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Edward Payson Roe.

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA




ZTbe TKHorfcs of J6. p, IRoe

VOLUME ELEVEN

TAKEN ALIVE

AND OTHER STORIES

WITH AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

THE HOME ACRE

ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK
P, P. COLLIER & SON



COPYRIGHT, 1883, 1889,
Bv DODD, MEAD, & COMPANY.

COPYRIGHT, 1888,
BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT CO.






T
1.9 oo



CONTENTS



*'A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED EOE" 9

TAKEN ALIVE:

CHAP. I. SOMETHING BEFORE UNKNOWN .... 35

II. A VISITOR AT THE MINE 41

III. THWARTED 46

IV. TAKEN ALIVE 54

V. WHAT BRANDT SAW CHRISTMAS EVE . . 61

FOUND YET LOST:

CHAP. I. LOVE IN THE WILDERNESS 63

II. LOVE AT HOME. .^ 68

III. "DISABLED" 74

IV. MARTINE SEEKS AN ANTIDOTE .... 81
V. SECOND BLOOM 87

VI. MORE THAN EEWARD . . . * . . . 95

VII. YANKEE BLANK 102

VIII. "How CAN I?" . . . . 110

IX.. SHADOWS OF COMING EVENTS .... 118

3L. "You CANNOT UNDERSTAND" .... 126

XI. MR. KEMBLE'S APPEAL 133

XII. "You MUST EEMEMBER" 139

XIII. "I'M HELEN" 146

XIV. "FORWARD! COMPANY A" -.156

QUEEN OF SPADES 165

AN UNEXPECTED KESULT 191

(3)

386835



4 CONTENTS

A CHRISTMAS-EVE SUIT . 217

THREE THANKSGIVING KISSES - . . 235

SUSIE ROLLIFFE'S CHRISTMAS 255

JEFF'S TREASURE:

CHAP. I. ITS DISCOVERY . 283

II. ITS INFLUENCE 291

CAUGHT ON THE EBB-TIDE 301

CHRISTMAS EVE IN WAR TIMES 314

A BRAVE LITTLE QUAKERESS .... . ... . 334



U A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"




TWO or three years ago the editor of "Lippincott's Maga
zine" asked me, with many others, to take part in the
very interesting "experience meeting" begun in the pages
of that enterprising periodical. I gave my consent without
much thought of the effort involved, but as time passed, felt
slight inclination to comply with the request. There seemed
little to say of interest to the general public, and I was distinctly
conscious of a certain sense of awkwardness in writing about
myself at all. The question, Why should I ? always confronted
me.

When this request was again repeated early in the current
year, I resolved at least to keep my promise. This is done with
less reluctance now, for the reason that floating through the
press I meet with paragraphs concerning myself that are in
correct, and often absurdly untrue. These literary and personal
notes, together with many questioning letters, indicate a certain
amount of public interest, and I have concluded that it may be
well to give the facts to those who care to know them.

It has been made more clear to me that there are many who
honestly do care. One of the most prized rewards of my lit
erary work is the ever-present consciousness that my writings
have drawn around me a circle of unknown yet stanch friends,
who have stood by me unfalteringly for a number of years. I
should indeed be lacking if my heart did not go out to them in
responsive friendliness and goodwill. If I looked upon them
merely as an aggregation of customers, they would find me out
speedily. A popular mood is a very different thing from an
abiding popular interest. If one could address this circle of
friends only, the embarrassment attendant on a certain amount



10 "A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

of egotism would be banished by the assurance of sympathetic
regard. Since, from the nature of circumstances, this is im
possible, it seems to me in better taste to consider the "author
called Roe" in an objective, rather than in a friendly and sub
jective sense. In other words, I shall try to look at him from
the public point of view, and free myself from some predisposi
tion in his favor shared by his friends. I suppose I shall not
succeed in giving a colorless statement of fact, but I may avoid
much special pleading in his behalf.

Like so many other people, I came from a very old family,
one from which there is good proof of an unbroken line through
the Dark Ages, and all ages, to the first man. I have never
given any time to tracing ancestry, but have a sort of quiet
satisfaction that mine is certainly American as far as it well
can be. My forefathers (not "rude," to my knowledge) were
among the first settlers on the Atlantic seaboard. My paternal
and maternal grandfathers were stanch Whigs during the Revo
lution, and had the courage of their convictions. My grand
mother escaped with her children from the village of Kingston
almost as the British entered it, and her home was soon in
ashes. Her husband, James Roe, was away in the army. My
mother died some years before I attained my majority, and I
cannot remember when she was not an invalid. Such literary
tendencies as I have are derived from her, but I do not possess a
tithe of her intellectual power. Her story-books in her youth
were the classics; and when she was but twelve years of age she
knew "Paradise Lost" by heart. In my recollections of her,
the Bible and all works tending to elucidate its prophecies were
her favorite themes of study. The retentiveness of her memory
was very remarkable. If any one repeated a verse of the New
Testament, she could go on and finish the chapter. Indeed, she
could quote the greater part of the Bible with the ease and ac
curacy of one reading from the printed page. The works of
Hugh Miller and the Arctic Explorations of Dr. Kane afforded
her much pleasure. Confined usually to her room, she took
unfailing delight in wandering about the world with the great
travellers of that day, her strong fancy reproducing the scenes
they described. A stirring bit of history moved her deeply.
Well do I remember, when a boy, of reading to her a chapter
from Motley's "Dutch Republic," and of witnessing in her



"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE" 11

flushed cheeks and sparkling black eyes proof of an excitement
all too great for one in her frail health. She had the unusual
gift of relating in an easy, simple way what she read; and many
a book far too abstruse and dull for my boyish taste became an
absorbing story from her lips. One of her chief characteristics
was the love of flowers. I can scarcely recall her when a flower
of some kind, usually a rose, was not within her reach; and only
periods of great feebleness kept her from their daily care, win
ter and summer. Many descendants of her floral pets are now
blooming in my garden.

My father, on the other hand, was a sturdy man of action.
His love for the country was so strong that he retired from busi
ness in New York as soon as he had won a modest competence.
For forty-odd years he never wearied in the cultivation of his
little valley farm, and the square, flower-bordered garden, at one
side of which ran an unfailing brook. In this garden and un
der his tuition I acquired my love of horticulture acquired it
with many a backache heartache too, on days good for fishing
or hunting; but, taking the bitter with the sweet, the sweet pre
dominated. I find now that I think only of the old-fashioned
roses in the borders, and not of my hands bleeding from the
thorns. If I groaned over the culture of many vegetables, it
was much compensation to a boy that the dinner-table groaned
also under the succulent dishes thus provided. I observed that
my father's interest in his garden and farm never flagged, thus
proving that in them is to be found a pleasure which does not
pall with age. During the last summer of his life, when in his
eighty-seventh year, he had the delight of a child in driving over
to my home in the early morning, long before I was up, and in
leaving a basket of sweet corn or some other vegetable which he
knew would prove his garden to be ahead of mine.

My father was very simple and positive in his beliefs, always
openly foremost in the reform movements of his day and in his
neighborhood, yet never, to my knowledge, seeking or taking
any office. His house often became a station of the "under
ground railroad" in slavery times, and an one night in the depth
of winter he took a hotly-pursued fugitive in his sleigh and drove
him five miles on the ice, diagonally across the Hudson, to Fish-
kill, thence putting the brave aspirant for freedom on the way to
other friends. He incurred several risks in this act. It is



12 "A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

rarely safe to drive on the river off the beaten tracks at night,
for there are usually air-holes, and the strong tides are continu
ally making changes in the ice. When told that he might be sent
to jail for his defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law, he quietly an
swered, "I can go to jail." The thing he could not do was lo
deny the man's appeal to him for help. Before the war he was
known as an Abolitionist after it, as a Conservative, his sym
pathy with and for the South being very strong. During the
draft riots in 1863 the spirit of lawlessness was on the point of
breaking out in the river towns. I happened to be home from
Virginia, and learned that my father's house was among those
marked for burning on a certain night. During this night the
horde gathered; but one of their leaders had received such em-
pathetic warning of what would happen the following day should
outrages be perpetrated, that he persuaded his associates to de
sist. I sat up that night at my father's door with a double-bar
relled gun, more impressed with a sense of danger than at any
other time in my experience; he, on the contrary, slept as quietly
as a child.

He often practiced close economy in order to give his sons
a good education. The one act of my life which I remember
with unalloyed pride and pleasure occured while I was at board
ing-school in Vermont, preparing for college. I learned through
my mother that my father had denied himself his daily news
paper; and I knew well how much he would miss it. We burned
wood in the large stone seminary building. Every autumn great
ranks of hard maple were piled up, and students who wished to
earn a little money were paid a dollar a cord for sawing it into
three lengths. I applied for nine cords, and went at the unac
customed task after study hours. My back aches yet as I recall
the experiences of subsequent weeks, for the wood was heavy,
thick, and hard as bone. I eventually had the pleasure of send
ing to my father the subscription price of his paper for a year.
If a boy reads these lines, let me assure him that he will never
know a sweeter moment in his life than when he receives the
thanks of his parents for some such effort in their behalf. No
investment can ever pay him better.

In one of my books, "Nature's Serial Story," my father and
mother appear, slightly idealized.

Toward the close of my first year in Williams College a mis-



"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE" 13

fortune occurred which threatened to be very serious. Study
ing by defective light injured my eyes. They quickly became
so sensitive that I could scarcely endure lamplight or the heat of
a stove, only the cold out-door air relieving the pain; so I spent
much time in wandering about in the boisterous weather of early
spring in Williamstown. At last I became so discouraged that I
went to President Hopkins and told him that I feared I must
give up the purpose of acquiring an education. Never can I
forget how that grand old man met the disheartened boy.
Speaking in the wise, friendly way which subdued the heart and
strengthened the will, he made the half-hour spent with him the
turning-point of my life. In conclusion, he advised me to enter
the Senior class the following fall, thus taking a partial course
of study. How many men are living to-day who owe much of
the best in their lives to that divinely inspired guide and teacher
of youth !

I next went to another man great in his sphere of life Dr.
Agnew, the oculist. He gave my eyes a thorough examination,
told me that he could do nothing for them; that rest and the
vigor acquired from out-door life would restore them. He was
as kind and sympathetic in his way as the college president, and
charged but a trifle, to relieve me from the sense of taking char
ity. Dr. Agnew's words proved correct; and the following
autumn I entered the class of '6l, and spent a happy year. Some
of my classmates were very kind in reading aloud to me, while
Dr. Hopkins's instruction was invaluable. By the time I en
tered Auburn Theological Seminary, my eyes were quite re
stored, and I was able to go through the first year's course of
study without difficulty. In the summer of 1862 I could no
longer resist the call for men in the army. Learning that the
Second New York (Harris's Light) Cavalry was without a chap
lain, I obtained the appointment to that position. General Kil-
patrick was then lieutenant-colonel, and in command of the regi
ment. In December, 1862, I witnessed the bloody and disas
trous battle of Fredericksburg, and can never forget the ex
periences of that useless tragedy. I was conscious of a sensa
tion which struck me as too profound to be merely awe. Early
in the morning we crossed the Rappahannock on a pontoon
bridge and marched up the hill to an open, plain. The roar of
the battle was simply terrific, shading off from the sharp con-



14 "A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

tinuous thunder immediately about us to dull, heavy mutterings
far to the right and left. A few hundred yards before us, where
the ground began to slope up to the fatal heights crowned with
Confederate works and ordnance, were long lines of Union bat
teries. From their iron mouths puffs of smoke issued inces
santly, followed by tremendous reverberations. Back of these
batteries the ground was covered with men lying on their arms,
that they might present a less obvious target. Then a little fur
ther to the rear, on the level ground above the bluff, stood our
cavalry. Heavy guns on both sides of the river were sending
their great shrieking shells back and forth over our heads, and
we often "ducked" instinctively when the missile was at least
forty feet above us. Even our horses shuddered at the sound.

I resolved to learn if the men were sharing in my emotions
in brief, what effect the situation had upon them and rode
slowly down our regimental line. So vivid was the impression
of that long array of awed, pallid faces that at this moment I
can recall them distinctly. There were strange little touches of
mingled pathos and humor. Meadow-larks were hemmed in on
every side, too frightened to fly far beyond the rude alarms.
They would flutter up into the sulphurous air with plaintive cries,
then drop again into the open spaces between the troops. At
one time, while we were standing at our horses' heads, a startled
rabbit ran to us for cover. The poor little creature meant a
'dinner to the fortunate captor on a day when a dinner was
extremely problematical. We engaged in a sharp scramble, the
prize being won by the regimental surgeon, who kindly shared
his game with me.

General Bayard, commanding our brigade, was mortally
wounded, and died like a hero. He was carried to a fine man
sion near which he had received his injury. Many other des
perately wounded men were brought to the spacious rooms of
this abode of Southern luxury, and the surgeons were kept busy
all throught the day and night. It was here I gained my first
experience in hospital work. This extemporized hospital on the
field was so exposed as to be speedily abandoned. In the morn
ing I recrossed the Rappahannock with my regiment, which had
been ordered down the river on picket duty. Soon after we
went into winter quarters in a muddy cornfield. In February I
resigned, with the purpose of completing my studies, and spent



"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE" 15

the remainder of the term at the Union Theological Seminary of
New York. My regiment would not get another chaplain, so I
again returned to it. In November I received a month's leave
of absence, and was married to Miss Anna P. Sands, of New
York City. Our winter quarters in 1864 were at Stevensburg,
between the town of Culpeper and the Rapidan River. During
the pleasant days of late February several of the officers were
enjoying the society of their wives. Mrs. Roe having expressed
a willingness to rough it with me for a week, I sent for her, and
one Saturday afternoon went to the nearest railroad station to
meet her. The train came, but not my wife; and, much dis
appointed, I found the return ride of five miles a dreary one in
the winter twilight. I stopped at our colonel's tent to say to
him and his wife that Mrs. Roe had not come, then learned for
the first time very startling tidings.

"Chaplain," said the colonel, "we are going to Richmond to
morrow. We are going to wade right through and past every
thing in a neck-or-nothing ride, and who will come out is a
question."

His wife was weeping in her private tent, and I saw that for
the first time in my acquaintance with him he was downcast.
He was one of the bravest of men, yet now a foreboding of evil
oppressed him. The result justified it, for he was captured during
the raid, and never fully rallied after the war from the physical
depression caused by his captivity. He told me that on the
morrow General Kilpatrick would lead four thousand picked
cavalry men in a raid on Richmond, having as its special obj ect
the release of our prisoners. I rode to the headquarters of the
general, who confirmed the tidings, adding, "You need not go.
Non-combatants are not expected to go."

It was most fortunate that my wife had not come. I had re
cently been appointed chaplain of Hampton Hospital, Virginia,
by President Lincoln, and was daily expecting my confirmation
by the Senate. I had fully expected to give my wife a glimpse
of army life in the field, and then to enter on my new duties. To
go or not to go was a question with me that night. The raid cer
tainly offered a sharp contrast with the anticipated week's out
ing with my bride. I did not possess by nature that kind of
courage which is indifferent to danger; and life had never of
fered more attractions than at that time. I have since enjoyed



16 "A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

Southern hospitality abundantly, and hope to again, but then its
prospect was not alluring. Before morning, however, I reached
the decision that I would go, and during the Sunday forenoon
held my last service in the regiment. I had disposed of my
horse, and so had to take a sorry beast at the last moment, the
only one I could obtain.

In the dusk of Sunday evening four thousand men were
masked in the woods on the banks of the Rapidan. Our scouts
opened the way by wading the stream and pouncing upon the
unsuspecting picket of twenty Confederates opposite. Then
away we went across a cold, rapid river, marching all that night
through the dim woods and openings in a country that was em
phatically the enemy's. Lee's entire army was on our right,
the main Confederate cavalry force on our left. The strength
of our column and its objective point could not remain long un
known.

In some unimportant ways I acted as aid for Kilpatrick. A
few hundred yards in advance of the main body rode a van
guard of two hundred men, thrown forward to warn us should
we strike any considerable number of the enemy's cavalry. As
is ever the case, the horses of a small force will walk away from
a much larger body, and it was necessary from time to time to
send word to the vanguard, ordering it to "slow up." This or
der was occasionally intrusted to me. I was to gallop over the
interval between the two columns, then draw up by the roadside
and sit motionless on my horse till the general with his staff
came up. The slightest irregularity of action would bring a shot
from our own men, while the prospect of an interview with the
Johnnies while thus isolated was always good. I saw one of
our officers shot that night. He had ridden carelessly into the
woods, and rode out again just before the head of the column,
without instantly accounting for himself. As it was of vital im
portance to keep the movement secret as long as possible, the
poor fellow was silenced in sad error as to his identity.

On we rode, night and day, with the briefest possible halts.
At one point we nearly captured a railroad train, and might
easily have succeeded had not the station and warehouses been
in flames. As it was, the train approached us closely, then
backed, the shrieking engine itself giving the impression of be
ing startled to the last degree.



"A NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE 1 ' 17

On a dreary, drizzling, foggy day we passed a milestone on
which was lettered, "Four miles to Richmond." It was still "on
to Richmond" with us what seemed a long way further, and then
came a considerable period of hesitancy, in which the command
was drawn up for the final dash. The enemy shelled a field near
us vigorously, but fortunately, or unfortunately, the fog was so
dense that neither party could make accurate observations or do
much execution.

For reasons that have passed into history, the attack was
not made. We withdrew six miles from the city and went into
camp.

I had scarcely begun to enjoy much-needed rest before the
Confederates came up in the darkness and shelled us out of
such quarters as we had found. We had to leave our boiling
coffee behind us one of the greatest hardships I have ever
known. Then followed a long night-ride down the Peninsula,
in driving sleet and rain.

The next morning the sun brjke out gloriously, warming and
drying our chilled, wet forms. Nearly all that day we main
tained a line of battle confronting the pursuing enemy. One
brigade would take a defensive position, while the other would
march about five miles to a commanding point, where it in turn
would form a line. The first brigade would then give way, pass
through the second, and take position well to the rear. Thus,
although retreating, we were always ready to fight. At one
point the enemy pressed us closely, and I saw a magnificent cav
alry charge down a gentle descent in the road. Every sabre
seemed tipped with fire in the brilliant sunshine.

In the afternoon it became evident that there was a body
of troops before us. Who or what they were was at first un
known, and for a time the impression prevailed that we should
have to cut our way through by a headlong charge. We soon
learned, however, that the force was a brigade of colored in
fantry, sent up to cover our retreat. It was the first time we
had seen negro troops, but as the long line of glistening bay
onets and light-blue uniforms came into view, prejudices, if any
there were, vanished at once, and a cheer from the begrimed
troopers rang down our line, waking the echoes. It was a pleas
ant thing to march past that array of faces, friendly though
black, and know we were safe. They represented the F.F.V.'s



18 "4 NATIVE AUTHOR CALLED ROE"

of Old Virginia, we then wished to see. On the last day of the
march my horse gave out, compelling me to walk and lead him.

On the day after our arrival at Yorktown, Kilpatrick gave me
despatches for the authorities at Washington. President Lin
coln, learning that I had just returned from the raid, sent for
me, and I had a memorable interview with him alone in his
private room. He expressed profound solicitude for Colonel
Dahlgren and his party. They had been detached from the
main force, and I could give no information concerning them.
We eventually learned of the death of that heroic young officer,
Colonel Dahlgren. Although partially helpless from the loss of
a leg, he led a daring expedition at the cost of his life.

I expressed regret to the President that the object of the raid
had not been accomplished. "Pick the flint, and try it again,"
said Mr. Lincoln, heartily. I went out from his presence awed
by the courage and sublime simplicity of the man. While he
gave the impression that he was bearing the nation on his heart,
one was made to feel that it wa*,also large enough for sympathy
with all striving with him in the humblest way.

My wife joined me in Washington, and few days later ac
companied me to the scene of my new labors at Hampton Hos
pital, near Fortress Monroe. There were not many patients at
that time (March, 1864) in the large barrack wards; but as soon
as the Army of the Potomac broke through the Wilderness and
approached our vicinity, transports in increasing numbers, laden
with desperately wounded men, came to our wharf. During
the early summer the wooden barracks were speedily filled, and
many tent wards were added. Duty became constant and se
vere, while the scenes witnessed were often painful in the last
degree. More truly than on the field, the real horrors of war
are learned from the long agonies in the hospital. While in the
cavalry service, I gained in vigor daily; in two months of hos
pital work I lost thirty pounds. On one day I buried as many
as twenty-nine men. Every evening, till the duty became like



Online LibraryEdward Payson RoeTaken alive : and other stories with an autobiography : The home acre → online text (page 1 of 39)