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of steel armor, not only heavy to bear, but cutting remorselessly into the quick flesh. That one of the successors of Washington should find himself even to this degree in the hands of his enemies was personally humiliating; but that the majesty of a great nation should be thus insulted and its visible symbols of authority be placed in jeopardy; above all, that the hitherto glorious example of the republic to other nations should stand in this peril of surprise and possible sudden collapse, the Constitution be scoffed and jeered, and human freedom become once more a by-word and reproach—this must have begot in him an anxiety approaching torture. In the eyes of his countrymen and of the world he was holding the scales of national destiny; he alone knew that for the moment the forces which made the beam vibrate with such uncertainty were beyond his control. In others' society he gave no sign of these inner emotions. But once, on the afternoon of the 23d, the business of the day being over, the Executive office deserted, after walking the floor alone in silent thought for nearly half an hour, he stopped and gazed long and wistfully out of the window down the Potomac in the direction of the expected ships; and, unconscious of any presence in the room, at length broke out with irrepressible anguish in the repeated exclamation, "Why don't they come! Why don't they come!"
One additional manifestation of this bitterness of soul occurred on the day following (April 24), though in a more subdued manner. The wounded soldiers of the Massachusetts 6th, including several officers, came to pay a visit to the President. They were a little shy when they entered the room- having the traditional New England awe of authorities and rulers. Lincoln received them with that sympathetic kindness and equality of bearing which put them at ease after the interchange of the first greetings. His words of sincere thanks for their patriotism and their suffering, his warm praise of their courage, his hearty recognition of their great service to the public, and his earnestly expressed confidence in their further devotion, quickly won their trust and respect. He spoke to them of the position and prospect of the city, contrasting their prompt arrival with the unexplained delay which seemed to have befallen the regiments from the various States supposed to be somewhere on the way. Pursuing this theme, he finally fell into a tone of irony to which only intense feeling ever drove him. "I begin to believe," said he, "that there is no North. The 7th regiment is a myth. Rhode Island is another. You are the only real thing." There are *J. H., Diary. Unpublished MS.
few parchment brevets as precious as such a compliment, at such a time, from such a man.
However much the tardiness of the Annapolis reënforcements justified the President's sarcasm, they were at last actually on the way. We left Butler engaged in assisting the school-ship Constitution to a more secure position. The aid proved effectual; but the day's work ended by the ferry-boat Maryland—the Massachusetts 8th being still on board- getting hard aground in the shoal water of Annapolis Harbor. In this helpless predicament, with only hard pilot-bread and raw salt pork furnished from the Constitution to eat, and no water to drink, the regiment passed the night of Sunday. Early next morning (Monday, April 22) brought the arrival of another ship, which proved to be the Boston, containing the New York 7th; and thus these two regiments, so lately parted at Philadelphia, were once more united. Colonel Lefferts had proceeded on his independent course to Fort Monroe; but receiving no intelligence concerning the Potomac route, concluded, after all, to adopt the more prudent plan of steaming up Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis.
The Boston at once set to work, but without eventual success, to pull the Maryland into deeper water. Meanwhile the officers of the two regiments were holding interviews and correspondence with Commandant Blake of the Naval School on the one hand, and with the Maryland authorities on the other. Governor Hicks, in punctilious assertion of the paramount State sovereignty of Maryland, protested, in writing, against landing the troops. The mayor of Annapolis joined in the protest; though privately both declared Maryland was loyal to the Union, and that they would make no military resistance. That afternoon both regiments were landed. There was still a certain friction of military jealousy and refusal to coöperate between Butler and Lefferts; both were eager to proceed to Washington, but differed in their plans; and the many and apparently authentic rumors of the opposing force that would meet them from Baltimore caused discussion and delay. They had no transportation, few rations, and little ammunition. Butler took the first practical measures, by ordering the railroad depot and buildings to be occupied. Here an old locomotive was found, the machinery of which had been carefully disarranged. The mechanical skill of the Yankee militiamen now asserted its value. Private Charles Homans, of the Massachusetts 8th, at once recognized the locomotive as having been built in "our shop"; and calling to his help several machinists like himself from among the Massachusetts boys, they had no great difficulty in putting it in running or
der. Tuesday morning (April 23) showing still no warlike demonstrations from any quarter, the surroundings of the town were reconnoitered, and two companies of the Massachusetts 8th pushed out three and a half miles along the railroad. A beginning was also made towards repairing the track, which was found torn up and displaced here and there. In this work, and in testing the newly repaired locomotive and improvising a train, another day slipped by. In the evening, however, two of the eight messengers sent out from Washington to Annapolis succeeded in reaching there, the second one bringing the definite orders of General Scott that Butler should remain and hold the place, and that the advancing troops should repair the railroad. That night, also, came four or more steamships with as many additional regiments of volunteers.
Wednesday morning, April 24, being the fourth day at Annapolis for the Massachusetts 8th and the third for the New York 7th, they started on their twenty miles' march to the junction. A couple of extemporized platform cars on which the "7th" mounted their little brass howitzers, the patched-up locomotive, and two rickety passenger cars constituted their artillery-baggage-supply-ambulance-and-construction train all in one. Thus provided, the two regiments marched, scouted, laid track, and built bridges as occasion required; now fraternizing and coöperating with hearty good-will. It was slow and tedious work; they were not inured to nor provided for even such holiday campaigning as this. Luckily they had fine weather- a warm, sunny, spring day, succeeded by a clear night with a full moon to light it. So they clung pluckily to their duty, hungry and
sleepy though they were, all day and all night of Wednesday, and arrived at the junction about daybreak of Thursday. All the previous rumors had taught them that here they might expect a rebel force and a fight. The anticipation proved groundless; they learned, on the contrary, that a train from Washington had come to this place for them the day before. It soon again made its appearance; and quickly embarking on it, by noon the New York 7th was at its destination.
Those who were in the Federal capital on that Thursday, April 25, will never, during their lives, forget the event. An indescribable gloom and doubt had hung over Washington nearly a week, paralyzing its traffic and crushing out its very life. As soon as their coming was known, an immense crowd gathered at the depot to obtain ocular evidence that relief had at length reached the city. Promptly debarking and forming, the 7th marched from the Capitol up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. As they passed up the magnificent street, with their well-formed ranks, their exact military step, their soldierly bearing, their gayly floating flags, and the inspiring music of their splendid regimental band, they seemed to sweep all thought of danger and all taint of treason not only out of that great national thoroughfare, but out of every human heart in the Federal city. The presence of this single regiment seemed to turn the scales of fate. Cheer upon cheer greeted them, windows were thrown up, houses opened, the population came forth upon the streets as for a holiday. It was an epoch in American history. For the first time, the combined spirit and power of Liberty entered the nation's capital.
EAR Love, I sometimes think how it would be
O day of wonder! thou shouldst come and say I love thee, or but let me guess thy plea If once thine eyes should brighten suddenly, If once thy step should hasten or delay Because of me, if once thy hand should stay A needless instant in my own! Ah, me! From such imaginings I wake and start,
And dull and worthless life's endeavors seem
"Be still, be comforted, O heart of mine,
Oh, that the large prophetic Voice
The burden of the isles, the word
For I would frame a song to-day
Sits with a triple coronet.
Genius and Sorrow both have set
To her the forest lent its lyre,
She, the imperial Rhine's own child,
MALVERN, JULY, 1886.
She who beside an infant's bier
Now from a People's sole acclaim
THE AMERICAN INVENTORS OF THE TELEGRAPH.*
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCES TO THE SERVICES OF ALFRED VAIL.
HE University of the City of New York, then but recently organized, established, in 1835, a professorship of the Literature of the Arts of Design, and chose Samuel Finley Breese Morse, who had already achieved reputation as an historical painter, as the incumbent. In July of that year Professor Morse took possession of a suite of apartments which had been provided for him in the new University building on Washington Square and entered upon his duties.
came impaired, and as his physical condition precluded the prosecution of his theological studies, he appears for a time to have labored under much uncertainty as to his future course. The problem of his life-work was, as the event proved, soon to be solved by a fortunate and unexpected incident.
In the year 1832 Professor Morse, on a voyage from Havre to New York in the packet Sully, had conceived and drawn in his sketchbook an apparatus for recording signals at a distance by electro-magnetism.
The history of the inception and early development of Morse's invention is familiar and need not be repeated, except as may be necessary to enable the successive steps by which it was wrought into a practical and commercial form to be properly understood. Until Morse became one of the faculty of the University, he had been prevented, by the nomadic life imposed upon him by his straitened circumstances, from making any effort beyond the molding and casting of a set of leaden type to reduce that conception to practice. This, according to his original scheme, was automatically to open and close an electric circuit and thereby transmit certain signals, to which an arbitrary numerical signification was to be given.
Eleven years prior to this date, Alfred Vail, a youth of seventeen, having completed his studies in the village school of Morristown, New Jersey, found congenial opportunity to gratify his inherited mechanical tastes by going to work in the Speedwell Iron Works, of which his father, Judge Stephen Vail, was the proprietor. One of his characteristics, from an early age, had been a marked fondness for study and investigation in matters relating to the natural sciences; and as his mind gradually matured and unfolded itself, his aspirations for a broader and more systematic mental culture, and a higher degree of attainment than was possible under the conditions which then surrounded him, were with difficulty repressed. It was the natural desire and expectation of Judge Vail that both his sons, Alfred and George, should identify themselves with the manufacturing business, an extensive one for those days, which he himself had prosecuted with industry and success. In compliance with his father's wishes, Alfred contented himself for a time with the duties of his position. Upon attaining his majority, however, his inclination for a more appropriate field of labor could no longer be restrained; and, after much anxious consideration of the matter, he determined to prepare himself for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. In 1832, at the age of twenty-five, he entered the University of the City of New York, from which institution he was graduated in due course in October, 1836. Towards the close of his term his health be*See also "Professor Morse and the Telegraph," by Benson J. Lossing, in this magazine for March, 1873, and a communication by Professor J. W. Draper, in May, 1873.
During the latter portion of the time in which Alfred Vail had been a student in the University the chair of chemistry had been occupied by Professor Leonard D. Gale. In January, 1837, Professor Morse, who in the privacy of his apartments had constructed a rude but nevertheless operative experimental model, exemplifying the principle of the recording telegraph which he had devised on board the Sully, took Professor Gale into his confidence and exhibited to him the invention, so far as it had then been developed by his unaided hands and brain.
Professor Gale, whose knowledge and acquirements were of a character which enabled him to appreciate the ingenuity of the inventor and to forecast the possible success of the invention, became at once deeply interested in the plans of his colleague, and thenceforth the
assistance which he rendered Morse in his experiments was of the utmost importance and value. For some time, the experimental in strument remained substantially unchanged. Morse himself possessed but moderate mechanical skill, while his poverty debarred him from employing trained workmen to put the invention into a more permanent form.
In February, 1837, the House of Representatives had passed a resolution requesting the Secretary of the Treasury to report upon the propriety of establishing a "system of telegraphs for the United States." With the view of gathering the necessary material for his report, the Secretary of the Treasury, on March 10, 1837, issued a circular of inquiry, a copy of which fell into the hands of Professor Morse, and doubtless led to his determination to complete his invention and, if possible, to secure its acceptance by the Government.
On Saturday, September 2, 1837, Professor Daubeny of Oxford University, then visiting the United States, was invited with others to witness the operation of the electro-magnetic telegraph at the University. The apparatus had been set up with a circuit of copper wire, stretched back and forth along the walls of a large room. Among the spectators was Alfred Vail, who then saw the apparatus for the first time. Notwithstanding the crude and imperfect character of the machinery in which the invention was embodied, the results were such as conclusively to demonstrate the possibility of recording signals at a considerable distance by the instantaneous action of electricity.
This exhibition produced a profound effect upon the mind of Vail. His inherited and acquired mechanical skill, and the knowledge of construction which his apprenticeship in his