October 13

Snowed all day; seems quiet after such an exciting life in the army. Mr. Lyman Drury brought Pert down this evening. Byron Bradley writes that Uncle Pierce and Cousin Abby are somewhere in the East. My face wound troubles me tonight and I guess always will by spells.

October Thirteenth

TANEY

It was the conviction of his life that the Government under which we live was of limited powers, and that its constitution had been framed for war as well as peace. Though he died, therefore, he could not surrender that conviction at the call of the trumpet. He had plighted his troth to the liberty of the citizen and the supremacy of the laws, and no man could put them asunder.

Severn Teackle Wallis

 

 

October 13, 1862

Monday. Orders got too strict for my candle and I had to put it out. We made so much noise that the doors were shut on us finally and we were in pitch darkness in a closed car, with only room to lay down in. As the noise could be traced to no one in particular we kept it up until tired out and then slept as well as the circumstances would allow. Company B has a new name, "Bostwick's Tigers." It seems the colonel sent to find out who was making such a noise and was told it was Bostwick's tigers.[3] However, morning finally came, and the people of Gettysburg came down with a good breakfast, which in spite of our Hanover stuffing we began to need. They say the Rebs have gone on about five miles beyond the place. Lew Holmes and I got permission to go into the village, and I took the opportunity to write a letter home and to catch up with my diary.

Night. Just as I had written the above a horseman dashed into town and said the Rebels were on the way back to attack us. We ran for it and got back in time to fall in place, and had marched back into the village when another order stopped us and we remained all day long in the streets, not daring to leave for fear of an order to fall in. About 5 o'clock we were marched out of the village into open fields, to the north, I think, but as the sun has not shown himself all day, it may be in any other direction. Here we were broken into companies and guards posted. Not being on the detail for guard, Walt Loucks, Len Loucks, Bill Snyder and myself have hauled up a lot of cornstalks beside a fence and I have written up my diary while they have made up the beds. Good-night.


[3]The name stuck to us ever after, and came from this silly circumstance.

Tuesday, October 13th.—At last I am on the train, and have just unpacked. There is an Army Sister and two Reserve, a Major ——, O.C., and two junior officers.

Don't know yet what messing arrangements are. We each have a bunk to ourselves, with a proper mattress, pillow, and blankets: a table and seat at one end, lots of racks and hooks, and a lovely little washing-house leading out of the bunk, shared by the two Sisters on each side of it: each has a door into it. No one knows where we are going; we start this afternoon.

p.m.—Not off yet. We had lunch in a small dining-car, we four Sisters at one table, Major —— and his two Civil Surgeons at another, and some French officials of the train at another. Meal cooked and served by the French—quite nice, no cloth, only one knife and fork. They are all very friendly and jolly.

In between the actual dealing with the wounded, which is only too real, it all feels like a play or a dream: why should the whole of France, at any rate along the railways and places on them, be upside down, swarming with British soldiers, and all, French and English, working for and talking of the one thing? everything, and every house and every hotel, school, and college, being used for something different from what it was meant for; the billeting is universal. You hear a funny alternation of educated and uneducated English on all sides of you, and loud French gabbling of all sorts. By day you see aeroplanes and troop trains and artillery trains; and by night you see searchlights and hear the incessant wailing and squawking of the train whistles. On every platform and at every public doors or gates are the red and blue French soldiers with their long spikey bayonets, or our Tommies with the short broad bayonets that don't look half so deadly though I expect they are much worse. You either have to have a written passport up here, or you must know the "mot" if challenged by the French sentries. All this from Havre and St Nazaire up to the Front.

The train is one-third mile long, so three walks along its side gives you exercise for a mile. The ward beds are lovely: broad and soft, with lovely pillow-cases and soft thick blankets; any amount of dressings and surgical equipment, and a big kitchen, steward's store, and three orderlies to each waggon. Shouldn't be surprised if we get "there" in the dark, and won't see the war country. Sometimes you are stopped by bridges being blown up in front of you, and little obstacles of that kind.

68. John Adams

13 October, 1775.

I this day received yours of the 29th of September and the 1st of October. Amidst all your afflictions, I am rejoiced to find that you all along preserve so proper and so happy a temper; that you are sensible "the consolations of religion are the only sure comforters." It is the constitution under which we are born, that if we live long ourselves, we must bury our parents and all our elder relations, and many of those who are younger. I have lost a parent, a child, and a brother, and each of them left a lasting impression on my mind. But you and I have many more relations and very good friends to follow to the house appointed for all flesh, or else we must be followed by them. I bewail, more than I can express, the loss of your excellent mother. I mourn the loss of so much purity, and unaffected piety and virtue, to the world. I know of no better character left in it. I grieve for you, and your brother and sisters. I grieve for your father, whose age will need the succor of so excellent a companion. But I grieve for nobody more than my children. Her most amiable and discreet example, as well as her kind skill and care, I have ever relied upon, in my own mind, for the education of these little swarms. Not that I have not a proper esteem for the capacity and disposition of the mother, but I know that the efforts of the grandmother are of great importance, when they second those of the parent. And I am sure that my children are the better for the forming hand of their grandmother. It gives me great joy to learn that ours are well. Let us be thankful for this, and many other blessings yet granted us. Pray, my dear, cherish in their minds the remembrance of their grandmamma, and remind them of her precepts and example. God Almighty grant to you and to every branch of the family all the support that you want.

You and I, my dear, have reason, if ever mortals had, to be thoughtful; to look forward beyond the transitory scene. Whatever is preparing for us, let us be prepared to receive. It is time for us to subdue our passions of every kind. The prospect before us is an ocean of uncertainties, in which no pleasing objects appear. We have few hopes, excepting that of preserving our honor and our consciences untainted, and a free Constitution to our country. Let me be sure of these, and, amidst all my weaknesses, I cannot be overcome. With these, I can be happy in extreme poverty, in humble insignificance, may I hope and believe, in death. Without them, I should be miserable with a crown upon my head, millions in my coffers, and a gaping, idolizing multitude at my feet.

My heart is too full of grief for you and our friends, to whom I wish you to present my regards, to say anything of news or politics. Yet the affair of the Surgeon-general is so strange and important an event that I cannot close this gloomy letter without adding a sigh for this imprudent, unfortunate man. I know not whether the evidence will support the word treachery, but what may we not expect after treachery to himself, his wife and children?

Cuttack, October 13, 1844

THE DOCTOR.

I had to make a five days' journey at the worst season of the year to marry a couple, and I returned with a bad cough, which became more violent after the cold had left me. I am very weak, so that I walk like an old man. The doctors here are paid by the Government for attending all persons in the service. The Company also find medicines, but not the bottles, which sometimes leads to curious circumstances. The other day I wanted some medicine, and sent to the doctor for it; presently my man brought me back a black-draught in an old eau-de-cologne bottle, with a roll of paper by way of cork, and a request that I would return the bottle, as it was the only one he had.

I am about to apply for leave of absence. I shall go up to Calcutta, spend a fortnight with my friends there, Mr. and Mrs. S.; they will then come down here, when Mrs. Acland will join us, and we shall go to the Chelka Lake and the black pagodas.

I have another monkey now, which is kept at the stable; it is a horrible animal, about a foot and a half high, of a light greenish brown colour, no hair on its head, and very much inclined to be savage. I keep it to please my stable-people, who have a superstition that this kind of monkey prevents the horses getting unwell. Not long ago a young officer turned a very savage one loose; it took up its abode in my compound. In one night it killed three of my fan-tailed pigeons, and it chased my goats backward and forward so incessantly, that one of them died of fatigue. I told my stable-people to catch the animal, and get rid of him. This they did not do; so I then gave them notice, that, if the monkey was not in the jungle on the other side of the river by seven o'clock the next morning, I would cut them all a month's pay. This is the best method of punishing the natives, and in the present instance it was most effectual, for I have not seen the fiendish-looking face of the exile since that day.

In India the cow's milk is very bad, poor, and thin; that of the buffalo is of a bad colour and rank; but what is furnished by the goat is delicious, and many people, ourselves among the number, keep flocks of goats. I flatter myself that mine (twelve goats and seven kids) are very handsome. The male kids we eat when they are old enough to leave their mother; they are very nice indeed. Our goats are much larger than those in England, but all other animals are very small. I have heard it said at table, "Will you take a shoulder or leg of lamb?" Beef and veal in this bigoted part of the country are quite forbidden things. Yet how curious this is! No animals are worse treated than the bullocks, which are here the only beasts of burden. They are starved and ill-used in every way. I have seen a man dislocate several joints successively of his bullock's tail; yet, if I were to fire my gun at the poor animal to put it out of its misery, I should probably have my house burnt over my head.

I saw a most extraordinary sight last night. It was in the evening very hot, and a great deal of electricity in the air. There were two very heavy clouds, one at a considerable distance above the other. Suddenly some vapour separated itself with a whirling motion from the upper, assuming the shape of a waterspout until the point touched the lower; then a commotion began, the lower cloud rushing in large white masses up the sides of the spout and uniting with the upper. This continued for nearly forty minutes, until the lower was absorbed.

October 13, 1863

Tuesday. We are to start for Vermillionville to-morrow. There is quite a gathering of odds and ends of regiments and detached parties that are to join the army there. We have been looking for horses to-day, and after a hard day have several, but not enough for all. While out looking for them we ran upon a squad of our cavalry, who ran down and shot a beef, of which they gave us a generous portion. We are cooking it now so as to have it to cheer us on the way to-morrow. Those of us who must walk will need all the encouragement we can get.