Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/124

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116 Southern Historical Society Papers.

and two childer, like McMahon, over there, to be clinging to ye and begging ye not to lave 'em. Be me soul, I'm glad I've nowun. If I get kilt me people will never know what became of me, and the only monument I'll get will be an entry on the Company books Killed in battle, Mike Morrisy and that's not me thrue name, at that."

All aboard! The pilot has signaled the engineer, the shrill whistle gives warning that all is in readiness, the hawser is cast loose and the palatial steamer gracefully swings out into the stream. Nine hun- dred soldiers, five or six hundred of whom wore brilliant red caps and baggy trousers, cover the forecastle, the main upper deck and every spot available, except the cabin, which is reserved for the for- ty-five officers. A pretty picture was the majestic steamer, with its living cargo, as the gold lace and red and blue colors of the uni- forms flashed in the evening sunlight, to elicit thunders of applause from immense crowds at points of vantage all along the city's front. Cannon saluted the departing soldiers as the boat passed the bar- racks; bells tolled out their sad farewells, and steam whistles shrieked shrilly and wildly. When the boat reached the upper limits of the city I noticed that every eye was turned cityward, and every face saddened at the thought of leaving home and friends. Ah, soldiers, take a long farewell look at your beloved Crescent City fading in the twilight. Feast your eyes once again on the crescent-shaped place of your birth, and the land of your fathers, for when the great steamer turns yon bend you will have passed from its life, many of you, forever. Even to you few who survive the dreadful carnage, will all be changed. Returning weary, emaciated, warworn, aye, limbless, you will find social, political and economic conditions far different from what you knew them, and the conqueror's steady tramp will be heard resounding through streets you proudly and bravely trod in the heyday of your military career. Turn away, soldiers, your city is no longer visible. The taps have sounded. Good-night.

Well, we are off at last. Off to where battles are being fought and where heroes are developed, and every officer and enlisted man in the Thirteenth is eager and anxious to participate in the fray. The all-absorbing desire is to reach a battlefield before the war closes. " It cannot possibly last longer than six months," say the wise ones. 4 ' Were not Mason and Slidell taken from an English ship and will not Great Britain avenge the gross insult to her flag ? " With an Eng- lish fleet at their doors and Southerners at the heels of their soldiers.