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This work appears in Anarchy Archives with permission of International Publishers Co. 239 W 23rd Street - New York, NY and located on the web at:

Labor agitator: The story of Albert R. Parsons

Alan Calmer

New York, International publishers, 1937.


A FEW Years later the Civil War broke out. Albert and the people he knew were greatly agitated. The city whirled with excitement. Meetings were held, speeches were made. Civic spokesmen called for action.

Albert's employer, old "Whitey" Richardson-who looked like a conventional Portrait of the Southern gentleman was a leader of the secession movement. He carried on a vigorous campaign against his political enemy, Sam Houston-conqueror Of Santa Anna and father of the Texan Republic. Houston hoped the civil conflict could be averted and the Union Preserved. but when Texas joined the Rebels, he was deposed as governor of the state.

All of Albert's friends were rabid Confederates. They got together to make Plans-they wanted to get into the fighting before it would all be over. Carried away by the war fever, the Young Texans immediately organized a local volunteer company, which they named the Lone Star Grays. Albert was only thirteen, and was very short compared to the rangy natives, but he wiggled his way into the infantry squad.

Of course the whole thing was nothing more than an exciting adventure to him. He was too young to wonder about the real reasons behind secession and, besides, if he did have any ideas about it they were merely carbon copies of "Whitey" Richardson's opinions. Everybody Albert knew was a hot partisan of the Confederacy; his circle of acquaintances did not include any of the followers of Sam Houston, nor did he know any of the numerous German abolitionists who populated the state and who valiantly opposed the slaveowners.

When the war started, Federal garrisons withdrew from the Texas forts and fled toward the sea coast at Indianola, intending to embark for Washington. They were immediately pursued by the local Confederates. Albert's company, the Lone Star Grays, converted the Morgan Passenger ship into a cotton-clad and joined the chase. Protected by the breastworks of cotton piled on the deck of their improvised gunboat, they formed into the Gulf and cut off the escape of some Union troops.

Texas however, was far removed from the center of hostilities. Many of the young men thought they would never get into the fight if they stayed at home; so they formed independent companies and proceeded eastward to the battle zone.

Albert decided he would join the Rebel army, too; he made up his mind to leave for Virginia and serve under Lee. But when he asked his guardian's permission, old "Whitey" took hold of his ear and ordered him to remain at home.

Looming over young Albert, Richardson lectured his apprentice. "It's all bluster, anyway," he told him. "The war will be ended in the next sixty days, and I will be able to hold in my hat every drop of blood that's shed."

That settled it. Albert just had to get into action before it was all over. He had no way of traveling to Virginia, but he took "French" leave and joined his brother, Richard, who captained an infantry company at Sabine on the Texan coast. Albert drilled with the soldiers and served as a powder monkey for the artillery.

One day he learned that the Federals were sending a transport army to invade Texas by way of the Pass. The Federal fleet, led by two gunboats, came up the channel, bombarding the Rebel fort. Holding their fire until the enemy was about twelve hundred yards away, the Texans opened a counter-attack. The third round of shot penetrated the steamdrum of the leading gunboat and she hoisted the white flag. The guns of the fort were then trained on the other: a shot carried away the tiller rope; the vessel grounded. The transports turned around and went back to New Orleans. Not a man had been lost on the Confederate side.

When the Union army invaded once more, it was under the command of General Banks, who made for the mouth of the Rio Grande. He landed on the coast and hoisted the Union flag on Texan soil. Meanwhile, Albert had joined a cavalry detachment stationed on the west bank of the Mississippi. Albert became a member of the renowned McInoly cavalry scouts. He was with his brother's brigade when General Bank's forces, retreating down the Red river, were attacked by Parson's dismounted cavalrymen who, armed only with rifles, charged the ironclad gunboats of the Union fleet at Lane's Landing.

By the time he was seventeen, after serving four years in the military, Albert took part in the last skirmish of the Civil War, occurring just before news reached the state of Lee's surrender at Appomattox.


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