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  #61  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
Froggy Froggy is offline
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It was Easter Eve. A wide awning had been set up, and in front of it an altar with flaming lights all round it. The tall priest served the Liturgy with wonderful spirit; sometimes it was a hurried and fervent whisper; sometimes his voice rose to a battle-cry, as when he powerfully swayed the Cross almost as if it were a weapon. On the grass, grouped in chance masses, stood the soldiers of the N regiment, most of them holding lighted candles, with their officers gathered in front. The young colonel stood near the priest; through Lent he had shown the example of rigorous fasting. On the other side was a strong choir of soldiers, led with the slightest movements of the hand.

The service begins with a time of waiting; then there are movements of expectancy, and the priest retires, as if to see whether the coffin of the Saviour is still in its place. He comes back and whispers, "Christ is risen," and these words, which are themselves in Russian like a whisper ("Christos Voskres") are taken up by the choir, first very softly and later rising to a song of triumph.

The service ends with the Eucharist. The words "Lift up your hearts" were a moment of wonderful spirit and elevation. The priest took the Sacrament on bended knees with the greatest reverence and feeling, and administered it to two of the soldiers.

Now every one, beginning with the colonel, approached in turn to kiss the Cross. Then each turned to his neighbour[Pg 172] and gave the threefold brother's kiss, with the words "Christ is risen," to which comes the answer, "He is risen indeed." All the officers gave the kiss to the priest and the colonel. From the neighbouring lines shone out two projectors, whose lights crossed to form the first letter of the name of Christ—X.

We drove off to the officers' mess, which was in a large cottage. At the crowded tables there reigned the spirit of brotherhood. After the Emperor's toast the colonel and the regiment drank to King George and England, and all stood waving their glasses and roaring hurrah, while I went round and touched glasses with each. My toast was that the alliance should last on after the war. We had other toasts, the sisters of mercy, the colonel's wife, and above all the regiment. It was well on in the early morning when the young officers on horseback escorted their guests back to the town.

On Easter Sunday some of the Red Cross people went out to the front. At this point both sides had agreed not to shoot, and the men came out of their trenches and fraternised across the Dunajec, the Russians producing a harmonium. Newspapers were exchanged; and an Austrian officer sat down and wrote some impromptu verses, which he fastened to a stone and threw across. The verses began very peaceably, but had an unexpected end which, my friends felt, would be specially interesting to me. I give them in German with a translation—




Auf Grund der hohen Feier tage

Geändert unsere Feindeslage.

Wir leben heut' in tiefem Frieden:

Zur kürzen Zeit ist's uns beschieden,
[Pg 173]
Dann werden wir die Waffen mässen;

Jedoch soll niemals man vergessen

Den Stifter deiser Weltenbrand.

"Gott Strafe England."


The holy days of Easter-tide

Have set our enmity aside.

We live in perfect peace to-day:

'Tis but a little time we may,

Then to our weapons we must get;

But ever we'll remember yet

Who lit this fire of world-wide wrack;

O God, pay England back.

April 9.

I have been visiting my friends at the Staff of the army at Jaslo. Even this place has not been immune, bombs have been thrown from aeroplanes, doing no damage to the army but wounding and killing some children.

I visited the General in command, who is in splendid spirits. He is the simplest of men, and stops in the streets to talk to the children or to any new arrival. He is happy now, because things are going forward.

The Staff lies in rather better quarters here, but with the same simplicity as when I first visited it at Pilsno. One of the regiments I knew came through in fine style with its colonel at its head; it had done forty-eight miles in two days, and was ready for any amount more. The different battalions were singing different soldiers' songs, each taking pride in getting a good swing and putting in the best foot forward. I was struck with one man who marched at the side leading the songs with a mouth like a brass instrument and a voice to match.

Two German airmen have just come down here. They[Pg 174] had made a wide circuit, and were brought down by the failure of their motor. As always here, they are being well treated. Even in the case of spies caught red-handed, it is most difficult to get the Russian soldier to shoot, especially if the condemned shows any sign of fear.

Austrian soldiers are to be seen here everywhere. The Germans and Magyars are under close surveillance; but the Austrian Slavs are ordinarily allowed to wander about freely. Many of them have shown in the most thorough way their attachment to the Russian cause; but I am told on the best authority for this area, that there is not a known instance of their abusing their liberty to play the part of spies. At many points on the Austrian front the Slavonic cause is like a kind of contagion. Under German direction disaffected troops are moved from one point to another to escape this infection, and finally, at the first opportunity, come over en masse.

Every day the prisoners are gathered together in groups according to their various nationalities for examination. These interrogations, which are of a very systematic kind, obtain very interesting results. Most of the prisoners testify to a shortness of food, not only in the front but in the rear. Letters from home to them speak of the dearness of all food; some necessities cannot even be obtained for money, and different parts of the empire are applying to each other for them in vain. Nowhere is there any spirit left. The only comfort which the officers can suggest is to await some success from the Germans. Some, moreover, describe the officers as being never on view, except to abuse their men, treating them worse[Pg 175] than cattle: "So that one does not know whether one is a man or not." Only one Austrian officer so far has been taken in this part with a bayonet wound. It is known that there have been further protests in Bohemia after the taking of Peremyshl, and that the severest repression has been used, also that two Polish regiments have been literally decimated, that is, that every tenth man in them has been shot. One man's brother writes to him that he is called for the first time to the army at the age of forty-eight, and in his part the last call covers those between forty-two and fifty-two. Other new battalions are formed, ninety per cent. of reservists and ten per cent. of wounded who have returned to the colours; in most of them there is now a hopeless mix up of all nationalities. Some describe their training as having only lasted four weeks. In all cases the preoccupation of the commanding officers is regarding retreat.
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  #62  
Old 5 Days Ago
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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Dunmore with his slavish mercenaries and stolen negroes were driven from their post on Gwin Island in Virginia, and the piratical fleet from their station near it, with the loss of one ship, two tenders or armed vessels burnt by themselves, three armed vessels taken by our people, and Lord Dunmore wounded; on our side not a man lost. I would be more particular, but, as I had only time to read the Philadelphia paper of yesterday which contains the account, and Mr. Mayo is just setting out, it is not in my power."

"New York, Aug. 12, 1776

"Polly is still here with me, and we are both very well, but disappointed in not hearing oftener from our friends at Boston. For news in general I must refer to the inclosed paper. I was in company the evening they came to this city with the two gentlemen who came from England in the packet. They say the British force on Staten Island is from twelve to fifteen thousand, of which about one thousand are Hessians; that Lord and General Howe speak very respectfully of our worthy commander-in-chief, at their tables and in conversation giving him the title of General; that many of the officers affect to hold our army in contempt, calling it no more than a mob; that they envy us our markets, and depend much on having their winter-quarters in this city, out of which they are confident of driving us, and pretend only to dread our destroying of it; that the officers' baggage was embarked, a number of flat-bottom boats prepared, and every disposition made for an attack, which we may hourly expect. On our side, we have not been wanting; our army has for several nights lain on their arms, occasioned by several ships of war and upwards of thirty transports going out at the Narrows and anchoring at that part of Long Island best calculated for their making a descent, and where they received, by means of flat-bottom boats, a large detachment from the army on Staten Island. But this fleet went to sea yesterday, where bound we know not; some think, to go round the east end of Long Island, come down the Sound, and land on our backs, in order to cut off any retreat, and oblige us to surrender ourselves and the city into their hands: but if they are so infatuated as to venture themselves into a broken, woody country, between us and the New England governments, I trust they will have cause to repent their rashness. Generals Heath, Spencer, Greene, and Sullivan are promoted by the Honorable Congress to the rank of Major-Generals; and the Colonels Reed, Nixon, Parsons, Clinton, Sinclair, and McDougall to be Brigadier-Generals. We have removed all our superfluous clothing, and whatever is not necessary for present use, to Rye, whither General Putnam's lady has retired. Miss Putnam is yet in town, and the chaise is in readiness for her and Polly to remove at a minute's warning."

* * * * *

The following copy of an "Order from Head-Quarters" was found among the papers, directed apparently to his father; and as Washington's Orderly Books have never been published, with the exception of a few orders chiefly relating to court-martials, it has been thought that it would be interesting. Though dated on successive days, it seems to have been issued as one order. A note by Dr. Foster, at the close, says,—"This copy was made in a hurry by one of the mates. Some sentences are omitted. Imperfect as it is, I thought it would be agreeable. The principal omission is the order for having three days' provisions ready-dressed, and that all who do not appear at their posts upon the signal are to be deemed cowards, and prosecuted as such."

Head-Quarters, August 14, 1776.

"The enemy's whole reinforcement is now arrived, so that an attack must and soon will be made. The General, therefore, again repeats his earnest request, that every officer and soldier will have his arms and ammunition in good order, keep within their quarters and encampment as much as possible, to be ready for action at a moment's call,—and when called upon, to remember that liberty, property, and honor are all at stake, that upon their courage and conduct rest the hopes of their bleeding and insulted country, that their wives, children, and parents expect safety from them only, and that we have every reason to expect that Heaven will crown us with success in so just a cause.

"The enemy will endeavor to intimidate us by show and appearance; but remember how they have been repulsed on these occasions by a few brave Americans. Their cause is bad, their men are conscious of it, and, if opposed with firmness and coolness at their first onset, with our advantages of works and knowledge of the ground, the victory is most assuredly ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive, wait for orders, and reserve his fire till he is sure of its doing execution;—the officers to be particularly careful of this. The colonels and commanding officers of regiments are to see their supernumerary officers so posted as to keep their men to their duty; and it may not be amiss for the troops to know, that, if any infamous rascal shall attempt to skulk, hide himself, or retreat from the enemy without the orders of his commanding officers, he will instantly be shot down as an example of cowardice. On the other hand, the General solemnly promises that he will reward those who shall distinguish themselves by brave and noble actions; and he desires every officer to be attentive to this particular, that such men may be afterwards suitably noticed."

"Head-Quarters, August 15, 1776.

"The General also flatters himself that every man's mind and arms are now prepared for the glorious contest upon which so much depends.

"The time is too precious, nor does the General think it necessary, to spend it in exhorting his brave countrymen and fellow-soldiers to behave like men fighting for everything that can be dear to free-men. We must resolve to conquer or die. With this resolution, victory and success certainly will attend us. There will then be a glorious issue to this campaign, and the General will reward his brave soldiers with every indulgence in his power."

"New York, August 16, 1776.

"HONORED SIR,

"It is now past ten o'clock, and Mr. Adams, who favors me by carrying this, sets out by five o'clock to-morrow morning, so that I have only time to acknowledge the favors received by Dr. Welch. If I survive the grand attack hourly expected, or if it is delayed until then, I will write again by next post. Polly has her things packed up; the chaise can be ready at a minute's warning; if the wind favors our enemies, it is probable she will breakfast out of the way of danger. To-morrow is watched for by our army in general with eager expectation of confirming the independence of the American States. All the Ministerial force from every part of America except Canada, with the mercenaries from Europe, being collected for this attempt, God only knows the event. To His protection I commend myself, earnestly praying that in this glorious contest I may not disgrace the place of my nativity, nor, after it is over, be ashamed to see my wife, my children, and my parents again. To the care of Providence, and, under that, to you, honored Sir, with our other friends, I commend all that is near and dear to me, and am, with duty to mother, love to the children, &c., &c.,

"YOUR DUTIFUL SON."

"P.S. Our troops are in good spirits, and, relying on the justice of their cause and favor of Heaven, assured of victory."

* * * * *
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  #63  
Old 2 Days Ago
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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someone should get another
gmail and play a character like custer or sheriden for the union, aint that right?, badge ol boy.

Last edited by Theodoric; 2 Days Ago at 09:50 AM.
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  #64  
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Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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"The enemy will endeavor to intimidate us by show and appearance; but remember how they have been repulsed on these occasions by a few brave Americans. Their cause is bad, their men are conscious of it, and, if opposed with firmness and coolness at their first onset, with our advantages of works and knowledge of the ground, the victory is most assuredly ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive, wait for orders, and reserve his fire till he is sure of its doing execution;—the officers to be particularly careful of this. The colonels and commanding officers of regiments are to see their supernumerary officers so posted as to keep their men to their duty; and it may not be amiss for the troops to know, that, if any infamous rascal shall attempt to skulk, hide himself, or retreat from the enemy without the orders of his commanding officers, he will instantly be shot down as an example of cowardice. On the other hand, the General solemnly promises that he will reward those who shall distinguish themselves by brave and noble actions; and he desires every officer to be attentive to this particular, that such men may be afterwards suitably noticed."
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