With Lee in Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War

       G. A. Henty / History & Fiction
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With Lee in Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War Produced by David Reed and Liz Warren

WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA

A Story Of The American Civil War.

by G. A. Henty

PREFACE.

My Dear Lads:

The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of Americapossesses a peculiar interest for us, not only because it was a strugglebetween two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, butbecause of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed,ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contestwith an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority,but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms andmunitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities stilldiffer as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believedthat the States having voluntarily united, retained the right ofwithdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantageto do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appealto arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war thestruggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon thegeneral population. But later on the character of the war changed, andthe Federal armies carried wide-spread destruction wherever theymarched. Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over theconduct of the conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosityaltogether unexampled in history, a complete amnesty being granted, andnone, whether soldiers or civilians, being made to suffer for theirshare in the rebellion. The credit of this magnanimous conduct was to agreat extent due to Generals Grant and Sherman, the former of whom tookupon himself the responsibility of granting terms which, although theywere finally ratified by his government, were at the time received withanger and indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course ofa single volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicatedoperations of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to thecentral point of the great struggle--the attempts of the Northern armiesto force their way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart ofthe Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in thesecampaigns, I have burdened my story with as few details as possible, itbeing my object now, as always, to amuse as well as to give instructionin the facts of history.

G. A. HENTY.

Contents

Chapter 1. A Virginian Plantation. Chapter 2. Buying a Slave. Chapter 3. Aiding a Runaway. Chapter 4. Safely Back. Chapter 5. Secession. Chapter 6. Bull Run. Chapter 7. The Merrimac and the Monitor. Chapter 8. McClellan's Advance. Chapter 9. A Prisoner. Chapter 10. The Escape. Chapter 11. Fugitives. Chapter 12. The Bush-Whackers. Chapter 13. Laid Up. Chapter 14. Across the Border. Chapter 15. Fredericksburg. Chapter 16. The Search for Dinah. Chapter 17. Chancellorsville. Chapter 18. A Perilous Undertaking. Chapter 19. Free. Chapter 20. The End of the Struggle.

WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA:

A STORY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

CHAPTER I. A VIRGINIAN PLANTATION.

”I won't have it, Pearson; so it's no use your talking. If I had my wayyou shouldn't touch any of the field hands. And when I get my way--thatwon't be so very long--I will take good care you sha'n't. But yousha'n't hit Dan.”

”He is not one of the regular house hands,” was the reply; ”and I shallappeal to Mrs. Wingfield as to whether I am to be interfered with in thedischarge of my duties.”

”You may appeal to my mother if you like, but I don't think that youwill get much by it. I tell you you are a deal too fond of that whip,Pearson. It never was heard of on the estate during my father's time,and it sha'n't be again when it comes to be mine, I can tell you. Comealong, Dan; I want you at the stables.”

So saying, Vincent Wingfield turned on his heel, and followed by Dan, anegro lad of some eighteen years old, he walked off toward the house,leaving Jonas Pearson, the overseer of the Orangery estate, lookingafter him with an evil expression of face.

Vincent Wingfield was the son of an English officer, who, making a tourin the States, had fallen in love with and won the hand of WinifredCornish, a rich Virginian heiress, and one of the belles of Richmond.After the marriage he had taken her home to visit his family in England;but she had not been there many weeks before the news arrived of thesudden death of her father. A month later she and her husband returnedto Virginia, as her presence was required there in reference to businessmatters connected with the estate, of which she was now the mistress.

The Orangery, so called from a large conservatory built by Mrs.Wingfield's grandfather, was the family seat, and the broad lands aroundit were tilled by upward of two hundred slaves. There were in additionthree other properties lying in different parts of the State. HereVincent, with two sisters, one older and one younger than himself, hadbeen born. When he was eight years old Major and Mrs. Wingfield had goneover with their children to England, and had left Vincent there for fouryears at school, his holidays being spent at the house of his father'sbrother, a country gentleman in Sussex. Then he had been sent forunexpectedly; his father saying that his health was not good, and thathe should like his son to be with him. A year later his father died.

Vincent was now nearly sixteen years old, and would upon coming of ageassume the reins of power at the Orangery, of which his mother, however,would be the actual mistress as long as she lived. The four yearsVincent had passed in the English school had done much to render theinstitution of slavery repugnant to him, and his father had had manyserious talks with him during the last year of his life, and had shownhim that there was a good deal to be said upon both sides of thesubject.

”There are good plantations and bad plantations, Vincent; and there aremany more good ones than bad ones. There are brutes to be foundeverywhere. There are bad masters in the Southern States just as thereare bad landlords in every European country. But even from self-interestalone, a planter has greater reason for caring for the health andcomfort of his slaves than an English farmer has in caring for thecomfort of his laborers. Slaves are valuable property, and if they areoverworked or badly cared for they decrease in value. Whereas if thelaborer falls sick or is unable to do his work the farmer has simply tohire another hand. It is as much the interest of a planter to keep hisslaves in good health and spirits as it is for a farmer to feed andattend to his horses properly.

”Of the two, I consider that the slave with a fairly kind master is tothe full as happy as the ordinary English laborer. He certainly does notwork so hard, if he is ill he is carefully attended to, he is well fed,he has no cares or anxieties whatever, and when old and past work he hasno fear of the workhouse staring him in the face. At the same time I amquite ready to grant that there are horrible abuses possible under thelaws connected with slavery.

”The selling of slaves, that is to say, the breaking up of families andselling them separately, is horrible and abominable. If an estate weresold together with all the slaves upon it, there would be no morehardship in the matter than there is when an estate changes hands inEngland, and the laborers upon it work for the new master instead of theold. Were I to liberate all the slaves on this estate to-morrow and tosend them North, I do not think that they would be in any way benefitedby the change. They would still have to work for their living as they donow, and being naturally indolent and shiftless would probably fare muchworse. But against the selling of families separately and the use of thelash I set my face strongly.

”At the same time, my boy, whatever your sentiments may be on thissubject, you must keep your mouth closed as to them. Owing to theattempts of Northern Abolitionists, who have come down here stirring upthe slaves to discontent, it is not advisable, indeed it is absolutelydangerous, to speak against slavery in the Southern States. Theinstitution is here, and we must make the best we can of it. People hereare very sore at the foul slanders that have been published by Northernwriters. There have been many atrocities perpetrated undoubtedly, bybrutes who would have been brutes whenever they had been born; but tocollect a series of such atrocities, to string them together into astory, and to hold them up, as Mrs. Beecher Stowe has, as a picture ofslave-life in the Southern States, is as gross a libel as if any onewere to make a collection of all the wife-beatings and assaults ofdrunken English ruffians, and to publish them as a picture of theaverage life of English people.

”Such libels as these have done more to embitter the two sections ofAmerica against each other than anything else. Therefore, Vincent, myadvice to you is, be always kind to your slaves--not over-indulgent,because they are very like children and indulgence spoils them--but beat the same time firm and kind to them, and with other
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