Page images

which was quite strong with many who opposed secession until after Sumter was fired on. They thought that President Davis, Governor Ellis, and their party generally, regarded them with some degree of suspicion, or at least lacking in ardor for the Southern cause. There was an early division in the convention on this line, Graham, Badger, Satterthwaite, etc., against Edwards, Ruffin, Biggs, Howard, etc. The contest for Governor between Vance and Johnston was the result of this difference of sentiment, each party, however, uniting in the avowal of hostility to the restoration of the Union and determination to fight to the bitter end for independence.

I add further that all the speakers in the foregoing discussion are dead except Mr. Pettigrew, who, having left the University of North Carolina fifty-eight years ago, is still doing active and efficient work in the cause of his Master, universally honored and beloved.


[From the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, February 9, 1896.]


The Experience of Dr. W. W. Parker, Major of Artillery, Confederate States Army.


A Cow With a History-She Supplied Milk and was Used as a PackHorse on the March-Piles of Biscuits Chosen

by Lot-War Reminiscences.

[ocr errors]

[The "solitary horseman of the novelist, G. P. R. James, was scarcely more familiar to his once numerous readers than is our excellent friend Dr. Parker to the good people of Richmond and its vicinity. In his knightly figure on gaunt steed as he trots daily in his broad ministrations of mercy and healing, do we feel that the type of the tried and tireless “country doctor" is still personified.

Why shouldn't he be as "lovely" as he is loving? His good wife, noble matron, to whom he so tenderly refers, will, we are assured, vote him "sweet." Dr. Parker is as gentle as he is ever brave.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Recently a distinguished minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Dr. Parker is a truly consistent member, felt constrained to preach an eloquent discourse on the crying shame and sin and danger of kissing. That crazy jade, gossip, proclaimed that the "counterblast" referred to was directly induced by some fond expressions of Dr. Parker. Encountering our excellent friend on the highway, we essayed to rally him on his "peculiarity." He thus ingenuously parried the thrust. 'Why," quoth he, an ancient maiden patient of mine avows that she don't believe the idle story; that I never tried to kiss her!"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A year or so ago Dr. Parker paid us a visit in our time-worn house in which he spent his childhood hours.

The bump of philoprogenitiveness of the Doctor is very large. Whilst with us he seemed much taken with the airs of the hope of our mature years, a little boy then not three years old. Upon leaving, our friend desired to salute the tot. It was impossible for the infant to reach up to the towering figure. The difficulty was in a jiffy overcome. We were surprised to see the Doctor drop on his knees, embrace the little one, and as quickly resume his feet. There could be no discussion as to the grace of the act, and we only felt that our boy had been "blessed" in the kiss of so good a man. Ah! the heart of the good Doctor is filled with the milk of human kindness; it is expansive. We believe that it embraces every man, woman, and child worthy of his love. Yet, the erstwhile spirit militant in him is scarce diminished. His spear is ever atilt in the cause of what he deems the right or toward the suppression of wrong. He goes into every encounter, too, with visor up. He is a manly antagonist, and scorns subterfuge.

In action no one in our community has been more constant in effort in the cause of humanity. In eleemosynary provision no one has been more influential. A multitude will rise to call him blessed. Thousands will cherish him in grateful remembrance.

We trust that posterity will duly commemorate his consecrated life-work of mercy and charity, and that his loved form will yet be given place in this dedicated City of Monuments.—ED.]

Dr. W. W. Parker's recent address before Pickett Camp on "How I Kept House During the War," was in the bright vein that marks all of the sayings and writings of that gentleman, and was greatly enjoyed by the large company of ladies and gentlemen who heard it. The well-known physician and philanthropist said:

Commander of Pickett Camp, Ladies, and Gentlemen:

I have been frequently honored by the members of your Camp with an invitation to address you on some war subject; but as often declined, till lately your commander repeated the invitation, and, thinking I might say something new, perhaps, as to how much more effectual artillery might be made in battle, in my opinion, I consented to write a short paper on the subject. But I was surprised a

few days ago by the announcement in the papers that ladies would be present on this occasion; and to talk to them about rapid artillery movements would be a piece of stupidity. I have therefore concluded to begin this address on a subject that may possibly interest them. My theme will be

[merged small][ocr errors]

I have been trying for some years to get some clever fellow to write an essay on "The World Without Women," but have failed. I have been asked to write myself, but am not qualified. I have always concluded if the women left the world I would so soon follow them that the discussion would not personally help me.


In camp life we have some hint of what would happen if the fair sex should suddenly take wings and fly away, like doves, toward Heaven. One of the things that would soon take place would be the departure of the wash-tub. It is a good thing that sheets are not known in the army. They would never be washed. Were the women to disappear suddenly, no man would have a clean sheet on his bed or a clean shirt on his back two weeks after their departure. I only once attempted to wash a handkerchief in the army, and the result was that the white parts were made black, and the soiled parts greatly extended. I used sand instead of soap.

Sleeping between blankets in winter is well enough. In summer we slept on them. We had, as a rule, dirty shoes, as well as dirty shirts, dirty hands, and dirty faces, dish-rags incredibly and universally dirty. Whether the water was dirty or not seemed never to concern any one; it was this or none. I used to be surprised at the ease with which men found water on a cloudy night, when you could hardly see your hand before you. So soon as the company was halted for the night, a man from each mess would hasten with his wooden bucket and tin dipper to get water to begin cooking. Knowing nothing about the country, it would seem difficult to know which way to go; but as water is found in low places, the soldier would plunge down hills, and continue to go until he came to a creek, and when found he would begin to use his dipper. Sometimes a fellow would be too lazy to go, and would run the risk of begging a little water to make his coffee. They would frequently

rob my man Joe's bucket, and as he generally carried two (one for early breakfast), he could spare a little. But, finally, the boys robbed him so systematically that he would hide one of his buckets under the tent-cloth, or in the bushes nearby. I don't think I ever heard the inquiry made, "Is the water good?"

Before beginning to prepare his dough for making bread, the cook, if he had plenty of water, would get one of the boys to pour a little water upon his hands, which were wiped upon a dirty towel.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


It was amusing to see how state, turning them around, He was an artist. They

One of the glories of this housekeeping was that there was no complaint of want of appetite. Everything was good. The only trouble was about the quantity. I defy any man or woman to make two dozen biscuit, every one exactly the same size, and yet, if they were not, there was trouble in the mess. the cook eyed each one when in a plastic eyeing their rotundity, thickness, etc. were, when done, generally put in little piles on the ground or on a bench, and viewed by the boarders with the keenest discrimination. There was much difficulty also in getting the piles exactly the same size, though with the same number of biscuit. In one of the messes it became a rule that the men would turn their backs upon the rows of biscuit and the cook would take a long stick and cry out: "Who will take this pile?" If Sergeant Jones said "I will," and turned around and found his pile not the biggest, he would exclaim in great disgust: "This is the smallest pile on the board." But there was generally no further complaint. The poor fellows were so hungry they could not delay to gratify their appetites. When the last man got his pile there was silence, and the scanty meal soon disappeared. It was rarely that the food was well chewed, but it was always quickly digested. There were no overloaded stomachs and there were no colics. One of my men, I will not call his name (a Richmond gentleman) lest I might offend him, would sometimes eat a dozen biscuit at a meal.

One night about 2 o'clock, while we camped very near the enemy's lines, not allowed to speak in loud tones or have any fire, some of the men went off to a neighboring house and got a woman to bake their biscuit. On this occasion I saw in the darkness on the side of the mountain a small group of moving objects, and presently I heard talking in low tones. I became uneasy, fearing the enemy was plan


ning a night attack. I continued to listen for half an hour with increasing concern. The conversation finally ceased, and the men began to move towards me. On enquiring, with some tremor of voice (there was no one awake but myself), "Who comes there?" Sergeant A. replied: "We are all right, Captain." He informed me that he and his comrades were dividing their biscuits, and I found him loaded down. I think I could guess how many he ate that night between 2 and 5 o'clock.


Towards the close of the war meat became so scarce that it merely greased the bread. The tin plates were scraped so clean that they looked like they had been washed. Coffee had at this time gone out of memory, and the small and scanty repast was eaten with satisfaction and without a murmur as to the failure of the commissary to do better. Heroes, these poor fellows! They knew that all were doing their best, and their sacrifices caused them to love the cause with deathless devotion. With eggs, milk, sugar, and rice, I had dessert two or three times a week-apple dumplings in summer and sorghum pies, though black as tar, were a delicacy. Sometimes I sent a man to Charles City, his home, to see his wife, on the express condition that he would bring me some fresh fish. I remember on one occasion I invited General Alexander to dine soon after the fish came, and I feared he would kill himself eating. When finally the sugar gave out and we did not have anything but black-eyed peas, my dinner was made of them with a little salt pork for seasoning, and one measured quart of water afterwards. But for the water I would have been well salted, and would have kept for years as a mummy. But to return:

These brave men counted not the cross heavy for the cause they loved so well. Oh, patriotism! How brave and beautiful art thou! How unselfish, how patient, how true to friends, and how fearless of foes! Love of country is next only to love of God. I knew nothing of it till I went into the army. I thought it only love of neighbor and kinsfolk and the old homestead. It is wide, deep, strong, uplifting the soul-yea, stronger than the love of life itself. For this you would give up your wife and children, father and mother, sister and brother, fame and fortune.

My pantry held granite, china, a camp-chest, a chicken-coop, a medicine-chest, a stove, made of a camp-kettle, with the top taken

« PreviousContinue »