A GREAT battle had begun. Cannon were booming, some far away, some near at hand. Soldiers were marching through the fields. Men on horseback were riding in haste toward the front.
"Whiz!" A cannon ball struck the ground quite near to a company of soldiers. But they marched straight onward. The drums were beating, the fifes were playing.
"Whiz!" Another cannon ball flew through the air and struck a tree near by. A brave general was riding across the field. One ball after another came whizzing near him.
"General, you are in danger here," said an officer who was riding with him. "You had better fall back to a place of safety."
But the general rode on.
Suddenly he stopped at the foot of a tree. "Halt!" he cried to the men who were with him. He leaped from his horse. He stooped and picked up a bird's nest that had fallen upon the ground. In the nest were some tiny, half-fledged birds. Their mouths were open for the food they were expecting their mother to give them.
"I cannot think of leaving these little things here to be trampled upon," said the general.
He lifted the nest gently and put it in a safe place in the forks of the tree.
"Whiz!" Another cannon ball.
He leaped into the saddle, and away he dashed with his officers close behind him.
"Whiz! whiz! whiz!"
He had done one good deed. He would do many more before the war was over.
"Boom! boom! boom!"
The cannon were roaring, the balls were flying, the battle was raging. But amid all the turmoil and danger, the little birds chirped happily in the safe shelter where the great general, Robert E. Lee, had placed them.
"He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."