SOUTHERN ILLUSTRATED NEWS, July 11, 1863, p. 13, c. 1-4
[Written for the Illustrated News.]
Outlines from the Outpost;
The Recollections, Reveries and Dreams
Tristan Joyeuse, Gent.
On the Wing.
. . . There is that music in the pines again—the band of the brigade, camped yonder in the green thicket. I have heard that band more than one thousand times, I suppose; strange that I thought it annoying, when it is evidently a band of unusual excellence. It plays all day long, and the regiments are eternally cheering. Do you hear that echoing shout? You would think they were about to charge the enemy, but it is only an old hare that has jumped up, and the whole brigade is hot upon the trail, with uproar and excitement. If there is no old hare, it is a stray horse—a tall woman riding behind a short man—a big negro mounted on a small mule—anything whatever. The troops must cheer and make a noise; and the band must play.
Exquisite music! How could I ever think it a little excessive in quantity, and deficient in quality? 'We are going! we are going!! we are going!!!' I imagine it says—the refrain of the music surging to me from the pine wood. And as the brave musicians are about to leave me, they appear to excel all their brethren. 'That strain again!' and I hear the brigade cheering. They are Georgians—children of the sun, 'with whom revenge is virtue.' Brave fellows, they have got the order to move, and hail it with delight, for all the wood is burned, and they are going to fresher fields and forests, and a fight, perhaps.
Farewell, familiar band in the pines! I have spent some happy moments listening to your loud, triumphant strains; some moments filled with sadness, too, as I thought of all those good companions gone into the dust—for music penetrates my heart, and stirs the fount of memory; does it not with you, good reader? As I listened to that band, I often saw the old, old faces; and the never-to-be-forgotten forms of loved friends came back. They looked at me with their kindly eyes; they 'struck a sudden hand in mine,' and once again I heard their voices echoing in the present, as they echoed in the happy days before!
So, sweet memorial music, floating with a wild, triumphant ardor in the wind, farewell!
Farewell, brave comrades cheering from the pines!
All health and happiness attend you!
In addition to the brass band above referred to, my days have been alive here with the ringing strains of the bugle. The tattoo, reveille, and stable call, have echoed through the pine woods, making cheerful music in the short, dull days, and the winter nights. It is singular how far you can hear a bugle note. That one is victor over space, and sends its martial peal through the forest, for miles around. There is something in this species of music, unlike all others. It sounds the call to combat always, to my ears; and speaks of the charging squadrons, and the clash of sabres, mingled with the sharp ring of the carbine. But what I hear now is only the stable call. They have set it to music; and I once heard the daughter of a cavalry officer play it on the piano—a gay little waltz, and merry enough, to set the feet of maidens and young men in motion. As there are no maidens in these fields of war—at least, none at camp—we cannot dance to it.
The bugle takes its place among the old familiar sounds which have not been sufficiently attended to and appreciated. All these winter days, it has been but a call to rise or go to rest—now it is eloquent with poetry and battle! So, blow, old bugle! Sound the tattoo, and the reveille, and stable call, to your heart's content! No 'purple glens' are here to ring through or to 'set replying'—but the echoes in the pines are 'dying, dying, dying,' with a martial melody, and sweetness—and a splendid ardor—which are better than the weird sound of the 'horns of Elfland faintly blowing!'
There is our banjo too—could I think of neglecting that great instrument in my list of 'sights and sounds?' It plays 'O Johnny Booker, help this Nigger,' 'Wake up in the Morning,' 'The Old Gray Hoss,' 'Come Back Stephen,' 'Hard Times and worse a-comin,' 'Sweet Evelina,' and a number of other songs. It is a good banjo. I hear it at present playing 'Dixie' with a fervor worthy of that great national anthem. It is a Yankee instrument, captured and presented to the minstrel who now wields it, by admiring friends! But—proh pudor!—it plays Southern ditties only, and refuses obstinately to celebrate the glories of the 'Happy Land of Lincoln.' I have heard the songs of our minstrel which he plays on his banjo, something like a thousand times—but they always make me laugh. They ring so gayly in the airs of evening that all sombre thoughts are banished—and, if sometimes I am tempted to exclaim, 'there's that old banjo rattling again!' I always relent, and repent me of my disrespect toward the good old friend; and go and listen and laugh at the woes of Booker, or the colloquy with Stephen—above all, at the 'Old Gray Hoss,' noblest of melodies, and now adopted as the national air of all the dwellers in Camp _____!
Good bye, jolly old Yankee banjo! Rattle on, gayly, and play all the old tunes! It is singular how new and delightful they are—what a world of mirth they contain. . . .