July 20

We shelled the enemy about 3 o'clock a. m. It left our front during the night. We crossed the river about noon to-day, marched about four miles and halted in a hard thunder shower. We fell in soon and the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps started on our back track, supposedly for Petersburg via Washington. General Crook's Corps followed Early on up the Shenandoah Valley.

July 20

BERLIN, July 20, 1848.--It gives liberty and breadth to thought, to learn to judge our own epoch from the point of view of universal history, history from the point of view of geological periods, geology from the point of view of astronomy. When the duration of a man's life or of a people's life appears to us as microscopic as that of a fly and inversely, the life of a gnat as infinite as that of a celestial body, with all its dust of nations, we feel ourselves at once very small and very great, and we are able, as it were, to survey from the height of the spheres our own existence, and the little whirlwinds which agitate our little Europe.

At bottom there is but one subject of study: the forms and metamorphoses of mind. All other subjects may be reduced to that; all other studies bring us back to this study.

July Twentieth

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
The brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.
Theodore O'Hara

[It is remarkable that the memorial inscriptions of Federal cemeteries are taken from stanzas written by a “rebel” soldier-poet. Grand Army Posts have also made use of “anonymous” lines by Major Wm. M. Pegram, C. S. A., (quoted May 26th), when decorating Confederate graves. Both uses are unconscious but eloquent tributes to the genius of Southern expression.—Editor]

 

Burial in Frankfort of Kentuckians killed in the Mexican War, 1847

 

 

July 20

July 20, 1869.--I have been reading over again five or six chapters, here and there, of Renan's "St. Paul." Analyzed to the bottom, the writer is a freethinker, but a free thinker whose flexible imagination still allows him the delicate epicurism of religious emotion. In his eyes the man who will not lend himself to these graceful fancies is vulgar, and the man who takes them seriously is prejudiced. He is entertained by the variations of conscience, but he is too clever to laugh at them. The true critic neither concludes nor excludes; his pleasure is to understand without believing, and to profit by the results of enthusiasm, while still maintaining a free mind, unembarrassed by illusion. Such a mode of proceeding has a look of dishonesty; it is nothing, however, but the good-tempered irony of a highly-cultivated mind, which will neither be ignorant of anything nor duped by anything. It is the dilettantism of the Renaissance in its perfection. At the same time what innumerable proofs of insight and of exultant scientific power!

*

St. Martin Ried Haute Autriche July 20, 1882

Alexandria, Bright, and a vote of censure have been a great distraction from our Irish troubles. If Bright, the Minister, agreed to the orders, and if Bright, the Quaker, woke up at the execution of the orders, then his conduct is unstatesmanlike and weak. I conclude,—not having Monday's debate yet,—that he resigns not because of the bombardment, but because, having troops on the way, remembering the example of Paris, warned by the terrified correspondents, we nevertheless bombarded without taking precautions against consequences that were not improbable. If he takes that ground, he will, I suppose, be angry and mischievous, and his position will encourage the disaffected Whigs; and it will be awkward even if part of the blame rests on the Powers; because, when we took things into our own hands, we were bound to do all that was necessary.

I very much wish for a completer defence than I have seen yet; and at the same time I think that a good defence, with some measure of political success in Egypt, will be a source of new strength, and if there is some blame, I anxiously ask myself whether it lies at the Foreign Office, at the War Office, or at the Admiralty.

It is provoking not to know most of the names of the people going out on this difficult errand. That is one side of the question. The other, nearer home, for me, is that you are still going through terrible worry, and that the wear and tear must be telling on Mr. Gladstone. I ask myself one question, which most people would think an unlikely one, whether he thoroughly controls his colleagues, and whether the work of the House absorbs him too much.... I hope you sat next to Bright....

July 20

July 20, 1870 (Bellalpe ).--A marvelous day. The panorama before me is of a grandiose splendor; it is a symphony of mountains, a cantata of sunny Alps.

I am dazzled and oppressed by it. The feeling uppermost is one of delight in being able to admire, of joy, that is to say, in a recovered power of contemplation which is the result of physical relief, in being able at last to forget myself and surrender myself to things, as befits a man in my state of health. Gratitude is mingled with enthusiasm. I have just spent two hours of continuous delight at the foot of the Sparrenhorn, the peak behind us. A flood of sensations overpowered me. I could only look, feel, dream, and think.

Later.--Ascent of the Sparrenhorn. The peak of it is not very easy to climb, because of the masses of loose stones and the steepness of the path, which runs between two abysses. But how great is one's reward!

The view embraces the whole series of the Valais Alps from the Furka to the Combin; and even beyond the Furka one sees a few peaks of the Ticino and the Rhaetian Alps; while if you turn you see behind you a whole polar world of snowfields and glaciers forming the southern side of the enormous Bernese group of the Finsteraarahorn, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau. The near representative of the group is the Aletschhorn, whence diverge like so many ribbons the different Aletsch glaciers which wind about the peak from which I saw them. I could study the different zones, one above another--fields, woods, grassy Alps, bare rock and snow, and the principle types of mountain; the pagoda-shaped Mischabel, with its four arêtes as flying buttresses and its staff of nine clustered peaks; the cupola of the Fletchhorn, the dome of Monte Rosa, the pyramid of the Weisshorn, the obelisk of the Cervin.

Bound me fluttered a multitude of butterflies and brilliant green-backed flies; but nothing grew except a few lichens. The deadness and emptiness of the upper Aletsch glacier, like some vast white street, called up the image of an icy Pompeii. All around boundless silence. On my way back I noticed some effects of sunshine--the close elastic mountain grass, starred with gentian, forget-me-not, and anemones, the mountain cattle standing out against the sky, the rocks just piercing the soil, various circular dips in the mountain side, stone waves petrified thousands of thousands of years ago, the undulating ground, the tender quiet of the evening; and I invoked the soul of the mountains and the spirit of the heights!

122. John Adams

20 July.

I cannot omit the opportunity of writing you a line by this post. This letter will, I suppose, find you, in some degree or other, under the influence of the small-pox. The air is of very great importance. I don't know your physician, but I hope he won't deprive you of air more than is necessary.

We had yesterday an express from General Lee in Charleston, South Carolina, with an account of a brilliant little action between the armament under Clinton and Cornwallis, and a battery on Sullivan's Island, which terminated very fortunately for America. I will endeavor to inclose with this a printed account of it. It has given us good spirits here, and will have a happy effect upon our armies at New York and Ticonderoga. Surely our northern soldiers will not suffer themselves to be outdone by their brethren so nearly under the sun. I don't yet hear of any Massachusetts men at New York. Our people must not flinch at this critical moment, when their country is in more danger than it ever will be again, perhaps. What will they say if the Howes should prevail against our forces at so important a post as New York, for want of a few thousand men from the Massachusetts? I will likewise send you by this post Lord Howe's letter and proclamation, which has let the cat out of the bag. These tricks deceive no longer. Gentlemen here, who either were or pretended to be deceived heretofore, now see or pretend to see through such artifices. I apprehend his Lordship is afraid of being attacked upon Staten Island, and is throwing out his barrels to amuse Leviathan until his reinforcements shall arrive.

20 July.

This has been a dull day to me. I waited the arrival of the post with much solicitude and impatience, but his arrival made me more solicitous still. "To be left at the Post Office," in your handwriting on the back of a few lines from the Dr. was all that I could learn of you and my little folks. If you were too busy to write, I hoped that some kind hand would have been found to let me know something about you. Do my friends think that I have been a politician so long as to have lost all feeling? Do they suppose I have forgotten my wife and children? Or are they so panic-struck with the loss of Canada as to be afraid to correspond with me? Or have they forgotten that you have a husband, and your children a father? What have I done, or omitted to do, that I should be thus forgotten and neglected in the most tender and affecting scene of my life? Don't mistake me. I don't blame you. Your time and thoughts must have been wholly taken up with your own and your family's situation and necessities; but twenty other persons might have informed me.

I suspect that you intended to have run slyly through the small-pox with the family, without letting me know it, and then have sent me an account that you were all well. This might be a kind intention, and if the design had succeeded, would have made me very joyous. But the secret is out, and I am left to conjecture. But as the faculty have this distemper so much under command, I will flatter myself with the hope and expectation of soon hearing of your recovery.