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Full text of "Under the guns : a woman's reminiscences of the civil war"

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UNDER THE GUNS 

A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

OF 

THE CIVIL WAR 



BY 

MRS. ANNIE WITTENMYER 

Author of " Woman's Work for Jesus," " A Jewelled Ministry," 

"History of the Temperance Crusade," "The Women of 

THE Reformation," an Historical Work, Etc. 



INTRODUCTION 

BY 

MRS. GENERAL U. S. GRANT 



BOSTON, MASS. 
E. B. STILLINGS & CO., PUBLISHERS 

55 SUDBURY STREET 
1895 



CIVIL WAR 

E 



Copyright, 

By Annie Wittenmyer, 

1895. 



TO THE 

ARMY NURSES OF OUR RECENT CIVIL WAR, 

WHO WALKED AS ANGELS OF MERCY ON MANY 

BATTLE-FIELDS, AND MINISTERED TO 

THE SICK, WOUNDED, AND DYING, IN LOATHSOME, 

OVER-CROWDED HOSPITALS; 

AND TO THE 

NOBLE WOMEN OF IOWA 

WHO SO GENEROUSLY SUSTAINED ME IN MY ARMY WORK J 
AND TO THE 

PATRIOTIC WOMEN OF AMERICA 

who sent their husbands, brothers, and sons to 

the defence of their country with a 

devotion and courage 

equal to that of any grecian mother or roman matron, 

this volume 

is respectfully dedicated by the 

Author. 



PREFACE. 



IN preparing this little volume for publication, 
no attempt whatever has been made to re- 
cord, as facts of history, the military movements 
of the army during our recent Civil War. The 
great captains, who led the Union forces through 
the terrible conflict from Fort Sumter to Appo- 
mattox, have already covered, to a large extent, 
the military history of the war. 

My purpose has been simply to bring out in 
connection with these great military events, with 
which they were so intimately connected, a few 
of the many incidents and heart histories that 
were crowded into my own life, from April 20, 
1861, to Nov. 23, 1865. 

The stories and reminiscences in this book are 
true to life, every one of them. They are told 
just as they occurred, without any attempt at 
literary embellishment ; and most of them can 
be substantiated by living witnesses. 

Camps and hospitals were established near my 



PREFACE. 

own home in Keokuk, Iowa, early in April, 1861. 
I began at once my ministrations to the sick 
in these newly established hospitals, and, during 
my daily visits, closed the eyes of the first Iowa 
soldier who died in the war. From that time on 
till the close of the war I was actively engaged 
all along the lines. 

I was loyally and generously sustained by the 
women of Iowa ; was elected by the Iowa Legis- 
lature sanitary agent of the State ; was commis- 
sioned by Iowa's grand old war governor, Samuel 
J. Kirkwood ; was furnished by Secretary Stan- 
ton with a pass to all parts of the field, and gov- 
ernment transportation for myself and supplies. 
This ofificial order of Mr. Stanton's was supple- 
mented by the following charge : — 

"It is especially enjoined upon all officers to furnish this 
lady every facility in carrying out her generous purposes, it 
being shown that she is worthy of great respect." 

I had also the co-operation of the Sanitary and 
Christian Commissions, and the chief medical offi- 
cers and government ofiicials, so that I had un- 
usual facilities for doing good. 

I was greatly indebted to General and Mrs. 
Grant for sympathy and aid. When Mrs. Grant 
was at her husband's headquarters the place was 
a haven of rest for me, and a welcome always 



PREFACE. 

awaited me. Indeed, Mrs. Grant would have 
joined me in the work, but her husband was 
afraid her strength and sympathies would be 
overtaxed. During these brief visits I learned 
to appreciate the unselfishness and noble quali- 
ties of General Grant, and the strength and pu- 
rity of his character ; and the loveliness and 
sterling worth of Mrs. Grant, and her wifely 
devotion. 

I was also under great obligations to General 
John A. Logan, who was ever ready to aid me. 
When it was almost impossible to get from 
Bridgeport to Chattanooga, he sent me up in a 
little steamer which he loaded with' my supplies. 
Later, I met Mr. Orson, the president of the 
United Telegraph Association ; and General Lo- 
gan introduced me with such kindly appreciative 
words, that without a hint from either of us, he 
filled out an order allowing me ''to telegraph 
free to the end of the war." I still have that 
little order in my possession. 

It is due our brave soldiers that I should say 
that I felt as safe in their midst as I would have 
done in my own home, even though at times I 
was the only woman in the midst of an army of 
twenty thousand fighting men, as was the case 
at Milliken's Bend, after the repulse of General 
Sherman at Haines' Bluff. 



PREFACE. 

Not one impertinent or rude word was ever 
spoken to me in all those years. No purer or 
grander army ever marched to the music of fife 
and drum than the army that stood for the de- 
fence of our flag and the unity of our government 
from 1861 to 1865. 

A woman could walk in their midst in white, 
and a little child would have been as safe as in its 
mother's arms. 

As I was all along the lines from Vicksburg to 
Petersburg, and was on some of the bloodiest bat- 
tle-fields, and as I followed Sherman's army along 
the fiery lines from Chattanooga to Atlanta, I 
necessarily had to pass through many perils, and 
witness many exciting scenes. A few of these 
stories I have now thought best to publish. 

For more than twenty years my friends have 
urged their publication ; but I shrank from the 
task, because of their personal character. 

In giving these simple, true stories to the pub- 
lic, I shall hope that the same earnest, charita- 
ble spirit will be exercised by my readers as 
I manifested toward the sick and wounded dur- 
ing my army work. 

ANNIE WITTENMYER. 

Sanatoga, Pa., Dec, 3, 1894. 



INTRODUCTION. 



THE author of this most interesting and his- 
toric volume, Mrs. Annie Wittenmyer, I 
very often met whilst on my frequent visits to 
the headquarters of my husband, General Ulysses 
S. Grant. 

She there on her mission of mercy as she 
came to the front with supplies for the sick and 
wounded ; I there simply to give the general a 
glimpse of his dear ones (some of the children 
being always with me). And I would gladly 
have joined Mrs. Wittenmyer in all her works 
of devotion ; but the general forbade it, saying, 
when I returned from the hospitals ladened with 
petitions and heart-breaking stories, "Julia, cease, 
cease ; I cannot listen ; I hear this all day, every 
day, and I must have some rest from all this sor- 
row and misery. If you insist on going again to 
the hospitals, I will have to send you home." 

Mrs. Wittenmyer was ever deeply interested 
in her efforts to relieve suffering ; ever appeal- 



IN TROD UC T/ON'. 

ing: for the discharo:e of the brave men who were 
made helpless by their wounds ; ever braving dan- 
gers and enduring hardships in the performance 
of her self-assumed, patriotic heart duties. 

I used to look upon this brave, heroic woman 
with profound respect and admiration, which, if it 
were possible, has grown the greater in the thirty 
years that have passed since then. 



JULIA DENT GRANT. 



2108 R Street, Washington, D.C, 
A'oz'. 27, 1894. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

A Boy sent by Express, C. O. D 5 

A But'ful Guv'ment Mule 226 

A Fighting Editor 86 

A Painful Accident 128 

A Perilous Ride 1 1 

A Rich Reward for Services — Saving the Life of a Brother, 72 

A Terrible Storm at Chattanooga 51 

A Visit from General Grant and General McPherson . . . 174 

A Visit to Parson Brownlow 68 

A Visit to Captain Walke's Gunboat 190 

A Woman wounded in Battle 17 

A Young Nurse at Gettysburg 224 

Army Life at Helena, Arkansas 48 

Army Tricks 41 

Blowing up of Fort Hill 102 

Braving Dangers 21 

Bursting of a Shell behind my Carriage 13 1 

Could you get me a Raw Onion and some Salt ? . . . . 230 

Exhibitions of Mother-love 142 

Fred D. Grant — The Brave Orderly at Vicksburg .... 204 

General Grant's Kindness 43 

Getting Two Thousand Sick and Wounded out of Helena . 106 

Hardships of Camp-life at Vicksburg 125 

Healed Soul and Body 152 

He died cheering the Flag 237 

Hospital Abuses — Putting Logwood in the Coffee . . . 193 

How I got the Cotton 244 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

How Mother Bickerdyke cut Red Tape 82 

How Pres. Lincoln received the News of Sheridan's Victory . 239 

I have the Best Mother in the World 160 

I have the Comforter 98 

Johnnie Clem 36 

Liberty Hicks iSi 

Meeting a Rebel Woman at Nashville 134 

Memorial Day 272 

Men who commanded Themselves and did not swear . . . 232 

My First Interview with General Grant I 

Not Time to send for the Colonel 66 

Reminiscences of General Grant 202 

Running the Blockade at Vicksburg 92 

Saved by a Bird 78 

Saved by Lemonade 62 

Saving the Life of Young Pike 170 

Searching for the Dead 164 

Secretary Stanton's Generous Gift 251 

Sharing Poor Quarters with Dorothy L. Dix 120 

The American Republic — its Glories and its Dangers . . 268 

The Clock at Vicksburg 115 

The First Soldiers wounded in the Civil War 89 

The Hospitals of Vicksburg at the Time of the Surrender . 186 

The Hospital at Point of Rocks, Va 209 

The New York Herald Reporter who lived for Two Worlds. 156 

The Sad Fate of Jennie Wade 206 

The Sequel to *' Uncle Tom's Cabin " 247 

The Special-diet Kitchen Work 259 

The Surrender of Vicksburg 147 

The Sweet Singer of the Hospitals 217 

The Wonderful Potato-patch 58 

Trading Tobacco for Coffee 183 

Two Dreadful Days on the Battlefield. Shiloh .... 28 

Very Timely Arrest 166 

Visiting Hospitals under the Guns 138 

We honor Our Grand Old Heroes 4 



A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE CIVIL WAR 



UNDER THE GUNS. 



MY FIRST INTERVIEW WITH 
GENERAL GRANT. 



A LARGE army had been thrown in and about 
Cairo, 111., and General S. R. Curtis of Iowa 
gave me a letter and a pass to go down and visit 
the hospitals there. General Grant was in com- 
mand, with headquarters at Cairo. Fortunately 
for me, I had friends at that point. The great 
hospitals were at Mound City, six miles above. I 
missed the boat that plied between the two places 
at irregular hours, and my friends proposed that 
we call upon General Grant. We found the mod- 
est, quiet, uncrowned hero busy at his desk, with 
his staff and orderlies about him. I was painfully 
conscious that I had no business of sufficient im- 
portance to warrant such an intrusion upon the 
man who stood between us and the army threat- 
ening that city that hour. I had not thought 
of that before coming. But I felt very grateful 

I 



2 ^1 WOMAN'S KEM/iVISCENCES 

to my friend, who came at once to my aid, by 
explaining that I had come down from St. Louis 
to visit the hospitals, and was the bearer of a 
letter and pass from General Curtis, and that I 
also had a pass from General Fremont, and had 
merely called to pay my respects. 

We fell at once into pleasant conversation, and 
I found that the General was personally ac- 
quainted with friends and relatives of my own. 

'* I will send you up to Mound City," he said. 

*' Oh, don't trouble yourself. I can go up to- 
morrow," I urged. 

But he was writing an order, and soon de- 
spatched an orderly with it to Captain somebody. 
Immediately my pride took alarm. What if he 
should send me to Mound City on one of those 
screaming, whistling little tug-boats } 

" Have you met my medical director } " he 
asked. 

"No, I have not met him," I was forced to 
answer. 

'* I will send him up with you," and an orderly 
was despatched to command his presence. Di- 
rectly the boat was reported as ready ; and the 
General himself accompanied me to the boat 
— the City of McnipJiis — the largest and finest 
steamer on the Mississippi River. 

The General simply said, " Take this lady to 
Mound City, and remain till she is ready to return. 
Wait for the Medical Director, and till I leave the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 3 

boat." So I was for a little space of time the 
commander of the biggest steamer on the Mis- 
sissippi River. As I walked the length of that 
great boat, so rich and gaudy in tinsel and cur- 
tains and furniture, the patriotic blood coursed 
hotly through my veins. Why this extravagance? 
Why this pomp and display.? And when the 
medical director, who was supposed to be in 
charge of all of the sick and dying in that great 
army, came in full military dress, with gloves and 
sash and sword and spurs, my heart sank down 
to zero. But I was not long in reaching the 
truth, and changing my mind. A dozen boats or 
more had just been impressed into the United 
States service, and lay there at the wharf with 
steam up. They had not yet been dismantled ; 
and it was the kindly, proper thing to do to 
send me to Mound City, and it was military 
etiquette for the medical director to dress as 
he did. I was afterwards on the same boat 
many times ; once after Sherman's defeat at 
Yazoo, when there were seven hundred and fifty 
wounded and sick soldiers on board. General 
Grant was just gathering these boats, and these 
forces, that he might move on Fort Donelson. 



A WO MAX'S REMINISCENCES 



WE HONOR OUR GRAND OLD HEROES. 



BY ANNIE WITTENMEYl 



We honor our grand old heroes 

Who stood in the thick of the fight, 

Where deadly missiles were flying, 
And valiantly fought for the right. 

They stood with God in the conflict. 
They fought on God's side in the fray; 

The Lord and his angels helped them, 
And Freedom and Right won the day. 

Sacred to Freedom forever 

Is the soil where they fought and bled ; 
No bondsman shall wear a shackle, 

No tyrant shall lift up his head. 

Above the flags of all nations 

Our beautiful banner floats high; 

Its stars like the stars of heaven. 
And its blue as blue as the sky. 

Long may it wave in its beauty. 
The symbol of Freedom and Right; 

Not a star be lost from its azure, 
Not a blot stain its spotless white ! 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 



A BOY SENT BY EXPRESS, C. O. D. 



IN the winter of 1862, just before General Grant 
moved upon Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, 
I went out to Sedalia, Mo., with a heavy lot of 
supplies. 

, Sedalia is 188 miles south-west of St. Louis, and 
was an important military station at that time. 

The people in that section were very disloyal 
and belligerent. 

The train on which I journeyed was fired into 
three times the day I made the journey, by "bush- 
whackers," men who carried on an irregular war- 
fare. 

The train was well guarded. There were at 
least fifty well-armed Union soldiers on board to 
guard it, who took turns on the platform, ready 
to spring off, gun in hand, if the train were at- 
tacked. But when a volley was fired into the 
train, before the engineer could stop it, and the 
soldiers could get started in pursuit, the enemy 
had mounted their horses, and were far away. 
When the second volley crashed into the train, 
a bullet passed through the window beside me, 



6 A JVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

and whizzed very near to my eyes. If it had 
come a little closer, it would have gone through 
both of them. Fortunately I had just leaned 
back against the seat ; for if I had been sitting in 
an upright position, as I was a few moments 
before, the ball would have gone through my head. 

A mother and her little girl, who was five or 
six years old, sat in the seat in front of me. The 
poor little child was so terrified that she tried to 
hide under the seat. Her appeals, as she lifted 
her beautiful tear-stained face, were very touching. 

" Do you think they'll fire again, mamma .^ " 

*' I hope not, my darling," and the mother would 
tenderly cover her with the skirts of her dress, 
and try to soothe her. 

*' O mamma! do get down on the floor; if you 
don't, you might get killed." 

It was pitiful to see a child in such terror, 
crouching on the floor. 

We did not reach Sedalia till midnight, and it 
was not till the train drew up at the station that 
the child could be comforted. 

The next morning early I went into the nearest 
hospital. The building was an old, dilapidated 
frame structure, that had been used as a store. 
Scores of wounded and sick men were crowded 
into these poor narrow quarters. 

But it is not my purpose just now to speak of 
them, or of the hospital management, but of a 
child I found there. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 7 

He was lying on a cot in a little back room. 
They called him '' Willie." He said he was " goin' 
on eight ; " but if he was that old, he was very 
small of his age. His face was wondrous fair 
and beautiful, and his hair hung in golden ringlets 
about his head. He had been very ill, and was 
still too weak to leave his bed. But he was 
bright and happy, and a great favorite with the 
men, who, lying on their beds, whittled toys for 
Willie with their pocket-knives out of anything 
they could utilize for that purpose, such as sticks 
and bones. 

I took a great deal of pains to ascertain the 
facts about the boy. He was a fatherless, mother- 
less child, who had followed the soldiers when 
they marched away from the town where he was 
temporarily staying. No one cared, and no one 
followed to bring him back, and so he went on 
with them. 

The simple story, as he told it, seemed to be 
sustained by the facts I afterwards gathered. 

*' I wanted to go to the war," he said ; " I had 
no mother, and I did not want to stay at that 
place. I did not like the people, so when the 
soldiers went to the war I went too. Some of 
the men said, that first day, ' Little boy, you had 
better run back home ; ' but I told them I had no 
home, that my mother was dead, and that I was 
not going back ; that I was going to the war, so 
they put me in a wagon to ride. At night I had 



8 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

no place to sleep ; but a man who said he had a 
little boy at home, about as big as me, said I could 
sleep with him, and he hugged me up under his 
blanket. 

" Then after that I had a place in a wagon, 
the colonel said I might. Sometimes I rode 
on the horses behind the big officers. But they 
wouldn't let me go to fight ; they made me stay 
back in the wagon. I didn't like that ; I wanted 
to go to the fights." 

A few days after I found Willie I was in the 
hospital, when a gentleman came in seeking some 
one. He was from Ohio, He happened to see 
Willie, and was wonderfully attracted to the child, 
and Willie seemed to take a great fancy to the 
gentleman. He came daily to see Willie during 
his stay in Sedalia. ''This child," he said to me 
one day, with tears in his eyes, "looks so much 
like my own boy, my only child, who died a few 
months ago, that I want to adopt him if my wife 
will consent. But her heart is so nearly broken 
by grief, that she may shrink from the plan." 

I told him that I, too, had taken a great fancy 
to the boy, and had determined that he should 
have a good home, and that through my friend. 
General Curtis, who commanded at St, Louis, I 
should hold the boy till the best of references were 
furnished. To this he made no objections ; and as 
soon as he reached St. Louis he sent the very 
best indorsements, furnishing the most ample 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 9 

evidence that he was in every way worthy of such 
a charge, as he was a wealthy Christian gentle- 
man. Dr. Irwin, Acting Medical Director, readily 
concurred ; and it was agreed that if, when the boy 
was able to travel, they wanted him, he should be 
sent. 

Soon after he reached home, a telegram came : 
''All right — send Willie by express, C. O. D." 
(collect on delivery). When the contents of the 
telegram became known, there was great excite- 
ment among the patients. How could they part 
with Willie } And yet as he was to have a good 
home they rejoiced with Willie, who was delighted 
with the news that he was to go. 

As soon as he was able to travel, we prepared 
him for the journey. His name and address, and 
name and address of the gentleman to whom we 
were sending him, were written with ink on 
white muslin, and sewed to his coat and jacket, 
and on the shawl we wrapped about him, and on 
the blanket we bundled him up in. 

A stalwart expressman came for him, and, after 
giving a regular receipt for him, took him up in 
his arms to carry him away. Dr. Irwin and the 
surgeons of the hospital, and even the nurses and 
cooks, all came to bid Willie good-by. His fare- 
wells were very touching. 

When he was carried from his little room out 
into the main ward, a few golden curls lay out on 
the folds of the coarse gray blanket, and his 



lO A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

laughing eyes turned kindly from one to another, 
as they called to him : '* Good-by, Willie ! " " Be 
a good boy, Willie." ** Don't forget me, Willie." 

As we were about to pass through the last 
door-way, Willie, who had said *' good-by " to each 
one as they greeted him, called out at the top of 
his voice, " Goad-by^ everybody.'' There was a 
chorus of good-bys in response ; but an Irishman 
by the door was heard above them all, as he 
said : — 

" Good luck to ye now ! and may ye live a hun- 
dred years, and get into heaven afore the Divil 
has a chance at ye." 

We accompanied him to the train, the surgeons 
and myself, and saw him safely aboard with his 
luncheon ; and we stood there together in silence 
as the train pulled out, for a vacancy was felt in 
every heart. 

A telegram was received a few days later, telling 
us that Willie had arrived safely. 

A great deal was crowded into the next few 
months. Battle after battle followed. Fort 
Henry and Fort Donelson had fallen, Nashville 
had surrendered, the bloody struggle at Pittsburg 
Landing had taken place, and the Union forces 
had taken possession of Corinth, Miss. ; but Willie 
was not forgotten. 

The gentleman adopted him as his own child, 
and his wife was greatly comforted by the pres- 
ence and love of little Willie. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. II 



A PERILOUS RIDE. 



IN digging the ship canal across the point op- 
posite Vicksburg, hundreds of men were killed 
or wounded in the great trench. By long practice 
the gunners on the bluffs of Vicksburg acquired 
the ability to drop a shell into the great ditch, 
causing terrible slaughter. The heavy guns of 
the Union forces answered the enemy's batteries, 
but failed to silence them. ''Whistling Dick," 
as we all soon learned to call one great cannon 
used by the enemy, kept the music going night 
and day. The loud, clear, musical whistle which 
accompanied every discharge won for that gun 
the attention of all. " Whistling Dick " was a 
gun of long range, and was effective in execution, 
especially along the canal. But one day, after a 
loud, sharp whistle, there was an explosion, and 
"Whistling Dick" was heard no more. The work 
of death went on, however ; for there were other 
effective guns, and the most determined resist- 
ance to the project of the Union troops was 
shown. 

The wounded soldiers were taken to a hospital 



12 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

hastily improvised at a point just opposite Vicks- 
burg, where, ahhoiigh more than a mile nearer 
the enemy, with only the Mississippi River be- 
tween them, they were nevertheless comparatively 
safe, being protected by a high embankment. I 
had been sending supplies to this little hos- 
pital with lavish hand. It seemed dreadful that 
wounded men should lie there night and day 
under the guns of two armies, the battle always 
on, the shriek and thunder of shell and shot over 
them, and all around them, and shaking the very 
earth on which they lay. Weary, homesick, and 
suffering, they were isolated from the army and 
from all other companionship, except that of the 
surgeon and his force of detailed soldiers. But 
this surgeon (I have forgotten his name, or I 
would mention it with the highest respect) was a 
thoughtful and kind-hearted man, who desired the 
best for his men and heartily sympathized with 
them. One day he came into my quarters on the 
Sanitary boat with radiant face. He had thought 
of something which would please his *' boys," and 
that was that I should visit them. At first the 
thing seemed impossible. The distance was many 
miles. I could not go in an ambulance, or on 
foot, and the dangers of the journey were appall- 
ing. But he had thought of all that, and ex- 
plained the whole scheme. He could get a good, 
safe horse, and I could ride on a cavalry sad- 
dle ; and although there was some water in the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 3 

canal, and the banks were steep, the crossing was 
entirely safe, and there were places where the 
horse could climb. 

I could not refuse to go to the men who had 
faced the cannon, and gone down wounded and 
helpless to the gates of death for my country 
and my flag. General Cyrus Bussey, who was 
afterwards the Assistant-Secretary of the Depart- 
ment of the Interior, and his plucky, lovely little 
wife, who is now among the glorified in heaven, 
volunteered to accompany me. Mrs. Bussey had 
her own horse and a side-saddle. I had a great 
raw-boned animal, which looked as though he had 
been in several wars, with a good new cavalry 
saddle, which some officer had kindly lent for the 
occasion. "This horse is good and safe," the sur- 
geon explained, by way of apology ; " they say he 
wouldn't shy or jump if a shell burst just before 
him." 

The guns of two armies were screaming over 
us when we reached the point which our guide 
designated as ''the safe place to cross the canal." 
He did not know that some of the barriers at the 
mouth of the canal had given way, and that the 
water in the canal was several feet deeper than 
when he had crossed that morning. The tide was 
swift and turbulent ; but the surgeon said cheer- 
fully, ''It's perfectly safe ; just follow me." The 
next moment his horse went down into the muddy, 
swirling flood, and, struggling heroically, swam to 
the opposite shore. 



14 A I VO MAN'S REMINISCENCES 

The surgeon called back to us that he had 
missed the crossing, and designated a point a 
little higher up, which, as he said, "was perfectly 
safe." I had misgivings, but, settling myself well 
in the saddle, gave the horse loose rein. He 
marched bravely in, and went down into the flood 
with a plunge. General Bussey, fearing I would 
be drowned, spurred his horse in after me, and 
the two brave animals struggled together until we 
reached the opposite shore. Thanks to my Ken- 
tucky training, I kept the saddle, and the only 
damage done was a good drenching. 

As General Bussey expressed a wish that Mrs. 
Bussey should not attempt to cross, she remained 
at a cabin near by, which was somewhat pro- 
tected, till we returned. 

Reaching the embankment opposite Vicksburg 
we scattered, the surgeon taking the lead. I fol- 
lowed about fifty yards behind him, and General 
Bussey about fifty yards behind me. The road 
was fair, and we flew over that stretch at a full gal- 
lop. My shaggy, raw-boned steed made good time. 
It was a wild ride. We were surrounded by bat- 
teries. The mortar boats of the Union army, 
placed as near to Vicksburg as possible, were 
sending their uncertain shells thundering over our 
heads into the doomed city with deafening fury. 
The heavy guns along the heights of Vicksburg 
were answering the long line of batteries and 
heavy mounted guns on our side of the river ; 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 5 

and only the river lay between us and the ene- 
mies' works. Shot and shell screamed over us. 
Sometimes it seemed as if the sky was torn to 
pieces above us ; but my horse did not flinch. 
On and on we went, in a full gallop. If a gun was 
levelled at us that day from any of the near bat- 
teries, we were not in range when the shot came 
over, and so we reached the hospital in safety. 

What shall I say of this hospital } What can I 
say of these wounded, suffering men } Language 
is inadequate to describe their condition. Long- 
ing for home and mother, for human sympathy, 
their moans were answered only by the guns. 
They longed for quiet and sleep, but the guns of 
two armies were thundering night and day over 
their heads. How could flesh and blood, brain 
and nerve, endure it } My garments were still 
dripping, but I went from cot to cot to speak the 
words of cheer. The men tried to express their 
thanks for my coming in a befitting manner ; but 
their '* God bless you for coming ! " was choked 
with tears. As I saw those brave men lying 
there weak and helpless, and every nerve racked 
with the thunders of battle, I could not beat back 
my own tears. Indeed, as I live it all over again, 
and write of it, the tears will come again, although 
more than thirty years have rolled by since that 
time. I sobbed out as best I could: ''God bless 
you, boys ; keep good courage. I will get you out 
of this if it is possible." 



1 6 A irOMAX'S REM/X/SCEATES 

The return trip was safely made. Again we 
swam the canal ; Mrs. Bussey joined us, and we 
returned to camp. The next morning I called on 
General Grant, and reported the condition of these 
wounded men. General Grant was most thought- 
ful and careful of his sick and wounded. He took 
in the situation at once. Calling Rawlins, he 
said, " Those wounded men must be moved from 
the Point right away. Send an order to the 
medical director to that effect." And that night, 
under the cover of the darkness, they were re- 
moved to hospitals at Milliken's Bend, twenty-five 
miles away from the belching batteries. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 7 



A WOMAN WOUNDED IN BATTLE, 



A WOMAN who had served as a private soldier 
in the ranks was severely wounded and taken 
prisoner at Chickamauga. She fell in a charge 
made upon the Confederates ; and as the troops 
immediately fell back she was left with the other 
wounded on the field, in the enemy's lines. As 
she was dressed as the other soldiers were, her 
sex was not discovered till she was under a sur- 
geon's care in the hospital. She was wounded in 
the thigh. No bones were broken ; but it was a 
deep, ugly flesh wound, as if torn by a fragment 
of a shell. 

A day or two afterwards she was sent with a 
flag of truce into the Union lines. 

The sum and substance of the official message 
sent with this woman was : ''As the Confederates 
do not use women in war, this woman, wounded in 
battle, is returned to you." There was great in- 
dignation in the regiment to which this woman 
belonged ; and officers and men hastened to pro- 
test, that, although she had been with them for 
more than a year, not one in the regiment suspi- 



1 8 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

cioncd that she was a woman. Slic stood the long, 
hard marches, did full duty on the picket-line and 
in camp, and had fought well in all the battles in 
which the regiment took part. She was in the 
hospital at Chattanooga for some time, where I 
first met her. When she was able to bear the 
transportation, she was removed to a hospital at 
Nashville. I met her there again and again, and 
tried to ascertain why she had enlisted. 

" Had you a husband in the regiment .^ " I 
questioned. 

"No." 

** A lover or fr4end .'' " 

" No, I didn't know any of them." 

''Well, why did you enlist } " 

"I thought I'd like camp-life, and I did." 

''You did your full share of the hard work, I am 
told, marching, going on picket duty, and chop- 
ping wood } " 

"Yes ; I was put on detail just like the others, 
and I never made any excuse. I was awfully 
afraid they would find me out, and then I'd have 
to go." 

" But they did not find you out } " 

" No ; not till I was wounded. The most I care 
about now is that they won't let me go back." 

"Where did you come from } and what is your 
real name } " 

"I don't want to tell, and I sha'n't tell, either." 

When she was able to sit up the question of 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 9 

clothing became an important one. The surgeon 
said, " She must have women's clothes to put on." 
We women from the North, by gift and by pur- 
chase, provided the necessary outfit for a woman's 
wardrobe. To raise some funds for her we had 
her photograph taken, first in the uniform of a 
private soldier, and then dressed as a woman. 
She sold them to soldiers and visitors for twenty- 
five cents each, and raised considerable money. I 
have the two I purchased, which I have treasured 
in my war album all these years. She was stout 
and muscular, with heavy features, high cheek 
bones, and her black abundant hair was cut very 
close. She was perhaps twenty-six or twenty- 
eight years old, but when in her military rig 
looked like a beardless boy. 

The time came at last when she must be dis- 
missed from the hospital ; and I was commissioned 
by the officers to find out all I could about her, 
and where she lived, as she had been more friendly 
to me than to the others. The interview was a 
long one. I can give only the main points. "The 
time has come," I said, ''when you must be sent 
out of the hospital. Where do you wish to go t " 

" I'll stay in Nashville," she answered. 

" But you can't stay in Nashville. This city is 
within the military lines, and no one can come in, 
stay here, or go out of this town, without a pass. 
You have come into these lines in disguise as a 
soldier, but you are now known. So if you will 



20 A irOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

not f^o willingly, you will be sent out in charge of 
a provost marshal. That is, you will be taken 
under arrest by the government officers to Louis- 
ville, and left there. Then what will you do } 
You are not strong enough to do hard work, and I 
doubt if you could get any work there to do." 

" I'm awfully sorry I can't go back into the 
army." 

" You certainly cannot, the case is too well 
known ; and recruiting officers have been warned, 
and will be on the lookout hereafter. If you will 
give your name and place of residence, the govern- 
ment will send you home, and the trip will not 
cost you anything." 

** If I tell you my name, and the place I wish to 
go to, will you keep it a secret } 

" I will be obliged to tell the officers." 

" Will you ask them not to publish it } " 

" I certainly will ; and I will never tell it to any 
one, except the officers from whom I will get the 
order for pass and transportation." 

" I will trust you," she said; and she whispered 
her name and residence. Two days after that she 
was on her way to her home in the Northwest. 

I never knew what became of her. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 21 



BRAVING DANGERS. 



IN December, 1862, General W. T. Sherman 
gathered his forces at the landing at Helena, 
Ark., and on the 21st of the month the great fleet, 
with flags flying, moved down the Mississippi 
River. A very strict order had been issued by 
him against any citizen or reporter accompanying 
the expedition ; and severe penalties were threat- 
ened in case the order should be disobeyed. 

It was well known that the movement was 
against Vicksburg, but the bravest reporter feared 
to defy that order. 

As some time passed without news of Sher- 
man's army, the Blue Wing was sent down with 
communications, but she was captured by the 
Confederates. The government finally decided 
to send down two gunboats and the White Cloud, 
a wooden steamer. I at once asked the privilege 
of loading the White Cloud with sanitary sup- 
plies. Mr. Plattenburg, agent of the Sanitary 
Commission, who was also at Helena, had a heavy 
lot of supplies. 

As I had a pass for myself and all goods, from 



22 A WOMAN'S REM/N/SCEXCES 

the Secretary of War, I had no trouble in se- 
curing a passage on the White Cloud. I do not 
recall as to how Mr. Plattenburg secured the 
privilege of going with the little expedition ; I 
only know that he went, and that the boat was 
loaded with our supplies. 

Thousands of soldiers were about the landing 
when our little fleet moved out with banners 
flying. We all knew that untold dangers were 
before us. And our heroism created the great- 
est enthusiasm. When the WJiitc Cloud moved 
out into the channel and turned her prow down 
stream, I stepped out "on the guards" to take a 
last look at Helena. My appearance was greeted 
with such an outburst of applause from the thou- 
sands on the wharf that I fled to the cabin, after 
waving my handkerchief in acknowledgment of 
the salute. 

We were fired into frequently from the banks. 
Whenever we reached a point of especial danger 
the W J lite Cloud zvas sent eight or ten miles in ad- 
vance so as to drazu the eiieniy s fire, and thus un- 
cover his batteries ; for it was not likely that if 
the gunboats were in sight we would be attacked. 
Every moment, night and day, we were in ex- 
pectation of shot or shell from some concealed 
battery from the shore. But they had been fore- 
warned that the gunboats were coming, and so 
did not attempt to capture the WJiite Cloud. The 
sharp-shooters on the shore fired into us again 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 23 

and again. No one was killed ; but sleep and rest 
were impossible, and there were many narrow 
escapes. We reached Milliken's Bend one morn- 
ing about daylight, to find General Sherman's 
army quartered there. 

There was a great fleet of boats, and the sick 
and wounded were on them. A tugboat was 
detailed to me ; and I went with my supplies from 
boat to boat, distributing such comforts and deli- 
cacies as I had, to the men who had been wounded 
in the fight near Vicksburg. It was decided by 
the medical authorities to send a steamer up the 
river with a load of the wounded at once. The 
City of MenipJiis, the largest steamer on the Mis- 
sissippi River, was selected for this purpose. A 
regiment and a battery were removed from the 
boat, and she was put in order ; that is, the filth 
was shovelled overboard. 

I was told by a chaplain at the time that there 
were so many of our men dying that the firing 
of salutes over their graves was ordered discon- 
tinued. The constant noise of 'funerals was de- 
moralizing. During the afternoon the boat was 
loaded up with the worst patients on the several 
boats. They were placed in the berths, and under 
the berths, and on the floor, and out upon the 
guards. Wherever there was a place where a 
fever-stricken, or a torn and broken body could 
be laid, it was occupied. About seven hundred 
and fifty were put on board. 



24 A IVOMAN'S REM/uV/SCKA'CES 

The sun was sinkini;- behind the long, low line of 
cypress trees, festooned with their trailing mosses, 
when our boat turned her prow up the Mississippi 
River. 

Long rows of men lay on the floor with their 
knapsacks for their pillows. Among them was a 
Missouri soldier, severely wounded and delirious, 
who all the night long called piteously for his 
sister. 

His cry, "O sister!" was so plaintive and 
pathetic that I would go to him every little while 
and ask, 

'' What do you want ? " 

*' I am glad you have come — I want a drink of 
water." 

When the water was given he would remain 
quiet for a little time. The next morning, as soon 
as it was light, he was taken to the amputating- 
table, and one of his limbs sawed off above the 
knee. He sank very low under the operation — 
so low that no attempt was made to remove him 
from the table. The surgeon in charge said to me, 
" Get him to take some food or drink if you can ; 
he is sinking very fast." I offered him every 
delicacy in my possession, but he turned away in 
disgust. There had been some of my supplies 
transferred to this boat. While working with the 
men on the lower deck, and helping dress their 
wounds, I found a barrel of sauer-kraut. I allowed 
the attendants to open it ; but afterwards, as I 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 25 

came up to the upper cabin, I called the surgeon's 
attention to it, so as not to be blamed in the 
matter if the results were bad. 

It happened that I met him near the amputating- 
table. As I passed the patient I turned to give 
him a sympathetic look. He beckoned to me, and 
I hastened to him. " I want some kraut," he said. 

I stepped over to where the surgeon was minis- 
tering to a man, and questioned as to whether it 
was best to grant his request. '' Give him any- 
thing he wants — he can't live anyway," was his 
answer. I sent an attendant down to get the 
kraut ; and he brought up a big tin cup full, and 
placed it on his breast and went his way. 

Shortly afterwards, passing that way, I noticed 
him, feebly, ravenously trailing the kraut to his 
mouth ; and I never saw any one eat as much kraut 
as he did in my life. He never stopped till he 
emptied the cup. No one attempted to hinder 
him, as it was expected he would die soon. From 
that hour he began to mend, and by the time we 
reached St. Louis his case was considered hopeful. 

Months afterwards, as I was passing through 
one of the St. Louis hospitals, I heard the tJmd, 
thud, of crutches coming after me. I turned to see 
who was following me ; and a merry voice greeted 
me, *' Here's your sauer-kraut man ! Here's your 
sauer-kraut man ! " And there, sure enough, was 
my Missouri soldier, able to get around lively on 
crutches, and as blithe and merry as though he 



26 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

had never felt the keen edge of the surgeon's 
knife. 

The dangers and hardships of that trip can 
never be forgotten. There were many touching 
incidents. If this little story falls under the eyes 
of that Missouri soldier, I would like to hear from 
him. 

He told me, that day that I last met him, his 
story, which was full of the pathos of home love 
and tender sacrifices. He was the youngest of 
his father's family ; and they did not want to spare 
him to the country, though they were loyal to the 
Stars and Stripes. But the lawless bands of 
marauders, who were significantly called " Bush- 
whackers," were prowling over the State of Mis- 
souri, and his life was unsafe. He did not 
venture to sleep in a house for months before he 
left his home, and at last sleeping in the bushes be- 
came dangerous. Several times, as he was asleep 
out in the undergrowth, he narrowly escaped the 
bushwhackers, who were seeking him. I never 
saw him again, but hope he got back to his own 
home safely. 

During the trip up to Cairo twenty died, one 
with lockjaw. It was pitiful to see a great stal- 
wart man deprived of the power of speech, starv- 
ing to death. Not one particle of food could pass 
between his closely-set teeth. His mind was 
clear, and daily he wrote out his requests in re- 
gard to his friends and other matters. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1J 

Never was ocean traveller gladder to see the 
headlands of his own native country than were we 
to see Cairo. A company of ladies came on board, 
fresh nurses and surgeons were obtained, also 
comforts for the wounded in the shape of cots, 
mattresses, etc. Many of the patients were re- 
moved from the overcrowded boat into comfort- 
able hospitals at Cairo, thus relieving all parties. 
As soon as the boat landed, I went to the house 
of a friend ; and as I had not had one hour of 
unbroken sleep for about ten days, I redeemed 
the time by taking a nap thirty-six hours long. 



28 A Jf'O.U.LV'S REMINISCENCES 



TWO DREADFUL DAYS ON THE 
BATTLEFIELD. SHILOH. 



Tl 1 1^ hospital steamer on which myself and two 
other ladies took passage to Pittsburg Land- 
ing from Cairo, 111., reaching Savannah, Tenn., 
eight miles below there, about four o'clock a. m., 
April 7. There we heard the news of the terri- 
ble battle that had been fought the day before. 
Some said : " The Union army is defeated and 
driven to the very banks of the river, and are all 
likely to be captured to-day." We were soon out 
of our berths and on the outlook. The boat, with 
a full head of steam, made all possible speed to 
reach Pittsburg Landing. 

Two gunboats, the Tylci- and the Lexington, lay 
out in the stream, sending shot and shell over the 
heads of the Union Army into the Confederate 
ranks. As the boat steamed up to the Landing, 
where already a great fleet of steamers was lying, 
the shells went screaming over our heads with 
deafening fury. All was in seeming confusion at 
the Landing. The roadways, dug out of the steep 
bank, were insufficient for such an emergency. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 29 

In the hard fight on the day before, a vast amount 
of ammunition had been used, and the officers all 
well knew that with the dawn of the coming day 
the battle would be renewed with desperate fury. 
Every teamster was, therefore, doing his utmost 
to get ammunition and provisions to the front. 
They would bring their mules to the steep, road- 
less bank, that stood at an angle of forty-five de- 
grees ; and while the driver held the lines with a 
strong, steady hand, and set his boot heels so as 
to keep a standing position as he ploughed his 
way to the bottom, his mules put their little front 
feet down, settled themselves on their haunches, 
on which the wagon rested, and skeeted to the 
bottom with the driver. It was a wild sight. 
Each teamster had an assistant who held a torch 
made of pine. Hundreds of torches lighted up 
the black night. There was a clamor that cannot 
be described in the loading up, and a steady 
stream of loaded wagons going up the hill by the 
regular roadways. 

As soon as the first rays of the morning light 
made objects distinct, the firing began. Both 
armies had rested, face to face, on their arms, and 
a hasty breakfast had been snatched of what they 
could get before daylight, for all well knew that a 
bloody day was before them. Each man, as he 
lifted his head from the ground where he had pil- 
lowed it the night before, wondered if he should 
live to see the setting of another sun. 



30 A U'OMAX'S KEM/N/SCENCES 

Our hospital boat was lying alongside of other 
steamers. The rain was falling steadily. We 
could hear the heavy guns, the screaming of the 
shells, the thunder of the battle going on near 
by. As the light increased, we shivered to see 
tlie wounded lying on bags of grain and out on 
the guards, and the dead, who had been carried 
from the boats, lying mangled and bloody along 
the shore of the river. At first we could only 
cover our faces with our hands in a shiver and 
chill of agony, in the attempt to hide the horrid 
sights of war from our eyes. 

But as we stood there a feeble hand was lifted, 
and a feeble voice called out, — 

♦' Say, lady ! Can't you bring me a drink of 
water .-* " 

Immediately a hundred hands were lifted. We 
could scarcely see them in the faint light of the 
early morning, but we could hear the voices. 

" Bring me some water." 

" Bring me something to eat." 

I called out cheerily, — 

** Yes, yes ; luc/l Jiclp you all ivc can!' 

It was a great relief to have something to cio. 
We went with gladness to our work. I was the 
pioneer, and went right onto the boat lying nearest. 

The surgeon in charge of our hospital boat 
had frone off to the field. There was no one 
in authority left on the boat, and we took pos- 
session. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 3 1 

I had several boxes of canned oysters, and three 
or four barrels of crackers, but we soon exhausted 
these ; then we began on the beef in the store- 
room. 

Barrels of soup were made and distributed. 
The other two ladies made the soup, and I dis- 
tributed it from boat to boat, and from one to 
another. Oh, the sights and scenes I witnessed 
that day ! 

As I was carrying a bucket of soup across a 
gang-plank, an officer met me. He came bound- 
ing forward, with his sword clanging by his side. 

"Madam," he said, "what are you doing.?" 

I was startled nearly out of my wits, but I 
managed to say, — 

" I am carrying soup to the wounded." 

"Why, you ought not to do that. See here, sol- 
dier, I detail you to carry soup for this woman." 

The soldier sprang forward and took the bucket 
of soup from my hand, and the officer went on. 
I never knew who he was. If this falls under his 
eyes, I want to thank him for his thoughtfulness. 
On and on, all day, I went with my assistant, 
while the two lady helpers worked as fast as they 
possibly could, to get the food ready. 

The distribution of food was very rapid. Men 
with broken legs and arms and gashed faces would 
hold out their tin cups or canteens to be filled. 
The tin cups were easily filled, but the canteens 
took longer. When they saw us coming, they 



32 A JIV.V.LV'S J^EM/.V/SCENCES 

would pound on the floor or on the side of the 
boat, calling pitcously, — 

" Dojit pass Die by. I am here, lady ; please 
give me some soup." 

"Please, lady, pour some water on my arm, it is 
so dry and hot and the wound hurts so." 

Without a moment's relaxation the day passed 
in this kind of work. 

In the afternoon the gunboats stopped firing, 
and the news came that the Confederates were 
driven back. 

Oh, how much that meant to us all ; for through 
all that morning the boats had tlieir full head of 
steam on, so that if the army was driven to the 
river, as many as possible could escape by that 
means. 

Now and then I would help a surgeon who was 
dressing some of the worst wounds. My clothing 
was wet and muddy to the knees, and covered 
with blood, but I did not see it. I had not eaten 
a mouthful of food since the night before, but I 
did not know it. I was entirely unconscious of 
weariness and human needs. 

It was about ten o'clock at night when some 
one asked, — 

'* Did you have supper t " This little question 
called me to the consciousness of my condition. 

"No," I answered ; "I have not had a mouthful 
to eat since yesterday evening." 

A surgeon operating near by looked at me ear- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 33 

nestly, and then said, with the voice of author- 
ity, — 

" Madam, stop work immediately. We will have 
you on our hands next." 

I was cutting a fragment of a blue blouse away 
from the arm of a wounded young soldier. I con- 
tinued my work till the bits of the blouse were 
gotten out, as far as I could see, then laid on a 
wet compress. 

'' Oh ! thank you," he said, with grateful tears 
in his eyes. 

I went back to the cabin of the hospital boat 
and had my supper. After changing my clothes 
I sat down on a divan, feeling almost too weak 
and exhausted to stir. A chaplain came on the 
boat, inquiring for me. When he met me he 
seized my hand and began to bellow. I have 
never heard anything like it. When I saw him, 
I knew that he was crazy. The officers of the 
boat ran back to see what was the matter, and 
somehow the surgeon in charge managed to get 
him into a stateroom and lock him in, and place 
guards at the door, and the next day he was sent 
up with the other patients to St. Louis on that 
boat. 

Early the next morning I was transferred with 
the little baggage I had to another boat set aside 
for hospital workers. My fine dress, which I had 
worn for the first time the day before, was wet 
and muddy, and I pitched it into the river. 



34 ^ irOALLV'S REMIxXISCENCES 

Dr. Grinstcad, now living in Washington City, 
was placed in charge of the boat. 

The Confederates had retreated toward Corinth, 
Miss., but there was still firing in the distance. 
Early in the day I went up the steep bank and 
out on the battlefield. 

The wounded had been gathered up as far as I 
could see, but many of the dead were still lying 
where they fell. 

Not far from the landing there were some tents. 
In one of these tents a son of Sam Houston, of 
Texas, lay on the ground with others, the gray 
and the blue lying together. Young Houston 
was severely wounded in the thigh. I talked with 
him kindly of his grand, loyal father, and minis- 
tered to him as best I could. I saw him many 
times afterwards, the last time a prisoner at Camp 
Douglass, near Chicago. If this by any possi- 
bility passes under his notice, and he has not 
forgotten my treatment of him when he was a 
wounded prisoner, I will be glad to hear from 
him. I went toward a house on the right, but be- 
fore I reached it I saw two men coming, carrying 
a wounded soldier. 

They had made a seat by clasping their hands, 
and his arms were thrown about their necks. I 
went forward to meet them. 

" Oh, set me down by that tree ! I can go no 
farther," he cried. 

They carried him as tenderly as they could, and 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 35 

placed him between the great roots of a very large 
tree. His breast was bare, and the blood was 
slowly oozing out of a wound in his lungs. 

"I am dying," he said, "can't somebody pray.?" 
Both men were weeping. If he was not a brother, 
he was a friend ; I answered promptly, " I can 
pray." I knelt there on the damp ground, and 
taking one of his hands in my own, I asked in 
simple words the heavenly Father to forgive and 
bless. He responded to each petition. I kept 
on praying till he said, ''The way is light now, 
I do not fear." There was a little gasp, a shiver, 
and all was still. As I knelt there I closed his 
eyes and said, — 

" He is dead." 

" Yes," they answered with a sob. 

" He is dead, and this is all we can do. We 
will report the case, and have the grave marked." 
And we turned away and left him there. An 
hour afterwards I returned that way. It was a 
most impressive sight to see a dead man sitting 
there so calmly and peacefully, with eyes closed, 
dead and cold. When I passed that way again, 
they had taken him away. 

The country can never pay those who went out 
and heroically defended the flag. Such scenes as 
these bring gray hairs before their time to those 
who looked on. What must it have been to those 
in the midst of the fight t 



36 A JrOALLV'S REMINISCENCES 



JOHNNIE CLEM. 



The Drummer Boy of Shiloh and the Boy Hero of Chick- 
AMAUGA, Chattanooga. 



JOHNNIE CLEM, who lived at Newark, Ohio, 
was perhaps the youngest and smallest re^ 
cruit in the Union Army. The army historian, 
Lossing, says that he was probably the youngest 
person who ever bore arms in battle. 

He was born at Newark, Ohio, Aug. 13, 1S51, 
and his full name was John Winton Clem. He 
was of German-French descent, and the family 
spell the name Klem, and not Clem. His sister 
Lizzie, who is now Mrs. Adams, and lives on the 
Granville road near Newark, gives the following 
statement to a visitor : — 

It being Sunday, May 24, 1861, and the rebeh 
lion in progress, Johnnie said at dinner table, — 

" Father, I'd like mighty well to be a drummer 
boy. Can't I go into the Union army 1 " 

" Tut ! my boy, what nonsense ! You are not 
ten years old," was the father's reply ; and he 
thought no more about it. When he disappeared, 
he had no thought that he had gone into the scr- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 37 

vice. That afternoon Johnnie took charge of his 
sister Lizzie, seven years old, and his little brother 
Lewis, five years old, and took them to the Sun- 
day-school room, and left them there. 

As Johnnie did not return, the father and step- 
mother were greatly distressed, fearing he had 
gone to the canal and gone in for a swim, for he 
was an expert swimmer, and had been drowned. 
They searched far and near to find him, and had 
the water drawn from the head of the canal that 
they might find his body, but all in vain. Several 
weeks past before they heard from him, and then 
they got word through a woman living at Mount 
Vernon, who had been a neighbor to them at 
Newark, that Johnnie had been there, and that 
she had sent him home in care of the conductor. 

It seems that Johnnie moved on the sympathies 
of the conductor, who took him on to Columbus, 
where he joined the Twenty-fourth Ohio Regi- 
ment ; but ascertaining that an uncle was in that 
regiment, he left it and joined the Twenty-second 
Michigan. 

He was an expert drummer; and being a bright, 
cheerful little fellow, he soon won his way into 
the confidence and affection of officers and men. 

He was in many battles ; at Shiloh, Perryville, 
Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Nash- 
ville, and Kenesaw, and in other engagements in 
which the Army of the Cumberland took part. 

When he entered the army, being too young 



38 A U'OMAX'S REMINISCENCES 

to be mustered in, he went with the regiment, the 
Twenty-second Michigan, as a volunteer, until the 
battle of Shiloh. 

When he was beating the long roll at the 
battle of Shiloh, a piece of shell struck his drum 
and sent it flying in fragments. He was after 
that called "Johnnie Shiloh." 

He was afterwards mustered in, and served also 
as a marker, and with his little musket so served 
on the battle-field of Chattanooga. At the close 
of that bloody day, the brigade in which he was, 
being partly surrounded by rebels, was retreating, 
when he, being unable to fall back as fast as 
the rest of the line, was singled out by a rebel 
colonel who rode up to him with the summons, 

" Scoundrel, halt ! Surrender, you little 

Yankee ! " 

Johnnie halted, and brought his gun into posi- 
tion as though he was about to surrender, thus 
throwing the colonel off his guard. In another 
moment the gun was cocked, fired, and the colonel 
fell dead from his horse. 

His regiment was pursued, and a volley was 
fired at that moment, and Johnnie fell as though he 
had been killed, and lay there on the field until 
it was dark enough for him to slip away unnoticed. 
At Chickamauga he was struck with a fragment 
of a shell in the hip. He was taken prisoner with 
others while detailed to bring up a supply train 
from Ikidgeport, Ala. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 39 

He fared hard as a prisoner. His sister, Mrs. 
Adams, says, " The rebels stripped him of every- 
thing — his clothes, his shoes, his little gun — an 
ordinary musket, I suppose, cut short — and his 
little cap. He said he did not care about any- 
thing but his cap ; he did want to save that, and 
it hurt him sorely to part with it, for it had three 
bullet holes through it." When exchanged he was 
given a furlough and sent home for a week. He 
was weak and emaciated from starvation, and his 
clothes were a bundle of rags. He had been ab- 
sent about two years in the army, and was at that 
time in his twelfth year. 

I did not meet him at Shiloh, but became ac- 
quainted with him at Chattanooga, when he was 
in the hospital there, and saw him frequently 
when he was on General Thomas's staff. 

He was a fair and beautiful child then, about 
twelve years old, but very small of his age. He 
was at that time only about thirty inches high 
and weighed about sixty pounds. 

At Atlanta, while in the act of delivering a de- 
spatch from General Thomas to General Logan, a 
ball struck the head of his pony obliquely, killing 
him, and wounding his little rider in the right ear. 

For his heroic conduct, he was made a sergeant, 
and his name placed on the Roll of Honor, and 
he was attached to Headquarters of the Army of 
the Cumberland. 

Shortly afterwards he received from Nettie M. 



40 A JrOMAX'S REMINISCENCES 

Chase, the daughter of Chief Justice Chase, a 
silver medal inscribed : — 

Sergeant Johnnie Clem, 
twenty-second michigan volunteer infantry, 

FROM N. M. C. 

which he worthily wears as a badge of honor on 
his left breast with other medals. 

When the war was over, General Thomas ad- 
vised him to study and make a man of himself. 
He studied at West Point, but on account of his 
size he could not enter as a cadet. In 1890 he 
weighed one hundred and five pounds and was 
only five feet high. His wife, Annita, the daugh- 
ter of General Wm. H. French, U.S.A., is also 
small and delicate, weighing about seventy pounds. 
General Grant commissioned him as a lieutenant. 
He is now captain of the twenty-fourth U.S. In- 
fantry, and is stationed at Columbus, Ohio, and 
holds the important office of depot quartermaster 
and commissary. 

He has one son living, who is very like him, 
only he will be larger. 

From recent correspondence he seems to be the 
same kindly, great-hearted Johnnie as when I first 
met him at Chattanooga, Tenn. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 4 1 



ARMY TRICKS. 



THERE were many tricks played on the offi- 
cers, just for the fun of the thing, during the 
war, especially if the troops remained long at any 
one camping-place. 

In one of the many camps of the Union sol- 
diers, an odd trick was played off on the surgeon 
and chaplain of a regiment noted for its merry- 
making. 

The troops were camped by a small stream, over 
which was a narrow, rickety bridge. 

Just across from the camp was a log cabin, in 
which lived an old woman alone. 

The woman paid no attention to the soldiers, 
but went about her daily duties as though uncon- 
scious of their presence. 

One day some of the boys passed the cabin, 
and hurrying over the rickety bridge, came run- 
ning into the camp with the message, "The old 
woman in the cabin is dying ! " The chaplain and 
surgeon were notified. 

" Chaplain, hurry over quick ! The old woman 
is dying ! " 



42 A irOAfAiV'S REMINISCENCES 

The chaplain hurried over the rickety bridge as 
rapidly as possible ; the surgeon soon followed. 
As the chaplain came round to the open door he 
saw at a glance that it was a trick, and he passed 
on around the house, so as to allow the surgeon to 
come on and bear a full share of the joke. 

The woman ivas dyeing. She ivas over a kettle 
of butteniiit jiiiee dyeing a lot of yarn. 

When the two came back over the bridge the 
whole camp was in a roar of laughter over the 
joke. 

But what could be done } The men had re- 
ported a truth — the woman was dyeing ; so there 
was no redress. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 43 



GENERAL GRANT'S KINDNESS. 



ONE morning during the war, coming down 
on the packet boat that plied between 
Cairo, 111., and Columbus, Ky., I noticed a wo- 
man weeping as though her heart would break. 
Her calico dress and coarse blanket shawl beto- 
kened abject poverty, and her face was hidden ; 
and she sobbed out her anguish in a coarse ban- 
danna handkerchief. 

Laying my hand gently on her shoulder, I said, — 

" My dear woman, what is the matter } " 

''It's my boy I'm crying about ; he's awful sick 

down in Tennessee, and he has writ for me to 

come down an' nus him up, but the men as keeps 

the passes at Cairo says I can't go. 

" They say there's plenty to take care uv my 
boy, and maybe there is ; but I reckon that his 
muther what took care uv him when he was a 
baby could do it better nor any of them. 

" My boy wus a very smart boy. You never 
seen a smarter boy nor a better boy than mine 
wuz. Well, if they won't let me go down on the 
railroad I reckon I can walk. My boy's sick an' 



44 ^ JVOMAN'S REMINISCEKCES 

I'm bound to go. They tried to skecr me by tell- 
in' me the guards would arrest me if I tried to 
get through the lines. But I can dodge the 
guards, an' creep under the lines. Anyway, I 
s'pose them guards ar' human cre'turs, an' if I 
tell 'em my boy is a solger, an' awful sick, an' 
wants his mother to come down an' nus him, 
they'll let me go through." 

" Have you his letter with you } " 

" Yes, I have." 

And out of the depth of a capacious pocket she 
drew forth a package, and carefully unrolling it, 
she handed me a letter. It was short, but full of 
tender pathos. The boy was sick and homesick, 
and wanted his mother. Among other things, he 
said : — 

" You could nus me better than the boys. I 
hain't got no apertite and can't eat nothin' ; the 
boys hain't much on cookin', but you could cook 
something that I could eat, and maybe I'd get 
well." 

Satisfied that she was a true woman, and not a 
spy, I said : — 

*' General Grant, the highest officer in the army, 
is on this boat. He can give you a pass ; he was 
sitting here by this table a few minutes ago ; as 
he has left his paper and writing material there, 
he will no doubt return in a few minutes. Go 
to him and show him your boy's letter, and ask 
him for a pass. He will give it to you." 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 45 

She was almost dismayed at the thought of 
speaking to such a great man. When the Gen- 
eral came in and took a seat at the table, I 
whispered to her, — 

" Now go, — don't be afraid." 

The meeting of the two was a picture for an 
artist. 

With sun-bonnet pushed back, and her coarse 
shawl drawn closely about her, she timidly ap- 
proached him, holding out the letter. 

General Grant looked up kindly. 

" Are you Gineral Grant } " she questioned. 

-Yes." 

''Well, my boy's awful sick down in Tennessee, 
an' he's writ me this letter to cum an' nus him up ; 
but them men at Cairo what gives passes said I 
might be a spy, and they wouldn't give me a 
pass. 

" But, Gineral, I hain't no spy ; I'm a good 
Union woman as ever lived ; and there's a lady 
here as allowed that if I'd ask you maybe you'd 
give me a pass." 

In the meantime. General Grant had looked 
over the letter and scrutinized the woman, and 
handing the letter back to her, he said, " Yes, I'll 
give you a pass ; what is your name } " 

The woman gave her name ; but she was so 
delighted that she talked all the while he was 
writing the pass : — 

" Its awful unhandy for me to leave home now. 



46 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

COS I hain't nobody to take care of nothing. Bill 
Spence's wife, she agreed to milk the cow, but I 
had a beautiful pig, and I had to turn that out to 
root for itself, and I'm awful feared that it will 
get lost while I'm gone. But I told Mis' Spence 
that I'd ruther risk the pig than to risk my boy, 
for he's an awful good boy, Gineral." 

"This pass will take you down and bring you 
back," said General Grant, handing her the pre- 
cious document. 

" How much do you s'pose it'll cost me to go 
down ? " 

" It will cost you nothing, madam ; the pass 
will take you free." 

"Don't they charge nuthen on them roads .^ " 

"They will not charge you. A mother who has 
given her son to the government, the government 
can afford to carry free." 

Just then I got her attention and beckoned her 
away. 

"I'm very much obliged to you, Gineral," she 
said, and made an old-fashioned courtesy. 

Years afterward, while he was an occupant of 
the White House, and I w^as there on a friendly 
visit, I reminded him of the circumstance, which 
he had almost forgotten, and expressed the hope 
that the boy had recovered, and that she had 
found her pig on her return. He smiled, and 
said, — 

" I always let the mothers pass if their boys 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 4/ 

were sick, and they seemed to be good loyal 
women." 

I had noticed that General Grant did not judge 
by appearance or dress. Often the lady in her 
silks was turned back, while a woman arrayed in 
calico would go through the lines. 



48 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



ARMY LIFE AT HELENA, 
ARKANSAS. 



HELENA, Arkansas, was an important military 
station in 1S62-63. In December, 1862, 
General Sherman, with his great fleet of boats 
and an army of twenty or thirty thousand men, 
moved from that point down the Mississippi River 
upon Vicksburg. There was nothing in the place 
of itself that made it a desirable camping-ground 
for troops, other than that it was an advance sta- 
tion far down into the enemy's country, and com- 
manded considerable important territory. The 
soldiers called it a " God-forsaken place." 

It was named after the daughter of the founder 
of the town, Helena; but the soldiers suggested 
that the name ought to be spelled with one sylla- 
ble and two I's. 

Along the river front the land was very low 
and subject to overflows, but was protected by a 
high embankment, which effectually shut out the 
flood tides of the Mississippi River. Just back 
of the town was a great green cypress swamp, 
that was crossed by a corduroy road — a road 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 49 

made of large round logs fastened together at 
each end. Back of the swamp rose high bluffs 
of yellow clay. They were unsightly and very 
precipitous ; in most places perpendicular. Their 
uneven sides were seamed and wrinkled by the 
floods and storms of ages, and looked like a line 
of forts. 

It is easy to imagine the discomfort of such a 
camping place. During the winter and spring 
the streets of the town were miry and almost 
impassable. 

In December, 1862, I reached Helena with a 
heavy lot of hospital supplies. I sent a message to 
my friend, General Cyrus Bussey, who was Assis- 
tant-Secretary of the Interior during President 
Harrison's administration, but who was then in 
command, requesting an ambulance, that I might 
visit the several hospitals. He sent me a note, 
saying that it would be impossible to get about in 
an ambulance, but that if I wished he would send 
me an army wagon. Of course I accepted the 
offer. A big wagon, with four good strong mules 
attached, was sent me. A camp-chair was put in 
for my use ; and Chaplain P. P. Ingalls offered to 
accompany me, and took a seat with the driver on 
a board which had been placed across the wagon 
bed. We started down the principal street of the 
town, towards the steamboat landing ; but we had 
not gone far till the team began to mire. The 
mules made a desperate struggle to get out, and 



50 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

the driver tried to turn them towards the side- 
walk ; but the more they struggled the deeper 
they sank into the black mire of the street. The 
mules were in up to their sides, and the wagon 
had sunk down almost to the bed. 

Immediately a crowd of soldiers gathered on 
the board sidewalk. They had been through 
many a miry place, and knew just what to do. 
Boards from the near fence and rails were 
brought, and soon the space was bridged between 
the struggling mules and the board sidewalk. 
The mules were soon detached from the wagon, 
poles and rails were used to pry them out, and 
ropes were put about them, and they were pulled 
by main force to the sidewalk. 

As the boards on which the men stood sank 
down in the mud, other boards were brought and 
laid on top of them, and many willing hands made 
the work of rescue possible. The last mule to be 
rescued was up to his sides in the mire. 

It seemed almost impossible to get a rail down 
under him, or to get ropes about him, so as to 
help him ; but at last, covered with black mud and 
almost exhausted, he stood on the board sidewalk. 
Chaplain Ingalls and myself were then rescued, 
the wagon was abandoned, and a board put up, 
*'No Bottom," to warn others. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 5 1 



A TERRIBLE STORM AT CHATTA- 
NOOGA. 

How THE Men in the Hospital Tents were saved from 
Freezing. 



ON the night of Dec. 31, 1863, a fearful 
storm swept over the Southern States, ex- 
tending from the Mississippi River to the At- 
lantic Coast. I was at Chattanooga at the time. 
The tempest came down upon us like an Arctic 
hurricane. It beat and tore around the cliffs of 
Lookout Mountain and down its gorges, levelling 
trees, and freezing the life-currents in every un- 
protected living thing. Many of the guards on 
duty in the army that night froze to death. Gen- 
eral Russell A. Alger, who was in front of the 
enemy in the Eastern Army that night, tells of 
his ride along the picket-line. As the position of 
his forces was a dangerous one, he desired to as- 
sure himself that the guards were at their posts of 
duty. 

At one point, where the lines of the two armies 
came close together, and the danger was especially 
great, a trusty soldier had been posted. As Gen- 



52 A irOJfJX'S KEM/X/SCENCES 

cral Alger approached that i^oint, he was sur- 
prised at not being halted, and he felt sure that 
the guard was asleep. 

"Why do you not challenge me, sir?" he de- 
manded. There was no response. Taking the 
man by the shoulder. General Alger was shocked 
lo find him dead. Standing against a tree, facing 
the enemy, that terrible night, with eyes and ears 
on the strain, intent on doing his duty well, he 
had frozen to death. 

At Chattanooga there was great suffering from 
scarcity of food, and clothing, and lack of proper 
protection. The railroad had been repaired to 
Bridgeport only ; and it was necessary to haul all 
the supplies of that great army from Bridgeport 
to Chattanooga, a distance of twenty-eight miles, 
and over a rough, stony mountain road. The 
army had marched over this road to Mission 
Ridge and Chickamauga, and their shoes had 
been cut to pieces on the sharp rocks. Many of 
the men were almost barefooted. They were two 
hundred and thirty-six miles inland from their 
base of supplies. Every bridge had been de- 
stroyed, and every foot of the long line of railroad 
had to be guarded. 

Those of us who ventured to travel over that 
dangerous route had to take the chances, both of 
obstructions on the track, and volleys of musketry 
from ambuscades. When the storm fell upon the 
army at Chattanooga the troops lacked both food 
and clothiniT. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 53 

At the foot of Lookout Mountain, there was 
a large "field hospital," at which were quartered 
the men who were most severely wounded and 
sick. The men were sheltered by large tents, and 
lay on cots. There were no floors in these tents, 
and no arrangements for heating them. 

Mrs. Jeremiah Porter of Chicago, a dear little 
saint, who is now in heaven, had gone to Chat- 
tanooga with me ; and we were together at the 
rooms of the Christian Commission when the 
storm burst upon the place in its terrible fury. 
Amid the raging of the tempest, which made 
every timber in the old frame building creak, and 
threatened to tear away the roof that covered us, 
our first thought was of the men in the field hos- 
pital, who were exposed to its fury. Night, as it 
v/as, it was decided that we should go to their 
relief. While the delegates were getting out the 
horses and ambulances, everything that would be 
likely to add to the comfort of the patients was 
collected from the stores on hand. It was about 
daybreak when we started. 

The way was lined with dead mules and horses 
frozen to death. Half-starved and unsheltered 
they could not live in such a storm. The muddy 
roads were now frozen. The wind was in our 
faces, and the two miles we had to travel seemed 
a long journey. 

When we reached the hospital our worst fears 
were realized. Many of the tents had been 



54 A wo MAN'S REMINISCENCES 

blown down upon the faces of the helpless men. 
Against the fierce northern blasts, which threat- 
ened to tear the tents into tatters, the attendants 
were striving to right them. But the force was 
small compared to the work which needed to be 
done. To leeward of the camp, three great log 
fires were blazing and crackling furiously. 

Mother Bickerdyke, a grand old army nurse, 
who did heroic service in the hospitals from the 
beginning until the close of the war, was there, 
and ofivino^ directions with the clearness and force 
of a sea-captain in a storm. Orders were im- 
posed on all of us before we were out of the 
ambulance. " Come on, Lawrence, with your 
men, and help get up these tents. Mrs. Witten- 
myer, you and Mrs. Porter get sticks and pry out 
rocks, and heat them here in these fires and put 
them about the men to keep them from freezing." 

We all went to work at once. No one stood 
upon the order of his going. With such sticks as 
we could pick up it was hard to pry out the rocks, 
but we were willing and we succeeded. One 
delegate had brought a lot of reading-matter with 
him ; and we utilized them as wrappers for the hot 
rocks, which we carried in our arms to the cots, 
creeping under the flapping canvas when the tents 
were down, and putting them around the men the 
best we could, and speaking at the time words of 
cheer which they so much needed. I thank God 
that because of the heroic and timely efforts 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 55 

which were made, not one man froze to death in 
the tents that day. The great log fires, we 
learned later, had been built from a part of a 
fort surrendered by the Confederates. Mother 
Bickerdyke, not finding suitable wood for fires 
which could withstand a tempest, suggested to 
the surgeon, that such timbers as they could get 
out of the two forts be used for that purpose. 
But as the forts were government property, the 
surgeon refused to touch them without an order. 

Military headquarters were two miles away, and 
the tempest was raging. Mother Bickerdyke rose 
to the emergency as usual. *' Come on, boys," 
said she ; " we'll soon have the timbers out of the 
old fort. What possible use can Uncle Sam put 
them to } " 

The surgeon warned her that it would be his 
duty to report the matter to the proper authori- 
ties. '' That's all right, doctor ; but in the mean- 
time we'll have the fires going." Of course 
nothing was ever done about it. We toiled all 
day. As the tents were raised we carried great 
pans and kettles full of live coals into the tents, 
and emptied them on the ground to temper the 
keen air, which seemed to pierce to the marrow. 
I had brought up the river, with great difificulty, 
a special store of supplies, transporting them in 
a small boat, through the special kindness of Gen- 
eral John A. Logan, who had detailed the boat 
for that purpose. Among the supplies was the 



56 A wo MAN'S REMINISCENCES 

largest lot of good woollen home-knit socks I had 
ever seen together. Many sacks of them had 
been pitched into the ambulance that morning; 
and as we went through the tents we examined 
the feet of the men to see if they were frozen. 
We put socks on the feet that were bare, and 
kept the hot bowlders moving back and forth to 
aid all. Many of the men had on good socks 
which had been sent to them by mail ; but the 
feet of many were bare. I shall never forget 
the stone-bruised feet on which we put warm 
woollen socks that day. 

At last the work was well-nigh done. The wind 
had abated, the tents were up, and our supplies 
were nearly all distributed. We had reached the 
last tent, and the last two men in the tent. I 
turned to the last sack to draw out two pairs of 
stockings for the two men before us, but there 
was only one pair in the sack. '' O Mrs. Porter, 
what shall I do 1 There are two men, and only 
one pair of socks ! " I exclaimed in despair. 

To my surprise the men began to laugh ; and 
one of them said, "There is no great loss without 
some small profit, Jim." And they laughed again 
heartily. At last one of them explained. " You 
see, miss, we've each of us lost a leg, and one 
pair will do us both." And this was true; they 
had been brought into the tent for the amputa- 
tion, and laid side by side. We were both deeply 
impressed. I had not counted the feet or the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 57 

socks, but He who counts the hairs of our heads 
had counted both. Mrs. Porter and I divided the 
one pair between us, and each put a sock on the 
one foot. Tears of sympathy blinded our eyes as 
we remembered that henceforth these two heroes 
must walk lame through life. 

It was wonderful with what heroism these men 
could bear their sufferings and losses. They were 
full of hope, and grateful for every little kindness. 
They literally overwhelmed me with thanks. But 
it was left for an Irishman to express his thanks 
for timely help in the most original manner. He 
said in the most impassioned tones, his face all 
aglow, — 

" And sure it's an angel ye are, and may ye be 
in heaven three weeks before the devil finds out 
ye're dead." 



58 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE WONDERFUL POTATO-PATCH. 



IN the spring of 1862 potatoes were very scarce 
and dear. 

The women of Muscatine, Iowa, who were earn- 
est workers in the Soldiers' Aid Society of that 
town, were anxious to secure potatoes to send to 
the army. They decided to canvass the town 
and the region round about for that purpose. 

But the first grocery they entered the proprietor 
said, " No, I have no potatoes to spare ; but I have 
a field about a mile out of town that you may have 
the use of, if you wish to raise potatoes." 

The proposition was accepted gladly; and they 
at once began to solicit potatoes for planting. 

At the appointed day for planting, the loyal 
old men who had not gone to the front, and the 
women and children, rallied for the work. Wagons 
were in readiness to carry out the ploughs, har- 
rows, hoes, and potatoes. The men ploughed and 
harrowed and furrowed the ground, the women 
and children followed, dropping and covering the 
potatoes, and the field in due time was planted. 

When the time came to cultivate the potatoes, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 59 

a "potato picnic" was announced; and when the 
day arrived, wagons were in readiness to take all 
who were willing to work to the field. A picnic 
dinner was served, and althous^h the work was 
hard, these hours of toil were enlivened with 
laughter and song and wit and wisdom ; and 
the weeds were destroyed, and the potatoes cul- 
tivated. And so it was each time when the culti- 
vation of the field was needed. 

Happily the Colorado beetle, known as the 
potato bug, had not been heard of as yet. 

But there came a time of drought and great 
anxiety, for men, and women too, for women 
toiled in the fields in those heroic days. They 
watched the clouds with sinking hearts, as they 
sailed carelessly by, giving never a drop of rain 
to revive vegetation and moisten the parched 
earth. 

Every one felt as much interest in the potato- 
field the women had planted as though it had 
been their own. 

There are, perhaps, a score or more of men and 
women still living in that loyal town, who will 
remember that " Sanitary Potato-Patch ; " and the 
remarkable fact, that one day a cloud sailed over 
it and drenched the field with rain, scattering 
only a few sprinkles over the fields adjoining. 

The yield of that potato-field was immense ; and 
the entire crop was in time shipped to me at St. 
Louis, and distributed in camps and hospitals. 



6o A WOMAN'S REMIiYISCENCES 

I do not now remember how many bushels they 
raised on that patch of ground, but I distinctly 
remember that they sent me by one shipment 
fifteen hundred bushels of potatoes. 

Never were potatoes more needed, or more ac- 
ceptable to men suffering from that army scourge, 
''scurvy," than were those fifteen hundred bush- 
els, distributed to Iowa soldiers and to all in the 
general hospitals. To me the supply seemed in- 
exhaustible. 

One of the first stops made by the steamer 
sent down with them was at Island No. lo, above 
Memphis, Tenn., where one hundred bushels were 
put off, with the injunction that they must be 
divided equally among the men and officers of 
an Iowa regiment stationed there. 

There were over one thousand men in all. 

On my return trip the steamer stopped again 
at Island No. lo. My feet had scarcely touched 
the shore till I was surrounded by soldiers, who 
reported that the officers had eaten up most of 
the potatoes, and that they had been given only 
about three messes. 

I was indignant, and went directly to the col- 
onel's headquarters with the complaint. He was 
greatly surprised, and sent for the quartermaster 
and other officials, who listened to the complaints 
very serenely. When they had heard all I had to 
say the quartermaster said, — 

" You only gave us one hundred bushels of 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 6 1 

potatoes ; how long did you think they would 
last?" 

*' About a month I thought." 

** We have ten companies of one hundred men 
each. Every company got ten bushels. That di- 
vided among one hundred men would only give 
them about two messes apiece." 

"That is so," I confessed with some confusion. 

'^ I see," he continued, " that you are not accus- 
tomed to feeding armies." 

'' If that is the way they eat, I don't want the 
task of feeding them. I accept your explanation, 
and beg you to excuse my ignorance in these 
matters." 

And so we parted. I had a few minutes later, 
as the boys gathered about me at the landing, the 
privilege of explaining why they did not get more 
than tw^o or three messes of potatoes, — that there 
were too many of them. That if there had been 
ten men and one hundred bushels of potatoes, 
instead of one thousand men and one hundred 
bushels of potatoes, they would have fared better. 



62 A IVOiMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



SAVED BY LEMONADE. 



THE many-colored signal lights of the fleet of 
steamers at Milliken's Bend, and the bright 
camp-fires on the land, that glowed with such un- 
wonted splendor in the gloaming, soon all faded 
out of sight as our boat steamed away toward St. 
Louis ; and soon the black curtain of night shut 
us in with its thick heavy folds like a funeral pall, 
and our fight with disease and death began in 
earnest. 

Never before in the history of wars, so full of 
untold agonies, did the timbers of a steamer bear 
up such a burden of pain, despair, and death, as 
did the City of Me^npJiis as she steamed away 
from Sherman's army. Wherever there was room 
for a sick or wounded soldier, on the cabin floor 
without mattress or pillow, in the staterooms, 
under the stateroom berths, out on the guards, on 
the top, or hurricane deck, on the lower deck, 
every space was filled with sore, weary, aching 
human bodies, mangled or fever-smitten. Of the 
seven hundred and fifty sick and wounded on 
board, about twenty-five were delirious ; and their 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 63 

pitiful cries mingled with the whirr of the wheels, 
and the splash of the waters, as the monster boat, 
with its heart of fire and its breath of steam, 
pulled heavily against the mighty tides of the 
Mississippi River, were heart-breaking. No one 
who was on that boat can ever forget that first 
night out. Nor can I be charged with over-draw- 
ing the picture. No pencil can paint it black 
enough. 

Nothing has ever haunted my waking and 
sleeping dreams, not even the ghastly scenes of 
the battle-field, as the memory of the concen- 
trated horrors of that journey. The groans and 
cries of the wounded and dying still ring through 
my soul ; and from feelings of compassion I draw 
the curtain over the darkest scenes, that even at 
this distance make me shudder, and give to my 
readers only the more pleasant incidents of the 
journey, which was in truth a funeral march. 

One man lying on the floor of the ladies' cabin 
on his blanket, with his fever-racked head on his 
knapsack, gave me such an appealing look that I 
went to him. 

"What can I do for you } " I inquired. 

" You can write to my wife if you get through 
alive, and tell her I died on the City of Mern- 
phisT 

" While there is life there is hope. You are 
not dead yet, and may not die." 

'* Oh, yes, I will ! there is no chance for me. 



64 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

Now take down her name," and he gave me the 
name and address of his wife. 

" Now I must do something to help you," I 
said. ** Could you drink a cup of tea } " 

'' No, nothing — it's too late." 

** Could you drink a glass of lemonade .? " 

How his face brightened ! ** Where could you 
get it "^ " he asked eagerly. 

" Make it. I have lemons and sugar, and there 
is a whole river full of water at hand." 

The poor man cried with joy ; and others wept, 
too, as they drank the refreshing beverage, for, 
providentially, I had a heavy lot of lemons with 
me. 

The patient began to mend at once, and by the 
time we reached Cairo was able to sit up. 

Years afterwards I was on a Mississippi River 
steamer bound for St. Louis, when I noticed a 
lady and gentleman regarding me with some in- 
terest, and heard the gentleman say, — 

" I am sure it is she." 

The lady came directly to me, with the ques- 
tion, — 

'' Did you come up the Mississippi River on the 
City of Memphis with the wounded after Sher- 
man's defeat .? " 

"Yes, I did." 

*' It's she ! It's she ! " the lady exclaimed joy- 
fully, much to the amusement of some of the pas- 
sengers who had not heard the question. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 65 

The gentleman joined us, and made himself 
known as the man who started the lemonade treat 
on that doleful night. " That saved my life," he 
said reverently. 

'' I want you to know," said his wife, with tears 
on her face, " that we have never for a day for- 
gotten you, though we did not know your name. 
We prayed for you as the unknown lady ; and the 
children were taught to end their evening prayer- 
with, " and God bless the unknown lady that 
saved papa's life." 

It was a very happy and pleasant meeting, 
although purely accidental. 



^ A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



NOT TIME TO SEND FOR THE 
COLONEL. 



CLINTON B. FISK was chosen colonel of a 
regiment made up largely of ministers and 
religious men. The morality of the regiment was 
a matter of favorable comment, not only in the 
camp where they were drilled before leaving the 
State, but also as they advanced down the Missis- 
sippi River. Some one suggested that Colonel 
Fisk should do the swearing of the regiment, as 
he was " as religious as a preacher." 

The colonel, who was not to be nonplussed by 
such a proposition, readily accepted the duty, the 
men all assenting. 

*' Soldiers," he said, with great gravity, '' if 
there is any necessary swearing to be done in this 
regiment, call on your colonel." 

Weeks passed, during which not an oath was 
heard in camp. The first hard camping-place 
was at Helena, Ark. The regiment pitched their 
tents on the bluff back of the town, on yellow 
clay, which after a rain became like putty. It 
was more than a mile to the steamboat-landing ; 
and all the supplies had to be hauled through the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 6/ 

miry streets of the town and over the corduroy 
road, — a road made of logs firmly fastened to- 
gether, — and then up a long, steep hill, where the 
mud-like yellow putty gathered upon the wheels 
and upon the feet of men and beasts. 

Colonel Fisk sat in his tent one day attending 
to official business, when he heard one of his men, 
a teamster, swearing like a Hessian. He recog- 
nized his voice, and determined to reprove the 
man at the first opportunity. He had not long to 
wait. "John," he called, "come here." John 
responded with a military salute, and stood before 
his colonel unflinchingly. 

" John, did I not hear some one swearing dread- 
fully down the hill a little while ago 1 " 

" Yes, Colonel, that was me." 

" You, John } I am surprised. Don't you 
remember that I was to do the swearing for this 
regiment } " 

" Yes, Colonel, I know ; but, you see, I was 
coming up the hill with a big load, and the breech- 
ing broke. The swearing had to be done right 
away, and you weren't there to do it." And the 
teamster made the military salute and retired. 

Many of the other privates were so full of wit 
that it was almost impossible for the officers to 
reprove them. General Fisk, years afterward, 
used to say laughingly, that it was little worth 
while to try to argue a question with John, his 
teamster, as he always got the best of the argu- 
ment. 



68 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A VISIT TO PARSON BROWNLOW. 



THE Confederates had been driven back from 
Chattanooga and Knoxville, and the lines of 
railroad travel had been re-established. I had oc- 
casion at that time to go to Knoxville. The jour- 
ney was a dangerous one ; but the mission was 
important, and I took the chances. I was de- 
lighted to learn, after reaching Knoxville, that 
Parson Brownlow, the hero of East Tennessee, 
was at home. It was afterward arranged that I 
should meet him at his own house. 

He dwelt in an unpretentious, two-story frame 
structure, having a little portico in front. Firmly 
attached to the little portico was a tall flagstaff, 
from which floated a large Union flag. This flag 
had been put up at the beginning of the war, and 
had never been hauled down. Parson Brownlow 
was tall, lithe, and sinewy in form. His hair was 
black and abundant. He was a quiet talker while 
conversing on ordinary subjects ; but when the 
war, the causes which led to it, the plotting and 
scheming by which the loyal sentiment of East 
Tennessee was silenced, was the theme, his eyes 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 69 

flashed fire, his wit, sarcasm, and denunciation 
flowed in electric currents. His sentences were 
short, terse, and emphatic. One could better un- 
derstand, looking into his face when he straight- 
ened himself up to his full height and poured out 
his torrent of accusations, why men whom he 
charged with treason and falsehood, and arraigned 
before God and men, should fall back in fear and 
shame. 

He pointed out to me the little prison, with its 
iron-barred windows, in which he was for a time 
confined as a prisoner. The jail stood on the 
bank of the River Holstein, and he was put into a 
cell which overlooked the river and forest beyond. 
For a time his enemies had possession of the 
town, and he was placed where he could see noth- 
ing that was going on, and it was well. Many 
of his neighbors who had assumed to be loyal 
brought out Confederate flags, which they had 
kept concealed in flour-barrels, and flung them to 
the breeze. But there was one Union flag which 
did not come down, and that was the broad stand- 
ard which floated over the little portico of Parson 
Brownlow's house. 

Mrs. Brownlow, a quiet, lovely little woman, 
added a word in explanation now and then ; but 
when her boys were spoken of, she sighed heavily 
as though her heartstrings would snap asunder. 
And yet she had, in defence of the flag, shown 
uncommon courage. There were only two chil- 



70 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

dren at home ; one a young lady, the other a girl 
of about ten or twelve years. We all stood out 
on the little portico, and Miss Brownlow described 
to me her heroic defence of the flag which was 
waving above us. She was a beautiful and stately 
woman ; and as she stood there that day describ- 
ing the scene, when with drawn pistol she chal- 
lenged the men sent to take down that flag, she 
was the most perfect personification of the God- 
dess of Liberty I ever saw. As her eyes flashed 
fire, and her words rang out clear, full, and em- 
phatic, we could well understand why the men 
retired. 

The flag was watched and defended until a 
Union force came to their relief. The little force 
advanced carefully, until the head of the column 
reached the crest of the hill which environs the 
place. Looking out over the town, which was 
quietly sleeping in the gray of the morning, they 
saw among the Confederate flags the Stars and 
and Stripes waving from one pole. It was like an 
inspiration. They made an impetuous charge, and 
captured the town. The flag over Parson Brown- 
low's house never came down. 

The influence of Parson Brownlow on Tennes- 
see, and especially East Tennessee, still lives, and 
will live for ages. He was a man of great soul, 
of intense convictions, and of courage equal to his 
convictions. If he had been a coward, his blood 
would have watered the soil of Tennessee. But 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. yi 

his courage, his wonderful mastery of the English 
language, and the fearful majesty of his presence, 
cowed his enemies ; and those who had planned to 
take his life were glad to send him away out of 
their presence. 

My visit to Parson Brownlow, his burning words, 
and the story of the flag, can never be forgotten. 
He was by far the ablest man Tennessee has ever 
produced. 



72 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A RICH REWARD FOR SERVICES. 

Saving the Life of a Brother. 



I WENT out to Sedalia, which was in the heart 
of the State of Missouri, with supplies. 

It was a crisp winter morning in January when 
the train reached the place. I went directly to a 
large hospital near the railroad station. Visitors 
were not received at that hour ; but a pass from 
Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, unbarred the door 
which opened from the vestibule into a large, long 
room filled with cots. On each cot lay a sick or 
wounded soldier. 

Breakfast was being served by the attendants. 
Glancing down the room, I saw one of my own 
brothers, a lad of sixteen, who, fired with the 
war spirit, had gained consent to go. I had 
thought that he was a hundred miles or more 
away. There was a look of utter disgust on his 
face as he rejected the breakfast and waved the 
attendant away. 

"If you can't eat this you'll have to do with- 
out ; there is nothing else," was the attend- 
ant's discouraging response. On a dingy-looking 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 73 

wooden tray was a tin cup full of black, strong 
coffee ; beside it was a leaden-looking tin platter, 
on wh'ich was a piece of fried fat bacon, swim- 
ming in its own grease, and a slice of bread. 
Could anything be more disgusting and injuri- 
ous to fever-stricken and wounded patients ? 

And nearly every soldier in that hospital was 
prostrated by fever or severe wounds ; yet this 
was the daily diet, with little variation. Typhoid 
fever and acute dysentery was the verdict of a 
conference of physicians that consulted in regard 
to my brother. 

There was little hope of his recovery. An old, 
experienced physician said, "■ If he can have good 
care and nursing his recovery is possible, but not 
probable." And the sad news was telegraphed to 
the dear old home. The surgeon removed him 
into a little inner room, and my fight with death 
began in earnest. 

Oh ! those dreadful days and nights of watch- 
ing ; no joys of earth can ever obliterate their 
memory. 

The restless tossing of the fever-stricken ones 
in the adjoining room, the groans of the wounded, 
the drip, drip, drip, of the leaking vessels hung 
above the worst wounded ones to drop water on 
the bandages and keep them cool and moist, put 
every nerve on the rack, and pulsated through 
heart and brain till it seemed as though I should 
go wild. It was an inside view of the hospitals 



74 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

that made me hate war as I had never known how 
to hate it before. 

The pitiful cry of helpless ones calling, ***Niirse, 
nurse ! water, water ! " and the weary, sleepy nurses 
making no response — sitting, perhaps, fast asleep, 
yet willing to do their duty when I aroused them, 
still rings in my ears. 

The surgeon in charge and all the attendants 
were kind and respectful, coming into our room 
on tiptoe lest their rude steps and ways might 
jostle a soul, hanging by a thread, out of life. 
Each day a telegram was sent to those who 
watched and prayed far away: "No better — 
sinking." 

But a new anxiety disturbed me. The acting 
medical director, who visited the hospital each 
day, coming in reeling drunk on the second day, 
ordered that I should only be admitted for an 
hour each day, in the afternoon. 

No one in the hospital was ready to enforce 
such a brutal order. 

Immediately the chief ofificers at Sedalia and 
St. Louis were advised of the state of affairs. 

The next day, when the acting medical di- 
rector came into the hospital, he was too drunk 
to talk plainly, or to walk without staggering, and 
yet his word was law. He was not too drunk 
to notice my presence when he staggered into 
that little room, however. He said, — 

" Madam, it's against my rules to have any 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 75 

ladies in my hospitals, and you must leave 
here." 

"The devotion of a sister is stronger than all 
hospital rules," I answered calmly. 

'* You can't stay in this hospital. I'm boss 
here." I made no answer. One or the other 
of us must certainly leave that hospital. Letters 
and telegrams poured in upon the chief officers 
at St. Louis, from all the leading officers and 
surgeons in the army at Sedalia, and he was re- 
lieved from duty before the rising of another 
sun. And as he was only acting medical direc- 
tor, not yet having been mustered in, he was dis- 
missed from the service, and I never saw his face 
again. 

There was general rejoicing throughout the 
hospital, the camp, and the town, for the man 
had been a disgrace to the army. After this, 
there were only disease and death to fight. The 
powers of human endurance are wonderful. For 
seven days and nights I never closed my eyes 
to sleep, only as I leaned my head down on the 
side of the cot on which the one lay who was 
hovering between life and death. 

My eldest brother, Dr. William H. Turner, who 
was a surgeon in the Union army, came up on a 
leave ; but as the forces were ordered on the ex- 
pedition against Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, 
he received a telegram to join his command the 
very next day. He had little hope of ever seeing 



^6 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

his brother's face again ; but good nursing brought 
him, and many others in that hospital, through to 
health again. He not only recovered, but he re- 
turned to the army ; and when his term for three 
years had expired, he re-enlisted and served till 
the close of the war. 

He is still living. He has a ranch and a placer 
gold mine, with first water rights, near Helena, 
Mon., where he lives with his family. . 

In the corner near our little room lay a fair- 
faced boy of sixteen. The surgeons had given 
him up to die. When we looked into each other's 
faces I asked the question, " Can I do anything 
for you 1 " The tears came welling up into his 
great brown eyes ; and after a moment's struggle, 
he burst into tears, sobbing like a child. I laid 
my face down on the pillow and cried too. No 
one laughed and called him babyish. Poor boy ! 
sick and homesick, and needing so. much care and 
love, and yet getting so little ; lingering on the 
borderland, with no hand to help, and no voice to 
cheer him. No wonder he cried aloud ; great 
stalwart men, stricken down in the midst of the 
fight, wounded, sick, and sore, understood it ; and 
tears were on many a bronzed face as, taking his 
thin hands in my own, I cried with him. 

As soon as he could command himself he said, 
"If only I could go home, mother could nurse me 
up in a little while." 

"You shall go home. I'll get you a furlough 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. JJ 

as soon as you get well enough," I answered 
hopefully. 

From that hour there was a marked improve- 
ment in that patient's symptoms, and many other 
overcharged hearts were relieved by this outburst 
of feeling. In less than two weeks this boy, 
closely wrapped in blankets, was helped to the 
train, for he was going home on a furlough. 
Friends were to meet him at St. Louis, and ac- 
company him to his home and his mother in Den- 
mark, Iowa. 

And she did nurse him up ; and he returned 
well and strong, to beat the drum for the rallying 
of the serried ranks of men, who, with set faces 
and glittering steel, marched to battle. 

Never was a mother more grateful than that 
Iowa mother was for the little kindnesses shown 
to her suffering boy. I afterwards met him in the 
ranks; for he came down to the Sanitary boat 
to meet me. He was well and strong, and very 
grateful for the little help I had rendered him. 



yS A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



SAVED BY A BIRD. 



THE surgeon in one of the Nashville hospitals 
said, pointing to one of his patients, "There 
is a young man slowly starving to death. His 
fever is broken, and he might get well, but we 
cannot get him to eat anything. If you can tempt 
him to eat he may recover." 

I went over and stood beside his cot. " I am 
glad to see you looking so much better," I said 
enthusiastically. He shook his head. " Oh, yes 
you are ; and now what can I bring you to eat ? 
I'll bring you something real nice; what shall it 
be -> " 

''Nothing." And he turned his face away in 
disgust. 

" I'll tell you what you can eat ;" for I suddenly 
remembered that I had seen a lot of birds hanging 
in a meat-shop as I came down to that hospital ; 
"you can eat a nice broiled bird." 

He looked up in surprise with a ghost of a smile 
on his face. "Maybe I could." 

" Why, of course you could ; and I will go right 
away and get one for you." 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 79 

*' It will be too much trouble." 

" No, it will not be a bit of trouble. You lie 
still and think what good eating a bird is till it 
comes." 

I hurried away lest he should change his mind, 
bought some birds, and took them to the Christian 
Commission Home, where there was an excellent 
cook. 

'' Aunt Debby," I said, as I marched into the 
kitchen with the birds, " I want you to broil two 
of these birds the very best you can. A soldier's 
life depends upon them." 

'' Laws, missus ! You 'most scare me to death 
talking dat way. I'ze weak as a rag, and ken do 
nuthen." 

" But you'll do it right, and then the soldier will 
get well. I'll help you." 

In a very short time two birds nicely broiled, 
and dressed with a little fresh butter and a pinch 
of salt and pepper, lay in the bottom of a hot cov- 
ered dish. A card with the name of the hospital, 
the name of the soldier, and the number of his 
cot, was attached to the basket ; and a half-grown 
colored boy in service at the house was intrusted 
with it, and bore it away in haste. 

''Take notice, Ben, what he does and says, so 
you can tell us when you come back," was my last 
injunction. 

In due time Ben came back, laughing. '' Did 
he eat them } " I questioned eagerly. 



8o A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

" O missus, you o'ter 'a' seen 'im. I sot don 
the basket and tooked off de cover and held the 
birds up close tu 'im ; an' my, but it did smell 
good! He jus' gim it one look, den he grab one 
an' begun to eat. But I wus a-holden de dish dar, 
an' he seed t'other bird, and he grabbed dat, an' he 
dove his han' dow under 'is piller an' brung out an 
ole newspaper, and he wrapped up t'other bird and 
chucked it down under his piller, and den he went 
on eaten as fast as he could. Oh, golly, but wus- 
ent he hungry ! " And Ben doubled himself up and 
laughed as only a colored boy can laugh. 

The next day I was called away to Chattanooga, 
and so I left all my work in other hands. While 
in Chattanooga, General Hood marched northward 
and broke the lines of communication between 
Nashville and Chattanooga, and I was detained 
there several weeks. The very day after my re- 
turn I was on the streets of Nashville, and a sol- 
dier met me with great cordiality. 

" I don't believe you know me," he said. 

*' No, I don't remember to have ever met you 
before," I replied. 

'' I'm the man you sent the birds to." 

" I am glad to see you. How is it that you are 
up and out so soon } " 

" Well, you see, there wasn't anything the matter 
with me, but I did not know it. I thought I was 
going to die, but the birds did the business. I 
never did taste anything quite so nice as they 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 8 1 

were, and I have been eating ever since, anything 
I could lay my hands on. And now I am well, and 
am going to join my regiment." 

After a few cordial thanks and good wishes we 
separated, and I have never seen him since. If 
these lines fall under his notice, I would like to 
hear from him. 



82 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



HOW MOTHER BICKERDYKE CUT 
RED TAPE. 



THE battle of Corinth had raged from early 
morning till late in the afternoon, and then 
General Price was checked and forced to retreat. 
The struggle had been a bloody one, and the 
o:round was covered with the wounded and the 
dead. 

The Confederates made a desperate struggle to 
capture Fort Robbinette. General Rogers, or 
"Texas Rogers" as he was usually called, led 
the charge against the fort. Splendidly mounted, 
with a flag in one hand and a pistol in the other, 
he rode up to the very mouth of the cannon, all 
the while beckoning his men onward. Reaching 
the ramparts, he planted the Confederate flag 
there, and the next moment fell dead. But his 
troops surged up after him, although the cannon 
of the fort mowed down great swaths of march- 
ing men, as with set faces and bowed heads they 
followed their leader. 

The scenes that followed were indescribable. 
The human avalanche surged up into the fort, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 83 

and men, hand to hand, contended for the 
mastery. 

The Confederate flag waved only for a moment. 
Then it was torn away, and tlie men who had 
climbed up over the ramparts were hurled back. 
But still fresh relays came on. When there was 
not time to reload their guns, the invaders used 
them as clubs, and the fragments of many a shat- 
tered musket were left upon the field. Texas 
Rogers's horse, which had gone back riderless, 
came dashing up again when the next charge was 
made, as though guided by human hands, and 
once more turned and went back. After the 
bloody conflict ended, it was found that forty-two 
men lay dead in a heap where '' Texas Rogers " 
planted his flag and died. 

Hungry and utterly exhausted as were the men, 
who, without food or rest, had fought all day, 
their first duty was to their wounded comrades. 
Every available building, and every church but 
one, was taken for hospital purposes ; and long 
rows of tents were put up on the grounds of the 
Ladies' College. But there was a lack of sup- 
plies. There were no cots or pillows — only the 
bare ground. 

Among the heroic workers there, was Mother 
Bickerdyke, who could always find supplies if they 
were within reach. She took some wagons and a 
squad of men, and went down to the quartermas- 
ter's storehouse. " Come on, boys," she said ; 



84 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

*' we will see if we can find anything to make 
the wounded comfortable." 

The quartermaster was there to receive her, and 
to say, "We have no hospital supplies; they are 
all given out." 

''Then, I'll have to take what I can get. Boys, 
roll out some of those bales of hay and cotton ! 
They will make better beds than the ground." 

"You must bring me an order, madam." 

" I have no time to hunt up officers to get 
orders." 

" But I am responsible for these supplies, and 
cannot let them go without proper orders." 

The wagons were soon loaded up, and the bales 
of hay and cotton were soon at the hospital tents. 
An axe cut the hoops, and the hay went flying 
into the tents in long even rows with the help of 
ready hands. An armful of cotton made a good 
pillow. All night long the work went on. Some 
with lanterns were searching among the dead for 
the wounded and bringing them in ; others dress- 
ins: the wounds. No one was idle. The utmost 
of strength and energy must be put forth at such 
a time. 

But the quartermaster must make his accounts 
all right, and of course had to enter complaint 
against Mother Bickerdyke. She was summoned 
to meet the charge, which she did when she found 
time to go. 

" Mrs. Bickerdyke, you are charged with taking 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 85 

quartermaster's stores without proper orders and 
over his protest." 

'' Who ordered the tents put up on the college 
grounds ? " 

'' I did." 

'* What were they put up for.?" 

'* To shelter the wounded men, of course." 

" Did you expect these wounded men to lie on 
the ground t " 

'' You should have obtained orders." 

*' I had no time to go for orders. Why didn't 
you order in the hay and the cotton t " 

'' I did not think of it." 

" Well, I did, and used all I needed ; and now all 
you have to do is to draw an order for them and 
give it to the quartermaster." 

She bade the officers good-day and returned to 
her work, and no one thought of arresting her. 
Indeed, she had the best of the argument. 

Mrs. Mary A. Bickerdyke, or *' Mother Bicker- 
dyke " as the boys used to call her, was one of the 
most energetic and faithful workers of the war. 
Her fidelity to duty, and her untiring efforts for 
the comfort of the sick and wounded, have en- 
deared her to her co-laborers and to the old 
soldiers whom she blessed. She now, 1894, lives 
in quiet and comfort with her son, Professor Bick- 
erdyke, Russell, Kan. 



86 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A FIGHTING EDITOR. 



IN the spring of 1861, Dr. Charles Elliott edited 
TJie Central CJiristimi Advocate, in the third 
story of a business block in St. Louis, Mo. 

The SoiitJieiii CJiristian Advocate, which rep- 
resented the views of the South, was at the 
time published in the second story of the same 
building. 

The two editors, who had always been per- 
sonally friendly to each other, were wide apart 
on the great question of disunion, which was 
stirring the hearts of the people. 

Dr. Elliott was a genial Irishman of great 
ability and courage. He was one of the most 
learned men in the country. It is a remarkable 
fact that he had never been in a college until 
he was chosen president of one of the finest 
Western institutions of learning, yet he was mas- 
ter of all the highest university studies taught. 
Sanscrit, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, 
Spanish, and many other languages, were as famil- 
iar to him as the English, and he was profoundly 
versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 87 

He was a thorough scholar, and made a good 
college president. But the church needed a 
strong, loyal man, with the courage to stand for 
the truth, at this outpost ; and Dr. Elliott was 
chosen. 

Both editors were able and fearless men, and 
they fought many a hard battle with their pens 
before the bombardment of Fort Sumter. After 
the fall of Sumter, the excitement in St. Louis 
ran high. The city was about evenly divided in 
sentiment, and no one dared to predict what a 
day or an hour would bring forth. The Stars 
and Stripes, symbolizing the Union cause, and 
the State flag, representing the disunion cause, 
floated here and there side by side on adjoining 
buildings. The two editors grew more intense 
in feeling as the conflict deepened. Dr. Elliott's 
strong, masterly arraignment of the South for 
the crime of slavery, and his cutting sarcasm 
over secession, were almost unbearable to the 
managers of the other paper, and the latter tried 
to pay him back with interest; but at first neither 
one actually unfurled on the building the banner 
which represented his principles. 

One day news reached St. Louis that General 
Price had won a victory, and the editor of The 
SontJieni CJiristiaii Advocate threw out the State 
flag. A few moments afterward a friend came 
rushing into Dr. Elliott's sanctum : '* Doctor, 
they have thrown out the rebel flag down-stairs." 



88 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

Dr. Elliott sprang from his editorial chair, and 
rushed to the front window. There, sure enough, 
was the flag of disunion, waving in the breeze. 
Dr. Elliott had prepared for just such an emer- 
gency. All the ropes and guys were ready. He 
ran to a closet, brought forth an immense Union 
flag, and threw it out. The next moment it was 
in its place, and was waving back and forth be- 
fore the windows of the office below, and slap- 
ping the other flag furiously. Dr. Elliott laid 
out a brace of pistols on his editorial table, and 
took his seat to await developments. He did not 
have long to wait. The tramp of feet was heard 
on the stairs, and the editor of The Southern 
Christian Advocate rushed in with some of his 
friends. 

" Take down that flag ! " he thundered. 

'* I shall not take down that flag ; and if any 
man touches it I will shoot him on the spot as 
an enemy of my country," was Dr. Elliott's 
prompt reply, as he stood, pistol in hand, ready 
to execute his threat. 

After some parley the invading force retired. 

Shortly afterward a large Union force was 
thrown into St. Louis, martial law was declared, 
and all the rebel flags were hauled down. The 
beautiful flag which Dr. Elliott had displayed in 
front of his office continued to wave in triumph 
until the war was over. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 89 



THE FIRST SOLDIERS WOUNDED 
IN THE CIVIL WAR. 

A Colored Man the First to Fall. 



FORT SUMTER was fired on April 12, 1861. 
The next day the Pottsville Light Infantry, 
of Pottsville, Pa., tendered their services by tele- 
gram for the defence of the government. 

Their services were accepted by Simon Cam- 
eron by telegraph ; and they, with recruits gath- 
ered on the journey, were the first troops to reach 
the capital. There being some question as to the 
date of their reaching Washington, Simon Cam- 
eron, Secretary of War, being appealed to, pub- 
lished the following letter : — 

Philadelphia, July 4, 1866. 
I hereby certify that the Pottsville Light Infantry was the 
first company of volunteers whose services were oifered for 
the defence of the capital at the beginning of the War of the 
Rebellion. A telegram reached the War Department on 
April 13, 1861, making the tender. It was immediately ac- 
cepted; and the company reached Washington on the 18th, 
with four additional companies from Pennsylvania, and these 
were the first troops to reach the seat of government. 

(Signed) Simon Cameron. 



90 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

On July 22, 1861, the United States Congress 
passed the following resolution : — 

Resolved, That the thanks of the House are due and are 
hereby tendered to the five hundred and thirty soldiers from 
Pennsylvania who passed through the mob at Baltimore, and 
reached Washington on the i8th day of April last, for the 
defence of the national capital. 

Although the day was cold and raw, the people 
of the loyal town of Pottsville gathered on the 
streets and cheered them on their way ; and all 
along the line till they reached Baltimore, they 
were hailed with loyal enthusiasm. 

They reached Baltimore April 18; and while 
passing through that city a furious mob assailed 
them, and they fought their way through. 

Nicholas Biddle, the only colored man in the 
company, an old man sixty years old, was the first 
Union volunteer to shed his blood for the life of 
the nation in our recent Civil War. 

It is a significant fact that the first man killed 
in the Revolutionary War was a colored man, — 
Crispus Attucks. 

Nicholas Biddle was not killed, but was struck 
on the head w4th a stone dropped from a building, 
and fell senseless and covered with blood. His 
comrades, although fighting a furious mob, did not 
desert him, but gathered him up and put him on 
the cars. 

Weary and wounded and bruised and battered 
by the mob at Baltimore, they got through alive, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. Qf 

and were on the i8th of April quartered in the 
rotunda of the Capitol. 

Nicholas Biddle, although sixty years old, en- 
listed and served throughout the war, and re- 
turned to Pottsville with those who survived the 
terrible struggle. 

He lived till he was eighty years old ; and his 
friends at Pottsville have erected a monument 
in his honor, which bears the following inscrip- 
tion — 

"IN MEMORY OF 

NICHOLAS BIDDLE. 

Died 2d Aug, ^ ^^7^^ aged 80 years. 

His was the proud distinction of shedding the First Blood in 

The Late War for The Union. Being wounded while 

marching through Baltimore with the First 

Volunteers from Schuylkill County, 

1 8th April, 1861. 

ERECTED BY HIS FRIENDS OF POTTSVILLE." 

The very next day, April 19, the Sixth Massa- 
chusetts Regiment fought its way through the 
same cruel, howling mob. 



92 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE AT 
VICKSBURG. 



THE ship canal, and all other plans for getting 
below Vicksburg with enough boats to trans- 
port his troops across the Mississippi River, hav- 
ing failed. General Grant determined to run the 
blockade. Seven gunboats and three wooden 
steamers were put in condition to make the peril- 
ous trip. 

The iron sides of the gunboats were drenched 
with coal oil, and the floors were whitewashed, 
that the gunners might load their guns by the 
light of the whitewash. 

The important working machinery of the wooden 
steamers was protected by bales of cotton and 
bales of hay. The smoke-stacks and pilot-houses 
were taken down; and the pilots must needs stand 
at their wheels, and the captains on the upper 
decks, with nothing to shield them from the 
sharpshooters on the wharves of Vicksburg. 

All this preparation was done as secretly as 
possible. 

But the service was a dangerous one, and no 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 93 

one was to be ordered into such unusual and 
dangerous service. A call was made along the 
line on dress parade for volunteers. Two thou- 
sand brave men stepped to the front, anxious for 
the perilous service. As only a few were needed, 
lots had to be drawn to obtain the few from the 
two thousand ; and one young man, who was 
chosen by lot, was offered one hundred dollars 
for his place, but he refused it. I am glad to 
record that he got through safely. 

About nine o'clock on the night of April 16, 
1863, a dark night, I received a note from Mrs. 
General Grant, who was with her husband at 
Milliken's Bend, informing me that the boats 
would run the blockade that night, and asking me 
to come over and go with them to witness it. I 
accepted the invitation, and accompanied the 
orderly who had brought the note. It was dark 
and raining ; but very soon we were, in company 
with General Grant, on our way to the steamer 
that was to bear us to the point chosen by our 
fearless leader to witness the running of the 
blockade. 

When we reached the steamer, we found all the 
leading generals there except General Sherman, 
who had gone below to receive the fleet. McPher- 
son, Logan, Belknap, Rawlins, Dodge, and all the 
others whose names have been made immortal in 
connection with the siege of Vicksburg, were 
there. The boat at once steamed down to 



94 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

Young's Point, from Milliken's Bend ; and about 
midnight all the lights were extinguished, the 
fires screened, and the boat dropped down with- 
out the splash of a wheel, near the first batteries 
of Vicksburg. With what intense interest we 
watched for the coming of the fleet, peering out 
into the darkness of that black night. At last we 
saw a gunboat, blacker than that starless night, 
creeping past us like some great monster of the 
deep. Then another and another, right down 
under the guns. They passed the first batteries 
without being noticed ; then the storm broke 
upon them in all its fury. 

Admiral Porter on his flag-ship, the Benton, 
lead the way. The Carondclct, commanded by 
Captain Walke, and the Tnsciinibia, followed. 

The three wooden steamers were the Forest 
Queen, the Henry Clay, and the Silver Wave. 

The first shot near us seemed to tear the sky 
to pieces above our heads. There was a flash of 
light all along the water-line of Vicksburg ; great 
bonfires lighted up the river. 

The captain of our boat in his excitement put 
on steam and started up the river. General Grant, 
who was with us on the guards, rushed to the 
hurricane deck, and compelled the captain to drop 
back to the old position. 

Our long line of gunboats were now giving 
broadside after broadside, keeping well to the 
Vicksburg side, while the wooden steamers, with 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 95 

their heavily ladened scows or barges, ran through 
as rapidly as possible, keeping well to the Loui- 
siana side. 

The great artillery duel was now on, every gun 
on both sides of the line was belching forth shot 
or shell. 

Our boat swayed with the concussion of sound. 
It was as though a thousand electric storms had 
burst upon us in all their fury. And yet each 
shot and shell had a voice of its own, and could be 
heard in thunder tones with awful distinctness. 
And running through the bass and treble of solid 
shot and screaming shells, the click of the mus- 
ketry of the sharpshooters on the wharfs of Vicks- 
burg could be heard, as, by the light of the bonfires 
blazing high, they aimed the deadly bullets at the 
captains and pilots who stood up unarmed in full 
view. My friend. Captain McMillen of Pittsburg, 
Pa., who owned the Silver Wave, and who com- 
manded her on that expedition, stood on her deck 
in full view, amid the terrible rain of fire and lead.^ 

There were, history informs us, on the average, 
one hundred and tiventy heavy gnus a uiinuic. The 
scene was grand and awful. The bonfires were 
kept blazing. The Henry Clay burned to the 
water's edge, the tongues of flame leaping above 

1 He made the journey safely, and continued to command his boat 
while she was in the United States service, which was till the close of the 
war. He was one of the few loyal steamboat captains on the Mississippi 
River. He lived to enjoy a long season of peace, dying in 1S93. 



96 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

the track of shot and shell. Shells were flying in 
every direction ; with their burning fuses they 
made their circles, dropping down out of the sky 
like stars of the first magnitude, now and then 
some bursting in mid-heaven with a million scin- 
tillations of light. 

All the officers had gone to the upper deck ; and 
Mrs. Grant and I stood together, out on the guards, 
looking out on the grand and awful scene before 
us, shivering with agony. 

We were neither of us alarmed for our own 
safety, but were overwhelmed with anxiety for 
the safety of our brave soldiers, and the success 
of the expedition. 

Mrs. Grant was very sympathetic and kindly 
hearted, and stood there looking out upon the 
grand and terrible scenes of war J;hrough her 
tears. She was a most devoted wife and mother, 
and, like her noble, generous-hearted husband, 
was most heartily interested for the safety and 
welfare of the brave men who were fighting the 
battles of her country. 

"Our men are all dead men." '* No one can 
live in such a rain of fire and lead," we said to 
each other. *'A11 our fleet, and the heroic men 
who manned the boats, are surely swallowed in that 
fiery channel," we moaned with the tears on our 
faces. Only once, it was while the Henry Clay 
was burning, we saw for a moment or two the 
grand old Stars and Stripes. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 97 

" See ! see ! there is our flag," was the glad ex- 
clamation ; but the next moment it was hid from 
our sight by the smoke of the guns. 

We stood there, amid the thunders of this great- 
est artillery duel that was ever fought in the world, 
for two long hours, unconscious of danger or weari- 
ness. Then General Grant came down from the 
upper deck with the glad news, for he had been 
watching for the signals or rockets that the boats, 
one by one, sent up as they got safely through, 
that all the boats were through but the Henry 
Clay. The roar of the cannon had begun to die 
away, when our captain, at the command of General 
Grant, turned the prow of his boat up the Missis- 
sippi River, and steamed back to Milliken's Bend. 
We reached there at daylight, after the most ex- 
citing night I had ever known, or perhaps will 
ever know again, on the earth. 



98 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



I HAVE THE COMFORTER. 



IN 1862, just after the terrible battle at Corinth, 
Miss., I visited the hospitals in that place. 
The havoc had been fearful on both sides, and 
the wounded of the two armies crowded every 
ward. 

Going into a hospital known as the College 
Building one day, and passing from cot to cot, I 
came to a young man who looked very pale and 
weak. I asked, — 

" Are you sick or wounded } " 

He answered, " I am severely wounded ; " and 
seeing the look of sympathy on my face, he went 
on to tell me all about it. 

It was a long, sad story that I need not repeat 
here. 

He had fallen in the front of the battle-line, 
had been taken prisoner, and had lain out all the 
night long among the dead ; but he said cheer- 
fully, *' When ' our boys ' found me, they took 
me up tenderly and brought me here, and now I 
am doing well." 

But I felt that he was not doing well, that he 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 99 

was on the verge of the grave, and that I must 
speak to him of the future. He went on to tell 
me of his home, — of a mother and sister and 
two little brothers in Benton County, Iowa, and 
added, — 

" When I get well enough, I hope they will 
give me a furlough and let me go home." 

I said tenderly, '' I hope you will get well ; but 
how will it be if you should not 1 Are you ready 
to die } " 

I never shall forget his answer ; it has been 
ringing through my soul all these years. It was 
as though he was transfigured before me ; there 
came into his face such light and joy, as, laying 
his hand on his heart, he said, " I have the Com- 
forter ! " What volumes in that sentence ! I 
did not need to ask him to what denomination he 
belono:ed, or when or where he had found the 
pearl of great price. It was enough for me to 
know that he had the Blessed Comforter which 
Jesus promised to his disciples. 

But he went on talking sweetly of Christ and 
heaven, and the power of Christ to keep. " Re- 
ligion," he said, " has kept me through all the 
temptations of camp-life, and now I am ready to 
live or to die. If the Master sees that it is best 
that I should go now, it will be as near heaven 
from Corinth as it would be from Iowa." 

It was evening time, and I went my way. The 
next morning I was early at that hospital, and 



lOO A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

first of all went to look after him, but I found his 
place vacant, 

I said to the wardmaster, ''Where is the young 
man who was lying here by this post ? " 

He answered, " He is dead." 

Oh, how his words went to my heart ! 

" Where have you laid him ? " I asked. 

He led the way out into the back yard, and 
there, side by side, stood the seven cot bedsteads 
that held the seven dead men that had been car- 
ried out the night before. He pointed out his cot, 
and left me alone with the dead. The bed-spreads 
were drawn up over their faces, and that was all 
that was between the dead faces and the sky. 

I drew down the bedspread to look upon his 
face. I never can express the emotions of that 
moment. My heart was thrilled ; for there upon 
the dead soldier's face was the very same look of 
joy and peace that was on his face when he said, 
*' I have the Comforter," and I knew that the 
Comforter had been with him till the last. I 
wrote to his mother, telling her the sad story of 
his sufferings, and the sweet, sweet story of his 
Christian triumph. 

After a while an answer came back to me. 
She did not know that he was wounded or dead 
until she received my letter. 

His death was a heavy blow ; but she rose in 
Christian triumph above her great sorrow, and in 
closing Rer letter said, — 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. lOI 

" My son may not come back to me, but I shall 
go to him, and it is just as near heaven from 
Iowa as it was from Corinth ; and the same Co7n- 
forter that comforted viy son wJien zuounded and 
dying among strange j's comforts me nozvT 

What a glorious Christianity we have ! A 
religion that can keep under the sorest trials, 
that can comfort in the deepest agonies, and that 
can give joy and peace in the presence of death, 
and leave its divine stamp npon the dead clay. 



I02 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



BLOWING UP OF FORT HILL. 



A 



LONG the lines of Vicksburg- durinor the 



& 



siege, there was no stronger point than 
Fort Hill. The land stood high, and the approach 
was almost perpendicular at some points. In the 
assignment of troops to positions, General John A. 
Logan's division was placed in front of Fort Hill. 
General Logan was a man of energy, and a great 
fighter. With the consent of his superiors in 
command, he planned to mine Fort Hill. The 
work was begun at a distance in the rear, behind 
a bluff, so as to hide the operation from the Con- 
federates. General Logan's engineers, with scien- 
tific precision, directed the tunnel toward Fort 
Hill. There were weary days and nights of dig- 
ging before they reached the foundation of the 
fort. But there came to the ears of the Con- 
federates at last, even amid the thunder of the 
cannon and the screaming of shells, the sounds 
of the mining. Night after night they listened 
with their ears to the ground to the sound of the 
Union picks. The Confederates soon began to 
countermine, and it was not long before the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. IO3 

toilers in the Union tunnel heard the thud of 
the Confederate picks nearly over their heads. 
They were too high to strike the Union tunnel, 
but it was evident that no time must be lost in 
blowing up the fort. Tons of powder were car- 
ried in, and one bright afternoon about two 
o'clock the slow fuse was lighted and the tunnel 
was cleared. The regular firing of the battle was 
o:oino: on. There was nothino^ in the movements 
of the army to indicate that anything unusual was 
about to occur. 

As I was driving around the lines that day, I 
met General McPherson and his staff, riding at 
full speed. Halting, he said, — 

" You are going in the wrong direction. Fort 
Hill will be blown up in a few minutes. Better 
drive to General Logan's headquarters." 

" Oh, no," I answered ; '* I'll be near enough to 
see the terrible tragedy. It will be heart-break- 
ing." 

They galloped on ; but I lingered along the 
roadway in sight of Fort Hill. 

Suddenly a terrific explosion shook the founda- 
tions of the earth, and the heavy timbers of the 
fort and tons of earth were lifted skyward. The 
next moment the dust and smoke hid everything 
from view. General Logan and his men pushed 
into the breach, hoping to effect an entrance 
before the Confederates had recovered from the 
shock ; but a glittering wall of bayonets met them, 



I04 A WOMAN'S REMIiVISCENCES 

and they were pushed back inch by inch. All 
that afternoon and evening hand-grenades were 
tossed back and forth as in a game of baseball ; 
but an entrance could not be made. 

A strange incident occurred at the blowing up 
of Fort Hill, which is perhaps without a parallel. 
There was at the time of the explosion a slave 
boy about eighteen years old working with others 
in the Confederate tunnel. This boy was lifted 
up with timbers and tons of earth, and thrown 
into the Union lines. He fell among the men of 
Williams's Battery of Ohio. When the men ran 
to pick him up, he exclaimed with terror, "■ Is you 
Yanks g-oin' to kill me.-*" 

'' Oh, no ; we don't kill colored folks," was the 
prompt reply. 

"Oh, golly, I went up free miles." 

*' Could you see anything } " was asked. 

"When I'se goin' up," he said, "'most ebery- 
thing was comin' down, and when I'se comin' 
down 'most ebery thing was goin' up." 

"Who commanded Fort Hill.'^" inquired one of 
the gunners. 

"My massa," replied the boy. 

" Where is your massa now } " 

"'Fore God, genl'men, I can't tell you; he was 
goin' up when I'se comin' down." 

Pictures of the boy were preserved by Wil- 
liams's Battery, taken soon after the explosion, 
showing the boy in the patched tow garments 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. IO5 

he wore in his wild flight for liberty. General 
Logan kept him at his headquarters for some 
time. 

I saw him there many times. After the war 
he went to Washington with them I think, and re- 
mained some years. 



[06 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



GETTING 2,000 SICK AND 
WOUNDED OUT OF HELENA, ARK. 



ON the loth of August, 1863, accompanied by 
my secretary, Miss Mary Shelton, now Mrs. 
Judge Houston of Burlington, Iowa, I started on 
my return trip to Vicksburg, with a heavy ship- 
ment of hospital supplies. 

The Vaji P/uil, the steamer on which we took 
passage at St. Louis, reached Helena, Ark., on 
the i6th of August. 

When the boat landed at that post, we found, 
on inquiry, that there were over two thousand 
sick and wounded there, and so stopped over with 
a part of our supplies, the rest going on to Vicks- 
burg, where I had a covered barge that had done 
duty on the Yazoo River during the siege, but 
which was then lying at the wharf of Vicksburg. 

We found the hospitals at Helena, if they may 
be called hospitals, in a dreadful condition. The 
Methodist and Baptist churches were crowded 
with very sick and severely wounded men. 

There were very few cots in these two churches ; 
most of the men were lying in the narrow pews, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, \OJ 

with the scant, uneven cushions for their beds. 
The weather was extremely hot, and flies swarmed 
over everybody and everything. The faces of 
some of the men, who were too helpless to keep 
up a continual fight with them, were black with 
swarms of hungry, buzzing flies. A few pieces 
of mosquito-bars were spread over the faces of 
some of the weakest patients ; but, lying loose over 
their faces, they were of little advantage. Bar- 
rels in which had been shipped pickled pork now 
served as water-tanks, and were placed near the 
pulpit. They were filled every morning with the 
tepid water of the Mississippi River. 

There was a barge of ice lying at the land- 
ing, brought down on purpose for the sick ; but 
I could find no one who had authority to issue 
it, and so it was slowly melting away under the 
blaze of an August sun. 

The men in charge were, however, willing to 
sell, and I had money to buy ; and soon great 
crystal cakes of Northern ice were floating 
in every barrel of water in every hospital in 
Helena. 

Acres of tents had been pitched by the road- 
side ; and the mud, that in the winter had made 
the streets and roadways almost impassable, had 
now turned to dust, and every breeze sent it in 
clouds into the faces of the sick and wounded 
men. 

There was another camp, called the Convales- 



I08 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

cent Camp, on the sandy beach of the river, the 
water being very low at the time. We found no 
convalescence there. The sun beat down on the 
white tents and the glistening sand till the heat 
was like a furnace. 

Just back of these hospital tents and churches, 
there was a wide cypress swamp, stagnant and 
green and deadly. 

The men were discouraged. ''We have been 
left here to die ; " " No man could recover in 
such a place as this," was the verdict of all 
who had the strength and courage to express 
their feelings. The air was heavy with the 
deadly malaria, that ladened every breeze with 
poison. 

It was good service to provide them with light 
hospital garments to take the place of their heavy 
soiled clothing, and with delicate food to take the 
place of coarse army rations ; but, as one man 
said, ''It's no use, ladies ; we are all doomed men. 
It is only a question of time — your efforts will only 
prolong our suffering ; we are all the same as 
dead men." 

For two long days, through sun and dust, we 
went from hospital to hospital, till we, too, became 
hopeless. 

Every wrong that they had suffered, every peril 
that had threatened them, was burned into our 
hearts and brains, till they became our own. 

There were no high officials that we could ap- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. IO9 

peal to. General Steele was pushing the Con- 
federate forces toward Little Rock. There was 
no one having authority nearer than Memphis, 
Tenn. ; and I determined to go to Memphis, and 
invoke the help of the authorities there. 

I waited for an up-bound steamer all night. I 
could not sleep ; my heart and brain and blood 
seemed to be on fire. Thousands of despairing, 
suffering men were all around me ; it seemed as 
if sleep had forever left my eyes and slumber my 
eyelids. All night long I waited for an upward- 
bound steamer, and while I waited I wrote letters 
to the wives and mothers of the men who had 
asked me to write for them. About daylight a 
boat came up from Vicksburg, bound for St. 
Louis ; and I boarded her for Memphis, leaving 
Miss Shelton at the house where we had taken 
board, to complete the task of letter-writing. 
When I reached Memphis, I drove directly to 
the office of the medical director. An orderly 
was the sole occupant of the office. He informed 
me that the medical director had gone out hunt- 
ing, and would not be back till evening. I was 
greatly disappointed, as I had hoped much from 
him, but I was not discouraged. I decided to ap- 
peal to the commanding general. 

The adjutant-general was the only person in the 
office. 

" I wish to see the general," I said, addressing 
the adjutant. 



no A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

** The general is sick to-day, and cannot see any 
one. Perhaps he can see you to-morrow." 

" My business is important and urgent ; I can- 
not wait till to-morrow. Will you take a message 
to the general for me t " 

" I cannot do that, madam ; the general is very 
sick, and I cannot disturb him, but perhaps I can 
attend to the business." 

Thus encouraged, I began in a very energetic 
manner a statement of the condition of the sick 
and wounded at Helena. In the midst of it the 
door opened, and the general stood before me. 
I took in the situation in an instant, realizing that, 
sick or well, or whatever his condition, he was the 
man who had the authority, and I immediately 
turned to him with the case. I pleaded for those 
men as one would plead for his own life, and I 
concluded with a definite request : " I want you. 
General, to send down four steamers immediately, 
fitted out with cots and supplies, to bring all these 
suffering men away from that death-trap." He 
said that it should be done. "But, General," I 
continued, " I want the order issued before I leave 
this office. I want to go back and tell the men that 
the boats are coming — it may save some lives." 

" I assume, madam, that the order has been 
given," said the adjutant, " and I will promulgate 
it immediately." 

" May I depend on you to send the boats down 
there by to-morrow noon .'' " 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. Ill 

*'The boats will be there without fail." 

''Remember," I said, ''I have no other appeal 
but the newspapers and the great, generous 
people of the North who sustain them, if you 
fail" 

" I hope, dear madam, that you will make no 
mention of this in the papers — the boats will be 
there." These last words were uttered as he 
closed the door of my carriage. I hurried away, 
as a steamer was coming in, and I desired, if pos- 
sible, to get back to Helena that night. 

I felt a little more certain of the boats coming 
because of my threat to appeal to the North 
through the newspapers, of which officials stood 
in some fear. There were, however, other reasons 
why I was justified in putting the case in that 
way of which it is not best to speak now. I 
reached Helena at half-past eleven o'clock that 
night, full of hope, and ready to rest and sleep. 

The next morning early we were out in the 
hospitals, not for the purpose of distributing 
supplies, but as the messengers of glad tidings. 
And never did women go with gladder hearts to 
bear good news, since Mary left the tomb of her 
risen Lord, than we did that morning, as we went 
from hospital to hospital telling the men the boats 
were coming. We went to the two churches first ; 
and in each I took a position in the pulpit, and 
called out at the top of my voice, — 

" Attention, soldiers ! Four hospital steamers 



112 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

will be here to-day to take you to Northern hos- 
pitals." The effect was magical. Men who were 
lying seemingly half-dead in their hopeless de- 
spair lifted their heads, and questioned anx- 
iously, — 

" What did you say } " and the glad message 
was repeated again and again, with the assurance 
that the boats would surely come. 

"■ Then I'll get well." ** Where are my shoes .^" 
** Where is my hat } " and so we left them getting 
ready for the journey, and went from hospital to 
hospital with the glad message. 

In one tent by the roadside, a beautiful brown- 
eyed boy about sixteen years old, after I had made 
the glad proclamation, questioned, " Is that so, 
lady .? " 

" Yes, it is so ; we are looking for the boats 
every minute." He slipped out of his cot; and, 
kneeling beside it, he lifted his eyes heavenward, 
and the tears running down his face, he repeated 
over and over, — 

" Thank God, deliverance has come at last." 

In one ward a man looked at us very earnestly, 
and then questioned, — 

" Is it the truth ye are telling us, now ? " 

"Yes, it is the truth." 

" Now, surely, ye wouldn't be after decavin' a 
poor sick man that's most dead with the heat, 
and the flies, and the cypress swamp, would ye, 
now.?" 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. II3 

" No, sir, I would not." 

My anxiety was intense. What if the boats 
should not come } I stepped out of the tent and 
looked up the river, and there in full view the 
little fleet of four boats were coming around the 
bend of the river. 

We both cried out in our joy, "The boats! 
the boats are coming ! " but tears of thankfulness 
almost choked our voices. The excitement was 
intense. No one stood on the order of his going. 
The surgeons were willing all should go, and de- 
sired to go with them, and they did. Every man 
who could, rushed for the boats. Some who 
were not able to walk managed some way to get 
from their cots and crawl out toward the boats. 

Oh ! it was pitiful to see the helpless ones, the 
wounded ones, who could not move, waiting with 
anxiety for their turn to be carried to the boats, 
and pleading, '' Please, ladies, don't let me be left 
behind." 

" No, no ! Don't be alarmed, you shall go," 
was repeated over and over. At last all were 
crowded into the four steamers, and the boats 
steamed away with their precious freight up the 
Mississippi River. We stood at the landing as 
the boats moved away. The poor fellows out on 
the guards tried to give three cheers, but the 
effort was a failure. We waved our handker- 
chiefs, and they waved their hats, or their hands, 
as long as the boats were in sight. 



114 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

What a load of anxiety and responsibility was 
lifted from our hearts ! 

Gathering up the supplies still left over, we 
took the first steamer bound for Vicksburg. 

When we reached the conquered city we found 
thousands of sick and wounded still crowded into 
the hospitals there, and we remained for some 
time ministering to them as best we could. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 15 



THE CLOCK AT VICKSBURG. 



VICKSBURG was situated on a high bluff. 
In the centre of the town stood the Court 
House. 

On the Court House tower, there was a large 
white-faced clock, that turned its four white faces 
to the four points of the compass. Very early in 
the struggle, while yet the army was on the west 
side of the river, the artillerymen of the Union 
army attempted to destroy that clock, and by 
stopping the time confuse the enemy. There was 
quite a rivalry as to who should with shot or shell 
dash that clock to pieces. 

But somehow they could not hit the clock. 
The rivalry continued ; and when the army envi- 
roned Vicksburg, there were eighteen miles of 
batteries pointing towards the town and often 
turned towards the clock. Shot and shell flew 
thick and fast, riddling the flag that waved above 
the clock, tearing away part of the stairway 
below, and chipping the casement that enclosed 
it. But steadily the hours and days went by, 
till weeks lengthened into months, and yet the 



Il6 A WOMAN'S /REMINISCENCES 

clock untouched and unhalting measured off 
time. 

After the surrender I climbed the broken stairs, 
and saw the damage the shot and shell had done. 
The framework was chipped all around. But I 
found out why the shot and shell could not hit the 
clock. 

Aunt I)inah, the cook, had said to me, — 

*' You oter see our preacher — he's the power- 
fulest preacher in dis town, he is." 

I expressed a willingness to see him, of which 
I suppose he was duly informed by Aunt Dinah, 
as he called the next day. 

He was a middle-aged man of strong muscular 
frame ; and his face, which was black, was sur- 
mounted by a wealth of white hair. I found him 
very intelligent, and he gave me a great deal of 
information about the life in Vicksburg during 
the siege. At last I asked him how it happened 
that the colored people's church, a large brick 
structure, was in ruins. 

" Was it destroyed by shot and shell } " I in- 
quired. 

'' No, missus ; no shot nor shell ever cum near 
dat church ; but you see we colored people ust to 
go dare to pray, an' we prayed mighty powerful 
for de Yanks an' for freedom. Den de white 
people da cumed, an' den we had secret prayer. 
Somebody would say, ' We'll have secret prayer,' 
den we knode jus' what to pray fur. But de 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 11/ 

white folks dey 'spicioned wat we wus praying 
fur, and dey tore dow' de church." 

" And that stopped your praying ? " 

*' Oh, no, missus ; dat couldn't stop our praying. 
We jus' 'greed to pray when de town clock struck 
twelve night or day." 

" Why, our men tried to stop that clock ; hun- 
dreds of guns were turned upon it during the 
siege, but somehow they did not happen to hit it." 

The old man's face was radiant. The joy of his 
heart was shining through the black skin, as he 
swayed and clapped his hands. " Oh, honey, 
dar's no happen about dat. De good Lor' he jus' 
put his han' over it, and kep' it goin' an' goin' for 
us poor color folks to pray by." 

What perfect trust ! It is easier to accept the 
theory of the old colored preacher than to explain 
why it was that the army, with a cordon of guns 
pointing toward that clock, did not reach the clock, 
or stop the regular swing of its pendulum, or the 
merry chimes of its bell. 

Mrs. Margaret E. Sangster and myself met at 
the house of a mutual friend on the banks of the 
Hudson River one beautiful cloudless day, and I 
told her this story of the clock at Vicksburg, and 
she immediately wrote the following poem : — 



Il8 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE CLOCK AT VICKSBURG. 
Margaret E. Sangster. 



Month by month the shot and shell 
'Round the 'leaguered city fell. 

Through its fiery tropic air 
Throbbed the anguish of despair. 

Stubbornly the fated gray 
Struggled through each pallid day. 

Stubbornly the loyal blue 

Fought the weary conflict through. 

High above the central square 
Towered the old clock, white and fair. 

Steadily its iron tongue 
Over strife and silence rung. 

Till the sullen foemen swore 

"They shall keep that clock no more." 

All day long with bated breath 
Life looked steadily at death. 

Little ones forgot to play, 
Christians ne'er forgot to pray. 

Fair through all the siege it stood, 
That old clock in sober mood, 

As though now and then 'twould frown 
On the sadness of the town. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. II9 

Whistling balls around it flew, 
Black against the sky's deep blue. 

All untouched, it told the time 
With a regnant cheery chime, 

Till the hour when victory 

Broke the spell — the place set free. 

In the city's open square 
Swarthy faces sobbed in prayer, 

•' Bless the Lord ! the work is done; 
Bless the Lord ! our freedom's won. 

By that clock in yonder street. 
True as steel our sad hearts beat. 

In our homes or by the way, 
When it struck, we paused to pray. 

At its noon-hour day by day 
Every bonds tiiaji stopped to pray. ^^ 

Was it strange that old clock stood 
Safe amid the storm of blood? 

Why, of course it could not fall, 
Guarded by the Lord of all. 

Who through choiring songs of heaven 
Hears the cry of earth's forgiven. 

And till now its honest face 
Is a witness of His grace. 



120 A JVOAfAJV'S REMINISCENCES 



SHARING POOR QUARTERS WITH 
DOROTHY L. DIX. 



IN the winter of 1 864-1 865, the Union forces 
were concentrated in front of Petersburg and 
Richmond. There was more or less skirmishing 
and fighting all the while between the two great 
armies facing each other for the last desperate 
struggle. 

The hospitals were overcrowded at City Point 
and Point of Rocks. Every cot was occupied, 
every tent was crowded, and the thousands of 
troops coming down quartered wherever they 
could find a vacant place. 

I had not been in the cabin of a steamer bound 
for City Point very long till Miss Dorothy L. Dix 
came in. After the usual greetings, she informed 
me that she, too, was going to City Point. 

Miss Dix was the stateliest woman I ever saw, 
and she was very dignified in manner and conver- 
sation. 

Although at that time she was about sixty 
years old, she was tall, straight as an arrow, and 
unusually slender. Her hair, which was abun- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 121 

dant, was very dark brown, almost black, and 
was combed and coiled on the top of her head, 
except two locks in front, which were combed 
smoothly over each ear and carried in a loop up 
over the coil on top of her head. This peculiar 
manner of dressing her hair seemed to add to her 
height and dignity. Her dress was always exceed- 
ingly plain, but neat, and her linen collar and cuffs 
were always immaculate. She wore no jewels, not 
even a breastpin. She required the same degree 
of plainness on the part of her nurses. 

It was not long after the boat left the dock at 
Washington till we had passed Alexandria and 
Mount Vernon, and were steaming on to Fortress 
Monroe at the mouth of the Potomac, with the 
ocean in full view. 

There was always a long stop at this point, as it 
was not only a strong military station, well-fortified 
and strongly guarded by troops and gunboats, but 
it was a great hospital centre. Thousands of sick 
and wounded lay sorely stricken in these great 
barracks and tents by the sea. 

It was about nine o'clock that evening when 
we reached City Point. We had discussed the 
question of lodging before we left the boat, and 
Miss Dix had said, — 

" I have no concern. There are always plenty 
of cots, and I'll find room in some of the nurses' 
tents," and she urged me to go with her. 

But I was equally confident, and assured her 



122 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

that the Christian Commission would take care of 
me. Mr. Cole, of Boston, the chief agent, was 
standing beside a tent, in deep thought, when I 
approached. When he saw me he lifted up his 
hand in dismay. 

*'I have no place for you ; every foot of space 
is occupied," was his greeting. 

" How about the little tent where I stayed the 
last time.?" 

'' It is full of delegates lying on the ground on 
their blankets. I've given up my little corner to 
Dr. , and have no place to sleep myself." 

" How about the storeroom .'' " 

His face brightened. 

'* I never thought of that ; but it's full of bar- 
rels and boxes, and is not in order." 

" No matter ; there will be shelter and room, 
and there is a lock on the door, and I'll get on all 
right." 

A candle and some matches were procured, and, 
accompanied by the agent and his assistant, I went 
into the storeroom near by. It was a great, rough, 
strong plank barracks ; boxes and barrels were 
piled up nearly to the roof. There was a vacant 
space where they handled the supplies, near the 
door. 

''There is not a cot on the premises ; they have 
all been taken for the sick and wounded. What 
will you do .'* " 

"I'll sleep on the floor, of course," I answered 
cheerfully. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR 123 

But they turned some of the boxes around, and 
gathered up all the straw and shavings that were 
in sight, that had been used in packing, and put 
them together, and I placed my satchel for a pil- 
low ; and after I had assured them that it would 
be all right, they left, and I locked the door after 
them. 

They had not been gone ten minutes till there 
was a knock at the door. I went very close to the 
door and called, — 

"What is wanted?" 

"Mrs. Wittenmyer, Miss Dix is here, and she 
has no place to stay. Can she come in.?" 

"Certainly; of course she can." 

And I opened the door, and that stately woman, 
with all her dignity upon her, which was really 
a part of herself, entered, glad to find even such 
a shelter as that. My candle lighted up the build- 
ing sufficiently to show its unsightliness, and the 
dust and rubbish that were all about us. As Miss 
Dix was old enough to have been my mother, of 
course there was but one thing to do, and that 
was to give up my bed of shavings and straw to 
her, and with the stub of an old broom try to clear 
a place on another part of the floor for myself. 
She generously offered to divide her bed ; but 
there was not enough to divide, so I spread my 
blanket-shawl down on the rough, uneven floor 
for my bed, and I took my satchel for a pillow. 

I was weary and anxious, and for a few mo- 



124 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

ments I felt the service was too hard to be en- 
dured much longer. But there came another 
train of thought, as I heard the booming of the 
cannon at no great distance. 

'' How glad the brave men on the picket-line, 
where to sleep is death, the men in the trenches, 
and working the guns, would be to have a good 
dry floor to sleep on, and the right and privilege 
to sleep," I said to myself. Somehow my bed 
grew soft and my pillow downy, and all the clouds 
of care and spirit of self-pity cleared away before 
the magic power of patriotism and sympathy for 
the brave men who stood so gallantly for my coun- 
try and its flag ; and I never in all my life had 
a better bed, or a sweeter night's sleep. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 2$ 



HARDSHIPS OF CAMP-LIFE AT 
VICKSBURG. 



THERE was little level ground on which to 
camp about the lines. Excavations had to 
be made to get a level place to sleep. So all the 
bluffs around Vicksburg were catacombed to af- 
ford sleeping apartments. No wonder there was 
sickness — no wonder Death held high carnival 
on both sides of the lines. It was not only dan- 
gerous, but almost impossible, to reach the little 
hospitals under the shadow of the guns. Very 
many times driven at full speed I reached them, 
but it was at great peril. How the memory of 
those hospital scenes comes back to me now ! 

At one point I went down under the guns of 
the fort at one of the most exposed places, with a 
carriage-load of supplies for the little fort hospi- 
tal under the bluff, just behind the heavy guns. 
I found when I reached there that the position 
was so dangerous that it would be madness, so 
the officers said, to try to get out of there till I 
could go under the cover of darkness. But the 
afternoon was well spent in making lemonade and 



126 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

ministering to the men who had been stricken 
down with fever and hardships. 

The ceaseless roar of artillery, and scream of 
shot and shell ; the sharp whiz and whirr of small 
shot just over our heads ; the June sun blazing 
down upon us with torrid heat, and no shelter 
for the sick but the white canvas tents, perched 
on the sides of the bluffs in places excavated 
for them, the bank cutting off the circulation 
of air, — were almost unbearable. How the poor 
fever-racked heads and fainting hearts ached amid 
the ceaseless din and the dust and heat of these 
little camp hospitals ! One poor fellow, with 
parched lips and cheeks red with the fever that 
was burning through every vein, said, " I got a 
little sleep a while ago, and I dreamed that I was 
at the old spring ; but just as I was taking a good 
cool drink I waked up." 

I partially met his ^cravings for a drink from the 
well at the old home by giving him generous 
draughts of lemonade, but when night came on 
I had to leave him. Poor boy, I never knew 
whether he got back to the old spring and home 
or not. There was no cool water there to allay 
his burning thirst. One of the hardships of that 
long summer campaign was the lack of good cool 
water. There were some springs, and a few wells 
were dug ; but at points water had to be hauled 
lone: distances. Think of thousands of men to be 
supplied — of the thousands of horses and mules, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 12/ 

the great burden-bearers of the army, that must 
have their thirst quenched. 

Most of the water for the use in camp was 
hauled up from the Mississippi River or the Yazoo, 
through the hot sun in barrels, and stood in camp 
all day. 

During that dreadful day I sat down in one of 
the tents for a little while ; there was a patch 
of weeds growing near the tent-door. I noticed 
the weeds shaking as though partridges were run- 
ning through them. I called attention to the 
matter, which made the surgeon smile, as he ex- 
plained, '' Why, those are bullets ! " 

" Bullets } Do bullets come so near as that } " 

** Oh, yes," he answered cheerfully; "they are 
flying around here quite thick." 

"Do you consider yourself safe while in this 
tent } It seems to me the bullets are coming very 
close." 

" It is considered very safe. The bullets fall a 
little short you see." 

All the while I sat there I watched the bullets 
coming over and clipping through the weeds. 

Three days from that time an officer was killed 
while sitting in the same chair on the same spot 
where I had sat and watched the bullets shaking 
the weeds. 



128 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A PAINFUL ACCIDENT. 



THE smoke of the battle-field at Shiloh had 
cleared away ; the dead had been buried ; 
the wounded gathered up, and their ghastly 
wounds dressed — so that the people who came 
crowding to the battle-field saw little of the horror 
of war. 

Among the multitudes who came down with 
supplies and words of sympathy and encourage- 
ment was Governor Harvey of Wisconsin, a grand, 
loyal man. He walked over the battle-field, the 
scene of the recent terrible conflict, and through 
the hospitals improvised for the accommodation 
of the thousands who had been wounded, and 
over the score and more of steamboats where 
many of the wounded were quartered. 

He had given his promise of support to the men 
who stood between the North and the sword and 
torch of war. And now, with a hasty farewell 
to the crowd of distinguished patriots and officers 
who came down to wish him Godspeed on his re- 
turn to the loyal State of Wisconsin, he stepped 
upon the single plank that bridged the little space 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 29 

between the shore and the boat. There were a 
few steps forward — a misstep — a sudden plunge, 
and the flowing tide ingulfed him out of sight. 
There was a moment of awful suspense — he did 
not rise. Men plunged into the water, reaching 
out their hands in every direction to find the lost 
one, but alas ! he was not found till life was ex- 
tinct. 

The boat on which he was going to take pas- 
sage was lying just above our sanitary boat, and a 
number of us saw him make the misstep and fall. 

That was a sad day to us all — a sad day for the 
Army of the Tennessee — a sad day for the State 
of Wisconsin — a sad day for the wife, a grand, 
noble woman, who, crushed by the heavy blow, 
waited in almost speechless agony for the bring- 
ing home of her dead. 

But in those heroic days women did not sit 
down in speechless grief to weep over their dead, 
but, crushing back their tears, consecrated them- 
selves to the cause of humanity and their country. 

Mrs. Governor Harvey was no exception to this 
rule. Still staggering under this stunning blow, 
she consecrated herself to service in the Sanitary 
Commission and to the hospital work, and in 
blessed and unwearying service for others sol- 
aced her own deep grief. Who shall know how 
much comfort and encouragement the presence 
of this fair, beautiful, refined lady brought into 
the hospitals where so many homesick and pain- 



130 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

weary boys lay on their beds, longing for the 
sight of a woman's face, and tender touch of a 
woman's hand ? 

Often amid the sickening scenes of the over- 
crowded hospitals, I met her on her weary round 
of holy service. 

And at the close of the war she was active in 
the establishment of a home for the orphan chil- 
dren of soldiers in Wisconsin. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. I3I 



BURSTING OF A SHELL BEHIND 
MY CARRIAGE. 



THE line of battle was so closely drawn around 
Vicksburg that every camp, and hospital, 
and wagon-train with provisions and ammunition, 
was under fire. 

Every worker of the Christian and Sanitary 
Commissions, who ventured out to labor with the 
sick and the dying, knew that the Confederate 
sharpshooters at many points were within easy 
range, and that the flying shot and shell, that at 
times almost darkened the sky, were liable to 
drop in the pathway of the worker, and blot him 
or her out of existence. 

None but the more courageous remained on 
the field. Curiosity-hunters, and bombastic dress- 
parade workers, fled from the scene as from a 
battle-field ; for in truth every inch of ground 
about Vicksburg was a battle-field. 

The perplexities of the service, and the dangers 
attending every effort made to relieve the suffer- 
ing, were so great, and the laborers in conse- 
quence so few, that every helper was overwhelmed 
and overworked. 



132 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

One day, coming in from a weary round, a day's 
work of unusual peril and hardship, we reached 
a point in the road sheltered from the enemy by 
a clump of trees. 

Though at no great distance from the Confed- 
erate guns, it seemed more secure because we 
were out of sight of the frowning batteries. 

Suddenly there was a crash in the timber, and 
we knew and heard no more. We were all so 
stunned that we did not know that a shell, crush- 
ing through the tops of the trees, had struck the 
ground in the middle of the roadway not forty 
feet behind our carriage. 

If it had come a moment sooner, we would all 
have been scattered in fragments to the four winds. 

As it was, the road was torn up so that it was 
impossible for teams to pass till it was repaired ; 
the horses fell to the earth, the driver seemed 
dazed for a time, the carriage was covered with 
the dirt thrown out, for an ox might have been 
buried in the pit that that one shell dug out. 
Though it was the main thoroughfare, along which 
much of the ammunition and provisions were 
hauled, fortunately no teams were nearer than 
our own, and no one was killed or hurt. 

If these lines should fall under the eyes of 
George, the driver, a soldier detailed for that ser- 
vice, he will excuse me for saying that he was 
about the worst frightened person I ever saw. 
That evening he said, — 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 33 

" I wish you would release me, and ask for some 
one else. I'd rather be with my regiment behind 
the fortifications than driving around this way all 
the time." 

'' You'll feel better about it in the morning, 
George — you will get over the shock. And 
then, too, remember that those who are behind 
the fortifications may be ordered at any time to 
make a charge, which would be more dangerous 
than the work you are now doing. But think 
about it ; and if in the morning you would rather 
go back to your regiment, I will have the change 
made." 

The next morning George was all right, and he 
continued to drive for me until after Vicksburg 
was taken. 



134 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



MEETING A REBEL WOMAN AT 
NASHVILLE. 



THERE was great rejoicing over the fall of 
Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. The gun- 
boats and transport vessels were pressing on to 
Nashville, which was occupied by the Union army 
soon after the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Don- 
elson. I went up on the first transport. 

The women were mostly left behind in the 
scramble to get out of the city, and they were 
more intense in war spirit and partisan feeling 
than the men. In the heat of the excitement the 
chief hotel was thronged with both parties, where 
I took lodgings. The women sung ditties about 
Beauregard and Davis before the door of my bed- 
room till midnight, at intervals. 

The great parlor of the hotel was a scene of 
the utmost confusion, judging from the tumult of 
angry voices. 

The women blamed the men about them. 
*' Every man who is able to bear arms ought to 
be ashamed to be seen outside of a war-camp in 
days like these," was the sharp rejoinder of a 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 35 

woman to her husband. I did not hear his an- 
swer, but suppose from her reply that he said he 
would only be throwing away his life. 

** Throwing away your life, indeed ! A man 
that is not true to our cause at such a time ought 
not to live.'' 

Some one was sitting at the piano, and banged 
the keys of the instrument in wildest fury to 
drown the sound of the contentions. 

The next morning, in the dining-room, every 
Southern man and woman gave us all a wide 
berth, not deigning to sit at the same end of the 
dining-room. 

After breakfast I went for a few minutes into 
the parlor. The lady whose voice I heard in fal- 
setto the night before followed me, accompanied 
by her colored nurse-girl carrying her baby, per- 
haps six months old. 

I had no purpose of controversy in my heart ; 
and so when the lady said, " My baby is named 
after the best man in the world — Beauregard," I 
only smiled. 

'' I suppose you Yankees think you can conquer 
us .? " 

"That is what the people of the North hope 
to do." 

"Well, you can't. There is not men enough in 
the North to conquer us ; for when you kill the 
men off, the women will take up arms." 

"Well, madam, there are thousands of men 



136 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

gathering and drilling in the North, and they will 
soon be here ; and it's their firm purpose to main- 
tain the Union, cost what it will." 

*' They'll kill the women, will they ? " 

"They will conquer tJie South.'' 

" Contemptible hirelings ! they'll kill the wo- 
men, will they ? " she hissed. 

" I don't think they want to kill the women ; 
but if that is necessary for the maintenance of 
the Union, I suppose they will have to do it." 

** Wretches ! wretches ! They'll kill the women, 
will they?" she screamed, and her eyes blazed 
fire and scintillated like the eyes of a maniac. I 
thought she was going to leap upon me in her 
fury. We were standing facing each other ; and I 
made up my mind that if she did assault me that 
I would do my little share of fighting, and choke 
a little of the treason out of her. But she 
changed her mind, and rushed from the room, 
slamming the door after her with such force as to 
shake the house to its foundations, A year after 
that she was playing the role of a Union woman, 
and was quite popular as a loyal Southerner among 
the officers. 

No one in these calm days can imagine the 
fiery, cruel spirit of war. I was not afraid ; the 
Stars and Stripes were over us, and the Union 
army within call. 

But what seems laughable to me now, was ex- 
ceedingly exasperating and insulting at that time. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 37 

There is no question about the matter — the South- 
ern women, in their blind, partisan fury, prolonged 
the contest to the last extreme of desperation. 
They could not believe defeat possible. 

No longer we hear the clash of arms, 

And the cannon's fearful booming ; 

No longer the torch of war alarms, 

Our cities and homes consuming: 

The smoke of battle has cleared away, 

And Peace her vigil is keeping, 

Though wet with tears are the flowers we lay. 

Where our gallant dead are sleeping. 



138 A WOMAN'S REMimSCENCES 



VISITING HOSPITALS UNDER 
THE GUNS. 



I CAME down the river with a heavy lot of sup- 
plies at the beginning of the siege. I sent an 
order to the quartermaster for an ambulance. In- 
stead of sending the ambulance, he sent me a fine 
silver-mounted, easy carriage captured at Jack- 
son, which I afterwards found drew the fire of the 
enemy. 

It was reported in Vicksburg that an old, ex- 
perienced general, too crippled to ride on horse- 
back, made his rounds in that carriage, and the 
Confederates made it a target every day. 

One captain of sharpshooters told Dr. Max- 
well of Davenport, Iowa, that his men had sent 
more than a hundred shots after that carriage, sup- 
posing some high official was the occupant. He 
was very much shocked to know that they had 
been shooting at a lady. In most cases the shot 
fell low, but the wheels were chipped till they 
were quite a curiosity. 

I drove out in company with Mrs. General Stone 
to the nearest hospital one day. We had gone 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 39 

through the tents, and attended to the business 
that had brought us, and were standing beside the 
carriage, when a shell from Vicksburg burst near 
us, scattering fragments all around us. To me 
the shock was terrific. I could feel my flesh crawl 
in the most uncomfortable way, and every hair on 
my head seemed to stand upright. 

"Are you so near the enemy's guns.-*" I ques- 
tioned. 

'* Oh, yes ; all the hospitals are under fire. A 
shell burst in this hospital a few days ago, killing 
one man and wounding three others." 

" It's horrible that sick men must be placed 
under fire. Why don't the authorities remove the 
sick and wounded to a safe distance } " I spoke 
with some spirit. 

"You forget," said the surgeon, "that General 
Johnson's army is near, and that we are forced to 
draw in our lines. We would rather take the risk 
of a random shell than to risk being between two 
contending armies during a battle." 

That was quite another view of the matter, 
and now I was brought face to face with the 
facts of the situation. If I visited the hospitals I 
must do it under fire. I had been under fire be- 
fore, but only for an hour. To go out day after 
day under a rain of lead was quite a different 
thing. 

I went back to the Sanitary boat at the Yazoo 
Landing in a very thoughtful mood. The muddy. 



140 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

sluggish stream was well named Yazoo, meaning 
the River of Death. 

That night was spent in prayer. The next 
morning I arose with a courage born of faith. I 
seemed immortal ; not a bullet had been moulded 
that could hit me. 

I went out to my work without a fear. My car- 
riage was struck time and again, and bullets 
whizzed past me, but never a feeling of fear crept 
into my heart. I was "under the shadow of His 
wings, and he covered me with His feathers." 

Mrs. General Stone, whose husband commanded 
the right wing of the army, and who now lives at 
Mount Pleasant, Iowa, camped with her father out 
on the bluffs. She invited me to leave the sluggish 
river with its miasma, and come up and stay with 
her; and I accepted the invitation. She had a 
beautiful tent put up beside her own ; and as the 
lizards were very abundant, the feet of our cots 
were put in jars of water, and we tucked up the 
covers about us so as to keep them off of our beds. 
We could hear their little feet scratching as they 
raced after each other over the tents. 

The soldiers got used to them, but somehow 
we women shrank from contact with anything so 
nearly akin to the serpent family. 

Night and day the battle went on. The shells 
with their burning fuses would sail up into mid- 
air like stars of the first magnitude, and burst into 
a shower of sparks and fragments, setting the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. I4I 

heavens ablaze with their scintillation, and jarring 
the foundations of the earth with the thunder of 
their explosions. 

We became so accustomed to the horrid sounds 
of war that the absence or abatement of it would 
awaken us out of our sleep. 



142 A WOiMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



EXHIBITIONS OF MOTHER-LOVE. 

To What Lengths Affections would carry 
Women in the War. 



WAR brought heavy burdens of anxiety and 
sorrow to the women on both sides of the 
lines during the terrible struggle of 1 861-1865. 
The anxious waiting for news from the battle- 
field, the heart-breaking scrutiny of the list of 
wounded and killed, cannot, with their sorrows, be 
measured by words and phrases. 

One Philadelphia mother, whose husband and 
son were in the war, received news that her son 
had been killed in one of the smaller battles of 
Virginia. She determined to recover the body, 
and bring it home for burial. After many delays 
and hindrances, she reached the regiment of which 
he was a member. She had walked three miles 
to get there, and had left the casket she had 
brought down at the station, where fire had de- 
stroyed everything but the track. 

The soldiers brought up the cofifin, and the next 
morning exhumed the body. They had wrapped 
him carefully in his blanket, and marked the spot 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 43 

with a rough board, on which they had carved 
his name and regiment and company with their 
knives. When they lifted him out, and laid him 
at her feet, she recognized him at once. 

''Yes, this is my boy," she said, pushing the 
damp hair back from his fair young face. 

The soldiers, who were glad to render the 
heart-broken mother any service they could, car- 
ried the coffin down to the railroad track, where 
the station had once stood, and instructed her 
how to '' flag a train ; " and assuring her that '' a 
train might come at any time," they left her there 
with her dead. 

There was no human dwelling in sight. She 
seated herself on her son's coffin, beside the 
charred timbers and ashes, to await the coming 
of the train. Behind her was the little valley 
where the Union troops were stationed to guard 
an important pass. On either side of her were 
mountains that rose majestically, that might be 
infested with wild beasts and creeping things. 
Before her was a little brook and the bands of 
iron along its banks that rendered it possible to 
make the journey through that mountain gorge 
by rail. The afternoon wore away, but no train 
came ; the shades of night closed her in, but no 
sound of wheels greeted her ears. 

She built a little fire so as to signal the train. 
The sharp notes of the night birds, the fighting 
of the wildcats on the side of the mountain, the 



144 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

mysterious noises in the air, the sound of stealthy 
footsteps near her, — all fell with fearful distinct- 
ness on her ears ; for every nerve was strained to 
its utmost tension. But no train came to relieve 
her weary vigil. Her garments were wet with the 
dews of night ; and she added wood to the smoul- 
dering fire, for the cheerful blaze comforted her. 

As the night wore on, all nature seemed at rest. 
The night birds ceased their calls, the wildcats 
climbed higher up the moimtain, and the whip- 
poorwill ceased its mournful song. But this was 
even more terrible, as every remaining sound was 
more distinct. The rustling of a leaf or a noise 
in the bushes sent the blood hurrying to her 
heart. 

At last gray streaks of light began to climb 
above the mountain in the east, and were tinged 
with purple and orange, and soon the white light 
of day fell about her ; but it was not till late in 
the afternoon of the second day that a train came, 
and her weary vigil ended. For twenty-six hours 
she had been alone with her dead. 

She reached Washington without delay, and be- 
fore boarding the train for Philadelphia saw the 
coffin of her son put on board. But when she 
reached Philadelphia she found that by some mis- 
take the. remains had been left at Baltimore. She 
telegraphed back, and waited in the station till 
they were brought to her, and then followed them 
to her own house. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 45 

Afterward her husband was killed ; and she went 
to the front again, and secured his body, and 
brought it home for interment. Who shall meas- 
ure the anguish of the women who watched at 
home till there was one dead in almost every 
house ? 

A mother in Maine received the news that her 
only son had been wounded and taken prisoner, 
and had been sent to Richmond. " I am going 
to him," she said. Her husband and neighbors 
tried to dissuade her. On her journey toward the 
front she called on Governor Andrew of Massa- 
chusetts. '■'■ My dear madam," he said, " I can 
do nothing for you. The only thing I could do 
would be to give you a letter of introduction to 
President Lincoln." 

"Well, give me that." 

When she reached Washington she called on 
the President, and after a weary waiting was 
shown into his presence. " Why, madam," said 
the great-hearted Lincoln, " I can do nothing for 
you. If he were within our own lines, I would 
give you a pass, but I cannot send you to Rich- 
mond. At the best, I could only get you beyond 
our own pickets." 

" Then, please give me a pass beyond your 
pickets." 

This was done, and she passed the Union lines 
to fall into the hands of the Confederate pickets. 
The latter refused to allow her to proceed. 



146 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

" I am going right on to Richmond. Shoot if 
you will." And she started on. They did not 
shoot, but took her into camp, and from the head- 
quarters of that command she was sent on to 
Richmond. 

When she reached the hospital where her son 
lay, the surgeon refused to allow her to see him. 

" I must see him ! I'm sure it will do him good 
to see his mother ! " 

As soon as the son saw her, he cried out, — 

" There is my mother ! I knew she would 
come. I'll get well now." And sure enough he 
did. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 47 



THE SURRENDER OF VICKSBURG. 



FOR days there had been unusual activity in 
the camp. The Fourth of July was to be 
celebrated by a general bombardment ; and if 
there were signs of yielding, a sharp assault and 
an attempt to capture the city would be made. 
The besieged party was not in ignorance of what 
was going on. The pickets and sharpshooters, 
and the soldiers at points where the fortifications 
touched each other, had given the whole pro- 
gramme of a grand Fourth of July celebration in 
boastful proclamations. Everything was at fever- 
heat on the 3d of July, though the firing was kept 
up at the usual rate till about one or two p.m. 
Suddenly all firing ceased. The silence could 
almost be felt. There had been pauses before, 
lasting an hour or more, during interviews under 
a flag of truce. But as the afternoon slowly 
wore away, and the firing was not resumed, the 
excitement became intense. Later, it was re- 
ported that General Grant and General Pember- 
ton had met under a great spreading oak-tree just 
inside the Union lines, and that General Grant 



148 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

had made his terms known in the memorable 
phrase " tinconditio7ial S2irrendei\' 

It was a sad hour for Pemberton. His army 
was starving ; his ammunition and his fighting 
force were so diminished that to continue the 
siege seemed madness. And yet he had held out 
so long hoping help might come — it might now 
be near him — that it was hard to surrender. His 
was a fearful struggle. Not many words passed 
between these two men as they stood there, a 
little apart from their staff officers. Later, the 
time of the surrender was fixed at 9 a.m. on the 
Fourth of July, which was the next morning. 
The news flew through the camp at lightning 
speed. Soon everybody, sick and well, knew 
that Vicksburg had surrendered. The firing had 
ceased, but on both sides every man stood at his 
post. 

There was little sleep for any of us that night; 
the stillness was so unusual and impressive, and 
the excitement so intense, that sleep fled. 

The morning of the Fourth dawned fair and 
beautiful. Very early in the morning, in com- 
pany with Dr. Maxwell and Mrs. General Stone, 
I drove out to General Logan's headquarters, 
whence the army was to begin the triumphant 
march into the city. 

We took our position on the battlements of 
Fort Hill, where we had a full view of the city 
and surrounding country. The point where we 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 49 

Stood had been more sharply contested than any 
other. The fort had been undermined and blown 
up ; and amid the confusion and disaster that 
buried a hundred or more in its ruins, an attempt 
had been made to scale the fort and enter the 
city. Before the dust of the explosion had cleared 
away a hand-to-hand battle was raging, and hand- 
grenades were being tossed as freely as balls on a 
playground, which exploded with great destruc- 
tion. The roar of battle had raged again and 
again about that fort, but now all was calm and 
still at the dawning of this day of peace. As far 
as we could see, the muskets were stacked, and 
white handkerchiefs were fluttering above them. 
The Confederate and Union soldiers stood along 
the lines in groups, talking as friendly as though 
they had never exchanged shot with intent to kill. 
But there was no loud talking — all seemed to feel 
that it was a moment of deep solemnity. 

At last the stillness was broken by the tramp 
of horsemen ; and General Grant, with his staff of 
officers following, passed near us and honored us 
with a military salute, — not with guns, but that 
peculiar and graceful lifting the right hand, open, 
to the full length of the arm, with a graceful wave, 
and touching the cap, — a salute we never see in 
civil life, unless some old soldier forgets himself. 
Following close upon these came General McPher- 
son and his staff. General McPherson was the 
most kingly looking man on horseback I ever saw. 



150 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

In personal appearance he was a prince among 
men at any time ; but on this glad morning he 
seemed to be grander and taller under the enthu- 
siasm and flush of victory than ever before. Gen- 
eral Logan followed with his staff and his division 
on foot. 

We stood there with our field-glasses in our 
hands, watching them as they marched down into 
the city. There was a long halt. They ap- 
proached each other forming into long double 
columns, then we saw, opposite the blue, the 
gray forming into lines. Every eye was strained 
to take in the scene. There was a movement 
forward of officers, the flash in the bright sun- 
light of swords as they were handed over to the 
conquerors, and then handed back; for General 
Pemberton and his staff were allowed to carry 
their swords, and enjoy the freedom of the city. 
They had conducted an honorable warfare and 
must not be humiliated. 

But now there was another point of interest. 
The Confederate flag had floated over the Court 
House tower through all these months of conflict, 
but the Stars and Stripes was now to take its 
place. Soon a little glinting of our loved flag 
came into view. But what could be the matter .? 
Surely a tangle in the ropes could be adjusted in 
a few minutes. All stood in breathless anxiety. 
Such a delay at such a time was startling, and 
every moment seemed an hour to those who were 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. I51 

watching from a distance. At last with rapid 
sweep the Stars and Stripes was run up to the 
top of the staff, and a heaven-sent breeze unfurled 
it to our delighted eyes. 

What a burst of enthusiasm greeted it. We 
waved our handkerchiefs, while men who had 
faced the cannon's mouth for the flag sobbed in 
their wild joy, and flung their caps into the air. 
But the Confederate soldiers, as far as we could 
see, stood with folded arms, silent, motionless. 
And yet with all our gladness that the guns had 
ceased to belch forth their murderous fire, there 
was a deep, fathomless undertone of sorrow over 
the cruel, bloody work of red-handed war, that the 
glad acclaim of triumph and victory could not 
drown. 



152 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



HEALED SOUL AND BODY. 



IN 1863, just after the fall of Vicksburg, I vis- 
ited the hospitals in Helena, Ark. Going 
into a large ward one day, filled with sick and 
wounded soldiers, I saw in the farthest corner of 
the room a very sick man. I noticed him the 
more because he was looking towards me, and 
there was upon his face such a look of agony and 
despair as I had never seen on any human face 
before, and I trust I may never see again. I said 
to the surgeon, who had stepped in with me, — 

''You have one very sick man here," And 
when I designated him, he answered, "Yes, he 
is almost gone ; poor fellow, he'll not live long." 
I said no more, — my heart was too deeply touched, 
-^but went directly to him. As I approached his 
cot-side, I said tenderly, "You seem to be very 
sick, my friend." The look of agony deepened in 
his face as he answered, — 

^^ My friend ! I have no friend. I am here dy- 
ing among strangers, and nobody cares whether 
I live or die." 

"Oh, don't say that. You have many friends 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 53 

in the North;" and I was going to say, ''I'll 
be your friend," but I remembered how empty 
such a profession of friendship would be on the 
part of a stranger, and instead, I said, "There 
is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. 
Can't you make Jesus your friend in this dark 
hour ? " 

When I spoke the name of Jesus, he cried 
aloud, — 

" Oh ! would that Jesus were my friend ; but I 
am a great sinner." 

''But Jesus is the sinner's friend." 

"O lady ! you don't know what a wretched 
sinner I am, to what lengths of wickedness I've 
run, or you would not think that Jesus could save 
me." 

But I answered, " You don't know what a great 
Saviour we have, or you would not doubt. He is 
the mighty God, and he is able to save to the 
uttermost ; and that means that he can save 
you'' 

" It is too late. It is too late ! " he cried with 
such bitterness of soul that the men lying upon 
their cots — brave young men, who bore in their 
own persons the marks of their heroism — covered 
their faces with their bedclothes, and wept like 
little children. 

But I urged that it was not too late, and com- 
menced telling him of the thief on the cross ; but 
he stopped me. 



154 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

*' Oh, I know about the thief on the cross ; but, 
lady, I am a thousand times worse than the thief 
on the cross." 

** If you were ten tJionsand times zvorse, Jesus 
could save you ; for he can save to the uttermost'' 

These words gave hope, and he exclaimed, 
" Pray for me ! " 

I knelt by his cot-side ; and while he prayed and 
I pleaded, ''the opening heaven around us shone," 
and the mighty power of saving grace came down 
upon his souK 

The tempest was stilled, and all was peace. I 
looked up into his face to see, that in a moment — 
as it were, in the twinkling of an eye — all the 
lines of despair had been taken out of his face, 
and that it was beaming with joy; a joy unspeak- 
able, and full of glory. 

If I had been an infidel up to that time, it 
seems to me that I should have been convicted of 
the truth of Christianity in that presence. 

There were many witnesses to that scene ; and 
it was as though the Master would show his 
mighty saving power, for Jie healed that man soul 
and body. My secretary was with me. Three 
days from that time I found him on the shady 
side of the house reading the Testament I had 
given him the day before. The same look of peace 
and joy was in his face, as he said, — 

** Oh, I am so happy this morning ! I have a 
furlotigh, and I am going home. How glad my 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 55 

Christian mother will be to know that I have 
found salvation." 

"Young man," I said, "wherever you go, re- 
member that you were snatched as a brand from 
the burning." 

" I can never forget that. My disease and de- 
spair were crushing me down. I must have died 
if salvation had not come just then ; but when 
you spoke the najne of Jesus, I knew you were a 
Christian, and that you would help me if you 
could." 



56 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE NEW YORK HERALD RE- 
PORTER WHO LIVED FOR 
TWO WORLDS. 



TWO weeks after the surrender of Vicksburg, 
I took passage on a steamer for the North. 
Just before the boat left the wharf, a gentleman 
whom I knew came on board in company with a 
sick friend, whom he introduced as Mr. Brown, 
" Correspondent of the Nezv York Herald^ I 
was so weary with the scenes of war, with the 
heat and hard labor which had been the common 
lot of all workers during the siege, that I did not 
want to talk to any one, much less to a ''Herald 
reporter." He was sick, and was going home for 
a season of rest, so he said. How deceptive ap- 
pearances are. I set him down at once as a 
drinking man, because his face was flushed and 
his eyes red ; and I determined to be as unsocial 
as possible. I did not see him again till evening, 
when he came back into the ladies' cabin and 
began social conversation. 

I determined our talk should be religious, and 
soon introduced the subject. He had remarked 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 57 

that we were making headway, and would prob- 
ably reach Helena by eight o'clock the next 
morning. But he said, "of course there are 
dangers on every side — sand-bars, snags, and 
guerillas. So zue caii t tell wJiere we will be in the 
mornijig.'' 

** It matters little," I answered, "to those who 
live for two worlds. We have the promise that 
everything shall work together for good to those 
who love God." 

" I believe that, and am living for both worlds," 
he responded heartily. Then began one of the 
most interesting conversations that it has ever 
been my privilege to engage in. He was a most 
deeply pious man, and through all the army life 
had walked with God. 

As the evening wore on, conversation turned 
upon heaven, and the joys and privileges of the 
redeemed. I remember how his face glowed with 
holy enthusiasm as we talked of heaven. He 
contrasted the noisy, horrid scenes of war with 
the peace and sweet harmony of that world of 
light and love. He said, "I am prepared for such 
a blessed change of scenes at any moment." 

The evening was now well-spent, and bidding him 
good-night I retired to my stateroom. The next 
morning when I stepped out into the ladies' cabin, 
I found the captain of the boat waiting for me. 

"Did you know the gentleman you were talking 
with last eveninir .? " 



158 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

''Yes, slightly." 

"He is dead." 

" Is it possible } " 

" Yes, he is dead and cold ; he must have died 
immediately after retiring. The gentleman who 
occupied the lower berth noticed his arm hang- 
ing down over the side of the berth when he went 
to retire, and spoke to him, but he made no 
answer; and this morning his arm was just in the 
same position." 

Yes, he was dead. He had gone from that talk 
about heaven right into the grandeur and glory 
of all its blessed mysteries. How thankful I was 
that our conversation had been about Christian 
duty and heaven ! 

My thoughts turned quickly to the widowed 
mother and the sisters so well beloved ; for he 
had spoken of them all most tenderly. We were 
now nearing Helena, where he must be taken 
ashore and buried. He had died of heart disease ; 
and it was that, not drink, which made his face so 
flushed. 

I wrote to his mother, who lived in Lancaster, 
Pa., telling her all I could recall of our talk about 
God, duty, heaven, and all the circumstances of 
our brief acquaintance and his death. 

One of his sisters answered my letter, for his 
mother was quite prostrated by the shock the news 
of his death had given her. 

She said they were looking for his home-coming 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 59 

every hour, when the sad message that he was 
dead and buried reached them. But the sister's 
faith rose triumphantly above it all. 

" We all thank God for the loving providence 
which cast our dear one in the pathway of a Chris- 
tian who directed his thoughts and hopes heaven- 
ward at the last. It is a great comfort to us that 
his faith was so bright and clear, and that his last 
thoughts on earth were about heaven." 



l60 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



I HAVE THE BEST MOTHER IN 
THE WORLD. 



THE thunder of the cannon had ceased at 
Vicksburg. The artillery and heavy guns 
of two great armies were idle and silent ; and al- 
though more than one hundred thousand men of 
war, the conquerors and the conquered, were in 
and about the fallen city, it was as quiet and 
orderly as a country village. Only the day before, 
July 4, 1863, I had stood with friends on Fort Hill 
and witnessed the surrender ; but now, July 5, 
duty and conscience led me into the hospitals 
where the sick and wounded of the Confederate 
army were quartered. The hospitals were in a 
wretched condition because of lack of supplies, 
and some of the sufferers had been lying through 
all the long siege. 

The battle was always on. Night and day the 
thunder of the guns and the bursting of shells 
made night hideous and the day a terror. Every 
nerve had been for weeks on the rack — in the 
battle, and yet unable to lift a hand for defence. 
Almost every hospital had been riddled with shells. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. l6l 

and any moment the end might come to any one 
of them. But now all was quiet. As I passed 
through the various hospitals distributing supplies, 
I noticed a boy looking wistfully toward me. I 
went directly to him. As I took his hand in my 
own, and looked into his fair frank face, I felt that 
any mother might be proud of such a boy. 

''Have you a mother?" I asked. Instantly his 
great brown eyes filled with tears, as he answered, 

"Yes, madam, I have the best mother in the 
world." 

His answer pleased me greatly, there was so 
much of heart and earnestness in it. 

" Where does your mother live } " 

He mentioned the name of the village near Mo- 
bile, Alabama. 

"Are you sure she is living there now } " 

"Yes, she owns a place in the country near the 
village. There is nowhere else for her to live." 

" Would you like to have me write a letter to 
her about you .'* " 

" You couldn't do it — it wouldn't get through 
the lines." 

" Yes, I can send it. I often send letters. I 
send them through the commanding general when 
a flag of truce passes." 

" Oh, if you can, do have pity on my poor 
mother ! She is such a good mother. She said 
to me when I was leaving her : * Now, my child, 
do the best you can. Whatever may happen, be 



1 62 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

good and true. Don't swear or drink or forget 
your mother. Remember your mother is praying 
for you, and God may have compassion on us and 
bring you back to me again.' Oh, if you could 
only let her know that I'm alive, and that I've 
been good and true, I should be so glad," and at 
this last outburst the tears ran down over his face. 
I took the directions, and consulted the physi- 
cian as to his condition ; and that night, before I 
slept in my new quarters, in a house that had been 
assigned me in Vicksburg, I wrote to the mother 
about as follows : — 

"Dear Madam, — I found your son in Vicksburg [giv- 
ing his name, company, and regiment]. He was severely 
wounded in the battle outside of Vicksburg, and was car- 
ried into the city. 

His condition is now hopeful. The surgeons tell me he 
will recover. He desires me to tell you that he has been 
good and true, and has never violated your injunctions. 

Though we may differ on the great questions that have 
led to this terrible war, I feel it to be my duty as a mother 
and a Christian to let you know about your son, and that he 
still lives. 

He will be moved to a Northern hospital ; but you can 
reach him with home news by writing to my office, Sanitary 
Commission, St. Louis, Mo. I will arrange with him to 
notify me each time he changes hospitals. You must send 
your letter unsealed. Write briefly. Say nothing about the 
war or condition of affairs in the South or North, and I think 
you will reach me." 

The next day I drove over to General Grant's 
headquarters with that and some other letters, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 63 

and gave them to him as I had often done be- 
fore, to send through the lines. In a very short 
time I had an answer from the mother. This was 
her reply : — 

" Dear Lady, — My eyes are full of tears of joy as I write. 
Your letter made a rift in the black clouds of sorrow that 
have hung over us for weeks. It was like a beam of heav- 
enly glory from the Throne. At first it seemed too good to 
believe ; but the name and company and regiment are all 
right, and it must be so. Your letter found us all dressed in 
black. I thought I had reliable news that my boy was killed 
outside of Vicksburg, and I did not hope even to find his 
grave. 

Now we are all dressed in white." 

Then followed some family news, and she closed 
with the following sentence : — 

" Give my love to my dear boy, and tell him we are pray- 
ing for him ; and be assured, dear lady, when we pray for 
him, we will pray for you — that you may be kept safely 
through all the dangers of this cruel war." 

Frequent letters were sent by the mother, and I 
kept track of the boy and answered them. 

The last time I saw him was just before the 
close of the war. He was well and strong, but 
was a prisoner in Camp Douglass, near Chicago, 
111. I hope he reached his home and mother 
safely. 



164 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



SEARCHING FOR THE DEAD. 



A LADY from Philadelphia searched for days 
over the wide battle-field of Shiloh for the 
grave of her only child — a bright, beautiful, 
Christian boy, only eighteen. A detail of men 
was sent from the regiment to help search for the 
grave. She was quartered on our Sanitary boat, 
and I went with her. '' They are all buried side 
by side — all we could find of our regiment," said 
the sergeant who had charge of the squad of men 
sent out to help us search. We scattered, keep- 
ing in sight of each other, and in calling distance, 
and searched thoroughly ; but it was not till the 
second day that we found the grave. 

The mother found it first of all. The name was 
written with a pencil on a bit of board at the 
head. She gave a call, and waved her handker- 
chief, and then fell on her knees, with her arms 
over the mound of earth above her boy. He was 
all she had on earth ; for he was the only child of 
his mother, and she was a widow. As we gathered 
about the grave, and saw her frail form convulsed 
by the sobs of agony she tried to conceal, the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 165 

roughest and bravest of the men turned away to 
hide their tears. " He was a good soldier ; a 
good Christian ; we had few like him in the regi- 
ment," were the kindly comments that were made 
by his companions in arms. As I lifted her away 
from the grave, her eyes, though full of tears, 
caught sight of a passion flower at the edge of the 
mound. 

She plucked it and took it away as a keepsake, 
saying, '' God is good to give me this token of 
his own love and passion." The body was to be 
taken up and placed in the burial-case she had 
brought for the purpose. They did not wish her 
to see it. Officers came and tried to dissuade her. 
No, she must see him. 

" No matter how mangled, I shall know him ; 
and I must know that it is my son." 

And she had her way. He was brought up ; 
and when the blanket which was his only coffin 
was unrolled, there he was as natural as life. 

She clipped a few locks from his wealth of 
brown hair, and kneeling by her dead, thanked 
God that he had given her back the body of her 
son, and for the hope that animated her that they 
should meet again in heaven. If by any possi- 
bility these lines should fall under the eyes of 
that lady, whose name I have forgotten, she will 
recognize the story, and I am sure she will be 
glad to renew the acquaintance with the strange 
lady who helped her find her boy's grave. 



1 66 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



VERY TIMELY ARREST. 



WHEN the lines of battle were near Corinth, 
Miss., hearing of a hospital at some little 
distance from the town, I determined to visit it, 
taking supplies and delicacies with me. Two 
ladies accompanied me. The driver of the ambu- 
lance, who assumed to know all about the roads, 
and just where to find that hospital, and who had a 
splendid team of horses, drove us off in good style. 

After we had been en route for some time, going 
at a rapid pace, I questioned the driver, " Are you 
sure you are on the right road ; it seems to me we 
have come a iong way .'* " 

" Oh, yes ; I know the road very well." 

" I wonder what those men are running after," 
remarked one of the ladies of the company. 

It did really seem that men were springing up 
out of the ground. They were running after us 
and waving their hands ; but the steady, heavy 
tramp of the feet of our horses drowned their 
voices ; and we failed to hear the oft-repeated com- 
mand, ''Halt ! " '' Halt ! " which came from every 
direction. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 67 

"Just look back ! There are a lot of men on 
horseback coming at full speed," said one of the 
ladies. 

It was only a moment before the foremost rider 
was near us, and he thundered out in tones I shall 
never forget, " Halt ! " 

Our driver reined in his horses. " Turn your 
ambulance back as quickly as you can, you fool ! 
You are driving right into the enemy's camp." 

The driver whipped up his horses and retreated 
at a gallop, but not until the Confederate sharp- 
shooters had begun to send their bullets flying 
after the men who had come to our rescue. Some 
of the missiles came dangerously near to the little 
ambulance company. The cans and bundles which 
had been placed upon the seats with so much care, 
and held with our outstretched hands, now went 
tumbling into a common heap on the floor, and 
before the race was over two of us were down on 
top of them. When we were at a safe distance 
from the enemy, the horsemen riding near us, a 
halt was called, and we gathered ourselves up and 
tried to look respectable after such a rough and 
tumble ride. 

A captain rode round in front, and in a tone 
which made the cold shivers creep along the spinal 
column, demanded, " Who is in charge of this 
ambulance } " 

*' I am," I answered with all the self-composure 
I could command at that instant. 



1 68 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

" And so you were trying to reach the lines of 
the enemy with supplies and this good team and a 
Union soldier ? " 

" No, sir. I am as loyal as any man who wears 
shoulder-straps, and I can prove it. I was trying 
to reach a hospital with these supplies [naming 
the hospital]. The driver thought he knew the 
way, but it seems he did not." 

"That is not a likely story. That hospital is 
not in that direction at all ; and I overtook you 
near the enemy's camp, more than a mile beyond 
where we allow any one to go. Why did you run 
past our pickets who demanded you to halt ? " 

'' I did not see any pickets, or hear any one call 
* Halt ! ' until you came up." 

"You are all under arrest ! Driver, you will 
drive to the headquarters of the commanding 
general." 

At these words my two lady friends turned very 
pale ; but I laughed, as I was acquainted with the 
commanding general. Remembering my pass from 
the Secretary of War, and other important official 
papers in my possession, I said to the captain who 
rode alongside of the ambulance, " Would it 
make any change in your course if I should show 
you passes from high officials ? I have no objec- 
tion to going to headquarters, but it is a loss of 
time." 

" No, madam ! You are all under arrest. The 
officers don't give passes, or send good teams and 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 69 

Union soldiers, to take people into the rebel 
camps." 

It was of no use to say anything more, for 
the officer had told the truth. In due time we 
reached headquarters and were ordered out. I 
led the procession, clambering out over our scat- 
tered supplies as best I could. The captain 
marched in beside me. The captain gave the 
military salute, and was about to report that he 
had brought in these people, captured while try- 
ing to run the Union lines ; but there were several 
officers there who knew me, who came forward to 
shake hands, and the general among them, and 
he was silenced. 

'* Is there anything I can do for you to-day, 
madam } " the general inquired in his most gra- 
cious manner. 

" Yes, General, there is. I and this forlorn little 
company whom I have led, and misled, are under 
arrest for a most serious crime. We were on the 
enemy's ground, and were pushing for the enemy's 
camp at full speed, when this gallant officer rode 
down in the face of the enemy and rescued us. I 
want to thank him before you all." 

Of course further explanation was made, and we 
were all released. The ambulance driver and my- 
self were admonished '' to make certain thereafter 
that we were on the right road." I shook hands 
with the captain and thanked him, and the officers 
present congratulated him, and we all left head- 
quarters in high spirits. 



170 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



SAVING THE LIFE OF YOUNG PIKE, 

Brother of Mrs. Sue Pike Sanders, Past National 
President, W. R. C. 



THE atmosphere was thick with dust, and sti- 
fling with the sulphurous smoke that came 
in clouds from the near battle-field, as I drove 
around Vicksburg. The air was as hot as a fur- 
nace, under the pitiless rays of a June sun, and 
vibrated with the roar and thunder of heavy artil- 
lery and bursting shells, till every nerve was on 
the rack. 

It was unusually late, and I was weary and 
heartsick. 

But as I was on my way to my quarters, I 
noticed a soldier lying in a field not far from the 
main travelled road. There was something in the 
appearance of the man that attracted my attention, 
and I stopped my carriage and went to him. 

At first I thought he was dead ; but a closer 
examination convinced me that he was alive. 

The shades of night were gathering around us, 
and the point where he lay was one of unusual 
danger. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 171 

I hurried back to my carriage, and brought 
water and restoratives, and began an earnest effort 
to resuscitate him. 

It was not long till he opened his great brown 
eyes in a questioning way. 

"Poor boy!" I said in pitying tones; but he 
closed his eyes as though he had not fully under- 
stood. 

After a little he looked up into my face, and 
said in a whisper, — 

"They left me here to die." 

" Oh, but you will be taken care of now, and 
you'll get well. Don't think about dying — just 
think how soon you will be well again." 

He was a young soldier, not much if any over 
sixteen or eighteen years old. He was lying there, 
with all his heavy army clothing on, in a most 
pitiable condition. 

There was a hospital not very far away ; and 
leaving George, my driver, to minister to him, I 
went up to the hospital and called for the surgeon 
in charge. 

"There is a soldier lying down here near the 
road who is nearly dead. Will you not have him 
brought up, and see what you can do for him .-* " 
I said. 

" Why, isn't he dead yet ? " exclaimed an at- 
tendant. 

I then learned that the regiment to which the 
young soldier belonged had been ordered out to 



172 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

the Big Black River, and that all the sick in their 
regimental hospital had been brought with them 
to that point — there unloaded and reported to 
the hospital authorities. The attendants had 
come down and taken all but this one man, and 
had left him there to die alone. I was righteously 
indignant, and I denounced the whole proceeding 
as inJiuniaii and scandalous. 

The surgeon and attendants were alarmed. 

*' Such carelessness on the part of the surgeon, 
and brutality on the part of men charged with the 
care of the sick and wounded, were disgraceful ! " 
I declared. 

It was not many minutes till the surgeon and 
attendants with a stretcher were at his side. 

Everything that could possibly be done for any 
one was done for him. 

The surgeons had hard work to save him, how- 
ever. 

If I had passed him by unnoticed, they all 
agreed that he would have been dead by the next 
morning. 

Day after day as I drove about the lines I min- 
istered to him till he was out of danger. 

Years passed before I had the privilege of see- 
ing him again. Then he was a great stalwart 
man, and bore the title of Hon. E. M. Pike, mem- 
ber of the Senate of Illinois. 

He is now living at Chenoa, 111., has a lovely 
wife and two children, a son and daughter full- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 73 

grown. He has a large manufacturing establish- 
ment there, and is beloved and honored by all 
who know him. 

He has given good proof that he was well 
worth saving. 



174 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A VISIT FROM GENERAL GRANT 
AND GENERAL McPHERSON. 



A FEW days after the surrender of Vicksburg, 
I called at General Grant's headquarters on 
business. 

Generals McPherson and Rawlins were the only 
ofificials present with him. I was received most 
cordially, and inquiries were made by General 
Grant at once, as to whether the house he had 
assigned to me was comfortable and satisfactory. 

I assured him that it was, and spoke with great 
enthusiasm of the colored servants left in charge 
of the property by the owners, who had fled from 
Vicksburg before the siege. I was especially en- 
thusiastic about the cook, 

'' Why don't you invite us up to test her cook- 
ery } " questioned General McPherson. I hardly 
knew what to say, as I had made it a rule to shun 
all appearances of social life. 

" Oh, you would not come ; you are all too busy 
paroling prisoners," I answered. 

*' Oh, yes ! we would certainly come if you 
should invite us. Is not that so, General Grant } " 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1/5 

*' I shall certainly come if invited," was General 
Grant's reply, 

" Then I most cordially invite you." 

" When shall we come ? " questioned General 
McPherson. 

"To-morrow, if that will suit you." 

That being satisfactory, they agreed to come 
the next day at one o'clock. General Rawlins 
being included in the invitation, which he laugh- 
ingly said, " We have given ourselves." 

When I returned to my quarters that noon, and 
announced that General Grant and two other gen- 
erals were to dine with me the next day, there 
was great consternation and excitement. I had 
tented with Mrs. General Stone during the siege, 
and she had come into Vicksburg and occupied 
the house with me. She was dismayed at the 
news. She declared that there was not one de- 
cent tablecloth on the premises, that there were 
no two napkins alike, or two dishes that matched. 
*'The fact is," she said, *' everything in this house 
mismatches. And how are you going to get them 
into the dining-room with all the steps torn away .'' 
Are they to walk up that inclined plane on the 
boards t " 

I told her I did not know of any other way ; 
but as we had to perform that feat three times a 
day, I had no doubt they could get up from the 
hall to the dining-room once. Aunt Dinah, the 
cook, who was at the head of the colored mem- 
bers of the household, was enthusiastic. 



1/6 A IVOMAJV'S REMINISCENCES 

*' I tell you, honey, I'll mak ebery cling shine, 
an' I'll hab de tablecloth so slick a gnat's heel 
would fly up on it." 

All the colored people were jubilant. It would 
be impossible to describe their antics. The little 
children danced a jubilee ; jumping up and down, 
keeping up a chorus : '' Ginnel Grant's a-cum- 
men ! Ginnel Grant's a-cummen ! Ginnel Grant's 
de bio:est o^innel of dem all ! " 

It was not an hour till every colored man, 
woman, and child in that part of the town knew 
that at a certain hour the next day General Grant 
was to be at that house. The colored men 
searched every sutler's shop for supplies, and 
Aunt Dinah did her best in the cooking line. 
The next morning I went out among the hospitals 
as usual, but came home before noon, so as to be 
there when my guests arrived. I found all the 
neighboring fences about the grounds lined with 
colored people. 

Mrs. Stone said to me as soon as I came in, — 

" Now, you must not laugh or object, but Aunt 
Dinah has sent and got two professional waiters ; 
they are here now, dressed in broadcloth, with 
swallow-tailed coats and white vests and white 
gloves." 

Of course I did laugh, and she laughed quite 
as heartily as myself, at the incongruity of the ar- 
rangement. Here, in one of the deserted houses 
of Vicksburg, that a shell had crashed through, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. lyy 

making it almost impossible to get into the dining- 
room, with nothing in the way of table-outfit but 
the most ordinary camping utensils, we had two 
professional waiters, rigged out in a style that 
could hardly be matched at a state dinner at the 
presidential mansion, we were to receive great 
generals. It was indeed laughable. Aunt Dinah 
felt she ought to explain the matter to me. 

" Honey, I want to 'splain 'bout dese 'fessional 
watahs. Our common niggahs would never do to 
wait on fine gentlemen. You see, dey's awkard 
an' hain't got no good close. So I just hir'd dese 
fashionable watahs case I wanted to have the 
thing done up right." 

Of course I made no objections. At the ap- 
pointed hour. General Grant, dressed in military 
uniform, riding his little black horse that had car- 
ried him so often around the fiery lines of Vicks- 
burg during the siege, and General McPherson, 
dressed in elegant military fashion, tall, stately, 
commanding, and splendidly mounted, rode up in 
front of our house. 

General Stone, who had commanded the extreme 
right during the siege, and who had come up from 
his military camp to dine with us that day, went 
out and hitched their horses, as there were no 
orderlies with them. 

General Rawlins, who was prevented at the 
last moment from coming, sent his regrets. Black 
faces were peeping out from the near houses, and 



178 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

the fences were black with colored people. It 
was perhaps the one chance of their lives to see 
their deliverer, the great captain who had opened 
the prison-house of Vicksburg, and given liberty 
to all the people. 

Everything passed off very pleasantly. When 
dinner was announced, taking the arm of General 
Grant, I led the way to the dining-room. Mrs. 
General Stone took the arm of General McPher- 
son, General Stone having already gone into the 
dining-room to help us up. The stairs j^eing torn 
away, and the ascent being made on two planks 
that stood at an angle of forty-five degrees, he 
reached down his hands and helped us up. When 
the two great commanders reached the dining- 
room, they stood for some time by the broken 
walls and stairs, and discussed shells as destruc- 
tive missiles, and speculated as to which battery 
sent that shell crashing through the house. They 
finally decided that it came from one of Admiral 
Porter's gunboats. 

The dinner followed, and was most thoroughly 
enjoyed. All the praise I had given our cook 
she justified in that grandest effort of her life. 

Aunt Dinah held the door a little ajar so that 
she could see and hear all that was going on in 
the dining-room. She said to me afterwards, with 
a satisfied chuckle, " Oh ! Laws a massa, didn't 
dey praise my cooken ! I never felt so big in my 
life. Seems to me I'se one of the biggest cooks 
in the world." 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 79 

The professional waiters were skilled and grace- 
ful, even though a napkin over a tin platter was 
used as a tray. 

Aunt Dinah said very confidentially afterwards 
to me, — 

" You see, honey, 'twould neber hab done to 
hab our niggahs done it. T'ey'd been most scar't 
to death, and sure to spill something. It won't do 
to hab common niggahs waten on high an' mighty 
folks like big ginnels." 

The guests enjoyed the dinner and the after 
visit. The siege ; the surrender ; the terms of 
parole ; the condition of the people who had been 
shut up in the city during the siege ; their life in 
the caves ; the condition of the hospitals ; and 
^^ what nextf were freely discussed in that frank 
and easy way that characterized General Grant 
when he was surrounded by a group of friends he 
could trust. 

When the two great generals took their leave, 
every colored person in the neighborhood knew 
that the smaller man was General Grant, and they 
were watching to get another glimpse of him. 
Both generals thanked us for inviting them, and 
assured us that it was the most restful, homelike 
visit they had enjoyed since the war began. 

It was my privilege to dine with them on sev- 
eral occasions after that, and to dine with General 
Grant at the White House during his presidential 
terms ; but there was not the enthusiasm and nov- 



l80 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

elty on those occasions that clustered around the 
dinner and visit in the shell-wrecked house after 
the fall of Vicksburg. 

General and Mrs. Stone live at their old home 
in Mount Pleasant, Iowa ; but the two great cap- 
tains of the Union hosts are gone — McPherson 
falling in the midst of the struggle on the bloody 
field of strife near Atlanta, Ga., and Grant, after 
passing through untold perils, passing peacefully 
away, and even in death immortalizing Mount 
McGregor. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. l8l 



LIBERTY HICKS. 



AS we were on our way to the brick church 
hospital, at Helena, Ark., a very large man, 
with his hair curled and hanging over his shoul- 
ders, passed us and looked back, my secretary 
and myself both imagined, in an impudent way. 
When we reached the hospital we found him 
there. He put himself in our way as though he 
wished to speak with us, but we both avoided 
him. At last he came up and said to me, 
** Madam, I want to speak with you ; there is a 
man over here that the doctor thinks will die. 
I thought maybe you'd come over and pray with 
him. I've been trying to lead him to trust the 
Lord Jesus, but he don't seem to find the way." 

How that great stalwart fellow was transfigured 
before us from a rowdy to a saint. And as we 
went about the hospital everybody said, '* If it 
wasn't for Liberty Hicks I don't know what we 
would do." It was not long till a great cake of 
ice was floating about in the barrel of tepid water 
that stood near the pulpit, and lemons from our 
supply were in many a fever-parched hand. We 



1 82 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

found out afterwards that Liberty Hicks was an 
Illinois soldier, and though big, coarse, and strong 
of body, he was as tender in his ministrations as 
a woman, and as faithful as tender. And although 
it was not our privilege to ever meet him again, 
our good wishes have ever followed him. 

Liberty Hicks was a grand hospital worker. 
I heard of his labors afterwards, for he accom- 
panied the sick up the river. But like many 
others he overworked, and I learn from his daugh- 
ter who lives near him in Illinois that he is per- 
manently disabled. It must, however, be a great 
consolation to him now, in his old age, to know 
that by his faithful services he saved many pre- 
cious lives. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 83 



TRADING TOBACCO FOR COFFEE. 



GOVERNOR SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD 
and some of the state officials of Iowa 
came down to visit the army during the siege 
of Vicksburg. I was invited to go with the dis- 
tinguished visitors on a tour of inspection, as 
was also Mrs. General Stone. 

Among the points of danger visited was the 
fortifications on the *' Extreme Right," which was 
up above Vicksburg and down to the water's edge. 
The fortifications were so near together that the 
men could talk back and forth. 

Our boys had a printing-press and type, and 
there were men who could write sensational news 
of the success of the Union army to order. 

They would buy a St. Louis paper, and then 
get out an '^ Extra." 

" Surrender of Lee — Capture of Jeff. Davis — 
Richmond Taken." 

The particulars of all these events would be 
given in the most plausible and convincing 
manner. 



184 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

A Stone was tied to the papers, and some wag 
would call out, — 

" Say, Rebs, do you want the latest news ? 
Newspapers are just in from St. Louis. The war 
is over." 

" Yes, throw them over;" and over they would 

go- 
But the Confederates would not believe a word 
unless it was favorable to their cause, and they 
laughed loud and long over the " lies of the 
Yanks." But they kept it up on the principle 
that "everything is fair in war." 

" Put up your head above the embankment, and 
you will soon see whether the war is over or not," 
the soldiers on the other side would say. On 
that day, while we stood there, some of the Iowa 
officials put their hats on their canes, and had 
them perforated by bullets. 

A voice came over the ramparts, *' Say, Yanks, 
do you want some tobacker } " 
"Yes." 

" Will you trade coffee for tobacker .? " 
" Yes ; throw it over, and we will throw over 
enough coffee to pay for it." 

We waited in expectation a little while, then a 
warning came, — 

" Look out there, Yanks! " 
All stepped back out of danger. A cloth that 
had once been white, but had evidently been in 
the trenches, came over filled with a lot of the 
most abominable tobacco I had ever seen. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 85 

After due inspection, the cloth was shaken a 
few times and filled with coffee, and a warning 
cry given, — 

" Look out, Rebs ! " and over the coffee went. 

"All right; thanks;" and the firing was re- 
sumed. 

There was, I learned afterwards, trading all 
along the lines. 



1 86 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE HOSPITALS OF VICKSBURG AT 
THE TIME OF THE SURRENDER. 



EARLY on the morning of the 5th of July, 
the roadways being opened, I drove into 
Vicksburg. On every side the evidences of the 
severe struggle were visible. The concentrated 
fire of shot and shell had riddled nearly every 
building. 

The solid shot had done much less damage than 
the shells, which, after striking, usually exploded. 
The solid cannon-balls cut clean round holes in 
the solid brick walls, with less damage to the 
walls in most cases than could have been done by 
a mason's chisel. But the murderous shot and 
shell had come from every direction, and scattered 
the household goods and the inmates, killing 
many citizens and soldiers, and wounding many 
more. The whole city was an immense hospital. 

And it is but kindly and fair to say, just here, 
that no city was ever more heroically defended ; 
and that the gallant force inside of Vicksburg did 
not yield until starvation stared them in the face. 
There was nothing to eat in the city. The sol- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 8/ 

diers had been on short rations for a long time ; 
the citizens were without food. Cattle, horses, 
mules, dogs, cats, rats, and mice had been de- 
voured. The sick and wounded in the hospitals 
had been sustained on mule soup for a long while, 
and the supply of mules was about exhausted. 
There was no living creature in the shape of dogs 
and cats and rats to be seen in the streets or 
about the houses — all had been eaten for food. 

The United States government issued rations 
to the starving people at once. I visited the hos- 
pitals immediately. I had large supplies of 
hospital stores, which were sent to me by Mr. 
Yeateman of St. Louis, President of the Western 
Sanitary Commission, who was a Southern gentle- 
man, and who, though loyal to the Stars and 
Stripes, yet felt deep sympathy for the Southern- 
ers in their terrible sufferings ; and also from 
Louisville and elsewhere, for I, too, was linked by 
ties of blood to the people of the South, and 
the history of Kentucky was interlinked with the 
history of my ancestors. 

These immense supplies were sent me, in antici- 
pation of the surrender, for the Confederate Hos- 
pital of Vicksburg. Some of the hospitals were 
in a most wretched condition ; the men being 
without beds or pillows, or any other comforts for 
the sick. This was especially true of what were 
called the "field hospitals ;" the hospitals imme- 
diately in the rear of the fighting force, into which 



1 88 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

the wounded were carried before being transported 
to the permanent hospitals. 

In these hospitals I found men lying on the 
floor with their knapsacks under their heads, swel- 
tering in their heavy army clothing. We found 
afterwards that their clothing was full of vermin. 
One poor man who looked very ill, and seemed to 
be suffering much, lay on the floor of one of the 
first hospitals I visited. I stopped to speak with 
him, coming close beside him. A Confederate 
surgeon sprang forward, and, taking me by the arm, 
said, " Please, lady, don't go so near, you are in 
danger of getting vermin on you." I had the sat- 
isfaction within the next twenty-four hours of see- 
ing that hospital thoroughly cleansed, and every 
soldier lying clean and comfortable in a cot-bed 
between clean sheets, and his head resting on a 
soft white pillow ; while a bonfire just in the rear 
of the building was consuming all the old clothing 
and former contents of the hospital. The Confed- 
erate surgeons were retained in the hospitals where 
the Union army found them, and many of them 
were faithful, gentlemanly men. I remember very 
kindly the medical director, or chief surgeon, of 
Pemberton's army, although I have forgotten his 
name. He seemed very anxious to improve the 
condition of the hospitals, and was very grateful for 
help and supplies. The wounded were lying on the 
floor because there were no beds for them ; they 
were starving — dying for lack of proper nourish- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 89 

ment because there was little or no food for them, 
and so the hospitals were necessarily in a wretched 
state. 

The hospitals in the centre of the city were in 
better condition. There were many incidents 
connected with my visits to these hospitals which 
I should be glad to record, but space will not allow. 



1 9© A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A VISIT TO CAPTAIN WALKE'S 
GUNBOAT. 



AMONG the gallant Union officers who distin- 
guished themselves for wisdom and bravery 
was Captain Walke, commander of the Carondclet. 
I knew him personally as a benevolent Christian 
gentleman. No one who knew him doubted his 
profession of faith in the Divine Redeemer. 

While his gunboat was lying at Cairo, just 
before the battle of Fort Donelson, he came into 
the church one Sabbath morning and quietly took 
a seat. The minister who was expected disap- 
pointed the audience. 

As soon as that was made known, Captain 
Walke arose and went into the pulpit, opened 
the Bible, and saying, " Let us worship God," read 
the One Hundred and Third Psalm. Closing the 
book, he talked most impressively of our duty to 
God and to man, and of the boundless, measure- 
less love of Christ, and, offering an earnest prayer, 
dismissed the congregation with the long-metre 
doxology. 

The people, who had been held with almost 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 191 

breathless interest by the eloquent, forceful words 
of the stranger, began to ask, '' Who is he ? " 
And great was their surprise when they learned 
that the man who filled the pulpit that day was 
Captain Walke, commander of the Carondelet, an 
iron-clad that with bristling cannon was lying at 
anchor near the town. 

It was at Cairo that I first met Captain Walke. 
As he was often at the chief ports where the army 
was protected by gunboats, I had the privilege of 
meeting him occasionally. 

Two days before the running of the blockade at 
Vicksburg, a little company of us went over from 
the Sanitary boat to bid Captain Walke godspeed 
and farewell. 

He had just completed the task of pouring two 
barrels of coal-oil over his gunboat, and white- 
washing the lower deck, where the guns were to 
be loaded by the light of the whitewash. 

The oil was to prevent solid shot from adher- 
ing ; striking a smooth oiled surface they would 
be more likely to fly off on a tangent, he ex- 
plained by way of apology, as the gangway was 
reached, and the dresses of the ladies were be- 
smeared with coal-oil. The sides of the Ca- 
rondelet were more than three feet thick, and 
consisted of alternate layers of wood and iron. 

In answer to the question, — 

" Is not the eve of a battle a season of great 
anxiety .? " he said, — 



192 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

" No ; the time of anxiety with me is when I 
am putting the ship in order. When I have done 
all that I can do, then I can serenely trust in 
God." 

In the course of the conversation, he said that 
the most beautiful sight he had ever seen was the 
bursting of shells against the side of his ship, 
sending out volumes of fire, and scintillations of 
light like a cloud of glory. 

Our godspeeds and good wishes were earnest 
and heartfelt. We all felt that it might be a last 
farewell. 

He went through the fiery channel in safety, 
but I never saw his face again. 

His death occurred not a great while thereafter. 

A grand, true Christian gentleman, and a brave 
soldier, was Captain Walke. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. I93 



HOSPITAL ABUSES— PUTTING LOG- 
WOOD IN THE COFFEE. 



THERE was a very large hospital at Madison, 
Ind., which was very much crowded in 1864- 
1865 with the sick and wounded. I established a 
special-diet kitchen there for the preparation of 
food for the very sick and the severely wounded, 
and placed one of my lady helpers in charge. She 
had scarcely assumed the supervision of the cook- 
ery till she began complaining of the quality of 
the food, especially of the coffee. As she put it : 
** There is nothing in this hospital fit for a well 
man to eat, much less these sick and wounded 
and dying men." 

I was in Washington at the time ; but I tele- 
graphed to Miss Louisa Vance, one of the shrewd- 
est and most careful workers of the Christian 
Commission, to report at the hospital at Madison, 
Ind., and await instructions. I met her there 
with carefully written instructions : "■ Go on with 
the work, and don't complain, but watch. There 
is something wrong in that hospital ; find out what 
it is. The government furnishes good supplies 



194 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

and good coffee ; find out what becomes of them, 
but don't, for the life of these men, let the sur- 
geon and hospital steward know that they are 
suspected. Make frequent errands to the room 
of the commissary," etc. She was not long in 
finding out as to the cheating and adulteration. 
The first clew was obtained because of the rule in 
that hospital, that a barrel be placed beside the 
kitchen door, and all the coffee-grounds emptied 
into it. *' Boys," she said to some of the men 
who did the cooking, '* why do you put the coffee- 
grounds there ? They have been used ; they are 
no account." 

"It's the surgeon's orders." 

''He has them hauled away and emptied, I 
suppose .? " 

" No ; he has them dried on the commissary 
floor." 

"Gives them to poor people, I suppose V 

"I don't know," answered one; but there was a 
general laugh among the men in the kitchen. 

She made an excuse to go to the commissary- 
room ; and there, sure enough, on the floor, was a 
large pile of old coffee-grounds. The men em- 
ployed there were busy stirring and turning it 
over to hasten the drying process. She asked for 
something in a careless way, and then said as she 
was leaving, — 

" You have a good lot of coffee, boys. What 
in the world are you going to do with so much 
coffee.?" 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, 1 95 

"The surgeon in charge is going to sell it, I 
guess ; " and then they all laughed. She felt sure 
from their manner that these men knew all the se- 
crets of that commissary department, and it must 
be her business to get it from them. But I was 
urging her to be careful ; for if false charges were 
brought against the surgeon in charge of a large 
hospital, it would injure the diet-kitchen service 
all along the line. We were in daily correspond- 
ence. She had tested the coffee every way she 
could think of, but could not decide as to how it 
was adulterated. She had a new white-pine sink 
put in the kitchen, and poured out some coffee on 
that. It stained the boards logwood color. She 
knew now at least one article of adulteration. 
She looked the men of the commissary well 
over, and picked out one, an innocent young 
fellow, that she thought she might surprise 
into a confession. Waiting her chance, when 
no one was near, she faced him with the ter- 
rible question : — 

" Why do you men in the commissary-room put 
logwood and every other vile stuff in the coffee 
for our poor sick and wounded men to drink.-* 
Have you no conscience t Do you want to kill 
them.?" 

The poor boy turned pale, and staggered back 
as though he would fall, as he stammered, — 

" We have to do it ; it's the surgeon's orders. 
Indeed, Miss Vance, we can't help it ; " and he 



196 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

dashed away as fast as he could go, to tell the 
others. 

" O boys ! Miss Vance knows all about the 
cheating here, and the logwood and everything in 
the coffee." 

As they wanted to set themselves right with 
Miss Vance, the others, as soon as they could, 
went to her to apologize, and to assure her that it 
was orders. She assumed not to believe that a 
surgeon would give such orders, and said she 
could not believe till she saw the orders. They 
brought them, and also the surgeon's instructions 
for mixing, and various other devices for cheating. 

"Now, boys, don't say a word about this till I 
can see what I can do." 

Of course I got all these facts as quick as 
the mail could bring them. I wrote her "to be 
careful, to make copies of all the papers and 
records of the false entries in the books, and take 
these men one by one to a justice of the peace 
or notary public, and have them swear to every- 
thing;" for, if the surgeon should suspect what 
she was doing, he would at once relieve them, and 
order them to join their regiments, and she would 
be left to stand alone. I started for Louisville, 
Ky., the headquarters of Assistant Surgeon-Gen- 
eral R. C. Wood, at once, and requested Miss 
Vance to send to me there all the papers in the 
case, which she did. 

As I read over the villanous record of cheatery, 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 97 

and the disgusting compounds he had put into 
the old coffee-grounds for the poor sick and 
wounded men to drink, my soul was hot within 
me with righteous indignation. When I went 
into the office of General Wood the next morning 
I was in a mood for strong talk. He gave me his 
usual cordial greeting. 

" General Wood, if you please, I would like to 
see you alone," I said. 

He looked surprised, as I had never made such 
a request before. 

*' Certainly," he said, and nodded to the two or 
three clerks in the room to withdraw. As soon 
as the door was closed behind them I began : — 

*' I came to report Dr. R , of the Madison 

Hospital." 

" Dr. R } Why, he is one of my best 

surgeons ! What has he done } " 

" You may think he is one of your best sur- 
geons, but my opinion of him is that he ought to 
be hung higher than Haman.'' 

The general looked greatly surprised, as he 
had never heard me use any such emphatic terms 
about any one before. *' Please, madam, explain," 
he said. 

" He is cheating and starving the soldiers, and 
selling their good coffee, and giving them a little 
coffee mixed with logwood and other vile adultera- 
tion." 

" Impossible ! That is entirely impossible." 



198 A IVOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

"Nevertheless, it is true ; and he is cheating 
you in making up his hospital returns. I have 
the proof here in my hands." 

He turned pale. " Can such a thing be pos- 
sible } " he gasped. 

*' It is possible," I said. "See for yourself;" 
and I handed him the true returns, with the affi- 
davits. 

He brought out the official returns which had 
been sent by the surgeon, and we compared 
them. 

" He's a villain, a heartless villain," the general 
would mutter at each new exhibition of the sur- 
geon's rascality. 

When we had gone through with the papers, he 
said in a most emphatic way, — 

" I will punish that man to the full extent of 
the law." 

" No, general : he will elude you ; he will find 
some way to escape. If dealt with by military 
law he will escape ; but I have a plan that will 
reach him." 

" What is your plan ? " 

"To go to Governor Morton of Indiana, and 
lay the facts and these papers before him, and put 
the whole case in his hands. The hospital is in 
his State, and I don't think he can get out of the 
clutches of Governor Morton." My words were 
like the shock of an electric battery. He sprang 
to his feet, and walked the floor in a most excited 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1 99 

State of mind. At last he calmed himself enough 
to speak, and facing me, he said, — 

*' Madam, do you wish to kill me ? Do you wish 
to kill me ? Do you wish to stab me to the 
heart ? " 

" Certainly not. I have the highest respect for 
you. I believe you are innocent in this matter ; 
but I do not want that villain to escape." 

** He shall not escaped 

" What will you do } " 

" I will send up Inspector Allen right away." 

" No ; that won't do. Inspector Allen has been 
going up month after month, and has not seen a 
thing wrong. No ; I am sorry to say it, but I 
do not believe you can bring this man to justice. 
Governor Morton is my only chance to secure 
that." 

I shall never forget with what majesty he stood 
before me. He looked like a patriarch, — tall, 
straight, commanding, with his crown of gray 
hair, his fair and kindly face. A perfect Christian 
gentleman of the old school, too honest and true 
himself to suspect others as frauds. 

"Mrs. Wittenmyer," he said, *'you could not 
possibly do me a greater injury ; such a thing 
would likely lead to my removal. You certainly 
do not desire that. Have I not co-operated with 
you in all your great plans, removing from one 
hospital to another surgeons at your suggestion } 
Have I not placed steamers and trains to carry 



200 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

your goods, and extended to you the hearty co- 
operation and aid of this office? Why should you 
wish to injure me ? " 

''I do not wish to injure you. I only want to 
bring this rogue to justice. You have done all 
that any one could do for me, and the influence of 
your high office has helped me all along the lines. 
I shall ever hold you in grateful remembrance for 
your kindness and co-operation ; but I cannot stand 
by and see our sick and wounded men treated in 
this way, and not do my utmost to bring such a 
rascal to justice." 

*' He shall be brought to justice. I will make 
this proposition to you : I will appoint a commis- 
sion to investigate, bring charges against and 
court-martial him, and you may select the com- 
mission." 

" But he will resign as soon as he knows they 
are going to bring charges." 

*' I will not accept his resignation." 

And so this plan was agreed to ; as over the op- 
position of the assistant surgeon-general, who had 
been my ablest helper, I saw it would not do to 
go, as I wished to do, to Governor Morton. 

I selected Dr. Clendening, medical director of 
that department, as the president of the court. 
I knew him to be a true gentleman, of sterling 
integrity, who would do his duty without fear or 
favor. The others were among the best medical 
men of the army. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 201 

The last I heard of Dr. Clendening he was in 
the regular army, and stationed at St. Louis. I 
think he is still living, as are most of those who 
are familiar with the facts here recorded. The 
commission received the documents, went to 
Madison, and verified all Miss Vance's statements, 
and sat down together to formulate the charges. 
But as soon as the committee came on the ground, 

Surgeon R telegraphed his resignation to 

Surgeon-General Barnes at Washington. It was 
accepted by telegraph, and he was on a train far 
away. The commission was greatly disappointed, 
and General Wood was very much humiliated over 
the affair. Shortly afterwards, returning to Wash- 
ington, I spoke to the surgeon-general about the 

case, and gave him my views about Dr. R 's 

rascality. But the hospital was soon cleaned up ; 
the old coffee-grounds and logwood were dumped 
out upon the " common," and good food and plenty 
of it was served to the men. 

I was not known to Dr. R in the case ; 

but Dr. Clendening and the other members of 
the commission, and Miss Vance, will know how 
the reform was brought about. I do not give the 
full name of the surgeon, as he may have repented 
in sackcloth and ashes for aught I know; but there 
is little danger of my forgetting his name. Miss 
Vance is now living in California. 



202 A WOMAN ^S REMINISCENCES 



REMINISCENCE OF GENERAL 
GRANT. 



ONE of the strongest evidences of General 
Grant's nobility of character was his re- 
spectful treatment of the men in the ranks. They 
were all men, and were treated as men. He did 
not toady to the officers, or bully the privates. 
His attitude to all was respectful and considerate. 

He was more approachable to the men in the 
ranks than were many of his inferior officers. 

An ambulance driver at City Point told me this 
story : — 

"The road was narrow, and I was allowing the 
horses to jog on at a slow pace, when an officer 
rode up and said, * Drive your ambulance to one 
side, please, and allow my staff to pass.' 

** I was paralyzed when I looked up and saw it 
was General Grant who was talking to me so nice 
and polite. I looked back and saw a lot of officers 
coming, and you may be sure I got out of their 
way as quick as I could. Most officers would have 
sworn a blue streak because I was in the road, but 
that isn't General Grant's way ; he is a mighty 
nice man." 



6F THE CIVIL WAI^. 203 

I had occasion to call at an officer's headquar- 
ters to report that there were supplies at the land- 
ing for his regiment. He was very much pleased 
that I had taken the trouble to call on him per- 
sonally, as he was from my own State. As we 
sat in his tent talking socially, a private soldier 
came to the tent door, made the military salute, 
and was about to speak, when the colonel thun- 
dered his words of command : — 

"Begone; what business have you coming to 
my headquarters } " 

**The lieutenant sent me to " — 

"Begone, I tell you." 

The soldier turned away deeply humiliated, and 
no doubt indignant. I, as indignant as the soldier, 
arose, and without ceremony left the tent. I have 
never thought of that officer since, that I did not 
want to go back to that lost opportunity, and tell 
him how mean and ignoble he was. 



204 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



FRED D. GRANT — THE BRAVE 
ORDERLY AT VICKSBURG. 



NEARLY every day during the siege of Vicks- 
burg, General Grant rode around the fiery 
line of the besieged city on his little black horse ; 
and his son Fred, about thirteen years old, who 
acted as his orderly, followed about fifty yards in 
the rear. 

It was a wild ride over the rough, roadless fields 
and bluffs in the rear of our batteries, where the 
enemy's guns were ploughing the ground here 
and there, over which they were riding. 

Almost every day, as I drove about the lines, 
at some point or other I would see General Grant 
and his brave little orderly riding at full speed in 
the face of the long lines of the enemy's batteries, 
and within range of their murderous fire. But 
most of all to be feared was the surer fire of the 
Confederate sharpshooters. 

They were never within speaking distance, be- 
ing much nearer the batteries than was the road- 
way along which I drove. 

There was great anxiety for General Grant 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 205 

during the siege. Personally he was beloved by 
officers and men, but there were deeper reasons. 
His life was so important to the Union cause, that 
his death would have been the greatest calamity 
that the army could have suffered. Officers and 
civilians warned and entreated him, but as far as 
I could see he made no change in his course. 

Fred Grant shared his father's dangers ; and 
although he was one of the nicest boys I ever saw, 
few knew his real merits and bravery. Like his 
distinguished father, he was free from bombast, 
and was quiet and reserved, so his heroic services 
during the siege were not paraded before the 
public, as the deeds of many who did not show 
half the courage he did. 

We did not meet very often ; but when we did, 
I always had some kindly words and an approving 
smile for him. It was fortunate that his devoted 
mother was not there at that time to see his dan- 
ger as he went out under the guns daily. 

Her anxiety would have been unbearable, as 
she was a most devoted wife and mother, and the 
dangers were appalling. 

Fred D. Grant ought in some marked way to 
receive public honor for his wonderful heroism at 
Vicksburg. 



206 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



THE SAD FATE OF JENNIE WADE. 



ONE of the many sad incidents of the battle of 
Gettysburg was the tragic death of Jennie 
Wade. The family remained in their house, as 
they could not well leave a married daughter lying 
on her bed with a new-born infant by her side. 
Jennie and her mother remained with her, as there 
seemed to be no way of removing Mrs. McClelland 
and her baby to a place of safety when the coming 
of the two armies disturbed the quiet of the quaint 
old Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. Amid the 
clash of arms, when the boom of cannon shook 
the rock-rimmed hills and echoed among the 
mountains, and the shock of battle sent a throb 
of agony along the lines of two armies, they were 
there in the midst of it all. Mrs. McClelland lay 
there helpless amid its thunders, while Jennie 
made bread for the soldiers who crawled to the 
door begging for something to eat. 

A shell came crashing through the house, and 
cut off one of the posts of the bedstead on which 
Mrs. McClelland and her infant were lying, but 
neither was injured. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, 20/ 

The mother and sister took a big rocking-chair 
down into the cellar, and carried her down and 
placed her in it with her baby, and Jennie went 
on making bread for the famishing soldiers. 

Another shell came screaming into the house ; 
and Jennie, with her hands just out of the dough, 
lay dead. The mother, bending, over her, searched 
in vain for some token of life, but the pulse had 
ceased to beat ; her loyal heart was forever still. 

The battle was now raging in all its wild fury ; 
but the heroic mother, instead of flying to the cel- 
lar for safety, took up* Jennie's work, and with 
Jennie lying dead at her feet, went on with the 
bread-making till the battle closed. 

Jennie Wade had always been planning for her 
burial. A complete burial-suit was in the house. 
But after the battle was over, the safety of the army 
made it imperative that the dead, lying bloated on 
the battle-field under a scorching July sun, should 
be buried at once. A squad of stalwart men, grim 
with the dust and smoke of battle, took Jennie 
Wade up tenderly, wrapped a flag about her, com- 
pletely covering her soiled calico gown and her 
hands all covered with dough, and carried her un- 
coffined to her grave. But many a soldier who 
was fed at her hands, and all who have heard the 
pathetic story, will pause where Jennie Wade lies 
sleeping to pay her the honor due a heroine of the 
war. 

The mother still lives in Gettysburg ; but the 



208 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

surviving daughter, Mrs. McClelland, with her sol- 
dier husband, who was on another battle-field at 
the time of her peril at Gettysburg, is now living 
near Tacoma, Wash. She has from the first been 
an active and valuable worker of the Woman's 
Relief Corps. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 209 



THE HOSPITAL AT POINT OF 
ROCKS, VA. 



WHEN the Union army was massed at City 
Point in the desperate struggle to capture 
Petersburg and Richmond, it became necessary to 
establish a large hospital at Point of Rocks, a few 
miles above City Point. 

Log cabins, put up from timber green from the 
forest, and tents, served as quarters for the sick 
and wounded ; and three or four thousand of the 
worst cases were quartered there almost immedi- 
ately, being soon increased to five thousand. The 
army operating against Richmond was only a few 
miles away, and the thunder of their guns could 
be heard all day long, and the night sky was often 
illuminated by bursting shells ; for two armies 
were facing each other between Point of Rocks 
and Richmond, and occasionally a shell would 
come screaming over to remind us that we were 
in range of the enemy's guns. The cooking ar- 
rangements, when I reached Point of Rocks, were 
of the most primitive character. Two log cabins 
without floors or chimneys, with openings in the 



210 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

roof to allow the smoke to escape, and big kettles 
hanging over smoking, crackling log fires, were 
used for cooking purposes. There were great 
black iron kettles for coffee, tea, soups, meat, 
beans, and rice. 

When I saw the messes served to the sick and 
wounded men in the wards, as each cabin was 
called, I did not wonder that the men turned away 
in disgust. 

The tin cups, in which the patients received 
their tea and coffee, were black and battered; the 
platters had been used in many a march, and were 
rusty and greasy. Into each one of these platters 
was dished out rice, beans, or mixed vegetables, 
as the men preferred. My mental comment was, 
" There is not one thing here fit for a well man 
to eat, much less a sick or wounded man." The 
surgeon in charge seemed not to know that things 
were not up to the proper standard ; and I was 
silent — silent till I was out of the hearing of 
these men, and until I had a chance to say all 
that was in my heart to say. The office of the 
surgeon in charge was in a frame dwelling on the 
grounds. When I had seated myself in his office, 
he turned suddenly upon me and questioned, 
" Well, what do you think of my hospital } " 

" Perhaps you would not like to hear ; you may 
wish only flattery," I answered very kindly. 

*' Yes ; I want to know the truth. If you see 
anything that can be improved just say so frankly ; 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 211 

but you must remember we are under the enemy's 
guns, and can't have the conveniences and luxuries 
that they have in the big cities." 

" I will not suggest anything that cannot be ac- 
complished here within a week, and yet it would 
be a great change for the men. I would begin 
with the kitchen. I would build a kitchen with a 
chimney ; there are plenty of rocks here." 

"Yes, that is so." 

" Then, I would have a floor in it, and two of 
the largest ranges the market affords." 

" That is impossible ; the government would 
not supply ranges." 

" I will supply the ranges. The Christian Com- 
mission is ready at an hour's notice to honor any 
order that I am likely to give." 

" The men couldn't manage them." 

*' No, perhaps not ; but I would put in two first- 
class women to do the managing, and the men you 
have could do the work." 

After very much more talk, he suggested that 
I might make the attempt. 

I wrote immediately to George H. Stuart of 
Philadelphia, President of the Christian Commis- 
sion, stating the condition of affairs at the Point 
of Rocks Hospital, requesting lumber for kitchen, 
lime for chimney, two first-class ranges, a thou- 
sand tin cups and platters, and all the necessary 
supplies to start a kitchen. 

My letter was promptly received, and Mr. Stuart 
answered by telegram : — 



212 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

"Everything ordered will be sent this afternoon. Also 
crates of dishes. Go ahead. You shall have all you need." 

I had already telegraphed to Mrs. E. W. Jones, 
one of my most reliable workers, to come to me 
immediately, and Miss Hattie Noyes, another su- 
perior worker. 

They both came as fast as steam could bring 
them, reaching there before the kitchen was com- 
pleted. A cabin had been prepared for them ; but 
as shingles were not at hand, it was covered with 
canvas. As the ladies were entirely competent to 
complete the arrangements, I left them for another 
point. In less than a week a most remarkable 
change had been wrought in that hospital. When 
the first meals were issued from that well-regu- 
lated kitchen in the nice white dishes and bright 
tinware, the sick men, many of them, cried and 
kissed the dishes, and said it seemed most like 
getting home. Instead of the slops dished out of 
vessels that looked like swill-buckets, there came 
to the beds of the very sick and severely wounded, 
baked potatoes, baked apples, beef-tea, broiled 
beefsteak (when allowed), and especially to the 
wounded, toasts, jellies, good soup, and every- 
thing in the best home-like preparation. 

The surgeon looked on in utter surprise. But 
the patients fared better than my heroic women. 
There came a beating, driving rain, and their 
canvas roof leaked like a sieve. They wrapped 
rubber blankets about their clothing, put rubber 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, 213 

blankets on their bed, raised their umbrellas, and 
slept. Of this trial Mrs. Jones wrote me. I 
quote from her letter : — 

**This has been a trying day. All night and all day the 
rain has come down in torrents in our quarters and the 
kitchen, as well as out-of-doors. Quarts of water ran off our 
bed while we slept. Almost everything had to be dried, 
even to bed and bedding, and in the kitchen it was even 
worse. But to-night finds us in good spirits, and our zeal 
undampened, though our work has been most thoroughly 
soaked. Affectionately, 

E. W. J." 

The putting on of new roofs was only a ques- 
tion of a day or two, and they had no more trouble 
from rain after that. 

This hospital became so large that another 
kitchen had to be established, and three other 
ladies were added to the force. 

These kitchens were the most important in the 
entire service, except, possibly, the great kitchen 
at Cumberland Hospital, Nashville, Tenn. The 
fame of the cookery there extended all along the 
line. Surgeons came long distances to see for 
themselves if the reports were true about them. 
To many it seemed incredible that the cooking 
for the very sick could be so well managed right 
along the front lines in these field hospitals. 

At my request. General Grant, commanding 
the United States forces with headquarters at 
City Point, visited these famous kitchens. 

Himself and two of his staff went in disguise. 



214 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

With his slouch hat drawn down, and coming 
in citizen's clothing, no one noticed him. They 
stood by the door of the largest kitchen, while the 
dinner was issued. He asked, when the food had 
been sent out, a few questions and looked at the 
bill of fare, then followed to the wards to see the 
patients receive it. 

He said, when I next came down from Washing- 
ton and called at headquarters, that he thought it 
was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen. 
He was unusually enthusiastic. 

"Why," said he, "those men live better than I 
do ; and so many of them too. How they manage 
to cook such a variety for so many hundreds is 
what puzzles me." 

Then he told me about his going through the 
wards while they were taking their dinner, and 
noticing how greatly they enjoyed the food. And 
when told that the most of this food came 

FROM THE COMMUTATION OF GOVERNMENT RA- 
TIONS, he was still more surprised. 

When he was passing through one of the wards, 
a convalescing soldier, taking him to be a delegate 
of the Christian Commission, called out, " Say, 
Christian, won't you bring me a pair of socks } " 

" I'll see that you get a pair," the general re- 
sponded, and passed out ; but he arranged to have 
the man get a pair of socks. 

But where are the noble women who labored 
there with so much energy and zeal years ago .-* 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 21 5 

Mrs. Jones, a most saintly woman, the widow of 
a Presbyterian minister, sits serene in the evening 
of life — her work done and well-done — at Welles- 
ley, Mass., where her daughter is the attending 
physician of the college. 

All the years of her life have been given to be- 
nevolent and reform work, and now she waits and 
listens for the heavenly voice, and the rustle of 
the ancrel's wins^s. 

Miss Noyes is in Canton, China, where she has 
been in mission work ever since the close of the 
war. A few years ago a beautiful poem written 
by her, entitled, '' Toiling All Night," was exten- 
sively published in this country. She has several 
times returned on a visit to her native land, and 
was, when she came to us, the same bright, cheer- 
ful, earnest-hearted woman, as when, amid the 
thunders of battle, she ministered to the sick and 
wounded soldiers of the Republic. 

Fortune has not dealt generously with some of 
the others who labored there. One, a competent 
worker, is now poor. She lives in Illinois. 

Another married and settled on a land claim. 
Her husband died from overwork and exposure, 
leaving her in the wilderness, without help to 
bury him, for days. After he was laid away, she 
struggled on, determined to hold the claim ; but a 
fearful snowstorm one winter came, and buried 
her and her two little girls under the snow, till 
the top of the house was level with the plain. 



2l6 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

They remained buried for many days before 
being dug out. Some men thought about her, 
and travelled miles to ascertain if she was all 
right. 

They searched long before they could find 
her shanty, and when they did, had to dig tons of 
snow away before they could get her out. She 
now lives in Colorado. 

These years have wrought great changes ; but 
all the workers will look back, no matter how bright 
or how dark the hours that may come to them, 
with great satisfaction on their heroic work at 
Point of Rocks, Va. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 21/ 



THE SWEET SINGER OF THE 
HOSPITALS. 



IN the fall of 1864, when the Union army was 
massing against Richmond, Va., the hospitals 
in and around Washington were very much over- 
crowded. 

Under special orders from Mr. Stanton, Secre- 
tary of War, and with the hearty co-operation of 
President Lincoln, I had previously assumed the 
general supervision of the special-diet kitchens of 
the United States army hospitals all along the 
lines. 

It also devolved upon me to select the lady 
superintendents for that important service, two 
for each kitchen. The food for the very sick and 
the severely wounded, on orders of the ward sur- 
geons, was prepared under their supervision. 

In some of these special-diet kitchens as many 
as 1,000, and in some 1,500 patients, were supplied 
with carefully prepared food in great variety three 
times a day. 

It will be readily seen that competent women 
were needed to take the management of this im- 



2l8 WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

portant work. They had not only to command a 
force of twenty or thirty men in these kitchens, 
and maintain discipline and good order, but they 
had, under hospital authority, the entire responsi- 
bility of supplying the proper preparation of food, 
on time and without the least delay or confusion. 

Their high position also demanded that they 
should be ladies of culture and social standing, 
who could command the respect -and confidence of 
officers and surgeons in charge. It is greatly to 
the honor of the patriotic women of the North, 
that scores of accomplished ladies of high social 
position volunteered to fill these important places. 

Great care had to be taken in their selection, 
and none were accepted unless highly indorsed. 

One day there came to my headquarters in 
Washington a young lady from Pawtucket, R.I. 
She was twenty-two years old, as I afterwards 
learned ; but she was so childlike in appearance 
that she seemed much younger. 

''I am Lizzie B ," she said by way of intro- 
duction. "I was ready and waiting, and just as 
soon as I received your letter containing pass and 
orders to come, I started." 

My heart sank within me. I was expecting 
Lizzie B— — , but I had anticipated meeting a 
very different-looking person. 

Every letter of recommendation had said : " Al- 
though Miss B is young in years, she is ma- 
ture in character, and is of the highest type of 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 1\C) 

American womanhood, and will command respect 
anywhere. We commend her to you as one of 
our noblest women, who will be equal to any posi- 
tion, and one who will never fail nor falter in the 
line of duty." 

I had naturally expected a woman of stately 
and commanding presence, and one who would be 
equal to any emergency ; but she seemed to me to 
be only a child in years and experience. 

" I have ordered up my baggage," she said with 
childlike simplicity, " and I have brought my little 
melodeon with me. I thought it might be useful." 

Sure enough, when her luggage came, and the 
box containing the instrument was opened, she 
took out the smallest melodeon I ever saw. 

''What shall I do with that dear little child 
from Rhode Island and her little melodeon } " I 
said to my secretary, Mary Shelton, now Mrs. 
Judge Houston of Burlington, Iowa. But she 
could not solve the problem. 

When the heavy work of the day was through, 
weary and full of care and anxiety, we joined 
Miss B in the parlor. After some conversa- 
tion, she said, — 

" Would you like to have me play and sing } " 

We assented, and she sat down at the instru- 
ment and began to play and sing. 

We were amazed and charmed. It seemed as 
though the curtains of heaven were lifted, and the 
songs of an angel were floating down upon us. 



220 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

The tones of the little melodeon were soft and 
clear, and the voice of the singer was sweet and 
remarkably sympathetic. Her notes thrilled one ; 
there was life and spirit in them. After listening 
to her for an hour or more, weariness and anxiety 
were gone, and I knew just what to do with Lizzie 

B . 

There were tens of thousands of aching and 
burdened hearts all about us ; and she, with her 
wonderful gift of song, could lift some drooping 
spirit, and pour the balm of peace into some 
wounded, fainting hearts. I took her and her 
melodeon to Campbell Hospital the next morning, 
and told her to sing as she had opportunity. 

The sick and wounded were quartered in great 
wooden barracks eighty feet long. There were 
rows of cots on either side of the room. That 
very day she went into one of these wards. She 
had never been in a hospital before ; and when she 
entered and saw the long rows of cots, and all the 
faces of the men, whether they were lying down 
or sitting up, turned towards her, she grew faint 
and dizzy, and her courage almost failed her. She 
seemed powerless to do anything but to walk on 
down the long aisle. 

At last a soldier called to her from his bed, — 
" Say, miss, won't you write a letter for me } " 
It was a great relief to have the oppressive 
silence broken and to have something to do. As 
she sat down beside his cot, she asked, — 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, 221 

" To whom shall I write ? " 

"My mother." 

And he thrust his hand down under his pillow, 
and drew forth a letter which she read with tears. 

" What shall I say to her ? " 

" Tell her that the surgeons think that I may 
live a week or two yet." 

" Oh ! but you may get well." 

" No ; I can never recover. I have a fatal 
disease." 

" Shall I ask your mother to come to you } " 

" No ; she cannot come. She is too poor, and 
she can't leave the younger children ; but she is 
praying for me." 

** Would you like to have me to pray for you .^'* 

''Yes, miss, if you will." 

Lizzie B took one of his thin, cold hands in 

her own and knelt beside his cot, and offered up 
one of those low, sweet, sympathetic prayers that 
come from the heart and ascend straight to the 
throne of mercy. 

When she arose, every man who could leave his 
bed was standing about the cot, and many were 
wiping away the tears they could not restrain. 

''Would you like to have me sing something.^" 
she questioned, looking kindly into their faces. 

"Oh! do — please do," they all urged; and she 
sang one of the sweet songs of the gospel that 
she could sing so well. 

Of course they were all delighted, and begged 
that she would come again. 



222 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

*' I have a melodeon," she said, as she left them ; 
"and I'll come to-morrow and have that brought 
into the ward, if the surgeon says I may." 

As they looked wistfully after her, one of the 
soldiers, wiping the tears from his eyes, said, — 

" She looks like a woman, but she sings like an 
angel." 

The next day the little melodeon was carried 

into that ward, and Lizzie B sang for them, 

and the surgeon in charge was one of the audi- 
tors. He was so delighted with the influence of 
her singing, that he gave orders that she be 
allowed to sing in all the wards of that hospital. 

From that time on, she devoted her time to the 
service of song, till all the hundreds in that hos- 
pital had been cheered again and again by her 
tender words and sweet, sympathetic voice. 

The effects of her singing were so uplifting and 
comforting that I extended her field, and had an 
ambulance placed at her command that she might 
visit other hospitals. After that she made the 
rounds among the hospitals at Washington, going 
day by day from one hospital to another. Every- 
where her coming was hailed with joy. Mothers 
and wives who were watching hopelessly beside 
their dying ones were lifted in heart and hope 
towards God and heaven. Men who had been 
strong in battle to do and to dare, but who now 
lay sorely wounded and weak, and heart and flesh 
well-nigh failing them, were lifted on billows of 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 223 

hope and faith and felt strong to live and to do, 
or to suffer and die. 

Thousands were cheered and saved from de- 
spair by this wonderful singer of the hospitals. 

I found her afterwards in other work, equal to 
the management of large interests. She could 
have taken charge of a special-diet kitchen, but I 
have always thanked God that her time was given 
instead to songs in the hospitals. She has changed 
her name since then. She is now the wife of a 
Congregational minister ; but her voice still holds, 
by its sweet, sympathetic cadences, the listening 



224 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A YOUNG NURSE AT GETTYSBURG. 



LITTLE SADIE BUSHMAN, who was not 
J quite ten years old at the time of the battle 
of Gettysburg, proved herself a little heroine. 
Mr. and Mrs. Bushman, learning that the battle 
would rage in all probability on or near their 
premises, sent this child with her brother to her 
grandmother's, two miles away, while the parents 
gathered up the other children and undertook to 
follow. 

Sadie took hold of her brother's hand, and they 
hurried on as fast as their feet could carry them. 
But it was not long before their pathway led them 
into the thick of the fight along Seminary Ridge. 
The roar of the artillery was continuous, but they 
could not retreat. There came a blinding flash 
and a deafening roar. A shell whizzed past them. 
A gray-haired officer seized the children, and hur- 
ried them down the ridge toward their destination. 

But scarcely less danger awaited them there, 
as their grandmother's house and yard was con- 
verted into a hospital. The first work of the 
child when she reached this place was to hold a 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 22$ 

cup of water to a soldier's lips while one of his 
legs was sawed off. 

She was separated from her parents two weeks 
before they knew she was alive, but all that time 
she was ministering to the wounded soldiers. She 
carried soup and broth, and fed those who could 
not help themselves. She worked under the 
orders of the surgeons, and was furnished with 
supplies by the Christian Commission as long as 
the hospitals were kept open in Gettysburg. She 
is now a married woman — Sadie Bushman Jun- 
kerman — and lives near Oakland, Cal. ; but the 
scenes of the Gettysburg battle years ago are 
vividly remembered by her. 



226 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



A BUT'FUL GUV'MENT MULE. 



AFTER tb^fall of Richmond it was found that 
L the |5eople were in a very destitute condi- 
tion, many of them being almost in a state of star- 
vation. 

Every agency was at once used to furnish them 
with food. 

The government issued rations as they came 
in, and the Sanitary and Christian Commissions 
distributed large supplies. 

Among those who assisted in distributing the 
supplies of the Christian Commission was the 
Rev. John O. Foster, now living in Chicago, 111. 

Each day the supplies would be issued accord- 
ins: to the amount on hand and the number stand- 
ing in line. 

Slowly the procession would march up with 
baskets to get what was offered ; black and white, 
rich and poor, old and young, all fared and shared 
alike. 

One evening after the issue had been made and 
the room cleared, an old colored man, who had 
been sitting off in one corner on a box, arose and 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 22/ 

shuffled along towards Mr. Foster. Taking off 
his old torn hat he made a low bow. 

" Why, you're too late ; why didn't you come 
up when the others did } " 

" No, massa, I izent. Ben's done gone and 
got my rashuns. I'se cum har on bizness." 

*' Well, what can I do for you } " 

*' I'ze mos' 'shamed to tell you, Capt'n," and he 
put his old hat to his face and chuckled heartily. 
Then continued, " You see, Capt'n, day's sellin' lot 
uv guv'ment mules cheap, mighty cheap, mos' as 
cheap as dirt, and I cud make a fortin if I could 
buy one ; day's sellin' for twenty dollars, massa 
— but'ful guvment mules." Then there was an 
awkward pause. 

" Well } " 

*' I thot mebbe you'd len' me de money." 

Foster laughed heartily. 

*' How would you ever pay me back } " 

" By haulin' ; dar's a big speculation in it ; 
make a fortin right off." 

" Where will you get a wagon t " 

*' Oh, I'ze got a wagin ; one ole massa throde 
away and I mended up. An' I'ze got ropes and 
ebery ting 'cept de mule ; dat's all I want now." 

** You think you will pay me back } " 

** Sartin, massa. If I don't pay, I guvs up de 
mule." 

Again Mr. Foster laughed at the thought of 
that mule coming back on his hands. 



228 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

*' Well, I think you ought to have the mule 
now," was Foster's generous reply; "and here is 
twenty dollars to buy one, but you must pay it 
back," and he handed him a ten-dollar and two 
five-dollar bills. 

" My Lor, massa ! Neber had so much money 
'fore in all my life. If I dun fail to pay it back, 
de mule's yourn, sure." 

" Now, don't allow yourself to be robbed or 
cheated out of it." 

" No, massa ; I hain't goin' to let nobody know 
I'ze got nuthin' till I git hole on de mule." 

Two days passed, and he saw nothing of the 
colored man. On the evening of the third day 
the colored man came in late, and took a seat in 
the corner on a box. But after all had left the 
room he came close up to Foster with his hand 
on his pocket. 

" Well, did you get the mule } " 

" Yes, massa ; I got de most beautifullest mule 
dat you ever seed — de bes' kind uv government 
mule." Then he took from his pocket two clean, 
crisp five-dollar bills, and handed them to Mr. 
Foster. " 'Fore Sat'day night I gwine to pay 
all, I 'spects ; I'ze doin' a busten bus'ness." 

The next Saturday evening the colored man 
was there ; and as soon as the room was cleared 
he came forward, and, making sure that no one 
else would see, he took out quite a roll of bills, 
and from them selected a clean, crisp ten-dollar 
bill and handed it to Mr. Foster. 



OF THE CIVIL WAk. 



229 



''How in the world did you make so much 
money ? " 

"I tole you, massa, der war a speculashun in 
it, an' der war. Me and de mule and Ben arned 
ev'ry dollah. He's the beautifullest mule you 
ever seed. Ben brung him round so as you could 
see 'em." 

Mr. Foster went to the door. There, sure 
enough, stood a good, strong mule, as docile, as 
quiet and sedate, as though he had not hauled the 
artillery into the fight, and stood near the big 
guns amid the thunders of battle ; for Ben said, 
with great pride, — 

*'Dis mule is one uv dem best mules dat pulled 
de big guns ober de hills. Oh, he's an awful 
strong hos ! " 

Little Ben sat on a board placed as a seat at the 
front of the wagon, his white, even teeth showing 
from ear to ear, and his eyes sparkling with glad- 
ness. Ben managed to buy a lot on a back alley 
and build himself a shanty and a little stable for 
the government mule. 

Judging from his thrift, he is, no doubt, if alive, 
one of the wealthy colored men of Richmond now! 



230 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



COULD YOU GET ME A RAW 
ONION AND SOME SALT? 



A LITTLE company of my best workers were 
sent to Wilmington, N.C, in charge of my 
secretary, Mary Shelton, in the spring of 1865, to 
care for the sick being gathered there, and the 
half-starved prisoners being sent in for exchange. 

The dangers and hardships of the journey were 
very great ; but after many delays they finally 
reached there and were able to render valuable 
service. 

Among these chosen workers was Amanda 
Shelton, now Mrs. Stewart of Mount Pleasant, 
la., who, strong of body and courageous of soul, 
was untiring in her ministrations. One day, as 
she walked among the hundreds of the sick and 
half-starved men, ministering to them as best she 
could, the surgeon of the ward called her atten- 
tion to a soldier who lay as one dead. 

" That man," he said, " is starving to death. 
We can't get him to eat anything. If you can 
tempt him to eat he may possibly recover." 

Miss Shelton went to the soldier, and tried to 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 23 1 

get his attention ; but he lay with closed eyes, in 
seeming indifference. She tried to tempt him by 
mentioning every delicacy she could think of ; but 
he shook his head and moaned impatiently. 

As she remained standing beside his cot, trying 
to think of something else, he opened his eyes, 
and, looking her earnestly in the face, asked in 
pitiful, appealing tones, — 

" Say, miss, don't you think you could get me 
a raw onion and some salt t " 

''Yes, I think I can," she answered, and 
hastened away to try to find some onions. 

Fortunately, a lot of supplies had just come 
in, and a sack of onions was among the goods 
received. 

She hastened back with an onion in her hand 
and a cup of salt. He seized the onion eagerly, 
and began eating it as one would eat an apple or 
a peach, dipping it in the salt cup each time as 
he ate greedily. 

The onion and salt was the balm of life to him ; 
and from that time he began to amend, and was 
soon able to be about the ward and eat everything 
the surgeons would allow him to. 

'' Oh, that onion did the business for me ! If I 
ever get home I will raise a big lot of them," he 
said. 

Shortly afterwards he was shipped North, and 
as the war soon afterwards closed, no doubt he 
reached his home safely. 



232 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



MEN WHO COMMANDED THEM- 
SELVES AND DID NOT SWEAR. 



THE Mississippi River was very much swollen 
in the spring of 1863, and a bayou near 
Helena offered a possible channel in the direction 
of Vicksburg. It was broad and deep enough to 
admit the passage of steamers and gunboats, but 
too narrow for a boat to turn around. 

A fleet of steamers, bearing a well-chosen force, 
and accompanied by gunboats, was sent down this 
bayou. The fleet of boats had not gone far till 
the way was found blockaded. Large trees had 
been cut down, so that in falling they bridged the 
narrow stream from shore to shore. But deter- 
mined men can overcome almost any obstacle. 

They did not stop to cut the trees to pieces, 
but loosened them from the stumps, attached 
ropes and chains to them, and with their hands, 
by main force, pulled them out onto the dry land. 
Overhanging branches had to be cut away, and 
yet all the outworks of the boats were torn to 
pieces. Finding that this channel of approach 
was impracticable, a retrograde movement was 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 233 

made. There was but one way to get the boats 
out, and that was to back out stern foremost. 

But while they were pushing on, the enemy had 
been felling the trees behind them, and the same 
hard work of pulling them out by human hands 
became necessary ; and it was done. 

It was my privilege to see the fleet of boats as 
it came in to join the force opposite Vicksburg, 
and a more dilapidated, ragged-looking lot of boats 
and men was never seen on the earth. 

They looked as though they had been through 
a dozen battles. Little was left of the boats but 
the substantial framework. The flags hung in 
tatters ; the smoke-stacks had been carried away ; 
the pilot-houses torn to pieces ; the guards and 
outworks were gone ; the wheel-houses torn away, 
and the broken wheels left bare. 

As heroes returning from battle, the soldiers of 
that expedition were welcomed by hearty cheers, 
as boat after boat came in, by their comrades. 
One boat, the first to enter the bayou, was the 
last to come in, and arrived about ten o'clock at 
night. 

The landing was made alongside our Sanitary 
boat, where the agents and workers of the Sani- 
tary and Christian Commissions were quartered. 
There were a number of ladies there ; and their 
sympathies were deeply moved, that men who had 
been out on such hard service should be marched 
out through the rain and mud at so late an hour 
to make their camp. 



234 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

"Why can they not stay under shelter where 
they are till morning ? " was the indignant ques- 
tion that passed from lip to lip, as we stood out 
on the guards looking down upon them. 

By the flambeau that burned with a weird, 
lurid light, we could dimly see them fall into line 
and march away, with their knapsacks on their 
backs and their guns in their hands. But they 
were a jolly set ; and as they plunged into the 
mud, which was nearly knee-deep, some wag among 
them cried out, in imitation of boatmen taking the 
depth of the channel, '' No bottom ! no bottom ! " 
Every soldier seemed to instantly join in the 
chorus ; and " No bottom ! no bottom ! " rang out 
from hundreds of throats, which was soon varied 
to " No chickens ! " " No coffee ! " '' No 'taters ! " 
as they plunged on in the darkness. 

Of course such conduct was not consistent 
with military dignity, and so the colonel tried to 
stop them. But the noise was so loud that he 
failed at first to make himself heard. 

" Halt ! " he cried in thunder tones. 

Immediately there was entire quiet ; every man 
stood still just where he was to hear what his 
commanding officer had to say ; not a foot moved. 

"Soldiers, you forget yourselves," said the colo- 
nel. "I know it is raining, and the mud is deep, 
and the fare and the work have been hard ; but 
you are in the midst of a great army, the com- 
manding-general's quarters are near ; what will be 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. ^35 

thought of such noise and confusion ? You mis- 
represent yourselves ; we will march quietly to 
camp. Forward, march ! " 

Not a passionate or profane word was spoken. 
We were all curious to know who the officer was 
who could command himself as well as his men. 

The next day I was at General Grant's quarters ; 
and I inquired as to who the officer was, and told 
the story. 

"I do not know him," I said earnestly, "but I 
am sure he ought to be promoted. A man who 
can govern himself as he did last night ought to 
wear a general's shoulder-straps." 

*' That was Colonel Legget. He is a good man, 
and a very fine officer," was the general's reply. 

" Do you know. General, that there is a great 
deal of profanity among the officers and men .'* " 

" Yes, I know ; I am sorry that it is so." 

*T am glad to hear you say that you are sorry." 

" I never swear." 

*' Indeed ! It is encouraging to hear a man of 
your influence say that. I am glad you have so 
much moral principle." 

*' It is not moral principle," he answered 
quickly. '* I never contracted the habit of profan- 
ity. I should not utter an oath if I knew what I 
was about ; and, not having the habit, I would not 
likely do so unconsciously. Profanity does not 
comport with the dignity of the military service." 

" No; nor with Christianity, which lifts a higher 



236 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

standard. I wish you could have said that Chris- 
tian principles furnished an added restraint." 

" I believe in the Christian system, and have 
great respect for Christian people. They are 
doing a grand work in the army ; but I am not a 
Christian as you understand it." 

" I wish you were. You walk amid dangers, 
and many of us feel anxious about you — many 
prayers go up for your safety. I would feel that 
you were safer for both worlds if you were a 
Christian." 

"I would like to be a Christian." 

Just then General Rawlins, one of the grandest 
men of the war, who was his chief of staff, came 
forward with some documents for examination, 
and the close conversation was interrupted, and I 
took my leave. I am glad to know that afterward 
he professed faith in the Divine Redeemer. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 237 



HE DIED CHEERING THE FLAG. 



AM. SHIPMAN, an Ohio volunteer, who was 
• confined for eight months as a hostage, 
was in Vicksburg jail during the siege, and was 
released when Pemberton surrendered. 

For a time he had a fellow-prisoner named John 
B. Marsh, who had been forced into the Rebel 
army. Marsh made an attempt to join the Union 
forces, but was recaptured, and condemned to 
be shot. Just before his execution he managed 
to get the following note into Mr. Shipman's 
hands : — 

" Kind Friend, — If ever you reach our happy Hnes, have 
this put in the Northern papers, that my father, the Rev. 
Leonard Marsh, v^ho lives in Maine, may know what has 
become of me, and what I was shot for. I am to be shot for 
defending my country. I love her, and am willing to die for 
her. Tell my parents that I am also happy in the Lord. 
My future is bright. I hope to speak to you as I pass out to 
die.^' 

One of the guards told Mr. Shipman afterward, 
that when young Marsh was placed in position 
ready to receive the fire of his executioners, he 



238 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

was told he could speak if he desired to do so. 
Looking calmly upon the crowd for a moment, he 
shouted out in strong, clear tones, ''Three cheers 
for the old flag and the Union ! " There was no 
response to his patriotic sentiment. He paused 
for a moment, and then shouted at the top of his 
voice, ''Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" A volley 
of musketry struck him in the breast, and stopped 
the beating of his brave, loyal heart. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR, 239 



HOW PRESIDENT LINCOLN RE- 
CEIVED THE NEWS OF 
SHERIDAN'S VICTORY. 



I WAS personally acquainted with President 
Lincoln, and sat talking with him in his pub- 
lic office when the telegram was brought in an- 
nouncing General Sheridan's second victory in 
the Shenandoah Valley, which resulted in the de- 
feat of General Early. 

When the messenger came in, Mr. Lincoln was 
talking very earnestly ; and although he laid down 
the telegram with the announcement, ''An im- 
portant telegram, Mr. President," Mr. Lincoln 
took no notice of it. 

The messenger went as far as the door of the 
room, and seeing that Mr. Lincoln had not taken 
up the telegram he returned, and laying it a little 
nearer to him on the desk, repeated, — 

"An important telegram, Mr. President." 

But as the president kept on talking, and took 
no notice of it, the messenger retired. 

He was at that time talking of the sanitary 
condition of the army; the relation of food to 



240 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

health, and the influence of the special -diet 
kitchen system in restoring the soldiers to health, 
and its effect in lessening the number of fur- 
loughs. 

I, too, talked earnestly ; as, while pushing the 
work of the special-diet kitchens, I believed most 
heartily in furloughs. 

But earnest as I was, I was exceedingly anx- 
ious to know the contents of that telegram. 

There was during that interview, that far away 
look in his eyes, that those seeing could never 
forget. 

At last he paused and took up the despatch, and 
after looking over it read it aloud. 

"This is good news indeed," he said, and a 
smile lit up his rugged features as he went on 
with his comments. 

" This Sheridan," he said, '' is a little Irishman, 
but he is a big fighter." 

Soon after I arose to take my leave. He, too, 
arose and stood like a giant before me, as he ex- 
tended his hand, and said, *' Well, success to you. 
Come in again." 

I did not realize his greatness at that time, but 
now all the world knows that Abraham Lincoln 
will stand out a colossal figure as long as Amer- 
ican history is read. A thousand years will not 
dim the lustre of his name or fame. 

When his armies were pushed back till they 
built their camp-fires under the shadow of the 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 24 1 

nation's Capitol, and treason glared at him from 
the near palaces, and the ship of state rocked in 
the trough of the waves of civil war and social 
revolution, he stood firm and strong at the helm, 
with calm, unwavering trust in God. In a rougher 
mould, he possessed the majesty of a Clay, the 
sagacity of a Franklin, the wit of a Ben Jonson, 
the benevolence of a Howard, and the social qual- 
ities of the Adamses. No heart in all the land 
throbbed with a truer, kindlier charity towards 
all, than did the great heart of Abraham Lincoln 
when the assassin's bullet stopped its generous 
beating. Among philanthropists, in all ages, Lin- 
coln will stand out as The Great Emancipator, 
who brought liberty to an enslaved and cruelly 
wronged race ; and Right will laurel-crown him as 
a martyr. 

No one bullet ever went forth on a deadlier 
mission, or struck so heavy a blow to friends and 
foes alike, as did the bullet that laid Abraham 
Lincoln low in the dust. 

Victor and vanquished, who had come up out 
of a great struggle with their garments rolled in 
blood to ground their arms at his feet, and who 
had received his benediction of peace and good- 
will to all, were alike mourners when the assassin's 
bullet did its deadly work. 

It was as though there was one dead in every 
house. The mourners went about the streets un- 
comforted. Men forgot their love for gold and 



242 A WOMAN'S REMTNTSCENCES 

their lust for power ; statesmen groped about like 
blind men for some hand to lead. TJic world was 
in mouiiimg ; for all the world knew that he had 
come to the kingdom for such a time as that. 

The lives of such men as Abraham Lincoln are 
measured by deeds, and not by length of days. 
His work was wrought in a few short years. He 
answered the question of the wisdom and solidity 
of a republican form of government by hurling its 
betrayers from power. He established human 
liberty on the immutable rock of intelligent pub- 
lic sentiment. When he proclaimed above the 
sleeping heroes of Gettysburg, " a government of 
the people, by the people, and for the people," he 
sounded forth an endless jubilee that has echoed 
and re-echoed through the world, till the people of 
every kindred and tongue have heard the glad tid- 
ings, and human slavery has been branded as a 
crime, and outlawed by all the civilized nations of 
the earth. 

The saviour of his people, the liberator of the 
oppressed, the great-hearted friend of humanity, 
he will stand out a colossal figure in history while 
men love liberty more than life, while men love 
freedom more than chains, and while human sym- 
pathy links us to each other and draws us toward 
God and heaven. 

It seems fitting, as there was not one of all the 
millions who loved him, and who would have 
shielded him at any cost, but knew not of his 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 243 

peril, that the flag he loved should have become 
his avenger, and caught the foot of the assassin 
in its loyal folds, and hurled him away to certain 
death. That flag, kept securely in a glass case, 
is held sacred in the treasure-house of the nation. 
The swift-footed years have gone by, till twejity- 
nine have passed ; but Lincoln is not forgotten : 
his memory is as fresh and sweet as it was at the 
first. 

The robins come to build their nests, and the 
bluebirds sing their sweet spring songs, just as 
they did twenty-nine years ago this April-time ; 
but he is not forgotten, for his work goes on. 
The flag that Lincoln upheld is the banner hon- 
ored of all nations, the principles he sustained 
and taught are more and more becoming the 
heritage of the world, and will be universal. 



244 ^ WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 



HOW I GOT THE COTTON. 



A FEW days after the first fleet ran the block- 
ade at Vicksburg, another fleet, composed 
entirely of wooden steamers, ran through that 
fiery channel. 

The plans of the government coming to my 
knowledge, I sent a note to the medical director, 
offering to ship a lot of hospital supplies, and ask- 
ing him to designate the boat on which I should 
ship them. My note came back indorsed, — 

" Send supplies down on the Tigress^ 

I Still have that letter on file. 

The Tigress was a trim, stanch little craft 
which General Grant had used for headquarters. 
And feeling sure the swift, trim little steamer 
would make the passage safely, I shipped a heavy 
lot of supplies on her. 

There were six wooden steamers, with barges in 
tow, laden with army supplies. 

On the night of the 26th of April, 1863, they 
ran the blockade. 

All the important machinery was protected by 
bales of cotton and bales of hay. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 245 

All the boats got through safely, except the 
Tigress. 

In the midst of the fiery channel a solid shot 
cut through the heavy gunwales of the barge she 
was towing, and went through her hull, just below 
the water-level. Her crew deserted her, and made 
their escape in the small boats which were there 
for that purpose. 

She filled with water so slowly that she drifted 
down into the Union lines before she sank, sink- 
ing near the shore on the Louisiana side of the 
river. 

Two days afterwards I received a letter from 
an Iowa colonel, whose name I have forgotten, 
whose regiment was in camp opposite where the 
Tigress sank, informing me that the men of his 
command were willing to wade out neck-deep and 
secure the cotton about the engine of the Tigress, 
if the commanding general would give it to me for 
sanitary purposes ; and that as he was coming up 
to Young's Point with empty wagons for supplies, 
he would gladly deliver it there. 

I was very much perplexed as to what I had 
best do, but finally sent the colonel's letter to 
General Grant, who had gone below Vicksburg 
with his army, with a brief letter, saying that '' If 
the granting of this request is entirely consistent 
with your sense of honor, and the best interest of 
yourself and of the government, I would be glad 
to receive the cotton, as I shipped a heavy lot of 



246 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

supplies on the Tigress^ and they have all been 
lost." 

As soon as my letter was received, the order 
was issued, and sent up by a special messenger. I 
sent it immediately to that generous Iowa colonel, 
with a most kindly message. 

I do not know how deep the Iowa soldiers 
waded out to secure the cotton ; but I do know 
that a heavy lot came up in good condition very 
promptly, and that I shipped it to St. Louis to 
Partrage & Co. for sale, and that it was sold for 
^1,950, which I charged to my account, and which 
enabled me to more than double the amount of 
supplies I had lost. 

I see by bills in my possession that I bought 
immense quantities of supplies in St. Louis. 
There is one bill of seventy-five bushels of dried 
apples, while all the onions in the market were 
bought up, and lemons and other antiscorbutics ; 
and when our forces surrounded Vicksburg, heavy 
supplies were rushed in to meet their press- 
ing wants, especially those who were sick and 
wounded in hospital and camp. 

Somehow I lost the address of that Iowa colonel ; 
but although more than thirty years have passed, 
I have never ceased to feel the most profound 
gratitude to that colonel and his men for their 
heroic services. If this should fall under the eyes 
of any of them, I should be very glad to hear from 
them, and to thank them personally. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 247 



THE SEQUEL TO -UNCLE TOM'S 
CABIN." 



THE name of Harriet Beecher Stowe recalls 
the story of ''Uncle Tom's Cabin." It was 
a story that thrilled and moved the people of this 
country as no other story has ever done. Its in- 
fluence was not a sentimental and transitory one. 
The shafts of truth were sent home to men's con- 
sciences, and were abiding ; they live to-day. 

It may not, however, be generally known that 
the hero of " Uncle Tom's Cabin " did not die till 
a feiv yea 7's ago — in 1883. 

I knew him personally, and have heard the story 
from his own lips. Mrs. Stowe was acquainted 
with Uncle Tom, and read a sketch of his life 
which had been published by the Anti-Slavery 
Society before she wrote her book. 

His history and work after the beating he had 
received, which brought him down to death's 
door, are more remarkable than those that had 
preceded, which she records, and where she leaves 
him dead. He recovered, and afterwards had an 
opportunity to escape with his family from slav- 



248 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

ery. He used such sagacity in planning his jour- 
ney, preparing for months for the great event, 
that he was able to elude his pursuers, and reach 
Canada in safety. Two of his four children were 
too small to travel on foot such a long journey. 
So he made a sack with straps over his shoulders, 
and carried them on his back out of slavery. At 
times his back was so sore, from the heat and 
friction, that the blood ran down to his heels. 

It was a heroic effort for freedom for himself, 
and his children, and his wife. 

He was, as far as I am able to judge, the most 
remarkable colored man that has ever lived on 
this continent. 

His home, which I have visited, was on the 
Sydenham River, near the town of Dresden, On- 
tario, Canada. It was a most comfortable one. 

He did not know one letter from another when 
he reached Canada. He became a scholar, and 
in a few years spoke the English language cor- 
rectly and without the Southern accent. 

He had neither money nor credit when he set- 
tled in Canada, but he owned at the time of his 
death one of the finest farms in the Dominion. 

He had never studied oratory, but he became 
one of the most eloquent speakers in Canada and 
England. He could fill Exeter Hall, England, 
without effort. Lords and ladies entertained him 
at their castles, and on invitation of Queen Vic- 
toria he visited her at Windsor Palace. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 249 

His name was Josiah Henson. I visited him in 
August, 1882, at his home. He was then nearly 
ninety-three years of age. In March, 1883, hav- 
ing turned into his ninety-fourth year, he died. 
His mind was clear, his conversation intelligent 
and logical. The pathetic story of his running 
away from slavery would have been, if touched by 
Mrs. Stowe's pen, far in advance of anything in 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin." 

He was a friend of the slaves, and for several 
years before, and especially during the war, was 
one of the conductors and guides on the under- 
ground railroad to Canada. 

He founded a colony near Dresden. 

He was well acquainted with Mrs. Stowe, and 
frequently visited her at her home in Boston. 

He wrote his life before she wrote '' Uncle 
Tom's Cabin." 

His anti-slavery speeches in England won him 
a great reputation for oratory. 

The last time he was in London, Queen Victoria 
invited him to an interview with her at Windsor 
Palace ; and after lunch was served to him and his 
party, he was ushered into the presence of the 
Queen, in the great drawing-room of the palace, 
where all the lords- and ladies-in-waiting had been 
gathered in. The interview was a most interest- 
ing one. 

When she told him that she was glad to see 
him, and spoke appreciatively of his services, he 
responded easily and frankly : — 



2 50 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

"■ I am glad to see you, my sovereign, and to be 
so graciously received by you. But I do not forget 
that I am an alien, and that I was a slave. I came 
flying for life and liberty to your dominion ; and 
when my weary feet touched the soil over which 
you reign I was a free man. I knelt reverently, 
and kissed the earth, and thanked my God that 
wherever your flag floated the slave was free and 
safe. I desire to assure your Majesty, that among 
the millions of your subjects, although I am one 
of the humblest, there are none more true and 
loyal than Josiah Henson." 

Her Majesty was visibly moved. Prince Leo- 
pold and Princess Beatrice, two of her children, 
were on either side of her during this interview, 
which lasted for some time. She took from the 
hand of Beatrice a little package and handed it 
to him, saying : — 

" Accept this as a small token of my apprecia- 
tion of your valuable services to the slaves in 
America, and as a token of my interest in your 
race, especially those who have settled in Canada." 

The package contained a small picture of her- 
self set in gold, resting on a gold easel. As that 
was kept in the safe at the bank I did not see it ; 
but I did see the oil painting of " Uncle Tom," as 
everybody called him, presented to him by the 
Anti-Slavery Society of Boston, about the time 
Mrs. Stowe's book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," came 
out. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 25 1 



SECRETARY STANTON'S GENEROUS 
GIFT. 



IN October, 1863, I came up from the hospitals 
in the front, to attend a sanitary convention 
at Muscatine, Iowa. 

As I was legally commissioned the sanitary agent 
of the State by Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood, 
having been elected to that position by the Legis- 
lature of Iowa, my presence was greatly desired 
by the workers. 

The convention was large and representative. 
But my own heart was greatly burdened with 
touching messages from dying soldiers to their 
wives and children. In the midst of the conven- 
tfon I boldly announced my purpose to try to es- 
tablish a home for soldiers' orphan children. The 
proposition was received with the wildest enthu- 
siasm ; and the convention took action at once, 
not only indorsing the movement, but pledging 
financial support. 

There was no precedent to follow, as there was 
no institution of the kind in all the world. 

I was elected president of ''The Orphans' Home 



252 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

Association," but declined, and Governor Stone, 
the newly elected governor of the State, was 
chosen. The ablest men and women of the State 
were brought into the organization, and the Home 
was duly opened in a rented house. 

The house, although large, was soon crowded to 
overflowing, and we could get no larger building 
that would accommodate the hundreds who were 
applying for admission. 

A committee sent out to search for more com- 
modious quarters reported new, fine barracks on a 
piece of confiscated land of thirty acres, adjoin- 
ing the town of Davenport. 

The barracks were new and well-built, and had 
cost $46,000. 

The leading men of Iowa, as well as the women, 
were actively enlisted in the work. 

Ex-Governor Kirkwood, and his private secre- 
tary, N. H. Brainard, Governor Stone, Judge 
Lowe, Judge Coles, Chaplain Ingalls, John Par- 
vin, and many others whose names were a guar- 
anty of honest and faithful work, were active. 

I was selected to go to Washington and secure 
these barracks as a gift from the government, if 
possible. If I could not obtain them as a gift, I 
was authorized to offer $1,000 a year as rent for 
them. I protested strongly against being sent on 
such an important mission ; but I was overruled, 
and was obliged to accept the duty. 

When I reached Washington, October, 1865, I 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 253 

went to the surgeon-general's office, and made 
known my mission, and secured an official state- 
ment that those barracks would not be needed for 
hospital purposes. I want to say in this con- 
nection that Surgeon-General J. K. Barnes had 
always co-operated with me most heartily in all 
my work. 

I then called on Ouarterm.aster-General Meigs, 
the man who with such wonderful executive abil- 
ity fed and clothed the great armies of the re- 
public, furnishing quarters and equipments, and 
paid their wages with an honesty and fidelity that 
have never been questioned. 

I had often met him before ; and no one who 
ever saw him could forget his honest, rugged, but 
kindly face. 

When I made known my mission, he looked sur- 
prised and pleased, and then said, — 

" Well, now, that is certainly a good use to put 
these deserted barracks to." 

" General," I said, " all I want you to do, is to 
say officially to the government that they will^not 
be needed for military purposes." 

" They were never needed ; they ought never 
to have been built. It was a waste of money." 

" Then, General, you can certainly say they 
will not be needed for military purposes. Please 
say that officially." 

He took up his pen and wrote out a statement, 
informing the government that the new cavalry 



254 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

barracks at Davenport, la., would not be needed 
for military purposes, " even if hostilities were 
resumed." His statement covered over two 
pages. 

Thus armed, I went to the office of the Secre- 
tary of War. 

I had become acquainted with Mr. Stanton 
under the most favorable circumstances. 

The governor of Iowa had commended me to 
him, and early in 1862 obtained for me a general 
order for transportation of myself and supplies 
and rations. And later, when I called on him per- 
sonally, I was the bearer of letters of introduc- 
tion and commendation from some of his most 
influential and trusted friends. 

Afterwards he always seemed glad to see me, 
and graciously granted all my requests. 

He was prompt and clear in all his business 
methods, and was by far the best listener I have 
ever met. When I talked to him there was no 
need of repeating ; he apprehended my meaning. 
When he talked, there was no room to misunder- 
stand him. There was no fuss and bluster, or 
pretence, or attempt to show off himself or his 
authority ; and that pleased me. I went, therefore, 
to his office with great hope and courage. When 
I asked to see the Secretary of War, a young, 
jolly-looking officer came forward and asked, — 

" What can I do for you, madam ? " 

" I wish to see Mr. Stanton." 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 255 

'^Mr. Stanton is in Boston. I am Major Eccles, 
acting Secretary of War, and will attend to any- 
business you may have to transact." 

I informed him as to my mission. He laughed 
heartily. 

"That, madam, is a little beyond my preroga- 
tive. I don't feel authorized to give away the 
property of the government." 

I put myself at once in telegraphic communica- 
tion with Mr. Stanton. He asked some questions 
as to the legal status of the institution, and that 
was all I heard that day. 

The next morning I took another requisition to 
the War Department. It was for hospital sup- 
plies. I distinctly remember the first few items, 
1,800 blankets; 2,500 sheets; 3,000 pillow-cases; 
1,500 pillows, and so on, till everything I could 
remember that could be of use to the Home were 
enumerated. 

When I handed the document to Major Eccles, 
I said, — 

" Here is a small requisition I should like to 
have go in with the application for the property." 

"This is a small requisition," and he laughed 
heartily as he read the list aloud. 

"Yes, sir," I said with great gravity. "This 
is a small requisition ; but with the help of the 
generous people of Iowa, I hope we shall be able 
to get along with that." 

"Now seriously, on what grounds have you a 



256 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

right to ask these supplies from the govern- 
ment ? " 

"Well, sir, I call your attention to the fact, that 
at the beginning of the war the government had 
very few hospital supplies. The loyal people of 
the North helped to fit them up. The loyal State 
of Iowa sent nearly $200,000 worth of supplies 
into the military hospitals. Now, all I ask is that 
you give us back a few of the supplies that we 
gave you, as you no longer need them." 

" You are certainly entitled to them. I will do 
what I can to get this through." 

The Iowa delegation at Washington, and the 
officers in the War Department, including Major 
Eccles, became greatly interested, and anxious that 
Secretary Stanton's answer should be favorable. 

When the answer came it was : — 

*'Will you accept the property subject to the 
approval of Congress } " 

I flashed back my answer as quickly as possi- 
ble:— 

*' Yes ; and will get the bill through without 
annoyance to you." 

As I was obliged to leave the War Department 
before an answer came. Major Eccles drove up 
to the house of my friend, where I was stop- 
ping, with the telegraphic order, turning over 
the property to the Association. The gift of the 
barracks and the hospital supplies aggregated 
$52,000. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 2$y 

I was lifted to the clouds, figuratively speaking, 
and rushed to the telegraph-office, and sent off 
despatches to the newspapers in Iowa. The next 
morning all the leading papers in Iowa appeared 
with great head-lines announcing the magnificent 
gift. 

Before Congress met we had bought out the 
heirs of the confiscated property, remodelled and 
plastered the buildings, and had nearly five hun- 
dred soldiers' orphan children comfortably housed 
there. 

Hon. Hiram Price, a member of Congress from 
the Davenport District, took charge of our bill, 
and carried it through Congress without annoy- 
ance to Mr. Stanton. 

The fact that we had possession, and were hous- 
ing and supporting so many soldiers' orphan chil- 
dren in these barracks, made opposition almost 
impossible. 

With this valuable property in our possession, it 
was an easy task to induce the State Legislature 
to take this burden off our hands and make it 
a State institution. The frame barracks have 
been replaced by substantial brick buildings ; 
but the Home is still conducted on the cottage 
plan, and is one of the finest institutions of the 
State. 

Edwin M. Stanton's generous action in giving 
this timely help to a weak society secured the 
success of a worthy institution, that has educated 



258 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

and sent out thousands of children to be good and 
useful citizens. 

Mr. Stanton was one of the strong, true, hon- 
est men who made Mr. Lincoln's administration a 
success. He was intensely loyal, and intolerant 
to treason and self-seeking, and he made traitors 
tremble on both sides of the line. He was, more 
than any other man, the balance-wheel in the 
complicated machinery of the government which 
held and regulated its internal workings. 

He was a clear and close thinker, a keen and 
sagacious discerner of human motives, a tireless 
worker, and was too open and frank to conceal 
his opinions of men and things. 

Too unselfish to enrich himself, he toiled on, 
literally killing himself at work, and dying poor. 
When passion and prejudice have passed away he 
will receive his full meed of praise. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 259 



THE SPECIAL-DIET KITCHEN 
WORK. 



NO part of the army service was so defective, 
during the first two years of the war, as 
the cooking department in the United States gov- 
ernment hospitals. 

Few of the men employed as cooks in these 
hospitals were trained or skilled ; most of them 
had obtained their knowledge of cookery after 
being assigned to duty, under most unfavorable 
circumstances, and without the proper facilities 
for doing their work. 

One general kitchen provided the food for all 
— the sick, the wounded, and the dying, as well 
as the nurses and convalescents. 

Where there were women nurses in a hospital, 
and they could get a little stove of their own, 
special dishes were prepared for the worst pa- 
tients ; but there was no general system of pro- 
viding dainty and suitable diet for the thousands 
in need of delicate food in home-like preparation. 

The supplies coming from the generous people 
of the North occasioned great anxiety. 



26o A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

The surgeons forbade their distribution at the 
bedside of the patients, on the ground that some- 
thing might be given which would endanger their 
lives or retard their recovery, and ordered them 
turned over to the commissary. Often supplies 
thus turned over failed to reach the sick or 
wounded. 

It was under these trying circumstances that 
the plan of a system of special-diet kitchens 
came to me, — clearly and definitely, as a flash 
from the skies, — like a divine inspiration. 

It was in December, 1863, that the thought 
came to me, and I hastened at once to put the 
plan into execution. 

Everybody seemed to accept the plan with en- 
thusiasm ; and the Sanitary and Christian Com- 
mission, and the officers and surgeons of the 
army, all hastened to co-operate with me in inaug- 
urating and accomplishing this great reform. 

The plan in itself was very simple and practi- 
cal, and was entirely satisfactory to all parties. 

I. The food for those needing special diet was 
prescribed by the ward surgeons. A bill of fare 
was provided, with the name of the patient and 
the number of his bed, for every patient put on 
special diet ; and on this bill the surgeon pre- 
scribed his diet by making a mark opposite the 
articles the patient was allowed. This plan gave 
the sick or wounded man a chance to express his 
own wants in regard to food, which was a great 
advantage. 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 26 1 

2. These bills of fare were consolidated by 
the ward-master, and a copy sent to the superin- 
tendent of the special-diet kitchen, and the bills 
were returned to their places again. So with 
these consolidated lists before them, the man- 
agers of the special-diet kitchen knew just what 
to cook, and just the quantity. 

3. The food thus ordered was prepared in the 
special-diet kitchen, which, although under separate 
management, was a part of the hospital, and as 
completely under the control of the authorities as 
as any other part of the hospital. 

The kitchens were fitted up with ranges and 
other suitable conveniences, and were under the 
management of suitable ladies employed by the 
surgeons in charge. A storeroom conveniently 
near or adjoining was provided, where the com- 
muted rations of soldiers put on special diet were 
stored, also the supplies furnished by the Sanitary 
and Christian Commissions ; and the woman in 
charge of the special-diet kitchen carried the keys. 

4. These dietary nurses were not cooks ; they 
only superintended the work. Many of those who 
worked in these kitchens were soldiers who were 
somewhat disabled, or convalescent soldiers who 
were not able to join their regiments. 

In large hospitals, where one thousand or fifteen 
hundred were furnished meals three times a day, 
the work was divided up, and each man had his 
part of the work, and soon became an expert in it. 



262 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

There were in the large kitchens from twenty-five 
to thirty men required to do the work. 

The food thus systematically prepared under 
the watchful eyes of women competent to govern 
such a force and direct the work, was brought to 
the bedside of the patients in home-like prepara- 
tion. 

No mistake would likely be made in the distri- 
bution, as each patient had at the head of his bed 
the list of articles of food prescribed by the sur- 
geon of his ward. 

The first kitchen was opened at Cumberland 
Hospital, Nashville, Tenn. 

The Christian Commission of Pittsburg, Pa., 
sent me the lumber to build a kitchen, storeroom, 
and a ladies' room, and two of the largest ranges 
in the market. 

Mary E. Moorhead, a wealthy lady of that city, 
daughter of Hon. J. K. Moorhead, at that time a 
member of Congress, and one of Pittsburg's most 
honored citizens, and Hannah Shaw, who has since 
distinguished herself in missionary work in China, 
took charge of that kitchen. Miss Moorhead has 
since the close of the war devoted herself to benev- 
olent work. 

The change wrought in that hospital was so 
marvellous that all the leading surgeons from 
Louisville to Chattanooga were anxious for the 
establishment of special-diet kitchens in connec- 
tion with their hospitals. Many of them could not 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 263 

believe the wonderful stories circulated as to the 
great reform wrought in Cumberland Hospital, 
and, like the Queen of Sheba, came long distances 
to see for themselves as to the truth of the matter, 
and, like her, confessed that *' the half had not 
been told them." 

I was most generously sustained in this work 
by the Christian Commission, who turned all their 
supplies into these kitchens, and paid all the ex- 
penses of this service. I was chosen superinten- 
dent of the special-diet kitchen work, which rapidly 
extended all along the lines from Vicksburg to 
Petersburg. 

The surgeons accepting this help, agreed to em- 
ploy the women selected by me, and allow them to 
have charge of the supplies furnished for use in 
the special-diet kitchens, from the government 
and the Sanitary and Christian Commissions. 
The surgeons had charge of the kitchen, ap- 
pointed these women, and directed their work, as 
in all parts of their hospitals. 

There was no opposition to this work. Mr. 
Lincoln, Secretary Stanton, Surgeon - General 
Barnes, and Assistant - Surgeon - General Wood, 
gave me their indorsement and all the aid I 
needed. It soon became an admitted fact that 
thousands of lives were being saved by this sup- 
ply of better food, which many of them needed 
more than they did medicine. 

Surgeon-General Barnes became so enthusiastic 



264 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

over the plan that he appointed a commission of 
United States army surgeons to consider it, with 
a view of adopting it and ingrafting it upon the 
United States general hospital system. 

I was invited by the surgeon-general to meet 
with them. The committee received me most 
graciously at their regular sittings in Washington, 
D. C, and listened with great respect to my ex- 
planations ; and after carefully considering my 
plans, adopted them as a part of the regular 
United States hospital system. 

To give some idea of the magnitude of the 
work, out of over one hundred special-diet kitch- 
ens established by me, I give the amount of food 
in rations issued from sixteen special-diet kitch- 
ens, a record of which I happen to have now on 
hand for February, 1865. 

RATIONS. 

Tea 100,350 

Coffee 54,818 

Cocoa 4»77o 

Milk, Cold 12,194 

Milk, boiled 9,860 

Milk, Thickened 7,517 

Bread and Milk, Boiled 2,689 

Beef Tea 7,548 

Beef Essence 1,699 

Bread and Butter 133,938 

Toast, Buttered 28,539 

Toast, Dry 23,809 

Toast, Milk 33, 611 

Crackers 18,999 

Corn Bread I5>7I4 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 265 

RATIONS. 

Biscuit 5'458 

Warm Cakes 2,629 

Rice 9,239 

Barley 492 

Farina 8,424 

Gruel 1,589 

Corn Starch 17^150 

Mush 10,831 

Soup, Chicken 8,472 

Soup, Mutton 856 

Soup, Beef 10,716 

Soup, Barley 599 

Soup, Oyster 10,193 

Soup, Potato 2,301 

Soup, Vegetable 4,885 

Beef Steak 27,623 

Roast Beef 3^,599 

Ham 3^585 

Chicken 11,389 

Turkey (only occasionally) .... 809 

Mutton 2,357 

Veal 1,510 

Pork 2,208 

Hash 7*925 

Oysters 5,086 

Fish 5,721 

Eggs 15,538 

Potatoes 47,725 

Turnips 7,785 

Carrots 1,070 

Onions 12,356 

Beets 271 

Cabbage 15,059 

Krout 1,296 

Beans 494 



266 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

RATIONS. 

Parsnips 1,291 

Tomatoes 7»3i2 

Puddings 34,249 

Pies 5,113 

Cakes 3*485 

Tapioca 2,772 

Sago 60 

Blanc-Mange 807 

Custard 1,616 

Jellies 1,763 

Canned Fruit 12,816 

Stewed Fruit 29,266 

Apple Sauce 7, 618 

Apples, Baked ii»774 

Pickles 20,343 

Lemons 127 

Cheese 825 

Cordials, etc 1,940 

Total, 899,472 

This was the regular bill of fare in all the spe- 
cial-diet kitchens. If any one of these articles 
could not be obtained, they were marked off. 
Turkey was only on the list occasionally. It will 
be seen by the great variety that the appetites of 
the patients were consulted. Nothing, however, 
was issued without it being ordered by the sur- 
geon in attendance upon the patient. 

Some of the articles furnished on the above list 
may seem unfit for sick men ; but when we take 
into consideration that there were many wounded 
men who were allowed by the surgeons to eat any- 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 267 

thing they might choose, and others who were 
homesick, or hopelessly ill, or dying, who in the 
loneliness of suffering remembered and craved 
something because a kind mother's hand had once 
prepared such dainties for them, it is no longer a 
matter of wonder. 

And since the loved ones at home could not 
cheer them with their presence and love in their 
dark hours of suffering, it was a delightful task 
for these noble women to substitute home food 
and words of cheer. 

It is the verdict of history that this system of 
special-diet kitchens saved thousands of lives. 
During the last eighteen months of the war, over 
two million rations were issued monthly from 
this long line of special-diet kitchens, established, 
many of them, almost under the guns. 



26s A WOMAM^S REMINISCENCES 



THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC — ITS 
GLORIES AND ITS DANGERS. 



THE remarkable growth of the American Re- 
public is without a parallel in the history of 
the world. 

A hundred years ago she was a feeble nation 
— in her infancy, and scarcely recognized by the 
other nations of the earth. Now she stands fore- 
most among the governments of the world, and 
leads the nations in almost everything. 

Her territory is extensive and contiguous, lying 
between two great oceans, and bounded on the 
north and south by navigable lakes and seas. 

Her resources are almost boundless. She gluts 
the markets of the world with her silver and gold. 
Her iron and copper ores are rich and abundant, 
nearly all the metals needed for the use of her 
people may be had for the digging, and she may 
bedeck her children with the jewels gathered from 
her own fields. 

She can produce an abundance of cotton, wool, 
flax, hemp, and silk. She is already the chief 
competitor in the cotton markets of Asia, and 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 269 

from her own looms is clothing her people in mus- 
lins and fine linen, and her daughters in royal 
purple from her silk factories. Her food supply 
is immense. Her grain-fields are broad and rich 
enough to supply bread to the millions of her own 
people, and to meet the needs of the needy nations 
of the earth. Her meat supply is so large that 
she is glad to share it with all the world. Her 
fruit yield is ample, sufficient in variety and abun- 
dance to meet the needs of all. Only a few lux- 
uries are denied her. She could shut herself in, 
and live luxuriously on her own products. There 
is not one thing that comes from abroad that her 
people could not live comfortably without. Tea, 
coffee, spices, and tropical fruits are not necessary 
to human life. 

Her woods are abundant and fine, equal to any 
reasonable demand. Her furniture goes to the 
ends of the earth. 

Her building material is abundant and of supe- 
rior quality. She has granite and marble in va- 
riety, nearly all kinds of valuable building-stones, 
and clays of almost every description. Her pot- 
teries are now doing credible work, and her china 
and glass wares are attracting attention in other 
lands. The new process by which glass china 
is produced is a marvellous success. 

Her people are intelligent and enterprising. 
The rich resources of the country have stimulated 
their activities and awakened their inventive ge- 



2/0 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES 

nius till they are the leaders in the work of the 
world, and the most thrifty and enterprising na- 
tion on the face of the globe. 

They have tunnelled the mountains ; bridged 
the rivers ; created water-ways ; made the wilder- 
ness to bloom ; and chained steam and electricity 
as motive powers to their chariot-wheels, to do 
their bidding on the land and under the sea. 

A system of government has been established 
superior to any other known before among men ; 
and a system of free schools that has no parallel 
on the face of the earth has made the people 
intelligent and efficient for the practical work of 
life, far beyond other nations, taken as a mass. 
And yet with all these blessings, dangers threaten 
her. 

One of the dangers that threaten this glorious 
Republic is the foreign emigration. Attracted by 
her rich resources and the marvellous stories of 
her wealth, the people of other nations are coming 
to share our blessings. The danger is not in the 
number who come, but in the character of many 
of these new-comers. 

They come to a new nation with old habits, and 
old prejudices, and another language. They are 
a misfit. They care nothing for the American 
Republic and her free institutions, only as they 
will add to their physical comfort and personal 
aggrandizement. They do not assimilate or be- 
come Americanized. Many of them are ignorant 



OF THE CIVIL WAR. 2/1 

and brutish. They huddle together ; they are as 
much foreigners as they were in Hungary or 
Sicily. They remain foreigners, and they have 
nothing in common with us except their physical 
needs. 

Among them are the vicious and the idle. Our 
thoroughfares are filled with tramps and beggars. 
The prisons of our cities are crowded with foreign 
criminals and paupers. Almost two-thirds of all 
the criminals and paupers in our large cities are 
foreign born. Criminals flying from justice ; pau- 
pers who, from infirmities of body and mind, or 
from idle and dissolute habits, must be supported, 
— find a refuge here. 

Statesmen may well question as to how long 
this Republic can take into her bosom, and accord 
all the rights of citizenship to, the criminals and 
paupers of the world, without danger. 

But there is danger from our own people. The 
accumulation of great wealth, without a corre- 
sponding increase of brains and culture, is giving 
us an undesirable aristocracy. They ape the old, 
effete aristocracies of the Old World. 

They discount American institutions, and ^^ adore 
a title'' They try to rule business, politics, and 
social life. But this evil will be overcome. 

In this country, where there are no entailed 
estates, death equalizes wealth and power every 
few years. 



2/2 A WOMAN'S REMINISCENCES. 



MEMORIAL DAY. 



Bow low, fair clouds, and kiss the earth, 
Where Human Freedom had her birth, 
Where heroes struggled in the fight. 
And patriots died for human right. 
Bow low, and rainbow glories shed 
Above a nation's gallant dead; 
Then bear the news o'er land and sea, 
Earth's fettered millions may be free. 

Fly low, bright birds with painted wings. 

And join the song a nation sings, 

A glad, and sacred jubilee, 

For God has set his people free. 

Sing of the flag with starry field, 

Sing^bf the eagle and the shield. 

Sing of the victories of Peace, 

Sing of the time when wars shall cease. 

Bloom on, sweet flowers, thy perfume shed 

Above each soldier's lowly bed ; 

Kind nature's fairest tribute bring. 

And clothe each mound with flowers of spring. 

Look up, with loving, dewy eyes, 

Into the blue recording skies. 

And pledge in red, and white, and blue, 

That May flowers ever will be true. 

Let all the people gather near, 

And bow themselves with reverent fear; 

For God with mighty, outstretched hand 

Has graciously redeemed our land. 

Come, Peace, and spread thy sheltering wing ; 

Come, Love, thy sweetest tribute bring; 

Come, all, and join a sacred lay 

To celebrate Memorial Day. 



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