The Scranton tribune. (Scranton, Pa.) 1891-1910, April 17, 1894, Page 7, Image 7

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J' TiA'i- -H-ffy.
While JueKson was preying on to
join lte roust or his cavalry was at
.jched mihI lift i" ths valley. The Sheii- '
Midouli gum lis. wmai DM oroppsil CM
titio whtx traatfUTw) to thy cavalry,
were u pottioo ol Imbodeu's command.
The Federals poured into the Boensn
llOat) and I. may from thy north and le-t-.ipturcd
everything end pteMed tho
( Vuft'derates slowly back to Staunton, i
Neither side was strom; enough to poa-
MM ind hold tho valley. The Confnl-
rate occupation defended one of tho
rt ndi to Richmond. Federal ocou
V itiyn defended cue of the roads to
Washington. Than wan jwynMng and
milling and clashing ot sabers, but noth
ing Uka a general battle rseulted, Both
coinuumders had been instructed to
avoid thin aud Watch tiif might move
ments developing elsewhere.
What is a battlt like a battla in
which 10.000 men tall in their tracks
to die with the roar of the gnus still
sounding in their ears aud a many
moie lit thai jtjt. eraVir?i:!i: and
groaning and praying with the pain of
thur wounds! McClellon was on both
sides of the Chli'kabomiDy, with tho
spires ot Richmond in view. His front
was miles lou and defeuded by ririe
pits, earthworks, felled tree and nat
ural obstruct ton. More than 100,000
b'ederals faced Lee
tt ilttie. Be
hiud them rtN camps and wagon trains
and held hospitals and supplies cumber
ing the ground for mlltS and miies.
McCletlnn wus about to attack. He
even Wilting his order when Lee
a;, utxia tils wi'i; at Mecnaiue'sviiie.
That'was a feint. The right at Meadow
Bridge, directly in front of his ceutc-r.
was a piece of strategy. The assault
upon his wing at Quid Harbor was
meant tj anuinilate him. The battle
ground wae made up of swamps, cleared
tiolds. patches of forest, timber covered
bills and old rieids glQWI up to bushes
aud b:itrs. McOellau had two and
three lines of earthworks hen5, and here
his guns were planted as thickly as men
could work them. LongatMOt and Hill
attacked here. They know the strength ;
of the position ; they had counted the
odds. There was no skirmishing, no
watting. Ou a front three miles long
the Confederates suddenly appeared and '
roahed forward to the attack. Had
they numbered Bee times as many they
would have been beaten back. They
were Itpaleed agaiu and again by the .
tire which seemed to burn them !( tho
face of the earth, lint those who lived
CUM back again more desperate than
betore. Only their leaders knew why
this terribly sacrifice was being offered
np to tnegod of war. Lc'e had planned
with Jackson. Jackson had left the val
ley by way of Erown's gap to fall upon
llcCIallan'a rJank at Cold Harbor. The
lacriBct in front was to give Jackswu
time and to ma.-ik his movement.
And to Longstrect and Hill advanced
gain and again to the sscrlflcs until
their dead and wounded outnumbered
the living. The titcrnoon san was sink
ing lower and lower. By and by it was
only an hour high, 't hen the rear of
battle along the front suddenly ceased.
Hod the remnants of regiments and
brigades become panic strickeu at the
awful waste of life and tied from too
field.' Had they sullenly refused to obey
orders to advance again? Had Lee
given up ail hope of success and with
drawn from that front:' For live min
utes icarcaly a musket was discharged.
Then from the heavy forest directly on
the flank of the position Jackson ap
peared. The flank of an army is its
weak spot. Even if attacked in the rear
it can face about and tight with hope
of success, but if the flank gives way
disaster follows. Jackson's coming was
a surprise. His attack was as sudden
as the stroke of a bell. It dumfounded
and dismayed the Federal flank, but
only for a few minutes. McClellftn was
not far away. He had fathomed Lee's
plans and discovered his true object.
The flank gave back until it had a front
of a mile long, and then it halted and
battled to save that vreat army. What
was to be done must be done right than.
Re-enforcements were ordered up, guns
advanced, and for an hon: tbjflfl was
such fighting as war iiad never Ultima il
On the Federal flank Wersswomp and
firest aud tangled thicket. Lngineers
had said that the nature of the ground
i rotectud this flank. Wading through
swamps defp with ooze, bursting
through thickets which caught off their
caps and left their jackets in rugs, ad
vancing their lines amid the thick
fofe'jts, Jack-on s men rushed to the at
tack. Time and time again the lines
WON repulsed, but fresh troops poured
out of the woods to take the place of
tho dead and wounded, and the battle
;:iiw more vindictive and murderous.
There is a key to every battlefield.
There is ahvnys a key within n key.
Cold Harbor wns the key of this grei.t
held of slaughter. The expand flank
v. r the key within the key. Jackson
raid count his deed by (he thousand.
His entile lon e was up. and he had
harged nr.d stormed and battered in
The ining of night does not always
end n battle, but a- darkness shuts down
the combatants ftse their desperation
ind become more wary of each Other,
fidngtr, thirst and fatigue begin to tell.
As the tire of artillery and musketry
Blackens tho cries of tho wounded ore
heard, and those who have escaped un
hurt begin to estimate the losses. If
Jackson could not break that flank be
tore uight shut down, then his sacrifices
had been iu vain. Then the thousands
of dead and wounded belonging to
l.ungstreet und Hill had simply been
led to slaughter. An older was sent to
Oennral Hood, whose brigade of Texans
had been held in reservo for an emer
gency. Hood placed himself ut the head
of his 4.000 men and dashed forward.
They had to traverse a swump and than
cross an open space on which tho dnud
already lay touching each other. The
Texans had only begun their forward
movement when every piece of artillery
and every musket on that flank wns
turned upon them. With yells of defi
ance they rushed torward. The skele
tons ot men struck dowuiu that swamp
were dug out years afterward us burial
panics sougiit for thy dead of ths war.
Wounded men fell into the pools of
black water or floundered about in the
ooze, but thoSS unhurt used thuiu for
stepping stout's.
Nothing could check that rash, tirupe
and canister and bullet killed aud
wonnded 9,000 men, but ths other 9,000
swept forward, dashed over the earth
work and were driven like a wedge
Into the Federal flank. It was the ch
urns. Bcuteu but not panic stricken,
the men in blue Ml back step by step,
tigbtiug over every fool of the ground,
ind at length they rested on a new
lino. McClellan alone kuew that he
was beaten. He alone realized whut
would result. That graft army, only a
portion of Which had been driven, must
retreat to a new tins and a new base
of supplies. Jackson's culling from the
t""rtV placing bimsell on the Dank
bad imperiled the fats of the nation.
Like the strategist ho was. MoClslUn
assumed much. concealed much. While
he brought up fresh troops to he Id the
victorious enemy at bay he issued orders
for retreat.
Foi w ! and Weeks stores had been
accumulating iu rear of that grand
army. Then were thousands of beef
cattle, tram loads of bacon, rice, nit,
beans and other eatables. Thousands
0l spare tents had come forward, thou
sands of blanket, uniforms, ihoen, mus
kets and other supplies. Boxes of hard
tack were piled up 10 feet high for
miies and milts. Burrels of flour, cov
ered wi;h tarpaulins, shut out some of
aekson'i msn ntshsd to thtattcuUti
the camps from sight of the highways.
Here and there in forest aud field were
great heaps of forage for the animals,
and here and there great hear s of fixed
ammunition tor cannon or musket.
There was the value of millions of dol
lars lying about, and nearly all must
be sacrificed. Withdrawal meant re
treat. Retreat meant that Lee und
Jackson would assume tho aggressive
and seek to utterly annihilate the Fed-
..-.I BfMNMI
e.-al arinv
The work of destruction began almost
before the cheers of Hood's Touns had
died away. Whole regiments were de
tailed for ths Work. The cattle conld
be drive uway. A part of the rnot
valuable stores conld be hRiiIed off. It
is a rule of war to leave nothing behind
in retreat to benefit your enemy. He is
often left tiie dead and wounded to em
barrass him. The soldiers were ordered
to destroy, and they seemingly took de
light In obeying. The heaps of flour.
eut and clothing weie given up to tho
flames, and as the bsavensTWsre lighted
by the midnight tires people on the
bonse roofs in Richmond believed tha
green forests to be fiercely blazing.
Never bad a general more tosacrilice
that be might be stripped for light,
never was the hand of destruction more
mthleaely applied. A night was Dot
sufficient. AH next day while those in
battle line held the enemy at bay tliou
"aud of men were burning and destroy
ing. 'When the Confederates marched
over the ground, they were appalled nt
the sacrifices made. Wbtu the last heap
of forage had been given up to the
flames. McClellan was icady. His Maes
were abandoned, and his army was in
retreat, hut there was po panic. Lee
and Jackson Were ready to follow. They
hoped to find a fleeing mob. but when
ever they attacked it was to be beaten
back by men as valiant as Napoleon
ever saw turn at buy. Mi ! by mile
they retreated, pansing nuw and then
for a Bom grapple in which they could
justly claim n victory, ami at last ths
James was reached, und the army had
; been saved. What of the dead and
; wounded? Nctbing. They tigtire in ths
! reports of battles only us figures.
Not one soldier iu a hundred more
thnn catches a glimpse of a battlefield.
i(e seldom aces what takes pluce outside
! of bis iiwii regiment. Whun two great
; armies grapple, thev must huvu room.
, The front nmy be three, four, five or six
I miles long. The lines of battle run
: across OpSB fields, throngh the woods,
lover bills, across highwuys, throngh
I orchards. As loon as the tiring begins
I tbs smoke t;hnts in the vision to the
nrh! and left, Troops amy stand or lie
; down, bavu tho cover of n breastwork
i or none at nil. Tbsy may i bargo or be
, charged, gain gtound or be driven btck
; to a new line. However the battle goes.
, tho soldier sees only vbat takes placo
' in his immediute front.
And how the opening of a buttle
i chuuges the uutuiH of u man I While
I he is waiting for it to hpgin every nervo
i is strung to its utmost. He may be it
bravo iiihd, but in tbut hour of waiting
''' "'' " il. hlu,f,f!f- ,Ju trerublt-s.
He doubts himself. Ho turns pule, and
his knees grew weak. He would run
sway but tor his pride. It Is pride and
not coui'iige that holds him iu h i plac-.
He may he a man who has never uttered
nu oath in the heating of his comrades- -a
mas of Christian principles. A minute
nf'.ur the firing liegins all tho wicked
ness born in his son. begins to betray
Itself. lie shouts and raws and curses.
His fucial expression is so changed that
his own brother coald not identify h.'in,
For ttie time being hi' ip a madman a
devil, Ho cries: Kill! Kill! Kill!"
even though In his excitement be fins
among the true tops or ill the clouds.
This is tho excitement which numbs
all feeling iu BOiUS men when wounded,
and they (iyht on until they happen to
catch sight of their own blood and then
sink helplessly down, it is a sort of
nightman in which U0 mag can bo held
responsible for bis words, and In which
M one notes tho flight of time. To
some un hour stems a day. To others
tho sun ptisscs from the noonday maik
to tho edge of the horizon so swiftly
that tttey are timiized.
For half u day Lee 's whole array had
hurled itself against the Federal line;.
Every foot ot ground on that long front
hud drunk blood. Thy linu was brokwu
only hi erne place, but that Was fatal.
There ihe fight continued to rage until
long after nightfall, but at lust it giad
uuliy disdawsy, and a solemn hush (ell
upon the bloody field. One muy con-
qust uud yet be so&sw.tanquisbed that
lis has no strength ioi another blow; Bo
it wns with Juckson. He hud brokeu
the Federal line, bul he could not fol
lOW Up his advantage, liven if night
had not come hp must reorganise his
battered commands, replenish his am
munition ami permit tho WOtHOUt men
food uud sleep.
A battle decs not cease at once, it is
au hour or moro in dying away. There
is a sputtering arid growling here uud
there, and men give up their work of
ileum grudgingly . At lust a hush comes.
It is absolute to the men who havu been
deafened by tho loar for hours und
hours. It is a blessed relief, but they
look at each other iu uliirm. The very
stillness Uight ins tlieiu. They have
seen dead and wounded 1000 before
them, to tho light or left, iu rear, tor
hours, but baVS scarcely given them a
thought. NoW when the hush comes
the freniy gradually goes uwuy, and
ttiey stand appalled at tho slaughter.
Tho hush does not last long, ll is bro
ken by the cries uf the WOUUded- by men
who have suffered pain and thirst and
fear for letig hours. There is nothing
known to living man which oon be com
pared to these dies rising fiuui a field
of slaughter us night comts down. Men
who have siiffeied and made no outcry
While daylight lasted now seem to bu
SOixod with a tear of the darktuss. Men
who seemed to have been struck dcml
are revived by the fulling dew to plead
for life. Souie call uiit in qnuveriiig
voices, like children when in the dark
ntss. Some curse; somo pray; some re
vile. Here and there i lie, realizing that
he is wounded unto death aud that help
will come too late, maintains silence.
With an effort which stin ts Iho red blued
Bfresb, he carries his hand to tho pocket
iu which lies n photograph of sweet
heart or a last letter from (he wife at
home, and the burial party finds his
dead fingers clutching the relic und his
glazed eyes listened upon it his last
glimpse Of thius mortal.
The full horroi of a battlefield is re
alized only at night. While darkness
ehuts out a thousand horrible sights, it
yet adds to the horrors. Here und there
parties searching for some officer, dead
or wounded, move about with lanteui
or torch to guide them. They step over
the dead. They tread upon hands and
arms outstretched. They slip and stag
ger on the spots cf earth wet with blocd.
Tne wounded hear and see them moving
about, and they call out with renewed
strength for succor. A wounded horse
who has been lying down iu a pool of
blood sees ths light approaching, and
there is something human in bis whirn
! 1 fl - 1 1 J l ,:,,
periugs. Ho pleads and coons. V ltti
a great effort hu gains his feet and hob
bles along aud utt-rs his pleadings and
Unthis battlefield of Cold Harbor art
nine or ten thousand deud men. ten ot
twelve thousand wounded. The lhing
and unhurt are exhausted with the day's
truggls, and tiie wounded must lis
through ths night. There are 110 search
ing parties abroad, no details to give
succor, From forest and thicket and
field the tiica of the stricken continue
bom alter hour, but thty cry in va 0, In
tho swamp over which Hood charged
wounded men lap the water thick With
mud and slime. They struggle as they
sink slowly into the ooze, struggle und
shout and pray, but dig theii own
graves, as it were, and some of their
blackened bones ate there today. Here,
win io ths brigades of Hill moved oven
the open ground to charge tiie troops of
Seymour und Reynolds, the dead lie
thicker than they will in the strcts ut
Frcdricksl.tirg or on tbo ilopsi at Ut
tysbursr. Thete are my wounded ut
least no voices cry out to us through tho
dsiknSSS. Here the Federals had :IU
pieces of artillery posted to command
the approach, uud as the Coufedotates
advanced the slaughter was something
terrible. Sixteen hundred und eighty
lead men lib litre in this open spot of
.Ive acres. They were struck down by
round shot, by bursting shsil and by
grape and canister. There arc bodies
without Leads, bodln without inuis,
bodies which are but fragments. VVbi
tho burial pally reuches this Spot to
morrow, they will numo it "Tht Butch
er Fen,'' and thut name will cling to it
foreveruiure. Napoleon would have said
that no Hoops in the world could havu
been advanced under thut awful lire,
bat from 4 o'clock toiandoWO the Con
federates charged again and again, leav
ing their deud nearer eurthwork and
breastwork each time.
Here, where Portst massed HU guns
nt Alexander's Hridge in the vain DOPS
of saving the center, the dead cannot be
gathered and buried for days. They an
not corpses, bat fragments nt corpses.
Arms and legs will be found amid the
branches of trees, and bands and feci and
pieces of and bloody buies MUSl
lie raked upas if it were a bayfleld.
Here, where J euerul Cooke- With his cav
lry charged one of Longit rest's divi
sions und was broki . and shuttered and
routed within live minutes. 800 botseS
cover twi lucres id ground. Among UlSlU
are 80U dead and Wdnndsd troopers. It
was (I gallant charge, but it was made
iu vain. Even by noonday no man can
pass over that field without staining bis
boots with blood, If con) grows hero
in after fOOM when men shnll bu at
peace, it will grow rank and tall, and
tho rustle of the stalks in tho summer
wind (dill sound liko a chant inumuiuiy
of the dead.
It is midnight. McClellan is moving
quietly to the roar, tho Confederates
along his front watching, waiting,
Slssping. The wounded have rdniost
ceased tornll out. Tho faces of tbedead
have been made whiter and more ghast
ly by the bath of dSW, Aud now the
Tiicy kneel bssld the dead and itafofl
taeh pocket,
ghonl steals uwuy from tbs dying camp-
Are into tho darkness and skulks aud
creeps and crawls about in search of
plunder. Every inuiy bus its huuum
hyenas. They may have fought brave
ly during the bl'.ttle, but us night falls
atid men MOM their work of killing the
ghoulish instinct cannot be resisted.
They kneel beside the dead and March
each pocket. Their knees feel the earth
wet with blood, but they do not shrink.
Their bonds touch gaping wounds und
are smeured with blued, but there is no
disgust. Whatever plunder they secure
is blood stained, but ou the morrow
they will wash uway thsStsiOS,
"Here this way -for God's sake
give me wotsi!"
it is a wounded moo who bus heard
the ghoul moving about. No mutter
whether ho is a friend oi foe, ho muy
yield plunder. Thu ghoul bends over
bim and begins a search. Thy wound
ed man may quietly submit, hoping ut
least tobemwarded with water enough
to UOiften his parched tongue uud burn
ing throat, if so, he is spared. If not,
strong fingers seize his throat uud fasten
there until he is dead, or his own buy
oust muy be driven into his heart.
And when the summer sun comes up
again a hundred burial parties will be
scattered along this front, and a thou
sand men will be busy digging the long
trenches into which the deud are to be
heaped. Then Will lie no time wasted.
The dead will be picked up us fast us
possible and dragged or carried to thy
trenches. No one will ask their names,
no one search .their ioekets. Side by
side, like slicks of wood, heads all one
way, and then a covering of dirt is ba
grudgingly given. Years later the
trenches hidden by brier and bush will
be opened, und the bones lifted ont to
be carried to the spot where a single
monument must SerVS to cheiieh the
memory of thousands.
, HaittiKormo Complexion
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S Scrantou Tribune, Scrantoa, Pa., April 17, 1894. 1
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