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self, have been trod in the dust, and shall be trampled to very mire ere they again raise themselves to life. Nor, on the other hand, can it be doubted that many of the social and political errors of the North will be duly punished by the trials through which we are passing. Great storms like these purify all.
'BETTER late than never' is a patient motto which Knick must often quote, ’specially when a much-delayed, far-travelled camp-letter comes to hand. But our genial A. B., 'he's the liftinint, ye ken,' is welcome by wholesale, though Christmas be now long past, and though the inaction of camp-life hath been changed with so many — as, for instance, our glorious Meerschaum Whiffer of the Ninth Illinois — into the fiercest of war measures. But to the letter :
CAMP BARRY, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
Day after Christmas, 1861. * MY VENERABLE KNICKERBOCKER FRIEND: It has been so long a time since I last saw myself represented in your pages, that I begin to feel uneasy about the matter. I do not dare to doubt that my absence has been unnoticed by you and your readers, yet I can hardly consent that my literary life shall die out with the 'Voices of the Past,' or the few words which ANCHISES was said to have addressed to APHRODITE. Wherever your thoughts may have been, mine have often turned Knickerbockerward; and it only needed your kindly invitation — Write from the Camp'- read on Christmas-day, to draw the black tears from my repentant quill. Yet there is nothing to tell. If you, and thousands of your readers, could live one week in camp, doubtless there would be enough to amuse, and some things to instruct you, in that time. Then the daily life would become common-place, like most daily life, and you and they, like us, would long even for carnage to vary the dull monotony. As we would choose to see a lake ruffled by the winds, its waves curling gracefully upward into spray, or its shore fringed with foam ; rather than a flat, motionless sheet of water, upon which sun-light seemed to throb like fever; even though there were peace in the stillness of the one and danger in the motion of the other; so would we choose activity amid perils, rather than a truce and its accompanying security.
• Christmas, merry Christmas! Oh! what meaning it had to the citizen which it had only in memory, tinged with regret, to the soldier of the Union! Memory of the Christmas of old, by a father's hearth, perhaps by his own; regret that, after many toils and long absence, Christmas must be endured rather than enjoyed, far from the hearth where he is remembered, but not known in presence, as of yore. True, discipline was relaxed in camp, that each might be the more his own, and the less duty's. Yet, it was not the old 'merry' day. I saw a poor fellow receive his sentence on the twenty-fourth to walk a certain beat during six hours of each day for six days, carrying twenty-five pounds of bricks in his knapsack all the time; and soon after the sentence, I heard a comrade wish the culprit a ‘Merry Christmas.' There was a sarcasm in the meaning beyond the words. It was so with us all yesterday, as with the offender spoken of. When acquaintances greeted us with the usual words, many a one felt if he could be relieved of his 'bricks,' he would take care that Christmas be merry indeed.
• The writer of this memoir of Christmas in camp, took as much pleasure in granting passes' to those disposed to seek variety and pleasure outside the lines,' as in any other one thing, excepting only the occasional hilarity of those inside the lines. A pair of boxing-gloves served to school a score or so of aspirants after Heenanitic honors. It was observable, however, that the champions' were mostly “heavy'men, and the
vanquished generally of the class which may easily be persuaded to get 'licked.' Perceiving that the inequality between the two classes was equal to that between the boys and the frogs spoken of, it will perhaps be remembered, by Mr. A. E. Sop, I suggested that the champions' take a few rounds. In this way was brought about something like a “practical issue'-mostly of blood, from the nose ; "and the 'sport' was confined to those who most enjoyed it, excepting your servant, the writer.
'One of the company, who is the type of all visible honesty, and who enlisted in the ranks because he wanted and wants to fight the enemies of his country who have graduated from the same old Yale, and are now in the Southern ranks - one, I say, our quartermaster-sergeant, must be haunted with memories of college days, perhaps nights. His voice is not very musical, but it is a good, strong, steady voice, one that the owner can depend upon'; and I can hear that voice (that is, I could) chanting earnestly a song or fragments of one. Hark!
Ubi sunt qui,
In mundo fuere?
Transeas ad Superos, is encouraging,
Abeas ad Inferos, and orthodox - goats to the left, and sheep to the right. No one need find fault with that arrangement who behaves himself. But there is more to be heard :
Vivant omnes virgines
Faciles, formosæ ; and repeat, with a gusto.
Vivant et mulieres,
Bonæ, laboriosa, and repeat that also. Long live the virgins and the wives - the former until they become the latter, and the latter - hark again!
Semper sint in flore !
Ah-men! Up here on East Capitol Hill, on Christmas-Eve, I heard the bells of Washington ringing as if they said, 'Peace, peace, on earth, peace!' How much music, harmony there is in the sound of a church-bell. I have heard of the harp with a Sabbath tone,' but I have heard the bell with a Sabbath tone. There is a certain yearning in bell music, more than that in the tone of an alto singer. Nevertheless, I love them both, bell and belle alike. (Oh! yes, I'm married.) I am not sure but the weight of such music brooding on the soul, (for music afflicts the soul, even though it charm the ear most at first, for who is not sad after much music ?) I am not sure but it compresses it, or perhaps I had better say, intensifies our feelings and perceptions. Else how could I, being much of a proser, have written thus, all because the music of a Christmas-Eve bell, moved me to write :
εχάρησαν χαράν μεγάλην σφόδρα:-Ν. Τ.
O merry bells of Christmas time!
" Rejoice, O world ! fling care away ;
The song, ' Peace and good-will on earth!' The bells ceased ringing some time before I Anished writing the above, and my 'inspiration’ run out — an additional proof that music compresses the soul. I made a weak whisky-punch, (pretty good, though,) with the view of splicing on a verse or two, but I am compelled, in truth, to own, for the benefit of the temperance cause, that the punch was not strong enough. "'T was ever thus from childhood's hour' with my poetry. I never had punch enough at the end of it. Yet, I will wager that the above stanzas are better than no poetry - on account of the subject, mostly. MacE SLOPER would never class them with those 'buried leaves' which he may not remember, though I do.
'I have thought more than once, 'How will the seseshers celebrate Christmas this year?' Undoubtedly, as of old — nearly. All but the leaders are, let us charitably say, ignorantly honest. So, as a soldier, I would fight them after a charitable manner : flog them well and give them sugar. Although I favor carrying the war into Africa, I would be very humane with the Africans, especially. But the Southern leaders must pay, for our loss of a merry Christmas, and all the other privations we endure as far as possible; and the balance we will give to our country. I have subscribed three Christmases and three New-Years 'to the putting down the strong-holds of Satan,' and the bill must be settled in favor of a peace as nearly approaching as may be, in stability and purity, that peace which the angels sang of, and that good-will of which they sang to the simple shepherds on the Eastern plains one night eighteen hundred years ago. Then shall the trusting, the laboring and the faithful, whether black or white, 'rejoice with exceeding great joy.'
dear Knick, pax vobiscum ! Pax vobiscum yourself! A. B., the buried leaves are indeed forgotten amid the rush of many magazines, but not the words of ANCHISES nor you, O man of the uniform and pleasant pen, whom we trust to see eftsoones, often seated amid the dames and good fellows at our table editorial.
The following correspondence between Gens. BUCKNER and Grant has been seen undoubtedly by all our readers. Still, it is worth a permanent record, and we accordingly republish it. BUCKNER's reasons for surrendering Fort Donelson remind us of two anecdotes, in each of which similar reasons were given for a defeat. Said the owner of a trotting-horse, “The only reason my mare did n't make that mile in 2.40 was, that the distance was too great for the time!' More sublimely calm still was the statement of DANIEL PRATT, Jr., “The Great American Traveller,' regarding his celebrated half-mile race with MELLEN, rival candidate for the presidency in 1856, in which Pratt came in behind. 'I beat him, of course,' said Pratt; 'Every one said I made double the time he did !' Here is the correspondence :
Head-Quarters, Fort Donelson, Feb. 16. Sir: In consideration of all the circumstances governing the present situation of affairs at this station, I propose to the commanding officer of the Federal forces the appointment of commissioners to agree upon the terms of capitulation of the forces at this post under my command. In that view, I suggest an armistice until twelve o'clock to-day. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. BUCKNER.
• Brigadier-General C. S. A. • To Brig.-Gen. GRANT, commanding U. S. forces near Fort Donelson.'
Head-Quarters on the Field, Fort Donelson, Feb. 16. "To GEN. S. B. BUCKNER :
“Sır: Yours of this date, proposing an armistice and the appointment of commissioners to settle on the terms of capitulation, is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works. 'I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
• Head-Quarters, Dover, Tenn., Feb. 16. BRIGADIER-GENERAL GRANT, U. S. A. :
‘Sir: The distribution of the forces under my command, incident to an unexpected change of commander, and the overwhelming force under your command, compel me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms you propose. 'I am, Sir, your servant,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Brig.-Gen. C. S. A.' KNICK puts this last letter down as one of the raciest bits of folly extant. Imagine a criminal, when arrested by a policeman, complaining of ungentlemanly conduct, and we have an exact parallel for ‘Chiv.' BUCKNER. But even war is made in another fashion from that, Master Buck. When armies get to fighting after the manner inaugurated by the Southern foe, it is not usual to make arrangements to turn the tide of battle so as to suit the vanquished rebel. One who has set his all upon a cast, must surely stand the hazard of the die. It was exactly in this manner that the South played at the game of a Presidential election in 1860 — hoping to win — and then refused to abide by the result. This, however, was "chivalrous.'
KNICK has seen better poetry than this of the 'Turky Buzzerd,' but, on the whole, has seldom met with one which better illustrates the subject in hand.
The Turky Buzzerd.
Wunst upon a time,
Thar was a spreading of feathers on sprawling principles,
"Wah! wah! wah! Yemämough!
-e-ah-ow! Spi-g-iz-ITS-i-8°888ho ! k-r-aeeamouh's misery blister your heart, you ungodly Pike
to Jayhawker parties frum her youth up.
During this time he had inserted his sinful phangs
your eternal generation, I smashed them eggs ;
LA N VOY.
This here has a moral - it has.
- magna est veritas