Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

Only a Private

May 26, 2012

Image from The Online Photographer

For the “Union.”

ONLY A PRIVATE.

BY LILIA LYSLE.
—–
Only a private!
Not much to tell,
No Major, no Colonel,
No Officer fell.
Only a private,
Lay him away,
Silently, calmly,
No grand display

Bursts forth a volley
Over the mound,
Memory and body,
Hid in the ground.
Only a private,
Name soon forgot,
In the great army,
The private’s lot.

In a snug cottage,
Over the plain,
Waiting the coming
Of private again.
Mother and sister,
Reading the news,
Only a private,
Name William Hughs.

Only a private,
My idol boy,
Only a private,
A sister’s joy.
Only a private,
Bullets had slain,
And then rebounded
Back o’er the plain.

Heedlessly wounding,
Two in it train,
Mother and sister,
Bullets have slain.
Officers lead,
Privates, we know,
Only the privates
Level the foe.

Nobly the privates
Leave home and friends,
Seeking not honor,
Our Flag to defend.
Only a private
Would we could be,
Pour out our life’s blood,
Thus humbly.

SUSSEX COUNTY, May 4th.

The Union (Georgetown, Delaware) May 12, 1865

How a “Reconstructed” Organ Talks

May 26, 2012

How a “Reconstructed” Organ Talks.

We are in possession, through the courtesy of a friend now sojourning in Mobile, Ala., of late files of the papers of that city. The Mobile Daily Tribune publishes Government advertisements; and from this fact it may be regarded as quite as thoroughly “reconciled” and “re-constructed” as any of the papers of that city. We clip a few items, almost at random, from its columns.

The Tribune is evidently not a radical organ, if the following can be taken as bearing upon this point:

RADICAL. — There are some words which have that about them that inspires the beholder with disgust akin to that which the sight of a loathsome reptile fills him, and the word above we have always considered of that number. The word itself was a very innocent word till it became [polluted] by being used to designate the vilest fiends that ever become incarnate. *   *   The words recks with blood, and we had rather have any other word fastened to us than this bad one. But the men in the United States who have achieved eternal infamy by winning the right to be called radical, seem rather proud of the title — just as the demons who once raged in France, gloried in the names of Jacobin and Sans Culotte. And nothing tends more than this characteristic, to show the ultimate designs of those loathsome reptiles. Not content with having murdered two millions of people, white and black, by fire and sword, they are now seeking to destroy or drive to destruction as many more, by the establishment of packed juries, and the erection of gallows throughout the land.

The following extract from a notice of the “Crescent Monthly,” a literary magazine published at New Orleans, indicates the literary taste of the Tribune, and its desire to “foster and encourage every effort in the right direction:”

The May number of the “Crescent Monthly” is replete with entertaining and instructive matter. The leading article is a just and well considered epitome of Gen. Lee’s campaigns, beginning with his brilliant exploits as commander of the army of Northern Virginia, just after the battle of Seven Pines, and concluding with the mournful story of his surrender. It is a worthy contribution to the history of the late gallant, but unfortunate struggle, and a fitting tribute to the military genius and heroic qualities of our great leader.

Image from Battle of Franklin

To those who have become accustomed to the trashy literature of the North — the narrow-minded, bigoted Bostonology of the Atlantic Monthly, or of the disgusting sensationals of the Harpers, or the diluted nothings of N.P. Willis, the Crescent Monthly should be thrice welcome. We turn from the nauseating doses of Puritan literature to the solid, healthful pabulum of the Crescent, with very much the same feeling that one quits the dirty, murky atmosphere of the city, for the fresh, invigorating air and green fields of the country. The distressful lustrum through which the South has lately passed, brought with it one good effect; it exemplified us, for the time, from the periodical flood of vicious publications threw off by Northern presses.

Our aim should be to protect our homes and firesides from the influence of this baneful literature. We foster and encourage every effort in the right direction, and in this view we commend the Crescent Monthly, whose high, dignified tone and instructive pages entitle it to the support of Southern men.

We cannot conclude this notice more agreeably to our readers than by reproducing from the Crescent the following exquisite little poem by our former townsman, Harry Flash. The poetic fire glares as brightly in the soul of the young poet as when in days gone by, his graceful pen contributed so often to the pleasure of the Tribune’s many readers. But here is the poem:

Image from Legends of America

THE CONFEDERATE FLAG.

Four stormy years we saw it gleam,
A people’s hope — and then refurled,
Even while its glory was the them
Of half the world.

The beacon that, with streaming ray,
Dazzled a struggling nation’s sight —
Seeming a pillar of cloud by day,
Of fire by night.

They jeer, who trembled as it hung,
Comet-like, blazoning in the sky —
And heroes such as Homer sung,
Followed it — to die.

It fell — but stainles as it rose,
Martyred, like Stephen, in the strife;
Passing like him, girdled with foes,
From death to life.

Fame’s trophy, sanctified by tears!
Planted forever, at her portal;
Folded, true — what then? Four short years
Made it immortal.

Image of Strother from behind AotW

Au contrarie, “Porto Crayon,” the sprightly artist-contributor to Harper’s Magazine, being a Virginian, comes in for a “first-rate notice” at the hands of the “reconstructed” editor, thus:

Picking up a late number of Harper’s Monthly, sent us by a friend, we noticed that the first article was entitled “Personal Recollections of the War, by a Virginian,” and because it laid claim to such authorship, we were induced to read it. What was our indignation when we found that the creature assuming this glorious citizenship, was no other than the renegade Strother, alias Porto Crayon — the swaggering Adjutant-General of the ruffian Hunter, the burner of Virginia houses and public buildings, the murderer of Virginia’s sons; the hired scribbler and dauber of the venomous Harper’s.

Image of Stonewall Jackson from NNDB

This wretch has the impudence to write himself Virginian, without the prefix “renegade,” when by every means in his power, except great exposure of his person, he was opposing Virginia’s representative men, her Lees, Jacksons and Johnstons — was at the moment of her agony upon the cross, thrusting the finger of scorn and insult into the bleeding sides if his noble old mother. Let such creatures scribble and daub for Harper to his heart’s content; the occupation is worthy of him — but we beg of them to drop all claim to be called Southern or Virginian. Virginian! who that was not on the side of Stonewall Jackson has the shadow of a claim to be called such? World-wide as is the fame of this name it cannot be stretched to take in the same things telescopic and microscopic — Stonewall Jackson and Porto Crayon. — There must be different words to distinguish the principles of these two.   *   *   *

After blatant professions of a determination to oppose by any means in his power, the success of the movement of Virginia in 1861, he tells how he spent much of his time on intimate terms with the officers of Gen. Johnston’s army at Harper’s Ferry, taking drawings of the works, &c., and proves by his own words, that he deserved to be hung as a spy.

But why waste any more words on such a subject? He has consigned himself to eternal infamy by being first the Adjutant-General of Hunter in his Valley march, and then the hired scribeler for Harper’s Magazine.

Image from Virginia Historical Society’s Blog

One more extract much suffice for to-day. It is a portion of a poem which is “going the rounds” of the Southern press, with editorial comments of admiration:

Gallant nation, foiled by numbers,
Say not that your hopes are fled;
Keep that Glorious flag which slumbers,
One day to avenge your dead.
Keep it, widowed, silent mothers,
Keep it, sisters mourning brothers,
Fur it with an iron will;
Furl it now but — keep it still;
Think not that its work is done.
Keep it till your children take it,
Once again to hall and make it
All their sires have bled and fought for,
All their noble hearts have sought for,
Furl that banner, sadly, slowly,
Treat it gently, for ’tis holy.
Till the day — yes, furl it sadly,
Then once more unfurl it gladly —
Conquered Banner — keep it still!

Why shouldn’t loyal sentiments like these again find expressions in the halls of Congress, and all in the departments of the Government? Why?

The Hillsdale Standard (Hillsdale, Michigan) Jun 26, 1866

An Awful “Cuss” – The Last of Jeff. Davis

May 26, 2012

Image from Son of the South

A SOLDIER’S SONG.

The following song is a popular one among the soldiers in the field, and was sung during the present campaign on march and around among the camp fires. The “boys in blue” have no words of pity for Jeff. Davis: —

AN AWFUL “CUSS” — THE LAST OF JEFF. DAVIS.

Oh may that cuss, Jeff. Davis, float,
Halle — Hallelujah!
On stormy sea in open boat,
In Iceland’s cold without a coat;
Glory, Hallelujah!

No rudder, compass, sail, or oar,
Halle — Hallejujah!
A million miles away from shore,
Where myriad briny monsters roar;
Glory, Hallelujah!

May sharks devour him, stem and stern,
Halle — Hallelujah!
A whale then gulp him down in turn
And the devil get the whole concern,
Glory, Hallelujah!

Oh, plunge the cuss’d secession swell,
Halle — Hallelujah!
In darkest pit of deepest hell,
To gnash his teeth and roar and yell;
Glory, Hallelujah!

In burning brimstone may he be,
Halle — Hallelujah!
Whilst little devils dance in glee;
And lock the door and lose the key
Glory, Hallelujah!

Good Devil, see you chain him well,
Halle — Hallelujah!
In torture worse than tongue can tell,
In hottest fire of blazing hell;
Glory, Hallelujah!

And ‘mind his roars and frantic cries,
Halle — Hallelujah!
Oh, make eternal ashes rise,
And blow forever in his eyes;
Glory, Hallelujah!

Oh, cuss each blasted Rebel knave,
Halle — Hallelujah!
On no account Jeff. Davis save,
That hell-deserving scoundrel slave;
Amen, Hallelujah!

The Union (Georgetown, Delaware) May 26, 1865

Jeff Davis’ Prayer

May 25, 2012

JEFF DAVIS’ PRAYER.

BY CLARENCE BUTLER.

Bowed down with grievous cares of State,
(For tidings weren’t going very straight,)
There sat that awful potentate
King Jeff, the great Secesher;
He looked exceedingly forlorn,
Harrassed and vexed, annoyed and worn;–
‘Twas plain his office didn’t return
Much profit or much pleasure.

Says Jeff (he thus soliloquized:)
“This isn’t quite as I surmised;
It really cannot be disguised,
The thing is getting risky:
Winchester, Donelson, Roanoke,
Pea Ridge, Port Royal, Burnside’s stroke.
At Newborn—by the Lord, I choke!”
Jeff took a drink of whisky.

“McClellan, too, and Yankee Foote;
Grant, Hunter, Halleck, Farrigut,
With that accurst Fremont to boot;”
(Right here he burst out swearing;
And then, half mad and three parts drunk,
Down on his shaking knees he sunk,
And prayed like any frightened monk,
To ease his black despairing.)

He prayed: “0 mighty Lucifer!
Than Whom, of all that are or were
There is no spirit worthier
To be our Lord and Master;
0h, thou Original Secesh!
Please pity our poor quaking flesh.
And break this tightening Union mesh,
And stop this dire disaster!

“We trust we have not been remiss
In duty or in sacrifice;
We feel we have wrought thine abyss
Some services, good devil!
The hottest hell-fire marked our track
O’er the green land we have made black,
We think our hands have not been slack
In doing work of evil.

“Have we not drugged and drowsed the press,
And held the Bible in duress?
And, Satan, did we not suppress
The thinkers and the teachers;
Close up the schools, starve our the brains,
Lynch those attaint with loyal stains,
Festoon the Sacred Cross with chains,
And gag the Lord Christ’s preachers?

“O Prince of rebels! have we not
Almost eclipsed Iscariot,
And quite shamed Peter’s little blot,
With treachery and lying?
Have we not hacked, and hawed and burned,
And pillaged what the poor have earned;
Brought havoc on the rich, and spurned
The famished and the dying?

“So, being thine in word and deed,
We trust we shall not vainly plead
In this our time of frightful need,
And perilous reverses; —
Therefore, sink every Federal boat,
Let Stanton be with palsy smote,
Make George McClellan cut his throat,
And blast Old Abe with curses!

“Then, Satan, whilst we give thee thanks,
Kill Shields, choke Halleck, poison Banks,
And spread through all the Yankee ranks
Terrific devastation!
Let loose the plagues and pestilence,
Stir up the Northern malcontents,
And drive the invading mudsills hence,
In utter consternation!

“By all the incense we have brought;
By all the rain we have wrought;
By every woe, and every clot
Of murder, grim and gory; —
By every shriek and every wail
That makes the stunned heart blanch and pale,
O, let thy servants now prevail —
And thine shall be the glory!”

Monroe Sentinel (Monroe, Wisconsin) May 28, 1862

Previous post with Jefferson Davis: A Difference

Spotsylvania Court House

May 12, 2012

Lee spots Grant moving toward the Spotsylvania Court House.

Lee’s men repel Grant’s attacks.

May 12th, the Union Army makes Grand Assault and fails, losing thousands of men.

Grant Dispatch: “I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.”

*****

HIGH LIGHTS OF HISTORY –  Spotsylvania Court House
By J. CARROLL MANSFIELD

Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa) Aug 29, 1928

History.com has a great website commemorating the Civil War 150 Years anniversary. See The Five Deadliest Battles.

The Wounding of Gen. Stonewall Jackson

May 10, 2012

The Wounding of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.
Baltimore Sun, 2nd.

To-day is the twentieth anniversary of the date on which Gen. Stonewall Jackson, after routing Hooker’s right flank at Chancellorsville, and while pressing forward to sever the line of retreat of the main body of the Federal army, received from his own men, by accident, the shot which eight days later resulted in his death. To the Confederacy his loss was irreparable. Having been engaged in nearly every important action of the war in Virginia, and having distinguished himself in all, he had become among the Southern soldiery, as among the people, a hero whose presence on the battle-field was regarded as a sure omen of success. The list of the principal actions in which he participated —

Bull Run, Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Cold Harbor, Cedar Mountain, second Bull Run, the investment of Harper’s Ferry, Sharpsburg or Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville —

is, with one two exceptions, a list of successes, reflecting the highest credit upon his military genius. His fame has become the common property of the country, and indeed, of the world at large, having long ago crossed the obliterated limits of the government for which he fought. The comparative obscurity in which he passed all but the last three years of his life finds a parallel in the mystery, or uncertainty, which in the popular mind surrounds the circumstances under which he was shot.

The question has been raised whether he was wounded by his own men or by the enemy, and, it being generally conceded that he was fired at by mistake by his own men, it has been a matter of hot discussion as to the regiment that made the fatal blunder. The facts, well substantiated by officers present at the time, are as follows: The front line of advance had been formed by Rhodes’ division, extending across the pike, but the division commanded by Gen. Colston, forming the second line, had, as the action progressed, become mingled with it. After nightfall, in a lull of the firing, it was undertaken to relieve the two divisions by A.P. Hill’s division of fresh troops. Jackson was impatient to have the attack recommenced, and, supposing that there was a skirmish line out in front between Rhodes’ men and the enemy, rode forward along the pike in advance of Hill to ascertain the enemy’s position, and in doing so passed through the line of battle beginning to be formed by Lane’s brigade of Hill’s division. Those of Lane’s men immediately in the road knew that Gen. Jackson had passed, but those further to the right and left did not. Hence some of Lane’s troops on the right of the road, seeing Gen. Jackson accompanied by several signal-men and couriers, in their front, mistook them for the enemy and opened fire on the party, wounding not a few of its members.

Those of their number still unhurt, including Gen. Jackson, to escape this fire, plunged into the woods on the left, where they were met with a second volley from the troops on that side of the road. Gen. Lane reports it as the opinion generally accepted at the time that it was the eighteenth regiment of his brigade of North Carolina that did the firing, mistaking Gen. Jackson and his escort for a party of the Federal cavalry. The result of the second volley was that the general was wounded in three places, two ball penetrating his left arm, shattering it and cutting the chief artery, and a third passing through the palm of his right hand. After some delay Gen. Jackson was borne to the rear. His arm was amputated and hopes of his recovery were entertained. But pneumonia soon set in, which was the immediate cause of his death on the 10th of May, 1863.

The Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) May 11, 1883

It’s All About the Ball

May 9, 2012

Image from Glimpses Into Baseball History

Base Ball.

As many of our readers are not familiar with the game, we append a description of it, written by our friend Cory O’Lanus, a warm admirer of the game:

“The game is a great invention. It is easily understood. All you have to do is just keep your eye on the ball.

It is all about a ball.

Image from Rob L’s Baseball Memorabilia

They also use a bat. The bat is a club built on the model of the club Barnum killed Capt. Cook with.

This is the reason why the organization is called a club.

One fellow takes a club and stands on a line, and another stands in front and fires the ball at him.

The chap with a club hits back.

The ball flies in another direction.

The first fellow drops the club as though he was scared, and runs like a pickpocket with an M.P. after him.

Several fellows run after the ball; somebody catches it and fires it at somebody else, when the chap who had the club stops running.

Another fellow then takes the club and the same man, who is called “pitcher,” pitches on him, fires the ball at him, when he hits back, knocks the ball, drops his club and cuts his stick for the first base.

Image from Civil War, Washington, D.C.

Half a dozen fellows out on picket duty scramble for the ball.

One reliable B.B. is posted behind the club man, in case the club man missed the ball, to see that it don’t go by and hit the Umpire.

When one side goes out the other side goes in, and when both sides are out it is called innings.

It is quite an intelligent game, depending entirely on the use of your legs. The first principle of the game is running.

When you are “in” you run away from the ball; when you are “out” you run after it.

It is splendid exercise; it keeps you so warm; consequently always played in the summer time.”

The Hillsdale Standard (Hillsdale, Michigan) May 15, 1866

Dissolution of the Union

March 14, 2012

Image from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION.
BY ALBERT PIKE.

Some twenty or thirty years ago one of the most popular of the young poets of America, was Albert Pike of Arkansas. The grace and vigor of his pen, the elegance of his scholarship, and the elevated tone of his thought, gave the brightest promise of an illustrious future. —  His patriotism in political life was equally conspicuous, and abundant wealth gave him means to pursue the career of an honorable ambition unfettered. But, unfortunately, a great portion of his wealth was in human chattels, and he was surrounded by, and associated with, men upon whom slave society had produced its usual soul deadening effects. A quarter of a century has passed, and the year 1862 found the same Albert Pike, who commenced his career as the rival of Longfellow, of Holmes and Halleck, a traitor to his country, and leading a horde of Indian savages to massacre, scalp and torture his countrymen.

These remembrances are suggested to us by the following verses, by Mr. Pike, which we find in “The Ladies’ Companion” for 1838, although they were written some years earlier, at the time of the nullification and threatened rebellion of South Carolina. The lines are almost prophetic, and it should seem that to read them to-day ought to make their author throw down his traitorous sword and go out and hang himself.

Down with the stars and stripes from out the sky!
Off with your banner from the bounding deep!
Chain up your eagle from his flight on high!
Bid him no more along the ocean sweep —
Scream to the wind — turn to the sun his eye!
Ay, down with Freedom from her rampart steep,
From promontory tall, and prairie wide,
Where she hath been, till now, so defied!

Listen, how Europe rings from land to land,
With jeer and laugh and bitter, biting scorn!
Lo, kings sit smiling, while the red right hand
Of Treason waves above a country, torn
With strife and tumult — and their armies stand
Ready to darken our yet breaking morn,
Lending their aid to this unhallowed strife,
So lately sprung of Terror into life.

Look on the future with prophetic eye!
Lo, on your plain are armies gathering,
As mist collecting when the storm is nigh —
And such a storm! Along the hill-sides cling
The light-horse — and the swift, patroling spy
Hoevers in front, like birds with restless wing —
While here, the rifleman moves sure, but swift;
And there, the musketeers, unbroken, drift.

The battle! Listen to the musketry!
While ever and anon, amid the roll,
Cries out the cannon! Lo, the cavalry,
Careering down like storms that seek their goal!
And now, as sea doth fiercely dash with sea,
The stern battalions charge, as with one soul —
And now, like seas that break in spray and rain,
The broken bands go floating back again!

The fight is o’er! and here lies many a one,
With bosom crushed by hoof or heavier train,
The hoary head lies glittering in the sun,
Pillowed upon the charger’s misty mane —
And just anear, with hair like moon light spun,
A delicate boy is fallen. Lo, the stain
Of blood around his nostril and his lip,
While just below his heart the gore doth drip.

The banner of your State is laid full low —
Rebellion seems approaching to its end —
And lonely shapes among the carnage go,
Peering into dead eyes with downward bend —
For men are seeking ‘mid the fallen foe,
A son, brother, or, at least a friend —
And ever and anon upon the air,
Rises the piercing wail of wild despair.

Where are you leaders? Where are they who led
Yours souls into this perilous abyss?
The bravest and the best are lying dead,
Shrouded in treason and dark perjuries;
The most of them have basely from ye fled,
Followed by scorn’s unending, general hiss.
Fled into lands that Liberty disowns,
And crouched within the shadow of tall thrones.

Ah, here they come — and with them many a band
Of hireling serfs, sent out by your liege lord
And good ally, the autocrat most grand,
Or august Emperor; he lends this horde,
To bend your brethren unto your command,
And you to his; Now draw again the sword!
Onward! ‘Tis God’s anointe I now that leads —
And he that dieth, for the Emperor bleeds!

And this! oh, God, is this to be our fate?
Disgraced, degraded, humbled and abased —
Sunken forever from our high estate —
To wander over Tyranny’s dark waste,
To crouch like slaves around a Despot’s gate —
Bend at his nod, and at his mandate haste?
Oh, Thou who hast thus far Thy aidance lent,
Avert the doom — Spirit omnipotent!

Turn then! before the final seal be set
To your apostacy — before the flood
Is wakened by your murmur and your fret,
And whelms you in its mighty solitude!
Turn to your duty, ere your land be wet
By the pollution of a brother’s blood —
Ere the avenging angel spread his wing,
And where its shadow falls herb never spring.

Oh, turn! that when some day men make your grave,
They say not, as they pile the parting sod,
“Here lies a traitor!” or, “here lies a slave!”
Turn! lest, henceforth, old men above it nod,
And warn their child to be no traitor knave,
To reverence their country and their God,
And never to deserve so foul a doom,
As that which men have written on your tomb.

Say! are you never troubled in your dreams,
With spirits rising from your fathers’ tombs,
And in the darkness of the moon’s thin gleams,
Warning you all of those eternal dooms,
Which haunt the traitor like devouring beams,
Until his heart is withered or consumes? —
Oh, these must haunt you — these more noble ones —
These heroes, who were Liberty’s best sons!

Had I a sire, who thus from death could rise,
Point to his wounds, and say, with these I bought
That freedom which you now so much despise —
With these I sealed the compact you have sought
To break and mar — Oh, I would close my eyes,
For shame, that I to shame had thus been wrought —
Yea — heap up dust and ashes on my head,
As knave corrupt, or idiot misled.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) May 7, 1863

Grierson’s Raid

March 13, 2012

GRIERSON’S RAID.

BY B.P. SHILLABER.

Who has not heard of Grierson’s Raid,
And the feats of valor therein displayed?
‘Twas a brave, bold dash through the hostile land
That scattered terror on every hand,
Making the rebel heart afraid
At the daring valor of Grierson’s raid!

Over their mountains and over their plains,
The rider his galloping courser strains;
His sword gleams bright in the foeman’s face,
And ruin follows his onward pace;
While eyes are sad and hearts dismayed
At the terrible scourge of Grierson’s raid.

Through their cities and over their streams
The flag of the Union once more gleams;
There’s a curse on the air, but in under breath,
As the troopers go’on their work of death;
Like lightning flashes each loyal blade
To light the path of Grierson’s raid.

Onward, yet onward, oh, who may stay
The fiery tide of this fearful day?
It sweeps like a tempest along his path,
And whelms the rebel in vengeful wrath;
The smoking bridge shows war’s fierce trade,
And fire and ruin mark Grierson’s raid.

Onward, yet onward, the blazing roof
Echoes in flame to the cavalry hoof;
And fleeing forms in the midnight air,
Revealed by the war-pyre’s ruddy glare,
Tell the story, in fear displayed,
Of the woful, terrible Grierson’s raid.

Onward, yet onward, unholden the rein,
Till the Union lines are compassed again,
Where a meed of grateful honors is due
For the troopers bold, and tried, and true;
And history never has deed portrayed
That brighter shines than Grierson’s raid.

And rebel mothers their children shall tell
Of the sudden fear that on them fell,
When, swooping down like a bird on its prey,
The Federal troopers came that way, —
A sad recital as ever was made,
The memories dire of Grierson’s raid.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Jun 18, 1863

Grierson image from Dennis Keating’s  article, Grierson’s Raid, at the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable

Claiborne Addison Young – Alone

February 27, 2012

A reader commented on a previous post, Speaking of Collard Greens, wanting more information about the author, whose book somehow ended up in Jamaica! Here is what I was able to find:

ALONE

I saw an eagle cleave the air;
He flew alone.
I tracked a lion to his lair;
He crouched alone.
II.
A river started to the sea;
It wound alone.
A mountain rose up haughtily;
It towered alone.
III.
I looked into eternity, —
Lo ! God was alone.
And then I sang on cheerily,
But not alone.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
By THE EDITOR

One can better appreciate Mr. Young’s verse with some insight into his antecedents, his life and his personality. Claiborne Addison Young was born May 29, 1843, in Boone County, Indiana, near Thorntown. He came of a race of pioneers. He was the son of the Rev. Claiborne Young, who was born at Stony Creek, East Tennessee, and educated for the Presbyterian ministry at Maryville College. His mother was Mary Russell Young, born at Maryville, Tenn. Her brother, Addison Russell, was for many years a prominent judge at Fort Madison, Iowa. In 1831 Mr. Young’s father came to Montgomery County, Indiana, to organize the three churches of Shannondale, Thorntown and Lebanon. It was a time when life in Indiana was primitive and coon skins were a legal tender for taxes and marriage fees. The father was one of the most conscientious of men and this characteristic, with others, the son seems to have inherited.

The poet’ was brave, patriotic, impulsive, sometimes almost erratic, always genuine and spontaneous. Captain Young served through the Civil War, enlisting at the first call with General Lew Wallace in the Eleventh Indiana. He afterward received a commission in the Eighty-fifth United States Colored Infantry, which he assisted in organizing, and served in that command until the close of the war, with credit and distinction.

Image from Factasy — Below, Civil War records are from Ancestry.com

Name: Claiborn A Young
Residence:     Montgomery County, Indiana
Enlistment Date: 31 Aug 1861
Rank at enlistment: Private
State Served: Indiana
Survived the War: Yes
Service Record: Enlisted in Company G, Indiana 11th Infantry Regiment on 31 Aug 1861.
Mustered out on 02 Jan 1864.
Commissioned an officer in on 02 Jan 1864.
Sources: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana

American Civil War Soldiers
Name: Claiborn Young
Residence:     Montgomery County, Indiana
Enlistment Date: 31 Aug 1861
Side Served: Union
State Served: Indiana
Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 31 August 1861.
Enlisted in Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment Indiana on 31 Aug 1861.
Commission in Regiment U.S. Colored Troops on 2 Jan 1864.
Discharged for promotion Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment Indiana on 2 Jan 1864.
Sources: 76

When the war was over he returned to Wabash College and received his A. B. in 1869. After graduation he matriculated at Union Theological Seminary, intending to become a minister in accord with the tenets of that great school. But a change came upon his theologic vision and he entered the Harvard Divinity School, which he calls “The Minister Mill.” Before the “Mill” had turned out the finished product he went to the forests of Maine to engage in missionary work among the lumbermen. Later he entered the Unitarian ministry, filling pulpits in Boston and other places in the East and the Middle West. The great griefs of his life were the loss of his wife and son.

He died November 3, 1912, in the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at Lafayette, so nobly provided by the state of Indiana for her veterans. Like Thoreau and Joaquin Miller, he loved Nature as God made her, uncombed, unbridled by art and unharnessed by commerce. He wandered wide, from the Maine woods to the plains of Texas, from the Cumberland Mountains and the Carolinas to the land of the Modocs. His view of Nature is that of Wordsworth—the Omnipotent Divine Spirit ever revealing His presence in all forms of life. When one of his old professors reminded him of what did not happen to the “rolling stone,” he replied that he was “not in the moss business.”

Mr. Young’s sympathies were always with the “under dog” and his heart and labors went out warmly to the freedmen and the red men. He loved solitude and the lonely places and now and then he reminds one in his life and his song of that other lonely poet, Richard Realf. Many songs, doubtless, sung themselves to his heart in those solitary wanderings, that never found expression.

His first volume of verse was published in 1897 under the title “Way Songs and Wanderings,” and a few of these “Way Songs” are included in this volume. His letter in verse to his brother, “The Frogs of Boone,” he recited to Emerson, who much enjoyed it, and the elder poet and philosopher greatly encouraged the younger singer. His love of freedom and lack of sympathy with conventions led him at times over hard and stony paths but he ever kept a brave heart and never lost faith in God, or man, or life.

This soldier, wanderer, preacher and poet is no mere echo. His song is unconventional and spontaneous. As he traveled Life’s furrowed roads, and went up the many hills of difficulty, he kept on good terms with truth and loyalty and held the faith that the word “all is good” had never been taken back. He has, even in forms of construction that are faulty, the genuine lyric spirit. His motto seems to have been Walt Whitman’s “Allons ! Let us be going after the great companions.”

J. E. C.

The above poem, biography an image are all from the following book:

In the Red Man’s Land and Other Poems
by Claiborne Addison Young.
Publisher: The Hollenbeck Press in Indianapolis 1915
Read online at Open Library

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A Claiborne Addison Young poem, The Chickadee, was included in the following:

THE CHICKADEE (Volume 1: Verse)
A Public Domain Project
Published by Gull City Press 2008
Page 24  (scroll down to page 24)