September 22

September Twenty-Second

If I could preserve the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it; if I could preserve the Union by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. What I do about the colored race, I do because I think it helps to save the Union.

Abraham Lincoln

 

President Lincoln issues an emancipation proclamation to take effect January 1, 1863, unless the Confederate States should return to the Union by that date

 

 

Through the kindness of Chaplain Haynes who has been indefatigable in looking after the wounded, I have today engaged board in a private family, a Quaker lady—Mrs. Wright—the mother of the celebrated Rebekah Wright, who sent Sheridan information of the enemy before the battle Sept. 19, by a colored man in a piece of tinfoil hid in his mouth, that Kershaw's division and twelve pieces of artillery had returned to Lee, and that the enemy wasn't as strong as supposed. She has a schoolroom at home here, is a teacher, and very solicitous for our wounded—a modest, sensible, interesting lady. They are very nice people, and exceedingly kind. My wound is healing rapidly, and the swelling has disappeared fast within the last twenty-four hours, but I can't speak or eat, taking gruel through a tube only, and my jaws are paining me. Lieut. Hill is doing well, and may get well, but the test will come in a day or so. It'srumored that we've again whipped the enemy but I doubt it; weather fine. My wounds are very stiff this evening.

Tuesday, September 22nd.—Got back to Le Mans at 2 a.m.—motor-ambulanced up to the hospital, where an orderly made lovely beds for us on stretchers, with brown blankets and pillows, in the theatre, and labelled the door "Operation," in case any one should disturb us. At 6 we went to our respective diggings for a wash and breakfast, and reported to Matron at 8. We have been two days and two nights in our clothes; food where, when, and what one could get; one wash only on a station platform at a tap which a sergeant kindly pressed for me while I washed! one cleaning of teeth in the dark on the line between trucks. They have no water on trains or at stations, except on the engine, which makes tea in cans for you for the men when it stops.

We are to rest to-day, to be ready for another train to-night if necessary. The line from the front to Rouen—where there are two General Hospitals—is cut; hence this appalling over-crowding at our base. When we got back this morning, nine of those we took off the trains on Sunday afternoon had died here, and one before he reached the hospital—three of tetanus. I haven't heard how many at the other hospital at the Jesuit school—tetanus there too. Some of the amputations die of septic absorption and shock, and you wouldn't wonder if you saw them. I went to the 9 o'clock Choral High Mass this morning at that glorious and beautiful Cathedral—all gorgeous old glass and white and grey stone, slender Gothic and fat Norman. It was very fine and comforting.

The sick officers are frightfully pleased to see 'The Times,' no matter how old; so are we. I've asked M. to collect their 1/2d. picture daily papers once a week for the men.

141. John Adams

Philadelphia, 22 September, 1776.

We have at last agreed upon a plan for forming a regular army. We have offered twenty dollars and a hundred acres of land to every man who will enlist during the war. And a new set of articles of war are agreed on. I will send you, if I can, a copy of these resolutions and regulations.

I am at a loss what to write. News we have not. Congress seems to be forgotten by the armies. We are most unfaithfully served in the post-office, as well as many other offices, civil and military. Unfaithfulness in public stations is deeply criminal. But there is no encouragement to be faithful. Neither profit, nor honor, nor applause is acquired by faithfulness. But I know by what. There is too much corruption even in this infant age of our republic. Virtue is not in fashion. Vice is not infamous.

1 October, 1776.

Since I wrote the foregoing, I have not been able to find time to write you a line. Although I cannot write you so often as I wish, you are never out of my thoughts. I am repining at my hard lot in being torn from you much oftener than I ought. I have often mentioned to you the multiplicity of my engagements, and have been once exposed to the ridicule and censure of the world for mentioning the great importance of the business which lay upon me; and if this letter should ever see the light, it would be again imputed to vanity that I mention to you how busy I am. But I must repeat it by way of apology for not writing you oftener. From four o'clock in the morning until ten at night, I have not a single moment which I can call my own. I will not say that I expect to run distracted, to grow melancholy, to drop in an apoplexy, or fall into a consumption; but I do say, it is little less than a miracle that one or other of these misfortunes has not befallen me before now.

Your favors of 15th, 20th, and 23d September are now before me. Every line from you gives me inexpressible pleasure, but it is a great grief to me that I can write no oftener to you. There is one thing which excites my utmost indignation and contempt. I mean the brutality with which people talk to you of my death. I beg you would openly affront every man, woman, or child, for the future, who mentions any such thing to you, except your relations and friends, whose affections you cannot doubt. I expect it of all my friends, that they resent, as affronts to me, every repetition of such reports.

I shall inclose to you Governor Livingston's speech; the most elegant and masterly ever made in America. Depend upon it, the enemy cannot cut off the communication. I can come home when I will. They have New York, and this is their ne plus ultra.

September 22

September 22, 1871. (Charnex ).--Gray sky--a melancholy day. A friend has left me, the sun is unkind and capricious. Everything passes away, everything forsakes us. And in place of all we have lost, age and gray hairs! ... After dinner I walked to Chailly between two showers. A rainy landscape has a great charm for me; the dark tints become more velvety, the softer tones more ethereal. The country in rain is like a face with traces of tears upon it--less beautiful no doubt, but more expressive.

Behind the beauty which is superficial, gladsome, radiant, and palpable, the aesthetic sense discovers another order of beauty altogether, hidden, veiled, secret and mysterious, akin to moral beauty. This sort of beauty only reveals itself to the initiated, and is all the more exquisite for that. It is a little like the refined joy of sacrifice, like the madness of faith, like the luxury of grief; it is not within the reach of all the world. Its attraction is peculiar, and affects one like some strange perfume, or bizarre melody. When once the taste for it is set up the mind takes a special and keen delight in it, for one finds in it

"Son bien premièrement, puis le dédain d'autrui,"

and it is pleasant to one's vanity not to be of the same opinion as the common herd. This, however, is not possible with things which are evident, and beauty which is incontestable. Charm, perhaps, is a better name for the esoteric and paradoxical beauty, which escapes the vulgar, and appeals to our dreamy, meditative side. Classical beauty belongs, so to speak, to all eyes; it has ceased to belong to itself. Esoteric beauty is shy and retiring. It only unveils itself to unsealed eyes, and bestows its favors only upon love.

This is why my friend ----, who places herself immediately in relation with the souls of those she meets, does not see the ugliness of people when once she is interested in them. She likes and dislikes, and those she likes are beautiful, those she dislikes are ugly. There is nothing more complicated in it than that. For her, aesthetic considerations are lost in moral sympathy; she looks with her heart only; she passes by the chapter of the beautiful, and goes on to the chapter of charm. I can do the same; only it is by reflection and on second thoughts; my friend does it involuntarily and at once; she has not the artistic fiber. The craving for a perfect correspondence between the inside and the outside of things--between matter and form--is not in her nature. She does not suffer from ugliness, she scarcely perceives it. As for me, I can only forget what shocks me, I cannot help being shocked. All corporal defects irritate me, and the want of beauty in women, being something which ought not to exist, shocks me like a tear, a solecism, a dissonance, a spot of ink--in a word, like something out of order. On the other hand, beauty restores and fortifies me like some miraculous food, like Olympian ambrosia.

"Que le bon soit toujours camarade du beau Dès demain je chercherai femme. Mais comme le divorce entre eux n'est pas nouveau, Et que peu de beaux corps, hôtes d'une belle âme, Assemblent l'un et l'autre point----"

I will not finish, for after all one must resign one's self, A beautiful soul in a healthy body is already a rare and blessed thing; and if one finds heart, common sense, intellect, and courage into the bargain, one may well do without that ravishing dainty which we call beauty, and almost without that delicious seasoning which we call grace. We do without--with a sigh, as one does without a luxury. Happy we, to possess what is necessary.

September 22, 1862

Monday. Knapsack-drill to-day,—something new to me, though I am told it is to take place every Sunday morning when in camp. As we were not here yesterday, it was put off until to-day. We marched out to the drill ground with our knapsacks on, expecting to practice as usual, except that we were loaded that much heavier. As all our belongings were in our knapsacks, they were quite heavy. We formed in column by companies and were told to "unsling knapsacks." We all had to be coached, but we finally stood at attention with our knapsacks lying on the ground wide open before us. Then the colonel, the major and the captain of the company being inspected, marched along and with the tip of their swords poked over the contents, regardless of how precious they might be to us. And such a sight as they saw! Besides our extra underclothing, some clean and some unclean, there were Bibles, whiskey bottles, novels, packs of cards, love letters and photographs, revolvers and dirk knives, pen and ink, paper and envelopes and postage stamps, and an endless variety of odds and ends we had picked up in our travels.

As soon as the inspection was over with Company A, they were marched back to camp and so all along the line until Company B, the last of all, was reached. When we got back to camp some of the companies had been there long enough to get asleep. Nothing more was required of us, and we put in the time as we chose, provided always that we observed the camp regulations.

I may never have so good a chance, so I will try and explain some of the things we have learned to do and how we do it. Begin with roll call. The orderly sergeant, Lew Holmes, has our names in a book, arranged in alphabetical order in one place, and in the order in which we march in another. If it is simply to see if we are all here, he sings out "Fall in for roll call" and we get in line, with no regard to our proper places, and answer to our names as called from the alphabetical list. If for drill, "Fall in for drill!" and then we take our places with the tallest man at the right, and so on, till the last and shortest man is in place on the left. We are then in a single line, by company front. The orderly then points at the first man and says "One," which the man repeats. He then points to the second man and says "Two," which is also repeated. So it goes down the line, the one, two, being repeated, and each man being careful to remember whether he is odd or even. When that is done, and it is very quickly done, the orderly commands, "Right face!" The odd-numbered men simply swing on the left heel one quarter of the way around and stand fast. The even-numbered men do the same, and in addition step obliquely to the right of the odd-numbered man, bringing us in a double line and one step apart, which distance we must carefully keep, so that when the order "Front!" is given, we can, by reversing the movement of "Right face!" come to our places without crowding. When coming to a front, the line is not apt to be straight and the order "Right dress!" is given, when the man on the right stands fast and the one next to him puts himself squarely by his side. The next moves back or forth until he can just see the buttons on the coat of the second man to his right,—that is, with his head erect, he must look past one man and just see the buttons on the coat of the second man from him. That makes the line as straight as you can draw a string. "Left face!" is the same thing reversed. In marching, one has only to keep step with the one next in front of him. If this is done, the blame for irregular time all comes upon the file leaders, which are the two in front; they must keep step together. If Company B is going out to drill by itself it is now ready. If, however, the entire regiment is to drill together, as it has a few times, Company A marches out first, and as the rear passes where Company F is standing the latter falls in, close behind; and so each company, until Company B, which is the left of the line, and the last to go, falls in and fills up the line. Why the companies are arranged in the line as they are is a mystery I have so far failed to find out. From right to left they come in the following order: A, F, D, I, C, H, E, K, G and B. A is said to have the post of honor, because in marching by the right flank it is ahead, and meets danger first if there be any. Company B has the next most honorable position, because in marching by the left flank it is in the lead. There is a great advantage in being in the lead. On a march the files will open, more or less, and when a halt is ordered the company in the lead stops short. The other companies keep closing up the files, and by the time the ranks are closed "Attention!" may sound, and another start be made. The first company has had quite a breathing spell, while the last has had very little, if any. If I were to enlist again, I would try hard to get in Company A, for all the marching we have so far done has been by the right flank. Company A at the head and Company B bringing up the rear. When we reach the field we are generally broken up into companies, each company drilling in marching by the front, wheeling to the right and left, and finally coming together again before marching back to camp.