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The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 49 | Chapter Index

Chapter 50: 1860-1861

The Civil War was now coming and the spirit was moving. Dr. Moore, '63, in his " Reminiscences " tells how the cadets were thoroughly reorganized in the fall of 1860 by Captain Beltzhoover:

"John McLoughlin, Micheal Jenkins, John Slevin, Nicholas Callan and Constantine Mudd looked the soldier, every one of them."

Right Rev. John Loughlin, D.D. Bishop of Brooklyn

The lectures this winter were: "Modern Fortifications," by Prof. Beltzhoover, the last be gave before leaving for the Confederate ranks; " Navigation," by Prof. William Byrne of the Higher Mathematics; " Gothic Cathedrals," by Father McMurdie; " The Church," a lecture in English and Latin by Father Becker, then a professor here, afterwards Bishop; "Music," by Prof. Dielman. illustrated with the violin; Prof. Miles gave readings from "Christine," and, Dr. Moore says, " he was the best reader of English I ever heard."

Secession was now a fixed fact, and one of the great wars of modern times was about to begin. Bp. Quinlan from the extreme South writes to Dr. McCaffrey:

Mobile, Feb. 23, 1861.

Rev, and dear President: . . . Tho' wishing from my heart to see a long and prosperous Union of this great country, I am afraid that it is now vain, humanly speaking, to hope for its reconstruction and preservation. Six States have decided by peaceful balloting that the Government of the United States no longer was administered for their good; that a state of circumstances, not existing nor foreseen in the olden times, has arrived, making the interests of one portion of the Union hostile to those of another and therefore destroying all governmental harmony. By a fundamental principle, acknowledged in the old constitution and especially in the Declaration of Independence, the people of six powerful States, embracing a joint territory greater in extent than some of the most powerful monarchies of Europe, have peacefully declared who shall rule them and how they shall be ruled! The people think they are right and are determined to fight if necessary, to carry out their convictions. This is the actual state of things and I think we must accept it. It is a pity; but it appears there is no help for it. Wishing for the return of happy moments and enjoyment at the Mountain and the chance of a draught of that clearest and sweetest of waters which springs and sparkles on the back terrace and tendering thro' your kindness, my most cordial regards to the Faculty at large, I am , etc.

In March, '61, Beltzhoover (our West Point professor) resigned and entered the Confederate army.

At commencement, '61, the faculty list shows ten instead of fourteen professors, with one hundred and twenty-six boys and thirty seminarians. There were ten graduates. The honors were awarded to Thomas A. Reid, Edward V. Boursaud, James H. Corrigan, James Kearney, Louis Monmonnier, Martin Fallen, William Murphy. The valedictorian was not an honor man, and indeed there seems to have been no rule requiring this. The student longest in residence was often chosen, especially if he had been in the Minim Department and was thus "A Child of the House."

In July, '61, Bishop Elder, '37, from Natchez writes to Dr. McCaffrey:

. . . We are all well here. The blockade of New Orleans seems to have kept out the yellow fever. But we grieve much over the alarms and troubles of war in Maryland and Virginia.

Our very finest young men have gone to Pensacola and Virginia, and new companies are forming every time that one marches off. Five have gone from Natchez two more are in camp here and two more are organized vegetables and fruits are plenty and corn in abundance and already dry enough to gather. We are continuing our prayers for peace but a fair and honorable peace. Almost all our Catholic soldiers approach the Sacraments and carry with them their prayer book, crucifix and medal.

I am very desirous to know how you all are at the Mountain in these sad times. A man by the name of B. Whitesides, Franklin, Kentucky, advertises to bring letters across the border and mail them in Nashville if enclosed in an outside envelope addressed to him and containing inside the outer envelope fifteen cents in stamps or in cash. Or perhaps if you enclose to Mgr. Spalding of Louisville or to some one in Baltimore, they can send them over. I would enclose stamps but we have none made for the S. Confederacy yet. Much love to all much sympathy to those in distress Poor, unstable earth I am losing my interest in it. The breaking up of the Union was hard enough but the deplorable condition of Maryland and Missouri is harder still and makes us all rejoice in our escape from such rulers and grieve over the insecurity of all liberty on earth."

August 17, 1861. Bishop McFarland, '45, of Providence, writes that

On account of the war the prospects are very gloomy; real estate has fallen 40 per cent.; many people are trying to leave for the West or Canada or Ireland; the vast majority of people are idle; men and women begging; many of our churches will probably be sold for their debts. . . .

For the College it was decreed that it should keep its doors open. And here was the entering wedge of its coming misfortunes. In fact the grand old institution seemed to have reached its apogee in the year of the semi-centennial. Dr. McCaffrey had reigned long and arbitrarily. Though nominally responsible to the Arehbishop of Baltimore, the distance from the city, the secluaon from the rush and turmoil of worldly affairs, the long years of uninterrupted authority had rendered Rev. John McCaffrey more than autocratic; the famous mot of Louis XIV, "l'etat c'est moi"," was, it may be said, translated by him into "I can the College," and succeeding prelates of the Metropolitan See appear to have found it better to interfere as little as possible. Had he accepted the mitre of Charleston he would, during the Civil War, have been among the most ultra of those with whom his deepest sympathies were; he was a Southerner of the most uncompromising type. [The editor sets down Miss Meline's estimate of the Doctor just as he finds it.]

However, though he treated the Southern students very hospitably in their hour of distress, still three of the four prefects this year, 1861-62, were Northern men and the fourth from Kentucky, and the chronicler never heard complaint of partiality, for all the lady says to the contrary, which it boots not to repeat.

Abp. Purcell, who differed toto coelo from Dr. McCaffrey in his political opinions, thus writes him, October 4, 1861, in answer to a long letter of the Doctor's:

... I cannot take upon me to say which of the States can throw the first stone at any of the others for inaugurating " the unconstitutional courses and despotism which provoked the rebellion and civil war'' which we all do so heartily deplore. The aged ex-governor Burnett, of California, in a remarkable letter written a year past, thinks that this offence may be justly charged to the account of Georgia, in the Cherokee case, and we all know the bullying and hectoring of South Carolina, which led to such bad imitation by the New England States. On the day of fasting and praying proclaimed by President Lincoln, I addressed a very large audience in my Cathedral, and dwelt at much length and great freedom on the evil influences exercised by the Beecher family, the malignity of the old Doctor, the fanaticism of his son Henry Ward Beecher, and the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" of his daughter, Mrs. Stowe, its immense circulation, and its dramatising of a most atrocious exaggeration of the treatment of slaves by the South. On this topic, you would have acknowledged that we were neither ignorant nor lukewarm.

But the question now is were the Confederates justifiable in these premises in resorting to the "Ultima ratio regum." I think not. They gave quite as much provocation to the North of another kind they gave it in their Nullification doctrines, in their threats of disunion on the floor of Congress, in the bully and brutal assault of Brooks on Sumner in the Senate Chamber; in the subsequent seizure of United Slates property forts, mints, and arms; in the interdicting the free navigation of the Mississippi river; in the attempt to starve and kill the feeble garrison of Sumter but perhaps more than all. in the lengthy, systematic preparation made for this war by the South, so that the unsuspecting North was almost like Israel without a sword on the day of battle. Then see how the ordinances of Secession were passed. Were not all the constitutional forms, and all natural and conventional pledges and obligations to the Union under which we had so long prospered, violated in these proceedings? Finally what course remains for us of the North to pursue, but take up arms in self-defense, if not for aggressive purposes, when the day was set for the destruction of the National Capital, when the soil of Kentucky is invaded by a pseudo-Bishop and Brigadier-general Polk, with the avowed object of cleaning out the "abolition hole," Cincinnati, and finding there, in spoils and rapine, means to carry on the war for five years longer, until for us there has ceased to be even the name of liberty.

I do not foresee in the temporary suspension of natural and civil rights, much as I deplore cases of individual hardship and suffering, any permanent abridgment, much less extinction of our franchises and immunities. "Silent leges inter arma." But on she contrary, I hope, however deluded 1 may be, that when we have, by God's blessing regained peace and friendly alliances, if not union, memory of what the country has suffered in war will make our citizens, one and all, more cautious again to evoke its bloody spectre from the grave. How I would like to spend the last of my life at the Mountain 1 But the Pope quashed all such cherished yearning by a 'qui perseveraverit usque in finem hie salvus erit.' ...

Is Mrs. Peg. McEntee still in charge of the poultry? How is Mother Wynne? And dear Sister Martha? . . .

Abp. Purcell voted for the first time in twenty years, and voted for Lincoln twice. He did his best for the prisoners brought to Ohio, but raised the Stars and Stripes on the Cathedral for every Union victory and encouraged his young men to enlist under that flag.

Abp. Hughes was also a strong defender of the Union. Hassard says of him:

"When the rebellion first broke out in 1861, he hoped and prayed for peace until all room for hope was gone. He was not carried away by the war-like enthusiasm which broke out all through the North after the capture of Fort Sumter; though he was by no means a believer either in the doctrine of State sovereignty or the right of secession. In a remarkably calm and temperate letter to Bishop Lynch of Charleston, an ardent secessionist, in August, 1861, he used the following language:

"I am an advocate for the sovereignty of every State in the Union within the limits recognized and approved of by its own representative authority when the constitution was agreed upon. As a consequence, I hold that South Carolina has no State right to interfere with the internal affairs of Massachusetts. . . . But the Constitution having been formed by the common consent of all the parties engaged in the frame work and approval thereof, I maintain that no State has a right to secede, except in the manner provided for in the document itself."

He urged the people from his cathedral pulpit to submit to the conscription which they "should have demanded if the government had not been wise enough to order it." "The flag on the cathedral," he writes to another Southern Bishop, "was put up with my permission. On the whole, however, I think, my dear Bishop, that the Catholics of the North have behaved themselves with great prudence, moderation and a dignity which has, for the moment at least, inspired among the high and the low, great respect for them as a religious body in this Union. I regret that I cannot say as much for the Catholics and for some of their clergy in the South. In their periodicals in New Orleans and in Charleston, they justified the attitude taken by the South on principles of Catholic theology, which I think was an unnecessary, inexpedient, and, for that matter, a doubtful if not a dangerous position at the commencement of so unnatural and so lamentable a struggle. ..."

In a public letter of April 20, 1861, he said: "... Since the period of my naturalization I have none but one country. In reference to my duties as a citizen no change has come over my mind since then. The Government of the United States was then, as it is now, symbolized by a national flag, popularly called 'the Stars and Stripes.' This has been my flag and shall be to the end. I trust it is still destined to display in the gales that sweep every ocean and amid the gentle breezes of many a distant shore, as I have seen it in foreign lands its own peculiar waving lines of beauty. May it live and continue to display those same waving lines of beauty whether at home or abroad for a thousand years and afterward as long as Heaven permits, without limit or duration."

As far back as April, 1861, Archbishop Hughes had urged upon Mr. Seward the necessity of collecting at least a hundred thousand men about Washington, and he declared the privateers "essentially pirates," and that American cruisers ought to sink them whenever they encounter them upon the high seas . . . "Baltimore must be destroyed or else submit to Northern determination."

President Lincoln wrote to Archbishop Hughes with reference to the appointment of chaplains and thanked him for his " kind and judicious letters to Gov. Seward which he regularly allows me the pleasure and profit of perusing." In 1861-2 the Archbishop went to Europe, in the interests of peace, visiting and influencing Catholic governments.

We have dwelt thus minutely upon the war records of these giants of the hierarchy, Alumni of Mount St. Mary's, because their actions have frequently been recalled and in some cases questioned. Some sons of the Mountain, both lay and clerical, were Unionists; many cast their fortunes with the South, while others gave the Confederacy the " aid and comfort" of sympathy if not of overt action. Among these latter was Rev. Thomas R. Butler, ex-president of the College and Vicar-General of the Covington diocese. In the interest of some Southern prisoners he visited Washington and held a long conversation with President Lincoln. They were kindred spirits in their kind hearts, tender charity and love of justice and right as each saw it. Father Butler never after allowed in his presence a sneer at Abraham Lincoln either by word or look.

The Southern students at the American College, Rome, who could not get remittances from home, were also kindly treated by the Mountaineer administration, consisting of Fathers McCloskey and Chatard.

Monsignor John F. Kearney, '62, a Prefect in the days of the Civil War of 1861-65, writes, January 18, 1906:

... As regards Dr. McCaffrey: During the war I noticed in all, in and around the College, a very bitter feeling towards the North. Dr. McCaffrey in his remarks was exceedingly bitter. You know, all were hot, those from the North as well as those from the South. I do not remember Dr. McCaffrey showing any special feeling towards the college boys. I thought the College authorities were very generous to the boys from the South. I am sure we of the North asked no favors. I remember him very kindly. If he made harsh remarks to others I do not know; he was always very kind to me. . . . We had a very exciting time at the Commencement of 1863. Lee with his army was north of us. We had few visitors.

The following article by Rt. Rev. Monsignor James T. Dunn, '63, illustrates conditions at Mt. St. Mary's during the Civil War:

"It is natural to expect seats of learning to be free from the excitements of the outer world and, especially, when situated as Mt. St. Mary's, far from the cities and large gatherings, where the passions may be aroused by inflammatory speeches, or by contact with excited or interested individuals; but such expectations must be laid aside when the press and the mail are brought into action, by which these naming brands are caught up and carried into the most remote and hidden recesses, and the same thoughts and sympathies infused into minds and hearts, far removed from one another. As Mt. St. Mary's always kept her students well posted on outside affairs, by the reception of good daily and weekly papers and the daily mail, the happenings that disturbed the world without affected also the little world within her borders.

"Whilst there were strong partisans, both among the faculty and students for both sides, the general aspect of the college was neutral ground. Still the prevailing sentiment of the college was in favor of the South. For this there were many reasons: First, the acknowledged sovereignty of each State left the right of secession, at least, an open question. This position of State sovereignty perplexed the minds of the framers of the Constitution in 1787, and was the cause of the formation of the first political parties in the Union, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists; it was acted upon by Georgia in her treatment of the Creek and Cherokee Indians, despite the treaties made with them by the United States; by South Carolina, in her Nullification Act on the tariff, during the administration of Andrew Jackson; some of the greatest minds and orators in Congress and in the country, as Calhoun and Hayne, advocated and defended it, as did also James A. McMaster, the fearless and talented editor of the New York "Freeman's Journal," whose editorials were always read by the students. Secondly, the question of slavery. It was an institution of the South, and many claimed even Divine authority for it, quoting the Old and New Testaments, and claiming, too, that it was the best state for the welfare of the negro; the Constitution of the United States had sanctioned it from the beginning, and in restricting it to certain States the Republican party was infringing on the rights of the Southerners, as citizens, by confining them to certain limits, and hindering them from enjoying the advantages which the new States and Territories offered, because they could not take their slaves with them; and Northern fanatics exaggerated the evils of slavery and so slandered the South. Thirdly, Maryland was a Southern State, and as such her sympathies and nearly all her commercial relations were with her sister States; and fourthly, there was a common rumor that the former Know-Nothings and their leaders were now members and leaders in the Republican or Abolition party.

"Added to these reasons, was the large number of students from the Southern States, whose companionship and arguments greatly influenced the whole body. The greatest number of these was from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, and nearly every seaport from Vera Cruz in Mexico, along the gulf and the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to Baltimore had its representative.

"The adherents of the South among the faculty were: The President, Dr. McCaffrey; Henry McMurdie, Professor of Logic and Director of the Seminary ; George H. Miles, Professor of English Literature; Col. Daniel Beltzhoover, a graduate of West Point and a class-mate of General Grant, Professor of Mathematics and Commandant of the Mountain Cadets; and James Hickey, Professor of Writing and Drawing. The Union men were: Rev. John McCloskey, Vice-President and Treasurer; Rev. Leonard Obermeyer and Rev. John B. Byrne, during the short time he stayed at the College during the war. Henry Dielman, Professor of Music and leader of the band and choir, and Jean Maurice, Professor of French, were neutrals.

"In the Seminary, John D. Crimmens was the most pronounced Republican or Abolitionist."

"Though the professors and students took sides and were firm in their opinions there was never any ill-feeling entertained nor violence indulged in, as might be expected. The religious training given at the College had much to do with this.

"As a consequence of the neutrality of the College, as also to avoid all danger of disturbance, the flag, since now it represented only a section, was laid aside. The Mountain Cadets, in their drills and parades, marched under a long blue streamer bearing the words "Mountain Cadets," in large letters.

"Among the outside events which disturbed the ordinary quiet course of thought and study at the College, the most noticeable were John Brown's Raid, the Secession of South Carolina and the firing on Fort Sumter, the attack on the 6th Massachusetts regiment in Baltimore, the entrance of Jackson into Frederick, the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, the battle of Gettysburg and the assassination of President Lincoln.

"The suddenness of John Brown's raid, on October 16,1859, just one year after our semi-centennial celebration, startled the whole country, and especially the people living in the neighborhood of Harper's Ferry. There were fears of a conspiracy between the negroes in the South and the Abolitionists in the North, and of an uprising of the slaves, with its fearful consequences. The prowess of the United States marines, who were ordered up from Washington, was in high repute, and it was thought strange, that Brown's men, so poorly armed, could for so long a time withstand them.

"The effect of John Brown's Raid was felt in the barbecue celebration in November, when the bodyguard of the king and queen of the barbecue was armed with rude pikes and marshaled by a typical Yankee, John Flynn, of Providence, Rhode Island.

"When the returns showed the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican nominee for President, in November, 1860, there was an ominous lull. The President of the College, Dr. McCaffrey, had openly warned his neighbors and the members of the faculty, that a civil war was certain, and now it seemed that his words would come true, though doubt was still hanging in the minds of the great majority of the possibility of such a thing. But in the foreboding gloom of winter came the news of the passing of the secession ordinance of South Carolina, on December 20. A couple of the larger boys, one a native of South Carolina and a former student of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, stole away to town to celebrate. In quick succession six other States followed, and the government of the Confederate States was formed at Montgomery, Alabama, in February, and the students, reluctantly at first, and warmly afterwards, acquiesced in the action that made them aliens in their own country.

"When at last war had actually begun by the firing on Fort Sumter, on the 12th of April, 1861, and the States had begun to fall into line, and the call went forth from President Lincoln for troops, the students began to leave for their homes before it would be impossible to pass the lines.

"The fighting in Baltimore, begun by an attack on the 6th Massachusetts regiment as it passed through the streets on its way to Washington, made all realize that war was near, even at our doors. This increased the number of letters from the South, calling home the students, and so great was the exodus, both to the North and the South, that the third collegiate class of that year, which was so large as to require a division into first and second classes with separate teachers, had only seven students when it became the graduating class of 1863. The class that succeeded it, the graduating class of 1864, had only two members, one from New York and one from Mississippi, and the one from New York joined the Confederate army immediately after graduating.

"The battle of South Mountain, which lasted all day Sunday, the 14th of September, 1862, could be plainly heard at the College. As we were going up to Mass to the old church on the hill and as we were returning from Mass, we could hear the firing distinctly. Yet, recreation went on on the terraces and the ordinary routine of college life was followed, as if nothing unusual was happening. After vespers, which were held in the church on the hill, at 3 p. m., a few of us, under the care of Mr. John Crimmens, went down the Frederick pike, along the mountain side, to a place where a stream crossed the road well on towards Mechanicstown, and stood listening with awe to the sharp, ringing volleys of musketry and then the quick, sullen booming of the cannon, as they came along the reverberating sides of the mountain. The falling shades compelled us to tear ourselves away, as the rules required us all to be at home in time for supper. Again and again we stopped, as one report louder than another followed us, as if begging us to stay. ....

"The battle of Antietam followed immediately after South Mountain. During two days, the 16th and 17th of September, the battle raged, and more men were killed than in any previous battle of the war. The New York papers of the time even asserted that it was as great as the battle of Waterloo. As studies and classes and recreation succeeded one another, during those fearful days, little attention was paid, if even the students were conscious of it, to the battle.

"A memorable event in college life occurred in connection with this battle. The graduating class, attracted by the happy, holiday appearance of the numerous loads of farmers that, after the harvest, were making their way from southern Pennsylvania and the northern boundary of Maryland to the scenes of the late battles, conceived the idea of going also. This was talked of for several mornings, during the short half-hour allowed for recreation after breakfast, and finally they decided to ask the president for permission. Their request was gently side-tracked. It was not positively refused. The result was the whole class, with the exception of one who balked at the last moment, hied away over the mountains, successfully reached the battle-field and returned promptly at the time they had promised in a note to the president, after three days of absence, to find themselves most unmercifully expelled. The cause alleged for their expulsion was the note they left for the president. The following was the note, written with the best intentions:

"'Dear Doctor McCaffrey : We are very sorry for what we are going to do but we cannot help it. Please do not be wor­ried about us: we will be back surely on Friday evening. Yours truly. Class of '63.'

"Alas, for good intentions ! The good old doctor declared it was the most impudent note he had ever received. On several occasions students, mostly Southern boys, had stolen away to Frederick to see or to join the Confederates whenever they made a raid into Maryland, but this capped the climax, and the president resolved, then and there, to put an end to it.

"But though they were sent to their homes, all were taken back after an absence of about three weeks. Of the six, five became priests, and of these only one is now living. One other member of that famous expedition, worthy of a Xeno-phon, still survives; and it may be said that those two, as no doubt did the rest, look upon that little expedition as the most enjoyable and the most memorable in their whole lifetime. The first prefect of the boys at that time was the present Rt. Rev. Mons. James E. Duffy, the man of the 'Big Laugh.'

"One or two raids of Confederate cavalry were made on the college or eastern side of the Catoctin range, the fore part of the mouth of October. During one of these raids the Vice-President, Rev. John McCloskey, an excellent horseman and a notable figure on horseback, rode for quite a distance alongside the commander, General J. E. B. Stuart. Father McCloskey related frequently, as an incident of the interview he had with the commander, that whilst they were conversing, as they rode along leisurely, an orderly rode up asking for instructions; taking off his soft felt hat the commander looked attentively for a few moments at the interior and held it so that Father John could see it, and at once gave directions as to the road and paths to be taken to make their escape through the mountains into the Cumberland valley, and so to the crossing of the Potomac. Father John says every road and mountain path was carefully marked in the hat-covered map.

"No other incidents of any importance disturbed the quiet college life during the year 1862-3, until the month of June, near the closing of the year. Then the troops began to arrive for the great battle of Gettysburg. The first large body that passed near the College was the 6th Michigan cavalry. They jogged along, four abreast, many of the weary riders leaning forward, sound asleep on the necks of their horses. Many of us sat on the fences along the road watching and listening to their sayings. We naturally looked upon the men as sheep led to the slaughter, and we were not a little surprised when we overheard two of them closing a bargain on horseback with the remark: 'Well, I will settle with you for this after the battle. Will that suit you?' The other party readily assented. The whole period of life is treated as a certainty, even by men going into battle.

"At this time it was highly interesting to the students during their hours of recreation and on our free days, Thursday and Sunday, to hie away to that famous observatory, Indian Lookout, and watch the movement of the troops on the map-like plain before us. Little bodies of cavalry on their scouting expeditions seemed like large black caterpillars moving over the surface of a beautiful plain.

"If I remember rightly, commencement was held about a week earlier on account of the threatening appearance of everything without, and so that the students might safely reach their homes. The writer remained a little after graduation, and he had great difficulty in reaching Frederick on account of the army of the Potomac pouring like a torrent by every road that led to the northern part of Maryland. It was most interesting and exciting to see the life led by the suttlers on the supply train in the covered wagons switched off or sidetracked in every little road, the scouting parties of the different State regiments, with their distinctive flags, as they broke suddenly into the main road out of the little forest-covered roads that led down from the mountains, the mad rush of the artillery, tearing along the Frederick pike or the roads that led toward Taneytown, the wearied troops and worn-out stragglers.

"The battle and happenings around the College have been too well told by A. J. Brown's letter in your last number to be repeated here. We may mention, however, that among the wounded at Gettysburg were James Norton, of Mobile, Alabama, a former member of the class that graduated in '63, and Leonce Tousson, from New Orleans. Norton died in the hospital on the field and was buried in the Mountain cemetery. Leonce Tousson, though wounded, was able to retire with Lee after the battle.

"A large number of rifles were abandoned on the field at Gettysburg, and about half a dozen of them found their way to the woods on the mountain, where they did good service for quite a while in the hands of some of the seminarians. The faculty knew nothing of this. Accidentally George H. Miles discovered it, but said nothing, though during class hours, by a significant sign he made known his knowledge of the good times some of us were having in the hunting carried on quietly during the following fall. During one of the hunting expeditions the woods on the mountain were accidentally set on fire in the effort to smoke out a squirrel, which was chased and shot. But no thought was given to the fire left in the hollow tree, until during dinner Father McMurdie came in hastily from a sick call in the valley, with the alarming news that the mountain was all on fire. It was with great effort that the fire, that had spread over a large surface, among the dry leaves, was put out. But the guns were safely hidden in the old quarry, and very few ever learned how the fire originated. Some one in South Carolina will remember this incident.

"Discouraging news came regularly of defeats to the Confederate army until finally the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House, on the 9th of April, 1865, put an end to the war. A few days later, April 14th, 1865, Good Friday, President Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theatre. Orders were sent out for every house to display some sign of mourning. An officer visited the college, but there was no sign visible. He called upon the president, Dr. McCaffrey, and a small piece of crape, which had been attached to the front or main entrance near the president's room, was shown him. The door had been opened back, and thus this small piece of recognition of the general sadness was disclosed.

"All great events leave their mark upon the language and literature of the country, and so, at the college, several new words made their appearance with the war, or words that were seldom used became the ingredients of the daily conversation, or, in other words, became common. Such were the words, 'to confiscate,' instead of the simple words 'to take' or ' to steal;' 'contraband,' instead of ' forbidden ;' and among the inhabitants of New Orleans, to 'butlerize.' An entirely new word and very expressive, which the wise ones among the Greek scholars claimed came from ' skedannumi,' was ' skedaddle.'

"But the war and some of its events or features brought out new songs, the products of mountain talent. These were 'God Save the South;' 'Only a Contraband Now;' 'Bill and I,' by Professor George H. Miles; ' God Grant us Peace,' as a reply to ' God Save the South,' by William Byrne, now Right Reverend, and 'Remember Each True Mountaineer,' by Edward V. Boursaud, afterwards a Jesuit Father and Secretary of the General of the Jesuits, in Fiesole, Italy.

"An incident of the raid of General Early, after the siege of Vicksburg and the battle of Gettysburg, was the death of Maurice Byrne. Judge Byrne, of Millikens Bend, Louisiana, opposite Vicksburg, Mississippi, an old Mountaineer himself, had three sons at the college. One of them, Daniel, died during the winter of 1857-58, and was buried in the cemetery on the hill. Later on, two more, Charles and Maurice, were sent to college. During the war the father, having lost everything during the siege of Vicksburg, came to the college for his two sons. He was welcomed at the college, and during his stay the two boys urged him to let them go and join Early's corps. He allowed them, giving them instructions to put their names and address in their pockets, so that should anything happen, their bodies might be identified. As Early was retreating during a raid in the neighborhood of Hagerstown, the boys formed part of the rear guard, and Maurice was mortally wounded. Charley hastily dismounted, stayed as long as he could by his dying brother, and, propping him in a sitting position against a tree, fled away on horseback. Among the citizens of Hagerstown who came out to see the results of the skirmish was a former fellow-student of Judge Byrne, a doctor. He examined the young soldier, found life extinct, and found also the papers telling his name and parentage. He wrote to the Mountain for information of the Judge and had the body cared for and buried. The father came and, I believe, had the body removed to the college. Poor Maurice was one of the most lively patrons of the gymnasium, strong and active, though not tall, an excellent soprano and member of the college choir.

"It would take too long to trace the career of Mt. St. Mary's boys in the war, but mention may be made of Col. Beltzhoover. He was given charge of Watson's Battery, of Mississippi, and had under him John Devereux, of New Orleans, and several other Mountaineers. He fought his first battle at Belmont, on the Mississippi river, and had Grant opposed to him. He gave afterwards an account of his feeling going into the battle, and how each side expected the other to run, how he lost his battery in the beginning of the fight and re-took it and carried it safely from the field. He was afterwards in charge of all the artillery in the defense of Mobile. He is supposed to have died near Natchez.

"But the Mountain during the war had her martyr. Of all the offices in our institutions of learning, probably the most laborious, both mentally and physically, and at the same time the most obscure and thankless, is that of Procurator. This office was held by Rev. John McCloskey, who was Vice-President and Treasurer and Procurator. It was his ambition to keep the college table in the front rank for good, solid, healthy food, and of the very best in quantity and quality. There was no prouder man in the college on Christmas Day and St. John's Day, when the tables groaned under the good things provided by his care, and when all the students were pleased with the food provided by his care and labor. All the old students before and during war times can testify to the generous supplies of the best of the land, milk, butter, beef and bread and vegetables, especially the wonderful tomatoes that greeted the new-comer and the returning student in the month of September. But when the war came, when returns were not and could not be made by the Southern students for board and tuition, he felt that the honor of the college and its high standing for the generous treatment of its students was at stake, and he strained every muscle and faculty of mind and body to effect his purpose. He felt confident that the noble spirits of the Southerners would redeem every pledge, and would in time pay every cent of their debts. Hence, he borrowed, and borrowed, and borrowed, until, at last, he found himself sinking, irretrievably lost beneath the waves of insolvency, and his friends, who had the highest confidence in his integrity, sinking into ruin with him. It was not for himself. It was for the college, for the professors and students, he planned and struggled day and night, with no one to share his burden, until it may be truly said: sorrow brought him down in anguish to his grave, blamed and condemned by those who knew him not. His was one long, silent martyrdom.

"Mt. St. Mary's came out of the war with nearly all her temporal possessions lost, but with her glorious record of the past untarnished and her spirit unbroken. She lives in the minds and hearts of her children, scattered throughout this great, united land, as their Alma Mater, the source of the greatest blessings of their lives."

Writing of this war period in the Mountaineer of May, 1894, the same author proceeds: "Colonel Daniel Beltzhoover was not only our professor of mathematics but commandant of the Mountain Cadets, and drilled us thoroughly on Eardin's and Casey's tactics, since discarded as too antiquated. The Zouave Drill formed an important feature of our training. Colonel Beltzhoover was a classmate of General Grant at West Point, and stood far above him in class. While in command of Watson's Battery, composed mostly of Southern college boys, John Devereux and others he met Grant in his first battle at Belmont, and succeeded in recapturing and taking his battery in safety from the field. He afterwards, I am told, had charge of all the artillery in the defense of Mobile. Before the Civil War he had fought in Florida and Mexico. He left three daughters, who are nuns, and himself lies buried on the Hill."

In the admirable papers of Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Moore, published in The Mountaineer, will also be found pictured the condition of things during the war period. This gentleman was a Kentuckiau, graduated in 1863 and ordained at the Propaganda, Rome. He had a facile and cogent style of writing, exactly suited to Kentucky, his native soil, and to Missouri and Kansas where he labored in his later days. The Doctor wrote a great many valuable polemic articles and for several years contributed his reminiscences to The Mountaineer. He died in 1904, Administrator of Leavenworth, beloved and mourned by his fellow priests.

With Professor Daniel Beltzhoover left the College many of his pupils. He himself enlisted in the Confederate service, commanded an artillery troop during the entire war and had under him at least thirty "Mountaineers." The chronicler remembers how pathetic it was to see John Devereux, '59, visiting the College forty years later and looking for the grave of his old teacher and captain, and for that of his three Louisiana comrades, whose beautiful epitaph was written by another of their teachers, George Henry Miles. On leaving the College Beltzhoover and Devereux, of New Orleans, joined Mosby's Guerillas, the first Confederate organization they met.

Lieutenant Devereux told the chronicler long afterwards how they had captured a general officer at Cumberland, Maryland, some of them penetrating by a ruse de guerre into the enemy's camp and taking the officer prisoner in his own tent. They mounted him and compelled him to gallop away with them. Not being in good health at the time, he begged to be allowed to lessen the rapidity of the pace or to drop out entirely. The answer of the Southern commander was however: "We can't leave a living man behind." So to save his life he had to ride on through the night with his captors.

We begin our quotations from Dr. Moore by presenting what he tells of student life in 1860: "Chess was the favorite indoor game, whilst handball, tenpins, prisoners' base, townball (the ancestor of baseball), the parallel bars and Flying Dutchman had their votaries outside. Checkers and dominoes were tabooed, as beneath the plane and dignity of Mountain intellectuality. A playing card, during the five years of my pilgrimage I never saw. Chess, said to have been invented some five thousand years ago, had many devotees at the Mountain in my time. William D. Byrne of Brooklyn, '62, more familiarly known as ' Mickey Byrne,' was the champion. Visiting ecclesiastics, military men and diplomats owned up to his skill, and fought shy of it. His namesake, William Byrne (V. G., Boston), H. P. Northrop (Bishop of Charleston), J. J. Griffin, John A. Watterson (Bishop of Columbus), John J. McCabe and J. J. Browne, all played strong, sometimes brilliant games. . . .

"The name of Paul Morphy was always mentioned amongst the chess contingent with becoming admiration and reverence. Only a few years had elapsed since he had returned home victorious over all the mighty men of Europe, so that his glory seemed to have reached away up into the dominion of the stars. William Duncan ex-'65, then a student of the Seminary, afterwards a Jesuit priest, knew Morphy well, both having been together for some time at Spring Hill College. ' Morphy,' said he, ' was not alarmingly brilliant as a student, and in book learning there were many of his class who surpassed him. But when he turned his knights and bishops loose and into a hostile contiguous territory, they cornered the king and all his courtiers in marvellously short order.'

"Having heard of two great amateur chess-players of the South, who spent rarely less than a day, sometimes a whole month, at one game, I was curious to know something about the champion's methods. ' Before beginning,' said Mr. Duncan, ' Morphy usually put his open hands up to his face so that the tips of his fingers touched the hair line at the top of his forehead; then, with a slow and deliberate motion downward, repeated a couple of times, he swept the cobwebs from his brain and was ready. The length of time it took to finish a game depended on his opponent; the faster he played the sooner the battle came to an end, invariably to Morphy's credit, though he seemed to move heedlessly and give his pieces away for nothing. It is to be regretted the great chess prodigy did not realize the truth that in all things human there is a limit beyond which it is unsafe to venture. Every one who knows chess is also aware that to play five games simultaneously, blindfolded at that, is to excite the envy and wrath of all the gods who dwell on Olympus. This is precisely what Morphy did, and he paid for it.'

"Handball when the weather favored, was popular with many in my time. And though, doubtless, not a few had become experts at it from long practice. I recall the name of only one, whose feats on the alley floor impressed me. Mallon was his cognomen, who, along with being swift of foot and agile, had an arm that sent the ball a-hissing as if shot from a catapult to the brick just above the foundation, making a rebound on the floor impossible.

"During the winter months on recreation days skating on the pond some distance in front of the college was greatly enjoyed by those of hyperborean antecedents. Chrysostom P. Donohoe, of Boston, was the favorite. He could cut more fantastic figures on the ice than any of his rivals.

The boys from Dixie's land were not as a rule experts, except, perhaps, at making and seeing stars on the smooth, slippery surface. When the ice had become well seamed, water from a little reservoir a little farther up the ravine was allowed to flow over it and thus the skating exercise was prolonged, sometimes for weeks.

"Hunting and trapping rabbits during the cold season was also a favorite pastime. I do not recall the names of any whose fame as Nimrods went beyond that of their fellows. But, as a trapper, Eugene Kaphael, of Baltimore, was, in my opinion, facile princeps. . . .

"To the south of the main building was the gymnasium of those days. Parallel bars for 'joshing,' dumb bells, Indian war clubs with other aids to the acquisition of physical perfection were in evidence. But, conspicuous above the rest was a heavy post, some twenty feet high, with an iron swivel on top. From this depended four stout ropes, all ending in broad leathern loops. Exercise on this contrivance was taken by running the right leg through the loop, holding fast to the rope with the right hand and using the left leg to produce a migratory motion around the pole. When four strenuous athletes worked this machine there was a fine display of coat-tails, and a swinging of arms and legs which impressed the beholder. It was called the 'Flying Dutchman.' But whether the name applied to the pole or to the performers or to all combined, the tout ensemble, I could not learn. True it is I have never seen a native of Holland on the wing, yet the name seemed rather the invention of a poet than of a plain matter-of-fact man, because the performers resembled more closely a quartette of turkey cocks alighting on a stubble field than a Batavian with or without wings."

This year also William Byrne, '59, afterwards president, became professor of Mathematics and Edward Boursaud, '62, of French. The latter was afterwards one of the secretaries of the General of the Jesuits.

Nov. 16, 1860, it was decided that students were not to go home or elsewhere at Xmas time, and that newcomers should go to class within twenty-four hours after their arrival. The Southern States began to secede from the Union after Lincoln's election this month.

1861, Feb. 13, Classes of Christian Doctrine were declared "to be part of College course, and prizes were to be given as in other classes."

Each student was to select a confessor, and each confessor to admonish his penitents about going to Confession. [This was a relic of Sulpician discipline and prevailed probably but for a time. There was no trace of it in 1863.]

Mar. 13.1861, the Hermitage was given as an armory to the Rifle Company, to be made suitable at their expense. [This house was removed in 1895 when it became necessary to extend the old stone chapel.]

April 16, 1801. The financial report showed a debt of 149,375.37. Offsets, 624,512.45.

April 20. A committee of three was appointed to draw up a course of studies; their report included '' Christianity," and was adopted.

St. Thomas' Church at New Windsor, Maryland, where Andrew H. Baker, '45, had a college, was dedicated in June, 1861. The college failed later on and was sold, the abandoned church standing in desolation for many a year thereafter.

Thomas Parkin Scott, '32, was a delegate to the Secession Convention which met at Frederick in 1861, and which was broken up and the members arrested by the Union authorities.

July 9. The Professor of Writing and Keeping of Accounts was to receive four hundred dollars per annum and 80 per cent, of the amount paid by students of drawing. Professor of Music, 80 per cent, of amount paid by his students.

Sept. 11. Catechism Class changed from Sunday morning to Tuesday and Friday evenings, 6 to 6 3/4 o'clock.

Dec. 11. It was proposed to teach Spanish and German.

Chapter 51 | Chapter Index

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