November 16

Have passed a pleasant day; met James Abbott of Williamstown, Vt., this afternoon at the Academy; fine looking and a fine fellow, too; closing exercises come off at the Academy this evening. Carl Wilson and Frank French called tonight.

Monday, November 16th, Boulogne, 9 a.m.—We loaded up at Bailleul 344. The Clearing Hospitals were very full, and some came off a convoy. One of mine died. One, wounded above the knee, was four days  in the open before being picked up; he had six bullets in his leg, two in each arm, and crawled about till found; one of the arm wounds he got doing this. I went to bed at 4. The news was all good, taken as a whole, but the men say they were "a bit short-handed!!" One said gloomily, "This isn't War, it's Murder; you go there to your doom." Heard the sad news of Lord Roberts.

We are all the better for our week's rest.

November 16

November 16, 1870.--We are struck by something bewildering and ineffable when we look down into the depths of an abyss; and every soul is an abyss, a mystery of love and piety. A sort of sacred emotion descends upon me whenever I penetrate the recesses of this sanctuary of man, and hear the gentle murmur of the prayers, hymns, and supplications which rise from the hidden depths of the heart. These involuntary confidences fill me with a tender piety and a religious awe and shyness. The whole experience seems to me as wonderful as poetry, and divine with the divineness of birth and dawn. Speech fails me, I bow myself and adore. And, whenever I am able, I strive also to console and fortify.

November 16, 1863

Monday. To-night, Lieutenant Wilson came from the city with a couple of orders, one for Matt, to go up the Teche again and report to Colonel Parker, and the other for me, to pack up bag and baggage and report to Colonel B., at New Orleans. The Southerner came down last night with over two hundred holes in her cabin made by the bullets fired at her from the bushes along the Teche. Several passengers were wounded but no one killed. They have cut the telegraph wires. Our main force seems to have left the ground they have passed over, not well enough protected to keep the wandering bands of guerrillas from doing a lot of mischief. Wilson brought some papers which say Fort Sumter has fallen. I supposed that had happened long ago.

November Sixteenth


On the evening before the day of the execution of Major Wirz a man visited me, on the part of a Cabinet officer, to inform me that Major Wirz would be pardoned if he would implicate Jefferson Davis in the cruelties at Andersonville....

When I visited Major Wirz the next morning he told me that the same proposal had been made to him.

F. E. Boyle
(Priest in attendance upon Major Wirz )


Some parties came to the confessor of Wirz, Rev. Father Boyle, and also to me, one of them informing me that a high Cabinet officer wished to assure Wirz, that if he would implicate Jefferson Davis with the atrocities committed at Andersonville, his sentence would be commuted. He, the messenger, or whoever he was, requested me to inform Wirz of this.

Lewis Schade
(German-American Attorney to Major Wirz )



November 16, 1862

Sunday night. The day has been cold and blustery. We have spent it in reading tracts the chaplain gave out, writing letters and swapping yarns. I am new to it all, and the boys have shown me all over the Arago where they are allowed to go. Our sleeping quarters are between decks, and are very similar to those on Hudson camp ground. That is, long tiers of bunks, one above the other from the floor to the ceiling above, just high enough for a man to sit up in and not hit his head. They are wide enough for four, but a board through the middle separates each into berths for two men each. They are the whole length of the room, with just enough space to walk between them. Along the sides is a row through which are small round windows which can be opened, and which give the only light the room has. For ventilation, a huge bag hangs down from above deck which ends up in a big tin or iron funnel which is kept away from the wind and so is supposed to draw up the air from our bedroom when it becomes heated. Where fresh air comes from I have not yet found out, but suppose it drops down through several openings in the deck above. A swap was made with one who bunked with Walter Loucks so my crony and I could again be together. It is on the side, and has a window in it. Walt has kindly given me the light side so I can keep up my scribbling. What we are here for, or where we go from here, is not yet told us. In fact I don't know as it is yet determined.

224. Abigail Adams

16 November, 1777.

In a letter which came to me to-night you chide yourself for neglecting to write so frequently as you had done. 'T is true a very long space of near a fortnight passed without hearing one word from you. I cannot help feeling anxious when such a space elapses without receiving a line, but I have no reason to complain. You have, considering your avocations, been more attentive than I had reason to expect.

"Heaven sure taught letters for some wretch's aid,Some banished lover or some captive maid."

I have been more fearful than formerly of writing by the post, as I have never received a letter from you by that conveyance since you left Philadelphia. Mr. Colman brought me yours of 25 and 26 October. You have before this time received from me one of the same date, since which I have not written. I have been too much mortified with a late expedition to write you any particulars concerning it. Indeed, it was from the beginning a subject of burlesque, owing, I believe, to the small opinion most people had of the heroic talents of the commanders. It was called a secret expedition to Newport. A fortnight before the troops marched, there were by all accounts as fine a set collected as any spirited commander could have wished for, and 't is said for twenty days the island might have been successfully (to all appearance) attacked. The public are very angry, as well they may be, and demand an inquiry. I know you will be mortified, because it has been a favorite object with you, but if you want your arms crowned with victory, you should not appoint what General Gates calls dreaming Deacons to conduct them.

General Burgoyne and his troops arrived last week in Cambridge. All seems to be quietness at present. From the southward we get no very authentic accounts. To-day Howe and his whole army are captives! To-morrow they have got possession of our forts and weighed the chevaux de frise.

18 November.

No news at all. Our mountebank story of captivating Howe and his army is come to nothing. The southern troops must have some assistance from the northern before anything very brilliant will take place. Providence overrules things for the best, and will work out our salvation for us in the wisest and best manner, provided we perform our duty.

Now, my dear friend, shall I ask you when you will return, a question I have not asked for these ten months? Knowing your determination when you left me, I have summoned patience and endeavored to submit to my destiny. By the time this reaches you eleven months will be elapsed, and you, I hope, preparing for your journey. It will be a tedious one, I fear, in the depth of winter, but let the thought of the cordial reception you will be assured of meeting warm the cold wintry blasts and make your return joyful. Adieu.


November 16

November 16, 1864.--Heard of the death of--. Will and intelligence lasted till there was an effusion on the brain which stopped everything.

A bubble of air in the blood, a drop of water in the brain, and a man is out of gear, his machine falls to pieces, his thought vanishes, the world disappears from him like a dream at morning. On what a spider thread is hung our individual existence! Fragility, appearance, nothingness. If it were for our powers of self-detraction and forgetfulness, all the fairy world which surrounds and draws us would seem to us but a broken spectre in the darkness, an empty appearance, a fleeting hallucination. Appeared--disappeared--there is the whole history of a man, or of a world, or of an infusoria.

Time is the supreme illusion. It is but the inner prism by which we decompose being and life, the mode under which we perceive successively what is simultaneous in idea. The eye does not see a sphere all at once although the sphere exists all at once. Either the sphere must turn before the eye which is looking at it, or the eye must go round the sphere. In the first case it is the world which unrolls, or seems to unroll in time; in the second case it is our thought which successively analyzes and recomposes. For the supreme intelligence there is no time; what will be, is. Time and space are fragments of the infinite for the use of finite creatures. God permits them, that he may not be alone. They are the mode under which creatures are possible and conceivable. Let us add that they are also the Jacob's ladder of innumerable steps by which the creation reascends to its Creator, participates in being, tastes of life, perceives the absolute, and can adore the fathomless mystery of the infinite divinity. That is the other side of the question. Our life is nothing, it is true, but our life is divine. A breath of nature annihilates us, but we surpass nature in penetrating far beyond her vast phantasmagoria to the changeless and the eternal. To escape by the ecstasy of inward vision from the whirlwind of time, to see one's self sub specie eterni is the word of command of all the great religions of the higher races; and this psychological possibility is the foundation of all great hopes. The soul may be immortal because she is fitted to rise toward that which is neither born nor dies, toward that which exists substantially, necessarily, invariably, that is to say toward God.

To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching. To attain it we must be able to guess what will interest; we must learn to read the childish soul as we might a piece of music. Then, by simply changing the key, we keep up the attraction and vary the song.

The germs of all things are in every heart, and the greatest criminals as well as the greatest heroes are but different modes of ourselves. Only evil grows of itself, while for goodness we want effort and courage.

Melancholy is at the bottom of everything, just as at the end of all rivers is the sea. Can it be otherwise in a world where nothing lasts, where all that we have loved or shall love must die? Is death, then, the secret of life? The gloom of an eternal mourning enwraps, more or less closely, every serious and thoughtful soul, as night enwraps the universe.

A man takes to "piety" from a thousand different reasons--from imitation or from eccentricity, from bravado or from reverence, from shame of the past or from terror of the future, from weakness and from pride, for pleasure's sake or for punishment's sake, in order to be able to judge, or in order to escape being judged, and for a thousand other reasons; but he only becomes truly religious for religion's sake.