[Written for the Golden Era.]
THE LAST OF THE SECESHERS.
A DRAMATIC POEM, IN DOUBTFUL METRE.
BY LUDWIG GUNTER.
Adown on the “banks of Muddy Creek”
There tottered an old man, gray and weak.
Tottered and stumbled and mumbled and grumbled,
While down in a coon-skin pouch he fumbled
With shaky fingers, eager to close
On the stove he carried to warm his nose;
An ingenious stove, for by all that’s hot,
The fuel it burned was “rifle-shot.”
His eyes were red and his lips were blue,
“Like angels’ visits,” his teeth were “few
And far between,” while his entire demeanor
Would have been improved had his face been cleaner.
An ancient flint-lock gun he “toted,”
Small at the breech, with the muzzle bloated
And shaped like a bell; the ramrod was thick,
Being whittled down from a hickory stick,
And from this description it is plain to see
The old man was a genuine “F.F.V.”
Behind him straggled his corps d’ armee,
All armed, like their general, cap a pie,
And each — but the leader, who bore the flag –
Had under his arm a five-gallon keg.
Anon they stumbled, anon they fell,
Altogether they looked particular — well,
Never mind their looks; their number was six — still
I must say they appeared to have gone “through the mill!”
The leader, observing the sun in the west,
Commanded a “hawit,” and then ordered a rest,
Then, “smiling” benignantly, wiped his blear eyes,
And seating his poor decripit old rump
On the edge of a rotten palmetto stump,
Thus he begun to soliloquize,
After the fashion of “Charles de Moor.”
When he enters L.H. — Act third, scene four.
“I reckon I’ll squat here awhile, for I feel
Kinder gone in!
My toes is sore ‘nd my jints is almost
Racked in twice!
I would ax some on yez to stan’
Treat, but I knows yez all fagged
Out, ‘nd dead broke.”
Secesher, No. 2 hands the General his keg. at which act of devotion, his commander again “smiles” affectionately at his heroic band, soon, however, relapsing into meloncholy.
“How scrumptious is yonder settin’ sun!
‘Twas onct my favoryte wish to see it set from
Washington, (mournfully) ’twas an idle thought –
A boyish progek!”
Secesher No. 3. — “You bet!”
Secesher General — Regretfully. — “O, days of corn-doggers! O, tubacker-fields of my youth — the time when I was called ‘Bub!’ Will ye never more come back? Never more exhale the sweet fragrance of fried middlin’ an’ hominy, to refrest this yere hungerin’ stumick?”
Secesher No. 2. — “Nary!”
Secesher General — “Shill I never see no more cracklin’ bread? Hev I done eat my last baked possum? Must I never again ply the jovial whip and urge the lazy nigger to his work! O hoe-cakes! — Must I — I — but I’m'er gettin’ wus — I feel — that — I am — indeed peggin’ out! Kernel — your flip — per” (the heroic band gather anxiously around their dying leader) “take this — chaw er tobacker — remember ’twas my partin’ gift — Leftenant — this tickler is yours — and you, Seceshers, go and devote what remains of life to usefulness and — Uncle Sam — bury me in my native sile — I — I — I die! (Dies, kerflummuc.) Tableaux.
A Dirge, to be sun in chorus: Air, “We’re a Band of Brothers.“
We’re a band of bold Seceshers,
We’re a band of bold Seceshers,
We’re a band of bold Seceshers from the Aligator State,
But we’re coming to our senses,
Yes, we’re coming to our senses,
Yes, we’re coming to our senses since we’ve seen our leader’s fate.
Final Tableaux. Body of Secesher General C.
Palmetto Flag half-mast. Raise Stars and Stripes.
Benediction by Dr. Scott. Slow curtain.
NOTE. — This play is copy-righted, and will soon be produced simultaneously at San Andreas and Peoria. Plagiarists and “unscrupulous managers” will be persecuted to the extent of the law. I will also state positively, that I have not disposed of copies to Edwin Forrest, McKean Buchanan* and Yankee Locke.
*Mckean Buchanan was an American Shakespearean Actor. Only link I could find was to the above image on ebay.
NOTE: The following “remarks” were actually above this “dramatic poem” in the paper:
REMARKS OF DISTINGUISHED PERSONS.
“We are glad to see that Mr. Gunter has resumed his pen.” An unpublished remark by the editors of several papers who use my articles without giving credit. — L.G.
REPORTED CONVERSATION BETWEEN R. BONNER AND HIS BUSINESS MAN.
R. Bon. — “What does Gunter charge per line?”
Bus. Man. — “He doesn’t write that way. His terms are, $100 for every brilliant thought.”
R. Bon. — “That’s rather exorbitant — but — never mind — engage him.”
“Ludwig Gunter, Prentice and Parson Brownlow must be bought.” — J. Davis to his Secretary of Finance.
That Functionary, despairingly. — “It can’t be done.”
J.D. — “Then entreat them as gentlemen to let us alone.“
Funct., weeping.– “They haven’t got no gentlemenly feelinks about ‘em!”
“Ha! ha! ha! ho! ho!ho! he! he! he!” — Complimentary ejaculations emitted by President Lincoln during his perusal of — The Last of the Seceshers.”
Hamlet in perplexity to the players. — “The Mobled queen — the mobled queen.” –
Polonius, who has been reading ‘L.G.’s’ Inst. in the ‘wings’ — inadvertently: “The Last of the Seceshers” is good, my lord” — recovering himself — “the mobled — the mobled, Seceshers is good, my lord.”
I might append volumes of similar occurrences to prove the wild enthusiasm possessing the public mind regarding my writings, did I not think the above as amply sufficient and conclusive evidence to my readers as it is to myself. — L.G.
The Golden Era – Jan 19, 1862
The following palpable hit at the war correspondence, telegraphic and otherwise, came from Vanity Fair, and will be relished by those who are tired of the emptiness of the greater part of the news from the seat of war:
WASHINGTON, Anytime, 1861.
Dear Vanity: Affairs remain pretty much in statu quo.
My statement that the “future was big with something” was a forgery. My letters have been tampered with. Perhaps it might be better, hereafter, for you to have all your correspondence written in your back office, as the Tribune does.
That, however, is a circumstance to which I will not at present refer. This letter, at all events, shall be authentic and truthful.
Upon my honor!
I have just had a long talk with John Minor Botts, whose imitations of my letters have produced so much laughter among readers of the Tribune. I am not angry with John.
His correspondence is such an evident burlesque of mine, that nobody could imagine for a moment that he meant to mislead any one.
He has given me some very important information concerning affairs in the rebellious districts.
There are no rebel soldiers in Virginia, and those are only a mob of half-starved, half-naked wretches, who always run away. In fact they have all run away, and John says that he thinks some of them are still running.
General Beauregard, of whom you may have heard, is half-starved and half-naked like the rest. He lately run away from Richmond to Manassas Gap, where the poor wretch was obliged to erect heavy batteries, for fear the Federal troops should march upon him.
It is by such cowardly acts as these that the rebels have lost the respect of the whole Cabinet and army.
Old Abe has no longer hesitated to avow his contempt for the entire Confederacy.
General Scott says that if this sort of thing continues eight or ten months longer, he will call out fifty thousand more volunteers, and fortify Washington and Alexandria so that they will be perfectly safe from any attack.
As for me, I knit my noble brows, fold my arms across my manly chest, and chew a good deal more tobacco than usual.
But I say nothing.
Botts tells me that the rebel army is headed by a fellow named Jackson, a brother of the assassin of Ellsworth.
An engagement is expected to occur somewhere, shortly.
Nothing seems to be known, however, on any subject.
Our picket-guards were all shot, last night, by a party of rebel scouts, supposed to be brothers of Jackson, the assassin of Ellsworth.
Professor Lowe’s plans have all gone up.
Mrs. Lincoln is well. The report that she took paregoric, habitually, is unfounded.
Image from the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Three Secession spies were discovered in the basement of my tent last night. I put up a new gallows and turned them off this morning, in the presence of my gallant Zoozoos and several invited guests, among whom were some of the belles of Washington.
The poor devils died easily and gamely. — They were said to be brothers of Jackson, the assassin of Ellsworth.
Botts tells me that affairs in Virginia are very unsettled. He stayed three months in Richmond, and commerce is so dead there that grass grows in the principal streets. In fact, he pastured a cow for some weeks right in front of his street door.
The negroes, he says, are kept busy all the time, quelling insurrection among the whites. The Tribune has engaged Botts as a regular correspondent, to take the place of Harvey, who has been rewarded by a fat foreign mission. Abe says that if Governor Pickens will come on to Washington, he will give him the consulate of St. Petersburg. There is another man, applying for that post now, who will probably get it. His name is Jackson, and he is said to be a brother of the assassin of Ellsworth.
Scott informs me, unofficially, that he is very desirous that the rebels shall remove all their batteries and camps from Virginia. If they persist in keeping them there, he will not send a single Northern soldier into the State.
As I write, forty thousand Massachusetts troops are defiling past my camp. They are returning from a furlough granted them in order that they might enjoy a regular old-fashioned Fourth-of-July clam-bake at home.
They are now intended for the defense of Washington.
They were assaulted, during their march through Baltimore, by a mob, headed by two ruffians named Jackson, supposed to be brothers of the assassins of Ellsworth.
A brilliant little affair took place near Cloud’s Mills the other night. Three of my Zoo-zoos were out on picket duty, and were attacked by forty of the rebel cavalry. The boys bravely stood their ground until assaulted, when each retreated in a different direction, but in good order.
They picked up three hundred stand of arms, and cannon, flags, musical instruments, etc., in great quantities, which the rebels dropped in their flight. One Minnie rifle, encrusted with gold and precious stones, bore the name of Jackson, a rebel farmer living in the neighborhood. The boys were especially anxious to catch him, as he had been known to maltreat the Union men in the rebel army, and he is, also, a brother of Jackson, the assassin of Ellsworth.
And besides, he is said to carry a very costly gold watch, and a good deal of pocket money.
I have just learned that Botts is not to be trusted. His washer-woman tells me that among the dirty linen he sent her was a Secession flag that he had used. I suspect him of collusion.
A messenger has this moment arrived with intelligence that Botts has been detected in the act of setting fire to the President’s wheat-field, in front of the White House. I have issued an order for his arrest. He will be confined in Fort McHenry.
The fire is extinguished, but the wildest excitement prevails.
One hundred thousand more volunteers will be called immediately, to insure the safety of Washington.
People are very much blamed by everybody.
Nothing is known.
I think that something will happen.
Bianca is ironing a dozen clean havelocks for me.
My men are shaving themselves and blacking their boots, previous to a forward movement.
The newspaper correspondents are holding a meeting with closed doors, no gentlemen being admitted. Their object is to give advice to me and General Scott, and to have their statements of facts agree, for once.
I am partially intoxicated.
A mysterious stranger, with a slouched hat and a long black cloak, has been arrested for trying to bribe Old Abe to recognize the Confederate Government. At first, he was supposed to be only a hero in one of Ned Everett’s or Ned Buntline‘s blood-and-thunder novelettes, but it has since been discovered that he is a brother of Jackson, the assassin of Ellsworth. He is safely handcuffed, and I am
The Golden Era – Jan 19, 1862