Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

XXVIII
THADDEUS STEVENS,--A CLOSER VIEW

FROM Mechanicsville Turnpike on June 1st, 1862, General Pickett wrote to his fiancée: "I have heard that my dear old friend McClellan is lying ill about ten miles from here. May some loving soothing hand minister to him. He was, he is and he will always be, even were his pistol pointed at my heart, my dear loved friend. May God bless him and spare his life."1 And one year later: "No, my dear, there is something radically wrong about my Hurrahism. I can fight for a cause I know to be just, can risk my own life and the lives of those in my keeping without a thought of the consequences; but when we've conquered, when we've downed the enemy and won the victory I don't want to hurrah. I want to go off all by myself and be sorry for them. . . ."2

When Lee's advancing hosts were surging up through Pennsylvania, Pickett again wrote: "Yesterday my men were marching victoriously through the little town of Greencastle, the bands all playing our glorious soul-inspiring Southern airs. . . . As Floweree's band playing 'Dixie' was passing a vine-bowered home, a young girl rushed out on the porch and waved a United States flag. Then, either fearing that it might be taken from her, or finding it too large and unwieldly, she fastened it around her as an apron, and taking hold of it on each side and waving it in defiance, called out with all the strength of her girlish voice and all the courage of her brave young heart:

"'Traitors--traitors--traitors, come and take this flag, the man of you who dares!'

"Knowing that many of my men were from a section of the country which had been within the enemy's lines, and fearing lest some might forget their manhood, I took off my hat and bowed

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