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Project Gutenberg's Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8, by Various

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Title: Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8
       A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more
              than 200 of the most prominent personages in History

Author: Various

Editor: Charles F. Horne

Release Date: August 27, 2008 [EBook #26422]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Repulsed at Torgau--Frederick waiting for morning.

GREAT MEN AND FAMOUS WOMEN

A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of

THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 200 OF THE MOST PROMINENT PERSONAGES IN HISTORY

Vol. II.

Frontpage.

Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS
edited by Charles F. Horne

New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher
Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.

CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME II.

PHOTOGRAVURES

ILLUSTRATION ARTIST To face
page
 
REPULSED AT TORGAU--FREDERICK WAITING FOR MORNING, R. Warthmüller Frontispiece
THE MARSEILLAISE, Gustave Doré 252
NAPOLEON AND THE SPHINX, Jean Léon Gérôme 264
SHERIDAN'S RIDE, T. Buchanan Read 362
FARRAGUT AT MOBILE BAY, W. H. Overend 386
ADMIRAL DEWEY AT MANILA BAY, H. T. See 402
THE DEWEY TRIUMPHAL ARCH,   406

WOOD-ENGRAVINGS AND TYPOGRAVURES.

TURENNE AT THE BATTLE OF THE DUNES, Larivière 208
CHARLES XII. AND AN UNWILLING RECRUIT, Thure von Cederström 212
PRINCE EUGENE AND THE MARSHAL DE VILLARS, P. Philippoteaux 226
GENERAL WOLFE LANDING AT LOUISBURG, Wild 232
FREDERICK AND THE AUSTRIANS AFTER LEUTHEN, A. Kampf 242
MARSHAL NEY RETURNING THE CAPTURED COLORS, Meynier 256
A REVIEW OF THE BRITISH ARMY BY WELLINGTON,   274
NELSON AT TRAFALGAR, W. H. Overend 282
MARION CROSSING THE PEDEE, W. Ranney 300
PAUL JONES AND LADY SELKIRK, W. H. Overend 304
TECUMSEH DEFENDS THE WHITES AT FORT MEIGS, Chapin 310
"DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," Alonzo Chappel 316
DECATUR'S CONFLICT WITH THE ALGERINE AT TRIPOLI Alonzo Chappel 322
JACKSON AT CHANCELLORSVILLE, A. R. Ward 378
MEETING OF VICTOR EMMANUEL AND GARIBALDI, C. Ademollo 394
MOLTKE AT VERSAILLES, 1870, Anton von Werner 400
ADMIRAL DEWEY LOVING CUP,   404

(p. 205) MARSHAL TURENNE
(1611-1675)

Turenne.

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, esteemed, after Napoleon, the greatest of French generals, was born September 16, 1611. He was the second son of the Duc de Bouillon, Prince of Sedan, and of Elizabeth of Nassau, daughter of the celebrated William of Orange, to whose courage and talents the Netherlands mainly owed their deliverance from Spain. Both parents being zealous Calvinists, Turenne was of course brought up in the same faith. Soon after his father's death, the duchess sent him, when he was not yet thirteen years old, into the Low Countries, to learn the art of war under his uncle, Maurice of Nassau, who commanded the troops of Holland in the protracted struggle between that country and Spain. Maurice held that there was no royal road to military skill, and placed his young relation in the ranks, as a volunteer, where for some time he served, enduring all hardships to which the common soldiers were exposed. In his second campaign he was promoted to the command of a company, which he retained for four years, distinguished by the admirable discipline of his men, by unceasing attention to the due performance of his own duty, and by his eagerness to witness, and become thoroughly acquainted with, every branch of service. In the year 1630, family circumstances rendered it expedient that he should return to France, where the Court received him with distinction, and invested him with the command of a regiment.

Four years elapsed before Turenne had an opportunity of distinguishing himself in the service of his native country. His first laurels were reaped in 1634, at the siege of the strong fortress of La Motte, in Lorraine, where he headed the assault, and, by his skill and bravery, mainly contributed to its success. For this exploit he was raised, at the early stage of twenty-three, to the rank of Maréchal de Camp, the second grade of military rank in France. In the following year, the breaking out of war between France and Austria opened a wider field of action. Turenne held a subordinate command in the army, which, under the Cardinal (p. 206) de la Valette, marched into Germany to support the Swedes, commanded by the Duke of Weimar. At first fortune smiled on the allies; but, ere long, scarcity of provisions compelled them to a disastrous retreat over a ruined country, in the face of the enemy. On this occasion the young soldier's ability and disinterestedness were equally conspicuous. He sold his plate and equipage for the use of the army; threw away his baggage to load the wagons with those stragglers who must otherwise have been abandoned; and marched on foot, while he gave up his own horse to the relief of one who had fallen, exhausted by hunger and fatigue. These are the acts which win the attachment of soldiers, and Turenne was idolized by his.

Our limits will not allow of the relation of those campaigns in which the subject of this memoir filled a subordinate part. In 1637-38 he again served under La Valette, in Flanders and Germany, after which he was made Lieutenant-general, a rank not previously existing in France. The three following years he was employed in Italy and Savoy, and in 1642 made a campaign in Roussillon, under the eye of Louis XIII. In the spring of 1643 the king died; and in the autumn of the same year Turenne received from the queen-mother and regent, Anne of Austria, a marshal's baton, the appropriate reward of his long and brilliant services. Four years a captain, four a colonel, three Maréchal de Camp, five lieutenant-general, he had served in all stations from the ranks upward, and distinguished himself in them not only by military talent, but by strict honor and trustworthiness; rare virtues in those turbulent times, when men were familiar with civil war, and the great nobility were too powerful to be peaceful subjects.

Soon after his promotion he was sent to Germany, to collect and reorganize the French army, which had been roughly handled at Duttlingen. It wanted rest, men, and money, and he settled it in good quarters, raised recruits, and pledged his own credit for the necessary sums. The effects of his exertions were soon seen. He arrived in Alsace, December, 1643, and in the following May was at the head of 10,000 men, well armed and equipped, with whom he felt strong enough to attack the Imperial army, and raise the siege of Fribourg. At that moment the glory which he hoped for, and was entitled to obtain, as the reward of five months' labor, was snatched from him by the arrival of the celebrated Prince de Condé, at that time Duc d'Enghien, to assume the command. The vexation which Turenne must have felt was increased by the difference of age (for the prince was ten years his junior), and of personal character. Condé was ardent and impetuous, and flushed by his brilliant victory at Rocroi the year before; Turenne, cool, calculating, and cautious, unwearied in preparing a certainty of success beforehand, yet prompt in striking when the decisive moment was come. The difference of their characters was exemplified upon this occasion. Merci, the Austrian commander, had taken up a strong position, which Turenne said could not be forced; but at the same time pointed out the means of turning it. Condé differed from him, and the second in command was obliged to submit. On two successive days two bloody and unsuccessful assaults were made; (p. 207) on the third Turenne's advice was taken, and on the first demonstration of this change of plan Merci retreated. In the following year, ill supplied with everything, and forced to separate his troops widely to obtain subsistence, Turenne was attacked at Mariendal, and worsted by his old antagonist, Merci. This, his first defeat, he felt severely; still he retained his position, and was again ready to meet the enemy, when he received positive orders from Mazarin to undertake nothing before the arrival of Condé. Zealous for his country and careless of personal slights, he marched without complaint under the command of his rival; and his magnanimity was rewarded at the battle of Nordlingen, in 1645, where the centre and right wing having failed in their attack, Turenne, with the left wing, broke the enemy's right, and falling on his centre in flank, threw it into utter confusion. For this service he received the most cordial and ample acknowledgments from Condé, both on the field and in his despatches to the Queen Regent. Soon after, Condé, who was wounded in the battle, resigned his command into the hands of Turenne. The following campaigns of 1646-47-48 exhibited a series of successes, by means of which he drove the Duke of Bavaria from his dominions, and reduced the emperor to seek for peace. This was concluded at Munster in 1648, and to Turenne's exertions the termination of the Thirty Years' War is mainly to be ascribed.

The repose of France was soon broken by civil war. Mazarin's administration, oppressive in all respects, but especially in fiscal matters, had produced no small discontent throughout the country, and especially in Paris, where the Parliament openly espoused the cause of the people against the minister, and was joined by several of the highest nobility, urged by various motives of private interest or personal pique. Among these were the Prince of Conti, the Duc de Longueville, and the Duc de Bouillon. Mazarin, in alarm, endeavored to enlist the ambition of Turenne in his favor, by offering the government of Alsace, and the hand of his own niece, as the price of his adherence to the Court. The viscount, pressed by both parties, avoided declaring his adhesion to either; but he unequivocally expressed his disapprobation of the cardinal's proceedings, and, being superseded in his command, retired peaceably to Holland. There he remained till the convention of Ruel effected a hollow and insincere reconciliation between the Court and one of the jarring parties of which the Fronde was composed. That reconciliation was soon broken by the sudden arrest of Condé, Conti, and the Duc de Longueville. Turenne then threw himself into the arms of the Fronde, and, at the head of eight thousand men, found himself obliged to encounter the royal army, twenty thousand strong. In the battle which ensued, he distinguished his personal bravery in several desperate charges; but the disparity was too great; and this defeat of Rhetel was of serious consequence to the Fronde party. Convinced at last that his true interest lay rather on the side of the Court, then managed by a woman and a priest, where he might be supreme in military matters, than in supporting the cause of an impetuous and self-willed leader, such as Condé, Turenne gladly listened to overtures of accommodation, and passed over to the support of the regency.

(p. 208) The value of his services was soon made evident. Twice, at the head of very inferior troops, he checked Condé in the career of victory; and again compelled him to fight under the walls of Paris; where, in the celebrated battle of the Faubourg St. Antoine, the prince and his army narrowly escaped destruction. Finally, he re-established the Court at Paris, and compelled Condé to quit the realm. These important events took place in one campaign of six months in 1652.

In 1654 he again took the field against his former friend and commander, Condé, who had taken refuge in Spain, and now led a foreign army against his country. The most remarkable operation of the campaign was the raising the siege of Arras, which the Spaniards had invested, according to the most approved fashion of the day, with a strong double line of circumvallation, within which the besieging army was supposed to be securely sheltered against the sallies of the garrison cooped up within, and the efforts of their friends from without. Turenne marched to the relief of the place. This could only be effected by forcing the enemy's entrenchments; which were accordingly attacked, contrary to the opinion of his own officers, and carried at all points, despite the personal exertions of Condé. The Spaniards were forced to retreat. It is remarkable that Turenne, not long after, was himself defeated in precisely similar circumstances, under the walls of Valenciennes, round which he had drawn lines of circumvallation. Once more he found himself in the same position at Dunkirk. On this occasion he marched out of his lines to meet the enemy, rather than wait, and suffer them to choose their point of attack; and the celebrated battle of the Dunes, or Sandhills, ensued, in which he gained a brilliant victory over the best Spanish troops, with Condé at their head. This took place in 1657. Dunkirk and the greater part of Flanders fell into the hands of the French in consequence; and these successes led to the treaty of the Pyrenees, which terminated the war in 1658.

When war broke out afresh between France and Spain, in 1667, Louis XIV. made his first campaign under Turenne's guidance, and gained possession of nearly the whole of Flanders. In 1672, when Louis resolved to undertake in person the conquest of Holland, he again placed the command, under himself, in Turenne's hands, and disgraced several marshals who refused to receive orders from the viscount, considering themselves his equals in military rank. How Le Grand Monarque forced the passage of the Rhine when there was no army to oppose him, and conquered city after city, till he was stopped by inundations, under the walls of Amsterdam, has been said and sung by his flatterers, and need not be repeated here. But after the king had left the army, when the princes of Germany came to the assistance of Holland, and her affairs took a more favorable turn under the able guidance of the Prince of Orange, a wider field was offered for the display of Turenne's talents. In the campaign of 1673 he drove the Elector of Brandenburg, who had come to the assistance of the Dutch, back to Berlin, and compelled him to negotiate for peace. In the same year he was opposed, for the first time, to the imperial general, Montecuculi, celebrated for his military writings as well as for his exploits in the field. The meeting of these two great generals produced no decisive results.

Turenne at the battle of the Dunes.

(p. 209) Turenne returned to Paris in the winter, and was received with the most flattering marks of favor. On the approach of spring he was sent back to take command of the French army in Alsace, which, amounting to no more than ten thousand men, was pressed by a powerful confederation of the troops of the Empire, and those of Brandenburg, once again in the field. Turenne set himself to beat the allies in detail, before they could form a junction. He passed the Rhine, marched forty French leagues in four days, and came up with the Imperialists, under the Duke of Lorraine, at Sintzheim. They occupied a strong position, their wings resting on mountains; their centre protected by a river and a fortified town. Turenne hesitated: it seemed rash to attack; but a victory was needful before the combination of the two armies should render their force irresistible; and he commanded the best troops of France. The event justified his confidence. Every post was carried sword in hand. The Marshal had his horse killed under him, and was slightly wounded. To the officers, who crowded round him with congratulations, he replied, with one of those short and happy speeches which tell upon an army more than the most labored harangues, "With troops like you, gentlemen, a man ought to attack boldly, for he is sure to conquer." The beaten army fell back behind the Neckar, where they effected a junction with the troops of Brandenburg; but they dared attempt nothing further, and left the Palatinate in the quiet possession of Turenne. Under his eye, and, as it appears from his own letters, at his express recommendation, as a matter of policy, that wretched country was laid waste to a deplorable extent. This transaction went far beyond the ordinary license of war, and excited general indignation even in that unscrupulous age. It will ever be remembered as a foul stain upon the character of the general who executed, and of the king and minister who ordered or consented to it.

Having carried fire and sword through that part of the Palatinate which lay upon the right or German bank of the Rhine, he crossed that river. But the Imperial troops, reinforced by the Saxons and Hessians to the amount of sixty thousand men, pressed him hard; and it seemed impossible to keep the field against so great a disparity of force; his own troops not amounting to more than twenty thousand. He retreated into Lorraine, abandoning the fertile plains of Alsace to the enemy, led his army behind the Vosges Mountains, and crossing them by unfrequented routes, surprised the enemy at Colmar, beat him at Mulhausen and Turkheim, and forced him to recross the Rhine. This is esteemed the most brilliant of Turenne's campaigns, and it was conceived and conducted with the greater boldness, being in opposition to the orders of Louvois. "I know," he wrote to that minister, in remonstrating, and indeed refusing to follow his directions, "I know the strength of the Imperialists, their generals, and the country in which we are. I take all upon myself, and charge myself with whatever may occur."

Returning to Paris at the end of the campaign, his journey through France resembled a triumphal progress; such was the popular enthusiasm in his favor. Not less flattering was his reception by the king, whose undeviating regard and (p. 210) confidence, undimmed by jealousy or envy, is creditable alike to the monarch and to his faithful subject. At this time Turenne, it is said, had serious thoughts of retiring to a convent, and was induced only by the earnest remonstrances of the king, and his representations of the critical state of France, to resume his command. Returning to the Upper Rhine, he was again opposed to Montecuculi. For two months the resources and well-matched skill of the rival captains were displayed in a series of marches and countermarches, in which every movement was so well foreseen and guarded against, that no opportunity occurred for coming to action with advantage to either side. At last the art of Turenne appeared to prevail; when, not many minutes after he had expressed the full belief that victory was within his grasp, a cannon-ball struck him while engaged in reconnoitring the enemy's position, previous to giving battle, and he fell dead from his horse, July 27, 1675. The same shot carried off the arm of St. Hilaire, commander-in-chief of the artillery. "Weep not for me," said the brave soldier to his son; "it is for that great man that we ought to weep."

His subordinates possessed neither the talents requisite to follow up his plans, nor the confidence of the troops, who perceived their hesitation, and were eager to avenge the death of their beloved general. "Loose the piebald," so they named Turenne's horse, was the cry; "he will lead us on." But those on whom the command devolved thought of anything rather than of attacking the enemy; and after holding a hurried council of war, retreated in all haste across the Rhine.

The Swabian peasants let the spot where he fell lie fallow for many years, and carefully preserved a tree under which he had been sitting just before. Strange that the people who had suffered so much at his hands should regard his memory with such respect!

The character of Turenne was more remarkable for solidity than for brilliancy. Many generals may have been better qualified to complete a campaign by one decisive blow; few probably have laid the scheme of a campaign with more judgment, or shown more skill and patience in carrying their plans into effect. And it is remarkable that, contrary to general experience, he became much more enterprising in advanced years than he had been in youth. Of that impetuous spirit, which sometimes carries men to success where caution would have hesitated and failed, he possessed little. In his earlier years he seldom ventured to give battle, except where victory was nearly certain; but a course of victory inspired confidence, and trained by long practice to distinguish the difficult from the impossible, he adopted in his later campaigns a bolder style of tactics than had seemed congenial to his original temper. In this respect he offered a remarkable contrast to his rival in fame, Condé, who, celebrated in early life for the headlong valor, even to rashness, of his enterprises, became in old age prudent almost to timidity. Equally calm in success or in defeat, Turenne was always ready to prosecute the one, or to repair the other. And he carried the same temper into private life, where he was distinguished for the dignity with which he avoided quarrels, under circumstances in which lesser men would have (p. 211) found it hard to do so, without incurring the reproach of cowardice. Nor must we pass over his thorough honesty and disinterestedness in pecuniary matters; a quality more rare in a great man then than it is now.[Back to Contents]

CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN
By General John Mitchell
(1682-1718)

Charles XII.

Charles XII., against whom it has been made a fault that he carried virtues to extremes, was born at Stockholm, on June 27, 1682, during a storm that

"Rived the mighty oak, and made
The ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam,
To be exalted with the threatening clouds."

Astrologers observed that the star called the "Lion's Heart" predominated at his nativity, and that the "Fox" was on the decline—omens and prodigies well suited to announce the birth of a prince who was himself a living tempest. Charles's infancy has nothing very remarkable. His education was strictly attended to, and he proved an attentive scholar. He acquired considerable knowledge of history, geography, mathematics, and the military sciences, and became perfectly familiar with several languages, though he never, after his accession to the throne, spoke any but Latin, Swedish, or German. The gallant Charles Stewart, the same who afterward led the king across the Duna, was his instructor in the art of war, and is said to have communicated to the young prince much of the fiery spirit for which he was himself distinguished. In his fifteenth year Charles ascended the throne, and, contrary to usual assertion, already evinced considerable ability and application to business, though no particular predilection for military affairs, unless his bear-hunting expeditions may be so considered, for they were more than "faint images of war," being attended with great danger. No arms were used in these encounters; the sportsman was provided only with a single doubly-pointed stick and a cast-net, like the one perhaps, used by the ancient gladiators. The object of these fierce combats was to capture and bind the bear, and to carry him in triumph from the scene of action! Charles was, it seems, a great proficient in this dangerous sport.

(p. 212) At the age of eighteen Charles was obliged to take the field against the four greatest powers of the North. Forced to contend with small means against vastly superior foes, he made genius and courage supply the place of numbers. Heroism was never more nobly displayed than by this gallant monarch and his followers. What men could do was done. For nine years he triumphed over constantly augmenting enemies. And when the "unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain" fell at last, crushed by the weight of masses, fortune more than shared with his innumerable adversaries the honor of his overthrow.

It was during the Polish campaign of 1703 that Max Emanuel of Wirtemberg, then only fourteen years of age, joined Charles. When introduced, the king asked him whether he wished to go to Stockholm for a time, or to remain with the army. The prince, of course, preferred the latter. "Well, then," said Charles, "I will bring you up in my own way," and immediately placed the boy, tired as he was from his journey, on horseback, and led him a long and fatiguing ride. From this period to the battle of Pultowa, Max continued to be his constant companion, shared his dangers, and attended him in all his adventures, many of which border almost on the fabulous. The affectionate kindness evinced by Charles toward his pupil could not be surpassed. When the boy, as sometimes happened, was worn down by sickness and fatigue, the monarch attended him with parental care; and when on one occasion he fell speechless from his horse, and his recovery was despaired of, the king never left his couch till he was pronounced out of danger.

The adventures they encountered together were endless. On inspecting the regiments before the opening of the campaign of 1706, they rode five hundred miles in six days, were never in bed, and hardly ever out of the saddle, and frequently reduced to milk and water as their only nourishment—

"Alike to Charles was tide or time,
Moonless midnight or matin prime."

Having on another occasion lost their road and escort during a stormy night, they arrived in the midst of a tempest before the town of Tousha. Neither calling nor firing brought any one to the gates. The king at last dismounted and sought for an entrance, while the prince held the horses in the pelting rain. An entrance having at last been discovered, they took possession of a hut in which was a fire. The king threw himself, booted and spurred, on a bundle of straw, and fell fast asleep. The prince, less hardy, took off his boots, filled them with straw, and placed them by the fire. While sleeping, the flame caught and consumed the valuable gambodoes. The prince was next day obliged to get a pair of peasant's boots, in which he rode about for eight days; a proof that the princely wardrobe was but slenderly furnished.

And yet the camp was not without its gayeties either; for while the head-quarters were wintering at Rawitcz, the town became the scene of great festivities; balls and parties succeeding each other as rapidly as battles had done before. (p. 213) Charles was usually present, was always very polite, but made only a short stay, and retired as soon as he could.

Charles XII. and an unwilling recruit.

During the stay of the army in this place, a fire broke out and consumed several houses. The king flew to aid in extinguishing the flames. He ascended to the top of a house that was already on fire, and continued working till the building was sinking under him. He escaped with difficulty, was thrown down by one of the beams, and for a moment believed to be dead. "It was discovered two years afterward," says Bardili, "that the place was set on fire by an incendiary bribed by Augustus II. to slay the king of Sweden in the confusion;" and a man actually came forward and denounced himself as the intended assassin, declaring that some unknown power had prevented him from stabbing the king when he got near his person. Charles said the man was mad, and sent him about his business. Napoleon would have sent him before a military commission and had him shot, as he caused the student at Schönbrunn to be shot.

We regret that we cannot give a sufficient account of the Duke of Marlborough's visit to Charles's head-quarters at Altranstadt; for what Voltaire says on the subject is but an idle fable. That the English general should easily have penetrated the views of the Swedish conqueror, which the latter took no pains to conceal, is sufficiently probable; but that the conversation between two such men should have turned principally on the king's large boots, which, as Voltaire says, Charles told Marlborough "he had not quitted for seven years," is of course a mere puerility. Besides, we find from Max's "Memoirs," that Charles was not so coarse in his dress as is usually represented, for his clothes were made of fine materials. He always wore a plain blue coat with gilt buttons, buff waistcoat and breeches, a black crape cravat, and a cocked hat; a waist-belt, and a long cut-and-thrust sword. He never disfigured himself by the full-bottomed wig of the period, but always wore his own brown hair, combed back from his forehead. His camp-bed consisted of a blue silk mattress, pillow and coverlid; materials that would have suited even a dandy guardsman.

The invasion of Saxony occasioned great uneasiness at Vienna, Charles's arrival being considered alike dangerous to the Catholic states of the Empire and to the success of the Grand Alliance. It happened, under these unpleasant feelings, that at a party the Swedish Minister, Count Stralenghielm, proposed his master's health as a toast. An imperial chamberlain, a Count Zabor, a magnate of Hungary, refused to drink it, declaring that "no honest man ought to drink the health of the Turk, the devil, and of a third person." The Swede struck the offender, and swords were drawn; but the adversaries were of course separated. The ambassador demanded satisfaction for the insult; and Zabor was arrested, and sent in irons to Stettin, and delivered up to the Swedes. Charles instantly set him at liberty, simply desiring him to "be more guarded in his speeches for the future."

The Saxon nobility (Ritterschaft, chivalry) having been taxed to aid in defraying the Swedish contributions, applied to Charles, claiming their privilege of exemption from all taxation, except that of furnishing horses for the chivalry engaged in defence of the country. "Had the Saxon chivalry," said Charles, (p. 214) "acted up to the duties to which they owe their privilege, I should not have been here."

The King of Sweden left Saxony, and set out on his Russian expedition at the head of 43,000 men. Of these 8,000 remained in Poland; so that he undertook the march to Moscow with only 35,000—a force amounting to about one-fifteenth part of the army with which Napoleon set out on a similar expedition. The Russians followed the same system they afterward employed against the French, retiring and laving waste the country. The difficulties the Swedes had to encounter, in consequence of bad roads and want of provisions, are almost incredible. The soldiers were forced to contend, not only against the enemy, but against the localities also; roads for the advance of the army had to be opened through forests and morasses before the least progress could be made; and it often happened that a league a day was the greatest extent of march gained after immense toil. But nothing checked the ardor of these gallant soldiers. The Russians attempted to defend the passage of rivers and swamps that impeded the march of the foe. Their efforts were vain; no superiority of numbers, no strength of position, could arrest the indomitable valor of Charles and his troops. And the actions performed during this march would be deemed absolutely fabulous, were they not recorded on authority which cannot be doubted.

During the severe winter of 1709, the army suffered dreadfully from want and cold. When, early in spring, the thaw set in, the whole of those flat countries were overflowed, and long marches had to be made through complete inundations, by which quantities of stores were lost, and the powder greatly damaged. It was, as we now find, in consequence of the losses thus sustained that Charles accepted Mazeppa's proposal of marching into the Ukraine. Finding his army too much weakened to penetrate further into Russia, and not wishing to fall back upon Livonia, which he thought would look like a retreat and encourage his enemies, he determined to march to the south, and there await the supplies and reinforcements which his generals were to bring up.

The loss of the convoy which General Lewenhaupt was conducting to the army rendered further delay necessary, and obliged the king to undertake the siege of Pultowa, in order to gain a firm footing in the country, and to secure the supplies which the place contained. The Swedish battering-train was weak, the powder not only bad from having been frequently injured by the wet and dried again, but very scarce besides. Still, courage and energy were making progress, when, June 27th, on his very birthday, Charles, in repulsing a sally, was struck by a musket-ball that entered his left foot, above the root of the toes, and went out at the heel. The king continued in the field for an hour afterward, giving his orders as usual; but when he retired to his quarters, the leg was so much swelled that the boot had to be cut off, and the wound had so unfavorable an appearance as greatly to alarm the attendants.

Charles behaved heroically, as usual. He held his leg to the surgeon with his own hands, nor did a single groan escape him during the terrible operation which the cutting away of some of the fractured bones rendered necessary. At one time (p. 215) his life was despaired of, and a general panic seized the army, but though the wound proved decisive of his fate, the unhappy monarch had what may well be termed the misfortune to recover.

The foe drew near. The Czar, well aware of the importance of Pultowa, advanced to its relief with an army of 80,000 men, besides 40,000 irregulars, Kalmucks and Tartars. He brought 150 pieces of artillery along with him. Even with this vast superiority, and after the training of a nine years' war, the Russians did not venture to attack the Swedes, but drew closer and closer around them, till they began at last to intrench themselves within a league of the king's camp. Charles's illness gave them but too much leisure.

A hostile fortress on one side, a hostile army on the other, nothing but a victory could save the Swedes; and on the morning of the 8th of July, only ten days after Charles had been wounded, they marched out to battle. Their whole army did not amount to 20,000 men, 4,000 of whom were left in the trenches and with the baggage. Their artillery consisted of four field-pieces; and their powder was so bad that it did not, as Count Poniatowsky and Lewenhaupt both affirm, throw the musket-balls more than thirty yards from the muzzles of the pieces. And yet these brave soldiers balanced fortune even against such overwhelming numbers. Three out of the seven Russian redoubts were taken; on the left wing the cavalry were victorious, and it is really difficult to say what the result would have proved, had Charles been able to exert his usual energy and activity. Certain it is that errors were committed which could not have happened under his immediate command; for the cavalry of the left wing did not follow up their success, and the cavalry of the right wing lost their direction, and took no share in the action. The king, who was carried on a litter between two horses, was present in the hottest of the fire, and exerted himself as much as was possible for a man in such a situation. A shot broke the litter, and the wounded monarch was for some time left alone on the ground. A lifeguardsman brought him a horse, and he endeavored to rally the yielding troops. The steed was shot under him, and—

"Gierta gave
His own, and died the Russian slave."

Having assembled and re-formed the remnants of his broken host round the forces which had been left for the protection of the baggage, the fainting monarch was placed in Count Piper's carriage, and conveyed toward the Turkish frontier. The exertions of the wounded Charles to rally his army at Pultowa contrast singularly with the total want of any such exertion displayed by the unwounded Napoleon at Waterloo. We take this want of exertion for granted, because had any been displayed, the world's echoes would have rung with praise bestowed upon the heroic effort.

The first result of the battle of Pultowa—its ultimate results are only now becoming apparent—was the entire destruction of the Swedish army, the famished and exhausted remains of which were some days afterward obliged to lay down their arms on the banks of the Dnieper, which they had no means of crossing.

(p. 216) With this battle, which opens a new era in European history, the history of Charles XII. may be said to end; for his subsequent career was only a succession of disappointments, his poor and thinly peopled country not affording him the means of recovery from a single 'defeat'.

On his arrival at Bender, the king learned of the death of his sister, the Duchess of Holstein; and he who had calmly supported the loss of his fame and his army yielded to the most impassioned burst of sorrow, and was during four days unable to converse with his most intimate attendants—a proof how unjust are the accusations of want of feeling so often brought against him. His long stay in Turkey is certainly evidence of obstinacy, or of that pride which could not brook the thought of returning, a vanquished fugitive, to his native land, which had done so much for him, and which his best efforts had failed to protect from unjust violence. In Charles's high and noble countenance it is seen at once that he was endowed with—

"The glance that took
Their thoughts from others at a single look."

He knew the worthlessness of his enemies; and it is doubly galling to the generous and the brave when fortune, in her base fancies, obliges them to succumb to mean and malicious adversaries. And such was the fate of Charles. His defeat was no sooner known than Denmark, Poland, and Saxony again flew to arms. Hanover and Prussia joined the unworthy league against the fallen monarch, who had been so dreaded, and was therefore so much hated; for Charles had injured no one—he was the aggrieved from first to last. His return to Sweden, the defence of Stralsund, the invasion of Norway, call for no particular attention. He was killed at the siege of Frederickshall, in Norway, on November 30, 1718, under circumstances that long gave currency to the belief that he had been assassinated. Schott and Bardili positively assert the fact; but we are on this point disposed to agree with Voltaire, who, to save the honor of his countrymen, as positively denies it. After evening service, the king went out as usual to visit the trenches. He was attended by two French engineers, Megret and Siquier. A heavy fire was kept up by the enemy. Near the head of the boyau, or zigzag, he kneeled down, and, leaning against the parapet, looked toward the fortress. As he remained motionless for a long time, some one approached and found him perfectly dead, a ball having entered his right temple and passed through his head. Even in death the gallant hand had grasped the hilt of his sword; and this probably gave rise to the belief in the murder, which was afterward confirmed by Siquier's own confession. But this confession was only made while the pretended criminal labored under an attack of brain fever, and was retracted as soon as he recovered.

Thus fell, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, one of the most extraordinary men that ever acted a part on the great stage of the world. Endowed by nature with a noble person, "a frame of adamant, a soul of fire," with high intellectual powers, dauntless bravery, kingly sentiments of honor, and a lofty scorn of all (p. 217) that was mean and little, he became, from the very splendor of these gifts, perhaps one of the most unhappy men of his time. Less highly gifted, he would have been less hated and less envied; of humbler spirit, he would have been more pliant, and might possibly have been more successful.[Back to Contents]

JOHN, DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
By L. Drake
(1650-1722)

A standing man behind a sitting woman.

About noon, on June 24, 1650, John Churchill, afterward Duke of Marlborough, was born at Ashe, in Devonshire. His school-days were soon over; for his father, Sir Winston Churchill, having established himself at court soon after the restoration of Charles the Second, was anxious to introduce his children early into life, and obtained for his son the situation of page of honor to the Duke of York, at the same time that his only daughter, Arabella, became maid of honor to the duchess.

While at school, young Churchill had discovered in the library an old book on military subjects. This he read frequently, and conceived such a taste for a martial life, that he longed to distinguish himself as a soldier.

The Duke of York held frequent reviews of the guards. Churchill had not long been his page, before the duke noticed his eagerness to be present on these occasions. Pleased with this indication of military ambition, the duke suddenly inquired one day, "What can I do for you, Churchill, as a first step to fortune?"

The page threw himself on his knees before the duke. "I beseech your Royal Highness," he entreated, with clasped hands, "to honor me with a pair of colors."

(p. 218) "Well, well," said the duke, smiling at the lad's earnestness, "I will grant your request by and by;" and his young favorite had not long to wait before he got the post for which he had petitioned.

The youthful ensign, scarce fifteen years of age, first embarked for Tangiers; and although his stay was short, yet in the sallies and skirmishes with the Moors he showed that even now he possessed that courage and ability which in after years placed him at the head of all the heroes of his time.

Before the year in which he left England had expired, he was again in his native country. He then accompanied the Duke of Monmouth to the continent, to assist France against Holland. The Prince of Condé and Marshal Turenne, the greatest generals of that time, commanded the French army, so that Churchill had very favorable opportunities of improving his military talent and genius.

A French officer, during the siege of Nimeguen, had failed to retain a post of consequence, which he had been appointed to defend. The news of its loss was brought to Turenne.

"I will bet a supper and a dozen of claret," instantly exclaimed the marshal, "that my handsome Englishman will recover the post with half the number of men that the officer commanded who lost it."

Churchill was despatched with a small company, and, after a short but desperate struggle, retook the post, won the marshal his wager, and gained for himself the applause and admiration of the whole army.

Next year, at the siege of Maestricht, Captain Churchill again distinguished himself. At the head of his own company, he scaled the ramparts, and planted the banner of France on the very summit, escaping with a slight wound. Louis XIV. was so highly pleased with his conduct that he thanked him at the head of the army, and soon made him lieutenant-colonel. The Duke of Monmouth afterward confessed to the king, that he was indebted for his life, on this occasion, to our hero's gallantry and discretion.

On his return to England, he was made gentleman of the bedchamber and master of the robes to his earliest patron, the Duke of York. At this period he was captivated by the beauty of Miss Sarah Jennings, daughter of a gentleman of ancient family, and maid of honor to the duchess. Their marriage took place in 1678.

The services Colonel Churchill continued to yield the royal brothers did not pass unrewarded. He was created Baron Churchill of Agmouth, in Berwickshire; and a friendship sprung up between Lady Churchill and the Princess (afterward queen) Anne, who, when she married Prince George of Denmark, got her friend appointed lady of her bedchamber.

The day after James II. was proclaimed, he made his favorite, lieutenant-general. The battle of Sedgemoor, in which the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth with his rebel army was defeated, was won chiefly by Churchill's courage and decision. Till the closing scene of James's reign, there is little stated of Lord Churchill, although it is known that he used his influence with his royal master to prevent the (p. 219) arbitrary system of government the king endeavored to introduce. Finding the monarch determined to persist in his encroachments, Lord Churchill felt it his duty, however painful, to go over to the Prince of Orange, by whom he was received with distinguished marks of attention and respect; and, two days before his coronation, the prince raised him to the dignity of Earl of Marlborough.

The affection the earl still felt toward his late benefactor, the ex-king, led him into a correspondence with him. This, being discovered, brought the displeasure of King William upon him, and for some time he was deprived of all his appointments. At length a governor being wanted for the young Duke of Gloucester, son of the Princess Anne, the king, as an earnest of his returning favor, conferred this honor on Marlborough. "Teach him, my lord," said his majesty, "to be what you are yourself, and he will not want accomplishments."

On the accession of Queen Anne, Marlborough was made captain-general, master of the ordnance, and a knight of the garter. Soon after, he was sent to Holland to aid the Dutch against the French. He was appointed by them generalissimo of the forces, with a salary of £10,000 a year. With his army he crossed the river Meuse, and advanced to the siege of Rheinberg. "I hope soon to deliver you from these troublesome neighbors!" he exclaimed to the Dutch deputies who accompanied him on a reconnoitring party; and had it not been for the timidity of the Dutchmen he would have fulfilled his intentions. He however, took three towns out of the hands of the French, and the campaign ended by the taking of Liége.

Marlborough soon returned to England, when the queen created him Marquis of Blandford and Duke of Marlborough, an honor he reluctantly accepted, and chiefly because it would give him more consideration if again called upon to serve his country abroad.

In 1703 the duke was once more in Flanders, leading operations against the French with his usual success.

The celebrated Prince Eugene was appointed his colleague; and the first time these two generals met, they conceived that mutual esteem and confidence, which afterward rendered them partners in the same glory.

At the head of a noble army, the two generals penetrated into the heart of Germany, driving the Elector of Bavaria before them, ere his French allies could join him. It would take too much space to describe all the victories, and relate the details of the burning of three hundred towns, villages, and castles! These stern necessities of war were far from pleasing to Marlborough, who grieved to see the poor people suffering from their master's ambition. The Elector shed tears when he heard of these devastations, and offered large sums to prevent military execution on the land. "The forces of England," replied the duke, "are not come into Bavaria to extort money, but to bring its prince to reason and moderation. It is in the power of the Elector to end the matter at once by coming to a speedy accommodation."

But the Elector knew that Marshal Tallard, with a powerful French army, (p. 220) was approaching; and, buoyed up by expectation, replied, "Since you have compelled me to draw the sword, I have thrown away the scabbard!"

Prince Eugene had hastened from the Rhine to join Marlborough, with a force of eighteen thousand men, and reached the plains of Hochstadt by the time Tallard joined the Elector. As the prince and Marlborough proceeded to survey the ground, previous to taking up their position, they perceived some squadrons of the enemy at a distance. The two generals mounted the steeple of a church close by, and, with their glasses, discovered the quarter-masters of the enemy marking out a camp between Blenheim and Lützingen. Charmed beyond measure, they resolved to give battle before the enemy could strengthen themselves in their new position. Some officers, who knew the strength of the ground selected by the enemy, ventured to remonstrate, and to advise that no action should be hazarded. "I know the dangers of the case," said Marlborough, who had not made up his mind without due consideration, "but a battle is absolutely necessary; and as for success, I rely on the hope that the discipline and courage of the troops will make amends for all disadvantages." Orders being issued for a general engagement, the whole army commenced preparations with cheerfulness and alacrity.

Marlborough showed that he was resolved to conquer or to die in the attempt. Part of the night he passed in prayer, and toward morning received the sacrament. Then, after taking a short sleep, he concerted the arrangements for the action with Prince Eugene, particularly pointing out to the surgeons the proper place for the wounded.

The forces of the duke and the prince formed an army of 33,500 infantry and 18,400 cavalry. They were opposed by a force of 56,000 men.

About six o'clock in the morning, Marlborough and Eugene took their station on a rising ground, and calling all the generals, gave the directions for the attack. The army then marched into the plain; and being formed in order of battle, the chaplains performed service at the head of each regiment.

The morning being hazy, the French and Bavarians did not even suspect the approach of their enemies, and were completely taken by surprise. A large gun boomed forth the signal for the onset; and as great a battle was fought as the memory of man ever heard of. A panic seized the whole of the troops which composed the right of the French army, and they fled like a flock of sheep before the victorious English,—deaf to the threats and entreaties of their commanders, and without observing whither their flight led them. A body of cavalry, the best and most renowned in the whole army, seized with fear, hurried away Marshal Tallard with them in their flight; and, void of all thought, threw themselves by squadrons into the Danube, men and horses, officers and troopers together. Some escaped; but the greater portion, who had sought to avoid an uncertain death on the field of battle and honor, found a certain and shameful death in the river. The poor marshal, after vainly endeavoring to stem this torrent of despair, was obliged to surrender himself a prisoner of war with several other general officers in his company. The defeat then became complete. Of (p. 221) all the infantry the marshal had brought to the assistance of the Elector, only two battalions escaped; eight and twenty battalions were taken prisoners; and ten were entirely destroyed!

The French, for many years, had never sustained any considerable defeat; and in consequence, had looked upon themselves, and had been regarded by other countries, almost as invincible. But now the charm was broken.

After the battle, when Marshal Tallard was brought into the duke's tent, the marshal exclaimed with emphasis, "Your grace has beaten the best troops in the world!"

"I hope," quickly rejoined the duke, "that you except the troops which defeated them."

The news caused great joy in England, except to a discontented party, who considered that "it would no more weaken the power of the French king, than taking a bucket of water out of a river." Marlborough's answer, when he heard this, was, "If they will allow me to draw one or two such buckets more, we may then let the river run quietly, and not much apprehend its overflowing, and destroying its neighbors." Queen Anne, however, as a monument of victory, commanded a splendid palace to be built for the duke, at her own expense, to be called Blenheim.

It would fill a large volume to relate all the victories of the Duke of Marlborough, none of which, however, exceeded the Battle of Blenheim in importance. One, some years afterward, called the Battle of Malplaquet, was a better contested fight, and perhaps ranks next; in truth, after this battle, France never again ventured to meet Marlborough in the field.

At three o'clock in the morning of September 11, 1709, the confederated troops (for Eugene, with his army, was still with Marlborough) began to raise their batteries, under cover of a thick fog, which lasted till half-past seven. When it cleared away, the armies found themselves close together, each having a perfect view of the other. Marshal Villars commanded the French army. He was adored by his troops, who placed unbounded confidence in him; and as he now rode along their ranks the air rang with "Long live the king!" "Long live Marshal Villars!" The right wing was commanded by Marshal Boufflers.

A discharge of fifty pieces of cannon from the confederates was the signal for battle, which commenced a little after eight. Each army had between ninety and one hundred thousand men, and the battle raged for some time with unexampled bravery. All the duties of a skilful general were performed by Marlborough; and late in the day the French army left the field in the possession of the allies, both armies having fought with almost incredible valor. The loss of the French was fourteen thousand men; the allies, though victory was on their side, lost nearly twenty thousand.

An officer of distinction in the French army, writing an account of this battle said: "The Eugenes and Marlboroughs ought to be well satisfied with us during that day; since, till then, they had not met with resistance worthy of them. They may say, with justice, that nothing can stand before them; for what shall be (p. 222) able to stem the rapid course of these two heroes, if an army of one hundred thousand of our best troops—posted between two roads, trebly entrenched, and performing their duty as well as brave men could do—were not able to stop them one day? Will you not, then, own with me, that they surpass all the heroes of former ages?"

With his usual humanity, Marlborough's first care, at the close of the action, was the relief of the wounded. Three thousand Frenchmen who lay on the field shared his attention, with the wounded of his own army; and he immediately arranged means for conveying them away. Still, next morning—the day set apart for burying the slain—notwithstanding his care, when riding over the field he saw among the heaps which covered the plain, not only the numerous bodies of the slain, but of the dying also. Nor did he feel only for the sufferings of his companions in arms; the groans of wounded enemies, and the sight of their mangled limbs, equally awakened his compassion. Learning also, that many French officers and soldiers had crept into the neighboring houses and woods, wounded, and in a miserable condition for want of assistance, he ordered them every possible relief, and despatched a messenger with a letter to the French marshal, humanely proposing; a conference to arrange the means of removing these wretched sufferers. By this humanity the larger portion of not fewer than thirty thousand men, to whose sufferings death would soon have put an end, were saved. The officers gave their word that they would not serve against the allies till they were regularly exchanged; and the common soldiers were to be considered as prisoners of war, for whom an equal number of allied troops were to be returned.

Many, many battles, too numerous to mention, were gained by this great commander. When he came back to England, at the peace, he for some time distinguished himself as an able statesman; but incurring the displeasure of the queen, and that of the party then in power, he found his situation so painful, that he determined to leave the country till the course of events should again run in his favor. He left Dover without any honors, as a private passenger, in a packet-boat; but on its arriving off Ostend, as soon as the townspeople knew that the Duke of Marlborough was on board, they made a salute of all the cannon toward the sea; and when the vessel entered the harbor, they fired three rounds of all the artillery on the ramparts. The people crowded round him, and shed tears at the ingratitude of his nation. Some, full of astonishment at the sight of him, said, "His looks, his air, his address, were full as conquering as his sword." Even a Frenchman exclaimed, "Though the sight is worth a million to my king, yet I believe he would not, at such a price, have lost the service of so brave a man."

Marlborough remained at Aix-la-Chapelle till the death of the queen. On August 1, 1714, the day George the First was proclaimed, the duke and duchess landed at Dover. Marlborough's reception was truly a contrast to his departure. Now the artillery thundered forth a welcome; while thousands of spectators hailed the return of the voluntary exile. Passing on to London, he was met at Southwark by a large body of the burgesses, who escorted him into the city; and thence, joined by many of the first merchants, the nobility, and gentry, he proceeded (p. 223) to St. James's, amid the joyful acclamations of the crowd, "Long live the king!" "Long live the Duke of Marlborough!"

Old age had now laid his withering hand on the duke. For nearly two years he continued to enjoy the favor and confidence of the new king, who, on one occasion, said, "Marlborough's retirement would give me as much pain as if a dagger should be plunged in my bosom." But he soon was obliged to retreat to Blenheim, where he spent six years of declining life among his family and friends. At length, after a violent attack of palsy, the disease from which he suffered, he lay for several days expecting death. Early in the morning of June 15, 1722, he resigned his spirit, with Christian calmness, into the hands of his Creator.

The duke was nearly seventy-three when he died. His remains were interred with every honor in Westminster Abbey, but soon after were taken up, and conveyed to the chapel at Blenheim, and laid in a magnificent monument, which the duchess had erected for this honorable purpose.[Back to Contents]

PRINCE EUGENE OF SAVOY
By G. P. R. James
(1663-1736)

Prince Eugene.

Prince Eugene, the most famed of Austrian generals, was the son of Eugene Maurice of Savoy (by the mother's side Count of Soissons) and of Olympia Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin. His father intrigued, and was banished from the court of France; and his mother also quitted Paris not many years after, suspected of many vices of which she was very probably innocent; and guilty of a thousand follies, which were more strictly scrutinized than her crimes. Eugene was originally destined for the Church, and, according to a scandalous custom, then common in France as well as other Catholic countries, he obtained several benefices while but a child, of which he was eager to divest himself as soon as his mind was capable of discriminating between one profession and another. He seems soon to have felt within himself that ardent desire for military service, which is sometimes a caprice and some times an inspiration; but Louis XIV., at whose court he still remained, positively (p. 224) forbade his throwing off the clerical habit, notwithstanding all the entreaties of the young abbé, and by so doing, incurred the enmity of one who inherited from his mother no small faculty of hatred.

At length, various circumstances with which he was in no degree connected, brought about a change in the affairs of Europe that afforded him an opportunity of escaping from the restraint placed upon his inclinations, and of turning the genius they had despised against those who had contemned him. France and Austria had long been either secretly or openly at strife; but now the dilapidated state of the German empire, after tedious and expensive wars, together with the combination of external foes and internal insurrection, threatened the nominal successor of the Roman Cæsars with utter destruction. The Hungarians in revolt, joined with the Turkish forces which they had called to their assistance, marched into Germany and laid siege to Vienna. Louis XIV. had hitherto taken care to foment the spirit of insurrection, and to aggravate the more pressing dangers of Germany; but at this moment, to cover the encouragement he had held out privately to the rebels, he permitted the nobility of his court to volunteer in defence of Christendom, which the fall of Vienna would have laid open to Infidels. A large body of young men set out immediately for Austria, among whom Prince Eugene contrived to effect his departure in secret. The famous, but unamiable minister Louvois, when he heard of the young abbé's escape remarked with a sneer, "So much the better, it will be long before he returns."

The speech was afterward repeated to Eugene, who replied, "I will never return to France but as a conqueror;" and he kept his word, one of the few instances in which history has been able to record that a rash boast was afterward justified by talents and resolution.

On arriving at Vienna, Eugene cast away the gown forever, and his rank instantly procured him a distinguished post near the person of the Duke of Lorraine, then commanding the imperial forces.

Shortly after he had joined the army, John Sobieski, the valiant King of Poland, advanced to the assistance of the emperor, and the Turks were forced to raise the siege of the Austrian capital. In the campaign that followed against the Infidels, Eugene distinguished himself greatly, both by a sort of light unthinking courage, and by a degree of skill and judgment, which seemed to show that the levity he was somewhat too fond of displaying, though perhaps a confirmed habit from his education in an idle and frivolous court, was no true type of the mind within. It was the empty bubble dancing on the bosom of a deep stream. This was felt by those who surrounded him; and promotion succeeded with astonishing rapidity. Before the end of three months he was in command of a regiment of horse.

Continual battles, sieges, and skirmishes, now inured Eugene to all the hardships and all the dangers of war, and at the same time gave him every opportunity of acquiring a thorough knowledge of his new profession, and of obtaining higher and higher grades in the service. In the course of a very few years he had been wounded more than once severely; but at the same time he had aided in the (p. 225) taking of Neuhausel, Vicegradt, Gran, and Buda; was the first who entered sword in hand into the intrenched camp of the Turks at Hersan; and had received a commission as Lieutenant-general in the Austrian service. The storming of Belgrade was the next great event in which Eugene was called to act; and here, in command of a body of reserve, he attacked the walls, after the first parties had been repulsed, and succeeded in forcing his way into the city. The regiments which had failed at first now rallied; and the path being open, the Imperial forces poured in in all directions, and Belgrade was taken after a most obstinate defence.

Victor Amadæus, Duke of Savoy, was shortly after this persuaded by his cousin Eugene to embrace the interests of the house of Austria; and to enter into the great alliance which had been formed for the purpose of depressing France.

The vast power which Louis XIV. had acquired, and the evident disposition he displayed to extend that power to the utmost, had armed the fears of all the monarchs of Europe against him. At the same time, the armies which had conquered for him were dispersed, and the generals who had led them to victory had in most instances fallen into the grave. Perhaps these considerations might lead the Duke of Savoy to withdraw from an alliance which promised little support, and eminent danger; but he had soon reason to repent of having done so. Marshal Catinat, the best of Louis's living officers, was ordered to act against him; the whole of Piedmont quickly fell into the hands of the French; and on August 18th the duke was completely defeated by the adverse general. Eugene, who was present, though wounded with a spent ball, covered the retreat of the troops of Savoy; but the battle was nevertheless completely lost, and influenced for long the fate of Piedmont.

After various campaigns in Italy, where little was effected but a diversion of the French forces from his scene of war in Germany and the Netherlands, Eugene prevailed upon his cousin the Duke of Savoy, to lead his troops into France and to draw the French army from Italy, by carrying the war into their own country. The scheme was a bold one, but it proved most successful, and Embrun, Quilestre, and Gap, having fallen, the allied army, under Victor Amadæus and Eugene, advanced rapidly into Dauphiny. Terror and consternation spread before them; and in revenge for the devastation committed by the French in the Palatinate, they now ravaged the whole of Dauphiny, burning the villages and hamlets, and laying the cities under heavy contributions. The heart of France was open to the invading army; but, fortunately for that country, a severe illness put a stop to the proceedings of Victor Amadæus. Returning to Turin in haste, he left his army to the command of Prince Eugene; but the Italian generals contrived, by hesitation in their obedience, and opposition to his wishes, to defeat Eugene's best schemes, so that he was glad, by a rapid retreat, to bring his army in safety to Savoy.

Eugene was now created Field-marshal; and received the order of the Golden Fleece; but his gratification at these marks of approbation was bitterly alloyed by a severe defeat which he suffered near Pignerol, in company with his cousin (p. 226) the Duke of Savoy, who madly engaged the French forces in a position where his own discomfiture was a certain consequence.

Few movements of any import took place in Italy for some years after this, in which Eugene was concerned. Victor Amadæus, partly from caprice, partly from fear, withdrew from his alliance with Austria, and, once more signed a treaty of neutrality with France. The Imperial troops, unable singly to keep the field against the French, abandoned Savoy; and Eugene, though his efforts had proved unsuccessful, was received at Vienna with the highest distinction.

The emperor, probably judging rightly in this instance, that the prince had failed from his energies being crippled by a divided power, now gave him the sole command of the army opposed to the Turks in Hungary.

Eugene immediately found himself menaced by the whole force of the Turkish Empire; but after some masterly manœuvres he saved the city of Peterwaradin, on which the Ottoman forces were marching; and then, though with very inferior power, approached the intrenchments of the Grand Vizier, at Zeuta, with the intention of forcing him from his camp. At the very moment, however, that the army had advanced too far to retreat, a courier arrived, bearing the emperor's commands to Eugene, on no account to risk a battle. Eugene's measures were already taken; he put the letter in his pocket, attacked the Turks, defeated them completely, left twenty thousand Mussulmen dead on the field, and ten thousand drowned in the Danube; pursued his victory by burning Serai and securing the frontier line of fortresses, and then returned to Vienna in expectation of reward and honor.

The emperor received him coldly, and before the day was over he was put under arrest for disobedience of orders. The clamor, however, of the people, and some feeling of shame in the bosom of the proud, weak Leopold, soon caused him to restore Eugene to his rank, and to send him once more against the Turks. Success, however, did not follow the prince through the succeeding campaign; and before the season brought it naturally to a close, peace had been determined on between Austria and the Porte.

Some time previous to the period of which we now speak, Louis XIV. had endeavored to tempt Eugene back to his Court, by the offer of a Marshal's rank in the French army, the government of Champagne, and a considerable yearly pension. Eugene, who felt that, however flattering to himself, the offer originated alone in the selfishness of an ambitious monarch, refused it in terms sufficiently galling to the proud King of France. Nevertheless, after the peace of Westphalia, Villars, who was sent as ambassador to Vienna, is supposed to have been again charged with a mission of the same nature to Eugene. The fact, however, is not only doubtful, but very improbable, from the character of all parties concerned. Eugene was not a man to leave himself the possibility of changing; Louis was not a man meanly to solicit where he had once been refused; and Villars was not a man to undertake a mean commission, even for a king. It is probable that the courtesy which the prince evinced toward Marshal de Villars from a sense of his personal merit, at a time when the haughty Court (p. 227) of Vienna was mean enough to treat even an ambassador with cold disrespect, was the sole origin of the report. However that might be, Eugene remained for a length of time at Vienna, filling up his inactivity by trifling with many arts and many enjoyments, till at length the War of the Succession, as it was called, breaking out, he was appointed to the command of the army in Italy.

Prince Eugene and the Marshal de Villars.

At length a general engagement took place at Luzara, at which Philip of Spain was present. The forces of the French have been estimated at forty thousand, those of the Imperial general did not much exceed one-half that number. The battle was long and fierce; and night only terminated the contest. Both parties of course claimed the victory. The French sung a Te Deum, but retreated; the Imperial army retained their ground.

Nevertheless, the fruits of victory were gathered by the French. Their immense superiority of numbers gave them the power of overrunning the whole country; and the Imperial court, either from indolence, heedlessness, or intrigue, failed to take any step to support its arms in Italy; so that all which Eugene had taken, sooner or later fell into the enemy's hands, and he himself, disgusted with the neglect he had met with, left his army under the command of another, and set out to see whether he could not procure some reinforcement, or at least some supply of money to pay or provide for his forces. At Vienna he found good reason to suspect that Count Mansfield, the minister of war, had by some means been gained to the interest of France. But, in the meanwhile Eugene was appointed minister of war; and sometime after, in this capacity, proceeded to confer with Marlborough on the united interests of England and Austria.

This negotiation was most successful; and here seems to have been concerted the scheme which Marlborough afterward so gloriously pursued for carrying on the war against France on the side of Germany, and of thus freeing the Empire. In a military point of view, also, Eugene's efforts, though supported by no great army, and followed by no great victory, were wise and successful. He foiled the Hungarian rebels in their bold attack upon Vienna, checked them in their progress everywhere, and laid the foundation of their after subjugation. Soon after this, Eugene took the command of the Imperial army on the Rhine; and after considerable manœuvring singly, to prevent the junction of the French army with that of the Duke of Bavaria, finding it impossible, he effected his own junction with the Duke of Marlborough, and shared in the glories of the field of Blenheim.

Eugene was here always in the thickest of the fight, yet never for a moment forgot that he was called upon to act as a general rather than a soldier. His operations were planned as clearly and commanded as distinctly in the midst of the hottest conflict, as if no tumult had raged around him, and no danger had been near to distract his attention; yet his horse was killed under him in the early part of the battle; and at one moment, a Bavarian dragoon was seen holding him by the coat with one hand, while he levelled a pistol at his head with the other. One of the Imperialists, however, coming up at the moment, freed his (p. 228) general from this unpleasant situation; and Eugene proceeded to issue his orders, without the least sign of discomposure.

The following year Eugene returned to Italy, and once more began the war against Vendome. Notwithstanding all his skill and activity, however, the superiority of the French numbers, and the distinguished military genius of their chief, prevented Eugene from meeting with any very brilliant success. He surprised various detachments, relieved several towns, was successful in many skirmishes; but he failed in drawing the French out of Savoy, and was totally repulsed in endeavoring to pass the Adda.

In the attempt to do so, many men and several valuable officers were lost on both sides. The battle was long and furious. Both Vendome and Eugene displayed all their skill to foil each other; and perhaps so bravely contested a field was as honorable to each as a great victory. Neither, however, could fairly claim the battle as won; for though Eugene failed in passing the river, the French were the greatest sufferers in the contest, and they did not succeed in compelling the Germans to fly, though they prevented them from advancing to join the Duke of Savoy. Eugene, with his wonted reckless courage, exposed himself more than even was necessary, and in the very commencement of the engagement was wounded severely in the neck, notwithstanding which he remained a considerable length of time on horseback, till a second musket-ball, in the knee, forced him to absent himself for a time from the field. These wounds probably decided the failure of his attempt; but they did not prevent him from securing his army in good winter quarters, and checking all active operations on the part of Vendome.

The next campaign was more successful. Vendome, after defeating a body of Imperial troops at Calemato, was recalled, and the command of the French forces given to the Duke of Orleans and the Maréchal de Marsin, who with an army of eighty thousand men invested Turin, the last hold of the Duke of Savoy.

Eugene immediately marched to form his junction with the duke; and no longer opposed by the genius of Vendome, passed the Adige unattacked, crossed the Tanaro, and the Po, joined his cousin near Carmagnola, and advanced to the succor of Turin. The French were dispirited; and uncertainty and divided councils pervaded their camp. On September 7th, the allied army, with less than half their numerical force, attacked them in their intrenchment, forced their position in every direction, and after one of the severest conflicts ever known, completely defeated them, and raised the siege of Turin. The battle, however, was at one time nearly lost to the allies by an accident which befell Eugene. In rallying a body of Imperial cavalry, the prince's horse received a ball in his chest, fell with the rider, and threw him into a ditch, where, stunned with the fall, he lay for several minutes among the dead and dying. The report spread through the army that he was killed; a general alarm was the consequence; and the infantry were beginning to give way, when, suddenly starting up, Eugene commanded the nearest German regiment to fire (p. 229) upon the French cavalry that were coming up to the charge. The effect was tremendous; the French went to the right about; and, though they rallied again and returned to the charge, the Imperial troops continued gradually to force their way on, till their adversaries fled in confusion.

The consequence of this victory was the evacuation of the north of Italy by the French. Eugene was now everywhere successful for some time. He forced the passage of the Col de Tende, carried the French intrenchments on the Var, and laid siege to Toulon. Here, however, he failed; the defence was long and obstinate, reinforcements arrived at the French city, and Eugene, together with the Duke of Savoy, agreed to raise the siege once more, and retire into Piedmont.

Eugene was now again called to join Marlborough, in company with whom he fought and conquered at Oudenarde, took Lille (where he was again severely wounded), Ghent, Bruges, Tournay, and Mons; and forced the French lines at Malplaquet, after a severe and long-protracted struggle, in which two hundred thousand men were engaged, and nearly sixty thousand fell.

If the victories of Blenheim and Oudenarde might more fairly be attributed to Marlborough than to Eugene, the success at Malplaquet was chiefly obtained by the prince, who had forced the intrenchments, taken the wood of Sart, and turned the enemy's flank, before Marlborough had made much progress against the other wing.

Eugene had strongly counselled the battle, though opposed by the States of Holland, and had in a measure taken the responsibility upon himself. On all occasions Eugene's impetuosity led him to expose his person more than mere duty required, and now, having staked his fame on the success of his attempt, he seems to have resolved not to survive a defeat. In the very first attack he received a severe wound behind the ear, which bled so profusely that all his staff pressed him to retire for the purpose of having it dressed.

"If I am beaten," replied Eugene, "it will not be worth while; and if we beat the enemy, I shall have plenty of time to spare for that."

After some short repose, we soon find Eugene once more acting against the Turks in Hungary. No sooner was war determined, than Achmet III. marched an immense force down to the frontiers of Hungary, to act against Eugene, who had just taken the command of the German forces at Peterwaradin. The Vizier Hali, commanding the Ottoman troops, full of confidence in his own skill, and in his immense superiority of numbers, advanced rapidly upon Eugene, and crossed the Save, which formed the boundary of the two countries, determined to crush his adversary by one great battle. Eugene was as desirous of such an event as the vizier, and therefore the troops were soon engaged, almost under the walls of Peterwaradin. The Turks fought bravely for many hours, and the battle was long undecided; but at length, Eugene's superior skill prevailed, and the enemy fled in every direction. The Grand Vizier struggled to the last, with long and desperate bravery, but after having received two severe wounds, he was borne away by the fugitives to Carlowitz, where he died the next day, muttering to the last imprecations against the Christians.

(p. 230) After the death of Hali from the wounds he had received at Peterwaradin, the command of the Turkish army was given to the Pacha of Belgrade, one of the most skilled officers in the Ottoman service. But Eugene was destined to destroy the Turkish power in Hungary. The campaign of the next year commenced with the siege of the often-captured Belgrade; and it was soon completely invested and reduced to sore distress. The Porte, however, was not unmindful of its preservation; and, in the beginning of August, the pacha appeared on the mountains surrounding the town, with an army of near two hundred thousand men. Thus shut up between a strong fortress and an immense army, with the dysentery in his camp, and his forces enfeebled by long and severe labors, Eugene's situation was as difficult as it is possible to conceive. Notwithstanding every disadvantage, his usual bold course of action was pursued in the present instance, and met with that success which is almost always sure to attend the combination of daring and skill. After a short delay, to enable himself to employ all his energies (having been himself greatly debilitated by the camp fever), he attacked the Turkish army in their intrenchments, and at the end of a very short but severe struggle, succeeded in defeating a force more than three times the number of his own.

Belgrade surrendered immediately; and the next year, without any great military event, put an end to the war.

After the conclusion of peace, Eugene, who had been appointed governor of the Austrian Netherlands, resigned that office, which he had never personally filled, and was appointed vicar-general for the emperor in his Italian dominions.

For many years after this Eugene spent his days in peace and tranquillity, endeavoring to raise up a spirit of commerce among the Germans, and to improve the finances of his sovereign, by whom he was appreciated and loved. His greatest efforts were in favor of Trieste, which he changed from a petty town to a great commercial city, and which remains to the present day the best and the noblest fruit of all his talents and all his exertions.

At first, everything promised that the old age of Eugene would have passed in peace, uninterrupted by any warlike movements; but he was once more called from his calmer occupations by the short war which broke out with France in 1733.

Perhaps, in point of military skill, the two campaigns which followed were the most brilliant of Eugene's life; but with only thirty thousand men, opposed to a force of double that number, he could alone act upon the defensive.

He did so, however, with more success than the scantiness of his resources promised. He prevented the French from penetrating into Swabia; and, though Philipsburg was taken notwithstanding all his efforts, he contrived, by turning the course of the neighboring rivers, to inundate the country on the German side of that city, and to render its possession unprofitable to France.

Peace soon succeeded, and with these two campaigns ended Eugene's life as a commander. He lived for some time after this, indeed, amusing himself with the embellishments of his palace and gardens, and employing a great many mechanics (p. 231) and laborers, during all seasons of dearth or scarcity; but the battle-field never saw him more. His health gradually and slowly declined, and on April 21, 1736, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, he was found dead in his bed, after having been slightly indisposed the night before.[Back to Contents]

GENERAL JAMES WOLFE
By L. Drake
(1726-1759)

James Wolfe.

General Edward Wolfe, an officer who distinguished himself under the Duke of Marlborough, was the father of James Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec. He was the eldest son of the general, and was born at Westerham, a small town in Kent, on November 6, 1726. As liberal an education as could be acquired before the early age of fourteen, was given to the future hero. He then went with his father to Flanders to study the profession of an officer amid active warfare; and, thus engaged, seven years soon passed. During this novitiate, he was not without opportunities of distinguishing himself; his name was on several occasions mentioned with honor; till at length, at the battle of Laffeldt, his courage and skilful conduct attracted the notice of his commander, the Duke of Cumberland, who, at the close of the day, thanked him in the presence of the army; and from that time he was marked out "as an officer of extraordinary merit and promise."

His merit, rather than any favor, brought Wolfe the rank of lieutenant-colonel when he was barely twenty-two. The battalion he commanded was soon distinguished by many and striking improvements in discipline, so that its superiority at exercise, and in the order of its quarters, gave sure proof of ability and temper in its young commander. "The men," it is said, "adored while they profoundly respected him; and his officers esteemed his approbation as much as they dreaded his displeasure."

Canada, with a portion of New Brunswick, and also the islands of St. John and Cape Breton, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, were at this time possessed (p. 232) by the French; while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick belonged to the English. The latter also claimed the tract of land called New England, lying (as will be seen on looking at a map of North America) to the west of New Brunswick, and south of the river St. Lawrence. The French, however, disputed their claim to this country; and constant quarrels arose between the rival settlers about their right to land, of which, in reality, the poor Indians were the proprietors. In virtue of a grant of parliament in 1750, a large body of English took possession of this "debatable ground;" but scarcely had they done so, when a superior force of French and Indians attacked them, and killing some, made prisoners of others, and drove the rest back. Many vigorous but unsuccessful efforts were made on the part of the colonists and their neighbors, during eighteen months, to regain their territory. A body of troops was then sent from England under General Braddock, but this attempt also failed; and, the struggle having now assumed some importance, an army of not less than sixteen thousand men, under Lord Loudon, renewed the contest of 1755 against the army under the Marquis de Montcalm, a most able and enterprising officer. His superiority as a commander had been shown in several instances, till, the slur which was being cast on the reputation of our country's arms having excited attention at home, Lord Loudon was recalled, and the army then in America was intrusted to General Abercrombie (not the celebrated Abercromby). At the same time a fresh force was raised at home, which put to sea in February, 1757. Wolfe accompanied this expedition as brigadier under Major-General Amherst. Its object was to reduce Cape Breton, the possession of which island, commanding as it does the grand entrance of the St. Lawrence, was felt to be of the greatest importance.

The town of Louisburg stands upon a small tongue of land, and at this period was carefully fortified, having heavy batteries toward the sea, and a strong defence of regular works on its land sides. Its harbor, which is considered the most magnificent in the world, was carefully guarded by five ships of the line extending quite across the mouth. Goat Island formed one extremity of the entrance, and Lighthouse Point the other; both these were surmounted by strong redoubts, having the largest cannon and mortars used in war; while a garrison of 3,000 soldiers, with 2,500 seamen to man the intrenchments, seemed to present an insuperable obstacle to a successful descent.

Four miles westward of the town, however, there was a little creek, called Freshwater Cove; and, after much deliberation, it was resolved to attempt a landing at this point. The frigates and lighter vessels accordingly moved thither as soon as the weather moderated, and anchored there one evening, with the wind still boisterous, and the surf running very high. Next morning, at daybreak, the first division of the troops entered their boats, Wolfe at their head.

The seamen had scarcely dipped their oars a second time, when a sudden glancing of arms amid the sand-hills warned the troops to expect opposition. The French had foreseen the probability of such an attempt as the present, and had prepared to oppose it by throwing up breastworks, placing field-pieces in the hollows, and stationing a considerable force to dispute a landing.

General Wolfe landing at Louisburg.

(p. 233) Gallantly the boats pressed onward; while the frigates, which had approached within half-cannon shot of the shore, opening their fire, swept the beach with a shower of round shot. The flotilla was now within musket range, when the French all at once poured in a volley of small-arms. Wolfe ordered his men not to fire in return; but, trusting to the broadsides from the frigates, which, ploughing up the sand, threw it high in the air, and thus kept the beach open, he urged his rowers to their utmost strength, passed through a heavy surf, though not without some loss, and made good his landing. Company by company, as the men arrived, they quickly formed, and pushing on, after a sharp encounter, forced the French to abandon their works, and retreat within the walls of Louisburg.

The terrible surf proved the more formidable enemy. Above one hundred boats, with a large number of their crews, were lost in attempting to pass through to the shore. But officers and men were too enthusiastic to be disheartened. In a short time all the troops were landed; guns, stores, work-tools, ammunition, and provisions, followed quickly; and, ere the enemy had learned that real danger at last threatened them, the business of the siege was begun.

General Amherst invested the place without delay on the land side, and, having opened his trenches before it, despatched Wolfe with the light infantry and a body of Highlanders to attack the battery on Lighthouse Point. Before dawn one morning, he reached the outposts, drove them in, and followed with such rapidity, that, ere the enemy could form, and almost before they had got under arms, they were completely routed. The guns were immediately turned with terrible accuracy upon the harbor and town. The five ships of war now found their position very hazardous; one was soon on fire, and blew up; the flames spread to two others, and the remaining two were attacked and captured by boats. The breaching batteries shook the ramparts of the town to their foundations, while the shells carried ruin and death into the streets. On July 26th, the enemy, finding it impossible to resist any longer, surrendered; the garrison became prisoners of war, and the islands of Cape Breton and Prince Edward fell into the hands of the English.

Wolfe's part in this campaign was now over, for domestic matters summoned him to England. He had not, however, been long at home, when he was informed from head-quarters, that his brilliant services as a subaltern had caused the king to select him to conduct an enterprise of still greater hazard and honor. It had been proposed in Council, as the speediest mode of putting an end to the transatlantic war, that the reduction of Quebec, the enemy's colonial capital, should be effected. Competent authorities declared the attempt to be not impracticable; it was therefore resolved on, and Wolfe was nominated to the command of an armament to invest the town. An attack, to be made on three other points, was determined as a commencement of the campaign.

The armament set sail early in February, 1759. Admiral Saunders commanded the fleet, which comprised twenty-two line-of-battle ships, and an equal number of frigates. The whole came within sight of Louisburg April 21st. (p. 234) The harbor being still choked with ice, the vessels could not get in; and the delays which occurred prevented Wolfe from entering the St. Lawrence till June. The ships reached the Isle of Orleans by the end of the month; and, casting anchor, possession was taken. The land was in a high state of cultivation, affording abundant supplies to soldiers and sailors.

The Marquis of Montcalm, now an old but still energetic man, occupied Quebec and the adjoining district with an army of five thousand regular troops, and the same number of militia and Indians. He made preparations for the defence with great judgment; the mass of his army was in the town, which he had further protected by intrenchments extending nearly eight miles to the west, till they reached the Montmorency River. Montreal was also well garrisoned; and, twenty miles above Quebec, a body of two thousand men lay encamped to attack in flank any force which might attempt to land in that direction.

Many skirmishes took place at first between the Indians and British troops; and one attack of more importance, on the intrenchments near the St. Charles, was headed by Wolfe in person. It completely failed; but it taught him the strength of the enemy's position, and clearly showed that it would require stratagem to accomplish his design of reducing the town itself.

A council was summoned, when it was found that disease and the petty combats in which they had been engaged, had reduced the troops to five thousand effective men. Insufficient as this army seemed, Wolfe determined to remain idle no longer; and a plan of attack on the town was agreed upon. Accordingly, the following morning (September 11th), the ships of the line, with the exception of two or three, and all the frigates, suddenly hoisted sail, and, exposed to a cannonade from all the batteries, sailed up the river past Quebec. The troops had previously been landed on the southern side of the river, and in perfect safety they marched in the same direction. When they had proceeded about nine miles, they found the fleet riding at anchor, already beyond the reach or observation of the enemy. The point of attack Wolfe had chosen lay within a mile and a half of Quebec, and consequently this march had no other purpose in view than to mislead the enemy as to his intentions. No sooner had the tide turned, and evening set in, than the surface of the river suddenly swarmed with boats, which had secretly been brought to this distant mustering-place. Then the signal for the ships to sail was hung out, and they immediately began proudly to descend the channel, leaving the flotilla boats behind them.

Before midnight, the fleet had reached its first anchorage, and the troops up the river could hear the thundering of their guns, as they cannonaded at long shot the fortifications below the St. Charles. The cheering sound told them that the ships had repassed the town safely; while the French naturally concluded, that from the ships a descent was about to be attempted.

During the interval, the troops had silently and in complete order taken their places in the boats; and, as soon as it became quite dark, like a huge flock of waterfowl, they glided down the stream. Not a word was spoken; the soldiers sat upright and motionless; and the sailors scarcely dipped their oars, lest the splash (p. 235) should reach the ears of the French placed along the shore at short distances. Wolfe sat in the leading boat, surveying attentively each headland, to prevent the hazard of shooting beyond the point at which he purposed landing. Unobserved, he gained the little cove which has since borne his name, and shortly before midnight all the men were landed.

The troops now stood upon a narrow beach. Above them rose a precipice, nearly perpendicular, to the height of two hundred and fifty feet. A winding path, broad enough to admit four men abreast, led to the summit; and here lay one of the large plains, or table-lands, which distinguish the heights of Abraham, on a level with the upper town of Quebec. A battery of four guns, and a strong party of infantry, defended this important pass. Vigilance, however, was not one of the qualities of this guard; for the leading files of the British, under Colonel Howe, were close upon the station of the French sentinel ere he challenged. Replying with a hearty cheer, they sprung forward. An irregular volley poured upon them; but the next instant they were high on the ground, and at close bayonets with the French guard, who immediately fled in terror, leaving Colonel Howe quietly in possession of their redoubt and artillery.

Long before dawn, all the troops had gained this ground. Leaving two companies in charge of the redoubt, Wolfe hastened forward with the rest toward Quebec. He halted when within a mile of the town, and there the men lay down with their arms in readiness for the first alarm. A communication by small parties, called videttes, was kept up with the companies at the redoubt.

A trooper, with his horse covered with foam, appeared in the French camp at Beau Point, as the morning sky began to redden. He brought Montcalm the first intelligence of the landing the English had effected, and the unwelcome news was soon confirmed by the appearance of some of the fugitive soldiers from the redoubt. The camp was instantly in commotion; but the marquis gave his orders coolly, and before an hour the entire army had crossed the river, and were in full march for the Heights of Abraham.

About eleven in the forenoon, a large body of Indians and Canadian riflemen were seen issuing from a wood on one side of the plain on which the English were stationed. They were soon hidden again by a thicket; and dexterously spreading themselves among the bushes, they opened a smart skirmishing fire on the pickets. This was the first warning that the long-wished-for event was at hand—a general conflict might now be confidently expected.

Without delay, Wolfe drew up his men in two lines, placing a few light companies in skirmishing order in front, and retaining one regiment (the 47th) in divisions, as a reserve. The French skirmishers were quickly engaged with the light troops, whom they compelled to fall back on the line; while a heavy column advancing on the left, obliged Wolfe to wheel round three battalions to strengthen that side. But ere the column bore down, a fresh body of skirmishers appeared, and under their cover it silently withdrew; then, suddenly appearing on the right, it came down impetuously upon the irregular troops which Wolfe had there stationed. These did their duty nobly; the fierce attack of the enemy (p. 236) failed to break their order, or make them even flinch for a moment. The skirmishers, meantime, continued to gall the light infantry with their desultory fire, which acted also as a vail to conceal the intended movements of the main body of the enemy. As the light troops, however, hastily fell back, they caused a slight dismay among their supporters. Wolfe instantly rode along the line, and assured the men that these were only obeying instructions in order to draw the French onward. "Be firm, my lads!" said he; "do not return a shot till the enemy is within forty yards of the muzzles of your pieces; then you may fire!"

The men replied by a shout; and, shouldering their muskets, they remained as though on parade, while the French continued to press nearer and nearer. At length they were within the appointed distance. Every gun was now levelled—a crashing volley passed from left to right—a dense smoke followed the discharge, and hid its effects for a minute. The breeze soon carried this off, and then the huge gaps in the enemy's line exceeded all expectation. In the rear, the ground appeared crowded with wounded men hurrying or being borne from the conflict; while the army, which had just advanced so confidently, now wavered, and then stood still. Seeing the irresolution of the enemy, Wolfe cheered his men to charge. A moment after, a musket-ball struck his wrist. He paused only to wrap his handkerchief round the wound, and again pressed on. He received a second ball in his body, but still continued to issue his orders without evincing any symptom of pain, when a third bullet pierced his breast.

Wolfe fell to the ground; he was instantly raised and borne to the rear, where the utmost skill of the surgeons was put forth in a vain attempt to save his life. While they were engaged in examining his wounds, Wolfe continued to raise himself, from time to time, to watch the progress of the battle. His eyesight beginning to fail, he leaned backwards upon one of the grenadiers who had supported him from the field, and his heavy breathing and an occasional groan, alone showed that life remained.

"See how they run!" exclaimed an officer, beside the dying general.

"Who run?" cried Wolfe, instantly raising himself on his elbow, and looking up, as if life were returning with full vigor.

"The French," answered the officer; "they are giving way in all directions."

"Run, one of you," said the general, speaking with great firmness, "run to Colonel Burton; tell him to march Webb's regiment down to Charles River with all speed, so as to secure the bridge, and cut off the enemy's retreat."

His orders were obeyed, and after a short pause, he continued, "Now, God be praised, I shall die happy!" He fell back at these words, turned convulsively on his side and expired.

Montcalm had also fallen in the battle; the enemy was totally routed, and, five days after, Quebec capitulated to General Townshend.

The body of the gallant and high-minded Wolfe was conveyed home in a ship of war. When the hero's remains arrived at Portsmouth, minute-guns were fired, the flags half struck, and a body of troops, with reversed arms, received the coffin on the beach, and followed the hearse. Parliament voted Wolfe a monument (p. 237) in Westminster Abbey, and in that venerable pile would have been his last resting-place; but a mother claimed the ashes of her son, and laid them beside those of his father, in a vault of the parish church of Greenwich.[Back to Contents]

FREDERICK THE GREAT
By General John Mitchell
(1712-1786)

Frederick the Great.

How shall we describe the "Incomparable," the extraordinary compound of so many brilliant and repulsive qualities? How is he to be depicted, who was great as a king, and little as a man,—always admired in his public, never beloved in his private, character;—a just, generous, and laborious prince,—a vain, avaricious, and cold-hearted individual; luxurious by temperament, temperate in practice; a selfish epicurean, and affecting the harshness of the cynic;—peacefully disposed, and cultivating the arts of peace, yet exercising the arts of war in their direst form;—a man of letters, ignorant of the beauties, and disdaining the language of his country;—magnificent and mean; the builder of palaces, theatres, libraries and museums, and dying, literally, without a whole shirt in which he could be buried;—and, lastly, the most brilliant and successful soldier of his time,—and almost destitute of the soldier's first quality, personal courage?

Frederick, by general acclamation surnamed "The Great," was born on January 24, 1712. His education was principally military; his very toys were miniature implements of war suited to his age; and no sooner was he able to handle a musket than he was sent to drill, and forced, like all the Prussian officers of the period, to perform the duties and submit to the privations of a private soldier,—obliged even to stand sentinel before the palace in all the severities of a northern winter. Though rather feeble of constitution, he soon became a proficient in martial exercises. The different branches of science bearing on the art of war he was forced to study; but his leisure hours were devoted to reading French verses, and playing on the flute—pursuits that greatly displeased his royal father, who frequently threw the books into the fire, and the flutes out of the window.

Frederick William,—the original founder of the pipe-clay science of tactics, (p. 238) and the stick-and-starvation system of organization,—the first inventor of pauper armies, dressed in martial uniforms,—became gradually estranged from his poetical son; and often declared that the dandy, "Der Stutzer" as he styled him, "would ruin everything." He consequently treated him with so much severity, that the young prince attempted to escape, intending to fly to England. The tragical result of the adventure is well known. Frederick was thrown into prison; and his friend and adviser, Katt, beheaded under his window, while soldiers held the prince's head toward the scaffold on which the deed of death was acting. What impression this dreadful scene made on his mind is not known; but it ought to have been a deep and a lasting one.

It was the king's wish to follow up this execution by the trial of his own son; but the remonstrances of the cabinet of Vienna, of his own council, and, above all, of the upright and honest chaplain, Dr. Reinbeck, reluctantly induced him to forego the intention. It is not probable that he actually intended to put the prince to death, but only to force him to resign his right to the throne in favor of his second brother, William; a proposal to which Frederick constantly refused to assent.

But though not tried, Frederick was severely punished, for he was confined to the fortress of Küstrin, where he was obliged to perform the duties of a commissary of finance, and write the reports, and make out the returns with his own hand. All this was, no doubt, of advantage to the future sovereign. On condition of marrying the Princess Elizabeth of Brunswick-Bevern, he was, at the end of eighteen months, released from confinement, and allowed to reside in the small town of Rheinsberg, where he resumed his flute and his French poets, to which the study of French philosophers and French translations from the classics was added. It was during his stay at Rheinsberg that his correspondence with foreign men of letters commenced; and it was here also that, with a party of friends, he formed an order of chivalry termed the "Order of Bayard," the motto of the knights being, "Without fear, and without reproach." But these were vain attempts at knighthood, for there was nothing chivalrous in the character of Frederick.

Two short journeys performed with his father, and a visit to the army which Prince Eugene commanded on the Rhine in 1734, formed the only interruption to the tranquil and philosophical life of Rheinsberg.

The first appearance in the field of the army bequeathed by Frederick William to his son, forms an era in modern history; for a belief in its efficiency was the mainspring that urged on the young king to attack the Austrians; and its excellence became the lever with which he ultimately raised his poor and secondary kingdom to the rank of a first-rate European power. The history of the rise and formation of this army, though a very curious one, would necessarily exceed our limits; but no one will be able to write the life of Frederick, and do full justice to the subject, without giving the reader a proper idea of the nature and origin of the engine which helped so mainly to render him great and famous. He had, no doubt, other claims to greatness besides those which his military actions conferred (p. 239) upon him; but it was the splendor of these actions that brought his other merits to light; and little enough would have been heard of the "Philosopher of Sans-Souci," had not the victor of so many fields made him known to the world.

Frederick, while crown-prince, had not shown any great predilection for military affairs; he was rather pacifically disposed; was even a little taken with the philosophy of Wolf; and greatly captivated by French literature, and by French poetry in particular. It is probable, therefore, that the high opinion generally entertained of the newly-formed army, and the favorable opportunity that fortune offered on his accession to the throne, were the spurs "that pricked him on" to the field.

The Emperor Charles VI., the last male descendant of the house of Hapsburg, died in October, 1741, leaving his daughter, Maria Theresa, to retain, if possible, his extensive dominions against the various claimants who had not acknowledged the Pragmatic Sanction: an act by which the emperor had bequeathed to her all the possessions of his house. Frederick William had not acknowledged this deed, so that Frederick was not bound by it; and having some well-grounded claims on the duchies of Silesia, prepared to make them good—by force of arms, if necessary—the moment the emperor died. The desire "to be spoken of" was, as he himself confesses, one of his principal motives for action on this occasion.

The young king resolved to lead the army he had inherited, personally into the field; and as the Austrians were totally unprepared for the visit, the principalities were occupied without resistance. It was not till April 10, 1741, that an Austrian force, under General Neipperg, came to give him the meeting; and there was but little wanting to have rendered the battle of Molwitz, the first of Frederick's fields, the last also. The ground was covered with snow. Both parties were of about equal strength, and took up their ground, as the king himself tells us, in a manner alike unskilful; but, on the part of the tactician, this very want of skill tended to gain the battle; for three battalions of the first line, not finding room to form up, were thrown back en potence on the extremity of the right wing, and, as we shall see, repulsed the Austrian cavalry by their fire at the most critical moment of the battle. The Austrians had been very merry at the expense of the Prussian system of tactics, and had promised to beat the pipe-clay out of their jackets at the first meeting; and now the words of scorn were to be made good.

After the usual salutation of artillery, the Imperial cavalry, practised in the Turkish wars, fell at full gallop upon the Prussian cavalry of the right wing, and overthrew them in an instant; for, like the infantry, they had been taught only to fire. Following up their success, the Austrian horsemen dashed at the flank of the Prussian infantry; but here the three battalions already mentioned as thrown back en potence, presented a steady front, and by their rapid fire repulsed the assailants, who, having their commander killed, seeing the despised and pipe-clayed warriors standing immovably in their ranks, from which a fire of never-heard rapidity was pouring out in all directions, soon dispersed, leaving their (p. 240) comrades of the infantry to try their fortune against these well-drilled foes. The infantry were not more fortunate than the cavalry. The Prussians stood firm as rocks, and fired three shots to their one; and as both were equally unskilful in the use of arms, the quantity of shots fired naturally decided the day. After a combat of several hours, the Austrians retired from the field, leaving the victory and battle-ground in the hands of the Prussians.

But where was he, the chieftain of that gallant host, the claimant of dukedoms and principalities, the victor for whose brows a splendid wreath of laurel had been so nobly gained by the blood of the brave? Will blushing glory hide the tale of shame? Alas, no!—vain were the courtly attempts made to conceal the truth, and history is forced to confess that "Frederick the Great from Molwitz deigned to run." In the scene of death, tumult, and confusion, which followed on the overthrow of the Prussian cavalry, the king completely lost his presence of mind, and fled as far as Oppeln, where the Austrian garrison, unfortunately for their cause, received him with a fire of musketry, that made him take another direction. He passed the night in great anxiety at a small country inn twenty miles from the field. On the following morning an aide-de-camp of the Prince of Dessau brought the fugitive king back to his victorious army. "Oh, Frederick," says Berenhorst, "who could then have foretold the glory thou wert destined to acquire and to merit as well as any conqueror and gainer of battles ever did?"

The war of the Austrian Succession having been now kindled, and Maria Theresa been attacked on all the points of her extensive dominions, Frederick made peace, left his allies to shift for themselves, and, having obtained the principalities of Silesia, retired from the contest. That he made good use of the time and additional sources of strength gained, it is needless to say.

The splendid success of the Austrian arms against France, the rapid preponderance that Maria Theresa was acquiring, alarmed him, however, for his late conquests; and he determined again to take the field before the strength of the house of Austria should outgrow his power to repress it. Voltaire negotiated for France on this occasion, and represented the danger with rather more than diplomatic ability. On both sides the protocols were as often written in verse as in prose; and Frederick, who hated George II., having told the poet, "Let France declare war against England, and I march," the latter instantly set out for Versailles, and thus gave the signal for the second Silesian War. This was in 1744. The Prussian troops were again victorious in battle, but the general result was not so much in their favor. The king, after taking Prague, was forced to evacuate Bohemia and part of Silesia; and though afterward brilliantly successful, particularly in the fields of Hohenfriedberg, he did not hesitate to make a separate peace the moment a fair opportunity offered. On taking the field, he told the French ambassador, "I am going to play your game, and if the trumps fall to my share, we'll go halves." The best part of the promise was soon forgotten, and the French, Spaniards, and Bavarians left, as before, to fight their own battle, the King of Prussia having, in December, 1745, amicably concluded (p. 241) all his differences with Saxony and Austria. The young and fortunate conqueror now proceeded to improve and adorn his dominions; and it is almost impossible to speak in too high terms of the great things he effected with comparatively small means.

At this period of his life Frederick was singularly beloved and admired by the new court and world with which he had surrounded himself. His wit, fortune, and activity—a figure marked by distinguished bearing, by beauty of a peculiar kind, even by dress and apparel—a total of personal appearance that impressed itself singularly on the eyes of the beholder, excited general enthusiasm. Imitation is a proof and consequence of it; and many an orthodox believer, who trembled in private, ridiculed religion in public, because he had heard that the king was an atheist; and many a gallant soldier, who hated the sight and smell of snuff, disfigured his nose and lip with rappee, because such was the royal fashion. As a general, he was looked upon as the first of his time. The feeble moment at Molwitz had not become generally known; and the few who had witnessed the unpleasant affair, were too loyal and well-disposed to call it back to their recollection.

The king certainly did everything to deserve the favorable opinion entertained of him. Arts, science, commerce, and agriculture were encouraged; more than one hundred and thirty villages sprang up on newly drained lands along the banks of the Oder; men of letters and talents were brought to Berlin; theatres, operas, ballets, were established; a sort of German Versailles arose amid the sands of Brandenburg; and the "Garden House outside the gate," which was Frederick William's summer residence and place of recreation, soon sank down to the humble rank of a gardener's lodge to his son's palace! The machinery of government was never carried on with such perfect regularity. The king superintended the whole himself, and that without any regular intercourse with his ministers, some of whom, it is said, he never saw in his life. They furnished him every morning with abridged statements of the business to be transacted, and he wrote his order on the margin of the paper; the affairs of state were all settled in a couple of hours. Literary compositions, in prose and verse, military reviews, meals, and conversation, filled up the rest of the day. "Frederick," says Voltaire, in his vile and mischievous "Mémoires," "governed without court, council, or religious establishment" (culte). It was during this brilliant period of the king's reign that the French poet passed some time at Berlin.

The Austrians, who had ridiculed the drilling and powdering, had paid for their folly in many a bloody field, but had profited by the lesson, and could now move as accurately and fire as quickly as their neighbors. The first combat of the great Seven Years' War, which began in 1756, already proved this to the conviction of all parties. The Prussians purchased a slight advantage by a great loss of blood; and on the very battle-field the general remark was, "These are no longer the old Austrians." On the capture of the Saxon army, which surrendered at Pirna, Frederick, who exacted such unlimited allegiance from his subjects and soldiers, gave a strange proof of inconsistency, and of that contempt with which he seemed to treat the feelings of other men; for, without so much as asking (p. 242) their consent, he ordered all the prisoners to be incorporated into the ranks of his army, and expected to make loyal Prussians of them by merely changing their uniforms. As was to be expected, they deserted immediately.

The progress of the war is out of our province. Spoiled by success, Frederick, after gaining the dearly purchased victory of Prague, attempted to reduce a city which he could not invest, and in which an army was concentrated. The Austrians advanced with 60,000 men to raise the siege; and the presumptuous king did not hesitate to rush upon them with less than half the number of Prussians; a total defeat, the first he had yet sustained, was the consequence. From this day it is allowed that the Prussian infantry had no longer any superiority over their enemies; henceforth the genius of their sovereign, the confidence he inspired, and the dread entertained of him by his adversaries, are the only advantages they have to depend upon. In the second year of the war he writes to La Motte Fouqué,—"Owing to the great losses sustained, our infantry is very much degenerated from what it formerly was, and must not be employed on difficult undertakings." In the third year he says to the same,—"Care must be taken not to render our people timid; they are too much so by nature already."

Of this battle of Collin we must here report an anecdote characteristic of what Frederick then was. The left wing of the Prussian army was obliquing in admirable order to the left, and already gaining the right of the Austrians, according to the prescribed disposition, when the king, at once losing patience in the most unaccountable manner, sent directions to Prince Maurice of Dessau, who commanded the infantry, ordering him to wheel up and advance upon the enemy. The prince told the officer that the proposed points had not yet been attained, and recommended that the oblique march should still be continued. The king immediately came up in person, and in haughty and overbearing style repeated the order, and, when the Prince of Dessau attempted to explain, drew his sword, and in a fiery and threatening tone exclaimed, "Will he (er) obey, and immediately wheel up and advance?" The officers present were terrified, fancying from his excited manner that he would be guilty of some act of violence; but the prince, of course, bowed and obeyed, and—the battle was soon lost.

Frederick, as an absolute king and commander, had, no doubt, many advantages over the ill-combined coalition by which he was assailed; but the mass of brute force was so great on the part of his adversaries, that he was more than once on the very eve of being crushed. At one time, indeed, he contemplated the commission of suicide.

Frederick and the Austrians after Leuthen.

The wonderful battles of Rossbach and Leuthen[1] reconciled him to life. The (p. 243) former was not, as is well known, his work, as it was almost gained before he well knew what was going on: it was due principally to the indomitable bravery of Zeidlitz and the cavalry. His conduct at Leuthen could not be surpassed; and his manner of promoting General Prince Maurice of Dessau, who had most nobly aided him in the battle, was highly characteristic. "I congratulate you on the victory, Field-marshal," said Frederick, when they met on the field. The prince was still so much occupied with what was going forward, that he did not mark the exact words the king had used, till the latter again called out, "Don't you hear, Field-marshal, that I congratulate you on the victory gained?" when the newly promoted made due acknowledgments in course. Frederick, in his great contest, was assisted by an English, Hessian, and Hanoverian army, as well as by English subsidies; but, making full allowance for the value of these auxiliaries, it must still be admitted that great genius and courage were required to enable a King of Prussia to resist the combined forces of France, Austria, Russia, and Sweden. Frederick effected this, and his conduct deservedly obtained for him the name of "Great."

During his first two wars, and till the period of the battle of Rossbach in the third war, he always kept at a distance from the scene, which may be allowed in a commander who has to overlook the whole, and is not called upon to defend posts or lead attacks in person. After the above period, however, and when he perceived that the nature of the contest, and public opinion itself, demanded greater exertions from him, he several times, on due deliberation, exposed himself to the danger of an ordinary brigadier. Several occasions of this kind might be specified. At the Battle of Kunersdorf, when attempting to assemble some remnants of the infantry, who were still holding their ground here and there, his horse was shot under him. At Liegnitz, a spent ball struck him on the calf of the leg. At Torgau again, when a newly advanced brigade began to give way, like all its predecessors, he rode into the heaviest fire of musketry, and received a shot on the breast, which penetrated his shirt, and for some moments deprived him so completely of all power of breathing, that he was believed to be dead.[2]

Frederick outlived his last great war for twenty-three years, and died in 1786, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. Every hour of this last period of his life was assiduously occupied, almost to the hour of his death, in zealous exertions to improve his country and ameliorate the condition of his people. He certainly effected great things, but left much that he might have achieved totally unattempted. Living in the solitude which his dazzling fame had cast around him, separated from all immediate intercourse with his species by the very barrier his glory had interposed between him and other men, he acted his part to admiration before the crowds who, from far and near, came to behold him; but, (p. 244) blinded by the halo that encompassed him, he saw little, and deemed less, perhaps, of mankind and their doings. In the mass they may possibly not be deserving of high admiration, but Frederick had never done them even justice; and in the latter years of his life, he entirely lost sight of the direction they were taking; he formed an ideal world to himself, and governed his country and subjects accordingly. He was the admired wonder of the age; a brilliant, if not spotless sun, that cast far aloft its vivid beams, indeed, but remained stationary and concentrated within itself, while all surrounding nature was in motion and in progress.[Back to Contents]

ROBERT, LORD CLIVE
By W. C. Taylor, LL.D.
(1725-1774)

Lord Clive.

The history of British India is without a parallel in the annals of mankind. It is little over a hundred years ago since "the company of British merchants trading with the East Indies" possessed nothing more than a few ports favorably situated for commerce, held at the will, or rather the caprice, of the native princes, and defended against commercial rivals by miserable fortifications, which could not have resisted any serious attack. Now British sovereignty in India extends over an empire greater than that possessed by Alexander or the Cæsars, and probably superior to both in the amount of its wealth and population. The chief agent in raising the East India Company from a trading association to a sovereign power was Lord Clive, whose own elevation was scarcely less marvellous than that of the empire which he founded.

Robert Clive was born September 29, 1725; his father was a country gentleman, of moderate fortune and still more moderate capacity, who cultivated his own estate in Shropshire. When a boy, the future hero of India distinguished himself chiefly by wild deeds of daring and courage, neglecting the opportunities of storing his mind with information, the want of which he bitterly felt in after-life. His violent temper, and his neglect of study, led his family to despair of his success at home, and, in his eighteenth year, he was sent out as a "writer," (p. 245) in the service of the East India Company, to the Presidency of Madras. In our day such an appointment would be considered a fair provision for a young man, holding out, besides, a reasonable prospect of obtaining competency, if not fortune; but when Clive went to the East the younger "writers," or clerks, were so badly paid, that they could scarcely subsist without getting into debt, while their seniors enriched themselves by trading on their own account. The voyage out, from England to Madras, which is now effected in three or four weeks, occupied, at that time, from six months to a year. Clive's voyage was more than usually tedious; the ship was detained for a considerable period at the Brazils, where he picked up some knowledge of Portuguese, and contracted some heavy debts. This apparent misfortune had the good effect of compelling him to reflect on his situation. He avoided all amusements and dissipation, but availed himself of the resources of the governor's library, which was liberally opened to him in his hours of leisure. He, however, felt himself unhappy, for his occupations were unsuited to his tastes, and he longed for an opportunity of finding a mode of life more congenial to his disposition.

The war of the Austrian Succession, in which George II. took the side of the empress, while the French king supported her competitor, extended to the Eastern World. Labourdonnais, the governor of the French colony in the Mauritius, suddenly appeared before Madras, and, as the town and fort were not prepared for defence, both were surrendered on honorable terms. But Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry, denying the right of Labourdonnais to grant any terms, refused to ratify the capitulation, and directed Madras to be razed to the ground. With still greater disregard for public faith, he led the English who had capitulated through the town of Pondicherry, as captives gracing his triumphal procession, in the presence of 50,000 spectators. Clive escaped this outrage by flying from Madras in disguise; he took refuge at Fort St. David, a settlement subordinate to Madras, where he obtained from Major Lawrence, one of the best officers then in India, an ensign's commission in the service of the company.

Peace between England and France having been established, Madras was restored to its former owners. Clive, however, did not return to his civil pursuits; he occasionally acted as a writer, but he was more frequently employed as a soldier in the petty hostilities which arose between the English and the natives. Events, however, were now in progress, which made the French and English East India companies competitors for an empire, though neither understood the value of the prize for which they contended; and Clive, fortunately for his country and himself, was almost forced to take the position of a military commander.

To explain fully the position of India, at this period, would take far more pages than we can afford lines; a very brief sketch, may, however, help our readers to comprehend the course of events. India, in its entire extent, was nominally governed by the Emperor of Delhi, or, as he was generally, though absurdly, called in Europe, "the Great Mogul." Under him were several viceroys, each of whom ruled over as many subjects as any of the great sovereigns of Europe; (p. 246) and the delegates of these viceroys had a wider extent of territory than is included in most of the minor states of Germany. This empire began to lose its unity toward the close of the seventeenth century. The different viceroys, while professing a nominal allegiance to the crown of Delhi, established a substantial independence; several of their immediate vassals treated them as they had done the emperor; and several warlike tribes took advantage of this disorganization to plunder the defenceless provinces. Of these the most formidable were the Mahrattas, whose name was long the terror of the peninsula.

Dupleix, whose name has already been mentioned as the French governor of Pondicherry, was the first who conceived the possibility of establishing a European dominion on the ruins of the Delhi empire; and, for this purpose, he wisely resolved to attempt no direct conquest, but to place at the head of the different principalities, men who owed their elevation to his aid, and whose continuance in power would be dependent on his assistance. With this view he supported a claimant to the viceroyalty of the Deccan, and another to the subordinate government of the Carnatic; or, as the Indians term it, a rival nizam, and a rival nabob, against the princes already in possession of these territories. His efforts were equally splendid and successful; the competitors whom he had selected became masters of the kingdom, and he, as the bestower of such mighty prizes, began to be regarded as the greatest authority in India. The English were struck with astonishment, and, as there was peace with France, they were at a loss to determine on the line of conduct that they ought to pursue. Mohammed Ali, whom the English recognized as Nabob of the Carnatic, was reduced to the possession of the single town of Trichinopoly, and even that was invested by Chunda Sahib, the rival nabob, and his French auxiliaries. Under these circumstances Clive proposed to the Madras authorities the desperate expedient of seizing on Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, and thus recalling Chunda Sahib from the siege of Trichinopoly. With a force of 200 Europeans and 300 Sepoys, under eight officers, four of whom had been taken from the counting-house, Clive surprised Arcot in the midst of a terrific storm, and the garrison fled without striking a blow. Being reinforced by large bodies of troops, the expelled garrison, swelled to the number of 3,000 men, formed an encampment near the town; but Clive took them by surprise in the night, slew great numbers, put the rest to flight, and returned to his quarters without a single casualty.

Chunda Sahib sent 10,000 men, including 150 French soldiers, under his son, Rajah Sahib, to recover Arcot. Clive's little garrison endured a siege of fifty days against this disproportionate force, and against the pressure of famine, which was early and severely felt. Nothing in history is equal to the proof of devotion which the native portion of this gallant little band gave to their beloved commander; the Sepoys came to Clive with a request that all the grain should be given to the Europeans, who required more nourishment than the natives of Asia, declaring that they would be satisfied with the thin gruel which strained away from the rice. Rajah Sahib at length made an attempt to take the place by (p. 247) storm; he was defeated with great loss, principally by Clive's personal exertions, upon which he abandoned the siege, leaving behind him a large quantity of military stores.

Clive followed up his victory with great vigor, and the government of Madras, encouraged by his success, resolved to send him with a strong detachment to reinforce the garrison of Trichinopoly. Just at this conjuncture, however, Major Lawrence returned from England and assumed the chief command. If Clive was mortified by the change, he soon overcame his feelings; he cheerfully placed himself under the command of his old friend, and exerted himself as strenuously in the second post as when he held the chief command. The French had no leaders fit to cope with the two friends, and the English triumphed everywhere. The besiegers of Trichinopoly were themselves besieged, and compelled to capitulate. Chunda Sahib fell into the hands of the Mahrattas, and was put to death at the instigation of his rival. The forts of Covelong and Chingleput were taken by Clive, though his forces consisted of raw recruits, little better than an undisciplined rabble. Dupleix, however, was not driven to despair, but still sought means of renewing the contest.

After the capture of Chingleput, Clive returned to Madras, where he married Miss Maskelyne, sister to the Astronomer Royal, and immediately after returned to England. He was received with great honors by the Court of Directors, and, through the influence of Lord Sandwich, obtained a seat in Parliament; but his election having been set aside, he again turned his thoughts toward India, where both the company and the government were eager to avail themselves of his services. The directors appointed him governor of Fort St. David; the king gave him the commission of a lieutenant-colonel in the British army; and thus doubly authorized, he returned to Asia in 1755.

The first service on which he was employed after his return to the East was the reduction of the stronghold of Gheriah. This fortress, built on a craggy promontory, and almost surrounded by the ocean, was the den of a pirate named Angria, whose ships had long been the terror of the Arabian seas. Admiral Watson, who commanded the English squadron, burned Angria's fleet, while Clive attacked the fastness by land. The place soon fell, and a booty of a hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling was divided among the conquerors.

About two months after Clive had entered on his government at Fort St. David, intelligence was received of the destruction of the English settlement at Calcutta by Surajah Dowlah, the Nabob of Bengal. Although scarcely any resistance had been made, the English prisoners, 146 in number, were all thrust into a close and narrow apartment called the Black Hole, which, in such a climate, would have been too close and too narrow for a single prisoner. Their sufferings during the dreadful night, until death put an end to the misery of most, cannot be described; 123 perished before morning, and the survivors had to be dug out of the heap formed by the dead bodies of their companions.

The authorities at Madras, on receiving this intelligence, resolved to avenge the outrage; 900 Europeans and 1,500 Sepoys, under the command of Clive, (p. 248) were embarked on board Admiral Watson's squadron; the passage was rendered tedious by adverse winds, but the armament arrived safely in Bengal. Clive proceeded with his usual promptitude; he routed the garrison which the nabob had placed in Fort William, recovered Calcutta, and took Hoogly by storm. Surajah Dowlah, who was as cowardly as he was cruel, now sought to negotiate peace, but at the same time he secretly urged the French to come to his assistance. This duplicity could not be concealed from Clive and Watson. They determined accordingly to attack Chandernagore, the chief possession of the French in Bengal, before the force there could be strengthened by new arrivals either from the South of India or Europe. Watson directed the expedition by water; Clive by land. The success of the combined movements was rapid and complete. The fort, the garrison, the artillery, the military stores, all fell into the hands of the English, and nearly five hundred European troops were among the prisoners.

Soon after, Clive marched to attack Surajah Dowlah near Plassey. At sunrise on the morning of June 23, 1757, the army of the nabob, consisting of 40,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry, supported by fifty pieces of heavy ordnance, advanced to attack the English army, which did not exceed three thousand men in all, and had for its artillery but a few field-pieces. But the nabob had no confidence in his army, nor his army in him; the battle was confined to a distant cannonade, in which the nabob's artillery was quite ineffective, while the English field-pieces did great execution. Surajah's terror became greater every moment, and led him to adopt the insidious advice of a traitor, Meer Jaffier, and order a retreat. Clive saw the movement, and the confusion it occasioned in the undisciplined hordes; he ordered his battalions to advance, and, in a moment, the hosts of the nabob became a mass of inextricable confusion. In less than an hour they were dispersed, never again to reassemble; though only five or six hundred fell; their camp, guns, baggage, with innumerable wagons and cattle, remained in the hands of the victors. With the loss of only 22 soldiers killed and 50 wounded, Clive had dispersed an army of 60,000 men, and conquered an empire larger and more populous than Great Britain. Surajah Dowlah fled from the field of battle to his capital, but, not deeming himself safe there, he tried to escape by the river to Patna. He was subsequently captured, and barbarously murdered by the son of Meer Jaffier. In the meantime Clive led Meer Jaffier in triumph to Moorshedabad, and installed him as nabob.

Immense sums of money were given to the servants of the company; Clive received for his share between two and three hundred thousand pounds. Nor was this all: Shah Alum, the son of the Emperor of Delhi, having invaded Bengal, Clive delivered Meer Jaffier from this formidable enemy, and was rewarded with the jaghire or estate of the lands south of Calcutta, for which the company were bound to pay the nabob a quit-rent of about thirty thousand pounds annually. But the gratitude of Meer Jaffier did not last long; weary of his dependence on the English, he sought an alliance with the Dutch, who had a factory at Chinsurah. The authorities of this place sent earnest letters to their countrymen (p. 249) in Batavia, urging them to take this opportunity of raising a rival power to the English in India, and their advice was taken. Seven large ships from Java, having on board 1,500 troops, appeared unexpectedly in the Hoogly. Though England was at peace with Holland, Clive resolved to attack them without delay. The ships were taken and the army routed. Chinsurah was invested by the conquerors, and was only spared on the condition that no fortifications should be built, and no soldiers raised, beyond those that were necessary for the police of the factories.

Three months afterward he returned to England, where he was received with a profusion of honors; he was raised to the Irish peerage, and promised an English title. George III., who had just ascended the throne, received him with marked distinction, and the leading statesmen of the day vied with each other in showing him attention. By judicious purchases of land he was enabled to acquire great parliamentary influence, and by large purchases of India stock he was enabled to form a strong party in the Court of Proprietors. The value of such support was soon shown; the Court of Directors, instigated by Mr. Sullivan, the personal enemy of Lord Clive, withheld the rent of the jaghire that he had received from Meer Jaffier, and it was necessary to institute a suit in chancery to enforce payment.

But Clive's greatest strength was derived from the misconduct of his successors in the government of Bengal. "Rapacity, luxury, and the spirit of insubordination," says a late writer, "spread from the civil service to the officers of the army, and from the officers to the soldiers. The evil continued to grow till every messroom became the seat of conspiracy and cabal, and till the Sepoys could only be kept in order by wholesale executions." Individuals were enriched, but the public treasury was empty, and the government had to face the dangers of disordered finances, when there was war on the frontiers and disaffection in the army. Under these circumstances it was generally felt that Clive alone could save the empire which he had founded.

Lord Clive felt the strength of his position. He refused to go to India so long as his enemies had preponderating power in the Court of Directors; an overwhelming majority of the proprietors seconded his wishes, and the Sullivan party, lately triumphant, was deprived of power. Having been nominated governor-general and commander-in-chief of the British possessions in Bengal he sailed for India, and reached Calcutta in May, 1765. He at once assembled the council, and announced his determination to enforce his two great reforms—the prohibition of receiving presents from the natives, and the prohibition of private trade by the servants of the Company. The whole settlement seemed to be set, as one man, against these measures; but Clive declared that if the functionaries in Calcutta refused obedience, he would send for some civil servants from Madras to aid him in conducting the administration. As he evinced the strength of his resolution by dismissing the most factious of his opponents, the rest became alarmed and submitted to what was inevitable.

Scarcely had the governor-general quelled the opposition of the civil service (p. 250) when he had to encounter a formidable mutiny of the officers of the army, occasioned by a diminution of their field allowances. Two hundred English officers engaged in a conspiracy to resign their commissions on the same day, believing that the governor-general would submit to any terms rather than see the army, on which the safety of the empire rested, left without commanders. They were mistaken in their calculations; Clive supplied their places from the officers round his person; he sent for others from Madras; he even gave commissions to some mercantile agents who offered their support at this time. Fortunately the soldiers, and particularly the Sepoys, over whom Clive had unbounded influence, remained steadfast in their allegiance. The leaders were arrested, tried, and dismissed from the service; the others, completely humbled, besought permission to withdraw their resignations, and Clive exhibited lenity to all, save those whom he regarded as the contrivers of the plot.

In his foreign policy he was equally successful. The Nabob of Oude, who had threatened invasion, sought for peace as soon as he heard of Clive's arrival in India; and the Emperor of Delhi executed a formal warrant, empowering the Company to collect and administer the revenues of Bengal, Bahar, and Oussa; that is, in fact, to exercise direct sovereignty over these provinces. Never had such a beneficial change been wrought in the short space of eighteen months. The governor-general set a noble example of obedience to his own regulations; he refused the brilliant presents offered him by the native princes, and when Meer Jaffier left him a legacy of sixty thousand pounds, he made the whole over to the Company, in trust, for the officers and soldiers invalided in their service.

At the close of January, 1767, the state of his health compelled Lord Clive to return to England. His reception at home was far from being gratifying; his old enemies in the India House, reinforced by those whose rapacity he had checked in Bengal, assailed him publicly and privately; the prejudices excited against those who had suddenly made large fortunes in India, were concentrated against him who was the highest, both in rank and fortune; while his ostentatious display of wealth and grandeur increased the unfavorable impression on the public mind. The dreadful famine which desolated Bengal in 1770, was, with strange perversity, attributed to Lord Clive's measures, and his parliamentary influence was greatly weakened by the death of George Grenville. Such was his position in the session of 1772, when the state of India was brought before Parliament, and all the evils of its condition made subjects of charge against the best of its rulers. Clive met the storm with firmness. Lord Chatham declared that the speech in which he vindicated himself at an early stage of the proceedings was one of the finest ever delivered in the House of Commons; his answers, when subjected to a rigid examination before a committee of inquiry, were equally remarkable for their boldness and candor. But there were some of his deeds which could not be justified, and a vote of moderate censure on his conduct was sanctioned by the House of Commons. This was a disgrace, for which the favor of his sovereign, though it never varied, afforded him no consolation; his constitution, already weakened by a tropical climate, began to give way; to (p. 251) soothe the pains of mind and body he had recourse to the treacherous aid of opium, which only aggravated both; at length, on November 22, 1774, he died by his own hand.

That Clive committed many faults cannot be denied; and it is not sufficient excuse to say that they were necessary to the founding of the British empire in India. But his second administration, the reforms he introduced into the government, and the system of wise policy which he established, may well atone for his errors; indeed, it has done so in India, where the natives not only respect his memory as a conqueror, but venerate it as a benefactor.[Back to Contents]

FRANÇOIS KELLERMANN, MARSHAL OF FRANCE
(1735-1820)

François Kellermann.

François Christopher Kellermann, who with a little army of raw recruits defeated the forces of united Europe at Valmy, and saved France from destruction, was born of a respectable family at Strasbourg, then part of France, on May 28, 1735. At the age of seventeen, he became a cadet in the regiment of Lowendalh; and passing through the grades of ensign and lieutenant in 1753 and 1756, became captain of dragoons, in which rank he served in the Seven Years' War until 1762, and was favorably mentioned in the reports of the battle of Bergen. A brilliant charge of cavalry, against a corps commanded by General Scheider, procured him, in the last year, the distinction of the cross of St. Louis, then an honor of the highest esteem. After the peace of 1763, he passed with the same rank into the legion of Conflans, and in 1765 and 1766 was charged by the king with the execution of some important commissions in Poland. In 1771, the increasing troubles in Poland furnished a pretext for the invasion of that country by the united troops of France and the Germanic confederation; and Kellermann was appointed to accompany the French commander-in-chief of the expedition, Baron de Vioménil; and in 1772, he was placed at the head of a native corps of cavalry which he had been concerned in organizing. His conduct in the retreat from the castle of Cracow, in 1772, elevated his character for dexterity and courage. In 1780, he became lieutenant-colonel of hussars; on January 1, 1784, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier, and in 1788, received the rank of major-general. In 1790, under the National Assembly, he was placed in command of both departments of Alsace, and so approved were his services in placing that frontier in a state of defence against the threatened invasion of combined (p. 252) Europe, that, in 1792, he received the cordon rouge of the order of St. Louis, and was appointed lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of the forces assembled at Neukirch, and afterward, on August 28th, in the same year, of the army of the Moselle.

It was at this time that the formidable invasion under the Duke of Brunswick, consisting of 138,000 men, of whom 66,000 were under the King of Prussia in person, and 50,000 were Austrians under Prince Hohenlohe and Marshal Clairfait, marched to France, and menaced Dumouriez, who occupied the defiles of Varennes, with very inferior forces. Against this mighty invasion the French nation rose as one man. Recruits poured to the borderland singing the Marseillaise, their newly adopted national hymn. Rapidly reducing this motley force to order, Kellermann, with 22,000 men, marched from Metz, on September 4th, for Chalons with the utmost celerity, reached Bar before the Prussians, saved the magazines on the upper Saone and Marne, and put himself in a situation to communicate with Dumouriez. The latter general was attacked on September 16th, and immediately ordered Kellermann to take a designated position on his left, which was, accordingly, accomplished on the 19th. No sooner had Kellermann arrived here, than he perceived that the position was altogether defective. A pond on his right separated him from Dumouriez; the marshy river of the Auve, traversed by a single narrow bridge, cut off his retreat in the rear; and the heights of Valmy commanded his left. While he was shut up in this isolated position, the enemy might march upon the magazines at Dampierre and Voilmont, cut both the French armies off from Chalons, and then fall upon each of them in succession. Kellermann instantly resolved to rectify this error in the disposition of the troops; and by four o'clock on the following morning, his army was in motion by its rear upon Dampierre and Voilmont. But the Prussians, equally alive to the disadvantage in which Kellermann had been placed, were already in movement to attack him, and it became impracticable to pass the Auve. Leaving his advanced-guard and his reserve to check the Prussians on the plain, Kellermann drew off the rest of his army to the heights of Valmy, and placing a battery of eighteen pieces near the mill of Valmy, at seven in the morning was drawn up in a strong position to receive the attack of the enemy. The King of Prussia, who commanded in person, drew up his army in three columns on the heights of La Lune, and advancing in an oblique direction a vehement fire was kept up on both sides for two hours. About nine, a new battery on the enemy's right suddenly opened in the direction of the mill, near which Kellermann and his escort, with the reserve cuirassiers, were stationed, and produced the utmost confusion. Most of the escort were killed or wounded, and Kellermann had a horse shot under him, while about the same time the explosion of two caissons of ammunition near the mill added to the alarm. Kellermann, however, quickly disposed a battery so as to return the fire, and the battle was restored on that side. After some time, two of the Prussian columns, flanked by powerful cavalry, advanced in formidable array toward the mill, while the third remained in reserve. Kellermann drew up his men in column by (p. 253) battalions, and advancing his reserved artillery to the front of his position, waited the advance of the enemy, who approached in silence. When they were within range of a destructive fire, Kellermann, waving his hat upon the end of his sabre, shouted, "Vive la Nation!" to which the whole army responded with enthusiastic cries, and at the same moment, the artillery opened a tremendous fire. The Prussians halted; the heads of their columns melted away under the galling discharges; and they retreated, in good order, to their original position after sustaining a serious loss. The fire, however, continued on both sides with spirit; and about four o'clock in the afternoon the Prussians renewed their attack in column, but were again repulsed, even more decidedly, and by six in the evening were in full retreat. The victory was thus decided in favor of the French; but the safety of the magazines at Dampierre and Voilmont was still not secured.

The Marseillaise.

Kellermann allowed his army about two hours' repose, and then, leaving large fires lighted along his whole line, and some regiments of light cavalry to defend the position, if the enemy should attempt an attack, he quietly drew off about nine o'clock at night, and reached Dampierre without the enemy being aware of his movement. About six o'clock the next morning, the Prussians marched for the same point, and were not a little astonished to find Kellermann's army drawn up in line of battle on the heights of Dampierre, in a position which rendered it impracticable to attack. They immediately retreated, and their retiring columns suffered severely from a fire opened by the French artillery. This operation raised the reputation of Kellermann to an exalted height. The allies soon afterward retreated from France, and Kellermann desired to attack their rear; but Dumouriez would not allow the movement to be made.

In recompense of these services Kellermann was made commander-in-chief of the army of the Alps; but incurring the jealousy of the ruling faction, he was thrown into prison in June, 1793, and lingered there for thirteen months, until the 9th Thermidor (July 27, 1794) restored him to liberty. In 1795 the army of Italy was reincorporated with the army of the Alps, from which it had been separated in the beginning of 1793; and the command of the united force was given to Kellermann at the close of that month. On his way to Nice to take the command, he met Napoleon at Marseilles, who, having been displaced by the reconstruction of the army, was now visiting his mother at that place on his way to Paris. Napoleon gave much valuable information respecting the seat of war; and Kellermann, continuing his journey, reached head-quarters at Nice on May 9, 1795. His operations during the campaign that followed diminished the reputation which he had previously acquired. "Throughout the conduct of this war," says Napoleon, "he was constantly committing errors." On June 23d General Devins, at the head of the Austrian and Piedmontese armies, advanced against his positions; and after a series of engagements on the 25th, 26th, and 27th, Kellermann was driven out of all the posts in which Napoleon's arrangements had placed him in the preceding October, and falling back to the line of the Borghetto, wrote to the Directory that, unless he was speedily reinforced, he would be obliged even to quit Nice. The government were now satisfied that (p. 254) the command of the army of Italy was beyond Kellermann's abilities; and again separating the army of the Alps from it, they placed Kellermann at the head of the latter as a reserve, and intrusted the army of Italy to General Scherer, and sometime afterward to Napoleon.

After the conquest of Milan, the Directory, either jealous of Napoleon or elated by success, decided to divide his army, and to place 20,000 men under Kellermann to cover the siege of Mantua, and to direct the rest under Napoleon upon Rome. Napoleon immediately resigned his command, and wrote to the Directory: "I will not serve with a man who considers himself the best general in Europe; it is better to have one bad general than two good ones." The Directory, in alarm, abandoned their design; Kellermann was left at Chambéry, and Napoleon was allowed to follow his own plans.

In 1797, Kellermann was made inspector-general of the cavalry of the army of England and of that of Holland; and in 1799, he took his place in the Senate, and was elected president on August 1, 1801. In 1804, he was created a Marshal of the Empire, and in the following year, received the grand eagle of the Legion of Honor. In 1803, he commanded the third corps of the army of reserve on the Rhine; and, in 1806, was placed at the head of the whole of that army; to which authority the command of the army of reserve in Spain was added in 1808; and in the same year, in honor of the great victory of his more vigorous days, he was created Duke of Valmy.

In 1809, he commanded the army of reserve on the Rhine, the army of observation of the Elbe, the fifth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth military divisions, and the army of reserve of the North. In 1812, he was charged with the duty of organizing the cohorts of the national guard in the first military division; he afterward commanded the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth divisions. In 1813, he was at first provisional commander of the corps of observation on the Rhine, and then received the command of the second, third, and fourth military divisions. After the battle of Leipsic, he performed a valuable service in reconducting to France a body of about six thousand soldiers, who had been wounded in the affairs about Dresden.

Upon the restoration of Louis XVIII., Marshal Kellermann received the command of the third and fourth divisions, and took no part in the events of the "hundred days." Upon the second restoration, he was placed at the head of the fifth division, received the grand cross of the order of St. Louis, and was made a peer of France.

He died at Paris, on September 13, 1820, aged eighty-five years. He left a son, the celebrated general who made the decisive charge at Marengo, and distinguished himself in Spain and at Waterloo, and who died on June 2, 1835; and a daughter, married to General de Léry.[Back to Contents]

(p. 255) MICHEL NEY, MARSHAL OF FRANCE[3]
By Louise Chandler Moulton
(1769-1815)

Michel Ney.

Among the marshals of the great Napoleon, Ney has always held in my mind the place of honor. "The Bravest of the Brave" was the sobriquet bestowed on him by the men of his own nation and his own time; and the briefest record of his life cannot fail to prove how well the title was deserved. I could wish for a larger canvas on which to paint his portrait; but the space allotted to me here will at least suffice to reveal his character, and chronicle the main events of his career.

Michel Ney was born on January 10, 1769, in the small town of Sarre-Louis, in Lorraine, which province had at that time only recently been annexed to France. He was in reality, therefore, more German than French. His father was a working cooper by trade, but he wished his son to be something better, and arranged for him to study law. Life at a desk, however, had no interest for the future marshal, who, even then, had no doubt as to what should be his future career. In 1787 he enlisted, at Metz, as a private hussar. His rise was rapid from the first. He greatly distinguished himself in the Netherlands, where revolutionary France, under Dumouriez and others was holding her own against allied Europe. He became lieutenant in 1793, and captain in 1794. In 1796, after a brilliant conflict under the walls of Forchheim, which resulted in the taking of that town, and on the field of battle, he was made General of Brigade.

Next year, in trying to save a gun from capture, he was taken prisoner by the Austrians; but General Hoche, who was then commanding the army of the Sambre and Meuse, soon effected his exchange. In 1798 he served with great distinction under Masséna, in Switzerland, and was made general of division.

In 1799 he was transferred to the army of the Rhine, which he commanded for some time, fighting with varying success, but with unvarying energy and courage. He fought under Moreau at the famous battle of Hohenlinden, and at the peace of Lunéville was appointed inspector-general of the cavalry.

In 1802 Napoleon having discovered that Switzerland "could not settle her intestine divisions except by the interposition of France," sent Ney, with 20,000 men, to dissolve the Diet and disband its forces. This mode of settling intestine (p. 256) divisions did not commend itself to the Swiss. It is generally admitted, however, that Ney acted with as much moderation as his odious task permitted; and he doubtless welcomed his recall to take a command in the army which was being collected at Boulogne, ostensibly for the invasion of England.

When Napoleon was proclaimed emperor Ney was made a marshal, "for a long succession of heroic actions," and when the army, instead of crossing the Channel, turned back to crush Austria and the coalition, Ney commanded the sixth corps. By October 14, 1805, Napoleon had surrounded Mack and his army in Ulm, and on that day Ney carried the heights of Elchingen after a terrific combat. It was from this achievement that his title of Duke of Elchingen was derived. After the capitulation of Ulm Ney had, at Innsprück, the proud satisfaction of restoring to the seventy-sixth regiment the flags of which they had been despoiled. He was sent into the Tyrol in pursuit of the Archduke John, whose rear-guard he caught and cut to pieces at the foot of Mount Brenner, at the same time that Napoleon, at Austerlitz, brought the war to a close.

After the peace of Presburg Ney remained in Suabia until the rupture with Prussia. The day of Jena found him so anxious for the fray that he attacked the enemy without waiting for orders, and brought the whole Prussian cavalry upon his small division of some three thousand men, and held them at bay until Napoleon sent him assistance. Though Prussia was practically annihilated by the battles of Jena and Auerstadt, Russia was still to be reckoned with. Napoleon invaded Poland, and found himself forced into a winter campaign at a formidable distance from France. Marching and countermarching through mud and snow the whole army was subjected to horrible suffering; but even then Ney's impetuous energy was unabated. Napoleon even rebuked him for "fool-hardiness;" and more than once his only salvation from destruction was in the slowness and density of the Russians. He took little part in the dreadful and indecisive battle of Eylau, after which Napoleon remained for eight days without making any movement; but it was to him that, at Friedland, Napoleon allotted the post of honor and of danger, saying, as the marshal went off proud of his task, "That man is a lion."

Napoleon about this time discovered that "the interposition of France was necessary in the affairs of Spain;" and after the peace of Tilsit Ney was only allowed to remain in France long enough to recruit his forces, before being sent to the Peninsula. A few months later in the year, when Napoleon visited Spain, Ney was given the command of the sixth corps there, but he was destined to reap few Spanish laurels, and it is said that he endeavored to persuade the emperor to relinquish the hopeless struggle against an entire people. While Soult was engaged in the difficult task of forcing the English from the Peninsula by way of Corunna, Ney held Galicia and the Asturias, destroyed guerilla bands, defeated Sir Robert Wilson, and intercepted the enemy's convoys; but the whole country was in arms against the French, who after six months' unceasing struggle, were compelled to retreat.

Marshal Ney returning the captured Colors.

When Masséna was sent to Portugal with orders from Napoleon to drive the (p. 257) "English leopards and their Sepoy general into the sea," Ney, acting under his directions, took Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida. At Busaco, on September 27, 1810, he differed from his commander-in-chief as to the advisability of attacking the English position in front, which was strong. Masséna suffered a severe repulse; and Ney was undoubtedly right, since the fact remains that after the battle Wellington's position was easily turned, and he was compelled to fall back. He retreated upon the famous lines of Torres Vedras, before which Masséna sat helplessly for months, until famine forced him to break up his camp. Ney was intrusted with the command of the rear-guard, and the universal opinion of military critics is that his management of this retreat was one of his most splendid feats of arms. On one occasion he confronted, with 5,000 men, Wellington and his army of 30,000, and delayed them for many hours, while the sick and wounded, the baggage wagons, and the main body of the French army made good their retreat. While Ney was in front of him Wellington knew no repose, nor, for all his efforts, did he succeed, during the whole pursuit, in capturing an ammunition wagon or even a single gun. But when Masséna—with a view to saving his military reputation, which had been gravely compromised by his want of success—proposed again to advance upon Lisbon, Ney flatly refused to obey him, and after a violent quarrel, was ordered by Masséna to relinquish his command and retire into the interior of Spain to await the decision of the emperor. Napoleon recalled him to France, and gave him the command of the third corps of that avalanche of men—men of so many nations and kindreds and peoples—which he was preparing to hurl upon Russia.

The Grand Army crossed the Niemen in June, 1812, and followed an ever-retreating foe to Smolensk, where the Russian general, Barclay de Tolly, had received positive orders from Alexander to give battle, and where he had placed a garrison of 30,000 men. On August 14th Ney cleared the neighboring town of Krasnoi at the point of the bayonet, and during the next two days the Russians were slowly forced back under the walls of Smolensk. On the 17th a general attack was ordered, and Ney was directed to take the citadel. But so obstinate was the Russian defence that when night came no entrance had been effected. However, an hour after midnight the Russian general set fire to the town, and abandoned it, having lost 12,000 men in the defence. At a council of war which followed the capture of the place, Ney strongly recommended that the Grand Army should establish itself upon the banks of the Dwina and the Dnieper, and occupying Smolensk and its environs with a vanguard, there await the Russian attack. His advice was overruled, however, and he was forced to follow the retreating foe upon the road to Moscow. But Russia was thoroughly dissatisfied with the way in which the war had so far been carried on, and Barclay de Tolly was at this juncture superseded by Kutusof, who, having intrenched himself strongly near the little village of Borodino, prepared to dispute the farther progress of the invaders. The battle which followed, on September 7th, was one of the most obstinate and sanguinary of modern times. It lasted from early morning till late at night, and more than eighty thousand men were killed or (p. 258) wounded. Ney fought like a common soldier in the very thickest of the conflict. The Russian positions were at last carried, and Ney sent to the emperor for reinforcements with which to complete the victory. The emperor had only his guard in reserve, and refused this request. "If there should be another battle to-morrow," he said, "with what am I to fight it?" "Let him go back to Paris, and play at emperor, and leave fighting to us," cried Ney, scornfully, when he heard this message. Had his request been granted, and the Imperial Guard been hurled into the conflict at the right moment, it seems probable that the Russian army would have been entirely destroyed. As it was, they drew off in good order, under cover of night, and Kutusof even had the effrontery to claim a victory. For his services during this memorable day Ney received the title of Prince of the Moskowa.

The result of the battle of Borodino was to leave Moscow at the mercy of the invaders, and a barren prize indeed it proved to them. In the horror of the fearful retreat from the ruined city the fame of Ney reached its highest point. Nothing in all history surpasses the record of his indomitable courage and cheerfulness in the most hopeless situations, and amid the most frightful hardships. As in Spain, he had the command of the rear-guard, and the soldiers, preyed upon alike by the Cossacks and the cold, died in the path like flies. Without artillery and without cavalry, they yet succeeded, day after day, in obstructing their pursuers. Ney was on foot in the midst of them, carrying a musket and fighting like the humblest private. But at Smolensk—where the army expected to find everything, and really found nothing—they stayed too long, and on resuming their march found the Russians barring their path. Napoleon and the Imperial Guard cut their way through. The first and fourth corps succeeded, after a desperate conflict, in evading their enemies, but Ney, who had received orders to blow up the fortifications of Smolensk before leaving the town, found himself with some eight thousand men cut off from the main body of fugitives by an army of 50,000 Russians. He attacked them as though the numbers were equal, lost in a short time nearly half his little force, and was obliged to fall back. Being called upon to surrender, he answered, proudly, "A Marshal of France never surrenders," and gave the order, as night approached, to retreat toward Smolensk, which was indeed the only way open to him. The soldiers were in despair. Ney alone did not lose heart. In the gathering dusk they came upon a small rivulet. The marshal broke the ice and watched the flow of the current beneath. "This must be a feeder of the Dnieper," he said. "We will follow it, and put the river between us and our enemies." This they succeeded in doing; but were obliged to leave their wounded, their artillery, and their baggage upon the other side. Ney had left Smolensk on November 17th, with about eight thousand men. On the 20th he joined Napoleon, who had given him up for lost—with somewhere about one thousand. Napoleon, hearing that he was come, fairly leaped and shouted for joy, exclaiming, "I have three hundred millions of francs in the Tuileries—I would have given them all rather than have lost such a man."

(p. 259) A few days afterward Ney was fighting madly on the shores of the fatal Beresina to clear the way for the surging and almost frenzied crowd of soldiers, stragglers, women and children, who, under the merciless fire of the Russian batteries were streaming across the river on the rickety bridges improvised by the French engineers. The Grand Army was by this time only a crowd of wretched and undisciplined fugitives. Ney managed to preserve the semblance of a rear-guard, and if it had not been for his unceasing efforts it seems probable that hardly a single soldier would ever have seen again the shores of France. As it was, when he crossed the Niemen on December 13th, himself the last man to leave Russian territory—his rear-guard had vanished, and he had with him only his aides-de-camp, while of about five hundred thousand men who had crossed the river five months before scarcely fifty thousand returned.

No sooner did this catastrophe become known than Europe—so long ground under his heel—rose against Napoleon, who at once called upon France for fresh levies. Ney was given the command of the first Corps. On April 29, 1813, he drove the allies from Weissenfels toward Leipsic. On May 1st he again compelled a retrograde movement; and on May 2d he commanded the French centre at the battle of Lutzen, where, indeed, he bore the brunt of the fighting. The allies were compelled to retire, but they did not consider themselves beaten, and they fought again at Bautzen a few days afterward. Lutzen and Bautzen were both dubious victories, but at Dresden the allies were defeated with great loss.

This victory, however, was annulled by the defeat of Vandamme, who was taken prisoner in Bohemia, after losing 10,000 men. When Napoleon heard of this disaster he at once sent Ney to replace Oudinot in the command of the Northern army, with the object of pushing on to Berlin; but for once Ney's evil stars were in the ascendant, for on September 5th he was totally defeated by Bernadotte, at Dennewitz, losing 10,000 prisoners and eighty guns. "The Bravest of the Brave" was inconsolable. For some days he took no food, and scarcely spoke. He wished to give up his command and fight as a grenadier. "If I have not blown out my brains," he said, "it is only because I want to rally my army before dying."

And now came the catastrophe at Leipsic—the three days' battle of the Nations—where, on the first day, Ney was defeated by Blücher, after a desperate struggle in which he lost 4,000 killed and wounded, and upward of two thousand prisoners. On the third day, after the defection of the Saxons, he held out for five hours with 5,000 men against 20,000, and retired fighting to the end. Through the whole of the succeeding campaign of France, he was at the emperor's side; and when, in spite of all the genius of Napoleon, and all the bravery of his soldiers, Paris capitulated, Ney was one of three marshals sent by the defeated Emperor of the French to negotiate with the Emperor of Russia for his abdication in favor of his son, the King of Rome.

This mission failed of any result—Napoleon went to Elba, and Louis XVIII. reigned over France in his stead. Ney accepted the new order of (p. 260) things, and was created a peer of France, knight of St. Louis, and governor of the sixth Military Division. But the world was for the time at peace; and Ney's occupation was gone. He had been a fighter all his life—he could not turn courtier at the end. He had married, in 1810, Mlle Auguié, who had been brought up in the court of Louis XVI., was a friend of Hortense Beauharnais, and naturally fond of gayety and society. The great marshal was a simple and rather illiterate man, who had had no time to cultivate fashionable graces, so it happened that when Madame la Maréchal gave a banquet or a ball, Ney used not to appear, but dined by himself, in his own apartments, as far removed as possible from the noise of the festival. It is said that outside the field of battle he was one of the timidest of men, and even submitted quite tamely to the insolence of his own servants.

In January, 1815, he departed for his country-seat of Coudreaux, near Chateaudun, where he lived in the simplest possible fashion, till on March 6th, an aide-de-camp of the Minister of War brought him an order to return at once to the head-quarters of the Military Division of which he was commander. Instead of going directly to his post, he went by way of Paris, where he heard for the first time of the landing of Napoleon.

"It is a great misfortune," said he. "Whom can we send against him?"

Then, having visited the king, and assured him of his devotion to the monarchy, he went to his command at Besançon. Next morning he heard that Grenoble had declared for the emperor, and that the occupation of Lyons was inevitable. He could observe for himself the dissatisfaction of the troops by whom he was surrounded. On the 12th he was at Lons-le-Saulnier, organizing his troops, and writing to the minister of war for ammunition and horses. But he soon saw that resistance was hopeless. The Bourbons had managed, as usual, to make themselves hated. The king's brother and Marshal Macdonald had been obliged to flee from Lyons when Napoleon appeared. All the soldiers were delighted at the thought of having their "Little Corporal" back again. On the night of the 13th Ney received an emissary from Napoleon. What memories must have stirred in his heart, of old perils and old glories! How could he resist the mighty spell of the past? On the 14th he announced to his troops that the house of Bourbon had ceased to reign, and proclaimed Napoleon.

"It was a grievous fault, and grievously did Cæsar answer it." From this moment Ney knew no more peace of mind. So bitter was his remorse that he could not face his fellow-soldiers, and obtained Napoleon's permission to retire for a time into the country. When he returned, Napoleon said, banteringly, "I heard you had emigrated." "Ah, sire," answered Ney, "I ought to have done so long ago, but it is too late now."

The approach of war revived his spirits to some extent, and when, a few days before the battle of Waterloo, he joined the army in Flanders, he looked like the Ney of old. At Quatre Bras, on June 16th, despite an obstinate combat, he failed to drive Wellington from his position, and the next day he does not appear (p. 261) to have discovered that the English had fallen back upon Waterloo until some hours after their departure. At the great battle of Waterloo, on June 18th, he fought with the same reckless bravery as ever. He had five horses killed under him, and his clothing was riddled with bullets. Napoleon said, not without truth, that he behaved like a madman. After his fifth horse was shot he fought on foot until forced from the field by the rush of fugitives. He had done his best to die on the field of battle, but almost miraculously he escaped without a wound.

After the second restoration of the Bourbons Ney retired into the country, meaning to escape to the United States, and was provided by Fouché with a passport for this purpose. He delayed, for some reason, to use it; and on August 3d he was arrested at the house of a relative. A council of war was appointed to try him, composed of Marshals Masséna, Augereau, Mortier, and three lieutenants. It would have been better for Ney had he submitted himself to their verdict; but he unwisely denied their competence, and demanded, as a peer of the realm, to be tried by his peers, and it was a tribunal which showed him no mercy. It does not appear that the king desired his death; but Talleyrand declared that it would be a grand example, and the royalists generally thirsted for his blood. He was condemned, by a majority of 139 to 17, to be shot for high treason.

On December 7th his wife and four children were admitted to his prison in the early morning, to take leave of him. But neither in this painful ordeal nor at any time afterward, did the condemned marshal show any sign of weakness. At eight o'clock he was taken in a carriage to the place of execution, outside the garden gates of the Luxembourg. The officer who commanded the firing party wished to bandage his eyes, but Ney said, quietly—"Are you ignorant that for twenty-five years I have been accustomed to face both balls and bullets?" Then, raising his voice, he cried, "I protest against my condemnation. I wish that I had died for my country in battle. But here is still the field of honor. Vive la France!"

The officer in command, to his credit be it said, was dumb. He seemed incapable of giving the word to fire; and Ney himself, taking off his hat, and striking his breast, cried, in a loud voice—"Soldiers, do your duty—fire!"

Thus died, in his forty-seventh year, "The Bravest of the Brave."[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

(p. 262) NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
By Colonel Clayton, R.A.
(1769-1821)

"The coronation of Joséphine."

Napoleon Bonaparte, the second son of Charles Bonaparte and his wife, Letizia de Ramolino, was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on August 15, 1769. In 1779 he entered the Royal Military School of Brienne le Château; there he remained till the autumn of 1784, when he was transferred to the Military School of Paris, according to the usual routine. An official report on him by the Inspector of Military Schools in this year speaks highly of his conduct, and notifies his great proficiency in mathematics and fair knowledge of history and geography, but says he is not well up in ornamental studies or in Latin, and, curiously enough, adds that he will make an excellent sailor. Napoleon lost his father in 1785, and the same year he was commissioned as second-lieutenant of artillery, in which capacity he served at Valence and other garrisons. He spent his periods of leave in Corsica, and appears to have wished to play the leading part in the history of his native island, showing the first signs of his ambitious and energetic character. During the critical times following the first French Revolution, he at first joined the moderate party of Paoli; but, trying for military power, though by untiring activity and reckless audacity he succeeded in being elected lieutenant-colonel of the National Volunteers of Ajaccio, he failed in an attempt to seize that town and was obliged to return to France. The French Government soon made an endeavor to crush Paoli and do away with Corsican privileges, and the islanders rallied round the patriot. Napoleon now turned against him and attempted to seize the citadel of Ajaccio for the French; but failing again, with all his relatives he fled a second time to France.

From this time onward Napoleon looked to France for his career. The narrow horizon of his native island was no longer wide enough for him, but from its bracing mountain air and from the quick blood of his race he drew a magnetic force, which imparted to his decisions and actions a rapidity and energy that carried all before them, while at the same time a power of calm calculation, of industry, and of self-control enabled him to employ his genius to the best advantage. (p. 263) The force of his personality was so overwhelming that in considering his career the regret must ever be present that the only principle that remained steadfast with him, and is the key to his conduct throughout, should have been the care for his own advancement, glory, and power. Napoleon now joined the army under Carteaux, which acted against the Marseillais who had declared against the National Convention and occupied Avignon. At this time he became attached to the younger Robespierre, who was a commissioner with the army, and embraced his Jacobin principles. He was shortly promoted chef de bataillon, and commanded the artillery at the siege of Toulon, where he highly distinguished himself, and is generally believed to have been the author of the plan of attack which led to the fall of the place. He was then promoted general of brigade.

On the fall of the Robespierres, Napoleon incurred serious danger, but was saved by powerful influence enlisted in his favor. He was, however, ordered to take command of an infantry brigade in the Army of the West. This he considered would stifle his military career, and neglecting to obey the order, he was in consequence removed from the list of employed general officers. Disgusted with his apparent lack of prospects, he was now anxious to be sent to Turkey to reorganize the Turkish artillery. But on the eve of the 13th Vendémiaire (October 5, 1795) he was appointed second in command of the Army of the Interior under Barras, and did the National Convention good service next day in repelling the attack of the Sections of Paris. Influenced partly by fear and partly by appreciation of his talents, the Directory appointed General Bonaparte to the command of the Army of Italy, on February 23, 1796. On March 9th he married Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, widow of General Vicomte Alexandre de Beauharnais, and left Paris for Italy two days later.

On joining the army Bonaparte inaugurated a new era in the wars of the Republic. Previously the leading motives had been pure patriotism and love of liberty; Bonaparte for the first time, in his proclamation on taking command, invoked the spirit of self-interest and plunder, which was to dominate the whole policy of France for the next twenty years. Evil as were the passions which he aroused, Napoleon's great military genius flashed forth in its full brilliancy in this his first campaign. His power lay in the rapidity and boldness of his decisions, and in the untiring energy with which he carried them out, confounding his enemies by the suddenness and lightning rapidity of his blows, which never gave them time to recover. He found the French army about thirty-six thousand strong, distributed along the crests of the mountains from Nice to Savona, and opposing 20,000 Piedmontese under Colli and 38,000 Austrians under Beaulieu. These two generals had, however, differing interests: Colli's main object was to protect Piedmont, Beaulieu's to cover Lombardy. Hence, if Bonaparte could penetrate the point of junction of the two armies, it was probable they would separate in their retreat, and could be beaten singly. He therefore attacked the centre of the allied line, and, driving back the Austrians from Montenotte on April 12th, turned against the Piedmontese and defeated them at (p. 264) Millesimo the next day. Losing no time he left a division under Augereau to keep the Piedmontese in check, and led the bulk of his army against the Austrians, defeating them heavily at Dego on the 14th. The allied armies then retreated in diverging directions as expected, and Bonaparte, following the Piedmontese, beat them at Ceva and Mondovi, and forced the King of Sardinia to sign the armistice of Cherasco, leaving him free to deal with the Austrians. He crossed the Po at Piacenza on May 7th, and obliged the Austrians to retreat to the Adda. Following them he forced the bridge of Lodi on May 11th, and entered Milan amid the rejoicings of the people on the 15th. But his ill-omened proclamation had done its work; violence and pillage were rampant in the French army, and he could do little to restrain them. Indeed, he himself showed an example of plundering, though under more organized forms. Heavy contributions were exacted, curiosities and works of art were demanded wholesale and despatched to France; and the Directory, demoralized by the unaccustomed wealth that flowed in upon them, became fully as eager as Napoleon for fresh conquests and their accruing spoils.

The Austrians still held Mantua, which Napoleon now besieged, occupying himself at the same time in consolidating his conquests. The Austrians made strenuous efforts to save the fortress. They were much superior in number to the French, but were defeated again and again by the rapidity and genius of their opponent. Finally, at the end of October, an Austrian army of 50,000, but mostly recruits, advanced under Alvinzi. Then followed the three days' battle of Arcola, during which Napoleon had a very narrow escape, but which ended in Alvinzi's defeat and retreat on Tyrol. From Arcola Napoleon dated his firm belief in his own fortune. Once again, in January, 1797, Alvinzi tried to relieve Mantua. But Napoleon moved in full force on Rivoli, and won a decisive battle there on January 14th, the Austrian detachment on the Lower Adige having to lay down their arms next day at Roverbella. Würmser capitulated at Mantua on February 2d, Napoleon treating him with generosity. This first Italian campaign was perhaps the most skilful of all those of Napoleon. Everything was done accurately and rapidly, and without throwing away chances. Some of his later campaigns, though equally brilliant, show him acting more with the gambler's spirit, running unnecessary risks with almost a blind reliance upon his star, in the hope of obtaining results which should dazzle the world.

In political matters during this time Napoleon was acting less as a servant of the French Directory than as an independent ruler. He entirely ignored the instructions he received from Paris, levying contributions, entering into negotiations, and deposing princes at his own will, and writing that he is not fighting "for those rascals of lawyers."

Napoleon and the Sphinx.

Napoleon returned to Paris on December 5, 1797. The Directory, fearing his ambition, thought they could only keep him quiet by employing him, and gave him command of the so-called Army of England. But he was bent on the conquest of Egypt. He appears to have had something visionary in his temperament, (p. 265) and to have dreamed of founding a mighty empire from the stand-point of the East, the glow and glamour of which seem always to have had a certain fascination for him. He therefore employed the resources of the Army of England to prepare for an expedition to Egypt, and the Directory yielded to his wishes, partly no doubt, through the desire of getting him away from France. But their aggressive policy was at the same time fast bringing on another European war. The expedition sailed from Toulon on May 19, 1798, captured Malta from the Knights of St. John by treachery, and, escaping by great luck from the British fleet under Nelson, arrived at Alexandria on June 30th. The army was disembarked in haste, for fear lest Nelson should arrive, and on July 8th Napoleon marched on Cairo. He defeated the Mamelukes at Chebreïss and the Pyramids, and entered Cairo on July 24th. He then occupied himself with organizing the government of Egypt, but his position was rendered very hazardous by the destruction of the French fleet on August 1st by Nelson at the battle of the Nile, and he saw that his dream of founding an empire in the East could not be realized. He thought, however, that he might create a revolution in Syria, by the aid of which he might overthrow the Turkish power, and march in triumph back to Europe through Asia Minor and Constantinople. He accordingly entered Syria in February, 1799, with 12,000 men, but was brought to a standstill before St. Jean d'Acre. Failing to capture that fortress, supported as it was by the British squadron under Sir Sidney Smith, in spite of the most desperate efforts, he was obliged to return to Egypt. After his return, Napoleon defeated a Turkish army which had landed at Aboukir, but learning the reverses that had been suffered by the French arms in Europe, he resolved to leave Egypt and return to France. He embarked secretly on August 22d, leaving a letter placing Kléber in command of the Army of Egypt, and landed in France six weeks later.

He found matters at home in great confusion. The wars had been mismanaged, Italy was almost lost, and the government, in consequence, was in very bad odor. The revolution of the 18th Brumaire followed (November 9, 1799), when the legislature was forcibly closed, and a provisional executive of three consuls, Siéyès, Roger-Duclos, and Bonaparte, formed to draw up a new constitution. This was promulgated on December 13th; the executive was vested in three consuls, Bonaparte, Cambacérès, and Lebrun, of whom Bonaparte was nominated First Consul for ten years. He was practically paramount, the two remaining consuls being ciphers, and the other institutions being so organized as to concentrate power in the executive. Siéyès became president of the Senate. The governmental crisis being settled, energetic steps were taken with regard to the civil war in the west. A proclamation was issued promising religious toleration at the same time that decided military action was taken, and these measures were so successful that all was quiet at home by the end of February, 1800. Then Napoleon turned his attention abroad. He made overtures for peace to England and Austria, now the only belligerents, as he wished to lull suspicion by posing as the friend of peace, not as a military ruler; but he inwardly rejoiced when they rejected his overtures.

(p. 266) The situation of the belligerents on the Continent was this: the Army of the Rhine under Moreau, more than one hundred thousand strong, was distributed along the Rhine from the Lake of Constance to Alsace, opposed to Kray, whose head-quarters were at Donaueschingen in Baden; while Masséna, with the Army of Italy, was on the Riviera and at Genoa, opposed to an Austrian army under Melas. Napoleon intended to gain himself the chief glory of the campaign; so, giving Moreau orders to cross the Rhine, but not to advance beyond a certain limit, and leaving Masséna to make head as best he could against Melas, with the result that he was besieged in Genoa and reduced to the last extremity, he prepared secretly an army of reserve near the Swiss frontier, to the command of which Berthier was ostensibly appointed. Outside, and even inside France, this army of reserve was looked upon as a chimera. Moreau crossed the Rhine on April 24th, and drove Kray to Ulm, but was there checked by Napoleon's instructions, according to which he also sent a division to co-operate with the army of reserve. Napoleon himself went to Geneva on May 9th, and assuming command of this army crossed the St. Bernard, and reached the plains of Italy before Melas had convinced himself of the existence even of the army of reserve, and while his troops were scattered from Genoa to the Var. Napoleon's obvious course would now have been to move straight on Genoa, relieve Masséna, and beat in detail as many of Melas's troops as he could encounter. But this would not have been a sufficiently brilliant triumph, as the bulk of the Austrian army might have escaped; and trusting in his star, he resolved to stake the existence of his army on a gambler's cast. Leaving Masséna to be starved out, he moved to the left on Milan, and occupied the whole line of the Ticino and Po as far as Piacenza, so as to cut off entirely the retreat of the Austrians. He then crossed the Po, and concentrated as many troops as he could spare at Stradella. The strategy was brilliant, but the risk run excessive. His army was necessarily scattered, while Melas had had time to concentrate, and he was besides ignorant of the Austrian position. He sent Desaix with a column to seek information, and moved himself on Alessandria, where he found Melas. Next day, June 14th, Melas marched out to attack the French on the plains of Marengo, and despite all Napoleon's efforts, had actually defeated them, when fortunately, Desaix returned, and his advance, together with a cavalry charge by Kellermann, changed defeat into victory. Melas, losing his head, signed a convention next day, giving up almost all North Italy, though Marmont says that if he had fought another battle he must have won it. Napoleon returned to Paris with the glories of this astonishing campaign; but peace did not follow till Moreau, when his liberty of action was restored to him, had won the battle of Hohenlinden on December 3, 1800. Then followed the treaty of Lunéville with Germany, in February, 1801, the concordat with Rome, in July, 1801, and the treaty of Amiens with England, in March, 1802, so that Napoleon was able to figure as the restorer of peace to the world. He then devoted himself to the reconstruction of the civil institutions of France, employing in this great work the best talent that he could find, and impressing on their labors the stamp of his own genius. The institutions then created, (p. 267) which still remain for the most part, were the restored Church, the judicial system, the codes, the system of local government, the University, the Bank of France, and the Legion of Honor.

France at this period, sick of the failure of republican government, was gradually veering toward monarchy, and Napoleon knew how to take advantage of events to strengthen his position, and in due time establish his own dynasty.

Preparations for the invasion of England had been steadily proceeding, but Napoleon's aggressive demeanor after becoming emperor alarmed the European cabinets, so that Pitt was able to revive the coalition, and in 1805 Napoleon found himself at war with Russia and Austria, as well as with England. Forced by England's naval supremacy to abandon the notion of invasion, he suddenly changed front in August, 1805, and led his armies through Hanover and the smaller German states, disregarding the neutrality even of Prussia herself, and reached the Danube in rear of the Austrian army under Mack, which was at Ulm. The surprise was complete; Mack surrendered October 19th, and Napoleon then marched on Vienna, which he entered November 13th. But his position was critical. The Archduke Charles was approaching from Hungary, a Russian army was entering Moravia, and Prussia, incensed at the violation of her territory, joined the coalition. A short delay would have surrounded Napoleon with his enemies, but the czar was impatient, and the Russian army, with a small contingent of Austrians, encountered Napoleon at Austerlitz, December 2, 1805, and was signally defeated. This caused the break-up of the coalition; the Holy Roman Empire came to an end, the Confederation of the Rhine was formed under French protection, and the Napoleonic empire was firmly established. Napoleon then entered into negotiations for peace with Russia and England, endeavoring to conciliate those powers at the expense of Prussia. The negotiations failed, but Prussia was mortally offended, and mobilized her army in August, 1806, about which time Russia finally rejected the treaty with France. Napoleon acted with his usual promptitude, and advanced against Prussia before she could get help either from England or Russia. Although the rank and file of the Prussian armies was good, their generals were antiquated, and Napoleon crushed them at Jena and Auerstadt, October 14th, and entered Berlin on the 27th. He had then to carry on a stubbornly contested campaign with Russia. An indecisive battle at Eylau was followed by a hardly earned French victory at Friedland, June 14, 1807, and the peace of Tilsit ensued, by which Prussia lost half her territory, and had to submit to various humiliating conditions, while Russia escaped easily, and indeed got a share of the spoils.

Napoleon was now at the zenith of his power; he was the arbiter of Europe and the paramount head of a confederation of princes, among whom the members of his own family occupied several thrones. To reward his partisans he at this time created a new noblesse, and lavished upon them the public money. He sent an army under Junot to Portugal, and another to Spain, which, under Murat, took Madrid. Napoleon then procured the abdication of the King of Spain and placed his brother Joseph on the vacant throne. But he did not foresee the consequences. (p. 268) The spirit of the nation was roused, and a formidable insurrection broke out, while a British army, under Sir Arthur Wellesley, landed in Portugal, defeated Junot at Vimiera, and forced him to sign the Convention of Cintra, evacuating Portugal. So began the Peninsular War, which for the future was to paralyze half Napoleon's strength.

In Germany also a spirit of revolt against his tyranny was rising, Austria at first taking the lead, and this brought on the war of 1809 against that power. Prussia, already beginning to recover her strength under the military system of Scharnhorst and Stein, was hostile to Napoleon in sentiment, but was kept down by the pressure of Russia. Napoleon declared war on the pretext that Austria was arming, and marching through Bavaria drove the Austrians out of Ratisbon, and entered Vienna May 13th. Eugene Beauharnais, at the head of the Army of Italy, drove the Austrians before him into Hungary, defeated them at Raab, and joined Napoleon. The emperor then tried to cross the Danube, but was checked at Aspern and obliged to retire to the island of Lobau. Five weeks of preparation then followed, the peasant war under Hofer being carried on in Tyrol, and then Napoleon made a fresh and successful attempt to cross the Danube, and won the battle of Wagram July 5th. This was followed by the armistice of Znaim and the treaty of Schönbrunn, October 20, 1809, by which he obtained a heavy indemnity in money and considerable accession of territory in Carniola, Carinthia, Croatia, and Galicia. But he mortally offended the czar by giving a large portion of the ceded territory of Galicia to the Duchy of Warsaw—i.e., to Poland.

On December 16, 1809, Napoleon, desirous of an heir, divorced Joséphine, who was childless, and married, April 1, 1810, the Archduchess Maria Louisa of Austria. He had no doubt the wish also to get a footing in the circle of the legitimate reigning families of Europe. A son, to whom the title of King of Rome was given, was born March 20, 1811.

Still bent on the humiliation of England, Napoleon now tried to effect his purpose by increasing the stringency of the Continental System, but this ended in bringing him into conflict with Russia. He first annexed the kingdoms of Holland and Westphalia, to give him command of their seaboards, and then prohibited English trade even when carried in neutral bottoms. The czar, already estranged by Napoleon's alliance with Austria and his conduct as regards Poland, refused to adopt this policy, and the relations between them gradually became so strained that war was inevitable, and Napoleon took the momentous resolve to invade Russia. With Maria Louisa, he arrived at Dresden May 16, 1812, and was there greeted by the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia, and other sovereigns. His army for this gigantic enterprise numbered about six hundred thousand, including French, Germans, and Italians. He crossed the Niemen on June 24th, reaching Vilna, which was evacuated by the Russians, on the 28th; and remained at Vilna till July 16th, hesitating to take the final resolution to invade the heart of Russia. He made overtures for peace to the czar, who refused to treat as long as an enemy remained on Russian soil. Foiled here Napoleon at last decided (p. 269) to go on with his enterprise; so he advanced, and at first the Russians were in no condition to meet him, their forces being scattered. If Napoleon could have advanced rapidly to Smolensk, he might have cut the Russian forces in two, but his vast host appears to have been unmanageable. Barclay de Tolly and Bagration succeeded in uniting at Smolensk, but were driven from it on August 18th, after an obstinate defence. At Smolensk Napoleon again hesitated as to whether he should go into winter-quarters, but eventually decided to press on to Moscow, trusting to the moral effect of the fall of the ancient capital. It seems as if, while his superstitious belief in his star still remained, bodily ailments had caused a deterioration in his power of rapid decision and in his energy of action. Meanwhile, great discontent had been caused in Russia by the continued retreat of the armies. Kutusoff was appointed to the chief command, and stood to fight at Borodino on September 6th. Napoleon won the battle, but with unwonted and misplaced caution refused to engage his Guard, and the victory was almost fruitless.

He entered Moscow on September 14th, and fire broke out the next night, the first effect of which was still further to alarm the Russians, who believed it to be the work of the French. The fire raged fiercely till the 20th, and a great part of the city was burned to the ground. Had the victory of Borodino been more decisive the czar might now have yielded; but as it was he listened to the advice of Stein and Sir R. Wilson and refused to treat, thus putting Napoleon in a dilemma. His plans were always made on the basis of immediate success, and the course to be adopted in case of failure was not considered. Again he hesitated, with the result that when at last he resolved to retire from Moscow, the winter, coming earlier than usual, upset his calculations, and the miseries of that terrible retreat followed. He left Moscow on October 18th, and, reaching the Beresina with but 12,000 men, was joined there by Oudinot and Victor, who had been holding the line of the Dwina, with 18,000. His passage of the river was opposed, but he succeeded in crossing, and on December 6th the miserable remnant of the Grand Army reached Vilna. Macdonald, Reynier, and Schwarzenberg, with 100,000 men, on the Polish frontier and in the Baltic provinces, were safe; but this was the whole available remnant of the 600,000 with which the campaign commenced.

All Europe now united against him. The French armies were discouraged, and the allies enthusiastic; but the latter had difficulties to contend with from their heterogeneous composition and diversity of interests. The campaign opened with varying fortune. A blow at Berlin was parried by Bülow at Gross Beeren on August 23d. Napoleon himself forced Blücher back to the Katzbach, but had to retire again to defend Dresden from the Austrians; and his lieutenant, Macdonald, was defeated in the battle of the Katzbach on August 26th. Napoleon inflicted a crushing defeat on the Austrians before Dresden on the 27th, but, while preparing to cut off their retreat, was disturbed by the news of Gross-Beeren and the Katzbach and by sudden illness, and at Kulm lost Vandamme with 20,000 men. September was spent in fruitless marches, and toward the end of the month the allies began their converging march on their preconcerted rendezvous at Leipsic. At the same time the Confederation of the Rhine began to dissolve. The (p. 270) kingdom of Westphalia was upset on October 1st, and on the 8th Bavaria joined Austria. The toils were closing round Napoleon, and between October 14th and 19th he was crushed in that battle of the Titans at Leipsic, and, brushing aside the Bavarians, who tried to stop him at Haynau, on November 1st, led back the remnant of his army, some 70,000 strong, across the Rhine at Mainz.

The allies now made overtures for peace on the basis of natural frontiers, which would have left France the fruits of the first Revolution, viz., Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine, Savoy, and Nice; but Napoleon could not be content with such curtailment of his power. Evading at first the proposal, he would have accepted it, but with suspicious qualifications, when too late. The invasion of France followed. The allies issued a manifesto on December 1st, saying they were waging war against Napoleon alone, and advanced with three separate armies. Schwarzenberg led the Austrians through Switzerland, Blücher crossed the Middle Rhine toward Nancy, while the northern army passed through Holland. Napoleon had yet hopes of success on account of the forces he still had in the German fortresses, the mutual jealousies of the allies, his connection with the Emperor of Austria, and the patriotism which would be aroused in France by invasion. But the allies gave him no time to utilize these influences, and Paris was not fortified. Napoleon carried on a campaign full of genius, gaining what advantage he could from the separation of his enemies. He attacked Blücher and won four battles in four days at Champaubert (February 10, 1814), Montmirail (11th), Château-Thierry (12th), and Vauchamps (13th). These successes would have enabled him to make a reasonable peace, but his personal position forbade this, and he tried subterfuge and delay. The allies, however, were not to be trifled with, and in the beginning of March signed the treaty of Chaumont, which bound them each to keep 150,000 men on foot for twenty years. The battles of Craonne and Laon followed, in which Napoleon held his own, but saw his resources dwindle. On March 18th the conferences at Chatillon came to an end, and on the 24th the allies determined to march on Paris. Marmont and Mortier, with less than thirty thousand men, could make no head against them, while Napoleon himself tried a fruitless diversion against their communications. Joseph Bonaparte withdrew Maria Louisa and the King of Rome to Tours. On March 30th the allies attacked Paris on three sides, and in the afternoon the French marshals offered to capitulate. Napoleon, when he learned the real state of affairs, hurried up in rear of the allies, but was too late, and had to fall back to Fontainebleau. His position was desperate, and to add to his difficulties Wellington, whose career of success had gradually cleared the French out of the Peninsula, had now led his victorious army across the Pyrenees into France itself.

Napoleon therefore at first offered to abdicate in favor of his son, but, when he found that would not be sufficient, he signed an unconditional abdication on April 11, 1814. He was given the sovereignty of the island of Elba, and the Bourbons, in the person of Louis XVIII., were restored to the throne of France. But the condition of affairs was very precarious. The return of the Bourbons was most unpopular. It indeed restored the parliament, but it unsettled the position of (p. 271) public men and the title to estates. The army was disgusted at the appointment to commands of emigrés who had fought against France. The Church began to cause alarm to the holders of national property; and by the release of prisoners and the return of the garrisons of German fortresses, very large numbers of Napoleonic soldiers became dispersed over France. The coalition, too, broke up, and fresh alliances began to be sought with a view to check the aggressive spirit which Russia seemed inclined to manifest. Altogether affairs in Europe and France were in such a state as to make it not impossible that the magic of Napoleon's name might replace him in power. He accordingly resolved on making the attempt, left Elba on February 26, 1815, and landed on the French coast on March 1st. On the 20th he entered Paris, having been joined by the army.

Europe had declared war against him, and a new coalition had been formed, but only two armies were immediately ready to take the field; a mixed force under the Duke of Wellington in Belgium, and a Prussian army under Blücher in the Rhine provinces. The English army had its base on the sea, and the Prussian on the Rhine, so that they had diverging lines of operation. Napoleon's idea was to strike suddenly at their point of junction before they could concentrate, push in between them, drive them apart, and then defeat each separately. The plan was unexceptionable, resembling that of his first campaign in 1796, and the opening moves were successfully carried out. Napoleon left Paris on June 12th, his army being then echeloned between Paris and the Belgian frontier, so that the point where the blow would fall was still doubtful. On the 15th he occupied Charleroi, and was between the two allied armies, and on the 16th he defeated Blücher at Ligny before Wellington could come to his assistance. So far all had gone well with him; but now, apparently, his energy was not sufficient to cope rapidly with the difficulties that no doubt beset him through the shortcomings of his staff, and the spirit of mutual distrust that reigned among his officers. He did nothing till the morning of the 17th, and it was not till 2 P.M. that he sent Grouchy with 33,000 men to follow the Prussians in the supposed direction of their retreat toward Liége, and keep them at a distance while he turned against Wellington. But he had lost his opportunity; the wasted hours had enabled the Prussians to disappear, and he did not know the fact that Blücher had taken the resolution to move on Wavre, giving up his own communications in order to reunite with Wellington. The latter had retired to a previously chosen position at Mont St. Jean, and received Blücher's promise to lead his army to his assistance. So on the 18th, when Napoleon attacked the duke, unknown to him the bulk of the Prussian army was hastening up on his right flank, while Grouchy was fruitlessly engaged with the Prussian rear-guard only. This led to the crowning defeat of Waterloo, where Napoleon's fortunes were finally wrecked. He fled to Paris, and abdicated for the last time on June 22d; and, finding it impossible to escape from France, he surrendered to Captain Maitland, of the Bellerophon, at Rochefort, on July 15th. He was banished by the British Government to St. Helena, where he arrived on October 15, 1815, and died there of cancer of the stomach on May 5, 1821.[Back to Contents]

(p. 272) ARTHUR, DUKE OF WELLINGTON
By L. Drake
(1769-1852)

Duke of Wellington.

Arthur Wellesley, the fourth son of the Earl of Mornington, was born on May 1, 1769, at Dungan Castle, in Ireland. Although exhibiting no decided inclination for the profession of arms, a soldier's career was chosen for him at an early age; and after some preparatory years spent at Eton, he was sent to Angers, in France, to learn in its ancient military school those lessons in the art of war which he was destined in after-life again and again so gloriously to surpass.

Unlike his contemporary Napoleon, the genius of Wellington did not display itself beyond enabling him to attain a fair and creditable proficiency at Angers. On his return to England he was gazetted to an ensigncy early in 1787; and five years later, having passed through the intermediate degrees, he obtained a troop in the Eighteenth Light Dragoons.

His first appearance in public life was as a statesman, having been returned to the Irish Parliament for the borough of Trim. His military career of active service commenced by his being ordered, with his regiment, to join the army in the Netherlands. Ere he reached it, the tide of victory was running against the British arms; and his opening campaign, while it gave him much experience, brought him but little glory. He had now obtained the rank of colonel; and, as commander of the rear-guard of the army, he steadily covered its retreat before the advancing troops of the French republic, till they crossed the frontiers of the Low Countries; when, after a kindly welcome and a short stay with the Bremeners, they returned home.

The worn-out regiments were immediately recruited; and in April, 1796, Colonel Wellesley sailed with his corps for the East Indies, where he arrived in February the following year.

The fall of Seringapatam, and the death of Tippou-Saib in its defence, are well-known events.

The principal command of the army in India was soon intrusted to Colonel Wellesley, and early next year he was gazetted major-general. The nature of (p. 273) this sketch will not admit of a detailed account of the rest of the campaign, although it proved a "short but brilliant one"—one which ended in the entire submission of the Mahratta potentates who continued the struggle after Tippou's fall, and completely established the reputation of the future hero of Waterloo.

A staff command awaited Major-General (and now Sir Arthur) Wellesley's return to England; and soon afterward he married Catherine, the third daughter of the Earl of Longford.

The command of a detachment of the army sent against the French in Spain and Portugal, was confided to Sir Arthur, in June, 1808, when without delay he proceeded to Corunna. The successes of the earlier portion of the campaign, owing to the admirable conduct of Sir Arthur, were so well appreciated at home that the king raised him to the peerage. Through many difficulties Lord Wellington still continued to lead the allied army on from victory to victory, to relate which, even briefly, would alone fill a volume, till he found himself ready for the last grand struggle at Ciudad Rodrigo, which was now occupied by the French. It was early in January, 1811, yet notwithstanding the coldness of the weather, and the dangers to which the army was exposed, in case of the sudden rising of the river Agueda, which runs nearly in front of the town, the preliminaries of the siege were successfully conducted. One afternoon, the breaching batteries, comprising twenty-seven large guns, opened their fire on the wall of the town. In five days the breaches were practicable, and a summons to surrender was sent to the governor. This he declined doing. Wellington, having personally examined the breaches, felt convinced that an assault had every prospect of success. Ordering the fire of the guns to be directed against the cannon on the ramparts, he sat down on an embankment, and wrote the order of assault which was to seal the doom of the town, beginning with the emphatic sentence—"The attack upon Ciudad Rodrigo must be made this evening at seven o'clock."

Spain and Portugal conferred honors on the conqueror of Rodrigo; and at home he was raised to the earldom of Wellington, with an increased annuity of £2,000 a year.

The French army, under Marshal Soult, had at length been compelled to quit Spain, and with such speed, that in four days they passed over ground which it took the allied armies seven days to traverse. During the retreat the two armies approached each other several times; and on one occasion, when the French army was crossing the plains of Ger, its pursuers followed so closely, that had it not been for the thick woods through which they had to pass, Soult's retreat would have been seriously endangered by the British cavalry.

When Bonaparte had quitted Fontainebleau, and had embarked on board the Undaunted frigate for Elba, Lord Wellington felt he might safely leave the army for a time; and, setting out for Paris, he reached it May 4th. He met with an enthusiastic reception from all classes; while the unqualified praises of each of the allied sovereigns showed how much the successful issue of the struggle to restore liberty to Europe was due to his talents and constancy of purpose. The restored Spanish king, Ferdinand, sent him a letter of gratitude; and the (p. 274) Crown Prince of Sweden gave him the Order of the Sword. England at the same time conferred upon him the dukedom he so long enjoyed, and raised five of his lieutenants to peerages.

Once more the "loud shrill clarion" of war aroused Europe to arms. Ten short months after his abdication, Napoleon, escaped from Elba, was again in Paris, resolved to incur all risks in order to gain the greatest prize in Europe—the crown he had so lately relinquished. The magic influence of his name spread through France, which became one vast camp; and in an incredibly short space of time Napoleon found himself ready to take the field with an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men, of whom twenty thousand were highly disciplined cavalry. The whole army was perfectly equipped, while three hundred pieces of cannon formed an overpowering artillery. To oppose this well-appointed force, the Duke of Wellington and Marshal Blücher had collected an army of one hundred and eighty thousand men. But although the allied armies thus exceeded Napoleon's in numbers, his consisted of veteran troops of one nation, while theirs were composed, for the most part, of raw levies. That under the duke was "the weakest and the worst;" at no time did it reach eighty thousand men, and on one-half of these only could reliance be placed in the day of battle.

"I am going to have a brush with Wellington," said Napoleon, on the evening of June 11, 1815; and next morning before daybreak he set out to join his army on the frontiers, taking every precaution to conceal from Wellington that he was coming. Napoleon's object was to separate Blücher from Wellington, then to deal with each singly, and thus to crush them forever. Then France, rejoicing to see glory once more resting on her eagles, would again hail him as her emperor.

While at dinner, Wellington received the first news of the advance of Napoleon. Thinking that this was merely a feint to draw the allies toward Ligny, while a serious attempt was made upon Brussels, Wellington, who had already prepared himself for any emergency, determined to wait till Napoleon's object was more fully displayed; while, therefore, he gave orders that the troops should be in readiness to march at a moment's notice, he, with his officers, joined in the festivities of a ball given that evening by the Duchess of Richmond.

Blücher's second courier arrived before twelve o'clock, and the despatches were delivered to the duke in the ball-room. While he was reading them, he seemed completely absorbed by their contents; and after he had finished, for some minutes he remained in the same attitude of deep reflection, totally abstracted from every surrounding object, while his countenance was expressive of fixed and intense thought. He was heard to mutter to himself, "Marshal Blücher thinks"—"It is Marshal Blücher's opinion;"—and after remaining thus abstracted a few minutes, and having apparently formed his decision, he gave his usual clear and concise orders to one of his staff officers, who instantly left the room, and was again as gay and animated as ever; he stayed to supper, and then went home.

A review of the British Army by Wellington.

The trumpet's loud call awoke every sleeper in the city of Brussels a little (p. 275) after midnight. Then it became known that the French had advanced to Charleroi, which they had taken, and that the English troops were ordered to advance and support the Prussians. Instantly the place resounded with martial preparations; and as soldiers were quartered in every house, the whole town became one bustling scene.

At daylight the troops were under arms, and at eight o'clock set out for Quatre Bras, the expected scene of action in advance of Charleroi; the fifth division taking the direct road through the forest of Soignies.

Early in the afternoon, Marshal Ney attacked the Prince of Orange, and by an overwhelming superiority of troops was driving him back through a thick wood called "Le Bois de Bossen," when the leading columns of the English reached Quatre Bras. Wellington's eye at once saw the critical condition of his ally; and, though the troops had marched twenty miles under a sultry sky, he knew their spirit was indomitable, and gave the welcome order that the wood must be immediately regained.

On came Ney's infantry, doubling that of his opponents' in number, supported by a crashing fire of artillery, quickly followed by the cavalry, which, dashing through the rye crops, more than breast high, charged the English regiments as soon as they reached the battle-ground.

Yet, though unable properly to establish themselves, they formed squares, and roughly repelled the enemy. Fierce and frequent were the efforts of the French to break the squares. Showers of grape poured upon them; and the moment an opening appeared, on rushed the lancers. But the dead were quickly removed; and, though the squares were lessened, they still presented an unbroken line of glittering bayonets, which neither the spears of the lancers, nor the long swords of the cuirassiers could break through. A division of the Guards from Enghien, coming up at this crisis, gallantly charged the enemy, and in half an hour cleared the wood of them completely. This exploit was remarkable, achieved as it was by young soldiers after a toilsome march of fifteen hours, during which time they had been without anything to eat or drink. The fire of the French artillery, and the charges of cavalry, obliged these gallant fellows, although now joined by the Brunswickers, in some measure to keep the shelter of the wood. They, however, sallied out at intervals, until Ney, finding himself shaken, sent for his reserve. This force Napoleon had unexpectedly removed to support his attack on the Prussians at Ligny; yet the marshal maintained his position to the close of the day, when he fell back on the road to Frasnes, while the British and their brave allies lighted fires, and securing such provisions as they could, after a scanty meal, piled arms, and lay down to rest on the battle-field.

Napoleon's simultaneous attack on the Prussians at Ligny was for a long time doubtful. Both Blücher and Napoleon were compelled to bring their reserves into action; and when night closed, Blücher still, "like a wounded lion," fought with ferocity. But the darkness enabled Napoleon to wheel a division of French infantry on the rear of the Prussians, while a dense body of cuirassiers forced Ligny on the other side, and not till then did Blücher fall back.

(p. 276) Wellington was prepared to accept battle at daybreak next morning; but, hearing of Blücher's retreat, he also resolved to fall back, so as to keep a lateral communication with the right wing of the Prussians, and by this movement also prevent Bonaparte from placing himself between the two armies, when at his choice he might turn his forces against either, in which case the inferiority of numbers would have entailed certain defeat.

Napoleon expected to find the English army still upon the ground it had occupied on the 16th. Great was his surprise when, on reaching the heights above Frasnes, he saw that the troops at the entrance of the wood were only a strong rear-guard, and that the retreat toward Brussels was already half effected. He bitterly rebuked Ney for his supposed negligence, though Wellington's own officers did not imagine they were to retreat till the moment it began; and the duke, by dexterously wheeling his troops round the wood, part of which could only be seen by the French, gave their marshal the idea that he was bringing up large reinforcements instead of drawing off his troops. The French squadrons immediately commenced the pursuit, but were so rudely handled by the Life Guards under Lord Uxbridge, who protected the rear, that, after several attacks, in the last of which the French hussars were charged and nearly cut to pieces, the pursuit was so severely checked as to give the infantry ample time to take up the ground appointed them on the heights of Mont St. Jean, covering the approach to Brussels by the great road from Charleroi.

"Here it was that the duke had determined to make his final stand, staking the glory of many years on the issue of a single battle."

When day broke, and Napoleon beheld his opponents, whom he feared would have escaped him during the night, fearlessly occupying their position of the evening before, and evidently prepared to defend it, a flush of joy overspread his face, while he exclaimed confidently, "Bravo! I have them then—these English!"

By nine o'clock the weather moderated, the sun shone out, fires were kindled, the men dried and cleaned their arms, and, ammunition being served out, provisions were distributed, and the men breakfasted "with some degree of comfort."

Since daybreak occasional shots had been fired; but not till eleven o'clock did the battle begin. A body of light troops left the French line, and, descending the hill at a sling trot, broke into scattered parties, keeping up an irregular fire as they advanced toward the Château of Hougoumont. These were closely followed by three divisions nearly thirty thousand strong; and the dropping fire was soon changed into one continued roll of musketry. As the English skirmishers fell back, two brigades of British artillery opened on the advancing columns of the French, each shot plunging and tearing through their masses, while the shells from the howitzers fell so truly that the shaken columns drew back. But now a powerful artillery opened from the French heights, fresh troops poured forward, and for more than an hour the line of each army remained spectators of the terrific attack on the château, surrounded by a dense cloud of smoke, through which glared forth the flashes of the artillery. The French guns (p. 277) had found their range; every shot told upon the old walls of the mansion; and crashing masonry, burning rafters falling, mingled with the yell of battle, added a frightful interest to the scene. At length the Nassau sharpshooters were driven back, and the French troops began to penetrate the orchard; but, ere they could occupy it the squadrons of English cavalry, under Lord Saltoun, bore down upon them, and drove them back. Wheeling round, they then attempted the rear of the château, but being received unflinchingly, were obliged to retire. Despairing of success, the French artillery now discharged shells upon Hougoumont; the tower and chapel were soon in a blaze, and in these many wounded men met a dreadful fate. Still, though surrounded by flames and bursting shells, with the heavy shot ploughing through wall and window, the Guards held their post, nor could Hougoumont be taken.

"How beautifully these English fight! But they must give way," exclaimed Napoleon to Marshal Soult. But evening came, and yet they held their ground. The men, maddened by seeing their comrades falling around them, longed ardently for the moment to advance; but Wellington felt that the crisis was not yet come. It required all his authority to restrain the troops; but he knew their powers of endurance.

"Not yet, my brave fellows," said the duke; "be firm a little longer, and you shall have at them by-and-by." This homely appeal kept each man in his place in the ranks. But now the superior officers remonstrated, and advised a retreat.

"Will the troops stand?" demanded Wellington.

"Till they perish!" was the reply.

"Then," added the duke, "I will stand with them to the last man."

Yet Wellington was not insensible of the critical nature of his position, and longed for night or Blücher. It was now seven, and the Prussians had been expected at three. In less than an hour, the sound of artillery was heard in the expected direction, and a staff officer brought word that the head of the Prussian column was at Planchenoit, nearly in the rear of the French reserve. Bonaparte, when told of their advance, maintained that it was Grouchy's long-expected force coming up; but when he saw them issue from the wood, and perceived the Prussian colors, he turned pale, but uttered not a word.

Napoleon's Imperial Guards—his veteran troops—were now advancing, covered by a tempest of shot and shells, toward the ridge behind which lay the British infantry to gain a shelter from the fire. Wellington eagerly watched the dense cloud as it approached; and when it arrived within a hundred yards, advancing on horseback to the brow of the ridge, he exclaimed, "Up, Guards, and at them!"

In a moment the men were on their feet—the French closed on them, when a tremendous volley drove the whole mass back; but the old Imperial Guard recovered, yet only to receive a second volley as deadly as the first, followed by a bold charge with the bayonet, which forced them down the slope, and up the opposite bank. In vain the French attempted to support them by taking the (p. 278) Guards in flank. Lord Hill brought forward the extreme right of the army, in the form of a crescent, which overlapping the horsemen, they were crushed as in a serpent's folds, while the infantry fell back, re-formed, and occupied their former place on the ridge.

Wellington's quick eye already detected the confusion caused by the Prussian attack under General Bülow on the French rear. Hastily closing his telescope, he exclaimed, "The hour is come! Now every man must advance!"

Forming into one long line, four men deep, the whole infantry advanced, with a loud cheer, the sun at the instant streaming out as if to shed his last glories on the conquerors of that dreadful day. Headed by the duke, with his hat in hand, the line advanced with spirit and rapidity, while the horse-artillery opened a fire of canister-shot on the confused masses.

For a few minutes they stood their ground gallantly; and, even when the allied cavalry charged full upon them, four battalions of the Old Guard formed squares, and checked its advance. As the grapeshot tore through the ranks of the veterans, they closed up again, and, to every summons to surrender, gave the stern reply, "The Guard never surrender—they die!"

Napoleon had already fled. Finding all hope of victory gone, he at first threw himself into one of the squares of the Old Guard, determined to die with them, but when the Prussians gained on their rear, and he was in danger of being made prisoner, he exclaimed, "For the present it is finished. Let us save ourselves!" and, turning his horse's head, he fled with ten or twelve of his immediate attendants.

It was now half-past nine at night, and the moon rose with more than ordinary splendor. The French, now a mass of fugitives, were closely pursued by both armies, and a fearful slaughter ensued between Waterloo and Genappe. At the latter place the British discontinued the pursuit; but the Prussians, comparatively fresh, pursued without intermission; their light-horse putting no limit to their revenge. Many of the poor fugitives sought shelter in the villages on their route; but at the sound of a Prussian trumpet they fled again, only to be overtaken and cut down.

Wellington re-crossed the field of Waterloo to sup at Brussels. The moonlight revealed all the horrors of the scene—his stern nature gave way—and, bursting into tears, he exclaimed, "I have never fought such a battle, and I hope never to fight such another."

He never did. Waterloo was his last battle, though he lived for nearly forty years afterward, a leader in English politics, and died in 1852, a national hero, a worthy twin figure to the immortal Nelson.[Back to Contents]

(p. 279) LORD HORATIO NELSON
(1758-1805)

Lord Nelson.

Horatio Nelson was born at Burnham Thorpe, in Norfolk, September 29, 1758. His father, the rector of that parish, was burdened with a numerous family; and it is said to have been more with a view to lighten that burden than from predilection for the service, that at the age of twelve he expressed a wish to go to sea, under the care of his uncle, Captain Suckling. Of his early adventures it is unnecessary to speak in detail. In 1773 he served in Captain Phipps's voyage of discovery in the Northern Polar seas. His next station was the East Indies; from which, at the end of eighteen months, he was compelled to return by a very severe and dangerous illness. In April, 1777, he passed his examination, and was immediately commissioned as second lieutenant of the Lowestoffe frigate, then fitting out for Jamaica.

Fortunate in conciliating the good-will and esteem of those with whom he served, he passed rapidly through the lower ranks of his profession, and was made post-captain, with the command of the Hinchinbrook, of twenty-eight guns, June 11, 1779, when not yet of age. In 1782 he was appointed to the Albemarle, twenty-eight; and in 1784 to the Boreas, twenty-eight, in which he served for three years in the West Indies, and though in time of peace, gave signal proof of his resolution and strict sense of duty, by being the first to insist on the exclusion of the Americans from direct trade with the British colonies, agreeably to the terms of the Navigation Act. He had no small difficulties to contend with; for the planters and the colonial authorities were united against him, and even the admiral on the station coincided with their views, and gave orders that the Americans should be allowed free access to the islands. Still Nelson persevered. Transmitting a respectful remonstrance to the admiral, he seized four of the American ships, and after a long and tedious process at law, in which he incurred much anxiety and expense, he succeeded in procuring their condemnation by the Admiralty Court. Neither his services in this matter, nor his efforts to expose and remedy the peculations and dishonesty of the government agents, in almost all matters connected with naval affairs in the West Indies, were duly acknowledged by the Government at home; and in moments of spleen when (p. 280) suffering under inconveniences which a conscientious discharge of his duty had brought on him, he talked of quitting the service of an ungrateful country. In March, 1787, he married Mrs. Nisbet, a West-Indian lady, and in the same year returned to England. He continued unemployed till January, 1793; when, on the breaking out of the French wars, he was appointed to the Agamemnon, sixty-four, and ordered to serve in the Mediterranean under the command of Lord Hood.

An ample field for action was now open to him. Lord Hood, who had known him in the West Indies, and appreciated his merits, employed him to co-operate with Paoli in delivering Corsica from its subjection to France; and most laboriously and ably did he perform the duty intrusted to him. The siege and capture of Bastia was entirely owing to his efforts; and at the siege of Calvi, during which he lost an eye, and throughout the train of successes which brought about the temporary annexation of Corsica to the British crown, his services, and those of the brave crew of the Agamemnon, were conspicuous. In 1795 Nelson was selected to co-operate with the Austrian and Sardinian troops in opposing the progress of the French in the north of Italy. The incapacity, if not dishonesty, and the bad success of those with whom he had to act, rendered this service irksome and inglorious; and his mortification was heightened when orders were sent out to withdraw the fleet from the Mediterranean, and evacuate Corsica and Elba. These reverses, however, were the prelude to a day of glory. On February 13, 1797, the British fleet, commanded by Sir John Jervis, fell in with the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent. In the battle which ensued, Nelson, who had been raised to the rank of Commodore, and removed to the Captain, seventy-four, bore a most distinguished part. Apprehensive lest the enemy might be enabled to escape without fighting, he did not hesitate to disobey signals, and executed a manœuvre which brought the Captain into close action at once with three first-rates, an eighty, and two seventy-four gun ships. Captain Trowbridge, in the Culloden, immediately came to his support, and they maintained the contest for near an hour against this immense disparity of force. One first-rate and one seventy-four dropped astern disabled; but the Culloden was also crippled, and the Captain was fired on by five ships of the line at once; when Captain Collingwood, in the Excellent, came up and engaged the huge Santissima Trinidad, of one hundred and thirty-six guns. By this time the Captain's rigging was all shot away; and she lay unmanageable abreast of the eighty-gun ship, the San Nicolas. Nelson seized the opportunity to board, and was himself among the first to enter the Spanish ship. She struck after a short struggle; and, sending for fresh men, he led the way from his prize to board the San Josef, of one hundred and twelve guns, exclaiming, "Westminster Abbey or victory." The ships immediately surrendered. Nelson received the most lively and public thanks for his services from the admiral, who was raised to the peerage by the title of Earl St. Vincent. Nelson received the Order of the Bath; he had already been made Rear-Admiral, before tidings of the battle reached England.

During the spring, Sir Horatio Nelson commanded the inner squadron employed (p. 281) in the blockade of Cadiz. He was afterward despatched on an expedition against Teneriffe, which was defeated with considerable loss to the assailants. The admiral himself lost his right arm, and was obliged to return to England, where he languished more than four months before the cure of his wound was completed. His services were rewarded by a pension of £1,000. On this occasion he was required by official forms to present a memorial of the services in which he had been engaged; and as our brief account can convey no notion of the constant activity of his early life, we quote the abstract of this paper given by Mr. Southey. "It stated that he had been in four actions with the fleets of the enemy, and in three actions with boats employed in cutting out of harbor, in destroying vessels, and in taking three towns; he had served on shore with the army four months, and commanded the batteries at the sieges of Bastia and Calvi; he had assisted at the capture of seven sail of the line, six frigates, four corvettes, and eleven privateers; taken and destroyed near fifty sail of merchant vessels, and actually been engaged against the enemy upward of a hundred and twenty times; in which service he had lost his right eye and right arm, and been severely wounded and bruised in his body."

Early in 1798 Nelson went out in the Vanguard to rejoin Lord St. Vincent off Cadiz. He was immediately despatched with a squadron, into the Mediterranean, to watch an armament known to be fitting out at Toulon, the destination of which excited much anxiety. It sailed May 20th, attacked and took Malta, and then proceeded, as Nelson supposed, to Egypt. Strengthened by a powerful reinforcement, he made all sail for Alexandria; but there no enemy had been seen or heard of. He returned in haste along the north coast of the Mediterranean to Sicily, refreshed the fleet, and again sailed to the eastward. On nearing Alexandria the second time, August 1st, he had the pleasure of seeing the object of his toilsome cruise moored in Aboukir Bay, in line of battle. It appeared afterward that the two fleets must have crossed each other on the night of June 22d.

The French fleet consisted of thirteen ships of the line and four frigates; the British of the same number of ships of the line, and one fifty-gun ship. In number of guns and men the French had a decided superiority. It was evening before the British fleet came up. The battle began at half-past six; night closed in at seven, and the struggle was continued through the darkness—a magnificent and awful spectacle to thousands who watched the engagement with eager anxiety. Victory was not long doubtful. The first two ships of the French line were dismasted in a quarter of an hour; the third, fourth, and fifth were taken by half-past eight; about ten, the L'Orient, Admiral Bruey's flag-ship, blew up. By daybreak the two rear ships, which had not been engaged, cut their cables and stood out to sea, in company with two frigates, leaving nine ships of the line in the hands of the British, who were too much crippled to engage in pursuit. Two ships of the line and two frigates were burnt or sunk. Three out of the four ships which escaped were subsequently taken; and thus, of the whole armament, only a single frigate returned to France.

(p. 282) This victory, the most complete and most important then known in naval warfare, raised Nelson to the summit of glory, and presents and honors were showered on him from all quarters. The gratitude of his country was expressed, inadequately in comparison with the rewards bestowed on others for less important services, by raising him to the peerage, by the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile, with a pension of £2,000. The Court of Naples, to which the battle of Aboukir was as a reprieve from destruction, testified a due sense of its obligation by bestowing on him the dukedom and domain of Bronte, in Sicily.

The autumn of 1798, the whole of 1799, and part of 1800, Nelson spent in the Mediterranean, employed in the recovery of Malta, in protecting Sicily, and in co-operating to expel the French from the Neapolitan continental dominions. In 1800 various causes of discontent led him to solicit leave to return to England, where he was received with the enthusiasm due to his services.

Soon afterward he separated himself formally from Lady Nelson. In March, 1801, he sailed as second in command of the expedition against Copenhagen, led by Sir Hyde Parker. The dilatoriness with which it was conducted increased the difficulties of this enterprise, and might have caused it to fail, had not Nelson's energy and talent been at hand to overcome the obstacles occasioned by this delay. The attack was intrusted to him by Sir Hyde Parker, and executed April 2d, with his usual promptitude and success. After a fierce engagement, with great slaughter on both sides, the greater part of the Danish line of defence was captured or silenced. Nelson then sent a flag of truce on shore, and an armistice was concluded. He bore honorable testimony to the gallantry of his opponents. "The French," he said, "fought bravely, but they could not have supported for one hour the fight which the Danes had supported for four." May 5th Sir Hyde Parker was recalled, and Nelson appointed Commander-in-chief; but no further hostilities occurred, and suffering greatly from the climate, he almost immediately returned home. For this battle he was raised to the rank of Viscount.

At this time much alarm prevailed with respect to the meditated invasion of England; and the command of the coast from Orfordness to Beachy Head was offered to him, and accepted. But he thought the alarm idle; he felt the service to be irksome; and gladly retired from it at the peace of Amiens. When war was renewed in 1803, he took the command of the Mediterranean fleet. For more than a year he kept his station off Toulon, eagerly watching for the French fleet. In January, 1805, it put to sea, and escaped the observation of his lookout ships. He made for Egypt, and failing to meet with them, returned to Malta, where he found information that they had been dispersed in a gale, and forced to put back to Toulon. Villeneuve put to sea again, March 31st, formed a junction with the Spanish fleet in Cadiz, and sailed for the West Indies. Thither Nelson followed him, after considerable delay for want of information and from contrary winds; but the enemy still eluded his pursuit, and he was obliged to retrace his anxious course to Europe, without the longed-for meeting, and with no other satisfaction than that of having frustrated by his diligence their designs on the English colonies. June 20, 1805, he landed at Gibraltar, that being the first (p. 283) time that he had set foot ashore since June 16, 1803. After cruising in search of the enemy till the middle of August, he was ordered to Portsmouth, where he learned that an indecisive action had taken place between the combined fleets returning from the West Indies, and the British under Sir Robert Calder.

Nelson at Trafalgar.

He had not been many days established at home before certain news arrived that the French and Spanish fleets had entered Cadiz. Eager to gain the reward of his long watchings, and laborious pursuit, he again offered his services, which were gladly accepted. He embarked at Portsmouth, September 14, 1805, on board the Victory, to take the command of the fleet lying off Cadiz, under Admiral Collingwood, his early friend and companion in the race of fame. The last battle in which Nelson was engaged was fought off Cape Trafalgar, October 21, 1805. The enemy were superior in number of ships, and still more in size and weight of metal. Nelson bore down on them in two lines, heading one himself, while Collingwood, in the Royal Sovereign, led the other, which first entered into action. "See," cried Nelson, as the Royal Sovereign cut through the centre of the enemy's line, and muzzle to muzzle engaged a three-decker, "see how that noble fellow Collingwood carries his ships into action." Collingwood, on the other hand, said to his captain, "Rotherham, what would Nelson give to be here?" As the Victory approached an incessant raking fire was directed against her, by which fifty of her men were killed and wounded before a single gun was returned. Nelson steered for his old opponent at Cape St. Vincent, the Santissima Trinidad, distinguished by her size, and opened his fire at four minutes after twelve, engaging the Redoubtable with his starboard, the Santissima Trinidad and Bucentaur with his larboard guns.

About a quarter past one, a musket-ball, fired from the mizzen-top of the Redoubtable, struck him on the left shoulder, and he fell. From the first he felt the wound to be mortal. He suffered intense pain, yet still preserved the liveliest interest in the fate of the action; and the joy visible in his countenance as often as the hurrahs of the crew announced that an enemy had struck, testified how near his heart, even in the agonies of death, was the accomplishment of the great work to which his life had been devoted. He lived to know that his victory was complete and glorious, and expired tranquilly at half-past four. His last words were, "Thank God, I have done my duty."

He had indeed done his duty, and completed his task; for thenceforth no hostile fleet presumed to contest the dominion of the sea. It may seem mournful that he did not survive to enjoy the thanks and honors with which a grateful country would have rejoiced to recompense this crowning triumph. But he had reached the pinnacle of fame; and his death in the hour of victory has tended far more than a few years of peaceful life, to keep alive his memory in the hearts of a people which loved, and a navy which adored him.[Back to Contents]

(p. 284) ISRAEL PUTNAM
(1718-1790)

Men searching in rocks.

Israel Putnam, the redoubtable hero of Indian and French adventure in the old colonial wars, the survivor of many a revolutionary fight, was born at Salem, Mass., January 7, 1718. His grandfather, from the south of England, was one of the first settlers of the place. The boy was brought up with his father on the farm. He had little education in literature; much in the development of a hardy, vigorous constitution, in his contest with the soil and the actual world about him. He was fond of athletic exercises, an adept in running and wrestling, in which he proved himself more than a match for his village companions. The story is told of his being insulted for his rusticity, on his first visit to Boston, by a youth of twice his size, when he taught the citizen better manners by a sound flogging.

Before he was of age, he was married to the daughter of John Pope, of Salem, and presently removed with his wife to a farm in the town of Pomfret, in Eastern Connecticut. His rugged powers were, no doubt, sufficiently taxed in the ordinary labors of the field. In those days the farmer had enemies to encounter, which have since vanished from the land.

The well-known fable of Æsop, of the boy and the wolf, had then a literal application. Every child in the days of our fathers knew the story of Putnam, and the she-wolf which he dragged from its den. This and similar tales go far to make up the popular reputation of the hero, and it was as a man of the people that Putnam first appears upon the public scene.

On the breaking out of the old French war, as it was termed, at the age of thirty-seven, he drew together a band of his neighbors and reported himself with the Connecticut contingent before Crown Point. He appears to have been employed in this service under Major Rogers, the celebrated partisan "ranger," whose life he is said to have saved in an encounter with a stalwart Frenchman. Putnam conducted himself as a man of resources and valor in this mixed species of warfare, in achieving a reputation which brought him, in 1757, the commission of a major from the Connecticut Legislature. It was the year of the memorable massacre of Fort William Henry. Putnam was with the forces whose head-quarters were at the neighboring Fort Edward, under command of General Webb, and (p. 285) made several vigorous attempts to assist in the support of the beleaguered fortress, but his efforts were not seconded by the commander, who ungenerously left the fort a prey to Montcalm and the Indians. These adventures of Putnam displayed his personal courage, in approaching the enemy on Lake George, and subsequently in command of his Rangers in rescuing a party of his fellow-soldiers from an Indian ambuscade at Fort Edward.

The year 1758 saw Major Putnam again in the field, under the command of Abercrombie, at the scene of his former labors, in the vicinity of Lake George. In the early movements of the campaign, Putnam distinguished himself in an ambuscade, by a destructive night attack upon a party of the enemy at Wood Creek. When the main line advanced toward Ticonderoga, he was, with the lamented Lord Howe, in the front of the centre, when that much-loved officer was slain upon the march. It was the first meeting, after landing from Lake George, with the advance of the French troops. There was some skirmishing, which attracted the attention of the officers. Putnam advanced to the spot, accompanied, contrary to his dissuasions, by Lord Howe, who fell at the first fire. The party of Putnam, enraged by this disaster, fought with gallantry, and inflicted a heavy loss upon their opponents. The result of this miserably conducted expedition, however, made no amends for the loss of the gallant Howe. Two thousand men were blunderingly sacrificed before Ticonderoga, and the threatened siege was abandoned.

The life of Putnam is full of perilous encounters incident to border service against the Indians. In one of these he narrowly avoided capture by the savages on the Hudson, near Fort Miller. He escaped only by shooting the rapids with his boat, a marvellous adventure, which is said to have wakened a superstitious veneration for him in the minds of his Indian assailants.

Not long afterward, however, the barbarians had an opportunity of treating him with less respect. It was in the month of August of this year that he was engaged with a reconnoitring party in company with the partisan Rogers, near Ticonderoga. They had been employed in watching the movements of the enemy, and were on their return to Fort Edward when the attention of the French partisan officer, Molang, who was on the lookout, was attracted to them by a careless shooting-match between Rogers and a fellow British officer. A confused hand-to-hand action ensued in the woods, in the course of which Putnam, his gun missing fire, "while the muzzle was pressed against the breast of a large and well-proportioned savage," was captured and bound to a tree by that formidable personage. The English party now rallying, drove their pursuers backward, which brought the unfortunate Putnam to a central position between two fires. "Human imagination," well says Colonel Humphreys, "can hardly figure to itself a more deplorable situation." Putnam remained more than an hour deprived of all power save that of hearing and vision, as the musket-balls whizzed by his ears and a ruthless savage aimed his tomahawk repeatedly, with the infernal dexterity of a Chinese juggler, within a hair's breadth of his person. This amusement was succeeded by the attempt of a French petty-officer to put (p. 286) an end to his life by discharging his musket against his breast. It happily missed fire. The action was now brought to an end in favor of the Provincials; but Putnam was carried off in the retreat by his Indian captor. He was now destined to witness one of those scenes, since so well described by Cooper, of the peculiar tortures inflicted by the Indians upon their prisoners in war; but unhappily with less complacent feelings than the reader of the skilful novelist experiences, whose terrors are tempered by the delightful art of the narrator. With Putnam the spectator and the sufferer were the same. He has been bound on the march with intolerable thongs, he has almost perished under his burdens, he has been tomahawked in the face; he is now to be roasted alive. A dark forest is selected for the sacrifice; stripped naked, he is bound to a tree, and the inflammable brushwood piled around him. Savage voices sound his death-knell. Fire is applied, when a sudden shower dampens the flame, to burst forth again with renewed strength. Though securely fastened, the limbs of the victim are left some liberty to shrink from the accursed heat. He has thought his last thought of home, of wife and children, when the desperate French partisan, Molang, the commander of the savage hordes, hearing of the act, rushes upon the scene and rescues him from his tormentors. Putnam is now restored to the guardianship of the Indian chief by whom he had been captured, and from whom he was separated during these hours of agony, when he had fallen into the hands of the baser fellows of the tribe. The party now reach Ticonderoga, where Putnam is delivered to Montcalm, and thence courteously conducted by a French officer to Montreal.

There he found himself within reach of a benevolent American officer, then a prisoner in the city, Colonel Peter Schuyler, who generously ministered to his necessities, and who was instrumental in procuring his release from the French commander, when he himself was exchanged after the capture of Frontenac. Putnam, on his return home, gallantly conducted through the wilderness the sorely tried Mrs. Howe and her children, whose adventures in Indian captivity and among the French, equal the inventive pages of romance.

The next year, in Amherst's great campaign, Putnam returned to Montreal under better auspices. He was with that commander in his onward movement, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and rendered efficient service in the passage down the St. Lawrence, by his bravery and ingenuity. When the fort of Oswegatchie was to be attacked, and two armed vessels were in the way, he proposed to silence the latter by driving wedges to hinder the movement of their rudders, and to cross the abatis of the fortification by an attack from boats, armed with long planks, which were to be let down when the vessels, protected by fascines, were placed alongside of the work. A timely surrender anticipated both of these expedients. The dying Wolfe had conquered Canada at Quebec, making victory easy elsewhere in the province. Montreal surrendered to the allied forces without a blow. Putnam, it is recorded, availed himself of the opportunity to look up the Indian chief who had taken him prisoner, and exchange civilities and hospitalities, now that the tables were turned.

(p. 287) We next find Putnam in charge of a Connecticut regiment, in a novel field of warfare, on the coast of Cuba, in Lord Albemarle's attack upon Havana, in 1762. He was in considerable danger in a storm, when the transport in which he embarked with his men was wrecked on a reef of the island; a landing was effected by rafts, and a fortified camp established on the shore. He was again fortunate in escaping the dangers of a climate so fatal to his countrymen. On his return home, he was engaged in service against the Indians, with the title of colonel. The war being now over, he retired to his farm, which he continued to cultivate till he was again called into the field by the stirring summons of Lexington.

In the preliminary scenes of the war, he fairly represented the feeling of the mass of his countrymen, as it was excited by the successive acts of parliamentary aggression. As a soldier of the old French war, he had learned the weakness of British officers in America, and the strength of a hardy, patriotic peasantry. "If," he said, "it required six years for the combined forces of England and her colonies to conquer such a feeble colony as Canada, it would, at least, take a very long time for England alone to overcome her own widely extended colonies, which were much stronger." Another anecdote is characteristic of the blunt farmer. Being once asked whether he did not seriously believe "that a well-appointed British army of five thousand veterans could march through the whole continent of America," he replied, "no doubt, if they behaved civilly, and paid well for everything they wanted; but—if they should attempt it in a hostile manner, though the American men were out of the question, the women, with their ladles and broomsticks, would knock them all on the head before they had got half way through."

The news of Lexington—the war message—transmitted from hand to hand till village repeated it to village, the sea to the backwoods, "found the farmer of Pomfret, two days after the conflict, like Cincinnatus, literally at the plough." He unyoked his team and hastened in his rude dress to the camp. Summoning the forces of Connecticut, he was placed at their head, with the rank of Major-General, and stood ready at Cambridge for the bloody day of Bunker's Hill. He was in service in May, in the spirited affair checking the British supplies from Noddle's Island, in Boston Harbor, and resolutely counselled the occupation of the heights of Charlestown. When the company of Prescott went forth on the night of June 16th, to their gallant work, he was with them, taking no active command, but assisting where opportunity served. He was seen in different parts of the field, but his chief exertions appear to have been expended upon the attempted fortification of Bunker's Hill, where he met the fugitives in the retreat, and conducted "such of them as would obey him," says Bancroft, to the night's encampment at Prospect Hill.

Putnam's was one of the first Congressional appointments, ten days before the battle, when the rank of Major-General was conferred upon him. He continued to serve at the siege of Boston, and when the theatre of operations was changed by the departure of the British to New York, was placed by Washington, in 1776, in command in that city until his own arrival. He employed himself (p. 288) during this short period, with several devices for the safety of the harbor. In August, on the landing of Howe, he was, upon the sudden illness of Greene, who had directed the fortifications, and after the arrival of the British, left in command at the battle of Long Island, and much censure has been thrown upon him for the neglect of the passes by which the American left was turned. In the actual combat there appears to have been a divided authority.

The abandonment of New York next followed, with the retreat to Westchester and the passage through the Jerseys. Putnam was then, in January, 1777, ordered to Philadelphia to make provision for its defence. In May, he was put in command of the post at the Highlands, to secure its defences, and observe, from that central position, the movements of the enemy. In the summer of this year, Sir Henry Clinton, at New York, sent up the river a flag of truce to claim one Edmund Palmer, who had been taken in the American camp, as a lieutenant in the British service. This drew forth from Putnam a reply which has been often quoted:

"Headquarters, August 7, 1777.

"Edmund Palmer, an officer in the enemy's service, was taken as a spy lurking within our lines; he has been tried as a spy, condemned as a spy, and shall be executed as a spy, and the flag is ordered to depart immediately.

"Israel Putnam.

"P.S.—He has been accordingly executed."

In September, a portion of Putnam's command was withdrawn by Washington for the support of the army in Pennsylvania, by a peremptory order which, it is said, put an end to a plan formed by Putnam for a separate attack on the enemy at New York. Forts Montgomery and Clinton, at the entrance to the Highlands, fell into the hands of Clinton by a surprise shortly after, but the conquest of this important position was neutralized by the victory of Gates, at Saratoga. The British remained at Fort Montgomery but twenty days. Putnam seems still to have entertained some project in connection with New York, which led him to withhold troops called for by the imperious necessities of Washington. The neglect of these orders brought a pointed letter from Hamilton, and an equally significant rebuke from Washington himself. In the following spring, Putnam was relieved of his command in the Highlands by the appointment of General McDougal to the post, and was ordered to Connecticut to superintend the raising of the new levies. He was stationed the following winter at Danbury, when the famous descent of the precipice at Horse Neck occurred, one of the latest marvels of Putnam's anecdotical career. While he was on a visit to one of his outposts at Horse Neck, Governor Tryon of New York, advanced upon the place with a considerable body of troops. Putnam planted his small force on the hill, but was speedily compelled to provide for the safety of his men by a retreat, and for his own, by plunging down a formidable rocky steep by the roadside.

In 1779, he was again in the Highlands, superintending the defences then (p. 289) erected at West Point, one of which, the fort now in ruins, bore his name. In the winter, he visited his family in Connecticut, and as he was returning to the army, at Morristown, was struck with paralysis. His right side was enfeebled, and his active career ceased, though he enjoyed the cheerful, tranquil pursuits of age. His memory remained unimpaired. One of his amusements was to relate to his friend and military companion, Colonel Humphreys, those events of his varied life, which that officer wrought into the pleasing narrative appropriately addressed to the State Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut, and published by their order. The dedication of the work to Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, bears date June 4, 1788, about two years before the decease of the hero of the story. General Putnam died at Brookline, Conn., May 29, 1790, in his seventy-third year.[Back to Contents]

ANTHONY WAYNE[4]
By O. C. Bosbyshell
(1745-1796)

Anthony Wayne.

Across the pages of history recording mighty conflicts that rock nations and governments to their foundations, flash certain grand characters whose career adds a charm to the dreary and often prosaic narrative. Some bright particular star, whose lustre flings romance over dry facts, firing the hearts of all patriots with enthusiasm and national fervor. Honoring the great commanders of the wars of the ages for their noble deeds, here and there sparkles out the brilliant genius of a warrior with less responsibility, but whose name inspires the ardor of men, the love of women, and the fervor of the poet and novelist. Such a character, such a man, was "Mad" Anthony Wayne, an able, fearless soldier of the American Revolution, so thoroughly patriotic such an earnest, honest believer in the righteous cause for which he fought, that he was mad indeed with all found arrayed against the interests of the Colonists, or with those who, having donned the Continental uniform, were indisposed to fight.

Anthony Wayne was born in Waynesborough, Easttown Township, Chester County, Penn., on January 1, 1745. He sprang from good English stock. His grandfather resided in Yorkshire, England, but during the reign of Charles II. purchased an estate in the County Wicklow, Ireland, and settled on it. Being a thorough (p. 290) Protestant he espoused the cause of King William III., and in the service of that monarch fought in the Battle of the Boyne, as a captain of dragoons. In 1722 he came to America with his four sons, and procured some one thousand six hundred acres of land in Chester County, Penn., upon which he settled in 1724. His youngest son, Isaac, the father of Anthony Wayne, received as his share of his father's estate five hundred acres of land near Paoli. Born and brought up amid the charming surroundings of this most beautiful country, it is easily understood why Anthony Wayne became so thoroughly imbued with tastes for the beautiful. His neatness in dress, and earnest advocacy of a brilliant uniform for the officers and men of the Revolutionary Army, had its foundation in the very atmosphere he lived in, this magnificent Chester Valley. "Dandy" Wayne indeed, but only so far as neatness in dress and delicacy of taste were concerned, for a nobler-minded, more unselfish patriot never entered the army of a nation. Wayne was educated at the Philadelphia Academy, and he became a surveyor of some note. He attended closely, however, to his magnificent farm, and took a lively interest in all affairs affecting his fellow-citizens. In 1765 and 66, only just of age, he was sent to Nova Scotia to survey some lands belonging to Benjamin Franklin and others.

In May, 1766, he married Mary, the daughter of Bartholomew Penrose, a Philadelphia merchant, and settled down to the life of a farmer. He was a stirring man in his neighborhood, fond of an active and out-door life. He was filled with military impulses; his choice of a profession, that of surveyor, evidently arose from his taste for exploration, and for the excitement incident to plunging into trackless wastes of forests and mapping out new boundaries. His love of military pursuits led him to study all the great works on the art of war, and when the time came he was prepared, as few soldiers of the revolution were, for the conflict with the trained soldiers of Great Britain. He formed companies with the men in his neighborhood, and drilled them assiduously. This gave him prominence and popularity, so that he is found a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1774-75. Wayne seemed to have prescience of what was coming, and when the conflict came he was ready. In September, 1775, he raised a regiment of soldiers, of which he became the colonel in the January following, and joined General Sullivan's command in Canada in the spring of 1776. At the battle of Three Rivers, May, 1776, Wayne displayed remarkable military knowledge, and was enabled to extricate his command from difficulties that seemed almost insurmountable. In a letter to Dr. Franklin and others he gives a graphic description of this engagement. Of his men engaged he says, "I have lost more than the one-quarter part, together with a slight touch in my right leg, which is partly well already." This was Wayne's first battle. He displayed such remarkable coolness and excellent judgment throughout this engagement, as to command the respect and admiration of all in the army; his entire career during this unfortunate Canadian campaign exhibited clearly his soldierly qualifications. Recognizing these, General Schuyler, in November, 1776, appointed Colonel Wayne to the command of Fort Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence, which military post Wayne considered the second (p. 291) most important in the country. While stationed here, Wayne busied his men in rendering the place as nearly impregnable as possible, and by warm, fervid letters implored the "powers that be" in Pennsylvania, to send proper clothing, food, and arms to the men of that State serving in his army. So negligent did the State seem to the needs of its men, that this warm-hearted, high-spirited warrior, seriously thought of resigning his commission, being unable to longer witness the impoverished condition of his troops.

Colonel Wayne was appointed Brigadier General in February, 1777, and ordered to join General Washington's army at Morristown, N. J., in April of the same year. He was given command of the "Pennsylvania Line" consisting of two brigades of four regiments each, with a total strength of about 1,700 men. His activity and alertness during the summer, in harassing and annoying the enemy, went far toward ridding the State of that enemy, and gained for him the praise of Washington, who publicly acknowledged his "bravery and good conduct." The British, unable to force their way through New Jersey, determined to go around by sea to Philadelphia, and after embarking at Staten Island were next heard from within the Chesapeake Bay. Washington moved his army to Wilmington, Wayne having been sent ahead to organize the militia rendezvousing in Chester County, Penn. He rejoined the army at Germantown and marched with it to Wilmington.

In the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, Wayne was particularly distinguished. He occupied the left of the American line at Chad's Ford, and had opposed to his forces, the Hessians commanded by Baron von Knyphausen. He fought all day, holding his ground tenaciously, repelling every effort made by the enemy to cross the ford and worrying them by repeated attacks of his light infantry, which he frequently sent over the creek for the purpose. The right wing of the enemy having been turned, Wayne, at sunset, retreated in good order, without the loss of any artillery or stores. On the evening of September 20th, Wayne, with a detachment of twelve hundred men, was suddenly and impetuously attacked at Paoli Tavern by a very large force of the rear guard of the British army, which rear guard he had been sent to annoy. By the betrayal of Tory spies at the time of the attack, the forces "were not more than ten yards distant." Notwithstanding the impetuosity of the attack, by largely overwhelming numbers, Wayne succeeded in extricating his command without loss of artillery, ammunition, or stores. Some sixty-one Americans were killed. A court of inquiry was instituted to inquire into Wayne's conduct of this affair, which resulted so distastefully to him that he demanded a court martial. This court acquitted "him with the highest honors," a conclusion approved by General Washington.

Wayne's residence was searched by the British immediately after the Paoli fight, with the hope of capturing the general. The officer, in his zeal, ripped open a feather-bed with his sword. Mrs. Wayne indignantly exclaimed, "Did you expect to find General Wayne in a feather-bed? Look where the fight is the thickest!"

Wayne led the right wing at the battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, and (p. 292) forced the enemy back a distance of two miles. The British claim that "this was the first time we had ever retreated from the Americans." The balance of the army, failing to accomplish the end desired, Wayne was compelled to retreat, but this he did in good order, and when General Howe, who "could not persuade himself that we had run from victory," as Wayne puts it, followed the Americans, Wayne drew up in line. "When he advanced near we gave him a few cannon shot with some musketry—which caused him to break and run with the utmost confusion." Wayne lost a horse in this engagement, and received slight wounds in the hand and foot. The memorable winter at Valley Forge followed. General Wayne, ever active, devoted his time to procuring necessary supplies for the army. His earnest appeals to the State authorities and men of influence, for the welfare of the brave men at Valley Forge, tell a tale of suffering and endurance hard to realize. Early in the spring of 1778 he successfully raided the British lines, carrying off horses, cattle, forage, and other supplies. After the evacuation of Philadelphia, Wayne kept up a constant annoyance around the rear of the British army, fighting whenever the opportunity came.

The American army re-entered New Jersey in June, 1778, and moved across that State in a line parallel with the route taken by the British army. These lines encountered each other on June 28th, at Monmouth; an engagement fought, in the main, on a plan suggested to General Washington by General Wayne. General Charles Lee's half-hearted action, to call it no more severe name, resulted in the battle of Monmouth being less of a disaster to the British army than it promised. Wayne did his part gloriously. Lee, who with his own command was in full retreat when he should have earnestly supported Wayne, ordered Wayne to retire. This the latter did, chagrined and mortified, until the mortification was turned into delight upon meeting the Commander-in-Chief, who immediately ordered Wayne to advance to the attack again. This was just what Wayne wanted, and with three Pennsylvania regiments, one from Maryland, and one from Virginia, he stayed the assaults of the flower of the English army, the corps d'élite, and successfully held his line, causing the enemy to retire with great loss. General Washington commended General Wayne in the highest terms for his "good conduct and bravery through the whole action." Writing of this engagement to the Secretary of War, Wayne says, "Tell the Phila ladies that the heavenly, sweet, pretty red coats—the accomplished Gent-n of the Guards and Grenadiers have humbled themselves on the plains of Monmouth."

The enemy retreated to New York and remained in that city the balance of the year. Wayne occupied the time in urging active operations and trying to infuse a more aggressive spirit into the management of affairs. At this time public affairs were very much hampered by a feeling of indifference as well as an illusive notion that peace would soon follow. This affected the nation and the army. Wayne baffled these false ideas with all his powers. He urged the Government to forward needed supplies of clothing and food. He could not be inactive; fervid, earnest, and aggressive, he must be ever doing. The American Army kept a close watch upon the movements of the British in New York during the summer (p. 293) and fall of 1779. General Washington organized a Light Infantry Corps and put General Wayne in command. It was considered one of the finest bodies of troops attached to the Continental Army, and was composed, besides "the choicest sons of Pennsylvania," of two Connecticut and one Virginia regiment. The Commander-in-Chief was extremely desirous of driving the British from the forts commanding King's Ferry on the Hudson, at Stony Point, on the western bank of the river, and at Verplanck's Point, directly opposite. This dangerous business was confided to Wayne and his Light Infantry Corps, the plan of operations being carefully prepared by General Washington. This plan was followed by Wayne, except in one particular, which change Washington declared to be an "improvement on his own plan." Wayne, after the most careful preparations, moved to the assault on Stony Point, a fortification strongly built on a rocky eminence, one hundred and fifty feet above the Hudson River, at 12 o'clock at night, on July 16, 1779. Wayne's report to Washington tells the story of the fight most graphically—he says he "gave the troops the most pointed orders not to attempt to fire, but put their whole dependence on the Bayonet—which was most faithfully and Literally Observed—neither the deep Morass, the formidable and double rows of abatis or the high and strong works in front and flank could damp the ardor of the troops—who in the face of a most tremendous and Incessant fire of Musketry and from Artillery loaded with shells and Grape-shot forced their way at the point of the Bayonet thro' every Obstacle, both Columns meeting in the Center of the Enemy's works nearly at the same Instant." Before entering the fort Wayne was struck in the head by a musket-ball; he fell stunned, but soon rallied, and by the assistance of two of his aides, was helped into the fortification and shared the capture with his troops. The Stony Point achievement roused the patriotic spirit of the Americans. It was deemed the most brilliant affair of the war. Congratulations from the Commander-in-Chief, and all the prominent generals, as well as foremost citizens and Assemblies, were heaped upon Wayne, and Congress voted him a gold medal to commemorate his gallant conduct, besides thanking him "for his brave, prudent, and soldier-like conduct in the well-conducted attack on Stony Point."

After the treachery of Arnold, in 1780, the charge of the fort at West Point was committed to General Wayne. He marched his division over the mountain in a dark night, a distance of sixteen miles, in four hours, "without a single halt or a man left behind." In January, 1781, owing to the broken promises of Congress, a large number of the men in the Pennsylvania line mutinied, an event that threatened serious consequences to the American Army. This defection was suppressed peaceably, mainly through the excellent tact of General Wayne. He was idolized by his soldiers, who knew him as the soul of honor, and who placed implicit trust in his statements. Washington in a letter certifies to his "great share in preventing worse extremities" and thanks him for his exertions. In February, 1781, Wayne was ordered to join General Greene's Army, then operating in South Carolina, but upon Lord Cornwallis' rapidly transferring his forces to Virginia, this order was changed, and Wayne was directed to reinforce (p. 294) Lafayette. This he did at Fredericksburg in June. The enemy seemed intent upon destroying all military stores they could reach, and for this purpose continually sent raiding parties through the State. The efforts of Wayne were ever put forth to suppress these raids. Believing, on July 6, 1781, that Cornwallis's forces were divided by the James River, Wayne was sent forward to attack them at Green Springs. He found a great force of the British Army in his front. Too late to retreat, Wayne with true soldierly instinct, having faith in the courage and discipline of his men, boldly charged a force five times as large as his own, threw them into disorder and safely brought his men away under cover of the enemy's confusion.

Cornwallis hastened to Yorktown, the investiture and siege of which Wayne aided in furthering, first, by occupying the ground south of the James River to prevent the enemy's reaching North Carolina; and then in opening the first parallel with six regiments on October 6, 1781. A few days afterward he, with two battalions, covered the Pennsylvania and Maryland troops while they began the second parallel. Wayne, with the Pennsylvania regiments, supported the French troops in the attack of the 14th, and was present at the surrender on the 19th. Notwithstanding a wound in the fleshy part of the leg, early in the siege, caused by a sentry mistaking him, Wayne remained active, and participated in the glory of the capture of Cornwallis and his army. This operation over, Wayne joined the army of General Nathaniel Greene, in South Carolina, in January, 1782, and was instrumental in quelling the disturbances in that section. A very large force of Indians threatened the destruction of his command on the night of June 23, 1782. These Indians were skilfully handled by a noted Creek Chief, as well as by a British officer. They surrounded Wayne's forces and held his artillery. Wayne fiercely attacked, using only the bayonet, and so impetuous was his onslaught, that he broke the lines of the Indians, and routed them completely. The dead body of the Creek leader, who, it is said, was felled by Wayne's own sword, was found on the ground the next day.

Wayne commanded the forces that took possession of Savannah and Charleston, after their evacuation by the British. Having freed the South from all marauders, Wayne returned, much shattered in health from the effect of a low fever, to his old home in Pennsylvania, and settled down to civil life, desiring, as he puts it, "to pass many happy hours in domestic felicity with a few of our friends, unfettered by any public employ and consequently unenvied." He was, however, made a member of the Council of Censors, and in 1784 represented his county in the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. He was likewise, in 1787, a member of the Convention of the State called to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

To better look after an estate given him by the State of Georgia, in recognition of the services he rendered that State, Wayne settled there, and was elected a member of Congress on January 3, 1791. He served from October, 1791, to March, 1792, when, a contest being made, Congress decided his election illegal and declared his seat vacant. Almost immediately after this action, on April 3, (p. 295) 1792, President Washington appointed Wayne Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army, with the rank of Major-General; an appointment confirmed by the Senate on the same day. No more signal act could have marked the approval of Wayne's great services to the nation in the War of the Revolution, than this great mark of approbation conferred by his illustrious Chief. To him was intrusted the settlement of the difficulties then existing with the Indians in the Northwestern Territory. These savages, stirred up by the British, armed with British guns, and often led by British officers, continued the warfare on the Americans after peace had been declared between the contending countries. Efforts to subjugate them under Generals Harmar and St. Clair had failed.

General Wayne, whose entire life clearly shows a man prepared for what may come, wisely drilled the force he collected to undertake this work, for a year. He knew the value of a well-drilled and disciplined army. Having perfected his troops, he, by easy stages, advanced into the disturbed territory, establishing posts at various points, which he cleverly fortified, and upon every occasion and opportunity offered the savages peace. These offers were as often rejected. From Fort Defiance, a fort he built and named, at the junction of the Miami and Le Glaize rivers, he, in August, 1794, went down the Miami River, with about one thousand men, until he came close to a British post, at the foot of the rapids of the river. Here he sent a last overture to the Indians, promising peace if they would lay down their arms. Upon their rejecting this, he, on August 20th, moved to the head of the rapids, and attacked them with such vigor, using again his favorite weapon, the bayonet, that their defeat was overwhelming. The entire surrounding country was laid waste. The army advanced to the junction of the St. Joseph's and St. Mary's rivers, where a strong fort was built and named Fort Wayne. The present flourishing city of that name in Indiana now stands upon this spot. The winter was spent in Greeneville, at which place the Indians, on August 3, 1795, against the wishes of their leaders and English allies, signed a treaty of peace, in which twelve tribes took part—a peace which was never broken, and by which an immense territory was ceded to the United States and opened up for settlement. Wayne returned early in 1796, on a short visit to Pennsylvania, and everywhere en route received the plaudits of his fellow-citizens. His reception in Philadelphia was exceedingly brilliant. The unsettled condition of affairs in the Northwest, however, made his stay brief. Having been appointed sole commissioner to treat with the disaffected parties there, and directed to take possession of all forts held by the British in that country, he returned in June of the same year. With great tact he performed wisely and well the difficult mission intrusted to him. In November he left Detroit to visit the last of the posts included in his orders. This was then called Presque Isle, but is now the site of the city of Erie. When within a short sail of this post a severe and sudden attack of the gout came on. He was carried into the block-house at Presque Isle, in a dying condition, and lingered in great agony until December 15, 1796, when he died. By his own desire he was buried "at the foot of the flag-staff on a high hill called 'Garrison Hill,' north of the present Soldiers' (p. 296) Home." (Stille, 343.) In 1809, his son, Colonel Isaac Wayne, removed the body to the family burying-ground at St. David's Church, Radnor, Penn., where, on July 4th of the same year, the Society of the Cincinnati erected a monument in his honor.

So lived, so died, Anthony Wayne; gentleman, soldier, statesman, patriot. "Mad," "Dandy," "Black Snake," "Tornado." Angry with traitors—Neat-Courageous—Irresistible. None can study his life without feeling the nobleness of his character. Courtly in manners, honorable to a degree, high in aspirations, unselfishly for country, magnanimous in victory, loyal to authority, affectionate to family, pure in morality, and earnest for the right, Anthony Wayne's life is a bright example and legacy to the American youth of all times.[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

FRANCIS MARION
(1732-1795)

Francis Marion.

Francis Marion, the partisan general of South Carolina, was of Huguenot descent, the first American settlers of the name being Benjamin Marion and Judith Balnet, his wife, who came from France in 1690, and established themselves in a plantation on one of the tributaries of the Cooper River, near Charleston. Gabriel, the son of Benjamin, married Esther Cordes. These were the parents of Francis Marion. He was born, it would appear, in St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, probably in 1732. His early life was passed, till his twenty-seventh year, in agricultural pursuits, when we first hear of him in connection with military matters in the period of the old French war. He took the field with Moultrie, and fought gallantly by the side of that officer in the Cherokee country against the savages at the battle of Etchoee. He then returned to his farm, near Eutaw Springs, ripening for the work of the Revolution, which found him at the height of manhood, at the age of forty-three. The people of his district relied upon his understanding, for we find them sending (p. 297) him as their delegate to the Provincial Congress of 1775, when he was appointed captain in the regiment of his former superior officer, Colonel Moultrie. His first duty was to gather a company, which he speedily effected in the Eastern region, where he was well known. He was then employed in the neighborhood of Charleston; being engaged in the occupation of Fort Johnson and the command of Dorchester.

He was with Moultrie, at Sullivan's Island in May, 1776, during that fierce day of battle when the British were driven from the southern colonies, and particularly distinguished himself in the gallant defence.

At the ill-managed attack upon Savannah, by the combined forces of D'Estaing and Lincoln, which ended so disastrously for the Americans, Marion was present with his regiment, which did much by its gallantry to redeem the honor, if not the fortunes, of the day. Next came, in the winter of 1780, the siege of Charleston, by Sir Henry Clinton. It was evident from the beginning that the city must fall, and it has been a point much discussed whether Lincoln should have attempted to defend it, whether it would not have been better for the cause that he should withdraw his troops, and besiege the British from the open country. This was what afterward took place when the conquerors were reduced almost to starvation. An accident which happened to Marion has been esteemed a piece of singular good fortune to the cause, in saving him from surrender. He was in command of the small body of light troops, outside of the city, when he was called to aid in the defence. During the first days of the very deliberate investment, he was dining with some friends in the town, when, according to a custom not unusual in those hard-drinking times, the door was locked that no one should avoid his share of the conviviality. Determined to escape the infliction, he threw himself from the window into the street. The fall fractured his ankle and incapacitated him from service. In obedience to an order of Lincoln, commanding all officers unfit for duty to retire from the city, he left while the country was still open, and took refuge in his native region of St. John. His freedom was thus preserved for the service of his country.

Now came the incursions of Tarleton and the devastating warfare of Cornwallis—a policy of savage extermination which would have driven a people with less capability of exertion to despair. But it happened, as it has before, that the very means employed to crush, excited the spirit of resistance, and deliverers were raised up for the oppressed. It was a peculiar species of warfare which was now entered upon, requiring novel resources both for attack and defence. A thinly inhabited country was the scene of operations, cut up in all directions by rivers and their branches, and innumerable swamps. Large bodies of troops could move only with difficulty; it was a service for small parties of cavalry always in movement, making up by rapidity for want of numbers. On the side of the British, Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, an officer of spirit, whose fiery youth has been vividly handed down to us in the portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was the leading representative of this method of warfare, harrying the land with his mounted troops, and overcoming by his activity and unscrupulousness. Success (p. 298) added terror to his name, as he gained victory after victory, and seemed destined to sweep the land of its patriot defenders. He was the right arm of Cornwallis, in his movements in the interior, and began to be deemed invincible, when his course was arrested by Morgan, the Virginian, and his resolute companies of native defenders of the State, at the battle of Cowpens. But it was in Marion that the chief spirit of resistance was incorporated. On the arrival of Gates from the North, in command of the Southern army, having partially recovered from his lameness, he presented himself before the hero of Saratoga, on his march toward the fatal field of Camden. American commanders were accustomed to odd sights of dress and equipment in the patriot soldiery who enlisted under their banners, and Gates must have been used to appearances with which the eye of Washington himself was but too familiar. The little band of Marion, however, seems to have astonished even their American brethren-in-arms. As for the well-equipped British, they always held the ragged American regiments in contempt, till they were soundly flogged by them. An intelligent looker-on at the camp, Colonel Otho Williams, in his narrative of the campaign, speaks of Colonel Marion's arrival, "attended by a very few followers, distinguished by small leather caps and the wretchedness of their attire; their number did not exceed twenty men and boys, some white, some black, and all mounted, but most of them miserably equipped. Their appearance was, in fact, so burlesque, that it was with much difficulty the diversion of the regular soldiery was restrained by the officers; and the general himself was glad of an opportunity of detaching Colonel Marion, at his own instance, toward the interior of South Carolina, with orders to watch the motions of the enemy, and furnish intelligence."

It was while Marion was engaged on this service, that the battle of Camden was fought; but luckily, he had no share in the misadventure. He was employed, in fact, in quite an independent career of his own, organizing his own forces and acting at his own discretion. He was at the head of that system of partisan warfare, which, in its developments, was to rid the State of the foreign foe. His present command, "Marion's Brigade," was formed from the hardy spirited population of Irish descent, settled between the Santee and the Pedee, in the territory of Williamsburg. They were convinced of the intentions of the British rulers at Charleston to reduce them to political servitude; they knew their rights, and knowing, dared to maintain them. Their movement was voluntary, as they gathered their small but resolute force of picked men, and called Marion to its command. He had already assumed it, and caused the Tories to feel his new authority when the defeat of Gates took place. It roused him at once to a new effort to redeem the fortunes of war. He was already in the neighborhood of the field, and hearing that a British guard was on its way with a considerable body of prisoners, he determined to arrest the party on its march. Two days after the battle, he concerted an attack, and with the loss of but one man, killed and took 22 regulars and 2 Tories prisoners, and retook 150 continentals of the Maryland line. He was now a recognized leader in the field, and the British commander-in-chief directed his efforts to his overthrow. "I (p. 299) most sincerely hope," wrote Cornwallis to Tarleton, "that you will get at Mr. Marion." But Mr. Marion was not so easily to be caught. On the appearance of a superior force, under the command of Tarleton, which it would have been vain to resist, the skilful partisan turned his forces in another direction, to the borders of North Carolina, where he overawed the Scotch Tories in that disaffected region. The ruthless conduct of the British whom he had left behind, now raised the South Carolinians to fresh resistance, when Marion, ever mindful of his opportunity, returned to the State with speed, accomplishing sixty miles in one day, and in a bold night attack, defeated a large body of Tories on the Black Mingo. Following this up with some smaller successes of the kind, he again attracted the attention of Tarleton, who issued out of Charleston in force for his capture, and when he was fairly on his heels, wearied out and perplexed by the windings of his foe, gave up the chase, it is said, with the exclamation, "Come, my boys! let us go back. We will soon find the Game Cock [Marion's brother partisan, Sumter], but as for this damned Swamp-fox, the devil himself could not catch him."

The tide was now turning, as the people felt their strength. King's Mountain, in the autumn of this memorable 1780, brought a vast accession of strength to the popular cause, in the proof that the best British troops were not invincible before an aroused yeomanry; but there was much yet to be done before the day of final deliverance was secured. It was a slow, weary, harassing policy which was to be pursued, of surprises and escapes, of self-denial and endurance, of the watchful, unyielding virtue of Marion and his men. They took post in an island fortress of wooded swamp land, at the junction of the Pedee and Lynch's Creek, known as the "camp of Marion," where he recruited his forces, husbanded his strength, and sallied forth on his raids against the foe. This is the spot where the popular admiration of Marion finds its home and centre. "His career as a partisan," says his faithful biographer, the novelist Simms, "in the thickets and swamps of Carolina, is abundantly distinguished by the picturesque; but it was while he held his camp at Snow's Island that it received its highest colors of romance. In this snug and impenetrable fortress, he reminds us very much of the ancient feudal baron of France and Germany, who, perched on a castled eminence, looked down with the complacency of an eagle from his eyrie, and marked all below him for his own. The resemblance is good in all respects but one. The plea and justification of Marion are complete. His warfare was legitimate." It is in this place the scene is laid of an interview with the British officer, so familiar to the public in popular narratives and pictorial illustration. A flag from the enemy, at the neighboring post of Georgetown, is received with the design of an exchange of prisoners. The officer is admitted blindfold into the encampment, and on the bandage being taken from his eyes, is surprised equally at the diminutive size of the General and the simplicity of his quarters. He had expected, it is said, to see some formidable personage of the sons of Anak of the standard military figure, which, as Mr. Simms remarks, averaged, in the opposing generals during the war, more than two hundred pounds. On the (p. 300) contrary, he saw "a swarthy, smoke-dried little man, with scarcely enough of threadbare homespun to cover his nakedness, and instead of tall ranks of gay-dressed soldiers, a handful of sunburnt, yellow-legged militiamen, some roasting potatoes, and some asleep, with their black firelocks and powder-horns lying by them on the logs." This is Weems's narrative, a little colored with his full brush, but true enough as to detail. The improvement which he works up from the plain potato presented as a dinner to the officer, is equally sound as a moral, though we will not vouch for the exact expression of the sentiment. As a specimen of Weems, it is characteristic; but certainly Marion never talked in the fashion of this zealous biographer.

The Briton, however, entrenched at Charleston, and with his double line of forts encompassing the interior, was not all at once driven out. When he was compelled to leave, it was by the slow process of an exhaustion, to which even victory contributed; for every British conquest in that region was as costly as a defeat. Greene came with his Fabian policy, acquired in the school of Washington, to repair the errors of Gates. It was a course with which the policy of Marion was quite in agreement, attacking the enemy when they were vulnerable; at other moments retreating before them. Both officers knew well how to drain the vitality of the British army. Greene appreciated Marion. "I like your plan," he wrote to him, "of frequently shifting your ground. We must endeavor to keep up a partisan war." He sent Lieutenant-Colonel Lee to his aid, and together they attempted the capture of Georgetown in a night attack, which was but partially successful, in consequence of a loss of time and the want of artillery. Though not fully carried out, it served as a diversion and alarm in the rear of Cornwallis, who now, after the defeat of an important portion of his force under Tarleton, was advancing rapidly through North Carolina at the heels of Greene. Lee was recalled to join his commander, and Marion continued his partisan warfare in South Carolina. He was after a while reinforced by Greene on his return to the State, and assisted that general greatly in the movements which resulted in imprisoning the enemy in Charleston. After a brilliant affair with the British, in conjunction with Lee and Sumter, and other bold spirits, he hastened to Greene in time for the battle of Eutaw, in which engagement he commanded the right of the South Carolina militia, and gallantly sustained the fierce attack of the enemy. Toward the close of the war, he took his seat in the Legislative Assembly which met at Jacksonborough, as the representative of St. John, Berkeley. He was engaged in one or two further conflicts with the enemy, and the struggle which he had so manfully sustained was at an end.

He now retired to his plantation, to find it broken up by the incursions of the British. While engaged in its restoration, he was sent as representative of the district to the Senate of the State. It is recorded to his credit that he displayed in this situation a ready magnanimity toward Tory offenders in preserving their lands from confiscation.

Marion crossing the Pedee.

"It was war, then," said he; "it is peace now. God has given us the victory. Let us show our gratitude to heaven, which we shall not do by cruelty to man." (p. 301) In the same lofty spirit, he refused to receive any advantages from a bill exempting the soldiers of the militia from prosecution for acts committed in the service. He felt that his conduct needed no shelter. The Legislature rewarded him with thanks, and the more substantial appointment of Commandant of the Port of Charleston, a nominal office, with the salary of £500, which were cut down to dollars. A timely marriage, however, with a wealthy lady of Huguenot descent, Miss Mary Videau, a spinster of fifty, who was attracted by the hero, relieved him of pecuniary anxieties, leaving him an old age of ease in agricultural pursuits. He still represented his parish in the State Senate, and sat in 1790 in the Convention for forming the Constitution. In 1794 he resigned his military commission given to him by Rutledge, and the following year, yielding to a gradual decline, expired on February 27th, at the age of sixty-three.

Marion was a true, unflinching patriot—a man of deeds, and not of words; a prudent, sagacious soldier, not sudden or quick in quarrel, but resolute to the end; a good disciplinarian, and beloved by his men, who came at his call.

There was no power of coercion, such as restrains the hired soldier, in his little band; it was held together only by the cohesive force of patriotism and attachment to the leader. We hear of no acts of cruelty to stain the glory of his victories, but much of his magnanimity.[Back to Contents]

PAUL JONES
(1747-1792)

Paul Jones.

Paul Jones, the popular naval hero of the Revolution, the son of John Paul, a gardener in Scotland, was born July 6, 1747, at a cottage on the estate of his father's employer, Mr. Craik, at Arbigland, in the parish of Kirkbean. His parents belonged to a respectable class of the population of the country. The boy, as is wont with Scottish boys, however humble, received the elements of education, but could not have advanced very far with his books, since we find him at the age of twelve apprenticed to the sea. The situation of Kirkbean, on the shore of the Solway, naturally gave a youth of spirit an inclination to life on the ocean; and he had not far to seek for employment in the trading-port of Whitehaven, in the opposite county of Cumberland. Paul's first adventure—the appendix of Jones was an (p. 302) after-thought of his career—was in the service of Mr. Younger, a merchant in the American trade, who sent his apprentice on a voyage to Virginia, where an elder brother of Paul had profitably established himself at Fredericksburg. This gave him an early introduction to the country with which the fame of the future soldier of fortune was to be especially identified.

The apprenticeship of Paul was of short duration. The failure of his employer threw the youth upon his own resources; but he lost no time in taking care of himself. His studies on shipboard had already qualified him for the higher duties of the mercantile service; the slave-trade, the active pursuit of those days, offered him an engagement; he sailed for the African coast in the King George, a vessel engaged in this infamous traffic, out of Whitehaven, and in his nineteenth year was trusted as chief mate of the Two Friends, another vessel of the trade, belonging to Jamaica. Having carried his human cargo to the island, sickening of the pursuit, he sailed as a passenger to Kirkcudbright, in his native district. Opportunities are always presenting themselves to the watchful and the initiated. The chief officers of the vessel died of the fever; Paul took command and carried the ship in safety to the owners. They put him in command of the brig, the John, on another West India voyage.

Finally, in 1771, he left Scotland never to return to it, save to carry terror among its population. He proceeded to London; found employment in the West India trade, and in 1773 settled himself for a while in Virginia on the estate of his brother, to whom he had now become heir. This was a grand turning-point of his career, and to signalize it properly, Paul, who was somewhat of a fanciful turn, added the name Jones to his proper appellation, John Paul.

On the organization of the infant navy of the United States, in 1775, John Paul Jones, as he is henceforth to be called, received the appointment of first of the first lieutenants in the service, in which, in his station on the flag-ship Alfred, he claimed the honor of being the foremost, on the approach of the commander-in-chief, Commodore Hopkins, to raise the new American flag. This was the old device of a rattle-snake coiled on a yellow ground, with the motto, Don't tread on me, which is yet partially retained in the seal of the war-office.

The first service of the new squadron was the attack upon the island of New Providence, in which Jones rendered signal assistance. On the return voyage, the unsatisfactory encounter with the Glasgow occurred, which afterward resulted in the dismissal of one of the American officers, and Jones's appointment in his place to the command of the Providence, of twelve guns and seventy men. His exploits in this vessel gained him his first laurels. He now received the rank of captain, and sailed on various expeditions, transporting troops, conveying merchantmen, out-sailing British frigates, and greatly harassing the enemy's commercial interests. His success in these enterprises induced Commodore Hopkins to put him in command of the Alfred and other vessels on an expedition to the eastward, which resulted in the capture of various important prizes of transport and other ships, and extensive injury to the fisheries at Canso. On his return, he was superseded in the command of the Alfred, his seniority in the service (p. 303) being set aside, a grievance which led to remonstrance on his part, and a correspondence with the Committee of Congress, in the course of which Jones made many valuable suggestions as to the service, and gained the friendship of that eminent business man of the old Confederacy, Robert Morris. There appear to have been several appointments for him in progress, when his somewhat unsettled position became determined by the resolve of Congress to send him to France for the purpose of taking command of a frigate to be provided for him by the Commissioners at Paris. By the resolution of June 14, 1777, he was appointed to the Ranger, newly built at Portsmouth, and—a second instance of the kind—had the honor of hoisting for the first time the new flag of the stars and stripes; at least he claimed the distinction, for the bristling vanity of Jones made him punctilious in these accidental matters of personal renown.

It took some time to prepare the Ranger for sea, but Jones got off on his adventure in November, made a couple of prizes by the way, and at the end of a month reached Nantes. Disappointed in obtaining the large vessel which he expected, and obliged to be contented with the Ranger, he employed his time in making acquaintance with the French navy at Quiberon Bay, and offering valuable suggestions for the employment of D'Estaing's fleet on the American coast. He soon determined to put to sea on an adventure of spirit. On April 10, 1778, he sailed from Brest on a cruise in British waters. Directing his course to the haunts of his youth, he captured a brigantine off Cape Clear, and a London ship in the Irish Channel; planned various bold adventures on the Irish coast, which he was not able to carry out from adverse influences of wind and tide, but well-nigh succeeded in burning a large fleet of merchantmen in the docks of Whitehaven. In this last adventure, he made a landing at night, and advanced to the capture of the town-batteries, leaving his officers to fire the ships, of which there were about two hundred in the port. His orders were not obeyed, either from insufficient preparations or the relenting of his agents, when he himself set fire to one of the largest of the vessels. It was now day, and the people were warned by a deserter from his force, but Jones managed to hold the whole town at bay till he made good his retreat. This daring affair was an impromptu of Jones's genius, justified in his view by similar depredations of the British on the American coast; but it had an ugly look of ingratitude to the place which had sheltered his youth, and first given him promotion in the world.

Nor was this all. He immediately crossed to his native shore of Scotland, with the intention of seizing the Earl of Selkirk, at his seat on the promontory of St. Mary's Isle, on the Solway, near Kirkcudbright. Landing at the spot he ascertained that the earl was from home. Disappointed in his object, he would have returned, when the officers in his boat insisted upon a demand for the family plate. Jones demurred, but yielded with the proviso that the thing was to be done in the most delicate manner possible. His lieutenant, Simpson, undertook the business, and introduced himself to Lady Selkirk, who was, conveniently enough for his purposes, engaged at breakfast. She had at first taken the party for a press-gang, and had offered them refreshments; on being informed of the (p. 304) nature of their visit, their request, backed by the armed crew at the door, was complied with.

It is said that Jones apologized personally to Lady Selkirk, and we shall presently find him, at the first interval of leisure, taking measures to repair the act. For the moment, however, he had more serious work on hand. In his upward voyage along the Irish coast, he had looked into Belfast Lough, after his Majesty's sloop-of-war Drake, of twenty guns, which he attempted to board in a night attack by a bold manœuvre, which came within an ace of success. Immediately after the affair of St. Mary's, he ran across the channel and had the fortune to meet the Drake coming out of Carrickfergus. She was getting to sea to check the exploits of the Ranger, which had now alarmed the whole region. Jones desired nothing more than an encounter. As the ship drew up she hailed the Ranger. Jones gave the reply through his sailing-master: "The American continental ship Ranger. We are waiting for you. Come on. The sun is little more than an hour high, and it is time to begin!" A broadside engagement commenced, and continued at close quarters for an hour, when the Drake surrendered. Her captain and first lieutenant were mortally wounded, her sails and rigging terribly cut up, and hull much shattered. The loss of the Ranger was 2 killed and 6 wounded; that of the Drake, 42. The Drake had two guns the advantage of her adversary. The action took place on April 24th; on May 8th, Jones having traversed the channel, carried his prize safely into Brest.

His first thought now was to make some amends to Lady Selkirk and his own reputation for the plundering visit of his lieutenant. He therefore addressed to her, the very day of his landing, an extraordinary letter—Jones was fond of letter-writing—full of high-sounding phrases, and professions of gallantry and esteem, in the midst of which he failed not to recite the splendid victory of the Ranger. He drew a picture of the terrors inflicted by the British in America; and in respect to that unfortunate plate, expressed his intention to purchase it, in the sale of the prize, and restore it at his own expense to the family. This, after delays and obstacles, he finally accomplished some years later, when we are told it was all returned as it was taken, the very tea-leaves of the parting breakfast clinging to the tea-pot.

Paul Jones and Lady Selkirk.

The affair of the Ranger, so brilliantly conducted, the short, energetic cruise in narrow seas, so near the British naval stations, gave Jones a great reputation for gallantry in Paris. The delays and difficulties, however, incidental to the wretched state of the American finances abroad, and the imperfect relation of his country with the French court, were well calculated to cool any enthusiasm excited by his conquest; and a man of less vivacity and perseverance than Jones might have dropped the service. He persevered. His lieutenant, Simpson, after various refractory proceedings, had sailed home in the Ranger, when an arrangement was finally made with Le Ray de Chaumont, the negotiator of the French court, to furnish a jointly equipped and officered fleet, of which Jones was to take command. Five vessels were thus provided, including the American frigate Alliance. An old Indiaman, the Duke de Duras, fell to the lot of Jones. (p. 305) In compliment to Dr. Franklin, one of the commissioners, and especially in gratitude for a hint which he had accidentally lighted upon in an odd number of that philosopher's almanac, to the effect that whoever would have his business well done must do it himself—a suggestion by which Jones had greatly profited in giving a final spur to his protracted negotiations—he changed the name of his vessel, by permission of the French Government, to the Bon Homme Richard.

Jones at length set sail, on August 14th, with his squadron. Landais, an incompetent Frenchman in the American service, was in command of the Alliance. It was altogether a weak, mongrel affair. The Bon Homme Richard was unseaworthy, her armament was defective, and in her motley crew Englishmen and foreigners outnumbered the Americans. The plan of the cruise was to sail round the British Islands from the westward. At Cape Clear the commander parted with two of the smaller vessels of the squadron, which now consisted of his own ship, the Alliance, the Pallas, and the Vengeance. The service was, however, far more impaired by the insubordination of Landais, who evinced great jealousy of his superior. Several prizes were taken, one of them by Jones off Cape Wrath, at the extremity of Scotland. Traversing the eastern coast, he arrived, with the Pallas and the Vengeance, at the Firth of Forth, and entertained the bold idea of attacking the armed vessels at the station, and putting not only Leith, but possibly the capital, Edinburgh itself, under contribution. He would certainly have made the attempt—indeed, it was in full progress—when it was defeated by a violent gale of wind.

Jones now continued his course southwardly, casting longing eyes upon Hull and Newcastle, when, having been joined by the Alliance, the squadron suddenly, off Flamborough Head, fell in with the Baltic cruisers, the Serapis, forty-four. Captain Pearson, and the Countess of Scarborough, twenty, Captain Piercy, convoying a fleet of merchantmen. Jones at once prepared for action. The combat which ensued, between the Serapis and the Bon Homme Richard, is one of the most remarkable in the annals of naval warfare, for the circumstances under which it was fought, the persistence of the contest, and the well-matched valor of the commanders. The engagement was by moonlight, on a tranquil sea, within sight of the shore, which was crowded with spectators, who thronged the promontory of Flamborough Head and the piers of Scarborough. After various preliminary manœuvres on the part of the English commander to shelter the merchantmen, the engagement began at half-past seven in the evening, with a series of attempts of the Bon Homme Richard to come to close quarters with her antagonist. At the first broadside of Jones's vessel, two of the old eighteen-pounders mounted in her gun-room burst, with fearful destruction to the men. This accident compelled the closing of the lower ports, and produced a still greater inequality between the combatants than at the start, for the Serapis was not only a well-constructed, well-furnished man-of-war, thoroughly equipped, while the Bon Homme Richard had even-disadvantage in these respects: but the absolute weight of metal was, at the outset, greatly in favor of the Englishman. The Richard then passed to windward of the Serapis, receiving her fire, which did much damage (p. 306) to the rotten hull of the old Indiaman. Jones next attempted a movement to get into position to rake his antagonist from stem to stern, which resulted in a momentary collision. There was an effort to board the Serapis, which was repulsed, when Captain Pearson called out, "Has your ship struck?" and Jones instantly replied, "I have not yet begun to fight." The ships then separating, were brought again to a broadside encounter, when Jones, feeling the superior force of the Serapis, and her better sailing, was fully prepared to take advantage of the next position as the ships fell foul of one another, to grapple with his opponent. He himself assisted in lashing the jib-stay of the Serapis to the mizzenmast of the Richard.

The ships became now closely entangled for their full length on their starboard sides; so near were they together, that the guns of one touched the sides of the other, and in some places where the port-holes met, the guns were loaded by passing the rammers into the opposite vessel. Every discharge in this position was of course most deadly, and told fearfully upon the rotten hull of the Richard. To add to Jones's embarrassment, he was repeatedly fired upon by Landais, from the Alliance, which always kept her position with the Richard between her and the enemy. This extraordinary circumstance is only to be accounted for by an entire lack of presence of mind in the confusion, or by absolute treachery. The Serapis poured in her fire below from a full battery, while the Richard was confined to three guns on deck. She had efficient aid, however, in clearing the deck of the Serapis, from the musketry and hand-grenades of her men in the tops. One of these missiles reached the lower gun-deck of the Serapis, and there setting fire to a quantity of exposed cartridges, produced a destruction of life, an offset to the fearful loss of the Richard by the bursting of her guns in the opening of the engagement. The injury to the Richard, from the wounds inflicted upon her hull, was at this time so great that she was pronounced to be sinking, and there was a cry among the men of surrender; not, however, from Jones, who was as much himself at this extremity as ever. Seeing the English prisoners, who had been released below, more than a hundred in number, rushing upon deck, where in a moment they might have leaped into the Serapis, and put themselves under then country's flag, he coolly set them to working the pumps, to save the sinking ship. Human courage and resolution have seldom been more severely tried than in the exigencies of this terrible night on board the Richard. Jones continued to ply his feeble cannonade from the deck, levelled at the mainmast of the adversary. Both vessels were on fire, when, at half-past ten, the Serapis struck.

The loss in this extraordinary engagement, which outstrips and exaggerates the usual vicissitudes of naval service, was of course fearful. The entire loss of the Richard is estimated by Cooper at one hundred and fifty, nearly one-half of all the men she had engaged. Captain Pearson reported at least one hundred and seventeen casualties. The Bon Homme Richard was so riddled by the enemy's fire, and disembowelled by the gun-room explosion, that she could not be saved from sinking. When the wind freshened, the day after the victory, she (p. 307) became no longer tenable; her living freight was taken from her, and Jones, in the forenoon of the 25th, "with inexpressible grief," saw her final plunge into the depths of the ocean.

While the engagement of the Richard and Serapis was going on, the Pallas, better officered than the Alliance, captured the other English vessel, the Countess of Scarborough. The two prizes were carried to the Texel, where the squadron enjoyed the uneasy protection of Holland. Jones himself had a more satisfactory reception in an enthusiastic greeting on the Exchange at Amsterdam, and a brilliant triumph, illuminated by the smiles of the fair sex, shortly after in Paris. In October, 1780, he left for America in the Ariel, bearing with him a gift from the king, a gold-mounted sword, with the inscription on the blade: Vindicati Maris Ludovicus XVI. Remunerator Strenuo Vindici—"Louis XVI., rewarder, to the valiant defender of a liberated sea." The voyage was interrupted, at its outset, by a severe storm off the harbor, in which Jones displayed his usual heroism. The vessel was refitted, and after a partial action on the high seas with a mysterious stranger, reached Philadelphia in February, 1781.

In 1787 he left America with the intention of serving under Louis. When he reached Paris, he was met by a proposition to enter the service of Catherine of Russia, in which he was induced to engage by prospects of rank and glory. On his journey to St. Petersburg, he had a characteristic adventure in his passage from Stockholm to Revel, which he made while the navigation was interrupted by ice, traversing the sea, with great hardihood, in an open boat, extorting the labors of the boatmen by his threats of violence. He was well received by the Empress, who forwarded him to Potemkin, then in command on the Black Sea, in a war with the Turks. It is not necessary to recount the movements of a small squadron, with a divided command and jealous counsels, presided over by a whimsical, despotic court favorite. Many as were the vexations encountered by Jones in the inefficient resources, the shifts and expedients of foreign allies, and the straits of the American commissioners, they were light compared with the stifling restraints of Russian tyranny. Jones did much fighting, in his command of the Wolodomer, on the Black Sea, against the Pasha, but retired with little glory. Persecution followed at St. Petersburg—there was an assault upon his moral character, which was triumphantly disproved—various projects flitted through his teeming mind, and his connection with the country closed after a residence of fifteen months. It is sad to watch the last years of Paul Jones, not, indeed, of age, but of growing weariness and disease, as he renews his broken Russian hopes, and revives the old, faded, pecuniary claims on the French court. A gleam of sunshine appears in his aspirations to serve his country—for he still looked across the Atlantic—in the removal of the chains from the American sailors imprisoned at Algiers. His country listened to his cry; he was charged to treat with the Regency for their ransom, but before the commission reached him, he had passed to that land where the weary cease from sighing, and prisoners are at rest. Here, with Mercy bending over the scene, let (p. 308) the curtain fall. Paul Jones died at Paris, at the age of forty-five, of a dropsical affection, July 18, 1792.

The person of Paul Jones is well known by the numerous prints devoted to his brilliant exploits. You will see him, a little active man of medium height, not robust but vigorous, a keen black eye, lighting a dark, weather-beaten visage, compact and determined, with a certain melancholy grace.

He was one of nature's self-made men; that is, nature gave the genius, and he supplied the industry, for he knew how to labor, and must have often exerted himself to secure the attainments which he possessed. He was a good seaman, as well as a most gallant officer; sagacious in the application of means; vain, indeed, and expensive, but natural and generous; something of a poet in verse, much more in the quickness and vivacity of his imagination, which led him to plan nobly; an accomplished writer; and as he was found worthy of the warm and unchanging friendship of Franklin, that sage who sought for excellence while he looked with a kindly eye upon human infirmity, we, too, may peruse the virtues of the man and smile upon his frailties.[Back to Contents]

TECUMSEH[5]
By James A. Green
(1776-1813)

Indians.

It would be a difficult matter for a well-read American to recall the names of more than four or five notable Indians, leaving, of course, contemporaneous red men out of the question. The list might comprise Pocahontas, best known, probably, for something she did not do; Powhatan, that vague and shadowy Virginian chief; King Philip, who had a war named after him and so succeeded in having his name embalmed in history; Pontiac, whose great conspiracy Parkman has made immortal, and Tecumseh. But, of them all, Tecumseh is easily foremost. He was a man who, had he been born to great position among civilized nations, would have stamped his name and fame upon the world. He was not a mere savage of the ordinary type, bloodthirsty, brutal beyond description, going upon one aimless raid after another to glut his passion for rapine and murder. These savage traits (p. 309) were not his, though all the good qualities of the Indian he possessed in double measure. He was fearless, he was untiring, and when once started toward an end he knew no rest until he had accomplished his design. He had a primitive dignity of thought and expression that marked him as a great orator. At the famous council at Vincennes, when Tecumseh had finished his speech and was about to sit down with his braves, the interpreter, pointing to General W. H. Harrison, said, "Your father wishes you to take a chair." But the ordinary courtesy of calling the white Governor the father of the red men was repugnant to Tecumseh, and with lofty mien and unpremeditated eloquence he declined the proffered seat. "No," he exclaimed, "the sun is my father, the earth is my mother, and I will rest on her bosom." And he sat down on Mother Earth with his assembled warriors, this act and fiery speech more than ever binding them to his fortunes.

Tecumseh was in reality the first of the great Ohio men. He was a Shawnee Indian, and his tribe, in the middle of the eighteenth century, had emigrated from Florida to what is now the State of Ohio, Tecumseh being born in what is now Clarke County, near the present city of Springfield, in an Indian town that bore the name of Piqua. This must not be confounded with the present Ohio town of Piqua, which is in another county altogether, the birthplace of Tecumseh now being the site of a straggling village bearing the name, West Boston. In his boyhood there was nothing unusual. He grew up in the stirring times when Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and the other hardy Kentucky pioneers. Long Knives the Indians called them—were leading their forces into the West. It was a time when the Indians were constantly fighting. They did not live in Kentucky, but they regarded the fertile woods and prairies south of the Ohio River as their hunting-grounds, and they attacked with savage cruelty all the whites that dared to encroach upon this territory. The whites in turn crossed the Ohio in reprisal, burnt the Indian towns, tomahawked women and children, destroyed corn-fields, and were as unrelenting and barbarous in their revenge as their savage foes.

Tecumseh was born about 1776, and in 1780 the village of Piqua was attacked by a party of 1,000 Kentuckians, who, after a fierce battle, drove out the Indians and destroyed the place. It was amid such scenes that the Indian boy grew to manhood. In that wild time, war was the only science, and butchery the only trade that an Indian could follow. One of the favorite Indian pursuits of the day was the capture of parties of emigrants and traders who came floating down the Ohio in canoes or "broadhorns." For miles the Indians would secretly follow such a party, and then when their opportunity came would strike their deadly blow. When a boy of seventeen Tecumseh was in a party making an attack on some boats near the present site of Maysville, Ky. The boats were captured and all the people in them slaughtered on the spot except one person, who was spared and later burnt alive. The horror of the spectacle so impressed Tecumseh that he then and there said he would never again be guilty of such cruelty, and the vigorous manner in which he protested against it so moved his (p. 310) companions that they agreed with him to not repeat the act. This resolution Tecumseh never altered; time and time again he protected women and children from his infuriated followers. At the battle of Fort Meigs a party of Americans was captured by the British and Indians. Though they had surrendered as prisoners of war, yet the savages were firing into them promiscuously, or selecting such as they chose to tomahawk in cold blood. This dreadful scene was interrupted by Tecumseh, who came spurring up and, springing from his horse to the ground, dashed aside two Indians who were about to murder an American, threatening to slay anyone who would dare to injure another prisoner. Turning to the British General, Proctor, he asked why such a massacre had been permitted. "Sir," said Proctor, "your Indians cannot be commanded." "Begone," was the angry reply of the outraged Tecumseh, "you are unfit to command. Go, put on petticoats." This was only one incident of many showing how far he was above the ordinary Indian in magnanimity of character. At the already mentioned Vincennes conference Tecumseh agreed with General William Henry Harrison—his unrelenting foe and who judged him as harshly as any of the frontiersmen who feared and hated him—that in case of an outbreak of hostilities the women and children on both sides were to be protected and respected. Certain it is that General Harrison would have made no such agreement had he not believed that his adversary would keep it.

Tecumseh defends the Whites at Fort Meigs.

To understand the life and work of Tecumseh it is necessary to look into the history of his times. His career was embraced between the period of the Revolution and our second war with Great Britain. The destiny of the Great West was not then assured. Ohio and Kentucky were frontier States, vastly farther from the seat of government than is the most remote of our Western outposts to-day. They could be reached only by a toilsome journey over the Alleghanies and a trip down the Ohio. A journey to-day to the Yellowstone, or to the regions beyond the Black Hills, does not mean, in the way of time, danger, or adventure, one-tenth what a journey to Fort Washington (Cincinnati) meant in 1800. Indiana was a Territory, and the Territorial Governor, first of the Northwest, and then of Indiana, was William Henry Harrison, a born fighter, a palaverer, and who, in the difficult position which he occupied in dealing with unruly settlers on the one hand and turbulent Indians on the other hand, displayed singular tact and ability. He was eminently the right man in the right place. But in spite of the claims the United States made of the West, the country was but little known, nor was its real importance even suspected. That the Mississippi Valley would one day be peopled by millions, and be the greatest, wealthiest, and most productive part of the country, was not thought of even by the most sanguine of Americans. The Eastern States in those days had affairs enough of their own on hand, and the Western frontier was not regarded as essentially important. The national idea—the Nation with a big N, as recent humorous newspaper writers have put it—had not been evolved. It was difficult for even a man of the persuasive powers of General Harrison, to induce the General Government to furnish half enough troops to adequately guard the outposts. If there was (p. 311) serious work to do the settlers had to do it themselves. There was little grumbling over this state of affairs, however, as the Kentuckians and Westerners generally had been brought up to do their own fighting and not to wait for the Government at Washington to do it for them. In those days British agents were actively at work among the Northern Indians to keep them in a state of disaffection toward the United States. Meanwhile, the Indians were in the midst of the great tragedy that has been enacted since the days of Columbus. They were the victims of traders who sold them fire-water, and for poor and cheap weapons, demanded furs whose value was out of all proportion to that given in return. Many of their women married white renegades who corrupted the morals of the tribes. They were being dispossessed of the finest homes and best hunting grounds in America, for the buffalo was then found in Kentucky in great herds, and their position was thoroughly unhappy. They had then—and happily this is not wholly the case at present—no rights that a white man was bound to respect. But the Indians were still many and the settlers were few. To a great leader, who of course could not take into account the mighty force behind the Anglo-Saxon ranks that first marched over the Alleghenies, it would still seem practical to band the red men together in a vast confederation and drive the invaders back again beyond the Ohio and the mountains. This was Tecumsch's splendid plan. This was the design to which he devoted his life, and which he pursued with such ardor and genius as to do what an Indian had never before accomplished. Pontiac, it is true, at the siege of Detroit gathered a number of tribes under his leadership, but he never dreamed of a continental confederacy, as did Tecumseh. In this vast design he was materially aided by his brother, best known by the name of the Prophet, who, while lacking in judgment, was none the less a man of extraordinary force of character. He proclaimed that he had received power from the Great Spirit to confound the enemies of the Indians, stay the march of disease and death, and that he was the Messiah to lead his people to new and greater things. But as conditions to success the Indians must stop drinking fire-water, they must cease intermarrying with the whites or trading with them, and they must hold all things as the property of all. They must return to their original dress and manners, and forget that they had ever seen or known the "pale faces." The fame and influence of the Prophet spread with almost miraculous rapidity, and young men and warriors came from afar in crowds to receive inspiration from him. Tecumseh with rare ability turned this influence to advance his own plans. And of course this constant stream of visitors to his brother, enabled the chief to spread his racial idea far and wide. One of the things that Tecumseh maintained was that the Indians held the land in common, that no one tribe owned this or that territory, but that the Great Spirit had given it equally to all. This he said at the conference at Vincennes, but General Harrison ridiculed the idea and stated that if the Great Spirit had intended to make one nation of the Indians, he would not have put different languages into their heads, but would have taught them all to speak alike. Tecumseh bitterly replied that no one tribe had the right to give away what was the (p. 312) joint property of all, and not until the United States agreed to cease purchasing lands from the Indians and restored the lands recently bought, would peace be possible. Pointing to the moon that had risen on the council, Governor Harrison said that the moon would sooner fall to earth than the United States would give up anything fairly acquired. "Then," said Tecumseh, "I suppose that you and I will have to fight it out."

But these councils ended in nothing except a manly and impressive statement by Tecumseh of his position, and a strong and terribly just indictment of the whites for their treatment of the Indians. Tecumseh was constantly on the move. Now on the Lakes, now on the Wabash, then on the Mississippi or the plains to the westward, then on the Ohio or the hills that roll to the south from it. Everywhere the Indians received him graciously. But an accident destroyed his plans, and one defeat dashed his confederation to pieces. During his absence Governor Harrison, alarmed at the gathering of warriors at the Prophet's town of Tippecanoe, on the Wabash River, in Indiana, marched against it. There was no necessity for a battle. It might easily have been avoided. Toward the close of day the Americans reached Tippecanoe. The Indians disclaimed any hostile ideas, and it was settled that the terms of peace were to be arranged the next day. That night, however, the Indians treacherously attacked the Americans. The conflict was fierce and bloody. The Indian braves were animated by the promises of the Prophet, who declared that they would be victorious and that he had rendered the bullets of the white men of no avail. During the battle he stood on a neighboring hill and chanted a war song, to further fill his warriors with courage and enthusiasm. But though the red men fought gallantly, they were doomed to defeat. They were scattered up and down the Wabash, their town was burnt, and the power of the Western Indians was by this one blow shattered. So complete was the victory and so far-reaching in its effects, that General Harrison at once became the popular idol, and the glorification of the battle of Tippecanoe, a generation later carried him into the Presidential chair. It was this battle that gave the West to the whites.

As for Tecumseh, he returned suddenly from the West to find that despite his commands, the Prophet had permitted a battle. In his rage and disappointment he took his brother, now fallen and disgraced, by the hair and shook him. But no longer was it possible to hold his tribes together. The victory of the United States at Tippecanoe took the ardor for battle and resistance quite out of them. There were hundreds of them, however, who in the war of 1812, which broke out immediately, followed Tecumseh into the British service, in which he was commissioned as a major-general. In that service he was doomed to continued disaster. The English commander. General Proctor, was incompetent and, in all the qualities of real manhood, the inferior of his savage ally. After the battle of Put-in-Bay, on Lake Erie, he started to retreat. Tecumseh protested, and was induced to go on only by the promise that winter supplies would be delivered a few miles up the Thames. It was on this stream that Proctor finally determined to make a stand, but at the outset of the action he, coward-like, (p. 313) retreated with his red coats, leaving the Indians to bear the brunt of the battle. Tecumseh had gone into the fight saying that he would be killed, and his prediction was verified. But how he died no one can say with certainty. No less than four Americans claimed the honor of having killed him. Among the slain, in that time of fierce pursuit and confusion, his body was not even identified. But there it was, on the banks of that quiet Canadian stream, some thirty-five miles from Detroit, that the greatest Indian in statecraft, diplomacy, devotion to his people, and in dignity of thought and intellectual gifts, found his unmarked grave. No one yet has written a biography of him that does full justice to his great abilities and lofty character. But his name is the most familiar of all Indian names, and he is the only Indian after whom Western fathers and mothers have ever named their sons. The late General of the United States Army, William Tecumseh Sherman, bore his name, as have hundreds of other boys born in Ohio, Kentucky, and the great States that roll westward from them.[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

JAMES LAWRENCE
(1781-1813)

James Lawrence.

Captain James Lawrence was one of that band of chivalrous spirits who, concentrating all their life in the work, with insufficient means, in the face of powerful enemies, raised our infant navy in an instant, as it were, to an honored rank in the world. The force and energy of the free national development were felt in the spontaneous movement that placed so many ardent, courageous spirits at the service of the country. These men, Barry, Barney, Decatur, Bainbridge, Perry, Somers, and the rest—the list is a long one—were volunteers in the cause, fighting more for glory than for pay. Such spirits were not to be hired—theirs was no mercenary service. It was limited by no prudential considerations. They went forth singly or united, the commissioned champions of the nation, with their lives in their hands, ready to sacrifice (p. 314) themselves in that cause. Punctilious on all points of honor, they sought but one reward—victory. There was but one thing for them to do—to conquer; and, failing that, to die. Of these fiery-souled heroes, who carried their country in their hearts, the men of courtesy and courage, of equal humanity and bravery, true sons of chivalry, Lawrence will ever be ranked among the noblest.

He was born October 1, 1781, at Burlington, on the banks of the Delaware, in New Jersey. His father, John Lawrence, was an eminent counsellor at law at that place. The death of his mother, shortly after his birth, threw the charge of the child upon his elder sisters, by whom he was tenderly cared for. His disposition answered to this gentle culture. The boy was dutiful and affectionate, amiable in disposition and agreeable in manners. Such a soil is peculiarly favorable to the growth of the manly virtues where nature has assisted by her generous physical gifts. The bravest men have often been the gentlest. It is the union of the two conditions which, as in Sir Philip Sidney, makes the perfect warrior.

Young Lawrence early showed a liking for the sea, and would have led a life on the waters from the age of twelve, had not his father firmly turned his attention to books and education. It was his intention to prepare him for his own profession, the law, and his desire that he should enjoy the usual preparatory finished education. This was, however, prevented by his pecuniary misfortunes, and the youth passed from his primary school at once to the law office of his brother, John Lawrence, then residing at Woodbury. He spent two years in this situation, between thirteen and fifteen, or thereabout, vainly endeavoring to reconcile his humors to the onerous duties of the unwelcome position. The death of his father left him, in a measure, free to follow his own inclinations, and his brother, perceiving his strong bent for the sea, placed him under the care of a Mr. Griscomb, at Burlington, to study navigation, evidently with a view to enter the naval service of the country, for we find him, after a brief three months' instruction, in possession of a midshipman's warrant. This was dated September 4, 1798, the year when Congress seriously directed its attention to the protection of our commerce, then so wantonly pillaged by the two great belligerents of Europe, by the creation of a distinct navy department, and the enlargement of our naval force. The movement was specially directed to the French aggressions on the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. Indeed, in all but the name, war existed with France. It was called a quasi war.

Lawrence's first service was a cruise to the West Indies, in the Ganges, a twenty-four gun ship, then commanded by Captain Tingey. He showed in this and other voyages such aptitude for his duties that he was made an acting lieutenant by his commander previous to his receiving his commission from Government. In 1802 he was appointed first lieutenant in the Enterprise, of twelve guns, one of the fleet of Commodore Morris, sent to the Mediterranean to prosecute the war with Tripoli. He particularly distinguished himself in that service, by his adventures with Lieutenant David Porter, of the New York, in an attack in open day on certain coasters or feluccas laden with wheat, which took refuge (p. 315) in Old Tripoli, where they were defended by a land force. The attack was made in boats, at close quarters, under a heavy fire of the enemy.

Lawrence had a second opportunity of distinguishing himself in this war in an action likely to be better remembered by the public, the glorious adventure of Decatur, in the destruction of the wrecked and captured Philadelphia, in the harbor of Tripoli, in February, 1804. Lawrence was the first lieutenant of that officer in this brilliant adventure, and shared its full dangers and glories.

Lawrence was also engaged in the Enterprise, in Preble's bombardment of Tripoli, the same year. He returned in the winter to the United States, with that commodore, in the John Adams. In the following spring of 1805, Lawrence successfully carried across the Atlantic one of the fleet of gunboats, No. 6, of which he was commander, destined for service in the Mediterranean. It was a small vessel, mounting two guns, not at all adapted for ocean navigation. The voyage was looked upon as a marvel. When near the Western Islands, Mr. Cooper, in his "Naval History" tells, he "fell in with the British frigate Lapwing, 28, Captain Upton which ran for him, under the impression that the gunboat was some wrecked mariners on a raft, there being a great show of canvas and apparently no hull."

After the war with Tripoli was ended, Lawrence returned to the United States, and in the interval, when the war with England, after the affair with the Leopard and Chesapeake, was daily becoming more imminent, we find him, in 1808, appointed first lieutenant of the Constitution. About the same time he married Miss Montaudevert, the daughter of a respectable merchant of New York. He was on duty in the Vixen, Wasp, and Argus; and, at the commencement of the war of 1812, was promoted to the command of the Hornet. While in this last vessel he sailed with Bainbridge, who had the flag-ship Constitution, on a cruise along the coast of South America, and, having occasion to look in at the port of San Salvador, found there the British sloop-of-war, Bonne Citoyenne, of eighteen guns, ready to sail for England with a large amount of specie. Lawrence, whose ship mounted an equal number of guns, was exceedingly anxious to engage with this vessel. He sent a challenge to its commander, Captain Green, through the American consul, inviting him to "come out," and pledging his honor that neither the Constitution, nor any other American vessel, should interfere, which Commodore Bainbridge seconded by promising to be out of the way, or at least non-combatant. The English captain, however, declined.

It was an unhappy precedent which Lawrence thus established, injurious to the service and destined to act fatally against himself in the end, when from the challenger he became the challenged.

The Constitution meanwhile sailed away, to close the year with her brilliant engagement with the Java, leaving the Hornet engaged in the blockade of the Bonne Citoyenne. Eighteen days since the departure of the flag-ship had passed while her consort was thus engaged, waiting till her expected prize should issue from the harbor, when the Hornet was robbed of her chances of victory by the arrival of his majesty's seventy-four, the Montague. Escape now became the (p. 316) policy of Lawrence, who luckily managed to get from the harbor in safety, and turned his course to the northward, along the coast. While cruising in this direction, after capturing a small English brig, he fell in with, on February 24, 1813, off the mouth of the Demerara, two brigs of war, with one of which, the Peacock, Captain Peake, he speedily became engaged. The American vessel on this occasion had somewhat the advantage in armament. In the words of Lawrence's dispatch, which gives a modest and forcible account of the affair, after mentioning his attempt to get at the first vessel he discovered at anchor off the bar, he says: "At half-past three P.M., I discovered another sail on my weather quarter, edging down for us. At twenty minutes past four she hoisted English colors, at which time we discovered her to be a large man-of-war brig; beat to quarters and cleared ship for action; kept close by the wind, in order if possible, to get the weather gage. At ten minutes past five, finding I could weather the enemy, I hoisted American colors and tacked. At twenty minutes past five, in passing each other, exchanged broadsides within half pistol shot. Observing the enemy in the act of wearing, I bore up, received his starboard broadside, ran him close on board on the starboard quarter, and kept up such a heavy and well-directed fire, that in less than fifteen minutes he surrendered, being literally cut to pieces, and hoisted an ensign, union down, from his fore-rigging, as a signal of distress."

The hull of the Peacock was so riddled that she sank, while every exertion was made by her captors to save her by throwing over her guns and stopping the shot-holes. Nine of her crew went down with her, and three of the Hornet's men. Captain Peake was found dead on board. The loss of the Hornet was trifling compared with that of her adversary; but one man killed and four wounded or injured, one of whom afterward died. This superiority is attributed by Cooper, who sums up the testimony, "to the superior gunnery and rapid handling of the Hornet."

This victory brought Lawrence a harvest of honors, public and private. Before he sailed, he had felt called upon to protest to the Secretary of the Navy against what he thought an injustice done him in the promotion of a younger officer to a captaincy, while he remained simply lieutenant-commander. He now found that the promotion had been conferred upon him in his absence, and was offered the command of the Constitution. He would have been pleased to sail in this vessel, but, much to his annoyance, immediately after receiving the appointment was ordered to the Chesapeake, then lying at Boston.

Captain Lawrence took the command of the Chesapeake at Boston toward the end of May, 1813. The Shannon frigate, Captain Broke, a superior vessel of the British navy, had been for some time off the port, and her commander, assured of his strength, was desirous of a conflict. "You will feel it as a compliment," he wrote, "if I say that the result of our meeting may be the most grateful service I can render to my country; and I doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel convinced that it is only by triumphs in equal combats that your little navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of that trade it can no longer protect."

"Don't give up the ship."

(p. 317) It would be complimenting the valor of Lawrence at the expense of his judgment, if we were to pronounce him ardent for the fight, with the circumstances under which it took place. In fact, as Mr. Cooper states, "he went into the engagement with strong reluctance, on account of the undisciplined state of his crew, to whom he was personally unknown." The challenging vessel, on the contrary, carried a picked crew, with every advantage of discipline and equipment. The presumption, of course, is that he was fully prepared. The armament of the two vessels was about equal, mounting forty-nine guns each.

At noon, then, on June 1st, Lawrence weighed anchor and left his station in the bay to proceed to sea with a southwesterly breeze. The Shannon was in sight, and the two ships stood off the shore till about half-past four in the afternoon, when the Chesapeake fired a gun, which was the signal for a series of manœuvres, bringing the vessels within range of each other about a quarter before six. The Shannon hove to, and the Chesapeake bore down toward her. It was Lawrence's intention to bring his ship fairly alongside of the enemy for a full discharge of his battery. He consequently first received the enemy's fire from the cabin guns, as, the wind having freshened, his ship came up to measure her length with her antagonist, which lay with her head to the southeast. Then the Chesapeake poured in her full fire, inflicting considerable damage, which was repeated in the successive discharges for several minutes. In this commencement of the action it was considered that the Shannon received most injury, particularly in her hull. Unhappily, the Chesapeake in turn lost the command of her sails. The ship was consequently brought up into the wind, and fell aboard of the enemy, with her mizzen rigging foul of the Shannon's fore-chains. This accident exposed the Chesapeake to a raking fire, which swept her deck, and, as she was already deprived of the services of the officers who had fallen in the first discharges, her guns in turn were deserted by the men. Captain Lawrence had already received a wound in the leg; his first lieutenant, Ludlow, was wounded; the sailing-master was killed, and other important officers were mortally wounded. As the ships became entangled, Lawrence gave orders to summon the boarders, who were ready below; but unhappily, the negro whose duty it was to call them up by his bugle, was too much frightened to sound a note. A verbal message was sent, and before it could be executed Lawrence was a second time struck, receiving a grapeshot in his body. The deck was thus left with no officer above the rank of a midshipman. The men of the Shannon now poured in and gained possession of the vessel. As Lawrence was borne below, mortally wounded, his dying thoughts were of his command, uttering his order not to strike the flag of his ship, or some equivalent expression, which is handed down in the popular phrase, "Don't give up the ship!" He lingered and died of his wounds on board on June 6th. The Chesapeake was carried into Halifax, and there the remains of her gallant captain were borne from the frigate with military honors, with every mark of respect which a generous enemy could pay to a fallen hero.[Back to Contents]

(p. 318) STEPHEN DECATUR[6]
By Edward S. Ellis, A.M.
(1779-1820)

Stephen Decatur.

Stephen Decatur was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, Worcester County, January 5, 1779. The family was of French extraction in the paternal line, and of Irish on the maternal side. The grandfather was a native of La Rochelle, in France, and married a lady of Newport, R. I., where Stephen, the son of the commodore, was born. When a very young man he removed to Philadelphia and married the daughter of an Irish gentleman named Pine. Decatur was bred to the sea and commanded a merchantman out of the port of Philadelphia, until appointed to the sloop-of-war, Delaware. Upon the completion of the frigate Philadelphia, the command of it was given to him.

The elder Decatur had one daughter and three sons. The daughter was twice married, her first husband having been killed in a duel. The sons were Stephen, James, and John P., all of whom grew to manhood. The boys were educated at the old Philadelphia Academy in Fourth Street. Admiral Charles Stewart attended the same school and was an intimate friend of Decatur through life. Many of the incidents of this sketch were received by the writer from Stewart, who fully appreciated the manliness, courage, and nobility of the sailor, now accepted as the foremost type of the heroes and founders of the American navy.

"Decatur was a born fighter," said Stewart; "I never knew a boy so fond of a bout as he. I sat near him at school and have known weeks to pass, without a single day in which he did not arrange a contest with one of the boys. We generally adjourned to the Quaker burying-ground opposite, and had it out among the tombs. Decatur despised meanness of every description, and rarely was beaten in a fight. When only fifteen, he half killed a partially intoxicated man who insulted his mother and refused to apologize. He never knew when he was whipped, but would hang on like a bull-dog. I was a few months older than he, but we were appointed midshipmen in the same year, 1798. Our intimacy was never broken by the slightest incident."

Upon entering the navy, in March of the year named, Decatur joined the frigate United States, under command of Commodore Barry, who had obtained the warrant for him. He served with Barry until promoted to a lieutenancy. The United States needed repairs, and not wishing to stay in port, Decatur (p. 319) applied for orders to join the brig Norfolk, then bound to the Spanish Main. After one cruise he returned again to port and resumed his station on the United States, where he stayed until our naval troubles with France terminated. He was next ordered to the Essex and sailed with Commodore Dale's squadron to the Mediterranean. Returning home once more, he was appointed to the New York, one of the second squadron under command of Commodore Morris. When he again came back, he was ordered to command the Argus, to proceed with her to join Commodore Preble's squadron in the Mediterranean, and on his arrival there to resign the Argus to Lieutenant Hull and take charge of the schooner Enterprise, then commanded by that officer.

The exchange being made, Decatur sailed to Syracuse where the squadron was to rendezvous. There he learned of the disaster to the Philadelphia. That frigate, as the reader will recall, ran aground while blockading Tripoli (with which country we were at war), and was captured by the Turks. Commodore Bainbridge and his crew of more than three hundred, among whom were Porter, Jones, and Biddle, were made prisoners and immured in a gloomy dungeon. Decatur quickly formed a plan for capturing or destroying the frigate. Preble, to whom the proposal was submitted, refused at first to give his consent, but his impetuous lieutenant won him over and was allowed to lead the expedition.

Decatur selected the ketch Intrepid, which he had captured a few weeks before, and manned her with seventy volunteers, chiefly his own crew. He sailed from Syracuse, February 3, 1804, accompanied by the United States brig Siren, Lieutenant Stewart, who was to aid with his boats and to receive the crew of the ketch, should it be found expedient to use her as a fireship.

The weather was so tempestuous that it required fifteen days to reach the harbor of Tripoli. It was arranged by Decatur and Stewart that the ketch should enter the harbor about ten o'clock that night, attended by the boats of the Siren. A change of wind threw the Siren six or eight miles away from the Intrepid, and, fearing to wait for the boats, Decatur decided to adventure alone in the harbor, which he did about eight o'clock.

The Philadelphia lay within one-half gunshot of the Bashaw's castle and of the principal battery; two of the enemy's cruisers were only a couple of cables' length away on the starboard quarter, and their gunboats were within one-half gunshot on the starboard bow. All the guns of the frigate were mounted and loaded.

Although it was only three miles from the entrance of the harbor to the frigate, the wind was so light that the Intrepid did not get within hail until eleven o'clock. At the distance of two hundred yards, the frigate hailed the ketch and ordered her to anchor under threat of being fired into. Decatur's Maltese pilot, by his direction, replied they had lost their anchor in a gale of wind off the coast and were unable to do as commanded. When within fifty yards Decatur sent a small boat with a rope to make fast to the frigate's fore-chains. This was done and the Americans began warping the ketch alongside. Not until that moment did the Tripolitans suspect the character of the Intrepid. They were thrown into confusion, during which the two vessels came together. Decatur was the (p. 320) first to leap aboard, followed immediately by Midshipman Charles Morris. A minute passed before their companions could join them, but the Turks were too terrified to sweep the daring officers from the deck, as they might have done in the twinkling of an eye.

As soon as Decatur could form a line equal to that of the enemy, the charge was made. Twenty of the Turks were killed, many jumped overboard, and the rest scurried to the main deck whither they were pursued and driven into the hold.

The Americans had hardly gained possession of the frigate, when a number of launches were seen hurrying about the harbor. Decatur decided that the best defence could be made by staying on the frigate, and he prepared to receive their attack. Meanwhile, the enemy had opened fire from the batteries and the castle and from two corsairs lying near. As the launches did not approach, the lieutenant ordered the ship to be set on fire in several places. The flames spread so fast that it was with the utmost difficulty the Americans were able to reach the ketch. At that critical moment, a propitious breeze sprang up and carried the Intrepid out of the harbor. She had not lost a man, only four being wounded.

For this exploit, Decatur was promoted to the rank of post captain, there being no intermediate grade. The honor was specially gratifying, since the promotion was made with the consent of every officer over whose head he was raised. It should be stated that at that time the rank of captain was the highest in the navy. A commodore was simply the senior officer of a squadron and might be a master, commandant, a lieutenant, or midshipman.

It was decided some weeks later to make an attack on Tripoli. The King of Naples loaned six gunboats and two lombards to Commodore Preble. These were formed in two divisions, Decatur commanding one and Lieutenant Somers the other. The squadron which sailed from Syracuse included the frigate Constitution, the brig Siren, the schooners Nautilus and Vixen, and the gunboats. Adverse winds deferred the attack for several days. Finally, on the morning of August 3d, the weather being favorable, the signal was given from the commodore's vessel to prepare for action. This signal to open the bombardment was made at nine o'clock. The gunboats were cast off and advanced in a line ahead, led by Captain Decatur and covered by the frigate Constitution and the brigs and schooners. The enemy's gunboats were moored along the harbor under the batteries and within musket-shot. Their sails had been taken from them and they were ordered to sink rather than abandon their position. They were aided and covered also by a brig of sixteen and a schooner of ten guns.

Before entering into close action, Decatur went alongside each of the boats and directed them to unship their bowsprits and follow him, as it was his intention to board the enemy's boats. Lieutenant James Decatur commanded one of the boats belonging to Commodore Preble's division, but being farther to the windward than the rest of his division, he joined and took orders from his brother.

When Captain Decatur in the leading boat came within range of the batteries, they and the gunboats opened fire. He returned it and pushed his way among the boats. At this juncture, Commodore Preble, fearing the results of Decatur's (p. 321) rashness, ordered the signal to be made for retreat. This command brought to light the singular fact, that in making out the signals before going into battle, no one had thought of that which ordered a retreat. It was impossible, therefore, to recall the daring Decatur.

The enemy's gunboats contained forty men each and ours the same. Decatur had twenty-seven Americans and thirteen Neapolitans. On boarding the enemy, the latter held back, but our countrymen charged eagerly forward. Ten minutes sufficed to clear the deck. Eight of the Turks plunged into the hold, some fell while fighting, and others leaped into the sea. Only three of the Americans were wounded.

As Decatur was about to withdraw with his prize, his brother's boat came under the stern. The men called to him that they had engaged and captured one of the enemy, but her commander, after surrendering, had treacherously shot Lieutenant James Decatur, pushed off while the crew were recovering the body, and was at that moment making all haste for the harbor.

Decatur was infuriated on hearing this and resolved that the miscreant should not escape. With his single boat he pressed with all possible speed within the enemy's line, and running aside the offending boat, bounded over the gunwale, followed by eleven Americans, all that were left to him. Then followed the most desperate hand to hand fight conceivable, the issue being in doubt for twenty minutes.

There have been many accounts of Decatur's exploit on this Tripolitan gunboat, with considerable variation as to particulars. That which follows is the story as it was told to me by Admiral Stewart, who received it from Decatur himself, immediately after the fight. Decatur presented the weapon, called an espontoon, to Stewart, and I naturally examined it with great interest. The handle was of ivory and the blade perhaps eight or ten inches long, being very narrow and curved like a scimetar. It had no edge, was sharply pointed, and evidently made for thrusting.

Nothing could stay the fury of Decatur. He easily identified the commander by his immense size and gorgeous uniform. He eagerly sought out the American and they instantly came together in the fight to the death. Decatur had a cutlass, and the Turk a pike. The latter inflicted a slight wound on Decatur's breast, and in parrying the stroke his sword broke off at the hilt. Flinging the weapon aside, the American sprang like a tiger at his antagonist. The two fell to the deck, Decatur under, and flat on his back. The Turk had the weapon I have described in the front of his sash and attempted to withdraw it to give the finishing thrust. Decatur flung his legs over his back and with one arm held his enemy so tight against his body that he could not force his hand between. In this position, Decatur with his free arm drew a pistol from near his hip, reached over the back of the Turk and fired downward, directly toward himself.

"It was just like Decatur," said Stewart; "the chances were ten to one that the bullet would pass through both their bodies, but luckily it met a bone and the huge barbarian rolled off dead. The two were half-smothered by others fighting (p. 322) and tumbling over them, and it was with the utmost difficulty that Decatur freed himself from them and rose to his feet."

While this fierce struggle was going on, a Turk fought his way forward and aimed a fearful blow at Decatur, who was not aware of his danger. Reuben Jones, an American sailor, so desperately wounded that he could not use his arms, flung himself between them and received the blow on his skull, which was fractured. It is a pleasure to record, however, that the brave fellow finally recovered and lived many years on a pension from his government.

Decatur succeeded in withdrawing with both prizes, and the next day was honored with the highest commendation in general orders from Commodore Preble. When the latter was superseded in command of the squadron, he gave the command of the Constitution to Decatur, who had some time before received his commission. From that ship he was removed to the Congress, returning home on her on the conclusion of peace with Tripoli.

Decatur was next employed as superintendent of gunboats, and March 6, 1806, was married to Miss Susan Wheeler of Norfolk, the only child of wealthy and cultured parents. The union was a most happy one, though no children were born to the couple.

In the month of June, 1807, the British frigate Leopard, while cruising off the coast of Virginia, poured several broadsides into the American frigate Chesapeake, commanded by Captain James Barron. England, as will be remembered, insisted on the "right of search," and the British Captain Humphreys claimed that the American had several English deserters on board. The Chesapeake had three men killed and eighteen wounded, and being unprepared for action, struck her colors.

Captain Barron was court-martialed and sentenced to five years' suspension without pay from the service, for what was deemed a cowardly act on his part. Commodore Decatur succeeded him in command of the ship, being transferred to the United States, when she was again put in commission.

October 25, 1812, in latitude 29° N., longitude 29° 30' W., Decatur fell in with the British ship Macedonian, of 49 carriage guns (the odd one shifting). This frigate was the largest of her class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailers in the English service. Taking advantage of the wind, the enemy fought at her own distance. The battle lasted one hour and fifty minutes. The United States poured such an incessant fire into the Macedonian that the shouts of her crew were plainly heard. She lost her mizzenmast, fore and main topsails and main yard, and was much damaged in the hull. Her official list was, 36 killed and 48 wounded, that of the Americans being 5 killed and 7 wounded. Decatur could have continued his cruise, but was obliged to accompany his crippled prize into port, where she was equipped as an American frigate. The young officer, as may be supposed, was hailed by the country as its foremost naval hero. Congress and several of the States voted him valuable testimonials for his gallantry.

Decatur's conflict with the Algerine at Tripoli.

The following year, Decatur attempted to gain the open sea from New York, (p. 323) through Long Island Sound, with the Macedonian and Hornet. A British squadron of superior force, however, compelled him to run into the Thames River in Connecticut, and he lay off New London for months unable to get to sea. He was naturally impatient at being thus cooped up, and bitterly complained that traitors on shore, by means of "blue lights," warned the enemy whenever at night he prepared to break out of his imprisonment. He sent a challenge to Commander Sir Thomas Hardy of the blockading squadron, offering to fight two of the British frigates with two of his own, but the offer was declined and Decatur's frigates were afterward dismantled.

Returning to New York, he assumed command of a squadron bound for the East Indies, and put to sea in the President. January 14, 1815, through the blunder of his pilot, his ship heavily grounded while going out. The next morning, Decatur discovered the British squadron in pursuit, consisting of the Majestic razee, the Endymion, Tenedos, and Pomona frigates and a brig. Of these the Endymion was the fleetest. After drawing her away from the rest, Decatur turned and attacked her. She was crippled and her battery silenced, when the American resumed her flight. By this time, however, the other ships had come up and opened fire. Escape was impossible and Decatur surrendered to the British squadron.

Returning to the United States under parole, he was despatched to the Mediterranean, on the conclusion of peace, to punish the Algerine pirates that were preying upon our commerce. He did his work thoroughly and well, compelling the Dey to sign the most humiliating treaty ever made with a Christian nation. He obtained similar redress at Tunis and Tripoli.

Decatur was subsequently created Navy Commissioner and made his residence in Washington at Kalorama, formerly occupied by Joel Benton.

Commodore Barron's suspension began February 8, 1808. He resorted to the merchant service, and was abroad when war was declared. His suspension terminated about eight months afterward, some time after which he reported himself to the navy department, by letter, for duty, the war continuing two years after his becoming available for command. He did not return to the United States until the close of 1818. He declared that he had used every effort to reach home before during hostilities, but was prevented. A court, presided over by Captain Charles Stewart, afterward declared its judgment that such effort had not been made by Barron.

The latter felt resentful toward Decatur, and called him to account for certain expressions he had been told were used by him reflecting upon his conduct as an officer. When appealed to, Decatur, as Navy Commissioner, declared that he held no personal enmity toward Barron; he deemed it unjust to other officers of the navy that his request to be restored to command should be granted.

Barron opened a sharp correspondence with Decatur, which continued nearly a year. Mutual friends, or rather enemies, fanned the trouble between them, which ended in a challenge from Barron which was promptly accepted by Decatur. The duel took place at Bladensburg, on the morning of March 22, 1820, (p. 324) Commodore Bainbridge was Decatur's second, and Captain Jesse D. Elliott served Barron in a similar capacity. Decatur chivalrously surrendered his right to name the distance, which Barron made the shortest possible, eight paces, on account of his defective eyesight. Decatur was without a superior as a pistol shot, and, declaring that he did not wish the life of his antagonist, said he would only wound him in the hip.

At the word "two," both fired so exactly together, that only one report was heard. Barron was struck in the right hip, as Decatur intended, and sank to the ground. Decatur stood erect a moment and was seen to turn pale, compress his lips, and press his hand against his side. Then he fell, the ball having passed through his abdomen.

"I am mortally wounded," he said, "and wish that it had been in the defence of my country." His attendants helped him to his feet, and started slowly toward the waiting carriage. His pain was so great that after a few paces he sank exhausted, near where Barron was stretched on the ground. While the two thus lay near each other, waiting to be carried off, they shook hands, and each freely forgave the other.

Decatur was lifted into the carriage, which reached Washington at half-past ten. He would not allow himself to be carried into his home until his wife and two nieces were sent to the upper floor where they could not see the dreadful sight. Wishing to save the distracted ones from the grief of witnessing his suffering, he refused them permission to enter the room where he lay.

The news caused consternation and sorrow in Washington, where no man was more honored and loved than he. He thanked his friends for their sympathy, told them he had not long to live, and signed his will. "I am a dying man," said he, "and only regret that my wound was not received on the quarter-deck in the service of my country."

When the surgeons proposed to probe for the bullet, he said it was not worth while as it had done all the harm it could. He remarked that he did not believe it possible for a person to suffer so much pain and yet live. But not once did he utter a groan. His agony was beyond description and did not cease until half-past ten, when he died.

It seemed as if the whole male population of Washington and the adjacent county were present at the funeral, besides most of the officers of the government, members of Congress, and resident foreign ministers. The National Intelligencer, in an extra, said: "A hero has fallen. Commodore Stephen Decatur, one of the first officers of our navy, the pride of his country, the gallant and noble-hearted gentleman, is no more. He expired a few minutes ago, of the mortal wound received in the duel this morning. Mourn, Columbia! for one of thy brightest stars is set! A son without fear and without reproach, in the fulness of his fame, in the prime of his usefulness, has descended into the tomb."[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

(p. 325) OLIVER HAZARD PERRY
(1785-1819)

Oliver Hazard Perry.

Oliver Hazard Perry was born in Rhode Island, August 23, 1785. The late Commodore Mackenzie, of the navy, who possessed what we may term a fine biographical faculty, has traced in his interesting narrative of the Life of Perry, with fond minuteness, the early incidents of the boy's career. The chief characteristics, he tells us, "were an uncommon share of beauty, a sweetness and gentleness of disposition which corroborated the expression of his countenance, and a perfect disregard of danger, amounting to apparent unconsciousness." This biographer gives some curious anecdotes of his school days.

Suffice it to say, that the family removing to Newport about this time, Perry found good opportunities of education at that place, and availed himself of them in a manly spirit. He was especially instructed in mathematics, and their application to navigation and nautical astronomy. As proof of the boy's ingenuousness, and the interest he excited in intelligent observers, it is related that Count Rochambeau, the son of the General of the Revolution, then residing at Newport, was particularly attracted to him, and that Bishop Seabury, on his visitation, marked him as a boy of religious feeling. These are traits which shape the man; we shall find them reappearing in the maturity of Perry's life, in his worth, humanity, and refinement.

The boy was but thirteen when his father, in 1798, was called into the naval service of his country in the spirited effort made by President Adams to resist the aggressions of France upon the ocean. He took the command of a small frigate, built under his direction in Rhode Island, named the General Greene, and carried with him to sea his son Oliver as a midshipman, at the express solicitation of the youth. The General Greene was actively employed in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, giving all its officers abundant opportunity for practice in the infant service. The French war flurry after a while blew over, as the Directory, the mainspring of these aggressions, lost power; peace was patched up, and Jefferson shortly after inaugurated an unwholesome pacific policy by a sweeping reduction of the navy, as if it were not small enough already. In this mutilating operation the elder Perry was dropped, the younger one fortunately retained.

The navy, however, was soon revived by the demands of the nation to resist the iniquitous and insulting depredations upon life and property inflicted by the (p. 326) Barbary powers. The United States had borne far too patiently with these injuries, though she had the honor of being in advance of the old powers of Europe in resisting them. The Mediterranean became the scene of many a chivalrous exploit of our early officers, a score of whom, headed by Preble, Bainbridge, Decatur, Somers, and others of that stamp of fiery and indomitable valor, gained immortal laurels by their deeds of daring in conflict with the infidel.

The young Perry served as midshipman in the frigate Adams, which sailed from Newport, in 1802, to join Commodore Morris' command at Gibraltar. His ship was for some time employed in blockading a Tripolitan at that port; a tedious but instructive service in manœuvring, at the close of which Perry, in consequence of his accomplishments, was promoted by his captain to the duties of a lieutenant. The frigate was then employed as a convoy, making the tour of the northern ports. This gave Perry an opportunity to study scenes of the old world, which can never lose their influence in the formation of the man of education and refinement.

In 1809, Perry got to sea in command of an armed schooner, the Revenge, which was employed on the coast service. While on the southern coast, he had an opportunity to gain distinction, which he did not fail to avail himself of, in cutting out a stolen American vessel from under the guns of a British ship in Spanish waters, off Florida. Conveying his prize off the coast, he was threatened by his Majesty's ship Gore, of double his force, when, having, as Mackenzie says, "no idea of being 'Leopardized,'" he put his little schooner in readiness for boarding at a moment's notice—a spirited resolution of great bravery, which he would no doubt have carried out, had the British vessel insisted upon overhauling the Revenge. While engaged in cruising off Connecticut and Rhode Island, in the beginning of 1811, he unfortunately lost his vessel, through an error of the pilot, on the Watch Hill Reef, opposite Fisher's Island, as he was sailing from Newport to New London. Every seamanlike effort was made to save the vessel, and when all was unavailing, Perry showed equal skill and resolution in landing the crew in a heavy January swell, with a violent wind. He was himself the last to leave the vessel. He was not merely acquitted of neglect, but his conduct was extolled by a court of inquiry.

He was, of course, thrown temporarily out of command by the loss of his vessel; an interval of repose which he hastened to turn to account by forming a matrimonial alliance with Miss Elizabeth Champlin Mason, of an influential family at Newport, to whom he had become engaged several years before, on his arrival from the Mediterranean. The wedding took place in May, 1811, affording him ample opportunity for the honeymoon, previous to the actual outbreak of the war impending with England.

This event found him at Newport, with the rank of master commandant, in charge of the flotilla of gunboats keeping watch in the harbor. It was a service not altogether adapted to satisfy the ambitious spirit of a young officer, but it was important in itself, and became, in Perry's hands, a step to future eminence. His course, at this time, illustrates a valuable truth, that no honorable employment is (p. 327) profitless to a man of genius. He will in some way turn it to account. Constructing gunboats, and recruiting men in port, were services not calculated to make any great blaze in a despatch, but they conducted Perry to his glorious bulletins of victory, and the resounding praises of the nation.

He saw the new field of military operations opening on the lakes, and his experienced eye must have seen as well the certain difficulties, as the possible honors of the situation. It was not the post which an officer with the claims of Perry would have sought, while brilliant victories were being won, in the eye of the world, on the vast theatre of the ocean. Others, however, were before him on that element.

Despairing of a command at sea, he offered himself to Commodore Chauncey, who had recently been placed at the head of the lake service. His character was understood by this officer, and the proffer accepted. The necessary communications were made to the Government, and in the middle of February, in 1813, he was ordered to join Chauncey at Sackett's Harbor, with the picked men of his Newport flotilla. He lost no time in reporting himself at the appointed spot. His destination was Lake Erie, where he was to supervise the construction of two vessels to be employed in the next campaign, and he was anxious to get to the work; but Chauncey, who felt the need of his aid, detained him for a while on Lake Ontario. He, however, toward the end of March, reached Erie, where the vessels were building.

His experience in constructing gunboats at Newport was now of avail to him. He put the defence of the works, which had been greatly neglected, in a state of efficiency, and set himself to the collection of supplies, workmen, and an armament: no easy matter at that day and in that place in the wilderness; for such, as compared with our own time, it then was. The labors of Perry in this work of preparation were, in fact, of the most arduous character. They should not be forgotten as a heavy item to his credit in the sum total of his victory. Three gunboats and two brigs were launched and equipped in May.

It was at this time that he received advices that Chauncey was about to make an attack on the British post of Fort George, at the mouth of the Niagara River. He had been promised a share in this adventure, and hastened to the scene. The incidents of this journey show the spirit of the man. In his own words, in a letter describing this passage of his life: "On the evening of May 23d, I received information, about sunset, that Commodore Chauncey would in a day or two arrive at Niagara, when an attack would be made on Fort George. He had previously promised me the command of the seamen and marines that might land from the fleet. Without hesitation I determined to join him. I left Erie about dark in a small four-oared open boat. The night was squally and very dark. After encountering headwinds and many difficulties, I arrived at Buffalo on the evening of the 24th, refreshed, and remained there until daylight; I then passed the whole of the British lines in my boat, within musket-shot. Passing Strawberry Island, several people on our side of the river hailed and beckoned me on shore. On landing they pointed out about forty men on the end of (p. 328) Grand Island, who, doubtless, were placed there to intercept boats. In a few moments I should have been in their hands. I then proceeded with more caution. As we arrived at Schlosser, it rained violently. No horse could be procured. I determined to push forward on foot; walked about two miles and a half, when the rain fell in such torrents I was obliged to take shelter in a house at hand. The sailors whom I had left with the boat, hearing of public horses on the commons, determined to catch one for me. They found an old passing one which could not run away, and brought him in, rigged a rope from the boat into a bridle, and borrowed a saddle without either stirrup, girth, or crupper. Thus accoutred they pursued me, and found me at the house where I had stopped. The rain ceasing, I mounted; my legs hung down the sides of the horse, and I was obliged to steady the saddle by holding by the mane. In this style I entered the camp, it raining again most violently. Colonel Porter being the first to discover me, insisted upon my taking his horse, as I had some distance to ride to the other end of the camp, off which the Madison lay."

Having thus reached head-quarters, arrangements were rapidly made, and the landing of the troops assigned to Perry. In the ignorance or inexperience of some of the officers, there was considerable confusion in directing the boats in the river, which was remedied by Perry's vigilance and decision. He was everywhere, in the midst of danger, guiding and directing; the unexpected attack of the British was met by his energy, the landing effected, and the object of the expedition accomplished. This victory opened the port of Black Rock, where several American vessels were collected, which Perry undertook to get into Lake Erie against the strong current of the river, a feat which was accomplished with extraordinary fatigue; so that he returned to his station at Erie, with a respectable addition of five vessels to his own newly launched little fleet in that harbor. The American force was composed of the brigs Lawrence and Niagara, of twenty guns each, and seven smaller vessels, numbering in all fifty-four guns. Captain Barclay, commander of the British forces on the lake, had the Detroit, of nineteen guns, the Queen Charlotte, Lady Provost, and three other vessels, numbering altogether sixty-three guns. The range of the enemy's guns gave them the advantage at a distance, when the corresponding American fire was ineffectual. The Americans, too, were under a disadvantage in the enfeebled state of the crews, by the general illness which prevailed among them. The British force had undoubtedly the superiority in trained men, as compared with Perry's extemporized miscellaneous command, and untried junior officers. The latter proved, however, to be of the right material.

On the morning of the engagement the American fleet was among the islands off Malden at Put in Bay, when the British fleet bore up. There was some difficulty at first in clearing the islands, and the nature of the wind seemed likely to throw Perry upon the defensive, when a southeast breeze springing up, enabled him to bear down upon the enemy. This was at ten o'clock of a fine autumnal morning. Perry arranged his vessels in line, taking the lead in his flag-ship, the Lawrence, on which he now raised the signal for action, a blue flag, (p. 329) inscribed in large white letters, with the words of the dying Lawrence, "Don't give up the ship!" He accompanied this movement with an appeal to his men. "My brave lads, this flag contains the last words of Captain Lawrence. Shall I hoist it?" "Ay, ay, sir!" was the willing response. In this way he cheered the men in the awful pause, "a dead silence of an hour and a half," preceding the action, for in the light breeze the vessels were long in overcoming the intermediate distance of several miles.

Perry, who knew the perils of the day, prepared his papers as if for death. He leaded the public documents in readiness to be cast overboard, and—a touching trait of these moments—gave a hurried perusal to his wife's letters, and tore them to pieces lest they should be read by the enemy.

The awful silence is suddenly broken by a bugle sounded on board the Detroit, and the cheers of the British seamen. A shot from that vessel fell short of its mark. The Lawrence bears on to meet the fire, accompanied by the other vessels of the command in appointed order, each destined for its appropriate antagonist. At noon the British fire from the superior long guns, was telling fearfully on the American force, when Perry made all sail for close quarters, bringing the Lawrence within reach of the Detroit. He maintained a steady, well-directed fire from his carronades, assisted by the Scorpion and Ariel. The destruction on the deck of the Lawrence was fearful. Out of 100 well men, says Mackenzie, who had gone into action, 22 were killed and 61 wounded. We shall not insult the humanity of the reader by the details of this fearful carnage. It has probably never been exceeded in the terrors of the "dying deck," in naval warfare.

In the midst of this storm of conflict, Perry, finding his ship getting disabled, and seeing the Niagara uninjured at a safe distance, resolved to change his flag to that vessel. He had half a mile to traverse, exposed to the fire of the enemy, in an open boat. Nothing deterred, with the exclamation, "If a victory is to be gained I'll gain it," he made the passage, part of the time standing as a target for the hostile guns. Fifteen minutes were passed exposed to this plunging fire, which splintered the oars and covered the boat with spray. The Lawrence, stripped of her officers and men, was compelled to surrender.

Perry instantly bore up to the Detroit, the guns of which were plied resolutely, when she became entangled with her consort, the Queen Charlotte, and the Niagara poured a deadly fire into both vessels. This cannonade decided the battle in seven minutes, when the enemy surrendered. The American loss in this engagement was 27 killed and 96 wounded; that of the British 41 killed and 94 wounded. Gallant actions were performed and noble men fell on both sides. It was every way a splendid victor, placing the genius of Perry and his magnanimous, spirited conduct throughout, in the highest rank of naval exertion.

The memorable letters, brief, at once eloquent and modest, which he wrote that afternoon announcing his victory, are too characteristic to be omitted in any personal account of the man. Addressing General Harrison, he writes: "Dear (p. 330) General—We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop. Yours, with very great respect and esteem. O. H. Perry." The other was to the Secretary of the Navy: "Sir, it has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms of the United States a signal victory over their enemies on this lake. The British squadron, consisting of two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop, have this moment surrendered to the force under my command, after a sharp conflict. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant. O. H. Perry." In consonance with this simple eloquence, the mark of a master-mind, was his chivalrous care of his wounded and conduct toward his prisoners.

The victory having been gained, and the lake thus cleared of the foe, Perry was enabled to act in concert with General Harrison in driving the British from Michigan, and when his fleet was of no avail to follow them in their rapid flight, he joined that officer's land expedition, and was present, acting as his aid, at the battle of the Thames. "The appearance of the brave commodore," writes Harrison in his official report, "cheered and animated every heart." Perry also gained the gratitude of the Moravians, in whose district the contest took place, by his care in relieving the inevitable evils of war. He met everywhere on his homeward route with complimentary toasts and resolutions, gathering volume as he reached his native State, where he was received at Newport with military and civic honors. The city of New York paid him a grateful attention in a request communicated by De Witt Clinton, then mayor, to sit for his portrait for the civic gallery. The portrait was painted by Jarvis, representing him in the act of boarding the Niagara, and is preserved in the City Hall. He was created an honorary member of the Cincinnati; Congress voted him a medal and money; he was dined and feasted, and "blazed the comet of the season."

Perry's next service was in August, 1814, in command of the Java, 44, a frigate recently built at Baltimore. He was, however, not able to get to sea, in consequence of the blockade by the enemy. On the conclusion of peace he sailed in this vessel to join Commodore Shaw's squadron in the Mediterranean. In 1819 he sailed as commodore in command of the John Adams, for the West Indies, bound for the State of Venezuela, to carry on an armed negotiation for the protection of American commerce from aggressions in that quarter. Arriving at the mouth of the Orinoco, he shifted his flag to the Nonsuch, and ascended the river to the capital, Angostura, where he remained twenty days transacting his business, in the height of the yellow-fever season. His vessel had hardly left the river, on her way to Trinidad, when he was attacked. For nearly a week he suffered the progress of the terrible disease on board the small schooner, under a tropical sun, when he reached the station whither he had sent his flag-ship, the Adams. But he reached port only to die at sea, within a mile of the anchorage, on August 23, 1819, when he had just completed his thirty-fourth year. Such and so early was the fate of the gallant Perry. His remains were interred from the John Adams at Port Spain, with every attention by the English governor. Subsequently they were brought home in a national vessel by order of (p. 331) Congress, and reinterred at the public expense in the cemetery at Newport. The country also provided for the support of his family. If ever America produced a man whom the nation delighted to honor it was Perry.[Back to Contents]

SAM HOUSTON[7]
By Amelia E. Barr
(1793-1863)

Sam Houston.

The builders of the American Commonwealth were all great and individual men, but the most grandly picturesque, the most heroic, figure among them, is that of General Sam Houston. Neither modern history, nor the scrolls of ancient Greece or Rome, can furnish a tale of glory more thrilling and stirring than the epic Sam Houston wrote with sword and pen, as a Conqueror of Tyranny and a Liberator of Men.

His life is a romance, and even his antecedents have the grandeur and glamour of military glory, for his ancestors, as "Sons of Old Gaul," had drawn their long swords in every battle for Scottish liberty, and his own father died while on military duty in the Alleghanies. He had also a mother worthy of the son she bore; a grand, brave woman, who put the musket into his boyish hands with the words, "My doors are ever open to the brave, Sam, but are eternally closed to cowards."

This was in the year 1813, when there was promise of a war with England, and Sam was not then twenty years old—a tall, slender, wonderfully handsome youth, with the air and manner of a prince. But nothing of this bearing was due to schools or schoolmasters, he was not of any man's moulding, although he had been educated for his future in a noble manner. For to escape the drudgery of measuring tape and molasses, he fled to the Indians when but a lad, and was adopted by their chief, and with the young braves he learned to run and leap, and hunt and ride, and find his way through pathless woods with all their skill. This was his practical education; he had only one book for mental enlargement, but this was Pope's translation of "The Iliad." He read and re-read this volume till he could recite it from beginning to end; till the words were living, and the spectral heroes were his friends and companions. So that when he joined General (p. 332) Jackson's battalion, he had the heart of a Greek demi-god and the physical skill and prowess of a Cherokee Indian chief.

He made a glorious record in this war, and, being severely wounded, both by arrows and gunshot, he returned to his home to be nursed by his mother. When he was able to rise again peace was assured and he resolved to become a lawyer. He was told that eighteen months' hard study would be necessary, but in six months he passed a searching examination, and was admitted to the bar of Tennessee with éclat. Then honor after honor came as naturally to him as a tree bears fruit or flower—first Adjutant-General of the State with the rank of Colonel; then District Attorney—Major-General—Member of Congress—Governor of the State of Tennessee. All these places and honors were awarded him by large majorities during a period of nine years. Indeed, between A.D. 1818 and 1827, the records of Tennessee read like some political romance, of which the handsome and beloved Sam Houston was the hero.

This was his second school. He was learning during these years those great principles of government which enabled him afterward to legislate so wisely for the land he conquered. And as soon as he was ready for his destiny, an event happened which drove him back again to the wilderness. Concerning this event no human being has the right to speak authoritatively; it was an affair strictly between himself and his bride of hardly three months. But whatever occurred, shattered his life to pieces. He separated from his wife, resigned his office as governor, and in the presence of a vast and sorrowing multitude, bid adieu to all his friends and honors, and set his face resolutely to his Indian father, who was then king of the Cherokees in Arkansas.

He began, in fact, his journey to Texas, the theatre of the great work for which his previous life had been a preparation. The thought of Texas was not a new one to him. No man had watched the hitherto futile efforts of that glorious land for freedom with greater interest; and there is little doubt that Andrew Jackson was a sharer in all Houston's Texan enthusiasms, and that he also quietly encouraged and aided the efforts for its Americanization. Indeed, at that day Texas was a name full of romance and mystery. Throughout the South and West, up the great highway of the Mississippi, on the busy streets of New York, and among the silent hills of New England, men spoke of the charmed city of San Antonio as Europeans in the eighteenth century spoke of Delhi and Agra and the Great Mogul. French traders went there with fancy goods from New Orleans, and Spanish Dons from the wealthy cities of Central Mexico came there to buy. From the villages of Connecticut, from the woods of Tennessee, and the lagoons of the Mississippi, adventurous Americans entered the Spanish-Texan Territory at Nacogdoches, going through the land buying horses, and lending their stout hearts and ready rifles to every effort for freedom which the Texans made. For though the Americans were few in number and much scattered, they were like the salt in a pottage, and men caught fire and the idea of "freedom" from them.

Texas was at this time a territory of the Empire of Mexico, and Mexico was (p. 333) making constant, though as yet ineffectual, efforts to become independent. Twenty years before Houston entered Texas, a number of Americans joined the priest Hidalgo in his struggle to make Mexico free. They were all shot, but this did not hinder Magee and Bernardo, with 1,200 Americans, raising the standard of liberty two years later. This party took San Antonio, and the fame of their deeds brought young Americans by hundreds to their aid; though they received no money, the love of freedom and the love of adventure being their motive and their reward.

But these brave paladins were soon followed by men who bought land and made homes, and in 1821 Austin, with the sanction of the Spanish Viceroy, introduced three hundred families, who received every reasonable guarantee from the Spanish Government. They were scarcely settled ere there was another Mexican revolt against Spain. This time the Mexicans under Santa Anna achieved the independence of their country, and a Mexican Republic was formed, with a constitution so liberal that it was gladly accepted by the American colonists. But its promises were fallacious. For ten years Santa Anna was engaged in fighting for his own supremacy, and when he had subdued all opposition he had forgotten the traditions of freedom for which he first drew his sword, and assumed the authority of a dictator.

In the meantime the American element had been steadily increasing, and Santa Anna was, not unnaturally, afraid of its growing strength and influence. In order to weaken it, he substituted for the constitution under whose guarantee they had settled, military and priestly laws of the most oppressive kind; and the complaints and reprisals at length reached such a pitch, that all Americans were ordered to deliver up their arms to the Mexican authorities. It was simply an order to disarm them in the midst of their enemies. Now the rifle is to the frontier American a third limb, and in Texas it was also necessary for the supply of food for the family, and vital for their protection from the Indians. The answer to this demand was a notice to Santa Anna posted on the very walls of the Alamo Fortress:

"If you want our arms—take them! Ten thousand Americans." This was a virtual declaration of war, but the American Texans were by no means unprepared for the idea, nor yet for its translation into practice.

Austin—who had been sent with a remonstrance to Santa Anna—was in the dungeons of the Inquisition in Mexico; but Houston, Lamar, Burleson, Burnet, Bowie, Crockett, Sherman, and many another name able to fire an army, were on the ground. Besides which, the sympathy of the whole land was with the little band of heroes. For the idea of Texas had been carried in the American heart for two generations. As far back as 1819, President Adams had wanted Texas, and Henry Clay would have voted three millions for it. Van Buren told Poinsett to offer five millions. Jackson added an additional half-million for the Rio Grande territory; but Jackson had more faith in Houston and the American settlers in Texas than in money. His brave old heart was on fire for the wrongs and cruelties inflicted by Santa Anna on his countrymen; and he was inclined to (p. 334) make Mexico give Texas as an atonement for the insults offered them. There is little doubt that the defiance posted on the walls of the Alamo thrilled him with a similar defiance, and that he instinctively put his hand on the spot where he had been used to wear his sword.

The first step of the American-Texans was to set a civil government in motion. Declarations and manifestoes had to be made, and loans raised in order to maintain an army in the field. There were many fine fighters, but Houston was the only statesman; and to him the arduous duty naturally fell. In the meantime Lamar and Burleson with 200 picked men attacked the Alamo Fortress. It was defended by General Cos with 1,000 men and forty-eight cannon; but on the afternoon of the third day's fighting surrendered to the Americans. This was but the first act in the drama, for as soon as the news reached Mexico, Santa Anna with a large "army of subjugation" was on the road to Texas.

The Alamo was taken by the Americans during the first day of December, 1835; on March 2, 1836, Texas was declared by the Convention assembled at the settlement of Washington, to be an independent republic, and 55 out of 56 votes elected Houston commander in chief. Houston immediately set out for the Alamo, but when he reached Gonzales he heard that every man in it had died fighting, and that Santa Anna had made a huge hecatomb of their bodies and burned them to ashes. Houston immediately sent an express to Fannin, who was defending Goliad, to blow up the fortress of Goliad, and unite with him on the Guadalupe. Fannin did not obey orders. He wrote to Houston that "he had named the place Fort Defiance, and was resolved to defend it." This decision distressed Houston, for Fannin's men were of the finest material—young men from Georgia and Alabama, fired with the idea of freedom and the spread of Americanism, or perhaps with the fanaticism of religious liberty of conscience. After reading Fannin's letter, Houston turned to Major Hockley, and said, as he pointed to the little band of men around him, "Those men are the last hope of Texas; with them we must achieve our independence, or perish in the attempt."

He immediately sent wagons into all the surrounding country to gather the women and the children, for he anticipated the atrocities which would mark every mile of Santa Anna's progress through the country; and he was determined that these helpless non-combatants should be placed in comparative safety in the eastern settlements. Then commenced one of the grandest and most pathetic "retreats" history has any record of. Encumbered by hundreds of women and children in every condition of helplessness, the bravery, tenderness, and patience of these American soldiers is as much beyond credence as it is beyond praise. The whole weeping, weary company were to guard, and to forage for; yet the men were never too weary to help mothers still more exhausted, or to carry some child whose swollen feet could no longer bear its weight. On this terrible march many children were lost, many died, and many were born; and the whole company suffered from deprivations of every kind.

On March 23d Houston wrote to General Rusk, "Before my God, I have found the darkest hours of my life! For forty-eight hours I have neither eaten (p. 335) nor slept!" And just at this time came the news that Fannin with 500 men had been massacred, after fighting until their ammunition gave out, and surrendering as prisoners of war under favorable terms of capitulation. This news was answered by a passionate demand for vengeance, and Houston, gathering his men around him, spoke words which inspired them with an unconquerable courage. His large, bright face, serious but hopeful, seemed to sun the camp, and his voice, loud as a trumpet with a silver tone, set every heart to its loftiest key.

"They live too long," he cried, "who outlive freedom, and I promise you a full cup of vengeance!" But in words not to be gainsayed, he told them they must put their women and children in safety first of all. Then he explained the advantages they were gaining by every mile they made the enemy follow them—how the low Brazos land, the unfordable streams, the morasses, and the pathless woods were weakening, separating, and confusing the three great bodies of Mexicans behind. He declared the freedom of Texas to be sure and certain, and bid them prepare to achieve it.

When they arrived at Harrisburgh they found Santa Anna had burned the place. It was evident then, that the day and the hour was at hand. Houston transported the two hundred families he had in charge across the Buffalo Bayou, which was twenty feet deep, and the very home of alligators. He then destroyed the only bridge across the dangerous stream, and wrote the following letter, now in the archives of the Texas Republic:

"This morning we are in preparation to meet Santa Anna. We will only be about seven hundred to march, besides the camp guard. But we go to conquest. The troops are in fine spirits, and now is the time for action. I leave the results in the hands of an all-wise God, and I rely confidently in His Providence.

"Sam Houston."

Both armies were on the field of San Jacinto, and Santa Anna had with him nearly two thousand men, against the 700 with General Houston. Houston advanced to the attack at three o'clock in the afternoon, with the war cry of "Remember the Alamo!" It was taken up by 700 men with such a shout of vengeance as mortal ears never heard before. With it on their lips they advanced close to the Mexican lines, while a storm of bullets went over their heads. Houston and his horse were both wounded, but both being of the finest metal, they pressed on regardless of wounds. The Americans did not answer the volley until they could pour their lead into the bosoms of their foes. They never thought of reloading, but clubbing their rifles until they broke, they then flung them away, and fired their pistols into the very eyes of the Mexicans. When nothing else remained, they drew their bowie knives and cut their way through the walls of living flesh.

Nothing comparable to that charge for freedom was ever made. Men said afterward that the unseen battalions—the mighty dead as well as the mighty living—won the battle. "Poor Fannin!" exclaimed General Sherman, "he has been blamed (p. 336) for disobeying orders; but I think he obeyed orders to-day!" Men fought like spirits, impetuous, invincible, as if they had cast off flesh and blood. The battle began at three o'clock in the afternoon of April 21, 1836, and after the Americans reached the Mexican line, it lasted just eighteen minutes. At four o'clock the whole Mexican army was flying, and the pursuit and slaughter continued until dark. It was a military miracle, for the American loss was only eight killed and seventeen wounded. Of the Mexicans, 630 were left dead on the field; multitudes perished in the bayou and morass; and there were nearly eight hundred prisoners. Only seven men are known to have escaped either death or capture. Santa Anna was found hiding in coarse clothing, and Houston had the greatest difficulty to save his life. For Houston knew that the lives of all the Americans in Mexico were in danger, besides which, he was needed to secure the peace and independence of Texas. It required Houston's influence, however, to convince men whose fathers and brothers and sons had been brutally massacred at Goliad and the Alamo, that their private vengeance must give way to the public good.

Just about the time that the battle of San Jacinto was fought, President Jackson was one day found by Mr. Buchanan studying earnestly the map of Texas. He was tracing Houston's plan of retreat—of which he had doubtless received information—and putting his finger upon San Jacinto he said, "Here is the place! If Sam Houston is worth one bawbee, he will make a stand here, and give them a fight!" A few days after this declaration, news was received in Washington that the fight had been given and won on that very spot.

The annexation of Texas was now publicly, as it had long been privately, the hope and goal of the Government; and for this end Jackson, says Mr. Parton, "displayed an energy and pugnacity seldom exhibited before or since, by a politician in his seventy-seventh year." But "failure" was a word not in Jackson's vocabulary; he annexed Texas, and dying as the measure was accomplished, talked only in his last moments of Texas and Houston.

Houston was elected President of the new Republic by acclamation, and he served the State two terms in this capacity. Both were marked by the finest statesmanship; and during them the Texans suffered little from the ferocious Apache, Comanche, and other Indian tribes. For Houston fearlessly slept in their camps, and treated them as brethren; and his Indian "Talks" have an Ossianic poetry about them. Thus he writes to the Indian Chief Linney: "The red brothers know that my words to them have never been forgotten by me. They have never been swallowed up in darkness, nor has the light of the sun consumed them. Truth cannot perish, but the words of a liar are as nothing. Talk to all the red men, and tell them to make peace. War cannot make them happy. It has lasted too long. Let it now be ended and cease forever," etc., etc.

After the annexation of Texas, Houston represented the State for three terms in the United States Senate; but in 1859 he failed of re-election, because he refused to go with the South on the fatal subject of Secession. Yet so great was the confidence of the people in his honor and ability, that they elected him Governor of Texas in the same year; and he entered on the office in December, (p. 337) 1859. The election of Mr. Lincoln in 1860 precipitated events; and though Houston used all his mighty personal influence, and all his charmful, potent eloquence to keep Texas in the Union, he failed, and was deposed from the Governorship on his refusal to sign the Ordinance of Secession.

Then he calmly withdrew from the scene, and there are many living who remember his pathetic parting words. "I have seen," he said, "the statesmen and patriots of my youth gathered to their fathers, and the government which they had reared rent in twain, and none like them are now left to reunite it again. I stand almost the last of a race who learned from them the lessons of human freedom!"

These events inflicted a mortal wound upon his great spirit, and when he heard the roar of the cannon announcing the secession of Texas, he turned to his wife and said, "My heart is broken!" The words were only too true; for two years he lingered a sad and solemn old man, mourning for the woes of his country and for the defection of his eldest son Sam, who had joined the Confederates, and been taken prisoner by the Northern army. He was also suffering from the wounds received both in the war of 1812 and also at San Jacinto; and it was evident that he had come to the close of life. He himself looked forward to the event without fear, and with a wise and well-grounded hope.

On March 2, 1863, Houston was seventy, and in response to an ovation in his own city of Houston, he made a short, broken little speech. It was his last public effort, and from it he went back home to Huntsville, to die. His last days were spent in incessant and heart-broken prayers for his country and for his family; and on July 26, 1863, three weeks after the fall of Vicksburg, he breathed his last to the words "Texas! Texas!"

So honestly and unselfishly had this great man lived that he died in poverty, needing many comforts; this hero, who by his valor and statesmanship had increased the territory of the United States by more than eight hundred thousand square miles, or about the equivalent of the thirteen original States! But the splendor of his name is not to be touched by such an accident as poverty; to the people of Texas, Houston will ever be a beloved memory; and on the Roll of Fame he shines forth, the noblest, the most princely, the most picturesque and chivalrous character in American history.[Back to Contents]

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(p. 338) WINFIELD SCOTT[8]
By Hon. Theodore Roosevelt
(1786-1866)

Winfield Scott.

Winfield Scott was born at Petersburg, Virginia, on June 13, 1786. His father was a gallant Revolutionary soldier, his mother one of the well-known Virginia family of Masons. He attended the schools in his neighborhood, and graduated at the then famous college of William and Mary; and upon graduation began his career as a lawyer. All his tastes were military, however, and in 1807 he joined a volunteer organization to watch the coasts, which were menaced by the British frigates; there being then great excitement over the Leopard and Chesapeake affair. When this flurry subsided he went down to practice in South Carolina. Soon after his arrival there was another alarm of war, and back went Scott post-haste for Washington, again abandoning his law, with the hope of getting a commission in the army. Yet again, in 1808, the chances of war once more retiring to the background, he tried his fortune at the bar, this time in Virginia. Alarms of war were frequent during the next four years, however, and Scott rigidly confined his practice as a lawyer to the intervals when it was not deemed possible that there could be danger from abroad.

In 1808 he was made a captain of light artillery, and was sent with his company to New Orleans. Scott was always frank in announcing his utter contempt for Jefferson's foreign policy as President, and his abhorrence of the men whom Jefferson got into the army at this period. West Point had only just started. Its few graduates did well in the war of 1812, but most of the other officers of the army were men appointed by political influence at the time, or else old officers who in their youth had had some experience in the Revolutionary War, but who were disabled by age, drunkenness, and long lack of acquaintance with military matters. Among the officers themselves there were savage factions, and Scott got into one or two scrapes in consequence of his advocacy of one of the parties. In May, 1812, the long-delayed hostilities were evidently close at hand, and Scott left New Orleans for Washington.

In September, Scott, now made a lieutenant-colonel, reached Niagara, only to share in the humiliating though petty defeats with which the land war opened on our northern frontier. His first serious affair was at the abortive effort to storm the Heights of Queenstown. When Van Rensselaer, who had led the attack, (p. 339) was wounded so as to be unable to take further part, Scott himself assumed the command. At this time about a fourth of the American militia had crossed and were attacked by slightly superior numbers of British regulars and Indians. Their remaining companions, utterly undisciplined and with no leaders, were struck by panic cowardice and refused to cross to the assistance of their fellows. Scott behaved with distinguished personal bravery, rallying his raw troops and leading them in a charge with the bayonet, always a favorite weapon with him. Nevertheless his forces soon fell into disorder and were driven over the cliffs to the edge of the water, where, from lack of boats, most of the men were made prisoners, Scott among the number. Much difficulty was experienced by the British officers in preventing the Indians from massacring the prisoners. Scott was a man of gigantic proportions. This fact, and the reckless courage with which he had fought, had attracted the attention of the Indians. Some of them came into the room where he was confined and attempted to murder him, and only his great strength and quickness enabled him to beat them off until he was rescued by a British officer.

Soon after his capture he was exchanged, and promoted to the rank of colonel. He joined the American armies as chief of staff to the major-general commanding, and being about the only man in the army who had any knowledge of tactical manuals and military treatises generally, he was kept busy from morning till night in organizing the staff service, drilling the officers, and the like. These duties, however, did not interfere with his leading and commanding his troops in battle. He led the advance guard in the successful assault on Fort George in May, 1813, took part in a number of skirmishes, and served with gallantry in Wilkinson's unsuccessful campaign.

Early in the spring of 1814 a camp of instruction for officers and men was formed, with Scott in command, near Buffalo. Up to this time the imbecility of the administration (and of the people whom the administration represented) in not preparing for the war, had been well matched by the supineness with which they carried it on. During the eighteen months that had elapsed since the beginning of the contest, only the navy, built by the Federalists when in power fifteen years before, had saved the country from complete disgrace, the armies generally being utterly inadequate in number, and moreover models of all that troops ought not to be. Even in 1814 this remained true of the forces intrusted with the defence of the Capital itself; but on the northern frontier Scott, and his immediate superior, Brown, by laborious work succeeded in turning the inefficient mob of the first two campaigns into as admirable a weapon of offence and defence as ever was handled by a general officer.

In July the little army of skeleton regiments, thus carefully drilled, was ready for the invasion of Canada. On July 5th the fight at Chippewa took place. The battle was practically between Scott's wing of Brown's army and Riall's British troops, the numbers being almost exactly equal. There was very little manœuvring. After a tolerably heavy artillery fire and some skirmishing between the light troops and Indians on each side, in the woods, the British regulars (p. 340) and Scott's American regulars advanced against each other in line across the plain, occasionally halting to fire. It was noticed that the fire of the Americans was the more deadly; their line was thinner and more extended than that of the British. When within sixty or seventy paces of one another the two sides charged; there was a clash of bayonets; then the thinner American line, outflanking the more solid British column, closed in at the extremities, and the British broke and fled immediately.

This was not only a needed victory for the Americans, but it was the first occasion for a generation that British regulars had been faced in the open, on equal terms, with the bayonet and defeated. At this very time the British had just brought to a close the terrible war with the French in the Peninsula. Their troops had been pitted successfully against the best marshals and the best troops of what was undoubtedly the foremost military power of Continental Europe; and now the American regulars, trained by Scott and under his leadership, performed a feat which no French general and no French troops had ever been able to place to the credit of their nation.

Three weeks later the British and American forces again came together at the bloody battle of Lundy's Lane. The most desperate fighting on this occasion took place during the night, the Americans and British charging in turn with the bayonet, and the artillery of both sides being captured and recaptured again and again. The Americans were somewhat inferior in numbers to the British, and the slaughter was very great, considering the number of men engaged, amounting to nearly a third of the total of both forces. In the end the fight ceased from exhaustion, the armies drawing off from one another and leaving the field of battle untenanted; but the result was virtually a victory for the British, for the next day they advanced, and the Americans retired to Fort Erie. Scott, who had exposed himself with the reckless personal courage he always showed when under fire, was dismounted and badly injured by the rebound of a cannon ball in the early part of the battle, and about midnight, just before the close of the actual fighting, received a musket ball in the body which disabled him.

Scott did not recover from his wound in time to take part in the remaining scenes of the war. After its close he went abroad, visiting London and Paris, and being very well received, returning in 1816, and again taking up his duties in the army. He indulged himself in the luxury of a sharp quarrel with Andrew Jackson, a luxury which any man could easily obtain by the way, but which was too much for any man not possessing Scott's abundant capacity to take care of himself in any conflict. He interested himself greatly in improving the tactics of the army, and went out to take command in the Black Hawk war, where he had no opportunity to distinguish himself. At the time of the nullification outbreak in South Carolina he was appointed to see to the interests of the United States in Charleston, where he acquitted himself with equal tact and resolution. He commanded in the Seminole war, but again had no opportunity to distinguish himself; and in the winter of 1837-38 was stationed on the northern frontier, (p. 341) where he succeeded in preventing invasions of Canada by American sympathizers with the then existing Canadian rebellion. Soon after this he superintended the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia, doing everything in his power for the Indians, who, in defiance of the pledged faith of the United States, were being driven out of that State.

For the next few years Scott was comparatively inactive. He had a great taste for politics, and could not forbear meddling with them, although he was at the time general-in-chief of the army. He was a very sincere Union man, and was an outspoken Whig, though with a strong latent leaning to the Know-nothing party; for he distrusted both foreigners and Catholics. He would not own slaves, and disbelieved in slavery, but he also utterly disapproved of the actions of the political abolitionists of the day. He was not only a very ambitious but a very vain man, and at times his desire for civic honors led him to try for success on fields where he did not show to such advantage as on the field of battle.

When the Mexican war broke out, the President, Polk, whom Scott detested, was reluctant to see Scott given a chance to make a record, in view of his being a pronounced Whig, and of the probability that a successful general, if nominated on the Whig ticket, would sweep the country. However, toward the end of 1846, it became impossible longer to pass by Scott's demands for active service, and, moreover, the administration felt the less reluctance inasmuch as Taylor, another Whig, had achieved much credit by his victories along the Rio Grande. Accordingly Scott was despatched with a fine army to attack Mexico from the seaboard of the Gulf and to penetrate to the capital of the country.

Early in March of 1847 he landed near the city of Vera Cruz, with 12,000 men. Trenches were opened, a bombardment begun, and the castle of San Juan de Ulloa surrendered on the 27th, 5,000 prisoners and four hundred pieces of artillery falling to the victors. Scott lost in all but sixty-four men killed and wounded. As soon after this victory as he could gather horses and mules the army started for the interior, and on April 18th encountered the Mexican army, about the same in numbers as Scott's, under Santa Anna, strongly posted at Cerro Gordo. Scott made his plans with great skill, and the battle is remarkable because of the closeness with which the methods and results of the actual attacks followed the outline which Scott gave of what he wished accomplished, in his general orders of the day previous. The Americans attacked with resolution. In places the Mexicans defended themselves well, but in other places, where their troops were raw, they gave way very quickly, and, as a result, the whole force was speedily routed and driven in headlong flight, with great loss of artillery and prisoners. Scott pushed closely after them, but almost immediately was halted by the necessity of discharging four thousand volunteers whose terms of service had expired. After waiting in vain for reinforcements, the Americans again marched forward, and halted some time at Puebla, where the long-looked-for additional troops finally arrived in August.

The army had suffered a good deal from sickness, and Scott was anxious to bring it into contact with the enemy as soon as possible. Accordingly he (p. 342) pushed straight for Mexico. The Mexican armies, numerically about equal in strength to his own, occupied very strong positions, from which they were driven only by desperate fighting at Contreras, San Antonio, and Buena Vista, the Americans losing 1,000 men killed and wounded, but capturing 3,000 of their adversaries and thirty-seven pieces of artillery. An armistice followed, but the negotiations came to nothing, and in September hostilities were resumed. The strong outworks of Molino Del Rey and Chapultepec were stormed with great loss to the Americans; for they were places of formidable strength, the Mexicans defended themselves well, and the assailants were few in numbers. The bravery of the victors, under these circumstances, showed that Scott had not forgotten the art which enabled him to turn the raw troops of 1812 into men who, alone among the troops of civilized nations, could meet the British infantry in the open on equal terms.

The City of Mexico fell immediately after the storming of Chapultepec, and Scott marched in. There was no further fighting of consequence, although bands of guerillas and brigands of all kinds had to be dispersed. Scott treated them with proper severity. The campaign ended unhappily for Scott in one way, for he became embroiled with the administration and some of its partisans among the high officers of the army, the intrigues which caused this embroilment being instigated chiefly by Democratic jealousy of the Whig general. However, he was thanked by Congress.

This was the end of Scott's active service. He again plunged into political life, and in 1852 ran for the presidency on the Whig ticket, but was hopelessly defeated. He continued general-in-chief of the army until 1861, when he retired from the command. He was too old to take the field and do his part toward the suppression of the rebellion, but he remained stanchly loyal to the flag upon which his victories had conferred such glory, and to which he himself had owed so much. Even when his State seceded it did not affect him or cause him to waver in his allegiance to the country for which he had so often drawn his sword. He died May 29, 1866.

Scott had many little vanities, and peculiarities of temper and disposition, at which it is easy to laugh; but these are all of small moment in estimating the man's character and the worth of his services. He was a fearless, honest, loyal, and simple-hearted soldier, who served the nation with entire fidelity and devotion. He was very successful in battle, and, not only his crowning campaign against Mexico, but the way in which he trained and led his troops in the Canadian campaign against the British, show him to have possessed military abilities of a high order. His name will always stand well up on the list of American worthies.[Back to Contents]

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(p. 343) ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT[9]
By Oliver Optic
(1822-1885)

Ulysses Grant.

Napoleon I. was a genius; General Grant was not. But the earnest, persistent, and determined efforts of men only moderately endowed by nature with intellectual gifts, sometimes surpass what is accomplished by the spasmodic flashes of those born to be conquerors. So far as the successful career of the most prominent hero of the War of the Rebellion may be used to "point a moral," it forcibly emphasizes the results of energy, perseverance, and a determination to succeed in spite of all obstacles. As a military strategist he was doubtless surpassed by others who were engaged in the gigantic struggle with him; but he accomplished, by adding to his soldierly abilities, his personal attributes, which seemed not to have been within the power of any other of the able commanders associated with him in the mighty conflict.

It is not claimed that General Grant was born into the world with brilliant, or even superior, intellectual powers, and his greatness was in the combination of his individual qualities, and the fact that, like Wellington, he was "rich in saving common-sense." He was a soldier in the most comprehensive sense; and if he did not overtop his colleagues in a knowledge of the science of war, he was at least their equal. The career of its greatest hero illustrates the manner in which the loyal nation gave to posterity a victorious Union.

Grant was born in humble circumstances at Point Pleasant, a village on the Ohio River, and there were no accidents of family to gild or cloud his coming into the world. He was descended from Puritan stock, and one of his ancestors, a captain in the Old French War, was killed in battle. The general's grandfather served through the Revolutionary War. His father was a tanner in Ohio, but his son was not inclined to follow that occupation, though he was willing to do so if his father insisted upon it until he was of age, but not a day longer. He stated his preferences in regard to his future employment, desiring to be a farmer, a trader on the river, or to obtain an education. The first was not practicable, and the second was not regarded as very reputable. His father wrote to the representative of his district in Congress, who obtained for the young man a nomination to the Military Academy at West Point.

(p. 344) All the education the young candidate for military honors had was only such as he had obtained at the district school, and the examination for admission was considered a very trying ordeal, though it included only the branches taught in the common schools. He "brushed up" his studies, and as he was always cool and self-possessed, he did not fail from embarrassment, as many do on such occasions, but was passed and admitted. Of the class of eighty-seven only thirty-nine were graduated. In rank Grant was the twenty-first, indicating about the average ability.

As a cadet he was popular with his comrades. He was honest, fair, and square, and was especially careful of the rights of others. The horse had been a favorite with him from his early childhood, and at the Academy he was distinguished as a bold and fearless rider. He was sober and rather dignified in his manner. The name given to him by his parents was "Hiram Ulysses;" but the Congressman had made a mistake in presenting the nomination, and at West Point he was known as "Ulysses Sidney." Failing to correct the error, he accepted the initial S., but made it stand for "Simpson," after his mother. The first name was suggested by an elderly female relative, who appears to have read the Odyssey, and appreciated its hero. The initials of his name as it finally stood had a national significance, which the newspapers were not tardy in using at the time of his first decided victory.

He was graduated in 1843, and appointed brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth Regiment of Infantry. The engineers and the cavalry are considered more desirable arms of the service than the infantry, and the best scholars at the Military Academy are assigned to them. Grant's rank placed him in the latter. His regiment was sent to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis. Frederick T. Dent, his classmate, was in the same command, and resided in the vicinity. He was invited to the house of the Dents, where he made the acquaintance of Miss Julia T. Dent, who became his wife five years later.

In 1845, the events which led to the Mexican War assumed form, and Grant's regiment was ordered to Corpus Christi, where he was commissioned as a full second lieutenant. His post was situated at the mouth of the Rio Nueces, between which and the Rio Grande was a triangular section of territory claimed by both governments; and this was the nominal subject of dispute between the United States and Mexico. General Taylor, commanding about four thousand troops, was ordered to move his force to the Rio Grande, on which the Mexicans had concentrated an army. A body of United States dragoons, commanded by Captain Thornton, was surprised by an overwhelming force of the enemy, and all of them killed, wounded, or captured. This event fired the blood of the soldiers, as well as of the people of the country, and Taylor crossed the river with the main body of his little army.

The Mexican generals declared that the advance of Taylor into the disputed territory was an act of war, and active hostilities had commenced. While the general was hastening to reinforce one of the forts attacked, he came upon the Mexicans drawn up in order of battle at Palo Alto. An action, mostly with (p. 345) artillery, followed, and the enemy were defeated and driven from the field. It was the first battle fought in thirty-one years with any foe other than Indians, by American soldiers. Grant was in that first conflict of half a century, as he was in the last ones.

The Mexicans had fled from this first considerable battle of the war to Resaca de la Palma, where they had established themselves in a strong position. Taylor attacked them the next day, and though their force was triple that of their assailants, they were again defeated and routed. The Mexicans fought with dogged courage, however they may be judged from the events of the war. Three months later, General Taylor marched upon Monterey with an army reinforced to 6,000 men. It was strongly fortified, but the city was captured after a hard-fought battle.

In the midst of the conflict in the town, while the Mexicans were disputing its possession from the windows of the strongly constructed houses, the ammunition of the brigade to which Grant was attached was exhausted, and it became necessary to send for a fresh supply. It was a service of extreme peril, and a volunteer was called for to perform it. Grant was a bold rider, and he promptly offered himself to execute the dangerous mission. Mounting a very spirited horse, he resorted to the Indian fashion of hanging at the side of his steed so that the body of the animal protected him against the shots from the windows, and he passed safely through the street. With a sufficient escort he succeeded in conveying a load of ammunition to the point where it was needed.

Soon after the battle of Monterey, Grant's regiment was sent to Vera Cruz to reinforce the larger army that was to march under General Scott to the "Halls of the Montezumas." Lieutenant Grant, as a careful, substantial, and energetic officer, was selected for the important position of quartermaster of the Fourth Regiment. The army proceeded on its uninterrupted career of victory till the capital of Mexico was in its possession. The heights of Cerro Gordo were stormed and carried, and Grant, as usual, was in the thickest of the fight.

The first considerable obstacle after the capture of Vera Cruz having been removed, the army proceeded on its march to the City of Mexico, occupying Jalapa and Castle Perote on the way; but at Puebla the forces were so reduced by sickness, death, and the expiration of enlistments as to compel a halt. For three months General Scott was compelled to wait for reinforcements; but when he could muster 11,000 effective men, a very small number for the conquest of a country, he resumed his march, and in August arrived in the vicinity of the capital. Outside of the causeways leading to the city were the strongholds of Chapultepec and Cherubusco, and batteries mounting a hundred guns.

Chapultepec was a fortification one hundred and fifty feet above the average level of the ground. A front of nine hundred feet bristled with cannon. Behind it was a mill called El Molino del Rey, fortified and garrisoned, which defended the approach to the castle. The capture of this work was assigned to General Worth, to whose command the Fourth Regiment belonged. The assault was a desperate one, for it was "the last ditch" of the Mexicans; but it (p. 346) was carried, though the assailing force lost one-fourth of its number in the assault. "Second Lieutenant Grant behaved with distinguished gallantry," is the official report of his conduct. Though custom and the precedents of the service permitted the quartermaster to remain at a safe distance from actual fighting in charge of the baggage trains, Grant never availed himself of this immunity from personal peril, but retained his place with the regiment.

When the strong places which defended the city fell, Scott and his army marched into the capital. The Mexican forces fled, and the United States flag floated over the "Halls of the Montezumas." The country was conquered, and the war was ended. Grant had been engaged in all the battles near the Rio Grande, and in most of them from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, and he had won the brevet rank of captain for his gallantry.

After the ratification of the treaty of peace, by which California was acquired, the army evacuated Mexico, and Captain Grant was sent to New York with his regiment. Its companies were separated and sent to various military stations. After serving at Detroit and Sackett's Harbor, the Fourth Infantry was sent to Oregon in 1851, the discovery of gold in California having attracted an immense immigration to the shores of the Pacific. The battalion of which Grant's company was a part was stationed at Fort Dallas, and had some experience in Indian warfare. In 1848 he had been married to Miss Dent; but in the wilds of Oregon he was separated from his family. There was nothing there to satisfy his reasonable ambition, no hope of rising in his profession, and he became discontented. In 1853 he was commissioned as a full captain; but this did not reconcile him to his situation, and he resigned his position in the army to enter upon an untried life as a civilian.

Grant was now thirty-two years of age; he had a wife and two children, and it was necessary for him to provide for their support. His first choice of an occupation had been that of a farmer, and he went back to that in the present emergency. His wife owned a farm about nine miles from St. Louis, and Grant located himself there. He built a house upon it of hewn logs, working upon it with his own hands. He was not a "gentleman farmer" in any sense, for he drove one of his teams with wood to the city. He wore an old felt hat, a seedy blouse, and tucked his trousers' legs into the tops of his boots. His habits were very simple, and the lack of means compelled him to live on the most economical scale.

The retired captain was not successful as a farmer; but he was known as an honest, upright man, faithful in all his obligations. In his need of a remunerative occupation he applied for the position of city engineer in St. Louis; but he failed to obtain it. As a real estate agent and as a collector he was equally unsuccessful, and his fortunes were at a very low ebb. He obtained a place in the custom-house, but at the end of two months the death of the collector compelled him to retire. But while fortune seemed to have completely deserted him, subjecting him to the fate of thousands of others in the struggle to live and care for his family, it was more propitious to his father, who was in comparatively easy (p. 347) circumstances, and had established himself in the leather business in Galena, Ill. It seemed to be incumbent upon him to do something for the relief of his oldest son, and in 1860 the ex-captain became a member of the firm of "Grant & Sons." This was the position in which the opening of the War of the Rebellion found him.

For years the military spirit of the North had been repressed and discouraged. Sober and dignified people regarded the soldier as unnecessary, and military parades were looked upon as childish, and classed in the category with circus shows. But suddenly, when the cannon of the Rebellion began to resound in the South, the people were awakened from their dream of security, and the profession of arms, which had been disparaged and had almost fallen into disrepute, became in the highest degree honorable, for the safety of the nation depended upon it. Millions were ready to fight for the Union, but there were very few trained officers to organize and command those who were eager to uphold the flag and save the nation. Except here and there one who had served in the Mexican or Indian wars, there was not a soldier in the land who had any experience of actual warfare.

To Galena came the intelligence that Fort Sumter had been bombarded, and with it the proclamation of President Lincoln calling for 75,000 volunteers. Grant was profoundly moved by the situation of the country, and without seeking for or thinking of the honors and emoluments that might be reaped, he patriotically desired to serve his country in the present terrible emergency. The nation had educated him for military service, and though he had fought with honor through one war, he did not regard the debt as paid. He was a soldier, but he did not boast of what he had done, or even claim the rank in the gathering armies to which his experience entitled him.

In less than a week he was drilling a company in Galena, whose members wished to make him their captain; but another citizen wanted the place, and he declined it. He consented to go to Springfield, the capital of the State, with the company. On the way he met the Hon. Elihu B. Washburn, and by him was presented to Governor Yates, who, however, did not appear to be greatly impressed, and did not take much notice of him. Then Grant wrote to the adjutant-general of the army at Washington, stating that he had been educated at West Point at the public expense, and considered it his duty to tender his services to the Government. He did not apply for the commission of a brigadier-general; but was willing to serve in any capacity where he might be needed.

No response came to this modest offer, and Grant visited Cincinnati, where George B. McClellan, who had been appointed major-general of volunteers by the governor of Ohio, was organizing the forces. Both had served in Worth's brigade in Mexico; and Grant thought his former friend might tender him a position on his staff. Though he called upon him several times, he failed to find him, and returned to Springfield. While he was waiting at the capital, Governor Yates sent for him, and asked him if he knew how many men belonged in a (p. 348) company, how many companies in a regiment, and similar questions concerning details which were very perplexing to a civilian.

Grant assured him that he was a graduate of West Point, had served eleven years in the regular army, and knew all about such matters. This reply helped the governor out of his embarrassment, and the soldier was invited to take a seat in the State House, and act as adjutant-general. One who knew Grant better than others suggested to the governor that he should appoint him to the command of a regiment. This advice was acted upon, and the patriotic seeker for military employment was appointed colonel of the Twenty-first Regiment of Illinois Infantry. Grant promptly accepted the commission, and hastened to Mattoon, where the regiment was encamped, and assumed the command.

His command was a body of three months' troops, composed of excellent material, but in rather a demoralized condition when the colonel assumed command, for the men were American citizens, jealous of their rights as such, and military discipline was new and strange to them. Grant marched them to Caseyville, where he drilled them for four weeks, and transformed them from a mob of independent citizens into one of the best-disciplined bodies of troops in the country, which became noted for its orderly and excellent bearing. The change was effected so skilfully that no man believed he had sacrificed his citizenship. The strong will of the colonel, dignified by the genuine principle of patriotism, overcame the prevailing idea of equality, and his command was a unit. The men were proud of the leadership of a regular army officer, and admired him to such a degree that they re-enlisted for three years.

While Colonel Grant was at Caseyville it was reported that Quincy, on the Mississippi, was menaced by rebel guerillas from Missouri, and he was ordered to the exposed point. In the absence of transportation he marched his regiment one hundred and twenty miles of the distance. From this point his command was sent into Missouri, where the discipline and the morals of the body were improved by quiet and judicious measures. Guarding railroads was the service in which the regiment was employed; and when serving with other commands Grant was the acting brigadier-general, though he was ranked by all the other colonels.

In July of the opening year of the war Grant became a brigadier-general of volunteers. The appointment was obtained by Mr. Washburn, who had befriended him before. The Western Department was at this time under the command of General Fremont. Grant's district was a part of Missouri, with Western Kentucky and Tennessee, and he established his head-quarters at Cairo, a point of the utmost military importance as a depot of supplies and a gunboat rendezvous. Kentucky had proclaimed a suspicious neutrality, and near Cairo, on the other side of the river, were the three termini of a railroad from the South. A Confederate force seized two of them, and Grant hastened to secure Paducah, the third. The enemy hurriedly retired as he landed his force, and Grant issued a temperate and judicious proclamation, for he was on the soil of the enemy. He had acted without orders from his superior, and returning to (p. 349) Cairo after an absence of less than a day, he found Fremont's order, already executed, awaiting him. He also took possession of Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland River.

With a force of 3,100 men General Grant made an incursion into Missouri to break up a rebel camp at Belmont, where he fought his first battle in the Rebellion. He had accomplished his purpose, when the enemy was reinforced from Columbus, on the other side of the river, and though he brought off his command in safety he narrowly escaped capture himself. Fremont was superseded by Halleck, and for the next two months Grant was employed in organizing and drilling troops. Columbus, with 140 cannon and full of men and material, closed the Mississippi. The Confederate line of defence against the invasion of the South extended from this point across the country, including Fort Henry on the Tennessee and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, the latter mounting forty guns, with quarters for 20,000 soldiers.

Grant was studying this line of defence, devising a plan to break through it. By order of General Halleck he had sent out a reconnoissance in force, under General Smith, who reported to him that the capture of Fort Henry was practicable. Grant forwarded this report to the commander of the department, and asked for permission to attack it. This was refused in sharp and curt terms. A written application, earnestly seconded by Commodore Foote, who had brought the gunboat service up to a state of efficiency in the West, secured the desired order. With 17,000 men, in connection with 7 gunboats under the command of the commodore, Grant started upon his mission the day after he received the order. Fort Henry was captured, though the army was not engaged. The main body of the Confederate force escaped to Fort Donelson.

The capture of Fort Henry cheered the army and the people. Grant telegraphed the result of the attack to Halleck, and announced his intention to proceed against Fort Donelson. Leaving 2,500 men to garrison the fort, Grant marched with 15,000 from Fort Henry, while a considerable addition to his force came up the river. The fortification was invested, and after three days of persistent fighting in cold, snow, and hunger, the fort surrendered. The gunboats were severely handled by the water batteries of the enemy, and the commodore was badly wounded, so that most of the work fell upon the army.

It was a brilliant victory, and the loyal nation resounded with the praises of Grant. This was the pointer to the fame he afterward achieved. His reply to the rebel general, "I propose to move immediately on your works," was repeated all over the country, and the initials of his name came to mean "Unconditional Surrender," the terms he had demanded of the commander of the fort.

The strategetic line of the Confederates was broken, and new dispositions of their forces became necessary on account of this important victory; Columbus was abandoned, and its men and material sent to Island No. 10. The battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, as it is called in the South, followed under Grant's command. It was a bloody and hotly contested action, and not as decisive as that of Donelson. The ground was held, and the arrival of Buell with reinforcements (p. 350) caused the Confederates to retire. Sherman had a command in this battle under Grant, and the strong friendship between these two great commanders, which subsisted to the end, had its origin about this time.

Not such were the relations between Halleck and Grant, for the latter was practically thrown into the shade by the former; but the hero of Fort Donelson continued to do his duty faithfully, making no issue with his superior. At this time he was in command of the Army of the Tennessee. While he remained in this position the Union army and navy had made decided progress in the West and the South; but no real advance was made in the direction of the rebel capital. Then McClellan was removed from his position of general-in-chief, and Halleck was appointed in his place. Grant seemed to be forgotten for the time, or his operations were overshadowed by those in the East. But he had driven the enemy out of West Tennessee, and was turning his attention toward Vicksburg.

When he had sufficiently informed himself in regard to the situation, he proposed to the general-in-chief a movement upon Vicksburg, which was really the Gibraltar of the Mississippi, and he was invested with full powers to carry out his own plans. Constantly and earnestly supported by Sherman, he battered against this strong fortress for six months. Various expedients were resorted to for the reduction of the place, without success. With the written protest of four of his ablest generals in his pocket, Grant moved his army to a point four miles below Grand Gulf, fought several battles on his way, and came to the rear of Vicksburg. The Confederate engineers were doubtless as skilful as any in the world, and seemed to be justified in regarding the fortress, with its surrounding batteries, fortifications, swamps, and tangled jungles, as impregnable.

Following up his regular siege operations, Grant exercised his indomitable will against those tremendous defences, and Vicksburg fell. The news of its surrender was spread all over the loyal nation with that of the great victory of Gettysburg. The Confederacy had been cut in two, and a decided turn in the struggle for the Union was clearly indicated. The name of the victorious general was again upon the lips of all the people. Grant himself seemed to be the only man who remained unmoved. President Lincoln sent him an autograph letter, acknowledging that Grant was right while he was wrong; and even Halleck was magnanimous enough to send him a very handsome letter of congratulation. The fortunate general had been made a major-general of volunteers after his victory at Donelson; and he was now promoted to the rank of major-general in the regular army.

A new department had been created for Major-General Grant, covering nearly all the territory south of the Ohio. He was worn out and sick after the severe exertions of the summer; but when informed that Rosecrans was shut up and closely besieged by Bragg, in Chattanooga, he set out for this point with only his personal staff. On the way he used the telegraph and the mails, and suggested or ordered such steps as would relieve the place, for the Army of the Cumberland, shut off from supplies, was in desperate straits, sick and famished. (p. 351) Reinforcements were hurried, and the result of his preparations was the decided victory of the battle of Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge. In this battle General Sheridan came to his notice for the first time.

General Grant was thanked, and presented with a gold medal by Congress. He had become the idol of the loyal nation; but he bore his honors very meekly. The grade of lieutenant-general was revived, and conferred upon him. All the armies of the United States were now under his command. He was called to Washington, and it is not possible even to mention the honors that were showered upon him. In due time he took his place at the head of the Army of the Potomac, and fought some of the most terrible battles of the war. Richmond was his first objective point, and failing in the direct approach to the capital of the Confederacy, he moved upon it from the south. It was a long struggle, but in the end Richmond fell.

At Appomattox Court House Grant received the surrender of General Lee, granting the most magnanimous terms to the defeated army. The other armies of the Confederacy soon followed the example of the Army of Virginia, and the long and terrible conflict of over four years was ended in a victorious Union. As soon as the surrender was effected, General Grant, without any pomp or parade, proceeded to Washington, not even taking in Richmond on his way, and reported in person to President Lincoln. He advised the immediate reduction of the army, sustained at an enormous expense, and no longer needed.

The war was ended! Perhaps no man ever stood higher in the estimation of his country than Grant, and it was inevitable that he should become a candidate for the Presidency. He had been a Democrat in politics before the war; but he was elected to the first office in the nation by the people, though the candidate of the Republican party. He was hardly as successful in this office as he had been in the field; but he carried with him the respect and admiration of the people to the day of his death. He was re-elected to the Presidency; and the objections of the people to a third term more than anything else, prevented his third nomination.

After his return to private life he visited nearly every country in Europe, and was everywhere honored as no citizen of the Republic had ever been before. In the last years of his life he engaged in a financial and banking business, by which he lost all his property. About the same time an insidious disease was wearing away his life. He had been approached before to write a history of his military life, to which he would not listen. In his financial strait he accepted an offer, and wrote the work, in two octavo volumes, while suffering from the weakness and pain of his malady. He was doing it for his family, for his own days were numbered; and there is nothing on record more heroic than his struggle to finish this task.

Four days after he had finished his literary labor of love, he died of the disease which had been the burden of his last days. He passed away at Mount McGregor, N. Y., July 23, 1885. The loyal people mourned him as the saviour of the nation from disruption, and even those who had been his enemies in war were (p. 352) his friends in death. The whole nation was present in spirit at his obsequies. His remains were interred at Riverside Park, New York, and only await the imposing monument which the metropolis of the nation he saved is to rear above his tomb.

His character can never be as prominent as the victories he won for his imperilled country; but his honesty, his unsullied honor, and his self-abnegation entitle him to another crown of glory.[Back to Contents]

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WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN[10]
By Elbridge S. Brooks
(1820-1891)

William Sherman.

Achievement wins applause. And when the steps toward achievement are tinged with mystery, romance, or daring, the applause is irresistible and continuous. So it has come to pass that by the side of Xenophon's masterly "retreat of the Ten Thousand," of Cortes's burning his ships at Vera Cruz, and of Marlborough's bold march through the heart of Germany to the victory at Blenheim, stands Sherman's March to the Sea and his "Christmas Gift" of captured Savannah. And yet this brilliant leader of men had never seen a hostile shot fired until he was forty-one, and his first battle was the defeat at Bull Run.

The March to the Sea, upon which Sherman's fame as a soldier so largely rests, was by no means the greatest or most significant of his many achievements. His record as a soldier is filled with examples of his courage, his shrewdness, and his tenacity, while his mingling of gentle ways and grim determination, of restlessness and calm, of forethought, fearlessness, and frankness, make him at once a unique and central figure in the decade of war and reconstruction that forms so important a chapter in the story of the United States of America.

William Tecumseh Sherman was born on February 8, 1820, in the town of (p. 353) Lancaster, the county-seat of that fair and fertile section known as Fairfield County, in the southern part of the State of Ohio—the busy commonwealth that furnished 300,000 men to the armies of the Union, and gave to the Civil War its three greatest generals; for Grant and Sherman were Ohio born, and Sheridan's boyhood was spent in the same State.

But Sherman's ancestors were of stout Puritan stock, dating back almost to the days of the Mayflower. His first American "forebear" was a Puritan minister, Rev. John Sherman, an emigrant to the Connecticut colony from Essex in England. Of one of the collateral branches was Roger Sherman, drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence. The father of the soldier was Judge Sherman, of the Ohio Supreme Court; his mother was "a Hoyt of New England."

William Tecumseh Sherman was the sixth of eleven children, a younger brother being the lad who, later, became Senator John Sherman of Ohio. Judge Sherman, the father of the boys, died in 1829, and William was adopted into the family of Senator Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, a resident of Lancaster, and a notable figure in American history, for he was senator and cabinet minister for nearly forty years.

Sherman's training was that of a soldier from boyhood. At sixteen, he was entered as a cadet at the Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1840, standing sixth in a class of 42. Engineering was his favorite study, but devotion to his books seems not to have kept him out of mischief. He was not, he himself admitted later, "a Sunday-school cadet," his record for behavior being 124 in the Academy standard—not so very far from the foot. But Grant, it must be remembered, ranked even lower in his behavior record, standing at 149.

The twenty years that followed Sherman's graduation from West Point were variously spent. He was commissioned second lieutenant in the Third Artillery, July 1, 1840, and ordered to Florida to face the hostile Seminoles. He was promoted to be first lieutenant November 30, 1841, and in 1842 was ordered to Fort Morgan, in Alabama. From 1843 to 1846 he was stationed at Fort Moultrie, in Charleston Harbor (where the afterward famous Major Robert Anderson was his superior officer), at Bellefontaine, Alabama, and at Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, on recruiting service. When the war with Mexico was declared, Lieutenant Sherman was sent to California, then a debatable land. He reached Monterey Bay, by way of "the Horn," in January, 1847, and spent three years in California, returning east as bearer of despatches to the War Department in 1850. In May, 1850, he married Miss Ellen Ewing, daughter of Senator Ewing, then Secretary of the Interior under President Taylor, and in September following he was commissioned as captain and sent to St. Louis.

It was at this time, so Sherman notes in his "Memoirs," that he felt a great disappointment to think that the war with Mexico was fought to a finish without his having been "in it," and he adds, "of course, I thought it was the last and only chance in my day, and that my career as a soldier was at an end." It was (p. 354) at an end for a time, for after garrison duty at St. Louis and New Orleans, he resigned from the army, and, in 1853, sought to make his fortune in business.

He first went to California as manager of the San Francisco branch of a St. Louis bank, but the ill success of the enterprise drove him east again in 1857, when he engaged in the banking business in New York City. To this enterprise, however, the famous panic of 1857 put an early end, and in 1858 he was embarked in the law, with an office at Leavenworth, Kan. This, too, failing to supply sufficient bread and butter, he tried farming in Ohio for a while, and then applied for a government position in Washington. Instead of this, however, he secured an appointment as Superintendent and Professor of Engineering in a new military college just started at Alexandria, in Louisiana. He entered upon the duties of his position on the 1st of January, 1860, when the mutterings of rebellion were already abroad; and just as he had put the academy into good working order the war-cloud became so black that Sherman, in a manly letter to Governor Moore, of Louisiana, declared his intention of maintaining his allegiance to "the old constitution as long as a fragment of it survives," resigned his office, and returned to Ohio. In April, 1861, he accepted the presidency of a St. Louis street railway company. Then Sumter was fired on, the war fever filled the land, troops were hurried to the front, and Sherman signified to the Secretary of War his desire to serve his country "in the capacity for which I was trained." On May 14, 1861, he was appointed colonel of the Thirteenth United States Infantry, and assigned to inspection duty in Washington under General Scott, the commander-in-chief; and then the real story of his life began.

At first fate seemed to be against him. He was too outspoken and hard-headed to suit the reckless and effusive boasters of those early days of the war, which he insisted would be long and bloody, unless the whole military power of the Republic was put into the field to crush the rebellion before it could grow into a revolution. He was as disgusted as Washington had been in revolutionary times, with short-service enlistments, and refused point-blank to go to Ohio to enlist "three-months men," saying, in his blunt way, "You might as well try to put out fire with a squirt gun as expect to put down this rebellion with three-months troops." He was assigned to the command of the Third Brigade of the First Division of McDowell's army, and had his "baptism of fire" upon the disastrous field of Bull Run, which he has characterized as "one of the best planned and worst fought battles of the war." That famous "skedaddle," as it was the fashion to call it, he frankly admitted, in his official report, began among the men of his brigade, and the "disorderly retreat" speedily became a humiliating rout, which only a few cool-headed officers, such as Colonel Sherman, could check or control.

The chagrin over the stampede at Bull Run was so great, that the more conscientious Union officers expected to be held responsible for it and duly court-martialed; but to Colonel Sherman's surprise, his superiors saw beyond the demoralization of the moment, and in August, 1861, he was made brigadier-general of volunteers and transferred to the Department of the Cumberland, with head-quarters (p. 355) at Louisville, Ky. From thenceforth all his fighting and all his fame was associated with the armies of the West.

At once he saw the desperate condition of affairs in Kentucky—a border State, only to be held for the Union by prompt and decisive measures. He called for reinforcements frequently and emphatically, and when the Secretary of War visited him on a tour of inspection, and asked his views on the situation, Sherman paralyzed him by asserting that for the defence of Kentucky, 60,000 men were needed at once, and that 200,000 would be necessary there before the war in that State could be ended. This was so out of proportion to the Secretary's estimate that Sherman was declared crazy; he was deprived of his command at the front and relegated to a camp of instruction near St. Louis.

But so shrewd and correct an observer, so energetic a leader, and so determined a fighter, could not long be left in retirement, and in February, 1862, General Sherman was ordered to assume command of the forces at Paducah, Ky. Desperate fighting soon followed. The battle of Shiloh (sometimes called Pittsburg Landing) showed of what stuff the "crazy Sherman," as the newspapers had called him, was made, and from Shiloh's bloody field in 1862, to Johnston's surrender at Raleigh in 1865, Sherman's fame rose steadily, until it left him one of the three greatest generals of the Civil War, and one of the famous commanders of the century.

From Shiloh to Raleigh, Sherman stood, in a measure, as Grant's right hand, for, even when Grant was "hammering away" in Virginia, Sherman, by his strategy, shrewdness, and daring in the West was giving him material support and help. In the three years of fighting, from 1862 to 1865, these events stand prominently out in Sherman's military record—the tenacity with which he held the right of the line at Shiloh, the faithful service he rendered as commander of the left before Vicksburg, his rapid relief of Knoxville, his brilliant capture of Atlanta, his daring and famous march to the sea and the capture of Savannah, his equally daring march through the Carolinas to the help of Grant, and his final capture of Johnston's army, which was the real close of the war.

In all these events the peculiar traits of character that made Sherman so conspicuous a success stood out in bold relief—his coolness in danger, his bravery in action, his daring in devices, his readiness of invention, his electric surprises, his scientific strategy, his ruthlessness in destruction, his courtesy to the conquered, his devotion to his soldiers, his loyalty to his superior in command, his restlessness, his energy, his determination to succeed. These all contributed to the result that made "Sherman's army" famous the world over, and stamped him as the hero of a campaign that, according to military critics, "stands alone in the history of modern warfare."

His scientific fencing with General Joseph E. Johnston, the Confederate leader, was as masterly as it was effective. He forced his rival from the stand he had taken as warder of the gateways to the South's supply land, fighting him step by step from Dalton backward to Atlanta, and capturing that stronghold of the Confederacy by persistent and desperate fighting. Then, when Atlanta was (p. 356) won, Sherman's ability to cut the Gordian knot, as no other man dared, was displayed with especial force. Instead of frittering away his precious time by simply holding Atlanta, or wasting strength unnecessarily by hunting up a baffled and elusive foe, or devoting all his energy to keeping open his long line of communication and supply, he determined to strike a disastrous blow at the Confederacy, swiftly and unexpectedly. Cutting loose from his connection with the West, he would live on the enemy and lay waste the storehouse of the Confederacy—or, as he expressed it in outlining his plans to General Grant, "move through Georgia, smashing things, to the sea."

The boldness of this desperate measure at first attracted, as it afterward alarmed, the authorities at Washington. Consent was given and then recalled, but, before the recall could reach him Sherman had acted quickly, fearing this same countermand. Upon receipt of the order consenting to his march, he cut the telegraph wires to the north, then he burned his bridges, tore up the railroad that connected him with the West, and, with his army reduced to its actual available fighting strength of 60,000 men, with banners streaming, gun-barrels glistening in the sun, bands playing, and the men singing lustily "Glory, glory, hallelujah!" Atlanta was left behind, and "Sherman's army" set its face eastward and commenced its memorable march to the sea.

In two parallel columns the army of invasion and destruction moved through the fertile land, cutting a swath of desolation forty miles wide, and crippling the Confederacy by dissipating its most cherished resources. For fully a month the army was practically lost, so far as communication with the North was concerned. Then it struck the sea at Savannah, captured that beautiful city, and, in the celebrated despatch which actually reached President Lincoln on Christmas Eve, General Sherman presented to the President and the country "the city of Savannah, as a Christmas gift."

Savannah taken, the more difficult march northward was determined upon, so as to make a junction with Grant before Richmond, and end the war by one final and tremendous stroke. The "Campaign of the Carolinas," as this northward march was called, was a really greater achievement than the march to the sea, for it was against more formidable natural odds, and was done in midwinter. The distance covered, from Savannah to Goldsboro, in North Carolina, was four hundred and twenty-five miles; five large rivers were crossed, three important cities were captured, and the Stars and Stripes were once more flung to the breeze above the ruins of Fort Sumter. And yet, in fifty days from the start, the army reached Goldsboro, "in superb order," and concluded what Sherman himself designates as "one of the longest and most important marches ever made by an organized army in a civilized country." It was a great achievement, but it was without the novelty, the mystery, and the dramatic qualities of the earlier cross-country campaign, and so it has come to pass that the first has been the most famous, and Sherman's march to the sea has gone into history as one of the romances and glories of the War of the Rebellion.

The campaign of the Carolinas fitly ended, as had the march to the sea, in (p. 357) victory; and the successes at Averysboro and Burtonville culminated on April 26, 1865, in the surrender, near Raleigh, of Johnston, and the last organized army of the Confederacy.

The war was over. Sherman's army marched northward to Washington, where, on May 24, 1865, on the second day of the famous Grand Review, General Sherman and his victorious army marched past the presidential reviewing stand—"sixty-five thousand men," says General Sherman, "in splendid physique, who had just completed a march of nearly two thousand miles in a hostile country." Then came the disbandment; Sherman bade his "boys" good-by in a ringing farewell order; the men departed to their waiting homes, and the splendid "Army of the West" was a thing of the past.

After the conclusion of the war General Sherman was, for four years, stationed at St. Louis, as Commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi. He was a notable public character, with a reputation for bravery that none dare assail, and a record as a soldier that made him one of the nation's heroes. He stood next to Grant in position, merit, and popularity; and when, in 1869, General Grant was elected to the presidency, Sherman, who had been named lieutenant-general in 1866, was promoted to the vacant post as general of the army, with head-quarters at Washington.

He visited Europe in 1871-72 and, both because of his own brilliant record, and his official position as head of the American army, he was everywhere received with honor and distinction. Returning home he wrote his "Memoirs;" they were published in 1875, and stamped him, in the opinion of critics, as "by far the ablest writer among America's military men."

On February 8, 1884, he was placed upon the retired list—"turned out to grass," as he expressed it, "and told I could spend the rest of my days in peace and retirement." As an especial mark of the nation's pride in his record, he was, as the order stated, "placed upon the retired list of the army, without reduction in his current pay and allowances," and the President in the same order publicly put on record the gratitude of the American people "for the services of incalculable value rendered by General Sherman in the War for the Union, which his great military genius and daring did so much to end." It was a fitting tribute to the man who had worn the uniform of his country for forty years, faithful to every trust and equal to every emergency, and who had risen through every grade from a cadetship and a lieutenancy, to the proud eminence of General of the Armies of the United States.

The twenty-six years that were his after the close of the great struggle in which he had been one of the central figures, were filled with a quiet enjoyment of life and a wide personal popularity. Wherever he went he was a living hero, welcomed and honored as such by the people who owed so much to his wise brain and his unsheathed sword. He could have been President of the United States, had he been willing to accept the nomination that was offered him; instead, he declined with peremptory and characteristic bluntness, and he is, it is believed, the only man who ever did refuse that high office.

(p. 358) After his retirement he made his home, first in St. Louis and then in New York, where the last five years of his life were passed, and where he speedily became one of the great city's familiar, honored, and notable figures. Here, too, the final call came to him. On February 14, 1891, when he had just passed his seventy-first birthday, sounded the order "parade is dismissed," and Sherman died in his own home, in West Seventy-first Street, mourned by an entire nation. He was buried in St. Louis by the side of his wife, who had died in 1890.

William Tecumseh Sherman was, in the strictest sense of the word, a soldier. His bearing and presence told of camp and uniform. With a military education and military environments, he could not understand, and could not calmly brook, the cautious conservatism of the civilian, which would often temporize when swift, determined action seemed necessary, and which was often boastful at home, and timorous in the field. Able in action, fierce in assault, unerring in judgment, watchful in detail; with a sagacity and foresight that amounted almost to genius, and a memory that was marvellous, General Sherman was a great military leader, and one who, when the opportunity came, rode straight into fame and reputation. As determined as he was daring, as magnanimous as he was impulsive, as clear-headed as he was energetic, and as gentle-hearted in peace as he was ruthless in war, he was indeed a unique figure in America's history, and, as time goes on, his name will stand as that of one of the great Republic's most famous men and most cherished memories.[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

PHILIP HENRY SHERIDAN
(1831-1888)

Philip Henry Sheridan, Commander-in-chief of the United States Army, and the last and most brilliant of the great generals of the North, was born at Albany, N. Y. March 6, 1831. He had few advantages of early education and training, but in 1848 he obtained a cadetship at West Point. Sheridan's hot blood and impulsive temperament were manifested even in his student days, and a quarrel with a comrade resulted in his suspension for a year. He was consequently unable to graduate in 1852, as he should have done, but in the following year he concluded his studies and was appointed a brevet second lieutenant of infantry. In 1854 he was assigned to the First Infantry in Texas, and the same year he received his commission (p. 359) as second lieutenant of the Fourth Infantry. With the latter regiment he served during the next six years in Washington Territory and Oregon. In the attack upon the Indians at the Cascades, Washington Territory, in April, 1856, the United States troops landed under fire, and routed and dispersed the enemy at every point. General Scott drew special attention to Sheridan's bravery on this occasion.

Philip Henry Sheridan.

But it was the great Civil War which developed Sheridan's talents, as in the case of many other distinguished officers, and made promotion rapid. The resignation of commanders with Southern sympathies and the creation of new regiments secured Sheridan a first lieutenancy in the Fourth Infantry in March, 1861, and a captaincy in the Thirteenth Infantry in the following May. Yet that memorable year in the history of the United States "brought him little employment and no laurels." After various minor services he was commissioned as colonel of the Second Michigan Cavalry on May 25, 1862. He at once engaged with the regiment in Elliot's raid against the railroad, which was destroyed at Booneville. During the month of June he commanded the Second Cavalry Brigade in several skirmishes, and on July 1st gained a brilliant victory at Booneville over a superior cavalry force. His appointment as brigadier-general of volunteers dated from this action. In the autumn of 1862 Sheridan received the command of the Eleventh Division of the Army of the Ohio, under General Buell. Moving out of Louisville with Buell, against Bragg, he took part, on October 8th, in the stoutly contested battle of Perryville, where he manœuvred his division with conspicuous skill and effect, holding the key of the Northern position, and using the point to its utmost advantage.

At the famous battle of Murfreesboro, which was one of the bloodiest and most prolonged of the campaign, Sheridan held the key-point for several hours in the first day's fighting, "displaying superb tactical skill and the greatest gallantry." After repulsing four desperate assaults his ammunition unfortunately gave out. He then ordered a bayonet charge and withdrew his lines from the field; but by his obstinate resistance invaluable time had been gained by his chief, General Rosecrans, to make new dispositions. Sheridan's commission as major-general followed upon these services. From this time little of interest occurred until September 19 and 20, 1863, when Sheridan again distinguished himself at the battle of Chickamauga, rescuing his division from a perilous position. General Thomas was transferred to the command of Rosecrans' besieged army at Chattanooga, and thither General Grant arrived with reinforcements from Vicksburg. Grant was determined to dislodge the Southern commander, Bragg, who was posted on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. (p. 360) Hooker carried Lookout Mountain and Thomas captured the Ridge on November 25th. In the latter operation Sheridan's division was the first to cross the crest, and it pressed the enemy's rear-guard until long after dark, seizing wagons and artillery. By his successful conduct in the West, Sheridan had now thoroughly established his military reputation.

Grant, who had now become lieutenant-general, established his head-quarters in Virginia in March, 1864. He was very badly off for an energetic commander of cavalry there, and discussed the matter with General Halleck. The latter at once suggested Sheridan, remembering his splendid dash and bravery at Missionary Ridge. "The very man!" exclaimed the laconic Grant, and Sheridan accordingly became commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Sheridan's progress during the campaign of 1864 was like a whirlwind. His troops covered the front and flanks of the infantry through the battle of the "Wilderness" until May 8th, when the greater part of the force was withdrawn, and next morning Sheridan started on a raid against the enemy's points of communication with Richmond. Getting within the Confederate lines he dashed upon the outworks of Richmond itself, where he took one hundred prisoners, and thence moved to Haxall's Landing, from which point he returned to the Northern army, having destroyed many miles of railroad track, besides trains and a great quantity of rations, and liberated Union soldiers. This expedition included repulses of the enemy at Beaver Dam and Meadow Bridge, and the defeat of the enemy's cavalry at Yellow Tavern, where their best cavalry leader, J. E. B. Stuart, was killed. From May 27th to June 24th Sheridan was engaged in almost daily engagements and skirmishes, harassing the enemy, and, with that good fortune which sometimes attends the most daring soldiers, resisting all attempts to defeat or capture him.

The Middle Department and the Department of West Virginia, Washington, and Susquehanna were constituted the "Middle Military Division" in August, 1864, and General Grant put Sheridan in command of the same. He chafed for opportunities of further distinguishing himself and justifying his appointment; but the enemy, under General Early, had been reinforced, and for six weeks Sheridan was kept on the defensive near Harper's Ferry. At length, when Early's forces had been diminished, Sheridan expressed such confidence of success if he were allowed to attack, that Grant gave him permission in only two words of instruction, "Go in!" Sheridan went in, attacking Early with great vigor, on September 19th, at the crossing of the Opequan. After a severe battle the enemy was routed; Sheridan captured three thousand prisoners and five guns, and sent Early, as he expressed it, "whirling through Winchester." Next day President Lincoln, on Grant's recommendation, appointed the victorious soldier a brigadier-general in the regular army. Taking up the pursuit of Early in the Shenandoah Valley, Sheridan found him on the 20th strongly posted on Fisher's Hill, just beyond Strasburg. Quietly moving Crook's command through the wood, he turned the enemy's left on the 22d, and drove him from his stronghold, capturing sixteen guns.

(p. 361) The losses of Sheridan and those of Early in these two battles were almost precisely equal, being about fifty-four hundred men each; but the Northern general had captured many guns and small arms. Sheridan continued the pursuit up the valley, but finding it impracticable to proceed either to Lynchburg or Charlottesville, he returned through the valley, devastating it on his way and rendering it untenable for an enemy's army. By Sheridan's successes Grant obtained the unobstructed use of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, whereas his defeat would have exposed Maryland and Pennsylvania to invasion.

Sheridan's next operations, however, were the most important, as they have become the most renowned, in his career. Passing through Strasburg, he posted his troops on the further bank of Cedar Creek, while he himself, on October 16th, went to Washington, in response to a request from Secretary Stanton, for consultation. Before the sun rose on the morning of the 19th, Early, who had been reinforced, surprised, during a fog, the left of the Union army and uncovered the position also of the Nineteenth Corps, capturing twenty-four guns and about fourteen hundred prisoners. General Wright succeeded in retaining his grasp on the turnpike by moving the Sixth Corps to its western side and the cavalry to its eastern; but the whole army in the process had been driven back beyond Middletown.

Sheridan was at Winchester at this time, on his return from Washington. Hearing the noise of battle, he dashed up the turnpike with an escort of twenty men, rallying the fugitives on his way, and after a ride of a dozen miles reached the army, where he was received with indescribable enthusiasm. This famous incident gave rise to Buchanan Read's stirring poem of Sheridan's ride, now one of the most popular pieces in the repertories of public readers, both in England and the United States. After the lapse of a few hours, spent in preparing his forces, Sheridan ordered an advance, and literally swept the enemy from the field in one of the most overwhelming and decisive engagements of the war. All the lost Union guns were retaken, and twenty-four Confederate guns and many wagons and stores were captured. Congress passed a vote of thanks to Sheridan and his troops for the "brilliant series of victories in the valley," and especially the one at Cedar Creek. Sheridan was appointed by the President a major-general in the army "for the personal gallantry, military skill, and just confidence in the courage and patriotism of your troops," as the order expressed it, "displayed by you on October 19th."

On February 27, 1865, Sheridan, with his cavalry, 10,000 strong, moved up the valley, destroying the Virginia Central Railroad, the James River Canal, and immense quantities of supplies, and defeating Early again at Waynesboro. He then made his way toward Grant's army and arrived at the White House on March 19th. In subsequent operations he acted immediately under General Grant. The final campaign of the war began, and on March 31st Sheridan was attacked by a heavy force of Lee's infantry, under Picket and Johnson; but on the following day, being reinforced by Warren, he entrapped and completely routed Picket and Johnson's forces at Five Forks, taking thousands of prisoners. (p. 362) Sheridan displayed great tactical skill and generalship on this occasion, and the decisive battle of Five Forks compelled General Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. Lee was soon in flight, but Sheridan was speedily on his trail, and, far away in the Northern van, he constantly harassed the enemy. Overtaking the flying army at Sailor's Creek, he captured sixteen guns and four hundred wagons, and detained the enemy until the Sixth Corps could come up, when a combined attack resulted in the capture of more than six thousand prisoners.

On April 8th Sheridan again engaged the Confederates at Appomattox Station. Early on the morning of the 9th the enemy endeavored to break through, but abandoned the attempt when Sheridan, moving aside, disclosed the infantry behind. Sheridan mounted his men and was about to charge, when the white flag betokening surrender was displayed in his front. This brought the war in Virginia to a close, though in Alabama and other districts the conflict continued to a somewhat later period. The Confederate power, however, was broken by the surrender at Appomattox Court-house, which practically ended the Civil War.

Sheridan subsequently conducted an expedition into North Carolina. On June 3, 1865, he took command of the Military Division of the Southwest, at New Orleans, and was appointed to the Fifth Military District (Louisiana and Texas) in March, 1867. President Johnson, being dissatisfied with his administration, relieved him of his appointment during the reconstruction troubles in Louisiana, and transferred him to the Department of the Missouri. He continued in command until March 4, 1869, when he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and assigned the command of the Division of the Missouri, with head-quarters at Chicago.

During the Franco-German War of 1870-71 General Sheridan visited Europe, and was present as a spectator with the German forces at several celebrated engagements. He was held in high esteem by Prince Bismarck and Count Von Moltke. After the sanguinary battle of Gravelotte, which Sheridan witnessed, Bismarck returned with the King to Pont-à-Mousson, and on the evening of the next day the German Chancellor entertained at dinner General Sheridan and his American companions, "with whom he talked eagerly in good English, while champagne and porter circulated." At one point of the Franco-German War, when Bismarck was at Versailles, anxiously desiring a French government with which he could conclude a durable peace, "it almost seemed," says Mr. Lowe, in his "Life of Bismarck," "as if he had no other resource but to pursue the war on the principles laid down by General Sheridan." The American soldier had said to the Chancellor: "First deal as hard blows at the enemy's soldiers as possible, and then cause so much suffering to the inhabitants of the country that they will long for peace and press their government to make it. Nothing should be left to the people but eyes to see and lament the war."

Sheridan ride.

In 1875, during the political disturbances in Louisiana, General Sheridan was sent to New Orleans, returning to Chicago on quiet being restored. On the retirement of General Sherman, in March, 1884, he was appointed Commander-in-chief (p. 363) of the Army of the United States. He died August 5, 1888. General Sheridan was the most brilliant cavalry officer whom America has produced. In addition to conspicuous personal bravery, he had an eagle eye for piercing through the designs of an enemy and for detecting at a glance all their weak points. He possessed wonderful energy, remained undepressed in the presence of overwhelming odds, and had a superb confidence in moments of the greatest danger. His career was one of the most romantic and adventurous called forth by the great American civil struggle.[Back to Contents]

ROBERT EDMUND LEE
By General Viscount Wolseley
(1807-1870)

Robert Lee.

It is my wish to give a short outline of General Lee's life, and to describe him as I saw him in the autumn of 1862, when at the head of proud and victorious troops he smiled at the notion of defeat by any army that could be sent against him. I desire to make known to the reader not only the renowned soldier, whom I believe to have been the greatest of his age, but to give some insight into the character of one whom I have always considered the most perfect man I ever met.

As a looker-on, I feel that both parties in the war have so much to be proud of that both can afford to hear what impartial Englishmen, or foreigners, have to say about it. Inflated and bubble reputations were acquired during its progress, few of which will bear the test of time. The idol momentarily set up, often for political reasons, crumbles in time into the dust from which its limbs were perhaps originally moulded. To me, however, two figures stand out in that history, towering above all others, both cast in hard metal that will be forever proof against the belittling efforts of all future detractors: one, General Lee, the great soldier; the other, Mr. Lincoln, the far-seeing statesman of iron will, of unflinching determination. Each is a good representative of the genius that characterized his country. As I study the history of the secession war, these seem to me the two men who influenced it most, and who will be recognized as its greatest heroes when future generations of American historians record its stirring events with impartiality.

(p. 364) General Lee came from the class of landed gentry that has furnished England at all times with her most able and distinguished leaders. The first of his family who went to America was Richard Lee, who, in 1641, became Colonial Secretary to the Governor of Virginia. The family settled in Westmoreland, one of the most lovely counties in that historic State, and members of it from time to time held high positions in the government. Several of the family distinguished themselves during the War of Independence, among whom was Henry, the father of General Robert E. Lee. He raised a mounted corps known as "Lee's Legion," in command of which he obtained the reputation of being an able and gallant soldier. He was nicknamed by his comrades "Light-Horse Harry." He was three times Governor of his native State. To him is attributed the authorship of the eulogy on General Washington, in which occurs the so-often quoted sentence, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," praise that with equal truth might have been subsequently applied to his own distinguished son.

The subject of this slight sketch, Robert Edmund Lee, was born January 9, 1807, at the family place of Stratford, in the county of Westmoreland, State of Virginia. When only a few years old, his parents moved to the small town of Alexandria, which is on the right bank of the Potomac River, nearly opposite Washington, but a little below it.

He was but a boy of eleven when his father died, leaving his family in straitened circumstances. Like many other great commanders, he was in consequence brought up in comparative poverty, a condition which has been pronounced by the greatest of them as the best training for soldiers. During his early years he attended a day-school near his home in Alexandria. He was thus able in his leisure hours to help his invalid mother in all her household concerns, and to afford her that watchful care which, owing to her very delicate health, she so much needed. She was a clever, highly gifted woman, and by her fond care his character was formed and stamped with honest truthfulness. By her he was taught never to forget that he was well born, and that, as a gentleman, honor must be his guiding star through life. It was from her lips he learned his Bible, from her teaching he drank in the sincere belief in revealed religion which he never lost. It was she who imbued her great son with an ineradicable belief in the efficacy of prayer, and in the reality of God's interposition in the every-day affairs of the true believer. No son ever returned a mother's love with more heartfelt intensity. She was his idol, and he worshipped her with the deep-seated inborn love which is known only to the son in whom filial affection is strengthened by respect and personal admiration for the woman who bore him. He was her all in all, or, as she described it, he was both son and daughter to her. He watched over her in weary hours of pain, and served her with all that soft tenderness which was such a marked trait in the character of this great, stern leader of men.

He seems to have been throughout his boyhood and early youth perfect in disposition, in bearing, and in conduct—a model of all that was noble, honorable, and manly. Of the early life of very few great men can this be said. Many who (p. 365) have left behind the greatest reputations for usefulness, in whom middle age was a model of virtue and perhaps of noble self-denial, began their career in a whirlwind of wild excess. Often, again, we find that, like Nero, the virtuous youth develops into the middle-aged fiend, who leaves behind him a name to be execrated for all time. It would be difficult to find in history a great man, be he soldier or statesman, with a character so irreproachable throughout his whole life as that which in boyhood, youth, manhood, and to his death, distinguished Robert Lee from all contemporaries.

He entered the Military Academy of West Point at the age of eighteen, where he worked hard, became adjutant of the cadet corps, and finally graduated at the head of his class. There he mastered the theory of war and studied the campaigns of the great masters in that most ancient of all sciences. Whatever he did, even as a boy, he did thoroughly, with order and method. Even at this early age he was the model Christian gentleman in thought, word, and deed; careful and exact in the obedience he rendered his superiors, but remarkable for that dignity of deportment which all through his career struck strangers with admiring respect.

He left West Point when twenty-two, having gained its highest honors, and at once obtained a commission in the engineers. Two years afterward he married the granddaughter and heiress of Mrs. Custis, whose second husband had been General Washington, but by whom she left no children. It was a great match for a poor subaltern officer, as his wife was heiress to a very extensive property and to a large number of slaves. She was clever, very well educated, and a general favorite; he was handsome, tall, well made, with a graceful figure, and a good rider; his manners were at once easy and captivating. These young people had long known one another, and each was the other's first love. She brought with her as part of her fortune General Washington's beautiful property of Arlington, situated on the picturesque wooded heights that overhang the Potomac River, opposite the capital to which the great Washington had given his name. In talking to me of the Northern troops, whose conduct in Virginia was then denounced by every local paper, no bitter expression passed his lips, but tears filled his eyes as he referred to the destruction of his place, that had been the cherished home of the father of the United States. He could forgive their cutting down his trees, their wanton conversion of his pleasure-grounds into a graveyard, but he could never forget their reckless plunder of all the camp equipment and other relics of General Washington that Arlington House had contained.

Robert Lee first saw active service during the American war with Mexico in 1846, where he was wounded, and evinced a remarkable talent for war that brought him prominently into notice. He was afterward engaged in operations against hostile Indians, and obtained the reputation in the army of being an able officer of great promise. General Scott, then the general of greatest repute in the United States, was especially attracted by the zeal and soldierly instinct of the young captain of engineers, and frequently employed him on distant expeditions (p. 366) that required cool nerve, confidence, and plenty of common sense. It is a curious fact that throughout the Mexican War General Scott in his despatches and reports made frequent mention of three officers—Lee, Beauregard, and McClellan—whose names became household words in America afterward, during the great Southern struggle for independence. General Scott had the highest opinion of Lee's military genius, and did not hesitate to ascribe much of his success in Mexico as due to Lee's "skill, valor, and undaunted energy." Indeed, subsequently, when the day came that these two men should part, each to take a different side in the horrible contest before them, General Scott is said to have urged Mr. Lincoln's Government to secure Lee at any price, alleging he "would be worth fifty thousand men to them." His valuable services were duly recognized at Washington by more than one step of brevet promotion: he obtained the rank of colonel and was given command of a cavalry regiment shortly afterward.

I must now pass to the most important epoch of his life, when the Southern States left the Union and set up a government of their own. Mr. Lincoln was in 1860 elected President of the United States in the abolitionist interest. Both parties were so angry that thoughtful men soon began to see that war alone could end this bitter dispute. Shipwreck was before the vessel of state which General Washington had built and guided with so much care during his long and hard-fought contest. Civil war stared the American citizen in the face, and Lee's heart was well-nigh broken at the prospect. Early in 1861 the seven Cotton States passed acts declaring their withdrawal from the Union, and their establishment of an independent republic, under the title of "The Confederate States of America." This declaration of independence was in reality a revolution; war alone could ever bring all the States together.

Lee viewed this secession with horror. Until the month of April, when Virginia, his own dearly cherished State, joined the Confederacy, he clung fondly to the hope that the gulf which separated the North from the South might yet be bridged over. He believed the dissolution of the Union to be a dire calamity not only for his own country, but for civilization and all mankind. "Still," he said, "a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me." In common with all Southerners he firmly believed that each of the old States had a legal and indisputable right, by its individual constitution, and by its act of union, to leave at will the great Union into which each had separately entered as a sovereign State. This was with him an article of faith of which he was as sure as of any divine truths he found in the Bible. This fact must be kept always in mind by those who would rightly understand his character, or the course he pursued in 1861. He loved the Union for which his father and family in the previous century had fought so hard and done so much. But he loved his own State still more. She was the sovereign to whom in the first place he owed allegiance, and whose orders, as expressed through her legally constituted government, he was, he felt, bound in law, in honor, and in (p. 367) love to obey without doubt or hesitation. This belief was the mainspring that kept the Southern Confederacy going, as it was also the corner-stone of its constitution.

In April, 1861, at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, the first shot was fired in a war that was only ended in April, 1865, by the surrender of General Lee's army at Appomattox Court House, in Virginia. In duration it is the longest war waged since the great Napoleon's power was finally crushed at Waterloo. As the heroic struggle of a small population that was cut off from all outside help, against a great, populous, and very rich republic, with every market in the world open to it, and to whom all Europe was a recruiting ground, this secession war stands out prominently in the history of the world. When the vast numbers of men put into the field by the Northern States, and the scale upon which their operations were carried on, are duly considered, it must be regarded as a war fully equal in magnitude to the successful invasion of France by Germany in 1870. If the mind be allowed to speculate on the course that events will take in centuries to come, as they flow surely on with varying swiftness to the ocean of the unknown future, the influence which the result of this Confederate war is bound to exercise upon man's future history will seem very great. Think of what a power the re-United States will be in another century! Of what it will be in the twenty-first century of the Christian era! If, as many believe, China is destined to absorb all Asia and then to overrun Europe, may it not be in the possible future that Armageddon, the final contest between heathendom and Christianity, may be fought out between China and North America? Had secession been victorious, it is tolerably certain that the United States would have broken up still further, and instead of the present magnificent and English-speaking empire, we should now see in its place a number of small powers with separate interests.

Most certainly it was the existence of slavery in the South that gave rise to the bitter antagonism of feeling which led to secession. But it was not to secure emancipation that the North took up arms, although during the progress of the war Mr. Lincoln proclaimed it, for the purpose of striking his enemy a serious blow. Lee hated slavery, but, as he explained to me, he thought it wicked to give freedom suddenly to some millions of people who were incapable of using it with profit to themselves or the State. He assured me he had long intended to gradually give his slaves their liberty. He believed the institution to be a moral and political evil, and more hurtful to the white than to the black man. He had a strong affection for the negro; but he deprecated any sudden or violent interference on the part of the State between master and slave. Nothing would have induced him to fight for the continuance of slavery; indeed, he declared that had he owned every slave in the South he would willingly give them all up if by so doing he could preserve the Union. He was opposed to secession, and to prevent it he would willingly sacrifice everything except honor and duty, which forbade him to desert his State. When in April, 1861, she formally and by an act of her Legislature left the Union, he resigned his commission in the United (p. 368) States army with the intention of retiring into private life. He endeavored to choose what was right. Every personal interest bade him throw in his lot with the Union. His property lay so close to Washington that it was certain to be destroyed and swept of every slave, as belonging to a rebel. But the die was cast; he forsook everything for principle and the stern duty it entailed. Then came that final temptation which opened out before him a vista of power and importance greater than that which any man since Washington had held in America. General Long's book proves beyond all further doubt that he was offered the post of commander-in-chief of the Federal army. General Scott, his great friend and leader, whom he loved and respected, then commanding that army, used all his influence to persuade him to throw in his lot with the North, but to no purpose. Nothing would induce him to have any part in the invasion of his own State, much as he abhorred the war into which he felt she was rushing. His love of country, his unselfish patriotism, caused him to relinquish home, fortune, a certain future, in fact, everything, for her sake.

He was not, however, to remain a spectator of the coming conflict; he was too well known to his countrymen in Virginia as the officer in whom the Federal army had most confidence. The State of Virginia appointed him major-general and commander-in-chief of all her military forces. In open and crowded convention he formally accepted this position, saying, with all that dignity and grace of manner which distinguished him, that he did so "trusting in Almighty God, an approving conscience, and the aid of my fellow-citizens." The scene was most impressive. There were present all the leading men of Virginia, and representatives of all the first families in a State where great store was attached to gentle birth, and where society was very exclusive. General Lee's presence commanded respect, even from strangers, by a calm, self-possessed dignity the like of which I have never seen in other men. Naturally of strong passions, he kept them under perfect control by that iron and determined will, of which his expression and his face gave evidence. As this tall, handsome soldier stood before his countrymen, he was the picture of the ideal patriot, unconscious and self-possessed in his strength; he indulged in no theatrical display of feeling; there was in his face and about him that placid resolve which bespoke great confidence in self, and which in his case—one knows not how—quickly communicated its magnetic influence to others. He was then just fifty-four years old, the age of Marlborough when he destroyed the French army at Blenheim. In many ways and on many points these two great men much resembled each other. Both were of a dignified and commanding exterior; eminently handsome, with a figure tall, graceful, and erect, while a muscular, square-built frame bespoke great activity of body. The charm of manner which I have mentioned as very winning in Lee, was possessed in the highest degree by Marlborough. Both, at the outset of their great career of victory, were regarded as essentially national commanders. Both had married young, and were faithful husbands and devoted fathers. Both had in all their campaigns the same belief in an ever-watchful Providence, in whose help they trusted implicitly, and for whose interposition (p. 369) they prayed at all times. They were gifted with the same military instinct, the same genius for war. The power of fascinating those with whom they were associated, the spell which they cast over their soldiers, who believed almost superstitiously in their certainty of victory, their contempt of danger, their daring courage, constitute a parallel that is difficult to equal between any other two great men of modern times.

From the first Lee anticipated a long and bloody struggle, although from the bombastic oratory of self-elected politicians and patriots the people were led to believe that the whole business would be settled in a few weeks. This folly led to a serious evil, namely, the enlistment of soldiers for only ninety days. Lee, who understood war, pleaded in favor of the engagement being for the term of war, but he pleaded in vain. To add to his military difficulties, the politicians insisted upon the officers being elected by their men. This was a point which, in describing to me the constitution of his army, Lee most deplored.

The formation of an army with the means alone at his disposal was a colossal task. Everything had to be created by this extraordinary man. The South was an agricultural, not a manufacturing, country, and the resources of foreign lands were denied it by the blockade of its ports maintained by the fleet of the United States. Lee was a thorough man of business, quick in decision, yet methodical in all he did. He knew what he wanted. He knew what an army should be, and how it should be organized, both in a purely military as well as an administrative sense. In about two months he had created a little army of fifty thousand men, animated by a lofty patriotism and courage that made them unconquerable by any similarly constituted army. In another month this army, at Bull Run, gained a complete victory over the Northern invaders, who were driven back across the Potomac like herds of frightened sheep.

The Confederates did not follow up their victory at Bull Run. A rapid and daring advance would have given them possession of Washington, their enemy's capital. Political considerations at Richmond were allowed to outweigh the very evident military expediency of reaping a solid advantage from this their first great success. Often afterward, when this attempt to allay the angry feelings of the North against the act of secession had entirely failed, was this action of their political rulers lamented by the Confederate commanders.

In this article, to attempt even a sketch of the subsequent military operations is not to be thought of. Both sides fought well, and both have such true reason to be proud of their achievements that they can now afford to hear the professional criticisms of their English friends in the same spirit that we Britishers have learned to read of the many defeats inflicted upon our arms by General Washington.

As a student of war I would fain linger over the interesting lessons to be learned from Lee's campaigns; of the same race as both belligerents, I could with the utmost pleasure dwell upon the many brilliant feats of arms on both sides; but I cannot do so here.

The end came at last, when the well-supplied North, rich enough to pay recruits, (p. 370) no matter where they came from, a bounty of over five hundred dollars a head, triumphed over an exhausted South, hemmed in on all sides, and even cut off from all communication with the outside world. The desperate, though drawn battle of Gettysburg was the death-knell of Southern independence; and General Sherman's splendid but almost unopposed march to the sea showed the world that all further resistance on the part of the Confederate States could only be a profitless waste of blood. In the thirty-five days of fighting near Richmond which ended the war in 1865, General Grant's army numbered 190,000, that of Lee only 51,000 men. Every man lost by the former was easily replaced, but an exhausted South could find no more soldiers. "The right of self-government," which Washington won and for which Lee fought, was no longer to be a watchword to stir men's blood in the United States. The South was humbled and beaten by its own flesh and blood in the North, and it is difficult to know which to admire most, the good sense with which the result was accepted in the so-called Confederate States, or the wise magnanimity displayed by the victors. The wounds are now healed on both sides; Northerners and Southerners are now once more a united people, with a future before them to which no other nation can aspire. If the English-speaking people of the earth cannot all acknowledge the same sovereign, they can, and I am sure they will, at least combine to work in the interests of truth and of peace for the good of mankind. The wise men on both sides of the Atlantic will take care to chase away all passing clouds that may at any time throw even a shadow of dispute or discord between the two great families into which our race is divided.

Like all men, Lee had his faults; like all the greatest of generals, he sometimes made mistakes. His nature shrank with such horror from the dread of wounding the feelings of others, that upon occasions he left men in positions of responsibility to which their abilities were not equal. This softness of heart, amiable as that quality may be, amounts to a crime in the man intrusted with the direction of public affairs at critical moments. Lee's devotion to duty and great respect for obedience seem at times to have made him too subservient to those charged with the civil government of his country. He carried out too literally the orders of those whom the Confederate constitution made his superiors, although he must have known them to be entirely ignorant of the science of war. He appears to have forgotten that he was the great revolutionary chief engaged in a great revolutionary war, that he was no mere leader in a political struggle of parties carried on within the lines of an old, well-established form of government. It was very clear to many at the time, as it will be commonly acknowledged now, that the South could only hope to win under the rule of a military dictator. If General Washington had had a Mr. Davis over him, could he have accomplished what he did? It will, I am sure, be news to many that General Lee was given the command over all the Confederate armies a month or two only before the final collapse; and that the military policy of the South was all throughout the war dictated by Mr. Davis as President of the Confederate States. Lee had no power to reward soldiers or to promote officers. It was Mr. Davis who selected (p. 371) the men to command divisions and armies. Is it to be supposed that Cromwell, King William the Third, Washington, or Napoleon could have succeeded in the revolutions with which their names are identified, had they submitted to the will and authority of a politician as Lee did to Mr. Davis?

Lee was opposed to the final defence of Richmond that was urged upon him for political, not military, reasons. It was a great strategic error. General Grant's large army of men was easily fed and its daily losses easily recruited from a near base; whereas if it had been drawn far into the interior after the little army with which Lee endeavored to protect Richmond, its fighting strength would have been largely reduced by the detachments required to guard a long line of communications through a hostile country. It is profitless, however, to speculate upon what might have been, and the military student must take these campaigns as they were carried out. No fair estimate of Lee as a general can be made by a simple comparison of what he achieved with that which Napoleon, Wellington, or Von Moltke accomplished, unless due allowance is made for the difference in the nature of the American armies, and of the armies commanded and encountered by those great leaders. They were at the head of perfectly organized, thoroughly trained, and well disciplined troops; while Lee's soldiers, though gallant and daring to a fault, lacked the military cohesion and efficiency, the trained company leaders, and the educated staff which are only to be found in a regular army of long standing. A trial heat between two jockeys mounted on untrained horses may be interesting, but no one would ever quote the performance as an instance of great racing speed.

Who shall ever fathom the depth of Lee's anguish when the bitter end came, and when, beaten down by sheer force of numbers, and by absolutely nothing else, he found himself obliged to surrender! The handful of starving men remaining with him laid down their arms, and the proud Confederacy ceased to be. Surely the crushing, maddening anguish of awful sorrow is only known to the leader who has so failed to accomplish some lofty, some noble aim for which he has long striven with might and main, with heart and soul, in the interests of king or of country. A smiling face, a cheerful mien, may conceal the sore place from the eyes, possibly even from the knowledge of his friends; but there is no healing for such a wound, which eats into the very heart of him who has once received it.

General Lee survived the destruction of the Confederacy for five years, when, at the age of sixty-three, and surrounded by his family, life ebbed slowly from him. Where else in history is a great man to be found whose whole life was one such blameless record of duty nobly done? It was consistent in all its parts, complete in all its relations. The most perfect gentleman of a State long celebrated for its chivalry, he was just, gentle, and generous, and childlike in the simplicity of his character. Never elated with success, he bore reverse, and at last, complete overthrow, with dignified resignation. Throughout this long and cruel struggle his was all the responsibility, but not the power that should have accompanied it. The fierce light which beats upon the throne is as that of a (p. 372) rush-light in comparison with the electric glare which our newspapers now focus upon the public man in Lee's position. His character has been subjected to that ordeal, and who can point to any spot upon it? His clear, sound judgment, personal courage, untiring activity, genius for war, and absolute devotion to his State mark him out as a public man, as a patriot to be forever remembered by all Americans. His amiability of disposition, deep sympathy with those in pain or sorrow, his love for children, nice sense of personal honor, and genial courtesy endeared him to all his friends. I shall never forget his sweet, winning smile, nor his clear, honest eyes, that seemed to look into your brain. I have met many of the great men of my time, but Lee alone impressed me with the feeling that I was in the presence of a man who was cast in a grander mould, and made of different and of finer metal than all other men. He is stamped upon my memory as a being apart and superior to all others in every way: a man with whom none I ever knew, and very few of whom I have read, are worthy to be classed. I have met but two men who realize my ideas of what a true hero should be: my friend Charles Gordon, was one, General Lee was the other.


The following beautiful letter was written by Lee to his son in 1860:[11]

"You must study to be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right. If a friend asks a favor, you should grant it, if it is reasonable; if not, tell him plainly why you cannot; you will wrong him and wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind. Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly, with all your classmates; you will find it the policy which wears best. Above all, do not appear to others what you are not. If you have any fault to find with anyone, tell him, not others, of what you complain; there is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back. We should live, act, and say, nothing to the injury of anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor.

"In regard to duty, let me, in conclusion of this hasty letter, inform you that, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a day of remarkable gloom and darkness—still known as 'the dark day'—a day when the light of the sun was slowly extinguished, as if by an eclipse. The Legislature of Connecticut was in session, and as its members saw the unexpected and unaccountable darkness coming on, they shared in the general awe and terror. It was supposed by many that the last day—the day of judgment—had come. Someone, in the consternation of the hour, moved an adjournment. Then there arose an old Puritan legislator, Davenport, of Stamford, and said that, if the last day had come, he desired to be (p. 373) found at his place doing his duty, and therefore, moved that candles be brought in, so that the House could proceed with its duty. There was quietness in that man's mind, the quietness of heavenly wisdom and inflexible willingness to obey present duty. Duty, then, is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things, like the old Puritan. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less. Never let me and your mother wear one gray hair for any lack of duty on your part."[Back to Contents]

THOMAS JONATHAN JACKSON[12]
By Marion Harland
(1826-1863)

Thomas Jackson.

In 1842 a young man from Lewis County, Va., "dropped" discouraged out of his class in West Point, after a few weeks' trial of drill and curriculum, and returned home.

The story of his defeat was canvassed freely in the neighborhood smithy, the head-quarters of provincial gossip, and was under discussion one May day while Cummins Jackson, a planter and bachelor, waited to have a horse shod.

"There's a chance for Tom Jackson!" observed the blacksmith, with friendly officiousness.

The early life of Cummins Jackson's nephew was well known to speaker and bystanders. Left an orphan at seven years of age, he, with his brother, older than himself, and their little sister, were thrown upon the charity of uncles and aunts. "Tom" was accounted steady and industrious, yet there was a serious break in his record. The brothers had run away to seek their fortunes in company when Warren was fourteen, Tom but twelve years old, going down the Ohio to the Mississippi and maintaining themselves by cutting wood for passing steamboats until disabled by malarial fever. Thomas took the lead in the juvenile prodigals' return to relatives and respectability, and was kindly received by his bachelor uncle. Since then he had worked in Cummins Jackson's mill and upon his farm as diligently as he sought to "get an education" in the "old field school" nearest to his home.

His imagination took fire at his uncle's report of the blacksmith's suggestion. Armed with a letter of introduction signed by leading citizens of the county, to the Congressman from the district, he went in person to Washington and (p. 374) through the kindness of the representative obtained an interview with the Secretary of War.

"Gruff and heroic with the grit of Old Hickory himself" was the cabinet-officer's opinion of the country lad. He commended him to the West Point Board of Examiners in terms that secured him admission to the Military Academy in spite of certain grave deficiencies in his early education.

The story of the wrestle with these and other disabilities during the next four years is interesting and instructive. Three extracts from a list of rules for his personal conduct, set down at this time in a private note-book, sound the keynote of his subsequent career:

"Sacrifice your life rather than your word.

"Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

"You may be whatever you resolve to be."

He was respected by all his classmates, known and liked by a few. He was too reserved by nature, too busy in practice, to be a general favorite. His labors were unremitting, his recreations few and simple. With no prevision of the destinies awaiting them, Jackson, McClellan, A. T. Hill, Reno, Picket, Foster, and Maury, as beardless boys, studied and were drilled side by side for four terms and were graduated upon the same day. There were seventy in this remarkable class, and the name of Thomas Jonathan Jackson stood seventeenth upon the roll of merit.

"If we had to stay here one year more, old Jack would be at the head," the witnesses of the fierce ordeal of his West Point training used to say.

The class of '46 was ordered forthwith to the seat of war in Mexico. Jackson's first engagement was the siege of Vera Cruz; his next the battle of Cherubusco. The official report of this last mentions him favorably. As second lieutenant, he was called upon early in the action to take the place of the next in rank above him, the first lieutenant having fallen in the charge. After the battle Jackson was further promoted to the rank of brevet captain. His "devotion, industry, talent, and gallantry" were noted officially after Chapultepec, not only by his colonel, but by Generals Pillow and Worth, and by the Commander-in-chief, Winfield Scott.

What he afterward confessed as the "one wilful lie he ever told" is thus reported by a brother-officer:

"Lieutenant Jackson's section of Magruder's battery was subjected to a plunging fire from the Castle of Chapultepec. Horses were killed or disabled, and the men deserted the guns and sought shelter behind wall or embankment. Lieutenant Jackson remained at the guns, walking back and forth and kept saying, 'See, there is no danger; I am not hit!' While standing with his legs wide apart, a cannon-ball passed between them.... No other officer in the army in Mexico was promoted so often for meritorious conduct, or made so great a stride in rank."

After peace was declared in 1848, he was stationed for two years at Fort Hamilton, and six months at Fort Meade in Florida; in 1851 he was elected (p. 375) Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Artillery Tactics in the Virginia Military Institute, situated in Lexington, Va. In the decade succeeding this event, he was to the casual eye the least striking figure in the group of professors who taught the art of war in the beautiful mountain-girt "West Point of the South."

"I should have said that he was the least likely of our family to make a noise in the world," said his sister-in-law in 1862, when the popular voice was ranking him with Bayard, Roland, Sidney, and Napoleon.

"I knew that what I willed to do, I could do," he had said of his recovery from physical weaknesses which made his acceptance of the Lexington professorship of doubtful expediency, in the judgment of friends.

He never willed to be eloquent in the lecture-room or brilliant in society in his life as teacher, church official, and neighbor there was no evidence of the personal magnetism which was to make him the soul and genius of the Confederate army. While carrying into every detail of daily existence the military law of system and fidelity, he was aggressive in nothing. The grave, quiet gentleman who was never late in class, never negligent of the minutest professional duty, who was always punctual at religious services, and never missed a meeting of the Faculty of the V. M. I., or of the deacons of the Presbyterian Church, was reckoned a good Christian and upright citizen, exemplary in domestic and social relations—perhaps a trifle ultra-conscientious in some particulars. But for the prevalency of orthodoxy in "the Valley" he would have been considered eccentric in his religious views and practice. He established a Sunday-school for the negroes and superintended it in person; he gave a tenth of his substance to the church; he "weighed his lightest utterances in the balances of the sanctuary;" he would not pick up an apple in a neighbor's orchard unless he had permission to take it; he never wrote or read letters on Sunday, or mailed one that must travel on that day to reach its destination; used neither tobacco, tea, nor coffee, and during the war was "more afraid of a glass of wine than of Federal bullets." His reverence for women was deep and unfeigned; he was gentleness itself to little children; bowed down before the hoary head, and never sank the lover in the husband. All that he had and all he was, belonged first to God, then to his wife.

"His person was tall, erect, and muscular.... His bearing was peculiarly English, and in the somewhat free society of America was regarded as constrained. Every movement was quick and decisive; his articulation was rapid, but distinct and emphatic, and often made the impression of curtness. He practised a military exactness in all the courtesies of society.... His brow was fair and expansive; his eyes blue-gray, large, and expressive; his nose Roman and well-chiselled, his cheeks were ruddy and sunburned; his mouth, firm and full of meaning; his beard was brown"—is a pen-picture drawn by a brother officer.

On December 2, 1859, a corps of cadets was sent to Charlestown, Va., to secure law and order during the execution of John Brown. Major Jackson's (p. 376) graphic description of the scene in a letter to his wife contains this passage:

"I was much impressed with the thought that before me stood a man in the full vigor of health, who must in a few moments enter eternity. I sent up the petition that he might be saved."

An officer upon duty, he saw the terrible spectacle with Cromwellian composure, but the man behind the impassive mask was upon his knees in prayer for the human soul. Under date of January 21, 1860, he writes:

"Viewing things at Washington from human appearances we have great reason for alarm, but my trust is in God. I cannot think that He will permit the madness of men to interfere so materially with the Christian labors of this country at home and abroad."

She who, of all the world, knew him best records:

"He never was a secessionist and maintained that it was better for the South to fight for her rights in the Union than out of it.... At this time (March 16, 1861) he was strongly for the Union. At the same time, he was a firm State's rights man."

At dawn, April 21st, he received an order from the Governor of Virginia to report to him immediately at Richmond, bringing the corps of cadets with him. At 1 o'clock P.M. he bade a final farewell to home and Lexington.

On June 4th he writes incidentally to his "Little One" from Harper's Ferry:

"The troops here have been divided into brigades, and the Virginia forces under General Johnston constitute the First Brigade, of which I am in command."

This brigade was to share with the commanding officers the sobriquet by which he is known better than under his real name. In the battery attached to it were forty-nine graduates of colleges, besides nineteen divinity students.

From the first victory of Manassas (June 21, 1861), when General Bee turned the tide of battle by shouting to the wavering lines, "Look at Jackson, standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!" to the fatal blunder of May 2, 1863, "Stonewall" Jackson was the flashing star that guided the Confederate armies to glorious success. His faith in the God of armies was so blended with the conviction that he was a chosen instrument in the Omnipotent hand to repel invasion and secure an honorable peace for his beloved State, that his sublime confidence infused officers and men.

A fragment of a camp ballad, popular in 1862, will give a faint idea of the enthusiasm excited by the "praying fighter:"

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!
Old Blue-light's going to pray.
Strangle the fool that dares to scoff!
Attention! 'tis his way!
Appealing from his native sod
In forma pauperis to God;
"Lay bare Thine arm—stretch forth Thy rod!
Amen!" That's Stonewall's way.

(p. 377) Love-letters to his "only sweetheart," written in camp, in the saddle, from smoking battle-fields, red with the blood of the slain, reveal a heart as tender as it was stout, faith that never failed, the courage of a lion, the unspoiled simplicity of a child.

Our last extract from war papers is significant of what might have been but for the fall of the South's greatest chieftain at the most critical period of the struggle:

"Jackson alone stands forth the one advocate of 'ceaseless invasion' as our 'safest hope,' the first conviction of his mind and a policy in accord with Southern feeling."

Mrs. Jackson joined her husband at his quarters near Fredericksburg, bringing with her the baby-girl he had never seen until then, on April 20, 1863. On the 23d the little one, held in the proud father's arms, was baptized by the regimental chaplain. Nine golden days followed the reunion of the loving family before Hooker crossed the Rappahannock in force. Wife and baby were hurried off to Richmond after "a hasty, tender adieu," and the battle of Chancellorsville began.

"From the opening of this campaign," says Jackson's biographer, "it was observed that a wondrous change came over him. From the quiet, patient, but arduous laborer over his daily tasks, he seemed transformed into a thunderbolt of war."

During the three awful days of Chancellorsville "the thunderbolt" seemed omnipresent to the Confederate soldiers, oftenest in the hottest of the fight, always where he was most sorely needed.

On the afternoon of May 2d, in making his way from one part of the field to another with his staff and couriers, they were mistaken for Federal cavalry, and a volley of musketry was poured in upon them, wounding General Jackson mortally.

On the way to the rear a second disaster overtook the doomed band. A Federal battery opened a fire across the road, and the devoted attendants, laying the wounded chief in a shallow ditch, covered him with their own bodies while the tempest of shot tore up the earth on all sides of them. The danger was averted by a change in the range of the guns, and the mournful march was resumed. Meeting a North Carolina general who "feared," in reply to Jackson's eager questions, "that his troops could not maintain their position," the hero spoke out, in the accustomed tone of command:

"You must hold your ground, General Pender! you must hold your ground, sir!"

It was his last military order. Some hours later he lay in his tent, weak from pain and loss of blood, one arm gone, and his other wounds dressed, when a messenger arrived in haste from General J. E. B. Stuart, relating that he was contending against fearful odds in the field, and asking for counsel from the friend who would never more ride forth at his side. At the tidings of Stuart's extremity, General Jackson aroused himself to interrogate the bearer of the message, (p. 378) query succeeding query with characteristic impetuosity. Suddenly the martial fire faded ashily, his eyes dulled into mournfulness.

"I don't know. I can't tell—" as if groping for thought or words. "Tell General Stuart to do what he thinks best."

The "resolve" he and others had thought invincible, the iron nerve that had not quivered in the shock of fifty engagements, failed him. Yet he rallied as the cannonading jarred his bed and insisted upon receiving reports from hour to hour.

"Good! good!" he ejaculated, when told how his own brigade was behaving. "The men will some day be proud to say to their children, 'I was one of the Stonewall brigade.' The name belongs to them, not to me. It was their steadfast heroism at First Manassas that earned it. They are a noble body of men."

His wife and child were recalled in season to be with him for two days immediately preceding his death. Although confident up to the dawn of his last day on earth, that God still had work for him to do, and would raise him up to do it, he received the news of his approaching dissolution with perfect calmness.

"He preferred the will of God to his own;" he "would be infinitely the gainer by the translation from earth to heaven." He gave his wife instructions as to his burial and her future home; smiled radiantly, in murmuring "Little darling! sweet one!" as the baby he had named for his mother was lifted for the father's last kiss.

"Jackson must recover," General Lee had exclaimed upon hearing of his condition. "God will not take him from us now that we need him so much. Say to him that he has lost his left arm, I my right!"

Men who had not blenched when brought face to face with death that menaced themselves, bowed to the earth, weeping like women, as mortal weakness stole upon the strong right arm of the Confederacy. Without the tent "the whole army was praying for him," while incoherent sentences of command and inarticulate murmurings fell from his lips—fainter with each utterance. The watchers thought speech and consciousness gone forever, when the voice that had pealed like the blast of Roland in charge and rally, sounded through the hushed chamber, sweet, distinct, and full of cheer, but in dreamy inflections:

"Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees!"

Forced march, and midnight raid, and mad rush of battle were over. Victorious Greatheart slept upon the field.[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

Jackson at Chancellorsville.

(p. 379) DAVID GLASCOE FARRAGUT
By L. P. Brockett, A.M.
(1801-1870)

David Farragut.

Heroes have not been wanting in the history of maritime warfare, at any time in these last three hundred years. Holland points with pride to her gallant DeRuyter and Van Tromp, who made the little republic among the marshes and canals that yield tribute to the Zuyder Zee, famous the world over. England glories in her Blake, her Collingwood, and most of all, in her Nelson, the model naval hero of all her history; and we cannot suppress our admiration of the daring of the reckless John Paul Jones, the matchless patriotism of Lawrence, and the gallant bearing and extraordinary success of Perry, Bainbridge, Decatur, and the elder Porter; while in the War of the Rebellion the heroic Foote, Dupont, Winslow, D. D. Porter, and Rogers, covered their names with glory.

But among all these illustrious names there is none which so thoroughly awakens our enthusiasm, or so readily calls forth our applause, as that of Farragut. With all of Nelson's courage and daring, he had more than his executive ability and fertility of resource, a wider and more generous intellectual culture, and a more unblemished, naïve, frank, and gentle character.

He bore in his veins some traces of the best blood of Spain, his father, George Farragut, having been a native of Citadella, the capital of the island of Minorca, and a descendant of an ancient and honorable Catalonian family. The father came to this country in 1776, and united most heartily in our struggle for independence, attaining during the war the rank of major. After the conclusion of the war, Major Farragut married Miss Elizabeth Shine, of North Carolina, a descendant of the old Scotch family of McIven, and settled as a farmer at Campbell's Station, near Knoxville, Tenn. Here, on July 5, 1801, his illustrious son was born. The father seems to have been not altogether contented with a farmer's life in that mountainous region, for not long after we hear of him as a sailing-master in the navy, and an intimate friend of the father of Commodore David D. Porter, who then held a similar rank. Young Farragut inherited his father's love for the sea, and though brought up so far inland, among the Cumberland Mountains, he had hardly reached the age of nine and a half years, when (p. 380) the longing for a sailor's life possessed him so strongly, that his father consented; and after some little delay, a midshipman's warrant was procured for him.

His first cruise was under the command of Captain (then master-commandant) Porter, who, in July, 1812, was promoted to the rank of captain, and soon after sailed in the Essex for the South American coast and the Pacific. To this famous frigate the young midshipman was ordered before her departure, and he remained on her through the eventful two years that followed, when she drove the British commerce out of the Pacific. When on March 28, 1814, the British frigate Phœbe, thirty-six guns, and sloop-of-war Cherub, twenty-eight guns, without scruple attacked the Essex in the harbor of Valparaiso, in violation of the rights of a neutral nation, there ensued one of the fiercest naval battles on record. Though fighting against hopeless odds, the two British vessels having twice the number of guns and men of the Essex, Commodore Porter, with the reckless daring which was so marked a trait of his character, refused to strike his colors till his ship had been three or four times on fire, and was in a sinking condition, with her rigging shot away, the flames threatening her magazine, and 152, out of her crew of 255, killed, wounded, or missing. The battle had lasted two and a half hours. On his surrender, the Essex Junior, a whaling-ship which he had converted into a sloop-of-war, but which had been unable to take any part in the battle, was sent home with the prisoners on parole. The young midshipman, then a boy under thirteen, was in the hottest of the fight, and was slightly wounded during the action. Before the loss of the Essex, he had served as acting-lieutenant on board the Atlantic, an armed prize.

On his return to the United States, Commodore Porter placed him at school at Chester, Pa., where he was taught, among other studies, the elements of military and naval tactics; but in 1816 he was again afloat and on board the flag-ship of the Mediterranean squadron, where he had the good fortune to meet in the chaplain, Rev. Charles Folsom, an instructor to whom he became ardently attached, and to whose teachings he attributed much of his subsequent usefulness and success.

This pleasant period of instruction passed all too quickly, and the boy, now grown to man's estate, after some further service in the Mediterranean, was, on January 1, 1821, at the age of nineteen and a half years, promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and ordered to duty on the West India station. In 1824 he was assigned to duty at the Norfolk navy-yard; and with the exception of a two years' cruise in the Vandalia, on the Brazil station, remained at Norfolk till 1833. Here he married a lady of highly respectable family, and during the long years of suffering through which she was called to pass, from a hopeless physical malady, he proved one of the most tender and affectionate of husbands, never wearying of administering all the relief and comfort to the sufferer in his power. When death at last terminated her protracted distress, he mourned her tenderly and long. He subsequently married another lady of Norfolk, Miss Virginia Loyall, the daughter of one of the most eminent citizens of that city.

In 1860 he had spent nearly nineteen years afloat—eighteen years and four (p. 381) months on shore duty, and ten years and ten months either waiting orders or on leave of absence. Forty-eight of his fifty-eight years had been spent in the naval service.

In April, 1861, came the rebellion. Captain Farragut was at his home in Norfolk, surrounded by those who were sympathizers with the rebellion, and who were already maturing plans for the seizure of the Government property and its conversion to rebel uses. No more loyal heart ever beat than his, and in frank and manly terms he denounced the whole proceedings of the traitors, and gave expression to his abhorrence of them. This roused all the hatred of the plotters of treason, and they told him at once, in tones of menace, that he could not be permitted to live there if he held such sentiments. "Very well," was his prompt reply, "then I will go where I can live and hold such sentiments." Returning to his home, he informed his family that they must leave Norfolk for New York in a few hours. They immediately made their preparations, and the next morning, April 18, 1861, bid adieu to Norfolk. The Navy Department was, however, anxious to give him employment, and in default of anything else he served for a time as a member of the Naval Retiring Board, which shelved the incompetent officers of the navy, and promoted the active, loyal, and deserving.

Meantime, the Government had resolved on the capture of New Orleans, and entered with zeal upon the work of fitting out a squadron, as well as an army, for its reduction. The squadron was to consist of a fleet of armed steamers, and twenty bomb-schooners, each carrying gigantic mortars, fifteen-inch shells.

The bomb-fleet was to be under the command of Commander David D. Porter, but he was to report to Flag-officer Farragut, who was to have charge of the entire squadron. Selecting the Hartford as his flag-ship, and having made all possible preparations for his expedition, Flag-officer Farragut received his orders on January 20, 1862, and on February 3d sailed from Hampton Roads. Arriving at Ship Island on February 20th, he organized the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, and in spite of difficulties of all sorts—the delay in forwarding coal, naval stores, hospital stores, ammunition, etc., the labor of getting vessels drawing twenty-two feet over the bars at Pass L'Outre and Southwest Pass, where the depth was but twelve and fifteen feet, the ignorance and stupidity of some of the officers, and every other obstacle he had to encounter—made steady progress. The difficulties were not all surmounted until April 18th, when the bombardment of Fort Jackson, the lowermost of the two forts defending the passage of the Mississippi, was commenced. These forts were seventy-five miles below New Orleans and possessed great strength. A continuous bombardment was maintained for six days, by which the forts were considerably damaged, but they still held out stoutly. A heavy iron chain had been stretched across the river, supported by large logs, to obstruct the passage of vessels, and was placed at a point where the fire of the two forts could be most effectively concentrated. Above this chain lay the rebel fleet of sixteen gunboats and two iron-clad rams. Along the banks of the river were land batteries, mounting several guns each.

Finding that the forts were not likely to yield to the bombardment, Flag-officer (p. 382) Farragut called a council of war, and after hearing their opinions, which were somewhat discordant, issued his general order of April 20th, in which the spirit of the hero gleams out. This was his language: "The flag-officer having heard all the opinions expressed by the different commanders, is of the opinion that whatever is to be done will have to be done quickly. When, in the opinion of the flag-officer, the propitious time has arrived, the signal will be made to weigh, and advance to the conflict.... He will make the signal for close action, and abide the result—conquer or be conquered."

After further and severe bombardment of the forts, the flag-officer gave notice to the steam-vessels of the squadron, of his determination to break the chain and run past the forts, engage the rebel fleet, and having defeated it, ascend the river to New Orleans, and capture that city. It was a most daring movement. The chain had previously been broken, and the mortar-vessels moved up and anchored ready to pour in their fire as soon as the forts should open. The steam-fleet moved up in two columns, one led by Flag-officer Farragut in person, in the Hartford, the other by Captain Theodorus Bailey, as second in command, in the Cayuga. The left column (Farragut's) was composed of the Hartford, Brooklyn, Richmond, Sciota, Iroquois, Kennebec, Pinola, Itasca, and Winona; the right (Bailey's), of the Cayuga, Pensacola, Mississippi, Oneida, Varuna, Katahdin, Kineo, and Wissahickon. The right column was to engage Fort St. Philip; the left, Fort Jackson. The fleet were fairly abreast of the forts before they were discovered, and fire opened upon them; but from that moment the firing was terrible, and the smoke, settling down like a pall upon the river, produced intense darkness, and the ships could only aim at the flash from the forts, the forts at the flash from the ships. A fire-raft, pushed by the ram Manassas against the flag-ship (the Hartford), set it on fire, and at the same instant it ran aground; but by the prompt and disciplined exertions of the men the flame was extinguished in a few minutes and the ship got afloat, never ceasing its fire upon the enemy. At times the gunboats passed so near the forts as to be able to throw their broadsides of shrapnel, grape, and canister with most destructive force into their interior; and the forts, in the endeavor to depress their guns sufficiently to strike the vessels, lost their shot, which rolled into the ditches. They were nearly past the forts when the rebel fleet came down upon them, the iron-clad ram Manassas among them. Several of these gunboats were iron-clad about the bow, and had iron beaks or spurs. The Cayuga, Captain Bailey's flag-ship, was the first to encounter these; and soon after the Varuna, commanded by Captain Boggs, found itself in a nest of rebel steamers, and moved forward, delivering its broadsides, port and starboard, with fearful precision, into its antagonists, four of which were speedily disabled and sunk by its fire. The Varuna was finally attacked by the Morgan and another rebel gunboat, both iron-clad at the bow, which crushed in her sides; but crowding her steam, she drew them on, while still fast, and poured broadsides into both, which drove them ashore crippled and in flames. Running his own steamer on shore as speedily as possible, the gallant Boggs fought her as long as his guns were out of water, and then brought off his (p. 383) men, who were taken on board the Oneida and other gunboats of the fleet. Several of the gunboats were considerably injured, but none of them lost except the Varuna. The Itasca, Winona, and Kennebec were disabled and obliged to fall back. Thirteen of the seventeen vessels composing Flag-officer Farragut's squadron were able to pass in safety these forts, and had defeated a rebel fleet, destroying thirteen of their gunboats and rams, and the iron-clad Manassas, and compelling the remainder to shelter themselves under the guns of the forts. The entire loss of the Union squadron was but 36 killed and 135 wounded.

The gallant flag-officer now ascended the river, encountering slight opposition from the Chalmette batteries, about three miles below New Orleans; but they were silenced in twenty minutes, and at noon of April 25th, he lay in front of the city, and demanded its surrender. Four days later the forts were surrendered to Captain Porter, and General Butler came up the river to arrange for landing his troops, and taking possession of the conquered city. Meantime, Farragut had ascended the river above the city to Carrolton, where had been erected some strong works to oppose the progress of Flag-officer Foote, should he descend the river. These, on the approach of the gunboats, were abandoned, and their guns spiked. They were destroyed.

New Orleans being safely in the possession of the Union forces, Flag-officer Farragut ascended the Mississippi, and on June 27th ran his vessels safely past the rebel batteries at Vicksburg, and communicated with Flag-officer Davis, then commanding the Mississippi squadron, and arranged for a joint attack upon Vicksburg. The attack failed, because the bluffs at Vicksburg were too high to be effectively bombarded by the gunboats, and the capture of the city required the co-operation of a land force. He therefore repassed the batteries in safety on July 15th, and descending the river, made Pensacola the head-quarters of his squadron. On July 11th, the rank of rear-admiral, having been created in accordance with the recommendation of a committee of Congress, Captain Farragut was advanced to that rank, and placed first on the list for his meritorious conduct in the capture of New Orleans. He also received the thanks of both houses of Congress. In the autumn of 1862 he directed the naval attacks on Corpus Christi, Sabine Pass, and Galveston, which resulted in the capture of those points. In his duties as the commander of a blockading and guarding squadron, there was much of detail: attacks of guerillas along the river shores, to be parried and punished; surprises of the weaker vessels of the squadron to be chastised and revenged; expeditions against rebel towns on or near the coast, to be aided and sustained; and careful lookout to be kept for blockade-runners, who sought their opportunities to slip into the ports of Mobile, Galveston, and Aransas. These occupied much of his time during the autumn and winter of 1862-63.

The admiral had long desired to attack the defences of Mobile, and thus effectually check the blockade-running, which it was impossible wholly to prevent while that port was left unmolested. But it was not until August 5, 1864, that the assault was finally made.

(p. 384) The fleet which was to take part in the attack consisted of fourteen sloops-of-war and gunboats, and four iron-clad monitors. The admiral arranged them for the attack as follows: the Brooklyn and Octorara were lashed together, the Brooklyn being on the starboard side, nearest Fort Morgan—the Brooklyn being, much against the admiral's wishes, allowed the lead; next the Hartford and Metacomet, followed by the Richmond and Port Royal, the Lackawanna and Seminole, the Monongahela and Kennebec, the Ossipee and Itasca, and the Oneida and Galena. The four monitors were arranged in the following order, to the right or starboard of the gunboats: the Tecumseh, Commander T. R. M. Craven, taking the lead, and followed by the Manhattan, Commander Nicholson; the Winnebago, Commander Stevens; and the Chickasaw, Lieutenant-commander Perkins.

The rebels, in addition to three forts all manned with large garrisons, had a squadron consisting of the iron-clad ram Tennessee, regarded by them as the most formidable armed vessel ever constructed, and three powerful gunboats, the Selma, Morgan, and Gaines.

The fleet steamed steadily up the channel, the Tecumseh firing the first shot at 6.47 A.M. The rebels opened upon them from Fort Morgan at six minutes past seven, and the Brooklyn replied, after which the action became general. The Brooklyn now paused, and for good reason—the Tecumseh, near her, careened suddenly and sank almost instantly, having struck and exploded a torpedo; and her gallant commander and nearly all her crew sank with her.

Directing the commander of the Metacomet to send a boat instantly to rescue her crew, Admiral Farragut determined to take the lead in his own flag-ship, the Hartford, and putting on all steam, led off through a track which had been lined with torpedoes by the rebels; but he says, "Believing that, from their having been some time in the water, they were probably innocuous, I determined to take the chance of their explosion."

Turning to the northwestward to clear the middle ground, the fleet were enabled to keep such a broadside fire on the batteries of Fort Morgan as to prevent them from doing much injury. After they had passed the fort, about ten minutes before eight o'clock, the ram Tennessee dashed out at the Hartford; but the admiral took no further notice of her than to return her fire. The rebel gunboats were ahead, and annoyed the fleet by a raking fire, and the admiral detached his consort, the Metacomet, ordering her commander, Lieutenant-commander Jouett, to go in pursuit of the Selma, and the Octorara was detached to pursue one of the others. Lieutenant-commander Jouett captured the Selma, but the other two escaped under the protection of the guns of Fort Morgan, though the Gaines was so much injured that she was run ashore and destroyed. The combat which followed between the Tennessee and the Union fleet, and resulted in the surrender of that formidable iron-clad vessel, is best described in the admiral's own words:

"Having passed the forts and dispersed the enemy's gunboats, I had ordered most of the vessels to anchor, when I perceived the ram Tennessee standing up (p. 385) for this ship. This was at forty-five minutes past eight. I was not long in comprehending his intentions to be the destruction of the flag-ship. The monitors and such of the wooden vessels as I thought best adapted for the purpose, were immediately ordered to attack the ram, not only with their guns, but bows on at full speed; and then began one of the fiercest naval combats on record.

"The Monongahela, Commander Strong, was the first vessel that struck her, and in doing so carried away her own iron prow, together with the cutwater, without apparently doing her adversary much injury. The Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, was the next vessel to strike her, which she did at full speed; but though her stem was cut and crushed to the plank-ends for the distance of three feet above the water's edge to five feet below, the only perceptible effect on the ram was to give her a heavy list.

"The Hartford was the third vessel that struck her; but, as the Tennessee quickly shifted her helm, the blow was a glancing one, and, as she rasped along our side, we poured our whole port broadside of nine-inch solid shot within ten feet of her casement.

"The monitors worked slowly, but delivered their fire as opportunity offered. The Chickasaw succeeded in getting under her stern, and a fifteen-inch shot from the Manhattan broke through her iron plating and heavy wooden backing, though the missile itself did not enter the vessel.

"Immediately after the collision with the flag-ship, I directed Captain Drayton to bear down for the ram again. He was doing so at full speed, when, unfortunately, the Lackawanna ran into the Hartford just forward of the mizzenmast, cutting her down to within two feet of the water's edge. We soon got clear again, however, and were fast approaching our adversary, when she struck her colors and ran up the white flag.

"She was at this time sore beset; the Chickasaw was pounding away at her stern, the Ossipee was approaching her at full speed, and the Monongahela, Lackawanna, and this ship were bearing down upon her, determined upon her destruction. Her smoke-stack had been shot away, her steering-chains were gone, compelling a resort to her relieving-tackles, and several of her port shutters were jammed. Indeed, from the time the Hartford struck her, until her surrender, she never fired a gun. As the Ossipee, Commander Le Roy, was about to strike her, she hoisted the white flag, and that vessel immediately stopped her engine, though not in time to avoid a glancing blow.

"During this contest with the rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee, which terminated by her surrender at ten o'clock, we lost many more men than from the fire of the batteries of Fort Morgan."

The rebel Admiral Buchanan was severely wounded, and subsequently lost a leg by amputation. Admiral Farragut, as humane in his feelings toward a wounded foe as he was gallant and daring in action, immediately addressed a note to Brigadier-General Page, the commander of Fort Morgan, asking permission to send the rebel admiral and the other wounded rebel officers by ship, under flag of truce, to the Union hospitals at Pensacola, where they could be (p. 386) tenderly cared for. This request was granted, and the Metacomet despatched with them.

The admiral had stationed himself "in an elevated position in the main rigging, near the top," a place of great peril, but one which enabled him to see much better than if he had been on deck, the progress of the battle; and from thence he witnessed, and testified with great gratification to the admirable conduct of the men at their guns, throughout the fleet; and, in this connection, gives utterance to a sentiment which shows most conclusively his sympathy and tenderness: "Although," he says, "no doubt their hearts sickened, as mine did, when their shipmates were struck down beside them, yet there was not a moment's hesitation to lay their comrades aside and spring again to their deadly work."

It is said that at the moment of the collision between the Hartford and Lackawanna, when the men called to each other to save the admiral, Farragut, finding the ship would float at least long enough to serve his purpose, and thinking of that only, called out to his fleet-captain, "Go on with speed! Ram her again!"

The results of this victory were the destruction of the rebel fleet; the capture of the armored ship Tennessee, and of 230 rebel officers and men; the abandonment on the next day of Fort Powell, with 18 guns; the surrender on the 8th of Fort Gaines, with 56 officers, 818 men, and 26 guns; and on August 23d, after a further bombardment of twenty-four hours, of Fort Morgan, with 60 guns and 600 prisoners. By these captures the port of Mobile was hermetically sealed against blockade-runners, and a serious blow given to the rebel cause.

Rear-admiral Farragut remained in command of the West Gulf squadron till November, 1864, when he requested leave of absence, and was called to Washington for consultation in regard to future naval operations. Soon after the opening of Congress, a resolution of thanks to him for his brilliant victory at Mobile was passed, and the rank of vice-admiral, corresponding to that of lieutenant-general in the army, was created, and on January 1, 1865, David Glascoe Farragut promoted to it. This appointment made him the virtual chief commander of the naval forces of the United States.

The West Gulf blockading squadron, during all the time Admiral Farragut was in command of it, had had more fighting and less prizes than any other blockading squadron on the coast; and while Admirals Dupont, Lee, Porter, and Dahlgren had accumulated immense fortunes by their shares of prize-money, Admiral Farragut had received little beyond his regular pay. The merchants of New York, understanding this, and recognizing the great services he had rendered to commerce and to the nation, subscribed the sum of fifty thousand dollars, which was presented to him in United States 7.30 Treasury notes, in January, 1865, in testimony of their appreciation of his ability and success as a naval commander. Until 1866 the rank of vice-admiral was the highest known in the navy In July of that year the office of admiral was specially created and bestowed on Farragut. He saw no further important service, but died quietly at Portsmouth, N. H., August 14, 1870.

Farragut at Mobile Bay.

(p. 387) Even the English Army and Navy Gazette speaks of Admiral Farragut as "the doughty admiral whose feats of arms place him at the head of his profession, and certainly constitute him the first naval officer of the day, as far as actual reputation won by skill, courage, and hard fighting goes."[Back to Contents]

DAVID DIXON PORTER
(1814-1891)

David Porter.

Among the coincidences of naval and military command in the war for the Union, the association of the names of Farragut and Porter, in the important series of operations on the Mississippi, has not escaped attention.

The former, as the reader has seen in the previous sketch, was introduced to the service in his childhood, under the care and protection of Commodore David Porter, and boy as he was, fully shared the adventures and perils of his famous cruise in the Pacific. Nearly fifty years after that event Captain Farragut, in command of the Department of the Gulf, entered the Mississippi in concert with the son of his old commander of the Essex, to vindicate the national honor by the restoration of New Orleans to the Union—a service which was to prove the ability of both officers, and lead them to the highest rank known to the naval service of the United States. Looking into the future, Commodore Porter, the hero of the War of 1812, would hardly have dreamt that the "boy midshipman, who had been introduced to him at New Orleans, would, with two of his own sons, at the end of half a century, receive the highest honors of their country, the reward of the most arduous and perilous services against a domestic foe on the Mississippi."

Of these sons of Commodore Porter, thus distinguished in this field of duty, William D. Porter, the elder, on more than one occasion, in command of the gunboat Essex, recalled not merely the name of his father's vessel, but the courage and patriotism, the spirit and success which had given the old ship her reputation. The younger, David D. Porter, the subject of this notice, born in Philadelphia, entered the navy as midshipman in the year 1829. His first cruise was in the Mediterranean, under Commodore Biddle, till 1831. After a year's leave (p. 388) of absence, he returned to that station, which has ever proved, in its liberal intercourse with the men of other nations, and its undying associations of nature and art, a most important school in the education of the young naval officers of the United States. Having passed his examination in 1835, young Porter was attached to the coast survey service from 1836 to 1841, when he was promoted to a lieutenancy and was ordered to the frigate Congress, in which he sailed for four years on the Mediterranean and South American stations. In 1845, we find him attached to the National Observatory at Washington in special service. During the Mexican war which succeeded, he was in charge of the naval rendezvous at New Orleans, was subsequently again employed on the coast survey, and from 1849 to 1853 was, by permission of the department, in command of the California mail steamers Panama and Georgia, running from New York to Aspinwall, a rising commercial service of national importance, to which his experience and personal character were of great value. After this he was in various home services, till 1861, when he was promoted to the rank of commander, and placed in command of the steam-sloop Powhatan, in which he joined the Gulf Blockading squadron off Pensacola. He had thus, at the outbreak of the Rebellion, been thirty-two years in the service, over nineteen of which had been spent at sea and nine on shore duty.

A special service of great importance was presently intrusted to him. When in the beginning of 1862, an expedition was set on foot to open the Mississippi River to New Orleans, he was assigned to the command of a fleet of bomb-vessels to co-operate with the squadron of Captain Farragut in that enterprise—a service which he carried out with distinguished ability.

After the capture of New Orleans, Commander Porter continued to co-operate with Captain Farragut on the Mississippi, being engaged in the movement on Vicksburg in May. In the following October he was placed in command of the Mississippi squadron, with the rank of acting rear-admiral, and when, in the ensuing year, operations were actively resumed for the capture of Vicksburg, his squadron, in concert with the victorious army of General Grant, was constantly employed in the most hazardous and honorable service.

It was he who forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy at Washington the brief and authoritative announcement: "Sir, I have the honor to inform you that Vicksburg surrendered to the United States forces on July 4th." This was the first bulletin to the country and to the world of this memorable event. Simultaneously with the victory of General Mead over Lee at Gettysburg, it was hailed as the crowning disaster to the Rebellion. As a reward for his services on the Mississippi, Porter was promoted to the full rank of rear-admiral.

In December, 1864, he commanded the fleet which bombarded Fort Fisher. After a terrific assault the fort was captured January 13, 1865, and Wilmington, the last Confederate port, was closed. Porter received another, his fourth, vote of thanks from Congress, and in 1866 was made vice-admiral. On Farragut's death, in 1870, he was immediately appointed to succeed him as admiral, and held the rank until his death, on February 13, 1891.[Back to Contents]

(p. 389) GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI
(1807-1882)

Guiseppe Garibaldi.

Garibaldi has not left the world without some account of his birth, parentage, and early life. Not a little of his great, naïve, and enthusiastic character may be studied in those Memoirs, of which his eccentric friend, Alexander Dumas, published a free translation. He was born July 22, 1807. He was a native of Nice, a city inhabited by a mongrel race, but himself sprung from a purely Italian family The name of Garibaldi, common enough throughout North Italy, betokens old Lombard descent. He first saw light, as he states, in the very house and room where, forty-nine years before, Masséna was born. His father, Domenico, had come from Chiavari, in the Riviera di Levante; he gives his mother's name Rosa Raguindo. Garibaldi's father and grandfather were seamen, and he took to the sea as his native element, developing great strength and skill as a swimmer, an accomplishment which enabled him to save drowning men on several memorable occasions. For what book learning he had he seems to have been indebted to the desultory lessons of priestly schoolmasters under the direction of his mother. Of this latter he always spoke with great tenderness, acknowledging that "to her inspiration he owed his patriotic feelings," and stating that "in his greatest dangers by land and sea his imagination always conjured up the picture of the pious woman prostrated at the feet of the Most High interceding for the safety of her beloved."

In early life he embarked in his father's merchant vessel, a brig, and in that and other craft he made frequent voyages to Odessa, Rome, and Constantinople. Soon after the revolutionary movements of 1831 he was at Marseilles, where he fell in with Mazzini, busy at that time with the organization of "Young Italy," and with the preparations for an invasion of Italy by sea, which, upon Mazzini's expulsion from Marseilles, was attempted at Geneva, and directed against the Savoy frontier. The Savoy expedition turned out an egregious failure, the blame of which Garibaldi, on Mazzini's statement, throws on the Polish General Ramorino's treachery. Garibaldi himself, who had embarked on board the royal frigate Eurydice to gain possession of that vessel by a mutiny of the crew, being off Genoa, and hearing of a plot to storm the barracks of the Carabinieri, landed in (p. 390) the town to join it; but the attack upon the barracks miscarried, and he, not daring to go back to his ship, saw himself irreparably compromised, fled to Nice, and thence crossed the Var and found himself an exile at Marseilles. Here he betook himself again to his sea life, sailed for the Black Sea and for Tunis, and at last on board the Nageur, of Nantes, for Rio de Janeiro.

In the commentaries before alluded to Garibaldi gives the fullest particulars of the exploits by which he rose to distinction beyond the Atlantic during the twelve years elapsing from his leaving Europe in 1836 to his return to Italy in 1848. It is the romance of his career, and will some day be wrought into an epic blending the charms of the Odyssey with those of the Iliad—a battle and a march being the theme of the eventful tale almost from beginning to end.

Garibaldi took service with the Republic of Rio Grande do Sul, a vast territory belonging to Brazil, then in open rebellion and war against that empire. He took the command of a privateer's boat with a crew of twelve men, to which he gave the name of Mazzini, and by the aid of which he soon helped himself to a larger and better-armed vessel, a prize taken from the enemy. In his many encounters with the Imperial or Brazilian party the hero bought experience both of wonderfully propitious and terribly adverse fortune, and had every imaginable variety of romantic adventure and hair-breadth escapes. He was severely wounded, taken prisoner, and in one instance at Gualeguay, in the Argentine territory, he found himself in the power of one Leonardo Millan, a type of Spanish South American brutality, by whom he was savagely struck in the face with a horsewhip, submitted to several hours' rack and torture, and thrown into a dungeon in which his sufferings were soothed by the ministration of that "angel of charity," a woman, by name Madame Alleman.

Escaping from his tormentor by the intervention of the Governor of Gualeguay, Paolo Echague, Garibaldi crossed from the territories of the Plate into those of the Rio Grande, and faithful to the cause of that republic, he fought with better success, winning battles, storming fortresses, standing his ground with a handful of men, or even single-handed, against incredible odds, beating strong squadrons with a few small vessels, giving through all proofs of the rarest disinterestedness, humanity, and generosity, disobeying orders to sack and ravage vanquished cities, and exercising that mixture of authority and glamour over his followers which almost enabled him to dispense with the ties of stern rule and discipline. At last, after losing a flotilla in a hurricane on the coast of Santa Caterina, where he landed wrecked and forlorn, having seen his bravest and most cherished Italian friends shot down or drowned, he fell in with his Anita—not, apparently, the first fair one for whom he had a passing fancy—with whom he united his destinies, for better for worse, in life and till death, in some off-hand manner, about which he is reticent and mysterious. Anita turned out almost as great and daring and long-enduring a being as her heroic mate, and was by his side in all fights by land and sea, till the fortunes of the Republic of Rio Grande declined, when, after giving birth to her first-born, Menotti Garibaldi, September 16, 1840, she went with that infant and his father through unheard of hardships (p. 391) and dangers in the disastrous retreat of Las Antas; when at last, Garibaldi, beginning to feel the responsibilities of a growing family, and despairing of the issues of an ill-conducted war, took leave of his Republican friends at Rio Grande and went for a short respite in his adventurous career to Montevideo.

After trying on the journey to find employment as a cattle-driver, Garibaldi settled at Montevideo in the capacity of a general broker and teacher of mathematics; but war having broken out between the Republic of the Uruguay and Buenos Ayres, the Condottiere was solicited to draw his sword for the former state which afforded him hospitality, and was trusted with the command of a little squadron destined to operate on the Parana River against a largely superior Argentine force. This expedition was contrived by enemies high in power in the Montevidean Government, who, jealous of the reputation won by Garibaldi at Rio Grande, vainly plotted to have him assassinated with his friend Anzani, and hoped to rid themselves of him by exposing him to dangers from which it seemed impossible that he could extricate himself. Garibaldi, however, made the best of his desperate position, and escaped, not only with his life, but also with "honor—the only thing that was not lost."

Presently, danger pressing sorely on the republic, he organized his Italian Legion, which behaved well through a new series of land and sea combats, its band of only 400 combatants often beating the enemy's corps 600 men strong, at the close of which exploits its soldiers refused grants of land offered to them by a grateful state, "the stimulus of their exertions," as their commander said, "being only the triumph of the Republican cause." The legion was afterward as a mark of honor, allowed precedence over all the other troops of the republic. The war continued, and under the auspices of their commander the soldiers of the Italian Legion rose to such distinction that at the affairs of the Boyada and of Salto Sant' Antonio, February, 1846, Garibaldi was empowered to write to the government of the republic that the brilliant successes of those deeds of arms were entirely due to their gallantry.

Meanwhile, however, news from Europe came to turn the attention of Italian patriots to the momentous events which were rapidly changing the conditions of the peninsula. Years had passed. Pius IX. was Pope; Sicily had risen in open and successful revolt; a republic had been proclaimed in France; Constitutions were being wrested from the reluctant hands of most European despots. Austria was convulsed with insurrectionary attempts; the Milanese drove Radetsky from their city after five days' fighting, and Charles Albert unfurled the national standard and crossed the Ticino.

The theatre of the exploits of the hero of Montevideo was soon changed. All who had a heart and soul in Italy were up and doing, and could Italy's greatest heart and soul remain beyond the seas? Garibaldi, on the first reports of the Pope's liberal leanings, wrote to the Nuncio Bedini at Montevideo, October 17, 1847, offering the services of the Italian Legion to his Holiness, who was now almost on the eve of a war with Austria, "although," the letter said, "the writer was well aware that St. Peter's throne rests on a solid basis, proof against all human (p. 392) attacks and needing no mortal defenders." The Nuncio returned thanks and praises and referred Garibaldi's tender to the Pontifical Government at Rome. But Garibaldi, never well disposed to losing time, after vainly waiting for further communication from Pope or Nuncio, brooked no longer delay. With incredible difficulty he scraped together money and means, and embarked with his brave friend, Anzani (who died at Genoa soon after landing), having with him only 85 men and two cannon, and leaving the remainder of his legion to follow when and how it could.

He crossed the ocean, landed at Nice, proceeded to Genoa and Milan, and when Charles Albert, defeated at Custozza, withdrew from the Lombard city and accepted an armistice, which saved Piedmont from invasion, August, 1848, Garibaldi passed over to Mazzini, and at the head of a volunteer force, of which Mazzini was the standard-bearer, issued a manifesto in which he proclaimed the Sardinian king a traitor, and declared that "the royal war was at an end, and that of the people was now to begin." That proclamation was, however, only an idle bravado. Mazzini, even if he had the spirit, lacked the physical strength of a fighting man. The Garibaldians, on hearing the news of the fall of Milan, lost heart, and many crossed over the frontier to Switzerland. With thinned and dispirited bands, Garibaldi, aided by his friend Medici, ventured on a few desultory fights near Luino, on Lake Maggiore, but soon fell back and withdrew to Lugano in the Canton Ticino, his health, it is said, breaking down, and his immediate followers being reduced to some three hundred.

A few months later Pius IX., fallen from his popularity and pressed hard by his disaffected subjects, who murdered his minister and almost stormed him in his palace at the Quirinal, ran away to Gaëta, and a Roman Republic was proclaimed, of which Mazzini, in a triumvirate with two others, mere men of straw, became the head. Attacked by the French in flagrant violation of all rights of nations, Rome undertook to defend itself, and whatever Italy could boast of generous hearts, regardless of party differences, rallied round Garibaldi, who drove back the French from Porta Pancrazia, April 29 and 30, 1849, defeated the Neapolitans in that campaign of Velletri, which was like the farce contrasting with the tragic drama soon to be acted at Rome, and withstood a three months' siege, in which many of the noblest champions of the Italian cause lavished their lives in a hopeless, yet, as it proved, not a fruitless struggle.

The French having gained possession of the city July 13, 1849, Garibaldi left it with a band of devoted volunteers, retired via Terni and Orvieto, gathering together about 2,000 men in his progress, crossed the Apennines, and pressed by the Austrians with overwhelming forces, sought a refuge at San Marino, gave the enemy the slip in the night, embarked at Cesenatico for Venice, which was still withstanding the Austrian siege, was met by four Austrian men-of-war, which compelled him to put back and land on the coast near Ravenna, and wandered ashore in the woods, where Anita, his inseparable companion in this disastrous march, succumbed to the fatigues of the journey, and expired in the hero's arms. Garibaldi's devoted friends Ugo Bassi and Ciceruacchio, falling into the hands of (p. 393) the Austrians, were shot by them without any forms of trial and by an act of barbarism which no human or divine law could justify. The heart-broken hero, with a few trusty men, made his way from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean, was arrested by the Sardinian Carabinieri at Chiaveri, conveyed to Genoa, where La Marmora was in command, and there embarked for Tunis; hence, finding nowhere a refuge, he proceeded to the Island of La Maddalena, off the shore of Sardinia, and hence again to Gibraltar and Tangier.

La Marmora received the heart-broken fugitive as a brother, supplied him with ample means for his journey to Tunis, and obtained for him from the Turin Government the assignment of an honorable pension, which Garibaldi did not in his straits disdain to accept. But, in his opinion, all seemed now over for Italy; Charles Albert's son, Victor Emmanuel, after the defeat of Navara, had made his peace with Austria in March, 1849. Venice had succumbed after heroic sufferings in August, and Garibaldi, again crossing the ocean, settled at New York as a tallow chandler, and only came back to Europe in 1855.

When Garibaldi returned from America he did not look out for Mazzini or his Republicans in England or Switzerland, but sought a home in Piedmont, a Constitutional State, which allowed him an obscure but peaceful retreat in his hermitage at Caprera, an island rock on the Sardinian coast near the Maddalena, and conveyed to him a hint that the time might soon come in which his country's cause would summon him from retirement. And, truly, four years later (1859) the destinies of Italy were nearing their fulfilment. France and Piedmont took the field against Austria. Garibaldi, leaving his island home, was met and highly welcomed by Victor Emmanuel, to whom he swore fealty as the only hope of Italy. He now took the command of the Chasseurs des Alpes, aided the royal army in its defence of the territory previous to the arrival of its great French auxiliary, and, following in the upper region a line parallel to that kept in the plain by the conquest of Palestro, Magenta, and Solferino, beat the Austrians at Varese and San Fermo, bewildered his adversary Urban, by the rashness of his movements on the mountains above Como, advanced upon Bergamo and Brescia, and pushed on to the Valtellina up to the very summit of the Stelvia Pass. Here the peace of Villafranca put an end to the struggle, and Garibaldi, afflicted by the arthritic pains to which he was a martyr all his life, travelled for a few days' rest to Tuscany and Genoa.

At Genoa, during the autumn and winter, Garibaldi, hospitably entertained by his friend Augusto Vecchi outside the city, busied himself with that expedition of "the Thousand" which made one state of the south and north of Italy. He embarked on May 11, 1860, at Genoa, landed in Sicily, at Marsala, beat the Neapolitans at Calatafimi, followed up his success to Palermo, and, aided by the insurgent city, compelled the garrison to surrender. He again routed the Bourbon troops at Milazzo, and had soon the whole island at his discretion with the exception of the citadel of Messina. He then crossed over into Calabria, and, almost without firing a shot, drove the Neapolitan king's troops before him all over the mainland, compelled the king to abandon the strong pass of La Cava (p. 394) and to withdraw his forces from his capital, where Garibaldi, with only a few of his staff, made his triumphal entry on September 7, 1860.

After a few days' rest Garibaldi followed the disheartened king to Capua, obtained new signal successes on the Volturno, at Santa Maria, and Caserta; but would probably have been unable to accomplish the enterprise had not the Piedmontese, whose government had aided Garibaldi's expedition while pretending to oppose it, overrun the Marches, beaten Lamoricière and the Papal forces at Castel Fidardo, and, crossing the frontier and the Apennines, besieged and reduced the strong places of Capua and Gaëta. Garibaldi, who, as a dictator, had with doubtful success endeavored to establish something like rule in the Two Sicilies, aware of the arduousness of a task which would have exceeded many wiser men's powers, met Victor Emmanuel at Naples, delivered the two kingdoms into his hands, and, declining all the proffered honors and emoluments for himself, took leave of his sovereign and embarked for the solitude of his rock-farm at Caprera.

Rome alone now remained outside of the United Italian Kingdom, and Garibaldi, raising bands of adventurers, made two or three attempts to capture it, but was repulsed by its French garrison, and it was not until 1870 that, the French troops being recalled to their own sorely distressed country, the union of Italy under Victor Emmanuel became an accomplished fact, though in the great liberator's absence. Garibaldi once more was seen in Rome, April, 1879. He was supposed to be proposing great purchases of arms, to be enlisting hosts of volunteers, to be planning thorough reforms and preparing formidable expeditions against Austria. But Garibaldi, away from Caprera, could not fail to have his good as well as his evil angels about him. He saw the king; he listened to General Medici, his own right arm in so many campaigns, and now first aide-de-camp to King Humbert, as he had before been to King Victor Emmanuel. He listened, while they showed him the folly of further war, and, though not convinced, he was silenced. Although too proud to acknowledge the absurdity of his schemes in words, he was too wise not to give them up in deeds. He withdrew from the vain popular acclamation; shut his door against the crowd of his visitors, and although he announced his intention to take up his domicile in Rome, he pleaded indisposition as an excuse for inaction and retirement. Unfortunately there was only too much ground in the plea. The arthritic pains, of which symptoms had manifested themselves as early as during the Lombard campaign of 1849, had been seriously aggravated by his toils, and the sight of his helplessness in Rome as he hobbled up the steps of Montecitorio in 1874, was saddening to all beholders, and prepared his friends for that end which, however, was to be put off for several years. The fatigue of the voyage from Caprera in 1879, and still more the excitement of incessant calls, objectless conferences, and endless exhibitions soon entirely prostrated the hero, and before the backward spring had fully set in it became evident that Garibaldi's life could only be a lingering agony.

Meeting of Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi.

His life, if life it may be called, and at all events his sufferings, were prolonged yet a few years. He left home in the spring of 1881 on a mad scheme (p. 395) of liberating, "by force if necessary," his son-in-law, Canzio, who had been arrested as a plotter for the republic. But having obtained the man's release from the king's government as a favor, he once more sought the peace of his hermitage where he died, June 2, 1882.[Back to Contents]

FIELD-MARSHAL COUNT VON MOLTKE
(1800-1891)

Count von Moltke.

Suddenly, but quietly and painlessly, on the evening of April 24, 1891, passed away one of the most remarkable men of the present century. Hellmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke was born, October 26, 1800, at Parshim, in Mecklenburg, where his father, previously a captain in the Prussian army, had retired, impoverished in circumstances, to an estate which he inherited. When little Hellmuth was three years old, his father, Baron Moltke, settled at the free town of Lubeck, the once famous head of the Hanseatic League. Here, in 1806, on the retreat from the disastrous battle of Jena, Marshal Blücher, who like Von Moltke was of Mecklenburg origin, sought refuge with his shattered troops; and little Moltke was a witness of the sack and plunder of the town by the troops of Napoleon, his father's house being one of those that suffered most severely. It is said that the incidents of this event made a lasting impression upon the mind of the boy. At the age of nine, with his elder brother Fritz, young Hellmuth was placed under the care of Pastor Knickbein, at Hohenfelde, near Horst, a scholarly man of a kindly and genial disposition, for whom he always retained a deep regard. His sense of indebtedness appears in the inscription which he wrote on the title-page when forwarding to him a copy of his first work, his "Letters from Turkey;" "To my dear teacher and fatherly friend to whom I owe so much, I send this, my first work, as a slight testimony of respect."

The favorite recreation of the two brothers while here at school was playing at war, as perhaps was natural at such a period. They were accustomed to collect the peasant boys of the village and divide them into two rival armies, Fritz commanding the one, and Hellmuth the other. Once, when the mimic warfare was at its height, the weaker force of Hellmuth was routed, and some were taken prisoners. Called upon to surrender, Hellmuth cried out, "All is not lost!" and hastily rallying his men he marched them straight to a pond in Pastor Knickbein's garden, and hurried them to a little island which the boy himself had constructed with great labor, and accessible only by a single plank. Facing the enemy with (p. 396) a few of his strongest men, he kept them at bay until all his troops had passed into the fortress, he himself being the last to enter. Then the drawbridge was raised and the victory won. The island, preserved by the good pastor, long since gone to his rest, still exists, and is pointed out with great pride by the villagers to curious visitors as the scene of one of the early exploits of Germany's greatest strategist.

His experiences at the Royal Academy at Copenhagen, to which he was sent at the age of twelve, were not of the happiest. Relating his reminiscences of that period, in reply to the question, "Do you retain pleasant recollections of cadet life?" he remarked, "I have little reason to do so. Without relations or acquaintances in a strange city, we spent a joyless youth. The discipline was strict, even hard, and now, when my judgment of it is unprejudiced, I must say that it was too strict, too hard. The only benefit we received from this treatment was that we became accustomed to deprivations."

Passing over the period of his service in the Danish army, and his entrance into that of Prussia, we find him, after making heroic efforts on his scanty pay to acquire foreign languages, in which he attained in after-life so remarkable a proficiency, attached to a commission for topographical surveys in Silesia and the Grand Duchy of Posen.

Consolidating and extending his knowledge of military science and of foreign peoples, as in the case of his visits to the East, Russia, Rome, and elsewhere, Moltke rose steadily in his profession. In 1845, he became aide-de-camp to the invalid Prince Henry of Prussia, uncle of the king; and subsequently, after holding commands of increasing importance, he was made first aide-de-camp to the Crown Prince Frederick. Ultimately, in 1859, he was appointed permanent chief of the staff. His later military career, and brilliant successes against the Danes, Austrians, and the French, and the various honors accorded him, are so well known and have been so often and so recently narrated, that any further reference to them in this present sketch is unnecessary, the purpose of our notice being to briefly indicate some of the leading points of the great field-marshal's character. One fact is memorable, that he had passed the age when men frequently retire from the public service before the time of his greater achievements. His splendid career began to the eye of the world at sixty-five.

The guiding principle of his life is well illustrated by the ancient motto of his family, Caute et candide (warily and gently), and by his own favorite maxim, Erst wägen, dann wagen (first weigh, then venture). He was slow, cautious, and careful in laying his plans, but having formed his design, he was bold, daring even to the verge of apparent recklessness in its execution. The same calm, immovable spirit characterized him even in moments when most ordinary mortals—he was a man sui generis—might, with some show of reason, be perturbed or excited. Even in the most critical period of the Franco-German war his unruffled quietness remained the same, sterner perhaps in look, more silent than ever. Though the warrior king, amidst the carnage of the battle-field might feel depressed; though Bismarck, man of "iron and blood," might be anxious at the (p. 397) progress of events, Moltke, seated on his great black horse, calmly surveyed, telescope in hand, the movements of the troops, or later, resting quietly in his room at Versailles, awaited the result undismayed. When war was declared, a friend met him with the remark: "You must indeed be overworked at present." "No," replied the General, "the work was done beforehand; all orders are gone out; I really have nothing to do."

Married in 1842, shortly after his return home from the East, to Miss Burt, an English lady, he lived with her in the bonds of a rare union of happiness, concord, and mutual sympathy. On the occasion of her death, which took place Christmas Eve, 1868, he withdrew still more from public life, and found in quiet, studious, and laborious life some slight relief for his grief. Very touching was his devotion to the memory of his wife. Upon his estate at Kreisau he built a little mausoleum, situated on a beautiful eminence, embowered in foliage. This little chapel, constructed of red brick and sandstone, was lined inside with black and white marble, and in front of the altar was placed the simple oak coffin in which the remains of his wife reposed, covered at all seasons of the year with wreaths. Sculptured in the apse was a finely carved figure of our Lord in an attitude of blessing, copied from Thorwaldsen. Above were inscribed the words of St. Paul, "Love is the fulfilment of the Law." When at his country-seat the aged warrior visited the tomb morning and evening. Now at her side slumbers the veteran, awaiting with her the signal of the resurrection.

Of his bearing in the time of his bereavement, the following incident was related by the late Mr. George Bancroft, the distinguished historian, at that period United States Minister at Berlin. Mr. Bancroft was one of the favored few who were accustomed to accompany Von Moltke in his daily rides in the Thiergarten or to the Grunewald. Seeing the general on horseback, "my first impulse," said Mr. Bancroft, "was to trot into another lane. On second thoughts, however, I turned my horse alongside his, remembering that it was for him to talk or be silent. To my surprise, he forthwith began a lively conversation, describing the happiness with which Miss Burt had blessed her husband, and expatiating upon her manifold virtues as one crushed by an overwhelming, irreparable loss. Then of a sudden he grew silent, as if a new current of thought had carried him sheer away. 'Do you know,' he said, when his lips were again opened, 'it has just been brought home to me that, after all, perhaps it was better that this happened now than at another time? You see, I am convinced that a French invasion is impending; it will burst upon us sooner or later, whatever the plea may eventually be. Now think if the fortune of war was to be adverse to our arms! Why, her grief over the country's adversities must have cut her life short. No, no; that would have been worse!'"

Von Moltke was a passionate lover of children, and is said to have been quite the slave to the caprices of his little grandnephew, the son of Major Hellmuth von Moltke, the aide-de-camp of the count, whom the emperor, as a special mark of his royal favor, immediately after the funeral of his chief, made one of his own aides-de-camp.

(p. 398) As far as Count von Moltke's religious views could be ascertained, they were of a simple type, and characterized by a strict adherence to the path of duty and virtue. Daily was he accustomed to read his Bible, one of ancient date, its well-marked pages indicating how frequently its owner was in the habit of consulting its inspired pages. An extract from a letter the aged field-marshal wrote on the eve of his eightieth birthday is peculiarly interesting. "I stand," said he, "close upon the end of my life; but how different from that here will be the measure in a future world according to which our earthly actions will be judged! Not the brilliancy of success, but the purity of our endeavors and faithful perseverance in duty, even when the result was scarcely visible, will decide as to the value of a man's life. What a wonderful displacement of high and low will be witnessed at that great review! We do not even know ourselves what we have to ascribe to ourselves, to others, or to a higher will. It will be well not to set too great a value on externals." In a passage in one of his books, referring to our Lord's life here upon earth, he remarks: "His life was humble. He was the descendant of a people in bondage, and He had not a place where to lay His head. To the fishermen He talked in parables about God; He healed the sick, and died the death of an evil-doer. And yet there has never been anything on this earth that could be purer, more elevated, and also—even seen from the worldly point of view—more successful than His conduct, His teaching, and His death."

The old soldier's habits of life were, like those of the majority of really great men, extremely simple and singularly free from ostentation of any kind. Very characteristic of the late field-marshal are the following data of his life, written by himself on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday. An Austrian Association for the Promotion of Popular Knowledge addressed a number of interrogatories to various European celebrities of great age, which were to explain the circumstances and conditions under which an exceptionally long life might be attained. The answers received were collected in a book and subsequently published.

Field-Marshal von Moltke answered the questions submitted to him in his own peculiarly laconic manner, as follows:

Q. In which year of your life and on which date did you begin to learn, and for how many hours a day?—A. 1808, in my eighth year, with four; after 1810, with ten hours a day.

Q. Was your health in your youth delicate or robust?—A. Tough nature.

Q. Did you grow up in the country or in town?—A. Up to my tenth year in the country.

Q. How many hours did you spend in the open air? Regularly?—A. Irregularly, and but few hours.

Q. Did you cultivate hardening games and other exercises?—A. Not methodically.

Q. How many hours did you sleep in childhood?—A. Ten hours.

Q. Special remarks?—A. Joyless youth, scanty nourishment, absence from the paternal home.

(p. 399) Q. Where did you complete your studies—in town or in the country?—A. In town.

Q. How many hours a day do you devote to mental work?—A. Very different.

Q. Do you attribute to any particular habit of your life a favorable influence upon your health?—A. Moderation in all habits of life. In all weathers exercise in the open air. No day altogether at home.

Q. How long did you sleep at a mature age?—A. From eight to nine hours on an average.

Q. What alterations have you made at an advanced age in your mode of life?—A. None.

Q. How long did you work daily in your fiftieth, sixtieth, seventieth, eightieth years?—A. Quite as circumstances required it; often, therefore, very long.

Q. What were your recreations?—A. Riding on horseback up to my eighty-sixth year.

Q. How many hours do you spend in the open air?—A. Now, in summer on my estate, half the day.

Q. How long do you sleep at present?—A. Always eight hours still.

Q. What are your habits with regard to eating, etc.?—A. I eat very little, and take concentrated food.

Q. To what circumstances do you particularly attribute your stalwart old age (which may God long preserve!)?—A. To God's grace and temperate habits.

An interesting anecdote is related, apropos of his dislike to display, on the occasion of the opening of new barracks at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, to which, as the oldest and most distinguished officer of the regiment in which he first served, he was invited. His acceptance of the invitation was accompanied by the stipulation that no ceremony should be made; but the officers, desiring to do honor to their illustrious guest, had provided the best carriage that the town afforded to meet him at the station. On his arrival, the field-marshal thanked the officer in waiting, took a common cab, and with his nephew, who was with him as aide-de-camp, drove off to the barracks, to the astonishment of the honest burghers.

His favorite recreations were chess, in which he excelled; music, especially that of the school of Schubert and Mozart—he entertained very decided opinions about the "music of the future"—and whist, which he rarely missed playing after dinner, even when at the seat of war. The count was an authority on the culture of roses, and at Kreisau, where he spent most of his time after his retirement from more active service, he possessed one of the finest and most unique collections of roses in Germany, a fact which lends an additional grace to the tribute of respect paid to the field-marshal's memory, when, the day after his death, the empress visited the head-quarters of the General Staff and placed a magnificent wreath of his favorite flower upon the bed of the departed hero.

Had not his reputation as a military strategist overshadowed his other gifts, the count would have gained distinction in the world of letters. In the twenties, (p. 400) while engaged in the Topographical Department, he wrote a pamphlet, published at Berlin, entitled "Holland and Belgium," by H. von Moltke, in which he calls the attention of Europe to the Belgian Revolution; this was followed, in 1845, by a critical military work of great merit, "The Russo-Turkish Campaign of 1828-29 in European Turkey," which created a deep impression in military circles, and proved of considerable service in the Russo-Turkish campaign of 1877-78. Moltke's pithy and laconic style was founded on the model of his chief, General von Müffling, his instructor in practical and theoretical tactics, in which the members of the German General Staff are required to excel. He was a graphic writer and shrewd observer of men and things, as his charming letters from Russia, France, Turkey, and other places show. Especially sagacious were his observations on the Turks, made to his sister, married to Mr. John Burt, an Englishman settled at Holstein, in which he affirms that the kingdom is rotten, that Turkey had fallen under a ban, and that ban the Koran, which teaches so warped a doctrine that its laws and decrees must of necessity oppose all social progress. His views on Russia, as indicated in his letters written in the form of a diary to his wife on the occasion of his visit in 1856, when accompanying Prince Frederick William at the coronation of the Czar Alexander II. at Moscow, show the same keen powers of observation. He considered that Russia had a great future before her, but this could only be realized when her officials became more honest. "Honesty among Russian officials," he thinks, "can only be brought about by many years of iron severity." Of the difficulty of governing the French nation, he wrote, when visiting the court of Napoleon III.: "It would be as impossible to allow the liberty of the press in France as to admit discussion of the orders given by generals to their armies when in the field." We have not the advantage of knowing his views on England and the English on the three occasions, in 1856, 1858, and 1861, when he visited the country in company with the crown prince to be present at his betrothal and marriage to the princess royal, and again at the funeral of the prince consort. How highly his opinion as an authority was esteemed as early as 1867, is seen by an incident which occurred during the Universal Exhibition, when Count Moltke, in company with King William of Prussia and Count Bismarck, dined with Napoleon III. at St. Cloud. Subsequently, the emperor and Moltke engaged in an animated conversation apart from the rest. At this moment Marshal Randon, Minister of War, walked across the room, and the emperor, noticing him, raised his voice, saying, "Come here, marshal. General Moltke says that with the needle-gun he would be strong enough to fight even the French army." Marshal Randon drew near, and, turning toward Moltke, said, in a tone loud enough to be heard by all in the room, "Pardon me, general; but, in spite of the high opinion I have of your judgment, I cannot share your belief. I venture to affirm, that even with the needle-gun, the French army would not suffer the fate of the Austrian army;" and the conversation continued without the bystanders being able to follow it. But after the departure of the King of Prussia and his suite, Napoleon III., struck by these words, energetically (p. 401) busied himself in overhauling the equipment of the French army. He examined various models of guns that were submitted to him, and among these the Martini rifle, which he found excellent, but which was after all rejected for the Chassepôt. The making of this gun was pushed forward so actively that the French army was provided with it by 1870.

Moltke at Versailles, 1870.

In respect of his literary efforts, as of his military achievements, Moltke was singularly modest. Herr G. von Bunsen tells us how, "meeting the general one day at a dinner-party, I expressed my regret at his having neglected to write some letter-press to accompany his well-known map of the environs of Ancient Rome. 'But a companion book for it was written,' he replied; 'or rather,' correcting himself, 'he had begun writing one at Rome, and was prevented from finishing the MS. when the Government ordered him to convey Prince Henry's body to Berlin, and there set him engrossing tasks to do.' Hereupon I ventured to ask him for a loan of this fragment. Of course he believed it to be lost; but, as a matter of course likewise, it was brought to my door by an orderly at an early hour next morning. When returning the MS., I advised the publication of parts of it, which would be found acceptable independently of his being the author; and if my humble advice should be followed, would he accept my humble services as editor? His reply," adds Herr von Bunsen, "has been carefully preserved. Its purport was that he must lay down three conditions: First, I must omit what I pleased; secondly, transpose at my pleasure; and thirdly, alter the text wherever it seemed desirable." "Will any editor in the world," Herr von Bunsen pithily remarks, "hesitate to confirm my belief that no MS. of the last unfledged stripling of an author was ever offered on similar conditions?"

Fitting tributes of respect and admiration were paid to the aged field-marshal on the occasion of his celebrating his ninetieth birthday, on October 26, 1890. Telegrams from all sorts and conditions of men poured in upon him, including, among the princes and sovereigns of Europe, one from Queen Victoria, who held Count von Moltke in high esteem. The 26th falling upon Sunday, the schools throughout the length and breadth of Germany were closed on the previous Saturday to enable the scholars to add their quota to the general rejoicing. In Berlin a torchlight procession of vast extent, composed of 20,000 students, artists, members of trades and guilds, marched with banners and groups of historically dressed personages and impersonifications, from the old gray Schloss down the Linden, through the Brandenburg Gate to the Königsplatz, where are situated the buildings of the Grand Staff. Here addresses were presented to Von Moltke.

On the following day, in the Conference Hall of the General Staff, the emperor, surrounded by the military magnates of the Reichsrath, the generals of the twenty army corps specially summoned to be present, the officers of the General Staff, Chancellor von Caprivi, successor to Prince Bismarck, the King of Saxony, the grand dukes and the Duke of Connaught, addressed the marshal in the following terms:

"I thank you in the name of those who have fought together with you, and (p. 402) whose most faithful and devoted servant you have been. I thank you for all you have done for my House and for the greatness of the Fatherland. We greet in you not only a Prussian leader who has won for the army the reputation of being invincible, but one of the founders of the German Empire. The presence of the King of Saxony, who has made a point of personally congratulating you, recalls the time when he and you fought for Germany's greatness. The distinctions conferred upon you by my grandfather leave nothing in which I can personally show my thanks to you.... I call upon all those present to express their feelings of gratitude that Field-Marshal von Moltke has known how not to stand alone in his greatness, but to form a school of leaders of the army for time to come, and for all future generations, by giving cheers for his excellency."

This, the last occasion on which public honors were accorded to the field-marshal during his life, appropriately emphasized the universal esteem in which "Father Moltke," as he was affectionally designated by the army, was held as one of the founders of the German Empire.[Back to Contents]

GEORGE DEWEY
By Major-General Joseph Wheeler
(Born 1837)

George Dewey.

Every occasion finds a man to meet the exigencies of the hour, every conflict brings forth its hero, and every war educates soldiers for a war to come. War begets the warrior. Washington came out of the French and Indian wars, Jackson from the Creek wars; Scott and Taylor both emerged from Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, Grant and Lee from Mexico. So, George Dewey came out of the fierce internecine strife of our Civil War. He came, too, from one of the great sources of the best elements of our American population. The Puritans of New England and the Cavaliers of Virginia sprung from the same soil and a common ancestry, worked side by side, in a widely different manner, but to the same end; and from these two classes have sprung nearly all our great soldiers, statesmen, and authors. From the former came the great naval hero of the Spanish-American War.

Admiral Dewey at Manila Bay.

(p. 403) George Dewey was born in Montpelier, Vermont, on December 26, 1837, of direct descent, in the ninth generation, from Thomas Dewey, who came from Sandwich, England, to Dorchester, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1633.

His father, Dr. Julius Dewey, was a physician, eminent in his profession, and loved and respected, not only for his ability but for his innate nobility of character; and his mother was Mary Perrin. His ancestors on both sides were patriots in the days that tried men's souls, the hard and bitter days of the Colonial and Revolutionary Wars. He was the third of four children, and even in his boyhood he was a leader among his fellows. His breaches of discipline culminated in his heading an insurrection against the village school-master; but the pedagogue came off victorious, and administered a severe flogging to the young rebel, which punishment his father is said to have reinforced with some home-brewed medicine. The lesson was well learned, for we hear of no more insurrections.

George Dewey entered the Naval Academy September 23, 1854, and was graduated fifth in a class of fourteen. He was attached to the frigate Wabash of the Mediterranean Squadron, and after his two years' cruise as a midshipman passed his final examination, in which he stood number one, gaining a final rating of three in his class. War was already imminent, and rapidly passing through the next grades he was on April 19th attached as lieutenant to the Mississippi, belonging to the West Gulf Squadron. Early in 1862 Commodores Farragut and Porter prepared to capture New Orleans. Throughout this campaign Lieutenant Dewey distinguished himself by his cool courage, quick perception, and ready skill, winning the praise of Commodore Farragut. In running by the forts, he stood upon the bridge of the Mississippi, unmoved amid a storm of shot and shell, and unerringly guided her up the river, although he knew not a foot of the channel. The next year he was attached to one of Farragut's gunboats, and later to the Monongahela, which he commanded temporarily. In 1864, attached to the Colorado, he again distinguished himself in the attack on Fort Fisher, by a display not only of great courage, but of marked tactical skill, and by the fighting of his ship, which, though a junior, he really directed, and won the enthusiastic congratulations of his superior officers. Made lieutenant-commander March 3, 1865, Dewey emerged from the Civil War a matured naval officer at the age of twenty-seven, ripe in experience and ready for any service or sacrifice for the welfare of his country.

His career from this time until the close of the year 1897, although important in his development and replete with valuable services in all directions, must be summed up in a few words.

For two years subsequent to the war, he served with the European Squadron, first on the Kearsarge, later on the Colorado. 1867 found him at the Naval Academy. Promoted commander, April 13, 1872, he was assigned to the Narragansett until 1875. After seven years of bureau duty in the Navy Department, October 18, 1882, he commanded the Juniata of the Asiatic Squadron, and then learned the topography of Manila Bay, where he gave his first lesson (p. 404) to the Spaniard in the person of the Port Captain of Manila, who impudently proposed that he "parade his crew," so that some sailors accused of riot might be identified, Dewey's reply being: "The deck of this vessel is United States territory, and I'll parade my men for no foreigner that ever drew breath."

Dewey's health broke down, and in 1884 he was at the Navy Department, but September 27th was commissioned captain and took command of the Dolphin, one of the "White Squadron," the beginning of our "New Navy." He reached the rank of commodore February 28, 1896. On shore he has served as a member of the Lighthouse Board, Chief of the Bureau of Equipment, and Chief of the Board of Inspection and Survey. Late in the year 1897 it became necessary to select a commander of the Asiatic Station. War with Spain was a possibility. It was therefore essential that the Asiatic Station be in command of an able and experienced officer.

It has been said that Commodore Dewey, as also the other commodores, sought the North Atlantic and European Stations, believing that the Atlantic would be "the theatre of the war," and that he was averse to service in the Asiatic. It has also been said that the appointment of Dewey was a mere chance, a matter of routine. I think that these statements are not correct. I believe that Commodore Dewey was too old a sailor, too good a sailor, and too experienced a sailor to attempt to dictate his own orders. Furthermore, in a conversation with the President, this subject being mentioned, the President told me that he had carefully considered the appointment of an officer to command the Asiatic Station and had finally determined upon Dewey—that he wrote upon a card which he sent to the Secretary, of the Navy: "Appoint Dewey to Asiatic Squadron."

In pursuance of the President's action, Commodore George Dewey was detached on November 30th from Bureau work and ordered to the Asiatic Station, of which he took command on January 3, 1898. The opportunity came, and the right man was in the right place.

Commodore Dewey's squadron was composed of four protected cruisers, two gunboats, and a despatch-boat, as follows: The Olympia (flag-ship), a protected cruiser of 5,870 tons, mounting fourteen guns, Captain Gridley and flag-officer, Captain Benjamin P. Lamberton; the Baltimore, a protected cruiser of 4,413 tons and ten guns, Captain Nehemiah M. Dyer; the Raleigh, a protected cruiser of 3,213 tons and eleven guns, Captain Joseph B. Coghlan; the Boston, a protected cruiser of 3,000 tons and eight guns, Captain Frank Wildes; the Concord, a gunboat of 1,710 tons and six guns, Commander Asa Walker; the Petrel, a gunboat of 892 tons and four guns, Commander Wood; and the revenue cutter McCulloch, despatch-boat. Also the transports Zaffiro and Nanshan with provisions and coal. There was no armored vessel in the squadron.

Admiral Dewey Loving Cup.

From the day Commodore Dewey took command of the Asiatic Station until April 24th, active preparations for war were going forward. The ships were kept stored to their full capacity with provisions, coal, and ammunition, and there was a continuous round of drill, target practice, manœuvres, and (p. 405) evolutions. Dewey would be ready when action should become necessary. On April 24th the British authorities notified the American commander that he must quit Hong Kong within twenty-four hours. Dewey moved his squadron to Mirs Bay immediately. At six o'clock on the evening of April 25th, he received the following despatch:

"Washington, April 24, 1898.

"Dewey, Hong Kong:

"War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Proceed at once to the Philippine Islands. Commence operations at once, particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels or destroy. Use utmost endeavors.

Long."

These orders were all sufficient for Dewey. Even without them he had no alternative. Obliged to leave British, he would soon be debarred from Chinese, waters; he was nearly 8,000 miles from a home-port, and Honolulu, his nearest coaling station, was 6,000 miles away.

The following day was spent in consultation with his commanders in final preparation for his campaign, and waiting for the arrival from Manila of Williams, the American Consul, until the evening of the 27th, when at two o'clock he sailed out of Mirs Bay to find the fleet of Spain. Proceeding across the China Sea, the squadron sighted Cape Bolinas one hundred and fifteen miles north of the entrance to Manila Bay, at 3.30 A.M., on Saturday, April 30th. About thirty miles north of the entrance, a conference of commanders was held. Dewey announced his plans. Rumors of mines and torpedoes had no terrors for Dewey, and, steaming slowly into Manila Bay, his squadron passed between Corregidor and Caballos about midnight.

They arrived opposite Cavite about five o'clock, and, as daylight increased, the Spanish fleet could be seen in the harbor. This fleet, under Admiral Montejo, comprised ten vessels, viz.: The Reina Maria Cristina, a protected cruiser of 3,520 tons; the Castilla, a wooden cruiser of 3,340 tons; the Don Antonio de Ulloa, Don Juan de Austria, and Velasco, steel cruisers of 1,152 tons each; the Isla de Luzon and Isla de Cuba, gunboats of 1,040 tons each; the General Lezo and El Correo, gun vessels of 524 tons each; and the Marques del Duero, despatch-boat of 500 tons; besides tugs, transports, and launches, the latter used as torpedo-boats. There was no armored vessel in this fleet.

Though counting more fighting vessels, the Spanish fleet was inferior to the American squadron in size and armament. The Spanish vessels mounted 116 guns, the American 135. But the Spanish fleet was protected by land batteries and forts armed with modern guns. The Spaniards were, therefore, much superior to the Americans in force and armament.

At ten minutes past five the battle began, the Spaniards opening fire from ships and forts, at a distance of more than four miles. Two great mines were exploded in the path of the Olympia, but too far away to cause damage.

At twenty-three minutes past five Dewey said to Captain Gridley: "You may fire when ready." Almost instantly an eight-inch gun roared out American (p. 406) defiance. As with one voice the blue-jackets of the squadron gave forth the American war-cry, "Remember the Maine!" and the battle was on.

The Castilla lay moored head and stern under the protection of the guns, and surrounded by barges, which made it impossible to strike her below the water-line. The Reina Cristina, Admiral Montejo's flag-ship, and the other vessels of his fleet moved out to the battle protected by the forts and batteries. The Olympia in the lead, followed by the other vessels of the American squadron, headed straight for the centre of the Spanish line; then changing course, ran parallel to the Spanish line at a distance of four thousand yards. After passing the Spanish position the American squadron turned and again passed the Spanish line, decreasing the distance. The Spaniards were in strong position and fighting with consummate courage, but it soon became apparent that nothing could withstand the effects of American gunnery. Still, the Spaniards, knowing the exact distance of our vessels, were doing some damage. Early in the battle a shot struck and passed clean through the Baltimore, and another disabled a six-inch gun and exploded a box of ammunition, wounding eight men but killing no one. The Olympia was struck by a shell which, exploding outside, did little damage, and the signal halyards were cut out of the flag-officer's hands. The lines were immediately replaced by a blue-jacket. The Boston was struck by three shells, one starting a fire in a stateroom and another in the hammock-netting, while a third passed through the foremast near Captain Wildes. The squadron passed four times before the enemy, slightly decreasing the distance on each run, and on the fifth, believing that the depth of water was greater than he had supposed, Dewey took the Olympia closer, until on this last run he was within two thousand yards of the enemy. The Spaniards were suffering terribly and fought with courage and desperation. Admiral Montejo on the Reina Cristina sallied forth alone and made straight for the Olympia at full speed, but the concentrated fire of the whole American squadron drove him back to the protection of the breakwater, and as the flag-ship sped away, a shell from the Olympia struck her, passed through her entire length, and set her on fire.

Captain Cadarso was mortally wounded. Admiral Montejo in an open boat transferred his flag to the gunboat Isla de Cuba. The Castilla was repeatedly hit and was soon burning fiercely. The Don Juan de Austria was blown up by a shell entering the magazine. The other Spanish vessels and all the forts and batteries maintained a terrific firing. The heavy guns of Manila took part in the fight until Dewey sent a message to Governor-General Augusti, that unless they were immediately silenced he would shell the city. The message had its effect. Two small launches or torpedo-boats started out from the Castilla, headed for the Olympia, but the danger to her was averted by the concentrated fire of the squadron, and they hasted in their backward flight. A shell struck and sank one; the other was disabled. A Spanish gunboat slipping out of line made for the McCulloch, lying off with the transports, but nothing escaped the eagle eye on the bridge of the Olympia, and a hail of shells sent the adventurer scurrying back to cover.

The Dewey triumphal Arch.

(p. 407) It was half-past seven; the battle had raged incessantly for two hours, during which Commodore Dewey with his flag-officer had remained exposed on the bridge of the Olympia. The men had been undergoing a constant strain for twenty-four hours and had been served only with coffee, so at a quarter before eight the Olympia ceased firing, and the Commodore ordered the squadron to retire. It was time for "Dewey's Breakfast."

When the marvellous news was signalled from ship to ship: "No damage, not a man killed," the joy and enthusiasm was unbounded.

The Spanish Admiral, not comprehending the meaning of the American withdrawal, wired to Madrid a report of a wonderful victory. The Minister of Marine replied with fulsome compliments. This was the last news sent out of Manila by cable, and for a week the American people were in painful suspense.

In the meantime a sumptuous breakfast was served aboard the American squadron and a conference of commanders held. The two functions consumed more than three hours, and at a quarter after eleven the battle was renewed. The big guns at Cavite were hard at work, and the Baltimore was ordered to silence them. This she speedily accomplished, destroying the entire battery. The Olympia and other ships soon took part, and in an hour nothing was left of the Spanish fleet except sunken and burning hulks. More than a thousand of the enemy were killed and drowned and six hundred wounded. At half-past twelve the Americans ceased to fire, and at twelve-forty the Spanish flag was lowered and the white flag of surrender took its place.

Commodore Dewey immediately requested Governor-General Augusti to allow him to cable to Washington. On the Governor-General's refusal the Commodore promptly cut the cable to Hong Kong. The only means of communication left to him was by despatch-boat to Hong Kong, but he was unable to start the McCulloch for several days, when he sent two despatches, one penned on the day of battle, the other on May 4th. These two telegrams, announcing what Captain Mahan has characterized as "the greatest naval victory recorded in history," reached Hong Kong on the 8th of May, one week after the battle, and were received in Washington on the same evening. The intense anxiety which had pervaded America and the whole English-speaking world, from the day Dewey sailed from Mirs Bay, was changed to enthusiasm and gratification. These two despatches, which will go down in history alongside Perry's from Lake Erie, formed the clearest and most concise account of the Battle of Manila and its immediate results.

The first despatch: "May 1st.—Squadron arrived at Manila at daybreak this morning. Immediately engaged the enemy and destroyed the following vessels: Reina Cristina, Castilla, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba, General Lezo, Marques del Duero, Correo, Velasco, Isla de Mindanao, a transport and a water battery. The squadron is uninjured, and only a few men are slightly wounded. Only means of telegraphing is to American Consul at Hong Kong. Shall communicate with him.

Dewey."

(p. 408) The second despatch: "Cavite, May 4th.—I have taken possession of naval station at Cavite on Philippine Islands. Have destroyed the fortifications at bay entrance, paroling garrison. I control bay completely and can take city at any time. The squadron is in excellent health and spirits. The Spanish loss not fully known, but very heavy; one hundred and fifty killed, including captain of Reina Cristina. Am assisting in protecting Spanish sick and wounded; two hundred and fifty sick and wounded in hospitals within our lines. Much excitement at Manila. Will protect foreign residents.

Dewey."

Cavite in his possession, Dewey now entered upon the most difficult part of his enterprise. Although to take possession of Manila would be comparatively easy, to hold it with his force would be another matter. He had to cope with Spanish deceit and Malay craft, with the ill-concealed antagonism of the German and the unexpressed jealousy of Japan. Not knowing when to expect another Spanish fleet, he was obliged to force the representative of Germany to observe the decorum and etiquette demanded by the situation. Hence the friction with Von Diederich, when Dewey demanded to know whether his country and ours were at war, for if so, he was ready to do his part of the fighting. By July 31st troops in sufficient numbers, under General Merritt, had arrived; and on August 13th the city was assaulted and surrendered.

The grade of Admiral has been revived by Congress and bestowed upon Dewey. Never was enacted a more dramatic scene in the House of Representatives than that when Mr. Moody of Massachusetts, fearing that in the hurry of the latter days of the Fifty-fifth Congress the bill passed by the Senate might be overlooked, offered it as a new section of the Naval Appropriation Bill then under consideration. The suggestion was received with bursts of applause and acted upon immediately. A few days afterward the senate bill was passed by the House.

Only twice before has the grade of Admiral been conferred on an officer of the United States Navy. Farragut and Porter earned it by their work in the Civil War. Numerous as are the heroes of our naval history, none surpass Dewey, and the country is grateful to the President and Congress that his worth has been recognized.

The fighting in the Philippines is not over, and Dewey remains to secure the territory won by his fearless entry into Manila Bay and the magnificent plan of battle that made him victorious on that first May morning of 1898.[Back to Contents]

Author signature.

Footnote 1: It was the evening succeeding this battle of Leuthen that Frederick, himself leading the advance after the flying Austrians, entered the little town of Lissa, where a body of the enemy, never dreaming the pursuit could reach so far, were resting for the night. Frederick was as surprised as they when, on entering a room of the principal inn, he found it filled with Austrian officers. He had but a handful of troops with him, and, had his enemies known it, was their prisoner. But with the utmost coolness he saluted them, "Good-evening, gentlemen. Is there still room for me, think you?" Whereon the frightened Austrians, thinking themselves surrounded by the whole Prussian army, decamped in wild haste, and getting their troops together as they could, fled from the dangerous neighborhood.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 2: This battle of Torgau, Frederick planned to win by a flank attack; but the flanking column was delayed in its march, and at evening the king found himself everywhere beaten back. His last chance of success against his many opponents seemed lost: and he spent the night seated in the church at Elsnig, in such mood as may be imagined. During the night the flanking column at last arrived, fell on the enemy, and crushed them. This was the last of Frederick's great battles.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 3: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 4: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 5: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 6: Copyright 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 7: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 8: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 9: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 10: A Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 11: Copied, with the kind permission of the publisher, G. W. Dillingham, from John Esten Cooke's Life of Lee.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 12: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]






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