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Spirit of the age. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.) 1849-1865, November 24, 1862, Image 1

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Vol. XIY.
Hal eigh., 1ST.' C, November. 24, 1862.
ISTo. 141
(
Pir.rre Pitojs beard the sentence read
if'VifVSfS,u,invi'ini'V)w,uSt,ii'i,i'inHi's
THE DESEETER'S MOTHER.
In the year 1809, Pierre Pitois was ser
geant in the twelfth regiment of the line,
then quartered in Strasburg. lie was a
native of that half savage, half civilized
.part of Burgundy, known under the name
of Morvan ; and his comrades ever spoke
of him as a "tough customer.' Always
the first and the last to fire, he had the
reputation of liking but two things in the
world :tho smell of powder and the whis
tling of bullets.
Now one day our friend Pierre took it
into h'i3 head to address a letter to his col
onel, in which he applied for leave, of ab
sence to go and see his aged mother, who
was dangerously ill. lie added that his
father, being seventy years of age, and
suffering under a paralytic affliction, could
not be of any use in nurse-tending the
poor woman, and ho pledged himself to re
turn aa soon as the health of his mother
should be restored.
The colonel's reply to Pierre's applica
tion was, " that as the regiment might at
any moment be ordered to take the field,
no leave ofabsencc could be obtained."
Pieire Pitois submitted. A foituight
elapsed ; and then a second letter was re
ceived by the colonel, in which Pierre in
formed him that his mother had died with
out the congelation of. giving her last bles
sing to her only child, and in which he
again solicited leave of absence, 6aying
"ho could not state his reason for this re
quest it was a family secret" but cam
cstly imploring the colonel not to deny
this favor.
Pierre's second letter was as little suc
cessful as the first. The poor fellow's cap
tain merely said, " Pierre, the colonel has
received your letter; he is sorry for the
death of your old mother, but he cannot
grant the leave of absence yon require, as
the regiment leaves Strasburg to-morrow."
Ah ! the regiment leaves Strasburg ;
and for what place may I ask you V said
Pierre.
' ' "?of Australia," ' replleTllie oMcer.
4 Wi1 arc to see Vienna, my brave Pitois;
we are to fight the Austrians. Is not that
good news for you ? You will' be in your
element, my fine fellow.'
Pierre Pitois made no reply ; he seem
ed lost in deep thought. The captain
' caught his hand, and shaking it heartily,
said, 4 why do you not speak, man ? are
you deaf to day I I am telling you that, in
icss than a week, you are to have the pleas
ure of a set to with the Austrian?, and you
have 'not one woid of thanks for the good
news ; nay, I verily believe you have not
even heard me.
Indeed, captain, I have heard every
word, and I thank you, with all my heart,
for your news, which I consider very good.'
1 thought, you ?vould,' said the officer.
But, captain, is there no chance of ob
taining the leave of absence ?'
Are you mad V was the reply. Leave
of absence the very day before taking the
field!'
4 1 never thought of that said Pierre.
1 We are, then, on the point of taking the
fiekJ, and at such a time, I suppose, leave
of absence is not given V
It is never even asked.'
with unflinching nerve. He was warmly
urged to plead for racrcv, but be refused
As every one gncsscd that at the bottom
of this affair there was some strange mys
tery, it was dfctcj mined -that the exe
cution of Pierre should be delayed. He'
was carried back to the militaiy prison,
and it' was announced to him that, as a
mark of special favor, be had three dayst
given him to press for pardon. He shrug
ged his soldiers, and made no reply.
In the middle of that night on which
was to dawn the day fixed for the cxecu-
lon, tne door of Pierie s dungeon turned
softly on its hinges, and a subaltern officer
advanced to the side of the camp-bed in
which the condemned wa3 tranquilly sleep
ing, and after gazing on him some time in
silence, awoke him.
Pierre opened his eyes, and staring
about him, said, 4 the hour then, is at Ust
come I
'No, Pierre replied the officer; 4 it is
not yet the hcur ; but it will soon ccrae
4 And what want you with mc until
then?'
4 Dost thou not know me, Pierre. No
matter, I know thee well. I saw thee at
Austerlitz and bravely didst thou bear
thyself. From that day, Pierre, I have
had a regard for thee, a regard no less
warm than sincere. Yesterday, on my
arrival at Strasburg, I learned thy crime
and condemnation. I have prevailed on
the goaler, who is a relation of mine, to
allow me to see thee. And now that I
have come, I would say to thee, Pierre, it
is often a ad thought for a man about to
die, that he has not a friend near him to
whom he might open his heart, and in
Jtrust with some secret commission to dis
charge when he should be no more. If
thou wilt accept me, I will be to thee that
fiiend.' ,
4 1 thank you, comrade replied- Pierre.
4 Why,.hast thou nothing to say -to me?'
4 Nothing
4 What I not one word of adieu to thy
sweetheart to thy sister V
4 A sweetheart ? a sister ? I never had
either.'
4 To thy father V
- 4 ale v io uioie. lrru uiuntuo ago "lie
died in my arms !'
4 Thy mother, then 2'
4 My mother 1' and Pierre, whose voice
suddenly and totally changed, repeated,
4 ray mother ! Ah, comrade, do not utter
that name, for I have never heard that
name I have never said it in my heart
without feeling melted like a child; and
even now, me thinks, if I were to speak of
her '
4 What then V
4 The tears would come and tears do
not become a man. Tears'.' continued he
4 tears, when I have but few hours to
fully. If it be the wUM God that thou
should'st die before mi,' I should weep for I
. (thee my heart's tears then! would say,'
i 1 4 He gave, and He hastiaken away, bless
ed be the name of lias -Lord : Uo now,
and if thou love thy mbth'3V do thy duty
Ou ! howprccious tOcoty words j 1
have never forgotten them 4 Do thy du
ty she said. Now th duty of a soldier
was, always and in all tViogs, to obey j and
always I obeyed. It Was to go straight
forward Ho face danger, without hesitation
without eecond thv ht :.and I went
straight-forward faced danger without
hesitation without acicthGugbt.-
Those who ?aw me tbrif seek, as it were,
to meet the bullet, sak There is a brave
fellow 1' They migh, have better said,
4 There is a man wholfsfves his mother V
One day a letter brought me the tidings
that she was ill ray osrp pour mother!
I longed to go to her, asked for leave
of absence ; it was not aranled, I remem
bered her last words-if thou love me;'
I submitted A httlrUer J. heard that
she was dead. Oh ! taeu ray senses for
sook me; at any risk lAruuned to trav-
t . .i n' ' t
ei to tne country. - vsejace proceeded so
araent, so impetuousiecire to sec once
more a place where cj motile? bad just i
died ? 1-will tell you'fqfad ai? you have a
mother, and as she iyes yon, and you
love her, you will u2vsrstaud me. We
peasants of Moivan av$.a simple and confi
ding,. racc We bavcVUgived the in
struction, nor attaincijpic knowledge that
they have in the citits but we have our
beliefs, .vhich the toFblks call supersti
tions. What matters uame ? ' Be they
superstitions or belief!, I have them, and
clever would be the ijtj&a thai could up
root them.' Now, dyf of these beliefs to
which we cling the fatosL is that which
attributes to the first Jlower which blows
in the grave mould s&b-a virtue that he
who gathers it is certain of never forget
ting the dead, and of sever being forgot
ten by them. Pelief,low dear, how sweet !
With it death has M terrors for death,
without forgetting, beiDg forgotten, is
but a sweet sleep anfcalm repose after a
long toil. That flovtiV-I panted to see
it bud I p-auted-Jsr it x
FIRST MESSAGE
OF BIS EXCELLENCE".
GOY. Z, B. y.AXCE,
TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF N. 0.
The Honorabley-the General Amnbly:'
" Certainly a Legislature has never been
convened in the State of North Carolina to
protect greater interests or meet greater re
sponsibilities. ' '
Eighteen months ago. when tho State en
tered into the'war which U now waging, all
was life and and buoyancv and excitement.
rTh& novelty ot our undertaking aid the . J
Luuaiuiu ui uui people m -support-! pur
cause, not only ren lered the - course of the '
Legislature and the Executive easv, but ac
tually preceded and mark'ed it our." But the
long continuance of the contest, the slaugh
ter cf our soldiers the occupation of our
territory by the enemy, the destruction of
our homes, and the blockaded rendition of
id
our coast, have reduced us to straits, and
given rise to a chss of evils, in the presence
of which ephemaral patriotism must perish,
and the tinsel enthusiasm of novelty give
place to that stern and determined devotion
to our cause, which alone can sustain a rev
olution. It now becomes the duty of vou. the Gen
eral Assembly, to set an example to youiw j speculation, at prices ragin
Constituents nf firmness? nrnrlonro ' ilofiw- $4l ...
- kUWVttVtl
mination and cnersv : to correct the errors
ui vjc u;2l. lu yruviue ior tne exigencies at mtn a
- ' O T ( I -ww " ' V vfc f t WVSUI
tne iuiure, ana to use well ' and 'wisely the Ueo.W.irordccri, Eqrs,;-cvith Stewart, Bach
power yesiea in your Doay by the Constitu- anan & Co. of Saltville, ra.,'for the prifilege
tipn, forthe protection of our rights and Ho- of manufacturing 300,000 bushels of salt and
same proportion leather, woolen cloth and
cotton goods have been made the especial
means of extortion. As if we were not suffi
ciently afflicted with the base and avaricious
m our own midst, speculators from distant
States swarm in the land, oflering fabulous
prices for-every thing they can buy. And in
many instances, taking advantage of tne
patriotism of our people, they represent them
selves as agents of the Government, purchas
ing ior tne army thus obtaining what thev
could not otherwise do. The supply of salt
will, I hope, be sufficient, but this subject
too needs legislative action. Dr. worth, tho
fait commissioner appointed bv the Conven-' '
rtion, has been 'tdustrioasly at work ; but ba
nas not produced a great quantltr, owmg to
the difficulties which he has mentioped in his '
reports. His first works, at Morebead City
were taken by the enemy before he had fair-- 1
ly gotten them into operation. His next ef :
fort at Wilmington was successful in produ-
cmg about 250 birshelsper day, forsome.timo 1
before they were interrupted by the yellow- 4
icer, wmgu nas causea ineir temporary sus
pension. As tfie pestilence has abated, they '
will of course be immediately again put into ?
operation. The whole amount made there
by the State and private individuals, probably
excceds;3,600 bushels per day. -Nearly all
of this made on private accounts is bauhl
by citizens of other States and carried off fof e:
from tW io J
$20 per bushel. -' 4 : 1
My predecessor, Gov. Clark, also entcrtd :
contract through. N. wv -Voodfirr and
live ! Ah 1 there would not be much cour
age in that I'
4 lhou art too stern, comrade : I think
I have, thank God, as much courage as
other people, and yet I would not be
ashamed of weeping, were 1 to speak of
my mother.'
4 Are you serious ! said Pierre, eagerly
seizing the oihcei s band. lou, a man
and a soldier, and not ashamed to weep ?
4 v hen speaking of my mother ? Cer
tainly not. My mother is so good, so
kind ; she loves me much, and 1, too, love
her dearly.
4 She loves you, and yott love her ? Oh I
erties.
The subject of first importance is the pros
ecution of the war, and the means of defend
ing our Slate against the invasion' of the en
emy. The Legislature, by several' acts in
18G1, provided that, in case the Confederate
Government should fail or neglect to provide
for the defence of North Carolina, thek Gov
ernor should be authorized to raise a certain
number of troops for that purpose, and made
appropriations of money for their support.
Impressed with the defenceless condition of
our eastern counties when I came into office,
I had fully determined to avail myself of this
authority, and would have proceeded at once
to do so, but the intervention of insurmoun
table difficulties. The nrinoinnl nf tWo
was the conscript law passed by tho Confed
erate Congress subsequent to the passage of
the several acts referred to. ' By this law, as
xlouea my-pesf, afivUb ou iuyivayrtel lore tne aGjournmcnt of Congres.4, all able
Alter ten days or long and weary march, 1 bodied men, between the ages of eighteen
reached my mother's grave. The earth and forty-five years, became liable to enroll
seemed yet afresh no flower. I waited. ment as soldiers of the Confederate States.
Six weeks elapsed, and then one lovelv I fi0 raise an. equate lorce for btate defence
morning I saw a little b ue flower- For- ;to x
get-menot. As I plucked it, I shed glad th6ught entirely impracticable. I hoped,
tears, for methought that little flower was . too, that by aiding and assisting in the exe
my mother's soul ; that she; had felt that I j cution of the conscription law, I would be
was near, and under 1he form of that flow- effectually providing for State defence. This
er had given herself to my heart once reasonable hope has, I regret to say, been
more; There was nothing now to detain me 'disappointed; and although North Carolina
in the country, for my father had soon fol- j hf,s a guf i Sa cof than
, , Y j A. i t u j other State, she has had fewer troops given
lowed my mother to the grave, and I had ; her for its defence.
plucked my precious flower ; what more j It is not necessary, gentlemen, that I
did I want ? I remembered my mother's ' should call your attention to the abounding
charge do thy duty ?' I sought the yen- wealth of this threatened section of our
d armes, and 1 said,l am a deserter ar- otate nnea witn everything necessary tor
rest me And now I am to die ; and if, as ine comrori oi our army ana people or to
you assured me, I have in you a friend, I , fhJ suffering and ruin of its loyal, patriotic
V w v w Miuvi V f J till V i l.i VV4
in regard thereto. It is for you, therefore, to
say, whether you will suffer our defences as
heretofore, to remain exclusively in the
hands of the Confederate authorities, or take
Tt ?e nnitft i-indit . it is npvor rvrn urTt
cd. It would have the appearance of then I may indeed tell you all. My heart
cowaidice. Well, then, I will not press it full it must have vent ; and however.
. T .Wl,.-. i.iau"u my lueuuiia auueariu yuu, x am
: sure you will not laugh at them. Listec,
And yeni will do well,' replied the cap- theD io what Jou said just dow is quite
true. A man is glad, when about to die,
The next day the twelfth regiment en- 10 avc a heart into which he can pour
tcrcd Germany, and tho next-Pierre Pi- ut h's own- ll 'ou hsten to and not
tois deserted I at, s . ,
Thrpn month aftrr. wlfm tho. twolfth surely l win listen, 1'icrrc. A dying
regiment, having reaped in the field of man must excite compassionate sympathy.'
battle an abundant harvest of srlorv, was Yon must know that since I came into
making it triumphal entry into Strasburg, this world I never loved but one being
Pierre Pitois was igmominiouslv draped that being was my mother. But her I
----- r m j I I -
back to bis corps by a brigade of
d armes.
gen-
loved as none love with all that was in
me of life and energy. While yet a babe
A court martial was immediately called. I used to read her eyes, as she read mine;
Picrro Pitois was accused of having de- I guessed her thoughts and she knew
sci tcd at tbc very moment when his reg- mine. She was the heart of my heart, aud
imcnt was to meet the enemy face to face. I the heart of hers. I have never had ei-
The court presented a singular spectacle, ther sweetheart or wife ; I never had a
On the other side stood forth the accuser, friend ; my mother was everything to me.
who cried, 4 Pierre Pitois, you, one of the Well, I was summoned to take up arms;
bravtst men in the army ; you, on whose and when they told me I must leave her,
breast tbc star of- honor yet glitters ; you, in a paroxysm of despair, I declared they
who never incurred cither punishment or might drag me limb from limb, but never
even censure from cur officers, you could should they take me from her alive. With
rot have quitted yrur regiment quitted one word spoken in her holy fortitude and
almost on the eve of battle without some strong courage, she changed my whole
powerful motives to impel you ! this mo- purpose rierre, said she, you must
tive the court demands of you, for it would go ; it is my wish I knelt before her, and
gladly have in its power if not to acquit 1 aid, I will go, mother.' 1 Pierre,' she
a ou. which it ounht not. perhaps, either to added, ' thou bast been a good son, and I
a v
do or desire at least recommend you
the Emperor's mercy
On the other side stood th accused,
who answered, I have deserted without
any icason, without any motive; 1 do not
wpctit. If it were to do Pgain,l would do
it again. 1 " . crvc death pass sentence.'
to thank God for it : but the duties, ef a sou
arc not the only ones a man has to fulfill.
Every citizen owes rimselt to his country ;
it calls thee obey I Thou art goirg to be
a soldier. From this moment thy life is do
longer thine own. It is thy country's. If
j its interest demand it, lay it down ch&er.
die without regret, for you will do me the
only service I require. The flower, which
at the nsk of my life plucked from the
grave, is here in a little case next to my
heart. Promise mo that you will see that
they do not take it from me. It is the
link which unites me to my mother : and
if I thought it would be broken oh ! I
should not have the courage to die. Say,
go you promise to do what I ask of you V !
1 promise I .-aid the omcer.
1 Your hand, that I may press it to my
heart. You are very kind to me : and if
the Almighty Gud were in his Omnipo
tence to give mc my life a second time, 1
would devote it to you.
The friends partedi
The next day had dawned. They ar
rived at the place of execution, and already
had the fatal sentence been read, when the
low murmur that rca through the ranks
changed into alutost deafening shouts.
' The Emperor ! tho Emperor ! Long live
the Emperor !'.
lie appeared, dismounted from his horse ;
and then, with his sLort, quick step, he
walked up to the condemned.
'Pierre said he to him.
Pierre gazed at him, and made an effort
to speak, but a sudden stupor seemed to
overwhelm him. The officer, who had
visited his cell was the Emperor himself?
4 Pierre continued the Euperor, re
member your own words of last night.
God gives thee life asecood time ; devoted
it not to me, but to h ranee i one, too, is
a kind mother 1 Love her as thou didst
thy first thine owo.'-
He then turned to depart, ana greeting
shouts of admiring love followed him till
he was out of sight.
Some years after thi?, a captain of the
Old Guard fell mortallv wounded on the
field of Warterlco.
Amid the diu of battle, he was heaid to
shout iu bis death paDgs, 4 Long live the
Emperor 1 France lorcvtr ! My mother
my mother V
It -was Pierre Pitou !
steps to carry out the will of the last Legis
lature, and raise troops enough on State au
thority to strengthen the weak hand' of the
General Government on our coast.
I unhesitatingly recommend tha raising of
at least ten regiments of reserves, to be ac
cepted for three or four months, and dismiss
ed m time to pitch their crops in the Spring.
This force, auxiliary -to the Confederate
troops, would bo probably able to prevent
an advance of the enemy into the interior,
and while subsisting on the abundant sup
plies in our eastern counties could benefit
the whole State, by aiding in withdrawing
vast quantities of provisions from exposed
points.
Inasmuch as it may become necessary for
slave labor to be employed on State defences,
and my authority to force such labor miy be
questioned by some, I would respectfully
recommend the propriety of the passing of
an act whereby such autho uy may be ves-
ed in me, in case such urgent necessity shall
arise, as will justify it
Next to the defence of the blstc from the
enemy, in importance, is me aeience oi our
people against extortion and starvation.
Notwithstanding the failure of the crops in
the Western part of the State, it i3 believed
that there is within our borders an abun
dance of grain for the supply of our people,
and a surplus for the use of thi army, lho
lands heretofore devoted to cotton and tobac
co have been planted in corn very generally,
and the crop of this essential product is per
haps larger by mmy hundred thousand
bushels'than has ever been known. N hen
this is considered, together with the immense
crop of peas, potatoes, fruits, there
would seem to be little danger of any actual
suffering amongour people nor would there
be, could it all be properly distributed and
at reasonable prices. But the demon of spec
ulation and extortion seems t hve seized
upon nearly all sorts and corvdiiions of men,
and all tte necessaries of life aie fa t get
ting beyond the reach of the poor.
Flour, which if properly le!t to the laws
of supply and demand could not have risen
to more than double peace rates, can now be
used only by the rich.
Everything has a tendency upward in the
lr. "VYoodfin was made Superintendent of the !
Works. With commendable energy he has " '
pushed forward his undertaking, and thero ;
are now, as reported tome by a special ;
agent sent to visit the establishment, about r
200 kettles in operation, making near 1200 '
bushels per day. Owing to his sickness the
Superintendent has made no official report
to me of his operations and expenditures.
I recommend that your Honorable body
shall take immediate steps to prevent the
exportation from the State of salt, leather,
shoes, woolen cloth, cotton cloth, yarn, pork
and bacon, flour and potatoes except for the
army and by regular agents of the govern
ment; and except when purchased by any
county and corporate authorities cf our sis
ter States, under such regulations as will
amout to satisfactory proof that such articles
are for private us?, or charitabb distribution
not ior isptctiiatton not, however, In vloKT?"
tion ol any existing contracts made by our
citizens with citizens of other States. - This
is all the remedy I can suggest for the evils
of extortion history and common sense
having taught us the danger of try ins: to
iorce iraue, wnicn reiuses to be governed by
any but natural laws. All we can do is to
aid these well established laws, as the skill
ful physician assists nature in the checking
of disease. Violent and forcible measures
have long since been condemned by civilized
statesmen, and could ndw only serve to dry
up iue sources oi our .muustry, ana lessen
the productions of the country. The same
remarks apply to seizures of private proper
ty for public use, which ought never to be
resorted to except in extreme eases, apd then
only as a temporary expedient 1
lo provide against the possible sufferim?
of the wives and "children of our brave and
self-denying soldiers, I also respectfully re-
commenu me purchasing ana storing, at
some safe point in the interior, of at least
two hundred thousand bushels of corn and
fivo hundred thousand pounds of pork, to
be sold to them at rates sufficient to cover
the cost, transportation, &c It can now be
bought in the Eastern counties at moderate
prices, and is in danger of destruction by
the enemy, if not removed at an early day.
Anticipating the necessity of this measure,
and also thinking it proper in a military
point of view to have some surplus on hand,
I have already ordered the building of large
cribs on the N. C. It. Road, and made other
preliminary arrangements for purchasing on
a large scale.
I deem this a matter of the very highest
importance. Nothing would so cheer and
encourage our soldiers in the discharge of
duty, as to Jtnow that their State was pro
viding for Uose at home dearer to them than
life ; and nothing would so dispirit and de
moralize tbcm as to kno w that those dear
ones were suffering.
Indeed, the soldier, shivering through the
snows of the coming winter and offering hi
blood day by day for our defence, has a right
to expect that his country will not permit his
wife and little enes to cry in vain for bread ;
and while there is a morsel in the land it
should be divided with them. I beg you,
therefore, gentlemen, to make such provis
ions as you may deem best in reference to
the matter, and at as early a day as possible,
and let the gratifying assurance go forth to
the camps of our armies that the wives and
children of our soldiers shall not suffer so
Ions as their State has money or food to giro
them.
I beg leave to call your attention to the
great and almost insurmountable difficulties
encountered by the Quartermaster's Deoart-
mem. tu yiuiumg cioming, shoes and blan
kets for our troops. Daring the administra
tion of my predecessor, an arrangement was
entered into (according to a resolution of the
General Assembly) with the Quartermaster's
Department of the Confedearte State? by
which North Carolina was to receive' the
commutation clothing money of her troops
and clothe and shoe them herself. And on
our agreeing to sell the Confederate author
nes all the surplus supplies that could b
procured in the State, they agreed to with
draw their agents from our markets, and
leave the State agents the whole field, with
out competition. This would have enabled

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