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Title: With Lee in Virginia A Story of the American Civil War
Author: G. A. Henty
Posting Date: June 1, 2012 [EBook #2805] Release Date: September, 2001 [Last updated: September 21, 2013]
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WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA
A Story Of The American Civil War.
by G. A. Henty
My Dear Lads:
The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America possesses a peculiar interest for us, not only because it was a struggle between two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, but because of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contest with an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority, but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms and munitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities still differ as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believed that the States having voluntarily united, retained the right of withdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantage to do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appeal to arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war the struggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon the general population. But later on the character of the war changed, and the Federal armies carried wide-spread destruction wherever they marched. Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over the conduct of the conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosity altogether unexampled in history, a complete amnesty being granted, and none, whether soldiers or civilians, being made to suffer for their share in the rebellion. The credit of this magnanimous conduct was to a great extent due to Generals Grant and Sherman, the former of whom took upon himself the responsibility of granting terms which, although they were finally ratified by his government, were at the time received with anger and indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course of a single volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicated operations of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to the central point of the great struggle—the attempts of the Northern armies to force their way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart of the Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in these campaigns, I have burdened my story with as few details as possible, it being my object now, as always, to amuse as well as to give instruction in the facts of history.
G. A. HENTY.
Chapter 1. A Virginian Plantation. Chapter 2. Buying a Slave. Chapter 3. Aiding a Runaway. Chapter 4. Safely Back. Chapter 5. Secession. Chapter 6. Bull Run. Chapter 7. The Merrimac and the Monitor. Chapter 8. McClellan's Advance. Chapter 9. A Prisoner. Chapter 10. The Escape. Chapter 11. Fugitives. Chapter 12. The Bush-Whackers. Chapter 13. Laid Up. Chapter 14. Across the Border. Chapter 15. Fredericksburg. Chapter 16. The Search for Dinah. Chapter 17. Chancellorsville. Chapter 18. A Perilous Undertaking. Chapter 19. Free. Chapter 20. The End of the Struggle.
WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA:
A STORY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
CHAPTER I. A VIRGINIAN PLANTATION.
"I won't have it, Pearson; so it's no use your talking. If I had my way you shouldn't touch any of the field hands. And when I get my way—that won't be so very long—I will take good care you sha'n't. But you sha'n't hit Dan."
"He is not one of the regular house hands," was the reply; "and I shall appeal to Mrs. Wingfield as to whether I am to be interfered with in the discharge of my duties."
"You may appeal to my mother if you like, but I don't think that you will get much by it. I tell you you are a deal too fond of that whip, Pearson. It never was heard of on the estate during my father's time, and it sha'n't be again when it comes to be mine, I can tell you. Come along, Dan; I want you at the stables."
So saying, Vincent Wingfield turned on his heel, and followed by Dan, a negro lad of some eighteen years old, he walked off toward the house, leaving Jonas Pearson, the overseer of the Orangery estate, looking after him with an evil expression of face.
Vincent Wingfield was the son of an English officer, who, making a tour in the States, had fallen in love with and won the hand of Winifred Cornish, a rich Virginian heiress, and one of the belles of Richmond. After the marriage he had taken her home to visit his family in England; but she had not been there many weeks before the news arrived of the sudden death of her father. A month later she and her husband returned to Virginia, as her presence was required there in reference to business matters connected with the estate, of which she was now the mistress.
The Orangery, so called from a large conservatory built by Mrs. Wingfield's grandfather, was the family seat, and the broad lands around it were tilled by upward of two hundred slaves. There were in addition three other properties lying in different parts of the State. Here Vincent, with two sisters, one older and one younger than himself, had been born. When he was eight years old Major and Mrs. Wingfield had gone over with their children to England, and had left Vincent there for four years at school, his holidays being spent at the house of his father's brother, a country gentleman in Sussex. Then he had been sent for unexpectedly; his father saying that his health was not good, and that he should like his son to be with him. A year later his father died.
Vincent was now nearly sixteen years old, and would upon coming of age assume the reins of power at the Orangery, of which his mother, however, would be the actual mistress as long as she lived. The four years Vincent had passed in the English school had done much to render the institution of slavery repugnant to him, and his father had had many serious talks with him during the last year of his life, and had shown him that there was a good deal to be said upon both sides of the subject.
"There are good plantations and bad plantations, Vincent; and there are many more good ones than bad ones. There are brutes to be found everywhere. There are bad masters in the Southern States just as there are bad landlords in every European country. But even from self-interest alone, a planter has greater reason for caring for the health and comfort of his slaves than an English farmer has in caring for the comfort of his laborers. Slaves are valuable property, and if they are overworked or badly cared for they decrease in value. Whereas if the laborer falls sick or is unable to do his work the farmer has simply to hire another hand. It is as much the interest of a planter to keep his slaves in good health and spirits as it is for a farmer to feed and attend to his horses properly.
"Of the two, I consider that the