George William Bagby.

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

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able library, public or private, in the civilized world,
would want a copy, and pay almost any price for it.
Its cost would be great so great, indeed, as to place
it beyond the reach of many who would ardently
desire it, and to whom it would rightfully belong.
To obviate this difficulty, the following plan has sug-
gested itself to us :

I. Let a certain number of copies be printed with
an appropriate and beautiful presentation page.

II. Each city, town and county to subscribe for as
many copies as it chooses, to be presented to the of-
ficers, non-commissioned officers and privates (or to
their widows, orphans, or nearest surviving relatives,)'
from said cities, counties, etc., who have distinguished
themselves in some very signal manner.

What a treasure such a present would be what
an heir-loom how proudly and fondly cherished
and what an incentive to deeds of valor to the chil-
dren of each fortunate owner. The presentation
page would contain the owner's name, and the special
act or acts of gallantry which induced his countrymen
to present him with the volume, which would be
deemed, and, indeed, be a patent of nobility forever,
for a book well-bound and well-kept outlasts marble,,
granite or brass.

As an Appendix to the " Battle-Koll of the Army


-of Northern Virginia," its muster roll, containing a
full and complete list of every man who belonged to
that army, and for what length of time he served,
might be added. But this roll of itself would make
a separate and huge volume. If ever printed, it
would form an admirable companion volume to the
Battle-Book, and be an invaluable historical record.
We have thus given, at much greater length than
we intended, the views which have occurred to us in
regard to a proper record of Virginia and the achieve-
ments of its great army. We have shown that the
Legislature of Virginia and the Confederate Congress
have made ample provision for the execution of the
record in question. The Legislature has voted all
the money that may be necessary, and the Congress
has authorized the secretary of war to place the
record agent on the same footing as an officer of the
regular service. Supplies of all sorts, at government
cost, and free transportation are furnished him. In
return, the agent is required only to procure from
company officers "final statements of deceased sol-
diers, to be filed in the second auditor's office." By
allowing each recording agent the rations, etc., of the
regular service, it is evident that Congress contem-
plated the appointment of an officer who should de-
vote his whole time to the affairs of his office, and
be paid accordingly. It was the expectation, doubt?-
less, of those who framed the act, that each and every
State of the Confederacy would have its recording
agent, and that no State would be so negligent of its
interests and its fame as not to appoint such an agent.


If the appointments were not made, the blame rests,,
not upon Congress, but upon the Governors and State
Legislatures. Our own Virginia Legislature has
done its duty, and our Governor, we are fully per-
suaded, will do his.

State records can be made with State and Congres-
sional assistance, but no such aid can be expected for
the other scarcely less important work which we have
projected, namely: "The Battle-Roll of the Army
of Northern Virginia." That must be done by cor- #
porate or individual energy, and by the liberal coun-
tenance and support of citizens in all parts of the
Confederacy. Will that support be given, or will the-
record of the allied Confederate army be left to chance
That army deserves a monument commensurrate with
the greatness of its exploits. A column of stone,,
would be more imposing, but the "Battle-Roll"
would be more appropriate, more enduring, and
more inspiring to corning generations. The monu-
ment of marble could not be brought into every
man's house, and made the companion and text-book
of his children ; the literary monument could. But
we will not dwell on this point. If the merits of"
the work are not apparent at the first glance, no-
special plea and no details will make them so.

It may be said that the " Battle-Roll," like the^
61 Record of Virginia," is a work to be consummated
only in times of peace. True, yet the longer both
are delayed, the less complete and accurate they will
be. Battle-fields will be ploughed up, trees cut
down, fortifications crumble, and the whole land-


scape be so changed as to become scarcely recogniz-
able. Such is the case to-day with the field of Ma-
nassas, compared with what it was in July, '61. The
Art Association should at once be organized, and the
work begin immediately. If the association cannot
be formed, any private individual who can and will
undertake the task of completing the Battle-Roll, as
we have outlined it, will be munificently rewarded
for his labor, and confer a lasting benefit upon the
Southern people.

We have suggested two works which we regard of
the first order of importance. It is not for those
who conceive to execute. Should these works be
postponed indefinitely, and executed at last in an in-
complete arid bungling manner, the blame will be
chargeable alone to the people who were culpably
negligent of their fame. Our task is done.



AS wimmin is a gointer voat sune, every dog uv
a man that kin hole a pen is a takin uv a chants
at 'em in the gnuspapers. It's reether late in the
day fur me to cum intoo the ring, but I'm too mutch
uv a man to rezis the tumptashum to take a pop at 'em.

I has known and laved 'em well these menny a
year, but I has my ubjeckshun to wimmin. It ar
this eveything about 'em is too long. Thar kote-
tail is too long ; it riffles on the groun like runnin
water, and gethers up dert and trash like a harry-
kane duz going roun a fodder stak. But a shipp
under full sail ought to have a wake, and I wooden
hav wimmin's froks cut off to thar w T aste like a jump-
jackit for a pritty.

Thar shoo-strings is too long. A man kin war
bootz 'thout no strings a tall, ixseptin uv the strops,
but a wummun is bleest to hav cossets roun her
ankles and lace 'em up like 2 par uv stays. May
be it makes 'em walk mo prittier; I dunno. Thar
heels uv thar shoes is alsoe too long, and thar sox is
too long takes all day to dror 'em on.

Thar ixtremmytis is too long. They kin set in a
cheer lo' doun, and kick a man that's a settin in a
high cheer, 12 foot off in the clear, clean outen the

uv WIMMIN. 353

hous. Now John Ekkles nor the Beljin jiunt, nor
nar nuther man, can't do that standin. This givs
'em a ondew idvantidge over thar marster, Man, in
the urly staidge uv the gaime. Arfter marridge,
the gaim uv kickin is mo evener.

I shall not say thar waste is too long, onlest they
dunno how to war thar clothes good, and are pedus-
trianated to be ole mades. A long barrel wummun
are a utto abominashun. I prefears a durringer.

Thar necks is too long. A neck uv a wummun
are like untoo the mune in the almenack when they
says, " Luner runs low," and, like the bress uv a gooce,
it imbraces a good deel uv the back. Ef the neck
uv a man were like the neck uv a wummun, the
gnott uv his crevatt wood rest on the pitt uv his
stummuck. When a wummun runs to neck, she out
runs ennything ixsept a osstrich or a kamme leppud,
and her hed hangs away out yonder like a appel on
the eend uv a switch that a boy is a gointer to sling
green appils with. And in them casis I has obsurvd
that whar the hed ar at sich a distance frum the
hart, the wummun is a onfeelin wummun. And her
neck is rinkeldy.

I kinnot say uv my oan ixpeyunce that the hands
and arms uv wimmin is too long, or why they is so,
but they ought to be so accordin to the lodjick uv a
man, and tharfo they must be so, whether or no
they ar so or not so. Thar nales is certny too long
bein' weepuns uv diffense in wimmin and katts,
tho' I has nuvver bin skracht nor broom stickt by a
wummun. But nales in katts is calld claws, and


they hides 'em so that they nuvver comes out tell
they ar a gointer rip you. And then they do it

Wimmin's tungs is too long, whitch is rite, tungs
bein thar best holt, as Gra Lathum wood say, and a
more nateraler weepun uv diffense than nales or
claws. I've heerd a grate deel in my tiem 'bout
wimmins talkin, but for a ded-levvil, hand-runnin,
long-windded talk, I'll put a man aginst 'em enny
day. Housevver, when it comes to a skoldin uv a
suvvunt, and ptickly to quoiiin with annther wum-
mun, men carnt cumpyar with wimmin. Then it is,
as the grate Jummun pote, Go Ethe, sais, thar tungs
goes faster than fast as posbil, and the souperriorryty
uv the insterment is displade in a manner that must
make a good-talkin man feel ubbasht.

Thar nose is too long. You may taik a drink a
miel frum hoame, and two hours befo dinner, and
set doun and eet with the solemnetty uv Sockratees
eetin pizun; but 'taint no use that nose hav got
you, and had you frum the momunt you enterd the
frunt dore. In like manner her eye is too long, for
it seen you wobbil sunes you ternd the cornder; and
thar aint a plug uv tubbacker jobbed in the bottum
uv a trunc or dror that she don't see it like a telles-
kope. Why, she kin rede yo verry thoughts, and
see a cuss-word layin flat on the floor of your soul
fore it move. Evry wummun is a nachural clear-

That thar heds is too long I'm satisfide, havin
nuvver foun a wummun yit that couldn fool me or


-enny uther man; and the smarter the man the eezier
it is to fool him. You may say whut you will 'bout
the wizdum uv men, and the want uv it in wimmin,
'but I has ubzuvd this fack, that wimmin don't looze
thar minds in old aidge like men. They don't git
doted ixsept in urly yewth. A sarcastick man would
say that wimmin have little mind to looze, and
tharfo they hangs onto it; but I has ubsuvd that,
.arfter they has puppytrated the snpreame folly uv
marryin, they has a good deal mo wizdum for a man
than the man havs for hisself ; and wimmin is like
fox-fire, they don't shine ixsept in a dark plais, and
marridge is dark enuf for most uv 'em, po souls !

Thar har is too long, tho', I can't abear a wummun
with short har, or that parts her har on one side. I
want to kill them one-sided wimmin whenuvver and
wharuvver I see um but it hangs doun like a hoss's
tail, and they havs to gorm it over thar heds evry
which away, like a feller that's got a big dubble hand-
ful of stued melassis that it is hard work to keep
frum drappin on the floor. But wimmins har dont
git hard like melassis kandy, tho' I'd ruther pull it
enny day, if it's pritty, than kandy, becos it don't
stick to yo hands and makes sumthin run up yo elbo
that nuver runs out uv kandy. Wimmins har is like
tall trees on top uv a hill, put thar to hide the hard-
ness uv the rocks. Frum a feelin and a fingerin uv
thar blessid bewtiful har, soft as silk, you'd nuver
dream that dillishus and intocksikatin stuff like that
cums out uv perhaps the durnedest hardest bone on


Finally, thar memmyris is too long. To save yo>
life, you couldn't tell the fust tiera or enny uther
tiem you quorld with yo sweethart or yo wife, but
she remembrers the tiem, plais, suckumstantses, and
verry words uv the furst and evry uther tiem yo
uvver quorld with her or said a hash thing. She
kin tell you the state of the wether on them interestin
ackashuns, the clothes you had on, the arteekles you.
had in the pockits uv them clothes, and the way you
cruilly and dierbolikly done it, while she, po trimblin.
thing, that nuvver give you no provocashun, only
wunderd and weept, and weept and wunderd, and
nuvver did find out what she done to awoken them
tubbalent pashins in yo luvin brest. And when she
begin to dror the lenth uv her memry on you, and
you cant rickollect a blaim thing, how you gointer
fend off ? You can't do it ; and a newspapir hilt befo
yo' fase, and whistlin, and drummin uv yo hands on
the arms uv yo cheer wont perteckt yo "in that
mornin." Her memry is bin a layin in wait like a
tigur for you these menny munths, and it will hav yo
hart's blood ef you don't rize to the magnetude uv
the immerdgency. The plainest way, as I've dis-
kivered by sad ixpeyunce, is to git madder than you
uvver was befo, stork mejesticully out uv the room,
slammin uv the dore with terriffic violents, and then
walk into a lonely plais and wonder why God Amitey
allow such a feend as yoself to live a minnit. Bimeby
you'll think better uv yoself and fergit all about it,
but she piles up the ded wood on you in her memry,
and I cant say that you've made so mighty much


"by yo rarrin and a tarrin that ar memry uv hern
being boun to hav the last tag, do what you will. But
it do come acrost you at times that it is passin strainge
that you should feruvver and etunnully be always in
the wrong. But what kin you do, what kin you say !
She havs the fackts and you havs the fury, and, in a
wrastle uv that kine, fackts is ail-under holt.

Now it's a remarkerbul and serprizin thing, in veu
uv her memry, that trezures up evry rong you uvver
done her, that her luv, like evry thing else, should
alsoe be too long. She luvs and luvs you, twell you
are so tierd and fitteegd that you wouldnt give one
good leedin eddytoriul in yo favrit paper for all the
wimmin in the whole worl; and the mo you go
pirootin roun uv nites, a play in uv keerds, a talkin
uv pollytix, a drinkin uv whiskey straits, and a eetin
uv free-rnasun's suppers, the mo she luvs you; and
that's like the sun a shinin on Esopp's travler's back
thar's no fightin a thing like that; it just gethers
you, and you got to knock under or else go rite
spang into torment with all uv her prars and teers
^ crowdin you under the brimstone like fifty-six poun
weights a restin on yo shoulder blaids. The lenth
uv a wummun's luv for the man she luvs is like the
lenth uv a line in a fisshin for flat-back it givs him
room to play and rush aroun, and madly kevort twell
he gets completely wo out, and then you kin dror him
to shoar as meek as a blind sheep with a broken leg.

So, apun a carm reveu uv the intiur subjick, I
<?arnt see that man hav got so mighty much to brag
over his souperiorrity to wummun arfter all. In the


wedth uv his veus, he may hold the age on her
slightually; but when it ctims to lenth nv feelins,
she ubtains him bad, for lenth is boun to tell in the
long run.

Ef evrything about 'em is too long, as I have
showed, nobody neednt wundur that wimmin shood
have a great ponskont (Frenteh) for long things, which,
ef you stop to think about it a minnit, is a wunder-
fool feecher uv femail karricture. Long kerls, long
brades, long ribbons, long har-pins. long nitten-
needils, long gluvs, gantlits and mitts, long list uv
uckquaintunsis, long akounts at the dry-guds stos,.
long shoppins, long walks with thar luvers (which
they luv 'em to be long-hard, with long beerds and
mustachers), long, all-day preechins, long buggy-
rides, long tiem gittin reddy to start, and then, wust
uv all by a long shot, long leeve-takins, that urri-
tates a man wnssern a plarster uv kentherrydees.
And then, so divvoatid they is to evrything long,
they'll set doun, with a long pen-pint in a long-pen-
handil, and write a long letter, cross up one side and
doun the uther, and then add two or three long pos-
skrips (like tackin uv severial flounsis to a long
skeert) fold it up lenthwise, and put it in a long in-
vellup, and seal it with a long stick of sealin waxx.
In fact, so great is thar horro uv short things, that
they wouldnt make a peeriud or full stop to save yo
soul, but makes a long dash in plais uv peeriuds,
commers, and evrything, so that it ruin yo eyesite
and taik away yo breth to rede thar letters, which is-
like creashun broke loose and lonjytude skattered


evrywhichaway in fragments uv lattytude. Why,
evin the tops uv thar "t's" is long, like the mast uv
a shipp, crost with long crosses like yard arms ; and
the bottoms uv thar "g's" is so long that they look
like sturrup-lethers hangin doun 'thout enny sturrups
to 'em.

In cunclewshun, they livs too long, givin uv a man
(preechurs is diffrunt) no chants to marry but one in
a life-tiem, wharas a avvridge uv about seven to a
man would be about right, I jedge. But, no matter
how you treet 'em (and they is genrully treeted bad
enuf), they brokinly livs on tell they is some aty or
nienty yeers uv aidge old, retainin to the verry last
thar littil senses, and a settin in a stick back arm
cheer, with cap, spektickles, and the purpetchully
puppendickerlur back-boan uv the peeryud, etun-
nully a nittin uv a par uv socks for sum man or
nuther, and a lookin doun upon you like the perry-
mids of Ejipp lookt doun upon the Frentch army,
twell you feal that small and mean that you want to
creep throu a ke-hole, and sneek off and write a sa-
tirrikul arteekle on wirnmin, and be at ress.



EX-GOVEENOE James L. Kemper tells a war
story that is so very good I think he must have
invented it. Yet it is so true to nature that it ought
to have happened a hundred, nay, a thousand times.
He says that on the night of the retreat from Wil-
liamsburg in 1862, when men and officers were
mixed up indiscriminately in the muddy road, with
the rain falling heavily on them, and no man knew
his neighbor, a soldier near him (General Kemper)
pulled himself out of the mire, and going up to the
fence on the road-side dropped his musket to the
ground, and, in accents of the most intense sincerity,
exclaimed :

" Well, if ever I love another country ag'in, damn

Much the same feeling came over me the first night
I slept, or tried to sleep, at the new fair-grounds, in
the suburbs of Eichmond, which had been turned
into a camp of instruction, and was called Camp Lee.
My friend, Lieutenant Latham, of Lynchburg (after-
wards Acting Judge Advocate General of the Army
of Northern Virginia), and I slept under the same


blanket on the upper floor of one of the fair-ground
buildings. The month was April, the night was
chill, the air keen, the blanket thin, the planks hard.
Moreover, I had eaten freely of hard tack and drunk
still more freely of cold water, which was bad for
niy dyspepsia.

Truth is, there was a big disgust upon me, more on
account of my "sojer clothes," I think, than anything
else. Nature had not fitted me for a roundabout
with brass buttons a fact which the young ladies dis-
covered as we marched past them and their waving
'kerchiefs on our way to Camp Lee. Besides, I had
always thought " so jering" tomfoolery anyhow. So
when the night wind blew keen upon my ribs, my
purpose to love any more countries diminished as
sensibly as did the soldier's on the Williamsburg road,
though I did not formulate it in such spirited terms
as his. Yet I loved my country, I verily believe, as
much as any man on the ground at Camp Lee would
have died for her ; bat not by freezing, or, worse still,
by filth. Of this last, more anon. That others
shared my feelings was proved by Y. Dabney. In
consequence of his huge bulky figure, his jolly good
nature and his fund of wit, Y- was a conspicuous
figure in the camp. He had been raised in luxury.
His father, a rich Mississippi planter, had lavished
money on him, and actually urged him into extrava-
gance. His ideal of life was a hotel in Paris, and
this sort of thing didn't suit him at all. But his
sense of duty was supreme.

"Boys," he would say, as he took his short meer-


schaum from hie mouth and drew up his robust figure 1
to its full height, "Boys, I want you distinctly to
understand this is my last war ! This is my first,,
and I am going to see it through to the bitter end,
but after this no more war, no more sleeping in straw
forY. D. No, sir?"

He was as good as his word. He went through
the war, rising to a captaincy on the staff of Gordon,
of Georgia, and now teaches school in the city of
New York.

"Sleeping on straw !" Aye, that was the rub. To
be sure we had ticks, but they were about as thin as
the insect of that name ; there were about nine of us
to a tent good large Sibley tents we had at first
and not a night shirt among the whole nine. Re-
veille was another misery. I was three-and- thirty
years of age, a born invalid, whose habit had been to
rise late, bathe leisurely and eat breakfast after every-
body else was done. To get up at dawn to the sound
of fife and drum, to wash my face in a hurry in a tin;
basin, wipe on a wet towel, and go forth with a suf-
focated skin and a sense of uncleanness to-be squad-
drilled by a fat little cadet, young enough to be
my son, of the Virginia Military Institute, that, in-
deed, was misery. How I hated that little cadet 1
He was always so wide awake, so clean, so inter-
ested in the drill ; his coat tails were so short
and sharp, and his hands looked so big in white
gloves. He made me sick. What the deuce did I
care about learning how to "hold my piece," to
" load in nine times," and all that ? I was furious ;


but at the same time I got up a big appetite for break-
fast, which was generally good, for we lived pretty
well at Camp Lee.

I recall a single incident at Camp Lee. The com-
pany next to ours was from Campbell county, I think y
and composed almost wholly of illiterate country-
men. Hearing an animated conversation going on
towards their camp-fire one night, I drew nigh and
listened. The causes that led to the war were being
discussed, and the principal speaker, a sergeant, gave
an account of the formation of our government and
the true theory of its working on States-rights prin-
ciples that would have done credit to a constitutional
lawyer. On inquiry I learned that this sergeant was
by trade a plasterer, and what he knew about the
government he had learned from stump speakers.
He was a pretty fair specimen of the average Con-
federate soldier, who knew what he was about when
he entered into the war.

One morning news came that we had been ordered
to Manassas. It was true. I was glad anything for
a change.

Garland's Battalion, afterwards the Eleventh Vir-
ginia Regiment, was the first organized body of
troops sent to Manassas. The battalion was com-
posed of Company A, the Rifle Greys ; Company B,.
the Home Guard (both of Lynchburg) ; the Fincastle
Rifles, a Campbell county company, and possibly one
from Pittsylvania county, but I cannot be certain.
All that 1 remember is that there were four or five'
companies. There was some little grumbling in our


-company, and, perhaps, others, when it became known
that Garland was to command the battalion, and this
discontent deepened when he obtained the appoint-
ment of colonel. It was loudly whispered that he
had intrigued for the appointment. No one doubted
Ids capacity, for he was a graduate of the Virginia
Military Institute, and a young lawyer of remark-
able intelligence, but, unfortunately, he " lacked
grit." Whereas, said the grumblers, the captain
of Company A, Maurice S. Langhorne, was, like all
the other Langhornes, brave as a lion.

This was the talk. I give it as an illustration of
the mistake constantly made at the beginning of the
war, that animal bravery was the main requisite in a
.soldier. What a mistake ! Bullies ever ready for a
brawl repeatedly proved arrant cowards on the field,
while the cowards, so-called, turned out to be the
most gallant and skilled of soldiers. Samuel Gar-
land was neither coward nor bully, but a refined,
.scholarly gentleman, whose courage in action was so
conspicuous and whose capacity so marked that when
he fell at Boonsboro', in the second year of the war,
he was acting major-general, and deemed one of the
most promising young officers in the whole army.
In his native city his memory is sacred ; he is beloved
and revered beyond any soldier that left that portion
of the State. His name is never mentioned without
honor and tenderness.

It must have been midday or earlier when we left
Richmond on a train of box-cars, with tents, camp
-equipage, etc., amid great cheering and enthusiasm,


for this, mark you, was war, real war, and no fool-
ing about it. Oh ! what asses men are ! as if that
were anything to be jolly about ! We went slowly

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Online LibraryGeorge William BagbySelections from the miscellaneous writings of Dr. George W. Bagby (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 27)