Autobiography of Henry Morton Stanley
This is a most fascinating account of the life of Henry Stanley, the american reporter who found Dr. Livingston in Africa and whose, "Dr. Livingston, I presume" is immortalized in history.
Henry Morton Stanley was one of the most well-known of all nineteenth-century British explorers. In his early years (as a naturalized American) he led a roving life, serving in the merchant marine and the federal navy, and reporting as a journalist on the early days of frontier expansion. He became famous when the New York Herald commissioned him to "find Livingstone" in Africa.
After finding Robert Livingstone (no mean feat, since Livingstone was living in the interior of Zanzibar, where even his friends could not find him), and following in the footsteps of Livingstone, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and others, Stanley went on to explore the rivers and lakes of central Africa. Through the Dark Continent (1877) is his account of those explorations. Failing to interest the British government in developing the Congo, Stanley accepted the invitation of King Leopold of Belgium to explore the region -- an expedition that led to the establishment of the "Congo Free State" under the sovereignty of King Leopold, and to Stanley's book, The Founding of the Congo Free State (1885). Stanley continued to explore and write until the end of the century, producing In Darkest Africa in 1890 and Through South Africa in 1898. He died in England in 1904.
A lesser known fact about Stanley however, is that ten years before his African adventure he served in the Arkansas 6th Infantry Regiment as a Confederate soldier. The Arkansas 6th Infantry Regiment fought at Shiloh where Stanley was captured. After being taken prisoner at Shiloh, Stanley was recruited at Camp Douglas, Illinois, by its commander Colonel James A. Mulligan as a "Galvanized Yankee." He joined the Union Army on 4 June 1862 but was discharged 18 days later because of severe illness. After recovering, he served on several merchant ships before joining the US Navy in July 1864. He became a record keeper on board the USS Minnesota, which led him into freelance journalism. Stanley and a junior colleague jumped ship on 10 February 1865 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in search of greater adventures. Stanley was possibly the only man to serve in the Confederate Army, the Union Army, and the Union Navy.
An excerpt from the book...
"It is getting too warm, boys!" cried a soldier, and he uttered a vehement curse upon keeping soldiers hugging the ground until every ounce of courage was chilled. He lifted his head a little too high, and a bullet skimmed over the top of the log and hit him fairly in the centre of his forehead, and he fell heavily on his face. But his thought had been instantaneously general; and the officers, with one voice, ordered the charge; and cries of "Forward, forward!" raised us, as with a spring, to our feet, and changed the complexion of our feelings. The pulse of action beat feverishly once more; and, though overhead was crowded with peril, we were unable to give it so much attention as when we lay stretched on the ground. Just as we bent our bodies for the onset, a boy's voice cried out, "Oh, stop, please stop a bit, I have been hurt, and can't move!" I turned to look, and saw Henry Parker, standing on one leg, and dolefully regarding his smashed foot. In another second, we were striding impetuously towards the enemy, vigorously plying our muskets, stopping only to prime the pan and ram the load down, when, with a spring or two, we would fetch up with the front, aim, and fire.
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