"The Clansman"

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

download word file, 11 pages 0.0

Downloaded 696 times

With the spring air came the roar of excited thousands running down the avenue from the Capitol toward the White House. Above the great commotion newsboys were screaming an "Extra". "Extra! Extra! Peace! Victory!" Windows started to rise. Doors flew open. People rushed into the streets crowding around the newsboys trying to get their hands on a paper. A boy cries out, "Lee has surrendered!" Finally, the end had come. The north, with it's many resources and people, had got the first shot on Sumter. It was all over. Church bells rang, guns were fired, and many people rejoiced knowing that that their sons didn't have to leave for another draft.

While all the celebration was taking place, a young nurse watched from the hospital window. Her name was Eisle. Eisle was a young nurse caring for wounded soldiers during the war between the north and the south. She got out of the window and looked down the many rows of wounded soldiers.

Then her eyes laid on one of the Confederates who happened to be lying wounded with all of his enemies. She knew he was sentenced to death by court-martial as a guerilla, and he was only nineteen. She tried to telegraph his mother, but there was still no word from her. She took a seat beside him and softly began to sing and play her banjo. She normally played the guitar, but she laid it aside and began to learn to play stirring camp songs of the south.. Suddenly the boy opened his eyes and asked Eisle if she could brush a fly off his ear, because his guns wouldn't reach it. The boy then asked if he was dead, or if the devil had got him. She assured him that he wasn't dead, but he refused to believe her. He said, "If I'm not in heaven how come you're playing a harp, and if I'm not in heaven how come you know how to play all of these songs?" She once again assured him she was a nurse, and he wasn't in heaven. Eisle heard an argument behind her. She turned around and a sweet motherly women trying to get in. The guard wouldn't let her in. She said she was looking for her son, so Eisle went over to the guard and he allowed the women to pass. It turned out that it was the young man's mom. She said that her and her daughter had been in every hospital around searching for him, and she was so thankful that she had been taking care of her boy. The mother went over to the bed he was in and talked to him. He promised her that he would be out soon to take care of her. Eisle hated to brake up the moment, but the mother need to face the harsh reality. She pulled the mother aside, and instead of telling her that her son was sentenced to death, she just told her that he was going to make it. Eisle didn't have the heart to tell her the truth. Finally Eisle decided that the mother needed to know, so she met her obscure boarding house and explained the situation to Mrs. Cameron (mother). They decided to go and try to get a pardon from the president, Abraham Lincoln.

The next day Mrs. Cameron went and pleaded for the pardon of her son at the White House. Mr. Lincoln said, "You're a kind and dear women, and if there is any way that I can prevent violence, then I'll do it." He pardoned her son. He told her to go to the War Department. She took the pardon to the War Department and gave it to the Secretary of War. He refused to do it. He got in a rampage and started talking foul about Lincoln, so Mrs. Cameron had to go get the president to straighten him out.

Later on at the hospital, Eisle arrived back with the pardon, and was being accompanied by her brother, Captain Phil Stoneman. Phil Stoneman had never really liked wars, and laughed at his ideas about how bad the south was. When they got there Phil got to meet the young soldier's sister, Margaret, and thought she was beautiful. He decided to invite them to go to the theatre. He explained that it would be Laura Keen's last appearance in the show "Our American Cousin". He said that it would also be her one-thousandth performance in the play. "President Lincoln and his wife will be there as well", he said convincingly. Mrs. Cameron let Margaret go, and she met Stoneman at seven o' clock.

The city was full of vast crowds throughout the streets. People were firing their guns and having a great time. The buildings were decorated with lights. It was a very glorious sight. Phil and Margret went down the street to wait at the doors that the president would enter through. As soon as they walked up, Mr. Lincoln and his wife had just came out. Everybody waved and cheered when he entered, and then followed him to the theatre. The Lincolns headed up to a private box in front of the stage and, and everybody else took their seats. The play began to start. While everybody was watching the play, Margaret noticed that John Willks Booth had entered the president's box. She started to tell Phil about what a great man he was. Then all of a sudden, a gunshot was fired. Everybody noticed a young man running out of the president's box. As the man was running, he tripped and fell. Then Mrs. Lincoln yelled, " The president has been shot!" All eyes were on the man that fell. He ran and everybody in theatre went crazy. People were crying, people were fighting, and people started beating up the black people saying the south killed him. Police officers ran into the madness, and doctors ran to be at Abraham Lincoln's aide. Officers were breaking up fights, and some had to stop others about to kill somebody. The whole town was in a rampage, and shortly after, the president died.

After the president died, the government was trying to patch itself up. Stoneman insisted that the love for the south he had, is what killed him. Andrew Johnson was brought in for president, and was later impeached. The government was struggling.

The government may have been struggling, but other things weren't. Eisle and Ben Cameron started to fall for each other. Ben started off everyday sending a flower to her. He wanted to be around her all the time. She finally had to tell him that she wanted to go to New York to pursue her studies. Eisle told him that she was leaving the day after tomorrow. He insisted that she let him take him out that afternoon for a sail at the river, so he could say goodbye and thank him for what he had done for him. She said she had no time, but she ended up going anyway. When they got out on the river, they joked around a lot. He finally got her to confess her love to him.

Mrs. Cameron and her family were having trouble paying for their house and barn. They were in depth badly and really needed help, if it wasn't paid off soon, their house and barn would be taken away. Mrs. Cameron had invited Eisle to come down some time. Eisle got a message from Margaret asking her if they could come down and stay at their house for a while, because they had to go take care of a hotel for a while. Margaret would be going with Mrs. Cameron as well. Eisle agreed to this and headed down that way.

The place was beautiful. It was in a small town, but they were a little bit more out into the country. There home set near a big spring, with a waterfall, and you could hear echoing for miles. The house was surrounded by beautiful roses that Margaret's father had planted before he had been sent to jail. Margaret showed Eisle around. She showed her Eisle favorite animals, places, and secret spots where her and Ben used to go. She also told Eisle people that might stop by, and who were welcome and who were not. After they got everything straight, Margaret and Mrs. Cameron said their good-byes and thank-you and left.

Everything had been going fine for a while for Eisle, and she wasn't having any trouble with much of anything. She was doing fine with the cleaning. Her father had came along with her, and she had been taking care of him just fine as well. She was having one trouble though. A young man kept coming around the house and just snooping around. Eisle was getting kind of worried. Ben showed up one day, and was going to see Eisle. He started to walk up to the house, until he saw the young man across the street. Ben walked up to the man and said, "Didn't I tell you Gus, not to let me catch you hanging around this house again? You know that your not supposed to be around here, because you scare my family." The boy straightened up his posture, and answered, "My name ain't Gus!" Ben laughed, and said, "Well Augustus Caesar, I'll give your majesty thirty seconds to move off this block." The boy was about to run, liked usual, but stopped himself. The boy said, "I reckon these streets are free." Then Ben yelled with anger, "Yes, and so is kindling wood!" The boy took off in a instance. Within an hour from Ben's encounter he was arrested without warrant by the military commandant, handcuffed, and placed on train to Columbia. He was charged of resisting military authority. Another guy had been arrested with Ben. The government was trying to get the other guy to tell them that Ben murdered a man named Ashburn. They tortured the man trying to get him to give in, and tell them that Ben had done it. The only reply the man had was "The thing that your trying to get me to confess, would only be a lie!" They were trying to frame Ben by trying to get someone to lie about it. Later, Phil had finally arrived to the place they were holding Ben. Phil, walked over to the prison guard, he was laughing. Phil asked if Ben Cameron was in the cell right there. The guard started to laugh harder. Phil listened for a minute, and he heard a whole bunch of noises coming from the cell. Phil looked up shocked and asked what were they doing to him. The guard answered, "Just having some fun with him. We got two drunk, white, big guys who like to fight and they're in there with him!" The guard started to laugh again. They both started to listen again. It seemed that they were chanting a phrase. It sounded like the two, drunk men were saying it. Phil looked up and smiled. Phil said, "It looks like your fun is over with." The guard rushed and opened the door, and Ben had both of the white guys on their knees, chanting phrases, while he was banging their heads together. Phil got Ben out, and took him back to Ulster County.

The next day, Captain Gilbert went to the village, stationed his troops, and destroyed the whole newspaper office. After that, the Captain decided to make an example out of Dr. Cameron, as the leader of the public opinion in the county. He ordered a squad of negro troops to arrest him immediately, and take him to Columbia for obstructing the execution of the Reconstruction Acts. The squad was under the command of Gus. Gus stationed his troops at each door. They barged in, and as soon as they got to Mr. Cameron, he leaped on the first one he saw. It turned out to be Gus, his former slave. Gus started to lose control of his knees. Dr. Cameron grabbed him by the throat, and said, "How dare you!" They finally arrested him. They took him to Columbia, and threw him in a guardhouse. About thirty minutes after being thrown in the guardhouse, three guys walked up. A Lieutenant, a blacksmith, and a soldier where standing at the door. They wanted to put big, thick chains and cuffs on him, but he refused to obey. He struggled with them, and told them he would rather die then to have those put on him. Finally, the men put the chains on him, and he felt ashamed.

Captain Gilbert walked into the guardhouse and told Dr. Cameron that he would let him see his family before they took him off to Columbia. He dragged him through the streets, trying to show everybody how their faithful leader had failed. Captain Gilbert yelled out, "Fellow Citizens, you are the equal of any white man who walks this ground. The white man's day is done. Your turn has come." As they started to pass Jake's cabin, one of Mr. Cameron's faithful men stepped out. He walked over to the Captain and asked if he was equal like any white person. The Captain replied, "Yes." The boy knocked the captain on his butt, and took Mr. Cameron home. Mr. Cameron was very thankful.

As election day grew nearer, negros were very excited. Rumors had been going around saying that for every negro vote, they would receive forty acres and a mule. Margaret's Uncle Aleck was walking down the road, dreaming of his Promised Land. He rose his eyes and saw two surveyors with their arms full of line stakes painted red, white, and blue. They were well dressed Yankees. Uncle Aleck started to praise the lord, saying that his messengers have finally come. The spokesmen told him that all he had to do was plant a stake at each corner of his forty acres. The guys said that the fee was 2 dollars a stake. Aleck had 20 Dollars for the week's harvest. He bought the stakes, and took the men down to the spot where he wanted his land. The spokesmen and Uncle Aleck planted the stakes. Then men then told Uncle Aleck that if he wanted the land to rightfully his that he needed to buy a deed. So then he paid twelve dollars for the deed. They gave him the deed and left. Uncle Aleck went to show off the deed and found out that he had been fooled. The deed said this: To who it may concern: As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness for the enlightenment of the people, even so have I lifted twenty shinning plunks out of this benighted negro! Selah! In honor of Election Day, Mrs. Caneron decided to throw a ball. Everybody in the family went, so did Eisle and Phi. Margaret was dressed was dressed nice. The all of the sudden, Phil looked out the door in amazement. A huge fire lighted up the sky. Then Margaret yelled out, "That's my barn, and all of the animals are in it!" Phil and the family ran to the barn as fast as they could. Most of the animals had gotten out, except for her favorite one, the horse. She wanted to save her, but nobody would let her. They told her that only way the horses would come out was if a blanket was over its head. She pulled away from everybody, and ran into the burning barn. She grabbed a blanket, and ran to the horse. Phil was screaming for her to come back, but now all he could do was pray. She came out riding on a horse with a blanket on its head.

The Ku Klux Klan came in, and took out many black folks over jealousy.