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able barricade was built across the river, firmly held by piles driven into the mud. The garrison was 5,000 strong, in command of General Walker. The battery was iron-plated and casemated. The Confederates depended upon this fort to stop all advances made by any army or navy in that part of the country.
A huge fleet of ironclads assembled at the mouth of the Red, joined by 10,000 troopers from Sherman's command, and proceeded up the river to capture the fort and join Banks at Alexandria. On arriving at the mouth of the Atchafalaya, part of the fleet ascended that stream while the remainder steamed up the river to amuse the forts by feints until the troopers could arrive and attack the fort from the rear.
The detachment of the fleet which went up to Simsport encountered a body of Confederate soldiers. The crew drove them back, and upon the arrival of the Federal soldiers the Confederates retreated to Fort De Russey. General Walker left the fort in charge of 300 men and retreated toward Alexandria with the others. Soon after, the boats joined the main part of the fleet at the fort. The obstruction had already been removed. After a brisk musketry fire, the Federal soldiers took the fort. About fifty Confederates were killed and the rest were taken prisoners.
When I made a trip to the City of New York in the summer of 1916, I did not go there to see the skyscrapers of that great city; I went there to see the author of “Sonny.” After a brief correspondence I arranged for an interview with Ruth McEnery Stuart. The great teachers of the world are never without their disciples, and, as the late Elbert Hubbard tells us, the world always makes a beaten path to the abode of a good author. I was, therefore, but one of the many who repaired from time to time to the residence on West Fifty-eighth Street. But on arriving there, I was shocked to learn that the master writer of fiction was ill as a result of overtaxed mentality.
God often goes to somewhat obscure places for His great men. He also goes to such places for His great women. The quaint little village of the prairie—Marksville of 1856—was the scene of the nativity of Ruth McEnery, later Mrs. Stuart. This little girl was destined to become a novelist whose genius the South is proud of.
The McEnery family resided in an humble home—a true nestling place for the offspring of genius—which stood on the present site of the residence of the late Mayor Couvillion. Writing for the Times-Democrat in 1897, Mrs. Eya Sewell Gaines thus describes the McEnery residence:
"* * * The dwelling, with its dim gray stucco walls and quaint saddle roof seems a bit of old-time history. The ceilings are low, with rafters painted; the walls are of brick and stucco, the latter peeling off, leaving unsightly scars. The mantels are high, narrow and of carved wood. Altogether, the place wears an eerie aspect." ;
Ruth was the daughter of James and Mary Routh (Stirling) McEnery. Her father was an unassuming merchant, but a man of distinction personally, as was his family for generations, both in Ireland and in Louisiana, where they have been men of professions and where they were called to high positions in public life. Two McEnerys have been elected Governor of Louisiana. Moreover, Mrs. Stuart was the kinswoman of five Governors.
Her mother came from a long line of sturdy Scotch ancestry, the Rouths and Stirlings. It was the Stirlings whose crest bore the oft-quoted motto: “Be sure you're right, then gang forward.” With such a noble ancestry Ruth McEnery, the woman, was possessed of all the inherent qualities of a high-bred Southern woman. · Ruth, when but a child, was sent to New Orleans, where she was educated until 1865. In 1879 she married Alfred O. Stuart, a cotton planter in Southwestern Arkansas, where she lived until her husband's death, occurring four years after their marriage. Later she moved to New York with her only son, Stirling McEnery Stuart. ;
Mrs. Stuart was born with a pen, and she soon realized it. In New York her literary career was begun in earnest. The Stuart Apartment soon became a literary center.
Among her many stories and novels, “Sonny,” Salina Sue," “Babette” and “Mary Ellen” stand first and foremost. In her writings she has not forgotten her native State and its Crescent City, where she received those childish impressions which ever cling to one. Her recollections of the inland country folk of Arkansas are depicted in “The Woman's Exchange" and other stories.
Mrs. Stuart is also a poet, and a philosopher as well. Of course, she did not found a school of thought or anything like that. Neither is her philosophy the polished, high-sounding logic of an Emerson. It is the diamond-in-the-rough sort, as found in her clever little poems, “Daddy Do-Funny's Wisdom Jingles.” I think the best thing she ever wrote in the way of poetry was the little poem about the canary. There is as much philosophy in it as poetry:
“De little yaller cage-bird preems 'is wings,
And he mounts ’is pyerch an' sings an' sings.
And would not the following, taken from her masterly tragedy “Mary Ellen," do honor to a Novalis ?
“They are great mystics, after all, the children. And are they not, perhaps, wise mystics who sit and wonder and worship, satified not to understand ?”
It is in the “Cocoon” she so wisely muses, after the manner of a Jacques:
“I am one of the dramatis personæ in the great tragedy of ‘Life and Death.' We're all in it, whether we realize it or not. I know I'm cast for something, and sometimes I'm afraid to stir Iest I jostle my cap and ring by bells."
Her style of writing is beautiful and brilliant. All through her works there is a striking beauty, both in style and sentiment. It is this which peculiarly distinguishes her as a master writer. And yet her style is not remarkable; but it is such that raises in the reader an emotion of the gentle, placid kind, overspreading the imagination with an agreeable and pleasing serenity.
No one who loves the masters but must see, therefore, the touch of the master hand in her writings. Hence, there is no need of monuments nor essays to perpetuate her name and fame, for her works are in themselves an immortality.
Mounds EXCAVATED BY DR. MOORE. The mounds of the interesting chain along Red River, and in the vicinity of Marksville, were excavated in 1912 by Dr. Clarence B. Moore, the noted archæologist of Philadelphia. He published the result of the discoveries under the title of “Some Aboriginal Sites on Red River.” The discoveries therein set forth are of interest both to our history and to archæology,
We made mention of a square mound with the sides facing the cardinal points of the compass. This mound is situated about a mile from the mouth of Bayou L'Eau Voire, and is known as the upper mound. It does not seem likely that it was constructed for burial purposes. It is subject to overflow, and water has been seen to almost reach the summit plateau. It is most likely a mound of the domiciliary type which was abandoned and used as a burial ground. This was often the case in the event of migration.
The bones discovered were lying near the surface in bunches and in a few cases singly. In the bunched burials were skulls of children and adults. If the aborigines who dwelt on, and buried in, this mound were accustomed to placing tributes with their dead, the mortuary offerings must have been of a perishable character, for mementoes of no sort were found.
A short distance away is the lower mound on Bayou L'Eau Noire. The skeletons in this mound had been placed on the back, The aborigines who buried here placed tributes with the dead; mussel shells were found at the heads and wrists of some. These were, perhaps, the chiefs and warriors. Near the bones of one was found an earthenware vessel. The ware is gray and apparently had undergone imperfect firing, which seems to be characteristic of much of the ware found on lower Red River.
At the ankles of a few were found pebbles, doubtless belonging to rattles. These must have been the medicine men or war dancers. One skeleton was found with the legs crossed. Near by was another lying at full length having beneath the right shoulder blade a pigment preparation of red oxide or iron. Over the humerus of another was a badly broken vessel. These were the only burials found here with tributes in association.
Apart from the human remains, though no doubt at one time with them, lay the fragments of broken pottery, barbed arrow heads and rattles. Among the broken vessels was found a large bottle of soft gray ware. It was curiously designed, and bore great resemblance to the pottery designs of the Aztecs. A similar bottle was discovered some time prior to this in a mound excavated in Mississippi.
The lower mound, on Saline Point, is in sight from the river bank. This mound is of circular basal outline. Few discoveries were made here. The only one worthy of mention was a small earthenware peace pipe.
The upper mound on Saline Point is situated in woods. The remains and evidences of cremation were found here. Du Pratz says that none of the Indians in Louisiana practiced cremation. It is very unlikely that the custom of these Indians had changed in his time. One of the cremations showed traces of fire, as it was associated with masses of burnt clay, and with wasp nests of the same, hardened by fire, and upon two of these nests were distinct imprints of matting. It is probable that the nests were originally on a wigwam and burned when the remains were cremated. As a rule, all material showing fire was discarded. This, however, was an exception to the custom..
In many cases calcined bones were found. This condition was due, perhaps, to aboriginal disturbances. The mound contained all sorts of pottery, one of the pieces having a feature worthy of remark. The pot in question was incised with yellow designs. At the center of the base was a round hole which had been purposely made prior to firing. This vessel is a ceremonial vessel and the hole was made to “kill” the vessel in order to fire its soul that it might accompany the soul of its owner to the land of the spirits. This custom was practiced chiefly by the aborigines of Florida. Among other things were diminutive vases halffired, bearing rude decorations and evidently made as toys for the wee papoose.
Near Normand Landing is a symmetrical mound of circular base. Nothing of any consequence was found here, save a flint drill. A short distance further up the river is a cemetery on the Johnson place, situated a quarter of a mile from the river. The burials here were made on the level ground, no mounds being made. Part of a skeleton was found in order, the remainder of which had been disturbed when the burial was transferred from the bonehouse.
A mile southeast of the Johnson Landing is a mound situated on the Mayer place. It is in woods and surrounded by thick underbrush. No excavation was made here. At Moncla is another mound in view from the water in a cultivated field on prairie land said to be above reach of high water. The sides of