August 21

Well, a soldier's life is a strange one to lead! I got up about 8 o'clock a. m. received an order for inspection at 9 o'clock a. m. got nearly ready when it commenced raining and inspection was delayed. Then before we had inspection about 10 o'clock a. m. a lively fusilade commenced on the pike in our front with the skirmishers; looks to me like a surprise; everybody acts so, too; have been hustling all day to throw up rifle pits and to-night finds us in line behind a formidable breastwork; skirmishing still continues briskly. The Vermont brigade reestablished the skirmish line. Our brigade has lost two men killed and eleven wounded.

August 21, 1863

Friday. The day has been hot. No hotter perhaps than some others, but it has made us more miserable. Everyone is crabbed and cross, and finding fault, not only with the weather, but with the way the war is conducted, and everything in general. There are plenty of men in Company B that believe they could have wound up the war before this time, had they only been at the head of affairs, or even been consulted. Time creeps along. The summer we dreaded will soon be gone, and then the winter, which may be ten times more uncomfortable, will come. I suppose we shall keep right on finding fault just the same, and it will do us just as much good as it does now.

August Twenty-First

The radicals and negroes had, in the summer of 1867, refused to “co-operate” with the representative white citizens in restoring political and social order. The election of delegates to the constitutional convention was held in October, 1867. About 94,000 negroes voted. The radical majority included five foreign born, twenty-five negroes, twenty-eight Northerners, and fourteen Virginians. Never before in the history of the State had negroes sat in a law-making body. The former political leaders were absent. The State had been revolutionized.

John Preston McConnell
(Reconstruction in Virginia )



August 21, 1862

Last night I was one of those detailed for guard, and was put at one of the gates. This morning at 8.30 was what they call "guard mount." The men so detailed are divided into three squads, called first, second and third reliefs. The first goes on at 8.30 and remains until 10.30. Then the second relief goes on and stays until 12.30, when the third relief, to which I belong, takes the place until 2.30. This goes on until each relief has had four turns of two hours each on duty, and four turns each of four hours' rest, when 8.30 a. m. again comes around and a new guard is put in place of the old. The next day after being on guard, no duty is required of them. Nothing very hard about that so far as I can see. I begin to like it, and I am glad it is so, for there is no such thing as calling the boss up to settle.

August 21

August 21, 1877. (Baths of Ems ).--In the salon there has been a performance in chorus of "Lorelei" and other popular airs. What in our country is only done for worship is done also in Germany for poetry and music. Voices blend together; art shares the privilege of religion. It is a trait which is neither French nor English, nor, I think, Italian. The spirit of artistic devotion, of impersonal combination, of common, harmonious, disinterested action, is specially German; it makes a welcome balance to certain clumsy and prosaic elements in the race.

Later.--Perhaps the craving for independence of thought--the tendency to go back to first principles--is really proper to the Germanic mind only. The Slavs and the Latins are governed rather by the collective wisdom of the community, by tradition, usage, prejudice, fashion; or, if they break through these, they are like slaves in revolt, without any real living apprehension of the law inherent in things--the true law, which is neither written, nor arbitrary, nor imposed. The German wishes to get at nature; the Frenchman, the Spaniard, the Russian, stop at conventions. The root of the problem is in the question of the relations between God and the world. Immanence or transcendence--that, step by step, decides the meaning of everything else. If the mind is radically external to things, it is not called upon to conform to them. If the mind is destitute of native truth, it must get its truth from outside, by revelations. And so you get thought despising nature, and in bondage to the church--so you have the Latin world!

199. John Adams

Philadelphia, Thursday, 21 August, 1777.

This morning we have heard again from the fleet. At nine o'clock at night on the 14th instant, upwards of a hundred sail were seen standing in between the Capes of Chesapeake Bay. They had been seen from the eastern shore of Virginia, standing off and on, for two days before. This method of coasting along the shore, and standing off and on, is very curious. First, seen off Egg Harbor, then several times off the capes of Delaware, standing in and out, then off Sinnepuxent, then off the eastern shore of Virginia, then standing in to Chesapeake Bay. How many men and horses will he lose in this sea ramble in the heat of dog-days? Whether he is going to Virginia to steal tobacco, to North Carolina to pilfer pitch and tar, or to South Carolina to plunder rice and indigo, who can tell? He will seduce a few negroes from their masters, let him go to which he will. But is this conquering America?

From the northward we learn that Arnold has marched with about two thousand men to the relief of Fort Schuyler. Our people have given Sir John Johnson, and his regulars, Tories, and Indians, a very fine drubbing. The Indians scarcely ever had such a mauling. The devils are so frightened that they are all run away to howl and mourn. The papers inclosed with this will give you more particular information. Can nothing be done at Rhode Island at this critical time? Opprobrium Novangliæ! What is become of all the Massachusetts Continental troops? Every regiment and every man of them is at the northward under Gates, and yet we are told they have not four thousand men fit for duty, officers included. And there are three regiments there from New Hampshire, too.

10 o'clock at night.

Just come in from Congress. We have within this hour received letters of General Schuyler and Lincoln, giving an account of the battle of Bennington, wherein General Stark has acquired great glory, and so have his militia. The particulars are to be out in a hand-bill to-morrow morning. I will inclose you one.

Friday, August 21st.—Intercession Day at home. There is a beautiful chapel in the Convent.

There is almost as much censoring about the movement of the French troops in the French papers as there is about ours in the English, and not a great deal about the movements of the Germans.

There are 43 Sisters belonging to No.— General Hospital on the floor below us camping out in the same way—86 altogether in the building, one wing of which is the Sick Officers' Hospital of No.— G.H.

The No.— people are moving up the line to-night. It will take a few days to get No.— together, and then we shall move on at night. The Colonel knows where to, but he has not told Matron; she thinks it will be farther up than Amiens or Rheims, where two more have already gone, but it is all guess-work. I expect No.— from C—— is in Belgium. (It was at Amiens and had to leave in a hurry.)

The whole system of Field Medical Service has altered since South Africa. The wounded are picked up on the field by the regimental stretcher-bearers, who are generally the band, trained in First Aid and Stretcher Drill. They take them to the Bearer Section of the Field Ambulance  (which used to be called Field Hospital), who take them to the Tent Section of the same Field Ambulance, who have been getting the Dressing Station  ready with sterilisers, &c., while the Bearer Section are fetching them from the regimental stretcher-bearers. They are all drilled to get this ready in twenty minutes in tents, but it takes longer in farmhouses. The Field Ambulance then takes them in ambulance waggons (with lying down and sitting accommodation) to the Clearing Hospital, with beds, and returns empty to the Dressing Station. From the Clearing Hospital they go on to the Stationary Hospital —200 beds—which is on a railway, and finally in hospital trains to the General Hospital, their last stopping-place before they get shipped off to Netley  and all the English hospitals. The General Hospitals are the only ones at present to carry Sisters; 500 beds is the minimum, and they are capable of expanding indefinitely.

There is a large staff of harassed-looking landing officers here, with A.M.L.O. on a white armband for the medical people; a great many troopships are coming from Southampton; you hear them booing their signals in the harbour all night and day.

I've had my first letter from England, from a patient at ——. The Field Service post-card is quite good as a means of communication, but frightfully tantalising from our point of view.

We had a very good night on our mattresses, but it was rather cold towards morning with only one rug.

They have a Carter-Paterson motor-van for the Military mail-cart at the M.P.O., and two Tommies sit by a packing-case with a slit in the lid for the letter-box.

132. John Adams

21 August, 1776.

Yesterday morning I took a walk into Arch Street to see Mr. Peale's painter's room. Peale is from Maryland, a tender, soft, affectionate creature. He showed me a large picture containing a group of figures, which, upon inquiry, I found were his family: his mother and his wife's mother, himself and his wife, his brothers and sisters, and his children, sons and daughters, all young. There was a pleasant, a happy cheerfulness in their countenances, and a familiarity in their air towards each other.

He showed me one moving picture. His wife, all bathed in tears, with a child about six months old laid out upon her lap. This picture struck me prodigiously. He has a variety of portraits, very well done, but not so well as Copley's portraits. Copley is the greatest master that ever was in America. His portraits far exceed West's. Peale has taken General Washington, Dr. Franklin, Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Rush, Mrs. Hopkinson, Mr. Blair McClenachan and his little daughter in one picture, his lady and her little son in another. Peale showed me some books upon the art of painting. Among the rest one by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the President of the English Academy of Painters, by whom the pictures of General Conway and Colonel Barré, in Faneuil Hall, were taken. He showed me, too, a great number of miniature pictures. Among the rest, Mr. Hancock and his lady, Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, whom you saw the other day in Boston, Mr. Custis, and many others.

He showed me, likewise, draughts, or rather sketches, of gentlemen's seats in Virginia, where he had been, Mr. Corbin's, Mr. Page's, General Washington's, etc. Also a variety of rough drawings made by great masters in Italy, which he keeps as models. He showed me several imitations of heads, which he had made in clay, as large as the life, with his hands only. Among the rest, one of his own head and face, which was a great likeness. He is ingenious. He has vanity, loves finery, wears a sword, gold lace, speaks French, is capable of friendship, and strong family attachments and natural affections.

At this shop I met Mr. Francis Hopkinson, late a Mandamus Counsellor of New Jersey, now a member of the Continental Congress, who, it seems, is a native of Philadelphia, a son of a prothonotary of this county, who was a person much respected. The son was liberally educated, and is a painter and a poet. I have a curiosity to penetrate a little deeper into the bosom of this curious gentleman, and may possibly give you some more particulars concerning him. He is one of your pretty, little, curious, ingenious men. His head is not bigger than a large apple, less than our friend Pemberton, or Dr. Simon Tufts. I have not met with anything in natural history more amusing and entertaining than his personal appearance; yet he is genteel and well bred, and is very social.

I wish I had leisure and tranquillity of mind to amuse myself with those elegant and ingenious arts of painting, sculpture, statuary, architecture, and music. But I have not. A taste in all of them is an agreeable accomplishment. Mr. Hopkinson has taken in crayons with his own hand a picture of Miss Keys, a famous New Jersey beauty. He talks of bringing it to town, and in that case, I shall see it, I hope.