Thursday, November 8, 2007

In An Old Virginia Town [Part 10 - Hugh Mercer]

In An Old Virginia Town - Part 10
Originally published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine
March 1885, pages 601-612.
Author: Frederick Daniel

(Continued from Part 9)

The fame of General Hugh Mercer, the hero of the battle at Princeton, of whom Washington spoke in such high praise, is one of the rich heirlooms of Fredericksburg. The house of his son, "Colonel Mercer," is pointed out as one of the sights. The colonel was educated at government expense, on account of his father's gallant service, and on leaving West Point rose to be a colonel in the army. After his retirement he was during thirty years president of a bank, though its operation, it is said, was a sealed book to him, owing to the unfinancial turn given his mind by a long military career. He was a mere figure-head president, according to our modern parlance. His lack of "practicability" was as notorious as that of Chief Justice Marshall, who, riding in his gig one day near Fredericksburg, called to a darky to cut down a sapling which had arrested the wheel of the vehicle, and was greatly surprised when the darky, by simply backing the gig a couple of feet, enabled him to proceed on his way.

(to be continued)

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