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HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

By Henry Cabot Lodge And Theodore Roosevelt


Hence it is that the fathers of these men and ours also, and
they themselves likewise, being nurtured in all freedom and
well born, have shown before all men many and glorious deeds
in public and private, deeming it their duty to fight for
the cause of liberty and the Greeks, even against Greeks,
and against Barbarians for all the Greeks." - PLATO:
"Menexenus."


TO E. Y. R.

To you we owe the suggestion of writing this book. Its purpose, as you
know better than any one else, is to tell in simple fashion the story of
some Americans who showed that they knew how to live and how to die; who
proved their truth by their endeavor; and who joined to the stern and
manly qualities which are essential to the well-being of a masterful
race the virtues of gentleness, of patriotism, and of lofty adherence to
an ideal.

It is a good thing for all Americans, and it is an especially good thing
for young Americans, to remember the men who have given their lives in
war and peace to the service of their fellow-countrymen, and to keep in
mind the feats of daring and personal prowess done in time past by
some of the many champions of the nation in the various crises of her
history. Thrift, industry, obedience to law, and intellectual cultivation
are essential qualities in the makeup of any successful people; but no
people can be really great unless they possess also the heroic virtues
which are as needful in time of peace as in time of war, and as
important in civil as in military life. As a civilized people we desire
peace, but the only peace worth having is obtained by instant readiness
to fight when wronged - not by unwillingness or inability to fight at
all. Intelligent foresight in preparation and known capacity to stand
well in battle are the surest safeguards against war. America will cease
to be a great nation whenever her young men cease to possess energy,
daring, and endurance, as well as the wish and the power to fight the
nation's foes. No citizen of a free state should wrong any man; but it
is not enough merely to refrain from infringing on the rights of others;
he must also be able and willing to stand up for his own rights and
those of his country against all comers, and he must be ready at any
time to do his full share in resisting either malice domestic or foreign
levy.

HENRY CABOT LODGE. THEODORE ROOSEVELT.

WASHINGTON, April 19, 1895.



CONTENTS

GEORGE WASHINGTON - H. C. Lodge.

DANIEL BOONE AND THE FOUNDING OF KENTUCKY - Theodore Roosevelt.

GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AND THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST - Theodore
Roosevelt.

THE BATTLE OF TRENTON - H. C. Lodge.

BENNINGTON - H. C. Lodge.

KING'S MOUNTAIN - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE STORMING OF STONY POINT - Theodore Roosevelt.

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS - H. C. Lodge.

THE BURNING OF THE "PHILADELPHIA" - H. C. Lodge.

THE CRUISE OF THE "WASP" - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE "GENERAL ARMSTRONG" PRIVATEER - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS - Theodore Roosevelt.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS AND THE RIGHT OF PETITION - H. C. Lodge.

FRANCIS PARKMAN - H. C. Lodge.

"REMEMBER THE ALAMO" - Theodore Roosevelt.

HAMPTON ROADS - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE FLAG-BEARER - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE DEATH OF STONEWALL JACK - Theodore Roosevelt.

THE CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG - Theodore Roosevelt.

GENERAL GRANT AND THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN - H. C. Lodge.

ROBERT GOULD SHAW - H. C. Lodge.

CHARLES RUSSELL LOWELL - H. C. Lodge.

SHERIDAN AT CEDAR CREEK - H. C. Lodge.

LIEUTENANT CUSHING AND THE RAM "ALBEMARLE" - Theodore Roosevelt.

FARRAGUT AT MOBILE BAY - Theodore Roosevelt.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN - H. C. Lodge.



"Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly king.
Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all
I shall not look upon his like again." - Hamlet




HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY




WASHINGTON

The brilliant historian of the English people [*] has written of
Washington, that "no nobler figure ever stood in the fore-front of a
nation's life." In any book which undertakes to tell, no matter how
slightly, the story of some of the heroic deeds of American history,
that noble figure must always stand in the fore-front. But to sketch the
life of Washington even in the barest outline is to write the history
of the events which made the United States independent and gave birth
to the American nation. Even to give alist of what he did, to name his
battles and recount his acts as president, would be beyond the limit and
the scope of this book. Yet it is always possible to recall the man and
to consider what he was and what he meant for us and for mankind He is
worthy the study and the remembrance of all men, and to Americans he is
at once a great glory of their past and an inspiration and an assurance
of their future.

* John Richard Green.


To understand Washington at all we must first strip off all the myths
which have gathered about him. We must cast aside into the dust-heaps
all the wretched inventions of the cherry-tree variety, which were
fastened upon him nearly seventy years after his birth. We must look at
him as he looked at life and the facts about him, without any illusion
or deception, and no man in history can better stand such a scrutiny.

Born of a distinguished family in the days when the American colonies
were still ruled by an aristocracy, Washington started with all that
good birth and tradition could give. Beyond this, however, he had
little. His family was poor, his mother was left early a widow, and he
was forced after a very limited education to go out into the world to
fight for himself He had strong within him the adventurous spirit of
his race. He became a surveyor, and in the pursuit of this profession
plunged into the wilderness, where he soon grew to be an expert hunter
and backwoodsman. Even as a boy the gravity of his character and
his mental and physical vigor commended him to those about him, and
responsibility and military command were put in his hands at an age when
most young men are just leaving college. As the times grew threatening
on the frontier, he was sent on a perilous mission to the Indians, in
which, after passing through many hardships and dangers, he achieved
success. When the troubles came with France it was by the soldiers under
his command that the first shots were fired in the war which was to
determine whether the North American continent should be French or
English. In his earliest expedition he was defeated by the enemy. Later
he was with Braddock, and it was he who tried, to rally the broken
English army on the stricken field near Fort Duquesne. On that day
of surprise and slaughter he displayed not only cool courage but the
reckless daring which was one of his chief characteristics. He so
exposed himself that bullets passed through his coat and hat, and the
Indians and the French who tried to bring him down thought he bore a
charmed life. He afterwards served with distinction all through the
French war, and when peace came he went back to the estate which he had
inherited from his brother, the most admired man in Virginia.

At that time he married, and during the ensuing years he lived the life
of a Virginia planter, successful in his private affairs and serving the
public effectively but quietly as a member of the House of Burgesses.
When the troubles with the mother country began to thicken he was slow
to take extreme ground, but he never wavered in his belief that all
attempts to oppress the colonies should be resisted, and when he once
took up his position there was no shadow of turning. He was one of
Virginia's delegates to the first Continental Congress, and, although
he said but little, he was regarded by all the representatives from
the other colonies as the strongest man among them. There was something
about him even then which commanded the respect and the confidence of
every one who came in contact with him.

It was from New England, far removed from his own State, that the demand
came for his appointment as commander-in-chief of the American army.
Silently he accepted the duty, and, leaving Philadelphia, took command
of the army at Cambridge. There is no need to trace him through the
events that followed. From the time when he drew his sword under the
famous elm tree, he was the embodiment of the American Revolution, and
without him that revolution would have failed almost at the start. How
he carried it to victory through defeat and trial and every possible
obstacle is known to all men.

When it was all over he found himself facing a new situation. He was the
idol of the country and of his soldiers. The army was unpaid, and the
veteran troops, with arms in their hands, were eager to have him take
control of the disordered country as Cromwell had done in England
a little more than a century before. With the army at his back, and
supported by the great forces which, in every community, desire order
before everything else, and are ready to assent to any arrangement which
will bring peace and quiet, nothing would have been easier than for
Washington to have made himself the ruler of the new nation. But that
was not his conception of duty, and he not only refused to have anything
to do with such a movement himself, but he repressed, by his dominant
personal influence, all such intentions on the part of the army. On
the 23d of December, 1783, he met the Congress at Annapolis, and there
resigned his commission. What he then said is one of the two most
memorable speeches ever made in the United States, and is also memorable
for its meaning and spirit among all speeches ever made by men. He spoke
as follows:

"Mr. President: - The great events on which my resignation depended having
at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere
congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them, to
surrender into their hands the trust committed to me and to claim the
indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.

Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignity and
pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming
a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I
accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so
arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the
rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union,
and the patronage of Heaven.

The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine
expectations, and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence and
the assistance I have received from my countrymen increases with every
review of the momentous contest.

While I repeat my obligations to the Army in general, I should do
injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge, in this place, the
peculiar services and distinguished merits of the Gentlemen who have
been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible that the
choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been
more fortunate. Permit me, sir, to recommend in particular those
who have continued in service to the present moment as worthy of the
favorable notice and patronage of Congress.

I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my
official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the
protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of
them to His holy keeping.

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great
theatre of action, and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this
august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my
commission and take my leave of all the employments of public life."

The great master of English fiction, writing of this scene at Annapolis,
says: "Which was the most splendid spectacle ever witnessed - the opening
feast of Prince George in London, or the resignation of Washington?
Which is the noble character for after ages to admire - yon fribble
dancing in lace and spangles, or yonder hero who sheathes his sword
after a life of spotless honor, a purity unreproached, a courage
indomitable and a consummate victory?"

Washington did not refuse the dictatorship, or, rather, the opportunity
to take control of the country, because he feared heavy responsibility,
but solely because, as a high-minded and patriotic man, he did not
believe in meeting the situation in that way. He was, moreover, entirely
devoid of personal ambition, and had no vulgar longing for personal
power. After resigning his commission he returned quietly to Mount
Vernon, but he did not hold himself aloof from public affairs. On the
contrary, he watched their course with the utmost anxiety. He saw the
feeble Confederation breaking to pieces, and he soon realized that that
form of government was an utter failure. In a time when no American
statesman except Hamilton had yet freed himself from the local feelings
of the colonial days, Washington was thoroughly national in all his
views. Out of the thirteen jarring colonies he meant that a nation
should come, and he saw - what no one else saw - the destiny of the
country to the westward. He wished a nation founded which should cross
the Alleghanies, and, holding the mouths of the Mississippi, take
possession of all that vast and then unknown region. For these reasons
he stood at the head of the national movement, and to him all men turned
who desired a better union and sought to bring order out of chaos. With
him Hamilton and Madison consulted in the preliminary stages which
were to lead to the formation of a new system. It was his vast personal
influence which made that movement a success, and when the convention
to form a constitution met at Philadelphia, he presided over its
deliberations, and it was his commanding will which, more than anything
else, brought a constitution through difficulties and conflicting
interests which more than once made any result seem well-nigh hopeless.
When the Constitution formed at Philadelphia had been ratified by the
States, all men turned to Washington to stand at the head of the new
government. As he had borne the burden of the Revolution, so he now
took up the task of bringing the government of the Constitution into
existence. For eight years he served as president. He came into
office with a paper constitution, the heir of a bankrupt, broken-down
confederation. He left the United States, when he went out of office,
an effective and vigorous government. When he was inaugurated, we
had nothing but the clauses of the Constitution as agreed to by the
Convention. When he laid down the presidency, we had an organized
government, an established revenue, a funded debt, a high credit, an
efficient system of banking, a strong judiciary, and an army. We had a
vigorous and well-defined foreign policy; we had recovered the western
posts, which, in the hands of the British, had fettered our march to the
west; and we had proved our power to maintain order at home, to repress
insurrection, to collect the national taxes, and to enforce the laws
made by Congress. Thus Washington had shown that rare combination of the
leader who could first destroy by revolution, and who, having led his
country through a great civil war, was then able to build up a new and
lasting fabric upon the ruins of a system which had been overthrown.
At the close of his official service he returned again to Mount Vernon,
and, after a few years of quiet retirement, died just as the century in
which he had played so great a part was closing.

Washington stands among the greatest men of human history, and those in
the same rank with him are very few. Whether measured by what he did, or
what he was, or by the effect of his work upon the history of mankind,
in every aspect he is entitled to the place he holds among the greatest
of his race. Few men in all time have such a record of achievement.
Still fewer can show at the end of a career so crowded with high
deeds and memorable victories a life so free from spot, a character
so unselfish and so pure, a fame so void of doubtful points demanding
either defense or explanation. Eulogy of such a life is needless, but it
is always important to recall and to freshly remember just what manner
of man he was. In the first place he was physically a striking figure.
He was very tall, powerfully made, with a strong, handsome face. He
was remarkably muscular and powerful. As a boy he was a leader in all
outdoor sports. No one could fling the bar further than he, and no one
could ride more difficult horses. As a young man he became a woodsman
and hunter. Day after day he could tramp through the wilderness with his
gun and his surveyor's chain, and then sleep at night beneath the stars.
He feared no exposure or fatigue, and outdid the hardiest backwoodsman
in following a winter trail and swimming icy streams. This habit of
vigorous bodily exercise he carried through life. Whenever he was at
Mount Vernon he gave a large part of his time to fox-hunting, riding
after his hounds through the most difficult country. His physical power
and endurance counted for much in his success when he commanded his
army, and when the heavy anxieties of general and president weighed upon
his mind and heart.

He was an educated, but not a learned man. He read well and remembered
what he read, but his life was, from the beginning, a life of action,
and the world of men was his school. He was not a military genius like
Hannibal, or Caesar, or Napoleon, of which the world has had only three
or four examples. But he was a great soldier of the type which the
English race has produced, like Marlborough and Cromwell, Wellington,
Grant, and Lee. He was patient under defeat, capable of large
combinations, a stubborn and often reckless fighter, a winner of
battles, but much more, a conclusive winner in a long war of varying
fortunes. He was, in addition, what very few great soldiers or
commanders have ever been, a great constitutional statesman, able to
lead a people along the paths of free government without undertaking
himself to play the part of the strong man, the usurper, or the savior
of society.

He was a very silent man. Of no man of equal importance in the world's
history have we so few sayings of a personal kind. He was ready enough
to talk or to write about the public duties which he had in hand, but he
hardly ever talked of himself. Yet there can be no greater error than
to suppose Washington cold and unfeeling, because of his silence and
reserve. He was by nature a man of strong desires and stormy passions.
Now and again he would break out, even as late as the presidency, into
a gust of anger that would sweep everything before it. He was always
reckless of personal danger, and had a fierce fighting spirit which
nothing could check when it was once unchained.

But as a rule these fiery impulses and strong passions were under the
absolute control of an iron will, and they never clouded his judgment or
warped his keen sense of justice.

But if he was not of a cold nature, still less was he hard or unfeeling.
His pity always went out to the poor, the oppressed, or the unhappy, and
he was all that was kind and gentle to those immediately about him.

We have to look carefully into his life to learn all these things, for
the world saw only a silent, reserved man, of courteous and serious
manner, who seemed to stand alone and apart, and who impressed every one
who came near him with a sense of awe and reverence.

One quality he had which was, perhaps, more characteristic of the man
and his greatness than any other. This was his perfect veracity of mind.
He was, of course, the soul of truth and honor, but he was even more
than that. He never deceived himself He always looked facts squarely in
the face and dealt with them as such, dreaming no dreams, cherishing no
delusions, asking no impossibilities, - just to others as to himself, and
thus winning alike in war and in peace.

He gave dignity as well as victory to his country and his cause. He was,
in truth, a "character for after ages to admire."




DANIEL BOONE AND THE FOUNDING OF KENTUCKY

... Boone lived hunting up to ninety;
And, what's still stranger, left behind a name
For which men vainly decimate the throng,
Not only famous, but of that GOOD fame,
Without which glory's but a tavern song, -
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate nor envy e'er could tinge with wrong;

'T is true he shrank from men, even of his nation;
When they built up unto his darling trees,
He moved some hundred miles off, for a station
Where there were fewer houses and more ease;

* * *

But where he met the individual man,
He showed himself as kind as mortal can.

* * *

The freeborn forest found and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

And tall, and strong, and swift of foot were they,
Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions,
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
Of care or gain; the green woods were their portions

* * *

Simple they were, not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were yet not used for trifles.

* * *

Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods.
- Byron.


Daniel Boone will always occupy a unique place in our history as the
archetype of the hunter and wilderness wanderer. He was a true pioneer,
and stood at the head of that class of Indian-fighters, game-hunters,
forest-fellers, and backwoods farmers who, generation after generation,
pushed westward the border of civilization from the Alleghanies to the
Pacific. As he himself said, he was "an instrument ordained of God to
settle the wilderness." Born in Pennsylvania, he drifted south into
western North Carolina, and settled on what was then the extreme
frontier. There he married, built a log cabin, and hunted, chopped
trees, and tilled the ground like any other frontiersman. The Alleghany
Mountains still marked a boundary beyond which the settlers dared not
go; for west of them lay immense reaches of frowning forest, uninhabited
save by bands of warlike Indians. Occasionally some venturesome hunter
or trapper penetrated this immense wilderness, and returned with strange
stories of what he had seen and done.

In 1769 Boone, excited by these vague and wondrous tales, determined
himself to cross the mountains and find out what manner of land it was
that lay beyond. With a few chosen companions he set out, making his own
trail through the gloomy forest. After weeks of wandering, he at last
emerged into the beautiful and fertile country of Kentucky, for which,
in after years, the red men and the white strove with such obstinate
fury that it grew to be called "the dark and bloody ground." But when
Boone first saw it, it was a fair and smiling land of groves and glades
and running waters, where the open forest grew tall and beautiful, and
where innumerable herds of game grazed, roaming ceaselessly to and fro
along the trails they had trodden during countless generations. Kentucky
was not owned by any Indian tribe, and was visited only by wandering
war-parties and hunting-parties who came from among the savage nations
living north of the Ohio or south of the Tennessee.

A roving war-party stumbled upon one of Boone's companions and killed
him, and the others then left Boone and journeyed home; but his
brother came out to join him, and the two spent the winter together.
Self-reliant, fearless, and the frowning defiles of Cumberland Gap, they
were attacked by Indians, and driven back - two of Boone's own sons being
slain. In 1775, however, he made another attempt; and this attempt was
successful. The Indians attacked the newcomers; but by this time the
parties of would-be settlers were sufficiently numerous to hold their
own. They beat back the Indians, and built rough little hamlets,
surrounded by log stockades, at Boonesborough and Harrodsburg; and the
permanent settlement of Kentucky had begun.

The next few years were passed by Boone amid unending Indian conflicts.
He was a leader among the settlers, both in peace and in war. At one
time he represented them in the House of Burgesses of Virginia; at
another time he was a member of the first little Kentucky parliament


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