation, threatening, pleading, could win back the lost 
fifty feet of ground, nor sta^' the slow retrogression that 
spoke with such dreadful significance. 

Even "John F. " who held the Twenty-first as a sheet 
anchor to windward, felt his heart sink as he realized the 
almost utter impossibility of staying the swiftly rolling 
on disaster. 

After all, must we yield? If we could only make one 
rally, r.nd drive the enemy back, if but for a moment, it 
•were worth ten thousand lives. 

And men's hearts sunk to think that no human agency 
could meet the emergency ! 

But hark! What is that? 

The soaring thrill of a fife, with the confident rattling 
of a drum, climbing up and out and over the roar of the 
conflict — and men paused, with a new light in their eyes, 
to listen ! 

It was old Fielding, and Glick, the Dutch drummer, 
and the strains that nerved men's hearts were those of 
"The Girl I Left Behind Me!" 

The old man had stepped out to the front of the colors, 
and with his bare head thrown back and his body quiv- 
ering with excitement, his long, bony fingers were hop- 
ping over the vents like mad. He had watched the battle 
closely, bavely grudging the time to do his appointed 
work of carrying back the wounded. And when he saw 
the lapping wave of disaster reach to the very verge of 
irreparable ruin he grew wonderfully excited. Was it 
not God's own war, and could he do nothing to defeat 



170 god's war. 

the enemies of the Most High? Surely, what he could 
he would. He knew the power of his life, and calling to 
the drummer, he went to the front to lead the advance. 
No fear for the Dutchman! Setting his face with the 
rigidity of a wooden man, he stepped firmly forth, 
rattling his drumsticks as coolb' as if he were on parade: 

" Tke Girl I Left Behind Me!" 

The old man had chosen shrewdly. If he had played 
any one of the well known so-called patriotic airs he 
would only have got himself laughed at. 

"Susie!" yelled Nat. "Great Julius Cgesar! Come 
on, boys!" 

And with a cheer — not a shrieking, bloodthirsty 
screech such as, I regret to say, the Confederates used, 
but with a wholesome, manly cheer, full of round, ring- 
ing volume — the whole regiment sprang forward after old 
Fielding and the Dutchman, hurling back the enemy as 
the ship tosses back the spray, regaining their lost ground 
and holding it for a few moments — a length of time suflS- 
cient to complete the rearrangement of the lines in the 
rear. 

The time had come for the brigade to retire, but thej' 
were all loath to do so. They fell back sullenly, pausing 
everj' now and then to deliver a volley — it made no 
difference which way they fired; the enemy was all 
around them. 

Even to the young commander the adnnssiuu implied 
in a retreat, necessary though it might be, was beyond 
words distasteful. He let his men drift slowly back for a 
few minutes, and then, unable to control the feeling 
which sent the flush to his brow, he seized a stand of 
colors and sprang upon a huge bowlder in the depths of 
the thicket. His voice rang out like a trum])et: 

"Fall in men — form here! If we cannot whip them 
we can at least show them how men can die!" 

He needed no more satisfactory assurance of their de- 
votion to him than to hear them cry "Come on; come on! 
Here's "John F. !" and to see them throng about him 
and align themselves, the man of the Twenty-first, elbow 
to elbow with his comrade of the Seventy-eighth, and 
the Seventy-fourth and Thirty-seventh mingling with 



GOD'S WAR. 171 

each other, while the red trimmed artillery men belonging 
to Marshall and Ellsworth whose poor guns stand away 
out there lost and deserted, give a streak of color here 
and there iu the line. 

And here they fired another volley or two — but it was 
useless. The fiery ludiauian saw that to hold them there 
was really to accomplish nothing more than to give the 
example how men could die — which, after all, was not 
the wisest thing that could be done — and very reluctantly 
he pointed their way out, following last to safety him- 
self, like the captain who leaves his sinking ship only 
after he has seen his men all rescued from the theatening 
perils. 

And a very few minutes later he has his men again in 
perfect order, ready to fight and burning to do so, having 
the added stimulus of a desire to revenge themselves upon 
their overbearing adversary. Bat though they lay like 
hounds held in the leash, watching the rest of the daj' 
for an opportunity, it did not come ; and the night closed 
in cold and foggy and gray. 

And the chilling rain dropped down from cedar boughs 
upon ghastly upturned faces distorted with pain and 
lined With agony such as no man having realized lives to 
describe. 

And the faces were the faces of men who were strong 
and buoyant a few hours before; men who a few years 
ago were laughing babes with dainty, rounded limbs and 
eyes full of the glory of the dawn, and soft, white throats 
which held low cooings and happy gurglings — babes 
whom young mothers bowed down to and worshiped, 
finding in them the first glimpse of heaven that comes to 
womankind, or mankind either, for the matter of that! 

But the dead eyes which showed the indelible photo- 
graph of the pangs of hell through which iu dying they 
had passed gave no hint of what they once were! And 
the rigid, sallow cheeks grew only more rigid as the 
chilling drops fell upon them ; and were not the divinely 
rounded satin spheres where a mother's velvet lips were 
wont to linger lovingly ! 

Ah me! The changes that are thus wrought iu the 



172 god's war. 

weary, feverish, troublous journey from the cradle to the 
li^rave! Ae, growing to stronj^ manhood, we leave the 
best of us behind in our soft-eyed mothers' hearts, God 
grant that we may in the new life only take it up again 
and lose the memory of that which has gone between! 



GOD'S WAR. 173 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE HOUR AKD THE MAN. 

The situation as between Rosecrans and Bragg, from 
the close of Wednesday's figliting up to 3 o'clock on 
Friday, was tersely summed up by our plain-speaking Nat, 
when he said that "one was afraid and the other 
darsen't!" 

General Rosecrans was well content to remain quiet, 
for every moment so gained was used to reorganize and 
revive and supply his armj'. He had evidently' been 
quite deceived as to the ability if not the strength of the 
enemy in his front ; and in the process of being unde- 
ceived had conceived a great respect for his adversary — 
very difiEerent from the opinion he held when, debonair 
and confident, he had moved out from his camps near 
Nashville. 

His new position was very strong; but while he may 
have felt satisfied that he could resist attack, there is not 
lacking a plenty of evidence going to show that the idea 
of moving forward, of assuming the offensive, lay so very 
remotely before him that he had not thought it worthy 
of present consideration. In short, he was glad of the 
chance to rest and recuperate; but had no sort of definite 
purpose to take the aggressive. 

But sometimes there is a Power higher even than the 
general in command, to decide the fate of the battle in 
compliance with a plan in the framing of which the gen- 
eral has had no hand. There never was a general in the 
American army who could with any sort of accuracy fore- 
tell the issue of an engagement with the enemy, of 
coui'se. The one who could come the nearest to it was 
George H. Thomas — but he could not, perhaps, always 
do so. 



174 god's wak. 

An idiot once said that "It is the unexpected which 
always happens," as if it ^vould be unexpected if it were 
not a "happening;" and the world has been so caught 
by the turn of the phrase that it is on every tongue, and 
I was about to use it here myself. 

If a general could take into consideration all the pos- 
sibilities along with the probabilities in forecasting his 
battle he would not even then by any means have covered 
the field ; for there are contingencies lying in the vague 
region of the impossibilities, as we call them, which play 
the chief part sometimes on such occasions. And who 
can weigh and estimate them? There are "chances," 
so called, which lie in the purposes of that higher Power 
and which are bej^ond mortal ken. You may believe that 
you have the Lord on j'our side, and knoxo that the 
heaviest battalions and the best position are with you, 
and then you may go swaggering forth like a lazy care- 
less Goliath only to meet your half-naked little David 
and receive your death-blow. 

At 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon neither General Eose- 
crans nor the man who accomplished it for him had the 
slightest notion that in two hours' time the long struggle 
would be over and Murfreesboro would be won. The 
outlook was dark and gloomy to the Union commander 
at that hour — perhaps darker even than it was at 1 
o'clock on Wednesday afternoon — and the sun that was 
so soon to shine upon him sent no ray in advance to 
herald its rising. 

Although it may not have occurred to him. General 
Rosecrans' chief strength lay in the circumstance that he 
had at his back, under his command, an army which 
would fight ten times more stubbornly than it had fought 
on Wednesday, if such a thing were possible; because it 
had been whipped and was consumed with a fever to 
retaliate. The men of that army watched for their 
opportunity with eyes red and bloodshot, with angry 
impatience and devouring chagrin. 

With General Bragg things were somewhat different. 
He had won on Wednesday', but at a fearful cost. 
Doubtless he would have been greatly relieved if he could 
have gotten away from Eosecrans' front, quietly and 



god's war. 175 

bouorably ; for then he wouhl have felt that his laurels 
were secure for all time; while, so long as he was com- 
pelled to face Rosecrans, they were in danger. Still, he 
was in much the better plight — or thought he was, which 
amounted to much the same thing. He had an army of 
exultant men behind him, ready to go into another fight 
with all the reckless enthusiasm that victory gives; and 
as the chances are usually weighed, this conferred upon 
him a great advantage. But the imposition of the ne- 
cessity to be swaggering and defiant which was up6n him 
then, is never without its drawbacks. I don't believe he 
felt like it, but he was compelled to constantly make a 
show of offering the offensive — and Bragg was too good 
a soldier not to know that every time he thus demon- 
strated be opened himself up to a range of dreadful pos- 
sibilities and hidden chances; and in so far, weakened 
himself. 

He must have been annoyed at the strength of the 
position Rosecrans had taken up on Wednesday afternoon ; 
the Union general had skillfully chosen it when his dis- 
aster was at its height — and therein is testimony of his 
soldierly greatness. During all of Thursday and Friday 
up to 3 o'clock in the afternoon he wascoi^stantly feeling 
the Union lines for a weak place, and apparently finding 
none — for, as to its front, the Union army was as round 
and smooth as a ball, with never a crack nor crevice into 
which he could have thrust the point of a cambric needle, 
even. During these two days his cavalry were circling 
around Rosecrans' army, burning trains, capturing stores 
and animals and frightening the stragglers, teamsters 
and sutlers out of their wits; but especially charged, as 
Bragg himself testifies, to ascertain whether the Union 
army was in retreat. The urgency with which he re- 
peated these instructions brings up the recollection of the 
hero who had the bear by the tail and therefore at a 
great disadvantage, but who dared not let go. Bragg 
feared that he must fight, sooner or later ; and knew that 
the later it should be that he fell upon his adversary the 
more dangerous it would be to him and the honors he 
had already achieved. 

"While it is no part of my purpose to give anything 



176 r.OD'S WAR. 

more than the general outlines of this great battle, con- 
tenting myself when I corae to details with narx'ating 
only those things which I saw myself, I have taken 
pains to give those outlines with such accuracy as the 
historical material available will permit. But, of course, 
in doing this I do not propose to hold myself bound to 
accept the theories of historians as to what were or may 
have been the purposes of the two commanders from time 
to time in that nine-days' coutlict. For instance, I dis- 
sent, after long studj', from the generally accepted belief 
that the purpose of the movement on Bragg's right, under 
command of Breckinridge, Friday afternoon, was simply 
to make Polk's right more secure by driving from 
their position the Union troops whose fire, if they should 
open fire, would enfilade the fighting bishop's line, 
Bragg says that this was his purpose; but soldiers some- 
times, missing their objective, find it policy to declare 
that they had something else in mind. 

In the first place the troops which Bragg said could 
enfilade Polk's line, were not at all on the offensive, nor 
was there any reason to believe tljat thej' would be so 
put. Doubtless Bragg knew that they were thrown 
across the river (I vvill make this plain further on) 
more than anything else to strengthen the weak place in 
the Union line, if there was a weak place. In the second 
place notwithstanding the terror which military writers 
all display for it, an enfilading fire is not the one to be 
the most dreaded, and Polk had a dozen ways of avoiding 
its evil effects if it should ever be opened upon him. In 
the third place Bragg knew that the Union right was 
entirely beyond his reach unless he should shift the great 
bulk of his army some miles toward Nashville, which 
would of course leave Murfreesboro and his lines of com- 
munication unprotected. The center was as round and 
safe as skill could make it. He knew, I repeat, that if 
there was a weak point on the line, it was where the 
Union left flank touched and crossed the stream — Stone 
River; and he knew that if he could break the line there 
he could throw his assaulting column into the rear of the 
semicircular Union line, when, with his numerous troops 
in front to attack promptly, he would be in a fair way to 



GOD'S WAR. 177 

repeat his success of Wednesday. I regard it as an evi- 
dence that this was Lis purpose, that he gave to Breckin- 
ridge at least ten thousand infantry, two fresh batteries 
to reinforce those he ah-eady had, and two thousand 
cavah'y under Wharton and Pegram, to constitute the 
assaulting column. The line which he says he sent 
Breckinridge to dislodge, did not comprise, at the most, 
more than three or four thousand men ; and to drive 
these from an unprotected position and one of no great 
natural strength, would not call for so large a force as he 
saw fit to send forth. 

Whatever may be thought of his subsequent general- 
ship, it cannot be quesitoned that at Stone Eiver Bragg 
bore himself as a bold and skillful fighter; and I do not 
hesitate to say that but for "John F. " and his Seventh 
Brigade, the rebels would have broken the Union line on 
the left and gained the rear of the semicircular formation 
in which the Union army was posted ; and the disaster 
of Wednesday would have been repeated with the still 
more evil result that the Army of the Cumberland would 
have been wiped out of existence. 

And w^hile I am not writing a history, yet I make no 
apology for straightening out the tangle in which has 
been involved one of the most brilliant exploits of the 
whole war, namely, the charge across the river on Friday 
afternoon, at Stone Eiver, The unworthj' ambitions of 
men have obscured the truth. I will try to do no injus- 
tice to any man; but whatever happens I will do justice 
to the one man who is entitled to the credit for the salva- 
tion of the army that day, if my poor powers are equal 
to the work. With the modesty of true merit he never 
engaged in the scramble with the pretenders for the 
honor which belongs to him alone. 

The line upon which Breckinridge made his assault 
was commanded by Colonel Samuel Beatty and was com- 
posed of Van Cleve's division, numbering- less than three 
thousand men. Grose's brigade, numbering, perhaps, 
twelve hundred men, was in the timber on Van Cleve's 
(Beatty 's) left, but not in position it would seem, to be 
of service. These troops had been placed across the 
rivei* on Thursday evening, and from that time had not 



178 GOD'S WAR. 

been engaged up to 3 o'clock Friday afternoon except in 
the way of light skirmishing and an artillery' duel or so, 
harmless in effect, if noisy. The Seventh Brigade, with 
the division to which it belonged (Negley's) had been 
brought from another part of the field, and posted a little 
back from the stream, but where the troops on the other 
side could be plainly seen. 

The day was cold and rainy; there was no comfort to 
be had in any part of the field, where, with dreary mo- 
notony, mud and water uniformb' prevailed. There were 
no fires and no fuel with which to make fires. There was 
nothing to eat or drink which would put the warmth of 
life into a man. Our soldiers were worn out and ex- 
hausted, and only kept alive by the hope that something 
would turn up to give them another chance at the ene- 
mj'; and while this hope kept them up to the point of 
<;ndurance it raade them grim and stern and wickedly 
quiet. The manner in Avhich they eyed the general or 
staff-officers as they rode by, as if they would read in 
their faces the welcome news that the fight would soon 
begin or know the reason why, showed how deeply they 
were smarting under the humiliation of their recent 
defeat, and how they yearned to retaliate at any cost. 

For perhaps an hour everj-thing had been exasper- 
atiugly quiet. Then all at once, away over toward the 
center, the Confederate artillery begun a furious cannon- 
ading; and instantly all eyes and thoughts were turned 
that way. It was Bragg 's feint to draw attention from 
his real purpose; and it was successful; for, despite 
official reports to the contrary, there were few, perhaps 
none, who dreamed that an attack was about to be made 
on Van Cleve's division. So that, almost before he was 
observed at all, Breckinridge, with his regiments massed 
on the center and square after square follow iug on till 
the array seemed irresistible even if we had had ten 
times the force to face it, caine suddenlj' sweeping down 
on the thin line deployed in front of the river. 

It was a grand sight, and yet a terrible one, to see him 
move majestically forward — and there is an indescribable 
majesty in masses of well trained, well disciplined men 
under arms and going calmly to their horrid work — re- 



god's war. 179 

ceiving the tire of Van Cleve's skirmishers, and even of 
a battery or two, but making no sign, until the proiier 
position bad been reached. 

Then he poured in a volle.\- under which the earth 
rocked and the heavens rang! — musketry and artillery 
roai*ed and crashed as if to annihilate the devoted band 
upon whom their leaden and iron missiles were showered ! 
As Van Cleve's heroes warmed to their work and replied 
with such effectiveness as they could, Breckinridge's 
men halted ; and for a few minutes the sadly unequal 
conflict went on. 

But not for long! The history of "Wednesday was re- 
peated in small, and slowly but surely Van Cleve's men 
were forced back, into the stream and across it, through 
the lines of the Seventh Brigade and beyond, where they 
halted to reform. 

And with a shrill shriek of victory from ten thousand 
throats the Confederates rushed up to the bank of the 
stream, and begun to cross! 

Once they were over and had gotten a footing, we have 
seen what the consequences would have been ! 

Surely, now there is no time to be lost! 

Thank God, no time was lost! 

Colonel John F. Miller, commander of the Seventh 
Brigade, and known to us so far as "old John F. " the 
name given him by the men he commanded, sat upon his 
horse watching with growing impatience the assault upon 
Van Cleve. To him came colonels and majors and cap- 
tains commanding regiments and batteries in the divi- 
sion, for counsel and guidance. 

Instinctively they turned to him — so quickly does 
capacity and born leadership in a man manifest itself and 
win recognition. But, indeed, aside from this, if the 
colonels and majors and captains had not been drawn 
thus instinctively to Colonel Miller and had been minded 
to seek their brigade and division commanders for in- 
structions, they would not have found them. For, while 
a careful perusal of the various official reports of the 
affair will put a picture in your mind of a most imposing 
and awfully majestic array of generals and colonels full 
upon the scene, sitting grim and threatening upon fiery 



ISO god's war. 

he-chavgers and sternb' waiting the moment when thoy 
shoukl fall upon and consume the enemy, horse, foot and 
artillery, yet in point of fact, as this present writer well 
knows, there was "neither hair nor hide" of them to be 
found anywhere near the scene. 

Miller sent his staff officers and orderlies. Lieutenant 
(afterward Brigadier-General) Henry M. Cist, Lieuten- 
ant Frank I. Tedford, Captain Cheney, Lieutenant Ayers, 
and Major A. B. Bonnaffin (I repeat that I am writing 
now from what I saw with my own eyes and heard with 
my own ears), to scour the field to find a general officer 
and ask permission to cross the stream to Van Cleve's 
relief. Only one such officer was found General John 
-M. Palmer (of Illinois), and from him came, instead 
of the desired permission, a positive prohibition — an 
order not to cross. The other two brigade commanders, 
belonging to the division, General Speer of Tennessee, 
and Colonel T. R. Stanley, of the Eighteenth Ohio, each 
ranking Miller, were not present. General Negley, the 
division commander, was not to be found. 

This is easily accounted for by the circumstance here- 
tofore set forth, namely, that the general attention was 
attracted by the heavy connonading to the right under 
cover of which it was believed an assault would be made 
upon the left center. While our generals were busy 
watching for this assault with a view to meet it, the real 
assault was a surprise to them. The thing that it is 
difficult to understand in this matter, is why these un- 
questionably brave and skillful soldiers should not have 
admitted this bj' no means discreditable fact. 

The plain truth is that in the absence of any one from 
whom to receive definite orders Colonel Miller found 
himself in a most embarrassing position, with a tremen- 
dous responsibility suddenly thrust upon him. Both the 
embarrassment and responsibility were heightened, of 
course, by tlie fact that the one general officer who could 
be found ordered him not to cross the stream; in the 
circumstance that this officer, however, was not the com- 
mander of the division to which Miller belonged, lay, 
perhaps, an excuse for disregarding his order in case of 
an emergency faintly warranting such disregard even 



GOD'S WAR. 181 

though he was the ranking officer in that part of the 
field. 

A man less resolute would have felt amply justified in 
hesitating; and when, afterward reproached for the de- 
plorable consequences that must have ensued, he would 
have had no trouble to clear himself upon technical 
grounds before the world. 

Look at the position in which the young colonel found 
himself: The enemy in great strength and hot and ex- 
ultant with the victory they had achieved over Van 
Cleve's division (and doubtless impressed by this repe- 
tition of Weduesdaj^'s success that they were destined 
always to succeed), were on the one bank of the narrow 
stream and already beginning to cross over; if they 
should cross they would break the Union line and unques- 
tionably capture one-third of all the artillery belonging 
to the Army of the Cumberland; their comrades witness- 
ing their success would at once accept it as the signal to 
move forward, and the consequence would have been, 
no doubt, irremediable disaster. 

The Union troops facing Breckinridge and separated 
from him by the narrow stream formed a thin, single 
line, of not more than twenty-five hundred men, if so 
many. They could not have resisted an assault from 
Breckinridge; the mere weight of his columns would 
have broken them like a rope of sand. Standing still 
and receiving an assault they possessed a given strength ; 
thrown forward with furious impetuosity, that strength 
Avould be greatly increased. 

Miller found himself the ranking officer present with 
the division, and realized that the decision, fraught with 
so much importance, lay with him. He was surrounded 
by a group of regimental commanders who alternately 
studied the field and his face. He had been ordered not 
to cross. If in disregard of this order he should cross, 
one of two things would happen — either he would suc- 
ceed or fail; succeed in at least giving the enemy a 
check and thus gaining time for fresh troops to come up 
to resist him, or fail to do anything more than fruitlessly 
sacrifice a number of human lives and in his overthrow 
give ground for the discouragement and disheartening of 



183 GOD'S WAR. 

the Union Army. More — if he succeeded, his termerity 
might be excused, but if he lost it would doubtless cost 
him his comuiission aud send him to the rear in disgrace. 

Then, what were his chances of success? He knew 
that the Seventh Brigade, then numbering perhaps fifteen 
hundred men would follow him — for he had learned that 
they would go anywhere that he might lead, only asking 
that he should lead. But how many more in the divi- 
sion could he count on? If he should get them all to 
follow him he would not have to exceed twenty-five hun- 
dred men, and that number was very small compared 
with the great swarming host over yonder, numerous 
enough to swallow him up and pursue their way without 
a perceptible halt. Would they realize the audacitj' of 
such a forlorn hope adventure, or would they think he 
was but the advance of a still larger force, aud, pausing, 
give him time to damage them at all? 

Here the lay of the ground favored him. The stream 
ran between bluffy banks, perhaps twelve or fifteen feet 
in height ; on the side where Miller sat upon his horse, 
pondering, the bluff receded back from the stream like 
the outside wall of an earthwork, only with more of a 
scoop, sloping down, so that a very large force might lie 
there for all that the rebels could see. If he made his 
charge with impetuosity and confidence, with his small 
force, would not the enemy reasonably conclude from the 
very meagerness of his numbers and force of his assault 
that he must have an ample reserve back of the bluff? It 
would depend largely upon this whether his movement 
would be a success. 

It has taken me some little time to write out the de- 
scription of the thoughts that must have passed through 
the commander's mind while he was reaching a conclu- 
sion. It Avill take you less time to read them. But the 
mental process with him was swift as lightning. He 
turned to the officers around him, saying quietly : 

"I will charge them!" 

His manner showed that he had duly weighed all the 
circumstances and had decided, once for all. 

"And I'll follow you!" exclaimed the gallant Scott, 
wheeling aud plunging his spurs into his steed, to hasten 
back to his regiment (the Nineteenth Illinois). 



god's war. 183 

Colonel Scott's regiment belonged to the senior brigade 
of the division and that officer's alacrity gave Miller a 
thrill of satisfaction as he realized that he could count 
on help outside of his brigade. Colonel Stoughton of 
the Eleventh Michigan and other regimental commanders 
belonging to the Twenty-ninth Brigade, echoed Scott's 
enthusiastic adherence, and they, too, started for their 
troops. 

Scott was a handsome man, valiant, j'oung, daring and 
indomitable, with the pride in his profession that must 
always be a characteristic of the true soldier. He little 
thought that he was riding off to death, as he gayly 
galloped over to his command! And yet it was so! 

There was no difficulty in getting the men to move 
forward. They had endured the terrible strain of allow- 
ing Yan Cleve's men to pass over them without a sign of 
demoralization. The Twenty-first lay at the ford, in 
the bend of the stream, where Van Cleve's artillery 
crossed; and to see the brave fellows get up and open 
ranks to let the horses and guns pass through and then 
stoically lie down again to await the oncoming of the 
foe, holding their fire meantime although they were galled 
by the shots of the enemy — to see this, I say, was to see 
that which would bring the salt water to your eyes like 
the sudden gush of a spring rain. 

All along the line men were seen to jump up and lope 
forward to the crest of the bluff where they might get 
better aim — and thus they gave the rebels one good vol- 
ley before the command to charge was heard. 

And then by four-fifths of them it was not heard, l)ut 
seen; when "John F. " went climbing over the bluff and 
dashing down to the water on his bay horse they knew 
what it meant; he was leading the way as was his cus- 
tom, and with a cheer that was ringing and manly even 
if it was hoarse they followed after, wading through 
water churned into foam by the bullets of the rebels not 
thirty feet away and tiring down upon them like mad! 

It was a sight to remember to your dying day to see 
those men crossing the stream quiet, but eager and in- 
tent as if they had been starved and were hastening to a 
wedding feast, carefully lifting their cartridge-boxes so 



184: god's war. 

that no water might get into their ammunition, and 
paying no more attention to the fire of the enemy than 
they would to the buzzing of a swarm of summer gnats. 

The long-looked-for chance to get even had come, and 
they meant business! There was no nonsense about it! 
Thej' would have charged the whole rebel army at that 
moment, and under the circumstances, without the 
slightest hesitation. 

Has it ever been your fortune to receive a charge from 
an enemy who came steadily up to his work without the 
firing of a gun — ^hasteningand eager, and yet calmly and 
sternly marching on to destroy you without deigning to 
notice the furious fire you were pouring into him ? If so 
you know how terrible ne appears. If he comes shouting 
and shooting he is not a hundredth part so terrifying. 
You may outnumber him ten to one, and yet he comes 
on with such calm but reckless impetuosity that you 
know he means to do tjou mischief, the every worst he 
can do, whatever may happen to him. He appears to 
have lost all thought or care for himself, whether he lives 
or dies is a matter of indifference to him — but he means 
at all events to kill you. There is that in such an 
enemy's aspect which startles you and saps your courage 
though you may be as brave as Julius C?esar. You re- 
alize that it will be of no avail to expect anything rea- 
sonable from him any more than from a raving maniac — 
he will never know when he is whipped — he will never 
cease fighting till he is dead, and if you don't kill him 
he will kill you. Desperation breeds this sort of courage 
in some men; to others a sense of unmerited humiliation 
will bring it; whether it comes from either of these 
causes you may pray Heaven to be delivered from an 
adversary having it. 

Like wild beasts springing upon their prey and too 
hungry to roar, the men of the Seventh Brigade with the 
comrades who so generously came to their assistance 
from the Twenty-ninth Brigade rushed upon Breckin- 
ridge's men, suddenly grown round-eyed with astonish- 
ment. And at their front their leader seemed to give the 
cue and invite their imitation. 

In the middle of the stream one of Miller's staff officers. 



GOD*S WAR. 185 

Lieutenant Tedford, who had been sent to find a general 
ufficer who would authorize the charge, returned and 
gave the young colonel an order which he had received 
from the same general who had forbidden the assault. 

"General Palmer says you must not cross the river " 

' 'It is too late now — " answered Miller ; then he glanced 
anxiously at the men who were following him ; what he 
saw in their faces sent the blood bounding through his 
veins like tire; a glance at the bluff from which the 
enemy were tiring showed that they were beginning to 
waver; this swept away the last remnant of doubt as to 
the success of his bold and daring adventure and his 
spirit rose like the surge of a mighty tide. His eyes 
Hashed with the prescience of a victory already won, and 
his voice was like the singing of the trumpet calling to 
arms : 

"Go tell General Eosecransto send me another brigade 

and I'll drive them to !" 

Never mind gentle reader; if he had supposed that he 
was going to give utterance to anything that should 
become historical doubtless he would have been more 
dainty as to the terms in which he couched the few re- 
marks he made from time to time during the battle. 
But he was not thinking of anything but the fighting he 
had in hand at the moment — and, whatever his language, 
I make bold to say that it was to the point and precisely 
what it should have been under the circumstances and 
needs no sort of apology from the present writer — or if 
it does, shall have none! 

And if you had seen the men who were following him, 
and had understood the significance of the aspect they 
showed, you would not have thought him extravagant 
either in the confidence that burned within him nor the 
words in which he voiced it. "With dual vision they saw 
both the enemy on the bluff and "John F." tearing pell- 
mell to get at them ; and they accepted his draft waiving 
notice like men who knew they had the wherewithal to 
meet it without delay or defalcation! 

A second of time suffices sometimes to decide a great 
battle. The event sometimes moves with a rapidity 
greater than the powers of comparison can express. 



186 god's war. 

The effect of the determined and headlong onset of 
]\Iiller and his men communicated itself like a thrill of 
electricity to their adversaries, so that, whereas the 
Union soldiers were subjected to a tremendous fire from 
the rebels while they were wading across the narrow 
stream, yet when they got to the bluff they found that 
the rebels had fallen back and left them ample room for a 
footing. 

Then begun the trial which was crucial, and upon the 
hazardous result of which depended everything after all. 
For some moments the air was white with sulphur smoke 
and the rattl*^ of musketry was appalling. Surely this 
little band cannot resist an overwhelming force in such a 
duel as this? Ah! No one in the ranks of the bluecoats 
harbored this doubt. They were set to conquer and that 
without any ifs or ands or buts. 

And they did! The effect produced by the charge 
still drove the rebels back — and after a few minutes of 
firing, during which the mortality was simjily astound- 
ing especially among the Confederates, thickly massed 
together so that a bullet could scarcely fail to find a vic- 
tim — the retrograde movement was resumed, and soon 
degenerated into a perfect rout. 

The bluecoats Avere filled with a joy which can have no 
parallel in anything different! They yelled, they jumped 
and leaped from the ground as they pursued their flying 
foe; they were like men intoxicated — indeed they M'ere 
drunk with the divine delirium of hardly-earned victory 
snatched from the yawning jaws of a terrible defeat! 
How they did it I cannot explain, neither, I take it, 
could one of the participants surviving tell you to-day, 
but with all their joyful antics and rapturous yelling they 
managed to load and fire, pouring a tremendously hot 
shower of shot into the rear of the Johnnies, so that they 
might not forget to keep on a tight run ! The artillery 
too, upon the left bank of the river, on a spot near to 
that which the charging column had but just left, so soon 
as the rebels got far enough away from the river bank to 
enable them to get the range, begun to pour in such a 
shower of grape and canister and shot and shell as tore 
great chunks out of the massed solidity of the Con- 
federates. 



. GOD'S WAR. 187 

A funny and yet sad thing happened just here. 

In the Twenty-first, among the teamsters, was "Old 
Button." If he ever had any other name I don't know 
what it was. Long service upon the Miami and Erie 
canal had ripened his odd nature into one of the oddest 
I have ever met. He was full of queer quips and cranks, 
• luaint accomplishments and curious stories. One of his 
stories ended with the song of the mule. It was a favor- 
ite diversion of the idlers of the regiment to have "Old 
Button" go through his accomplishments, including of 
course the mule story with the song of that bird which he 
called "the mule reef" and which he gave inimitably. 
When Breckinridge's men had fairly got started to run, 
and were plainly of no mind to halt, were whipped, and 
badly whipped, and that too by a force only one-fourth 
their number, their pursuers were as we have seen almost 
wild with triumphant delight, the manifestation of which 
they could not well restrain, but gave vent to in various 
ways. Among those who, having felt the humiliation of 
Wednesday's drubbing most deeply were now most re- 
joiced at the favorable turn they had given to things, 
was a gangling, dirty, Joosa-jointed, tallow-faced youth, 
a member of Company "I;" and he turned out to be the 
man for the occasion. He realized perhaps more than 
others how useless it was to try to express the gratification 
they all felt by any ordinary means. And he turned it 
over in his mind as they ran and yelled and fired. Some- 
thing extraordinary would have to be done. 

At last the flash of inspiration came to him and he 
acted upon it without hesitation. Springing like a deer 
from the line of his comrades he made a most tremendous 
spurt till he had reached a point far in advance and yet 
in plain view. Here, placing his musket against a tree, 
he made a trumpet of his hands and bowing his back and 
humping his shoulders, he sent after the panic-stricken 
rebels such a roar of hee-haws as never before had smit- 
ten high Heaven as a pean of victory! 

And then, sounding strangely enough in the midst of 
such dreadful business and fairly drowning the groans 
and shrieks of the wounded and dying, came a vast roar 
of laughter shaking the leaves on the trees and sending 



188 COD'S WAR. 

the thick sraoke hitlier and you in great jolly, fleec}', 
rollickiug waves — and the loose-jointed, tallow-faced boy 
became a hero, and has so remained, for in the act he 
was shot dead. 

A rebel battery in the immediate front of our charging 
column eave us great trouble, and Colonel ]\Iiller, dis- 
mounting from his horse, drew his saber and led a charge 
upon it If it had been supported by a million of sol- 
diers the Seventh Brigade would have taken it! And 
although the rebels held its fire until, when the guns 
were at length discharged the men seemed blinded and 
scorched by the flash of its flames, it was hauled off in 
triumph by the Twenty-first Ohio, while at the same 
moment a stand of colors was captured from the enemy, 
by the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania. 

A mile had been traversed, perhaps, in the triumphant 
charge, when Miller saw evidences that he was about to 
encounter fresh troops. He thei'efore halted his men 
and while aligning them so as to resist the anticipated 
attack other brigades and divisions led by such heroes 
as Hazen, Hascall, and others came pouring over the 
stream hot and ^ager to finish the fight. 

The battle was ended and the victory won! For that 
same night Bragg began his preparations to retreat and 
in thirty-six hours had the bulk of his arm.y at Shelby- 
ville, twenty-eight miles away. During Saturday and 
Sunday his skirmishers kept up only such a show of 
fighting as would suffice to keep Eosecrans from driving 
liis (Bragg's) army to utter destruction. "While nothing 
Avould have pleased his men better than to have gone 
forward, yet the wisdom of Eosecrans in foregoing such 
a movement cannot be doubted. Eight daj'sof marching 
and fighting in a very rough country, amid pouring De- 
cember rains and subsisting on less than half-rations all 
the time and corn parched on the cob and horse meat for 
a part of the time, having lost over twentj^ per cent of 
their number in battle (the loss in Miller's brigade was 
over thirty-five per cent.), woin out, and their ammuni- 
tion exhausted, with thousands of rebel cavalry watching 
the pike over which their supplies must come, between 
the battlefield and Nashville, it would have been folly to 



god's war. 189 

have essayed further fighting, tempting as the circum- 
stances were. 

It was a glorious victory, gloriously achieved ; and we 
have seen as history will impartially record it some day, 
how and by whom it was won. No doubt other men 
would have fought as well as those Miller led at Stoue 
Eiver, had they been handled so well. And it is possible 
that another would have handled them as well — but the 
facts are as they are, and speculation cannot tarnish the 
laurels that were won in that great struggle. Besides — • 
well, an old Spanish proverb comes in somewhere just 
about here — "Luck has a mother's love for skill!" 

And I don't know that there is anything in particular 
the matter with that proverb.* 



* In bis oflBcial report General Rosecrans, after briefly referring to 
the fact that at 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon Breckinridge made 
an attack on Van Cleve and was subsequently repulsed, says signifi- 
cantly: 

"The firing was terrific and the havoc terrible. The enemy re- 
treated more rapidly than they had advanced. In forty minutes they 
lost two thousand men." 

Any one •who passed over the field that evening as I did, will agree 
with me that this statement is, if anything, below rather than above 
the proper figure. 

At the time of making his report there was still so much confusion 
as to the facts in the case that the general commanding may be very 
readily excused for not giving the credit of the affair where it be- 
longed; especially in view of the fact that Colonel Miller himself, in 
his own report, was almost criminally modest (if I may so phrase it,) 
in setting forth the achievements of the men he led with such a lack 
of color as to be almost unjust, both to him and them. 

In support of my assertion that General Rosecrans did not after 
Wednesday's defeat contemplate taking the aggressive, at least for 
some time, and up to the moment of Miller's charge had not thought 
of it, I refer to Van Home's "The History of the Army of the Cumber- 
land," vol. I, p. 250. This work has peculiar value because of its having 
been written by the Reverend Thomas B. Van Home, D.D., Chaplain 
United States Army, retired, from the official data in the War Depart- 
ment and under the constant advice of General George II. Thomas, 
who, from the day of its formation till its disbanding was the back- 
bone and brains of the Army of the Cumberland, and who knew more 
of its .secret and public history than any other man ever connected 
with it. 

I am aware of the fact that Van Home, in his two books, the one 
referred to above, and his " Life of General George H. Thomas," has 



190 GOD'S WAR. 

I have tried to give au idea of the resolute intrepidity 
of the men who followed and of the man who led in this 
charge. I have that feeling of sadness as I look over 
my attempt and realize its shortcomings, that any weakly 
limping writer must have when the conviction is forced 
upon him that after having labored honestly and zealously 
to the exhaustion of his resources he has failed to do 
more than to outline, dimly and imperfectly, a stor3' 
which should be immortal. 

When I think of these men and remember that they 
were Americans, the pride of nationality rises within me 



given Colonel (afterward General) Miller the credit for this move- 
ment, as have also General Henry M. Cist in his work "The Army of 
the Cumberland," and Mr. Stevenson in his " Battle of Stone River." 
But the limits which tho.se gentlemen set for themselves in writing 
bald history would not, of course, permit them to go into details so 
fully as 1 have tried to do. If they had essayed such fullness they 
would have been writing yet (supposing they had begun at the close 
of the war,) and would have the bulk of the glorious history of the 
Army of the Cumberland still in their ink bottles. 

'I'here is a trite old saying, something to the effect that you must 
'* wait till the smoke of the conflict has cleared away" before you can 
get at the true facts as to its details. It is a true saying, and yet one 
cannot help being impatient that it should be so. 

Now as to the battle of Stone River, in which from eighty to 
ninety thousand men were engaged, with an aggregate loss of some- 
where in the neighborhood of twenty -thousand, there are several 
facts which may be logically stated in support of tiie assertion made 
heretofore by the present writer, viz; 

1. The result of the battle of Stone's River was a victory to the 
Union Army. 

2. From the time that the two armies came squarely face to face, 
that is, Tuesday evening, up to Friday afternoon, the history of that 
struggle is a record of steady defeat for the Union Army — except in 
so far as certain encounters between outlying detachments on the 
flanks and in the rear are concerned. 

3. On Friday afternoon the Union Army gained its first success, in 
the repulse and rout of the rebel force under Breckinridge. 

4. That repulse was achieved by the 7th with the assistance of a 
part of the 29th Brigade — that is to say: the 78th Pennsylvania In- 
fantry, 21st Ohio Infantry, 37th Indiana Infantry and 74th Ohio In- 
fantry, comprising the 7th Brigade and the 19th Illinois Infantry, 
the lith Michigan Infantry, a part of the 18th and a part of the COth 
Ohio Infantry, regiments of the 29th Brigade. 

5. Tlial upon this, the only success of the Union Army during the 
entire contest, Bragg evacuated M urf reesboro, the objective point — 
the bone of contention. 



god's war. 191 

and I lose myself in a dream of -what my country may 
yet produce in the way of men.* 



•• Colonel Miller afterward because a brigadier-general; but in the act 
of gallantly leading bis brigade in a charge at Liberty Gap in the fol- 
lowing June, he was struck by a minie-ball just back of the left eye. 
It was thought at the time, by the surgeons, unsafe to attempt to re- 
move the ball; and in this way the active field service of the most 
promising young soldier in the Union Army was terminated. He 
however, commanded the Post at Nashville for a long time; and at 
the battle of Nashville, December, 1864, he comiiiauded the left 
division numbering eight thousand men. After suffering inconceiv- 
ably from his wound for twelve years— during which time he never 
had a mo nent free from pain nor a full night's rest— the ball, a 
solid ounce of lead, was removed, together with his eve. In 1881 
General Miller became United States Senator from the State of 
California. He died in March, 1886, while still holding that office, 
in the city of Washington and his death was directly and clearly 
traceable to the wound received at Liberty Gap. 



19» GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



INTHEDEVIL B V A. M E 



When the Twenty-first pulled itself together again that 
night, having recrossed the river with the brigade it was 
found that Tom was missing. 

In the general rejoicing and good feeling which fol- 
lowed upon the victory his absence was not noted; it was 
natural that it should not have been since the men went 
back somewhat disorderly in their joyfulness, and with 
no care at all to keep their ranks and places as good dis- 
cipline would require. Nat had missed him once or 
twice but as he had seen him, or thought he had seen 
him just after the capture of the battery alive and un- 
harmed, he did not dream that the boy had been hurt or 
captured; and it was not until the dark night wore on 
toward midnight and Tom was not to be found nor heard 
of, that Nat became alarmed. Then he went to the head- 
quarters of the brigade to seek him, and not finding him 
there got permission to search for him among the bodies 
which strewed the field for a mile beyond the stream. 
Taking Fielding with him he made the search. 

It was a ghastly business, the handling of dead men and 
peering into their cold faces to find Tom's features, and 
nothing but the great love which the two soldiers had for 
the boy would have kept them up to the work, strong 
men as they were. Mort than once they encountered a 
spectacle which almost unnerved them and the guttering, 
spitting, flickering candle almost dropped from their trem- 
bling fingers. 

When Tom was last seen he was in advance of the line, 
and the line at that moment was some rods in advance of 
the position subsequently taken up by the troops who 



god's war. 193 

relieved Miller, these latter having fallen back somewhat 
to a stronger position which, during the night, they 
atrengthened with earthworks. 

At last, as day was beginning to break, Nat and Field- 
ing returned to the company, but with no tidings good 
or ill for the anxious men who had remained awake all 
the long night, sitting about in groups, fighting the 
battle over again and hoping and fearing for their boy 
leader. 

The gloom into which they were plunged when Nat 
and Fielding made their report may be imagined. It 
was 2 o'clock in the morning when Miles Bancroft, 
who, occupied with his duties as a member of the general 
staff of course had not accompanied the regiment, came 
to the Twenty-first and heard that Tom was missing. 
Gathering all the particulars as to where he was last 
seen, etc., he at once rode across the river and by virtue 
of his office having no difficult^' in passing the skirmishers, 
made his way to the line of dead bodies which marked 
the extreme advance, missing Nat and Fielding who had 
doubtless by this time begun to work their way back. 

With a flint of steel and a cotton wick he succeeded 
in getting light enough to examine the dead faces, but 
he labored long without success. 

It was a work, too, that was not without its danger, 
since his position was between the rebel and Union lines 
at a point where they were not more than half a mile 
apart; and during his search he frequently had to fall 
flat and feign a death-like rigidity to avoid the notice of 
the ghouls who were going about rifling the pockets of 
the slain. 

And it would have been better for him if he had never 
found poor Tom's body, for — but we must go back a 
little to tell the part of the story of which Tom's com- 
rades knew nothing. 

Tom was with the first to reach the guns of the batterj'. 
He had passed beyond them, and knowing they were safe 
in the hands of his comrades he gave his mind to what- 
ever else of glory there might be to be had ; for his blood 
was up and he was not content to rest on what had been 
done if there was any reasonable hope for more. 



194 god's war. 

In this frame of mind he caught sight, through the 
smoke, of a group of graybacks, porhaps a dozeu, hurry- 
ing off w'tl) a stand of colors. If to capture one of the 
enemy's guns is a glorious thing Ibo taking of his colors 
is much move so. and at the sight of the streaming flags 
Tom's mouth watered. Glancing about he found himself 
surrounded by a half-dozen men, strangers to him, but 
wearing blue uniforms. This satisfied him, and without 
stopping to ask questions he bade them follow him. 
They responded with ardor and set after the prize like 
race horses. 

A stern chase is proverbially a long one; and in their 
excitement they soon passed beyond the reach of succor, 
which seeing, the rebels turned, two to one of Tom's 
party, and gave them a volley, which prostrated two of 
the bluecoats. Then with a shrill yell they rushed upon 
the remaining four, wlio had but empty guns and Tom's 
sword to defend themselves with. Tbe bluecoats fought 
desperately, but unavailingly and soon all were stretched 
bleeding upon the earth. Tom was simultaneously 
thrust through the chest by a bayonet and felled to the 
earth by a blow from the butt of a musket which 
crashed as if every bone in the back part of his head had 
been broken to atoms. 

The victors were then about to plunder the bodies 
when, seeing that Tom was an officer and therefore likely 
to be a richer "find" than his humbler companions, a 
burly fellow dragged him to a clump of bushes standing 
nearby that he might go through him more at leisure and 
free from observation; but just as he got the body there 
a troop of cavalry came by and he was ordered to hasten 
back to his regiment. 

And there the boy lay through the bitter night, his 
blood flowing and dripping from his wounds and saturat- 
ing the soil which received him so inhospitably, till the 
cold and the natural coagulation contracted and plugged 
up the dreadful holes. 

It was long after midnight when a boy — or what 
seemed to be a boy — passing through the rebel lines came 
creeping down among the bodies lying on the field. The 
figure went noiselessly about, and a fitful gleaming now 



god's war. 195 

and again showed the light of a "slide" or "bull's-eye" 
lantern which not only served to illuminate the faces of 
the dead and wounded, but to guide the footsteps in 
moments of obscurity. From one form to the other it 
passed, giving little heed to the motionless, but minister- 
ing from a canteen at times to the writhing ones. The 
hands that lifted the fevered heads were cool and soft, and 
the voice which said "Drink!" tinkled with the melody 
of rippling waters. But beyond the monosyllable, the 
visitor was silent and uttered no word. 

At last the little group of those who had fallen with 
Tom was reached, and here the tigure paused with a start of 
sarprise as the glare of the lantern showed the blue cloth- 
ing. So far, only the Confederate uniform had met the 
eye, and it was clearly not expected that bluecoats 
should have been found so far in advance. 

Pondering over this circumstance, the tigure stood with 
the light of the lantern turned full towards the Union 
lines, oblivious to danger till the whistling of a ball 
nearby and the report of a skirmisher's musket gave 
warning. Instantly closing the slide the boy sprang to 
the clump of bushes beneath which Tom lay and stood 
motionless. 

Along the line of both armies the skirmishers banged 
away at random or at the weird phantoms springing from 
the darkness at them as the^' strained their eyeballs out of 
their sockets trying to pierce the gloom. A voice here 
and there shouted an order in a muffled tone, and then 
all was silent again. 

The boy was about to draw away with a sigh of relief, 
when a groan, almost at his feet, made him start with 
surprise. Tom's figure, in his dark uniform, made but 
a black blotch upon the ground. 

"Water! Water! My God, Ethel, will you not give 
me a drink of water!" 

There was that startling strength and emphasis in the 
clear, tense tone in which the demand was made that 
would have made any man ou earth jump. The effect on 
the boy standing motionless there was electrical. 

"(jod in heaven, who can that beV" 

And trembling lingers falteringly drew the slide again 



196 god's war. 

and the light flashed upon Tom's pale face. With a 
shriek the startled intruder fell by his side and eager 
lips covered him with kisses. 

"Oh, my brave, haud.some boy! Ja it you? Is it 
youV Oh, he is dying — see" — and she lifted her hands 
from his chest and saw them in the light covered witli 
blood — "see — he is dying!" 

"Water, Ethel, water!" groaned the ^vritLiug wretch. 

"Yes, yes! I forgot! Forgive me" — and the 'cool 
water gurgled from the canteen as he drank it eagerly. 

"Oh, Tom, are you much hurt? Oh, my darling! 
How did you know I was here?" and she wrung her 
hands and rocked to and fro as if bereft of her senses. 
But Tom made no answer except to roll his head uneasily 
from side to side. 

"I k-)ieic it — I knew something was drawing me hero 
to-night; but I did not di'eam of this! My brave, hand- 
some, gentle boy! I might have known that you would 
have outstriiiped them all — my lion — my hero!" 

The tears were coursing down her cheeks like rain. 

"Oh, my head — my head — Ethel, you do love me?" 

"Yes — yes — yes — what am I thinking of?" 

And she raised his head and strove to place his haver- 
sack under it; but he groaned in such agony as she did 
so that she was compelled to desist. 

"Merciful heavens! He is wounded from head to foot! 
I might have known it! My brave boy! He would 
never yield!" 

"Oh, my bead — my head — oh, the pain!" 

"Yes — yes — dear! What am I thinking of?" 

And by the light she drew a vial filled with a dark 
liquid from her pocket, and poured its contents down his 
throat. He gasped and struggled, but swallowed it. 

"Yes — yes — it will do you good! A little hard to take 
maybe, but here's water! There! There! Darling! 
It will drive away tlie pain— it will give you rest! What 
shall I do? What shall I do?" and again she fell to 
moaning and rocking and wringing her hands. 

The draught she had given him was a powerful opiate 
under the influence of which Tom soon became calm and 
unconscious. So quiet was he that she sought the 



god's war. 197 

beating of his heart under his blood-stiflfened coat, and 
"wben she found it so feebly fluttering slie became alarmed. 

"I have killed bim! When I only meant to help him!" 

But a heavy sii^h from the Hleei)ing boy reassured her. 
She crept closely up to his side, and laid her face by his 
and stained her cheeks and lips with his blood, and thus 
remained and prayed for an hour. 

Then she was roused by a sharp click, click, click, 
and raising her head saw a man blowing what seemed to 
be a feeble spark of fire in his hand, as he bent over a 
dead body. He was not twenty feet away, and she gently 
rose and slipped behind the bushes. 

The man went patiently from body to body, but evi- 
dently without success in his search. Then he paused, 
looming up silent and grewsome against the dark horizon. 
Then, as if he had made up his mind to sit down and 
wait for daylight, he advanced to the knoll upon which 
the clump of bushes were, and sat down. 

In doing so he laid his hand full upon Tom's face; 
whereupon he sprang up as if he had been shot. 

"Here's another one!" he said; and then click, click, 
click, he worked away with his flint and steel, and then 
with his breath till his cotton wick glowing, gave light 
enough for his purpose. 

"At last!" he said. "At last! But he's dead! Poor 
fellow!" 

And his hand explored his wounded chest and head. 
"Yes, he's dead! Stabbed and clubbed to death! She 
will break her heart!" 

At this he felt the boy's pulse, and started as if sur- 
prised. Then, through the blood, he sought his heart. 

"No, he's not! Why, no! He's warm, and his heart 
"beats! Tom? Tom? Old fellow wake up! Don't you 
know me?" 

But Tom slept on, thanks to the opiate. Then with 
more deliberation the wounds were once more examined. 

"But he can't live! / shan't tell her. She will hate 
the man wLo brings her the news! And she must not 
hate mo! I promised to watch over him, and to give her 
news of him — how could she ask me to do that when 
she knows how I love her! And he loved her! Why did 



198 GOD'S WAR. 

she ensnare him? A man is all very well — but a boy! 
This is tlie second time he has crossed ray path — hut it 
matters not! Thisi love is my !)/>; and he shall not 
thwart ii)<I Indeed, how can he, now? lie cannot sur- 
vive these terrible wounds!" 

And for a moment he sat buried in thought. The 
woman in boy's clothes lay not three feet from him and 
strove to quiet the beating of her heart lest he should 
hear it. All at once he started, and in the darkness bent 
his gaze upon the unconscious boy. 

"But suppose he should not die? Suppose, spite of 
all these wounds, he should get well?" 

He put his ear over Tom's heart to listen to its flut- 
terings. 

"No — it beats fainter and fainter! He will die; and 
then she will love me, and me only!" 

Tom moved uneasily and groaned and raised his hand 
and let it fall again. By a strong effort the woman re- 
strained her impulse to go to him. The man started. 

"But he is strong and viay li\el If he does — if he 
does, she will love him! Curse him, she loves him now 
— boy as he is! But he must die — he must — I will — but 
no — I must not think of that! What is the matter with 
me!" 

He rose and walked away a pace or two. Then he 
stood pondering. Once or twice he started toward Tom, 
and then checked himself. Finally, with the air of a 
man who had made up his mind, he drew a flask from 
his pocket, held it to his lips for a long time, replaced 
it, and then with a step reached the bcj' and knelt beside 
him. 

"Yes, I must make sure of it! There will be no crime 
in it! It is only a matter of an hour or so, anyhow! 
And it will only save him pain! If I don't do it I may 
never be certain that he is dead ! I never dreamed of 
such a thing before — but — I love her — and " 

He quietly placed his strong hands about Tom's throat 
and begun to slowly compress it. The boy writhed and 
moaned like one choking. The man muttered an oath 
and evidently tightened his grip, when, sudden as the 
flash of a gun in the dark, a glare of hot light smote his 
eyes and sent him to his feet in terror. 



god's war. 199 

"Miles Baucroft, what would you do?" 

"\Vho — who — who are you? Stand back or I'll fire!" 
aud he drew his revolver. 

She gave no heed to his threat. 

"If you do, turn the muzzle against your own breast 

for after this night you will live accursed by your own 

heart!" 

"My God ! It is Ethel! I thought you were in Nash- 
ville!" 

"Humph!" Cold and contemptuous beyond descrip- 
tion. His voice took on a tone of begging appeal. 

"How came you here?" 

"A friend — no a thing— a. would-be murderer of a help- 
less boy furnished me a pass from General Kosecrans two 
weeks ago— to go through the lines at any time unchal- 
lenged!" 

"I know I did— but " 

"Oh! You acknowledge the description!" 

"But when did you come here?" 

"I have been in Murfreesboro for four days!" 

"In Murfreesboro?" 

"In Murfreesboro!" 

"How did you pass the rebel lines?" 

"I need no pass to get into the rebel lines, as you call 
them!" 

"Ah! Then you are a spy !" 

This time he sought to speak contemptuously. 

"I suppose I am what &,\x]ionorahle man like you would 
call a spy ! I serve the South — because I love her — and 
Ihate the North!" 

"And the information you got from me " 

"Was useful, very useful to General Bragg!" 

"What a fool I have been!" 

"I knew you were a fool — but I had no idea that you 
were a coward as well!" 

"These are strong words!" 

"Yes! The man who would murder his helpless friend 
is a coward ! ' ' 

"You shall not talk to me so." 

"No?" 

"I will arrest you — I do arrest you as a spy I" 



200 god's war. 

"Very well! I'll go withj'ou to — to General Eoseciaust 
And I will acknowledge to him that I am a spy!" 

"They will hang you!" 

"Yes, I presume you chivalric Northerners would not 
hesitate to hang a woman! But before they hang me — 
I don't care, .I'm ready to die for the South — before they 
hang me do you know what I will do?" 

"What you will do?" 

"Yes! I will show General Rosecrans sundry letters I 
have from Colonel Miles Bancroft, and copies of orders 
and reports furnished me by this same gallant colonel!" 

"You are a devil!" 

"You are courteous, and rp^^y polite!" 

"You have deceived me!" 

"Of course I have!" 

"But I love you, Ethel; my God, you have made me 
what I am!" and he fell on his knees and buried his face 
in his hands. She flamed with indignation. 

"Don't dare to say that! I may have made you a fool 
— that is my business — but I could never make you the 
base thing that you are!" 

"You made me love you — you drew me on — you made 
me believe that you loved me " 

"Of course I did!" 

"You are a fiend! You cannot love! You have no 
heart!" 

"You do not speak the truth! I wish you did! There 
lies a boy for whom I would give my life! The only 
human being I ever did love! Oh, my brave, gentle 
boy! Why did you come to me with your sweet, inno- 
cent, honest heart? Why did not something warn you? 
Ah! I would die for you!" 

And she hung over him and wept, and trembled with 
emotion. 

"He! That boj'l You are old enough to be bis 
mother ! ' ' 

"I know I am! I know I am! I know everything! I 
know that I have deceived him, too — but the temptation 
was too great! I tried to fight against it but could not! 
I never met a human being so brave and gentle and 
chivalric and loving as he is ! And he loved me so purely 



god's war. 20J 

— and my life has beeu so bitter! Why should I refuse 
this little bit of happiness! God pity tue!" 

She fell prone upon her face and sobbed aloud. 

"And you preferred him to me?" 

"Ay! and do!" she cried, springing to her feet. "I 
would not giva one drop of his poor blood soaking into 
the earth there, for your whole body, your life, your 
soul!" 

"Ethel, listen tome! He cannot live! He must die!" 
yhe faced him defiantly. "No, I don't mean that! Ho 
V(?ill die of his wounds! I know you love him — but I 
used to think you loved me, too, a little! lam not a 
bad man! As God is my witness I had no thought till a 
moment ago of — of — of doing what you savy' me doing] 
Listen to me! I love you more than I do my life, my 
soul, my hope of salvation! I can make you happy! 
Come with me. After what has happened to-night 
neither of us can remain here, I will resign. AYe will 
leave the country' and go awaj'' where no one knows us 
and be happy. I beg as a man would for his life!" 

"Never! You are a coward and a murderer!" She 
threw her arm out with a superb gesture of disdain and 
pointed toward the Union camp. "Go!" 

"I will not leave you — you are more to me than my 
honor!" With another gesture she flung him off. 
"Very well. If I cannot live with 3'ou and for you, I 
will die by your side," and his revolver was at his breast 

She grasped it, and strove to take it away from him. 

"You must not! You may yet make atonement! 
Miles! Miles!" she cried as she still struggled with him. 
"dear Miles, if you love me!" 

"If I love you, what?" he demanded, hoarsely. 

"Do not kill yourself!" 

"But I cannot live without you!" 

"But perhaps " 

"Do you mean " 

"That you may make atonement!" 

"And having done that, you will love me?" 

She smiled, wearily and painfully, upon him. 

"You must not kill yourself" — he turned away im- 
patiently— "you must live — for my sake." 



203 GOD^S WAR. 

He turned and clasped her in his arms, and kissed her 
face and hair till she \vas breathless and sick. 

"Go!" she said. 

"I will live — for your sake! You would not have said 
it if you did not love me! Is it not so?" 

"Go!" 

He once more embraced her passionately, and then, 
turning, he fled swiftly toward the Union lines. 

The clock in the steeple in the distant town boomed 
the hour, slowlj' and heavily, one! two! three! four! 

The w^oman watched him in the deep gloom till he 
disappeared, when with a sigh she lost consciousness. 

When she came back to life her cheek was against poor 
Tom's; the rain was falling and the gray streaks in the 
east told that the day was breaking. 



god's war. 203 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE CLOCK STRIKES FOUR. 

Meantime Lawyer Jordan bad changed his views rela- 
tive to the war between the North and the South, and 
had pretty well succeeded in regaining position as a 
leader among men in and about Clayton and the con- 
gressional district to which Shawnee County belonged. 
Not to put too fine a point on it he had realized, before 
Nat and Tom and Miles had rescued him from the mob 
in the market-house, that he had taken the wrong chute, 
that things were dead against him and his kind, that the 
wave of events had swept the sand from under the old 
ideas and theories upon which he had built his political 
structure and that it behooved him to set about adapting 
himself to the new order of things; with all speed, un- 
questionably ; and such grace as might be, certainly. 

Having carefully estimated the value of his retirement 
from public life day by day and having taken his bear- 
ings with such accuracy as his frightened condition 
Avould permit, he at length, after some weeks of seclusion, 
ventured forth and timidly reconnoitered his accustomed 
haunts. He sought the company of his fellows, not with 
the fiauntings of the banner of his own pride in himself, 
nor the blare of the trumpet of his own self-esteem, but 
rather in that apologetic and deprecating tone and atti- 
tude which he thought would be most likely to win him 
favor to begin with — at least conciliate public opinion till 
he should have time to newly recommend himself. 
Toward his old friends and fellow- sinners his conduct 
was judicious in the extreme and his example was of 
great weight. Even the most stubborn among them with 
the added and powerful assistance of the Dutch courage 



204 god's war. 

that came, in tho8e days, iu a sea-green flat glasa bottle and 
shone with a pale straw color could not get him back 
upon the ^old platform. He solemnly assured them iu 
the secret conclaves which they held from time to time 
iu his back office, that they had been wrong; that the 
South was wrong and the North was right; at least, 
whether this was true or not, he would never again be 
guilty of the eri'or of going against the sentiments of his 
near neighbors at so important a crisis. 

At first it was hard lines with him ; the people dis- 
trusted him ; and it almost broke his heart to have a big, 
serious fellow take him aside occasionally and quietly 
intimate to him that if he ever spoke treason again the 
hand of the mob would not be stayed a second time — and 
this sort of warning came to him with disagreeable fre- 
quency. The boys on their way to school, whom he had 
never wasted regard upon before, passed him, he could 
not help seeing, with contemptuous and even defiant 
glances; while the larger girls, just getting into Latin 
and long dresses to whom he had ahvaj's been conde- 
scendingly gallant, ignored him with little, but still 
clearly perceptible sniffs of disdain. His practice at the 
bar picked up very slowb' ; the preacher was humane but 
none the less stern in his disapproval ; the caucuses and 
township meetings and county conventions of his party 
no longer welcomed his appearance with the stamping of 
cowhide boots and the clapping of horny palms; and a 
few daj'S after the news had come of the battle at Bull 
Jlun, while standing in front of the bar in the village 
tavern, he felt the cold eye of the barkeeper upon him ; 
and he sadly thought as he gazed into his glass that even 
his whisky had gone back on him, so much had it failed 
of its usual effect — whereat, surely, his cup of bitterness 
was full — and he groaned that his punishment was greater 
than he could bear! 

But time is a great healer, and patient perseverance on 
the part of the lawyer in his public and private repent- 
ance for his offense, brought him solace; and men recon- 
sidered their first and bitter judgments, and by the time 
he had gone to work making recruiting speeches and in 
other ways helping the cause they began to think that 



god\s war. 205 

they ought to be easier \\'ith him, and let him in once 
more among them. And tliey did so. 

And he worked with chawtened zeal and did some good 
work, too. So much so that, under the influence of one 
of his own eloquent speeches on behalf of the Union, he 
rashly declared his purpose to enlist himself; and forth- 
with applied for a commission ; and the governor, realiz- 
ing the importance of such a recruit from a part of the 
State peculiar for its disloyalty to the Union cause, made 
swift haste to create him colonel ot the Four hundred 
and seventy-second Regiment. This was in the latter 
part of 1862, when it was a work of some weeks to get a 
regiment together ; instead of days, as at the beginning 
of the war. 

But the fact that Lawyer Jordan had decided to go to 
war at once swept away all lingering prejudice against 
him, at least to all outward appearance; and he was re- 
ceived, when on the evening of the 29th of December, he 
came up from Columbus where his regiment lay awaiting 
orders, with great enthusiasm and the village brass band. 
Of course his response to the noble efforts of the am- 
bitious musicians was in a lofty key as became a great 
inspiration; and the news that Rosecrans had moved out 
to give battle to Bragg offered the new colonel in his 
fresh and unsoiled uniform a theme of no small size and 
which he improved, we may be sure for all that it was 
worth; eliciting almost unbounded enthusiasm as he 
declared his hope that the authorities at Washington 
would order the gallant Four hundred and Seventy- 
second to Murfreesboro ; which place he only feared, 
would be in the hands of the other brave fellows whom 
the fortunes of war had sent in advance, before he and 
his men could get there. 

And the gallant colonel affirmed, an hour later, while 
surrounded by an enthusiastic circle, that the whisky 
before him that night was "something like the real old 
stuff — that it had been so bad for awhile back that he 
had begun to think he never would taste the genuine 
article again!" 

We have been so busy fighting and marching and fall- 
ing in love and doing and sinning down at the front, 



900 god's war. 

that we have not bad time to note the changes in Clayton; 
Avbiob iuipiovemeuts comprised among others a telegraph 
office and a branch railroad from Bryan's. By means of 
the former, meager rumors of battles and skirmishes 
could be got from time to time during the day, while, 
])y means of the evening train on the latter, the city 
morning dailies could be had in time for scanning at the 
supper-table. In other respects, too, Clayton was im- 
proving her condition; manufacturing establishments 
Avere springing up, and the town was growing in size; 
and out at the northwestern corner of the village limits 
was a long, low building which had a peculiar fascination 
for the boys and a sad significance to women clad in 
mourning; for it was a factory wherein the black walnut 
so abundant in the adjacent woods was being turned into 
hundred of gunstocks daily — but of these things we 
have no time to talk at present — if we ever will have. 

Nobody was more zealous in doing all manner of things 
possible in a non-combatant, to uphold the hands of the 
government and strengthen the hearts of the soldiers and 
comfort their families left behind to wrestle with Provi- 
dence for a living, than the old judge. His great wealth 
gave him the means to do much; and where a mortgage 
on a farm kept a stout 3'oung man from volunteering the 
judge's money lifted it; and when fear for the dailj' sup- 
plies for the family kept a brave man chafing at home the 
judge's money bade him godspeed to the front. In 
every possible way the old man gave his help; and when 
he sometimes thoughts of how he was diminishing the 
fortune that he had hoped to leave to Margaret and the 
brave man whom he had consented she should marrj' 
when the war should be over — for this u-as the explana- 
tion of the blithe content which Tom had marked in 
Miles Bancroft — he was proud to think that his noble 
girl and the patriotic soldier would not grudge the 
money so spent. 

Among the least of his givings was the grant of his 
public hall, St. Cecilia's, for the free and sole use of the 
Women's Soldiers' Aid Society; and here every Friday 
evening the wives and mothers and sweethearts of the 
men at the front gathered to sew garments and make 
bandages and scrape lint. 



god's war. 207 

These meetings were of the deepest interest; since, if 
there was an.v great news going it could he satisfactorily 
discussed here in public; if not, there were a hundred 
letters, received during the week, containing items of the 
incidents of camp and campaign life to be read, in para- 
graphs, and thus made a part of the public information. 
Of course there were extraordinary occasions when the 
news of a great battle brought together in the hall an 
aggregation of anxiety which, curiously enough, seemed 
to grow lighter as it was thus aggregated and shared by 
all. As a rule there was nothing attempted of a more 
imposing nature in the way of public exercises than to 
hear the reports of committees and read the requisitions 
made from time to time upon the Clayton Aid Society by 
the State organization or the Sanitary Commission ; but 
on an extraordinary occasion, such as has been referred 
to, it was a relief to find in one common mouthpiece a 
vent for the feelings which individuals strove to restrain. 
And in a community suddenly changed as Clayton had 
been, from the most repressive to the most sensitive in 
this great emergency, the necessity for some such relief 
was imperative and would not be denied. Not that 
speechmaking, in the nature of buncombe, was ever 
wanted; but there was a satisfaction to be found in a 
genuine voicing of the general feeling, and unquestiona- 
bly great comfort in having the direction of afifairs taken 
authoritatively in hand hy somebody. 

Now the Clayton Aid Society had for its president a 
woman who was certainly predestined and foreordained 
for her work. She was known to every man, woman, 
child and dog in the village as Aunt Eliza. She was not 
so known because of her great age, for she was but little 
inore than fifty, but because her active life of benevo- 
lence and charity (and a decent fortune gave her means 
to so indulge herself), and helpfulness to all who were 
poor or sick or in distress, had made her known and loved 
of all. She was untiring at the bed of sickness where 
no one else was so welcome ; she was ever on the alert to 
feed and clothe the unfortunate, and in doing this she 
never made the recipient of her bounty feel the slightest 
twinge of shame or humiliation ; she was a widow with 



508 god's war. 

an only son, a sturdy manly fellow of twenty or there- 
abouts, a member of Company "Q" of the Twenty-first, 
Avhere he had gone with her iivoml blessing. She was of 
two ideas above all others, viz. : that the slaves in the 
South should be freed, and that the sale of intoxicating 
beverages should be prohibited bylaw; and while she 
never unsexed herself, she i)reached and enforced her 
view.s at all suitable times and in all proper places with- 
out fear or hesitation. She had been known to go boldly 
into the lowest groggery of the village to rescue a victim 
and restore him to his family and to do it without the 
slightest fear of the insult which another, and a weaker, 
woman would have met with, but which never dared 
affront her. With the manners of a gracious queen, and 
the firmness and intrepidity of -the bravest man, she had 
not an enemy in all the world and her heart was kept 
warm with good deeds. 

The daily papers had kept Clayton advised meagerly 
of the advance of the Army of the Cumberland as it slowlj' 
moved out after Bragg, and the people were, of course, 
filled with anxiety and apprehension, growing as time 
went on. On Thursday, the 1st of January, the tele- 
graph gave vague hints of an awful battle near Murfrees- 
boro — which the daib' papers Thursday night confirmed, 
with but little more in the way of details than the mourn- 
ful statement that the result had been disastrous to the 
Union arms. On Friday the telegraph was almost dumb ; 
but the news in the papers Friday night was so appalling 
that Clayton went supperless and the hall was filled with 
pale faces and trembling hearts. In the news the worst 
that had befallen Rosecrans, bad as it was, was exagger- 
ated; and the readers were forced to the conclusion that 
the Army of the Cumberland had been not only badly 
whipped, but practically wiped out of existence. "Bad 
news flies fast;" and while it is true that the facts as to 
the battle were not fully known until many days after it 
had been fought, yet it is also true that the air was filled 
with the darkness of horrible disaster long before any- 
thing authentic could be had. 

It had been announced that Colonel Jordan would 
speak at the meeting of the[Aid Society that night. The 



god's war. 209 

opportunity to do so had not been altogether unsought 
by the new hero; he could not at once||give over his liking 
for such prominence, and he wanted to show himself in 
his brave regimentals and to take leave of his old friends 
and acquaintances in a harangue of such stout eloquence 
as would win admiration and testify his courageous and 
necessarily bloody puposes. Arriving in Clayton Tues- 
day evening, he spent Wednesday in arranging his busi- 
ness, and Thursday in going about among the friends he 
was to leave so soon. In the intervals of business and 
friendly intercourse he conned his speech, which he was 
minded should be electrical in its effect. Under the 
circumstances, posing as a hero before the admiring eyes 
of a great audience, mostly women, and in his uniform 
with the shoulder-straps and brass buttons, standing 
under the great flag draped over the president's stand, 
he felt that it could be scarcely less than electrical and 
thrilling to a degree. 

Thursday's news somewhat disturbed the free flow of 
his thoughts, while Friday's reduced him to an extremely 
unpleasant state of nervousness. He ^repented him that 
he had sought this publicity ; it would have been better 
to have gone quietly off, perhaps. 

Still, he must go through with it, and he would. 
Who could tell? Could he not recall numbers of instances 
when nervousness and a sinking heart were but the pre- 
ludes to tremendous success upon the stump? Certainly ! 
Anyhow, on the stage in, St. Cecilia's Hall he would be 
in no bodily peril — and he would not think of the bloody 
news. 

But ah, he must think of it. Ay, and he would be 
expected to talk of it too. Great heavens! what a cruel 
thing war is! Thousands of men slaughtered, and Rose- 
crans routed! What if he should be ordered down there? 
The governor thought he would be sent down to Lexing- 
ton, Kentucky, to garrison the town; that's what they 
ought to do with' a green regiment, anyhow. Give the 
men time to drill, before you push them into battle. 

But if Rosecrans had really been routed — then of 
course they would hurry troops down to him, and the 
Four hundred and Seventy-second would have to go, too. 



210 GOD S WAR. 

It was a very uncomfortable frame of mind to be in ; 
and all the whisky he could get wouldn't help it. But 
he must do his best. And the committee sent to escort 
him to the hall Avere forced to take two drinks with him 
before they could get him out of his house. 

His spirits were refused even the poor encoiiragement 
of applause when he entered the hall. The people had 
something too weighty on their souls to permit of ap- 
plause. And the apprehension and shuddering fear with 
which the atmosphere was burdened, entered his poor, 
craven heart and it sank like lead. 

Upon being introduced he strove to collect himself and 
his eyes wandered over the crowd, mechanically. He 
began in a tone so loud that it frightened him, and he 
saw, jarred upon the feelings of the people. But his 
memory stood him in good stead, and as he rolled otf 
one sentence after the other about the sacredness of the 
cause and the mighty majesty of the nation and the hell- 
ish depravity of the South and the high and holy duty — 
duty? — nay, privilege of the citizen; and warmed to his 
work as he reminded them of the sweetness and decor- 
ousness of dying for one's country, he really began to 
thi))k that he would succeed after all. It was discour- 
aging, in truth, that the people did not warm up, that 
their eyes did nut lose the haggard look of dread, that 
their countenances were stiil preoccupied and rigid, but 
he gathered hope. He would try them still more elo- 
quently, and he adroitly wove in an allusion to the flag, 
"Forever float that standard sheet" — when his quick eye 
caught sight of a boy with a yellow envelope in his hand 
elbowing his way through the crowd. It was a tele- 
graphic message! And doubtless for him! Never mind ! 
Courage! 

"Yes, my fellow-citizens! In the language of the 
sublime poet: 

" Forever float that standard sheet," 

the boy reached the desk — 

•'WUert; breathes the foe but falls before us?" 



GOD*S WAR. 211 

he opened the envelope mechanically and read the mm- 
sage — 

" Where breathes the foe " 

The paper fell from his trembling fingers on the desk 
beneath the eye of Aunt Eliza — 

" but falls — before — us — 
but— falls " 

Aunt Eliza read the message — it was signed by the ad- 
jutant-general: 

"Rosecrans routed — your regiment ordered at once to 
Nashville. Come immediately!" 

"Where breathes — the foe — but falls — before us — " 

his fingers strove with the rigid upright collar of his 
coat, his eyes wandered, his voice failed, and his knees 
seemed sinking. Aunt Eliza in sore amaze rose quickb', 
and placing a hand on his bosom pressed him into a 
chair. 

"Sit down, colonel! You're — you're sick! Sit down! 
Your clothes are new, and — and — you haven't got used 
to them yet — and they make you uncomfortable!" 

The tone was meant to be kindly, but how could she 
keep all of her contempt back ? As the colonel sat down 
she turned to the silent crowd — her mien was collected 
and her low calm, voice sought out the furthest corner of 
the room : 

"My friends, you have all heard the news; we don't 
know all of the truth yet; but we know enough ; we know 
that we have a duty to perform; and we must do it! 
I'm not talking to the men; this is the place for women 
to work; that's what we are here for. To scrape lint 
and make bandages and garments for our brave ones at 
the front. "We must not stop to wonder what has become 
of them — ^where they are to-night. My boy is there, 
somewhere" — and the voice trembled — "I don't know 
where — but he is there. He is there — and I would not 
have him elsewhere for the world! He maj' be — may be 
— lying there — dead! With his dear face turned up 



212 GOD'S WAR. 

rigid and cold and gray" — and the tears m-ouM come, 
and she bowed her head while the hall was filled with 
women's moans and the groans of strong men. But for 
only a moment — dashing her hand across her eyes she 
raised her face quickly. "But if he is, I am proud of 
it! If he is dead he has died flighting God's battles, and 
he has placed a crown on his poor, weak mother's head 
and I thank God for him! If he is lying there wounded 
and suffering, God's angels will minister unto him. And 
he won't ask anything more of them than strength to 
bear his pain like a man — God bless him ! This is no 
time for tears and hysterics. The moments are too 
precious; we must not lose one. And now let us go to 
work without another word. The men can go home ; we 
will stay and work. That's what we must do — work!" 

"And pray!" said a voice from the floor. 

"Not now, Sister Druett; not now! We will work 
now, and pray when we get home! Don't you know that 
every moment the brave fellows are thinking of their 
wives and mothers and sisters? We must work!" 

The poor sweethearts, is nothing to be said for them ? 

"Does she think the mothers and wives and sisters 
are the only ones who suffer? Sisters indeed!" And a 
flush stole into Margaret's pale face, as she bent her head 
resolutely to her work. 

The men crept silently out and stood about in groups 
in the street below. In the hall the work went on almost 
noiselessly, save for the low-spoken word of instruction 
and repb' occasionally, and now and again the quickly 
suppressed sigh which was very near to a hysterical gasp. 
And when, at midnight, they parted to go to their homes, 
they went quietly. 

Little Mrs. Susie kissed Margaret and whispered softly 
but confidently : 

"I feel sure that he is safe — somehow I am sure of it. " 

"Oh, do you? I wish I could feel so. I am so much 
afraid — why should I be? Oh, Susie, he is not my 
husband yet, but I could not love him more if he were — 
and I had a letter from him yesterday, so loving and 
true, and yet there was such a sad tone to it — I cannot 
help feeling anxious " 



god's war. 213 

''It is natural; but Nat is so big and strong you 
know — " and they were separated by the crowd, and 
each went her way. 

Susie, to her bed, where lay little Eosy with Dick in 
his crib near by. The little girl's soft pink hands were 
clasped over her breast as if she were praying, while 
Dick with head thrown back and brown, chubby fists 
clinched, had the dauntless look of the father. Somehow 
it struck Susie that this was all as it should be, and 
rousing her maid-of-all-work who had gone to sleep on 
her post, she sent her ofE to bed. Then turning the 
light down so that it gave but a soft, warm glow, she 
knelt by her darlings and thanked God that the dear 
brave husband and father had been spared ; with the ut- 
most confidence that it was so. And then she fell asleep 
like a child. 

Margaret, to creep to her home cold and sick at heart 
and filled with the torture of her fears and vague and 
awful doubts. The judge kissed her kindlj' and pityingly 
as he bade her good-night; for wrestle as she might with 
her agony she could not hide it all from his keen, loving 
eyes. 

To her pillow alone did she at first open her heart and 
for hours she wept and sighed her sorrows there. Then 
she prayed — prayed as she never had prayed before and 
wrestled as did Jacob for the blessing. Her faith grew 
with her prayers, each moment stronger and brighter, 
till at last she rose to her feet and sought her father's 
bedside with a song of rejoicing in her heart. 

"Father, father, wake up! I have news — I must tell 
you!" 

The old man sprang up in alarm. 

"Why, Margaret, daughter, what is it? Are you ill?" 

"No, father, I am well. I have come to tell you good 
news," and standing like an angel robed in white by his 
couch she told how she had been tortured with fears and 
doubts and how she had prayed till at last the assurance 
had come to her from Heaven that Miles had passed safe 
and unscathed through the battle. And then in the 
glow of this unwonted feeling that had come over her 
she went on to tell the old man of the letter that had come 



314 god's war. 

from bim, repeating in her delirium of delight the fond 
messages he had sent which showed hoAv loving and true 
and noble a man he was. It was not strange that the 
father was at first alarmed, and that he strove so hard to 
soothe and quiet her, for never before to any human 
being had she spoken so freely and unreservedly. And 
he almost trembled as at last he kissed her brov/ and sent 
her from him, and he sighed, he knew not why, as she 
noiselessly passed out into the hall, going to her own 
room. 

She paused in the hall to listen to the old clock on the 
landing as it struck, echoing through the quiet house, 
one, two, three, four! Somehow the sound only added 
to her lightness of heart and she, too, fell asleep smiling. 

The booming from the Murfreesboro steeple at the 
same moment filled the ears of Miles Bancroft as he crept 
over the battlefield, like a guilty thing flying from 
crime ! 



god's war. 215 



CHAPTER XX. 

"he tried to choke me to death." 

What were all the glories of the great victory to Nat, 
so long as the fate of his boy-captain was shrouded in so 
much mystery? So long, too, as all that was known of 
Tom only gave warrant for the gravest inferences? 

The great-hearted fellow AVent about like a giant whose 
soul had gone out of him, so to speak ; leaving his physi- 
cal ecouotny still working, mechanically, but no longer 
instinct with the divine essence. The love he bore the 
boy was so great a portion of his \evy life! Away back, 
as we have seen, in the early days, he unconsciously 
cultivated a love for Tom; they had enough in common 
and yet were sufficeutly dissimilar to make a strong feel- 
ing of mutual regard natural. They were alike in that 
they were brave and daring without an atom of vanity or 
love of noisy approbation; they were alike in that they 
abhorred all manner of shams and false pretense, differing 
in that it was Tom's habit to pass such things by without 
deigning remark, while Nat was accustomed to inveigh 
more or less loudly and violently against them ; they 
were unlike in that Tom said little while Nat was more 
voluble ^but whether Tom's reticence or Nat's shrewd 
observations were the moi'e admirable was a question ; 
Tom liked Nat because, while he was his superior in 
years Nat always showed him a quiet deference which 
was grateful ; Nat loved Tom because he could not help 
it, and admired him as an extraordinary being. Tom 
knew he could always rely on Nat, and Nat was proud to 
follow Tom and back him up in anything he might essay. 
Each act of Tom s military career increased the pride 
and affection which Nat felt for him; there never was 



JJ16 GOD'S WAR. 

such a boy, he thought; "he would give even 'old Jobn 
F. ' a tight rub if their ages were the same!" "Words 
could not express more! 

And then, you know, the man you mess with and buuk 
with and fight side by side with for months growing into 
years, must, if he do not become utterlj- hateful to you, 
fiad his way into j'our heart to stay there so long as life 
endures. 

It needs not to be said then, understanding all this, that 
Nat spared no efifort to find his mate. For days and 
week.3, by special permission, he scoured the battlefield 
aal prowled among the hospitals, even going back to 
Naahvillo to search among the wounded there, and visit- 
ing every hou.je and tent and camp along the pike leading 
to that city, and finally penetrating as far as he could 
into the enemy's country — but though every facility was 
given him he found no trace of the boy except his sword 
and cap which lay on the field where he fell. 

No one had seen him after the capture of the batter3'. 
The men who were with him were killed; he had disap- 
peared as completely as if the earth had opened up and 
swallowed him. 

Miles Bancroft made no report of what he had seen. 
Perhaps the statement is superfluous. He went about his 
duties with a renewed zeal and earnestness after the 
battle, and won fresh and high appreciation. He was 
but little changed; except that whereas he had once 
bean abstemious, and companionable to those he liked, 
he had now grown more and more fond of an occasional 
glass of whisky, and was more reserved and less talka- 
tive and genial. Still, he was far from being a tippler 
and was not at all morose. The change in him, when it 
wa^ observed at all, was attributed to commendable 
atnbition. 

But I am talking of that which only weeks and months 
suificed to accomplish iu Miles. He came frequently 
enougb to the regiment to keep up his relations with the 
Olaytoa boys, but he did not cultivate them, any more 
than he did when he first dropped into the village, years 
before. 

And so weeks lapsed into months, and Tom was still 



god's war. 217 

carried on the rolls as "missing;" till at last everybody 
except Nat gave him uii as lost, and tlie goveruor com- 
missioned Nat to be captain in Tom's stead, and Nat 
very reluctantly took the place; not that he would admit 
that Tom was dead, but he consented to step into his 
friend's shoes only to keep a stranger from assuming 
them. 

"He'll turn up some day, and then I'll step out and 
give him his place again; it stands to reason that he isn't 
dead; because — because — well, because if the Lord's on 
our side, and the chaplain saj's in his sermons that He 
is, and old Rosy says so in his official report — only Rosy 
says it in Latin, but it means the same thing — if the 
Lord's on our side, and the weight of the testimony is 
in favor of that view of it, why, He isn't a-going to 
throw away as good a soldier as Tom Bailey, quite so 
earb' in the game! Good soldiers ain't quite so plenty 
as all that, and nobody knows it better 'n the Lord!" 

This doctrine gave great comfort to Xerxes Lycurgus 
McCurdy, who had attached himself with a swift affec- 
tion to Tom. He was a pessimistic darky in some 
things, and did not fully share Nat's faith, but he was 
eager to clutch at any shadow of hope. He was a singu- 
lar compound of truth and falsehood, honesty and 
venality, ignorance and shrewdness, boldness and cow- 
ardice; but his affections were warm and clinging and 
faithful as is usual with his race; and Tom had been 
kind to him and had won his heart completely. 

It was on a warm, bright day in May, that Nat, lying 
at ease smoking in his tent, gazing through the open fly 
down the vista of the company street to the softly wooded 
hills a mile or two away, became suddenly possessed of 
an idea; and at once a plan to find Tom flashed into 
completeness. 

" 'Curg, you Baptist hoodoo, come here!" 

The rattle of pots and pans in the kitchen tent in the 
rear ceased at once, as did also the melodious whistling 
of one of those weird airs only heard among the negroes 
of the South and which I have alwaj^s thought must have 
come with their ancestors from the wilds of Africa s® 
barbarous and strangely thrilling are they; and 'Cuifg 
presented himself grinning. 



218 god's war. 

"Wiisn't de coffee strong 'nuff dishyer noiawiiin', mass* 
oapt'n?" 

"Yes; never mind the coffee; I've got an errand for 
j'ou to do; go put on your coat." 

"Yessah!" 

In a moment he was back again, clad in a butternut 
suit, from top to toe — the spoils of tlie battlefield. 

"You look like a colonel of cavalry! Got any money?" 

"No, sab — hain't been paid fob a yeah!" 

"What a liar you are! Well, here's twenty silver 
dollars; bide them away among your clothes so they 
won't jingle. " 

"Yes, sab, dar dey is! I'se gwine fob ter buy a coat 
wid brass buttons and shoulder-straps, de fust thing!" 

"You're going to do nothing of the sort. You're going 
to find Ca])tain Tom!" 

"De good Lawd!" 

"That's the size of it; go down toward Shelbyville a 
few miles, and then cut off in a southeasterly direction, 
toward MclMinnville — d'j-e understand?" 

"Does ye really mean fob me ter go, cappen?" 

"I certainly do!" 

"Right straight away off?" 

"At once?" 

The darky's face was verj' sober, and his voice had 
taken serious depth. He stood looking away oft' at the 
horizon for a little time, while Nat watched him narrowly. 
At last he turned slowly : 

"Who's gwine ter cook fob ye, while I'se gone?" 

The last doubt was removed from Nat's mind. He 
laughed inwardly but his face was quiet and earnest. 

"Nobody; I'm not going to eat anything till you bring 
Captain Tom back." 

"De good Lawd! Well, good-by. Mass' Cappen! I 
mus' be movin' 'long!" 

"You can get through the picket-line, can't you?" 

"Dey's got ter be mightj' smart ef I don't!" 

"How soon will I hear from you?" 

"Soon's I find de j'oung cappen! Not befoah!" 

"You'll bring him back?" 

"Ef he's in de Ian' ob de libin', I will; an' ef he's 
dead I'll bring you de word!" • - 



GOD'S WAR. 2l9 

"Well, good-by, 'Curg!" 

"Good-by!" and he started off down the road, whist- 
ling. Nat stood looking after him. All at once he 
stopped and turned : 

"I say, cappen," he yelled. 

"Well?" 

"You'se gwine to git pow'ful hongry befoah ye heahs 
from me! Yah! Yah!" 

"Well, maybe I will!" 

The darky was still standing, pondering. 

"I say, cappen," he shouted again. 

"Well?" 

"I'll send ye word by a nigga once-twin-er-while!" 

"All right — good — say, come here!" 

The darky retraced his steps. 

"Wherever you hear of any pretty women in the 
neighborhood, you look into things mighty sharp; do 
you understand?" 

"Yea, sah!" A pause. "You don't think de young 
cappen would a run off after a purty woman, does ye?" 

"No! But a pretty woman would run after him; 
especially if he was wounded; and he wouldn't run away 
from a pretty woman — especially if he was wounded ; he 
ain't no fool. Captain Tom, ain't!" 

"No, sah! 'Deed he ain't!" laughed the darky, as 
he turned on his heel and once more took up his path 
and his tune where he had left off. 

Nat watched him, till he was lost to view, and then 
turned back to camp and ordered his men to fall in for 
company drill. 

Only this much of a concession could he consent to 
make to the feeling that possessed him ; and his pulse 
was full and regular and his glance calm and untroubled 
and his appetite as eager as if he had not a care on his 
mind; and j'et, but for Susie and Dick and little Eosy 
he would willingly have exchanged places with Tom, 
wherever the boy might be or under whatever circum- 
stances; so much did he love him and so heavily did the 
dread mystery of his disappearance weigh constantly 
upon his mind. 

But if you had asked Nat whether he loved Tom, he 



^20 god's war. 

would have been furiously indignant at such an impu- 
tation ; for in Clayton it was held to be unmanly in one 
man to love another; he might like him and love a 
woman; but he could never love one of his own sex and 
retain his manliness. 

Now in choosing Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy for the 
dangerous and important errand upon which he had sent 
him, Nat showed good judgment. The black fellow came 
to the regiment bringing a large fund of shrewdness 
which had enabled him to learn from his new friends, and 
adapt himself to their ways with great quickness. The 
good treatment he received made this easier for him as 
well as the genuine affection he soon acquired for them. 

So that, in his way, he soon offered them the sincerest 
flattery — he imitated them in manners and speech and 
even in modes of thought; and that explains why it was 
that Nat wasted no words in sending the darky forth to 
search for "the young cappen." Accustomed to his 
ways, and having studied his methods, 'Curg was only 
an instant in getting the bearings of Nat's observations, 
and needed no detailed instructions or hints. 

Even if the mission had not been to his liking he would 
have entered upon it without hesitation ; but it was to 
his liking; he did not much believe that Tom was living, 
but he was willing to look for him, and if his search 
should be successful of all things nothing would make 
him prouder and happier. Then, besides, he would be 
foot-loose and fancy free; to roam about as he wished, 
keeping alwaj'^s iu mind, of course, his errand. He was 
a thorough adept in the free-masonry that obtained among 
the colored people of the South, and had no care for 
what he should eat nor what he should drink, neither the 
place where he should repose himself; these things would 
come at the bidding of the man who understood how to 
command them, and he knew. The story of that free- 
masonry which carried on an important work among these 
people so long as they were slaves, and especially during 
the war, has never been written, and I fear never will be; 
those who know it best are unable to give it shape. But 
'Curg was in it and of it, and if they had priests in the 
order he must have worn the miter or the symbol which 



GOD'S WAR. 231 

corresponded thereto. In addition to this he could fiddle 
and dance and sing a song or tell a story with the best of 
them, and to crown all was an "exhorter ' of no mean 
power and ability, having scriptural terms and re- 
ligious tunes at his tongue's end and the faculty of 
warming himself up with the fervor of his own eloquence 
and the sound of his own voice in a way that awakened 
his susceptible hearers and carried them to the innermost 
vortex of shouting ecstasy. 

All these he used with great skill in the attainment of 
his object; and yet he was a long time about it, as time 
goes, and more than four months elapsed before Nat saw 
him again — time enough to get very "hongry" in. For 
weeks he hovered about the place where poor Tom lay 
concealed and convalescing; for, whether it was luck or 
instinct or whatever it might have been that brought the 
suggestion to Nat, the direction he gave 'Curg, to bear 
to the southeast, toward McMinnville, was the proper one. 

About five miles from that town, upon the side of a 
hill so high and so precipitous that it was fairly entitled 
to be called a mountain, stood a log cabin of two rooms, 
substantially built and covered with vines and shrouded 
with dwarf cedars and other scrubby trees — so that one 
might pass within a rod of it and, hearing no noise and 
seeing no smoke, have no idea of its presence. 

On the southwesterly side of the house the hill fell off 
with such abruptness that its face could not be scaled; 
and here a shelf of rock jutted out as if contrived for a 
lookout. Beneath it stretched miles of wild, beautiful 
country which the eye might feast upon at time of leisure. 

In that cabin, attended constantly by a big, broad, 
good-natured black woman, and visited occasionally by 
Ethel Lynde, Tom had lain for four months, struggling 
with death, and now, having conquered, convalescing as 
I have said. 

By what means she had got him there need not be 
recounted, but there he was; saved by the woman he 
loved, the woman who loved him more sincerely and 
honestly beyond question than she had ever loved any 
other human being. Woman she was; and ten years 
at least, Tom's elder. It was only in the agony of her 



2^3 GOD'S WAR. 

self-reproach that she rashly admitted on the battlefield 
of Stone River that she was old enough to be his 
mother — ^and the devil himself would not have thought 
her to be more than seventeen, if he had no better means 
of telling her age than to merely judge by her appear- 
ance — but he had. 

She had moved him when he was to all intents and 
purposes a dead man, to this eyrie of hers, refusing and 
disdaining all medical or surgical help; and had, with 
the assistance of the buxom colored woman, nursed him 
back to life. She knew little of the art of treating wounds, 
and the black woinan knew less; but tbeir fingers were 
light and soft, and they applied simple dressings to his 
wounds and gave him nourishing food. 

Did she refuse the aid of the surgeons because she had a 
vague hope, which she would not, perhaps, acknowledge 
to herself, that he might die in her arms and thus cut off 
all the terrible possibilities that she saw looming in the 
future if he lived? Or did she have faith that she could 
restore him and was she jealously unwilling that he 
should owe life to any one else? 

The wound at the base of the skull seemed only a 
bruise with a laceration of the scalp, and it healed first; 
but the bayonet-thrust through the lungs was obstinate, 
and kept the boy weak from its great drain upon his 
system for a long time. Still, after many daj's it, too, 
began to grow better, and at last he grew strong enough 
to sit up, and then to walk about the house and finally 
to go out to the shelf of rock where he would spend hours 
gazing upon the beautiful scene with eyes which seemed 
to note nothing. He talked but little, even to Ethel, and 
seemed to be struggling, at times, with an effort to recall 
something which constantly eluded him. 

Ethel came to him at irregular intervals. Sometimes 
she would be absent two and even three weeks; on her 
return she would be with him a day, occasionally two or 
three days. While with him she, too, was silent and re- 
pressed. For hours, latterly, she would sit by his side, 
holding his hand, and alternately looking out over the 
hills, and then into his face, throwing into her eyes when 
he returned her gaze such strength of eager questioning 



GOD'S WAR. 233 

as one would think would have had power to make an 
image speak. And he would permit his hand to rest in 
hers as if he was quite as well satisfied with that as he 
could be with anything else that was a matter of indiffer- 
ence with him; and his eyes met hers with honest frank- 
ness but without a gleam to show that he read her 
question or had any answer of any sort to give her or un- 
derstood that their relations were novel and had not 
always been so. In fact Tom behaved like a man who 
was bereft of all his wits save those which enabled him 
to eat when he was hungry, drink when he was thirsty, 
sleep when he was drowsy and come in when it rained. 

Only in the one thing did he show that he had such a 
thing as a mind ; and that was in his frequently recurring 
brown study, when, as I have said, he seemed to ba 
trying to recall something. 

The woman was puzzled. Not once had he spoken her 
name since that frightful moment on the battlefield, 
when he called upon her for water. And yet his powers 
of speech were not impaired. He was always prompt to 
reply to questions or remarks concerning ordinary 
things; but he never spoke her name, or indeed, gave 
her any appellation ; and when she spoke to him of things 
that had occurred prior to the battle he smiled blandly 
upon her as if she were saying something which required 
no response. 

She was greatly puzzled. He showed no affection for 
her nor interest in her any more than in the black woman 
whose kindness he appreciated just as much, apparently, 
as he did Ethel's devotion, Ethel blushed sometimes 
when she found herself striving by the arts she knew so 
well how to use and which she had so often used success- 
fully, to make him give some sign that he still loved 
her. But, although she went beyond all precedent, she 
got no response. 

"Can it be," she asked herself, "that this is contempt; 
that he suspects or knows the truth, and that this has 
killed his love?" 

There was nothing to show that this was the case; 
nothing to show that the old love had ever existed or 
that a new love was possible; he might just as well have 
been without a heart, so far as this was concerned. 



224 god's war. 

Away off there in that secluded spot he was tranquil 
and apparently safe from intrusion, although the country 
round about swarmed with the soldiers of the two armies. 

A path not easy to find led to the house and no one 
but the two women appeared there for long weeks. He 
was always quiet and j^atient and gentle and pleasaut; 
and tried, evidently, if he had any volition of mind at 
all, to give as little trouble as possible. 

But the look that showed some sort of disturbance of 
his mental faculties, feeble though it might be, came 
with greater frequency as health and strength came back 
to him. 

"Is he thinking whether he ought to kill me, as I 
deserve?" she asked herself; "or what does it mean?" 

The answer came very unexpectedly one daj', late in 
June. Ethel, coming back from an absence of three 
weeks, had seated herself by him on the shelf of rock, 
and sat looking abroad, with an anxious, troubled ex- 
pression. Suddenly, right below them, rang out the 
sharp reports of a battery of artillery, one gun following 
the other so quickly that the fresh report leaped full 
upon the front of the echo of the first, crowding the hills 
with a crashing roar that went flying hither and thither 
for escape. 

Tom rose quickly to his feet and bent over the edge of 
the rock looking down into the valley, where a cavah'y 
skirmish, plainly visible and not a half a mile away, had 
just sprung into life. Ethel, with her hand upon his arm 
gazed at him with parted lips. 

All at once he fell a-trembling and then turned to her 
with blazing eyes saying hoarsely : "He tried to choke 
me to death!" 



GOD*S WAR. 225 



CHAPTER XXL 

A RASH VOLUNTEER. 

General Eosecrans' record in the War of the Eebellion 
has amply demonstrated his right to be regarded as a 
great and brilliant strategist. His weak point was shown 
when the quick happenings of battle upset his precon- 
ceived plans with either unexpected success or an un- 
looked-for reverse. At such times he seemed wildly 
elated or utterly bewildered ; his elation made him vis- 
ionary ; while under defeat he was at a loss what to do ; 
and while he was building air-castles upon his unlooked- 
for victory, or was taking time (when he did take time) 
to adjust himself and his army to the changed condition 
of things occasioned by his reverse, and make new plans, 
the enemy, cooler and more vigilant, sometimes pushed 
on to success or dared a defeat which if it came was not 
owing to the Union general's readiness. It may be that 
in some cases of his disasters his subordinates were 
more to blame than he for the failure of his elaborately 
laid plans; sometimes subordinate commanders do more 
toward whipping their own army than the enemy ; and 
wherever the opportunity occurs, as on Wednesday at 
Stone Eiver, for instance, Eosecrans ought to have the 
benefit of this doubt; because, notwithstanding his one 
weak point, he was unquestionably a brave and patriotic 
and much more than ordinarily skillful soldier. 

In June 1863, General Bragg lay at his ease, ruling 
throughout nearly all of Middle Tennessee, and having 
in his possession East Tennessee, with Chattanooga for 
his distributing base of supplies, Shelby ville, strongly in- 
trenched, for his headquarters, with a coiys d'arme in the 
town and another in its front holding advantageous 



236 god's war. 

positions at Liberty Gap, Hoover's Gap, and Bellbuckle 
Gap, openings through which alone the range of moun- 
tainous hills between the two armies could be passed by 
wagons and artillery ; Tullahoma, about fifteen miles to 
the southeast of Shelby ville, was the depot of supplies for 
the Confederate Army in Middle Tennessee. Shelbyville 
lies almost due south of Murfreesboro and perhaps twenty- 
five or twenty-eight miles distant. From Columbia, lying 
about thirty miles west of Shelbj'ville to McMinnville, 
perhaps thirty-five miles east of his headquarters, Bragg 
had a chain of troops, cavah^ and infantry and guerrillas, 
amply sufficient, one would think, to guard against all 
danger of a surprise from an army moving from Mur- 
freesboro to attack him, and not strong enough to scatter 
itself with any safetj' over the country. 

Passing south, and especially southeast from Mur- 
freesboro the country grows more and more rough and 
hilly till the Cumberland Mountains are encountered at 
the cornering of Georgia and Alabama near Bridgeport 
in the northeastern part of the latter State ; and this 
was the route the Army of the Cumberland had to take. 

An old soldier can readily see what all this involves; 
the dragging of supply and ammunition teams for an 
army of between sixty and seventy thousand men, to say 
nothing of artillery, over rough country roads scarcely 
more than blazed, through forests and rocky defiles, up 
and down hills so large that they scarcely escape proper 
classification as mountains. Add to these difficulties, 
great enough in themselves, the further embarrassment 
of a heavy and steadily downpouriug rain, to soften fields 
and roads and to make the clay hills slippery as soap, 
and some idea may be gained by even those who are 
unaccustomed to war, of the magnitude of the undertaking 
that lay before General Kosecrans. For during the nine 
days consumed in the Tullahoma campaign proper, it 
rained constantly; till the soldiers of the Army of the 
Cumberland, remembering how it rained during the 
Stone River campaign began to complain that they were 
growing web-footed; which was something not required 
by the articles of war, and to which they had not pledged 
themselves when they enlisted. 



god's war. 227 

With flanks so widely extended to deal with, it was of 
course out of the question to undertake to go around 
them, while the front was so well protected by earthworks 
that it would have been folly to have assaulted them and 
the two corps which held them, and be exposed at the 
same time to the operations of the outlying troops who 
could be easily concentrated from the two far stretching 
wings and hurled upon the rear of the assailants. 
General Rosecrans therefore decided to throw his army 
in a body as compact as might be possible upon a point 
to the right, or west of Shelby ville, with the purpose to 
break the line and if Bragg should wait for him, of at- 
tacking Shelbyville from the south. The three corps of 
the army, Thomas' (the Fourteenth), McCook's (the 
Twentieth), and Crittenden's (the Twenty-first) were put 
in motion toward Bragg 's right, on the 23d of June, 
while Granger's reserve corps (the Fourth) made a feint 
on the left; and the cavalry under Stanley were set at it 
to amuse Bragg's troops all along the extent of his front, 
so as to keep them from conspiring together in numbers 
too formidable at any single point on the long line. 

The weather was extremely warm, usually, during the 
daytime — with that peculiarly sticky, sultry quality to 
the atmosphere so exasperating when men are at hard 
work or in a great hurry — while at night it was too cool 
for comfort, especially when wet green wood refused to 
do much more than smoke the eyes till they grew both 
red and raw. 

Perhaps not much of the details of the "Tullahoma 
campaign" need to be given, and it will be sufficient to 
say that in five days Bragg had been driven from Shelby- 
ville and in four days more from Tullahoma as well, and 
that Eosecrans had conquered the country clear up to the 
gates of Chattanooga with a loss of only five hundred and 
eighty men; while Bragg lost nearly two thousand who 
were taken prisoners, eight field pieces, and three rifled 
siege guns, to say nothing of material left behind in his 
hasty and undignified and inglorious retreat. Of the 
numbers of his killed and wounded we have no account. 

It was an encounter between some of Stanley's Union 
cavalry and Wheeler's Confederates, that awakened Tom's 



228 god's war. 

sleeping senses and gave hina the key to the riddle that 
had seemed to puzzle him so long. And a very pretty- 
fight it was, too, especially when seen from a safe distance, 
for it was stubbornly and gallantly maintained on both 
sides. 

Ethel was dismayed when Tom turned to her with his 
flashing eyes and shouted out so strangely the solution 
to his haunting enigma; but she mentally braced herself 
for what might follow. Never before had Tom given the 
slightest indication by word or gesture that he remem- 
bered anything of the occurrences of that awful night on 
the battlefield. Now that he had recalled this much, 
where would his remembrances stop? "Would it all come 
back to him? "Would he see her as she was and then de- 
spise and spurn her? Unquestionably he would drive 
her from him if he ever came to understand her properly. 

She never before felt so keenly and bitterly the piti- 
fulness of her position. 

She was flattered arid courted by men wherever she 
went, but loved purely and truly by none. She played 
her part with her victims and tools within the Union lines, 
but she knew that among them all she had inspired no 
noble passion ; Miles Bancroft was mad with an unhal- 
lowed, feverish, devilish love for her; he would give his 
life as he had given his soul for her; but of all men on 
the face of the earth she loathed him the most; and never 
so much as when with wheedling caresses she stole from 
him the secrets of the camp she was set to watch. 

Among the Confederates she met with flattery and 
praise and sometimes a forced attempt at gallant badin- 
age; here she reigned in one sense a queen, because no 
one else could do the work with such marvellous speed 
and accuracy and safety as she could ; but men looked 
upon her as being what she actually was — a spy — and 
their admiration never got beyond admiration ; they as- 
signed to the one who was willing to do such work such 
qualities as would forever forbid the thought of anything 
more; one may admire the colors and graceful coils and 
horrible, supple strength of a serpent, but without the 
slightest inclination to cultivate an intimacy with the 
monster. 



god's war. 229 

The woman had a side the world never saw. She knew 
as no one else did why she, beautiful and accomplished 
and naturally amiable and affectionate and of noble im- 
pulses, had chosen to perform the work in which she was 
engaged. She knew that day by day the gnawing worm 
burrowed deeper and deeper into her heart and gave 
her no peace, although she smiled and was gay and deb- 
onair, or timid and helpless, or bold and splendid, 
daring or trustful, as her business required. She knew 
that though she was filled with a hungry longing for the 
best that the world and humanity could ever give to her 
starving soul, it would never come to her; that at the 
best it would never come to stay. 

When Tom fell into her net, she knew that she was a 
fool to dream the happy dreams that his coming awakened ; 
but for her life she could not help it. At first she was 
only amused; she encouraged him more by way of a re- 
laxation and a recreation than anything else; she knew 
that, as a captain in an infantry regiment he would never 
be of any use to her in her business; captains having 
charge of companies, in a large army, are seldom bur- 
dened with weighty secrets of the commanding general's 
plans; but he was so brave, so bold, so straightforward 
and honest in his boyish enthusiasm, and so unconscious 
of the wonderful attractiveness of his fresh, simple 
manhood, that she could not but admire him; and when 
he poured out his passion headlong, crowning her, in 
his ignorance and trustfulness with all that charms in a 
Iiure and guileless maiden, she was touched and grieved; 
and her grief led her to wish that she was what he thought 
she was, and the willful love for the boy that soon came 
to her made her play the part — made her try to deceive 
even herself — till her own passion got beyond her control. 

She had meant to break with him, quietly but deci- 
sively some day — after she had indulged herself for a 
little, brief moment in the clear, bracing atmosphere of a 
pure love, as she never could hope to do again — but the 
selfishness of her passion strengthened as she dallied 
with her contemplated duty, and she soon found herself 
bound in chains. 

Why should she not have at least one blessing in her 



230 GOD*S WAR. 

life of acrid bitterness? "Why should there not be at 
least one human being upon whom her caresses should 
not fall like an accursed, burning, withering blight? 

She asked herself these questions when, after his re- 
covery seemed to be assured, she found that he was 
changed and had lost his former life. She cultivated a 
hope that he would remain so, unjust and hard as such a 
hope might appear; and that when quiet came again she 
might go with him away from all danger of detection, 
and live an honest life with him, such as would be pos- 
sible only so long as he remained so nearb' a fool. 

It was hard that he should not love her — and it was 
clear that his power to do that had gone with his other 
missing faculties; but he would continue to respect her 
— he was al\va3's too kind and thoughtful to ask her any 
questions — and he might remain thus. 

Tom had told her in Nashville so much of his life as 
satisfied her that she would be wronging no one but him 
if she thus carried him off; there was no mother nor sister 
nor sweetheart to grieve over his absence and die from 
the mystery of his disappearance. 

And now, was all this castle she had so carefully and 
fearfully reared to fall and crumble to nothing at the 
sound of the guns bellowing so viciously below there? 
She suffered from the agony of her apprehensions for 
only a moment however. 

The boy showed no surprise at the scene below. It 
was as if he was used to look on something of the sort 
every day ; but he was interested ; he watched eagerly 
and with the eye of an expert; "No, no!" he would say. 
"You're wrong — don't you see? Push for the right 
flank — he can't get away then! Take j^our guns around 
there to the left — why, confound the fellow, he doesn't 
know any more about war than a last year's bird's nest!" 

His elevated position gave him the advantage of a full 
view of the whole field; and strangely enough all his 
sympathies were in favor of the Confederates! Was this 
explained by the fact that he still wore the gray uniform 
in which Ethel had caused him to be clothed when she 
took him off the field? 

"What is it?" she asked. 



GOD'S WAR. 231 

"Why, the fellow will let them all get away! He 
doesn't know how to fight! I must go and show him!" 

"No, no!" she cried. 

But it was too late ; leaping lightly to a swinging grape- 
vine which trailed over a corner of the rock, he let him- 
self down rapidly, hand over hand, while she, above, 
watched him, giddily. He was as quick as a monkey 
and she marvelled and rejoiced at his skill ; till suddenly 
he missed his hold, grasped at the empty air and then 
whirling, fell heavily on the rocks below. 



232 GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER XXIL 

THE SUPERIORITY OF HINDSIGHT OVER FORESIGHT. 

Hindsight wins a thousand victories where foresight 
barely manages, by hook or by crook, to achieve one. 
This is a hard but a true saying. 

So that it is perfectly easy, my friend, for you and me, 
sitting here with our pipes and at our ease, shouldering 
our crutches and showing how fields were lost and won, 
to go further and show how fields that were lost, might 
have been won if the foresight of the unfortunate com- 
mander had been equal to our hindsight; if he had only 
known then as much about the condition of things as we 
do now, conning over reports and growing wise over 
maps; if he had weighed as accurately then as we do 
now the efifect of feinting and charging and shifting of 
troops, as well as the purposes and intuitions of the 
enemj'. Volumes might be written and doubtless have 
been written showing the value of ex post facto wisdom. 

Still, it is probably true that it can be shown that bat- 
tles have been lost through the fault of commanders; and 
that the weakness of generals, of one sort or another, has 
contributed to bring disaster upon nations and peoples; 
and it is the misfortune of the weakling that when he has 
made his mistake he must take his punishment for it as 
if it had been a crime. This law is unquestionably a 
cruel one, but it may not be evaded. It is in human 
nature and is modeled upon a higher one, as we are 
taught. 

The Great Maker sends a human being into the world 
so illy prepared to meet its trials and temptations that it 
is inevitable that he shall err; and for every error there 
is provided an inexorable punishment. This goes to the 



god's war. 233 

utmost extreme; for the human being may be sent into 
the world with such faults and tendencies that it is 
bej^oud peradveuture that he shall commit the unpar- 
donable sin ; whereupon it is provided by divine com- 
mand that he shall be forever damned and tormented 
throughout all eternity. 

But this puzzling thing has nothing to do with this 
story. 

There is this difference between the two; that whereas 
the Great Maker has it in His power to create His human 
being with such strength, so perfectly, that he will not 
and cannot err, just as easily as to make him so weak 
that it is foreordained that he must err, on the other 
hand we mortals have no power in constructing men's 
souls and minds and hearts, and therefore have no re- 
sponsibility for them; while at the same time we have 
ample verge and scope, in our knowledge of these inevit- 
able imperfections in each other, to be charitable, one 
toward the other. And if we are taught the divine law 
aright, and understand it properly, it does seem that the 
human law is the kindlier, and that in administering it, 
we are more charitable — since for offenses of this sort 
our punishment is not extreme though it ma}' be hard 
and unjust. The divine law adjures us to be charitable; 
and I am free to confess that I think we are entitled to 
more credit than we give ourselves — for obeying that 
injunction, in some measure at least. 

But there can be no doubt but that General Rosecrans 
must accept the responsibility of having fought a battle 
at Chickamauga which was one of the bloodiest in the 
history of wars, and seemed productive of no good re- 
sults, when he might have avoided it, perhaps altogether, 
or at all events might have managed it to fight his battle, 
if a battle was inevitable after having flanked Bragg out 
of Chattanooga, on better terms and under circumstances 
which would have made it less bloody and more decisive 
of good results. 

There are two theories as to why he fought this battle, 
which will be considered further on. 

At the close of the Tullahoma campaign, Rosecrans 
established his army in the country between McMinnville 



234 GOD'S WAR. 

on the north, Winchester on the west, and Stevenson and 
Bridgeport in the south, a line about sixty miles long 
from north to south, deflected a few miles to the west to 
touch Winchester. Bragg, having been flanked out of 
Shelbyville and Tullahoma with such neatness and dis- 
patch as was fairly laughable, brought up at Chattanooga 
with his army intact, and set himself down in that 
stronghold made more secure by earthworks and in- 
trenchments, and like a boy with a chip on his shouldei-, 
"dared" his enemy "to do it again." And, as it fre- 
quently occurs to boj^s or men who become thus foolishly 
insincere (for he didn't want him to do it agaiu, any 
more than the boy wants the chip knocked off again), 
Eosecrans went incontinently to work and did do it again. 

The misfortune was that having done it again, the 
Union commander was not content to let well enough 
alone. It sometimes happens that, the fellow having 
knocked the chip off of the other fellow's shoulder upon 
repeated and clearly insincere invitations thereto, grows 
more obtrusive than has been demanded or requested of 
him, and, proceeding to take further liberties, gets wal- 
lopped, and has nobody to thank for his pains but him- 
self. He is fortunate, or the community is, if he takes 
all the punishment in his own person. The general who 
gets into this sort of a fix, however, seldom suffers as 
much as the country does. 

Of course it was not only because Bragg tauntingly 
"dared" him that Eosecrans drove him out of Chat- 
tanooga; there were the most imperative reasons why 
that city should be in the possession of the Union forces. 

To secure it would be to gain a great advantage and to 
hasten the work of putting down the rebellion. It was 
in the fulfillment of a high and patriotic duty that Eose- 
crans sounded the onset. 

Chattanooga lies at the foot of a valley flanked on the 
east by a chain of bold hills known as Missionarj-- Eidge, 
and on the west by a monarch among hills, known as 
Lookout Mountain. Owing to the course of the river 
(the Tennessee) at this point, however, the valley makes up 
from Lookout, leaving the northern extremity of that 
mountain some three miles to the south of the citj', the 



GOD*S WAR. 235 

river forming the western boundary as it does the 
northern and a small part of the southern. From the 
northeast and northwest, Chattanooga is the natural 
gateway, set among towering mountains, to the great cot- 
ton belt of the South — the richest portion of that country'. 
At the time of which I write, railroads centered there 
which, with their connecting lines, formed communica- 
tion with the north, east, west, south, southeast, north- 
east, southwest and northwest. From a military point 
of view it was of more importance than any other city 
still in the hands of the Confederates, save Kichmond 
alone. 

Eosecrans had a choice as to how he should approach 
Chattanooga. Going east and north he might cross the 
river above the city and thus get into the valley ; or he 
might go south, crossing the stream forty miles below the 
place, and approach it from the south after having made 
a very long and circuitous march. Adopting the first 
plan, he would have to march over the Cumberland 
Mountains, and then cross Walden's Eidge, a formidable 
range running along the west bank of the river. Eeaching 
the point at which he desired to cross the stream his pas- 
sage would doubtless be hotly contested; having suc- 
ceeded, however, in getting across (which he might or 
might not be able to do, after all), he would find him- 
self confronted by an army nearly as large as his own in 
an intrenched camp with its lines of communication in 
good shape, while he would have to rely upon wagon 
transportation over two mountain ranges for his supplies; 
and then he would have reasonable assurance that ^by 
the time he had got fairly to work making fruitless and 
costly assaults upon the enemy's strong works, Buckner's 
Corps would come down from East Tennessee and jump 
on his back. 

A troublesome thing about war is that you can't always 
make your enemy conform his actions to your plan of 
operations so as to insure your own success; and you are 
compelled to act upon the supposition that instead of as- 
sisting to further your wishes he will be apt to do pre- 
cisely what you don't want him to do, and to leave un- 
done those things which you would like to have him to 



236 god's war. 

do, because there is no health in him so far as you are 
concerned. The man who goes to war with an impression 
the reverse of this will get left; if it is proper to drop 
into the vernacular just here. 

Adopting the second plan, Eosecrans would have to 
push his army over the Cumberland Mountains, cross the 
river near Stevenson, and then push again over Sand (or 
Eaccoon) and Lookout Mountains. These twins stretch 
their huge proportions (each twenty-two hundred fee'i 
above tidewater and from thirty to fifty miles long) in a 
southwesterlj' direction from Chattanooga, the former 
being, as I have said, about three miles from that city, 
and the latter perhaps five miles farther to the west, but 
both, on the north, pushing their noses so near to the 
river as to leave barely room for the railroad from the 
west to creep around on the banks. Once over these 
obstructions, however, Rosecrans could strike Bragg 's 
communications with the soutli and effectually cut off 
his supplies, leaving him no resource, as he could not go 
into East Tennessee because Burnside there commanded 
a Union army of no mean size. 

At best it was a choice of difficulties, involving, which- 
ever way ho might go, hazards and obstacles not to be 
lightly thought of. This was made doubly impressive 
by the fact that he was advancing unsupported, or 
practically without support, into a part of the enemy's 
country where it would be easy to concentrate a great 
army against him. Speaking generally, his line would 
face the east. On the south not a bluecoat could be 
found short of the coast, hundreds of miles distant; on 
the north was Burnside, but with Buckner in his front 
and giving him all the work he could do with the force 
at his command. At best he would have to plunge boldly 
into the enemy's country, cutting loose from his base and 
putting it away from him behind almost impassable 
mountains and a broad, deep, swift stream. 

All these things Rosecrans saw, and laying them before 
the authorities at Washington, begged for them to order 
some diversion somewhere to at least keep the whole Con- 
federate Army from i)Ouring in upon him, if they would 
not give him support on his flanks. But the authorities 



god's war. 237 

at Washington, sittingin a high conclave of bureau gen- 
erals — fellows who write books to tell j'ou how to build 
forts but don't know how to take them, and other wise 
men who reduce the whole art and science of war to three 
volumes, but never to practice — these ardent patriots in 
utter and inexcusable and willful ignorance of perils and 
hazards involved while they refused the assistance so ur- 
gently implored, spent thousands of dollars of government 
money in exhorting an already willing soldier to go 
forth to more than doubtful battle. If there had been 
fighting anywhere east or west it would have been some 
relief; but the wiseacres would fire no shot, nor even 
blow a horn, except to urge Rosecrans on. 

At last, after six or eight weeks of stupendous exer- 
tions, Kosecrans got ready to move; and as history 
shows, he took the southern route, which, if it seemed the 
more laborious, was by far the wiser choice. 

A stratagem is an artifice and an artifice is a deceitful 
thing. Artifices are used in maneuvering an arm3' in the 
face of the enemy, in trading horses, and in carrying on 
commercial enterprises. The soldier who excels in 
strategy is a great general; and the man who thus excels 
in civil life makes the most money. From which it does 
not by any means follow that the successful horse trader 
would make a great soldier. There is in this an argument 
going to show that we may do evil that good may come 
of it; but it has nothing to do with the storj-; being 
merely a remark en 2^a^sant for the benefit of whom it 
may concern. 

Of course, if Bragg had known that Rosecrans intended 
to scatter his army for fifteen or twenty miles up and 
down Sand and Lookout Mountains he would have 
gathered his warriors together and, posting them advan- 
tageously, would have fallen upon the Union forces with 
the view to annihilate them in detail; which benevolent 
intention would have been rather easy of execution under 
the circumstances. In order to deceive Bragg, therefore, 
Eosecrans sent a large part of Crittenden's Corps with 
ample cavalry, to prance up and down on the west side 
of the Tennessee Eiver, above and below Chattanooga, 
and opposite that city, with much shouting of captains 



238 GOD*S WAR. 

and neighing of horses and the occasional firing of great 
guns, as if the very devil were to pay, without defalca- 
tion and notice waived. And General Bragg was de- 
ceived thereby, as he ought not to have been; and, with 
his men in gray, he braced himself and held his breath 
to resist an attack from the thin line of uproarious fel- 
lows just across the river. 

For, while it is tolerably safe, in war, to assume that 
your enemy is not about to do that which he seems to be 
about to do, but on the contrary is proceeding at the 
very moment to do something else and quite different, 
yet it is perplexing at times to be sure as to the thing; 
and the wear and tear on a man's mind under such cir- 
cumstances is something prodigious. This makes it 
clear why it is that the man who loves his ease and safety 
and the solid and liquid comforts of life, and to sleep 
well in his bed o' nights, is not ambitious for a warrior's 
life, and when got into it does not make the best soldier. 

So that, to make a long story short, while Bragg's eyes 
were bulging out at the fellows across the river, and he 
was spitting on his hands in order that he might fight 
the better when the time should come, Rosecrans had put 
the bulk of his army across the river and the mountains 
and was dashing eastward for Dalton and Lafayette, and 
even south toward Eome, to cut off Bragg's communi- 
cations. 

A few of the Union troops crossed on the partially 
burned railroad bridge at Bridgeport, so soon as it could" 
be put in tolerable repair; others crossed at Shellmound 
in boats which they gathered up here and there along 
the river; at the mouth of Battle Creek, the resolute fel- 
lows constructed rafts and piled guns and ammunition 
thereon, which, swimming, they pushed across; but the 
pontoon bridge south of Stevenson, at Caperton's Ferry 
gave passage to the bulk of the army. 

On crossing, McCook was sent with his corps twenty- 
five miles south, through Will's Valley, between Sand (or 
Raccoon) and Lookout Mountains, traversing the entire 
length of the latter; Thomas was pushed with his corps 
across the mountains to a point in McLemore's Cove, six 
miles west of Lafayette, and confronting Dug Gap, in 



GOD'S WAR. 239 

the Pigeon Mountains; while that part of Crittenden's 
Corps which was not devoting itself to the entertainment 
of Bragg in the neighborhood of Chattanooga, followed 
the line of the railroad up to the base of Lookout over- 
looking the city. 

The movement of the Army of the Cumberland was be- 
gun properly on the 1st of September; on the 8th the 
troops had been disposed as I have described, and on the 
7th Bragg realized that he had been outwitted and that 
his real danger lay behind him ; for on the night of the 
8th it was discovered that he had evacuated Chattanooga, 
and the next morning Crittenden marched in and took 
possession. 

This is, perhaps, not the only instance in which one 
man has gotten ahead of another by simply getting be-> 
hind him. It is questionable whether, in human experi-> 
ence, this has ever at any time been a paradox, although 
it sounds like one. 

But here it was that Rosecrans lost his head, as com- 
pletely through this easy success by which Chattanooga 
fell into his hands as he did eleven days later when dis- 
aster to his right wing sent him, demoralized, back to 
Chattanooga from the lield of Chickamauga, to prepare 
to retreat across the Tennessee Eiver without waiting to 
properly inform himself as to the true condition of 
affairs or to make a proper effort to rally his troops. 

He started out from Stevenson to take Chattanooga, 
and by a most brilliant strategy had taken the place with 
scarcely the loss of a man or the burning of a cartridge. 

Bragg had whipped out of Chattanooga as expeditiously 
as he had vacated Shelby ville and Tullahoma, or MurfreeS' 
boro after Miller's charge across Stone Eiver, on the 2(> 
of January. The town fell into Crittenden's hands with- 
out the firing of a gun. 

McCook's corps was a good two or an easy three days' 
march from Chattanooga; Thomas' could have reached 
the town in twenty hours; Crittenden's and Gordon 
Granger's (the reserve corps) were in and around the 
town, and Bragg was at Lafayette, thirty miles away from 
it, confronted by Thomas. A day and a night — even less 
time — would have brought McCook up to Thomas, and 



240 god's war. 

another day and night would have massed the whole army 
in the fortifications around the town, which Bragg had 
been at such pains to construct. 

Why, then, did not Rosecrans at once enter the town, 
make himself secure and set about perfecting his line of 
communication (the railroad) to Bridgeport and Steven- 
son, his base of supplies? — the two towns are so near to- 
gether that they may be lumped as one so far as this pur- 
pose is concerned. General Thomas urged Rosecrans to 
do this. The objective was gained, and it certainly 
seemed madness itself to think of going still further 
south, stretching the long line of communication to still 
greater attenuation, through a country so rough and 
mountainous that it might properly be called impassable 
and so poor that it would not afford subsistence and 
forage for his army for a day, even if it had not been 
swept over and drained of its supplies by Bragg. 

There was another thing that ought to have struck 
Rosecrans with great force; and that was that while his 
three great corps were separated widely, his enemy had 
adroitly slipped down to a point opposite the center of 
the line of the Army of the Cumberland, where he lay 
with his whole army in hand, six miles from Thomas and 
fifteen from McCook, in shape to strike the former and 
crush him before McCook could come up to his assistance 
and in ample time to turn and rend the latter also. But 
so far was Rosecrans from seeing this, if he has not been 
wvongb'iudged, that instead of uniting his great divisions 
he kept McCook in his dangerous isolation while he was 
urging Thomas to rush into the swarming hosts of the 
enemy at Lafayette, and crowned all by bringing Crit- 
tenden down from Chattanooga to a point within ten 
miles of Bragg, but at least fifteen from Thomas and thirty 
from McCook, as if to multipl.y the chances in favor of 
his enemy. 

Meantime Bragg had been reinforced by fifteen thou- 
sand troops from Mississippi under Johnston, and by 
Buckner from East Tennessee with at least ten thousand 
more. 

The fact is that Rosecrans had jumped to the conclusion 
that Bragg had become panic-stricken and was running 



GOD'S WAR. 241 

away from him, pellmell. He therefore gave instant 
orders for pursuit, and in this -view, it is fair to say, he 
was sustained by the -wiseacres at Washington, who not 
only telegraphed him frequently to proceed with his 
campaign, as if he had nothing to do but to pursue 
Bragg, and need not concern himself at all about Chatta- 
nooga or the line over which his supplies must come, 
but pooh-poohed his apprehensions that troops would be 
sent from Virginia to reinforce his enemy; even going to 
the length of dispatching him an idle rumor that, on the 
contrary, Bragg was reinforcing Lee! "Were they satiri- 
cal, or simply idiotic? 

There is much, however, to be said in extenuation of 
the mistake made by Rosecrans at Chickamauga. He 
ought not to be blamed too severely because his remark- 
able success at Shelbyville and TuUahoma, crowned by 
the new triumph by which Chattanooga fell into his 
hands, had elated him so much that he became over- 
sanguine. It takes a stronger head to withstand a tre- 
mendous run of prosperity, than it does to keep steady 
before adversity. Especially is this so if the lucky man 
thinks and has reason to think that his prosperity is in 
large measure due to the exercise of his own sagacity. 
If Eosecrans got the notion into his head that Bragg had 
grown to be afraid of him and would never attempt to 
stand up against him, we can look upon the fact with 
some charity, however much we may blame him. 

But there is another reason why Eosecrans is entitled 
to liberal allowance in this matter; and that lies in the 
fact that he was bothered and worried and annoyed, as 
was nearly everj^ general who ever had a so-called in- 
dependent command in the field, by the intermeddling 
of the old grannies at Washington who assumed, with the 
impudence of charlatanism, that they, at the capital city 
many hundreds of miles away and with no information 
save that which they got from the commanders them- 
selves and from the wonderfully imperfect maps of the 
day (only equalled for bewildering and misleading 
qualities by the war-maps that have since been published 
in war histories), could judge better than the man in the 
field and dealing with the facts, when and how he ought 



242 god's war. 

to move his troops and where he ought to force his enemy 
to join issue of battle. It is perfectly easy with a map 
before us to cross a mountain range in the mere lifting 
of an eyelash, and to traverse a hundred miles of plain 
with a twirl of the thumb-nail ; but to the general in the 
field at the head of a large army and confronted by a 
wily opponent also equipped with a large and well-armed 
force, the crossing of a mountain range with horse, foot, 
and artillery, trains filled with supplies and equipage, 
ammunition wagons, ambulances, and hospital stores is 
not done Avith a "he.v presto!" nor do you force your way 
through the hostile plain with the speed of thought by 
any sort of prestidigitatorial jugglery. 

Which suggests, that while we are measuring up the 
generals of the late war, we should not forget this truth ; 
and that we should go deliberately enough about it to 
recall the real obstacles that they had to contend with. 

So, these Washington people, all save the president 
himself, who was great enough to know that he did not 
know everything, in the intervals of airing their grandeur 
on foaming steeds and roaring at headquarters' orderlies 
and attending receptions and blufling newspaper reporters, 
and sacrificing themselves at champagne suppers and 
foreign legation balls, had found time to telegraph all 
manner of orders to Eosecrans about what he ought to 
do, till unquestionably the matter of dealing with them 
was a great deal more vexatious to him than was the 
question presented by the hostile force in his front. 

During the time that the Army of the Cumberland lay 
at Murfreesboro, before it moved on to Shelbyville, the 
distinguished person who was then general-in-chief, hav- 
ing been taken to Washington and elevated to that high 
place, because it is fair to presume he had clearly demon- 
strated that he was good-for-nothing in the field, sent 
his telegrams urging and commanding the forward move- 
ment of the army so frequently, and at last in terms so 
insulting, that Eosecrans, brave and patriotic as he was, 
and willing to bear almost everything for the sake of his 
country, very properly lost all patience and curtly re- 
plied, having exhausted all polite and courteous forms of ex- 
postulation that "if the general-in-chief thought the Army 



god's war. 243 

of the Cumberland ought to move at once he had better 
come out to Murfreesboro and move it himself!" 

This experience was repeated at Stevenson; from the 
moment that Tullahoma fell and before the long line of 
railroad could be patched up so as to get supplies down 
to the new base, Washington began a running fire of tele- 
grams demanding an immediate advance, and culminat- 
ing early in August in the following : 

"Washington, August 5, 1863. 
"The orders for the advance of your army, and that its 
progress be reported daily, are peremptory." 

This was signed by the then general-in-chief who un- 
fortunately is now dead and escaped from the punish- 
ment he deserved for his extra-officious zeal to do some- 
thing for the salary he was getting; which amounted to 
nothing more useful than the embarrassment of the 
generals in the field who were doiug their best. 

Under the sting of this sort of a lash is it any wonder 
when Eosecrans got started, even imperfectly prepared 
as he was, that he should jump clear through his collar? 

We have seen that his movement was fairly begun on 
the 1st of September; and yet, with that delay, he had 
only been able to collect supplies enough to last his army 
for twenty-five days. 

On the 11th of September, at the moment that Bragg, 
reinforced by Buckner and Johnston, had with his entire 
army surrounded Thomas in McLemore's Cove, the Wash- 
ington authorities telegraphed Eosecrans : 

"After holding the mountain passes on the west, and 
Dalton or some other point on the railroad, to prevent 
the return of Bi-agg's army, it will be decided whether 
your army shall move further into Georgia and Alabama. 
It is reported by deserters that a portion of Bragg 's 
army is reinforcing Lee. It is important that the truth 
of this should be ascertained as early as possible." 

Certainly ! 

And having finished this dispatch it is fair to presume 



244 god's war. 

that this long-range warrior joined his brave civilian 
confrere in the next room; and that the two together 
then refreshed their noble souls by brow-beating and 
bullying a wounded soldier who wanted an extension of his 
leave of absence, or a weeping woman who wanted per- 
mission to visit a hospital to nurse her dyiug husband. 

Thank Heaven, there were no such fellows among the 
fighting men at the front! 

Between the lines the dispatch said: "You see; it is 
as we told you it would be! There are so few Confed- 
erates before you and they are so cowardly, that all you 
have to do is to beat your drums and they will run like 
sheep! What few there are, are coming East. Never 
mind about the future! After you have carried out pres- 
ent iustructious we will find a new parade ground for 
you to play at war in!" 

When Buckner and Johnston joined Bragg the Confed- 
erate Army in Northern Georgia was as large as the Union 
Army under Rosecrans. The latter was scattered over a 
line forty miles long, each corps isolated; while the 
former was united and compact opposite the center of the 
Union line. It seems impossible that Eosecrans should 
have been blind to the terrible significance of the situa- 
tion. He knew what that situation was on the night of 
the 9th or the morning of the 10th, and yet we find him 
taking no positive steps to concentrate his army till the 
12th. Was he really blind to that significance, or in- 
sanely determined not to acknowledge his mistake, but 
to risk all that threatened him? 

All that Bragg had to do was to remember how Napoleon 
had taught the world to fight, and to throw his whole 
army first upon Thomas till he had crushed him, and 
then turn at his leisure upon McCook fifteen miles away 
or Crittenden, who would be then at about the same dis- 
tance. He could upon this plan have wiped the Army of 
the Cumberland out of existence with but little effort 
and without the slightest danger of failure, and have put 
such an aspect upon the politics of North America as 
would have filled the heart of the hater of free institu- 
tions with joy. 

And when, on the 9th of September, Thomas' Corps, 



GOD'S WAR. 245 

led by Negley's division, debouched into McLemore's 
Cove, he showed that he was not blind to his great op- 
portunity. He tried to crush Thomas, but the skill of 
that commander, and the inexplicable dilatoriness of 
some of the rebel generals, alone averted that disaster. 



246 GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

CAUTIOUS BLUNDERING. 

Neqley's division crossed Lookout Mountain at 
Stevens' Gap, about fifteen or twenty miles south of 
Chattanooga, on the 9th, the daj' that Crittenden entered 
the city. Baird's division a day later followed Negley's. 
Under previous orders these divisions pushed due east 
with Lafayette, perhaps ten miles distant, as their objec- 
tive, where they were to take Bragg in the flank and with 
Crittenden to fall upon his rear, and destroy him. Mc- 
Cook, twenty miles further south, at or near Alpine, was 
to hold himself in readiness to meet the enemy should he 
escape Crittenden and Thomas. 

After advancing about four miles against sharp but not 
formidable opposition, Negley found his further progress 
barred by impediments in Dug Gap, through which he 
must pass to get to Lafayette. Trees had been felled so 
as to make the Gap impassable; and a light force of Con- 
federates was sufficient to hold him at bay. During the 
night Bragg gave orders to send a large force out to cap- 
ture or annihilate Negley; the obstructions in Dug Gap 
and Catlett's Gap, a little further to the north, were re- 
moved, and on the morning of the 10th the rebel troops 
poured through these passes, covering Negley's front 
and swinging around on his flanks. At 8 o'clock on 
the 10th Baird joined Negley, forming on the left of the 
latter. A misunderstanding among Bragg 's generals oc- 
casioned a delay by which the day was spent without im- 
portant results, although the Confederate commander had 
ordered an immediate attack. Postponing, therefore, 
his movement till the nest day, he ordered up fresh troops 
to insure success, and when day broke on the 11th Neg- 



god's war. 247 

ley and Baird were surrounded front, right, and left by 
thirty thousand Confederate troops eager for the fray and 
under orders to begin it at once. Fortunately these two 
commaudars realized their danger before the enemy 
gained their rear, and a retreat, masterlyand in every way 
admirable, brought them with their trains and supplies 
back to the mountain by dark. Here during the night 
they were joined by Thomas himself with his two re- 
maining divisions, and the corps was put into such strong 
defensive position that the enemy gave up the enterprise 
and turned to seek an easier conquest. 

On the morning of the 10th General Negley caused in- 
formation to be sent to General Kosecrans showing that 
he had met the enemy in force; the same day Crittenden's 
advance moving south from Chattanooga was met and 
successfully resisted by Bragg 's troops near Lee and 
Gordon's mills, twelve miles from the point in the cove 
where Thomas' advance lay. In every direction from 
which Lafayette was approached Bragg showed his teeth 
and held his pursuers at bay. Notwithstanding this, 
Kosecrans issued orders during the night of the 10th to 
Crittenden, directing him to leave a brigade to reconnoiter 
toward Lee and Gordon's mills, while with the rest of his 
corps he should march on to Kinggold, a point at least 
twenty miles east of north of Lafayette and about the 
same distance from Thomas and fully fifty miles from 
McCook! 

He still believed that Bragg was in full retreat, and at 
10 o'clock of the night of the 10th he ordered Thomas to 
"open direct communication with McCook at once," and 
added: "It is important to know whether he (the enemy) 
retreats on Rome or Cedar Bluff." Twice during that 
night he urged upon Thomas the importance of his push- 
ing on to attack the enemy at Lafayette; that is, to move 
with his one corps unsupported and in air, straight into 
the heart of Bragg's great army, outnumbering him three 
to one! At 9:45 p.m. he says: "He (the general com- 
manding) is disappointed to learn that his (Negley's) 
forces move to-morrow morning instead of having moved 
this morning as they should have done, this delay im- 
perilling both extremes of the army. 



j>48 god's war. 

"Your movement on Lafayette should be made with the 
utmost promptness. 

"Your advance ought to have threatened Lafayette 
yesterday evening." 

At 10 P.M. he says: "Much depends upon the prompti- 
tude of your movements." 

But Thomas was not to be pushed into the rash adven- 
ture, for he knew the perils before him and could not 
imagine Bragg such a fool as not to try to take advantage 
of the fatuity which kept the Union forces so widely sep- 
arated. It was another case where Thomas was chided 
for "delay" when he was simply saving the whole army 
by his wise deliberation. 

On the 11th Eosecrans either gets some glimmering of 
the true state of affairs or else at last wins his own con- 
sent to the admission that Bragg is, after all, not such a 
poltroon as to ruu away with an army of between fifty 
and sixty thousand men, well in hand, from an equal 
number of men widely scattered from Chattanooga and 
Einggold to Alpine. He orders Crittenden to come in 
toward Gordon's mills that night; but even so late as 
11:15 A.M. the next day (the 12th), he writes to Thomas 
that "Crittenden was probably at Gordon's mills by 10 
o'clock to-day;" then he adds that he "is induced to 
think that General Negley withdrew more through pru- 
dence than compulsion" the night before, from a force of 
thirty thousand who had surrounded him and Baird in 
front of Dag Gap! He concludes his dispatch by saying 
that Crittenden's Corps "will attack the enemy as soon as 
it can be gotten in position. When a battle does begin, 
it is desirable that every command should do its best, 
and push hard, using the bayonet wherever possible." 

And the order which is to bring up McCook, who is 
lying forty-two miles from Chattanooga (where the 
above dispatch is dated), sending out reconnoitering 
parties toward Rome, is not to go for some hours yet! 

The blundering of Bragg and his generals had so far 
operated in favor of Eosecrans, and backed by Thomas' 
resolute refusal to enter the trap at Dug Gap, indisputably 
was the salvation of the Army of the Cumberland up to 
that time. 



god's war. 249 

And still there was time to save it, and avert a battle 
on ground of the enemy's choice under most disadvan- 
tageous circumstances, with a broken-up railroad and 
forty miles of mountains between the army and its base 
of supplies, and with only six or eight days' rations in the 
wagons and the men's haversacks. As General Thomas 
pointed out, there was still time to reach the intrench- 
ments at Chattanooga. But while Rosecrans refused to 
think of such a thing, he did begin to realize his danger; 
for, as he states in his official report, it then became ap- 
parent to him that it was "a matter of life and death to 
effect the concentration of the army." 

The night of the 11th found McCook still at Alpine, 
his orders not permitting him to move till Bragg's routed 
army should come within his reach ; Thomas twenty 
miles north of McCook still formed, with Lookout Moun- 
tain to protect his rear, faciug Bragg's whole army, while 
Crittenden with the bulk of his corps was at Einggold, 
twenty miles northeast of the Fourteenth Corps (Thomas' 
command), pushing for Dalton, some of his troops having 
already advanced fifteen miles at least in a southeasterly 
direction from Einggold, every step carrying them just 
that much further away from their comrades on the west. 
If Crittenden had been permitted to pioceed, and there 
was nothing so far in his orders to prevent, he would in 
eight hours' time have left the rest of the Union Army 
fully three da3's' march to the westward, with Bragg's 
army between him and them. He had passed Bragg's 
right flank and was actually marching away from both 
armies. 

But Crittenden's order to return reached him during 
the night of the 11th; by which time Bragg had con- 
cluded that to attack Thomas in his strong position would 
have involved only a useless loss of life and ammunition, 
so well had Thomas chosen his ground and posted his 
troops for defense. 

Foiled here, the rebel general turned to assail Crit- 
tenden, as nest to whipping Thomas, being the best 
thing to do; and, simultaneously, in obedience to the 
orders he had received, Crittenden started down from 
Kinggold on the 12th to meet him. For while Crit- 



250 GOD'S WAR. 

tenden was withdrawing from Kinggold, Bragc was put- 
ting his army in motion to wipe him off the earth. He 
ordered Polk with his corps, supported by Buckner's 
Corps, to this duty; but for some unexplained reason the 
orders failed of execution and by the 13th Crittenden had 
returned to his place near Lee and Gordon's mills and 
within supporting distance of Thomas. 

Even then Bragg might have whipped Crittenden; but 
he made no move; he sat him down along the Chicka- 
mauga, having concentrated his forces, and went into the 
business of "threatening the enemy in front," as he 
states in his official report. And he pursued this indus- 
try with such remarkable assiduity for the next five or 
six days that Eosecraus was enabled to reunite the Arm3' 
of the Cumberland; and it was only after Eosecrans had 
succeeded in doing this that it seemed to occur to Bragg 
all at once that he might profitably go out of the "threat- 
ening" line and try something else for a change. 
Whether the knowledge that Longstreet was coming with 
a corps to reinforce him had anj'thing to do with this 
swift resolution is not clear; but it probably had. 

Bj' the morning of the 14th, McCook had gotten two 
of his divisions en route to support Thomas, his order to 
do so having been received the night before. Thomas 
remained in McLemore's Cove till the 17th, moving up 
each day slowly and cautiously nearer and nearer to Crit- 
tenden, till on the evening of the 18th his head of column 
reached Crawfish Springs, a mile or two from Lee and 
Gordon's mills. McCook hy this time had reached Mc- 
Lemore's Cove, and was following Thomas up, within 
close supporting distance. 

During the 18th it was discovered that Bragg had be- 
gun to move his army along the east bank of the Chicka- 
mauga (the Union army being on the west bank) north- 
ward, and that unless something was done he would 
speedily be on Crittenden's flank and get possession of 
the roads communicating with Chattanooga. To meet 
this, Thomas, on reaching Crawfish Springs, was sent on; 
and making a night march he reached Kelley's farm, the 
scene of the first day's battle, by daylight of the 19th. 
His corps thus became the left wing of Eosecraus' army. 



god's war. 351 

Of all the unlucky generals that ever were heard of in 
history Bragg seems to have been the most unfortunate iu 
the matter of not having his orders carried out, or indeed 
executed at all. The rule seemed to be reversed with his 
subordinates, and they evidently looked upon an order 
from him as chiefly of value because the thing which it 
indicated was the thing which they were not to do. 
Whatever they might do, they were clearly not to do 
what he ordered. The cheerful alacrity with which they 
flew to disregard his orders, repeated for two days, to 
attack Thomas in McLemore's Cove, was admirable. 
And in failing to obey him they gave Thomas time to 
take a position where he could have whipped them during 
a week's fighting. So at Chickamauga; Bragg first 
ordered Polk and Buckner (on the 12th) to crush Crit- 
tenden, which they might have easily done, but which 
they calmly proceeded not to do. If he had not ordered 
it, or had told them not to attack Crittenden, the chances 
are that they would have wiped the Twenty-first Corps 
from off the face of the earth. Then again on the 17th 
he ordered an attack on Crittenden to be made on the 
following day. In accordance with precedents the order 
was not obej'ed, and Thomas and McCook were given 
time, and just enough time, to close up; and then 
Bragg was confronted by a very weary army ; but as 
savage and ugly as only a tired army can be, aud conse- 
quently not the best army in the world to engage, as he 
found, on the 19th. If Bragg's orders — any one of them 
above referred to — had been executed, the Army of the 
Cumberland would have been annihilated, or brought so 
near to complete destruction that it could never have 
survived. The same result would have been attained if, 
instead of "threatening," Bragg had proceeded to engage 
Crittenden any time between the 13th and the 18th ; al- 
though Thomas' careful and skillful advances day by day, 
lessened his chances of success, while they were not 
completely destroyed till McCook came up. 

If Rosecraus had chosen, he could have moved on into 
Chattanooga with his whole force on the night of the 
18th, with a very slight loss. The roads were open to 
him and the enemy was handling him as gingerly as a 



'»53 hod's war. 

>voraan does a horse. But for the ILirLl time be refused 
to evade the conflict. Whatever may have been his mis- 
takes and his weaknesses, it can never be said of him that 
he was unwilling to ticht, under any circunistunces; nor 
can it be alleged of him that he ever failed in patriotic 
ardor. 

During tlio 17th, Hood, leading the advance of Long- 
street's (Jorps with three brigades, reported for duty to 
Bragg, and was sent the following day to join Buckner's 
Corps, Cheatham's division and Walker's Corps on the 
west bank of the stream, where daylight on the 19th 
found them fronting Thomas and Crittenden, with 
strongly posted lines. 



god's war. ' 263 



PART IV. 
His Instruments. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE NINETEENTH OF SEPTEMBEK, 1863. 

But if Bragg 's subordinates had been slow up to the 
morning of the 19th, that eventful Saturdaj' found them 
quick and alert to obey orders, with perhaps the solitary 
exception of General Polk, who could not have moved 
more ponderously or with more sedate deliberation if he 
had been proceeding against a free-thinking and recalci- 
trant priest in his diocese in the important matter of a 
violation of ecclesiastical law, regulating the color of his 
stole or the length or shape of his surplice. 

But the Army of the Cumberland had benefited by the 
last but one of Bragg's misfortunes and blunders. 

Thomas had but fairly placed his troops in position at 
daylight on Saturday, when, ignorant of the force in 
front of him on the west bank of the stream and having 
reason to believe that an isolated brigade on the east side 
of the stream and cut off from retreat by the burning of 
Eeed's bridge the evening before by Colonel McCook, 
comprised all of the enemy's force in that immediate 
vicinity, he sent Brannan with two brigades to capture 
the intruders, and — that settled it. 

It was like poking a stick into a hornet's nest, only u 
great deal more so. 

The two brigades went boldly forward, and in the 



354 ' god's war. 

striking of a match were furiousb' engaged ; others were 
sent to their support and found their hands full of hot 
work without delay; and then, like a flash of lightning 
falling upon a towering tree, came a swift and heavy mass 
of men square upon our left flank, breaking and crum- 
bling it to pieces, and pushing on ferociously and trium- 
phantly southward till, by dint of throwing divisions 
after brigades into the breach the onset was first stayed, 
and then beaten back. Gueuther's (Union) battery was 
lost and recaptured in a few minutes' of time. 

The truth is that Bragg was as much surprised as 
Thomas. He had expected to find the Union left some- 
where in the vicinity of Lee and Gordon's mills, but he 
struck it at least three miles north of that point. He 
essayed the same tactics he had used so successfully at 
Stone River on Wednesday-, but he found the army at 
Chickamauga much better prepared for him; and right 
there score one for Eosecrans. There was good general- 
ship in his disposition of his army on Saturday morning. 

The ground on which this encounter took place was 
densely wooded, with but few cleared fields interspersed 
here and there, and they were small — mere patches. 
Divisions aligned upon each other fought for hours with- 
out being able to see each other or to judge, save by 
sound, what was going on to the right or left. Nobody 
knew intelligently what was happening, except Thomas, 
sitting there on his horse, quietly stroking his closely 
clipped beard and occasionally biting his nails. 

But it was enough that he saw, since he knew as no 
man ever knew better, just what to do in such an emer- 
gency. If his pulse beat any faster because of this sur- 
prise neither his face nor his voice betrayed him ; he 
drew up fresh divisions from the right, one after the 
other, and put them in where they could do the most good, 
whipped his enemy and was calm and imperturbable. 

Thus, constantly extending his left as fresh troops 
came up, he crushed first Walker's Corps and then pul- 
verized Cheatham's five brigades sent from the reserve 
by Bragg to stem tbe tide of reverse. 

Crittenden presently opened up on the right and the 
fighting became general all along the line. When the 
battle first opened Thomas and Crittenden were not 



god's war. 255 

joined, and the fact was sou'.clit to be taken advantage of 
by the enemy, who hurled a heavy force upon the weak 
point, and for a time it seemed that this movement 
would be sucuesst'ul — but, drawing hist from the right of 
his own line and then from McCook, who, hearing the 
hring, was pressing up rapidly, Crittenden made good 
to hold his own against tremendous odds. 

And this was the history of the day; monotonous 
enough in the telling, but filled with spendid, valorous 
deeds on both sides. Only once was the steady draft 
from the right to the left interfered with; and that was 
when some of Crittenden's men were overpowered by an 
unusually fierce and heavy onslaught, when Thomas 
withdrew Brannan and sent him, like an eddy against the 
current, to retrieve the damage, which he did, and then 
the fighting went on as before. 

After nightfall Thomas readjusted his line, posting it 
more strongly; apprehending in the morning a fresh at- 
tack upon his flank. In making this readjustment he 
was again attacked and stubbornly engaged by Cleburn, 
the roar of the guns rising up among the hills like 
crashing peals of thunder, the burning powder weaving 
long lines of quivering flame in the velvet blackness of 
the glooming trees. 

Further south Bragg tried to cross the stream at several 
points; but McCook's men were there, too surly and 
prompt to be trifled with. 

The day thus ended with a defeat for Bragg. He had 
thrown himself with ponderous weight upon an enemy 
resolute and vigorous and implacable; and with the 
evening came the summing up, which showed nothing 
but the miscarriage of every move he had made and the 
loss of many brave men. 

But he took courage and braced himself for the mor- 
row's struggle; for he had not been routed even if he 
had suffered some, and he gained new strength with the 
accession of Longstreet with the remainder of his corps, 
before midnight. 

And while the two armies lay within easy calling diy- 
tunce of each other in the darkness of the chilly night, 
])reathing softly and moving noiselessly ; while the living 



356 god's war. 

cast up tb« uncertain reckoning of the morrow — 
for there was nothing certain about it all save its pallid 
uncertainties — while the dead lay in grotesque and hor- 
rible shapes and the wounded filled the dim vaults of the 
forest with their groans and sighs and imprecations and 
beseeching wails for water, the two commanders looked 
over the board, set their pieces anew, and planned the 
coming game. 

Bragg divided his army into two wings, Polk to com- 
mand the right and attack at daybreak; Longstreet to 
direct the left and to wait for the sound of Polk's guns 
when he, too, was to attack; and the whole line was to 
wheel to the left with Longstreet's left as the pivot; so 
that Eosecrans should be driven with each step, further 
and further away from Chattanooga and his base of sup- 
plies, and deeper and deeper into the heart of a hostile, 
inhospitable, and barren country. 



god's war. 257 



CHAPTER XXV. 

THE TWENTIETH OF SEPTEMBER, 1863. 

During the night of the 19th, Thomas retired his com- 
mand (the left wing) some distance to the rear, giving 
it a position much stronger than the one darkness found 
it occupying, while he brought his divisions together 
into a closer and more compact line. The exigencies of 
the battle of the 19th put him in command of Johnson's 
division belonging to McCook's Corps and Palmer's divis- 
ion of Crittenden's Corps, in addition to which he had 
Baird's, Eeynolds' and Brannan's divisions of his own 
corps; while one of his divisions, Negley's, had fallen 
temporarily under the command of McCook, on the right. 
Nothing illustrates more completely the extremity of the 
emergency brought about by Bragg 's heavy and deter- 
mined attack upon the left of Rosecrans' line on the 19th 
than this mixing up of troops from the three corps, to 
meet it. Eosecrans had his hands full in directing rein- 
forcements to Thomas, and Thomas accepted everything 
that could be sent him, and, utilizing it, fought a heavy 
and bloody battle all day long, on a line varying from 
two to three miles in length. 

It has been well described as a battle of charges and 
counter-charges. 

Eosecrans on Saturday, from his post of observation at 
the Widow Glen's house — a point in the rear of the 
center of his line on the morning of the 19th, or a little 
to the left of the center, but in the rear of the center of 
the right wing in the evening — had before him a line of 
battle six or seven miles long, to watch. 

I have often wondered whether civilians — and I have 
heard many of them talk learnedly of the fighting of 



258 god's war. 

armies — can ever realize what it is to direct the move- 
nients of sixty or seventy ov a bimdred thousand men 
engaged in fierce battle? Just think of it for a moment, 
and take Chickamauga as an illustration. In bis front 
and for a short distance to bis right and left Rosecraus, 
as he stood in the shade of a clump of trees in the Widow 
Glen's dooryard, could see bis troops surging to and fro, 
breaking and rallying, charging and retiring, in the 
thick woods and through the few open fields, beneath a 
cloud of smoke hovering low and white; and those whom 
he could thus see covered a part of his line which could 
not have been more than half a mile in extent. Miles 
away on his left a steady roaring told of heavy fighting; 
miles to his right an occasional outburst of wicked 
clangor gave indication of what might be a tremendous 
attack by the enemy there, while between these two ex- 
tremes the rattling of small arms and the booming of 
great guns and volleys of cheers testified of warm work 
all along the line. The face of the country- was broken, 
abounding in high bills, rounding off in knob shapes, 
rising into peaks or stretching out in ragged, oblong 
massiveness; deep ravines, sometimes almost chasms, and 
little strips of tilled fields comparatively level, alternated ; 
and over all, save the bare fields, of course, sprang a 
dense growth of heavy forest trees with more or less un- 
derbrush. And stationed right in the middle of this, 
Rosecrans, as the commanding general, thus helpless and 
blind, was supposed to be responsible for everything that 
happened; upon hasty and brief communications from 
bis subordinate commanders it was his business to keep 
in his mind's e^'e a picture of the whole field, and to 
issue orders which were supreme and beyond question or 
cavil, and if in his painful groping he made a mistake, as 
it would seem be could not well help doing, be would be 
held to rigid account and subjected to a censure so stern 
and unsparing that death itself would be almost pref- 
erable. 

Thomas advised, at the council of war held by Rose- 
crans with his corps commanders at the Widow Glen's 
bouse Saturday night, that the entire army should be 
concentrated on the group of bills lying about a mile and a 



GOD'S WAR. 259 

half north of Lee and Gordon's mills, and through which 
the Lafayette road leading to the gap at Rossville ran, and 
which went trending south and west to the Dry Valley 
road leading to McFarland's Gap, with the reserve posted 
in the center of the rear upon the eastern slopes of the 
spurs and foothills of Missionary Kidge. This group of 
hills afterward became known as the "Horseshoe Eidge. " 
Through the gaps in Missionary Ridge at Rossville and 
McFarland's lay the only roads to Chattanooga. The im- 
portance of defending them, as would have been possible 
if General Thomas' advice had been taken, is readily 
apparent. It was Rosecrans' business to hold them so that 
he could pass his army safely through the mountains to 
Chattanooga, while it was important to Bragg that they 
should be cut otf so that he might be enabled to annihi- 
late the Union forces. There is no question but that, if 
the army had been concentrated and placed upon this 
ridge which offered one of the strongest natural positions 
to be imagined, the result of Sunday's fighting would 
have been very different. But Rosecrans had established 
his field hospitals so far south as Crawfish Springs, and 
for this reason and perhaps other and stronger ones, he 
preferred to cover more territory than he would have 
done had he followed Thomas' advice. He made so much 
concession to Thomas, however, that he permitted that 
commander to put the bulk of his left and center (i.e., 
the left and center of the left wing), very nearly on that 
part of the ridge which they would have occupied had 
Thomas' plan been fully carried out; but he threw the 
right (McCook) away off toward the south, whereby his 
line was weakened in proportion as it was extended. 

Polk, commanding Bragg's right, was ordered on Sat- 
urday night to attack on Sunday at daybreak, but for 
some reason not clearly apparent unless it is true that he 
slept too late, he failed to open tire till 8 :30 on that 
morning. 

At 6 o'clock A.M. on the 20th, General Thomas notified 
Rosecrans that he had discovered a movement of tho 
enemy to his left, toward the Rossville (Lafayette) road, 
and asked that his remaining division, (Negley's,) be sent 
to strengthen his flank, As the attack of the enemy 



260 GOD S WAR. 

would come from the north, he proposed to place Negley 
facing toward that direction aud almost at right angles 
with Baird, the next division on the right, facing east; 
at the same time he intended to place Xegley's three bat- 
teries on the eastern slope of Missionary Ridge, so that 
their lire would enfilade Bragg's advancing column. 
Rosecrans at once ordered Negley to be sent from his 
place on the right, to Thomas, but for reasons not cred- 
itable to the parties concerned, chiefly negligence, only 
one brigade of the division, John Beatty's, obeyed the 
order, and with the exception of the Twenty-first Ohio of 
Sirwell's brigade the other two brigades did not reach 
that part of the field till long after the threatened attack 
had been repulsed ; and when in point of fact they were 
worse needed on the right. 

Beatty reached Thomas in time, but his one brigade 
made but a weak line in the space where Thomas had in- 
tended to put three such organizations. However, he did 
the best he could by way of getting Beatty into position, 
and then, like a wise man, pondered acutely while he 
waited for developments. 

Our troops had made such breastworks during the night 
of Saturday as the means at hand would admit of. It 
was a heavily wooded country, but fallen timber and 
logs for such purposes were by no means plenty; there 
were very few fences even. But with such rails and 
stones and limbs of trees as they could lay hands on, 
the soldiers built breastworks; in some cases these 
structures were fairly presentable, but in most they were 
of but very little value indeed — frequently, for miles, 
not more than a foot high. 

Bragg waited till long after daylight for his bishop- 
general to fall to at the Christian work of slaying his 
fellow-creatures, but the welcome sound of firing on the 
right was not heard. The good preacher-man had found 
a soft bed somewhere on the east side of the Chicka- 
mauga, it is said, and was evidently enjoying its com- 
forts. That is, I suppose he was; no other explanation 
has ever been gi 'en of his proluu'jced absence from the field 
that morning. 

He may have been praying to the Almighty to bless 



god's war. 261 

and strengthen that day the arms and hearts of the army 
to which he belouged, to the end that the soldiers thereof 
might kill and maim their fellow-men to His glory and 
honor, and to the overthrow of His adversaries, world 
without end. 

At all events this was the custom of the godly men in 
both armies, during those days; and within a mile of 
the Confederate communing confidentially with the Lord 
as to how He might best give His aid to the cause which 
He held dear, might have been seen the Union man like- 
wise beseeching the loving All-Father to make the hills 
red with the blood of the rebels and fill the air with the 
groans of agony wrung from their maimed and torn 
bodies, also to the end that His glory and dominion and 
power and wisdom and truth and justice, and above all 
His tender mercy and loving kindness, might be shown 
to all peoples dwelling upon the earth. 

Each of these persons, disregarding the consideration 
of the stronger battalions, knew, in his fervent piety, 
that the Lord was on his side, and that his enemies were 
the Lord's enemies. And without doubt each felt when 
he rose refreshed from his devotions and girded up his 
loins and went forth to murder his fellow-man, that he 
was doing God's service; and if perchance one of them 
fell, his soul flew to its eternal home through lips parted 
with the proud, ineffable smile of the martyr, who re- 
joices that he has been permitted to die that God's pur- 
poses might be established, and shed his life-blood that 
with it might be cemented the stately walls of His king- 
dom. 

And yet neither of these men was insane. 

At 8 :30 the enemy advanced under cover of a cloud of 
skirmishers upon our left, and reaching the proper dis- 
tance they fell with fury upon Beatty, breaking and 
driving him, and upon Baird, next to the right, where 
they were repulsed bj' a terrific fire from behind the 
breastworks, against which they could not stand. Rap- 
idly following, Johnson, Palmer, and Reynolds, on Baird 's 
right, were attacked, the enemy rushing in heavy masses 
upon the Union line, again and again, with a persistence 
that seemed almost hellish ; but calmly and promptly oux* 



262 GOD'S WAR. 

men met and overthrew them, sending them back, actu- 
ally reeling- from the force of their repulse, with dreadful 
slaughter. On the extreme left, followiup: up Beatty's 
slowly relreating aud stubbornly fighting men, the Con- 
federates crossed the Lafayette road and penetrated to 
the rear of Bnird's division. Here they prepared with 
Breckinridge's Corps to assault from the rear, when 
Thomas gathering here and there a regiment from John- 
son, a part of Stanley's brigade of Negley's division, 
one or two regiments of which by this time had arrived, 
with Vanderveer's brigade and Beatty's broken and 
scattered but plucky men, made such an onslaught upon 
the enemy that he drove him, fl.ying for his life, around 
Baird's left, back to the front again. 

For two hours Bragg pounded away at Rosecrans' left 
and center; bringing up fresh troops — and he seemed to 
have an unlimited supply — as fast as his assaulting col- 
umns were broken and demoralized, and showing the 
utmost determination to make a breach at this point in our 
lines. But it was without avail. Thomas was there; 
and that knowledge made each man in his line a heroic 
warrior and an immovable rock. 

Meantime Longstreet had grown impatient, over on 
the rebel left, and at about 10 :30 he moved forward to 
battle. He states that he assaulted in brigade formation, 
five brigades deep, massed, at half-distance, and that so 
soon as one brigade became demoralized another took its 
place, and so on.* Hood led this assault with his accus- 
tomed valor and dash, and it certainly was heavy and 
fierce enough to have taken a fort; and that it broke a 
thin line of unprotected men two ranks deep is not to be 
wondered at. The men on the right, as formed in the 
morning, had no protection of any sort to speak of. 

As the assault grew heavj' and hot on the left, Eose- 
craus became convinced that Bragg was simply renewing 
his attempt of the previous day to turn his left; he ac- 
cordingly sent troops from his right over to Thomas, as 
rapidly as he could withdraw them and form new lines. 



* Interview with Colonel Frank A. Burr, published April, 1883, 
in the Cincinnati Enquirer. 



god's war. 2r»3 

At 10:10 A.M. be wrote to McCook to "make immediate 
disposition8 to withdraw the right, so as to spare as 
much force as possible to reinforce Thomas. The left 
must be held at all hazards, even if the right is drawn 
wholly back to the present left." 

The right was weak and weakly posted, before a man 
had been sent to Thomas; it was not long till so many of 
McCook 's men were withdrawn that that general was left 
with a command comprising only three brigades. In 
this emergency Crittenden's Corps, two divisions, in re- 
serve on the eastern slope of Missionary Eidge, was called 
upon to strengthen McCook. Brannan's division lay 
somewhat in the rear of McCook 's left, also in reserve, to 
the right of Reynolds, Thomas' right flank. 

At about the time that Crittenden's reserves were 
moving forward to take places in McCook 's line, General 
Wood, on Brannan's right, was ordered to close up on 
Reynold's right. The order was given because, Bran- 
nan's division being in echelon it was supposed to be out 
of the line, and that therefore it was necessary that 
Wood should touch Reynold's right to close up the gap. 
In literal obedience to this order. Wood moved his divi- 
sion by the left flank to the rear of Brannan, proceeding 
toward Reynolds, just as he (Wood) was coming under 
fire from Longstreet's advance. Into the gap thus left, 
and which Davis (Jeff. C.) hastened to try, but in vain, 
to fill with a brigade, poured six divisions of the rebel 
army. 

A child seeing this situation would not need to be told 
what ensued; and to describe how each brigade and regi- 
ment and division was met and crushed by the Confeder- 
ates in this part of the field would serve only to bewilder 
the reader, and perhaps drive him to one of the current 
maps of the battlefield of Chickamauga for enlighten- 
ment, whereupon may Heaven help him ! He will save 
time to order a strait-jacket before he looks at the thing! 

It is sufficient to say that the right was swept away, 
carrying with it off the field Crittenden's reserves; that 
Brannan fell back to a commanding hill a part of "Horse- 
shoe Ridge," afterward known to the rebels as "Battery 
Hill," where he took position on the right of Thomas' 



2G4 GOD'S WAR. 

line; that in turn some one ordered the Twenty-first 
Ohio to the hill on Brannan's right, and that here, with 
twenty thousand men posted on the "Horseshoe Ridge," 
where he wanted tn put all of Eosecraus' array the night 
before, George H. Thomas, the "Kock of Chickamauga, " 
confronted Bragg's howling and exultant legions and 
calmly bade thein detiance, and, as the day wore on, 
resolutely whipped them, time and again, for four 
hours; until even Longstreet with his twenty-three 
thousand men pitted against the right of a line which 
altogether held only twenty thousand, was fain to call 
upon Bragg for reinforcements. 

Begining at 11:30 o'clock in the morning when first 
placed in position, the Twenty-first Ohio held the 
right of the line till after 3 o'clock in the afternoon. At 
about 3 o'clock, the rebels sent a strong force (Hindman's 
division) upon the hill and in the ravine to the right of 
the Twenty-first, with the purpose of turning that flank 
and getting into the rear of Thomas' army — for with 
the disaster to the right wing Rosecrans, McCook, and 
Crittenden, believing that the day was lost, had retired 
to Chattanooga, leaving Thomas to hold alone the fate 
or fortune of the army in his own hands. The Twenty- 
first, perceiving this movement, swung its right wing 
backward, like a gate upon a hinge, the colors being the 
hinge, till it faced the enemy engaged in the flanking 
movement. Thus facing it poured into the advancing 
columns a terrific fire from its revolving rifles, and for 
some moments checked their advance. But the check 
would have been temporary and of little avail, and Thomas 
and his men would have been crushed and captured 
if help had not come from an unexpected source. 

Now it is true that sometimes the most insignificant 
things, appareutb' done in the steadj' and unthinking 
way of routine, are of the utmost importance after all, 
and productive of results of great magnitude. Especially 
is this true of battles; and the true history of a great 
battle can never be written until all the details are known 
80 that the real importance of minor movements in their 
bearing upon the ultimate result can be appreciated. 

And while there are very few, perhaps, of the survivors 



god's war. 265 

of the Twenty-first who will be able to recall, out of the 
number of maneuvers of that regiment on Sunday at 
Ohickauiauga. the fact that at about 3 o'clock in the 
afternoon the right wing of the regiment swung back as 
has been said, like a gate, so as to confront the enemy 
who had got footing on the hill to the right and rear of 
the regiment, and thus checked the advance of the rebels 
and held them for some minutes till Steedman's men in 
their immortal charge drove them back ; yet it is true 
that the movement was made. No especial significance 
was given to it at the time, nor for a long time afterward 
when it came to be understood. Out of the numberless 
shiftings of the line of the regiment, to meet the exi- 
gencies of the struggle during the day, this one deserves 
to have a place by itself; because there can be no doubt 
but that it proved to be the salvation of the Army of the 
Cumberland on that field, just as much as Steedman's 
charge. 

General Gordon Granger, commanding the Fourth 
Corps, lay with his men posted in and about Eossville 
Gap, two or two and a half miles distant. Between 2 and 
3 o'clock of Sunday afternoon, hearing the continuous 
roar of the conflict and knowing that more than half of the 
army had been swept from the field, he judged that by 
advancing he might at least help the brave men caged 
and fighting there, out of a deadly peril. He therefore 
gave General James B. Steedmau charge of two brig- 
ades, commanded respectively by General Walter C. 
Whittaker and Colonel (afterward General) John G. 
Mitchell, who started with them to the front. Arriving 
there and reporting to Thomas, he was found to have come 
opportunely, and he was ordered to charge Lougstreet's 
flanking columns. This he did with such splendor of 
dash and courage as sent the rebels flying back over the 
hills to their old lines. Steedman then formed on the 
right of the Twenty-first, but with a long interval of at 
least an eighth of a mile between his left and the right 
of that regiment. In this interval was a deep ravine — 
one of those so deep and abrupt that it fairly deserved to 
be called a canyon or a chasm. And in this position 
Steedman fought, during the rest of the day. 



266 GOD'S WAR. 

Till dark, the story was the same; the rebels swept up 
ingreatmassesof fiery, impetuous valor; the Union troops 
met them with a cool, steadfast courage which knew no 
thought of yielding; it was not until darkness began to 
settle down that the rebels seemed to weary in their 
strenuous endeavors. Before this the Union troops had 
exhausted their ammunition, even to that found on the 
bodies of the killed and wounded, and had settled down 
grimly and stubbornly to hold their position with the 
bayonet. At last they crept off the field, from a foe so 
badly injured that he scarcely raised a hand to molest 
them ; and in the darkness of the night they silentlj- 
plodded their way to the gaps at Rossville and Mc- 
Farland's; and daylight found them, reunited, the 
awful gaps in their ranks closed up, with keen and steady 
eyes peering from beneath knit and lowering brows, alert 
and courageous, waiting and watching for a renewal 
of the assault the enemy had so reluctantly abandoned 
the night before. 



god's war. 267 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

COURAGE, THEN AND NOW. 

The quality of courage as displayed ou the battlefield 
Las changed since the days of "chivalry" as much, I am 
Iiersuaded, as the manner of making war and fighting 
battles. At first blush it would seem in the old times 
when men fought chiefly at arm's length and hacked each 
other with keen swords and battered each other's brains 
out with great clubs stuck full of spikes, and gayly ran 
each other through the midriff with long spears, that 
despite the armor then worn bj' all fighting men the 
degree of courage requisite to sustain one in such en- 
counters must have been much greater than is that de- 
manded in these later days to enable a man to face an 
enemy a mile or half a mile off, popping away at him 
with a rifle. But I think that this is a mistake. The 
courage required in the olden times was very different 
and I think of a lower order; more like brute courage as 
distinguished from moral courage. In a hand to hand 
encounter a man is prettj' apt to be brave in proportion 
as he has confidence in his own skill, and strength and 
weight and powers of endurance. Xone of these things 
will suffice to protect a man from the leaden pellet 
which, flying unseen, and until it has passed, unheard, 
searches out its victim and buries itself in the body 
before a warning of its approach has been had. 

I have known men who would face a mob and whip a 
half a dozen men in a boiit at fisticuffs who were the 
veriest cowards when bullets began to patter around 
them; and it seems to me that their courage was of the 
same sort that was chiefly in vogue in the good old days 
when all the danger a man should meet in battle was 
plainly before his eyes. 



268 god's war. 

The bullet is like the assassin who lurks unseen to stab 
or crush his victim ; and the bravest man threatened by 
the assassin may well admit that he trembles at heart 
thinking of his danger. Bullets are blind assassins, 
merciless and resistless. You may iiot hope to protect 
yourself against them. Though you have the strength of 
a Goliath and the nimble skill and quickness of a David 
you cannot escape nor secure yourself from the ball 
which has taken the line to your heart. So that a n:iau 
in a modern battle is like one who walks amid thousands 
of unseen assassins. 



god's war. 269 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



A BEGIMENT AT CHICKAMACGA. 



The Twenty-first Ohio broke camp at Cave Springs, 
Alabama, on the evening of September 1st, for the twentj-- 
two days campaign of marching and countermarching 
over mountain ranges and deep rivers and through fruit- 
ful valleys in a region where, at that time of the year the 
days are hot and drj' and the roads dusty, and a dew 
like a rain falls at night, making it uncomfortably cold 
without a fire. The campaign comprised (in addition to 
small skirmishing scarcely worthy of record as being 
dwarfed out of sight by the greater events that marked 
the time) the affair at Dug Gap which was thrilling 
because of the narrow escape from a disaster which 
would have been without remedy, and the great battle 
on the banks of the deep, dark, sluggish, narrow stream 
whose name has become immortal. 

During the afternoon of the 1st, the division was 
drawn up in line to witness a punishment novel to the 
men, inflicted upon two scoundrels, who had strayed 
from camp, entered a widow's house, and after compelling 
her to cook them a meal had stolen everything of value 
she had upon the premises. Their offense became known 
and they were promptly tried by court-martial, found 
guilty, and sentenced to have their heads shaved and to 
be paraded in irons before the entire division, then to be 
put at hard, menial labor with a ball and chain garnish- 
ment. 

The day w^as bright and the men in fine humor. They 
were especially jubilant at the punishment of the repro- 
bates who had brought disgrace upon all by their infa- 
mous conduct- When the little party came slowly 



270 god's war. 

marching down the front, however, the guilty men, each 
with the half of his head shaved, escorted by a corporal's 
guard and the drums and fifes playing the "Rogue's 
March," the impression pro<luced was painful in the 
extreme. The men stood absorbed, gazing on the humili- 
ating spectacle, and so remained silent for some moments, 
and only found their tongues as they marched back to 
their now dismantled camp. 

After a time, at last, the natural tendency to look on 
all sides of everything and to dwell especially upon the 
humorous view, asserted itself; and the bivouac re- 
sounded with rude impromptu verses sung to the air 
which most of them had heard that day for the first 
time; as, for example: 

" Poor old soldier; poor old soldier; 
Tarred and feathered and had his head shaved, 
Because he wouldn't soldier ! etc. 

" Poor old soldier; poor old soldier; 
Tarred and feathered and sent to h — 1, 
Because he wouldn't soldier .'" etc. 

The Tennessee was spanned at Caperton's Ferry by a 
pontoon bridge, upon which the regiment, breaking step, 
rapidly crossed by moonlight. 

Then, as they filed up the bluffy bank and took the 
road on the south side of the river, a whistler in Com- 
pany "A" suddenly broke silence with the new air, 
blithe and gay as a robin in spring-time. Instantly the 
point was appreciated and other whistlers joined in, till 
swiftly trailing down the whole line of the regiment the 
"Eogue's March" was shrilling forth from hundreds of 
puckered mouths, while every man, from marching at 
will and carrying his rifle as it pleased him, took step to 
the music, brought his gun to a "right shoulder shift" 
and "dressed to the left." So, for a mile or more per- 
haps, they marched proudly onward as if on review, 
their eyes dancing with the fun of the thing, while their 
officers laughed in sympathj'. 

In an ordinary emergency one would have regarded it 



cod's war. 'HVx- 

Rs a job to be tbongbt twice of, to attempt in those days 
to cross either the Big Raccoon or Lookout Mountain on 
horseback ; and to cross with a four-wheeled vehicle was 
something 3'ou would have preferred to let your neigh- 
bor essay. 

For the most part the road was little more than a bridle- 
path, thickly strewn with bowlders, in size from the 
"nigger-head" up to rocks weighing thousands of 
pounds; the forest growth was almost as thick in the so- 
called road as on either side, while the ascent was very 
steep from the foot to the top of the mountain ; so that, 
even after the men had cleared away the trees and sap- 
lings with axes, and had rolled the huger bowlders aside 
with improvised levers and much pushing of bony shoul- 
ders, and had, with spades and picks, leveled up the 
chasms torn across the trail by fierce mountain torrents — 
even after all this had been done it was beyond the great- 
est resources of the teamster's objurgatory art to compel 
the four mules to pull a loaded wagon more than a few 
feet at a time up the precipitous incline Avithout help. 
And this help was given by hitching a long rope to the 
wagon, to which the men attached themselves, and bend- 
ing their backs with much good-humored and bad- 
bumored shouting and joking and panting and puflSng 
and blowing they brought the wagons, and the artillery 
limbers as well to the top. And while the work done 
by the Twenty -first as to road-making was availed of by 
the regiments that followed, yet the least that each had 
to do was most laborious and painful. 

Among the triumphs of modern warfare certainly de- 
serves to be ranked the performance of the brigade to 
which the Twenty-first belonged in turning a small, rude 
sawmill into a bridge, on this march; and so substantial 
a structure was it that the whole of the Fourteenth 
Corps, horse, foot, and artillery, men and teams, passed 
successfully over it. 

Made up of men of all avocations, there was nothing 
which the Army of the Cumberland could nou do, from 
the production of a Latin thesis or the translation of the 
Iliad down to the building of a bridge on the most scien- 
tific principles or the courageous fighting and winning of 
battles. 



278 GOlVS WAR. 

A man catches bis breath at a sudden and unexpected 
volley, veiy much as he does at his first plunge into a 
river whose water is of lower temperature than his body. 
This was what the Twenty-first did when, moving some- 
what carelessly, in line of battle front, it was first notified 
one day that the passage of Pigeon Gap would be dis- 
puted, hy receiving a rattling, ripping volley from a regi- 
ment of Confederate cavalry dismounted and concealed 
behind a stone fence at the foot of a gentle slope, the top 
of which had just been gained by the regiment. Then 
the men smiled apologetically at each other, and turned 
to cheer their gallant comrades from the left of the brig- 
ade, who, with an impulsive charge, drove the Johnnies 
from their protection and sent them clattering off on 
their horses. 

But the incidents of the affair at Dug Gap have already 
been treated of sufficientlj', and no remark is needed here 
save to record the wonderful confidence of the men in 
General Thomas. During the suspense as to what would 
be the result of the gathering of the Confederates on all 
sides (their motions could easily be followed by the 
clouds of dust which they raised), there were two nights 
when from extreme anxiety no man slept except in cat- 
naps — but when on the morning of the third day the 
■word was passed from mouth to mouth, "There's old 
pap!" they laid down and fell asleep in broad day to 
make up the loss, all uneasiness having been banished at 
once by the sight of George H. Thomas in their midst. 

So we will pasG over the monotonous days between the 
12th and the 19th of September as presenting nothing 
that ought to take up our time, except the patient en- 
durance of the men who knew, or thought they knew 
that so long as "Old Pap" was with them no great harm 
could come to them. And we can see that their faith 
was well placfld when we remember that with any other 
commander Eosecrans would have sent them, to be 
crushed, into the very heart of Bragg's large and daily 
increasing army. 

During nearly all of the 19th the Twenty-first was kept 
away off to the right to guard against an assault from 
that direction. From the point where they lay, on the 



god's war. 273 

brow of a hill above the stream, they could see the dust 
cloud which marked the line of Longstreet's men coming 
to the front, and the steady shiftiii-g of Bragg 's heavy 
forces from his left to his right; and they could hear the 
almost continuous roar of the battle on their left which 
told that Bragg was trying to repeat in the Georgia 
Mountains the success he had achieved among the tangled 
thickets of Middle Tennessee in the previous December. 
But the man who was in command of the Union left at. 
Chickamaugawasnotthe man who commanded the Union 
right at Stone Elver; which fact made a material differ- 
ence in the chances of the battle. 

As the hours wore on the fighting on the left seemed 
to grow more fierce and intense, and toward the last half 
of the afternoon the regiment was moved slowly toward 
the firing. At last it was put to a double-quick which 
was maintained for several miles and until it had reached 
the fighting front proper. Here it was formed in line of 
battle and sent charging across the Lafayette road into a 
body of woods, where it was received with a volley which 
added speed and determination to its onset. The result, 
however, was nothing more than a loss of two men killed 
and three wounded on the part of the regiment; but it is 
believed that the boldness of the movement checked an 
advance of the enemy which might have proved impor- 
tant. 

Here followed a night almost beyond description, so 
dread and awful and uncanny was it. I know that it is 
neither in my ink-bottle nor the sense that guides my 
pen to give readers who have not gone through a similar 
experience any idea of what it was. But it may be that 
the old soldier who reads will fill up the gap from his 
own recollection of such things. 

When the regiment at last halted, and was told that it 
should remain there for the night, darkness had set in. 
Although it was coming on to be bitter cold it was or- 
dered that no fires should be lighted, nor any blankets 
unrolled save the rubber abominations which may have 
l)een impervious to water, but were at the same time no 
more comforting than the smooth side of a tombstone in 
January. The men were ordered to get together what- 



274 GOD'S WAR. 

ever they could to make a protection for themselves, but 
the scarcity of materials and the gloom of the wood pre- 
vented them from constructing anything more than a line 
scarcely more than a foot high, and therefore of no use if 
a man tried to be of any service in loading and firing; 
since every movement would bring some part of his per- 
son above the line of protection. 

And it was not long after they had settled down to 
their uncomfortable and hungry vigil before, through the 
silence in their front, they heard voices, at first lifted in 
giving command, and then falling to a lower and less 
peremptory tone. When they came to understand it, 
they found that the enemy were bivouacked for the night 
so near that a conversation could be carried on between 
the two armies without much raising of the voice. The 
enemy must have made the same discovery at much the 
same time, for instantly shots came singing at every 
head that Avas exposed on the line of the Twenty-first. 
Our men, however, made little or no reply, as they had 
learned not to shoot until they were sure they could hit 
something — which meant somebody. So that they very 
intelligently flattened themselves out as well as they 
could ; and burrowing their noses into the inhospitable 
soil of Georgia, they wisely determined for the time 
being to make as little stir in the world as possible. But 
as there was everything to suggest the possibility of a 
sudden attack upon them they closed neither eye nor ear 
till daybreak. 

As all there knew that a terrible conflict was impend- 
ing which might begin in five minutes and which they 
thought could not possibly be postponed longer than 
daylight (for they had not heard of Bishop Polk's good 
luck in finding a soft bed), and as no man could form a 
better notion as to what the result of that conflict would 
be, so far as he was personally concerned, than to make up 
his mind that the chances were nine out of ten against 
his getting out witii a whole skin, it will be seen that 
there was every reason why they should be filled with 
the most serious thoughts that can ever come to men. 
And, truly, before twenty-four hours had passed, over 
half of their number were either killed, wounded, or 
prisoners. - . 



GOD'S WAR. ^75 

As things settled down for the night and quiet began 
to prevail it was found that they were lying on the con- 
fines of the battlefield of the day, and that between them 
and the enemy lay quite a number of wounded men, 
whose groans and moans and wailing cries for water 
made the hour and the scene only more solemn and sug- 
gestive. 

One wounded man in particular was determined to 
make himself heard, and momentarily grew more clam- 
orous with his shrieks and groans, mingled with bitter 
imprecations upon those who might come to his rescue 
but would not — for he well knew that on either hand 
and clearl.v within earshot lay hundreds if not thousands 
of human beings. His accent plainly proclaimed him a 
Johnnie, and it was naturally supposed that his graj'- 
coated friends would go to minister to him ; but as, time 
going on, it was found that they were for some reason 
not disposed to do so, the men of the Twenty-first de- 
termined to attempt the merciful errand. Taking a 
blanket to serve as a stretcher they cautiously made their 
way to the sufferer, guided by his voice which was now 
continuous in reproach, till at last, spite of the shots 
that were fired at them they brought him safeb' off to the 
rear of their line. 

Here they could not, in the dark and not being able 
to see where his hurts were, do him much good; but 
what they could they did. He had been wounded in 
several places and spite of all they could do they could 
not help hurting him as they moved him about. And he 
was evidently suffering intense pain. But the matter of 
the remarks he had to offer upon things of immediate 
interest was most extraordinary. He talked between 
groaning paroxysms and by agonized jerks, and with the 
most fluent profanitj' : 

"It were good of you all to come out after me — and 

let go of my leg, stranger — you're a-killin' of me! 
"Water, for God's sake! Thank ye! I'll never forgit ye 
for this, Yanks! You've done me a good turn, and I'll 
never forgit ye for it! Oh, my God, I wish I could die! 
I don't see why sich misery don't kill me — it ought to! 
God in heaven, my friend! what do ye mean — don't 



276 god's war. 

tech me, I say! You all got the best of it to-day, but to- 
liiorrow by — there won't be a corp'ral's guard left o' ye! 

Longstreet got hyar to-day,ye shad-bellied and he'll 

whip — out o' ye to-morrow! Water, water, why don't 
ye gimme water?" 

And so on, for a long time he mingled abuse and grati- 
tude and curses and prayers in a mosaic that was hor- 
ribly grotesque. The good fellows around him took no 
offense from his bitter cursing, rather admiring his grit 
and laughing as they understood that while he was no 
whit ungrateful he could not help glorying over the 
defeat he saw in store for them the following day. At 
last they got leave and carried him back to the field hos- 
pital where his wounds were dressed. 

Poor Charlie Allen! the captain of Company "D," who 
had scarcely recovered from the three wounds he had 
received at Stone Kiver nearly a year before, and had 
rejoined the regiment onlj' in time to take part in the 
campaign. Who could Ijlame him that he sat all the 
cold, dark night through, praying that he might not be 
wounded again — that if he were hit at all, the ball should 
put an end to his life? Who could blame him as he 
looked back over the long hours and days that he had 
passed in prolonged pain on the hospital cot, if he 
thought that death itself would be preferable ? 

And as the regiment formed its line under fire the next 
morning the first volley that came sent a ball into the 
poor fellow's body ! And the last glimpse had of him 
showed his face pale and drawn, as, just before his doom 
came, he looked for it with eyes filled with a strained 
apprehension. And for fifteen long, wear3' mouths he 
languished and suffered from that shot, till at last it 
killed him; but not until he had felt all that he had 
feared. 

When the gray light of the morning of the 20th came 
it showed that the enemy had silently withdrawn from 
the front of the Twenty-first, and the men began to have 
some freedom of action. An ominous quiet reigned 
everywhere, and all ears were set to catch the first rum- 
blings of the awful storm which every one knew might 
break forth at any moment. But it was a long wait — till 



GOD'S WAR. 277 

8 : 30 o'clock, when the crash came on the left which 
showed that Bragg was still determined to find his 
victorj' there. 

Then for over two hours the Twenty -first was shifted 
hither and thither on the double-quick, continually fly- 
ing from point to point all over the field and never rest- 
ing anywhere, but constantly bearing to the left. Finally, 
it was turned sharply off toward the right wing, and 
traversing the open end of what was afterward known as 
the "Horseshoe," it took its destined place and began 
its important work. 

As it went nimbly up the hill it was met by Colonel 
Walker, serving temporarily on Brannan's staff, by whom 
it was warmly adjured to "never give up the hill." 
There was no further relaxing of soldierly rigidity among 
the men than a mere twinkle of the eye as they quietly 
replied "All right, colonel;" and as they deployed into 
line they looked down for a brief moment upon the rebels 
who were pouring a hot musketry fire into them; as a 
man takes time to measure his antagonist while he pulls 
off his coat and prepares to pulverize him. Then, the 
line being satisfactorily adjusted, they went to firing 
with disciplined coolness and deadly accuracy till the 
enemy was at last compelled to turn tail. Then they 
took time to look at each other and mop their faces as 
they remarked : 

' ' First knock-down for the Twenty-first ! Beckon there 's 
no water within a thousand miles of this hill!" 

Their rest was not for long; for so soon as they had 
repulsed one brigade, Longstreet sent up another against 
them; and so they fought till 3 o'clock in the afternoon. 

Now just after the battle of Stone Kiver, the authori- 
ties, seeing the good stuff there was in the regiment, had 
thought of making mounted infantry of it; and, as the 
first step, had begun to issue Colt's revolving rifles to the 
men, so that seven of the ten companies were equipped 
with this fonuidable aim at the battle of Chickamauga. 
This rifle was made on the same principle as the Colt's 
revolver, was furnished with a bayonet and could be 
loaded as quickly almost, in all its five chambers, as the 
muzzle-loading Enfield rifles with which the remaining 



278 god's war. 

three companies went into the fight. The result was 
that at first the charging enemy, reaching the proper 
distance and receiving a volley from the regiment, re- 
turned the same and then started on the keen jump satis- 
fied they could reach the blue-coats before they could 
reload; before, however, they had advanced ten paces 
they would get another volley, and while they were pon- 
dering on this circumstance still a third ; then they 
would scarceb^ get their backs turned before the fourth 
would catch them and when on a dead run for home 
base, the fifth came singing among them, they began to 
think that certainly old Satan was in it! 

Once only during the day the regiment moved forward 
slightly, but finding the position not so good it slowly 
returned to the top of the hill, up which the rebels came 
manfully advancing with the regularity of a swinging 
pendulum. In falling back, the guns which had become 
heated and foul from much use, spouted forth fire which 
in time ignited the drj^ leaves and undergrowth, starting 
a blaze of no mean proportions but still not great enough 
to interfere with the fighting. Scattered over the space 
which was thus burning and smoking lay quite a number 
of wounded men belonging to the regiment, and soon 
their cries for relief became almost appalling as the 
agony of beffig roasted was added to the pain they 
suffered from their bleeding wounds. Volunteers rushed 
forward and drew the poor fellows back; but some of 
them were piteously burned, with the white, cooked 
flesh peeling back from their charred finger bones and 
great flakes falling off their cheeks. 

In all their fighting there was only one case that can 
be recalled, where any man in his senses displayed even 
a little bravado or anything like buncombe if indeed he 
did. 

The excitement of battle sometimes drives men insane, 
as it did at least two of the Twenty-first. The first one 
was a fairly good soldier apparently well balanced and 
he certainly was not a coward ; but he had not been under 
fire half an hour before he became a raving maniac. 
There was this method in his madness, however, that he 
neypr ceased to fight : only he ceased to fight intelli- 



god's war. 279 

gently. He ran far out in advance of the regiment and 
taking his position by the side of a tree, loaded and fired 
furiousb', all the time shouting and 3'elling and turning 
to taunt his comrades with vile profanity', calling them 
cowards because they would not come forward to join 
him. Neither coaxing nor threats served to bring him 
back to his place, and at last his madness became such a 
painful exhibition of gibbering apishness that his death 
was a welcome relief; if one may say such a thing. 

Another man had two or three fingers shot off his right 
hand, and he instantly flashed into temporary insanity. 
He cursed and reviled the enemy with the most oppro- 
brious epithets that ever came from man's worst imagina- 
tion, dancing and gyrating almost comically with pain. 
Then he sought a wounded companion who, lying upon 
the ground, could load his rifie for him. Thus aided he 
kept firing and shouting and cursing till the loss of blood 
made him faint; when he was persuaded to go to the 
rear. 

After the fighting had been going on for two or three 
hours, the commander of one of the companies suddenly 
missed one of his men, a great, tall, strong fellow whose 
absence let a great hole for the daylight in his ranks. 
Inquiring and looking around for him, he at last found 
him about ten feet in the rear of the company, lying 
prone on his face, behind a tree. 

"Why, Blank, what is the matter with you?" 

The man raised his face; every spark of reason had fled 
from it; it was pallid and sickening with fear: 

"I'm wounded — I'm wounded," he jabbered. 

"Where?" 

"Right here — right here — right here!" placing his 
finger on his forehead where the skin was not only not 
broken but free from any sort of discoloration or swelling. 

"What do you mean, Blank? You're not wounded! 
How dare yo\i tell me such a lie?" 

"lam! lam! I tell you I am! I tell you I am!" 

"Come, come; I'll have no more of this nonsense! Get 
back to your place — get back, I say! For shame!" 

"But I can't, captain, I can't! I tell you I'm wounded 
—I'm wounded — right here — right here — right heye!" 



280 god's war. 

"Get back to your place," and the officer smote him 
sharply with his sword. "Get back, I say!" 

"Oh, captain, for God's sake, don'tl For God's sake 
don't! I'm wounded!" and the piteous wretch begged 
frantically as the officer slowly drove him back to his 
place. He was unhurt, as sound in body as ever a man 
was; and had demonstrated in more than one hard fight 
the possession of the highest courage. 

"Now get to work, and let me hear no more of your 
absurd notions!" said the captain, as he turned to look 
after the rest of his men. 

His order was obeyed. With a look so full of utter 
despair that it might have broken a heart of stone as he 
gazed toward the enemy the poor fellow got to work, 
loading and firing calmly and effectively and speaking no 
word. 

Ten minutes afterward the captain coming again in 
haste to the head of the company stumbled over a dead 
body. Looking down, his glance met the stony, staring 
gaze of poor Blank! He was dead — shot through the 
heart ! 

But there were perhaps not a half dozen men in the 
entire regiment (and with one exception the Twenty-first 
was the largest regiment in the Army of the Cumberland 
engaged in the battle of Chickamauga) who were not 
thorough masters of themselves. 

The3' were of two sorts, of course, as to courage. 
Some men grow careless of danger from becoming hab- 
ituated to it, and others do not. So, some here, having 
gone through several battles without hurt, had come to 
have a sort of a belief in their luck which made them 
reckless and cool and daring. Others, from being so 
often under fire and each time seeing danger take; new 
forms (for even in the killing and maiming no two battles 
are alike), and from the very fact that they had hitherto 
escaped, argued that their time would certainly come in 
the next engagement, and so went in with that heaviness 
of heart which such an apprehension must always bring. 
And I am persuaded that ninety out of every hundred of 
the Twenty-first that day believed, as they had good 
reason, that they would be hurt in one way or another. 



god's war. ^81 

This may have had a tendency to make them less reckless, 
but the}' veere certainly no le.ss cool nor daring than their 
comrades who felt a sustaining confidence in their luck. 

To repulse a heavy charge seems a very different thing 
■when looked at on paper from what it is on the field of 
battle. And the old soldiers will understand that in each 
charge which the Twentj'-first met that day there came 
a moment when the pressure seemed intolerable and not 
to be resisted any longer; when the heart would almost 
give way and the brain would fairly reel at the thought 
that after all they must yield! How many times that 
feeling came to the Twenty-first that ii&y cannot be told 
(for who was there to number the assaults that were so 
continuous that they might almost have been counted as 
one) but whenever the supreme moment came there was 
each time found a reserve force of stubborn determina- 
tion to hold on a little longer, and that always won the 
fight. Their assailants might fall back but a little way 
and then, re-forming and reloading, return to the onset 
with fresh vigor and a stronger will to succeed, and thus 
hurl themselves again upon the scant line of blue-coats, 
and being checked again, would merely halt and pour 
volley after volley into the ranks of their opponents; but 
in the end the result was always the same. The Twentj-- 
first would hold on just a moment too long, that moment 
which was always the decisive one; and then the Con- 
federates would have to turn their backs, retrace their 
steps, and re-form their shattered ranks while others, fresh 
and untouched as yet, were sent to try to accomplish 
what they had failed to do. 

And so it was that the rebels, as was not only demon- 
strated by the way in which they behaved later in the 
day, but as was also learned from statements made by 
Longsti'eet's men themselves, came to regard the hill 
v>ith a feeling not unmixed with superstitious dread and 
awe as having a mystery belonging to its impregnable 
strength and were convinced that at least a division of 
well equipped troops held it. And the little thin line 
which did hold it, for the hill was large, and in order to 
cover it the men were much scattered, and not elbow to 
elbow by any means — the men of the thin line, as with 



282 GOD'S WAR. 

each assault their numbers grew lesb even so their cour- 
age monnfp'l and they grew more deterniined with each 
repulse, till they were got at that pitch that if they had 
known that all of Bragg 's army wag moving in mass 
against them they would have met thehost with unshaken 
nerves. 

And thus the day wore on till 3 o'clock and the ammu- 
nition was getting low, as was natural when outside the 
regiment tljere was no one to see to supplies — for the 
Twenty-first fought "on its own hook." But there were 
all the elements of Providence (in one sense of the word) 
in the regiment; and cool men went back from time to 
time for cartridges and returned in order with the little 
heavy lead-colored boxes upon their shoulders. The 
peculiar ammunition belonging to the revolving rilleswas 
of course soon exhausted, for, of course again, some fool 
who had lost his wits at the time the right wing of the 
army was stampeded had taken it upon himself to order 
the wagons back; but it was soon found that, although 
the ball made for the Enfields was a trifle large, yet it 
could be made to serve in the revolvers, and it was ac- 
cordingly so used. Only, in less time than it takes to 
write it, the men found that in using the Enfield cart- 
ridge the ba^'onet must be kept on the revolver, else it 
would split at the muzzle. And the men armed with 
Enfields exchanged them for the more formidable weapon 
a fast as the sad casualties of the conflict gave them 
opportunity. 

It was at 3 o'clock or a very few minutes after, that it 
was discovered that the enemy had gained the hill on the 
right and were sending a hot cross fire into the right 
wing of the regiment. Union troops had at one time 
during the day been on the hill on the right, but none 
had been there for an hour or two, and Longstreet seemed 
to have been so intent up to this moment upon taking 
the hill occupied by the Twenty-first by direct assault as 
never to have taken time to think of flanking it. There 
were no field officers on the right when this discovery 
was made, and the importance of doing something at 
once was so great that Captain Harvey H. Alban of Com- 
pany "F, " the senior ojfficer of the right wing being an- 



god's war. 283 

thorized by Major McMahan to use his discretion took 
the responsibility upon himself of ordering the move- 
ment. It was made with coolness, the men facing the 
foe and fighting as they slowly moved back, until they 
had got into the new position, the right wing formed at 
almost right angles with the left; the distance traversed 
was not great and the angle thus formed was not a sharp 
one. The rebels assaulted with great vigor, coming at 
one time up to within thirty feet of the Union line. 
How long the right wing could have thus held the enemy 
need not be speculated upon, since happily, before they 
had begun to yield at all, Steedman's men came up in 
the most gallant and spirited charge that the day had 
seen and swept on and over the regiment, driving the 
enemy far back upon his rear, and there held him for the 
better part of an hour, during which the Twenty-first 
had time to recuperate, redress its line and prepare for 
more fighting. 

Finally Steedman aligned himself on the right, uncov- 
ering the front of the Twenty-first and the regiment was 
called upon to resume business at the old stand; which it 
did with an imperturbable air as if it had never thought 
of doing anything else; and the old routine that had 
filled the day was begun again. 

When, late in the eveuing, two regiments sent to I'e- 
lieve the Twenty-first got upon the ground they were 
not a moment loo soon, for the regiment was almost en- 
tirely out of amruunition, and was doing business more 
upon the good will of the concern than anything else; 
if such a commercial phrase may be used to designate the 
wholesome respect for the place which they had been 
enabled to instill into the bosoms of their adversaries, 
and which for a time served as a protection to them. 

The top of the hill formed a sort of an uneven plateau, 
perhaps a hundred yards or more in width, and sloping 
to the north nearly to the Dry Vallej' road, and to the 
east toward the inside of the "Horseshoe. " When the 
Twenty-first was relieved it was marched across this 
plateau and over the rear-most edge, and put in position 
slightly to the right of the reinforcements, where the 
men sheltered from fire lay down to await developments. 



284 god's war. 

Longstreet opened upon the new troops hotly and fiercely, 
and soon word was sent back to send up such men of the 
Twenty-first as had ammunition, that all the strength on 
the hill might be made available. The few who were 
thus supplied, went up, accompanied by officers. 

Very soon after this, as the enemy in a long, compact, 
and well kept line, were discerned coming up to the 
charge, paying no heed to the frantic firing of the fresh 
troops, a man was seen to spring out in advance of them. 
He was unarmed, clad in the Confederate uniform and 
quick of foot as a deer. As he approached the Union 
line, swinging his hat, he yelled constantly, "Cease firing! 
Cease firing!" 

The men looked at each other in surprise, not knowing 
what this might mean, and in the uncertainty thus en- 
gendered, the firing slackened up and had truly almost 
ceased by the time the daring messenger had reached the 
Union commander to explain his errand and give an ac- 
count of himself. The substance of what he had to say 
was that a large body of the enemy was coming up the 
hill to surrender, and he bore the request of their com- 
mander that the Union troops should cease firing, in 
order to enable them to do so. The order was accordingly 
given; and it is too late to spend breath in criticizing the 
judgment of the Union commander, whose name I have 
never heard. 

The Confederates came steadily up the hill, amid a 
silence at once grown so profound that their measured 
tread and the rustling of the bushes as they marched 
could be plainly heard although they were still distant. 
The messenger himself quietly laid down upon his face 
behind a large tree, very near to the front of the Union 
line. 

It was clear that he was well chosen. He was perhaps 
not more than twenty years old, rather tall but by no 
means awkward, lean and lithe and quick as a cat. As 
he lay there his face glowed with the activity of his 
mind, and his eyes darted hither and thither, taking in 
every feature of the scene, and on the alert for whatever 
might happen. 

Lieutenant Lamb of the Twenty-first stood near this 



GOD'S WAR. 285 

keen-eyed fellow, and after observing him for a moment, 
said to an officer at hand : 

"The Johnnies are not going to surrender. They are 
deceiving us!" 

The quick eyes of the envoy flashed in Lamb's face for 
an instant, and then turned elsewhere. 

"I reckon our colonel knows his business," answered 
the officer somewhat stiffly. 

Lamb looked again at the messenger, then at the rap- 
idly nearing line of Confederates, and then back at the 
boy so coolly kicking his heels under the tree. 

"Well, it's my private opinion that your colonel's a — 
fool," he replied, as he turned away. "Come on, boys, 
let's go back — I'm not going to let you be taken prison- 
ers!" and collecting the men of the Twenty' -first he went 
quietly back to his regiment. 

He had scarcely got there when voices were heard at 
the front in excited question and reply, and then came a 
tremendous volley followed by a wild cheer, and hun- 
dreds of men came fleeing back over the hill, for their 
lives. 

Observing that the Confederates who were represented 
to be so anxious to surrender were still bearing their 
arms, the Union commander, so soon as they came within 
hailing distance, had called out: 

"Lay down your arms if you wish to surrender!" a 
i-equest by no means out of place, one would say. 

And what, think you, was the reply of those sons of 
Belial? 

"Go to — , you Yankee ■!" 

Then followed the volley, the rush up the hill, and — 
it was taken! 

And now we have to be thankful for an unexpected 
mercj', for if the Confederates had pushed on they would 
have had the Dry Valley road and got inside the "Horse- 
shoe" — and where it all would have ended, who can tell? 

But they did not push on. A sudden access of caution 
came to sa3' to them that the surprising ease with which 
this stubborn hill had yielded at last was a most suspi- 
cious circumstance, and needed consideration. It looked 
"devilishly like a trap! Who could tell? This hill had 



286 god's war. 

been defended all day with a pertinacity which made it 
a dreadful place, and now, all at once, its defense was 
abandoned! What was the explanation of all this? 

So, thus debating and considering, the Confederates 
resolutely clung to the southern edge of the plateau, and 
would not budge a step forward. 

Meantime the commander of the two flying regiments 
called to Major McMaban, then in command of the 
Twenty-first, Lieutenant-Colonel Stoughton having been 
wounded some hours before. 

"Take your regiment," he said, "and make a charge 
and retake the hill! "We will rally and re-form and sup- 
port you!" 

There were not two hundred of the Twenty-first in 
fighting trim then on the hill — two hundred more of them 
lay there, however, dead, dying, and wounded. 

"We have no ammunition — " began McMahan, more 
in explanation than objection. 

"But you have your orders!" responded the colonel 
pompously, as becomes a man who must do something to 
hide his chagrin at his own blunder 

"Very well, sir," said the major, and turning he called 
the men of the Twenty-first to their feet. 

A few moments were spent in searching the cartridge 
boxes of the dead and dying strewn over the hillside, 
and finally one round to the man was secured. 

Then the little band, sturdy and cool and willing, set 
forward, showing much less than a two company front 
to charge at least three thousand victorious Confeder- 
ates, grimly waiting for them. 

The first faint shades of the evening were gathering, 
and in the ravines the fleecj' fog was beginning to rise. 
The roar of the day's long combat had about ceased, and 
a palpitating silence, surcharged with dreadful chances, 
hung over all of the field, only broken now and then by 
the sharp rattle of a half dozen muskets, as prowling 
parties of adventurous enemies came into contact. And 
elbow to elbow, without speaking a word, the men of 
the Twenty-first pressed up the hill. 

Arrived at the top they halted for an imperceptible 
moment to redress their line; and then, delivering their 



god's war. 287 

volley into the faces of the Confederates who were almost 
near enough to shake hands with them, they brought 
down their pieces and, with a firm cheer, started on the 
double-quick for closer work. 

Of course it was an utterly useless movement ; and in 
almost less time than it takes to write it, the numerous, 
compact, and well-equipped Confederates had repulsed 
them and sent them whirling. Only a man who Wiis 
maddened with shame at his own incompetency, would 
have sent them up there on such a desperate and useless 
errand. And only troops who were disciplined to obey 
orders so long as they had one man to place in front of 
another, would have thought of trying it a second time. 
But they did it. Closing up the gaps they charged twice 
again, with not even a shot to fire! 

Before they could rally to go up the hill the fourth 
time, the colonel commanding the two regiments that 
had relieved them, sent word to "lie down and await the 
re-formation of his men," when, united, a last grand 
effort would be made. But it was decreed otherwise. 

The men lay down almost without a word, and let the 
chill influence of the awful quiet about them work upon 
them to dishearten them if it could. Presently an old 
white-haired man, straight and almost as thin as a flag- 
staff, suffering from a slight wound but still full of fight, 
broke out in a strain of heroic assertion : 

"I love the old flag! I would be willing to die for the 
old flag!" 

"There! Let up on that; this is no Fourth of July 
business!" said one of his comrades sharply but quietly. 
The old man looked about him and saw that the men 
approved his quietus, and he sat down with no more 
words. 

Presently, a line was seen filing in through the depths 
of the great ravine on the right — a long line of soldiers 
carrying their muskets at a right-shoulder-sbift, march- 
ing "left in front, " and making no noise. The fog dis- 
torted them somewhat, but they seemed to be in dark 
uniforms, and they came from the direction in which 
Steedman's brigades had gone. As they slowly moved 
along and finally came to a front facing the Twenty -first, 
they showed up at least two thousand men. 



288 GOD'S WAR. 

The men of the Twenty-first regarded them with a 
curiosity that was almost listless, and calmly debated as 
to who they were, some maintaining that they were reb- 
els, who, acting with those who had just taken the crest 
of the hill, were about to fall upon cur right and crush 
it; while others, arguing from the color of their uniforms 
and the direction from which they came, were as strongly 
impressed that they were Union troops. After facing to 
the front they slowly moved up the hill, marching in line 
with a precision that would have been creditable on a 
grand parade or review; and all that could be heard 
was the occasional word of command or caution "Dress 
on the center!" "Steady there!" in a tone that seemed 
suppressed and guarded. 

At last Captain Alban determined to know who they 
were. So announcing, he plunged down the hill, and 
was soon lost to view. 

Presently, hearing nothing from the captain, a sergeant 
of Company "D" said to his commander: 

"I think I will go and see who they are." 

"I'd rather you wouldn't, Bob; the thing looks very- 
dangerous. I'm afraid we would lose you." 

A pause ensued. 

"Well," resumed the sergeant, "somebody ought to 
take the risk, and I might as well do it as anybody. May 
I go?" 

"I don't like to see you go, but you may do as you 
please;" and shouldering his piece the brave young fel- 
low stepped blithely off, for all the world as if he were 
going a-squirrel hunting as he used to do in the Putnam 
County woods. 

And so he was lost to view, as Captain Alban had been ; 
and from neither of them came back a word or a cry to 
tell what they had found. 

As Alban moved forward he was lost to the sight of 
his comrades some time before he reached the mysterious 
column. He pursued his way calmly till he got near 
enough to make himself heard without yelling; then he 
asked : 

"What troops are you?" 

In an instant a gun was put to his head : 



god's war. 289 

"Git back hyar in the rear; an' ef ye opeti yer head 
we'll blow yer brains out!" 

And what had happened to him happened in like 
manner to the sergeant. 

At last a man in the Twenty-first, raising his voice, 
hailed them : 

"What troops are you?" 

The reply came promptly : 

"Jefif Davis' troops." 

Now as the "Union general, Jeff. C. Davis had, in the 
early part of the day, been on the right with his division, 
it was thought at once that the ghostly column was made 
up of his command; and the men lapsed again into quiet 
but eager watchfulness. And so the line came steadily 
on, and the scene each moment grew more weird and 
impressive. 

Suddenly from the Twenty-first the command, rang 
out, sharp and clear : 

"Fire!" 

Now who it was that gave the command or why he 
should do so, has never been found out; since there was 
not a cartridge in any man's gun or box; but it had a 
prompt and most decided effect; for, instantly the ap- 
proaching column lay down and seemed to melt and dis- 
appear into the earth. 

Then, waiting for the fire which they had expected, 
and hearing no sound, the troop of ghosts sprang to their 
feet, delivered a crashing volley, and charged on and up 
wildly and furiously. 

It was quick work. At least a third of those present 
of the Twenty-first were captured, with their colors, the 
rest saving themselves by flight. 

Ten minutes afterward a lieutenant of the Twenty-first 
found a handful of the men of his regiment on the hill to 
the left, where Brannan's division lay. The sally of the 
enemy on the right with its noise of firing had awakened 
a feeble renewal of the battle along the entire line. Meet- 
ing the colonel who had cheered the regiment on to 
their work in the morning (Moses B. Walker of the- 
Thirty -first Ohio), the lieutenant said : 

"We have been driven from our hill at last, sir; I have 



290 god's war. 

six or eight men here, we have no ammunition, but if 
you can use us — why, here we are." 

"Go up to the front," was the reply. "We are out of 
ammunition, too, and we are holding the hill at the point 
of the bayonet." 

But before the lieutenant with his squad had gone far, 
orders were received to fall back, and the entire division 
was put in motion toward Eossville. Colonel Walker 
gathered some thirty or forty of the Twenty-first to- 
gether and led them back in the sad retreat through the 
black night among the rugged hills. 

Shortly after daylight the regiment, numbering less 
than two hundred, and without field oflBcer or colors, 
stood aligned upon a hill at Rossville, when the general 
commanding the division came dashing up. He glanced 
sharply at the feeble line and then demanded in a per- 
emptory tone: 

"What troops are these?" 

"This is the Twenty-first Ohio, sir," was the response. 

"My God! The Twenty-first Ohio! It cannot be 
possible!" 

And at the sight of the wreck of what had been his 
finest regiment, he seemed utterly overcome. And as 
his tears ran down his face, the men were touched, and 
almost began to think whether they would not forgive 
him for having gone off with the rest of the division, 
deserting them and leaving them to their fate the day 
before. 

Note. — The position of the Twenty -first Ohio on Sunday 
was on Brannan's right, and for the greater part of the 
day this regiment formed the extreme right flank of the 
Union Armj'. On the right of the regiment loomed a 
great hill, separated from that on wliich the regiment 
fought by a very deep ravine running back to the Dry 
Valley road a quarter of a mile in the rear of the regi- 
ment. Early iu the day the only other road upon which 
the Army of the Cumberland could retreat to Chatta- 
nooga, the Eossville road, was cut off by the enemy, so 
that this Dry Valley road was of the highest importance, 
and it is surely not saying too much of the situation to 
say that the Twenty-first held the key to it. Had Long- 



god's war. 391 

street's swarming brigades OBce driven the regiment 
back all would have been lost. And during all of that 
day of carnage, from 11 o'clock in the morning till 5 in 
the evening, that regiment saw no oflQcer superior in rank 
to its own lieutenant-colonel, and it fought under but 
one order, received as it filed up the hill in the morning 
— and that order was "Take position on the hill and hold 
it at all hazards." The order was obeyed without ques- 
tion, appeal for help, or thought of yielding, and at a 
cost of a loss of more than half the force that went into 
the fight. There were sixteen oflQcers and five hundred 
and thirty-five men on the morning of the 20th when the 
regiment formed line under fire; there were but five offi- 
cers and less than two hundred men for duty on the 
morning of the 21st when the shattered ranks of the 
regiment were drawn together into the space of a two- 
company front. 

The regiment fought without the supervision of any 
officer higher than its own lieutenant-colonel, who was 
wounded and carried from the field just as his men 
performed their most important service. 

Formal history has this to say: "At 3 p.m. General 
Longstreet, despairing of carrj'ing the position without 
reinforcements, called upon General Bragg for assistance 
from his right. He was informed that the troops of 
their right wing 'had been so badly beaten back' that 
they would be of no service on tbe left. Ascertaining 
thus that the right of his own army was in little better 
condition than the original right of tho National Army, 
Longstreet hesitated to put into the fight his reserve 
division, and renewed the assault with the troops that 
had been repeatedly repulsed. In this charge, the rebel 
General Hindman, commanding on the extreme left, 
gained a temporary advantage, which induced Longstreet 
to put his reserve division into the action in hope of 
sweeping the hills before him." 

Eight here pause may be taken to say that the "ad- 
vantage" which was "gained" by Hindman was in get- 
ting his troops across the right flank of the Twenty-first 
Ohio, which was instantly met by the swinging back of 
the right wing of that regiment as has been described. 



293 god's war. 

The historian continues: "But before he could get 
Preston's large division into line" (during which time 
the Twenty-first was holding Hindman at bay), "Hind- 
man was driven from the hill above Villetoe's, upon which 
he had planted his banners, by Steedman's brigades." 

There is the story in a nutshell. But for the check 
and repulse which Hindman received from the Twenty- 
first, he would have been with other divisions of Long- 
street's wing, across the Dry Valley road and in the rear 
of the cramped little horseshoe which Thomas' men 
formed. If the Twenty-first had fought under the eye 
of its brigade or division commander this would have 
appeared long ago and the true significance of the work 
performed by that regiment would have long ago been 
understood. But the regiment had been abandoned to 
its fate, which it took into its own hands, and in so doing 
decided the issue of the great conflict. 

The history from which I have quoted is Van Home's 
"History of the Army of the Cumberland." The his- 
torian goes on to say: "The reserve division was not, 
howevei', withheld, and Longstreet renewed his action 
with his whole force. Brannan had with him about 
twenty-five hundred men, and on his right were the two 
brigades of Whittaker and Mitchell." (These two brig- 
ados were those referred to and were under Steedman's 
command.) "And yet from his (Brannan 's) center to 
Steedman's right, there were ten brigades of the enemy 
in line, and Gracie's brigade of Preston's division, on 
the right, went into action with two thousand and three 
effective men. With this immense preponderance of 
strength, Longstreet assaulted with frequency and vigor, 
but was continually repulsed. . . . Some unauthor- 
ized person had ordered General Thomas' Corps ammu- 
nition train to Chattanooga, and many of the division 
trains had been separated from the troops they were in- 
tended to supply, and had gone to the rear. On the 
whole line, the average to the man was not more than 
three rounds, and in some commands there was less than 
this. It was common to search the cartridge-boxes of 
those who fell. Steedman's train afforded a few rounds 
in addition, but this was soon exhausted, and his own 



god's war. 293 

men were at the last entirely destitute. Whenever am- 
munition failed entirely, the order was given to fix bay- 
onets and hold the hill with cold steel . . . and 
from Reynolds to Steedmau the battle raged with un- 
abated fury ; but the enemy were gallantly repulsed at 
every point until nightfall, and in the final attack this 
was accomplished in no slight measure with the bayonet 
and clubbed muskets." Then, in a note, comes the 
credit that history has given to the fighting of the 
Twenty-first Ohio on Sunday at Chickamauga, as follows : 
"The heaviest of the losses in the withdrawal of the army 
were from captures, mainly from Baird's division, which 
left position under a heavy assault; from Steedman's 
division, and the Twenty-first Ohio regiment, the latter 
being between Brannan and Steedman. This regiment 
maintained ground in greatest exposure during the 
afternoon, and by its revolving rifles and gallant fighting 
made the impression upon the enemy that its position 
was held by a heavy force. At dark, portions of the 
Twenty-first, the Eighty-ninth Ohio and Twenty-second 
Michigan, the latter two from the left of "Whittaker's 
brigade, were captured."* 

General Longstreet charged the thin line drawn over 
the great hill upon which the Twenty-first was posted 
and which ought to have been held by a division, by 
brigades, beginning at a few minutes after 11 o'clock in 
the morning and desisting only at nightfall. When, at 
last, he took the hill he did not take it from the Twenty- 
first, but from two regiments which had been sent there 
to relieve that organization. 

In an interview with Colonel Frank A. Burr, heretofore 
referred to. General Longstreet uses the following 
language: 

"It is impossible for me to recall a field in the history 
of wars that deserves a higher place in the records of 
armed conflicts than Chickamauga. It was a great, a 
phenomenal battle, fought upon a field where the disad- 
vantage of sight, of locomotion, and opportunity for 

* Van Home's " History of the Army of the Cumberland," vol. i., 
p. 353, et seq. 



5J94 god's war. 

maneuver was greater than upon any battlefield I ever 
saw or read of. . . . Not many men would have held 
on as Thomas did. There have been few, if any, more 
dramatic incidents in war than the stubborn resistance 
of Thomas upon this hill. . . . Thomas' stand at 
Chickamauga was one of those grand incidents of war 
like leading a forlorn hope." 



god's war. 295 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

ONE SURPRISE APTER ANOTHER. 

"De good Lawd, wat's datchyer?" 

Nobody will be disposed certainly, to find fault with a 
respectable colored gentleman somewhat on the yonder 
side of middle age for using such language under such 
circumstances; and if his eyes were bulging out so that 
you might have hung your hat on them, and his heart 
was thumping at his ribs as if to break a hole in them, 
certainly there was ample justification. It was bad 
enough that Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy, in his drifting 
search after the young captain, should have managed to 
get himself between two cavalry brigades just as they 
were about to begin to destroy each other; it was bad 
enough in all conscience that he should have been ex- 
posed to the two fires what time he was fleeing like a 
scared deer to a hiding-place; it was certainly much 
worse that, just as he had ensconced himself behind the 
big rocks in his place of safety, a human form in a gray 
uniform should come whirling through the air above 
him and fall with an awful chug almost squarely on top 
of him. And no one will quarrel with him, I hope, that 
for some minutes afterward he still flattened his broad, 
black nose on the hard soil of the hillside and refused 
to lift his head, dreading the vision that might meet his 
eyes. 

Tom had gone bounding and whirling from one jutting 
point after another, and was caught at by more than one 
tree-top in his fall, or he would surely have been a dead 
man on reaching terra firma. But the clinging limbs 
of trees, while they may have scratched and hurt him, so 
softened the violence of his descent as to save his life. 



296 GOD'S WAR. 

It was bad enough, however, as it was, for in falling 
the back of his head thumped against a stone with a 
noise like the cracking of a bone. And so he lay there, 
unconscious and scarcely breathing, till Xerxes Lycurgus 
McCurdy felt safe in raising his head. 

"Do good Ian', what kin' o' fightin' you call dishyer, 
when dey shoots human folkses up into de air, like dat- 
away? 'Fore God, I done tuuglit he war gwine fer to 
drive me inter dish yer grouu', 'deed I did!" 

Then he sat for a minute looking at the prostrate form 
before him, and occasionally glancing over into the val- 
ley, up which the battle was rapidly going, and away 
from him. 

"Dar dey goes, leavin' him behin' jis zif dey didn't 
car' noffin' for 'im! An' I spec he's font an' fout jis as 
good as de bes' of 'em. Datchyers what I calls cole- 
blooded selfishness. He's young feller, too; straight in 
de laig an' broad in de shoulder, and his feet is small 
like a genelman's; officer, too, by the clothes he's got 
on, an* a lily-white han', wid a ring — foh de love o' God, 
whah he git datchyer ring? Dat's de young cappen's 
ring, shuah!" and he sprang upon the prostrate form 
and snatched the slouched hat from the face; and then 
sat upon poor Tom's body, petrified. 

The noise of the skirmish drifted further and further 
away, till, at last, everything was quiet about him, and 
the amazed darky had solved his doubts sufficiently to 
know that his long quest was ended and that the next 
thing to do was to get the boy into a place of safety 
where his hurts might be ministered to. And, thanks 
to his quick wits and the fact that he had lingered 
already long enough in the neighborhood to be acquainted 
with its resources, in half an hour he had Tom laid in a 
rough wagon drawn by a lean but willing steer, and was 
pursuing his way into the heart of the mountains to the 
east, accompanied by a broad-shouldered son of Ham 
who prodded up the ox with a sharp stick while he lis- 
tened with wondering eyes to 'Curg's story. 

They had been gone a full hour from the spot, when 
Ethel, panting and weeping, reached it. For to get to it 
from the cabin in any safe way, was to traverse intricate 



god's war. 297 

paths leadiug a long distance around the base of the 
mountain. As she hurried on, her heart was filled with 
nervous apprehensions which were agonizing, she thought, 
in their torture; but it was not till she sat down to 
realize that he was gone beyond her reach, and she knew 
not whither, that she really understood what agony and 
torture were, although they made her dumb and motion- 
less. 

Meanwhile, as the evening drew on, a little log church 
set back from the trail in the deep shade of the hills, so 
that a stranger would find it with difficulty, was the 
Mecca toward which the steps of a congregation of col- 
ored people were tending. They slipped along quietb', 
singly or in pairs, in rare cases by threes or fours, and 
all seemed to breathe easier once they were inside the 
hidden sanctuary. When the church was filled and the 
candles were lighted to glow ineffectually in the midst of 
the darkness which seemed to be intensified by the black 
faces shining as if polished; and as the beams sent quaint 
shadows dancing hither and thither like disembodied 
spirits with still the substance of darkness, the old leader 
raised his snow-white head from a musing posture and 
glanced about him. As he did so every eye saw him and 
every breast heaved with a quick convulsive motion, 
promptly repressed. For there were rumors coming up 
in the hills in those days that were like fugitive breezes 
of the bracing winds of freedom which they knew were 
blowing full and strong outside. 

An inarticulate moan, beginning with the old leader 
and passing through all the congregation till it seemed 
almost a shout, broke the silence and filled the little 
room, although all lips were closed and no one spoke. 
Then the strange sound died out and the people sat silent 
again, but with a new look of wondering and hopeful 
expectation in their feces. Three times was this repeated, 
solemnly as if it was a part of a well-established cere- 
mony, till it became almost majestic and assumed the 
dignity of a mysterious invocation. 

Then, from a dried and withered old crone who sat 
near the rude altar, bent and apparently oblivious to all 
that was going on, broke forth a weird refrain : 



298 GOD'S WAR. 

"Go down to Egyp' Ian' ! 
Tell Die, Phare-0, 
Let my people go !" 

The melody was taken up by the young men and maid- 
ens, by the gray-headed old leader and the wide-eyed 
little child, and the church rang with such harmony of 
rich voices attuned to the inspiration of promise and 
prophecy in the words they sung, as might have graced 
the grandest cathedral and given it new sanctity. 

Had they not waited long years for the hand of the 
Lord, and was He not at last moving, coming up to their 
help against the Egyptians who held them bond? 

Prayer and exhortation followed the singing, and if 
in the zeal of their pious fervor they were irresistibly 
comic in their crude ideas and strange misuse of words, 
they were so awfulb^ in earnest, so solemn and so rev- 
erent, that it is sure they had a hold on the Most High 
and felt the chastened thrillings of communion with 
Him. 

Minute by minute and hour by hour they grew more 
and more exalted and inspired, and by turns they filled 
the air with loud and triumphant cries or crooned soft 
melodies of inarticulate ecstasy. It was growing late 
and the candles were guttering and sputtering toward 
their going out, and so low and soft was the song they 
sung that they seemed almost to have lapsed into silence : 

" Swing low, dem golden lamps, swing low! 
Swing low, dem golden lamps, swing low! 
Swing low, dem golden lamps, 
Dem golden lamps, 
Wid incense all a burnin' ! " 

when a tap came at the door, and instantly all was 
hushed. A few of the worshippers raised their heads, 
but for the most part they sat bowed as if held in thf! 
thrall of an influence too strong to be dispelled. The 
tapping was repeated. 

"Open wide de gates," commanded the old crone; "de 
angel of de Lawd is a-knockin' — let him come in!" 

A thrill went through the congregation, filled with the 
wild mysticism of their religion, but no one moved. 



god's war. 299 

"Open wide de gates!" again commanded the old 
woman; but no one moved. 

"Oh, ye of little faith!" she cried, as she hobbled to 
the door painfully. "Didn't I tole ye dat it war de 
angel of de Lawd, an' is ye gwine fer to keep him out, 
when he's a-knockin' an' a-knockin'?" 

She flung the door open as she spoke, and the people 
within shaded their eyes with their hands as if to guard 
against a glory greater than they could bear. 

"De angel of de Lawd!" she cried in a shrill treble. 

"Well, not azactly," answered 'Curg, standing on the 
threshold. "At least not jis' yit awhile, aunty! Ef de 
pra'ars of de righteous kin wash disheyer nigger white 
as wool, some day mebbe he'll go about fer to do de 
Master's wuk, wid big white wings on, an' a golden 
crown. But ef I ain't de angel of de Lawd I'se gwine 
about lookiu' like dishyer, an' a-doin' of His wuk in 
my everyday clothes. Hyar's de Lawd's wuk, a-layin' 
out heah in the cyart what de steer fotch!" 

A short explanation followed, which ended in action. 
Tom was lifted into a hastily improvised stretcher and 
six of the strongest men present bore him swiftly off over 
the mountain, by a path impracticable to the cart. Of 
course 'Curg went with them, and hastened their speed as 
Tom's frequent groans gave evidence of something like 
returning consciousness. 

In half an hour the barking of dogs showed that they 
were approaching an inhabited spot. One of the men 
ran forward and soon quieted the noise, evidently being 
known to the dogs. Entering a small clearing the party 
stood before a large, double log house, looming up against 
the side of the hill darkly. After tapping at the window 
and a brief colloquy with some one within, a light was 
struck and the door opened. Tom was borne within and 
laid upon a bed. 

The sole visible occupant of the house was a swarthy, 
undersized man, with quick, piercing black eyes and a 
firm and fearless expression of the face betokening a 
warm friend and an antagonist to be wary of. His iron- 
gray hair was short and thick, curling closely to hia 
head, but was thin on top. His face was covered with 
a closely clipped, grizzled beard.' 



300 GOD'S WAR. 

Lighting several candles the doctor, for such he proved 
to be, made a cursory examination of unconscious Tom, 
but finally gave it up, with an impatient gesture. 

"What is the use? The light is not so good. We 
will wait for the daylight." 

"But he is sufferin' misery," said 'Curg. 

"We will fix that!" and the doctor mixed a draught 
which he carefully poured down the boy's throat. 

"He will sleep — no fear for that! Now go! All but 
you — you belong to heem?" 

"Yessah, I 'longs to him," answered 'Curg. 

"All right, you shall stay," and bundling the others 
out into the darkness, and bidding 'Curg to take some 
rest on the floor while he watched, the doctor fixed his 
night-light and then with a bundle of fine corn husks 
and a handful of tobacco occupied himself with the 
manufacture and consumption of cigarettes, while he 
patiently waited for the dawn. 

Before daylight came Ethel Lynde was far on her way 
toward the Union lines, and before noon she was met by 
Miles Bancroft at a farmhouse between the two armies. 

"You are prompt," she said wearily, as he eagerly 
kissed her. "You are true to me? ' she added after a 
glance at his face. 

"True to you? I would go through hell for you?" 

"Do you think so?" 

"Can you doubt it?" 

"I may put you to the proof — and sooner than you 
suspect," she replied sleepily. He shuddered and gazed 
at her bitterly. 

"It is more than you would do for me," he said. 

"Do you think so? You are mistaken. When you 
go through that place with the bad name for me, I'm 
afraid I will be at your side." 

"Then it will have no terrors for me — it will be 
heaven!" 

"Even if I am there in an oflScial capacity?" and she 
laughed with a touch of scorn. 

"All I ask is that you shall be there." 

"I will be. Never fear!" 



GOD'S WAR. 301 

To some natures tobacco is soporific in its influence, 
and while the doctor seemed a man not given to yielding 
without a struggle, it is the truth that before the dawn 
came he was sound asleep in his big, roughly-constructed 
easy-chair, and it was the tickling of a strong young 
sunbeam that finally aroused him. 

'Curg was already awake, and evidently filled with an 
anxiety which gave him no peace. Tom had scarcely 
changed his position during the night. He lay breathing 
heavily ; and whether he was sleeping or was in a death- 
like state of stupor was not easy to judge at the first 
glance. 

"With a muttered exclamation the little doctor set about 
his work at once. He bade 'Curg kindle a fire and make 
some coffee, while he proceeded professionally. 

There was no wound or hurt to be found save one at 
the base of the brain. With scissors he skillfully re- 
moved the hair and then, for the skin was only raggedly 
torn, he deftly laid back the scalp. After working awhile 
at the fractured skull, he suddenly became excited, and 
jabbered to himself with a volubility which filled 'Curg 
with the beginning of grave apprehensions. Finally he 
raised his head quickly : 

"Here, you, negro man! He have been wounded 
before?" 

''No, sah, only jist behine, I reckon; here on de back 
of de hade." 

"No^ — no! You do not understand me! Some other 
time, long ago, he have been hurt here?" 

"Not as I knows on, sah!" 

"You belong to heem?" 

"No, sah — yes, sah — he's de cappen, de young cappen, 
sah, an' I'se de cook foh de mess, sah," 

"But you belong to hees family." 

"Nebber knowed him, sah, tell jess befo' de battle at 
Murphysboro, sah!" 

"He ees what you call Confederate?" 

"No, sah, 'deed he ain't, sah! He's Cappen Tom 
Bailey ob de Twenty -first Ohio, sah. Union Army, sah ! 
He war missin' after datchyer battle, sah, an' I jess foun' 
'im las' night, sah!" 



302 god's war. 

'Curg had pondered a little that morning, whether he 
should tell the truth about Tom, or should allow him to 
be thought a Confederate soldier. For obvious, pru- 
dential reasons, he had thought the latter would be the 
proper course, but on the whole, and under the influence 
of his surprise at the doctor's sudden and eager ques- 
tions, he had concluded to tell the truth. And he did 
wisely, in this case, at least. 

"How did you find heem?" 

'Curg told the story briefly of the occurrence on the 
hillside the evening before. 

"Ah, yes," said the doctor. "I hear the guns at the 
time." 

Then he proceeded with his work. Suddenly, as he 
lifted a piece of the skull, a wonderful change came over 
his patient. Tom threw his arms out so violently that he 
nearly knocked his good Samaritan down; the blood 
rushed to his face till it grew almost purple and his ej-es 
started out of his head in a way that was suggestive of a 
horrible thing. Then he clutched at his throat as if try- 
ing to tear something from it, and indeed did make a 
wreck of his collar. In his writhings he seemed to be 
trj'ing to speak, and his friends eagerly sought to under- 
stand what he said, but for a moment it was an unintel- 
ligible gurgling. At last he cried: 

"My God, he is trying to choke me to death — Miles — 
Miles — what do you mean?" 

Then the violence of his motions calmed down and he 
rested, breathing heavily, and rolling his eyes about 
wildly. 

"Ah, there has been something wrong, something bad," 
said the doctor. 

"Water, water, Ethel, give me water," moaned the 
boy. 

"Ethel!" exclaimed the doctor with a start. "Can it 
be possible that he knows " 

But Tom had renewed his struggle with his unseen 
adversary, and fearing that he might injure himself the 
doctor bade 'Curg to hold him, while he prepared and 
administered another soothing draught. So soon as this 
had taken effect the surgical work was resumed and 
finished and be was left at rest again. 



GOD'S WAR. 303 

A fever followed and for several days he lay tossing 
and talking wildlj', while the doctor, listening and pon- 
dering, never left his side for a moment. 

At last Tom opened his eyes languidly one morning 
just before the gray of the dawn had warmed to color. 
Nothing was distinct to him, save the whitish patch 
where the window was, which was the first thing his eyes 
rested upon. He was at last free from his fever and 
delivered from his delirium and was slowly growing 
conscious. 

Far away off in the woods he heard the plaintive, 
prolonged cry of a bird. At first it was repeated after 
intervals of considerable length, then it grew more im- 
portunate and came quicker and quicker, querulous and 
yet beseeching, till its sadness seemed to enter his soul, 
and his eyes, poor, weak fellow, began to fill with tears 
of sympathy. Before they had fairly gathered, however, 
there came an interruption, as another bird answered 
with a round, jolly, confident note, full of melody. 
Question and reply passed swiftly between the two song- 
sters till thej' made such a racket that they waked up 
their neighbors, who demanded, each in his own peculiar 
melody, to know what the matter was, and then all at 
once the whole forest rang with harmony such as no man 
without a baby or a sweetheart may hope to hear excelled 
this side of heaven. 

And as if to prove to Tom that it was heaven, just then 
the first glorious golden beams of the rising sun lit up 
the blue and purple sleeping hills, and their prismatic 
clouds of mist all around, and through the open window 
the breeze of the dawn came breathing softly, bringing 
a thousand perfumes which the dews had been distilling 
through the night from the leaves and flowers. 

And in his languor he half-closed his eyes and dreamed 
that he was in heaven, and for the moment felt that he 
could not desire a better. 

But only for a moment. 

For soon there broke into the concert of the birds 
another sound of whistling, which, while it was melodi- 
ous, was so peculiar that no one versed in woodcraft 
■would fail to say at once that it was produced by human 



304 GOD*S WAR. 

agency. And Tom, even in his semi-unconscious state, 
■was able to perceive its strangeness, and he opened his 
eyes ^Yide at hearing it, just as the doctor in his bed 
near by began to move in his sleep uneasily like one about 
to wake up. 

The strange call, or whatever it was, was repeated 
several times, with apparently a growing impatience, till 
at last the doctor sprang up, wide awake and on the 
alert. 

"'Tis she," he said joyously, "'tis she, at last!" and 
as he hastily attired himself, he glanced at Tom. Meet- 
ing the boy's eyes, wide open and tilled with an almost 
childish questioning, he approached him softly and laid 
his hand first upon his forehead and then upon his wrist. 

"So? And it is at last you, also, my friend? I am 
happy that I shall begin to make your acquaintance. 



signor 



And his voice was harmonious and soft and accorded 
well, Tom thought, with the other voices that were filling 
the woods so sweetly outside, 

"You will excuse me for a moment, I beg, signor; I 
have a call from my — a friend, outside," and bowing 
with grace and cordial dignity he opened the door and 
passed out. 

Leaving the door open the good doctor gave entrance 
to a stronger draught of the cool breeze and to the sun- 
shine as well, and both of these sweet influences of na- 
ture began at once to operate upon Xerxes Lycurgus 
McCurdy, lying asleep on his pallet on the floor. Forth- 
with they fell to at blowing and shining full in that 
distinguished patriot's face till at last they disturbed 
his repose. He resented this and sought to prolong his 
enjoyment of that refreshing slumber which an approving 
conscience and a good digestion (especially the latter) 
alwaj's give, by a change of posture and a resolute clos- 
ing of the eyelids more tightly. 

But it was of no use, and the continued ministrations 
of the sun and wind, aided by the unconscious unstop- 
ping of his ears to hear the birds singing, finally brought 
him suddenly broad awake. 

Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy at once had his wits about 



god's war. 305 

him, and perceiving first that the door, which was care- 
fully barred the night before, was wide open, and second 
that the doctor's bed was empty, he sprang to his feet 
and ran to Tom's bedside to see if anything was wrong 
there. 

And whether there was or not, he stood pondering: for 
there was a great change in the boy's face, and the poor 
darky trembled lest the bright intelligence he saw feebly 
asserting itself in Tom's eyes was a bad symptom. And 
while he stood thus trembling and pondering, Tom, too, 
was turning oyer a thing or two in his mind. When ha 
finally got it settled to satisfy him, he made one or two 
ineffectual efforts to speak before he could ejaculate 
faintly : 

"Hello, 'Curg!" 

And 'Curg was so upset by it that all he could reply 
was: 

"Hello, cappen!" 

"How's Nat?" asked Tom, with a great effort and a 
very thin and piping voice. 

"He am all right, sah. He am well — dat is — de good 
Lawd, t'ank de good Lawd — oh, Massa Cappen Tom, 
you'se come back — you'se come back!" 

And the faithful fellow sat him down on the floor to 
laugh and weep and praise the Lord while Tom lay 
quietly wondering what it was all about. 

Then there came footsteps approaching the door and the 
swift rustling of a woman's dress, and in an instant a 
pair of soft dark ej'es, too elate as yet for tears, were 
pouring divine balm into Tom's soul through his own; 
and kisses were falling upon his lips and face and eyes, 
too, till they closed in a swoon that came with a mur- 
murous sound of caressing love jargon — and then he 
knew he was in heaven! 



306 god's war. 



CHAPTEK XXIX. 

A fool's paradise. 

The doctor stood in his doorway, open-mouthed and 
round-eyed at the scene before him. Tor, while he had 
told his daughter of a stranger within his gates, giving 
no names but leaving that for a time of wider leisure, 
she, on her part had not said a word of that which was 
uppermost in her heart, nor had she the slightest notion 
till she touched the threshold that she had even a remote 
interest in the wounded soldier lying there. But when 
she met Tom's glance, she went to him, flying. 

"You will explain to me, Ethel " 

The girl suddenly placed her hand upon his lips and 
imperiously bade 'Curg (who was also standing by in 
great amaze) to leave them. AVhen the negro was gone 
out she turned again to the doctor', who stood, comically 
patient. "You must never call me by that name, while 
he is under your roof ; nor let him know by any word or 
sign that I am j'our daughter." 

"But why is this so?" 

"I will tell 3^ou at another time, not now. But pappy, 
dear, he is the only man I ever loved — except you — ex- 
cept you, dear, darling old pappy — " she hastened to 
add, being warned thereto by a look that came in the 
little man's fond eyes. "He saved my life at the risk of 
his own." 

"But that is hard " 

"It must be so, and you will do as I wish, won't you?" 

"I will. I always do. " 

"That is my own good father, " and she gave him a 
kiss to reward him. "But see, he is in a swoon; you 
must do something for him." 



god's war. 307 

"No. I will let heem alone; that is the best; he is 
weak yet, and as I told you outside, has been wild and 
delirious till this morning, for many days. Ah!" he 
added musingly, "it is not so strange to me now as I 
once thought it, why that I have been so much interested 
in heem. You love heem, Eth — I mean signora, " and 
with twinkling eyes he bowed gracefully, "you love heem. 
He has saved your life. But is it so that he does love 
you, in return?" 

"It is so that he does love me better than all the world 
beside," she began gayly; "poor fellow," she added 
softly and sorrowfullj'. 

At first, for several days, Tom was too weak and happy 
to ask Ethel how it was that she came to find him; the 
little doctor sternly forbade conversation and the bo}' 
was not in condition to attempt a rebellion. And indeed 
he was content to lie there calmly, half-dreaming and 
half-waking, knowing that she was near him, and hold- 
ing her dear hand in his. And thus dreaming for some 
days during which his wound was healing and his 
strength returning, be gave her ample time to frame a 
story for her father as well as Tom, which would have 
satisfied one much more exacting than a credulous lover, 
or a blindly doting parent. 

The doctor was a man of marvelous skill, and his care 
of his patient, attentive and conscientious at first, now 
became also anxious and loving. He gave his mind to 
thought and study as to how he might best hasten the 
boy's restoration, and time rapidly showed wondrous 
progress, whether because of this or another reason. 

And it was a great day when, at last, the doctor and 
'Curg bowed their stiff backs to carry Tom outside the 
door and set him under the towering trees on the hill- 
side, on a reclining couch which Ethel's deft hands had 
made luxuriously comfortable with comforts and blankets 
and the two great bear skins which usually graced the 
floor of her own room in the cabin. And here Tom re- 
newed his acquaintance with life, and felt his heart feebly 
leap within him as his blood stirred at the thought of all 
that might be before him. The grand and impassive 
hills in their massive strength held to his lips a beaker 
filled with strong wine, while they soothed him with the 



308 GOD*S WAR. 

uplifting lesson of patience which they teach to all who 
have eyes to see and souls to understand and appreciate. 

Waking from a delicious doze which repaired the fa- 
tigue of his moving and the excitement of his re-entry 
into the world, his eyes fell upon 'Curg, standing by 
Ethel's seat, warmly regarding him. Then he knitted 
his brow for a moment, glancing from the one to the 
other, and seemed so puzzled that Ethel grew anxious and 
was about to speak, but he forestalled her. 

"It is queer; I cannot remember; somehow you have 
had something to do together with it all — ■" and then 
his face suddenly cleared. "Oh, yes, I remember now; 
he brought your note to mo, in the camp at Nashville." 

Ethel started in alarm, and glanced quickly at the old 
darky. She had iJaid but little attention to him so far, 
presuming that he was some camp-follower who had at- 
tached himself to Tom. But if he was her messenger to 
Tom at Nashville, she could not guess how much he 
might know that she would not wish Tom to know. But 
she was safe, as he soon made known. 

"Well, de lan's sakes alive! Why, of coase, of coase! 
Datchyers jist what it is, an' hit's been a puzzlin' my 
pore ole hade all dis time. Don' you 'member, missy, 
datch 3'ou gib me de note to Caiipen Bailey down to de 
boahdin' house to Nashville? Why, of coase, of coase!" 

This opened the gates, and Tom's mind ran liither and 
thither, and this being the first day he had been per- 
mitted to talk — and he abused the privilege while the 
doctor went down into the "Cove" for an hour or so to 
see a patient there — he set to at the work of informing 
himself. First, Ethel must rehearse the story she had 
to tell to account for her presence there, and then 'Curg 
had to give him news of Nat; which he did with gravity 
and success, having been privately instructed beforehand 
by Ethel, in anticipation of this very emergency. 

But the slow darky was scarcely allowed to finish, 
because Tom suddenb' came to a realization of the differ- 
ence between his present surroundings and his last clear 
knowledge of himself, which was of the moment when he 
was stricken down in pursuit of the rebel colors at the 
battle of Stone River. 



god's war. 309 

Here was the dangerous place for Ethel, and she braced 
herself to meet it. How much did he remember of all 
that had happened during and since that dismal Friday 
night? She knew that on the day she lost him during 
the cavalry skirmish a gleam had come back to him for 
an instant to tell him that his life had been attempted. 
Had the dim recollection of that event left him, or if it 
still remained, did he have any knowledge as to who it 
was that thus sought to kill him? Did he remember, 
would he be able to recall her own presence on the scene, 
either before or after Miles had tried to choke him? 
These and a thousand other things troubled her and filled 
her with uneasiness. She had carefully questioned her 
father to know what and how far he would be likely to 
remember things that happened about the time that he 
was first so seriously hurt, and in doing so she had been 
careful of course to give the doctor only such meager 
outlines as would suffice to guide him in answering, 
without telling him that Miles had tried to strangle the 
boy, or indeed even mentioning that misguided man. 
The doctor's replies had been in the main favorable, and 
at least served to help her to devise in her own mind the 
plan she would pursue when Tom became himself again. 

And so, hiding her fears as best she might, she first 
made him tell all that he could recall of what had hap- 
pened. 

It was not much. He remembered all about the battle, 
and the glorious charge with Miller on Friday, and the 
capture of the battery. Then he told how he had started 
with some half-dozen men to capture the rebel colors. 
There he stopped. He could recall nothing else since 
then — -knew nothing more than that not long ago he 
opened his eyes in the cabin yonder, and, listening to 
the birds had dreamed he was in heaven, and had waked 
to find himself in her arms which was all the heaven he 
could wish. 

"Was that all he could remember?" 

The question sprang to her lips before she thought of 
what might follow, and at once she would have given 
anything to be able to recall it. 

And Tom again knitted his brows and summoned his 



310 GOD'S WAR. 

•weak powers to the task, nor would he heed the little 
playful efforts she was making to have hiin drop the 
matter. 

Very slowly it came to him ; a vague and dim memory 
of a struggle for his life with some one who was sitting 
or lying on him and choking him cruelly. And strangely 
enough it seemed to him that the man who attempted 
this villainy, was an old friend, Miles Bancroft. Where 
it was or how it happened he had not the faintest notion. 
It must have been a dream. 

A great load was off her mind, and Ethel laughed, and 
said that he must not confound what had really happened 
with any of the visions that must come to any one 
struggling with awful wounds like those which her own, 
true, brave darling had wrestled with. And kisses and 
love jargon followed; signifying much sweet pleasure to 
him, but testifying to her consciousness the great relief 
she felt that he knew so little and doubted even that. 

"But who was Miles Bancroft?" she asked. 

"He was the captain of my company in the three- 
months' service, and was wounded at the battle of Bull 
Run. When the regiment reorganized for the three 
years' service, he was not able to accompanj' them, but 
was subsequently appointed to the general staff and was 
at department headquarters — why, don't you rememberj 
he was provost-marshal at Nashville when you got there 
and I had to report your arrival to him? Didn't he call 
on you to question you? That was the man." 

"Oh, yes, I do remember, a stupid fellow came to see 
me that morning; but I paid no attention to him. I an- 
swered his questions and was glad when he left me so 
that I could go on thinking about you. I scarcely looked 
at him, I had your face always before my eyes! Ah! do 
you know when I first began to love you?" 

"No. Tell me when it was." 

"It was when that great, rude Nat found blood on your 
wrist and told me to faint in his arms because one of 
yours was wounded. Don't you remember?" 

"My darling; and you loved me from that moment?" 

"From that moment! And you?" 

"I? I loved you from the moment when you fainted in 



god's war. 311 

my arms as I lifted you from your horse on the pike, that 
night when those cowardly brutes were firing at you!" 

A mantling blush, hot and uncomfortable, covered her 
face as ho spoke, and she resumed her loving caresses 
with redoubled vigor to hide the shame that lowered over 
her features. Then she said : 

"But, Captain Bancroft — were you not always good 
friends — were you ever angry with each other?" 

"Lieutenant-Colonel Bancroft now, Ethel. Yes, we 
were always good friends. He is a good, brave, honest, 
true man. It was a queer dream, wasn't it?" 

"Yes, it was; especially if you never had any trouble. " 

"No, we never had any trouble — unless — well, yes, we 
did once come near being foes; but the matter was soon 
adjusted, and he certainly could bear me no ill-will, for 
it turned out all in his favor after all, and all bad for me. 
But what am I saying? If it hadn't turned out as it did 
you would never have been so dear to me — I could not 
have loved you." 

"Oh, Tom, Tom! It was a love rivalry; and you always 
said you had never loved but me!" 

"And I said the truth. I imagined I was in love once 
before I saw you, but I wasn't. It was nothing but a 
foolish, boyish fancy, and thej'oung woman very properly 
gave me the mitten, for she loved Miles and he loved her, 
and he was a man who could love, and of whose love any 
woman might well be proud. I'll tell you all about it, 
for you have a right to know; and besides I always tell 
you everything." 

"That's right," answered Ethel, with a queer feeling 
at her heart which made her resentful and half-angry. 
"Tell me all about it, and then I can judge whether this 
'Miles, ' as you call him, could have had any cause to 
choke you, even in your dreams." 

And so Tom, holding her tightly by the hand tne 
while, told her all about his boy-love for Margaret, and 
of the scene in the judge's parlor that April afternoon. 

She let her hand lie in his and tried to restrain the 
convulsive working of her fingers, but she kept her face 
averted till he had finished. And then a little silence 
fell upon them. 



3ia god's war. 

"Whj' do you turn your face away?" he asked at last. 
"Surely, Ethel, you are not jealous of such a boy's fool- 
ishness as that?" 

"Oh, no! Only I was thinking whether it would not 
have been better if she had loved you, darling. Of 
course it would have been hard for me, but " 

"Why, what are you thinking of? How foolishly you 
talk! Why, she was ever so much older than I. She 
was three years my senior." Again the hot flush passed 
over the girl's face, but Tom did not see it. "And I 
never could have loved her as I do you, sweetest and best 
and loveliest and dearest of women!" 

And then Tom, weak as he was, showed himself no 
bungler at the art of love making, for a few moments. 
At last Ethol recovered her breath and smoothed her 
towsled black hair and asked : 

"This Margaret Henderson, does Colonel Bancroft still 
love her, and does she still love him?" 

"Oh, yes! Why, they were just made for each other. 
They are a splendid pair, and they are to be married so 
soon as the war is over. It is all settled." 

"How do .vou know?" 

**Why, before the battle of Stone Kiver they wrote 
me from home and told me all about it; that they were 
engaged; that the old judge had given his consent, only 
stipulating that they should not be married till the war 
was over. And I saw a ring he wore; I knew it was one 
she gave him. It was a plain gold ring." 

Quick as a flash Ethel slipped a ring off her finger into 
her pocket. "But why should I fear?" she asked her- 
self. "One plain gold ring is just like another, and he 
could suspect nothing. Poor, poor dear Tom!" 

Then she roused herself and turning to him quickly 
she said : 

"I can tell you more about yourself and what has hap- 
pened to you during the last six months than you know. " 

"What do you mean?" 

"Do you suppose I could rest content there in Nash- 
ville, seeing your name in the papers among the missing, 
and do nothing to try to save you?" 

"And you — what did you do?" 



GOD*S WAR. 313 

"I did nothing very wonderful. I went to the com- 
mander of the post at Nashville and got a pass from him, 
telling him that my brother was lying dangerously 
wounded at Murfreesboro. I told him that my brother 
belonged to an Illinois regiment and that my name was 
Eliza Landers. Don't frown! Do you suppose he would 
have given me a pass if he had suspected that I was a 
Southern girl? When I got to Murfreesboro I got per- 
mission from General Eosecrans to go and look for you. 
I told him I was your sister — and when I broke down 
weeping, for I couldn't help it, the stern old general 
had tears in his eyes too, and he said: 'Don't cry — don't 
cry — little girl! Of course you shall have your pass, 
and if those rebels don't let you have your brother they 
have harder hearts than I think they have.' And so he 
sent an escort with me, away beyond the lines — I had 
old Selim still — and after many days I found yo\x in a 
hospital at Shelbyville. You were terribly wounded ; 
your skull had been fractured just where it is injured 
now, and that is why you lost your memory. The doctor 
here has explained it all to me. It was broken and 
pressed upon that part of your brain that you remem- 
ber with, darling, and you were unconscious for days, 
even after I got you. Then besides, you had a bayonet 
stab through the lungs " 

"By George, I remember that!" 

"Put your hand there and you will feel the scar. 
Well, the surgeon in charge of the hospital was glad to 
get rid of you, and I took you off to the home of a friend 
in the mountains. And there we nursed you back to 
health again, only you were greatly changed, and were 
not yourself. You remembered nothing, and didn't even 
know me, your little sweetheart, who was breaking her 
heait over you!" 

"And you saved my life?" 

"I suppose so, for I really think you would have died 
if I had left you where you were." 

"Oh, my darling, how can I ever repay you?" 

"Didn't you save my life first?" she asked; but she 
turned her head as she spoke. 

"Then God has certainly given us to each other," 



314' GOD'S WAR. 

said Tom deeply and solemnly, as he drew her to his 
breast; "we can never doubt after this that He Himself 
has made us for each other, and brought us so wonder- 
fully and mysteriously together, can we?" 

"No," she answered faintly, as her face grew pale and 
her hands turned cold. 

"Oh, my darling, it makes me very happy; my happi- 
ness is so great, so solemn, and almost awful, that I 
tremble at it!" 

She did, indeed, tremble; and at last broke into a wild 
storm of sobs, hiding her face on Tom's shoulder. And 
he strove to soothe and quiet her, patting and kissing 
her cheek and hair, and murmuring his noble, loving 
faith in her, till at length she could endure it no longer. 
"Oh, my God, let me go!" she cried. "Let me go! I 
must be alone, a little while," and she fled from him. 

"Poor child," said Tom to himself, as he watched her 
out of sight. "She cannot bear so much joy; it almost 
kills me! My noble, pure, true Ethel! She has gone to 
thank God on her knees, as I would like to do if I could 
only find the strength. But I will pray as I am^ — He will 
hear me just as well — especially as my prayer will go up 
with my darling's to His ear!" 

And covering his face with his pale, thin hand, and 
while the tears poured down his face, the poor boy prayed 
earnestly and long and joyfully, and thanked God for 
this great blessing and asked His help that he might 
show himself worthy of it, if such a thing might be. 
And then he sat rejoicing with an ecstasy that ennobled 
him, till Ethel came back to him. 

When she returned she sat quietly at his feet and re- 
sumed the details of the story of tlie period of his dark- 
ness, changing the facts from time to time as the require- 
ments of her deception made it necessary. But in the 
main the story that she told him was true. And then 
she called 'Curg to take up the narrative where she left 
off, till at last Tom could account, or thought he could, 
for the mouths that had passed since a rebel musket 
knocked him insensible at Stone River. 

Naturally satisfied on these points, he wanted news 
from the army. "Where was it and what had it done? 



GOD'S WAR. 315 

But here he was checked. The good doctor coming on 
tbo scene found his patient grown feverish and excited 
and with other dangerous symptoms not present when he 
left him in the morning. So he was conveyed back to 
his bed under strict injunctions neither to talk nor listen 
to others, but to go to sleep. And to the end that he 
might lose no time the doctor gave him to drink a cool- 
ing cup, which soon charmed away his senses; and then 
Ethel took her hand away from his and left him. 

Other long weeks of grand summer weather passed 
quietly and happily and quickly for Tom, during which 
he throve and grew stronger and more and more himself 
every day. 



316 gud's war. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

THE INEVITABLE. 

From the hour that Miles Bancroft met Ethel Lynde 
in the boarding house at Nashville when he went to in- 
terrogate her lis was his duty as provost-marshal, he was 
a lost man. The beauty of the woman at first attracted 
hitn as it would have attracted any man in whose veins ran 
v.'uim blood. The soft, low, tinkling voice, exquisitely 
iiunlulated and just what was to bo looked for from her 
red-lipped, child-like mouth, added to her loveliness of 
lace, eyes, and figure. And Miles found himself very 
much interested as was natural. But he never would 
liave dreamed of loving her if slie had not exerted herself 
to compel him to do so. 

She had come to Nashville with a purpose very clearly 
outlined, and she lost no time in getting to her business. 
She had sought her employment first because she was 
actually a strong adherent of the cause of the South and 
was eager to do something to help secure the success of 
the Confederate arms; and secondly because she longed 
for excitement and distraction from sadness and grief 
over her own life Avhich had been marred by her own acts 
in following her own inclinations in her own willful way. 
She was not as bad a woman as she was capable of be- 
coming; but she was bitter enough to be reckless of her 
life, which she held much Ifss dear even than what of 
honor and womanliness still remained to her. 

She had lived long enough and been successful enough 
to have confidence in her ability to cbarm and fascinate; 
and she thought that it was a proof of her power that 
Avithout much difficulty she obtained the employment she 
Bought, with privileges sufficiently elastic to make every-. 



god's war. 317 

thing easy to her. And she had pursued heremplo.vinuet 
for some months iu the western part of Tennessee and iu 
Mississippi before she met Tom and Miles Bancroft. 
Once in a mouth or so, as she tired of her uild life, she 
sought her father iu the mountains and there, free from 
any sort of annoyances (for she had so long been her own 
mistress and had her own way, that the old man forebore 
even to question her) she remained, till quiet communion 
Avith the pure and iuuoceut pleasures which nature could 
afford her, soothed and tranquillized her. Then her old 
gnawing pain would start to life once again, and she 
would fly back to the excitements of her perilous occupa- 
tion for relief. 

With a dramatic instinct that was often useful to her 
she arranged the manner of her entry within the Union 
lines; and planned it to deceive, as it did; for of course 
everybody believed her story when it was supported by 
that of Tom and his men, who testified to the pursuit and 
the shots that were fired after her as she escaped from 
the rebels. Her coquettish and least harmful instincts 
were aroused when she met Tom and saw how much he 
admired her. She was old enough to feel greatly flattered 
at awakening such warm feelings in so young and so 
handsome a man. But she soon found that he was lova- 
ble and pure, such a sweetheart as is not to be had every 
day ; and even if she had had anything to gaiu by getting 
him within her toils, her more dangerous nets, she real- 
ized very speedily that her own heart would not permit 
her to do so. 

There was something touching iu the blind, unques- 
tioning, chivalric trustfulness of the boy, who accepted 
all that she offered at full face value and was made happy 
by it. Besides she could make nothing out of him if she 
would have done so ; and again would not have done so 
if she could. If it is possible for such a woman, under 
such circumstances to love any human being purely and 
unselfishly, as other women do, she so loved Tom ; and 
she would have given up her life before she would have 
put him in danger by using him or information he could 
give her, for the benefit of her emploj'ers. 

But with Miles Bancroft it was different. Here was a 



318 god's war. 

man on the general staff, of rather high rank and [likely 
to be intrusted with knowledge of affairs which was of a 
confidential nature and therefore useful to the Confeder- 
ates. And then he was a man ; and of about her own 
age; and just the sort of a man for her to wheedle and 
use and she could take pleasure in doing so. Aside from 
business considerations, which were of course paramount, 
she felt the co<iuette's natural desire to conquer him and 
have him in her leading strings. 

She had not talked with him five minutes before she 
realized this; and she at once brought all her skill 
into play to seduce him from not only his duty as a 
soldier but to any sweetheart he might have away up 
North, as well. And her success was so easy and speedy 
that at his first visit she almost despised her victory; and 
was fairly reluctant to give him that lingering, clinging 
pressure of her hand at parting with him the first time, 
which sent him off back to his quarters struggling and 
fighting a fierce battle with his sense of honor and his 
love for Margaret. 

On his part, Miles went to call on this new refugee as 
in the discharge of a disagreeable task that had fallen upon 
him but which he would gladly have escaped. And as 
he stepped into the odorous hall of the boarding house 
he determined to make his visit as brief as a conscientious 
performance of his duty would permit. But as he came 
out he acknowledged to his accusing conscience that he 
had waste i the best part of half a day, and was angry 
with himself for having done so; while his memory ling- 
ered with a delicious pleasure over the little incidents of 
the hour just gone by; the shy, appealing looks from 
melting black eye which seemed not altogether dusky 
with concern for herself, awaj' from her home and sur- 
rounded by strangers in a rough garrison town filled with 
soldiers, but also almost pleading with a handsome man 
not to press his advantages too far, not to impose upon 
the innocence and ignorant helplessness of a poor, young 
girl in circumstances which should so strongly appeal to 
his chivalric consideration ; these and a thousand other 
little things did memory constantly put before his eyes, 
treacherously aiding the devil to thrust Margaret Hen- 
derson's face far in the dim background meanwhile. 



GOD'S WAR. 319 

He did not surrender %\ilbout a sort of a struggle. 
After his first visit be did Jiot call for a day or two, 
•wrestling with an almost irresistible inclination to do so, 
how'ever, and trj-iiig to strengthen himself and his good 
resolutions by writing long and unusually affectionate 
letters to the loving girl at home who was praying for 
him hourly, and trusting him completely, and suffering 
agonies of apprehension for his safety ; but never once 
dreaming of the real danger to which he was exposed and 
which if not overcome would perhaps ruin her own life 
as well as his. 

But Ethel wasted no time; when Miles did not come 
she sent hira a cunningly devised note begging his aid 
in some matters of petty annoyance; and after his second 
call she had no further trouble with him — save to keep 
him away long enough to permit her to receive poor Tom. 

As rapid as the darting of a bird from the tree-top to 
the ground beneath, was Miles Bancroft's fall; and he 
plunged headlong into the intoxicating depths of a guilty 
passion; and seemed to change his very nature, almost 
as quickly. 

He had, or he thought he had, onlj' two courses open 
to him. He could act honorably and secure his release 
from Margaret, and what was of more importance, give 
her freedom from a man who was no longer worthy of 
hex', and then abandon himself to the delirium of this 
unworthy delight which had come into his life; or else 
he could go on pretending to Margaret to be true to her, 
holding her to her plighted promises and taking the 
chances that no evil save that which blackened his own 
soul, and which he thought he might conceal forever, 
should come out of it to anybody. 

And he chose the latter; for two reasons. First, he 
lied to himself and pretended to believe it, when he said 
that it was a thing that happened to every man, almost, 
born with any heart or blood in him ; and if other men 
could go through with such things without taking any 
special harm, why could he not also? The second rea- 
son he urged, when his better nature would not be still, 
and to quiet it; and that was that he bad become ensnared 
and it would require all the strength he could bring into 



320 GOD'S WAR. 

play to enable him to escape the siren's toils; and surely 
the knowledge of his relations to the noble girl in Clay- 
ton, would be one of the most powerful aids to redemp- 
tion he could possibly have. 

And then, as he drifted on, further and further away 
from the shore where Margaret stood, and growini; 
weaker and less able to even go back to her, he became 
harder and more seliish, and said to himself that in the 
very nature of things this could not last long, and it 
would be a good thing to have the judge's money and 
lands to fall back on, and begin the career which his 
ambition pointed out to him, long after this dark-eyed 
witch had passed out of sight on her downward course. 

As we have seen, the first intimation he ever had of 
her character as a 6i\v he got on that black Friday night 
at Stone River, and then he found himself too far gone, 
too much involved to even think of turning back. He 
loved the woman so madly and desperately that he would 
have sacrificed everything to be enabled to share any 
part of her life. And he often, afterward, as he felt the 
galling humiliation of the chains that bound him, bitterly 
reproached himself that he had not killed himself by 
Tom's side on the battlefield as he started to do. And 
yet, notwithstanding the smart he felt as he acknowledged 
to himself that her anxiety and pleading that he should 
not take his own life came not from any love for him, 
as she half-pretended, but from a desire to keep him 
and make further use of him; despite all this, be could 
not overcome his meaner self, he could not make 
up his mind to leave her. And he clung to her, 
and followed and obeyed her like a dog, and lent his 
own resources, both of mind and the information he 
came into possession of, to aid her in her successful 
career as a spy in the emploj- of the enemy. 

So abject did he become. And the more he realized 
his abjectness the more he became discouraged, until at 
last he felt that nothing but death could release him. 
And he waited for that release — if it came in his death 
that ended all; if it came in hers, then be would 
go back to Margaret and try to make amends by leading 
a decent life for the wrongdoing he had been guilty of. 



god's war. 321 

There vrere times, indeed, when he dared to oppose 
his will and stubbornness to her wishes and inclinations, 
but this was only when he was in liquor. And his resort 
to whisky as a means of benumbing his conscience and 
solacing his grief, grew after a time to be a habit, fre- 
quently recurring to intoxication, but only when he had 
respite from oflScial duties. At such times he grew fierce 
and arx'ogant; frightening Ethel very much at first, till 
she learned to go with him in his vagaries and soothe 
him till she could make him sleep. But she never felt 
quite safe when she encountered him in a state of intoxi- 
cation; for she always feared that in a moment of drunken 
fury he might slay her. 

With the adroitness of an accomplished intrigante 
Ethel devised plans by means of which, wherever she 
was (save one place, her father's house), she could keep 
up a constant communication with Miles. And she not 
only compelled him to give her the information she de- 
sired when she was with him in person, but also to send 
it to her when she found it either convenient or pleasant 
to be absent from him. Frequently she compelled him 
to make an excuse which would enable him, under cover 
of official business, to meet her at points between the 
lines; and he smiled grimly more than once when he saw 
how little value she put upon his life, thinking what a 
fool and cowardly slave he had become. 

While she usually kept him informed as to her where- 
abouts, yet there were times when she concealed the des- 
tination from him. He did not know that this was when 
she went to her father's house in the mountains; and he 
grew unreasonable and jealous, and brooded over it till 
it proved his death. 

For her long absence with Tom aroused his suspicions 
so fiercely, and he grew so despei'ate over it and inflamed 
his passions so by drinking heavily, that at last he sent 
spies after her, and eventually sought her himself. 

It was in the latter part of August and just before the 
Army of the Cumberland started out on the Chickamauga 
campaign that Miles determined to find Ethel if it took 
his life to do it. He felt that it would be at least a 
blissful death if he died at her feet, and he prayed 



Z22 GOD'S WAR. 

that he might meet that end, if he could have nothing 
better. By following up the clews he had in his hands, 
the communications with her when he had last heard 
from her, he made up his mind that she was somewhere 
within a radius of twenty miles from a certain spot; and 
singularly enough the central point of his radius was the 
mountain upon which her father's home was situated. 
And there he determined to search for her. 

He contrived a plausible story to persuade the general 
to send him out with an escort to scout through the 
countrj' where he suspected that she was. And he 
spent some days in his quest before he found her; and 
he died at her feet as he had prayed that he might ; only 
her dark eyes, fixed full uj^on his, as he also prayed, 
were not mournfully loving, but were filled with a bitter 
hatred and scorn fit to scorch his soul as it left his body. 

It happened in this way. 

He had spent the long day fruitlesslj', searching every 
house and hut and cabin for the woman he so loved, and 
fearing, at the opening of each door or as he peered 
through a window, to find her in the arms of the rival 
with whom his jealous heart told him she was dallying 
while so long and strangely absent from him. He had 
separated from his escort and had sent them off at noon 
with orders to go back to the headquarters of the army, 
saying that he would follow shortly. He was dejected 
and drank heavily during the afternoon. And as he 
drank he grew more and more fierce in thinking of the 
wrongs he had suffered at her hands. He cursed her in 
his heart, and just as he had vowed that he Avould kill 
her at sight and then put an end to his own life, she 
appeared before him. The spot was within a mile of her 
father's house. Miles had dismounted and while his 
horse was cropping the grass by the roadside he sat upon 
the trunk of a fallen tree glaring at space with the fierce 
gaze of a drunken man. 

But when, suddenly, old Selim, stepping lightly and 
daintily as becomes a high-bred horse bearing a burden 
of which he is proud, came prancing down the road and 
Miles lifted his eyes and beheld Ethel before him with 
a beauty he had never seen in her before, his heart soft- 



god's war. 333 

ened and melted, and he cried out to her loudb' and joy- 
ously. For she had been for weeks living amid purity 
and peace, and she had been soothed and calroed and 
begun to hope that she might retrieve her errors and lead 
a better life in some way. And all this had given her 
face a new sweetness and attractiveness. She started 
out on what she had half-determined should be the last 
errand she would ever do as a spy, having been seized 
with a great dislike for her treacherous, degrading, 
thankless occupation. 

At the sound of his voice she reined up her horse, 
and looked upon him with fear, disgust, and astonish- 
ment. Her first thought was that he had tracked her to 
her hiding-place and probably knew that Tom was 
with her, and was determined to kill him. She plainly 
saw that he was in a dangerous state of intoxication, and 
fearing what she did, she determined he should never 
reach the cabin alive. She was armed and knew how to 
use her weapons expertly. 

He rushed toward her with his arms outspread as if 
he would embrace her; but she coldly bade him keep 
his distance. He halted and his brow became black and 
fierce. 

"What are you doing here?" she asked haughtily. 

"Well, that's a pretty question to ask? I'm looking 
for you, of course." 

"And now that you have found me, what is your busi- 
ness with me?" 

'■'You are taking a high tone! You don't seem glad to 
see me." 

"No, I am not glad to see you. I had hoped I would 
never see you again." 

"You've got through with me, have no further use for 
me, I presume?" 

"Precisely," she replied with icy coldness. "I have 
no further use for you, and I had hoped that I never 
would see you again." 

Her tone and manner fired him, and he became a 
maniac. 

"Perhaps you. do see me for the last time," he growled 
hoarsely. "I understand you, you she-devil! You have 



S24 god's war. 

Rnother sweetheart near here, ancl you have been with 
him all this tiiue, while I havu been eating my heart out 
for a woman who is not fit for me to wipe my shoes on." 
She could not help showing that her composure was 
shaken. He saw it, and it gave confirnaation to his jeal- 
ous forebodings. 

"Ah, it is true, I see it in your face!" he yelled. 
"Yon lie!" she answered, unable to restrain her bit- 
terness any longer, and suddenly grown fiercely wild to 
end everything then and there. "You lie, you drunken 

brute! Out of my waj' — leave this spot " 

"Ah, go away? You are afraid to have lue near him? 
And well you may be, for do you know what I mean to 
do? I mean to kill him, just as I meant to kill the 

other one " 

She started again, and grew pale. 

"Ah, that is it! That is the truth! It is that boy, 
Tom Bailey, you have here! You told me he was dead, 
that he had died on the field at Murfreesboro, and you 
had buried him. You lied! He is here and alive, but 
b^' G — d he shall never see another sun rise! I know 
where he is, and 1 will make sure of him this time!" 

"You are a coward and a liar! Tom Bailey is not 
here, he is dead as I told you" — and she grew anxious 
and her voice took on a half-pleading intonation as the 
fear that he would kill 'J'om rose in her heart. But he 
started up the hill, by the bridle-trail down which she 
had come, and as he started he drew his revolver and set 
his face desperately, as she had seen it only once before. 
"Halt!" she cried. "Stay a moment — Miles, let me 
tell you once more — 'Stop, or I will kill you," she 
shrieked in her frantic fear as she di-ew her revolver. 
Miles stopped and looked at her an instant, with no fear 
for her weapon pointed full at his heart and not ten feet 
from him. 

"You're right," he said at last. "You're I'ight ■ — 
you, you are nearly always right in this devil's busi- 
ness." 

And he sat down upon a huge bowlder; and drawing 
forth his bottle he coolly took a drink. His red eyes 
glared on her while he drank, and she trembled involun- 



god's war. 325 

tarily. "You'i's right," and, replacing his bo tie he 
stumbled to his feet, drawing his revolver as he did so. 
"You're right! I'll kill j'ou first, you she-devil, and then 
I'll — " but as he slowly raised his v>eapou, she antici- 
pated him, and a ball from her pistol pierced his heart. 
He paled and his eyes glared with a wild amazement as 
he reeled ; then he made a convulsive effort to remain 
standing, but fell and rolled into the road, his revolver 
going off" as he did so. 

For a moment the woman looked at him with a horri- 
fied stare. She saw that the ball entered just over his 
heart. She saw his convulsive shudderings graduallj' 
cease; and then she knew that he was dead. 

Then she trembliugb' replaced her revolver, and lashing 
her horse, she fled swiftly, sending back one despairing 
glance at the bloated, distorted face of the man whom 
she had ruined, body and soul ! 

An hour later, Tom, sitting at the doctor's door, in 
the fast gathering twilight, heard with surprise a horse 
coming slowly up the bridle-path. 

"Why," he said to the doctor, "Ethel must have 
changed her mind. It is well that she did, too, for she 
would not have had time to reach her friend's house 
before dark. ' ' 

Ethel had made a visit to a school-mate, some miles 
distant and still further in the mountains, an excuse to 
Tom and her father for her going away. She would 
spend a week or two, she said, with her old friend, since 
Tom was getting strong so fast, and then she would 
return. 

"Can it be she?" asked the doctor, rising uneasily. 
"Can anything have happened? When she does say she 
will go, she does not come back." 

The sound of the horse's hoofs came more and more 
slowly, and at last stopped altogether. 

"Wait," said the doctor, as he stepped within the door 
and securing two revolvers returned witn them, giving 
one to Tom. "I do not like the sound. We will go 
see." 

And they went, cautiously looking about them as they 
did so. And in a few moments they came upon a rider- 



326 god's war. 

less horse, quietly feediDg upou the grass. He bore mili- 
tary accoulcumeuts, tbose of an oiEcer of cavalry or of 
tbo staff. As Tom approached him he raised his head 
aud whiijiiiod sof tl.\ , 

""Why," exclaimed Toiu, "I know this horse! This is 
Colonel JJancroft's horse — the one the judge gave him — 
the rouu <'olt my uncle raised. See, here are his initials 
on the saddle-flaps in brass nails, 'M. B. ' What does 
this meauV" 

"Let us go further and see!" 

Tom mounted the horse, and the two went slowlj' and 
yet more cautiously down the hill. At the foot they 
found the dead body. 

They placed it on the grass by the roadside to remain 
till morning; and as they did so Tom removed the valu- 
ables and papers from the pockets, and then they went 
back to the house. 

And there, looking over the papers that night, Tom 
learned a part of the truth ; for there were letters from 
Ethel ; and they were only such letters ag a woman 
should write to the man she loved. 

And one of them was only a month old. 



god's war. 327 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE LOST IS FOUND. 

The letters which Tom Bailey found in Miles Ban- 
croft's pockets never left his possession till he threw 
them into the fire and burned them. This he did within 
three days of the finding of them. The three days he 
spent in striving to understand what it was that he ought 
to believe concerning the matters they opened up to him. 
We may well believe that he had a hard time with it all. 

As clearly as anything ever breaks into the mind of 
man, there came back to Tom's memory the picture of 
Miles Bancroft's face lit up with a hot glare of light and 
filled with the fierceness of murder — the picture he had 
carried with him from the moment when a shock awoke 
him to half-realize that Miles was trying to choke him 
on the battlefield of Stone Kiver. I say this was the 
thing that came to him when a glance at the letters first 
suggested to him that Miles Bancroft loved Ethel and 
that perhaps this love was returned. 

And then his suspicions grew to a granite conviction 
that his life had been attempted by this man. 

But he tarried not to think of this. Another and far 
more important matter claimed his attention. 

Up to this time it had scarcely occurred to the boy 
that Ethel might be as attractive to others as she had 
been to him. As he esteemed her the loveliest and best 
of her sex he would have acknowledged that others might 
love her if it had been suggested to him. But the 
thought had never entered his mind. He was not of a 
suspicious nature. When he hated he did so in a whole- 
sale way which left no uncertain ground upon which the 
object of his dislike might stand — the feeling shut out all 



o'is god's war. 

rossibilities. So when he loved, he never dreamed of 
danger. He was never on the alert as to his own inter- 
ests as some men always are except when the jiray backs 
were over against him, and then his soldierly instinct 
made him suspect the moves the enemy might make, as 
well as guard against theiu or take steps to defeat them. 

Now, however, he had proofs before him, that for 
some purpose or other, Ethel had in-ofessed herself in 
love with Miles Bancroft, and that at a time, too, when 
she was giving Tom every evidence that a pure woman 
could give that she loved him. "What was her motive in 
ail this? C^uld she really have loved Miles? Or was 
she deceiving him? She certainly could not have loved 
both. 

Tom was a novice in love, so far as a wide experience 
in its afifairs went. But he thought that there could be 
no doubt that Ethel loved him and him alone. No 
woman could have done what she had done for him; no 
woman could have wept over him and caressed and almost 
worshipped him, as he recalled that she had done, if she 
had not really at heart an overwhelming and genuine 
love for him. After the first shock there came to him a 
thousand things which he could not well have formulated 
into words of description, that proved to him that she 
loved nobody in all the Avorld as she did him. And so, 
at last, he gave up that poiut as no longer a matter for 
conjecture, and settled himself down to ascertain if pos- 
sible what Ethel's motives could have been in persuading 
^liles that he was the man who held her best and highest 
affections. 

It was a long and a tedious and a painful pursuit. 
But at last he came to a conclusion which his own yearn- 
ing determination to find nothing wrong induced, per- 
haps, and was content — in a way. This conclusion was 
that in some way Ethel knew that Miles had sought to 
kill him — perhaps out of jealousy — and that to save his 
life, or at least protect it till he should grow strong 
enough to care for himself she had pretended to love the 
would-be murderer. In this way she may have sought to 
remove the only cause for Miles' terrible enmity. 

He Avoudered whether it was possible that Ethel had 



V god's war. 329 

witnessed Miles' attempt upon his life? Why not? He 
waci couvinced that the attempt was made on tlje battle- 
field ; notwithstanding Ethel had said that she found him 
in hospital at Shelbyville, a rebel hospital. But she had 
also laughed at the idea that Miles had tried to kill him, 
and had even pretended not to know him at all. Now, 
in the new light he Lad just received, the story about the 
hospital did not seem a very reasonable one; he had be- 
come thoroughly convinced, and nothing would ever 
shake his belief, that Miles had tried to take his life; and 
as for her not knowing Miles — here was indisputable evi- 
dence that she did. He knew her handwriting, her 
modes of expressing herself, too well to doubt for a mo- 
ment the authenticity of the letters. Ethel had written 
them. 

So he settled down to the conviction, or what the poor 
fellow tried to make himself believe was a conviction, 
that Ethel had played this double part for the purpose of 
shielding him from danger. 

It never once occurred to him that Ethel could have 
had any knowledge of Miles' death. He was spared for 
the moment the horrible suggestion that perhaps she 
might have witnessed it. For when Ethel left the cabin 
she took the bridle-trail leading away from the spot 
where Miles had found her. The path she took lay in 
the direction of the supposed home of her mythical 
school friend ; but after she had got safely out of sight 
she crossed over a lower spur of the hill, to the trail 
which led her to the scene of her crime. 

In the course of his determined fight to retain his faith 
in Ethel, each day brought him nevertheless new suspi- 
cions to combat. What were her relations to the quick- 
eyed, soft-spoken little doctor who had so skillfully 
healed his wounds? Despite all their precautions there 
was an affectionate familiarity between the two which had 
never before struck him as peculiar. Now, however, he 
marveled at it exceedingly. He did not feel at liberty to 
openly ask questions with a view to having his doubts 
solved; but it must be confessed that he did lay a few 
parallels and do a little sapping and mining to discover 
the truth. He flattered himself that he did this quite 



330 GOD'S WAR. 

skillfully, but his shrewd host saw through it in an in- 
stant. Indeed he had expected it and was therefore pre- 
pared to answer. 

"Ah, Ethel, she was the daughter of my dear friend. 
When he died the poor little mees, she was given me by 
heem with his last breath. She has grown to be like the 
daughter of my own." 

Tom was, therefore, speedily satisfied on this score. 
When, however, he encountered a few days later the 
question of her strange freedom of action, entirely un- 
trammeled so far as her guardian was concerned, it was 
not so easy to reach a conclusion. She was daring and 
her supposed foster-father trusted her implicitly — he 
knew that — but it seemed a strange thing that she should 
take such long, lonely tours, no one knew where, in a 
country filled with rough soldiers, altogether without 
protection. And this led up with a fresh shock to the 
story she had told him at the picket post near Nashville. 
There seemed to be something strange about this matter. 
So far as her statement that her father was a Union man 
was concerned, why — if she meant her foster-father it 
was all straight. For the doctor did not attempt to dis- 
guise the truth of this from Tom. But if she meant her 
own father — her own father had been dead for years! 
Why had she omitted to tell him this? In other particu- 
lars her story and the facts which he found did not seem 
to correspond. And here he could ask no questions, nor 
even lay parallels, nor sap and mine. He must wait, 
and meantime puzzle his poor brains which had already 
sufiEered enough one would think, till the truth came. 

But on one point he was determined he would not 
permit himself to trifle. He knew that he had no right 
to think a thought which was not to her credit, until he 
had the clearest proofs that she had deliberately and with 
a wrongful motive decei^'ed him. He would believe in 
her till she herself should tell him that she T.'as unworthy 
of his confidence — and even then he would take into con- 
sideration any circumstances which might be in her favor, 
whether she should urge them or not. 

At first the boy's brain worked verj' slowly on these 
mysterious and troublesome matters. But by degrees he 



\ 

\ 

\ god's war. 331 

grew stronger and quicker till at last he had worked 
them all out, and, despite everything, in her favor, as we 
have seen. 

It was on the 12th of September that Tom, with faith- 
ful 'Curg to care for him, started out in search of hia 
regiment. He had regained his strength almost com- 
pletely, but made his journey b}' easy stages, and traveled 
iu as straight a line as he could to Chattanooga. 

He accompanied Steedman's two brigades in their 
charge over the southernmost prong of the "Horseshoe," 
having picked up a private soldier's uniform and a 
musket on his way to the battlefield. All that he could 
learn of his regiment was that it had crossed Lookout 
some twenty miles below Chattanooga, with Thomas' 
Corps, to which it belonged. 

As he was plunging forward in the charge he suddenly 
became aware of a line of nonchalant men who were sub- 
mitting to be run over by Steedman's troops with an 
appearance of the utmost unconcern. There was some- 
thing about the manner and style of it all which struck 
him as being familiar, and he involuntarily paused to 
look about him. He happened to stop by the side of a 
big, burly captain Avho was leaning negligently against a 
tree enjoying the charge. In a second of time their eyes 
met. 

"Hello, Nat. How are 3'ou? '" 

"Tom Bailey, by the jumpiu' Jehosaphat! " 

"How are you, old man?" 

"Straight as a string, Tom, and mighty glad to see 
you!" 

And as the men, recognizing their long-lost comrade, 
came crowding up, Nat turned : 

"Where's that hoodoo Baptist?" 

"Heah I is, Massa Cappen! I'se done gone fotch him 
back. Datchyers wot ye told me to do!" 

Nat looked at the darky for a few moments with eyes 
that could Jiot conceal his admiration. Thou ha let loose 
the restraint and roared out like a stentor : 

"Oh, you old son of a <.!.:Lni!" 

Whereat 'Curg 'a eyes shone yet more brilliantly, 

"You'se been u-keepin' up your flesh pow'ful well foh 



332 god's war. 

a man what hain't eat nuffin foh foMh months, Maesa Kel- 

But Nat had turned to Tom, who was bewildered by 
the fusillade of eager questions to which he was sub- 
jected. The hour thus spent was a short one; and when 
at its end the enemy came charging up the hill again and 
the air thickened up with bullets, Nat happening to turn 
about encountered 'Curg's face — which was by no means 
serene in its expression nor altogether filled with a calm 
content. 

"Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy, what did I sa.v to you 
long ago? Here you are stalking god-like in the awful 
hell of battle! Get to the rear and steal me something to 
eat! D'ye hear?" 

"Yessah! I'se gwine sah, I'se gwine!" 

And he turned to go. 

"Hold on a minute; remember you've got to steal for 
Captain Bailey, too, this time. And, bj- the waj', see if 
you can't manage to strike a little whisky." 

"Yessah, j'essah ; ef dishyer ole nose o' mine hain't 
loss he's cuuuin', I'm shore to get it." 

There was a fair and large trail of dust that marked 
the swift retreat of Xerxes Lycurgus McCurdy as he 
sliot down the hill. 

When Nat faced to the front again there was Tom 
handling a revolving rifle with the best of them. Nat 
watched him for a moment and then, as he sheepishly 
rubbed his eye, said softly : 

"Thank God, he is alive!" 



god's war. 333 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

A NOBLE GRIEF NOBLY BORNE. 

One evening the judge went home to a supper with a 
sadly perturbed air. The city daily which the evening 
train had brought in was closely and compactly folded 
up and hidden aAvay in the inner pocket of his coat. He 
almost staggered as he walked and the most careless 
glance would have shown that he was making a great 
effort to control himself. The war, so prolonged and so 
bloody, so filled with sorrow for the Avhole land, and the 
end of which still seemed so far off to the thoughtful, 
had aged the judge perceptibly, and the hale old man of 
the spring of '61, had become haggard and pale. And 
to-night there was a cloud of woe in addition to the look 
of anxiety with which his ej-es were of late so much 
laden ; and they seemed to shrink back in his head while 
dark circles surrounded them. He was relieved that 
Margaret was not at hand to greet him as was her cus- 
tom, and he sat quietly in a dark corner of the library 
till the tea-bell summoned him. 

Margaret had been unusually cheerful and light-hearted 
for some time. The rapid advance of Rosecrans' army 
proved, she thought, that the rebels were weakening and 
that the end of the war was near at hand, when the man 
she idolized would come back to her. She did not think 
as deeplj' as her father; but he was at pains to spare her 
his own forebodings as to how much longer the struggle 
might last. In addition to her hopeful frame of mind on 
this point, Margaret had another source of happiness in 
the letters which came from Miles. They had come 
much more frequently since the battle of Stone River 
than before. And they were much warmer and more 
affectionate. The protestations of affection which they 



;j34 god's war. 

brought were stronger and more fervid than ever; and 
with them came such adoriuy; estimation of her own self 
aa seemed almost worship; so that she laughed at times 
at his ''extravagance, " as she called it, and grew yet 
happier to think that such a hero should love her so 
much as to exalt her far above anything that she believed 
she deserved. 

It had been her custom for months to demand the 
newspaper from her father every evening when he came 
home, and to sit for a brief half-hour to read him the 
war news. On this particular evening, however, she 
failed to meet him till they sat down together at the tea- 
table. Even then, filled with happy thoughts, for she 
had had an unusually affectionate letter from Miles by 
the morning mail, she smilingly seated herself without 
looking at the judge, and so soon as he had tremblingly 
asked the divine blessing upon the food of which they 
were about to partake, busied herself in pouring the tea. 
The absence of all anxiety made her oblivious to the un- 
accustomed tremor of the old man's voice; and he was 
glad of it and sat pondering. 

At length she raised her eyes as she said : 

"I think I will step down to the post office after tea, 
father. I have written a letter to Miles, and " 

luvoluntarib' the old man groaned. 

"Father, father, what do you mean? Why do you 
groan and look so sud ?" but the shadow fell darkly upon 
ner, and she went to his side. "Father, where is the 
Commercial? " 

"I — I — '* and the old man fumbled feebly about his 
pockets. 

"Tell me what it is. You have bad news. Has there 
been another battle?" 

"Another battle — no — oh, no — not another battle. 
But, my child, you must be strong, you must " 

"I can be strong, father. I am strong. You have bad 
news — Miles is wounded — lean bear it, father — show me 
the paper." 

He handed it to her without a word, and then watched 
her pale face grow paler and her eyes dilate, as with an 
unerring instinct she turned to the dispatch which told 



(lOD'S WAR. 335 

that Colonel Miles Baucroftj while on a scouting expedi- 
tion, had been killed by guerrillas. 

Wheu she had riuished she rose from hei* seat, and 
gently waving back her father's outstretched arms, went 
from the room. 

"Please tinish without me, father; I think I had better 
go upstairs and lie down a little while." 

But the judge wanted no tea. He sat there for half an 
hour immovable. His heart was wrung with anguish at 
the thought of the suffering that had come upon his 
daughter, the darling of his old age, and the light of his 
life. Then he rang the bell and bidding the servant 
clear away he crept noiselessly up to Margaret's room. 

She was lying upon a sofa as he saw by the dim light 
her ej-es shining through the gloom. As he knelt beside 
her and kissed her and passed his hand caressingly over 
her face, he found that she was tearless. 

"Oh, my daughter, how can I help you?" 

"You cannot help me, father," she replied with calm, 
unbroken voice; "I would like to be alone for a little 
while, that is all. I do not wish to be rude, you know, 
dear father " 

"I know — I know. Oh, Margaret, Margaret, my darl- 
ing child, I would give my life to spare you this pain!" 

"I know you would father; but it would not spare me 
any pain ; it would only make it worse. Go down, dear, 
and I will come presently and talk with you." 

But he waited for an hour, softly shading the lamp in 
his library ; for he could not read. Margaret did not 
come down. She sent him no summons. At last he took 
his hat and cane and feebly tottered down the street. His 
instinct told him that Susie would be the best companion 
for his poor girl in this awful trial. The two had be- 
come intimate, and loved each other more and moi'e as 
the weary years of the war went by. 

All Clayton knew what had happened, and as Miles' 
engagement to the judge's daughter was also well known, 
everybody knew where the blow had fallen. The groups 
of men on the sidewalks made way for the judge, who 
passed slowly along without a glance of recognition for 
any one of them. 



336 GOD'S WAR. 

Susie met him at the door, and anticipated him. 

"You want me to go to Margaret. Yes, I knew that 
you would, and I have been putting the children to bed 
so that I could leave them. I am readj' to go with you 
now." 

She took his arm and the contact gave him strength ; 
and the3' pursued their way without speech, till the 
judge's door M'as reached, when he simply said: 

"She is in her room. I will be in the library." 

"Where are you, Margaret?" asked Susie as she 
entered the room. 

"Here on the sofa, Susie. I am glad you have come." 

No other words were needed. Susie knelt by the sofa, 
and wrapping her arms about the stricken girl, placed 
her cheek against Margaret's. The old clock on the 
lauding ticked monotonously on, till it seemed like the 
tolling of a funeral bell. 

At last the contact of this warm, unobtrusive sympathy, 
broke the spell, and Margaret wept on Susie's faithful 
bosom. Then, the depths unsealed, the two girls talked 
softly a long, long time. The judge heard the murmur 
of their voices and was thankful. But still he sat in 
semi-obscurity wrestling with his daughter's sorrow. 

It was midnight before Susie came down again. 

"She is beiter now. She cried a long time, and it 
eased her pain. I have got her into bed, and she is 
quiet. I don't think she will sleep, but the worst is 
over. I would look in occasionally during the night, if 
1 were you. I will come over early in the morning and 
stay all day with her." 

The "worst" is not so soon over in such a case. Time 
seemed to have no healing for this wound. Margaret 
regained her composure and gave no hint of her pain. 
13at when Miles' remains were brought to Clayton a few 
months after, and were given a public funeral, Margaret 
clad herself in deepest black out of which her pale face 
gleamed like marble, but firm and calm. Firm and calm 
till the roan horse came slowly stalking behind the 
hearse —then for a moment she shivered and hid her face. 

It was a double funeral ; for the remains of Aunt 
Eliza's son who fell at Chickamauga were buried at the 



god's war. 337 

same time. The stoical heroism of the noble woman as 
she stood at the grave and saw the coflBn slowly lowered 
was a height of grandeur which even the untaught in- 
stincts of her neighbors could appreciate. Suddenly she 
signed for silence. 

"He has died the death I would have chosen for him. 
To free his fellow-man he has yielded up his young life. 
God gave it to me to bring into the world a hero, and I 
thank Him for it! My bo3' has crowned my life with 
honor, no less than his own. He was very precious to 
me, and yet — oh, my boy! my boy!" 

Her firm voice broke into a pitiful wail, and extending 
her arms toward the grave she tottered and would have 
fallen into it had there not been strong arms there to 
catch her and carry her, insensible, from the spot. 

Over Miles Bancroft's grave was placed a fair monu- 
ment, and on its face was inscribed the record of his 
life. Below it all was an inscription: "This monument 
was reared to the memory of his adopted son, Miles Ban- 
croft, by William Henderson, who is proud to claim even 
so small a part in such a pure, heroic life." 

By the slowly -moving waters of the tranquil stream 
that graveyard may still be seen. The drooping willows 
and feathery elms make it beautiful where the angular 
stiffness of evergreens trimmed into uncouth forms do not 
make it ugly. And the idler there may read the inscrip- 
tion on Miles Bancroft's tombstone, as Tom Bailey did 
years after it was reared. 



)38 god's war. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

DRAINED TO THE DREOS. 

Captain Thomas Bailey, on rejoining his regiment, 
found himself in an anomalous position. He had long 
since been dropped from the rolls and Nat Kellogg was 
captain of Company "Q" in his stead. Nat wrote out 
his resignation, intending to go back into the ranks; but 
Tom tore the paper up and said he would have no more 
of such nonsense. The news of his return spread rapidly 
through the army, till at last the commanding general 
sent for him. At the end of his interview it was arranged 
that Tom should resign, and accept from the Governor of 
Tennessee a commission as colonel of cavahy; and per- 
mission was given him to recruit his regiment from the 
enlisted men of the Arm^' of the Cumberland. 

"In other words. Captain Bailey," said the general, "I 
will give you a picked command. Your duty from this 
time forth will be extra hazardous. We will give you a 
better command than any other man has, and will expect 
much from you." 

"Very well; I will do my best." 

The first man to volunteer as a private in Tom's regi- 
ment was Nat. The second was Dick Drummond, the 
third was Jim Druett, now the second lieutenant — then 
came Fielding the fifer, and Schultz the drummer, and 
John Hendley, till at last, lifting up his eyes, Tom saw 
drawn u]) before him, Company "Q" at a shoulder arms 
under the (•ou-jiuand of Sergeant Heimbach. 

"Here," said Tom. "This won't do. I can't take 
you all. It would make the Twenty-first a nine company 
regiment." 

"Dot makes no difference," answered the bold ser- 



god's war. 339 

geant. "Gumpany 'Q' haf enlisted in Guruel Bailey's 
uew regiment. Dot Dwendy-furst, she's all lyate, wed- 
der she be beeg or leetle — she will got there anyhow, 
ain't it?" 

"No," said Tom. "This won't do. I will take live 
men out of the company — you may select them as you 
please." 

The boys didn't like it, and showed a great deal of dis- 
pleasure. 

"We've got to go if Captain Kellogg does," said one. 

"Well, then," said Nat; "if that's the fix you're in I'll 
stay with you." 

And he marked off his name. 

An argument followed, but it was of no avail. Tom 
would only take five, and would not choose the men him- 
self. 

"Vehres dot Berry," said Heimbach. "Pring out 
dose dices box." 

And the company marched back to their quarters. 

The cavalry regiment was soon organized, and made 
itself a terror to the flanks of the Confederate Army from 
Dalton to Jouesboro, in the "Hundred days' battle," 
which is commonly called "The Atlanta Campaign." 
But it would take a great mauj' books of the size of this 
to tell the story of its exploits. Before the first sixty 
days were over Tom was given a brigade of horsemen, 
and when the army under Sherman reached Raleigh a 
delayed mail brought him a commission as brigadier- 
general. 

Wherever he went men's eyes followed him lovingly. 
And whenever he ordered a charge he first drew his own 
saber and led the way with a dash and a vim which was 
not often successfully resisted. His brigade fell like a 
thunderbolt wherever it encountered the enem^', and 
there seemed to be no enterprise too bold or hazardous 
for its commander to undertake. 

"For all the world like old John F,," said Nat one day 
when Tom had accomplished a particularly brilliant suc- 
cess. "What a team they'd make! Give old John F. an 
army with Tom as his chief of cavalry, and all tother 
place couldn't whip 'em." 



340 god's war. 

But in these latter days Tom had changed greatly. 
Youthful as his figure was, and while his face was only 
that of early manhood, there was a sternness in its out- 
lines and a gravity in the eyes which might well have 
belonged to an older man. And here and there on his 
head an interloping silver hair might be seen. Prema- 
ture manhood had come upon him through a great trial 
to which he was subjected, and in carrying a great re- 
sponsibility, and he was the stronger for it, if it had 
robbed him of some of his boyish joyousness. 

And when I tell you what follows you will not wonder 
at his gray hairs. 

In the early part of the Atlanta campaign Tom was 
sent one day with his regiment on a reconnoitering expe- 
dition. He received orders to pass around the left flank 
of the rebel arm.v and to penetrate to its rear as far as the 
railroad. Then he was to follow up the road to ascertain 
as nearly as possible how many Confederates were posted 
at a certain point, and the character and position of 
their works. This accomplished he was told to burn a 
bridge or two along the railroad and report back to the 
headquarters of the Army of the Cumberland with all 
speed. He was specially enjoined not to get under tire 
if he could help it. 

After gaining the Confederate rear Tom found himself 
in a small tow'n with no greater garrison than a few 
stragglers. These he took captive, and halted just out- 
side the hamlet that his men and horses might take 
breakfast. While drinking his coffee and munching his 
crackers he was approached by a small boy who, after 
an awkward salute, handed him a sealed envelope 
addressed to "Colonel Thomas Bailey." 

He started with surprise and blushed like a maiden as 
he recognized the familiar handwriting. The inclosure 
ran as follows : 

"Come to me. Please give me at least five minutes, I 
will not ask more. You will be safe. The hoy can be 
trusted and he will guide you. Ethel." 

Giving his lieutenant-colonel orders to move after the 



god's war. 341 

lapse of five minutes slowly forward till the regiment 
reached a stream half a mile ahead and there wait for 
him, Tom mounted his horse and followed the boy into 
the town. 

Here at last was an opportunity for clearing up the 
doubts and surmises with which he had been struggling 
so long. His heart leaped at the thought that at last he 
would again meet with the woman he so passionately'- 
adored ; and yet there was trepidation and a strange 
uneasiness mingled with his joy. He re-read the note as 
he rode along, and its tone of constraint chilled him. 
What might it not forebode? 

But he had no time to dwell upon the matter, for as he 
replaced the note in his breast-pocket the boy jerked his 
thumb over his shoulder. 

"Thar's the house, gineral." 

At the door Ethel met him. 

"I wanted to see you once more," she began. 

Tom's arms were about her in an instant and he cov- 
ered her face with kisses. 

"Oh, I am so glad — " she began again. Then she 
sprang from him. "I am so sorry, I mean." 

"Oh, Ethel! sorry to meet me once more?" 

"Yes — for we must never meet again." 

"What do you mean?" 

"This will tell all. Don't ask any more, but say once 
more that you love me — and then — and then go." 

She placed an envelope addressed to him in his hands. 

"I do not understand " 

"Go, go" — she cried. "I had intended to send the 
packet to you — but when I saw you ride by this morn- 
ing, I could not resist the temptation to see you and 
speak with you once more." 

She looked more beautiful than ever, with a wild, 
anxious, pleading look in her eyes. Again Tom clasped 
her to his heart. 

"Ob, Tom, do you really love me still?" 

"Do 1 love you?" he replied. "You know I love 
you, and have loved you long. What are you doing 
here?" 

The sound of horses' hoof -beats came thick and fast. 



342 god's war. 

She thrust him aside convulsively, and pushed him out 
of the door. 

"Fly, for your life; they knew you were coming, and 
they are after you — two regiments — quick, oh, my darl- 
ing—for my sake!" 

He turned. Confronting him and between him and 
his horse, stood a great, gaunt Confederate with burning- 
eyes. 

"You are mj' prisoner!" 

"Not yet," replied Tom, as his hand sought his saber. 
The thunder of the coming horsemen drew nearer and 
nearer. 

"Get out of my way," commanded Tom, moving 
toward his horse. 

"Not much," and the Confederate swung his blade in 
the sun. Tom parried, and then they set to, fiercely 
and angrily. The Confederate overreached him, and 
seeing that ho M'as about to thrust at his chest, Tom 
sprang back. At the same moment Ethel threw herself 
on Tom's breast, and the blade of his opponent, before it 
could be arrested, passed through the girl's body. 

"My God! You are killed — you are killed, oh, my 
darling." 

The Confederate dropped his point, and uncovered his 
head as Tom, kneeling, supported Ethel in her death 
struggle. 

"Yes," she gasped, her blood gushing forth as she 
spoke. "I am dying, but — thank God, I^ — have — saved 
— your — life — with — my — own. Kiss me!" 

In that kiss her soul passed away. 

A thundering roar from the rear, the collision of 
horses, the shouting, firing and uproar of battle around 
him roused him. His own regiment had returned, just 
in time to meet their pursuers. Eaising the girl's bodj-^ 
in his arms, and carrying it within the house, Tom 
reeled forth to mount and lead his men. 

But he was too late. They had repulsed the enemy 
and were slowly falling back. 

"We'd better get out of this, at once," said his lieu- 
tenant-colonel. "They outnumber us four to one. We 
only met the advance guard," 



god's war. 343 

"Yes, you are right," answered Tom in a low, deep 
tone. 

He returned to the house, passed within, kissed the 
lips of the dead girl once more, and slowly walked out. 

At the door he met a wild-eyed woman. 

"Oh, sir, please spare me!" 

"Is this your home?" 

"Yes, sir. Take what you want, but spare our lives." 

He thrust money into her hands. 

"See that she is decently buried." 

"I will, but spare " 

"You are safe from us. We are going." 

And he sprang to his horse and led his regiment 
rapidly away. 

Nearly a week, passed in hard, strenuous work, had 
gone by before Tom had an opportunity to read Ethel's 
letter. It was long, and as he read it he grew swiftly 
older. It revealed to him the truth of her life. She 
spared nothing and made a full confession. The Latin 
blood in her veins had driven an undisciplined, wayward 
nature into a life of shame if not crime. Her mother 
died while she was an infant. She knew no proper care, 
for an idolizing father indulged her till she got beyond 
his control. It was too late when she understood that 
life might have been a blessing. She found that she had 
made it a curse. 

It had grown more hateful to her since she had come 
to know and understand Tom. 

She told him of her relations to Miles, and why she 
had lured him and made him her slave, and how she had 
stayed his hand that night on the battlefield. She told 
him how Miles met with his death. And in her letter 
she inclosed a plain gold ring. Inside it ran the inscrip- 
tion : "From Margaret to Miles." She did not spare 
herself when she wrote down the shameful abuse of her 
power over Miles which had made him give her the 
sacred token. She told Tom that she had sieen him fre- 
quently, and had often been near him, since he had re- 
joined the army, at times when she dared not reveal her- 
i^elf. At her father's house in those deliriously happy 



344 god's war. 

days 8h« had begun to hope, she said, that she might 
some day be happj' with him. But as he was the only 
human being she had ever loved purely and unselfishly 
except her father, she could not consent to blast his life. 
She had, therefore, left him with the purpose of never 
seeing him again. 

She had been paid richly by the Confederates for the 
service she had rendered him. 

"There is a blockade runner laden with cotton be- 
longing to nie lurking off the Georgia coast. Before you 
get thi« I will join her. I will take my cotton to Eng- 
land. It is a fortune. I will go to the Continent and 
never see America nor you again. Go on, to the honor 
and happiness that awaits you, I go to the living death 
which I have chosen. 

"You are the only human being I have ever worthily 
loved. And yet I have deceived you from the moment I 
first met you — baselj- and cruelly deceived you. I can- 
not understand, myself, why I have done so. But I 
loved you, and worship you now as one adores his God. 
Even although a revelation of my true character would 
have unquestionably sent you from me, yet as I did and 
do sincerely love you, I ought to have made that revela- 
tion. For your sake, dear Tom. Do you shudder with 
disgust and shame, now that I have told you what I am, 
that I should address yon with terms of endearment? 
Pardon me, for it is for the last time. An ocean will roll 
between us soon after you read these lines, and we will 
never meet again. I will not live long. I have not the 
courage to take my own life by violent means. But I 
will soon end it by following the so-called pleasures that 
I have been used to. No death is more certain than the 
one they bring. 

"Was I altogether to blame that you loved me so? A 
thousand times I was on the point of speaking that your 
illusion might pass awaj', but I could not. The one thing 
inexpressibly precious which life ever held for me was 
your love. Nothing so pure and noble and chivalric was 
ever offered to me before I met j-^ou. 

"I would like you to forgive me, but I cannot ask it. 
your generosity might imp«l you to do so, but I do not 



god's war. 345 

deserve it. You must not forgive me. I must drink the 
cup. 

"But I may ask you to forget it. Tbiuk no more of 
it, and your firm will soon will enable you to blot it out 
of your mind. And some day you will meet some one 
who is worthy of you, and you will m^ike her blessed 
among women. 

"Thank God, I will never know her! Ethel." 



346 GOD'S WAR. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

SLEEP IS NOT DEATH. 

When the grand review of 1865 Avas held in Washing- 
ton Tom rode at the head of his brigade. Amid the 
music and cheering of the occasion he sat upon his horse 
somber and thoughtful. At last, at the corner of 
Eleventh Street, the column was delayed for a moment by 
an obstacle near the treasury. Looking neither to the 
right nor the left but absorbed in his own gloomy 
thoughts, our hero suddenly became aware of an unusual 
excitement near by. Looking up he saw a party of his 
old Clayton friends advancing through the press toward 
him, and bearing a huge wreath of flowers in their out- 
stretched hands. And as they came the cheering grew 
to be deafening. At last Father Goodman stood before 
him. 

"General Bailey, your old neighbors and friends have 
come to greet and congratulate you;" and before Tom 
could stay them the wreath was thrown over his shoul- 
ders. 

He was greatly moved, and out of his emotion seemed 
to spring a new thought. He sat more erect and his 
eyes from that time forward sought steadfastly for a face 
in the tlnong. And as they searched the faces in the 
crowd tbey grew brighter and he seemed transformed — 
like another man. An old dream came back to him. 

Or was it that he was waking from a dream — a terrible 
nightmare? 

At last his eager gaze, restless and hopeful, became 
fixed and filled with sudden content. On the raised plat- 
form near the White House where stood the president, he 
saw a noble, white-haired old man, sustained by the hand 



god's war. 347 

of a young and comely "woman whose girlish figure gavo 
contradiction to her older face. And yet a second glance 
showed no age in the face, but a saddened, chastened 
sobriety which looked like it. 

Saluting the reviewing oflBcer Tom wheeled his horse 
toward the steps of the platform; but before he dis- 
mounted to take his place by the side of the president he 
lifted his garland and with bared head laid it at Margai-et 
Henderson's feet. He spoke no word nor heeded the 
vehement enthusiasm that greeted the act, but after one 
look into the blushing girl's eyes he quietly ascended 
the steps and proceeded with his duties. 

That night, as he rode at the head of his brigade 
across the Long Bridge, and as he came to the middle of 
the channel, he threw a ring into the deep waters. 

On the 30th of May, of each year, Margaret strews 
liowers on the grave of Miles Bancroft. The ceremony 
gives her that picture which attends the reverent per- 
formance of a pious duty. It is accompanied by no 
sharp pangs of regret, no mournful longing for the love 
Avhich has become a hallowed, a holy thing. Her mem- 
ory holds the dead man tenderly, but with a serene and 
passionless contemplation which, compai'ed with love, is 
as the white moonlight of a winter's night to the glow- 
ing illumination of a midsummer sun. 

When she reflects that Tom never goes with her on 
this errand of duty she softly smiles and is not altogether 
unhappy in the thought that her husband loves her so 
jealously that he cannot bear to think that she once loved 
another. At the same time she cannot but wonder that 
he does not understand that her love for him is above 
and beyond all else that ever entered her life. 

He has grown to be her senior whom she worships for 
the nobility of his nature, and he ought to feel this, she 
thinks. And he does know that of all men no one is 
more deeply or tenderly loved than he is; and he is sat- 
isfied and tranquil. The love he bears for her is his life; 
and it flows on like a strong and mighty river which 
nothing can disturb. 

No word of his shall ever open her eyes to the truth as 



.';48 r.OD'S WAR. 

to ber old lover. "NVby kIiouM it? . Miles Bancroft's fall 
is known to Tom, but to no one else. The kuoNvledge 
will go to his grave with him. 

As he looks back he realizes that the ideal drawn from 
Margaret Henderson was always with him, so that, aa 
he lived under the spell of an enchantress, it invested the 
woman who came near -to wrecking his life with its own 
noble purity. And he thanks God that, M'hile his love 
for Margaret may have slept for a time, it never died, but 
always ruled his life and at last crowned him with honor 
and happiness. 



THX Bin>, 



YOUR OWN LAWYER 

BY 
A HEriBER OF THE BAR 



NEELY'S ANGLO-AMERICAN LIBRARY 



Price $1.00 



CHIS excellent work should be in the hands 
of every layman. Not that it is intended 
to supersede the bar, but it gives informa- 
tion which everyone needs to possess, re- 
lating to the origin of law, the terms used to 
designate the parties to a suit, the nature of con- 
tracts, commercial paper, bonds, transfer of prop- 
erty, statutes of fraud and limitations, insurance 
inheritance, wills, guardians, marriage, divorce, 
crimes, etc., etc. 

These are points within the competency of 
all men and women, involving knowledge which 
should be common to all. 

Notwithstanding the nature of its contents, 
this book, i2mo, of 595 pages, reads like a ro- 
mance. It is so clearly written and so readable 
that a child would understand it. It might bci 
called a romance of the law. Put it in your 
mind and then place it in your library. 

For sale everywhere, or sent post-paid on receipt of ptlctt.^ 

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The Honor of a Princess. 

By F. KIMBALL SCRIBNER. 

Neely's Prismatic Library. 
Gilt top, 50c. 

A new novel, "The Honor of a Princess," by 

a new writer, F. Kimball Scribner, has easily 
won the approbation of the lovers of romance, 
dealing as it does with the adventures of two 
Enijlishnicn during^ the latter years of the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth. 

From first to last the story is filled with ac- 
tion. Falling under the displeasure of the Virgin 
Queen, Harold Martant, an English Catholic, 
makes his escape to France, accompanied by an 
old retainer of his House, a veteran of the days 
of Drake and Frobisher. On the advice of a 
certain Captain Von Francius, a former leader 
of a Free Company, the refugees accompany him 
to Schleswig and enter the service of the young 
king of that country, whose title to the throne 
is disputed by a nobleman of the kingdom. 

The story, which is charmingly told in the 
simple language of a soldier of the period, treats 
of the adventures of Martant and his compan- 
ions while in the service of the Royal House of 
Schleswig. Though a new writer, the author's 
name is not unknown to the literary world, he 
being a member of the well-known family of 
Charles Scribner's Sons, publishers. 

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A Journey to Venus. 

By O. W. POPE. 

Paper, 25c. 

Nccly's Popular Library with foil page illustf ations 

Lovers of Jules Verne will gladly welcomt 
this remarkable volume. Many have declared 
that Dr. Pope has even outdone the French 
master at his own art. At any rate tha narrative 
IS written with an air of candor that almost com- 
pels a blind belief in its tr-ith, although the ad- 
ventures which befall the daring travelers to the 
glorious planet are staggering in the extreme. 
Books of this character, while written with a 
considerable latitude, contain many features of 
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ana ^upit'';, but that is no reason we may not 
speculate And endeaver to lift the veil that hangs 
©ver those bright worlds that glow and sparkle 
m the heavens. "A Journey to Venus" is an 
extraordinary volume in many ways, and will 
veil repay a careful perusal. 



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T 



ATE WORKS OF 

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Author of 

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Probably no American writer of to-day excels Opie 
Read in the delineation of strange characters. He loves 
to dwell upon Southern scenes, before and after the war, 
and so vividly are these quaint pictures drawn that the 
reader seems to see the characters of his story as plainly 
as though the skill of an artist had painted their por- 
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a good story, well told, and should meet with as heavy <' 
sale as "The Captain's Romance" has enjoyed. It A 
peculiarly fresh and sparkling, and a sure cure for lone, 
liness or the blues. The remarkably clever pen-drawn 
characters wiil live through many editions as true type^ 
of American life. 



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THE KING^S WARD 

Jessie Van Zile Belden 

Being a chronicle of events in the life of Charles Norton, 
Knt., from the 24th of June, 1536, to the Feaste of 
Sainte John tlie Baptiste in 1537. 

Gathered from ancient and musty documents wherein 
are recorded stirring tales of uprisings in the 
West and North. 



^ ^ Cloth, $1.00 ^ ^ 

" There is not a dull page in the little book." — Post, Denver. 

" Chivalry's charm is endless and we who live in a quieter 
time are fain to lose ourselves in dreams of the pageantry of old." 
— Post Express, Rochester. 

" It is a straightforward nairative, told in keeping with the 
assumed character of the narrator, and has a pleasant ending." 
— The Plain Dealer, Cleveland. 

"An atmosjihere of knightly courage, chivalrous loyalty and 
pure love, distinguishes this story of the sixteenth century. The 
clash of arms, the entanglements of political intrigue, a faint 
shadow of human sin, of revolt and the V)rave rescue of fair gentle- 
women, separated lovers happih^ reunited, these are the ele- 
ments upon which the interest of the story concentrates." — Times, 
Brooklyn. 

" Of course, it has the lady fair, the castle, the knavish 
vassals and all the other ingredients that are generally looked for 
in nar.fatives dealing with that romantic period. Added to this 
is the flavor of religious superstition and a ghost — and what more 
could be desired ?" — Journal, New York. 

"As sweet and old-time love story as has ever been told. 
A poem without the boiands of rhyme." — Courier, Boston, Mass. 

" It abounds in stirring deeds and chivalric sentiment." — 
Globe- Democrat^ St. Louis. 

" It is simply told in purest English." — ^^7,rr//><rr, Newark, 
N. J, 

For sale everywhere, or sent post-paid on receipt of price. 

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lartiia WasMngioQ Cook Book 

A COMPENDIUM OF COOKERY 
AND RELIABLE RECIPES. 



fc^olly Tllostrated, 3J5Pa^e» 

lamo. Oil Cloth Cover, - . ^ 50 Cts. 
Paper, (Neely's Popular Library,), 25 " 

Over 1,000,000 copies of this popular and valuable book have been sold. A muat 
comprehensive work, giving all the minute details pertaining to its subject. 
Contains hints and suggestions from the best housewives of our land. An in- 
dispensable adjunct to every culinary department. 




oiile's Mim Boot. 

999,999 



FACTS OF USE 
TO EVERYBODY. 



Paper Cover. Neely's Popular Library, 25c, 

This is an invaluable book of ready reference, applicable to almost every pos- 
sible industrial and domestic requirement. It gives information enibling one to 
meet everyday emergencies intelligently and promptly. Compiled from the Ijest 
medical and other authorities. So indexed that any refjuiied ite-a can be in 
stantl]- found. No other similar book in the market to compare with it for ef^ 
dvncy and value. 



Por sale everywhere, or sent post.paid on receipt of price. 

F. TENNYSON NEELY, Publisher, 
06 Qy@«ii Strict. y}M9n> 114 PJf<*^ AvenM«( New S'ofU 



Remarks by Bill Nye 




THE 

FUNNIEST 

OF 

BOOKS. 

"It will cure the bitscji 
quicker than the doctor and 
at half the price."— iVifa 
YorA Herald, 

Over 500 Pages. 
Pully Illustrated. 

Cloth, $1.50 ; Paper, 50c. 



LAUGH AND GROW FAT. 

A collection of the best writings of this great author, mosr 
profusely illustrated, with over 500 pages. It is the funniest ot 
hooks. Bill Nye needs no introduction. The mention of th« 
book is enough. 

" I have passed through an earthquake and an Indian out^ 
brsak, but 1 would rather ride an earthquake without saddle 01 
bridle, than to bestride a successful broncho eruption." — Bill Nye. 

-■'Age brings caution and a lot of shop-worn experience, 
puichased at the highest market price. Time brings vain re« 
^rets and wisdom teeth that can be left in a glass of water ov«f 
eight."— 5///iV"K. 

UPASES FROM THE PEN OF BILL NYE. 192 PAGES. PAPER, 38& 
WIT AND HUMOE. BY NYE AND RILEY. PAPER, 2So 



tor sa'e evftrywhere, or ssnt post.paiJ on receipt of prlc«. 

v. TO.f^NYSON NRELY, Publisher, 
Qm«4;p s?»j-^^4» l-oadoji . n4. Fifth ^vettii«. N?w 



One of Earth^s Daughters* 

By ELLEN ROBERTS. 

Neely's Popular Library. 

Paper, 25c. 
There have been books which secured a 
tremendous sale through the bitter attack of 
newspaper critics; wiiile others succeeded 
through the host of favorable comments that 
greeted their appearance in the arena of public 
estimation. Faint praise accomplishes nothing 
— indeed, it is never deserved. The verdict 
of these experienced critics has been unusually 
favorable toward " One of Earth's Daughters," 
and we feel justified in offering it to our 
patrons as a story well worth reading, which 
cannot be said of all the novels launched upon 
the public these days by enterprising publishers. 
It is a genuine pleasure to come across a book 
so carefully and conscientiously written, and in 
which the characters fulfil their destinies. A 
vein of love drifting through the whole fabric 
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in all, " One of Earth's Daughters" is a very read* 
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cernment on the part of the publisher. The 
world is always better for such moral books. 



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Through Field and Fallow. 

A Choice Collection of Original Poems 

By JEAN HOOPER PAGE. 

CLOTH, GILT TOP, $1.00. 

IT IS NOT always the brilliant work which appeals 
to us most keenly. Sarcasm and rhetoric have their 
place, but the book that lies on the desk and is 
found in the mending-basket is the book, nine times out 
of ten, that deals with every-day life and sweeps across 
the strings of the heart. While Mrs. Page's work* 
"Through Field and Fallow," often touches the subtle 
minor chords, it invariably swells to the triumphant 
major and rings clear and true in the sweetness of undy- 
ing hope and unquenchable faith. 

Much of Mrs. Page's work has appeared first in our 
great daily newspapers, but its life has been less ephem- 
eral than theirs. Here and there a woman has treasured 
some bit in her scrap book ; a man has clipped a verse 
and put it away in the drawer of his desk marked 
''private." Sooner or later in this little volume the 
eader will find the poem that was written for him. 

Father Ryan once wrote : "To uplift the downcast, 
to sweeten any life, to feel that we in some way have 
helped to lighten the great burden that rests upo» 
mankind — this is the only real compensation that coraef 
to the poet." This recompense will be Mrs. Page's. 



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An Unusual Husband 

By CHANDOS FULTON 

VMly's Popular Library, Cloth, $1.00 ; Paper, 25 centi 



On the woof of a very dramatic story of a dual marital lif? 
Mr. Chandos Fulton has embroidered an interesting experience 
in materialization — the most advanced development of later-day 
spiritualism, and has produced a very readable story of con- 
temporaneous metropolitan life. The characters are drawn with 
a free hand, and the action of the story is brisk and interesting. 
The spiritualistic episode is novel and interesting alike to skeptics 
and converts. The novel should, and doubtless will, have a large 
circulation. — Leslie s Weekly, 

The hero leads a double life. He is John Boyd, with a wif^ 
in New York, and James Boyle, with another wife in Boston,-— 
Spirit of the Times, 

Boyle IS extricated by marrying a certain Jack. — The Mirror ^ 
St. Louis, 

A spiritualistic atmosphere is wrought into the story, -vfhicli 
's entertainingly written. — Dramatic Mirror. 

A tale of a female spiritualist, who believes herself to oe 
married to what she terms hei *' spirit affinity." — San Franc'sc* 
Mews^Letter. 

A peculiar story of a widow, who was an enthusiastic spirit- 
aalist, who loved and constantly communed with her spirit hus- 
band, the mystery of which is explained during the progress oi 
the story, — Philadelphia Times. 

Mr. Fulton is an expert in spiritualism, and uses his experi- 
ences to expose some bogus manifestations and to develop hi« 
Ctlrious plot. — Author's League. 

The hei-o leads a double life. — Boston Ideal 



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Paper, Twenty-five Cents. 

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1. The White Company. Bv A. Conan Dovle 

2. The Deemster. P.y Hall Caine. 

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' 5. The Sign of the Four. By A. Conan Doyle. f 

3 Kidnapped. By Robert L. Stevenson. 

7. The Bondman. By Hall Caine. 

8. Michael Clarke. By A. Conan Doyle. 

9. Sport Royal. By Anthony Hope. 

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11. Uncle Tom's ( abin. By Mrs. Stowe. 

13. Beyond the City. By A. Conan Doyle. 

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RACHEL DENE, 

By ROBERT BUCHANAN, 

. . . Author of . . . 

**The Charlatan," "The Shadow of the Sword," "God and the Man.<* 

Cloth, $1.25 ; paper, 35c. 

HarrlibHr^r relcgram " ' Rachel Dene ' is one of Robert Buchanan's best works.'' 

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Koeky Muuiilain Newa " ' Rachel Dene,' by Robert Buchanan isone of hisl:)est 
stories."' 

Becord Union " Mr. Buchanan has not presented a stronger story. He pre- 
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bitious youths some excellent r.dvice." 

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and bright sides of life, but always to show the advantage of the bright side." 

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prises." 

Fallerton .News " A very fascinating tale." 

Western Christian "Fascinating, stimulating— a novel cf love, murder, jeal- 

Adrocate ousy, false imprisonment, escape, and vindication." 

Boston Idras "Its elenients are excellently characteristic — very likely due to 
its being an accurate oictuiefor which commendation is due." 

The -imericaii " Is fully equal, if iiot superior, to his former novels." 



The Gates of Dawn, 

By FERGUS HUME, 

Aatbor of "Mystery of a Hansom Cab," "Miss Mepliistopheles,"etc.,ete. 
Cloth, $1.35; paper, 25c. 

Otis Library "A remarkably versatile and ingenious romance, replete with vivid 

Bulletin descriptions and stirring incidents." 

N'ashTillp Banner " A well-arranged plot, and the interest of the story is well- 

sustaint-'d." 

Mr. Hume has built around a group of interesting characters a stoiy of th" 
O.d order of plot and counterplot, where tliere is mystery surrounding the hero- 
.ine's birth— a we.ilthv man, in disnjuise, meets and loves her— a wicked female vil- 
■jain brings dinger to the course ofthcir true love— a good friend aids them in tlieir 
hour of need, and all ends well. The j>eople who m;?ke up this story are " A doc- 
tor addicted to oi)ium, a pair of gypsies, a rec'use lady, a lovely huntre.is, and a 
sporting pardon." besides the hero, a lord of high degree, Pete, a fox terrier, and 
Simon, a liorse. There is a mysterious batchin"; of plots anior,g the gyii^ies. and 
much propiiL:>ying. The parson is a "" siiiple. kindlv old fellow, given to strong 
ale, terriers, and bluster.'' J'here is a great house witn a witch, who holds nightly 
orgies in the empty rooms at midnight, from wliich come cries of tortured womea 
and dvint,' ne;i. while by day this witch " tires her head, decks herself with gems, 
clothes herself in rich grarments," and makes a mystery of herself generally, ItiS 
by far Fergus Hume's oest book. 



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RARE BOOK 
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