April 1, 1863 (The Day of All Fools)
“I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Now the two kindrerds of the West, Hiram Ulysses, son of Root the Tanner, descending long from the line of Mathew the Puritain,1 and William Tecumseh, so called to honor the brave warrior of Shawnee,2 gathered at last before Vicksburg, under the cold stars and before the rising of the moon. Their minds set for conquering, together they had conjured well, envisioning thrice to vanquish their quarry, the host of Pemberton, second son of John, and traitor of the Northern lands of his father.3 But thrice had they failed, and with ceaseless lamentations, as one they becried their ill fortunes.
The hearts of Hiram Ulysses and Tecumseh grew hot, for they wished to assail their foes upon the heights, but by this darkened hour knew no design, save one. The great phalanxes and battalia of Union must march on therefore until their trumpets were sounded and the front of their battle was surely hewed upon the might of Rebellion. And dashed they would certainly be.
And it came to pass, after many days of toiling in this manner, beating the air in vein, that Hiram, son of Root, was forced, though with great cost to the hosts of Union, to call upon John Alexander of the house of McClernand, whom he did not love, and of whom it has been said that he saw little heed for the past, and was no avail as a counselor.4 To Hiram Ulysses, John Alexander was an unfriend who might betray others to bitterness and death.
From splendor fell McClernand, through arrogance to contempt for all save himself, a spirit wasteful and pitiless; a liar without shame. Through friendship feigned and a sly wind, he obtained power from Lincoln, the preserver of Union, before his longed-for caste was usurped by Hiram.5 Unable to alter this course, his anger was awoken, but impedent under this bitter jest.
McClernand had then not long come under the authority of this son of Root, and his power went not beyond his own single command, reduced to a shadow, a mere memory of his dreams.6 In this way, when Hiram ordained that from McClernand’s own command be summoned two thousands of his own warriors who were marshaled and trained for war, he gave glad tidings, hiding the truth of his malice behind the language of friends.
Beneath these words, others were woven. And John Alexander of the house of McClernand conceived in his evil lust a dark design. Loving too much the men of his own hands, he would dispatch not a warrior of the two thousands for Union, and would suffer what doom befell him, though he believed not that he might be touched. Such was he blinded by his own false love of Lincoln the ruler of Union; the purported guardian of his own designs; until his fate may be severed from and by the fate of Hiram. And at the hands of Hiram, great would be the ruin of his own fall.
But these things are not told within the Gazette of the War of Rebellion, on this first day of the fourth moon of the year. 7
- General Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822 to Jesse Root Grant, who was, at the time, the owner of a tannery. The Grants descended from Mathew Grant, a puritan who arrived in America in the 1630s. [↩]
- William Tecumseh Sherman, born in 1820, was named after Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee Tribe in the early 1800s [↩]
- John C. Pemberton was born the second son of his father, also named John, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1814. This was due largely to the fact that he wed a Virginian. [↩]
- John McClernand was a politician and lawyer with no military training. [↩]
- McClernand had been given leave to raise a small army and make a stab at Vicksburg by President Lincoln. General Grant, however, was very unhappy about this. [↩]
- Through his protests, General Grant convinced Lincoln to put McClernand’s small army under his own command. [↩]
- Bravo for you if you made it to the end. April Fools Day! The actual post will be coming along shortly. As you can see, my humor isn’t quite normal (and perhaps not quite funny). I’ll leave you to guess what inspiration hid behind this bit of silliness. For the answer, perhaps you might want to look in a hole in the ground. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hold, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, of course. [↩]