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Shell Annie

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Nobody expeoted General Sherruan to come into Atlanta from the sonth. Oh, no; in the natural course of erents he must have certaiuly shouldercd his way right straight on from the north, and accordingly the grim and grimy, I frayed out fragmenta of Hood's rate army v;ülowed in the stifling renches all alon the vast semicircular ine of outworks that faced the valley ; f the Chattahooche and conimandrd he approaches from the Allatoona hills jeyond. Bnt he of the eagle eye was a ist. He wanted to cut off and coop up ; ;he gray jacketo in the city, and for that j eason he quietly marched the larger )art of his armyup the western bank of he river eight or ten miles, flung them across the river, and with a mighty wing of that ponderous trip hamnier of var he strook them from the south, thus utting off their lines of supplies by the Georgia railroad. Then followed those errible days which wonnd up with the ierce onslaught of July 22, when the ïopeless, half starved southern men and he gallant men of the west met in a mighty gladiatorial coutest which reulted in tbs fall of Atlanta. These are matters for the historian, ut what I am going to rocouut is one of these wild, weird romances with which this terrible conflict was so ïv.ught, aud here is the strange story: "On to the sou!" was the watchword of Sherman's armics, and the sullen and dogged retreat of the Confederates to Joncsboro was the flrst movement of the defeatect aid despairing Confederates. Jonesboro was a little inland town, nestled amid field and forest, interspersed with beautiful nndulating hills and grassy valleys green with the hope of the harvest, but little suited as a de'ensive point for the brnised and battered legions who were recoiling slowly toward the southern sea. Breastworks had beeu hastily thrown up flanking the line of the Central railroad, and in the ditches behind them the straggling remnant of obstinate Confederates was intrenohed. It was a gloriously beautiful summer day when the skirmish line of the ïiorthern hosts debouched from the works and took up position in front of these jreastworks. T-aken by surprise af ter relying in vain on the ability of the southern troops to check the onflow of Lhe le?ions of the conquering hosts, the vromen and children, led by the lame and :he halt and the aged men of the country, were fleeing for life, panic stricken and utterly demoralizcd. As the sun rose over the swelling ridges the eyes of the soJdiers of either army caught the gleam of a little white tent, half hidden iu a wood, just a little to the left of the line of attack, and above it fluttered a tiny white flag no bigger than a man's band. It was a woman's handkerchief, aud all the chivalrous feelings of tho American soldier were aroused as the grim veterans caught sight of that little appealing bit of eambric floating thei'8 through tlie uprising mists of war. The order was passed to respect that flag, and when the great gans began their work and shot aud shell were hurled blazing and crashing across field and wood f rom either direction never a gvmner trained his piece toward a poiut near that little white tent. The battle was fiercely fought, but the combat. was of short duration, and as the shadows lengthened eastward the southern troops were seen in fnll retreat, leaving the field to the trinmphant Federáis. As they swept forward a drummer boy, Otto Barden, of a Pennsylvania regiment paused by the little white tent in the wood. Guards in blue uniform surrounded it, and while thesmokeof battle swirled above aud around there was a plaintive cry from the tent, and the stalwart surgeon lifted the flap of the little tent and emerged, followed by an old negress, beaiing in her arms a tiuy, white bundie. "Pleaso God, marsa, is you gwinter take us off ter de norf?" wailed she, with the big tears coursing down her withered face. "It'll sho' kill Mis' Annie ef yo' does. ' ' "Not a bit of it, old lady, not a bit of it," replied the good naturod snrgeon, with a smile. "Helio, Otto, you're the very boy I want. This is your prize, as you are nearest her age, and we are going to detail you to take charge of this wee prisoner and see that the little reb don't escape. ' ' The rongh soldiers carne crowding around for a peep at the prisoner, and mauy eyes filled with tears of tenderness as they gazed on the baby that had first seen the light in such grewsome surroundings. "Ain't it a wonder that she and the mother were not blown to pieces?" said the sergeant. "It is indeed," replied the corporal, "for look there where a stray shell cut its way through the bushes, clean as a knife." "Well, boys, she is our prize. Let us christen her, for time is up, and the Johnnies are waiting for us behind some bush heap down the road. Come, Otto, speak up. You shall have the honor of naming the little miss, " said the surgeon. "Cali her Shell Annie," said the boy as his mind reverted to his own orphaned days, ' 'bocause she was saved trom that shelJ." "Good!" cried the surgeon. "Shell Annie!"chorused the sergeant and the corporal iu a breath. "Here, give me your canteen, Otto, " said the surgeon. "Hold her head up, auntie, " and sprinkling a few drops on the tiny head he coutinucd: "Shell Annie, I baptize theo in the name of the Father, Son and Holy G-host, and may they ever protect thee as lias the God of battle today. Now, Otto, the sergeant will remain with a file of men nntil moriug, and you may remain with theni, for you look tired and worn out, my boy. ' ' At the word of comiuand the other soldiers took up the line of inarch, and faint aud faintei gruw the roar and rumbln of the departing legions, rolling on irresistible to rnatoh their blue billows with the blue waves of the distant sea. #-#'♦♦-■■■# Twen tv yeara after tho furling of tho flags the battlefleld of Jonesboro was a cornfielrl, and tho rnstling rows of tho crested cori hid trom view the alinost obliterated ces ot' strife. Peace and plenty reigui !, and tho one armed veteran of tho north was hobnobbing with the peg legged veteran of the south as they laugliingly recoanted the experiences of tho war. Ashevil U had beoomè a gruat resort for summer visitors from all sections on aocouat of its qxtietnde, its healthful air and water nrt its splendid scenic surroundings. As the 1t:úii slowed up at the little station a man, appareutly blessed with all the activity of youth, but bearing about him that tuimistakable air of maturity that indicates intímate knowledge of and rough experience with life, stepped on the platform and strolled up the hill toward the hotel. The dusky twilight of thedying summer day soffened the rugged outliuos of the gloomy mountaiüR, and the tinkle of a ciystal stroani made music in the thickets below. Suddcnly the stranger was startled by a wild cry, and around a turn of tho road cama a horse at full spoed, aud in the buggy, swaying to aud fro at bis heels, there was a flutter of white. Springing forward aud dropping his belongings, the stranger clutched the reins of the frightened animal and arrested his mad career, but the shock was so sudden that the occupant of the buggy was tossed into the bushes by the roadside. Releasing the horse, which stood tremblinf; with fear aud uxcitement. the Stranger gontly lifted the prostrate forra, and as the raowd from the hotel carne rushiug to the spot shc opened her eyes in a dazed and startled way. "Are you hurt mnch?" asked th6 stranger. "No, thank you, I was only frightened. I had just got into the bnggy and was going for a ride when h becanie frightoned and ran away. Oh, how can I ever thank you?" "Best by not meutioning it again, " said the stranger brnsquely, handing her his oard as he resigned her to her friends and walked away. On the following morniug the stranger aróse late after his fatiguing journey, and wiWn he went down to breakfast beside his plato was a little perfumed note, and he opened it and read it, half amused and half in wonder: Mu. Otto Bahdem- Permit me to thank you aiul to convry to you the yrateful feelings of my friends for your brave action in reeouing nio from my jktüous position yestorday. Aa a p:irlial re ognition of your kindness, I wiah to extcnd to you an lnvitation to enjoya pieDio excursión with us today.It ifl my birth day. Picase do not fail to como. Uratcfully, ASXIK FONTAINE. On a blank leaf from his notebook Barden wrote a line accepting the invitation and then leisurely finished his breakfast. The day was perfect, and as the special guest of the heroiue of the day ho thought he had never feit quite so near at peace with hiinself and all mankind as he did while lounging on the green grass beneath the shadow of the tall hemlocks at the foot of the niountain with protty Annie Fontaine. Chatting in a desultory way, Barden inddenly recalled tho day and the drama of 20 years ago. "Do you know, " saidhe, "that Iwas one of those Yanks that marched with Sherman to the sea?" "Indeed? Why, you must have been a very youthful soldier." "I was a drummer boy, and this day 20 years ago I was in the battle of Jonesboro. " "And so was I," said she, with a saucy smile, "for that was iuy birtliday and the place of my nativity. " "What!" he cried, springing to his feet excitedly. ' 'Then you are, you must be"- "Shell Annie," she replied. There are somo stories that ought to be concluded before they are begun, but this, which is as true as - yes, trner than - most history, reached its natural conclusión then and there, and the Pennsylvania drummer boy now owns one of the finest fruit farms around Jonesboro, and the mistress of that southern home is Shell Aunie


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