July 13

July Thirteenth

Though the Grey were outnumbered, he counted no odd,
But fought like a demon and struck like a god,
Disclaiming defeat on the blood-curdled sod,
As he pledged to the South that he loved.
Virginia Frazer Boyle

 

N. B. Forrest born, 1821

 

 

July 13

July 13, 1869.--Lamennais, Heine--the one the victim of a mistaken vocation, the other of a tormenting craving to astonish and mystify his kind. The first was wanting in common sense; the second was wanting in seriousness. The Frenchman was violent, arbitrary, domineering; the German was a jesting Mephistopheles, with a horror of Philistinism. The Breton was all passion and melancholy; the Hamburger all fancy and satire. Neither developed freely nor normally. Both of them, because of an initial mistake, threw themselves into an endless quarrel with the world. Both were revolutionists. They were not fighting for the good cause, for impersonal truth; both were rather the champions of their own pride. Both suffered greatly, and died isolated, repudiated, and reviled. Men of magnificent talents, both of them, but men of small wisdom, who did more harm than good to themselves and to others! It is a lamentable existence which wears itself out in maintaining a first antagonism, or a first blunder. The greater a man's intellectual power, the more dangerous is it for him to make a false start and to begin life badly.

July 13, 1863

Monday. Nothing has happened to-day worth writing about. We slept soundly all night, and late this morning. Some have gone at it again and act as if they would sleep all day. We have been strained up so long, it begins to tell on the toughest. I had my sick spell last winter and spring, and since that I have been one of the toughest. Have not been off duty a minute since I left the hospital and I can't think of another man in the company that can say that. But then my duties have been light as compared with theirs. Upon looking over my diary I find I did not mention a talk we had with the prisoners at Port Hudson. We were telling each other our adventures, when one of them asked what regiment it was that came out to draw their fire on June 13. When told it was the 128th New York, they allowed it was the "doggondest" piece of impudence they ever saw. They told how they begged to fire on us and were not allowed to do it. The rebel officers knew what it was done for and had rather let us go than expose their position. I can't help thinking it was a good thing for us they didn't shoot, but we told them they couldn't hit the side of a barn, say nothing of so small a mark as a man. The firing they did do comes pretty near proving that we told them the truth.

Good! I have been looking for it! The First and Second Divisions of the Sixth Corps arrived in Washington last night just in season by double quicking through the city from the boats to drive the enemy from the fortifications; can hear heavy guns in that direction this morning; don't know what the difficulty is but if the rest of our Corps is there the Johnnies will never take the capital, and we are all right. Hurrah! I am on picket to-day at Mr. Donaldson's, a wealthy Union man who has a lovely home and family. This is an aristocratic neighborhood, and people embarrass me with their courteous attentions. I would much rather be left to myself, for I'm tired and haven't anything with me but the clothes worn through so many battles, besmeared, ragged, riddled with bullets and torn by exploding shells; so I am not dressed to appear at table with conventional people; but still they insist upon it, and what plagues me more make a lion of me. Oh dear! I'd rather make an assault on such a place as the "Bloody Angle" at Spottsylvania! The young ladies are awfully pretty, so nice and attentive, too, that I feel overwhelmed. I'm not sensible enough, though, not to wish myself somewhere else, for I'm dirty and unpresentable. It's truly a sunny spot in a soldier's life, though, to run across such families occasionally when presentable. General Tyler has come in to-night; all's quiet.

190. John Adams

Philadelphia, 13 July, 1777.

My dearest Friend,—We have a confused account from the northward of something unlucky at Ticonderoga, but cannot certainly tell what it is. I am much afraid we shall lose that post, as we did Forts Washington and Lee; and indeed, I believe we shall if the enemy surround it. But it will prove no benefit to him. I begin to wish there was not a fort upon the continent. Discipline and disposition are our resources. It is our policy to draw the enemy into the country, where we can avail ourselves of hills, woods, rivers, defiles, etc., until our soldiers are more inured to war. Howe and Burgoyne will not be able to meet this year, and if they were met, it would only be better for us, for we should draw all our forces to a point too. If they were met, they could not cut off the communication between the northern and southern States. But if the communication was cut off for a time, it would be no misfortune, for New England would defend itself, and the southern States would defend themselves.

Colonel Miles is come out of New York on his parole. His account is, as I am informed, that Mr. Howe's projects are all deranged. His army has gone round the circle, and is now encamped in the very spot where he was a year ago. The spirits of the Tories are sunk to a great degree, and those of the army too. The Tories have been elated with prospects of coming to this city and triumphing, but are miserably disappointed. The Hessians are disgusted, and their General De Heister gone home in a miff.

120. Abigail Adams

Boston, 13 July, 1776.

I must begin with apologizing to you for not writing since the 17th of June. I have really had so many cares upon my hands and mind, with a bad inflammation in my eyes, that I have not been able to write. I now date from Boston, where I yesterday arrived and was with all of our little ones inoculated for the small-pox....

As to news, we have taken several prizes since I wrote you, as you will see by the newspapers. The present report is of Lord Howe's coming with unlimited powers. However, suppose it is so, I believe he little thinks of treating with us as Independent States. How can any person yet dream of a settlement, accommodations, etc.? They have neither the spirit nor the feeling of men. Yet I see some who never were called Tories gratified with the idea of Lord Howe's being upon his passage with such powers!

Sunday, 14 July.

By yesterday's post I received two letters dated 3d and 4th of July, and though your letters never fail to give me pleasure, be the subject what it will, yet it was greatly heightened by the prospect of the future happiness and glory of our country. Nor am I a little gratified when I reflect that a person so nearly connected with me has had the honor of being a principal actor in laying a foundation for its future greatness.

May the foundation of our new Constitution be Justice, Truth, Righteousness! Like the wise man's house, may it be founded upon these rocks, and then neither storms nor tempests will overthrow it!

I cannot but be sorry that some of the most manly sentiments in the Declaration are expunged from the printed copy. Perhaps wise reasons induced it.

I shall write you now very often. Pray inform me constantly of every important action. Every expression of tenderness is a cordial to my heart. Important as they are to the rest of the world, to me they are everything.

I suppose you have heard of a fleet which came up pretty near the Light and kept us all with our mouths open, ready to catch them, but after staying near a week, and making what observations they could, set sail and went off, to our great mortification, who were [148] —— for them in every respect. If our ship of thirty-two guns which was built at Portsmouth, and waiting only for guns, and another at Plymouth in the same state, had been in readiness, we should in all probability have been masters of them. Where the blame lies in that respect, I know not. 'T is laid upon Congress, and Congress is also blamed for not appointing us a General. But Rome was not built in a day.

All our friends desire to be remembered to you, and foremost in that number stands your

Portia.

Footnotes:

[148]One word torn off under the seal.