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The Soldiers' journal. (Rendevous of Distribution, Va.) 1864-1865, July 27, 1864, Image 5

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89038091/1864-07-27/ed-1/seq-5/

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The Dark Side of Revolution.
Those who are accustomed to tho discouraging
views of our present contest, because thoy
imagine we are so much more corrupt and
wicked than tho patriots of tho old Revolution
ary days, would do well to road tho fourteenth
chapter of Lorenzo Sabino's "Historical Essay,"
in tho now edition of his " American Loyalists."
It reads very much like a series of pungent ob
servations on cotemporary events, although
none will dispute the accuracy and sound judg
ment of Mr. Sabine as a historian. We make a
few pertinent extracts. Of tho prominent men
of tho Revolutionary era, Mr. Sabine says:—
" They wore great and good, little and bad, min
prled; just as elsewhere in the annals of our
race," and ho adds :
" Still again, avarice and rapacity were seem
ingly as common then as now. Indeed, the
stock-jobbing, tho extortion, the forestalling, the
low arts and devices to amass wealth, that were
practiced during the struggle aro almost incred
ible. Washington mourned the want of virtuo
as early as 1775, and averred that he ' trembled
at tho prospect.' Soldiers were stripped of their
miserable pittance that contractors for the army
might become rich in a single campaign. Many
of the sellers of merchandise monopolized arti
cles of the first necessity, and would not part
with them to their suffering countrymen, and to
the wives and children of those who were absent
hi tho field, unless at enormous profits. The
traffic carried on with tho royal troops was im
mense. Men of all descriptions finally engaged
in it, and those who at tho beginning of the war
would have shuddered at the idea of any con
nection with tho enemy, pursued it with avid
Washington himself, in one of his private let
ters, bears full testimony to the correctness of
this description : ' .
" From what I have soon, heard, and In part
know," said he, " I should in ono word say, that
idleness, dissipation, and extravagance seem to
have laid fast hold of most; that speculation,
peculation, and an insatiable thirst for riches,
soom to have got tho better of every other con
sideration, and almost every order of men ; and
that party disputes and personal quarrels are
the great business of the day."
The difficulty of raising troops was almost
insurmountable in several of the States.—
Bounty-jumpers and deserters wore as common
then as now, in proportion to the size of the
armies. Washington declared in a letter to his
brother that tho States wore sending him offi
cers "not fit to bo shoeblacks." With regard
to the troubles among officers, Mr. Sabine
" Eighteen of the generals retired during the
Struggle ; one for drunkenness; one to avoid
disgrace for receiving double pay; somo from
declining health; others from tho weight of ad
vanced years; others to accept civil employ
ments ; but several from private resentments,
and real or imaginary wrongs inflicted by Con
gress or associates in tho service. Tho example
of the latter class was pernicious ; since, when
heads of divisions or brigades quit their com
mands for reasons chiefly or entirely personal,
it was to be expoctod that regiments, battallions,
asul companies would bo left, in like manner,
without officers. Abundant testimony can be
adduced to show that individuals of all ranks
onterod tho army from interested motives, and
abandoned it from similar reasons. John
Adams wrote, in 1777; 'lam wearied to doath
with tho wrangles between military officers,
high and low. They quarrel like cats and dogs.
They worry one another like mastiffs, scramb
ling for rank and pay like apes for nuts.'—
Washington, more guarded to Congress, uses
language almost as pointed in his letters te pri
vate friends."
Such were some of the clouds of discourage
ments through which, with infinitely less ad
vantages than we enjoy, our fathers fought
their way to victory. Why, then, should we
falter before the same obstacles ?— Boston
m > Si
Abraham and Isaac.—Soon after the fall of
Fort Sumter, our citizens held a public meeting
to raino funds to encourage enlistments and ex
press their sentiments generally on the subject
of the war. This being the first meeting after
the civil outbreak,, there was of course a vast
amount of enthusiasm and excitement; and con
siderable "spread-eagle" eloquence was indul
ged in, as well as much that was genuine and
patriotic. After the speaking was over, those
who were present were invited to subscribe ; —
each person thereupon called out his name and
the sum which he would contribute, which was
taken down by the secretary: and, under the
influence of excitement and competion, largo
sums were subscribed —in some cases larger than
subscribers found it convenient to pay. But
many who had reached the dignity of paterfa
milias could not confine their competion to
money only, and the room soon resounded with
such cries as "A. 8., one hundred dollars and a
sonY "C. D., two hundred dollars and a sonY
These announcements were, of course, followed
by vociferous cheering, and, in some cases, two
sons were " subscribed " and the pledge redeem
ed. Carried away by his enthusiasm, one of our
worthiest citizens joined with the others in sub
scribing a son without previously consulting the
youth who Hub«<>o t uent -ly ret'iinod poiiit-blnnlc to
become a " bold soldier-boy." The father was
of course quizzed considerably after the excite
ment had died away, but a friend consolingly
remarked that Abraham's merit was just as
groat, though Isaac, refused to ascend the altar.
■ i —
Excitement op Skirmishing.—The exciting
character of skirmishing makes such duty a
passion with some of the men. I have heard of
them dodging from tree to tree for cover, with
gun cocked and finger on trigger, hunting men
to shoot as a sportsman does squirrels. Lieut.
Baker, of Gen. Martindalo's staff, told me an
incident of this sort that happened recently. A
man named Parker, of the 148 th New York regi
ment, who was afflicted with this singular mania,
got ninety yards in advance of the other skir
mishers, ■when he saw a grayback, whose enthu
siasm in the same gentle direction must have
been equal to his own. Grayback saw Parker
also. They simultaneously raised thoir pieces
and fired, and both fell dead, shot in the fore
head.—Tribune Correspondent.
— » —
Thk Washington correspondent of the Chicago
Journal, writing June 1, says: "Leaving the
gate of the Capitol to-night, I met an old man
hastening to the Baltimore cars. He carried a
sword tenderly on his arms, as if it had been an
infant; and yet ho was no soldier, and the wea
pon was no new toy. He was a father, fresh from
tho June fields of the West—the scabbard was
battered, and tho hilt was stained. He had giv
en a son to God and liberty, and was going home
with tho sword.
The National Debt will be Paid.
No one doubts this. First—bocause the coun
try is abundantly able to pay it; and second —
bocause it is due, mainly, to our people.
One of the ablest statisticians in the country,
presents some valuable facts, in an article in the
New York Tribune, to which we ask our read
ers' attention :
First, from the carefully prepared statistics of
tho United States, it is ascertained that, from
1850 to 18G0, the real wealth, of all sorts, of the
country increased over nine thousand millions
of dollars ; in ten years the wealth of the coun
try more than doubled.
But changes have taken place since 1860. First,
by the rebellion, our population. has been re
duced by the number of inhabitants of the rebeJ
States; and second, war has caused an immense
loss of labor.
The loss of population by secession, however,
is more than made up by the increase in th?
loyal States.
The population of those States in 1864 (after
reducing by one-half the ratio of increase in
such States as Illinois, lowa, Wisconsin, Ac
where the growth had been very rapid) was 26,
--025,000, including Tennessee, now in our posses
sion. The population of th? whole country in
1850 (which was the basis for the annual increase
of wealth to 1860) was only 23,191,866. Hence
the basis is much larger now than it was then.
Tho loss of labor in tho war Is more than com
pensated by immigration, now at the rate of
250,000 per annum ; and then, by the improve
ments in agricultural machinery, and the in
creased use of such machinery. We need but
to allude to machines for planting, hoeing, reap
ing, threshing, mowing, raking and spreading.
One of those last, for spreadinghay, doing easily
the work of at least half a dozen men. And
every year, under the stimulus of necessity, the
restless Yankee brain is devising and putting in
operation new machines, to save labor.
From these data, it is fair to infer that the in
crease of wealth from 1860 to 1870, is in greater
proportion, than in tho preceding decade. It is
certainly safe to estimate that increase at one
thousand millions per annum.
How does our debt increase ? The last Treas
ury account puts our annual expenditure at
$860,000,000. Our tax and tariff laws will cer
tainly yield to the Treasury between three and
four hundred millions ; leaving as the annual
increase of debt, only five hundred millions of
Then, we ask our readers, shrewd capitalist*
seeking investments, moneyed men now hold
ing government securities, men <}f moderate)
means, frightened by the grumblers into a doubt
of greenbacks, what better exhibit they want
than this ?
Annual increase of national wealth $1,000,000,000
Annual increase of national debt 500,000,000
Profit 500,000,000
Who would think of failing, repudiating or
compromising, with such a balance sheet ? And
this is the plain statement of facts—a full an
swer to every man who doubts or deceives th#
national honor and credit, and a solid basis for
every man's faith in government paper.—Bat
m | *n
While a returned member of the 10th Ohio
was relating his travels, one of the listeners, a
sympathizer, asked this question : " When yo*
camo to a town in Dixie, didn't you find the'se
cesh to be the first men of the place?" " Can.t
say as to that," replied the 10th; "but I'll tell
you what I can say, we found them to be the
first men out of the placo."

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