December 15

Very warm and comfortable all day; am on duty in the fort; have a guard of one Sergeant, three Corporals and thirty-six men; duty easy; rumors from General Thomas this evening but nothing reliable; got a letter from Cousin Pert to-day; no news from Oakdale, Mass.; was very sorry to learn of G. B. Putnam's death.

December Fifteenth

Of late I have opened a pawnbroker's shop for my hard-pressed brethren in feathers, lending at a fearful rate of interest; for every borrowing Lazarus will have to pay me back in due time by monthly instalments of singing. I shall have mine own again with usury. But were a man never so usurious, would he not lend a winter seed for a summer song? Would he refuse to invest his stale crumbs in an orchestra of divine instruments and a choir of heavenly voices?

James Lane Allen

 

 

December 15, 1862

Went on up the river until hard ground appeared. Passed two forts, Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip they call them, and say Butler's men had hard fighting to get past them when they came up. The secret is out. Banks is to relieve Butler in the Department of the Gulf. I wonder what harm it would have done had we been told this long ago. Chaplain Parker went ashore and brought off some oranges. A small limb had twenty-four nice oranges on it and this the Dominie said he would send home to show our friends what sumptuous fare we have. Some one suggested his putting in a few wormy hard-tack with the oranges.

We have anchored opposite a large brick building with a few small wood buildings near it.

December 15, 1863

Tuesday. Our hopes for a furlough are gone. Maybe we had no reason to hope, but all the same we did. Just a few minutes ago the colonel got orders to start at once for Matagorda Island. Where it is or what we go for, the order does not say. We are all in a fluster about it, and wondering what we will do with the housekeeping outfits we have collected. We certainly can't take them along. Some think Matagorda Island is off the Texas coast and others say off the coast of Florida. Matt Smith is sure it is on a mountain in Mexico. We expect to know when we get there. The best thing I can see in the move is that it will give us something to do, and me something to write about in my diary. I do hope another mail will come before we go. I feel now as I did the night we were marching on towards Port Hudson, when the mail carrier ran along the lines giving out the letters, and besides a letter gave me a photograph of dear old father and mother. I felt then as if I could storm Port Hudson alone, so much good did they do me. It has been my constant companion every minute since, and will go with me to Matagorda Island when I go. But I would like another letter. We are packed up, and the colonel is off looking after transportation. Good-bye, diary, for a spell.

225. John Adams

Portsmouth (N. H.), 15 December, 1777.

I arrived here last evening, in good health. This morning General Whipple [185] made me a visit at the tavern, Tilton's, and insisted upon my taking a bed at his house, in so very affectionate and urgent a manner that I believe I shall go.

The cause comes on to-morrow before my old friend Dr. Joshua Brackett, as Judge of Admiralty. How it will go, I know not. The captors are a numerous company, and are said to be very tenacious, and have many connections; so that we have prejudice and influence to fear. Justice, policy, and law are, I am sure, on our side.[186]

I have had many opportunities, in the course of this journey, to observe how deeply rooted our righteous cause is in the minds of the people; and could write you many anecdotes in proof of it. But I will reserve them for private conversation.

On second thoughts, why should I? One evening, as I sat in one room, I overheard a company of the common sort of people in another, conversing upon serious subjects. One of them, whom I afterwards found upon inquiry to be a reputable, religious man, was more eloquent than the rest. He was upon the danger of despising and neglecting serious things, and said "whatever person or people made light of them would soon find themselves terribly mistaken." At length I heard these words: "It appears to me the eternal Son of God is operating powerfully against the British nation for their treating lightly serious things."

One morning I asked my landlady what I had to pay? "Nothing," she said, "I was welcome, and she hoped I would always make her house my home. And she should be happy to entertain all those gentlemen who had been raised up by Providence to be the saviors of their country." This was flattering enough to my vain heart. But it made a greater impression on me as a proof how deeply this cause had sunk into the minds and hearts of the people.

In short, everything I see and hear indicates the same thing.

Footnotes:

[185]This gentleman had been in Congress, but was now in command of a portion of the New Hampshire troops and had just returned from the victorious campaign against General Burgoyne.

[186]Mr. Adams had been engaged as an advocate in this admiralty cause.

December 15

December 15th.--Naville's sixth lecture, an admirable one, because it did nothing more than expound the Christian doctrine of eternal life. As an extempore performance--marvelously exact, finished, clear and noble, marked by a strong and disciplined eloquence. There was not a single reservation to make in the name of criticism, history or philosophy. It was all beautiful, noble, true and pure. It seems to me that Naville has improved in the art of speech during these latter years. He has always had a kind of dignified and didactic beauty, but he has now added to it the contagious cordiality and warmth of feeling which complete the orator; he moves the whole man, beginning with the intellect but finishing with the heart. He is now very near to the true virile eloquence, and possesses one species of it indeed very nearly in perfection. He has arrived at the complete command of the resources of his own nature, at an adequate and masterly expression of himself. Such expression is the joy and glory of the oratorical artist as of every other. Naville is rapidly becoming a model in the art of premeditated and self-controlled eloquence.

There is another kind of eloquence--that which seems inspired, which finds, discovers, and illuminates by bounds and flashes, which is born in the sight of the audience and transports it. Such is not Naville's kind. Is it better worth having? I do not know.

* * * *

Every real need is stilled, and every vice is stimulated by satisfaction.

* * * *

Obstinacy is will asserting itself without being able to justify itself. It is persistence without a plausible motive. It is the tenacity of self-love substituted for the tenacity of reason or conscience.

It is not what he has, nor even what he does, which directly expresses the worth of a man, but what he is.

* * * *

What comfort, what strength, what economy there is in order --material order, intellectual order, moral order. To know where one is going and what one wishes--this is order; to keep one's word and one's engagements--again order; to have everything ready under one's hand, to be able to dispose of all one's forces, and to have all one's means of whatever kind under command--still order; to discipline one's habits, one's effort, one's wishes; to organize one's life, to distribute one's time, to take the measure of one's duties and make one's rights respected; to employ one's capital and resources, one's talent and one's chances profitably--all this belongs to and is included in the word order. Order means light and peace, inward liberty and free command over one's self; order is power. Aesthetic and moral beauty consist, the first in a true perception of order, and the second in submission to it, and in the realization of it, by, in, and around one's self. Order is man's greatest need and his true well-being.

Tuesday, December 15th.—We were unloaded last night at 9.30, and reported ready to go up again at 11 p.m., but they didn't move us till 5 a.m. Went to same place as yesterday, and cleared the Clearing Hospitals again; some badly wounded, with wounds exposed and splints padded with straw as in the Ypres days.

The Black Watch have got some cherub-faced boys of seventeen out now. The mud and floods are appalling. The Scotch regiments have lost their shoes and spats and wade barefoot in the water-logged trenches. This is a true fact.

I'm afraid not a few of many regiments have got rheumatism—some acute—that they will never lose.

The ploughed fields and roads are all more or less under water, and each day it rains more.

We have got a Red Cross doctor on the train who was in the next village to the one we loaded from this morning. It has been taken and retaken by both sides, and had a population of about 2000. The only living things he saw in it to-day besides a khaki supply column passing through were one cat and some goldfish. In one villa a big brass bedstead was hanging through the drawing-room ceiling by its legs, the clothes hanging in the cupboards were slashed up, and nothing left anywhere. He says at least ten well-to-do men of 50 are doing motor-ambulance work with their own Rolls-Royces up there, and cleaning their cars themselves, at 6 a.m.

I happened to ask a man, who is a stretcher-bearer belonging to the Rifle Brigade, how he got hit. "Oh, I was carrying a dead man," he said modestly. "My officer told me not to move him till dark, because of the sniping; but his face was blown off by an explosive bullet, and I didn't think it would do the chaps who had to stand round him all day any good, so I put him on my back, and they copped me in the leg. I was glad he wasn't a wounded man, because I had to drop him."

He told me some French ladies were killed in their horse-and-cart on the road near their trenches the other day; they would go and try and get some of their household treasures. Two were killed—two and a man—and the horse wounded. He helped to take them to the R.A.M.C. dressing-station.