Part 2 out of 7
hearty meal enjoyed, Tony being now permitted for the first time
to sit up in the boat. After the meal Vincent and Dan lay down for
a long sleep, while Tony, who had slept some hours during the
night, kept watch.
At four in the afternoon tide again slackened, and as soon as it had
fairly turned they pushed out from the creek and again set sail. In
three hours they were at the mouth of the river. A short distance
out they saw several boats fishing, and dropping anchor a short
distance away from these, they lowered their sail, and taking the
fishing-lines from the locker of the boat, set to to fish. As soon as
it was quite dark the anchor was hauled up, and Vincent and Dan
took the oars, the wind having now completely dropped. For some
time they rowed steadily, keeping the land in sight on their right
Tony was most anxious to help, but as he had never had an oar in
his hand in his life, Vincent thought that he would do more harm
than good. It was, he knew, some ten miles from the mouth of the
York River to Fortress Monroe, at the entrance to Hampton Roads,
and after rowing for three hours he thought that he could not be far
from that point, and therefore turned the boat's head out toward the
sea. They rowed until they could no longer make out the land
astern, and then laying in their oars waited till the morning,
Vincent sitting in the stern and often nodding off to sleep, while
the two negroes kept up a constant conversation in the bow.
As soon as it was daylight the oars were again got out. They could
clearly make out the outline of the coast, and saw the break in the
shore that marked the entrance to Hampton Roads. There was a
light breeze now, but Vincent would not hoist the sail lest it might
attract the attention of some one on shore. He did not think the
boat itself could be seen, as they were some eight or nine miles
from the land. They rowed for a quarter of an hour, when Vincent
saw the white sails of a ship coming out from the entrance.
The breeze was so light that she would, he thought, be nearly three
hours before she reached the spot where they were now, and
whether she headed to the right or left of it he would have plenty
of time to cut her off. For another two hours he and Dan rowed
steadily. The wind had freshened a good deal, and the ship was
now coming up fast to them. Two others had come out after her,
but were some miles astern. They had already made out that the
ship was flying a flag at her masthead, and although they had not
been able to distinguish its colors, Vincent felt sure that it was the
right ship; for he felt certain that the captain would get up sail as
soon as possible, so as to come up with them before any other
vessels came out. They had somewhat altered their course, to put
themselves in line with the vessel. When she was within a
distance of about a mile and a half Vincent was able to make out
the flag, and knew that it was the right one.
"There's the ship, Tony," he said; "it is all right, and in a few
minutes you will be on your way to England."
Tony had already changed his tattered garments for the suit of
sailor's clothes that at Dan had bought for him. Vincent had given
him full instructions as to the course he was to pursue. The ship
was bound for Liverpool; on his arrival there he was at once to go
round the docks and take a passage in the steerage of the next
steamer going to Canada.
"The fare will be about twenty-five dollars," he said. "When you
get to Canada you will land at Quebec, and you had better go on by
rail to Montreal, where you will, I think, find it easier to get work
than at Quebec. As soon as you get a place you are likely to stop
in, get somebody to write for you to me, giving me your address.
Here are a hundred dollars, which will be sufficient to pay your
expenses to Montreal and leave you about fifty dollars to keep you
till you can get something to do."
CHAPTER IV. SAFELY BACK.
When the ship came within a few hundred yards, Vincent stood
up and waved his cap, and a minute later the ship was brought up
into the wind and her sails thrown aback. The captain appeared at
the side and shouted to the boat now but fifty yards away:
"What do you want there?"
"I have a passenger for England," Vincent replied. "Will you take
"Come alongside," the captain said. "Why didn't he come on hoard
before I started?"
The boat was rowed alongside, and Vincent climbed on board.
The captain greeted him as a stranger and led the way to his cabin.
"You have managed that well," he said when they were alone, "and
I am heartily glad that you have succeeded. I made you out two
hours ago. We will stop here another two or three minutes so that
the men may think you are bargaining for a passage for the negro,
and then the sooner he is on board and you are on your way back
the better, for the wind is rising, and I fancy it is going to blow a
good deal harder before night."
"And won't you let me pay for the man's passage, captain? It is
only fair anyhow that I should pay for what he will eat."
"Oh, nonsense!" the captain replied. "He will make himself useful
and pay for his keep. I am only too glad to get; the poor fellow
off. Now, we will have a glass of wine together and then say
Two minutes later they returned to the deck. Vincent went to the
"Jump on board, Tony. I have arranged for your passage."
The negro climbed up the side.
"Good-by, captain, and thank you heartily. Good-by, Tony."
The negro could not speak, but he seized the hand Vincent held
out to him and pressed it to his lips. Vincent dropped lightly into
his boat; and pushed off from the side of the vessel. As he did so
he heard orders shouted, the yards swung round, and the vessel
almost at once began to move through the water.
"Now, Dan, up with the mast; and sail again; but let me put two
reefs in first, the wind is getting up."
In five minutes the sail was hoisted, and with Vincent at the helm
and Dan sitting up to windward, was dashing through the water.
Although Vincent understood the management of a sailing-boat on
the calm waters of the rivers, this was his first experience of
sea-sailing; and although the waves were still but small, he felt at
first somewhat nervous as the boat dashed through them, sending
up at times a sheet of spray from her bows. But he soon got over
this sensation, and enjoyed the lively motion and the fresh wind.
The higher points of the land were still visible; but even had they
not been so it would have mattered little, as be had taken the
precaution to bring with him a small pocket-compass. The wind
was from the southwest; and he was therefore able, with the sheet
hauled in, to make for a point where he judged the mouth of the
York River lay.
"Golly, massa! how de boat do jump up and down."
"She is lively, Dan, and it would be just as well if we had some
ballast on board; however, she has a good beam and walks along
splendidly. If the wind keeps as it is, we shall be back at the
mouth of the York in three or four hours. You may as well open
that basket again and hand me that cold chicken and a piece of
bread; cut the meat off the bones and put it on the bread, for I have
only one hand disengaged; and hand me that bottle of cold tea.
That's right. Now you had better take something yourself. You
must be hungry. We forgot all about the basket in our interest in
Dan shook his head.
"A little while ago, massa, me seem berry hungry, now me doesn't
feel hungry at all."
"That's bad, Dan. I am afraid you are going to be seasick."
"Me no feel seasick, massa; only me don't feel hungry." But in a
few minutes Dan was forced to confess that; he did feel ill, and a
few moments afterward was groaning in the agonies of
"Never mind, Dan," Vincent said cheerfully. "You will be better
"Me not seasick, massa; de sea have nuffin to do with it. It's de
boat dat will jump up and down instead of going quiet."
"It's all the same thing, Dan; and I hope she won't jump about more
before we get into the river."
But in another half hour Vincent had to bring the boat's head up to
the wind, lower the lug, and tie down the last reef.
"There, she goes easier now, Dan," he said, as the boat resumed
her course; but Dan, who was leaning helplessly over the side of
the boat, could see no difference.
Vincent, however, felt that; under her close sail the boat was doing
better, and rising more easily on the waves, which were now
higher and farther apart than before. In another hour the whole of
the shore-line was visible; but the wind had risen so much that,
even under her reduced sail, the boat had as much as she could
carry, and often heeled over until her gunwale was nearly under
water. Another hour and the shore was but some four miles away,
but Vincent felt he could no longer hold on.
In the hands of an experienced sailor, who would have humored
the boat and eased her up a little to meet the seas, the entrance to
the York River could no doubt have been reached with safety; but
Vincent was ignorant of the art of sailing a boat in the sea, and she
was shipping water heavily. Dan had for some time been bailing,
having only undertaken the work in obedience to Vincent's angry
orders, being too ill to care much what became of them.
"Now, Dan, I am going to bring her head up to the wind, so get
ready to throw off that halyard and gather in the sail as it; comes
down. That's right, man; now down with the mast."
Vincent had read that the best plan when caught in an open boat
in a gale, was to tie the oars and mast, if she had one, together, and
to throw them overboard with the head rope tied to them, as by
that means the boat would ride head to sea. The oars, sculls, mast,
and sail were firmly tied together and launched overboard, the
rope being first taken off the anchor and tied round the middle of
the clump of spars.
Vincent carefully played out the rope till some fifteen yards were
over, then he fastened it to the ring of the head rope, and had the
satisfaction of finding that the boat rode easily to the floating
anchor, rising lightly over the waves, and not shipping a drop of
water. He then took the bailer and got rid of the water that had
found its way on board, Dan, after getting down the sail, having
"Now, Dan, sit up; there, man, the motion is much easier now, and
we are taking no water on board. I will give you a glass of rum,
that will put new strength into you. It's lucky we put it in the
basket in case of emergency."
The negro, whose teeth were chattering from cold, fright, and
exhaustion, eagerly drank off the spirit. Vincent, who was wet to
the skin with the spray, took a little himself, and then settled
himself as comfortably as he could on the floor-boards in the stern
of the boat, and quietly thought out the position. The wind was
still rising, and a thick haze obscured the land. He had no doubt
that by night it would be blowing a gale; but the boat rode so easily
and lightly that he believed she would get through it.
They might, it was true, be blown many miles off the shore, and
not be able to get back for some time, for the gale might last two
or three days. The basket of provisions was, however, a large one.
Dan had received orders to bring plenty and had obeyed them
literally, and Vincent saw that the supply of food, if carefully
husbanded, would last; without difficulty for a week. The supply
of liquor was less satisfactory. There was the bottle of rum, two
bottles of claret, and a two-gallon jar, nearly half empty, of water.
The cold tea was finished.
"That would be a poor supply for a week for two of us," Vincent;
muttered, as he removed the contents of the basket and stored
them carefully in the locker; "however, if it's going to be a gale
there is sure to be some rain with it, so I think we shall manage
By night it was blowing really heavily, but although the waves
were high the boat shipped but little water. Dan had fallen off to
sleep, and Vincent had been glad to wrap himself in the thick coat
he had brought with him as a protection against the heavy dews
when sleeping on the river. At times sharp rain squalls burst upon
them, and Vincent had no difficulty in filling up the water-bottle
again with the bailer.
The water was rather brackish, but not sufficiently so to be of
consequence. All night the boat was tossed heavily on the waves.
Vincent dozed off at times, rousing himself occasionally and
bailing out the water, which came in the shape of spray and rain.
The prospect in the morning was not cheering. Gray clouds
covered the sky and seemed to come down almost on to the water,
the angry sea was crested with white heads, and it seemed to
Vincent wonderful that the boat should live in such a sea.
"Now, Dan, wake yourself up and get some breakfast," Vincent
said, stirring up the negro with his foot.
"Oh Lor'!" Dan groaned, raising himself into a sitting position from
the bottom of the boat, "dis am awful; we neber see the shore no
"Nonsense, man," Vincent said cheerily; "we are getting on
"It hab been an awful night, sah."
"An awful night! You lazy rascal, you slept like a pig all night,
while I have been bailing the boat and looking out for you. It is
your turn now, I can tell you. Well, do you feel ready for your
Dan, after a moment's consideration, declared that he was. The
feeling of seasickness had passed off, and except that he was wet
through and miserable, he felt himself again, and could have eaten
four times the allowance of food that Vincent handed him. A
pannikin of rum and water did much to restore his life and vitality,
and he was soon, with the light-heartedness of his race, laughing
and chatting cheerfully.
"How long dis go on, you tink, sah?"
"Not long, I hope, Dan. I was afraid last night it was going to be a
big gale, but I do not think it is blowing so hard now as it was in
"Where have we get to now, sah?"
"I don't exactly know, Dan; but I do not suppose that we are very
many miles away from shore. The mast and oars prevent our
drifting fast, and I don't think we are further off now than we were
when we left that ship yesterday. But even if we were four or five
times as far as that, we should not take very long in sailing back
again when the wind drops, and as we have got enough to eat for a
week we need not be uncomfortable about that."
"Not much food for a week, Massa Vincent."
"Not a very great deal, Dan; but quite enough to keep us going.
You can make up for lost time when you get to shore again."
In a few hours it was certain that the wind was going down. By
midday the clouds began to break up, and an hour later the sun was
shining brightly. The wind was still blowing strongly, but the sea
had a very different appearance in the bright light of the sun to that
which it had borne under the canopy of dark gray clouds. Standing
up in the boat two hours later, Vincent could see no signs of land.
"How shall we find our way back, Massa Vincent?"
"We have got a compass; besides, we should manage very well
even if we had not. Look at the sun, Dan. There it is right ahead
of us. So, you know, that's the west--that's the way we have to go."
"That very useful ob de sun, sah; but suppose we not live in de
west de sun not point de way den."
"Oh, yes, he would, just the same, Dan. We should know whether
to go away from him, or to keep him on the right hand or on the
This was beyond Dan. "And I s'pose the moon will show de way at
"The moon would show the way if she were up, but she is not
always up; but I have got a compass here, and so whether we have
the sun or the moon, or neither of them, I can find my way back to
Dan had never seen a compass, and for an hour amused himself
turning it round and round and trying to get it to point in some
other direction than the north.
"Now, Dan," Vincent said at last, "give me that compass, and get
out the food. We will have a better meal than we did this morning,
for now that the wind is going down there's no chance of food
running short. When we have had dinner we will get up the sail
again. The sea is not so rough as it was, and it is certainly not so
high as it was before we lowered the sail yesterday."
"De waves berry big, massa."
"They are big, Dan; but they are not so angry. The heads are not
breaking over as they did last night, and the boat will go better
over those long waves than she did through the choppy sea at the
beginning of the gale."
Accordingly the bundle of spars was pulled up alongside and
lifted. The mast was set up and the sail hoisted. Dan in a few
minutes forgot his fears and lost even his sense of uneasiness as he
found the boat mounted wave after wave without shipping water.
Several times, indeed, a shower of spray flew high up in the air,
but the gusts no longer buried her so that the water came over the
gunwale, and it was a long time before there was any occasion to
use the bailer. As the sun set it could be seen that there was a dark
line between it and the water.
"There is the land, Dan; and I do not suppose it is more than
twenty miles away, for most of the coast lies low."
"But how we find de York River, massa? Will de compass tell you
"No, Dan. I don't know whether we have drifted north or south of
it. At ordinary times the current runs up the coast, but the wind
this morning was blowing from the north of west, and may have
been doing so all through the night for anything I know. Well, the
great thing is to make land. We are almost sure to come across
some fishing-boats, but, if not, we must run ashore and find a
They continued sailing until Vincent's watch told him it was
twelve o'clock, by which time the coast was quite close. The wind
now almost dropped, and, lowering their sail, they rowed in until,
on lowering the anchor, they found that it touched the ground.
Then they lay down and slept till morning. Dan was the first to
"Dar are some houses dere close down by the shore, sah, and some
men getting out a boat."
"That's all right, Dan," Vincent said as he roused himself and
looked over. "We shall learn soon where we are."
In a quarter of an hour the fishing-boat put off, and the lads at once
rowed to it.
"How far are we from the mouth of the York River?" Vincent
asked the two negroes on board.
"About twenty miles, sah. Where you come from?"
"We were off the month of the river, and were blown off in the
"You tink yourself berry lucky you get back," one of them said.
"Berry foolish to go out like dat when not know how to get back."
"Well, we have managed to get back now, you see, and none the
worse for it. Now, Dan, up with the sail again."
There was a light wind off shore, and all the reefs being shaken out
the boat ran along fast.
"I should think we are going about five miles an hour, Dan. We
ought to be off the mouth of the river in four hours. We must look
out sharp or else we shall pass it, for many of these islets look just
like the mouth of the river. However, we are pretty sure to pass
several fishing-boats on our way, and we shall be able to inquire
There was no need, however, to do this. It was just the four hours
from the time of starting when they saw some eight or ten
fishing-boats ahead of them.
"I expect that that is the entrance to the river. When we get half a
mile further we shall see it open."
On approaching the fishing-boats they recognized at once the
appearance of the shore, as they had noticed it when fishing there
before, and were soon in the entrance to the river.
"It will be high tide in about two hours," Vincent said, "according to
the time it was the other day. I am afraid when it turns we shall
have to get down our sails; there will be no beating against both
wind and tide. Then we must get out oars and row. There is very
little tide close in by the bank, and every little gain will be a help.
We have been out four days. It is Thursday now, and they will be
beginning to get very anxious at home, so we must do our best to
Keeping close under the bank, they rowed steadily, making on an
average about two miles an hour. After five hours' rowing they
tied up to the bank, had a meal, and rested until tide turned; then
they again hoisted their sail and proceeded on their way. Tide
carried them just up to the junction of the two rivers, and landing
at Cumberland they procured beds and slept till morning.
Another long day's work took them up to the plantation of Mr.
Furniss, and fastening up the boat, and carrying the sails and oars
on shore, they started on their walk home.
"Why, Vincent, where on earth have you been all this time?" Mrs.
Wingfield said as her son entered. "You said you might be away a
couple of nights; and we expected you back on Wednesday at the
latest, and now it is Friday evening."
"Well, mother, we have had great fun. We went sailing about right
down to the mouth of the York River. I did not calculate that it
would take me more than twice as long to get back as to get
down; but as the wind blew right down the river it was precious
slow work, and we had to row all the way. However, it has been a
jolly trip, and I feel a lot better for it."
"You don't look any better for it," Annie said. "The skin is all off
your face, and you are as red as fire. Your clothes look shrunk as
well as horribly dirty. You are quite an object, Vincent."
"We got caught in a heavy gale," Vincent said, "and got a thorough
ducking. As to my face, a day or two will set it all to rights again;
and so they will my hands, I hope, for I have got nicely blistered
tugging at those oars. And now, mother, I want some supper, for I
am as hungry as a hunter. I told Dan to go into the kitchen and get
a good square meal."
The next morning, just after breakfast, there was the sound of
horses' hoofs outside the house, and, looking out, Vincent saw Mr.
Jackson, with a man he knew to be the sheriff, and four or five
others. A minute later one of the servants came in, and said that
the sheriff wished to speak to Mrs. Wingfield.
"I will go out to him," Mrs. Wingfield replied. Vincent followed
her to the door.
"Mrs. Wingfield," the sheriff said, "I am the holder of a warrant; to
search your slave-huts and grounds for a runaway negro named
Anthony Moore, the property of Mr. Jackson here."
"Do you suppose, sir," Mrs. Wingfield asked angrily, "that I am the
sort of person to give shelter to runaway slaves?"
"No, madam, certainly not," the sheriff replied; "no one would
suppose for a moment that Mrs. Wingfield of the Orangery would
have anything to do with a runaway, but Mr. Jackson here learned
only yesterday that the wife of this slave was here, and every one
knows that where the wife is the husband is not likely to be far
"I suppose, sir," Mrs. Wingfield said coldly, "that there was no
necessity for me to acquaint Mr. Jackson formerly with the fact
that I had purchased through my agent the woman he sold to
separate her from her husband."
"By no means, madam, by no means; though, had we known it
before, it might have been some aid to us in our search. Have we
your permission to see this woman and to question her?"
"Certainly not," Mrs. Wingfield said; "but if you have any question
to ask I will ask her and give you her answer."
"We want to know whether she has seen her husband since the day
of his flight from the plantation?"
"I shall certainly not ask her that question, Mr. Sheriff. I have no
doubt that, as the place from which he has escaped is only a few
miles from here, he did come to see his wife. It would have been
very strange if he did not. I hope that by this time the man is
hundreds of miles away. He was brutally treated by a brutal
master, who, I believe, deliberately set to work to make him run
away, so that he could hunt him down and punish him. I presume,
sir, you do not wish to search this house, and you do not suppose
that the man is hidden here. As to the slave-huts and the
plantation, you can, of course, search them thoroughly; but as it is
now more than a fortnight since the man escaped, it is not likely
you will find him hiding within a few miles of his master's
So saying she went into the house and shut the door behind her.
Mr. Jackson ground his teeth with rage, but the sheriff rode off
toward the slave-huts without a word. The position of Mrs.
Wingfield of the Orangery, connected as she was with half the old
families of Virginia, and herself a large slave-owner, was beyond
suspicion, and no one would venture to suggest that such a lady
could have the smallest sympathy for a runaway slave.
"She was down upon you pretty hot, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff said
as they rode off. "You don't seem to be in her good books."
Jackson muttered an imprecation.
"It is certainly odd," the sheriff went on, "after what you were
telling me about her son pitching into Andrew over flogging this
very slave, that she should go and buy his wife. Still, that's a very
different thing from hiding a runaway. I dare say that, as she says,
the fellow came here to see his wife when he first ran away; but I
don't think you will find him anywhere about here now. It's pretty
certain from what we hear that he hasn't made for the North, and
where the fellow can be hiding I can't think. Still the woods about
this country are mighty big, and the fellow can go out on to the
farms and pick corn and keep himself going for a long time. Still,
he's sure to be brought up sooner or later."
A thorough search was made of the slave-huts, and the slaves were
closely questioned, but all denied any knowledge of the runaway.
Dan escaped questioning, as he had taken up Vincent's horse to the
house in readiness for him to start as soon as he had finished
All day the searchers rode about the plantation examining every
clump of bushes, and assuring themselves that none of them had
been used as a place of refuge for the runaway.
"It's no good, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff said at last. "The man may
have been here; he ain't here now. The only place we haven't;
searched is the house, and you may be quite sure the slaves dare
not conceal him there. Too many would get to know it. No, sir,
he's made a bolt of it, and you will have to wait now till he is
caught by chance, or shot by some farmer or other in the act of
"I would lay a thousand dollars," Andrew Jackson exclaimed
passionately, "that young Wingfield knows something about his
whereabouts, and has lent him a hand!"
"Well, I should advise you to keep your mouth shut about it till
you get some positive proof," the sheriff said dryly. "I tell you it's
no joke to accuse a member of a family like the Wingfields of
helping runaway slaves to escape."
"I will bide my time," the planter said. "You said that some day
you would lay hands on Tony dead or alive. You see if some day I
don't lay hands on young Wingfield."
"Well, it seems, Mr. Jackson," the sheriff remarked with a sneer, for
he was out of temper at the ill success of the day's work, "that he
has already laid hands on your son. It seems to me quite as likely
that he will lay hands on you as you on him."
Two days afterward as Vincent was riding through the streets of
Richmond he saw to his surprise Andrew Jackson in close
conversation with Jonas Pearson.
"I wonder what those two fellows are talking about?" he said to
himself. "I expect Jackson is trying to pump Pearson as to the
doings at the Orangery. I don't like that fellow, and never shall,
and he is just the sort of man to do one a bad turn if he had the
chance. However, as I have never spoken to him about that affair
from beginning to end, I don't see that he can do any mischief if he
Andrew Jackson, however, had obtained information which he
considered valuable. He learned that Vincent had been away in a
boat for five days, and that his mother had been very uneasy about
him. He also learned that the boat was one belonging to Mr.
Furniss, and that it was only quite lately that Vincent had taken to
going out sailing.
After considerable trouble he succeeded in getting at one of the
slaves upon Mr. Furniss' plantation. But he could only learn from
him that Vincent had been unaccompanied when he went out in
the boat either by young Furniss or by any of the plantation hands;
that he had taken with him only his own slave, and had come and
gone as he chose, taking out and fastening up the boat himself, so
that no one could say when he had gone out, except that his horse
was put up at the stables. The slave said that certainly the horse
had only stood there on two or three occasions, and then only for a
few hours, and that unless Mr. Wingfield had walked over he
could never have had the boat out all night, as the horse certainly
had not stood all night in the stables.
Andrew Jackson talked the matter over with his son, and both
agreed that Vincent's conduct was suspicious His own people said
he had been away for five days in the boat. The people at Furniss'
knew nothing about this, and therefore there must be some mystery
about it, and they doubted not that that mystery was connected
with the runaway slave, and they guessed that he had either taken
Tony and landed him near the mouth of the York River on the
northern shore, or that he had put him on board a ship. They
agreed, however, that whatever their suspicious, they had not
sufficient grounds for openly accusing Vincent of aiding their
CHAPTER V. SECESSION.
While Vincent had been occupied with the affairs of Tony and
his wife, public events had moved forward rapidly. The South
Carolina Convention met in the third week in December, and on
the 20th of that month the Ordinance of Secession was passed. On
the 10th of January, three days after Vincent returned home from
his expedition, Florida followed the example of South Carolina
and seceded. Alabama and Mississippi passed the Ordinance of
Secession on the following day; Georgia on the 18th, Louisiana on
the 23d, and Texas on the 1st of February.
In all these States the Ordinance of Session was received with
great rejoicing: bonfires were lit, the towns illuminated, and the
militia paraded the streets, and in many cases the Federal arsenals
were seized and the Federal forts occupied by the State troops. In
the meantime the Northern Slave States, Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, remained irresolute. The
general feeling was strongly in favor of their Southern brethren;
but they were anxious for peace, and for a compromise being
arrived at. Whether the North would agree to admit the
constitutional rights of secession, or whether it would use force to
compel the Seceding States to remain in the Union, was still
uncertain; but the idea of a civil war was so terrible a one that the
general belief was that some arrangement to allow the States to go
their own way would probably be arrived at.
For the time the idea of Vincent going to West Point was
abandoned. Among his acquaintances were several young men
who were already at West Point, and very few of these returned to
the academy. The feeling there was very strongly on the side of
secession. A great majority of the students came from the
Southern States, as while the sons of the Northern men went
principally into trade and commerce, the Southern planters sent
their sons into the army, and a great proportion of the officers of
the army and navy were Southerners.
As the professors at West Point were all military men, the feeling
among them, as well as among the students, was in favor of State
rights; they considering that, according to the constitution, their
allegiance was due first to the States of which they were natives,
and in the second place to the Union. Thus, then, many of the
professors who were natives of the seven States which had seceded
resigned their appointments, and returned home to occupy
themselves in drilling the militia and the levies, who were at once
called to arms.
Still all hoped that peace would be preserved, until on the 11th of
April General Beauregard, who commanded the troops of South
Carolina, summoned Major Anderson, who was in command of
the Federal troops in Fort Sumter, to surrender, and on his refusal
opened fire upon the fort on the following day.
On the 13th, the barracks of the fort being set on fire, and Major
Anderson seeing the hopelessness of a prolonged resistance,
surrendered. The effect of the news throughout the United States
was tremendous, and Mr. Lincoln at once called out 75,000 men of
the militia of the various States to put down the rebellion--the
border States being ordered to send their proportion. This brought
matters to a climax. Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky,
Tennessee, and Missouri all refused to furnish contingents to act
against the Southern States; and Virginia, North Carolina, and
Kansas a few days later passed Ordinances of Secession and joined
the Southern States. Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware were
divided in their counsels.
The struggle that was about to commence was an uneven one.
The white population of the Seceding States was about 8,000,000;
while that the Northern States were 19,614,885. The North
possessed an immense advantage, inasmuch as they retained the
whole of the Federal navy, and were thereby enabled at once to cut
off all communication between the Southern States and Europe,
while they themselves could draw unlimited supplies of munitions
of war of all kinds from across the Atlantic.
Although the people of Virginia had hoped to the last that some
peaceful arrangement might be effected, the Act of Secession was
received with enthusiasm. The demand of Mr. Lincoln that they
should furnish troops to crush their Southern brethren excited the
liveliest indignation, and Virginia felt that there was no course
open to her now but to throw in her lot with the other Slaves
States. Her militia was at once called out, and volunteers called
for to form a provisional army to protect the State from invasion
by the North.
The appeal was answered with enthusiasm; men of all ages took
up arms; the wealthy raised regiments at their own expense,
generally handing over the commands to experienced army
officers, and themselves taking their places in the ranks; thousand
of lads of from fifteen to sixteen years of age enrolled themselves,
and men who had never done a day's work in their life prepared to
suffer all the hardships of the campaign as private soldiers.
Mrs. Wingfield was an enthusiastic supporter of State rights; and
when Vincent told her that numbers of his friends were going to
enroll themselves as soon as the lists were opened, she offered no
objection to his doing the same.
"Of course you are very young, Vincent; but no one thinks there
will be any serious fighting. Now that Virginia and the other four
States have cast in their lot with the seven that have seceded, the
North can never hope to force the solid South back into the Union.
Still it is right you should join. I certainly should not like an old
Virginian family like ours to be unrepresented; but I should prefer
your joining one of the mounted corps.
"In the first place it will be much less fatiguing than carrying a
heavy rifle and knapsack; and in the second place, the cavalry will
for the most part be gentlemen. I was speaking only yesterday
when I went into Richmond to Mr. Ashley, who is raising a corps.
He is one of the best riders in the country, and a splendid specimen
of a Virginian gentleman. He tells me that he has already received
a large number of applications from young volunteers, and that he
thinks he shall be able without any difficulty to get as many as he
wants. I said that I had a son who would probably enroll himself,
and that I should like to have him in his corps.
"He said that he would be glad to put down your name, and that he
had had many applications from lads no older than yourself. He
considered that for cavalry work, scouting, and that sort; of thing
age mattered little, and that; a lad who was at once a light weight,
a good rider, and a good shot was of as much good as a man."
"Thank you, mother. I will ride into Richmond to-morrow
morning and see Ashley. I have often met him at one house or
another, and should like to serve under him very much. I should
certainly prefer being in the cavalry to the infantry."
Rosie and Annie, who were of course enthusiastic for the South,
were almost as pleased as was Vincent when they heard that their
mother had consented to his enrolling himself. So many of the
girls of their acquaintance had brothers or cousins who were
joining the army, that they would have felt it as something like a
slur upon the family name had Vincent remained behind.
On the following morning Vincent rode over and saw Mr. Ashley,
who had just; received his commission as major. He was cordially
Mrs. Wingfield was speaking to me about you, and I shall be glad
to have you with me--the more so as you are a capital rider and a
good shot. I shall have a good many in my ranks no older than you
are. Did I not hear a few months since that you bought Wildfire? I
thought when I heard it; that you would be lucky if you did not get
your neck broken in the course of a week. Peters, who owns the
next estate to mine, had the horse for about three weeks, and was
glad enough to get rid of it for half what he had given for it. He
told me the horse was the most savage brute he ever saw. I suppose
you did not keep it many days?"
"I have got it still, and mean to ride it with you. The horse was not
really savage. It was hot-tempered, and had, I think, been badly
treated by its first owner. Who-ever it had belonged to, I found no
difficulty with it. It only wanted kindness and a little patience;
and as soon as it found that it could not get rid of me, and that I
had no intention of ill-treating it, it settled down quietly, after
running away a few times and giving me some little trouble at
starting. And now I would not change it for any horse in the
"You must he a first-rate rider," Major Ashley said, "to be able to
tame Wildfire. I never saw the horse, for I was away when Peters
had him, but from his description it was a perfect savage."
"Are we allowed to bring a servant with us" Vincent asked.
"Yes, if you like. I know that a good many are going to do so, but
you must not make up your mind that you will get much benefit
from one. We shall move rapidly, and each man must shift for
himself, but at the same time we shall of course often be
stationary; and then servants will be useful. At any rate I can see
no objection to men having them. We must be prepared to rough it
to any extent when it is necessary, but I see no reason why at other
times a man should not make himself comfortable. I expect the
order to-morrow or next day to begin formally to enroll
volunteers. As I have now put down your name there will be no
occasion for you to come in then. You will receive a
communication telling you when to report yourself.
"I shall not trouble much about uniform at first. High boots and
breeches, a thick felt hat that will turn the edge of a sword, and a
loose coat-jacket of dark-gray cloth. That is the name of the tailor
who has got the pattern, and will make them. So I should advise
you to go to him at once, for he will be so busy soon that; there is
no saying when the whole troop will get their uniforms."
Upon his return home Vincent related to his mother and sisters the
conversation that he had had with Major Ashley.
"Certainly you had better take a servant with you," his mother said.
"I suppose when you are riding about; you will have to clean your
horse, and cook your dinner, and do everything for yourself; but
when you are in a town you should have these things done for you.
Who would you like to take?
"I should like to take Dan, mother, if you have no objection. He is
very strong and active, and I think would generally be able to keep
up with us; besides, I know he would always stick to me."
"You shall have him certainly, Vincent; I will make him over
formally to you."
"Thank you, mother," Vincent said joyfully; for he had often
wished that Dan belonged to him, as he would then be able to
prevent any interference with him by the overseer or any one else,
and could, if he liked, give him his freedom--although this would,
he knew, be of very doubtful advantage to the lad as long as he
remained in the South.
The next morning the necessary papers were drawn up, and the
ownership of Dan was formally transferred to Vincent. Dan was
wild with delight when he heard that Vincent was now his master,
and that he was to accompany him to the war. It had been known
two days before that Vincent was going, and it seemed quite
shocking to the negroes that the young master should go as a
private soldier, and have to do everything for himself-"just," as
they said, "like de poor white trash;" for the slaves were proud to
belong to an old family, and looked down with almost contempt
upon the poorer class of whites, regarding their own position as
Four days later Vincent received an official letter saying that the
corps would be mustered in two days' time. The next day was
spent in a long round of farewell visits, and then Vincent mounted
Wildfire, and, with Dan trotting behind, rode off from the
Orangery amid a chorus of blessings and good wishes from all the
slaves who could on any pretext get away from their duties, and
who had assembled in front of the house to see him start.
The place of meeting for the regiment was at Hanover
Courthouse--a station on the Richmond and Fredericksburg
Railway, close to the Pamunkey River, about eighteen miles from
The Orangery was a mile from the village of Gaines, which lay to
the northeast of Richmond, and was some twelve miles from
A month was spent in drill, and at the end of that time the corps
were able to execute any simple maneuver. More than this Major
Ashley did not care about their learning. The work in which they
were about to engage was that of scouts rather than that of regular
cavalry, and the requirements were vigilance and attention to
orders, good shooting and a quick eye. Off duty there was but
little discipline. Almost the whole of the men were in a good
position in life, and many of them very wealthy; and while strict
discipline and obedience were expected while on duty, at all other
times something like equality existed between officers and men,
and all were free to live as they chose.
The rations served out were simple and often scanty, for at present
the various departments were not properly organized, and such
numbers of men were flocking to the standards that the authorities
were at their wit's end to provide them with even the simplest
food. This mattered but little, however, to the regiment, whose
members were all ready and willing to pay for everything they
wanted, and the country people round found a ready market for all
their chickens, eggs, fruit, and vegetables at Hanover Courthouse,
for here there were also several infantry regiments, and the
normally quiet little village was a scene of bustle and confusion.
The arms of the cavalry were of a very varied description. Not
more than a dozen had swords; the rest were armed with rifles or
shot-guns, with the barrels cut short to enable them to be carried as
carbines. Many of them were armed with revolvers, and some
carried pistols so antiquated that they might have been used in the
revolutionary war. A certain number of tents had been issued for
the use of the corps. These, however, were altogether insufficient
for the numbers, and most of the men preferred to sleep in shelters
composed of canvas, carpets, blankets, or any other material that
came to hand, or in arbors constructed of the boughs of trees, for it
was now April and warm enough to sleep in the open air.
In the third week in May the order came that the corps was to
march at once for Harper's Ferry--an important position at the point
where the Shenandoah River runs into the Potomac, at the mouth
of the Shenandoah Valley. The order was received with the
greatest satisfaction. The Federal forces were gathering rapidly
upon the northern banks of the Potomac, and it was believed that,
while the main army would march down from Washington through
Manassas Junction direct upon Richmond, another would enter by
the Shenandoah Valley, and, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains,
come down on the rear of the Confederate army, facing the main
force at Manassas. The cavalry marched by road, while the
infantry were despatched by rail as far as Manassas Junction,
whence they marched to Harper's Ferry. The black servants
accompanied the infantry.
The cavalry march was a pleasant one. At every village through
which they passed the people flocked out with offerings of milk
and fruit. The days were hot, but the mornings and evenings
delightful; and as the troops always halted in the shade of a wood
for three or four hours in the middle of the day, the marches
although long were not fatiguing. At Harper's Ferry General
Johnston had just superseded Colonel Jackson in command. The
force there consisted of 11 battalions of infantry, 16 guns, and
after Ashley's force arrived, 300 cavalry. Among the regiments
there Vincent found many friends, and learned what was going on.
He learned that Colonel Jackson had been keeping them hard at
work. Some of Vincent's friends had been at the Virginia Military
Institute at Lexington, where Jackson was professor of natural
philosophy and instructor of artillery.
"He was the greatest fun," one of the young men said; "the stiffest
and most awkward-looking fellow in the institute. He used to
walk about as if he never saw anything or anybody. He was
always known as Old Tom, and nobody ever saw him laugh. He
was awfully earnest in all he did, and strict, I can tell you, about
everything. There was no humbugging him. The fellows liked him
because he was really so earnest about everything, and always just
and fair. But he didn't look a bit like a soldier except as to his
stiffness, and when the fellows who had been at Lexington heard
that he was in command here they did not think he would have
made much hand at it; but I tell you, he did. You never saw such a
fellow to work.
"Everything had to be done, you know. There were the guns, but
no horses and no harness. The horses had to be got somehow, and
the harness manufactured out of ropes; and you can imagine the
confusion of nine battalions of infantry, all recruits, with no one to
teach them except a score or two of old army and militia officers.
Old Tom has done wonders, I can tell you. You see, he is so
fearfully earnest himself every one else has got to be earnest.
There has been no playing about anything, but just fifteen hours'
hard work a day. Fellows grumbled and growled and said it was
absurd, and threatened to do all sorts of things. You see, they had
all come out to fight if necessary, but hadn't bargained for such
hard work as this.
"However, Jackson had his way, and I don't suppose any one ever
told him the men thought they were too hard worked. He is not the
sort of man one would care about remonstrating with. I don't
know yet whether he is as good at fighting as he is at working and
organizing; but I rather expect a fellow who is so earnest about
everything else is sure to be earnest about fighting, and I fancy that
when he once gets into the thick of it he will go through with it.
He had such a reputation as an oddity at Lexington that there were
a lot of remarks when he was made colonel and sent here; but
there is no doubt that he has proved himself the right man so far,
and although his men may grumble they believe in him.
"My regiment is in his brigade, and I will bet any money that we
have our share of fighting. What sort of man is Johnston? He is a
fine fellow--a soldier, heart and soul. You could tell him anywhere,
and we have a first-rate fellow in command of the cavalry--Colonel
Stuart--a splendid dashing fellow, full of life and go. His fellows
swear by him. I quite envy you, for I expect you will astonish the
Yankee horsemen. They are no great riders up there, you know,
and I expect the first time you meet them you will astonish them."
Here he suddenly stopped, stood at attention, and saluted.
Vincent at once did the same, although, had he not been set the
example by his friend, he would never have thought of doing so to
the figure who passed.
"Who is it?" he asked, as his companion resumed his easy attitude.
"Why, that's Old Tom."
"What! Colonel Jackson!" Vincent said in surprise. "Well, he is an
The figure that had passed was that of a tall, gaunt man, leaning
awkwardly forward in his saddle. He wore an old gray coat, and
there was no sign of rank, nor particle of gold lace upon the
uniform. He wore on his head a faded cadet cap, with the rim
coming down so far upon his nose that he could only look
sideways from under it. He seemed to pay but little attention to
what was going on around him, and did not enter into conversation
with any of the officers he met.
The brigade commanded by Jackson was the first of the army of
the Shenandoah, and consisted of the 2d, 4th, 5th, and 27th
Virginians, to which was shortly afterward added the 33d. They
were composed of men of all ranks and ages, among them being a
great number of lads from fifteen and upward; for every school
had been deserted. Every boy capable of carrying a musket had
insisted upon joining, and among them were a whole company of
cadets from Lexington. The regiments selected their own officers,
and among these were many who were still lads. Many of the
regiments had no accouterments, and were without uniforms, and
numbers carried no better arms than a double-barreled shot-gun;
but all were animated with the same spirit of enthusiasm in their
cause, and a determination to die rather than to allow the invaders
to pass on through the fertile valleys of their native land.
Of all these valleys that of Shenandoah was the richest and most
beautiful. It was called the Garden of Virginia; and all writers
agreed in their praises of the beauties of its fields and forests,
mountains and rivers, its delicious climate, and the general
prosperity which prevailed among its population.
It was a pleasant evening that Ashley's horse spent at Harper's
Ferry on the day they marched in. All had many friends among the
other Virginian regiments, and their camp-fires were the center
toward which men trooped by scores. The rest was pleasant after
their hard marches; and, although ready to do their own work
when necessary, they appreciated the advantage of having their
servants again with them to groom their horses and cook their
The negroes were not less glad at being again with their masters.
Almost all were men who had, like Dan, been brought up with
their young owners, and felt for them a strong personal attachment,
and, if it had been allowed, would gladly have followed them in
the field of battle, and fought by their side against the "Yankees."
Their stay at Harper's Ferry was to be a short one. Colonel Stuart,
with his 200 horse, was scouting along the whole bank of the
Potomac, watching every movement of the enemy, and Ashley's
horse was to join them at once.
It was not difficult for even young soldiers to form an idea of the
general nature of the operations. They had to protect the
Shenandoah Valley, to guard the five great roads by which the
enemy would advance against Winchester, and not only to save the
loyal inhabitants and rich resources of the valley from falling into
the hands of the Federals, but what was of even greater
importance, to prevent the latter from marching across the Blue
Ridge Mountains, and falling upon the flank of the main
Confederate army at Manassas.
The position was a difficult one, for while "the grand army" was
assembling at Alexandria to advance against Manassas Junction,
McClellan was advancing from the northwest with 20,000 men,
and Patterson from Pennsylvania with 18,000.
In the morning before parading his troop, 100 strong, Ashley called
them together and told them that, as they would now be constantly
on the move and scattered over a long line, it was impossible that
they could take their servants with them.
"I should never have allowed them to be brought," he said, "had I
known that we should be scouting over such an extensive country;
at the same time, if we can manage to take a few on it would
certainly add to our comfort. I propose that we choose ten by lot to
go on with us. They must be servants of the troop and not of
individuals. We can scatter them in pairs at fire points, with
instructions to forage as well as they can, and to have things in
readiness to cook for whoever may come in off duty or may for the
time be posted there. Henceforth every man must groom and see
to his own horse, but I see no reason, military or otherwise, why
we shouldn't get our food cooked for us; and it will be just as well,
as long as we can, to have a few bundles of straw for us to lie on
instead of sleeping on the ground.
"Another ten men we can also choose by lot to go to Winchester;
which is, I imagine, the point we shall move to if the enemy
advance, as I fancy they will, from the other side of the
Shenandoah Valley. The rest must be sent home."
Each man accordingly wrote his name on a piece of paper, and
placed them in a haversack. Ten were then drawn out; and their
servants were to accompany the troop at once. The servants of the
next ten were to proceed by train to Winchester, while the slaves
of all whose names remained in the bag were to be sent home at
once, provided with passes permitting them to travel. To Vincent's
satisfaction his name was one of the first ten drawn, and Dan was
therefore to go forward. The greater part of the men evaded the
obligation to send their servants back to Richmond by despatching
them to friends who had estates in the Shenandoah Valley, with
letters asking them to keep the men for them until the troop
happened to come into their neighborhood.
At six o'clock in the morning the troop mounted and rode to Bath,
thirty miles away. It was here that Stuart had his headquarters,
whence he sent out his patrols up and down the Potomac, between
Harper's Ferry on the east and Cumberland on the west. Stuart was
away when they arrived, but he rode in a few hours afterward.
"Ah! Ashley, I am glad you have arrived," he said, as he rode up to
the troop, who had hastily mounted as he was seen approaching.
"There is plenty for you to do, I can tell you; and I only wish that
you had brought a thousand men instead of a hundred. I am
heartily glad to see you all, gentlemen," he said to the troop. "I am
afraid just at first that the brightness of your gray jackets will put
my men rather to shame; but we shall soon get rid of that. But
dismount your men, Ashley; there is plenty for them and their
horses to do without wasting time in parade work. There is very
little of that here, I can tell you. I have not seen a score of my men
together for the last month."
Vincent gazed with admiration at the young leader, whose name
was soon to be celebrated throughout America and Europe. The
young Virginian--for he was not yet twenty-eight years old--was the
beau ideal of a cavalry officer. He was singularly handsome, and
possessed great personal strength and a constitution which enabled
him to bear all hardships. He possessed unfailing good spirits, and
had a joke and laugh for all he met; and while on the march at the
head of his regiment he was always ready to lift up his voice and
lead the songs with which the men made the woods resound.
He seemed to live in his saddle, and was present at all hours of the
night and day along the line he guarded seeing that the men were
watchful and on the alert, instructing the outposts in their duty, and
infusing his own spirit and vigilance among them. He had been
educated at West Point, and had seen much service with the
cavalry against the Indians in the West. Such was the man who
was to become the most famous cavalry leader of his time. So far
he had not come in contact with the enemy, and his duties were
confined to obtaining information regarding their strength and
intentions, to watching every road by which they could advance,
and to seeing that none passed north to carry information to the
enemy as to the Confederate strength and positions, for even in the
Shenandoah Valley there were some whose sympathies were with
These were principally Northern men settled as traders in the
towns, and it was important to prevent them from sending any
news to the enemy. So well did Stuart's cavalry perform this
service, and so general was the hostility of the population against
the North, that throughout the whole of the war in Virginia it was
very seldom that the Northern generals could obtain any
trustworthy information as to the movements and strength of the
Confederates, while the latter were perfectly informed of every
detail connected with the intentions of the invaders.
The next morning Ashley's troop took up their share of the work at
the front. They were broken up into parties of ten, each of which
was stationed at a village near the river, five men being on duty
night and day. As it happened that none of the other men in his
squad had a servant at the front, Vincent was able without
difficulty to have Dan assigned to his party. A house in the village
was placed at their disposal, and here the five off duty slept and
took their meals while the others were in the saddle. Dan was
quite in his element, and turned out an excellent cook, and was
soon a general favorite among the mess.
CHAPTER VI. BULL RUN.
The next fortnight passed by without adventure. Hard as the
work was, Vincent enjoyed it thoroughly. When on duty by day he
was constantly on the move, riding through the forest, following
country lanes, questioning every one he came across; and as the
men always worked in pairs, there was no feeling of loneliness.
Sometimes Ashley would draw together a score of troopers, and
crossing the river in a ferryboat, would ride twenty miles north,
and, dashing into quiet villages, astonish the inhabitants by the
sight of the Confederate uniform. Then the villagers would be
questioned as to the news that had reached them of the movement
of the troops; the post office would be seized and the letters
broken open; any useful information contained in them being
noted. But in general questions were readily answered; for a
considerable portion of the people of Maryland were strongly in
favor of the South, and were only prevented from joining it by the
strong force that held possession of Baltimore, and by the constant
movement of Federal armies through the State. Vincent was often
employed in carrying despatches from Major Ashley to Stuart,
being selected for that duty as being the best mounted man in the
troop. The direction was always a vague one. "Take this letter to
Colonel Stuart, wherever he may be," and however early he
started, Vincent thought himself fortunate if he carried out his
mission before sunset; for Stuart's front covered over fifty miles of
ground, and there was no saying where he might be. Sometimes
after riding thirty or forty miles, and getting occasional news that
Stuart had passed through ahead of him, he would learn from some
outpost that the colonel had been there but ten minutes before, and
had ridden off before he came, and then Vincent had to turn his
horse and gallop back again, seldom succeeding in overtaking his
active commander until the latter had halted for his supper at one
or other of the villages where his men were stationed. Sometimes
by good luck he came upon him earlier, and then, after reading the
despatch, Stuart would, if he were riding in the direction where
Ashley's command lay, bid him ride on with him, and would chat
with him on terms of friendly intimacy about people they both
knew at Richmond, or as to the details of his work, and sometimes
they would sit down together under the shade of some trees, take
out the contents of their haversacks, and share their dinners.
"This is the second time I have had the best of this," the colonel
laughed one day; "my beef is as hard as leather, and this cold
chicken of yours is as plump and tender as one could wish to eat."
"I have my own boy, colonel, who looks after the ten of us
stationed at Elmside, and I fancy that in the matter of cold rations
he gives me an undue preference. He always hands me my
haversack when I mount with a grin, and I quite understand that it
is better I should ask no questions as to its contents."
"You are a lucky fellow," Stuart said. "My own servant is a good
man, and would do anything for me; but my irregular hours are too
much for him. He never knows when to expect me; and as he
often finds that when I do return I have made a meal an hour
before at one of the outposts, and do not want the food he has for
hours been carefully keeping hot for me, it drives him almost to
despair, and I have sometimes been obliged to eat rather than
disappoint him. But he certainly has not a genius for cooking, and
were it not that this riding gives one the appetite of a hunter, I
should often have a good deal of difficulty in devouring the meat
he puts into my haversack."
But the enemy were now really advancing, and on the 12th of June
a trooper rode in from the extreme left, and handed to Vincent a
despatch from Colonel Stuart.
"My orders were," he said, "that, if you were here, you were to
carry this on at all speed to General Johnston. If not, some one
else was to take it on."
"Any news?" Vincent asked, as aided by Dan he rapidly saddled
"Yes," the soldier said; "2,000 of the enemy have advanced up the
Western side and have occupied Romney, and they say that all
Patterson's force is on the move."
"So much the better," Vincent replied, as he jumped into the
saddle. "We have been doing nothing long enough, and the
sooner it comes the better."
It was a fifty-mile ride; but it was done in five hours, and at the
end of that time Vincent dismounted in front of General Johnston's
"Is the general in?" he asked the sentry at the door.
"No, he is not in; but here he comes," the soldier replied, and two
minutes later the general, accompanied by three or four officers,
Vincent saluted, and handed him the despatch. The general
opened it and glanced at the contents.
"The storm is going to burst at last, gentlemen," he said to the
officers. "Stuart writes me that 2,000 men, supposed to be the
advance of McClellan's army, are at Romney, and that he hears
Patterson is also advancing from Chambersburg on Williamsport.
His despatch is dated this morning at nine o'clock. He writes from
near Cumberland. No time has been lost, for that is eighty miles
away, and it is but five o'clock now. How far have you brought
this despatch, sir?"
"I have brought it from Elmside, general; twenty miles on the other
side of Bath. A trooper brought it in just at midday, with orders
for me to carry it on at once."
"That is good work," the general said. "You have ridden over fifty
miles in five hours. You must be well mounted, sir."
"I do not think there is a better horse in the State," Vincent said,
patting Wildfire's neck.
The general called an orderly.
"Let this man picket his horse with those of the staff," he said, "and
see that it has forage at once. Take the man to the orderly's
quarters, and see that he is well cared for."
Vincent saluted, and, leading Wildfire, followed the orderly.
When he had had a meal, he strolled out to see what was going on.
Evidently some movement was in contemplation. Officers were
riding up or dashing off from the general's headquarters. Two or
three regiments were seen marching down from the plateau on
which they were encamped into the town. Bells rang and drums
beat, and presently long trains of railway wagons, heavily laden,
began to make their way across the bridge. Until next morning the
movement continued unceasingly; by that time all the military
stores and public property, together with as much private property
belonging to inhabitants who had decided to forsake their homes
for a time rather than to remain there when the town was occupied
by the enemy, as could be carried on in the available wagons, had
been taken across the bridge. A party of engineers, who had been
all night hard at work, then set fire both to the railway bridge
across the river and the public buildings in the town. The main
body of troops had moved across in the evening. The rear-guard
passed when all was in readiness for the destruction of the bridge.
General Johnston had been preparing for the movement for some
time; he had foreseen that the position must be evacuated as soon
as the enemy began to advance upon either of his flanks, and a
considerable portion of his baggage and military stores had some
time previously been sent into the interior of Virginia. The troops,
formed up on the high grounds south of the river, looked in silence
at the dense volumes of smoke rising. This was the reality of war.
Hitherto their military work had been no more than that to which
many of them were accustomed when called out with the militia of
their State; but the scene of destruction on which they now gazed
brought home to them that the struggle was a serious one--that it
was war in its stern reality which had now begun.
The troops at once set off on their march, and at night bivouacked
in the woods around Charlestown. The next day they pushed
across the country and took up a position covering Winchester; and
then the enemy, finding that Johnston's army was in front of them
ready to dispute their advance, recrossed the river, and Johnston
concentrated his force round Winchester.
Vincent joined his corps on the same afternoon that the infantry
marched out from Harper's Ferry, the general sending him forward
with despatches as soon as the troops had got into motion.
"You will find Colonel Stuart in front of the enemy; but more than
that I cannot tell you."
This was quite enough for Vincent, who found the cavalry scouting
close to Patterson's force, prepared to attack the enemy's cavalry
should it advance to reconnoiter the country, and to blow up
bridges across streams, fell trees, and take every possible measure
to delay the advance of Patterson's army, in its attempt to push on
toward Winchester before the arrival of General Johnston's force
upon the scene.
"I am glad to see you back, Wingfield," Major Ashley said, as he
rode up. "The colonel tells me that in the despatch he got last
night from Johnston the general said that Stuart's information had
reached in a remarkably short time, having been carried with great
speed by the orderly in charge of the duty. We have scarcely been
out of our saddles since you left. However, I think we have been
of use, for we have been busy all round the enemy since we arrived
here in the afternoon, and I fancy he must think us a good deal
stronger than we are. At any rate, he has not pushed his cavalry
forward at all; and, as you say Johnston will be up to-morrow
afternoon. Winchester is safe anyhow."
After the Federals had recrossed the river, and Johnston had taken
up his position round Winchester, the cavalry returned to their old
work of scouting along the Potomac.
On the 20th of June movements of considerable bodies of the
enemy were noticed; and Johnston at once despatched Jackson
with his brigade to Martinsburg, with orders to send as much of the
rolling-stock of the railroad as could be removed to Winchester, to
destroy the rest, and to support Stuart's cavalry when they
advanced. A number of locomotives were sent to Winchester
along the highroad, drawn by teams of horses. Forty engines and
300 cars were burned or destroyed, and Jackson then advanced and
took up his position on the road to Williamsport, the cavalry camp
being a little in advance of him. This was pleasant for Vincent, as
when off duty he spent his time with his friends and schoolfellows
in Jackson's brigade.
On the 2d of July the scouts rode into camp with the news that a
strong force was advancing from Williamsport. Jackson at once
advanced with the 5th Virginia Infantry, numbering 380 men and
one gun, while Stuart, with 100 cavalry, started to make a
circuitous route, and harassed the flank and rear of the enemy.
There was no intention on the part of Jackson of fighting a battle,
his orders being merely to feel the enemy; whose strength was far
too great to be withstood even had he brought his whole brigade
into action, for they numbered three brigades of infantry, 500
cavalry, and some artillery.
For some hours the little Confederate force skirmished so boldly
that they checked the advance of the enemy, whose general
naturally supposed that he had before him the advanced guard of a
strong force, and therefore moved forward with great caution.
Then the Confederates, being threatened on both flanks by the
masses of the Federals, fell back in good order. The loss was very
trifling on either side, but the fact that so small a force had for
hours checked the advance of an army greatly raised the spirits and
confidence of the Confederates. Stuart's small cavalry force,
coming down upon the enemy's rear, captured a good many
prisoners--Colonel Stuart himself capturing forty-four infantry.
Riding some distance ahead of his troop to find out the position of
the enemy, he came upon a company of Federal infantry sitting
down in a field, having no idea whatever that any Confederate
force was in the neighborhood. Stuart did not hesitate a moment,
but riding up to them shouted the order, "Throw down your arms,
or you are all dead men." Believing themselves surrounded, the
Federals threw down their arms, and when the Confederate cavalry
came up were marched off as prisoners.
Jackson, on reaching his camp, struck his tents and sent them to
the rear, and formed up his whole brigade in order of battle. The
Federals, however, instead of attacking, continued their flank
movement, and Jackson fell back through Martinsburg and halted
for the night a mile beyond the town.
Next day he again retired, and was joined six miles further on by
Johnston's whole force. For four days the little army held its
position, prepared to give battle if the enemy advanced; but the
Federals, though greatly superior in numbers, remained immovable
at Martinsburg, and Johnston, to the great disgust of his troops,
retired to Winchester. The soldiers were longing to meet the
invaders in battle, but their general had to bear in mind that the
force under his command might at any moment be urgently
required to join the main Confederate army and aid in opposing
the Northern advance upon Richmond.
Stuart's cavalry kept him constantly informed of the strength of
the enemy gathering in his front. Making circuits round
Martinsburg, they learned from the farmers what numbers of
troops each day came along; and while the Federals knew nothing
of the force opposed to them, and believed that it far outnumbered
their own, General Johnston knew that Patterson's force numbered
about 22,000 men, while he himself had been joined only by some
3,000 men since he arrived at Winchester.
On the 18th of July a telegram from the government at Richmond
announced that the Federal grand army had driven in General
Beauregard's pickets at Manassas, and had begun to advance, and
Johnston was directed if possible to hasten to his assistance. A
few earthworks had been thrown up at Winchester, and some guns
mounted upon them, and the town was left under the protection of
the local militia. Stuart's cavalry was posted in a long line across
the country to prevent any news of the movement reaching the
enemy. As soon as this was done the infantry, 8,300 strong,
marched off. The troops were in high spirits now, for they knew
that their long period of inactivity was over, and that, although
ignorant when and where, they were on their march to meet the
They had no wagons or rations, the need for speed was too urgent
even to permit of food being cooked. Without a halt they pressed
forward steadily, and after two days' march, exhausted and half
famished, they reached the Manassas Gap Railroad. There they
were put into trains as fast as these could be prepared, and by noon
on the 20th joined Beauregard at Manassas. The cavalry had
performed their duty of preventing the news of the movement from
reaching the enemy until the infantry were nearly a day's march
away, and then Stuart reassembled his men and followed Johnston.
Thus the Confederate plans had been completely successful. Over
30,000 of the enemy, instead of being in line of battle with the
main army, were detained before Winchester, while the little
Confederate force who had been facing them had reached
Beauregard in time to take part in the approaching struggle.
In the North no doubt as to the power of the grand array to make
its way to Richmond was entertained. The troops were armed with
the best weapons obtainable, the artillery was numerous and
excellent, the army was fed with every luxury, and so confident
were the men of success that they regarded the whole affair in the
light of a great picnic. The grand army numbered 55,000 men,
with 9 regiments of cavalry and 49 rifle-guns. To oppose these,
the Confederate force, after the arrival of Johnston's army,
numbered 27,833 infantry, 35 smooth-bored guns, and 500 cavalry.
Many of the infantry were armed only with shot-guns and old
fowling-pieces, and the guns were small and ill-supplied with
ammunition. There had been some sharp fighting on the 18th, and
the Federal advance across the river of Bull Run had been sharply
repulsed; therefore their generals determined, instead of making a
direct attack on the 31st against the Confederate position, to take a
wide sweep round, cross the river higher up, and falling upon the
Confederate left flank, to crumple it up.
All night the Federal troops had marched, and at daybreak on the
21st nearly 40,000 men were in position on the left flank of the
Confederates. The latter were not taken by surprise when Stuart's
cavalry brought in news of the Federal movement, and General
Beauregard, instead of moving his troops toward the threatened
point, sent orders to General Longstreet on the right to cross the
river as soon as the battle began, and to fall upon the Federal flank
Had this movement been carried out, the destruction of the Federal
army would have been complete; but by one of those unfortunate
accidents which so frequently occur in war and upset the best laid
plans, the order in some way never came to hand, and when late
in the day the error was discovered it was too late to remedy it.
At eight o'clock in the morning two of the Federal divisions
reached the river, and while one of them engaged the Confederate
force stationed at the bridge, another crossed the river at a ford.
Colonel Evans, who commanded the Confederate forces, which
numbered but fifteen companies, left 200 men to continue to hold
the bridge, while with 800 he hurried to oppose General Hunter's
division, which had crossed at the ford.
This consisted of 16,000 infantry, with cavalry and artillery, and
another division of equal force had crossed at the Red House ford
higher up. To check so great a force with this handful of men
seemed all but impossible; but Colonel Evans determined to hold
his ground to the last, to enable his general to bring up
reinforcements. His force consisted of men of South Carolina and
Louisiana, and they contested every foot of the ground.
The regiment which formed the advance of the Federals charged,
supported by an artillery fire, but was repulsed. As the heavy
Federal line advanced, however, the Confederates were slowly but
steadily pressed back, until General Bee, with four regiments and a
battery of artillery, came up to their assistance. The newcomers
threw themselves into the fight with great gallantry, and
maintained their ground until almost annihilated by the fire of the
enemy, who outnumbered them by five to one. As, fighting
desperately, they fell back before Hunter's division, the Federals
who had crossed at Red House Ford suddenly poured down and
took them in flank.
Swept by a terrible musketry fire, these troops could no longer
resist, and in spite of the efforts of their general, who rode among
them imploring them to stand firm until aid arrived, they began to
fall back. Neither entreaties nor commands were of avail; the
troops had done all that they could, and broken and disheartened
they retreated in great confusion. But at this moment, when all
seemed lost, a line of glittering bayonets was seen coming over the
hill behind, and the general, riding off in haste toward them, found
Jackson advancing with the first brigade.
Unmoved by the rush of the fugitives of the brigades of Bee and
Evans, Jackson moved steadily forward, and so firm and resolute
was their demeanor, that Bee rode after his men, and pointing with
his sword to the first brigade, shouted, "Look, there is Jackson
standing like a stonewall" The general's words were repeated, and
henceforth the brigade was known as the Stonewall Brigade, and
their general by the nickname of Stonewall Jackson, by which he
was ever afterward known. The greater part of the fugitives
rallied, and took up their position on the right of Jackson, and the
Federal forces, who were hurrying forward assured of victory,
found themselves confronted suddenly by 2,000 bayonets. After a
moment's pause they pressed forward again, the artillery preparing
a way for them by a tremendous fire.
Jackson ordered his men to lie down until the enemy arrived
within fifty yards, and then to charge with the bayonet. Just at this
moment Generals Johnston and Beauregard arrived on the spot,
and at once seeing the desperate nature of the situation, and the
whole Federal army pressing forward against a single brigade, they
did their best to prepare to meet the storm. First they galloped up
and down the disordered lines of Bee, exhorting the men to stand
firm; and seizing the colors of the 4th Alabama, Johnston led them
forward and formed them up under fire.
Beauregard hurried up some reinforcements and formed them on
the left of Jackson, and thus 6,500 infantry and artillery, and
Stuart's two troops of cavalry, stood face to face with more than
20,000 infantry and seven troops of regular cavalry, behind whom
at the lower fords were 35,000 men in reserve. While his men
were lying down awaiting the attack, Jackson rode backward and
forward in front of them as calm and as unconcerned to all
appearance as if on the parade ground, and his quiet bravery
greatly nerved and encouraged the young troops.
All at once the tremendous artillery fire of the enemy ceased, and
their infantry came on in massive lines. The four Confederate
guns poured in their fire and then withdrew behind the infantry.
When the line came within fifty yards of him, Jackson gave the
word, his men sprang to their feet, poured in a heavy volley, and
then charged. A wild yell rose from both ranks as they closed, and
then they were mingled in a desperate conflict. For a time all was
in wild confusion, but the ardor and courage of Jackson's men
prevailed, and they burst through the center of the Federal line.
Immediately Jackson had charged, Beauregard sent forward the
rest of the troops, and for a time a tremendous struggle took place
along the whole line. Generals Bee and Barlow fell mortally
wounded at the head of their troops. General Hampton was
wounded, and many of the colonels fell. So numerous were the
Federals, that although Jackson had pierced their center, their
masses drove back his flanks and threatened to surround him. With
voice and example he cheered on his men to hold their ground, and
the officers closed up their ranks as they were thinned by the
enemy's fire, and for an hour the struggle continued without
marked advantage on either side.
Jackson's calmness was unshaken even in the excitement of the
fight. At one time an officer rode up to him from another portion
of the field and exclaimed, "General, I think the day is going
against us!" To which Jackson replied in his usual curt manner, "If
you think so, sir, you had better not say anything about it."
The resolute stand of the Confederates enabled General
Beauregard to bring up fresh troops, and he at last gave the word to
Jackson's brigade rushed forward on receiving the order, burst
through the Federals with whom they were engaged, and,
supported by the reserves, drove the enemy from the plateau. But
the Federals, still vastly superior in force, brought up the reserves,
and prepared to renew the attack; but 1,700 fresh men of the army
of the Shenandoah came upon the field of battle, Smith and Early
brought up their division from the river, and the whole Southern
line advanced at the charge, drove the enemy down the slopes and
on toward the fords.
A panic seized them, and their regiments broke up and took to
headlong flight, which soon became an utter rout. Many of them
continued their flight for hours, and for a time the Federal army
ceased to exist; and had the Confederates advanced, as Jackson
desired that they should do, Washington would have fallen into
their hands without a blow being struck in its defense.
This, the first great battle of the war, is sometimes known as the
battle of Manassas, but more generally as Bull Run.
With the exception of one or two charges, the little body of
Confederate horse did not take any part in the battle of Bull Run.
Had they been aware of the utter stampede of the Northern troops,
they could safely have pressed forward in hot pursuit as far as
Washington, but being numerically so inferior to the Federal
cavalry, and in ignorance that the Northern infantry had become a
mere panic-stricken mob, it would have been imprudent in the
extreme for such a handful of cavalry to undertake the pursuit of
Many of the Confederates were of opinion that this decisive
victory would be the end of the war, and that the North, seeing
that the South was able as well as willing to defend the position it
had taken up, would abandon the idea of coercing it into
submission. This hope was speedily dissipated. The North was
indeed alike astonished and disappointed at the defeat of their
army by a greatly inferior force, but instead of abandoning the
struggle, they set to work to retrieve the disaster, and to place in
the field a force which would, they believed, prove irresistible.
Vincent Wingfield saw but little of the battle at Bull Run. As they
were impatiently waiting the order to charge while the desperate
conflict between Jackson's brigade and the enemy was at its
fiercest, a shell from one of the Federal batteries burst a few
yards in front of the troop, and one of the pieces striking Vincent
on the side hurled him insensible from his horse. He was at once
lifted and carried by Dan and some of the other men-servants, who
had been told off for this duty, to the rear, where the surgeons were
busily engaged in dressing the wounds of the men who straggled
back from the front. While the conflict lasted those unable to walk
lay where they fell, for no provision had at present been made for
ambulance corps, and not a single man capable of firing a musket
could be spared from the ranks. The tears were flowing copiously
down Dan's cheeks as he stood by while the surgeons examined
"Is he dead, sah?" he sobbed as they lifted him up from his
"Dead." the surgeon repeated. "Can't you see he is breathing, and
did you not hear him groan when I examined his side? He is a
long way from being a dead man yet. Some of his ribs are broken,
and he has had a very nasty blow; but I do not think there is any
cause for anxiety about him. Pour a little wine down his throat,
and sprinkle his face with water. Raise his head and put a coat
under it, and when he opens his eyes and begins to recover, don't
let him move. Then you can cut up the side of his jacket and down
the sleeve, so as to get it off that side altogether. Cut his shirt
open, and bathe the wound with some water and bit of rag of any
sort; it is not likely to bleed much. When it has stopped bleeding
put a pad of linen upon it, and keep it wet. When we can spare
time we will bandage it properly."
But it was not until late at night that the time could be spared for
attending to Vincent; for the surgeons were overwhelmed with
work, and the most serious cases were, as far as possible, first
attended to. He had soon recovered consciousness. At first he
looked with a feeling of bewilderment at Dan, who was copiously
sprinkling his face with water, sobbing loudly while he did so. As
soon as the negro perceived that his master had opened his eyes he
gave a cry of delight.
"Tank de Lord, Marse Vincent; dis child tought you dead and gone
"What's the matter, Dan? What has happened?" Vincent said,
trying to move, and then stopping suddenly with a cry of pain.
"You knocked off your horse, sah, wid one of de shells of dem
"Am I badly hurt, Dan?"
"Berry bad, sah; great piece of flesh pretty nigh as big as my hand
come out ob your side, and doctor says some of de ribs broken.
But de doctor not seem to make much ob it; he hard sort ob man
dat. Say you get all right again. No time to tend to you now.
Hurry away just as if you some poor white trash instead of Massa
Wingfield ob de Orangery."
Vincent smiled faintly.
"It doesn't make much difference what a man is in a surgeon's eyes,
Dan; the question is how badly he is hurt, and what can be done
for him? Well, thank God it's no worse. Wildfire was not hurt, I
"No, sah; he is standing tied up by dat tree. Now, sah, de doctor
say me cut your jacket off and have de wound."
"All right, Dan; but be a little careful with the water, you seem to
be pretty near drowning me as it is. Just wipe my face and hair,
and get the handkerchief from the pocket of my jacket, and open
the shirt collar and put the handkerchief inside round my neck.
How is the battle going on? The roar seems louder than ever."
Dan went forward to the crest a of slight rise of the ground whence
he could look down upon the field of battle, and made haste to
"Can't see berry well, sah; too much smoke. But dey in de same
"Look round, Dan, and see if there are any fresh troops coming
"Yes, sah; lot of men coming ober de hill behind."
"That's all right, Dan. Now you can see about this bathing my
As soon as the battle was over Major Ashley rode up to where
Vincent and five or six of his comrades of the cavalry were lying
"How are you getting on, lads? Pretty well I hope?" he asked the
surgeon as he dismounted.
"First rate, major," one of the men answered. "We all of us took a
turn as soon as we heard that the Yanks were whipped."
"Yes, we have thrashed them handsomely," the major said. "Ah,
Wingfield, I am glad to see you are alive. I thought when you fell
it was all over with you."
"I am not much hurt, sir," Vincent replied. "A flesh wound and
some ribs are broken, I hear; but they won't be long mending I
"It's a nasty wound to look at," the major said, as Dan lifted the
pad of wet linen. "But with youth and health you will soon get
round it, never fear."
"Ah, my poor lad, yours is a worse case," he said as he bent over a
young fellow who was lying a few paces from Vincent.
"It's all up with me, major," he replied faintly; "the doctor said he
could do nothing for me. But I don't mind, now we have beaten
them. You will send a line to the old people, major, won't you,
and say I died doing my duty? I've got two brothers, and I expect
they will send one on to take my place."
"I will write to them, my lad," the major said, "and tell them all
about you." He could give the lad no false hopes, for already a
gray shade was stealing over the white face, and the end was close
at hand; in a few minutes he ceased to breathe.
Late in the evening the surgeons, having attended to more urgent
cases, came round. Vincent's wound was now more carefully
examined than before, but the result was the same. Three of the
ribs were badly fractured, but there was no serious danger.
"You will want quiet and good nursing for some time, my lad," the
principal surgeon said. "There will be a train of wounded going
off for Richmond the first thing in the morning, and you shall go
by it. You had better get a door, lads," he said to some of the
troopers who had come across from the spot where the cavalry
were bivouacked to see how their comrades were getting on, "and
carry him down and put him in the train. One has just been sent
off, and another will be made up at once, so that the wounded can
be put in it as they are taken down. Now I will bandage the wound,
and it will not want any more attention until you get home."
A wad of lint was placed upon the wound and bandaged tightly
round the body.
"Remember you have got to be perfectly quiet, and not attempt to
move till the bones have knit. I am afraid that they are badly
fractured, and will require some time to heal up again."
A door was fetched from an out-house near, and Vincent and two
of his comrades, who were also ordered to be sent to the rear, were
one by one carried down to the nearest point on the railway, where
a train stood ready to receive them, and they were then laid on the
All night the wounded kept arriving, and by morning the train was
packed as full as it would hold, and with two or three surgeons in
charge started for Richmond. Dan was permitted to accompany
the train, at Vincent's urgent request, in the character of doctor's
assistant, and he went about distributing water to the wounded, and
assisting the surgeons in moving such as required it.
It was night before the train reached Richmond. A number of
people were at the station to receive it; for as soon as the news of
the battle had been received, preparations had been made for the
reception of the wounded, several public buildings had been
converted into hospitals, and numbers of the citizens had come
forward with offers to take one or more of the wounded into their
houses. The streets were crowded with people, who were wild
with joy at the news of the victory which, as they believed, had
secured the State from any further fear of invasion. Numbers of
willing hands were in readiness to carry the wounded on stretchers
to the hospitals, where all the surgeons of the town were already
waiting to attend upon them.
Vincent, at his own request, was only laid upon a bed, as he said
that he would go home to be nursed the first thing in the morning.
This being the case it was needless to put him to the pain and
trouble of being undressed. Dan had started as soon as he saw his
master carried into the hospital to take the news to the Orangery,
being strictly charged by Vincent to make light of his injury, and
on no account whatever to alarm them. He was to ask that the
carriage should come to fetch him the first thing in the morning.
It was indeed but just daybreak when Mrs. Wingfield drove up to
the hospital. Dan had been so severely cross-examined that he had
been obliged to give an accurate account of Vincent's injury.
There was bustle and movement even at that early hour, for
another train of wounded had just arrived. As she entered the
hospital she gave an exclamation of pleasure, for at the door were
two gentlemen in conversation, one of whom was the doctor who
had long attended the family at the Orangery.
"I am glad you are here, Dr. Mapleston; for I want your opinion
before I move Vincent. Have you seen him?"
"No, Mrs. Wingfield; I did not know he was here. I have charge of
one of the wards, and have not had time to see who are in the
others. I sincerely hope Vincent is not seriously hurt."
"That's want I want to find out, doctor. His boy brought us news
late last night that he was here. He said the doctors considered
that he was not in any danger; but as it seems that he had three ribs
broken and a deep flesh wound from the explosion of a shell, it
seems to me that it must be serious."
"I will go up and see him at once, Mrs. Wingfield, and find out
from the surgeon in charge of his ward exactly what is the matter
with him." Dan led the way to the bed upon which Vincent was
lying. He was only dozing, and opened his eyes as they came up.
"My poor boy," Mrs. Wingfield said, struggling with her tears at
the sight of his pale face, "this is sad indeed."
"It is nothing very bad, mother," Vincent replied cheerfully;
"nothing at all to fret about. The wound is nothing to the injuries
of most of those here. I suppose, doctor, I can be moved at once?"
Doctor Mapleston felt his pulse.
"You are feverish, my lad; but perhaps the best thing for you would
be to get you home while you can be moved. You will do far better
there than here. But I must speak to the surgeon in charge of you
first, and hear what he says."
"Yes, I think you can move him," the surgeon of the ward said.
"He has got a nasty wound, and the ticket with him said that three
ribs were badly fractured; but I made no examination, as he said he
would be fetched the first thing this morning. I only put on a fresh
dressing and bandaged it. The sooner you get him off the better, if
he is to be moved. Fever is setting in, and he will probably be
wandering by this evening. He will have a much better chance at
home, with cool rooms and quiet and careful nursing, than he can
have here; though there would be no lack of either comforts or
nurses, for half the ladies in the town have volunteered for the
work, and we have offers of all the medical comforts that could be
required were the list of wounded ten times as large as it is."
A stretcher was brought in, and Vincent was lifted as gently as
possible upon it. Then he was carried down-stairs and the
stretcher placed in the carriage, which was a large open one,
and afforded just sufficient length for it. Mrs. Wingfield took her
seat beside him. Dan mounted the box beside the coachman.
"I will be out in an hour, Mrs. Wingfield," Dr. Mapleston said. "I
have to go round the ward again, and will then drive out at once.
Give him lemonade and cooling drinks; don't let him talk. Cut his
clothes off him, and keep the room somewhat dark, but with a free
current of air. I will bring out some medicine with me."
The carriage drove slowly to avoid shaking, and when they
approached the house Mrs. Wingfield told Dan to jump down and
come to the side of her carriage. Then she told him to run on as
fast as he could ahead, and to tell her daughters not to meet them
upon their arrival, and that all the servants were to be kept out of
the way, except three men to carry Vincent upstairs. The lad was
consequently got up to his room without any excitement, and was
soon lying on his bed with a sheet thrown lightly over him.
"That is comfortable," he said, as his mother bathed his face and
hands and smoothed his hair. "Where are the girls, mother?"
"They will come in to see you now, Vincent; but you are to keep
quite quiet you know, and not to talk." The girls stole in and said a
few words, and left him alone again with Mrs. Wingfield. He did
not look to them so ill as they had expected, for there was a flush
of fever on his cheeks. Dr. Mapleston arrived in another half-hour,
examined and redressed the wound, and comforted Mrs. Wingfield
with the assurance that there was nothing in it likely to prove
dangerous to life.
"Our trouble will be rather with the effect of the shock than with
the wound itself. He is very feverish now, and you must not be
alarmed if by this evening he is delirious. You will give him this
cooling draught every three hours; he can have anything in the way
of cooling drinks he likes. If he begins to wander, put cloths
dipped in cold water and wrung out on his head, and sponge his
hands with water with a little eau de Cologne in it. If he seems
very hot set one of the women to fan him, but don't let her go on if
it seems to worry him. I will come round again at half past nine
this evening and will make arrangements to pass the night here.
We have telegrams saying that surgeons are coming from
Charleston and many other places, so I can very well be spared."
When the doctor returned in the evening, he found, as he had
anticipated, that Vincent was in a high state of fever. This
continued four or five days, and then gradually passed off; and he
woke up one morning perfectly conscious. His mother was sitting
on a chair at the bedside.
"What o'clock is it, mother?" he asked. "Have I been asleep long?"
"Some time, dear," she answered gently; "but you must not talk.
You are to take this draught and to go off to sleep again; when you
wake you may ask any questions you like." She lifted the lad's
head, gave him the draught and some cold tea, then darkened the
room, and in a few minutes he was asleep again.
CHAPTER VII. THE MERRIMAC AND THE MONITOR.
It was some weeks before Vincent was able to walk unaided.
His convalescence was somewhat slow, for the shock to the system
had been a severe one. The long railway journey had been
injurious to him, for the bandage had become somewhat loose and
the broken pieces of bone had grated upon each other, and were
much longer in knitting together than they would have been had he
been treated on the spot.
As soon as he could walk he began to be anxious to rejoin his
troop, but the doctor said that many weeks must elapse before he
would be ready to undergo the hardships of campaign. He was
reconciled to some extent to the delay by letters from his friends
with the troop and by the perusal of the papers. There was nothing
whatever doing in Virginia. The two armies still faced each
other, the Northerners protected by the strong fortifications they
had thrown up round Washington--fortifications much too
formidable to be attacked by the Confederates, held as they were
by a force immensely superior to their own, both in numbers and
The Northerners were indeed hard at work, collecting and
organizing an army which was to crush out the rebellion. General
Scott had been succeeded by McClellan in the supreme command,
and the new general was indefatigable in organizing the vast
masses of men raised in the North. So great were the efforts that
in a few months after the defeat of Bull Run the North had 650,000
men in arms.
But while no move had at present been made against Virginia
there was sharp fighting in some of the border states, especially in
Missouri and Kentucky, in both of which public opinion was much
divided, and regiments were raised on both sides.
Various operations were now undertaken by the Federal fleet at
points along the coast, and several important positions were taken
and occupied, it being impossible for the Confederates to defend
so long a line of sea-coast. The South had lost rather than gained
ground in consequence of their victory at Bull Bun. For a time
they had been unduly elated, and were disposed altogether to
underrate their enemies and to believe that the struggle was as
good as over. Thus, then, they made no effort at all corresponding
to that of the North; but as time went on, and they saw the vastness
of the preparations made for their conquest, the people of the
Southern States again bestirred themselves.
Owing to the North having the command of the sea, and shutting
up all the principal ports, they had to rely upon themselves for
everything, while the North could draw arms and ammunition and
all the requisites of war from the markets of Europe. Foundries
were accordingly established for the manufacture of artillery, and
factories for muskets, ammunition, and percussion caps. The
South had, in fact, to manufacture everything down to the cloth for
her soldiers uniforms and the leather for their shoes; and, as in the
past she had relied wholly upon the North for such goods, it was
for a time impossible to supply the troops with even the most
The women throughout the States were set to work, spinning and
weaving rough cloth, and making uniforms from it. Leather,
however, cannot be produced all at once, and indeed with all their
efforts the Confederate authorities were never throughout the war
able to provide a sufficient supply of boots for the troops, and
many a battle was won by soldiers who fought almost barefooted
and who reshod themselves for the most part by stripping the boots
from their dead foes. Many other articles could not be produced in
the Southern States, and the Confederates suffered much from the
want of proper medicines and surgical appliances.
For these and many other necessaries they had to depend solely
upon the ships which succeeded in making their way through the