« AnteriorContinuar »
The soldiers, 'on both sides, for a while suspended the general engagement, to be spectators of this fierce encounter. The two champions drove their horses against each other with the utmost spirit and impetaosity ; Metius wounded his adversary's horse in the neck; but Manlius, with better fortune, killed that of Metius.
5. The Latin being thus prostrate on the ground, for a while attempted to support himself upon his shield; but the Roman followed his blows with so much force, that he laid him dead as he was endeavouring to rise ; and then despoiling him of his armour, returned in triumph to the consul's, his father's, tent, where he was preparing and giving orders relative to the engagement. Loudly as the acclamations of his fellow soldiers followed the deed, the generous youth approached his father with a modest hesitation.
6. " My father," said he, "I have followed your heroie example. A Latin warrior challenged me to single combat, and I bring his spoils and lay them at your feet." · Unhappy boy," cried the father, with a stern look and an inflexible resolution, " as thou hast regarded neither the dignity of the consulship, nor the commands of thy father : as thou hast destroyed military discipline, and set a pattern of disobedience by thy example : thou hast reduced me to the deplorable extremity of sacrificing my son or my country. But let us not hesitate in this dreadful alternative : a thousand lives were well lost in such a cause ; nor do I think that thou thyself wilt refuse to die, when thy country is to reap the advantages of thy sufferings :
7. “Go, lictor, bind him, and let his death be your future example.” As he uttered these words, he crowned him in the sight of his whole army, and then caused his head to be cut off. The whole army was struck with horror at this unnatural decree ; fear for a while kept them in sus pense; but when they saw their young champion's head struck off, and his blood streaming upon the ground, they could no longer restrain their execrations and their groans The dead body was carried forth without the camp, and, being adorned with the spoils of the vanquished enemy, with all the pomp of military distress, and all the commiseration which was due to such ill requited heroism.
8. Meanwhile the battle began with mutual fury; and as the two armies had often fought under the same leaders, they combated with all the animosity of a civil war. The Latins chiefly depended on their bodily strength; the Ro mans on their invincible courage and conduct. Forces so nearly matched seemed only to require the protection of their deities to turn the scale of victory : and in fact the aogurs had foretold that whatever part of the Roman army should be distressed, the commander of that part should devote himself for his country, and die as a sacrifice to the infernal gods. Manlius commanded the right wing, and Decius led on the left.
9. Both sides fought for some time with doubtful suo eese, as their courage was equal ; and it is natural to wish that if one general must be sacrificed in the event, the los should have fallen on the unrelenting Manlius; but the fortune of war decided otherwise. The wing commanded by Decius being repulsed, the general resolved to devote himself to his country, and to offer his own life as an atonement to save his army. The awful peculiarity of this ceremony, calculated to make an impression on the multitade, merits a place in history.
10. The consul, with a loud voice, called on the Pontift Valerius to fulfil the rites, and dictate to him the words of the sacrifice. His soldiers, in profound attention, surround ed him. The Pontiff commanded him to lay aside his min litary habit, and to put on the robe, bordered with purple, which he wore in the senate. Then, covering his head with a veil, be ordered him to raise his hand under his robe to his chin, and, standing on a javelin, to pronounce these words : "O Janus, Jupiter, Mars, Romulus, Bellona, yo domestie gods ! ye heroes who dwell in heaven ; and an je gods who preside over us and over our enemies : mom particularly ye infernal deities! I invoke you all; I ear nestly entreat you to grant victory to us, and spread terror amidst our enemies !
11. "I devote myself for the people of Rome, for the ar my, the legions, and all the allies of the Romans; and I do rote, at the same time, to the earth and infernal deities, the army and auxiliaries of our enemies." After pronouncing these words, he vaulted on his horse, and rushed like light ping into the midst of the enemy. The strange appear ance of a man unarmed, and in a robe of office, surprising the enemy, he easily broke their lines, and penetrated to the centre ; but as it was observed that he struck on all
sides, like a madman, covering the ground near him with dead, a flight of arrows pierced him on every side, and he fell on a heap of slain.
12. In the mean time, the Roman army considered his devoting himself in this manner as an assurance of suc cess; nor was the superstition of the Latins less powerfully influenced by his resolution : in consequence a total rout began to ensue; the Romans pressed them on every side, and so great was the carnage, that scarce a fourth part of the enemy survived the defeat.
ADDRESS TO WINTER.
O Winter, ruler of th' inverted year,
Gough their own knell, while, heedless of the sounds
More to be priz'd and coveted than yours,
BARON DE KALB.
1. AMONG the enthusiastic foreigners who generously espoused our cause, and, at an early period of the rerolution, resorted to the American army, I will name some whose meritorious services entitle them to the grateful re collection of the present and future generations. Baron De Kalb was by birth a German.
2. He had attained a high reputation in military service, and was a knight of the order of merit, and a brigadier ga geral in the armies of France. He accompanied the Marquis de la Fayette to this country, and having proffered his services to Congress, he was, in September, 1777, appoint ed to the office of major general. In the summer of 1780, be was second in command in our southern army, undes Major General Gates.
3. When arrangements were making for the battle of Camden, which proved so disastrous to our arms, in Au gust, 1780, this heroic officer, it was said, cautioned Gene ral Gates against a general action under present circum stances. But that unfortunate commander was heard to say, that “ Lord Cornwallis would not dare to look him in the face." And in the evening preceding the battle, an officer, in the presence of General Gates, said, “ I wonder where we shall dine to-morrow ?"
4. “Dine, sir," replied the confident general, “why at Camden to be sure ; I would not give a pinch of snuff, sir, to be insured a beef-steak, to-morrow in Camden, and Lord Cornwallis at my
table.' Baron de Kalb was decidedly opposed to the proceedings of General Gates, and frequentIg foretold the ruin that would ensue, and expressed a pre sentiment that it would be his fate to fall in that battle. In a council of war, while the enemy was approaching, the bo ron advised that the army should fall back and take a good position, and wait to be attacked; but this was rejected by Gen. Gates, who insinuated that it originated from fear.
& De Kalb instantly leaping from his borse placed bine