April 10

Storm has ceased, but it's muddy and windy; part of the regiment started for picket this morning. Lieut. Ezra Stetson has gone so I will be alone; have been studying all day; Sergeant J. M. Reed called this evening, also Dick who will stay all night, his quarters being crowded; rather dull in camp all day.

April 10, 1864

Sunday. We started at daylight and met with no adventures worth telling of on the way. At 6 p. m. we were at Grand Ecore again, where we learned that a hard battle had been fought at Mansfield Plains and at Pleasant Hill—a two days' fight and nobody claiming the victory. Some say the Rebs had the best of the first day's fight and that our folks had the best of the last, which was yesterday. A large body of men and animals is here—cavalry, infantry and artillery—all mixed up in no sort of order. Wounded men are lying on the ground and wounded horses and mules hobbling about. I looked until dark, and then listened to the sounds of suffering until sleep overtook me.

April 10

April 10, 1881. (Sunday ).--Visit to ----. She read over to me letters of 1844 to 1845--letters of mine. So much promise to end in so meager a result! What creatures we are! I shall end like the Rhine, lost among the sands, and the hour is close by when my thread of water will have disappeared.

Afterward I had a little walk in the sunset. There was an effect of scattered rays and stormy clouds; a green haze envelops all the trees--

"Et tout renaît, et déjà l'aubépine A vu l'abeille accourir à ses fleurs," --but to me it all seems strange already.

Later.--What dupes we are of our own desires!... Destiny has two ways of crushing us--by refusing our wishes and by fulfilling them. But he who only wills what God wills escapes both catastrophes. "All things work together for his good."

Saturday, April 10th, 10.30 p.m.—It is difficult to settle down to sleep to-night: the sky is lit up with flashes and star-shells, and every now and then a big bang shakes the house, above the almost continuous thud, thudding, and the barking of the machine-guns and the crackling of rifle firing; they are bringing in more to-day, both here and at the Hospice, and we are tired enough to go to sleep as if we were at home; I shouldn't wonder if the Night Sister had a busy night.

We had to rig up our day-room for an operation this evening—they have always taken them over to the Hospice, where they have a very swanky modern theatre.

We couldn't manage to get any food to-day for Gabrielle to cook for us, as our rations hadn't come up, so we went back to the café. She has been busy nettoying all day, and the house feels much cleaner.

The dead silence, darkness, and emptiness of the streets after 8 o'clock are very striking.

April Tenth

Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary;
Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary;
Furl it, fold it, it is best;
For there's not a man to wave it,
And there's not a sword to save it,
And there's not one left to lave it
In the blood which heroes gave it;
And its foes now scorn and brave it;
Furl it, hide it, let it rest!

Furl that Banner! True, 'tis gory,
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,
And 'twill live in song and story,
Though its folds are in the dust:
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages,—
Furl its folds though now we must.
Abraham J. Ryan
(The Conquered Banner )

 

Lee issues farewell address to his army, 1865

Leonidas Polk born, 1806

 

 

April 10, 1863

Yesterday I took the place of a nurse who was ailing, and to-day have been with several others to explore the country roundabouts. We came to an orange orchard and found and cut some sprouts for canes. General Dow and his staff were riding past, and seeing us, rode full tilt towards us, as if to run over us. The general was so busy watching us he never saw a ditch, and into it he went. The horse went down and the general went on his head, landing in the tall grass on all fours. He was not hurt, and after his staff had caught up and helped him on his horse, he came up and said, "To what regiment do you men belong?" Being told, he snapped out, "Report to your quarters at once and don't be seen cutting orange trees again." It is said he roams about like this, driving in any he finds outside, and in other ways making himself unpopular with the boys. However, he didn't take our canes and we have some nice ones to show for the trip.

Two letters to-day, and although they were a month old, they were full of news to me.

Cannes Palm Sunday April 10, 1881

Don't mind my weak handwriting and brief letter, but I have spent most of this great parliamentary week in bed, and this is my first attempt to write.

I so much want to hear from you that your father is well and happy. The achievement seems incomparable, and the policy wonderful.[118 ] But I am too confused in mind yet to understand the whole thing and the flight of the Thane.[119 ] Probably it has been long foreseen, and is taken almost as a victory from coming alone. It portends tremendous opposition in the Lords, unless Derby has succeeded him,[120 ] and even then. I have seen nothing but the Times —stormy weather delaying all English papers; and I read the peroration to my family as explaining why the speaker is in my eyes so much the best of statesmen. I wonder what an intelligent Socialist would make of the sentence which says that the Irish landlords would have been guilty of injustice by appropriating the results of tenant labour in improvement of the soil. In a rough and ready way they might apply the maxim to manufactories too. Then comes an extract from the ninth paragraph of the Bessbro' Report to the effect that Irish rents are lower than English, which might, I fancy, serve when they try to stop the way by getting up an agrarian movement in this country. I should add, having been so recalcitrant, that the Court ought to be able to effect what is substantially just in the Irish claims. I don't much believe in peasant proprietorship; but I should like much done for emigration, and have not been converted from what he said about that in 1845. The threatening close of the eleventh[121 ] Budget speech must not, I hope, be taken literally—not only because the Budget, laid down on partly Tory lines, is not a very great one; partly because the speech is full of promise and suggestion, and even menace; also because the only successor whose succession would not seriously weaken the Ministry, Goschen, declared his resolution not to join it when he returns....

You will not have had time to read French newspapers and academic speeches. They elected Rousse,[122 ] a lawyer, not famous, but much trusted by the expelled monks. Falloux was not ashamed to say to me: "au moins, c'est un honnete homme—chose precieuse aujourd'hui." His speech was an exquisite composition. But d'Aumale, in his reply, said that Cicero was a much better man than Demosthenes—in politics. I hope that sentiment would vex your father, the one man who has the right to pronounce between them. A good historian says of Demosthenes: "Er war Idealist und uberschätzte in gefahrvollen Zeiten die Wirkung sittlicher Kräfte."

I am anxiously watching the change of Ministry in Italy, where I saw this mischief brewing so lately. A worse administration than the present seemed to me almost inconceivable. They avowed the doctrine that there is no resisting the priesthood except by definite Spencerianism; and that whatever is given to God goes to the Pope....

[118 ] The introduction of the Irish Land Bill.

[119 ] The late Duke of Argyll's resignation.

[120 ] Lord Carlingford succeeded him.

[121 ] Mr. Gladstone's eleventh.

[122 ] To the Academy.

Cannes April 10, 1880

There is nothing to regret. Your brother has held a conspicuous place[15 ] in the most wonderful election contest of this century. He has held it in a manner which will never be forgotten in his lifetime, and which will do as much for him as victory; and the picture of the young untried son bursting into sudden popularity and turning men's thoughts from the absorbing exploits of his father adds an affecting domestic feature to that great biography. That meeting at Hawarden, after such a revolution and such a growth, is a thing I cannot think of without emotion.

So I cannot offer you anything sincere, except congratulation. We know now, indeed, that the British Democracy is neither Liberal nor Conservative in its permanent convictions, and therefore the party triumph is not as altogether satisfactory and secure as it should be. But the individual triumph, the homage rendered to a single name, could not be greater; and there could not be a fuller atonement for the desertion of 1874, than a success so personal as to convey dictatorial authority, apart from party merits and combinations.

Your idea has this advantage, that one must strike when the iron is hot, and it is now at white heat, and our legislative measures, even though they involve an early dissolution, ought to be begun soon. What I should fear most would be that, content with the intense reality of power, Mr. Gladstone should repeat the unhappy declarations of five years since in a way that would commit him for all future time; absolute abdication would be a misfortune all round, and the Conservative reaction would soon set in. But if an eventual return to power is not absolutely excluded, if no word is said of what might happen under certain contingencies, then we should still feel that we have an invincible reserve force, that, when our first line is broken, we can proclaim the Jehad and unfurl the green flag of the Prophet. For the patchwork settlement of 1875 depends on the life of a man who is several years older than your father,[16 ] who is a duke, and who has a deplorable habit of falling asleep early in the afternoon. But I only express this premature fear in view of circumstances which I am sure every influence in the country, except, perhaps, the influence of Windsor, will be strained to avert.

Your description of Lowe's generous and feeling sympathy is really touching. How little I thought, fourteen years ago,[17 ] when he was the hardest hitter your father had to meet, and when your father said he might well shrink from crossing swords with such a man, that he would close his active life as your brother's sponsor before vast constituencies, or that we should come to think of him listening with tears in his eyes to your brother's speeches, and muttering the words you tell.

Please tell Herbert that I have followed his proceedings as carefully as one could at a distance, that I don't think much of his defeat, that, in short, I go halves with Lowe.[18 ]

I see that your sister made her way into the fray. I trust all the worry and toil was not too much for Mrs. Gladstone.

We are ending the season here, not as far out of the world as you would suppose; for I just saw your neighbour Westminster, and here are Argyll, Cardwell, and Goldsmid.

If Disraeli waits to meet Parliament, and to fall in the daylight, I may hope to have an opportunity of expressing to you myself all my sense of the meaning of the victory, and my want of sympathy for you in your defeat.[19 ]

[15 ] He stood for Middlesex.

[16 ] The late Duke of Devonshire, who lived till 1891.

[17 ] In 1866, Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Lowe took opposite sides on the question of Parliamentary Reform.

[18 ] Mr. Lowe, on hearing one of Mr. Herbert Gladstone's speeches during the Middlesex election, declared that in the pure gift of eloquence, there was nothing to choose between him and his father.

[19 ] In Middlesex.