The Copperhead

1
In 1846, during the Mexican War,
the Illinois town of Millville was close
to the primitive frontier.

 The people thereof had helped build
a nation with the sickle and the spin-
ning-wheel - and had never given a
thought to their achievement; for the
frontier knew no beggars, thieves,
drunkards, anarchists - none but 
folks who reflected the flag.

2
"... our distinguished young
 townsman, Lieutenant
 Thomas Hardy, who is here 
 to recruit a company for
 service in Mexico!"
    William P. Carleton

3
"Here's the medicine for your
 boy, Milt. I hope he'll be
 all right."

4
"Newt Gillespie! . . . Who
 next?"
      Francis Joyner

5
"Milt Shanks! - It's good to
 see you again!"

6
"I'm glad to see you, too,
 Tom. And I'm going with
 you now."

7
"But you're married, Milt.
 You have a child!"

8
"The country's need comes
 first, Tom. I've got to go."

9
"I'm going anyhow, Tom."

10
At the little Shanks farm.

11
 Ma Shanks.
Doris Rankin

12
"Mrs. Shanks, may I come in
 for a sup of water?"

13
"Come in, Mr. Lincoln."

14
 Abraham Lincoln.
William F. Schroell

15
"Tom Hardy's recruiting a
 company for the Mexican 
 War. I told him I was 
 going."

16
"But Milt! ... what will be-
 come of us; the baby ... the
 farm ... and me? ..."

17
"You kin make out some-
 how, Ma. This country
 gave us everything. It
 seems like the stars in its 
 flag ought to come first."

18
"As long as you've known
 me, Milt, have you come to
 trust me?"

19
"She's right, Milt. The coun-
 try's young and growing;
 you've got to help it grow.
 They don't need you ... yet."

20
Fifteen years later, on the
hot wind from the South,
came April, Eighteen sixty-
one.

21
"Hey, Milt! ... Hell's broke
 loose! ..."

22
"Fort Sumter's been bom-
 barded! ... Abe Lincoln's
 called for seventy-five thou-
 sand volunteers - and
 Tom Hardy's in town,
 raisin' troops!"

23
The little farm had prospered 
in the past fifteen years.

24
His humble abode of the
"Forties" had amplified with
his fortunes, a happy monu-
ment to labor and love.

25
And, best of all, his boy
Joseph had grown almost to
man's sturdy estate.
       Arthur Rankin

26
"Well, old fellow ... I guess
 they can't keep us back this
 time!"

27
"Anything you want in town,
 Ma? ... I've got to go in."

28
"Why, Milt Shanks! What's
 come over you? ... right
 here in broad daylight, too!"

29
Millville had already heard 
the call to arms.

30
Lem Tollard was generally
looked upon as an ardent
Southern sympathizer.
     Richard Carlyle

31
Brother Andrew.
 Leslie Stowe

32
"Mr. Shanks, this letter for
 you just arrived by special
 messenger ..."

33
"Get word to my wife that
 I've been called out of town."

34
"Hold on, boys; you're too
 many against one."

35
"Then he'd better keep his
 copperhead mouth shut
 about slavery, and not be
 cursing the North."

36
"What's it to you, anyway?
 Are you another one?"

37
"If you're so anxious to fight,
 you'll have plenty of chance
 ... men your own size, too."

38
Washington.

39
"Milt, how much do you love
 your country?"

40
"Enough to die for her,
 Mister President, if neces-
 sary."

41
"Milt ... do you love her 
 enough to live for her?"

42
Back home, Milt found the
town already in the throes of
preparations.

43
"Lem, how kin I get a mes-
 sage down South?"

44
"When you helped me t'other
 day, I sort o' thought you 
 was one of us. Air ye?"

45
"You've made uniforms be-
 fore, Grandma. Is this all
 right?"

46
"I want to be a-drillin', Grand-
 ma Perley, instead of makin'
 these minie-balls Captain
 Hardy set me on."

47
"Go and drill. I'll make the
 bullets."

48
"Lord, boy, you needn't teach
 me! I moulded bullets for
 Andrew Jackson."

49
"Shanks, declare yourself.
 You and Tollard seems
 pretty thick. Are you for us
 ... or agin us?"

50
"I don't hold for coercin' of
 the Southern people."

51
"Gimme a musket, Mr.
 Gillespie!"

52
"Here's fair warning, Shanks!
 If we ketch you givin' any
 comfort to the rebels, we'll
 hang you to the nearest 
 tree!"

53
"Ain't that yer boy Joey
 drillin'? Git him out o' thar!"

54
"Let him alone. It will keep
 suspicion off of me."

55
"I'll watch here in town,
 Milt, an' keep you posted."

56
"When you go away with
 the others, Milt, here's
 something I want you to
 take and keep right by
 you always."

57
"I made this uniform fer you
 ... God bless yer both!"

58
"I can't take it, Ma. I'm fer
 peace. Besides, I've got you
 and Joey, and Little Elsie to
 look out fer."

59
"Joey's sixteen and 'most a
 man. We kin git along."

60
"Joey's only a boy. I can't
 go, Ma."

61
"In Eighteen-forty-six you
 had a child ... and you was
 devil-bent to go to war; I
 had to hold you back.
 What's wrong now?"

62
"'Tain't a just war."

63
"Why can't I go, Newt
 Gillespie? I can put you on
 your back now!"

64
"You're only sixteen ... and
 besides, you haven't got
 your parents' consent."

65
"What's this button?"

66
"That's fer liberty."

67
"Liberty, is it! ... I've noticed
 that only a lot of sneakin'
 copperhead skulkers is
 wearin' 'em!"

68
"Thar's Tom Hardy now. 
 What do you suppose he'll
 say to all this?"

69
"My company's got orders to
 move, Milt. We need your
 wagon for ammunition and
 supplies, and you to drive it."

70
"I can't stop you takin' the
 wagon ... but I can't go."

71
"Come on ... remember who's
 calling! ... our own candi-
 date, our own neighbor, our
 own friend . . . Abraham
 Lincoln!"

72
"Lincoln wa'n't for war when
 we elected him. He's lettin'
 'em make him just an in-
 strument in the devil's
 hands."

73
"STOP!!! ... I'd shoot an-
 other man that said that!"

74
"Ma, you'll give me your
 permission to join the com-
 pany, won't you?"

75
"Why, Joey, me and Elsie
 needs somebody here ...
 and I ain't despaired yet of
 yer father going."

76
"I can't go ... knowin' what
 I do."

77
"God A'mighty, Ma! ... let
 me have one parent I kin
 look up to!"

78
"Git into that uniform. Then
 we'll see who'll go along!"

79
"Tommy, I'll show you
 where that team is."

80
"I know Tom Hardy'll send
 Joey back. Then you'll
 have to go."

81
"God bless you, Ma; you're
 like the wonderful women
 that put the stars in the flag,
 and I ain't worthy to undo
 the latchets of yer shoes ...
 but I can't go into this army."

82
"The stars in the flag! You
 talked about 'em in forty-six
 ... and while I was holdin'
 yer back, I thought you was
 the handsomest thing in the
 hull world!"

83
"We ain't had riches ..."

84
"... and I've had some
 sickness ..."

85
"... but I've rather lived on
 my respect and trust in you.
 Don't tell me it's all dead!"

86
"I've loved you, too,
 Martha ..."

87
"... and I still love you, for
 time and eternity! And just
 as sure as the stars are in
 the flag, you'll look into my
 face sometime, and admit I
 was right."

88
When the company 
marched away.

89
"To git word to our people,
 that troops are movin', I've
 got to catch the night stage."

90
"They're just drillin', ain't
 they? ..."

91
"I was told in Washington
 that in a pinch, you'd take
 orders from me? ..."

92
"Lem Tollard's goin' tonight
 to inform Secesh troops that
 our reinforcements is com-
 ing. You can warn Head-
 quarters if you start now."

93
"Under no circumstances
 must you ever use my
 name in this."

94
"We're coming, Father
 Abraham, one hundred
 thousand strong! ..."

95
"God! ... Dear God!"

96
"You brought Joey into the
 world, and nursed him.
 Come, keep up his heart!"

97
"God bless you boys of
 Millville! ... and give 'em
 hell!"

98
"We'll hang Milt Shanks to
 a sour apple tree ..."

99
Then followed dark days for
the Union. Manassas was
lost; half a dozen other fields
witnessed the triumphant
sweep of the Confederate
Stars and Bars.

100
"Milt's been actin' sorta
 strange. That owl call
 don't sound right to me."

101
"The horses and mules is
 ready. We'd better start
 south about midnight."

102
"Brother Andrew, we're
 leaving for Kentucky to-
 night by Tyler's ford, with
 animals for the Confeder-
 ate cavalry."

103
Tyler's Ford.

104
"This is where the old clergy-
 man said they'd cross with
 their animals. They should
 be here at any minute."

105
"That's Lem Tollard, Cap-
 tain! I've known him all
 my life ... he's a Copper-
 head!"

106
"You'll hang for this!"

107
The court-martial.

108
The sentence.

109
July Third, Eighteen-sixty-
three.

110
"And to think that my soldier-
 boy Joey once wore these
 little garments!"

111
"It's time for little girls to be
 abed. Bid your mother
 goodnight, Elsie."

112
"May I come in, Mrs. 
 Shanks?"

113
"The town is celebrating
 great news. Vicksburg has
 fallen."

114
"Then Joey must have been
 there! A letter from him
 just came today."

115
"What does the boy say?"

116
"The letter wouldn't interest
 you ... it's mainly about his
 father ... his father's dis-
 grace."

117
"It is about his father that I
 wish to speak. On account
 of Joey's heroism, Milt has
 been pardoned."

118
"He is here now ... waiting
 for some message from his
 wife."

119
"Am I his wife ... in the sight
 of God?"

120
"I'll see him. But first I've
 got to kneel down and ask
 for guidance."

121
"Here's a letter for you. It
 didn't seem safe even to 
 mention it in the village."

122
"Careful, Milt. Even after the
 war, some of the Copper-
 head crowd will kill you if
 they learn you were in the
 secret service."

123
"If anything happens to me
 ... permanent ... I'd like her
 really to know."

124
"Show her that if she hadn't 
 suffered, plenty ... my work
 wouldn't have looked
 genuine."

125
"Don't it mortify you com-
 pletely that you're pardoned
 'count of Joey?"

126
"'Twould if I didn't believe
 Joey'd understand my side
 of it some day."

127
"At the trial, your revolver
 showed two shots was fired
 by you."

128
"I p'inted over their heads.
 Besides, I know I didn't hit
 nobody."

129
"You didn't tell that at yer
 trial."

130
"I couldn't try to throw all 
 the blame on Lem and the
 others."

131
"If you've got anything to say 
 fer yourself, fer God's sake,
 Milt Shanks! ..."

132
"Martha, I care more for
 your not thinking me a
 murderer than what the
 court-martial thought."

133
"If you could believe that, it
 would be mighty fine."

134
"Had yer supper yet? ..."

135
"What are you doing here,
 Shanks?"

136
"That's for Vicksburg. I'm
 just up from there."

137
"Did you see my Joey?"

138
"That's what I'm here for,
 Shanks ..."

139
"Joey was killed ... day be-
 fore yesterday."

140
"We fetched his body home
 tonight. He's down at the
 church."

141
"Supper kin wait, Ma. Sam
 Galt was just here. There's
 bad news ... about Joey ..."

142
"Is he ... ? ..."

143
"Don't stay here, on my
 account. The ghost of yer
 boy will smite you ... and
 you ain't fit to die!"

144
"Martha, it's more than a
 man can bear. I got to tell
 you all about it ..."

145
"Fer God's sake, Milt
 Shanks! ... you're unclean!"

146
"You can't come in, Shanks."

147
"But, Newt ... it's my boy Joe!
 I just want to ... to look at
 him!"

148
"Just before Joey died he said
 'I wouldn't have minded
 much if my father had
 fought publicly ... on the
 other side, but ..."

149
"'But now, don't let him see
 me, even in my coffin'."

150
"I've just left your house.
 There's more bad news. It's
 Martha this time."

151
"It's too much! Let me tell
 some of your friends the
 truth!"

152
"No. There's nobody left now
 for me ever to tell. There's
 my work, though ... and I'm
 going on to do it."

153
And for forty years thereafter
Milt Shanks never conceded
a word of explanation to a
living soul.

154
July Third, Nineteen hundred
and four.

155
But, after all, there was some-
body left to Shanks ... his
grand-daughter, Madeline
King, Elsie's daughter.
       Anne Cornwall

156
Thomas Hardy, Third.
   William David

157
"Just because our grand-
 fathers quarreled, even if I 
 am old Tom Hardy's grand-
 son, can I help loving you?"

158
At the same time, another 
great American had come to
Millville to address the veter-
ans of North and South, as-
sembled in joint re-union.

159
"In my own veins is the blood
 of North and South. But to-
 day I believe we all ... as
 Americans! ... thank Al-
 mighty God that our strong
 union was preserved to us!"

160
"Joey ... Joey!"

161
"Can't you get to sleep,
 Grand-daddy? You're not
 sick, are you?"

162
"My boy just came to visit
 me ... but he couldn't stay.
 Don't be frightened; your
 grandpap was only dream-
 ing."

163
"How very white these stars
 are!"

164
"The best men and women
 that ever lived put those
 stars there, and kept them
 so white. Now lay it away
 ... and some day it will be
 yours."

165
"I've always felt that away
 down in your heart is some-
 thing glorious ... and that
 some day you would tell
 me."

166
"Tom dear ... I can't marry
 you. Grandfather Shanks ..."

167
"Do you love me?"

168
"Then Grandfather Shanks
 be ... be ... bless him! I'm
 going to put it up to Grand-
 father Hardy."

169
The grand re-union of Blue
and Gray.

170
"I've been before every legis-
 lature for thirty-five years,
 trying to obtain this pardon."

171
"Oh, it's just about a man I
 had to help get into trouble
 a long time ago."

172
Colonel Thomas Hardy,
Marshal of the day.

173
"Grand-daddy, you and old
 Mr. Shanks had better
 make up. It might be em-
 barrassing otherwise, as I
 intend to marry his grand-
 daughter."

174
"You don't know what you're
 talking about! It's pre-
 posterous!"

175
"Then, by Godfrey, I'll ask
 Mr. Shanks myself!"

176
"Re-union day, hey?"

177
"Seems like 'twas only yester-
 day that road was filled with
 these fellers, young and
 strong, marching by under
 Logan!"

178
"Most every day, when the
 night-shadows begin to fall,
 I see them there ... It's
 getting pretty dark now!"

179
"Why, Grand-daddy! ... it's
 a bright sunlight morning!"

180
"So it is ... so it is!"

181
"But ain't that your grand-
 ma, now? ... an' Joey ... an'
 Elsie, your mother?"

182
"Those are just shadows, too.
 Grand-daddy dear, watch ...
 I'll show you."

183
"I've come to tell your grand-
 father we're going to be
 married."

184
"No, Tom. Everybody is
 against him. He needs me;
 I won't leave him."

185
"Don't leave him, then. If
 Millville was good enough
 for Lincoln and Whitcomb 
 Riley, I'll stand for it."

186
"I heard what you were
 saying ... outside."

187
"Buttons, I guess you ... and
 Madeline ... is the only folks
 that don't call me a damned
 old jailbird!"

188
"I've kept all that away from
 her, son."

189
"Mr. Shanks, I love her. I
 don't care a tinker's damn
 what anybody thinks."

190
"Milt Shanks still live here?"

191
"You know me, don't you?"

192
"Come right in, Lem Tollard.
 I've been expectin' you."

193
"Expectin' me? . . . That's
 your dirty conscience! You
 didn't stay long in the peni-
 tentiary though, did you?"

194
"I've figured out who had the
 Yankee cavalry in the
 bushes at the ford, you
 sneakin' Judas!"

195
"Now I'm going to hand you
 what's comin' to you!"

196
"Oh, get Doctor James ...
 quickly!"

197
"Never mind the doctor ...
 get Tom Hardy."

198
From the joint exercises,
all the way home, musically
inclined old gentlemen were
"Marching Through Georgia"

199
"Mr. Shanks has been shot!
 He wants you. Bring the
 doctor!"

200
"My boy, I'll go in spite of 
 a vow, if it will do any
 good."

201
"It's only a little way, now,
 to Fate. Git me that old
 pistol yonder."

202
"It's only a flesh wound,
 Milt."

203
"Yes ... but it's something
 deeper'n that, too."

204
"Colonel, your boy an' my
 girl's in love with each other
 ... I've got something to say.
 Will you listen?"

205
"When the war broke out,
 you took a vow to support
 the Union. I opposed it ..."

206
"Git the corkscrew and un-
 load this old revolver. Two
 barrels fired ... the rest just
 the way they was at the
 trial ... for murder."

207
"Us Knights of the Golden
 Circle ... Copperheads, they
 called us . . . helped the 
 South, pizened cattle ... and
 I went to Richmond, Vir-
 ginny, twice ..."

208
"The day after Vicksburg ...
 my boy Joey was killed
 there ... yer grandma died ..."

209
"She told me I was 
 'unclean' ..."

210
"Newt Gillespie is the only
 man alive today who spoke
 to me then ..."

211
"... and in the whole United
 States ... in the whole world
 ... only one man wrote 
 to me."

212
"It was loaded only with 
 powder and wads ... no
 bullets."

213
"Look at this, Colonel. Read 
 it aloud ... an' maybe you'll
 understand."

214
"My God! ... who's crazy,
 you or I, Milt Shanks?"

215
"Read it aloud, Colonel."

216
"Away down yonder in the
 land of cotton ..."

217
"Right after Sumter, Lincoln
 called me to Washington ..."

218
"It means to be odious in
 every eye; to eat your heart
 out alone ... for you can't
 tell your wife, nor child nor
 friend."

219
"I want you to join the 
 Knights of the Golden Circle
 ... to become their leader, if
 you can. I need you, Milt. 
 Your country needs you!"

220
"Then, as chief magistrate of
 the Nation, I muster you in-
 to the Nation's service."

221
"But Milt, Milt! ... in all these
 years we've despised you,
 why haven't you told?"

222
"Who was there left to tell?
 Ma, and Joey, gone. Only
 now, when it's separatin'
 Elsie's girl from the man
 she loves ..."

223
"Milt, will you take the hand
 of a man who only fought?"

224
"Is it all right with ... them
 ... now, Tom?"

225
"Mine eyes have seen the
 glory of the coming of the
 Lord! ..."

226
"Everything is all right now,
 sweetheart. We can go
 home."

227
"How small he looks, now!
 Is it always so ... after-
 ward?"

228
"No. But once in a while a
 gentleman dies ... and his
 soul is so great that you
 miss it."

229
THE END.


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