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Biographies K-M

McDonough, William

From the Archives of The Andover News; Transcribed & Submitted by William A. Greene, 2006 
 
THE BIOGRAPY OF COMRADE WILLIAM McDONOUGH
Written for the News by W. G. Pope
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When a person has reached his 91st year and is still rather active, hearty and hale, he at once becomes an object of interest to his neighbors and acquaintances.  But when this man’s life has been filled with hard labor, parlous adventure and war service, they are doubly interested.  Such is our motive for “The Biography of William McDonough.”

At 13 months of age Bill was as fine and happy boy as could be found in the whole Emerald Isle. Happy, too, was the young mother, for she and her son would soon be crossing the Atlantic to meet the proud father and husband, who had gone ahead to America.  So it was to this happy waiting pair that the telegram came, telling how the young carpenter had been killed by the falling of a scaffold.

Thus fate at one blow seemed to make unnecessary and impossible the trip to America.  Yet at the age of nine years we find Bill and his widowed mother landing in America.  The next few years were hard years to make or break.  Bill became a bound boy with the agreed annual privilege of 12 weeks of schooling, which usually shrank to about six.  These were days of long hours filled with hard toil, and yet our lad grew and thrived, developing an unusually rugged constitution and the ability to take care of himself.  Following his bound period, Bill for a time walked the towpath of Clinton’s Big Ditch, (Erie Canal) driving the canal boat horses and mules.

This brings us to the lad’s 18th birthday and his first great adventure.  It was in the spring of 1857 that Bill shipped from New Bedford, Mass. on the whaling vessel “Morning Star” (shown in photo).  What thrilling stories of adventure and daring, suffering and heroism, this greatest of all American whaling harbors could relate of the bold crews that have sailed forth from its sheltered wharves.  We can then imagine somewhat the high hopes, mingled likely with fear that lodged in the young Irishman’s heart as the “Morning Star” hoisted her anchor, slid out form the harbor and was soon lost to view upon the broad Atlantic.

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Now those were still the days of sailing ships, when most of the progress upon the high seas was at the whim of the winds.  Ships, however, went and returned, but some of the journeys were long and the whaling ships especially did not usually return until their holds were full of oil.  The time out for a whaler might be long or short, depending upon her luck.

So in the spring of 1859, after some 20 months upon the seas, the “Morning Star” and her crew, having rounded the Horn (Cape Horn on the tip of South America) were coming in the equatorial whaling fields west of Ecuador.  Brown and tanned were the crew from the long sail, and Bill, two years older, was now an able seaman.

Captain Norton kept his boat in spic and span shape and yet there was time for pranks and horseplay. One bright sunny day Bill was stretched out upon a cooper’s horse (I don’t know what this is) fast asleep.  A Portuguese seaman seized the lad by the feet and yanked him off onto the hard deck. This was a little too much for Bill’s ready Irish temper and a fistfight started at once.  The Portuguese was getting a good drubbing when the second mate, also a Portuguese, came to his countryman’s aid.  Bill was soon reinforced and a smashing fight was fast making the deck a lively place when the captain appeared and a few rough oath and threats soon brought peace. Outward peace at least for a while and bill soon forgot the incident, not so the second mate, whose memory was strengthened by a closed eye.

But the cruise had been unsuccessful and as the ship, day after day rested upon the placid tropical sea, with never a spouting whale to break the monotony and inactivity, the men began to fret and grumble. California was only a few hundred miles northwest and men were digging fortunes there of gold.

So as the almost becalmed vessel lay day after day upon the dreamy waters, baked by the vertical sun and drenched by the heavy equatorial dews, the discontent grew and flourished and soon gave way to mutinous whisperings.

Circumstances too seemed to be their ally for Captain Norton found it necessary to go to the mainland.  The long boat that took him ashore had no sooner returned than the mutinous seamen attempted to seize the ship.  Their leader, a beetle-browed, swarthy giant, who, on several occasions had drawn the captain’s reprimand for his laziness, leaped upon a coil of rope and began to berate the captain and their unprofitable cruise.  He then swung to the gold fields and pictured the big fortunes that men were scooping from the California’s sands.

“As for our captain,” he shouted, “it was a piece of luck that took him away.  Let us seize the ship and be off to the land of gold!”

While the ugly ruffian had been talking, the crew had been breaking up into two groups, one around the mate and the wheel, while the other crowded about the mutinous villain.  At a command from their leader this last group made a rush for the ropes, unfurled and trimmed the sails for northwest travel.  Although the sea was quiet there was breeze enough to slowly start the whaler and as the ship made a quarter turn and seemed to head toward the north, wild shouts of joy broke from the mutinous bunch. Their joy was short lived however, for the mate, surrounded by the loyal seamen had set the wheel and the vessel continued to turn and was soon moving in a great circle. The group about the mate then sent up a lusty cheer.  Of these men none shouted more loudly than Bill, loyal to his captain and ship.

At this turn of affairs the rebellious group began to snarl like a pack of wolves, desiring, yet afraid to attack.  Thus the two forces faced each other, and it looked as though there would be broken heads aplenty, before the fray was ended.

This deadlock was soon broken, however, for one of the renegades called the leader’s attention to the two longboats.  The decision was quickly made and the rascals were soon launching the larger of these two boats.  With excited haste they then broke into the ship’s stores and stocked the long boat with provisions.  Keenly the loyal men about their mate watched the mutineers, content to let them go if they did not harm the ship.

So with parting jeers and curses flung at the loyal men, the long boat pushed off from the whaler and headed northward, where far distant the blue sea and the blue sky met and mingled.

The tenseness drooped away from the little band upon the deck. They relaxed and walked about the ship.  They took deep breaths and stretched like men who had long endured a cramped position.  Some of them began to straighten up the ship as the mate swung the vessel toward the main land and the captain.

When Captain Norton came on board and was told of the mutiny great sea-oaths rolled across the deck and he commanded that he be set ashore at once.  Very shortly a Peruvian gunboat shot out from the harbor and started in pursuit of the mutinous band.

Tho his temper was somewhat cooled upon his return to the vessel, the captain began to question the mate about the rebellious outbreak.  This officer, seeing a chance to even an old grudge at once accused Bill and another seaman as the instigators of the plot.  Still smoldering with anger the captain did not seem to sense the incongruity of believing that the inciters of the mutiny would have remained loyally at their posts.

Perhaps he welcomed the chance to dissipate his anger and set an example for the remaining seaman.  So it would seem for he gave orders that the older seaman should be flogged. This man, tho entirely innocent of any part in the mutiny, was then bound hand and foot and made to kneel over a coil of rope while the captain and mate belabored him with rope ends.  Great angry welts, crossing and merging began to rise upon the man’s naked back.  It was a brutal affair and within a few minutes the man was prostrate with pain and agony.

Then turning to Bill the captain gave him the choice of taking a similar beating or of being set ashore upon one of the Galapagos Islands.  The lad realized that it would do no good to proclaim his innocence.  He was confronted by a very angry captain and a vengeful mate.  Choosing what he hoped was the lesser of the two evils; Bill asked that he be set upon the island.

Take the map of South America and some five hundred miles due west from the coast of Equador and directly under the equator you will find the Galapagos Islands.  They are a numerous group of volcanic formation, varying in size from that of a small farm to one hundred miles or more in length.  One of the largest of these is called Charles Island.  For many years the country of Equador had been using this island as a place to banish its dangerous criminals.  In 1851 these desperate men seized a vessel that put into the single harbor for water, murdered all of the crew excepting the mate whom they kept for a guide and set sail hoping to escape.  They were, however, soon picked up by a gunboat, shot like wild beasts and thrown into the sea.  This ended the placing of convicts upon Charles Island.

Ships that needed meat or water occasionally stopped.  Near the single harbor was a spring of good water and some cattle and jack-asses still roamed the island.

Shaped by the hand of fate, it was upon this island, deserted and of gruesome memory that the captain placed Bill McDonough.  With a shirt, a pair of overalls, a belt, a knife, and a plug of tobacco as his sole possessions, he was thrown from the boat and forced to swim and wade ashore.

As the ship sailed away the lad found himself upon a rocky, uninhabited island of the sea that had been the abode of desperate criminals.  He was hundreds of miles from the main land, in an unfrequented part of the ocean, without food, shelter or adequate means of defense.  Harsh and stern circumstances were these.  Circumstances to make the heart turn pale and reason vacate its throne.  But to the young Irishman’s credit were the courage and hardness of fighting ancestors and the ruggedness of soul and body that clean, hard years had developed.

Once before, Bill had seen this convict island as the Northern Star had put in for water.  As the young man now stood upon the hot lava shore with the tropical sun above him, he thought of the spring that was somewhere upon the opposite western end.  Water must be have soon and Bill set out to follow the coast around as the surest way of finding the spring. But unused to walking he soon found himself tiring and getting thirsty.  He had already noted hat the rock hollows contained small quantities of water.  Recalling the heavy tropical dews in came to the lad that perhaps this was fresh water.  It this were true, it was safe to drink.  Bill’s terrible thirst soon made it easy for him to believe that this water had collected from the cooled atmosphere and so bending down he drank generously.  But the water was not form the dew but from the spray of storm waves and so salty and brackish.  The lad found that he had made his thirst doubly worse.

So tortured by a terrible thirst and the fear that he might not reach the water in time, the young man prayed and stumbled on.  Above him was the hot burning sun and under his feet was the hot lava rock.  His mouth became feverish and dry. His tongue began to swell.  The sharp obsidian rock hurt and burned his bare feet.  Under the lash o such torture, delirium soon set in and it was well that the lad had made his decision to follow the coast until he came to the spring.  Half crazed tho he was, he managed somehow to keep to the shoreline, babbling and cursing as he went.  An especially sharp piece of lave cut an ugly, jagged gash in the side of his foot.  This wound grew rapidly worse and greatly hampered his progress.  Proud flesh soon appeared, yet a spark of reason and memory remained, for Bill attempted to nurse the sore by putting tobacco on it.

Delirious as he was, Bill soon lost all count of time and has no idea how long it took him to round the island and come at last to the spring. So weak was he by this time that he was crawling on his hands and knees.  So as he came to the water hole he lunged forward and thrust both hands and fore arms into the water.  This revived him somewhat and also served to cool his blood so that presently he sat up.

Nearby lay a champagne bottle with the top and part of its neck broken off.  Grasping this bottle, Bill thrust it into the spring and began to gulp down the water.  Nine times he drained the makeshift glass before his thirst was for the moment appeased. Then after a rest he drank two more glasses.  Luckily this large amount of water drunk so quickly did the lad no harm and soon he was thinking about food.

Roaming about the island was a bunch of cattle and a few jackasses, left from the days of the Equador convicts.  The cattle were wild, but one of the jackasses was tame enough so Bill laid hands upon him and killed him with his jackknife.  There were no means of building a fire so that the meat had to eaten raw, and under the equatorial sun the whole carcass soon began to putrefy.  Yet driven by hunger, that most tyrannical of all masters, the lad was forced to eat the stinking flesh.

So the days passed while Bill learned to catch and eat raw the small red crabs that crawled from the surf upon the shore to sun themselves.  But all the time even when searching for food the young man was scanning the horizon and hoping for a ship that might come for water or meat.

Thus a week passed after reaching the spring.  A week spent in searching for food and more anxious searching for a sail.  There was no shelter near the spring so day and night the lad was under the scorching sun or wet by the copious tropical dews. For a time the lad had tried to stalk the cattle, but these had been made too wild by well-armed meat hungry sailors.  Bill then thought that eventually the cattle would be driven to the spring for water, and he might possibly knock one of them over with a club or stone. Perhaps the cattle knew of another water hole somewhere inland, for not once during Bill’s stay did they come near his spring.  Thus much of the time when not hunting the tiny red crabs, the lad sat hunched upon the shore and stared out at sea.

So like the first, a second week crawled by.  The young man still searched the horizon for a ship, but bitter despair was creeping into his heart.  The short tropical days saw the sunrise from the Pacific, burn across the blue domed sky only to sink again into the western waters and bring the quick darkness.  The nights were the hardest to bear.  With the coming of darkness the island quickly cooled off and the dew began to collect and tho of equal duration with the days the nights were long and dismal.

Then began the third week with its desperate monotony of hunting for red crabs, looking for a ship and trying to sleep thru the long nights.  So it was on the morning of the 16th day, after Bill had reached the spring that a sail appeared in the hazy distant northwest.  With throbbing heart and utter absorption, the lad watched the sail and soon knew from its increasing size that the ship was coming toward the island.  It they were looking for meat or water, they would put into the small harbor near the spring and his rescue would be easy.  But perhaps the ship was coming in the general direction of the island and had no reason for stopping.  Terrified by this thought, Bill pulled off his shirt, tied it to a broken limb and made ready to signal the ship if it came near enough.  But now the whole vessel was visible and seemed to be riding straight for the island.  Enchanted by the sight of the oncoming ship the lad forgot himself and the strange sight that he made, barefoot and shirtless, hair disheveled, and face browned and haggard by exposure and suffering.  The great vessel rode into the harbor, came to anchor at a safe depth and lowered a big side boat for coming ashore.

The big ship proved to be the Mary Francis of Warren (New Jersey I think) and she was in need of meat and water.  The captain, Charles Ruhl, listened to Bill’s story and took him on board and gave him treatment for his foot.  Infection of some kind had gotten into the lad’s cut foot and a great energy lump of proud flesh stuck out from the wound. Yet in the joy and comfort at being rescued, Bill forgot the pain and soreness of his foot and was an ideal patient.  The trusty old ship doctor soon had the proud flesh reduced and the wound healing rapidly.

The Mary Francis of Warren supplied with fresh water and meat, nosed its way southward along the coast.  Bill was now working with the crew, who readily accepted him as an able seaman as well as a man of adventure. Not so the captain and two mates who were wondering just how big a part the rescued man had played in the mutiny of the Morning Star.  These officers kept a close watch over Bill.

The winds were favorable and after a few days of pleasant sailing the Mary Francis came to the Chilean harbor of Takahanna.  As the ship swung in toward the quiet waters of the harbor another boat was putting out to sea, and as it drew near it was seen to be the Northern Star.  Upon this discovery Captain Ruhl immediately ordered his to place itself in the path of the Northern Star while the long boat was lowered to take the rescued mutineer back to his own ship.  At this news Bill was sick with terror and making his way to the captain implored him to keep him on the Mary Francis.  The lad protested his innocence and declared his intention of jumping into the sea rather than returning to the Northern Star.

Captain Ruhl was impressed by the young Irishman’s earnestness.  He countermanded his orders and the Mary Francis Steamed on into the harbor of Takahanna.  This harbor boasted an American council and to him Captain Ruhl made report that on March 22nd he had picked up an American seaman, cast upon Charles Island for alleged mutiny.  Surprise and interest chased themselves across the counsel’s face as he took down this report and then turned back in his logue and read from Captain Norton’s report how the Northern Star had placed an American seaman, Bill McDonough, on March 4th, 1859, upon Charles Island for inciting mutiny.

Thus was established the fact that Bill was some 18 days upon the convict island, and a feeling of respect softened the demeanor of Captain Ruhl as he told the Irish lad of these two reports.  Furthermore he offered to take the lad with him free of fare.  Wages and not mere transportation were, however, what Bill wished, so thanking the captain he left the ship in search of a new berth.

The lad soon joined the crew of a local freighter ship and the next few months passed quietly, filled with the daily task of trimming the sails before the wind and keeping the ship in order.  Too tranquil was the life perhaps for when the ship finally put in at Santos, Brazil the lad exchanged to the deck of a trading ship for the boss job of a grading gang. The Sao Paulo railroad was under construction and Bill had charge of a gang of native workmen.  Here for a time, was the excitement and activity that the young Irishman craved.  This bunch of indolent laborers had to be cussed and kicked into continuous activity by day and threatened or pacified into peace at night.

The rugged will and constitution of the young sailor lad fitted him well for this job and he enjoyed it, yet exciting and alluring news was being received from the homeland.  Abraham Lincoln had been elected president.  The South had seceded and the Civil War was on.  Bill and his over-boss discussed the situation and decided that something should be done.  It was English gold and an English company that was building the railroad. This was likely a contributing stimulus to the ardent Northern sentiment that the tow Irishmen felt.  So a huge flag of the stars and strips was secretly made and on a dark night nailed above a jutting crag that arose some 15 hundred feet above the harbor of Santos. Visible for miles around and far out to sea the flag created much excitement and conjecture and the English masters were especially indignant.

But the mere making and floating of the stars and stripes in a foreign land while his adopted country was at war was not at all satisfying to Bill.  So, after six months of construction work he joined the crew of a British ship bound for Europe but scheduled to touch at West Indies.

Uneventful was the northern run, but upon reaching the West Indies things began to happen.  During the whole journey Bill’s anxiety to get home and learn about the war had been increasing prodigiously and the young man had no intention of staying longer with the crew.

The British ship had put into Aquan Bay, a harbor of San Domingo and was taking on a load of logwood.  During one of his shore leaves Bill had located an American boat in another part of the bay that was to sail soon for a New England port. A friendship was quickly struck up with a member of the crew and plans were made.

The next morning as Bill was about to raise the union jack he suddenly went Berserk and proceeded to dance a hornpipe upon the British flag.  He was quickly seized and dragged before the captain who reprimanded him sharply and would have placed him in irons but for the lack of men.  As it was the captain kept a sharp eye on him and the Irish lad knew better that to ask for a shore leave that evening.

It was a dark night and the darkness came early for it was the month of the spring equinox.  On board the English ship as the hour of nine approached, a shadowy figure separated itself from one of the darkest corners of the deck, crept to the edge of the ship and slid over the side.  Hand over hand the figure worked itself a long until a rope leading diagonally up from the water was encountered.  With hands and legs about this rope the figure began to slide toward the sea, where a ten-ton boat lay anchored and half full of water.  The captain had thought that the Irish lad might try to escape.

Bill was surprised to find the water in the boat, but he hesitated only a moment. Then cutting the anchoring rope he waded out into the deep water in the middle of the boat, seized a floating board and slowly began paddling the big boat away form the ship.  The ease with which this was accomplished at first surprised the lad.  He soon had the answer for the tides were running and the boat moved without any effort on his part.  Panic then gripped the boy. If this was the outgoing tide he would be swept out to sea.  Pale faced and trembling the lad stood up and stared at the ship he was leaving and then searched for that part of the harbor where the American boat was anchored.  With a prayer of thankfulness the young man sank down upon the stern for the tide was carrying him slowly in the very direction he would go.

After a few minutes of progress, Bill took out his matches as he thought of the signal that he was to give his friend. Yet here was a new difficulty, for in wading in after his board paddle he had soaked his matches and they were useless.  Presently the boat began to move more slowly and Bill knew that the water was growing more shallow.  Plunging into the water of the boat, Bill located the vent plug, kicking and pulling at this he finally got it out and the boat sank in about six feet of water.

The young man then struck out for the shore near where his friend had promised to watch for him. Fearing possible detection and capture, Bill crouched low upon the sandy shore and looked carefully about him.  A few rods to his right stood out a dark object that might be a man, a friend or foe, so Bill played a waiting game.  Presently this figure stirred a bit and whispered, “Bill is that you?”  The lad returned the call and soon the two men were skulking down the shore.  As they rounded a big sand dun they came upon a small ship boat and were soon clambering up the dark of the American vessel.

The captain was quite willing to help the boy escape the British vessel so Bill was hid in the ship’s hold.

In the early light of the next morning the American ship, whose cargo was complete, began to make her way out of the harbor.  The scarcely risen sun had not yet lifted, the night haze from the harbor and before the captain knew if he had fouled the anchor chains of the British ship. The English captain, his temper already short because of the escape of his seaman and the loss of his boat, cursed and threatened the American captain for his carelessness and even accused him of probable complicity in aiding his damned Irish seaman to escape.  Little did the angry British captain know how close to the truth he had come, and that down in the hold of that out-going ship his escaped sailor was wondering if the delay and heated altercation concerned himself.

That affair, however, soon sent itself in words and the American ship backed off the fouled anchor chains, shifted its course a bit and was soon outside the harbor and northward bound.

Fully at home in this rollicking, danger-scorning regiment was Bill McDonough, the sailor.  Hiding on the false deck of the American ship, Dahlia of Brewer, Bill had ridden out from the Sandomingo harbor.  Most American vessels of that time were fitted to do smuggling along with their legitimate shipping.  Some four of five feet beneath the real deck a second one was laid but carefully concealed.  Here the high duty goods were placed if possible and so taken into port duty free.  Climbing out from such a hiding place on the afternoon of the day of his escape, Bill found himself sailing for Boston.  It was the month of January and coming from the tropics Bill was hardly clothed for the season.  The boy had left the English ship barefoot and hatless, clad only in a shirt and a pair of light trousers.  In a big handkerchief tied around his neck, he had carried his money and a few treasures.  The captain’s wife knit him some socks and mittens, admiring members of the crew contributed and soon Bill was ready to great a New England winter.

Some time in March 1862, the Dahlia of Brewer unloaded its logwood at Boston.  Bill had expected to leave the ship here, but he had found warm friends and the New England Coast is not especially hospitable in March, so he shipped to Bangor, Maine.  Here the ship took on a load of lumber, bailed hay and brick for the little French Island of St. Pierre, off the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

This island is just a big rock that rises above the water from the Newfoundland banks.  The sole occupation of the inhabitants is the catching and drying of codfish. Here Bill saw fishing smacks (small boats) like great flocks of wild pigeons. Upon the rock shore the dried fish were stacked in long high racks very much like hemlock bark, but in such tremendous quantities that bark even in New York State in the late 1850’s seemed scarce in comparison.

With a load of Nova Scotia coal the Dahlia of Brewer sailed back to New York.  It was now June and Bill, getting his discharge and pay, came home to see his mother and relatives who were then living at Shongo, Allegany County.  As a lad of barely 18 Bill had shipped from New Bedford.  He was now past 23.  For five years he had not been home or scarcely heard from home.  Surely it was a glad reunion with much to ask and much to tell.

But Bill soon grew restless, for in his words, “All of the rest of the young men that were good for anything had gone to war.”  His own brother was already a lieutenant. So we find Bill in the late summer setting out for New York where he intended to enlist on board a man-o-war. (An armed navy-fighting vessel)

Arriving in the city, however, the lad was charmed by the gay posters advertising the formation of a second Zouave regiment.  These men wore red fez rapped about with a white turban, a red trimmed blue jacket and red bloomers.  The lad looked up the recruiting office and in no time at all he was wearing the gay uniform himself.  So Bill McDonough, the sailor and soldier of fortune, became Bill McDonough the “fighting red devil” of the 165th regiment, New York Volunteers, 2nd Zauaves, Company F.

Many a housewife can remember when the gloss starch package bore the firm name of Duryee.  Duryee was a wealthy starch manufacturer on Long Island.  At the opening of the Civil War he raised and equipped the first regiment of Duryee’s Zouaves and went to the front as their colonel.  In the late summer of 1862 a second regiment of Duryee’s Zouaves was raised and sent as the rhymed history tells, to New Orleans.

“Listen Zouavers and a song I’ll sing to you,

Which you will acknowledge to be but strictly true;

It’s all about a regiment that was raised in New York

And brought down to New Orleans to live on beans and pork

Chorus

“Young men, Zouavers, I pray you all beware

Leave off your charging and fight upon the square,

For the grape shot are plenty and the rebs they are nigh,

So jump upon the paraget and root hog or die.

Wee marched fifteen or twenty miles on a dusty road

Till we came near the rebs as their secesh footprints showed

The battery unlimbered and in the woods they poured

And the rebs they sky-doodled, they did upon my word.”

So runs the rude rhymes of the poetical historian for the 165th regiment, New York State Volunteers.  Omitting the chorus, there are 37 bold and boisterous verses that breath the daredevil spirit of the Second Duryee’s Zouaves.  (I have no idea who wrote this)

Commodore David Farragut during the previous April had captured New Orleans.  This big Southern city had to be policed and the surrounding country protected from small detachments and guerilla bands of Southern troops.  For a few months this duty fell largely on the 165th regiment.

But big things were happening farther up the river Mississippi.  General Grant and Commodore Foote had captured the forts, Donaldson and Henry.  The Northern forces controlled the whole of Mississippi with the exception of Vicksburg and Port Hudson.  Vicksburg was considered by the South to be impregnable.  Situated on a high cliff at a great bend of the Mississippi, its guns commanded the river for miles in each direction.  Indeed it was called “the Gibraltar of the West.”  General Grant, however, invested the city and especially directed his attack from the south.  At the same time troops were brought up from New Orleans and vicinity and Port Hudson was placed under siege.  Among these latter troops were the Duryee Zouraves.  It thus became a race to see which place could be captured first.

Now the fortress of Port Hudson was built somewhat after the fashion of a medieval castle from the fact that it had a deep moat filled with water surrounding it.  It was late May and after pounding the fortress with shot and shell, the Zouavers were ordered to charge the fort.  With a cheer Bill and his comrades arose from their cover and rushed for the fort.  But the Southern guns had not been silenced and a perfect hail of grape and canister was poured into their ranks.  The “Red Devils” closed up their spaces and charged on.  Six of their officers fell, 100 of their men were killed or wounded.  Thru his field glasses the Union commander saw that the encounter was hopeless and the order to retreat was sounded.  Gathering up their wounded the Zouaves then fell back to a nearby wood.  The Union forces then settled down to a steady siege of this fortress, breaking the monotony each day with battery fire upon their stronghold.

July came and on the fourth, Vicksburg surrendered.  The news reached Port Hudson and electrified the men.  If their comrades could capture Vicksburg, they could take Port Hudson.  A council of war was held.  General Banks called for 100 men to lead a preparatory charge.  Each man was to carry a 50-pound bag of cotton, a hand grenade and a revolver.  They were to rush to the fortress, toss their sacks of cotton into the moat, throw their grenades over the barricade, draw their revolvers if still alive and crossing on the cotton filled moat, take refuge close under the walls. So hazardous and desperate was this plan that it was called “the forlorn hope.”  To encourage volunteers, Congress was to give each man a medal for bravery.

One hundred men stepped forward.  One of these was William McDonough.

Once before this, a whole army had charged the fortress and better than 100 men had been shot down.  Now they were asking for a bare 100 to do it alone.

Preparations were rapidly made for the charge. Then just before the order was given, the rebs ran up the white flag.  Port Hudson had fallen.  In the words of President Lincoln, “The Father of Waters now rolled unvexed (untroubled) to the sea.”

After the fall of Port Hudson, General Banks loaded his infantry, cavalry and batteries on ships and set out for Brownsville, Texas, which was secession hotbed.  Two Southern leaders, Jake Taylor and Kirby Smith, held indeed the whole southern part of the state over to the Louisiana bourder. These men with their troops were a constant threat to the Union held towns in Western Louisiana. This place was to be captured and the army landed to operate against these two rebel bands.  A plot was picked up at New Orleans who claimed to know the Gulf routes perfectly.  Down the last hundred miles of the Father of Waters, thru the jetties of the delta lands and out into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico sailed this Union army.  For the first two days the weather was balmy and delightful.  The vessel recalled to Bill’s mind his days spent upon the whaling ship, Morning Star.  Upon the third day the clouds began to bank upon the southeastern horizon and a drizzling rain set in.  As night approached this did not abate and a dense fog settled over that portion of the Gulf. No more dismal situation could be imagined that being aboard a crowded transport ship in a steady rain, shut off from the rest of the world by dense fog and darkness.  The pilot for some reason had skirted the rounded coastline of the Gulf and now in the impenetratable fog had to guess at his course.

So the small squadron steamed on into the watery darkness.  It was ten-thirty or eleven in the evening when the head vessel carrying the pilot and leading the way suddenly came to a jolting standstill.  The vessel had rammed something. Men and horses were knocked off their feet. Everything movable rolled as far as it could toward the body of the ship. The engines were reversed but to no purpose.  Whatever it was had a powerful grip on the ship.

Upon investigating with sounding lines it was found that the ship had grounded upon a sand bar. One of the lighter vessels did some scouting work.  Word was soon brought back that the flagship was grounded in Galveston Harbor under the very nose of the rebel guns.

Here was a dilemma indeed.  The flagship, as the largest vessel, carried the officers’ mounts, some 25 or 30 fine horses that had been brought from New York, besides a fair division of the army and many field pieces.  The vessel might have been safely towed off the bar if a towing ship or chain of any length had been available.  There would have been great danger of having both vessels rammed if a short hawser had been used.  No one could tell when the rain might cease and the fog drift away.  Something had to be done and done quickly.  If the vessel could not be loosened from the bar then it would have to be fired and the men placed on the other vessels.  There was not room for the horses on the smaller vessels even if there had been time to reload them.  True the horses, if forced into the water would undoubtedly all find their way to the land.  But there they would fall into the hands of the rebs. This seemed intolerable to the men.  For more than two years these faithful horses had shared with them the dangers and vicissitudes of war.

So the men were all lined up on the bow of the boat and then at the command they would run in a compact body to the other end.  Halting here they would time their return rush so as to increase the vibrations or rocking of the boat.  This was continued for a time while the engines were raced in reverse.  The boat was soon rising and falling thru a generous arc, but beyond a certain point, it could not be increased.  The ship was too heavy and the treacherous bar held it firmly.

General Banks and his officers gathered for a short council.  Already the rain had ceased and the fog might start dispensing at any moment. They decided to take heroic measures to save the ship. And so while every man who had a horse aboard the ship shut himself into the cabin, the infantry soldiers led those noble beasts to the edge of the boat, cut their throats and shoved them over into the waters of the Gulf.

Every mounted office aboard the ship felt that he had been a murderous traitor to his best friend.  Yet the danger was imminent, making prompt action necessary and the best decision difficult.

With the ship thus lightened the soldiers again rocked the boat with their rushing from stern to bow, and presently the vessel shot back into the deeper water entirely free from the bar.

Nothing so changes circumstances as rank disaster. The vessel had been saved, but at such cost, and panic that the decision was quickly reached to return to New Orleans.  The unfortunate pilot was the center of the darkest suspicions.  Perhaps he was a Southern sympathizer and had deliberately planned to ground the ship and place it at the mercy of the reb cannon. The hooter heads talked of throwing the man overboard while the more conservative considered court martial.  But a pilot was necessary if the squadron was to safely reach New Orleans so the man was not molested save for bitter looks and harsh curses.

Thus came to naught the Brownsville expedition and the army back in Louisiana was rustling new mounts for its officers.  This was quickly done and General Banks set out upon an expedition into the Tash country west of the city of New Orleans.  This country is one of the richest parts of the fertile alluvial plain of southern Louisiana.  This was a garden and a storehouse for the rebels of the West and its devastation would greatly lesson their activities.

So the expedition moved forward but the expected resistance from the rebs did not materialize. This was too good to continue long.  No one knew just what mischief the enemy was planning.  The great rolling cotton fields close to the west of the Union encampment lay just right to foster a surprise attack.  A reconnoitering party was sent out.  This consisted of a small company of infantrymen supported by a light battery.  Slowly and cautiously the advanced into that rank cotton field and no one challenged their advance. The whole landscape seemed to harbor nothing sinister or threatening.  The men then breathed a little easier, the trip was proving a fine lark.

Then it was that they ran plumb into a scouting party of Johnnies.  Orders rang out sharply on each side.  The light battery swung into action, the men flung themselves on their faces a few feet in front of the guns.  Each side had been surprised and the firing was sharp for a short time.  Then the Reb party slunk away and the Union men returned to their camp.  Bat as they went they carried Bill McDonough. The lad had been hit in the thigh by a shell ring and had an ugly wound.

By all rules and regulations Bill should have been taken to a hospital, but the Zouaves were jealous of their record and wanted no new recruits taking the place of sick regulars.  Thanks again to clean living and rugged constitution, even under crude camp treatment the wound rapidly healed and Bill was soon about.

Then came the battle of Sabines Cross Roads. General Banks had completed the devastation of the Tash country and was moving west to affect a junction with General Steele.  The Rebs were determined to prevent this if possible. Here in the spring of 1864 occurred one of the sharpest engagements of the whole war. In the words of Bill McDonough: “Here it was that the Yankees got a hell of a licking.”

All day the battle raged and on into the night.  The Rebs, infuriated by the destruction of their stores and crops, fought like demons. The wounded and the dead lay where they fell.   The Zouaves had held their ground but the cost had been terrible.  Darkness came and yet the firing did not abate. Bill was just reaching for a percussion cap when a part of a shell or a grape shot hit his gun lock with such force that the gun was completely demolished and the young man was flung to the ground many feet away.  Picking himself up, Bill found that he was bleeding from many small wound caused by the flying splinters of the gun.  Hastily making his way to the rear the young Irishman had his wounds dressed and then returned to the firing line.  Here he picked up a gun dropped by a dead comrade and continued in fighting.

In the early morning the fighting ceased thru the utter exhaustion on each side. But the Union men could not rest then.  There were the dead and wounded to be cared for.  Also they must concentrate their forces and fall back to a better position.

Not far to their north was Pleasant Hill.  To this hill the Union army retreated and dug themselves in.  Located upon the top of this rolling eminence was a big stone and brick building, a seminary for girls.  Surrounding the main building were several smaller buildings placed on short pillars.

The morning dawned peaceful and quiet.  The Rebs were confident that this day would see the annihilation or surrender of the damned Yanks.

So the battle was joined and ragged even more bitter that on the preceding day.  For a time each side was raked with the battery fire of the enemy. Then the Southern battery retired and with a yell the Rebs arose and with fixed bayonets charged the Union line.  No Civil War veteran ever said or even thought in his heart that the Johnnies lacked courage.  Like an angry wave those men came on while shot and grape from the well-chosen Union line mowed down their men.  Sill on they came to the very breastworks, but human endurance, flesh and blood, failed here. It was a miniature Pickett’s charge.  The Reb line crumpled, staggered, hesitated, and tho it could not realize that the charge had failed. Then came the call to fall back and they fled to their cover.

Again the Southern battery pounded the Union line, while their snipers and sharp-shooters tried to pick off the Yanks. Then came a lull and with a yell the gray line with bayonets fixed charged again. It was magnificent, but terrible.  What courage men can display at times.

But it was hopeless. Those boys in blue and red had stopped them once before and were bound to do it again.  The line reached the breastworks as before, but bleeding and wrecked.  Then came then counter charge and the Union men leaped their parapets and the fighting was hand-to-hand.  The Rebs attempted to concentrate and fought desperately.  The Northern men were smarting under the defeat of the yesterday and heated by the reckless charge of the enemy.  No man’s life was worth a penny.

But the Johnnies had spent themselves and soon they were broke and ran.  Some of them took refuge under the small seminary buildings.  These were given no quarters whatever, but were shot or bayoneted where they lay.

At Natchitoches on the Red River in Western Louisiana, the Rebs had located a battery in an inaccessible swamp.  From that point they fired with impunity upon all Union vessels going up or down the river.  They also shelled all of the trains using the river valley.  The Zouaves had been moved to this territory and were striving to find some route or path that would lead to that swamp battery.  But the battery seemed to occupy the only hard and open bit of ground for miles, being surrounded by a dense swamp grass thicket that thinly turfed a quagmire lake.

For ten days the search went on.  The men were beginning to feel that there was something weird and mysterious about that hidden Reb battery. Then their luck changed.  It was two o’clock of a dark night. One of the outer sentries suddenly had that strange premonition that someone was near him.  Peering into the darkness he was sure that some object was approaching.  He was about to give the sentry’s challenge when the soft drawl of a Negro’s voice spoke: “Don’t shoot, boss, I’se got sumpin’ to tell yo’.”

The old slave was allowed to pass thru the lines and was finally led into the heart of the camp.  At first he insisted that he be allowed to tell his story to the “big cap’n” at once, since he must return, “before ol’ mares found that he had left the plantation.” The soldiers soon convinced him that he was now a free man and didn’t have to return to the plantation at all if he didn’t wish to do so.  The old Negro was then given a blanket and was soon sleeping upon the ground.  Led before General Banks in the morning the old slave said he knew of a path that led into the heart of the swamp where the Reb battery was located.

With their new found guide, a company of picked Zouaves soon set out for the swamp.  It developed that the old slave had been for many days carrying food to the men of the battery, and so knew the land perfectly. It was well that he did, for so skillfully had the path been concealed in places and in other places it was so poorly defined and so narrow that the men walking in single file were obliged to practically step in each other’s foot prints.

At last the ground became firmer and by peering thru the thicket the men in advance could see the open space.  Word was passed down the line and with fixed bayonets the Zouaves dashed out into the clearing.  It was a complete surprise.  The Reb gunners were sitting upon some old cracker boxes, smoking and sunning themselves.  None of them were carrying any weapons and before they could scarcely comprehend what had happened, the Zouaves had them surrounded.

The cannon were spiked by driving rat-tailed files into the powder vents and then wheeled into as compact a group as possible.  All of the inflammable material that could then be found was heaped upon their wooden carriages and set on fire.

With their hands bound behind them the prisoners were marched back to the Union camp.  That hidden battery had been a thorn in the flesh of the Zouaves.  Shouts of victory and congratulation now welcomed the victors, while curses and derision greeted the prisoners.  The old slave was loudly praised by the Yanks and cosigned to a terrible death by the villainous looks of the Reb captives.

The next field of operation carried this army of the West to the vicinity of Alexander on the Red River.  Before the war this city had been a large cotton shipping port.  As the Union army came upon the city, they found immense stacks of cotton bales piled upon the wharves.  One of these great heaps had the English Union Jack flying over it, while the others carried the French colors.  It is quite likely that this cotton had actually been paid for by English and French buyers.  Their respective flags had then been raised over them in the hope that they might thus save the cotton until some lucky blockade-runner might carry it off.  Those flags however made the destruction of that cotton, all the more certain and soon the flames and smoke and smell of burning cotton were rolling across the city of Alexander.

But this was only a small part of the work that the Union boys were supposed to accomplish at this new location.  In the early spring, riding upon the freshet waters, a big squadron of Union boats had pushed far up the Red River.  With the coming of summer the river had lowered swiftly.  Not knowing the summer condition of this river the squadron had not made the haste that it should and was now marooned near the city of Alexander. Ships lying in mud are useless.  Furthermore they were in such close quarters that a fire would likely burn every ship.  So the army fell to and constructed a dam across the river that was hinged in the middle and might thus be suddenly opened.

When this dam was finally completed and had filled with water the squadron arranged itself in single file with the largest boats ahead and the smaller ones bringing up the rear. At the given signal the big center doors of the dam were thrown open and on the surging outpour of water the boats dashed over the dam and down the river. It was a strange and dangerous expedient.  There were some 80 boats in all and as the water plunged out of the dam there was a drop of some four or five feet into the riverbed. This drop and the attendant roughness of the water caused the death of four marines who were standing on the deck of an ironclad boat. As this ship made the plunge, these men were unable to cling to the unprotected deck and were swept over the side into the swirling waters.  The boats could not stop. It was high tide, and now or never.  The men were drowned or crushed beneath that line of on-rushing boats. Such are the hazards and fortunes of war.

But the theater of war for the Zouaves and the rest of the army of the West was now to change.  Grant was hammering away at Richmond, proposing to fight it out on this line if it took all summer. His losses were terrible; 60,000 men fell in less than two months.  This necessitated a constant stream of reinforcements.

So we find the Zouaves in the summer 1864 fighting with Grant, south of Richmond.  It was in this position that an engagement occurred that brought to the minds of the Zouaves the swamp-hidden battery on the Red River of Louisiana.  The outer defenses of the Confederate capital on the south, passed thru a low swampy marsh.  In the center of this marsh was a small area of hard ground called Deep Bottom.  Here the Rebs had planted a battery that was very active in the defense of the city. A company of the red-skirted Zouaves was detailed to capture this battery.  This they did and as they spiked the guns the Union boys were surprised to find that there were new cannons, and upon the barrel of each in fresh white paint was written the words: “From Lord and Lady _________, England, to the Southern Confederacy.”

To divert Grant’s attention somewhat from Richmond, Lee sent General Early with 20,000 men to threaten Washington, by the way of the Shenandoah Valley.  Swiftly the Southern army rode up this fertile valley. Circling to the east they came within sight of the dome of the capitol.  Consternation reigned in the city of Washington.  Historians agree that Early could have easily taken the city. But fate had decreed otherwise.  The southern general hesitated for a day and then it was too late, for troops had arrived from Grant’s army for the capitol’s defense.  Early then retired southward, but in a few days made another dash northward thru the Shenandoah Valley, crossed over the Pennsylvania border and burned Chambersburg.

Then it was that General Grant sent General Philip Sheridan with 30,000 men to operate against Early and to lay waste the fruitful, valley that was furnishing Lee’s army and the city of Richmond with supplies.  Bill McDonough and his Zouave comrades were a part of Sheridan’s army.  They met and defeated Early and chased him southward up the valley burning two thousand barns filled with grain and farming tools; 70 mills filled with wheat and flour, besides capturing thousands of sheep and cattle.  Comrade William McDonough remembers that this was a very prosperous and rich farming country.  He especially recalls the giant springs that feed the Shenandoah River.  These springs were so large that one of them alone was sufficient to run a gristmill.

With his victorious army in camp at Cedar Creek, General Sheridan set out for Washington for a brief conference.  Somehow the Rebel commander, Early learned of Sheridan’s absence and collecting his army, made a driving attack upon the Federal camp.  Resting too much upon the laurels of their recent victories, the Union boys were taken by surprise.  A fair portion of the army finally threw itself into battle formation but was being driven slowly back. Certain divisions had been demobilized by this surprise attack and fled.

Now General Sheridan or “Little Phil” as his men called him had completed his business at Washington and was spending the night on his return at Winchester.  In the early hours of the morning he was awakened by the roar of cannon fire off to the south.  Guessing what might be happening he arose, mounted his handsome coal black house, Rienzl, and made thru the flush of the morning light, that famous ride; (Author not stated)

Up from the South at the break of day,

Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,

The affrighted air with a shudder bore,

Like a herald in haste, to the chieftains door.

Telling the battle was on once more,

And Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,

A good, broad highway, leading down,

And there, thru the flush of the morning light,

A steed as black as the steeds of night,

Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,

As if he knew the terrible need,

He stretched away with his utmost speed,

Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,

With Sheridan fifteen miles away

The first that the general saw were the groups

Of stragglers and then the retreating troops,

What was done? What to do? A glance told him both,

Then striking his spurs, with a terrible oath,

He dashed down the line, mid a storm of huzzas,

And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because

The right of the master compelled it to pause

With foam and dust the black charger was grey

By the flash of his eye, and the red nostril’s play

He seemed to the whole great army to say,

“I have brought you Sheridan all the way

From Winchester down to save the day.”

When the news of the assassination of President Lincoln flashed over the country, Comrade McDonough and his regiment were stationed at Ft. Delaware, guarding Rebel prisoners.  Coming at the close of hostilities, removing the one man who might have made the reconstruction period, one of growth in good will and unity, this dastardly deed seemed terrible.  A cry arose that every Southern prisoner should be taken out and shot.  The wisdom of cooler heads prevailed, however, and no such retaliatory measures were taken.

Upon the exchange of prisoners that they were guarding, the Zouaves were sent to Savannah, Ga., to do police duty.  It was here that the regiment came into contact with Negro troops.  Indeed, they were supposed to drill and do guard duty with these colored soldiers.  The Union troops refused to do this.  They had risked their lives in battle, they had faced death in raining battery fire and charged the enemy ramparts to free these slaves, but now they refused to soldier with them.  Called out for inspection the white troops would not keep rank with the colored men, but insisted on advancing or retreating four paces.  Army discipline must be maintained, so these troops were placed in Fort Pulaski, under guard.  Comrade McDonough recalls that the sentries however were in sympathy with these striking soldiers so that it was easy to get out of the fort and stroll about the city.

As much to save their faces as to meet any urgent need, those in command now ordered the Zouaves sent to Charleston, S. C., to do police duty there.  But they fell into more serious trouble here. Within this city was stationed a Negro regiment also.  Word was soon brought to the Northern troops that on a certain night the freed Negroes from all the countryside about Charleston were coming in a mob to the city and joining forces with the colored regiment, they planned to murder all of the Southern people, Investigation proved that such a plot had been organized.

Measures were immediately taken to prevent any such massacre.  So when the mob of Negroes from the neighboring plantations reached the city’s fortifications they were suddenly surrounded by well-armed white soldiers who stripped them of their weapons, took away their loads of watermelons and other food and throwing the fear of instant death into them, made them run for their lives.

Somewhat later in the evening the colored regiment, learning of the dispersal of their brethren, went on the warpath.  The Pavilion hotel was the headquarters for the Northern soldiers. The Negro Regiment turned their guns on this hotel and a lively time ensued.  But the Northern boy had seen too much service to be greatly surprised by this turn of affairs.  Fighting had been their business for several years now. So what was more natural than to return this attack and do as good a job as possible.  The Negro regiment was soon running full as fast as had their plantation brothers earlier in the evening.

But under investigation it was determined that the Zouaves had returned the Negro fire and entered joyfully into the fight without the sanction or command of superior officers.  Indeed they had been firing upon another Union regiment. Something had to be done.  A council of superior officers was held and the decision reached that the Zouaves should be marched to city wharves, their colors taken from them and the whole regiment imprisoned in the demolished Fort Sumpter.  Somehow the details of their punishment reached the Zouaves and they did some planning themselves. Certain it is that as they marched forth the next day and were called upon to hand over their colors, their standard- bearers stepped forth and presented bare staffs, minus flags.

“What does this mean?  Where are your colors,” roared the commanding officer.

Now, every regiment carries two flags, its state flag and the national flag.  So in answer to this mandatory question one of the standard bearers stepped forward and saluting the officer said:

“Sir, the Zouaves know that they acted hastily in returning the colored regiment’s fire. They bow in submission before a just punishment.  But, sir, do you know that those colors have led us for the past three years.  They went before us in the desperate charge at Port Hudson.  They carried us to victory in the bloody fighting at Pleasant Hill.  Those flags never wavered in the deadly assaults upon Richmond.  They chased Early up the Shenandoah Valley.  Those banners led us to victory when “Little Phil” shouted: “Turn boys, we’re going back.”  And, air do you know that six brave men, who carried those emblems, made the supreme sacrifice?  Sir, do you think that the Zouaves would surrender to foe or friend our flags, emblems of our regiment’s supreme courage, patriotism and sacrifice?”

The color bearer saluted again and stepped back into line.  There were tears in many men’s eyes. With a bow and a sweep of his hand the commanding officer motioned the regiment toward the waiting boats.  The men embarked and were carried out into Charleston Harbor and placed upon the little rocky island where stood the pounded heap that was once Fort Sumpter.

But what of the regiment’s colors?  Well, the visitor to our state capitol will find the flags of Duryee’s Zouaves carefully preserved under glass and resting in a place of honor with other victorious and battle-scarred flags of our state.

The war is over.  The prisoners are exchanged.  The soldiers are mustered out of service.  One of these soldiers carries a special parchment discharge for meritorious conduct, and the name it bears is William McDonough.

Out of the 975 brave men and officers who joined this Zouave regiment only 375 were mustered out that September morning in 1865.  At a grand reunion in the spring of 1920 this number had dwindled to 57.  The living members of that fighting regiment must today be small, indeed, likely a mere handful.  Andover then, is unique and proud of the fact.

So, at the age of 26, William McDonough, the Irish immigrant, the bound boy, the toe-path driver, the whaler, sailor and man of adventure, the Civil War veteran, became again a railroad man.  Not in South American this time but for the Lake Shore in Pennsylvania, U. S. A.

While working for this railroad William McDonough became acquainted with Miss Anna Kane, of Kane. Pa.  These two young people were married in 1872.  Fifty-seven years of happy wedded life on the third day of last April, another unusual incident in the live of a remarkable man and his good wife.

To this home were born eight children, five boys and three girls, seven of whom are alive today.  John and Jim, like their father, answered the call of the soldiers’ life.  John is a veteran of the Spanish American war while Jim was for nearly three years in the Marines including World War I.

After 35 years William McDonough and his family lived on a farm in Rexville in Steuben County.  A good soldier makes a good citizen.  For three terms this man served his town as road commissioner and one term assessor.

At the age of 75 it came to William McDonough that perhaps he had earned the right to take life a little quieter and easier.  So 16 years ago the sixth of this November, he and his wife moved ion their present home on Dyke Street in Andover.

(The End)

This is quite a story; it would make one heck of a movie.  Is it all true, I don’t know.  But I can tell you this:  William McDonough age 23 enlisted on September 15, 1862 at New York City to serve three years; mustered in as a Pvt. of Co. D and switched to Co. F of the 165th Regiment of the New York State Volunteers, the same day on November 28, 1862. He was in the following battles: Port Hudson where he was wounded June 14, 1863, battle of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Kaine River, Winchester, Fishers Hill, Cedar Creek and Deep Bottom.  William McDonough mustered out with his company September 1, 1865 at Charleston, S. C.

On December 22, 1932 William McDonough’s exciting life came to an end.  He was 93 years old.  He was laid to rest at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Andover, with full military honors, which he earned and deserved.  In December 22, 1939 his lovely wife Anna went to join her husband at the Gate of Heaven.

Here is a poem written by Fancies Miles Finch, which is very fitting for this story.

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY


By the flow of the inland river,

Whence the fleets of iron have fled,

Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver

Asleep are the ranks of the dead:

Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the Judgment Day,

Under the one, the Blue;

Under the other, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours,

The desolate mourners go,

Lovingly laden with flowers,

Alike for the friend and the foe;

Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the Judgment Day:

Under the roses, the Blue;

Under the lilies, the Gray.



So, with an equal splendor

The morning sun-ray fall,

With a touch impartially tender,

On the blossoms blooming for all:

Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the Judgment Day:

Broidered with gold, the Blue

Mellowed with gold, the Gray.



So, when the summer calleth

On forest and field of grain,

With an equal murmur falleth

The cooling drip of the rain:

Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the Judgment Day:

Wet with the rain, the Blue

Wet with the rain, the Gray



No more shall the war-cry sever,

Or the winding rivers be red;

They banish our anger forever

When they laurel the graves of our dead:

Under the sod and the dew,

Love and tears for the Blue;

Tears and love for the Gray.

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