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farmers, laborers, and teamsters. But there was among them a
general; not a fighting, or would-be fighting general of the present
time, but one of the old-fashioned local generals,--men who held, or
had once held, some fabulous generalship in the State militia.
There we sat, cheek by jowl with our new friends, till nearly twelve
o'clock, talking politics and discussing the war. The general was a
stanch Unionist, having, according to his own showing, suffered
dreadful things from secessionist persecutors since the rebellion
commenced. As a matter of course everybody present was for the
Union. In such a place one rarely encounters any difference of
opinion. The general was very eager about the war, advocating the
immediate abolition of slavery, not as a means of improving the
condition of the Southern slaves, but on the ground that it would
ruin the Southern masters. We all sat by, edging in a word now and
then, but the general was the talker of the evening. He was very
wrathy, and swore at every other word. "It was pretty well time,"
he said, "to crush out this rebellion, and by ---- it must and
should be crushed out; General Jim Lane was the man to do it, and by
---- General Jim Lane would do it!" and so on. In all such
conversations the time for action has always just come, and also the
expected man. But the time passes by as other weeks and months have
passed before it, and the new general is found to be no more
successful than his brethren. Our friend was very angry against
England. "When we've polished off these accursed rebels, I guess
we'll take a turn at you. You had your turn when you made us give
up Mason and Slidell, and we'll have our turn by-and-by." But in
spite of his dislike to our nation he invited us warmly to come and
see him at his home on the Missouri River. It was, according to his
showing, a new Eden, a Paradise upon earth. He seemed to think that
we might perhaps desire to buy a location, and explained to us how
readily we could make our fortunes. But he admitted in the course
of his eulogiums that it would be as much as his life was worth to
him to ride out five miles from his own house. In the mean time the
teamsters greased their boots, the soldiers snored, those who were
wet took off their shoes and stockings, hanging them to dry round
the stove, and the Western farmers chewed tobacco in silence, and
ruminated. At such a house all the guests go in to their meals
together. A gong is sounded on a sudden, close behind your ears;
accustomed as you may probably be to the sound, you jump up from
your chair in the agony of the crash, and by the time that you have
collected your thoughts the whole crowd is off in a general stampede
into the eating-room. You may as well join them; if you hesitate as
to feeding with so rough a lot of men, you will have to set down
afterward with the women and children of the family, and your lot
will then be worse. Among such classes in the Western States the
men are always better than the women. The men are dirty and civil,
the women are dirty and uncivil.

On the following day we visited the camp, going out in an ambulance
and returning on horseback. We were accompanied by the general's
aid-de-camp, and also, to our great gratification, by the general's
daughter. There had been a hard frost for some nights, but though
the cold was very great there was always heat enough in the middle
of the day to turn the surface of the ground into glutinous mud;
consequently we had all the roughness induced by frost, but none of
the usually attendant cleanliness. Indeed, it seemed that in these
parts nothing was so dirty as frost. The mud stuck like paste and
encompassed everything. We heard that morning that from sixty to
seventy baggage wagons had "broken through," as they called it, and
stuck fast near a river, in their endeavor to make their way on to
Lebanon. We encountered two generals of brigade, General Siegel, a
German, and General Ashboth, a Hungarian, both of whom were waiting
till the weather should allow them to advance. They were extremely
courteous, and warmly invited us to go on with them to Lebanon and
Springfield, promising to us such accommodation as they might be
able to obtain for themselves. I was much tempted to accept the
offer; but I found that day after day might pass before any forward
movement was commenced, and that it might be weeks before
Springfield or even Lebanon could be reached. It was my wish,
moreover, to see what I could of the people, rather than to
scrutinize the ways of the army. We dined at the tent of General
Ashboth, and afterward rode his horses through the camp back to
Rolla, I was greatly taken with this Hungarian gentleman. He was a
tall, thin, gaunt man of fifty, a pure-blooded Magyar a I was told,
who had come from his own country with Kossuth to America. His camp
circumstances were not very luxurious, nor was his table very richly
spread; but he received us with the ease and courtesy of a
gentleman. He showed us his sword, his rifle, his pistols, his
chargers, and daguerreotype of a friend he had loved in his own
country. They were all the treasures that he carried with him--over
and above a chess-board and a set of chessmen, which sorely tempted
me to accompany him in his march.

In my next chapter, which will, I trust, be very short, I purport to
say a few words as to what I saw of the American army, and therefore
I will not now describe the regiments which we visited. The tents
were all encompassed by snow, and the ground on which they stood was
a bed of mud; but yet the soldiers out here were not so wretchedly
forlorn, or apparently so miserably uncomfortable, as those at
Benton Barracks. I did not encounter that horrid sickly stench, nor
were the men so pale and woe-begone. On the following day we
returned to St. Louis, bringing back with us our friend the German
aid-de-camp. I stayed two days longer in that city, and then I
thought that I had seen enough of Missouri; enough of Missouri at
any rate under the present circumstances of frost and secession. As
regards the people of the West, I must say that they were not such
as I expected to find them. With the Northerns we are all more or
less intimately acquainted. Those Americans whom we meet in our own
country, or on the continent, are generally from the North, or if
not so they have that type of American manners which has become
familiar to us. They are talkative, intelligent, inclined to be
social, though frequently not sympathetically social with ourselves;
somewhat soi-disant, but almost invariably companionable. As the
traveler goes southward into Maryland and Washington, the type is
not altered to any great extent. The hard intelligence of the
Yankee gives place gradually to the softer, and perhaps more
polished, manner of the Southern. But the change thus experienced
is not great as is that between the American of the Western and the
American of the Atlantic States. In the West I found the men gloomy
and silent--I might almost say sullen. A dozen of them will sit for
hours round a stove, speechless. They chew tobacco and ruminate.
They are not offended if you speak to them, but they are not
pleased. They answer with monosyllables, or, if it be practicable,
with a gesture of the head. They care nothing for the graces or--
shall I say--for the decencies of life. They are essentially a
dirty people. Dirt, untidiness, and noise seem in nowise to afflict
them. Things are constantly done before your eyes which should be
done and might be done behind your back. No doubt we daily come
into the closest contact with matters which, if we saw all that
appertains to them, would cause us to shake and shudder. In other
countries we do not see all this, but in the Western States we do.
I have eaten in Bedouin tents, and have been ministered to by Turks
and Arabs. I have sojourned in the hotels of old Spain and of
Spanish America. I have lived in Connaught, and have taken up my
quarters with monks of different nations. I have, as it were, been
educated to dirt, and taken out my degree in outward abominations.
But my education had not reached a point which would enable me to
live at my ease in the Western States. A man or woman who can do
that may be said to have graduated in the highest honors, and to
have become absolutely invulnerable, either through the sense of
touch, or by the eye, or by the nose. Indifference to appearances
is there a matter of pride. A foul shirt is a flag of triumph. A
craving for soap and water is as the wail of the weak and the
confession of cowardice. This indifference is carried into all
their affairs, or rather this manifestation of indifference. A few
pages back, I spoke of a man whose furniture had been sold to pay a
heavy tax raised on him specially as a secessionist; the same man
had also been refused the payment of rent due to him by the
government, unless he would take a false oath. I may presume that
he was ruined in his circumstances by the strong hand of the
Northern army. But he seemed in no wise to be unhappy about his
ruin. He spoke with some scorn of the martial law in Missouri, but
I felt that it was esteemed a small matter by him that his furniture
was seized and sold. No men love money with more eager love than
these Western men, but they bear the loss of it as an Indian bears
his torture at the stake. They are energetic in trade, speculating
deeply whenever speculation is possible; but nevertheless they are
slow in motion, loving to loaf about. They are slow in speech,
preferring to sit in silence, with the tobacco between their teeth.
They drink, but are seldom drunk to the eye; they begin at it early
in the morning, and take it in a solemn, sullen, ugly manner,
standing always at a bar; swallowing their spirits, and saying
nothing as they swallow it. They drink often, and to great excess;
but they carry it off without noise, sitting down and ruminating
over it with the everlasting cud within their jaws. I believe that
a stranger might go into the West, and passing from hotel to hotel
through a dozen of them, might sit for hours at each in the large
everlasting public hall, and never have a word addressed to him. No
stranger should travel in the Western States, or indeed in any of
the States, without letters of introduction. It is the custom of
the country, and they are easily procured. Without them everything
is barren; for men do not travel in the States of America as they do
in Europe, to see scenery and visit the marvels of old cities which
are open to all the world. The social and political life of the
American must constitute the interest of the traveler, and to these
he can hardly make his way without introductions.

I cannot part with the West without saying, in its favor, that there
is a certain manliness about its men which gives them a dignity of
their own. It is shown in that very indifference of which I have
spoken. Whatever turns up, the man is still there; still
unsophisticated and still unbroken. It has seemed to me that no
race of men requires less outward assistance than these pioneers of
civilization. They rarely amuse themselves. Food, newspapers, and
brandy smashes suffice for life; and while these last, whatever may
occur, the man is still there in his manhood. The fury of the mob
does not shake him, nor the stern countenance of his present martial
tyrant. Alas! I cannot stick to my text by calling him a just man.
Intelligence, energy, and endurance are his virtues. Dirt,
dishonesty, and morning drinks are his vices.

All native American women are intelligent. It seems to be their
birthright. In the Eastern cities they have, in their upper
classes, superadded womanly grace to this intelligence, and
consequently they are charming as companions. They are beautiful
also, and, as I believe, lack nothing that a lover can desire in his
love. But I cannot fancy myself much in love with a Western lady,
or rather with a lady in the West. They are as sharp as nails, but
then they are also as hard. They know, doubtless, all that they
ought to know, but then they know so much more than they ought to
know. They are tyrants to their parents, and never practice the
virtue of obedience till they have half-grownup daughters of their
own. They have faith in the destiny of their country, if in nothing
else; but they believe that that destiny is to be worked out by the
spirit and talent of the young women. I confess that for me Eve
would have had no charms had she not recognized Adam as her lord. I
can forgive her in that she tempted him to eat the apple. Had she
come from the West country, she would have ordered him to make his
meal, and then I could not have forgiven her.

St. Louis should be, and still will be, a town of great wealth. To
no city can have been given more means of riches. I have spoken of
the enormous mileage of water communication of which she is the
center. The country around her produces Indian-corn, wheat,
grasses, hemp, and tobacco. Coal is dug even within the boundaries
of the city, and iron mines are worked at a distance from it of a
hundred miles. The iron is so pure that it is broken off in solid
blocks, almost free from alloy; and as the metal stands up on the
earth's surface in the guise almost of a gigantic metal pillar,
instead of lying low within its bowels, it is worked at a cheap
rate, and with great certainty. Nevertheless, at the present
moment, the iron works of Pilot Knob, as the place is called, do not
pay. As far as I could learn, nothing did pay, except government



To whatever period of life my days may be prolonged, I do not think
that I shall ever forget Cairo. I do not mean Grand Cairo, which is
also memorable in its way, and a place not to be forgotten, but
Cairo in the State of Illinois, which by native Americans is always
called Caaro. An idea is prevalent in the States--and I think I
have heard the same broached in England--that a popular British
author had Cairo, State of Illinois, in his eye when, under the name
of Eden, he depicted a chosen, happy spot on the Mississippi River,
and told us how certain English immigrants fixed themselves in that
locality, and there made light of those little ills of life which
are incident to humanity even in the garden of the valley of the
Mississippi. But I doubt whether that author ever visited Cairo in
midwinter, and I am sure that he never visited Cairo when Cairo was
the seat of an American army. Had he done so, his love of truth
would have forbidden him to presume that even Mark Tapley could have
enjoyed himself in such an Eden.

I had no wish myself to go to Cairo, having heard it but
indifferently spoken of by all men; but my friend with whom I was
traveling was peremptory in the matter. He had heard of gun-boats
and mortar-boats, of forts built upon the river, of Columbiads,
Dahlgrens, and Parrotts, of all the pomps and circumstance of
glorious war, and entertained an idea that Cairo was the nucleus or
pivot of all really strategetic movements in this terrible national
struggle. Under such circumstances I was as it were forced to go to
Cairo, and bore myself, under the circumstances, as much like Mark
Tapley as my nature would permit. I was not jolly while I was there
certainly, but I did not absolutely break down and perish in its

Cairo is the southern terminus of the Illinois Central Railway.
There is but one daily arrival there, namely, at half-past four in
the morning; and but one dispatch, which is at half-past three in
the morning. Everything is thus done to assist that view of life
which Mark Tapley took when he resolved to ascertain under what
possible worst circumstances of existence he could still maintain
his jovial character. Why anybody should ever arrive at Cairo at
half-past four A.M., I cannot understand. The departure at any hour
is easy of comprehension. The place is situated exactly at the
point at which the Ohio and the Mississippi meet, and is, I should
say--merely guessing on the matter--some ten or twelve feet lower
than the winter level of the two rivers. This gives it naturally a
depressed appearance, which must have much aided Mark Tapley in his
endeavors. Who were the founders of Cairo I have never ascertained.
They are probably buried fathoms deep in the mud, and their names
will no doubt remain a mystery to the latest ages. They were
brought thither, I presume, by the apparent water privileges of the
place; but the water privileges have been too much for them, and by
the excess of their powers have succeeded in drowning all the
capital of the early Cairovians, and in throwing a wet blanket of
thick, moist, glutinous dirt over all their energies.

The free State of Illinois runs down far south between the slave
States of Kentucky to the east, and of Missouri to the west, and is
the most southern point of the continuous free-soil territory of the
Northern States. This point of it is a part of a district called
Egypt, which is as fertile as the old country from whence it has
borrowed a name; but it suffers under those afflictions which are
common to all newly-settled lands which owe their fertility to the
vicinity of great rivers. Fever and ague universally prevail. Men
and women grow up with their lantern faces like specters. The
children are prematurely old; and the earth, which is so fruitful,
is hideous in its fertility. Cairo and its immediate neighborhood
must, I suppose, have been subject to yearly inundation before it
was "settled up." At present it is guarded on the shores of each
river by high mud banks, built so as to protect the point of land.
These are called the levees, and do perform their duty by keeping
out the body of the waters. The shore between the banks is, I
believe, never above breast-deep with the inundation; and from the
circumstances of the place, and the soft, half-liquid nature of the
soil, this inundation generally takes the shape of mud instead of

Here, at the very point, has been built a town. Whether the town
existed during Mr. Tapley's time I have not been able to learn. At
the period of my visit it was falling quickly into ruin; indeed, I
think I may pronounce it to have been on its last legs. At that
moment a galvanic motion had been pumped into it by the war
movements of General Halleck; but the true bearings of the town, as
a town, were not less plainly to be read on that account. Every
street was absolutely impassable from mud. I mean that in walking
down the middle of any street in Cairo, a moderately-framed man
would soon stick fast, and not be able to move. The houses are
generally built at considerable intervals, and rarely face each
other; and along one side of each street a plank boarding was laid,
on which the mud had accumulated only up to one's ankles. I walked
all over Cairo with big boots, and with my trowsers tucked up to my
knees; but at the crossings I found considerable danger, and
occasionally had my doubts as to the possibility of progress. I was
alone in my work, and saw no one else making any such attempt. But
few only were moving about, and they moved in wretched carts, each
drawn by two miserable, floundering horses. These carts were always
empty, but were presumed to be engaged in some way on military
service. No faces looked out at the windows of the houses, no forms
stood in the doorways. A few shops were open, but only in the
drinking-shops did I see customers. In these, silent, muddy men
were sitting, not with drink before them, as men sit with us, but
with the cud within their jaws, ruminating. Their drinking is
always done on foot. They stand silent at a bar, with two small
glasses before them. Out of one they swallow the whisky, and from
the other they take a gulp of water, as though to rinse their
mouths. After that, they again sit down and ruminate. It was thus
that men enjoyed themselves at Cairo.

I cannot tell what was the existing population of Cairo. I asked
one resident; but he only shook his head and said that the place was
about "played out." And a miserable play it must have been. I
tried to walk round the point on the levees, but I found that the
mud was so deep and slippery on that which protected the town from
the Mississippi that I could not move on it. On the other, which
forms the bank of the Ohio, the railway runs, and here was gathered
all the life and movement of the place. But the life was galvanic
in its nature, created by a war galvanism of which the shocks were
almost neutralized by mud.

As Cairo is of all towns in America the most desolate, so is its
hotel the most forlorn and wretched. Not that it lacked custom. It
was so full that no room was to be had on our first entry from the
railway cars at five A.M., and we were reduced to the necessity of
washing our hands and faces in the public wash-room. When I entered
it the barber and his assistants were asleep there, and four or five
citizens from the railway were busy at the basins. There is a fixed
resolution in these places that you shall be drenched with dirt and
drowned in abominations, which is overpowering to a mind less strong
than Mark Tapley's. The filth is paraded and made to go as far as
possible. The stranger is spared none of the elements of nastiness.
I remember how an old woman once stood over me in my youth, forcing
me to swallow the gritty dregs of her terrible medicine cup. The
treatment I received in the hotel at Cairo reminded me of that old
woman. In that room I did not dare to brush my teeth lest I should
give offense; and I saw at once that I was regarded with suspicion
when I used my own comb instead of that provided for the public.

At length we got a room, one room for the two. I had become so
depressed in spirits that I did not dare to object to this
arrangement. My friend could not complain much, even to me, feeling
that these miseries had been produced by his own obstinacy. "It is
a new phase of life," he said. That at any rate was true. If
nothing more be necessary for pleasurable excitement than a new
phase of life, I would recommend all who require pleasurable
excitement to go to Cairo. They will certainly find a new phase of
life. But do not let them remain too long, or they may find
something beyond a new phase of life. Within a week of that time my
friend was taking quinine, looking hollow about the eyes, and
whispering to me of fever and ague. To say that there was nothing
eatable or drinkable in that hotel, would be to tell that which will
be understood without telling. My friend, however, was a cautious
man, carrying with him comfortable tin pots, hermetically sealed,
from Fortnum & Mason's; and on the second day of our sojourn we were
invited by two officers to join their dinner at a Cairo eating-
house. We plowed our way gallantly through the mud to a little
shanty, at the door of which we were peremptorily commanded by the
landlord to scrub ourselves, before we entered, with the stump of an
old broom. This we did, producing on our nether persons the
appearance of bread which has been carefully spread with treacle by
an economic housekeeper. And the proprietor was right, for had we
not done so, the treacle would have run off through the whole house.
But after this we fared royally. Squirrel soup and prairie chickens
regaled us. One of our new friends had laden his pockets with
champagne and brandy; the other with glasses and a corkscrew; and as
the bottle went round, I began to feel something of the spirit of
Mark Tapley in my soul.

But our visit to Cairo had been made rather with reference to its
present warlike character than with any eye to the natural beauties
of the place. A large force of men had been collected there, and
also a fleet of gun-boats. We had come there fortified with letters
to generals and commodores, and were prepared to go through a large
amount of military inspection. But the bird had flown before our
arrival; or rather the body and wings of the bird, leaving behind
only a draggled tail and a few of its feathers. There were only a
thousand soldiers at Cairo when we were there--that is, a thousand
stationed in the Cairo sheds. Two regiments passed through the
place during the time, getting out of one steamer on to another, or
passing from the railway into boats. One of these regiments passed
before me down the slope of the river bank, and the men as a body
seemed to be healthy. Very many were drunk, and all were mud-
clogged up to their shoulders and very caps. In other respects they
appeared to be in good order. It must be understood that these
soldiers, the volunteers, had never been made subject to any
discipline as to cleanliness. They wore their hair long. Their
hats or caps, though all made in some military form and with some
military appendance, were various and ill assorted. They all were
covered with loose, thick, blue-gray great-coats, which no doubt
were warm and wholesome, but which from their looseness and color
seemed to be peculiarly susceptible of receiving and showing a very
large amount of mud. Their boots were always good; but each man was
shod as he liked. Many wore heavy overboots coming up the leg--
boots of excellent manufacture, and from their cost, if for no other
reason, quite out of the reach of an English soldier--boots in which
a man would be not at all unfortunate to find himself hunting; but
from these, or from their high-lows, shoes, or whatever they might
wear, the mud had never been even scraped. These men were all
warmly clothed, but clothed apparently with an endeavor to contract
as much mud as might be possible.

The generals and commodores were gone up the Ohio River and up the
Tennessee in an expedition with gunboats, which turned out to be
successful, and of which we have all read in the daily history of
this war. They had departed the day before our arrival; and though
we still found at Cairo a squadron of gun-boats--if gun-boats go in
squadrons--the bulk of the army had been moved. There were left
there one regiment and one colonel, who kindly described to us the
battles he had fought, and gave us permission to see everything that
was to be seen. Four of these gun-boats were still lying in the
Ohio, close under the terminus of the railway, with their flat, ugly
noses against the muddy bank; and we were shown over two of them.
They certainly seemed to be formidable weapons for river warfare,
and to have been "got up quite irrespective of expense." So much,
indeed, may be said for the Americans throughout the war. They
cannot be accused of parsimony. The largest of these vessels,
called the "Benton," had cost 36,000l. These boats are made with
sides sloping inward at an angle of forty-five degrees. The iron is
two and a half inches thick, and it has not, I believe, been
calculated that this will resist cannon-shot of great weight, should
it be struck in a direct line. But the angle of the sides of the
boat makes it improbable that any such shot should strike them; and
the iron, bedded as it is upon oak, is supposed to be sufficient to
turn a shot that does not hit it in a direct line. The boats are
also roofed in with iron; and the pilots who steer the vessel stand
incased, as it were, under an iron cupola. I imagine that these
boats are well calculated for the river service, for which they have
been built. Six or seven of them had gone up the Tennessee River
the day before we reached Cairo; and while we were there they
succeeded in knocking down Fort Henry, and in carrying off the
soldiers stationed there and the officer in command. One of the
boats, however, had been penetrated by a shot, which made its way
into the boiler; and the men on deck--six, I think, in number--were
scalded to death by the escaping steam. The two pilots up in the
cupola were destroyed in this terrible manner. As they were
altogether closed in by the iron roof and sides, there was no escape
for the steam. The boats, however, were well made and very
powerfully armed, and will probably succeed in driving the
secessionist armies away from the great river banks. By what
machinery the secessionist armies are to be followed into the
interior is altogether another question.

But there was also another fleet at Cairo, and we were informed that
we were just in time to see the first essay made at testing the
utility of this armada. It consisted of no less than thirty-eight
mortar-boats, each of which had cost 1700l. These mortar-boats were
broad, flat-bottomed rafts, each constructed with a deck raised
three feet above the bottom. They were protected by high iron sides
supposed to be proof against rifle-balls, and, when supplied, had
been furnished each with a little boat, a rope, and four rough
sweeps or oars. They had no other furniture or belongings, and were
to be moved either by steam-tugs or by the use of the long oars
which were sent with them. It was intended that one 13-inch mortar,
of enormous weight, should be put upon each; that these mortars
should be fired with twenty-three pounds of powder; and that the
shell thrown should, at a distance of three miles, fall with
absolute precision into any devoted town which the rebels might hold
the river banks. The grandeur of the idea is almost sublime. So
large an amount of powder had, I imagine, never then been used for
the single charge in any instrument of war; and when we were told
that thirty-eight of them were to play at once on a city, and that
they could be used with absolute precision, it seemed as though the
fate of Sodom and Gomorrah could not be worse than the fate of that
city. Could any city be safe when such implements of war were about
upon the waters?

But when we came to inspect the mortar-boats, our misgivings as to
any future destination for this fleet were relieved; and our
admiration was given to the smartness of the contractor who had
secured to himself the job of building them. In the first place,
they had all leaked till the spaces between the bottoms and the
decks were filled with water. This space had been intended for
ammunition, but now seemed hardly to be fitted for that purpose.
The officer who was about to test them, by putting a mortar into one
and by firing it off with twenty-three pounds of powder, had the
water pumped out of a selected raft; and we were towed by a steam-
tug, from their moorings a mile up the river, down to the spot where
the mortar lay ready to be lifted in by a derrick. But as we turned
on the river, the tug-boat which had brought us down was unable to
hold us up against the force of the stream. A second tug-boat was
at hand; and, with one on each side, we were just able in half an
hour to recover the hundred yards which we had lost down the river.
The pressure against the stream was so great, owing partly to the
weight of the raft and partly to the fact that its flat head buried
itself in the water, that it was almost immovable against the
stream, although the mortar was not yet on it.

It soon became manifest that no trial could be made on that day, and
so we were obliged to leave Cairo without having witnessed the
firing of the great gun. My belief is that very little evil to the
enemy will result from those mortar-boats, and that they cannot be
used with much effect. Since that time they have been used on the
Mississippi, but as yet we do not know with what results. Island
No. 10 has been taken; but I do not know that the mortar-boats
contributed much to that success. But the enormous cost of moving
them against the stream of the river is in itself a barrier to their
use. When we saw them--and then they were quite new--many of the
rivets were already gone. The small boats had been stolen from some
of them, and the ropes and oars from others. There they lay,
thirty-eight in number, up against the mud banks of the Ohio, under
the boughs of the half-clad, melancholy forest trees, as sad a
spectacle of reckless prodigality as the eye ever beheld. But the
contractor who made them no doubt was a smart man.

This armada was moored on the Ohio, against the low, reedy bank, a
mile above the levee, where the old, unchanged forest of nature came
down to the very edge of the river, and mixed itself with the
shallow, overflowing waters. I am wrong in saying that it lay under
the boughs of the trees, for such trees do not spread themselves out
with broad branches. They stand thickly together, broken, stunted,
spongy with rot, straight, and ugly, with ragged tops and shattered
arms, seemingly decayed, but still ever renewing themselves with the
rapid, moist life of luxuriant forest vegetation. Nothing to my
eyes is sadder than the monotonous desolation of such scenery. We
in England, when we read and speak of the primeval forests of
America, are apt to form pictures in our minds of woodland glades,
with spreading oaks, and green, mossy turf beneath--of scenes than
which nothing that God has given us is more charming. But these
forests are not after that fashion; they offer no allurement to the
lover, no solace to the melancholy man of thought. The ground is
deep with mud or overflown with water. The soil and the river have
no defined margins. Each tree, though full of the forms of life,
has all the appearance of death. Even to the outward eye they seem
to be laden with ague, fever, sudden chills, and pestilential

When we first visited the spot we were alone, and we walked across
from the railway line to the place at which the boats were moored.
They lay in treble rank along the shore, and immediately above them
an old steamboat was fastened against the bank. Her back was
broken, and she was given up to ruin--placed there that she might
rot quietly into her watery grave. It was midwinter, and every tree
was covered with frozen sleet and small particles of snow which had
drizzled through the air; for the snow had not fallen in hearty,
honest flakes. The ground beneath our feet was crisp with frost,
but traitorous in its crispness; not frozen manfully so as to bear a
man's weight, but ready at every point to let him through into the
fat, glutinous mud below. I never saw a sadder picture, or one
which did more to awaken pity for those whose fate had fixed their
abodes in such a locality. And yet there was a beauty about it too--
a melancholy, death-like beauty. The disordered ruin and confused
decay of the forest was all gemmed with particles of ice. The eye
reaching through the thin underwood could form for itself
picturesque shapes and solitary bowers of broken wood, which were
bright with the opaque brightness of the hoar-frost. The great
river ran noiselessly along, rapid but still with an apparent
lethargy in its waters. The ground beneath our feet was fertile
beyond compare, but as yet fertile to death rather than to life.
Where we then trod man had not yet come with his axe and his plow;
but the railroad was close to us, and within a mile of the spot
thousands of dollars had been spent in raising a city which was to
have been rich with the united wealth of the rivers and the land.
Hitherto fever and ague, mud and malaria, had been too strong for
man, and the dollars had been spent in vain. The day, however, will
come when this promontory between the two great rivers will be a fit
abode for industry. Men will settle there, wandering down from the
North and East, and toil sadly, and leave their bones among the mud.
Thin, pale-faced, joyless mothers will come there, and grow old
before their time; and sickly children will be born, struggling up
with wan faces to their sad life's labor. But the work will go on,
for it is God's work; and the earth will be prepared for the people
and the fat rottenness of the still living forest will be made to
give forth its riches.

We found that two days at Cairo were quite enough for us. We had
seen the gun-boats and the mortar-boats, and gone through the sheds
of the soldiers. The latter were bad, comfortless, damp, and cold;
and certain quarters of the officers, into which we were hospitably
taken, were wretched abodes enough; but the sheds of Cairo did not
stink like those of Benton Barracks at St. Louis, nor had illness
been prevalent there to the same degree. I do not know why this
should have been so, but such was the result of my observation. The
locality of Benton Barracks must, from its nature, have been the
more healthy, but it had become by art the foulest place I ever
visited. Throughout the army it seemed to be the fact, that the men
under canvas were more comfortable, in better spirits, and also in
better health, than those who were lodged in sheds. We had
inspected the Cairo army and the Cairo navy, and had also seen all
that Cairo had to show us of its own. We were thoroughly disgusted
with the hotel, and retired on the second night to bed, giving
positive orders that we might be called at half-past two, with
reference to that terrible start to be made at half-past three. As
a matter of course we kept dozing and waking till past one, in our
fear lest neglect on the part of the watcher should entail on us
another day at this place; of course we went fast asleep about the
time at which we should have roused ourselves; and of course we were
called just fifteen minutes before the train started. Everybody
knows how these things always go. And then the pair of us jumping
out of bed in that wretched chamber, went through the mockery of
washing and packing which always takes place on such occasions; a
mockery indeed of washing, for there was but one basin between us!
And a mockery also of packing, for I left my hair-brushes behind me!
Cairo was avenged in that I had declined to avail myself of the
privileges of free citizenship which had been offered to me in that
barber's shop. And then, while we were in our agony, pulling at the
straps of our portmanteaus and swearing at the faithlessness of the
boots, up came the clerk of the hotel--the great man from behind the
bar--and scolded us prodigiously for our delay. "Called! We had
been called an hour ago!" Which statement, however, was decidedly
untrue, as we remarked, not with extreme patience. "We should
certainly be late," he said; "it would take us five minutes to reach
the train, and the cars would be off in four." Nobody who has not
experienced them can understand the agonies of such moments--of such
moments as regards traveling in general; but none who have not been
at Cairo can understand the extreme agony produced by the threat of
a prolonged sojourn in that city. At last we were out of the house,
rushing through the mud, slush, and half-melted snow, along the
wooden track to the railway, laden with bags and coats, and deafened
by that melancholy, wailing sound, as though of a huge polar she-
bear in the pangs of travail upon an iceberg, which proceeds from an
American railway-engine before it commences its work. How we
slipped and stumbled, and splashed and swore, rushing along in the
dark night, with buttons loose, and our clothes half on! And how
pitilessly we were treated! We gained our cars, and even succeeded
in bringing with us our luggage; but we did not do so with the
sympathy, but amid the derision of the by-standers. And then the
seats were all full, and we found that there was a lower depth even
in the terrible deep of a railway train in a Western State. There
was a second-class carriage, prepared, I presume, for those who
esteemed themselves too dirty for association with the aristocracy
of Cairo; and into this we flung ourselves. Even this was a joy to
us, for we were being carried away from Eden. We had acknowledged
ourselves to be no fitting colleagues for Mark Tapley, and would
have been glad to escape from Cairo even had we worked our way out
of the place as assistant stokers to the engine-driver. Poor Cairo!
unfortunate Cairo! "It is about played out!" said its citizen to
me. But in truth the play was commenced a little too soon. Those
players have played out; but another set will yet have their
innings, and make a score that shall perhaps be talked of far and
wide in the Western World.

We were still bent upon army inspection, and with this purpose went
back from Cairo to Louisville, in Kentucky. I had passed through
Louisville before, as told in my last chapter, but had not gone
south from Louisville toward the Green River, and had seen nothing
of General Buell's soldiers. I should have mentioned before that
when we were at St. Louis, we asked General Halleck, the officer in
command of the Northern army of Missouri, whether he could allow us
to pass through his lines to the South. This he assured us he was
forbidden to do, at the same time offering us every facility in his
power for such an expedition if we could obtain the consent of Mr.
Seward, who at that time had apparently succeeded in engrossing into
his own hands, for the moment, supreme authority in all matters of
government. Before leaving Washington we had determined not to ask
Mr. Seward, having but little hope of obtaining his permission, and
being unwilling to encounter his refusal. Before going to General
Halleck, we had considered the question of visiting the land of
"Dixie" without permission from any of the men in authority. I
ascertained that this might easily have been done from Kentucky to
Tennessee, but that it could only be done on foot. There are very
few available roads running North and South through these States.
The railways came before roads; and even where the railways are far
asunder, almost all the traffic of the country takes itself to them,
preferring a long circuitous conveyance with steam, to short
distances without. Consequently such roads as there are run
laterally to the railways, meeting them at this point or that, and
thus maintaining the communication of the country. Now the railways
were of course in the hands of the armies. The few direct roads
leading from North to South were in the same condition, and the by-
roads were impassable from mud. The frontier of the North,
therefore, though very extended, was not very easily to be passed,
unless, as I have said before, by men on foot. For myself I confess
that I was anxious to go South; but not to do so without my coats
and trowsers, or shirts and pocket-handkerchiefs. The readiest way
of getting across the line--and the way which was, I believe, the
most frequently used--was from below Baltimore, in Maryland, by boat
across the Potomac. But in this there was a considerable danger of
being taken, and I had no desire to become a state-prisoner in the
hands of Mr. Seward under circumstances which would have justified
our Minister in asking for my release only as a matter of favor.
Therefore, when at St. Louis, I gave up all hopes of seeing "Dixie"
during my present stay in America. I presume it to be generally
known that Dixie is the negro's heaven, and that the Southern slave
States, in which it is presumed that they have found a Paradise,
have since the beginning of the war been so named.

We remained a few days at Louisville, and were greatly struck with
the natural beauty of the country around it. Indeed, as far as I
was enabled to see, Kentucky has superior attractions, as a place of
rural residence for an English gentleman, to any other State in the
Union. There is nothing of landscape there equal to the banks of
the Upper Mississippi, or to some parts of the Hudson River. It has
none of the wild grandeur of the White Mountains of New Hampshire,
nor does it break itself into valleys equal to those of the
Alleghanies, in Pennsylvania. But all those are beauties for the
tourist rather than for the resident. In Kentucky the land lays in
knolls and soft sloping hills. The trees stand apart, forming
forest openings. The herbage is rich, and the soil, though not
fertile like the prairies of Illinois, or the river bottoms of the
Mississippi and its tributaries, is good, steadfast, wholesome
farming ground. It is a fine country for a resident gentleman
farmer, and in its outward aspect reminds me more of England in its
rural aspects than any other State which I visited. Round
Louisville there are beautiful sites for houses, of which advantage
in some instances has been taken. But, nevertheless, Louisville,
though a well-built, handsome city, is not now a thriving city. I
liked it because the hotel was above par, and because the country
round it was good for walking; but it has not advanced as Cincinnati
and St. Louis have advanced. And yet its position on the Ohio is
favorable, and it is well circumstanced as regards the wants of its
own State. But it is not a free-soil city. Nor, indeed, is St.
Louis; but St. Louis is tending that way, and has but little to do
with the "domestic institution." At the hotels in Cincinnati and
St. Louis you are served by white men, and are very badly served.
At Louisville the ministration is by black men, "bound to labor."
The difference in the comfort is very great. The white servants are
noisy, dirty, forgetful, indifferent, and sometimes impudent. The
negroes are the very reverse of all this; you cannot hurry them; but
in all other respects--and perhaps even in that respect also--they
are good servants. This is the work for which they seem to have
been intended. But nevertheless where they are, life and energy
seem to languish, and prosperity cannot make any true advance. They
are symbols of the luxury of the white men who employ them, and as
such are signs of decay and emblems of decreasing power. They are
good laborers themselves, but their very presence makes labor
dishonorable. That Kentucky will speedily rid herself of the
institution, I believe firmly. When she has so done, the commercial
city of that State may perhaps go ahead again like her sisters.

At this very time the Federal army was commencing that series of
active movements in Kentucky, and through Tennessee, which led to
such important results, and gave to the North the first solid
victories which they had gained since the contest began. On the
nineteenth of January, one wing of General Buell's army, under
General Thomas, had defeated the secessionists near Somerset, in the
southeastern district of Kentucky, under General Zollicoffer, who
was there killed. But in that action the attack was made by
Zollicoffer and the secessionists. When we were at Louisville we
heard of the success of that gun-boat expedition up the Tennessee
river by which Fort Henry was taken. Fort Henry had been built by
the Confederates on the Tennessee, exactly on the confines of the
States of Tennessee and Kentucky. They had also another fort, Fort
Donelson, on the Cumberland River, which at that point runs parallel
to the Tennessee, and is there distant from it but a very few miles.
Both these rivers run into the Ohio. Nashville, which is the
capital of Tennessee, is higher up on the Cumberland; and it was now
intended to send the gun-boats down the Tennessee back into the
Ohio, and thence up the Cumberland, there to attack Fort Donelson,
and afterward to assist General Buell's army in making its way down
to Nashville. The gun-boats were attached to General Halleck's
army, and received their directions from St. Louis. General Buell's
headquarters were at Louisville, and his advanced position was on
the Green River, on the line of the railway from Louisville to
Nashville. The secessionists had destroyed the railway bridge over
the Green River, and were now lying at Bowling Green, between the
Green River and Nashville. This place it was understood that they
had fortified.

Matters were in this position when we got a military pass to go down
by the railway to the army on the Green River, for the railway was
open to no one without a military pass; and we started, trusting
that Providence would supply us with rations and quarters. An
officer attached to General Buell's staff, with whom however our
acquaintance was of the very slightest, had telegraphed down to say
that we were coming. I cannot say that I expected much from the
message, seeing that it simply amounted to a very thin introduction
to a general officer to whom we were strangers even by name, from a
gentleman to whom we had brought a note from another gentleman whose
acquaintance we had chanced to pick up on the road. We manifestly
had no right to expect much; but to us, expecting very little, very
much was given. General Johnson was the officer to whose care we
were confided, he being a brigadier under General McCook, who
commanded the advance. We were met by an aid-de-camp and saddle-
horses, and soon found ourselves in the general's tent, or rather in
a shanty formed of solid upright wooden logs, driven into the ground
with the bark still on, and having the interstices filled in with
clay. This was roofed with canvas, and altogether made a very
eligible military residence. The general slept in a big box, about
nine feet long and four broad, which occupied one end of the shanty,
and he seemed in all his fixings to be as comfortably put up as any
gentleman might be when out on such a picnic as this. We arrived in
time for dinner, which was brought in, table and all, by two
negroes. The party was made up by a doctor, who carved, and two of
the staff, and a very nice dinner we had. In half an hour we were
intimate with the whole party, and as familiar with the things
around us as though we had been living in tents all our lives.
Indeed, I had by this time been so often in the tents of the
Northern army, that I almost felt entitled to make myself at home.
It has seemed to me that an Englishman has always been made welcome
in these camps. There has been and is at this moment a terribly
bitter feeling among Americans against England, and I have heard
this expressed quite as loudly by men in the army as by civilians;
but I think I may say that this has never been brought to bear upon
individual intercourse. Certainly we have said some very sharp
things of them--words which, whether true or false, whether deserved
or undeserved, must have been offensive to them. I have known this
feeling of offense to amount almost to an agony of anger. But
nevertheless I have never seen any falling off in the hospitality
and courtesy generally shown by a civilized people to passing
visitors, I have argued the matter of England's course throughout
the war, till I have been hoarse with asseverating the rectitude of
her conduct and her national unselfishness. I have met very strong
opponents on the subject, and have been coerced into loud strains of
voice; but I never yet met one American who was personally uncivil
to me as an Englishman, or who seemed to be made personally angry by
my remarks. I found no coldness in that hospitality to which as a
stranger I was entitled, because of the national ill feeling which
circumstances have engendered. And while on this subject I will
remark that, when traveling, I have found it expedient to let those
with whom I might chance to talk know at once that I was an
Englishman. In fault of such knowledge things would be said which
could not but be disagreeable to me; but not even from any rough
Western enthusiast in a railway carriage have I ever heard a word
spoken insolently to England, after I had made my nationality known.
I have learned that Wellington was beaten at Waterloo; that Lord
Palmerston was so unpopular that he could not walk alone in the
streets; that the House of Commons was an acknowledged failure; that
starvation was the normal condition of the British people, and that
the queen was a blood-thirsty tyrant. But these assertions were not
made with the intention that they should be heard by an Englishman.
To us as a nation they are at the present moment unjust almost
beyond belief; but I do not think that the feeling has ever taken
the guise of personal discourtesy.

We spent two days in the camp close upon the Green River, and I do
not know that I enjoyed any days of my trip more thoroughly than I
did these. In truth, for the last month since I had left
Washington, my life had not been one of enjoyment. I had been
rolling in mud and had been damp with filth. Camp Wood, as they
called this military settlement on the Green River, was also muddy;
but we were excellently well mounted; the weather was very cold, but
peculiarly fine, and the soldiers around us, as far as we could
judge, seemed to be better off in all respects than those we had
visited at St. Louis, at Rolla, or at Cairo. They were all in
tents, and seemed to be light-spirited and happy. Their rations
were excellent; but so much may, I think, be said of the whole
Northern army, from Alexandria on the Potomac to Springfield in the
west of Missouri. There was very little illness at that time in the
camp in Kentucky, and the reports made to us led us to think that on
the whole this had been the most healthy division of the army. The
men, moreover, were less muddy than their brethren either east or
west of them--at any rate this may be said of them as regards the

But perhaps the greatest charm of the place to me was the beauty of
the scenery. The Green River at this spot is as picturesque a
stream as I ever remember to have seen in such a country. It lies
low down between high banks, and curves hither and thither, never
keeping a straight line. Its banks are wooded; but not, as is so
common in America, by continuous, stunted, uninteresting forest, but
by large single trees standing on small patches of meadow by the
water side, with the high banks rising over them, with glades
through them open for the horseman. The rides here in summer must
be very lovely. Even in winter they were so, and made me in love
with the place in spite of that brown, dull, barren aspect which the
presence of an army always creates. I have said that the railway
bridge which crossed the Green River at this spot had been destroyed
by the secessionists. This had been done effectually as regarded
the passage of trains, but only in part as regarded the absolute
fabric of the bridge. It had been, and still was when I saw it, a
beautifully light construction, made of iron and supported over a
valley, rather than over a river, on tall stone piers. One of these
piers had been blown up; but when we were there, the bridge had been
repaired with beams and wooden shafts. This had just been
completed, and an engine had passed over it. I must confess that it
looked to me most perilously insecure; but the eye uneducated in
such mysteries is a bad judge of engineering work. I passed with a
horse backward and forward on it, and it did not tumble down then;
but I confess that on the first attempt I was glad enough to lead
the horse by the bridle.

That bridge was certainly a beautiful fabric, and built in a most
lovely spot. Immediately under it there was also a pontoon bridge.
The tents of General McCook's division were immediately at the
northern end of it, and the whole place was alive with soldiers,
nailing down planks, pulling up temporary rails at each side,
carrying over straw for the horses, and preparing for the general
advance of the troops. It was a glorious day. There had been heavy
frost at night; but the air was dry, and the sun though cold was
bright. I do not know when I saw a prettier picture. It would
perhaps have been nothing without the loveliness of the river
scenery; but the winding of the stream at the spot, the sharp wooded
hills on each side, the forest openings, and the busy, eager,
strange life together filled the place with no common interest. The
officers of the army at the spot spoke with bitterest condemnation
of the vandalism of their enemy in destroying the bridge. The
justice of the indignation I ventured very strongly to question.
"Surely you would have destroyed their bridge?" I said. "But they
are rebels," was the answer. It has been so throughout the contest;
and the same argument has been held by soldiers and by non-soldiers--
by women and by men. "Grant that they are rebels," I have
answered. "But when rebels fight they cannot be expected to be more
scrupulous in their mode of doing so than their enemies who are not
rebels." The whole population of the North has from the beginning
of this war considered themselves entitled to all the privileges of
belligerents; but have called their enemies Goths and Vandals for
even claiming those privileges for themselves. The same feeling was
at the bottom of their animosity against England. Because the South
was in rebellion, England should have consented to allow the North
to assume all the rights of a belligerent, and should have denied
all those rights to the South! Nobody has seemed to understand that
any privilege which a belligerent can claim must depend on the very
fact of his being in encounter with some other party having the same
privilege. Our press has animadverted very strongly on the States
government for the apparent untruthfulness of their arguments on
this matter; but I profess that I believe that Mr. Seward and his
colleagues--and not they only but the whole nation--have so
thoroughly deceived themselves on this subject, have so talked and
speechified themselves into a misunderstanding of the matter, that
they have taught themselves to think that the men of the South could
be entitled to no consideration from any quarter. To have rebelled
against the stars and stripes seems to a Northern man to be a crime
putting the criminal altogether out of all courts--a crime which
should have armed the hands of all men against him, as the hands of
all men are armed at a dog that is mad, or a tiger that has escaped
from its keeper. It is singular that such a people, a people that
has founded itself on rebellion, should have such a horror of
rebellion; but, as far as my observation may have enabled me to read
their feelings rightly, I do believe that it has been as sincere as
it is irrational.

We were out riding early on the morning of the second day of our
sojourn in the camp, and met the division of General Mitchell, a
detachment of General Buell's army, which had been in camp between
the Green River and Louisville, going forward to the bridge which
was then being prepared for their passage. This division consisted
of about 12,000 men, and the road was crowded throughout the whole
day with them and their wagons. We first passed a regiment of
cavalry, which appeared to be endless. Their cavalry regiments are,
in general, more numerous than those of the infantry, and on this
occasion we saw, I believe, about 1200 men pass by us. Their horses
were strong and serviceable, and the men were stout and in good
health; but the general appearance of everything about them was
rough and dirty. The American cavalry have always looked to me like
brigands. A party of them would, I think, make a better picture
than an equal number of our dragoons; but if they are to be regarded
in any other view than that of the picturesque, it does not seem to
me that they have been got up successfully. On this occasion they
were forming themselves into a picture for my behoof, and as the
picture was, as a picture, very good, I at least have no reason to

We were taken to see one German regiment, a regiment of which all
the privates were German and all the officers save one--I think the
surgeon. We saw the men in their tents, and the food which they
eat, and were disposed to think that hitherto things were going well
with them. In the evening the colonel and lieutenant-colonel, both
of whom had been in the Prussian service, if I remember rightly,
came up to the general's quarters, and we spent the evening together
in smoking cigars and discussing slavery round the stove. I shall
never forget that night, or the vehement abolition enthusiasm of the
two German colonels. Our host had told us that he was a slaveowner;
and as our wants were supplied by two sable ministers, I concluded
that he had brought with him a portion of his domestic institution.
Under such circumstances I myself should have avoided such a
subject, having been taught to believe that Southern gentlemen did
not generally take delight in open discussions on the subject. But
had we been arguing the question of the population of the planet
Jupiter, or the final possibility of the transmutation of metals,
the matter could not have been handled with less personal feeling.
The Germans, however, spoke the sentiments of all the Germans of the
Western States--that is, of all the Protestant Germans, and to them
is confined the political influence held by the German immigrants.
They all regard slavery as an evil, holding on the matter opinions
quite as strong as ours have ever been. And they argue that as
slavery is an evil, it should therefore be abolished at once. Their
opinions are as strong as ours have ever been, and they have not had
our West Indian experience. Any one desiring to understand the
present political position of the States should realize the fact of
the present German influence on political questions. Many say that
the present President was returned by German voters. In one sense
this is true, for he certainly could not have been returned without
them; but for them, or for their assistance, Mr. Breckinridge would
have been President, and this civil war would not have come to pass.
As abolitionists they are much more powerful than the Republicans of
New England, and also more in earnest. In New England the matter is
discussed politically; in the great Western towns, where the Germans
congregate by thousands, they profess to view it philosophically. A
man, as a man, is entitled to freedom. That is their argument, and
it is a very old one. When you ask them what they would propose to
do with 4,000,000 of enfranchised slaves and with their ruined
masters, how they would manage the affairs of those 12,000,000 of
people, all whose wealth and work and very life have hitherto been
hinged and hung upon slavery, they again ask you whether slavery is
not in itself bad, and whether anything acknowledged to be bad
should be allowed to remain.

But the American Germans are in earnest, and I am strongly of
opinion that they will so far have their way, that the country which
for the future will be their country will exist without the taint of
slavery. In the Northern nationality, which will reform itself
after this war is over, there will, I think, be no slave State.
That final battle of abolition will have to be fought among a people
apart, and I must fear that while it lasts their national prosperity
will not be great.



I trust that it may not be thought that in this chapter I am going
to take upon myself the duties of a military critic. I am well
aware that I have no capacity for such a task, and that my opinion
on such matters would be worth nothing. But it is impossible to
write of the American States as they were when I visited them, and
to leave that subject of the American army untouched. It was all
but impossible to remain for some months in the Northern States
without visiting the army. It was impossible to join in any
conversation in the States without talking about the army. It was
impossible to make inquiry as to the present and future condition of
the people without basing such inquiries more or less upon the
doings of the army. If a stranger visit Manchester with the object
of seeing what sort of place Manchester is, he must visit the cotton
mills and printing establishments, though he may have no taste for
cotton and no knowledge on the subject of calicoes. Under pressure
of this kind I have gone about from one army to another, looking at
the drilling of regiments, of the manoeuvres of cavalry, at the
practice of artillery, and at the inner life of the camps. I do not
feel that I am in any degree more fitted to take the command of a
campaign than I was before I began, or even more fitted to say who
can and who cannot do so. But I have obtained on my own mind's eye
a tolerably clear impression of the outward appearance of the
Northern army; I have endeavored to learn something of the manner in
which it was brought together, and of its cost as it now stands; and
I have learned--as any man in the States may learn, without much
trouble or personal investigation--how terrible has been the
peculation of the contractors and officers by whom that army has
been supplied. Of these things, writing of the States at this
moment, I must say something. In what I shall say as to that matter
of peculation, I trust that I may be believed to have spoken without
personal ill feeling or individual malice.

While I was traveling in the States of New England and in the
Northwest, I came across various camps at which young regiments were
being drilled and new regiments were being formed. These lay in our
way as we made our journeys, and, therefore, we visited them; but
they were not objects of any very great interest. The men had not
acquired even any pretense of soldier-like bearing. The officers
for the most part had only just been selected, having hardly as yet
left their civil occupations, and anything like criticism was
disarmed by the very nature of the movement which had called the men
together. I then thought, as I still think, that the men themselves
were actuated by proper motives, and often by very high motives, in
joining the regiments. No doubt they looked to the pay offered. It
is not often that men are able to devote themselves to patriotism
without any reference to their personal circumstances. A man has
got before him the necessity of earning his bread, and very
frequently the necessity of earning the bread of others besides
himself. This comes before him not only as his first duty, but as
the very law of his existence. His wages are his life, and when he
proposes to himself to serve his country, that subject of payment
comes uppermost as it does when he proposes to serve any other
master. But the wages given, though very high in comparison with
those of any other army, have not been of a nature to draw together
from their distant homes, at so short a notice, so vast a cloud of
men, had no other influence been at work. As far as I can learn,
the average rate of wages in the country since the war began has
been about 65 cents a day over and beyond the workman's diet. I
feel convinced that I am putting this somewhat too low, taking the
average of all the markets from which the labor has been withdrawn.
In large cities labor has been much higher than this, and a
considerable proportion of the army has been taken from large
cities. But, taking 65 cents a day as the average, labor has been
worth about 17 dollars a month over and above the laborer's diet.
In the army the soldier receives 13 dollars a month, and also
receives his diet and clothes; in addition to this, in many States,
6 dollars a month have been paid by the State to the wives and
families of those soldiers who have left wives and families in the
States behind them. Thus for the married men the wages given by the
army have been 2 dollars a month, or less than 5l. a year, more than
his earnings at home, and for the unmarried man they have been 4
dollars a month, or less than 10l. a year, below his earnings at
home. But the army also gives clothing to the extent of 3 dollars a
month. This would place the unmarried soldier, in a pecuniary point
of view, worse off by one dollar a month, or 2l. l0s. a year, than
he would have been at home; and would give the married man 5 dollars
a month, or 12l. a year, more than his ordinary wages, for absenting
himself from his family. I cannot think, therefore, that the
pecuniary attractions have been very great.

Our soldiers in England enlist at wages which are about one-half
that paid in the ordinary labor market to the class from whence they
come. But labor in England is uncertain, whereas in the States it
is certain. In England the soldier with his shilling gets better
food than the laborer with his two shillings; and the Englishman has
no objection to the rigidity of that discipline which is so
distasteful to an American. Moreover, who in England ever dreamed
of raising 600,000 new troops in six months, out of a population of
thirty million? But this has been done in the Northern States out
of a population of eighteen million. If England were invaded,
Englishmen would come forward in the same way, actuated, as I
believe, by the same high motives. My object here is simply to show
that the American soldiers have not been drawn together by the
prospect of high wages, as has been often said since the war began.

They who inquire closely into the matter will find that hundreds and
thousands have joined the army as privates, who in doing so have
abandoned all their best worldly prospects, and have consented to
begin the game of life again, believing that their duty to their
country has now required their services. The fact has been that in
the different States a spirit of rivalry has been excited. Indiana
has endeavored to show that she was as forward as Illinois;
Pennsylvania has been unwilling to lag behind New York;
Massachusetts, who has always struggled to be foremost in peace, has
desired to boast that she was first in war also; the smaller States
have resolved to make their names heard, and those which at first
were backward in sending troops have been shamed into greater
earnestness by the public voice. There has been a general feeling
throughout the people that the thing should be done--that the
rebellion must be put down, and that it must be put down by arms.
Young men have been ashamed to remain behind; and their elders,
acting under that glow of patriotism which so often warms the hearts
of free men, but which, perhaps, does not often remain there long in
all its heat, have left their wives and have gone also. It may be
true that the voice of the majority has been coercive on many--that
men have enlisted partly because the public voice required it of
them, and not entirely through the promptings of individual spirit.
Such public voice in America is very potent; but it is not, I think,
true that the army has been gathered together by the hope of high

Such was my opinion of the men when I saw them from State to State
clustering into their new regiments. They did not look like
soldiers; but I regarded them as men earnestly intent on a work
which they believed to be right. Afterward when I saw them in their
camps, amid all the pomps and circumstances of glorious war,
positively converted into troops, armed with real rifles and doing
actual military service, I believed the same of them--but cannot say
that I then liked them so well. Good motives had brought them
there. They were the same men, or men of the same class, that I had
seen before. They were doing just that which I knew they would have
to do. But still I found that the more I saw of them, the more I
lost of that respect for them which I had once felt. I think it was
their dirt that chiefly operated upon me. Then, too, they had
hitherto done nothing, and they seemed to be so terribly intent upon
their rations! The great boast of this army was that they eat meat
twice a day, and that their daily supply of bread was more than they
could consume.

When I had been two or three weeks in Washington, I went over to the
army of the Potomac and spent a few days with some of the officers.
I had on previous occasions ridden about the camps, and had seen a
review at which General McClellan trotted up and down the lines with
all his numerous staff at his heels. I have always believed reviews
to be absurdly useless as regards the purpose for which they are
avowedly got up--that, namely, of military inspection. And I
believed this especially of this review. I do not believe that any
commander-in-chief ever learns much as to the excellence or
deficiencies of his troops by watching their manoeuvres on a vast
open space; but I felt sure that General McClellan had learned
nothing on this occasion. If before his review he did not know
whether his men were good as soldiers, he did not possess any such
knowledge after the review. If the matter may be regarded as a
review of the general--if the object was to show him off to the men,
that they might know how well he rode, and how grand he looked with
his staff of forty or fifty officers at his heels, then this review
must be considered as satisfactory. General McClellan does ride
very well. So much I learned, and no more.

It was necessary to have a pass for crossing the Potomac either from
one side or from the other, and such a pass I procured from a friend
in the War-office, good for the whole period of my sojourn in
Washington. The wording of the pass was more than ordinarily long,
as it recommended me to the special courtesy of all whom I might
encounter; but in this respect it was injurious to me rather than
otherwise, as every picket by whom I was stopped found it necessary
to read it to the end. The paper was almost invariably returned to
me without a word; but the musket which was not unfrequently kept
extended across my horse's nose by the reader's comrade would be
withdrawn, and then I would ride on to the next barrier. It seemed
to me that these passes were so numerous and were signed by so many
officers that there could have been no risk in forging them. The
army of the Potomac, into which they admitted the bearer, lay in
quarters which were extended over a length of twenty miles up and
down on the Virginian side of the river, and the river could be
traversed at five different places. Crowds of men and women were
going over daily, and no doubt all the visitors who so went with
innocent purposes were provided with proper passports; but any whose
purposes were not innocent, and who were not so provided, could have
passed the pickets with counterfeited orders. This, I have little
doubt, was done daily. Washington was full of secessionists, and
every movement of the Federal army was communicated to the
Confederates at Richmond, at which city was now established the
Congress and headquarters of the Confederacy. But no such tidings
of the Confederate army reached those in command at Washington.
There were many circumstances in the contest which led to this
result, and I do not think that General McClellan had any power to
prevent it. His system of passes certainly did not do so.

I never could learn from any one what was the true number of this
army on the Potomac. I have been informed by those who professed to
know that it contained over 200,000 men, and by others who also
professed to know, that it did not contain 100,000. To me the
soldiers seemed to be innumerable, hanging like locusts over the
whole country--a swarm desolating everything around them. Those
pomps and circumstances are not glorious in my eyes. They affect me
with a melancholy which I cannot avoid. Soldiers gathered together
in a camp are uncouth and ugly when they are idle; and when they are
at work their work is worse than idleness. When I have seen a
thousand men together, moving their feet hither at one sound and
thither at another, throwing their muskets about awkwardly, prodding
at the air with their bayonets, trotting twenty paces here and
backing ten paces there, wheeling round in uneven lines, and
looking, as they did so, miserably conscious of the absurdity of
their own performances, I have always been inclined to think how
little the world can have advanced in civilization, while grown-up
men are still forced to spend their days in such grotesque
performances. Those to whom the "pomps and circumstances" are dear--
nay, those by whom they are considered simply necessary--will be
able to confute me by a thousand arguments. I readily own myself
confuted. There must be soldiers, and soldiers must be taught. But
not the less pitiful is it to see men of thirty undergoing the
goose-step, and tortured by orders as to the proper mode of handling
a long instrument which is half gun and half spear. In the days of
Hector and Ajax, the thing was done in a more picturesque manner;
and the songs of battle should, I think, be confined to those ages.

The ground occupied by the divisions on the farther or southwestern
side of the Potomac was, as I have said, about twenty miles in
length and perhaps seven in breadth. Through the whole of this
district the soldiers were everywhere. The tents of the various
brigades were clustered together in streets, the regiments being
divided; and the divisions combining the brigades lay apart at some
distance from each other. But everywhere, at all points, there were
some signs of military life. The roads were continually thronged
with wagons, and tracks were opened for horses wherever a shorter
way might thus be made available. On every side the trees were
falling or had fallen. In some places whole woods had been felled
with the express purpose of rendering the ground impracticable for
troops; and firs and pines lay one over the other, still covered
with their dark, rough foliage, as though a mighty forest had grown
there along the ground, without any power to raise itself toward the
heavens. In other places the trees had been chopped off from their
trunks about a yard from the ground, so that the soldier who cut it
should have no trouble in stooping, and the tops had been dragged
away for firewood or for the erection of screens against the wind.
Here and there, in solitary places, there were outlying tents,
looking as though each belonged to some military recluse; and in the
neighborhood of every division was to be found a photographing
establishment upon wheels, in order that the men might send home to
their sweethearts pictures of themselves in their martial costumes.

I wandered about through these camps both on foot and on horseback
day after day; and every now and then I would come upon a farm-house
that was still occupied by its old inhabitants. Many of such houses
had been deserted, and were now held by the senior officers of the
army; but some of the old families remained, living in the midst of
this scene of war in a condition most forlorn. As for any tillage
of their land, that, under such circumstances, might be pronounced
as hopeless. Nor could there exist encouragement for farm-work of
any kind. Fences had been taken down and burned; the ground had
been overrun in every direction. The stock had of course
disappeared; it had not been stolen, but had been sold in a hurry
for what under such circumstances it might fetch. What farmer could
work or have any hope for his land in the middle of such a crowd of
soldiers? But yet there were the families. The women were in their
houses, and the children playing at their doors; and the men, with
whom I sometimes spoke, would stand around with their hands in their
pockets. They knew that they were ruined; they expected no redress.
In nine cases out of ten they were inimical in spirit to the
soldiers around them. And yet it seemed that their equanimity was
never disturbed. In a former chapter I have spoken of a certain
general--not a fighting general of the army, but a local farming
general--who spoke loudly, and with many curses, of the injury
inflicted on him by the secessionists. With that exception I heard
no loud complaint of personal suffering. These Virginian farmers
must have been deprived of everything--of the very means of earning
bread. They still hold by their houses, though they were in the
very thick of the war, because there they had shelter for their
families, and elsewhere they might seek it in vain. A man cannot
move his wife and children if he have no place to which to move
them, even though his house be in the midst of disease, of
pestilence, or of battle. So it was with them then, but it seemed
as though they were already used to it.

But there was a class of inhabitants in that same country to whom
fate had been even more unkind than to those whom I saw. The lines
of the Northern army extended perhaps seven or eight miles from the
Potomac; and the lines of the Confederate army were distant some
four miles from those of their enemies. There was, therefore, an
intervening space or strip of ground, about four miles broad, which
might be said to be no man's land. It was no man's land as to
military possession, but it was still occupied by many of its old
inhabitants. These people were not allowed to pass the lines either
of one army or of the other; or if they did so pass, they were not
allowed to return to their homes. To these homes they were forced
to cling, and there they remained. They had no market; no shops at
which to make purchases, even if they had money to buy; no customers
with whom to deal, even if they had produce to sell. They had their
cows, if they could keep them from the Confederate soldiers, their
pigs and their poultry; and on them they were living--a most forlorn
life. Any advance made by either party must be over their
homesteads. In the event of battle, they would be in the midst of
it; and in the mean time they could see no one, hear of nothing, go
nowhither beyond the limits of that miserable strip of ground!

The earth was hard with frost when I paid my visit to the camp, and
the general appearance of things around my friend's quarters was on
that account cheerful enough. It was the mud which made things sad
and wretched. When the frost came it seemed as though the army had
overcome one of its worst enemies. Unfortunately cold weather did
not last long. I have been told in Washington that they rarely have
had so open a season. Soon after my departure that terrible enemy
the mud came back upon them; but during my stay the ground was hard
and the weather very sharp. I slept in a tent, and managed to keep
my body warm by an enormous overstructure of blankets and coats; but
I could not keep my head warm. Throughout the night I had to go
down like a fish beneath the water for protection, and come up for
air at intervals, half smothered. I had a stove in my tent; but the
heat of that, when lighted, was more terrible than the severity of
the frost.

The tents of the brigade with which I was staying had been pitched
not without an eye to appearances. They were placed in streets as
it were, each street having its name, and between them screens had
been erected of fir poles and fir branches, so as to keep off the
wind. The outside boundaries of the nearest regiment were
ornamented with arches, crosses, and columns, constructed in the
same way; so that the quarters of the men were reached, as it were,
through gateways. The whole thing was pretty enough; and while the
ground was hard the camp was picturesque, and a visit to it was not
unpleasant. But unfortunately the ground was in its nature soft and
deep, composed of red clay; and as the frost went and the wet
weather came, mud became omnipotent and destroyed all prettiness.
And I found that the cold weather, let it be ever so cold, was not
severe upon the men. It was wet which they feared and had cause to
fear, both for themselves and for their horses. As to the horses,
but few of them were protected by any shelter or covering
whatsoever. Through both frost and wet they remained out, tied to
the wheel of a wagon or to some temporary rack at which they were
fed. In England we should imagine that any horse so treated must
perish; but here the animal seemed to stand it. Many of them were
miserable enough in appearance, but nevertheless they did the work
required of them. I have observed that horses throughout the States
are treated in a hardier manner than is usually the case with us.

At the period of which I am speaking--January, 1862--the health of
the army of the Potomac was not as good as it had been, and was
beginning to give way under the effects of the winter. Measles had
become very prevalent, and also small-pox, though not of a virulent
description; and men, in many instances, were sinking under fatigue.
I was informed by various officers that the Irish regiments were on
the whole the most satisfactory. Not that they made the best
soldiers, for it was asserted that they were worse, as soldiers,
than the Americans or Germans; not that they became more easily
subject to rule, for it was asserted that they were unruly; but
because they were rarely ill. Diseases which seized the American
troops on all sides seemed to spare them. The mortality was not
excessive, but the men became sick and ailing, and fell under the
doctor's hands.

Mr. Olmstead, whose name is well known in England as a writer on the
Southern States, was at this time secretary to a sanitary commission
on the army, and published an abstract of the results of the
inquiries made, on which I believe perfect reliance may be placed.
This inquiry was extended to two hundred regiments, which were
presumed to be included in the army of the Potomac; but these
regiments were not all located on the Virginian side of the river,
and must not therefore be taken as belonging exclusively to the
divisions of which I have been speaking. Mr. Olmstead says: "The
health of our armies is evidently not above the average of armies in
the field. The mortality of the army of the Potomac during the
summer months averaged 3 1/2 per cent., and for the whole army it is
stated at 5 per cent." "Of the camps inspected, 5 per cent.," he
says, "were in admirable order; 44 per cent. fairly clean and well
policed. The condition of 26 per cent. was negligent and slovenly,
and of 24 per cent. decidedly bad, filthy, and dangerous." Thus 50
per cent. were either negligent and slovenly, or filthy and
dangerous. I wonder what the report would have been had Camp
Benton, at St. Louis, been surveyed! "In about 80 per cent. of the
regiments the officers claimed to give systematic attention to the
cleanliness of the men; but it is remarked that they rarely enforced
the washing of the feet, and not always of the head and neck." I
wish Mr. Olmstead had added that they never enforced the cutting of
the hair. No single trait has been so decidedly disadvantageous to
the appearance of the American army as the long, uncombed, rough
locks of hair which the men have appeared so loath to abandon. In
reading the above one cannot but think of the condition of those
other twenty regiments!

According to Mr. Olmstead two-thirds of the men were native born,
and one-third was composed of foreigners. These foreigners are
either Irish or German. Had a similar report been made of the
armies in the West, I think it would have been seen that the
proportion of foreigners was still greater. The average age of the
privates was something under twenty-five, and that of the officers
thirty-four. I may here add, from my own observation, that an
officer's rank could in no degree be predicated from his age.
Generals, colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants had been all
appointed at the same time, and without reference to age or
qualification. Political influence, or the power of raising
recruits, had been the standard by which military rank was
distributed. The old West Point officers had generally been chosen
for high commands, but beyond this everything was necessarily new.
Young colonels and ancient captains abounded without any harsh
feeling as to the matter on either side. Indeed, in this respect,
the practice of the country generally was simply carried out.
Fathers and mothers in America seem to obey their sons and daughters
naturally, and as they grow old become the slaves of their

Mr. Olmstead says that food was found to be universally good and
abundant. On this matter Mr. Olmstead might have spoken in stronger
language without exaggeration. The food supplied to the American
armies has been extravagantly good, and certainly has been
wastefully abundant. Very much has been said of the cost of the
American army, and it has been made a matter of boasting that no
army so costly has ever been put into the field by any other nation.
The assertion is, I believe, at any rate true. I have found it
impossible to ascertain what has hitherto been expended on the army.
I much doubt whether even Mr. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury,
or Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, know themselves, and I do not
suppose that Mr. Stanton's predecessor much cared. Some approach,
however, may be reached to the amount actually paid in wages and for
clothes and diet; and I give below a statement which I have seen of
the actual annual sum proposed to be expended on these heads,
presuming the army to consist of 500,000 men. The army is stated to
contain 660,000 men, but the former numbers given would probably be
found to be nearer the mark:--

Wages of privates, including sergeants and
corporals $86,640,000
Salaries of regimental officers 23,784,000
Extra wages of privates; extra pay to
mounted officers, and salary to
officers above the rank of colonel l7,000,000
25,484,000 pounds sterling.

To this must be added the cost of diet and clothing. The food of
the men, I was informed, was supplied at an average cost of l7 cents
a day, which, for an army of 500,000 men, would amount to 6,200,000
pounds per annum. The clothing of the men is shown by the printed
statement of their War Department to amount to $3.00 a month for a
period of five years. That, at least, is the amount allowed to a
private of infantry or artillery. The cost of the cavalry uniforms
and of the dress of the non-commissioned officers is something
higher, but not sufficiently so to make it necessary to make special
provision for the difference in a statement so rough as this. At
$3.00 a month the clothing of the army would amount to 3,600,000
pounds. The actual annual cost would therefore be as follows:

Salaries and wages 25,484,400 pounds.
Diet of the soldiers 6,200,000 "
Clothing for the soldiers 3,600,000 "
35,280,400 "

I believe that these figures may be trusted, unless it be with
reference to that sum of $l7,000,000, or 3,400,000 pounds, which is
presumed to include the salaries of all general officers, with their
staffs, and also the extra wages paid to soldiers in certain cases.
This is given as an estimate, and may be over or under the mark.
The sum named as the cost of clothing would be correct, or nearly
so, if the army remained in its present force for five years. If it
so remained for only one year, the cost would be one-fifth higher.
It must of course be remembered that the sum above named includes
simply the wages, clothes, and food of the men. It does not
comprise the purchase of arms, horses, ammunition, or wagons; the
forage of horses; the transport of troops, or any of those
incidental expenses of warfare which are always, I presume, heavier
than the absolute cost of the men, and which, in this war, have been
probably heavier than in any war ever waged on the face of God's
earth. Nor does it include that terrible item of peculation, as to
which I will say a word or two before I finish this chapter.

The yearly total payment of the officers and soldiers of the army is
as follows. As regards the officers, it must be understood that
this includes all the allowances made to them, except as regards
those on the staff. The sums named apply only to the infantry and
artillery. The pay of the cavalry is about ten per cent. higher:--

Lieutenant-General* 1850 pounds.
Major-general 1150 "
Brigadier-General 800 "
Colonel 530 "
Lieutenant-Colonel** 475 "
Major 430 "
Captain 300 "
First Lieutenant 265 "
Second Lieutenant 245 "
First Sergeant 48 "
Sergeant 40 "
Corporal 34 "
Private 31 "

* General Scott alone holds that rank in the United States Army.

** A colonel and lieutenant-colonel are attached to each regiment.

In every grade named the pay is, I believe, higher than that given
by us, or, as I imagine, by any other nation. It is, however,
probable that the extra allowances paid to some of our higher
officers when on duty may give to their positions for a time a
higher pecuniary remuneration. It will of course be understood that
there is nothing in the American army answering to our colonel of a
regiment. With us the officer so designated holds a nominal command
of high dignity and emolument as a reward for past services.

I have already spoken of my visits to the camps of the other armies
in the field, that of General Halleck, who held his headquarters at
St. Louis, in Missouri, and that of General Buell, who was at
Louisville, in Kentucky. There was also a fourth army under General
Hunter, in Kansas, but I did not make my way as far west as that. I
do not pretend to any military knowledge, and should be foolish to
attempt military criticism; but as far as I could judge by
appearance, I should say that the men in Buell's army were, of the
three, in the best order. They seemed to me to be cleaner than the
others, and, as far as I could learn, were in better health. Want
of discipline and dirt have, no doubt, been the great faults of the
regiments generally, and the latter drawback may probably be
included in the former. These men have not been accustomed to act
under the orders of superiors, and when they entered on the service
hardly recognized the fact that they would have to do so in aught
else than in their actual drill and fighting. It is impossible to
conceive any class of men to whom the necessary discipline of a
soldier would come with more difficulty than to an American citizen.
The whole training of his life has been against it. He has never
known respect for a master, or reverence for men of a higher rank
than himself. He has probably been made to work hard for his wages--
harder than an Englishman works--but he has been his employer's
equal. The language between them has been the language of equals,
and their arrangement as to labor and wages has been a contract
between equals. If he did not work he would not get his money--and
perhaps not if he did. Under these circumstances he has made his
fight with the world; but those circumstances have never taught him
that special deference to a superior, which is the first essential
of a soldier's duty. But probably in no respect would that
difficulty be so severely felt as in all matters appertaining to
personal habits. Here at any rate the man would expect to be still
his own master, acting for himself and independent of all outer
control. Our English Hodge, when taken from the plow to the camp,
would, probably, submit without a murmur to soap and water and a
barber's shears; he would have received none of that education which
would prompt him to rebel against such ordinances; but the American
citizen, who for awhile expects to shake hands with his captain
whenever he sees him, and is astonished when he learns that he must
not offer him drinks, cannot at once be brought to understand that
he is to be treated like a child in the nursery; that he must change
his shirt so often, wash himself at such and such intervals, and go
through a certain process of cleansing his outward garments daily.
I met while traveling a sergeant of a regiment of the American
regulars, and he spoke of the want of discipline among the
volunteers as hopeless. But even he instanced it chiefly by their
want of cleanliness. "They wear their shirts till they drop off
their backs," said he; "and what can you expect from such men as
that?" I liked that sergeant for his zeal and intelligence, and
also for his courtesy when he found that I was an Englishman; for
previous to his so finding he had begun to abuse the English
roundly--but I did not quite agree with him about the volunteers.
It is very bad that soldiers should be dirty, bad also that they
should treat their captains with familiarity, and desire to exchange
drinks with the majors. But even discipline is not everything; and
discipline will come at last even to the American soldiers,
distasteful as it may be, when the necessity for it is made
apparent. But these volunteers have great military virtues. They
are intelligent, zealous in their cause, handy with arms, willing
enough to work at all military duties, and personally brave. On the
other hand, they are sickly, and there has been a considerable
amount of drunkenness among them. No man who has looked to the
subject can, I think, doubt that a native American has a lower
physical development than an Irishman, a German, or an Englishman.
They become old sooner, and die at an earlier age. As to that
matter of drink, I do not think that much need be said against them.
English soldiers get drunk when they have the means of doing so, and
American soldiers would not get drunk if the means were taken away
from them. A little drunkenness goes a long way in a camp, and ten
drunkards will give a bad name to a company of a hundred. Let any
man travel with twenty men of whom four are tipsy, and on leaving
them he will tell you that every man of them was a drunkard.

I have said that these men are brave, and I have no doubt that they
are so. How should it be otherwise with men of such a race? But it
must be remembered that there are two kinds of courage, one of which
is very common and the other very uncommon. Of the latter
description of courage it cannot be expected that much should be
found among the privates of any army, and perhaps not very many
examples among the officers. It is a courage self-sustained, based
on a knowledge of the right, and on a life-long calculation that any
results coming from adherence to the right will be preferable to any
that can be produced by a departure from it. This is the courage
which will enable a man to stand his ground, in battle or elsewhere,
though broken worlds should fall around him. The other courage,
which is mainly an affair of the heart or blood and not of the
brain, always requires some outward support. The man who finds
himself prominent in danger bears himself gallantly, because the
eyes of many will see him; whether as an old man he leads an army,
or as a young man goes on a forlorn hope, or as a private carries
his officer on his back out of the fire, he is sustained by the love
of praise. And the men who are not individually prominent in
danger, who stand their ground shoulder to shoulder, bear themselves
gallantly also, each trusting in the combined strength of his
comrades. When such combined courage has been acquired, that useful
courage is engendered which we may rather call confidence, and which
of all courage is the most serviceable in the army. At the battle
of Bull's Run the army of the North became panic-stricken, and fled.
From this fact many have been led to believe that the American
soldiers would not fight well, and that they could not be brought to
stand their ground under fire. This I think has been an unfair
conclusion. In the first place, the history of the battle of Bull's
Run has yet to be written; as yet the history of the flight only has
been given to us. As far as I can learn, the Northern soldiers did
at first fight well; so well, that the army of the South believed
itself to be beaten. But a panic was created--at first, as it
seems, among the teamsters and wagons. A cry was raised, and a rush
was made by hundreds of drivers with their carts and horses; and
then men who had never seen war before, who had not yet had three
months' drilling as soldiers, to whom the turmoil of that day must
have seemed as though hell were opening upon them, joined themselves
to the general clamor and fled to Washington, believing that all was
lost. But at the same time the regiments of the enemy were going
through the same farce in the other direction! It was a battle
between troops who knew nothing of battles; of soldiers who were not
yet soldiers. That individual high-minded courage which would have
given to each individual recruit the self-sustained power against a
panic, which is to be looked for in a general, was not to be looked
for in them. Of the other courage of which I have spoken, there was
as much as the circumstances of the battle would allow.

On subsequent occasions the men have fought well. We should, I
think, admit that they have fought very well when we consider how
short has been their practice at such work. At Somerset, at Fort
Henry, at Fort Donelson, at Corinth, the men behaved with courage,
standing well to their arms, though at each place the slaughter
among them was great. They have always gone well into fire, and
have general]y borne themselves well under fire. I am convinced
that we in England can make no greater mistake than to suppose that
the Americans as soldiers are deficient in courage.

But now I must come to a matter in which a terrible deficiency has
been shown, not by the soldiers, but by those whose duty it has been
to provide for the soldiers. It is impossible to speak of the army
of the North and to leave untouched that hideous subject of army
contracts. And I think myself the more specially bound to allude to
it because I feel that the iniquities which have prevailed prove
with terrible earnestness the demoralizing power of that dishonesty
among men in high places, which is the one great evil of the
American States. It is there that the deficiency exists, which must
be supplied before the public men of the nation can take a high rank
among other public men. There is the gangrene, which must be cut
out before the government, as a government, can be great. To make
money is the one thing needful, and men have been anxious to meddle
with the affairs of government, because there might money be made
with the greatest ease. "Make money," the Roman satirist said;
"make it honestly if you can, but at any rate make money." That
first counsel would be considered futile and altogether vain by
those who have lately dealt with the public wants of the American

This is bad in a most fatal degree, not mainly because men in high
places have been dishonest, or because the government has been badly
served by its own paid officers. That men in high places should be
dishonest, and that the people should be cheated by their rulers, is
very bad. But there is worse than this. The thing becomes so
common, and so notorious, that the American world at large is taught
to believe that dishonesty is in itself good. "It behoves a man to
be smart, sir!" Till the opposite doctrine to that be learned; till
men in America--ay, and in Europe, Asia, and Africa--can learn that
it specially behoves a man not to be smart, they will have learned
little of their duty toward God, and nothing of their duty toward
their neighbor.

In the instances of fraud against the States government to which I
am about to allude, I shall take all my facts from the report made
to the House of Representatives at Washington by a committee of that
House in December, 1861. "Mr. Washburne, from the Select Committee
to inquire into the Contracts of the Government, made the following
Report." That is the heading of the pamphlet. The committee was
known as the Van Wyck Committee, a gentleman of that name having
acted as chairman.

The committee first went to New York, and began their inquiries with
reference to the purchase of a steamboat called the "Catiline." In
this case a certain Captain Comstock had been designated from
Washington as the agent to be trusted in the charter or purchase of
the vessel. He agreed on behalf of the government to hire that
special boat for 2000l. a month for three months, having given
information to friends of his on the matter, which enabled them to
purchase it out and out for less than 4000l. These friends were not
connected with shipping matters, but were lawyers and hotel
proprietors. The committee conclude "that the vessel was chartered
to the government at an unconscionable price; and that Captain
Comstock, by whom this was effected, while enjoying THE PECULIAR
CONFIDENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT, was acting for and in concert with the
parties who chartered the vessel, and was in fact their agent." But
the report does not explain why Captain Comstock was selected for
this work by authority from Washington, nor does it recommend that
he be punished. It does not appear that Captain Comstock had ever
been in the regular service of the government, but that he had been
master of a steamer.

In the next place one Starbuck is employed to buy ships. As a
government agent he buys two for 1300l. and sells them to the
government for 2900l. The vessels themselves, when delivered at the
navy yard, were found to be totally unfit for the service for which
they had been purchased. But why was Starbuck employed, when, as
appears over and over again in the report, New York was full of paid
government servants ready and fit to do the work? Starbuck was
merely an agent, and who will believe that he was allowed to pocket
the whole difference of 1600l.? The greater part of the plunder
was, however, in this case refunded.

Then we come to the case of Mr. George D. Morgan, brother-in-law of
Mr. Welles, the Secretary of the Navy. I have spoken of this
gentleman before, and of his singular prosperity. He amassed a
large fortune in five months, as a government agent for the purchase
of vessels, he having been a wholesale grocer by trade. This
gentleman had had no experience whatsoever with reference to ships.
It is shown by the evidence that he had none of the requisite
knowledge, and that there were special servants of the government in
New York at that time, sent there specially for such services as
these, who were in every way trustworthy, and who had the requisite
knowledge. Yet Mr. Morgan was placed in this position by his
brother-in-law, the Secretary of the Navy, and in that capacity made
about 20,000l. in five months, all of which was paid by the
government, as is well shown to have been the fact in the report
before me. One result of such a mode of agency is given; one other
result, I mean, besides the 20,000l. put into the pocket of the
brother of the Secretary of the Navy. A ship called the "Stars and
Stripes" was bought by Mr. Morgan for 11,000l., which had been built
some months before for 7000l. This vessel was bought from a company
which was blessed with a president. The president made the bargain
with the government agent, but insisted on keeping back from his own
company 2000l. out of the 11,000l. for expenses incident to the
purchase. The company did not like being mulcted of its prey, and
growled heavily; but their president declared that such bargains
were not got at Washington for nothing. Members of Congress had to
be paid to assist in such things. At least he could not reduce his
little private bill for such assistance below 1600l. He had, he
said, positively paid out so much to those venal members of
Congress, and had made nothing for himself to compensate him for his
own exertions. When this president came to be examined, he admitted
that he had really made no payments to members of Congress. His own
capacity had been so great that no such assistance had been found
necessary. But he justified his charge on the ground that the sum
taken by him was no more than the company might have expected him to
lay out on members of Congress, or on ex-members who are specially
mentioned, had he not himself carried on the business with such
consummate discretion! It seems to me that the members or ex-
members of Congress were shamefully robbed in this matter.

The report deals manfully with Mr. Morgan, showing that for five
months' work--which work he did not do and did not know how to do--
he received as large a sum as the President's salary for the whole
Presidential term of four years. So much better is it to be an
agent of government than simply an officer! And the committee adds,
that they "do not find in this transaction the less to censure in
the fact that this arrangement between the Secretary of the Navy and
Mr. Morgan was one between brothers-in-law." After that who will
believe that Mr. Morgan had the whole of that 20,000l. for himself?
And yet Mr. Welles still remains Secretary of the Navy, and has
justified the whole transaction in an explanation admitting
everything, and which is considered by his friends to be an able
State paper. "It behoves a man to be smart, sir." Mr. Morgan and
Secretary Welles will no doubt be considered by their own party to
have done their duty well as high-trading public functionaries. The
faults of Mr. Morgan and of Secretary Welles are nothing to us in
England; but the light in which such faults may be regarded by the
American people is much to us.

I will now go on to the case of a Mr. Cummings. Mr. Cummings, it
appears, had been for many years the editor of a newspaper in
Philadelphia, and had been an intimate political friend and ally of
Mr. Cameron. Now at the time of which I am writing, April, 1861,
Mr. Cameron was Secretary of War, and could be very useful to an old
political ally living in his own State. The upshot of the present
case will teach us to think well of Mr. Cameron's gratitude.

In April, 1861, stores were wanted for the army at Washington, and
Mr. Cameron gave an order to his old friend Cummings to expend
2,000,000 dollars, pretty much according to his fancy, in buying
stores. Governor Morgan, the Governor of New York State, and a
relative of our other friend Morgan, was joined with Mr. Cummings in
this commission, Mr. Cameron no doubt having felt himself bound to
give the friends of his colleague at the Navy a chance. Governor
Morgan at once made over his right to his relative; but better
things soon came in Mr. Morgan's way, and he relinquished his share
in this partnership at an early date. In this transaction he did
not himself handle above 25,000 dollars. Then the whole job fell
into the hands of Mr. Cameron's old political friend.

The 2,000,000 dollars, or 400,000l., were paid into the hands of
certain government treasurers at New York, but they had orders to
honor the draft of the political friend of the Secretary of War, and
consequently 50,000l. was immediately withdrawn by Mr. Cummings, and
with this he went to work. It is shown that he knew nothing of the
business; that he employed a clerk from Albany whom he did not know,
and confided to this clerk the duty of buying such stores as were
bought; that this clerk was recommended to him by Mr. Weed, the
editor of a newspaper at Albany, who is known in the States as the
special political friend of Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State; and
that in this way he spent 32,000l. He bought linen pantaloons and
straw hats to the amount of 4200l., because he thought the soldiers
looked hot in the warm weather; but he afterward learned that they
were of no use. He bought groceries of a hardware dealer named
Davidson, at Albany, that town whence came Mr. Weed's clerk. He did
not know what was Davidson's trade, nor did he know exactly what he
was going to buy; but Davidson proposed to sell him something which
Mr. Cummings believed to be some kind of provisions, and he bought
it. He did not know for how much--whether over 2000l. or not. He
never saw the articles, and had no knowledge of their quality. It
was out of the question that he should have such knowledge, as he
naively remarks. His clerk Humphreys saw the articles. He presumed
they were brought from Albany, but did not know. He afterward
bought a ship--or two or three ships. He inspected one ship "by a
mere casual visit:" that is to say, he did not examine her boilers;
he did not know her tonnage, but he took the word of the seller for
everything. He could not state the terms of the charter, or give
the substance of it. He had had no former experience in buying or
chartering ships. He also bought 75,000 pairs of shoes at only 25
cents (or one shilling) a pair more than their proper price. He
bought them of a Mr. Hall, who declares that he paid Mr. Cummings
nothing for the job, but regarded it as a return for certain
previous favors conferred by him on Mr. Cummings in the occasional
loans of 100l. or 200l.

At the end of the examination it appears that Mr. Cummings still
held in his hand a slight balance of 28,000l., of which he had
forgotten to make mention in the body of his own evidence. "This
item seems to have been overlooked by him in his testimony," says
the report. And when the report was made, nothing had yet been
learned of the destiny of this small balance.

Then the report gives a list of the army supplies miscellaneously
purchased by Mr. Cummings: 280 dozen pints of ale at 9s. 6d. a
dozen; a lot of codfish and herrings; 200 boxes of cheeses and a
large assortment of butter; some tongues; straw hats and linen
"pants;" 23 barrels of pickles; 25 casks of Scotch ale, price not
stated; a lot of London porter, price not stated; and some Hall
carbines of which I must say a word more further on. It should be
remembered that no requisition had come from the army for any of the
articles named; that the purchase of herrings and straw hats was
dictated solely by the discretion of Cummings and his man Humphreys,
or, as is more probable, by the fact that some other person had such
articles by him for sale; and that the government had its own
established officers for the supply of things properly ordered by
military requisition. These very same articles also were apparently
procured, in the first place, as a private speculation, and were
made over to the government on the failure of that speculation.
"Some of the above articles," says the report, "were shipped by the
Catiline, which was probably loaded on private account, and, not
being able to obtain a clearance, was, in some way, through Mr.
Cummings, transferred over to the government--SCOTCH ALE, LONDON
PORTER, SELECTED HERRINGS, and all." The italics, as well as the
words, are taken from the report.

This was the confidential political friend of the Secretary of War,
by whom he was intrusted with 400,000l. of public money! Twenty-
eight thousand pounds had not been accounted for when the report was
made, and the army supplies were bought after the fashion above
named. That Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron, has since left the
cabinet; but he has not been turned out in disgrace; he has been
nominated as Minister to Russia, and the world has been told that
there was some difference of opinion between him and his colleagues
respecting slavery! Mr. Cameron, in some speech or paper, declared
on his leaving the cabinet that he had not intended to remain long
as Secretary of War. This assertion, I should think, must have been

And now about the Hall carbines, as to which the gentlemen on this
committee tell their tale with an evident delight in the richness of
its incidents which at once puts all their readers in accord with
them. There were altogether some five thousand of these, all of
which the government sold to a Mr. Eastman in June, 1861, for 14s.
each, as perfectly useless, and afterward bought in August for 4l.
8s. each, about 4s. a carbine having been expended in their repair
in the mean time. But as regards 790 of these now famous weapons,
it must be explained they had been sold by the government as
perfectly useless, and at a nominal price, previously to this second
sale made by the government to Mr. Eastman. They had been so sold,
and then, in April, 1861, they had been bought again for the
government by the indefatigable Cummings for 3l. each. Then they
were again sold as useless for 14s. each to Eastman, and instantly
rebought on behalf of the government for 4l. 8s. each! Useless for
war purposes they may have been, but as articles of commerce it must
be confessed that they were very serviceable.

This last purchase was made by a man named Stevens on behalf of
General Fremont, who at that time commanded the army of the United
States in Missouri. Stevens had been employed by General Fremont as
an agent on the behalf of government, as is shown with clearness in
the report, and on hearing of these muskets telegraphed to the
general at once: "I have 5000 Hall's rifled cast-steel muskets,
breach-loading, new, at 22 dollars." General Fremont telegraphed
back instantly: "I will take the whole 5000 carbines. . . . I will
pay all extra charges." . . . . And so the purchase was made. The
muskets, it seems, were not absolutely useless even as weapons of
war. "Considering the emergency of the times?" a competent witness
considered them to be worth "10 or 12 dollars." The government had
been as much cheated in selling them as it had in buying them. But
the nature of the latter transaction is shown by the facts that
Stevens was employed, though irresponsibly employed, as a government
agent by General Fremont; that he bought the muskets in that
character himself, making on the transaction 1l. 18s. on each
musket; and that the same man afterward appeared as an aid-de-camp
on General Fremont's staff. General Fremont had no authority
himself to make such a purchase, and when the money was paid for the
first installment of the arms, it was so paid by the special order
of General Fremont himself out of moneys intended to be applied to
other purposes. The money was actually paid to a gentleman known at
Fremont's headquarters as his special friend, and was then paid in
that irregular way because this friend desired that that special
bill should receive immediate payment. After that, who can believe
that Stevens was himself allowed to pocket the whole amount of the

There is a nice little story of a clergyman in New York who sold,
for 40l. and certain further contingencies, the right to furnish 200
cavalry horses; but I should make this too long if I told all the
nice little stories. As the frauds at St. Louis were, if not in
fact the most monstrous, at any rate the most monstrous which have
as yet been brought to the light, I cannot finish this account
without explaining something of what was going on at that Western
Paradise in those halcyon days of General Fremont.

General Fremont, soon after reaching St. Louis, undertook to build
ten forts for the protection of that city. These forts have since
been pronounced as useless, and the whole measure has been treated
with derision by officers of his own army. But the judgment
displayed in the matter is a military question with which I do not
presume to meddle. Even if a general be wrong in such a matter, his
character as a man is not disgraced by such error. But the manner
of building them was the affair with which Mr. Van Wyck's Committee
had to deal. It seems that five of the forts, the five largest,
were made under the orders of a certain Major Kappner, at a cost of
12,000l., and that the other five could have been built at least for
the same sum. Major Kappner seems to have been a good and honest
public servant, and therefore quite unfit for the superintendence of
such work at St. Louis. The other five smaller forts were also in
progress, the works on them having been continued from 1st of
September to 25th of September, 1861; but on the 25th of September
General Fremont himself gave special orders that a contract should
be made with a man named Beard, a Californian, who had followed him
from California to St. Louis. This contract is dated the 25th of
September. But nevertheless the work specified in that contract was
done previous to that date, and most of the money paid was paid
previous to that date. The contract did not specify any lump sum,
but agreed that the work should be paid for by the yard and by the
square foot. No less a sum was paid to Beard for this work--the
cormorant Beard, as the report calls him--than 24,200l., the last
payment only, amounting to 4000l., having been made subsequent to
the date of the contract. Twenty thousand two hundred pounds was
paid to Beard before the date of the contract! The amounts were
paid at five times, and the last four payments were made on the
personal order of General Fremont. This Beard was under no bond,
and none of the officers of the government knew anything of the
terms under which he was working. On the 14th of October General
Fremont was ordered to discontinue these works, and to abstain from
making any further payments on their account. But, disobeying this
order, he directed his quartermaster to pay a further sum of 4000l.
to Beard out of the first sums he should receive from Washington, he
then being out of money. This, however, was not paid. "It must be
understood," says the report, "that every dollar ordered to be paid
by General Fremont on account of these works was diverted from a
fund specially appropriated for another purpose." And then again:
"The money appropriated by Congress to subsist and clothe and
transport our armies was then, in utter contempt of all law and of
the army regulations, as well as in defiance of superior authority,
ordered to be diverted from its lawful purpose and turned over to
the cormorant Beard. While he had received l70,000 dollars
(24,200l.) from the government, it will be seen from the testimony
of Major Kappner that there had only been paid to the honest German
laborers, who did the work on the first five forts built under his
directions, the sum of 15,500 dollars, (3100l.,) leaving from 40,000
to 50,000 dollars (8000l. to 10,000l.) still due; and while these
laborers, whose families were clamoring for bread, were besieging
the quartermaster's department for their pay, this infamous
contractor Beard is found following up the army and in the
confidence of the major-general, who gives him orders for large
purchases, which could only have been legally made through the
quartermaster's department." After that, who will believe that all
the money went into Beard's pocket? Why should General Fremont have
committed every conceivable breach of order against his government,
merely with the view of favoring such a man as Beard?

The collusion of the Quartermaster M'Instry with fraudulent knaves
in the purchase of horses is then proved. M'Instry was at this time
Fremont's quartermaster at St. Louis. I cannot go through all
these. A man of the name of Jim Neil comes out in beautiful pre-
eminence. No dealer in horses could get to the quartermaster except
through Jim Neil, or some such go-between. The quartermaster

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