Part A: Author Identification
Identify the author of each passage.
_____ 1. “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”
a. Robert E. Lee b. Walt Whitman c. Abraham Lincoln d. Mary Chesnut
_____ 2. “As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any state if her rights were invaded.”
a. Robert E. Lee b. Abraham Lincoln c. Warren Goss d. Walt Whitman
_____ 3. “Liberty! the inestimable birthright of every man, had, for me, converted every object into an asserter of this great right.”
a. Abraham Lincoln b. Frederick Douglass c. Sojourner Truth d. Walt Whitman
_____ 4. “Reaction after the dread of slaughter we thought those dreadful cannons were making such noise in doing. Not even a battery the worse for wear.”
a. Robert E. Lee b. Walt Whitman c. Randolph McKim d. Mary Chesnut
_____ 5. “I was twenty years of age, and when anything unusual was to be done, like fighting or courting, I shaved.”
a. Randolph McKim b. Frederick Douglass c. Warren Goss d. Robert E. Lee
Part B: Multiple-Choice Select the best answer for each question.
_____ 6. Which of the following does NOT describe why slaves sang spirituals?
a. to appease the overseers who did not want silence b. to flatter the owner and his family in the big house c. to celebrate the blessings in their lives d. to emotionally deal with being a slave
_____ 7. Spirituals are allegorical for all but which of the following reasons?
a. The songs can be interpreted on at least two levels. b. They often literally depict biblical stories and figuratively depict slave stories. c. They personify their surroundings. d. The images represent more than their literal surroundings.
_____ 8. In “Go Down, Moses,” “Egypt land” refers to Egypt on one level. What else does the phrase refer to?
a. the South b. the North c. Africa d. England
_____ 9. Which of the following does NOT describe the meaning of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”?
a. Home equals the slave quarters. b. Home equals heaven. c. Home equals freedom. d. Home equals the North.
_____ 10. In “Letter to His Son,” Robert E. Lee does which of the following?
a. urges his son to support the North b. agrees that the South has grievances c. criticizes the state of Virginia d. rejoices at the election of Abraham Lincoln
_____ 11. In “Letter to His Son,” Robert E. Lee’s remark that “we are between a state of Anarchy and civil war” indicates that
a. no battles had yet been fought. b. Lee still hoped for a peaceful secession. c. Lee still hoped the South would submit peacefully. d. the North hoped for a compromise settlement.
_____ 12. “Letter to His Son” indicates that Lincoln and Lee held similar views about
a. southern interests. b. northern aggression. c. hoping to avoid civil war. d. federal authority.
_____ 13. The structural framework of the “Gettysburg Address” is a
a. single topic, treated succinctly. b. single idea stated in simple words. c. progression from the past to the present, and into the future. d. shift from a simple fact to a broad generalization.
_____ 14. The occasion for “The Gettysburg Address” was
a. the secession of the states. b. a ceremony at the Gettysburg battlefield. c. the approval of a law banning slavery. d. the dedication of a monument at Fort Sumter.
_____ 15. Why did President Lincoln believe that the Gettysburg ground could not be consecrated or hallowed in a “larger sense”?
a. The nation was still torn apart. b. The battle at Gettysburg had occurred too recently. c. Both sides had to dedicate the ground together. d. The ground had already been consecrated by the soldiers.
_____ 16. In “The Gettysburg Address,” what does Lincoln mean when he says, “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here?”
a. Words are seldom memorable. b. Wartime speeches are unimportant. c. Words are often overshadowed by deeds. d. He recognizes his speaking deficiencies.
_____ 17. “The Gettysburg Address” is notable for all of the following EXCEPT its
a. rhythm. b. references to the ideals of liberty. c. allegorical reference to westward expansion. d. eloquent diction.
_____ 18. In “The Gettysburg Address,” Lincoln
a. surrenders the Union forces. b. urges people to support the Union and the war effort. c. talks about the concept of states’ rights. d. presents a long moral argument against the institution of slavery.
_____ 19. My Bondage and My Freedom challenged all of the following ideas EXCEPT
a. slaves were incapable of reading and writing. b. slaves were equal to whites. c. slaves were satisfied with their situation. d. slaves were comfortable with their position in life.
_____ 20. If your purpose for reading is to understand slavery’s effect on people, what conclusion can you draw about Mrs. Auld’s opposition to Douglass’s learning to read in My Bondage and My Freedom?
a. Mrs. Auld fought to resist slavery. b. Mrs. Auld had a strong conscience. c. Mrs. Auld was forced to conform to her role as a slaveholder. d. Mrs. Auld should have fed and clothed more slaves.
_____ 21. In My Bondage and My Freedom, why does Douglass feel affection for Mrs. Auld?
a. He has romantic feelings for her. b. She does not act like a slave owner. c. She reminds him of his mother. d. She organizes slave protests and revolts.
_____ 22. In My Bondage and My Freedom, what does Douglass suggest will probably happen to the white children in the future, when they are older and dealing with “the cares of life”?
a. They will one day help him escape from his slaveowners. b. They will likely accept slavery when they become adults. c. They will grow up to be abolitionists and resist slavery. d. They will be overwhelmed by business concerns.
_____ 23. As revealed in My Bondage and My Freedom, what was a major turning point in the life of Frederick Douglass?
a. developing a liking for Mrs. Auld b. resenting Mrs. Auld c. learning to read and write d. finding contentment with his life
_____ 24. What is Douglass’s final judgment of Mrs. Auld in My Bondage and My Freedom?
a. She should not have taught him to read. b. She should have helped him to escape. c. She was not well-suited to slavery. d. She could not run a household well.
_____ 25. Determine the meaning of the word “consternation” in this sentence: “I have had her rush at me, with the utmost fury, and snatch from my hand such newspaper or book, with something of the wrath and consternation which a traitor might be supposed to feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy.”
a. elation b. pride c. confusion d. amusement
_____ 26. At first, Douglass says, his mistress acted in a “benevolent manner.” He means that she acted __________ toward him.
a. indifferently b. selfishly c. kindly d. brutally
_____ 27. The word most nearly OPPOSITE in meaning to “consternation” is
a. thoughtfulness. b. confidence. c. fear. d. despair.
_____ 28. Determine the meaning of the word “deficient” in the following sentence: “At first, Mrs. Auld was deficient, or, in the skills and attitude necessary to be a brutal slave owner.”
a. lacking b. highly skilled c. practiced d. experienced
_____ 29. In “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” what emotion is communicated as you listen to the refrain?
a. anger b. boredom c. longing d. fear
_____ 30. In “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” to whom does the singer refer in the following: “If you get there before I do. . . Tell all my friends I’m coming too”?
a. relatives who have abandoned her b. slaves who have already escaped c. blacks who were born in the North d. whites on the Underground Railroad
_____ 31. Which line is a refrain in “Go Down, Moses”?
a. let my people go b. when Israel was in Egypt land c. oppressed so hard they could not stand d. if not I’ll smite your first-born dead
_____ 32. Which element of “Go Down, Moses” is characteristic of many spirituals?
a. references to biblical places b. references to war c. warnings of punishment d. demands upon leaders
_____ 33. In “Go Down, Moses,” what do Pharaoh and the people of Israel stand for?
a. Egypt and Moses b. the U.S. and Egypt c. the president and U.S. citizens d. slaveowners and slaves
_____ 34. What happens during the first incident with the streetcar in “An Account of An Experience with Discrimination”?
a. The conductor treats Truth civilly because she is with a white woman. b. The conductor refuses to stop the streetcar. c. The conductor closes the door in Truth’s face. d. The conductor overcharges Truth because she is black.
_____ 35. What happens to the conductor who was involved in the first incident that Truth describes?
a. He is promoted. b. He is arrested. c. He is dismissed. d. He is assigned to a new route.
_____ 36. What does Truth’s companion, Josephine Griffing, do as a result of how the conductor treated Truth during the first incident?
a. She reports the conductor to the president of the streetcar company. b. She gets off herself and walks along with Truth the rest of the way. c. She reminds Truth that black people are often treated unfairly. d. She apologizes for getting on first instead of letting Truth go first.
_____ 37. What does Mrs. Haviland mean when she says Truth “does not belong to me, but she belongs to humanity”?
a. Truth was once was a slave, but she is now free. b. Truth is a human being and should be treated like everyone else. c. Truth is not a slave, but she is an African American woman. d. Truth is working for the hospital and should be treated respectfully.
_____ 38. In which sentence is the meaning of the word “ascend” suggested?
a. The passengers stepped up on the platform. b. The streetcar picked up speed. c. The streetcar slowly came to a stop. d. Truth got off the streetcar.
_____ 39. In which sentence is the meaning of the word “assault” suggested?
a. The conductor grabbed Truth and hurt her as he pushed her from the streetcar. b. Mrs. Haviland tried to help Truth get on the streetcar. c. The streetcar came to an abrupt halt when Truth stepped in front of it. d. People watched curiously as the argument continued between the two women and the conductor.
_____ 40. When the president advised the conductor’s “arrest for assault,” he meant the conductor should be arrested because he
a. discriminated against Truth. b. attacked Truth. c. spoke harshly to Truth. d. refused to let Truth on the streetcar
1. “from My Bondage and Freedom” – Frederick Douglas
I lived in the family of Master Hugh, at Baltimore, seven years, during which time–as the almanac makers say of the weather–my condition was variable. The most interesting feature of my history here, was my learning to read and write, under somewhat marked disadvantages. In attaining this knowledge, I was compelled to resort to indirections by no means congenial to my nature, and which were really humiliating to me. My mistress– who, as the reader has already seen, had begun to teach me was suddenly checked in her benevolent design, by the strong advice of her husband. In faithful compliance with this advice, the good lady had not only ceased to instruct me, herself, but had set her face as a flint against my learning to read by any means. It is due, however, to my mistress to say, that she did not adopt this course in all its stringency at the first. She either thought it unnecessary, or she lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness. It was, at least, necessary for her to have some training, and some hardening, in the exercise of the slaveholder’s prerogative, to make her equal to forgetting my human nature and character, and to treating me as a thing destitute of a moral or an intellectual nature. Mrs. Auld–my mistress–was, as I have said, a most kind and tender-hearted woman; and, in the humanity of her heart, and the simplicity of her mind, she set out, when I first went to live with her, to treat me as she supposed one human being ought to treat another.
It is easy to see, that, in entering upon the duties of a slaveholder, some little experience is needed. Nature has done almost nothing to prepare men and women to be either slaves or slaveholders. Nothing but rigid training, long persisted in, can perfect the character of the one or the other. One cannot easily forget to love freedom; and it is as hard to cease to respect that natural love in our fellow creatures. On entering upon the career of a slaveholding mistress, Mrs. Auld was singularly deficient; nature, which fits nobody for such an office, had done less for her than any lady I had known. It was no easy matter to induce her to think and to feel that the curly-headed boy, who stood by her side, and even leaned on her lap; who was loved by little Tommy, and who loved little Tommy in turn; sustained to her only the relation of a chattel. I was _more_ than that, and she felt me to be more than that. I could talk and sing; I could laugh and weep; I could reason and remember; I could love and hate. I was human, and she, dear lady, knew and felt me to be so. How could she, then, treat me as a brute, without a mighty struggle with all the noble powers of her own soul. That struggle came, and the will and power of the husband was victorious. Her noble soul was overthrown; but, he that overthrew it did not, himself, escape the consequences. He, not less than the other parties, was injured in his domestic peace by the fall.
When I went into their family, it was the abode of happiness and contentment. The mistress of the house was a model of affection and tenderness. Her fervent piety and watchful uprightness made it impossible to see her without thinking and feeling–“_that woman is a Christian_.” There was no sorrow nor suffering for which she had not a tear, and there was no innocent joy for which she did not a smile. She had bread for the hungry, clothes for the naked, and comfort for every mourner that came within her reach. Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these excellent qualities, and her home of its early happiness. Conscience cannot stand much violence. Once thoroughly broken down, _who_ is he that can repair the damage? It may be broken toward the slave, on Sunday, and toward the master on Monday. It cannot endure such shocks. It must stand entire, or it does not stand at all. If my condition waxed bad, that of the family waxed not better. The first step, in the wrong direction, was the violence done to nature and to conscience, in arresting the benevolence that would have enlightened my young mind. In ceasing to instruct me, she must begin to justify herself _to_ herself; and, once consenting to take sides in such a debate, she was riveted to her position. One needs very little knowledge of moral philosophy, to see _where_ my mistress now landed. She finally became even more violent in her opposition to my learning to read, than was her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as _well_ as her husband had commanded her, but seemed resolved to better his instruction. Nothing appeared to make my poor mistress–after her turning toward the downward path–more angry, than seeing me, seated in some nook or corner, quietly reading a book or a newspaper. I have had her rush at me, with the utmost fury, and snatch from my hand such newspaper or book, with something of the wrath and consternation which a traitor might be supposed to feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy.
Mrs. Auld was an apt woman, and the advice of her husband, and her own experience, soon demonstrated, to her entire satisfaction, that education and slavery are incompatible with each other. When this conviction was thoroughly established, I was most narrowly watched in all my movements. If I remained in a separate room from the family for any considerable length of time, I was sure to be suspected of having a book, and was at once called upon to give an account of myself. All this, however, was entirely _too late_. The first, and never to be retraced, step had been taken. In teaching me the alphabet, in the days of her simplicity and kindness, my mistress had given me the _”inch,”_ and now, no ordinary precaution could prevent me from taking the _”ell.”_
Seized with a determination to learn to read, at any cost, I hit upon many expedients to accomplish the desired end. The plea which I mainly adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of using my young white playmates, with whom I met in the streets as teachers. I used to carry, almost constantly, a copy of Webster’s spelling book in my pocket; and, when sent of errands, or when play time was allowed me, I would step, with my young friends, aside, and take a lesson in spelling. I generally paid my _tuition fee_ to the boys, with bread, which I also carried in my pocket. For a single biscuit, any of my hungry little comrades would give me a lesson more valuable to me than bread. Not every one, however, demanded this consideration, for there were those who took pleasure in teaching me, whenever I had a chance to be taught by them. I am strongly tempted to give the names of two or three of those little boys, as a slight testimonial of the gratitude and affection I bear them, but prudence forbids; not that it would injure me, but it might, possibly, embarrass them; for it is almost an unpardonable offense to do any thing, directly or indirectly, to promote a slave’s freedom, in a slave state. It is enough to say, of my warm-hearted little play fellows, that they lived on Philpot street, very near Durgin & Bailey’s shipyard.
Although slavery was a delicate subject, and very cautiously talked about among grown up people in Maryland, I frequently talked about it–and that very freely–with the white boys. I would, sometimes, say to them, while seated on a curb stone or a cellar door, “I wish I could be free, as you will be when you get to be men.” “You will be free, you know, as soon as you are twenty-one, and can go where you like, but I am a slave for life. Have I not as good a right to be free as you have?” Words like these, I observed, always troubled them; and I had no small satisfaction in wringing from the boys, occasionally, that fresh and bitter condemnation of slavery, that springs from nature, unseared and unperverted. Of all consciences let me have those to deal with which have not been bewildered by the cares of life. I do not remember ever to have met with a _boy_, while I was in slavery, who defended the slave system; but I have often had boys to console me, with the hope that something would yet occur, by which I might be made free. Over and over again, they have told me, that “they believed I had as good a right to be free as _they_ had;” and that “they did not believe God ever made any one to be a slave.” The reader will easily see, that such little conversations with my play fellows, had no tendency to weaken my love of liberty, nor to render me contented with my condition as a slave.
When I was about thirteen years old, and had succeeded in learning to read, every increase of knowledge, especially respecting the FREE STATES, added something to the almost intolerable burden of the thought–I AM A SLAVE FOR LIFE. To my bondage I saw no end. It was a terrible reality, and I shall never be able to tell how sadly that thought chafed my young spirit. Fortunately, or unfortunately, about this time in my life, I had made enough money to buy what was then a very popular school book, viz: the _Columbian Orator_. I bought this addition to my library, of Mr. Knight, on Thames street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and paid him fifty cents for it. I was first led to buy this book, by hearing some little boys say they were going to learn some little pieces out of it for the Exhibition. This volume was, indeed, a rich treasure, and every opportunity afforded me, for a time, was spent in diligently perusing it. Among much other interesting matter, that which I had perused and reperused with unflagging satisfaction, was a short dialogue between a master and his slave. The slave is represented as having been recaptured, in a second attempt to run away; and the master opens the dialogue with an upbraiding speech, charging the slave with ingratitude, and demanding to know what he has to say in his own defense. Thus upbraided, and thus called upon to reply, the slave rejoins, that he knows how little anything that he can say will avail, seeing that he is completely in the hands of his owner; and with noble resolution, calmly says, “I submit to my fate.” Touched by the slave’s answer, the master insists upon his further speaking, and recapitulates the many acts of kindness which he has performed toward the slave, and tells him he is permitted to speak for himself. Thus invited to the debate, the quondam slave made a spirited defense of himself, and thereafter the whole argument, for and against slavery, was brought out. The master was vanquished at every turn in the argument; and seeing himself to be thus vanquished, he generously and meekly emancipates the slave, with his best wishes for his prosperity. It is scarcely necessary to say, that a dialogue, with such an origin, and such an ending–read when the fact of my being a slave was a constant burden of grief–powerfully affected me; and I could not help feeling that the day might come, when the well-directed answers made by the slave to the master, in this instance, would find their counterpart in myself.
This, however, was not all the fanaticism which I found in this _Columbian Orator_. I met there one of Sheridan’s mighty speeches, on the subject of Catholic Emancipation, Lord Chatham’s speech on the American war, and speeches by the great William Pitt and by Fox. These were all choice documents to me, and I read them, over and over again, with an interest that was ever increasing, because it was ever gaining in intelligence; for the more I read them, the better I understood them. The reading of these speeches added much to my limited stock of language, and enabled me to give tongue to many interesting thoughts, which had frequently flashed through my soul, and died away for want of utterance. The mighty power and heart-searching directness of truth, penetrating even the heart of a slaveholder, compelling him to yield up his earthly interests to the claims of eternal justice, were finely illustrated in the dialogue, just referred to; and from the speeches of Sheridan, I got a bold and powerful denunciation of oppression, and a most brilliant vindication of the rights of man. Here was, indeed, a noble acquisition. If I ever wavered under the consideration, that the Almighty, in some way, ordained slavery, and willed my enslavement for his own glory, I wavered no longer. I had now penetrated the secret of all slavery and oppression, and had ascertained their true foundation to be in the pride, the power and the avarice of man. The dialogue and the speeches were all redolent of the principles of liberty, and poured floods of light on the nature and character of slavery. With a book of this kind in my hand, my own human nature, and the facts of my experience, to help me, I was equal to a contest with the religious advocates of slavery, whether among the whites or among the colored people, for blindness, in this matter, is not confined to the former. I have met many religious colored people, at the south, who are under the delusion that God requires them to submit to slavery, and to wear their chains with meekness and humility. I could entertain no such nonsense as this; and I almost lost my patience when I found any colored man weak enough to believe such stuff. Nevertheless, the increase of knowledge was attended with bitter, as well as sweet results. The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest slavery, and my enslavers. “Slaveholders,” thought I, “are only a band of successful robbers, who left their homes and went into Africa for the purpose of stealing and reducing my people to slavery.” I loathed them as the meanest and the most wicked of men. As I read, behold! the very discontent so graphically predicted by Master Hugh, had already come upon me. I was no longer the lighthearted, gleesome boy, full of mirth and play, as when I landed first at Baltimore. Knowledge had come; light had penetrated the moral dungeon where I dwelt; and, behold! there lay the bloody whip, for my back, and here was the iron chain; and my good, _kind master_, he was the author of my situation. The revelation haunted me, stung me, and made me gloomy and miserable. As I writhed under the sting and torment of this knowledge, I almost envied my fellow slaves their stupid contentment. This knowledge opened my eyes to the horrible pit, and revealed the teeth of the frightful dragon that was ready to pounce upon me, but it opened no way for my escape. I have often wished myself a beast, or a bird–anything, rather than a slave. I was wretched and gloomy, beyond my ability to describe. I was too thoughtful to be happy. It was this everlasting thinking which distressed and tormented me; and yet there was no getting rid of the subject of my thoughts. All nature was redolent of it. Once awakened by the silver trump of knowledge, my spirit was roused to eternal wakefulness. Liberty! the inestimable birthright of every man, had, for me, converted every object into an asserter of this great right. It was heard in every sound, and beheld in every object. It was ever present, to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. The more beautiful and charming were the smiles of nature, the more horrible and desolate was my condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, and I heard nothing without hearing it. I do not exaggerate, when I say, that it looked from every star, smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
I have no doubt that my state of mind had something to do with the change in the treatment adopted, by my once kind mistress toward me. I can easily believe, that my leaden, downcast, and discontented look, was very offensive to her. Poor lady! She did not know my trouble, and I dared not tell her. Could I have freely made her acquainted with the real state of my mind, and given her the reasons therefor, it might have been well for both of us. Her abuse of me fell upon me like the blows of the false prophet upon his ass; she did not know that an _angel_ stood in the way; and–such is the relation of master and slave I could not tell her. Nature had made us _friends; slavery made us _enemies_. My interests were in a direction opposite to hers, and we both had our private thoughts and plans. She aimed to keep me ignorant; and I resolved to know, although knowledge only increased my discontent. My feelings were not the result of any marked cruelty in the treatment I received; they sprung from the consideration of my being a slave at all. It was _slavery_–not its mere _incidents_–that I hated. I had been cheated. I saw through the attempt to keep me in ignorance; I saw that slaveholders would have gladly made me believe that they were merely acting under the authority of God, in making a slave of me, and in making slaves of others; and I treated them as robbers and deceivers. The feeding and clothing me well, could not atone for taking my liberty from me. The smiles of my mistress could not remove the deep sorrow that dwelt in my young bosom. Indeed, these, in time, came only to deepen my sorrow. She had changed; and the reader will see that I had changed, too. We were both victims to the same overshadowing evil–_she_, as mistress, I, as slave. I will not censure her harshly; she cannot censure me, for she knows I speak but the truth, and have acted in my opposition to slavery, just as she herself would have acted, in a reverse of circumstances.
2. “Go Down, Moses” – Spirituals
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell old Pharaoh
To let my people go.
When Israel was in Egypt’s land;
Let my people go
Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go.
Go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell old Pharaoh
“Let my people go.”
“Thus saith the Lord,” bold Moses said,
“Let my people go;
If not I’ll smite your first-born dead
Let my people go.”
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
“Let my people go!”
3. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – Spiritual
Swing low sweet chariot. Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home. I looked over Jordan and what did I see Coming for to carry me home. A band of angels coming after me, Coming for to carry me home. If you get there before I do, Coming for to carry me home, Tell all my friends I’m coming too, Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home,
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Coming for to carry me home.
4. “The Gettysburg Address” – Abraham Lincoln
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
5. “Letter to his Son” – Robert E. Lee
I received Everett’s “Life of Washington” which you sent me, and enjoyed its perusal. How his spirit would be grieved could he see the wreck of his mighty labors! I will not, however, permit myself to believe, until all ground of hope is gone, that the fruit of his noble deeds will be destroyed, and that his precious advice and virtuous example will so soon be forgotten by his countrymen. As far as I can judge by the papers, we are between a state of anarchy and civil war. May God avert both of these evils from us! I fear that mankind will not for years be sufficiently Christianized to bear the absence of restraint and force. I see that four States have declared themselves out of the Union; four more will apparently follow their example. Then, if the Border States are brought into the gulf of revolution, one-half of the country will be arrayed against the other. I must try and be patient and await the end, for I can do nothing to hasten or retard it. The South, in my opinion, has been aggrieved by the acts of the North, as you say. I feel the aggression, and am willing to take every proper step for redress. It is the principle I contend for, not individual or private benefit. As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. 199 From The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It (The Library of America, 2011), pages 199–200. From J. William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee, Soldier and Man (1906). But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. … . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none.
6. “By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame” – Walk Whitman
By the bivouac’s fitful flame,
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow- but first I note,
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields and woods’ dim outline,
The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me,)
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac’s fitful flame.
7. “from Mary Chesnut’s Civil War” – Mary Chesnut
8. “Recollections of A Private” – Waren Lee Goss
9. “A Confederate Account of the Battle of Gettysburg” – Randolph McKim
Then came General Ewell’s order to assume the offensive and assail the crest of Culp’s Hill, on our right. My diary says that both General Steuart and General Daniel, who now came up with his brigade to support the movement, strongly disapproved of making the assault. And well might they despair of success in the face of such difficulties. The works to be stormed ran almost at right angles to those we occupied.1 Moreover, there was a double line of entrenchments, one above the other, and each filled with troops. In moving to the attack we were exposed to enfilading fire from the woods on our left flank, besides the double line of fire which we had to face in front, and a battery of artillery posted on a hill to our left rear opened upon us at short range….
On swept the gallant little brigade, the Third North Carolina on the right of the line, next the Second Maryland, then the three Virginia regiments (10th, 23d, and 37th), with the First North Carolina on the extreme left. Its ranks had been sadly thinned, and its energies greatly depleted by those six fearful hours of battle that morning; but its nerve and spirit were undiminished. Soon, however, the left and center were checked and then repulsed, probably by the severe flank fire from the woods; and the small remnant of the Third North Carolina, with the stronger Second Maryland (I do not recall the banners of any other regiment), were far in advance of the rest of the line. On they pressed to within about twenty or thirty paces of the works– a small but gallant band of heroes daring to attempt what could not be done by flesh and blood.
The end soon came. We were beaten back to the line from which we had advanced with terrible loss, and in much confusion, but the enemy did not make a counter charge. By the strenuous efforts of the officers of the line and of the staff, order was restored, and we re-formed in the breastworks from which we had emerged, there to be again exposed to an artillery fire exceeding in violence that of the early morning. It remains only to say that like Pickett’s men later in the day, this single brigade was hurled unsupported against the enemy’s works. Daniel’s brigade remained in the breastworks during and after the charge, and neither from that command nor from any other had we any support. Of course it is to be presumed that General Daniel acted in obedience to orders. We remained in this breastwork after the charge about an hour before we finally abandoned the Federal entrenchments and retired to the foot of the hill.
10. “An Account of an Experience with Discrimination” – Sojourner Truth
A few weeks ago I was in company with my friend Josephine S. Griffing, when the conductor of a streetcar refused to stop his car for me, although closely following Josephine and holding on to the iron rail. They dragged me a number of yards before she succeeded in stopping them. She reported the conductor to the president of the City Railway, who dismissed him at once, and told me to take the number of the car whenever I was mistreated by a conductor or driver. On the 13th I had occasion to go for necessities for the patients in the Freedmen’s Hospital where I have been doing and advising for a number of months. I thought now I would get ride without trouble as I was in company with another friend, Laura S. Haviland of Michigan. As I ascended the platform of the car, the conductor pushed me, saying “Go back- get off here.” I told him I was not going off, then ” I’ll put you off” said he furiously, clenching my right arm with both hands, using such violence that he seemed about to succeed, when Mrs. Haviland told him he was not going to put me off. “Does she belong to you?” said he in a hurried angry tone. She replied, “She does not belong to me, but she belongs to humanity.” The number of the car was noted, and conductor dismissed at once upon the report to the president, who advised his arrest for assault and battery as my shoulder was sprained by his effort to put me off. Accordingly I had him arrested and the case tried before Justice Thompson. My shoulder was very lame and swollen, but is better. It is hard for the old slave holding spirit to die. But die it must….