Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

map, such as Roxburgh for Roxbury, and Quinzey for Quincy. I can recollect also seeing him at one or two other meetings when he did not speak.

At this period Mr. Quincy was nearly a nonagenarian, and a man who had filled some of the most conspicuous positions in political and academic life. In the community at large he was respected for his personal worth and many accomplishments. He was a fine type of a gentleman of the old school, who would attract attention in any assembly. It is rare nowadays to see a man who by general consent fills a similar niche in public estimation. At the age of twenty-three he was chosen a member of the Society, on July 26, 1796, only five years after it was formed. He must have known the ten original members, — the founders as they are called, - and the twenty-five others who had been chosen before he was. In the order of election he was the thirty-sixth member of the Society; and at the time of his election not a death had taken place among the thirty-five already chosen. It seems sometimes as if the calm and placid life of antiquaries and historical students contributed to their health and longevity.

At the following Annual Meeting which was held in April, I was chosen Cabinet-Keeper, by which election I became a member of the Standing Committee, as it was then called. At that period all nominations came from this body, which in its various functions corresponded exactly to what is known now as the Council. Owing to my position as CabinetKeeper in the autumn of 1860 Mr. Winthrop was prompted to ask me to be at the Society's rooms when the Prince of Wales and his suite visited them. I remember well that it was on October 19, the anniversary of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, though this fact was not mentioned by any one showing the treasures of the Cabinet. The royal party, accompanied by Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Everett, after visiting Harvard College and Bunker Hill Monument, came to the Historical l'ooms, where they were received by a few other members of the Society. The various curios and relics were shown to the distinguished visitors, and the whole affair passed off successfully. The Prince seemed to be interested in the manuscript History of New England by Governor John Winthrop, which he examined with care, knowing that the author was the ancestor of our President. He also expressed

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

an interest in Washington's epaulettes which were given to
the Society by one of the General's aids. At that time the
epaulettes were kept with other objects of interest in the large
show-case, but soon afterward, at the suggestion of Mr. Win-
throp, a handsome box was made specially for their keeping.
Before the party left the rooms the Prince signed the Visitors'
Register, and he called on his retinue to write their names
also; which was accordingly done. The leaf bearing these
signatures, headed by the present King of England, might
well be framed, placed behind glass and hung in the cabinet,
where it would form a permanent object of interest.

Another distinguished visitor came to the rooms, on Decem-
ber 3, 1868, when Mr. Winthrop did the honors of the occa-
sion, which always came so gracefully from him. It was
General U. S. Grant, President-elect of the United States, who,
according to popular report, was then in Boston to consult
with certain persons prominent in the Republican party con-
cerning the new administration. It was a cold raw day, and
the General writing his name with some difficulty rather apolo-
gized for the signature, and said that he ought to have made
his mark instead. Whereupon Mr. Winthrop at once replied,

General, you have already made your mark, and it is not necessary to do it again." This little incident, well enough in its way, may seem trifling and unimportant; and I can give no reason why it made an impression on my brain, but as a psychological fact it stuck, and now I repeat it.

During my connection with the Society there have been 226 elections of Resident Members, and of this number now only 94 remain. The average number of elections annually is about five, but in the year 1861 there were ten members chosen, and in 1903 eight chosen; and in 1887 no death occurred in the membership. Under the original Act of Incorporation the number of Associate Members was limited to sixty, but under a supplementary act, passed April 2, 1857, the number was increased to one hundred. For three or four years after this act was passed, owing to the change, the number of annual elections was much larger than usual. According to a list of all the Resident Members, printed in 1908, the average age at the time of their death was seventy years, which confirms to an interesting degree the words of the Psalmist that " The days of our years are threescore years and ten.” According to this

[ocr errors]

list, at the time of their death, John A. Andrew was under fifty years of age and Rufus Choate under sixty.

Calendar years may be looked upon as mile-stones placed along the way of life. They show how far we have travelled, but they throw no light on the end of the journey. As we trudge along and pass the stones so often, it seenis as if the years grow shorter. Life to a boy is wholly prospective, and he looks ahead and has no past; to the man of middle age life is present and is of today, and he looks back and he looks forward with equal interest, and he has a broad vision. To the octogenarian, whose ranks soon I shall join, life is a grand composite made up of many incidents as shown on the western horizon of memory. I am thankful that I am an optimist from the word go, and I like to look on the bright side of things. The world as a whole is better now than it was fifty years ago, and an advance along the line will continue to be made. Happy is the man who lives in sympathy with the surrounding events; and his views of life depend as much on the condition of his liver as on his reason,

Colonel W. R. LIVERMORE read extracts from the first chapter of his “ Story of the Civil War," of which the following is a summary :

The battle of Corinth, October 3 and 4, 1862, relieved Grant from any anxiety for the safety of western Tennessee, and on the 26th he asked and obtained permission to advance on Vicksburg. On the 1st of November his troops, amounting to about fifty-seven thousand men present for duty, were stationed at Corinth, Memphis, and other places, and he was opposed by Pemberton with about twenty-six thousand near Holly Springs, and on the Tallahatchie River, five thousand at Vicksburg and other places. By the 1st of December Grant had advanced with about forty-five thousand men as far as at the Tallahatchie, driving Pemberton before him. Then, hearing that McClernand, an ex-congressman, who had once commanded a division of his army, was to be put in command of an expedition to descend the Mississippi with Porter's fleet, Grant changed his plan and sent Sherman down the river from Memphis, with about twenty thousand, reinforced at Helena by thirteen thousand more, while he himself, with

[ocr errors]

about thirty thousand, remained on the original line of opera-
tions overland. In Grant's Memoirs' he explains his motive
and plans. He hoped to hold Pemberton in his front, while
Sherman should get in his rear and into Vicksburg. The
further north Pemberton could be held the better,

Grant's object was either to capture Vicksburg by surprise,
or to establish a large force on the upland, where it could be in
touch with the fleet, and be supplied by water without expos-
ing the vessels to the fire of the batteries at Vicksburg. If he
could get possession of Haynes's Bluff on the Yazoo just north
of Vicksburg, the supply boats could come up this river from
the Mississippi ; but Grant knew that the Confederates were
building batteries there which would control the navigation
of the Yazoo. In order to reduce them he was sending
Sherman with a large force down the Mississippi to attack the
position in front, while he himself with a somewhat smaller
one was to engage the attention of Pemberton's army on the
Yalobusha.

This division of Grant's forces was certainly not in accordance with the general principles of strategy, for it gave Pemberton, who held the interior lines, an opportunity to throw all his forces upon either fraction of Grant's army. It has been said in favor of the plan adopted that neither fraction was large enough to meet any hostile force that could be brought against it; that, if unsuccessful, Sherman could fall back on the fleet on the Mississippi River and Grant upon his base to the north. This, however, would not accomplish the object of the expedition. General Sherman says, that the essence of the whole plan was for him to reach Vicksburg, as it were, by surprise, while Grant held in check Pemberton's army about Grenada, leaving Sherman to contend only with the smaller garrison of Vicksburg. It is hard to see how either Grant or Sherman could have thought that in a hostile country such an expedition could be fitted out and embark without the knowledge of the enemy.

Without discussing further the division of responsibility for this plan, it is suggested that it would have been better for Grant to take Sherman's troops with him, to advance in force along the line on which he had started, and to send only the troops that could be spared from Helena down the Mississippi 1 1. 430.

2 Sherman, 1. 313.

[ocr errors]

with the fleet, which if it did not meet with too much resistance wonld move up the Yazoo; or, if this were impossible, would await the arrival of Grant from the north, or of the expedition to ascend the Mississippi from the south. Grant, as he suggests, would establish a secondary base at Grenada, and repair the railroad between that point and Memphis. Further south the enemy would probably destroy the railroad as they fell back and he could not depend upon it for his supplies. A good wagon road, however, leads along the divide between the Yazoo and Black Rivers, which is comparatively dry even in wet weather, and in many places the fields on either side of the road are passable for wagons. He could, as he says, cut loose from his base, live on the country, and march straight for Vicksburg, driving Pemberton's army before him or routing it. He would then, in all probability, take Haynes's Bluff in the rear, meet Porter, and draw his supplies from the Mississippi. If, however, he failed, he would fall back upon Grenada and then advance more slowly, repairing the railroad if necessary. His troops would have hard work before them, but not as hard nor as unhealthy as that which they endured on the banks of the Mississippi during the winter and spring. Grant's army assembled at Grenada would be better disposed for co-operating with the Army of the Cumberland than if the greater part of it were on the banks of the Mississippi near Vicksburg

This plan is similar to that on which Grant started the campaign, and to one afterward urged by Sherman, because it was in accordance with the fundamental principles of strategy. We think that the campaigns which followed from the first division of forces up to the surrender of Vicksburg will be better understood by comparison with the plan we have suggested.

The first attempt to take Vicksburg had failed, because a detachment of a few hundred men was too weak to capture and hold a fortress in the heart of the enemy's country defended by twice its number. The second attempt had failed because Butler could not send a large force up the river without endangering New Orleans and Farragut's fleet, as well as his own army, and because Halleck had divided up the great army he had assembled at Corinth so that he was too weak to Co-operate with Farragut. The third attempt failed, because Grant after starting on a campaign over land, sent half his

« ZurückWeiter »