November 18

Have had some photographs taken; went up to the State House this forenoon, and afternoon; had a torchlight parade this evening; village illuminated; speeches by Governors Holbrook, Dillingham, etc. General Stannard present; didn't get my teeth.

November Eighteenth

POE—He is the nightingale of our Southern poets—singing at night, singing on nocturnal themes, but with all the passionate tenderness and infinite pathos of his own angel Israfel, “whose heart-strings are a lute.”

Oliver Huckel
(Pennsylvania)

 

 

November 18, 1862

Orderly Holmes and myself have been on shore again. We went up the beach and found a soldiers' graveyard. We got breakfast at a darky hut, mutton chops and onions, hot biscuit and coffee, all for twenty-five cents. The boat that takes us to and from the Arago is a small affair that used to run up and down the James River. The Rebs have left their mark upon it in the shape of bullet holes most everywhere, but most often on the pilot-house.

November 18, 1863

Wednesday. Am in Brashear City yet and alone. I couldn't get away with the horse, and not daring to leave him here kept the whole outfit. I wrote Colonel B. why I did not go. Matt had just the same trouble I did and he got mad and left on the 5 o'clock train for the city to find out what's the matter. It is a strange mix-up. No one can leave the place with any government property without a pass signed by Colonel Tarbell, and Colonel Tarbell is out of town and no one left in his place. The report is Adjutant Phillips has resigned and his resignation has been accepted. Also that Lieutenant Clark has been put in his place. So much of my prophecy has come true, if this report is true.

Lieutenant Culver came down to-day. Colonel B. left him with no orders, and he has been loafing ever since. He came down intending to go on to the city and find out about it. Lieutenant Mathers came from the city on his way to the recruiting camp, which Culver says is at our first camping place near Nelson's Landing. They staid and took supper with me and then went on, leaving me all alone.

November 18

November 18, 1851.--The energetic subjectivity, which has faith in itself, which does not fear to be something particular and definite without any consciousness or shame of its subjective illusion, is unknown to me. I am, so far as the intellectual order is concerned, essentially objective, and my distinctive speciality, is to be able to place myself in all points of view, to see through all eyes, to emancipate myself, that is to say, from the individual prison. Hence aptitude for theory and irresolution in practice; hence critical talent and difficulty in spontaneous production. Hence, also, a continuous uncertainty of conviction and opinion, so long as my aptitude remained mere instinct; but now that it is conscious and possesses itself, it is able to conclude and affirm in its turn, so that, after having brought disquiet, it now brings peace. It says: "There is no repose for the mind except in the absolute; for feeling, except in the infinite; for the soul, except in the divine." Nothing finite is true, is interesting, or worthy to fix my attention. All that is particular is exclusive, and all that is exclusive, repels me. There is nothing non-exclusive but the All; my end is communion with Being through the whole of Being. Then, in the light of the absolute, every idea becomes worth studying; in that of the infinite, every existence worth respecting; in that of the divine, every creature worth loving.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2 p.m.—At last reached beautiful Rouen, through St Just, Beauvais, and up to Sergueux, and down to Rouen. From Sergueux through Rouen to Havre is supposed to be the most beautiful train journey in France, which is saying a good deal. Put off some more bad cases here; a boy sergeant, aged 24, may save his eye and general blood-poisoning if he gets irrigated quickly. You can watch them going wrong, with two days and two nights on the train, and it seems such hard luck. And then if you don't write Urgent or Immediate on their bandages in blue pencil, they get overlooked in the rush into hospital when they are landed. So funny to be going back to old Havre, that hot torrid nightmare of Waiting-for-Orders in August. But, thank Heaven, we don't stop there, but back to the guns again.

p.m.—We are getting on for Havre at last. This long journey from Belgium down to Havre has been a strange mixture. Glorious country with the flame and blue haze of late autumn on hills, towns, and valleys, bare beech-woods with hot red carpets. Glorious British Army lying broken in the train—sleep (or the chance of it) three hours one night and four the next, with all the hours between (except meals) hard work putting the British Army together again; haven't taken off my puttees since Sunday. Seems funny, 400 people (of whom four are women and about sixty are sound) all whirling through France by special train. Why? Because of the Swelled Head of the All-Highest.

We had a boy with no wound, suffering from shock from shell bursts. When he came round, if you asked him his name he would look fixedly at you and say "Yes." If you asked him something else, with a great effort he said "Mother."

p.m.—Got to Havre.

Wednesday, November 18th, 6  p.m.—Sotteville, near Rouen. This afternoon's up-journey between Havre and Rouen has been a stripe of pure bliss with no war about it at all. A brilliant dazzling day (which our Island couldn't do if it tried in November), rugs, coat, and cushion on your bed, and the most heavenly view unrolling itself before you without lifting your head to see it, ending up with the lights of Rouen twinkling in the smoke of the factory chimneys under a flaring red sunset.

We are to stop here for repairs to the train—chauffage, electric light, water supply, and gas all to be done. Then we shall be a very smart train. The electric light and the heating will be the greatest help—a chapel and a bathroom I should like added!

At Havre last night the train ran into the Gare Maritime (where we left in the Asturias  for St Nazaire early in September), which is immediately under the great place that No.— G.H. bagged for their Hospital in August. I ran up and saw it all. It is absolutely first class. There were our people off the train in lovely beds, in huge wards, with six rows of beds—clean sheets, electric light, hot food, and all the M.O.'s, Sisters, and Nursing Orderlies, in white overalls, hard at work on them—orderlies removing their boots and clothing (where we hadn't done it, we leave as much on as we can now because of the cold). Sisters washing them and settling them in, and with the M.O. doing their dressings, all as busy as bees, only stopping to say to us, "Aren't they brave?" They said we'd brought them an awfully bad lot, and we said we shed all the worst on the way. They don't realise that by the time they get to the base these men are beyond complaining; each stage is a little less infernal to them than the one they've left; and instead of complaining, they tell you how lovely it is! It made one realise the grimness of our stage in it—the emergencies, the makeshifts, and the little four can do for nearly 400 in a train—with their greatest output. We each had 80 lying-down cases this journey.

We got to bed about 11 and didn't wake till nearly 9, to the sound of the No.— G.H. bugle, Come to the Cook-house door, boys.