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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO
From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, April 10, 1862.
THE GREAT BATTLE ON THE TENNESSEE.
Nobody cares for history to-day. The event of the battle is the first question, and the next—WHO FELL? Ten thousand hearts throb with painful anxiety to know the fate of loved ones in that terrible conflict. Brother, son, husband, father-all were there. Ten thousand of our side slain! Let us hope it is exaggerated. Enough, God knows, to carry wailing to more than twenty thousand hearts and hearth-stones. To-day, to-morrow, and the day after, how the news columns will be scanned throughout the whole Northwest, by eyes weak with watching, to see if the name of the loved one is in the frightful list.
Brother, son, husband, father, and still another-lover betrothed-were there. What heart-strings are riven by the record of that fearful battle!
We weep at stage tragedies, but what are they to the reality of days like Sunday and Monday last? Yet let no one weep inconsolably at the death of the patriot soldier. Death comes to all, but to none so welcome as to the brave man who dies in the cause of THE RIGHT.
Is it wrong-it cannot be, in this hour of tearful triumph-to ask why is this? In what cause are these thousands slain? To what infernal deity are all these victims offered in Sabbath day sacrifice? One answer alone is true: To SLAVERY!—That is the Moloch. On the altar of slavery these thousands are offered as the firstlings of the flock are, under the rites of some heathen devotion. Twenty thousand families put on mourning this week for their slain on the Tennessee. Rachel weeping for her children and will not be comforted. “The first-born-the stay of the household-the hope of our old age is dead; killed in the great battle.” Alas! to how many households is this only the truthful record?
Let none, even in the paroxysm of anguish, forget that these are the acceptable offerings on the altar of slavery. Your youngest, dearest, is among the wounded-writhing in agony on the field, or in the rude field hospital. It was this accursed slavery rebellion which demanded that suffering, and that sacrifice.
In the excitement of the hour of a victory which cost a slaughter so frightful, it is difficult to write calmly. We must need speak from the impulse of the heart, that which in our very heart of hearts we feel to be true.
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