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Reminiscences of Peace and War

Reminiscences of Peace and War
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Title: Reminiscences of Peace and War
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Reminiscences of Peace and War, by Sara AgnesRice Pryor

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Title: Reminiscences of Peace and War

Author: Sara Agnes Rice Pryor

Release Date: December 23, 2018 [eBook #58523]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK REMINISCENCES OF PEACE AND WAR***

 

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GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE ON "TRAVELLER."
From a photograph by Miley, Lexington, Va.

Reminiscences
of
Peace and War

BY
MRS. ROGER A. PRYOR
AUTHOR OF "THE MOTHER OF WASHINGTON AND HER TIMES"

REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION

NEW YORK
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1904, 1905,
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.


Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1904. ReprintedDecember, 1904; March, 1905.

New edition, with additions, September, 1905; April, 1908.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO THE MEMORY OF
My Son
WILLIAM RICE PRYOR, M.D.
WHO GAVE TO SUFFERING HUMANITY ALL THAT
GOD HAD GIVEN HIM

vii

Preface

It will be obvious to the reader that this bookaffects neither the "dignity of history" nor theauthority of political instruction. The causes whichprecipitated the conflict between the sections andthe momentous events which attended the strugglehave been recounted by writers competent to thetask. But descriptions of battles and civil convulsionsdo not exhibit the full condition of the Southin the crisis. To complete the picture, social characteristicsand incidents of private life are indispensablelineaments. It occurs to the author thata plain and unambitious narrative of her recollectionsof Washington society during the calm whichpreceded the storm, and of Virginia under theafflictions and sorrows of the fratricidal strife, willnot be without interest in the retrospect of thatmemorable era. The present volume recalls thatera in the aspect in which it appeared to a womanrather than as it appeared to a statesman or aphilosopher.

ROGER A. PRYOR.

Contents

CHAPTER I
PAGE
Washington in the Fifties—Literary Society during Fillmore'sAdministration—John P. Kennedy, G. P. R. James, Mrs.Gales, and Mrs. Seaton—Anna Cora Mowatt3
CHAPTER II
President Pierce's Inauguration—The New Cabinet—Mr.Marcy prescribes Court Dress with Varying Results—JeffersonDavis—Sam Houston—General Scott—WashingtonIrving—Adelina Patti and Mrs. Glasgow—Adviceof an "Old Resident" and its Unfortunate Result 15
CHAPTER III
Mr. Buchanan and his Cabinet—Roger A. Pryor's Mission toGreece—The Court of Athens—The Maid of Athens—TheBall at the Hotel de Ville—Queen Victoria's Dressand Dancing—The Countess Guiccioli—Early Housekeepingin Washington38
CHAPTER IV
The President at Church—Levee at the White House—ADinner Party at the White House—Miss Harriet Lane—Lordand Lady Napier—Ball in their Honor—Baronand Madame Stoëckle—Madame Bodisco—The FirstJapanese Embassy to the United States47ix
CHAPTER V
Great Names on the Rolls of the Supreme Court, Senate, andHouse of Representatives—Pen Picture of Stephen A.Douglas—Incident at a Ball—Mrs. Douglas—VanityFair, "Caps, Gowns, Petticoats, and Petty Exhibitions"—DécolletéBodices—A Society Dame's Opinion thereon66
CHAPTER VI
Beautiful Women in Washington during Mr. Buchanan's Administration—Influenceof Southern Women in Society—ConversationalTalent—Over the Demi-tasse after Dinner—Overthe Low Tea-table—Hon. John Y. Mason andthe Lady who changed her Mind—The Evening Party—BrilliantTalkers and Good Suppers80
CHAPTER VII
The Thirty-sixth Congress—Stormy Scenes in the House ofRepresentatives—Abusive and Insulting Language—Ruptureof Social Relations—Visit from General Cass atMidnight—The Midnight Conference of Southern Leaders—Nominationsfor the Presidency—The Heated Campaignand the "Unusual Course" of Stephen A. Douglas—Authorof the Memorable Words of Mr. Seward, "IrrepressibleConflict"93
CHAPTER VIII
Memorable Days in the History of the Country—A Torch-lightProcession in Virginia—An Uninvited Listener to aMidnight Speech—Wedding of Miss Parker and Mr.Bouligny—The President learns of the Secession ofSouth Carolina—Admiral Porter visits his South CarolinaFriends—The Last New Year's Day in Washington—PartingWords in Congress—The Setting Sun of aHappy Day107x
CHAPTER IX
The Fall of Fort Sumter—Virginia sends "Peace Ambassadors"to Washington—Conventions in Richmond—Ordinanceof Secession—Rally of Virginians—Enthusiasmof the Women—Soldiers' Outfits120
CHAPTER X
March of the Volunteers—Sail down James River—Firingthe First Gun of the Regiment—A Peaceful Volley134
CHAPTER XI
A Virginia Tobacco Plantation—"Health, Peace, and Competence"—CountryDinners—A Negro Funeral—GeneralMcClellan and the Boys' Regiment146
CHAPTER XII
Battle of Bull Run—Life at Smithfield—General Pemberton—FirstSight of the Enemy—A Sudden Change of Base—Battleof Williamsburg—General McClellan—GeneralJoseph E. Johnston—Battle of Seven Pines—Richmondrealizes the Horrors of War160
CHAPTER XIII
The Seven Days' Battles around Richmond—Pryor's Brigadeordered to the Front—Finding a Wounded Soldier—MidnightWatch after the Fight—Work in the Hospital—Ministrationsof Virginia Women—Death of a ChristianSoldier—Colonel Brokenborough's Sufferings, Fortitude,and Death—Richmond saved174xi
CHAPTER XIV
Campaign in Maryland and Northern Virginia—Battles ofManassas, South Mountain, and Sharpsburg (Antietam)—WinterQuarters in Culpeper—Stories around the Campfire—Devotionto General Lee—Incidents related by hisAide, Colonel Taylor193
CHAPTER XV
The Foraging Party on the Blackwater—Incidents of CampLife—A Hazardous Experiment in "Blockade Running"—Letterfrom "Agnes"—A Colored Man's Views of hisown Place in Time of War—Fight on the Blackwater—RichmondGossip from "Agnes"210
CHAPTER XVI
The Bread Riot at Richmond, described by "Agnes"—Correspondencebetween the President, General Lee, andGeneral Pryor—A Great Victory at Chancellorsville—GeneralLee's Order upon entering Pennsylvania—Cornwallis'sOrders in 1781—Incident of Vicksburg Campaign—DreadfulDefeat at Gettysburg—Surrender ofVicksburg237
CHAPTER XVII
The Winter of 1863-1864—Personal Experiences—PatrickHenry's Granddaughter—The Spring and Summer inPetersburg—Famine, and Some of the Women who enduredit—John tells of the Averill Raid—General OrdersNo. 7—Domestic Manufactures—General Lee's Dinner—HisService of "Plate"251
CHAPTER XVIII
Siege of Petersburg—Fight at Petersburg, June 9—GeneralLee arrives at Petersburg—General Grant shells the City—Conferencexiiof Pierre Soulé, General D. H. Hill, GeneralLongstreet, and General Pryor—Battle at Port Walthall—AGerman Maiden and her Lover—Substitutefor Medals of Honor—A Perilous Commission—Explosionof the Mine under Confederate Fortifications270
CHAPTER XIX
August in the Besieged City—The Dead Soldier—Return toCottage Farm—General Lee makes his Headquarters nearCottage Farm—General Wilcox encamps in Yard andGarden—Picket Firing between Friendly Foes—NewUses for Champagne Glasses292
CHAPTER XX
Capture of General Pryor—John and the Negro Trader—Expedientsfor the Support of my Family—A New Usefor Ball Dresses—Capture of the Rev. Dr. Pryor306
CHAPTER XXI
Christmas at Cottage Farm—Dark Days of Famine and Desertionin the Army—The Psalm of Life—A Déjeuner à laFourchette—"Starvation Parties"—The Peace Commission—TheIrish M.P. from Donegal—General Leereveals the Desperate Condition of his Army—A Visitfrom General Lee319
CHAPTER XXII
General Pryor's Return from Captivity—Story of his Releasefrom Prison and Interview with Mr. Lincoln—April 2—Defeatat Cottage Farm—Surrender of Petersburg—Entranceof Federal Troops—Personal Experiences338xiii
CHAPTER XXIII
Evacuation of Richmond described by "Agnes"—Mr. Lincoln'sEntrance into Richmond as related by AdmiralPorter354
CHAPTER XXIV
Arrival of Southern Prisoners of War—General Sheridan"knows how to make the terms for a house that suitshim"—"We've caught Jeff Davis"—General Sheridan'sVisit—Frank Expression of a Yankee Soldier—GeneralWarren tells us of Lee's Surrender361
CHAPTER XXV
Incidents and Events—Loyalty of Domestic Servants—TheFirst Army Ration to Destitute Women—Mrs. Hartsuff—Returnto Cottage Farm—A Scene of Desolation—TheLonely Vigil—Kindness of Negroes and Fidelity ofOld Family Servants372
CHAPTER XXVI
Tourists—The Reverend Brother and the Young People—TheArmy of Norway Rats—The "Met Bullets"—GeneralGrant—The Destruction of Fortifications andChange of Base—In the Garden at Cottage Farm—TheVoice in the Night390
CHAPTER XXVII
The First Decoration Day—The Old Church at Blandford—TheFirst Memorial Association—Covering the Soldiers'Graves with Flowers—"Until the Day Dawn"404xiv
CHAPTER XXVIII
Virginia in the Early Days of Peace—Behavior of the Freedmen—Clara'sHome-coming and Death—The Welcometo the New Home—General Pryor removes to New YorkCity412

xvi

Illustrations

General Robert E. Lee on "Traveller." From aphotograph by Miley, Lexington, Va.Frontispiece
FACING PAGE
Appomattox, Residence of the Eppes Family. Thisestate at City Point on James River has been in the Eppesfamily since it was first patented, through a grant fromCharles First to Colonel Francis Eppes in 1635136
Westover. Owned in 1619 by Henry West, fourth LordDelaware140
Lower Brandon. The estate of "Brandon" (since divided)was patented in 1617 by Captain John Martin. In 1720it was conveyed to Nathaniel Harrison, and has remainedever since in the possession of the Harrison family144
The Oaks148
Malvern Hill. Named after the hills that divide the countiesof Hereford and Worcester. Here one of the mostsanguinary conflicts of the war took place. The olddwelling-house, a fine specimen of colonial architecture,is still standing188
Hon. Roger A. Pryor. From a photograph, about 1870218
Siege Map of Petersburg. Drawn by Federal engineers,and used by the Union Army throughout the last year ofthe war350xvii
Old Blandford Church, Petersburg, Va. Built in1734. From a photograph taken since the roof was renewed;it was not roofed in 1867408

The author desires to acknowledge her indebtedness to PresidentLyon G. Tyler of William and Mary College for informationregarding the colonial homes on James River. The pictures ofAppomattox, Lower Brandon, and Malvern Hill are from photographsby Mr. H. P. Cook of Richmond, Va.

PEACE AND WAR

3

Reminiscences of Peace andWar

CHAPTER I
WASHINGTON IN THE FIFTIES

The Washington that I knew in the fiftieswas not the Washington of Dickens, Mrs.Trollope, and Laurence Oliphant. When Iknew the capital of our country, it was not "a howlingwilderness of deserted streets running out intothe country and ending nowhere, its population consistingchiefly of politicians and negroes";[1] nor werethe streets overrun with pigs and infested with goats.I never saw these animals in the streets of Washington;but a story, told to illustrate the best wayof disposing of the horns of a dilemma proves onegoat at least to have had the freedom of the city.It seems that Henry Clay, overdue at the SenateChamber, was once hurrying along PennsylvaniaAvenue when he was attacked by a large goat. Mr.Clay seized his adversary by the horns. So far sogood, but how about the next step? A crowdof sympathetic bootblacks and newsboys gathered4around offering advice. "Let go, Mr. Clay, andrun like blazes," shouted one; and Mr. Clay didlet go and did run, his senatorial coat-tails flyinglike pennons behind him.

But this was before my day. I remember Washingtononly as a garden of delights, over which thespring trailed an early robe of green, thickly embroideredwith gems of amethyst and ruby, pearl andsapphire. The crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, and snowdropsmade haste to bloom before the snows hadfairly melted. The trees donned their diaphanousveils of green earlier in the White House grounds,the lawn of the Smithsonian Institution, and thegentle slopes around the Capitol, than anywhere inless distinguished localities. To walk through theseincense-laden grounds, to traverse the avenue ofblossoming crab-apples, was pure pleasure. Theshaded avenues were delightful long lanes, whereone was sure to meet friends, and where no law ofetiquette forbade a pause in the public street for afew words of kindly inquiry, or a bit of gossip, orthe development of some plan for future

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