February 6

I was awoke at 5 a. m. by the long roll; was soon directed to report to Col. A. B. Jewett's headquarters and ordered to break camp and march for the Rapidan, which is no pleasant thing to do at this season; were ordered to march at 7 a. m. but didn't till near 4 p. m.; marched to the picket line and bivouacked; has rained some all day but not hard; considerable firing towards night at Jacob's ford.

February Sixth

General John B. Gordon

Patriot, soldier, statesman,
Prince of the race of men;
Cypress and rue for his passing,
Laurel for sword and pen.

Dust for the hand that wrought;
But for the lessons taught
Life without end.
Ida Slocomb Matthews

 

John B. Gordon born, 1832

John Pegram killed near Hatcher's Run, 1865

 

 

February 6

February 6, 1880.--A feeling article by Edmond Scherer on the death of Bersot, the director of the "Ecole Normale," a philosopher who bore like a stoic a terrible disease, and who labored to the last without a complaint.... I have just read the four orations delivered over his grave. They have brought the tears to my eyes. In the last days of this brave man everything was manly, noble, moral, and spiritual. Each of the speakers paid homage to the character, the devotion, the constancy, and the intellectual elevation of the dead. "Let us learn from him how to live and how to die." The whole funeral ceremony had an antique dignity.

February 6, 1863

Friday. The days are so much alike I have given up noting the doings of each as it comes. Since February 1st our meeting-house tent has been repaired and raised again. Rumor of a move came early in the week and has kept us guessing ever since. I think it means something, for the sick in camp hospital have been sent to the general hospital in New Orleans. The weather has been of all sorts. Cold and windy and then a thunder and lightning storm that shook the very earth. The hospital is filling up again, too. Twenty men from Company K were reported to-day, and five from Company B. I fear my turn is coming, for in spite of all Dr. Andrus does, my cough does not let up.


February 6

February 6,1871.--I am reading Juste Olivier's "Chansons du Soir" over again, and all the melancholy of the poet seems to pass into my veins. It is the revelation of a complete existence, and of a whole world of melancholy reverie.

How much character there is in "Musette," the "Chanson de l'Alouette," the "Chant du Retour," and the "Gaîté," and how much freshness in "Lina," and "A ma fille!" But the best pieces of all are "Au delà," "Homunculus," "La Trompeuse," and especially "Frère Jacques," its author's masterpiece. To these may be added the "Marionettes" and the national song, "Helvétie." Serious purpose and intention disguised in gentle gayety and childlike badinage, feeling hiding itself under a smile of satire, a resigned and pensive wisdom expressing itself in rustic round or ballad, the power of suggesting everything in a nothing--these are the points in which the Vaudois poet triumphs. On the reader's side there is emotion and surprise, and on the author's a sort of pleasant slyness which seems to delight in playing tricks upon you, only tricks of the most dainty and brilliant kind. Juste Olivier has the passion we might imagine a fairy to have for delicate mystification. He hides his gifts. He promises nothing and gives a great deal. His generosity, which is prodigal, has a surly air; his simplicity is really subtlety; his malice pure tenderness; and his whole talent is, as it were, the fine flower of the Vaudois mind in its sweetest and dreamiest form.

February 6

February 6, 1877.--I spent the evening with the ----, and we talked of the anarchy of ideas, of the general want of culture, of what it is which keeps the world going, and of the assured march of science in the midst of universal passion and superstition.

What is rarest in the world is fair-mindedness, method, the critical view, the sense of proportion, the capacity for distinguishing. The common state of human thought is one of confusion, incoherence, and presumption, and the common state of human hearts is a state of passion, in which equity, impartiality, and openness to impressions are unattainable. Men's wills are always in advance of their intelligence, their desires ahead of their will, and accident the source of their desires; so that they express merely fortuitous opinions which are not worth the trouble of taking seriously, and which have no other account to give of themselves than this childish one: I am, because I am. The art of finding truth is very little practiced; it scarcely exists, because there is no personal humility, nor even any love of truth among us. We are covetous enough of such knowledge as may furnish weapons to our hand or tongue, as may serve our vanity or gratify our craving for power; but self-knowledge, the criticism of our own appetites and prejudices, is unwelcome and disagreeable to us.

Man is a willful and covetous animal, who makes use of his intellect to satisfy his inclinations, but who cares nothing for truth, who rebels against personal discipline, who hates disinterested thought and the idea of self-education. Wisdom offends him, because it rouses in him disturbance and confusion, and because he will not see himself as he is.

The great majority of men are but tangled skeins, imperfect keyboards, so many specimens of restless or stagnant chaos--and what makes their situation almost hopeless is the fact that they take pleasure in it. There is no curing a sick man who believes himself in health.