The context is a battle in the Civil WarÂ
It was in the terrible battle of Atlanta that the brave and idolized McPherson fell.
The news of his death spread with the speed of lightning along the lines, sending a pang of sorrow through every soldierÂs heart. For a moment it seemed as if despair would demoralize the whole army, until General John A. Logan, on whom the command now rested, took in the situation and, on his furious black stallion, dashed down the lines, crying at the top of his voice, as he waved his sword in the air, ÂMcPherson and revenge!
McPherson and revenge!Â
An eye witness wrote; Â Never shall I forgetÂnever will one of us who survived that desperate fight forget to our dying dayÂthe grand spectacle presented by Logan as he rode up and down in front line, his black eyes flashing fire, his long, black hair streaming in the wind, bareheaded, and his service-worn slouch hat swinging in his bridle-hand and his sword flashing in the other, crying out in stentorian tones, ÂBoys! McPherson and revenge!Â Why, it made my blood run hot and cold, and moved every man of us to follow to the death the brave and magnificent hero-ideal of a soldier who made this resistless appeal to all that is noble in a soldiers heart, and this, too, when the very air was alive with whistling bullets and howling shell! And if he could only have been painted as he swept up and down the line on a steed as full of fire as his glorious rider, it would today be one of the finest battle pictures of the war.Â
This impromptu act of courage was even more inspiring than a reinforcement of ten thousand men, and converted his almost despairing command into mighty conquerors; and the day was won.
Put that courage into a saint and he will become a missionary like Judson, a reformer like Howard, a preacher like Paul, or a martyr like Sir Thomas More.
It is this spirit that has withstood the opposition of wicked men in the progress of the achievedd acheived victory in the face of trials and death.....
This piece comes from my new book "Onward to Fame and Fortune" and I share it because this is the kind of story that inspires me. It made me think how children today are brought up with the courage of "Super Heros" or imaginative figures and not from examples of history. For me these stories are very inspiring and have an infectious quality that fiction lacks. This story reminded me of a scene in "Brave Heart".