August 26

As usual we were ordered to be under arms at 4 o'clock a. m. but the enemy has not yet appeared on our right, nor do I think they will; have had charge of a fatigue party nearly all day policing in front of the rifle pits. Captain L. T. Hunt of Company H returned to the regiment this afternoon looking well; has been absent wounded. Captains C. D. Bogue and A. W. Chilton's commissions came by to-day's mail; no skirmishing all day.

August 26, 1863

Wednesday. Ration day again. As we drew five days' rations again it looks as if we might stay some time yet. Mail came late last night. No letters, but an old New York paper. No news good or bad. Everything seems to have come to a stop. A darkey, named Jack, who has been furnishing the cooks with wood, came in to-day with a log on his back bigger than himself. When he threw it down a cottonmouth moccasin crawled out of a hole in it. It made Jack almost turn white, he was so scared. The log was full of holes as if mice had eaten their way through it in every direction, and was most as light as cork. It is strange how the negroes fear a cottonmouth, and yet they go everywhere barefoot, and never seem to think of a snake until they see one. This is the first one I have seen since we left Port Hudson. I thought we had got out of the snake country.

August Twenty-Sixth

I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies—from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and beat him when found, whose policy has been attack and not defense. I presume that I have been called here to pursue the same system.... It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily.... Meanwhile, I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases, which I am sorry to find much in vogue amongst you. I hear constantly of taking strong positions and holding them—of lines of retreat and of bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas.... Let us study the probable line of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves.

Gen. John Pope, U. S. A.
(Before Campaign in Virginia )

 

 

August 26, 1862

Mary and I took a long ride, and then I left for Millerton. Saw the effects of a railroad smash up at Cooper's Crossing. The engine and cars were scattered along the front of the embankment and many of them only good for kindling-wood. The carcass of a cow, the cause of the accident, lay in one place and her hide in another. Attended a meeting at Millerton, heard some patriotic speeches and saw lots of people who seemed glad to see me. Was paid the town bounty of $100 and towards night wended my way over the hills home again, and am writing about it in my diary. This is my last night home. To-morrow we are due in Hudson again. I have seen none of the others who came home with me. I suppose each one, like myself, has crowded the time full of visiting, for who knows when we will have another chance? We each try to act as if we had no thought for the morrow, but it is hard work and not very successful.

Wednesday, August 26th.—Very ominous leading articles in the French papers to-day bidding every one to remember that there is no need to give up hope of complete success in the end! There is a great deal about the French and English heavy losses, but where are the wounded being sent? It is absolutely maddening sitting here still with no work yet, when there must be so much to be done; but I suppose it will come to us in time, as it is easier to move the men to the hospitals than the hospitals to the men, or they wouldn't have put 1500 beds here.

The street children here have a charming way of running up to every strolling Tommy, Officer, or Sister, seizing their hand, and saying, "Goodnight," and saluting; one reached up to pat my shoulder.

No.— G.H., which left here yesterday for Abbeville, between Rouen and the mouth of the Somme, came back again to-day. They were met by a telegram at Rouen at midnight, telling them to return to Havre, as it was not safe to go on. They are of course frightfully sick.

French wounded have been coming in all day. And we are not yet in camp. Our site is said to be a fearful swamp, so to-day, which has been soaking wet, will be a good test for it.

It is so wet to-night that we are going to have cocoa and bread-and-butter on the floor, instead of trailing down to the hotel for dinner. Miss ——, who is the third in our room, regales us with really thrilling stories of her adventures in S.A. She was mentioned in despatches, and reported dead.

204. John Adams

Philadelphia, Tuesday, 26 August, 1777.

Howe's army, at least about five thousand of them, besides his light horse, are landed upon the banks of the Elk River, and the disposition he has made of his forces indicates a design to rest and refresh both men and horses. General Washington was at Wilmington last night, and his army is there to-day. The militia are turning out with great alacrity both in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They are distressed for want of arms. Many have none, others have only little fowling-pieces. However, we shall rake and scrape enough to do Howe's business, by the favor of Heaven.

Howe must have intended that Washington should have sent his army up to fight Burgoyne. But he is disappointed. The kindness of Heaven towards us has in nothing appeared more conspicuous than in this motion of Howe. If the infatuation is not so universal as to seize Americans as well as him, it will prove the certain destruction of Burgoyne's army. The New England troops and New York troops are every man of them at Peekskill and with Gates. The Massachusetts men are all with Gates. General Washington has none but southern troops with him, and he has much the largest army to encounter.

If my countrymen do not now turn out and do something, I shall be disappointed indeed. One fifth part of Burgoyne's army has been totally destroyed by Stark and Herkimer. The remainder must be shocked and terrified at the stroke. Now is the time to strike. New England men, strike home!

August 26

August 26, 1868.--After all the storms of feeling within and the organic disturbances without, which during these latter months have pinned me so closely to my own individual existence, shall I ever be able to reascend into the region of pure intelligence, to enter again upon the disinterested and impersonal life, to recover my old indifference toward subjective miseries, and regain a purely scientific and contemplative state of mind? Shall I ever succeed in forgetting all the needs which bind me to earth and to humanity? Shall I ever become pure spirit? Alas! I cannot persuade myself to believe it possible for an instant. I see infirmity and weakness close upon me, I feel I cannot do without affection, and I know that I have no ambition, and that my faculties are declining. I remember that I am forty-seven years old, and that all my brood of youthful hopes has flown away. So that there is no deceiving myself as to the fate which awaits me: increasing loneliness, mortification of spirit, long-continued regret, melancholy neither to be consoled nor confessed, a mournful old age, a slow decay, a death in the desert!

Terrible dilemma! Whatever is still possible to me has lost its savor, while all that I could still desire escapes me, and will always escape me. Every impulse ends in weariness and disappointment. Discouragement, depression, weakness, apathy; there is the dismal series which must be forever begun and re-begun, while we are still rolling up the Sisyphean rock of life. Is it not simpler and shorter to plunge head-foremost into the gulf?

No, rebel as we may, there is but one solution--to submit to the general order, to accept, to resign ourselves, and to do still what we can. It is our self-will, our aspirations, our dreams, that must be sacrificed. We must give up the hope of happiness once for all! Immolation of the self--death to self--this is the only suicide which is either useful or permitted. In my present mood of indifference and disinterestedness, there is some secret ill-humor, some wounded pride, a little rancor; there is selfishness in short, since a premature claim for rest is implied in it. Absolute disinterestedness is only reached in that perfect humility which tramples the self under foot for the glory of God.

I have no more strength left, I wish for nothing; but that is not what is wanted. I must wish what God wishes; I must pass from indifference to sacrifice, and from sacrifice to self-devotion. The cup which I would fain put away from me is the misery of living, the shame of existing and suffering as a common creature who has missed his vocation; it is the bitter and increasing humiliation of declining power, of growing old under the weight of one's own disapproval, and the disappointment of one's friends! "Wilt thou be healed?" was the text of last Sunday's sermon. "Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." "And if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart."