The officer in the foreground holding a field glass is Brigadier-General Nelson A.Miles, the general in command of this group, his rank being indicated by the single star on shoulder straps. The white trouser stripe and the gold and silver leaves on shoulder strap of the officer to the left and back of General Miles, show he is a Major or Lieutenant-Colonel of Infantry. He wears a forage cap with gold cord. He is talking to a soldier whom we recognize from his sword and red trouser stripes and shoulder straps to be an officer of the Artillery. The sword and yellow trimmings of the figure at the right of General Miles, show he is an Officer of Cavalry. Notice the enlisted men mounted, in the right background wear a belt for cartridges, as the old-fashioned box worn at the waist belt during the adoption of the breech-loading rifle. Here is shown the comfortable soft felt hat, instead of the tall stiff hat of the Civil War period. These are all mounted officers as shown by their spurs. One of the defects of Army equipment at this time was the absence of rubber clothing, so necessary in field campaigning.
The uniform at the left of the group in front is shown the field blouse for General officers. The officer in the center, as shown by the single star on his shoulder straps, is a Brigadier-General of Cavalry. The officer at the right, with forked device and three red chevrons on sleeve, and red trouser stripe, is an Electrical Sergeant of Artillery. In the background, seated, being saluted by an officer, is another officer of Infantry as shown by the white trouser stripe. In the right background is seen the white summer uniform for officers, especially adapted for tropical climates where out troops rendered important service during the period in Cuba and in the Philippines. The band on the cap of the white uniformed officer at the left is red indicating him to be an Artillery officer. The cap band of the officer at the right is yellow showing him to be of the Cavalry. The low forage type of cap so general during the Civil War, has entirely disappeared, and the low crowned and stiffer military cap has taken its place.
Here are the khaki types of service uniforms adopted for field use during the Spanish War and the Philippine Insurrection. Shoulder straps and double leather body belts support knapsacks, canteen and cartridge box. A cartridge belt is about the waist from which, also hangs the bayonet when not fixed. The leggings extend below the ankle fitting closely over the shoe. On the right, a Corporal of Infantry as shown by white chevrons on sleeves, converses with a First-Class Sergeant of Artillery as seen from three red chevrons and device on his sleeve, and the shoulder strap. The soudan hat adapted to troptical climates was, also, extensively worn by the Army men, especially during the Campaign in the Philippines. In the left background, mounted, is a Saddler of Cavalry, as indicated by the yellow Saddler's knife device on sleeve, also yellow shoulder strap and stripe on saddle cloth.
We take a nearer view of Mount Tabor, looking across a field covered with flowers. While most of the mountain tops of Palestine are ragged rocks with scarcely any soil, the valleys and plains during the spring and early summer are gorgeous with flowers of every hue. One who sees them understands where our Lord found his frequent illustrations in teaching from the flowers of the fields. Looking upon the crown of Mount Tabor, and recalling the history of Israel in the time of the Judges, we seem to see upon yonder heights the little army of Deborah, the woman-judge; while upon this plain, now brilliant with blossoms, on that day were spread the tents and war-chariots of Sisera and the Canaanite host. The Israelites rushed down those slops, boldly attacked the Canaanite camps and won a glorious victory. Sisera, the commander of the Canaanites, fled on foot across the plain, only to meet death by the hammer of Jael, while sleeping in her tent.
It must be admitted however, that all the scholars do not agree that our last view was of the real Mount Zion. The most recent and leading authorities have stated that this hill on the right represents the site of the earliest Jerusalem, the city where Abraham was met by the priest-king Melct-rizedek, where the Jebusites maintained their independence for two hundred years after Joshua's conquest, and where David set up his throne. This is Mount Ophel, the foothill of Mount Merian. On this slope it is now believed stood the original Jerusalem, and not on the Mount Zion of tradition. One strong reason for this opinion is that the location of every ancient town was fixed by its water-supply. There are no springs in or near the western hill, while beside this slope is an abundant fountain, now known as "the Virgin's spring." The question of identity is not fully settled, but the tendency is strongly in this direction.
Let us cross the Plain of Esdraelon. On its eastern border we find three mountains; the northern Mount Tabor; the middle one "The Hill of Moreh" in the Old Testament; often called in modern times "Little Hermon"; the greatest of the three on the south, Mount Gilboa. We are now looking upon Mount Tabor from the summit of the Hill of Moreh or Little Hermon. That village in the middle of the view is Nain, here, on one of his journeys, Jesus raised to life the only son of a widow. Beyond the village over the plain we see the rounded summit of Mount Tabor, the most symmetrical and beautiful in form of all the hills in this land of many hills and mountains.
We looked upon the Hill Moreh of Little Hermon from a distance. Let us now stand upon its summit beside yonder Arab and from it look northward over the plain of Esdraelon. We can see dimly in the distance the white buildings of a town upon the mountain. That town is Nazareth, the home of Jesus during nearly thirty years. The hills around Nazareth look out upon the storied plain of Esdraelon; and from yonder hilltops the Boy Jesus must have often gazed upon this plain and the mountains surrounding it, recalling the battles of the Israelite history that were fought upon this famous field.
Look closely as this interior view of the tomb in the garden which may have been the sepulchre of our Lord. To make it more real, the two Syrian girls from the English school, dressed in their native costume, are seated, one at the head, the other at the foot of the receptacle for a body. We cannot say that this was the tomb of the rich Arimathean Joseph; but we can say that it stands in a hill which may have been Calvary; that it belongs to the Roman age; that it was hewn out of the rock; that but one burial place in it was completed, although two others were left unfinished; and that the receptacle for the body was such that two people could be seated beside it, as the women found the two angels on the Easter morning. All these facts, with the added possibility that here may have rested the body of Jesus, gives this place a surpassing interest.
There is still standing one of these venerable cedars, the oldest and most massive tree in the forest. Without doubt it stood there in the days of King Solomon and his friend King Hiram of Tyre. They may have walked arm in arm around its trunk and looked up to its outspreading arms. In the long process of the centuries, its arms have withered and fallen, but its mighty heart is still strong, and the sap still flows in its trunk. This old tree is held in almost idolatrous veneration by the villagers living near it. Festivals are held around it, its remaining branches are hung with votive offerings, and what seems to be worship is rendered to it.
While we are passing through Ramah we pause in the courtyard of one of its homes to look at a Mohammedan school. You see the turbaned teacher, with a page of the Koran in his hand; for throughout the world of Islam, the Koran is the only text-book. Before him are seated the young pupils in a circle, while around visitors are looking on. In some such group as this sat the boy Jesus at school in Nazareth, only there he held a leaf of the Old Testament; and in another circle like this in the temple at Jerusalem sat Saul the youth from Tarsus at the feet of Gamaliel.