Translated from Norwegian by Eyvind Ager
In Chicago I am overwhelmed by old man's melancholy. Everything appears so changed since I lived here. Chicago was then a little tattered city with no skyscrapers. On Milwaukee Avenue there was street cars pulled by horses that went all the way out to the city limits at Kuhns Park. Beyond here it was so rural like and empty. The city library was located in the third or fourth story of an old building on LaSalle Street. I remember so well a long filthy stairway. In Lincoln Park there was but one monument--an Indian group. Now the entire south side is sprinkled with sky-high buildings. Out Milwaukee Avenue go cable cars and an elevated railway. From Kuhns Park are new extended streetcar lines that reach further out and a big grand boulevard stretches across the prairie, that in my time had only a few small farms. The city library now has its own big building on the lake front. It is a display of splendor. Everywhere the eye sees only marble and bright metal. Near by is another huge building. It is the fine arts building--a real palace. I can stand on its steps and point to the building that housed the fine arts in my time. It is frightening how small and unimpressive it is. I wonder if anyone now remembers that Chicago's art exhibit only sparsely filled the two floors and basement in the little corner building? I would stroll through Lincoln Park in about an hour; but now? A whole population of statutes appear everywhere from in among the trees. Every few moments I must tip my hat to a new brass man--all are respectable people: Lincoln, Grant, LaSalle, Schiller, riding Indians, Hans Christian Andersen, Shakespeare, Linnee and many others.
How big everything has become; so changed and new. There is all of a generation between me and this. A generation of 12 to 15 years.
Lincoln Park has one of the largest zoos in the country. Here you can find all kinds of animals from elephants to rare species of flies. When you see an enormous elephant on a Sunday morning enjoying himself tossing hay and straw upon its back and then rolling in the dirt, you get an emotional feeling that after all man really ranks above animal. In disgust you look at this offensive behavior and you are inclined to say: "Shame on you to do that, you that are so big.
I would like to know why people always laugh so good when watching monkeys. All the hilarity that I could find in observing the monkeys is nothing more than certain antics and facial features that reminds me of human beings--yes, even myself.
Something of great importance to be found in the park is "Records Sanitarium" for small sickly children. Every day of the week poor mothers can bring their children out there so that they can receive free medical assistance and fresh air. Everything that sick babies may require. There are playthings, swings and very kind people to look after them. A very commendable institution.
"The Battle of Manila Bay" is the name of a new panorama in Chicago. I have already seen four or five panoramas, so I was not expecting anything extra-ordinary now, but I must confess that this one exceeded all expectations. on entering the big, round panorama building you climb a stairway that is much like those aboard ships. Narrow doors on both sides, small round windows, a little tar odor and musty smell will remind one of being aboard a real ship. You struggle up the stairs and at last you are standing under a clear sky in the observation tower aboard the---- "Olympia." Yes, so it is, dear reader, you are standing amidships. It is night, above you the stars are blinking. In the distance you can see the lights from the arsenals in Cavite. Below the ocean is rolling and rumbling. It is quiet aboard, and you notice that every man is at his post by the cannons. Then you realize that you are on your way into the harbor and that torpedoes and a terrible Spanish fleet stands ready to bombard and blow your ship apart. But you are not afraid, because just below you on the command bridge stands Commander Dewey with his hands in the pockets of his white sailcloth jacket so there can be no danger.--But now what is that? A storm is drawing near. Lightning flashes and in a moment the entire gulf is bright, followed by loud thunder and whipping rain.--Quiet comes and stars appear. Far off on the horizon is a red streak. It becomes wider and wider, then red tongues of flame spread over the sky and you see the contour of mountains in the distance while the heavens and water take on color that is red as blood. The sun rises. A terrible racket is heard. The cannonading has started with real fast-firing cannon. Smoke seems to hang in clouds over the water. You glance about you and you see that the entire Spanish fleet is afire. Now it is bright daylight and you can see far in every direction. You leave and the moment the door closes behind you, you are out on the street, you rub your eyes--can this be Wabash Avenue? Have I been dreaming?
The Kolsaath restaurants in Chicago interested me a great deal. These fine coffee houses are found most everywhere. All are so much alike. Long lunch counters and small neat tables. Everything is so clean and bright and the coffee is so good and prices so reasonable. The staff is entirely composed of black people. They are not overly courteous nor are they discourteous. You get what you order and no one asks you if you want more. Think what a relief. Everything from the least to the most is entirely satisfactory. In coffee I have always seen the temperance peoples strongest alliance, the only real substitute for the sociable glass. These restaurants have not been started to counteract the saloons; but for profit like all other business. Do they compete with the saloons? You can be sure that they do. Regardless of the time of day you may enter, you will find many customers sitting there with their coffee cups. People who otherwise could make use of the saloons and their "Free Lunch," but who like this better, because here it is so good, clean and cozy. If I were to be a saloonkeeper, I would use some of my time to condemn these coffee houses because they take some of my most respectable customers. Here one can enter so free and easy and enjoy a cup of coffee and there is no one who expects you to treat them or anyone who will be treated. People are not so dumb but that they realize an attractive opportunity, then choosing it in preference for what can be bad when that which is good is more favorable.
Apropos! Have you ever heard of "Rescue Coffee Houses" on the charitable plan? There are such in Chicago. They carry such names as "Harbor," "Home", etc. They are usually located in basements of older buildings and are well supplied with religious papers, tracts and flies. When you stop in, it is because you feel it is your duty to have a lunch there, but you soon sense that the cashier's eyes are fixed on you. "Wonder who that can be?" You did enter because you needed something for bodily nourishment, but you quickly discover that it is your soul that is in danger. You try to appear unconcerned and assume a rather cautious expression: "Coffee and a sandwich please.,, The waitress looks at you in such a tender and motherly way and then asks if you are a stranger in the city. Then you lie: "No," you are born here. "Coffee and a sandwich." The waitress leaves, offended and disappointed. The coffee in 9 out of 10 times is some warmed up mess. As you eat you try to look out unto the street through the dirty windows, but people passing by appear to be moving in a fog. Finally you are through and as you prepare to leave you are handed two or three tracts. There are those who wonder why such rescue stations--coffee houses are so unprofitable. I shall not guess on the reason, but you may form an opinion by my observations.
We rode on the Illinois Central Railway south from Chicago. It was in the afternoon and I was able before evening to observe the extensive cabbage acreage in Illinois. I am no poet--at least not to my knowledge and desire; but it is a strange impression one gets seeing millions of vigorous cabbage heads bask in the setting sun's red rays. As the mighty Helios sank its flaming wings and settled down behind the great expanse stretching its arms (final rays of light) blessing the green heads and as if to say: "Do not forget dear children to keep your heads straight on the stems, then sometime you will get into rich soup and be stewed in milk," and all the heads nodded to each other in the evening breeze: "Gosh, did you hear that?--we are going to be stewed in milk."
Remarkable heads; they thrive best in manure and sunshine and become an important source of nourishment for cabbage worms and Germans. Strange heads as in Peer Gynt's "Jordlog" is all layers--just less and less." The only kind of heads that it pays to nurture in Illinois--the only kind of heads that have a market value and has reached its right in this world.
When one has done nothing foolish or wrong from where one comes, then one can sleep good on a train. So when I awake in the morning and gazed out through the window we were already in the South.
It was Kentucky and Tennessee we traveled through. I was happy to see that the people were fat and contented, while their animals were thin. We look out for ourselves first. It has always depressed me in the West to see a "creatures Lord" in the form of a dried up skinny farmer show me pigs as round and fat as prize sausages, while his own bonny knuckles stick out all over his body. Down here the pigs are long legged and have highborn snouts that clearly indicate an independent bearing; that they provide for themselves and are not dependent on these wretched people that surround them. Some were breaking up railroad land and they appeared as though they could dig a two foot deep hole and still keep an eye on the train.
We left the train at Memphis, Tenn. it is a beautiful city of about 70,000 population. It was a complete change of environment that greeted us. First, the great number of ragged Negroes, the thin horses and finally the white inhabitants that carried an air of dignity and distinction that seemed so strange. Their gait so nice and looked so thoughtful and reserved when on the streets. Even the police look intelligent.
Race differential -- the situation between White and Black is not the same as we are used to. While the Negroes in the North both as to dress and conduct leans towards shamelessness, here we notice a timid and humble politeness.
We enter a restaurant and sit down. Soon a waiter comes -- a coal-black Negro and with bow takes my old hat and carefully carries it away, fearing that it could fall apart. Then he returns with a fan and a newspaper. It was not expected that I would be ready to order before I had cooled off. He stands there erect and waits. My lips move and he bends forward, but at a distance -- his hand to his ear and his eyes fastened on my mouth, every nerve is tense as if it should mean his eternal salvation, that not a word I mutter is lost. A smile appears on the black face. He has understood the words of my mouth; I want something to eat. He gains courage and asks with humility if I will want a common breakfast. Then he hurries happily away like one who has proposed and received "Yes," even though he had been doubtful whether or not she would have him. He returns and prepares the table for me and he has such a lovable expression. Avoids by means of unusual skill neither noise or nearness to me. Then he stands erect and waits. I reach for the coffee cup. Immediately he pours the cream. You may sometime have sat at a counter in front of a cross waitress in a railroad hotel restaurant in Minnesota, shivering with fear of getting something over your head and cursing and a bawling out besides. I feel touched and I say: "Thank you". Then he seems to get more courage and using sugar tongs, immediately picks up a sugar lump and holds it over the cup and his facial expression is like one who would ask for a kiss. -- "Shall I or shall I not." His expression seems to waver between hope and fear. "O' heck! let go!" you think. He immediately reads my expression and he drops the sugar lump into my cup. Triumphantly he picks up another and looks at me. I shake my head and says: "No thank you." Sorrowfully he lays it aside.
"You are from the North, am I not right?" he asks with soft voice. "Yes, from Wisconsin," "I thought so," he says as he looks around carefully. "I would like to live in the North. White folks dare talk with a black man up there."
I have never visited a city where there seems to be more culture and good behavior than in Memphis. Imagination can do much: but it did seem to me to be intelligence and a noble dignity that characterized the white people. There was none of that brutal power and "For me" attitude that is so prevalent in the Northwest. Nowhere did I hear loud conversation,--no profanity, no loud laughter and no drunkenness. At the water fountain in the Court Square there was no crowding or pushing to reach the fountain. People stepped aside for each other and let those who were furthest away come up and drink first. Even children extended this courtesy. I also had the opportunity to observe the good behavior of people when I attended an opera concert in the city theater. Near 2,000 people were in attendance and it was as quiet as a church service. There was no chasing in and out during the pauses in the program, no loud conversation. Applause was strong when presentations deserved it. When there was something said or done in a humorous vain they laughed and enjoyed it, but there was no applause.
I had always had the impression that the women of the South were of small stature and usually dark complected. Here actually the blonds seemed to be in majority and most women were tall and slender. There was also something else I did not see in Memphis. I knew there was something missing and I was trying to remember what it could be. Oh, yes, it was the big beer bellies we see so much of in the North.
Upon leaving Memphis we traveled south through the Yazoo Valley. Vegetation bore the stamp of an almost unsanitary obesity. The soil is extraordinary fertile, but this area is known to be susceptible to fever. I was assured that this condition was attributed to poor water. Most of the people get their water from wells that have a depth of only 15 to 20 feet. This water is poor, cloudy and unhealthy. On the other hand if you drill to a depth of 70 or 100 feet, you can have the purest and best water one can wish for. All the people that I saw appeared to be very healthy. This area is known to be a desirable place for tubercular patients for regaining their health. One man told me that during the time of slavery, there were some people that became wealthy in the Tuberculosis business. He called it "The Consumptive Nigger Trade." Speculators bought consumptive sick Negroes in Virginia here they could get them for little or nothing and then brought them to Yazoo Valley. Here they would freshen up and become fat and then they could be sold in Louisiana for a good profit. Unfortunately this particular business, like so many others in the South was disrupted by the Civil War.
The farms along the railway line were either beautiful or deplorable. The custom seemed to be that if you cannot afford to live in a two story house with a verandah and garden, then you can just as well live in a little box set up on four posts.
You quickly notice that the people are careful not to exert themselves. They seem to have everything in order--that is if they can afford to hire Negroes to do the work. You can reason that they divide the work in three categories, namely--the necessary, the most necessary, and the very most necessary. The latter they will make an effort to do and let the others go, hoping that at sometime they can afford to hire Negroes to do the work. You seldom see these people working, -- in fact you seldom see them. Most likely they are laying somewhere in the shade wishing that also the "very most necessary work" could be done away with.
We came to Vicksburg, Mississippi during the night. I would have given a much better description of this historical city if it had not been because of a hotel bill that gave me a most populistic view on life and made me wonder if there actually is any righteousness under the sun for a traveler. Arriving at the hotel one morning and leaving the next morning it becomes exactly two days and two nights. You may question this if you want to, but you will soon find out that all your skill in arithmetic is sheer futility and in vain. Your understanding of what is right and what is wrong is for nought. When you rent a room for $2.00 a day on the European plan upon your arrival and that it then becomes exactly $4.00 per day on the American plan when you leave. I arrived here as a "Big Shot," entering my room with one servant in front of me and one behind me. Then the hotel proprietor was small and I big. When the hour of departure came he was big and I small.
Now when I go to a hotel I carefully study the clerk's face to be able at least to some extent to determine how big a scoundrel he is and prepare myself for the worst.
There is no reason to censure Vicksburg as to its location. The city is built on high, hilly land near the Mississippi river. The streets are narrow and irregular with uneven paving stones. It likely can show a greater amount of small houses and beautiful mansions than any other city of comparable size. Some of the private homes are actually palaces with a distinctive fortress like appearance. This becomes more apparent because they seldom have porches facing the streets. Verandahs are for family privacy and should not be placed where they can easily be observed from the street.
Worse dens or shacks like those found in the Negro quarters of Vicksburg are likely not found anywhere else. The families are found to be mostly on the streets or in the small, filthy back yards. Out there in the open they cook their food and keep the kitchen utensils when the weather is warm. The streets are filled with children so it is almost impossible to find a place to spit.
But to find more satisfied people than these Blacks that live here in rags and filth would be difficult. There was so much life and laughter displayed by the children as if they were attending a Sunday School picnic throughout the day. The parents too, seemed to enjoy themselves. All seemed to be healthy and satisfied. I could have written emotionally about all this poverty; but upon seeing how they were enjoying themselves and how satisfied they are, then I will not tune in on a distress song. I have never before seen such happy people.
This little city that lies here bathing in sunshine through most of the year has a pathetic history. The history involves a general that was enclosed in the city with his 27,000 men and had concluded that it was a matter of life or death for his hard pressed nation that he should hold this position to the very last. Resulting circumstances had caused the Vicksburg situation to be of no value for the Confederate States, but General Pemberton could not realize this fact and orders to retreat from his position and avoid unnecessary loss of life. When he finally made an effort to break through and unite his forces with General Johnston it was to late. It is a history of a long siege, of hunger, of distress, a battle where the soldiers battled heroically in desperation while fever glowed in their blood and hunger gnawed in their bowels. A long, terrible siege, with death from hunger, insanity, suicide, fever and pestilence ravaging while shells and bombs rained onto the disaster swept city from land and the river. How people crazed from fright buried themselves in the hillsides and in the earth. Of soldiers, that hunger had changed to ravaging wolves, resorting to the most terrible profligacy,--and behind all this the old general with the mistaken appraisal of his position.
He must hang on for another day, and then yet another day-- certainly help will come;--weeks and months passed. In vain General Grant attacked time and again. He did however have a powerful ally in hunger. Hunger and pestilence play an important roll in warfare. They count these as they would rifles and cannon.
Finally the day came that Vicksburg surrendered. Shall we picture the scene? The city's defenders shall capitulate with honor. They shall carry their banners with them-- --and there shall be music. The proud victors stand at attention to receive the defeated enemy,-- --what enemy? Some thousand hollow cheeked ragged men, large numbers are cripples, they drag themselves slowly along the slopes. What a sight for the victors.
Vicksburg has a national cemetery. Here lie thousands of men,--thousands who would have lived and been active to this very day if that old general would have understood his position correctly.
Numbered among those who are buried in the Vicksburg National Cemetery, more than 10,000 are listed as "unknown." They are both Blues and Grays. 10,000 that were buried in the earth; their name unknown. Simple soldiers--everyone; but most had someone in some corner of our country that knew them and loved them.
It did not take long for well-informed people to agree that the defense of Vicksburg was unnecessary, and the blood that was spilled there a useless waste.
Then what was the entire Civil War?
To be sure the Confederate States were whipped until they were forced to share the goodness of freedom with the Northern States; but the real question--the race question, they insist is more unsolved and complicated than before the war.
Why do they call these cemeteries where soldiers are buried National Cemeteries? Are they institutions that belong to a well organized state or is it so that the nation recognizes them as theirs to a higher degree than others? Or is it the responsibility the nation admits?
True it is,--they are all beautifully maintained. Our nation does much for its dead. Great measures are taken for proper arrangements that the dead shall "Rest in Peace."
Could not a troubled conscience also be satisfied if the government would make provisions so that the living could also "Live in Peace."
Then why do we carry on with warfare? Do we not already have enough graves in this country?
From Vicksburg we traveled south through an unusual fertile country side. Along the Mississippi River are many large plantations. One can almost believe he has been moved back in time to the days of slavery. There lies the plantation owners' home, a stately building--actually a castle--in a park like environment. Solid and splendid are these buildings. At some of these plantations I could get a glimpse of a fountain or a granite statue in among the trees. In one corner of the plantation are the living quarters of the Negroes, much as in the days of slavery. They set there, small white-washed huts with shutters on the windows and forming a whole little street. They appear almost deserted. It is here the so-called "Plantation Nigger" lives,--the most pitiable class of Negroes. The grown as well as the children work in the cotton fields and their black heads pop up in clusters as the train passes. There was always a fear of these plantations down along the river. To be "sold down the river" was the worst that could happen to the slaves further north. The river--the current--the boat carried them down-stream and they never returned. The slave owners down there, who for a large part consisted of a mixed race of French and Americans were evidently more demanding and cruel than those in the North and worked their slaves harder. Here it was in a literal sense to work oneself to death as was the case with work animals. It must be understood that when a few white men must keep a couple hundred half civilized Negroes under control requires stringent discipline.
As it now seems, the plantation Negro is living under almost the same condition as before. He receives $1.00 or $1.25 per day in wages. The plantation has its own store where he buys his life's necessities. The store prices are set so, that what the Negro earns are absorbed. Few even care to make an effort to save. If they save something, then there are so many tempters who in the person of smooth talking agents lure them into buying brass finery and glowing ornaments. So they really continue to work for only their board and shelter. The difference is that the plantation owner is not obliged to support them when they become sick or to old to work. Usually they will do it a plantation owner tells me. They are honoring an old tradition, namely that it is a shame to send a helpless Negro away from the plantation. The man I talked with had several; among them two women. The one had been his nurse when he was a child and is now almost 90 years old. She had sobbed so much when told that she was free. She did not want to hear of that--that old skin. She thought the Yankees had done the bloodiest wrong against Massa and herself.
The Negro question is the dark cloud that hangs over the sunny south. It is difficult for the people in the northern states to be impartial towards the situation down there. We hardly remember that at the last election in Louisiana there was registered 144,000 Negro voters against 120,000 white voters. In some of the other states the Negroes have an even greater majority. The white people must fight for the ruling power or be driven out. They have the capital, intelligence and industries, but the others have the voting power if they should choose to use it.
It seems odd that the whites have been able to hold power so far. This situation brings to mind that of an animal trainer who sits in a cage with a huge tiger. With a little stick he threatens it, and the tiger with its fearful strength shivers, and as the stick is raised, puts its tail between its legs. The animal is aware of the animal trainer's powerful superiority, but if it should so happen that it senses a weakness in him or an indication of fright it will plunge at his throat. That to me seems to be the situation between Whites and Blacks. The colored are treated as a subordinate class. Half animal, half human. They have their own waiting rooms at the stations, they must ride in separate cars, they cannot sit at tables with Whites, nor church, theater or meetings. They must never move out in front of Whites. The Whites do not want other contact with them except as master over servant. And the Negroes seem to take it as the most natural thing in the world--like something that cannot be any different. They appear to be hypnotized by an age old fright of physical punishment by the Whites. Just imagine if the Whites should indicate retraction, yield, be approachable or let them understand that they are worth something in this world--how long would it be before they would have the animal at their throat?
The situation is such now that the Whites have much greater interests in the South than the Blacks who have only their numerical strength. There is much at stake. We can say that everything is at stake for the Whites. They surely realize what it would mean for their future when they think of the hate that has been dammed up under centuries of oppression and the wildman's blood that still flows in the Negro's veins.
A strange fate befell these black people--a history all by itself. We have shuddered upon reading stories written about the slave traffic and the slave ships that transported the Blacks over from Africa, chained and crowded together like animals. How they were sold on the market and forced to work threatened by the slave driver and his whip. Anything of more self-interest and devilish enterprise is hard to imagine; but as a kind of mission work it was a success. It benefited the Blacks.
They must have been at a very low stage of civilization when brought over here. Perhaps they have not saved one word of their language, traditions or memories. Their black skin from Africa is all they have left. They had nothing to lose--but as indicated, much to gain. To be slaves in America must have been Paradise compared to being slaves in Africa.
Now, however it may be. The slave whip mellowed the wildman's blood. They learned to work and to obey. A race that thoroughly learns to obey, will also learn to command when the time comes.
And it will come. When I saw the Negroes working along the railroad right-of-way and observed the powerful bodies that looked as if they were made of steel, the wide shoulders, strong white teeth and strong sweat dripping skulls, laughing and singing while swinging pick and shovel, then it dawned on me,-- the South belongs to the Negroes. They are conquering it with their fists and will gradually force the Whites northward.
The development process in many nations has taken thousands of years--converting of the wild man to become a civilized man-- has here (thanks to the slave whip) been accomplished in a short space of time.
I mention the slave whip, because it was perhaps the only means that could make this happy, go lucky, lazy race become industrious workers and prepare them for their freedom, Christianity and culture whose bearers hopefully they will become when the White man's part is finished. This is what I scribbled down enroute on the train from Memphis to New Orleans.
We arrived in New Orleans late in the forenoon after having traveled through a district almost tropical to look at. The forest floor was covered with palms and the tree trunks entirely covered with climbing vines.
New Orleans is a city of about a quarter million people. As far as I could understand it has only one descent street--Canal Street. It is very wide and there are so many railway lines running side by side so it looks like a switching yard. All the streets and all street cars seem to meet here. I got the impression that if you want to take a street car some place you must first come to Canal Street.
New Orleans is actually an old, muggy city. The long, narrow street were filled with old stores where old clothing, used tools, old clocks, old shoes, furniture and iron scraps were sold. Everything had a muggy odor. The city's sewers lay open in the streets -- with the gutters running long side with the sidewalks -- evidently an old system. Canal Street has beautiful stores and the business people have attractive display windows of a style that is entirely unknown in the west.
To be seen in the city are many things of interest. The "French Market" reminded me of "Market Day" in Christiania (Olso) -- except that the entire market site was under one roof. We would force our way, push, haggle and quarrel. We could enter fat and well nourished and before you could get out at the other end be thin and hunger.
One of the first things you observe when coming into this city is a huge monument for General Robert E Lee--bronze statue on a very high pedestal. You become rather personally aware of an undercurrent in the characteristics down here. An undercurrent that has made an imprint on the population with a certain resigned seriousness, something rather ceremonious, and that is "The Lost Cause."
General Lee was the commander of "The Lost Cause." Every cause has its heroes and the South had theirs. Just as us folks in the North are unbiased on the Negro question, likewise they can be unbiased by the motives that caused the South to tear loose from the Union. They have their own history--the days of the Confederation--a time of pain--a time of spilled blood. The cause could have been bad or good. They thought that they were right and fought, prayed and cried for it.
And they believed. No cause can be entirely wrong, when a whole nation believes in it, fights for it and sacrifices its life for it. In the North the Civil War still continues to carry much of the victory spirit. Down here it is "The Lost Cause." oh, how much pain follows "A Lost Cause." All the dreams and, all hope, all the sacrifices, all the blood offered in vain. What a terrible experience for a cause that was lost! These gray brigades march by their old general who looks down at them from his high pedestal. The music, colors floating in the breeze, horses neighing, swords clink. A new American nation is born-- a new nation with mutual interests. A southern nation for the South's welfare and the South's home. Never did the sun shine on a more battle prepared and victory sure people.
They are marching by--and down into the earth, as that is where most of them went. The scene is over and the cause was lost. Remaining are some old men, who continue once every year to drag themselves past their old general in memory of what they had suffered in the struggle for their "Lost Cause." Soon they will also be hidden in the earth and the old general will be standing alone on his high pedestal as a witness to the South's "Lost Cause."
How painful it must be to be mistaken of one's "Big Cause" here in this life. Here stands a defeated man. You can immortalize his features in bronze and raise him as high as you want -- but he is a defeated man; because the cause he fought for was lost.
Nevertheless he was an upright man, a noble man. As a field general the greatest of his time. He was the idol of his soldiers and possessed his nations unbounded confidence. Still he was condemned to stand there as a bitter reminder of a "Lost Cause." A defeated man. How terrible to be mistaken of one's great cause--not to consider that perhaps the enemy could have a cause that was greater.
I visited Memorial Hall where there was a collection of war mementos from the days of the Confederation. There are many things that in and for itself are worthless, but people down here view them with reverence and tearful eyes. A lock of General Lee's Gray hair, Stonewall Jackson's cap, Johnston's field glasses. Small insignificant things that they had possessed; worthless to others, but invaluable possessions here. A chair, simple, not worth .30 cents in a second hand store, but one of the museums most valued possessions because it was Jefferson Davis, office chair. Here stands a small simple baby chair. In it sat Winnie Davis when a small child.
There were flags and banners that had been pierced by bullets and big collection of weapons. It was not only relics and pictures of famous men. Here hangs a large picture of a boy who fell in the war. He was only a private in rank -- a Tom, Dick or Harry, but he was only a poor mother's son. When the mother heard of Memorial Hall she had the boy's picture enlarged, framed and hung there. The elderly woman thought that her young son should be there and they hung it in a nice place. It did not seem like much until he also was there. And was not she right? Did not he,--the greatest sacrifice a mother could give in memory of "The Lost Cause," rightfully belong there?
This museum has a big collection of regimental histories, rosters, etc. I was quite surprised upon finding a noticeable number of Scandinavian names while scanning through the rolls. It had been my intention to return for a more careful examination of the roll to get some sort of an idea how numerous the Scandinavians were in the Confederate Army, however a change in my plans resulted in leaving the city sooner than I had intended.
Waldemar Ager took his bride Gurolle Johanna Blestern Ager on a honeymoon trip through the south. Because the story was written for the general public, he gave the story the title of "Notes From A Vacation Trip." The couple was married on July 5, 1899 and the story appeared in the Reform in July of 1899.