October 10

A cold night for the season; froze quite hard; snow on the ground this morning; don't seem much like Virginia climate; weather much moderated tonight; looks like southern storm. Alma Seaver has been in to see me this afternoon. My mouth wound is nearly healed externally, but it is very stiff, awkward and clumsy; don't feel right—the jaws ache; cooler tonight.

October Tenth

Soldiers! You are about to engage in an enterprise which, to insure success, imperatively demands at your hands coolness, decision, and bravery; implicit obedience to orders without a question or cavil; and the strictest order and sobriety on the march and in bivouac. The destination and extent of this expedition had better be kept to myself than known to you. Suffice it to say, that with the hearty cooperation of officers and men I have not a doubt of its success,—a success which will reflect credit in the highest degree upon your arms.

Maj.-Gen. J. E. B. Stuart

 

J. E. B. Stuart, with 1,800 men, begins his second circle around the Union Army, riding through Pennsylvania and Maryland, 1862

 

 

October 10, 1862

Friday. The air is full of rumors to-day that we are to go somewhere, and that very soon, yet no one seems to be able to trace them. Experience has taught us that we won't know for certain when we go until we start, nor where we go until we get there. Train-loads of soldiers keep going past, and have been going past nearly every day since we came here. Seems to me I never saw such a dry place. Everything is so coated with dust it is impossible to tell its original color. From appearances, the country all about us is dried up and dead. A wounded soldier has been here from the hospital. He was at Antietam—was shot through the arm, which is still in a sling. But the most wonderful thing was that as he was going off the field another ball hit him, or rather hit a pocket Testament in his breast pocket, and was stopped against the back cover, after going through the front cover and the rest of the book. He had both the ball and the Testament to show. What a sermon could be preached with that book and bullet for a text!

67. John Adams

Philadelphia, 10 October, 1775.

I am much concerned lest you should feel an addition to your anxieties, from your having so seldom heard from me. But I pray you to dismiss all concern about me. I am happier far than I was before the adjournment. My health is better, and business and conversation are much more to my taste.

The surprising intelligence we have in private letters concerning the Director of the Hospital,[104] has made me more cautious of writing than ever. I must be excused from writing a syllable of anything of any moment. My letters have been and will be nothing but trifles. I don't choose to trust the post. I am afraid to trust private travellers. They may peep. Accidents may happen. And I would avoid, if I could, even ridicule, but especially mischief.

Pray, bundle up every paper, not already hid, and conceal them in impenetrable darkness. Nobody knows what may occur.

My love to those who are dearest to us both. Send yours to the care of the gentleman whose care has hitherto been successful. Date them in time but not place, and assume a new fictitious name.

Footnotes:

[104]Dr. Church.

Saturday, October 10th.—"Orders by Lt.-Col. ——, R.A.M.C., A.D.M.S., Advanced Base Headquarters, October 10th, 1914. Sister —— will proceed to Villeneuve Triage to-day, and on arrival will report to Major ——, R.A.M.C, for duty on Ambulance Trains."

So it's come at last, and I have handed over my officers, and am now installed by the R.T.O. in a 1st class carriage to myself with all my kit, and my lovely coat and muffler, and rug and cushion, after a pleasant dinner of tea, cheese, and ration biscuits in the Red Cross Dressing Room, with a kind Army Sister.

The R.T.O. this time has given me (instead of 12 A.S.C. men) a highly important envelope marked Very Urgent, to give to the Director of Supplies, Villeneuve, whoever he is.

Change at Versailles in about six hours, so I may as well try and get some sleep.

I was really sorry to say good-bye to my kind old Madame Bontevin, 22 Rue de la Motte, and fat Fanny, and charming Isabel, and my nice little room—(a heavenly bed!)—and ducky little gay garden, where I've lived for the last month; and my beloved Cathedral, and lots of the Sisters I have got to know.

October 10, 1914

Amelie and I went up to Paris day before yesterday, for the first time since the battle,—you see everything here dates "before" and "after" the battle, and will for a long time.

Trains had been running between Paris and Meaux for ten days, and will soon go as far as Chalons, where the Etat-Major was the last time we heard of it. Isn't that pretty quick work? And with three big bridges to build? But the army needed the road, and the engineers were at work five days after the battle.

There are but few trains—none yet on our branch road—so we had to go to Esbly. It took two hours to get to Paris—hardly more than twelve miles. We simply crawled most of the way. We crept through the tunnel this side of Lagny, and then stood on this side of the Marne, and whistled and shrieked a long time before we began to wiggle across the unfinished bridge, with workmen hanging up on the derricks and scaffoldings in all sorts of perilous positions, and all sorts of grotesque attitudes. I was glad when we were over.

I found the town more normal than it was when I was there six weeks ago. If I had not seen it in those first days of the mobilization it would have seemed sadder than it did, and, by contrast, while it was not the Paris that you know, it was quiet and peaceful,—no excitement of any sort in the streets, practically no men anywhere. All the department shops were open, but few people were in them, and very little to sell. Many of the small shops were closed, and will be, I imagine, until the end of the war. All the Austrian and German shops, and there were many of them, are, of course, closed for good, making wide spaces of closed shutters in the Avenue de l'Opéra and the rue de la Paix, and the rue Scribe, where so many of the steamship offices are. That, and the lack of omnibuses and tramways and the scarcity of cabs, makes the once brilliant and active quarter look quite unnatural. However, it gives one a chance to see how really handsome it is.

A great many of the most fashionable hotels are turned to hospitals, and everywhere, especially along the Champs-Elysées, the flags of the Red Cross float over once gay resorts, while big white bunting signs extend across almost every other façade, carrying the name and number of a hospital.

Every sort of business is running short-handed, and no big office or bank is open between the hours of noon and two o'clock.

I saw no one—there was no one to see. I finished the little business I had to do and then I went back to the station and sat on the terrace of the café opposite, and, for an hour, I watched the soldiers going in at one gate, and the public—Indian file—presenting its papers at another. No carriages can enter the courtyard. No one can carry anything but hand luggage, and porters are not allowed to pass the gates, so one had to carry one's bundles one's self across the wide, paved court. However, it is less trying to do this than it was in other days, as one runs no risk from flying motor-cabs.

We did not leave Paris until six—it was already dark—and there were few lights along the road. The Germans would love to destroy this road, which is on the direct line to the front, but I cannot imagine a bomb from an aeroplane reaching it at night, except by accident.

By the way, the attitude of the public towards these war airships is queer. It seems a great deal more curiosity than fear. I had heard this stated, and I had a chance to see it exemplified. Just as Amélie and I were stumbling in the dusk over the rough pavement of the court, we heard an aeroplane overhead. Everyone stopped short and looked up. Some fool called "Une Taube—une Taube!" People already inside the station turned and ran back to see. Of course, it wasn't a Taube. Still, the fact that someone said it was, and that everyone ran out to look up at it, was significant, as I am sure they would have done just the same if it had really been a German machine.

We came back even more slowly than we had gone up. It took ten minutes by my watch to cross the bridge at Chalifère. We jigged a bit and stopped; staggered a bit, and trembled, and stopped; crawled a bit, and whistled. I had a feeling that if anyone disobeyed the order pasted on every window, and leaned out, we should topple over into the stream. Still, no one seemed to mind. With the curtains drawn, everyone tried to read, by the dim light, a newspaper. It is remarkable how even ordinary people face danger if a panic can be prevented. The really great person is the one who even in a panic does not lose his head, and the next best thing to not being feazed at danger is, I believe, to be literally paralyzed. Total immobility often passes for pluck.

It was nearly half past eight when we reached Esbly; the town was absolutely dark. Père was there with the donkey cart, and it took nearly an hour and a half to climb the hill to Huiry. It was pitch dark, and oh, so cold! Both Condé and Voisins, as well as Esbly, had street lamps—gas—before the war, but it was cut off when mobilization began, and so the road was black. This ordinary voyage seemed like journeying in a wilderness, and I was as tired as if I had been to London, which I take to be the hardest trip for the time it consumes that I know. I used to go to London in seven hours, and this trip to Paris and back had taken four hours and a half by train and three by carriage.

I found your letter dated September 25—in reply to my first one mailed after the battle. I am shocked to hear that I was spectacular. I did not mean to be. I apologize. Please imagine me very red in the face and feeling a little bit silly. I should not mind your looking on me as a heroine and all those other names you throw at me if I had had time to flee along the roads with all I could save of my home on my back, as I saw thousands doing.

But I cannot pick up your bouquets, considering that all I had to do was "sit tight" for a few days, and watch—at a safe distance—a battle sweep back. All you must say about that is "she did have luck." That's what I say every day.

As our railway communication is to be cut again, I am hurrying this off, not knowing when I can send another. But as you see, I have no news to write—just words to remind you of me, and say that all is well with me in this world where it is so ill for many.