September 23

September Twenty-Third


The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong.
No mimic thou! That voice is thine alone!
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare's song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own!
Henry Jerome Stockard



September 23, 1862

Tuesday. Another inspection to-day. This time our guns and accoutrements were inspected, and much fault was found because we had not kept our guns from rusting. Only a few got off without a scolding, and these were some that seem to love a gun and care for it as they would a baby. This, with our everyday drill, and a general cleaning and scouring up of our guns and the brass on our belts and cartridge boxes, has kept us busy all day long. I had kept the inside of my gun clean, so I only had the outside to scour up. Little by little we learn our lesson, learn to put the best on top, and little by little the screws of discipline are turned on.

Well, I must confess that a good soft pillow is more comfortable for one to rest a sore head on than an oak log; rested very well last night considering the condition of my mouth. Mrs. Wright is very kind. I wish Lieut. Hill could be moved up here. A long army train loaded with wounded started for Harper's Ferry early this morning, also about 1500 prisoners. Captain Goodrich and Lieut. H. W. Kingsley of the Brigade staff called to see me to-day. My wound is improving. I went with Rebeckah Wright and another young Union lady—very pretty—to see Lieut. D. G. Hill this forenoon. He is very gallant to ladies, always, and seemed cheerful, but I think the poor fellow assumes it. He is a patient sufferer. I have to be for I can't utter a word; am termed the interesting patient by the ladies, and get lots of sympathy.

Wednesday, September 23rd.—Have been helping in the wards at No.— to-day. The Sisters and orderlies there have all about twice what they can get through—the big dressings are so appalling and new cases have been coming in—all stretcher cases. As soon as they begin to recover at all they are sent down to the base to make room for worse ones off the trains. To-morrow I am on station duty again—possibly for another train.

There is a rumour that three British cruisers have been sunk by a submarine—it can't be true.

I don't see why this battle along the French frontier should ever come to an end, at any rate till both armies are exhausted, and decide to go to bed. The men say we can't spot their guns—they are too well hidden in these concrete entrenchments.

The weather is absolutely glorious all day, and the stars all night. Orion, with his shining bodyguard, from Sirius to Capella, is blazing every morning at 4.

236. John Adams

Passy, 23 September, 1778.

A very idle, vain conversation at a dinner has produced you this letter [192] from a venerable old lady in this neighborhood, the wife of Monsieur Grand, the banker. As the subject was introduced, and according to the turn the conversation really took, there was not so much vanity and ostentation on my part as you will suspect from her account of it. But as I speak French very imperfectly, and she understands not a syllable of English, I suppose she did not fully understand me. All that I maintained was that it was the duty of a good citizen to sacrifice all to his country in some circumstances. God grant I may never be called to do this again so often as I have done already, for I have hazarded all, very often, and done as much as sacrifice all, sometimes. You will have a delicate task to answer her. Write to her in English. She has a son about five-and-twenty, who is a master of English and will interpret. It is a virtuous family, and very civil to me and my dear Johnny, of whom the whole family is very fond.

We are in deep concern for America; the last accounts having left D'Estaing going to Rhode Island and Lord Howe after him.

It is high time for me to write to my children, but hitherto I have not had time. I hope you have received twenty letters from me, in which I have desired you to draw upon me for what money you want.


[192]This letter inclosed is missing.