October 6, 1865

Macomb Journal

LIFE IN THE ARMY.

Being the Observations and Experi-
ences of a Private Soldier.

BY J. K. MAGIE.

CHAPTER X.

(CONTINUED.)

            During the time our Headquarters remained at New Haven, we had numerous visits from contrabands, who came to us pleading to be taken into our care and custody, so that they should be free from their masters. We could not take all that thus presented themselves, but a few who had escaped from rebel service were employed by some of the officers as servants. Among these was one darkey who I think will never be forgotten by those who had the pleasure of seeing him. He was employed by the Colonel as a cook. He was a short, squatty nigger, but as nimble and quick as a mouse, and overflowing with fun and wit. He was an expert dancer, a perfect genius with his fiddle, and could throw his somersets equal to any acrobat in Yankee Robinson’s show. When matters grew dull, and something was needed to throw off ennui, John, as he was called, was always a sure remedy. I have seen Major Green, of our regiment, laugh over his eccentricities until his sides would ache, and in his paroxysms of laughter would catch breath enough to exclaim, “Ain’t he gay – ain’t he gay!” John, on being asked if he thought there was another nigger in the world like him, promptly replied that he did not. “What makes you think so?” inquired his interrogator.

            “Because,” said he, “when I war up to the Bardstown Fair last fall [missing] to eberybody who went out [missing] cum back agin, but when I went out de man at de gate wouldn’t gib me a check, cos he sed he’d know me sure, for dere wasn’t another nigger like me in the world.”

            Although Jack had always lived in the South, somehow or other he had imbibed abolition notions, and believed that a black man was just as much entitled to freedom as a white man. He would defend his peculiar views with much zeal, and with much better [?] than was generally used in the defense of slavery. The boys of Co. H would sometimes, in the long winter evenings, start a question, and then get up a debate, choose sides, appoint a judge, &c. The idea was conceived of getting up the slavery question for discussion, and having Jack appointed one of the speakers. Jack gladly accepted the invitation to speak. The question selected was something like this:

            Resolved, That the black race is inferior to the white race; therefore the black race should be the slaves of the white race.

            A zeaous abolitionist was selected to argue the pro slavery side of this question, and did it up in very good style, rehearsing the old Democratic arguments about the inferior race, rights of property, &c. Jack listened very attentively, and his countenance and manner indicated disgust and contempt at the puerile arguments of his opponent. He seemed anxious to take the floor against him, and when at length he was called upon to speak he strutted out with all the dignity and importance of a Senator, and striking at attitude he commenced:

            “Mister President: ‘Cordin’ to my ignorant understandin’ de remarks of dat gem-men hab severelly eny reference to de subject under consideration. He say de nigger am inferior race. I call upon him to prove it, and dat I know he can’t do. It am true de nigger is ignorant, but who make him so? De white man. You take two babies in de cradle, one of dem white and toder one black, and gib em equal chance to larn, and de black baby will larn jest as much as de white baby. If de black folks had de rule, and de white folks were de slaves, dey would be ignorant too, but would dat prove dey were naterally an inferior race? No sar; de black man am not naterally inferior; he am only ignorant, and dat is de most you can make ob it. De poor slave hab nothin’ to lib for; his industry am destroyed, and he am looking ebery day for a whippin’, and he is not often disapinted in de looks.”

            And so Jack went on for about fifteen minutes with great fluency , and with fully as good argument as had been used by his opponent. The decision was at length given by the President, after a lengthy review, in favor of Jack. It was all premeditated that Jack should be favored with the decision, but he supposed that he had fairly won it, and was as proud of his laurels as a newly-elected alderman.

            There was another black boy in camp named George. He was a very reserved, quiet sort of lad; and never indulged in plays or jokes. He was very pious, and was a special favorite of our chaplain, who was teaching him to read. The chaplain did not use his own tent to sleep in; so he let George have it for that purpose. The first night George used this tent, our little drummer boy, Charley Bennett, was complaining to some of the men who were detailed at Headquarters that he slept very coldly at nights, and that he would rather sleep with somebody. “Well,” says one of the men, “there is Clark Dixon, the teamster, he is sleeping alone in the chaplain’s tent – got plenty of straw and a good blanket; you can crawl in with him. I heard him say he wished he had somebody to sleep with him.”

            “That’s just where I’ll sleep then,” says Charley, “for I nearly froze last night.”

            “Dixon went to bed an hour ago, and I suppose he is sound asleep by this time, and you hadn’t best to disturb him if you can help it.”

            “I won’t disturb him,” says Charley, and off he started for the chaplain’s tent. He obeyed his injunctions carefully, and crawled in with George, who was sleeping soundly. He hugged up closely, and the pair slept undisturbed until morning. George woke first, and upon seeing a person of a different color in bed with him, he was horrified, and thought he had made a serious mistake and got into the wrong tent. He began to crawl out, and the movement woke Charley, who, upon seeing who he had slept with, was terribly indignant. He made big threats against those who had played the joke on him, but George appeared more ashamed of the circumstance than did Charley.

TO BE CONTINUED.

———————

            Removal. – The Journal office has been removed to the second story of the new post office building, north-east corner of the square.

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The Democratic Platform.

            We publish upon our first page the platform recently adopted by the Coppinger Democracy in this county. The planks in this platform appear to us to lay rather crosswise. – In one resolution they declare that the secession ordinances were null and void and therefore the States lately in rebellion “are and shall continue to be members of the federal Union.” All very good. But what means the declaration in the fourth resolution which reads as follows:

            Resolved, That we heartily endorse the policy of President Johnson in his pacific ourse towards the people of the state of Mississippi in sustaining the Governor thereof, believing that the same will soon restore said state to the federal Union.

            The Democracy heretofore have been expert in making their platforms so ambiguous that they could be interpreted to read both ways, but here is an improvement on the old style. Their new platform is not ambiguous at all. It comes out plainly and boldly and takes both sides of the question. It has been a mooted question whether the States lately in rebellion were really out of the Union. But it has been a favorite theory with some Democrats that the rebellious states were “clean gone” out of the Union. We think the Democratic organ in this county once advocated that doctrine, and it was sustained by the Democracy of the county. That organ declared that the rebel states were “another nation,” “an independent nation,” &c. But now they emphatically declare that the rebellious states “are and shall continue to be members of the Federal Union.” That’s one side of the question. Then they say that the course of President Johnson will soon restore Mississippi to the Union, leaving the plain inference that they believe the rebel states are not now a portion of the Union. That’s the other side of the question. Step up, voters, and take your choice. A bran new double-sided, two-faced, copperhead platform. Is in favor of both sides of the question, and can’t fail to suit you. If you don’t like one side you can take the other, and no questions asked.

———————

False Prophets.

            About two or three years ago the Democratic organ in this county, the Chicago Times, and other copperhead sheets, as well as copperhead orators, warned the people against the “negro influx” which they predicted would overrun our State “like the locust of Egypt,” devouring labor, leaving the poor whites no resource but to starve! They also predicted that the rebels could never be subdued, and that our greenbacks in time would become worthless. Behold the result! The war is over, and instead of the negroes we are having an “influx” of the “boys in blue,” who intend to scotch the copperheads this fall. The rebels are subdued. Labor is in plenty, and commands higher wages than ever before. Greenbacks are good as wheat. The copperheads are false prophets, and the good book tells us to beware of false prophets. It will be a pleasant diversion for the boys after confronting rebel batteries to come home and spend a few days smoking out the copperheads.

——————–

The Fair.

            As we stated last week, the rain materially interfered with the Fair the first day, and the entries were not so numerous as anticipated by the friends of the Society; still there was a very creditable display of articles.

            There were but very few persons in attendance, and all seemed to be impressed with the idea that the show would be a comparative failure; but the officers, with that go ahead spirit so characteristic with them, resolved to push it through.

Second Day.

            The morning of the second day was still lowering, but the citizens of the county commenced coming in pretty lively, and entries were rapidly made.

            The display of Stock was unusually fine – much finer, we believe, than usual.

            Class A – Horses – 11 entries. This class was unusually full, and some very fine horses were on the grounds. Premiums were given to the amount of $61.

            Class B – Mules and Jacks – 16 entries.

            Class C – Thorough-bred Cattle – 13 entries. The number of entries in this class does not speak very well for our farmers. Good thorough-bred cattle cost no more than common scrubs, and they pay better, in the long run. Stock-raisers should see to it that they have, in the future, more thorough-breds, and they will find it to pay.

            Class D – Grade Cattle – 11 entries. From the number of entries in this class, farmers and stock raisers do not seem to appreciate the importance of these exhibitions, and we do not propose in this article, to argue the utility of them, but shall urge it in future numbers of our paper.

            Class E – Sheep – 10 entries. Wool has been, of late years, an important article of domestic produce in the United States, but the farmers of McDonough county do not seem to “see it.” We shall look for a better show next year.

            Class F – Swine – 9 entries. Growing “small by degrees and beautifully less” in regular gradation. Everybody knows what the hog is, and what figure he cuts in the statistics of this State, and it appears ridiculous to us to chronicle the number of entries of this class.

            Class G – Agricultural Implements – 4 entries. Our Society goes under the name of an “Agricultural Society,” but if any stranger should have come to the Fair to have seen implements of husbandry, he would have thought that he had got into the wrong place.

            Class H – Domestic Manufactures – 10 entries. We cannot pass this class by without speaking of one rag carpet that we saw. It was a beautiful specimen of skill, and would look well on any floor. We have often heard it said that the women of the present day could not manufacture anything of use near so well as those of a former day, but those who say so should have seen this carpet, and our word for it, they would soon have cause to change their minds.

            Class I – Needle-work – 35 entries. There were some very nice specimens of needle-work on exhibition, especially patch-work quilts.

            Class J – Culinary – 15 entries. Some very nice white bread was displayed at the Fair; also preserves. Mrs. W. H. Graham exhibited some bread that made us feel hungry to look at it.

            Class K – Fine Arts – 9 entries. Notwithstanding there were so few entries in this class, the show was hard to beat. An ornamental Shell Center Table, by Miss Vesta Westgate, or Bushnell, was admired by all. It was truly a beautiful thing. A Shell Work Box, by a young lady of our city – we did not learn her name – was pronounced a “love of a thing” by all the ladies.

            Our fellow-townsman, Ed. Bolles, had on exhibition some beautiful specimens of penmanship, as also did Dr. S. H. Emery. Hawkins & Philpot’s photograph pictures were there in all their beauty and glory.

            Class L – Mechanical Arts – 6 entries. Although few in number, the articles were very much admired, especially a Washing Machine, by J. D. Long, of Wisconsin. I. August, of our city, displayed some very nice clothing.

            Class M – Grain, Dairy and Vegetable – 65 entries. Butter belongs to this class, and we saw some there that would tempt an anchorite. The different articles of this class were well represented, but not near so well as they should have been.

            Class N – Fruits and Flowers – 32 entries. Mr. W. H. Dawson had a nice display of fruit, for which he took the first premium. A pear exhibited by Allen Vawter weighe just one pound. It was a superb looking specimen. He also had a nice display of Orton, Concord and Delaware Grapes.

            Class O – Poultry – 8 entries.

            Class P – For Girls – 17 entries. Not being posted in matters pertaining to this class, and neglecting to get the opinion of our better half, or “any other” woman, we have to pass this by.

            Class Q – For Boys – 2 entries.

            Class R – Trotting – 3 entries. The exciting sport of trotting has no charms for us, and consequently we paid but very little attention to it. That there were some good trotting we have no doubt, as it appeared to attract considerable attention from the large crowd in attendance.

            Class S – Sweep-stakes – 34 entries.

            Class T – Miscellaneous – 26 entries.

            Class U – Ladies’ Equestrian – 2 entries.

            The fair this year was a decided success, notwithstanding the great drawback of the weather. It is now demonstrated beyond contravention that our Agricultural Society is a self-sustaining institution, as all the premiums were paid in money this year; all other expenses have been promptly paid, and a surplus left in the treasury.

            We would here like to impress on the minds of our County Supervisors the importance of making an appropriation, adequate to the undertaking, for the purpose of obtaining suitable grounds wherein to hold the Fairs, as the grounds now in use are too small for a suitable display of stock and of the other resources of our county. We must have larger grounds, and have them so arranged that persons bringing any thing there to exhibit will not be under the necessity of taking their things away at night for protection from the weather. What we want is good tight stalls for stock, and good buildings for the fine arts.

            The officers of the Society are greatly encouraged at the prospects, and they say that all that is needed now is a little of the “material aid” to make our Society and our Fair among the best in the West. So be up and doing.

            Great credit is due, for the success this Fall, to the indefatigable exertions of Joseph Burton, Frank R. Kyle and H. C. Twyman.

——————–

            ‒ Very fair crops of cotton are being raised this year in the southern part of Illinois and Indiana. In Illinois the yield is from 250 to 280 pounds to the acre.

———————

            Apology. – Owing to the removal of our office this week we have been obliged to neglect some local matters that we had intended to notice. The washing machine, exhibited at the Fair by our friend J. W. L[??]ch, will be duly noticed next week.

———————

            → We are indebted to our friend Tatham, of Louisville, and also to our friend McLean of New York city for late papers.

———————

New Grocery.

            G. W. Smith & Son have recently established themselves in the Grocery and Provision business in the old Express office on the south side of the square. The junior member of the firm is our soldier friend, J. Henry Smith, who served his three years in the 78th regiment. He is worthy of a liberal patronage, and as both members of the firm are prompt, accommodating business men, we have no doubt their new enterprise will prove a success.

———————

            → We are under obligations to S. J. Clarke & Co., of the City Bookstore, for two neat and elegant books, entitled, “Silent Struggles,” and “The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers.” They have plenty more of the same sort. Mr. Clarke has just brought on from the east the largest assortment of goods pertaining to a bookstore ever before brought to Macomb. There is no need to send elsewhere for anything in the book line. They have also a fine and large assortment of notions, toys, and other interesting articles, to amuse and instruct the rising generation.

——————–

Disgraced for Life.   

            A miserably depraved and dirty old hag who lives in the western part of the city, and whom the Buzzard man lately described as a “lady,” assumes to be awfully offended at us because we were so uncharitable as to mention her name in connection with the late editor of the Buzzard. She made a furious assault upon us one day this week, and succeeded in knocking off our hat, and striking us on the back with a small roll of something she carried in her hand. We expected her to come to the scratch for a second round, but she made a precipitate retreat. She told us that by mentioning her name in connection with that of the Buzzard man we had disgraced her for life. Her provocation is indeed very great, and we don’t wonder at her indignation.

——————–

Champion Washing Machine.

            Mr. H. H. Torry is now in this city for the purpose of introducing a Washing Machine, which is not exactly a new machine, but new in this community. It has been in use elsewhere for several months, at least long enough to give it a fair test. We have little or no knowledge of the merits of other Washing Machines, but we can unhesitatingly say that Mr. Torry’s machine is one of the most labor-saving and useful machines yet invented. Mr. T. visited our house, and in about one-fourth of the ordinary time required performed a washing for our family, which we can say was well done. Such a Machine we believe will save its cost in six months in any family. It not only saves time and strength, but saves the wear and tear of clothing in washing and rubbing. The price of the machine is only ten dollars. Mr. Torry not only invites an examination of his machine, but is willing to give it a practical test to prove that it is all that he claims for it.

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