May 20

May Twentieth

You can get no troops from North Carolina.

Gov. Ellis
(Reply to Washington administration, April 15, 1861 )

 

North Carolina secedes from the Union, 1861

 

 

May 20, 1863

Camp Parapet, La. We settled down early last night and on account of the little sleep we had had were not called this morning. I slept right through the night and until after twelve to-day, then found orders for another move. Must get two days' rations ready right away. I wonder where we go this time.

Weather very warm and sultry; showery towards night; enemy in front all day; neither side seem ready for another fight at present; no picket firing to-day to mention. General Meade rode along the line and seemed much pleased with our breastworks; said if we could hold them eight days we should be all right; don't know what he meant by this; mail to-day; all's quiet.

May 20, 1864

Friday. By 4 a. m. the troops were across and the pontoons loaded. We marched at quick time and at 6 o'clock were at Simmsport, where we stopped for breakfast of hard-tack and coffee. While at it a man rode in saying the Rebs were already bridging Yellow Bayou. Simmsport is on the Atchafalaya River, and the same Colonel Bailey who planned the dam at Alexandria had built a bridge of boats for us to cross over. Twenty-four steamboats were lashed together side by side, and reached from shore to shore. Across the bows of these the artillery, cavalry and wagons were passing in a continuous stream, and infantry was crossing through and among them as best they could. Other boats were busy ferrying the troops, and such getting across a river I never saw. The Liberty took us across and we marched down the opposite side for an hour, and halted for the line to straighten out. And so the whole day went, first starting and then stopping again, but expecting every minute to set out for good. The time we were waiting, if all put together, would have given us a good rest, and the marching we did would have been good exercise. But as it was, we had a hard day of it. It was pitch dark when we finally started. We came to woods and the darkness could be felt. The train got stalled in the narrow road and then another wait. I was so dead sleepy that twice I fell flat on the ground as I was walking along. The fall woke me up each time and I kept going some way. Men had given out and were sleeping all along beside the road like dead men. Daylight never seemed so long coming. We got through the woods and could see much better. My naps as we walked along, and the falls I had in consequence of them, helped to drive off the dreadful drowsiness and by daylight I was wide awake.

Margaret Fuller

Thursday, 20.

Horace Greeley has just issued from the "Tribune" office a uniform edition of Margaret Fuller's works, together with her Memoirs first published twenty years ago. And now, while woman is the theme of public discussion, her character and writings may be studied to advantage. The sex has had no abler advocate. Her book entitled "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" anticipated most of the questions now in the air, and the leaders in the movement for woman's welfare might take its counsels as the text for their action. Her methods, too, suggest the better modes of influence. That she wrote books is the least of her merits. She was greatest when she dropped her pen. She spoke best what others essayed to say, and what women speak best. Hers was a glancing logic that leaped straight to the sure conclusion; a sibylline intelligence that divined oracularly; knew by anticipation; in the presence always, the open vision. Alas, that so much should have been lost to us, and this at the moment when it seemed we most needed and could profit by it! Was it some omen of that catastrophe which gave her voice at times the tones of a sadness almost preternatural? What figure were she now here in times and triumphs like ours! She seemed to have divined the significance of woman, dared where her sex had hesitated hitherto, was gifted to untie social knots which the genius of a Plato even failed to disentangle. "Either sex alone," he said, "was but half itself." Yet he did not complement the two in honorable marriage in his social polity. "If a house be rooted in wrong," says Euripides, "it will blossom in vice." As the oak is cradled in the acorn's cup, so the state in the family. Domestic licentiousness saps every institution, the morals of the community at large,—a statement trite enough, but till it is no longer needful to be made is the commonwealth established on immovable foundations.

"Revere no God whom men adore by night."

Let the sexes be held to like purity of morals, and equal justice meted to them for any infraction of the laws of social order. Women are the natural leaders of society in whatever concerns private morals, lead where it were safe for men to follow. About the like number as of men, doubtless, possess gifts to serve the community at large; while most women, as most men, will remain private citizens, fulfilling private duties. Her vote as such will tell for personal purity, for honor, temperance, justice, mercy, peace,—the domestic virtues upon which communities are founded, and in which they must be firmly rooted to prosper and endure. The unfallen souls are feminine.

Crashaw's Ideal Woman should win the love and admiration of her sex as well as ours.

"Whoe'er she be

That not impossible she

That shall command my heart and me;

"Where'er she lie

Lock'd up from mortal eye

In shady leaves of destiny;

"Till that ripe birth

Of studied fate stand forth,

And teach her fair steps to our earth;

"Till that divine

Idea take a shrine

Of crystal flesh, through which to shine,

"Meet you her my wishes,

Bespeak her to my blisses,

And be ye called my absent kisses.

"I wish her beauty

That owes not all its duty

To gaudy tire, or glistening shoe-ty.

"Something more than

Taffata or tissue can,

Or rampant feather, or rich fan.

"More than the spoil

Of shop, or silkworm's toil,

Or a bought blush, or a set smile.

"A face that's best

By its own beauty drest,

And can alone command the rest.

"A face made up

Out of no other shop

Than what nature's white hand sets ope.

"A cheek where youth

And blood, with pen of truth,

Write what the reader sweetly rueth.

"A cheek where grows

More than a morning rose,

Which to no box his being owes.

"Lips, where all day

A lover's kiss may play,

Yet carry nothing thence away.

"Looks, that oppress

Their richest tires, but dress

And clothe their simplest nakedness.

"Eyes, that displaces

The neighbor diamond and out-faces

That sunshine by their own sweet graces.

"Tresses, that wear

Jewels, but to declare

How much themselves more precious are.

"Whose native ray

Can tame the wanton day

Of gems that in their bright shades play.

"Each ruby there,

Or pearl that dare appear,

Be its own blush, be its own tear.

"A well-tamed heart,

For whose more noble smart

Love may be long choosing a dart.

"Eyes, that bestow

Full quivers on Love's bow,

Yet pay less arrows than they owe.

"Smiles, that can warm

The blood, yet teach a charm

That chastity shall take no harm.

"Blushes, that been

The burnish of no sin,

Nor flames of aught too hot within.

"Days, that need borrow

No part of their good morrow

From a fore-spent night of sorrow.

"Days, that in spite

Of darkness, by the light

Of a clear mind are day all night.

"Life, that dares send

A challenge to his end,

And when it comes say, 'Welcome, friend.'

"Sydneian showers

Of sweet discourse, whose powers

Can crown old Winter's head with flowers.

"Soft silken hours,

Open suns, shady bowers,

'Bove all, nothing within that lowers.

"Whate'er delight

Can make day's forehead bright,

Or give down to the wings of night.

"In her whole frame,

Have nature all the name,

Art and ornament the shame.

"Her flattery,

Picture and poesy,

Her counsel her own virtue be.

"I wish her store

Of worth may leave her poor

Of wishes; and I wish—no more."