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title: 'The Soldiers' journal. (Rendevous of Distribution, Va.) 1864-1865, December 07, 1864, Image 3',
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Image provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA
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■ion." While I love my country as well as any
nan, and in this enterprise cheerfully periled
my life to serve it, I was only his co-worker ; I
.•mould not have undertaken it alone.
No reader of this magazine is so young as not
10 remembor, that, between the first of June and
tho first of August last, a Peace simoon swept
jver the country, throwing dust into the people's
•>yes, and threatening to bury tho nation in dis
union. All at once the North grew tired of the
war. It began to count the money and blood it
aad cost, and to overlook the great principles for
jrhich it was waged. Men of all shades of polit
.cal opinion—radical Republicans, as well as
rionost Democrats—cried out for concession, com
promise, armistice —for anything to end the war
-anything but disunion. To that the North
would not consent, and peace I knew could not
be had without it. Jeff. Davis had said to a
prominent Southerner that he would negotiate
<.nly on the basis of Southern'lndependence, and
that declaration had come to me only five days
ufter it was made.
The people, therefore, were under a delusion.
They were crying out for peace when there was
no peace—when there could be no peace consist
ent with the interest and security of the country.
The result of this delusion, were it not dispelled,
would be that the Chicago Convention, or some
other convention, would nominatea man pledged
(o peace, but willing to concede Southern inde
pendence, and on that tide of popular frenzy he
would sail into the Presidency. Then the delud
ed people would loam, too late, that peace meant
disunion. They would learn it too late because
power would then be in the hands of a Peace
Congress and a Peace President, and it required
no spirit of prophecy to predict what such an
Administration would do. It would make peace
on the best terms it could get: and the best terms
it could get would bo Disunion and Southern
Tho Peace epidemic could bo stayed, and
the consequent danger to the country averted, it
seemed to me, only by securing in a tangible
form, and before a trustworthy witness, the ulti
matum of the rebel President. That ultimatum
spread far and wide, would convince every hon
est Northern man that war was the only road to
To get that ultimatum, and to give it to the
four winds of heaven, were my real objects in
going to Richmond.
I did not shut my eyes to the possibility of our
paving the way for negotiations that might end
in peace, nor my ears to the blessings a grateful
nation would shower on us if our visit had such
a result; but I did not expect these things.—
f expected to be smeared from head to foot
with Copperhead slime, to bo called a knight
errant, a seeker after notoriety, an abortive ne
gotiator, and a meddlesome volunteer diploma
tist ; but 1 expected also, if a good Providence
oparod our liv« s, and my pen did not forget the
English language, to be able to tell the North the
truth; and I knew the Truth would stay the
Peace epidemic, and kill tho Peace party. And
by the blessing of God, and the help of the Devil,
~i? did do that. Tho Devil helped, for he inspired
Mr. Benjamin's circular, and that forced home
the bolt we had driven, and shattered the Peace
party into a million fragments, and every frag
ment now a good War man until the old flag shall
float agaiu'all over the country.
If we accomplished this, " the scoffer need not
laugh, nor the judicions grieve," for our moun
tain did not bring forth a mouse—our " mission to
Richmond" was not a failure
lt was a difficult enterprise. At tho outset it
seemed well-nigh impossible to gain access to
Mr. Davis, but we finally did gain it, and we
gained it without official aid. Mr. Lincoln did
not assist us. Ho gave us a pass through the
army lines, stated on what terms he would grant
amnesty to the rebels, and said "Good bye, good
luck to you," when we went away, and that is
all he did.
It was a hazardous enterprise,—no holiday ad
venture, no pastime for boys. It was sober, se
rious, dangerous work, and work for men, for
cool, earnest, fearless, determined men, who re
lied on God, who thought more of their object
than of their lives, and who for truth and their
country, were ready to meet the prison or the
If any one doubts this let him call to mind
what we had'to accomplish. Wo had to penetrate
an enemy's lines to enter a besieged city, to tell
home truths to the desperate, unscrupulous
leaders of the foulest Rebellion the world has
ever known, and to draw from those leaders,
deep, adroit and wary as they aro, their real plans
and purposes. And all this we had to do with
out any official safeguard, while entirely in their
"power, and while known to be their earnest and
active enemies. One false step, one unguarded
word, one untoward event, would have consigned
us to Castle Thunder or the gallows.
Can any one believe that men who undertake
such work are more lovers of adventure, or seek
ers of notoriety ? If any one does believe it, let
him pardon me, if I say that he knows little of
human nature, and nothing of human history.
I am goaded to these remarks by the strictures
of the Copperhead press, but I make them in no
spirit of boasting. God forbid that I should
boast of anything we did! For tve did nothing.
Unseen influence prompted us, unseen friends
strengthened us, unseen powers were all about
our way. We felt their presence as if they had
been living men ; and had we been atheists, our
experience would have convinced us that there
is a God, and that He means that all men, every
where, shall be free.
i— < m
We give the names and rank of the regular
officers of higher grade as they now stand on the
Army Register in the order of their precedence :
Ulysses S. Grant.
Henry W. Halleck.
W. T. Sherman.
W. S. Rosecrans.
P. St. George Cooke.
Q,. A. Gilmore.
George H. Thomas.
• W. S. Hancock.
There are two major general vacancies which
are to be filled.
Artemus Ward writes that he is tired of an
swering the question as to how many wives
Brigham Young has. He says that all ho
knows about it is that he one day used up the
multiplication-table in counting tho long stock
ings on a clothes-line in Brigham's back-yard,
and went off feeling dizzy. Even when in Mor
mondom Artemus, about to give an entertain
ment, gave a prominent Mormon a family tic
ket, and as a consequence ho found his evening
audionce made up blithely of "dead-heads,"
with a long string of the privileged family trail
ing some distance outside.
The Words we Use.
Be simple, unaffected; be honest in your
speaking and writing. Never use a long word
where a short one will do. Call a spade, not ah
oblong instrument of manual industry; let home
be a home, not a residence ; a place, not a lo
cality, and so of the rest. Where a short
word will do, you always lose by using a long
one. You lose in clearness, you lose in honest
expression of your meaning; and, in the esti
mation of all men who are competent to judge,
you lose in reputation for ability.
The only true way to shine, even in this false
world, is to be modest and unassuming. False
hood «\ay \>o a. v«ry tlvU.k. oraet, Vmt i» tt.«.
course of time, truth will find a place to break
through. Elegance of language may not be in
the power of all of us, but simplicity and
Write much as you would speak: speak as
you think. If with your inferior, speak no
finer. Be what you say, and, within the rules
of prudence, say what you are. Avoid all oddi
ty of expression. No one ever was a gainer by
singularity of words, or in pronunciation. The
truly wise man will so speak that no one
will observe how he speaks. A man may show
great knowledge of chemistry by carrying about
bladders of strange gases to breathe, but he will
enjoy better health, and find more time for busi
ness, who lives on common air.
When I hear a person use a queer expression,
or pronounce a name in readingdifterently from
his neighbor, the habit always goes down minus
sign, before it stands on the side of deficit, not
of credit. Avoid, likewise, all slang words.—
There is no greater nuisance in society than a
talker of slang. It is only fit ( when innocent,
which it seldom is) for raw school boys and one
term freshman to astonish their sisters with.—
Talk as sensible men talk, use the easiest words
in their commonest meaning. Let the sens*
conveyed, not the vehicle in which it is con
veyed, be your subject of attention.
Once more, avoid in conversation all singulari
ty of accurracy. One of the bores of society is
the bore who is always setting you right; who
when you report from the paper that 10,000 men
fell In some battle, tell you that it was 9999; —
who when you describe your walk as two miles
and back, assures you that it lacked half a fur
long of it. Truth does not consist in minute ac
curacy of detail, but in conveying a right im
pression ; that there are vague ways of speak
ing that are truer than strict fact would be.—
When the Psalmist said, " Rivers of water run
down mine eyes, because men keep not thy
law," he did not state the fact, but he stated a
truth deeper than fact and also truer.
■ | ■
A story that Gen. Hooker has been left Im
mensely rich by the death of a Mexican wife, is
thus disposed of by the San Francisco A Ita:
" Ist. General Hooker's wife was not rich when
he married her, nor at any other time. 2d. Gen
eral Hooker's wife was not a Mexican. 3d. Gen
eral Hooker's wife is not dead. 4th. General
Hooker never had a wife. sth. General Hooker
is not a Croesus, never was, and never will be.
p ■ i
" You look as though you were beside your
self," said c wag to a fop standing by a donkey.
THE proprietor of a bone-mill advertises
that " persons sending their own bones to be
ground, will be attended to with punctuality and
Why is Abraham Lincoln like a bad Chris
tian ? Because he take* his Tod in church.