"From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, one time victorious, and another conquered. The
darkest period we had, however, was, I think, when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the
winter of '77. Ali! I have often seen tears coursing down our dear old commander's careworn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential
officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington going to the thicket to pray. Well, it is not only
true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose divine providence brought us safely through those
dark days of tribulations.
"One day, I remember it well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees though the sky was cloudless and the sun shining brightly, he
remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon alone. When he came out I noticed his face was a shade paler than usual, and that there seemed to be
something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I
mentioned who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation, which lasted about half an hour Washington, gazing upon his
companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the later:
"'I do not know whether it is due to the anxiety of my mind or not, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this very table engaged in preparing a
dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite to me a singularly beautiful female So astonished
was 1, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A
second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor, except a slight raising of the
eyes. By this time I felt strange sensations spreading through me. I would have risen, but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition
impossible. I essayed once to address her, but my tongue had become powerless. Even thought itself suddenly became paralyzed. A new influence,
mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitant. Gradually the
surrounding atmosphere seemed as though becoming filled with sensations, and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarify, the
mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy and yet even more distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or rather to
experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompany dissolution. I did not think, I did not reason. I did not move; all were alike
impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly, vacantly at my companion.
"'Presently I heard a voice saying: "Son of the Republic, look and learn"; while at this same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly. I now
beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange scene. Before me lay
spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. I saw rolling and tossing between Europe and America
the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific.
"'Son of the Republic," said the mysterious voice as before, "look and learn."
"'At that moment I beheld a dark shadowing being like an angel standing or rather floating in mid air between Europe and America. Dipping water
out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand while he cast upon Europe some with his left.
Immediately a dark cloud raised from each of these countries and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then moved westward,
until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothering groans and cries
of the American people.
"'A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean in whose
heaving waves it sunk from view. A third time I heard the mysterious voice, saying:
"'Son of the Republic, look and learn."
"'I cast my eyes upon America, and beheld villages, towns and cities springing up, one after another, until the whole land from the Atlantic to the
Pacific was dotted with them. Again I heard the mysterious voice say:
"'"Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn."
"'At this the dark, shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened scepter approach our land. It flitted slowly and
heavily over town and city of the latter, the inhabitants of which presently set themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued looking, I
saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced "Union," bearing the America flag, which was placed between the
divided nation, and said:
""'Remember ye are brethren."
"'Instantly the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends once more, and united around the national standard. Arid again I heard
the mysterious voice, saying:
"'"Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn."
"'At this the dark shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts, and taking water from the ocean, sprinkled it upon
Europe, Asia and Africa.
"'Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these countries arose thick black clouds, that were soon joined into one. And throughout this
mass there gleamed a dark red light, by which I saw the hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to
America, which country was enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country, and bum the
villages, towns and cities that I beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thunder of the cannon, clashing of swords, and shouts and cries of the
millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice, saying:
"'"Son of the Republic, look and learn."
"'When the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth and blew a long, fearful blast.
"'Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America.
At the same moment I saw the angel upon whose head still shone the word "Union," and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the
other, descended from heaven, attended by legions of bright spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who I perceived were well
nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage again closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again amid the fearful noise of the
conflict I heard the mysterious voice, saying:
""'Son of the Republic, look and learn.
"'As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time clipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it on America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled
back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious. Then once more I beheld villages, towns and cities
springing up where they had been before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried in a loud
"'"While the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Republic stand."
"'And taking from his brow the crown on which blazed the "Union," he placed it upon the standard, while the people, kneeling down, said "Amen."
"'The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising curling vapor I had first beheld. This also disappearing, I
found myself once more gazing on my mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before, said:
"'"Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted. Three perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the second, passing
which, the whole world united shall never be able -to prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land the
"'With dim words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat, and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me the birth, progress and
destiny of the United States.
"'In Union she will have her strength, in disunion her destruction."
"Such, my friend,'' concluded the venerable narrator, "were the words I heard from Washington's own lips, and America will do well to profit by