« EdellinenJatka »
It became positively necessary to silence them, but it would require brave men and a desperate struggle to do it. The order came to General Ward, of the First Brigade, and was repeated to Colonel Harrison.
"Between the brigade and the batteries was a dense pine thicket and then a quarter of a mile of open field, so that Colonel Harrison knew nothing of the position of the enemy he was to charge. But he commanded his officers to dismount, and did so himself, as he knew it would be impossible to charge through that thicket on horseback. Then he said to the aide-de-camp who brought the order:
You are familiar with the ground outside. I am not. Will you go ahead with me alone and show me this battery? For if I were to charge out now, I would be as apt to charge flank on to it as any other way.'
The two had not proceeded far when a puff of smoke from the hillcrest, and the report which followed, indicated the position of the battery, and the ball screaming by emphasized the importance of the order. Colonel Harrison instantly waved his sword to his men, and called in a voice that caught the ear and heart of every man within its reach:
Come on, boys!'
"Instantly four regiments came pouring after him. They crashed into the thicket and tore along, shouting meanwhile, and crying 'forward!' to each other, all in the wildest disorder-for it was impossible to preserve the lines in that tangled underwood. All were full of the spirit of their leader. They soon emerged from the wood, and followed him on double-quick toward the hill, shouting in a way that meant death to the Confederates. It is seldom a command produces such effect so instantaneously as did that call, ‘Come on, boys!' attended as it was by the flash of the sword and the ready attitude of the man. The Confederates saw it and felt it, and in desperation poured a murderous fire into the advancing columns. Shot and shell flew thick about the brave leader, and his men were falling fast. Still he went on, and had it not been for the spirit that seemed to go from him to his followers, one might have thought he was courting death, or shielding his brave men from it.
They rushed on under the savage fire; and only the roar of cannons and muskets, the cries of wounded and dying, the shouts of brave, determined men, and the dense smoke that hovered over and amidst them in clouds and hid the sight from heaven, might indicate that the battle was going on, until the outer Confederate lines were reached; then they leaped over the breastworks, and, hand-to-hand, they grappled with the desperate defenders. The cold steel bayonets shone no longer in sunlight. Muskets were clubbed-only pistol reports were heard above the din. Then all the enemy that were left in the outer works were taken prisoners.
"But the work was apparently not half done, and that commander never left any work of his in that condition. The battery was still at the crest, and there was an impassable line of brushwood and stakes below it. Night fell, and the men were still busy. They were digging into the hill-side, and up toward the enemy's guns. If the enemy were feeling secure for a time, behind the barrier, and at all satisfied at the havoc made in the Union ranks― for fully a third of those brave soldiers lay wounded, dying, and dead on the field-evidently, also, a counter-feeling of uneasiness rested upon them, for the spirit with which the assault had been made, and the contest kept up, and the carrying of their outer lines, meant that the Union colonel and his soldiers did not intend to be thwarted.
"The tunnels broke through the hill behind the works. The guns were lowered into them. And when the morning came, and General Sherman looked to see the battle for the hill-top to be renewed, lo! the work was done -the enemy had withdrawn."
From Resaca until the end of the war Harrison and his men were con
spicuous for their undaunted courage and unflinching devotion to duty under the most trying circumstances. He served under Hooker, Thomas, and Ward, his force never failing to make its mark when called upon to act. On July 20, 1864, during the well-contested battle at Peach Creek, he again distinguished himself. The opposing generals were Hooker and Hood.
In a case of emergency, where immediate and decisive action was necessary, he proved equal to the occasion, leading his men to victory with many encouraging words. Swinging himself into line before his men, he said:
"Come on, boys! We've never been licked yet, and we won't begin now. We haven't much ammunition, but if necessary we can give them the cold steel, and before we get licked we will club them down; so come on."
"They charged up the hill after 'Little Ben,"" writes a biographer, "getting ready as they ran. They were joined by the skirmish line, eager for the fray. Just over the hill, among the trees, and behind a rail fence, they saw the Confederates crouching like tigers. They charged on them, and for half an hour there was hot and terrible fighting. Finally the Confederate force was repulsed. But the gallant brigade lost 250 men in that short thirty minutes. This was the decisive stroke; and the day was soon won.
"The next day the fiery General Hooker rode the lines, and seeing Harrison, he called out with an oath that he would have him made a brigadiergeneral for yesterday's work."
General Hooker kept his promise, and in a letter to the Secretary of War represented fully Colonel Harrison's military merits, recommending him strongly for preferment.
Whilst in the field, news of his renomination as an officer of the Supreme Court of Indiana reached him. His political opponents, by their acts, made it necessary for him to enter the campaign, which he did for 30 days, gaining a decisive victory in the contest. Then he returned to the seat of war, and displayed more conspicuous gallantry at Nashville in December. Sickness in his family, and then his own sickness, kept him away from the field for a time, but he was soon able to rejoin the forces of Sherman, and contributed to a considerable extent in bringing about a prompt ending of the war. The last incident in his military career was his presence at the head of his men in the grand review at Washington.
General Harrison, on his return home, resumed the practice of law, his partners being Messrs. R. G. Porter and Fishback. Their practice became extensive and important, and their services were greatly in demand. Several changes were made in the firm as time went on, but General Harrison remained throughout, gradually gaining in reputation, until, at last, he came to be acknowledged by members of the bar, irrespective of party, as “a judicious counsellor, an able advocate, a keen cross-examiner, and a man of indefatigable industry."
In 1875 General Harrison was urged to become a candidate for the Governorship of Indiana, but declined, stating as one of his reasons that his personal affairs demanded a close application to professional duties. He took a share, however, in the work of the campaign, and was much surprised to learn from a Chicago newspaper, on one occasion when away from home, that Mr. Orth, who had been nominated, had withdrawn from the contest. He was still more surprised, and also greatly annoyed, when he read that his own name had been placed at the head of the ticket. On returning home, his remonstrances were strongly worded and emphatic. He declined to run, but was finally persuaded to allow his name to remain for the sake of the party. The ticket was defeated, but the Democratic majority was reduced more than one-half, and General Harrison received 1,536 above the average vote of the other five state officers.
His next most conspicuous public service was in connection with the rail
way strikes in 1877. On that occasion he acted in conjunction with the Governor and a number of well-known citizens, doing much to arrange an amicable settlement of the dispute.
General Harrison took part in the state campaign of 1878, entertained President Hayes and John Sherman on their visit to Indianapolis, in 1879, and was appointed chairman of the Indiana delegation to the National Republican Convention which met in Chicago on June 7, 1880. At that time the question was raised among his friends as to the expediency of placing his name before the Convention for the Presidency, but he put his foot down flatly against it, and the Indiana vote was solid for Garfield. Again he took an active part in the campaign which might be termed a double campaign, as the election for governor took place in October. General Harrison did splendid service for the party, and was rewarded by a seat in the United States Senate, where he served with distinction from March, 1881, until March, 1887. His record in the Senate includes important speeches on Chinese immigration, and on the admission of new States. In 1887 changes in the State Legislature brought about the election of a Democrat to serve in the Senate from 1887 to 1893.
On retiring from his post at Washington, General Harrison returned to Indianapolis, and again resumed the practice of the law, conducting a number of importont cases with great success. In 1888 his name was mentioned for the Presidency, and the feeling in his favor grew so strong that when the Convention assembled at Chicago on the 19th of June, 1888, Governor A. G. Porter, in behalf of the Indian delegation, presented the name of General Harrison as a candidate. The nomination was seconded by Mr. Terrill of Texas, and also by Mr. Gallinger of New Hampshire. Ballots were taken for three days, and General Harrison was nominated on the 8th ballot, receiving 544 votes, the previous ballots in his favor being 80, 91, 94, 207, 213, 231 and 278.
On the 4th of March, 1889 President Harrison assumed the reins of office at the National Capital from President Cleveland, having 233 electoral votes, as against 168 in favor of his opponent, who was serving his first term in the Presidency, and had become a candidate for renomination. As to the manner in which President Harrison has conducted the affairs of the country, no better statement need be made than that expressed by Senator Spooner in seconding the motion for President Harrison's renomination before the National Convention at Minneapolis on June 10th, 1892.
"He has been from the day of his inauguration what the people elected him to be-President of the United States. He has given to the country an administration which for ability, efficiency, purity and patriotism challenge admiration without fear of comparison with any which has preceded it since the foundation of the government. He has been free from I variableness or shadow of turning" in his devotion to the principles of the Republican party, and to the redemption of the pledges made by it to the people. He has stood for the protection of American industries, and the interests of American wage workers, and placed with alacrity the seal of approval upon the great Tariff bill of the Fifty-first Congress, which has outridden the flood of misrepresentation which swept over it, as did the ark in the deluge of old, and now rests upon a foundation as solid as Mount Ararat.
He championed and promoted by every means in harmony with the dignity of his great office the adoption of the scheme of reciprocity, which as enacted has found favor with our people, and not limited to the South American Republics or bartering the interests of one industry for the benefit of another by the free admission of competitive products, but compelling fair treatment by all governments of all our people, and our productions under penalty of commercial retaliation.
"Openly friendly to the use of silver as one of the coin metals of the country under conditions which shall surely maintain it at a parity with gold, and striving to secure by international agreement the existence of those conditions, he stands, nevertheless, as firm as the granite which underlies the continent against a policy which would debase the currency of the people, and must drive the coin of either metal out of circulation.
"Nor did he forget or disregard the solemn pledge of the Republican party that every citizen, rich or poor, native or foreign born, white or black, 'is entitled at every public election to cast one free ballot, and to have that ballot honestly counted, and faithfully returned.
"With a skill, dignity and courage which has compelled the admiration of political friend and foe alike he has caused it to be understood throughout the world that the American flag represents a government which has the power and the will to protect the American uniform and American interests at all hazards everywhere, whether assailed by peppery neighbors to the southward of us, or by the diplomacy or power of Great Britain.
"Every interest of the people has had his best care and his best thought, and he stands before the country to-day well approved and universally ackowledged to be a man of transcendent ability, of extraordinary capacity for the discharge of executive duty, of exalted patriotism and lofty purpose, who would not for a unanimous renomination by this Convention and a reelection by the people swerve one hair's breadth in any matter of duty, great or small, from what he believes to be just and right.
"It is said against him that he had made enemies, and it is evidently true. So did Washington, so did Jackson, so did Lincoln, so did Grant, so did Garfield, so did Arthur. But this Convention will not mistake the lamentations of the disappointed for the voices of plain people.' This judgment again overestimates the importance of individuals and underestimates the intelligence and patriotism of the masses. They will not be gulled into the belief that the object of government is the bestowal of office.
"The people care little for the ambition of leaders, and whether John Smith secures an office this month, next month, or not at all. They do not demand of a President that he shall be able to please every one. They want good government, they demand honesty and ability, and industry and purity in public and private life, and all this they have had in Ben Harrison, and they know it.
"We place him before this Convention as one who can bear, and will bear, whether nominated or not-for he is a Republican-his full share in this great contest which to-day is begun.
"The Republicans of every State, save one, in convention assembled have endorsed with enthusiasm his administration. Upon that administration and its record of efficiency and achievement the Republican Party is to invite the coming campaign. There is nothing persuasive in the assertion that the people who officially approve an administration will withhold their approval from the man who is responsible for it, and who has largely made it.
"Put him again at the head of the column. Place in his hand the banner of Republicanism, and he will carry it aggressively all the time at the front, and he will lead us again to victory. There will be irresistible power and inspiration in the knowledge which pervades the people that so long as he is President there is one at the helm who, whatever besides us, at home or abroad, will bring to the solution of every question, to the execution of every policy, and to the performance of every duty a splendid and disciplined intellect, absolute rectitude of purpose and unfaltering desire to conserve every interest of every section, a self-poise which is a sure safeguard against hasty or mistaken judgment, and a patriotism which never has wavered, either in war or in peace.'
This is the most fitting place for the text of the speech of Mr. Chauncey M. Depew of New York, made in behalf of General Harrison, at Minneapolis:
"Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
"It is the peculiarity of Republican National Conventions that each one of them has a distinct and interesting history. We are here to meet conditions and solve problems which make this gathering not only no exception to the rule, but substantially a new departure. That there should be strong convictions, and their earnest expression as to preferences and policies, is characteristic of the right of individual judgment, which is the fundamental principle of Republicanism.
"There have been occasions when the result was so sure that the delegates could freely indulge in the charming privilege of favoritism and friendship. But the situation which now confronts us demands the exercise of dispassionate judgment, and our best thought and experience.
We cannot venture on uncertain ground, or encounter obstacles placed in the pathway of success by ourselves. The Democratic party is now divided, but the hope of the possession of power once more will make it in the final battle more aggressive, determined, and unscrupulous than ever. starts with fifteen States secure without an effort, by processes which are a travesty upon popular government, and, if continued long enough, will paralyze institutions founded upon popular suffrage. It has to win four more States in a fair fight-States which in the vocabulary of politics are denominated doubtful.
"The Republican party must appeal to the conscience and the judgment of the individual voter in every State of the Union. This is in accordance with the principles upon which it was founded, and the objects for which it contends. It has accepted this issue before, and fought it out with an extraordinary continuance of success.
"The conditions of Republican victory from 1860 to 1880 were created by Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. They were that the saved republic should be run by its saviors-the emancipation of the slaves; the reconstruction of the States; the reception of those who had fought to destroy the republic back into the fold, without penalties or punishments, and to an equal share with those who had fought and saved the nation, in the solemn obligation and inestimable privilege of American citizenship. They were the embodiment into the Constitution of the principles for which two millions of men had fought and a half million had died. They were the restoration of public credit, the resumption of specie payments and the prosperous condition of solvent business.
"For twenty-five years they were names with which to conjure and events fresh in the public mind which were eloquent with popular enthusiasm.
"It needed little else than a recital of the glorious story of its heroes and a statement of the achievements of the Republican party to retain the contidence of the people. But from the desire for change, which is characteristic of free governments, there came a reversal; there came a check to the progress of the Republican party and four years of Democratic administration. Those four years largely relegated to the realm of history past issues, and. brought us face to face with what Democracy, its professions and its practices mean to-day.
"The great names which have adorned the roll of Republican statesmen and soldiers are still potent and popular. The great measures of the Republican party are still the best part of the history of the century. The unequaled and unexampled story of Republicanism in its promises and its achievements stands unique in the record of parties, in governments which are free