George William Bagby.

Selections from the miscellaneous writings of Dr. George W. Bagby (Volume 1) online

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with horse-pistols, bowie-knives, brandy-flasks, and
cold ham and biscuit, were now recovered from their
-" wounds/' and straining their eyes from the upper


windows and porches to catch the first glimpse of
the dreaded Pawnee. The top of the Capitol, the
tops of houses, church steeples, the " observatories,"
as they are unscientifically called, of the hotels, and
every high point in and around the city, were alive
with human beings. Church Hill in particular,
which overlooks the river at Rocketts, was swarming
with human beings of both sexes, all ages, and every
complexion, for the negroes were now as anxious and
excited as their masters and mistresses.

It was whispered that the Grand Army of Rich-
mond intended to " make a stand " at Rocketts, and
give battle to the Pawnee, for it was taken for
granted that that vessel would make fast to the wharf
before she opened her broadsides or gave tongue
even to the pivot rifle in the bow. This was an ad-
ditional incentive to the dense crowd on Church Hill
to remain just where they were, at least until the
enemy hove in sight. The army did make a stand
at Rocketts, but it was merely a halt for refresh-
ments fresh quids of tobacco. The line of glitter-
ing bayonets was soon again in motion, the cannon
rumbled, the war-horses kicked up a mighty dust,,
and the column quickly wound over the hill and was
out of sight. Still the multitudes on the towers and
house-tops watched and waited. Like a serpentine
silver band the river lay stretched before them, miles
and miles away, without a cloud to dim its tranquil
argent sheen. Far or near, none could descry the
Pawnee. The sun sank low, and at length set in
the peaceful heavens. Still no Pawnee. Twilight


deepened into night, the church bells called the
people from the hills and house-tops to prayers
prayers of gratitude for deliverance from " the pes-
tilence that steamet/i at noon-day," but doth not
often venture up narrow, shallow, and unknown
channels when thick darkness covereth the earth.
The Pawnee never came. The troops bivouacked
that night in the fields on the river-shore, some five
or six miles below the city, and inarched back the
next day to resume the exercises which were to fit
them for actual service, of which they were destined
to see far more than they dreamed. The night was
mild, and the march, the bivouac, and the shell prac-
tice in which the Howitzers indulged the following
morning, were regarded by the " boys " as a jolly frolic.
No accident and but one untoward event happened.
A son of Dr. Beverley Tucker, Professor in the Rich-
mond Medical College, contracted that night a pul-
monary disease which speedily proved fatal. Young
Tucker was, in Virginia at least, the first victim of
the war.

Thus began, progressed, and ended the famous
" Pawnee war/' We may laugh at it now, for there
were many laughable things about it. Not the least
of these was the consternation produced in the
country about Richmond by the exaggerated reports
carried out of the corporate limits by self-elected
couriers. Among other wild stories, was one to the
effect that the Pawnee Indians had come down -the
Central railroad, taken possession of the city, and
were scalping and tomahawking the citizens at a.


frighiful rate. This story was actually believed, and
many agitated ladies fled to the house of a daughter
of General Richardson, the Adjutant-General of Vir-
ginia, as if there w r as a charm about that powerful
title w r hich ensured safety to all its owner's relatives
and friends. Yes, we may laugh at the Paw r nee war,
and own frankly that there was something of a panic
that day in Richmond. But then, as in times more
alarming, when the tocsin again sounded, and with
better cause, Richmond shewed fight, and doubtless
would have made it had there been occasion. If
that was her first panic, it was her last. A year
afterwards one hundred thousand men, and thrice
one hundred pieces of cannon threatened her, with
scarce an earthwork between them and their prey;
but she was calm and smiling, for Lee confronted
the host of her foes, and Jackson was coming.



I HATE a fli.
A fli is got no manners. He ain't no gentle-
inun. He's an introoder, don't send in no kard, nor
ax a interduckshun, nor don't knok at the frunt door,
and nuver, nuver thinx uv takin off his hat.

Fust thing you know he is in bed with you and
up your nose tho what he wants up thar is a mistry
and he invites hisself to breakfast, and sets down
in yore butter, thont brushin his pants.

He helps hisself to sugar, and meat, and molasses,
and bred, and persurves, and vinnegy, and every-
thing don't wait for no invitashum. He's got a
good appytite, and jist as sune eat one thing a&

'Taint no use to challenge him for taking liberties;,
he kepes up a hostile korrespondence with you,,
wether ur not, and shoots hisself at you like a bullit,
and he nuver misses, nuver.

He'll kiss yore wife 20 times a day, and zizz and
zoo, and ridikule you if you say a word, and he'd
Hither you'd slap at him than not, coze he's a dodger

334 FLIZE.

uv the dodginest kind. Every time you slap, you
don't slap him, but slap yo'self, and he zizzes arid
pints the hind leg uv skorn at you till he aggrevates
you to distrackshin.

He glories in lightin every pop on the exact spot
whar you druv him from, wich pruves the intenshun
to teeze you. Don't tell me he ain't got no mind ;
he knows what he is arf ter. He's got sense, and too
much ov it, though he nuver w r ent to school a day in
his life except in the sugar dish. He's a mean, mil-
lignunt, owdashus, premedditated cuss.

His mother nuver paddled him with a slipper in
her life. His morrals was niglecktid, and he lacks a
good deal of humility mitely. He ain't bashful a
bit, and I doubts if he blushes ofting. In fact, he
was nuver fetched up at all.

He was born full grown ; he don't get old, neither.
Things gits old, but he nuver gits old and he's im-
perdent and mischevus to the day uv his deth.

He droops in cold wether, and you kin mash him
on a winder-pane, but you've jest put yore finger in
it. He cums agin next yeer, and a heep mo with
him. 'Taint no use.

One Hi to a family might do fur amusement, but
the good uv so menny flize I bedog ef I kin see.
Kin you ?

I have thort much about flize, and I has notist
how ofting they stops in thar deviltry to comb thar
heds and skratch thar nose with thar fourlegs, and
gouge thar arm-pits under thar wings, and the tops
of thar wings with thar hind legs, and my kandid

FUZE. 335

opinyun ar that flize is lowsy; they eeclies all the
time, is misurbul, and that makes em bad-tempered,
and they want to make uther peepil misurbul too.

Ef that ain't the flosofy of flize, I give it up.

Altho a fli don't send in his kard, he always leaves
one, and I don't like it. 'Taint pritty ef 'tis round.
He kan't make a cross-mark only a dot and he is
always a dottin whar thar ain't no i's. Thars no
eend to his periods, but he nuver comes to a full

Sich handwritin is dizagreeabil.

He's a artiss, but his freshco and his wall-paperin
I don't admier. Thars too much sameness in his
patterns. His specs is the only specs that don't
help the eyes. You can't see through um, and you
-don't want too.

I hate a fli.

Durn a fli.



Tchivalry uv me Native State :

TOUR, committee showed much taste when they
selected me as your charger. Notablest of
chargers am I, and fittest. Educated in Princeton,
New Jersey, I can ride anything from a hickory
stick to the walking-beam of a steam-tug. A horse
I despise. But strap me down tight as McClellan
did his troopers, or pin me fast with hooks and eyes
to a side-saddle, and I can ride against any man in
the world if another man will lead the horse.

Nevertheless, Mr. Knights and Tchivalry of Vir-
ginia, I shall discharge the duty I sought vainly to
escape. You will observe I do not call you shiv-
erlry, but tchivalry ; and this I do because Sir
Knights as bold and valiant as you are would not
indeed, could not shiver, even on the Fourth of
July. Did they have any Fourth of July in those
days when Bryant de Boss Gulliverbut, and those
other amiable and tchivalric Mr. Sir Knights whose
names escape me, nourished, and lit or fought tour-
naments? I hope not; I trow not. I hope they
had too much sense to indulge in any foolishness


about Independence days. No; those pious and
doughty Mr. Sir Knights of those doleful and dia-
bolical old days would never have made gumps and
T)lockheads of themselves as certain tchivalric Bos-
tonians did, who got themselves up in Indian cos-
tume and rode a tilt at midnight against a tea-ship
when nobody was aboard, not even the cook's mate
in complete armor. That bold Boston tea tourna-
ment, like the occupation of Sumter by Major An-
derson, brought secession from the best British gov-
ernment the world ever saw up to that time
brought the Fourth of July, brought you out here,
me into this bad box, and all our woe.

But, Tchivalry of Virginia, to pronounce the
word properly, you must put a "t" before the
"chiv,' and utter a preliminary sneeze before the
" t," and you have it exactly, but, Tchivalry of Vir-
ginia, as some tremendous poet has remarked, "look
not mournfully into the past." And when some
charger, more gifted than myself, tells you, " in the
language of the sublime, immortal, and beautiful
Burke, ; the age of tchivalry is over,'" and then
adds, " 'taint so," in order to cheer you up, when
.some gifted charger tells you this, you up and tell
him " 'its so," and that he is a mis-stater. Aye, Mr.
Sir Knights, the age of tchivalry is over, and you
may thank your stars that it is over. Zounds !
where would you be this day if it were not over?
Oadzooks ! how would you feel with a small iron
pot clapt close to your skull. Marry come up ! what
would be the state of your sudatory apparatus if you


had two hundred pounds of skillet lids distributed over
your precious persons ? 'Sdeath ! how your nerves
would flatten if you knew that in ten minutes from
this time the chances were that you would be-
knocked out of your saddle plumped out like the
middle man from taw by a real spear, and landed
flat on your back, twenty feet off in the road ? And
ten to one, the scoundrel who played you this tchi-
valric little trick would crown your sweetheart, and
she would smile upon him, and not even pay you;
the compliment of going to your funeral to-morrow.

Aye ! Mr. Sir Knights and Sir Gentlemen, you
may congratulate yourselves that, although this is
the Fourth of July, you don't have to get up and
put on a ready-made suit of steel, go out and straddle
an iron-clad horse, and put out from home with every
prospect of dying before sundown, because it is your
duty to dare every man to knock a chip off your hel-
met who says his mistress is prettier than yours.

Yes, gentlemen, this is a day of Spences, of Dev-
lins, of Wm. Ira Smiths, of linen dusters, butterfly
neckties, and shirts at $18 a dozen. Let us be duly
grateful therefor.

Having dispatched tchivalry, my next task is to-
gay somewhat about beauty. The two, beauty and
tchivalry, always go together. Why they always-
went together, and what they went for, I never did
know. Were all the women in the days of tchivalry
beautiful ? Certainly, they must have been beautiful,,
or else the skillet-lidded gentlemen of the period
would not have been willing to risk their lives twenty


times a day for them. It is not so now-a-days. Far
otherwise very much not so ! Alack ! that I should
say it, but the truth is that some modern women are
as ugly as the inside of an ancient, rat-eaten pine-
apple cheeze, and as high-tempered early in the
morning as a cross-cut saw. They have some temper
left in the middle of the day. Also some temper re-
maining at night. A homely face, a plenty of tem-
per, and precious little money, no man, however
tchivalric, would be willing to die for more than
once in twenty-four hours.

But, next to a thorough-bred horse, the beautiful-
est thing in the world is undoubtedly what do you
suppose ? A woman ? Oh, no ! A young woman ?
Not exactly. A wife ? A good wife is loveliness
itself ; but all wives are not good. A widow, then ?
We-11 ye-s, a pretty widow is a heap prettier than
mighty pretty. But the beautifulest thing in the
w T orld, beyond all shadow of comparison, is a bride.
And for the sake of a bride I think any valiant man
in a thin suit of clothes, all paid for, will be willing,
even on the fourth of July, to ride at an iron ring
twice as heavy and four times as big as that thing
dangling yonder. And it is your bounden duty, as
tchivalric Sir Knights, to make every one of the
ladies here present not one of whom is ugly all
the ugly and bad-tempered women have gone to
Chicago to make a living by getting divorces it is
your bounden duty, I say, to make each young lady
who now gazes on your manly, dewy, and tchivalric
forms, the beautifulest thing in the world a bride


and so give her the chance of becoming the next
beautif ulest thing in the world a widow.

Therefore, Sir Knights and gentlemen, I now most
earnestly charge you to do your level best. Proceed.
Set sail. Unship your royal mizzen cat-heads, haul
aft your spanker bowsprits, hoist your foretops'l
hatchways ! Go it, and may the devil take the man
that don't take the ring.



~T) UBKE, the author of The Peerage, gives the
JLJ) following account of the famous Battle Abbey
and its still more famous Boll :

"The Boll of Battle Abbey, the earliest record,
of the Normans, has at all times been regarded with
deep interest by the principal families in the king-
dom by those who show descent directly from the
chiefs of the Conqueror's host, as well as by those
who indirectly establish a similar lineage.

" The Abbey of Battle, a memorial of one of the
most important events in English history, was erected
upon a place called Heathfield, about seven miles dis-
tant from Hastings, in fulfilment of a vow made by
the Conqueror prior to the battle which won for him
the diadem of England. Within a year the founda-
tion was laid on the very spot where the battle of
Hastings had been fought, and but a brief period sub-
sequently passed until the Monastery itself arose in
all its magnificence, richly endowed and highly priv-
ileged, dedicated to the honor of the Holy Trinity
and St. Martin, the high altar standing where Harold
and the Saxon standard fell. The Conqueror at first
designed that this great religious house should ac-


commodate one hundred and fifty monks, but pro-
vision appears to have been made for sixty only. The
first community, a society of Benedictines, came from
Marmenstier, in Normandy, and were enjoined to pray
for those who died in the battle, and to preserve a
faithful record of all who shared in the glory of the
victory. Thus arose the Abbey of Battle, and thus
the Koll of Battle Abbey.

"The endowments of the royal founder upon the
Abbey and the holy brethren were, in the extreme,
liberal and munificent. Aldsis in Sussex, Lymsfield
in Surrey, How in Essex, Croumere in Oxen, Bris-
walderten in Berks, together with a league of land
around the house itself, were but a portion of their
vast domains. They had, besides, the churches of
Hadings and Colanum, in Devon, and St. Olave, in
Exeter. The immunities they enjoyed were alike con-
siderable. Their grand charter exempted the Breth-
ren of Battle from episcopal jurisdiction, treasure
trove and free warren. The abbot wore the mitre,
and was invested with the power to pardon any felon
he might meet with going to execution. From foun-
dation to dissolution, the Abbey of Battle had a suc-
cession of thirty-one mitred abbots. The last, John
Hammond, was chosen in 1529. The site of the dis-
solved Abbey was granted by Henry VIII. to
Richard Gilmer, who sold the estate to Sir Anthony
Broune, from whose descendants the Brounes, Vis-
counts Montague, the Abbey and lands passed again
by sale to Sir Thomas Webster, Bart., in whose fam-
ily they are yet vested. The still extant ruins, com-


puted at not less than a mile of ground, bear ample
testimony to the splendor and magnificence of the
celebrated Monastery of Battle.

"The table containing the following names was
suspended in the Abbey, with this inscription :"

Here follows the latin inscription and the roll, as
given by Hollinshed, and again by Brompton, Du-
chesne and, Leland. Among the names recorded,
will be found quite a number which are household
words in Virginia and other Southern States.

Doubt has been thrown upon the accuracy of the
Roll of Battle Abbey, so far at least as it may be re-
garded as the muster roll of the Norman chiefs who
survived the field of Hastings, there being more than
a suspicion that its holy guardians felt slight qualm
at interpolation, when by that means they could pro-
pitiate the favor of some anticipated wealthy bene-
factor, or gratify the pride of some potent steel-clad
baron. A recent writer endeavors, thus eloquently,
to excuse the laxity of this celebrated record: "It
was no unworthy pride," says Mr. Warburton, "that
would introduce a little of the Norman sap into the
family tree. And if to effect such an object his-
tory be sometimes twisted, and heraldry suborned,
let us look with indulgent eyes. Even at this day,
in a country where titles command so much respect
from the general worth of those who bear them, Nor-
man blood is the proudest boast, and Norman fea-
tures the proudest distinction." The document is,
at all events, one of monkish times, and has always
been held in high estimation by the ancient chroni-


clers. Grafton calls the list, which he publishes,.
"The Names of the Gentlemen that came out of
Normandy with William, Duke of that Prouynce,,
when he conquered the noble Realm of England, the
which he states that he took out of an Auncient Re-
corde that he had of Clarenceux, King of Armes."
And Stow asserts his catalogue is transcribed from
"A table some time in Battaille Abbey." Guilliaume-
Tayleur, too, a Norman historian, who could not
have had any communication with the monks of Bat-
tle, has given a copy of the muster roll, according in
most particulars with the lists which Burke has in-

Burke's "Annotations" refer briefly to those sol-
djers of the Conquest, of whom any authentic his-
tory remains, or from whom descendants may be
traced. The information imparted by him, meagre
though it be, will not be deemed valueless or uninterest-
ing by those through whose veins the Norman blood
flows, and in whose breast the Norman spirit breathes.
"On that soil" we again quote from Mr. Warbur-
ton's able work " on that soil where they fixed their
final home, the influence of Holla and his race
abides in monuments more enduring and worthier
than castles or abbeys; in the skill that tames the-
war-horse ; in the courage that ' rules the wave ;' in
the energies, the perseverance, the honor, the piety
of the English people.

" Nor have these influences suffered diminution from
the wear of eight hundred years. There is a vitality
in the Norman spirit on which time seems to have m>


power. Such as it was in the days after Hastings,,
such it is now. Then it inspired the Norman knight ;
it now breathes in the English gentleman."

We have taken the trouble to revive the history
of 'Battle Abbey, in order that we might fitly intro-
duce the suggestion promised at the close of our first
article on the record of Virginia. As we have said,
that record, so far at least as the Army of Northern
Virginia is concerned, is the record of the Confeder-
ate States, each of which has contributed lavishly
of its blood and treasure in the formation and achieve-
ments of that army. We owe it to ourselves, to our
posterity, to mankind, and, above all, to the battle-
scarred and toil-worn heroes of that truly great army,
to perpetuate its deeds of valor, endurance and suf-*
fering in some becoming manner. The day of ab-
beys, monasteries and monks is past for ever, but the
arts of modern civilization enable us to record the his-
tory of heroic actions in a manner far superior to the
written annals of ancient days. The printing press and
the photograph, by so much as they excel in rapidity
and accuracy the pen of the monk and the limner's
pencil, place it within our power to preserve the
muster-roll of the Army of Northern Virginia, and
to erect in honor of its deeds a "monument more
enduring and worthier than castles or abbeys."

Why should not each State have its muster-roll of
the second war for independence, and why should not
all the States unite in perpetuating the battle-roll of
the Army of Northern Virginia? The suggestion,
we have to make is this :


, I. The formation of a society, to be called " The
Historical Art Association of the Confederate States,"
which shall be a permanent organization, chartered
regularly, and composed of leading men from every
State; the President of the Confederate States,* or
other suitable person, to be the President of the As-
.sociation. The Yice-Presidents to consist of one or
.more distinguished gentlemen from each of the
Southern States. The Executive Committee to be
composed of influential and energetic citizens of
Richmond, where the Association will meet at least
once a month for the transaction of business. The
Chairman of this Committee to be a man who will
give his heart and soul to the work, in which he will
be seconded faithfully by all the members of the
committee the aim being the formation of a living,
working, ever-growing Association. In addition to
these officers, there should be a Recording Secretary,
Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Historiographer,
Photographer, and Artist.

II. Regular, honorary, and corresponding mem-
bers, to be eligible on terms prescribed by the con-
stitution of the Association.

III. One or more travelling agents.

IV. The primary object of the Association shall
be the collection, in one magnificent volume, hand-
somely embellished and bound in the most durable
manner, of a series of engravings executed in steel,
in the highest style of the art, by the best artists,
and from photographs taken on the spot of all the
_great battle-fields in which the Army of Northern


Virginia, or any considerable detachment of it, has
been or may hereafter be engaged.

Y. Brief description of each battle-field ; contem-
porary description of the battle itself (if one of any
value may be had) ; official report of the commanding
general, with extracts from minor reports; list of
troops engaged, of casualties and captures ; and names
-of those who specially distinguished themselves.

YI. Brief extracts from comments of the press of
the South and North, and of Europe, on each battle.

YII. Plan of each battle, taken from official re-

YIII. Likenesses of generals, partisan chiefs, and
other officers of distinction, with short biography
.and list of battles in which they were engaged.

IX. The Historiographer should accompany the
Photographer, for the purpose of furnishing a writ-
.ten description of the battle-field as it appeared
when the photograph was taken, and to obtain other
data which might be of use to him in compiling the


X. The secondary object of the Association should
be the collection and preservation of historical relics,
o-ecords, etc.

If the Association prospered and accumulated
money, its aim in the future would be to have exe-
cuted, by the foremost painters of the day, a series
^f historical paintings, on a large scale, of the great
battles fought by the Army of Northern Yirginia;
the paintings to be based upon the official reports
:&nd plans; the scenery as depicted by the Photo-


grapher, and the descriptions of the Historiographer"
of the Association.

Thus prepared, " The Battle-Koll of the Army of
Northern Virginia" would be eagerly sought by
every family in the Confederacy. Every consider-

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Online LibraryGeorge William BagbySelections from the miscellaneous writings of Dr. George W. Bagby (Volume 1) → online text (page 23 of 27)