Thomas Cooper De Leon.

Belles, beaux and brains of the 60's online

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the Third Presbyterian. All these had large transient
congregations, when the war held great armies near the
capital. The same was the case with the Methodist churches.
The Centenary was Dr. Doggett s, and the Broad street
was in charge of Dr. J. A. Duncan, later bishop of Virginia.
The Clay street and Union Station churches were active
and well attended, but I cannot trace their pastors. It
is a trifle singular that it has proved easier to find a sergeant
in one army than a captain in the other. Immersion in
chronicle has let me fare better with the Baptist churches:
The First, presided over by Dr. J. L. Burrows, the Second
by Dr. D. Shaver. The Grace street Baptist was a centre
of curiosity as well as of interest. Its pastor, Rev. J. B.
Jeter, D. D., was one of the most marked figures of war
time Richmond. The pulpit of the Leigh street Baptist
was filled by Dr. J. B. Soloman.

The solemnity of sacred things did not fully spike the
batteries of the wicked wits. There were jokes and some
times jibes at almost every black coat, however popular,
and deservedly so. McCarty used to swear that he heard
one pious sister confide to another, at the porch:

"I jes do love to hear Brother Jeter!" and the other
assented :


"Me, too, sister; he do preach so moanful!"

On one occasion a lovely and noble fellow in the fulmin
ate works, was blown almost into shreds while fusing shells.
Next Sunday his family s pastor explained in his notices:
" Immediately after worship, beloved, we will hold service
over the remains of our departed brother ahem! I should
have said, what remains of the remains. "

St. Paul s was the church of fashion and the scene, as
I noted, of many swell weddings. At these, in open church,
the crush of the curious was always great. On one occasion
its conduct was more picnicky than pious, flirtation raging
with giggle and sigh, and jest passing from mouth to mouth.
After one very large and fashionable wedding a wag pinned
a penciled cartoon on the door of St. Paul s. It represent
ed the pompous sexton, a noted character in town, standing
at the portal and waving back some meek-faced worship
ers who ask:

"But is this not the house of God?" and the janitor
responds :

" Yes; but He isn t at home!"

Only to locate it justly, the familiar slip of the tongue
made by Dr. Hoge may be pardoned repetition. When
the war was nearly crushed to a close he prayed for General
Breckinridge, then war secretary:

"And may his hand be so strengthened that his enemies
may not trump over him!"

The Roman*Church was ever sympathetic with the Cause,
and its clergy and especially its Sisters of Charity and of
Mercy did early, constant and indescribable labor for the
bodies of the sick as well as for their souls. They wrought
unceasingly, in the de Sales hospital on Brook avenue;
in any other, where their white, unshaking hands found
work to do in Norfolk, Lynchburg and Charlottesville,
as well as in all the wide stretch of havoc and misery that


measured the Confederacy. One of these noble women
has just passed the golden jubilee of her novitiate. Through
the whole land the hearts of veterans went out in loving
greeting to the meek and fearless war nurse, Sister Made
line O Brien, in her Baltimore rest.

Rt. Rev. John McGill, war bishop of Richmond, was

a stanch Rebel and a scorn-
er of half-utterance. He
did all that in him lay to
promote the Cause and to
heal those stricken by sick
ness, or sword, or famine.
His cathedral pulpit was
held by Revs. Robert H.
Andrews, A. L. McMullen
and John Hagan.

Rev. Leonard Mayer, 0.
S. B., preached at St. Mary s,
and at St. Patrick s Rev.
J. Teeling, D. D. These all
did good work, they and the
Jesuits notably Fathers P.
P. Kroes and P. Toale
carried piety and tending
to Fortress Monroe, Fairfax
and all the army lines.
Another bishop with warrior soul and unswerving loy
alty to the Cause and who was later Prelate of the Diocese
of Humor in the American Church was Rt. Rev. Rich
ard Hooker Wilmer, war bishop of Mobile. Consecrated
to that see in 1862, he forbade further use of the perfunc
tory prayer for the president of the United States. When
the end came and General Thomas was in command, he
sent for Bishop Wilmer and insisted that the prayer should



be returned to its use in all the churches. The bishop
refused flatly, pointing out that it would be as illogical as
insincere. Then "Old Pap" declared he would close the
Episcopal churches. Bishop Wilmer confessed that might
gave the general power to do that, but no right to coerce
his conscience; so the public worship ceased, and all ser
vices were held in private homes until the Washington
government rescinded the Thomas order, and the daunt
less churchman triumphed over the inter arma proverb.

Bishop Perry in his work on the "Bishops of the Amer
ican Church, " clearly shows that the action of the Alabama
bishop was based on logic and law; and that its indorsement
forced from the government was the step that marked
forever the division of church and state in this Repub

Some years later, when the guest of his daughter-in-
law, Mrs. W. H. Wilmer, at Washington, he was walking
at the then completing Thomas Circle. He asked the lady
whose was the new equestrian statue. When she told him
it was General Thomas, the clerical wit halted facing the
figure, waved his hand and cried:

"I am glad to meet you again, sir; and I have all the
advantage. Now, you cannot answer back!"

Only nine years ago, when in his eighty-fifth year, the
stanch bishop died in Mobile. His daughter, Mrs. Minnie
Wilmer Jones, wife of Colonel Harvey E. Jones, who left
his leg in Virginia and is adjutant-general of Alabama
Veterans, resides in Mobile, happy in her children and grand
children. She is prominent in leadership in the Daughters
of the Confederacy; and it was she who forced the passage
of the resolution of Mrs. N. V. Randolph, of Virginia, pray
ing the abolishment of the sponsor fad, and had it sent
to General S. D. Lee, veteran commander-in-chief. Her
brother, Dr. William Holland Wilmer, is the famous ocu-


list of Washington, where he resides with his accomplished
wife and three children, his eldest boy renewing the grand-
paternal name.

Another Virginian a man of war and a man of sport,
and later a most famous man of God was Thomas Under
wood Dudley, Son of Thomas Underwood Dudley, the be
loved city sergeant of ante-bellum Richmond, and his wife,
Martha Maria Friend. Born in Richmond in 1837, young
Dudley was classmate at the University of Virginia with
Virginius Dabney and Dr. Wm. Porcher Du Bose. More
notable men in different lines I do not recall, out of that
character-breeding epoch. Dabney has already been seen
at close range. Dean Du Bose was a born student and a
preordained churchman; but he went into the war and got
his first baptism of fire, ere going into the church to rise to the
head of its writers and dean of one of its noted sem

Dudley "Tom," as every one called him was a round
about fellow, brimming with thought, wit, quick acquis
itiveness of all worth knowing. He was a feature in college
life; leading in all the fun and reckless jollity and as Dr.
Du Bose said in his memorial service "not altogether
out of its dissipations." As the same best authority added:
"He was more of a boy, and more kinds of a boy, than any
one of his time. "

All these three classmates went into the war: two of
them Virginians and the other as his name doubly proves
a Huguenot Carolinian. Dudley went in as private, but
was promoted to quartermaster captain. Thus he lost that
rapid promotion which his strong attributes would have
forced from line service. Early after war, he entered the
priesthood, under rather strange circumstances. For at
college he had balanced between opinion and intent. He
was of legal mental habit, not devotional, V. Dabney in-


sisted. Young Du Bose combated this with, the dictum
that "Tom was born for the church!"

When the surrender was still green, and men were cast
ing about what to do, a number of us youngsters decided
to start, at least, with a rollicking visit to Baltimore. John
Saunders had just moved there; Henley Smith was with us
and his parents had a lovely home there; the clubs were
sure to swing wide doors. So we went: Myers, Hampden
Chamberlayne, Page McCar-
ty. John R. Key, Innes
Randolph, myself and Tom
Dudley. Needless to recall
what was done, eaten and
imbibed in that round of
gastronomy fit for Lucullus!
The ancient town had indeed
much caloric added to its
time! We all roomed at
"Guy s" the old tavern:
Dudley and Page McCarty
being my roommates. One
morning I was awakened at
dawn by someone moving.
Half-asleep, I asked : "Want
iced water?"

"More than gold or pre
cious stones," whispered Dud
ley. He added not to wake
Page; he was dressed to
catch the Washington train, and take that day s Acquia
Creek boat for Richmond. And he added: "Can t stand
this pace: it means jim-jams, sure! I m going home to law
and corn pone!"

He went, and the next time I met him at a family dinner




in Baltimore, years after, he wore clerical dress. The change
possibly induced by Du Bose s insistence, was hastened by
what I heard later. The story ran thus :

In those days the route from Washington to Richmond
was mainly by boat, and stage coach. Recognizing an old
comrade in the tooler of the four-in-hand, the bishop-to-be
clambered to the box seat and soon had the reins and was
bowling merrily adown the pike. Then whether from
Baltimore on the nerves, or from sitting away from the
brake he picked up a big boulder, upset the coach and
threw the insiders into a massed heap. They found their
volunteer Phaeton with a fractured collar bone and ribs
and left him at a wayside farm, with a country doctor who tied
him immovable in starch bandages. Then, after days, the mail
that had followed him to Baltimore and several delayed tel
egrams overtook the helpless man. These told him that his
wife was desperately ill ; and that he must hasten to Richmond,
if he would see her alive. Sore in body and in conscience,
the remorseful man took first conveyance and reached home.
The old intent mastered him; and soon after his wife s death,
he was admitted to the Episcopal ministry.

Ordained as deacon in June, 1867, he was placed at Har-
risonburg. Next year he was ordained priest and made
assistant to Dr. H. A. Wise, at Christ church, Baltimore;
becoming rector of that important parish soon after. Then,
April, 1875 less than a decade from his deaconite
and in his 38th year he was consecrated bishop of the
great diocese of Kentucky. His career in the church is
too recent history to need note here. So is that as chan
cellor of the University of the South, to which he succeeded
Bishop Gregg, of Texas, in June 1893.

Bishop Dudley was thrice married, his first wife having
been Miss Fanny Cochran, of Loudon county, Va. She left
four daughters: Catherine Noland, now Mrs. G. S. Richards,


of New York; Martha Maria, now Mrs. James Kirkpatrick,
of Collington, Md., Alice Harrison, now Mrs. William Mc
Dowell, of Lexington, Ky., and Fanny Cochran, the late
Mrs. H. R. Woodward, of Middleburg, Va.

The second wife of the bishop was Miss Virginia Fisher
Rowland, of Norfolk, Va. She had two sons, Thos. Under
wood, Jr., of Middlesburg, and John Rowland Dudley, of
Terminal, Cal., and Harriet Gardner Dudley, now Mrs.
Tevis Goodloe, of Louisville, Ky.

The third Mrs. Dudley, who survives the bishop, was Miss
Mary Elizabeth Aldrich, of New York. Her two children
are Gertrude Wyman Dudley, now Mrs. H. S. Musson,
of Louisville, and Aldrich Dudley of the same city.

Bishop Dudley s life was not only a great and busy one:
it was result ful and efficacious. In it and the international
respect and praise it won him, is ample room for pleasant
contemplation to his numerous descendants of the second
and third generations.

A still older church worked for the souls and bodies of
its children.

Two Jewish synagogues were open all the war, in Rich
mond; the Portuguese, Beth Shalome, Rabbi George
Jacobs, and the German, Bethahabah, Rabbi M. J. Mich-
elbacher. And, outside of church charity proper, Jewish
women wrought unceasingly in hospital and camp, nurs
ing and feeding the needy; among them, well remembered
Mrs. Abram Hutzler, Mrs. Abram Smith, Mrs. M. J. Mich-
elbacher, the Misses Rachel Levey, Leonora Levy, now
Mrs. Mayer Hart, of Norfolk; Bertha Myers, Clara Myers
and Rosa Smith. To one and all, Jew and Gentile, hail!

Yet, after all and with no irreverence and no disrespect to
the cloth the truest manifestation of real piety during the
war gleamed out from the fetid and loathsome hospitals of
camp and town.



IF religion be really charity wearing the mantle of hero
ism, then the noble women and the tireless men who tended
the wounded and the suffering wrought their own canon
ization in the Unerring Sight. Nowhere on the globe have
war nurses worked more ceaselessly and more gently to
beneficent result; nowhere have they worked against such
tremendous odds of wearing strain, lacking appliances and
want of education and experience, in both the tender and
the tended.

The distant reaches of the trans-Mississippi, the long
suspense of Vicksburg, the ghastliness and horror of Bragg s
retreat; Richmond, Atlanta every blood-hallowed section
of the fair South, wrote its undying epic of constancy, cour
age and self-sacrifice, on the white-washed walls of its
nearest hospital.

That matrons and mothers did such great deeds was he
roic; that young and tender girls, nurtured as the darlings
of luxurious homes, stood with them, shoulder to shoul
der, through all the war s length, was godlike!

There is no iota of exaggeration in the recitals of women s
work for those long, bitter yet resultful four years. Un
happily, it has been left too much to tradition when it
deserves graving upon bronze. Even its roughest recital is
a poem and its memory a sacrament; and, as in most other


things I attempt to describe, Richmond was the convex
reflex of that highest manifestation of the Cause "In the
land where we were dreaming."

Space permits but casual glimpse of the Richmond hos
pital trials; but by one all are seen. Nor will mention from
memory seem invidious, for the grandchildren and one
time lovers of those dear old girls realize the literal truth
that theirs was the beautiful charity that elects not in its
giving of succor and of love, yet strives to hide from its left
hand the benefactions of its right.

In a time when no sexagenarian was too feeble, no strip
ling too young, to answer to unceasing call for more men,
every girl in Dixie stood ready to line up with the elder
women and face the sickening or heartbreaking scenes that
trod, swift and dizzying, in the red footprints of every bat
tle. And not one record is extant that any single sister
failed the mute call for aid from the lips of her gray-clad
brother s wounds; that one turned inattentive ear to the
message in the fleeting breath to those dear ones far away
for whom as well as for her he died.

Through these pages, current note has been made of how
the women, young and old, gentle and rough, began their
sacrifices early for "the boys"; how the daintiest fingers
fell to "scraping lint for the brave to bleed upon." But
in those hope-sunnied days lint was an incident, as "French
knots" were later, and wounds were the veriest shadow of
a glib-spoken name. But as ideas fast indurated into hid
eous facts, the women of all degrees faced them with some
thing deeper than bravery: higher and holier than calmness.
Mrs. Mattie Myers wrote me photographic words of the
young Fitz Lee, "When life was a jest, and war a pastime."
But when the glamour dimmed and the jest was finding
its echo from the Valley of Death, the lint-scraping girls
had statured to veritable heroines and never dreamed it,


Eyes that had brimmed over in early partings for the front,
were tearless under duty s mandate in sight of hideous
suffering and unaccustomed deaths; little hands that had
known no rougher touch than that of a true love s lips,
never trembled when holding the jetting artery, or soaking
the blood-stiffened bandages from ghastly and loathsome
wounds. And through all the strain arid suspense and
noisomeness, there were no mock heroics no slightest
tinge of self-illustration.

Elsewhere I have told how the young and brilliant belles
of war-time would leave the hospital kitchen, or the more
exacting ward, doff apron and cap to don what ball-dress
the blockade had left them, or the tinsel and gewgaws of
the mimic stage, again to work for the one Cause that was
to them the Trinity of Love and Hope and Duty. To un
dying honor of the butterflies of that day s fashion, they
never recalled their gaudy wings, nor longed for missing
honey, when each and every one went back into the grub
next morning.

Not for any ordinary pen is it to write the work of one
tithe of the noble woman-helpers to fix the shifting scenes
of their wondrous drama of love and duty done. Yet I
may record a few that crowd to memory, unbidden re
sistless. One of their white-clad band has given her " Mem
ories"; touching the Western and the Eastern war, as
at Ringgold, Newnan, Buckner s and the heart-freezing
wake of Bragg s retreat.

Mrs. Fanny A. Beers, of Louisiana, tells simply of her
first duty at the sweet, fresh little " Soldier s Rest," on
convenient Clay street, Richmond. Later, she was a ref
uge and ministering angel at Gainsville and Resaca, Ring-
gold and Atlanta: in the wake of Bragg s blood-stained
retreat. There in charge were Mrs. Gwathmey, Mrs. Book
er, Mrs. James Grant, with Misses Catherine Poitreaux


and Susan Watkins, and not forgetting Mrs. Edmund Ruffin.
Near this was a similar private refuge would that they
had half sufficed! organized and managed by Mrs. Caro
line Mayo. Great woman that she was, the flower of Vir
ginia womanhood was quick to respond to her call. A little
later, as the war began its first red steps toward quick-com
ing ghastliness, almost every great home in the city had
its hospital-room, as de
scribed in Mrs. Louisa Hax-
all Harrison s letter,
heretofore quoted. They
were the nurseries of the
famous and selfless nurses
who made possible the tre
mendous work done in the
vast and quick-overflowed
museums of mangled man
hood : as Chimborazo,
Robinson s, Officer s hospi
tal, the Georgia, Louisiana,
Winder s, the Alabama and
the Tompkins.

The story of the Alabama
hospital at Richmond is lumi
nous with the record of a woman who no less authority than
General Joseph E. Johnston declared, "Was more use
ful to my army than a new brigade." Mrs. Hopkins had
married before she wedded Judge Arthur F. Hopkins, of
Mobile. At the first fighting, she offered her services to
the state in its crude organizing; developed special fitness
and was sent to Richmond, before Bull Run. There she
organized and controlled that great house of mercy, all dur
ing the war, writing her biography indelibly on the heart
of many a modest hero yet living of many more that have



been still for decades. Her memory lives, green and fra
grant, in Virginia and in her home state.

Juliet Ann Opie was eldest daughter of Hon. Hierome
Lindsay Opie, of Virginia, and was born in Jefferson county,
Va., in 1816. She was in direct sixth descent from Helen
Lindsay, daughter of Rev. David Lindsay, who died in North
umberland in 1667 and was only son of Sir Hierome Lind
say, of the Mount, Lord Lion King-at-Arms, of Scotland.
In early youth Miss Opie married Capt. Alex. G. Gordon,
U. S. N., and was early widowed. Later she married chief
justice of Alabama, Arthur Francis Hopkins. She sold prop
erty in Alabama, Virginia and New York and gave nearly
$200,000 to the Confederate cause. She was honored by
vote of thanks of her state and her face was printed upon
two of its bank bills. Not only untiring and self-sacrificing,
she was twice wounded upon the field at Seven Pines, while
lifting wounded men. She limped slightly from the last
hurt, until her death at Washington in 1890, when she was
followed to her grave at Arlington by Gray and Blue. Gen
erals Joe Johnston, Joe Wheeler and Lieutenant-General
Schofield, head of the United States Army, were among
her mourners.

General Lee wrote to her, "You have done more for the
South than all the women." Johnston has been quoted
and, in a glowing letter Wheeler called her even

It is pleasantly coincidental that the daughter of the
general who called Mrs. Hopkins "the Florence Nightin
gale of the South" was known to the soldiers of the Spanish
war as "the Army Angel." Miss Annie Wheeler won un
knowing, and worthily wore, that title by her beautiful
work of love in the yellow fever hospitals in Cuba. Years
before, General Joseph E. Johnston had written of Mrs.
Hopkins as "The Angef of the South."


Her beautiful daughter, Juliet Opie, married old General
Romeyn B. Ayres, while a young girl, and now resides
at Laurel, Md. It was to her that the exceptional
phrase of General Johnston was written. Her two young
children sleep by her mother and General Ayres at Arlington.

The heights of Chimborazo had a great and busy hospital.
Its brisk and brilliant matron was the Mrs. Phoebe Pember
already spoken of. Hers
was a will of steel, under a
suave refinement, and her
pretty, almost Creole ac
cent covered the power to
ring in deft on occasion. The
friction of these attributes
against bumptiousness, or
young authority, made the
hospital the field of many
"fusses" and more fun.

Pretty and charming Mrs.
Lucy Mason Webb has al
ready been met on the mim
ic boards of charity work.
She performed a heavier
role, and that most success
fully, in her long engagement as matron in the Officer s hos
pital, under Doctors Charles Bell Gibson, A. Y. P. Garnett, La
fayette Guild and others. Her husband was killed in the collapse
of the floor of the capitol at Richmond, and the universally
loved widow devoted her best years to caring for suffering
strangers, who yet were brothers.

One noble Alabama woman sleeps in the midst of the boys
she loved and lived for in the " Soldiers Rest" of Magnolia
Cemetery at Mobile. Ann Toulmin Hunter was the mother
of the soldiers, from the day the gray was donned. Un-



ceasingly she worked for them in kitchen, camp and hospital,
and when the first nameless dead of her state were collected
and brought home long preceding this era of pretty parks
and pretty oratory she never rested until name and roster
had been recovered, in every case possible.

When she laid down for endless sleep her wish was carried
out, and her rest is in the soldiers last home.

A Georgia matron, whose war-time life and energies were
devoted to the soldier, sick or well, left her high epitaph
written in letters of love, upon the monument she reared
to their honor. The widow of Dr. John Carter of Augusta,
had been a belle and beauty as Miss Martha Milledge Flournoy.
Her married life had passed in society: and her widowhood,
prior to the war had changed her mode of life but little. But
when the call came, Mrs. Carter threw all her exceptional
strength of character into work for the boys. She helped
the men at the front with forwarded food, clothing and
delicacies; aided the Georgia hospitals in Virginia with
contributions and personally tended the sick and wounded
and buried the dead, when the grasp of active war held
her own state. Mrs. Carter s memory is still green with
the veterans ; and she has made theirs immortal by her post-
bellum energy and influence. She it was who organized
and for many years was president of the Ladies Memorial
Association; and her zeal and judgment made possible that

Online LibraryThomas Cooper De LeonBelles, beaux and brains of the 60's → online text (page 26 of 32)