True To His Colors

Language: English
Published: 5 days ago
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"Rodney Gray, I am ashamed of you; and if you were not my cousin, I should be tempted to thrash you within an inch of your life."

"Never mind the relationship. After listening to the sentiments you have been preaching in this academy for the last three months, I am more ashamed of it than you can possibly be. You're a Yankee at heart, and a traitor to your State. Let go those halliards!"

"I'll not do it. Look here, Rodney. Your ancestors and mine have fought under this flag ever since it has been a flag, and, if I can help it, you shall not be the first of our name to haul it down. Let go yourself, and stand back, or I will throw you over the parapet."

"But that flag doesn't belong up there any longer, and I say, and we all say, that it shall not stay. Here's our banner; and if there's a war coming, as some of you seem to think, it will lead us to victory on every battle-field."

An exciting scene was being enacted in and around the belfry of the Barrington Military Institute on the morning of the 9th of March, 1861; and it was but one of many similar scenes which, for some time past, had been of almost daily occurrence in many parts of the South. It had been brought about by the efforts of a band of young secessionists, headed by Rodney Gray, to haul down the academy flag, and to hoist in its place a strange banner—one that nobody had ever seen or heard of previous to the 4th of March, the day on which Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated President of the United States. The students who were gathered on the top of the tower at the time our story begins were Southern boys without exception, but they did not all believe in secession and disunion. Many of them were loyal to the old flag, and were not ready to see it hauled down, and a strange piece of bunting run up in its place.

Those were exciting times in our country's history, you may be sure. Rumors of war filled the air on every side. Seven States had rebelled and defied the authority of the government, and for no other reason than because a man they did not like had been elected President. A new government had been established at Montgomery, and formally inaugurated on the 18th of February. Jefferson Davis, President of the seceded States, had been authorized to accept the services of one hundred thousand volunteers to serve for one year, unless sooner discharged, and they were to be mustered to "repel invasion, maintain the rightful possession of the Confederate States of America, and secure the public tranquillity against threatened assault." Every schoolboy who has paid any attention to his history knows that there was not the slightest excuse for calling this immense army into existence. The disunion leaders repeatedly declared that Northern men would not fight, and they seemed to have good grounds for thinking so; for, although Fort Sumter was surrounded by hostile batteries, no attempt had been made to send supplies to Major Anderson and the gallant fellows who were shut up in the fort with him, and more than five weeks passed after the formation of the Confederate government before President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand militia to "suppress unlawful combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed." But this unnecessary act of the Confederate Provisional Congress had just the effect it was intended to have....