I I BRAKY OF CONGRESS
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"MORE THAN CONQUEROR,"
Col. J. HOWAED KITCHmG,
BIXTH NEW YORK ARTILLERY, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE CONQUEST OF FLORIDA," "FOUNTAIN
OF LIVING WATERS," AND " TINY FOOTFALL."
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON.
Camtiritfflc : Eiberslitrc prtiS^.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
John B. Kitchixg, •
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at TVashmgton.
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BT
H. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.
% pilgrim of tl)e faitlj is limneb Ijjere
toitl) bintcb mail mib russet mecbs s'clabb,
ge turnetl) from loose mirtl) Ijis listless ear,
^nb leanetl) on tlje crosse toitl) aspect sab.
Buggeb l)i3 pati), anb narrom anh beset
ttJitl) peril, sorrom, axxb temptation strong.
!3ut neither gentle lure, nor bireful threat
(^an mn l)im to tlje uaine anh toanton throng,
(£>v force l)is feet from tljat straight patl) asibe,
iToUotDing tlje footsteps of tl)e crucifieb."
Teces memorial is written, not to emblazon the
name of Howard Kitching on the scroll of history,
or to point him out as a young man who climbed
heights far above his fellows ; for his modesty was
equal to his worth, and he would have deprecated
all praise and shrunk from anything like eulogy ;
but the rather, while gratifying the expressed
desire of his many friends, who would not wiU-
ingiy let his memory die, to give a faint outline of
the life of one who amid the manifold temptations
of a soldier's life, was a true and faithful soldier
of the cross.
He is but a type of thousands of young men,
Christian young men, as brave and as true as he,
who fought and bled and died for their country.
While we have learned from a terrible experi-
ence, that war is a great evil, and pray in the
language of the Liturgy of the English Church,
" Give peace in our time, Lord," we would not
forget that fragrant blossoms may spring up on
the battle-field, and the name of Jesus be glorified
It is not the exotic nursed in glass and artificial
heat which is the type of strength ; but the plant
struggling for existence on bleak cUffs, or the pine
battling with Alpine gusts, or shivering amid Al-
pine snows. And while we know, that sadly too
many young men, tenderly nurtured, and who had
given hopes of shining brightly in the kingdom of
Christ at home, tarnished their armor and were lost
amid the fiery conflicts of army life, yet there were
others, and they not a few, who were made stronger
by battling with the blasts of temptation, and
purified by the scenes of suffering and sorrow they
were compelled to witness.
There are fathers and mothers, brothers and
sisters, throughout our land, whose hearts will beat
the quicker when they are reminded of their young
soldier who never returned from the war, and who
will, we think, find a sad pleasure in reading the
record of a brief life, so hke that of the one whose
loss they mourn.
There are many young men who have experi-
enced the fever and flush of the fight, many who
have only heard the story, who, we think, may find
interest in a sketch of the life of a young man who
in a terrible crisis of his country's history, faith.-
fully served his country and his God.
In dwelling, as we do with pride, on the bravery
and Christian courage of our soldiers, we have not
forgotten that the ranks of the Southern army
were filled with spirits of equal bravery, — noble
Christian men who were fighting for what they
thought the right, though we believed them dread-
fully in the wrong. Their memory is cherished
by many a fireside in that stricken part of our
land, and for many of them their record is on
There is so much that is heart-rending about
this terrible war, it has broken so many friend-
ships, severed so many tender ties, that some
would bury the thought of it in obHvion. But
that is not the Christian's way of deahng with a
great sorrow. He seeks to understand the lesson
the Lord would teach thereby. Oft and again, it is
now as it was with Elijah. The Lord is not in the
wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire ; but it
is in the " still small voice," that comes after all
these, that He speaks to his servant. So now,
that the noise and confusion of horrid warfare
have ceased, from those battle-fields where those
who once fought as enemies he quietly side by
side, there comes a still small voice, that speaks of
Christian forgiveness and Christian love. The
grave covers all enmities, and we trust and be-
lieve, the subduing hand of time will soften the
bitter asperities of the hour, and that our country,
purified by passing through the furnace, may be
more united than ever — a grand and glorious
I. Ivw.LY Days '
!I. TiiK Pf.epakatiox ^'
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1\'. Ci.oTDs AM) Sunshine
V. Ki:fi;ksiiin<; Showkrs
Vr, TtIE Wir,l)KRXKSS
\^II TjIK TjiENdlKS
VIIT. DkFKNSKS QV WASIIIN(iTO\ ^''
IX. Till: Last Batti.k
X. The Discii'i.iNK OK Sri!KUiN<;
XT. The Vk touy Won
" A noble boy,
A brave, free-hearted, careless one.
Full of unchecked, unbidden joy ;
Of dread of books, and love of fun ;
And with a clear and ready smile,
Unshadowed by a thought of guile."
^'MOEE tha:^^ OO^^QUEEOR"
"Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One
thing thou lackest." — Mark x. 21.
The winter mnd is sighing, and the leaves are
rustUng their sad requiem over the grave of many
a young hero, who fell nobly fighting in the great
war which has just resulted in the regeneration,
the salvation of our country. In every city, in
every town and hamlet in the land, on the square
and in the narrow lane, in hall and cottage, on the
mountain-side and in the valley, everywhere their
memories are cherished ; their names are household
words, embalmed in many a loving heart.
The shadow has fallen upon a thousand, thou-
sand homes, of which they were the Hght and the
joy ; and their youthful patriotism, their deeds of
daring, will never be known beyond these quiet
And yet, though unknown to fame, their lives
have not been wasted — they have not lived in
vain. O, no ! They have in dying, awakened in
these mvriad homes an heroic spirit, a breathing,
4 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
living thing, which will exalt and ennoble our
country, for ages to come. Their stout young
hearts have ceased to beat, but their example
walks the earth with tireless feet ; and the blessed
Christian death of some, may, by the grace of
God, lead many a young man to enlist, as they
did, under the banner of the Crucified. |
Among the many noble, warm-hearted young
men who flew to the rescue, and offered them-
selves as volunteers for the defense of the country,
sealing their offering with their life's blood, there
are few whose names are enshrined with so much
love, so many tears, and yet such fervent, grate-
ful thanks to the wise Disposer of all events, as is
the subject of these brief memorials.
The veil would never have been lifted from this
young life, but in the hope that, by God's bless-
ing, the noble character here portrayed might be
the means of awaking in many manly hearts a
desire to emulate his brief example.
" Stars are of mighty use ; the night
Is dark, and long ;
The road foul, and where one goes right,
Six may go wrong.
One twinkling ray
Shot o'er some cloud,
May cleare much way
And guide a crowd."
John Howard Kitching was born in the city
of New York, July 16, 1838.
In his early youth he manifested that earnest-
EARLY DAYS. 5
ness of purpose, and determination of will, which
characterized him in later life, and it required a
firm, but gentle hand to guide him. Like all
ardent temperaments he had many a struggle with
himself, and conflict with others, on his way up to
In the summer of 1855, as his father was
obliged to go to Europe, and Howard's health
was not strong, and his studies were being pursued
in a very miscellaneous and desultory manner, it
was decided that he should be placed at school in
The eager boy looked forward, with glowing
anticipations, to his visit to the old world; not
less attractive to him because the stormy sea was
to be crossed. But his day-dreams were soon dis-
pelled, when, five days out from land, he was seized
with a severe illness.
The following letter, written on shipboard, is
characteristic of him at this time, and is the first
intimation we have of a struggle with a willful,
wayward nature, a faint yearning after the things
of a higher and better life.
Steamship Ericsson, June 29, 1855.
My dearest Mamma : — Here we are at last within
sixty miles of Scilly Isles, and hoping to arrive at Havre
about four o'clock on Sunday. O, how glad I shall be
to put foot on land once more, and O, how gladder I
should be if it was Bay Ridge we were approaching in-
stead of Havre, for I want to see you all so much. The
ship has made rather a long passage, on account of a de-
fect in her wheels, which could not be remedied very
6 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR.'
well at sea I have not been at all sea-sick, but I
caught a bad cold, and was laid up for a week with in-
flammation of the bowels, and rheumatism in my limbs.
But by the excellent care of Dr. Dunham and the kind
old stewardess, I was up on the sixth day. I would have
given anything to have been in one of our nice beds, and
have had you to take care of me ; for, although they
were all very kind, and did all they could for me, yet I
could not be very comfortable, as you may imagine.
I read your Bible all the time, and I am so glad that
you gave it to me, for I love to read it for your sake,
hoping that I may learn to read it for its own sake.
I cannot bear the idea of remaining at Geneva, for I
feel so wretched (just as I did before I left home), that
I am very much afraid of being taken sick, and perhaps
dying there, far away from all of you. And then after
papa returns, it will be so lonely, and perhaps when I
return, I might find some of you in your graves. If I
should return safe and well, and find you all the same, I
woidd feel as if I had done right in going ; but otherwise,
how small would be the gain, compared with the feeling
that I had made our stay together in this world one year
shorter by my own free will !
The truth is that I find it is a great deal farther than
I had imagined. But still, if papa thinks it best that I
should stay, I will do so as cheerfully as I can ; for here
I am, seventeen years old, and yet I have never given
you and papa anything but trouble ; but by God's bless-
ing, I will try if I cannot be a comfort instead of a
trouble, hereafter. For this reason I dislike i^articularly
to remain, for I may not have much time to atone for
the many hours of anxiety and trouble that I have given
you both. 0, mamma, I wish that I was at home to
talk to you, for I could tell you so much better how I
I send Fan the first canto of a poem that I am com-
posing. It is rather of the John Gilpin style, but for a
EARLY DAYS. 7
first effort, it is rather " some:* I wrote it lying in my
bunk when it got too dark to read
The poem which "is rather some," was a parody
on " Childe Harold," called " Childe Howard," and
gave infinite amnsement to his sister Fanny.
This sister, the chosen companion of his laugh-
ing hours, was full of fun and frolic. With a slight,
graceful form, and a step light and quick as a deer,
she was ready to follow wherever he led. Singu-
larly like him in her frank, impulsive nature ; gifted,
as he was, with great musical talents ; a sunbeam
wherever she went — like him, she found an early
grave ; like him, she sleeps in Jesus.
By the time that the shores of France began to
loom in sight, Howard had recovered from his at-
tack of sickness, but the Lord had prepared for
him a pathway of disappointment to tread, more
trying than^ the one just passed over. As they
were entering the port of Havre, in the excite-
ment of the scene that opened before him, he
sprang upon a coil of rope and sprained his ankle.
The accident was thought slight at the moment,
but by the time the party reached Pans, he was
oblig:ed to be carried to his room, where he was
closely confined for three weary weeks. That his
impatient spirit should chafe and fret, to be held a
prisoner in his room, while his companions were
seeing the wonderful sights of Paris, is not strange.
We give two letters, to his mother and sister, writ-
ten immediately on his emancipation from this
8 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
WRITTEN ON HIS BIRTHDAY.
Paris, July 16, 1855.
Dear Louise : — Here I am, seventeen years old,
crawling around on crutches as if I were eighty, and the
worst of it is, without any jDrospect of dispensing with
them for a while, at any rate. Yesterday morning I
thought that I was better, but to-day I am just as lame
as ever Last evening, papa, Will, and I went
to church in a small Wesleyan Chapel in the Rue
Royale, where we heard an excellent sermon. The
Sundays here are more like our Fourth of July than ,
anything else ; everybody is out, rich and poor ; most
of the shops, and all the cafes are o\)Qn, also the Ex-
hibition, theatres, circuses, and all the public buildings.
The gentleman that we heard preach is a Yorkshire-
man, just come over; but he preached a very good ser-
mon from First Corinthians seventh chapter, twenty-
ninth, thirtieth, and thirt3^-first verses. But during the
whole service we could hear the carriages passing, people
singing, and men and women peddling fruit; rather a
noisy Sunday evening, wasn't it ? . . , .
Paris, July 25, 1855.
Mr DEAREST Mamma : — Three cheers ! Hurrah !
I'm on my legs again, although a little stiff yet, I assure
you. As soon as the Doctor went away (which was on
Saturday morning), I began to walk a little, and my
foot kept gaining strength, so that on Sunday I walked
to church and back, without crutches On Mon-
day I climbed to the top of the column in the Place
Vendome, one hundred and thirty-five feet in height.
I guess the Doctor would stare if he knew it. On
Saturday I was limping about on a pair of crutches,
and Monday running up one hundred and seventy-six
steps to get a view of Paris. Ask ]Mr. Irving if it is
easy work for even a well man to accomplish ? I dare
EARLY DAYS. 9
say he has beeu to the top, or at least he knows how
high it is.
Alleume and I went to St. Germain to see the won-
derful terrace, one mile and a half in length, and we
had a ride on an atmospheric railway. There is a very
steep grade on the road, which a locomotive cannot sur-
mount, so they have a large iron tube running between
the rails, in which a piston passes which is connected to
the foremost car. Then they pump out the air from in
front of said piston, and away the train goes up hill
at the rate of thirty miles an hour. That's going be-
fore the wind with a vengeance, isn't it ? When we
arrived at St. Germain we were fully paid for going,
for from the terrace, one has the most beautiful view in
The result of the inquiries about the schools in
Switzerland was not altogether satisfactory, and
when the time came for Mr. Kitching to start for
home, he could not make up his mind to leave
Howard beliind, and after. a pleasant passage, they
were welcomed back to " Dellwood."
He now resumed his studies with his German
tutor, but they were pursued in a very irregular
and desultory way, his passion for riding, boating,
painting, and music, making formidable inroads
upon his time.
He sang well, with that deep, clear voice that
rang so musically on the battle-field, but his great
delight was the cornet, which he played remark-
ably well. He joined a quartette band, and on
many a moonlight night they waked the echoes
in the grove at Dellwood with their dehcious mel-
ody. How well his companions of those pleasant
10 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
days must remember his enthusiasm, and the warm
glow his presence diffused over that genial com-
But while thus beguiling his time amid these
earthly enjoyments, those who prayerfully watched
his career saw that he was getting farther and far-
ther away from the source of all true joy. Those
things which never satisfied any one, did not satisfy
him. He grew more wayward, more self-willed ;
gave way to wild bursts of passion, and then had
seasons of bitter repentance. He knew the better
way, but chose the worse, the beaten pathway of
self-indulgence. But there is often the secret sigh,
the whispered prayer, the longmg for freedom, the
struggle with sinful habits, the search after truth,
the untold hope of better things, in many hearts
which we, in our ignorance, suppose to be hard and
dead. The Lord Jesus may be doing His own work,
in the awakened, inquiring, iDurdened soul, and
what is buried seed to-day, may become a glorious
harvest in His own good time. So with young
Howard ; during this period of his life, there were
bright gleams of better things, deeds done and
words spoken, that sustained the anxious hearts of
those who watched and prayed.
In the summer of 1856, through the carelessness
of our quarantine officers, the yellow fever was
introduced to the shores of Fort Hamilton and Bay
Ridge. Young Kitching's family, with others,
were compelled to leave their home, but he, with
his natural fearlessness, insisted on remaining with
EARLY DAYS. 11
an aunt and the domestics, to look after tilings
It was a solemn and fearful season. The sun
poured down with its burning, garish shine, day
after day ; not a cloud was in the sky ; there was
a hush in the air ; the fi,elds were deserted ; and the
stillness was seldom broken, but as the dead were
Sobered by the " pestilence that walketh in
darkness, and the destruction that wasteth at noon-
day," with time for serious thoughts, the Lord
visited him then and there, and the Holy Spirit
touched his heart. A letter to his eldest sister at
this time, to whom every thought of his heart was
always unveiled, shows the melancholy state of his
mind, as he asks, " If I am called away, Avhat shall
I do to be^ saved ? "
I had been the rector of the parish for more
than a year. I had watched Howard's vacillating
course, saw his danger, and, admiring his noble
gifts, greatly desired that they might be con-
secrated to the service of the Lord. There was a
voice, as we have said, in the breath of the pesti-
lence ; a voice, piercing like a sharp, two-edged
sword, and the stubborn soul quailed under the
power of God's word ; but in the absence of plain-
spoken confession, and prayer for divine suc-
cor, and some decisive movement in the right direc-
tion, the strange sound seemed to die away, and he
returned, like a willing prisoner, to the charmed
circle where softer melodies were heard.
12 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
But his conscience was no longer to be lulled to
sleep by any music of earth. He had heard the
Shepherd's voice. He fought against the call with
all the might of his strong nature. Long into the
night, after the midnight hour, we sat up and
talked. His feet were planted on that dreary legal
ground, that he was not good enough to come to
Christ ; and as his impatient temper constantly led
him into inconsistencies, every day seemed to re-
move him farther from the Lord.
But still the Shepherd called, and Howard lis-
tened. In a little book, a present from his mother,
called " Spiritual Songs," which he carried with
him throughout the war, we find marked with his
peculiar mark those beautiful, familiar lines of
Bonar, which exactly describe his experience at this
time. He doubtless had this period in view when
he marked the passage : —
" I was a wandering sheep,
I did not love the fold ;
I did not love my Shepherd's voice,
I would not be controlled.
" I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home ;
I did not love my Father's voice,
I loved afar to roam.
" The Shepherd sought His sheep,
The Father sought His child ;
They followed me o'er vale and hill,
O'er desert, waste, and wild.
EARLY DAYS. 13
" They found me nigh to death,
Famished, and faint, and lone ;
They bound me with the bands of love,
They saved the wandering one !
" They washed my filth away,
They made me clean and fair ;
They brought me to my home in peace.
The long-sought wanderer ! "
Yes, the " long-sought wanderer," after many a
conflict, many a doubt, found rest in the precious
assurance, " The blood of Jesus Christ his Son
cleanseth from all sin." His heart was calmed by
the conviction that God had found a ransom, and
that He reveals that ransom to us sinners, in order
that we might rest therein, on the authority of His
word, and by the grace of His Spirit. He was sat-
isfied, at -last, of the truth, that righteousness is
not founded upon our feelings or experience, but
upon the shed blood of the Lamb of God ; and
hence, that our peace is not dependent upon our
feehngs or experience, but upon the same precious
blood, which is of changeless efficacy, and change-
less value in the judgment of God.
Blessed victory of faith in the blood of the Lamb !
We do not mean to say that there was never a re-
treat or discomfiture in his spiritual warfare after
this. He had many a reverse, but the blessed
truth, that " The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth
from all sin," was the rallying cry that brought
him back to victory.
On the 7th of June, 1857, Howard Kitching en-
14 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR.'*
listed openly under the banner of Jesus. It was
on one of those bright, pure days of June, when
the breeze makes such laughing music among the
trees, and the sunshine quivers beneath with such
moving glory, and earth is like the vestibule of
heaven, that he knelt at the chancel of that pic-
turesque little church, and with all his family, but
the two younger children, partook of his first com-
munion. It was a time never to be forgotten by
those who had prayed that this hour might come,
an hour that has been written down by the record-
ing angel in the Book of Remembrance. We never
doubted for a moment, amid the lights and shad-
ows of his changeful after life, that this was a sin-
cere and earnest consecration of heart and life to
the blessed service of his Lord and Master.
The time had now come for him to choose his
profession or business, and having spent many sum-
mers with his family at West Point, and witnessed
with great delight and peculiar interest the train-
ing of our cadets there, his early love of military
life returned, and gave coloring to his thoughts as
the various pursuits of life were presented. But
his deep love for his mother, and her decided op-
position to a military or naval education for him,
settled that question, and he engaged m business
with his father.
In the summer of 1860, he was united in mar-
riage with Miss Harriet Ripley, daughter of Frank
Ripley, Esq. The ceremony took place in Christ
Church, Brooklyn, where he had attended Sun-
day-school as a boy.
EARLY DAYS. 15
In the autumn alarming symptoms of pulmonary-
difficulty began to develop themselves, and his
father sent him to travel through the South, hop-
ing that he might be benefited by change of air.
He found the country all in a ferment, and very
little chance of giving to his trip anything of a
business character. From Florence, S. C, he
writes : —
"There is no business doing. The hotels and rail-
road cars are all empty, as far as Northerners are con-
cerned, and in fact the whole country seems to be in the
greatest state of excitement.
" I hear that the laws are even more stringent in Geor-
gia and Alabama, than in this State ; Northerners being
invited to leave, or, as Amos would say, ' make them-
selves seldom,' without regard to name, rank, occupation,
or anything else. I have no doubt that these accounts
are all more-~or less exaggerated, but still people from
the North are all going home (I mean business men), as
they cannot do anything. T do not see how all this can
affect our affairs, for I carry no samples, but am simply
travelling for my health ; but as I have been warned not
to carry any pamphlets or cards in my trunk, you need
not be surprised at my being put in ' qiiod ' for six
months. I am in for it now, so if you think it advisa-
ble, I will start next Monday for Montgomery, stopping
at Atlanta, on the way I hardly know why I am
so contented to-night, for I am as homesick as the mis-
chief; but I think that it must be because I try always
to begin the day right. I felt pretty badly this morn-
ing, when I found how things were, but I asked Jesus to
help me, and it seems as though the parts of the engine
almost went together of their own accord. Everything
seems to go right ; well, I must except the prog, but we
are past the days of miracles, and this place is decidedly
' harder ' than the wilderness of the Red Sea ever was."
16 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
From this place Howard went to New Orleans,
and his health not improving, he hastened home,
traveUing day and night.
This winter, while the clouds were gathering
blackness at the South, and the distant rumbling of
the thunder gave token of the coming tempest that
was to sweep over the land for four long years, he
remained quietly at his home on the banks of the
Hudson. As his health was still too deUcate to
allow him to attend closely to business, when not
busy with his pencil, he was scouring the country
on horseback, leading that active out-door life,
which was fitting him for the hard soldier life,
which, hidden from view, was lying just before
How impenetrable the thick curtain which hangs
between us and the morrow ! How unconsciously
we pass the turning pomts in our hves which shape
our future destiny ! How the Lord leads his chil-
dren by a way they know not !
" And I will bring the blind by a way that they know
not ; I will lead them in paths that they have not known :
I will make darkness light before them, and crooked
thino-s straight. These things will I do unto them, and
not forsake them." — Isaiah xlii. 16.
" Throughout the land there goes a cry:
A sudden splendor fills the sky ;
From every hill the banners burst,
Like buds by April breezes nurst;
In every hamlet, home, and mart,
The fire-beat of a single heart
Keeps time to strains whose pulses mix
Our blood with that of seventy-six! "
The canBon which opened upon Fort Sumter
awoke strange echoes, and touched forgotten chords
in the American heart. American loyalty, which
had slumbered so long that many thought it dead,
leaped into instant life, and stood radiant and
ready for the fierce encounter. No creative art
has ever woven into song a story more tender in
its pathos, or more stirring to the martial blood than
the scenes that then transpired. From one end of
the land to the other, in the crowded streets of
cities, and in the solitude of the country, wherever
our bright flag was flung to the breeze, there were
shouts of devotion and pledges of aid, which gave
glorious guarantee for the perpetuity of Ameri-
can freedom. Wives dashed aside their grief, and
gave up their husbands ; mothers, with smothered
20 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
sobs, gave up their sons ; sisters gave their brothers
to the great cause. JVIillions of freemen ralKed to
War is a dreadful evil. Its horrors, we have
seen, cannot be exaggerated. But war has its
gains as well as its losses. If it calls out in baser
natures some of the worst and most deviUsh passions
of the human heart, it kindles in others elevating
and ennobling sentiments of duty and self-sacrifice,
which otherwise they would not at all, or would
have very feebly known ; lessons are learned in
this stern school which would never have been
learned in any other, but which no nation can af-
ford to forego. For indeed, what would a nation
be, over which for century after century the great
anguish and agony of war, with all its elevating
emotions and purifying sorrows, had never passed ?
How mean, how sordid, how selfish, would the
whole spirit and temper of such a nation become,
its heart unmanned, its moral nerves and sinews
unstrung ! O, no, the nations cannot do without
the severe discipline of this terrible thing. For
nations, as little as individuals, can do without
tribulation ; and what is war but tribulation, on an
enormous scale, and visiting, not as at other times,
this household, and then this, but visiting hundreds
and thousands of households, and bringing to them
distress and anguish at the same instant. Fearful
remedy as it must needs be esteemed, war is a
remedy against worse evils, — sloth, selfishness,
love of ease, contempt of honor, worship of mate-
THE PREPARATION. 21
rial things ; all wliich, but for it, would invade
and occupy the heart of a people, and at length
eat out that heart altogether.
And as the reactive influence which war exer-
cises on a nation generally, that undertakes it in a
righteous cause, is exalting, ennobling, purifying,
so still more marked is its influence often upon
those who are directly engaged in it. Some, of
course, are hardened and brutalized by their famil-
iarity with suffering, by the necessity which they
often lie under of themselves inflicting it ; but
many also there are, like " The Happy Warrior "
of the poet,
"Who doomed to go in company with pain
And fear and bloodshed, miserable train,
Turn-4lieir necessity to glorious gain ; "
and who are only made more tender and more gen-
Howard Kitching was of this number, who, as
he ripened for glory, through the discipline of
suffering, grew more tender and more gentle by
his ministry of love, for four years, among the
wounded and the dying.
When the clarion notes of preparation rang
through the land after the fall of Sumter, his heart
was stirred within him, and he resolved to devote
himself to the service of his country. But the
struggle before he took the step was long and se-
vere. His lungs were weak, and though light of
foot, and as bold a rider as ever, he was not strong ,
22 '^MORE THAN CONQUERORS
the home ties were never stronger, — the love of
wife and child was woven now into their bright
texture. How Avell has one of our sweetest poets
pictured the struggle.
" ! do not cling to me and cry,
For it will break my heart ;
I'm sure you'd rather have me die
Than not to bear my part.
" You think that some should stay at home
To care for those away ;
But still I'm helpless to decide
If I should go or stay.
" I feel — I know — I am not mean ;
And though I seem to boast,
I'm sure that I would give my life
To those who need it most.
"Perhaps the Spirit will reveal
That which is fair and right ;
So, Marty, let us humbly kneel
And pray to Heaven for hght."
And so they knelt and prayed, and the light
came down upon the path which led from home to
He went down to New York, and immediately
enrolled himself with the Lincoln cavalry. After
drilling with them for several weeks, they were or-
dered to the seat of war, but family circumstances
prevented his leaving with them. Shortly after-
wards he received a captain's commission in the
2d New York Light Artillery.
THE PREPARATION. 23
At this time commenced his intimacy with Alex-
ander Doull, the major of the regiment, a yomig
Englishman, who had served with great distinction
in the Crimea. He was a true soldier, a young
man of real genius, and his friendship was of great
value to the new recruit.
In September the regiment was sent down to
Elm Park, Staten Island, where they were en-
camped, and employed in drilling and recruiting.
One of our autumn storms set in one night, and
the tents were nearly all swept away. The next
morning Howard Kitching and Major Doull came
clattering up to the door of the rectory, their
clothes dripping, their horses smoking and panting,
and they sprang to the ground with such a merry
shout, it seemed more like the return of a pleasure
party, than two young men, who had been deli-
cately reared, coming from a night's exposure to
wet and cold, and half famished.
And this Avas one of the common pictures to be
met with every day, during the first years of the
war. Mere boys, who had scarcely left their moth-
er's side, enduring hardships like veteran soldiers.
It was a S23lendid exhibition of the pluck and man-
liness of our American youth.
As orders were received from Washington that
the regiment should get ready to start, Howard re-
paired to Peekskill, to have his little boy baptized.
That baptism will never be forgotten. It was
sweet and solemn and sad, a consecrated hour, a
blessed parting scene. He brought his boy with-
24 '<MORE THAN CONQUERORS
in the shelter of the covenant, and left him encom-
passed by the sure shelter of the promises, and be-
neath the canopy of prayer.
We then read our favorite Psalm, the ninety-
first, that sweetest song of David, that Howard
loved so well, and so frequently alludes to in his
letters, and then we knelt in a parting prayer.
The encampment of the 2d Artiller}^ was the
first foreshadowing the people of that part of the
Island had had of the war. In a gently sloping
field by the roadside, the white camp flashed in the
sunlight ; the streets between the tents were carpeted
with grass, and the measured tread of the sentinels,
and the shrill fife, echoed through the day and night.
This was the holiday side of the war which
might be seen in every part of the land.
On the 7th of November, the tents were struck.
It was a wild, gusty day, and very cold. The
transition from the picturesque scene of the day
before, when the sun was shining brightly on
the well ordered camp, to the gloomy day and the
confusion when the tents went down, was very strik-
ing. The men had been paid off, and were many
of them intoxicated.
As we drove up to witness the departure of the
troops, we saw young Howard mounted on that
spirited gray horse which carried him through the
whole war, spurring and dashing among the debris
of camp life, and heard his voice ringing out loud
and clear, giving his orders, as he attempted to
make his men fall into line. The slight form
THE PREPARATION. 25
seemed to expand, and the boyish face to grow
older, under the sense of responsibihty, and as we
marked his self-possession and commanding air, as
he controlled those half -intoxicated men, we had
no misgivings as to his fitness for the work that
the Lord had given him to do for his comitry.
Just before the order to march was given, he
was surrounded by the wives and sisters of the
men of his company, and though harassed by the
dijB&culties of his novel position, he had a word of
cheer for each. We remember one old gray-headed
man, pressing his way through the crowd, and with
tears in his eyes begging Howard to be kind to his
boy. The harassed and excited look passed away
from his face at once, as he put his hand on the old
man's shoulder, and promised him that he would
look after his son.
And we may be sure that he did watch over that
boy, for we have abundant evidence of his thought-
ful consideration for his men, — boldly censuring
them when they neglected their duties, counseling
them in trouble, and writing letters for those who
could not write, to their wives and friends.
The regiment, on reaching Washington, was
sent to garrison Forts Ward and Ellsworth. The
following letters from the latter place give a pic-
ture of his life there. It is the hoKday soldier's
life, when the '^ pomp and circumstance of war"
are felt, and creature comforts asked for. But as
the stern conflict goes on and the terrible reality
thickens around him, we see the noble qualities of
26 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
the true soldier shine forth, and through the same
disciphne of hardship and danger the better and
stronger characteristics of the Christian developed.
Fort Ellsworth, November 18, 1861.
Dear Papa : — I have been trying for some days to
write a line to you, but have had no time, having been
moved about from place to place — always on the march,
and never at rest.
Now we are in Fort Ellsworth, things have a much
more comfortable look, and we are hoping that we may
be allowed to remain for a month at least, as we have fn
the fort a battery of six-pounders, enabling us to drill
Fort Ellsworth, you remember, was built by the
Ellsworth Fire Zouaves when they first entered Vir-
ginia. It is a very fine piece of work on a splendid
commanding position, overlooking Washington, Alex-
andria, and all the surrounding country, for fifteen or
When we came in here on Friday evening, it was oc-
cupied by four hundred " man-of-war's-men ; " in fact, a
complete frigate's crew, — and they have been spending
the past two months in putting the fort in complete or-
der, just as sailors do, sodding, and whitewashing every-
thing, and planting evergreens, until the inside of the
works is the very picture of neatness ; and if we were
in barracks instead of these miserable tents, so that we
could keep warm, we should be very comfortable and
Our tents are very cold in this winter weather, and as
our brilliant quarter-master managed to lose all my blan-
kets, as also Major DoulFs, we have suffered a good deal
from cold. I took a severe cold, sleeping on the ground
one rainy night, but am now getting very much better,
and as we shall soon have plenty of blankets, I hope I
THE PREPARATION. 27
shall not take cold again. In fact, as I was weighed oni
Saturday, and weighed one hundred and forty-eight pounds,.
I think I am not much the worse for wear as yet.
Yesterday I was ordered out on picket duty, and five
of us went out on the road leading to Fairfax Court
House, considerably beyond our last picket, and I have-
now a better idea of the state of things on our frontier
lines than I ever had before.
The roads are all barricaded, with squads of men
posted behind the barricades ; single and double pickets
on every hill, and at every bridge and house ; all the
woods on our side the lines cut down so as to form an,
entanglement, and trees felled across the roads.
In our circuit we approached as near as was altogether
safe, to the great pine woods you read so much of in the
papers, where our pickets are shot daily, and where, by
the way. Captain Todd, one of my old friends of the Lin-
coln Cavalry, was shot last Thursday, with thirty or
forty of his men.
You must try to come on here for two or three days,,
before the army makes a march, for I know that youi
would be very much interested in matters and things,,
and it would give you a realizing sense of the war, which
you have never had.
My gray horse is a most magnificent animal. He is
just as well broken as Mac, is as bold as a lion, will
jump anything and go anywhere, and in fact, is the ad-
miration of all Secessiondom. I was offered two hun-
dred and fifty dollars for him by my old friend Hidden,,
of the Lincoln Cavalry
Fort Ellsworth, November 18, 1861.
.... Everything is so changed since I passed through;
this part of the country last spring. All along the line
of the railroad from Baltimore to Washington, pickets
are posted, every bridge is guarded, every depot sur-
rounded by sentries, and in fact it is very difiicult to
.28 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
'realize that one is passing through our free, happy coun-
itry. Indeed, if you could stand with me on the ramparts
of our fort, and look around over the surrounding coun-
try, every hill crowned with a breastwork or fortification?,
and every valley holding a camp, or camps, with martial
music sounding on every side, you would find it hard to
believe that we were not in some fairy land
Give my best love to dearest mamma, and all the
•dear ones. Tell mamma that anything in the shape of
•cookies, gingersnaps, pickles, or anything good, will be
very acceptable, as we are just now in a position to en-
joy such things, being able to procure only simple pork
and potatoes for our officers' mess. Kiss J. H. K., Jr. !
Fort Ellsworth, Wednesday Evening, November 20.
.... Your letter reached me this evening, just as I
returned from a long, long day in the saddle, having been
over at Bailey's cross-roads, at the grand review by Mc-
Clellan of all the troops in this neighborhood
I wish you could just look in upon us for one day ; you
would then Imve such a realizing sense of the change in
my daily life since last year at this time. Up at six
'O'clock in the morning, making out my morning report
of the condition of things in the fort, to hand in to the
'headquarters of Brigadier -general Franklin before nine
■o'clock ; then drilling and working at the gims till dinner-
time, beside superintending the police force necessary to
dear up the grounds in and about the fort ; then in the
■afternoon we have company drill and dress parade, which
■occupies the time till dark. Being second in command in
Ihe fort, gives me of course a great deal more to attend
to than if I only had my own company to look after. I
•do not complain of my busy life, as I find it well suited
to my temperament, but only tell you that ^you may
have some idea of the manner in which I spend my time.
Now I suppose you will like to hear about the splen-
did review, and first I will tell you how I got there. I
THE PREPARATION. 29
had another invitation to ride on General Franklin's staff
to-day, which was a great honor, and just as I had fixed
myself and the gray up in great style, I discovered that
the horse was dead lame, having sprained his leg in some
way, during the night. You can easily imagine how
annoyed I was, for I am exceedingly proud of the gray,
and wanted very much to show him at the review.
Major Doull having bought Mac and intending to go, I
did not know what to do for a horse, particularly as I
knew that everything in the shape of horse-flesh would
be in demand, as is always the case on review days.
But as I had determined to go, and had told some of the
officers a few days before that I would never be stuck for a
horse, I started for the nearest cavalry encampment as
well as Gray could carry me, which was very slow, for
he is very lame.
Well, I rode into the camp, and jumping from my
horse as if in the greatest hurry, with my sword and
spurs clanking, and making as much fuss as I could, I
ordered some of the men standing around, to bring me
their best horse, as my horse had hurt himself, and you
would have hurt yourself laughing if you could have
seen them hurry to change my saddle. Well, I mounted ;
and 0, what a rip to ride on a field, rear, plunge, kick,
do anything rather than go along the road as I wished
him to ; but still he was better than none, for / got
there, and saw the most magnificent sight which I ever
witnessed ; seventy thousand men, infantry, cavalry, and
artillery, spread over an immense plain, their bright
bayonets glistening in the sun, the bands playing splen-
didly, cannon roaring from one side of the plain to the
other, and in fact, words will not describe the splendid
appearance which so large an army makes when drawn
up in line of battle.
McClellan, McDowell, Franklin, Blenker, Smith, and
all the other military big bugs were there. McClellan
is a splendid little fellow, very light built, a good horse-
man, and rides a fine blood horse.
30 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
From the fact of an order having been issued that the
troops should appear on the field with knapsacks packed,
and with four days' rations, and above all that they had
been supplied with twenty-five rounds of ball cartridge,
and the ambulances accompanied by the various surgeons
belonging to the respective regiments were on the ground,
the feeling was very strong with almost every one that
McClellan meditated an advance, and that the review
was only one way of assembling the troops without its
becoming public that he intended to move forward. To
say the least it was something of an experiment, assem-
bling the whole strength of the army on one field when
the enemy are posted in great numbers within ten miles.
Doull and I had resolved that in case there was a
fight we would see the fun, and although I was so badly
mounted, I must confess that I was sorry when the day
passed away without any aj^pearance of the enemy. . . .
Fort Ellsworth, Sunday Evening, November 24.
.... I am pretty tired, having been out to general
inspection all the morning, and working at headquarters
of General Franklin all the afternoon under orders from
.... You will think that my Sundays are unsuita-
bly spent, and indeed I find it very hard to remember
even that it is Sunday, — no church to go to, nothing to
mark the day from any other, except extra parade in the
morning. If anything, I am more busy than on any
other day, as the men seem to feel that they are at lib-
erty to bother me all day long for " passes " to go out of
camp ; and if any friends from the various camps desire
to visit me, they invariably choose Sunday. I try very
hard, however, to keep the day as I should, knowing
that a man can be just as much a Christian when on duty
at the head of his troops as in his quiet home
On Thanksgiving Day, the 28th of November,
Howard received orders to move with two com-
THE PREPARATION. 81
[>iinies to " Fort Worth," in Virginia, and the let-
ters that follow relate to his life while there.
FoKT Worth, Va., December 3, 1861.
My dearest L : I received your lovely letter,
and would have answered it immediately, but that I was
taken sick the day after I got it, and have been sick ever
We received orders late Wednesday night to move
our two companies which had been guarding Fort Ells-
worth to Fort Worth, the next morning, Thanksgiving
Day. So we were obliged to give up our comfortable
quarters, and take up our line of march for an unfinished
earthwork, on the outskirts of our line of fortifications ;
where instead of spending our time drilling on the
guns, and teaching our men something useful, we are
forced to take up our axes and shovels, and go to work
upon the Fort.
In Ellsworth we had very nice quarters within the
works, and everything convenient, and were able to crib
a little time every day to ourselves. Here we are en-
camped on a side hill, outside the work, the mud about
eight inches deep, very little to eat, and plenty of work.
If you could just look in upon us now, and see how I
live, you would scarcely believe your eyes.
Major DouU has not, as yet, received his tents, and
he and I have to occupy the same tent, which of course
is pitched right in the mud, such things as boards for
flooring being quite unheard of, and it is so full of trunks,
cooking utensils, our beds, etc., besides our saddles, which
we have to keep there, having no stable, that it is almost
impossible to move around.
We almost froze the first night, and as I was sick in
bed, and felt the cold very much, we foraged around and
found a little cast-iron stove, which we rigged up in the
tent, and except that we were smoked out like two wood-
chucks nine or ten times in twenty-four hours, we were
32 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR:'
Then our " Bill of Fare," my ! I told the boys this
morning when we succeeded in getting our morning meal
(a piece of government beef and a tin cup of coffee) at
one o'clock, after running around in the cold and snow
for three or four hours, that I thought I would give
about one month's pay to have one good meal at home.
You must not think that we complain, however
FoKT Worth, Wednesday Evening, December 11.
.... Since writing my last letter, Beauregard has
advanced to Fairfax Court House with (they say) seven-
ty-six thousand men. Fairfax is between eight and nine
miles from here, and as the enemy's outposts are thrown
out about three and a half miles ahead of his main body,
we begin to feel as though our fort was a pretty impor-
tant position, being the centre upon which our forces
must rest in case they are attacked. We have fortu-
nately gotten everything in perfect order ; our men and
ourselves can work the guns (big and little) beautifully,
and having plenty of ammunition and a good well just
finished, we think we could stand a pretty good siege.
Last night at eleven o'clock, those of us who were up,
were very much excited by discovering that the brigade
under General How^ard, numbering some five thousand
men, were leaving their camps and taking up their line
of march towards Fairfax. So suddenly and so quietly
was it done, that unless we had been watching for some
movement, we would never have suspected but that the
thousands in the valley below us were wrapped in sleep.
For the first time I saw an army, roused suddenly from
sleep without any previous order, march out in perfect
silence to meet the enemy. It was as beautiful a sight
as my eyes ever beheld. Our position is on a very high
and steep hill, having something the same effect as the
view from Catskill, and as the different regiments left
their camps and filed out into the plain below, their bay-
onets glistening in the unusually brilliant light of the
TFIE PREPARATION. 33
moon, and the murmur of their whispered orders came
up to lis like the hum of a bee, I became tremendously
excited, and realized for the first time the feeling which
prompts men to such feats of daring on the battle-field.
To give you some idea of the celerity with which a
camp can be put in motion, from the moment when the
first order to march was received, to the time when the
order to move was given, just sixteen minutes had elapsed ;
four regiments of infantry and two batteries of light ar-
tillery having been got in readiness during that time.
DouU was in command of the fort, and consequently
could not leave, so I silently saddled " Gray Billy," and
started for " better or for worse," just to see how things
were managed. I joined one of the light artillery batter-
ies, and accompanied them along the road till we were
ordered to halt, and the captain formed his battery across
the road to act as a reserve, in case the other force which
pushed on ahead, were driven back.
I remained till about four o'clock in the morning,
learning all~I could, and posting myself regarding bat-
tery manoeuvers, and then, as no enemy appeared, and I
was obliged to relieve my guard at the fort at four o'clock,
I returned. You can imagine that it is very galling to
me to be thus tied down in a fort, instead of having my
light guns and being in the field, but I do not see how
it can be helped for a while, as Uncle Sam has not guns
enough to equip the batteries now in the field. I have
the promise, however, of Brigadier-general Barry (the
chief of artillery) that my battery shall be the Jirst
Since recovering from my bilious attack, I have been
very much better, and am in fact, becoming as tough and
hardy as an Indian. Major Doull and I sleep without
a fire, and I do not know what I should do now, if put
suddenly into a house, with warm fires and soft beds.
Tell J that I have attempted many times to write to
him, and to thank him for the magnificent glass which
34 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
he sent me. The glass is extra fine, and is most useful
Fort Worth, Sunday, December 21, 1861.
.... My darling H : As I now write, another
poor fellow from the Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania is be-
ing brought to his last resting-place, on the httle knoll
behind my tent.
You will remember that I wrote you about the little
grave-yard where they laid the poor fellow who was shot
some two weeks ago, and where several of our pickets
are lying, who have been shot at various times. We
turned out our companies last week, and put a little rustic
fence around it, and the place looks really pretty, only
so lonely, and reminds one so strongly of the realities of
war, lying, as it does, directly under the guns of our fort ;
their black muzzles seeming to point directly upon the
new-made graves. AVhen I began to write, the band
was playing (with muffled drums) Pleyel's Hymn, the
comrades of the deceased singing a hymn (I caimot
quite catch the words), and now they have just fired three
volleys over him, and " left him alone in his glory."
I took about two hundred and fifty of the men down
to the camp of the Fourth Rhode Island regiment this
morning, to attend service, as we have no chaplain ; and
although it was very cold standing in the cold wind, still
I enjoyed the service very much. The chaplain is an
Episcopalian, and it was so natural to hear our beautiful
service again, for I have not been able to attend church
before since I left home.
We closed with " Old Hundred," men and officers join-
ing in ; and I sang so loud that I am sure Jeff. Davis
heard me at Centreville, fifteen miles off; and thought
that Henry Ward Beecher was upon him with all his
We find him, in the following extracts, looking
back, with a yearning heart, to the home joys of
^HE PREPARATION. 35
Christmas tide — the time of pleasant gatherings,
and sweet and hallowed memories. Saddened
though he is, with what bright words of fun he
writes, so like himself.
Fort "Wokth, December 26, 1861.
.... My first Christmas away from home was a sad
one, I assure you ; for we have been accustomed for so
many years to have a family gathering at home, and
have always looked forward to it with such pleasant
anticipations that it seemed as much like St. Patrick's
Day (which every one knows is the most dismal of all
days), as like Christmas.
I had arranged to give a dinner to my company, of
roast beef and plum-pudding, and considering all things
it went off very well ; the only trouble being that old
" Gore," my company cook, put all the whiskey I gave
him for sauce down his throat, and the men complained
that the sauce was too " flat." We (that is Company B's
officers), had a very nice dinner of tm'key in my tent.
.... I have just now received and opened the mag-
nificent box of things which all the dear ones have sent
me, and O my precious H -^ I cannot say enough
about them. The dear little diary, just what I had been
thinking I must have, and the lovely cap which I have
on my head this minute, and which fits like a ^^ plasther ! "
and all the good things too, enough to make the whole
battalion sick for a month ! . . . .
One o'clock^ Midnight.
Darling Mamma : — .... Your beautiful picture
took me all by surprise, for I had begun to think it
impossible to get a good likeness of you, and then to
have you suddenly appear to me from the depths of a
soap-box, the effect was magical ! . . . . G 's dear
36 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR.''
little picture, too, is so pretty and cunning, all the boys
are begging for it. Such good pictures seem to bring you
all around me ; and with yours, H 's, little Howy's
and G 's before me, I can almost imagine myself at
January 7, 1862.
.... I commenced writing to you Sunday night,
telling you what a nice time I had had reading to my
men all the evening, but I was so tired and sleepy that I
was unable to finish, and gave it up ; having only suc-
ceeded in spoiling a sheet of government paper.
My men, as you know, are nearly all Roman Catholics,
but when I give it out that I am going to read to them,
the whole company, and many from other companies,
collect in one of the largest tents ; and last Sunday even-
ing they were sitting as thick as they could squat around
me, while I read " The Railroad Man " to them. I wish
that more of them were Protestants, for then I could
talk to them in a much more satisfiictory way ; whereas
now, I can only read to them such books as will interest
them, without frightening them into the idea that I am
trying to proselyte them. The consequence of this
would be that they would confess to their priest, who
comes once a month and confesses them in B's tent, and
he would prejudice their minds so much that all good
effect of my reading would be lost; so all I can do is
to read to them and leave the matter in God's hands.
One of my men, a splendid fellow, named Beck, was
through the Crimean War, and knew Hedley Vicars.
He was quite near at the time Vicars was killed. He
speaks in the highest terms of him ; says that he was
always reading to the men, giving them books, talking to
them, and that his men of the 97th loved him dearly.
This man Beck is one of the men who left his own
company on the day we left Elm Park, and asked per-
mission of Colonel P to join my comj3any, and a
better soldier I never saw.
THE PREPARATION. 37
Tell pcapa and mamma that if they have any books
which they think would interest the men, to send them
along, as I have entirely exhausted my stock. If papa
could send me two or three of Jacob Abbot's histories —
Alexander the Great, or any of them which he might
select, I would read to them every night.
Tell mamma that the bed, sheets, and spreads which
she gave me are being used for the first time to-night.
One of our captains has been taken suddenly ill with
what I fear will prove typhoid fever, and as he cannot be
moved to the hospital, Doull and I are taking care of
him. I made his bed very comfortable with my linen,
and put hot bottles to his feet, and Doull is sitting up
with him the first part of the night ; I to take the last
part, which, by the way, I shall not be in a fit condition
to do unless I get to bed
Find out, darling, who sent each of the things con-
tained in the Christmas box, so that I may thank them.
Kiss the little chap for me. Does he smoke a pipe yet ?
We have found in his camp clicst the following
letter from a dear Christian friend, Avritten at this
time, which we insert, because it refers to a letter
in which he relates some of his efforts as a soldier
of the cross.
My DEA.R Howard : — I had the pleasure a few even-
ings since of hearing parts of your last letter to H
read, and was deeply interested in all the details of your
camp life. You will hardly credit it, that the moi^t
trifling circumstances of your daily doings are eagerly
sought and dwelt on by us. W and I think of you
every day, and pray for you through many an hour.
I felt a glow of pride on hearing of Dr. Lee's inter-
view with you, and though a man is never a prophet in
his own country, it was not difficult for me to think that
the Doctor spoke advisedly when he wrote "Captain
38 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
Kitching is one of the very best officers in the whole
l' never doubted that you had it in you, and only
wanted grace and opportunity to bring it out.
But what made my heart throb with very gladness,
was the simple statement you gave of your reading with
the poor soldiers, for I know that in thus working for
the Master, you will find a cheer and a joy in the work
itself ; and if you live through this conflict, when this
war shall have become an event of history, and in after
years you call to remembrance its strange hurried scenes,
you may be sure that the hours thus spent will be the
greenest, and freshest, and most fragrant spots in mem-
ory. And in that blessed land where " they learn war
no more," you may meet those who found their way to
Jesus' feet, by listening to your voice on the banks of the
I am glad that you met with that old soldier who
knew Hedley Vicars, and bore testimony to his unwearied
efforts to bring the poor soldiers into the way of life.
You may depend upon it, Miss Marsh's account of him
was true to the letter, and that Major 's deprecatory
reflections upon him, if they were not the suggestions of
his own heart, were derived from those who, like himself,
could see no beauty in that beautiful character — a young
man fearless and loyal to his Saviour, while he was loyal
to his Queen.
It is a glorious mission, and the Lord has sent you to
do just the work you are doing. I know what Christian
courage it requires always, in such company, to show
your colors ; but Christ's grace is sufficient, and if you
are unfaltering, even those who cannot understand you
will admire, and at last may imitate.
The angels do not look down upon a thing on earth
more noble, than a young, and loyal, consistent Christian
THE PREPARATION. 39
Fort Blenker, January 19, 1862.
.... On Friday morning, while we were all hard at:
work in Fort Worth, Major Doull received orders to march,
immediately to this post with two companies. In less
than two hours' time, we had torn down our nice winter
quarters, which we had built with so much trouble ; left
our nice log cook-houses and stables, and were on the
march ; I, in command of the troops, Doull having gone
ahead to arrange for our relieving the troops at Blen-
Such a march as we had of it ! Our way led throughi
rough, unbroken woods, where the thick, black mud is-
actually in some places two and a half feet deep. My
men, laden as they were with knapsacks, haversacks,,
and muskets, besides various articles which they had
made at Fort Worth, and were loth to part with, could,
scarcely get along ; sinking at every step knee deep in
the mire, but still laughing and joking each other, and
now and then roaring out a song which Lieutenant How-
ard or I would start. I was mounted on Billy, with a
pack before and behind, so high that I looked like a Jew
peddler ; and after once getting into the saddle, could
not get out again till I was " boosted " out by a file of
I never saw such a magnificent lot of fellows as mine..
I thought that they would be very much dispirited at
being obliged to leave their comfortable quarters during
this miserable weather, and go forth, they knew not
whither. But on the contrary, they received my orders
to strike their tents, with cheers ; and during the march,,
and on Friday night, although they were obliged to sleep,
in an old barn, without any sides (only a roof), men.
and horses all in together, I did not see one cloudy face-;,
all w^ere cheerful and happy, seemingly content to go^
wherever I ordered, and they were needed
Thursday night, I was enjoying the beautiful moon
quite as much as you could have done, though by no
40 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
means sleigh-riding, for it was quite warm. I had got
an old cornet from one of the boys, and was playing
" Star Spangled Banner," and other patriotic songs for
the officers to sing, and we were all out in the moon-
light in front of our tents, making everything ring till
Fort Ble:nker, Februartj 2, 1862.
.... I am working very hard at my books, as I find
that military men expect me to make up with brains for
absence of whiskers. I was called into court on Satur-
day, as a witness, and I heard afterward that the univer-
sal opinion of the members of the court was, that I am
an extraordinarily young looking man for a captain, but
that I appeared much older after I began to speak. I
am afraid my youthful appearance will always work
against me in my military career, but as I cannot very
well helji it, I won't worry over it
Fort Blenker, February 18, 1862.
Dear Theodore : — I should have replied to your
kind letters long since, but that my mind has been so
completely upset by our trouble here, beside being so
occupied with our examination, that even when I could
find an hour, it has seemed impossible for me to write a
iletter that I would ask anybody to read. We have now
.passed the examination, and are waiting anxiously for
>the result of the report which was sent in to General
McClellan by the Board.
Major Doull and myself have been assured, that there
is a bright day dawning for our regiment, after the
gloomy experience which it has had ever since w^e en-
Just as soon as we obtain the report of the Board
upon our examinations, I will send it to you, as I know
that anything which concerns my welfare so nearly as
the opinion of a board of regular army officers, as to
THE PREPARATION. 41
my capabilities to fill my i^osition will interest you and
The examining Boards appointed by McClellan, have
been the means of sending home a large number of in-
Doull is already making a name for himself, proving
himself quite equal to any of our West Point graduates
in his military qualifications, and his proficiency in math-
ematics and civil engineering. So you see I could not
have a better instructor.
We are very quiet here at Fort Blenker, having only
two companies, with seven officers, and being almost en-
tirely isolated from any other regiment. One day is
painfully like another, the weather being so bad that it
is quite impossible to have much out-door work. We
are getting very weary of the monotony of this kind of
life, and long for a change.
The greater portion of the troops on this side of the
Potomac -will be moved forward, just as soon as the
roads become passable for artillery. Whether our regi-
ment will be among the fortunate number, we cannot
tell, but Major Doull has a proposal now before the
Brigadier-general, to send us forward with siege guns
and mortars, as it is very evident that the advance upon
Manassas will be made after a very diffisrent plan from
last summer. The rebel works will be regularly in-
vested and taken by siege, five or six days' hard fighting
being necessary for that purpose.
I find that the smattering of mechanics which I pos-
sess is of great assistance to me in the management of
guns, and as I have been studying fortifications very
diligently, I am anxious to have an opportunity of putting
some of my theories into practice.
There is great rejoicing here over the news of the
victories in the West, and the general opinion apj^ears to
be that the rebellion is " on its last legs." God grant
that it may be so !
42 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR.''
I am sorry to tell you that I meet with great discour-
agements in my feeble efforts to bring the poor men in
my own and other companies to a knowledge of the
truth as it is in Jesus. Almost all the men in this
detachment are Roman Catholics. My first lieutenant
is of the same faith, and assisted by a priest who, like all
his brethren, is most unremitting in his zeal. They all
have the idea (quite right by the way) that I am tryino-
to convert them ; and although B does not of course
mterfere with me, still I cannot help feeling his influ-
ence. I do what little I can, hoping and praying that
some of the poor deluded ones may be brought out of
Major DouU and I have inaugurated a temperance
movement in the regiment, and I am glad to see that its
effects are becoming manifest not alone amongst the men,
but amongst the officers, many of whom have been mak-
ing brutes of themselves ever since they began to feel
that they were outside the influence of home and the
restraints of society.
All the officers of this detachment and nearly two
thirds of my men, have signed off; and the consequence
is a very great improvement in the moral tone of the
My Sundays here, instead of being the happy days of
home, are very sorrowful ones to me. One hundred
men being crowded into one very small house, the Major
and I are not only forced to occupy the same little room,
but It always being the quarters of the commandino-
officer, every little detail connected with the fort is
brought there, and on Sunday particularly it is utterly
impossible for me to enjoy even a half hour to myself.
Most of our army officers consider Sunday a day to visit
each other, and as they think, enjoy themselves; and as •
D IS not of my mind in religious matters, and has
a great deal of company on Sunday in addition to the
calls made upon me, it seems as though I never could be
THE PREPARATION. 43
alone. O how I long for those quiet lovely Sundays I
spent with you and L .
You perhaps cannot realize, occupied as you are in the
Master's work, how difficult it is to have the same clear
insight into heavenly things, and to keep a conscience
void of offense here in camp, where I hear nothing but
worldly conversation, and where one rarely hears the
name of Jesus, except in some scoffer's mouth.
I know that the true Christian can be just as near his
Saviour when in camp, surrounded by irreligious and
profane men, as when sliielded by the gentle loving in-
fluences of home. Still there is a sad feehng of loneli-
ness consequent upon a position such as mine, which I
cannot at all times get rid of. I have seen more open
wickedness and unblushing sin, since my connection with
the army, than I ever dreamed of before. We have no
regimental chaplain, and the weather has been so terrible
that none of the regiments about here have had regular
service ; consequently the few of my men who will go to
the Protestant Church have been denied the privilege.
Those little books which were sent out from home
have been read and read, over and over again ; and just
as soon as the affairs of the regiment are definitely set-
tled, I am going to beg for some more
Fort Blexker, Thursday Evening, March 13, 1862.
Dear Papa, .... I am trying hard to find some-
body to buy my gray horse ; for although he is so beau-
tiful, and I have succeeded in making such a fine saddle
horse of him, still I see that he will never do any work
where I am obliged to jump on him and gallop for a
mile or two through bushes, and stumps, over fences, and
ditches, and then perhaps leave him standing tied to a
tree without a blanket, and this in all weathers. He still
couo-hs a good deal and appears quite weak at times.
And yet I am in hopes of meeting somebody who will
fancy him enough to pay a big price for him. My old
44 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
friend Hidden of the Lincoln Cavalry had offered to buy
him, but he, poor fellow, was killed last Sunday about ten
miles from here while leading: a charo^e at the head of
his men. He died as a soldier should, in the perform-
ance of his duty, and the entire division are sounding
his praises. He was out scouting with General Kearny,
and they came upon what appeared to be a picket guard
of the enemy. Hidden had only thirteen men, but he
charged down a hill upon them, and found them to be
about one hundred and fifty strong, and rifle-men. He
however completely routed them, killing and wounding
a great many and taking fourteen prisoners ; but he lost
his life, being shot through the neck and killed instantly.
He was a noble fellow, and brave as a lion. I wish I
knew that he was a Christian. You will remember him ;
he dined with you and me at Delmonico's one day.
I was out beyond Fairfax yesterday, sixteen miles
from Alexandria, and from what 1 can learn, 1 think that
our chiefs are not a little puzzled at finding that the
rebels have evacuated Manassas.
I think that the strength of the army will return to
Washington and be sent down the river, but of course
nothing definite is known.
Wherever they go we earnestly hope that we shall be
ordered to accompany them. Our regiment is rapidly
getting into a splendid condition under Major Doull, and
now that we have muskets we are ready for anything.
The fame of Ericsson and his monitor is in every-
body's mouth, and I think that now he will be looked
upon in his true character.
Was he on board during the fight ? The " Times "
says " yes." ....
In a brief note, written to his wife late at night
at the close of a weary day, he says : —
Love our gracious Saviour, darling. Try to be with
THE PREPARATION. 45
Him more every day ; and you will find that He is in-
deed "Our Elder Brother," and the Friend above all
In a letter a few weeks later lie writes : —
I had a lovely letter from . He is I think, the
most heavenly minded man I ever saw. How I wish
that he could talk to the poor fellows who are lying in
our hospitals about here, many of them dying without
mention of Jesus' name being once made to them, —
that name so full of comfort and hope to the dying
" Rise ! for the day is passing,
And you lie dreaming on ;
The others have buckled their armor
And forth to the fight are gone :
A place in the ranks awaits you,
Each man has some part to play ;
The Past and Future are looking
In the face of the stern To-day."
" The next day they took him, and had him into the armory, where
they shewed him all manner of furniture, which the Lord had pro-
vided for pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breast-plate, all-prayer,
and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of
this to harness out as many men for the service of the Lord, as there
be stars in the heaven for multitude," Buxyan.
The dreamer's picture must have been in tke
mind of the young soldier, when he drew with
skillful pencil, the sketch which forms the frontis-
piece of his pocket diary for this year, — Christian
going forth to the conflict, clad in the Avhole armor
of God. Behind liim the pleasant fields and quiet
valleys — before, the rough and dusty highway,
strewn with emblems of death. But with firm
hand he is grasping the shield, on which the white
cross glistens, and his eye is gazing steadfastly on
the motto over him : —
" Nominis stat umbra."
For we have abundant evidence that whether in
garrison or in the field, his strong tower was the
name of Jesus ; and that though i7i the world,,
amid its most distracting, most disheartening,
scenes, he was not of the world. We know of no
harder warfare for the young Christian than camp
50 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
life affords. O, how many young men who were
moving humbly in the path of Christian usefulness
amid the quiet of home life, have entered the army
and lost their way, — passed over from the thorny
outpost under the canopy of heaven, to the glare
and the lights and the festive din of the enemy's
camp, and forgotten the conflict. AVhile others,
like Colonel K itching, have gro^vn stronger from
the stern conflict. " Blameless and harmless,
shining as lights in the world ; " O, we can never
be this, unless we have hold of Christ. No power
short of this can keep us steadfast in our Christian
testimony, firm in our Christian hope, warm in our
Christian love, where there is nothing without to
Colonel Kitching was now to leave the barrack
for the battle-field. His ardent spirit was chafing
for more active service, and when it was announced
that the army was about to advance towards
Richmond, and there was a prospect of his being
left behind to do garrison duty, he could keep
quiet no longer, and volunteered to go with the
army of the Potomac. In a letter of General
fUpton's,^ referring to this period, and of his meet-
ing with Colonel Kitching, he says, " Anxious to
participate in the first campaign of the army of the
Potomac, he came to my battery, and sought per-
mission to join it. So anxious was he in fact, that
he not only waived his rank to serve under me, but
he went still further, and took command of a sec-
tion as the junior second lieutenant of the battery.
1 Then a captain in the regular army.
THE CONFLICT. 51
Foregoing every consideration due to his rank,
and ignoring the pleasures and comforts of garri-
son life, he sought service in the field against the
enemies of his country ; an act, not only indicative
of his ardent patriotism, but one which will for-
ever reflect credit and honor upon his character as
an officer and soldier."
The following letter was written by Howard
soon after joining General Upton : —
Camp Arnold, Manassas, Sunday Evening, AjMl 6, 1862.
.... I have not had one minute since reporting my-
self for duty to the battery. Two days after I joined,
I was appointed adjutant of the artillery brigade of
Franklin's division, which in addition to my daily duties
as chief of section in my own battery, keeps me on the
run most ol^the time. I suppose that I ought to con-
sider the appointment a compliment, but as I had quite
enough to do before, I must say that I would have been
quite contented without it.
Now to tell you what we have been doing the past
three days and how we got where we are now ; as I wrote
you 'from our old camp (" Upton "), in a hurried note,
we received orders Thursday night, at about eleven
o'clock, to move on to Manassas Friday morning. So
at nine o'clock we left our old camp, and pushed on to
Centreville (twenty-one miles) before dark. We had a
very hot, dusty march of it, I can tell you ; the lumber-
ing artillery carriages raising the dust to such an extent
that one could scarcely see twenty feet of the road, and
the sun poured down upon us really like summer. We
reached Centreville, as I have said, just before dark ; and
after seeing after our horses and guns, we pitched a tent,
and fixed ourselves as comfortably as we could ; the only
difficulty being to keep warm, as it comn^enced raining
just after midnight, and drenched everything through and
52 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
through — for while troops are on the march, the most
we can do is to provide a shelter against the dampness of
the night, and a hard beating rain seems to penetrate
everything in the shape of canvas.
"When I awoke yesterday morning, all my clothes
had that miserable damp feeling that chills one so, and
when I poked my head out of the tent it was raining
We ate a piece of beefsteak and some crackers, and
started at seven o'clock, and until we reached Bull Run,
it rained and rained till I thought it would never stop ;
and such dismal work it is marching with an artillery
train on such a day. Every little while we would get
into some deep hole where the heavy guns would stick
fast, and we would have to put on extra horses to pull
When we reached Manassas station the rain ceased,
and things began to look brighter, and before we had our
camp arranged, it had cleared off quite pleasantly.
We are located in a lovely spot here, about two miles
beyond the old battle-field, with almost the whole of
Franklin's division within sight of us. I suppose we
are on our way to Richmond, and that we shall move on
in the morning, but cannot tell positively. Much dis-
satisfaction is expressed at our having been withdrawn
from. McClellan's command and placed under that of
McDowell, but as good soldiers we must go ahead, and do
as we are ordered without grumbling
A true illustration of the spirit that animated
the young men of our army. Educated, and ac-
customed to think for themselves on all subjects,
tliey freely discussed every movement, but when
the order was given to march, they were ready to
go forward, anywhere, without a murmur. It was
their intelligence, and in many cases, Christian
THE CONFLICT. 53
faith, that made them the noblest and best soldiers
that ever fought for their country.
The order of President Lincoln, dictating a
movement of the Army of the Potomac against
Manassas, was at this time rescinded, and in com-
pliance with the earnest solicitations of General
McClellan, a change of base to the lower Chesa-
peake was commenced. This wonderful movement
was aptly called by a European critic, " the stride
of a giant." As a distinguished writer says, " To
take up an army of over one hundred thousand
men, transport it and all its immense material by
water, and plant it down on a new theatre of oper-
ations near two hundred miles distant, is an en-
terprise, the details of which must be studied, ere
its colossal magnitude can be adequately appre-
hended. It was an undertaking eminently charac-
teristic of the American genius, and of a people
distins^uished above all others for the ease with
which it executes great material enterprises — a
people rich in resources, and in the faculty of cre-
The following letters refer to this time : —
On board Transport " Willing,'"" off Yorktown, )
Satu7'day Evening^ April 19, 1862. )
My own sweet Wife : — I intended writing you a
nice long letter before leaving Alexandria ; but we re-
ceived orders to embark much sooner than we expected,
and our men having been paid off just as we left, the
officers were obliged to do all the work, so that I did not
get one moment in which to write.
Papa, I suppose, told you of our being ordered to
54 "MORE THAN COXQUEROR."
return to Alexandria in order to come down the river,
so it will not surprise you much to know that we are
here. We have received so many conflicting orders
lately, that I think I should not be much astonished at
our receiving orders to embark immediately for the
We have just come in here expecting that we were to
disembark in rear of McClellan's lines, and then advance
by land, but we have within ten minutes received orders
from General Franklin not to land, as we were going
farther up the river, and Captain Purdy, Franklin's
adjutant-general, made the remark to Captain Arnold,
that " we should land under tire," so I su^jpose we may
have a warm time of it. These things however, ai-e very
uncertain, and we don't really know where we ai-e go-
"l trust that our blessed Master in his mercy will spare
me to return to you very soon, and I know that whatever
happens, He will take care of us as He has in days gone
by. And I want my darling one to trust Him implicitly ;
and when days seem darkest, and she may be tempted to
think Jesus has forsaken her, go and tell Him every-
thing just as she would me if I were there, and then
leave all her cares with Him ; and she will find Him
the same kind, loving Saviour that He has always been.
I must confess H 'darling, that this is a trying
hour for me ; but I go to Jesus and He seems to be very,
very near me sometimes, and then I think that all will
be well if I only trust in Him
As I am writing I can hear the booming of the heavy
guns at Yorktown, where " little Mac " is banging away
at the rebels. The report is that there has been severe
work there to-day, but we hear nothing official.
Little Doull is in the trenches working away with his
heavy guus. He will make a name for himself if he does
not lose his life
God bless you all, and in his infinite mercy unite us
THE CONFLICT. 55
again here ou earth, and reunite, us in his, and our
heavenly home. Jesus, Master, be with all my precious
ones, and with their own Howard.
To his wife : —
Camp Ellis, neak Yorktowx, Friday Evenhuj, April 25, 18G2.
.... I have been nursing Lieutenant Williston of
our battery, who has been very sick for a week past with
typhoid fever. This, in addition to my other duties, has
kept me so occupied that I have had no time to write.
.... We have been busy all the week getting our
horses and guns ashore, and have just finished to-day.
We are now awaiting the arrival of the new iron gun-
boat Galena, to embark again for Gloucester Point.
I inclose in my letter to papa a rough map, cut from
the '' Herald," which will give you some idea of our
position. General McClellan is in front of Yorktown
with nearly one hundred thousand men, and our division,
with General McCall's, numbering in all about twenty
thousand, are to cross the York River, and after effect-
ing a landing, attack Gloucester Point, a place which is
strongly fortified and held by the rebels, and where we
shall probably be obliged to fight pretty hard to obtain a
.... My darling must pray, as I feel sure she does,
that our loving Father will spare my life through the
dangers of the battle-field, and also that He will ena-
ble her to be resigned to his will in everything, know-
ing that " He doeth all things well."
.... Give my best love to L . Tell her that I
would love dearly to have one of our old talks together
and that through the mercy of Jesus, I can appreciate
her feelings better now than in those old times
God bless you, my precious one ! I would so love to
kiss you good-night as of old, and kneel down side by
side as we did that sorrowful Sunday night, and pray to
the same lovmg Jesus. We can do this, my darling.
56 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
although separated. • Don't forget to go to Jesus, at twi-
light, every day, and I will be there with you, even if in
the saddle, marching in the dust, or on the battle-field.
I feel, darling, that there is a bright, happy future in
store for you and me ; perhaps here on earth ; certainly
in our Father's house, where we shall be together " with
Camp Ellis, near Yorktown, Friday Evening, April 25, 1862.
My dear Papa : — .... Were it not for H •
and the little one, T should go into battle without a shade
of fear, and with all the ardor of my age and natural
But when I begin to think of what poor H will
do if I am killed, I assure you, it tries my faith as well
as my manhood, to the utmost.
But I do not wish you to think that I am desponding
or discouraged. As I said before, were it not for others,
who are comparatively helpless, and dependent upon me,
I should have no anxiety, no fear for the future.
If I am spared to return, I shall be home by the mid-
dle of May ; and then if we could keep house, some-
where near the " old home," I think I should be con-
tented with everything and everybody. I suppose that
you are very much in the dark in New York, as to the
proposed plan of operations here, so 1 will tell you all
McClellan is, as you know, in front of Yorktown,
with something less than one hundred thousand men.
He is mounting several very heavy batteries, but is not
yet ready to open fire.
Our division (Franklin's), together with General Mc-
Cair§, are to be sent across York River, and landed
somewhere below Gloucester Point, with the intention of
taking possession of it.
It is very strongly fortified, and held by the rebels,
and once taken, Yorktown is lost ; consequently, it is
THE CONFLICT. 57
supposed that they will make a desperate resistance. All
the generals here express the opinion that this is to be
the battle ground of the war.
I inclose a map which I cut from the " Herald," on
which I have marked our present position ; please give
it to II as it will give her a very definite idea of
where I am, and where I am going.
As I may not have an opjDortunity of writing again
before we move, you must not be surprised, if you should
not hear from me till you see us mentioned as having
been in a fight.
I almost forgot to say that the new iron gunboat
Galena is to accompany us up the river.
Is this one of Ericsson's ? . . . .
Camp Ellis, near Yorktown, Sunday, April 27, 1862.
Darling Mamma : — I have wished to write to you
every day^since we started on our first campaign to Ma-
nassas, but I am so differently situated here from what
I was, as captain of my own company, that it is very
difficult to manage to scribble even a few lines to H
now and then
We were only allowed to bring two tents to ac-
commodate eight officers, and the result is, that it is
quite impossible to be quiet or alone for ten minutes, un-
less I go outside, and leave camp altogether. You know
how difficult it is to write, when surrounded by three or
four noisy persons, who are continually talking to you,
and to all ap23earance, doing everything in their power
to disturb and interrupt you.
I really think that the experiences of the past six
months have entirely obliterated all traces of a desire
for military glory in the bosom of your humble servant.
I commenced a letter to you last night, but the very
first page was so gloomy and miserable, in addition to the
fact of the rain having leaked through the tent, upon the
paper, making it look as though I had been dropping
very large tears upon it, that I tore it up
58 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
My discomfort is increased by the fact that I have
little or no sympathy from any one in the company. The
men are all strangers to me, and would remain so under
the present dispensation, were I with the company for
years — it being considered subversive of good discipline,
and very irregular, for a commissioned officer to come in
direct contact with the men in any way. And I find my
lieutenants to be, with one exception, so very jealous of
my being higher in rank than they, that I am obliged to
be extremely cautious how I infringe upon even a cus-
tom of the company, much more an order.
I do not tell you all this in a complaining mood, but
simply because I have ahyays run straight to mamma
with all my stories, and I know that you are always anx-
ious to know just how I am situated, wherever I am.
Nor must you think that I have any difficulty with any
one here. Not at all. , The trouble is simply this, that
while in command of my own company, I felt all the
time as though I was doing somebody some good ; I
knew each individual soldier, his troubles and sorrows.
And you know how much interest I felt in everything
which concerned my company.
Here, things are widely different. I am forced to act
as though the men were mere machines, without either
souls or feelings. I say forced, because I have already
been shown plainly that my position as a volunteer, will
not admit of my running against the prejudices of these
I was ordered down the river this morning, to issue
some orders to the engineers who are constructing the
rafts which are to transport our guns and horses across
York River, and I saw them for the first time.
They are formed of many canal boats, nearly twenty
feet apart, tied together by strong timbers, upon which
platforms are built, and uj)on these the horses and guns
are to stand, the horses already harnessed and ready to
be i^ushed overboard, and taken on shore in the shortest
THE CONFLICT. 59
I wi'ote papa, I believe, all about our proposed move-
ments, so I suppose you all understand the plan of oper-
ations just about as well as we do here. The idea here
is that the propose<l point of attack is strongly fortified,
and that we shall be obliged to disembark under fire of
the enemy, which, to say the least, will be rather disagTee-
able, for my experience already proves that it is quite
difficult enough to get large numbers of men and horses
over the side of a vessel, and then ashore, even without
the additional excitement of having both men and horses
killed by shot and shell while in the water.
But it is thoughtless in me to worry you with these
things when perhaps we mayjiot be thus exposed.
And here I want to beg of you all not to be fright-
ened if you hear of our division or even our battery
having been engaged, for the newspaper reports of these
things are always exaggerated.
You may be sure of one thing, that if anything hap-
pens to niS^ you will hear it soon enough — such news
always appears to fly on lightning wings.
It seems wicked to be scribbling this kind of letter
on Sunday, dearest mamma, but this is the only quiet
hour I have had inside the tent for a week past, and I
know that you want to know everything about me. I
do so long for a dear quiet Sunday at home, once
The only difference here between Sunday and any
other day must be in a man's own heart ; there is cer-
tainly none outside. I have very little time to read
books of any sort, but I have that little " Diary " which
darling Fanny used so long, and it is so small that
I can carry it in my pocket, and can read a verse and
hymn wherever I am. It is a dear little book, and
being full of Fanny's well remembered handwriting, it
is always accompanied by very sweet as well as very
Papa told me in his letter about your thinking of buy-
60 ''MORE THAN COXQUEROR."
ing a house for II and L Were it not that I have
had constant proof for the past twenty years of the
boundlessness of your love for all of us, I could not be-
lieve it. It seemed too good to be true. And that
darling H and I should really be living in our
own little house, seems like something in the dim future,
only to be dreamed of. You know how I love home,
always did as a boy ; and if my life is spared to return
to a little home of my own, I think my cup of happiness
will be full.
I know that my precious mother will be delighted to
hear that Jesus' presence is almost always realized by me
now. Sometimes, it is true, dark clouds seem to come
between Him and my soul; but at such times I have
only to go to Him and tell Him everything, and He
at once dispels the darkness, and gives me perfect confi-
dence and trust.
Good-by, my own darling, precious mamma. This
may be the last letter I shall be able to write you.
Pray for me, that whatever happens, I may be safe in
Jesus. Love to James and dear little Amy. God bless
you all. Ever jowv loving son.
" Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark as midnight's gloomy shroud;
But when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light.
Blessed Jesus ! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe."
After remaining encamped for about a week, in
the vicinity of Yorktown, tliey again took boats,
and under Franklin steamed up the York River,
and disembarked, on the 6th of May, at West
Point. The battle fought the next day was the
first battle in which he was engaged, and the two
THE CONFLICT, 61
letters following give us a faint idea of his emotions
on beholding the stern realities of war, —
" The dead and wounded carried in."
To his wife : —
Camp Newton, West Point, Wednesday Evening, \
May 7, 1862. ]
.... We have just repulsed an attack made by the
rebels about twenty thousand strong, under General
I have not one moment in which to write. By God's
mercy I am safe.
We arrived off this place yesterday afternoon, and
were hard at work landing our horses and guns, and the
enemy attacked us at ten this morning, before our divis-
ion was all ashore. Two of our infantry regiments
were driven out of the woods with heavy slaughter, the
31st New ^rk having lost two whole companies, and
six or eight officers. When the enemy drove our men
from the woods into the open ground, our artillery
opened fire, and throwing solid shot and shell, soon made
them " very scarce."
We were in battery six hours, and we have all, includ-
ing the poor horses, been in harness since Sunday morn-
ing ; and as I have had nothing to eat but one big cracker
since yesterday noon, I am beginning to feel hungry and
I will write particulars just as soon as I can get time.
Our boys were not much exposed, and none hurt ; but
the manner in which some of the infantry regiments
were cut up made me savage.
I have just come from a poor lieutenant who is mor-
tally wounded. 1 have been telling him of Jesus, but,
poor fellow, he is almost gone, and is hardly able to
think, even. God, in his infinite grace, have mercy on
his soul ! He seemed to know nothinoj of the Saviour,
62 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
and although so fearfully wounded, would say at times,
when able to speak, that he knew -he would get well.
Don't be worried, darling. I am all right, and after
having something to eat and three or four hours' sleep,
will be as bright as possible. We shall probably follow
the rebels up, and as we are now within twenty-two
miles of Richmond, I think that a few days will prob-
ably finish up my mission and enable me to return to
Camp at " White House," Yikginia, May 16, 1862.
.... I had no chance to tell you anything about the
battle at West Point on the 7th, and I knew that if you
were sure I was safe, you would be quite willing to wait
for particulars, until I could get time to write fully.
We left Yorktown on Tuesday morning, Franklin's
division, about twelve thousand strong, in a large flotilla
of boats of every description. The infantry were carried
on large steamboats, while the cavalry and artillery were
towed behind on large rafts made purposely for them,
the guns being placed around the edge, forming a bul-
wark, inside of which the horses were placed, with har-
ness on, just ready to be hitched to the guns at a mo-
We arrived at West Point just before dark, and after
throwing a few shell into some rebel cavalry which made
its appearance on the shore, we commenced landing our
troops. You will at once see that this is rather a risky
thing — landing ten thousand men, and horses, upon a
hostile shore, Avhen every moment expecting an attack,
for it being necessarily slow work, landing the men by
small boatloads at a time, the enemy could attack them
as they arrived, and slaughter them in detail.
These rebels, however, appear to be rather afraid of
our gunboats, for we can in no other way account for
their not molestino- as, than the fact of our having two
gunboats. At any rate, they allowed their chance to
THE CONFLICT. 63
slip by, and we worked hard all night, and just before
daybreak we got all our artillery landed, losing only one
horse out of five hundred.
My boating experience, as well as my knowledge of
horses, was, 1 hope, of some service that night. If you
could have seen me standing at the tiller, steering a huge
raft, with one hundred and eighty horses on board, jump-
ing and kicking, and trying their best to get overboard,
whilst all the soldiers, worn out with hard work, were
sleeping on all sides, you would have wondered what
kind of craft I had got into.
However, as I said, we got ashore at last, and about
nine o'clock in the morning we were attacked by the
enemy in large force, under Generals Lee and Smith.
Several New York regiments were immediately ordered
out to meet them, and very soon the musketry firing
became very heavy. We had four batteries of artillery
ashore, and we were held in reserve, ready for action,
waiting tilljthe rebels should come out of the woods into
the plain, and give us a chance at them. Our men, the
31st and 32d New York, and one Pennsylvania regi-
iment, had hardly entered the woods, when the firing
became very heavy, and almost incessant, the rebels
yelling and cheering like fiends, as they drove our men
back by mere force of numbers. Every few moments
some poor fellow was carried past us, either dead or hor-
We never fired a shot until our men began to appear,
retreating from the edge of the woods, when we loaded
with shell, and just as soon as the enemy made their
appearance, we let them have it, one gun at a time,
slowly and deliberately. They stood their ground for
a long time, and their shooting was terribly effective,
almost all of our wounded being hit mortally and many
killed instantly, by being shot through the head. Only
one of our artillerymen was hit, however, getting a rifle-
ball in his elbow.
64 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
Our solid shot and shells were too hot for them, and
at last they began to retire, when our brave infixntry
again pushed into the woods, and drove them about two
miles before night came on. It was a glorious victory,
for our force was small ; they outnumbering us, two to
one. We have since seen their reports of the fight, and
they acknowledge that "they intended driving us into
the river as at Ball's Bluff, but that our artillery was too
hot for them.''
Indeed, General Newton has stated since that our
guns saved the day Considering the numbers
engaged, our loss was very severe; the 31st New
York losing almost two entire companies, including fom-
officers. The o2d New York also suffered terribly, as
also the 16th New York, and the Pennsylvania regi-
ment. General Franklin was with our battery during
part of the time, and appeared pleased with our fir-
I believe that this army cannot be beaten now. They
stand fire like veterans, and apparently the more terribly
they suffer, the more fiercely they fight
In Camp, within Twenty Miles of Richmond, )
Wednesday Night, May 19, 1862. j
Dear Papa : — I have had no opportunity of writing
to you since our fight at West Point, except to tell you
of my safety, for we have been so continually on the
move that we have scarcely had time to pitch our tents
and get out our writing materials, before we would re-
ceive an order to move again.
The rebels have destroyed everything in the bridge
line, and rendered the roads as impassable as they could ;
and as our corps is in the advance, we have to make
roads for the whole army, and we frequently are delayed
so much in a march of five miles that six and even eight
hours will be consumed in accomplishing it.
McCiellan seems to have thoroughly matured his
plans, and is moving forward steadily and surely.
THE CONFLICT. Qb
We are to-night within twenty miles of Richmond,
having left White House Landing at four o'clock this
morning. Our pickets are out about eight miles ahead,
and report no considerable force of the enemy in sight ;
but the general ojjinion is that they will make a grand
stand at a place called Bottom's Bridge, just this side of
We have, of course, no reliable information respecting
their force, but I am quite certain, from what our division
did at West Point, that this army will sweej) steadily
and resistlessly over any and every force which may be
arrayed against it.
The rebels had thirty thousand men at West Point,
with thirty pieces of artillery, and the inhabitants about
the neighborhood say that their avowed intention was to
drive us into the river, as at Ball's Bluff. But Gideon's
God is certainly with us, and one cause for congratulation
is, that notwithstanding our apparent helplessness at the
time, landing^upon a strange and hostile shore, with only
a portion of the artillery belonging to the division
landed, we were enabled to repulse them, as we did, so
effectually, that we learn now, from the people about,
that they retreated that very night, even leaving their
wounded. Their loss must have been very heavy, judg-
ing from the number of graves which we passed in om'
If you could see me, nowadays, throw my mattress
down either on the uncovered deck of an artillery
transport, or right on the wet grass, it matters not where,
and sleep just as soundly and as warm as if I was in my
own bed at home, you would scarcely believe that it was
the same chap who a little more than a year ago was
nursing himself with such care, and having his lungs
examined quarterly, by various physicians, to see how far
they were gone.
To give you some idea of the life we lead, we re-
ceived our orders last evening to move this morning at
66 '^MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
four o'clock, and as I was " officer of the day," I was
obliged to get up at two o'clock, having only had three
hours' sleep, and attend to getting the battery ready to
move. We then commenced our march at four o'clock,
and were in the saddle till ten a. m., when we reached
this place, and by the time we got our camp arranged
(that is, our horses and guns, for our own tents did not
arrive for two hours afterward), I was so . tired and
sleepy that I could not keep myeyesoi^en, and laid down
in some high clover with my overcoat over me ; and
although it was raining like fun, I enjoyed as nice and
refreshing a sleep as I ever had in my life. I do not
think that sleeping in the wet grass in a rain-storm would
have improved my health last spring, do you ?
But here we are obliged to do as we best can, and if
our tents don't come up, we have to do without them.
I think I am getting fatter every day, although
the weather is quite warm, and we are worked pretty
hard. I cannot be thankful enough for my restored
In Camp near New Bridge, Six Miles from Richmond, )
Thursday Morning, May 29, 1862. )
Dear Papa : — We are still idle here, waiting, almost
momentarily expecting an order to move ; and very anx-
ious we all are, I assure you, to " go in " and have the
fight over. It is rumored that we are to make the at-
tack to-morrow morning, and I sincerely hope it may
be so, as it is much more unpleasant waiting day after
day in anticipation of a battle than it is to go right in
and finish it up.
Our generals seem to think that the resistance here
will be desperate, and McClellan is moving along cau-
tiously. It is reported that the rebels have one hundred
and seventy-five thousand men opposed to us, but we
also hear that they are to a great extent demoralized
THE CONFLICT. 67
We had rather a brilliant affair day before yesterday.
General Fitz John Porter moved up on our right with
his division, about twelve thousand strong, and coming
across about fifteen thousand rebels, he completely routed
them twice, killing a great many, and taking about nine
hundred prisoners. Our loss in all is about two hundred
killed and wounded.
We can see the enemy's pickets distinctly from
where we lie, and every little while the rascals send a
shell over this way, just as a reminder of their pres-
Five o' Clock p. m.
I was sent this morning up to Mechanicsville, the
scene of the recent fight, where our brigade has one
battery stationed. How I wish you could just see the
village where the fight took place ! Every house is rid-
dled with all kinds of projectiles, from a ten pounder
cannon-ball to a pistol bullet.
The tavern of the place was used as a shelter by some
of the rebels, and there is not a room in the house that
is not shot throuajh and throuo;h.
One ten-pounder solid shot from one of our rifle pieces
had gone through the side of the house and through the
walls of three rooms, entirely cutting in its course a
door-post and casing four inches square, then passed out
the other side of the house and entered an outhouse,
where it at last brought up by striking and knocking
down a brick chimney. I never fully realized before the
fearful velocity and power of our rifle projectiles.
Our troops are in splendid fighting order. In every
instance lately, when they have been tried, they have
behaved with the greatest coolness. And there exists
the greatest confidence in our whole army that we shall
thrash the enemy very soundly, although they so far out-
number us. But you would be astonished to find how
intensely ignorant we are here concerning the proposed
mode of attack.
68 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
For instance, since I have been writing, one of our
officers has brought in word that we shall not probably
move upon Richmond for ten days or two weeks ; and
that McDowell was on his way to join us ; and yet I
should not be at all surprised at being called up before
daybreak to have my section harnessed uj). It is just
so from day to day. We often hear a dozen or more
different reports in one day, and the consequence is that
every one becomes more or less indifferent to the stirring
scenes about us.
We have been ordered out in a hurry several times
lately, sometimes at night, and each time fully expect-
ing that the crisis had at last arrived, and yet from con-
stant association with such things, every one goes about
his work as if we were simply preparing for drill or
parade; and this is the state of things throughout the
Camp near New Bridge, June 8, 1862.
.... I must scribble a few lines to you to-night, just
to try to drive away the loneliness that I have felt all
Everything remains about the same here, and I am
beo'inning to feel almost discourasfed. We hear almost
every day that we shall probably attack Richmond im-
mediately, and every few days an order will come to
harness up our battery instantly, and be ready to move
at a moment's warning, but still we do nothing. I think
that General McClellan is right in being cautious, know-
ing, as he does, that the enemy will make a desperate
stand just here, and we are indeed too near the termina-
tion of this wicked rebellion to risk anything by haste,
when by waiting a few days, we can make assurance
doubly sure. But it is very tiresome lying here within
five hundred yards of the enemy, and having our pickets
shot down daily, without being able to give them any-
thing in return.
THE CONFLICT. 69
I went down to the banks of the Chickahominy a
day or two ago, with ten or twelve forage wagons, be-
longing to onr brigade, to get a load of clover (which is
growing in great abundance near the river) for our
horses. No sooner had I placed my men (about twenty-
five in all) in the field, mowing the clover, than the
rebels on the other side the river commenced shelling us
with their ten and twenty pounder guns. The rascals
fired so well that I was forced to place my wagons under
a hill about three hundred yards off, to keep the horses
from being struck. Then it was fun to see the men mow !
The regular soldiers belonging to our battery, with real
old soldier's pride, scorned to dodge or wince, when the
shells came whirring through the air ; but some of the
men belonging to volunteer batteries would fall down
flat in the grass every time they heard a shell coming.
As they continued coming every three or four minutes,
you may imagine that there was more dodging than
mowing ; but I laughed at the men so much, that after a
little while they did much better.
Our poor infantry soldiers are obliged to work con-
stantly under fire of this kind, building bridges and roads
just below us, and every now and then some poor fellow
is brought over this way on a stretcher
I have had a very quiet Sunday to-day ; have en-
joyed it very much with my Bible and my thoughts. I
have followed my dear ones through the day, and have
prayed earnestly that the same gentle, loving Saviour,
who has been with me in the cheerless tent, would be
with you all at home. Pray for me, that Jesus may
keep my soul, as well as body, in his own gracious
In Camp, near Richmond, Wednesdaij Evening, June 11, 1862.
.... I am beginning to feel as though I could not
wait for the entry into Richmond, but must rush home to
my own little wife and baby, and let other men fight the
70 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
country's battles ; but I am trying to be patient, and am
hoping that each day will bring the order for us to open
All my fond hopes and expectations of spending a
nice summer at home with my darlings appear to be dis-
solving and fading away ; for here we are in the middle
of June, and not in Richmond yet. But we must keep
up our pluck, and hope on still. We shall enjoy our
lovely home together much more when I do, at last, re-
I have been indulging in some tremendous castles in
the air lately, amongst which visions of housekeeping,
little sitting-rooms, piano, fat baby rolling on the floor,
etc., stand prominent ; and yet it will hardly do to think
too much upon these things, for at any time, one of the
rebel round-shot may crash through my house, upsetting
the piano, baby, little wifie and all.
I wonder if my H remembers to pray with and
for me at twilight every day. Jesus has been very kind
to me lately, darling. He has made me contented and
happy sometimes, when I would have been very misera-
ble if left to myself ....
Just as soon as the fate of Richmond is decided, I
shall hurry home, and we must wait patiently till that
time. One consolation I shall always have in after years,
that I gave a helping hand to crush out this unholy and
Our people at home must be very sad about poor, dear
little Gracie. She was such a sweet child, and we all
loved her so dearly. I think of poor L all the
time. Does it not appear strange, darling, that she and
Theodore should be so afflicted? .... But we know
that " whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth," and al-
though we can scarcely understand why dear little Grace
should be taken away, still we know, and I am sure that
dear L feels, that it is all for the best, nor would
she have it otherwise. May our heavenly Father spare
our little one to be a comfort and blessing to us both ! . . . .
THE CONFLICT. 71
That our loving Redeemer may be always present
with you, to protect and bless, is the constant prayer of
Your loving Howard.
Give much love to everybody at home. Kiss darling
mamma for me, and tell her that I have given up the
study of all tactics but the eighth chapter of Romans,
which I find more and more glorious every time I read
How many a Christian heart will respond to this
verdict of the riches of glory of that wonderful
chapter. How many have been convinced, con-
verted, sustained, and cheered by it.
We remember at this time reading a letter from
a young officer of the army of the Potomac, sent
us by his mother, a funny, cheery letter, giving an
account of the hard and wearisome marches, the
exposureT;o heat and to cold and hunger with not
a word of complaint, and ending with the very un-
expected ending, " Hurrah ! mother dear, for the
eighth of Romans ! "
In Camp near Fair Oaks Station, Thursday, June 19, 1862.
My sweet Wife : — You will see by the date of this
that we have at last crossed the Chickahominy, and are,
as we supposed, fairly on our road to Richmond.
We crossed the river last evening, just before dusk,
concealing our movements so successfully from the enemy,
that they were pitching their shells and solid shot into
one bridge, whilst we were crossing upon the next one
below. After crossing we had a miserable, dreary march
through woods and swamps to this place, which is very
near the battle-ground of June 1st. Our way lay
through a dense pine forest, which in many places was
so marshy and swampy that our gun carriages would
72 ''MORE THAN CONQUERORS'
sink in to the hubs, and then, such whipjDing and yellino-
and shoving and pushing to make the poor horses drag
the guns out !
You would be surprised to see how hard-hearted and
savage war has made me. If you coukl see me in some
terrible mud-hole, with the gim simk to the axle-tree, and
the six horses in the mire to their bellies, urging and even
flogging the horses, and scolding the men, endeavoring to
extricate my gun by their united efforts, you would tliink
that I had been transformed into some flinty-hearted
But you see that the guns must be taken care of, even
at the expense of the horses, consequently the necessities
of the case have driven me to a much more accurate
knoAvledge of what horses can stand than I ever had
To add to our discomfort, yesterday a heavy shower
came on during our march, soaking everything, and oblig-
ing us, when at last we reached this detestable spot, to
pitch our tents in a stumpy clearing, where the high
weeds were so wet that it was almost like pitchmg our
tents in the centre of a mill-pond. But you would have
been surprised if you could have peeped in upon us after
we had been in camp about an hour, to see how ex-
tremely jolly the party were. Seven of us in one tent,
each with a piece of biscuit and pork, and tin cup of
coffee ; you would have thought that they had never
lived in any other style. I must however except my-
self from the above description, as I have been a little
sick for two or three days, and having eaten little or
nothing am quite weak. Besides which I am very apt,
when I get through the excitement of the day, to sit
down quietly and think of home and my dear ones there,
so that the others frequently ask me what the matter
is, and why I look so sad, when I am really enjoying
myself much more than I could by laughing and talking
THE CONFLICT. 73
The weather has been frightfully hot all day, so that
we have almost roasted ; still the heat has enabled us to
dry our bed-clothes, so we don't complain.
Friday Evening, June 20, 1862.
I was obliged to cut my letter short last night, as I
became quite sick, and had to lie down.
I have been in bed all day, and having taken some
" horse medicine," and eaten nothing, I feel very weak,
but am, on the whole, rather better than I was yester-
day ; will probably be all right in the morning.
Thino's beoin to look as thouo-h we should have the
great fight very soon now. Our lines are being pushed
slowly but surely forward, until now our pickets are
within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy.
I rode out about half a mile from here, yesterday, to
see about some bridges which our men are building, to
enable our artillery to cross some very deep ravines
between ois and the enemy, and leaving my horse in a
thick wood, I went forward to where our outside pickets
are stationed, and was surprised to find that the " secesh-
ers " were posted so near that we could almost speak to
them. A little wood near by was full of them, and
quite a pretty picture they made too, in their bandit
uniforms and broad-brimmed hats and plumes. They
wear clothes made of a kind of gray homespun, and in-
stead of tight-fitting coats like our soldiers, they wear a
loose blouse, which being confined at the waist, reminds
one very strongly of the old pictures of Robin Hood's
men, as they dodge in and out behind the trees. They
tell our men that they have received orders not to fire
upon our pickets, unless first fired upon ; so there they
stand looking at each other all day long. Now and
then one of them will come out of the woods and wave
his hat, or raise it on the top of his musket ; then, per-
haps, call out to one of our men, who will respond in a
similar manner, making it extremely difficult to realize
74 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
that at any moment they may receive orders to com-
mence killing each other.
Just behind where their pickets were so near us, the
rebels have put up quite a formidable earthwork, and I
could see the sentinel standing by one of their brass
guns, and watching us very earnestly, as though he
would like exceedingly to try what effect a little can-
nister shot would have upon us.
We expected that we should move forward at dawn
this morning, as we heard yesterday that we were wait-
ing only for the completion of some little bridges, which
were to have been finished last night ; but no orders have
come, as yet, so we cannot tell when we shall " pitch in."
The sooner the better, as far as I am concerned.
I do not think our artillery will have as much to do
as the infantry, in the coming battles, as our troops are
learning to rely greatly upon the bayonet, and I am sat-
isfied that if the rebels are once broken and started to-
ward Richmond, our boys will never let them stop as
long as two remain together. The artillery will prob-
ably open the ball, but once get our infantry started in
a charge, and I am afraid it will be difficult for the artil-
lery to keep up with them.
It is splendid to witness the perfect confidence of our
troojDS in their ability to whip any force which may be
broudit aojainst them. Even the resjiments which were
so dreadfully cut up in the late battles are waiting with
the greatest eagerness to have an . opportunity of aveng-
ing their fallen comrades.
The rebels have been firing into our hospital this
afternoon, probably thinking it was the head-quarters of
some of our generals. They got the range of the house
to a nicety, and when Doctor Davis went over there
about two hours since, he found the sick men scrambling
for the woods in the neighborhood ; and while he stood
there, two thirty-pounder rifle shells passed through the
house, making a noise like a locomotive. The doctor
THE CONFLICT, 75
immediately placed those who were too sick to get out
of the house iu the cellar, but they will all be moved to
some place out of range.
How I wish papa or James could be out here one
'day with me, just to hear and see some of the newly in-
vented rifle projectiles whirring and whistling through
the air. They sound exactly like a locomotive and traui
of cars going over one's head.
It was only seven days after the events narrated
in tills letter, that General McClellan, having
decided upon a change of base to the James River,
commenced the famous retreat of seven days, which,
whatever may be the opinion of the wisdom of the
move, was conducted in such a manner as to reflect
high credit on the army and its commander, and
was the scene of some of the greatest hardships
and mostdesperate conflicts of the war. Fighting
all day, and marching all night, pushing their way
across a dreary country, through dense woods and
tangled undergrowth, across sluggish streams, the
horrors of that retreat can scarcely be exaggerated.
We next hear of Howard Kitching at the battle
of Gaines' Mills, where the troops first made a
stand after their retrograde movement commenced.
General Upton writes : " We entered the battle
about four P. M., at once engaged the enemy's artil-
■ lery, and remained till nearly dark under a heavy
fire of shell and case shot.
"- The right and centre sections of the battery
were somewhat covered, but the left, commanded
by Captain Kitching, was exposed to the full view
of the enemy, and received much more than its
76 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
proportion of fire. During the entire battle he
served his guns with great coolness, and was a
brilliant example to the men.
" He received in the breast a most painful contu-
sion from the fragment of a shell, but did not quit
We do not give this testimony to the manliness
and courage of Howard Kitching because he was
singular in this respect. O ! how many young
hearts, as loving and as brave and heroic as his,
were hushed forever amid these scenes of havoc
and of death ! The world will never know how
they fought, and how they died, but may be able to
get a clearer view of their patient endurance, and
true heroism, in the mirror of a comrade's history.
We shall not follow the weary tread of the
Union army any further. The painful story is
recorded by other pens. When they reached Har-
rison's Landing, from constant exposure, unceasing
excitement, and sleepless nights, passed in the sad-
dle, Howard Kitching was seriously ill.
He readily obtained leave of absence, and soon
after his return home, resigned his position in the
Army of the Potomac.
It is astonishing, as has been remarked, that an
army of volunteers, after such a struggle, should
come forth in condition equal to, if not better, than
could have been exhibited by the veterans of any
of the standing armies of the Old World. It
was of course owing to the possession of qualities
by the volunteers of our repubhcan army, which
THE CONFLICT. 77
appertain to the soldiers of no other army. Our
troops possessed intelligence, personal character, an
absorbing interest in the struggle, and a boundless,
unselfish devotion to country ; these, added to the
drill, the esprit du corps, and the mechanical
mobility of other armies, produce a military force,
which may be temporarily beaten without being
vanquished, which may render retreat victory, and
which, though it may be decimated in numbers, has
the vitality and cohesive force deeply implanted in
its nature, which makes it practically invincible, as
no troops without these noble moral qualities can
be said to be.
No army could have been put to a more severe
test of its mettle, than that to which the army of
the Potomac had just been subjected; and from
all we can learn, we judge there never was an
army put to such a test, that came forth with such
honor, in a mihtary point of view.
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
He sendeth sun, He sendetli shower,
Alike they're needful for the liower ;
And joys and tears alike are sent,
To shre the soul fit nourishment ;
As comes to me or cloud or sun,
Father, thy will, not mine, be done ! "
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
" And now naen see not the bright h'ght which is in the clouds; but
the wind passeth and cleanseth them." — Job xxxvii. 21.
Howard Kitching's return home was wel-
comed with a joy deepened by the memory of the
perils through which he had passed, though shad-
owed by the apprehensions springing from his
shattered health. In the hope of arresting his
malady and recruiting his vStrength, the family
went with him to Oscowana, that beautiful sheet
of water, lying among the hills that look down
upon West Point. And there, sailing upon the
lake, or rambling in the woods that wave their
branches all along its border, he seon began to re-
cover his wonted vigor, and mth restored health,
his restless desire to be Avith those who were fight-
ing for their country returned.
In vain his friends contended that he had done
as much for the cause as could reasonably be de-
manded of }iim, and that there were crowds of
young men at the Xorth, who had neither wife nor
child, who had done nothing for the country, and
who ought now to go to the front, where they were
82 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
But lie felt that lie was now more needed than
ever. There was a general feeling of discourage-
ment throughout the North, and he argued that
his services were now peculiarly demanded. He
felt that he was fitted, as only the experience
through which he had passed could fit him, to
command troops in the fearful struggle that every
thoughtful person knew wiis yet impending, before
the end could be attained.
He had been on a visit to New York, and
startled his friends, on his return, vnth the -an-
nouncement that he was going back to the field
again. Colonel William Morris, of the 135th
Infantry, had invited him to go with him as
acting lieutenant-colonel. Difficult was it for
those who loved him to spare him again, only
partially recovered, to encounter the hardships
and risks of war. But what he had suffered
for the cause for which he had been fighting had
only deepened his interest in the gigantic struggle.
Sad was that parting. In that quiet spot in the
mountains, many a pmyer arose, and the blessing
of many aching hearts went with him.
The regiment left New York on the 5th of Sep-
tember, and on reaching Baltimore, they were
quartered in Fort McHenry, and soon after, the
regiment was changed into the 6th regiment of
About the middle of October, Stuart made liis
famous raid into Pennsylvania. Crossing the Po-
tomac with fifteen hundred troopers, he passed
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 83
through Maryland, occupied Chambersburg, and
after making the entire circuit of the Union army,
recrossed the Potomac. Colonel Kitching's regi-
ment was sent to try to intercept this daring
trooper, but returned after some hard marching,
without having seen him.
Referring to this event, he says in a letter of
October 16th : —
My own darling Mamma : — I have just returned
from a wild-goOse chase, through several counties in
Pennsylvania, after Stuart, and as I am really tired out,
not having slei)t any on a bed, or had my clothes or
boots off since Friday last, I am sure you will not ex-
pect me to write to any one
Early in January, 1863, his command was re-
moved to Harper's Ferry. In a brief note to his
father, alluding to this, he says : —
I have just received orders to report, with my com-
mand (six companies), to Brigadier-general Kelly, at
Harper's Ferry. So I have issued orders to have tents
struck at daylight in the morning, and the command,
ready to march at 9 a. m., with two days' cooked ra-
I am glad to move for many reasons, which I will ex-
plain when I have time ; and I cannot help feeling a
certain decree of exhikiration at the chance of see in s
another brush with our mutual friend Jackson, who they
say is advancing up the Shenandoah again.
Two weeks later, the lieutenant-colonel having
reported himself for duty, Colonel Kitching was
removed, and returned home. Very soon after
this, Colonel Morris being promoted, he was ap-
84 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
pointed Colonel, and immediately repaired to his
post. Captain Donaldson, a brave young officer,
who was with him throughout his subsequent ca-
reer, and who frequently distinguished himself by
his gallantry, thus writes of this time : —
As adjutant of his command, I had many opportu-
nities of noticing the affection with which he was re-
garded by all who were under his care. Who of the
6th New York Artillery, will forget the gloom cast over
our camp, when an order from the War Department re-
moved him from us as our lieutenant-colonel ; and later,
the joy which filled every heart, when the news reached
us, that he had been made the colonel of our regiment ?
Returning to us on a dreary, rainy day, I can even now,
in fancy, hear the gentle rebuke that fell from his lips,
because we had allowed the men to turn out in such a
storm, to do him honor. Little, though, did the brave
fellows heed the rain, so long as he, their honored com-
mander, was in their midst. The interest and welfare of
his men were always looked after by Colonel Kitching,
and w^hether in camp or on the march, a man had never
twice to relate a grievance, either real or fancied, with-
out receiving such counsel and advice as would tend to
lighten his burden, and cause him to return to duty with
that zest and heartiness, w^hich should ever characterize
every good soldier.
We give a copy of the order issued by Colonel
Kitching, on assuming the command of his regi-
ment : —
Head-quaeters, 6th N. Y. Artillery, \
Camp Haight, Ajjril 16, 1863. j
GENERAL ORDER NO 1.
Pursuant to special order No. 23, Head-quarters Second
Brigade, First Division, Eighth Army Corps, the under-
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 85
signed hereby assumes command of the Sixth Regiment,
New York Artillery.
All orders heretofore published will continue in force
till further notice.
The commanding officer is induced by the recollection
of his pleasant association with the command, as its
lieutenant-colonel, to anticipate a bright and glorious
future in store for the regiment, and assures his fellow-
soldiers, both officers and men, that while making their
comfort and welfare his first care, his ambition will be to
render the regiment the first in the service in point of
drill, discipline, and eiiiciency.
To accomplish this most desirable result, it is neces-
sary that all should unite in a determination to learn
their duty thoroughly, and perform it conscientiously.
Strict and prompt obedience to order, is expected and
will be enforced ; the responsibility of the expediency
of the order beino- left with the officer issuino^ it. Li
no other way can that discipline be maintained, so neces-
sary to the welfare and effectiveness of any military
organization. It is the determination of the command-
ing officer to advance those who by closest attention to
their duties and ability in performing them, show that
they will be useful officers in a higher grade.
He hopes and believes that the same unanimity of
feeling and purpose which has hitherto rendered this
regiment an example to others, will continue to exist and
increase ; and that whether in the dull routine of camp
duties, or amid the excitement of the battle-field, we
may always stand shoulder to shoulder — alike true to
ourselves as Christian soldiers, to our noble regiment,,
and to our glorious cause.
(Signed) J. Howard Kitching,
Colonel 6th JN. T. Artillery.
E. Donaldson, Adjutant.
In the letter that follows, we find him aojain
86 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
mourning over his troubled and discordant Sunday-
duties, and yet, amidst it all, rejoicing in a present
Camp Haight, Maryland Heights, April 26, 1803, |
Sunday Morning. )
.... This has been neither a jileasant nor a profit-
able Sunday to me. The paymaster came this morning,
and in addition to the excitement and bustle consequent
upon the companies being paid off, the paymaster him-
self got very drunk — taking all day to pay three com-
panies, when he should have paid the entire regiment
before night. I stood it as long as I could in camp, and
then, leaving the major m command, and seeing every-
thing in good order, I mounted the gray, and rode over
into Virginia to a little Methodist church.
I tried to enjoy the sermon, but there was an illiterate
man in the pulpit who twisted the beautiful words of
Scripture into such terrible jargon that it was truly pain-
ful to me.
You remember that Sunday was always a very tire- *
some day for me in camp. I inspected over six hundred
muskets this morning with my own hands. If I could
only be left alone some of the time during the day, so
that I could read and think, I should be all right
I have just piu-chased a plate, knife, fork, spoon, etc.,
and my man James is going to cook for me, so I shall be
quite independent. But since I have been here, I have
been living like a pig, — the only decent meals having
been at Mrs. M 's tent. She is a very nice woman ;
lives here with two children in the midst of all this sick-
ness, and is always as cheerful as if she had everything
just as she could wish. Captain P 's wife is danger-
ously ill here with fever. They all thought she would cer-
tainly die yesterday, but she appears brighter to-day. . . .
The Lord Jesus has been very dear to me lately, not-
withstanding all my backslidings, all my open as weU as
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 87
secret sins, my forgetfulness of Him ; yet just at the time
when I needed Him most, He came, and here amidst all
my cares, troubles, and perplexities. He has been very
near to me. . If I could only tell my darling all I feel,
I should be very, very happy.
Mamma gave me a dear little book of Hymns on Christ-
mas in which I take great comfort, the little time I can
get to read it. There are many beautiful things in it,
that seem to be intended to reach om* own case, in almost
everything. One little verse runs in my head all the
"Here in the body pent,
Absent from Him I roam,
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
A day's march nearer home."
There was no one thing more striking, more ad-
mirable, than the cheerful courage with which our
young soldiers, who had so many of them been so
tenderly reared, endured hardness, and suffering of
tlie extremest kind. How gloriously the spiritual
triumphed over the animal. In what an uncom-
plaining spirit the following letter is written : —
Camp Haight, Makylaxd Heights, May 5, 1863.
.... I have not been able to write much lately, for
half of my regiment is on the other side of the river
guarding Harper's Ferry, and as we are the only entire
regiment here now, and are rather expecting an attack,
I have been in the saddle most of the time day and night.
Major Crookston is in command of the five companies
on the other side, but I am obliged to look after them,
particularly at night. If the rebels were only^ smart
enough to attack us now, they could take the place very
easily, for we have not force enough to hold the Heights.
My command is in a terrible condition just now from
a combination of causes. Fourteen of my officers are
88 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
absent — sick, and detailed on duty outside the regiment.
Many of the companies are reduced to skeletons by sick-
ness and death. I was just in the midst of moving to
my new camp ground when this terrible storm (raging
now) overtook us, consequently half my camp is in one
place and half in another. My quartermaster has been
taken very sick, and cannot be moved.
Many of my officers (including myself) have no tents,
as we have been living in log-huts, and the quartermaster
of this division, who should have had tents on hand, has
none, so that many of us are really without shelter of
our own. I have sent my new lieutenant-colonel over
to the new camp, and I am obliged to sleep here in my
hut, with one sentry in front of my door to let me know
if the enemy come. If my regiment was all together in
one camp, I would be with them, even though I had to
sleejD out on the ground, but having it divided, it is quite
proper for me to be at any point between the fragments.
My hut is no protection from this storm, however, for
it rains right through, so that my bed, over which I have
laid an india-rubber blanket, has a puddle of water in
the centre three or four inches deep. All my clothes,
books, papers, and everything are more or less wet, but
I keep a cheerful fire in my open fire-place which bright-
ens me up a little.
My new camp will be beautiful if I can ever get my
regiment together again.
1 believe I wrote you of the death of Lieutenant H ,
of Company " G." We escorted his body to the cars,
this morning. Poor fellow ! how 1 wish that I could be-
lieve him a Christian
I expected j^apa to-day, but am rather glad that he
did ndt come just at this time, for I want to show him
my regiment all together when he comes ; not, as now,
split up into squads here and there ; and indeed I do not
know how I could make him comfortable in this awful
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 89
If I get into Fort Marshall, I am satisfied that 1 can
fill up the regiment very soon.
I am worked very hard, darling, have scarcely time
to read my Bible or say my prayers. Do not forget to
pray for me.
Sunshine after the storm.
Camp Bakry, Maryland Heights, Saturdmj Evening, \
May 9, 1863. )
My own Darling : — I have gotten nicely fixed in
my new camp ; the weather is beautiful, the sick are all
improving, officers and men are all happy, and I am
happy too. My camp is already acknowledged to be
the most beautiful camp extant. We have been fur-
nished with new tents, perfectly white, and I have had
each street lined with little fir-trees, and the spaces around
the tents carefully sodded, so that it begins to look like
a fairy scene. Nor have we neglected ventilation and
healthfulness, for the tents are so arranged that every
morning immediately after reveille, every tent in camp
is raised from the floor so that everything is exposed
to the air. All clothes, blankets, etc., are hung out till
nine o'clock a. m., when the tents are let down, and the
things placed inside in proper shape.
I have not yet had my own tent fixed (outside), for I
wished the men to get themselves in comfortable shape
before calling on them to attend to me. But I intend
on Monday to have some nice trees planted around my
own tent, and to make it as ornamental as possible. O, if
you could only see it now with the little tents lighted up,
and shining through the trees ; the " tattoo " just beating,
r PT"^ ^— :!^ you remember ! and here and there
U/t^^j^^-^^^^^lH a si'oup of dusky fisjures collected
^-XT" like gypsies, m one spot, you would
say that it was the most beautiful sight that you ever
I do hope that papa will come before we move, for I
do want him to see it very much.
90 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
I am working very hard upon some new fortifications
which are building here in anticipation of an attack;
two hundred men from my regiment being detailed daily
for that purpose.
We have just heard that General Keyes has entered
Richmond, and the whole country is wild with excite-
ment. I do not know whether to credit it or not, but
hope that if true, we can hold on till Hooker can push
Lee to starvation.
You will see that Hooker's defeat has verified my
ideas of his inability to control so large an army ; for
you see that although he fought one third of his army
magnificently, bravely, as he always has, yet the other
two thirds were entirely beyond his control, and forced
to act on their own responsibihty. However, he did his
If possible, I shall get some photographer to come up
here and take the camp ; and all my otficers, myself in-
cluded, and my head-quarters
C- M is doing splendidly ; stands up to his
Christian principles like a man, is not afraid of any
one's opinion, and is improving so rapidly that it is
I am getting my matters into nice shape The
departments at Washington seem disposed to give me
all the aid in their power ; send me books, blanks, cir-
culars, and explanations, so that I have really sculled
my canoe into smooth water, and shall endeavor to keep
Do you read the chapter regularly, darling ? What a
glorious chapter for to-night ; the fifth chapter of First
Thessalonians, and how the twenty-fourth verse seems
to cover everything, '' Faithful is he that calleth you, who
also will do it."
The little book of " Devotional Hymns " which
mamma gave me, is a source of great pleasure to me ;
many of the hymns are truly lovely. 1 have started a
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 91
subscription for a soldier's library, which, if we are or-
dered to some permanent post, can be made a som-ce of
much benefit as well as comfort to the men.
I had the first case of open rebellion to-day, and am
happy to say the effect has been salutary. A "fighting
man" (Irish, of course) in Company F., refused to obey
his captain when told to take a spade and go to work ;
and his captain foolishly sent him to the guard-house
instead of enforcing obedience. When I heard of it, I
sent for the man to be brought to his own company
street (where it occurred), and after asking Captain
Morris to state the circumstances, I ordered him to go to
work, before the whole company, or in fact, the regiment,
for the men had found out that " something was up."
He did not absolutely refuse in words, but he put his
hands in his pockets, and said that I had no right to
make him work, or something of that sort. I told him
even then that " I would give him one more chance ; that
every man in the regiment knew that although I did
not talk very loud, or use profane language, when I said
anything, I meant it, and that I never would permit
a man to disobey me;" and then ordered him to go
to work. He did not move at once, so I got off my
horse, and took him by the collar, the natural result
being, that he took the shovel and went to work in good
After he had finished his task, I sent for him to my
tent, and succeeded in convincing him that " he had been
a fool," and he promised that I should never have any
trouble with him in future. I tell you all this, dar-
ling, because 1 suppose everything m my d.aily expe-
rience interests you. Tell papa to come on right
Howard's testimony to the value of reading the
Bible systematically, whether, as he did, according
to the admirable order in the book of Common
92 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
Prayer, or on any other plan, will be responded to
by every Christian. How often the portion for the
day will be like the spring in the desert to the
thirsty traveller, welhng up with its waters of
refreshment, the same living fountain he has met
before ; but found at just that time, possessing a
cool, reviving power, of priceless value. Careless,
desultory reading brings little profit, and has a
tendency to dull the feelings, and incrust the heart,
so as to make it impenetrable to the sword of the
The Confederate leaders had resolved, at this
time, to commence an invasion of the Loyal States,
and in prosecution of this plan, Ewell had ad-
vanced upon Winchester, and had driven General
Milroy into his works around the town. The fol-
lowing night Milroy abandoned his position, but
his force being intercepted, a good part of it was
captured in the confused mSlSe. Upon receiving
these tidings, the garrison withdrew to Maryland
Heights, and from the letter that follows, we see
that they had no thought of surrendering that im-
portant post without a brave resistance.
Camp Barry (Harper's Ferry), Monday Morning, )
4 o'clock, June 15, 1863. )
My own Darling: — I am beginning to feel quite at
home now, as the rebs are on all sides of us, and we are
all in " line of battle," expecting an attack. Our Gen-
eral Mih'oy has managed in some way to let them get
between him and us, and cut him otf with ten thousand
men who ought to be here with us.
We are about four thousand strong, and will do some
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 93
fighting before we give up the place ; but we must be
reinforced, for the odds are fearfully against us ; Ewell
having at least thirty thousand men.
How I thank the Lord that you are not here now.
General Kelly has just sent up a train to take the women
and children to Baltimore, and I am truly thankful that
you are not of the number.
I have ten companies of my regiment with me, in all,
about six hundred men. The other two companies are
upon the heights. I have been ordered to hold Fort
Duncan, if I am driven from the open plain ; and I was
up there last night, getting things in shape, and having
the guns mounted.
Don't be anxious, my darling. I shall not be much
exposed, I trust, and the same kind Father who has al-
ready brought me through so many dangers will be with
Perhaps we may not have any fighting, after all. Will
write as f^et a chance to send a letter. This will be
taken to Baltimore by this morning's train, the last
which will leave here for some time, I guess.
Love to all the dear ones ; and 0, so much to our
Do not think our case desperate, my darling. We
have a splendid position, and I trust can hold it. I
thought better to tell you the truth. My pay is due
from the first of May, to this time. Write me as usual.
I have not a moment, so must stop. God bless you, my
own little " birdie." Don't forget your Redeemer, nor
Your own Howard.
The anticipated investment of Harper's Ferry
did not take place, and Colonel Kitcliing's regi-
ment remained there until after the battle of Get-
tysburg, when the government, eager to put into
the hands of General Meade everything needed to
94 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
assure the destruction of Lee's army, directed the
abandonment of Harper's Ferry ; and the troops
that had been defending it, under General French,
joined the army of the Potomac, and by forced
marches, attempted to intercept Lee's army at the
pass of South Mountain.
On reaching Crampton Gap, after a very severe
march over ahnost impassable roads, and hearing
that the enemy were in force in their front, Colonel
Kitching halted his column, and went into posi-
In his pocket memorandum, we find the follow-
ing entry : —
In line of battle, just going into action, )
Sunday, July 12, 1863. )
My darling H : If anything should happen
to me, good-by. God bless my darhngs, both. Don't
forget your Howy, but above all, don't forget the Lord
There is pay due me from May 1st to the date of
my death ; ask papa to get it.
Bid all my dear ones good-by. God bless you, my
own little comfort ; you have been God's choicest bless-
ing to me, next to my redemption by the blood of his
Bring Howy up to love me, darling ! I have noth-
ing to leave you but my blessing. My trunk is at Har-
per's Ferry. Your own Howard.
The rebels declined the battle, and withdrew
quietly in the night. The pursuit was continued,
and the enemy was overtaken and defeated, as we
find from the next entry in his diary.
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 95
FHday, July 23.
Marched from Piedmont to Manassas Gap. Found
the gap held by General Hill, with sixteen thousand men.
Attacked him and took possession of the Pass, driving
the enemy to Front Royal. He evacuated in the night.
Loss on om- side seventy -five.
Head-quakters 1st Brigade, 3d Division, \
August 10, 1863. )
.... Here is your warrior husband commanding a
brigade, and the largest brigade in the army, too. Gen-
eral Elliott, who has commanded the division, is absent
in Washington on a court of inquiry, and in his ab-
sence Morris commands the division, and I the bri-
gade I have, of course, moved my quarters
over to brigade head-quarters, and am really becoming
quite a B. G., /. e. '' Big Gun." ....
You should see me! The box sent by papa has not
arrived, and I am as black and dirty as you can imagine.
My clothes, outside, have become so soiled from lying
upon the ground, that I look like some of those dirty
rebel officers that you used to see at Fort McHenry ;
and then I am as black as an Indian, so you can imagine
the general effect
This experience of the past two years and a half, has
given me a great abundance of self-reliance, and I am
just as confident that if God spares my life I shall be
able to get along as a business man, as I am now in
attempting to command a division, if I had one.
General Lee made good his retreat, and the
march was conducted leisurely toAvards the Rap-
pahannock, and when encamped in the neighbor-
hood of Warrenton, the next letters were written.
The sadness of heart which comes over him, as
he looks out upon a weary, suffering, unsatisfac-
96 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
tory world, depicted in tlie next letter, is in accord
with these lines, marked by him, in his copy of the
" Hymn from the Land of Luther," which he always
carried with him : —
" How weary and how worthless this life at times appears !
What days of heavy musing, what hours of bitter tears !
How dark the storm-clouds gather along the wintry
How desolate and cheerless the path before us lies !
"And yet these days of dreariness are sent us from above :
They do not come in anger, but in faithfulness and
They come to teach us lessons which bright ones could
And to leave us blest and thankful when their purpose
" They come to draw us nearer to our Father and our
More earnestly to seek his face, to listen to his word,
And to feel, if now around us a desert land we see,
Without the star of promise, what would its darkness
" They come to lay us lowly, and humbled in the dust,
All self-deception swept away, all creature hope and
Our helplessness, our vileness, our guiltiness to own.
And flee, for hope and refuge, to Christ, and Christ
" They come to break the fetters which here detain us
And force our long reluctant hearts to rise to heaven
at last ;
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 97
And brighten every prospect of that eternal home,
Where grief and disappointment and fear can never
TO HIS FATHER.
Artillery Reserve, Warrektox Junction, August 25, 1863".
.... What a hard, unsatisfactory world this is, and',
how discouraging would all our efforts be, were this all
we have to look forward to ! But thank God, this is only
the work-house to fit us for our heavenly home, the
mansion of rest, beyond the river. The whole wide
world presents the same scenes, men toiling, strivings
fighting, suffering ; and how few, if any, attain the antic-
ipated result of their labors and their pains.
I get terribly blue sometimes, when I think I am ex-
pending the very best years of my life, and I am tempted
to think that perhaps my worldly interests and prospects
would have been much farther advanced had I taken a^
different IJourse. But then again, I hiow that such a
cause deserves our all, if necessary, and I trust that in
years to come I may see that it was well for me that I
was led into this conflict. Certainly a loving Hand has
guided my footsteps thus far. I have been enabled to
take my part in the great strife, to bear my share of
the burden, without the suffering borne by many others,
and without entailing suffering and desolation on my
friends ; and I am often led to wonder why the Lord has
dealt so mercifully with me.
You will remember that I was prevented from taking-
command of the 24th infantry last winter, by arriving
in Albany one day too late. The colonel who was ap-
pointed to it was killed at Chancellors ville. The three-
colonels who accompanied me into Pennsylvania last
fall, after the rebel Stuart, are all dead — two killed
under Geueral Banks, and one at Gettysburg.
We are doing nothing here ; we hear that Lee. is being
heavily reinforced, but cannot tell as to the reliability of
98 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR.
General Meade (so I hear to-day) climbed Water
Mountain, near Warrenton, last night, and was much
surprised at the extent of the enemy's camp-fires.
I have jumped (temporarily) into rather an extended
and extensive command, being, during the absence of
General Tyler, in command of the whole artillery re-
serve, consisting of thirty batteries, two regiments of
infantry, and about three hundred ammunition wagons.
Having been confined to my tent since my arrival here
last Saturday, I do not let the command worry me much.
I am, I trust, getting better now. My original trouble
is very much better ; and what between blistering outside,
and plenty of castor oil in, something had to get better,
or worse We are having a terribly cold spell
just now, and both officers and men feel it exceedingly,
having left everything but one blanket at Frederick and
Harper's Ferry. The men have only one coat, no
overcoat, and only one blanket; and having no tents,
they feel the change very much. I have obtained a new
suit of clothes for them, which I hear will be here to-
To-night, I have arranged matters with a view to
keeping warm, if possible. I have had a very large
wood fire built right in front of my tent, and the sentry
on guard will keep it going all night, miless the wind
changes — in which case, his orders are to " stop
putting on wood," as it would certainly smoke me out.
I intend to go to bed in my overcoat, and hope that I
shall keep warm
Head-quarters 6th N. Y. Artillery, )
Artillery Reserve, August 27, 1863. j
.... I will scribble you a few lines to-night before
sleeping, to tell you that I am considerably better than
yesterday, and hoping to be all right in a day or two.
The blister which the doctor put on last night seems
to have done me good ; much of the terrible pain suffered
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 99
yesterday is gone, and I have now some appetite.
There is a cold storm blowing up which makes my little
open tent in these dark woods seem very cheerless, and
the raw autumn wind rushinoj throuc^h the trees has a
tendency to make me homesick.
So long as I am well, and able to be moving about
and attending to my daily duties, I can stand this misera-
ble kind of life very well ; but to lie on my back on my
little camp bed, with one blanket, unable to do anything
but think, it becomes quite a different matter to one who
has always had such kind, loving hands to minister to him
My camp here is in a very thick wood composed of
oak-trees, some of them very high, and the storm howls
through them making a hideous noise, and bending the
great trunks as though they were saplings. I have just
ordered my corps of pioneers to sound all the trees in
our immediate vicinity, fearing lest some of them, being
rotten, might blow down and injure some of the men.
The health of the regiment, and indeed the army, is
not good. I have nearly one hundred men sick, and
many of my officers. One of my captains was smitten
with typhoid on our march to this place, and although
I left him at a very nice house on the road, with the best
doctor to attend him, yet I fear he cannot live but a day
or two, and have telegraphed to his father. It is a ter-
rible case. He is, or professes to be, a skeptic; has
always railed at religion and everything of the kind. I
have had several conversations with him since I took
command of the regiment, but they have always ap-
peared to be unprofitable, and now he is delirious, and
the doctor tells me that it is terrible to hear him rave
I wish that I could get to him, but it is impossible,
for he is seven miles from this and I am too weak to ride.
In his lucid moments, all his bravado and boldness appear
to have left him, and he cries like a child. He was a
100 '^MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
good soldier, in the common sense of the term, — uncom-
phiining, prompt, and a good disciplinarian, — but, poor
fellow, he scoffed at the only means whereby his poor
sinful soul could be cleansed and made fit to inherit
eternal life; and now God has cut him down in his
pride and manliness as a warning to us all. I pray God
that he may yet recover, but Doctor Porter thinks that
there is little, if any hope.
One cause of the sickness in the army, and regiment,
is the bad quality of the water ; we are worse off in our
present location in this respect, than we have been yet.
Fortunately for me, I use very little water, seldom
drinking between meals, and at meals having either tea
I am now busy digging wells, hoping to obtain a better
quality of water ; but I really hope tliat the army may
fall back upon the line of Occoquan Creek and Fairfax
Court House, if for nothing else than jjlenty of good
I learned long since on the Peninsula that a soldier
who drinks water in any considerable quantity while on
the march, changing its medicinal properties as it does
at every mile in the road, must inevitably get sick. I
abstain scrupulously while on the march, and try to
convince the men how injurious it is ; but it is impossi-
ble, 'i'hey will rush for a mud-puddle, as soon as they
are permitted to leave the ranks, and the consequence is
a universal prevalence of diarrhoea.
I ought from my experience here to be a most exem-
plary " Paterfamilias " after the war, for these men
have to be treated just like children, and I have ten
hundred and thirty-seven under my charge — to be fed,
clothed, punished, praised, thought for, and thought of
constantly. How weary I am becoming of tliis constant
anxiety and care, for not a thing transpires in the regi-
ment, however trivial its character, that is not in some
way referred to me, and causes me more or less
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 101
The autumn of this year was spent by Generals
Meade and Lee in attempts to outmanoeuvre each
other, with varied success ; and in December both
armies, as if by consent, settled down in winter
quarters, to recuperate from the wear and tear of
the trying season of 1863, and renew their strength
for the impending shock of arms, in the spring.
Lee held the south bank of the Rapidan, his
forces being distributed from the river along the
Orange Court House and Gordonsville road. The
army of the Potomac established itself along the
Orange and Alexandria Railroad from the Rapidan
back to the Rappahannock. The ranks of both
armies were filled up by recruits ; and drills, in-
spections, and reviews were energetically pushed
forward-within the opposing camps.
Fully occupied as Colonel Kitching was with
the arduous duties of his command, he did not neg-
lect, during this period of comparative quiet, his
Master's work. He was much aided in this, by the
timely arrival, on the 10th of December, of Mr.
C , the chaplain of the regiment, who proved
a faithful co-worker all through the war.
With his aid, Bible classes and prayer-meetings
were held in the colonel's quarters every evening,
and the place was crowded with the soldiers, many
of whom passed from death unto life. We well
remember Howard's beaming look as he dwelt upon
these evidences of a genuine work of grace, and we
believe this hymn, which we find marked in his
little book, dated at this time, truly portrays the
history of his inner life : —
102 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
Sunday, December 20, 1863.
" My beloved is mine, and I am his." — Cant. ii. 16.
" Long did I toil, and know no earthly rest,
Far did I rove, and found no certain home ;
At last I sought them in his sheltering breast,
Who opes his arms, and bids the weary come ;
In Christ I found a home, a rest divme.
And since then I am his, and He is mine.
" Yes ! He is mine ! and naught of earthly things —
Not all the charms of pleasure, wealth, or power,
The fame of heroes or the pomp of kings —
Could tempt me to forego his love an hour.
' Go, worthless world,' I cry, ' with all that 's thine ;
Go, I my Saviour's am, and He is mine.'
*' The good I have is from his stores supplied.
The ill is only what He deems the best ;
He for my friend, I'm rich with naught beside,
And poor without Him, though of all possessed :
Changes may come — I take, or I resign,
Content while I am his, and He is mine.
" While here, alas ! I know but half his love.
But half discern Him, and but half adore ;
But when I meet Him in the realms above,
I hope to love Him better, praise Him more.
And feel and tell, amid the choir divine,
How fiilly I am his, and He is mine."
Colonel Kitching obtained leaye of absence to
pass the holidays witb his family.
It was a calm, bright Christmas Day, just such
a day as we love to picture, in our imagination, as
fit to usher in this hallowed season, and the services
of the church had more than their wonted sweet-
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 103
ness, and a thrill of deeper joy than usual went
round the family group gathered in the home at
Peekskill, because the absent soldier had returned,
on furlough, safe and well. The tales of wild
forays, midnight attacks, skillful retreats, and hair-
breadth escapes, were listened to with eager ears
and glowing hearts that night, and before we knelt
in prayer, Ave sang that sweet version of the 91st
Psalm, which he loved so well.
After a happy fortnight spent among liis friends,
he returned to his post, and the evening after his
arrival, at the close of a letter he says : —
" Good-night, dear papa. May the Lord Jesus be
equally near to all of us, that though we are not all
able to be in the dear home circle, as in days gone by,
yet we may be all one in Christ Jesus !
" That the dear Lord may be ever with you, is the
prayer of your loving son, Howaed."
" Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in thy presence will prevail to make,
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take.
What parched grounds refresh, as with a shower !
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower ;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outlines, brave and clear ;
We kneel, how weak ; we rise, how full of power.
Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong.
Or others — that we are not always strong.
That we are ever overborne with care.
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer.
And joy and strength and courage are with thee ? "
R. C. Trench.
" He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers
that water the earth."— Psalm Ixxii. 6.
With the shadow of home partings over his
heart, Howard Kitching returned to his camp at
Brandy Station, soon cheered however, by the hght
from above that was breaking over the regiment.
In a letter to the Christian Commission from the
Rev. A. Cookman, written at this time, we find
this description of the encampment : —
The camp of the New York 6th, arranged under
the direction of Colonel Kitching, is perhaps one of the
most tasteful and convenient in the army. It is as reg-
ularly laid out as Philadelphia. On the west of a hill
are the officers' quarters, some of them so neat that really
they would not disgrace Central Park. This, of course,
is the Fifth Avenue of this military community. Im-
mediately in front of the colonel's tent is the Broadway,
a broad street which is flanked on either side by the
soldiers* tents, arranged according to companies, with
wider and narrower streets. In front of all is the parade
ground, where each evening the regiment appears on a
dress parade, and frequently a battalion drill. Surround-
ing this camp, and a part of the artillery reserve, are
full batteries from New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Mas-
sachusetts, Maine, Virginia, and the United States reg-
ular service. Colonel Burton, acting Brigadier-general,
has command of the whole, his head-quarters beautifully
located on a fragment of forest. The forests through
108 "MORE! THAN CONQUERORS
this section have almost entirely disappeared in provid-
ing winter quarters and firewood. This is my field of
effort for a few days.
Head-quarters Artillery Reserve, )
Sunday Evening, January 10, 1864- )
My own Darling : — Here I am back again in my
old tent, with no wife, no boy, " no nothing," but an old
stove and a camp cot. The sudden transition from the
comfort and happiness of home to this kind of thing, is
indeed fearful, — much harder than ever before. I never
have appreciated or enjoyed my home as much, and never
have been obliged to return to such complete soldier
existence, having, as during last winter, been either in
garrison or in a permanent camp However, I am
feeling better to-day, and from the present appearance
of things I shall not have time to feel " blue " or any-
thing else, during the next fortnight Everybody
appeared very glad at my return. Two of General
Tyler's staff officers hugged me, and said that " now their
troubles were all over, and everything would be all right."
General Hunt also told me that he was very glad indeed
that I had returned, and that he did not doubt but that I
could straighten things out I find that in my ab-
sence Mr. C has accomplished much. He has
opened a large chapel tent, capable of holding nearly
two hundred men ; and on approaching the camp, this
morning, it was delightful to hear my men singing. How
thankful I am that the dear Lord sent ]Mr. C here.
By his blessing it must be the means of bringing many
of my men to Jesus' feet. God grant it, for his dear
TO HIS FATHER.
Near Beverly Ford, Virginia, January 13, 1864.
.... I am now commanding the artillery reserve,
and cannot tell when I shall be relieved I am ter-
ribly homesick, as a matter of course ; but am so much
REFRESHING SHOWERS. 109
interested in my work here, particularly in my own regi-
ment, that I cannot regret my decision to remain in the
service. Mr. C 's labors have been already crowned
with success, which is most gratifying. His Bible class
has now forty-three members from my own regiment;
eleven new ones joined at our meeting last night.
The men are overjoyed at the religious privileges
which are now within their reach. After the breakinsc
up of the meeting last night, Mr. C , his two, col-
leagues, and myself, had " family prayers," which was
more refreshing than you can imagine, out here in the
wilderness. Ask James to please hurry up the books, as
the men are most anxious to have them.
I have just succeeded in making my quarters very
comfortable, but feel the cold very much at night, the
change is so great. The robe is the greatest comfort to
me. The first night I put it on top of my other blankets,
but found that the weight of it made me rather colder
than bef&re, by impeding the circulation, so now I put it
inside, and sleej) right on the fur, and it is glorious.
Thank darling mamma and aunty for the box of eatables.
I am enjoying them exceedingly.
. I am very busy reorganizing things here at head-quar-
ters ; have brought Donaldson over, as acting Assistant
Adjutant-general, and am sailing the ship pretty much
on my own hook
In a very hurried note a few days later, lie
says : —
Mr. C has gone to New York to be ordained
to the ministry. Our work goes bravely on, and it would
do your heart good to see how my men enjoy and ap-
preciate the meetings for reading and prayer.
His inability to speak freely on religious sub-
jects, which he laments in the next letter, is en-
tirely distinct from that false shame which shrinks
110 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR,"
from confessing Christ before men. It was doubt-
less owing to a faulty religious education. And
the Episcopal Church has, we think, been remiss
in this matter. It has not urged its members, as
it should have done, to the taking an active part in
the conflict with the world, giving each one work
to do, and showing each person how to do it ; teach-
ing its members that working for Christ is not to
be the life of the minister and a few gifted ones in
the congregation only, but of the feeblest and least
influential of the flock. The aged man with his
infirmities, the man in the strength and energy of
his prime, the boy with all the freshness of his
young heart, the matron, and the maiden, and the
young girl, with her winning ways of girlhood, all
are stewards, all have a place in the vineyard ; for
each and all the Master has a work to do.
But we believe that now we can see the raj^s of
golden -light, the harbingers of a brighter day.
Our teachers begin to understand the gospel of
Christ in its fullness : to see that it was sent to
win every affection, to brighten every smile, to
shed fresh interest over every pursuit, to light up
new hopes in every prospect ; to embrace every
variety of human temperament, assist every degree
of human capacity ; to understand and to teach
that all the elements of human progress, which
God so wonderfully carried on separately as prep-
arations for his Son on earth, find their confluence
and their highest employ under that gospel of which
his Son is the centre and head ; that there never
REFRESHING SHOWERS. Ill
was a holy thought, or prophetic yearning, or re-
sponse of the hfe to the conscience in the land of
promise, — never a beautiful word or thing in the
land of intellect or art, — never a just ordinance
or maxim of public integrity in the land of polity
and empire, — which that Christianity, which in-
corporates and hallows the three, is not prepared'
to adopt, to amplify, to ennoble, to sanctify. We
shall never have a strong growing Church, until
Christians are brought up to this standard of the
Bible, and become practical working Christians.
Artillery Reserve, near Beverly Ford, Virginli, )
Sunday Evening, January 17, 1864. )
My oavn precious Mamma : — I had set apart this
evening particularly to devote in part to you, but I have
been occupied all day with a murder case which occurred
last night,_and since my return from jDrayer-meeting, my
tent has been full of officers visiting me in relation to
the murder, so that I am now alone for the first time,
(eleven o'clock, p. m.)
This murder is a terrible affair. It appears that the
tent of a sutler for one of the brigades in my command
was forcibly entered last night, the sutler beaten to
death, and all his goods destroyed, by men belonging to
some of the batteries. The facts being reported to me,
1 immediately ordered a Board of Inquest in the case,
and I have arrested everybody upon whom the slightest
suspicion rests. The Board have not yet finished their
investigations, but I imagine that it will turn out that
there was an attack made upon the sutler for the pur-
pose of robbery, which ended in a general fight, during
which the deed was committed.
Such a thing could not have happened in a fort regi-
ment, having guards and sentries ; but in the batteries,
no guards are considered necessary ; consequently the
112 ''MORE THAN CONQUERORS
men are more at liberty. If the crime is proved upon
any man, he will be dealt with summarily
I came very near being killed like General Corcoran,
yesterday. In coming from head-quarters, my horse
broke through some concealed ice, in crossing a very
bad hole at a rapid gait, and we both rolled over and
over in the mud. My staff officers thought that I was
killed, and I thought that my horse was, for he doubled
his head completely under him, and turned a complete
somersault. But thanks to a kind Providence I never
get hurt by these kind of tumbles, which kill other
peo2)le ; and I escaped with a slight sprain of my wrist.
But such a looking object, or rather objects, as my
horse and I, you never imagined. I was completely
covered with black mud from head to foot, and Mc-
Clellan, my big horse, was worse, for he was considerably
cut and bruised. I begin to fear that my fate will be
hanging, for you know 'fa man born to be hung, will
never be drowned."
Mr. C is in Washington, to undergo examination,
previous to his ordination.
Our meeting to-night was very nice, but I now feel
the want of that ability to speak freely on religious
matters, which I so much admire in others. I consider
it one of the great wants in our Church system, that
young people are not brought forward to take an active
part in religious meetings. It is a sore trial to me, and
a source of deep mortification, that while private soldiers
under my command can step forward and lead in prayer,
or sjDcak of the things of Jesus, I, who am their leader in
everything else, am hardly able to say a word for Jesus.
I suppose the real trouble is that my fear of failing
in anything before my men, is stronger than my desire
to do my manifest duty in this matter ; and I do strive
against the feeling, but yet the difficulty exists. It is
not diffidence. I do not hesitate to say anything to any-
body in the line of my military duty, but on this one
REFRESHING SHOWERS. 113
point I feel myself to be very weak. Maybe practice
will help me, at any rate I am trying.
]Mi'. C has said so much about W to the men.
that they consider her a kind of saint on earth (and in-
deed they are not far wrong). I think that I can see
manifestations of a deeper affection for me lately than
ever before. Pardon me, darling mamma, for saying so,.
when I know that I so little deserve their respect or
affection, but I cannot help feeling happy when the men
ajDpear to have confidence in me, and to love me
The chapel tent, in which so many of their
pleasant meetings were held was put up on the
slope of a gentle hill, and nearly surrounded by a
grove of pine woods, through which the wuids
swept with a melodious sigh day and night, and
when this was mingled, as it continually was, with
the soimd of many voices singing familiar fireside
hymns, the music, as it stole over the camp, hushed
often the loud laugh of the careless.
We have heard Howard Kitching tell, with
tears in his eyes, how his heart would throb, when
sitting in his tent, he heard the men singing these
old, well worn hymns, — " Just as I am ; " "A
charge to keep I have ; " and " When I survey the
wondrous cross." Meetings were held in this tent
three times a day, and every evening. A library
was formed of books contributed by numerous
friends, and religious books and papers were dis-
tributed throughout the regiment. The tent,
when not otherwise occupied, was also used as a
reading room. And in this way much was done for
the temporal and spiritual welfare of the soldiers.
114 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
TO HIS FATHER.
Saturday Night, January 30, 1864.
Mr. C must have been exceedingly pleased with
his visit home. He can't say enough of you all. Many
thanks for the basket of things; I shall enjoy them
I am building me a new log-house over in the regi-
mental camp, as I shall vacate these premises in favor of
the new commanding officer, Colonel Burton, 5th U. S.
Artillery, on Friday next. I hope to be with you again
for a day or two immediately after the first of the month,
as it has become necessary for me to visit Albany again,
in connection with some new companies which the gov-
ernor is sending to the regiment. I am filling up the
regiment very rapidly now, and hope that by April I
shall have over fifteen hundred men in the field
I wish you could see our chapel tent, papa, and the
men flocking to it to hear of the Lord Jesus. Numbers
come out openly, every day, and rejoice in having found
the Lord. There are now three clergymen in the tent,
besides Mr. C . A chapel tent has also been put up
in the regular brigade, horse artillery, in this command.
I am very grateful and happy for all this. Indeed, were
it not for this, I should be sorely tempted to quit the
army before spring
Good by ! God bless you all with his choicest bless-
ings. Your loving son, Howard.
Wednesday Evening, February 3, 1864.
My dearest Papa : — Many thanks for your kind,
encouraging letter of January oOth. The box has not
yet arrived, but will be very welcome when it does
come ; the only trouble will be how to distribute the
good things, as our meetings include about three hundred
men now, and are increasing daily My regiment
is filling up very rapidly. I have now eleven hundred
REFRESHING SHOWERS. 115
and sixty-six men, and shall have eighteen hundred be-
fore the spring campaign opens. One new company from
Elmira has been added in a body. The captain is a
Methodist clergyman, and " spouts " in meeting at a great
I shall be relieved from this command to-morrow,
probably, and shall be very glad to be free from the addi-
tional care and responsibility ; and many recruits having
joined my regiment, I ought to be with it.
There is really a revival in my regiment. Men are
coming forward daily to testify for Jesus, and a percepti-
ble change in the tone of the entire regiment is manifest.
Would that my officers could be moved by God's Spirit
to come out on the right side ! There is a clergyman
from Philadelphia now here. He preaches every even-
ing, and says that he never attended more interesting
But I cannot quite overcome my old antipathy to
their "-free and easy," everybody-get-up-and-say-some-
thing style, and frequently see and hear things which seem
to me quite inconsistent with the solemnity of the occa-
A work of grace like this could not go forward
without exciting enmity, and the bitterest opposition
among the ungodly men of the regiment. The
chaplain was persecuted, and every effort was made
to effect his removal. The colonel was opposed
by those from whom he had hoped better things,
and Satan made a fierce onset, to overthrow the
work so gloriously begun. But though " cast
down," Howard Kitching was not " destroyed,"
and with a sad but brave heart he went quietly
forward, and he and the chaplain ultimately lived
down all opposition, and many soldiers were en-
listed under the banner of the Crucij&ed.
116 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
This outpouring of the Spirit was not confined
by any means to Howard Kitching's regiment ; it
was very general throughout the army of the
Potomac this winter. Not only in chapel tents,
but by the camp fires, on the cold hill-side, the
voice of prayer was heard, and the answer came,
and many a heart beat stronger through the grace
that is in Christ Jesus.
As the spring campaign was drawing on, and
the hour of battle near, the Lord's Supper was
celebrated for the last time, — to many of the men
their last communion. From those who shared in
these privileges, we have had most touching ac-
counts of these scenes in the army ; from the
strangeness of the surroundings, and solemnity of
the associations, they were scenes never to be for-
March 22, 1864.
.... We are now having the most violent snow-
storm of the winter. It has been storming all the after-
noon, and the snow is nearly a foot deep, making the
camp look very cold and dreary ; the sentry in front of
my tent is nearly blinded, and can scarcely walk his beat.
I am not very well, but yet not very sick; probably the
March weather has affected my lungs again. I have
kept in my little house all day, and am now going to
March 25, 1864.
.... It is storming so fearfully that I am almost
deafened with the thunder of the rain upon my canvas
roof. It has been a very gloomy day, and the patches
of dirty snow scattered here and there, make the land-
scape far from agreeable. We have had such a dry, mild
winter, that I fear our troubles are yet to come in the
REFRESHING SHOWERS. 117
shape of spring rains, and indeed it is raining just now,
as though it would never stop.
Tuesday we had a regular old-fasliioned snow-storm.
The snow fell to the depth of about eight inches, and
Wednesday morning cleared up as bright as could be,
the sun making everything sparkle and glisten like gold.
Some of my men made me a little rustic sleigh, to which
I harnessed my two horses, and gave Mrs. Colonel Burton
a sleigh ride ; the only sleigh, I guess, that has ever ap-
peared in the Army of the Potomac.
Yesterday we had the greatest fun ! The men from
the different companies began to snowball each other ;
so I divided the regiment into two wings, about two
hundred men U23on each side. I took command of the
right wing, and gave the Lieutenant-colonel and Major
the left, and after inviting Colonel and ISIrs. Burton out
to see the sport, we had a scientijic snowballing. The
battle lasted for about an hour, but although the left
wing had the most men, yet my wing drove them off the
ground, simply by tactical manoeuvring.
No one was killed, but several wounded, including
many officers. Three or four of them have black eyes
to-day ; but all enjoyed it very much, and the frolic did
the men a great deal of good. It certainly did me a
service, for I have been so blue latel}^, and have been so
confined, and felt so discouraged, that the effect of a
hearty laugh was beneficial I have been so worried
lately that I am not like my old self at all I am
beginning to feel very old — older every day ! . . . .
March 27, 1864, Sunday^ Midnight.
My o^vn sweet Darling: — Again has the holy
Sabbath (and Easter, too) been to me a day of hard,
Colonel Burton has turned over the command of the
reserve to me, as he is to leave to-morrow, and two regi-
ments of heavy artillery have reported to me, and kept
118 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
me on the jump, organizing matters, and getting them
into camp. They are very large indeed, — the 4th and
the 15th New York Artillery, — numbering twenty-five
hundred men each. The 4th will be ordered to the 2d
Corps soon, but the 15th will be brigaded with my regi-
ment, giving me the command of a brigade of four
thousand men. General Hunt thinks it will be perma-
nent, so I suppose I shall be acting brigadier-general
till the end of the war ; or till I get my head shot off —
no, my darling, no danger of that !
I will write you all about my new command to-morrow.
I wonder how you have spent this beautiful Easter Sun-
day ? Do you remember the last ?....! have good
news for you. I shall try to run home for two or three
days after Colonel Burton returns — probably next
week If I can only get one clay at home, I will
come Pardon this hurried note, my darling, it is
the best I can do to-night ; but I could not let this Sun-
day go without dropping at least a line to my own " little
Head -QUARTERS First Brigade, Artillery Reserve, )
Sunday Evening, April 17. )
My own precious Mamma : — Your dear, sweet let-
ter has been read again and again, and would have been
answered long since, if I had been able ; but as you will
see by the heading of this, I am acting brigadier-gen-
eral, and as it will be a permanent command, I am
organizing it to suit my ideas ; and changing many
things. After I get the machine running regularly, I
shall not have as much to do, as when commanding
officer of my regiment, there being fewer details ; but for
a time I shall have every moment occupied. I have
about four thousand men in my brigade, two thousand
I have not enjoyed my Sunday at all. Orders have
been coming in all day, and my tent has been filled
with officers from the different corps. These Sundays
REFRESHING SHOWERS. 119
in the army are dreadful indeed, spent as they are gen-
erally. I am not usually annoyed in this way, for officers
know that I like to have my Sundays to myself, but to-
day many have called to congratulate me upon my new
O, how I look back upon our dear, quiet Sundays at
home, particularly the evening time, when we have for so
many years been all together singing sweet hymns ; and
I can truly say " making melody in our hearts to the
I believe, darling mamma, that children never had so
many pleasant times to look back upon, shadowed by so
little grief ; and under the dear Lord's kind providence
we owe our gratitude to you and dear papa for making
our home so pleasant, and throwing around it so many
And my own darling mother, none of your children
appreciate that dear home more than I ; indeed I be-
lieve, JiDt half as much. How could they ? All have a
home but me ; I sometimes feel like a wanderer uj^on
the face of the earth
My last visit home was on many accounts one of the
brightest spots in my life. My darling boy is so sweet,
and seems to love me so dearly and though all
these things make it much harder to leave you all, yet
the memory is very comforting and pleasant
I find that this routine of military duties is becoming
more irksome to me every day. I long for home, with
those I love, and who love me.
I note what you say of the dear Lord's care of me
and mine. I do not forget this, dearest mamma ; indeed
I could not endure this experience, if I were not certain
that my darlings are in better keeping than any protec-
tion I could give them
April 22, 1864.
.... My brigade is splendid. We were reviewed
by General Grant on Wednesday. He only gave us
thirty minutes' notice to turn out. I had three thousand
120 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
men on the ground, and was complimented very highly
upon their appearance, their perfect drill, and splendid
marching. I was introduced personally to General
TO HIS FATHER.
Saturday Evening, April 30, 1864.
.... I have been suiFering from a pretty severe at-
tack of pleurisy since yesterday. At one time to-day, I
was in dreadful pain ; but have been blistered, and am
now much better. I trust I shall be all right in the
morning. I was foolish enough to drop asleep in my
tent, with a draught blowing over me, and my illness is
the natural result
I suppose you are all auxious to know something of
the destination of the Army of the Potomac, and in-
deed so are ive. No one knows anything. We are
making great preparations ; so are the rebs. They are
throwing up dirt most industriously in our front at Cul-
This army is growing like magic. My own regiment
is to-night over eighteen hundred strong; my brigade
thirty-nine hundred. I have had a battery of mortars
turned over to me to-day which smells strongly of siege.
I am drilling my brigade very hard, and have an idea
that you may hear something from the " First Brigade,
Ai-tillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac," before fall.
My Dutchmen say that I am '■Her duyvil,'' because I
" gives 'em so much drill, and so little lager." But I
am sitting up too late for a sick man, and must go to
" ' What have you seen ? ' said Christian.
" ' Seen ! why the valley itself, which is as dark as
pitch : we also saw there the hobgoblins, satyrs, and
dragons of the pit ; we heard also in that valley a con-
tinual howling and yelling, as of a people under unutter-
able misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons :
and over that valley hung the discouraging clouds of
confusion : Death also doth always spread his wings
over it. In a word it is every whit dreadful, being
utterly without order.' "
Bunyan's PiLGKi]*rs Progress.
" He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilder-
ness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of
his eye." — Deut. xxxii. 10.
On the 3d of May the order went forth for the
army to march.
We give an extract from the journal of a friend
of Colonel Kitching's, as it is one of the indica-
tions we have of the kind of preparation he made,
when it was possible, before going into battle.
May 3, 1864.
Colonel Kitching sent for me at eleven o'clock, p. m.,
as we were to leave at three o'clock, the following
morning, to begin our campaign in the Wilderness.
After some pleasant talk we read the Bible together, and
then prayed for God's blessing for ourselves and families,
and the army, and especially our regiment. The hour
and a half thus spent together was a solemn and precious
time. We parted very cheerful and happy in the Lord.
Ten o^clock, p. m.
The men are singing and packing up.
The 5th of May found a hundred thousand men
across the Rapidan.
The barrier that had so long divided the opposing
armies was passed, and with the mingled emotions which
grand and novel enterprises stir in men's breasts, the
124 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
troops looked out, hopefully, yet conscious that a terrible
struggle was before them, into a region yet untrodden by
the hostile armies, but soon to become historic by a
fierce grapple of armed hosts and bloody battles in
many tangled woods.
The line of march of the Army of the Potomac,
after crossing the Rapidan, led through a region
known as the Wilderness. This desolate region is
thus described by the author from whom we have
just quoted : —
It is impossible to conceive a field worse adapted to
the movements of a grand army. The whole face of the
country is thickly wooded, with only an occasional open-
ing, and intersected by a few narrow wood-roads. But
the woods of the Wilderness have not the ordinary
features of a forest. The region rests on a belt of min-
eral rocks, and, for above a hundred years, extensive
mining has here been carried on. To feed the mines
the timber of the country for many miles around had
been cut down, and in its place there had arisen a dense
undergrowth of low-limbed and shaggy pines, and stiff
and bristling chincapins, scrub-oaks, and hazel. It is
a region of gloom and the shadow of death. IManeu-
vering here was necessarily out of the question, and
only Indian tactics told. The troops could only re-
ceive direction by a point of the compass ; for not only
were the lines of battle entirely hidden from the sight of
the commander, but no officer could see ten files on each
side of him. Artillery was wholly ruled out of use ; the
massive concentration of three hundred guns stood silent,
and only an occasional piece or section could be brought
into play on the roadsides. Cavalry was still more use-
It was not the design of General Grant to give
THE WILDERNESS. 125
battle in this difficult country, but he hoped, by
turning the Confederate right, he would be able to
mask his march through the Wilderness, and then
by rapid advance towards Gordonsville, plant him-
self between the Confederate army and Richmond.
But Lee, instead of falling back on finding his flank
turned, took a strategic offensive, directed a rapid
concentration of his forces to meet Grant, and
aimed to shut up Grant in the Wilderness.
We cannot follow the Army of the Potomac step
by step through the terrible battles of the Wilder-
ness, — the strangest battles ever fought, — though
to do so would give examples of patient suffering,
unfaltering courage, and high heroism, such as the
world has seldom witnessed or history recorded.
Brav;e young boys ! how many fought their last
battle there. To many of them, one step from the
thorny tangled wilderness to the sapphire pave-
This great struggle commenced on the 5th of
May, but Colonel Kitching's brigade was not or-
dered in until the following morning. The sol-
diers had been listening to the roar of cannon and
the peal of musketry, and the confused noise from
the battle-field all day, and the order for them to
enter where the shadow of death was falling so
heavily, seemed to sober and solemnize the most
A meeting for prayer was held at midnight.
The spot chosen was the graves of those who had
fallen in the previous battle of Chancellor sville.
126 '*MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
The moon lit up tins strange scene. Forty-seven
men were there, mth their colonel among them.
We have heard Howard Kitching often tell of this
night, and of the earnest, simple prayers of these
soldiers, only such prayers as are made at such
Such scenes as these were not uncommon in the
army of the Potomac, and we think they deserve
to be recorded, as they are among the few things
that can relieve the dark background of the dread-
ful thing men call war.
Howard Kitching's military journal of this pe-
riod shows an amount of labor, suffering, and pri-
vation that befel the troops in the continual shift-
ing of his corps, fighting by day, and marching
by night, of which no general statement can give
any idea. For twelve days the fighting was inces-
sant. Every effort was made during that time
to find a spot where the rebel lines could be
broken. But these attempts were skillfully met at
every point ; wherever an attack was made, the
enemy bristled out in breastworks, and every inch
of ground was contended for, with a dash and a
vigor which could not be overcome.
The following was written on a little scrap of
paper, on the battle-field : —
Neab Spottsylvania Court House, 3fay 13, 1864. )
Six 0^ clock, A. M. )
My own precious Darling: — I thank God, I am
still alive, and able to write you a line, for I know that
you must be terribly anxious.
We have all been going through the most terrible ex-
THE WILDERNESS. 127
periences for the past week, reaching the climax yester-
day and last night. The world never saw such fight-
ing. Both sides feel this to be the last struggle, and
contend with a fierceness that is awful. Our losses have
been fearfid, probably /or^y thousand.
I am not well, darling, and after the excitement is
over shall probably feel worse. Would that this were
the last of this terrible struggle ! How I long to know
how my darlings are, and how I long to be with you,
never, never to leave you again.
The general result of our week's fighting has been
good, but the cost heavy.
I cannot write more now, darling; I am sitting in
the mud and rain, the very dirtiest looking object you
ever beheld. I will send a line as I have opportunity.
Bless you, my sweet wife ! Ever your own
General Grant, at length becoming satisfied that
Lee could not be dislodged from his stronghold in
this entangled Wilderness by direct assault, resolved
by a flank movement to dislodge him from this un-
" Preparations for this movement were begun on
the afternoon of the 19th. of May ; but the enemy
observing these, retarded its execution by a bold
demonstration against the Union right. It hap-
pened that the flank was held by a division of foot
artillerists, under General Tyler, posted in an im-
portant position, covering the road from Spottsyl-
vania to Fredericksburg, which was the army's
main line of communication with its base at the
latter point. Ewell crossed the Ny River above
the right flank, and moving down, seized the Fred-
128 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
ericksburg road, and laid hands on an ammunition
train coming up. Tyler promptly met this attack,
and succeeded in driving the enemy from the road,
and into the woods beyond. The foot artillerists
had not before been in battle, but it was found
that once under fire, they displayed an audacity
surpassing even th-e old troops. In these murder-
ous wood-fights, the veterans had learned to em-
ploy all the Indian devices that aif ord shelter to
the person ; but these green battalions, unused to
this kind of craft, pushed boldly on, firing furi-
ously. Their loss was heavy, but the honor of the
enemy's repulse belongs to them."
These " green battalions " were the foot artiller-
ists of Colonel Kitching's brigade.
It was soon after the battle, when the land was
filled with rumors of battles lost and woii, and
anxious hearts were watching for some certain tid-
ings, that a poor woman, respectably clad, called at
Howard's home, and asked to see his mother. She
remarked that she was a mother, mth a son in the
army, and therefore knew what a mother felt at
such a time ; that she had walked a long distance
to give her to read a letter from her son, who was
in Colonel Kitching's regiment. We cannot refrain
from giving an extract, as it serves to show the
class of men that composed his command : —
On the 19th inst., near Spottsylvania Court House,
our (Kitching's) -brigade and Tyler's division were at-
tacked by Ewell's whole corps, and led by that general
in person ; and although it was the first time we were
THE WILDERNESS. 129'
so actively engaged, aDfl could not be expected to stand'
as unflinchingly as older troops, still the flower of the>
Southern army, led by one of their ablest generals, and?
outnumbering us five to one, could not force us back one-
Our little colonel was at his post as usual, with a
smile and cheerful remark for all, and a word of consola-
tion for the w^ounded. Our regiment captured, during
the fight, seventy-nine prisoners. They all say that they
were addressed by their general before they left, who
told them that they were going to attack raw troops, and
a victory would be easy and decisive ; but they all say
they do not wish to see any more such raw troops.
Our colonel may well be proud of his regiment, as
w^e are of him as our commanding officer. I wish you
could see him once. To see him is to respect him ; but
to know him is to love him. Pie is just my idea of a
perfect soldier and gentleman. While the shells are fly-
ing over us, and the bullets whizzing past us, he is walk-
ing leisurely up and down the line, and if any of the
boys should dodge, he will say with a smile, " No ducking,
— stand up ! " His demeanor and example in battle
has made heroes of the meanest cowards.
The conduct of the 6tli Artillery in this battle
was thus noticed, in the following General Order :
Head-quarters Army of the Potomac.
The Major-general commanding desires to express
his satisfaction with the good conduct of Tyler's divis-
ion and Kitching's brigade of heavy artillery in the af-
fair of yesterday evening. The gallant manner in which
those commands (the greater portion being for the first
time under fire), met and checked the persistent attacks
of a corps of the enemy, led by one of the ablest gen-
erals, justified the commanding general in the si)ecial
commendation of troops, who, henceforth, will be relied
130 ''MORE THAN CONQUERORS
tupon, as were the tried veterans of the Second and
Fifth corps, at the same time engaged.
By command of Major-general Meade,
[Signed] S. S. Williams, A. A. G.
The terrible experience of the twelve days be-
fore Spottsylvania convinced every man in the
army that the position of Lee was, in truth, im-
pregnable. Above forty thousand men had al-
ready fallen in the bloody encounters. General
Grant, anxious as he was to give Lee a crushing
blow, was convinced that it could not be done by
direct assault. He then began to turn the posi-
tion by a flanli march. This is an operation usu-
ally accounted very hazardous, in the presence of
a vigilant enemy. It was, nevertheless, conducted
with great precision, and skill, and complete suc-
This turning movement, jealously guarded as it
was, did not pass unobserved by the wary enemy.
Accordingly, at midnight on the 20th, the same
:night on which Hancock set out, Longstreet's
corps was headed southward, and another grand
/race between the two armies, similar to that from
the Wilderness to Spottsylvania, was begun.
Neither army seems to have sought to deal the
other a blow while on the march, and both headed,
as for a common goal, towards the North Anna.
On the morning of the 23d May, the army reached
the northern bank of that stream. But it was
only to descry its old enemy planted on the oppo-
THE WILDERNESS. 131
site side. After a series of strategical moves,
crossing and recrossing the North Anna, the army
struck to the southward and was across the Pa-
munkey on the 28th. Pushing on towards the
Chickahominy, heavy skirmishing took place on
the 30th of May, as they drew near that river, the
approaches to which they found strongly covered
by Lee's army.
It was ascertained that the whole of Swell's
corps held position at Shady Grove Church, and as
the enemy soon afterwards appeared to be threat-
ening to move round by the Mechanicsville pike
and turn Warren's left, Crawford directed one of
his brigades to the left to cover that road. This
brigade had hardly reached the vicinity of Be-
thesda Church when Rhodes' division of Swell's
corps assailed it furiously in the flank. After
maintaining the unequal contest for a few mo-
ments, the brigade fell back to the Shady Grove
road with the enemy in full pursuit. At this m©-
ment General Crawford brought up the remainder
of the reserves, and Colonel Kitching's brigade of
heavy artillery opened fire in conjunction with
batteries on both flanks, which nearly demolished
the rebel column of attack. The enemy fell back
in terrible disorder, and left their dead and
wounded behind them on the field.
His own letter gives an account of this struggle,
out of which he came unharmed, sheltered, as he
felt he had been, by the impenetrable armor
wrought out of many prayers.
132 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
South Side of Pamuxkey River, Virginia, )
May 29, 1864. )
My dear Papa : — I would have written you a line
long since, knowing how very anxious you must be, but
it has been quite impossible to get a letter away, and I
have had no mail from home since the 8th. I am
most anxious to hear from you all, and if I jiermitted
myself to think of my anxiety and imaginings, I slioidd
be quite unfitted for duty. But I know that the same
kind Hand that has so wonderfully preserved me through
the past three weeks has my loved ones in his keeping,
and that I can leave them with Ilim.
I sup})ose that the papers have given you a pretty
good idea of our present whereabouts, and our doings
since the opening of the campaign, but nothing but the
actual experience could give one any adequate concep-
tion of the severity of the fighting. I had considered
myself an old soldier after the Peninsula campaign, but
have learned that I had never seen fighting till now.
My brigade, three thousand strong, is doing duty as
infantry, and has "seen the elephant," I assure you.
When our army first met the enemy. May 6th, I was
ordered to the front, and reported to General Warren,
Fifth Corps. He ordered me to join General Wads-
worth, who was fighting and hard pressed in a thick
wood, on the left of our line. I " pitched in," but be-
fore I could join Wads worth, he was shot through the
head, and I met his division broken and coming to the
rear. I let his tired men pass through my lines, and
waited for " Johnny Reb ; " but at the first fire my
right regiment broke and ran away, leaving the right of
my line unprotected, and the best I could do was to fiiU
back fighting. My own regiment did splendidly, ma-
neuvering as coolly as if on drill. After getting my
brigade together again, we went in and " flaxed " the
Since the 6th instant my command has fought with
THE WILDERNESS. 133
every corps in the army ; and on the 19th, I was sent
up on the right flank to guard the Fredericksburg road
while the rest of the army was making a demonstration
on our left.
I made my dispositions as well as I could, but from
the length of the line which I was required to hold I
had to scatter my brigade too much." At four o'clock
P. M, I was attacked by Ewell's entire corps, but my
men did fight magnificently. We never lost one inch
of ground, but held the whole corps of rebs till nearly
SIX o clock, when reinforcements came on the ground.
Ihe fun of it is that the reinforcements came on the
ground separately, by regiments and batteries, and learn-
ing that your hopeful son was in command of the posi-
tion they reported to me, so that by seven o'clock I was
fighting over seven thousand men, and in command of
more than a division. My old regiment, the Second
Aew York, reported to me, and I had the pleasure of
leading one battalion into the fight I have lost
thirteen officers and five hundred and thirty-two men
m my brigade, but the command is in first-rate condition
and spn-its, and appear to tliink that they have been
pretty well handled.
I inclose copy of an order issued by General Meade
on the action of the nineteenth, which will explain itself.
lou must not misunderstand me, dear papa, in thus
speaking of my command. My officers and men de-
serve all the credit that they have received, and of
course I am proud of them ; and am sure that you will
be glad to know that my command has done well
We had a brisk fight crossing the ]S^orth Anna, on the
twenty-third. My Christian men have done particularly
well I could tell you of many instances of most he-
roic behavior on their part, but have not time now. I
can hartUy realize my own escape. From the fact that
my troops were mostly new, I felt it to be necessary to
expose myself more than would otherwise have been my
134 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
duty, and yet, while every one of my field officers has
either been wounded himself or had his horse killed, 1
have had only a slight scratch. A sharpshooter suc-
ceeded in breaking the skin of my neck, but it did not
hurt me much. We afterward wounded and captured
him, and he said that " he had fired seven times at that
little colonel, and that he would die happy if he could
have hit him."
I think that our busli whacking is over for the present,
for we are so near Richmond that I do not think the
enemy will stand outside his works. If we can get him
penned up there we shall wind up this arrangement very
soon. I should be quite content to retire now, if the
campaign were ended These chaps cannot say
that I am afraid to fight as infantry, now !
Pardon my writing of nothing but myself, but I have
only time to write the news. Here is an order to move
forward to Haws' shop, six miles, so good-by ! God
bless you all. Love to dear, darling mamma.
Your loving boy, Howard.
Tuesday Evening, May 31, 1864.
My oavn precious Wife: — I am writing this in
the rifle-pits that cost me nearly two hundred lives yes-
terday to hold, and where the rebels lost more than
three hundred men in their attempt to take our position.
My brigade was assigned permanently to this division
yesterday morning as an infantry command, and I had
just reported to General Crawford, when I was ordered
to the front to support Colonel Hardin's brigade, which
was being hard j^ressed at the time.
I led my column to the front at once, but the order
proved to have been issued too late, for I had but just
got my column in motion, filing along a narrow road,
when the enemy broke Colonel Hardin's line and came
upon the head of my column.
I had no time to form line of battle ; two of my
THE WILDERNESS. 135
staiF fell at the iSrst fire ; one, Lieutenant Ferris, by his
horse being shot thi-Ough the head and falling ujDon him,
and the other, Bailey, shot in the breast. Major Crook-
ston and Ca^Dtain Palmer, just behind me, also fell,
Crookston's horse killed, and Palmer shot throuo-h the
ankle. This terrible fire right into the head of the
column broke the men, many of whom had fallen, killed
or wounded, and in less time than I have been telling
you, my brigade, excepting one battalion which I man-
aged, through the heroic exertions of Majors Jones and
Shonnard, to keep together, was sailing across the plain.
My oflicers are magnificent, and at the first fence,
where any protection could be had from the murderous
fire, they rallied the 6th Artillery, and I made a stand
for about thirty minutes against two brigades of the
enemy. They came on in two lines of battle, waving
their battle-flags, and led bravely enough by their offi-
cers, but our rail fence, of which we had made as good a
breastwork as we could, did us good service, and we did
give~~them " Jessie." I was forced to fall back, having
no reinforcements, but they lost one brigadier-general,
one colonel, three lieutenant-colonels, and a large num-
ber of men, besides our taking over seventy prisoners.
A rebel colonel (Christian), who was badly wounded
and fell into our hands, told me that he had never seen
such fearful volleys as our men poured into their ranks.
We fell back to our supports, and got two batteries
into position, and then had it hot and heavy till night
put an end to it
At ten o'clock last night I had just come in from the
field, after burying my dead and bringing in my
wounded, and was lying mider a tree, wondering why it
was that I was so miraculously spared, while every one
with me had been killed or wounded, when my orderly
returned from headquarters with the first mail that I
have received since the twelfth, and as I read one dear
letter after another, I ceased to wonder at my jpi'cserva-
136 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
tion, for I thought that any one for whom so many ear-
nest prayers were continually ascending must be almost
bullet-proof. Such clear, loving letters from my precious
H , Louise, darling mamma, Theodore, and all !
Never had soldier such friends, and I believe that never
was soldier's head covered in the day of battle by such
I sometimes think, darling, that I ought not to write
you thus fully about these dreadful battles, and lead you
to think how much exposed I am to injury and death ;
but thet» again, I think so long as it is so, and cannot be
helped, and the papers give you the same general infor-
mation, without its correctness, that it is better for you
to know from me just how it is, and be prepared for the
.... I notice one thins: which encourasfes me
greatly, that the rebel attacks ujDon our lines are becom-
ing weaker and weaker. If the Administration will but
send us plenty of reinforcements, we can finish up the
rebellion this campaign, I believe. The prisoners that
we take all appear to be glad to get into our lines, and
say that " the jig is up." But O, what a fearful sacrifice
of life will yet be the price of our success.
I am off duty to-day, darling. The excitement of
yesterday brought on my dysentery, so that I cannot
ride, and have been lying still all day. Don't be wor-
ried when I am a little under the weather. T am not
very sick, and indeed, if I were, it might prove a bless-
ing, by keeping me out of some other danger. Just
trust in our Heavenly Father's tender love and care.
He has kept us so ftir, and will not forsake us now.
You would scarcely know me, darling, if you could
see me now, — I look so rough. My clothes are torn
and dirty. I am tanned as black as a darkey, and from
hard work and want of sleep, I look as though I had
been on a spree. O, how I long for rest ! . . . .
My pickets are popping away now in my front.
THE WILDERNESS. 137
Whew ! how tired I am of hearing fire-arms. Fourth
of July would have no charms for me now.
Bless you, my darling, precious wife. Kiss my dar-
ling boy for me. The dear Lord keep my darling se-
cure from every harm
Mr. C is lying on the gi'ound beside me, and
sends his best respects. He is doing a blessed work
amongst our wounded. He is a noble soldier of the
It will interest you to know that my bed is a blanket
laid upon the ground, in rear of the rifle-pits. I have
not had any tent up, or roof over me, but one night dur-
ing the campaign.
In Eifle-pits, Nine Miles from Richmond, )
Mmj 31, 1864. (
My own precious Mamma: — I am now sitting
upon my india-rubber blanket in the rifle-pits, for which
we had a fierce fight yesterday *
I got in action about one o'clock, and we had it hot
and heavy till after dark. I have only a moment to
scribble ; cannot give you particulars, but am again
thanking my Heavenly Father for my preservation. I
lost two of my staff, shot by my side, and every
mounted officer in my own regiment was either shot
himself or had his horse killed under him, and I escaped
I do not speak of my exposure to worry you, darling
mamma, but have thought it better for you to know the
truth, and be prepared for any dispensation of God's
We are very much encouraged by our successes thus far.
Whenever we meet the enemy in the open country,
or he attacks us, we whip him. Yesterday, they were
slaughtered fearfully. I went over the field after the
fight. We found one brigadier-general, one colonel,
two lieutenant-colonels, beside about three hundred
138 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
men, lying in front of my command alone. We also
took about eighty prisoners. Would that the leaders of
this terrible rebellion would see the certain downfall of
their wicked efforts, and stoj) now, rather than sacrifice
the lives that must be lost before the end of the cam-
My loss yesterday will prove about two hundred in
killed, wounded, and missing
Give my best love to all the dear ones. This is a
miserable apology for a letter, but I can only scribble
these little notes to you, telling you of my safety, now-
I am sitting amongst my men in rear of my rifle-pits,
with an india-rubber blanket under me, and the stars
over me. Mr. C is quietly sleeping on his blanket
near me. My pickets are occasionally popping at the
enemy, and vice versa. My clothes are ragged, and
dirty ; I am tanned like a darkey, and altogether look
jDretty seedy ; but I believe that my superior officers and
my command have full confidence in me, which is a
source of great comfort.
Many thanks for telling me what Sergeant Lloyd's
mother said. These little things are a great help to a
You had better direct your letters to Kitching's Brig-
ade, Fifth Army Corps ; as we are no longer a j^art of
the reserve, but a regular infantry command. I must
close now, dearest mamma, although I hate to send you
such a letter — all about myself, too ; but I know you
are anxious to hear of my safety. I shall now read my
chapter in the Bible, and turn in on my blanket for a
little rest, for I got none last night. God bless you all.
Ever your loving Howard.
The rifle-pits where the next letter was written,
liad been won from the enemy by Colonel Kitch-
ing's brigade after five hours' hard fighting. In
THE WILDERNESS. 139
tlie engagement he received, as we have seen, a
sho^it wound on the neck from a minie ball. But
the panoply of prayer was around him, and we find
him, while sorrowing over his dead and wounded
soldiers with that deep tenderness which belongs
to all heroic natures, again taking comfort in the
thought that he was sheltered thus by prayer.
It is common for Christians to acknowledge in
their talk this power of prayer, but how few act-
ually realize that every one among us, the sim-
plest, the feeblest, the neediest, may as a prince
have power with God and prevail. All who are
anxious pray. But it is not always the prayer of
faith, made as to One who can be and will be pre-
vailed on to answer it. The prayer of faith is al-
ways answered. The reply may not be altogether
according to our desire ; the result of the victory
altogether of our own shaping. There is in spirit-
ual things many a glorious victory that comes in the
guise of a defeat, just as there is many an inglori-
ous defeat that looks at first like a victory. But
still, prayer shall win its end ; its best end ; its
end of glory to God, and of blessing, richest bless-
ing to your beloved one and to yourself ; it shall
bring abundant consolation, and fullest satisfaction,
if it be in faith — if it be earnest — if it be un-
wearied. Plow many a prayer offered up by deso-
late firesides received their fullest answer amid
these scenes of carnage ; how many were brought to
Jesus ; how many found the battle-field the path-
way to the land where they learn war no more !
140 ''MORE THAN conqueror:'
In Rifle-pits, near Cold Harbor, \
Friday Evening, June 3, 1864. )
My own precious Sister: — Your dear, sweet let-
ters, as also Theodore's, of the 21st of May, reached
me on Monday night, just after our terrible fight had
been stopped by the darkness, and I had just returned
from my picket line, where I had been collecting the
dead and wounded of my poor fellows. I was com-
pletely exhausted, and was lying on the ground wonder-
ing why the Lord had spared me so wondrously through
such an awful fire, wlien so many of my comrades had
fallen by my side. ]\Iy orderly handed me a bundle of
dear letters from H , yourself, Theodore, and dear
mamma ; and as I read them, one after another, I ceased
to wonder at my preservation, for all told of constant
and unceasing prayers going up for me, and I began to
think that one so cared for, and prayed for, must be al-
If you could but realize, darling, the comfort of such
dear letters from home at such a time. I have been
almost constantly under fire for a month, and although
I trust that no sense of personal danger has ever inter-
fered for one moment with my duty, yet I am of that
temperament that I always have a vivid realization of
the exposure of my position ; and after the great excite-
ment attendant upon the proper management of my
command is over, then comes the thought of dear H ,
my poor fatherless boy, and a dear, kind father and
mother, who can only remember me as a source of anx-
iety and care. After every fight I have had these ter-
rible seasons of depression, and had had no mail from
home since the 8th till Monday last.
Don't think, darling, that my heart fails in the good
work ; it is not that. I never feel stronger or more
hopeful than when my brigade is engaged. It is the re-
action afterward — the mournful duties of collecting,
identifying, and burying my dead comrades — trying to
THE WILDERNESS. 141
heljD and comfort my jDoor wounded, who seem almost
to shame me for having escaped. This is what tears
the heart of a man in times and scenes like these. And
when I read yonr dear letters, telling me how you
longed to have me near you to comfort me ; and I began
to think of the inexpressible comfort of being for*an
hour with H , or you, or dear mamma, I just forgot
my manliness and burst out crying. I could not help it.
But this is scarcely a soldier's letter, darling ! Now for
the other side, which is just as fully realized, I assure you.
We are driving the enemy at every point. Wherever
we meet him we show our ability to overcome him.
Even the heavy artillery, which was considered raw and
undisciplined, has been able to repulse their choicest
^ I hear that my brigade has been mentioned very
kindly by the press ; have you seen it ? My brave fel-
lows deserve it — six hundred and thirty of my brigade,
including thirteen officers, have either gone to their'' last
roll-call, or are swelling the list in hospital. But it
is becoming a by-word in the army that the wounded
heavy artillerymen complain less than any other men in
the hospitals. A braver, cooler, and more obedient set
of men, I never saw. O, that they were all Christians,
and could testify for the Lord Jesus, as did one of. my
poor sergeants. Hart, who had both legs blown off,* and
spent last Sunday as his first day in heaven.
But, if I do not say good-by, this cannot go to-night.
Even as I write this, my darling, a twelve-pounder shell is
rushing over my head, and -bursts in the field behind us.
How much I wish to say to you, my darling sister !
.... Write me your, dear letters whenever you can.
Thank dear Theodore for his lovely letters. God bless
you all, darlings ! Don't worry at the tone of my let-
ter. I never hid anything from you, and thoughts of
H and Howy do prevent my being a thorough sol-
dier at all times. God bless you, darling.
Your own brother, Howard.
142 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR.''
Sergeant Hart was a noble Christian soldier,
whom Howard Kitching loved with a very strong
love. We remember well his telling us, when on
a bed of suffering, with tears in his eyes, of the
last farewell of Hart.
In the very thick of the fight, he was carried
past him, mortally wounded, and, looking up with
a bright smile, he exclaimed, " Colonel, I shall
have the honor of being in heaven before you."
And we were told by one who visited him in the
hospital, that just as the shadow of death was fall-
ing upon him, he made a last effort, and his clear
voice rang through the building as he sang a verse
of the hymn they were so fond of singing in their
prayer-meeting ; —
" Joyfully, joyfully, onward I move,
Bound to the land of bright spirits above ;
Angelic choristers sing as I come,
Joyfully, joyfully, haste to thy home !
Soon will my pilgrimage end here below,
Home to the land of bright s^Dirits I go ;
Pilgrim and stranger no more shall I roam,
Joyfully, joyfully resting at home."
And so he fell asleep.
How pleasant it is to think how many sons and
brothers, on the battle-field and in the hospital,
have been cheered, at last, by the memory of some
sweet household hymn.
Friday^ June 3, 1864.
My dearest Papa : — I am in rear of my command
in the rifle-pits, near Cold Harbor, within six miles of
THE WILDERNESS. 143
We have not been engaged to-day, but are exposed
to heavy fire of artillery in our present position, which
makes us keep pretty close to mother earth. Yesterday
and day before, my brigade was in action, adding to the
number of my poor fellows who have gone to their last
account, or are filling the hospitals, and yet how wonder-
fully has the Lord preserved me, a monument of his
wondrous power and love.
AVe are steadily driving the enemy back upon his
Imes around Richmond, but the tenacity and stubborn-
ness with which he holds his ground is wonderful. O,
If the le..ders of this wicked rebellion would only see
hat leir ultimate doom is fixed, and by a surrender
stop tins fearful bloodshed! But I suppose that some
good will come of this sacrifice of life which we may
see hereafter. •'
The army is tired out, but in good spirits
lyler was hit this morning. This is truly " the Valley
of the Shadow of Death," but I trust that the Lord is
TMs " Valley of the Shadow of Death " was
to be strewn with many more victims, for these
reconnoissances showed Lee to be in a very strong
position, covering the approaches to the Chicka-
hommy, the forcing of which it was now clear
must cost a great battle. It was evident from the
development of the enemy's strength, that the ef-
fort to cross where the two armies faced each other
had little promise of success. It was resolved'
therefore, to move toward the south, and force the
passage of the Chickahominy at Cold Harbor, and
thus compel Lee to retire within the intrench-
ments of Richmond. We shall not follow in de-
tail the movements of the army which led to this
144 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
When the dispositions of the several corps were
made, the order was given for a general assault
along the whole front of six miles, to be made at
half -past four in the morning.
Next morning, with the first gray light of dawn
struggling through the clouds, the preparations began ;
from behind the rude parapets there was an up-starting,
a springing to arms, the mufiled commands of officers
forming the line. The attack was ordered at half-past
four, and it may have been five minutes after that, or it
may have been ten minutes, but it certainly was not
later than forty-five minutes past four, when the whole
line was in motion, and the dark hollows between the
armies were lit up with the fires of death.
It took hardly more than ten minutes to decide the
battle. There was along the whole line a rush — the
spectacle of impregnable works — a bloody loss — then
a sullen falling back, and the action was decided.
Through this mthering fire of shot and shell,
Howard Kitching passed unscathed.
This was the last of the series of conflicts fought
so desperately from the Wilderness to the Chicka-
hominy, in which Grant's loss consisted of more
than sixty thousand men put hors de comhat.
The result of this battle showed that this line
could not be carried by direct assault. General
Grant resolved, therefore, to transfer the army, by
a flank march, to the south side of the James
River. This march of fifty-five miles across the
Peninsula was made in two days, and with per-
fect success, and the morning of the 16th June
found the whole army on the south side of the
THE WILDERNESS. 145
Petersburg, which has been defined as a fortress
thrust forward on the flank of the Confederate
capital, was a possession coveted eagerly by each
combatant. Grant designed to seize it before Lee
could reinforce the feeble garrison. But there was
unaccountable delay, grievous mismanagement,
and, when too late, heroic but fruitless assaults,
repulse and mournful loss of life. Convinced by
these failures that direct attack was in vain, Gen-
eral Grant ordered the troops to begin entrenching
a systematic line.
It was after a campaign of nearly two months'
dm-ation— a campaign of varying fortune, of
gigantic battles, of signal successes, of vast losses,
of ceaseless activity, of unsurpassable hardships, of
greainnarches, which can in no wise be computed
by the hundred miles it traversed since the day it
crossed the Rapidan, a campaign characterized by
consummate generalship on the part of its leader,
as well as of his subordinates — a campaign de-
mandmg the constant exercise of every military
and manly quality on the part of every soldier
engaged in it; it was at the end of such a cam-
paign that the Union army found itself arrested
before the strong chain of redans in front of Pe-
" The feigned retreat, the nightly ambuscade,
The daily harass, and the fight delayed,
The long privation of the hojDed supply,
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky.
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art.
And palls the j^atience of his baffled heart :
Of these they had not deemed. The battle day,
They could encounter as a veteran may ;
But more preferred the fury of the strife
And present death, to hourly suffering life."
" For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy
in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when
the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall."
Isaiah xxv. 4.
There was a general feeling of disappointment,
and great depression at the north with the result of
this campaign. It was difficult for the people to
appreciate what had been accomplished. "For
every^ battle of the warrior is with confused noise,
and garments rolled in blood," and it is only after
the shout is hushed, and the strife ceased, and the
smoke of the battle entirely cleared away, that a
just judgment can be formed. They knew by
many a darkened fireside that the sacrifice had
been a fearful one.
Not so with the army. Its spirit was never
more unbroken, never more patriotic, never more
heroic. An intelligent writer, who visited the
army at this time says : —
" If there be one term which will at once pointedly
and comprehensively characterize the fixed moral quality
into which the army of the Potomac has gi'own, it seems
to me to be a word which has lost much of its primitive
force from frequent and inapplicable use — the word
indomitable. It cannot be broken, it cannot be over-
150 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
come ; it cannot be reduced to despair ; it has no
thought but of continuous struggle, through cloud and
sunshine — no prospect other than of ultimate success.
You feel this everywhere, in its ranks and under the
most inauspicious circumstances. You see it among the
private soldiers and officers. You notice it in the fore-
front of the battle line, and around the nightly camp
fire. You see its deep impress on all faces ; you hear
its expression universally ; and you behold it working
itself out practically."
And not the Avearisome days and wearisome
nights, the scorching heat by day and the cold
night chill, the hard life in the rifle-pits before
Petersburg, could Avear down the heroic spirit of
that heroic army.
In Rifle-pits, two Miles from Petersburg, |
I'uesday Evening^ June 21, 1864. )
My DEAR Papa: — Your kind letter of June 13th
reached me yesterday, with two from dear mamma, two
from Louise, and one from Gussie ; so you can imagine
that I had a real feast for a time. Our mail generally
comes in this manner, so that for three or four days,
sometimes a week, we may receive nothing, and then a
wdiole batch of letters wdll come together. It really
seems as though these dear home letters always come
just when most needed, and most acceptable ; another
manifestation of love from our Heavenly Father in
sending these dear comforts just when weariness and
gloom renders them so precious.
Since Friday last my brigade has occupied a most
uncomfortable position, having been in the rifle-pits the
whole time ; and since Saturday night in such close
proximity to the enemy's lines that both parties are
obliged to cover themselves in every possible wa3^
Saturday afternoon our whole division received orders
THE TRENCHES. 151
to advance and occupy a line some three hundred yards
in advance of that occupied during the day ; so at four
o'clock our line was formed and the order given to ad-
vance. My brigade was formed in two lines, and at the
command, jumped over the breastworks and pushed
ahead in beautiful order; but having to cross a cornfield
m very short range of the enemy's works, they opened
on us such a fearful fire of artillery and musketry that
I lost one hundred and fifty-nine men killed and
wounded before I gained the desired position. Once
there, we held on, and very soon threw up a little work
along our line which covered my men very nicely.
It is truly wonderful, the quickness with which our
soldiers can throw up sufficient earth' to protect them
from rifle balls. Bayonets, spoons, hands, sticks, — al-
most anything is used to " scratch dirt," and like magic
a line of two or three thousand men who are one mo-
ment exposed to every shot will be pitching head fore-
most into the earth, like moles.
The brigade of regulars on my left, lost even more
heavily than I. We are now holding the position
gained at that time, but as I said before, so close are
we to the "Johnnies," that both sides are Hving in
holes in the ground. I am for the first time occupying
a little bomb-proof headquarters, made of pine logs with
sand outside, which protects myself and staif perfectly
so long as we can remain inside. I tried being without
cover the first day, but had two men on guard at my
head-quarters and three of our horses, shot ; so I made
up my mind to "go into garrison." Since then we have
been more comfortable, but the bullets do whistle around
iQ a terrible way ; every tree near us is riddled.
Many of my men are becoming splendid marksmen.
The men from western New York, that I got last winter,
are almost all good shots, and ha\^ been inflicting severe
punishment upon the enemy. I have stopped the firing
of my pickets once or twice, for I think it nothing less
152 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
than murder, but just so soon as my men stojD, the ras-
cals commence to crawl up towards us so that we are
forced to open fire again. I take it for granted that all
these matters interest you all, more than anything else
that I can write.
I saw General Warren last evening at his head-quar-
ters and had a very nice talk with him. He appears to
know you very well, remembers dear Fanny, and talked
about you all for some time.
He said a great many very kind things to me which
I can tell you, but 23lease do not repeat except at home.
General Warren told me that his corps was very proud
of my command, and of me ; and that he had recom-
mended me for brigadier-general, and that I stood third
on the list from the corps. I thanked him, of course, but
told him that I did not anticipate anything of the kind
from him. He said that I deserved it, and should have
it ; that everybody in the corps wanted me to have it.
Don't think me foolish, dear papa, or that I am puffed
up by foolish speeches. I only tell you these things
just as they are told to me, and because I know that
you all feel interested in my position and success.
I cannot understand why everybody is making such
a fuss about me, for I have not done anything that I am
aware of, which calls for it. My men have indeed done
nobly and I am proud of them ; but it really makes me
very sad when I think that I am in any manner being
benefitted by the loss of so many brave men ; and I al-
most feel ashamed that I have not been hit. But O, how
I do long for the time when I can return to you all and
be free from this unnatural excitement.
I am unable to give you any news about the move-
ments of the army generally. There is some new
movement on foot. I believe it to be another demon-
stration upon the enemy's right flank ; but everything is
kept exceedingly quiet. I cannot think that we shall
attempt another assault upon the works of the enemy.
THE TRENCHES. 153>
if we can get around them in any possible way, for the-
sacrifice of life is too heavy.
The plan of Generals Grant and Meade appears to>
be to work upon the communications of Lee toward the
south, which if successful will of course put Lee in a bad
box. He has now only one channel of supplies open,
i. e., the road through Weldon, and I imagine that their
visions of short rations must be getting very distinct
We are hoping that the rebs may be holding out
only for the Chicago Convention on the fourth of July,
and that if they can glean no hope from that they may
decide to give up a worse than bad job. I pray God
that this army may not suffer a defeat meanwhile, for
the effect upon the whole country would be most disas-
trous. Under God, nothing but some terrible mistake
or mismanagement could produce such a direful result,
for we must outnumber the enemy by some forty thou-
sandrmen, and we have a good and secure base, which is
the most important part
1 forwarded the letter for Dr. Richardson. His
young relative is safe and well. As to Lieutenant
Stewart, I do not know whether he is alive or not. I
heard it rumored that he had been killed, but do not
know. If I can learn anything of him I will let you
I must bid you good-night, and go to bed, for it is
very late, and the Johnnies do not suffer me to sleep
much. Even as I write a bullet grazes the top of my
log house and whistles through the trees.
Best love to all the loved ones, and with a heartfull.
for yourself, dear papa, I am as ever.
Your loving son, Howard.
154 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
On Norfolk and Petersburg R. R., Two miles from )
Petersburg, Sunday afternoon, June 26, 1864. )
My own precious Mamma : — My command lias
just been relieved, temporarily, from the horrible rifle-
pits which we have occupied since Saturday the 18th,
after our famous charge on the enemy's works, which we
did not take.
That night, Saturday, as soon as it became dark, I
advanced my line about two hundred yards nearer the
enemy, and threw up a new line of breastworks, and
there we have remained nntil to-day. The heat has
been terrible, and having no shelter from the broiling
sun, many of my poor fellows have been completely
used up. The thermometer stood 105° in the shade yes-
terday, so you can imagine the condition of things in a
narrow rifle-pit, dug in the sand, and without shelter
from the sun. Our lines are now so close to the enemy
that if a man shows his head above the breastworks on
either side — bang ! bang ! a volley of musketry will
warn him not to be guilty of such rashness again. Im-
mediately after dark, however, we all jump out of our
holes and stretch ourselves ; spades, shovels, and picks
are put in requisition to strengthen the line or to dig
underground passages from one line to the other , officers
who have been unable to leave their pits during the day,
visit each other to talk over the little events of the day,
and until midnight the entire line appears to be alive.
My command has been so much exposed, and lost so
many men during the past week, that a brigade was
sent out to relieve me ; and I have my men now en-
camped in a nice woods, not quite out of reach of shell,
but where it is clean, and where both officers and men
are enjoying themselves, washing and resting.
I have not had much of the day to myself as yet, for
we have just made camp, and I want to write you a few
words at least, to tell you of my continued health and
safety. This little matter off in the mail, I am promis-
THE TRENCHES. 155
ing myself a nice quiet Sunday evening. Not but that
it is a real pleasure to write to you all, dearest mamma,
but I get so little time or opportunity to be quiet ; or
even to read my Bible unmolested, that it is doubly ap-
preciated when a real Sunday is granted me.
Mr. C is to have a meeting this evening, the fii'st
opportunity since crossing the Chickahominy ; but it is
very, very sad to see the gaps made in our little congre-
gations by these merciless bullets. Many of our Chris-
tian soldiers have glorified their Master by a soldier's
death; and two of the leading spirits of these little
meetings, Sergeants Hart and Hutton, have been killed,
making a sad difference in everything connected with
Mr. C has completely won the hearts of both
officers and men by his kindness to our w^ounded. He is
truly a wonderful man, and is becoming quite celebrated
in the entire army
-^^^^^= — and have been ordered before a military
commission, and will be discharged from the service.
With these two men I trust that the last remnant of the
wicked influences, which have so terriblj^ injured this
regiment, will have departed, and that hereafter the
Lord's work will go on untramraeled.
I received another dear, lovely letter from L yes-
terday. These dear letters from yourself and L
are so comforting to me, and always have something in
them which goes right to some needy spot in my wicked
heart. Never had any one such friends as I. I bless
God constantly for them and only wish that I deserved a
tithe of the love so constantly lavished upon me
The Lord is certainly blessing me for the sake of my
friends. Give my best love to all the dear ones
God bless you, my own precious mamma ! That you
arid dearest papa may be preserved many, many years,
to those who love you so dearly, and that your children
may be able to comfort your declining days, is the con-
stant prayer of your loving son, Hovtard.
156 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
June 30, 1864.
My DEA.REST Papa: — Yours of 25th is at hand.
Many, many thanks for the stationery ; it is most ac-
I am very grateful that the article you allude to,
speaks so justly of my brave men, who, by their cool
bravery and willing obedience, have been the material
cause of my success. A braver or more perfectif/ obe-
dient regiment of men does not exist. In our terribly
severe charge of the 18th June, the regiment was joined
in line witli the brigade of regulars, and eUcited the
warmest praise from them and their officers, for their
behavior under such terrible fire.
Poor fellows, I wonder that they can find heart to
speak .1 good word for me, having been so frequently
rushed into almost certain death by my orders.
There is no general news. Our cavalry have been
operating on the Danville railroad, but have not as yet
returned. We are in the trenches still, but have made a
kind of arrangement on both sides " not to fire at each
other unless to combat some movement." This does not
include officers, however ; I wish it did. The moment
an officer shows himself he becomes the target for sev-
eral rifles from the enemy. The rebel officers cannot
be so easily distinguished, evqn though we had the same
disposition to j^ick them off, which, thank God, our sol-
diers have not.
In riding along my line yesterday, one of my staff
officers remarked that my large horse would probably
draw fire, when " zip ! " a rifle bullet whistled past his
head, making him rear and plunge, so that I thought he
had been hit, and looked him all over, trying to find the
Avound. I have been very fortunate in this campaign
as regards my horses, not having lost one of my own yet.
I am very uneasy at what you tell me of your
anxiety about me. I am in the Lord's hands, dear
papa. He, who has spared me thus far, can certainly
THE TRENCHES. I57
take care of me in the future. Do not let it prey upon
lam very glad that you and dearest mamma are
spending a little time at Oscawana. I hope the change
will strengthen mamma. Good bye. God bless you
all. Your loving son, Howard.
TO HIS FATHER.
July 3, 1864.
• • • • What a Sunday for a Christian man to spend !
Occupied the whole day with my duties here — scarcely
time to pray.
How I wish that I could be with you to-morrow.
Rumor says that we may have a noisy Fourth here. My
skirmish line is banging away now in a manner that
quite eclipses anything of the kind in New York, and
the enemy's mortar shells, which they will insist upon
throwing over here (altiiough they go right over ib
without injuring any one), make a terrible noise, roaring
and hissing through the air like so many air-locomo"^
In Teenxhes near Petersburg, )
Wednesday Evening, July 6, 1864. 1
My dearest Papa: — Your kind and interesting
letter of the 2d instant reached me last evening
I am pushing my line ahead to-night, and throwing
up new works, so can only scribble a few words.
I am gradually crawling up to the " Johnnies' " works.
I moved forward last night more than one hundred
yards without losing a man. My men are just in the
spirit of it, and advanced so cautiously and quietly that
the " Johnnies " were apparently exceedingly astonished
this morning, to find a stout line of rifle-pits a hundred
yards nearer them than at " tattoo." There exists con-
siderable rivalry amongst the different divisions and
brigades as to which shall approach the enemy's lines
158 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
most rapidly. To-morrow morning, if I am successful
to-night, my line will be within about four hundred
yards of theirs.
The men are so near each other now that they call
out to one another in a most amusing way. Last even-
ing the enemy called to us " Yanks " that their time
would be out in three days, " when they were coming
over to see us."
On " the Fourth " there were some North Carolina
troops in front of us, and when we raised our " stars
and strijDCS " on our breastworks and the band played
Star Spangled Banner, the rebs took in their se-
cession rag and cheered lustily. I believe that were
it not for our politicians these two armies would settle
this matter and reconstruct the Union in twenty-four
The news that Ewell is at Harper's Ferry, does not
scare us very badly here, although I see that it is creat-
ing something of a bobbery at the North. One of our
divisions, Rickett's, of the Sixth Corps, was sent around
to Sigel to-day. There is no news of interest here.
Don't believe the newspapers, I beg of you ! . . . .
Well, I must away. If you hear a heavy musketry
to-night, you will understand it to be my line advancing!
May our heavenly Father bless you all, and have you
in his gracious keepmg, ever prays your loving son,
The severe mental struggle which Howard
Kitching alludes to in the next letter was one of
the " great fight of afflictions," through which
many a stout heart had to pass in this war. They
were most of them young men, who had not only
left their family and homes, but their business,
and sacrificed every temporal advantage to serve
their country in her hour of need, and the har-
THE TRENCHES. 159
rassing thought was ever j^resent, that if they fell
in battle, their loved ones were unprovided for.
Ix Rifle-pits, near Petersburg, July 12, 1864.
My dearest kind Papa : — Your loving letter of
last Saturday, written at Dobb's Ferry, has just arrived,
and you cannot imagine how your kindness makes me a
new man for the balance of the campaign. You are all
so kind to my darling wife and boy that I know I ought
not to worry about them, but the ever-present thouoht
that in the event of my death they would be left unp'^'o-
vided for, is one continual nightmare to me. I cannot
shake it off, do what I may. I re'ason with myself
about duty to my country, and all that, and yet the
fear that I may have done wrong in entering or remain-
ing in the service against so many discouragements and
over so many obstacles (intended, it may be, to have
prevented my doing this,) will remain with me day and
I can tell you this, papa, without fear of your misun-
derstanding it ; for I am confident that you know 7io
other consideration would induce me to "look back,
having once put my hand to the plough." I pray con-
tmually for impHcit trust in the God of the flitlierless,
and I have endeavored to fight as became a Christian
soldier. No man dare hint that I have ever hesitated
to lead where men ought to follow; yet the torment
of my anxiety for H and my boy, is none the less
You can then imagine why your past kindnesses, and
especially your last letter, should give me new con-
fidence, and help to lift this weight off my mind.
.... God grant that at some future day I may be
able to return all your loving kindness. I am so thank-
ful that darling mamma is better. I feared that her
trip to Oscawana and her adventures there might have
proved an injury instead of a benefit. Give her my
160 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR"
best love. I will rej)ly to her dear lovely letter to-mor-
row, if I live.
Our situation here remains about the same. We are
gradually advancing our lines, strengthening them as we
go. There is the constant fire of artillery and mortar-
shells, but not so much musketry of late. I have lost
several good men yesterday and to-day by mortar-shells,
and had three very narrow escapes myself; having been
covered with dirt, and grazed by pieces of shell — but
thank God, I am all right yet. I am now getting some
batteries into position, which I trust will drive the rebs
away from the guns which are annoying us so much.
The Maryland affair is assuming larger proportions
than at first, but I still doubt whether Lee has weakened
his forces here to any considerable extent. The raiders
I believe to be mostly from in front of Hunter.
Good night. Our heavenly Father bless you all, and
reunite us here, or hereafter. Your loving and grateful
Trenches near Petersburg, Sunday midnight, July 17, 1804.
My precious Sister: — We are all under arms
awaiting an attack of the enemy, so I can only say a
I had intended writing you a long letter this evening
in reply to your dear lovely letter of Monday last, re-
ceived last night ; but a deserter from the enemy com-
ing into my lines and informing me that the enemy were
massing large bodies of troops in my front, preparatory
to an attack to-night, set me at work, as you may im-
agine, getting everything in readiness to receive our
So instead of being able to spend this Sunday even-
ing telling you and H what a precious Sunday I
have enjoyed I have been obliged to almost forget every-
thing but how best to arrange every means in my power
for the slaughter of my fellow creatures. But this is
THE TRENCHES. 161
I have placed my brigade in two lines, four ranks
deep, batteries on my flanks ; everything is ready to open
on our enemies at the proper time. Just now every-
thing is unusually quiet — the ominous hush before the-
storm. Before day-break the whole earth about here
may be trembling with the roar of cannon and the shock,
of struggling men. If the enemy attack, and we repulse
him, as by God's help, /mean to, just here — we shall
follow him up, endeavoring to rush into his works when
he does. But man proposes, God disposes — we can
only do our best.
The dear Lord has been very near me to-day, my dar-
ling. It has been Sunday in my heart, as well as in the
almanac. It seems as though I have obtained a better
realization of the all-sufficiency of the Saviour's sacri-
fice, than ever before — its adaptation to every individual
• My precious sister, I cannot express my thankfulness
for your dear letters, which with T 's, mamma's,
and all the rest, are such loving aids in showing my
path and assisting me to follow it. Never had any one
such friends as I ; and when each mail brings me a dear
letter from one of you, with its words of cheer, I feel as
though I could never thank God sufiiciently for such
blessings. As you say, darling, I ought to be good and
happy, for I believe no one ever had as many dear ones
praying for him as I. When I look back and compare
my religious privileges with those of others, I shudder
to think how obstinately wicked I must be to resist such
But I must stop scribbling, for my little desk and
private papers are not safe here, and should be sent to
the rear ; so I must bid you good night and shut up my
God bless you, my own darling sister. Thank dear
T for his kind letter. You and he are just my
ideal of true patriots. Although your knowledge of
162 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR:'
•" the situation " is not sufficiently detailed to enable you
to see as we do many causes for our want of success in
the wickedness and selfishness of our leaders, yet it is
as well you should not know — and I trust that God
will save our country, notwithstanding our national
Don't worry about me. If we are, as I suppose, on
the eve of another battle, the same strong arm that has
thus far kept me, will keep me still.
This letter is all " I," but my darling will pardon it.
Your loving brother, Howard.
In Trenches near Petersburg, July 18, 1864.
My o^vn H : — I scratched you a miserable little
note last night while awaiting an attack of the enemy
which did not " come off," so to-night I will drop you a
line to tell you that I am all right — have not been
fighting, but am terribly homesick All this
makes me blue — but it is the Lord's will, and must he
I came so near being ordered to Washington
yesterday with my regiment that it is quite a disappoint-
ment to me that the order was countermanded. It seems
ithat a regiment of heavy artillery was ordered by Grant
to go to Washington for permanent duty on the fortifica-
tions. As my regiment has been more hardly used and
suffered more than any other. General Meade decided to
send it, and was just issuing the order, when an order
came from Grant, countermanding it until it can be
ascertained whether or not one of the regiments now
there with the Sixth Corps will remain. Wasn't it a
narrow escape ?
I hear that General Meade spoke of retaining me
here as a brigade commander in case he sends my reg-
iment, but do not know how that would have been. . .
. . . There is nothino: new with us. Continual shoot-
ing at each other by the sharp-shooters with every now
THE TRENCHES. 163
and then a twelve pounder solid shot, or twenty-four
pounder mortar shell tearing through my head-quarters
making everything ring again. I have had to put up a
little fortification to protect my horses, for the rascals
shoot them right in front of my tent.
Major Shonnard leaves for home in the morning. O,
how I envy him, and how delighted his mother will be
to get him safe home. He has done his duty as a sol-
dier in a fearless manner and carries with him the respect
of all his brother officers He is a splendid fel-
low, and has proved himself a true friend of mine. . . .
. . I must to bed, my darling, for it is midnight. Do
you read the chapter every night ? Don't forget to pray
for me, precious ! Keep veiy near to the dear Lord.
May He bless you with his choicest blessings. Kiss my
boy for his papa.
Trenches near Petersburg, Saturday Evening, )
July 23, 1864. )
My dearest Papa : — I am so " chock full," of good
news to-night that I must give my dear ones the benefit
of it. I enclose an official copy of telegram received
to-day from Sherman, which speaks for itself. He is
I consider Atlanta to be of more importance, in a
military point of view, than Richmond.
Next, General A. J. Smith has thrashed the rebs
soundly upon the same ground where our General
Sturgis was defeated recently; and that will perhaps
please you all equally well with all this good news.
Lastly, my regiment has been ordered to Washington
to take charge of the defenses there. I received the
order this morning, and am getting the regiment in read-
iness to move so soon as the Sixth Army Corps returns
to this army. I learn that General Grant ordered Gen-
eral Meade to send one regiment of heavy artillery to
Washington, and General Meade said that as my regi-
164 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
ment had done infantry duty so long and so well, and
had suffered so heavily, it deserved the first chance for
rest and recuperation. I cannot help feeling pleased ;
for coming as the order does, unsolicited, and as a kind
of reward of merit, it does us no harm as soldiers, and
is very acceptable.
My command in Washington will be quite extensive ;
a brigade covering a line of works of about eight miles.
Truly the Lord has been wonderfully kind to me.
I at first thought that after getting my regiment nicely
fixed in garrison, I would apply for a command in this
army again, as I am told that General Meade will give
me a brigade here if I wish it ; but on second thought, I
feel that T ought not to do so. I have shown my will-
ingness to fight, I hope, when it has been my duty, and
the Lord has preserved me miraculously. Now that He
has opened this way of serving my country with equal
honor, and greater safety, it seems hardly right to volun-
teer anything, simply to gain military reputation. Write
me what you think.
I have been to head-quarters to-day, and find that
every one thinks that my regiment has earned this re-
spite and that / ought to take it. Won't H be
My regiment, officers and men, are delighted, and
have been cutting such capers on their breastworks that
the Johnnies wanted to know what was the matter.
' The rebs are getting very sulky over the news from
Atlanta. They have forbidden all intercourse between
their men and ours, and are now amusing themselves
by throwing a shell occasionally into our lines; and
perhaps suspecting that I am about leaving they throw
them unpleasantly near my head-quarters.
Please send this letter to H for I cannot write
her to-night, and if she only learns that I am coming to
Washington, she will be so pleased as not to care how
she gets the information. I will write to her to-morrow
if I live
THE TRENCHES. 165
This letter is as usual, all about myself ; my desire to
tell you what I know will interest you, being my only
God bless you all ! How can we thank Him enough
for his wonderful kindness to us.
Good-night, my dearest papa. Love to darling
mamma and all. Ever your loving son, Howard.
Before Petersburg, July 29, 1864.
Friday Night, one o'clock.
My precious, darling Wifie : — I have just re-
ceived orders to move in an hour (at two o'clock) into
position, preparatory to the grand assault upon the
Burnside with the Ninth and Eighteenth Corps is to
make the assault, supported by our corps. My brigade
has been selected as the leading one of the Fifth Corps.
I had hoped that on your account I might leave for
Washington before another fight, but it is God's will that
it should be otherwise. He will take care of me as He
has always done. Don't be worried, my own little pre-
cious wifie ! I will get word to you immediately after
the fighting is over.
If it should be the Lord's will that anything should
happen to me — always trust Him for everything. Let
nothing weaken your trust in Him. Bring my boy up
to know and love Him.
Never forget, my own, sweet wife, how dearly I have
loved you. You are my best earthly blessing.
^ Good-by, my darling! I will write to-morrow
night, God willing. I trust I may date my letter in
May the dear Master bless you. Trust IRm, darling,
and Be will. ....
Gradually advancing their lines and strengthen-
ing them as tliey went, when the system of works
166 '.''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
was completed, the SOtli July was fixed upon to
make an assault on the enemy's position. To
further this coup-de-mai7i, under the direction of
General Burnside, a mine was dug under a fort,
the destruction of which, it was thought, would se-
cure the fall of Petersburg.
This appears to have been a wretchedly mis-
managed affair. There was lamentable error some-
where, ai\d the sacrifice of many brave fellows was
The explosion of the mine was the signal for a
simultaneous outburst of artillery fire, all along
the hue, from the various batteries. The earth
shook for miles around, under this terrific fire.
The enemy's guns were soon silenced.
When the assaulting column reached the fort, it
was found to have been converted by the explo-
sion into a huge crater.
In the men poured without hesitation, and
pressed on till they were met by the deadly fire
of the enemy. Here they stood at bay. The sev-
eral divisions pressing in became mixed up ; and a
scene of disorder and confusion commenced which
seems to have continued to the end of the conflict.
The withering fire of the enemy made frightful
havoc. For two hours our brave men fought des-
perately, but, being unsupported, at length with-
drew in utter confusion.
Colonel Kitching expresses the feeling of the
army at "this miserable affair." The whole
country, which had been filled with rumors of the
THE TRENCHES. 167
fall of Petersburg, was chagrined and saddened by
the issue. ,
In Camp, near Petersburg, /
Tuesday Evening, August 2, 1864. )
My precious JVIamma : — I commenced a letter to
you last eveniug, but after writing a page or so, I found
that it was too soon after our recent disgraceful failure
for me to write to any one, and that I was saying many
things that an officer commanding a brigade ought not
to say ; so I tore my letters up, said my prayers, and
went to bed.
I see by the papers just received, that everybody at
home was led to believe for a time that our assault upon
Petersburg had been successfid, and that we were in
possession of the place, and, indeed, so we should have
been, had there been any management of affairs upon
At eleven o'clock Friday night, I received orders to
move my brigade at two o'clock to the front of General
Bumside's line, and then go into position, preparatory
to supporting him in his assault at three o'clock. My
brigade was to lead the division. I did as ordered, and
at three o'clock received orders to remain in position till
further orders. At 4.45, a.m., the mine under the
enemy's battery in our front was blown up, and at that
signal the artillery along our whole line opened upon
the enemy. Such an infernal noise was never heard
before by mortal ears. Gettysburg, Malvern Hill, and
Antietam would not compare with it. At that moment
the infantry should have charged, but did not move till
some time after, giving the enemy time to recover from
their surprise and prepare to resist our assault.
When the storming party did move, it was composed
of blacks, instead of white soldiers, as it should have
been, and in consequence the work was but half done.
Still our column pushed into two of the enemy's lines
of works, and if our division had been ordered to sup-
368 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
port them, all would have gone well ; but for some rea-
son no order came to Warren to put us in, and the Ninth
Corps was driven back.
Never, in my opinion, has the army had such a
chance of complete success ; never has such a chance
been so completely thrown away.
I had watched ??^y men with considerable anxiety be-
fore the attack opened, for they having learned that
they had been ordered to Washington, I feared that they
might be unwilling to go into another fight, if they
could help it ; but on the contrarj^, I never saw men so
eager for a fight. I could scarcely keep them quiet.
Every man could see the enemy's weakness and just
what was required to enable us to rout them completely ;
and yet no order came, and we were forced to lie still
and see our men fall back. The loss in my command
was very slight : one officer and seven men, all day.
The entire army is terribly chagrined at the " fizzle ; "
a board of officers is investigating the matter now, and
I trust that the responsible party may suffer.
No one knows anything of our future movements.
You will all be very much disappointed that I have not,
as yet, left for Washington, and, indeed, I do not think
that I shall go at all now. The programme has changed
so materially that I do not think my regiment will be
sent. You may imagine my disappointment, particu-
larly now But it must be " all well " or it would
not be so, and I endeavor to be contented. My chief
disappointment is on account of H and my dear
ones at home. Your dear letters, from yourself, H ,
and Louise, reached me last night ; all so joyous at my
being ordered to Washington, and now if I should not
go, your disappointment will be in proportion.
God's will be done. He has so wonderfully cared
for me through three years of peril. He can surely be
trusted implicitly now.
You ask about my health. I have not been very
THE TRENCHES. 169
well for more than a month, but did not desire Shon-
nard to say anything about it at home Severe
exercise or excitement have been very painful at times,
but since we have been in the trenches I have been able
to rest a great deal, and as I am evidently improving, I
did not say anything of it in my letters, for I knew it
would do no good, but only worry you all if you
thought me ill.
I am very anxious about you, darling. . . . . I am
very glad you are going to Oscawana for a time, for
you always appear to improve there. Don't get lost in
the woods again !
I am so crazy to see the new home. Every one
writes of its beauty and comfort, till I think it must be
a little paradise. Any liome would be a paradise to me
now, after my three years soldiering.
.... How I would like to go fishing with papa at
the Lake ! But it is late, and 1 must stop scribbling.
If fSu'can read this, I shall be much surprised ; I write
such a dreadful hand —but then all great men do !
Thank you again, my darling mamma, for your kind,
loving letters. Give my love to all, and with a heart
full for yourself and dear papa, I am, your loving son,
to major shonnard.
Camp near Petersburg, Wednesday Evening, \
■ 3, 1864. )
My dear Fred : — Your most kind and interesting
letter has just been received and read with great pleas-
ure. I note all you say about the best interests of the
regiment, and will endeavor to reply at length to-morrow.
I have only a few minutes now.
You have ere this learned of the failure of our
assault upon Petersburg on Saturday last. I am sorry
to confess it, but it was truly the most disgraceful
"fizzle" of the whole campaign. Everything was
170 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR"
planned well and wisely, and up to a certain point
succeeded, but the assaulting party did not do their duty,
or the works would have been ours.
The negroes behaved badly, and yet in my opinion
if our division had been ordered in, we would have car-
ried everything. I speak of our division because we
were lying all ready to support the storming party, and
from our position just in front of the exploded mine
could see everything. General Warren selected the
third brigade to lead our division and I went into position
at three o'clock, just where Burnside's corps crossed our
works to go out.
The state of the case was so simple, the enemy's
weakness so apparent, that our men were just bewitched
to push forward, and it was with the greatest regret that
the order suspending offensive operations was received.
I wish that I had time to give you a detailed account of
the whole affair, but I have not. The artillery fire on
our side was in my opinion, and I believe has been gen-
erally pronounced, the most magnificent ever witnessed.
The enemy's fire was completely subdued, and had the
infantry done half as well, Petersburg would have been
ours. However, there is no philosophy in bemoaning
our ill success now ; the only way is to atone for it.
The loss in my brigade was slight ; one ofiicer, Gilberts,
slightly, and seven men wounded. A court of inquiry
is in progress for the purpose of fixing the responsibility
of our defeat, and I earnestly hope that the guilty party
It would have done your soldier's heart good, my dear
fellow, to have seen the Sixth Artillery throughout that
whole day. Moved suddenly at two o'clock in the
morning, without coffee, they all thought that we were
on our road to Washington ; and when I told them that
on the contrary they were to lead our division in a des-
perate assault on the enemy's works, in place of the
demoralization which I feared on account of their disap-
THE TRENCHES. ITl
pointment, there was nothing but manifestations of joy
at our having been selected for the work, and the most
evident determination to do it thoroughly. The only
disappointment appeared to be that they were not per-
mitted to retrieve the day with the bayonet.
Fred, it is a noble regiment. I am well pleased that
brave Crosby is doing so well. He well deserves his
promotion. Many thanks, my kind friend, for your san-
guine expressions regarding my promotion, but I am not
so sauguine Having tried to do my duty to and
with my command, I am willing to leave all else with
One who has already blessed me beyond, far beyond
my deserts, or even hopes.
I trust that ere this you have been able to meet my
mother and sisters. They are most anxious to see you.
Write whenever you can ; your kind letters are most
grateful to me, I assure you. Eemember me kindly to
your parents, and believe me as ever,
— Your sincere friend,
John Howakd Kitching.
P. S. Reiran, of " E " company, was wounded in
the foot', May'^SOth and sent to hospital. From what I
can learn, he was hit slightly.
Near Petersburg, Virginia, August 7th, 1864.
My own sweet Wife : — This has been a terribly
uncomfortable day. The heat is intense, the dust suffo-
cating, and the flies unbearable. No one ever experi-
enced such torment from flies since the plague of the
Egyptians. Not such flies as we have at home, but
great green chaps that bite like rattle-snakes, and stick
like glue ! We can scarcely eat except before daylight,
and after dark, and as to obtaining a wink of sleep, it is
quite out of the question.
I have been terribly homesick to-day. I always have
a longing for home and my darlings, but sometimes it
becomes to strong that for the time being it almost unfits
me for my duties
172 ''MORE THAN COXQUEROR."
Everybody has been blue since our terrible " fiasco "
on the 30th. The campaign has virtually ended without
our capturing Richmond or indeed gaining any decided
advantage, which amounts to a sacrifice of all the noble
men who have fallen since we crossed the Rapidan.
What Grant proi:)Oses to do now, nobody can imagine.
We certainly need one himdred and fifty thousand men
in addition to those we now have, to enable us to take the
offensive. Had we been successful on the third, every-
thing would have been different. We ought to have
captured at least ten thousand prisoners and all the
artillery that they have here, which would not only have
weakened them numerically, but would have served to
discourage them immensely as well as to encourage our
people, and promote volunteering I do not pre-
tend to cast the blame upon any individual, for I do not
know enough of the orders issued during the day ; but
somebody is to blame.
Since the attack, my brigade has been lying in our
present camp in the woods, just out of range of the
enemy's missiles except now and then a large thirty-
poimder, which comes whir-r-r-iug along. The lines are
very quiet, however, most of the time How
much we shall have to talk about, if God spares me to
return to you. I really feel ten years older than I did
before this campaign. Responsibility and constant care
make one grow old very rapidly.
I wonder how you have been occupied, to-day, dar-
ling ? . . . . I have been reading over Theodore's little
" Fountain of Living Waters," and love it more than
ever Papa in his last letter mclosed some lit-
tle scraps from a religious paper — they interested me
so much that I inclose them
We have very Httle opportunity for religious meetings
now, as when the command is not in the front line, a
large proportion is away on fatigue duty, building bat-
teries, etc. Last Sunday we had church under the
THE TRENCHES. 173
trees, and Mr. C. preached a first-rate practical sermon,
to a most attentive congregation. The men think
everything of Mr. C, and well they may. He has been
most faithful and kind
Fifth Akmy Corps, August 9tk, 1864-
Dear Papa : — I inclose check, my wages from
" Uncle Samuel " for tiie month of July. Heavy pay, is
it not, for living in a hole in the ground and being shot
at daily by " Johnny Reb." .... It may be the
last full month's pay I shall ever receive. Who can
I inclose official copy of telegi'am received last night
from Department of the Gulf. The news is good,
particularly as it comes through rebel sources. I am
anxious to learn how the " Tecumseh " was sunk. There
is nothing new here Please tell Mr. Charters
that liis friend, Lieutenant George D. Hyatt, died of
cong^BBtion of the lungs in my hospital, soon after I last
wrote him. We sent his body home.
I trust that dear mamma is better. Give my best
love to all. God bless you, dear papa.
Your loving son, How^ard.
There has just happened a terrible accident here.
The large ordnance warehouse at City Point blew up
to-day, killing and wounding a large number of men,
and destroying a large amount of property. The ex-
plosion shook the earth about here for fifteen miles.
Ml-. C had a most providential escape. He was
in the express office at City Point when the exj^losion
occurred. The whole building, as well as all the build-
ings in the neighborhood were destroyed ; men standing
beside him were literally blown to pieces, and yet he
escaped with only some slight bruises, and b^ing stunned
for a time. Truly the ninety-first Psalm is verified lit-
erally with those " who abide in the secret place of the
174 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR:'
Most High." " The destruction that wasteth at noon-
day, does not come nigh them."
I have just received a truly characteristic telegram
from General Sherman, a copy of which I inclose.
Yours lovingly, Howard.
COPY OF DESPATCH FROM GENERAL SHERMAN.
Near Atlanta, August 7th, 8.30 p. m.
We keep hammering away here all the time, and
there is no peace inside or outside of Atlanta. To-day,
Schofield got round the flank of the line assaulted yes-
terday by General Reilly's brigade, turned it, and
gained the ground, with all our dead and wounded. We
continued to press on that flank, and brought on a noisy,
but not a bloody engagement. We drove the enemy be-
hind his main breastworks, which cover the railroad
from Atlanta to East Point. We captured a good
many of the skirmishers, which are of their best troojDS,
for their militia hug the breastworks close.
I do not deem it prudent to extend more to the right,
but will push forward dailj^ by parallels and make the
inside of Atlanta too hot to be endured. I have sent
to Chattanooga for two thirty-pounder parrotts, with
which we can j^ick out almost any house in town.
I am too impatient for a seige, but I don't know but
here is as good a place to fight it out as further inland.
One thing is certain — whether we go inside of Atlanta
or not, it will be a used up community by the time we
are done with it.
[Signed.] W. T. Sherman,
In his last letter from tlie trendies in front of
Petersburg,*^' lie writes : —
1 have learned in the army that it will not do for
THE TRENCHES. 175
any one who professes to have experienced the love of
Christ to conceal the fact. He must show his colors
boldly. Not only so, but he must stand by them. It
is just so everywhere. He or she who dares not come
out on the Lord's side, before the world, although pro-
fessing Him in the church, will possess the respect of
no one, not even those who are openly impious. And
more than all, they are more guilty in the Lord's sight
than the open sinner.
What Howard Kitching learned in the army, —
that a soldier of the cross, to be respected, must
show his colors boldly and stand by them, — is a
truth confirmed by the experience of every Chris-
tian. The coward, of whatever description, is an
object of scorn ; whereas there is a kind of rever-
ence for braver}^, even when men are inclined to
wisht~it a better cause. And when a man has once
declared himself the disciple of Christ, the Avorld
expects him to act tip to the declaration ; and
though it may despise his principles, and hate his
preciseness, it will think the worse of him in pro-
portion as he seems ashamed of his religion, and
the better in proportion as he is firm in its main-
tenance and display.
The solution to the problem, of the Apostles'
boldness before their enemies was, '' They had
been with Jesus." And so must we be with Jesus,
if we would bear good testimony for Him in the
presence of the world. To have heard of Him,
to have read of Him, is not enough ; we must he
with Him ; walk with Him in a consenting will,
love Him as having loved us, be joined to Him in
176 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
one spirit. Thus alone can consistent testimony
be borne to Him by his people. They who have
been with Jesus fear not the pomp, nor the scoffs,
nor the threats of men. The wmds may blow and
the floods arise, and the rains come and beat on
that house, but it shall not fall, for it is founded
on a rock. A man's religion before the world is
one of those things by which his genuineness and
reality as a Christian are most readily tested.
We cannot put on this character. It must result
from the gradual accretion of many experiences,
many trials, many failures, many prayers, years
spent mider the eye and within the sound of the
voice of the Saviour. We cannot build it up on
the shifting sands of fashion, or on the soft and
tempting soil of self-indulgence ; its foundations
must be on the holy hills, or it will never stand.
And it is a comfort to think that many a soldier
who lies buried in these places, made desolate by
the ruthless tramp of contending armies, — poor,
and weak, and mean, and unlearned, many of
them may have been, their names unknown except
by a few comrades, — still there is cheer in the
thought that they shall stand in the Great Roll-
call, unabashed, with One to answer for them ;
their names known in heaven, for they are writ-
ten in the Lamb's book of life. They loved their
Redeemer here — they walked with Him, they
served Him, they confessed Him, — and He will
not deny them there.
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON.
" I say to thee — do thou repeat
To the first man thou majest meet
In lane, highway, or oj^en street, —
" That he and we and all men move
Under a canopy of love.
As broad as the blue sky above ;
" That doubt and trouble, fear and pain
And anguish, all are shadows vain,
That death itself shall not remain ;
" That weary deserts we may tread,
A dreary labyrinth may thread.
Through dark ways underground be led ;
" Yet, if we will one Guide obey,
The dreariest path, the darkest way
Shall issue out in heavenly day ;
" And we, on divers shores now cast,
Shall meet, our perilous voyage past,
All in our Father's house at last."
DEFNSES OF WASHINGTON.
** For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to lace:
now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
1 Cor. xiii. 12.
Haed pressed as Lee found himself in his be-
leagured hnes behind Petersburg, he r<3solved on
a plan of relief which had before proved so suc-
cessful. This was to make a diversion in favor of
his own army by such a menace against Washing-
toiTas would compel Grant to part with so many
troops from the army of the Potomac that offen-
sive operations against Petersburg must cease.
The force detached by Lee for this expedition
consisted of a body of twelve thousand men under
General Early. Following the beaten track of in-
vasion, Early marched rapidly down the Shenan-
From the peculiar situation of that valley in a
military point of view, it was always open to a de-
tached force to make incursions across the frontier
of the loyal States, whether for the purpose of
plunder or of a diversion in favor of the main Con-
federate army, by a menace against Washington.
'' The only force at hand with which to dispute
Early's advance, was a body of a few thousand
180 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
foot artillerists, hundred days' men and invalids
under General Wallace, then in command at Bal-
timore. But on learning of the irruption of the
enemy across the Potomac, General Grant detached
the Sixth Corps from the Army of the Potomac,
and forwarded it by transports to Washington. It
happened, too, at this juncture, that the Nine-
teenth Corps, under General Emory, which had
been ordered from New Orleans, after the failure
of the Red River expedition, had just arrived in
Hampton Roads. Without debarking it was sent
forward to follow the Sixth.
The advanced division of the Sixth Corps under
General Ricketts having arrived. General Wallace,
with that added to his heterogeneous force, moved
forward to meet Early, and took position on the
Monocacy. Here he received battle on the 8th,
and though he was discomfited, the stand he made
gained time that was of infinite value."
On the 11th, Early's van halted before the for-
tifications covering the northern approaches to
Washington. By afternoon his infantry came up
and showed a strong line in front of Fort Stevens.
Early had an opportunity to dash into the city,
the works being very slightly defended. Great
was the panic in Washington, and the alarm
throughout the northern States was almost as
But the rebel commander hesitated and lost
time, and during the day the Sixth Corps arrived,
and was soon followed by the Nineteenth.
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 181
On the 12th July, a brigade of the Sixth Corps
made a sally from the lines and fell upon and
drove the enemy for a mile, suffering a loss, but in-
flicting heavier damage on the enemy. That night
Early withdrew across the Potomac, pursued by
General Wright, who did not overtake the enemy
until he reached the Shenandoah Valley.
But though driven back, the rebel commander
bivouacked in the valley, and kept up such a
threatening attitude that it was found impossible
to return the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps to the
Army of the Potomac. No sooner was this at-
tempted, than Early was again across the border
and threatening Washington.
Colonel Kitching was ordered with his command
to~Washington, to take charge of the defenses of
that city, and arrived there on the 16th of August.
Washington, 1st Brigade, Hardin's Division, )
22d Army Corps, August 17, 1864. 3
My dear Papa : — I telegraphed you yesterday of
my arrival here with my command. I reported to
General Augm', and was at once placed in command of
General Augnr told me that I would find things in
very bad shape, and indeed I do. There has been no
system in the management of the command till every-
thing has gotten wrong end foremost. I have relieved
the former staff and am trying to get matters regulated,
which will keep me very busy for ten days at least, when
I hope to be able to take matters easier.
The command is large, comprising thirteen forts with
their garrisons, extending about eight miles. I have not
yet been able to ride over my line, and see what I have
182 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
My officers and men are delighted to get into nice
barracks after living as they have. I have a little cot-
tage, two rooms, which I can clean up, and make very
comfortable. My head-quarters are about four miles
from Washington City.
I am pretty well ; have a bad cold, but nothing more.
.... My best love to all. I shall only have time to
scribble a line now and then till I can get a little ahead
of my work.
It seems so queer to be able to lie down at night in
quiet, without the danger of being blown to pieces by a
mortar shell. I aj)preciate it, I assure you You
cannot imagine how I thank God in my heart for this
quiet — the absence of suffering and death which has
accompanied our campaign in the field. God bless you
all ! Your loving son,
Pardon the style of this, dear papa. My experience
here now is rather worse than it was when you visited
me at Harper's Ferry, when I first took command of my
regiment ; people running in every minute — no time
TO HIS 3I0THER.
Washington, August 18, 1804.
..... How thankful I am, darling mamma, that
the Lord has seen fit to remove my command from the
field for a time. They have shown by their conduct a
willingness to do their duty in any capacity, and now, so
long as it is necessary that some troops should be here,
I am very glad that it is my command.
As I wrote papa, I am more busy just now than I
ever have been in my life, but it will be so only for a
week or two, till I get things running regularly. After
that J expect to have a very easy time.
, DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 183
I am much better in health than I have been for some
time : the change has done me good. I shall try to get
a few days with you soon, God willing.
Poor Mr. C is in hospital. He is quite sick, but
I hope will be better in a few days.
It seems singular indeed, to be in a city again, after
the past summer's experience. How mercifully has the
Lord sjDared me when so many of my acquaintances have
lost their liveS ; so many their limbs, or their health.
If yoLi, darling, were only as strong and well as I am !
I shall wait for a letter from you most anxiously.
Give my best love to all. Louise wrote me such a
dear loving letter. No one was ever blessed with such
dear friends as I.
God bless you, my own precious mamma.
Best love to dear papa, Theodore, and all
Yours lovingly, Howard.
Sunday Night, August 28, 1864.
My own Darling : — I had intended writing you a
nice long letter to-day, but an opportunity offered for
me to attend church in town, and as I have not been in
such a long time, I went. I have just returned, having
enjoyed the services very much indeed — a real good
sermon, beautiful music, and the dear old service
I begin to feel quite civilized again You will
see by the papers that my regiment just escaped anothei
bloody fight by leaving Peterbsurg when it did. The
Fifth Corps has again seized the Weldon Railroad, and
the Fifteenth New York Artillery, one of the regiments
of my brigade, has been very much cut up, losing its
commanding officer and many others.
How can we ever be sufficiently thankful to Him who
Jias spared me in this miraculous way !
184 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR"
Washington, September 5, 1864.
My dear Papa : — General Hardin being absent,
I am temporarily in command of the division, with my
head-quarters here in the city.
I am getting along pretty well in tliis department, the
only trouble being that my efficient force is too small by
far for the work to be done — particularly as the works
in my lines have been garrisoned by one hundred day
troops, and have been suffered to get into exceedingly
bad condition, requiring a great deal of extra labor to
repair damages and put them in shape.
My worst trouble is that many of my officers and
men are getting sick. It is invariably so, when troops
retm'n from the field into barracks. I cannot find that
the locality is unhealthy, although this is the worst time
of year here, from September first to the middle of Oc-
The men having been so long in the field, eat every-
thing, and do everything foolish, so that my hospitals
are full I feel as though it would not be a very
difficult matter for me to get sick with fever, or chills, or
something of the kind. I am gaping and stretching all
day long ; but I have taken a dozen grains of quinine
daily for a few days, and feel much better this morning.
When General Hardin returns, I will try again to ob-
tain a leave for five days, for I am so anxious to see you
all, and to attend to home matters, that I am very rest-
.... We are sending some troops to New York in
anticipation of the draft ; but I do not apprehend any
The news from Atlanta is glorious, is it not ? O, for
a decisive victory in the East !
Give my best love to darling mamma, Gussie, Louisp
and all. How are the little ones ? Thank dear Gussie
for her lovely letter and the beautiful little painting.
God bless you all. Ever your loving son,
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 185
FoKT Reno, September 7, 1864.
.... My dear little doctor (Baker) died yesterday,,
after a week's illness, of ty^Dlioid fever. He had been
at my head-quarters all through the campaign, and had
endeared himself to all by his bravery and loveliness of
character. The poor fellow never was sensible for a
day after he was taken, and ran down to a mere shadow^
I am trying to get the government to allow me to
issue to my men a ration of whisky and quinine daily,
as a preventive against the malaria. I have been quite
sick, myself, but am now quite well again.
General Hardin inspected my brigade to-day, and was
so pleased that he told me that I could have my leave
whenever I asked for it ; so as soon as I can settle this
matter of the major's, and get things in nice running
order, I shall try to run home for two or three days. . .
It was one of those glorious American sunsets,
which defy the richest tints of the artist and the
burning words of poet to paint. As we sat look-
ing out of the casement of our little cottage on
the banks of the Hudson, river, and cliff, and dis-
tant hills, and fleecy clouds, all shimmering in the
golden glow, a scene so hushed and lovely, we
were led to contrast this quiet picture with the
scenes of conflict and suffering through which our
soldiers were passing. While thus talldng, the
door opened softly and Howard stood before us,
with beaming face and merry laugh at our sur-
Only hearts that have long been weary with
watching for the footsteps of one long absent,
hourly facing death before a watchful foe, can
reahze the comfort of such a meeting.
186 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
The quiet eyening passed in talking over the
.summer campaign, and Ave were filled with ever
deepening wonder and gratitude at his escape.
He fought over for us, in his life-like way, some of
the desperate battles of the Wilderness, giving us
a more graphic idea of the fearful struggles in that
dreary region than we ever had before, and such
glimpses of brave young Christian hves that ended
there, that it saddened us to think no record should
ever be had of them.
A great change we saw had come over Howard
Kitching. He was the same bright spirit as ever,
and the old sunny smile still passed at times over
his handsome face. But he had grown older, and
his look was more often than before grave and
quiet, and a sense of deep responsibiUty evidently
weighed upon him.
How many boys, just from their mothers' side,
grew at once into manhood amid these scenes
which taxed every energy of every man in the
The following day we joined the family at
the lovely lake of Oscawana. Howard was
obliged to visit Albany on business, but returned
to the lake at midnight, sick and weary. While
we chafed his cold hands and a hot supper was
preparing for him, our thoughts and conversation
turned upon the three years that he had been ex-
posed to cold, and want, and hardships of every
kind, with no gentle hand to minister to him in
sickness, or care for his comfort, and we began to
feel that we could not spare him again.
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 187
Late into the iiigM we sat around liim, urging
him to leave the service. We pressed the fact
that he had done his duty nobly, had shrunk
from no sacrifice, and that now the clamis ot
wife and child and mother were paramount, and
from other family considerations, it was his dtdy
to remain at home. There were those who needed
the support of his strong arm, and now that the
Lord had spared him so wonderfully, it seemed
but right that he should return to other duties,
and allow his place to be filled by young men who
had fewer claims upon them.
Howard hstened sadly to all our arguments, and
they had weight enough to depress and perplex
him, but the soldier'e heart was in the forefront
of the conflict ; and the thought of staying at
home,T5efore the day of final victory, seemed so
painful, that we parted sorrowfully, grieving much
that we had said anything on the subject.
The next day was the last Sunday we were all
to ioin in the beautiful service of our church.
The pathos of its soul-subduing Litany never ap-
peared deeper, the appropriateness of its tender
petitions never more heartfelt. We met, a small
congregation, in the parlor of the hotel. The
preacher took for his text " Casting all your care
upon Him, for He careth for yon." In speaking
of the majesty of the Lord who careth for the
sinner, he quoted the eloquent words of the poet:
« He rides unseen on the hurrying storm ;
He sits on the whirlwind's car ;
188 ''MORE THAN COXQUEROR."
He wraps in the clouds his awfiil form,
And ti-avels from star to star.
A thousand messengers wait his will,
And a million heralds fly,
And their Sovereign's high behest fulfill
Through a vast eternity."
And yet, though so exalted, the preacher added,
He caretlifor you. Himself careth. He hath dele-
gated to angels the ministering to your wants, but
He hath not divested Himself of his love for you.
Having loved you with an everlasting love — hav-
uig written your poor name on the eternal pages
of liis book of life — having drawn you, in his own
manner, through the love of Jesus, to Himself,
quickening and regenerating, washing and sancti-
fying by Jesus' blood and Jesus' spirit. He has
put you among his children. He has prepared and
He destines for you an eternal home. But you are
yet a poor sinner in the wilderness, journeying on-
ward — and in the wilderness you have wants and
sorrows, and dangers, and fears and conflicts. But
amid them all the Father is caring for his child !
And lest your knees grow feeble and your heart
faint, lest necessity felt and feared daunt you. Him-
self hath given you this assurance — "I care for
you — I am with you — I ivill care for you and be
with you, never leaving, never forsaking."
Yes, children of the heavenly King, you who
are journeying homeward to your Father's courts,
there is no season, there is no circumstance, there
is no place, but He careth for you: hovering
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 189
around you as tlie eagle over her young, watching
you as the good shepherd his flock, encircling you,
as the hills are around Jerusalem, loving you more
tenderly than doth the mother her nursing child.
We shall never forget the wistful look of the
young soldier, as he sat listening to his last ser-
mon, nor his tearful acknowledgement of the com-
fort these words of assurance gave ; remarking
that we, who enjoyed these privileges all the time,
could not half appreciate them, nor know how to
sympathize with the poor fellows in the army who
had no Sunday.
The last Sunday evening was spent, as so many
Sunday evenings in other days had been spent, in
singing old familiar hymns. The parting hymn
was, by mutual consent, the favorite hymn of a
sister, now in glory :
" Be still my heart, these anxious cares
To thee are burdens, thorns and snares ;
They cast dishonor on thy Lord,
And contradict his gracious word.
« Brought safely by his hand thus far,
Why wilt thou now give place to fear?
How canst thou want, if He provide,
Or lose thy way with such a guide ?
" Though rough and thorny be the road,
It leads thee home, apace, to God ;
Then count thy present trials small,
For heaven will make amends for all."
The next two days, our last together before the
great sliadow fell upon us, were bright and beauti-
190 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
ful, and that lovely region lay bathed in the sub-
dued golden light of our autumnal glory. We
were out upon the lake, or wandering through the
woods gathering wild flowers and the gorgeously
tinted leaves of the forest, or clamberuig up cHffs,
and he and a younger brother made the woods ring
with their peals of laughter and snatches of songs.
It was the holiday after the long weary school
days — the buoyant sparkling spirit mellowed, not
destroyed, by the faith of the Christian.
These last scenes linger in the memory and stir
among the heart-strings of those who loved him.
He mounted his horse in the morning, just as
the sun was tipping the hills with gold. We
watched his graceful figure as he rode down the
winding road — caught a last glimpse as he passed
over the brow of a hill — one wave of the hand-
kerchief and he was gone, and we saw him not
again till he was brought home wounded from the
field of battle.
Washington, October 2, 1864.
My dear Papa : — I have just received my very
" honorable discharge " from the service of the United
States, upon an application of my own on the ground of
more than three years service. The order will be
issued to-morrow, and I shall leave for New York to-
My reason for leaving the service at this time, you
know All my fi'iends say that I have done a
very foolish thing, and perhaps I have, but I have deter-
mined after much jDrayerful consideration, and have tried
to do what was best. I hope you will approve
I am assured here that I can obtain a command at any
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 191
time, so if everything goes right, and the country needs
me, I can return by and by
God willing, I will see you Tuesday, when we can
talk matters over. I shall go to Albany Tuesday night,
after which I shall return to the army for a day or two
to bid my command farewell
Love to all. I am terribly blue at the step I have
taken. Your loving son, Howard.
Washixgtox, October 4, 1864.
My dear Papa : — I wrote you day before yesterday,
that I had received my discharge from the service by
reason of more than three years service.
I made all my arrangements to go home last night,
but when I went to the War Dej^artment yesterday
morning, the Secretary of War revoked the order, and
ordered me to report immediately with my command to
It is a terrible disappointment to me, for I had strug-
gled with myself very hard ever since my return, to
decide whether I ought to be discharged at this time, and
having made up my mind that it was my duty, and the
order having been issued, it cut me terribly to have it
revoked. It puts me in the position of a man who tried
to get out of the service, but could not I cannot
learn where my command is, but presume it is near
Staunton by this time. I intended to leave for Harper's
Ferry this morning, but could not get transportation for
my horse. I shall leave to-morrow morning. I shall
have a nice little ride of one hundred and sixty miles
through a country full of guerrillas, after leaving Har-
per's Ferry. What command I shall have, or what I
shall do when I get there, I cannot tell yet I
shall take no baggage to the field this time ; shall leave
all my books, papers, and other things at the Metropoli-
tan Hotel here, so if you should want them at any time
you will know where to find them I have but
192 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
little time and cannot write to any one else now. Give
my dearest love to all the loved ones God bless
you all. Yours lovingly, Howard.
Head-quarters Provisional Division, Harper's Ferry, )
October 6, 1864. )
Dear Papa : — I arrived here yesterday noon, and
instead of being permitted to go on at once to my com-
mand, was placed in command of all troops arriving
here on their way to General Sheridan.
There are about three thousand here now, belonging
to the Sixth, Eighth, and Nineteenth Army corps ; rep-
resenting every regiment in those corps, and all sorts of
officers. I am now getting them armed and organized
as quickly as possible, and as soon as I get about four
thousand I shall i^ush on for Sheridan. I have organ-
ized two brigades and hope to get off on Saturday or
Sunday My head-quarters are on a high bluff
above the Shenandoah ; prettily located, but cold and
Head-quarters Provisional Division, Harper's Ferry, )
October 9, 1864. )
My DARLING Louise: — Your dear precious letter
has been read over and over again, and would have been
answered at once, but that, as you probably know, I
have been so very busy, and so uncertain where I was
going or what I was going to do, that I have not writ-
ten to any one, save a few words to H and papa to
let you know of my whereabouts and safety.
For two days in Washington I considered myself out
of the service, and was making all my arrangements ac-
cordingly, expecting to be with you all in a day or so,
when an order was issued revoking my discharge.
True to my determination expressed to you, as soon
as I reached Washington, I applied for my honorable
discharge on the ground of more than three years ser-
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 193
vice ; but you see that we soldiers are not permitted to
return to our families even when our term of service ex-
pires. However, I am trying to think that it is all for
the best, although it is a terrible disappointment to me,
once having made up my mind to do it, and that it was
When I reached here on my way to the front, Gen-
eral Stevenson placed me in command of this division or-
ganizing for General Sheridan, and I have been working
day and night to get them clothed, armed and equipped,
ready for the field. I have three brigades, about two
thousand each, and having been obliged to make up a
staff temporarily of the officers as I found them, all
strangers, you can imagine that I have had to do consid-
erable work unaided. The command is all ready for the
field and I have just issued marching orders for to-mor-
row morning. I hope to reach Strasburg Wednesday
My future is of course very uncertain. I cannot tell
what T^ shall do until I get to the front
My visit home was one of the pleasantest that I have
had. Unfortunately, you and I had no opportunity of
seeing much of each other The truth is, darling,
I was very much worried and troubled while at home.
I don't mean unhappy, but anxious and puzzled to know
what was best to do. You know I have a great re-
sponsibility, for a young man. All the time I was home
I was cogitating over the step that I took when I
reached Washington, and it involved so many important
considerations that I was much exercised to know what
to do. It was useless to ask for advice at home, upon
that particular point, for I knew that a desire to have
me at home would render home judgment partial
Here I am in an old half worn tent, no baojoraore, blank-
ets laid on the grass, the weather as cold as winter ; sur-
rounded by strangers, holding a temporary command in
which I can take but little interest, and with my future
194 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
more uncertain than ever before. All this, after antici-
pating a winter spent with H and my boy.
But I am trying to think that good will result from it,
although I cannot see it yet. I get fearfully blue and
discouraged at times, but you and I know where to go
at such times, darling ! Were it not for the comfort
and encouragement that we receive from above, I do not
know what I should do under some of the bitter dis-
appointments which I have suffered This has
not been like Sunday, for I have been so occupied all
day getting clothes and shoes for my men. How I
long for Sundays at home.
Good-by, my darling sister. Thank you again for
your sweet sympathizing letters. Write me whenever
you can. Give my best love to dear Theodore, and be-
lieve me, my darling, as ever,
Your truly loving brother, Howard.
Harper's Ferry, October 9, 1864.
Dear Papa : — I am still here, not having yet com-
pleted the equipment of my division. I expect to move
for Winchester to-mori*ow morning. I am very busy.
We were at work all night last night, drawing and issu-
ing arms and clothing.
My old brigade arrived at Martinsburg on Friday,
and will return to the front with me. I have ordered
them to leave Martinsburg on Tuesday morning and
meet me at Bunker Hill, so I shall take about seven
thousand men to Sheridan. I learn this morning that
Sheridan has retired to Strasburg, but do not know how
reliable the information is. He has not had a fight, but
sim23ly fallen back voluntarily, after destroying the wheat
in the valley I have not heard a word from
home since leaving Washington. I fear my letters have
gone to the front I trust you are all well. My
best love to all. Your lo\Tng son,
DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON. 195
The marks in his pocket hymn-book show that
he found solace in these dark days in these beauti-
ful lines of J. H. Newman : —
"I will lead them in paths they have not known." —Is. xlii. 16.
« Lead, Saviour lead, amid the encirding gloom
Lead thou me on :
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene — one step enough for me..
" I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Should'st lead me on ;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will ; remember not past years.
" So^long thy power hath blessed me — sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And, with the morn, those angel-faces smile ^
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."
THE LAST BATTLE.
" Soon and forever the work shall be done,
The warfare accomplished, the victory won ;
Soon and forever the soldier lay down
The sword for a harp, the cross for a crown.'
THE LAST BATTLE.
" The night is far spent, the day is at hand." — Rom. xiii. 12.
Sheridak's army, flushed with repeated victo-
ries, lay quietly but strongly posted on the bank
of Cedar Creek.
At early dawn on the morning of the 19th of
October, the light so dim, struggling through a
dense fog, that they could scarce distinguish friend
fronir^oe, the rebels startled them from their slum-
bers, with a fiendish yell, sweeping through the
camp in overwhelming numbers. The surprise
was complete. Colonel Kitching had barely time
to buckle on his sword, seize his pistols, and mount
his horse. Having only one battalion of his own
regiment, he succeeded, after an almost hopeless
effort, in rallying his men, and held an important
road for several hours, until nine out of eleven of
his officers were either killed or wounded.
One color-sergeant after another was shot down,
and his troops were giving way before a wild
onslaught, when Major Jones, who was greatly
beloved by the regiment, fell mortally wounded.
Howard Kitching spurred forward and called out,
" Stop men, you will not let Jones be made a pris-
200 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR:'
oner ! " They rallied to a raan, and stood their
ground until their major was safely carried to the
rear. We have heard Howard tell, with tears, how
many brave young fellows lost their lives in the
rescue of an officer they loved so well.
Just here it was, that a young color-sergeant was
carried by, his life-blood ebbing fast away. With
a sad but radiant face he looked up and said,
'' Colonel, I did the best I could ! "
Colonel Kitching then reported in person to
Major-general Wright, connnanding the army,
asking to be assigned to some command, where he
could be of most service. The order he received
was, " that he should rally the troops wherever he
should find them," so as to delay the advance of
the enemy, mitil a position should be found where
they could make a stand.
With all the dash and energy of his character,
he addressed himself to the difficult duty. He
spurred among the disordered soldiery, and his
clear musical voice rang out over the wild scene,
as he called to them to " fall in." They soon be-
gan to rally around him and contend for every foot
of ground. But the enemy was in overwhelming
numbers, and the command was driven as far as
the Creek, which they found blockaded by the
He succeeded by his influence and unwearied
efforts in securing the passage of the wagons.
Once across the stream the panic-struck stragglers
began to rush to the rear. Again his voice was
THE LAST BATTLE. 201
heard above the din and confusion, the roar of
musketry, and the mingled shouts of battle. In
the midst of this wild tumult, facing the enemv,
a minie ball crashed through his foot. Wearied
and wounded he still sat his horse, and gave his
orders, though now in subdued tones. He was
again and again urged to leave the field, but re-
fused until the army had taken a position where
they might repel any attack of the enemy. At
this moment it was that General Sheridan rode up
to the front, and gave new life to the troops by the
magnetism of his presence.
Satisfied that all was right now, he directed
Captain Donaldson to accompany him to try and
find a surgeon to dress his wound. Growing
fainter and fainter from loss of blood and suffering,
he was yet compelled to ride for nearly four miles
to the rear, before he could obtain assistance.
They then found an assistant surgeon, belonging
to one of the cavalry regiments, to dress the wound,
which was discovered to be so serious, that he ad-
vised the wounded officer to be carried in an ambu-
lance to where he could obtain medical treatment
The ambulances came rumbling by in rapid suc-
cession, but were all filled with wounded men, and
Colonel Kitching was unwilling to have any poor
fellow disturbed to make room for him. A
stretcher was then made of a piece of shelter tent
and pine poles, and with the help of some strag-
glers he was carried several weary miles. But this
202 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
mode of transportation proved so painful, and as
Howard was growing weaker and weaker, an
ambulance, containing a poor soldier, mortally
wounded, was stopped, and he was placed beside
him, and so they reached Winchester.
Suffering as he was, he did not allow himself to
be driven to the head-quarters of General Edwards
until he had seen his wounded comrade safely and
comfortably cared for in the hospital.
While waiting an examination of his wound in
this dreary place, — a bare room, crowded to suffo-
cation with wounded and d3dng officers, — the news
was received of Sheridan's brilliant attack, and the
total rout of the enemy. Howard looked up from
his couch of suffering and exclaimed, " If tliis be
true, I should be willing to lose another leg."
The ball was safelv extracted, but the surg-eon
advised that he should be removed away from
these sad scenes, and where he could feel the sun-
shine of loving faces, and be nursed by loving
The brave young soldier had fought his last
battle, his active work was done — it had been
nobly done. He had yet to pass through the
harder fight of patient suffering ere the hour of
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING.
The way is dark, my Father ! Cloud on cloud
Is gathering thickly o'er my head, and loud
The thunders roar above me. See, I stand
Like one bewildered ! Father, take my hand,
And through the gloom
Lead safely home
Thy child !
The day goes fast, my Father ! and the night
Is drawing darkly down. My faithless sight
Sees ghostly visions. Fears, a spectral band,
Encompass me. O Father ! take my hand,
_ And from the night
Lead up to light
Thy child !
The way is long, my Father! and my soul
Longs for the rest and quiet of the goal ;
White yet I journey through this weary land.
Keep me from wandering. Father, take my hand ;
Quickly and straight
Lead to heaven's gate
Thy child !
The way is dark, my child ! but leads to light.
I would not always have thee walk by sight.
My dealings now thou canst not understand.
I meant it so ; but I will take thy hand,
And through the ijlooni
Lead safely home
My ihild !
The day goes fast, my child ! But is the night
Darker to me than day ? In me is light !
Keep close to me, and every sj)ectral band
Of fears shall vanish. I will take thy hand.
And throuijh the nisxht
Lead up to light
My child !
The way is long, my child ! But it shall be
Not one step longer than is best for thee ;
And thou shalt know, at last, when thou shalt
Safe at the goal, how I did take thy hand,
And quick and straight
Lead to heaven's gate
My child !
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING.
" There came a cloiul, and overshadowed them: and they feared as
they entered into the cloud.
" And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my be-
loved Son: hear him." — St. Luke ix. 34, 35.
A TELEGRAPHIC dispatch from General Sheri-
dan, on Thursday, October 20, announced '' Victo-
ry in the Valley." " We have again been favored
by great victory — a victory won from disaster by
the gallantry of our officers and men." .... "I
have to regret the loss of many valuable officers
killed and wounded ; among them Colonel Joseph
Thorburn, killed; Colonel J. Howard Kitching,
wounded ; Colonel R. G. McKenzie, wounded se-
verely but would not leave the field."
A few hours later came a telegram from How-
ard, saying that he was only wounded slightly,
would come home as soon as possible.
The first painful shock soon gave way to a feel-
ing of intense relief and thankfulness that the pre-
cious life was spared — and in the hours of suspense
that followed, we tried to believe that this, too,
might be a blessing in disguise ; a slight wound
that would give him back to us again, and keep
him safe from further danger.
208 ''MORE THAN CONQUERORS
We were ill prepared for the sad surprise tliat
awaited us. We went on in the night train, reach-
ing Baltimore an hour after midnight. With beat-
ing hearts and noiseless steps, we sought his room,
anticipating a jo}^ul meeting. A tall figure started
up from the darkness at the door of his room.
" O, 'dis de Colonel's sister ! Glad to see you,
Miss Louise. Massa Fred, too. De doctor say if
you come, you not to be let in — de Colonel too
bad to see anybody."
We sat in the darkness with the faithful negro,
and waited. Presently his father, who had reached
Baltimore by a previous train, came to us, and
from him we learned how Howard's thoughtful
love had dictated the telegram on the battle-field,
to save us the shock of knowing the truth at once.
There was reason enough for our deepest anxiety.
We left Baltimore early in the morning. His
surgeon, and his faithful friend, Captain Donald-
son, watched over him with the tenderness of
brothers. Everything was done ^hat could be
done to alleviate the suffering of that weary jour-
The President of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-
road had most kindly prepared an entire car for
our use — having the seats removed, and every
possible arrangement made which could add in any
way to our comfort, personally superintending
everything, that there might be no confusion or
Most touching was the respect and thoughtful
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 209
kindness manifested throughout the day. While
we stood around the stretcher at the station, trying
to shield him from the cold mnd, an Irish woman
with a baby in her arms looked over his sister's
shoulder. Seeing the still rosy cheeks, and bright
curls, she wiped away the tears with the corners
of her apron, and said, " Och, an its dreadful!
such a lovely young man as that ! '' and then whis-
pered - Has he a mother ? O, an it 's the pity for
her, poor thing."
All day long there were whispered questions,
and words of sympathy — cologne water, and fruits
and other httle delicacies offered. Two or three
times a fellow-traveller would come beside him
with a cheery, hopeful word — some allusion to the
glorious victory of the day before — once or twice
a " G^d bless you. Colonel ! you are suffering m a
May He who has promised never to forget " the
cup of cold water," abundantly reward every lov-
ing look and word that sent a ray of sunshine
through the gloom of that dark day.
At a late hour, Saturday night, we reached the
Metropolitan hotel. New York, where his mother
was waiting his arrival.
When Howard saw her anxious, paUid face
bending over him as he lay exhausted upon his
stretcher, he looked up with a bright smile, and
forgetting his sufferings, with a cheery voice, tried
in every way to allay her fears and give her hope
for the future.
210 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
We draw a veil over the weeks that followed —
days and nights of weary suffering, with no mo-
ment of relief or rest. '' I tell you what, darling,"
he said suddenly one night, '' this is a great deal
harder work than marching, or lighting, either ! "
The strength and endurance that had been
proved on many a battle-field, many a weary night
march, and in the scorching heat of the deadly
rifle-pits, was to be put to still severer test, before
the final victory.
His sister said, '' It is always a great deal harder
to suffer than to Avork. It requires more grace ;
and therefore, I suppose, we can glorify the Lord
a great deal more by patient endurance than by
active service. At any rate, darling, you have the
promise, ' My grace is sufficient for thee.' "
" Yes," he said, " it always has been."
Then they talked for a little while of the mean-
ing of that familiar word, " a soldier of Christ,"
how little they had ever before realized its depth
of meaning — all that it implied of single-hearted
devotion, implicit obedience, entire self-sacrifice.
How little we knew as Christians, of that readi-
ness to suffer any hardships, endure any privation,
counting no sacrifice too great, even life itself, in
0U7' glorious cause.
The " Silent Comforter " was hung where the
first rays of morning light would fall upon it,
and often after a weary night of suffering, the
text for the day seemed manna from heaven — the
very portion his soul required — a fresh draught
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 211
from the Fountain of Living Waters. Many a
sweet talk we had at early dawn, when his eye first
rested on the words of comfort and peace.
On the fourteenth of November, at Yonkers, his
little daughter was born. When the first agitation
of hearing the tidings was passed, he whispered,.
" O, isn't it a blessing ? I am so thankful. Now
H will have a dear little daughter to comfort
her when I am gone." Then first we knew that
he thought his recovery doubtful — and although
we tried in every way to reassure him, increasing
weakness, and other alarming symptoms, convinced
us that there was reason enough for his forebodings.
That evening, the surgeons, in consultation, de-
cided that amputation could no longer be post-
poned without endangering his life. The decision
was told him, tenderly and cheerfully, with many
assurances of his speedy recovery. He talked
with the surgeons, in his usual calm, courteous way,
but when they were gone and the room was still,
we saw that the shadow was still upon his heart ;
it darkened over us all -^ we could not but think
perhaps it was the shadow of death.
The physicians decided that a day must elapse,
to try by stimulants to revive his failing strength.
It was a day of clouds and darkness. Reduced by
pain and long confinement, his nervous system was
utterly unstrung, and his courage and fortitude
gave way. It seemed impossible for him to become
quite reconciled to the loss of his foot. His natural
dread of the operation was very great, and many
212 "MOn/i TITAN COSQCERORr
times he said, he must beg the surgeon to try to
save it, evidently fearing that it might be sacri-
ficed to save prolonged suffering.
The night before the operation the shadow of
thick darkness was over the weary one. He was
restless and feverish and faint with anxiety and
pain. The enemy of souls was on the watch at
such an hour. His mother tried to soothe and lull
him to sleep, by repeating familiar hymns and Bible
verses. At length, as if cpiitc unable to repress
the ;igony of feeling, he stretched out his arms and
drawing her down close beside him, resting his face
against hers, he burst into tears, saying " O I
mamma ! darling, it is of no use. I believe Jesus
Himself has forsaken me. I have been such a sin-
ner. I am so wretched. I cannot come up to the
dreadful to-morrow. I am so weak, so miserable.
And then as if recollecting himself, he added,
" Mamma, dear, you know I am no coward, I never
was afraid to do my duty, but I am so sick."
His mother souMit to calm him bv reminding: him
of Jesus' power and love, and dwelling on the un-
changeableness of Him, whose promise runs, '' Him
that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out."
In desponding tones he said : " O ! He has for-
saken me, I cannot pray."
Again she who sat beside him, reminded him of
Christ's faithfulness and the unfailing nature of
the promises, and repeated those blessed words
" Fear not : for I have redeemed thee, I have
called thee by thy name ; thou art mine." For a
THE DISCIPLIXE OF SUFFERING. 213
few moments the cloud lingered on his pale face
but a sweet smile chased it away, the enemy was
beaten back, and kissing his mother, he said with
I quiet, assured voice, " That is so. What would I
ever have done without you, mamma ! "
In the morning of that sad day, the following
note, from one he loved, was read to him :
Tuesday Evening, November 15, 18G4.
^Iy dearest Howard : — Though not present with
you to-morrow, I shall be with you in spirit and in the
fellowship of the Holy Ghost, very near to you, as at
the mercy seat I ask the Lord to give you grace and
strength and sunshine, in what seems a dark passage.
Tlie earnest prayers from so manV lovinir hearts. <Toinsr
\x\) for you now, will bring a blessing, and you will yet
see love, the tenderest love, written all over this trial.
Do not worry your mind or heart with misgivings
about-the past, or present, or future. Look away from
Imman instrumentalities altogether, and believe that
every circumstance is ordered by Him who watches the
falling of a sparrow. Leave everything with the dear
Lord who has made you his own dear child, and lie in
his arms quietly and listen to those sweet words of his,
we read together this morning. " Let not your heart be
troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me. Peace
I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord
make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto
thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and
give thee peace, both now and evermore.
AVith deepest love and tenderest sympathy yours,
It was thought advisable to remove Howard to
another room before the amputation, that entire
214 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
chancre of scene and fresher air, niiorht enable him
to sliake off the low fever which was wasting his
A cheerful, sunny room was prepared for him
— everything made to look as bright and pleasant
as possible — but it was a very sad, weary face that
looked around upon it all. His eye rested upon
the text his mutlier had hung opposite the bed.
*' When thou passest througli the waters, I will
be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall
not overflow thee. When thou walkest through
the fire thou shall not be burned, neither shall the
flame kindle upon ,thee ; for I am the Lord thy
God^ the Holy One of Israel^ thy Saviour.^'
" Fear not ; I will not fail nor forsake thee."
With such a look of surprise he said, ••' O mamma,
what a comfort ! that that should be the text for
to-day. It seems almost like Jesus speaking ; ''
but there was not the look of peace and quiet
trust we longed to see. We felt that there was a
dark shadow on his heart. The moment he was
left alone with his sister, he grasped her hand, and
with a look of intense anxiety and distress, said,
" Darhng, if I die this morning, do you think I
can be saved ? " After a moment's silent prayer
she said, —
" Why Howy, I have no more doubt of it than
that you and I are here now."
" O, that is because you don't know. You don't
know anvthins: about what a sinner I have been.
You think I have been good, but I have not. I
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 215
have been cbeadfuUy wicked; if you knew, you
wouldn't think I could be saved at all."
" O, Howy, after Jesus has been yoiu' precious
Saviour all these years, you are not going to dis-
trust Him now! You know his blood cleanseth
from all sin. However you have wandered, He is
so glad to receive you back again — He will forgive
He shook his head sadly. " No, L , not
such sins as mine, — you don't know."
She said, "• My darling — this is Satan's work.
He always comes at just such times, to torment us
with our sins, and keep us from looking to Jesus.
Whatever you have been, Jesus is ready to receive
you now, and forgive you freely. He says " Him
that Cometh unto me, I will in noivise cast out:'
'' But it was so dreadful in me — I will tell you
— and then you will know. That morning, you
know, at Cedar Creek, when the rebels rushed
through my camp — it was awful — we could
hardly tell friend from foe. I had only a few of
my own men, all those mixed regiments — they
didn't know me, and I could not manage them like
my own brigade. I tried every way to rally them.
We were making a desperate stand, when some
teamsters and other fellows came rushing across
the field, enough to make a panic — and an oath
escaped me ! "
His friend Captain Donaldson had come in and
sat down beside him. '' Donny," said he, " did
you ever hear me swear before ? "
" Never, Colonel."
216 "MORE THAN COXQUEROR."
'' It was dreadful, — I don't know how I could
have done it — it must have been Satan — but I
was so excited," and again came the eager whisper,
'' Do you really think Jesus can forgive that? "
*' But you know, Howy, ' The blood of Jesus
Christ cleanseth from all sin.' Suppose that you
have never loved Jesus at all — never tried to
serve Him — have sinned against Him all your
life. You are a poor miserable sinner — you can-
not do a thing to save yourself. Now it was for
just such sinners that Jesus died. St. Paul said,
' It is a faithful saying, Jesus Christ came into the
world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' If
you are the chief of sinners, then Jesus died to save
you. He will save you, now. ' ]My sheep shall
never pe)Hsh^ ne'itlier shall any pluck them out of
They Avere interrupted by the arrival of the sur-
geons ; but as his sister stooped to kiss him, there
was one more eager question, " You really think
I'm safe ? " and a quiet look of peace came over
his face. " Well, then, I'll trust Him."
Two hours of terrible suspense and we were
again watching beside him, waiting for returning
consciousness. At length he looked around upon
us, with such a bewildered look, and then the
sweet bright smile came back, as his sister said,
" Do you know me, darhng ? "
" O, yes, L , I always know you^
'' Well," she said, pointing to the text, " you
see it was all true ! The Lord has kept his prom-
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 217
" Yes," he spoke slowly and with difficulty,
^'-He always does. He 's so good."
The peace which shone in that bright, quiet
smile, '' kept his heart and mind " in Christ Jesus,
unto the eijd.
Howard did not rally, as we had hoped, after
the amputation. The low fever which had hung
about him from the beginning of his illness devel-
oped typhoid symptoms, and day by day his
strength wasted, until hope almost died from our
His sufferings at this time were intense. Utterly
prostrated with fever, not a moment's rehef from
pain, rarely able to sleep more than three minutes
at a time — no wonder that he wearily longed for
" It seems so strange," he said ; '' I used to
throw myself right down on the ground, sometimes
the rain pelting down on me, and sleep hke a top.
Now, I would give anything for half an hour's sleep,
and can't get it."
" Tlioxi boldest mine eyes waking," said one who
w^atched beside him. " You know, wearisome days
and nights are appointed^
'' Yes, I know. I do try so hard to be patient ;
but I am so weary."
Only those who watched through the weary
days and nights, whose aching hearts cried in the
morning, " Would God it were evening," and in
the evening, '' Would God it were morning,"
could know how patiently he endured —how ten-
218 "MOPxE THAN CONQUEROR."
derly watchful he was of those who nursed liim ;
how often, with the sweet kiss and earnest lovinir
thanks for some little relief afforded, came the
tearful words, '' It is such a comfort — but you will
all be worn out. If I could only do without
On the night of the 25th of November, a wicked
attempt was made by some emissaries from the
South, to fire the city of New York. By a con-
certed plan nearly all the large hotels of the city
were fired at the same hour.
We were watching in the stillness of the night
in the sick room, anxious lest a step or a word
should disturb the quiet, and entirely unconscious
of the excitement in the streets, no sound of
alarm having reached us.
Suddenly the door opened softly, and without a
word the faithful negro walked in with the Colo-
nel's stretcher, put it down beside the bed, and in
a moment had spread blankets and pillows upon
it ; then stood beside it like a dark sentinel.
We saw in a moment what it all meant. Al-
most overwhelmed with fear of the consequences
of such excitement, and exposure to the cold, we
whispered " Pete, is our hotel on fire ? " Raising
his finger warningly he said, " Yes, Miss, right
smart ! Don't tell de Colonel ! Four gentlemen's
waitin' outside de door — and we jest carry him
out when de time comes, and not disturb him a
But to our surprise, Howard raised his head from
THE DISCIPLIXE OF SUFFERING. 219
the pillows, looked down at the stretcher, and then
with such a bright smile and little nod to his ser-
vant, said, " All right, Pete : you're a good fellow ; "
then to us, " Now don't be frightened, darhngs I we
can manage first-rate. Where 's mamma ? " And
as she came in, pale with excitement, he reached
out his hand to her, and drew her close beside him
with protecting tenderness, talking so brightly and
cheerfully, as if his were the strong arm that was
to rescue us all.
As we w^atched his bright eye and the quiet
tone of command that seemed to come mtli the
emergency, one said, ^' Why, Howard, I believe if
you could command your regiment, and lead them
into battle, it would make you well ! " His eye
brightened, and strength seemed to come with the
very thought, as he said, " I really believe it would !
If I could only mount my horse."
Throuerh the lovin^r kindness of the Lord, we
were spared the necessity of leaving the room.
The fire was extinguished mth very little difficulty,
and though it was a night of excitement and alarm,
as tidings came of the fire breaking out in one
hotel after another, and anxious men walked the
streets all night, the quiet of the sick room was not
On the first of December Howard was removed
to Yonkers. His physicians hoped that entire
change of scene, with the fresh air of the country,
and the comfort of having his wife and little chil-
dren, would enable him to rally, and break up the
fever that seemed wasting away his life.
220 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
He bore tlie journey well. " The fresh air was
so delicious,'" he said, " that he did not even mind
the jolting of the ambulance over the stones."
But the next day was one of excessive exhaus-
tion. His mother, and others who had been watch-
ing with him, quite worn out, had been obliged to
return home for a day of rest, and his sister was
left alone with him. She writes : —
" It was a sweet, sad day. Howard seemed very ill ;
and when he said to me so quietly and decidedly, " Dar-
ling. I shall never be well again I " my heart contradicted
the cheerful tones with which I strove to encourage him,
and draw bright pictures of happy days to come.
" We had many a little quiet talk that day ; the
* peace that passeth understanding,' seemed to pervade
the very atmosphere of the room ; and as evening drew
on, though his increasing weakness startled me, he was
unwilling to have the family summoned.
" ' In the stillness and the starlight,
In sight of the Blessed Land,
We thought of the by -gone Desert-hfe,
And the burning, blinding sand.
" ' Many a dreary sunset.
Many a dreary dawn.
We had watched upon those desert hiUs
As we pressed slowly on.
" ' Yet sweet had been the silent dews
Which from God's presence fell,
And the still hours of resting
Bv Palm tree and bv well.
THE DISCIPLIXE OF SUFFERING. 221
« ' We were talking about our King,
And our elder Brother,
As we were used often to speak
One to another.
" ' The Lord standing quietly by.
In the shadows dim.
Smiling, perhaps, in the dark, to hear
Our sweet, sweet talk of Him.
" ' " I think in a little while,"
I said at length,
" We shall see His face in the city
Of everlasting strength ;
« ' " And sit down under the shadow
Of His smile,
With great delight and thanksgiving
To rest awhile."
" ' I knew by His loving voice
His kingly word.
The veiled Guest in the starlight dim
Was Christ, the Lord !
« ' I could hear that the Lord was speaking
Deep words of grace ;
I could see their blessed reflection
On his sweet, pale face.' "
Towards midnight be sank so rapidly that the
family were hastily summoned, but the fearful
crisis passed, he fell mto a sweet sleep, and the
morning dawned upon brighter hope.
Days and nights of suffering were yet in store ;
faith and patience had not yet their perfect work ;
222 ''MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
there were lessons still to learn in " the fellowship
of the sufferings of Christ."
One night, long after midnight, when he seemed
perfectly Avorn out with pain and fever, and a
racking cough that gave him scarcely a moment's
rest, one who watched him, took up a book of
hymns that lay upon the table, in hope of some
word of comfort and strength to soothe the restless
questionings of her aching heart. The book opened
to a hymn, which seemed an answer to all unbelief,
an echo to that loving, half-reproachful question,
" Jle that spared not His own Son^ but delivered Ilim
up for us all, how shall He not with Him also
freely give us all things ? "
" Birds have their quiet nest,
Foxes their holes, mid man his peaceful bed ;
All creatures have their rest, —
But Jesus had not ivhere to lay His head.
'' Winds have their hour of calm,
And waves, to slumber on the voiceless deep ;
Eve hath its breath of balm.
To hush all senses and all sounds to sleep.
"■ The wild deer hath his lair,
The homeward flocks the shelter of their shed ;
All have their rest from care, —
But Jesus had not where to lay his head.
" And yet He came to give
The weary and the heavy-laden rest ;
To bid the sinner live,
And soothe our ffriefs to slumber on his breast.
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 223
" What then am I, my God,
Permitted thus the paths of peace to tread?
Peace, purchased by the blood
Of Him who had not where to lay His head ?
" I , who once made Him grieve ;
I, who once bade His gentle spirit mourn ;
Whose hand essayed to weave
For His meek brow the cruel crown of thorns : —
" O why should I have peace ?
Why ? but for that unchanged, undying love,
Which would not, could not cease,
Until it made me heir of joys above.
" Yes ! bui for pardoning grace,
I feel I never should in glory see
The brightness of that face,
That once was pale and agonized for me ! "
No sound broke the stillness, and his sister
thought the sweet hymn had soothed liim to sleep.
An hour later, he suddenly exclaimed in such a
tone of real distress, "- O, L ! both hands and
both feet ! " Thinking he must be suffering in-
tensely, she said, " Why, darling, are you so much
worse ? I thought you were asleep."
" O, no," he said, his eyes filled with tears.
" Jesus — how could he endure it ? Both hands and
both feet ! and all for us, too ! "
Then he told her how often he had thought
that the pain in his lacerated foot must have been
the same kind of pain that Jesus suffered ; how
his own suffering, even with all the alleviations of
our loving care, had made him think more and
224 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
more of the dread mystery of that death upon the
cross ; the hiding of the Father's countenance ;
the taunts and jeers of the multitude, all the
fearful circumstances of that fearful day. It was
too painful to dwell upon, and they Avere glad to
look up to Jesus glorified, and join the song that
is evermore ascending " unto Him that loved us,
and washed us from our sins in His own blood ;
to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever."
Howard soon began to improve, and gained
strength so rapidly that the shadow that had been
over us so long was quite dispelled, and we looked
forward without misgiving, to his entire recovery.
Many a pleasant family gathering we had, around
his wheel-chair ; amused at his merry stories, re-
joicing in all the evidences of returning health.
About this time one of his orderlies, from the
Sixth Artillery, arrived, in charge of the Colonel's
horses. Most amusing were the interviews between
the two ; the little Irishman's humorous replies
to numberless questions, about all that had trans-
pired since the Colonel's absence, with occasional
sly suggestions, from " Pete," who generally sat
as a shadow, just behind him. Many a cheery
message was sent back to the regiment, telling
them that as soon as he could mount his horse,
he would be with them to lead them in the as-
sault on Petersburg."
The week before Christmas was bitterly cold.
A heavy snow-storm, followed by a keen north
wind, made us fear that we must give up the
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING." 225
pleasure we had anticipated of bringing Howard to
Dobb's Ferry before the holidays. Thursday, the
twenty-second of December, the cold was intense.
We were sitting around the fire, thinking the wind
must have reached its height, when we heard the
sound of sleigh bells, and a moment after Howard
drove up to. the door, alone, in a little cutter.
He was so benumbed with cold, that he could
neither move nor speak. As quickly as possible,
he was carried in, and laid upon the sofa, while
we chafed his hands and face, and wrapped warm
blankets around him. Pete came in, almost as
much overcome with the cold as he. A warm
punch, which had been ordered Howard was
brought, but he said, "0, that's just the thing
for Pete ! Drink it quick, Pete, it will warm you
We insisted that he should take it, for we were
filled with apprehension ;. and felt that not a mo-
ment should be lost, and that the strong negro
man would suffer less from a few minutes delay, but
our remonstrance was useless.
"Drink it quick, Pete!" he said. "Why,
mamma, the poor fellow is almost perished I You
know they are used to such a warm climate ; he
never knew what kind of winters we have here
at the North ; did you, Pete ? "
We succeeded at last in restoring them both
to warmth and comfort ; and Howard's joy at be-
ing once more at home, almost overcame for a
time, our fear of the result. " Why, mamma,"
226 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
he said, " I would liaye driven tliree times as far,
just to lie here once more, and look around at all
the dear home things."
The house was undergoing extensive repairs. It
was impossible to make him comfortable there, and
rooms had been prepared for him at the house of
Mr. A. near by. He did not seem to have suf-
fered from the exposure as we feared. On Sat-
urday, the day before Christmas, we brought him
home again ; had quite a merry little sleigh ride,
and then all day he lay on the sofa in the little
sitting-room, " so happy to be really at home."
" Why, mamma," he said, " you have no idea what
perfect bliss it is, just to lie here and see you and
A., and all of you going about just like old times.
The dear old pictures and easy chairs ! everything
looks so lovely."
Our hearts linger around the memory of that
day. As we sat around him, talking of all the
pleasant Christmas times that we had passed to-
gether, and rejoicing in hope of happy days to
come, no voice whispered that the bright face
would never make sunshine in our home again ;
that the loving look with which his eye rested
on all the familiar home treasures, was a look of
" You and I will dine together, mamma, to keep
Christmas ! " So a table was spread beside his
sofa, and they dined together ; his hearty enjoy-
ment making it a real Christmas treat to us all.
Before evening he was suffering much ; but it
THE DISCIPLINE OF SUFFERING. 227
had been " sueh a happy day ! " and as he was
assisted to the caiTiage many a hngering look
came back from the threshold, and waving his
hand with a parting kiss, he said, " I think I'll
come and spend the day with you every day^ mam-
ma ! it has been such a treat ! "
The pain which commenced that evening in-
creased in severity, and it was soon evident that
he had taken a violent cold. For a few days we
did not apprehend serious difficulty. He was able
to sit up for a while each day, and although suffer-
ing intensely at times, we all shared his cheerful
anticipation that he would " be all right in a few
THE VICTORY WON.
" A journey like Elijali's swift aiul brin^lit.
Caught gently ui)wanl to an early crown.
In heaven's own chariot of unblazing light,
With death untasted and the grave unknown.'
THE VICTORY WON.
" But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our
Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Cor. xv. 57.
The Scriptural lesson for the day, Tuesday the
tenth of January, was Howard's favorite chapter,
the 8th of Romans, and its lessons of joyful trust
were well fitted to cheer him as he was about to
cross the dark river.
Those glorious words, the assured confidence of
the Christian warrior, how meet to be the last his
eye should ever rest upon this side the valley.
" Nay, in all these things we are more than con-
querors through Him that loved us. For I am
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature, shall be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Words of light that he could welcome now that
Satan had long since departed, and the smile of
Jesus was filling his heart with quietness and
The inflammation of the wound had increased to
232 "MORE THAN CONQUEROR."
such a degree, that a slight surgical operation was
Hearing this, and that his mother was also seri-
ously ill, we came in haste, from New York, in the
same train with the surgeon.
A violent storm was raging. The wind moaned
drearily through the trees that shut in the house
from the road. The driving storm without gave a
deeper hush to his quiet curtained room.
Howard's face lighted up mth a glow of sur-
prise and pleasure, as he grasped my hand and
" How good you are to come out in such a storm !
I am afraid you will both be sick from such expo-
sure ! "
There was only time for a few questions. When
the preparations were completed, he said " Wait
a moment, Doctor ! " then drawing his sister close
down to him, he whispered, " If I should not live
through this, dearie, you know «<;Ao I have trusted."
Then repeating the farewell messages she had so
often before received, for the other loved ones, and
seeing the tears in her eyes, he said in his bright,
cheerful tone " but this is only in case I should
not live. You know the Doctor says there is no
danger. Now go, darling ! You cannot do me
any good, you know, and you will suffer more than
He drew her closer for a moment with a linger-
ing kiss, saying "It will all be over in a few min-
utes, darling, and we will have such a nice talk
THE VICTORY WON. 233
Chloroform was administered, and the operation
performed ahnost instantaneously. A shadow
passed over his face, then a cabn, bright smile.
Howard Elitching was " with the Lord,"
" The wistful, longing gaze
Of the passing soul —
" Grew only more rapt and joyful
As he clasped the Master's hand,
I think, or ever he was aware
They were come to the Holy Land.
" safe at home, where the dark tempter roam's not,
How have I envied thy far happier lot !
Abeady resting where the evil comes not,
The tear, the toil, the woe, the sin, forgot.
" safe in port, where the rough billow breaks not.
Where the wild sea-moan saddens thee no more ;
Where the remorseless stroke of tempest shakes not ;
When, when shall I too gain that tranquil shore ?
" bright, amid the brightness all eternal,
When shall I breathe with thee the purer air?
Air of a land whose clime is ever vernal,
A land without a serpent or a snare.
* Away, above the scenes of guilt and folly,
Beyond this desert's heat and dreariness,
Safe in the city of the ever-holy,
Let me make haste to join thy earlier bliss."
'f Another battle fought — and O, not lost —
Tells of the ending of this fight and thrall,
Another ridge of time's lone moorland crossed.
Gives nearer prospect of the jasper wall.
" Just gone within the veil, where I shall follow,
Not far before me, hardly out of sight —
I down beneath thee in this cloudy hollow.
And thou far up on yonder sunny height.
" Gone to begin a new and happier story,
Thy bitterer tale of earth now told and done ;
These outer shadows for that inner glory
Exchanged forever. O thrice blessed one !
" O freed from fetters of this lonesome prison.
How shall I greet thee on that day of days.
When He who died, yea rather who is risen.
Shall these frail frames from dust and darkness raise."
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OE A3IEEICA
To all who shall see these presents, Greeting.
Know ye that I do hereby confer on J. Howard
Etching, of the U. S. Vohinteers, in the ^;"'«« f *«
United States, by and with the consent of the Senate,
the rank of Brigadier-general, by Brevet m said ser-
It, to rank as °such fi^m the first day o August, m
Ih? year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty four; for meritorious and distinguished services
during th; campaign of this year, before Eichmond,
^ And'l do strictly charge and require all officers and
soldiers under his command, to obey and respect him
accord n.ly ; and he is to observe and follow such orders
and diectLs from time to time as he shall receive from
me, or the future President of the TJmted States of
America, and other officers set over him accordmg to
tw and 'the rules and discipline of war. This commis-
siou to continue in force during the pleasure of the
President of the United States for the time being.
Given under my hand, at the city of W-h-gto-,
this twentieth day of April in the year of om- Lord,
1: tLusand eighf hundred -d sixty-five - the -gh^^^
ninth year of the Independence of the United btates.
By the President,
Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.
Recorded, — vol. iv. page 20, Adjutant-general's of-
fice, April 20, 1865.
U. A. Nichols,
At a meeting of the officers of tlie Sixth Regiment,
New York Heavy Artillery, held at Camp Defences, of
Bermuda Hundred, Va., on Monday evening, January
16, 1865, the followins Preamble and Resolutions were
Whereas, Brevet Brigadier-general J. Howard Kitch-
ing. Colonel of the Sixth Regiment, New York Ar-
tillery, died on the 10th day of January, 1865, of
wounds received in the engagement of Cedar Creek,
Virginia, on the 19th day of October, 1864: There-
Resolved, That, recognizing the act of our Heavenly
Father, in thus removing from us our commanding of-
ficer, we bow submissively to his inscrutable will.
Resolved, That the character of General Kitching as
an officer and a gentleman, was such as commanded our
highest respect and esteem. His qualities as a soldier
and a leader, whether displayed in the quiet of camp or
in the storm of battle always secured the earnest con-
fidence of all. We feel that no one can supply his place
with us. He died for his country, but his memory will
ever live in our hearts as that of a good man, a true
soldier, and a gallant officer.
Resolved, That to the bereaved family of our de-
ceased commander we tender our sincere sympathy and
an earnest prayer that the God of the widow and the
fatherless may protect and comfort them.
Resolved, That as a further mark of our respect, the
officer's of the regiment wear the customary badge of
mourning for thirty days.
\ APPENDIX. * 239
Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the
New York " Herald," " Times," « Tribune," " Army &
Navy Journal," and Yonkers " Statesman," also that a
copy be engrossed, and transmitted to the family of the
Geo. C. Kibbe,
Major Sixth N. Y. Artillery,
Lieut. Sixth N. Y. H. A.,
H 12? 80 i
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