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At last the gray hairs
You behold on bis brow,
Some deep traces now,
And men have abused him,
He is on his last ditch
He is delving alone ;
With his sinew and bone;
In toil none befriends him,
His hoary old head
Is as white as the snow;
For his wages are low ;.
Its baubles and treasures,
No kind land to give
Him a holiday's rest,
Tho' sick and distressed;
To cheer his old throttle,
He has toiled the long day,
But his labor seems dead;
For his supper and bed,
Ah! who will restore him ?
Lo! pale twilight comes
With the charm of a witch,
Of the low and the rich;
There comes a dark shadow,
Thos. E. HOGG. A FEW RECOLLECTIONS OF OSCAR M. LIEBER.
YOUNG scholar of whom Humboldt spoke warmly, whose liberties of the South, ought not to pass wholly from the memory of the Southern people. His noble death came too soon for him to leave his mark upon the age in any abiding record of his scientific and scholarly attainments; but he left many friends who can testify to his possessing powers which would have given him a high place among our thinkers and writers, had he lived to put them in operation. His personal qualities were such that it is with pride and pleasure that I undertake to trace out even this slight sketch of my intercourse with him, deeply regretting that the lapse of time and the many gaps which war and the waste succeeding war have made in the circle of friends he once loved, keep me from paying a worthier tribute to his memory.
Oscar Montgomery Lieber, one of the sons of Professor Francis Lieber, and mortally wounded at the battle of Eltham's Landing or Barhamsville while fighting in that cause which his father was one of the bitterest in opposing, was a man of rare qualities and scholarly attainments. He was lost to the country in that memorable action, in which Hood's gallant brigade of Texans, supported by the Hampton Legion, drove through many miles of dense woods to the edge of York River a heavy column of the enemy just debarked from their boats, and sent by McClellan towards Birbamsville with the design of cutting off Gen. Joe Johnston's retreat, whilst he fought him lower down, at Williamsburg, with his main army.
The success of the troops under Hood and Hampton, and the complete rout of the enemy through the country along the West Point road, saved the Southern army, and enabled Gen. Johnston to prosecute his retreat without molestation in fank or front.
Skirmishing with the company of which he was a private, the Washington Light Infantry Volunteers, of Charleston, in advance of the line, Lieber fell in this action with a ball through his shoulder just above the left lung. He was driven in an am.bulance through the far-extended ranks of the retreating army, over the roughest of roads a distance of twenty-eight miles to White Point, the nearest station on the York River Railroad. He suffered greatly on this route from the frequent jolting of the vehicle, the drive being taken through much of the way at night, and the roads being in a frightful condition from recent rains and the passage of many wagon-trains over them. I have still a vivid recollection of that terrible drive, for I was at his request detailed to accompany him, and the groans which the sudden jolts of the wretched vehicle extorted from my friend were a bitter sound to my ear.
Arrived at Richmond, he was taken to one of the Georgia hospitals, whence he was removed in a few days, through the kindness of Gen. Wigfall, to the house of Mr. Warwick, a wealthy gentleman of the city, where every attention was paid to his comfort and well-being, and the best of surgical attendance procured. I left him to return to my command; and, falling into the hands of the enemy shortly after at the close of the battle of Seven Pines, I heard nothing of his fate until my return from Fort Delaware. My friends in the Legion then told me all they knew. He died at the house of the kind family who had taken him home to nurse and care for his needs, in the month of June, 1861, after a few weeks of painful suspense on the part of his friends. He was a sincere and fervent Christian, and met death with calm resignation.
I wish to gather here such reminiscences of my intercourse with him in military life, as after the lapse of so many years I shall be able to recall. My association with him was close and constant during the last year of his life, and always of the pleasantest nature. He served, without any recognised grade, as a topographical engineer with Gen. Beauregard before, during, and immediately after the first battle of Manassas. Shortly after that first great meeting of the contending races, he attached himself as a private to Company A of the Hampton Legion, infantry arm. Here commenced my acquaintance with him. I had seen him frequently before in Columbia, while I was a student in the South Carolina College, but had never been introduced to him. From the days of the wet encampment at Berrysville, however, we knew each other well. As we were in the same mess and frequently in the same tent, the near intimacy which is generated by the soldier's life soon sprang up between us. From the first I recognised in him a loyal devotion to South Carolina, a full appreciation and understanding of the principles for which we were contending, a high strain of honor and manliness, and a brave resoluteness of character, which drew me greatly towards him. Added to this were his high mental culture, his large experience of life and manners gathered from foreign travel and foreign university life as well as from intercourse with the best society of his beloved State, his true instincts, and the gentle nature concealed under what at first sight seemed a somewhat grim and unsocial exterior.
The gravity and phlegm of manner which he derived from his German blood, and the somewhat crusty tone which his bachelor habits had superinduced upon his normal temperament, were likely to repel those who did not know him well, and lead to the conviction inat his nature was altogether ungenial. But this was by no means the case. As one grew to know him better, and the reserve of first acquaintance began to wear off, it was easy to detect the good qualities hitherto latent in him. Humorous and even jocose utterauces soon fell from his lips; and he warmed into the thoroughly genial and delightful companion, the memory of whose sayings and of whose rather comical features in moments of merriment is associated for me with many of the picturesque scenes and eventful occasions of that memorable winter on the Potomac and long spring campaign thence to the Rappahannock, from the Rappahannock to Yorktown, and from Yorktown up to the fatal woods of the Wes! Point road.
During a large portion of this time he assisted Gen. Hampton greatly with his topographical knowledge and skill, though he still remained in the ranks of the Legion, being detached from time to time as his engineering services were required. I believe the General – then Colonel by rank, but commanding a brigade — valued his services highly, and had a high esteem and some affection for him personally.
His acquaintance with literature and with all the mooted questions of science and politics was large, and I derived much pleasure from discussing such matters with him on many a cold, snow-stormy night of that long first winter of the war. I remember, however, puzzling him once and checking him in the very heat of argument, on the march from Yorktown, by a pretended citation from Izaak Walton, bearing directly against the point he was maintaining, until he noticed the amused look in my eyes and saw that I was quizzing him. But he took such jokes very good-naturedly.
Besides his experiences in Europe (which included a student's share in a Berlin revolution) he had been among the Esquimaux upon the occasion of a scientific cruise in the Northern waters, and had seen a great deal of the Catawba Indians in the settlement occupied by the remnant of that tribe now extant among us. These last he had encountered in the prosecution of his duties as State Geologist of South Carolina. There were also relations of his mother's (whom he dearly loved and of whom he often spoke to me in terms of fond affection) in Cuba, with whom he kept up a regular correspondence. All these associations had furnished him with a large fund of varied information and with many themes of interest, so ihat when he found himself in a communicative mood he had much to tell which was very pleasant to listen to, and he told it well. Apple-brandy and coffee were more abundant in those days than they became at a subsequent period, and when these pleasant stimulants were on the rude board which our camp-economy supplied, with the sympathetic pipe well-stored and a circle of friends around, many and many a good time we had that comes back to me now tenderly remembered, because restoring in vision not a few staunch comrades I can never see again in this life, and one or two still living but not met with for many years. But these last doubtless remember as well as I how rich such occasions were with the table-talk of this genial companion. He was delightful by the fireside, cheerful and unselfish on the march, brave and cool in action, hopeful for his country, and faithful to her in life and death. His views were always large and liberal, his prejudices confined to trifling matters in which they could do no harm, his eccentricities leaning to the side of neatness and fastidious delicacy about meat, drink and clothing - only such as seemed eccentricities to us rough soldiers, careless of rigid practices in a life which we regarded as only temporary, and which in the spirit of frolic youth we looked upon at first as a sort of romantic emancipation from the conventionalities of gentility.
His contributions to literature and science it is not easy to collect at this time, as many of them made their appearance in ephemeral publications which time and the accidents of war have scattered. Even those who knew him best in the earlier years of his manhood would perhaps find it difficult to identify them if they were found. His geological reports are, I believe, considered valuable by scientific
I men; my impression is that Dr. Joseph Le Conte, the distinguished scientist, once told me that Lieber's work in that department was well done, and that his reports would always be useful. In the Courant, a weekly which flourished for a short time in Columbia, he published several articles, one of which, Morphology of a Plum-pudiling, was intended as a burlesque on the tendency of science at the present day to adapt its processes of reasoning to social problems, and convert an analogy, which should be employed simply as illustrative, into a serious argument. Had his writings been coinmensurate in quantity with the fulness and extent of his thought and the largeness of his learning and experience, he would have left a literary name behind him of which the South might well have been proud.
C. W. H.
T costs us a sigh of regret to give forth a long-cherished thought.
over in heart and brain, and color and change and dignify. It has gone from us forever. It leaves a vacancy. It was a companion to us. While we had it we were conscious of a sleeping value — we had something to tell ; losing it, we are lonely. Be still: it is doing its work. Each man is a world within himself, but he must trade and barter and exchange with his neighbor. Tell me your thought; I will tell you mine, and there shall be mutual benefit. Must I give up nothing, that mankind shall profit by my life? Who are we that we shall clasp our hands to our brows and say, They are feverish ; we are overworked ; we must rest? There is no rest save in work. Work is rest.
The ploughboy sleeps sounder than the epicure. We should know that there is nothing we have in these hearts of ours but our neighbor is entitled to claim. I am here, therefore I have a right to be here. He made me ; He wants me. There is a purpose in everything. An ant climbing a wall can save a Prince, and a spider's web is Mohammed's Gibraltar.
Behind each existing fact there are numberless possibilities of cause. Who shall say this is right or that is wrong? There is no right, no wrong, save as parts of a whole. I do think there is no truth without its essence of error, no error without its scintilla of truth. The sugar has a slight taste of the vile bone-dust. Let us think deeply and act