"Interrupting me here, the lady remarked, much to my surprise, that she could not see that the Yankees were much worse than the Confederates, after all. She added: "'When the Yankee army passed through this State, they took from the rich the supplies necessary for their sustenance; and when our cavalry followed they took nearly all that was left, seeming to care but little for our wants, and often depriving defenceless women and children of their last morsel of bread.'
"'I regret, madam, that the conduct of our troops has been such as to give you reason for complaint.'
"'I, too, regret that our men have not proved themselves worthy of a cause which they appear so willing to defend.'
"'Remember,' I continued, 'that our commissary department has been completely wrecked, and that we are entirely dependent upon the people for the subsistence of a large army.'
"By the sad expression of her countenance, which accompanied and followed this remark, I saw clearly that she felt we had reached a crisis in the war, when Providence was turning the tables, and she accordingly interrogated:
"'And what do you think of present prospects?'
"I quickly responded, 'Our future looks dark—our cause appears almost hopeless, but the sacrifices of our gallant dead remain unavenged. Therefore, we must fight while there is a man left, and die in the last ditch.'
"'If there be no longer any hope of success, sir, I should say that it would be better to lay down our arms at once, and go back under the old flag.'
"'Madam, we must fight, we must fight!'
"'But it is wickedness and worse than madness to continue this awful massacre of human beings, without some prospect of ultimate success.'
"'Very true; but we have lost all in this struggle, and must sell our lives as dearly as possible.'
"By this time the good lady seemed to have waxed enthusiastic, and warm as the fire over which the servant was preparing my supper, and she answered:
"'My husband is a captain in the Twenty-fifth Georgia Infantry. He is the father of these children, and is very dear to both them and me. Long have I prayed that he might be spared to return to his family, but fear that we shall never be permitted to see him again. When he entered the army, I admired his patriotism, and was glad to see him go in defence of what I supposed to be the true interests of the southern people; but we have been deceived from the beginning by our military and political leaders. It is time to open our eyes, and see what obstinacy has brought us. We are conquered. Let us return to the rule of the Federal government, ere we are ruined.'
"Madam, your sympathies appear to be largely with the Yankees.'
"'It is not strange, sir; I was born and educated in New England;—and your speech would indicate that you too are not a native of the South.'
"'You are right; I am a New Yorker by birth, but have been for a considerable time in South Carolina.'
"After partaking of the frugal meal set before me, which consisted of corn-bread and sweet potatoes, I thanked the lady for her kindness, and told her that I regretted very deeply that I was not in a situation to remunerate her for so much trouble. Noticing my blue pants as I arose from the table, she remarked:
"'It is impossible for me to know our men from the Yankees by the uniform; but a few days since, two soldiers asked me to get them some supper, claiming to be scouts to General Wheeler; they told many very plausible stories, and the next day, to my astonishment, I was charged with harboring Yankee spies.'
"'I do not wonder that you find it difficult to distinguish the Yankee from the Confederate soldier, for in these trying times a poor rebel is compelled to wear anything he can get. The dead are always stripped, and at this season of the year, we find the Federal uniform far more comfortable than our own.'
"'It must be an awful extremity that could tempt men to strip the dying and the dead!'
"'We have become so much accustomed to such practices, that we are unmoved by scenes which might appall and sicken those who have never served in our ranks.'
"'I sincerely hope that these murderous practices will soon be at an end.'
"Feeling that I had been absent from my comrade long enough, and that it was time to make my departure, I arose, saying,
"'I must go, madam; may I know to whom I am so much indebted for my supper and kind entertainment this evening?'
"'Mrs. James Keyton. And what may I call your name?'
"'Willard Glazier, Fifty-third Alabama Mounted Infantry.'
"'Should you chance to meet the Twenty-fifth Georgia, please inquire for Captain Keyton, and say to him that his wife and children are well, and send their love.'
"'He shall certainly have your message if it is my good fortune to meet him. Good-night.'"
Leaving Mrs. Keyton with her fears for the rebel cause in general, and her husband in particular, Glazier hurried out to find his friend Wright pacing up and down the road in a bad humor at having been kept so long waiting; but setting their faces in the direction of Springfield, they at once started on their march. They soon found themselves approaching the rebel forces in General Sherman's rear, and determined at all risks to obtain information of the two armies. They were at General Iverson's headquarters, and at one time were within fifteen paces of the house he occupied.
Cautiously concealing themselves behind trees they reached a spot within earshot of the provost-guard, and overheard their conversation. The prospects of the war were freely discussed, and the fall of Savannah. The conclusion forced on the minds of our friends was that the Confederate cause was losing ground, and its armies would soon be compelled to surrender to the Union force.
Glazier and his comrade left the spot inspired with renewed courage.
Six miles on their road to Springfield found daylight approaching, and the fugitives hurriedly secreted themselves among some tall swamp grass. They were suddenly aroused by the baying of a blood-hound, and immediately sprang to their feet.
"We are followed!" exclaimed Wright.
"What do you propose to do?" quickly asked Glazier.
"I am undecided," was the unsatisfactory reply.
"It is my opinion," said Glazier, promptly, "that if we are not off at once we shall be prisoners."
"Well, off it is!" spoke Wright; and both struck off in a southeasterly direction in double quick time. Fences and ditches were leaped, and streams forded, the hounds approaching so nearly that their baying could be distinctly heard by the fugitives; but fortunately, or providentially, they came to a large creek, and jumping in, waded along its course for a distance of some sixty rods, then emerging, pursued their journey in the direction they had intended. About one o'clock they concluded they had out-generaled the bushwhackers and their hounds. Elated by success they became less cautious and did not halt. About two o'clock Glazier was startled by seeing his companion drop suddenly and silently behind a tree. Glazier followed, watching the movements of Wright, and presently saw that they were within a few rods of a Confederate picket. Before they had time to move a cavalry patrol came up to the post with instructions, and, as soon as he had passed, our friends crawled upon their hands and knees into the friendly swamp, and thus screened themselves from their enemy.
The hounds, however, were a source of greater danger to the fugitives than the rebel pickets; the training and scent of the former having been so perfected and developed by long and cruel use in the recapture of fugitive slaves, that, to evade them, was almost an impossibility. Hence the sense of caution was strained to the utmost both by night and day on the part of our friends.
The use of blood-hounds in warfare is considered barbarous in every country pretending to civilization, even if they are employed against a foreign foe. How much more so, in a war waged between fellow-citizens of one blood, one history, one language, and in numerous instances, bearing domestic or family relations to each other; and this, in support of a cause, the righteousness of which was doubted by many who found themselves unwillingly compelled to give in their adherence at the dictation of a few ambitious men. For this sin a righteous God has judged them! A cause thus supported deserved defeat in the estimation of just men of every nation, apart from all political considerations.
Captain Glazier and his friend congratulated themselves on having so far eluded, by every expedient known to them, the sanguinary fangs of these barbarous instruments of warfare; and after nightfall continued their route, passing the picket in the darkness.
Soon after they encountered a colored friend, known among his people as "Uncle Philip." This good darkey informed them that the Federal forces had possession of Cherokee Hill, on the Savannah River Road, only eight miles distant—news which afforded them inexpressible joy! Uncle Philip was asked if he would guide them to the lines; and replied: "I'ze neber ben down dar, massa, sense Massa Sherman's company went to Savannah; but I reckon you-uns can git Massa Jones, a free cullered man, to take you ober. He's a mighty bright pusson, and understands de swamps jest like a book."
On reaching Jones' hut his wife informed them that her husband was out scouting, but was expected back about eleven o'clock. She urged our friends to enter and await his return, as he was always glad to do all in his power for the Yankees. Fearing the rebel scouts might discover them, they, at first, hesitated, but consented on Mrs. Jones promising to be on the alert. She accordingly volunteered her two boys, one of eight years and the other six, for out-post duty, charging them strictly to notify her immediately if they saw any one approaching, so that she might conceal the fugitives. Auntie then promptly placed before them a bountiful supply of hoe-cake and parched corn, the best her humble cot afforded, and most welcome to the famished men.
Jones returned at the appointed hour, but informed his guests that, while very willing to guide them, he was not sufficiently acquainted with the safest route to do so; and referred them to a friend of his, who would accompany them, and whom he could strongly recommend as a competent and safe guide. On visiting this man he also pleaded ignorance of any safe route; but mentioned the name of still another "friend of the Yankees," who, he said, had come up from the Union lines that morning and would willingly return with them. This friendly negro also was found. He was a genuine negro, as black as ebony and very devout in his mode of speech. His name was "March Dasher." "I'll do it, massa, if God be my helper!" he answered to their eager inquiry.
Glazier and his comrade were impatient to start at once, but upon this point Dasher was inexorable. "Dis chile knows whar de pickets is in de day-time," he emphatically declared, "but knows nuffin 'bout 'em arter dark;" and absolutely declined to take the risk of falling within the Confederate lines—an act of prudence and firmness for which he was to be much commended.
A fear of treachery was aroused when Dasher tried to induce them to remain in his hut till morning, but this was immediately and entirely removed when he and his household at a signal, fell on their knees, and joined in simple but fervent prayer to the Almighty, as a friend of the friendless—beseeching Him to protect and prosper them in their efforts to flee from their enemies; and much more of a nature to disarm any suspicion of their fidelity and good-will to the Union cause.
Our friends, however, declined to remain in the hut, fearing a surprise from the outpost; and at the conclusion of the prayer, betook themselves to a pine thicket with the joint resolution of giving their dark friend no peace until he started with them to the Federal lines.
About one o'clock in the morning, Wright, impatient of delay, proceeded to the hut, and arousing Dasher, told him that day had just begun to break. He came to the door, and pointing to the stars in the unclouded sky, remarked, with a good-tempered smile, "I reck'n it's good many hours yet till break ob day, massa. Yer can't fool March on de time; his clock neber breaks down. It's jest right ebery time." Wright returned to his lair in the thicket, remarking irritably, as he threw himself down, "Glazier, you might as well undertake to move a mountain, as to get the start of that colored individual!"
At the first peep of dawn, punctual to his promise, Dasher thrust his black, good-humored face into the thicket, and announced:
"Now I'ze ready, gemmen, to take you right plum into Mr. Sherman's company by 'sun-up;'" and as Sol began to gild the tree-tops and the distant eastern hills, the trio came within sight of the Federal camp, and witnessed the "Stars and Stripes," floating triumphantly in the breeze!
What pen can describe their emotions, when—after more than fourteen long months' suffering from imprisonment, starvation, nakedness, bodily and mental prostration, and every inhumanity short of being murdered, like many of their imprisoned comrades, in cold blood—they again hailed friends and found freedom at last within their grasp! Words would fail to tell their joy. Let us leave it to the reader to imagine.
On first approaching the camp they were supposed, by their motley attire, to be deserters from the enemy; and, as true soldiers and deserters never fraternize, no signal of welcome was offered by the "boys in blue." The suspicions of the latter, however, were allayed on seeing Glazier and his companion wave their caps: then they were beckoned to come forward. And when it was discovered that they were escaped prisoners, an enthusiastic grip was given to each by every soldier present, accompanied by cordial congratulations on their successful escape from the barbarous enemy who had had them in custody.
"Each man," writes Glazier, "took us by the hand, congratulating us on our eventful and successful escape, while we cheered the boys for the glorious work they had accomplished for the Union. Haversacks were opened and placed at our disposal. There was a great demand for hard-tack and coffee; but the beauty of it all was, Major Turner was not there, to say what he often repeated, 'Reduce their rations; I'll teach the d——d scoundrels not to attempt to escape!'
"I cannot forget," he adds, "the sea of emotion that well-nigh overwhelmed me, as soon as I could realize the fact that I was no longer a prisoner, and especially when I beheld the starry banner floating triumphantly over the invincibles who had followed their great General down to the sea."
Our hero and his friend became objects of much curiosity, while their eventful escape was the subject of general conversation and comment by the brave boys who pressed around them, and who proved to be a detachment of the One Hundred and First Illinois Volunteers, Twentieth Army Corps. Their most intimate friends would have failed to recognize them. Glazier was clad in an old gray jacket and blue pants, with a venerable and dilapidated hat which had seen a prodigious amount of service of a nondescript kind; while a tattered gray blanket that had done duty for many a month as a bed by day and a cloak by night, and was now in the last stage of dissolution from age and general infirmity, completed his unmilitary and unpretentious toilet. Having at first no one to identify them, Glazier and his companion were as strangers among friends, and necessarily without official recognition. At length, however, after much searching, they found Lieutenant Wright's old company, and thus the refugees became officially identified and recognized as Federal officers.
In company with Lieutenant E. H. Fales, who had been his fellow-prisoner at Charleston, and effected his escape, Glazier proceeded on horseback to the headquarters of General Kilpatrick. The General, cordially welcoming and congratulating Glazier on his happy escape, at once furnished him with the documents necessary to secure his transportation to the North. His term of service having expired, he was anxious to revisit his family, who thought him dead, and bidding an affectionate adieu to his friend Wright, he and Lieutenant Fales embarked on a steamship on December twenty-ninth for home. After experiencing the effects of a severe storm at sea, the vessel arrived at the wharf of the metropolitan city, and our hero adds: "I awoke to the glorious realization that I was again breathing the air of my native State. There was exhilaration and rapture in the thought, which I could not repress, and that moment is fixed as a golden era in my memory. I hope never to become so hardened that that patriotic and Christian exultation will be an unpleasant recollection."
There have probably been few hearts that beat higher with martial ardor, than that of Willard Glazier; but at that moment the thought of "Battle's red carnival" was merged in the gentler recollection of kindred and friends, rest and home.
GLAZIER RE-ENTERS THE SERVICE.
Glazier's determination to re-enter the army.—Letter to Colonel Harhaus.—Testimonial from Colonel Clarence Buel.—Letter from Hon. Martin I. Townsend to governor of New York.—Letter from General Davies.—Letter from General Kilpatrick.—Application for new commission successful.—Home.—The mother fails to recognize her son.—Supposed to be dead.—Recognized by his sister Marjorie.—Filial and fraternal love,—Reports himself to his commanding officer for duty.—Close of the war and of Glazier's military career.—Seeks a new object in life.—An idea occurs to him.—Becomes an author, and finds a publisher.
Home, with its rest, its peaceful enjoyments and endearments, was no abiding place for our young soldier while his bleeding country still battled for the right, and called upon her sons for self-denying service in her cause. He had registered a vow to remain in the army until relieved by death, or the termination of the war. His heart and soul were in the Union cause, and finding that at the expiration of his term of service he had been mustered out, he had determined before proceeding to his home to apply for another commission, and, if possible, resume his place at the front.
The following letter, which we think stamps his earnest loyalty to the cause he had espoused, and for which he had already suffered so much, was addressed to his friend and patron:
Astor House, New York, January 10th, 1865.
Colonel Otto Harhaus, Late of the Harris Light Cavalry:
Dear Colonel: Having reached our lines, an escaped prisoner, on the twenty-third of last month, I at once took steps to ascertain my position in the old regiment, and regret to say, was informed at the war department that as my term of service had expired during my imprisonment; and, as I had not remustered previous to capture, I was now regarded supernumerary. I wish to remain in the service until the close of the war, and so expressed myself before I fell into the hands of the enemy. Fourteen months in rebel prisons has not increased my respect for "Southern chivalry"—in short I have some old scores to settle.
I write, Colonel, to ascertain if you will be kind enough to advise me what steps I had better take to secure a new commission in the Cavalry Corps, and to ask if you will favor me with a letter of recommendation to Governor Fenton. It was suggested to me at Washington that I should place my case before him, and, if I conclude to do so, a note from you will be of great value.
I learn through Captain Downing that I was commissioned a first lieutenant upon your recommendation soon after my capture. If so, I avail myself of this opportunity to acknowledge my deep sense of the favor, and to thank you very cordially for remembering me at a time when I was entirely dependent upon your impartial decisions for advancement in your command.
I made my escape from the rebel prison at Columbia, South Carolina, November twenty-sixth, 1864, was recaptured December fifteenth by a Confederate outpost near Springfield, Georgia; escaped a second time the following day and was retaken by a detachment of Texan cavalry under General Wheeler; was tried as a spy at Springfield; escaped a third time from Sylvania on the nineteenth of December, and reached the Federal lines near Savannah, four days later, and twenty-eight days after my escape from Columbia. I was at General Kilpatrick's headquarters on the Ogeechee, December twenty-sixth. The general was in the most exuberant spirits, and entertained me with stories of the Great March from Atlanta to the sea. He desired to be remembered to all the officers and men of his old cavalry division in Virginia.
I expect to be mustered out of service to-day, and if so, shall start this evening for my home in Northern New York, which I have not visited since entering the army three years ago.
Soliciting a response at your earliest convenience,
I have the honor to remain, Colonel,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, Willard Glazier.
Impatient of delay in the gratification of his ardent and patriotic desire to rejoin the army, Glazier also addressed an earnest letter to Hon. M. I. Townsend, of his native State, accompanying it with the following glowing testimonial from his late superior officer and companion in arms, Colonel Clarence Buel:
Saratoga Springs, New York, February 14th, 1865.
Hon. Martin I. Townsend:
Dear Sir: It is with great pleasure that I introduce to your acquaintance my friend Lieutenant Willard Glazier. He entered the service as a private in my company in the "Harris Light Cavalry," and was promoted for services in the field to his present rank. I considered him one of the very best and most promising young officers whom I knew, and his career has only strengthened my opinion of his merits. After a period of long and gallant service in the field he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner in a desperate cavalry fight, and has but recently returned home after escaping from a terrible confinement of more than a year in the prison pens at Richmond, Danville, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, and Columbia. I wish you would take time to hear the modest recital which he makes of his experience in Southern prisons, and of his escape; and I feel sure you will agree with me, that he is worthy of any interest you may take in him.
He is desirous of re-entering the service as soon as he can procure a commission in any way equal to his deserts; and I told him that I knew of no one who could give him more valuable aid than yourself in his patriotic purpose. I do most cordially commend him to your consideration, and shall esteem anything you may do for him as a great personal favor. With very sincere regards,
I am, your obedient friend and servant, Clarence Buel.
Hon. Martin I. Townsend, on receipt of Colonel Buel's flattering introduction, at once interested himself in Glazier's behalf; and after fully investigating his military record handed him the following to the Governor of New York State:
Troy, New York, February 15th, 1865.
His Excellency R. E. Fenton, Governor of New York:
Dear Sir: Willard Glazier, late of the "Harris Light Cavalry," who served with honor as a lieutenant in that regiment, is a most excellent young patriot, and has many well-wishers in our city. He desires to enter the service again. I take the liberty to solicit for him a commission. No appointment would be more popular here, and I undertake to say, without hesitation, that I know of no more deserving young officer. His heart was always warm in the service, and he now has fifteen months of most barbarous cruelty, practised on him while a prisoner, to avenge.
Very respectfully yours, Martin I. Townsend.
His former commanders, Generals H. E. Davies and Judson Kilpatrick, also bore their willing testimony to the qualifications and merits of our young subaltern in the following handsome manner:
Headquarters, First Brigade, Cavalry Division, Near Culpepper, Va.,
February 16th, 1865.
To His Excellency Hon. R. E. Fenton:
Lieutenant Willard Glazier, formerly of the Second New York Cavalry, served in the regiment under my immediate command, for more than two years, until his capture by the enemy.
He joined the regiment as an enlisted man, and served in that capacity with courage and ability, and for good conduct was recommended for and received a commission as second lieutenant. As an officer he did his duty well, and on several occasions behaved with great gallantry, and with good judgment. Owing to a long imprisonment, I learn he has been rendered supernumerary in his regiment, and mustered out of service. I can recommend him highly as an officer, and as well worthy to receive a commission.
Very respectfully, H. E. Davies, Jr., Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers.
Headquarters Cavalry Command, M. D. M., Near Savannah, Georgia, December 27th, 1864.
Lieutenant Willard Glazier, Harris Light Cavalry:
Lieutenant: I take great pleasure in expressing to you my high appreciation of your many soldierly qualities. I well remember the fact that you were once a private in the old regiment I had the honor to command; and that by attention to duty and good conduct alone, you received promotion. You have my best wishes for your future advancement, and may command my influence at all times.
Very respectfully and truly yours, Judson Kilpatrick, Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.
His application was crowned with success, and upon the twenty-fifth of February, 1865, he received his commission as First Lieutenant in the Twenty-sixth Regiment, New York Cavalry.
Not until this important matter was satisfactorily arranged would our young lieutenant turn his face towards home. He had been absent about three years, and a report had reached his family that he had died in prison at Columbia.
With his commission in his pocket, he now allowed thoughts of home to occupy his mind, and proceeded thither without the loss of a moment. On reaching the homestead which had been the scene of his birth, and of the adventures of his boyhood, he knocked and entered, and his mother met him at the threshold. Three years between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, especially after vicissitudes and sufferings such as he had endured, effect changes in the features and height and general appearance, much more pronounced than a similar interval would produce at a later or an earlier period of life. The mother did not recognize her son; and seeing this, he did not announce himself, but inquired if any news had recently been received of her son Willard, who, he said, was in the same regiment as himself. She answered that her son was dead—she had seen his name in the death-record of the prison of Columbia, and asked earnestly concerning him. By this time his sister Marjorie, with three years added to her stature, but still in her teens, entered the room, and, looking fixedly at the stranger's solemn countenance, exclaimed, with a thrilling outcry: "Why, that's Will!" The spell was broken, and mother and son, sister and brother, amid smiles and sobs, embraced, and the young soldier, "who was dead and is alive," was welcomed to the fond hearts of those who had grieved over his loss.
Filial and fraternal love was a trait in Glazier's character which claims a few words. A dutiful son and an affectionate brother, he had never neglected an opportunity of assisting and furthering the interests of his family. Before entering the army he had contributed of his scant earnings as a teacher towards the education of his three sisters, and during his service in the war had, from time to time, as he received his pay, made remittances home for the same unselfish purpose. On being mustered out of the army, the government had paid him the sum of $500, and this sum he now generously handed over to his parents to be also expended in perfecting the education of his sisters.
Lieutenant Glazier now hastened to report himself to the commanding officer of his regiment, and displayed all his wonted energy and devotion to the cause of the Union. He served faithfully and honorably until the mighty hosts of the Federal army melted back into quiet citizenship, with nothing to distinguish them from other citizens but their scars and the proud consciousness of having SERVED AND SAVED THEIR COUNTRY.
* * * * *
This brief history of the military career of a remarkable man would not be complete without some account of his life subsequent to the dissolution of the great army of volunteers. Willard Glazier's conduct as a soldier formed an earnest of his future good citizenship—his devotion to duty at the front, a foreshadow of his enterprise and success in the business of life.
Having been honorably mustered out, he lost no time in looking about for an occupation. Joining the volunteer army when a mere youth, his opportunities of learning a profession had been very limited, and he consequently now found himself without any permanent means of support. His education had been necessarily interrupted by the breaking out of the war, and his chief anxiety, now that the struggle was over, was to enter college and complete his studies.
This desire was very intense in our young citizen-soldier, and absorbed all his thoughts; but where to find the means for its accomplishment he was at a loss to discover. In ponderings upon this subject from day to day, an idea suddenly occurred to him, which formed an epoch in his life, and the development of which has proved it to have been the basis of a successful and useful career. The idea that has borne fruit was this: During the period of his service in the war he had kept a diary. Herein he had recorded his experiences from day to day, adding such brief comments as the events called for, and time and opportunity permitted. This diary he always kept upon his person, and while on a long and hurried march, or in a battle with the enemy, his vade mecum would be, of necessity, occasionally neglected, no sooner did the opportunity offer than his mind wandered back over the few days' interval since the previous entry, and each event of interest was duly chronicled. Again during the period of his confinement in Southern prisons, sick, and subjected to most inhuman treatment and privation, and while escaping from his brutal captors, concealed in the swamps during the day, tired, hungry, and cold, his diary was never forgotten, albeit, the entries were frequently made under the greatest difficulties, such as to most men would have proved insurmountable.
This journal was now in his possession. He had stirred the souls of relatives and friends by reading from it accounts of bloody scenes through which he had passed; of cruelties practised upon him and his brother-patriots in Southern bastiles; of his various attempts to escape, and pursuit by blood-hounds and their barbarous masters. The story of his war experiences entranced hundreds of eager listeners around his home, and the idea that now occurred to him, while anxiously pondering the ways and means of paying his college fees, was, that his story might possibly, by the aid of his diary, be arranged in the form of a book, and if he were fortunate enough to find a sale for it, the profits would probably furnish the very thing he stood so much in need of.
Prompt in everything, the thought no sooner occurred to the young candidate for college honors than he proceeded to reduce it to action. He forthwith commenced arranging the facts and dates from the diary; constructed sentences in plain Saxon English; the work grew upon him; he "fought his battles o'er again;" was again captured, imprisoned and escaped; the work continued to grow, and at the end of six weeks' hard application, always keeping his object in view, Willard Glazier, the young cavalryman, found himself an author—i. e., in manuscript.
Not a little surprised and gratified to discover that he possessed the gift of putting his thoughts in a readable form, he now felt hopeful that the day was not distant when the desire of his soul to enter college would be realized.
CAREER AS AN AUTHOR.
Glazier in search of a publisher for "Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape."—Spends his last dollar.—Lieutenant Richardson a friend in need.—Joel Munsell, of Albany, consents to publish.—The author solicits subscriptions for his work before publication.—Succeeds.—Captain Hampton.—R. H. Ferguson.—Captain F. C. Lord.—Publication and sale of first edition.—Great success.—Pays his publisher in full.—Still greater successes.—Finally attains an enormous sale.—Style of the work.—Extracts.—Opinions of the press.
Still very young, and knowing nothing of the trade of the Publisher, Glazier found his way to the Empire City, and, manuscript in hand, presented himself before some of her leading publishers—among them, the Harpers, Appletons, Carleton, Sheldon and others.
To these gentlemen he showed his manuscript, and received courteous recognition from each; but the terms they offered were not of a character to tempt him. They would publish his book and pay him a small royalty on their sales. His faith in his manuscript led him to expect more substantial results. The subject of the work was one of absorbing interest at the time, and if he had handled it properly, he knew the book must meet with a commensurate sale. He therefore determined, if possible, to find a publisher willing to make it to his order, and leave him to manipulate the sale himself. He was already in possession of many unsolicited orders for it, and although knowing nothing of the subscription-book business, determined that, when printed, his book should be brought out by subscription.
Meanwhile, he was, unfortunately, like many incipient authors, without capital, and could not therefore remain longer in New York for lack of means, having literally nothing left wherewith to defray even his board or procure a lodging. He was, consequently, compelled to leave if he could obtain the means of doing so. He had arrived in New York with sanguine expectations of readily meeting with a publisher, but discovered, from bitter experience, as many others have done, that authors and publishers not unfrequently view their interests from divergent points. Courteous but cool, they offered the unknown author little encouragement, who, but for this, would have made the metropolis the starting-point in his successful literary career.
At this juncture he called on Lieutenant Arthur Richardson, an old comrade of the "Harris Light," who had also been his fellow-prisoner, and was then residing in New York. To him he confided his difficulty in finding a publisher for his book, and his extremely straitened circumstances, at the same time stating his strong wish to return, if possible, to Albany, where he was known. Without ceremony and without conditions Richardson generously handed him twenty dollars, and, with this godsend in hand, Glazier at once returned to Albany.
Arrived in the capital of his native State, he lost no time in calling on the bookmen of that city, and among them, fortunately, on Mr. Joel Munsell, of 82 State street. This gentleman, well known for his learning and probity throughout the State, and far beyond its limits, combined the profession of an author with the more lucrative one of publisher and bookseller, and was pre-eminently in good standing as a worthy citizen and man of business.
Glazier introduced himself, and once more produced his fateful manuscript for inspection. Mr. Munsell glanced at it through his glasses, and candidly admitted the subject to be one of great interest, adding that he also thought the manuscript was carefully written, and spoke in general complimentary terms of the author and his production.
Glazier, elated with this praise, at once asked to have the work stereotyped and made into a book of some four hundred pages, with ten illustrations. Mr. Munsell would be only too ready to fill the order, but politely suggested, as a preliminary condition, an advance of two hundred dollars! Our author modestly confessed, without hesitation, that he was not worth two hundred cents; had no means of obtaining such a sum, and could therefore advance nothing. The worthy old gentleman was startled, and answered that such was the custom of the trade. He then inquired if Glazier had any friends who would endorse a note for the amount at thirty days. The reply was that he had none; that he would exert himself to obtain a small sum from army friends, and if he succeeded, would hand it over to him; that his only capital at present was his conduct and character as a soldier, for testimony to which he would refer to his late commanding officer, "and," he added, "faith in the success of my book." He further offered to solicit subscriptions for the book himself before publication, and report the result to the publisher.
Mr. Munsell, pleased with his appearance and ingenuousness, hinted at the purchase of the manuscript, but the proposal being respectfully declined, inquired, if the writer undertook to sell the book himself, would he "stick to it." "Yes!" was the emphatic answer, "until everything is fully paid for."
The reply of Munsell was equally prompt and decisive: "I have never in all the years I have been in business published a work under such circumstances, but I will get that book out for you." Glazier thanked the worthy man, and expressed a hope that he would never have occasion to regret his generous deed; he would place the manuscript in his hands forthwith.
He then set out to solicit subscriptions for his work, and without prospectus, circular, or any of the usual paraphernalia of a solicitor—with nothing but his own unsupported representations of the quality of his projected book, succeeded in obtaining a very considerable number of orders. These he hastened to hand over to Joel Munsell, who was now confirmed in his good opinion of the writer, and the promising character of the venture.
Thus our young soldier-author was fortunate enough to find a publisher and a friend in need. A contract was drawn up, and feeling that his prospects were now somewhat assured, he ventured to write to his comrade, and late fellow-prisoner, Captain Hampton, of Rochester, New York, for the loan of fifty dollars. This sum was promptly sent him, and he at once handed it over to his publisher. Mr. R. H. Ferguson, late of the "Harris Light," also generously came forward to the assistance of his former comrade and tent-mate, and advanced him one hundred dollars to help on the work.
It may be stated here, that the friendship of Ferguson and Glazier dated from before the war, while the latter, a mere youth, was teaching school near Troy, in Rensselaer County, New York: that together, on the summons to arms, they enlisted in the Harris Light Cavalry; together went to the seat of war; that both fell into the hands of the rebels and had experience of Southern prisons; and that both effected their escape after the endurance of much suffering. Finally, their friendship and common career resulted in a business connection which was attended with considerable success, Mr. Ferguson having become the publisher of some of Captain Glazier's subsequent writings. Captain Frederick C. Lord, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, also contributed to Glazier's need, and enabled him by the opportune loan of twenty-five dollars to defray his board bill while waiting anxiously upon Munsell in the reading of proofs, and soliciting subscriptions in advance.
To return to the first work of our young author, now in the hands of Joel Munsell, of Albany, which was entitled "The Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape;" the first edition consisted of five hundred copies, which Glazier by his energy disposed of in a few days, handing over the proceeds to the publisher. At the end of six months he had called for several editions of his book, and sold them all through the instrumentality of solicitors selected by himself, some of them maimed soldiers of the war, paid Mr. Munsell in full, and had himself three thousand dollars in hand. Success is the mother of success.
Having prospered thus far beyond his expectations, he was anxious to add to his store. Visions of large sales over other territory than his native State of New York presented themselves to his eager mind; the book was purchased by the public as soon as it was published; reviewers spoke in enthusiastic praise of its merits. It was not a pretentious work—the author was simply a young man and a patriot. But passages of great beauty and of painful interest pervaded it, alternated with vivid descriptions of battles in which the writer had himself shared. A veteran author need not have been ashamed of many of its glowing pages. Lofty patriotism, heroic fortitude, and moral purity, characterized it throughout.
The account given of the sufferings of our soldiers while in the prison-pens of the South, and of his own and his comrades' while effecting their escape to the Federal lines, are so vividly portrayed, that our feelings are intensely enlisted in their behalf, and our minds wander to their dreary abodes—in thought sharing their sufferings and their sorrows.
Encouraged by his success in this new vocation our young author resolved, for the present at least, to postpone going to college, and devote himself to the sale of his book, by the simple agency before mentioned. This resolution cannot be considered surprising when we reflect upon the great amount of prosperity he had met with, and the prospect before him of attaining still greater advantage from a business upon which he had, by the merest accident, ventured. The college scheme was at length finally abandoned as the business continued to increase. "The Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape" ultimately reached the enormous sale of over four hundred thousand copies; larger by many thousands than that most extensively circulated and deservedly popular book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," had ever attained to, inclusive of its sale in Europe.
The first book written and published by Willard Glazier is of a character to surprise us, when we consider the antecedents of the writer up to the date of its publication, December, 1865. Enlisting in the ranks of a cavalry regiment at the age of eighteen, during the exciting period of the civil war; a participant in many of its sanguinary battles; captured by the enemy and imprisoned under circumstances of the greatest trial and discouragement, his position and surroundings were not a very promising school for the training of an author. The book he produced is, in our judgment, not unworthy of comparison with the immortal work of Defoe, with this qualification in our author's favor that "Robinson Crusoe" is a fiction, while Glazier's is a true story of real adventure undergone by the writer and his comrades of the Union army.
His style in narrating his adventures is admirably adapted to the subject; while the simple, unpretentious manner in which he describes the terrible scenes he witnessed, and passed through, enlists the reader's interest in the work, and sympathy for the modest writer himself. By the publication of this book, Glazier stamped his name upon his country's roll of honor, and at the same time laid the foundation of his fortune.
As a specimen of his easy flowing style we give part of the opening chapter of "Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape:"
"The first battle of Bull Run was fought July twenty-first, 1861, and the shock of arms was felt throughout the land, carrying triumph to the South, and to the North dismay. Our proud and confident advance into 'Dixie' was not only checked, but turned into a disastrous rout. The patriotic but unwarlike enthusiasm of the country, which had hoped to crush the rebellion with seventy-five thousand men, was temporarily stifled. But the chilling was only like that of the first stealthy drops of the thunder-gust upon a raging fire, which breaks out anew and with increased vigor when the tempest fans it with its fury, and now burns in spite of a deluge of rain. The chill had passed and the fever was raging. From the great centres of national life went forth warm currents of renovating public opinion, which reached the farthest hamlet on our frontiers. Every true man was grasping the stirring questions of the day, and was discussing them with his family at his own fireside, and the rebellion was just as surely doomed as when Grant received the surrender of Lee's army. In a deeper and broader sense than before, the country was rising to meet the emergency, and northern patriotism, now thoroughly aroused, was sweeping everything before it. Everywhere resounded the cry, 'To arms!' and thousands upon thousands were responding to the President's call.
"It was under these circumstances that I enlisted, as a private soldier, at Troy, New York, on the sixth day of August, in a company raised by Captain Clarence Buel, for the Second Regiment of New York Cavalry. It is needless to make elaborate mention of the motives which induced me to enter the service, or the emotions which then filled my breast; they can be readily conjectured by every loyal heart."
The Press, throughout the North (and West, as far as its circulation had reached), spoke very highly of the production and of its author, all bearing the same testimony to its excellence and truthfulness. The Albany Evening Post says:
"'The Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape' is the title of an intensely interesting work, giving a complete history of prison-life in the South. The book is at once accurate, graphic and admirably written. It is full of adventure, and quite as readable as a romance. A person who reads this volume will have a better idea of what it cost in the way of blood, suffering and courage, to preserve the Republic, than he can now possibly entertain."
The Cleveland Daily Leader writes:
"We have had the pleasure of reading this book. It describes, in the most graphic and interesting style, the prison-life of Union soldiers in the South, their plans of escape, and their various trials and hardships there. The history contained in the book is very valuable. The Press, all over the land, speaks very highly of it, and we can do naught but add our commendations to the rest."
The New York Reformer exclaims:
"From the title-page to its close, the volume is full of fresh incidents, attracting the reader on, from page to page, with unbroken, though at times with melancholy, at others indignant, and at others wrathful, interest."
"THREE YEARS IN THE FEDERAL CAVALRY."
Another work by Captain Glazier.—"Three Years in the Federal Cavalry."—Daring deeds of the Light Dragoons.—Extracts from the work.—Night attack on Falmouth Heights.—Kilpatrick's stratagem.—Flight of the enemy.—Capture of Falmouth.—Burial of Lieutenant Decker.—Incidents at "Brandy Station."—"Harris Light" and "Tenth New York."—"Men of Maine, you must save the day!"—Position won.—Some Press reviews of the work.
Through earnest and continued application our soldier-author had, in the meantime, produced another book of equal merit with his first. This he named, "Three Years in the Federal Cavalry." It is a work of thrilling interest, and contains much of history relating to the Civil War, and more especially to the cavalry service. It was the opinion of Captain Glazier that the Union cavalry had never been properly appreciated, and for this reason he took up his pen in its defense. He narrates the daring deeds of our Light Dragoons, their brilliant achievements during the first three eventful years of the war; and his own personal experiences are pictured with a vividness of color and an enthusiasm of manner which carry the reader straight to the field of action.
We quote the following brief but graphic description of the opening of the great Rebellion, as a specimen of the style of this second product of his intellect:
"The eleventh of April, 1861, revealed the real intention of the Southern people in their unprovoked assault upon Fort Sumpter. The thunder of rebel cannon shook the air not only around Charleston, but sent its thrilling vibrations to the remotest sections of the country, and was the precursor of a storm whose wrath no one anticipated. This shock of arms was like a fire-alarm in our great cities, and the North arose in its might with a grand unanimity which the South did not expect. The spirit and principle of rebellion were so uncaused and unprovoked, that scarcely could any one be found at home or abroad to justify them.
"President Lincoln thereupon issued a call for seventy-five thousand men to uphold and vindicate the authority of the government, and to prove, if possible, that secession was not only a heresy in doctrine, but an impracticability in the American Republic. The response to this call was much more general than the most sanguine had any reason to look for. The enthusiasm of the people was quite unbounded. Individuals encouraged individuals; families aroused families; communities vied with communities, and States strove with States. Who could be the first and do the most, was the noble contention which everywhere prevailed. All political party lines seemed to be obliterated. Under this renovating and inspiring spirit the work of raising the nucleus of the grandest army that ever swept a continent went bravely on. Regiments were rapidly organized, and as rapidly as possible sent forward to the seat of government; and so vast was the number that presented themselves for their country's defence, that the original call was soon more than filled, and the authorities found themselves unable to accept many organizations which were eager to press into the fray.
"Meanwhile the great leaders of the rebellion were marshalling the hordes of treason, and assembling them on the plains of Manassas, with the undoubted intention of moving upon the national capital. This point determined the principal theatre of the opening contest, and around it on every side, and particularly southward, was to be the aceldama of America, the dreadful 'field of blood.'
"The first great impulse of the authorities was in the direction of self-defence, and Washington was fortified and garrisoned. This done, it was believed that the accumulating forces of the Union, which had become thoroughly equipped and somewhat disciplined, ought to advance into the revolted Territory, scatter the defiant hosts of the enemy, and put a speedy end to the slave-holders' rebellion."
Again we quote a description of an incident of the cavalry fight at Brandy Station:
"At a critical moment, when the formidable and ever increasing hosts of the enemy were driving our forces from a desirable position we sought to gain, and when it seemed as though disaster to our arms would be fatal, Kilpatrick's battle-flag was seen advancing, followed by the tried squadrons of the 'Harris Light,' the 'Tenth New York,' and the 'First Maine.' In echelons of squadrons his brigade was quickly formed, and he advanced, like a storm-cloud, upon the rebel cavalry, which filled the field before him. The 'Tenth New York' received the first shock of the rebel charge, but was hurled back, though not in confusion. The 'Harris Light' met with no better success, and, notwithstanding their prestige and power, they were repulsed under the very eye of their chief, whose excitement at the scene was well-nigh uncontrollable. His flashing eye now turned to the 'First Maine,' a regiment composed mostly of heavy, sturdy men, who had not been engaged as yet during the day; and, riding to the head of the column, he shouted, 'Men of Maine, you must save the day! Follow me!' With one simultaneous war-cry these giants of the North moved forward in one solid mass upon the flank of the rebel columns. The shock was overwhelming, and the opposing lines crumbled like a 'bowing wall' before this wild rush of prancing horses, gleaming sabres, and rattling balls.
"On rode Kilpatrick, with the 'men of Maine,' and, on meeting the two regiments of his brigade, which had been repulsed, and were returning from the front, the General's voice rang out like trumpet notes, above the din of battle, 'Back, the "Harris Light!" Back, the "Tenth New York!" Reform your squadrons and charge!' With magical alacrity the order was obeyed, and the two regiments, which had been so humbled by their first reverse, now rushed into the fight with a spirit and success which redeemed them from censure, and accounted them worthy of their gallant leader. The commanding position was won; a battery, lost in a previous charge, was re-captured, and an effectual blow was given to the enemy, which greatly facilitated the movements which followed."
From numerous press notices, eulogistic of this work, which appeared shortly after its publication, we select the following from the Chicago Times:
"For the thousands of warriors who entered upon life too late to participate in the war of the rebellion; for the thousands who entered upon life too soon to be permitted a sight of its glorious and hideous scenes; for the thousands who snuffed the smoke of battle from afar; no better book could have been produced than this 'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry.' ... It tells them in thrilling and glowing language of the most exciting phases of the contests.... It is a book that will thrill the heart of every old soldier who reads its historic pages.... The author carries his readers into every scene which he depicts. Throughout the book one is impressed with the idea that he saw all that he describes.... The triumphs, the despondencies, the sufferings, the joys of the troops, are feelingly and vigorously painted.... His book is a noble tribute to the gallant horsemen, who have too often been overlooked."
The Syracuse Herald remarks:
"Among the newest, and we may truly say the best of the books on the civil war, is a work by the widely-known author, Captain Willard Glazier, entitled 'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry.'... Its pages teem with word-painting of hair-breadth escapes, of marches, of countermarches, bivouacs and battles without number. Stirring memories of Brandy Station, Chantilly, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Yorktown, Falmouth and Gettysburg, are roused by the masterly raconteur, until in October, 1864, just beyond New Baltimore, the gallant captain was captured, and for a year languished in 'durance vile.' The interest in the narrative never flags, but rather increases with each succeeding page. For those who love to fight their battles o'er again, or those who love to read of war's alarms, this volume will prove most welcome."
The New York Tribune is
"Sure that 'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry' will meet with the same generous reception from the reading public that has been given to the former works of this talented young author. The fact that Captain Glazier was an eye-witness and participant in the thrilling scenes of which he writes, lends additional interest to the work."
The New York Star says:
"'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry' brings to light many daring deeds upon the part of the Union heroes, that have never yet been recorded, and gives an insight into the conduct of the war which historians, who write but do not fight, could not possibly give. It is full of incident, and one of the most interesting books upon the war that we have read."
From the New York Globe we cull the following:
"To a returned soldier nothing is more welcome than conversation touching his experience 'in the field' with his companions, and next to this a good book written by one who has known 'how it is himself,' and who recounts vividly the scenes of strife through which he has passed. Such a work is 'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry.' Captain Glazier's experiences are portrayed in a manner at once interesting to the veteran, and instructive and entertaining to those who have but snuffed the battle from afar. An old soldier will never drop this book for an instant, if he once begins it, until every word has been read. There is an air of truth pervading every page which chains the veteran to it until he is stared in the face with 'Finis.' The details and influences of camp-life, the preparations for active duty, the weary marches to the battle-field, the bivouac at night, the fierce hand-to-hand strife, the hospital, the dying volunteer, the dead one—buried in his blanket by the pale light of the moon, far, far away from those he loves—the defeat and victory—every scene, in fact, familiar to the eye and ear of the 'boy in blue,' is here most truthfully and clearly photographed, and the soldier is once more transported back to the days of the rebellion. Captain Glazier's style is easy and explicit. He makes no endeavor to be poetic or eloquent, but tells his story in a straightforward manner, occasionally, however, approaching eloquence in spite of himself. We cheerfully and earnestly commend 'Three Years in the Federal Cavalry' to the public as a most readable, entertaining and instructive volume."
Among the manifold testimonials we have seen to the merits of this work, the following from the poetic pen of Mrs. Maud Louise Brainerd, of Elmira, New York, is at once beautiful and eloquent of praise, and must not therefore be omitted from the chaplet we are weaving for the brow of the 'soldier-author:'
"Have you heard of our Union Cavalry, As Glazier tells the story? Of the dashing boys of the 'Cavalry Corps,' And their daring deeds of glory?
"This modest volume holds it all, Their brave exploits revealing, Told as a comrade tells the tale, With all a comrade's feeling.
"The Union camp-fires blaze anew, Upon these faithful pages, Anew we tremble while we read How hot the warfare rages.
"We hear again the shock of arms, The cannon's direful thunder, And feel once more the wild suspense That then our hearts throbbed under.
"The deeds of heroes live again Amid the battle crashes, As, Phoenix-like, the dead take form And rise from out their ashes.
"Where darkest hangs the cloud and smoke, Where weaker men might falter, The brave Phil Kearney lays his life Upon his country's altar.
"Kilpatrick's legions thunder by, With furious clang and clatter, Rushing where duty sternly leads, To life or death—no matter!
"Oh, hero-warriors, patriots true! Within your graves now lying, How bright on History's page to-day Shines out your fame undying!
"The pomp and panoply of war Have vanished; all the glitter Of charging columns, marching hosts And battles long and bitter,
"Recede with the receding years, Wrapped in old Time's dim shadow; Where once the soil drank patriot gore, Green, now, grow field and meadow.
"But here the written record stands Of all that time of glory, And bright through every age shall live These names in song and story.
"Willard Glazier wrote his name First in war's deeds, then slipping His fingers off the sword, he found The mightier pen more fitting.
"Read but the book—'twill summon back The spirits now immortal, Who bravely died for fatherland And passed the heavenly portal!"
Such was the demand for the work that one hundred and seventy-five thousand copies of it were sold, and we may safely predicate that in the homes of thousands of veterans scattered all over the land, the book has been a source of profound interest in the help it has afforded them in recounting to family and friends the thrilling events of their war experience.
"BATTLES FOR THE UNION."
"Battles for the Union."—Extracts.—Bull Run.—Brandy Station.—Manassas.—Gettysburg.—Pittsburg Landing.—Surrender of General Lee.—Opinions of the press.—Philadelphia "North American."—Pittsburg "Commercial."—Chicago "Inter-Ocean."—Scranton "Republican."—Wilkes-Barre "Record of the Times."—Reading "Eagle."—Albany "Evening Journal."
"Battles for the Union,"—published by Dustin Gilman and Company, Hartford, Connecticut—was the next work that emanated from our soldier author's prolific pen. The most stubbornly contested battles of the great Rebellion herein find forcible and picturesque description. "I have endeavored," Glazier writes in his preface to this interesting work, "in 'Battles for the Union' to present, in the most concise and simple form, the great contests in the war for the preservation of the Republic of the United States;" and as evidence of the manner in which this task was undertaken, we shall again present to the reader some passages from the work itself.
As an illustration of descriptive clearness and force, combined with conciseness and simplicity of narrative, we present the opening of the chapter on Bull Run:
"The field of Bull Run and the plains of Manassas will never lose their interest for the imaginative young or the patriotic old; for on this field and over these plains are scattered the bones of more than forty thousand brave men of both North and South, who have met in mortal combat and laid down their lives in defence of their principles.
"On the twenty-first of July, 1861, was fought the battle of Bull Run, the first of a long series of engagements on these historic plains. The battles of Bristoe, Groveton, Manassas, Centreville, and Chantilly succeeded in 1862, and in the summer and autumn of 1863 followed the cavalry actions at Aldie, Middleburg, Upperville, and New Baltimore.
"No battle-ground on the continent of America can present to the generations yet to come such a gigantic Roll of Honor. Here also was displayed the best military talent, the keenest strategy, and the highest engineering skill of our civil war. Here were assembled the great representative leaders of slavery and freedom. Here Scott, McDowell, Pope, and Meade on the Federal side, and Beauregard, Johnson, and Lee on the Confederate side, have in turn held the reins of battle and shared both victory and defeat.
"The action which resulted in the fall of Fort Sumter developed extraordinary talent in the rebel General P. G. T. Beauregard, and brought him conspicuously before the Confederate government. Called for by the unanimous voice of the Southern people, he was now ordered to take command of the main portion of the Confederate army in northern Virginia. He selected Manassas Junction as his base of operations, and established his outposts near Fairfax Court-House, seventeen miles from Washington.
"General Beauregard's forces, on the line of Bull Run, numbered on the sixteenth of July nearly forty thousand men, and sixty-four pieces of artillery, together with a considerable body of cavalry. The threatening attitude of this force, almost within sight of the National capital, led General Scott to concentrate the Union forces in that quarter with a view to meeting the Confederates in battle, and, if possible, giving a death-blow to the rebellion.
"Ludicrous, indeed, in the light of subsequent events, was the general conviction of the hostile sections, that a single decisive engagement would terminate the war. Little did the Unionists then know of the ambitious designs of the pro-slavery leaders, and still less did the uneducated, misguided masses of the South know of the patriotism, resources, and invincible determination of the North. On both sides there was great popular anxiety for a general battle to determine the question of relative manhood: and especially on the side of the South, from an impression that one distinct and large combat resulting in its favor, and showing conspicuously its superior valor, would alarm the North sufficiently to lead it to abandon the war. The New York Tribune, which was supposed at that time to be a faithful representative of the sentiment and temper of the North, said, on the nineteenth of July, 1861: 'We have been most anxious that this struggle should be submitted at the earliest moment to the ordeal of a fair, decisive battle. Give the Unionists a fair field, equal weapons and equal numbers, and we ask no more. Should the rebel forces at all justify the vaunts of their journalistic trumpeters, we shall candidly admit the fact. If they can beat double the number of Unionists, they can end the struggle on their own terms.
"A field for the grand combat was soon found, but its results were destined to disappoint both the victors and the vanquished. The South had looked forward to this field for an acknowledgment of its independence; the North for a downfall of the rebellion."
The chapter on "Brandy Station" affords several illustrations of our author's glowing descriptive power, thus:
"The words Brandy Station will ever excite a multitude of thrilling memories in the minds of all cavalrymen who saw service in Virginia, for this was the grand cavalry battle-ground of the war.
"On these historic plains our Bayard, Stoneman, and Pleasanton have successively led their gallant troopers against the commands of Stuart, Lee, and Hampton. The twentieth of August, 1862, the ninth of June, twelfth of September, and eleventh of October, 1863, are days which cannot soon be forgotten by the 'Boys in Blue' who crossed sabres with the Confederates at Brandy Station.
"Converging and diverging roads at this point quite naturally brought the cavalry of the contending armies together whenever we advanced to, or retired from, the Rapidan. Being both the advance and rear-guard of the opposing forces, our horsemen always found themselves face to face with the foe on this field; in fact, most of our cavalrymen were so confident of a fight here, that as soon as we discovered that we were approaching the station we prepared for action by tightening our saddle-girths and inspecting our arms.
"Upon the withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, General Lee, contemplating the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, started his army northward with the view, no doubt, of driving Pope from northern Virginia, and carrying the Confederate standard into the loyal States. The battle of Cedar Mountain temporarily checked his forward movement and compelled him to retire to the south bank of the Rapidan. The reappearance of rebel skirmishers at the various fords of the river on the morning of August the eighteenth, 1862, was an evidence to our pickets that the enemy was about to resume hostilities.
"General Pope at once ordered his artillery and infantry to retire beyond the Rappahannock, while General Bayard, commanding the cavalry, was charged with covering the rear of the retiring army. We disputed the advance of the rebels so stubbornly that they found no opportunity to interfere with the retreat of the main column. The morning of the twentieth found the 'Harris Light,' Tenth New York, First Pennsylvania, First Maine, First Rhode Island, and First New Jersey Cavalry, bivouacked at Brandy Station.
"The engagement opened at six o'clock by an attack of Stuart's cavalry upon the 'Harris Light' acting as rear-guard of Bayard's brigade.
"This preliminary onset was speedily repulsed by the 'Harris Light,' which regiment kept the enemy in check until General Bayard had gained sufficient time to enable him to form his command at a more favorable point, two miles north of the station, on the direct road to the Rappahannock. Here the 'Harris Light' led by Colonel Kilpatrick and Major Davies, again charged the advanced regiments of the Confederate column, thus opening the series of memorable conflicts at Brandy Station, and adding fresh laurels to its already famous record. A deep cut in a hill, through which the Orange and Alexandria Railroad passes, checked our pursuit, else we should have captured many prisoners. The First New Jersey and First Pennsylvania coming to our relief enabled us to reform our broken squadrons, and, as Pope had instructed General Bayard not to bring on a general engagement, the cavalry now crossed the Rappahannock and awaited the orders of the general-in-chief."
The following description of "Manassas or Second Bull Run" shows great mastery of his subject, and the possession of a facile and impartial pen:
"On the twenty-ninth of August, 1862, the storm of battle again broke over the plains of Manassas, and surged furiously along the borders of Bull Run creek and down the Warrenton pike. The figure of General Franz Sigel stands out in bold relief against the background of battle, the first actor appearing on the scene in this drama of war and death.
"The time is daybreak, and the rosy light of early dawn, so peaceful and so pure, flushes the sky in painful contrast to the scenes of strife and bloodshed below.
"At noon on the day previous, General Pope had ordered Reno, Kearney and Hooker to follow Jackson, who, through the miscarriage of well-laid plans, had been allowed to escape in the direction of Centreville. McDowell's command, then on the way to Manassas, was ordered to march to Centreville, while Porter was directed to come forward to Manassas Junction. The orders were promptly executed by the various commands, excepting that of Fitz-John Porter, who unaccountably on loyal principles, remained inactive during the ensuing contest. Kearney drove the enemy out of Centreville, and in their retreat along the Warrenton Road they encountered the division of King, McDowell's advance, marching eastward to intercept them.
"A sharp fight took place, terminating to the advantage of neither, and at night the contestants bivouacked near the battle-field.
"On the night of the twenty-eighth, Pope's forces were so disposed that twenty-five thousand men under McDowell, Sigel and Reynolds, were ready to attack Jackson from the south and west, and the corps of Reno, Heintzelman, and Porter, consisting of an equal number of troops, were to complete the attack from the east. Lee was pushing forward his forces to support Jackson at Thoroughfare Gap, and it was necessary for the Union army to use all possible celerity of movement, in order to make the attack before the main movement of the Confederate army under Lee could come up. But this combination failed like many another, and during the night King's division fell back towards Manassas Junction, at which place Porter's Corps had recently arrived, and the road to Gainsville and Thoroughfare Gap was thus left open to Jackson. A new arrangement of troops became therefore necessary."...
There are several fine passages in the description of the battle of Gettysburg which show graphic power, and penetration into the motives of the leaders. The story of this sanguinary struggle for victory is well told throughout. We extract the following:
"Night came on to close the dreadful day. Thus far the battle had been mostly to the advantage of the rebels. They held the ground where Reynolds had fallen, also Seminary Ridge, and the elevation whence the Eleventh Corps had been driven. They also occupied the ridge on which Sickles had commenced to fight. Sickles himself was hors du combat with a shattered leg, which had to be amputated, and not far from twenty thousand of our men had been killed, wounded, and captured. The rebels had also lost heavily in killed and wounded, but having gained several important positions, were deluded with the idea that they had gained a victory.
* * * * *
"During these days of deadly strife and of unprecedented slaughter, our cavalry was by no means idle. On the morning of the first, Kilpatrick advanced his victorious squadrons to the vicinity of Abbottstown, where they struck a force of rebel cavalry, which they scattered, capturing several prisoners, and then rested. To the ears of the alert cavalry chieftain came the sound of battle at Gettysburg, accompanied with the intelligence, from prisoners mostly, that Stuart's main force was bent on doing mischief on the right of our infantry lines, which were not far from the night's bivouac.
"He appeared instinctively to know where he was most needed; so, in the absence of orders, early the next morning he advanced on Hunterstown. At this point were the extreme wings of the infantry lines, and as Kilpatrick expected, he encountered the rebel cavalry, commanded by his old antagonists, Stuart, Lee and Hampton. The early part of the day was spent mostly in reconnoitring, but all the latter part of the day was occupied in hard, bold, and bloody work. Charges and counter-charges were made; the carbine, pistol and sabre were used by turns, and the artillery thundered long after the infantry around Gettysburg had sunk to rest, well-nigh exhausted with the bloody carnage of the weary day. But Stuart, who had hoped to break in upon our flank and rear, and to pounce upon our trains, was not only foiled in his endeavor by the gallant Kilpatrick, but also driven back upon his infantry supports and badly beaten.
"In the night, Kilpatrick, after leaving a sufficient force to prevent Stuart from doing any special damage on our right, swung around with the remainder of his division to the left of our line, near Round Top, and was there prepared for any work which might be assigned him.
"Friday, July third, the sun rose bright and warm upon the blackened forms of the dead which were strewn over the bloody earth; upon the wounded, who had not been cared for, and upon long glistening lines of armed men, ready to renew the conflict. Each antagonist, rousing every slumbering element of power, seemed to be resolved upon victory or death.
"The fight commenced early, by an attack of General Slocum's men, who, determined to regain the rifle-pits they had lost the evening before, descended like an avalanche upon the foe. The attack met with a prompt response from General Ewell. But after several hours of desperate fighting, victory perched upon the Union banners, and with great loss and slaughter, the rebels were driven out of the breast-works, and fell back upon their main lines near Benner's Hill.
"This successful move upon the part of our Boys in Blue was followed by an ominous lull or quiet, which continued about three hours. Meanwhile the silence was fitfully broken by an occasional spit of fire, while every preparation was being made for a last, supreme effort, which it was expected would decide the mighty contest. The scales were being poised for the last time, and upon the one side or the other was soon to be recorded a glorious victory or a disastrous defeat. Hearts either trembled, or waxed strong in the awful presence of this responsibility.
"At length one o'clock arrived, a signal-gun was fired, and then at least one hundred and twenty-five guns from Hill and Longstreet concentrated and crossed their fires upon Cemetery Hill, the centre and key of our position. Just behind this crest, though much exposed, were General Meade's headquarters. For nearly two hours this hill was plowed and torn by solid shot and bursting shell, while about one hundred guns on our side, mainly from this crest and Round Top, made sharp response. The earth and the air shook for miles around with the terrific concussion, which came no longer in volleys, but in a continual roar. So long and fearful a cannonade was never before witnessed on this continent. As the range was short and the aim accurate, the destruction was terrible.
* * * * *
"Gradually the fire on our side began to slacken, and General Meade, learning that our guns were becoming hot, gave orders to cease firing and to let the guns cool, though the rebel balls were making fearful havoc among our gunners, while our infantry sought poor shelter behind every projection, anxiously awaiting the expected charge. At length the enemy, supposing that our guns were silenced, deemed that the moment for an irresistible attack had come. Accordingly, as a lion emerges from his lair, he sallied forth, when strong lines of infantry, nearly three miles in length, with double lines of skirmishers in front, and heavy reserves in rear, advanced with desperation to the final effort. They moved with steady, measured tread over the plain below, and began the ascent of the hills occupied by our forces, concentrating somewhat upon General Hancock, though stretching across our entire front.
* * * * *
"General Picket's division was nearly annihilated. One of his officers recounted that, as they were charging over the grassy plain, he threw himself down before a murderous discharge of grape and canister, which mowed the grass and men all around him as though a scythe had been swung just above his prostrate form.
"During the terrific cannonade and subsequent charges, our ammunition and other trains had been parked in rear of Round Top, which gave them splendid shelter. Partly to possess this train, but mainly to secure this commanding position, General Longstreet sent two strong divisions of infantry, with heavy artillery, to turn our flank, and drive us from this ground. Kilpatrick, with his division, which had been strengthened by Merritt's regulars, was watching this point and waiting for an opportunity to strike the foe. It came at last. Emerging from the woods in front of him came a strong battle-line, followed by others.
"To the young Farnsworth was committed the task of meeting infantry with cavalry in an open field. Placing the Fifth New York in support of Elder's battery, which was exposed to a galling fire, but made reply with characteristic rapidity, precision and slaughter, Farnsworth quickly ordered the First Virginia, the First Vermont, and Eighteenth Pennsylvania in line of battle, and galloped away and charged upon the flank of the advancing columns. The attack was sharp, brief and successful, though attended with great slaughter. But the rebels were driven upon their main lines, and the flank movement was prevented. Thus the cavalry added another dearly earned laurel to its chaplet of honor—dearly earned, because many of their bravest champions fell upon that bloody field.
* * * * *
"Thus ended the battle of Gettysburg—the bloody turning-point of the rebellion—the bloody baptism of the redeemed republic. Nearly twenty thousand men from the Union ranks had been killed and wounded, and a larger number of the rebels, making the enormous aggregate of at least forty thousand, whose blood was shed to fertilize the Tree of Liberty."
The following peroration to the glowing account of the battle of Pittsburg Landing, we quote as an illustration of the vein of poetry that pervades his writings:
"Thus another field of renown was added to the list, so rapidly increased during these years; where valor won deathless laurels, and principle was reckoned weighter than life.
"Peacefully the Tennessee flows between its banks onward to the ocean, nor tells aught of the bloody struggle on its shore. Quietly the golden grain ripens in the sun, and the red furrow of war is supplanted by the plowshares of peace. To the child born within the shadow of this battle-field, who listens wonderingly to a recital of the deeds of this day, the heroes of Shiloh will, mayhap, appear like the dim phantoms of a dream, shadowy and unreal, but the results they helped to bring about are the tissue of a people's life; the dust he treads is the sacred soil from which sprang the flowers of freedom, and the institutions for which these men died, make his roof safe over his head."
We conclude our extracts from the volume with a part of the chapter on "The Surrender." The story is told without flourish of trumpets, and in a manner to give no offense to the vanquished, while its strict and impartial adherence to truth must recommend it to all readers:
"The last act in the great drama of the war took place without dramatic accessory. There was no startling tableau, with the chief actors grouped in effective attitudes, surrounded by their attendants. No spreading tree lent its romance to the occasion, as some artists have fondly supposed.
"A plain farm-house between the lines was selected by General Lee for the surrender, and the ceremony of that act was short and simple. The noble victor did not complete the humiliation of the brave vanquished by any triumphal display or blare of trumpets. In his magnanimity he even omitted the customary usage of allowing the victorious troops to pass through the enemy's lines and witness their surrender. The two great commanders met with courteous salutation, General Lee being attended by only one of his aides. General Grant sat down at a table in the barely furnished room and wrote in lead-pencil the terms of capitulation, to which Lee dictated an agreement in writing. His secretary, Colonel Marshall, and Colonel Badeau, the secretary of General Grant, made copies of the agreement from the same bottle of ink.
* * * * *
"The final situation of the Confederate army before its surrender was indeed desperate—its environments hopeless. Hemmed in at Appomattox Court House, on a strip of land between the Appomattox and James rivers, the Union army nearly surrounded it on all sides. Sheridan was in front, Meade in the rear, and Ord south of the Court House. Lee had no alternative other than the wholesale slaughter of his reduced army, or its surrender to Federal authority. He wisely chose the latter.
"The decisive battle of Five Forks had put his army to rout, and sent it in rapid retreat towards the junction of the Southside and Danville railroads at Burkesville. The Union troops pressed forward in pursuit, and it became a vital question which would reach the junction first. Between Petersburg, their point of starting, and their destination, at Burkesville, the distance was fifty-three miles. The roads were bad, and the troops tired with two days' fighting; but they pushed on with determination in this race which was destined to decide the fate of two armies.
* * * * *
"It was Palm Sunday, April the ninth, 1865, when the capitulation was signed, in the plain frame dwelling near Appomattox Court House.
"One is often struck with the curious coincidences—the apparent sympathy between nature and important human events. The dying hours of Cromwell and Napoleon were marked by violent storms. Omens in earth and sky were the precursors of the death of Julius Caesar and King Duncan. A great comet heralded the opening of the war, and Palm Sunday—the day which commemorates the victorious entry of Christ into Jerusalem, ushered in the welcome reign of peace. The time was auspicious; the elements were rocked to sleep in a kind of Sunday repose. The two armies, so long in deadly hostility, were now facing each other with guns strangely hushed. An expectant silence pervaded the air. Every heart was anxiously awaiting the result of the conference in the historic farm-house.
"When at last the news of the surrender flashed along the lines, deafening cheers rose and fell for more than half an hour, over the victorious Union army. Other than this, there was no undue triumphal display of the victors over the conquered foe.... The shout of joy which was sent up that day from Appomattox Court House echoed through the entire North. Cannons boomed forth their iron paeans of victory; the glad clash of bells was heard ringing 'peace and freedom in,' and bonfires flamed high their attestation of the unbounded delight everywhere exhibited. The day of jubilee seemed to have come, and rejoicing was the order of the hour. The storm of war which had rocked the country for four long years, was now rolling away, and the sunlight of peace fell athwart the national horizon. The country for which Washington fought and Warren fell was once more safe from treason's hands, and liberty was again the heritage of the people."
The Northern and Western press, as heretofore, again bore its flattering testimony to our author's diligence, truthfulness and loyalty to his colors; and to the surprising facility with which a soldier could sheathe his sword and wield a pen, charming alike the veteran by his details of valor, and the mother, wife and sister by his stories of pathos from the battle-field.
The following is from the Philadelphia North American:
"'Battles for the Union.'—Thoroughly representative of the courage and ability shown on either side in the great struggle that lasted from the close of 1860 to April, 1865. It is not the purpose of the author to present a standard and critical work like the works of Jomini, Napier and Allison; nor to include a discussion of political questions. His aim is rather to furnish a vivid and correct account of the principal battles in such simple and intelligible terms that every reader may gain a precise idea of each. His style is rather graphic and vigorous than ornate. He introduces effective details and personal episodes. His facts are gleaned from a variety of sources as well as from personal knowledge; and though proud of his own cause and of his companions, he does not belittle their renown by decrying the valor or the intelligence of his opponents. The conflicts themselves will never be forgotten. It is desirable that they shall be kept vivid and clear in the minds of the rising generation, to cultivate a correct idea of the necessity of personal valor and of military preparation and capacity, as well as impress a serious idea of the momentous importance of political issues. Captain Glazier's volume is excellently fitted to instruct and interest everywhere."
The Pittsburg Commercial says:
"Commencing with the siege and final surrender of Fort Sumter, the author traces the progress of the Union armies through all the chief battles of the war, giving vivid and glowing descriptions of the struggles at Big Bethel, Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, Ball's Bluff, Mill Spring, Pea Ridge, the fight between the 'Merrimac' and 'Monitor,' Newbern, Falmouth Heights, Pittsburg Landing, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Brandy Station, Manassas or Second Bull Run, Chantilly, Antietam, Corinth, Fredericksburg, Stone River, Chancellorsville, Aldie, Upperville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Falling Waters, Chickamauga, Bristoe, New Baltimore, Fort Fisher, Olustee, Fort Pillow, Cold Harbor, Fort Wagner, Cedar Creek, Waynesboro, Bentonville, Five Forks, and down to the surrender of Lee. Captain Glazier has evidently had access to the official records of the war, and his narrative of the great events are therefore accurate. The book is one the reading of which will make the blood tingle in the veins of every soldier who took part in the late war, while it will deeply interest every lover of his country. As a book for boys, it has few, if any, superiors."
The Chicago Inter-Ocean writes:
"'Battles for the Union' is such a history as every soldier and every man who has a pride in his country, should wish to possess. Captain Glazier was no carpet knight. He shared the glories of the Harris Light Cavalry in camp and field, earning his promotion from the non-commissioned ranks to the command for which he was so admirably fitted. There is the scent of powder in what he writes, the vivid reality of sight and understanding. We are particularly charmed with his style, which is plain, blunt, direct, and free from strain or affectation. He describes the fights as they were fought; individual deeds of bravery as they were performed; the march and its trials; the defeat and its causes; the victory and its effects. With the ardor of a young patriot, and the generous admiration of a good soldier, he feels as great a pride in the successes of a rival corps as in his own. Nor is this an unworthy feature of his work, because the army was full of little, and sometimes not particularly friendly, rivalries. Willard Glazier's chapters, in which every battle may be regarded as a separate picture, read like a grand panoramic view of gallant deeds and warlike pageantries. If the author occasionally covers up a clear defeat, excusing it with graceful art; if he feels disposed to over-estimate a slight advantage, and to claim a victory where the battle was evidently drawn, he errs upon the side of love for the Boys in Blue, and pride in the flag under which he fought. The work is divided into forty-four chapters, each containing a different battle. We confidently recommend these graphic and life-like pictures to the notice of our readers. They are thrilling as the sound of the trumpet, and soul-inspiring as the songs of Ossian. We call the reader's attention to the description of the combat between the 'Merrimac' and 'Monitor' in chapter eight. It is something which will fill with pride the sailor's heart."