July 8

July Eighth

Sweet bird! that from yon dancing spray
Dost warble forth thy varied lay,
From early morn to close of day
Melodious changes singing,
Sure thine must be the magic art
That bids my drowsy fancy start,
While from the furrows of my heart,
Hope's fairy flowers are springing.
Charles William Hubner
(The Mocking Bird )

 

 

July 8, 1863

Wednesday. A flag of truce came out this morning, and after a short council went back. We don't know what it means, but can guess it is the beginning of the end of the siege of Port Hudson.

Later. The flag was to ask for twenty-four hours cessation of hostilities, looking to a surrender. A few hours were given them to think it over, and we put in the time comparing notes with the Johnnies on our front. They are hard up for tobacco, and for bread. They have plenty of corn meal and molasses, but very little else. I have given away and swapped off everything eatable I have, and am going to make a johnny-cake, for a change. The meal is as much of a treat for us as our hard-tack is for them.

Afternoon. Port Hudson has surrendered and possession is to be given at once. The story goes that only a few regiments will go in with the staff officers to receive the surrender. We are so in hopes our regiment will be one of that few. I am dying with curiosity to know what the ceremony of a surrender is like, and I also want to see what the inside of Port Hudson is like. The outside I know all I care to know of, but to go away and not see or know how the place looks after the banging it has had, is too bad. But there is no use thinking about it. Some higher power will decide, and we have only to put up with it.

188. John Adams

Philadelphia, 8 July, 1777.

Yours of 23d June I have received. I believe there is no danger of an invasion your way, but the designs of the enemy are uncertain, and their motions a little mysterious. Before this letter is sealed, which will not be till Sunday next, I hope I shall be able to inform you better.

I rejoice at your fine season and at my brother Cranch's attention to husbandry. I am very glad he bought the farm and that he likes it so well. I pant for domestic life and rural felicity like his. I am better than I have been. But I dread the heats which are coming on. This day completes six months since I left you. I am wasted and exhausted in mind and body, with incessant application to business, but, if I can possibly endure it, will hold out the year. It is nonsense to dance backwards and forwards. After this year, I shall take my leave.

Our affairs are in a fine, prosperous train, and if they continue so, I can leave this station with honor. Next month completes three years that I have been devoted to the service of liberty. A slavery it has been to me, whatever the world may think of it. To a man whose attachments to his family are as strong as mine, absence alone from such a wife and such children would be a great sacrifice. But in addition to this separation what have I not done? What have I not suffered? What have I not hazarded? These are questions that I may ask you, but I will ask such questions of none else. Let the cymbals of popularity tinkle still. Let the butterflies of fame glitter with their wings. I shall envy neither their music nor their colors. The loss of property affects me little. All other hard things I despise, but the loss of your company and that of my dear babes, for so long a time, I consider as a loss of so much solid happiness. The tender social feelings of my heart, which have distressed me beyond all utterance in my most busy, active scenes, as well as in the numerous hours of melancholy solitude, are known only to God and my own soul.

How often have I seen my dearest friend a widow, and her charming prattlers orphans exposed to all the insolence of unfeeling, impious tyrants! Yet I can appeal to my final Judge, the horrid vision has never for one moment shaken the resolution of my heart.

July 8

July 8, 1880.--It is thirty years since I read Waagen's book on "Museums," which my friend ---- is now reading. It was in 1842 that I was wild for pictures; in 1845 that I was studying Krause's philosophy; in 1850 that I became professor of aesthetics. ---- may be the same age as I am; it is none the less true that when a particular stage has become to me a matter of history, he is just arriving at it. This impression of distance and remoteness is a strange one. I begin to realize that my memory is a great catacomb, and that below my actual standing-ground there is layer after layer of historical ashes.

Is the life of mind something like that of great trees of immemorial growth? Is the living layer of consciousness super-imposed upon hundreds of dead layers? Dead? No doubt this is too much to say, but still, when memory is slack the past becomes almost as though it had never been. To remember that we did know once is not a sign of possession but a sign of loss; it is like the number of an engraving which is no longer on its nail, the title of a volume no longer to be found on its shelf. My mind is the empty frame of a thousand vanished images. Sharpened by incessant training, it is all culture, but it has retained hardly anything in its meshes. It is without matter, and is only form. It no longer has knowledge; it has become method. It is etherealized, algebraicized. Life has treated it as death treats other minds; it has already prepared it for a further metamorphosis. Since the age of sixteen onward I have been able to look at things with the eyes of a blind man recently operated upon--that is to say, I have been able to suppress in myself the results of the long education of sight, and to abolish distances; and now I find myself regarding existence as though from beyond the tomb, from another world; all is strange to me; I am, as it were, outside my own body and individuality; I am depersonalized, detached, cut adrift. Is this madness? No. Madness means the impossibility of recovering one's normal balance after the mind has thus played truant among alien forms of being, and followed Dante to invisible worlds. Madness means incapacity for self-judgment and self-control. Whereas it seems to me that my mental transformations are but philosophical experiences. I am tied to none. I am but making psychological investigations. At the same time I do not hide from myself that such experiences weaken the hold of common sense, because they act as solvents of all personal interests and prejudices. I can only defend myself against them by returning to the common life of men, and by bracing and fortifying the will.

Two boat-loads of our Division landed last night at 11 o'clock. We took the cars at once for Frederick, Md., and arrived there at 10 o'clock a. m. to-day, finding the city nearly deserted by its inhabitants, and only a small force of hundred days' men, etc., to defend it having skirmished yesterday with the enemy's advanced guard and kept it from entering the town. The place is full of rumors, but it's impossible to get any reliable information. We were followed this afternoon by more of our Division, and all have been kept busy by General Lew Wallace who is in command, marching about the city, forming lines of battle to the north of it, etc., presumably to try and deceive the enemy as to our strength.

There were in Frederick on our arrival here together with such troops as have arrived since, not including our Division, twenty-five hundred green troops under Brigadier-General E. B. Tyler, which have never been under fire to any extent, as follows: Five companies of the First Regiment Maryland Home Brigade, Captain Chas. J. Brown commanding; the Third Regiment Maryland Home Brigade, Colonel Chas. Gilpin commanding; the Eleventh Regiment Maryland Infantry, Colonel Wm. T. Landstreet commanding; three companies of the One Hundred and Forty-fourth Regiment Ohio National Guard, Colonel Allison L. Brown commanding; seven companies of the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Regiment Ohio National Guard, Colonel A. L. Brown commanding; and Captain F. W. Alexander's Baltimore (Md.) Battery of six three-inch guns; Lieut. Colonel David R. Clendenin's squadron of Mounted Infantry from the Eighth Illinois National Guard; a detachment of mounted infantry—probably two companies—from the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Ohio National Guard, Captains E. H. Lieb and H. S. Allen commanding, respectively; the Loudoun (Va.) Rangers, and a detachment of mixed cavalry, Major Charles A. Wellscommanding. The Eleventh Maryland and all the Ohio troops are hundred days' men.

The Third Division, Major General James B. Ricketts commanding, of the Sixth Corps, consists of two brigades and now has here nine of its twelve regiments or a force of three thousand three hundred and fifty men as follows: The First Brigade is commanded by Colonel W. S. Truex of the Fourteenth Regiment New Jersey Infantry, and is composed of the One Hundred and Sixth Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry, Captain E. M. Paine commanding; the Tenth Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry, Colonel W. W. Henry commanding; the One Hundred and Fifty-first Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry, Colonel William Emerson commanding; the Eighty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Stahel commanding, and the Fourteenth Regiment New Jersey Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel C. K. Hall commanding. The Second Brigade, Colonel Matthews R. McClennan commanding is composed of the Ninth Regiment New York Heavy Artillery, Colonel Wm. H. Seward, Jr. commanding; the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regiment Ohio National Guard, Lieutenant-Colonel Aaron W. Ebright commanding; the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment Ohio National Guard, Lieutenant-Colonel Otho H. Binkley commanding; the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, Major Lewis A. May commanding; and a detachment of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Ohio Infantry commanded by Lieutenant C. J. Gibson. The Sixth Regiment Maryland Infantry, Sixty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry and most of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Regiment of Ohio National Guard of the Second Brigade have not yet arrived.

With the Georgetown or Washington and Baltimore turnpikes both passing through Frederick, it is easy to see why this is an important point as viewed from a military standpoint. The latter runs in a westerly direction from Baltimore, crosses the Monocacy river over a stone bridge about three miles from, and on through, Frederick centrally, and thence on to Harper's Ferry, Frederick being about thirty-five miles from Baltimore. The Georgetown turnpike runs northwesterly crossing the Monocacy river on a covered wooden bridge at Frederick Junction, about three miles from Frederick, on through the city which is also about thirty-five miles from Washington, and thence northwesterly to Sharpsburg, the two pikes crossing each other centrally in Frederick at right angles. The Georgetown wooden and railroad steel bridges across the Monocacy at Frederick Junction are about one-fourth of a mile apart, and the distance between the Georgetown pike wooden bridge and Baltimore turnpike stone bridge is about three miles with Crum's Ford about midway between. There are also several fords within two miles or so below the Georgetown pike wooden bridge where it crosses the Monocacy at Frederick Junction.